Talking Points & Fan Analysis- England vs India Cricket World Cup 2019

England wrested back fourth spot from Pakistan after a fine all-round display saw them beat India by 31 runs at Edgbaston. Here are our talking points from this fixture.

India suffer their first defeat of CWC 2019

India’s loss today at Edgbaston was their first of the tournament- it also means that every team at CWC 2019 has suffered at least one defeat.

England’s victory also paves the way for Australia to finish first- the defending champions will top the table if they beat South Africa in their final game.

India, for the first time in this tournament, also wore a special away kit today- will they wear it again if they meet England in the last four?

CWC 2019 Table after England vs INdia

Jason Roy’s return a timely one for England

We had noted that England’s defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia came with Jason Roy missing. The Durban born opener was back in action today, and it also ensured a return to form for his partner Jonny Bairstow. The duo put on 160 runs in 22 overs, and that fine opening stand allowed England the luxury of a few quiet overs in the middle before they unleashed a final overs blitzkrieg.

India will feel Shikhar Dhawan’s absence as they go further in the tournament

Shikhar Dhawan is an absolutely fantastic player, more so in ICC tournaments, and today was more evidence that India will sorely miss him in the latter stages of the tournament. His replacement, KL Rahul, made a nine ball duck in India’s chase of 338.

With Dhawan missing, India also opted to give young Rishabh Pant, another southpaw, a go in the middle order. Pant was decent in his 29 ball 32, and may have just done enough to earn another crack at the position. Continue reading “Talking Points & Fan Analysis- England vs India Cricket World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs West Indies CWC 2019

India maintained their unbeaten start to the tournament as they comfortably saw off West Indies at Old Trafford. Chasing 269, the Windies, who had scored 286 at this very venue against New Zealand a few days ago, were only able to muster 143 in response. Here are our talking points from the fixture.

West Indies officially eliminated

The West Indies have been officially eliminated from the World Cup following this defeat- the third team after Afghanistan and South Africa. The men from the Carribbean had their chances- most notably against Australia and New Zealand, losing from winning positions in both fixtures, and will be left ruing what could’ve been.

The Windies though have been too inconsistent, and today was another prime example. It feels like a side of some very good individuals, but not really a team, and their position in the points table reflects that. They’re very good in the 20 over format, but the longer the game, the more their weaknesses come to the fore, which explains their relative lack of success in both the ODI and test formats in comparison to T20’s.

Shai Hope misses a golden opportunity to stump MS Dhoni

While Dhoni was just getting started, he advanced down the track to Fabian Allen and was beaten in the air. Wicket keeper Shai Hope had two bites at the cherry to get the Indian star stumped, but squandered both, and Dhoni survived. MSD’s late assault was perhaps the difference between West Indies chasing 240-250 and the 269 they eventually had to.

Oshane Thomas and Carlos Braithwaite expensive for the West Indies

The duo of Thomas and Braithwaite went for 96 runs in the 10 overs between them. The Windies had kept a check on the scoring through the middle overs, not allowing India to get away (the remaining 40 went for just 172, less than 4.5 an over). Sheldon Cottrell did his bit in the death overs, but Thomas and Braithwaite did not, and both were taken to the cleaners by Hardik Pandya and Dhoni. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs West Indies CWC 2019”

Fan Analysis & Talking Points- Pakistan vs New Zealand World Cup 2019

Pakistan kept their semi-final hopes alive and handed New Zealand their first defeat of CWC 2019 earlier this evening at Edgbaston. Here are our talking points from this fixture in Birmingham between the Black Caps and the Men in Green.

Eerie parallels to 1992 for Pakistan’s campaign

Pakistan’s 2019 World Cup campaign has been eerily similar to their 1992 title winning one. On both occasions, they were thrashed in the first game by the West Indies, won the second one, had the third rained out, lost both the fourth and fifth fixtures, and won the sixth and the seventh.

New Zealand were unbeaten at the 1992 World Cup when they lost to Pakistan in the group stages in the seventh game of the tournament, just as it happened today. Both World Cups followed the same round-robin format.

In 1992, Pakistan qualified for the last four at the expense of hosts Australia. Will they produce a repeat this time around, and make it to the semis at England’s expense?

Pakistan 1992

Tom Latham drops Babar Azam

Babar Azam is easily Pakistan’s best batsman, and as an opposition player, one would want to snaffle ANY chance given by him. With the pitch turning square, Mitch Santner got an edge off Babar’s bat, only for wicket-keeper Tom Latham to spill a relatively straight forward chance. If Babar had been dismissed, it would’ve exposed Pakistan’s fragile lower middle order with plenty still to chase.

Babar eventually made an unbeaten century- the first by a Pakistani middle-order batsman at a World Cup since 1987.

Black Caps err in not picking Ish Sodhi

New Zealand opted to field the same XI for the sixth consecutive time in this World Cup, matching South Africa’s record from 1999. In hindsight, they should’ve picked Ish Sodhi on this pitch, which at times felt more like Nagpur than Edgbaston, with balls turning square. Both Babar Azam and Haris Sohail were visibly uncomfortable against spin- even against Kane Williamson, and a quality leggie like Sodhi might’ve easily run through them. Continue reading “Fan Analysis & Talking Points- Pakistan vs New Zealand World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Australia vs England Group Stages World Cup 2019

England crashed to their second straight defeat at the World Cup as Australia beat Trevor Bayliss’ men by 64 runs at Lord’s. Here are our talking points from the game.

England’s semi-final spot in serious jeopardy

Earlier in the tournament, England appeared to be cantering towards a semi-final spot, but the twin losses to Australia and Sri Lanka have put the cat among the pigeons. They are on 8 points from 7 games, and have India and New Zealand to play in their final two clashes. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could all potentially leapfrog the hosts.

England will be watching tomorrow’s Pakistan-New Zealand game with great interest. A Black Caps win will settle some nerves, but a Pakistan victory will make England’s clash against India a must-win, not an ideal scenario given the form Virat Kohli’s men are currently in.

CWC Table After Australia vs England June 25

Jason Roy injury hurting England

England’s tournament has taken a turn for the worse since Jason Roy’s injury. He didn’t feature in the losses against Sri Lanka and Australia. Alex Hales and Roy were key figures for the English in their ODI resurgence, but with one banned and the other injured, their opening pair looks vulnerable. James Vince rarely seems to be able to cross 30, and that pressure appears to be transferring to the middle order.

Another England loss while chasing

Eoin Morgan won the toss and opted to field first. And as it’s so turned out, all three of England’s losses in this tournament- Pakistan, Sri Lanka and now Australia, have come while chasing. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Australia vs England Group Stages World Cup 2019”

Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Afghanistan- Cricket World Cup 2019

After comfortable wins over South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, India got their first major scare of the tournament as Afghanistan came mighty close to upsetting them at the Rose Bowl. Here are our talking points from the game- a second straight last over thriller after the game between New Zealand and the Proteas.

India’s middle order struggles

If there was ever a concern for India leading into this World Cup, it was their middle order. Against the likes of South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, some one from the top order always made a century, which made things easy for the other batters. For the first time in this tournament, their openers struggled. While Virat Kohli was again fantastic (only player to strike at over a run a ball), he was out for 67, with India at 135 in the 31st over. The Men in Blue only managed 90 odd runs in the last twenty, as MS Dhoni and Kedhar Jadhav plodded along in the middle overs. Dhoni made only 28 from 52 balls before being stumped, and both batsmen were criticised by legendary Indian star Sachin Tendulkar for “not possessing intent”

Afghanistan weren’t able to make India pay, but a better team would, and India’s competitors would’ve seen a definite chink in their armoury.

Mohammad Shami claims the first hat trick of CWC 2019

Mohammad Shami has been a vastly improved bowler over the last 18 months, but had to sit out India’s first four games, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar preferred for team balance. With Kumar out due to a hamstring injury, Shami got his chance against Afghanistan, and created World Cup history with his last over hat trick. It came under pressure, with Nabi threatening to take Afghanistan home, but Shami kept his cool and ensured India’s unbeaten run at the World Cup continued.

CWC Hat tricks List

India’s bowlers are among the best in the world

India have always had good batsmen, but the emergence of a strong bowling unit has been one of the reasons for them becoming a world class outfit. Continue reading “Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Afghanistan- Cricket World Cup 2019”

Can South Africa qualify for the World Cup semifinals? A look at the Proteas chances

Can the Proteas still qualify for the Cricket World Cup semifinals? Despite their dreadful start to the tournament, South Africa, as it stands, are still in with a chance. Ahead of today’s clash against Pakistan at Lord’s, we take a look at the best (and most likely route!) for the Proteas to make it to the last four of the tournament.

Table after June 22 Games

World Cup Standings after 22 June 2019 Games

Games left for Proteas & major competitors

Proteas (3 points from 6 games)– Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia

England (8 points from 6 games)- Australia, India, New Zealand

Sri Lanka (6 points from 6 games)– South Africa, West Indies, India

Bangladesh (5 points from 6 games)– Afghanistan, India, Pakistan

West Indies (3 points from 6 games)– India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan

Pakistan (3 points from 5 games)– South Africa, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh

How can South Africa still qualify for the CWC semis?

The Proteas must win all three of their games, which will take them to 9 points.

They need England to lose all three of their remaining games- England haven’t won against Australia, India and NZ in group play at the World Cup since 1992. England will then finish on 8.

They also need Sri Lanka to win only one of their three games. Given that SL should beat the Windies, that means India have to beat Sri Lanka.

If the Windies beat Sri Lanka, they (WI) need to lose to India. Given the Indian game is before the SL one, the Windies might be out of the tournament by then, which is why we think Sri Lanka would beat the Men in Maroon.

They also need Bangladesh to win only one game. If Bangladesh win two, it could come to net run rate (and they could improve theirs against Afghanistan), which means the Proteas would want India and Pakistan to beat Bangladesh.

In an ideal world, for the Proteas, Pakistan would lose to New Zealand but beat Bangladesh. If the Proteas beat Pakistan, but the latter win their remaining three, it could come to net run rate- Pakistan have a terrible current NRR (-1.933), but they do have a game in hand against Afghanistan.

In such a scenario, the Proteas will finish on 9 points, and all their challengers below them (England 8, Sri Lanka 8, Bangladesh and Pakistan 7 each)

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- England vs Sri Lanka World Cup 2019

Sri Lanka, led by veteran Lasith Malinga, produced a stunning comeback with the ball as England failed to chase down 233 at Headingley. Trevor Bayliss’ men have now lost twice in the tournament and with Australia, India and New Zealand as their remaining opponents, could suddenly find it tough to qualify for the semis. Here are our talking points from the game.

Sri Lanka victory keeps the tournament alive

An England win here would’ve all but decided the identity of the semi-finalists, with India also expected to see off Afghanistan tomorrow.

Instead Sri Lanka’s victory has kept the tournament alive for the likes of Bangladesh, West Indies and even South Africa. England now have eight points from six games and may need to win one, if not two of their remaining three games against Australia, England and NZ to qualify for the last four- not so straightforward given the form the trio have been in.

CWC table after England vs Sri Lanka-2019

The Root review that kept Sri Lanka in the game

Yesterday, South Africa failed to notice a clear nick from Kane Williamson at a crucial period during the Kiwi chase.. Today Joe Root edged a delivery going down leg from Malinga to the keeper. The umpire didn’t give it out, but Sri Lanka went for the review, and got their man. Root was as important to the English cause as Williamson was to New Zealand’s yesterday, and his dismissal gave Sri Lanka renewed belief.

Malinga and Matthews pull it off for Sri Lanka

The two veterans played major roles in this stunning victory. Matthews was slow with the bat, but his 85 gave the Lankans something to bowl at, and Malinga was simply superb with the ball, picking up the wickets of Bairstow, Vince, Root and Buttler to keep the visitors’ hopes alive. He would’ve even had Stokes and a deserved 5fer at the end, but for Kusal Mendis spilling a chance in the deep.

Do England crumble under scoreboard pressure?

Both of England’s losses in this tournament- previously against Pakistan and here against Sri Lanka, came while chasing. They do bat deep, but such factors can be rendered irrelevant in the face of scoreboard pressure, as it did today. They also lost to Australia in the warm-ups while chasing.

This was very winnable for England, but their lower order- Moeen Ali and Jofra Archer in particular, threw their wickets away when all they needed was to stay with Ben Stokes.

A proper choke one has to stay- one the Proteas would’ve been proud of! Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- England vs Sri Lanka World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- South Africa vs New Zealand World Cup 2019

New Zealand took a massive step towards the semi-finals as they beat South Africa in a final over thriller that all but ended the latter’s slim chances of making it to the last four. Here are our talking points from the game at Edgbaston, which was also the venue for that epic SF involving the Proteas two decades ago!

The Williamson dismissal that wasn’t reviewed

In Imran Tahir’s last over, with New Zealand at 173/5 in the 38th over, Kane Williamson was beaten as he attempted to glide the ball. Tahir had half an appeal on his lips, as he always does, but more importantly, Proteas keeper Quinton de Kock did not appeal. Replays showed that Williamson had edged the ball and if South Africa had opted for DRS, they would’ve had the Kiwi skipper out at a crucial period in the game.

The Proteas missed more chances (run-outs and dropped catches among them), but this is the one they’ll rue the most. Faf du Plessis did not enjoy the luck of his his Australian counterpart Aaron Finch, whose last second DRS review got rid of Wahab Riaz at a crucial stage in their game against Pakistan. In fact, Du Plessis wasn’t even aware that Williamson would’ve been out until Pommie Mbangwa told him in the post match presentation!

Kane Williamson Edge off Tahir World Cup 2019

Andile Phehlukwayo chooses the wrong time to have an off day

Over the last couple of seasons, Andile Phehlukwayo has been one of South Africa’s most consistent performers in this format and has rightly established himself as the Proteas No.1 all rounder. Unfortunately the Dolphins star had a bad day at the office- a five ball duck and 1/73 in 8.3 on a day when all his fellow bowlers went for under 5 an over.

Did Du Plessis err by not giving Aiden Markram a bowl?

Andile Phehlukwayo didn’t have a great day with the ball, but despite knowing Colin de Grandhomme’s struggles against spin, Faf du Plessis choose not to go to Aiden Markram for an over or two in the middle. De Grandhomme was cautious against Imran Tahir, and it would’ve been interesting to see him take on Markram with the run rate steadily rising. Perhaps a day when Du Plessis needed JP Duminy in the side- clearly didn’t feel confident enough to ask Markram to roll his arm over despite Phehlukwayo’s struggles. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- South Africa vs New Zealand World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Pakistan World Cup 2019

India continued their dominance over Pakistan in World Cups, beating them for the seventh time in succession as they won comfortably by 89 runs at Old Trafford. Rain was expected to play spoil sport in Manchester, but fortunately didn’t have much of a role to play, with a result guaranteed by the time the heavens really opened up. Here are our five talking points from this game. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Pakistan World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Pakistan vs Australia World Cup 2019

Australia bounced back from their loss to India as they beat Pakistan by 41 runs at Taunton on Wednesday. Here are our talking points from this fixture- effectively the first full World Cup game this week after the South Africa-West Indies and Bangladesh-Sri Lanka clashes were washed out.

Middle order implosion hurts Pakistan

Chasing 308, Pakistan were purring along at 136/2 at the half way mark, with both Imam Ul Haq and Mohammad Hafeez looking well set. Australian skipper Aaron Finch was forced to turn back to Patrick Cummins to stem the flow of runs. However in the space of fifteen deliveries, the innings simply imploded.

Cummins’ first ball of this spell was a short wide one going down leg. Imam went after it, but only succeeded in edging to wicket keeper Alex Carey and Australia had their breakthrough. In the next over, Finch bowled an absolutely terrible full toss- Hafeez could’ve dispatched it anywhere, but he smashed it straight down Mitch Starc’s throat on the deep mid-wicket boundary. Cummins then got Shoaib Malik to edge one to Carey for a second ball duck and Pakistan’s chase had imploded in the space of two and a half overs.

Kane Richardson, perhaps Australia’s worst pacer on the day, then accounted for the dangerous Asif Ali in the 30th over, reducing Pakistan to 160/6.

The last second DRS review that sealed Pakistan’s fate

Despite their middle order wobbles, Pakistan’s lower order- Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz in particular, had mounted a spirited fightback in the company of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.

The equation had been reduced to 45 to win off 6 overs- very gettable in this age, but with only three wickets in hand. Finch threw the ball to Starc, and the left armer immediately struck, getting Wahab to edge one to Carey. The umpire didn’t give it out and Finch, perhaps not convinced himself, only opted for DRS with one second left on the clock. As luck would have it, Snicko showed an edge and with Starc taking out Mohammad Amir two deliveries later, Pakistan’s slim hopes were extinguished.

Australia lucky to come out on the winning side

Pakistan, like the West Indies before them, would be wondering how they let this one slip. All it needed was some smart cricket. Like it had happened in the Windies game, Cummins and Starc gave Australia crucial breakthroughs just when the opposition thought they were gaining control of the game.

CWC table after Australia vs Pakistan-2019

Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Pakistan vs Australia World Cup 2019”