England vs West Indies Southampton July 2020 First test Day 2 Match Report

West Indies skipper Jason Holder led from the front by snaring career best figures of 6/42, as England were skittled out for 204 runs on the second day of the opening test at Southampton on Thursday.

Resuming at their overnight score of 35/1, the pair of Joe Denly and Rory Burns played cautiously for the first half an hour before Gabriel handed the West Indies their first breakthrough of the morning. The pacer got a 90mph ball one to nip back into Denly and shatter his stumps, with the batsman having to depart for 18. In his next over, the 32-year-old Gabriel also removed Burns- the first of several decisions overturned on DRS on the day for the Windies, as England were reduced to 51/3.

Zak Crawley along with skipper Ben Stokes added 20 runs for the fourth wicket stand, before Holder picked up his first wicket of the day, trapping Crawley leg before wicket for 10.

Ollie Pope looked very good in his brief stay at the wicket, stroking two gorgeous fours before a peach from Holder saw him caught behind for 12 by keeper Shane Dowrich.

England skipper Stokes then counter attacked with Jose Buttler and the duo put on 67 runs for the sixth wicket stand- the only England partnership above 50 in the entire innings. However just as they seemed to be gaining the upper hand, Holder returned to wrest control back for the Windies. He first got rid of his counterpart Stokes (43) with a fuller delivery and followed it up with the wicket of Buttler for 35, with Dowrich taking a stunning one handed catch behind the wickets.


Continue reading “England vs West Indies Southampton July 2020 First test Day 2 Match Report”

Five Talking Points & Analysis- England vs West Indies Day 1

International cricket returned after a gap of nearly four months as England and West Indies squared off against each other in the first test at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.

Here are our talking points from the day’s action.

1. Stuart Broad left out

Stuart Broad was left out of a home test for the first time in nearly 8 years as England opted for extra pace in the form of both Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.

Wood was impressive on England’s tour to South Africa in the winter and this selection is probably another indication that the selectors expect both him and Archer to play key roles in the next Ashes Down Under.

England lineup vs West Indies 2020

2. It wouldn’t be cricket in England without the rain! Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Analysis- England vs West Indies Day 1”

A look at Saurashtra’s path to their maiden Ranji Trophy Title

Saurashtra won their first Ranji Trophy title earlier this month as they got the better of Bengal at the SCA stadium in Rajkot. It was perhaps fitting that the trophy returned to the home province of the man who gave it his name- the legendary Maharaja Ranjitsinhji, after all these years. Continue reading “A look at Saurashtra’s path to their maiden Ranji Trophy Title”

Five Talking points from India Women vs Australia Women T-20 World Cup Final 2020

Australia women’s cricket team continued their dominance by registering an emphatic 85-run win over India to clinch the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup for a record fifth time in their history on Sunday.

India had entered the final after a semifinal wash out against England in Sydney, but crumbled under pressure against the hosts in front of a record 86,174 strong crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Here are our talking points from today’s game.

1. Dropped catches cost India dear.

Alyssa Healy was on 9 when she was given a reprieve by Shafali Verma in the very first over of the game. The opener took full advantage as she went on to score the fastest half-century in an ICC final, smashing 75 off just 39 balls. Her innings comprised of seven fours and five sixes, and by the time she was done, India’s shoulders had visibly drooped.

Healy’s partner Beth Mooney was also dropped early in her innings, with spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad guilty on that occasion. Mooney’s composed innings of 78 took Australia to 184 and ensured she walked away with the Player of the Series award.

2. Rare failure for Shafali Verma.

The teenager has been instrumental in India’s road to the final, but suffered a rare failure here, dismissed for just 2. For many Indian viewers it was a sense of deja vu- this felt very much like Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal in the first over of the 2003 World Cup final by Glenn McGrath. Continue reading “Five Talking points from India Women vs Australia Women T-20 World Cup Final 2020”

India ODI Squad for South Africa Series March 2020- First by new Sunil Joshi selection committee

Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have made a comeback to India’s 15 man ODI squad for the South Africa series that was announced earlier today. The trio had missed the recently concluded tour of New Zealand, which the visitors lost 3-0, due to injury.

This is the first Indian squad to be selected by the country’s new selection committee, headed by Sunil Joshi.

What changes have India made from the NZ ODI series for the South Africa games?

Rohit Sharma is injured- he has not fully recovered from the calf injury he suffered during the fifth T20I against New Zealand, but Shikhar Dhawan, as mentioned above, has returned. Mayank Agarwal, who replaced Sharma in NZ, is not part of the 15, with Shubman Gill included in the side.

Also missing out are Kedar Jadhav, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur. Shami has been rested as a precautionary measure following his shoulder injury in the second test. Continue reading “India ODI Squad for South Africa Series March 2020- First by new Sunil Joshi selection committee”

Heinrich Klaasen’s first ODI century, ODI debuts for Janneman Malan & Kyle Verreynne on Leap Day & more- Talking Points from Proteas vs Australia Paarl 1st ODI

A fine century from Heinrich Klaasen, the first of his ODI career, helped South Africa stun Australia in the first ODI in Paarl. The Proteas, thrashed in the T20 series, prevailed by 74 runs against Aaron Finch’s men at EuroLux Boland Park.

Here are our talking points from the game.

A maiden ODI century for Heinrich Klaasen: The Titans star has shown plenty of promise, but unfortunately not quite lived up to it after that knock vs India two years ago. However being dropped from South Africa’s World Cup squad seems to have given him a wake-up call, and he played a fine innings here at Boland Park.

Klaasen scored 123* from 114, the only top six batsman on either side to score at over a run a ball, and his 149 run partnership with David Miller was a Proteas record for the fifth wicket against Australia.

De Kock fails, but South Africa win: Since the retirement of AB de Villiers, South Africa’s batting has been fragile and appeared to be overtly dependent on Quinton de Kock. When he fires, they stand a chance of winning, but when he doesn’t, the Proteas crumble like a pack of cards, as it happened in the two sub 100 scores in the T20’s against Australia. Continue reading “Heinrich Klaasen’s first ODI century, ODI debuts for Janneman Malan & Kyle Verreynne on Leap Day & more- Talking Points from Proteas vs Australia Paarl 1st ODI”

Talking points- Black Caps vs India Second Test Christchurch 2020

New Zealand continued their dominance at home as they thumped India by seven wickets in less than three days to complete a memorable series win at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Monday. The victory ensured a whitewash for the Black Caps across both ODI and test formats after they had been blanked 5-0 in the T-20’s.

Here are our talking points from the second test.

Uncharacteristically poor tour for Virat Kohli.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s woeful run with the bat continued as he was dismissed cheaply yet again in both innings here. In the test series, Kohli had scores of 2, 19, 3 & 14 respectively. He was dismissed leg before wicket twice here, with Tim Southee accounting for him in the first innings and Colin de Grandhomme claiming his scalp in the second.

Kohli’s tally for the series was only 38 runs- even tailender Mohammed Shami (44) scored more than him.

Kyle Jamieson’s handy runs down the order hurt India.

India’s bowlers roared back on the second morning, reducing the Black Caps to 153/7 shortly after lunch. However Kyle Jamieson again rescued the hosts by scoring 49 very handy runs to lift the home side to 235. He also claimed a five wicket haul in the first innings, including the key wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and young Prithvi Shaw, both of whom had scored half centuries and were looking threatening for more.

Jamieson was also excellent at the Basin Reserve, and this has been a fine debut series in the longest format of the game for the lanky pacer. Continue reading “Talking points- Black Caps vs India Second Test Christchurch 2020”

Talking points- India vs New Zealand First Test Wellington 2020

New Zealand thumped India by 10 wickets in the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. The victory was also a major milestone for the Black Caps- it marked the 100th test win in their history.

Here are our talking points from the first test.

1. New Zealand tailenders bat India out of the contest

Having been bowled out of 165 in the first innings, India themselves managed to reduce New Zealand to 225/7 early on Day 3. The visitors would have been hoping to get through the lower order to prevent the Black Caps from taking a sizeable lead. However the pair of Colin de Grandhomme and Kyle Jamieson had other ideas and effectively batted the Men in Blue out of the contest by adding 71 valuable runs for the 8th wicket.

To add insult to injury, No.11 Trent Boult also managed a quickfire 38 from just 24 balls and propelled New Zealand to a total of 348, thereby allowing the hosts to take a healthy (and ultimately match winning) lead of 183 runs in the first innings.

2. Rare failures for Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah

The two are probably India’s most valuable players but struggled in Wellington. Kohli had scores of 2 and 19 here, while Bumrah finished with figures of 26-5-88-1, both well below their usual standards. Even Cheteshwar Pujara, normally so reliable, batted for long periods and had starts, but couldn’t convert them into bigger scores. Continue reading “Talking points- India vs New Zealand First Test Wellington 2020”

Talking Points & Analysis- India Women vs Australia Women T20 World Cup 2020 13432 Attendance

Leg spinner Poonam Yadav produced a match winning spell in her comeback fixture as India Women stunned defending champions Australia by 17 runs in the opening game of the Women’s T20 World Cup in Sydney on Friday.

Here are our talking points from the match that was played in front of a 13,432 record crowd.

Shafali Verma plays crucial innings at the top: After being put in by Australian skipper Meg Lanning, it was imperative that India started well, and they managed it thanks to Verma’s breezy innings at the top. The Rohtak teenager hit a quickfire 29 off 15, and had more hits to the fence (5 fours, 1 six) than the rest of the Indian batters put together.

Verma effectively hit 29 off two and a half overs- India themselves managed only 17 off the final three despite having six wickets in hand. It was a vital innings in the context of things on a slow, sluggish wicket.

India slow at the end: As mentioned above, India got only 17 runs off the final three overs of the game. They appear to depend too much on their top four for power hitting and acceleration- 17 in the final three with six wickets in hand is almost unheard of in this age of T20 cricket, even on a slow wicket. It didn’t cost them here, but could well hurt them later on in the tournament. Continue reading “Talking Points & Analysis- India Women vs Australia Women T20 World Cup 2020 13432 Attendance”

England’s first T20 win in Durban, another thriller & more- Talking Points from Proteas vs England Kingsmead 2nd T20

England set up a thrilling finale to their T20 series against South Africa after beating the hosts in Durban. The clash at Kingsmead was similar to the opening one in East London, but it was Eoin Morgan’s men who held their nerve on this occasion and prevailed by two runs. This was England’s first ever T20 international win in Durban after having lost their two previous games at this venue to India and New Zealand during the 2007 World Cup.

Here are our talking points from the clash.

Redemption for Moeen Ali and Tom Curran: The villains of the first game at Buffalo Park ended up being the heroes at Kingsmead. Ali’s stunning 39 off 11 balls allowed England to cross 200 when it appeared that they would just about limp to 170, and Curran held his nerve by defending 3 from the final two balls.

Quinton de Kock excellent: Matching Ali shot for shot was South African skipper Quinton de Kock. Easily the most talented batsman in this Proteas lineup, the SA skipper smashed 65 off 22 to give his side a fine start. The rest of his team mates aren’t quite at his level batting wise, as was evident in the way they struggled after his departure, and it appears that captaincy is doing him no harm.

Should JJ Smuts be batting higher?: Smuts plays in this side because he is also a capable bowler, but wasn’t required to turn his arm over here. His 13 (12) was damaging to the Proteas cause in the middle of the innings and undid all the good work done by De Kock at the top. In his defence, Smuts is an opener and not a middle order batsman, but it appears that South Africa appear to be lacking in power hitters that can smash the ball from the word go. England have plenty of them, but the Proteas don’t.

Dwaine Pretorius nearly pulls it off: Pretorius’ control and change of pace allowed South Africa to choke England in the middle overs (he went 3-0-17-1 when nearly everyone else went for 10 an over), and he nearly pulled off a stunning chase with his 25 (13). It wasn’t quite to be for the Lions all-rounder, but this was an impressive all-round performance from him.

Proteas a batter short?: As mentioned above, South Africa need to re-assess the balance of their side. A player like Pite van Biljon or Marco Marais or even Wihan Lubbe could lend some much needed power hitting to this side. There’s de Kock, and at a lesser level David Miller, but the rest aren’t destructive batsmen- certainly not in the mold of Roy, Buttler, Ali and Bairstow.