Fan Analysis & Talking Points from India vs New Zealand- the 2DI World Cup Semi final!

New Zealand advanced to their second successive World Cup final with a stunning eighteen run win over favourites India at Old Trafford. Here are our talking points from this thrilling ODI (or should that read 2DI?) clash at Manchester.

CT 2017 encore for India

Going into this tournament, if there was one ever-present worry in the minds of Indian fans, it was about their middle order, and whether they could handle a pressure situation. India’s top 3 had scored nearly 70% of their runs in this tournament coming into this semi-final but had a collective failure today in Manchester. It was, in some ways, deja vu for the fans who had seen their 2017 CT final defeat to Pakistan. India’s middle order didn’t stand up that evening, and didn’t do so today either.

Martin Guptill’s run out of MS Dhoni

Dhoni is not the methodical finisher he was a decade ago, but still remains a force to be reckoned with. He took the game to the final 2 overs, and swatted Lockie Ferguson for a six over deep cover to bring the equation to 25 off 11. The very next ball, he attempted a second but was run out by a fantastic direct hit from Martin Guptill in the deep. If the ball had bounced before hitting the stumps, or had needed the assistance of the fielder, Dhoni, so good between the wickets, would’ve comfortably made his ground. It was a matter of inches at the end, and with that one throw, Guptill made up for the miserable World Cup he’s had with the bat. If New Zealand go on to win the World Cup for the first time in their history, that Guptill run out will be the stuff of legends, and talked about till the end of eternity.

Guptill Dhoni Run out World Cup 2019 Semi-final

Why didn’t India sent Dhoni in earlier?

Bizarrely enough, with the score at 5/3, India didn’t sent MS Dhoni in, and the veteran only strode to the middle at No.7 when they were five down. His power hitting abilities may have reduced with time, but Dhoni remains a fine defensive player, and could’ve easily performed the role Karthik and Pandya (unfamiliar to them mind you) were asked to. It would’ve allowed India the luxury of another power hitter at the death, and with 42 to win in 4, you’d probably have backed the Men in Blue.

Matt Henry the unsung hero

He’s received flak for his poor death bowling (see the West Indies game) but Matt Henry turned up today when his side needed him the most. He first snapped up Rohit Sharma, the tournament’s leading run scorer with five hundreds, with an absolute gem of a delivery that set the pace for the Black Caps, and also got rid of KL Rahul.

Henry’s death bowling is not his strongest suit, but with India needing 42 in 4 overs with Jadeja and Dhoni well set, he produced a tremendous final over with back of the length cutters that went for just five. It forced Jadeja to target Trent Boult in the final over Continue reading “Fan Analysis & Talking Points from India vs New Zealand- the 2DI World Cup Semi final!”

Fan Analysis & Talking Points from Australia vs South Africa & India vs Sri Lanka

The group stage of the World Cup came to a conclusion earlier today, with India taking on Sri Lanka at Headingley in the day fixture and Australia squaring off against South Africa in the D/N clash at Old Trafford. Let’s take a look at our talking points from the day’s action.

South Africa’s batting finally clicks, and sends Australia to Birmingham for their semi-finak

South Africa vs Australia as a World Cup clash brings back memories of that great game between the two sides back in the 1999 edition of the tournament.

The Proteas have been one of this tournament’s biggest disappointments, but with nothing to lose, they turned the tables on Australia at Old Trafford with a fantastic batting display. For the first time in this tournament, they got off to a flying start with the bat after winning the toss. With Hashim Amla out injured, Aiden Markram was asked to open the batting with Quinton de Kock, and the flurry of fours at the beginning of the South African innings forced opposition skipper Aaron Finch to turn to spinner Nathan Lyon as early as the 6th over of the game.

Markram and De Kock both departed before the 20th over, but the foundation had been set, and it allowed Rassie van der Dussen, traditionally a bit of a slow starter, time to get himself in. He was 5 (25) before going on to smash 95 in 97. Faf du Plessis scored the Proteas’ first century of the tournament, and South Africa were able to set Australia an imposing 326 to win, which proved to be 10 too many for Justin Langer’s men at the end.

How South Africa would’ve loved the tournament to begin today instead of the 40 odd days before that it did!

And in sending Australia to Edgbaston, a ground known to favour England historically, they might have sounded the death knell for their great opponents’ hopes of defending their crown. Edgbaston was also the venue for that SA-Aus 1999 semi-final that began Australia’s dominance over the 50 over format.

CWC table after group stages of World Cup-2019

Rohit Sharma writes himself into the history books

With a hundred against Sri Lanka, Sharma not only took India to the top of the table, but also broke the record for most centuries in a single World Cup. In the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, Sharma has taken on added responsibility and handled it with aplomb.

He’s also not too far away from Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs (673) at a single World Cup. And the way he’s been going, few would bet against him achieving that record as well!

South Africa’s fielding sees them stave off a spirited Australian comeback

There were three great pieces of South African fielding today at Old Trafford- first the run out effected by De Kock to dismiss Marcus Stoinis (one which even MS Dhoni would’ve been proud of), the second a leaping catch, again by De Kock, to dismiss Glenn Maxwell, and the third a stunner from Chris Morris to take out David Warner just as Carey and he were beginning to take the game away from the Proteas.

They had a few lapses in the field- most notably in the form of missed run outs, but this was a far superior effort in terms of catching, and it helped them end their tournament on a high.

Alex Carey the unsung hero for Australia at CWC 2019

With a first class average of 29, few would’ve expected Alex Carey to have the impact he’s had on this tournament. The wicket keeper nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat here, and may be promoted to No.5 in their semi-final against England, given the stunning form he’s been in.

A few alarm bells for Australia?

Australia still remain formidable opponents, as evinced by their never say die attitude during the chase that saw them score nearly 200 in their last 25 overs despite having effectively lost half their side.

However they appear to be in a bit of disarray- Shaun Marsh has already been sent home injured, Usman Khawaja’s tournament looks over after a hamstring issue, Marcus Stoinis had a side strain and even Mitch Starc needed the physio to attend to his knee. At this rate, Marsh Jr and Peter Handscomb may need to make their first appearance of the tournament in the cauldron of a World Cup a semi-final against the hosts at the “Bear Pit”

Not quite panic stations for Australia yet, but England will fancy their chances to advance to the final. Even Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said he expected the hosts to meet India in the decider at Lord’s in a week’s time, when quizzed about it by Mark Nicholas at the post-match presentation.

The semi-finals will be India vs New Zealand and England vs Australia- same as the first WC warm-up fixtures for these four sides played on May 25.

Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Bangladesh Cricket World Cup

India bounced back from their loss to England as they beat Bangladesh by 28 runs at Edgbaston to seal their spot in the semi-finals of the World Cup. Here are our talking points from this fixture between the two Asian rivals in Birmingham.

Tamim Iqbal drops Rohit Sharma early in his innings

This was an effective must-win game for Bangladesh following England’s victory over India a couple of days ago. Tigers skipper Mashrafe Mortaza would’ve preferred to bat first, but his opposite number Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to take first guard.

Bangladesh needed to be at their best in the field to keep India to a moderate score. Unfortunately, with Rohit just on 9, Tamim Iqbal dropped a straightforward chance in the deep off Mustafizur Rahman. Rohit, who has a fantastic record against Bangladesh, went on to score a century that would form the cornerstone of India’s imposing 314.

This was the fourth time in the tournament that Sharma was given a life while still in single digits, and on every occasion, he’s made the opposition pay, with three centuries and a half century to his tally instead of four single digit scores.

India through to semis; Bangladesh officially knocked out

The result made India the second team to qualify for the semi-finals after Australia and ended Bangladesh’s slim hopes of making it to the last four. If Australia lose to South Africa in their final game of the tournament, India can finish top with a victory over Sri Lanka.

The last two semi-final spots are now between England, New Zealand and Pakistan. A victory for England today will ensure their progress into the semis, and almost certainly New Zealand’s as well (superior NRR for the Black Caps compared to Pakistan)

CWC table after India vs Bangladesh-2019

Bangladesh need a specialist 140+ quick in their ranks

Bangladesh’s pacers, bar Mustafizur Rahman, weren’t quite at the races today. Mashrafe and Rubel’s struggles with the ball meant they had to depend on part timer Soumya Sarkar for five overs. A quality 140+ quick- in the Bumrah, Rabada, Boult or Starc mould would make Bangladesh a far more threatening side. Bumrah essentially ended their chase with two fine yorkers that took out Nos 10 and 11- the Tigers lacked such quality in their ranks. Continue reading “Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Bangladesh Cricket World Cup”

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”