Rohit breaks records, both skippers get golden ducks & more- Five Talking Points from India vs West Indies 2nd ODI Vizag

Fine centuries from Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul saw India level the ODI series in Vizag with a thumping 107 run win over the West Indies. Visiting skipper Kieron Pollard, as he had done in Chennai, opted to bowl first, but India’s openers effectively batted them out of the contest. Sharma and Rahul added a massive 227 for the first wicket, laying the platform for the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant to go hammer and tongs in the final ten, and the hosts’ mammoth score of 387 was always going to be too much for the Windies to chase.

Wary of the fifth bowler problem that surfaced in Chennai, India opted to bring in Shardul Thakur for Shivam Dube. The Windies made two changes- Evin Lewis and Khary Pierre coming in for Sunil Ambris and Hayden Walsh Jr. respectively.

India's Playing xi against West Indies-2019

Here are our talking points from the game.

Shami double wicket over turns game on its head: In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami is the default leader of this Indian attack and skipper Virat Kohli’s go-to man. Kohli only asked him to bowl 3 overs upfront, leaving the bulk of his overs for the back end of the innings.

The Windies were threatening to script a miracle win with Nicholas Pooran and Shai Hope leading the charge. At 192/3 in the 30th over, they were ahead of India’s score at that very stage of the game, and going by the old logic of doubling your 30 over score, perhaps even in with a chance of chasing down 388.

Shami first got Pooran out with a bouncer and then got the dangerous Kieron Pollard to nick to Pant off the very next delivery. The game effectively changed in these two deliveries- none of the remaining Windies batsmen had the hitting range of Pooran and Pollard, and the hosts cruised to victory.

Golden ducks for both skippers: Speaking of the Pollard dismissal above, it was the first time in ODI cricket that both skippers scored golden ducks in the same game. Continue reading “Rohit breaks records, both skippers get golden ducks & more- Five Talking Points from India vs West Indies 2nd ODI Vizag”

Tips for India vs West Indies- 3rd ODI

The year (or decade too, in this case) is about to come to a termination point. For the Indian who also happens to be an ardent fan of cricket, this year can only end well if the national cricket team can turn out to be victorious in the upcoming ODI match after having won the T20 series with a dominating 2-1 game score, whilst being dominant in all the three matches. While extensive analysis can be put forth about the T20 match where West Indies won (in order to learn from their mistakes and take the upper hand in the ODIs), there is a lot more to understand than the average armchair analyst can fathom. Continue reading “Tips for India vs West Indies- 3rd ODI”

Five Talking points from the first ODI between India and West Indies

If we look into the first game of the ODI between India and the West Indies in Chennai, we saw decent performances from the likes Rishabh Pant, Kedar Jadhav and Shreyas Iyer after a rare failure for the Indian top order. Team India made a total of 287 for loss of 8 wickets- skipper Kohli seemed satisfied with his batsmen, but the fans would’ve expected more, especially given the position India were in when Pant and Iyer had both got their eye in. Continue reading “Five Talking points from the first ODI between India and West Indies”

India Squad for West Indies ODI & T20 Series Announced- ODI call up for Dube, Samson axed

The Indian selectors on Thursday officially announced the ODI and T20I squads for their upcoming series against the West Indies at home next month.

Shivam Dube’s fine performance in the T20 decider against Bangladesh has earned him a maiden ODI call up, but Sanju Samson has bizarrely been axed despite not featuring in even a single game against the Tigers. Samson and Dube were the only two new call ups to the squad when India squared off against their neighbours last month.

How different are India’s ODI and T20 squads?

Interestingly, India’s ODI and T20 squads for the West Indies series are virtually identical. Fourteen of the fifteen players named feature in both squads- the only difference comes in the form of Kedar Jadhav (ODI’s) and Washington Sundar (T20’s). This is almost a full strength T20 squad for the Men in Blue- perhaps an indication of how highly regarded the Windies are regarded in that format.

India Squad for West Indies ODI T20 Series 2019 Continue reading “India Squad for West Indies ODI & T20 Series Announced- ODI call up for Dube, Samson axed”

Talking Points- West Indies vs India 3rd ODI 2019 Port of Spain Trinidad

Virat Kohli lost his first toss of the tour, but it didn’t stop India’s winning run in the Caribbean as they comfortably beat the West Indies by six wickets in Trinidad on Wednesday. It was another masterclass with the bat from Kohli and Shreyas Iyer as the visitors chased down the revised DLS target of 255 with more than two overs to spare.

Here are our talking points from the game.

The West Indies sorely missed Sheldon Cottrell

Not only has Cottrell been the West Indies’ best bowler in this series, he also made Shikhar Dhawan his bunny of sorts. In Cottrell’s absence, Dhawan made a quickfire 36 that ensured India had a good start to a tricky chase. Without Cottrell, Jason Holder didn’t really have a strike bowler to turn to when he needed wickets or wanted to stem the flow of runs, which made this an easy chase for India.

Another batting masterclass from Kohli and Iyer

They were instrumental in India’s victory at the same venue a couple of days ago, and Kohli and Iyer again came to the party here in Trinidad.

The duo came together with India in a slight spot of bother at 92/3, having lost Dhawan and Rishabh Pant in successive deliveries, but brought the chase back on track with a fine 120 run stand in 15 and a half odd overs.

Iyer hit five sixes in his 41 ball 65 while Kohli struck his second consecutive century as India cruised home in the 33rd over.

Shai Hope’s slow start with the bat hurts the West Indies

We had mentioned this several times in the World Cup as well- Shai Hope tends to start too slowly for the modern game. He made 24 today off 52 balls- effectively eating up a quarter of the Windies’ overs for one tenth the score. He’s a talented player, but if he’s going to start so slowly, he needs to make them count.

Hope drops Kohli catch

Not only did Hope rob the Windies innings of momentum in the middle phase, he also dropped a relatively straightforward catch Continue reading “Talking Points- West Indies vs India 3rd ODI 2019 Port of Spain Trinidad”

End of an era- Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn retire from cricket

It’s officially the end of an era. With the retirements of Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla, all members of the South African side who scripted that famous series victory Down Under against Australia in 2008 have called it a day.

That Proteas team was also the first one since readmission to beat Australia in Australia, and they didn’t lose a single away test series between 2007 and 2015- quite an amazing statistic given the variety of conditions that prevail in test cricket today. Amla and Steyn were both key members of that squad as was AB de Villiers, who also hung up his international boots last year. Interestingly, the trio were the 295th, 296th and 297th players for South Africa and made their debuts in the same year- will the Proteas ever have a more impactful troika of players in the future? Continue reading “End of an era- Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn retire from cricket”

India vs West Indies Second ODI Match Report 11 August 2019 Port of Spain- Gayle’s 300th ends in defeat

Virat Kohli led from the front with a masterful century- his 42nd in ODI’s, as India defeated the West Indies by 59 runs on DLS in a rain affected clash at Port of Spain on Sunday.

The Indian skipper also took three catches, including a stunning one hander to dismiss the dangerous Evin Lewis, as the visitors continued their winning streak in the Caribbean. Continue reading “India vs West Indies Second ODI Match Report 11 August 2019 Port of Spain- Gayle’s 300th ends in defeat”

India Squad for Tour of West Indies 2019 Announced- No Shubman Gill

India have officially announced their squad for their upcoming tour of the West Indies. There was talk that the World Cup semi-finalists would adopt split captaincy for this tour, but skipper Virat Kohli continues to hold the reigns across all three formats. A couple of key players have been rested given their workload, but it still remains a very strong squad- certainly not a second string one by any stretch of imagination.

Because this tour comes on the heels of the just concluded World Cup, let’s take a look at their ODI squad first.

What changes have been made from the World Cup roster for this squad to tour the Carribean?

There are a few changes- Vijay Shankar is injured, MS Dhoni has made himself “unavailable”, Dinesh Karthik has seemingly been axed and the pair of Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested. In come Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey- the former widely expected to be India’s next No.4 and the latter rewarded for a string of strong domestic performances. Navdeep Saini and Khaleel Ahmed are the new bowlers in the squad.

Shikhar Dhawan returns to the squad after missing the latter half of India’s World Cup campaign with a thumb injury.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is no Shubman Gill, but chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said that the Punjab youngster, who toured New Zealand earlier this year, is very much in their plans. Rishabh Pant is also the only wicket keeper in the squad, with KL Rahul expected to provide temporary cover if required.

Kedar Jadhav retains his spot in the fifteen despite not featuring in the XI that took on New Zealand in the semis.

India ODI Squad to tour West Indies 2019

India Test Squad for West Indies Tour 2019

The test squad will be seen in action for the first time since that historic win in Australia. Several “test-only” regulars of the squad- Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma all feature as expected. There is a welcome return after a long injury layoff for Wriddhiman Saha. Bhuvneshwar Kumar misses out with the selectors preferring the quartet of Mohammad Shami, Sharma, Bumrah and Umesh Yadav in the pace department. Rohit Sharma, so prolific in the 50 over format, has been given another chance to add to his 27 test caps.

India Test Squad for WI Tour 2019

India T20 Squad

The T20 squad retains a strong batting core, with Kohli, Sharma, Dhawan and Rahul all present but features an experimental bowling outfit. Both Chahars- Rahul and Deepak, have made the cut, as has Washington Sundar.

India T20 Squad for WI Tour 2019

Talking Points from England vs New Zealand 14 July 2019- The Greatest World Cup Final Ever?

England ended their 44 year wait for a Cricket World Cup title as they were crowned 2019 champions at Lord’s after a dramatic final hour that saw both teams tied in both regular time and the Super Over, forcing the officials to declare Trevor Bayliss’ men winners on the boundary countback rule.

It was the third successive time that the host of the World Cup had lifted the title, following victories for India in 2011 and Australia in 2015.

The final was a tight, attritional affair, but the end was truly dramatic, and probably catapulted it to No.1 on the list for best ODI’s ever. Certainly the best World Cup final ever, and with it being telecast on Free-To-Air in the United Kingdom, would’ve potentially inspired thousands of young kids to take up the game. Here are our talking points from this epic fixture.

The Guptill “overthrow” that took a deflection off Ben Stokes’ bat

Perhaps the biggest talking point of them all! With 9 to win in 3 balls, Canterbury born Stokes hit Trent Boult to deep midwicket and set off. While the former was returning for the second, Martin Guptill’s throw from the deep inadvertently took a deflection off Stokes’ bat, and went past keeper Tom Latham to the boundary.

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena signalled six runs (2 for Stokes and 4 for the overthrow). As cruel as it was for Black Caps fans to stomach the decision in real time, it was made worse after the legendary Simon Taufel said that his umpiring mates had made a mistake- it should’ve been five runs instead of six, and that Adil Rashid should’ve been on strike for the penultimate delivery instead of Stokes. In another universe, this could so easily have been a maiden NZ World Cup win.

Trent Boult steps on the rope

James Neesham had produced a fine 49th over under pressure, and it would’ve been a match winning one but for Boult’s lapse in judgement on the boundary. Stokes went for the big hit, and Boult claimed a catch on the boundary, but failed to notice the rope behind him, and stepped on it before he could potentially throw the ball to Guptill for a relay catch.

Mitch Santner ducks under Jofra Archer’s bouncer in the final ball of the New Zealand innings

Perhaps not as noticed as the two errors above, but it did cost New Zealand. On the final ball of the Black Caps innings, Santner simply ducked under an Archer bouncer instead of attempting to hit it, and wasn’t even able to run a bye. In a game when there were two “ties”, an extra run might’ve seen NZ being crowned World champions.

Will the boundaries rule be canned by the ICC?

In their wildest dreams, the ICC would not have expected this final to end the way it did. Deciding the winner on the boundaries rule doesn’t feel like the appropriate way to decide a World Cup champion- some would argue that NZ should’ve won it because they bowled England out in regular time and lost only 8 wickets in theirs. Should the trophy have been shared between the two teams? Or should there have been another version of “sudden death” to decide the winner after the Super Over tie? The debate will continue for ages.

Should Kane Williamson have asked Lockie Ferguson to bowl the Super Over?

Trent Boult has been Williamson’s go-to man in the last four overs, but the left armer was slightly wayward today, bowling a bunch of full tosses and length deliveries instead of nailing his yorkers, and finishing with 0-67 in his 10 overs. On the evidence of how things panned out in regular time, Ferguson, with his ability to bowl both fast and slower bouncers as well as yorkers, might’ve been a better choice.

Jason Roy and Jos Buttler hold their nerve

Roy and Buttler were the only two batsmen to strike at close to a run a ball on a pitch where their team mates struggled. But they will be immortalised in English cricket history for their roles in that final ball run out of Martin Guptill. Roy, who had misfielded earlier in the Super Over, showed great awareness and speed to throw the ball to Buttler, who held his nerve and cleverly positioned himself in front of the stumps to run out the diving Guptill.

Talking Points from England vs Australia Cricket World Cup 2019 Semi-Final 2

England comfortably saw off defending champions Australia in Birmingham to book their spot in the final at Lord’s against New Zealand. Here are our talking points from the second CWC 2019 semi-final.

The Cricket World Cup will have a new winner

Sunday’s final will be between New Zealand and England- two nations who have never won the Cricket World Cup before. We’re therefore guaranteed a new winner- the first such champion since Sri Lanka’s victory back in 1996. Given Australia’s domination of the event over the last two decades, this will come as a whiff of fresh air.

Australia lose a CWC semi-final for the first time in their history

Australia had competed in seven CWC semi-finals before this, and had advanced from all. Today though was a bridge too far for them- with injuries to Khawaja and Shaun Marsh and Stoinis & Starc not exactly 100%, they were no match for England’s power game at the Bear Pit.

Archer and Woakes do the damage at the top; Steve Smith wages a lone battle

David Warner seemed pumped up for this occasion at the anthem and started the game with a beautiful drive for four. However Jofra Archer trapped Finch LBW in the first ball of his spell and Warner followed soon after being forced to fend a rising Chris Woakes delivery to Jonny Bairstow at slip. Finch and Warner had done the bulk of Australia’s scoring in this tournament, and like with India, the Australian middle order couldn’t quite salvage the situation. Steve Smith waged a lone battle and had some support from Alex Carey but Australia could only muster 220 odd on a very good batting wicket.

Jos Buttler’s “nutmeg” run out of Steve Smith

Smith, as mentioned before, stood between England and a quick Australian capitulation, and had taken the visitors past 200 in the company of Mitch Starc. Just as it seemed he would take them to 250, he was dismissed by a brilliant run out from Jos Buttler, with the ball literally “nutmegging” Smith en route to the stumps. Instead of the 240-250 they had hoped for, Australia were dismissed for only 223. Continue reading “Talking Points from England vs Australia Cricket World Cup 2019 Semi-Final 2”