Off Day for Pat Cummins and Mitch Starc, Rohit Sharma’s 29th ODI Century & More- Talking Points from India vs Australia Bengaluru 3rd ODI 2020

A fine 119 from Rohit Sharma, the 29th century of his ODI career, helped India chase down 287 in Bangalore and register a come from behind 2-1 series victory over Australia.

The hosts were a batsman short after Shikhar Dhawan injured his shoulder while fielding, but Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli’s 146 run stand put those worries to rest as Ravi Shastri’s men cruised to victory on a good Chinnaswamy batting wicket.

India were unchanged for this clash, retaining the same XI that had done the business in Rajkot, while Australia brought in Josh Hazlewood for Kane Richardson. Opposition skipper Aaron Finch won his third consecutive toss of the series and opted to bat first this time around.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Off day for Pat Cummins and Mitch Starc: Australia opted to strengthen their bowling by including Josh Hazlewood for Kane Richardson. While Hazlewood did his job- he was absolutely miserly in his first five overs, going for just ten runs, Cummins and Starc had a bad day at the office.

Cummins went for 64 in his 7 overs, while Starc finished with figures of 0/66 in his 9. Their poor lines and lengths ensured that the pressure built by Hazlewood at one end was always released at the other, and even worse, they didn’t take even a single wicket between them.

You cannot afford two of your strike bowlers to have an off day while defending a under par total on a good batting wicket, and that unfortunately, is exactly what happened to Aaron Finch’s men.

Rohit Sharma scores 29th ODI century: Sharma’s 119 was the backbone of India’s chase. With regularly opening partner Shikhar Dhawan not available, he found the boundary regularly in the opening overs to ensure that pressure didn’t build on KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. The MI star hit a whopping 6 sixes in his knock- the rest of the batsmen (Indian and Australian) only managed 3 between them.

Sharma overtook Sanath Jayasuriya in the ODI centurions list and is now only one behind legendary Australian Ricky Ponting.

Australia miss Maxwell and Stoinis’ firepower: While Steve Smith held one end up, Australia’s inexperienced middle order missed the firepower of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis. They were 173/2 in the 32nd over when Marnus Labuschagne fell, and looked well on course for a total of 310-320. However with Agar batting at 7 and Ashton Turner nowhere near the player who stunned the Mohali crowd last year, they ended up limping to 286 instead- a total that was never enough on this batting surface.

India chose KL Rahul to keep despite Pant being fit: Interestingly, India opted to continue with KL Rahul as their specialist keeper despite Rishabh Pant having recovered from his concussion. Continue reading “Off Day for Pat Cummins and Mitch Starc, Rohit Sharma’s 29th ODI Century & More- Talking Points from India vs Australia Bengaluru 3rd ODI 2020”

KL Rahul excellent, Rohit’s fake throw and more- Talking points from India vs Australia Rajkot 2020

An excellent 52 ball 80 from KL Rahul and fine half centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli helped India level the three match ODI series in Rajkot on Friday.

Australia opted to keep faith with the same XI that had done the job in Mumbai, while India made two changes by including Navdeep Saini for Shardul Thakur and Manish Pandey for the concussed Rishabh Pant.

India's line up vs Australia-2020

Australia's line up vs India-2020

Here are our talking points from the game at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

1. KL Rahul excellent

Twice in the middle stages of this game, India appeared to be in danger of losing their way- first when Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer fell in quick succession, and the other when Kohli and Manish Pandey fell within six balls of each other. However Rahul’s fluent 80 ensured that India did not waste the start that had been given to their openers. His quickfire innings was perhaps the difference between a score of 310-320 and the 340 that the hosts eventually got. Not only did the Karnataka star excel after coming into bat at No 5, but he also did a fine job behind the wickets, standing in for the unavailable Pant. He also effected a vital stumping to get rid of Mumbai centurion Aaron Finch.

2. Kuldeep’s double swings game India’s way

At 220/3 in the 38th over, Australia had a genuine chance of overhauling India’s target. However Kuldeep turned the game on its head by picking up the wickets of Alex Carey and Steve Smith in the same over Continue reading “KL Rahul excellent, Rohit’s fake throw and more- Talking points from India vs Australia Rajkot 2020”

Batting order change fails to come off, Records galore for Warner & Finch & More- Talking points from India v Australia First ODI Mumbai January 14 2020

An unbeaten 258 run opening stand- a record partnership for any wicket against India saw Australia annihilate the hosts by 10 wickets in the first one day international at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The visitors gave Marnus Labuschagne his debut, but the South African born batting sensation had very little to do as Aaron Finch and David Warner flattened the hosts and finished the chase with 74 balls to spare.

India's playing XI Against Australia-2020

Australia's line up against India-2020

Here are our talking points from yesterday’s fixture.

1. Kohli’s decision to demote himself to No 4 backfires

As he had hinted in the pre-match press conference, Indian skipper Virat Kohli dropped himself to No 4 to accommodate Lokesh Rahul in the playing XI. The move didn’t quite come off- Kohli, arguably the team’s best batsman, only arrived at the crease in the 28th over and made only 16. It also seemed to mess with the heads of the batsmen below him in the order- Shreyas Iyer made only 4, while Rishabh Pant had to cover his natural attacking instincts in order to ensure that India got to a respectable total. The home side slipped from 134/1 to 164 for 5 and lost their way in the middle stages.

2. Finch again demonstrates batting prowess against India

Since October 2013, there have only been five opening stands of 100 or greater from a visiting team against India in India- Aaron Finch has been involved in everyone of them. It was almost a perfect day for him at the office- he won the toss, the much vaunted Indian batting line up failed to fire, his bowling changes were spot on and Australia romped home with 10 wickets to spare.

3. Records galore for Warner and Finch

As mentioned above, this partnership was the highest by any pair in ODI cricket against India. It was also the first time since 2005 that the hosts had suffered a 10 wicket defeat- the first in Kohli’s tenure as captain. Warner also reached the 5000 run milestone- the fastest Australian to the landmark, and fourth fastest to it after Hashim Amla, Viv Richards and Kohli.

Fastest to 5000 ODI Runs-2020 Continue reading “Batting order change fails to come off, Records galore for Warner & Finch & More- Talking points from India v Australia First ODI Mumbai January 14 2020”

India T20 Squad vs Sri Lanka 2020 & ODI Roster for Australia series Announced

After completing a 2-1 series win over the West Indies, India have today announced their squad for the upcoming T20 and ODI series at home against Sri Lanka and Australia respectively. The Islanders will play three T20’s against the Men in Blue on the 5th, 7th and 10th of January, with Guwahati, Indore and Pune being the venues. The three One Day internationals against Australia will take place at Mumbai, Rajkot and Bangalore (January 14, 17 and 19, 2020)

What changes have India made to the T20 squad that will take on Sri Lanka?

The original T20 squad named for the West Indies series had Shikhar Dhawan in it, but the southpaw withdrew due to injury and Sanju Samson was named as his replacement. Samson, who didn’t feature in any of the three T20’s (one of them was in his home town of Trivandrum), retains his spot, and Dhawan comes back in as a straight replacement for Rohit Sharma, who has been rested for this tour. The other three changes are in the bowling department where Mohammad Shami (rested), Deepak Chahar (injured) and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (injured) make away for Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur and Jasprit Bumrah.

India T20 Squad vs Sri Lanka 2020

What changes have India made for their ODI squad for the Australia series? Continue reading “India T20 Squad vs Sri Lanka 2020 & ODI Roster for Australia series Announced”

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”

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.

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”

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”

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

India continued their excellent start to the World Cup as they beat defending champions Australia by 36 runs at the Oval. It was the first time since 1999 that the Aussies had lost a World Cup game while chasing. Here are our talking points from the game.

A bad day at the office for David Warner

When Warner edged the first ball of Jasprit Bumrah’s spell onto his stumps, the bails (not for the first time in this tournament!) failed to be dislodged. At that time, Australia could be forgiven for thinking that it was their day- Warner, after all, was expected to play a prominent role in the chase. However it was a stroke of luck that actually worked out in India’s favour.

The 32 year old Warner made a painfully slow 56 in 84 balls- effectively taking up 14 of Australia’s 50 overs in a tough run chase. It was his slowest ever ODI fifty and the slowest one by an Australian opener since Mark Waugh in 1999. Given how the 50 over game has progressed in the last two decades, those are pretty damning numbers. Even worse, Warner ran out partner Aaron Finch, who looked in excellent nick, leading the latter to take out his frustration on the furniture in the dressing room- not the type of outburst we see often from the Victorian.

Scoreboard pressure tells on Australia

Australia had clinched a famous victory in Mohali only three months ago- chasing a mammoth 359 to inflict a stunning defeat on India. However they failed to pace their innings at the Oval, perhaps taking a little too long to press on the accelerator.

India had hit 116 runs in their last 10 overs and Australia sought to replicate their plan. At the end of the 40th over, they were actually marginally ahead of India, but scoreboard pressure often tells when you’re chasing, and that’s what precisely happened with the Aussies as they fell 36 runs short.

Australia's starting line up vs India-2019

Rohit Sharma & Shikhar Dhawan set up strong platform for India victory

This was India’s first victory over Australia in a league World Cup clash since 1987, and was largely down to the excellent work done by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. The duo, knowing that Mitch Starc and Pat Cummins were the key bowlers for Australia, saw them off and targetted the weaker bowlers.

Their opening stand of 127 laid the foundation for India’s 300 plus score and allowed the likes of Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni and KL Rahul to hit from the word go. Sharma, who had scored a century in the win against South Africa, followed it up with a half century while Dhawan’s 125 means that he has three World Cup tons- only Sachin Tendulkar has more among Indian players.

The duo broke several records along the way- they became the most prolific opening pair against Australia, surpassing the legendary pair of Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge. Sharma also reached the 2000 run landmark against Australia.

India's line up against Australia-2019

Did Australia miss a trick by not promoting Maxwell or Carey? Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Australia World Cup 2019”

Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Australia vs West Indies Cricket World Cup 2019

The West Indies missed out on a golden opportunity to beat Australia as they went down by fifteen runs to Justin Langer’s men at Trent Bridge. Here are our talking points from the game.

West Indies their own worst enemies

You’ve got 38 runs to chase from five overs with four wickets in hand and two reasonably well set batsmen at the crease. Mitch Starc has 2 overs in hand and the other 3 have to come from Nathan Coulter-Nile (who had been poor with the ball), and the fifth bowler, Marcus Stoinis. The idea would’ve been to play out Starc and focus on the other bowlers, but Carlos Braithwaite and Jason Holder, for some bizarre reason, attempted to target Starc in the 46th over. The left arm pacer won the battle comfortably, claiming both their wickets, and with that went West Indies’ hopes of claiming a famous win.

Braithwaite and Holder weren’t the only guilty ones- Andre Russel was equally culpable. Fresh from a stunning season with KKR in the IPL, Dre Russ launched into Adam Zampa as soon as he walked into the middle. At the other end Starc was ready for his eighth over- potentially his last in that spell, with the Windies requiring 79 off 12 overs. In what could only be termed as a severe lapse in judgement, Russell chose to go after Starc, and paid the price with his wicket, handing the initiative back to Australia.

Will the Windies ever get a better opportunity to beat Australia? Perhaps not.

Australia display their WC credentials

It’s the hallmark of a champion side to cross the line even when they’re not at their best, and Australia again displayed that in Nottingham. Staring down the barrel first at 38/4 and then 79/5, they managed to stage an incredible recovery to get to 288.

When the going gets tough, someone from the Australian side always raises their hand to do a job for their team, and on this occasion, it was bowler Nathan-Coulter Nile, who emerged the unlikely hero with a 62 ball 90. It was the highest ever World Cup score by a No.8 batsman.

This fixture at Trent Bridge marked the 5th time that Australia had gone on to win a World Cup game despite losing their first four batsmen with less than 50 on the board.

AUS Fourth Wicket Lowest

Poor umpiring in the West Indies innings

Chris Gayle was dismissed LBW (on umpire’s call) when the previous ball bowled by Mitch Starc was a HUGE no-ball that was not called. Between them, umpires Chris Gaffaney and Ruchira Palliyaguruge had four decisions overturned.

Starc No Ball vs West Indies 2019 Not Called Continue reading “Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Australia vs West Indies Cricket World Cup 2019”