West Indies vs India First Test Day 1 Antigua Match Report August 22 2019

Under-fire Indian vice captain Ajinkya Rahane saved his team’s blushes with a gritty 81 as the visitors finished Day 1 of the opening test at 203 for six in Antigua on Thursday.

The decision to axe Ravi Ashwin, left out in favour of Ravi Jadeja, took fans and pundits alike by surprise. The visitors also chose to persist with Hanuma Vihari, with the Andhra batsman getting the nod at 6 ahead of Rohit Sharma.

India's line up against West Indies 2019 Continue reading “West Indies vs India First Test Day 1 Antigua Match Report August 22 2019”

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”

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 vs West Indies 6 August Third T-20 Match Report-2019

Skipper Virat Kohli and wicket keeper Rishabh Pant both scored fluent half centuries as India completed a 3-0 sweep against the West Indies in Guyana on Tuesday.

A change in venue to the Providence stadium- the first two games had been played in Florida, didn’t bring about any change in the Windies’ fortunes as the visitors coasted home by seven wickets.

With the series having been sealed, India chose to give an opportunity to some of their fringe players. In came KL Rahul, Deepak Chahar and his cousin Rahul (the latter on debut) and out went Rohit Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed and Ravindra Jadeja. The West Indies made one solitary injury-enforced change, with Fabian Allen replacing Khairy Pierre in their XI.

West Indies vs India line up in the Third T-20 Continue reading “India vs West Indies 6 August Third T-20 Match Report-2019”

India vs West Indies Second T-20 Match Report 4 August 2019

Rohit Sharma’s free flowing 67, followed by an impressive spell from left arm spinner Krunal Pandya, helped India defeat reigning T20 world champions West Indies by 22 runs on the DLS method in the second T20 in Florida on Sunday.

The Men in Blue went in with an unchanged XI, while the Windies included spinner Khary Pierre in place of batsman John Campbell. We had observed that the WI bowling needed some strengthening, and their selectors appeared be thinking on similar lines- dropping opener Campbell for an extra bowler and promoting Sunil Narine up the order.

Virat Kohli won the toss for the second game running but this time choose to take first guard. The visitors’ opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma laid a solid foundation at the top by adding 67 runs for the first wicket before the former was bowled by Keemo Paul for 23 while attempting to hoick the ball over mid wicket.

Skipper Kohli along with vice captain Rohit put on 48 runs for the second wicket stand before the latter mistimed a pull and was caught brilliantly by Shimron Hetmyer. His knock comprised of 6 fours and 3 sixes and in the process, he also broke Chris Gayle’s record for most sixes in T20 internationals (105).

 India vs WI Second T20 Lineup

At the time of Sharma’s dismissal, India seemed set for a 180+ plus score, but lost their way a bit, with the next five overs only producing 30 odd runs. Continue reading “India vs West Indies Second T-20 Match Report 4 August 2019”

Talking Points- West Indies vs India 1st T20 Lauderhill Florida

India’s first international game since their World Cup semi-final exit at the hands of New Zealand saw them beat reigning T20 World champions West Indies in Florida. Here are our talking points from the game.

West Indies (95/9) lost to India (98/6 in 17.2 overs)

Navdeep Saini impresses on international debut

RCB pacer Navdeep Saini was given his maiden international cap today and produced a fine performance with the ball to justify his inclusion. Saini was carted for six by Nicholas Pooran on his second delivery, but recovered to dismiss the southpaw and Shimron Hetmyer in the same over.

He also returned to take the wicket of the well-set Kieron Pollard in the last over of the game (also a maiden), and finished with impressive figures of 3/17. Rightly named the Man of the Match.

Disappointing batting performance from the West Indies

This was a wretched batting performance from the West Indies. They finished with less than a hundred in their allotted 20 overs, and only two batsmen- Pooran and Kieron Pollard, crossed double digits. Not what you’d expect from a team who are the reigning champions in this format of the game.

Windies T20 lineup vs India 2019 Continue reading “Talking Points- West Indies vs India 1st T20 Lauderhill Florida”

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

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”