World Cup (cricket): 2019

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S. Asia's progress in the tournament

Pakistan lost to the West Indies

Gaurav Gupta, June 1, 2019: The Times of India

Pakistan's lowest world cup totals, 1992-2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 1, 2019: The Times of India
Scoreboard- Pakistan vs. West Indies, World Cup- 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 1, 2019: The Times of India


Holder’s Men Make Intent Clear With Thumping Win; Boost NRR By Chasing Down 106 In Just 13.4 Overs


Immy and Shameem had woken up at 4.30 am to catch the 6.30 am train from London to Nottingham. Outside the Trent Bridge, many other Pakistan fans joined them, having travelled on buses run by the ‘Shahid Afridi Foundation’. It was Pakistan’s opening match – against the West Indies – and the green brigade was buzzing with excitement.

The carnival atmosphere, which gave you a feel of being in Lahore or Karachi, didn’t last long though. At around 2 pm, when Nicholas Pooran smashed a monstrous hit off Wahab Riaz deep into the stands behind midwicket to finish the rout, hundreds of Pakistani supporters had already trooped out to catch the train to London.

On a rare fast bowling paradise, Pakistan’s bastmen had been outgunned by the rampaging West Indies pacers. A combination of terrible batting and some good oldfashioned fast bowling by the West Indians, saw Sarfaraz Ahmed & Co shot out for 105 in 21.4 overs. The whole innings lasted little more than a T20 innings.

Kicking off his ODI ‘farewell party’ in style, Chris Gayle (50) then ensured that the Caribbean charmers raced to the target in just 13.4 overs for a seven-wicket romp that gave a massive boost their net run rate too. The victory, though, came at a cost for the West Indies. Fielding at third man, Andre Russell, troubled by a bad knee since the IPL, collapsed on the boundary and had to be helped off the field. Worse, Gayle was hobbling around, struggling to even run singles due to a back condition which looked really bad. Both the superstars have a week to recover, before West Indies play their next game — against the Aussies.

The Pakistani fans had something to cheer as Mohammad Aamir, returning to the team after a bout of chickenpox, bagged all the three wickets to fall for them. Having suffered their sixth defeat in a row, Pakistan have plenty of soul-searching to do before they take on England.

Displaying horrendous technique against the short ball directed at their bodies after being put in by West Indies captain Jason Holder, batsman after batsman succumbed to the pace and bounce generated by Oshane Thomas (4 for 27), Jason Holder (3 for 42) and Andre Russell (two for four). None of the Pakistani batsmen showed the technique or the will to stay at the wicket and fight it out.

Unleashing a five-man pace attack, which reminded one of their simple, but devastating strategy during their golden era in the 1970s and 80s, West Indies came into the game with a clear gameplan — intimidate batsmen with consistent ‘chin music’. Perhaps, it was inspired by the success Jofra Archer got while bowling bouncers at the South African batsmen.

In fact, at 83 for nine, Pakistan looked in danger of embarrassingly being bowled out below 100, before a few lusty blows by tail-ender Wahab Riaz took them to the second lowest ODI total at this ground. The only consolation for Pakistan, in what has been a disastrous start to their campaign, is that during their triumphant march to the 1992 World Cup too, they lost their first game to the West Indies!

Having played a few magical knocks with the bat in recent times, Russell showed his prowess with the ball here. Generating speed in the high 140s, he began the West Indies’ assault by consuming the wickets of Fakhar Zaman, who was late while trying to hook a bouncer, as the ball hit the grille of his helmet before rolling on to the stumps. Harris Sohail ended up edging a quick delivery behind the stumps.

Like Zaman, Babar Azam played a poor stroke, nicking one off Thomas while fishing outside the stump at a time when Pakistan needed their best batsman to ride them out of the crisis.

Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand by 10 wickets

Gaurav Gupta, June 2, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard- Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand, World Cup- 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 2, 2019: The Times of India

They came to cheer from all parts of the UK at the Sophia Gardens, but after their team slid to a humiliating 10-wicket defeat to New Zealand, Sri Lanka’s supporters made sure they booed their heroes out of the ground. All batsmen from south Asia, in fact, are in danger of being dismissed cheaply unless they improve drastically on the seamerfriendly tracks on offer.

Pakistan fell like a pack of cards, managing just 106 in 21.4 overs against the West Indies on a bouncy pitch in Nottingham on Friday. Sri Lanka fared slightly better on a grassy surface on Saturday, lasting for 29.2 overs before folding for 136.

It was then the turn of Kiwi openers Martin Guptill (73*; 51b, 6x4, 2x6) and Colin Munro (58*; 47b, 5x4, 1x6) to make merry and knock off the puny target in T20 style. It took the ultraaggressive openers just 16.1 overs to complete Lanka’s annihilation. If Pakistan lost the game by as many as 218 balls, the Lankans took only 14 deliveries less before it was time for the post-match press conference! Incidentally, the first three games in the World Cup have been heavily one-sided, which isn’t a good advertisement for the One-day game.

New Zealand enjoyed a flying start to their World Cup campaign, putting in a thoroughly clinical display with both bat and the ball. Winning a crucial toss on a green top, the Kiwi pacers ran riot right away. The charge was led by seamer Matt Henry, who picked up the first three wickets. Ironically, the seamer had experienced the other side of the spectrum only a few days ago at Bristol, just 40 miles from this venue, being hammered for 107 runs in nine overs by the belligerent West Indies batsmen in the Kiwis’ final warm-up game.

He struck off the second ball of the match as Lahiru Thirummane was trapped LBW playing across, with NZ skipper Kane Williamson successfully reviewing the call. Even as opener and skipper Dimuth Karunarathne fought the conditions and the Kiwi pace attack valiantly, carrying his bat through the innings with an unbeaten 52 (84b; 4x4), the others kept falling like nine pins, showing absolutely no application to play the moving ball in what was an extremely poor batting performance.

Kushal Perera counter-attacked for a while before an over-adventurous stroke off Henry saw him getting caught at mid on. Off the next ball, he had Jeev Mendis caught superbly by Martin Guptill, diving to his left from second slip. Dhananjay de Silva struck a four to deny Henry a hattrick, but then it was the turn of Lockie Ferguson to come to the party with three wickets.

Former skipper Angelo Mathews scratched around for nine balls and fell for a duck. Perhaps, they’d been better off picking the technically-equipped Dinesh Chandimal, and ’keeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella. Before launching into their first game, the Kiwis received a setback in the form of injuries to Tim Southee and Henry Nicholls. In a rare case, their pace ace Trent Bout had an off-day.

In comparison, Lanka’s leading pacer, Lasith Malinga, was smashed around for 46 runs in just five overs by Guptill and Munro, who raced away to this edition’s first hundred-run opening partnership. The Lankans must now somehow recover from this mauling before they play their next game against Afghanistan on June 7.

Australia beat Afghanistan

June 2, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, Australia vs. Afghanistan, World Cup 2019
From: June 2, 2019: The Times of India

Warner gets Aussies off to winning start

Opener Hits Unbeaten 89 As Defending Champs Beat Afghans By 7 Wkts


Defending champions Australia were off to a winning start to their World Cup campaign with a seven-wicket win over less-fancied Afghanistan, but not before moments of frustration with the ball. Batting first, Afghanistan recovered from a disastrous start to post a brave total of 207 in Bristol.

During the chase, Australia enjoyed the perfect start, with David Warner, fresh off a succesful stint in the IPL and itching to prove a point on the big stage after his year-long ban, anchoring the innings with an unbeaten 114-ball 89. His partner Aaron Finch blazed his way to a 49-ball 66, with six fours and four sixes as the Aussies put on 96 for the first wicket, before eventually chasing down the target with 15.1 overs to spare. Steve Smith too got a feel of the conditions with an 18 as the Aussies ticked most of the boxes.

Earlier, Gulbadin Naib, captain of the rank outsiders, took the bold decision to bat in warm conditions in the southwest of England, hoping to amass a score his spin bowlers could defend on the small ground. But the decision backfired badly, with both openers departing for ducks as Afghanistan slipped to 5/2 in the second over and looked on course for a humiliation. Mohammad Shahzad was bowled by Mitchell Starc in the opening over of the match and Hazratullah Zazai quickly followed, caught behind by wicketkeeper Alex Carey off Pat Cummins.

With their team in deep trouble, Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi led a fightback for the minnows, playing in only their second World Cup, putting on a gritty 51 for the third wicket. Steve Smith denied Shah a World Cup fifty, taking a catch at short cover off the bowling of Zampa to send him back to the pavilion for 43 off 60 balls. In the next over, former skipper Smith dived to his left to stop a drive from Mohammad Nabi, returning the ball smartly to Carey, who whipped off the bails with the batsman stranded, leaving Afghanistan struggling at 77-5.

But Najibullah Zadran — ably assisted by his skipper — took the fight to his illustrious opponents, smashing 20 runs in four balls off Zampa, including successive sixes. The big hits brought the knots of Afghan supporters to their feet and a line of flag-waving fans ran along the front of one of the stands. Zadran brought up his 50 off 46 balls with an edge over the slips off a sharp Starc bouncer. But their momentum was slowed the next ball when Naib top-edged a short delivery form Marcus Stoinis and Carey completed the catch.

Just four balls later another Stoinis short ball dismissed Zadran, with Carey again taking the catch to reduce Afghanistan to 162-7. Rashid Khan smashed 20 in a Stoinis over to lift the spirits of the Afghan fans and another driven six off Zampa brought up the 200. But he was lbw to the next ball and the innings ended after 38.2 overs. AGENCIES

Bangladesh beat South Africa by 21-runs

Gaurav Gupta, June 3, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, Bangladesh vs. South Africa, World Cup- 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 3, 2019: The Times of India

The roar of the Bangla Tiger reverberated through The Oval on Sunday. Cheering their numerous fans here, Bangladesh downed an injury-hit South Africa by 21 runs in their opening match of the World Cup. While Bangladesh enjoyed a perfect start to their campaign, the Proteas, who lost their second match in a row, have plenty to sweat about ahead of their next match against India at Southampton on June 5.

To add to South Africa’s worries, their casualty ward had a new member. Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi. After bowling just four overs, he left the field due to a pulled hamstring and is ruled out of the clash against India on June 5. Veteran fast bowler Dale Steyn continued to stay out due to a shoulder injury.

Becoming the first Asian team to conquer the short ball with a superb counter-attack, Bangladesh came out all guns blazing to put up 330 for six — their highest World Cup score ever. After Soumya Sarkar provided the initial momentum with a strokefilled 42-run cameo (30b, 9x4), halfcenturies by Shakib Al Hassan (75, 84b, 8x4, 1x6) and Mushfiqur Rahim (78, 80b, 8x4), and a late flourish by Mahmudullah (46 not out, 33b, 3x4, 1x6) and Mosaddek Hossain (26, 20b, 4x4) helped Bangladesh to their sixth 300-plus total since the 2015 World Cup.

Chasing the biggest total ever to win a World Cup game, the Proteas, without the experience of Hashim Amla, who sat out after being hurt by a Jofra Archer bouncer in their first match, gave it a decent fight, but finished at 309 for eight. As many as five South Africa batsmen — skipper Faf du Plessis (62, 53b, 5x4, 1x6), Aiden Markram (45, 56b, 4x4), Rassie van der Dussen (41, 38b, 2x4, 1x6), David Miller (38, 43b, 2x4), who was picked for this game to replace Amla, and JP Duminy (45, 37b, 4x4) threatened for a while, but failed to capitalise on their starts.

A tragic run out of opener Quinton de Cock (23), who was involved in a bad mix up with Markram reflected the chaos in the South African ranks. The credit for that must also go to keeper Rahim, who, after dropping a chance that De Kock offered, recovered well to hit the stumps after rushing quickly towards the ball.

Bangladesh’s ace in the bowling pack — left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman took three wickets, while talented speedster Mohammad Saifuddin chipped in with two. Bangladesh’s spinners, Shakib and Mehidy Hasan Miraz were both economical and provided the crucial breakthroughs. With the required run rate mounting, Du Plessis went down track, but was foxed by the off spin of Miraz. Markram became Shakib’ 250th ODI victim as he lost his stumps while playing off the backfoot.

Earlier, after they were put in by South Africa in what didn’t seem like a wise decision in flat conditions, Sarkar inspired Bangladesh with a series of pulls and beautiful drives through cover and straight down the ground. The attacking left-hander added 60 for the first wicket in 50 balls with the unusually sedate Tamim Iqbal, who hung his bat outside his off stump, before edging behind to Andile Phehlukwayo.

After Sarkar was caught superbly by a diving Quinton de Kock top-edging a slow bouncer from Morris, Shakib and Mushfiqur took over, adding 142 at run-a-ball for the third wicket to raise hopes of a massive total. Ever since he moved to the No 3 position, Shakib is averaging around 50 — which tells you how much he loves batting there. The all-rounder cut and swept the spinners with aplomb.

Pakistan beat favourites England by 14 runs

Gaurav Gupta, June 4, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, Pakistan vs. England, World Cup- 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 4, 2019: The Times of India

Joe Root and Jos Buttler both scored centuries, and then towards the end Chris Woakes gave them a mighty scare. But nothing could deny a resurgent Pakistan, who turned the formbook upside down in a welldeserved, exciting 14-run victory over tournament favourites England at the Trent Bridge.

The scores of Pakistani fans in the stands here had every reason to be overjoyed. The hardfought victory ended Pakistan’s 12-game winless streak in ODIs. This was their first win in this World Cup.

Putting behind their horrific display against the West Indies at the same ground, Pakistan, living up to their reputation of being the most unpredictable team, pulverized England’s bowlers to score 348/8. With the cushion of a big score behind them, they then fought hard to restrict the fancied hosts to 334/9.

Pakistan, who had just been thrashed 4-0 by England in the ODI just before the World Cup, bonced back like only they can. They will now take on Sri Lanka.

Slamming brilliant hundreds, Root and Buttler rescued their team from a precarious 118/4 with a 130-run fifth-wicket alliance off just 105 balls. As long as the duo was around, Pakistan couldn’t breathe easy.

However, just as the final corner of England’s mammoth chase arrived, both were dismissed in identical fashion, cutting to short third man. It meant Pakistan, who had let off Root when he was on just nine —didn’t regret the drop. Earlier, it was amazing to see the same Pakistani batsmen who surrendered so meekly to a barrage of short-pitched deliveries on Friday, looking unstoppable.

With four 300-plus totals in this World Cup in two days, one can finally say that the bat is finally beginning to dominate the ball Pakistan’s left-handed opening pair of Imam-ul-Haq (44; 58b, 3x4, 1x6) and Fakhar Zaman (36, 40b, 6x4) got them off to a rollicking 82-run start in 85 balls. Babar Azam, Hafeez and skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed (55, 44b, 5x4) too delivered the goods.

The hosts had looked clinical while thrashing South Africa in the first game, but dished out perhaps their worst fielding display in a long, long time to make things tough for their bowlers on a flat wicket.

Their fielding woes started in the first over itself, with skipper Eoin Morgan allowing a ball to go through him at cover. Morgan later wasted a run-out opportunity by throwing down the stumps at the wrong end, but the comedy of errors reached its peak when Jason Roy, normally a tiger in the field, dropped the simplest of chances at long off, reprieving Mohammad Hafeez, who was batting on 14 then, in the 25th over, with Adil Rashid being the unlucky bowler.

Hafeez went on to smash what could be a game-defining 84 (62b, 8x4, 2x6). On another occasion, Joe Root’s wild throw resulted in the ball speeding to the boundary. It looked like the Englishmen had dipped their fingers in butter during breakfast!

Sri Lanka beat Afghans by 34 runs

Gaurav Gupta, June 5, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, Sri Lanka vs. Afghanistan, World Cup- 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 5, 2019: The Times of India

Fired by a career-best effort by seamer Nuwan Pradeep (4-31) and a potent effort by Lasith Malinga (3-39), Sri Lanka rallied superbly with the ball after putting up another horrible display with the bat to pip Afghanistan by 34 runs in an exciting, low-scoring game at the Sophia Gardens on Tuesday.

Defending a revised target of 187 in 41 overs after rain stopped play for close to three hours, the Lankans, bowling with fire and purpose, reduced Afghanistan to 57 for five, before they fought back through a 64-run stand for the sixth wicket in 67 balls between Najibullah Zadran (43, 56b, 6x4) and skipper Gulbadin Naib (23, 32b, 2x4). However, once Naib was trapped lbw by Pradeep in a marginal call , the Afghans suffered another collapse, losing their last five wickets for 31 runs to fold for 152 in just 32.4 overs. A couple of superb fielding efforts — opener Hazratullah Zazai (30, 25b, 3x4, 1x6) was caught brilliantly at fine leg by Thissara Perera off Pradeep, while Najibullah was run out after a direct hit by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, also helped the Lankans to record their first win in the tournament, and bounce back from the ten-wicket mauling against New Zealand at the same venue a few days back.

Meanwhile, it was Afghanistan’s second loss on the trot.

Earlier, Lanka were tottering at 182/8 in just 33 overs against the ever-improving Afghanistan when the rains came to their rescue. However, after a long break, the weather relented, reducing the match to 41 overs a side. A few days back, in their first game against New Zealand at the same venue, it had taken the Lankans just 29.2 overs to be bowled out for 136, before they were trounced by 10 wickets. Clearly, their steep decline, following the retirement of some great players — and combining with some ugly off-field problems with curators and former players being charged with corruption — is on full display here in England. On the other hand, extremely wayward initially, Afghanistan were buoyed by the off-spin of Nabi, whose triple-wicket over triggered the Lankan collapse.

On another gloomy day here, things actually started off on a bright note for the Lankans. After Afghanistan put them in, Kusal Perera (78; 81b, 8x4), one of the very few talented players their supply line is producing now, thrashed the bowlers to all parts of the ground, adding 92 for the first wicket in 79 balls with skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (30; 45b, 3x4).

Till that point, Afghanistan were bowling all over the place. In fact, with their pacers, particularly Hamid Hassan, struggling to control the swing and the line, they bowled as many as 22 wides, besides three no- balls, which resulted in the extras emerging as the next highest run-scorer with 35.

Then, with Lanka coasting at 144 for one in the 22nd over, Mohammad Nabi happened. Bowling with a lovely loop and getting his deliveries to spin just a bit, the off-spinner took three sticks in in one over to completely change the course of the game.

Thankfully, for Lanka, their bowlers too delivered.

India beat South Africa

Shashank Shekhar, June 6, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, India vs. South Africa, World Cup- 2019
From: Shashank Shekhar, June 6, 2019: The Times of India

The legend of Rohit Sharma has largely been built on big hundreds, and the three double tons he has conjured up in ODIs. Most of these daddy knocks have come in the first innings. It’s easy to forget Sharma has an impressive second innings record too — 4448 runs in 119 innings at 46.33 with 10 tons (before Wednesday’s game).

Sharma answered the call of duty with an innings subdued by his standards but worth its weight in gold, giving India a winning start, by five wickets, in the 2019 World Cup at the Hampshire Bowl. The target set by South Africa was 228 only but it was still tricky in overcast conditions where strokeplay was fraught with danger. Sharma weathered the early storm when Kagiso Rabada tested every Indian batsman he bowled to with pace and fire, before opening up and playing some delectable shots. In between, he also adeptly dealt with the other dangerman — Imran Tahir.

A stroke of luck came his way when he was at 107 — David Miller spilled the simplest of chances off the unlucky Rabada. Sharma’s wicket would have given South Africa a whiff of a chance as India still needed 35 at this juncture. But with the drop went their hopes.

South Africa needed to win this game to stay alive in the competition and after a shoddy batting show, tried valiantly to make up with disciplined bowling and spirited fielding. But the target was too small and with Sharma dropping anchor, their fate was sealed.

Sharma finished at an unbeaten 122 (144 balls, 13x4, 2x6) as India chased down the target in 47.3 overs. The crucial third-wcket stand of 85 runs between Sharma and K L Rahul kept India in the chase after the fall of skipper Kohli. Then, the fourthwicket stand between Sharma and MS Dhoni, worth 74, almost took them home. Dhoni could hardly time the ball during his 46-ball stay but ensured there were no hiccups.

Earlier, Indian bowlers ticked most boxes as they restricted South Africa to 227 for nine. After South Africa made a somewhat surprising decision of batting first after winning the toss in overcast conditions, the innings moved in fits and starts. In the prevailing conditions, one expected the pacers to call the shots but it was leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal who took the bowling honours with figures of 10-0-51-4. After Jasprit Bumrah had given the team a headstart by removing the two openers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, Chahal got into the act and made sure there was no mid-innings resurgence by wrecking the middle order.

Introduced in the 18th over, Chahal struck two crucial blows in his second over. His first scalp broke a promising stand between captain Faf du Plessis and van der Dussen when the latter tried an ambitious sweep, played all over the ball which drifted away from him and spun in to hit the stumps. In the same over, du Plessis played outside the line of a slider and lost his middle stump.

At 80 for four in 20 overs, South Africa, who desperately needed to win to stay alive, were in a spot. Soon, they lost JP Duminy too and it seemed a catastrophe was round the corner. Thankfully, a late rally by Andile Phehlukwayo (34), Chris Morris (42) and Kagiso Rabada (31 not out) took them beyond 200.

While Chahal topped the bowling charts with the second-best haul by an Indian bowler on World Cup debut, it was Bumrah who had the audience in thrall and the batsmen in trouble with a menacing opening spell of 5-0-13-2. A wicked delivery took the edge of Amla’s bat and flew to Rohit at second slip. Bumrah then got rid of his Mumbai Indians teammate de Kock who, having been put under intense pressure by Bumrah, tried an airy-fairy cover drive but only managed to send it Virat Kohli’s way at third slip.

New Zealand beat Bangladesh

June 5, 2019: BBC

New Zealand secured their second World Cup win in a row with a nervy two-wicket win over a spirited Bangladesh in a thriller at The Oval.

During a shaky start as they chased 245 to win, Kiwi captain Kane Williamson should have been run out for eight, but wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim broke the stumps before gathering the ball.

Williamson (40) and Ross Taylor took advantage to guide their side to 160-2, only to slip to 191-5 once Taylor departed for 82.

Bangladesh were buzzing in front of their fervent fans and struck twice in quick succession to remove Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme and leave New Zealand 218-7, needing 27 from 39 balls.

Matt Henry was bowled by Mohammad Saifuddin with seven required but Lockie Ferguson edged for four and Mitchell Santner (17 not out) drove to the boundary to guide his side home with 17 balls to spare.

Earlier, the Black Caps' superb bowling attack, led by Henry (4-47), took regular wickets to dismiss Bangladesh for 244 in 49.2 overs despite Shakib Al Hasan hitting 64 and several other batsmen making starts.

Had the New Zealand bowlers not done such a fine restricting job, Bangladesh would likely have completed a superb fightback. Victory takes New Zealand to the top of the table as the only team so far to win both their matches. They face Afghanistan at Taunton, when Bangladesh take on England at Cardiff.

Tigers can't capitalise on Kiwi nerves

New Zealand had two distinctly jittery spells during their chase but ultimately fine margins and a few errors denied Bangladesh.

After openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro were caught off Shakib, Williamson and Taylor - despite all their experience - were poor running between the wickets and should have left their side in deeper trouble.

A mix-up saw Williamson caught well short of his ground as Tamim Iqbal threw to the keeper's end but Mushfiqur dislodged the bails with his elbow while trying to gather, despite the ball being on course to hit the stumps.

With Williamson accumulating steadily and Taylor reaching 50 off 40 balls, Bangladesh's chance looked to have gone.

But Williamson chipped a rare attacking shot to mid-wicket before wicketkeeper Tom Latham fell for a duck, dropping his head even before Mehedi Hasan took a fine diving catch at deep mid-wicket. Bangladesh dried up Taylor's runs before he edged Mosaddek Hossain down the leg side to Mushfiqur and stayed alert even when De Grandhomme and Neesham, who survived a close run-out call, started to find the fence.

De Grandhomme's ramp shot was brilliantly caught one-handed above his head by Mushfiqur and Neesham chipped straight to long-on.

But a few edges that evaded fielders, two wides from Saifuddin after he bowled Henry and Santner's sublime winning cover drive were enough for New Zealand to squeak home.

New Zealand bowlers continue to impress

After dismantling Sri Lanka in their opening game, New Zealand's bowlers again showed why they will test every team in this tournament by putting Bangladesh under near-constant pressure on a good pitch for batting. Bangladesh scored 69 runs between overs 20 and 30 - despite seeing key man Mushfiqur run out after a mix-up with Shakib - but added only 37 for the loss of two wickets between the 30th and 40th over to stall the innings.

Slow left-armer Santner was pivotal, conceding only 41 runs off 10 overs and also removing the dangerous Mahmudullah, who miscued to extra cover.

Henry exploited the pressure with four wickets, taking his tournament tally to seven, including two in as many balls as he had Mashrafe Mortaza caught at third man and bowled Saifuddin to end the innings.

Ferguson (1-40) reached 90mph with a testing mix of yorkers and short balls, Trent Boult (2-42) returned superbly at the death to dismiss Mosaddek and Mehedi and De Grandhomme's accuracy saw Shakib caught behind.

New Zealand were again excellent in the field and still have opening bowler Tim Southee to return from injury, suggesting it will be tough for sides to post big targets if batting first against the Black Caps.

== NZ beat Afghanistan==
 Neesham, Kane shine as NZ beat Afghanistan

England beat Bangladesh

England beat Bangladesh by 106 runs

India beat Australia by 36 runs

Shashank Shekhar, June 10, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, India vs Australia, World Cup- 2019
From: Shashank Shekhar, June 10, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

India beat Australia by 36 runs: highlights


Dhawan Century Sets Tone For Convincing India Win Over Old Rivals Oz


The Indian batting machine roared in unison to put the Australian attack under the cosh and assemble a mammoth total at the Oval. Egged on by a very Indian full house on Sunday, and led by a polished century by Shikhar Dhawan, India paced the 50 overs perfectly to finish at 352 for five after electing to bat first on what was, for a change in this part of the world, a sunny morning.

Australia tried a valiant chase but fell short by 36 runs, being bowled out for 316 in 50 overs.

India, who have now won two out of two, and with New Zealand, is the only unbeaten teams in the World Cup so far. It was an immaculate team batting performance on a friendly track where the openers building the foundation of a big total, one of them going on to score an impactful hundred, the captain controlling the middle overs as he does for his bread and butter and finally, the power hitters getting into the act with some lusty hitting towards the end.

Openers Dhawan and Rohit Sharma gave respect to the two classy pacers – Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins – in the initial overs. But with their eyes set and the bowling becoming friendlier with the introduction of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Marcus Stoinis, the Indians upped the ante and began finding the gaps and the boundaries.

The critical moment of the innings came in Starc’s first over itself when Sharma, on two, flicked him in the air but Coulter-Nile failed to latch on to a difficult chance at square leg. An early wicket would probably have changed the course of the innings.

India were professional to make good the reprieve, slowly taking control of the innings. The initiative was taken by Dhawan who showed his intent by giving the change to Coulter-Nile and muscling him for a straight four. Two gorgeous cuts in the same over by Dhawan meant Coulter-Nile had given away 14 in his first over.

Despite dismissing Sharma (57) who was caught behind off Coulter-Nile, there was no respite for the Aussies as captain Virat Kohli joined Dhawan in another profitable partnership worth 93 off 89 balls. The good thing about this stand was that while the boundaries kept coming, singles and twos were never ignored.

After Dhawan’s departure for 117, India sprang a surprise by sending in Hardik Pandya at No. 4. Pandya enjoyed an immediate stroke of luck when on the first ball he faced, wicketkeeper Alex Carey dropped him off Coulter-Nile. Pandya made the Aussies pay with a belligerent 48 off just 27 balls even as Kohli continued to accumulate runs at the other end at his own pace. It was the Virat-Hardik tango – 81 off 55 balls -- which completely deflated the opponents. After Hardik, it was MS Dhoni’s turn to contribute 27 quick runs to the kitty.

Virat (82), who enjoyed the mayhem his colleagues were wreaking on the Australian attacks from the other end, stayed till the very end, getting dismissed in the final over.

At the 25-over mark, India were 136 for one. They added a whopping 216 in the next 25.

The Aussies reply was bogged down initially by David Warner’s diffidence which put extra pressure on captain Aaron Finch. Later, Steve Smith (69) and Usman Khawaja (42) threatened to make a match of it. But with the asking rate mounting, Khawaja tried to paddle Jasprit Bumrah around but instead got bowled.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar then virtually settled the issue in his seventh over, 40th of the innings, by dismissing both Smith and Marcus Stoinis. Big-hitter Maxwell perished to Yuzvendra Chahal to further push back Australia. Carey (55 off 35) conjured up some late fight but too much was being asked of him at that juncture of the innings.

Australia beat Pakistan

Australia beat Pakistan by 41 runs

India, NZ share points after washout

India’s third World Cup game—against New Zealand—was called off without a ball being bowled 

South Africa beat Afghanistan

South Africa beat Afghanistan by 9 wickets

Australia beat Sri Lanka

June 16, 2019: The Times of India

Sri Lanka vs Australia, ICC World Cup: Finch's 153 sets up Australia's 87-run win over Sri Lanka

LONDON: Skipper Aaron Finch stroked his way to a majestic century as defending champions Australia inched closer to the semifinal berth with a crushing 87-run win over Sri Lanka in their World Cup fixture.

Finch forged two crucial partnerships -- 80 with his opening partner David Warner (26) and 173 with Steve Smith (73 off 59) for the third wicket -- in his 132-ball 153 knock. It was his 14th ODI hundred which was laced with 15 fours and five sixes, two of them gigantic.

Glenn Maxwell then provided the late charge with an unbeaten 25-ball 46 as Australia posted a challenging 334 for 7.

Chasing the total, Sri Lanka were 115 for no loss at one stage but they squandered the superb start to be eventually dismissed for 247 in 45.5 overs.

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (97) was the top-scorer for Sri Lanka, while his opening partner Kusal Perera (52) also scored a fifty.

Mitchell Starc took four wickets, while Kane Richardson claimed three and Pat Cummins scalped two.

This is Australia's fourth win in five matches, having beaten Afghanistan, the West Indies and Pakistan while losing to India in the 10-team tournament.

Sri Lanka, who came into the match with one win from four games after their previous two matches were washed out, are however running out of time after suffering their second defeat.

Sri Lanka were off to a flying start to their run chase with Karunaratne and Perera helping the team post 87 for zero in 10 overs, the highest total in the powerplay in the tournament so far.

The Island nation scored 100 in 12.4 overs before Mitchell Starc produced a breakthrough, cleaning up Perera in the 16th over.

Lahiru Thirimanne (16), who survived a couple of run-out chances, brought up the team’s 150 with a square drive but he was caught behind in the next ball by Jason Behrendorff as Sri Lanka slipped to 153 for 2.

Runs dried up after that as Australia tightened the screws. With pressure mounting, Karunaratne ended up giving a straight catch to Maxwell at gully, just three runs short of his hundred.

Two quick wickets next saw Sri Lanka further slump to 209 for five and they never recovered after that.

Earlier, Finch played some exquisite shots to keep the runs flowing even as his opening partner Warner found the going tough.

Nuwan Pradeep was first in the firing line as he was hit for two fours by Finch.

The Australia skipper then blasted Lasith Malinga for a couple of fours in the seventh over before welcoming Thisara Perera with successive boundaries as Australia scored 53 in the first powerplay.

In the 17th over, Dhananjaya de Silva cleaned up Warner when he tried to make room for himself to play a cut shot.

Finch and Usman Khawaja (10) took Australia to hundred in 23rd over but the left-handed batsman perished soon after his sweep shot was caught by Isuru Udana at deep midwicket.

Smith then joined hands with Finch, who exploded in the 29th over, smashing de Silva out of the park twice besides a boundary to amass 20 runs off the over.

Smith too dealt in boundaries as the duo brought up the 200 in 35.3 overs.

The former skipper completed his fifty in 46 balls, while Finch smashed Perera over deep square for his fifth six of the innings.

Finch and Smith carted Perera for 18 runs in the 41st over with each smashing a couple of fours. Smith then deposited Malinga over deep mid-wicket in the next over.

Udana finally broke the partnership when he had Finch caught at cover by Karunaratne off a slower delivery as Australia slipped to 273 for 3 in 42.4 overs.

Malinga then dismissed Smith with a cracking yorker in the next over, while Udana showed great athleticism to run out Alex Carey and Pat Cummins to stem the run flow.

India beat Pakistan

India beat Pakistan by 89 runs
From: June 17, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic, ' India beat Pakistan by 89 runs '

Shashank Shekhar, June 17, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, India vs. Pakistan, World Cup- 2019
From: Shashank Shekhar, June 17, 2019: The Times of India


India Make It 7-0 Against A Mediocre Pakistan Who Falter Chasing A Daunting Target Set Up By Rohit Ton


7-0! The latest one came with an emphatic statement, inside a stadium rocking with delirious Indian fans here on Sunday. Rohit Sharma’s masterclass shone through the rain-interrupted clash as India outplayed Pakistan yet again in a World Cup game, storming to a 89-run win (DLS method) to keep their fine run in the World Cup going. Pakistan’s search of their maiden World Cup victory over their arch-rivals continues.

After India put up a mammoth 336/5 batting first, Pakistan’s reply was stymied by a lack of intent and a disciplined, unyielding performance in the field by the Men in Blue. After a limp start – Pakistan’s score of 38/0 after 10 overs is the lowest powerplay total in this World Cup so far — Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam looked like taking the fight to India in a stand worth 104. But a slump where the team lost four wickets for 12 runs made it a no contest.

A light drizzle at around 6 pm stopped play for a while. When it resumed about 40 minutes later, Pakistan needed an impossible 136 off 30 balls by the D/L equation.

On the day, India were the superior team, by a mile, in every department of the game. While batting, India did not let Shikhar Dhawan’s absence deter them with KL Rahul filling up more than adequately. Then, they made light of Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s sudden departure from the field after bowling only 2.4. Kumar seemed to have pulled his hamstring and took no further part in the game. It was difficult to say who shone the brightest at the Old Trofford on Sunday – the sun which made a much-needed and welcome appearance or Rohit Sharma’s strokeplay which enlivened this historic venue with its silken grace. Answering fervent prayers of millions of fans, weather improved magically to let cricket and a result happen. Sharma complemented the altruism of the weather gods with an innings of sparkling brilliance to give India wings in the high-pressure game.

India had to guard against losing early wickets and opener Sharma and Rahul were equal to the task. They were helped by the fact that there was little movement for the seamers to exploit despite the overcast conditions.

Mohammad Amir, expected to lead Pakistan’s attack, failed to make any dent in his first spell of 4-1-8-0. He bowled too short and wide to be effective. Hasan Ali was treated harshly by Sharma as he gave away 26 in his first three overs. Soon, the sun was out and with that came out Sharma’s strokes.

The opener, who now has two hundreds in this World Cup, gloriously pulled Ali for his first six in the sixth over of the innings to set the tone for what followed.

He did survive two run out chances. The first reprieve came when he was on 32 as Fakhar Zaman threw at the wrong end with the batsman halfway down the track while attempting a second run. In the next over, Shadab Khan’s poor throw allowed him to make his ground at the striker’s end. Sharma made Pakistan pay heavily, reaching his 50 off 34 balls and his century off 85.

Rohit revived the memory of Sachin Tendulkar’s slashed six off Shoaib Akhtar in the 2003 World Cup by cutting Ali over point boundary in similar fashion.

The opening partnership of 136, India’s best against Pakistan in the World Cup, gave the team a solid foundation. Skipper Kohli, a bit scrappy to begin with, soon got his legendary prowess going and his 77 (65 balls, 4x7) made sure that there was no let-up in the pressure Indian batsmen exercised over Pakistan.

Kuldeep Yadav’s 'ball of century’

June 19, 2019: The Times of India

Kuldeep Yadav’s 'ball of century'
From: June 19, 2019: The Times of India


That was not to be as Kuldeep Yadav produced a gem to rattle Azam’s stumps, a telling blow after which it became ridiculously easy for India. It was a dream delivery for a wrist spinner, one which drifted away from Azam in the air and spun back viciously after pitching to find the way between bat and pad. Kuldeep’s joyful jump said it all even as Azam walked back wondering where that one had come from.

Kuldeep has come into the World Cup on the back of a disappointing IPL season, Sunday’s performance would have given him a confidence boost even though he stressed, after the match, that he had never lost his self-belief. “I’ve always believed in myself. It’s only that sometimes you bowl well but don’t get the results.”

On his special delivery, Kuldeep said: “It was a perfect delivery, deceiving the batsman and forcing him to make a mistake. Azam plays spin very well and he and Fakhar were going smoothly. It was very important to break that partnership.”

“Everyone is talking about my rhythm but I never thought that I lost it,” he told the media. “It’s just happens sometimes that you don’t pick wickets. As a player, it can be frustrating when you don’t get wickets, for you and even your family. I am a player and when I don’t get wickets, I start thinking why am I not getting wickets.”

Vice-captain Rohit Sharma was profuse in his praise of the Kanpur lad. “Kuldeep is someone who needs a lot of confidence before going into his spell. We’ve been talking about it, how big a matchwinner he’s been for us in the last year or so. He has almost two wickets per game in ODIs (90 wickets in 47 matches) which is a hell of a record,” Rohit said. “He’s our match-winning bowler in that middle-over phase, and today (Sunday) you saw how important those crucial wickets were. Of course, he didn’t start the tournament the way he would like to, but our job is to just make sure that he gets that confidence, he gets that backing from the team,” Rohit added.

“Kuldeep understands his bowling really well. It’s just about giving him that confidence, making sure that he knows that he’s one of our premier bowlers, and we’ve done that.”


As the cricketing world goes gaga over Kuldeep Yadav’s special delivery to Babar Azam, which triggered Pakistan’s collapse on Sunday, Rohit Sharma let out a little on-field secret after the game. Speaking to Yuzvendra Chahal on Chahal TV (a section where Chahal interviews his teammates), Rohit credited the leg-spinner for plotting the wicket. The drift, obtained by Kuldeep, was an essential part in that spell and it was Chahal who read the conditions right.

“I would like to credit you for Kuldeep’s performance. You came up to me and said that both Kuldeep and your ends needed to be swapped. I spoke to the captain. The ends were swapped and Kuldeep got better drift from that end. Chahal could be a captain,” Rohit said. TNN

Bangladesh beat West Indies

Gaurav Gupta, June 18, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, Bangladesh vs. West Indies, World Cup- 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 18, 2019: The Times of India

Enjoying the form of his life in this World Cup, Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, the world’s No. 1 allrounder, slammed a superb century (124 not out, 99b, 16x4) and added a 189-run unbeaten fourth wicket stand with the equally magnificent Liton Das (94 not out, 69b, 8x4, 4x6) in merely 135 balls to help Bangladesh pull off a record 322-run chase against a woeful West Indies with 51 balls to spare here on Monday. This is Bangladesh’s highest chase in ODIs, and one which their fans, some 8,000 of whom were at the ground on Monday, will savour for a long time.

Incidentally this was always the second highest successful run chase in World Cup. With this commanding seven-wicket victory — their second in this World Cup, Bangladesh, with five points in five matches, have now leapt to the fifth spot in the table.

During their match-winning partnership —the highest for Bangladesh for any wicket in World Cup history — Shakib and Liton, playing just his first game in the tournament, added 95 in overs 30 to 40, which tells you how they completely destroyed the West Indies fast bowlers.

Apart from the rain washouts, the 2019 World Cup is likely to be remembered for Shakib Al Hasan’s dazzling batting and fabulous consistency. His second hundred in the tournament kept Bangladesh, desperate to win this game after two defeats in a row, stay in the race for a semifinal spot. With his previous scores being 75, 64 & 121, the 32-yearold left-hander now has 384 runs in four games@ an incredible average of 128.00, in a tally which includes two fifties and as many centuries.

Apart from the ability and guts to play the short ball well, Shakib stunned all with his ability to make room and keep smashing the West Indian fast bowlers down the ground. The West Indies had a chance to grab his wicket when he hooked an Andre Russell delivery awkwardly, but wicketkeeper Shai Hope needlessly ran towards fine leg, where a distracted Shannon Gabriel couldn’t go for the catch, resulting in the ball falling between the two. Shakib, however, wasn’t the sole hero of Bangladesh’s tremendous chase. Das deserved credit too for matching him stroke for stroke during their match-winning alliance.

After suffering their third defeat in five games, the West Indies, who started off with a bang against Pakistan, now are almost out of contention for a place in the semis — they’ve just three points and sit at the seventh position.

Their strategy of relying on just pace and the short ball backfired badly against Shakib and Das and perhaps their biggest mistake seems to be the idea to carry an injured Russell to the World Cup. In a disastrous bowling performance, they conceded as many as 25 wides — 26 being the overall extras total.

Earlier, they came out with a perfect strategy to post an imposing score of 321 for eight — despite both their star batsmen Chris Gayle and Russell getting out for ducks. While Hope, who came into this game with an average of over 100 against Bangladesh (three hundreds and three fifties before this knock) played the role of the sheet-anchor, holding the fort with a solid 96 (121b, 4x4, 1x6), the other batsmen played attacking game.

England beat Afghanistan

June , 2019: The Times of India

England vs Afghanistan, World Cup: Captain Eoin Morgan smashes records, England pummel Afghanistan

MANCHESTER: England captain Eoin Morgan smashed a world record 17 sixes in his blistering 71-ball-148 as the hosts crushed Afghanistan by 150 runs in a World Cup encounter.

England scored their highest World Cup total 397 for 6 riding on brilliant batting performances of Morgan, Joe Root (88 off 82) and Jonny Bairstow (90 off 99).

The Afghans were never in the contest and managed only 247 for 8 with Adil Rashid picking up 3 for 66 and the talented Jofra Archer taking 3 for 52.

With this win, England moved a step closer to the semi-final qualification with four wins from five matches while Afghanistan are out of the competition having lost all five games.

Tuesday's game belonged to England captain, who enroute his career-best knock also hit the fourth fastest hundred in World Cup history, getting his 13th ODI hundred off only 57 balls. Apart from 17 sixes, the left-hander also hit four boundaries.

Morgan broke the record which was jointly held by Rohit Sharma (vs Australia 2013), AB de Villiers (16 vs West Indies, 2015) and Chris Gayle (16 vs Zimbabwe 2015).

Opener Bairstow and Root also played their part but were overshadowed by the skipper, who pulverised the hapless Afghan bowling attack.

Afghanistan's T20 superstar Rashid Khan got a reality check as he also had the ignominy of being hit for a '100'. His bowling figures read a pathetic 9-0-110-0 with 11 sixes being hit off his bowling.

Rashid's figures were the worst by any bowler in a World Cup game beating New Zealand's Martin Snedden's 0/105 off 12 overs (60 overs per side) against England in the 1983 World Cup .

Morgan primarily targeted the arc between long-on and long-off and repeatedly dispatched the length balls in between these areas with a few straight sixes. He was particularly severe on Rashid, who till date has never been hit for more than two sixes in his innings.

The other IPL star Mohammed Nabi (0/70 in 9 overs) also got a pasting and so did Gulbadin Naib as Morgan and Root added 189 runs in 16.5 overs. In all, the English batsmen hit 25 sixes.

Even Moeen Ali had a little feast towards the end of the innings, scoring 31 off 15 balls with four sixes.

Australia beat Bangladesh

June 21, 2019: The Times of India

David Warner takes Australia closer to World Cup semifinals

NOTTINGHAM: Australia moved closer to World Cup semifinals after David Warner inspired the defending champions to a comfortable 48-run win over a combative Bangladesh with his second century of the tournament.

The left-handed opener contained his natural aggressive self before swinging his arms freely to build a 166-run knock, which steered Australia to a mammoth 381 for five, their second highest score in World Cup.

Warner, who had hit a hundred against Pakistan as well, added 121 runs with his skipper Aaron Finch (53) in a risk-free opening partnership and then raised a 192-run stand with Usman Khawaja (89).

He completed his 16th ODI hundred, his sixth 150-plus knock, which came off 147 balls with 14 hits to fence and five over the ropes.

The stage was set to go after the bowlers and Glenn Maxwell produced a 10-ball 32, which had three sixes and two fours. Maxwell was run out after a mix-up with Khawaja, who sent his partner back sensing risk and was caught behind minutes later to miss out on a hundred.

Faced with a daunting task to chase down the massive target, the 'Tigers', as expected, took the fight to the rival camp but ended up with 333 for eight in stipulated overs.

Mushfiqur Rahim (102 not out), Mahmudullah (69), Tamim Iqbal (62) and in-form Shakib Al Hasan (41) gave their all in the chase but the effort still proved insufficient though the total was their best ever in ODIs.

It was Rahim's first hundred in a World Cup game and seventh overall.

Pacers Marcus Stoinis (2/54), Mitchell Starc (2/55) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (2/58) shared six wickets between them.

The win took Australia to top of the table with 10 points from six games while Bangladesh remained at number five with five points and now need to win their remaining three games.

Earlier, medium pacer Soumya Sarkar (3/58) took three wickets while Mustafizur Rehman (1/69) accounted for one Australian batsman.

Mashrafe Mortaza and Rehman largely remained disciplined in their opening spells, bowling wicket-to-wicket. Warner and Finch also preferred playing risk-free game and did not attack much, managing an under-six run-rate.

It was only after spinners -- Shakib and Mehidy Hasan -- were introduced that the two batsmen showed some aggression. Warner launched one from Shakib for a massive six over mid-wicket while Finch punished Hasan with back-to-back shots over the ropes.

Paceman Rubel Hossain bowled in good rhythm and the run-rate was under control, but both Warner and Finch were still at the crease, having completed their half-centuries.

Sarkar brought relief for a worried Bangladesh by sending back Finch with his fifth ball, in what was a soft dismissal off the medium pacer in the 21st over of the innings.

But the joy was short-lived as Warner and Khawaja joined forces to raise another big partnership. They added 192 runs for the second wicket, dominating the bowlers.

Sarkar again separated the batsmen by dismissing Warner but by that time, Australia had already 300-plus total on the board.

Sri Lanka beat England

June 22, 2019: The Times of India

England vs Sri Lanka, Cricket World Cup: Malinga, Mathews keep Sri Lanka's semifinal hopes alive

LEEDS: Angelo Mathews hit a patient fifty before veteran pacer Lasith Malinga returned with a sensational four-wicket haul as Sri Lanka stunned hosts England by 20 runs in a low-scoring thriller to keep their World Cup semifinal hopes alive.

Electing to bat, Sri Lanka managed a modest 232 for nine, riding on an unbeaten 115-ball 85 by Mathews.

The 1996 champions then returned to dismiss England for 212 in 47 overs to register only their second win in this World Cup.

Malinga (4/43) emerged as the star for Sri Lanka as he dismissed the top three -- James Vince (14), Jonny Bairstow (0) and Joe Root (57) and also accounted for Jos Buttler (10).

Off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva (3/32) then mopped up the tail with a quick three-wicket burst.

After Root's 89-ball fifty, Ben Stokes kept England in the hunt with a 89-ball 82* but he ran out of partners.

The win took Sri Lanka to fifth spot with six points from six matches, while England remained in third spot with eight points from six games.

Earlier, Mathews added 71 and 57 runs with Kusal Mendis (46) and Dhananjaya de Silva (29) for the fourth and sixth wickets, respectively, as Sri Lanka recovered from three for 2.

Playing his first World Cup game, Avishka Fernando, too, contributed with a 39-ball 49.

Chasing the total, England could not recover from the twin strike by Malinga and could score only 38 for two in the powerplay.

Root and Eoin Morgan (21) added 47 runs for the third wicket before Isuru Udana (2/41) produced a stunning caught-and-bowled effort to remove the skipper as England slipped to 73 for 3 in 18.4 overs.

Root completed his fifty off 78 balls and soon new man Stokes brought up the team hundred with a boundary off Pradeep.

Malinga then brought Sri Lanka back in the match when he had Root caught behind off a ball drifting down the leg side.

De Silva then had Moeen Ali holed out to long-off, while Chris Woakes' thin edge was caught by the keeper and another edge sent Adil Rashid back to the hut as England slipped to 178 for 8.

Earlier, Sri Lanka lost Dimuth Karunaratne (1) and Kusal Perera (2) in three balls to be reduced to three for 2.

Fernando then blasted six fours and two sixes, sharing some valuable runs with Mendis. But an upper cut gone wrong saw Sri Lanka lose Fernando and slip to 62 for three.

Leg-spinner Rashid struck twice on successive balls, removing Kusal Mendis and new man Jeevan Mendis (0), as Sri Lanka slumped to 133 for five in the 30th over.

Mathews and Dhananjaya then took the team close to the 200-mark.

Once Dhananjaya was removed by Archer in the 44th over, it was a lonely battle for Mathews.

India win over Afghanistan

Shashank Shekhar, June 23, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, India vs. Afghanistan, World Cup- 2019
From: Shashank Shekhar, June 23, 2019: The Times of India

There was no stroll at the Bowl. The Men in Blue survived the scare of their lives, squeezing out a 11-run win over minnows Afghanistan in their World Cup league game here on Saturday. A match full of drama and thrill ended on a climactic high with Mohammed Shami finishing off the Afghan innings with a hat-trick in the final over of the match.

Mohammad Nabi all but clinched a famous victory for Afghanistan but they fell just short at the Hampshire Bowl. India, whose batsmen batted as if they were sleep-walking, barely managed to maintain their unbeaten record in this World Cup. Nabi, who had excelled with the ball earlier with figures of 9-0-33-2, including the prized scalp of Virat Kohli, fought till the bitter end but fell for 52 on the third ball of the final over. That virtually ended Afghanistan’s fight.

India were well served by their pacers with Jasprit Bumrah also delivering with a double strike in the middle overs to give India the edge. As the ball got older, it began gripping the pitch and spinning more and survival became more arduous. Both Chahal and Kuldeep started getting more purchase from the wicket.

However, Nabi stood firm and it looked as he would see Afghanistan through. But Shami had the last laugh. What difference a change in conditions makes to a cricket match. England, who plundered 397 against Afghanistan in Manchester, failed to chase 233 against Sri Lanka in their next game in Leeds. Afghanistan, at the wrong end of the stick at Old Trafford, restricted India to 224 for eight here as the pitch gave batters the jitters.

The track was not conducive for strokeplay, as the ball came at varying pace and bounce, and the Indian batting line-up huffed and puffed to a total which was way below par, given their class and experience.

The problem is, if Shikhar Dhawan is absent, Rohit Sharma fails and Virat Kohli doesn’t bat for at least 40 overs, chances are India will fold for an under-par total. And this is exactly what happened.

Interestingly, Kohli called it a ‘good, hard’ pitch after winning the toss and electing to bat first. Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib concurred with Kohli, saying he would have batted first too. The pitch turned out to be anything but that. Besides, Afghanistan had the spinners to exploit the conditions. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who took the new ball, struck a big blow in his third over when he bowled Sharma with one which came in with the arm and straightened a little to take the off-stump. It was a delivery deserving of a wicket.

KL Rahul struggled for most part of his 53-ball stay before departing on a disappointing note, a poor attempt at a reverse sweep resulting in a catch at point.

Kohli was just about the only Indian batsman who looked comfortable and played with authority. With Vijay Shankar giving Kohli company, India looked well placed at 115/2 after 25 overs and a score of 260-270 looked well on the cards.

But Shankar played an ill-advised sweep to give Rahmat Shah a gift. Kohli then tried to cut a widish Nabi delivery which bounced more than expected. The top edge was gobbled up by Rahmat. Kohli’s 67 came off 63 balls.

Kedar Jadhav, who finally had a chance to make his presence felt in the tournament, ensured that there was no implosion towards the end with a 52 off 68 balls. He hit the only six of the innings, which had just 16 boundary hits.

Pakistan beat South Africa

Gaurav Gupta, June 24, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, Pakistan vs. South Africa, World Cup- 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 24, 2019: The Times of India

Haris Sohail, who scored just eight in Pakistan’s first match of this World Cup against West Indies at Nottingham, was dropped after the defeat.

Recalled after four matches, the left-hander made amends by smashing a 59-ball 89 (9x4, 3x6) to help the team script a convincing 50-run win in a do-or-die game against South Africa at Lord’s.

With just their second win from six games, Pakistan managed to stay alive in the tournament. The defeat, their fifth in this tournament, on the other hand sent South Africa crashing out.

On Sunday, Pakistan dropped at least five catches, but then produced a moment of brilliance as pacer Wahab Riaz sent Chris Morris back with a curving yorker that crashed into the bottom of the leg stump. Wahab took two more scalps with his deadly fuller deliveries.

Apart from Sohail, Babar Azam (69, 80b, 7x4), leggie Shadab Khan (3-50) and Mohammad Aamir (2-49) contributed handsomely to Pakistan’s moraleboosting win. With 15 wickets under his belt, Amir, now the leading wicket-taker in this World Cup along with Jofra Archer and Mitchell Starc, sizzled again. He could’ve had a third, but dropped David Miller of his own bowling.

Sohail’s power-packed play at No. 5 was exactly what Pakistan was missing in their defeats against India and Australia. After Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, who scored 44 each, provided the side with a fluent 81-run start in 89 balls, Babar and Sohail, who scored his maiden World Cup fifty, added 81 in just 68 balls, as the middle order provided momentum to the innings. Towards the end, allrounder Imad Wasim chipped in with a 15-ball 23 to boost the total.

The Proteas again suffered due to the poor form of their star pacers, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi. Rabada was taken for 65 off his 10 overs, while Ngidi took three wickets, but conceded 64.

Bangladesh beat Afghanistan

June 24, 2019: The Times of India

Bangladesh vs Afghanistan Highlights, World Cup 2019: Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 62 runs in Southampton



It's been great (the support from fans) throughout this World Cup. They have been supporting us from the first game and luckily we have started well and they gave been supporting us all through so far. Hopefully it will continue in the next few games as well. Five wickets obviously (which was special). It was important to bat deep and I had to really work hard for my 50 runs. Without Mushy (Rahim) we would not have got where we got. Others chipped in with the bat as well. Overall, it's a team effort and we know its gonna get tough with three spinners. Before this World Cup, I was fully prepared; it's the best I have prepared and its paying off. A combination of hardwork and luck I guess (about his form in this tournament). Two more important games are coming up for us. India and Pakistan, we have to play to the best of our ability to win those matches but this win will give us a lot of confidence.

OVERS 47: WICKET! Saifuddin castles Mujeeb for a duck. That's it. Afghanistan are 200 all out. Bangladesh win by 62 runs

Mujeeb Ur Rahman comes to the crease now.

OVERS 45.4: WICKET! Mustafizur removes Dawlat Zadran for a duck. Afghanistan 195/9

OVERS 43.3: WICKET! Mustafizur Rahman removes Rashid Khan for 2. Afghanistan 191/8

BREAKING | Shakib Al Hasan becomes second man in the World Cup history to score 50+ runs and take 5 wickets. India's Yuvraj Singh was the first to achieve the feat in 2011 against Ireland.

OVERS 42.4: WICKET! Shakib Al Hasan takes his fifth wicket, removes Najibullah Zadran for 23. Zadran comes down the track t smahs Shakib but fails to connect it. Mushfiqur Rahim grabs the ball and does the rest. Afghanistan 188/7

50-run partnership comes up between Najibullah Zadran and Samiullah Shinwari

OVERS 41: SIX! Shinwari takes a big stride and dispatches Shakib Al Hason over long off fence. Brute power from the Afghan batsman. Afghanistan 177/6

Shakib Al Hasan is back into the attack.

Afghanistan need 97 off last 10 overs.

OVERS 38.1: FOUR! Shinwari waits till the end and slashes the ball towards backward point. Afghanistan 158/6

OVERS 37.3: FOUR! Terrific shot from Zadran. He comes forward and whacks the ball towards deep extra cover. Afghanistan 152/6

OVERS 35.5: FOUR! Najibullah Zadran dances down the track and smashes Mehidy Hasan towards long off for a boundary. Powerful shot from him. Afghanistan 141/6

OVERS 35.1: WICKET! Afghanistan lose sixth wicket, Ikram Ali Khil (11) is run out. A brilliant direct throw from Liton Das. Umpire goes upstairs and the replay shows Khil is away from the crease. Afghanistan 132/6.

OVERS 35: FOUR! Khil opens the face of the bat and guides the ball towards third man for a boundary. Afghanistan 132/5

Ikram Ali Khil comes to the crease.

OVERS 32.2: WICKET! Shakib Al Hasan takes his fourth wicket, dismisses Asghar Afghan for 20. Asghar goes for the slog sweep but fails to connect. Sabbir Rahman (sub) takes a dolly at deep square leg. Afghanistan 117/5

OVERS 29: Afghanistan 106/4

Another brilliant over from Shakib Al Hasan - two wickets and two runs from it.

OVERS 28.3: OUT! Shakib Al Hasan strikes again, cleans up Mohammad Nabi for duck. Afghanistan 104/4

OVERS 28.1: OUT! Second wicket for Shakib Al Hasan, dismisses Gulbadin Naib (47). Afghanistan 104/3 Massive blow for Afghanistan. Skipper Naib's vigil over. Shakib continued his good run with the ball as Liton Das took a good catch at short cover. Naib hit three boudaries during his 75-ball stay.

OVERS 27: Afghanistan 101/2 Maiden over from Shakib Al Hasan.

  • 100 comes up for Afghanistan in 25.2 overs

UPDATE: Mahmudullah has a calf injury. He won't take any further part in this game

End of OVER 24: 9 runs off Mehidy Hasan's over. Afghanistan 96/2

OVERS 23.4: FOUR! Asghar Afghan plays this beautifully towards deep square leg. Afghanistan 95/2

OVERS 22.3: FOUR! Naib comes down the track and smashes Hossain towards long off for a boundary. Afghanistan 86/2

Asghar Afghan comes to the crease.

OVERS 20.5: WICKET! Mosaddek Hossain removes Hashmatullah Shahidi for 11. Flighted off-break from Hossain, Shahidi faisl to judge. Mushfiqur did rest behind the stumps. Brilliant stumping from him. Afghanistan 79/2.

End of OVER 20: Just 4 runs off Hasan's over. Afghanistan 77/1

OVERS 17.3: Shahidi plays a superb sweep towards backward backward square leg. He will take 3 runs. Excellent running between the wickets by Naib and Shahidi.

End of OVER 17: 5 runs off Mosaddek Hossain's over. Afghanistan 65/1

It's time for DRINKS at the Rose Bowl. Afghanistan are 60/1

OVERS 15: Naib dances down the track and lofts it towards long off for a boundary. Afghanistan 58/1

End of OVER 14: Brilliant over from Mehidy Hasan. Just 3 runs off it. Afghanistan 54/1

OVERS 11.3: 50 comes up for Afghanistan

Gulbadin Naib 17*, Hashmatullah Shahidi 0*

OVERS 10.5: WICKET! Shakib Al Hasan gets breakthrough, removes Rahmat Shah for 24. Shah goes on backfoot and tries to smack it but fails to connect well. Tamim Iqbal takes an easy catch at mid wicket. Afghanistan 49/1

Shakib Al Hasan comes into the attack.

10 overs gone!

Afghanistan 48/0

Gulbadin Naib 15*, Rahmat Shah 24*

OVERS 8.5: FOUR! Rahmat Shah uses the pace and slaps this beautifully towards deep backward point. Superb stuff from him. Afghanistan 45/0

OVERS 8.1: FOUR! Rahmat uses the pace and sends Mortaza towards fine leg. Brilliant shot from him. Afghanistan 37/0

End of OVER 7: 4 runs off Mortaza's over. Afghanistan 31/0

OVERS 6: FOUR! Naib picks the length and smashes Mustafizur staright down the ground for a boundary. Powerful shot from Naib. Afghanistan 27/0

End of OVER 4: FOUR! Excellent way to end the over. Short from Mustafizur. Rahmat pulls this hard towards square leg for a boundary. Afghanistan 20/0

OVERS 3: Rahmat nicely plays this straight down the ground. He will get a couple. Afghanistan 15/0

OVERS 1.5: Mustafizur Rahman to Gulbadin Naib. 4 runs LEG BYES. Afghanistan 8/0

Mustafizur Rahman shares the ball from the other end.

End of OVER 1: Brilliant over from Mortaza. Just 4 runs off it. Afghanistan 4/0

Afghan openers Rahmat Shah and captain Gulbadin Naib are in the middle. Mashrafe Mortaza will open the attack for Bangladesh.

Welcome back!

Bangladesh 262/7 in 50 overs against Afghanistan in Southampton

Mosaddek Hossain:

I think these are not ideal conditions for batsmen. So I think our batsmen did really well and 262 is a really challenging score. They (Shakib and Rahim) batted really well and adjusted to the pitch beautifully. (On his cameo) I was just trying to hit every ball and fortunately it paid off. Not an easy track to start on, it's a bit slow early on and not easy to play shots.

Bangladesh 262/7 in 50 overs against Afghanistan in Southampton

Mushfiqur Rahim 83

Shakib Al Hasan 51

Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3/39

Gulbadin Naib 2/56

OVERS 50: WICKET! Naib castles Mosaddek Hossain for 35. Bangladesh post 262/7 in 50 overs against Afghanistan

OVERS 49.3: FOUR! Hossain sends Naib towards long off. Excellent piece of timing from Hossain. Bangladesh 260/6

End of OVER 49: 8 runs and a wicket off Zadran's over. Bangladesh 254/6

Mohammad Saifuddin comes to the crease.

OVERS 48.3: WICKET! Dawlat Zadran ends Mushfiqur Rahim's stay at 83. Bangladesh 251/6

OVERS 48.1: Hossain sends Zadran between extra cover and long off. Confident shot from him.

End of OVER 48: 10 runs off Rashid's over. Bangladesh 246/5

OVERS 47.3: FOUR! What a shot from Hossain. He backs away and sends Rashid over deep extra cover for a boundary. Bangladesh 245/5

OVERS 47.1: FOUR! Mushfiqur plays a superb shot towards third man for a boundary. Switch hit from Rahim.

End of OVER 47: 9 runs off Dawlat Zadran's over. Bangladesh 236/5

OVERS 46.1: FOUR! Zadran to Hossain. He stays back and plays a superb pull shot over mid wicket for a boundary. Bangladesh 231/5

End of OVER 46: 7 runs off Rashid's over. Bangladesh 227/5

Rashid Khan begins his 9th over.

5 overs to go in the innings. How many runs will Bangladesh put on the board?

OVERS 43.2: Hossain cuts the ball towards backward point. Three runs for Hossain. Brilliant running between the wickets from the duo. Bangladesh 211/5

Mosaddek Hossain comes to the crease.

OVERS 43: WICKET! Gulbadin Naib removes Mahmudullah for 27. Mahmudullah come down the track and plays a pull shot but fails to connect it well. Nabi takes an easy catch at mid-wicket. Bangladesh 207/5

OVERS 41.4: 50-run partnership comes up between Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah.

200 comes up for Bangladesh in 40.5 overs

Mahmudullah 22*, Mushfiqur Rahim 64*

OVERS 40.1: FOUR! What a shot from Mahmudullah. He uses the pace and cuts the ball towards backward point for a boundary. Excellent placement from him. Bangladesh 197/4

OVERS 39: FOUR! Mushfiqur Rahim sends Rashid towards fine leg for a boundary. Bangladesh 186/4

OVERS 36.2: SIX! and FIFTY! Mushfiqur dances down the track and smashes Dawlat Zadran over long on fence for a huge one to bring up his half-century. 35th ODI half-century for Rahim. Bangladesh 169/4

35 overs gone! Bangladesh 161/4

Mahmudullah 5*, Rahim 43*

Mahmudullah has got cramps. He is being assisted by the physio staff.

Mahmudullah comes to the crease

OVERS 32: WICKET!. A loud lbw appeal from Mujeeb against Soumya Sarkar. Umpire has given out. Sarkar discusses with Rahim and asks for a review. It's OUT. Sarkar departs for 3. Bangladesh 151/4

30 overs gone! Bangladesh 143/3

Soumya Sarkar 0*, Mushfiqur Rahim 33*

Soumya Sarkar comes to the crease

OVERS 29.3: WICKET! Mujeeb Ur Rahman ends Shakib Al Hasan's stay at 51. A loud LBW appeal from Mujeeb and umpire raises his finger. Shakib is having a word with Rahim and then walks. He knows he is out. Big wicket for Afghanistan. Bangladesh 143/3

OVERS 27.5: FIFTY! Shakib Al Hasan brings up his 45th ODI half-century off 66 balls. Shakib crosses 50-run mark for the fifth time in the ongoing World Cup. He is in excellent form. Bangladesh 138/2

On-song Shakib Al Hasan in the tournament so far: 41 vs Australia 124* vs West Indies 121 vs England 64 vs New Zealand75 vs South Africa

End of OVER 27: Maiden from Gulbadin Naib. Excellent stuff from him. Bangladesh 136/2

OVERS 25: 50-run partnership comes up between Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan


OVERS 24: FOUR! Mushfiqur Rahim ends Rahmat Shah's over in style. He stretched forward and smashes Rahmat Shah towards deep mid-wicket for a boundary. Bangladesh 124/2

OVERS 22.5: FOUR! Short ball from Zadran. Rahim tries to play a pull shot, gets a top edge and the ball sails over wicketkeeper's head for a boundary. Bangladesh 115/2

20 overs gone!

Bangladesh 95/2

Shakib Al Hasan 31*, Mushfiqur Rahim 6*

End of OVER 19: 4 runs off Dawlat Zadran's over. Bangladesh 89/2

OVERS 17.1: A loud LBW appeal from Rashid against Shakib. Umpire has given OUT. Afghanistan are celebrating. It's too close. Shakib has asked for a review. The ball is missing the stumps. The decision will be reversed. It's NOT OUT. Excellent review from Bangladesh. Bangladesh 82/2

OVERS 17: WICKET! Mohammad Nabi castles Tamim Iqbal for 36. Tamim tries to punch, gets an inside edge and the ball rattles the stump. Bangladesh 82/2.

OVERS 16.5: FOUR! Poor delivery from Nabi. Tamim stays back and punches the ball through deep mid wicket.

End of OVER 16: Brilliant start from Rashid. 2 runs off Rashid Khan's over. Bangladesh 76/1

Rashid Khan comes into the attack.

Overs 14: FOUR! What a way to star and end the over. Two boundaries for Tamim off first and last delivery of Naib's over. 12 runs off Naib's over. Bangladesh 73/1

Overs 11.1: 50 up for Bangladesh! On the pads from Gulbadin Naib and Shakib nudges the ball towards deep square leg region to pick up a couple of runs. BAN 51/1

Overs 9.4: FOUR! Shakib Al Hasan gets going. Short and wide outside off from Mohammad Nabi. Shakib pounces onto it and the ball races to the fence. BAN 41/1

End of 9th over: Both Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal pretty watchful at the moment against Mujeeb ur Rahman. Another tight over from him comes to an end. Just one run from it and that too off a wide. BAN 35/1

End of 6th over: Tight first over from Mohammad Nabi comes to an end. Three runs from it. BAN 28/1

4.2 overs: OUT! Mujeeb Ur Rahman strikes for Afghanistan. Hashmatullah Shahidi takes a sharp catch diving forward at short extra cover. Liton Das was unsure so were the umpires but the on-field decision was given out! No conclusive evidence in the replays and so the on-field decision stays. Liton Das walks back after scoring 16 runs. BAN 23/1

3.5 overs: FOUR! Tamim Iqbal now finds the middle of his bat. Uppish drive from Iqbal off Dawlat Zadran but is in the gap. First four of the match for Iqbal. BAN 23/0

1.3 overs: FOUR! Cracking punch off the backfoot from Liton Das. 121 kmph delivery from Dawlat Zadran and the ball races to the fence. Das is looking in good nick today. BAN 12/0

0.2 overs: FOUR! Horrible from the cover fielder. It was short and wide outside off from Mujeeb and Liton went after it. Mis-field and the ball goes through Rahmat Shah at covers. First boundary for Liton and Bangladesh. BAN 7/0

0.1 overs: Single straightaway and Bangladesh are off the mark. Liton Das pushes the ball towards long on and completes an easy single. BAN 1/0

Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das are at the crease to open for Bangladesh. Mujeeb ur Rahman will start the proceedings for Afghanistan. Here we go!

Both teams are out in the middle along with the match officials for the national anthems. We are just minutes away from the start!

Playing XI for Both teams

Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib(c), Samiullah Shinwari, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil(wk), Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim(wk), Liton Das, Mehidy Hasan, Mosaddek Hossain, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Mustafizur Rahman

Captains at the toss

Naib: We want to bowl first. Conditions look good for bowling and we played a game here, so we know the pitch. In the second innings against India, it looked alright throughout and this looks similar. We want to restrict Bangladesh to a chaseable total. We had a good chance to beat India and we're confident that we can do better today.

Mortaza: We like to bat first as it's a used pitch, so want to put runs on the board. Two changes - Saifuddin and Mosaddek in for Rubel and Sabbir. The pitch here has been different from the others, has been slow and spun a bit. It's a used pitch as I said and that's why we wanted to bat.

Team News: A couple of changes for both the teams. Mohammad Saifuddin and Mosaddek Hossain replace Rubel Hossain and Sabbir Rahman in Bangladesh playing XI. For Afghanistan, Dawlat Zadran and Samiullah Shenwari come in for Aftab Alam and Hazratullah Zazai.

TOSS NEWS: Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib wins the toss and opts to bowl first against Bangladesh at the Rose Bowl.

The toss between Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Southampton has been delayed by 10 minutes due to wet outfield.

Pakistan beat New Zealand

Gaurav Gupta, June 27, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, Pakistan vs. New Zealand, World Cup- 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, June 27, 2019: The Times of India

Pakistan’s campaign in the 2019 World Cup is now beginning to have eerie similarities with their triumphant run of the 1992 edition Down Under. The tournament, which was played in a similar round-robin format where everyone played everyone, saw an Imran Khan-inspired Pakistan, who had lost to India and the West Indies, bounce back from the brink by downing New Zealand, who were unbeaten till then, in their last league game, before going on to win the World Cup.

This time too, Pakistan lost their first game to the West Indies, before being beaten by India. On Wednesday, they outplayed New Zealand, who hadn’t lost a game till then in this World Cup.

After a superb three-wicket burst by young left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi put them on top, Pakistan rode on a brilliant hundred 101 not out (125b, 11x4) by the ever-reliable Babar Azam to canter to a six-wicket win.

Chasing 238, Pakistan looked delicately placed at 110 for three in the 25th over when Mohammad Hafeez threw his wicket against the part-time off-spin of Kane Williamson, but Babar, who slammed his maiden World Cup hundred, and Haris Sohail (68, 76b, 5x4, 2x6), added 116 in 142 balls for the fourth wicket to seal the issue.

Babar’s brilliant century — a wonderful, mature and complete knock under pressure — came on a pitch which was not easy to bat on.

Pakistan had lost openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq when the score was just 44, but they were brought back on track by the classy No. 3 batsman, who slammed his 10th ODI hundred.

At the halfway mark of this game, it seemed that Pakistan had let the advantage slip when Jimmy Neesham (97 not out, 112b, 5x4, 3x6) and Colin de Grandhomme (64, 96b, 6x4, 1x6) added 121 off 130 balls for the sixth wicket to take New Zealand from 83 for five to 237 for six in 50 overs after a delayed start.

Earlier, Shaheen Afridi ran though the Kiwi top order after they won the toss and chose to bat. After Aamir had Martin Guptill edging an expansive drive onto his stumps, the 19-year-old left-arm pacer dismissed Colin Munro and then Ross Taylor, caught brilliantly by a diving Sarfaraz Ahmed, and Tom Latham in quick succession.

All the three batsmen nicked welldirected moving deliveries outside the off stump.

Afridi had superb first spell of 7-3-11-3, including a wicket maiden.

New Zealand’s final total looked unthinkable when the Kiwis, battered by Afridi’s superb three-wicket burst, slipped to 46 for four, which became 83 for five in the 27th over as skipper Kane Williamson, their most reliable batting card, was caught behind off a Shadab Khan leg break.

However, Neesham, who hit his career-best knock, found an ideal ally in Colin de Grandhomme to spoil Pakistan’s plans.

India beat West Indies

Pakistan’s performance in seven games in the 1992 and 2019 World Cups was not similar. It was eerily identical
From: June 28, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

Pakistan’s performance in seven games in the 1992 and 2019 World Cups was not similar. It was eerily identical.

 South Africa beat Sri Lanka

June 29, 2019: The Times of India

South Africa vs Sri Lanka: South Africa dent Sri Lanka World Cup hopes

DURHAM: It took a journey all the way to this beautiful, northern-most cricketing venue in England, for South Africa to finally rediscover their spark which was missing all through in the 2019 World Cup so far. Sadly, though, it's now a case of too little, too late for them.

At the picturesque Riverside ground in Chester-le-Street, hosting its first match of the tournament, they produced their best with both the bat and the ball to annihilate Sri Lanka by nine wickets. After their bowlers, led by the recalled Dwayne Pretorius (3-25) and all-rounder Chris Morris (3-36) bundled out Sri Lanka for 203 in 49.2 overs, the old firm of skipper Faf du Plessis (96 not out, 103b, 10x4, 1x6) and Hashim Amla (80 not out, 105b, 5x4) slammed half-centuries, adding 175* for the second wicket in 202 balls to complete a nine-wicket romp, with 12.4 overs remaining, for their team.

The defeat - 17th in the last 19 games against South Africa for them- severely dents Sri Lanka's chances of progressing in the tournament, even after they had bounced back into contention by upsetting England a week back at Headingley.

World Cup: South Africa thump Sri Lanka by 9 wickets

They are now left standing at seventh spot, with six points in seven games, and must beat both the West Indies, at this same venue on Monday, and India, in the last league match of the tournament on July 6, to entertain any hopes of making it to the semis.

Sri Lanka's loss also means good news for Pakistan, England and Bangladesh, who are all tussling for the two semifinals spots that are up for grabs.

Meanwhile, the consolation win helped the Proteas move over the West Indies to the eighth spot, just above Afghanistan, with five defeats and two wins in eight games. At last, they found some inspiration and spunk to churn out a performance that would ease the pain of their fans.

England beat India

Shashank Shekhar, July 1, 2019: The Times of India

England beat India in BIRMINGHAM
From: July 1, 2019: The Times of India
Scoreboard, World Cup- England vs. India, 2019
From: Shashank Shekhar, July 1, 2019: The Times of India

See graphics:

England beat India in BIRMINGHAM

Scoreboard, World Cup- England vs. India, 2019

India finally met their match in the World Cup as England, playing like a team possessed, ended their unbeaten run in the tournament at Edgbaston.

England, in a do-or-die situation, batted, bowled and fielded as if their lives depended on it. After the batsmen had run away to a formidable total of 337/7, England’s bowlers showed discipline and were backed by livewire fielding to restrict India to 306/5.

Chris Woakes’ opening spell of 5-2-8-1 meant India could not get off to a flyer. Rohit Sharma, who took time to settle, and Virat Kohli worked hard to keep the team in the game with a 138-run stand for the second wicket. But Kohli got out at the wrong time, after making his fifth consecutive fifty of the World Cup. Sharma was dismissed soon after completing his century and the challenge was more or less over.

Rishabh Pant, making his Cup debut, and Hardik Pandya kept the full house, where Indians easily outnumbered host fans, entertained with some lusty blows but the task became too big in the end. The big shots eluded MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav too as the game limped to the end.

That the first and only six of the Indian innings came in the last over tells a story. England, thus, keep their hopes alive for a semifinal berth with the 31-run victory. India will now try to qualify for the knockouts in their next game against Bangladesh.

What a big difference just one player can make to a team. England took the risk of playing Jason Roy, said not out of the woods on the fitness front, having missed three World Cup games. The risk paid handsome dividends as Roy’s early onslaught on the Indian bowling helped England shake off the jitters. The hosts needed some early inspiration against the No. 1 ranked team in the world after Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bat. The impetus came through the Roy-Jonny Bairstow opening stand of 160 in just 22.1 overs.

With momentum achieved and bowlers put on the back foot, the hosts capitalised further, courtesy a late assault by Ben Stokes on what was a very good batting track. Roy started with a bang, cracking two fours off Mohammed Shami in the first over of the match itself, showing no rustiness despite being out of action for more than a fortnight.

Bairstow, who was edgy to begin with, grew in confidence in the company of his regular partner. Bairstow soon overtook Roy with a flurry of strokes as India looked clueless. They had a chance to dismiss Roy when he was at 21 but failed to call for the DRS. Replays showed that he had gloved an attempted pull off Hardik Pandya. It proved costly.

Both Roy and Bairstow gave Jasprit Bumrah respect but were harsh on other bowlers, especially the spinners. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were clobbered and ended up giving away 160 in their 20 overs. In fact, Chahal’s 88 off 10 is the most runs leaked by an Indian spinner in an ODI.

England batsman employed the reverse sweep to great effect against the spinners. It was reminiscent of Graham Gooch and Mike Gatting sweeping Indian spinners out of the game in the 1987 World Cup semifinal.

Roy and Bairstow were cautious in the beginning as 47 came off the first 10. The next 10 went for a whopping 98 as the spinners and Pandya proved completely ineffective.

After Roy got out for 66, Bairstow continued to torment India, soon reaching his eighth ODI century. At the halfway mark, England were 180 for one and a score in excess of 350 looked possible. But after Bairstow’s dismissal for 111, England lost some momentum as Shami took a bagful of wickets. Stokes (79 off 54 balls), however, ensured that England reach what was more than a substantial total.

India beat Bangladesh

Shashank Shekhar, July 3, 2019: The Times of India

India beat Bangladesh
From: July 3, 2019: The Times of India
Scoreboard, India vs. Bangladesh, World Cup 2019
From: Shashank Shekhar, July 3, 2019: The Times of India

See graphics:

India beat Bangladesh

Scoreboard, India vs. Bangladesh, World Cup 2019

Jasprit Bumrah bowled two perfect yorkers to end Bangladesh’s resistance as India marched into the World Cup semifinals here on Tuesday. A target of 315 was very challenging but Bangladesh, who managed 286 in 48 overs, were not daunted. They fought hard and never let the run rate get out of control. But losing wickets regularly did not help their cause. And then, there was Bumrah.

India (314/9) failed to put up the total they should have after a fabulous 180-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. The acceleration in the final overs never came. Just like Sunday, when Joe Root had spilled a dolly and Sharma had gone on to make a hundred, the One-day master got an early reprieve and made Bangladesh pay. It was Tamim Iqbal who dropped an easy chance when Sharma was on nine. The opener had tried a pull off Mustafizur Rahman and skied it. Sharma, who had already made an opening statement with a majestic pulled six in the first over of the day itself, celebrated the reprieve with another six in the next over, by charging down and whacking Mohammad Shaifuddin over extra cover for a titanic six.

With Rahul, taking a cue from his senior partner, also getting into the act, the day was set for a sumptuous batting treat. It came in the shape of a 180-run stand, the biggest for the opening wicket in this World Cup so far. The Sharma-Rahul tango also ensured that it was the first time a team had not lost a wicket in the first 25 overs in the tournament.

But India’s final total did not do justice to the openers’ contribution, failing about 20 short of the target the team would have looked at after the first 25 overs. After Rohit and Rahul were dismissed, Virat Kohli, once again looking in glorious touch, perished against the run of play. It was the young and adventurous Rishabh Pant (48 off 41 balls) who ensured that India had a big enough total on the board. Towards the end of the innings, all eyes were on MS Dhoni. The veteran got 33 off 31 balls as India managed a modest 63 in the last 10 overs. Against England, India had struggled to get off the blocks, limping to 28 in the first 10 overs. Against a much friendlier attack, Sharma and Rahul made sure the initiative was India’s by smashing 69 in the first Powerplay.

Also, India had but one six against England, that too coming in the final over of the innings. On Tuesday, they had a total of seven with Sharma accounting for five. As has been the pattern in the World Cup, Bangladesh fought valiantly. And yet again, it was Shakib Al Hasan, the MVP of the tournament, who led the way with a composed 66 off 74 balls.

After his dismissal, Sabbir Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin gave a scare to the favourites with a 66-run stand for the seventh wicket. It was left to Bumrah to deal a decisive blow for India when he had Sabbir bowled with a slow off-cutter.

Sri Lanka beat West Indies

July 2, 2019: The Times of India’'

Sri Lankan bowlers held their nerves to carve out a 23-run win over the West Indies here on Monday despite efforts from Nicholas Pooran (118, 103b, 11x4, 4x6) and Fabian Allen (51, 32b). Chasing 339, West Indies brought down the equation to 31 runs from the last three overs with three wickets in hand. But Angelo Mathews brought all his experience into play to get rid of Pooran with a fine delivery. The Windies challenge fizzled out after the southpaw’s dismissal.

Earlier, Avishka Fernando smashed his first ODI century as Sri Lanka scored an imposing 338 for six. Neither team can qualify for the semifinals after disappointing campaigns, but that did not appear to dampen Sri Lanka’s spirits as they attacked the West Indies bowlers with gusto.

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne (32) put on 93 for the first wicket with Kusal Perera to lay a solid base. Perera was run out for 64 to leave Sri Lanka 104-2 in the 19th over but Fernando kept up the momentum, building useful partnerships with Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne. The 21-year-old reached three figures off exactly 100 balls with eight fours and two sixes but was caught by Fabian Allen off the bowling of Sheldon Cottrell for 104.

Thirimanne ended unbeaten, with 45 off 33 balls. “I played hard and I am very happy to get a hundred in my first World Cup,” said Fernando. “I am very happy to do this at a young age. I got a lot of support from my teammates.”

West Indies captain Jason Holder was the pick of the bowlers, returning figures of 2-59 off his 10 overs. But the Caribbean side failed to keep a lid on the runs. Sri Lanka, the 1996 winners, shocked hosts England to breathe life into their campaign after a slow start but defeat by South Africa combined with other results mean they could not advance. AFP

BRIEF SCORES: SL 338/6 in 50 overs (A Fernando 104, K Perera 64) beat WI 315/9 N Pooran 118, F Allen 51; Malinga 3-55) by 23 runs.

West Indies beat Afghanistan

Gaurav Gupta, July 5, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, West Indies- Afghanistan- World Cup 2019
From: Gaurav Gupta, July 5, 2019: The Times of India

Soon after he launched into a dive in front of him to take the catch, Chris Gayle lay on the ground for a few seconds, before indulging in push-ups, with bowler Carlos Brathwaite, who took 4/63, joining him. The 39-year-old has been heavily criticized for reversing his decision to quit ODIs after the World Cup, but this was the great batsman’s way of saying: ‘I’m still fit.’ Playing in his final 50-over World Cup game, against Afghanistan at Headingley on Thursday, the ‘Universe Boss’ failed with the bat, but did all that he could in the field to sign off from the big stage in style. Besides taking a good catch to send back Rahmat Shah (62, 78b, 10x4), he had Ikram Alikhil (86, 93b, 8x4) out lbw while sweeping to deny a desperate Afghanistan its sole win in the 2019 World Cup.

Chasing 312, Afghanistan, at 189 for two in the 36th over, looked on course to salvage some pride, before pressing the self-destruct button, losing three wickets for 12 runs. It was the story of their campaign, getting into positions of strength before throwing it all way. To their credit, Afghanistan still fought hard, finishing at 288 in 50 overs to go down by 23 runs. The West Indies rounded off only their second win in the tournament when Fabien Allen, running backwards, dived full length to pull off a brilliant catch at cover to dismiss last man Sayed Shirzad, who chipped in with 17-ball 25 (2x6, 2x4).

Earlier, Gayle failed in his final World Cup innings, but the West Indies scored 311 for six in 50 overs in their final game of this edition.

There were plenty of moments that the West Indies provided in this game which will make everyone miss them in the knockout stages of the World Cup. With no pressure of qualifying for the semis, but just the pride to play for, Shai Hope (77, 92b, 6x4, 2x6), Evin Lewis (58, 78b, 6x4, 2x6), Nicholas Pooran (58, 43b, 6x4, 1x6), skipper Jason Holder (45, 34b, 4x6, 1x4) and Shimron Heytmyer (39, 31b, 3x4, 2x6) all came out with their bats swinging, smashing the ball to all parts of the ground.

Pakistan beat Bangladesh

July 6, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, Pakistan vs. Bangladesh, World Cup 2019
From: July 6, 2019: The Times of India

Sweet end to a bitter campaign

Imam Scores Ton, Shaheen Takes 6 Wkts As Pak Beat Bangla But Fall Short Of Semis Spot


‘Mission impossible’ remained unaccomplished for Pakistan, who expectedly missed the semifinal bus but wrapped up their World Cup campaign with a consolatory 94-run win over Bangladesh.

Aware that the situation demanded them to beat Bangladesh by 300-plus runs to make it to the knockout stage, Pakistan needed to put on board a total of no less than 450 to stand a chance. The way Pakistan batted, it seemed the 1992 champions were resigned to the fact that such a mammoth victory would remain out of their reach and it was business as usual for them.

All they could manage was 315 for nine after electing to bat, courtesy Imam-ul-Haq (100) and Babar Azam (96), who added 157 runs for the second wicket. They bowled out Bangladesh for 221 in 44.1 overs to record their fourth win on the trot since suffering defeat at the hands of arch-rivals India.

Friday’s result means that New Zealand have joined India, Australia and hosts England in the knockout stage.

Pakistan (-0.525) finished at number five in the table with 11 points, tied with New Zealand (0.175), but were beaten on Net-Run-Rate by the Kiwis. Bangladesh ended at number seven with as many points.

Shakib Al Hasan’s incredible run at this World Cup culminated with a 64-run knock. He totalled 606 runs with an average of 86.57. The world No. 1 all-rounder kept Bangladesh interested in the contest but did not get support from his colleagues. Saumya Sarkar (22), Mushfiqur Rahim (16) and Liton Das (32) got starts but could not convert them into impact innings.

Once Shakib was dismissed by leftarm pacer Shaheen Afridi, it was over for the 2015 quarterfinalists. The 19-year-old Afridi returned career-best figures of six for 35 and became youngest player to take a five-wicket haul in World Cup. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan took two wickets.

“I’m happy for this performance. It’s a special feeling for me, my family, for all of Pakistan. The wicket was slow. In the first innings Mustafizur bowled well using cutters and I thought I would use cutters,” Afirdi said talking about bowling.

Earlier, Imam, aged 23, became the youngest Pakistani to score a hundred in a World Cup game but Azam missed out on his second century in the tournament by just four runs. Imad Wasim’s quick-fire 26-ball 43 took Pakistan past 300. AGENCIES 

India beat Sri Lanka, top table

Shashank Shekhar, July 7, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, India vs. Sri Lanka, World Cup 2019
From: Shashank Shekhar, July 7, 2019: The Times of India
Rohit Sharma’s World Cup batting records
From: July 7, 2019: The Times of India

See graphics:

Scoreboard, India vs. Sri Lanka, World Cup 2019

Rohit Sharma’s World Cup batting records

World Cup 2019 is turning out to be a platform for Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah to showcase their bewitching talent.

It was Sri Lanka’s turn to be at the receiving end. After Bumrah had softened up the Islanders with another display of high-quality pace bowling, Sharma, supported by KL Rahul, laid into Sri Lanka’s attack to make the 265-run target look a very modest one. Both Sharma and Rahul cracked centuries and India, 265 for three in 43.3 overs, coasted to a seven-wicket win to finish their league engagements with 15 points.

Sharma, a giant among Oneday batsmen, who specialises in achieving Herculean milestones, broke and equalled many on Saturday at Headingley against a lacklustre Sri Lanka. The biggest challenge for Sharma in this game was not from the Sri Lankan bowlers but from himself. A genius stroke-maker like him can easily get bored and gift his wicket away when on top of the bowling. However, Sharma has now become a deadly cocktail of supreme talent and controlled aggression which allows him to play himself in before destroying attacks.

This World Cup has been a perfect advertisement of his growing maturity and prowess. But even his biggest fans would not have dreamt of what Sharma has produced at the biggest stage in cricket – a record five centuries in one edition. He was also leading the 2019 World Cup run chart with 647 at the time of reporting. And to think that he still has some way to go in the tournament.

His 103 off 94 balls contained 14 fours and two sixes. Typically, he scored all these runs without breaking any sweat. His consistency has been phenomenal in this tournament – out of eight innings, he has not reached at least fifty on two occasions only. Having equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most World Cup tons (six), Sharma is all set to make some milestones his own.

While Sharma has been the showstopper, KL Rahul has played the supporting part to perfection. Rahul is an exceptional stroke player himself but the way he has curbed his natural instincts to let his senior partner put up his extraordinary show and build partnerships at the top of the order has been commendable.

Rahul was solid and technically impregnable. Almost everything was met with the middle of the bat. With the target well within reach, Sharma looking unstoppable and the bowling non-threatening, he was content to flow along. After his fifty, Rahul unleashed some superb shots of his own and his 111 off 118 balls was a well-deserved accomplishment.

The way the two batted, it looked they had decided to finish the job themselves. But as has happened so often in this World Cup, Sharma was dismissed soon after his century (189/1). But the job had been done and the standing ovation he got from the crowd, and a pat on the back from Lasith Malinga whom he captains at Mumbai Indians, highlighted how he had enthralled everyone on the off the pitch.

Bumrah’s splendid figures of 10-2-37-3 was the highlight of India’s bowling effort after Sri Lanka won the toss and batted. They were put into immediate distress by Bumrah and were down 55 for four at one stage.

They managed to reach a decent total thanks to Angelo Mathews’ century (113 off 128 balls, 10x4, 2x6) and his 124-run fifth-wicket partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne. The experienced Mathews had a horror start to the World Cup with two ducks and a nine in his first three games. His 85 against England helped Sri Lanka eke out a famous win and he salvaged his World Cup further with a fighting century at Headingly. His 113 off 128 balls was a very utilitarian effort – he played 61 dots and took 50 singles. But it did give his team a bit of chance against a vastly superior team on the day.

India finally gave Ravindra Jadeja a game, at the expense of Mohammed Shami. Yuzvendra Chahal was rested, Kuldeep Yadav taking his place in the eleven.

New Zealand beat India

Day 1

Shashank Shekhar, July 10, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, New Zealand vs. India, World Cup 2019- Day I
From: Shashank Shekhar, July 10, 2019: The Times of India

“Can we have the next World Cup in a desert please,” a frustrated fan asked on social media as the India-New Zealand World Cup semifinal got stuck in a limbo, thanks to a rain interruption, a common occurrence in this tournament.

Rain was forecast for Tuesday in Manchester and duly made its appearance at two in the afternoon. New Zealand were 211 for five after 46.1 overs when the players had to leave the ground, the Indians doing so a bit reluctantly. The local cut-off time for India to play 20 overs, the least required for a result, was 6.36 pm. The covers came off for a while before the drizzle restarted. The groundstaff continued to toil to keep the ground as dry as possible. But the effort was defeated by the notorious English weather and the match was pushed into the reserve day.

The game will recommence on Wednesday, which means New Zealand will bat the remaining overs of their essay and India will then get to overhaul the target in 50 overs. If there is any interruption, then the overs will be curtailed to a minimum of 20 overs. If no result is possible, then India will go through to the final because of their higher standing in the league stage.

The weather forecast for Wednesday warns of some rain but it’s not as bad as Tuesday. Hopefully, there will be more cricket and less rain. India would be happy with the development as the shift suits them. If they had to bat for 20 overs, the revised target could have been difficult to get on a wet ground. India have a much better chance of winning if it’s a full game.

Before the rain came, it was an engaging battle between bat and ball in which the ball had the better of exchanges. After early jitters, New Zealand recovered some ground as Kane Williamson (67, 95 balls, 6x4) stood up for his team yet again. Later, the other pillar of New Zealand batting, Ross Taylor (67 not out, 85 balls, 3x4, 1x6) fought hard to give the innings some heft.

Williamson has had exceptional luck with the toss in the World Cup and won his seventh in nine games at Old Trafford. Batting first was very much the better option but New Zealand experienced early hiccups as Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar made the new ball talk in overcast conditions.

The first run came off the 17th ball as Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls found the going tough. Guptill’s poor form and the sustained pressure exerted by the Indian pacers resulted in the opener poking at a rising Bumrah delivery for Virat Kohli to take a smart catch in the slips. With just 167 runs from nine games, Guptill would want to forget this World Cup in a hurry.

The first powerplay produced only 27 runs and Bumrah’s first spell read 4-1-10-1 as a charged-up India looked to take control. Captain Williamson was forced to play with extra circumspection and the innings crawled. Sensing the unease in the Kiwi camp, Kohli attacked – he once had three slips for Bumrah.

Williamson and Nicholls managed to keep their wickets intact for a while before Ravindra Jadeja produced a beauty to castle the latter, the ball turning enough to find a between the left-hander’s bat and pad.

The dismissal brought together Williamson and Taylor, who have been New Zealand’s saviours time and again.

Day 2

Shashank Shekhar, July 11, 2019: The Times of India

Shashank Shekhar, July 11, 2019: The Times of India

Scoreboard, New Zealand vs. India, World Cup, 2019- Day II
From: Shashank Shekhar, July 11, 2019: The Times of India
4 reasons why India lost the match, New Zealand vs. India- World Cup, 2019
From: Shashank Shekhar, July 11, 2019: The Times of India

As India had marched imperiously from victory in one league match to another, a faint, troublesome question lingered in the background. What would happen if the top 3 failed collectively?

The stars failed when it mattered the most as India’s World Cup hopes died a painful death at a gloomy Old Trafford on Wednesday.

India did find an unlikely hero in Ravindra Jadeja who took the team to the doorstep of victory but failed to unlock the door.

The 18-run loss in the semifinal to New Zealand will haunt Virat Kohli and Co for a long, long time. The captain put up a brave front at the post-match media interaction, saying, “We’re sad but not devastated.” But he also said that “45 minutes of bad cricket undid the great work the team had done at the World Cup.” If this is not devastating, then what is.

The match was theirs to lose after New Zealand were restricted to 239 when the match recommenced on Wednesday after rain had forced it to be halted on Tuesday. But a spell of top-class seam bowling, some tame batting and simple bad luck colluded to knock India out of the tournament.

On a difficult batting pitch, India needed either Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli to guide the chase. But the big guns were back in the hut by the third over.KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik joined them soon to make it 24 for four by the 10th over.

It was all but over for India. The brave Jadeja had other ideas and played what was his greatest knock in an India shirt to galvanize the arena and raise hopes. With his mentor MS Dhoni at the other end, it looked that India might after all claim an epic comeback win.

With 37 required off the last three overs, and Jadeja on the charge, Trent Boult came in for his final over. It was going to be the decisive battle — Jadeja vs Boult. The Kiwi paceman won the day with his accuracy as Jadeja’s attempt to launch him into the stands resulted in a skier which landed in the safe hands of skipper Kane Williamson.

Indian fans in the stands consoled each other, tears welled up in the eyes of many. This is not what they had bargained for. But then, this is cricket. The team which played the better cricket on the day, won. The powerhouse team which was supposed to win and maybe take the title too, was done in by technical ineptitude and an opponent who did not give up.

Boult was supposed to be the dangerman for India and he played his role to perfection. But New Zealand found another hero in paceman Matt Henry whose three-wicket burst in the Powerplay proved a gamechanger.

Henry’s biggest scalp was Sharma who was dismissed by a peach of a delivery, which opened up the batsman and took the edge on way to the wicketkeeper.

With Boult bowling with the new ball, the most likely mode of dismissal was always going to be leg-before as he is a master of bringing the ball into the righthander. He did exactly that and Kohli fell prey to it.

Ravindra Jadeja did his best to win the match singlehandedly. After bowling economically and fielding brilliantly, he clobbered 77 off 59 balls. When Jadeja mishit a slower ball, the stage was set for an M S Dhoni special. But the magic came from Martin Guptill, who produced a rocket throw that beat a lunging Dhoni by centimetres. The great finisher trudged off the field, possibly for the last time in international cricket, and he took India’s hopes with him.

Rahul fell to a ball he could have left alone. Karthik suffered a typical dismissal – playing away from body. A hard push with an angled bat and the ball flew towards point. It was instinct which led to his downfall, a diving James Neesham taking a brilliant one-handed catch.

It would have been five down very soon but Rishabh Pant got a reprieve on the first ball he faced, Neesham dropping him at short mid-wicket.

It seemed that Pant would make good the life as he and Pandya stitched together a repair job. But having looked good in making 32 of 56 balls, Pant played a mindless stroke to hole out to deep mid-wicket.

Pandya also went the same way – showing restraint for a while before going for glory and getting caught off Mitchell Santner. At 92 for six, all hopes had evaporated but Jadeja (77, 59 balls, 4x4, 4x6) brought life back into the match with authentic and enterprising strokeplay. He sized up the situation before opening his arms to great effect. Each of his boundary hits was greeted with a deafening roar as the crowd saw a savior in him. Sadly, his fight ended before the battle could be won. And with him, went India’s hopes.

Dhoni played the supporting part in the 116-run stand with Jadeja. Pity, his last World Cup game had to end in a defeat.

Records, statistics


Catches (till 25 June 2019)

June 26, 2019: The Times of India

India had dropped the fewest catches in the WC till 25 June 2019
From: June 26, 2019: The Times of India

India best catching side of this WC

A dropped catch is often the difference between lifting the World Cup and going home empty-handed, a fact which has not been lost on Virat Kohli’s India. The Men in Blue have dropped just one catch in the tournament so far, and hung on to 14 — the best among all teams.

K L Rahul’s dropped catch against Pakistan, off Yuzvendra Chahal’s bowling, is the only blip so far.

The worst catching side are Pakistan, who have dropped a total of 14 chances, or 35% of their catching opportunities so far in this Cup!

The second worst are, unexpectedly, hosts England, who have dropped 12 (before Tuesday’s Australia-England game). Also unexpectedly, New Zealand have let nine chances go abegging.

India have put in some smart work of late to improve their percentage of successful chances, as fielding coach R Sridhar revealed recently. “We have this points system where we grade catches. Grade one is a straightforward catch that comes to you and earns you one point. Grade two, which gets you two points, is where the fielder needs to move and is under pressure. Grade three is a half-chance — nobody will complain if you don’t take it, but if you do, it’s a game changer. You get four points for a grade three catch. If you drop a straightforward catch, you lose two points. If you drop a grade two, you lose one point from the series kitty. No points are deducted for dropping grade three catches,” Sridhar told website Cricinfo.

India’s 5 main parameters to assess fielders’ quality

India have developed five main parameters for assessing a fielder’s quality — interception (clean, fumble, misfield); throws (good, direct hit, off target); catches (grade one, two, three); run-outs (direct hits or run-outs with assists) and runs (saved, given). This data is used to calculate the net productivity of a player.

The methodology, coupled with an increased emphasis on fitness, seems to have paid off for India in spades: K L Rahul’s dropped catch against Pakistan, off Yuzvendra Chahal’s bolwing, is the only blip so far.

Fast/ pace bowling, speeds

The percentage of balls bowled over 140kmph (till 11 June 2019)
From: June 13, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

The percentage of balls bowled over 140kmph (till 11 June 2019)


Opening pairs

Gaurav Gupta, January 13, 2019: The Times of India

As he sat down in the presser, sporting a huge smile after his team pounded Australia by eight wickets in the semifinal, England captain Eoin Morgan was reminded that a year ago to the day, England were knocked out of the football World Cup semifinal.

Perhaps recognising that it’s not a wise idea to go overboard yet, the skipper held back from answering the million dollar question: Is it coming home?

“If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of the 2015 World Cup, I would have laughed at you,” said Morgan. “Yes, it’s been a process. In 2015, we were way off the mark, we struggled against top teams and the teams that sat below that, so there was quite a drastic change in the way we played and the way we looked at playing our 50-over cricket. That has worked out extremely well for us and given the support that we’ve had throughout, the ECB (English cricket Board), the backroom staff, as players we have taken that as far as we can so far,” the 32-year-old explained.

“I wouldn’t get too carried away yet. It is obviously a very exciting time for everybody and ourselves included. I think giving ourselves the opportunity for Sunday’s final is brilliant. We’ll be giving it everything we can in order to try and win that game,” he said.

There is the risk of a home team, especially when it is heavily favoured to win a major title, collapsing under the weight of expectations.

“I think Sunday is not a day to shy away from. We have created the opportunity to play in a World Cup final,” Morgan said. “New Zealand, throughout the tournament, has been the hardest side to beat.”

From losing to Bangladesh in the 2015 World Cup group stage to being the No. 1 ODI team and making their first World Cup final in 27 years, England’s cricket has seen a complete turnaround.

Trends, trivia

Was batting first an advantage?

June 28, 2019: The Times of India

Was batting first an advantage (in the 30 completed matches till 26 June 2019)
From: June 28, 2019: The Times of India

Although there are aberrations, more teams are winning batting first in this World Cup* in the second half of the English summer. The difference between the par scores batting first and batting second was only 26.57 in the first 15 completed matches till June 12. In the second set of 15 completed matches, though, the difference shoots up to 40.26. TOI takes a look...

Catches: the best of 2019

Text: Shilarze Saha Roy, July 8, 2019: The Times of India



(Afghanistan vs WI, Leeds)

Allen’s freak effort provided much shine in what was an inconsequential game. Sayed Shirzad miscued one over extra cover and Allen ran backwards from cover. With the ball always going away from him, Allen put in a dive and completed a memorable mid-air catch.


(NZ vs Aus, Lord’s)

After being at the wrong end of two stunning catches, it was Smith’s turn to take a stunner. Tom Latham flicked one and Smith, fielding at short midwicket, flew to his right, stuck out his right hand and snapped up a blinder.


(England vs India, Birmingham)

India’s best fielder has spent most of the World Cup doing just that — fielding, and this was the day to showcase his stunning prowess. Jason Roy was going ballistic and one of his shots was heading towards the long on boundary. Jadeja came sprinting in, put in a dive and lapped up the ball barely inches from the turf.


(Eng vs SA, The Oval)

Stokes had already been influential with both bat and ball, so it was time to prove his fielding credentials in the game. Phehlukwayo slog swept Adil Rashid and the ball was travelling until it crossed Stokes’ path. He hung in mid-air, angled his body to get the balance right before stretching out his right hand. The ball stuck.


(Bangladesh vs Pakistan, Lord’s)

For starters, Mustafizur got the yorker right, and it took the leading edge of Shadab Khan’s bat and was headed straight back at the bowler. In his follow through, Fizz dived diagonally forward, extended his left hand and pulled off a brilliant catch.


(NZ vs Aus, Lord’s)

Steve Smith bit the bait. Set up with a short ball with a leg gully in place, he unleashed a full-blooded pull shot. Martin Guptill leapt towards his left and plucked out the ball. According to the broadcast graphics, Guptill, who was 17m away from Smith, had only 0.6 seconds to react.


(Aus vs WI, Nottingham)

From fine leg, West Indies pacer Sheldon Cottrell sprinted 20 yards towards his left along the rope as Steve Smith flicked one high over backward square. The ball looked to have crossed the rope but magically, Cottrell got in its way. He stuck his left hand out, caught the ball and threw it up before crossing the boundary. Then he recovered in time to reclaim the catch after stepping inside the rope.

Virat Kohli vis-à-vis Rohit Sharma: a cold war?

Rohit ‘unfollows’ Anushka

July 27, 2019: The Times of India

Rohit ‘unfollows’ Anushka, sparks talk of rift in team

Is all not well within the Indian cricket team, and are superstar egos and feuding WAGs to blame?

Hushed whispers of a “rift” between captain Virat Kohli and his deputy in the ODI and T20 teams, Rohit Sharma, have turned into open speculation after Rohit ‘unfollowed’ the Instagram account of actor Anushka Sharma, Virat’s wife.

Rohit had earlier ‘unfollowed’ Virat too. Anushka, on her part, shared a photo on Instagram with the cryptic message: “A wise man once said nothing. Only truth can shake hands with silence in a mess of false appearances.”

Kohli still follows Rohit but not his wife Ritika Sajdeh, while Anushka has stopped following both. Ritika too doesn’t follow either the captain or his wife.

On Friday, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that runs the Indian cricket board waded into this complicated web of rumours, innuendo and social-media thrust and parry, with its chief Vinod Rai telling PTI, “These are all stories created by you guys.”

BCCI had earlier denied it was mulling a “split captaincy”, which would have made Rohit captain in ODIs and T20. BCCI, however, has not denied that a senior player had angered the captain and coach by breaching the ‘family clause’, which specified the length of time players could spend with family during the World Cup.

Speculative reports of a ‘rift’ between Kohli and Rohit started doing the rounds soon after India lost to New Zealand in the semifinal of the World Cup, with some accounts hinting that the team was divided into two distinct lobbies. Some have also pointed out that a few years ago, Rohit and opening partner Shikhar Dhawan had left the management company Virat was associated with, allegedly leading to cold vibes.

See also

World Cup (cricket): history <>World Cup (cricket): 1975 <>World Cup (cricket): 1979 <>World Cup (cricket): 1983 <>World Cup (cricket): 1987 <>World Cup (cricket): 1992 <>World Cup (cricket): 1996 <>World Cup (cricket): 1999 <>World Cup (cricket): 2003 <>World Cup (cricket): 2007 <>World Cup (cricket): 2011 <>World Cup (cricket): 2015 <>World Cup (cricket): 2019 <>World Cup (cricket): 2023

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