Cricket

Knight In Shining Armour

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England’s women get their new era off to the best possible start with a series win over Pakistan’s women.

 

England’s women made their highest one-day total and secured the series against Pakistan with an emphatic 212-run win at New Road.

The English women hit 39 fours and 11 sixes in 378-5, with 132 made in the final 10 overs.
Openers Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont scored maiden ODI centuries in a stand of 235 and Natalie Sciver struck six sixes in a 33-ball 80, in the process of their record-breaking knock. A mixture of calm batting and unfortunately poor fielding helped hosts England to a routine win in the end.

Anya Shrubsole took 4-19 as Pakistan were bowled out for 166 in the 48th over, despite some form of resistance from Bismah Maroof who scored a very well played 61. Sadly for Pakistan’s women besides Javeria Khan and skipper Sana Mir, no other batsmen was ever able to threaten the English bowling attack or at least make them ponder.

The Pakistani women were a bit too slow in their approach, as a result, there were far too many dot balls in their innings which resulted in the emphatic loss. A good start to life under new captain Heather Knights reign, but I am sure there are more difficult assignments to come such as the  upcoming world cup on home soil.

England, who won the first one-day international by seven wickets at Grace Road on Tuesday after having endured the frustration of the match being delayed a day, will attempt to complete a series whitewash in the final match at Taunton on Monday .The three-match Twenty20 series starts at Bristol on 3rd July.

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Plunkett To The Rescue!

 

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Liam Plunkett’s late cameo helped England secure a thrilling tie in the first one-day international against Sri Lanka

 

Yorkshire’s Liam Plunkett hit a last ball six to ensure that England’s one-day series with Sri Lanka ended up in a thrilling tie. England in the one-day format are under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan. In the last 15 months much has been made of the Three Lions’ attacking approach, England were hoping to carry on their winning momentum from the test matches into the one-day series.

Winning the toss, home captain Morgan opted to field. The decision seemed justified as Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, and Kusal Mendis were all back in the pavilion before the score reached 100. Those early dismissals brought Sri Lanka’s experienced duo of Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews to the crease.

The pair put on a watchful stand of 64, the main reason for that was due to the brilliant and well-disciplined bowling of the ever improving Adil Rashid,who bowled quite wonderfully in his 10 overs.

Adil’s superb bowling was putting pressure on the Sri Lankan’s to up the scoring and that helped break the partnership. Moeen Ali was able to profit from Chandimal’s impatience as the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper was well caught by Chris Woakes. The tourists were still in trouble at 120-4.

When Prasanna came into the crease, he was able to add much-needed impetus to the Sri Lanka innings. The Sri Lankan clubbed 59 off just 28 deliveries, which was exactly what the tourists scorecard needed, but when Prasanna was out off the bowling of Chris Woakes, Upul Tharanga also was dismissed very soon after.

A collapse seemed on the cards which has happened far too often this summer in the Sri Lanka batting line-up. Thankfully for Sri Lanka Shanaka and Farveez Maharoof were able to help get the Asian side’s score up to 286-9 in their 50 overs.

On a pitch that seemed like it was giving some assistance to batsmen, Sri Lanka seemed to be about 15-20 runs short. What happened next in this match I don’t think anyone saw this coming, if anyone. England got their run chase off to a disastrous start.

The usually reliable England to order crumbled, Alex Hales,Jason Roy and Joe Root were all back in the hut before the score had got to 20. Outcome Bairstow next, the man who had been England’s saviour in the test series, but even he didn’t really trouble the scorers as the Yorkshireman was out for three.

It was left to Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler to recover the situation, but when Morgan was the fifth man out with the score not even getting over 100, an absolute mauling for England was on the cards.

Thankfully for England in the one-day format, they have been able to call on Jos Buttler and yet again the wicketkeeper-batsmen produced the goods. After Moeen Ali’s fell in quick succession to his captain’s, it was left to Chris Woakes and Buttler to drag the hosts back into the game.

The seventh wicket pair brilliantly put on 138 for the seventh wicket to drag England right back into contention. Sadly for England disaster struck as Joss Buttler holed out and was excellently caught on the long off boundary by Dasun Shanaka. David Willey was the next batsmen in.
Yorkshire all-rounder Willey has impressed with the bat over the years, but sadly in this game, the 24-year old struggled to make an impression. David Willey was duly put out of his misery and was dismissed for just seven.

At this point, Sri Lanka were firmly in the box seat, but what was about to happen next I am sure not even the most optimistic of England fan would have saw coming. The hosts England were needing 15 an over, which with the greatest respect to England seemed near impossible, but cometh the hour cometh the man.

That man on this occasion was Liam Plunkett. The Yorkshire all-rounder has been in good form with the bat this year and the 29-year old took his good form on to the international stage for England. The Three Lions thanks to lusty blows from Plunkett were able to tie a game that they seemed almost certain to lose.

The tie was secured with a six off the last ball, this was only the eighth time in England’s one-day international history that they had a tied a match. The second one day international between the two sides will be on Friday in Bristol.

Pujara To Play For Yorkshire After Khan U-Turn

Indian batsmen Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire on a short term deal after Younus Khan’s u-turn.

Indian batsmen Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire on a short term deal after Younus Khan’s u-turn.

Pujara Set To Play For Yorkshire After Khan U-Turn

Former Derbyshire batsmen and Indian international Cheteshwar Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire after Younus Khan pulled out in the last minute. Pujara who has blossomed in the international arena after Rahul Dravid’s retirement, replaces former Pakistan skipper Khan who has made himself available for his country’s up and coming tour of Bangladesh.

Younus Khan had only agreed the deal to join the county champions last month – but the lure of international cricket proved to much. The Pakistan number three had been on the fringes of his country’s world cup squad, so maybe this decision from the 37 year old is a way of trying to force himself back into contention after all-rounder Harris Sohail seems to have made the number position his own.

As good of a player Younus Khan is – it’s fair to say that the Tykes have a fantastic replacement in Pujara. Indian batsmen Pujara has a very impressive batting average of 57.01- and also has scored 8,724 runs in first class cricket – but the most impressive thing about the 27 year old right handed batsmen is his temperament.

The Indian number 3’s battling qualities and his resilience whilst at the crease will win the hearts of the Headingley faithful no doubt. After all it’s not as if Pujara doesn’t have previous experience in English county cricket , he did have a stint for Derbyshire as well.

The A Team

Australia's players hold the trophy aloft as they celebrate their fiffth world cup success.

Australia’s players hold the trophy aloft as they celebrate their fiffth world cup success.

Four time champions Australia reached a new level of supremacy with a convincing seven wicket win over arch rivals New Zealand, in the cricket world cup final. The success on home soil for Australia means that they have won cricket’s top prize on five separate occasions.

The fitting tribute for the Australian captain Michael Clarke some may say, Clarke a few days earlier stated that this tournament will be his last as he is set to retire. Another factor which makes the world cup win all that more special for the Aussies is that of the sad passing of Phil Hughes earlier this year.

Hughes the 26 year old who rose to stardom by hitting successive centuries earlier in his career, sadly lost his life after never regaining consciousness after being hit by a bouncer in Sydney – many of Australia’s players have said that they want to win the world cup in his honour .

Emotionally there was something riding on this game for New Zealand and Daniel Vettori. Thirty six year old Vettori who has been a brilliant servant for the New Zealand game is rumoured to be retiring from one day internationals, after the world cup – so Vettori will no doubt be wanting to go out on a high note. The left arm spinner was captain of the national side from 2007-2011 – and would have looking to be a leader in the bowling department for New Zealand here.

This eagerly anticipated clash between the two Tasman rivals saw New Zealand play away from home for the first time in the tournament. The Kiwis who have won all their games in their run to the final, included Matt Henry for the injured Adam Milne.

Australia came into this one unchanged – and with the run they’re on why change?

In the build up to this match much was made of winning the toss and batting first. The visitors New Zealand won the toss and batted first – but that decision very quickly seemed to be the wrong one.

The Kiwis were no doubt looking to put runs on the board to defend like they did in the quarter final against West Indies, however in this game the Black Caps were blown away.

Brendan McCullum so often the slayer of attacks this time departed for a three ball duck, the New Zealand captain sadly wasn’t able to produce the innings which blew the South African attack away in the semi- finals.

If the quarter final against West Indies is to go by, that didn’t matter – but unfortunately for the Kiwis Kane Williamson and Martin Guptil departed soon after their captain did. Those dismissals brought semi final hero Grant Elliott and the experienced Ross Taylor to the crease.

Elliott and Taylor after the early carnage were charged with rebuilding the New Zealand innings – and that they did, all be it in painstaking fashion. The fourth wicket pair put on 111 – and the platform looked set for the Kiwis’ power hitters such as Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi.

Sadly though for New Zealand the end of that fourth wicket partnership sparked a massive collapse as seven wickets fell for 33 runs. The Kiwis after that batting collapse crumbled to 183 all out.

Before the game the Melbourne pitch was adjudged to be a batters paradise – but in the end the MCG was anything but. The pace and bounce was just to much for the Black Caps to deal with as Mitchell Johnson and James Faulkner took three wickets apiece.

Australia's players hold the trophy aloft as they celebrate their fiffth world cup success.

Australia’s players hold the trophy aloft as they celebrate their fiffth world cup success.

Any hopes of the rematch of the two Tasman rivals being a low scoring thriller like the match in the group stages were dashed very quickly. Although New Zealand’s bowler of the tournament – and maybe the bowler of the tournament Trent Boult had Aaron Finch caught and bowled for two, you felt the Aussies had enough quality in their batting to knock the runs off.

Finch’s opening partner David Warner was able to make a near run a ball 45 – but even when Warner was second out with the score on 63, the winning line seemed near. The dismissal of the Aussie opener brought Australia’s captain Michael Clarke and maybe the person to replace him as captain – Steven Smith.

Although they may have started off slowly Smith and Clarke improved their scoring. In particular Michael Clarke seized upon on anything short and with some brilliant drives and lovely cut shots – the stage seemed set for Australia’s captain to guide them home.

However there was time for New Zealand to take one more wicket – and it was that of Michael Clarke. The Australian captain was bowled by Matt Henry with just nine needed, that wicket was prolonging the inevitable -and the inevitable duly came as Steven Smith who hit a record fifth consecutive fifty, pulled Henry to hit the winning runs.

Azhar ALI Set To Be Appointed Pakistan Skipper

Azhar Ali is set to become the new captain of Pakistan's ome day side. The 30 year old replaces Misbah Ul-Haq who retired from one day internationals after this world cup.

Azhar Ali is set to become the new captain of Pakistan’s ome day side. The 30 year old replaces Misbah Ul-Haq who retired from one day internationals after this world cup.

The ongoing cricket world cup has not only been one of the best in living memory, it’s also going to the be end of some of the greatest players careers. Kumar Sangakarra, Mahela Jayawardena, Michael Clarke and Pakistan’s Mr reliable Misbah Ul-Haq are to name some cricketing greats who will no longer be operating in the one day arena after this world cup.

To replace such players is always going to be tough – but in Pakistan’s case they will need to replace Misbah Ul-Haq in more ways than one. The 40 year old who has overseen test wins over England and Australia on ‘neutral’ soil deserves a lot of credit in his time as captain of Pakistan’s one day team.

Although Misbah will be still playing in tests the 40 year old leaves a void in the middle of the Pakistan one day batting line up batting, he also leaves the Pakistani’s with an experienced player short with leadership qualities in the middle order of their batting.

Often criticised for his captaincy, Misbah Ul-Haq took his beleaguered side into the tournament – and did well. Opening defeats to India and West Indies never helps – but the way they roared into the quarter finals, which included a thrilling win over South Africa deserves huge credit.

In life you can never keep everyone happy – and Misbah will know that – but having scored 5,000 with an impressive batting average, it’s fair to say that the people who criticise the Pakistan captain are being harsh.

All good things must come to an end they say – and with Misbah Ul-Haq no spring chicken at the ripe old age of 40, the need to replace Misbah was always inevitable. Many replacements were touted such as Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shazhad – but with both of these players they have gone missing when their country has needed them the most.

Although both of these players are destined for greatness – and the argument is that if either Akmal or Shazhad are made captain it will improve their game with the responsibility, Pakistan have intact gone for 30 year old Azhar Ali.

A surprising choice may say considering Ali hasn’t been involved in the Pakistan one day squad for two years – but the calmness he ensues is the main factor what seems to have swung the opinion of the Pakistan cricket board.

Ali has scored hundreds against England and Australia – so the 30 year old does possess the temperament and skill when play against the top sides. In fact Azhar Ali does posses a very impressive average of 41 in one day internationals despite only playing 14 one dayers.

Selecting players as captain who have been in the international wilderness isn’t something unheard of. Players such as Rashid Latif and Waqar Younis have been selected as captains of the national side after being in the wilderness on the international scene.

As a matter of fact England indeed did the same trick with Alistair Cook – and initially that appointment was a master stroke as the three lions topped the one day rankings.

In Azhar Ali’s case he has captained the likes of Wahab Riaz and Nasir Jamshed in the U19 world cup – so is seen as a popular choice by Pakistan’s players themselves. The main reason Pakistan opted for Ali was due top the fact that both out going captain Misbah Ul-Haq and coach Waqar Younis are both impressed with Ali’s calm persona. It’s not as if Azhar Ali is being thrown at the deep end as Ali has captained plenty of sides domestically – but the Pakistani captiancy will be a test even for the ‘calm’ Azhar Ali.

Pak To Their Best?

Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed raise his bat aloft after helping Pakistan to a seven wicket win. over Ireland. The win against Ireland means they will now play hosts Australia in the quarter final.

Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed raise his bat aloft after helping Pakistan to a seven wicket win. over Ireland. The win against Ireland means they will now play hosts Australia in the quarter final.

1992 World Champions Pakistan overcame the brave challenge of Ireland to earn the right to face Australia in next weeks quarter final with a seven wicket win over the associate nation.

In a highly anticipated game which would have seen the winner progress to the quarter final stage – and the loser eliminated, it was Ireland who won the toss in this crucial match and opted to bat first.

The Irish came into this with all their key players available ( Both Openers and the explosive Kevin O’Brien). As for Pakistan who triumphed in 1992 when the tournament was last in Australia their team showed two changes, Harris Sohail returns after injury in place of Younus Khan and Ehsan Adil replaces Mohammed Irfan to make his first appearance of this world cup.

Ireland who can say they have beaten Pakistan in the past, would have every right to have been optimistic here- but the initial optimism decreased as Paul Stirling was dismissed by Adil with just 11 on the board. The worst possible start for the associate nation who knew that there was a lot riding on this game.

That early dismissal brought former England batsmen Ed Joyce to the crease – and at first it looked like the Sussex captain and Ireland’s captain William Porterfield had helped their side recover from the initial loss of Sterling. Sadly though Joyce was second out after being caught by Umar Akmal who would go on to take four catches in the game.

Through out Ireland’s innings players made ‘starts’ but could never truly cash in. Despite Portefield’s brilliant hundred which was the highest score by an associate nation’s captain, Ireland were all out for 237. After the Irish skippers heroics the next highest scorer was wicketkeeper Gary Wilson who scored 29. Ireland were at least 30 runs short we felt – but Pakistan’s disciplined attack never allowed Ireland’s score to get out of their control.

With the 1992 world champions just needing 237 to win to secure their place in the quarter finals, the Pakistan openers combined to put on their best opening stand in this tournament, by some distance. Ahmed Shehzhad and Sarfraz Ahmed who hit a superb 49 against South Africa, put on 120 for the first wicket. Even when Shehzhad was dismissed off the bowling of Stuart Thompson for a well played 63, Pakistan always seemed in control of this one.

However there was time for some late drama, or so Ireland thought.The recalled Harris Sohail was dismissed six runs later after a horrible mix up with Sarfraz Ahmed which lead to the run out of Sohail. If Ireland thought that dismissal was a chance for them to seize a potential advantage, sadly they were mistaken. Pakistan captain Misbah Ul-Haq was in next – and that was just what Pakistan needed as their captain effectively ended this one as a contest with a breezy 39 0ff just 46 balls which included two big sixes.

When Misbah was out for 39 after treading on his stumps, there was only 30 runs needed, so it was fair to say the game was effectively over. Pakistan eventually did secure the win with a four down the ground from Umar Akmal.

So Pakistan secured their place in the quarter finals after winning this game by seven wickets. The main reason for this win was a well disciplined bowling display and a very patient maiden century from wicket keeper batsmen Sarfraz Ahmed who anchored the run chase. Although Pakistan only closed the game out in the 47th over, they were never really troubled in this one.

Pakistan will now face Australia in the quarter final which will be on Friday 13th March. As for Ireland although they are eliminated they can go home proud of their achievements.

India Get Their World Cup Off To A Flyer After Defeating Pakistan

Virat Kohli scored a brilliant hundred which helped India crush Pakistan by 76 runs.

Virat Kohli scored a brilliant hundred which helped India crush Pakistan by 76 runs.


India and Pakistan renewed their intense rival as they started their World Cup campaign on Sunday with a win against arch rivals Pakistan . In a match that was reportedly watched by 1 million it’s India who dominated this one, the defeat for Pakistan meant that they still haven’t beat their arch rivals in World Cup cricket.

After winning the toss defending world champions India decided to bat first. When the normally explosive Rohit Sharma fell for just 15, one might have been forgiven for asking if batting first was the right choice. Sharma’s dismissal meant that Virat Kohli was next into bat which is always a very ominous sign for the opposition . The vice captain Kohli who does have a good record against the arch enemy, improved his record here with a brilliant and well composed hundred.

Kohli and Shikar Dawan enabled a India recovery as the second wicket pair out on a stand of 129 which enabled India to rebuild. Shikar Dawan who reigned his attacking instincts for the team was the next wicket to fall via a Misbah Ul Haq run out.

Such is the strength of India’s top order that when a team gets rid one quality a player another quality player follows. The next man in was Suresh Raina, Raina a 28 year old batsmen who is very destructive at his best, was in destructive form here.

As he is known for over the years the Chennai Super Kings player likes to settle into the crease and play his way in, and Raina didn’t change his method here. Pakistan who were using spinners at this stage got that tactic wrong as Suresh Raina is some one who is well known to have a weakness of the short ball.

The unusual tactic by Pakistan captain Misbah- Ul Haq, allowed Suresh Raina to get settled and that lead a typical Suresh Raina like innings. Raina and India’s vice captain put on 110 for the third wicket. The third wicket partnership was broken when Virat Kohli was caught behind from a wide ball which he shouldn’t have hit – but the 25 year old Kohli must have been understandably tired after hitting another century, this latest century was the 22nd in a career which the Delhi man keeps breaking records.

This century which as we know was Kohli’s 22nd, meant that the RCB captain has got 22 centuries quicker than anyone else in the history of the game. When Kohli was out from the bowling of Sohail Khan that’s where India seemed to lose their way in this one.

A middle order collapse ensued their after. Suresh Raina who played beautifully for his 74 of 56 balls was the next man to go, closely followed by Ravi Jadeja, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane. In fact three Indian wickets fell with out a run being scored as Pakistan got a team hat trick if you will.

At one stage India were probably thinking 300-325 is a score they would want to set, in the end the two time world champions had to settle for a scorecard which read 300-7. The main reason for that score was due to the brilliant death bowling of Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan who with his variations of pace took five wickets for 55 runs.

Ideally India would have wanted more – but 300 was still a good score to defend never the less.

Pakistan went out to bat knowing that despite conceding a high total, it was crucial that they didn’t be to aggressive from the start. The 1992 world champions opted for a different opening partnership by promoting Younus Khan to be Ahmed Shazhad’s opening partner.

That move backfired however as Pakistan got off to the start they were dreading. Khan a World T20 winning captain got a unwanted glove on a very well directed bouncer by Mohammed Shami to depart for just six. With that early set back, Pakistan opted to promote all-rounder Harris Sohail up the order. The 26 year old player from Sialkot didn’t disappoint either as he and Ahmed Shehzhad went about rebuilding the run chase.

To their credit both players went about their task well and for the opening overs of Pakistan’s chase they were actually near enough equal to India’s score at the same stage of their innings. Patient and intelligent cricket by Sohail and Shehzhad kept Pakistan in the hunt – but when Sohail fell to the spin of Ashwin, Pakistan’s chase spiralled out of control.

After being 100-2 at one stage, Pakistan lost three wickets and were soon wobbling at 103-5. Maqsood, Sehzhad and Umar Akmal in controversial circumstances all departed cheaply. The Pakistani’s would have felt aggrieved to see Akmal given out and for their referral to be ignored, even when TV replays didn’t conclusively show contact.

To cling on to that moment as turning point though -to be fair would be a bit desperate as Pakistan collapsed quite spectacularly. Not even a cameo from Shahid Afridi could help Pakistan. The Pakistani’s despite a battling 76 from skipper Misbah Ul-Haq feel well short in this run chase and crumbled to 224 all out in 47 overs.

Although this defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow against their arch rivals, Pakistan shouldn’t actually feel to disheartened. The 1992 champions can take some positives out of this game such as their death bowling – and the performances of Ahmed Shehzhad, Harris Sohail and of course the captain Misbah Ul-Haq.

Pakistan face West Indies next which won’t be easy – but is most definitely winnable. As for the winners of this match India, they can take some positives – but they will be hoping their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni can find some form with the bat. The defending champions next face South Africa so it’s crucial that India’s star players maintain their good form.

The One’s To Watch In This years World Cup

James Taylor has blossomed since entering the International Arena, while his England team mates have struggled, he most definitely hasn't.

James Taylor has blossomed since entering the International Arena, while his England team mates have struggled, he most definitely hasn’t.

With the cricket World Cup is very much in full flow now, this tournament promises to be a cracker. The team here at Asian Sunday take a look five players who we think will ‘light up the tournament’.

Although the World Cup is just a few games old there are already a few players who are catching ‘the headlines’. In New Zealand’s emphatic win over Sri Lanka, unsurprisingly Corey Anderson caught our eye as well as his New Zealand team mate and captain Brendan McCullum. Ultimately we want to chose some players that you might not be aware of.

Corey Anderson (New Zealand)

The New Zealand all-rounder who hit the headlines with the fastest one day international at the time off 36 balls is a key player lower down the order for the Kiwis. Even in the World Cup Opener against Sri Lanka,Anderson showed the cricket world why he is a key player for the Black Caps. A cleaner striker all around the ground and a decent bowling option, Corey Anderson could be a key man for New Zealand in this years World Cup- but also for many years to come for New Zealand overall.

James Taylor (England)

When analysing a game, not many would give a mention to a player on the losing side – but James Taylor’s brilliant knock was the undoubted highlight of a very lacklustre England performance against co- hosts Australia. Although small in size this young Englishmen is very quickly becoming a man of ‘giant stature’. After a good season for Nottinghamshire the 24 year old has finally been given his chance at International level. Taylor may have a different style to Corey Anderson – but will be effective in a slightly different way. England have been crying out for so many years for a player who can rotate strike and remain calm under pressure. In James Taylor we are convinced England have their man.

Harris Sohail (Pakistan)

The 26 year old Harris Sohail has only just broken on to the international scene now, how the world of cricket mourns over that fact. Sohail a 26 year old left handed all rounder is truly the whole package, a very useful spinner of the cricket ball and a clean striker of one. For us though it’s Harris Sohail’s very good temperament in pressured situations that have already impressed us in his career so far.

Ajinkya Rahane (India)

In a batting line up including Rohit Sharma (a world record holder) , Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, you might be surprised that we picked out Rahane. The Rajasthan Royals opener has been selected in our list for his temperament and all round good game, a similar reason to James Taylor. A batsmen who has exceeded in all formats, Ajinkya Rahane could be a key factor in the tight games. Rahane does boast of scoring centuries in England and South Africa, Rahane has all the shots so it’s fair to say the 26 year old can most definitely ‘walk the walk’.

David Miller (South Africa)

Just like Rahane, Miller is potentially another surprise choice – but if you have watched the Indian Premier League in recent months, I really don’t think anyone will be that surprised why he has made our list. The Punjab Super Kings player like Corey Anderson is destructive if the bowling is to straight. Time and time again the Punjab player has made big knocks when his team needed him. Although Miller maybe unproven in International cricket, we feel it’s a matter of time before the whole cricket world takes notice of this man. Well it’s always going to be tough to be seen as dangerous batsmen, especially when you’re in the same side as AB DeVilliers.

The best thing about tournaments like this one is that it help other players get noticed that even we might have failed to notice. Regardless who plays in this tournament, the tournament it self plans to be a cracker.

New Zealand’s ‘Mr Anderson’ Proves To Be ‘The One’ For New Zealand As The Kiwis Win In Style

New Zealand's Corey Anderson hit a brilliant 75 off 40 balls which set up a convinving 98 run win.

New Zealand’s Corey Anderson hit a brilliant 75 off 40 balls which set up a convincing 98 run win.

New Zealand carried on their recent impressive form with another emphatic win over Sri Lanka to get their World Cup campaign off to the best possible start. The Kiwis dominated from the off against their Asian opponents, as Sri Lanka’s miserable form against the Black Caps continued.

It was the visitors Sri Lanka who won the toss and they decided to field, which possible could be argued turned out to be a very bad decision.

The co-hosts couldn’t have made a better start and the opening pair of Martin Guptil and captain Brendan McCullum cashed in on some very charitable bowling. The first wicket would actually put on 100 for the first wicket ,it actually came as a surprise when the first wicket did fall. Brendan McCullum who tore into the Sri Lankan was the first wicket to fall, the captain was caught by Jeevan Mendis off the bowling of Rangana Herath.

After the departure of their captain New Zealand’s scoring slowed dramatically at that point. Martin Guptill and the new batsmen Kane Williamson in particular were having issues with Sri Lanka’s tight bowling. The pressure further intensified when Martin Guptil, who played a brilliant anchor role to McCullum, departed for 49.

The Black caps who enjoyed a 4-2 series success before the start of the World Cup were in danger of letting a position of utter dominance slip through their fingers. A third wicket which was worth 57 looked to have rebuilt the innings – but when two wickets fell with out a run being scored, New Zealand were back under pressure.

A 65 run fifth wicket partnership allowed New Zealand to steady a rocking ship. First Grant Elliott (29 off 34 balls) and the normally attacking Luke Ronchi (29 off 32 balls) reigned in attacking instincts to allow Corey Anderson (75 off 46 balls) to go on a boundary hitting spree which included 8 fours and 2 sixes.

Those contributions allowed the Black Caps to regain a stranglehold on this match. The co-hosts ended up racking 331-6. Considering New Zealand at one stage were 193-4, you have got to say that’s a pretty decent effort.

For Sri Lanka it was definitely a case of what could have been. Lasith Malinga who has just come back from a long injury layoff understandably looked rusty and wasn’t his usual ‘slinger’ self. Malinga’s opening bowling partner Nuwan Kulasekra was just as disappointing. Such was the struggles of Sri Lanka’s opening bowling attack that nearly half of New Zealand’s runs came of Malinga and Kulasekra’s bowling.

The 1996 World champions were already up against it even before their innings commenced. One might not blame Sri Lanka for thinking “here we go again”. To the visitors credit however they did get their run chase off in solid if not spectacular style. The opening pair of Lahiru Thirimanne and Tilkeratne Dilshan went about their task well.

However when Dilshan was first out, ‘the wheels’ soon came off Sri Lanka’s already very difficult run chase – but with the next batsmen being Kumar Sangakarra, the Asian side must have felt reassured that their chase won’t falter just yet. The Sri Lankan pair of Thirmanne and Sangakarra were starting to frustrate the co hosts – but when the Sri Lankan vice captain Thirimanne was dismissed off the bowling of Trent Boult for a well played 67, many dismissed Sri Lanka’s chances.

Those sceptics were to be proved right as five more wickets fell before the score reaching 200. A valiant 46 from Angelo Matthews couldn’t save Sri Lanka – and there doomed run chase ended on 233.

A great start then from the co-hosts New Zealand who look like they have most definitely picked up from where they have left off. As for Sri Lanka its another disappointing defeat and although this defeat is disappointing it’s not ‘the end of the world’ just yet. A game Afghanistan next Saturday would be a good game for the Sri Lankan’s – but even they won’t be easy.

As for New Zealand they face Scotland in a game what could strengthen their position in the World Cup.

World Cup 2015 Preview

The I.C.C World Cup kicks off on Friday 13th February, where India will be looking to retain their crown.

The I.C.C World Cup kicks off on Friday 13th February, where India will be looking to retain their crown.

The Cricket World Cup 2015 is almost upon us. Fourteen teams from across the globe will be competing for crickets top prize. With cricket’s biggest event under a month away, the team here at Asian Sunday we thought that we would get you into the cricket world cup spirit.

We take a look at England’s preparation for the tournament as well as the Asian nations as well. Sri Lanka kick the tournament off against in form co hosts New Zealand on 14th February.

This years tournament, just like previous tournaments will see two groups of seven which will also include qualifiers of the round robin event to qualify for the tournament. Afghanistan, Ireland, UAE and Scotland were the teams to qualify through the round robin event.

Pool A consists of: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan , Scotland.

Pool B consists of: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland , UAE .

Pool A Review:

Group A sees England in a very difficult group. The three Lions will be joined by Australia the team with the most world cup trophies (four) , in form New Zealand, Bangladesh, T2O winners Sri Lanka, Scotland and the very dangerous to underestimate Afghanistan.

With the first four teams from each group going through to the super eight phase, on paper you would expect England, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka to all progress to the next round. The gulf of class between the more experienced teams shall we say and the so called smaller sides is still big – but surprises do happen such as Ireland beating Pakistan in the 2007 tournament. It will have to take a surprise of extreme proportions for one of the qualifiers to qualify, which we don’t see happening .

England who have been marred by controversy off the field such as Kevin Pieterson’s criticism of the England set up, in the media and in his auto biography, hasn’t helped their preparation. On the pitch however England’s form has been poor which lead to Alistair Cook been replaced as captain by Eoin Morgan.

The Dubliner who replaced Cook due to the test captains poor form in one day internationals, hasn’t faired much better himself with the bat – but the 28 year old does have a good scoring average as captain and did hit a 100 in a losing cause in the match against Australia last week . A brilliant nine wicket win against India, should given Morgan confidence in his ability as a one day leader for England.

The Three Lions have taken a good squad with them with a mixture of ‘big hitters’ and ‘sensible batters’. Some may argue the exclusion of Ben Stokes is a mistake – but the Durham man’s bowling looks to have counted against him.

The ‘smaller nations ‘ if you can call them that I am afraid haven’t closed the gap yet – but countries such as Afghanistan, UAE and Ireland for example can only beat the best if they compete against the best.

The Afghan’s in particular have impressed in World Cups, Asghar Stanikzai is a player that caught our eye in the last tournament, Mohammed Shazhad is another who has impressed for the Afghans. The Achilles heel for the Afghans has been their fielding – and the Asian side will have to improve on that if they are to compete in matches in this World Cup.

Sri Lanka the T20 winners have struggled in the build up to the World Cup. The current series against New Zealand has been a difficult one – but the Sri Lankan’s have a lot of talent at their disposal – and not to forget the legendary Mahela Jayawardena and his partner in crime Kumar Sangakarra. I don’t think they need to worry to much, ideally though the Asian side would love to carry a winning momentum into the tournament.

Bangladesh the other Asian side in the group, unfortunately I think will not get past the first round. Off the field issues in The Tigers build up to the tournament hasn’t been ideal build up.

Teams we predict To Qualify From Group A:

Australia (Winners)
New Zealand (Runners Up)
Sri Lanka
England

Pool B Review:

Defending champions India, start their defence against arch rivals Pakistan on 15th February in a mouth watering game. The defending champions since their title 2011 win have gone onto to dominate recent tournaments. An ICC Champions Trophy and a runners up spot in the T20 World final emphasise the dominance the South Asians have had in recent years.

India’s preparation for the tournament hasn’t been the best however. The defending world champions have lost their last two games, which is never ideal. With superstars such as Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and not to forget to mention Suresh Raina it can be argued that the Indian’s have an embarrassment of riches.

Their opening game against Pakistan won’t be easy due to the way these matches have always been well contested – but the Indian’s haven’t lost to their fierce rivals in World Cup games.

Pakistan who will be facing arch rivals in the first match of their world cup campaign, come into this tournament with not as much cricket as their rivals. Matches against England and Bangladesh, just before the tournament starts could help the 1992 champions get into the right mindset.

The Pakistani’s forever known to be unpredictable, were rocked at the start of the tournament with the news that star spinner Saed Ajmal will miss the tournament as the 34 year looks to correct his illegal bowling action. The inclusion of all rounder Mohammed Hafeez who has also been reported for his action is a plus – but the 34 year old is expected to be just a batsmen for the tournament.

With the other teams including South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland; UAE and that the first four qualify, you would expect a safe passage through to the super eights for both Asian sides .

The Teams We Predict To Qualify From Group B

India ( Group Winners)
South Africa (Runners Up)
Pakistan
West Indies

Our Verdict :

The 2015 tournament promises to be a good one. Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan will no doubt feel they could go all the way and win the tournament. Australia the most successful side in the history of the tournament might have their work cut out in this tournament as they look to add to their four world cup wins.

India will feel they have something to say about, the defending world champions who have won the title twice and will be seen as favourites for this tournament by many , ourselves included. The beauty of sport and in particular sports tournaments – they’re never won on paper – but rather on the sports field.

New Zealand who will look to bring their good form to the world cup will be a potential dark horse. A team with Brendan McCullum in it, definitely has a chance of being successful, the Black Caps have never got past the semi-final – but maybe this team can?

England and Sri Lanka will be seen as outsiders by many – but both have good enough good squads to cause some surprises in the latter stages. Sri Lanka will be looking to give the legendary pair of Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardena a fitting send off, who most definitely will be playing in their last world cups.

The World cup starts on the 14th of February and finishes on the 29th of March.