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Those 45 minutes

Chasing 240, the Indian batters would have known that if they could see off the new ball and don’t give away too many wickets, they would win it rather easily at the Old Trafford.



Virat Kohli

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) Before the India-New Zealand semi-final clash, all the cricket pundits, including former spinner Daniel Vettori, believed that the only way Black Caps could have won against the Men in Blue was to play aggressive cricket in the first 10 overs, both with bat and ball.

“They will have to be aggressive right from the outset and bowl to take wickets. If you take early wickets and can get at that Indian middle order then you have a chance,” Vettori had said.

And that’s what New Zealand did on Wednesday. They had only one shot to aim and they did that perfectly to seal their spot in the World Cup finals for the second time in a row.

Chasing 240, the Indian batters would have known that if they could see off the new ball and don’t give away too many wickets, they would win it rather easily at the Old Trafford.

However, that didn’t happen.

Rohit Sharma, who was India’s run-machine in the tournament till then, got a peach of a delivery from Matt Henry.

Skipper Virat Kohli, who is notorious of not performing in the knockouts of the ICC tournaments, never looked comfortable during his short stay at the wicket and was ultimately trapped in front by Trent Boult.

And K.L. Rahul, who has been guilty of poking out at deliveries outside the off-stump, once again became a victim of his own confusion of whether to play the ball or to leave it. Poking at a delivery on the fifth stump line half-heartedly, Rahul threw away his wicket and once again gave critics a chance to take pot shots at him.

Wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, who was included in the side as an extra batter to strengthen the batting line-up, looked circumspect right from the start. He could not get off the mark off the first 17 or 18 deliveries which he faced. However, just when he was looking to get settled after hitting a boundary, he was undone by sheer brilliance from Jimmy Neesham who dived to his left-side at point and took probably what can be easily touted as the catch of the tournament.

At the end of 10 overs, India were left 24-4 in their chase of 240. From there onwards, the Men in Blue were always playing the catching game. Even though Ravindra Jadeja and M.S. Dhoni provided 1.3 billion Indian fans with a hope of what could have been a miraculous comeback at the biggest stage in international cricket, the mountain was too high to climb for the two-time world champions.

Had it not been for Jadeja who played a brilliant a knock of 59-ball 77, the margin would have been much bigger. Jadeja, who was termed as a “bits and pieces” player by Sanjay Manjrekar, produced a once-in-a-lifetime knock to drag India close to the finishing line. However, he holed out to Boult while trying to go for a maximum to a ball which he would have backed himself to throw out of the park.

At the other end, Dhoni almost pulled off a “vintage” Dhoni inning by scoring 50 off 72. However, the man who is termed to be the fastest between the wickets in international cricket, had a stirring end. The man who runs the hardest, has an impeccable judgment of a run, was run out brilliantly by Martin Guptill, who had till then done nothing for the Black Caps in the tournament. However, his perfect throw from deep square-leg was probably the biggest contribution he could have made for his captain, the always calm and composed Kane Williamson.

Wednesday’s loss of 18 runs wasn’t an expected result, considering India had finished at the top of the table and were drawn to play New Zealand, the lowest-placed side in the top four.

“Forty-five minutes of bad cricket puts you out of the tournament. Difficult to take it — but New Zealand deserve it,” Kohli said after the game. And probably, those 45 minutes decided the fate for the Men in Blue.

(Aakash Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])


Shikhar Dhawan’s shoulder injury has ruled him out of India’s T20i series




Shikhar dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan injured his shoulder while fielding in the third and final ODI against Australia in Bangalore. He was soon sent for the scans and didn’t even bat in the second innings. Moreover, he was seen in a sling while in the dressing room.

And now it has been confirmed that the southpaw is ruled out of the upcoming New Zealand tour as the results of the scans are not encouraging.

India are scheduled to play the first T20I of the five-match series against New Zealand on January 24. With the short turnaround between the two series, the Men in Blue was scheduled to leave in two batches, one of which left on Monday night and the other will take the flight to the Kiwi nation on Tuesday night. Dhawan, with his latest injury concern, is set to be left out of the touring party.

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Ranji Trophy: Manoj Tiwary shines with maiden triple ton



Manoj Tiwary

New Delhi, Jan 20 : Manoj Tiwary’s scintillating knock of 303 guided Bengal to post 635/7 against Hyderabad before reducing the visitors to 83/5 in a Round 6 Ranji Trophy tie at the Bengal Cricket Academy Ground here on Monday.

Apart from Tiwary, Shreevats Goswami chipped in with 95 runs before the hosts rode Akash Deep’s 3/46 to put Hyderabad on the back foot.

Meanwhile, after wrapping up Delhi for 163 runs, Vidarbha were 35 for no loss at the end of the day.

On the other side, ace India spinner Ravichnadran Ashwin picked up three wickets as Tamil Nadu came up with a commanding performance to beat Railways by an innings and 64 runs.

Resuming at 236/4, Tamil Nadu suffered an early jolt but managed to finish with a massive 154-run first innings lead. The Railway batsmen were shot out in 36.4 overs as R Sai Kishore (5/16) and Ashwin (3/36) dismantled their batting.

Jlaj Saxena picked up three wickets on the second day as Kerala’s bowlers put up an impressive show to bundle out Rajasthan for 268 in 32 overs on the second day. However Shubham Sharma picked up six wickets for Rajasthan as they too wrapped up their opposition for 82 runs, to win by an innings and 96 runs.

Upendra Yadav slammed an unbeaten 203 as UP declared at 625/8 against Mumbai. Mumbai were then reduced to 2/20 with Shashank Attarde (9) and Jay Bista (3) dismissed by Ankit Rajpoot.

Resuming at 295/8, Sheldon Jackson with Jaydev Unadkat took Saurashtra to 344. Jackson added 43 runs from his end before being the last man to be dismissed.

Madhya Pradesh batters then struggled and lost wickets at regular intervals before Yash Dubey (50 not out) and Venkatesh Iyer (50 not out) repaired the damage to help their side reach 183/5 at the close of play.

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Bengaluru ODI: Smith ton takes Australia to 286/9 vs India




India Vs Australia
File Photo

Bengaluru, Steve Smith slammed a magnificent century as Australia put up 286/9 in 50 overs against India in the third and series-deciding final one day international here on Sunday.

Former captain Smith brought up his ninth 100 in 117 balls, third against India and got out on 131 from 132 deliveries as he tried to change gears and was caught at deep midwicket by Shyreyas Iyer off Mohammed Shami who was India’s best bowler.

Smith had hit 14 fours and a six in his innings. Despite restricting Australia to a score below 300 on what is generally a batsman-friendly track in Bengaluru, India had given away as many as 27 extras.

Shami (4/63) came back for his second spell in the end and picked up four wickets to shave off Australia’s tail and rein in on their scoring to not allow them to get to 300. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was brilliant too although he went wicketless, giving away just 38 runs in 10 overs.

Besides Smith, fast-rising Marnus Labuschagne notched up his maiden ODI fifty as he scored 54 from 64 balls (5×4).

Smith and Labuschagne shared a 127-run stand for the third wicket which formed the visitors’ bedrock after electing to bat first.

India were dealt a blow early on as senior opener Shikhar Dhawan had to go for an x-ray with a call on whether he will take any further part to be taken once he is assessed.

Dhawan was taken off the field after he hurt his left shoulder in the series-deciding tie after he dived to save an Aaron Finch shot in the cover region before hurting his left shoulder in the fifth over.

India made early inroads as Mohammed Shami found David Warner’s outside edge to wicketkeeper K.L. Rahul who was played ahead of fit-again Rishabh Pant. Warner was gone for just three with his captain Finch (19) following suit soon, albeit in frustrating manner as he was run out due to indecision on Smith’s part while taking a single in the 9th over.

A livid Finch stormed out of the ground with the visitors in a spot of bother at 46/2. But as has been the case so often of late in Test cricket, Smith and Labuschagne joined hands to bring the team on track.

Similar in their playing style, the pair used square of the wicket a lot to score runs and punished the bad ball although Labuschagne was lucky not to get run out after Kuldeep Yadav failed to collect a Yuzvendra Chahal throw from the deep.

Smith got to 53 in 63 balls as he looked as consistent as ever with Labuschagne also notching up his maiden half century in 50-over cricket as he got to 53 in 60 deliveries.

It took a breathtaking catch from Indian captain Virat Kohli to break the stand as Labuschagne looked to accelerate in the 32nd over. The 25-year old played an inside out drive off Ravindra Jadeja which Kohli plucked inches off the grass diving low to his right.

Mitchell Starc was sent to bat at No.5 in a bid to up the ante and score briskly, but the experiment failed as Jadeja had him caught at deep mid-wicket fence by substitute Chahal to complete a two-wicket maiden 32nd over.

Alex Carey (35) and Smith associated for a quickfire 58-run partnership before Kuldeep got a timely breakthrough as Carey holed out to Shreyas Iyer at deep cover.

Bumrah followed it up with a near-perfect 43rd over, just conceding one run off the final delivery as Ashton Turner huffed and puffed at the crease.

Smith brought up his hundred by running a Navdeep Saini delivery down to third man but his celebration said it all as the Aussies fell behind in their run-scoring with Turner struggling to eventually get out caught behind in the same over.

Shami then removed Smith, Pat Cummins (0) and Adam Zampa (1) with toe-crushing yorkers as India ended on a high. Ashton Agar was not out on 11.

Australia made one change to the side, bringing in Josh Hazlewood for Kane Richardson while India named the same team.

Brief scores: Australia 286/9 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 131, Marnus Labuschagne 54; Mohammed Shami 4/63) vs India.

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