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October 11th

India completes sweep with four day win

India defeated New Zealand by 321 runs in four days at the Holkar stadium in Indore sweeping the visitors in all three test matches.
Second innings honors were shared by Ravi Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara. The home side began day four 18/0 continuing after bowling out NZ for 299 enjoying a lead of 258. Gautam Gambhir returned to the crease after Murali Vijay was run out, Gambhir, had retired hurt early in the second innings having done further damage to his shoulder he had previously injure while fielding. The 34 year old left handed opener soon got into the form he had shown earlier stroking six fours in a 56 ball even fifty before he was caught off Jeetan Patel by Martin Guptill. Pujara showed his class earning his tenth test century with an unbeaten 101 decorated with nine fours, allowing India to declare 216/3 setting the Kiwis an improbable target of 475 for victory.
Ashwin was the destroyer in the first innings grabbing six wickets for 81 runs. In the second he improved on that performance, this time around claiming seven for 59 in 13.5 overs ending with career best match figures of 13/140 as NZ could only manage 153 in 44.5 overs.
The first of five ODIs start at Dharamsala on Sunday.

October 10th

Ashwin destroys NZ first innings

Despite a solid start from their openers New Zealand were bowled out for 299 on the third day of the third test match at the Holkar stadium in Indore.
While first two days were dominated by Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, on this day Ravichandran Ashwin stole the show, almost single handedly wrecking the visitors first innings reply to India’s 557/5 declared. Not only did the offspinner grab six wickets for 81 runs from 27.2 overs to achievehis twentieth five wicket haul in tests, he also participated in two run outs off his own bowling.
Beginning the day at 28/0 Martin Guptill and Tom Latham enjoyed a century strong opening partnership before Latham was deceived by Ashwin and caught by the bowler off a leading edge for 53 in the 35th over. Skipper Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, and Luke Ronchi fell victim to Ashwin’s bowling, Guptill batting well on 72 with ten fours and two sixes, was run out when Ashwin got his hand on a drive back to the bowler that hit the stumps and caught the non striker out of his ground. At 148/5 the Kiwis were reeling, Ravi Jadeja got in the fray dismissing BJ Watling and Mitchell Santner as they tried to mount a fightback. Jeetan Patel was run out by a similar route as the first, but this time Aswin dropped a stiff return catch from Matt Henry which then hit the stumps.

Much to the delight of the 25,000 screaming Holkar fans enjoying their first test match, Kohli decided to give his bowlers a rest and not enforce the follow on. Gautam Gambhir returning to test cricket at age 34 damaged his shoulder while fielder sadly he re injured it while batting and had to retire hurt.
India faced six overs and closed the day in a commanding position at 18/0.

October 9th

The week in cricket continues with two ODIs

In Dhaka, Bangladesh defeated England by 34 runs. Bouncing back from their first game loss the home side batted first and were held to 238/8 in their allotted fifty overs.
Mahmudullah led all scorers with a solid 88 ball 75 it was a workmanlike innings containing only six fours, but with wickets falling around him it was just what the team needed. A belligerent late inning cameo from skipper Mashrafe Mortaza in which he smashed three sixes and two fours compiling 44 in just 29 balls enabled Bangladesh reach a semi defendable total.
Mortaza then struck with the ball removing both openers assisted by Shakib Al Hassan who claimed first game hero Ben Duckett, by the tenth over the visitors were tottering at 26/4. Skipper Jos Butler seemed up to the task and together with Johnny Bairstow added 79 in 13 overs. Tasklin Ahmed then trapped Butler lbw and the England slide into defeat began again. Adil Rashid 33 and Jacob Ball 28 unsuccessfully tried to stem the tide, but the Tigers continued to roar dismissing the visitors for 204 in 44.4 overs keeping the series level as they move into the deciding game at Chittagong on Wednesday.

At Port Elizabeth Kyle Abbott and Tabraiz Shamsi combined to destroy the highly vaunted Australia batting line up for a mere 167 runs, only Mitchell Marsh 50 and Matthew Wade 52, offered significant resistance as the visitors were bundled out in 36.4 overs. Abbott who has struggled to maintain a place in the side, paid the selectors big dividends grabbing 4 for 40 from eight overs, Shamsi claimed 3 for 36 from ten overs.
South Africa overhauled meagre total in 35.3 overs for the loss of four wickets. Skipper Faf du Plessis stroked eight fours in an 87 ball 69 Rilee Rossouw chipped in with 32 not out.
The hosts have won all four games so far. The question is can they achieve a clean sweep in the final ODI in Capetown on Wednesday.

October 9th contd

Kohli doubles down at Holkar

Virat Kohli became the first Indian captain to score two double centuries while leading the team, on the second day of the third test versus New Zealand played in Indore today.

Continuing on 103 Kohli displayed great technique never losing shape while demonstrating his great variety of strokes. Instead of trying to muscle the ball he bisected the field with the precision of a surgeon, his 211 contained 20 boundaries and was a brilliant example of risk free batting. His partner Ajinka Rahane was a little more adventurous but showed great character. During day one the Kiwis peppered him with short pitched deliveries and he was in doubt whether to pull or not. After reaching his hundred he became much more fluent, his 188 was decorated with 18 fours and four sixes. The partnership yielded 365 and placed India large and in charge of this test match.
The New Zealand bowling was not bad at all, they were just up against two talented batsmen with both discipline and excellent technique. After Kohli and Rahane departed. Rohit Sharma and Ravi Jadeja tried to accelerate the pace of scoring the Kiwi bowlers did an excellent job of keeping them in check. Rohit smashed two sixes and three fours to record his third half century of the series allowing India to reach 557/5 declared.
If Kohli can be criticised it would be for waiting a little too long to declare.
NZ only had to face nine overs which they negotiated safely scored 28/0.
One interesting occurrence Jadeja was warned for running on the pitch while batting, he was guilty a second time and the umpire penalised him by adding five runs to the NZ total, so they started runs on the board before facing a ball.

October 8th

Kohli slams first day ton

Virat Kohli thrilled his millions of fans with scintillating 103 not out on the first day of the third test at Holkar stadium in Indore.
The Indian captain was in sublime form stroking 10 fours getting to his 13th test ton. The cheering fans lucky enough to get a ticket for the first test match at this location were not disappointed but instead were treated to a batting master class on a difficult batting strip.
India won the toss and openers Murali Vijay and Gautam Gambhir looked set to dominate before Vijay mistimed a cover drive off the last ball of the fifth over with the score on 26. Gambhir back in the side after considerable absence was striking the ball well hitting three fours and two sixes before Trent Boult trapped him leg before.
Cheteshwar Pujara also enjoyed a decent start scoring 41 containing six boundaries before he was brilliantly bowled by a ripper from left arm orthodox spinner Mitchell Santer. Ajinkya Rahane then joined his skipper and the two negotiated the remaining 54 overs compiling an unbroken partnership worth 167 runs. Rahane was not as fluent as Kohli and might be considered fortunate to still be there, but all that matters is on the scorecard where he is 79 not out including nine fours and one six.

October 7th

International cricket in Bangladesh
England’s much anticipated tour of Bangladesh began with a thrilling ODI at Dhaka where the visitors enjoyed a 21 run victory.
Batting first England could not score as fluently as they would have liked, openers Jason Roy and James Vince did reach 41 before Vince was caught by captain Mashrafe Mortaza off Shafiul Islam in the eight over.
At 63/3 in the 13th with Roy, Vince, and Johnny Bairstow all back in the change room, England needed a recovery effort.Twenty one year old debutant Ben Duckett joined the more experienced Ben Stokes and they provided a game changing 152 run partnership in 26 overs. Duckett played more of the anchor role scoring 60 from 78 balls including six boundaries. Stokes was more aggressive blasting eight fours and four sixes in a 100 ball 101. Newly promoted skipper Jos Butler took the bull by the horns and made sure England surpassed the symbolic 300 mark, smashing a 38 ball 63 with four fours and three sixes, as the visitors posted a challenging 309/8.
The home side had a more sedate start Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes put on 46 before Iqbal caught by Vince of another newcomer pacer Jacob Ball off the last ball of the tenth over. Four more wickets would tumble and at 153/4 in the 27th over the hosts were in an uphill battle.However Kayes was still here playing a classy knock enter Shakib Al Hassan the innings the played changed the face of the game once again. Shakib took the lead stroking 79 of 55 balls decorated with ten boundaries and a six, before mistiming a pull of a short pitched delivery from Ball. The home crowd were having the time of their lives Kayes had reached his second ODI century and at 271/5 with more that eight overs left their team was in the driver’s seat. This game of glorious uncertainties provided yet another one.Bangladesh lost five wickets for nine runs and scored only eight more for the match. Unlikely hero Ball enjoyed a five wicket haul on debut with 5/ 51. The next ODI is on Sunday at this same location.

October 6th

Continuing this week in cricket

Two ODIs took place yesterday one in Abu Dhabi between the West Indies and Pakistan and at Durban where the hosts took on the visiting Australians.

Pakistan continued their absolute decimation of the Caribbean side with a 136 run whipping achieving another 3/0 sweep of the Caribbean boys.. Batting first the South Asians continued to feast their opponents bowling Babar Azam joined two of his country’s greatest batsmen Zaheer Abbas and Saeed Anwar scoring three consecutive hundreds. He is an excellent player, but one must consider the quality of the bowling before placing him among the greats. Skipper Azhar Ali also recorded a ton as Pakistan, who seemed on target for a bigger score closed out for 308/6 after 50 overs WI in their reply were once again pathetic being bundled out for 172 in 44 overs.
The West Indian batsmen displayed no ability to adapt to the bowling on an excellent batting track. The comical run out of Marlon Samuels was reminiscent of a line from the classic movie Cool hand Luke “What we have here is a failure to communicate”.
The two teams now move into the test match phase of the tour and the only question I have is will any match go the full five days.

The encounter at Durban was a last over thriller Australia down 2/0 in the five match series,enjoyed a solid start from Skipper David Warner and Aaron Finch. They built an opening partnership of 110 until Finch was caught by Kagiso Rabada off the bowling of Imran Tahir with the first ball of the fourteenth over. Skipper Steve Smith joined the party and they added 124 runs in 21.4 overs before Warner became Tahir”s next victim for 117 laced with 13 fours and two sixes. Smith also scored a century decorated nine boundaries and a solitary six. Some lusty hitting by Tim Head 35 reaching the rope four times and clearing it once allowed the visitors to post 371/6.
Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock started the run chase with aplomb reaching 66 before John Hastings trapped Amla lbw in the ninth over. Captain Faf du Plessis and de Kock added 74 in 8.9 overs, then de Kock fell for a well played 70 from 49 balls containing six fours and two sixes with the score at 164/3. SA continued to lose wickets while still moving the score along. At 265 for six twenty year old Andile Phelukwayo joined David Miller. With only Dale Steyn Rabada and Tahir to come and 12.6 overs left Australia could smell the victory need to keep the series alive. Miller turned on the jets and batting with a thigh or groin injury started to blast the bowling all over the field. When the partnership reached fifty Phelukwayo had contributedonly nine.The young allrounder became emboldened scoring 33 of the next 56 runs with two towering sixes and four fours including the winning boundary. Miller’s 118 from 79 balls the backbone of the run chase was studded with ten fours and six huge sixes as the hosts overhauled the massive total with four balls to spare.

October 3rd

What’s happening in cricket.

Sunday in the second ODI at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, South Africa continued its domination of the visiting Aussies with a 142 run trouncing.
Australia won the toss and chose to chase, that was their first mistake. The home side again found the opposition bowling much to their liking. In the first game it was the Quinton de Kock show this time it was skipper Faf du Plessis turn, he smashed 13 fours in his 93 ball 111 .His two main cohorts were first Rilee Rossouw with an 81 ball 75 laced with ten boundaries, then JP Duminy joined the slaughter smashing three sixes and 10 fours in a blinding 58 ball 82, allowing South Africa to amass 361/6.
As if intimidated by the massive run chase required, Australia never really accepted the challenge David Warner scored a 56 ball 50 including one six and seven fours as wickets tumbled around him. At 114/5 things looked bleak for the visitors, young Travis Head came to the rescue together with Matthew Wade they added 69 enabling Australia to reach 219 all out in 37.4 overs.

The second ODI between WI and Pakistan at Sharjah was at least more competitive than the first, even though WI lost by 59 runs, thus conceding the series.
Pakistan batting first continued to expose the visitors weak bowling attack piling on 337/5.Young Babar Azam, followed his first match ton with a chanceless 123 from 126 balls decorated with nine fours and one six, the experienced Shoab Malik hit a sparkling 84 ball 90 studded with six sixes and three fours.
The Caribbean boys in reply were much more engaged on this occasion although opener Kraig Brathwathe seems to score too slow for this format his 39 from 66 balls did little to help the cause in a run chase of this magnitude. Darren Bravo’s 61 and Marlon Samuels’ 57 was more like what was needed especially with the vaunted big hitters to follow. After Bravo’s runout the writing was on the wall. With the required run rate in double digits the bowlers never allowed the WI batsmen to flourish. Denesh Ramdin and captain Jason Holder combined to help WI to reach a respectable 278/7 as the woes for West Indies continue.

In Kolkata India is on the verge of another victory on day 4 of the second test versus New Zealand.
In their first innings India scored 316, led mainly by Cheteshwar Pujara with 87 and Ajinka Rahane’s 77, Wriddiham Saha also added 54. The Kiwis were skittled out for a paltry 204 by pacers Bhuveneshwar Kumar 5/48 and Mohammed Shami 3/70. Rohit Sharma led the Indian second innings blasting two sixes and nine fours scoring 82, Saha enjoyed his second half century of the match while skipper Virat Kohli chipped in with 45.
Presently NZ are 182/8, 194 runs in arrears with 12 overs remaining on day 4.

September 30th

Today was a great day for cricket fans worldwide.It was day one of the second test between India and New Zealand in Kolkata, as well as ODIs between Pakistan and the West Indies in Sharjah, and a more exciting clash between Australia and South Africa at Centurion.

India after winning the first test in fine style, won the toss and chose to bat.
Young Matt Henry struck in the second over getting Shikar Dhawan bowled off an inside edge from a back of a length delivery that was too close to cut. By the 22nd over India lost Murali Vijay and skipper Virat Kohli putting them in a spot of bother at 46/3.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinka Rahane then provided a rescue effort worth 141 runs before Pujara was caught behind off Wagner for a patently solid 87. Rohit Sharma and Rahane followed in quick succession. Ravi Ashwin looked threatening before he was trapped lbw late in the day by Henry. Wriddhiman Saha and Rajendra Jadeja saw India to stumps at 239/7 from 86 overs, leaving a nicely poised test match.

The Pakistan West Indies UAE series has been completely one sided with the Caribbean boys getting a sound whitewashing in the three T29s which happens to be their best format. Things are getting critical for both teams who both need to solidify their position in the ODI rankings in order to be one of the top seven that will automatically qualify for the next ODI world cup.
WI won the toss and inserted Pakistan, they enjoyed a great start when Shannon Gabriel had skipper Azhar Ali caught behind off the game’s first delivery. They did not enjoy much after that however. Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam put on a blistering 82 in 14 overs. Azam hammered the innocuous bowling attack to all corners of the ground for a pugnacious 120 with eight fours and three sixes, before WI would enjoy the second and final highlight in the form of a stupendous catch taken by Kieron Pollard. He ran to his right jumped and snatched the ball one handed a foot inside the boundary, his long strides took him over the rope but not before he threw it up and caught it when he came back in bounds. The match was delayed for an hour with lighting issues. After the resumption Pakistan tallied 284/9 from 49 overs.
WI never challenged and were skittled out for 175 in 38.4 overs. Their batsmen seemed clueless, neither attacking as they have been known to play or turning the strike over. Marlon Samuels top score with an inelegant 46 from 59 balls before he was literally knocked over and castled by the pace of a Wahab Riaz delivery.
Mohammad Nawaz took for for 42 and Hassan Ali snatched three for 14.
The West Indies need to get their act together to make this series at least competitive.

The Australia South Africa match did not disappoint batting first the visitors got a great start Dave Warner and Aaron Finch who put on 63 in nine overs. Australia continued to score at an acceptable rate but lost wickets in the process, at 192/6 in the 29th over the home team was gaining the upper hand. George Bailey found an able ally in big John Hastings together they added 79 in 17 overs allowing Oz to compile 294/9.
South Africa’s innings was the Quinton DeKock show the compact left handed opener plundered the Aussie attack for eleven sixes and sixteen fours in an incredible 178 from 113 balls.Rilee Rossouw was his main accomplice scoring 63 from 45 balls as the pair smashed 145 in 17 overs.
Skipper Faff du Plessis was a mere spectator in a 123 run partnership in which he contributed 26.The home team won the match by six wickets in 36.2 overs.
This was a solid whipping by the home team in the first of five ODIs the second is on Sunday in Joburg.

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