Suresh Raina’s All Round Effort Helps India Se…

Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan starred with the bat but it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who again held his nerve in the end as India sealed the T20I series with a sensational 2-1 win over South Africa in Cape Town.

Scorecard

India suffered an early blow after in-form Virat Kohli was ruled out due to a stiff back. Stand in skipper Rohit Sharma again departed early, but then Suresh Raina and Shikhar Dhawan made most of some ordinary South African bowling.

Raina counter-attacked but Dhawan played the anchor role with perfection. In fact, Dhawan got his first boundary off the 29th ball but scored an 47 off 40. He was given two chances, with Shamsi dropping a couple of sitters.

Southpaw Raina scored a quickfire 43 off just 27 balls, Pandya(21) and Karthik (13) chipped in with the runs towards the end as India finished their innings at 172/7.

South Africa bowled well in patches with Junior Dala again impressive with his raw pace, as he picked up 3/35 in his 4 overs.

Morris came back strongly after an ordinary start to finish with figures of 2/43.

South Africa never really got into the chase as they got off to a horrendous start, loosing in-form Reeza Hendricks early. Miller – who opened the innings for the first time in T20Is – looked lackluster, failing to find boundaries as the home team struggled to get any momentum.

Hero of the previous match Klaasen couldn’t contribute much either as he departed for 7.

Duminy waged a lone battle for South Africa, scoring 55 off just 41 balls, including hitting Axar Patel for 16 off 1 over.

India used the slower balls to perfection and Suresh Raina chipped in with 3 overs, giving away only 27 runs.

Just when it seemed India would coast home to victory, debutant Christiaan Jonker played a blinder which almost took his team in sight of victory.

South Africa managed to get 45 runs from the three overs preceding the final one, meaning they required 19 off the final over.

Despite giving away a boundary, Bhuvneshwar Kumar held his nerve as India went onto win by 7 runs, with Jonker’s 24-ball 49 going in vain.

Suresh Raina was named man-of-the match for his all round effort while Bhuvneshwar Kumar walked away with the man-of-the-series trophy.

South Africa Name Two Uncapped Players for Aus…

Johannesburg: Uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen and all-rounder Wiaan Mulder were named in South Africa’s 15-man test squad on Saturday for the first two of the four-match series against Australia.

Klaasen proved swashbuckling with the bat in both the one-day International and Twenty20 series against India over the last month and selector Linda Zondi said, “we firmly believe he can become just as good a player in the five-day format”.

The 26-year-old has played four ODIs and two T20 matches for South Africa. “The selection of Mulder continues our strategy to expand our pool of all-rounders against top quality opposition,” added Zondi in a Cricket South Africa statement.

“He is a batting all-rounder and his selection will depend on how we decide to balance our starting XI.”

Mulder, 20, represented South Africa in an ODI against Bangladesh in October last year.

The duo take the places of Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo in the squad that beat India 2-1 in their recent three-test series. The first test against Australia is in Durban, starting on Thursday with the second in Port Elizabeth from March 9-13.

Squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.

Virat Kohli to be Presented With Test Mace Aft…

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) will present the ICC Test Championship Mace to India captain Virat Kohli at the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town at the conclusion of the South Africa tour.

“On behalf of the ICC, Cricket Hall of Famers Sunil Gavaskar of India and Graeme Pollock of South Africa will make the presentation immediately after the awards ceremony for the T20I series”, the ICC wrote in statement.

India have ensured the number one spot on the ICC Test Team Rankings and a prize of $ 1 million after their victory in the Johannesburg Test against South Africa last month, which ensures that no team can move ahead of them in the Test rankings at the 3 April cut-off date.

India had arrived in South Africa on 124 points, with South Africa 13 points behind on 111 points. However, Virat Kohli’s men will return on 121 points as opposed to South Africa’s 115 points, which will be good enough for them to keep possession of the prestigious ICC Test Championship mace for the second year in succession.

Kohli had become the 10th captain since 2002 to get his hands on the mace when he had received it from Sunil Gavaskar following the Indore Test against New Zealand in 2016. Had South Africa pulled off a 3-0 series win against India, then a win by 2-0 or better against Australia would have helped them reclaim the mace they had last won in 2015.

Now, South Africa will have to win at least one Test against Australia to retain second place in the Test table, which, in turn, will earn them $500,000. In this scenario, Australia will pocket $200,000 for a third place finish. However, if Australia win by 3-0 or 4-0, then they will leapfrog South Africa into second place.

The winner of the two-Test New Zealand versus England series, which will also be played in March, will decide the side that finishes fourth on the table and will take home $100,000. A drawn series will mean New Zealand will finish ahead of England.

The cut-off for this year has been adjusted to 3 April, which is the final day of the four-Test series between South Africa and Australia in Johannesburg, as well as last day of the two-Test series between New Zealand and England in Christchurch.

Shahid Afridi Sets PSL Alight With Stunning On…

New Delhi: Legendary Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi rolled back the years in super style as he pulled off a stunning one-hand catch at the boundary ropes, during his team’s first match of the ongoing edition of the Pakistan Super League on Friday.

In the 13th over of the match between Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators, southpaw Umar Amin hit the ball over the bowler Mohammad Irfan’s head and he was going over long-on boundary ropes. Afridi took his position early just inside the boundary, jumped high in the air and took a one-handed catch. But as his momentum was taking him over the line, he threw the ball back in the air, went out and returned to complete the catch.

The entire stadium went up in delight as both sets of fans started applauding their hero’s sensational effort. After taking the catch, Afridi pulled off his trademark celebration as well and had a big smile on his face.

Former teammate Mohammad Hafeez was the first to congratulate Afridi on his wonder catch and wrote on twitter: “WOW LALA, super catch , young boy well done 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼@SAfridiOfficial stay blessed”

Afridi took note of this message from Hafeez and replied with a cheeky tweet: “Abhi to mai jawan hou😎” (I am still very young)

Karachi had more reasons to celebrate other than this brilliant catch from one of their star players as the went onto beat Quetta very comfortably to start their season with on a winning note. After putting on 149 with the bat, Karachi bowlers restricted Quetta to 130/9 in their designated 20 overs.

Manish Pandey Stakes His Claim as India’s No.5…

New Delhi: The Indians in the ongoing tour of South Africa have come up with some great performances that have been instrumental in taking the team to a win in the Johannesburg Test, and then to a 5-1 victory in the ODI series.

The top-order batsmen and the bowlers did really well, and were responsible for India’s success. The only area of concern was the misfiring middle-order. But what could have been a concern during the Test and ODI series, seems to have been somewhat rectified in the T20Is.

That has been largely possible because of batsman Manish Pandey, who has done really well in the first two T20Is, having scored 29 no and 79 no respectively. With these two strong performances, Manish made a mark for himself and is a strong contender to seal the no. 5 spot in the limited-overs format. At least his numbers suggest so.

Manish has a very good record at this position and averages the highest among his peers to have batted in the same position, in a minimum of 5 matches in T20Is for India. He has scored 187 runs in 5 innings, at an average of 93.50, higher that the likes of Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav.

Not only that, Manish has scored 187 runs out of his 347 runs in T20Is batting at number 5.

Also, Manish boasts of a very good away record as compared to home record. He has scored 226 runs batting outside India in 7 innings at a strike rate of 133.72 and a balls/boundary rate of 8.05, which is slightly better than his rate at home.

At home venues, he has scored 121 runs at a strike rate of 124.74 and a balls/boundary rate of 8.08. His strike rate away is 7.20% higher than that at home. This clearly means that a good performance in the T20Is, could get once again bring him back to the ODI setup, with Kedar Jadhav not being up to the mark.

Lynn Needs to Decide How Much Cricket His Body…

New Delhi: Australia batsman Chris Lynn had recently injured his right shoulder in a T20I game against New Zealand, and due to that he has pulled out of the Pakistan Super League, that started on Thursday. He was slated to play for the Lahore Qalandars in the tournament.

Lynn, who will be representing Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, won’t require a surgery on the shoulder, but will have to undergo an ‘extensive rehabilitation’, before being declared fit.

In an interview on a Melbourne radio station — SEN, KKR’s assistant coach Simon Katich said that Lynn needs to think how much cricket can his body take.

“He has to make a decision about how much cricket his body can withstand at this level. It’s not so much his batting, it’s his fielding. We’ve had numerous discussions about how he can try and protect himself in the field, obviously diving is a big concern given his history but that’s the nature of the game,” he said.

Katich added that Lynn wants to give everything on the field. “When instincts take over and you feel like you’re letting your teammates down, he’s the sort of guy that doesn’t want to see one of his bowlers miss out and cost them a few runs. But ultimately it’s costing him in the long run. He’s going to have to have a think about that and we’ll be there to support him,” he said.

The former Aussie cricketer also said that Lynn’s decision to play in the Big Bash League, led to a side-strain. “He just wants to be out there and not just sit there watching,” Katich added.

“He did the right things to try and get out onto the park, but unfortunately he pushed himself physically and did his calf, which set him back a bit,” he added.

Now Katich hopes that Lynn could return to KKR, even if he has to miss a few games. “But there’s still six weeks before the IPL starts so hopefully … he can do the rehab and get back on the park, even if it is a couple of weeks late. We knew before the auction, we did a lot of planning on the players available and we knew he was going to be in hot demand. We know he’s got an injury history, but we saw last year how good he can make his teammates look in a competition like the IPL,” he said.

Katich said that Lynn’s ability to strike big makes him an indispensable commodity for the team. “He averaged just under 50 with the bat and struck at 185 (runs scored per 100 balls faced) and not many guys can do that. That’s why he’s such a valuable commodity in T20 because he’s such a powerful striker. He’s also great around the team environment and we were considering him to possibly be captain as well, given his influence around the group. Even last year when he was injured he spent a lot of time working with the young Indian players. He’s tough and I’m sure he’ll do everything he can to get back on the park,” he said.

24th February 2010: Sachin Tendulkar Scores Fi…

New Delhi: There was a time in ODIs when it was hard for a batsman to score 175 runs in an innings. But it was in 2010, this day, when Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar completely changed the complexion of the game.

The Indian batsman brought up ODI cricket’s first double-hundred, in a match against South Africa in Gwalior. Sachin scored 200 not-out from just 147 deliveries, and his innings included 25 fours and three sixes. This was then the highest individual ODI score ever.

Prior to the monumental effort by Sachin, Saeed Anwar and Charles Coventry (194) jointly held this record. Tendulkar’s record was overtaken by teammate Virender Sehwag, who scored 219 against the West Indies, close to two years later. Since then six more double hundreds have been scored, and three alone from the bat of Rohit Sharma.

In the match, courtesy Sachin’s blistering innings, India posted a mammoth 401-runs on the board. He was well supported at the other end by Dinesh Karthik (79) and MS Dhoni (68). South African bowlers were hammered all round the park and pacer Wayne Parnell gave away 95 runs in his quota of 10 overs.

After the runfest, it was always going to be easy for the Indians to clinch the match. But not before an AB de Villiers special. The right-hand batsman scored a brilliant 114 runs from just 101 balls, but that was not enough to take his side to the finish line. The Indians posted a 153-run victory.

Virat Kohli and Bowlers Were the Standout Perf…

New Delhi: The Indian team has had good returns in the ongoing South African tour, as they managed to win the final Test at Johannesburg, and then trounced the hosts 5-1 in the ODI series with utmost ease.

The top-order including skipper Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan have been good with the bat, while almost all the bowlers have impressed. But one grey area that needs to be addressed is India’s middle-order. In his column for Times of India, former India skipper Kris Srikkanth wrote that there is some scope of improvement in that area, and that the middle-order has not been consistent.

Apart from the that he praised Team India for making a comeback in the third Test. “Summing it up, I would term it is a successful tour for India in South Africa. If I was the captain, I would be pleased with the way the team bounced back in Johannesburg and never looked back,” he wrote.

For the former World Cup winner, skipper Kohli and bowlers were the standout performers on the tour. “Overall, there are quite a few positives from this trip. Kohli has been amazing with the bat and in leading the troops from the front. The bowling unit has been exceptional. Pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have been on the ball throughout the Test series. The wrist spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav joined the party during the ODIs, baffling the hosts with their guile.”

He also highlighted on the form of openers in Test matches. “One of the key areas of concern is the consistency factor with the middle-order and to an extent the form of the opening batsmen in red-ball cricket. The first Test at Cape Town was in our pocket and we should have won it easily. The defeat was due to the batting debacle and it hurt us badly. The openers didn’t fire in all the Tests and it has to be addressed going forward,” Srikkanth wrote.

“While the openers turned things around in the shorter formats, the middle-order, apart from Kohli, has been very inconsistent across all formats. Yes, there have been a couple of sparkling performances here and there from a few middle-order batsmen. However, consistency is lacking and it is vital to have a solid middle-order, which is the backbone of any side. It’s a worrying sign and it has to be looked into so that we can notch up more victories abroad.”

He also believes that India could have won the Test series, but is happy with the way things have gone for the team on this tour.

“Things still look bright though and it’s a good sign for the Indian team heading into the overseas tours later this year.”

Rohit Sharma to Lead India in Lanka Tri-series…

New Delhi: The Indian team is set to play a T20I tri-series in Sri Lanka this March, and the top cricketers are likely to be rested for the tournament. According to Times of India, skipper Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya won’t be part of the squad for the series.

In skipper Kohli’s absence Rohit will lead Team India. Also a few youngsters could be a part of the team. Rohit had earlier captained India in an ODI series against Sri Lanka in 2017. The team had won two games under his leadership, and lost one.

India has been playing non-stop cricket for the past few months, and have been on the South Africa tour since Jan this year. So the BCCI and the key players have mutually agreed to give series a miss.

“What is the point of sending these cricketers after such a hectic South African tour,” a team source said.

The team for the tournament is likely to be picked on Sunday. Among some of the youngsters, Delhi keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant could could get the nod as chief selector MSK Prasad was seen having a chat with him, during a Vijay Hazare match at the Palam cricket ground recently.

The Nidahas Trophy will be played from March 6 to March 18. Bangladesh will be the third team in the competition.

Ben Stokes Set to Return to International Cric…

Ben Stokes is set to return to international cricket on Sunday when England play their first one-day international against New Zealand in Hamilton.

The star all-rounder, who had been sidelined since his arrest following a nightclub incident last September, rejoined the England squad in New Zealand last week after pleading not guilty in the Bristol magistrates court to a charge of affray.

Although England have not yet named their side for the first ODI, and Stokes is short of match practice, captain Eoin Morgan suggested Saturday he would be in the line-up.

“He looks in great nick, he’s hit the ground running since he’s been involved and he’s been himself, which is great to see,” Morgan said.

“He might be better for the more games he does play and feel more comfortable coming back … it is his first game in quite a long time.”

Stokes has had long net sessions since his arrival and was said to be middling the ball well with the bat and bowling at maximum effort.

Along with Stokes, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Jonny Bairstow are also back in the England squad after missing the recent tri-nations Twenty20 series in which Australia beat New Zealand in the final.

New Zealand have won just one of their last seven Twenty20 matches and only edged England out of the final on the strength of a superior run rate, and will be looking to turn their fortunes with the change of format.

“It’s a different group this one-day squad. We’ve played some good one-day cricket,” said coach Mike Hesson with the home side having enjoyed a golden run in recent months with a 3-0 ODI series win against the West Indies and beating Pakistan 5-0.

But Hesson said his side knows they will have to be at their best to match England.

“They (England) are aggressive from ball one with the bat. That in itself means we’ve got to keep taking wickets.

"Their whole (batting) order from one to nine keep coming hard out and obviously Ben (Stokes) is one of those. We can’t only focus on one player because they’ve got plenty of good ones.”

Morgan believed that how England adapted to New Zealand conditions would be crucial to the outcome of the five-match series.

“They’ve been on a run, have got a good well-balanced side and play extremely well at home,” he said.

“I mentioned before we bowled a ball in Australia that these two series we were going to play have the potential to expose some of the weaknesses of our side.

"We’ve got to be open to learning and improving on those weaknesses as we go along. Australia was a tough series and New Zealand are going to be no different.”

Morgan felt England’s ODI batting had taken “a backward step” in Australia while their bowling had strengthened in the past year.

“You can win a lot of games certainly with the bat, but restricting how many you chase down or controlling a game with the ball is so powerful.”