Category: cricket

De Villiers Wicket Was Catalyst for Turnaround…

Cape Town: Pat Cummins proved the catalyst for an huge change in fortunes for Australia as he halted a South African charge and left the hosts reeling at the close on the opening day of the third test on Thursday.

South Africa were cruising at 220 for two just after tea when Cummins returned to the attack for a magnificent spell of bowling during which he picked up four wickets for 12 runs in eight overs, including the key scalp of AB de Villiers (64), to trigger a South African collapse.

The home side ended the day on 266 for eight after dominating the first two sessions.

“I felt like I was pretty ordinary in my first 10 overs and I was worried I was going to be a passenger out there,” Cummins told reporters. “But the ball started swinging and we felt if we could get one wicket, two or three would follow.

"I bowled a half-volley that AB hit to mid-off and after that I felt I had my rhythm. Wickets always make the legs feel a little bit fresher.

"The AB wicket was the big one, once he was out a new batsman starting his innings against a reversing ball … it’s pretty hard. It got us right into the game.”

Cummins, who ended the day with 4-64 in 21 overs, believes the touring side are now on top in the game as they seek to take the lead in the four-match series which is poised at 1-1.

“It was a brilliant last session, to have them eight down and only 260-odd … it all depends on us getting those last two wickets in the morning but at this stage we are really happy.”

Opener Dean Elgar struck an excellent unbeaten 121 for South Africa and he will resume in the morning with Kagiso Rabada on six.

“That’s the nature of test cricket, for four hours a team can be dominant and for two hours the other team can bounce back and also be dominant and put the test in the balance,” Elgar said.

“The wicket is by no means flat, it might have looked like it when AB was batting, but he does that. They (Australia) identified areas they could exploit. The older ball, which was reversing, makes batting trickier.”

Elgar revealed that the chatter from the Australian fielders was not unusual in an acrimonious series in which five players have been sanctioned by the International Cricket Council.

“It was stock-standard, just noise, which we know is going to happen,” Elgar said.

“It was quite humorous actually, I enjoyed it today. You are always going to have that competitive edge, there are a lot of guys with a big egos out there.”

3rd Test: Elgar Slams Ton But Cummins Makes it…

Cape Town: Dean Elgar scored an unbeaten century but an excellent spell of bowling from Australia seamer Pat Cummins restricted South Africa to 266 for eight at the close of play on the opening day of the third test at Newlands on Thursday.

South Africa had been cruising to a big first-innings total at 220 for two as Elgar and AB de Villiers put on 128 for the third wicket.

Yet the return of Cummins (4-64) to the attack saw the seamer take 4-12 in eight overs, starting with the wicket of De Villiers (64), to rip through the home side’s middle order.

South Africa lost six wickets for 37 runs as fortunes swung in favour of the visitors in the final session.

Elgar (121 not out) will resume his innings with Kagiso Rabada (6) on Friday, seeking to push South Africa past 300 in their first innings, which should be a minimum on a slow wicket that has bounce but not much in the way of lateral movement.

The tempestuous four-game series is poised at 1-1 with South Africa’s hopes of a decent first-innings total resting largely on the shoulders of Elgar, who was dropped on 54 off a simple chance for Nathan Lyon at point.

The home side won the toss and elected to bat, losing opener Aiden Markram early for a duck as he edged Josh Hazlewood (2-37) to a diving Steve Smith at second slip with the score on six.

Elgar and Hashim Amla (31) added a patient 86 for the second wicket before the latter attempted a hook off Hazlewood, but top-edged the stroke to Cummins at fine leg.

Elgar and De Villiers turned the tide in South Africa’s favour with some excellent stroke-play, but when De Villiers miss-timed a drive to David Warner at mid-off, it set off a collapse that has put Australia in pole position.

Home captain Faf du Plessis (5) and the recalled Temba Bavuma (1) were both caught by Smith off Cummins, before Quinton de Kock (3) got an under-edge to the Australian paceman and was caught by wicketkeeper Tim Paine.

Mitchell Marsh (1-26) accounted for Vernon Philander (8), also caught by Paine, while Keshav Maharaj (3) lofted a drive to Cameron Bancroft off the bowling of Mitchell Starc (1-81).

ICC WC Qualifier: Zimbabwe Loss Opens Door for…

Harare: Zimbabwe lost a World Cup qualifying thriller by just three runs to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, allowing Afghanistan and Ireland to clash in a winner-takes-all tie for a place in the 2019 finals.

Chasing a rain-affected target of 230 off 40 overs, Zimbabwe needed six off the last ball to win the Super Six match and join already-qualified West Indies in the 2019 showpiece.

But Craig Ervine was only able to take two off man-of-the-match Mohammad Naveed and the home side’s hopes were dashed.

The UAE, who had no chance of qualifying for the finals, made 235-7 off 47.5 overs with Rameez Shazhad hitting a top score of 59.

After a delay for rain at the Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe were set a DLS target of 230 off 40 overs but despite a run-a-ball 80 from Sean Williams, the home side never recovered from a poor start which saw them slip to 45-3 at one stage.

On Friday, Afghanistan and Ireland will meet at the same venue with the winner guaranteed a place in the 2019 finals in England and Wales.

IPL 2018: Nepal Star Lamichhane Handed Jersey …

New Delhi: Nepal cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane has been handed the jersey number one by Indian Premier League (IPL) side Delhi Daredevils ahead of the eleventh edition of the cash-rich league on Thursday.

Leg-spinner Lamichhane created history after becoming Nepal’s first cricketer to enter the lucrative IPL, with Delhi Daredevils picking him in the mega auction in January. The 17-year-old cricketer was picked up by Delhi for Rs 20 Lakh in the auction.

Delhi Daredevils CEO Hemant Dua uploaded the picture on social media and the post read: “Great moment as @IamSandeep25 was handed his jersey No 1 by #KeshavBista head of #NationalSportsCouncil of #Nepal as the … and yes our young @DelhiDaredevils boy looks amazing in the jersey #DilDilli”

After getting himself picked in the IPL auction, his name was splashed across front pages of national newspapers and thousands took to social media to express their excitement. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba tweeted, “Not just me, but the entire nation is proud of you.”

Lamichhane, who has been likened to spin legend Shane Warne, made the meteoric rise to the IPL just two years after being selected for Nepal’s national team.

“If you get the chance to play in the IPL, lots of players will be there who are very experienced and I think I will learn a lot,” Lamichhane, the son of a railway worker, was quoted as saying by AFP in Dubai.

Lamichhane’s Delhi teammates will include Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and pacemen Trent Boult (New Zealand) and Kagiso Rabada (South Africa), among others.

Lamichhane’s talent was first noticed by former Nepal national cricket coach Pubudu Dassanayake, who spotted him at a training camp in 2015.

The spin-bowling sensation then attracted the attention of Australian great Michael Clarke, when he played alongside the former captain in a Hong Kong Twenty20 Blitz tournament in 2016.

Clarke invited Lamichhane to train at his cricket academy in Sydney, an experience the teenager described as unforgettable.

“Playing with a player like Michael Clarke is such as a big thing. It was amazing and sharing a dressing room with him and getting experience from him, it was something like a dream come true,” he said.

Mohammed Shami Off the Corruption Hook, Gets B…

New Delhi: Finally some relief for India cricketer Mohammed Shami as the Board of Control for India (BCCI) has decided to offer him Grade ‘B’ annual retainership contract, according to a release issued by the Indian cricket board on Thursday.

“The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) had requested Mr Neeraj Kumar, former Police Commissioner of Delhi and Head of BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit, to investigate the allegations against Mohd. Shami insofar as they pertain to the provisions of the BCCI Anti-Corruption Code,” the BCCI release said.

“Mr Neeraj Kumar has submitted his confidential report to the CoA. Based on the conclusions in the said report, the CoA is of the view that no further actions/ proceedings under the BCCI anti-corruption code are warranted in the matter,” it added.

Shami has been kept in Grade B, which means that he will be earning Rs 3 Cr per annum according to the new BCCI pay structure. The BCCI had introduced a new grade system altogether – Grade A+ : Rs 7 Cr, Grade A: Rs 5 Cr, Grade B: Rs 3 Cr, Grade C: Rs 1 Cr. Also, there was no Grade A+ in the list earlier, while Grade A players used to get Rs 2 Cr and Grade B and C cricketers received Rs 1 Cr and Rs 50 Lakh respectively.

Earlier, speaking to Cricketnext, a senior official of the board informed that the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) had written an e-mail letter to ACSU head Neeraj Kumar to investigate the matter and respond with findings in a week’s time.

The letter, which is in possession of Cricketnext, states – “The Committee of Administrators is concerned only with such portion of the said audio recording in which the person who it is claimed is Md. Shami is heard saying another person by the name of “Mohammad Bhai” had sent money to Md. Shami through a Pakistani lady by the name of “Alisba”.

"Please investigate the above assertions/ allegations under the BCCI Anti-Corruption Code and submit a report to the Committee of Administrators with your findings as to whether there is any basis to proceed further in terms thereof. The investigation should cover (i) the identity and antecedents of “Mohammad Bhai” and “Alisba”; (ii) whether any money was in fact sent by the said Mohammad Bhai through the said Alisba to Md. Shami; and (iii) if yes, the purpose for which the said money was received by Md. Shami.”

On March 8, Hasin had also alleged that Shami could be involved in match-fixing after making allegations that he had accepted money from a Pakistani woman.

“He accepted money from a Pakistani girl named Alisbah in Dubai. He agreed to accept it on the insistence of England-based Mohammed Bhai. I have proof. This could be linked to match fixing,” she had said.

Meanwhile, the cricketer rubbished all the allegations made by Hasin and said, “I always stood beside her and I don’t know why she is behaving like this now. I still believe that the issue could be resolved through talks.”

On match-fixing charges he had said, “I will prefer to die than involved in such anti-national act.”

Eoin Morgan to Lead ICC World XI Against West …

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) have announced that England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan will lead an ICC World XI in a T20I against the Windies at Lord’s on 31 May 2018. The game will raise funds for two stadia in the Caribbean that were damaged following Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.

Defending ICC World T20 Champions, the Windies will face what is expected to be a very strong World XI side with Morgan at the helm and the England captain is relishing the prospect: “I am delighted to captain the ICC World XI at Lord’s in May against the West Indies,” said Morgan.

"The cricket family always comes together to support worthwhile causes and this one-off T20I, featuring some of the best players in the world will be a great spectacle at the home of cricket.

"I am sure the sporting public will come out in force and help raise money and awareness towards restoring parts of the Caribbean hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September last year, which ripped through many communities in this beautiful part of the world.”

Giles Clarke, the ECB President and ICC Director is leading the coordination of the match, supported by the ICC, ECB and MCC in partnership with Cricket West Indies. He said: “Two category 5 hurricanes in two weeks last year devastated parts of the Caribbean and the world of cricket was keen to show support with a fundraising initiative. What better way to do that than staging a world-class game at the Home of Cricket!

“Eoin Morgan as captain is a wonderful first name on the ICC World XI team sheet and in due course we’ll have more players from around the world lending their support to what I’m sure will be a highly entertaining and competitive day of cricket at Lord’s in May.”

Rohit Involved in Funny Twitter Exchange With …

New Delhi: Ace India cricketer Rohit Sharma was involved in a hilarious Twitter exchange with his Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians ahead of the eleventh edition of the cash-rich league.

Three-time champions Mumbai Indians posted a harmless post on social media which read: “Paltan, an exciting update is heading your way. Prepare yourself to welcome new faces in our team. Stay tuned! #CricketMeriJaan”

Skipper Rohit took note of this tweet and replied: “What do you mean by new faces? Why don’t you guys inform me?”

Following this hilarious reply, the official account of MI wrote: “Skipper, let us discuss this on DM.”

But it didn’t end there as Rohit kept on persisting as to what was this all about. His post read: “I’ve checked my DMs. I am fine with these new faces and it’s really cool. But where are my bullets?”

Later, teammate Hardik Pandya also joined in the fun when Rohit asked regarding Hardik Pandya’s hair: “And what’s wrong with @hardikpandya7’S hair? Why is he on fire?”

Mumbai Indians have been the most successful team in the cash-rich league and they have lifted the trophy as many as three-times in ten seasons. The defending champions are once again being touted as one of the favourites to win the title this time around.

Mumbai will be playing their first match of the season against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium on April 7.

England Coach ‘Embarrassed’ at Shocking Collap…

England coach Trevor Bayliss admitted he was “embarrassed” on Thursday after a collapse to 58 all out against New Zealand which left him struggling for answers.

“It was a very poor effort today, it just simply wasn’t good enough,” Bayliss said, at the end of one of the worst days in England Test history.

It was their sixth lowest Test score and only an heroic 33 not out by number nine batsman Craig Overton ensured they passed the world record lowest innings of 26 set by New Zealand in 1955.

At stumps the Black Caps, seemingly untroubled by the conditions in the first day-night Test in New Zealand, were firmly in command at 175 for three, a lead of 117 runs with seven wickets in hand.

“We’ve got the best team from England we can pick here,” Bayliss said, admitting he was “hurt” by the performance.

“We’ve got to sit down and have a good chat about it. Is it a mental approach? Is it something in our preparation? Are we good enough at working out how to actually play when we do lose one or two early wickets?” the coach added.

“Embarrassed? Certainly, and I probably wasn’t the only one in our change room. It’s certainly not good enough.”

New Zealand only needed two bowlers, Trent Boult – who finished with a career best six for 32 – and Tim Southee, who took four for 25, in an innings that lasted just 20.4 overs.

But Bayliss said that while New Zealand performed well with the ball, he believed the problem lay with the England batsmen.

“I thought the New Zealand bowlers bowled extremely well and we batted equally as badly,” he said.

“I thought we made a lot of mistakes with our footwork. The ball was swinging a little bit but when the ball’s pitched up it’s as simple as it gets and a lot of our guys were out today playing from behind the crease to fairly full balls.”

Apart from Overton, opener Mark Stoneman’s 11 was the only other England score in double figures, while captain Joe Root led a parade of five players out for a duck.

New Zealand’s batting was far more solid with Kane Williamson not out 91 at stumps while Tom Latham, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls all made it into the twenties.

22 March 1992: The Bizarre World Cup Semi-Fina…

Calling the 1992 World Cup semi-final between South Africa and England at the Sydney Cricket Ground as bizarre won’t be wrong by any stretch of the imagination.

The decision to bowl first worked well for South Africa as they restricted England to 252 in 50 overs. England’s batting never really got going in the match as the South African pace duo Allan Donald and Meyrick Pringle picked up two wickets each to peg back the three lions.

However, Gaeme Hicks’ innings of 83 runs of 90 deliveries gave some respectability to England’s score and the bowlers had a decent score to defend.

Chasing the target, even as none of the South African crossed the half-century mark, every batsman chipped in with runs as the Proteas marched towards the English total.

However, rain gods intervened when South Africa needed 22 off 13 ball to seal a place into the world cup final. The play resumed twelve minutes later, but what shocked the world was the revised score that flashed on the giant screen inside the stadium.

The Proteas were given an impossible target of 22 runs to chase off 1 delivery. South Africa was punished for slow over rate while fielding and the amount of play-time that was wasted due to rain, was compensated by taking away Proteas’ batting time.

England easily won the match and progressed into the final, only to lose to Pakistan in the blockbuster clash.

But it was this match between England and South Africa that left the entire cricket community furious. A match which was supposed to have a thrilling finale, ended in a sham because of twelve minutes of rain.

IPL Laggards—Teams That Have Failed to Live Up…

The Indian Premier League’s inception in 2008 was one of the biggest milestones and turning points in the history of Indian and perhaps world cricket. It not only gave the Indian board a cash-rich product, it also was the beginning of a cricketing extravaganza like never before. A total of 13 franchises have taken part in the tournament, with five of them being defunct now.

While some of the teams like Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders have grown from strength to strength in terms of on-field performances and off-the-field following, some of the others have failed to convert promising opportunities into concrete results. Here is a list of five teams, who failed to deliver on the field.

1) Delhi Daredevils – The franchise started strongly as they managed to assemble a quality team in the initial years. With Indian stars like Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, and experienced international players like Glenn Mcgrath, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Delhi were among the favourites for the title. They managed to reach the semi-finals of the first two editions but failed to make it to the summit clash. Two poor years followed that saw the team fail to reach the knock-outs. The year 2012 saw Delhi finish top of the table during the league stage after good performances from stars like Morne Morkel, Kevin Pietersen, David Warner and Virender Sehwag. But another poor show in the knock-outs ended their title chances. Since then the franchise has not made it to the knock-outs and struggled due to poorly assembled teams, which failed to pack a powerful punch.

Performance over the years

2008 Semifinalists (4th/8)

2009 Semifinalists (3rd/8)

2010 League stage (5th/8)

2011 League stage (10th/10)

2012 Playoffs (3rd/9)

2013 League stage (9th/9)

2014 League stage (8th/8)

2015 League stage (7th/8)

2016 League stage (6th/8)

2017 League stage (6th/8)

2) Kings XI Punjab: Another north Indian team which has failed to deliver on the early promise. Led by the mercurial Yuvraj Singh in the initial years, KXIP rode on the brilliance of their stars to finish third in the first edition of the tournament. But what followed thereafter was something that left the fans and owners disappointed. Five consecutive seasons without making it to the knock-outs meant the team’s fan base also suffered. The lukewarm response from the Mohali crowd dented the team’s morale on several occasions. The year 2014 saw the team play with renewed vigour under the leadership of the Australian George Bailey with another Aussie Glenn Maxwell doing the star turn with the bat. Coach Sanjay Bangar was the man behind this revival and KXIP looked like a force to reckon with. A century from Wriddhiman Saha in the final all but sealed the deal for the Kings but a rearguard from Manish Pandey meant KKR edged them out to win the title. The Punjab outfit finished rock bottom of the league in the next two seasons, before fighting hard for a knockout spot last season.

Performance over the years

2008 Semifinalists (3rd/8)

2009 League stage (5th/8)

2010 League stage (8th/8)

2011 League stage (5th/10)

2012 League stage (6th/9)

2013 League stage (6th/9)

2014 Runners-up (2nd/8)

2015 League stage (8th/8)

2016 League stage (8th/8)

2017 League stage (5th/8)

3) Pune Warriors India: This franchise, bought at a jaw-dropping price by former Team India sponsors Sahara India Parivar, became the second team from Maharashtra to enter the league. The team had names like Sourav Ganguly, Michael Clarke, Angelo Mathews, Yuvraj Singh along with a host of other T20 stars but failed to produce any results in the three years that it participated in the league. Wooden spooners once and second from bottom on the other two occasions, this outfit was a non-starter and failed to get going completely.

Performance over the years

2011 Group stage (9/10)

2012 Group stage (9/9)

2013 Group stage (8/9)

4) Kochi Tuskers Kerala: This franchise was disbanded only after one season as it ran into legal troubles with the board. The team finished a lowly 8th out of 10 teams in the 2011 season registering 6 victories and 8 losses. The team had big names like Brendon McCullum, Mahela Jayawardene, Steven Smith, Muralitharan but could not put together a cohesive unit.

5) Gujarat Lions: This franchise came into existence after Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were banned from the league for two years. The team, led by Suresh Raina, started well and reached the knock-out stage in the first season, riding high on performances of T20 specialists like Ravindra Jadeja, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Bravo. The team though failed to reach the final. There was a lot of hope from this team in 2017 as well, but a string of injuries to key players and poor on-field performances meant the Lions finished 7th out of the 8 teams.

Performance over the years

2016 Playoffs (4th/8)

2017 League stage (7th/8)