India complete T20 series whitewash against Australia


Team India win T20

Team India completed a magnificent run chase (India 200/3 against Aus 197/5), the second highest by any team against Australia in T20s, to win the final game by seven wickets at the Sydney Cricket Ground Sunday. India won the T20 series 3-0 and are now at the top of T20 ranking.

Batting first, Australia put up a daunting total of 197/5 in 20 overs anchored by Shane Watson’s 124 in just 71 balls. India needed more than an ordinary good start to get to the total and Rohit Sharma (52 off 38 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (26 off 9 balls) gave the visitors the momentum that was needed right at the start of the inning. India charged to 45 runs in the first 3 overs of their inning.

Virat Kohli’s half century in 36 balls set the stage for the finish but Team India still needed a match winning effort from someone in the middle order. And Suresh Raina who is known for his power ranking in T20s delivered that part. Raina’s 49 not out off 25 balls included some clever cricket shots and a boundary of the last ball of the match.

Yuvraj Singh got his first chance to bat in the series and produced 15 runs off 12 balls in a pressure situation and mind you he is returning to international cricket after nearly two years. Yuvraj struggled initially but pulled himself up hitting a six and a four in the first two balls of the last over in which India needed 17 to win. After that it was up to Suresh Raina to finish the task and he did it in style with a boundary in the last ball of the match.

Virat Kohli was adjudged the Man of the Series for his consistent batting performance.

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India Vs SA: Advantage Team India at Wankhede in ODI final


Virat Kohli AB de Villiers

Stage is set for the fifth and final ODI of the bilateral series between India and South Africa at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. With the series evenly poised at 2-2, Sunday’s encounter is expected to be a treat for cricket lovers.

Team India is buoyant after its convincing victory in Chennai in the 4th ODI and will aim at keeping the momentum. The good thing about the home team is that it has found the right batting order and Suresh Raina’s return to form gives the middle order the stability that skipper MS Dhoni has been looking for. It is expected that Dhoni will maintain the same batting order with Virat Kohli at Number 3, Ajinkya Rahane at Number 4, Raine at No 5 and the captain himself at 6.

It is the bowling department that needs to compliment the batsmen. Ravichandran Ashwin’s absence has been somewhat filled by Harbhajan Singh‘s comeback. Bhajji has responded well to the opportunity so far. Axar Patel and Amit Mishra too need to do their bit in the final on Sunday. South African batsmen have looked less comfortable facing Indian spinners in the series barring AB de Villiers. The Proteas skipper averages 129 against Indian spinners as against rest of the team’s average of 25.78.

It is Indian seamers who need to back the spin department. Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel have led the South African attack and troubled Indian batsmen with their pace and bounce. Morkel, who has a leg injury, is however doubtful for Sunday’s final. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and company need to perform better than they have done so far in the series. Indian pacers have just taken one wicket with the new ball in the ODI series so far.

The toss is going to be important and the team winning it is expected to bat first.  Both India and South Africa have faltered in chasing totals in the series.

It is a clash between the two batting heavyweights and with India not having lost a home series to South Africa yet and with the exuberant Mumbai crowd behind them, it is advantage Team India.

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India defeat South Africa by 35 runs after Virat Kohli scores 138


Virat Kohli century

India defeated South Africa by 35 runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai to level the One Day International (ODI) series 2-2. Virat Kohli delivered the match winning performance he is known for at a time when Team India needed it most. It was a must win game for the Men in Blue if they had to stay in the series and Virat’s magnificent 138 helped India put a formidable total of 299 for 8 on a slow pitch that seemed to assist bowlers.

Kohli’s ton and partnerships

Kohli got good support from Ajinkya Rahane (45) and Suresh Raina (53) after India lost both its openers early (India were 35 for 2 at one stage). It resulted in two crucial partnerships between Kohli and Rahane (104 runs) and Kohli and Raina (127 runs). India were headed for an even bigger total in excess of 300 but were squeezed towards the end as South African seamers claimed 4 for 29 in the final five overs.

South Africa chase

AB de Villiers led South Africa’s chase and scored a century but Indian spinners made sure that the visitors remained short of their target of 300 runs. In the end, India won the match by 35 runs setting the stage for the decider at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on October 25.

India’s spin troika of Harbhajan Singh (2 for 50), Axar Patel (1 for 40) and Amit Mishra (1 for 55) used the slow conditions to their benefit. Pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 3 wickets including the crucial one of SA skipper AB de Villiers.

AB de Villiers innings

The Proteas captain was in no mood to give in as he hit the ball all round the wicket playing some innovative reverse sweep shots. His 112 came of just 107 balls with 10 boundaries and 2 sixes laced to it. It was only after de Villiers fell while playing a flat batted shot that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team could heave a sigh of relief.

India’s batting order

The match also settled doubts, if any, about the Indian batting order especially the No 3 and No 5 positions.  This time Dhoni did not promote himself above struggling Suresh Raina who scored back to back ducks in the last two matches. This gave the southpaw time at the crease and he delivered with a half century. Kohli too showed that he is most comfortable when batting at his usual Number 3 position.

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RCB crush RR by 71 runs, to play CSK in IPL ‘semi-final’ #RCBvsRR


RCB beat RR

PUNE: Royal Challengers Bangalore crushed Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator game of the Indian Premier League here on Wednesday night setting up a clash with Chennai Super Kings for a place in the finals. RCB defeated RR by 71 runs and will now be playing CSK in Ranchi on May 22.

AB de Villiers and Mandeep Singh set up RCB game

Royal Challengers scored 180 runs for four wickets after skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bat first. AB de Villiers (66 runs off 38 balls) and Mandeep Singh (54 off 34 balls) were among the star batsmen and it was their partnership of over 100 runs that hurt Rajasthan Royals the most.

Rajasthan batting faltered

Chasing 180, Rajasthan Royals never looked in control of the game. They lost wickets at regular intervals and no one except Ajhinkya Rahane offered any resistance. After Rahane’s dismissal for 42, it was only a matter of time for Royal Challengers’ bowlers to complete the formalities.

Virat praises AB, Mandeep

Speaking after the match, Virat Kohli said, “After seven overs, I honestly thought we should have bowled first.” The skipper was all praise for de Villiers and Mandeep Singh. “We all know AB is the best batsman in the world.  Commendable effort from Mandeep and we literally pulled him out of Kings XI,” Kohli said.

The clash between RCB and CSK will be a virtual semi-final as the winning team will lock horns with Mumbai Indians for the IPL 2015 trophy.

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Mumbai Indians reach IPL 8 final




MUMBAI: Mumbai Indians have become the first team to reach the finals of the Indian Premier League 2015 after defeating Chennai Super Kings by 25 runs at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday night. It was a day when Mumbai Indians did almost everything right – from winning the toss and putting up a decent score of 187 to bowling well and fielding tight.

At first, Lendl Simmons (65 runs off 51 balls) and Parthiv Patel (35 runs off 25 balls) gave a steady start to the Mumbai inning. Then Kieron Pollard displayed some spectacular power play and scored 41 off just 17 balls to take his team’s total to 187 for six wickets in 20 overs. He was later adjudged the Man of the Match.

Mumbai Indians bowlers led by Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga then kept the Super Kings batsmen in check taking wickets at regular intervals. However, it was the 11th over bowled by off spinner Harbhajan Singh that turned out to be decisive.

Harbhajan took two consecutive wickets of Suresh Raina and CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and it turned the table in MI’s favour at a time when the Super Kings were steadying their inning. Dhoni later attributed the defeat to a below par batting performance by the middle order.

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma said at the post match ceremony that he could not have asked for anything more and praised the team for its consistent performance. Mumbai have won eight of the last nine matches that they have played.

Chennai Super Kings have a second chance to make it to the finals as they will now play the winning team of Qualifier 2 (Royal Challengers Bangalore Vs Rajasthan Royals) on May 22.

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IPL 8: Mumbai Indians at second spot after beating SRH by nine wickets


Lasith malinga2

Mumbai Indians registered a convincing nine wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday night to clinch the second position in the IPL 2015 points table. The Rohit Sharma led side have thus also advanced to the play offs stage in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

Mumbai Indians are now ahead of third-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and just below Chennai Super Kings in the points table. This is no small feat given the fact that Mumbai lost their first four matches of this eighth edition of the IPL.

On Sunday, Sunrisers were never into the game after captain David Warner won the toss and decided to bat first at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Mumbai bowlers put up a clinical performance to bowl out the Sunrisers for a paltry 113 runs.

Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga struck right in the first over of the match, getting rid of the dangerous Shikhar Dhawan – one of Sunrisers’ batting mainstays. And then Mitchell McClenaghan got rid of skipper David Warner in his first over.

With their two lead batsmen back into the pavilion, SRH gave in to the pressure and lost wickets at regular intervals. They were able to add just 113 runs to the scoreboard. Mumbai pacers Lasith Malinga (4/17) and McClenaghan (3/16) were phenomenal in their bowling performances.

With bowlers having done their task, Mumbai Indians openers Lendl Simmons (48) and Parthiv Patel (51 not out) showed some good temperament in reaching the target of 114. Simmons got out just after ensuring that his team was close enough to the total and then skipper Rohit Sharma walked in and finished the proceedings.

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IPL 8: Rajasthan Royals beat KKR, enter play offs


Shane Watson

MUMBAI: Rajasthan Royals booked a spot in the play offs by defeating Kolkata Knight Riders by nine runs on Saturday night here at the Brabourne Stadium. In the process, the Royals virtually knocked KKR out of contention in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015.

Batting first, Rajasthan Royals made 199 runs for six wickets. Shane Watson played a scintillating inning scoring an unbeaten 104 runs off 59 balls. He was later adjudged man of the match. Speaking at the post match interview, the allrounder agreed that a century from him was due. “Through the tournament I wasn’t able to get going. Three or four day build up was good to sort things out, my batswing and all. Had a couple of days to work on a couple of things and be ready to go from the first ball,” Watson said.

Kolkata Knight Riders managed to get close to the target of 200 helped by significant contributions from Yusuf Pathan (44 off 35), Andre Russell (37 off 20) and towards the end Umesh Yadav (24 off 11). But Rajasthan Royals seamers struck at critical junctures and Chris Morris did not allow them the required 16 runs from the last over of the match.

Both owners of KKR, Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan and actress Juhi Chawla were present in the stands to cheer for their team but KKR fans were left disappointed in the end.

KKR received considerable flak on Twitter for playing 40-year old Azar Mahmood in place of Sunil Narine. Azar Mahmood was trending in India albeit for the wrong reasons.

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India defeat Pakistan for the sixth time in World Cup



India defeated Pakistan by 76 runs in their first match of the ICC cricket World Cup keeping their record of never losing a World Cup game against their arch-rivals intact. The highly anticipated #IndvsPak encounter was mostly one-sided with some notable performances from Indian cricketers.

Virat Kohli who scored a century – the first by an Indian cricketer against Pakistan in a World Cup – was adjudged the Man of the Match. Asked by Rameez Raja about comparisons being made with Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli smiled amid loud cheers from the 41,587 people at the Adelaide Oval.

India scored 300/7 in the first innings and Pakistan were restricted to 224 by the Indian bowlers.

Pakistan steadied themselves after losing the first wicket and Ahmed Shehzad and Haris Sohail put a partnership of 50 runs but after that it was the Indian bowlers who dominated the match. Ravichandran Ashwin started his spell with some tight deliveries and his efforts paid off with the wicket of Haris Sohail.

Mohammed Shami not only kept the runs in check but also picked up four crucial Pakistani wickets. Mohit Sharma picked up two wickets with an economy of 3.88.

Pakistan failed to build partnerships and it was only skipper Misbah Ul Haq who spent some time at the crease to keep up the hope of Pakistani supporters. He fell to Mohammed Shami in the 46th over after scoring 76 runs. After that the match was only a formality and the Indian bowlers ended the Pakistani innings at 224 in 47 overs.

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Virat Kohli first Indian to hit 100 against Pakistan in World Cup, India 300/7



Virat Kohli became the first Indian batsman to hit a century against Pakistan in a World Cup game as India scored 300 runs in their first encounter at Adelaide Oval. Suresh Raina scored valuable 74 runs off 56 balls after a fumble between Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan cost the latter his wicket.

India was headed towards an even bigger total and there was a time when it was expected to score over 325 runs. However Pakistan made a terrific comeback in the match and after the loss of Virat Kohli, Pakistani fast bowlers managed to keep the run rate in check. Sohail Khan and Wahab Riaz showed some excellent bowling skills and picked up quick wickets in the last 5 overs. Indian batsmen could score just 27 runs in the last 5 overs and lost 5 wickets.

Indian captain MS Dhoni tried to accelerate the batting but could not do much. Sohail Khan bowled some great deliveries and spearheaded the Pakistani attack towards the end.

Ravindra Jadeja was sent ahead of Ajinkya Rahane to spruce up the run rate but Wahab Riaz showed some excellent bowling skills and bowled Jadeja for just 3 runs.

Dhoni was next to go. The skipper scored 18 off 13 balls.

Rahane could not open his account and was deceived by a slow delivery from Sohail Khan when he tried to hit it over the covers.

In the end, Indian team managed to reach the total of 300 runs.

“I am happy with the way we batted and 300 on the score board is a psychological advantage,” Virat Kohli told Rameez Raja said after the Indian inning.

But will 300 be enough on a good batting track and with rather weak Indian bowling attack?

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Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan steady India: IndvsPak



Half centuries by Team India vice captain Virat Kohli and opener Shikhar Dhawan took India to 132 for 1 in 25 overs at the Adelaide Oval. The highly anticipated match between the arch-rivals is being watched by a mighty crowd. Tickets of the match were sold out within minutes of going on sale months ago.

India has never lost to Pakistan in the World Cup and are keen to keep the record while Pakistan will be looking to break the jinx.

Earlier, Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat first to grab the opportunity to put pressure on Pakistan. India has a strong batting line up and Pakistani bowlers will have some work at hand to keep the likes of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane calm.

India lost opener Rohit Sharma early for 15 when the team’s total was 34 in 7.3 overs. India are playing the game with two spinners – left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and offspinner R Ashwin.

Virat Kohli now looks in good form connecting the ball really well after he was slow at the start of his inning. Shikhar Dhawan is giving him good company with some well-timed strokes.

The last updated score is 163/2 in 29.5 overs. Shikhar Dhawan was run out for 73 after a misjudgement. Dhawan wanted a single but Kohli sent him back. Dhawan dived to reach his crease but Shehzad’s direct throw is too quick.

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