India complete T20 series whitewash against Australia

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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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Did Gambhir snub MS Dhoni after Vijay Hazare match?

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gautam-gambhir-ms-dhoni

A video that is doing the rounds of social media shows India discard Gautam Gambhir allegedly snubbing ODI cricket captain MS Dhoni after a match in the ongoing Vijay Hazare trophy. Some news outlets took queue from the Youtube video uploaded by an individual and published news stories peppering it with instances of reported past animosities between Gambhir and Dhoni. A furious Gautam Gambhir has blasted the media over the reports and for publishing stories without verifying ‘facts’.

What the video shows

Jharkhand and Delhi clashed in the quarterfinal of the Vijay Hazare trophy – India’s premier domestic One-Day cricket tournament. Chasing 225, Jharkhand team was all out for just 126 runs with MS Dhoni still at the non-striker’s end having scored an unbeaten 70. Dhoni shook hands with opposition players at the end of the game as is customary after cricket matches. Other Delhi players courteously shook hands with Dhoni but when the latter reaches near Delhi skipper Gautam Gambhir, the southpaw walks away ignoring India’s limited-over captain. Gambhir is seen looking the other way and shaking hands with his own team members when Dhoni almost extends his hand for a handshake.

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What Gambhir says

Gautam Gambhir lambasted the media for the reports and shared photographs on his official Twitter handle of him shaking hands with MS Dhoni after the quarterfinal match. He even advised media houses to verify facts before publishing them.

 

Gambhir has been out of the national squad for quite some time. He last played an ODI for India in January 2013. There have been one or two instances of differences with skipper MS Dhoni during Gambhir’s days in the Indian cricket team.

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Kapil Dev is wrong in saying Sachin didn’t do justice to his talent

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Kapil Dev

Former India captain Kapil Dev has stirred up a hornet’s nest by arguing that cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar didn’t do justice to his talent.

“Sachin was a much better cricketer but somewhere along the line he just knew how to score hundreds. He didn’t know how to make it a double hundred, or a triple or even 400s,” Khaleej Times quoted Kapil Dev as saying.

The all-rounder, under whose captaincy India won the 1983 World Cup, added he would have advised Tendulkar to play like Virender Sehwag.

While Kapil Dev may be entitled to his personal opinion, there are certain things that he seems to forget in making such arguments. Sachin is respected across the world, by the greats who played this game, not only because of his cricketing skills but because he displayed them in his batting.

Tendulkar mostly played at a time when there was no Virat Kohli to take care of the batting when he was out. The master blaster took the task of shouldering the responsibility of India single-handedly in the 90s. If we can recall the era, Sachin’s early wicket usually meant all the other Indian batsmen fell like a pack of cards. Sachin played grounded shots applying his perfect technique to the best deliveries fired at him when expectations from him were sky high. In fact higher than any other player in cricket history.

To Kapil Dev’s point that Sachin could have made 200, 300 or even 400, he seems to forget that making 100 hundreds is no small task in cricket and reflects much more consistency, performance and ability to dominate bowlers.

It is amusing that Kapil Dev feels Sachin should have played like Virender Sehwag when Sehwag himself has said on numerous occasions that he has learnt a lot from Sachin.

That is the reason, the other cricket icons present at the event – Shane Warne, Wasim Akram and Ian Botham – did not seem to agree with Kapil’s view.

Shane Warne remarked Sachin was special and the best batsman he played against. “Sachin is a wonderful player and in my 20-odd years of playing, he is the best batsman that I played against. The expectations he was under and the skill he had against fast and spin. The way he judged the balls. He was great for the game of cricket and he was a fantastic and wonderful player. He dominated bowlers in the mid-90s and he was just outstanding against any bowler. He also played exceptionally well against Australia,” said Warne.

 

To be updated

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5th ODI: South Africa beat India by 214 runs at Wankhede, win series

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Virat Kohli AB de Villiers

South Africa won their first ODI series in India after defeating the hosts by 214 runs in the 5th and final match at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium today. It was evident right from the first over of the game that the Proteas were playing to win the title. They put up a mammoth total of 438 runs for the loss of 4 wickets making the Indian bowling attack look lackluster after captain A. B. de Villiers won the toss and decided to bat first.

South Africa’s score of 438 runs is the joint third highest total ever scored in a One Day match. As many as 3 Proteas batsmen – Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers – scored tons. This was only the second time in a One Day match that a team had 3 players scoring hundred runs.

Ab de Villiers’ 119 came off just 61 balls. Quinton de Kock faced 87 balls to score 109 runs and Faf du Plessis’ 133 came off just 115 deliveries before he was retired hurt. The two Indian seamers Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma gave away 106 and 84 (7 overs) runs. Indian fielders dropped at least 4 catches at a time when the South African batsmen were unstoppable.

None of the Indian batsmen barring Ajinkya Rahane responded to the huge challenge posed by the visitors. Rahane scored 87 in 58 balls but the team needed many such performances.

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

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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

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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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Suresh Raina tweets honeymoon pics from Paris

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Raina with wife

Indian cricketer Suresh Raina is spending some loving moments with wife Priyanka Chaudhary in Paris – the city of love.

The left-handed batsman tweeted pictures with his wife from Paris.

Raina and wife

Raina, who is part of the Chennai Super Kings team, had to join the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 soon after his marriage in first week of April and did not find much time to spend with his wife. Now, that the IPL got over last weekend, Raina and Priyanka flew to the popular and romantic honeymoon destination. The couple looked very happy and seemed to enjoy their time together.

Raina, whose wedding with childhood friend Priyanka, was a star-studded affair in a plush five-star hotel in Delhi, has seen in good form on the cricket field during the IPL.

After this honeymoon break, Suresh Raina will be joining Team India in Bangladesh for the One Day international matches against the hosts beginning June 18.

https://twitter.com/ImRaina/status/604034530899529728

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India defeat Pakistan for the sixth time in World Cup

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India-Pakistan

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

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virat-kohli

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

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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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