Second fortnight of World Cup 2019: The rainbow nation fades!

The second fortnight has gone by and South Africa and Afghanistan have been shown the door. There were some thrillers too...India v Afghanistan; New Zealand v West Indies; Sri Lanka v England. and India maintained its World Cup supremacy against Pakistan!

Haris Sohail paved the way for Pakistan’s victory over South Africa. A pity that he fell short of a hundred by 11 runs.   -  Reuters

All hail Sohail

Haris Sohail struck a quickfire 89 off 59 balls to help Pakistan knock South Africa out of the World Cup with a convincing 49-run win at Lord’s. Opting to bat, Pakistan began confidently with openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman adding 81 for the first wicket. Imran Tahir removed both batsmen to become the highest wicket-taker for South Africa in the quadrennial event. But the fall of quick wickets did not deter Sohail who put up two crucial stands — 81 with Babar Azam and 71 with Imad Wasim — to guide Pakistan to a competitive 308 for seven.

In response, South Africa failed to harness the scoreboard pressure with skipper Faf Du Plessis playing a lone hand. Leggie Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz took six wickets between them to wreak havoc on the Protean batting order.

The scores: Pakistan 308 for seven in 50 overs (Haris Sohail 89, Babar Azam 69) beat South Africa 259 for nine in 50 overs (Faf du Plessis 63, Wahab Riaz three for 46, Shadab Khan three for 50). Man of the Match: Haris Sohail.

A humdinger!

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson’s second century in a row at this World Cup helped his team vanquish the West Indies by a slender margin.   -  AP

Skipper Kane Williamson’s career-best 148 overshadowed a stunning century from Carlos Brathwaite as New Zealand edged past the West Indies by five runs in a World Cup thriller in Manchester.

Chasing 292, West Indies was tottering at 164 for seven, before Brathwaite’s breathtaking knock revived a dead chase in spectacular fashion. But with just six needed from seven balls, Brathwaite holed out to Trent Boult inside the long-on boundary much to the despair of Jason Holder and Co.

Earlier, Williamson struck a career-best 148, his second consecutive century in this World Cup, to shepherd his side to a competitive 291 for eight despite the early jitters.

Left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell (four for 56) dismissed both the openers — Martin Guptill (0) and Colin Munro (0) — in the first over of the match but Williamson’s knock, studded with 14 fours and a six, anchored the Kiwis to an eventually match-winning total.

The scores: New Zealand 291 for eight in 50 overs (Kane Williamson 148, Ross Taylor 69, Sheldon Cottrell four for 56) beat West Indies 286 in 49 overs (Carlos Brathwaite 101, Chris Gayle 87, Shimron Hetmyer 54, Trent Boult four for 30, Lockie Ferguson three for 59). Man of the Match: Kane Williamson.

Scraping through

Player of the Match Jasprit Bumrah kept things tight.   -  AFP


Jasprit Bumrah (two for 39), counted among the best death bowlers in limited-overs cricket, and Mohammed Shami (9.5-1-40-4) came to the fore as India eked out a hard-fought 11-run win over Afghanistan in Southampton.

Chasing a modest 225, Afghanistan ensured the match was evenly contested, with no favourite emerging. With the Afghans needing 21 to win from 12 balls, Bumrah bowled a brilliant penultimate over leaving Shami to defend 16 off the last over. The 28-year-old pacer then took a hat-trick — only the second Indian bowler to achieve the feat in a World Cup — to quash Afghanistan’s hopes. Mohammad Nabi’s valiant 55-ball 52 was the silver lining. Earlier, India rode on fifties by skipper Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav to limp to 224 after opting to bat on a two-paced surface. Nabi starred with the ball, too, picking the wickets of opener K. L. Rahul and Kohli to further put pressure on an Indian line-up which found strokemaking difficult on the Hampshire Bowl wicket.

The scores: India 224 for eight in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 67, Kedar Jadhav 52) beat Afghanistan 213 in 49.5 overs (Md. Nabi 52, Md. Shami four for 40). Man of the Match: Jasprit Bumrah.

A Lankan heist

Lasith Malinga picked up four wickets as Sri Lanka successfully defended a modest total against England.   -  Getty Images


The experience of Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga came to Sri Lanka’s rescue as it upstaged tournament favourite England by 20 runs in Leeds.

Batting first, Sri Lanka managed to reach 232 for nine thanks to Mathews’ patient 115-ball 85. Mark Wood and Jofra Archer snapped up three wickets apiece to raise hopes of yet another England win.

However, a brilliant four-wicket haul from Malinga stalled England’s slow-but-steady approach to what appeared to be a sub-par target at the halfway stage. Malinga was ably assisted by Dhananjaya de Silva whose three for 32 ensured the host would finish short.

The scores: Sri Lanka 232 for nine in 50 overs (Angelo Mathews 85 not out, Avishka Fernando 49, Kusal Mendis 46, Mark Wood three for 40, Jofra Archer three for 52) in 50 overs beat England 212 in 47 overs (Ben Stokes 82 not out, Joe Root 57, Lasith Malinga four for 43, Dhananjaya de Silva three for 32). Player of the Match: Lasith Malinga.

Warner the beacon

Australia’s David Warner had a rollicking time with the bat against Bangladesh.   -  AP


David Warner’s scintillating 166 — his sixth 150-plus knock in ODIs — powered Australia to a 48-run win over Bangladesh in Nottingham.

Warner, who hammered 14 fours and five sixes during his 147-ball knock, added 121 with captain Aaron Finch (53) and 192 with Usman Khawaja (89) to propel the Aussies to their second highest total in the World Cup — 381 for five. Glenn Maxwell’s 10-ball 32, studded with three sixes and two fours, was the perfect sidenote.

In response, Bangladesh fell short despite Mushfiqur Rahim hitting an unbeaten 102. He was ably assisted by Mahmudullah (69) and Tamim Iqbal (62) as Bangladesh posted its best ever total in one-day internationals.

The scores: Australia 381 for five in 50 overs (David Warner 166, Usman Khawaja 89, Aaron Finch 53, Soumya Sarkar three for 58) beat Bangladesh 333 for eight in 50 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 102 not out, Mahmudullah 69, Tamim Iqbal 62). Man of the Match: David Warner.

A captain’s  knock

Kane Williamson, the New Zealand skipper, hits a six to bring up his century against South Africa.   -  Getty Images


Kane Williamson struck a masterful hundred as New Zealand beat South Africa by four wickets. In a game reduced to 49 overs-a-side, New Zealand restricted the Proteas to 241 for six.

The Kiwis lost opener Colin Munro early before Martin Guptill and Williamson stitched together a 60-run stand. Chris Morris then removed Ross Taylor and Tom Latham in quick succession, before Williamson forged two crucial partnerships — 57 with Jimmy Neesham (23) and 91 with Colin de Grandhomme (60, 47b, 5x4, 2x6) to take New Zealand over the line in an exciting finish in Birmingham.

Earlier in the day, South Africa rode on 50s by Hashim Amla and Van der Dussen to reach a modest total. During the course of his innings, Amla became the second fastest, after Virat Kohli, to reach the 8,000-run mark in one-day internationals.

The scores: South Africa 241 for six in 49 overs (Van der Dussen 67, Hashim Amla 55, Lockie Ferguson three for 59) lost to New Zealand 245 for six in 48.3 overs (Kane Williamson 106 not out, Colin de Grandhomme 60, Chris Morris three for 49). Man of the Match: Kane Williamson.

Lambs to the slaughter

The England captain, Eoin Morgan, went on a six-hitting spree against Afghanistan.   -  AFP

Eoin Morgan’s record-breaking 148 highlighted England’s 150-run thrashing of Afghanistan at Old Trafford in Manchester. Such was the brutality of Morgan’s innings that Jonny Bairstow’s 90 and Joe Root’s 88 faded in comparison. Morgan’s whirlwind knock included a mindboggling 17 sixes — the most by a batsman in one-day internationals — and left Afghanistan and its star leg-spinner Rashid Khan gobsmacked.

Rashid registered the most expensive bowling figures at a World Cup (9-0-110-0) as England cruised to 397 for six. Chasing a mammoth total, Hashmatullah Shahidi made a gritty 76 off 100 deliveries before being cleaned up by Jofra Archer. The 27-year-old stitched two partnerships — 52 with Rahmat Shah and 94 with Asghar Afghan but it wasn’t enough in the end. For England, Adil Rashid claimed three for 66.

The scores: England 397 for six in 50 overs (Eoin Morgan 148, Jonny Bairstow 90, Joe Root 88, Gulbadin Naib three for 68) beat Afghanistan 247 for eight in 50 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 76, Jofra Archer three for 52). Man-of-the-Match: Eoin Morgan.

Shakib’s tigerish resolve

Shakib Al Hassan and Liton Das overhauled a competitive West Indies total with ease, putting on 189 for the fourth wicket without being separated for Bangladesh.   -  Getty Images


Shakib Al Hasan struck a domineering 124 to guide Bangladesh’s highest run chase in one-day internationals. The veteran all-rounder, who reached 6,000 ODI runs, and became Bangladesh’s highest run-scorer at a World Cup, added an unfinished 189 runs for the fourth wicket with Liton Das as the Masrafe Mortaza-led side thumped the West Indies by seven wickets in Taunton.

Batting first, the Windies rode on fifties by Evin Lewis (70), Shai Hope (96) and Shimron Hetmyer (50) to reach 321 for eight. Hetmyer hammered the joint fastest half-century of this World Cup — 50 off 25 balls — hitting four fours and three sixes, before being dismissed by Mustafizur Rahman. Mustafizur and Mohammad Saifuddin picked three wickets each. Despite a surge in the middle overs, West Indies only managed 61 off its last eight.

The scores: West Indies 321 for eight in 50 overs (Shai Hope 96, Evin Lewis 70, Shimron Hetmyer 50, Mustafizur Rahman three for 59, Mohammad Saifuddin three for 72) lost to Bangladesh 322 for three in 41.3 overs (Shakib 124 not out, Liton 94 not out, Tamim 48). Man-of-the-Match: Shakib Al Hasan.

The day of the Hitman!

Rohit Sharma revelled against arch-rival Pakistan.   -  AP


Rohit Sharma continued his rich vein of form, striking his second century in just three games as India beat arch-rival Pakistan by 86 runs in Manchester.

On the biggest stage, cricket’s most talked up rivalry failed to live up to its hype with Virat Kohli’s team thoroughly outclassing Pakistan to take the World Cup tally between the neighbours to 7-0.

Inserted, the new opening pair of Rohit and Lokesh Rahul flayed the bowlers all around the park. Kohli’s 77 and Hardik Pandya’s cameo gave impetus in the middle overs but Mohammad Amir’s three-wicket haul contained the damage to a certain extent.

Pakistan scored 166 for six in 35 overs before rain intervened and the target — as per the Duckworth-Lewis method — was revised to 302 from 40 overs. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men finished with 212 for six. Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar and Hardik Pandya snapped up two wickets each. Vijay Shankar, making his World Cup debut, got his first wicket in the competition with his very first ball.

The scores: India 336 for five in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 140, Virat Kohli 77, Lokesh Rahul 57, Mohammad Amir three for 47) beat Pakistan 212 for six in 40 overs (Fakhar 62) by the DLS method. Man-of-the-match: Rohit Sharma.

Spin-familiar Afghans fall to the Tahir variety

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir and his mates are ecstatic after an Afghan falls. Tahir spun a web against his hapless opponents.   -  Reuters


South Africa romped home by nine wickets against a hapless Afghanistan side in Cardiff to finally get a World Cup win under its belt.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir’s four for 29 triggered an Afghanistan collapse — following a 75-minute rain break — to 125. There were also significant contributions from Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo, who picked up five wickets between them.

Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock shared a 104-run opening wicket partnership as the Proteas chased down the revised target of 127 with 19 overs to spare.

The scores: Afghanistan 125 in 34.1 overs (Rashid Khan 35, Noor Zadran 32, Imran Tahir four for 29, Chris Morris three for 13) lost to South Africa 131 for one in 28.4 overs (Quinton de Kock 68, Hashim Amla 40 not out). Man of the match: Imran Tahir.

Finch takes flight

Australian skipper Aaron Finch hit the ball so hard against the Lankans that he needed a change of bat!   -  Reuters


Skipper Aaron Finch racked up a quickfire 153 as defending champion Australia clinched a convincing 87-run win over Sri Lanka at The Oval in London.

Finch stitched together two crucial partnerships — 80 with David Warner (26) for the opening wicket and 173 with Steve Smith (73 off 59) for the third wicket — en route to his 14th ODI hundred, studded with 15 fours and five sixes.

Needing a mammoth 335 to win, Sri Lanka got off to a confident start to be 115 for no loss at one stage but eventually folded for 247 in 45.5 overs. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne top-scored with 97, and was complemented by fellow-opener Kusal Perera (52), who also scored a fifty.

Mitchell Starc bagged four wickets, while Kane Richardson claimed three.

The scores: Australia 334 for seven in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 153, Steve Smith 73, Glenn Maxwell 46) beat Sri Lanka 247 in 45.5 overs (Dimuth Karunaratne 97, Kusal Perera 52, Mitchell Starc four for 55). Man-of-the-Match: Aaron Finch.

Taking root and how!

The West Indian attack was meat and drink to England’s Joe Root, who slammed a century.   -  Reuters


The Hampshire Bowl in Southampton witnessed yet another Joe Root masterclass as the elegant right-hander, opening the innings this time, struck his second hundred of the World Cup to power the host to an emphatic eight-wicket win over the West Indies.

Chasing a modest 213, Root and Jonny Bairstow put on a 95-run opening stand to virtually put the match out of Windies’ reach. Shannon Gabriel’s two for 49 was the lone bright spot for the visiting side, which failed to deliver on the batting front too.

Nicholas Pooran’s gritty 63 and Shimron Hetmyer (39 off 48) helped the West Indies cross the 200-run mark but the duo found little support with Jofra Archer and Mark Wood sharing six wickets between them.

The scores: West Indies 212 in 44.4 overs (Nicholas Pooran 63, Mark Wood three for 18, Jofra Archer three for 30) lost to England 213 for two in 33.1 overs (Joe Root 100 not out, Jon Bairstow 45). Man-of-the-Match: Joe Root.

The call for a reserve day

The two unbeaten teams in the World Cup at that point of time — India and New Zealand — were to meet at Trent Bridge, Nottingham; however, incessant rain forced yet another washout. This was the tournament’s fourth abandonment, already surpassing the total number of washout matches seen in World Cups from 1975 to 2015 (2).

In the aftermath of games being washed out, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been criticised for not having reserve days for group stage matches. However, the game’s apex body has defended its decision while attributing the disruptions to “extremely unseasonable weather.”

The master of implosion

Australia’s David Warner is now biding his time before opening out. And he celebrates a wonderful century against Pakistan.   -  AP


There are few teams in world cricket as volatile as Pakistan and that smouldering tendency was on display during a 41-run defeat against Australia in Taunton.

Aaron Finch and Co. rode on a fine hundred (107 off 111 balls) by David Warner — his first since returning from the ball-tampering ban — to finish on 307. Finch set the stage earlier with a nearly run-a-ball 82 at the top. However, a brilliant spell of fast bowling from Mohammad Amir (five for 30) meant Australia fell short of a par score.

Imam-ul-Haq struck a fifty and forties by Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfaraz Ahmed kept Pakistan in the hunt for the most part in its chase, but Pat Cummins’ three for 33 coupled with two-wicket hauls for Mitchell Starc and Kane Richardson thwarted its surge. Wahab Riaz’s 39-ball 45 raised hopes of a comeback, but to no avail.

The scores: Australia 307 in 49 overs (David Warner 107, Aaron Finch 82, Mohammad Amir five for 30) beat Pakistan 266 in 45.4 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 53, Md. Hafeez 46, Sarfraz Ahmed 40, Wahab Riaz 45, Pat Cummins three for 33). Man-of-the-Match: David Warner.

The rain loves Bristol

Bristol was a witness to two abandoned contests in the ICC World Cup within a space of five days, and Sri Lanka sat out on both occasions. Its match against Bangladesh was a non-starter as the rain was unrelenting; the match was called off at about 2 p.m. local time.

Bangladesh may perhaps be the unhappier of the two sides given its potential and the shaky run endured by Sri Lanka in the lead-up.

This ended the World Cup engagements for Bristol.

Bad weather puts paid to competitive cricket

The West Indies’ left-arm paceman Sheldon Cottrell gets rid of South Africa’s Hashim Amla. He accounted for Aiden Markram too before rain took centre-stage.   -  AFP


It was a frustrating, rain-filled day in Southampton for those hoping to be part of some exciting cricket between two strong teams. West Indies has played an enterprising, attacking brand of cricket in this World Cup. And its fast bowlers were on the rampage once again, unsettling the South African top-order with pace and bounce in about half hour of cricket that was permitted by the weather. Sheldon Cottrell removed Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram cheaply, and the South Africans were under siege.

But rain intervened in the eighth over of the contest and did not relent. The best efforts by the groundsmen with their supersoppers wasn’t enough.

The washout was a blow for South Africa, too, as the side needed wins under its belt after three consecutive losses.

The scores: South Africa 29 for two in 7.3 overs vs West Indies. Match abandoned.