Cricket World Cup 2019 is halfway now but still, the fourth spot of the knockout stage is wide open for the dark horses like Pakistan and Bangladesh. Australia and New Zealand have managed to seal their place in the top four. India need to find some comfort in the remaining matches!
Match 31- Bangladesh vs Afghanistan
The seniors shined for Bangladesh. Mushfiqur Rahim (83), Shakib Al Hasan (51) and Tamim Iqbal (36) delivered the three highest innings for Bangladesh. There were key partnerships throughout the innings that helped Bangladesh to post 262/7. For Afghanistan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman were effective and took the wickets of Liton Das, Shakib and Soumya Sarkar for 39 runs. The spinners bowled well and the skipper Gulbadin Naib took two wickets at the death. Afghanistan were cautious from the beginning. Rahmat Shah along with Gulbadin Naib batted together for first 11 overs. But there was middle order collapse soon and Afghans moved from 104/2 to 132/6. Afghanistan fell short of 62 runs. Shakib Al Hasan registered his best ODI bowling analysis of 5 for 29.
Match 32- Australia vs England
Batting first Australian openers carried on their good form and added 123 runs for the first wicket in 22.4 overs. David Warner scored 53 runs and became the first batsman to cross the 500 runs in this World Cup. Aaron Finch registered his second century of the tournament. Alex Carey contributed significantly with his unbeaten 38 off 27 balls at the end and put 285 on board. England lost James Vince was gone on the 2nd ball. With 53/ 4 England were quickly slipping away. Ben Stokes (89) and Jos Buttler (25) added 71 runs but couldn’t do much. Jason Behrendorff came and had his first five-wicket haul. He started with a wicket in the first over of the match, then came back to run through the lower order. Mitchell Starc took four wickets. With their 6th win of the tournament, Australia became the first team to book their semi-final spot.
Match 33- New Zealand vs Pakistan
Pakistan continued to match with the striking similarities of their 1992 World Cup campaign and won the seventh match by six wickets. Batting first New Zealand were in all sorts of trouble on 46/4. Kane Williamson and James Neesham tried to recover and added 37 runs before Williamson gone for 41. Colin de Grandhomme (64) played another handy inning with Neesham (97*) as the duo added 132. Mohammad Amir initiated the damage that was complete by young Shaheen Shah Afridi who took three wickets. Chasing 238 Babar Azam recorded the second fastest to 3000 runs in ODI during his knock of 101*. Haris Sohail scored 68 and Pakistan won the match by six wickets. Although Mitchell Santner’s first spell of 19/0 in seven overs made the Kiwis hopeful nothing worked in the long run.
Match 34- India Vs West Indies
Virat Kohli again delivered a steady inning of 72 runs and became the fastest player to reach 20,000 international runs. Rohit Sharma’s dubious decision baffled everyone initially but India bounced back. KL Rahul (48) again left a good inning unfinished. When MS Dhoni focused on holding the innings from one end, Hardik Pandya came in the 39th over to contribute 46 runs in a 70 runs partnership with Dhoni. Dhoni took India to 268/7 with 56. West Indies brought in Kemar Roach today and he delivered a good spell (10- 0-36-3) Sheldon Cottrell took and Jason Holder picked up two each. Lack of partnerships on Old Trafford pitch took the match from West Indies. By 25th over they were five down and the match was almost done. Shami recorded his second consecutive 4-wicket haul in this tournament. Bumrah was terrific as ever but missed a hat-trick opportunity. This fifth consecutive loss for West Indies eliminated them from this edition.
Match 35- Sri Lanka vs South Africa
Despite a second wicket partnership of 67, there was nothing to highlight from Sri Lanka innings. For them, Kushal Perera and Avishka Fernando were the top scorers with 30 each. They managed to put 203 runs on board after much struggle. Kagiso Rabada started with a wicket on the first ball then Dwaine Pretorius provided the breakthroughs as he scalped both Perera and Fernando in the 10th and 12th over. That was a turning point! Pretorious and Chris Morris finished with three wickets each. A brilliant unbeaten 80 off 105 balls by Hasim Amla did it for the Proteas. Faf Du Plessis’ 103-ball unbeaten 96 finally nailed the coffin to the Lankan hopes.
Match 36- Pakistan vs Afghanistan
For the first time, Afghanistan could bat till the 50 overs in this tournament. Asghar Afghan and Najibullah Zadran scored 42 runs each. Rahmat Shah scored 35 runs and a handy contribution of19 runs from Samiullah Shinwari at the death helped the Afghans to put 227/9 at the end. For Pakistan, it was the young Shaheen Shah Afridi as he maintained his good form in this much important match for his team. He took four wickets and Wahab Riaz managed two. Pakistan’s chase started off with a drama as Fakhar Zaman was gone on the second ball. Regular wickets at the middle order impacted their chance as none of the batsmen could capitalize on the good starts. Imam scored 36, Babar 45 and Haris Sohail 27. With the team score on 180/6, it became a difficult job for Pakistan. However, Imad Wasim took control. With 46 required of five overs, his 17 runs in the 46th over destroyed the Afghan dreams. This will be remembered as a massacre by Gulbadin Naib. With options left in hand, Naib himself came to deliver that all important 46th over. Pakistan were one step closer to the top four slots.
Match 37- Australia vs New Zealand
Australian team, with each passing match, is looking more threatening. They literally thrashed a well balanced and good New Zealand side this time. With the top order batsmen gone at quick gaps, Usman Khawaja rose to the occasion. He (88) found an ally in Alex Carey (71). Later Pat Cummins (23*) played a good cameo and provided good support to accumulate 243/9 for the mighty Aussies. Trent Boult recorded the first ever ODI hat-trick at Lord’s and finished with four wickets. Lockie Ferguson and Jimmy Neesham took care of two wickets apiece. Dependency on Williamson and Taylor was relevant for the Kiwis. Williamson (40) and Ross Taylor (30) added 55 runs for the third wicket but that was all for New Zealand innings. Mitchell Starc registered a record five wicket-haul whereas Jason Behrendorff bowled an extended spell and got the two openers. As far as New Zealand are concerned, they are safely placed at the second position on the points table and only India have a mathematical chance of surpassing them now.
Match 38- India vs England
This was a mishap that nobody wanted to witness. This match was a lot more important to Pakistan and Bangladesh to India. India’s win would make rooms for its neighbours in the top four. Jonny Bairstow’s blistering 111 and Jason Roy’s 66 laid the foundation for a massive English inning. Then Joe Root added 44 runs and Ben Stokes was quick with 54-ball 79. England ended with 337/7. Shami yet again impressed and had a five-wicket haul this time. Bumrah took only one but was effective to restrict England to a ‘reachable’ total. While chasing, India started off with 8/1 as KL Rahul was gone for a duck. Rohit Sharma registered his third hundred of this tournament and matched Sourav Ganguly. On the other hand, Virat Kohli mastered 66 runs that made him the first captain to score five consecutive fifties as a captain. But that’s all India had to cherish from this match. Rishabh Pant played his first World Cup match and looked quite nervous throughout at that important number four slot. He added 32 runs, Hardik Pandya tried to accelerate with 45 off 33 but once these two were gone England completely took control of the match. MS Dhoni scored 42 runs and Kedar Jadav 12. These two batted at the end it gave birth to a lot of controversies. India’s loss by 31 runs in this match basically made things more difficult for Pakistan and Bangladesh. Even the margin of win or loss in the next two matches will be vital for India to stay in the second place. Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes took three and two wickets respectively.
Off Field Headlines:
- Andre Russell was ruled out of World Cup followed by injury. Sunil Ambris replaced him.
- Aftab Alam was sent back home for breaching ICC Code of Conduct. Sayed Ahmad Shirzad was included as his replacement in the Afghanistan squad.
- Nuwan Pradeep was ruled out of Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign due to chicken pox.
Standings till 38th Match, World Cup 2019:
|Shakib Al Hasan||Bangladesh||476||95.20||99.2||2||3|
|Kane Williamson||New Zealand||454||113.50||77.9||2||1|
|Lockie Ferguson||New Zealand||17||18.58||4.96||1||0|
|Trent Boult||New Zealand||13||24.15||4.55||2||0|
|Chris Morris||South Africa||12||23.16||5.08||0||0|
|Sheldon Cottrell||West Indies||11||25.45||5.60||1||0|
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