World Cup 2019: Three tactics from Virat Kohli…

India v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Another humongous India vs Pakistan clash at the World Cup stage has ended in one-sided contest. India beat Pakistan by 89 runs due to the DLS method. This is India’s seventh successive win over Pakistan at the World Cup stage and this loss would have really dampened the mode around the Pakistani camp.

Winning the toss on a wicket that looked a bit dry, Sarfaraz Khan elected to bowl and batting first, India scored 336 runs for the loss of 5 wickets with Rohit Sharma being the top scorer with 140 runs off just 113 balls. Chasing a mammoth total, Pakistan were never in the game and after rain curtailed the game to 40 overs and target revised to 302, Pakistan scored 212 runs for the loss of 6 wickets.

Coming to start of the match, Rohit and KL Rahul got India off to a flyer with a 136 run opening partnership but Rahul departed after scoring a well played 57 runs off 77 balls. Then, Virat Kohli and Rohit upped the anti before the Indian vice-captain departed after scoring a signature daddy hundred.

Towards the end, cameos from Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar, India reached 336 runs. Batting second, Pakistan got pegged back with an early wicket and after a good partnership between Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman, Pakistan lost wickets in bulk and eventually lost the game by 89 runs due to the DLS method .

So, in this slideshow, we take a look at the three tactics employed by Kohli that helped India win the match.

#3 Team Selection

India v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

On an overcast day in Manchester, many experts were thinking that Mohammed Shami might be included in the team as the third seamer but that didn’t happen, instead Virat went with his trusted wrist spinners and Vijay Shankar as the extra seam option and safe to say, it worked brilliantly.

India seemed to have all the bases covered and even when Bhuvneshwar Kumar was ruled out of the match early on, the Indian bowling department didn’t break a sweat. Also, we didn’t see a single over from Kedar Jadhav which is a rarity these days. All in all, Virat got his team selection bang on.

#2 Astute use of Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar

India v Australia – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

When Bhuvneshwar Kumar pulled his groin in his third and India’s fifth over, it looked like India would be in trouble as he and Jasprit Bumrah were the only front-line fast bowlers in the playing XI. But to complete his unfinished overcame Vijay Shankar and to the delight of the skipper, he struck with his first ball and trapped Imam-ul-Haq in front.

Also, Kohli then gave Shankar an extended spell with Hardik Pandya operating from the other end and both of them kept things tight before the spin twins weaved their magic. The over that won India the game was the one in which Hardik picked up both Mohamed Hafez and Shoaib Malik of consecutive balls. It was a very smart decision from Kohli’s point of view as he could have easily turned to Yuzvendra Chahal against the two right-handers but his move worked.

Hardik ended up with figures 2 wickets for 44 runs off his 8 overs, while Vijay finished up his 5.2 overs for 22 runs and 2 wickets.

#1 Trusting the spin twins even when they were leaking runs

India v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

When India got an early breakthrough, there was a phase in the game where Pakistan were pacing their chase very well. Both Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman were looking really good. They were taking the game to the Indian wrist spinners, especially Yuzvendra Chahal and they were milking Kuldeep Yadav for runs.

The partnership was over a hundred runs and both the batsmen were looking comfortable against spin and most captains at that stage would have thought of going to their strike bowler, in this case, Bumrah but Kohli decided to stick with Kuldeep and first, he ripped through Babar’s defenses with an absolute jaffa and then got the well set Zaman out for 62 runs.

Those back to back wickets of the set batsmen in the space of three overs pegged Pakistan back and this scenario showed how much trust Kohli has on his wrist spinners.

World Cup 2019: Three tactics from Virat Kohli…

South Africa v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

India opened their points account with a dominating victory over South Africa by 6 wickets in the former’s first World Cup 2019 match. Batting first, South Africa didn’t get the best of starts as both Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla were sent packing by Jasprit Bumrah.

The innings was solidified then by the middle order but the Indian wrist spinners left South Africa in a spot of bother at 135 for 6 after 35 overs but Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada then took South Africa to a fighting total of 227 for the loss of 9 wickets in the first innings.

Chasing a smallish total, Rabada sent Shikhar Dhawan early, leaving Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to ride out the new ball but the skipper couldn’t continue as he got out for 18 off 34 balls. Then, Rohit and KL Rahul stitched a wonderful partnership which was followed by another between the vice-captain and MS Dhoni. Rohit scored a wonderfully composed century, while Hardik Pandya finished the game.

It was Rohit’s match-winning 122 runs off 144 balls that earned the most plaudits but Kohli’s brilliant captaincy in the first innings should also be applauded. So, in this slideshow, we take a look at three tactics from Virat Kohli that were very important in India winning their first match.

#3 Team selection

South Africa v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Many thoughts were lingering on what team combination would Kohli decide to go with and he went with his tried and trusted combination. He trusted Kuldeep Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar over Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami respectively which would have left many fans unhappy but the decision definitely paid off.

Bhuvenshwar along with Jasprit Bumrah bowled a brilliant opening spell while Kuldeep was also brilliant in the middle overs. Over the years, many have scrutinized Kohli’s team selection but credit where its due. Kohli didn’t get it wrong in terms of the playing XI.

#2 Attacking fields in the first 10 overs

South Africa v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

When South Africa came into bat and after the first over bowled by Jasprit Bumrah, it looked like the wicket had something for the fast bowlers and straightaway, Kohli went with two slips. Bumrah got the wicket of Hashim Amla, caught by Rohit at second slip.

Kohli almost had a Test match like field setting, especially for the first 8 overs – a gully, two slips, no third man and huge spaces on the off side. An incident which was a brilliant captaincy call from Kohli was when Bumrah was bowling to Quinton de Kock during the sixth over of the match and during the early part of that over, Kohli had two slips in place.

But seeing him struggle against Bumrah, Kohli decided to put himself at third slip and on the 5th ball of that over, de Kock was caught by the skipper at that exact position. That incident highlighted the attacking nature of Kohli’s captaincy in the early part of South Africa’s innings.

#1 Banking on Kul-Cha to remove the South African middle order

South Africa v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Another decision by Kohli that should be lauded is that he brought on both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal early in the innings, even after seeing the assistance the fast bowlers were getting from the pitch. He brought on Kuldeep after the completion of the first powerplay and he tightened things up from one end.

Then came the magical spell from Chahal. It was a masterpiece from him, showing how to use drift and bounce. Chahal and Yadav ripped through the South African middle order with ease, picking up 5 wickets between each other.

Chahal ended picking 4 wickets for 51 runs off his 10 overs, while Kuldeep picked up 1 wicket, giving away 46 runs off his 10 overs. Kohli has always maintained high regards for his two wrist spinners and against South Africa, both of them justified his trust.

World Cup 2019: Three takeaways for Virat Kohl…

South Africa v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

India beat South Africa by 6 wickets in their first world cup match at Southampton. On a two-paced wicket, South Africa decided to bat first and went on to score only 227 runs for the loss of 9 wickets. India chased it down quite comfortably with the help of Rohit Sharma’s match-winning knock of 122 runs.

In the first innings, South Africa didn’t get the best of starts as both the openers were sent packing by Jasprit Bumrah. The middle order couldn’t consolidate the innings as Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal ripped through South Africa’s middle order.

Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada did do a good job later on with the bat and helped South Africa post a fighting total. During the chase, Rabada and Andile Phelukwayo got rid of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli respectively, while Rohit Sharma continued to ride his luck.

The set Indian vice-captain along with small partnerships with the middle order batsmen saw India through and start the world cup on a high note. In this slideshow, we take a look at the three takeaways Kohli could make out from this match.

#3 Jasprit Bumrah is operating at a different level right now

South Africa v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

If this wasn’t clear watching him bowl in the Indian Premier League, it surely is now. Jasprit Bumrah is operating at a different level altogether and his every bowl of his seems to be hitting the bat very hard which is a great sign for a bowler.

Against South Africa, he dismissed both the openers very early and both of them were Test match dismissals, edges caught at slip. His early burst was brilliant to watch and it only showed how lucky Kohli is as a captain to have that kind of bowler in his team.

Bumrah is going to be vital for the whole world cup and if the first match is anything to go by, any team that comes up against India would find it difficult to negotiate him.

#2 Kuldeep and Chahal are India’s key wicket takers

South Africa v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

There were many doubts over the selection of Kuldeep Yadav, especially after the strong display from Ravindra Jadeja in the practice matches but Kohli decided to stick to his guns and that move seriously paid off. On a pitch that wasn’t showing any signs of turn, both the spinners picked up 5 wickets together.

Kuldeep kept it tight from one end while Yuzvendra Chahal weaved his magic from the other end, getting rid of the South African middle order. Chahal ended up picking four wickets for 51 runs off the 10 overs and Kuldeep gave away 46 runs in his 10 overs picking up 1 wicket.

If this match is taken into context, both Kuldeep and Chahal are match winners for India and both of them should play every match regardless of the conditions on offer.

#1 Experienced players step up to the plate

South Africa v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

One thing which Kohli would have loved against South Africa was the performance from his experienced players, especially the amount of responsibility that Rohit Sharma showed on the day.

It wasn’t a typical Rohit innings as he rode his luck early on and when he settled, it didn’t look like he was going to throw it away. It was his slowest ODI ton and a match-winning one with 13 fours and 2 sixes. Even the composed knock from MS Dhoni would have made Kohli very happy.

Taking up responsibility is the key thing for any batsmen and Rohit did exactly that which would have delighted the captain.

CWC 2019: Four Indian players who might be pla…

Virat Kohli

The ICC World Cup 2019 is less than a month away and the anticipation for the tournament is increasing with each passing day. The 2019 World Cup in England is expected to be a run fest as the pitches usually support batting.

Every team participating in this tournament would have made their squad to get a perfect balance between youth and experience and India is one such team who have done exactly that. India seems to have a right blend of youth and experience and their squad can be considered as one of the best alongside England.

Some of those experienced players playing in the world cup are usually on the wrong side of age. They are usually past their prime and that means, they might be around until the next World Cup.

In this slideshow, we take a look at the four players from the Indian squad who might be playing their last World Cup.

#4 Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik

One of the most talked about selections in world cup squad for India was Dinesh Karthik. Karthik is selected as the second choice wicket-keeper behind MS Dhoni and he pipped Rishabh Pant for that spot.

Karthik is currently 33-years-old and considering the players breathing down his neck, he might not be around for the 2023 World Cup. In his career for India in ODI cricket thus far, he has had many ups and downs but his experience at the top level is something that would help in England.

If his recent form is anything to go by, he might prove to be a very important squad player for India. Karthik would be hoping to put on a display in England as he might not be around for another World Cup.

#3 Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan

India’s explosive opener and the other half of that terrific opening partnership, Shikhar Dhawan could be playing his last World Cup in England. Shikhar alongside Rohit Sharma have been mainstays of the Indian batting unit, especially white ball cricket.

India’s top 3 is currently regarded as one of the world’s best. Dhawan is currently 33-years-old and keeping age in mind, this might be his last ODI World Cup. The competition for places is increasing in India day by day and sooner rather than later, young players will start getting their opportunities.

Dhawan has always been s brilliant in the ICC tournaments and with the pitches in England expected to be flat, Dhawan might enjoy batting on them. The southpaw would be looking to win the trophy as this may be the last one he is the part of.

#2 MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni

One of the best captains and wicket-keepers to ever don the India blue, MS Dhoni most likely might be playing his last World Cup. Dhoni is currently 37-years-old and with the likes of Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, etc on the rise, Dhoni might retire very soon.

Although he is currently one of the fittest players going around in the world, his batting form has seen ups and downs. Dhoni is currently the best wicket-keeper in the world but when you are on the wrong side of the ‘40s, it starts becoming difficult.

Dhoni has already won one World Cup and he would be looking forward to putting on a show in England. The presence of Dhoni will only help India overcome the pressure situations and maybe go all the way in the tournament.

#1 Kedar Jadhav

Kedar Jadhav

India’s newly found spin-bowling all-rounder, Kedar Jadhav might be playing his first and last World Cup for India in England. Jadhav is currently 34-years-old and if his recent struggle with injuries is anything to go by, there might be very few years remaining in his career for India.

Jadhav got to play for India very late in his career and although he didn’t get many opportunities in the beginning, now he is one of the most important players in the blue. His bowling has been the X-factor for India for quite some time now and his ability to slow down the run rate in the middle overs will come in handy in England.

Jadhav has also batted brilliantly in the pressure situations and he alongside Dhoni are India’s best middle order batsmen. With age not on his side, Kedar would be looking to perform in England.

IPL 2019: 3 Players Chennai Super Kings should…

MS Dhoni (Image Courtesy IPLT20/BCCI)

The 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League has reached its end and we have our champion for this season in Mumbai Indians. The two finalists battled it out on Sunday at Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings to win their 4th IPL title.

This year like every other year was full of excitement and action, and maybe, this was the most closely fought IPL as for the first time, a team with 12 points made it through to the playoffs. We have seen many brilliant teams over the years but none as consistent as the Chennai Super Kings.

This year also, they successfully made it into the finals, which was their second consecutive and they have also made it into the playoffs every season. While they were at the top of their game from the start, this by no means was a plane sail for them as some players disappointed along the way.

CSK were belligerent all season but in this slideshow, we take a look at the three players who should be released before next year:

#3 Kedar Jadhav

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

CSK’s batting unit was the one to disappoint this season as barring Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis and MS Dhoni, nobody was consistent enough. The middle order especially flattered to deceive and one such player who had a bad season this year was Kedar Jadhav.

Jadhav hasn’t had many great IPL’s over the years and this was another year in which he failed miserably. In the 14 matches that he played this season, he scored just 162 runs at an average of 18. Also, he didn’t play in this CSK team as an all-rounder and that makes those stats look worse.

#2 Ambati Rayudu

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

One thing that everyone knows about now is the weaknesses of the CSK middle order which proved to be too dependent on MS Dhoni this season. One of the batsmen who didn’t perform both at the top of the order and the middle order was Ambati Rayudu.

Rayudu had a terrific season last year for CSK but this year, he flattered to deceive. In the 17 matches that he played, he just scored 282 runs at an average of 23. Rayudu started the tournament as an opener, but due to his inconsistent performances, he was dropped down to the middle order and he didn’t perform at that position as well.

He got starts in almost every game but he consumed too many deliveries to get set. With the patience of the CSK team management running out, they might be looking at a potential replacement at the auctions and Rayudu might be released before next year.

#1 Shardul Thakur

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

Another problem that the defending champions faced this year was the quality of their death bowling, especially without Dwayne Bravo. Barring Deepak Chahar, no Indian seamer really found his groove in the tournament and one of those bowlers who had a bad time this year was Shardul Thakur.

Thakur found it tough to put in consistent performances and his death bowling was poor, to say the least. In the 10 matches that he played this season, he picked up just 8 wickets at an economy rate of 9.2. Shardul isn’t a specialist T20 bowler by any means and he may not be in CSK’s long term plans.

CSK need to increase the quality of their death bowling next year if they are to win the crunch moments. Thakur hasn’t shown any signs of improvement over the course of the tournament and he may be released before next year.

IPL 2019: 3 Players Mumbai Indians should rele…

Rohit Sharma (Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League has reached its business end, and we already know one of the finalists – the Mumbai Indians. MI beat the Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1 to book their place in the final, while the Delhi Capitals beat Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator to set up a date with CSK in Qualifier 2.

The Qualifier 2 is going to be played today, with the final scheduled on 12th May. Now, let’s talk about one of the finalists. Mumbai Indians have dominated this year’s IPL from start to finish and there are many reasons behind it.

Their uncapped Indian players are firing and their middle order is one the most powerful in the whole tournament. Their bowling attack hasn’t disappointed as well and they have the best death bowling options in the IPL.

Led by Rohit Sharma, MI have looked brilliant but it hasn’t been a smooth ride for every player as some have disappointed. In this slideshow, we take a look at the three players whom MI should release before the next season:

#3 Yuvraj Singh

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

At the auction, when MI went for Yuvraj Singh, many fans were surprised as to why a middle order batsman, past his prime, was being picked by them. MI have been at the top of their game this season as they have already made it into the final, but the same cannot be said about Yuvraj, as he has had another underwhelming campaign.

The southpaw started this year with a brilliant half-century against the Delhi Capitals but after that, he flopped for three consecutive games and in all of those matches, he took too many balls to settle and get going.

His fielding also has just not been good enough this year and we have seen many misfields from him. In his four matches, he has scored just 98 runs at an average of almost 25. He is clearly past his prime and while he does show flashes of his old brilliance, MI and Rohit should start thinking about his release next year.

#2 Ben Cutting

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

One thing that makes MI such a balanced and fearful side is the fact that they have a plethora of all-rounders in their ranks who can take the game away on their own. MI currently have four to five top all-rounders and the one who has performed the worst this season is Ben Cutting.

The Australian had a good time last year but this season, he hasn’t done enough with the opportunities that he has got. His problems with facing spin are well known to everyone and that has been exploited this year. In his three matches, Cutting has scored just 18 runs. He has picked up only one wicket at an economy rate of almost 14.

With Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya being the preferred all-rounders, I don’t see Cutting getting many opportunities. Also, with Kieron Pollard finding form, his chance of getting into the team as a pure batsman also seems to be fading away. So, there is a huge chance we might see him being released next year.

#1 Barinder Sran

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

MI currently have one of the best bowling attacks in the IPL and they have all kinds of bowlers in their ranks. One of the main reasons why they have reached the final is the fact that they have the best death bowlers in the business. Most of MI’s bowlers have performed well when given a chance, except Barinder Sran.

Sran had his best years while playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad but after his brief stint, he has moved across franchises and hasn’t performed well. This year, he has played two matches for MI in which he has failed to pick up any wicket and has an economy rate of almost 13.

MI currently have two brilliant left-arm seamers in Mitchell McCleneghan and Jason Behrendorff, so, Sran may be the third-choice next year as well. Sran can be a good squad player but he certainly isn’t a specialist T20 bowler, so, don’t be surprised to see him being released by MI next year.

IPL 2019: 3 Delhi Capitals players Kolkata Kni…

Dinesh Karthik (Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

The 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League has entered its business end, with the Mumbai Indians, the Chennai Super Kings, the Delhi Capitals and the Sunrisers Hyderabad making it to the playoffs.

This season’s league table looked a bit different as compared to previous ones as SRH became the first team in IPL’s history to qualify for the playoffs with just 12 points, while MI, CSK and DC had 18 points each. It was a very competitive season, and one of the teams which started very well before fading away were the Kolkata Knight Riders, who eventually couldn’t make it into the playoffs.

The biggest reason for their non-qualification was the lack of depth they had in their fast bowling department. Before the start of the tournament, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti were ruled out which left the Dinesh Karthik-led side short on resources.

Also, their over-dependence on the power hitting of Andre Russell cost them dearly and it was another case of how individuals cannot win you tournaments. But one team which made it through the playoffs were the Delhi Capitals. There are some players in that DC line-up whom Karthik would have loved to have in his team. So, in this slideshow, we take a look at the three DC players who KKR wished they had:

#3 Keemo Paul

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

KKR’s problems lied in their inability to contain the opposition during the middle overs. Karthik was hugely dependent on the spin trio of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav to keep a grip in the middle overs but all the three bowlers were very inconsistent and to be fair, the Kolkata wicket wasn’t assisting spin much.

That is where Karthik would have loved to have someone like Keemo Paul, who has all the variations in the book and can keep it tight. In the six matches he has played for Delhi this season, he has picked up six wickets at an economy rate of just 7.5.

The West Indian would have been a brilliant addition to a somewhat lacklustre KKR bowling attack.

#2 Ishant Sharma

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

Kolkata Knight Riders had trouble picking up early wickets in the powerplay which was another reason for their lacklustre season. Karthik simply couldn’t find options he could trust upfront to pick up wickets as the likes of Prasidh Krishna and Harry Gurney were all very inconsistent.

Karthik would have loved to have someone like Ishant Sharma, who could have extracted some pace and bounce out of the Kolkata track and get his team some early wickets. Sharma has had a decent IPL this year as in his 11 matches, he has picked up 10 wickets at an economy rate of 7.6.

Karthik had some brilliant spinners in his ranks but for some reason, the wicket in Kolkata seemed to have more in it for the pacers. KKR showed too much dependency on their spinners this year and the story could have been different if they had Ishant in their ranks.

#1 Kagiso Rabada

(Image Courtesy IPLT20 BCCI)

If you are a KKR fan reading this article, you would have probably guessed who is going to be the first in this list. KKR had problems in their bowling department from the start to the finish and their death bowling was one of the worst this year.

It was so bad that Karthik had to sometimes try Chawla and Nitish Rana in the death rather than the likes of Gurney, Lockie Ferguson and Krishna. So, how can KKR not wish to have the best bowler in this year’s IPL – Kagiso Rabada?

Rabada has had a brilliant IPL and he is currently leading the Purple Cap race. The South African, who has returned to his country due to an injury, has been great both in the powerplay and in the death overs. In his 12 matches, he has picked up 25 wickets at an economy rate of 7.8. Rabada would have definitely added some firepower if he would have played for KKR.