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Preview - First ODI - India vs Australia

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It is not for the first time that Australia are completing a tour of India in multiple trips. Talking about Australia's visits to India in the past decade, they played a seven-match ODI series in 2007. In the following year, they played a four-match Test series. The Aussies featured in another seven-match ODI series in 2009.
In 2010, they visited India for a short tour, i.e., two Test matches and three ODIs, out of which two ODIs were abandoned without a ball being bowled. In February-March 2013, they played a four-match Test series on the Indian soil. They returned back in October to play a one-off T20I and seven ODIs. Perhaps, their itinerary of 2017 was made on similar grounds. A four-match Test series in February-March, followed by a five-match ODI series and a three-match T20I series in September-October. Australia beat Pakistan 4-1 in ODIs this year (in January). However, they haven't won a match in the same format since then. Playing an ODI series against India in India w…

Will Sri Lanka be able to end their own misery?

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To remember the last time when the Sri Lankan cricket team was going through such a horrendous patch can be a tedious task. Any format of the game, home or away, they have been down and out in the past year or so. On this tour, there have been instances which depict that even the fans are losing interest now.
Well, that is how audiences around the globe tend to react. One and the only one thing, which can improve all of this is a road back to wining ways. One and the only name which can change the current situation is the Sri Lankan team itself. No one, but, the Sri Lankan players themselves will have to put in the efforts to end their own misery.
The first time India whitewashed Sri Lanka in a bilateral ODI series was way back in 1982 when Sri Lanka played three ODIs at Amritsar, Delhi and Bangalore and lost them by 78 runs, 6 wickets and 6 wickets respectively. India increased their domination to 5-0 around three years ago in 2014. If they win today's match, the score (5-0) might …

The metamorphosis of the English line-up

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Nick Compton. Joe Root. Michael Carberry. Sam Robson. Jonathan Trott. Adam Lyth. Moeen Ali. Alex Hales. Ben Duckett. Haseeb Hameed. Keaton Jennings. Mark Stoneman? Wondering why all these names have been written above? Well, these are the Test opening partners of Alastair Cook since the retirement of Andrew Strauss. Surprised?
You should be. 11 opening batsmen in a span of five years deserves a decent amount of this human emotion. But, such has been the level of transition in the England Test squad.
Had England been given the option of a 3-1 series victory over South Africa before the start of the series, they would have excepted it gleefully. South Africa came back from behind to level the series at Trent Bridge. With Faf du Plessis back in England, it seemed as if the result of the series would go down till the wire.
With victories at The Oval (by 239 runs) and Old Trafford (by 177 runs), England sealed the series without much discomfort. It was also the most desired start for England …

Review - Day 1 - 1st Test - SL vs IND.

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India is back to cricket's ancestral format after a spree of limited-overs tournaments since April. Irrespective of Sri Lanka's current form and rankings, it is generally difficult to play against them on their home soil. Surprises tend to happen on the island. The last time a No. 1 ranked team (Australia) played test cricket in Sri Lanka, they were whitewashed 3-0.
Even before the start of the series, the score was levelled at 1-1 in terms of players lost to injuries for the first test. Sri Lanka had to take field without their newly-appointed captain, Dinesh Chandimal. On the other hand, the visitors were without the services of their opener, Lokesh Rahul, who is down with viral fever. However unfortunate it may sound, Rahul's fever solved the confusion regarding India's opening pair. Abhinav Mukund and Shikhar Dhawan were set to open.
India's captain, Virat Kohli, won the toss and elected to bat. In a move that solved another selection conundrum, Hardik Pandya was…

Preview - WI vs IND - 1st ODI.

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The last time India toured West Indies for a bilateral ODI series was in 2011. Subramaniam Badrinath, Yusuf Pathan, Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel were a part of the Indian squad in that series. Talking about the hosts, among the current team, only Devendra Bishoo was a part of the squad that faced India in 2011. Both the teams have faced each other 116 times in ODIs, with West Indies winning 60 matches and India 53.Out of the 28 matches that both of these teams have played in the past 10 years, 18 have been won by India and seven by West Indies. The numbers throw light on West Indies' domination in the past and their lacklustre performance in the recent times. In what will be India's first series post the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, the management would be eager to try the two fresh faces, which have been named in the ODI squad. Having not been a part of the Champions Trophy, West Indies would want to resurrect their campaign at the highest level. They had hosted Afghanistan for…

Preview - ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - England.

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England have never won the ICC Champions Trophy. They had reached the final for the first time in 2004 but failed to get past West Indies. Then reached the semi-final in 2009 but lost to Australia. In the last edition of the tournament in 2013, a deficit of five runs separated them from the title. Home conditions will definitely be on their side in this tournament. But more than anything, it is the modern-day limited overs England team which has earned itself the tag of 'Favourites'.In the last 12 months, England have lost only one (against India in India) ODI series. The last series which they lost in England was against Australia in September 2015. In the last 11 times that England has batted first in ODIs, nine times they scored totals of 300+. The equation went up to 444-3 in an ODI against Pakistan. They fell short of just four runs (296-6) in the remaining one time. Such has been the strength of their batting order! Expected Playing Eleven1) Jason Roy 2) Alex Hales 3) Joe…

Preview - ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - South Africa.

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Since the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, South Africa have lost only a couple of bilateral ODI series (vs Bangladesh in 2015 and the ongoing series vs England), which throws light on their recent ODI form and is a testimony as to why they are the No. 1 ranked ODI team. They wouldn't have expected to be 0-2 down with a match to go in the existent series. However, they should be relieved that the drubbing has come in the series before the Champions Trophy and not in the Champions Trophy.
The Proteas won the inaugural edition of the Champions Trophy in 1998 (when it was known as the 1998 ICC KnockOut Trophy), which is till date their only major ICC event title. They lost in the semi-final to India in 2000 and 2002. Lost in the semi-final to West Indies in 2006 and then to England in 2013. If they get the permutation and combination of their all-rounders and bowlers right, this could well be the year for them.
Expected Playing Eleven1) Quinton de Kock (wk) 2) Hashim Amla 3) Faf du Plessis …

Preview - ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - Bangladesh.

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'Thrilling' would be the best word to describe the Bangladesh team in the current scenario. The team is on a spree of success, which it had never experienced before. Their mindset, their performance and the current ICC ODI rankings are testimony to it. Talking of mindset, the modern-day Bangladesh players take part in every match with a vista to win. Even if they lose, one or two individual stand-out performances are part of the loss.
Since their 15-run win over England in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Bangladesh have defeated Pakistan, India and South Africa in bilateral series on their home deck. As recent as this Wednesday, New Zealand became their latest victim as they were thumped them by five wickets in the last match of the tri-series in Ireland. Throwing light on the ICC ODI rankings, Bangladesh have jumped to No. 6 with 93 points, their best ever. In the rankings, they are above Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies - all former world champions. Bangladesh will be featu…

Preview - ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - Pakistan.

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Current No. 8 in the ICC ODI rankings, it will take a lot out of the Pakistani team to win their maiden ICC Champions Trophy title. Pakistan have won three out of eight ODIs played this year. They lost to Australia 1-4 down under. However, they won 2-1 against West Indies in West Indies last month.
Sarfraz Ahmed took charge from Azhar Ali in the series against West Indies. It will be interesting to see how he handles the big role in an ICC tournament such as this. If the senior names in the Pakistan squad play to their potential, moving forward in the tourney will not be as strenuous as it looks from the outset for they have a very talented bunch of youngsters as support.
Irrespective of the results, Pakistan have looked a better team since Mickey Arthur has joined the team as the head coach. The team, as a whole, would want to gain from his experience and move ahead in a positive direction.
Expected Playing Eleven1) Ahmed Shehzad 2) Azhar Ali 3) Babar Azam 4) Mohammad Hafeez 5) Shoaib M…

Preview - ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - India.

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Rain had curtailed an ODI match to a 20-over fixture. A rich brand of economical bowling helped MS Dhoni defend 130 by a deficit of five runs at Edgbaston, Birmingham. India had won the ICC Champions Trophy for the second time. Four years down the line, India will once again take field in the English conditions in the quest to win their third Champions Trophy title.
In what will be Virat Kohli's first attempt at an ICC trophy as a captain, the team has all what it takes to lift the trophy. "I am very excited to be playing as captain in my first major ICC competition. As far as the team goes, we won last time because our fast bowlers did very well, our spinners were strong and our opening batsmen did well.", Kohli said during a press conference in England.
"They were the main three factors. This year the team is a lot fitter, the cricketers are a lot more mature because that was a very young group four years ago. It has gained a lot of experience in the last three or f…

Preview - ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - New Zealand.

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New Zealand have a history with the ICC Champions Trophy. The Kiwis won the second edition of the tournament in 2000 (when it was known as the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy) under Stephen Fleming. Since then, they reached the semi-final (2006) and final (2009) but lost to Australia both the times by 34 runs and six wickets respectively.
The current squad contains a bunch of exuberant names with some experienced campaigners. The versatility of their batsmen consolidates the line-up. A quartet of fast bowlers and a duo of spinners add variety to the bowling division. Under Kane Williamson, the black caps would be looking grab hands on their second title after a long wait of 17 years.
Expected Playing Eleven1) Tom Latham 2) Martin Guptill 3) Kane Williamson (c) 4) Ross Taylor 5) Neil Broom 6) James Neesham 7) Luke Ronchi (wk) 8) Mitchell Santner 9) Tim Southee 10) Mitchell McClenaghan 11) Trent Boult

SpecificationCaptaining the side in the absence of Williamson has yielded both results and runs …

Preview - ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - Sri Lanka.

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A solitary win in eight ODI matches in the year 2017 proves why Sri Lanka is at No. 6 in the ICC ODI rankings. They lost 0-5 to South Africa in South Africa earlier this year and then came back from behind to win the third ODI against Bangladesh to draw the home series.
His recent form and fitness suggests that Angelo Mathews is no more the Angelo Mathews we knew about. He will be donning the Sri Lankan colours after a hiatus of nine months. Having said that, the 29-year old all-rounder would be longing to be back among the runs, the wickets and the fitness!
In what was their best attempt in the ICC Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka shared the title with India in 2002 on home soil. They lost to India in the semi-final by 8 wickets in 2013. They might not seem as the favourites this year, but you never know with this game of cricket! Expected Playing Eleven1) Niroshan Dickwella 2) Upul Tharanga 3) Kusal Mendis 4) Dinesh Chandimal(wk) 5) Angelo Mathews (c) 6) Asela Gunaratne 7) Seekkuge Prasanna…

IPL 2017 - 'The Top XI'.

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VIVO IPL 2017 is done and dusted now. The tourney was onlooker to some hard-fought and some one-sided matches. 60 matches were played over the past 47 days. There were a lot of masterly performances during the entire duration of the IPL. After considering all such recitals, here is a list of eleven players who form the 'Top XI' of this season of the Indian Premier League.

David Warner (c) - If there had been a vacancy for a synonym of consistency, the word 'Warner' would have been the first choice. The 30-year old captain of SunRisers Hyderabad ended the 10th season of IPL as the highest run-scorer with 641 runs under his belt. Maintaining an average of 58.27 and a strike rate of 141.81 for over 14 matches is no mean task. Warner continued his splendid run from IPL 2016 in terms of both batting and leading the side.Hashim Amla - Apart from scoring two centuries and two half-centuries in this IPL, Amla also broke the cliche regarding the inability of his style of batsmen…

Preview - ICC Champions Trophy 2017 - Australia.

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Just like the ICC Cricket World Cups, Australia, the current World Champions, are leading the way in the ICC Champions Trophy as well. As of now, they have won two titles (in 2006 & 2009). Even India has won the same number of titles, but they had shared the title in 2002 with Sri Lanka. Australia might not be the team it was once known for, but some individual heavyweights still have it in them to win the trophy for their nation.
The selectors have chosen a 15-man squad which comprises of some swashbuckling batsmen, value for money fast-bowling all-rounders and a brigade of high-speed bowlers. The squad has been named after taking into consideration the combo of modern-day limited overs cricket and the English conditions.
Expected Playing Eleven1) David Warner 2) Aaron Finch 3) Steven Smith (c) 4) Travis Head 5) Glenn Maxwell 6) Marcus Stoinis 7) Matthew Wade (wk) 8) Mitchell Starc 9) Pat Cummins 10) John Hastings 11) Josh Hazlewood SpecificationDavid Warner and Aaron Finch form a f…