IPL 2019 – Why SRH may win this season

SRH were the runners-up of the 2018 edition of the IPL, being beaten by the Chennai Super Kings in the finals. They were extremely consistent the whole year, gaining new fans and retaining old and loyal supporters. 

The year was a roller coaster for them, but despite all, the franchise persevered and won infinite hearts. This year, they hope to recreate the magic, and hopefully, bring home the trophy. Here are a few reasons why SRH may win the Indian Premier League this year.

A Capable Leader

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David Warner will return to the team this year and will continue to lead it till the time he departs for the World Cup 2019. He will be replaced by the fully capable and efficient Kane Williamson, who will lead the side efficiently last year and will continue to lead SRH after the departure of Warner. Even when he will not be the skipper, he will be expected to give his valuable inputs during every game, and the presence of two power-packed stars is sure to help the franchise.

Also Read: SRH- Strengths, Weaknesses and Possible Line-up

The presence of Williamson

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The leading run scorer for SRH in the previous year was Kane Williamson, who was also the top run-getter in the whole tournament. Leading the table at over 700 runs, SRH will be obviously banking on the very capable New Zealander to help tide them through yet again. With Shikhar Dhawan being traded away, and with Warner likely to be rusty, the onus will lie on the Kiwi star, at least in the initial parts of the tournament.

Also Read: Why RCB might win IPL 2019

A Lethal Wicket Taker

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SRH have a major trump card in their side, in the form of Afghan bowler Rashid Khan. Possibly the best bowler in the world, Khan has been proven to be downright unpredictable and can send back any batsman with ease. He is surely dangerous on the field and is without a doubt the biggest threat in the Sunrisers Hyderabad. No batsman would want to face him, and this fear will surely work in the favor of SRH. In the recent past, Rashid has also improved his batting skills, which makes him even more lethal.

Ability to Defend Any Score

In the 2018 edition of the IPL, there were a multitude of instances when SRH put up a modest score on the board, only to have the bowlers defend it with ease. Their bowlers can put up both match winning and mind-blowing performances with ease. The biggest advantage of SRH is that even if sometimes their batsmen falter, the bowlers have no qualms rising to the occasion, and helping the team win the match comfortably.

Best Pace Bowling Attack

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There is no doubt of the fact that the Sunrisers Hyderabad have the best bowling line- up in the Indian Premier League.  From the start to the end, the bowling squad is filled with a versatile variety of Indian bowlers. Furthermore, the captain knows how to rotate the bowlers, offering a unique take at every over. In addition to the Indian bowlers, Billy Stanlake, their foreign offering, is equally capable and efficient. The Sunrisers Hyderabad has a stable team which thrives on a variety of pacers, who can always impress those watching.

Also Read: Why CSK will not win IPL 2019

Australia show nerve to clinch the series 3-2

Australia show nerve to clinch the series 3-2

Australia looked all set for a historic win when Adam Zampa got Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja in the 29th over en route bowling a maiden, the result was all but obvious. India was left with Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to chase another 141 runs at more than run-a-ball. 

One more wicket and the Delhi crowd would have seen an early end to the game, which is not what the expectations were in the last ODI that Team India were playing ahead of the World Cup. The batting depth came to haunt India once again, and though Jadhav and Bhuvi narrowed down the target considerably, the chinks in the armor can in no way be ignored.

India were left with 59 runs to win in 30 deliveries, with both Jadhav and Bhuvi batting in their 40s. However, the fight had to end sooner than later, and the partnership was ended when the latter tried to clear the infield in the 46th over. It opened the gates for an Indian collapse and a rare series defeat for the Men in Blue.

At the other end, Jadhav who had to now go for everything perished in the next over, as he pulled Jhye Richardson to the fielder at fine leg. The rest of the batting unit failed to stick around, succumbing to 237 runs in reply to Australia’s 272. The win at Feroz Shah Kotla was Australia’s first after six series defeats, and it was India’s first defeat at home since 2015. Team India also managed to lose a home series to Australia for the first time since 2009.

Rohit, who got his 41st fifty in the game, tried his best but was hampered by the quick loss of wickets at the other end. Shikhar Dhawan played down the wrong line, while Virat Kohli found the edge while trying to play a hard stroke. Rishabh Pant, who was auditioning for a role, edged a Nathan Lyon delivery to first slip after attempting a forward defense. Vijay Shankar was out as he was looking to hit Adam Zampa off the park and Jadeja’s dismissal that closely followed the opener’s, stalled the Indian run-chase on a sluggish track.

Jadhav and Bhuvi then put up an audacious fight as they stitched 99 runs together in only 17.1 overs. The Australian innings was led by a fine Usman Khawaja knock, who scored his second ton in the series. With Aaron Finch looking scratchy, the impetus was on Khawaja who impressed with an array of shots and flicks that raced away to the boundary. After the Aussie skipper’s dismissal, Peter Handscomb combined with Khawaja to lay a fluent partnership together.

Also Read: 3 areas of concern for Team India before the World Cup

The duo attacked from both ends and managed to dispel the threat of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. They were particularly harsh on Kedar Jadhav, who was taken off the attack after bowling just one over. However, Khawaja’s dismissal shifted the momentum in India’s favor as Australia collapsed from 175 for 1 to 182 for 4.

The middle order failed to get going for the visitors with India’s bowlers picking up wickets at regular intervals. Jadeja bagged a couple, while Mohammad Shami picked up 2 as well. Bhuvi scalped 3 and the only respite that the Australians had was when they scored 19 runs in the 48th over off Jasprit Bumrah, who had conceded only 14 runs in his first eight overs.

Though Australia had looked well set for a score of more than 300 after the first 25 overs, they kept their nerves and showed intent to become only the fifth side to win a 5-match series after being 0-2 down.

Brief Scores: Australia 272/9 in 50 overs (Usman Khawaja 100, Peter Handscomb 52; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-48, Ravindra Jadeja 2-45) beat India 237 in 50 overs (Rohit Sharma 56, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 46; Adam Zampa 3-46, Pat Cummins 2-38) by 35 runs.

Why CSK May Not Win IPL 2019

CSK: 4 Key Players to watchout for in IPL 2019

CSK has always had the same core team since the inception of the IPL, merely changing a few players in every auction. They are the defending champions this year, and that makes the journey even more exciting for their fans. 

However, this year, there are more chances of them misfiring, as opposed to getting it all right. Listed below are a few reasons why the Chennai Super Kings may not be able to recreate their magic this year.

The Age Factor

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Age is the biggest bane in the life of a cricketer. And like all players of the game, the teammates of CSK are feeling this brunt as well. The core of the Super Kings has been filled with the same cricketers, and time has not been kind to them. Undoubtedly, experience is a plus point in any avenue of the game, but the boldness and agility which comes with young age has almost disappeared from the squad.

There seemed to be no point in retaining Harbhajan Singh and Murali Vijay this year. Singh is visibly past his prime now and did not do well on the wicket-taking front last season or in domestic cricket. Vijay was hardly used last season, and the tactic will likely be repeated this year.

Furthermore, youngsters do not get a chance in the team. Even if they are selected, they are merely used as bench warmers. Even the likes of Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo are beginning to show signs of wear and tear, becoming poor and inconsistent with their bowling.

Also Read: CSK: Strengths, Weaknesses and Possible Line-ups

A Depletion of Resources

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The IPL 2019 will be badly affected by a huge chunk of players leaving for the World Cup 2019 in the middle of the tournament. One of the worst affected teams will be CSK, as they have a number of top-notch players who will be simultaneously preparing for the World Cup. Faf Du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi and David Wiley will be expected to leave midway. Furthermore, Indian players like Ambati Rayadu, Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni will be playing it very safe, so as to not injure themselves.

An Improper Squad Selection

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The Chennai Super Kings have always been known to be one step ahead of the curve, constantly thinking ahead, and trailblazing new concepts. However, their auction practices this year have raised quite a few questioning eyebrows. This time, they seemed to be in haste and did not seem to plan ahead.

CSK released only three players, choosing to retain a vast majority of underperformers from last year, including the likes of Sam Billings. Due to this, they had no slot for overseas players, and have no backup for Lungi Ngidi. Mohit Sharma was a star for CSK, bought for INR 5 crore, but he too faded away into the shadows last season.

Players like Karn Sharma and Harbhajan Singh are merely pulling down the squad. The Chennai Super Kings retain a sense of sentimentality towards their old players, and this has been their greatest weakness. They do not have a proper support system, and it will be interesting to watch how they fare once stalwarts like Du Plessis, Tahir, and Ngidi leave.

IPL 2019: Why KKR can win this season

IPL 2019 PuIPL 2019: Why KKR can win this seasonrple Cap - Highest wicket taker of IPL 2019?

KKR is a team that has always been loved and followed, especially due to their insane ability to turn around any match in their favor. 

Despite winning only two IPL titles in its journey, the team has managed to always rank among everyone’s favorites, and not only because of their owner, Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood superstar. The team has never shied from experimentation, constantly being in the news, and has succeeded, more often than naught.

This year, KKR has a fine mix of both youngsters, striving to prove themselves, and experienced players who know exactly how to play the ball at any given time. With a proper mix of brashness, boldness, and grounded wisdom, KKR have the ability to rise through the ranks and thrill their fans once again by lifting the trophy of the IPL 2019.

Here’s taking a look at why KKR may win the IPL 2019.

Youngsters, the heart of KKR

IPL 2019: Why KKR can win this season
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KKR has always relied on the younger stars, which has always led to surprising results. This year, the batting side is enhanced by 19-year old Shubham Gill, who amassed 728 runs in nine Ranji Trophy innings this season, with the highest score of 161. On the bowling side, pacers Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, and Kamlesh Nagarkoti will greatly help the team.

Last year, the batting department was led by Gill and Nitish Rana, while the bowling was handled by Mavi and Krishna in the absence of Nagarkoti. The five players – three of them who played for the victorious U19 team last year – will be itching to better their show.

Dinesh Karthik, a maverick skipper

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The wicketkeeper-batsman has a lot of experience with T20, leading the team to the third position last year. He was the top scorer for the team, making 498 runs. Furthermore, he knows exactly how to use the youngsters, which will be a huge advantage for the Knight Riders.

He played the role of an anchor to perfection last season and guided the team that does not lack exuberance with relative ease.

West Indian Superstars

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KKR has always relied on the likes of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell to get them out of any sticky situation, and rightfully so. The two have been excellent at understanding the nuances of the game, and can easily adapt their playing methods. Narine, in particular, is a huge advantage. In the beginning, he started out as merely a bowler, but in the last two seasons, has been quite impeccable with the bat as well. This year, KKR added another player from West Indies to their side, Carlos Brathwaite.

With the Windies side being the T20 champions, a lot can be expected from the troika again.

Also Read: KKR- 5 Record-Breaking Moments

Spinners, tilting the game in KKR’s favor

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KKR has hit the jackpot when it comes to spinners. With the likes of Piyush Chawla, Narine, and Kuldeep Yadav, they have ensured that their main bowlers are experienced in the format. Kuldeep, in particular, has been in excellent form recently, and his performances for matches for India stand as testimony to that fact.

Recent Additions

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KKR is one of the teams who thoroughly research the players they want in IPL 2019, and settle for no one else. This year, they have added the likes of Joe Denly and Lockie Ferguson in their ranks. Denly is an experienced T20 player, and can easily fill in for Chris Lynn once he departs. Ferguson is an excellent pacer for New Zealand and can pick up a multitude of wickets with ease. Anrich Nortje is an exciting talent from South Africa and with the Eden Gardens pitch assisting the seamers as well, the two fast bowlers could help KKR notch up important wins.

Turner helps Australia chase down record target

Turner helps Australia chase down record target

If the cricketing realm was still unsure of Ashton Turner’s skills as an international player, it was brought to the fore in the perfect manner during the fourth ODI between Australia and India. 

In a match where two players smashed tons and yet another two managed nineties, it was Turner’s decisive knock that was the most crucial as the Kangaroos chased down their highest target to win the game by 4 wickets. Turner ended with 84 off only 43 deliveries, an innings that was laced with five fours and six sixes.

Replacing the injured Marcus Stoinis, Turner walked in to bat after Australia were in a spot of bother. Despite Peter Hadscomb’s ton and Usman Khawaja’s 91, the pressure of chasing 359 was always going to be immense, but Turner ensured it was light work with some insane hitting. He attacked all of India’s frontline bowlers, sent the ball all across the stadium and helped his team draw level in the series.

The visitors had however gotten off to a poor start when Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the wicket of Aaron Finch in the very first over. Shaun Marsh was then sent back in quick succession by Jasprit Bumrah and Australia were reeling at 12 for 2. However, Handscomb and Khawaja got together to steady the ship.

The pair took their time by dealing in singles and twos and only hitting the bad balls to the ropes. However, the arrival of the fifth bowlers Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar allowed the batters to get set and the duo soon started coming into their own. Handscomb, in particular, was too harsh on Jadhav as he smashed him for 19 runs in the 33rd over, which helped him move into the 90s.

However, Khawaja was soon dismissed as Bumrah hit him with a wonderful bouncer. In arrived Glenn Maxwell, who hit two fours in the first five deliveries he faced. Handscomb at the other end brought up his first ODI hundred and with Maxi in fine form too, Australia would have fancied their chances.

However, soon, Maxwell was trapped LBW in front to hamper their progress but in walked in Turner, who was to pitch in with possible career-defining innings. Playing only his second game, the player kept his nerves and his calm to ensure a memorable win for the side.

The batter used his height to great advantage to nullify the threat of the spinners and brought his power to the fore when the pacers came in. Bhuvi was hit for 20 runs off his eight over as Australia needed only 42 to win off the last 30 deliveries. After being given a reprieve by Rishabh Pant when he was on 38, Turner was offered another chance when both Jadhav and Shikhar Dhawan dropped him in the 47th over. It summed up the story of the match.

Also Read: Smith and Warner to play IPL

Earlier, after winning the toss and surprisingly batting, India got off to a fine start as both their openers came back to form. While Rohit Sharma was out for 95, Dhawan struck his 16th ODI ton that helped India post 358 for 9. Dhawan got into rhythm early, regularly hitting fours and finding gaps. He managed to strike at run a ball from the very start, which allowed Rohit to settle down and get a feel of the track.

The openers were in attacking mode after the early jitters, with the Delhi player attacking the bowlers and Rohit slowly coming into his own.

Even after his dismissal, the duo of KL Rahul and Dhawan ensured there was no drop in momentum, and their efforts helped India post a mammoth target. However, Turner’s carnage meant that the hosts were unable to get across the line.

Brief scores: India 358/9 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 143, Rohit Sharma 95; Pat Cummins 5-70) lost to Australia 359/6 in 47.5 overs (Peter Handscomb 117, Usman Khawaja 91, Ashton Turner 84*; Jasprit Bumrah 3-63) by four wickets.

Rohit Sharma: Most Memorable ODI knocks

Rohit Sharma to lead as Virat Kohli will be rested for the last two ODIs

Rohit Sharma is a huge asset for the Indian cricket team, for his ability to provide the team with some quickfire runs at the top. He is a dependable and strong character, and the team can always expect to bank on him. 

His innings’ have always left a powerful memory on his fans. Along with Indian captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma has been the mainstay of the Indian batting line-up.

The batsman has always been a treat to watch and his ascension to being an opener has always been the greatest decision of his cricketing career. His batting completely transformed, and he became indispensable, mesmerizing fans continuously. Here are a few of his most memorable knocks.

264 (173) vs Sri Lanka

Rohit Sharma: Most Memorable ODI knocks
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Rohit Sharma had the Sri Lankan fielders transfixed in their place as if they were statues during this innings. Hitting runs like they were a walk in the park, Sharma smashed everything that came his way as he scripted the highest ODI total at his favorite hunting ground, Eden Gardens. This was a match that is still engraved in the mind of every cricket lover, and till date, his amazing record has been unbroken.

209 (158) vs Australia

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This was Sharma’s first double hundred, and that too against a formidable opponent like Australia. Smashing 12 fours and 16 sixes, the batsman left the Chinnaswamy stadium spellbound, whether it be the spectators, the umpires, or the players themselves. He also secured the record of hitting the most number of sixes in an innings. Due to him, India achieved 383 runs, and consequently, went on to win the match.

171 (163) vs Australia

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Beating the Australians on their own turf is next to impossible. However, Rohit Sharma has never paid any heed to the regulations of the game. Smashing the Australians in style, he scored an unbeaten 171 off 163 balls, with 13 fours and 7 sixes. He ended on an unbeaten 171*, beating the score of the legendary Viv Richards of 153* in 1979. Unfortunately, his efforts could not help India achieve victory in the match.

Also Read: Interesting Facts about Rohit Sharma

137 (114) vs England

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As with Australia, England too are considered tough to beat at their own grounds. However, Sharma scored 137* off 114 balls with ease, helping India achieve the target of 269 runs with 59 balls to spare. He scored 15 fours and 4 sixes, playing with elegance and sophistication. His innings helped India achieve an easy victory as he once again showed his importance in the Indian line-up.

137 (126) vs Bangladesh

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This innings of Rohit Sharma is especially memorable, as it came during the quarterfinals of the World Cup of 2015, held in Australia and New Zealand. The batsman scored 137 runs off 126 balls, in a wonderful inning studded with 14 fours and 3 sixes. This knock also helped India beat Bangladesh in the quarterfinals, helping them step into the semi-finals with ease. Sharma’s innings was instrumental in helping India achieve a huge total of 309 runs, which Bangladesh could not overcome by a long haul, as they were bundled out for a paltry 194 runs by the equally amazing bowlers of the Indian cricket team.

IPL 2019: Why RCB may win the title this time?

IPL 2019: Why RCB may win the title this time?

After 11 years of the IPL, it is surely a difficult task to continue being a fan of the RCB.  The team, despite being exceptional in all fields, has failed to pick up the trophy even a single time in the IPL. 

However, after the IPL 2019 auctions, it looks like the team has finally found what they were looking for. With a subtle twist to their auction strategy, the RCB management may have secured what could be the best team in the IPL 2019. Focussing on the bowlers as well this year, the team strategized properly to perfectly secure every player that they wanted. Here are a few reasons why the Royal Challengers Bangalore may finally life the IPL 2019 trophy.

A Legendary Support Staff

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With the appointment of Gary Kirsten as the batting coach and mentor, and Ashish Nehra as the head coach, RCB can surely look to bridge the gap between the two facets of the team, and make them work together, just like a well- oiled machine.


There is an interesting mix of both old and new players in the team this year, and if combinations work correctly, they can be the X-Factor that the team desperately needs to win the tournament. Every T20 team aspires to have a wrist spinner on their side, and with Yuzvendra Chahal, RCB already has the best. Furthermore, in addition to the veterans like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, newcomers like Shivam Dube and Devdutt Padikkal could also be a surprise package.

Also Read: RCB: Strengths, Weaknesses and Possible Line-up

Powerful Batting

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Batting has never been an issue for RCB, as they have always been quite ruthless on the pitch. This time around, they have an interesting mix of both foreigners and Indian batsmen on their team, and the batting side looks as solid as ever.

Versatile Bowling

With a variety of bowling styles in their mix this time around, RCB surely looks different than they did last year. Their biggest weakness was that despite their impressive batting line- up, they did not have the bowlers to match the requirements of the game. However, with spinners like Chahal and Sundar, and Southee, Umesh, and Siraj as fast bowlers, their bowling department finally seems to match up to their batting prowess.

Virat Kohli

Undeniably one of the greatest players in the game of cricket, the addition of Virat Kohli in any team is an obvious added advantage. However, the trophy of the IPL has remained elusive to him so far. However, Kohli has matured a lot as a captain, as was portrayed in the recently concluded series against Australia. Kohli is currently riding a high in his career, and it is time that he wins the IPL trophy, securing another feather in his already distinguished cap.

World Cup 2019: How England shape up

World Cup 2019: How England shape up

July 24th, 2019. It is the date when the inventors of the game of cricket will host the coveted World Cup Final at the most hallowed ground of the game, Lords. 

Currently ranked number 1 in ODIs, the English team have age, expertise, and rankings on their side. But how will the side fare in the World Cup 2019?

Home Advantage

World Cup 2019: How England shape up
Image Source – The Independent

One of the biggest advantages that English teams have enjoyed over the years is that they are constantly encouraged to overlook past failures, and only focus on what is to come. The English cricket team is young and bursting with energy, and this will be a huge plus point for them. The summer of 2005 when the Ashes was staged proved that cricket can truly hypnotize the nation. Organizers are expected that with widespread and clever advertising techniques, revenue will be at an all-time high. In addition to this, playing at home in front of a well-educated crowd will always work in their favor, and England will be expected to cash in on it in the World Cup 2019.

Opening Partnership

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With openers Jason Roy and Bairstow, England have nothing to worry about. They form the perfect team, complementing each other successfully while playing long innings. The pair has been responsible for handing the English team with many match-winning opening stands, including a double hundred together. Due to their pairing, the English team has changed their playing tactic. From a policy of holding back and playing calmly, England now follows the route of controlled aggression, which was on full display against West Indies recently, when they chased down 360.

The Captain

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Eoin Morgan buckled under the pressures of the previous management, but Andrew Strauss’ decision to retain him for World Cup 2019 was probably the best ideas in a long time. His team respects his decisions, and he understands which bowler to play, depending on the field conditions. However, the only source of worry for the team is Morgan’s own form. Averaging at 25 the past year, playing at number 4, his future seems shaky. However, he is still more than capable of an attack if England starts strongly. Though inconsistency is an issue with him, Morgan rises to the occasion when need be, like he did against Windies in the first ODI.

The Attack

Image Source – The Independent

Liam Plunkett will be tucking up the bowlers in the middle overs, assisted by Mark Wood and Chris Woakes. England has an ace up their sleeve in the form of Adil Rashid, who can easily be used to null runs and snatch up wickets in the midst of the tournament. However, what England desperately lacks is a bowler like Sunil Narine, who can keep the opposition on their toes at all times. The bowling attack is their biggest worry though, with the pacers often going for a lot of runs throughout the innings. With no variety in the attack and with small grounds, England have struggled to curb runs and have easily allowed opponents to score 300+ runs, which will be a major worry in the tourney.

Also Read: India will not play Pakistan in World Cup 2019 if the Government Feels So

The Batting

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England has two very mature players in their team, in the form of Jos Buttler and Joe Root. These players have proven, time and again, that they can be depended on to salvage the lower order. Buttler has learned on how to play on more than one way, modeling his on-field mannerisms on MS Dhoni, possibly the coolest player of the game. Furthermore, Alex Hales can mold himself into any batting situation as well, and it is safe to say that the batting unit is one of the most settled ones among all teams that will play the World Cup.

England has a strong team this year, with players who understand the game, who do not stick to their conventional methods of gameplay, and who can model themselves to play on any surface. These requisites are of utmost importance, especially for a home team looking to redeem themselves and clinch the World Cup 2019, and make themselves a team to reckon with, yet again. England does suffer on slow pitches, but if recent matches are anything to go by, England is slowly becoming a master and they would hope to clinch their maiden title this year.

Despite a Bumrah special, Australia take series lead

Despite a Bumrah special, Australia take series lead

Nathan Coulter-Nile picked up three wickets and Glenn Maxwell scored a brilliant fifty as Australia clinched the first T20I of the two-match series at Visakhapatnam, despite a Bumrah blitzkrieg in the nineteenth over of the Indian innings. 

Coulter-Nile ensured that India’s fine start with the bat after Aaron Finch opted to chase was overturned as he picked up three quick wickets in the middle order to help India post a modest 126 for 7 on the board. KL Rahul, who was making his way into the international team after he was suspended for his unsavory comments on TV last month, got India off to a flying start but some fine bowling from the opponents ensured that the home team was unable to get a huge target on the board. However, Team India made the target look formidable as they stalled the run-flow in the middle overs, with Bumrah leading the way. With 14 runs to chase in the last over, Umesh Yadav was unable to bowl stump-to-stump as the Aussie tail-enders stole a narrow win off the last ball.

Chasing 127 runs to win, Australia got off to an iffy start, as the move to push Marcus Stoinis to open the innings back-fired. Bumrah then dismissed Finch and India were in the driver’s seat with two wickets in two balls. The Aussie skipper took a review but a seaming delivery that kept a tad bit too low and beat the inside edge before hitting him on his front leg ensured that he was sent back without further ado.

The in-form Maxwell, however, got Australia back into the game as he found the gaps consistently and took quick singles even though Bumrah at the other end was making run-scoring tough. The all-rounder made light work of Umesh’s overs, hitting him to the boundary regularly. Yuzvendra Chahal was introduced into the attack but was unable to disturb Maxwell as Australia finished the first six overs at a comfortable 41 for 2.

However, once the slower bowlers were brought on, the runs were kept at a check. Though Mayank Markande on debut was a tad expensive, Krunal Pandya at the other end did what was expected off him. Maxwell was dismissed by Chahal as he looked to break the shackles and his dismissal triggered a collapse, similar to what India had experienced in their innings.

Also Read: 3 areas of concern for Team India

D’Arcy Short was run-out soon after and a miscommunication with Peter Handscomb. Pandya got the wicket of Ashton Turner with a quicker delivery to end the game with figures of 1 for 17. Mayank Markande was entrusted with the 18th over, and it was a gamble that paid off as the tweaker gave away only 5 runs to leave 16 runs to get off 12.

Up next, Bumrah ensured that things were looking up for India as he picked up two wickets in two balls to give hopes of a memorable win for Team India. He got Handscomb with a short ball and then bowled a fine yorker to Coulter-Nile to leave Umesh with 14 runs to defend in the twentieth.

However, Australia’s tail-enders played maturely and held their nerves to clinch a win that had looked improbable by the end.

Earlier, the Indian batting unit showed off their reliance on the top order again as Rahul hit a fine fifty to allow India to get to a comfortable start. Replacing Shikhar Dhawan at the top, the wicket-keeper provided India the impetus by playing dominantly even though Rohit Sharma had been dismissed cheaply. He staged 55 runs for the second wicket with Virat Kohli, who was also making a comeback, but just when it seemed that India would get to at least 150, the downfall began.

After Kohli was sent back, Rishabh Pant was run out by a brilliant piece of fielding by Jason Behrendorff. Coulter-Nile then strike twice in the 13th over – sending back Rahul and Dinesh Karthik – to leave Dhoni in charge of taking India over the line.

However, with his recent woes in the format, it was asking a little too much from Dhoni. He refused singles to shield the tail-enders but was unable to hit the balls out of the park when he was on strike. In the end, the singles he refused and India’s harakiri with the bat, along with Umesh’s ability to bowl accurately cost India dear.

Brief scores: India 126/7 on 20 overs (KL Rahul 50, MS Dhoni 29*; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3-26) lost to Australia 127/7 in 20 overs (Glenn Maxwell 56, D’Arcy Short 37; Jasprit Bumrah 3-16) by three wickets.

Hazratullah Zazai blitzkrieg ensures a series win for Afghanistan

Hazratullah Zazai blitzkrieg ensures a series win for Afghanistan

Hazratullah Zazai was the man of the moment as his sensational 62-ball 162 helped Afghanistan record the highest T20I total – 278 for 3 – in the second T20I against Ireland. 

Bogged down by the huge target that was led by Hazratullah Zazai, the Irish side lost the game by 84 runs and conceded the series as well. Though the ‘visitors’ started off on a high, the target was a little too much for the asking, as they eventually ended their innings on 194 or 6.

On a day of remarkable feats – Sri Lanka had earlier scripted history by becoming the first Asian Test team to win a series in South Africa – Zazai ensured that the statisticians were on overdrive as he struck the third fastest ton in the format. He hit a total of 16 sixes in his innings – yet another record – and set the second-highest T20I score after Aaron Finch’s 172. Things seemed to go in favor of the Afghanistan unit right from the very start as they won the toss and chose to bat first, and this decision was aptly proven right by an opening partnership of 236 runs in just 17.3 overs.

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The carnage by Zazai started in the third over itself as the Afghan batters took 15 runs off a Peter Chase over. The over gave the hosts the much-needed momentum and soon they had crossed 64 in the first six overs, with Zazai scoring 35 off 19 deliveries. He got his 50 six balls later and then decided to attack from thereon. He struck two sixes and a four off a Kevin O’Brien over and raced to 83 runs in just 35 deliveries. The 150-run stand was brought up in the 12th over itself and the pressure on the Irish side could be seen. Paul Stirling bowled three wides in a row and he was punished for the same, as Zazai struck three sixes in succession to get to his 100 in just 42 deliveries.

However, instead of stopping, he continued and soon Ghani got into the attack as well. He played a mature hand and held the innings together as his partner was teeing away every delivery that came his way. Ghani was ultimately dismissed in the 18th over, but the damage had been done by then.

With a huge target of 279 to chase down, Stirling came out all guns blazing and took the fight to the rivals. The Irish team managed to make more than 10 runs an over for the most part of the innings, but that too was not enough as they were left with 170 to chase in 60 deliveries.

The initial assault by the Irish team was a combined result of Stirling’s aggressive approach and Afghanistan’s ploy to hold back Rashid Khan. After Ireland had managed 69 in their first six overs, Rashid came into the attack to stall the momentum. He conceded just 6 in the first over and with Mujeeb Ur Rahman getting into the act as well, the writing was on the wall. The third T20I of the series is scheduled to be held on Sunday, and though Ireland are massively on the backfoot, they would hope to register a win and enter the ODIs with a bit of confidence.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 278/3 in 20 overs (Hazratullah Zazai 162*) beat Ireland 194/6 in 20 overs (Paul Stirling 91; Rashid Khan 4-25) by 84 runs.