News Cricket

Bad news for Pakistan! AB de Villiers not to play in Pakistan leg of PSL

Harshit Anand Updated: 4 March, 2019, 4:16 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Retired South African cricketer, AB de Villiers, who was set to play for Lahore Qalandars in its final two league games has been ruled out of Pakistan’s leg of PSL due to injury, which comes as a huge shock for the Pakistani cricket community, which was eagerly awaiting to see Mr.360 degree in action.

“It’s disappointing news for Lahore Qalandars management and its fans that AB de Villiers will not be able to make it for Pakistan’s leg of PSL,” Sameen Rana, the manager of Lahore Qalandars, said in a statement.

“Any update on a replacement, if any, will be communicated in due course,” he added.

Pakistan will host the last four group matches, the qualifiers as well as the finals in Karachi from March 9.

De Villiers also expressed his sadness over missing out from the action in front of the "passionate Pakistani fans."

"I am very disappointed that I will not be able to play in front of the passionate Pakistani cricket fans. I saw my doctor who has advised complete rest for two weeks and, unfortunately, that rules me out of the games in Karachi," AB de Villiers said.

"I hope to be a part of the PSL next year and very much hope to play my part in the return of international cricket to the country. I am backing Lahore Qalandars to go all the way and win the trophy this year."

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News Cricket

Kuldeep makes a big statement regarding sidelining of Ashwin & Jadeja from ODI format

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 4:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Since the arrival of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, veteran spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been sidelined in the ODI format. R Ashwin is no more part of the team while Ravindra Jadeja is India's third choice specialist spinner.

When asked whether his and Chahal's superlative performances have almost shut the door on R Ashwin, Kuldeep said: “No, no, not at all. We haven’t ousted anyone. It’s just that we have got the opportunities and we did well. They (Ashwin and Jadeja) have always been doing well for India. In Test matches, Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Jaddu Bhai (Ravindra Jadeja) are still playing,” Kuldeep said on the eve of the second ODI.

He went on to praise his senior pros. “And we learn a lot from them. They have a lot of experience. When I am in the Test squad, I learn a lot from them. Whenever we got an opportunity, for me and Chahal, we have performed for the team and that helped the team to win, so happy about it," he added.

News Cricket

After two-year absence, Jhulan Goswami back at No. 1 in ODI rankings

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 3:46 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

India woman fast bowler Jhulan Goswami has reached the top position for bowlers in the ICC Women's ODI Rankings after picking up 8 wickets against England in the women's championship. Women in Blue reached the second position in the eight-team championship that provides direct entry to hosts New Zealand and four other top teams in the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup.

The veteran Indian bowler, who last held the numero uno spot in February 2017, has been in wicket taking form in the recent times. In the ICC Women's Championship series, Australia are leading the table with 22 points from 12 matches while India are second with 16 points from 15 matches. The Kiwis are third with 14 points from 15 matches. They are followed by South Africa and England.

Goswami is the most successful ODI bowler with 218 wickets in her kitty and has held the top spot for 1873 days, with only Cathryn Fitzpatrick ahead of her having spent more time at the top, for 2113 days.

News Cricket

ICC gives a big jolt to BCCI over Pakistan's participation in WC

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 3:21 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

After Pulwama terror attack, in which at least 40 CRPF were martyred, the BCCI had urged the ICC to "sever ties" with countries which harbor terror, indirectly indicating to Pakistan.

But ICC has not paid heed to BCCI's request to sever ties with countries from which "terrorism emanates".

"There was no chance that anything like that would have happened. The ICC chairman made it clear that the decision to ostracize a nation is taken at the government level and ICC had no rule. The BCCI knew it all along but still took a chance," a BCCI official told PTI.

In wake of the Pulwama terror attack,, there were calls for boycotting Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup.

India are slated to take on Pakistan in the ICC showpiece event. They will take on each other in Manchester on June 16.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli in danger of losing number-one Test ranking

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 2:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Kane Williamson completed a meticulous double century and New Zealand compiled its highest score in tests on day 3 of the first Test match against Bangladesh. Williamson struck a four from the last ball of the innings to reach 200 not out before declaring New Zealand's innings at 715-6, a lead of 481 runs. Williamson's innings propelled New Zealand on to its highest test total, which ground down the Bangladesh bowlers.

Williamson has become a relentless run-scoring machine for New Zealand with 20 centuries and 29 half centuries in 71 tests at an average of 52. He has now scored almost 900 runs in the eight tests New Zealand has played in the past year, with a double century, two centuries and three half centuries in that time.

Williamson has lifted himself to second place on world test batting rankings, behind India captain Virat Kohli, and he also became only the fourth New Zealander after Stephen Fleming, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor to pass 6,000 runs in tests.

Williamson has reached a career-best 915 rating points in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen. He is seven points behind Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who is the number one Test batsman with 922 points.

News Cricket

Faf du Plessis names his biggest weapon as captain

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 2:28 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

South Africa won the first ODI against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg by eight wickets. Imran Tahir and Lungi Ngidi had set up the base for the victory. Both picked three wickets each and helped the hosts restrict Sri Lanka to an average total of 231 runs.

Tahir was the stand-out bowler since he ended up with figures of 3/26. Du Plessis termed him as his biggest weapon. "He is probably my biggest weapon as a captain over the years,” Du Plessis said of Tahir. Notably, Tahir's contract was not renewed for the 2019/2020 season by Cricket South Africa.

Faf also credited Lungi Ngidi, who took early wickets of Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga. Ngidi was returning to the side after a while. "Imran bowled brilliantly in the middle overs today but it was really important to get wickets with the new ball,” said Du Plessis.

The Proteas skipper himself played a major role in team's win as he scored a brilliant century. Wicket-keeper batsman, Quinton de Kock had also made a terrific half-century.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli breaks another World Record

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 1:55 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli was looking impressive during the first ODI against Australia in Hyderabad before he missed a googly from Adam Zampa and was trapped in front of the wickets. The appeal was turned down by the on-field umpire but Australia reviewed it and got the wrong decision successfully overturned. Kohli's knock of 44 runs was laced with 6 fours and a six.

After Kohli's dismissal, Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu were also dismissed in quick succession, leaving the hosts in big trouble. MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav scored match winning fifties during their unbeaten 141-run stand to take India home. Jadhav scored 81 not out while Dhoni smashed an unbeaten 59 as India won the series opener by six wickets.

Meanwhile, Kohli ended up breaking a long-standing world record during his 44-run knock. The Indian skipper completed 12,000 runs in List A cricket and became the 50th player to achieve the feat. He reached the milestone in 248 innings and broke former Australia batsman Michael Bevan's record. Bevan had completed 12,000 runs in List A cricket in 297 innings.

News Cricket

Usman Khawaja gives ultimate praise to MS Dhoni

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 1:40 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australian opener Usman Khawaja has lauded MS Dhoni for the way he led India to win in tense situation during the first ODI in Hyderabad. Praising MS Dhoni for staying calm and compose under pressure, Khawaja stated Dhoni executes run-chases to perfection most of the times.

His comments come after MS Dhoni stitched an impressive and match winning partnership with Kedar Jadhav in the first ODI of the series.

India were in a spot of bother when Dhoni and Jadhav joined hands. Dhoni once again played the anchor’s role to perfection during an unbeaten 141-run stand with Jadhav. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 59 while Jadhav smashed 81 not out as India defeated Australia by six wickets.

"He [Dhoni] just executes well. He has the last three games, just stayed calm and backed himself to take it deep. Then when he needs to he hits a boundary. You can tell he sort of changes gears, he'll hit single, single, two then try to hit a boundary," Khawaja was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

"It doesn't always come off but the majority of times it does. He does that really well, that's experience."

News Cricket

Mohammed Siraj discloses how Dhoni and Kohli treat young bowlers in Indian team

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 12:47 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Mohammed Siraj, who was picked in Indian ODI side for Australia series, might not have had impressed a lot with his bowling but he has been doing well in domestic cricket for a while. He was erratic and expensive in his debut ODI against Australia. The lanky pacer opened up on his Australia experience.

“I had big shoes to fill of Bumrah. It’s was disappointing just to play in only one ODI, but I learned so much from taking part in the training sessions. I am feeling and bowling well and it is good to perform in the domestic circuit coming back from my stint with the Indian team,” Siraj told CricketNext.

He also revealed how Indian captain Virat Kohli and former captain, MS Dhoni guide Indian bowlers. He said, “Kohli and (MS) Dhoni backed me throughout on these tours. They provided useful tips in the practice sessions there like how to bowl in different situations, which areas to bowl and what type of yorkers to bowl.

“They (Kohli and Dhoni) spent time with all bowlers individually. Coaches (Bharat) Arun and Ravi (Shastri) sir’s inputs were also very good. They told me to bowl in the nets like I would bowl in match conditions and that helped me get a lot of focus. They instructed me not to try experiment too much, just bowl back of a length as much as possible,” added Siraj.

News Cricket

Ashish Nehra backs Shikhar Dhawan to hit form

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 12:30 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Shikhar Dhawan, the Indian opener, is struggling to get going for Men in Blue. After a free flowing 2018, he has been a shadow of his illustrious past in the ongoing year. He was dismissed without troubling the scorers in the series opener against Australia and now questions are being asked about his position in the squad ahead of the World Cup.

Nehra, however, is still backing Dhawan to hit form in the remaining matches of the series. He has amassed just 243 runs in nine innings in the ODIs format this year at an average of over 30. Former Indian pace bowler is not bothered about Dhawan's lean patch.

"Rahul there or not there, any player who is playing will look to score runs. It is not that Dhawan has played 10-15 innings without doing anything. Even for Rahul, he has scored just those two - 50 and 47 in the T20I format (vs. Australia). If he wouldn't have done that, the question would have been irrelevant. Yes, Dhawan needs to score runs but he didn't play much cricket. I feel he is one good innings away from coming back to form. I am not that worried about Dhawan," Nehra told CricketNext.

News Cricket

After becoming world no.1 batswoman, Smriti Mandhana reveals her ultimate career goal

Staff Writer Updated: 4 March, 2019, 11:58 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

After achieving top rank in the ODIs, Indian women's team opener Smriti Mandhana now wants to win a World Cup title with Women in Blue. She became the number one batswoman in the ODI ICC Women's rankings last month following her sensational batting display. She will lead India in the three-match T20 series against England.

“As a kid when you start playing, you always think of winning the World Cup. Obviously, there are individual targets like, getting to ICC world no.1 spot. And reaching there was really pleasing but now I have to work even harder. To stay there is much more important than getting there,” said Mandhana.

“As a batter the most important thing is to reach the ICC world no.1 position. Definitely it was one of the small goals for me, but my major goal is definitely to win the World Cup,” she added.

The series against England will help the team to identify main players ahead of the T20 World Cup next year but the stand-in skipper’s primary goal is to win the series.

“Definitely we are looking to win the series and not just trying out new faces. We really have a very exciting team. It is important for us to believe that we are going into the series to win it rather than experimenting,” the skipper said.

“First goal is to win the series and if we can achieve that we will definitely be able to find new faces for the World Cup. It would be much easier rather than thinking the other way.”

Feature Cricket

West Indies emerge as the dark horses for the World Cup

Partab Ramchand Updated: 4 March, 2019, 11:26 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

On the eve of the series against England Chris Gayle said he would retire from ODIs after the World Cup. Then midway through with his form as good as ever he admitted that he was having a rethink on that decision. And at the end of it all if he really went back on his decision the cricketing world would rejoice at having the entertainer extraordinaire carry on for some more time.

But obviously the comment midway through was made in jest in keeping with Gayle’s image of a fun loving cricketer who loves his dance steps almost as much as he enjoys batting has endeared him to cricket fans. The extrovert that he is he relishes playing to the gallery and being the centre of attention. Just the other day while announcing that he would retire from ODIs following the World Cup he came up with lines like ``You are looking at a great man’’ and ``I am the greatest player in the world’’ and ``Of course I am still the Universe Boss. That will never change. I will take that to the grave.’’ Which other cricketer would come up with lines like these that bring back memories of Muhammad Ali.

And yet as he walked off the field in the fifth and final ODI at St Lucia after scripting yet another famous West Indian victory – turning to salute all four corners of the ground – it was clear that even as he had played his last game on home turf the original decision would stay. But if his extraordinary form during the series was any indication it was certainly not because of any decline in his game. On the contrary even in his 40th year he has lost none of his enthusiasm for the game and rounded off an incredible series – 424 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 134 - with an innings of 77 in just 27 balls that included the fastest half century (19 deliveries) by a West Indian batsman in the history of the format. He hit 39 sixes from the 316 balls he faced in the series which means that incredibly every 8.10 balls he faced went for a six. During the series he became only the second West Indian batsman after Brian Lara to cross the 10,000 run mark in ODIs.

Thanks chiefly to Gayle a result between the No 1 ranked team in the world and the No 9 ranked team ended 2-2. And as he himself put it in a rather bland understatement ``we will get a bit of respect going into the World Cup.’’ The West Indies in fact have already emerged as the dark horses going into the competition.

News Tennis

Federer wins Dubai final to join Connors in century club

AP Updated: 4 March, 2019, 11:21 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Add a century of career titles to Roger Federer's staggering list of tennis achievements.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion became the second male player to win 100 tour-level tournaments in the professional era when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Dubai Championships.

Jimmy Connors is the other player to reach the milestone, and the American ended his career on 109 titles.

"Welcome to the 'Triple Digit' tournament victory club," Connors said in a Twitter post to Federer, "I've been a bit lonely -- glad to have the company!!!"

By beating a player nearly half his age, the 37-year-old Federer continued his record of winning at least one title every season since his first in 2001 in Milan. Eight of his victories have come in Dubai.

"It's been a long, wonderful journey . I have loved every minute," Federer said. "It's been tough but the sacrifice has been very, very worthwhile and we'll see how much more I've got left in the tank.

"Reaching 100 is an absolute dream come true for me."

As well as his record haul of Grand Slam titles, which includes a record eight wins at Wimbledon, Federer has won a record six ATP Finals and topped the rankings for a record 310 weeks — including 237 straight.

In a battle of the generations, Federer avenged his loss to the 20-year-old Tsitsipas, a rising star from Greece, in the last 16 of the Australian Open in January.

Federer broke serve in the first game and took the set on his fourth set point.

The second set was more even, but Tsitsipas made the first big mistake in dumping an easy shot into the net to lose serve for a 5-4 deficit. His opponent then held serve to love to join Connors in the century club.

"I'm so happy I'm still playing," Federer said. "It all started as a junior world champion. It's been great. I wouldn't do it any differently."

News Tennis

Nick Kyrgios, Wang Yafan win Mexico Open titles

AP Updated: 4 March, 2019, 11:18 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Nick Kyrgios won the Mexico Open for his fifth ATP Tour title, beating second-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4 in the hardcourt event at The Princess Mundo Imperial.

The 23-year-old Kyrgios, ranked 72nd in the world, beat second-ranked Rafael Nadal in the second round, then knocked off Stan Wawrinka and John Isner to reach the final.

Kyrgios won for the first time since the Brisbane event early last year, with all five of the Australian's titles coming on hardcourts.

Zverev, the German star ranked No. 3, has 10 ATP Tour victories, winning five times in 2017 and four last year.

Earlier, China's Wang Yafan won her first WTA Tour title, beating fifth-seeded Sofia Kenin 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. The 24-year-old Wang, ranked 65th, overcame a 2-0 deficit to win the second set.

In women's doubles, Victoria Azarenka won a title for the first time since giving birth to son Leo in December 2016, teaming with Zheng Saisai to beat third-seeded Guiiana Olmos and Desirae Krawczyk 6-1, 6-2.

News Football

After Barca losses, Madrid only has Champions League left

AP Updated: 4 March, 2019, 11:15 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Two demoralizing defeats to Barcelona have left Real Madrid with just one chance to salvage its season by winning a record-extending fourth consecutive Champions League trophy.

But it must do without the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo, the star striker who fueled its title run before leaving for Juventus at the end of last season.

Madrid failed to score against Barcelona in two "clasico" matches at its Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the past week. Barcelona eliminated Madrid from the Copa del Rey semifinals with a 3-0 victory on Wednesday, and three days later left Madrid 12 points adrift in the Spanish league with a 1-0 win.

Madrid could do with rediscovering its scoring form to avoid another calamity when it hosts Dutch side Ajax in the return leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie. The visitors won the away leg in Amsterdam 2-1 thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio.

"We gave it our all (against Barcelona) but weren't decisive enough in the box," defender Dani Carvajal said. "On Tuesday, we need to lay it all on the line. They (Ajax) have had a good rest and we saw what they can do in the first leg. I hope the fans back us because we want to give them something to cheer."

Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund also need to overturn defeats by Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham to advance.