Sunrisers Hyderabad continued their red-hot winning streak in IPL against Delhi Capitals and rose to the numero-uno position in the points table after they defeated the hosts by five wickets. Delhi's coach, Ricky Ponting slammed the Kotla pitch in aftermath of the loss. Delhi's pitch has denied Delhi Capitals the advantage that the hosts get while playing at home and yesterday as well, the pitch was tilted in favor of the visitors.
“I thought they bowled smartly on that wicket. That wicket surprised us a lot. Talking to the groundsmen before the game, he thought that was our best pitch. By far and away it was our worst. You saw how little it bounced and how slow it was. I thought their bowlers adapted well to the conditions.
“They have very skilful bowlers in those conditions as they bowl knuckle balls and slower balls. Nabi also did a good job for them in the powerplay. We knew we needed to get off to a good start and unfortunately we didn’t do that. We got some work to do. This is our home ground and we need to learn to play in these conditions better than the opposition. We definitely have to improve,” Punter said.
However, Ponting added that the team needs to be picked in accordance to the pitch and they need to adapt quickly as well.
“At the end of the day, it is the same pitch for both teams. But, if you ask me would I want to play Sunrisers on that type of pitch, that wicket absolutely suits them down to the ground. They have great spinners and all their seamers bowl slower balls. And if you bowl slower balls on this wicket, it is not possible to hit.
“But if the wickets are going to be like this, we need to think about our selection as well. Maybe our bowlers weren’t best suited to that wicket. It wasn’t as we expected, it wasn’t what the groundsmen told us it will be,” he said.
Hardik Pandya has played three back-to-back cameos for Mumbai Indians and is looking in red-hot form. The Indian all-rounder blasted 25 runs off just eight balls to help Mumbai post a match-winning total against Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium.
He along with Kieron Pollard scored 29 runs off the final over. Dwayne Bravo was at receiving the end of the Pollard-Hardik assault. Pandya not only made life difficult for CSK with the bat in hand but also bagged three wickets to break the back of Chennai's batting.
CSK coach, Stephen Fleming has heaped huge praise on Hardik Pandya. He said, “As a cricketer, I am a massive fan (of Hardik Pandya). He is a wonderful player. With his confidence up, looks like he is got a good thing going at the death, so the plans for the teams is to try and combat (him at) death.
“We are happy with what we were trying to do, we just executed it poorly. He is a quality player. Pollard as well. He is one of Mumbai’s key weapons, one of India’s key players going forward. If you keep him out of the game then you often go close to winning,” Fleming added.
Hardik Pandya played a brilliant cameo against Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. He made 25 runs off eight deliveries and changed the game on its head. He then also went on to pick up three wickets. It was Hardik's day and he was rightfully adjudged the Man-of-the-Match for his match-winning performance against Chennai Super Kings.
Speaking to IANS, one of the national selectors said “The World Cup is round the corner and as selectors, it is pleasing to the eye when you see someone like Hardik doing so well for Mumbai. It clearly shows that he has moved ahead and is focusing on his game. Whatever happened cannot be undone. But how you learn from those mistakes and rise is what is a true test of your character.”
“He has that X-factor. He is fearless in his approach. Say, you are faced with a situation in the World Cup when you have an improbable chase on hand, he could win you the game. Or if you need quick wickets, the captain can always hand him the ball. He is one of those guys who loves to rise to the challenge. An in-form Hardik is always an advantage for the Indian team," he added.
Pandya has played three successive cameos for MI and is looking in great hitting form, which bodes well for IPL side as well as India with World Cup around the corner.
If South Africa are the perennial chokers of international cricket New Zealand are the permanent bridesmaids. Their teams over the years have been good enough to make it to the semifinals of ICC competitions but no further. Yes, there have been two wonderful exemptions. One, when they won the ICC Champions Trophy at Nairobi in 2000 defeating India in the final and secondly when they got through the semifinal barrier and made it to the title clash in the last World Cup four years ago when they were no match for Australia.
So can New Zealand go all the way this time in England? If they don’t, it will not be because they have chosen the wrong team personnel. New Zealand are the first to announce their squad and on paper at least they look good enough to make the semifinals. After that it is just a question of two good games.
Both on past record and current rankings New Zealand are opponents who have to be taken seriously. They are, along with Australia, the only two teams to have made at least the World Cup semifinals on seven occasions. And their No 3 ranking puts them just behind England and India and ahead of South Africa, Australia and Pakistan. Their present form has been decidedly mixed for in the past year they have lost to England and India but have defeated Sri Lanka and Bangladesh besides sharing an away series with Pakistan.
But it is the team personnel, based on experience, that emphasizes the optimism voiced by coach Gary Stead. ``We have got a squad that we think can give us a really good chance of gong far in the tournament and if we play close to our potential then hopefully we can do New Zealand proud,’’ he said. For perhaps the first time New Zealand have two great batsmen in skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor and two great bowlers in Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Martin Guptill who holds the record for the highest score in the World Cup (237 not out) is not far behind and Tom Latham has the skill and experience to excel in front of the stumps and behind them. Every department is covered for there is Mitchell Santner as the primary spinner with Ish Sodhi in support. Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme are the utility players while Henry Nichols is all set to open the batting with Guptill. There is also the dangerous hitter Colin Munro while Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry are around to back the two premier fast bowlers.
The Kiwis will be among the most experienced teams in the World Cup highlighted by the fact that Taylor, Williamson and Guptill have 526 ODIs between them. They have a balanced squad that can take heart from their past performances in the World Cup in England. On three of the four occasions they entered the semifinal and in the other missed making the cut by a whisker.