‘100 per cent fit’ Shami takes a break ahead of WC semis

India’s leading fast bowler in the tournament Mohammed Shami today took a break from training session as a part of the recovery process after bowling full tilt in the quarter-final match against Bangladesh in Melbourne last week.

While there were some murmurs about the state of his knee, which has taken a lot of pounding on the hard Australian grounds, but team’s media manager RN Baba clarified that there are no reasons for worry as far as the Bengal pacer is concerned.

“Shami is 100 hundred per cent fit and is available for selection in the semi-final against Australia,” Baba told PTI today.

Asked as to why Shami neither played football nor did he bowl at the nets like Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav, Baba replied, “He had requested for an extra day’s rest and his wish was granted.”

Shami has so far taken 17 wickets from seven World Cup matches so far. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled an extended session at the nets today. India take on co-hosts Australia in the second semi-final at the SCG on Thursday.


World Cup semi-final: Advantage Australia as India have beaten hosts only once in 35 years at SCG

Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) will be the venue for India-Australia semi-final in ICC World Cup 2015. And the hosts hold clear advantage over MS Dhoni’s men going by the past records at the venue.

In 35 years, India have beaten Australia only once at this ground. This statistic might clearly install the hosts as favourites for Thursday’s (March 26) last-four clash but on current form, India are capable of rewriting history.
India and Australia first met at SCG on 18 December 1980. In that game, Australia won by 9 wickets. Since then, for 28 years they dominated their opponents in 11 games.
But things changed in the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series final on 2 March 2008. A magnificent century by Sachin Tendulkar in the 1st of the three finals ended India’s winless streak at SCG

India won by 6 wickets and went on to clinch the trophy, their first in Australia, after beating the hosts in Brisbane in the second final.

Overall, India have played 17 times at SCG, winning 4 and one was a no result – against Australia. The other three victories came against England, New Zealand and Pakistan, the last one in the 1992 World Cup.

Now for Thursday’s encounter, India will be keen to tame their rivals and make a second successive World Cup final. A tough task but not an impossible one, given the way they have strung together 7 wins in a row in the tournament.

India Vs Australia in Sydney (ODIs) – Played 14, Australia won 12, India won 1, No result 1

1. 18 December 1980 – Australia won by 9 wickets
2. 8 January 1981 – Australia won by 9 wickets
3. 15 January 1981 – Australia won by 27 runs
4. 21 January 1986 – Austalia won by 100 runs
5. 5 February 1986 – Australia won by 11 runs
6. 14 January 1992 – Australia won by 9 wickets
7. 20 January 1992 – Australia won by 6 runs
8. 14 January 2000 – Australia won by 5 wickets
9. 22 January 2004 – Australia won by 2 wickets
10. 8 February 2004 – Australia won by 208 runs
11. 24 February 2008 – Australia won by 18 runs
12. 2 March 2008 – India won by 6 wickets
13. 26 February 2012 – Australia won by 87 runs
14. 26 January 2015 – No Result


MS Dhoni’s tennis racquet formula to handle Australian pacers in World Cup semi-final

MS Dhoni today swapped his cricket bat with a tennis racquet for a unique training method ahead of their ICC World Cup 2015 semi-final against Australia.

10 facts about the match To prepare his batsmen to handle bouncers, Dhoni has come out with an innovative idea and he was seen using it at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Monday. Dhoni’s tennis racquet formula for semis Dhoni’ has a new training method for World Cup semi-final.

“India captain MS Dhoni walked over to the nets with a tennis racquet and tennis ball in his hand,” BCCI’s official website reported today on how India were preparing for the big semi-final on Thursday (March 26). “Dhoni served a few with the tennis ball to Raina to which the left-hand batsman responded with a few leaves and pulls. This went on for close to 15-20 minutes and at the end of it Dhoni had a few words of advice for his teammate,” the report added.

It further said, “After (Suresh) Raina, it was Shikhar Dhawan who went through the same procedure with the Indian captain. Quite naturally, India are expecting the Australian pacers to come hard at them with bouncers and are doing their best to be prepared for it.”

The captain and his batsmen are leaving no stone unturned to put it past Australia on Thursday. Two more days of practice and we will have the on-field action unfolding at SCG on March 26.
Will Dhoni’s tennis racquet formula yield results on the big day?


World Cup 2015: When Rohit Sharma’s 137 reminded Ian Chappell of Aravinda de Silva

With his match-winning innings of 137 against Bangladesh, Indian opener Rohit Sharma added another fan to his list, in the name of former Australia skipper Ian Chappell.

As per the former Australian great, Rohit’s calm and composed knock in the cricket World Cup quarter-final reminded him of Sri Lankan batting legend Aravinda de Silva.
“Throughout his excellent innings, I was reminded of the discipline displayed by Aravinda de Silva in the 1996 World Cup final,” Chappell wrote in a column for espncricinfo.

“Aravinda scored a century of class and determination to help his team win the trophy, and although he denied himself any expansive shots, he still scored at a run rate near 90.” “It was one of the great innings of self-restraint played by a batsman who could be extravagant, bordering on reckless at times,” he said of the Indian right-hander.

The 71-year-old praised opening batsman Rohit for playing a disciplined innings and not hitting a careless uppish shot during his stay at the crease that so often brings one of his promising innings to a premature halt. “Rohit was every bit disciplined, and mostly denied himself the signature lofted shots into the stands or the careless uppish shot through the infield that so often bring one of his promising innings to a premature halt,” Ian said.

Ian, who had played 75 Tests and 16 one-day-internationals (ODI) for Australia, also came up in appreciation for Suresh Raina for playing a supportive role at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

“As much as Rohit was the star and Suresh Raina was good who played a strong supporting role,” he said. He also heaped praise on Indian bowling attack which took 70 wickets in seven consecutive World Cup games to silence critics after a disastrous Test and ODI Tri-Series Down Under.

“Six weeks ago you wouldn’t have dreamed the Indians would claim all 70 wickets in their first seven World Cup matches.” “Nevertheless, that’s exactly what the bowlers have achieved, and it’s a credit to their persistence and resilience that they have been able to click into gear when it has really mattered,” he said.

Indian’s sparkling fielding effort in the mega event has also impressed the legend. “The final component in India’s World Cup resurgence has been the fielding. It was athletic and safe, with the occasional brilliant intercept at the MCG.”
“It helps if all the chances created are accepted, and this also helps to build the confidence of the bowlers,” Ian concluded.

India will miss a left-handed quick – Dawes

India’s quick bowlers are having some fantastic luck yet they might not have the same effect on Australia’s batsmen as Wahab Riaz had, Joe Dawes, the previous India rocking the bowling alley mentor, has said.

The left-handed Wahab tried Australia’s top order, particularly Shane Watson, with a threatening spell in the quarter-last in Adelaide, presenting their powerlessness to short deliveries bowled at pace, a shortcoming India would have observed, Dawes said, however India’s absence of a left-armer in their positions may work for Australia.

“They’ll be getting their work done and will issue it a split. Fletch [Duncan Fletcher] is a really shrewd mentor, he’ll be observing these things and he’ll look to attempt and get that some place and issue it a spin,” Dawes told Sydney Morning Herald. “At the same time the left-hander is a major advantage and that is the place the Indians don’t have anybody with genuine pace, or any left-hand bowlers here right now.”

The 42 wickets imparted between India’s pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma is one of the prime explanations behind India’s unbeaten run in the competition. Dawes said that one of them could endeavor reproducing a left-armer’s edge by playing round the wicket.

“Most likely they’ll attempt that. [But] around the wicket will be somewhat harder than simply having a left-hander there,” he said. “They will have viewed that and will issue it a go, and Umesh has certainly got the pace to do it yet he’s not an excessively tall man so that kind of changes the direction and the ricochet. The left-armers are turned out to be truly troublesome all through the entire competition, right?”

India’s bowlers will likewise need to beat the “mental harm” they continued amid an intense summer. India lost the four-Test arrangement 2-0 and were not able to make it to the finals of the tri-arrangement that peculiarities Australia and England.

“Amid the Test arrangement they truly battled for consistency,” Dawes said. “They played some great balls, then truly let the weight off. It would seem that perhaps adjusting to the conditions and getting their lengths right they’ve truly enhanced their consistency so they’re building weight now.

“MS [Dhoni] drives them well in one-day cricket and they’ve kind of got on a roll. Despite everything I think under weight they’ll be tried. I’m not certain they’ve been tried significantly under weight yet.

“That will be the genuine test in a semi-last against Australia, where there is that tiny bit of undoubtedly mental harm over the mid year where they’ve been hit around a bit.”

The turnaround commenced with India’s win against Pakistan in the opening match. From that point forward, they have released each resistance in transit to the semi-last, an accomplishment they had never accomplished previously.

“I think they have got the instruments to hurt any side, its simply whether they can be sufficiently predictable to put the ball in the right zone on the day, which they have and haven’t done all through the late spring.”


Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi bow out as Pakistan lose to Australia by six wickets in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 quarter-final

Misbah-ul-Haq and all-rounder Shahid Afridi bowed out of One-Day International (ODI) cricket with their dreams unfulfilled on Friday as Pakistan crashed out in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015quarter-finals against Australia in Adelaide. Both the senior players had announced they would retire from one-day cricket after the World Cup with skipper Misbah continuing to play Tests while Afridi will feature in Twenty20 cricket.
Misbah, 40, failed to get a one-day hundred in his entire career of 162 one-day internationals. His final run tally was 5,122 runs — the most runs by any player in one-dayers without a hundred. The captain managed 34 in Pakistan’s sub-par total of 213 all out against Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
The co-hosts overhauled the target in 33.5 overs for a comprehensive six-wicket victory, earning a place in next Thursday’s semi-final against defending champions India in Sydney.
Afridi, famous for his 37-ball hundred in only his second one-day international made against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996, fell five wickets short of the 400-mark. Afridi, 35, who scored 8,064 runs in his 398 one-day internationals, could have been the only all-rounder with over 8,000 one-day runs and 400 wickets.


2015 Cricket World Cup Leading Run-Scorers: Martin Guptill hits 200! 2nd in the list of top-10 batsmen

Martin Guptill of New Zealand made a double century in the fourth quarter finals against West Indies in Wellington to take 2nd place in the leading run-scorers of 2015 Cricket World Cup. Kumar Sangakkara became the first batsman to cross 500 run-mark in 2015 Cricket World Cup but his quarter-final innings 45 off 96 deliveries is anything that did justice to his aggressive, in-form batsman personality. He is the leading run-scorer of this edition but the humbling performance by Sri Lankan side in the quarter-final against South Africa could well be their final match of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

His knock of 138 off 110 deliveries takes him to second place of leading run-scorers of 2015 Cricket World Cup, only behind Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka (496 runs). Taylor has made 433 runs in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, including second century of the tournament. Zimbabwean Sean Williams also made another half-century to climb up to sixth place in top-10 list of batsmen of ICC World Cup 2015.

Mahhmudullah of Bangladesh riding on his great form hit second hundred of 2015 Cricket World Cup against New Zealand at the Seddon Park in Hamilton. After becoming the first Bangladeshi batsman to hit century in World Cups, Mahmudullah scored a well-made 124* against the Kiwis. With this hundred he moves to fifth place of leading run-scorers of ICC Cricket World 2015 with a total of 344 runs. The race to become the leading run-scorers of 2015 Cricket World Cup is heating up between two players – South African skipper AB de Villiers challenging Sri Lanka’s batting supremo Kumar Sangakkara. Both the players have consistently being among the runs.

There have been a total of one double century and 33 centuries hit in the World Cup 2015 so far. Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara (4), Tillakrathne Dilshan (2), Mahmudullah (2), Brendan Taylor (2) and Shikhar Dhawan (2) are the only payers to hit more than one century in Cricket World Cup 2015 so far.

Leading Run-Scorers: List of Top Batsmen of WC 2015









Kumar Sangakkara

Sri Lanka






Brendan Taylor







AB de Villiers

South Africa






Tillakrathne Dilshan

Sri Lanka






Shikhar Dhawan














Sean Williams







Hashim Amla

South Africa













Shaiman Anwar






Leading run-scorers table updated till Match 44 of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, India vs Bangladesh* on March 19, 2015.

The 27 centurions, starting with the top scorer are– Chris Gayle (215), David Warner (178), AB De Villiers (162*) Tillakaratne Dilshan (161*), Hashim Amla (159), Kyle Coetzer (156), Lahiru Thirimanne (139*), David Miller (138*), Brendan Taylor (138), Shikhar Dhawan (137), Marlon Samuels (133*) Aaron Finch (135), Moeen Ali (128), Mahmudullah (124*), Kumar Sangakkara (124), Brendan Taylor (121), Joe Root (121), Kumar Sangakkara (117*) JP Duminy (115*), Ed Joyce (112) Faf du Plesseis (109) Virat Kohli (107), William Porterfield (107), Shaiman Anwar (106), Kumar Sangakkara (105*), Martin Guptill (105), Suresh Raina (104), Kumar Sangakkara (104) Tillakrathne Dilshan (104), Mahmudullah (103), Glenn Maxwell (102), Lendl Simmons (102) Shikhar Dhawan (100) and Mahela Jayawardene (100).

Among the other notable players were India’s flamboyant batting star Virat Kohli’s 107 against arch-rivals Pakistan, Sri Lankan veteran Mahela Jayawardene who scored a magnificent century to save his side from going down against Afghanistan. Paul Stirling of Ireland’s winning knock of 92 against West Indies is another memorable innings of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.


Winning World Cup: It’s all about ‘3 crucial games’, says Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina has said India need to continue the good work in the next “three crucial games” to win the ICC World Cup 2015.

Left-handed Raina, who hit a century against Zimababwe last week to take India to sixth victory in a row in the group stage, is eyeing to carry the same form in the quarter-final against Bangladesh on March 19 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

India, the defending champions, are three games away from winning a second World Cup title in a row, which has never happened in their history.

“We are all looking forward to it (quarter-final) and we believe we have a good all-round side. Everything is working well for us and if it works well for another two weeks then it would be great,” Raina told BCCI’s official website.

“Now it is all about those three crucial games – the quarters, semis and the final. We need to continue what we have been doing over the past one month and work on our strengths. We need to get our focus on the rest of the three games.
“As of now we need to go and play really well against Bangladesh. They have reached this stage playing some good cricket. I hope we do well and we believe we will,” he added.

India and New Zealand are the only unbeaten sides so far in the tournament. The quarter-finals begin tomorrow with South Africa meeting Sri Lanka in Sydney.


Bat first, don’t obsess over De Villiers, says Muttiah Muralitharan

Spin great Muttiah Muralitharan told Sri Lanka to bat first against South Africa and not obsess over the destructive batting power of AB de Villiers in Wednesday’s World Cup quarter-final.

Muralitharan, a veteran of Sri Lanka’s defeated sides in the 2007 and 2011 finals, believes all the pressure will be on the team batting second at the Sydney Cricket Ground and that Angelo Mathews’s men can capitalise on South Africa’s poor record when chasing.
“I have two messages, win the toss and do not get too hung up thinking about AB de Villiers,” the off-spin great wrote in latest ICC column.
“The side batting first in one-day internationals at the Sydney Cricket Ground wins 58 per cent of the time according to the statistics but, in the pressure of a knock-out match as this one is, I reckon the advantage of runs on the board counts for even more than that figure suggests.”

South Africa’s four group game victories all came batting first, piling up 411 against Ireland, 408 facing the West Indies, 341 to beat the UAE and 339 in the win against Zimbabwe.
But batting second, de Villiers’s team made just 177 chasing India’s 307 and a disappointing 202 in pursuit of Pakistan’s modest 222.

“A total in excess of 300 batting first means the side needing to get those runs has to go at a run a ball from the outset and, if wickets go down and the run-rate increases, and in the knowledge of it being a win or bust encounter, batsmen’s brains can get scrambled very easily,” added Muralitharan.
“South Africa have a reputation for buckling at the business end of major tournaments. Sri Lanka have no such hang-up having won the World Twenty20 last year and reaching the World Cup final in each of the past two editions.”
Muralitharan advised Sri Lanka not to get distracted by de Villiers who has made 417 runs at the tournament with his best score a blistering 162 not out against the West Indies at the same SCG where Wednesday’s quarter-final will take place.
Instead, Sri Lanka have their own game-changers in Kumar Sangakkara, the leading run-maker with 496 and four successive centuries, as well as Tillakaratne Dilshan on 395 runs and boasting a best of 161 undefeated against Bangladesh.

“Sri Lanka need to focus on getting de Villiers in as quickly as possible. If he comes in with a platform laid, wickets in hand and the field spread then that is a licence for mayhem, especially against a Sri Lanka attack that has struggled to contain opponents throughout this World Cup.
“But if de Villiers comes in at 80-3, especially in a big chase, then that could be a different story entirely.” He added: “If I was in charge of the Sri Lanka team meeting then that would be a major theme of mine: forget how much they can hurt us with the bat; we can hurt them just as much, or even more.”


Sri Lanka vs South Africa, 1st Quarter-Final, ICC World Cup 2015

All eyes will be on Kumar Sangakkara when Sri Lanka face South Africa in the quarter-finals of ICC World Cup 2015 here at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) tomorrow (March 18, Wednesday).
Sangakkara has been in great batting form, constructing four hundreds on the trot, a record in the history of One Day Internationals
Now, the 37-year-old will be hoping to go further and make it five in five in his final World Cup. If he does that, he will match batting legend Sachin Tendulkar’s World Cup record of most number of hundreds – 6. So far, Sangakkara has 5 World Cup tons, joint second with Australia’s Ricky Ponting. Sangakkara has achieved this in 4 World Cups. Tendulkar played in a joint record of 6 World Cups from 1992 to 2011. South Africa captain AB de Villiers and his men will be working out plans to stop Sangakkara tomorrow. If he stays true to his form, the Proteas’ record of not winning a knockout game in World Cup ever will remain. When this World Cup started, many thought no batsman could come closer to Tendulkar’s mark of 6 hundreds. However, Sangakkara has proved it wrong. The wicketkeeper-batsman is also the first batsman in World Cup history to register 4 three-figure marks in a single tournament. Can he emulate Tendulkar on Wednesday?

Most World Cup hundreds 6 – Sachin Tendulkar (44 innings) 5 – Kumar Sangakkara (34), Ricky Ponting (42) 4 – AB de Villiers (21), Sourav Ganguly (21), Mark Waugh (22), Tillakaratne Dilshan (24), Mahela Jayawardene (33)