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2015 World Cup: Defending champions India down but not out

Indian National team is the defending champions by the last cricket world cup. They appear as one of the favorites in 2015 World cup in Australia and New Zealand. But India recently had a very poor tour of Australia which has shaken the belief of many that the No 2 side in ODI ranking will be able to retain cricket’s most prestigious title.

The obstacles :

The Indian team has been down under since November 2014. They failed to win even a single match- whether in one day internationals or in Test matches. Finally, they tasted victory in a World Cup warm-up against Afghanistan on 10th February, after more than two-and-a-half months.

In the Tri series involving England and Australia, the defending champion India failed to win a single match. Moreover, on February 8, a 106-run drubbing at Australia’s hand in a warm-up has certainly dented India’s chances at the quadrennial event of cricket.

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The light of Hope:

However, there are some counter arguments too. Since MS Dhoni’s side has been in the southern hemisphere for so long, the time spent here has certainly helped team India to acclimatise to the adverse conditions.

2015 World Cup: Defending champions India down but not out, defending champions, india team
The defending champions ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

Another remarkable thing is that India will not be playing world No 1 Australia in every match like they did during the Tri series. World Cup is a mega-tournament where the most important thing is building momentum in the league phase and qualifying for the knockout stages, as it is a different ball game altogether from the quarter-finals onwards.

Also, several critics have regularly said that come what may, in today’s date, India are a top ODI team.

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Team India in 2015 ICC World Cup:

In 2015 ICC World Cup, India have been placed in Group B where other teams are West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ireland, UAE and traditional rivals Pakistan, against whom they will play at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Pakistan have a better ODI records against India, but in a World Cup contest, they have never been able to break the jinx of defeating India-the last of which came in a semi-final at Mohali four years ago.

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The bowling attack:

India’s bowling attack is in more than a spot of bother. The pace spearhead Ishant Sharma is out of the tournament with an injury. This put a big question mark over the fitness of another pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. It clearly seems that the fast bowling line is not looking good for India.

Under this circumstances, Mohammad Shami could prove to be the key fast bowler for India, considering the medium pacer Stuart Binny and inexperienced Mohit Sharma.

In the spin bowling section, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are proven themselves as match-winners several times, but how much the conditions in Australia and New Zealand will suit the spinners is yet an another question.

In this World Cup the two main concerns for Captain Dhoni will be the ability to take 10 wickets and a kind of death bowling. Lately, India have struggled in both the area and the condition in the world cup where every batsman will look to give his best performance will certainly not help them. If India want to retain the World Cup title, their traditional strength-batting-has to click in time.

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The batting line-up, the only hope for India:

India boasts one of the strongest batting line-ups which possess four Indian batsmen, Virat Kohli (No.3), Shikhar Dhawan (No.7), MS Dhoni (No.9) and the blaster batsman Rohit Sharma (No. 13) in ICC top 20 ODI batsmen ranking. The Indian team has also a reliable middle order with Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane. Ashwin, Binny and Jadeja are more capable as batsmen down the batting order.

2015 World Cup: Defending champions India down but not out, indian batting hope, virat kohli
Indian batting hope ; image credit ; www.rediff.com

In spite of all the disadvantages, the fact is that India will always be the favorite one as the defending champions of cricket world cup.

For example, when India had a poor run before 2013 Champions Trophy in England, they came out on top in a comprehensive manner with MS Dhoni becoming the first captain to win all the major ICC tournaments and Jadeja and Dhawan emerging as the highest wicket-taker and highest run-scorer respectively.

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Team India: MS Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ambati Rayudu, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

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Cricket international News flash recent

ICC World Cup 2015: Ireland shock West Indies, ease to 4-wicket win

It was a bright sunny day at Saxton Oval and fearless Ireland on this day that will be remembered for years to come in the faraway pubs and Belfast. Batting with panache, bowling with purpose and fielding with precision, the Irish chased down 305 runs against West Indies to infuse the first round in 2015 ICC World Cup with life on February 16.

It has been years now, the Irish had punched above their weight, pulling off amazing upsets more than once, but today it hardly sounds an upset. From the very beginning of the first delivery of the game, till the moment when the winning runs were scored, there wasn’t a single Irish cricketer with any self doubt. The manner in which Ireland set the pace against West Indies, showed just how good they really were. West Indies is a kind of team that could so easily have bossed them over on another day.

Today in this match there was no fluke. The conditions were not stacked especially in Ireland’s favor. On the other hand, West Indies did not take their opponents lightly.

ICC World Cup 2015: Ireland shock West Indies, ease to 4-wicket win, west indies vs ireland 2015
west indies vs ireland 2015 ; image credit www.eventfinder.co.nz

Ireland team put the West Indian bowlers to the edge of sword and eased to a four-wicket win. Today, they have caused the first major upset in 2015 ICC World Cup at Saxton Oval.

Brief scores of the match:

West Indies: 304/7 in 50 overs.

Lendl Simmons: 102

Darren Sammy: 89

George Dockrell 3-50, John Mooney 1-59

Ireland: 307/6 in 45.5 overs

Paul Stiring: 92

Ed Joyce: 84

Jerome Taylor 3-71, Chris Gayle 1-41.

The Irish scored 307 for six in 45.5 overs in chasing down 305 runs for victory. It is their fifth World Cup victory. Previously, they have defeated Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and the Netherlands in ICC World Cups. Irish opener Paul Stirling led the charge by scoring 92 off 84 balls and was supported brilliantly by Ed Joyce (84 runs) and Niall O’Brien (79 not out) in the to victory.

The pair added valuable 106 runs for the second wicket followed by an initial 71-run partnership between the Irish captain William Porterfield (23 runs) and Paul Stirling. O’Brien and Joyce added another 96 runs for the third wicket as the Ireland marched towards the massive target.

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When Ireland gathered 273 runs for just 3 wickets in the 40th over, it seemed that they would finish it off quite quickly. However, then it happened as they loose three for just six runs. Responsible batsman Niall O’Brien then kept his cool and steered Ireland team to an unforgettable victory with 25 ball remaining.

Earlier, in West Indies innings, a 154-runs stand between Lendl Simmons (102 runs) and former captain Darren Sammy (89 runs) powered them to a massive total of 304. The West Indies team found themselves in heaps of trouble after being put into bat against Ireland.

At once the scorecard told us 87 for five. But, with a 154 runs partnership for the sixth wicket between Sammy and Simmons, West Indies managed to rally back to finish with a sizeable total of 304. Darren Sammy fell just 11 short of what would have been his maiden one day international century, but Simmons managed to press on to get the mark of scoring hundred.

Irish spinner George Dockrell picked up three wickets for the cost of 50 runs. Earlier, explosive opener Chris Gayle (36 runs) got off to an unlikely slow start. Batsman Dwayne Smith took it as a pressure and got out at 18. Smith fell in the eighth over trying to up the ante.

Darren Bravo (0 runs), one of the key to West Indian batting line, got himself run out withoit facing a ball as West Indies slipped to 31 for two. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels (21 runs) put on a 47-run stay for the third wicket. But then, Gayle was caught in the outfield when he tried to hit Dockrell out of the ground. After two balls when Marlon Samuels fell, that sparked a mini collapse for West Indies team. The catastrophe came when Dinesh Ramdin (1run) got out after nine more runs.

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Sammy and Simmons got together and blitzed the Ireland team bowling to all parts of the ground. Simmons hit nine fours and five sixes while Sammy plundered nine fours and four sixes. Eventually, Andre Russel smashed 27 runs off just 13 balls to take West Indies past the 300-mark.

 

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Cricketer of the Week (February 9-15, 2015): David Miller

South Africa began the quest to win their maiden World Cup title by defeating Zimbabwe on Saturday at Hamilton. Their victory came by 62 runs in their opening encounter of 2015 ICC World Cup. After losing the toss, South Africa was sent to bat. The side were in early trouble after a devastating spell by the Zimbabwean bowlers. They reduced AB de Villiers side to 67 runs for 3 wickets in 17 overs. Then David Miller walked out to join his captain in the middle order as the duo began to get their team back on track.

AB de Villers got out at 25 and the Proteas found themselves in further trouble when the score showed 83 for 4. David Miller took the seat to help his side put up a competitive score on the board.

Rescued the Proteas after a poor start

The left-handed batsman David Miller started his innings on an aggressive style, hitting his first six off just his 5th delivery. His plan was to keep the scoreboard ticking by combining ones and twos and some occasional boundary, and then reaching his 50-mark off just 55 balls.

After reaching the landmark patiently, Miller started to unleash his vast array of super strokes on the Zimbabwean bowling attack, hitting them to all parts of the field and in partnership with JP Duminy, brought his team back into the game.

Cricketer of the Week (February 9-15, 2015): David Miller, South Africa Cricket
South Africa Cricket Team ; image credit sports.ndtv.com

Miller reached his well cherished century courtesy of a single off the bowling of Tinashe Panyangara. His second fifty took a mere 26 deliveries. It was his second century in 64 ODI matches.

David Miller, the 25-year-old didn’t stop there. He continued to hammer the Zimbabwean bowling line and finished not out on 138 runs off just 92 deliveries. He smashed 7 fours and 9 huge sixes all over the ground. JP Duminy also got a hundred of his own and the partnership put on a world record 256 runs for the fifth wicket to help South Africa post a massive score of 339 for 4 in 50 overs.

In reply, Zimbabwe team looked on course to chase down that massive total but following the dismissal of Brendon Taylor for 40, they lost their way. Eventually, they were all out for 277 runs in 48.2 overs.

David Miller was undoubtedly adjudged the Man of the Match award for his brilliant cricketing performance.

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Miller is capable of demolishing attacks: de Villiers

David Miller received a rich praise from the captain AB de Villiers. He said that he was thrilled to see Miller tearing apart Zimbabwean bowling attacks on the media, after the match.

Villiers said on expressing his feelings,

” We have seen David demolish the bowling attacks like that and David is capable of that.”

He also added,

” There is no doubt that Zimbabwe played a good part in getting them ahead early on as it seemed difficult wicket to bat on for the first 20 overs. Then it got easier gradually and luckily David and JP made full use of that opportunity and played exceptionally well to build up that great partnership, which ultimately won us the game today.”

In this 2015 ICC World Cup, South Africa is one of the favorites for the title. Their big strength in this tournament is the amount of depth they have at their disposal in the bowling and batting departments. This strength certainly brought a good advantage on Saturday match, as despite losing the likes of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Du Plessis cheaply, they managed to put on a score of 339 in their 50 overs.

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