Shane Watson and Wahab Riaz call truce after Cricket World Cup duel

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Wahab Riaz tore into Australia during a fierce six-over spell.

Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz and Australian all-rounder Shane Watson called a truce on Tuesday after their compelling World Cup quarter-final tussle.

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Wahab won widespread plaudits for a fierce spell of fast bowling which forced Watson to duck into and under a series of short-pitched deliveries in the game at the Adelaide Oval.

Wahab even applauded the Australian and blew him a kiss as Watson survived on his way to helping the co-hosts to a six-wicket victory.

Watson ended Friday’s game on an unbeaten 64 off 66 balls but he was dropped on four by Rahat Ali at fine leg off a 145kmh Riaz bouncer.

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#CWC15: Heel injury ends New Zealand Adam Milne’s tournament

Chris Foley 24/03/2015
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Out: Adam Milne has taken five wickets in the tournament.

New Zealand fast bowler Adam Milne has been ruled out of the World Cup, with coach Mike Hesson calling up Matt Henry to join the squad.

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Hesson said yesterday that a left heel injury had forced Milne out of the remainder of the tournament and the International Cricket Council cleared Henry to join the New Zealand line up “for the knockout stage.”.

Milne was an automatic choice as the third quick behind Tim Southee and Trent Boult, with Mitchell McClenaghan preferred ahead of Kyle Mills when a shoulder injury kept Milne out of the Bangladesh match.

Captain Brendon McCullum said the loss of Milne could force a rethink of New Zealand’s bowling strategy. “The way we have operated with Adam in that third seamer role has worked quite well for us coming in after our two opening bowlers swinging the ball.

“That doesn’t mean we have to roll out the same game plan or same strategy, but it has served us well over the last little while.”

Milne felt discomfort following New Zealand’s comprehensive quarter-final win against the West Indies on Saturday and a scan showed significant swelling around the heel.

“It’s certainly serious enough to rule him out of the tournament from a playing perspective. We’ve certainly got more tests to do in terms of the extent of it but we’re thinking more in weeks than longer than that,” added the captain.

Milne, who bowled Chris Gayle for 61 in New Zealand’s 143-run quarter-final victory, has taken five wickets for 199 in the tournament.
Henry, who has only played eight ODIs, has impressive career figures of 21 wickets at an average of 15.42.

Meanwhile, New Zealand great Martin Crowe yesterday praised Martin Guptill’s record-breaking World Cup feats after helping the batsman reinvent himself late in his career.

Guptill, who hit a World Cuprecord 237 not out against the West Indies, revealed that tips from Crowe had helped improve his batting, particularly his footwork and stance.

But Crowe said Guptill deserved the credit for being prepared to ask for help, then going back to the basics to alter his technique. “It’s a courageous move to rebuild at 28,” Crowe told Fairfax New Zealand.

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#CWC15: Australia's James Faulkner predicts verbals will continue against India

Kuldip Lal 24/03/2015
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Lighting a fuse: James Faulkner feels neither will be backing down on Thursday.

Rival captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India and Michael Clarke of Australia may have their hands full trying to keep frayed tempers in check during a potentially explosive World Cup semi-final on Thursday.

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The two teams have shared a tumultuous relationship both on and off the field in recent years and another flare-up cannot be ruled out in front of a packed Sydney Cricket Ground.

It was at the same venue in 2008 where the infamous ‘Monkeygate’ incident involving Australian allrounder Andrew Symonds and Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh took place and almost saw a Test series being called off. Harbhajan was suspended for three matches for allegedly calling Symonds a “monkey”, but the ban was overturned when India threatened to walk out of the tour, claiming the off-spinner was wrongly accused.

The bad blood continued during India’s Test and one-day series in Australia prior to the World Cup when heated on-field exchanges led to several players being penalised.

Three Indian players, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, and Australian left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc were charged for a breach of the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct.

Australian opener David Warner was the worst offender, having been reported both in the Test and oneday series, and was publicly told off by Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland to “stop looking for trouble.”

David Warner (left) is on a warning after recent incidents.

Warner risks missing the final should Australia qualify if he is found guilty of a third breach of the Code of Conduct on Thursday. Australian all-rounder James Faulkner predicted that the sledging will be fast and furious at the SCG.

“There are going to be words said and it’s going to be a really tough contest,” Faulkner said yesterday. “I think there is always sledging in the game. If there is not, you’ve got problems. It’s the nature of the game. It’s a semi-final. Cut throat. Neither team will be backing down.”

Australian team-mate Glenn Maxwell is certain that Warner, who squared up to Rohit Sharma during the Test series telling the batsman “to speak English”, will not get into trouble again.  “He is fine,” the all-rounder said. “He does not say much – any more.”

All-rounder Shane Watson will be another one under the radar of Sri Lankan match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who fined him 15 per cent of his match fees for a heated exchange with Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz during tense moments of Friday’s quarter-final in Adelaide.

ICC chief executive David Richardson said before the tournament that match referees would come down hard on misbehaviour on the field and repeat offenders will be hit with bans. But Maxwell is confident the involvement of Australian players in the Indian Premier League will help to keep the lid on – even though that was not seen in the preceding bilateral matches.

The belligerent batsman, who has turned out for Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, said the glitzy Twenty20 tournament helped him get closer to Indian players.

“Personally, I get along with them really well,” he said. “Playing in the IPL, you get to know a lot of them, spend time with them, go to dinners with them and you start to develop real friendships and you stay in touch with them as well.

“It makes it hard when you play against them because you’ve got to still have that fine line of keeping it competitive on the field but they’re also your mates. “So you’ve got to continue trying to play as if you’re playing your worst enemy every time.”

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