Live Cricket Blog: England and India begin World Cup 2019 countdown

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Catch the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Hello, Ajit Vijaykumar and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout your day and the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

6:00 pm – England and India begin World Cup 2019 countdown

While all eyes will be focused on England’s limited-overs clashes against India, the two teams will have a much larger picture in mind during the upcoming month. Both the teams have been setting the standards in white-ball cricket in recent times and will no doubt be among the heavy favourites for the 2019 ICC World Cup to be held in England.

With 12 months to go for the showpiece event, Sport360’s Ajit Vijaykumar takes a look at what the two teams will be aiming for in the near future. Read more on his story here.

England captain Eoin Morgan and India skipper Virat Kohli.

England captain Eoin Morgan and India skipper Virat Kohli.

5:15 pm – Kuldeep Yadav v Jason Roy among the key battles between England and India

As England and India prepare to lock horns in the three-match T20 series, we take a look at three key battles which could be pivotal in deciding the final outcome. India’s wily left-armed leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav will be up against the in-form Jason Roy and that battle is one definitely worth keeping an eye one.

Check out the three main battles here.

Kuldeep's battle against Jason Roy could be an intriguing one.

Kuldeep’s battle against Jason Roy could be an intriguing one.

5:00 pm – Virat Kohli aiming to lead from the front in T20 series against England

On the eve of India’s opening T20 clash against England at Old Trafford, skipper Virat Kohli has stated that he would like to continue leading the side from the front. The batting sensation is enduring a lean patch after consecutive failures in Ireland but remains in a bullish mood ahead of the thee T20 clashes against the formidable England.

Read the Indian skipper’s full quotes here.

Kohli wants to lead by example.

Kohli wants to lead by example.

3:10 pm – Australia crush Pakistan

Stanlake destroyed Pakistan with a four-wicket burst.

Stanlake destroyed Pakistan with a four-wicket burst.

Fast bowler Billy Stanlake took 4-8 and captain Aaron Finch smashed an unbeaten 68 as Australia defeated Pakistan by nine wickets in their T20 tri-series clash in Harare on Monday.

Pakistan were bowled out for just 117 and Australia had no trouble chasing the runs down, reaching the target inside 11 overs.

More talking points from the match here.

3:00 pm  – Ponting, Dravid and Claire in ICC hall of fame

Batting greats Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting along with England women’s wicketkeeper batswoman Claire Taylor became the latest names to be inducted in the prestigious ICC Hall of Fame.

Dravid became only the fifth India player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame while Ponting became the 25th Australia cricketer to do so.

Read more here.

1:17 pm – Shoaib Malik becomes first to play 100 T20I matches

Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik become the first player to feature in 100 T20 Internationals as his team took on Australia in the T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe on Monday.

The 36-year-old had earlier become the third player to score 2,000 runs in the format.

More on that here.

11:30 am – Australia strike early

Australia took four wickets inside the first eight overs after winning the toss and deciding to bowl first in their T20 tri-series clash against Pakistan in Harare on Monday.

Pakistan are looking to clinch their ninth consecutive win in the T20 format after defeating Zimbabwe in the tri-series opener on Sunday.

The Aussies are looking to put the 6-0 limited overs sweep by England behind them.

For live scores, click here.

11:20 am – Sarfraz most successful Pakistan T20 captain

CRICKET-SCO-PAK-T20

Sarfraz Ahmed became the most successful Pakistan T20 captain following the 74-run win over Zimbabwe in the tri-series opener.

Sarfraz now has 20 wins from 23 matches in the format, overtaking Shahid Afridi’s tally of 19 wins from 43 matches.

The wicketkeeper batsman’s win percentage of 87 is by far the best in international cricket among players who have led in at least 20 T20s.

Read more here.

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Virat Kohli wants to lead from the front as India gear up for England T20 series

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Kohli is ready for the T20 series against England.

Playing competitive cricket will be the mantra for India and skipper Virat Kohli when they square off against England in the three-match T20I series.

On the eve of the opening T20 clash at Old Trafford in Manchester, the Indian skipper emphasised the importance of winning crucial moments of play.

“We expect England to come hard at us. We certainly want to play positive cricket. It is going to be an exciting series for sure. We believe we have the side to put up a great fight. If we win the crucial moments then anything can happen on the day,” Kohli said at the pre-series press conference on Monday.

“As I said, in T20 cricket you have to be at your absolute best since the game is so short and you don’t have second chances. But, we are pretty confident as a side,” he added.

Refusing to set any specific targets ahead of the series, Kohli spoke about his desire to continue to lead the team from the front.

“I am certainly not expecting or putting any targets at such. I just want the team to play good cricket here and I want to be able to lead from the front. That’s always been my mindset since the time I have been captain,” the 29-year-old stated.

“I just want the team to play well and myself to contribute as well, as much as I can. Nothing changes here for me, it is just a set of international matches and the mindset remains the same.”

Both the teams come into the series on the back of some impressive results. While India blew away Ireland in the two T20s, hosts England ran all over Australia by winning all six limited-overs clashes.

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Billy Stanlake's fiery spell and other takeaways as Australia thump Pakistan by nine wickets in T20 tri-series

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Stanlake destroyed Pakistan with a four-wicket burst.

Pakistan‘s run of eight consecutive wins came to an unceremonious end while Australia recorded the first win of Justin Langer’s era in the second clash of the T20I tri-series at Harare on Monday.

The Aussies thumped the men in green by nine wickets at the Harare Sports Club after being set a target of just 117. The decision to make Pakistan bat first on Monday paid off for the Australians as Sarfraz Ahmed‘s men were bowled out for just 116.

Here, we look at the key talking points from Australia’s comprehensive victory.

STANLAKE’S FIERY SPELL BREAKS PAKISTAN’S BACK

After a comfortable afternoon against Zimbabwe’s bowlers, Pakistan’s batsmen were put through the wringer as pacer Billy Stanlake bowling a hostile spell at the start of the innings. Making full use of the extra bounce he is capable of generating, the lanky Australian express pacer had the Pakistan batsmen hopping around the crease.

Stanlake was asked to bowl four overs on the trot by skipper Aaron Finch and he delivered in style by picking up a wicket in each. He had Mohammad Hafeez, Hussain Talat and Sarfraz Ahmed all caught by Finch at first slip with extra bounce taking the batsmen by surprise.

His dismissal of Fakhar Zaman – who was caught behind –  was a contentious one. Stanlake’s four-wicket burst removed the cream of Pakistan’s batting. His figures of 4-8 are the second best by any Aussie bowler in the format and behind only James Faulkner’s 5-27.

Stanlake's bounce was too hot to handle for Pakistan.

Stanlake’s bounce was too hot to handle for Pakistan.

HORRIBLE MIX-UP COSTS PAKISTAN

After Stanlake’s fiery spell, Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik were tasked with resurrecting the Pakistan innings. The duo’s late fireworks in the tri-series opener had helped Pakistan up the ante after a sluggish start against Zimbabwe.

On Monday, a different job was required. However, it wasn’t to be as a horrible run-out derailed Pakistan’s journey.

With the partnership beginning to take shape, Asif took off for a double after tucking a Marcus Stoinis delivery towards square-leg. Malik, playing in his 100th T20 international for Pakistan, was not interested in the second run and a comical mix-up ensued which left the veteran stranded by some distance as Alex Carey whipped off the bails at the striker’s end.

Given the kind of form Malik has been in, it was a blow Pakistan were never going to recover from.

Malik's run-out was a pivotal moment in the game.

Malik’s run-out was a pivotal moment in the game.

FINCH MAKES SHORT WORK OF PAKISTAN’S TARGET

Defending a total of 116 was always going to be a tough ask for Pakistan despite their impressive bowling attack and that turned out to be the case as Finch gave Australia a flying start.

The Aussie skipper attacked from the word go and he gave no chance to the Pakistan bowlers to settle down into a rhythm. Making full use of the powerplay restrictions, Finch was particularly aggressive towards Pakistan spinners Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan whom he tonked for five sixes on his way to a 27-ball half century.

Finch found an able ally in Travis Head following the dismissal of D’Arcy Short and the duo were rarely tested as they polished off Pakistan’s total before the completion of the 11th over. Finch played a captain’s knock, remaining unbeaten on 68 from 33 balls with the help of six sixes and four boundaries.

Finch was back at his fluent best in an innings containing six sixes.

Finch was back at his fluent best in an innings containing six sixes.

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