Cricket World Cup 2019: Desperate times for Windies as they look to resurrect campaign against in-form New Zealand

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Windies have registered just one win so far in the World Cup.

The 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final qualification doors are closing fast on the West Indies as they prepare to lock horns against New Zealand at Manchester on Saturday.

Windies find themselves in a precarious spot after picking up just the solitary win in their five games and must now win each of their four remaining clashes to have any chances of making the semi-final.

New Zealand, on the other hand, already have one foot in the semi-final after an unbeaten campaign that has seen them win four out of their five games with their clash against India ending in a no-result.

MISFIRING GAYLE, RUSSELL IN FOCUS

It has all gone pear shaped for Windies ever since they thrashed Pakistan in their campaign opener with Jason Holder’s side yet to pick up a single win this month. Their fixture against South Africa was washed out by rain but the manner of their defeats against Australia, England and Bangladesh have all left plenty to be desired.

Their latest loss against Bangladesh was a chastening one with the Tigers chasing down a total of 322 runs with more than eight overs to spare. These losses have seen the shine wear off quickly from a Windies side who were being talked up as dark horses before the World Cup began.

A big reason for their struggles of late has been down to the poor form of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell, both of whom have failed to bring the firepower that makes them such fearsome batsmen for opposition bowlers.

While Gayle has not played a single innings of note since his fifty against Pakistan, Russell has simply not turned up with the bat with a high score of just 21 so far. The two stalwarts will need to make a much bigger contribution if the Caribbean side are to turn their campaign around.

HIGH-FLYING KIWIS LOOK TO MAINTAIN MOMENTUM

Yet again, the Blackcaps are living up to their billing as big performers in the World Cup with Kane Williamson and his men yet to taste defeat in the tournament. The Kiwis arrive at Manchester fresh from a thrilling last-gasp win against South Africa with Williamson starring with an unbeaten ton.

The victory has moved New Zealand to second spot in the table and a semi-final spot is theirs to lose at this stage. However, they will be wary of the fact that they have to face title contenders Australia and England in their final two league clashes and those are potential banana skins.

As such, getting maximum points from their upcoming clashes against Windies and Pakistan will be of utmost importance to the Blackcaps. Their bowling department, especially pace, is firing on all cylinders but the batting is still looking inconsistent at times. The Kiwis will want the likes of Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham to find some form as the business end of the tournament approaches.

LIKELY XIs

West Indies: Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Jason Holder (c), Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell.

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Rishabh Pant in the spotlight as India prepare to take on Afghanistan

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All eyes on whether Pant (l) is selected.

Tournament minnows Afghanistan have their task cut out as they get ready to take on an in-form India in a 2019 ICC World Cup clash at Southampton on Saturday.

The two teams are at completely opposite ends of the table coming into the clash with India firing while Afghanistan have struggled desperately in all departments.

Virat Kohli and his men remain unbeaten four games into their campaign with three wins and one no-result. Afghanistan, on the other hand, remain glued to the bottom of the table after suffering five defeats in as many games.

PANT IN THE SPOTLIGHT AS INDIA DEAL WITH INJURIES

While India do come into the clash on the back of a crushing win against Pakistan, all in not well on the injury front. Opener Shikhar Dhawan’s fractured thumb has now ruled him out of the tournament with Rishabh Pant being drafted in as a replacement.

Many eyebrows were raised over the young wicketkeeper’s non-selection in the original World Cup squad but fate has provided him a backdoor entry into the prestigious tournament. The question for India now is whether to select the youngster into the playing XI straight away with his explosive power hitting a tempting option.

It was Vijay Shankar who took the No4 spot in the Pakistan clash in the absence of Dhawan and the all-rounder had an eventful outing with two crucial wickets. It seems unlikely Shankar will be dropped after that display and Pant might well have to wait for his chance to arrive.

However, there might be no better opportunity for Kohli to experiment with Pant in the playing XI with Afghanistan in disastrous form at the moment.

In the bowling department, Mohammed Shami is set to get his first outing of the tournament with Bhuvneshwar Kumar sidelined for up to three games with a hamstring niggle.

AFGHANISTAN IN TURMOIL

Less than a year ago, Afghanistan held India to a tie in a thrilling Asia Cup clash in the UAE but all that seems a distant memory as they look to salvage some pride in a campaign which is fast turning into a shocker.

The tournament minnows did manage to put in a respectable batting display in their recent clash against England but still had to walk away with a 150-run defeat after conceding nearly 400 runs with the ball.

Things won’t get easier against for them against India after what has been a campaign in turmoil – both on and off in the pitch. It all started with Asghar Afghan being removed as skipper just days before the start of the tournament and it has been all downhill ever since with five comprehensive defeats on the trot in the World Cup.

Even their star bowler Rashid Khan was carted for a record 110 runs in nine overs by England while morale seems low across the entire camp. They will have to put all this behind them quickly if they are to prevent their second World Cup campaign from being a complete disaster.

Its all gone horribly wrong for Afghanistan.

Its all gone horribly wrong for Afghanistan.

KOHLI ON VERGE OF ANOTHER MILESTONE

Just days after becoming the fastest batsman in ODI history to score 11,000 runs, India skipper Kohli is on the verge of breaking another record held jointly by Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.

The superstar batsman could become the fastest batsman to reach 20,000 international runs should he score 104 runs against Afghanistan on Saturday. Tendulkar and Lara had attained the feat after 453 innings apiece while Kohli has only played a total of 415 innings so far across all three formats.

The right-hander has been in good form in the World Cup so far but is yet to register a century. The record should fall sooner rather than later and the Afghanistan clash might just be the perfect time for Kohli to strike his first ton of the tournament.

LIKELY XIs

India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Vijay Shankar/Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Afghanistan: Noor Ali Zadran, Gulbadin Naib (c), Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Rashid Khan, Imram Ali Khil (wk), Dawlat Zadran, Rashid Khan.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: England's Jason Roy itching to be fit in time for Australia clash

Press Association Sport 16:35 21/06/2019
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Jason Roy is hoping to face Australia.

Jason Roy remains hopeful of being fit to face Australia next week but admits his hamstring injury is being managed “day by day”.

The explosive opening batsman tore the muscle in his left leg while fielding against the West Indies and was ruled out for at least two games, against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Jason Roy remains hopeful of being fit to face Australia next week but admits his hamstring injury is being managed “day by day”.

The explosive opening batsman tore the muscle in his left leg while fielding against the West Indies and was ruled out for at least two games, against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

“It’s healing pretty well. It’s all good news. At the moment, I’m still trying to be fit for Australia, and then it’s got to go game by game.

“It can’t be ‘I’ll definitely be back for this game or that game’, it’s something that we have to manage day by day.”

He missed out on a record-breaking day against Afghanistan, during which captain Eoin Morgan hit 17 sixes in a hefty total of 397, but is not mourning the runs he might have missed.

“You do think that but we have the bigger picture in mind,” he said.

“We have the semi-finals and the final and all of that to play for. If you look at it game by game, you can get frustrated, but I don’t do that.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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