CWC 2019 Power Rankings: Kane Williamson forces his way in while David Warner dazzles

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New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson.

The 2019 World Cup burst into life over the last few days with back-to-back cliffhangers. Sri Lanka stunned hosts England before Afghanistan almost pulled off an improbable win over India. The Kiwis were cruising to victory before Carlos Brathwaite’s stunning ton took the Windies to within five runs of a remarkable win.

As teams battle it out to secure the semi-final spots, we keep a track of which players have made the biggest impact. In the fourth part of Power Rankings series, we continue to monitor the top 10 players throughout the league stages in an effort to track the true MVPs of the summer.

You can read parts one, two and three here. Standings as of June 23 match between South Africa and Pakistan.

Warner

1. David Warner (Australia, Return)

The Australian opener came up with the innings of the week, and maybe even the tournament, as he smashed 166 off 147 balls against Bangladesh. He struggled to get a move on before cranking it up in the death overs. The top run-getter with two tons and as many fifties.

2. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh, same)

The Bangladesh all-rounder retains his position as he had a decent game against the Aussies – run a ball 41 chasing 382. The second-highest run scorer in the tournament, plus five wickets.

3. Kane Williamson (New Zealand, New)

The Kiwi skipper has improved with each outing; his scores since the start of the tournament read 40, 79*, 106* and 148. The 106-run knock in a tense chase against South Africa was one of the finest you will ever see under pressure.

4. Joe Root (England, Down one spot)

England middle order bulwark Root has gone about his business with minimum of fuss. While Eoin Morgan grabbed headlines with his world record 17 sixes against Afghanistan, Root’s 424 runs from six innings have been crucial in holding the innings together.

5. Jofra Archer (England, Down one)

Teams are now trying to negotiate Archer with minimum damage, which is the ultimate compliment for a pacer. With 15 wickets from six games, he is the joint leading wicket taker this tournament and continues to harass batsmen with his pace.

6. Mohammad Amir (Pakistan, Same)

Amir (10)

The Pakistan left-arm pacer has been in imperious form in this World Cup, having struggled for the most of last season. Bringing all his experience into play, the left-arm quick has climbed to the top of the wickets table with 15 scalps at just 14 runs per wicket. The swing is back and so is the swagger.

7. Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand, Up two)

The Kiwi quick has become the go-to man for captain Williamson and the right arm pacer has delivered every time. He has 14 wickets from five games and has maintained an average speed of close to 140kph throughout his 10 overs. The control and bite he provides in the middle overs is outstanding.

8. Mitchell Starc (Australia, Same)

The Australian left-arm quick is getting better with each outing. Starc not only is the joint highest wicket taker with 15 scalps but has clocked the most deliveries over 90mph this World Cup. For a bowler who came into the tournament undercooked, Starc has delivered a treat.

9. Rohit Sharma (India, Down eight)

Both Kohli and Rohit are in excellent form.

Both Kohli and Rohit are in excellent form.

The India opener was out for 1 against Afghanistan, after two tons and a fifty in three games. The pitch in Southampton proved extremely tough, which Rohit failed to negotiate. Still, the most in-form India batsman along with Kohli.

10. Aaron Finch (Australia, Down three)

The Australia skipper continues to churn out the runs, taking his tournament tally to three fifties and one century in six innings. The solidity he provides at the top of the order has masked some of the middle and lower order issues for Australia.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: "Nothing friendly during duel with 'pal' Steve Smith" says Jofra Archer

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Jofra Archer is happy to call Steve Smith a pal but insists there will be “nothing friendly” on the field during England’s crucial World Cup clash against Australia.

Archer shared a dressing room with Smith at this year’s Indian Premier League, playing for a Rajasthan Royals side that also included Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.

The quartet joined forces throughout the Twenty20 competition but will be on opposite sides for the remainder of the summer, starting at Lord’s on Tuesday and then carrying on through the upcoming Ashes series.

Smith and team-mate David Warner have not had too many warm welcomes since arriving in England, with their recent return from year-long ball-tampering bans leading to a predictably hostile public reaction, and Archer insists any niceties from him will have to wait until after the contest.

England’s game face will most certainly be on after their surprise defeat to Sri Lanka, their second lapse of the competition and one that means there is precious little breathing space if they lose again.

Asked if he considered Smith a friend, Archer said: “Yes, and I’d like to think he considers me the same way as well.

“He’s a really good guy. But cricket is cricket and I guess it’s time to be friends after. Until the game is over, there will be nothing friendly about it.”

Booing from the stands has certainly not derailed Smith, or Warner for that matter, with both scoring heavily so far and the former skipper hitting a match-winning century in a warm-up clash against England in Southampton.

Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

A blast of express pace might do the trick, though. Archer has already cranked it up to 95mph during the tournament and made a cheeky suggestion that Smith did not fancy facing him in practice during their time together.

Invited to offer some insider tips on bowling at the 30-year-old, he said: “To be honest, I didn’t bowl at him much.

“A lot of the guys probably don’t want to face me or (fellow quick) Oshane Thomas in the nets. They like the side-arm and the throw downs.

“But when you play with them you pick up on things you won’t normally notice when you’re just playing against them.

“So hopefully me and Ben can get together, I think we might bowl together at some point as well. We probably know what to do when he’s in.”

Barbados-born Archer has never tasted cricket’s oldest rivalry at close quarters, having only qualified for England in March.

He was also rested for the warm-up fixture ahead of the World Cup but realises just how much the game means – in the wider context and to his side’s semi-final hopes.

“Just from watching the Ashes and stuff I know it is a pretty intense game between them,” he said.

“I’m not too sure if it will affect me coming in without having experienced it before. It could be an advantage, me not being part of what happened before.

“But it’s the World Cup, so there are no easy teams and no easy games, as we saw from our last game. The pressure has been on from the very first game.

“I think it is a chance to really see where our game is, having probably the four hardest games last. It will do us well so that if we do get through, we should be OK to pretty much win everything.”

With Lord’s hosting Pakistan versus South Africa and therefore unavailable for training purposes, England decamped to Merchant Taylor’s School near Watford.

They were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of local children and cricket fans, with even their fielding drills receiving loud cheers.

Opener Jason Roy was absent, with the implication that his recovery from a torn hamstring is some way from complete, but seamer Liam Plunkett took a full part following his recent virus.

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CWC 2019: Coach Steve Rhodes says Bangladesh "only need five games to win the World Cup"

Rory Dollard 23/06/2019
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Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes revealed “we only need five games and we’ve won the World Cup” as they look to keep their slim hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive against Afghanistan.

Despite amassing their highest one-day international total of 333-8 last Thursday, Bangladesh were beaten by 48 runs against Australia at Trent Bridge, the Tigers’ third defeat of the tournament.

Their prospects of a semi-final place are already hanging in the balance and even winning their final three group stage matches – starting against Afghanistan at the Hampshire Bowl on Monday – may not be enough as they rely on results from elsewhere.

But a bullish Rhodes said: “If you really break it down and we do win these matches coming up, we only need five games and we’ve won the World Cup. That’s one way of looking at it, if you think of them all as knockout games.

“Of course, that is not easy, and the first challenge is Afghanistan. That’s why we won’t look further than the next game, which is Afghanistan. They’re a tough team. They’re a tough bunch of cricketers.

“But we’re not fearful. We are confident. We’ve been playing some good cricket, so if we do win game after game after game, who knows?”

Mehidy Hasan was struck on the head in bizarre circumstances during a net session in Southampton on Sunday though Rhodes thinks the issue to the off-spinner is not too serious.

Rhodes added: “He just got hit on the side of the head. I think he was doing an interview at the time, and the ball came flying out of the net. He seems OK, he seems fine.

“The physio was checking him over, there was no blood or anything like that. I would imagine the physio would check him over for something like concussion because that’s normally the done thing, but that’s all I can tell you at the moment.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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