India wicketkeeper batsman MS Dhoni came in for criticism after failing to show any intent to chase down England’s total of 337-7 at the 2019 World Cup on Sunday.
India needed 71 from the last five overs but Dhoni, and new batsman Kedar Jadhav, mainly took singles and twos as the Englishmen ultimately prevailed by 31 runs.
However, India batting coach Sanjay Bangar said that Dhoni was ‘batting beautifully’. Dhoni scored 42 off 31 balls and remained unbeaten.
“I think MS (Dhoni) was striking the ball very well”, said Bangar.
“He was batting beautifully, he struck a few big blows. It’s just that last four or five overs difference between runs required and balls left kept on creeping up.”
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Australia are still the only team to have secured their 2019 World Cup semi-final qualification and five teams are still fighting out for the three remaining spots.
England’s win over India has made the semi-final qualification process fairly straightforward as of July 1, 2019. India (in second place) and New Zealand (third) are locked on 11 points each, with the Indians having an extra game up their sleeve. In fourth spot is England with 10 points and one game to go. Below them are Pakistan on nine points and Bangladesh on seven.
India have two games to go – against Bangladesh on Tuesday and another one against Sri Lanka. The Kiwis’ last game is against hosts England while Pakistan’s final game of the league phase is against Bangladesh.
ALL DOWN TO ENGLAND-NEW ZEALAND GAME
This game is it in this World Cup. If England defeat New Zealand on Wednesday, the Englishmen will move up to 12 points and provided the Kiwis don’t lose too badly, their net run rate (0.572) won’t be adversely affected. In that scenario, the Kiwis will still be on 11 points but with a net run rate that should see them through along with the hosts.
That’s because even if Pakistan defeat Bangladesh in their final league game, their net run rate (-0.792) is unlikely to surge past that of New Zealand, or India for that matter if they end up losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and also remain on 11 points.
If New Zealand defeat England, Pakistan can then make it to the semi-finals provided they beat Bangladesh.
It’s been another topsy-turvy week at Cricket World Cup 2019. Pakistan were in the ascendancy, then Bangladesh, then Pakistan again, then England. India and New Zealand have finally been defeated, while Australia are the only team to still be ticking along super-smooth.
That volatility has been reflected in these snakes-and-ladders rankings, with old faces coming back in and drastic changes elsewhere.
1. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh, up one)
Since these rankings were updated, Shakib has added just the half-century and five-for to his titanic World Cup so far. Bangladesh must win out to stand any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals and he was simply too good for Afghanistan in Southampton last Monday.
2. Mitchell Starc (Australia, up six)
Ben Stokes’ ‘mic’ drop and kick of his bat is almost as memorable as the delivery that sent him on his way. That vicious, in-swinging yorker castled England’s chase and four days later Starc came alive against more quality opposition in New Zealand, accounting for their talisman Kane Williamson while on course for a five-for. You don’t want to be batting second against Australia.
3. Ben Stokes (return entry)
If not for Stokes, the hosts’ rather embarrassing wobbles would have descended into sheer humiliation. At his very best, the ginger dynamo is arguably England’s best batsman. His technique is as exquisite as Joe Root and his power as explosive as Jos Buttler, and now he has learned to pace an innings in every situation. He so nearly rescued England against both Sri Lanka and Australia, while his 79 runs from just 54 balls took England’s total out of India’s reach.
4. Aaron Finch (Australia, up six)
David Warner leads the World Cup’s run charts but his captain has been the most effective scorer. Finch’s 504 runs, just 12 fewer than his opening partner have come at a hasty 102.6, while Warner has been decidedly more watchful at the crease. It seems hard to believe now but Australia’s skipper was in a dreadful rut of form in 2018 – now he sits on 1,138 runs for 2019, having added a ton against England in the last week.
5. Babar Azam (Pakistan, new entry)
Just as a dose of Stokes magic in the right places has kept England in the hunt, Babar’s brilliance means Pakistan can still dream of emulating their 1992 World Cup winners. He’s not been the most consistent batsmen in the competition, nor the most prolific, but he’s had quite the last week. In trying conditions against Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and company, Azam hit a wonderful century and backed that up with 45 in the Afghan nail-biter.
6. Kane Williamson (New Zealand, down three)
Williamson has had a rather indifferent week by his standards, but two 40s in games versus Australia and Pakistan – especially with the rest of the top-order toiling – were handy enough for a man averaging 113.5. The problem is that the Blackcaps have seemingly gone into their shells over the past week, and one wonders whether Williamson’s captaincy is a factor. He is more circumspect by nature – Brendon McCullum he is certainly not. Still, New Zealand remain on course with much thanks to him.
7. Jasprit Bumrah (India, new entry)
The golden rule of facing Bumrah is you don’t fight Bumrah. His mere 10 wickets from six games is a measure of the respect batsmen are affording him, rather than any inefficacy on his part. Indeed they want no part of trying to deduce his awkward windmill action and upright gait, which is why the all-star opening and death bowler is yielding an absurdly small 4.4 runs an over.
8. David Warner (Australia, down six spots)
Warner still tops the run charts, and his failure against the fierce opening duo of Boult and Ferguson shouldn’t count against him. Under intense pressure – which has hardly ceased since his return to the international fold – he also gritted out an important half-century against England in victory. Still, it’d be a joy to watch the usual Warner, the IPL 2019 Warner, biff boundary after boundary and win a game on his own. He’s not there yet.
9. Rohit Sharma (India, same)
Rohit remains head and shoulders above even Virat Kohli in the Indian run-scoring stakes, and given the stodginess of the middle-order they’d wish he could bat the entire innings. Though he was partially to blame for a sluggish start in the chase against England, his innings of 102 was brisk enough to give the men in blue a real platform – that they squandered.
Top man 🔥— BCCI (@BCCI) June 30, 2019
Rohit Sharma brings up his 25th ODI ton off 106 deliveries 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/GqGAZ3iR07
10. Mohammad Amir (Pakistan, down four)
It has not been the best of weeks for Amir on a personal level. Expensive against the Kiwis and outshone by Shaheen Afridi against Afghanistan, his time in the limelight has dimmed a little. Let’s not forget though that he remains the reason why Pakistan are still in contention for a semi-final berth and his pace will be crucial in the do-or-die final clash against Bangladesh.