Sri Lanka v India – 1st ODI Preview

Having convincingly lost the recent Test series against India 3-0, Sri Lanka will be looking for a change of fortune as focus shifts to the white ball. The first of a five match bilateral ODI series takes place on Sunday 20th August at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium in Dambulla in the centre of Sri Lanka.

India will undoubtedly start as strong favourites, being ranked third in in the ICC ODI team rankings, as compared to their hosts’ lowly eighth position. Sri Lanka are also still smarting from the shock 3-2 series defeat to even lower ranked Zimbabwe that resulted in the resignation of their captain Angelo Mathews, while India easily dealt with the West Indies 3-1 in their most recent ODI encounter.

That said, there is the small matter of the fact that the last time the two sides met, the islanders stunned their neighbours with a shock win in a ICC Champions Trophy group stage clash at The Oval.

New Captain Upul Tharanga’s men also have added incentive in the series. Only the top eight sides in the ODI rankings as at 30 September 2017 qualifying automatically for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England. Sri Lanka will be looking for two wins out of five to ensure they secure that final eighth spot ahead of the West Indies, regardless of how the Windies perform in their upcoming series against England later in the summer.

From a personal player point of view, there are one or two very significant personal milestones to watch out for:

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)

If selected as anticipated, Sri Lanka’s leading fast bowler will play in his 200th ODI for his country, becoming the 13th player from the island to do so.

He also currently has 298 ODI wickets, so two more in Dambulla will see him become the fourth Sri Lankan after Murali, Chaminda Vaas and Sanith Jayasuriya to bring up the milestone, and only the 13th worldwide.

MS Dhoni (India)

Much has been made in recent days of the Indian chairman of selectors MSK Prasad’s comments that Dhoni’s playing days in the national side may be numbered, but the wily ex=skipper will firmly believe he has a few more games in him just yet.

One number he will be keeping an eye on is Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara’s world record of 99 ODI stumpings. MS sits just two behind on 97, and will be keen to claim that record for himself before the tap on the shoulder finally does come.

Sri Lanka v India – Second Test Preview

The second Test of this three-match series takes place at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, starting on Thursday 3rd August.

India will look to wrap up the series with a game to spare, as they are already 1-0 up after their comprehensive 304-run drubbing of their hosts in the shadow of the Galle Fort last week.

Both sides will welcome back injured players into the starting XIs with India having confirmed KL Rahul will return, likely in place of Abinhav Mukund given fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan notched a 190-run masterpiece in Galle. Sri Lanka will be boosted by the return from a bout of pneumonia of their new Test captain, Dinesh Chandimal.

Look out for the following personal milestones:

Cheteshwar Pujara (India)

Fresh on the back of a big hundred at Galle, first-drop Pujara now has 3,966 career runs. He plays his 50th Test for India at the SSC and will be looking to celebrate by bringing up the 4,000 run milestone.

Ravichandran Ashwin (India)

With 1,950 runs to his name, India’s spinning all-rounder is just 50 runs shy of a career 2,000.

Ravindra Jadeja (India)

Jadeja’s six scalps in the first Test took him to 148 career test wickets, needing just two more for his 150.

Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)

Despite an injury scare at the end of the first test, it appears that the lovable Rangaga will be fit for the second game. We previewed his upcoming milestones in some details in our preview of the first test.

However, he had a relatively quiet game by his own high standards as stand-in captain in Galle, only taking the one wicket. He therefore still needs to six to overtake Mikhaya Ntini’s 390 and move into 14th place in the all-time wicket takers list.

 

Sri Lanka v India – 1st Test Preview

The Champions Trophy now seems like but a distant memory, with the focus of the mens’ international calendar now very much back on the red ball. An intriguing Test series awaits in Sri Lanka between a home side in transition, and a visiting Indian side high on form and expectation.

The first Test starts in the beautiful fort city of Galle in the south of the island on Wednesday.

The Lions, ranked a lowly 7th in Tests, only narrowly won their last test against a resurgent and mightily impressive Zimbabwe earlier this month, and shared the spoils 1-1 in their previous series at home against Bangladesh in March.

As for India, they are on the back of eight-straight series wins dating back to 2015, and are ranked the No.1 Test side in the ICC rankings.

The first Test of the three match series will be the 39th between the two sides since Sri Lanka were admitted as a Test nation in 1982. India have won 16 matches to Sri Lanka’s 7.

On paper then, it’s a rather one-sided affair, but as the Australians will tell you, Test cricket isn’t played on paper and when the Sri Lankans fire on their home turf, anything is possible. This is backed up by the fact that in Tests played between the two sides on Sri Lankan soil, the islanders lead 7-6 in wins.

There are a few upcoming individual milestones to keep an eye on in this Test also:

Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)

With Angelo Mathews having resigned the Sri Lankan captaincy in all formats following his side’s ODI series loss to Zimbabwe, and with permanent Test replacement Dinesh Chandimal sidelined for this game with pneumonia, Sri Lanka will be captained by the ageless Rangana Herath.

Herath’s 11 wickets in the recent Test against Zimbabwe rocketed him to second place in the ICC Test bowling rankings, and he has firmly established himself in recent years as one of the most popular players in the world.

He currently has 384 Test wickets to his name, which sees him in 15th place in the history books, with his haul against the Zimbabweans moving him up in the all-time list past three legends of the game in Waqar Younis, Malcolm Marshall and Ian Botham. South African pacer Makhaya Ntini is next in the wily spinner’s sights as he marches ever onwards to 400 career wickets. Seven more scalps in this game will see him pass Ntini’s 390 and move into 14th place.

Herath also has eight ten-wicket matches in his locker, enough for equal fourth place on the all-time list, alongside Indian legend Anil Kumble. One more such haul, and who would put it past him, will see him move alongside New Zealand all-rounder Richard Hadlee in third place with nine.

Ravichandran Ashwin (India)

One half of India’s lethal spin duo, Ashwin plays his 50th Test in Galle.

Now an established all-rounder who bats as high as 7 depending on the make-up of the Indian XI, he requires 97 runs to bring up 2000 runs for his country.

With the ball, he has racked up 7 ten-wicket hauls in his 49 games so far, sitting with England’s Sid Barnes just one behind Herath and Kumble in joint sixth place.

Cheteshwar Pujara (India)

With both regular openers out of the starting XI with injury and illness, much of the burden of the batting line-up will fall on the shoulders of Pujara. He currently has 3,798 runs to his name, so 202 more will bring up the career 4,000.

Ravindra Jadeja (India)

The number one-ranked Test bowler in the world needs eight more wickets to bring up 150 for India in the longest format of the game.

Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka)

Shorn of the duty of the captaincy by his resignation last month, Mathews will be looking to get back into form with the bat in this game. He is currently Sri Lanka’s tenth highest run-scorer in their Test history, with 4,536 runs in his ledger. Just ten more runs in this game will see him overtake his new batting coach, Hashan Tilakaratne, and move into ninth place.

Suranga Lakmal (Sri Lanka)

The Lions’ quick bowler has 82 wickets to his name, enough for eighth place in the overall standings for his country. A four-wicket performance in this game will see him overtake fellow quick Pramodya Wickramasinghe’s 85 and move up into seventh place.

Dilruwan Perera (Sri Lanka)

Also hot on Wickramasinghe’s heels is all-rounder Perera, with 79 wickets from his 17 Tests so far, currently sitting in ninth place overall.

2017 ICC Women’s World Cup – Preview

For the second time this month, England plays host to a major ICC tournament – with the 11th staging of the Women’s World Cup roaring into life on Saturday, bringing together the top eight teams to do battle for the most important trophy in Women’s ODI cricket.

The month-long tournament of 31 matches will be played out at five county grounds around England, with Bristol, Taunton, Derby and Leicester staging the group stages and semi finals before the final is held at the home of cricket, Lord’s, on Sunday 23rd July. The eight teams will all play each other once in the round-robin group stage. The top four teams then progress to the semi-finals, with the winners of those two games meeting in the final on Sunday 23rd July.

Over the ten previous stagings of the Women’s World Cup, only three teams have won the tournament in its history – Australia claiming six titles, England three and the New Zealanders one, on home soil, in 2000.

Those three teams are the strong favourites again, alongside India, although if the other ICC tournament held in the UK this month has taught us anything it is that favourites can often falter and an outsider can land the prize against all odds!

From an individual player perspective, the following players will be looking to reach personal milestones throughout the tournament:

Ellyse Perry (Australia)

A dual football and cricket international, allrounder and superstar of the women’s game, Perry needs just 101 runs in the tournament to bring up 2000 ODI runs for Australia.

Alex Blackwell (Australia)

The Australian vice-captain has made 133 ODI appearances for her country. If Australia make it all the way to the final as expected, and Blackwell appears in all nine games, she will move ahead of former captain Karen Rolton as Australia’a all-time leading appearance-maker in ODIs.

Tammy Beaumont (England)

England batter Beaumont needs 182 runs to bring up 1000 in the 50-over format for her country.

Natalia Sciver (England)

Another England player looking to notch up 1000 runs for her country is Japan-born all-rounder Sciver, who currently has 837 career ODI runs and will be looking for 163 to make the mark.

Katherine Brunt (England)

The spearhead of England’s attack sits just three wickets behind her teammate Jenny Gunn as the host nation’s all-time leading ODI wicket taker, with 120 wickets to Gunn’s 123. They’ll be spurring each other on to do battle at the top of that tree.

Mithali Raj (India)

The tournament could see history made in the Women’s game, with India’s captain sitting on 5781 ODI runs, 211 behind the current world record run scorer in the 50 over format, England’s former captain Charlotte Edwards. With potentially nine games in which to overhaul Edwards, the chase is very much on.

Another 8 further runs will see Raj become the first woman to pass 6000 One-Day International runs.

Jhulan Goswana (India)

Seam bowler Goswana needs 15 wickets with the ball, and 73 runs with the bat to reach 200 wickets and 1000 runs respectively.

Suzie Bates (New Zealand)

The White Ferns’ captain needs just two more games to notch up 100 for her country.

Amy Satterthwaite (New Zealand)

New Zealand’s vice-captain will have her eye on two personal milestones as the group stage of the Women’s World Cup unfolds.

She currently has 2970 runs in the record books, needing just 30 more to reach 3000. Those runs have come in 95 appearances, so she’ll be celebrating her hundred during her fifth game of the tournament.

Javeira Khan (Pakistan)

Batsman Khan needs just 41 more runs to bring up 2000 in ODIS for Pakistan.

Sana Mir (Pakistan)

Spin bowler and Pakistani captain Sana Mir will reach 100 appearances for her country if she appears in five further games.

Mignon du Preez (South Africa)

The stakes are high for South Africa’s all-time leading run scorer and appearance maker, as she needs just one more game to bring up 100 for the Proteas.

Trisha Chetty (South Africa)

The Proteas’ wicketkeeper-batsman is the world=record holder for catches in women’s ODIs, with 91 grabs to her name. She’ll be looking for nine more to bring up a century.

Coincidentally, Chetty also needs nine appearances to bring up that hundred too – but South Africa will have to make it all the way to the final if she is to achieve that milestone in this tournament.

Shashikala Siriwardene (Sri Lanka)

if all-rounder Siriwardene appears in all seven of Sri Lanka’s round robin stage games, she will notch up 100 appearances for the Islanders.

Chamari Polgampola (Sri Lanka)

Chamari will be looking to hit 31 more runs to move from her current tally of 969 to 1000 for her country.

Stafanie Taylor (West Indies)

One of the likely stars of the Women’s World Cup, the West Indies’ Jamaican captain needs just two games to bring up 100 appearances in ODIs for the Caribbean federation.

She also needs 268 runs to bring up 4000 – which with an average of over 44 is not beyond the realms of possibility by any means.

Deandra Dottin (West Indies)

The Windies’ quick bowler also needs just two more appearance to bring up 100.

 

ICC Champions Trophy – Who will qualify for the semi-finals?

Isn’t cricket wonderful? With all teams now having played two games each, and with one round of games in the group stage to go, all eight can still qualify for the semi-finals of cricket’s second-most prestigious one day international tournament!

Here are the qualification scenarios ahead of the final group games

Group A

The Group A table is currently looking like this:

Team Played Wins Points Net Run Rate
England 2 2 4 1.069
Australia 2 0 2 0.0
Bangladesh 2 0 1 -0.407
New Zealand 2 0 1 -1.74

England have an unassailable lead at the top of the table, regardless of their result against Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday.

The tie-breaker rules take into account number of wins first, and then Net Run Rate (NRR), and with England sitting on two wins and the only team that can catch them on points, Australia, having no wins, England cannot be overhauled. They will therefore play the runners up from Group B in the first semi-final at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on 14th June.

So all that remains in Group A is to decide which of the other three teams will qualify to join the hosts in the semis. Here’s how it might play out:

If England beat Australia (or there is a no-result in this game due to rain) AND there is a result in the other game between New Zealand and Bangladesh, then the winner of that other game will finish second and will go through to face the winners of Group B at Edgbaston on the 15th June.

(Note: if there is no result between England and Australia, the winner of NZ/Bangladesh and the Australians would both have 3 points, but Australia would have no wins, and would therefore be relegated to third on the tie-breaker)

If England beat Australia, but the NZ/Bangladesh game is a wash-out, all 3 of Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand would have 2 points. The BlackCaps will finish bottom of the group, as their NRR is the lowest of the three, and it won’t change so they can’t overtake Bangladesh. It will then come down to NRR between Australia and Bangladesh as to who finishes second. If England beat Australia by a greater margin than they beat Bangladesh, then Bangladesh go through. If they win by a lesser margin than against the Tigers, then the Aussies will scrape through.

If Australia beat England, then Australia will qualify second on 4 points, and both NZ and Bangladesh will be eliminated regardless of the result in their game.

If both games are abandoned as no-results, then again Australia will qualify second, and the Tigers and Blackcaps will have to pack their bags.

Group B

The Group B table currently looks like this:

Team Played Wins Points Net Run Rate
India 2 1 2 1.272
South Africa 2 1 2 1.000
Sri Lanka 2 1 2 -0.879
Pakistan 2 1 2 -1.544

 

Conventional wisdom was that this group would be a walk in the park for two of the pre-tournament favourites, India and South Africa. Someone forgot to tell Sri Lanka and Pakistan that though, and after two stunning upset results in the last two days (here) and (here) the group is very much wide open.

Cats are very much amongst the pigeons at this stage, and one of the group’s “big two” is very likely going home early.

With India playing South Africa next, and Pakistan up against Sri Lanka, those two games effectively become quasi-quarterfinals, with the winners progressing to the semi-finals and the losers heading to Heathrow airport.

Of course, results on the field have only been one part of the story of this tournament, with the weather being the winner in two games so far. So what happens if either or both remaining Group B games also get abandoned as no-results? Let’s look at each scenario:

India v South Africa game has a result, but Sri Lanka v Pakistan is washed out

The winner of India v South Africa will go through as group winners on 4 points and face the Group A runner-up at Edgbaston on the 15th of June. The loser is eliminated.

Sri Lanka will have 3 points but qualify as runners-up due to their superior Net-Run-Rate over Pakistan, and will face Group A winner England in the semi-final at Cardiff on the 14th June. Pakistan will be eliminated.

India v South Africa is a no-result, but there is a winner between Sri Lanka and Pakistan

The winner of Sri Lanka v Pakistan will go through as group winners on 4 points and face the runner up of Group A at Edgbaston on the 15th June. Loser is eliminated.

India will qualify as runners-up on 3 points due to their superior Net-Run-Rate over South Africa, and will face Group A winner England in the semi-final at Cardiff on the 14th June. South Africa will be eliminated.

Both games are washed out as no-results

All four teams will end up on 3 points, with one win apiece, and the group positions will therefore be decided on Net-Run-Rate alone.

As per the table above, India will win the group and play the Group B runners up, and South Africa will finish second and face England in Cardiff for a place in the final.

This is the only scenario whereby both India and South Africa can qualify.

2017 ICC Champions Trophy – Group B

In this second post previewing the upcoming International Cricket Council Champions Trophy taking place in England and Wales, we look at the teams in Group B – India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Read our preview of Group A here: 2017 ICC Champions Trophy – Group A

India

The ICC Champions Trophy holders, having won the last staging of this tournament in a reduced 20-overs a side final against England at Edgbaston in 2013, enter this year’s version as one of the favourites – and if they come through, they will be the second side to successfully defend their Champions Trophy title after Australia did so in 2009. No pressure.

These are the players to keep an eye on for India:

Virat Kohli

If India’s talismanic captain can rack up 245 runs over the next two weeks, he will move to 8,000 career ODI runs.

Virat also currently sits on 27 centuries in the ODI format, good enough for fourth place in the world. One more century in the tournament and he will draw level with Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya in third place.

MS Dhoni

The man Virat replaced as captain, MS Dhoni, is currently India’s fifth highest run scorer in One Day Internationals with 9275 runs. 104 more runs will see him overtake Mohammad Azharuddin’s 9378 and move up to fourth place.

Perhaps more excitingly for wicketkeeper fans, Dhoni has effected 94 stumpings in his One Day International (ODI) career, and needs an unlikely but not impossible six more to become the first ever keeper to reach a century of stumpings, and in doing so would surpass Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara’s current world record of 99.

Yuvraj Singh

If India reach the semi-finals, and Yuvi plays in every game along the way, he will move from his current 296 ODI appearances to the milestone of 300 games for his country, the fifth Indian after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly to reach those dizzying heights. That’s some very grand company.

Ravindra Jadeja

One of India’s two potentially game-changing spin-bowling all-rounders fittingly has his eye on both a batting milestone and a bowling one.

Wielding the blade, Ravindra requires 112 runs to move to 2000 ODI runs.

With the ball in hand, he needs six wickets on top of his current tally of 151 to move onto 157, enough to give him a share of tenth place in India’s all-time ODI wicket takers’ list with both Manoj Prabhakar and Ashish Nehra, passing Sachin Tendulkar’s 154 along the way.

Rohit Sharma

The holder of the world record for highest ever individual ODI score, Rohit currently has 5131 ODI runs in his career. A further 108 runs in this tournament will see him overtake Gautam Gambhir in eleventh spot in India’s all time list, while 229 will see him dislodge Ajay Jadeja from the top ten.

Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami

Finally, two of India’s quick bowlers, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami currently have 88 and 87 ODI wickets to their names respectively – needing 12 and 13 to move to the mark of a century of wickets each. Can either of them make it?

 

Pakistan

Although Pakistan have both a World T20 International (T20I) and a ODI World Cup title to their name, they have yet to make the final of a Champions Trophy, and only narrowly managed to qualify for this version, squeezing out the West Indies to claim the eighth and final qualifying spot. Hopes are not high for their chances this time around, but a few of their players will be seeking personal milestones at least:

Shoaib Malik

The all-rounder needs three more appearances to notch up 250 for his country, enough to move him into joint sixth place with Ijaz Ahmed in Pakistan’s all time ODI appearance list.

Mohammad Hafeez

Pakistan’s opening batsman needs 114 runs to move on to 5842 in his career, and to knock Rameez Raja out of Pakistan’s top ten runs scorers in the format.

Haris Sohail

Called in as a late replacement to Pakistan’s 15 man squad for the tournament, if Sohail can make 226 runs in the next two weeks, he will move to 1000 in the format for his country.

Junaid Khan

Pakistan’s quick bowler currently has 86 ODI wickets, so 14 more will take him to a nice round 100.

 

South Africa

Sssh, don’t mention the “C” word. South Africa will once again be looking to rid themselves of their storied curse in major ICC tournaments, although they can lay claim to winning the first ever staging of what became the Champions Trophy when they won the inaugural ICC Knockout Trophy in Bangladesh in 1998.

Expectations are high this time around, with the Proteas ranked number one in the world in ODI’s and heavily tipped to make the final. Keep a watchful brief on the following players as they work their way through the tournament:

Morne Morkel

If the big quick can break into the side, he needs 12 more wickets to move to 193, and into fifth place all time for the Proteas, leapfrogging Lance Klusener in the process.

Wayne Parnell

The all-rounder will be looking for six wickets to bring up his 100 in the format, currently having taken 94.

David Miller

With 96 appearances to his name, South Africa’s big-hitting middle order batsman will be hoping his side makes at least the semi-finals with him in the team, as he needs four more appearances to bring up 100.

AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla

Two of the undoubted stars of the modern game, Hashim Amla and AbdV both have 24 One day International centuries to their name, sharing sixth place in the world’s all time list of century-makers. They’ll both be looking to hit one more to reach 25 and move level in fifth place with Kumar Sangakarra , or just maybe bag two to move ahead of the master Sri Lankan.

 

Sri Lanka

The islanders have a World Cup title to their name in both ODI and T20I formats, and can also boast a joint Champions Trophy success when they shared the trophy with India in 2002 following a washed out final on their home turf of Colombo.

Although always dangerous in tournaments, they are not expected to do too well this time around with a side very much in transition, but pay attention to the performances of a few of their players as they approach the following milestones:

Lasith Malinga

Malinga the Slinger currently has 291 ODI wickets in the bag, needing nine more to reach a fabulous 300. Should he reach the target, he will become just the 13th player in the history of the game to do so, and the third Sri Lankan after Chaminda Vaas and Sanath Jayasuriya.

Nuwan Kulasekera

Malinga’s fellow quick is much closer to his personal milestone, needing just one more wicket to reach 200.

Upul Tharanga

Tharanga needs 71 more runs to reach 6000 ODI runs for Sri Lanka.

Chamara Kapugedera

If Chamara appears in all three of Sri Lanka’s group games, he will move from 97 to 100 ODI appearances in the blue and yellow uniform.