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Alzarri Joseph the difference as West Indies keep T20 World Cup hopes alive

Alzarri Joseph celebrating




West Indies defeated Zimbabwe by 31 runs with 10 balls remaining to maintain their T20 World Cup aspirations. Although the margin suggests a comfortable victory, it was one that was marred by recurring concerns.

You would not characterize this as a return to form for the two-time winners since it was unquestionably not typical of their play. However, they persevered through what appeared to be their final collapse in the first innings—going from 90 for 2 to 101 for 6—to record 153 for 7, and in doing so, they showed their wits and savvy on the field to protect it. Even after this, head coach Phil Simmons’ critiques of the team’s “unprofessional” batting performance in their 42-run loss in their initial Group B match will stand, but he will undoubtedly be encouraged by a defiant performance when it was required.

With 45 runs and the first two sixes of the West Indies innings, Johnson Charles, who was filling in for a sick Brandon King, laid the foundation that was rejected at first. The damage caused by Sikandar Raza’s excellent spell of 3 for 19 was then restored by the contributions of Rovman Powell (age 28) and Akeal Hosein (age 23 not out). The actual difference, however, was Alzarri Joseph’s T20I career-best 4 for 16 strike rate.

Both teams made lone, necessary substitutions, with Zimbabwe’s being particularly off-setting because their captain, Craig Ervine, had a small asthma episode prior to the game. Tony Munyong took his place, Regis Chakabva took over, and the acting skipper ended up looking regretful. The runs down the order after being reduced to 92 for 7 at least lessened the negative effects of this loss on Zimbabwe’s net run rate, which is now back to zero.

In a spectacular sequence of play that appeared to have all but killed West Indies’ World Cup ambitions in the space of 12 deliveries, with the loss of just four wickets for 11 runs, Chakabva was the happier captain. They were 90 for 2 at the start of the 13th over when captain Nicholas Pooran scored his second score of under ten in as many innings and gave Raza the first of his three wickets with a straightforward caught and bowled. Charles was fired before the over ended because Powell was unable to reach him, leaving him far short of his ground at the non-end. striker’s By the end of the 14th, Shamarh Brooks’ leg was trapped by Raza.

Missed opportunities

In a crucial 47-run seventh-wicket partnership with Akeal Hosein that propelled the Jamaican team into the final over, Powell, who was undoubtedly struggling with guilt at the nonstriker’s end, set about atoning for his actions. With his eyes focused, he smashed the excellent Blessing Murzabani for two sixes in the space of the first three deliveries, the second of which travelled 104 metre, the second-longest run of the competition thus far, and brought the West Indies to 150.

Murzabani would prevail, skipping to Richard Ngarava at cover and catching the next pitch from the right-hander. However, had Luke Jongwe not turned down a chance at extra cover when Powell only had 12, the Zimbabwean quick may have taken the wicket in the 18th over. The innings ended with the feeling that, despite their excellence in the middle overs, Zimbabwe had missed opportunities to end this game in the first innings. Charles had been given a life when Muyonga shelled one running towards the cover boundary earlier in the innings. This was again Murzabani’s bowling.

That was sadly confirmed in the opening eight overs of the chase when Raza, who had been in excellent form, became the fifth batter to fall with only 64 of the 154 total still to be chipped away. After the first two overs let up 29, a pace-heavy attack took control, led by Joseph’s opening burst of 2 for 13. Furthermore, boundary hitters were hard to come by without Raza, who had just scored 82 off 48 against Ireland and seemed in fine form when he struck a big six off Odean Smith before spooning to wide midoff. As evidence, Brooks successfully caught Milton Chumba’s mishandled slog sweep off Hosein 10 yards inside the midwicket boundary for a depressing two off nine.

That looked to be the end of Zimbabwe’s serious resistance when Holder yorked Ryan Burl for his 50th T20I wicket. When three of his bounds helped find 17 from Odean Smith in the 17th, Jongwe’s solo rescue effort had Caribbean palms sweating. However, Joseph, who had earlier returned to bowl Richard Ngarava, firmly dismissed him with the first ball of the 18th over. After taking the final wicket, Holder began a celebratory run that reflected more relief than joy.

Joseph takes Centre stage

It demonstrates how much confidence West Indies has had in Joseph’s skill because he is still only 25 years old after six years at the international level. He only made his T20 debut for his nation a few months ago, indicating that they weren’t too confident in his short-form performance. After a tournament-reviving performance for his nation in his ninth appearance, it is likely that he will remain in the starting XI for some time.

Zimbabwe was destroyed at the start and finish of their chase by blistering pace, steepling bounce, and a wicked yorker. Chakabva and Tony Munyonga were both out in the first spell because to the fast pace: the former edged onto his own stumps, and the latter was out straight and full after being set up by deliveries that leaped on him from the back of a length.

Even though West Indies continued to pick up wickets after the Powerplay, it was unexpected when Joseph did not bowl a third consecutive over in the seventh. However, Pooran’s choice was validated when the following spell went two for three (overs 16 and 18). Four sets of fractured stumps amid 16 dot balls have thrust Joseph into the spotlight in a tournament where speedsters are the stars.

Rag it around West Indies

Try telling that to this West Indies team; Australia may not be known for its spin. Alternately, try explaining that to their adversaries. Zimbabwe performed similarly on Wednesday night in Hobart after Scotland turned them inside out in their World Cup debut. With the aid of wicket-to-wicket lines, a pick-and-mix of lengths, and a little amount of swing, five wickets were taken for just 64 runs in the ten overs that followed the Powerplay, thus ending West Indies’ innings.

Charles’ run out demonstrated a failure to rotate the strike and the extreme panic in the middle order. The Caribbean collapse was made possible by the pressure sustained by Raza, left-armer Sean Williams, and offender Burl. West Indies have faced 109 spinner deliveries in this event, going 87 for the loss of nine, or a 9.66 average.

All to play for

Even though most of us wouldn’t have chosen the layout of this T20 World Cup, the ICC could not have planned it better. In Group B, all four clubs are tied for second place with two points, creating the tantalising possibility of two winner-takes-all games on Friday. Scotland plays Zimbabwe, while West Indies takes on Ireland. All of these teams have demonstrated enough over the past week to make compelling cases for any of them to go to the finals.

The probability of rain in Hobart, though, may limit the amount of drama that may be experienced. It also highlights how crucial it was for Zimbabwe to stay in second place—the final qualifying spot—ahead of West Indies by 0.275 on net run rate and avoid a blowout.


1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli’s Cricket Legacy



1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli's Cricket Legacy

On Thursday, November 2, Virat Kohli achieved an accomplishment. He became the batsman to surpass 1000 runs in ODIs in 2023, following in the footsteps of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Not that,. He also joined Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Pathum Nissanka as the fourth players to achieve this impressive record in the 50-over format within the same year.

Stepping into History with 1000 Runs in ODIs

Virat Kohli celebrating 1000 Runs in ODIs with a jump on the field

Entering the realm of history, Kohli’s unwavering determination and exceptional skills were put on display during his match in 2023. Notably, the cricket maestro, now 34 years old, made an indelible impact by surpassing Sachin Tendulkar‘s record, securing the most number of years with 1000 runs in ODIs. Kohli’s consistent ability to perform at such an exceptional level has been a defining characteristic of his illustrious career, as he had previously achieved this monumental milestone in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019, before accomplishing it once again in the present year of 2023.

An Unforgettable Journey

In an intense World Cup 2023 clash against Sri Lanka at the renowned Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Virat Kohli’s pursuit of this historic milestone was realized with an impressive 34 runs. Despite facing challenges, including a rare duck against England at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, his overall performance throughout the year has been nothing short of spectacular.

Kohli’s memorable journey was highlighted by an unbeaten century during India’s triumphant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. Adding to his illustrious record, he solidified his stature with a brilliant 95 runs, making a significant contribution to India’s thrilling four-wicket win over New Zealand led by Tom Latham at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Pune.

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Shaheen Shah Afridi: Fastest to 100 ODI Wickets



Shah Afridi celebrating a wicket

Shaheen Shah Afridi, on Tuesday, October 31, achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the third fastest bowler to secure 100 wickets in ODIs. His outstanding performance during Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh at the renowned Eden Gardens in Kolkata led to this historic accomplishment.

A Landmark Moment

In the thrilling encounter, Shaheen clinched his 100th wicket in only his 51st match, dismissing Tigers’ opening batter Tanzid Hasan Tamim. The left-arm fast bowler displayed exceptional skill as he struck Tamim on the pads, prompting the on-field umpire to raise his finger. Despite Tamim’s referral to the third umpire using the Decision Review System (DRS), the replays confirmed the ball crashing into the stumps, upholding the on-field decision. Bangladesh lost their first wicket with the scoreboard reading 0 in just 0.5 overs.

Surpassing Preceding Records

Shaheen Shah Afridi not only secured this feat in record time but also outshone the accomplishments of esteemed bowlers preceding him. He surpassed the record of the fastest pacer, previously held by Mitchell Starc, who attained the milestone in August 2016 during an ODI against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Legacy of Excellence

Moreover, Shaheen shattered the long-standing record held by Saqlain Mushtaq, becoming the fastest Pakistani bowler to claim 100 wickets in ODIs. Saqlain had set this record on May 12, 1997, during an ODI against Sri Lanka in Gwalior. It is notable that among the Pakistani fast bowlers, the accomplished Shaheen Shah Afridi follows in the footsteps of the legendary Waqar Younis, who achieved the 100-wicket mark back in February 1993 against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.

Beyond ODIs

Demonstrating his prowess beyond ODIs, Shaheen has made significant contributions in Tests and T20Is as well. Since his debut in 2018, he has garnered 105 wickets in Tests and 64 wickets in T20Is. His exceptional journey began with a strong performance in the U19 World Cup in New Zealand. Notably, he played a pivotal role in Lahore Qalandars’ consecutive victories in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

A Testament to Talent and Dedication

Shaheen Shah Afridi’s rapid rise to 100 ODI wickets within 51 matches underlines his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the sport. As he continues to leave an indelible mark on the cricketing world, his journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide. With his remarkable achievements, Afridi has solidified his place in the annals of cricket history, etching his name as one of Pakistan’s most formidable and promising fast bowlers.

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ICC World Cup: Shoaib Akhtar says, ‘Mai India ki tareef kyu na karu’



Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistani fast bowler

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has recently expressed admiration for India’s dominant performance in the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup. With India securing victories in all six matches, Akhtar highlighted the team’s exceptional display across various aspects of the game. Although the recent batting performance against England in Lucknow was relatively modest, India’s fierce bowling attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, proved instrumental in securing a remarkable win. This triumph not only solidified India’s leading position on the points table but also exacerbated England’s struggles in the tournament, leaving them virtually eliminated.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah laughing together on the field

India’s Remarkable Bowling Transformation

In his analysis, Akhtar emphasized the transformative impact of Shami’s inclusion in India’s playing eleven following Hardik Pandya’s injury. Acknowledging Shami’s outstanding performances against New Zealand and England, Akhtar credited India’s ability to win matches through their bowling prowess, showcasing a shift from their traditional reliance on batting strength. He commended the collective effort of the Indian bowling unit, particularly recognizing the strategic brilliance of fast bowler Bumrah.

The Indian cricket team is standing for the national anthem at the ICC World Cup

India’s Path to World Cup Glory

Looking ahead, Akhtar voiced his confidence in India’s potential to secure their third ODI World Cup trophy, highlighting the team’s upcoming matches against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Expressing optimism, he emphasized the significance of maintaining their unbeaten streak en route to the final, setting the stage for a potential historic ICC World Cup victory. However, Akhtar cautioned against compromising the successful bowling unit once Pandya returns to full fitness, warning against the potential detriment of a partially fit Pandya’s inclusion at the expense of a bowler.

Akhtar’s Praise for India and its Response to Criticism

Addressing skepticism surrounding his praise for the Indian team, Akhtar reiterated the exceptional nature of India’s performance, particularly in their ability to defend a modest total with a significant margin of victory. Undeterred by criticism, Akhtar reaffirmed his admiration for India’s exceptional cricketing prowess, urging acknowledgment and appreciation of their commendable achievements.

Virat Kohli gives a hand gesture on the field during a match

Shoaib Akhtar’s Perspective on Virat Kohli

Shifting focus, Akhtar’s history of praise extends beyond team performances to individual players, notably including former Indian team captain Virat Kohli. Reminiscing on Kohli’s resilience during a challenging phase in his career, Akhtar highlighted the pivotal role played by Kohli’s consistent century-scoring performances, leading to India’s victories. Recognizing Kohli’s contribution to the team’s success, Akhtar emphasized the significance of Kohli’s monumental centuries during crucial chases, solidifying his status as a crucial asset for the Indian cricket team.

In a comparison between Kohli and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Akhtar acknowledged Tendulkar’s status as one of the greatest batsmen while highlighting the challenges Tendulkar faced as a captain. Drawing parallels, Akhtar expressed confidence in Kohli’s eventual resurgence, expecting him to return to his prolific scoring form once he finds his equilibrium.

In summary, Akhtar’s acknowledgment of India’s exceptional performance and his recognition of individual players’ contributions underscore the team’s formidable presence in the 2023 ICC World Cup, setting the stage for a potential historic triumph in the coming days.

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