World Cup 2015: Pakistan registers first win against Zimbabwe

Mohammad Irfan used his height to full effect to take four wickets as Pakistan defended a low total against Zimbabwe to get its World Cup campaign back on track with a 20-run victory on Sunday.

The gamble to drop experienced batsman Younis Khan in favor of Rahat Ali to bolster the bowling attack paid off on the fast, bouncy wicket at the Gabba , after coming under question when Pakistan were restricted in 235-7 after winning the toss and batting. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (73) and Wahab Riaz (54 not out) ensured a 200-plus total. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq scored 73 in more than 42 overs to hold the innings together after going to the crease at 4-2 in the fourth over.

Zimbabwe were all out in the last over for 215 in reply. The 2.16-meter (7-foot-1) Irfan had Zimbabwe reeling at 22-2 in reply, and returned in his second spell to snuff out a dangerous partnership, finishing with a career-best 4-30. Riaz returned with 4-45.

Brendan Taylor continued with Sean Williams (33) in a 54-run fourth-wicket partnership but when he was caught behind off Riaz moments after reaching 50, the total slipped to 128-4 and there was a sense of inevitableness about the result. Pakistan were coming off big losses to India and the West Indies and the 1992 champions were vulnerable coming into the Gabba match, knowing that another loss could lead to the early exit.

AB de Villiers shatters record for quickest ODI 150 as South Africa smash West Indies for 408

Cricket World Cup 2015: De Villiers hits a brilliant unbeaten 162 from just 66 balls including 30 off the final over

AB de Villiers flayed West Indies with a brilliant unbeaten 162 from just 66 balls to drive South Africa to an imposing 408 for five in their World Cup Pool B clash on Friday.

The Proteas skipper utilised his full repertoire of strokes in an awesome display of batting, peppering the boundaries at a sun-bathed Sydney Cricket Ground with eight sixes and 17 fours in a 104-minute innings that will live long in the memory.

He shared stands of 134 runs with Rilee Rossouw (61), another of 48 with David Miller (20) and a third of 80 with Farhaan Behardien (10) to turn around his country’s innings after West Indies had made a promising start to the match.

By the end of his knock, the crowd were on their feet chanting “AB!, AB!, AB!” as the 31-year-old, who reached his century with a six from the 52nd ball he faced, accelerated towards the finishing line.

His 64-ball 150 is also the fastest in one-day international history.

South Africa were desperate to kickstart their campaign after their 130-run defeat to India and De Villiers had given them every chance of doing so by the time he walked of the field.

West Indies, charged with confidence after their defeat of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, had initially looked a completely different side to the rabble that lost their tournament opener to Ireland.

Skipper Jason Holder and to a lesser extent Jerome Taylor got menacing bounce off the wicket with the new ball and opener Quinton de Kock (12) departed in the sixth over.

Hashim Amla (65) and Faf du Plessis (62) then put together a second wicket partnership of 127 but the disciplined West Indies kept up the pressure.

Amla smashed a huge six to bring up his half century off 75 balls, though, and Du Plessis almost matched the feat for his fifty only for the ball to fall just short of the boundary rope.

West Indies desperately needed a breakthrough and it fell to Chris Gayle, whose innings of 215 fired the Zimbabwe victory, to provide it in the 30th over.

Du Plessis was brilliantly caught behind by Denesh Ramdin off an edge and two balls later Amla was trapped lbw, Gayle celebrating reducing the South Africans to 146-3 with a dance down the wicket.

That brought Rossouw and De Villiers to the middle and they wasted no time in taking the game to their opponents, rattling up a fifty partnership in just over half an hour from 39 balls.

Rossouw, brought into the side in place of JP Duminy, also brought up his half century with a flourish, slapping a rising delivery into the grandstand for a six.

De Villiers took one fewer delivery than Roussow to reach his fifty in 30 balls but reached the milestone in more punishing style with a six, a four and another four in successive deliveries off Sulieman Benn.

It was only a taster of what was to come.


Pakistan cricket is dying: Shoaib Akhtar

Lahore – Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has said that he has been saying for the last four years that Pakistan cricket is dying and there is need to revive it with proper and planning and sincere efforts.

Talking about the poor structure of Pakistan domestic cricket, Shoaib said: “It’s not stagnation but it’s the collapse of cricketing culture.
It’s a failure of Pakistan’s first-class cricket, of its grassroots.
It’s a failure of living legends who failed to inspire, including myself.
I also blame myself as we failed to inspire youngsters.

He said that after 1995, the Pakistan team was troubled a lot because of match-fixing allegations.
“Pakistan continued to lose in the wrong manner in the 1999 World Cup finals, despite having a great team, but lacking in leaders.
The team has been leaderless for over a decade which is because of failure of the structure of Pakistan cricket.

He added: “All of this has nothing to do with Misbah.
When I say Misbah can do it, it’s because I have faith in him.
I know he’s a brave guy, who can pull it off.
Having said that, this is the weakest Pakistan team we have ever seen and it reflects a failure of the administration and the first-class structure.

After Pakistan lost to India first and then to West Indies badly, Shoaib said: “After Pakistan lost badly against India, I got a lot of criticism which really boiled up my blood.
What I really wanted was Misbah to take a lead.
I really think Misbah can manage if he comes in a one-down position and takes charge of the batting, because I know this is an immature Pakistan batting line-up, which only Misbah can lead.
If he takes charge, comes in after the openers and bats till the 30-35th over, when Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi can come in and play the only game they know.

“Pakistan has three batsmen who don’t know how to defend.
I have always maintained that Umar Akmal and Sohaib Maqsood are modern day Shahid Afridis.
They don’t know how to build the game, but they know how to hit the ball.
That was what my criticism was all about.
If Misbah doesn’t do that, I can assure you that Pakistan team will not go through to the quarter-finals,” the ex-pacer added.

About selection of Pakistan team, Shoaib said: “I think losing Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez as an opener and a leading off-spin bowler, I really think Misbah doesn’t have the bowling attack, neither does have a mature batting line-up which can take him through to quarter-finals.

When asked which team was favorite to lift the cup, Shoaib replied: “I think South Africa has a chance; they had an off day, but they are contenders.
New Zealand and Australia are favourites for sure.
The team with all the belief and faith is India.

When asked if he was offered a coach or selector job by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), what would be his response, the Rawalpindi Express said: “I have always voluntarily tried to help the national team.
The reason why I said these harsh statements are because I want people to know that Pakistan cricket is dying.
Someone has to speak the truth.
In order to become better you have to admit that you are wrong.
It’s a failure of the PCB, but at least, it is trying.
Najam Sethi is a brave man, but he needs to get rid of the clutter within the governing board and first-class cricket, and we need to open up cricket at the grassroots level.

“Pakistan cricket needs to improve to generate revenue.
They players need to think out of the box in order to make money, since they have been isolated for a number of years now, and will continue to be like this.
Since players are not getting enough pay in first-class cricket, and don’t have inspiring heroes, and losing like this, you’re eventually losing the interest of your fan base,” he added.

Gayle double ton, Samuels century blows away Zimbabwe

World Cup, West Indies vs Zimbabwe Live: Gayle double ton, Samuels century blows away Zimbabwe.

West Indies Vs Zimbabwe 


372 / 2 Overs50.0 R/R7 Fours21 Sixes19 Extras24

Match Status: Innings Break

West Indies innings: 372 / 2 (50.0)
R/R:   7

West Indies (WI)

Batsman Status R B 4s 6s
Dwayne Smith b Tinashe Panyangara 0 2 0 0
Chris Gayle c Elton Chigumbura b Hamilton Masakadza 215 147 10 16
Marlon Samuels not out 133 156 11 3
Extras : 24 (b – 1, w – 16, nb – 5, lb – 1, Penalty – 0)
372  (50.0)
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Dwayne Smith, 0.2 ov), 2-372 (Chris Gayle, 50 ov)
Bowler O M R Wkts W No
Tinashe Panyangara 9 0 82 1 4 2
Tendai Chatara 9.4 0 74 0 0 2
Sean Williams 5 0 48 0 1 0
Elton Chigumbura 7 0 44 0 6 1
Sikandar Raza 10 1 45 0 4 0
Tafadzwa Kamungozi 3 0 37 0 0 0
Hamilton Masakadza 6.2 0 39 1 0 0

Glenn McGrath apologises after facing outrage over African hunting pictures

Former Australia cricketer Glenn McGrath apologised on Saturday for his involvement in a hunting safari in Zimbabwe, the pictures of which surfaced on the internet and caused a massive wave of shock and outrage, especially among the social media users.

According to a report on The Sydney Morning Herald, the photos from McGrath’s hunting trip were available on the website of Chipitani Safaris, but were apparently removed soon after. The pictures showed McGrath posing with several dead animals, including an elephant, with a rifle in hand,

The pacer, who retired from international cricket after the #2007WorldCup, posted an apology on his Twitter account after facing the wave of criticism. “In 2008 I participated in a hunting safari in Zimbabwe that was licensed and legal but in hindsight highly inappropriate. It was an extremely difficult time in my life and looking back I deeply regret being involved,” the read the apology tweet byMcGrath.


Hockey India League: MS Dhoni’s Ranchi Rays win title on debut

Debutants Ranchi Rays produced an inspired performance and twice came back from a goal down to beat favourites Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the shootout and emerge champions of the third Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday.

India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni co-owned Ranchi Rays fought hard to eke out a 3-2 win in the shoot-out after both the teams were locked at 2-2 in the regulation time of the thrilling summit clash.

Kieran Govers (39th minute) and Christopher Ciriello (56th) scored the goals for Punjab Warriors while Stanli Minz (42nd) and Barry Middleton (57th) were the goal getters for Ranchi Rays in the regulation period.

Last year’s champions Delhi Waveriders finished third after beating Uttar Pradesh Wizards 2-1 in the third-fourth place play-off match earlier in the day.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Indian Olympic Association Secretary General Rajiv Mehta were in attendance at the stadium today.

The summit clash witnessed exciting first two quarters with both the teams playing free-flowing hockey.

The Punjab Warriors might have entered the final as favourites going by their form this season, but it was Ranchi Rays which looked more threatening to score goals at least in the opening 30 minutes.

The Rays enjoyed the better share of ball possession in the opening two quarters and created some good moves but failed to convert them into goals.

In the absence of experienced Jamie Dwyer, who missed the match with an injury, the Punjab Warriors’ forward line lacked creativity, which was quite clearly evident in their performance in the opening half.

Even though it was action-packed first half, both the teams failed to garner a single penalty corner.

The match livened up after the change of ends and finally the crowd could see the first penalty corner of the match in the 34th minute which went in favour of Punjab Warriors, but Sandeep Singh’s high flick was gloved away by Lovell Tyler in front of Ranchi goal.

The Punjab Warriors came out with more purpose in the third quarter and finally managed to break the deadlock in the 39th minute through Govers who sounded the board with a first time shot after the attack was build up Chris Ciriello’s interception.

Stunned by the goal, the Ranchi Rays went on the offensive and earned a penalty corner in the 41st minute. But Punjab Warriors went for the referral which was upheld by the TV umpire.

In the very next minute, the Rays secured another penalty corner and Minz scored with a rebound after Ashley Jackson’s initial flick was saved by Punjab Warriors goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann.

The Rays got their second penalty corner just after the start of the fourth and final quarter but this time Jackson’s try was kept out by an alert Stockmann.

Four minutes from the final hooter, Satbir Singh pounced on a defensive error to win Punjab Warriors second penalty corner and Ciriello made no mistake in converting the opportunity to hand his side 2-1 lead.

But Punjab Warriors’ joy was shortlived as Ranchi Rays drew level from the very next move through Middleton, who guided home a Mandeep Singh pass from the right.

In the final three minutes, the Punjab Warriors got two more chances in the form of penalty corners to seal the match in their favour but wasted both the opportunities as Tyler made a fine save to deny Sandeep and take the encounter into shoot-out.

In the shoot-out, Simon Orchard, SV Sunil and Robert Hammond missed for Punjab Warriors with only Ciriello and Dharamvir Singh converting their shots.

For Ranchi Rays, skipper Ashley Jackson, Daniel Beale scored while Jackson converted a penalty stroke after Stockmann fouled Manpreet during his attempt in the shoot-out. Birendra Lakra was lone miss for the champions.

Earlier in the day, last year’s champion Delhi Waveriders defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards 2-1 to win the consolation bronze medal.

The Waveriders scored two field goals through Rupinder Pal Singh (6th minute) and Yuvraj Walmiki (50th) to register the victory, while Wizards’ lone goal came from the sticks of Bob de Voogd in the 18th minute.

South Africa pace-gun Dale Steyn up and raring ahead of clash with India

There won’t be any respite for Indian batsmen as South Africa’s numero uno fast bowler Dale Steyn looked fit and set to go out all guns blazing, when the two teams meet in the World Cup group league match at Melbourne on Sunday.

As Steyn went through his routine, left-hander David Miller was seen trying out innovative ways to improve his batting. Steyn, who was suffering from sinus-related problems, went full blast at the nets, as he bowled for more than half-hour with Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, David Miller facing him with lot of caution.


Steyn dished out everything during his session. There were fuller deliveries, slower ones and the occasional bouncers which tested the Proteas batsman.