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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Watch India v England, World Cup 2011 Live Streaming

An occasion to test nerves and character

February 26, 2011

Match Facts

February 27, Bangalore

Start time 14.30 (0900 GMT)


Michael Yardy fields during England's training session, Bangalore, February 26, 2011
Michael Yardy could be recalled by England to bolster the spin-bowling department


The build-up and hype ahead of this match has been huge and we are still barely into the second week of the World Cup. This was always going to be one of the marquee clashes of the tournament, and even though it has been moved away from Eden Gardens to the slightly less daunting Chinnaswamy Stadium, that hasn't dulled the anticipation. You only need to see the unfortunate pictures from outside the ground during the week, as locals rushed for tickets, to know how desperate they are to watch their team.

However, there are two sides taking part and England are insisting they can use the expectation being piled on to the hosts in their favour. From a purely cricket view, the stadium switch won't have disappointed Andrew Strauss's team because, both on and off the field in Bangalore, conditions will be slightly less hostile than could have been the case in Kolkata.

Yet England's record against India in their own backyard makes for grim reading. They have won one of their last 13 completed ODIs in the country, going back to the 5-1 drubbing in 2006 and the 5-0 scoreline in 2008, before the series was cancelled due to the Mumbai bombings. In between they were also thrashed at the 2006 Champions Trophy. On one hand the odds say they are due a win, but on the other the statistics make damning reading.

If they want to spoil India's World Cup party the key will be containing the power-packed top order. Virender Sehwag set down the gauntlet with 175 against Bangaldesh and was backed up by Virat Kohli's fine hundred. Sachin Tendulkar was cut short on 25, while Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni didn't even need to bat. It's a daunting prospect, but England have shown they can rise for the big occasion. Whatever happens, let's hope it matches the expectation.

Form guide


(completed matches, most recent first)

India WLLWW
England WLLLW

Watch out for...

Ahead of India matches, it's the likes of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh who take most of the headlines, but you ignore Gautam Gambhir at your peril. He has become a supremely consistent batsman across all formats and is the perfect foil to his top-order team-mates. He started with a neat run-a-ball 39 against Bangladesh and England will have to ensure they give him as much focus as the mega-star names around him. A one-day average of 34 against England, six runs below his career level, is something he'll want to correct, but the visiting bowlers will want to increase that daylight.

None of England's quicks can be pleased with their efforts against Netherlands, but there were some encouraging signs from Stuart Broad in his first international since the second Ashes Test. Having warmed up with 10 wickets in two games against Canada and Pakistan, he bowled with decent pace against the Dutch and found bounce from a flat Nagpur surface. However, he sometimes got carried away with banging the ball in and forgot to aim at the stumps. His yorker can be effective (he was denied such a wicket when Paul Collingwood forgot to walk inside the circle) and against top-quality batsmen he'll have to be ready to adjust his game plans.

Talking of the quick bowlers, one of the reasons the venue switch isn't all bad news is the bounce that could be on offer. It won't be flying through at shoulder height, but the quick bowlers are likely to find some encouragement especially after the recent heavy rain in the city. One-day cricket is at its best with an even contest between bat and ball.

Team news

Virender Sehwag was struck in the ribs during a net session but is expected to be fine for the match and India have no reason to tinker with the top order. The big question mark comes with Sreesanth, who had a nightmare against Bangladesh when his five overs went for 53. India got away with it that day, but can't afford to carry a bowler in every match. However, Ashish Nehra is not yet at full fitness so India will have to decide whether to stick with Sreesanth or play an extra spinner.

India (possible) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Yusuf Pathan, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Sreesanth/Piyush Chawla, 11 Munaf Patel.

Broad has been suffering from an upset stomach but is expected to be fit and England's main decision is whether to strength their spin-bowling with a recall for Michael Yardy. The current plan is to get 10 overs from Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen but that's a huge risk against India. The problem is, though, that the man most likely to make way for Yardy would be Ravi Bopara, who helped see the team home against Netherlands.

England (possible) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Kevin Pietersen, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ian Bell, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Pitch and conditions

There was torrential rain in Bangalore on Friday afternoon which left large puddles on the outfield. The weather has remained cool and cloudy over the weekend, and there is a chance of more showers, which will make the toss important with the possible intervention of Duckworth-Lewis. The damp weather may work against Yardy, but the pitch turned square in the warm-up matches.

Stats and trivia

  • Despite all the talk about Sehwag, his average against England in India is the lowest of the current top six - 37.70 - but the strike-rate is 100.

  • Sreesanth's performance against Bangladesh was horrid, but he has 10 wickets at 16 each against England in India.

  • Unsurprisingly, Pietersen is England's best batsman in India with an average of 56.08 from 14 matches and the lone century among the team's current top order

  • India and England have met three times in Bangalore and it's the visitors who actually lead the head-to-head 2-1, although the wins did come back in 1985 and 1993.

Quotes

"I don't think it's a case of reinventing the wheel, we just need to play good, smart cricket. In some ways there's more pressure on India than us in this game."
Andrew Strauss turns to the psychological battle as he aims to turn around England's poor record in India.

"We are not celebrating yet, that's for sure. Of course, we had a good start in the opening game, where we batted really well and after that spinners did a good job in the middle overs. Again, I think it's about the team that will start well and hold the nerves for a consistent period of time."
MS Dhoni chooses to play it safe.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Watch Sri Lanka v Pakistan, World Cup 2011 Live Streaming

Heavyweights clash at R Premadasa


February 25, 2011

Match Facts

February 26, Colombo
Start time 14:30 local time (09:00 GMT)


Thisara Perera did plenty of damage to Canada, Sri Lanka v Canada, Group A, World Cup 2011, Hambantota, February 20, 2011
After his performance in Hambantota, Sri Lanka will want to find a place for Thisara Perera in their XI


When the World Cup comes to colourful Colombo on Saturday, the tournament will begin in earnest for two subcontinent teams. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka opened with massive wins over Associate nations, but this will be their first real test in the competition. None of the smaller teams in Group A seem capable of challenging the Test nations, so the game will be important in terms of placings for the quarter-finals. And in a tournament whose first week has been loaded with one-sided matches, two teams packed with dynamic players also promise some high-voltage entertainment.

Past records might suggest Pakistan have an edge - they have beaten Sri Lanka in each of their six encounters in the World Cups and have won their previous five games at the R Premadasa - but that will count for little. The two sides have not faced each other in cricket's showpiece tournament since 1992, and the Premadasa has undergone extensive redevelopment. What will help Pakistan, though, is the relative lack of controversy surrounding the current team, a low-profile lead-up and the confidence of a recent series win, in New Zealand, behind them.

Sri Lanka's advantage is that most of their players have had a taste of how the new track will fare during the domestic limited-over tournament held in January. Traditionally, this has been a bat-first venue, especially in day-night games where the team chasing has won only one of the past 13 matches, but it remains to be seen how the re-laid pitch fares .

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWWLW
Pakistan WLWWW

Pitch and conditions

The pitch will be the centre of attention since it's a re-laid track, and Saturday's game will be the first international game to be played on it. It may not be too high scoring a game, if the domestic matches played since the stadium was re-developed are anything to go by. The highest score batting first in the one-dayers played in January was 225, a total which was easily defended. Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, though, expects the bare surface to be good for batting.

Watch out for…

Thisara Perera was outstanding with the ball against Canada, and picked loads of wickets whenever he got a chance in 2010 as well. He worked up real pace in Hambantota, and has provided the team management with the welcome headache of working out how to accommodate him, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and Angelo Mathews in the XI. He also adds muscle to Sri Lanka's lower-middle order.

Shoaib Akhtar has weathered stacks of controversies and fitness problems to become one of the few constants in Pakistan's team. There has not been any talk of injuries for eight months, a minor miracle given his past record. Age hasn't slowed him down too much either; even at 35 he remains among the quickest bowlers in the world.

Team news

Pakistan have hinted they will stick to the same combination that played Kenya, which means Wahab Riaz and Saeed Ajmal are likely to remain on the bench. Waqar Younis has said Pakistan are pondering how to use Abdul Razzaq better, but for now he will continue to be an impact batsman at No. 8 and opening the bowling.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Kamran Akmal (wk), 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi (capt), 8 Abdul Razzaq, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Abdur Rehman, 11 Shoaib Akhtar

The main concern for Sri Lanka is the fitness of their pace spearhead, Malinga, who has a back strain. He missed Sri Lanka's opening game, but he did bowl in the nets on Friday. The physio will take a call on Saturday whether Malinga will play. If he doesn't, Sri Lanka could stick to the same XI that beat Canada.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Chamara Kapugedera, 6 Thilan Samaraweera, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Stats and trivia

  • Muttiah Muralitharan needs one more wicket to move past Wasim Akram's tally of 55 wickets to become the second highest wicket-taker in World Cups.

  • Sri Lanka have never beaten Pakistan in six World Cup matches, though the two haven't met in the competition since 1992.

  • One more stumping will take Sangakkara's tally to eight, moving ahead of Adam Gilchrist and Moin Khan, with whom he current shares the record for most stumpings.

  • This is Afridi's fourth World Cup, but he is yet to make a half-century.

Quotes

"In the past we've played really well against him in this country. I don't think we should worry about him that much; he is not 28 anymore. It is not going to be easy though. We're prepared not only for him but the entire team."
Waqar doesn't think Pakistan should be scared of Murali

"I find it surprising that their name is not bandied about in the mix of potential World Cup winners as they have brilliant match winners with both bat and ball."
Mahela Jayawardene thinks Pakistan are among the favourites for the tournament

Friday, February 25, 2011

Watch Bangladesh v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011 Live Streaming

A match crucial to quarter-final qualification


February 24, 2011

Match Facts

February 25, Mirpur
Start time 14:30 local time (08:30 GMT)


Ireland's Ed Joyce  in the nets, Shere Bangla Stadium, Mirpur, February 23, 2011
Ed Joyce is back in the Ireland set-up after playing the 2007 World Cup for England

For the last week, it has been somewhat quiet in Dhaka, but come Friday it won't be so. On paper, this is a match between two lowly ranked sides in the ODI hierarchy, but it will have huge implications in terms of progress to the next round. Bangladesh know it will be near impossible to make the quarter-finals, something the passionate fans and the team want desperately, if they fail to beat Ireland. Ireland also harbour ambitions of making the next round, and they know this is their best chance of beating a Test side. They also know they will need to beat at least two of them if they are to extend their stay in the event.

The implications of this game, however, are deeper than that. On one side is a team many believe got Test status too early and too easily, and is still struggling to justify it 11 years on. On the other side is a team many believe has done enough to at least merit a full-time ODI status: Ireland have beaten Bangladesh in the two major events the teams have played each other in. With Ireland also rests the flag of the beleaguered Associate nations, because they have been the best Associate side over the last four years or so.

Bangladesh might have lost to Ireland in the world events, but they will take heart from having beaten them 3-0 the only time they have met each other in Bangladesh. A similar trap - a low and slow pitch - is likely to be laid. Given the conditions will obviously suit the Bangladesh spin army, and the kind of crowd that this match will attract - something Ireland will never have encountered before - the hosts will start favourites. That said, it will be tough to keep a spirited side down, a side that gets one chance in four years to show the world what it is capable of. That is motivation enough.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

Bangladesh: LWWWL

Ireland: WLLWL

Pitch and conditions

Expect a surface that will assist the Bangladesh spinners. It might be difficult to prepare a square turner in Mirpur, but it is likely to stay low. The expected dew played a role in Shakib Al Hasan's decision to put India in last week - a tactic that backfired - and Shakib says he isn't expecting much dew now. He said there hasn't been much dew around. William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, though, said there was a little bit of dew when the team practised under lights two nights before the match.

Watch out for…

Tamim Iqbal struggled against India while the other two left-hand batsmen in the top order got off to good starts. Tamim decided to fight, and didn't hit out. One school of thought suggests that is just the kind of defeatist mentality Bangladesh need to get rid of - the tendency of batsmen going for batting practice when the target is big. The other school of thought, Bangladesh's, suggests Tamim started hitting the ball well by the end of the innings. Tamim said he was feeling better about his form after that scratchy knock, and we can expect the real Tamim in the next game.

Ed Joyce is back in green. After playing a crucial role in Ireland's qualification for the 2007 World Cup, Joyce chose to play for England and pursue a Test career, which is not possible with Ireland. He didn't savour the journey his home team embarked on in the Caribbean, nor has he managed to represent England in Tests. Now he is back, and is welcomed with open arms. "If I can bring something in terms of calmness in the middle of the innings where, perhaps, it wasn't there before, that would be nice to offer," he told Irish Times last week.

Team news

Bangladesh have had injury scares coming into the match, but Imrul Kayes is fit despite getting hit in the forearm in the nets on Wednesday. He batted in the nets on match eve, and will open with Tamim. However, Shafiul Islam, who took a bad fall during fielding practice on Wednesday, is not a sure starter. That could prompt Bangladesh to think more of their traditional strength, and perhaps go with four spinners. There has also been talk that Mohammad Ashraful might be back, but at No. 7, as a Powerplay specialist.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Raqibul Hasan, 7 Mohammad Ashraful, 8 Mahmudullah, 9 Naeem Islam/Suhrawadi Shuvo, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Rubel Hossain.

Ireland will be happy to welcome back Boyd Rankin (coming back from injury) and Joyce (coming back from England). That gives them real decisions to make when they sit to pick the XI, but expect two spinners in it.

Ireland (probable): 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Andre Botha, 4 Ed Joyce, 5 Niall O'Brien (wk), 6 Kevin O'Brien, 7 Andrew White, 8 John Mooney, 9 Trent Johnston, 10 Boyd Rankin, 11 George Dockrell/Albert van der Merwe.

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Stats and trivia

  • Bangladesh lead the head-to-head against Ireland 4-2.

  • In the 2007 World Cup, Ireland had only two professional cricketers; this time they have only two who don't play cricket full time.

  • Since August 2009, Tamim has averaged 37 as opposed to a career average of 30, and has gone at a strike-rate of 94, which is also a huge improvement over his career strike-rate of 79. Two of his three centuries have come in this period.

    Quotes

    "[Ireland might have beaten us at world events], but when they played at Mirpur in 2008, we beat them three games in a row. So we have the home advantage. I don't think they like to play in these conditions."
    Shakib Al Hasan looks to home conditions and crowd.

    "Obviously 2007 was quite a while ago. We won on that occasion, but it's going to be different in these conditions as opposed to what it was in the West Indies. Bangladesh are playing at home, they have got the home support, they have got the home conditions, so it is a completely different occasion."
    William Porterfield is aware of the whole new ball game.

Watch Australia v New Zealand, Group A, World Cup 2011 Live Streaming

Can Ponting lead Australia out of their spin woes?


February 24, 2011

Match Facts

February 25, Nagpur
Start time: 09:30 local time (04:00 GMT)


Ricky Ponting checks his bat during training, Bangalore, February 12, 2011
Where are the runs hidden?

It's almost as if there is malicious glee that follows Australia's so-called decline. Ashes lost? Yay! Ricky Ponting accidentally breaks a TV set? What irresponsible behaviour! Australia are struggling against spinners? Wonderful! In some ways, it's human nature to gloat at Goliath's fall. At the centre of the storm is Ponting, trying hard to regain his batting form, trying to hide the Ashes blot in his CV with another World-Cup triumph. In Australia's previous victorious campaigns, Ponting has led from the front with the bat but this time a question mark hovers around that possibility. Australia's campaign in this edition of the World Cup could well revolve around Ponting's form at No. 3. He got couple of hard-earned fifties in the warm-up games and looked to be slowly progressing towards recovering his touch.

The bowling is led by another ageing campaigner, Brett Lee, who is scripting a remarkable comeback. Much has been written about Australia's attack which stands out for its naked violence. The feeling is that they will either scythe through the opposition or fail to control the run-flow on these batting tracks.

On the other side, there is New Zealand, who are playing this game under the grim background of the Christchurch earthquake. "For a lot of the guys, coming to training has allowed them to take their mind off things," Daniel Vettori said. New Zealand have had a poor build-up to the World Cup, but they started the tournament with a crushing win against Kenya. Their batting line-up looks quite strong with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor and Scott Styris and it's their bowling which looks a bit iffy. Will their seamers be able to adapt to these tracks? Much will depend on spinners Vettori and Nathan McCullum, who is likely to open the bowling with the new ball. New Zealand will hope that the pitch will take some turn and they can poke at Australia's vulnerability against spin on these slow tracks. It should be an interesting battle.

Form guide

(Most recent first for the last five completed games)
Australia: WWWWL
New Zealand: LWLLL

Watch out for…

Shane Watson's revival began here in India during the inaugural edition of the IPL. He adapted brilliantly and transformed himself into a smashing opener and took that form and confidence to the international stage. On Indian tracks, he likes to get on the front foot and scythe through the line. With Brad Haddin yet to learn the art of converting starts and with Ponting yet to get a regain his form completely, much will depend on Watson to set a solid platform.

Nathan McCullum is not a bowler who causes sleepless nights to batsmen but he could play a crucial role if Vettori decides to give him the new ball. He is accurate and spins the ball just enough to pose some problems. How he handles the pressure of bowling against Watson, Haddin and co might well decide how New Zealand fare with the ball.

Team news

New Zealand have chosen their playing 12. Kyle Mills, Kane Williamson, and Luke Woodcock will miss out.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Jesse Ryder, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 James Franklin, 6 Scott Stryis, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Hamish Bennett, 11 Tim Southee

Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 David Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Steve Smith, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Jason Krezja, 10 Brett Lee, 11 Shaun Tait.

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Stats and trivia

  • Ricky Ponting is the player who has played the most World Cup games. He has played 40 matches, going past Glenn McGrath's 39 appearances. He has also led Australia 23 times, the second-highest by any World Cup captain, after New Zealand's Stephen Fleming (27). Australia are yet to lose a World Cup game under Ponting.

  • In the game against Zimbabwe, Ponting became the fourth batsman in the World Cup to be run out on five occasions. The others are: Inzamam-ul-Haq (9), Asanka Gurusinha (6) and Javed Miandad (5)

  • Australia have faced New Zealand 123 times and have won 84 games. In India, these two teams have played against each other seven times, with Australia victorious in all seven.

    Quotes

    "Nothing really changes from any team you're playing in the subcontinent, you try and bowl straight at the wickets and you know you're going to have to score a lot of runs. There's no mystery to what we're going to try to do, but the key when you come up against these big teams and big players is having the presence of mind to execute time and time again. That's the toughest thing when you're coming up against good players."

    Daniel Vettori on facing Australia

Monday, February 21, 2011

Watch Australia v Zimbabwe Live Streaming World Cup 2011

Confident Australia seek winning start


February 20, 2011

Match Facts

February 21, Ahmedabad
Start time 14:30 local time (09:00 GMT)


Ricky Ponting puts on his helmet during a net session, Ahmedabad,  World Cup 2011, February 19, 2011
Ricky Ponting has been in good form since his return from injury and will lead a team confident of victory in their opening match


Australia enter uncharted territory as they open their tenth World Cup campaign at Motera in Ahmedabad. For the first time in a cricketing generation, they come into the competition without the favourites tag to weigh them down, and while the expectations of their fans will still be high, a fourth consecutive world title seems a long way off. The Zimbabweans, too, stand at the brink of a new era. A group roundly written off for half a decade - and rightly so - is now a rapidly maturing unit, fully aware of its strengths and how to play to them.

While they are clearly no longer the world-beaters of old, Australia remain one of the best limited-overs outfits in world cricket. They left the Ashes in England's hands but tempered that disappointment with a 6-1 trouncing in the one-day series that followed and have an enviable record of 23 consecutive wins in World Cup matches since their semi-final tie against South Africa in 1999. They were well short of their best in their two warm-ups against India and South Africa, but Zimbabwe will be softer targets and haven't beaten Australia in a full one-day international since their famous win at Trent Bridge in 1983.

All the same, the Zimbabwe side Australia will meet in Ahmedabad has a different complexion to the one that was thrashed 3-0 in their last bilateral series way back in May 2004. A lot of the names on the Zimbabwe team sheet are the same, but the attitude in the team camp is completely different, and they will also be buoyed by the fact that their most recent confrontations against Australia have both resulted in wins. They triumphed on a rainy night at Newlands in the World Twenty20 in 2007 and then edged a closely-fought encounter in the warm-ups to the 2010 competition in the Caribbean.

Those results will have pricked more than just Aussie pride, and where once they would have floated into this match surrounded by an impenetrable aura, now they will be respected but not feared. Ricky Ponting's men have ample firepower to blow Zimbabwe away with both bat and ball, but if they're not at their best the Zimbabweans have a couple of emerging stars of their own who could at least ensure a competitive match. Zimbabwe are one of the better 'minnow' sides at this tournament, and with the ICC seemingly set on expelling Associate nations from the World Cup altogether in the future, a spirited performance from them would at least show that the smaller teams are also capable of playing entertaining cricket.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

Australia: WWWLW
Zimbabwe: LLLWL

Pitch and conditions

While the pitch has a slightly grassy look to it, plenty of that is made up of grass shavings that have been rolled into it so it is not as green as it appears. Recent history suggests that conditions could favour the batsmen - South Africa racked up 365 for 2 here a year ago, with centuries for Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers. A steaming hot day should be followed by a cool, clear night, and while dew shouldn't be a major factor, it could play some part in the second innings.

Watch out for…

Zimbabwe's batsmen will be unaccustomed to facing a bowler of Shaun Tait's searing pace, and if he gets past the top order the soft underbelly of the middle order could easily be opened up. In England last year, he hit 160kph and if he even gets near that he'll be too much for the Zimbabweans. A menacing presence with both the new and old ball, he's been in the wickets recently too, taking 3 for 48 against England at the WACA to cap Australia's resounding series win.

After a quiet couple of months, Elton Chigumbura seems to be getting back to his effervescent best - with the bat at least - and he cracked a 81-ball 103 against Ireland during Zimbabwe's warm-ups. There's also something about competing against Australia that seems to bring out the best in him: as an 18-year-old in his sixth ODI against an attack containing Glenn McGrath and Shane Watson, he top-scored with 77, and at the World Twenty20 warm-ups in 2010 he cracked 76 from just 35 balls against them to set up a one-run win.

Team news

Australia have remained tight-lipped on a possible playing XI, but they'll be looking to stamp their authority early on this World Cup and will be loathe to experiment despite the relative weakness of the opposition. That means Callum Ferguson, Tim Paine and perhaps Doug Bollinger will sit out, while Jason Krezja's position will depend on their reading of the pitch. John Hastings is more likely to find his way into the starting line-up.

Australia (probable): 1 Shane Watson, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 David Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Steve Smith, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 John Hastings, 10 Brett Lee, 11 Shaun Tait.

The main questions for the Zimbabweans revolve around their top order. Charles Coventry was tried as an opening partner for Brendan Taylor during their warm-ups, with limited success, but it's unlikely he'll make way for the only other specialist opening batsman in the squad - Terry Duffin. The bowling line-up is sure to have an emphasis on spin, while the greater dynamism of Sean Williams' batting means he'll probably sneak in ahead of offspinning allrounder Greg Lamb.

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Brendan Taylor, 2 Charles Coventry, 3 Regis Chakabva, 4 Tatenda Taibu (wk), 5 Craig Ervine, 6 Sean Williams, 7 Elton Chigumbura (capt), 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Graeme Cremer, 10 Ray Price, 11 Chris Mpofu.

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Stats and trivia

  • The highest total at Motera came in the previous match played there, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers putting on an unbeaten 173 for the third wicket as South Africa reached 365 for 2. There have been five other totals over 300 at the ground, all of which have come since 2000.

  • A couple of the Zimbabweans won't have happy memories of their last trip to this ground. At the Champions Trophy in 2006, they came up against West Indies here and were bowled out for 85, losing by nine wickets.

  • In 27 ODIs against Zimbabwe, Australia have lost just once - and that was in the first official match between the two sides.

  • Taylor has been in terrific form in the last 18 months, and he'll also draw confidence from his past record against Australia: he made consecutive half-centuries as an 18-year-old in his first two games against an Australian attack including the likes of McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz.

  • Ponting will be making a record 40th World Cup appearance, moving ahead of McGrath (39) and pulling away from Sanath Jayasuriya and Wasim Akram (both 38).

    Quotes

    "The pitch is a massive part of the equation. But if you have a bowler like Tait bowling around 160 kmh at the batsmen's toes, it doesn't matter where you are playing. It is still going to hit the batsmen on the full."
    Brett Lee believes sheer pace alone could be enough to get past the batsmen in Ahmedabad

    "If we play confidently, play our best cricket and Australia don't, then we may have a chance. Let's be honest, if both sides play their best cricket, it's very likely that we'll lose."
    Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher is realistic about his team's chances of causing an upset in their opening game

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Watch Sri Lanka v Canada World Cup 2011 Live Streaming

Sri Lanka open against sparky minnows

February 19,

Match Facts

February 20, Hambantota
Start time 14:30 local time (09:00 GMT)


Canada captain Ashish Bagai practices his big hitting ahead of  Canada's opening game against Sri Lanka, Hambantota, February 19, 2011
Ashish Bagai and his side can prove Associates have a role in World Cups with a good showing against Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka begin their World Cup campaign - the first in Asia since they stunned the world 16 years ago - against Group A minnows Canada. With a team forged around much of the same group of players that made it to the final in the Caribbean last time around, Sri Lanka start as one of the tournament's fancied sides. Canada - a team of immigrants, expats and five home-grown former Under-19 stars - have had a good run in the warm-up against Netherlands and England but will need a World Cup miracle to beat Kumar Sangakkara's side.

Sri Lanka's home record is imposing but the surroundings of Hambantota are almost as unfamiliar to them as they are to the visitors. A new pitch at a new stadium, the captains have been keen to praise the look of both. The state of pitches at this tournament is already shaping up into a bone of contention, and set against the fiasco at Eden Gardens, the Sri Lankan board should be credited for getting the stadium ready in time.

The last time these two met in the World Cup, Canada slumped to the lowest World Cup score in history. The entire cricketing infrastructure in Canada has improved since then, with players centrally contracted for the first time and big sponsors like Reebok jumping on board. Upsets have been hard-wired out of the format for this World Cup, and with the ICC taking it a step further next time by expelling Associate nations altogether, a competitive show from Canada would do wonders to the minnows' case for inclusion.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

Sri Lanka: WWLWW
Canada: LWWWL

Pitch and conditions

The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium has not yet hosted a full international match so the pitch in Hambantota is something of an unknown quantity. There were concerns when the pitch produced a low-scoring 'A' match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, but at the time the curator insisted his pitch was not to blame. After practicing at the ground Sangakkara was happy, saying "the wicket looked fantastic and the conditions were beautiful for cricket". The Sri Lankan weather has been anything but for recent series and there were a few clouds circling on the eve of the game, which could mean an early outing for Duckworth and Lewis, in their fourth World Cup.

Watch out for…

There is still something about the 50-over format that promotes unqualified utility players, who are unable to hold their place in either discipline. England have Luke Wright, while Australia have John Hastings. Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews is the model the rest are chasing. In the last 12 months Mathews has averaged 54.50 with the bat, 32.90 with the ball, and has been a lynchpin behind the celebrated duo of Sangakkara and Mehela Jayawardene.

After his exploits against England, there is one Canadian that everyone will be looking out for: Gun batsman Rizwan Cheema. The Pakistan-born's ODI strike-rate of 119.4 beats even Shahid Afridi for crazed slugging. Faced with Lasith Malinga's slingers and Muttiah Muralitharan his task is less than straightforward, but alongside the youngsters in the side and captain Ashish Bagai, he could be the prime contributor of runs.

Team news

Sri Lanka's top-order is settled and the only contention is over the last bowling place. Ajantha Mendis' star has faded as his mystery unravelled with exposure so he competes with the Rangana Herath for the second spinner's role. If the damp conditions prompt another paceman, however, Thisara Perera might come up on the blindside to take the final bowling spot.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Chamara Kapugedera, 6 Thilan Samaraweera, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Dilhara Fernando, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Muttiah Muralitharan, 11 Lasith Malinga

Canada have banked on their youngsters to support their array of more experience imports and will be hoping Hiral Patel and Nitish Kumar can come good.

Canada (probable): 1 John Davison, 2 Hiral Patel, 3 Nitish Kumar, 4 Ashish Bagai (capt & wk), 5 Jimmy Hansra, 6 Rizwan Cheema, 7 Zubin Surkari, 8 Khurram Chohan, 9 Balaji Rao, 10 Henry Osinde, 11 Harvir Baidwan

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Stats and trivia

  • The last time these teams met at the World Cup, Canada were bowled out for 36 and swept aside by nine wickets in a match that lasted a mere 23.2 overs - the quickest in World Cup history.

  • Since making successive hundreds against Pakistan and Bangladesh in Karachi in June 2008, Kumar Sangakkara has played 59 matches, and made 1970 runs at 37.16, without ever passing three figures.

  • Canada's opening batsman, and producer of one of World Cup cricket's most dazzling centuries - John Davison - is, at 40, the oldest player in the tournament.

    Quotes

    "Hard-hitting. I like to hit the ball... Out of the park"
    Rizwan Cheema gives a description, and warning, about the kind of player he is

    "You can't change what other people say about us whether they say that we are good enough to win the tournament or whatever."
    Kumar Sangakkara doesn't like the 'favourites' tag.

Watch Kenya v New Zealand, World Cup 2011 Live Streaming

A lot to prove for both teams


February 19, 2011

Match Facts

February 20, Chennai
Start time 09:30 local time (04:00 GMT)


New Zealand celebrate after Jacob Oram dismissed Virender Sehwag,  India v New Zealand, World Cup 2011 warm-up, Chennai, February 16, 2011
Jacob Oram's form will be crucial if New Zealand are to make a serious impact in the World Cup

Both New Zealand and Kenya have been through difficult patches in the recent past and will open their World Cup campaigns with plenty to prove. Kenya come across as the whipping boys of the group, along with Canada, but a demoralised New Zealand are ripe for the picking. New Zealand have come off a humiliating loss to India in their warm-up game and three consecutive bilateral ODI series defeats at the hands of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, so the need to show some intent is pressing.

New Zealand have gone from being one of the sides that was always there and thereabouts to the forgotten men of international competitions but given the format of this World Cup, they have almost no excuse to not make it to the quarter-finals.

The World Cup is Daniel Vettori's last international series as captain; he would like to leave a lasting impression and he has the personnel to help him do that. The middle order is New Zealand's marshmallow and if they can firm up that section, they should be able to pull off a decent all-round performance. They will be the team the minnows are targetting in this group and in order to restore self belief they could do with a solid win under their belts.

For Kenya, a win over any side will do and beating a full member will be punching above their weight. A close defeat to the Netherlands in their second warm-up illustrated what they are capable of with both bat and ball. The top five batsmen are all capable of getting big scores with Seren Waters leading the line-up. Their string of medium pacers have been economical and effective and if they can capitalise on the mentorship they've been receiving from people like the Kirsten brothers and Jonty Rhodes, they may have a rabbit or two to pull out of the hat.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

New Zealand: WLLLW Kenya: WLWLL

Pitch and conditions

The Chennai pitch worried South Africa captain Graeme Smith despite his team cantering to an eight-wicket win in a warm-up game against Zimbabwe last week. There doesn't appear to be too much life in it, for either the seamers or the spinners and the batsmen are the ones who could benefit the most. It is likely to be a hot day in Chennai, but the heat should be tempered somewhat by some cloud cover.

Watch out for…

One of the most exciting young batsmen to come out of Kenya in a while, Alex Obanda is a strokeplayer, who will probably open the innings. His shots are as flamboyant as his frosted hairstyle, and Kenya will look to him as the ideal foil for more circumspect opening partner, Waters, to attack the new ball and score boundaries with the field up.

Injuries and dwindling confidence have taken some of the spark out of Jacob Oram's gameplay in recent times, but there is no doubting his taleny and if New Zealand are going to get out of their slump and be serious contenders in this tournament, they need a fit and firing Oram in the lower middle order. He was didn't have much impact in New Zealand's warm-ups, scoring 17 runs in two innings and picking up two expensive wickets, and a return to form is well overdue.

Team news

Offspinner Nathan McCullum spent Thursday and Friday night in hospital after being admitted with high fever. He participated in a light training session on Saturday but remains a doubtful starter. Luke Woodcock may play in his place but that would keep a batsman out of the side. Should New Zealand opt for the extra batsmen, like Jamie How, they may find themselves a bowler short.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendan McCullum, 3 Jessie Ryder, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 James Franklin, 6 Scott Stryis, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Luke Woodcock, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Tim Southee

Kenya have had a fairly settled unit in recent times, and without any injuries to worry them, the playing XI practically picks itself. With both the spinning Ngoche brothers likely to play on what should be a helpful surface, the one question may be who to pick between Tanmay Mishra and Rakep Patel, as both have impressed in the middle order.

1 Seren Waters, 2 Alex Obanda, 3 Collins Obuya, 4 Tanmay Mishra/Rakep Patel, 5 Steve Tikolo, 6 Maurice Ouma (wk), 7 Jimmy Kamande (capt), 8 Thomas Odoyo, 9 James Ngoche, 10 Shem Ngoche, 11 Nehemiah Odhiambo

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.


Alex Obanda top-scored for Kenya with 40, Ireland v Kenya, ICC  World Cricket League Division One, Rotterdam, July 1, 2010
Kenya will look to Alex Obanda to provide an explosive start at the top of the order

Stats and trivia

  • Kenya and New Zealand have met just once before in World Cups, with New Zealand handing out a 148-run thrashing at Gros Islet in 2007.

  • The second-oldest man at the World Cup, after Canada's John Davison, Steve Tikolo is just a shade under 40. He's also his country's leading batsman, having scored more runs and more hundreds and fifties than any other player to represent Kenya.

  • To say that New Zealand haven't had the greatest time on the subcontinent lately is to put it mildly, as they slumped to 11 straight losses in the region, before going down to Pakistan at home.

  • Jesse Ryder had a quiet 2010 thanks to a couple of nagging injuries, but he's started 2011 with a bang, blazing to a hundred to set up a consolation win over Pakistan in the sixth ODI at Eden Park. Another New Zealand batsman in unexpectedly good nick is James Franklin, who's scored three half-centuries in his last six innings, narrowly missing out on a hundred in Bangalore in December.

    Quotes

    "Any team that takes us lightly will do so at their own peril. We practiced very hard for this after our training camp in India and the mood in the camp is as good as it can be."
    Jimmy Kamande is confident that his side will not be pushovers

    "We can't take them lightly because they an unknown quantity, we do not know much about them"
    Daniel Vettori warns against complacency on the eve of his side's first game

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Watch Bangladesh vs India Live Streaming World Cup Cricket 2011

Bangladesh v India, Group B, World Cup 2011, Mirpur


Match Facts

February 19, Mirpur
Start time 14:30 local time (08:30 GMT)


Shakib Al Hasan heads to the nets, Sher-e-Bangla, Dhaka, February  18, 2011
Few players have as much responsibility with bat and ball as Shakib Al Hasan does for Bangladesh

Events unfolding in Port of Spain four years ago culminated in euphoria on one side of the Bengal border, and gloom on the other. With every dance down the wicket from Tamim Iqbal, little-fancied Bangladesh landed another blow in a series of blows that would eventually eliminate India, wearied by the weight of expectation and a discordant dressing room, from the first round of the World Cup. Four years later the teams meet again, but in a tournament protected from the domino effect of a shock like the one in Trinidad. The stakes this time are different as well, for it is not just India, overwhelming favourites again, who carry a tremendous weight of expectation.

As Shakib Al Hasan entered the opening ceremony in a decorated cycle rickshaw, soaking in the goodwill from tens of thousands inside the Bangabandhu Stadium and the crowds surrounding it, his demeanour revealed pride and a sense of the grandeur of the occasion, and none of the reluctance he's had in captaining Bangladesh in series past. There would also have been a feeling of responsibility, of a magnitude no Bangladesh captain has ever faced before.

For the first time, Bangladesh are expected to go beyond the first round of a World Cup. For the first time, and largely because of a significant home advantage, their passage will not be considered an upset. For the first time, they are hosting a World Cup and can see all around them a stirring passion saturating the country. Bangladesh too will be relieved that the format allows a little room for error, while striving to avoid it against one of the tournament heavyweights.

Justifiably or not, India have begun several World Cups wearing the favourites tag, but never has that label been more authentic than now. Their bowling attack might blow hot and cold, but even on their most frigid days India possess a batting line-up capable of overhauling anything. And they play all their matches on the familiar pitches of home, apart from the opener against Bangladesh, which is at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Mirpur. The Indians won't say that revenge for 2007 is on their minds but there is no chance they will go into the contest with an iota of complacency.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

Bangladesh: WWWLW
India: LLWWL

Pitch and conditions

The pitch used for the practice game between Bangladesh and Pakistan in Mirpur had turn for the spinners. Not much is known about the surface for Saturday but it is expected to aid the slow bowlers. Dew has traditionally had an impact on day-night fixtures in Dhaka but it is supposedly not as big a concern in February. However, this is what Waqar Younis, Pakistan's coach, said after the warm-up game: "There was a little bit [of dew], maybe in the last 15 overs. It can be trouble later on in the tournament, so good luck to whoever is playing here."

Watch out for…

India's batsmen: Sehwag, Tendulkar, Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Yusuf. The weakest link on paper in that line-up, Virat Kohli, is also India's most in-form batsman. And Suresh Raina, who was a rabbit in South Africa but is a force on the subcontinent, is an option too. Each one is capable of producing a match-winning innings. This Indian side is calibrated for scoring a 300-plus total, and chasing one down.

Spin, and dew: In their last ODI at home before the World Cup, against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh played four spinners: specialists Abdur Razzak and Suhrawadi Shuvo, allrounder Shakib, and part-time offspinner Naeem Islam. On slow tracks that turn, with batsmen needing to create the pace, they can control the pace of the game. India have played just one specialist, Harbhajan Singh, in recent games and relied on a phalanx of able part-timers - Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina. Given the prominent role of spin, the dew in Mirpur, if it is heavy, could have a considerable role in the day-night contest. A slippery ball and a slick outfield will be a disadvantage for the team defending a target under floodlights.

A fever-pitch atmosphere: The build-up to the World Cup has visibly been more intense in Bangladesh than in either India or Sri Lanka. The excitement reached a crescendo in the hours before the opening ceremony and it is poised to spill over when the opening game gets underway. India rarely play in front of a crowd in which they have virtually no support. That is likely to happen tomorrow. If Shakib's men are looking for a little more inspiration, they will hear it reverberate around the Shere Bangla.


Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni have a word on the eve of the opening  game of the World Cup, Shere Bangla Stadium, Mirpur, February 18, 2011
This is the beginning of Sachin Tendulkar's last World Cup, and MS Dhoni's first as captain

Team news

There was a fitness concern over Shafiul Islam, who bowled only five overs in the warm-up against Pakistan, but he is expected to be fit. Raqibul Hasan could make the XI ahead of Mohammad Ashraful and Bangladesh could also play two spinning allrounders in Mahmudullah and Naeem Islam.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Raqibul Hasan 6 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Naeem Islam 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Rubel Hossain.

After sitting out of both of India's warm-up matches with a groin niggle, Zaheer Khan bowled during India's net session and will lead the attack on Saturday. The major decision India will have to make is whether to play Kohli or Raina. Kohli has been in excellent form, but an extra left-hander, Raina, could be useful in combating Bangladesh's left-arm spinners. Dhoni, however, had indicated a few days ago that Kohli could edge Raina out.

India (probable): 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli/Suresh Raina, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Yusuf Pathan, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ashish Nehra, 11 Munaf Patel.

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Stats and trivia

  • Mirpur is easily Bangladesh's most successful ODI venue - they've won 18 matches here, which is three times the number they've won at their next-best venue. They've won 64 games in all, which means 28% of their ODI wins have come in Mirpur.

  • The last 12 day-night matches in Mirpur have all been won by the team batting second. Overall, in 16 day-night ODIs, the team batting first has won only three times.

  • India have won seven and lost three ODIs in Mirpur, but they've beaten Bangladesh in all five matches here. Three of those were day-night games, and in all of them India chased.

  • Most of India's top order has done well in Mirpur, with Gambhir, Dhoni, Kohli and Raina all averaging more than 50, and scoring at least one century here. For Bangladesh, Shakib and Tamim have scored two hundreds each in ODIs at this venue.

Quotes

"The guys have played enough cricket to cope with the pressure. We are not looking too far ahead. We will take it one game at a time and concentrate on the job at hand. I don't think it can get better than this. Playing a strong side like India has its advantages. We want to prove ourselves against the best."
Shakib Al Hasan on the eve of the beginning of Bangladesh's World Cup campaign.

"Being a co-host will always bring a lot of expectations. But we do not get bogged down by expectations. The important thing is to do the process right. We always look to put more emphasis on the process, rather than on winning, and this is what has made us a successful team."
MS Dhoni attempts to cocoon his team from the hype around India's chances at the World Cup.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The spot-fixing scandal - Butt out for 10 years, Asif 7 and Amir 5


February 5, 2011


Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir
The ICC has taken unprecedented action against the three players

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have been banned for 10, 7 and 5 years respectively after an ICC tribunal found them guilty of spot-fixing stemming from the Lord's Test against England last year. The sanctions against Butt and Asif have five and two years suspended, which means that the trio cannot play any official, sanctioned cricket, international or domestic, for a minimum of five years, until September 2015.

The suspended sentences on Butt and Asif have been made conditional on their making no further breaches of the code and participating in an anti-corruption education programme, under the auspices of the PCB.

Butt, who was captain during the series in England, received the maximum sentence but one charge against him - of batting out a maiden over during the Oval Test - was dismissed. However, he was found to have not disclosed an approach by Majeed that he should bat the maiden over. The other charges that were upheld relate to the subsequent Lord's Test, where Amir and Asif were found to have bowled deliberate no-balls and Butt was penalized for being party to that. Amir will appeal against the decision to the Court of Arbitration Sports, but the other two players have not yet said whether they will.

The announcement on Saturday evening followed a day of deliberations in Doha between the three-man tribunal - comprising the head Michael Beloff QC, Sharad Rao and Justice Albie Sachs - the players and their legal teams and the ICC's lawyers. The three players began the day requesting the tribunal for a deferral of any verdict, in light of the statement on Friday by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that the players might also face criminal charges relating to the Lord's Test as the result of a separate investigation carried out by British police. The players, who continued to maintain their innocence, argued that a judgment today by the tribunal could be prejudicial to any criminal trial in the UK, but the request was rejected.

The length of the sentences may be considered surprising to the extent that at least one life ban had been predicted beforehand. Now, in theory, the 26-year-old Butt could return after five years if he complies with the conditions of the verdict. Amir, who will only turn 19 in April, could also conceivably harbour hopes of a return, though in practical terms a five-year gap from any competitive cricket makes the prospect of a return that much more difficult. The situation is most bleak for Asif, who will be 33 by the time the minimum five years are up.

It must also be noted that not until the full judgment is released will the picture become fully clear, especially with regards to the nature of the rehabilitation programme they must undertake and the role the PCB will have in that. The tribunal asked the ICC to publish the full judgment as soon as possible and it is expected to happen tomorrow. The question, however, of whether or not the full judgment may be deemed prejudicial to any criminal proceedings in the UK still looms.

A member of the ICC legal team told ESPNcricinfo that it is "very happy with the fact that the players were convicted." But given that the governing body was pushing for maximum sanctions, there will be at least a tinge of disappointment within the governing body.

The tribunal also recommended that the ICC make "certain changes to the code with a view to providing flexibility in relation to minimum sentences in exceptional circumstances." The lawyers of Butt and Amir later said that the tribunal would've given lower punishments had their hands not "been tied" to the code's range of sanctions.

News of the World, the tabloid that broke the spot-fixing story this summer, released a statement of its own, saying that "it is now clear to everyone in the game that corruption will not be tolerated," and added that it will continue to assist the police in any way it can.

A number of Pakistani fans waited outside the Qatar Financial Centre, some for the entire nine-hour duration of the proceedings, and gave vociferous support to the players when they eventually came out. Amir, in fact, was mobbed and had to return inside the building briefly.

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