Saturday, 28 February 2015

Ashwin leaves UAE in a spin as India seal hat-trick of wins!

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed four wickets to lead a strong Indian bowling performance as the defending champions eased to a nine-wicket victory over the United Arab Emirates in a World Cup Pool B encounter in Perth on Saturday. 

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and fast bowler Umesh Yadav chipped in with two wickets apiece as the Emiratis were bundled out for just 102 in 31.3 overs at the WACA to post the lowest score of this year's tournament. 

Opener Rohit Sharma had missed out in India's wins against Pakistan and South Africa but used the opportunity to get some runs under his belt as his team chased down the target with 31.1 overs to spare for a third triumph in as many matches. 

Rohit (57) and Virat Kohli (33) added 75 in an unbroken second wicket stand to carry India home after in-form opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan (14) fell to a sharp one-handed catch by Rohan Mustafa at point off Mohammad Naveed. 

Rohit, the owner of the highest ODI score of 264, brought up his 24th fifty with a square-cut boundary off UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir. He hit 10 fours and a six during his 55-ball knock.
Tauqir would never have envisioned such a shambolic batting display from his team mates when he won the toss and opted to bat first.

However, the extra bounce on a pitch widely considered as the fastest in the world put them on the back foot from the onset of their innings.

Yadav bowled short and fast and struck in his first over, the second of the innings, to remove opener Andri Berenger (four) with a bouncer. Fellow opener Amjad Ali (four) did not last much longer, edging a bouncer from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, a replacement for the injured Mohammed Shami, to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps. 

Skipper Dhoni brought Ashwin (4-25) on as his first change immediately after the mandatory 10-over powerplay to start the innings and the tall spinner picked up a wicket with his second ball and then ran through the UAE middle order to bag his best figures in ODIs. 

Shaiman Anwar, who scored an aggressive century during their two-wicket loss to Ireland, was the only batsman to provide some resistance and finished with 35 from 49 balls, his innings including six boundaries. 

Anwar and number 11 batsman Manjula Guruge (10 not out) added 31 for the final wicket, the highest of the innings, to get UAE past the 100-run mark. 

The 35-year-old Anwar was the last man to fall, bowled by a late-swinging full delivery from Yadav.

Williamson six gives Kiwis the 1 wicket win in the epic thriller!

Kane Williamson coolly struck a straight six to give New Zealand a one wicket victory over Australia in a dramatic battle between the cricket World Cup hosts at Eden Park on Saturday.

Williamson lofted Pat Cummins over the boundary with last man Trent Boult at the wicket to finish on 45 not out in New Zealand's 152 for nine off 23.1 overs.

Mitchell Starc scythed through the New Zealand batting after Brendon McCullum had given the home side a flying start with 50 from 24 balls, including seven boundaries and three sixes, to take six for 28 from nine overs.

New Zealand's left-arm fast bowler Trent Boult recorded his best figures in a one-day international, capturing five wickets for one run during his second spell, to finish with five for 27 in Australia's 151 all out from 32.2 overs.

There was no hint of what was to follow at the start of the day when Australia, who won the toss, set off as if they were determined to post a total around the 400 mark.

Tim Southee conceded 15 runs off the first over of the day, David Warner slashed a six off his second over the short third man boundary and Aaron Finch struck the pace bowler over mid-on into the stands off the third.

With his next ball Southee knocked Finch's off stump out of the ground after he had scored 14.

Warner and Shane Watson took the score to 80 when McCullum introduced Daniel Vettori into the attack.

Bowling with his accustomed flight and guile, the left-arm spinner put a brake on the scoring and the frustrated Watson (23) perished when he pulled a short delivery straight to Southee at mid-wicket.

Southee switched ends and was rewarded with the wicket of Warner lbw 34 to a full delivery which thudded on to his pads.

Wickets then suddenly began to tumble.Steve Smith (4) was caught behind by Luke Ronchi off Vettori from a thick inside edge and Glenn Maxwell (1) and Mitchell Marsh (0) both dragged deliveries from Boult on to their stumps.

Clarke (12) and Johnson (1) fell to simple catches by Wiliamson off Boult who then bowled Starc for a duck.

Brad Haddin took a four and a six off Vettori's final over and showed the pitch was not a minefield by reaching the top score of 43 with four boundaries and two sixes.

Martin Guptill took a four and a six off Mitchell Johnson's opening over and McCullum looked as if he wanted to finish the game before the dinner interval, despite a lengthy break while he received attention after Johnson hit him on the left arm.

After Guptill had departed for 11 and McCullum soon afterwards, Starc raised Australia's hopes by bowling Ross Taylor (1) before the interval and Grant Elliott (0) with the first ball after the break.

Corey Anderson, who hit Johnson for six, added 52 with Williamson and appeared to have set New Zealand victory before he was caught for 26.

Wickets then fell regularly and it was only Williamson's composure under pressure which enabled New Zealand to get over the line for a fourth successive victory in the tournament.

Friday, 27 February 2015

AB de Villers slaughters West Indies; slams an unbeaten 162!

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.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Centurions Dilshan, Sangakkara thrash Bangladesh!

Sri Lanka veterans Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara smashed imperious centuries to punish a wasteful Bangladesh and set up an emphatic 92-run win in their World Cup clash in Melbourne on Thursday.

Dilshan blasted 161 and Sangakkara 105 as the evergreen pair combined for an unbeaten 210-run stand to fire Sri Lanka to an imposing 332-1 in front of a boisterous crowd of 30,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Appalling in the field, Bangladesh's middle and lower order grafted hard but were set a mission impossible after a top order collapse that saw them slump to 100-5 after 20 overs.

Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga captured the final two wickets in consecutive balls as Bangladesh were dismissed for 240 with three overs to spare.

Though master batsman Sangakkara was dropped twice in his aggressive 76-ball knock, 38-year-old Dilshan was virtually flawless as he enjoyed a welcome return to form after scoring 24 and a duck in the team's opening matches against New Zealand and Afghanistan respectively.

He belted 22 fours to all corners of the ground to notch his highest score in ODIs and muttered thanks to the heavens after completing his 21st ton in the format off a streaky inside edge.

He later returned to take 2-35 with his part-time offspin, dismissing all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for 46 and having Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza stumped by wicketkeeper Sangakkara for seven to walk away with the man-of-the-match award.

Conditions had begged for a big total on the MCG's benign drop-in wicket and Bangladesh made Sri Lanka's task easier from the start.

Opening batsman Lahiru Thirimanne was dropped at slip by Anamul Haque on the fourth ball -- an easy, waist-high chance off paceman Mortaza.

That set the tone for a dreary afternoon of grassed catches, missed run-out opportunities and leaked runs from sloppy fielding that made Bangladesh's place at the global showpiece seem an embarrassing anomaly.

Thirimanne would be reprieved three times before finally dismissed on 52 when attempting an ill-conceived ramp shot off paceman Rubel Hossain that flew straight to Taskin Ahmed at third man.

He had earlier been the beneficiary of a missed stumping and another lost chance when wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim failed to move for a nick that flew between the stumper and slip early on.

Completing a forgettable afternoon, Mushfiqur later failed to back up a throw at the stumps that would have almost certainly captured Dilshan's wicket.

Playing his 400th ODI, Sangakkara could have been out for 23 had paceman Taskin clutched a difficult caught-and-bowled chance.

He was dropped again on 60 when cutting straight to point where Mominul Haque put down a sitter at chest height.

The fielder's petulant response, throwing the ball at the bowler's end in frustration, caused three runs from an over-throw.

Though Dilshan hogged the strike for much of the closing overs, Sangakkara completed his 22nd ODI century with a single to long-off in the final.

Shenwari shines as Afghans make history with first World Cup victory!

Samiullah Shenwari produced a brilliant rearguard action to guide Afghanistan to their first World Cup victory with a dramatic one-wicket win over Scotland in their Pool A clash in Dunedin on Thursday. 

Shenwari, who had been positively pedestrian for his first 40 runs, was dismissed for 96 after taking charge of his side's chase to 211 runs for the victory at University Oval. 

The 28-year-old was dismissed with 19 runs still required from 19 balls but last pairing of Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan managed to get their side to the target with three balls to spare. 

Richie Berrington and Josh Davey had ripped through the middle of Afghanistan's order to reduce them from 85 for two in the 19th over to 97 for seven in the 24th. 

Mohammad Nabi's side had been well placed to chase down Scotland's 210 all out with Javed Ahmadi well set on 51 before Berrington and Davey struck with five wickets for 12 runs between them.Shenwari, however, managed to farm most of the strike in a 35-run partnership with Dawlat Zadran and 60-run stand with Hamid Hassan and threatened to get his side home with a maiden century. 

He belted three sixes off Majid Haq in the 47th over to get to 96 runs before he was caught in the deep attempting his fourth. 

Shapoor and Hassan got their side home, however, Shapoor hitting the winning runs with a four to spark delirious celebrations among the team and a small group of Afghanistan fans.

Afghanistan's pace bowlers, ably supported by Nabi's gentle off-spin, probably felt they had done enough when they dismissed Scotland for 210 on the final ball of the innings. 

Shapoor (4-38) and Dawlat (3-29) were the pick of the bowlers, putting pressure on Scotland's batsmen with their accurate line and length even if there was little movement in the air or off the pitch.

Scotland's innings was one of fits and starts as they lost wickets in bunches, consolidated with promising partnerships, only to again lose batsmen in quick succession. 

Haq (31) and Alasdair Evans (28) ground out a 62-run ninth-wicket partnership to ensure the Scots lasted the full 50 overs and had something of a target to defend.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wilson, O'Brien seal Ireland's thrilling win!

Gary Wilson and Kevin O'Brien struck brisk half-centuries as Ireland held their nerve to clinch a thrilling two-wicket victory in their World Cup Pool B match against United Arab Emirates in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Wilson hit 80 off 69 balls while all-rounder O'Brien smashed 50 off 25 to help Ireland overwhelm UAE's total of 278-9 with four balls to spare for their second consecutive win of the tournament.

Needing almost 10 runs an over at one stage, Wilson and O'Brien smashed 72 in their sixth-wicket stand off just six overs to revive their chase.

O'Brien, who was dropped on 24, hit eight fours and lofted Amjad Javed (3-60) for two consecutive sixes but fell on the next ball with his team still needing 36 runs to win.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Wilson got Ireland, who beat West Indies in their first match, closer but was dismissed by Mohammad Naveed (2-65) after hitting the bowler for two successive boundaries ion the 48th over.

Ireland needed 12 at that stage and tailenders George Dockrell and Alex Cusack held firm to see them through.

Earlier, Shaiman Anwar registered UAE's first World Cup century to help them overcome a poor start and post a strong total.

The 35-year-old right-hander scored 106 off 83 balls and dominated a breezy 107-run stand with Javed (42), a World Cup record for the seventh wicket, to lift UAE who were reeling at 78-4 in the 21st over.

Anwar became the second batsman to score a ODI hundred for the Emirati nation, who are making their second appearance at the event after also qualifying in 1996.

Anwar, who hit 10 fours and a six, raised his bat and went down on his knees after reaching the 100-run mark in 79 deliveries.

Ireland were guilty of bowling too short to Anwar, who had scored his previous highest of 67 in the last match against Zimbabwe, and Javed as UAE plundered 147 runs in the last 15 overs.

The duo came together with Ireland looking to bundle their opponents out having reduced them to 131 for six in the 35th over.

Anwar eventually fell in the 49th over, skying Max Sorensen for Wilson to complete a comfortable catch.

Off-spinner Paul Stirling (2-27) struck in his second over to dismiss Andri Berenger (13) and then picked up Krishna Chandran for a duck in his third to deny UAE a strong start after they were put in to bat first.

O'Brien came into the attack for Ireland and dismissed set opener Amjad Ali (45) and Swapnil Patil (two) in his first two overs to further stifle the UAE innings.

O'Brien, however, proved expensive in the final overs, eventually conceding 61 off seven overs.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Gayle's record double century flattens Zimbabwe!

Chris Gayle rediscovered his mojo in spectacular fashion on Tuesday with the first ever World Cup double century to drive West Indies to a 73-run victory over Zimbabwe in their Pool B clash at Manuka Oval.

The opener's 215 was the highest individual innings in a World Cup match, the third highest in any one-day international, and formed the large part of a 372-run partnership with Marlon Samuels (133 not out), also an one-day record.

The dreadlocked 35-year-old slugged 16 sixes -- tying the one-day record -- as well as 10 fours in his 147-ball knock and even though he was dismissed with the last ball of the innings, West Indies were set fair at 372 for two.

Zimbabwe had their run-chase trimmed to 363 from 48 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis method after rain briefly interrupted the contest and they initially made a good fist of it.

Brendan Taylor was unfortunate to be dismissed for 37 after a controversial third umpire referral and middle order batsmen Sean Williams (76) and Craig Ervine (52) also put in good shifts.

When Gayle (2-35) returned with the ball to dismiss Ervine and Stuart Matsikenyeri (19) with his off-spin, however, the writing was on the wall for Zimbabwe and they were all out for 289 in the 45th over.

After starting their campaign with an embarrassing upset at the hands of Ireland, West Indies look on course for a place in the quarter-finals after impressive wins over Pakistan and now Zimbabwe.

The match had started well for the Africans with Tinashe Panyangara bowling Dwayne Smith for a duck on the second ball and coming within a whisker of dismissing Gayle lbw in the same over.

Gayle, under fire after a poor run of form, made the most of the reprieve even if the stifling of his aggressive instincts meant his 22nd one-day century was by no means the most fluent of his career.

Once he reached the milestone with the first ball of the batting powerplay, however, he punished the Zimbabwean bowlers as only he can, smashing the ball around the ground almost at will.

He had brought up his 50 and century with singles but it was with a four that he reached the historic double century in the 46th over, the first non-Indian to achieve the feat.

Samuels, meanwhile, was caution personified for most of his 156-ball innings until finally cutting loose as he and Gayle hammered 152 runs off the last 10 overs.  

Monday, 23 February 2015

Ali century sets up comfortable England win!

England completed a clinical 119-run victory over Scotland in their cricket World Cup Pool A match at Hagley Oval on Monday to record their first win in the tournament. 

After they were crushed in their opening games by co-hosts Australia and New Zealand, England posted 303 for eight after being asked to bat then dismissed Scotland for 184 from 47.2 overs on a day which began under dark clouds and concluded in bright sunshine. 

Moeen Ali (128) produced a stream of delightful drives to reach his second one-day international century and shared a 172-run opening partnership with Ian Bell (54) to give England a grip on that match they were never to relinqish. 

Although wickets fell regularly after their departures, captain Eoin Morgan at last found some form to strike 46 with four boundaries and two sixes and guide his team past the 300 mark. 

Left-hander Ali was in prime form from the outset, driving the ball fluently through the off-side and punishing any short-pitched deliveries with some booming pulls. 

He reached his century from 91 deliveries with his fourth six of the innings, lofting off-spinner Majid Haq high over mid-wicket.

Bell, who had been content to rotate the strike to give Ali the bowling, fell in the following over when he pushed a simple catch to Kyle Coetzer at cover from the bowling of Richie Berrington.
Ali pulled a fifth six into the crowd but then lofted Haq straight to Freddie Coleman at long-on. 

After the interval, England's pace attack, which had been slaughtered by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum in Wellington last Friday, took control. 

Opener Kyle Coetzer took two boundaries off James Anderson's opening over and continued to drive and cut confidently to reach his half-century off 64 balls. 

Runs dried up at the other end against disciplined bowling and his dismissal for 71 with 11 boundaries was the beginning of the end. 

Ali took two for 47 from 10 overs, bowling in tandem with another occasional off-spinner Joe Root, as the wickets fell and the required run rate rose. 

Finn, who was smashed for 49 from two overs in the humiliating loss to New Zealand last Friday, returned to help clean up the tail. He finished with three for 26 from nine overs.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Southee, McCullum pound England at Wellington!

Tim Southee produced a brilliant spell of swing bowling for career-best figures of 7-33 before Brendon McCullum plundered an 18-ball half-century as New Zealand destroyed England by eight wickets in their World Cup Pool A match on Friday. 

Southee's performance saw England dismissed for 123, with Joe Root top-scoring with 46, before New Zealand captain McCullum's 77 from 25 balls helped the co-hosts roar to victory in 12.2 overs at Wellington Regional Stadium. 

 McCullum took 18 runs off pace bowler Stuart Broad's first over, the second of the innings, and then 20 off seamer Steven Finn, who had immediately replaced Broad. 

He then belted four successive sixes off Finn's next over, which went for 29 runs. New Zealand were 96-0 after six overs with their captain seemingly intent on pushing an already dispirited England further into despair. 

McCullum was bowled by Chris Woakes with a full toss after hitting eight fours and seven sixes.
Kane Williamson (nine) and Ross Taylor (five) completed the win. 

McCullum's innings, the fastest half-century at a World Cup, threatened to overshadow the superb bowling effort by Southee, who produced the best figures by a New Zealand bowler in one-day internationals. 

Shane Bond's 6-19 against India in 2005 was the previous best. 

Southee did not get much movement in sunny conditions at the top of the innings after Eoin Morgan had won the toss and decided to bat but still managed to bowl Moeen Ali (20) and Ian Bell (eight) with yorkers that did swing late. 

Southee was ably supported by Trent Boult, who put pressure on the top order with an eight-over opening spell in which he took one wicket for 30 runs. 

Left arm spinner Daniel Vettori then dried up the runs in the middle overs and captured the wicket of the out-of-form England captain. 

Root and Morgan, who had scored a total of two runs in his previous five knocks, tried to consolidate England's innings, though their run rate was pedestrian with the skipper struggling with his timing and confidence. 

Vettori heaped more pressure on the beleaguered Morgan when he was brilliantly caught in the deep by Adam Milne for 17. 

Southee then produced a spell of five for 10 in four overs to set up the platform for victory.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Kiwis beat Scotland but batting less than impressive!

New Zealand almost wasted a superb bowling effort to bumble their way to a three-wicket victory over Scotland in their cricket World Cup Pool A match in Dunedin on Tuesday.

The co-hosts finished on 146 for seven, although they made it harder for themselves than they should have after bowling Scotland out for 142.

Scotland's opening bowler Iain Wardlaw took three for 57 in 9.5 overs to give New Zealand some nervous moments in their run chase with many of their batsmen guilty of throwing away their wickets in an effort to improve their net run rate.

Daniel Vettori (eight not out) and Adam Milne (one), however, saw them home in the 25th over at University Oval.

New Zealand had earlier destroyed Scotland's top order with a superb display of swing bowling from Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who reduced Preston Mommsen's side to 12 for four in the fifth over.

Matt Machan (56) and Richie Berrington (50) rescued Scotland's innings with a 97-run fifth-wicket partnership but once they were dismissed the tail collapsed.

Corey Anderson grabbed three middle order wickets, while Vettori finished off the tail with three, the last two of which were on successive balls.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had been cautious before the game, refusing to take Scotland for granted particularly after Ireland did wonders for the associate nations on Monday.

Ireland stunned West Indies by four wickets to give the non-test playing nations a massive confidence boost as the International Cricket Council looks to reduce the size of the 2019 World Cup to 10 teams.

McCullum had indicated that the pitch, which has produced scores in excess of 300 in its last two one-dayers, typically aided the bowlers early on but got better as the day wore on.

Southee and Boult proved him right in the early overs of the match, both carving out hat-trick opportunities but unable to achieve the feat.

The pressure they were putting on the batsmen suggested the Scots were heading for the lowest World Cup team total - 36 by Canada in 2003 - before Machan and Berrington saved their embarrassment.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Ireland shock West Indies by 4 wickets!

Ireland justified their giant-killer tag by creating the first major upset of the cricket World Cup, shocking West Indies by four wickets in their opening encounter at Saxton Oval.

Chasing 305 for a win, Ireland rode on brilliant half-centuries from Paul Stirling (92), Ed Joyce (84) and Niall O'Brian (79 not out) to canter home in 45.5 overs.

Stirling, registering his seventh ODI half-century, stitched a 71-run opening stand with captain William Porterfield (23) and then managed 106 runs with Joyce (84) for the second wicket to make the chase look easy.

Joyce, whose 67-ball knock was studded with 10 fours and two sixes, then stuck it out with Niall O'Brien (79 not out) for a 96-run third-wicket partnership to take the team forward.

Joyce, who registered his 10th ODI fifty, was confidence personified as the left-handed batsman dominated proceedings against a hapless West Indies attack.

But medium-pacer Jerome Taylor put some roadblocks in the Irish way after sending back Joyce in the 40th over and then picked up two more wickets in Andy Balbirnie (9) and wicketkeeper-batsman Gary Wilson (1). 

Kevin O'Brien was run out for a duck creating some uneasiness in the Irish camp, but older brother Naill stayed on to ensure the big upset.

Jason Holder's West Indies was at the receiving end of some clinical batting by the Irish batsmen as the eight bowlers used by the think-tank bled way too many runs.

Earlier put into bat, West Indies were in early trouble at 87 for five before Lendl Simmons (102) and Darren Sammy (89) rescued the Caribbean side to a decent-looking score of 304 for seven.

Young left-arm spinner George Dockrell made an impact with three wickets to rattle the West Indies top-order only to be stabilised by the 154-run sixth wicket stand between Simmons and Sammy.

Ireland, who shot to prominence by defeating Pakistan in the league stage of the 2007 World Cup to make it to the knockouts in West Indies, are once again being seen as a dangerous outfit in Pool B comprising India, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

Four teams from each pool will make it to the quarter-final stage and Ireland have already beaten a potential final-eight prospect in the first game itself.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

South Africa beat Zimbabwe by 62-runs in enthralling contest!

Jean-Paul Duminy and David Miller smashed spectacular centuries as South Africa got past a fighting Zimbabwe by 62 runs in their World Cup opener at Seddon Park on Sunday.

The left-handed duo of Miller (138* off 92 balls) and Duminy (115* off 100) lifted South Africa to 339 after struggling at 83 for four. In the process, the two shared a world record fifth-wicket partnership with an unbeaten 265-run stand off 178 balls.

Zimbabwe gave their best during the steep chase but a middle-order collapse led to their downfall and they ended at 277 with 10 balls to spare. The contributions from Chamu Chibhabha (64), Hamilton Masakadza (80) and Brendon Taylor (40) went in vain.They kept themselves in the game until Masakadaza's dismissal in the 33rd over triggered a batting collapse.

From 191 for two, Zimbabwe were reduced to 246 for seven, ending all hopes of an upset win. South Africa's premier pace bowler Dale Steyn had an off-day, conceding 48 runs in eight overs.  

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets for 36 runs in 10 overs.

Earlier, Miller and Duminy led South Africa's recovery after Zimbabwe bowled well on a pitch offering assistance to the fast bowlers. A big upset looked on the cards when Zimbabwe had their fancied rivals reeling at 83 for four with their in-form skipper AB de Villiers (25) also back in the hut.

It was a moment to remember South Africa's shock loss against their African counterparts in the tournament's 1999 edition.

As it panned out, Miller and Duminy got together only to take the game away from the opposition.

It's 6-0 for India against Pakistan in World Cup!

Virat Kohli scored an imperious century as India opened their World Cup defence in convincing fashion with a 76-run victory over Pakistan in a frenzied atmosphere at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

The much-anticipated Pool B grudge match, the latest chapter in one of the great rivalries in sport, attracted a passionate crowd of 41,587 to the revamped ground with up to a billion more tuning in on the sub-continent and around the world.

It was the two thirds of the crowd dressed in the blue of India who had most to cheer, though, as Kohli brushed aside concerns over his recent one-day form with a knock of 107 to drive his side to an imposing tally of 300 for seven. 

Pakistan started their reply steadily before a three-wicket blitz in two overs at the halfway mark of the innings saw opener Ahmed Shehzad depart for 47 and reduced them to 103 for five.

Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (76) and Shahid Afridi flirted with a match-changing partnership but once the latter departed for 22 and Wahab Riaz followed in the same over, Pakistan's hopes of a first win over India in six World Cup attempts was gone.

Indian seamer Mohammed Shami took four for 35 but it was Mohit Sharma who drove the final nail into the coffin when Sohail Khan holed out for seven to end the Pakistan innings at 224 all out.

Kohli's century was the first by an Indian in those six World Cup encounters and took his impressive tally to 22 in one-day internationals, joint fourth on the all-time list with his former skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Dropped from a difficult chance by Yasir Shah off Afridi on seven and again by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal on 76, Kohli otherwise played well within himself and gave few chances in his 126 balls at the crease.

The 26-year-old put together a dominant partnership of 129 with Shikhar Dhawan (73) and, once the opener had been run out, another of 110 with Suresh Raina (74), whose innings was as aggressive as Dhawan's had been considered.

Kohli reached his hundred with a single to long on, whipping off his helmet to celebrate his fourth century in five one-day and test matches at the Adelaide Oval.

Sohail Khan took 5-55 in his first one-dayer since 2011, removing both Kohli and Raina as well as India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as three Indian batsmen were sent back in the last couple of overs.

That gave Pakistan some momentum but they lost it completely when Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood (0) and Akmal (0) were dismissed in two overs.

Misbah played the captain's role in his 84-ball 76, which included nine fours and a six, but the 40-year-old's quest for a maiden one-day century will go on to his 157th match.

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