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Cricket World Cup Warm-up: Australia Edge Pakistan As India Go 3,400km For World Cup Washout



Australia edged out Pakistan by 14 runs in a high-scoring World Cup warm-up on Tuesday as India travelled 3,400km from one corner of the country to another only to be defeated by torrential rain. In Hyderabad, Australia made 351-7 from their 50 overs with Glenn Maxwell particularly ruthless on Pakistan’s bowlers. Maxwell cracked 77 off 71 balls with four boundaries and six sixes. Cameron Green was undefeated on 50, David Warner clubbed three sixes in his 48 while Josh Inglis also made 48. Marnus Labuschagne, a late call-up by the five-time World Cup winners, contributed 40.

Pakistan leg-spinner Usama Mir impressed with 2-31 as he dismissed Warner and Mitchell Marsh after the openers had put on 83 for the first wicket.

Mir’s leg-spinning partner Shadab Khan was expensive with his one wicket costing 69 runs.

In reply, Pakistan, who lost by five wickets to New Zealand in their opening warm-up, were dismissed for 337 in the 48th over.

Captain Babar Azam hit a fluent, unbeaten 90 off 59 balls with 11 boundaries and two sixes and shared a 144-run partnership with Iftikhar Ahmed who made 83 off 85 deliveries.

Mohammad Nawaz contributed 50 but Pakistan fell just short.

At Guwahati, Kusal Mendis scored a breathtaking 158 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 294 by Afghanistan before slipping to a six-wicket defeat in a rain-hit match.

Mendis, captain for the day with Dasun Shanaka sitting out the final warm-up, made his runs off only 87 balls.

He hit 19 fours and nine sixes as Afghanistan struggled to apply the brakes with only former skipper Mohammad Nabi enjoying sustained success with 4-44.

Rahmanullah century

Afghanistan were sitting comfortably on 118-1 in the 21st over in reply when rain stopped play.

They were then set an adjusted target of 257 off 42 overs and cruised home with 23 balls to spare.

Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashed 119 from 92 balls with eight fours and nine sixes, sharing a 212-run second wicket partnership with Rahmat Shah.

Rahmat’s 93 was made off 82 balls and featured 10 fours and three sixes.

Meanwhile, India’s superstar cricketers endured a 3,400km (2,170 miles) cross-country journey to play a warm-up only for the match to be abandoned without a ball being bowled.

India were to face the Netherlands in Thiruvananthapuram, on the southern tip of India, but they were left kicking their heels in the rain.

On Saturday, their scheduled game against defending champions England up in the north-eastern city of Guwahati was also washed out.

In total, the wet weather forced three warm-up matches to be abandoned while four others were rain-affected, leaving teams and players frustrated ahead of Thursday’s World Cup start.

However, the weather forecast for the rest of the week in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Dharamsala — venues for first three days of the tournament — is optimistic with sunshine instead of showers.

England will play New Zealand in the tournament opener at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Pakistan clash with the Netherlands in Hyderabad on Friday, while Afghanistan and Bangladesh play in Dharamsala on Saturday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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USA Looking For Wins In T20 World Cup Debut




The USA will make their debut in the T20 World Cup and while they earned the spot as a result of co-hosting the tournament with the West Indies, they are determined to show they can make an impact among the big boys. Cricket has a curious history in North America — the first ever international match featured the USA against Canada in 1844 but the lingering influence of the colonial-era game faded as baseball gained prominence. The USA has been an associate member of the International Cricket Council since 1965 and frequently competed in the tournaments for non-Test nations.

But the Americans have never featured in either the T20 World Cup or the ODI version, with their only appearance in a major tournament at the 2004 Champions Trophy, where they were roundly beaten by New Zealand and Australia in the group stage.

Grassroots participation has grown over recent years though with thriving local leagues and the T20 format has been used to develop a stronger base with Minor League Cricket and Major League Cricket emerging in the past few years.

It is too soon for those structures to have had an impact on the national side but smart use of the qualification criteria has seen the side become increasingly competitive.

The team coached by Australian Stuart Law head into the tournament on the back of a 2-1 T20I series win over Bangladesh that has provided them with real belief.

The Americans won the opening two games before resting several key starters to provide some opportunity for their back-ups.

The USA, captained by Monank Patel, will have to face giants India and Pakistan along with Ireland and Canada in the group stage.

The addition of former New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson has introduced some World Cup experience and top-class quality into the squad.

Anderson moved to the USA in 2020 playing domestic cricket and — as his last game for New Zealand was in 2018 — he was able to switch in 2022 due to the ‘four year rule’ which applies in these cases.

Vice-captain Aaron Jones, who was born in New York but grew up playing in Barbados, says the American team is determined to make a statement in the tournament.

“We want to show everybody in the world that USA can actually be a cricketing country and obviously be role models for the kids coming up,” he told AFP.

Jones is one of a number of players with experience of playing cricket outside the USA and he has been impressed by the standard of the associate level nations.

“It’s just about getting the opportunity and obviously grasping that opportunity. Afghanistan is a really good team right now and they came through from associate. Ireland obviously came from associate. So the opportunity is there and we just need to really and truly take it and showcase our talent to the world,” he added.

Law has been able to work with a fixed core of players including pace bowler Ali Khan, who grew up in Pakistan and has played in the Caribbean Premier League.

Left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh represented India in the Under-19 World Cup in 2012 while Miami-born Steven Taylor has extensive experience in Caribbean cricket.

Jones, who was persuaded by Taylor to join the USA team, rejects any idea that the USA is in the tournament just to make up the numbers.

“We want to win games. We want to bring as much competition as any other team in the tournament,” he said.

The shortest form of the game does create the opportunity for more surprises and Jones believes his team are capable of producing some.

“We are a very good team. Obviously we showed that against Bangladesh, one of the best teams in the world,” he said.

“I wouldn’t call it an upset if we beat Pakistan or India. I will just say that we played better cricket on the day. It is a game of cricket. The bigger teams can lose as well.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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New India Coach’s Appointment May Be Postponed? Report Gives Reason Amid ‘Gautam Gambhir’ Factor




File photo of Gautam Gambhir© X (formerly Twitter)

The search for Indian cricket team’s next head coach is underway with Rahul Dravid‘s tenure coming to and end after the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024. Reports claim that Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir is the favourite right now for the position while Ashish Nehra and VVS Laxman also remain in contention. A report claimed that there were not many applications from foreign coaches and even the BCCI wants someone who has come through the ranks and knows the domestic circuit well. While the deadline for applications was till May 27, a report by PTI claims that the BCCI may take some time to deciding the next coach as the players are currently focused on the T20 World Cup.

The Indian cricket team will travel to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe after the T20 World Cup and the report further claimed that BCCI may send National Cricket Academy (NCA)-based coaches for those tours.

“The deadline is fine, but the BCCI brass wouldn’t mind taking some more time before reaching a decision. Right now, the team will be busy with World T20 for the better part of the month of June. After that seniors will be rested from tours of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe where any of the NCA-based senior coaches can accompany the team. So what’s the hurry,” a BCCI source told PTI.

A report in Cricbuzz gave details of what might be happening in the background. It claimed that a “very high-profile owner of an IPL franchise, who is very close to the BCCI top brass” told the publication that Gautam Gambhir’s appointment as Indian cricket team coach is a “done deal and the announcement will come soon”.

It also said that a “high profile commentator” told them that serious efforts are being made to rope in the KKR mentor. However, the report also added that since there has been no official announcement, it points to the fact that negotiations are still on multiple fronts — “between the two parties and, perhaps, with some others too.”

The report further listed out the challenges that Gambhir might be facing before agreeing to the role. The report said that Gambhir, who is a very successful mentor/coach in the IPL and a TV expert, will not be able to dabble in other role if he takes over as the Indian cricket team coach. It added that since the Indian cricket team coach’s job is a hectic one, which requires living out of the box for close to 10 months a year, it might be a factor for Gambhir. The former Indian cricket team star has a young family.

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Young Afghanistan Side ‘Among The Favourites’ For T20 World Cup




A young Afghan side with an average age of just 25 have vowed to give audiences back home rare cause for jubilation at the T20 World Cup after a breakthrough performance at the 50-over showpiece. Kabul’s skies were raked with fireworks when Afghanistan celebrated their stunning eight-wicket victory against Pakistan in the ODI World Cup in October. They finished sixth, ahead of defending champions England — who they also beat — stoking hopes for the T20 tournament in the United States and West Indies starting on Saturday.

“In the past when we would defeat a bigger team, our victory was tagged as an ‘upset’,” 22-year-old Sediqullah Atal told AFP on the phone from their training camp in the West Indies.

“The word ‘upset’ is no longer in the dictionary and we are ranked among the favourites,” the left-handed opening batsman said, insisting his team is “no less than anyone”.

Afghanistan has been through decades of war, but the country’s passion for cricket has never gone away.

“When you have the support of 40 million people and they motivate you, it is a feeling of absolute delight,” said 20-year-old all-rounder Nangeyalia Kharote.

Delight of supporters

It’s “a matter of great joy” to represent his country, though they must now “match the high expectations” of supporters, he told AFP in Kabul ahead of his departure for the Caribbean.

“The love from the Afghans both at home and abroad is remarkable,” Sediqullah Atal added.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), which manages the men’s team, has the full backing of the country’s Taliban government, which forced the United States and its allies out of the country before seizing power in 2021.

The Taliban rulers, yet to be recognised by any country, have effectively banned women from sports however under their austere interpretation of Islam.

Afghanistan’s participation in the World Cup therefore comes with some controversy, skirting the International Cricket Council’s rules which stipulate all Test-playing nations must have a women’s side.

The ICC has previously said the matter is “pending”, allowing Afghanistan to compete — although England and Australia have refused to play them outside the World Cup.

‘They are our heroes’

Despite decades of war and poverty Afghan cricket has strengthened, with new academies, sponsorship deals and tournament financing.

Their first match at the 2024 World Cup is on June 4 against Uganda in Guyana.

“Our team has arrived and are playing at a very high level in a short space of time,” cricket enthusiast Afzal Khan, who trains at the Rashid Khan Cricket Academy in Kabul, told AFP.

“They are our heroes, they will have a place in my heart forever,” said the 19-year-old, who hopes to fill the shoes of Afghan captain and ace spinner Rashid Khan.

“They have struggled through lots of difficulties to bring the team and our cricket to this level.”

In an interview published by the ACB last week, Khan pledged: “We will shine well in this World Cup too, and match the expectations of our compatriots.”

Back home in Kabul, another young cricketer in training made those expectations very clear. Naseem Khan told AFP “this will be the best World Cup for Afghanistan”.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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