Windies batting star Chris Gayle has targeted maximum points against previously as the team teether closer to mathematical elimination from the ICC World Cup.

The regional team has had a poor showing at the tournament to date and currently sit in 8th position after losing four of six games.  With the team having the faint possibility of advancing to the next round, Gayle hopes for a good game from the Caribbean squad.

 "We need two points definitely. It's an important match for us, there's a slim chance for us to qualify but anything is possible. India have been playing good cricket in the tournament, I'm looking forward to the match and hopefully, we can have a good game," Gayle said.

 "The fans will be looking for some entertainment from our whole team. It should be an interesting game, I hope the match goes down to the wire and we come out triumphant," he added.

The West Indies were off to a strong start after a big win over Pakistan but saw their early momentum ground to a halt after losses to Australia, England, Bangladesh and New Zealand.

"We had a good start against Pakistan, fans said that West Indies are a real threat in the World Cup. In the middle period, the match against Australia cost us big time. But it's the World Cup, it's never over till it's over. It's a learning experience for our guys.”

 

Bharat Arun says the instant impact made by Mohammed Shami in the Cricket World Cup showed India are blessed with "an embarrassment of riches" in the bowling department.

Shami took a hat-trick in the final over to earn India a dramatic 11-run win over Afghanistan in Southampton last Saturday.

The paceman took 4-40 in his first match of the tournament after coming into the side in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar - sidelined with a hamstring niggle.

Shami is set to feature against West Indies at Old Trafford on Thursday, with no chances being taken over Bhuvneshwar's fitness, and India bowling coach Arun says Virat Kohli is fortunate to have so much talent to call upon.

"Bhuvneshwar's injury is not of any great concern. It is just a niggle, which we didn't want to take a chance [on]," Arun said. 

"And it was also an opportunity for us to plug Shami into the games. But the fact he's done exceptionally well all goes well for us; it's an embarrassment of riches.

"And we would take a call as per the conditions, but Bhuvi has done exceptionally well, so I think it's a pretty good headache to have."

Arun added that Shami deserves credit for improving his fitness, having lost his place in the team for falling short of the expected levels.

Asked about a conversation he had with Shami over his fitness, Arun replied: "It was a pretty long conversation. I can't really bring that to the table here.

"But, yes, Shami was in a totally different mindset. And we had to -  the head coach, me, all of us - had to sit down and speak to him and kind of draw a future map for him and had to convince him regarding that. And he was going through certain personal problems as well at that point in time.

"So beyond all that, I think what has really got him into the situation is his ability to play cricket and that's exactly what we made him focus on. And I think the rest is there for everybody to see."

West Indies are heading for the last chance saloon in their bid to qualify for the Cricket World Cup semi-finals but India can put one foot in the last four at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The Windies' bid to advance from the group stage is hanging by a thread following a heart-breaking five-run defeat to New Zealand at Edgbaston last weekend.

Carlos Brathwaite's magnificent century was in vain as the all-rounder was caught on the boundary by Trent Boult trying to complete what would have been an astonishing win with a six.

Jason Holder's men have no margin for error when they take on India in Manchester, where opening batsman Sunil Ambris will be hoping to get a chance after being called up to replace the injured Andre Russell.

India look destined to qualify after avoiding what would have been a stunning defeat to Afghanistan courtesy of a Mohammed Shami final-over hat-trick at the Rose Bowl last weekend.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is set to miss out with a hamstring injury.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

India have won four matches out of five, with the other against New Zealand washed out, to stand on the brink of the semi-finals.

The Windies' agonising loss to the Black Caps was their fourth of the tournament. The only win for Holder's men was their first match of the tournament, a seven-wicket drubbing of Pakistan.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Windies captain Holder: "A match against India is always a big one. We are looking forward to it. We need to finish our campaign and our objective is to win all our remaining matches. It's a matter of displaying a perfect game, so it is another opportunity for us to showcase our skills."

India bowling coach Bharat Arun: "They're an outstanding side and they play real positive cricket. We are aware of the challenges that exist in this game. I think our plans are pretty much in place and we are up for the challenge."

 

OPTA FACTS

- India have won four of their last six ODIs against West Indies, including a crushing 224-run victory last October which is their third-largest in the 50-over format.

- The Windies have lost their last four completed World Cup matches, they have never endured a longer losing run in the history of the tournament.

- Chris Gayle has scored four centuries versus India in ODIs, his joint-most against any country in the format (level with England). Although the last of those came in 2006.

England opener Jason Roy is optimistic he will return from a three-game absence to face India in the Cricket World Cup on Sunday, captain Eoin Morgan has revealed.

A hamstring injury meant Roy was sidelined once again on Tuesday when the tournament hosts fell to a 64-run loss to Australia, denting their semi-final aspirations.

Morgan's side have lost two of the three matches Roy has missed, with his deputy James Vince dismissed for a second-ball duck against Australia after scoring a combined 40 in his previous two knocks.

Roy took part in practice on Monday and Morgan said the 28-year-old believes he will be ready to take on India at Edgbaston in a match which has suddenly become crucial for their last-four hopes.

"I think with four days of rehabilitation, he's hopeful of being fit," Morgan told Sky Sports.

"But if it's a big risk, we'll play it as it is."

Roy smashed 153 in his last innings against Bangladesh on June 8 but pulled up in the field when chasing a ball in England's clash with West Indies.

Without him, England were bowled out for 212 against Sri Lanka in a 20-run loss at Headingley last Friday, while they were dismissed for 221 when chasing Australia's 285-7 on Tuesday.

Their explosive batting was considered a large reason why they were made pre-tournament favourites and Morgan insisted it was too simplistic to think Roy's absence was the only reason for their struggles.

"I think our basics get challenged a lot more when we don't play on batter-friendly wickets, when you probably have to rotate the strike a lot more, as opposed to find the boundary more often," he said.

West Indies cricket great Brian Lara has been admitted to hospital suffering from chest pains, according to reports emerging from India.

Australia's hopes of defending their Cricket World Cup crown will face a strong test this week against England and table-toppers New Zealand.

All of Australia's five wins at this year's tournament have come against sides out of the semi-final places and their tough week begins against a wounded England on Tuesday.

The tournament favourites were stunned by Sri Lanka last time out and will be desperate to respond in a much-anticipated showdown at Lord's.

Another clash at the same venue will follow for Aaron Finch's men on Saturday, Australia set to play a New Zealand side who are yet to lose at the World Cup.

FIXTURES

Monday 24 June: Bangladesh v Afghanistan (the Rose Bowl) - 1030 BST start

Tuesday 25 June: England v Australia (Lord's) - 1030 

Wednesday 26 June: New Zealand v Pakistan (Edgbaston) - 1030

Thursday 27 June: West Indies v India (Old Trafford) - 1030

Friday 28 June: Sri Lanka v South Africa (The Riverside) - 1030

Saturday 29 June: Pakistan v Afghanistan (Headingley) - 1030, New Zealand v Australia (Lord's) - 1330

Sunday 30 June: England v India (Edgbaston) - 1030

 

THE WEEK'S BIG GAME

England's defeat to Sri Lanka on Friday gave hope to the chasing pack of sneaking into the semi-finals, when previously it looked as though the hosts, Australia, India and New Zealand would pull well clear of the rest. Were Eoin Morgan's side to lose again at Lord's on Tuesday, the likes of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan will feel they are in with a real chance, and Australia would dearly love to pile the pressure firmly on their Ashes foes.

STANDINGS

1. New Zealand - 11pts from 6 games, Net Run Rate +1.306
2. Australia - 10pts from 6 games, NRR +0.849
3. India - 9pts from 5 games, NRR +0.809
4. England - 8pts from 6 games, NRR +1.457
5. Sri Lanka - 6pts from 6 games, NRR -1.119
6. Bangladesh - 5pts from 6 games, NRR -0.407
7. Pakistan – 5pts from 6 games, NRR -1.265
8. West Indies - 3pts from 6 games, NRR +0.190
9. South Africa - 3pts from 7 games, NRR -0.324
10. Afghanistan - 0pts from 6 games, NRR -1.712

LEADING RUN-SCORERS

1: David Warner (Aus) - 447
2: Shakib Al Hasan (Ban) - 425
3: Joe Root (Eng) - 424

LEADING WICKET-TAKERS

=1: Jofra Archer (Eng), Mitchell Starc (Aus), Mohammad Amir (Pak) - 15

India captain Virat Kohli has been fined 25 per cent of his match fee for excessive appealing during a tense Cricket World Cup win over Afghanistan on Saturday.

Kohli was not impressed after failing with a review in the third over of Afghanistan's run chase, despite the fact that Aleem Dar correctly deemed a ball from Mohammed Shami to have pitched outside leg stump before striking Hazratullah Zazai on the pad.

The India skipper was clearly feeling the pressure in the 29th over when he advanced towards Dar after the umpire turned down another lbw shout - this time for Jasprit Bumrah against Rahmat Shah.

Kohli admitted to breaching article 2.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct, which relates to "excessive appealing during an international match".

The governing body docked the 30-year-old a quarter of his match fee and issued him with one demerit point - doubling his tally after being given another for his conduct in a Test against South Africa in January 2018.

Shami's final-over hat-trick secured a dramatic 11-run win at the Rose Bowl, moving India into third place and another stride closer to towards the semi-finals.

Virat Kohli hailed India's fighting spirit after his side edged to a nervy 11-run victory over Afghanistan at the Cricket World Cup on Saturday.

Few would have given the tournament's only winless side any hope of causing an upset at the Rose Bowl, but a superb bowling performance, restricting the favourites to just 224-8, had Afghanistan firmly in the contest at the halfway stage.

And that was still the case with Mohammad Nabi at the crease but, with 12 needed off four balls, the former captain holed out off the bowling of Mohammed Shami, who cleaned up Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman to finish the game with the first hat-trick of this year's competition.

It was a breathless end to a tense encounter, prompting Kohli to laud the character of India, who have four wins and a no-result from their five matches.

"This is right up there [among India's best wins]," Kohli said in the post-match presentation, having made 67 from 63 balls.

"We've been playing really good cricket…you expect to put big runs on the board, then you see the nature of the pitch slowing down drastically with their spinners.

"A team like Afghanistan with a lot of talent doesn't let you play the way you want to play. At the halfway mark we had doubts in our minds, but everyone had belief we can win this one.

"This game didn't go as planned, but when things don't go your way you need to show character, bounce back and fight until the last ball.

"That shows the character of our team and we can take a lot of heart from this win and take the confidence forward."

Kohli also reserved praise for Shami, who was making his first appearance at this World Cup and justified his selection with that final-over hat-trick and figures of 4-40.

"All in all, our bowling performance was outstanding," Kohli added. "Everyone is waiting for an opportunity, Shami was really good today and was making the ball do more than anyone else.

"He's been bowling really well, we selected a squad because we knew these guys are hungry. It's an honour for anyone to represent their country in a World Cup."

India recovered from a heavily subdued batting performance to edge Afghanistan by 11 runs and avoid a major upset at the Cricket World Cup on Saturday.

England had plundered close to 400 against Afghanistan just four days prior and the underdogs could have been forgiven for fearing another onslaught when Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat at the Rose Bowl.

But their attack, superbly led by front-line spin trio Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, kept India's much vaunted line-up in check as the 2011 champions were held to just 224-8.

Kohli's 67 from 63 balls was the top score – the India captain the only man to finish with a strike rate above 100 – while Kedar Jadhav also contributed 52 from 68 as Mujeeb (1-26), Nabi (2-33) and Rashid (1-38) bounced back brilliantly from having conceded an ODI record 25 sixes against England on Tuesday.

Needing just 4.5 runs per over, Afghanistan adopted a patient approach in the face of some disciplined bowling but never quite managed to establish a match-winning partnership, Mohammed Shami finishing the game off in style with a hat-trick.

Jasprit Bumrah (2-39) removed set batsmen Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi in one over to leave Afghanistan 106-4 after 29 and even Nabi's 52 off 55 could not rescue the situation.

Needing 16 off the last, Nabi holed out off Shami (4-40), who then cleaned up Aftab Alam and Mujeeb as Afghanistan finished agonisingly short on 213 all out. They are officially out of contention for a top-four finish, while India remain unbeaten and look a sure bet for the semi-finals.

 

KOHLI A CLASS ABOVE

He is yet to score a century at this World Cup, but Kohli's third consecutive fifty was all the more impressive given the toils of those around him. The skipper still looked fluent on a sluggish pitch, and it was something of a surprise when he chopped Nabi to backward point.

RASHID SALVAGES HIS PRIDE

His 0-110 from nine overs against England were the most expensive figures in World Cup history, but Rashid shrugged off that ignominy – which, bizarrely, included being trolled by Iceland Cricket – with an impressive display of skill and character. He conceded only three fours, while Mujeeb was sent to the fence just once and Nabi did not go for a single boundary in his nine overs.

BUMRAH AND CHAHAL KEEP THINGS IN CHECK

The double-wicket maiden sent down by Bumrah proved a huge turning point in the chase as Rahmat top-edged a pull to deep fine-leg before Hashmatullah offered a return chance that the bowler snaffled at ankle height. Yuzvendra Chahal was similarly decisive, cleaning up Asghar Afghan and having Rashid stumped to finish with 2-36 as India squeezed home.

Afghanistan, smashed for almost 400 by England last time out at the Cricket World Cup, were vastly improved on Saturday in holding India to 224-8.

The only side yet to earn a point at the tournament, Afghanistan conceded a world-record 25 sixes as the hosts racked up 397-6 at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

But four days on, Afghanistan were superb at the Rose Bowl as Virat Kohli's side failed to push the required run rate above 4.5 per over.

Captain Kohli top-scored with 67 from 63 balls – the only man to finish with a strike rate above 100 – but perished to the excellent Mohammad Nabi, who returned 2-33 and did not concede a single boundary from his nine overs.

Fellow spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was even more frugal, his 1-26 including a beauty that cleaned up the in-form Rohit Sharma for just one.

And Rashid Khan – whose 0-110 off nine against England were the most expensive figures in World Cup history – enjoyed a much better day in Southampton, having MS Dhoni stumped en route to picking up 1-38.

India will be without Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as they look to continue a near-perfect start to the Cricket World Cup against winless Afghanistan.

Opener Dhawan has been ruled out for the rest of the World Cup with a fractured thumb suffered while scoring a century against Australia in a 36-run win.

Rishabh Pant has been called up to take Dhawan's place, but India hope they will have Bhuvneshwar for the business end of the tournament, the fast bowler having been ruled out for two-to-three matches with a hamstring injury sustained against Pakistan.

Even without Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar, India will be expected to triumph by a wide margin in the first World Cup meeting between these sides. 

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have been in typically brilliant form and should relish facing an Afghanistan attack against which Eoin Morgan hit an ODI-record 17 sixes, with Rashid Khan (0-110) posting the tournament's worst ever bowling figures as England breezed to a 150-run win in which their 25 team maximums also marked a format best.

India's attack should also have plenty of confidence of success against an Afghanistan batting line-up for whom a score of a 247-8 in a futile chase of England's 397-6 represented their highest in a World Cup. 

Afghanistan's always slim semi-final hopes are effectively gone and they will be officially out with a defeat but, if they somehow turn the tables on India at the Rose Bowl, it will be among the biggest shocks in World Cup history.

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

The only blemish on India's faultless campaign to this point came when they and New Zealand were frustrated by the elements. Either side of that washout the world's second-ranked side have been dominant, claiming comfortable wins over South Africa and Australia before crushing arch rivals Pakistan at Old Trafford.

There could hardly be a greater contrast between their success and Afghanistan's performance at the tournament. While Afghanistan were not seen as realistic challengers for the semi-finals, more competitive displays than they have produced in heavy defeats to Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa and England were expected. The tournament minnows need to salvage some pride before their competition ends.

WHAT THEY SAID

India bowler Jasprit Bumrah: "We've got a lot of faith in ourselves, we've got a good balance. We are not worried about the changes. The people who come in as replacements are also equally good and they can take care of the situations."

Afghanistan's Rashid Khan: "I am not thinking too much about that match [against England]. People forget 10 good days and conveniently remember that one particular bad day. They don't like to remember what Rashid did on [the] previous 10 days."

OPTA FACTS

- India come into this match having registered victories in 14 of their last 15 World Cup matches; a 95-run loss to Australia in the 2015 tournament being the only blip in that run.
- Rohit Sharma has registered scores of 140, 57 and 122 not out in his three knocks at the 2019 World Cup. Overall he has averaged 72 across his 11 knocks in World Cup matches, the best rate of any India player to record more than two innings in the competition's history.
- Ten different players have hit a maximum for Afghanistan at the 2019 World Cup, no other team have as many players to hit a six so far.
- Virat Kohli (764) requires 97 to move into third spot on the list for most World Cup runs for India, he would leapfrog Mohammad Azharuddin (826), Virender Sehwag (843) and Rahul Dravid (860). Kohli has scored more ODI runs than any other batsman in the world since the start of 2016 (4,189), averaging 83.8 across those 64 knocks in that time.

India have lost opener Shikhar Dhawan for the rest of their World Cup campaign.

The batsman suffered a painful injury to his left hand in the team's opening match against Australia at The Oval on June 9, when he made a century.

There had been hopes Dhawan would be fit to return later in the tournament but those were dashed on Wednesday when it was revealed he has broken a bone and will be in plaster until mid-July.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said: "Shikhar Dhawan has been diagnosed with a fracture of the first metacarpal on his left hand following a ball impact injury during the team’s first match versus Australia at the Oval.

"Following several specialist opinions, he will remain in a cast until the middle of July and therefore will not be available for the remainder of #CWC19."

Team manager Sunil Subramaniam confirmed the blow to India's batting resources when he spoke at a news conference on Wednesday.

Delhi batsman Rishabh Pant is the player India want to replace Dhawan in their squad, and his inclusion must be approved by tournament organisers.

Pant is already in England and could come into contention to be involved against Afghanistan in Southampton on Saturday.

India are unbeaten in four outings so far at the World Cup, winning three and having one match washed out.

South Africa may have to win all of their remaining group-stage matches to earn a place in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals and Faf du Plessis' side face two tricky challenges this week.

The Proteas lost their first three games at this tournament, belatedly getting a point on the board with a washout against West Indies before picking up their first win thanks to a comfortable triumph over Afghanistan last week.

But things certainly do not get any easier for South Africa over the coming seven days, as they take on an unbeaten New Zealand and a mercurial Pakistan, who desperately need a win themselves following Sunday's resounding defeat to fierce rivals India.

Virat Kohli's side look the strongest all-round outfit in the competition and they should pick up another victory against Afghanistan, who also face hosts England in a tough week for the only team yet to claim a point.

 

FIXTURES

Monday 17 June:  West Indies v Bangladesh (Taunton) - 1030 BST start

Tuesday 18 June:  England v Afghanistan (Old Trafford) - 1030

Wednesday 19 June:  New Zealand v South Africa (Edgbaston) - 1030

Thursday 20 June:  Australia v Bangladesh (Trent Bridge) - 1030

Friday 21 June:  England v Sri Lanka (Headingley) - 1030

Saturday 22 June:  India v Afghanistan (the Rose Bowl) - 1030, West Indies v New Zealand (Old Trafford) - 1330

Sunday 23 June:  Pakistan v South Africa (Lord's) - 1030

 

THE WEEK'S BIG GAME

With over half their matches played and only three points to their name, South Africa can ill-afford any slip-ups. Their first assignment of the week comes against the Black Caps on Wednesday, in a repeat of the thrilling semi-final from four years ago that saw New Zealand squeeze through. If the Proteas can dish out a first defeat of the tournament to Kane Williamson's side, they will go into Sunday's clash against an erratic Pakistan with renewed hope of securing a top-four finish.

STANDINGS

1. Australia - 8pts from 5 games, Net Run Rate +0.812
2. New Zealand - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +2.163
3. India - 7pts from 4 games, NRR +1.029
4. England - 6pts from 4 games, NRR +1.557
5. Sri Lanka - 4pts from 5 games, NRR -1.778
6. West Indies - 3pts from 4 games, NRR +0.666
7. South Africa - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -0.208
8. Bangladesh - 3pts from 4 games, NRR -0.714
9. Pakistan - 3pts from 5 games, NRR -1.933
10. Afghanistan - 0pts from 4 games, NRR -1.638

 

LEADING RUN-SCORERS

1: Aaron Finch (Aus) - 343
2: Rohit Sharma (Ind) - 319
3: David Warner (Aus) - 281

 

LEADING WICKET-TAKERS

=1: Mohammad Amir (Pak), Mitchell Starc (Aus) - 13
2: Pat Cummins (Aus) - 11

Sarfraz Ahmed insists Pakistan must continue to back themselves even as their Cricket World Cup hopes grow slimmer by the day.

Pakistan lost a crunch clash with India by 89 runs on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern, leaving Sarfraz's side struggling on just three points from five matches.

The 1992 champions will now face a tall order to qualify for the semi-finals regardless of their remaining results, but Sarfraz is not ready to give up hope.

"It's definitely getting tougher and tougher but we have to back ourselves," the Pakistan captain said in the post-match presentation.

"We have four matches so we'll try our level best to win all four matches. I'm sure we will bounce back."

Sarfraz defended his tactics with the ball, despite seeing Rohit Sharma hit 140 in another superb batting display for India.

The Pakistan skipper explained: "We have a plan to bowl in the right areas - especially for Rohit, pitch up to the ball. But I thought we didn't hit the right areas.

"We won a good toss but didn't capitalise and that's why we conceded so many runs.

"If you see the pitch and the ball is turning, that's why we picked two spinners, because of the moisture. They bowled really well but credit goes to the Indian batting, especially the middle part - they're batting really well."

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is set to miss India's next two to three games at the Cricket World Cup after sustaining a hamstring injury against Pakistan.

India cruised to an 89-run win over their arch rivals at Old Trafford on Sunday, triumphing on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method as Pakistan could only reach 212-6 in a rain-affected run chase after Virat Kohli's side cruised to 336-5.

However, paceman Bhuvneshwar was forced to leave the field while bowling the fifth over of Pakistan's chase, with his replacement Vijay Shankar trapping Imam-ul-Haq lbw with his first ball.

India will be heavy favourites for their upcoming matches with Afghanistan and West Indies, and Bhuvneshwar is poised to miss those games, and potentially the blockbuster clash with hosts England at Edgbaston.

Speaking at the post-match presentation, captain Virat Kohli said of Bhuvneshwar's injury: "Slight niggle, it was because of slipping on the footmarks, so it doesn't look too serious at the moment.

"We're going to give it some time, hopefully he'll be ready in a couple of games, if not, max three games from now.

"He's going to be a very important factor for us so hopefully he can recover well in time. We've got [Mohammed] Shami ready and raring to go so we're not too worried about where the situation stands even after he got injured.

"I think the way the bowlers took responsibility was really good to see. Bhuvi should be fine, he feels the niggle is not too bad, time will heal it."

Rohit Sharma scored a sublime 140, becoming the fourth India player to tally 50-plus in five successive ODIs, recording partnerships of 136 and 98 with KL Rahul and Kohli, who reached 11,000 runs in the 50-over game in 54 fewer innings than Sachin Tendulkar en route to 77.

Kohli added: "The template's been really nice in the first three games, Rohit single-handedly playing that brilliant knock in the first [against South Africa], second [against Australia] was again a team batting effort, this one as well, Rohit's knock was outstanding but you could say to get 335, 340, 350 you need a team batting effort and that's what exactly what happened.

"KL set a good foundation with Rohit, then Rohit after getting to 75 was unstoppable and he showed why he's such a good ODI player again, then it allowed me to play a certain kind of role and Hardik [Pandya] can come in and explode, that's the kind of template we've followed and it's working now, it gives us a lot of solidity in the middle.

"I'm happy playing that role for the team, the other guys are doing their role perfectly. It's going really nicely."

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