India stepped up preparations for the Cricket World Cup semi-final as the irrepressible Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul's centuries set up a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

A disappointing tournament for the Lions came to an end at Headingley, where Angelo Mathews' 113 helped his already-eliminated side reach 264-7.

It proved an uncompetitive total, however, as India reached their target with 6.3 overs to spare – the superb Rohit making history by smashing his fifth ton of the tournament

Virat Kohli's side will know their semi-final opponents by the end of Saturday, where defeat for Australia against South Africa would see them top the group and take on New Zealand – avoiding hosts England in the process.

Mathews made 160 in a Test win against England at Headingley in 2014, so he was the right man for a crisis with Sri Lanka flailing 55-4.

He and Lahiru Thirimanne, who made 53, gave the innings credibility with a 124-run stand.

Mathews was dismissed in the penultimate over, half-volleying Jasprit Bumrah to Rohit at extra cover, who would soon shatter their hopes of an upset.

The in-form opener passed 50 with a pair of sixes off Dhananjaya de Silva in the 17th over. Rahul got there in the 23rd over, ploughing 14 runs off four deliveries from De Silva.

Rohit, having brought up his century with a pull for four, went moments later for 103, flicking Kasun Rajitha to mid-off to end a 189-run first-wicket stand. He has scored a remarkable 647 runs in eight innings at this tournament.

Rahul could not see it out either, edging Lasith Malinga behind for 111. This is Malinga's final World Cup in the 50-over format and he was torched by India's batsman until gaining that small measure of revenge.

INDIA WILL TAKE SOME STOPPING

This is obvious, of course. They and Australia have been the outstanding teams in this World Cup and it would be surprising if they are not the finalists. Rahul and Rohit looked like steering them to a 10-wicket win in Leeds at one stage, so comfortable were they against Sri Lanka's attack. The pressure was off here though. Come the semi-finals - and possibly the final - we will learn just how mentally strong this India team are.

MATHEWS MAGIC

Angelo Mathews had done next to nothing with the bat in this World Cup... apart from at his seemingly beloved Headingley. A diligent unbeaten 85 helped to set up victory over England and this was another composed innings that gave Sri Lanka something to bowl at. As it turned out, they were a long way short of troubling India.

India will seek a winning end to the Cricket World Cup's group stage when they take on Sri Lanka, with top spot still in their sights.

Australia lead the way as the semi-finals beckon but India could leapfrog them should the holders lose to South Africa and Virat Kohli's men take advantage in Leeds.

India may take the chance to rest players, though, with their place in the last four already assured. This could be the ideal opportunity to leave out MS Dhoni, who has been out of sorts.

Dhoni's place in Indian cricket history is assured but his return of 223 runs is below par. It would be very like the 37-year-old to be saving his best displays for the knockout rounds, however.

For Sri Lanka there is a chance to salvage some pride after a disappointing campaign that has had highs and lows. There is also likely to be a World Cup farewell for veteran quick Lasith Malinga, who inspired their defeat of England.

Avishka Fernando could lead the next generation for the Lions, with the 21-year-old having hit a superb 104 in their win over West Indies last time out, improving his batting average to 61 for the tournament. 

Kusal Perera and captain Dimuth Karunaratne are his only team-mates to have averaged over 30.

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

A shock win over England will be Sri Lanka's most cherished memory from this World Cup, but their performances have been too inconsistent. They were brilliant in posting a huge score against West Indies, but terrible in being skittled by New Zealand in their opener. Form has come too late.

It is perhaps concerning for the three other semi-finalists that India have not really hit top gear - but they have not had to do so yet. A low-energy defeat to England at Edgbaston felt like a blip and, if they finish second behind Australia, they will have to play the hosts again at the same venue.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Sri Lanka captain Karunaratne: "All batsmen have big points. We take a couple of videos - not only Rohit [Sharma], Virat and all the top six batsmen, we have a plan for everyone. But if you couldn't execute really well, the plans aren't working. So the point is we have to execute really well against those batsmen."

India wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik: "I think at the back of our minds we do have the semi-final in mind. That's a big game for us. For all the four teams that qualify, it's going to be a massive game. So that's in the back of the mind."

 

OPTA FACTS

- Jasprit Bumrah needs one more wicket for his 100th ODI career scalp. His first 99 wickets have come at an average of 22, the best rate of anyone to take more than 20 wickets for India.
- Sri Lanka and India have recorded seven completed Cricket World Cup matches to date; the Lions hold the edge with four victories to India's three.
- Malinga needs just one wicket to move clear of Wasim Akram as the outright third-top wicket taker in Cricket World Cup history, the pair are currently tied on 55 wickets behind Muttiah Muralitharan (68) and Glenn McGrath (71).

India batsman Ambati Rayudu has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket after missing out on the Cricket World Cup.

The 33-year-old was left out of the 15-man squad and did not get the call when Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay Shankar suffered tournament-ending injuries.

Rayudu, who played the last of his 55 ODIs against Australia in March, has decided to quit the sport.

In a letter addressed to the Hyderabad Cricket Association that was forwarded to the BCCI, Rayudu said: "I would like to bring to your kind notice that I have come to the decision to step away from the sport and retire from all forms and levels of the game.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the BCCI and all the state associations that I have represented, which include Hyderabad, Baroda, Andhra and Vidharbha.

"I also would like to thank the two IPL franchises MI [Mumbai Indians] and CSK [Chennai Super Kings] for their support. It has been an honour and privilege to have represented our country.

"I would like to thank the captains I have played under - MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and, especially, Virat Kohli, who always had shown great belief in me throughout my career with the Indian team.

"It has been a wonderful journey of playing the sport and learning from every up and down it brought for the last 25 years at various levels. Finally, I would like to thank my family and all the well-wishers who have been with me throughout this wonderful journey."

Rayudu made three ODI hundreds and three half-centuries, averaging 47.05. He also played six Twenty20 internationals.

Virat Kohli hailed Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah as "the best around" after they helped send India into the Cricket World Cup semi-finals.

India booked their last-four place with a 28-run win over Bangladesh on Tuesday, set in motion by Rohit's brilliant 92-ball 104 - his fourth century of the tournament.

A chase of 315 always looked beyond the Tigers, yet Bumrah made absolutely sure with a stunning spell to end the match, collecting wickets from consecutive balls to bowl Bangladesh out for 286.

In the post-match presentation, Kohli took the opportunity to pick out both players for individual praise.

"I have been watching [Rohit] for years now and I have been saying openly, in my opinion, he is the best one-day player around," the captain said.

"When he plays like that, it's a joy to watch. He's having the tournament of his life. We are so, so delighted to see him bat the way he is, because when he plays well, we know we are heading towards a big score.

"That's all we need in the changing room. When he plays like that with so much confidence, all the guys in the changing room get so much confidence watching him play.

"I'm really, really happy for him. He's really going well and hopefully, with three more games to go, he can put two big scores there."

Turning to top-ranked bowler Bumrah, Kohli continued: "Bumrah's overs were always going to be crucial, so that's why we stopped him after four overs initially.

"He is someone you can bank on at any time in the game. He's a world-class bowler, the best in the world at the moment. There's a good reason for that. He's been bowling consistently well."

Tamim Iqbal dropped Rohit early on, but Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza was not ready to acknowledge that moment as a turning point.

"With a batsman like Rohit Sharma in such good form, it obviously affects it," he said. "But that's what happens in cricket. We can't blame it just on that catch."

And Mortaza rued Bangladesh's failure to produce their own big-scoring partnership in the manner of Rohit and KL Rahul's opening stand.

"If one of them could have made 80 or 90 then it would have been a different match," he said. "With 47 and 41 [two of Bangladesh's three biggest stands], it's asking too much."

Rohit Sharma made his fourth century of the 2019 Cricket World Cup as India booked their place in the semi-finals with a 28-run victory over Bangladesh, who can no longer qualify for the last four.

Virat Kohli's men saw their unbeaten start to the tournament ended by England on Sunday, but they got back on track two days later, thanks largely to in-form opener Rohit striking 104 off 92 balls in another batting masterclass.

Bangladesh needed victory at Edgbaston to keep their slim hopes of progression alive, yet a chase of 315 proved beyond them as Hardik Pandya (3-60) and Jasprit Bumrah (4-55) starred with the ball.

An early Tamim Iqbal drop off Mustafizur Rahman allowed Rohit to build momentum alongside KL Rahul (77), the pair combining for the biggest opening partnership of the tournament so far, which finally ended on 180.

Rohit fell to Soumya Sarkar two balls after reaching his hundred and India were rocking slightly when captain Kohli (26) and Pandya were both dismissed by Mustafizur (5-59) within the space of three balls.

However, Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni hit 48 and 33 respectively to help their side to a healthy total of 314-9, the latter one of three victims for Mustafizur in the final over of India's innings.

Bangladesh made a steady start in reply, but talisman Shakib Al Hasan was the only member of the top five to kick on, reaching 66 in a continuation of his fine form.

When Shakib fell to Pandya, who had earlier dismissed Sarkar and Liton Das, the Tigers were 179-6 in the 34th over and staring defeat in the face.

Mohammad Saifuddin showed admirable defiance on his way to 51 not out off 38 balls, while Sabbir Rahman also chipped in with 36 as Bangladesh fought to stay in the game.

Yet Bumrah, who earlier required treatment following an awkward fall at the boundary, starred in the closing overs to make sure India prevailed.

 

Rohit reigns again

Rohit now has more runs at this tournament than any other player. He moved through the gears after being dropped on nine by Tamim in the fifth over and helped India to their best powerplay of the campaign, before continuing at a great pace to seemingly take the game away from Bangladesh.

Pandya spell pivotal

Mustafizur and Shakib threatened to really make things difficult for India. First, the bowler took a brilliant five-for to give Bangladesh hope, then Shakib produced another fine knock, becoming the first player to score more than 500 runs and take 10 wickets in a World Cup. However, Pandya's three wickets - including that of Shakib - came at a key time to restore control and Bumrah then came into his own at the death.

Windies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has dismissed the idea of veteran batsman Chris Gayle playing what would amount to a farewell Test series against India next month.

The 39-year-old Windies talisman was expected to announce his retirement from international cricket following the ICC World Cup.  The big left-hander, however, seemed to have a change of heart during the tournament and targeted India’s tour of the West Indies as his final appearance.

Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, Ambrose has flatly rejected any type of sentimental appearance for the opener.

“Let me tell you something, one word; nonsense,” Ambrose said of Gayle’s plans for going beyond the World Cup.

Despite scoring 7,214 Test runs, which puts him eighth on the all-time list, and notching two triple centuries, Gayle has not made a Test appearance for the West Indies since 2014.

“He hasn’t played Test cricket for five years and he can barely make it in a One Day International, with long periods in the field.  A Test match is five days, six hours every day and he hasn’t does it for five years,” Ambrose told BBC Sounds.

“What kind of message would it send to one of the opening batsmen? ‘It’s a farewell game for Chris Gayle so sit this one out’ - that is utter nonsense,” he added.

“He should bow out of this World Cup gracefully. He’s done extremely well for West Indies in world cricket, but you bow out. Move forward.”

 

 

 

It was like West Indies skipper Jason Holder was discovering a surprise gift, hearing the news Chris Gayle planned to play on after the World Cup. 

Kemar Roach says West Indies must take a long, hard look at themselves after their Cricket World Cup failure but feels the future is still bright for Jason Holder's side.

The Windies' hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals were dashed when India consigned them to a chastening 125-run defeat at Old Trafford on Thursday.

India posted 268-7 after Virat Kohli won the toss on a glorious day in Manchester, the captain making 72 and MS Dhoni 56 not out.

The hostile Roach (3-36) was the pick of the Windies bowlers, with excellent support from Sheldon Cottrell (2-50) and captain Jason Holder (2-33).

Holder's men collapsed from 71-2 to 143 all out in reply, paying the price for a lack of application - Mohammed Shami doing much of the damage with outstanding figures of 4-16.

Paceman Roach says the Windies must learn their lessons after falling short in the tournament.

"All the bowlers bowled well. To restrict India for 260 is always going to be good," he told the media.

"They're a quality batting line-up, some world-class players on their team. And I think 260 on that pitch was, for me, [was] below par. But it was just not our day for the batsmen. So we go look at ourselves deeply and obviously move forward."

He added: "I think we have a bright future. We have some quality players around. [Shimron] Hetmyer and Oshane [Thomas], the younger guys, once they get some good guidance, they'll do well for West Indies.

"And I'm confident in the guys. I'll always be a fan of West Indies cricket for sure. And there's no doubt about it.

"It's all a good future for us. There's a couple of guys back home doing well as well. So hopefully we'll see these guys filter into the West Indies team in the probably near future."

Shimron Hetmyer strode to the wicket wearing a beaming smile in a Richie Richardson-style floppy sun hat, but trudged off disconsolately with West Indies heading out of the Cricket World Cup.

It was the India players and their magnificent, passionate fans who were grinning from ear to ear as they eased to a crushing 125-run win on a glorious Thursday at Old Trafford.

The Windies needed a win to have any hope of qualifying for the semi-finals, but bowed out with a whimper after collapsing to 143 all out having been set a target of 269 in Manchester.

While unbeaten India are almost certainly bound for the last four and will take some beating, the Windies selectors have some big decisions to make.

Hetmyer's approach to the middle and his time at the crease just about summed things up for Jason Holder's men.

Great entertainers when at their best, blessed with natural talent in abundance but lacking the application to give themselves a chance of making a serious impact in the tournament.

Hetmyer certainly looked the part in a wide-brimmed maroon hat, donned by the likes of the classy Richardson and Carl Hooper back in the day.

The gifted left-handed batsman was clearly trying to make a statement, but soon called for the helmet as brilliant India turned up the heat on the Windies with the sun beating down.

There was uncertainty throughout a poor run chase, which saw the men from the Caribbean crumble from 71-2, Sunil Ambris - playing his first match of the tournament - top scoring with only 31 as Mohammed Shami took 4-16 following his hat-trick heroics against Afghanistan.

While Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran are the future for West Indies, Chris Gayle looked like a man coming to the end of his international career.

Gayle stated on the eve of the match that he had backtracked on his intention to retire from ODIs after the World Cup and plans to resume his Test career against India next month, but the selectors must look at the bigger picture. 

They must also ask themselves why Kemar Roach has only played three World Cup matches after the quick was the pick of the bowlers with 3-36.

Prolific skipper Virat Kohli (72) and former captain MS Dhoni (56 not out) whipped an already raucous army of India fans into a frenzy and the Windies were unable to silence them.

Dhoni capitalised on a missed stumping and being dropped, conjuring up a late onslaught which thousands had turned up in the hope of witnessing.

Kohli sauntered casually over the outfield for the team bus very much heading in the right direction, while the wheels came off for West Indies and they are in need of some repair work.

Virat Kohli heaped praise on MS Dhoni after India inflicted a heavy defeat on West Indies at Old Trafford.

India's 125-run win all but confirmed a Cricket World Cup semi-final spot for Kohli's unbeaten side and ended West Indies' hopes of reaching the last four.

Captain Kohli was man of the match after a gritty 72 and Dhoni made useful runs. The wicketkeeper-batsman's unbeaten 56 contained two sixes in the final over of India's innings, while Hardik Pandya also scored 46.

The Caribbean side then folded with the bat, following India's 268-7 with a feeble 143 all out.

Kohli said: "We've just become number one as far as the rankings are concerned and, to be honest, we've been playing like that for a while now. I think the key is to continue the same way.

"Things haven't gone our way with the bat in the last two games but we've still found a way to win. That to me is a very pleasing thing and I'm happy I could contribute as well.

"Today, getting to 270 was crucial. I think Hardik played outstandingly well and MS finished very strongly.

"When those two play like that we always get to a winning total and on that kind of wicket 270 was always going to be a very, very difficult score to chase."

Speaking about Dhoni, Kohli said: "He knows what he wants to do out in the middle. He's won us so many games and the best thing about having someone like him is when you need that extra 15, 20 runs he knows exactly how to get them for the team.

"Keeping strike at the end and finishing off with two big sixes was something that gave us a lot of boosts as a team.

"His experience eight out of 10 times has come good for us. He's a legend of the game, we all know that, and he's doing a tremendous job for us and hopefully he can continue."

West Indies skipper Jason Holder said: "I thought the bowlers did a fantastic job and I couldn't really ask them for more, and the guys gave a really good effort in the field. I guess we just let ourselves down with the bat."

Holder believes that was a theme reflected throughout the World Cup, as he analysed where it went wrong for West Indies.

"We let ourselves down significantly," Holder said. "I don't think we seized the crucial moments in this tournament as well as we should have.

"I thought the bowlers had a reasonable campaign and everything we asked of them they came out and delivered.

"We didn't really support as well as we'd have liked in the field, in fact we let ourselves down tremendously in the field, and some of our batting was just too inconsistent."

India's bowlers ripped through West Indies to seal a 125-run win at Old Trafford that all but confirms a Cricket World Cup semi-final spot for Virat Kohli's unbeaten side.

Kohli (72) and MS Dhoni (56 not out) both hit half-centuries as India, who won the toss and elected to bat, made 268-7, with Jason Holder's 46 dot balls in his 10 overs helping to keep the total down.

West Indies lost Chris Gayle when they had just 10 on the board and wickets fell at regular intervals after Sunil Ambris, who top-scored with 31 having been drafted in for his first appearance of the tournament, was out to leave his team 71-3.

India took the final eight wickets for just 72 runs, Jasprit Bumrah (2-9) striking with back-to-back deliveries before missing the chance to replicate Mohammed Shami's brilliant final-over hat-trick against Afghanistan.

Shami (4-16) was the pick of the India attack once again as West Indies were dismissed for 143 to see their slim semi-final aspirations ended.

India next face England at Edgbaston on Sunday and one victory from their remaining three fixtures will ensure they make the last four.

ANOTHER KOHLI MILESTONE HIGHLIGHTS BATTING EFFORT

Another day, another landmark for Kohli.

Having beaten Sachin Tendulkar's record to become the quickest man to reach 11,000 ODI runs in the win over Pakistan at the same venue, Kohli made history again at Old Trafford, reaching 20,000 international runs in all formats quicker than anyone else.

Kohli did that with his 37th run in his 417th inning, going on to make his fourth successive half-century in this World Cup before pulling a half-tracker from Holder to Darren Bravo at midwicket.

That left India 180-5 in the 39th over and though Dhoni initially struggled and should have been stumped when on seven, he picked up the pace towards the end, reaching his 50 in the final over and then smashing the last ball for his second maximum to set West Indies 269 to win.

GAYLE SUMS UP WINDIES WOE

A day after he had hinted at shelving his retirement plans, Gayle produced an innings that suggested he should stick with his initial idea to hang up his batting gloves.

The self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' had said he was "definitely up there with the greats, without a doubt" at his pre-match press conference, though he looked anything but when meekly pulling Shami to Kedar Jadhav at mid on to exit after 19 balls.

Four of Gayle's six runs came from an inside edge where he was fortunate not to play on and his struggles epitomised West Indies' woes, with only five batsmen reaching double figures, two of which were tailenders Kemar Roach (14 not out) and Sheldon Cottrell (10).

It was a disappointing end for a team that had promised so much when hammering Pakistan in their opening game.

India captain Virat Kohli claimed another slice of cricket history when he became the fastest player to reach 20,000 international runs.

Kohli achieved the milestone with the 37th run of his innings against West Indies in Thursday’s Cricket World Cup fixture at Old Trafford.

The 30-year-old has taken 417 international matches to reach the 20,000 mark.

India legend Sachin Tendulkar and West Indies great Brian Lara previously topped the list, having both passed the mark in their 453rd international match.

Kohli is one of 12 players to achieve the feat, joining Tendulkar, Lara, Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jayawardene, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Sanath Jayasuriya, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Inzamam-ul-Haq and AB de Villiers.

The bulk of Kohli’s runs for India have come in ODI cricket, the skipper beginning his innings against West Indies with 11,087 runs at an outstanding average of 59.60.

Those runs include 41 centuries in the 50-over format, with only Tendulkar (49) ahead of him on that list.

Kohli has also scored 6,613 runs in Test cricket, at an average of 53.76, while he boasts a further 2,263 in Twenty20 internationals.

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.”

 

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.

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

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