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.

The West Indies will begin their bid to become World Test champions when they host India for five weeks starting in August.

India have announced Shikhar Dhawan will remain in England as their medical team continue to monitor the thumb injury he suffered in the win over Australia on Sunday.

Opening batsman Dhawan was struck on his left hand by a delivery from Pat Cummins in the early stages of the Cricket World Cup clash at The Oval, though the blow did not stop him continuing his innings.

The left-hander went on to make 117, helping India amass 352-5 after opting to bat first, but did not field in the second half of the fixture, watching on from the dressing room as Australia were bowled out for 316 in reply.

Reports in the media have suggested a suspected hairline fracture and while the team have yet to confirm the full extent of the damage, the Board of Control for Cricket in India did offer an update via Twitter on Tuesday.

"Team India opening batsman Mr Shikhar Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team," they wrote in a post that also included a picture of Dhawan celebrating reaching 50 against Australia.

"The team management has decided that Mr Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored."

India are next in action on Thursday, as they face New Zealand at Trent Bridge in a battle between two teams who still own 100 per cent records at this year's tournament.

Virat Kohli's side then take on Pakistan at Old Trafford on Sunday, though they may have to do without Dhawan for at least the next two games.

Windies batting star Chris Gayle was not allowed to use a specially branded ‘Universe Boss’ bat for the ICC Cricket World Cup.

According to reports, the 39-year-old batsman had sought special permission from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to imprint his moniker on the bat ahead of the tournament.  The request would, however, have violated the ICC code as its related to the displaying of messages.  The issue came to the fore after the ICC on Friday also denied India wicketkeeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni permission to wear a dagger insignia on his wicket-keeping gloves.

"The regulations for ICC events do not permit any individual message or logo to be displayed on any items of clothing or equipment,” the ICC said.

"ICC couldn't have made an exception for Dhoni as no personal messages are allowed on equipment. Gayle wanted it but when he was refused permission, he accepted it and moved on," an official privy to the details of the situation later told the media.

During India’s World Cup 2019 opener against South Africa at Ageas Bowl in Southampton on June 5, MS Dhoni sported a pair of wicketkeeping gloves with regimental dagger insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces.  He has since had to remove the symbol.

Ian Bell believes England have their biggest chance in years to win the Cricket World Cup, though they may need a bit of luck to secure the trophy.

England started the tournament on home soil as favourites and lived up to that billing with a 104-run thrashing of South Africa at The Oval in the opening game on Thursday.

Batsman Bell, who played 161 ODIs for England and is still hungry for a Test recall, thinks Eoin Morgan's entertainers will take some stopping.

He told Omnisport: "I have England as favourites and it's the best chance we've had for a long time with the squad we've got.

"There are other teams who are obviously very dangerous but it could be the best summer of all time for England.

"They will need a bit of luck and to play some really good cricket as they have for the last few years, but there is no doubt there is a great opportunity to win a first World Cup."

Bell believes India may be the biggest threat to England's bid for glory, while Australia's resources in the bowling department makes them a team to watch.

"You can't go far away from India, their squad of players seems to be so strong and I think they enjoy playing white-ball cricket in England." he added.

"A lof of the teams will enjoy the conditions, it's not like they are having to deal with a swinging, seaming ball. Pitches will turn as the tournament goes on and that can help India, I expect them to be there and thereabouts.

"Australia with their bowling and attack and [Steve] Smith and [David] Warner back in the ranks are obviously even more dangerous. You could make a strong case for a lot of sides, there is so much talent on show."

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose has picked the team to make a deep run at the ICC World Cup, which gets under way in England later this month.

The regional team won the first edition of the tournament in 1975 and 1979 and were only narrowly beaten by India in the following edition.  Since then it has been a major barren stretch of sorts having failed to advance to the semi-final stage in seven of the next eight tournaments.  The only exception came in 1996 when the team did manage to make the final four before being narrowly beaten by Australia.  Ambrose, who was a part of that squad, believes the current iteration could at the very least equal that feat.

“Our chances are as good as anybody’s because when you look at cricket in general and like I’ve said to the guys when I was with the team [as a coach], ICC ratings or rankings don’t really count on the field,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

 “In the rankings, you could be one, two or three but it simply means you’re more consistent and you’re winning more games so you get the points to move to the top of the table but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the better team,” he added.

“We have a decent team but of course, people are going to argue about one or two players which will happen from now until eternity, but I feel we have a good enough team to go deeper into the World Cup.

Our problem is the consistency factor where we would win one game handsomely then maybe lose two or three and then win another one and if you’re so inconsistent then you’re never going to go far. As long as we are consistent in this World Cup, we can spring some surprises and go deep but we have to be consistent,” he said.

Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians will oversee the entire rehabilitation process of Windies pace bowler Alzarri Joseph.

The 22-year-old got his IPL career off to a lightning quick start after claiming a historic 6 for 12 in 3.4 overs.  Tragedy, however, struck for the bowler soon after as he injured his shoulder while fielding for the team in the very next game. 

The damage not only ruled the player out of the rest of the IPL season but also out of the upcoming ICC World Cup.  Despite the bowler not taking part in the rest of the tournament, the club is willing to foot the entire recuperation bill.

  "He has been in Mumbai throughout and his situation was assessed, and the surgery was done on April 30. He is currently recovering and has no movement on the shoulder as it is strapped. One of his family members is here to stay by his side. All his treatment and rehab will be taken care of by MI. He will be shifting to the MI guest house in Navi Mumbai and continue physiotherapy for the next two to three months at the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital,” a source familiar with the situation told IANS.

 "After this, he will undergo rehab and hit the ground at the Mumbai Indians academy. It should ideally take around four to five months and even his family member shall stay with him during this phase.”

 

  Windies all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall has once again launched a bid to improve upon his fitness, generally regarded as a major stumbling block to this inclusion in the senior team.

The 26-year Antiguan native is yet to receive a call to Windies squad, despite consistently performing well at both the regional and Windies A level.  In the most recent Regional Super50 competition, Cornwall took 54 wickets in nine matches at 17.68 apiece to be crowned the competition’s top bowler. 

The Leeward Islands Hurricanes talisman has also dominated at the West Indies A level on both home and overseas tours and currently boasts 256 first-class wickets at an average of 23.

Standing at an estimated 6’5 tall and close to 300 pounds, Cornwall has made several attempts to improve on his overall fitness but is seemingly yet to make any significant progress on achieving the required fitness level.  Cornwall is, however, hoping his latest stint with noted trainer Ronald Rogers will pay dividends.

“Training-wise, I am trying to get as fit as I can because I think I am preparing for India,” Cornwall told the Antigua Observer.

“It’s nothing in terms of getting to a particular weight but just to see how far I can get as quickly as possible between now and June,” he added.

The Windies are expected to host India during a full tour scheduled for June.

“It is something that I am up for and something I am happy about so it’s just up to me now to put in the work.”

Defending champions West Indies will face Pakistan and Australia in the group stage of the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup.

The world's top-ranked Twenty20 team, Pakistan open the Super 12s stage against the hosts Australia in Sydney on October 24 next year.

Australia will then face defending champions West Indies in Perth four days later, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Joining that trio in Group 1 are New Zealand and two teams coming through the first round.

India, ranked second, lead Group 2, which also includes England, South Africa and Afghanistan, with two more teams to qualify.

Melbourne will host the final on November 15, with the semis played in Sydney and Adelaide.

A host nation has never won the ICC T20 World Cup and only Sri Lanka have made the final at home, finishing as runners-up in 2012.

The women's tournament is also being held in Australia, with the final to be played on March 8.

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