Kohli expecting his 'most challenging World Cup' yet

By Sports Desk May 21, 2019

India captain Virat Kohli believes the upcoming Cricket World Cup will be the most challenging he has played in.

The tournament in England starts next week, with India going into the event second in the ICC's one-day international rankings behind only the hosts.

In Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah they also have the world's number one batsman and bowler in the 50-over format, but for the skipper every game represents a significant obstacle due to the depth of quality in the competition.

And the fact all 10 teams will play each other once as the World Cup reverts to the same format it used back in 1992 has Kohli on guard.

"It is probably the most challenging World Cup of all the three that I have been part of because of the format and looking at the strength of the all the sides as well," Kohli said in Mumbai before his team travelled to England.

"If we live up to our skill sets and our standards that we set for ourselves, we'll be on the right side of the result more often. That is going to be key. Every game you have to play to the best of your potential because it's not a group stage anymore, it's playing everyone once.

"The best thing is that we'll have four tough games straight up and that will set the tone nicely for us. Everyone has to be at their best intensity from the first match onwards and we don't have any room for complacency.

"It's the World Cup, the most important tournament in the world. We expect that kind of pressure from the first second."

Kohli, 30, believes handling pressure will be a bigger challenge than tackling the conditions.

"White-ball cricket, playing in England, playing an ICC tournament, the conditions are not that different or that difficult I would say, compared to Test cricket," he said.

"Pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup and not necessarily the conditions. From that point of view, it will be helpful. 

"We go into the World Cup feeling very balanced and very strong as a side. You saw in the IPL as well, all the players that are in the squad were in great form and played really well.

"We expect high-scoring games, but a bilateral series compared to a World Cup is very different.

"You might see a lot of, I won't say low-scoring games, but 260-270 kind of games, teams getting those totals and defending it successfully because of the pressure factor. We expect all kinds of scenarios at the World Cup - there will be quite a few high-scoring games too."

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    Eoin Morgan made history at Old Trafford on Tuesday, striking 17 sixes against Afghanistan to set a new record for the most in an individual ODI innings.

    England's captain thumped 148 from 71 balls as the Cricket World Cup hosts racked up 397-6.

    We take a look at some of the most notable statistics to have arisen from Morgan's wonderful innings.

     

    MOST SIXES IN AN ODI (INDIVIDUAL)

    17 - Eoin Morgan - England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, June 18, 2019.

    16 - Rohit Sharma - India v Australia, Bangalore, Nov 2, 2013; AB de Villiers - South Africa v West Indies, Johannesburg, Jan 18, 2015; Chris Gayle - West Indies v Zimbabwe, Canberra, Feb 24, 2015.

     

    MOST SIXES IN AN ODI (TEAM)

    25 - England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, June 18, 2019.

    24 - England v West Indies, St George's, Feb 27, 2019.

    23 - West Indies v England, Bridgetown, Feb 20, 2019.

     

    MOST RUNS CONCEDED IN AN ODI

    113 - Mick Lewis, South Africa v Australia, Johannesburg, Mar 12, 2006.

    110 - Rashid Khan, England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, June 18, 2019 (from nine overs); Wahab Riaz, England v Pakistan, Trent Bridge, Aug 30, 2016.

    106 - Bhuvneshwar Kumar, South Africa v India, Mumbai, Oct 25, 2015; Nuwan Pradeep, India v Sri Lanka, Mohali, Dec 13, 2017.

     

    FASTEST WORLD CUP HUNDREDS

    50 balls - Kevin O'Brien - Ireland v England, Bangalore, Mar 2, 2011.

    51 balls - Glenn Maxwell - Australia v Sri Lanka, Sydney, Mar 8, 2015.

    52 balls - AB de Villiers - South Africa v West Indies, Sydney, Feb 27, 2015.

    57 balls - Eoin Morgan - England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, June 18, 2019.

     

    MOST CAREER ODI SIXES

    351 - Shahid Afridi

    318 - Chris Gayle

    270 - Sanath Jayasuriya

    225 - MS Dhoni

    224 - Rohit Sharma

    211 - Eoin Morgan

    204 - AB de Villiers

    200 - Brendon McCullum

     

    OTHER NOTABLE STATS

    - England's score of 397-6 was their highest at a World Cup and the sixth biggest in history. Australia hold the finals record after compiling 417-6 against Afghanistan in 2015.

    - England hit 18 sixes in the 2015 World Cup, only one more than Morgan managed on Tuesday.

    - Morgan has now managed 22 maximums in the tournament. Australia skipper Aaron Finch (14) is the only other man to have reached double figures.

  • New Zealand v South Africa: World Cup semi-final hopes at stake for Proteas New Zealand v South Africa: World Cup semi-final hopes at stake for Proteas

    South Africa will hope history fails to repeat itself when they bid to keep their Cricket World Cup hopes alive on Wednesday against New Zealand at Edgbaston.

    With just one win from their opening five matches, the Proteas know anything but a victory will all but end their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

    There is no shortage of recent history between the sides in this competition, with the Black Caps having dramatically reached their first World Cup final four years ago at South Africa's expense courtesy of Grant Elliott's six off the penultimate ball.

    They also defeated the Proteas at the quarter-final stage in 2011.

    South Africa will at least be buoyed by the return of bowler Lungi Ngidi and an improved display in their previous outing - a rampant nine-wicket triumph over Afghanistan - provided a much-needed confidence boost.

    That said, a far bigger challenge will be presented by New Zealand, whose attack has been in scintillating form so far this tournament with Mitchell Santner (3.83), Lockie Ferguson (3.88) and Trent Boult (4.20) all among the leading bowlers in terms of economy.

    With seven points already, the Black Caps are well positioned for a top-four finish and a place in the knockout stages, though they do still have to face a number of the tournament's leading lights.

    TOURNAMENT SO FAR

    The pressure is on for South Africa. There is scant margin for error as far as their semi-final hopes are concerned. Defeats to England, Bangladesh and India in their opening three matches followed by the abandonment of their game against West Indies has left them with it all to do. There were at least positive signs in their win over Afghanistan.

    New Zealand, by contrast, have made a hugely promising start, winning their opening three matches against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before seeing their last outing, against India, abandoned due to the inclement weather. 

    WHAT THEY SAID

    South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock: "I think, obviously, it's a big game for us, but in saying that, our next three or four games that we have, they're all going to be big games anyway for us for the rest of the tournament. We're just going to have to go out there, keep our heads steady, and play freely."

    New Zealand bowler Trent Boult on the chance to potentially knock out South Africa: "It's not driving us in any respect. Every World Cup game, in my opinion, is a big stage, and it's a chance for us to go out there and perform and show we can bring the game and the style that we play back home in New Zealand very well to test it against quality players in foreign conditions on a big stage in front of all these fancy cameras. So we can't wait."

    OPTA FACTS

    - This will be the eighth World Cup meeting between New Zealand and South Africa, the Black Caps have won five of the previous seven, including each of the last four.

    - New Zealand have not won an ODI at Edgbaston since 1983, losing three times there with four no results. They do have three World Cup wins at the venue (two in 1983, one in 1975).

    - South Africa spinner Imran Tahir has bowled 222 balls at this World Cup and is yet to be hit for six or bowl a wide or no ball, no other bowler has bowled as many deliveries without being hit for a maximum.

    - New Zealand have won 11 of their last 12 completed World Cup matches, their only defeat in that run was the 2015 final to Australia at the MCG.

  • 17 sixes!! Magnificent Morgan breaks ODI world record 17 sixes!! Magnificent Morgan breaks ODI world record

    Eoin Morgan set a new world record for the most sixes in an ODI, smashing an incredible 17 maximums on his way to 148 from 71 deliveries as England piled on the runs against Afghanistan in the Cricket World Cup.

    England's captain sustained a back spasm in last week's win over West Indies, but he eased any doubts over his fitness with a sensational display of power-hitting at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

    His tally of 17 sixes surpassed the previous ODI record of 16 jointly held by Shane Watson, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle, while helping England to a new team record of 25. They had previously set the benchmark with 24 against West Indies in February.

    Morgan eventually holed out to long-off in the 47th over, his extraordinary performance yielding the fourth-fastest century in World Cup history and helping the tournament hosts to an imposing total of 397-6.

    Jonny Bairstow (90 from 99) and the ever-prolific Joe Root (88 off 82) also made valuable contributions with the bat for England, while Moeen Ali blasted 31 not out from just nine deliveries on his 32nd birthday.

    Morgan's display was a significant factor in another record being broken in Manchester. Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan conceded an eye-watering 110 from nine wicket-less overs - the most expensive figures in a World Cup.

    Only Mick Lewis, who returned 0-113 from 10 overs for Australia against South Africa in the famous Johannesburg ODI of 2006, has given up more runs in an ODI.

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