Monday, February 8, 2016

Fantastico Battles that could Impact the 3rd ODI between Eng and SA

South Africa are two nil down in the five match series and need their senior players to urgently step up and be counted. England are a young and peppy side full of players with a fresh attitude towards cricket and their uninhibited style of play has meant that England are on the verge of winning the series against a very good ODI side like South Africa with matches in hand. The carnival has moved to Centurion and the Protea team will be hoping that the venue brings better news for them at the beginning of a new week.

3 Fantastico Battles that could have an Impact in the 3rd ODI:

Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock Vs Reece Topley and David Willey

Amla had has a very quiet series after he finished on a high in the Test series. In both the ODI's he had been out bowled, once each by the two young new ball English bowlers. He will be keen to prove that the low scores were only a blip and will want to boss the new comers. De Kock has been in fine form and his Fantastico 138* off just 96 balls almost won them the game in Bloemfontein before rain intervened but even in that high scoring encounter the English new ball bowlers were economical. Topley picked up 4 wickets in the last match which pegged the South African’s back in the final 10 overs and he will be hoping to repeat his performance.

Jos Buttler Vs Morne Morkel

Although the entire English team has contributed in its two victories but Buttler has been the major difference between the two sides. His audacious ton in Bloemfontein meant that England racked up a mammoth 399 batting first while in the second match he smashed a 48* off 28 balls to kill the chase and bring the game home that was threatening to go in South Africa's favour. Morne Morkel is one bowler who is experienced and with his extra height and pace rattle Buttler. Morkel was the most economical of the South African bowlers in the 2nd ODI going at under 4 to the over while he also scalped two crucial wickets. He will have to step up for South Africa and try to stop Buttler from taking the game away with his peppy stroke play.

AB de Villiers Vs Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali

De Villiers has been a little unlucky in the two matches as he was caught brilliantly by Stokes on the boundary at Bloemfontein while it was Jordan who snaffled an absolute blinder at Port Elizabeth. De Villiers will be hoping that the rub off the green goes his way at Centurion. He batted well to score a 70 odd in the last game on a pitch that was slow and tired but got out just when he was beginning to open up his shoulders. He was out to Ali in the first match and was slowed by the two spinners in the second. AB is a Fantastico player of slow bowling and it remains to be seen how long the English spin duo can keep the champion South African batsman quiet.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Fantastico Battles that could Impact the 1st T20I between Ind and SL

When these two teams meet in the T20 format last time, it was in the World T20 final held in Bangladesh two years ago. Sri Lanka won that match, suffocating the Indian lower middle order by clever death bowling. But Sri Lanka are missing most of the personnel who made that victory over a much superior Indian side possible. India has rested Virat Kohli but Sri Lanka are also without the services of Lasith Malinga, Kulasekara, Mathews, Herath and Dilshan, all missing out to injuries while Mahela and Sanga have since retired.

Let us look at 3 Fantastico Battles that can make a huge impact on the outcome of the 1st T20I:

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan Vs Dilhara Fernando

The Indians faced a returning Shaun Tait in their series against Australia and he leaked runs in both the games that he played on his comeback. This time around the Indian duo will square off against another pace bowler making a surprise comeback in the shortest format of the game. Dilhara Fernando has always been an enigma in world cricket, supremely talented and capable of bowling at high pace and penetrative spells but so vulnerable to pressure and so lacking in control that he has always been a story of 'What could have been'. Possessing the dangerous split finger slower ball which flummoxed many a good batsmen in his time, he is also capable of bowling the yorkers in the death overs. It remains to be seen which version of Fernando the Indians will encounter, and how the in-form Rohit and Dhawan will put early pressure on him. It will also be interesting to see if Fernando has solved his no ball problems which he had all those years ago.

Sri Lankan Middle Order Vs R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja

The Indian spin duo had a hold on the Aussie middle order in Australia and were responsible for slowing them down on all occasions by picking up wickets. The Sri Lankan middle order is quite inexperienced with Dasun Shanaka slotted to come in at three and Chandimal, a talented player but unable to adjust to the T20 frenzy thus far coming in at 4. Milinda Siriwardene, a player who made his debut recently had impressed me with his unflappable temperament and silky shots. These three players will have to neutralise the threat posed by the Indian spinners and at the same time score runs at a fair clip.

Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka Vs Jasprit Bumrah

This will be the battle of the new faces, Dickwella making his T20 debut because Dilshan is injured for this game while Gunathilaka made his debut against the Kiwis just last month. Bumrah was the find of the Aussie tour for the Indians with an ability to bowl yorkers at will in the death overs. Gunathilaka played a couple of very fine knocks in New Zealand facing a very good fast bowling attack so it will be a good battle between the two young boys.

This might not be the most high profile that the Indians have played recently but will provide a glimpse into what we can expect at the WT20 which is just a month away.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Young Sri Lanka face a Surging India in the T20I Series Opener

India Vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I at Pune - Match Preview

It's that time of the year again, the two teams in blue will again battle it out on the cricket field this time in the shortest format of the game as Sri Lanka will take on India in the 1st of the 3 T20I matches and it will be an ideal preparation for both the teams in view of the upcoming WT20 to be played in India.

Sri Lanka were the team that demolished India in the ICC WT20 Final in 2014, winning the crown for the first time and India will be looking to make amends for the mistakes they made on that balmy night. India recently climbed to the top of the ICC Rankings in the T20 format, a position that the Sri Lankan team had made their own since the past 2 years.

Sri Lanka have lost the last two T20I matches that they played in New Zealand and they will also be without the services of their regular captain and best death bowler in Lasith Malinga for this series. Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath and Dilshan will all be missing in action from the 1st T20I as well due to injuries. Kusal Perera, banned for doping, will be replaced by Danushka Gunathilaka a 24 year old left hand batsmen who played some impact innings in New Zealand. He made a rapid 50 off just 28 balls in one of the ODI's to win them a game against a rampaging Kiwi team while also made a peppy 46 off 29 balls in a T20I. Dinesh Chandimal is the captain who looks lost in this format despite being a very good batsman in the ODI and test match formats.

Milinda Siriwardena is a very good bat lower down the order for them, capable of big hits while also having an unflappable temperament. Chamara Kapugedera is also there and he will be looking to make an impression after failing in the recent series. Who will make the rest of their line up still remains to be seen but there are a few exciting young players in their squad like Dasun Shanaka, the big hitting batsman.

India on the other hand, have already named their 15 for the WT20 and have a settled line up. Virat Kohli is rested but still the rest of the batting line up oozes class and there are several impact players and match winners like Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Dhawan.

Ajinkya Rahane makes a comeback after missing the Australia T20's due to an injury and there is also Manish Pandey who slammed his maiden ODI ton in Sydney to win India an ODI. Yuvraj Singh will be looking forward to this tie as well after that disastrous innings he played in the 2014 WT20 Final.

On the bowling front, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be hoping to continue their good form and I am especially excited to see how the youngster Bumrah performs on the Indian pitches. The Sri Lankan bowling, once their strong-hold, is looking thread-bare in the absence of Malinga, Kulasekera and Herath but there are plenty new faces like Kasun Rajitha, Vandersay and Dushmantha Chameera to look forward to.

It is going to be an exciting series but I think that India are just way too powerful at the moment and it will be a very difficult task for the Lankans to defeat an in-form Indian team in India.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

South Africa Search for the Winning Concoction

England Vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Centurion - Match Preview

Two matches in to the ODI series and South Africa are already in grave danger of losing the series and they will need to step up if they are to stop England winning at Centurion. Not that there has been too much to choose between the two sides as South Africa were in with a chance to scale down the mammoth 399 set by England at Bloemfontein, and then again when England slid to 202-5 in the 42nd over at Port Elizabeth chasing 263 on a sluggish pitch. It is just that England have grabbed the important moments better and currently seem to be playing an licentious brand of cricket helping them cross the line.

Jason Roy and Alex Hales have given solid starts to England in both the matches and they will look to carry on with their good form at the top of the order. Root was slow at Port Elizabeth as he struggled to come to terms with the slow pitch but he still made runs. England's most impact player is Jos Buttler, who has the confidence to tear in to any bowling line up at the moment and he is doing just that in this series. He made a superb 105 off just 76 balls in the first ODI and then followed it up with a 48* off just 28 balls on a difficult pitch under pressure. They also have Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali who are all attacking players and can grind any attack in to the dust.

On the other hand the Protea batting line up seems too dependent on just a few players and with Hashim Amla not firing in both the matches the pressure on the middle order is all too consuming. Quinton de Kock made that splendid ton in the losing cause in the first ODI and Faf has had two good innings at number three and these two will need to carry on. AB de Villiers was snaffled on both occasions to Fantastico catches and he will hope that he gets third time lucky. Duminy, Rossouw and Behardien have all had a sub-standard series up until now as South Africa have lacked the finishing touches in the death overs.

The English bowling too seems to be having a greater depth and variety with spin options in Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali doing the damage in the second match. Reece Topley and David Willey have been economical and have picked up wickets as well so there is no reason for the English to consider making any changes unless they want to bring in Woakes for Jordan who has been the most expensive of English bowlers.

Kasigo Rabada and Kyle Abbott replaced Merchant de Lange and Chris Morris for the second match and they both immediately made a difference, transforming an ordinary looking bowling side in to a more penetrating one. Morne Morkel has also been at his best but it is the combination of Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien that has been hurting them the most.

South Africa will be looking to get a win under their belt to keep the series still alive and they have the ammunition to do so but the confidence and the swagger that the English are currently playing with is just making their job that bit harder.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

4 Fantastico Battles that could Impact the 3rd ODI between Aus and NZ

The Australian team did well in the second match to deny the Kiwi team a win after they lost a few quick wickets with Mitch Marsh and John Hastings joining forces to deliver an easy win in the end. This last ODI match will be a chance for several of the players on both the sides to play the shorter format of the game for the last time before the test series begins which would be followed by the ICC WT20 mega event in India. There will be, like always, a few sub-plots brewing hot which would ultimately decide the course of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.

4 Fantastico battles to look forward to in this match:

Usman Khawaja and David Warner Vs Trent Boult and Matt Henry

Usman Khawaja and David Warner combined well at Wellington to neutralise the threat posed by Trent Boult and Matt Henry. They took full toll of even marginally remote loose balls and dispatched them to the boundary with disdain. They raced away to 122 before their stand was finally broken by part time spinner Santner and the two will again be looking to tame the Kiwi new ball bowlers with their peppy stroke play combined with immaculate timing and raw power!

Steve Smith, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell Vs Trent Boult and Matt Henry

Steve Smith, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell have fallen to Henry and Boult collectively across all the six innings combined and have tallied 20, 2 and 6 runs respectively which is a fair reflection of their troubles against the Kiwi new ball pair. In the first match, the three failed to stall the decline after Warner and Khawaja had departed early and in the second they failed to capitalize on the strong start provided by the two thus failing on both the occasions. Henry and Boult would be looking to continue their stranglehold on the Aussie middle order and keep them quiet for the third game in a row.

Brendon McCullum Vs Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings

This will be the final ODI match for Brendon McCullum and he will be eager to thrill the fans all across the globe one final time with his uninhibited and audacious hitting. He has already provided a glimpse in the first two games with what the world will miss when he is gone. Those sashays down the wicket to quick bowlers and inside out drives for sixes and the fierce cuts or disdainful pull shots, the Hamilton Park crowd will be lucky enough to witness all the madness for the one last time. The Aussie bowlers, Hazlewood and Hastings will be hoping that the madness does not last long!!

Martin Guptill Vs Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings

Martin Guptill followed up his 90 off 76 balls at Eden Park with a 31 off 45 balls at the Westpac and it was his wicket in the second match off Mitch Marsh that gave the Australians that little opening in the second match. Guptill will be looking to make amends for his loose stroke and also give company to his captain for as long as possible.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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