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BeautifulGame

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  1. Before the start of the match, some wanted to dismiss Bangladesh's strength and ability to defeat a top ODI side and while many believed it was battle a for which Bangladesh were equipped to win technically but had all rested on how the tea handles pressure of such clash. New Zealand had defeated Bangladesh in all matches in their previous home series against them in 2016 and they just wanted to repeat the same performance. This match was important for them to stay alive in the tournament, although win wont guarantee anyone a semi-final berth as they have to wait for the outcome of Eng-Aus match . New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first. Martin Guptill provided them much needed quick start while punishing Bangladeshis pacers who looked off-colour. Taskin Ahmed who returned to the Bangladesh team for this match provided them first breakthrough when he dismissed Ronchi for the score of 16. After losing two wickets by 13th over, experienced duo of Williamson and Taylor consolidated NZ inning with a century partnership between them. Williamson in particular has been in great form recently and scored a well crafted half century before getting run out on score of 57. NZ were 228 for 4 in 43rd over and looked to set a big target. That was the time when captain Mashrafe gambled and Mosaddek and brought him into the attack. It proved to be a successful bold move to throw the ball to an off-spinner in slog overs and NZ lost their plot with flurry of wickets while trying to up the ante late in the innings. NZ batting line-up has been facing this issue of weak lower order for quite some time and they were thoroughly exposed this time. They could manage only 37 runs in last 7 overs and biggest credit can be given to the Bangladeshi captain himself. Of course bowling also supported their move. Although NZ lost the plot in final overs, target of 266 was not going to be an easy one for Bangladesh against pace attack of Southee, Boult and Milne. And it looked like one-sided affair, when Tim Southee completely blew the top order with great display of swing bowling in first 5 overs. Bangladesh lost Tamim, Soumya and Shabbir for single digit scores. Loss of Tamim was probably biggest blow to them as he has been backbone of Bangladesh ODI team for quite some time and struggles of the team without him was exemplified during their run chase against India in warm up game few days ago. When Shakib-al-Hasan, who is arguably the greatest Bangladeshi cricketer, joined Mahmudullah at the score of 33 for 4, chances looked bleak for the team and NZ were completely on the top. Bangladeshi fans had hoped for another miracle from Shakib as he has done in past multiple times, although he has not been in good form off-late after kicking off 2017 with a great knock against NZ in first test in Newzealand. Mahmudullah countered swing and short ball attack very well, while Shakib started playing his natural game. They eased to their fifties by 31st over while playing their trademark shots. Both batsmen never allowed required run rate to shoot up with consistent clean hitting for boundaries. With victory in sight and Bangladesh needing 70 runs of last 10 overs, it was all upto the experience of these two batsmen and skills of NZ pacers. Bangladesh had faltered many time in tricky situations, but this time both batsmen just started playing all types of shots freely for which NZ bowlers had no answer. Pair reached 200 runs partnership in 45th over which is first for Bangladesh. In the end they cruised to one of their most memorable victories which they will cherish for long time. Shakib reaffirmed his status of one of the best all-rounder in world cricket with this inning while Mashrafe once again proved that he is one of the best captain in world today.
  2. Match Report: Sri Lanka pull up an epic heist to stun India at Oval Sri Lankan batting line up displayed the same set of skills which Indian batting line up has been known for long time to stun Indian team and fans at Oval on Thursday. They might have started tournament as underdogs, but the ease with which they chased the target was nothing short of a confident champion team and it mirrored their batting dominance of late 90s and early 2000s. Sri Lanka won the toss and invited India to bat first. India fielded an unchanged XI and started with same strategy which they have been employing last few years in ODIs successfully. Pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started slowly confidently to reach 138 in 25th over before Rohit Sharma was caught at long leg by Parera on the score of 78. Match was going according to their plans - putting up a solid start and going berserk at the end and they didn't fail in executing it despite losing Kohli for 0 and Yuvraj by 34th over. Shikhar Dhawan proved yet again that he is a valuable asset when it comes to big tournaments. He scored his 5th century in ICC tournaments - 3 in Champions Trophy and 2 in World Cups and provided Indian team much needed acceleration in middle overs. MS Dhoni continued his decade long form again against Sri Lankans and hit some powerful shots to reach his fifty in quick time. Some of his shots were captured by ICF admin @Rajiv from the stands and can be seen in videos below. Sri Lanka had a nervy start with Dickwella being sent back early by Bhuvneswar Kumar. However Kusal Mendis and Gunathilaka displayed a wide array of strokes in their 159 runs partnership which set the tone of the chase. They not only managed to hit boundaries consistently, but were extremely good in turning strikes overs during middle overs which was crucial in ensuring that pressure was always on Indian bowlers. Sri Lankan team recieved some jitters with two quick run outs in span of 5 overs, however Mathews and Parera ensured that they were always on track before Parera pulled hamstring wih 50 runs left to chase. Gunaratne provided necessary big hits for them to cruise to the total with 8 balls to spare. This win will provide much needed boost to young line up of Sri Lanka which has shown their brilliance and ability to chase few months back against Australia. With this win, all 4 teams are tied with 2 points in Group B with India at the top on the basis of run rate. India has lot to ponder in their bowling department. What would worry them is not their inability to defend score of 320, rather the fact that their bowlers managed to pick only 1 wicket during Sri Lankan inning. They were rendered ineffective completely during middle overs leaving desperate Kohli to try Jadhav and himself as bowling options. They would be looking for more wicket taking options in their next match which is virtual quarter final. This could pave way for Shami and Ashwin in the team as Jadeja and Yadav struggled to create an impact in this match. Bumrah's form is another worry for team India and they would look to bounce back from this defeat. Batting would most likely remain same as indicated by Kohli's statement where he felt that India had enough runs on the board. Sri Lanka would like to repeat their superb batting performance against Pakistan which is another virtual quarter final for group B. Champions trophy is at interesting junction and should increase interest among fans after rain dampening multiple matches.
  3. Final at Oval,Champions trophy 2017

    Final at Oval,Champions trophy 2017
  4. 2nd Semi-final at Birmingham ,TBD

    ICC Champions Trophy, 2017 TBD v TBD at Birmingham, 2nd Semi-final
  5. 1st Semi-final at Cardiff, TBD

    CC Champions Trophy, 2017 TBD v TBD at Cardiff, 1st Semi-final
  6. India v South Africa at The Oval,

    India v South Africa at The Oval
  7. India v Sri Lanka at The Oval

    India v Sri Lanka at The Oval
  8. India v Pakistan at Birmingham, ICC Champions Trophy, 2017

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