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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ugly spar at Durban ~ India beaten in Nidahas Trophy : MJ Gopalan Trophy

DSport is an Indian television channel launched by Discovery Communications India on February 6, 2017  ~ and today we watched the India – Sri Lanka match live on it.  Though it may appear that Indians play Lankans too often – India has only played 57 T20s – of which 15 have been against Lanka, with India winning 10 of them.  In between, do you know or have you watched the MJ Gopalan Trophy ?

At Durban in the 1st Test, Mitchell Starc missed out on a hat-trick but Australia had little trouble in wrapping up a 118-run win on the fifth morning,  where they took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. Bad light had halted Australia's march to victory on the fourth evening with just one wicket required, so it was possible that it could have taken just a single ball to end the game on day five. In the end, it took 22 deliveries.

In a match marred by ugly behavior, Nathan Lyon was fined 15% of his match fee by the ICC for dropping the ball near AB de Villiers after the South Africa batsman was run out on day four of the Durban Test. After the incident was reviewed by the match referee Jeff Crowe, Lyon was charged with conduct contrary to the spirit of cricket, a level one offence. He was found to have breached Article 2.1.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel; in  addition, Lyon has had one demerit point added to his disciplinary record, a first offence for the player since the introduction of the revised Code in September 2016. If a player accrues four demerit points within 24 months, he receives a one-Test or two-limited-over game ban.

The ICC decided, however, that no action would be taken following a confrontation between David Warner and Quinton de Kock during the tea break on day four.  It was the stairwell incident   David Warner and Quinton de Kock that overshadowed the conclusion of the Durban Test. Australia believe de Kock's words crossed a line; South Africa insist that Warner got personal. The incident has forced the ICC match referee Jeff Crowe to tell both sides to cool it and avoid further ugly incidents over the remainder of the series.  Warner was captured on CCTV footage being physically restrained by team-mates as he walked up the stairs towards the dressing room during the tea interval on day four, after apparently taking issue with something de Kock had said.  Asked whether the Australians had used personal words towards the South African players, team manager mohammad  Moosajee replied: "Definitely, definitely. Most definitely." When subsequently asked whether the personal words had been used by Warner, Moosajee answered: "Definitely."

Away in Harare, something interesting is taking place.  After losing to Afghanistan and surviving a scare against UAE in the warm-ups, West Indies launched their World Cup Qualifiers proper in style, amassing 357 for 4 against UAE in Harare. Chris Gayle led the way with a six-laden assault, finishing with 123 off 91 balls, while Shimron Hetmyer struck a maiden ODI hundred in his third match. Gayle's innings contained 11 sixes and seven fours.  In another match,    Tony Ura made 151, PNG made 235; Ura made 64.25% of his team's runs, the fourth-highest percentage of runs scored by one player in a completed innings in ODI cricket. That wasn't enough, though. Despite a late wobble, Ireland got home with four wickets and five balls to spare. Their chase was built around a century from captain William Porterfield and a half-century from Ed Joyce. The win means Ireland's bid to qualify for World Cup 2019 is off to the start they would have wanted: they have won two of two games and sit at the top of their group at this early stage.

West Indies have been in the country preparing for almost two weeks,  "We know what is at stake," said captain Jason Holder, who also telegraphed his long-term goals with: "We've done well in T20 cricket, we've done well in women's cricket and in Under-19 cricket. I think it's about time we win another World Cup." They'll have to qualify first.

It is the qualifier for World Cup – there are two Groups : Group A: West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands,  Papua New Guinea  &  United Arab Emirates – while in Group B : Afghanistan,  Zimbabwe,  Scotland,  Hong Kong & Nepal.  In each group, teams play each other once, with the top three advancing to the Super Six stage. Results between teams that progress are carried forward and each side plays all qualifiers from the opposite group.  The top two sides in the Super Six stage will advance to the final, with both qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.

Indians fans will sleep with a lingering loss in the  2018 Nidahas Trophy,  a tri-nation series between Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. Each team will play each other twice, with two teams progressing to the final.  The T20 tournament is being played to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th  year of independence.  At Colombo today, India made 174/5 and lost to Sri Lanka.  With this win, Lankans have  broken their seven-match T20 losing streak against India.

When Lankans chased it was over no.3 – Sharadul Thakur – MKDJ Perera hit the 1st ball over midwicket for 4; 2nd & 3rd also hit for 4s; 4th was a slower ball, spotted and hit over covers for a 6; Thakur lost his length, bowled a full toss, hit over extracover for 4 (no ball too called); another 4 and a dot – ending up 27 runs conceded. Earlier Rohit was out for a duck; Raina 1-  dhawan’s 90 off 49; useful scores from Manish Pandey and Rishab Pant took the score to a reasonable 174.  Vijay Shankar made his debut but did not get to bat. 

If you still remember that Q in first para :  Cricket lovers of Tamil Nadu have enjoyed this.  Ceylon  was not an official Test nation until 1982, but the MJ Gopalan Trophy held annually — with the venue alternating between Madras, as it was called then, and Colombo — allowed watching  Lankans play against Tamil Nadu in MJ Gopalan Trophy.    The tournament was suspended after 1982-83, with Sri Lanka acquiring Test status and the  ethnic crisis. Subsequent attempts to revive it were intermittent and eventually given up in the new millennium. Ceylon  have won the trophy  10 times, Tamil Nadu 5 times, and 12 matches have been drawn.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Mar 2018.

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