Friday, February 27, 2015

South Africa vs West Indies: AB de Villiers smashes batting records

Following their 130-run loss against India, the South African cricket team were definitely looking to turn things around as they geared up to lock horns with the upbeat West Indies' brigade on Friday. The Proteas were expected to come out strong, but what really unfolded in the first innings was arguably the most entertaining innings in the World Cup this year.

The near-flawless South African brigade piled up a mammoth total of 408 runs to cut a sorry figure for the West Indian bowlers. Though the top-order was evenly involved in shaping the South African innings, there's one notable contribution by none other than skipper AB de Villiers that stands apart.

Fastest 150 in ODI history:

Reeling at 146 for three wickets, no one would have imagined AB de Villiers to smash his way past the batting records, let alone guiding South Africa to a mammoth 408 runs. But, the South African skipper added 134 runs alongside Rilee Rossouw for the fourth wicket to turn the tide in his team's favour. De Villiers slammed 162 runs and in doing so, he also registered the fastest 150 in the history of ODI cricket. De Villiers now holds the record for fastest 50(16 balls), fastest hundred(31) and fastest 150(64 balls). Australia's Shane Watson(83) held the previous record for the fastest 150 in ODIs.

Worst bowling figures in World Cup:

On one hand where the South African skipper was busy breaking batting records for his team, the West Indies captain Jason Holder also claimed an unwanted record. Holder recorded the worst bowling figures in World Cup history for a 10-over spell and by a captain. The right-arm seamer had conceded a mere nine runs in his first spell of five overs and another 31 in his second spell of three overs. However, the Windies skipper succumbed to De Villiers' carnage and conceded 34 and 30 respectively in his last two overs to finish his spell of 10 overs with 10-2-104-1 as his final figures.

Second-highest team total in World Cup history:

Amid the individual batting brilliance showcased by AB de Villiers, the South African cricket team also managed to get their name registered in the history books with their mammoth total of 408 runs. The Proteas have recorded the second-highest total by a team in the history of World Cup, only behind India's 413/5 against Bermuda in 2007 edition of the tournament. It was also their highest-ever total in World Cup and on Australian soil.

Second-fastest ton in World Cup:
AB de Villiers, who missed out against India, justified his No. 1 rank in the list of top ODI batsmen with a sensational 66-ball 162 runs that was comprised of 17 fours and eight sixes. He notched up his hundred in a mere 52 balls while thrashing West Indies' bowlers to all parts of the ground. It was the second-fastest hundred in World Cup history, only behind Kevin O'Brien who smashed a 50-ball ton against England in 2011.

Second most-expensive over in World Cup:

Jason Holder, who came in to bowl the 48th over for West Indies, conceded 34 runs to register the second most-expensive over in World Cup history. AB de Villiers was looking to provide the final flourish to South Africa when he slammed four boundaries and two sixes off Holder in the over.

Proteas smash 261 runs in last 20 overs:

South Africa were in a spot of bother when Chris Gayle dismissed well set Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla in 30th over. With both Rilee Rossouw and AB de Villiers new at the crease, South Africa's dream of going past 300 looked unlikely as they were reeling at 147/3 after 30 overs - scoring under five runs an over. However, to everyone's surprise and most importantly to West Indies' horror, the Proteas smashed a staggering 261 runs at the loss of just two wickets.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Zealand vs England: Brendon McCullum hits fastest World Cup fifty

Before the match:
McCullum: I thought the pitch was pretty good, but it is just the ability of our bowlers to swing the ball in the air. World-class performance, the crowd was amazing. Amazing for us to have this attack up our sleeve, and we have guys on the sidelines who have done well for us in the past. One area you can control is fielding. Allows a captain to make subtle changes as well. Our fielding today as good as it has been in a pretty long time. I am sure England will bounce back but good to get the points against a pretty strong England side.

In the Match

WELLINGTON: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum recorded the fastest-ever World Cup fifty when he reached the landmark off just 18 balls against England at Wellington on Friday.

The opener's whirlwind half-century featured seven fours and four sixes as New Zealand rapidly closed in on victory after skittling England out for just 123.

Pakistan v West Indies Preview, Match 10 at Christchurch

Welcome to the Garden City, the banner screams when you walk out of the airport in Christchurch. Welcome to Heartbreak Central, it may well have read, for the Pakistan and West Indies team, who came to the city to play what should be one of the more tense matches of the first round of the ICC World Cup 2015.

Pakistan had tasted its first heartache, losing for the sixth time in World Cups to old enemy India at the Adelaide Oval. The West Indies should be feeling heartburn, shaded by Ireland at the Saxton Oval. These losses mean that Pakistan come into Saturday’s match at the bottom of Pool B, and West Indies one spot above. The team that loses at the Hagley Oval on Saturday (February 21) will find itself teetering at the edge of elimination, even though there are still plenty of games to be played.

“I think we need to win the next game. That's the only way to stay in the tournament," admitted Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain.

Another similarity between these two teams is that they are missing key players. The West Indies will miss Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, as well as Sunil Narine.

Narine would have started every game in this tournament, irrespective of the conditions. In some good news though, Suleiman Benn, who was struggling with back spasms and therefore missed that encounter with Ireland, is fit for selection for the Pakistan game, and Nikita Miller, overlooked earlier, is also in the mix. Darren Sammy too has been cleared to play after being hampered by a back strain in the previous game.

Pakistan is missing Saeed Ajmal, but fortunately for it, the fast bowlers, led by the towering Mohammed Irfan and backed up by the strong Wahab Riaz, have shown signs of excellent form.

How either of these teams can go into the match with any kind of positivity is an issue the coaches and support staff must address. Clearly there is no point brooding about the past, but since Pakistan has won only one of its last seven ODIs while the West Indies has managed two wins from the last 13, the players will need to pick themselves up.

"We can't let our defeats get us down. Obviously we lost a game against Ireland. It was a tough loss, but if we get ourselves down, it's hard to pick ourselves up so we are trying to keep the mood going," said Jason Holder, the West Indies captain. “What is clear for us is if we execute our plans and we carry out what we want to do we know we can be very successful so it's just about consistency.”

This should be a match in which players from both teams would try to go out there and express themselves to the fullest, to try and break out of a losing cycle by embracing the possibility of better times to come. Easier said than done, of course, but both teams will be hoping to win, going into the game feeling they just cannot afford to lose.

Teams (from):

West Indies (likely): Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Lendl Simmons, Darren Sammy, Jason Holder (capt), Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn.

Pakistan (likely): Ahmed Shehzad, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal (wk), Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan, Mohammad Irfan.

Friday, February 6, 2015

TransAsia flight data show both engines failed

BEIJING— The TransAsia Airways flight that killed at least 35 people when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Taiwan's capital this week went down because both engines lost power, Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council said Friday.

An investigation into what caused the engines on the ATR 72 propjet to lose power is continuing and it could be months or even a year before final conclusions are reached, Taiwan's top aviation safety official Thomas Wang said at a news conference Friday.

"It's only the third day so we can't say too much," Wang said. "We haven't ruled anything out."

The China News Agency quoted a spokeswoman for the local prosecutors' office as saying the case is being investigated to determine if there was "professional error."

TransAsia said in a statement that all of its ATR pilots would retake a proficiency examination as requested by Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration. The pilot on Flight 235 had 4,900 hours of flying experience.

A TransAsia Airways flight crashed into a Taipei river shortly after takeoff Wednesday with 58 passengers on board. Dashcam footage from cars on a bridge beside the river captured the plane going down. Dozens were either killed or missing. VPC

Taiwanese authorities believe the pilots of the plane deliberately steered the propjet aircraft away from buildings in downtown Taipei in the final moments before the crash as part of an effort to minimize casualties.

One of the pilots of the plane called out "mayday, mayday, engine flameout" moments before it banked sharply and crashed into a river, audio clips revealed. An "engine flameout" refers to when an engine loses power and shuts down.

The China Times newspaper reported that pilot Liao Chien Tsung, 41, who died in the crash, was found still clasping the joystick in his hands. His legs were broken.

"When it came to when it was clear his life would end, (the pilot) meticulously grasped the flight operating system and in the final moments he still wanted to control the plane to avoid harming residents in the housing communities," Taiwanese Vice President Wu Den Yih said Friday, speaking at a funeral parlor for victims. "To the plane's crew, the victims … (I) express condolences."