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World T20: Sri Lanka outclass India to lift title

Mon, 7th, Apr 2014
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It was a night brimming with varied emotions – excitement, nervousness, nostalgia, etc. For Sri Lanka, it meant bidding adieu to two their greatest cricketers to have graced the game. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara had reached the finals four times, only to end up being heartbroken. Not this time. In what was their last T20I appearance, the two iconic batsmen broke the hoodoo scripted a fitting farewell for themselves.

Being put in to bat, India were on the back foot right from the start of their innings. They posted the lowest total in a World T20, albeit a single-handed effort from the tournament's highest scorer Virat Kohli somewhat helped. The Lankan bowlers were spot on, producing magical overs that left batsmen like Yuvraj Singh cramping for room. Kohli and MS Dhoni then tried resurrecting the innings, but they were no match to a supreme execution from Lasith Malinga and co.

The fear of chasing a World Cup can often lead to sweaty palms and hurried decisions. Sri Lanka lost opener Kusal Perera early on, as he tried to go for his shots. However, Jayawardene's calm approach restored some normalcy, until R Ashwin's carrom ball got rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan who top-edged at deep square leg. In walked Sangakkara, and along with Mahela added 24 for the 3rd wicket, before the latter fell prey to a diving catch by Ashwin at midwicket. Lahiru Thirimmane followed after Dhoni took an excellent low catch, and the match suddenly looked in India's favour with Sri Lanka being 78/4 in the 13th over.

Sangakkara though, was sailing at one end, keeping the required run rate in check. Sri Lanka made their intentions clear by promoting the pinch-hitter Thisara Perera, and then there was no looking back. Sangakkara took charge, going against the spinners while Perera (23) quietly hit a shot or two, as Sri Lanka inched closer to their dream. The target was chased in 17.5 overs, with Sangakkara finishing as the hero, unbeaten on 52 in his final show.


Sri Lanka 134 for 4 (Sangakkara 52*, Jayawardene 24) beat India 130 for 4 (Kohli 77) by 6 wickets
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World T20: Sensational Virat takes India to finale

Sat, 5th, Apr 2014
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South Africa's World T20 campaign was full of close finishes until now. With an intent to put up a strong total on the board, Faf du Plessis elected to bat first against an Indian side that feasted on chases. They quickly lost Quinton de Kock at the start, with Hashim Amla and du Plessis doing the reconstruction bit. R Ashwin then came up with a delivery that turned in from outside leg stump, leaving Amla in disbelief as he walked back just after getting into decent form.

However, du Plessis took charge and along with JP Duminy, carted the spinners all around. He brought up his fifty with a one-handed six in just 36 balls, before Ashwin struck with his trademark carrom ball to get rid of the Protea captain. Duminy, though, continued to attack even as AB de Villiers scored just 10 runs with no time to settle. David Miller then gave late impetus as South Africa collected 38 runs in the last three overs, posting a challenging total of 172/4.

Faced with a steep target, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane gave India the perfect start, looting 33 off the first three overs. Sharma departed soon after, but it only paved way for another Kohli masterclass. India had already gathered 56 runs in the Powerplay overs by then. Kohli added another 56 with Yuvraj Singh after losing Rahane, who had worked hard for his 32. Virat's half-century was timed to perfection, as Yuvraj kept the scoreboard ticking and rotated strike regularly at the other end.

What followed was the usual – Virat pacing the chase well within his control and finally getting India over the line with five balls to spare. South African had done all they could, but they couldn't stop the chase master from doing what he does so often. At the end, India walked away with yet another finals berth under MS Dhoni's captaincy. As for South Africa, their quest for a World Cup win continues.

An all-subcontinent grand finale awaits, as India take on Sri Lanka at Mirpur on April 6.


India 176 for 4 (Kohli 72*, Hendricks 2-31) beat South Africa172 for 4 (du Plessis 58*, Ashwin 3-22) by six wickets
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ICC T20 Rankings: Virat Kohli becomes highest ranked Indian batsman

Thu, 3rd, Apr 2014
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Kohli was ranked fourth before the ongoing World T20 in Bangladesh, but his consistent performances in the tournament has helped him jump a place in the rankings with 821 rating points. RCB teammate Yuvraj Singh is next on the list, placed in sixth position with 695 rating points. The southpaw is also the fourth best all-rounder in the world.

Left-handed batsman Suresh Raina also features in the Top 10, with 689 rating points at No. 7, while off spinner R Ashwin is the only Indian in the bowler rankings, placed in sixth place with 686 rating points.
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World T20: Indian bowlers deliver another easy win

Mon, 31st, Mar 2014
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India finally dropped Shikhar Dhawan to give Ajinkya Rahane a go, while Mohit Sharma replaced Mohammad Shami in the pace department. MS Dhoni lost his first toss in 13 international outings, but this time he got what he asked for as George Bailey put them in. Pakistan's win over Bangladesh earlier in the day had already ousted Australia from the tournament, but India still had a little experimentation to do with their playing XI as well as the conditions.

It was not the kind of start India had expected, as they lost opener Rohit Sharma in the 1st over, followed by Kohli and Rahane who failed to convert starts. Suresh Raina looked no better as he departed too, leaving India at 66/4 in the 12th over. However, Yuvraj Singh finally found form, blasting 60 off 43 balls, providing India the much-needed momentum and reiterating his significance in the side. His innings set the tone for a respectable total, as India finished with 159/7 in 20 overs.

Australia were in the midst of a miserable campaign, and it continued with another humiliating performance as they crashed to their third-worst loss in T20Is. R Ashwin came up with match-winning figures of 4-11, alongside Amit Mishra (2/13) who was spot on with his legspin. It was a mighty collapse from the Aussies, who never really appeared to be in the game, losing wickets at regular intervals.

Depending the outcome of the New Zealand-Sri Lanka match, India will most likely face South Africa in the semi-final.
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World T20: De Villiers blitz powers South Africa to semis

Sun, 30th, Mar 2014
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South Africa posted the highest total in the tournament so far, after England won the toss and elected to chase. Hashim Amla looked in ominous form with his first T20I fifty in 25 innings, a 37-ball 56 that included six fours and two sixes. His partner, Quinton de Kock (29 off 33) was strutting along at the other end, but the duo managed to add 90 for the 1st wicket despite being interrupted by floodlight failures on two occasions.

In walked stand-in skipper AB de Villiers, who promoted himself to No.3 and the move paid off immensely. AB got to his half-century in just 23 balls, the quickest by any South African batsman in this format. In all, he finished unbeaten on 69 off 28 deliveries, even as the rest of the middle-order crumbled around him. England's woeful bowling added more runs to the South African total as they finished with 196/5 in 20 overs.

England would have loved a repeat of the Alex Hales show, but Wayne Parnell shattered all dreams with his fierce spell, claiming all three top-order wickets, including that of Hales (38). England were reduced to 73/3, desperately in need of a stable partnership. But Imran Tahir's masterful legspin hardly allowed the Englishmen to settle as he dismissed Eoin Morgan (14) way too early in his innings, followed by Jos Buttler (34) who was beginning to look comfortable.

England were still ahead of the Proteas in terms of run-rate, but they missed a match-winning cameo towards the end. Ravi Bopara (31) entered the final over with 22 needed, but a mishit off Steyn landed straight into David Miller's hand and that was the end of England's journey in the World T20.

South Africa 196 for 5 (De Villiers 69, Amla 56) beat England (Hales 38, Parnell 3-31) by three runs
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World T20: India crush Bangladesh to seal semi-final berth

Fri, 28th, Mar 2014
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MS Dhoni won yet another toss, for the 15th successive time and put in a jittery Bangladesh to bat. The openers were off to a flyer, stealing 13 off the 1st over, before R Ashwin struck twice in his opening overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar then dismissed Bangladesh's best batsman Shakib Al Hasan on the first ball of his over to reduce the hosts to 21/3 in the 5th over.

Opener Anamul Haque and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim added 46 for the 4th wicket, but the latter's overambitious approach cost his team another wicket, followed by Anamul who was bowled by Amit Mishra. Mahmudullah then walked in to deliver a 23-ball 33 cameo, but Mishra's last over hit the final nail in the coffin. Bangladesh went from 131/5 in the 19th over t0 138/7 at the end of 20 overs.

It was all too familiar for India, who were once again jolted by a scratchy start from their opener Shikhar Dhawan. But Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had no trouble whatsoever, as they saw India through with a second consecutive 100-run partnership and also got to their respective fifties. Rohit departed to a low full toss in the 16th over, but MS Dhoni promoted himself to finish off the chase in just 18.3 overs.

India 141 for 2 (Kohli 57*, Rohit 56) beat Bangladesh 138 for 7 (Anamul 44, Mishra 3-26) by 8 wickets
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