World T20 roundup: New Zealand look the team to beat while India go 11-up on Pakistan

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World T20 roundup: New Zealand look the team to beat while India go 11-up on Pakistan

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Arun S Kaimal

03/20/2016

The first week of the 2016 ICC World T20 has raced past us before we could blink twice. From the Kiwis’ upset victory over the hosts to the epic encounter between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at the Eden, we bring to you all the World T20 stories you may have missed.

1. Kohli puts India 11-0 ahead

After their six-wicket victory at the Eden Gardens on Saturday Night, India now lead Pakistan 11-0 (6 in ODI World Cups and 5 in T20 World Cups) in the head-to-head record between the two rivals in the World Cups. Although, the contest between the two was not as epic as everyone hoped with the rain almost ruining the party, Virat Kohli took his stature in Indian cricket up a notch with his match-winning knock.

In fact, the match at Kolkata was almost similar to the one at Mirpur. In Mirpur, India were 8/3 chasing 84 and fast forward to Kolkata, it was 23/3 chasing 119. As was the case in Mirpur, it was Virat Kohli, who took India out of the woods, this time scoring 55 off 37 balls. India finished the chase before the 16-over mark and registered their first points on the board in the World T20. Although the Men in Blue are back in the hunt for a semi-final spot, they will have a tough job on their hands next week, when they face Bangladesh at Bangalore and the Aussies at Mohali in the last two group games.

2. Santner - the force behind the Kiwi juggernaut

When New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson opted to play with three spinners at the VCA stadium in Nagpur on Tuesday, everyone were surprised. After four hours, the surprise turned into shock, at least for the Indian fans. Three relatively unknown spinners outbowled and outclassed the Indians, who are supposedly very good at handling spin. In fact, Nathan McCullum, Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner combined to pick up nine of the ten wickets that fell in the Indian innings.

People called it a fluke and blamed the pitch, but the Kiwis were not yet done. They travelled to Dharamsala and pulled off another victory, this time defeating their Trans-Tasman rivals Australia by 8 runs. Santner, who picked four wickets against India, added two more in the match against the Aussies to almost secure New Zealand a place in the semis.

3. Run fests at the Wankhede

The two matches at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai have seen two 200+ totals and two 180+ scores. A total of 42 sixes in all came from the two matches at the venue, with 11 of them belonging to Chris Gayle. Undoubtedly, the venue wins the prize for the graveyard of bowling at the World T20 with just one bowler – Chris Jordan of England against West Indies – having an economy rate near six. All others conceded in the tens with Dale Steyn going for 17.50 runs per over.

In the first match between England and West Indies, it was the Gayle show. The 48-ball century from the Calypso King was enough for the Windies as they brushed aside an inexperienced English bowling lineup to earn a victory. The run fest got even better when the Proteas and England clashed at the same venue on Friday. The biggest party in the city was definitely at the stadium as South Africa scored 229 before England led by Joe Root’s 44-ball 83 chased it down with two balls to spare to once again evoke the tag of “chokers” for the Proteas. With two matches including the semi-final scheduled to happen at the venue, we could be in for more entertainment in the coming weeks.

4. Malinga, Taskin and Arafat Sunny bid goodbye to World T20

Defending champions Sri Lanka had started their title defence on a good note registering a six-wicket victory over Afghanistan at Kolkata on Thursday, thanks to 56-ball 83 from Dilshan. But the elation of the victory turned into sourness the next day after their marquee player Lasith Malinga was ruled out of the tournament with an injury. After missing a majority of the games in the Asia Cup with a knee injury, Slinga Malinga failed to recover from it and pulled out of the World T20 paving the way for 26-year old leg-spinner Jefferey Vandasay.

If Malinga missed out on the tournament through injury, Bangladesh bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny bid goodbye to the World T20 after the International Cricket Council suspended the duo from bowling in international cricket with immediate effect. The bowling actions of Taskin and Sunny were reported for suspect actions last week during the World T20 round-one match against Netherlands. Having already lost their first match to Pakistan, Bangladesh will find it difficult to progress into the semi-final stage with two of their best bowlers banned.

5. The small matter of Women’s World T20

With all the hullabaloo around the men’s World T20 tournament, the women’s version of the event, which is happening in parallel with the men’s event, may have missed the deserved limelight in the past week. But Pakistan had something to rejoice from the World T20 after the women’s team beat India by two runs through D/L method in a rain-interrupted match at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday. Although they are trailing 11-0 to the Indians in the men’s version in World Cups, they can do some “Mauka Mauka” after the win in the women’s event.

*After India's match against Pakistan on March 19

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