Kings to Rule Over Lahore

In the second semi-final of the day, Karachi Kings take on Lahore Qalandars in their own backyard in what is set to be a cracker of a clash. Finishing second and third in the league table respectively, these two have very little to separate them. Karachi are just about edging the betting at the moment thanks to a massive win over Lahore in their previous meeting last week.

The Qalandars come into this one with impetus of their own though, having put league-leaders and fellow semi-finalists Multan to the sword on Sunday. With the added incentive of a home crowd sure to fire up Lahore even more, the outcome of Tuesday’s match is tough to call indeed.

Karachi will no doubt look to key man and the competition’s leading run-scorer Babar Azam, whilst Mohammad Amir will look to back up his claim as the best fast bowler in the competition. For Lahore, new boy Abid Ali will want to endear himself to the home crowd with a strong performance. With the ball, left-arm paceman Shaheen Afridi will look to add to his haul of 13 wickets and claim the title of top wicket taker in the competition before heading off to play in IPL 2020.

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Team News

Both sides will be lamenting the loss of key players as a result of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

For home side Lahore, the absence of Chris Lynn will be particularly painful after his blistering knock of 113 saw them surge into the semis with a win over Multan on Sunday. Although the arrival of the talented Abid Ali will go some way to mitigate this disappointment, it must be said that Lynn’s omission is a huge negative for the Qalandars.

Otherwise, Lahore will look to remain unchanged from their previous outing and with the likes of Ben Dunk and Mohammad Hafeez in the middle order, anything is possible. Add to this the thrilling trio of Afridi, Haris Rauf and Dilbar Hussain in attack and the home team will fancy their chances on a quality pitch.

As for Karachi, all eyes will be on star batsman Babar Azam, who has lit-up this year’s PSL along with his opening partner Sharjeel Khan. If Azam continues his rich vein of form, it could be a long afternoon indeed for Lahore and we fancy the Kings’ opener as our top tip for this game. As for the Karachi bowlers, the likes of Mohammad Amir, Umer Khan and Umaid Asif will look to keep Lahore’s big-hitting middle order as restricted as possible.

Head to Head

In all nine of their meetings, each of these franchises have enjoyed a fairly even rub of the green. Karachi have been victorious on 5 occasions and Lahore 4.

So far this campaign the teams have met twice. As we have mentioned, Karachi won the latest game by ten wickets just last week, with Khan and Azam blasting a combined 151 in slightly more than 17 overs. Such was the quality of the Karachi batting that even the mercurial Shaheen Afridi left with measly figures of 0/37.

Just four days earlier, Lahore came out on top in an 8-wicket win. This came in spite of an unbeaten knock of 80 from Alex Hales, who was let down by costly bowling from teammates including Imad Wasim and Umer Khan. Ben Dunk top scored in this match, smashing 99 off just 40 balls including a ridiculous 12 sixes.

Clearly, the even nature of the head to head between these two sides is yet another factor that makes this semi-final too close to call.

Toss Prediction

The venue for this Tuesday’s match will be Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, a known chasing venue. What’s more, with a great pitch expected all around, it is fully expected that whoever wins the toss will elect to bat second.

It may be worth considering that this game will be played merely hours after the first semi-final between Multan and Peshawar, so the pitch will likely not be quite as pristine as many hope. Whether or not this plays into the captains’ decisions regarding the toss remains to be seen, yet do not be shocked if either Wasim or Akhtar spring a surprise and elect to place trust in their fast bowlers.

Conditions

The climate in Lahore is set to be perfect for a huge day of cricket. Forecasts predict 27 degrees and close to zero chance of rain. This will no doubt be perfect for the likes of our pick for top batsman Babar Azam, who will look to read the bowling to a tee.

Our Dream11 Picks

PLAYING ROLENAME
WicketkeeperBen Dunk
BatsmenFakhar Zaman, Sohail Akhtar, Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan
All-RounderMohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim
BowlersShaheen Afridi, Umaid Asif, Umer Khan, Mohammad Amir

Sultans to Slay Peshawar

Just four days after their last meeting, league-leaders Multan Sultans and fourth-placed Peshawar Zalmi come head to head in the first semi-final of this season’s PSL. In a winner takes all clash, the Sultans will be heavily favoured to progress after a stellar season under the guidance of captain Shahid Afridi. With that said, Peshawar Zalmi will have plans of their own following a narrow defeat to the Sultans just a few days ago.

After Karachi Kings beat Islamabad United at the weekend, Peshawar were guaranteed a place in the play-offs. With star man Kamran Akmal firing on all cylinders at the top of the order and Wahab Riaz offering pace in attack, Zalmi will certainly fancy their chances in this mouthwatering semi-final.

If they are to progress, Peshawar must overcome the Sultans’ trickster in chief Imran Tahir, with the South Africa international returning to the city of his birth for this semi-final match-up. So far this season, Tahir’s highly effective Legbreak googly has perplexed all manner of batsmen, leading to an impressive total of ten wickets in seven innings. For this reason, our top tip is Imran Tahir to come out of this semi-final as the Sultans’ top bowler.

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Team News

With both teams losing key players as a result of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, predicting the starting XI for either is a process fraught with uncertainty. Sport all over the globe has been interrupted by the pandemic that has also seen the IPL 2020 date postponed.

Multan Sultans decided to rest key players for their final game of the league stage, having already secured top spot. The decision to omit big names including Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir proved fatal with the Sultans suffering a huge defeat to Lahore on Sunday.

With that said, this key group should now all be fresh and raring to go for this huge semi-final clash. Top-order batsmen James Vince and Rillee Roussow have both left Pakistan in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus, so Multan will have to look to the likes of Zeeshan Ashraf and Shan Masood to score the runs.

As for Peshawar, the situation looks even more dyer. In total, Zalmi will be without five of their first-choice XI due to growing worries over the coronavirus. These include Tom Banton, Liam Livingstone, Liam Dawson, Lewis Gregory and Carlos Brathwaite, as well as coach James Foster. The team has struggled with organisation all year and the latest round of disarray will be a familiar story to fans and players alike.

Having scraped into the semi-finals on run-rate alone, Zalmi will need domestic stars like Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali to have the game of their lives if they are to progress.

Head to Head

In their two meetings so far this season, Multan Sultans came out victorious on both occasions.

As we have mentioned, the pair met last week in a fiercely contested match that saw the Sultans edge a win by just 3 runs. This came thanks to the bowling exploits of Ali Shafiq, who took the key wickets of Shoaib Malik and Haider Ali in a blitzing over that cost only two runs. The close nature of this most recent tie will no doubt be a factor in the minds of players from both sides.

Earlier in the league phase of this season, the teams faced off at Multan with the Sultans gaining a much more comprehensive victory of 6 wickets. Sohail Tanvir was the star that day with the fast bowler claiming 4 wickets in just 3.3 overs for the home side. With the bat, Rillee Roussouw top-scored with an impressive 49. Honourable mentions should go to Peshawar’s Haider Ali and Wahab Riaz who made heroic efforts with bat and ball respectively in this match back in February.

Although Roussouw will not be available this time around, the Sultans will remain clear favourites to win Tuesday’s match and progress to the final.

Toss Prediction

Gaddafi Stadium is a known chasing venue and whoever wins the toss will be expected to bat second. With that said, Shahid Afridi may see the loss of key batsmen Roussouw and Vince as detrimental to his sides chances and therefore choose to bat first, putting his faith in the likes of Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir to blitz the Zalmi batsmen.

With good weather predicted and a quality pitch seeming all but certain, big-hitting batsmen including Akmal for Peshawar and Ashraf for the Sultans will be raring to go.

Conditions

The weather in Lahore is set to be great for Tuesday’s big day of cricket, with 27 degrees and sunny the overall outlook. This will play into the hands of our pick for top bowler Imran Tahir, who will hope to use the dry, hot conditions to get the ball moving every which way. As so often happens, pitch conditions can be such a key factor when cricket betting on the subcontinent.

Our Dream11 Picks

PLAYING ROLENAME
WicketkeeperKamran Akmal
BatsmenAli Shafiq, Shan Masood, Haider Ali
All-RounderShahid Afridi, Moeen Ali, Sikandar Raza
BowlersSohail Tanvir, Imran Tahir, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz

Who will get the edge India or South Africa in 2nd ODI?

The opening contest of the ODI series between India and South Africa was washed out in Dharamshala. Therefore the series remains level heading into the second match in Lucknow.

India are looking to bounce back to form after suffering a defeat at the hands of New Zealand in their ODI and Test series. The Black Caps won all three ODI matches before easing to victory in the two Test games. As a result, Virat Kohli and his team need a win to regain their form on the international scene. Shikhar Dhawan is back in the side after missing the ODIs and Test matches against the Black Caps. Kohli himself needs to find his optimum touch with the bat. All eyes will be on a response from the home side back on their turf.

South Africa arrived in India with momentum after whitewashing Australia their recent ODI series. Quinton de Kock’s men lost the T20I series, but were able to bounce back to sweep the Aussies. There is a lot of emerging talent in the Proteas’ ranks as they look to rebuild their side after an exodus of key players. Head coach Mark Boucher and De Kock will be desperate for their improving side to take another scalp in the 50-over format.

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Will India Regain Their Form?

India were off the boil in their tour of New Zealand. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of their defeats in the ODI and Test series was the form of Kohli. The India skipper has been outstanding for the past four years, displaying a level of excellence across all three formats that few players in the world have been able to match. However, for once, Kohli looked human at the crease. He scored only 75 runs in his three innings in the ODI series, which dropped his average below 60.

It’s a mark of how impressive Kohli has been in the 50-over format that his average was at that level. Even the best players in the game have had tough spells in the middle. It would be no surprise to see the 31-year-old back to the peak of his powers against the Proteas. Kohli has an imperious record against South Africa, averaging 64.35, scoring four centuries and six fifties in 27 matches against them. Look out for the India skipper to lead the way for his team to bounce back to their best. That is why we’ve selected him as our best bet for this match.

Seamer Jasprit Bumrah was also surprisingly out of form against the Black Caps. Bumrah went wicketless in the three ODIs, failing to make an impact for his team. The 26-year-old has arguably been the best white-ball bowler in the world over the last three years. His struggles played a huge role in his side’s defeat and they will need Bumrah back to his best to defeat the Proteas. The seamer has taken 12 wickets in his eight matches against South Africa and will be desperate to improve those numbers.

Can South Africa Maintain Their Momentum?

The Proteas were outstanding in their win over the Aussies. De Kock was not on song during the three matches, failing to thrive at the top of the order. Fortunately the emergence of Heinrich Klaasen and Janneman Malan allowed South Africa to put runs on the board to defeat Australia.

Klaasen was excellent in the middle order, notching his maiden ODI century in the opener which set the tone for the rest of the series. Klaasen added half-centuries in the other two games, including an unbeaten knock of 68 to take his side over the line to complete the whitewash. He has the all-round game needed to thrive in India. Expect him to be in the runs once more.

Malan was the match-winner in Bloemfontein and at the age of 22 is the next player Boucher will be hoping develops to become a top-quality batsman at the top of the order to ease the pressure on De Kock. There are bright signs for the Proteas as they aim to retool their batting line-up, although Faf Du Plessis and Temba Bavuma are on hand to retake their places in the side if they opt for experience in the sub-continent.

Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje led the attack well in the series against the Aussies. Ndigi is fast becoming one of the best limited-overs bowlers in the world, while Nortje has devastating pace. Once Kagiso Rabada regain his fitness, the Proteas will have a potent trio of fast bowlers to throw at opposing teams. Look for Ngidi to lead the way in India due to his experience in the Indian Premier League.

Conditions

The conditions on Sunday should be perfect for cricket. It is forecast for sunny weather throughout the day, which is a stark contrast to the washout see in Dharamshala. The temperature will peak at 25°C during the afternoon before dipping towards 21°C in the early evening when the match is scheduled to finish.

Prediction

India will be aiming to bounce back from their disappointing tour of New Zealand. Their key players underperformed but should return to their best now that they are on familiar ground. Kohli and Bumrah hold the key to their success and it would be surprising to see the duo struggle once again.

South Africa were impressive to beat Australia at home, but travelling to win in India is another matter, especially with an inexperienced batting line-up. Expect the home side to triumph in the second ODI, ensuring that they can avoid defeat in the three-match series.

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India to Put Tourists to the Sword

After suffering a whitewash defeat at the hands of New Zealand in their previous ODI series, India will be looking to put things right on home soil against South Africa. This game is the first of a three-match ODI series and the Men in Blue can ill-afford to make it two losses in a row.Team India are notoriously tough to beat on home soil which will play into the hands of Virat Kohli and his men, who may need all the encouragement they can get from the home crowd.

Since drawing their ODI series versus England, South Africa have gone from strength to strength under the new duo of coach Mark Boucher and captain Quinton de Kock. They recently hammered an under-par Australia 3-0 on home soil.

The fact that the Proteas were victorious on their last visit to India in 2015 will only further boost confidence. With that said, the injury to spinner Tabraiz Shamsi could prove fatal on the subcontinent’s notoriously dry wickets.

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Team News

A new-look selection panel led by Sunil Joshi recently unveiled the 15-man squad for India’s upcoming ODI series against South Africa. The big news for India is the return of all-rounder Hardik Pandya after an injury lay off that lasted close to six months.

Elsewhere, flamboyant opener Shikhar Dhawan returns at the top of the order alongside golden boy Prithvi Shaw. There is still no place for injured vice-captain Rohit Sharma who remains sidelined due to a calf problem sustained during January’s tour of New Zealand.

In terms of the Team India attack, Japrit Bumrah returns to the fast-bowling ranks whilst the mercurial Mohammed Shami remains rested after the rigours of the New Zealand tour. Bhuvneshwar Kumar also returns to the squad at long last.

 South Africa have some exciting team news of their own, with former captain Faf du Plessis returning to bring the Proteas’ middle order some much needed strength. The legendary batsman was rested for the recent home series against England and Australia so should be raring to go for the first test against India.

Elsewhere, Janneman Malan comes back into the fold after scoring his maiden century in the second test versus Australia. Unfortunately for the Proteas, they will have to try and conquer India without the help of their first-choice spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

Head to Head

In 84 ODI matches since 1991, India have managed 35 victories versus the Proteas. South Africa have come out on top on no less than 46 occasions although this fact should not affect the result of Thursday’s ODI too much.

The last ODI series between the pair came back in early 2018 when India managed to rout South Africa 5-1 in a 6-game series played across the African nation. This came after the Proteas won 3-2 in a 5-match series played in India back in 2015.

Taking into account the strikingly even record these two teams have facing one another in ODI’s, the home advantage just about tips the tie in favour of the Men in Blue. With that said, the Proteas are more than capable of pulling off a shock victory as we saw back in 2015.

Toss Prediction

Considering the clear weaknesses in the South African attack, it is predicted that Virat Kohli will choose to bat second should India win the toss. This will give India a chance to test the Proteas bowlers, who are worryingly short on spinners.

With that said, the South African bowlers would love to bowl on a slick pitch, with rain looking increasingly likely to fall before and during the match.

Conditions 

The weather in Dharamshala could well prove fatal to the chances of both teams. Currently, the forecast is a gloomy 11c, with thunderstorms worryingly likely.

Rain seems almost certain and, should the game go ahead, this will be music to the ears of the Proteas players. Captain Quinton de Kock will almost certainly look to take full advantage of any slick surfaces using the lightning pace of Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje, who could prove extremely tricky to face in such conditions.

Our Dream11 Picks

ODI India v South Africa Dream 11 Picks

PLAYING ROLENAME
WicketkeeperQuinton de Kock
BatsmenShikhar Dhawa, Virat Kohli, Heinrich Klaasen, Janneman Malan
All-RounderHardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Andile Phehlukwayo
BowlersJasprit Bumrah, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje

Taylor-Made for Brendan to Strike

This tour of Bangladesh hasn’t been much fun for Zimbabwe so far. They lost the one-off Test by an innings and 106 runs and weren’t much better in the ODI Series that followed, losing that one as well.

There’s a theory that the shorter the match, the more of a chance the outsider has to cause an upset because they need to play good cricket for a shorter period of time. Zimbabwe will certainly be hoping so.

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Team News

At the time of writing, Bangladesh are yet to announce their squad, so we’ll have to wait and see if Mashrafe Mortaza, who on Thursday resigned the ODI captaincy, is included. Bangladesh’s brightest star by a country mile, all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, won’t be included as he is currently serving a suspension handed to him by the ICC.

For Zimbabwe, Chamu Chibhabha leads a pretty inexperienced side who have never quite got to grips with T20 cricket the way the likes of Afghanistan, Ireland or Bangladesh have. At least he can count on old heads Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams for experience and knowledge of playing in Bangladeshi conditions.

The Venue

Bangladesh won’t have good memories of their last T20 match at Dhaka. They went in as strong favourites against Afghanistan, conceded 164 after a brilliant blitz from Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi (who hit 84 off 54 balls) and the Tigers ended up falling 26 runs short of the total.

Prior to that, Bangladesh conceded 190 first up against the West Indies and lost the game but in the same series posted 211/4 themselves, which was more than enough. The hero on the day? Shakib Al Hasan who followed up his 42 not out with the bat with an outstanding spell of bowling, taking five wickets for just 25 runs. How Bangladesh miss him.

Zimbabwe are no strangers to playing at this ground. In September 2019, they played twice in two days in T20Is, losing first to Bangladesh and then to Afghanistan.

This is traditionally a high-scoring ground so you’d think that 160 is the bare minimum in terms of posting a total and nothing under 180 can be considered particularly safe.

Dew can play a part in this area of the world so if there is some moisture around, you really want to be batting last. That’s because the spinners, in particular, find it hard to grip the ball in the second innings.

Head-to-Head record

These two have played each other 11 times in T20Is with the Tigers unsurprisingly winning seven of those. In matches played in Zimbabwe, it’s one-win-a-piece and in the nine played in Bangladesh, it’s six wins for the hosts and three for the tourists.

Did You Know?

Bangladesh Above Windies in Rankings

Bangladesh are currently ninth in the ICC T20 rankings. That’s not hugely impressive in itself but the fact that they’re above defending world champions the West Indies (who are tenth), is far more pleasing.

Zimbabwe are in 11th, just above Scotland and Ireland.

Williams the World’s Second-Best All-Rounder

Sean Williams is the number two ranked all-rounder in the ICC rankings behind only the aforementioned Nabi and ahead of world-class T20 superstars including Glenn Maxwell and Colin de Grandhomme.

Bangladesh’s skipper Mahmudullah is currently ranked eighth among all-rounders.

Iqbal has monopoly of batting records

Classy Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal is not only the Tigers’ leading run scorer in T20Is with 1660 runs in 76 matches but also holds the record for the first, second and fourth highest individual scores for a Bangladeshi batsman, scoring 103, 88 and 83. Curiously, he remained unbeaten in all three of those knocks.

In-Play Betting Strategy

If you’re thinking of betting in-play, it might be worth bearing in mind that often in Bangladesh, batting becomes harder as the innings progresses.

When the ball is nice and hard, batsmen can play through the line and trust the pace of the pitch but after about six or seven overs it becomes tougher, with the ball sticking in the wicket and becoming increasingly difficult to time the ball.

If a team makes a particularly fast start, it might be worth going ‘unders’ on the innings runs lines because it will be tricky to keep scoring at a high run rate.

Key Men

Bangladesh – Mustafizur Rahman

Normally, this would be Shakib Al Hasan because he can win matches with either bat or ball. But in his absence, Mustafizur Rahman will be their key bowler. ‘The Fizz’, as they call him, can bowl about six different balls in one over, ranging from off-cutters to yorkers and slower-ball bouncers.

He’s a wicket-taker with the new ball but it’s at the death that he really earns his corn. At times he’s absolutely unplayable because you never know what delivery you’re going to get next.

Zimbabwe – Sean Williams

That man Williams isn’t ranked 2 in the all-rounder rankings for nothing.  He bowls slow left-arm orthodox with great control and has a knack for luring batsmen into making mistakes.

With the bat he can come in anywhere between four and seven and his healthy career strike rate of 120 suggests that while he’s not exactly explosive with the bat, he’s no slouch, either. His strength lies in finding gaps and playing the ball into unorthodox areas.

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Best Bet

Taylor hasn’t had it all his own way on this Tour. But form is temporary, and class is permanent as they say, and there’s no classier batsman in Zimbabwe’s line-up than the ex-national skipper. He scored a quickfire 27 off 16 in a loss to Afghanistan last year on this very ground so has found his feet at Dhaka before. Expect another measured and composed knock from the former Notts star

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South Africa to Deliver Whitewash Victory Over Aussies

South Africa wrapped up the ODI series in Bloemfontein with a fine performance to defeat Australia by six wickets.

Janneman Malan produced the match-winning innings, scoring an unbeaten century to guide his team to the victory with nine balls to spare. The Aussies had no answer for his poise at the crease, while he elevated the rate of his knock to secure the series.

Lungi Ngidi was also extremely impressive in the contest, notching career-best figures of 6-58 from his 10 overs. Ngidi put the Baggy Greens on the back foot with his burst removing David Warner, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne – striking with back-to-back balls to dismiss Smith and Labuschagne.

Although D’Arcy Short and Aaron Finch scored half-centuries, Australia’s total looked short of par at the Mangaung Oval.

Malan proved it to be the case with his first ODI century, carrying his team over the line even after captain Quinton de Kock fell for a second-ball duck. Australia’s potent pace attack of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins failed to make a decisive impact. Finch’s men now need to win in Potchefstroom to avoid a 3-0 defeat, ensuring that they leave South Africa on a positive note.

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Can South Africa Complete the Whitewash?

The Proteas were denied a series win over England, but have held their composure to overcome the Aussies. De Kock and coach Mark Boucher will be desperate for their team to keep up the winning habit and end the series with another strong performance. South Africa had gone a year without triumphing in a bilateral series. The team have undergone a lot of changes recently, with De Kock inheriting the captaincy from Faf du Plessis.

He will be pleased to see that his new-look side are trending in the right direction even if his own form has been poor. If you said before the series that De Kock would struggle, the chances of South Africa claiming even one victory would have been slim.

However, Heinrich Klaasen and Malan both made their breakthroughs to ease the pressure on their skipper. It bodes well for the future of the team that the duo to thrived under the spotlight against a quality bowling attack.

Ngidi has come to the fore with the ball to fill the void left by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Kagiso Rabada was also forced to miss the series due to injury, making the ease of their triumph even more impressive. There are encouraging signs in the bowling ranks as Anrich Nortje and Tabraiz Shamsi have found their feet at the highest level.

The Proteas are cultivating the depth in resources needed to become a quality outfit. Ngidi is the star that can cause even the best batsmen in the world a host of problems. If he is on form once again expect the home side to record the victory.

Will Australia End Their Tour With A Win?

After beating the Proteas in the T20I series, the Aussies would have been hopeful of maintaining their form into the ODIs. However, it has not been the case as Finch’s men have been outplayed by the home side in both games.

Australia have been off the boil in the 50-over game for a quite a while, winning only two out of their last nine bilateral series. Their performance at the World Cup last year reaching the semi-finals perhaps masked their deficiencies, especially in the batting ranks.

Warner and Finch at the top of the order have not been consistent, while Smith has struggled with the pace of his innings. Although he scored 76 in the opener, the 30-year-old did not play with a tempo that suggested he was capable of driving the Baggy Greens’ home.

It could prompt changes in the future, although one temporary measure could see the promotion of Short up the order. Other than there’s not a great deal Australia can do at the moment.

Cummins and Starc were frustrated at Bloemfontein, with neither paceman being at their best. Josh Hazlewood, Jhye Richardson or Kane Richardson may come into the fold. The Aussies could go with an extra quick anyway after opting for two spinners in the second ODI.

Whatever they decide to do, the Baggy Greens have to perform to a higher standard with the ball at Potchefstroom to save themselves from a whitewash defeat.

Conditions

The weather should be perfect in Potchefstroom throughout the contest on Saturday. It’s forecast for bright sunshine from the start of the day until the evening. Temperatures will be at a high of 28°C during the match, making it perfect for the players and the spectators.

Pitches have been on the slow side given that the season is almost at an end. It would not be a surprise to see another slow burner at Senwes Park.

Prediction

South Africa are rolling at the moment and appear to have the measure of the Aussies in the 50-over format. None of the Australia batsmen seem comfortable at the crease with pace off the ball. Ngidi has been able to adapt to conditions better than his counterparts and will once again be the difference between the two sides. De Kock has been underwhelming with the bat, but he’s too much of a quality player to be held down for this long. The 27-year-old will be desperate to sign off for the campaign with a substantial knock to send out a statement that the Proteas are back.

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Best Bet

Heinreich Klaasen has been outstanding in the series to date, notching a century and a half-century in the two matches. He has boosted his average to 35.41 and seems to have the measure of the Aussie bowlers.

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Our Dream11 Picks

South Africa v Australia 3rd ODI Dream11 Picks

PLAYING ROLENAME
WicketkeepersQuinton de Kock
BatsmenJannemann Malan

Heinrich Klaasen

Marnus Labuschagne

Steve Smith

All-RounderKeshav Maharaj

D’Arcy Short

BowlersAnrich Nortje

Lungi Ngidi

Pat Cummins

Mitchell Starc

Can India Fight Back to Level New Zealand Series?

New Zealand were outstanding in the opening Test of the series at Wellington to record a 10-wicket win over India. The tourists were inserted and dismissed for 165 as Tim Southee and debutant Kyle Jamieson tore through their batting ranks, with skipper Virat Kohli dismissed for only two.

Kane Williamson won the duel with his opposite number, although he missed out on a deserved century with a fine innings of 89. The Black Caps put 348 runs on the board, handing them a lead of 183.

India could only muster 191 in their second innings, allowing the hosts to chase down the nine runs required to secure the victory. It was the first defeat inflicted on Kohli’s side in the World Test Championship, and now the tourists are in danger of losing their first series of the competition.

New Zealand are rampant and have momentum on their side for the second Test. It would be a statement of intent by Williamson’s men to deliver another victory at the Hagley Oval, and improve their excellent record on home soil, although a draw will be good enough to seal the series.

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New Zealand are almost certainly going to stick with a winning formula for the second Test. Trent Boult came through the match after missing time due to a hand injury. The left-arm seamer was at his accurate best, taking five wickets in the match, including 4-39 in the second innings. Williamson also overcame his injury problems, leading the side after suffering from a shoulder problem that ruled him out of the ODIs.

Neil Wagner missed the opener after the birth of his child, but the performance of Jamieson on his Test debut will make it difficult for the Black Caps to leave him out. Jamieson also contributed 44 vital runs in the lower order. Spinner Ajaz Patel could be the man to miss out, with the potential for the home side to deploy an all-out pace attack. Williamson could chip in with overs of spin if that were to be the case.

Southee had an excellent game with the ball, striking nine times to continue his excellent record against India. Boult seemed to be finding his top gear in the second innings therefore he could be the man to back in Christchurch. He boasts an excellent record at the Hagley Oval with 37 wickets in just six matches at an average of 21.37.

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India were extremely poor in Wellington and may be mulling changes for the second Test. Prithvi Shaw was underwhelming at the top of the order and could make way to give Shubman Gill an opportunity opening the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal.

Hanuma Vihari failed to fire and might be replaced by Ravindra Jadeja, with the latter moving further down the batting ranks, which would see a promotion for Risbah Pant to number six. Other than that there’s not a great deal India can alter unless Jasprit Bumrah is dropped after taking only one wicket at Wellington. He has been struggling of late and could be rested for Umesh Yadav. It would be a bold call, but Bumrah has played a lot of cricket in recent months.

Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara failed to kick into gear in the middle order. With their lack of experience in the opening spots, India cannot afford to have their top players misfiring. It’s time for them to score valuable runs on the tour to save the series for the tourists. Batting will not be easy at the Hagley Oval and the potency of the New Zealand bowling attack will require excellence from one of the superstars in the batting ranks to earn the victory.

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Conditions

The weather in Christchurch appears to be fine for the opening four days of the contest. The first Test was wrapped up inside four days, which bodes well as there is light rain forecast for day five. It’s cloudy on the opening day and that could play into the hands of the seamers. Therefore it could be an important toss to win to capitalise on the favourable conditions.

Prediction

New Zealand were excellent in the first Test, especially with the ball. They play at such a high standard on home soil and will be relentless in their pursuit of a series victory. Wagner’s return will only boost the quality of their bowling attack.

There will be no release valve for the India batsmen in the middle, while even Kohli and Pujara were off the pace in the opener. The Black Caps have a formidable record at the Hagley Oval, winning four of the six matches played at the venue, losing only once. Expect them to continue their dominant form with another win.

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Tom Latham missed out in Wellington, but he has been a solid player for the Black Caps at the top of the innings. He has a good record at the Hagley Oval, averaging 43.18 with a high score of 176.

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Our Dream11 Picks India v New Zealand 2nd Test Match

PLAYING ROLENAME
WicketkeepersBJ Watling
BatsmenVirat Kohli

Shubman Gill

Kane Williamson

Ross Taylor

Tom Latham

All RoundersColin de Grandhomme

Ravindra Jadeja

BowlersJasprit Bumrah

Tim Southee

Trent Boult

Can Sri Lanka Secure the ODI Series Against the West Indies?

The two sides played out a thriller in the opening match of the series, but Wanindu Hasaranga played the vital knock for Sri Lanka to guide them to a one-wicket win. The West Indies played well enough in the contest but lacked a clinical edge when they needed it the most.Shai Hope continued his excellent ODI record by scoring the ninth century of his career. His innings allowed the visitors to post a competitive score of 289/7 from their 50 overs after being aided from late hitting by Keemo Paul and Hayden Walsh.

Avishka Fernando and Dimuth Karunaratne led the response for the Lions. Both players scored half-centuries at the top of the order, while Kusal Perera added 42. However, once they were dismissed it appeared as though the home side would slip to a defeat amid quality bowling from Alzarri Joseph.

Hasaranga handled the pressure to deliver the victory for his team. He struck four boundaries and a six to take them over the line with five balls to spare. Sri Lanka are now in position to secure the series in Hambantota.

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Sri Lanka are unlikely to change a winning team for the second match of the series. Their top order performed well without going on to make the substantial match-winning score. Fernando continued where he left off against the Windies at the World Cup with a fine fifty, while Karunaratne found his form in the middle after time away from the international scene.

The experience in the middle of the batting ranks failed to thrive, which forced Hasaranga into action. Kusal Mendis made only 20 and Angelo Mathews also struggled. Both players have proven quality and are not going to be dropped after one bad game, but there will be the expectation for them to improve.

Sri Lanka’s bowling attack looked a concern before the game and it remain an issue despite the victory. Isuru Udana took three wickets to lead the team, but he also conceded 82 runs from his 10 overs. Nuwan Pradeep bowled accurately to finish with figures of 1-42. Outside of the right-arm seamer there is not a lot of quality, which could leave them exposed in the second match.

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The West Indies will be furious that they were unable to close out the win. They seemingly had the game in hand after reducing the Lions to 262/8 in the 46th over. However, they were unable to hold their nerve as the usually reliable Sheldon Cottrell failed to keep the clamps on Hasaranga.

Joseph continued to enhance his reputation in the 50-over format with another impressive outing. He claimed three wickets to dismiss Fernando, Mathews and Thisara Perera. Kieron Pollard should throw the ball to his paceman in the key moments in the future as he has the prowess to change games. The rest of the attack were solid enough outside of Cottrell’s struggles at the death.

Hope was outstanding to score yet another century in the 50-over format. He boosted his average to 51.90, matching the greats of the game with his consistency and excellence at the crease. Hope had to play well as there was not a lot of support from the rest of the line-up.

The Windies missed the presence of Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis. Roston Chase made a decent knock of 41 in the middle order, while Darren Bravo notched 39. However, more is required from the rest of the batting ranks to back up the efforts of Hope at the top.

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Conditions

The weather will be perfect in Hambantota on Wednesday. The forecast predicts it will be a sunny day throughout, with the temperature sitting at 32° for the afternoon. It will be a nice day to be in the field to soak up the sun, while the hardness of the pitch and the ground should allow for a high-scoring contest.

Prediction

The Windies should have been able to close out the first match of the series. Sri Lanka were bailed out by a fine performance from Hasaranga at the death to deliver the victory. The home side were decent enough, but there are still concerns over the quality of their bowling ranks.

It was good enough to get by in Colombo, although the Windies’ middle order was not able to properly capitalise. Expect a stronger effort from the visitors in the second match with the bat and ball in clutch situations to send the series into a decider.

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Shai Hope is a class act in the West Indies’ batting line-up. He notched a brilliant century in the opener and is a model of consistency at the top of the order for the tourists. Expect him to thrive once more with another substantial innings.

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Our Dream11 Picks Sri Lanka v West Indies 2nd ODI Match

PLAYING ROLENAME
WicketkeepersShai Hope

Kusal Perera

BatsmenDarren Bravo

Dimuth Karunaratne

Angelo Mathews

Avishka Fernando

All RoundersKieron Pollard

Jason Holder

BowlersNuwan Pradeep

Alzarri Joseph
Keemo Paul

Who Will Get the Early Edge: Sri Lanka or the West Indies?

Sri Lanka and the West Indies face off in the first match of their ODI series in Colombo on Saturday. The two sides enter the series in the doldrums of the world rankings, placing in eighth and ninth respectively. They both failed to qualify from the group stage of the World Cup, while their form since the end of the tournament has not been great. Sri Lanka did beat Bangladesh on home soil by a 3-0 margin last year, but they then were defeated 2-0 on their tour of Pakistan, although they were without several key players. The Lions remain in a rebuild mode and captain Dimuth Karunaratne has a major challenge in reversing the fortunes of the team to get them up the world rankings, beginning with the Windies.

The West Indies played out a thrilling series against India at the end of last year. There were signs of progress, although they lost 2-1 to Virat Kohli’s men on the road. Kieron Pollard’s side bounced backed with three strong performances to defeat Ireland on home soil in January. There’s emerging talent in the squad, but the Windies must develop the consistency that has evaded them for too long in the 50-over format.

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Sri Lanka will be boosted by the return of their senior men after they opted not to tour Pakistan amid security concerns. Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva and Karunaratne all make their comebacks. However, the Lions will be without Danushka Gunathilaka for the series after he suffered a back injury. The 28-year-old scored a brilliant hundred in a losing effort against Pakistan, and his absence will force a re-shuffle in the ranks.

Dickwella should return to the top of the order even after his disagreement with the Sri Lankan Cricket Board over an appearance in the Caribbean Premier League. The 26-year-old is one of the rising stars of the team and must be utilised correctly by his country. Avishka Fernando is another bright talent and the Windies know all about his pedigree as the 21-year-old notched his maiden ODI century against them in the World Cup last year.

Sri Lanka’s bowling ranks are not the strongest heading into the series. There is a lot of pressure on Nuwan Pradeep to use his experience to lead the attack. Other than him, playing time at the highest level is thin on the ground, although Wanindu Hasaranga has looked promising in the T20 arena.

The West Indies edged out Ireland in their last series to win only their second bilateral series in five years. It was an important victory for Pollard as he aims to stamp his authority on the team. They played out a close series with India before that, which suggests that after years of underachievement, the Windies are starting to move in the right direction.

There is talent emerging in the ranks, none more so than the impressive Shai Hope, who boasts an outstanding record in the 50-over format. Hope has been the foundation of his side’s batting performances in recent times, notching eight centuries in his 75 matches with an average of 50.81.

He will be without the support of Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer, with both players being left out of the squad due after failing fitness tests. Lewis and Hetmyer have displayed exceptional talent at international level, but the Windies have made a statement regarding the future of the team and the standards of conditioning by opting to leave them out.

Sheldon Cottrell has provided reliability in the bowling ranks. The 30-year-old has been a model of consistency with the new ball and will once again lead the attack. Alzarri Joseph is one of the most exciting players to emerge for the Windies, starring against Ireland by taking eight wickets at an average of just 12.62. He has the pace to trouble the Sri Lankan batsmen.

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Conditions

Unfortunately, the weather is not looking great in Colombo on Saturday for a full game. The match should get underway in the morning without issue, although there are thunderstorms and rain forecast for the afternoon. It could force an abandonment or a reduced number of overs for the side chasing. It will be an important toss to win for the two captains.

Prediction

If you take the weather forecast out of the equation, it should be a close game between two evenly matched sides. Sri Lanka have a point to prove on home soil and their returning players will aid their cause. There is a lot of talent in their batting ranks, although there are concerns over the experience and quality of their bowlers.

It will take one of their bowlers to emerge to put pressure on the Windies. The tourists seem to have a balanced side and might just have enough to claim the victory in the first match of the series, with their bowling attack giving them the edge in Colombo.

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Niroshan Dickwella will be eager to prove a point at the top of the innings for Sri Lanka. He averages 61 in his two matches against the Windies. Expect him to rise to the occasion in Colombo.

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Our Dream11 Picks Sri Lanka v West Indies 1st ODI Match

PLAYING ROLENAME
WicketkeepersShai Hope

Niroshan Dickwella

BatsmenDarren Bravo

Dimuth Karunaratne

Angelo Mathews

All RoundersKieron Pollard

Jason Holder

Roston Chase

BowlersSheldon Cottrell

Alzarri Joseph
Wanindu Hasaranga

Will New Zealand Build on Momentum in First Test?

New Zealand and India lock horns once again after a slight break following the one-day internationals. The Black Caps got their revenge in spectacular fashion following their defeat in the T20I series. India whitewashed the hosts in the 20-over format, winning five matches on the bounce. However, New Zealand turned the tables by winning three-straight matches in the ODI arena.

This hands Kane Williamson’s side momentum for the two-match Test series, which begins in Wellington. There are points to play for in the World Test Championship. India are leading the table having won all seven of their matches and all three series in the competition. New Zealand are down in sixth place and need to find their form in the tournament.

The Black Caps have a strong record at home in Test matches under the tenure of Williamson. They’ve lost only one of the eight series under his captaincy, which came at the hands of South Africa in 2017.

India will not find life easy against the hosts, especially considering that their key players have looked off the boil on the tour thus far. The visitors will need to be at their best to defeat Williamson’s men at the Basin Reserve.

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New Zealand will welcome back Williamson into the fold after he missed the ODI series with a shoulder injury. The Black Caps captain will solidify the top order, although his team-mates were more than up to the challenge in the 50-over format. BJ Watling returns to take the gloves from Tom Latham that will send the latter back to his spot as opener.

Perhaps an even bigger boost than Williamson’s return is Trent Boult’s comeback from a hand injury. The 30-year-old will spearhead the bowling attack alongside Tim Southee and Neil Wagner. His importance cannot be understated given his exceptional quality in home conditions.

New Zealand do face a decision whether to employ a spinner with Ajaz Patel in the squad, although they could use four seamers as Kyle Jamieson made a decisive impact during the ODI series in his first taste of international cricket.

India have to respond to their defeat at the hands of the Black Caps in the ODIs. They were lacklustre in all department and even their two star men, Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah were well off the pace.

The team have been a different prospect in Test match cricket of late, dominating all three of their last opponents, although New Zealand will present a tougher challenge.

There is new blood that will come into the side. Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Risbah Pant, Ishant Sharma and Hanuma Vihari are all available after missing out on the limited-overs side.

Pujara and Rahane will provide experience and stability to the India batting line-up that was lacking in the ODIs. Ashwin will lock down the spinner’s spot in the line-up, aiming to display the consistency that evaded Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

Kohli has a lot to work with in his squad but must find the best balance. It has been a while since they have been in action in the five-day format and they cannot be caught cold.

The 30-year-old will also have concerns about his own form, which has been leaner than expected since his arrival in New Zealand. There’s more than enough talent for India to win in Wellington. Look out for opener Mayank Agarwal, who has been a star in the World Test Championship to date.

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Conditions

The forecast for the contest at the Basin Reserve is not looking great for a complete game. Expect there to be rain on days two and three, although at the moment it is scheduled to be in the morning.

It could affect the potential of a result, although on the other hand it could hand both sets of bowlers a huge advantage, especially if the ball swings.

There have been results in seven out of the last nine matches played in Wellington. Therefore, it should be a good pitch and hopefully the forecast rain is brief, with days four and five predicted to be bright sunshine.

Prediction

New Zealand are a very strong unit on home soil and have momentum on their side. The return of Boult completes their potent three-man attack, which has the ability to put India’s batting line-up under pressure.

Williamson will be eager to prove a point with the bat after missing out on his side’s ODI triumph due to injury. Ross Taylor was already in impressive form, which highlights the talent New Zealand boast in their middle order.

Kohli and Bumrah have not been at their best and if they fail once again, it will leave India exposed to their first defeat of the World Test Championship. The Black Caps are unbeaten in their last three matches at the Basin Reserve and expect them to extend their run with a victory over the tourists.

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Kane Williamson missed the ODI series and will have a point to prove. He has an excellent record at the Basin Reserve, boasting an average of 65.50 with three centuries in 12 matches.

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Our Dream11 Picks

1st Test Our Dream11 Picks India v New Zealand

PLAYING ROLENAME
WicketkeepersBJ Watling
BatsmenKane Williamson

Ross Taylor

Mayank Agarwal

Cheteshwar Pujara

All RoundersHanuma Vihari

Ravichandran Ashwin

BowlersTrent Boult

Jasprit Bumrah

Tim Southee

Mohammed Shami

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