Kohli’s India end West Indies World Cup hopes

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India’s captain Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring fifty runs during the Cricket World Cup match between India and West Indies at Old Trafford in Manchester. (AP Photo)
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India’s Mohammed Shami, left, celebrates the dismissal of West Indies’ Oshane Thomas, during the Cricket World Cup encounter at Old Trafford in Manchester. (AP Photo)
Updated 27 June 2019

Kohli’s India end West Indies World Cup hopes

  • Kohli top-scored with 72 to lay the foundations for India’s 268 for seven after electing to bat first at Manchester’s Old Trafford
  • The Indian bowlers, led by paceman Mohammed Shami, then dismissed West Indies for 143 in 34.2 overs to end the West Indies’ hopes of progressing

MANCHESTER: Skipper Virat Kohli’s gritty half-century and an incisive bowling performance powered India to a comprehensive 125-run win over West Indies on Thursday, all but assuring them of a spot in the World Cup semifinals.
Kohli top-scored with 72 to lay the foundations for India’s 268 for seven after electing to bat first at Manchester’s Old Trafford.
The Indian bowlers, led by paceman Mohammed Shami, then dismissed West Indies for 143 in 34.2 overs to end the West Indies’ hopes of progressing.
India, who have displaced England as the top-ranked one-day team, remain the only unbeaten side in the tournament and need just one victory from their remaining three league games to guarantee a semifinals berth.
West Indies joined Afghanistan and South Africa as the three teams to bow out of the race for the final four so far.
“We can’t complain, we have just become the number one side in the world and we have been playing like that for a while now,” said captain and man-of-the-match Kohli.
“Things hadn’t gone our way with the bat in the last few games but we have found a way to win.”
Shami, who took a hat-trick in the previous game, returned figures of 4-16, removing the dangerous Chris Gayle early after a scratchy innings from the opener.
But it was Kohli who set up the win as he became fastest batsman to reach 20,000 international runs in his 417th innings — India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Caribbean batsman Brian Lara both required 453 international innings to reach the landmark.
Wicketkeeper-batsman M.S. Dhoni and Hardik Pandya boosted the total, putting on 70 runs for the sixth wicket to punish the otherwise-disciplined bowlers.
Pandya hit 46 off 38 balls while Dhoni remained unbeaten on 56, ending the innings with a big six.
The West Indies bowlers, led by paceman Kemar Roach, had kept India in check until the latter stages, stemming the flow of runs with regular wickets.
Roach returned impressive figures of 3-36 in his 10 overs, including the wicket of India opener Rohit Sharma for 18.
Kohli, whose 82-ball knock included eight boundaries, extended his fine run of form with some eye-catching shots that charmed a partisan crowd at Old Trafford.
West Indies were in trouble early in their reply when Gayle mistimed a short ball from Shami and was caught by Kedar Jadhav to the left of mid-on after struggling to just six runs off 19 balls.
Shai Hope tried to take the Shami on and hit him for a boundary but the bowler responded by rattling his stumps with the next ball as West Indies slipped to 16-2.
It was all downhill from there for a struggling Caribbean side who failed to maintain momentum after their opening World Cup win against Pakistan.
Paceman Jasprit Bumrah and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took two wickets each.
West Indies captain Jason Holder said: “The bowlers did a fantastic job on this surface. I couldn’t ask for more but we let ourselves down with the bat.
“We didn’t seize the moment but I would have taken chasing 268. We didn’t do it.
“We have let ourselves down significantly in this tournament. The bowlers had a reasonable campaign but our batting has been too inconsistent. This is our weakest format of the three.”
Two-time champions India next play hosts England in Birmingham on Sunday.

Free-scoring Salzburg pose serious threat to leaky Liverpool

Updated 10 December 2019

Free-scoring Salzburg pose serious threat to leaky Liverpool

  • Injury-hit Reds have consistently leaked goals despite streaking clear at the top of Premier League

LONDON: Liverpool travel to Salzburg on Tuesday needing to avoid defeat to the confident Austrian champions to guard against an embarrassing Champions League group stage exit for the holders.

Jurgen Klopp's men are used to getting through to the knockout stages the hard way. In each of the past two seasons they have needed home wins to secure a place in the last 16 before going on to make the final.

However, the specter of a free-scoring Salzburg, led by the Champions League's top scorer in Erlin Braut Haaland spells trouble for an injury-hit Liverpool backline that has consistently leaked goals this season despite streaking clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds' recorded a first clean sheet in 14 games in Saturday's 3-0 win at Bournemouth, but lost another center back as Dejan Lovren limped off in the first half.

Should the Croatian miss the trip to Austria, Joe Gomez will be Klopp's only fit partner for Virgil van Dijk in central defense.

Van Dijk narrowly missed out to Lionel Messi in the battle for the Ballon d'Or last week in recognition of the transformative effect he has had on Liverpool's fortunes over the past two years.

But even the towering Dutchman has been incapable of stopping the steady flow of goals against in recent months.

Injuries have meant there has been a constant rotation of Lovren, Gomez and Joel Matip alongside Van Dijk, while the attacking impetus offered by fullbacks Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold leaves space in behind to be exploited.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker also missed the first two months of the season due to a calf injury to further unsettle the backline.

The Brazilian is now back, but another injury to Fabinho has robbed the back four of the best player to protect them in the holding midfield role.

"I forgot how it feels, to be honest," said Klopp on finally ending the long wait for a clean sheet at the weekend.

"It's great, we should have them more often. It was the most-used word in the dressing room by the boys — "clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet."

"Obviously everybody was desperate for that, now we have it so let's have it more often.

"The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner, against Salzburg on Tuesday."

That is easier said than done as Liverpool know from their first meeting with Jesse Marsch's men in October.

The hosts seemed to be cruising to another Anfield win in the Champions League as they raced into a 3-0 lead, but Salzburg hit back to level at 3-3 before Mohamed Salah's winner ensured Liverpool edged a seven-goal thriller.

Salzburg have scored 87 goals in 24 games in all competitions this season, 28 of which have come from Norwegian wonderkid Haaland in just 21 appearances.

The 19-year-old started on the bench when the sides met at Anfield due to injury, but came on to inspire the visitors' revival in the second half and scored one of his eight Champions League goals.

"He's not the only threat from Salzburg but he's a proper one," said Klopp of the danger posed by Haaland ahead of the sides' first clash.

Salzburg need to win to make the last 16 on their first appearance in the group stage in 25 years.

A point would be enough for Liverpool to progress, but they need to win to secure top spot in Group E ahead of Napoli.

Given Liverpool's paucity of clean sheets and Salzburg's thirst for goals, attack would appear to be the best form of defencse for the European champions.