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World Cricket Roundup: September 22nd, 2011

India vs. England; Sri Lanka vs. Australia; Champions League Twenty20 Qualifiers


India's abysmal tour of England came to an end with yet another loss, but this game was anything but abysmal. Batting first, India rallied around magnificent century from Virat Kohli, with Rahul Dravid making 69 in his final ODI appearance for India and Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashing 50* off just 26 balls. Finishing at 304/6, it seemed like India had finally done enough to leave England on a high.







Despite the early loss of Craig Kieswetter, Alastair Cook put the questions of his ODI temperament to rest with a quickfire 50, supported by a similarly brisk half-century by Jonathan Trott. But with England cruising, India nipped out two quick wickets to bring themselves back into the game. With the rain causing a Duckworth-Lewis recalculation, it fell to Ravi Bopara to yet again step up to the plate to put England ahead, but the man of the moment was debutante Jonny Bairstow, who mauled 41 runs off 21 balls to win a tricky game for England with time to spare. It completed the whitewash, as India failed to win any of their international games on the tour, and England send the world champions and former #1 Test team in the world packing.


Sri Lanka's best batting performance in their Test series against Australia was enough to save the game, but not the series itself. Michael Hussey continued to solidify his presence in the Team with scores of 118 and 93, while Shaun Marsh continued to make good on his promise and potential with 81. Sri Lanka's batting was much more composed and assured than it has been in the past, but on a flat Colombo track, there wasn't much in it for the bowlers of either team. Michael Clarke's first Test century as captain pushed the game into a draw, and Australia left Sri Lanka having won both the ODI and Test series. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will have to trust that their new crop of bowlers will find their feet before too long.


The Champions League Twenty20 qualifiers weeded out two of the weaker teams before the tournament actually started. The Kolkata Knight Riders edged a close game against Auckland, who lost to Somerset and were eliminated. Trinidad & Tobago had no trouble seeing off Sri Lanka's Ruhuna and Leicestershire to qualify for the tournament proper. Ruhuna then beat Leicestershire, who were outright eliminated, but the close finish of the Somerset-Kolkata game meant that Ruhuna wouldn't qualify, either, as both of those teams made it through.


So if you're still with me, Trinidad & Tobago, Somerset and the Kolkata Knight Riders qualified for the Champions League Twenty20. I suppose it's good for the tournament that there's yet another IPL team in it (meaning, what, half the qualified teams are now Indian franchises), but with so much cricket being played and a lack of interest from Indian fans and sponsors, it's hard to get excited for what should, in theory, be a good experiment.