Firstpost Spodcast Episode 225: Australia's win over Pakistan at World Cup, Rishabh Pant's inclusion in Indian squad and more

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David Warner scored his first international century since completing the ball-tampering ban, thereby setting up Australia's 41-run win over Pakistan in the World Cup on Wednesday.

It was a seesaw game where fortunes shifted more than once. Batting first, Australia looked set for a total in excess of 350 while Warner and captain Aaron Finch, who made an assertive 82 runs, were at the crease. Warner and Finch put together 146 runs for the first wicket, their best opening stand in the tournament so far. After a cautious start, the two batsmen scored more freely off Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez. Mohammad Amir, who was in great form, dismissed Finch in the 22nd over, and Australia's scoring slowed down. At189/2 in the 29th over, Steve Smith tried to up the ante but perished. Glenn Maxwell hit a few boundaries but only flattered to deceive. Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja were also ineffective as Pakistan's bowlers kept things tight.

Australia were 307 all out with an over to spare. Amir was the pick of the bowlers, taking 5/30, his best bowling figures in ODIs.

Pakistan's batting got off to a less than steady start but stabilized, only to suffer a collapse and end 266 all out with more than 4 overs to spare. Opener Imam-ul-Haq made 53 off 75 balls and steadied the innings with a 54-run second-wicket partnership with Babar Azam, who made 28, after the early dismissal of Fakhar Zaman. Hafeez and Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed scored 46 and 40 respectively, as Pakistan turned things around and, for a while, looked on course to a safe win. But Australia's bowlers took wickets regularly to ensure they never let Pakistan get too far ahead of the game. Hasan Ali blazed away to 32 off 15 balls before Mitchell Starc closed out the game at the death with his trademark precision. A bit of brilliance in the field by Maxwell saw Sarfaraz run out in the 46th over as Australia won convincingly in the end. Pat Cummins was the pick of Australia's bowlers, taking 3/33.
Australia now have 3 wins and 1 loss from 4 matches while Pakistan have 2 losses and just one win in 4 matches.

Despite denials from BCCI sources on Monday, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will be joining the Indian team as cover for injured opener Shikhar Dhawan in England. Pant reached England after receiving clearance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India on Tuesday night.

This is a surprise move, much like his exclusion from the squad in the first place. His arrival will be a day before India's game against New Zealand and he won't be considered a replacement till the time the team management takes a final call on Dhawan's availability for the rest of the tournament. Former players like Sunil Gavaskar advocated for his inclusion in the squad in case Dhawan fails to recover quickly enough for India.

The Indian team management will be monitoring Dhawan's recovery and if they feel it is not going according to plan, then the BCCI will officially request the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a replacement. Dhawan was assessed by specialists in Leeds even as the team travelled to Nottingham where the fracture was confirmed. He has a hairline fracture on his left thumb sustained during his match-winning hundred in the clash against Australia on Sunday. As per a report by ESPNCricinfo, the medical team has assured the selectors that Dhawan will be fit by around 30 June.

Indian head coach Ravi Shastri and his support staff were granted a 45-day extension on their contracts by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators(CoA). Shastri's team includes assistant coach Sanjay Bangar, bowling coach Bharat Arun, and fielding coach R Sridhar.

Ravi Shastri was appointed head coach of the Indian cricket team in July 2017 by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), which was made up of former cricketers Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.

The minutes of the CoA meeting read, "After some discussion, the CoA decided that the contracts for the support staff can be extended by 45 days on an ad-hoc basis and that interviews of the support staff should be conducted after the World Cup."

The minutes of the meeting noted that the CAC would remain a part of any further discussions, stating, 'as the CAC's involvement is required for the purpose of selecting a Head Coach...the BCCI management should speak to the members of CAC and ascertain what is their expectation vis-à-vis remuneration...and a draft...should be prepared...for CoA's consideration'.

The Indian men's recurve team of Tarundeep Rai, Praveen Ramesh Jadhav and Atanu Das beat Canada 5-3 in the second round of the World Archery Championship in Den Bosch, the Netherlands.

By qualifying for the quarter-finals, India have sealed three quota places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

India, ranked 11th as compared to the sixth-placed Canadian team of Eric Peters, Crispin Duenas and Brian Maxwell, triumphed in four sets. India won the first set 2-0, 56-55. They then extended the lead to make it 4-0, by winning the second set 57-56 before Canada came back to make it 4-2 by winning the third set 58-54. The fourth set was split 57-57 between the two teams, allowing India to hold on to their two-point lead.

India will next take on third-ranked Chinese Taipei in the last-eight on Thursday.

The women's team, ranked sixth in the world, were also in contention to book quotas for the Olympics but lost 2-6 to 11th-ranked Belarus in the second round of women's recurve.

Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.

Updated Date: Jun 13, 2019 13:27:18 IST