Firstpost Spodcast Episode 240: England beat New Zealand to enter Cricket World Cup semi-finals, Ambati Rayudu retires and more

In today's episode of Spodcast, we discuss England's impressive victory over New Zealand at the ICC Cricket World Cup, Ambati Rayudu retires from international cricket and more.

FP Sports July 04, 2019 15:49:51 IST
Firstpost Spodcast Episode 240: England beat New Zealand to enter Cricket World Cup semi-finals, Ambati Rayudu retires and more
  • England bulldozed their way into the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, defeating New Zealand by 119 runs in their final league match.

  • A senior BCCI hinted that India's last match in the ongoing World Cup, in all likelihood, will also be Mahendra Singh Dhoni's last game in India colours.

  • In a surprising development, India batsman Ambati Rayudu announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday.

England bulldozed their way into the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, defeating New Zealand by 119 runs in their final league match. This is the first time since 1992 that England have qualified for the semi-finals.

Batting first, England got off to another great start as Jonny Bairstow scored his second century in two games. The formidable opening pair of Jason Roy and Bairstow brought up the 100 in just the 15th over and looked set for more until Roy fell on 60 in the 19th over. Joe Root added quick runs with Bairstow, taking the hosts to 194/1 in 30 overs but Root, Bairstow, and Jos Buttler fell in quick succession thanks to some excellent bowling, especially the ever reliable Trent Boult. Bairstow made 106 runs from 99 balls. Eoin Morgan then scored a steady 42 from 40 balls to steer the innings back on track but England eventually managed only 111 runs in the last 20 overs to finish on 305/8.

In reply, New Zealand’s batting suffered from the now usual top-order collapse. Martin Guptill’s and Henry Nichols’ disastrous run of form at the World Cup showed no signs of abating – both were back in the pavilion before the sixth over was completed. At 14/2, it required yet another Kane Williamson rescue act to ensure New Zealand made it to the semis safely. Williamson put on 47 runs for the third wicket with old warhorse Ross Taylor but he was dismissed off an unlucky run out. Fast bowler Mark Wood got his fingertips to a Taylor straight drive and deflected the ball onto the non-striker's stumps with Williamson out of his ground. Taylor fell eight runs later while attempting a suicidal second run. After a brief comedic stoppage when a streaker ran onto the field, the Black Caps lost Tom Latham, who top scored with 57, dashing all hopes of a revival. Wood took 3/34 from 9 overs as England dismissed New Zealand for a paltry 186 in 45 overs. Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were exceptional with the ball. Stokes gave away just 10 runs in five overs while Archer conceded a mere 17 runs in seven overs.

Big news from Indian cricket yesterday, but not an unexpected one. A senior BCCI hinted on Wednesday that India's last match in the ongoing World Cup, in all likelihood, will also be Mahendra Singh Dhoni's last game in India colours.

The current selection committee, which is likely to stay till the October AGM, is expected to begin the changeover process looking at the ICC World T20 in Australia next year.
The BCCI official said, “You never know with MS Dhoni. But it is unlikely that he will continue to play for India after this World Cup. But since his decisions to quit captaincy from the three formats have been taken so suddenly, it is very difficult to predict at the moment.”

In a surprising development, India batsman Ambati Rayudu announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday.

According to News18, Rayudu wrote in an email sent to BCCI, “I would like to bring to your kind notice that I have come to the decision to step away from the sport and retire from all forms and levels of the game. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the BCCI and all the state associations that I have represented which include Hyderabad, Baroda, Andhra and Vidharbha. I also would like to thank the two IPL franchises MI and CSK for their support. It has been an honour and privilege to have represented our country. I would like to thank the captains I have played under, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and especially Virat Kohli who always had shown great belief in me throughout my career with the Indian team. It has been a wonderful journey of playing the sport and learning from every up and down it brought up on for the last 25 years at various different levels. Finally, I would like to thank my family and all the well-wishers who have been with me throughout this wonderful journey.”

In tennis news, three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka was knocked out of Wimbledon on Wednesday, falling in five sets to American player Reilly Opelka.

Two-time quarter-finalist Wawrinka, was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 by Opelka, the tallest man in the sport at 6’11” and 13 years his junior. Opelka fired 23 aces and 59 winners during the match.

He will next face either 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada or Robin Haase of the Netherlands. He will be appearing in the third round at a Slam for the first time having never won a grass court match in his career prior to coming to Wimbledon.

In the women’s draw, Russia's Margarita Gasparyan was forced to retire when she was just two points from victory against Ukraine eighth seed Elina Svitolina. World number 62 Gasparyan was 7-5, 5-4 ahead when she collapsed to the ground on Court Three, suffering from cramping. Though she tried to continue, the Russian, who has undergone three knee surgeries in her career, was forced to quit. Svitolina said, “I was a little bit shocked, it's never nice to get this when someone is injured like that. It's really unfortunate for her."

Football news to wrap things up. Manchester City are set to sign Atletico Madrid's Rodrigo Hernandez for a club-record 70 million euros after activating the midfielder's release clause on Wednesday.
Atletico confirmed that City have paid the $79 million fee which automatically terminates Rodrigo's contract with the Spanish club. Rodrigo's departure will secure a considerable profit for Atletico, who spent around 20 million euros last summer to re-sign the 23-year-old from Villarreal. City's previous club record signing was the £60 million they paid Leicester for Riyad Mahrez in 2018.

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