Sports Mole previews the 2023 Cricket World final between India and Australia, scheduled to be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.
After an incredible two months of captivating entertainment, only two sides remain as India prepare to take on Australia in the 2023 Cricket World Cup final at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.
In front of what is expected to be a sold-out crowd of 132,000 fans in Gujarat, India will be hoping to claim cricket’s premier trophy for the third time in their history, while Australia will be in search of a record-extending sixth title. ...Click Here To Continue Reading>>
India were sensational during the group stages and finished at the top of the pile with 18 points in their nine games and announced themselves as the side to bet in the tournament early on.
The Men in Blue claimed their 10th consecutive victory in the midweek semi-final over New Zealand, when Virat Kohli surpassed the great Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 centuries by recording his 50th ODI ton, helping his side to a huge total.
Shreyas Iyer was in fine form as well and also notched up a century with the bat, while Mohammed Shami tore through the Black Caps batting lineup, claiming an incredible seven wickets.
India will now be making an appearance in the ICC ODI World Cup final for the first time since 2011, when they went on to lift the trophy by beating Sri Lanka at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Aside from just the big prize on offer, this match offers the Indians an opportunity to get their revenge on this opponent, having lost to them in the ICC World Test Championship at the Oval earlier this year.
Meanwhile, after a very poor start to their 2023 CWC campaign, which included back-to-back losses in their first two matches of the tournament, Australia came storming back to win seven in a row and book their place in the final four.
That haul earned them 14 points, leaving them in third place in the group standings, four points behind India and level on points with South Africa, though the Proteas did post a better net run rate.
However, that mattered little as the two sides went into the semi-final during the week with a clean slate, but South Africa’s knockout-stage struggles surfaced once again, and the Aussies did not need a second invitation to move into the ascendancy.
A brisk innings of 62 runs at the top of the order from Travis Head put The Baggy Greens ahead of the required run rate, and despite the Proteas’ best efforts, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc saw their side over the line by three wickets.
The Aussies triumph in that encounter now sets up a rematch of the 2003 final, which they won convincingly in Johannesburg, but they are the clear underdogs this time, with most bookmakers making the Men in Blue the odds-on favourites to claim the title.
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India boast three of the top seven run-scorers in the 2023 Cricket World Cup, with Kohli amassing 711 runs in 10 innings with an average of 101.57, while Rohit Sharma and Iyer have also been in prolific form.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya was gutted when he was ruled out of the competition after injuring his ankle before the knockout stages, though the introduction of Shami has proven to be a masterstroke as the paceman currently leads the leading wicket-takers standings.
For the Aussies, David Warner and Mitchell Marsh have been pivotal in Australia’s run-scoring department during this tournament, with Warner accumulating 528 runs in 10 innings and Marsh notching up 426 in nine.
The comeback of opener Travis Head from injury has also provided Australia with additional batting depth, resulting in Marsh being positioned at three in the batting order, with Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell in the middle order.
Australia’s main wicket-taker in this competition has been leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who held the top wicket-taker position overall for an extended period before being surpassed by Shami in the semi-finals.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna, Suryakumar Yadav
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc
Series so far
Match One: India won by 6 wicketsAustralia – 199 (49.3)India – 201/4 (41.2)
Match Two: India won by 8 wicketsAfghanistan – 272/8 (50)India – 273/2 (35)
Match Three: India won by 7 wicketsPakistan – 191 (42.5)India – 192/3 (30.3)
Match Four: India won by 7 wicketsBangladesh – 256/8 (50)India – 261/3 (41.3)
Match Five: India won by 4 wicketsNew Zealand – 273 (50)India – 274/6 (48)
Match Six: India won by 100 runsIndia – 229/9 (50)England – 129 (34.5)
Match Seven: India won by 302 runsIndia – 357/8 (50Sri Lanka – 55 (19.2)
Match Eight: India won by 243 runsIndia – 326/5 (50)South Africa – 83 (27.1)
Match Nine: India won by 160 runsIndia – 410/4 (50)Netherlands – 250 (47.5)
Semi-final 1: India won by 70 runsIndia – 397/4 (50)New Zealand – 327 (48.5)
Match One: Australia lost by 6 wicketsAustralia – 199 (49.3)India – 201/4 (41.2)
Match Two: Australia lost by 134 runs South Africa – 311/7 (50)Australia – 177 (40.5)
Match Three: Australia won by 5 wicketsSri Lanka – 209 (43.3)Australia – 215/5 (35.2)
Match Four: Australia won by 62 runs Australia – 367/9 (50)Pakistan – 305 (45.2)
Match Five: Australia won by 309 runsAustralia – 399/8 (50)Netherlands – 90 (21)
Match Six: Australia won by 5 runsAustralia – 388 (49.2)New Zealand – 383/9 (50)
Match Seven: Australia won by 33 runsAustralia – 286 (49.3)England – 253 (48.1)
Match Eight: Australia won by 3 wicketsAfghanistan – 291/5 (50)Australia – 293/7 (46.5)
Match Nine: Australia won by 8 wickets Bangladesh – 306/8 (50)Australia – 307/2 (44.4)
Semi-final 2: Australia won by 3 wicketsSouth Africa – 212 (49.4)Australia – 215/7 (47.2)
We say: India to win
Australia have been here seven times in the past, and having claimed the title on five occasions, it is fair to say that they know how to get the job done on the biggest stage of them all. However, it is impossible to overlook just how dominant India have been in this competition as they have used the familiar conditions expertly and never really looked in any danger of being beaten in their 10 matches up to this point.
It is fitting that the two best ODI sides in the world have made it to the final, and while we are anticipating an almighty battle, we feel that the host nation will be the one to take the top step of the podium when all is said and done.
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Newcastle United rise to fifth with deserved win over Manchester United
Newcastle United jump to fifth in the Premier League table with a deserved 1-0 win over Manchester United at St James’ Park.
Newcastle United made it three successive wins against Manchester United in all tournaments for the first time in over 100 years with a deserved 1-0 Premier League victory over the tepid Red Devils at St James’ Park.
A succession of chances came and went for Eddie Howe’s men in the first half, but Man United’s luck ran out when Anthony Gordon fired home early in the second half to sink Erik ten Hag’s team – who were second best all afternoon – although a concerning injury to Nick Pope partially marred the Magpies’ success.
While a decimated Newcastle side put out the exact same XI from their Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain, a handful of changes from Ten Hag saw Anthony Martial, Kobbie Mainoo, Diogo Dalot and the returning Marcus Rashford come into the fold....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
However, Ten Hag’s alterations did little to stem the flow of a rampant Newcastle, who saw almost all of the ball in the opening stages and came close in the 18th minute through Miguel Almiron, but Andre Onana was equal to his low effort.
Alexander Isak and Jamaal Lascelles both came close in the few moments that followed; the former had a strike deflected wide by Harry Maguire before Lascelles headed over the bar, which was then shaking in the 40th minute as Kieran Trippier’s free kick landed just an inch too high.
Newcastle’s shot counter displayed a whopping 14 as the referee’s whistle blew to signal half time, but Man United’s clean sheet remained intact, mainly thanks to their hosts’ wastefulness in the final third.
Any harsh half-time words from Ten Hag clearly did not have the desired effect, as Newcastle finally made one of their many forays forward pay in the 55th minute, where Gordon gave the hosts a fully merited lead.
The sloppy Red Devils were punished for losing the ball in the defensive third, allowing Trippier to flash a low ball across the six-yard box, where Gordon was on hand to tap home at the back post.
The ex-Everton man’s opener saw him stretch his St James’ Park scoring streak to four successive Premier League matches, and Ten Hag responded by calling upon Antony and Rasmus Hojlund in place of the ineffective Martial and Rashford.
Man United’s alterations did little to spark any life into the meek visitors, who were indebted to Aaron Wan-Bissaka for making a crucial block to deny Lewis Miley in the 78th minute, but it was Fabian Schar’s turn to deny Sergio Reguilon from scoring a sensational volley with a terrific block of his own four minutes later.
As Pope dived to meet Reguilon’s blocked shot, though, the Newcastle number one injured himself and stayed down as Man United built their next attack, which was stopped in its tracks to allow the stricken Pope to receive treatment.
The Englishman was able to rise to his feet, but he was evidently struggling with his shoulder and slowly trudged off to be replaced by ex-Man United loanee Martin Dubravka.
The Newcastle number two had only been on the field a few moments before an Antony volley flew past him and into the back of the net, but Maguire – whom the ball took a nick off – was in an offside position, and the linesman’s flag came to the hosts’ rescue.
The Red Devils were granted nine minutes of additional time to try to find a leveller, but Newcastle stood firm to leapfrog their visitors into fifth spot in the table, bumping Ten Hag’s men down to seventh in the process.
Newcastle have four full days to rest up before a trip to Everton on Thursday, while Man United will return to their Old Trafford headquarters to meet Chelsea on Wednesday.
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Kobbie Mainoo ‘set to double Manchester United wages’
Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo is reportedly set to double his wages at Old Trafford on account of becoming a first-team regular for Erik ten Hag....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo is reportedly set to double his wages at Old Trafford following his first-team breakthrough.
The 18-year-old is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the Red Devils’ setup but was denied the chance to make an impression in the early stages of the 2023-24 campaign due to an ankle injury sustained in pre-season.
Mainoo took months to recover from the affliction, but the teenager has since exited the treatment room and was trusted by Erik ten Hag from the first whistle in last weekend’s 3-0 Premier League win over Everton.
Mainoo – who made his debut for the Red Devils against Charlton Athletic in a January EFL Cup clash – received high praise for a performance well beyond his years and was then brought off the bench for his Champions League debut against Galatasaray a few days later.
Sofyan Amrabat was given the nod in Europe instead of Mainoo, but the Fiorentina loanee was overlooked for the youngster in Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United, where the Red Devils fell to a 1-0 defeat.
Amid Man United’s indifferent form on the field and protracted takeover saga, Mainoo has been a shining light for the 20-time English champions, and his rapid rise is now set to be rewarded.
According to the Daily Star, Mainoo is currently on a modest £10,000 per week at the Theatre of Dreams, but his salary will soon double to £20,000 per week owing to a clause in his contract.
Back in February, the Red Devils tied the 2005-born lynchpin down to a new long-term deal until the end of the 2026-27 campaign, with the option of an additional 12 months.
Rather than Man United agreeing another fresh deal with Mainoo, the midfielder’s existing terms apparently include a clause stipulating that his wages will double in size once he becomes a first-team regular.
The report adds that Mainoo’s salary increase has not been triggered just yet, but he is “close” to taking home an extra £10,000 per week, and he would already be on a higher wage had he not spent a couple of months in the treatment room.
The 18-year-old – who has been with the club since the age of nine – completed 80 minutes of Saturday’s showdown with Newcastle, which was his sixth first-team appearance for the Red Devils.
However, Mainoo and his Man United teammates were run ragged by Newcastle, who deservedly picked up a 1-0 win in freezing temperatures thanks to a second-half Anthony Gordon goal.
Having also been beaten by the Magpies in this year’s EFL Cup and a 2-0 loss at St James’ Park in the 2022-23 Premier League, Man United have now suffered three successive defeats to Newcastle in all competitions for the first time since January 1922.
The Red Devils’ sixth league loss of the season has bumped them down to seventh place in the Premier League table, and the visit of Chelsea to Old Trafford is next up for Ten Hag’s troops on Wednesday.
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Xavi reveals he wanted to sign Alvaro Morata for Barcelona
Barcelona head coach Xavi reveals that he was keen on bringing Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata to Camp Nou....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
Barcelona head coach Xavi has revealed that he was keen on bringing Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata to Camp Nou.
For the past one-and-a-half seasons, the Blaugrana line has been led by Robert Lewandowski, who topped the La Liga scoring charts with 23 strikes en route to the top-flight title last season.
The former Bayern Munich man has already managed a respectable seven goals in the current top-flight campaign, although four players have netted more, including 11-goal leader Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid.
With a total of 27 strikes from 14 matches so far, Barcelona are the lowest scorers inside the top five of the La Liga table and have a seven-point gap to make up to Real Madrid and Girona.
Xavi’s side did strengthen their attack over the summer with the loan capture of Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid, while Raphinha, Ferran Torres and 16-year-old Lamine Yamal are alternative options in the final third.
However, Lewandowski is the only out-and-out senior centre-forward at the club, and speaking to reporters at a recent press conference, Xavi revealed that conversations were held with Morata.
The Barca boss waxed lyrical about Morata’s individual qualities and “world-class” connection with Antoine Griezmann, but he conceded that a summer transfer was not feasible.
“It’s true that I wanted to sign him. There was that possibility. I was talking to him and I wanted him in the team, but it couldn’t happen,” Goal quotes Xavi as saying.
“He’s a forward that I really like. Morata is a great forward. He is a generous footballer, who works a lot for the team, he works a lot.
“He goes very well into spaces and helps his teams a lot. I really like him a lot. With him and with [Antoine] Griezmann, Atletico has a world-class forward line.”
The well-travelled Morata has struggled to settle at various clubs throughout his career, enduring mixed spells with Real Madrid and Chelsea, who sent him on loan to Atletico for 18 months in 2019.
The 31-year-old’s switch to Wanda Metropolitano was made permanent for £30m that same summer, but he was loaned back out to Juventus for two years and missed the majority of Atletico’s 2020-21 La Liga title triumph.
However, Morata amassed a respectable 15 goals in all tournaments for Diego Simeone’s team last season and has begun the 2023-24 campaign strongly with 12 goals and three assists from 17 matches.
The Spain international has come up with a joint-high five goals in this season’s Champions League, level with Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Manchester United’s Rasmus Hojlund, and his total for Atletico now stands at 49 goals and 12 assists from 123 games.
Morata’s contract with Atletico runs until the summer of 2026, and the striker will pit his wits against Barcelona in Sunday’s blockbuster La Liga clash at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.
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