Rain scuppers Australia and India in Melbourne

By Sports Desk November 23, 2018

Australia will take a 1-0 lead into Sunday's final Twenty20 clash with India after the second match of the series was abandoned due to rain in Melbourne.

Foul weather was a feature throughout what play was possible, with Australia battling to 132-7 from 19 overs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed collected two wickets apiece for the tourists, while the sight of Dinesh Karthik catching Marcus Stoinis at deep point while wearing a beanie hat seemed to encapsulate a contest where the elements were always likely to hold sway.

Ben McDermott's enterprising 32 not out off 30 deliveries lifted Australia to a defendable total, which was then revised to 90 off 11 overs as the rain returned.

Further delays briefly saw India set 42 in a five-over slog but the players did not return to the field and will reconvene at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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    Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur is convinced his side can shine at the Cricket World Cup, even though they will head into the tournament on the back of 10 successive ODI losses.

    A 54-run defeat at Headingley on Sunday condemned Pakistan to a 4-0 series reverse at the hands of England, the World Cup hosts.

    However, Arthur was determined to remain upbeat after seeing his side post scores of 361-7, 358-9, 340-7 and 297, only to be out-gunned by a prolific home batting line-up.

    "We sit here having taken a huge amount of positives out of this series," said Arthur. "I thought we batted extremely well. Our bowling has been average at best and our fielding has been average at best but we've batted fairly well.

    "The other thing is we've played against a team who are number one in the world in their own conditions. I know there's not too many teams who will arrive in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we've played against and match fitness.

    "We've got a couple of days now to regroup, two warm-up games and then we'll go. I'm very, very confident with the players we've got. We need to sharpen up on a couple of disciplines but we'll certainly get there. We'll be good."

    Asked to outline his expectations for the World Cup, Arthur added: "All I know is that the players are very, very determined to do well. Every time they go out there they play for 210 million people.

    "We all take defeat in a disappointing way, as our supporter base do. The players are good. Come the first game against the West Indies [on May 31], we'll be ready. I'm as confident that we'll do well as I've ever been."

    Arthur, who confirmed paceman Mohammad Amir is available for World Cup selection after missing the England series through illness, acknowledged Pakistan have to improve significantly in the field.

    "It's been very disappointing. I think that's been the massive difference between the two sides," he added.

    "That's a real worry for me because we are putting a hell of a lot of effort into it and there's not a massive amount of reward for us there at the moment. We'll just keep knocking away at it though, just to make sure we get it up to speed.

    "Fielding is about attitude and wanting to get out there and get it done. Our boys' attitude has been outstanding through this series and for the years before. They know where they are short, they know they've been short in this department and they are not happy about it. They are working damn hard at it."

  • Woakes: World Cup wait makes for nervy Monday Woakes: World Cup wait makes for nervy Monday

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    Woakes appears a certainty to be selected given his consistently impressive performances in one-day internationals, the latest of which saw him return 5-54 at Headingley to help Eoin Morgan's men to a 54-run victory over Pakistan and a 4-0 series triumph.

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    The 56-year-old took up the job as manager of the Asian team in 2017, one year after leaving the post of manager of the Caribbean team.  The former all-rounder is credited with playing a crucial role in guiding the team back to the ICC World Cup and was such was a prime candidate for a contract renewal.

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    While speculation has been rife that the move coincides with leadership changes made by the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s (ACB), without the knowledge of the coach, it also lines up with recent changes made in the leadership of Cricket West Indies (CWI).

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