2023 ODI World Cup digest: Virat Kohli’s hundred keeps India flying; Australia-Pakistan face huge clash


The Men’s 2023 ODI World Cup is underway in India and runs from October 5 until November 19. Each morning we will round up the latest action and news from the event and bring you the insights from our reporters on the ground.

Top Story: Jadeja, Kohli lead India to fourth win in a row

India 261 for 3 (Kohli 103*, Gill 53) beat Bangladesh 256 for 8 (Litton 66, Tanzid 51, Mahmudullah 46) by seven wickets

The sameness to a Virat Kohli innings in a middling chase is no criticism of his batting. The beauty of it lies in the repetitive nature of it, a mark of his hunger to make every start count. On Thursday, it helped deliver ODI century No. 48, which takes him that much closer to the man who he hoisted on his shoulders on that famous April night in 2011, before delivering an epic line that made a country of more than a billion shed happy tears.
Kohli’s knock, which turned into a race between his hundred and a victory towards the end, was preceded by a run-torrent from Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. The pair’s 88-run opening stand in a chase of 257, which seemed well short of a par score, was an exhibition of batting aesthetics dreams are made of. Rohit, with his lazy elegance, ferocious cuts and monstrous pulls did the early running, and Gill took over the mantle to slowly get into top gear.

Match analysis: Jadeja, the gladiator who goes to bank

Ravindra Jadeja again showed his value to India‚ÄĘGetty Images

The skills of Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav are irreplaceable, but Hardik Pandya performs a role for India nobody else can do: a seam-bowling allrounder good enough to hold down his place for batting alone in many other sides. Pandya was down and getting treatment.

Pandya tried to run in to bowl again, but eventually went off the field and off for scans, the results of which the whole nation will await. The anxiety around the injury is understandable. There are back-ups for the best of the batters, there are bowling back-ups, and the other allrounder has a like-for-like replacement. However, does anyone have the body of work the other allrounder has?

There might be others answering to the job description of Ravindra Jadeja, but there aren’t many that are doing the job as well as him. Looking at his flamboyance, Jadeja will be the last person you’d think of as a banker, but that is what he is for India.

Must Watch: Kohli’s manufactured hundred

News headlines

India were given a significant injury scare against Bangladesh when Hardik Pandya left the field with an ankle problem, but Rohit Sharma was hopeful it wasn’t serious.
Ben Stokes feared his World Cup was over after picking up a hip injury shortly before the tournament began, but is now ready to return just as England need his inspiration to keep their campaign alive.

Match preview

Australia vs South Africa, Bengaluru (2pm IST; 8.30am GMT; 7.30pm AEST)

It’s that strange time in the long group stage of the World Cup where the nebulous concept of momentum appears to matter more than a side’s actual position on the points table. Pakistan are ahead of Australia every way you slice it – on points, on net run rate.

But given Pakistan’s penchant for panic the moment anything goes wrong, and Australia’s ability to strike when they most need it, this is a contest between a team primed to make a charge, and one that can feel their opponent’s breath on their necks. As any Pakistan supporter will tell you, the one team they don’t want to play when they really need a win is the one in yellow.

After hidings against India and South Africa, Australia demonstrated they weren’t about to give up on their campaign with a whimper. A complete performance with bat, ball and in the field sank Sri Lanka, earning them their first points and improving their negative net run rate.

Team news

Australia (probable) 1 David Warner 2 Mitchell Marsh 3 Steven Smith 4 Marnus Labuschagne 5 Josh Inglis (wk) 6 Glenn Maxwell 7 Marcus Stoinis 8 Mitchell Starc 9 Pat Cummins (capt) 10 Adam Zampa 11 Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan (probable) 1 Abdullah Shafique 2 Imam-ul-Haq 3 Babar Azam (capt) 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 5 Saud Shakeel 6 Mohammad Nawaz/Shadab Khan 7 Iftikhar Ahmed 8 Usama Mir 9 Hasan Ali 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi 11 Haris Rauf

Feature: Rockstar Afridi needs a new hit

To begin with, this is a slightly imperfect analogy. Shaheen Shah Afridi is, and has always been, more than that one-trick pony. His overall numbers this year do not speak of a dip: nearly two wickets a game, and average, strike rate and economy mirroring to a freakish degree his excellent career numbers.

It’s just that the one trick has been so potent and spectacular, and so established, that it has become somewhat of a monster. Time and again since Afridi’s return from the serious knee injury he suffered last year, he has fed it.

But especially during the Asia Cup and this World Cup so far, it hasn’t quite landed right.

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