ICC Women's World Cup 2017
The ICC Women's World Cup 2017 group stage matches are through and now, the heavyweights - England, Australia, India and South Africa will battle it out for the honours. The Indian team after a blistering start to their world cup campaign were on the verge of being knocked-out after successive defeats against South Africa and Australia.
With nothing less than a win required, the Indian team shrugged off the effects of the preceding losses to put on their best performance of the tournament. India steamrolled over the Kiwis with a huge 186 run-win to qualify for the ICC Women's World Cup semi-final for the first time since 2010.
Put into bat first by the Kiwis, India was reduced to 21 for 2 by the eighth over but a 132-run third-wicket partnership between Mithali Raj (109) and Harmanpreet Kaur (60) steered India back into the match. A blistering knock of 70 from 45 balls from Veda Krishnamurthy in the death overs saw India put up a competitive total of 265 for 7.
Chasing 266 for victory, the Kiwis lost a couple of early wickets that hampered their momentum. Sensing the situation, the skipper bought on the spin attack early to build more pressure, leading to a couple of more wickets falling. With the Indian spinners bull-dozing through the overs and run-rate rising steadily something had to give way. Before long, the New Zealand innings came crashing down and they were all out for 79 - their lowest ever World Cup score. Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who was brought in to replace Ekta Bisht, finished with a career best 5 for 15.
India will now face Australia in the semi-finals at Derby on Thursday. Although, history is not in favour of the Indian team with Australia winning seven of their last eight ODIs against India, the Indian team can beat the best on their day.
South Africa's Tour of England
An emphatic 340-run victory in the second Test saw the Proteas level the four-Test match series against England at Trent Bridge.
South African skipper Du Plessis took the brave decision to bat first after winning the toss at Trent Bridge, a ground known for assisting swing bowlers, and managed to post a competitive total of 335 on the board. The England innings lacked consistency with eight batsmen failing to cross the 30-run mark. England were bowled out for 205 in little more than 50 overs. Skipper Joe Root's knock of 78 was the only saving grace of the innings.
The second innings saw the Proteas post another mammoth total of 343 for the loss of nine wickets before declaring the innings. Chasing a world-record target of 474, England's second innings was even worse, with the team being bowled out for 133 with more than a day to spare.
The loss marked England's sixth defeat in their last eight Tests. Vernon Philander, the man-of-the-match, led the Proteas attack with figures of 3 for 24 runs. The third test at the Kennington Oval begins on 27 July.
Zimbabwe's Tour of Sri Lanka
Following the record-breaking ODI series victory, a buoyant Zimbabwe team looked to seal their first test-match win over Sri Lanka. The home team, who were seeking to restore their pride, were in further turmoil as skipper Angelo Mathews stepped down as captain from all three formats following the ODI series loss. Dinesh Chandimal, who has already captained the ODI and T-20 side, became Sri Lanka's 15th Test captain.
Winning the toss, Zimbabwe opted to bat first and posted a competitive first inning total of 356 on the board. Left-hander Craig Ervine stole the show with an anchoring knock of 160, while Rangana Herath was pick of the bowlers for the hosts as he picked 4 wickets. In response, the Lankans posted a similar score of 346 on the board. Upul Tharanga (71), Dinesh Chandimal (55), Angelo Mathews (41), Dilruwan Perera (33) all contributed with the bat.
In the second innings, Zimbabwe looked to be in deep trouble at 23 for 4, losing their first innings centurion Craig Ervine early. However, a 144-run partnership between Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller helped Zimbabwe to 377 on Day 4, setting Sri Lanka a target of 388, the third-highest chase in Test history. Rangana Herath was the star for the hosts, taking 7 wickets in the second innings.
In reply, the Lankans pulled-off a very special effort with the bat chasing down the record 388-run target. Niroshan Dickwella (81) and Asela Gunaratne (80*) combined in a stand of 121 to anchor the chase. The result is a big boost for the Sri Lankans ahead of an important home series against India, which begins in little over a week.