Indoor Cricket World Cup: Tournament starts with a bang as New Zealand topple Australia on opening night

Men jostle for position over first three days, while Trans-Tasman rivals set the standard across Women and Under-22 Grades.

The Big Picture

The Indoor Cricket World Cup got underway in Melbourne over the weekend and a flurry of action has seen day 3 already concluded at the Casey Stadium. With the round-robin having reached the half-way stage, we recap the first three days of play.

Open and Under-22 Men

New Zealand are currently atop the standings with five wins out of five to start their campaign. They laid down the initial challenge by drawing first blood against Australia in their opening round-robin encounter, prevailing 75 (3) – 58 (1) after batting first in the last match of day 1. A patient effort from the four pairs saw New Zealand post a competitive 75, while Australia failed to convert the chances given to them. In the field the Kiwis were sharp and kept the ball swinging, as the Australians conceded four dismissals clean bowled. It left last pair Matthew Floros and Vinesh Bennett with a sizeable 36 to get in the last four overs, and they could only manage Australia’s only point on the final ball, falling short comfortably by 17 runs.

It was the start of a roller-coaster first few days for the New Zealand who conceded three skins themselves in beating Sri Lanka 96 (1) – 58 (3) on day 2. They then broke the hearts of the South Africans this morning, with skipper Victor Davies claiming a last ball stumping off Willie Brink to claim a thrilling 85 (2) – 80 (2). Brink and partner Egbert Lubbe nearly brought victory for the Proteas from the jaws of defeat after they needed 46 in the last four overs.

Australia shrugged off the early loss to New Zealand by inflicting some defeats of their own, winning four on the bounce to be tied with New Zealand on 26 points, but in second due to the head-to-head loss. They look largely untroubled in sweeping aside South Africa on day two, before comfortably accounting for their own Under-22s and New Zealand’s. They rounded off day 3 with a resounding 106 (3) – 68 (1) win over India, but not before conceding 39 in the last four overs. This initial period of five games has also given both the top two sides a chance to try different combinations and get each squad member adequate amounts of game time.

Meanwhile, it has been a tough campaign for the South African team which made the preliminary final in 2017, as they sit well down on the ladder having lost all five matches to date and with some serious work to do to make a play for the cup stage of the tournament. An 11-run loss to England on the opening day was compounded with defeat to Australia. They then suffered a close-run loss to Australia’s Under-22 side and ended day 3 on another as they fell 38 runs short in the chase against New Zealand’s Under-22’s.

The early signs are looking like a three-way race for the last two cup spots, as Sri Lanka, India and England jostle for position, with UAE not far behind.

The Sri Lankans are looking the most assured of that group right now, after beating UAE by 18 runs on the first day, and sneaking three points out of the New Zealand game. They were felled by the impressive Australia Under-22s, but rebounded to beat South Africa Under-22 and ensure their 14 skins kept them near New Zealand and Australia, on 23 points.

India put aside the disappointment of a heavy defeat to Australia Under-22 and the loss of key player Khizer Ahmed to a torn ACL during the match by a much improved batting display against a fancied England unit, by 99 (3) – 70 (1). However, after sweeping by Singapore, they struggled against Australia and will now have key games in the next couple of days against UAE, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

England are holding onto fifth spot by value of skins but will be rueing their finish against Australia Under-22s this afternoon. Set 98 to win and requiring seven off the final over, a stumping and bowled to Australian captain Jonathan D’Rozario in the first two deliveries ensured that the English only walked off the court with two points.

UAE may be the hardest to pick in the group. Their opening day loss to Sri Lanka was followed by a defeat to England, whom they had beaten in a tri-series in Dubai earlier this year. A walloping of Singapore kept them in the hunt and then they pushed the New Zealanders hard earlier this evening, but were rewarded with three points in that five-run defeat.

Unfortunately for the Singaporeans, this is just not their tournament, as two skins in four games will attest to. Outgunned and outmatched, they will have to continue to fight hard as they prepare for the plate stage.

The Under-22s from both Australia and New Zealand have been one of the highlights and shown some exemplary skills for the junior sides in the competition. Both have completed wins over South Africa while the Australians have also gone on to beat established nations Sri Lanka and England. The New Zealand team’s time will come for that, but not before a showdown with their Australian counterparts tomorrow on day 4. They signalled their intentions early on day 1 with a 105-run thrashing of Singapore. South Africa’s Under-22 side has struggled so far and it looks like a preliminary final will be heading their way.

Full standings, scorecards and statistics are available at www.indoorcricketworldcup.com.

Women and Under-22 Women

Unsurprisingly, both Australia and New Zealand have set the pace across the Women’s division, but it is the Australians who hold the edge after their opening day 107 (3) – 87 (1) win.

New Zealand put up a competitive 87 but a strong Australian batting performance saw them reach that total by the 11th over, before pushing on to record a 20-run win. Both teams will square off again once more in the double round-robin.

However it is looking like Australia will be the team to beat again. They comfortably accounted for South Africa and their own Under-22s, before hammering Singapore by 246 runs to finish day 3 with five wins from five and 33 points, leaving them nine clear of New Zealand.

New Zealand have won four straight following the Australia loss, but were made to work by Australia Under-22s (109 to 82), South Africa (94 to 79) and tough game against their own Under-22s, with just an 18-run margin the difference. They will finish the first round-robin against Singapore tomorrow morning before turning their attention to the crucial clash against Australia, which should decide who will claim first spot and an automatic grand final berth.

South Africa have some work to do after falling by 34 runs to Australia’s Under-22 side earlier today. They started the tournament with a big win against debutants Singapore, but a tough win against New Zealand Under-22s was followed by losses against the more fancied Open-Women’s opposition.

Singapore are finding their introduction to international cricket a tough one to understate it, and five heavy losses reflects their progress in the tournament so far. However, their participation in this tournament is being touted as a significant step forward for the sport in general, and they will be better for this experience.

Full standings, scorecards and statistics are available at www.indoorcricketworldcup.com.

Cover Image: CA Indoor.

You’re reading Emerging Cricket — brought to you by a passionate group of volunteers with a vision for cricket to be a truly global sport, and a mission to inspire passion to grow the game.

Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, please subscribe for regular updates, and follow EC on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube.

Don’t know where to start? Check out our features listcountry profiles, and subscribe to our podcast.

Support us from US$2 a month — and get exclusive benefits, by becoming an EC Patron.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

4 × 4 =