The peerless Steven Smith

The peerless Steven Smith
Image by Rambo2100
2014-15 has been a golden summer for Steven Smith. He scored 105 runs from 93 balls in this semi-final which eliminated India from the World Cup. The scoreboard tells the story; India bowled well to restrict Australia but did not take wickets, and the run rate was just under six an over when Smith was dismissed at 2-197. Smith captained the test side while Clarke was injured and now has a test average of 52 from 26 tests. This was his highest score in a one-day international. Maxwell then came in ahead of Clarke, but so (mysteriously) did Watson, and indecisive batting could have constrained Australia to 300 had Johnson not blasted 27 from nine balls. Yadav’s 4-72 was impressive because he took wickets, while Ravi Ashwin’s 1-42 was most economical.

India have spent four months in Australia, losing both the test series and the one-day games. Coming out firing, at 0-76 in the 13th over they threatened Australia’s 328. But Dhawan was dismissed for 45 from 41 balls, and then Virat Kohli took 13 balls to score 1; he was caught by Haddin off Johnson, and Rohit Sharma soon followed. Then there was an odd incident when Mitchell Starc took a shy at the stumps which was padded off by Raina; a similar thing happened to Kohli during the test matches, and it borders on intimidation to throw at the stumps when the batsman is in the way with no chance of a run out. But Raina’s temperament was disturbed and India slumped to 4-108 in over 23. India had their chances as while Australia fielded three fast bowlers in Johnson, Starc and Hazlewood, Australia had to bowl 20 overs from Maxwell, Faulkner, Watson and Clarke; Faulkner’s first few overs went for runs but after the fourth wicket fell, India couldn’t afford to take chances. Later Dhoni, despite 65 from 65 balls, failed to accelerate the run rate, and India gave up. His run out, slowing to a walk and not even grounding his bat at a point when the run rate needed was about 15 an over precipitated the end. Faulkner nearly closed with a hat-trick as 6-231 became 233 all out very quickly.

The scoreboard is here:…

Australia are through to the final on Sunday against New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In the photo, Australia’s Steven Smith faces a ball from India’s Ravi Ashwin at the Sydney Cricket Ground, in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup 2nd semi-final. Aaron Finch is at the non-striker’s end. The wicketkeeper is India’s captain MS Dhoni.

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