Raina Scored 4th ODI Hundred

The Indian middle order batsman Suresh Raina scored his 4th One Day International hundred yesterday playing in the second game of the One Day series against England at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.

The left hander from Uttar Pradesh changed the whole match with his outrageous batting. Before his arrival there at the wicket, India was struggling to maintain a run rate of even 4, but, as soon as he walked in, the ball started travelling outside the fence and the pressure was back on the visitors.

Fortune favoured Raina at the start though as he got a few cheeky boundaries to get himself going. He survived a very close LBW shout as well while sweeping Tredwell, but, soon, he found his feet and smashed the English attack everywhere.

It was an inning of authority by Raina. He made a statement there. There were doubts over his credentials as a One Day Player away from the subcontinent and he certainly proved a thing or two.

The English side, as expected, tried to pepper him with the bumpers, but, to his credit, Raina left them very well for the first half of his inning. However, once he got set, he didn’t look shy of taking the bumpers on.

In the batting power play, Raina lofted Woakes for a straight six over his head after which the bowler’s immediate response was a hostile short ball and the 27-year old was ready for it. He was deep inside the crease waiting on the back foot and he deposited it over the fine leg boundary for another six. So, he played with the minds of the bowlers too.

It was the one of the best knocks played by an Indian batsman overseas in limited-over cricket.

Broad Fitness Questions Raised

Stuart Broad bowled well during India’s first innings in the Nottingham test match, but, there was no sprint in his stride. He was not running in as fast as he normally does. He was looking a bit tired and exhausted which resulted in people raising questions over his fitness.

Broad had some fitness issues towards the end of the last season as well and because of that he had been kept out of the limited-over matches at the start of this season.

Thereafter, he was included in the England squad for the test series against Sri Lanka and he looked alright in that series.

But, on a flat Nottingham pitch against India, he seemed to be just ambling in. He is capable of bowling close to 145 kilometres per hour, but, he was bowling with the speed of just about 130.

He got a couple of wickets though and one out of those wickets was immensely valuable as it was of Virat Kohli. Broad got him outfoxed with a fabulous delivery which just came in a little bit after pitching.

Broad is not a workhorse sort of a bowler. He is an attacking bowler who can devastate the opposition batting line ups. He has done that in the past. England is expecting him to make a big impact in the ongoing test series, but, he will have to increase his intensity if he has to do that.

He is not going to get a five-for or six-for just by ambling in and bowling line and length.

When India had toured England in 2010, Broad was in peak form and he had given headaches to every Indian batsman except Rahul Dravid in that series. He had got more than 20 wickets to help England pull off a whitewash.

Akhtar Not A Fan Of Slow Bowls

Shoaib Akhtar says that he is not the fan of fast bowlers bowling slower deliveries. According to him, the fast bowlers should have the killer attitude and they should try to intimidate the batsmen with pace.

Akhtar was one of the guests in the Sony Max studio for the pre and post match shows during the recently finished IPL. He was also doing the Hindi commentary and he seemed to be getting pissed off when he was seeing fast bowlers being hit for sixes on slower deliveries.

Akhtar himself was a very quick bowler. He is, in fact, the fastest bowler that the game of cricket has ever seen till now. Once he had bowled a ball whose speed was measured 100 miles (160 KM) per hour by the speed gun and that still remains the fastest bowl delivered in the cricketing history.

So, one can understand his desire of seeing fast bowlers running through the opposition batting order, but, he needs to understand one thing that the fast bowlers who are playing at the moment are not like him. They have got their limitations. They are not as quick as he used to be.

Except three or four bowlers including the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Mitchell Johnson, there is hardly any fast bowler playing at the international level right now who can bowl consistently over 150 Kilometres per hour.

Most of the bowlers these days bowl with the speed of 135-140 Kph and with that kind of speed, if you don’t bowl slower deliveries, you will not be able to outfox the batsmen too often.

Although Akhtar did criticize some of the Indian bowlers for bowling too many slower deliveries in those pre and post match shows, he praised them as well for their ability to swing the ball regularly.

Bopara Scores Match Winner

Ravi Bopara played a match winning inning for his county Essex in a T20 blast game against Middlesex yesterday. The right handed middle order batsman scored 45 runs off just 22 balls to see his team home.

Chasing down a huge score of 181, Essex managed to start rapidly thanks to Mark Pettini who played some fluent strokes in the power play overs. Alastair Cook, at the other end, was not trying anything fancy. He was playing sensible cricket and was just looking to rotate the strike. The 81-run partnership between these two was finally broken by Ravi Patel who got Cook caught by Eoin Morgan.

Patel got another wicket quickly thereafter as he dismissed Jesse Ryder as well, but, that wicket proved to be blessing in disguise for Essex as it brought Bopara onto the crease.

Bopara looked in brilliant touch right from the first ball he faced. His placement was spot on every time he tried to go for an aggressive shot.

He was getting brilliant support from Pettini as well and these two guys made the mockery of 10 an over required rate. They were getting boundaries quite quickly which resulted in the shoulders of the opposition players getting dropped. The Middlesex guys gave up a lot earlier before the match actually finished.

The proceedings ultimately finished on the 5th ball of the penultimate over. Bopara remained just 5 short of his half century, but, he would be very happy with the contribution that he made for the team. During his 22-minute stay at the crease, He hit three fours and as many sixes.

His partner Mark Pettini remained not out on 95 off 54 balls and was declared player of the match for that awesome effort.