Australia, West Indies seek Champions Trophy boost

Australia and the West Indies will be looking to gain a psychological edge ahead of next month’s Champions Trophy when they face each other in the tri-series final on Sunday (today).

World champions Australia earned their place in the final with a tense 18-run victory over India on Friday while the West Indies had already booked their berth earlier in the week.

After juggling his squad around during their four preliminary matches, Australian captain Ricky Ponting has opted for his strongest possible team in the decider.

Hundred on captaincy debut

During the fourth match DFL Cup at Kuala Lumpur, Australia’s Michael Hussey smashed a brilliant 109 off 90 balls to take his side to a daunting total of 279 against West Indies. Incidentally, this was Hussey’s first match as Aussie ODI captain. He thus became only the sixth player in the annals of ODI cricket to score a century in his first innings captaining his side. For reader’s interest the accompanying table has the complete details.

Lee sinks India as Aussies reach final

Paceman Brett Lee took five wickets as Australia advanced to the final of the tri-series One-day International (ODI) tournament with an 18-run victory over India here at the Kinrara Oval on Friday.

Australia struggled with the bat, scoring 213 all out in 48.1 overs but their bowlers, led by Lee who claimed five for 38, fought back to dismiss India for 195.

“It was a terrific win for us and I’ve always thought that Brett is the best one-day bowler in the world,” Australian captain Rocky Ponting, who won the toss and chose to bat, told reporters. “With his pace and ability to put the ball where he wants to, any batsman is going to find it difficult.

West Indies batting woes a big worry for Lara

laraThe West Indies batting woes are becoming a problem and players that don’t pull their weight face the axe, captain Brian Lara has warned.

The West Indies capitulated again on Wednesday against India in their DLF Cup one-day match, bowled out for 146 as they chased 163 to win. They were 44-0 at one stage but slumped to 97-7 before Lara’s unbeaten 40 made a match of it. In their game against Australia the West Indies lost nine wickets for 29 runs.

Failure ahead of ICC Trophy at stake for Australia, India

Australia and India face-off in a crunch DLF Cup one-day International (ODI) here at the Kinrara Oval on Friday, conscious that whoever loses will take the failure into the ICC Champions Trophy next month.

Aside from the psychological boost a win would give, plenty more is at stake for world No.1 Australia.

The last time they missed the final of a triangular tournament was the VB Series in 2001-02, which led to Steve Waugh being replaced as one-day captain by Ricky Ponting.

Lee hails arrival of Johnson

Bret LeeOne of the world’s fastest bowlers Brett Lee says new find Mitchell Johnson has raw pace that will make him a formidable asset in an Australian attack already boosted by the return of Glenn McGrath.

Johnson burst into the spotlight with a blistering four wicket spell against India on Saturday before returning to Australia as part of a pre-planned decision to slim down their squad at the DLF Cup here.

Lee himself returned to action after a long break, against the West Indies on Monday and took three wickets. He sees plenty of potential in Johnson.

WI batting collapse brings India back to life

A dismal West Indies batting collapse handed India an unexpected victory in their One-day International (ODI) of the DLF Cup to keep their hopes alive for the tri-series final at the Kinrara Oval here on Wednesday.

India were skittled for 162 in 39.3 overs by the West Indies but the Caribbean islanders failed to punch home the advantage, losing by 16 runs. It was India’s first limited overs win since May and they must now beat Australia on Friday to make the final. The West Indies have already qualified.

I do not want to succeed Ponting as skipper

Michael Hussey has brushed off talk of wanting to succeed Ricky Ponting as Australian cricket team’s captain, saying he is happy just to be playing in the same side. Hussey took charge of his first game as skipper on Monday in the DLF Cup here against the West Indies and led from the front, scoring a maiden One-day International (ODI) century only to see his side beaten by three wickets.

His efforts came hot on the heels of a poll on leading website baggygreen.com that showed 54 percent of voters believed Hussey should be Australia’s next captain. Current vice-captain Adam Gilchrist attracted just 20.3 percent of the votes.

We are focusing to get up there with the best, says Lara

laraCaptain Brian Lara has voiced confidence in his underperforming West Indies team, who he says are determined to claw their way back up the world rankings.

The once-dominant West Indians have faded over the past decade and plunged to eighth in the official rankings. But Lara believes they are again starting to gel, with their confidence buoyed by reaching the final of the DLF Cup tri series in Malaysia that also features world No.1 Australia and world No.4 India.

India under pressure to beat West Indies for final hope

India know they must win their One-day International (ODI) match against the West Indies here on Wednesday to stand any chance of making the DLF Cup final, and are looking to their bowlers to get the job done.

The Indians come into the match under intense pressure having lost to the West Indies in their opening game, and then struggling to 35-5 in reply against Australia when rain came to their rescue on Saturday.

Captain Rahul Dravid is eager to get back to winning ways with the ICC Champions Trophy looming next month on home turf. “The new ball will be very important on tracks like this,” he said of the Kinrara Oval wicket.