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Australia skipper Finch quashes Zampa ball-tampering claims

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Adam Zampa went wicketless in Australia's defeat to India.

London: During Australia’s World Cup fixture against India, leg-spinner Adam Zampa was seen putting his hands inside his pocket and then rubbing the ball at The Oval in London, thus raising a few eyebrows and leaving people speculating about ball-tampering.

On Sunday, Zampa went wicketless and conceded 50 runs from his six overs in a match that Australia lost by 36 runs against India.

However, apart from his lacklustre performance, what caught the eyes of many were the pictures and videos floating on social media which showed Zampa rubbing the ball each time after he put his hands inside his pocket. In the media clippings, he was also seen taking something out of his pocket before bowling.

After the match, however, skipper Aaron Finch rubbished the ball-tampering allegations and said that the leggie had hand warmers in his pockets, which he carries in every game.

“I haven’t seen the photos, but I know that he has hand warmers in his pocket. He has them every single game he plays. I honestly haven’t seen them, so I can’t comment too much on it. But I know for a fact that he has hand warmers every game,” Finch told the reporters at the post-match press conference.

The media clippings immediately brought back memories of the Newlands Test between South Africa and Australia last year when Cameron Bancroft was caught rubbing sandpaper on the ball on the big screen at the ground.

Steve Smith and David Warner were handed one-year ban by Cricket Australia while Bancroft was handed a nine-month ban by the cricket body.

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Top 5 controversial moments in Indo-Pak encounters

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Tensions are always high when India play against Pakistan.

New Delhi: Whenever India play Pakistan in a cricket match, there’s bound to be some drama as players are high on adrenaline, not willing to let their foot down to outplay the opposition.

Whether it comes to skills or verbal exchanges, players of both the teams leave no stone unturned to emerge victorious. With all the hype and buzz around what is touted to be the “mother of all clashes”, players often indulge in verbal exchanges and altercations which, despite looking ugly, make the game even more exciting.

And when the Men in Blue take on Pakistan in their fourth World Cup fixture in Manchester on Sunday, one can be rest assured that apart from cricket, fans would be treated be some raw emotions and heated verbal exchanges at the Old Trafford.

India have an awesome record against Pakistan when it comes to World Cup, leading the 1992 champions 6-0 in all editions of the showpiece event.

A look at the top five controversial moments which took place in the past during the high-octane India-Pakistan clashes:

Javed Miandad mimicking Kiran More in 1992

During the 1992 World Cup match at Sydney in Australia, Pakistan’s Javed Miandad was getting agitated by India wicketkeeper Kiran More’s excessive appealing.

The two exchanged words and Miandad even complained to the umpire. In the very next delivery, the Pakistan batsman ran a double and even though he had made his ground, More took the bails off and appealed for a run-out.

More’s over-enthusiastic appeal for a leg-side catch of Miandad during the match brought out one of the most hilarious reactions from the Pakistan batsman. A frustrated Miandad jumped up and down to mimic More, leaving everyone in splits.

Venkatesh Prasad’s perfect reply to Amir Sohail in 1996

In the 1996 World Cup quarterfinal at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, Pakistan were in a formidable position during their chase of 287, with Amir Sohail keeping the scorers busy.

After he brought up his fifty with a lovely cover drive off the bowling of Venkatesh Prasad, some words were exchanged between the duo. Sohail pointed at the cover boundary, suggesting that he would be hitting Prasad’s next ball there.

However, it was the Indian medium pacer who had the last laugh as he clean bowled Sohail the very next ball.

Prasad, who was generally quite clam and composed, didn’t hold back and gave a send-off to Sohail.

Verbal exchange between Gambhir, Afridi in 2007

During the third ODI of Pakistan’s tour of India in 2007, India opener Gautam Gambhir got involved in a nasty verbal altercation with Shahid Afridi at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur.

After Gambhir hit Afridi for a boundary, the Pakistan all-rounder uttered a few words which the former didn’t react to. However, in the same over, Gambhir collided with Afridi while taking a quick single. Following the collision, pleasantries (in Hindi and Punjabi) were exchanged between the duo and eventually the umpires had to intervene to calm down both the players.

Gambhir-Kamran verbal spat in 2010

Another incident involving Gambhir occurred in the fourth game of the 2010 Asia Cup in Dambulla, Sri Lanka.

The left-hander missed a nudge around the corner off Saeed Ajmal and the ball was pouched by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, who thought he had his man. He

made an overzealous appeal for a catch which was eventually turned down by the umpire.

However, during the drinks break, Gambhir and Kamran advanced towards each other and almost butted heads while exchanging glares and spilling expletives at each other.

Umpire Billy Bowden had to intervene to separate them and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was Gambhir’s batting partner at that moment, quickly pulled the Delhi lad away to defuse the tension.

Harbhajan-Akhtar showdown

In the same match where Gambhir and Kamran Akmal were involved in a verbal spat, a showdown also took place between Shoaib Akhtar and Harbhajan Singh in the dying moments of the game.

India, chasing 267, needed seven runs of the last over. The atmosphere was tense as India didn’t have any proper batsman at the crease. Akhtar, who bowled the penultimate over, was trying to ensure that Harbhajan didn’t take India home.

During the over, the off-spinner missed one of the balls and Akhtar started hurling expletives in Punjabi. Seeing both the players getting high on emotions, the umpires were forced to intervene.

However, it was Harbhajan who had the last laugh as he smacked Mohammad Amir for a maximum in the next over. He was seen roaring like a tiger which didn’t impress Akhtar, who was stationed at the fine-leg boundary.

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Australia crush Sri Lanka to go top in World Cup

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Australia beat Sri Lanka by 87 runs.

London: Australia beat Sri Lanka by 87 runs in their 2019 ICC World Cup group stage clash at the Oval on Saturday. The victory took Australia to the top of the table with eight points, while Sri Lanka remain at fifth place with four.

Chasing a target of 335, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 247, despite a 115-run opening stand between Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera.

Australia’s charge to 334/7 was largely powered by captain Aaron Finch’s 153 off 132 balls, which was part of a 173-run stand between him and Steve Smith (73 off 59) for the third wicket.

Finch hit 15 fours and five sixes and also shared an 80-run opening stand with David Warner (26 off 48).

Finch was dismissed by Isuru Udana in the 43rd over after which Sri Lanka managed to get a grip on the game with frequent wickets.

Smith was dismissed in the next over and by the time the Australian innings came to an end, they had lost seven wickets with Glenn Maxwell (46 off 25) and Mitchell Starc (5 off 4) at the crease.

Sri Lanka made a strong start to the chase with captain Karunaratne and Kusal pegging back the Australian pacers and Maxwell.

Starc, however, got the breakthrough by taking Kusal’s middle stump while the latter was on 52 off 36 balls. Sri Lanka never managed to get a significant partnership after that.

Lahiru Thirimanne, who replaced Kusal, became Jason Behrendorff’s first World Cup wicket and Karunaratne was dismissed on 97 off 109 by Kane Richardson.

While the top three wickets contributed 186 runs to the Sri Lankan total, the rest only managed 61. Starc ended the innings with figures of 4/55 while Richardson took three wickets.

Pat Cummins was the man who took the final Sri Lankan wicket and ended the match with two to his name.

Brief scores: Australia 334/7  (Aaron Finch 153 (132), Steve Smith 73 (59), Dananjaya De Silva 2/40) beat Sri Lanka 247 (Dimuth Karunaratne 97 (108), Kusal Perera 52 (36), Mitchell Starc 4/55).

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No individual competition with Amir, says Kohli ahead of Indo-Pak clash

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Virat Kohli is confident of a good show by India against Pakistan.

Manchester: On the eve of the marquee India-Pakistan clash at the World Cup, India captain Virat Kohli said on Saturday that while Mohammad Amir remained a threat, his team will focus on the other bowlers as much as on the left-arm speedster.

“I am not going to say anything for TRPs,” Kohli said in the pre-match presser on Saturday.

“Only the white or red ball matters to me, regardless of who the bowler is. As I had said earlier for (Kagiso) Rabada before the South Africa match, you have to respect any bowler’s skill set. At the same time, you should have faith in your ability to score against any bowler,” he said.

“And it isn’t like the match will be won or lost on the basis of whether I score well or he (Amir) takes a lot of wickets. The other 10 players also have to play well from both sides for getting a result. In my mind, I don’t have any competition with one particular player and I don’t see any need for me to prove myself against anyone. For me it is simple, if you don’t play well then even a part-time bowler can get you out,” Kohli said.

The last time India played Pakistan in an ICC tournament was at the 2017 Champions Trophy when Amir wiped out the mighty Indian top order comprising Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Kohli inside the first nine overs. India went on to lose the match by 180 runs.

While Amir’s form took a dip since then, he seems to have returned to his destructive best in the ongoing World Cup, recording his career best ODI figures of 5/30 in Pakistan’s previous game against Australia.

Kohli also did not disclose whether India will go with the same bowling combination as in the previous two matches or go for an extra pace option.

“We will consider different combinations depending on the conditions. If extra pace is an option, we will consider it. If it is a shortened game, we will consider it as well,” he said.

Kohli said that despite the hype surrounding the much-awaited fixture, the mood in the dressing room was the same as it would be for any other game.

“We have discussed nothing different from the time we landed in England. The mood in the dressing room hasn’t changed. We understand that any game we play for the country can be emotional and adrenaline-filled, so no one game is more special for us than the other.

“As cricketers who have been selected to play for the country, our responsibility is to treat every game equally, regardless of the opposition. For us nothing changes, we are a top side because of the cricket we play and we need to remember that. So the conversation has not changed at all and it won’t change in the future as well,” the India skipper said.

The build-up to the game has predictably seen a war on social media and through advertisements from both camps. When asked what message Kohli had for the fans, Kohli said they should enjoy the atmosphere.

“We expect it to be a full stadium and the fans should enjoy the game. In a World Cup you are bound to have full stadia in every match, so for us players it won’t be any different.

“I can’t tell the fans to think in a particular manner. The mindset of the player is bound to be different from that of a fan. You can’t mix the two and you can’t expect fans to think in a professional manner (like the players do). The fans should enjoy the game the way we have over the years, but as players we have to remain professional,” Kohli said.

The match at the Old Trafford in Manchester is scheduled to begin at 10.30 a.m. local time (3 p.m. IST).

India have played three matches in the tournament so far, winning two while one was a washout. Pakistan have played four matches thus far, off which they have lost two, won one, while one was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.

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