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Recent Match Report – Surrey vs Middlesex, Twenty20 Cup (England), South Group

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Middlesex 209 for 3 (Malan 117) beat Surrey 172 for 9 (Pope 47, Roland-Jones 4-35) by 37 runs

The World Cup is over but the summer party has just begun, judging by the enthusiastic capacity crowd at The Oval, who watched Dawid Malan as the life and soul of Middlesex’s 37-run win over Surrey in their Vitality Blast match.

It was one of those evenings to remind you that when England actually does summer it feels like there’s no better place on earth – unless, of course, you’ve been stuck underground on the Northern Line with no air-conditioning waiting for a platform to clear at Kennington tube station.

Above ground, the beer flowed, the stands were brimming and the batting action from Middlesex – Malan in particular – was hot.

Unlike England’s World Cup triumph on home soil, proceedings didn’t exactly follow the script when man of the moment AB de Villiers was out for just 3 to what soon proved to be a poor lbw decision when replays showed his attempted reverse sweep off Imran Tahir made clear contact, according to Ultra Edge.

However, as unfortunate as that was, to focus too heavily on de Villiers – who had a wonderful night out in Middlesex’s opening match against Essex, where he plundered an unbeaten 88 off 43 balls in a seven-wicket win over Essex last week – would detract from a brilliant performance by Malan.

An unused member of England’s touring party for their T20I series in the Caribbean earlier this year, Middlesex captain Malan smashed 117 off 57 balls with 11 fours and seven sixes to play a big part in setting Surrey 210 for victory.

After Middlesex won the toss and elected to bat, Stevie Eskinazi and Malan set off at a blistering pace. Malan initially took a back seat to Eskinazi but immediately after the Powerplay, by which time the pair had put on 55 runs, Malan surged ahead, slamming a six and a four off the last two balls of Gareth Batty’s first over.

Malan moved in sight of his half-century first too. His thumping six off Imran Tahir sailed well back into the first tier of the Bedser Stand to bring him within touching distance of the milestone, which he brought up three balls later with a four. He didn’t stop there, meting out similar treatment to Liam Plunkett in the next over and hit Batty for consecutive sixes in the next.

The TV camera kept panning to de Villiers in anticipation and he finally made his entrace to the pumping beat of Darude’s Sandstorm – and a huge roar from the crowd – when Tom Curran bowled Eskinazi round the legs for 42 off 31 balls to put Middlesex at 131 for 1.

They cheered as de Villiers fended off a Tom Curran bouncer backward of point for a single, but his innings bit the dust in disappointing fashion a short time later and for the first time all evening the stands fell into a lull, even before replays showed how unlucky he had been in his dismissal.

It did not take long for the spectators to liven up again, though, as they enjoyed Malan’s knock. He reached his century off 49 balls with a single off Jade Dernbach, who later went for 23 off the penultimate over with Malan and George Scott indulging in a six and a four each.

Malan finally fell with three balls remaining in the innings, edging Curran to Ollie Pope, who took an excellent catch overhead catch behind the stumps.

With the temperature still hovering around 30 degrees at 8pm, the home crowd – although it didn’t feel particularly partisan – remained upbeat despite the considerable task facing their side.

Pope gave good chase after the early loss of openers Will Jacks and Aaron Finch, reaching 47 off 31 deliveries. But once he skied Toby Roland-Jones to Nathan Sowter to seal his exit it felt like there was too much left to do for Surrey. Jordan Clark offered a neat cameo of 21 off 11 balls but, with Curran and Dernbach at the crease and three wickets in hand, the hosts needed 53 off the last three overs.

Steven Finn took a strong catch, running round and diving at long-on to remove Curran off Roland-Jones and that all but signalled closing time. When Roland-Jones had Dernbach caught by Sowter four balls later to finish with 4 for 35 off his four overs, some revellers took the hint and made their exit, although the majority stayed to applaud the visitors’ victory.



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Recent Match Report – England Women vs Pakistan Women, ICC Women’s Championship, 3rd ODI

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Pakistan 145 for 8 (Nahida Khan 55, Glenn 4-18) v England – Match abandoned

Legspinner Sarah Glenn claimed a four-wicket haul in only her third ODI but rain ruined the prospect of a result in the final match of the series between Pakistan and England. Having been put in to bat, Pakistan were 145 for 8 from 37.4 overs before the weather intervened, meaning England took the series 2-0.

Looking for their first ODI win over England, Pakistan made an impressive start in reaching 96 without loss. Glenn then removed both openers in consecutive overs, dismissing Javeria Khan for 37 and Nahida Khan for a fluent half-century.

The spin pairing of Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone wheeled their way through 16 overs in tandem, as England dragged the game back their way. Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof was caught behind off Ecclestone and Glenn bowled Kaynat Hafeez and Nida Dar to give her figures of 8-1-18-4.

“I was really happy to get four wickets today, but it’s a shame the rain came and the game had to be abandoned,” Glenn said. “We came back really well with the ball after Pakistan had started on top. We kept it tight and we got our rewards.

“I’ve really enjoyed the three matches and it’s good to come out with a series win. The girls have been really welcoming and I’m looking forward to the T20s.”

Anya Shrubsole returned from an expensive opening spell to pick up three wickets, with only Umaima Sohail’s unbeaten 27 offering much in the way of middle-order resistance for Pakistan. There was also an economical performance with the ball from Freya Davies, making her ODI debut, but England’s chances of claiming a third consecutive win were ended by the rain.

The result means England finished their ICC Women’s Championship campaign with 14 wins from 21 games, placing them second on the table behind Australia. Pakistan moved up a spot to fourth, level on 16 points with South Africa, but having played three games more. The top four teams qualify automatically for the 2021 World Cup.



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BCB chief positive about getting security clearance for Pakistan tour

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BCB president Nazmul Hassan is hopeful that the Bangladesh team will get security clearance from the government to tour Pakistan next month for a series comprising three T20Is and two Tests. However, he also said that there remained a couple of more steps that needed to be taken before a final decision could be arrived at.

Last week, BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury had said that the board was expecting a decision from the government imminently, but that time was running out. However, Hassan struck a more positive tone on Saturday.

“We had written to the government about our security clearance for Pakistan,” Hassan said. “We had sent a women’s team and an Under-16 team previously. We don’t have the clearance for the senior men’s team yet. Security is paramount even if it is for an Under-12 side. It is going to be the same for everyone, which is why I believe that we are likely to get the security clearance.”

Bangladeshi sides have toured Pakistan in the recent past, but the men’s team haven’t done so since 2008. Seven years ago they were close to deciding on a tour to Pakistan, only for the AHM Mustafa Kamal-led BCB to pull out shortly after the decision to tour was taken.

Hassan has said that after the government announces their decision, it would be up to the BCB to speak to the players who could decide for themselves whether they were keen to tour or not. BCB director Akram Khan has already suggested splitting the tour so that the Tests could be played later.

“The government had sent their security team, so once we get the clearance we can tell you our decision. After the security clearance, we also must ask the cricketers, whose opinion is important.

“We also have to consider the board’s decision, but we are at the final stages of our decision. I think we will know about it in the next 4-5 days,” said Hassan.

The tour comprises of three T20Is, scheduled to be held in Lahore on January 23, 25 and 27, and two Tests, which are slated to be held in Rawalpindi and Karachi.



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Mark Boucher appointed South Africa head coach till 2023

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Mark Boucher has been appointed as the new head coach of the South Africa men’s team on a four-year deal, running until 2023, with Enoch Nkwe, who was the interim team director, taking up the role of assistant coach.

“I have brought Boucher on board because I feel he will bring the toughness to turn a young and inexperienced Proteas squad into a battle-ready outfit,” Graeme Smith, the newly-appointed CSA acting director of cricket, said in his first interaction with the media after taking up the new position. “With his experience of a long career as an international cricketer he has first-hand experience of what it takes to succeed in the Test arena.

“I have the highest regard for Enoch as well and I want to create a clear path for him to grow into a top international coach. At the same time there is a clear need to maintain continuity and stability in the Proteas management team and we will be retaining the technical support staff along with Volvo Masubelele continuing as team manager and Justin Ontong as fielding coach.”

Smith mentioned that he would be appointing batting and bowling consultants over the “next couple of days”, with it looking increasingly likely that Jacques Kallis could take up the first of those positions.

The Boucher update came just three days after Smith was named director of cricket on a three-month term. A key part of Smith’s job was to appoint coaching staff for the men’s national team as it prepares to take on England at the turn of the year.

In other appointments and updates announced on the day, Linda Zondi has resumed as convener of the national selection panel, Faf du Plessis has been confirmed as the Test match captain, and Ashwell Prince will take charge of the South Africa A side for their upcoming three-day tour match against England, starting December 20 in Benoni. There will also be a two-day tour game prior to that in Benoni, from December 17, between the visiting side and a CSA Invitation XI. The first Test starts in Centurion on Boxing Day, and Zondi is expected name the squad for it on Monday.

“We will be announcing both the Proteas Test squad and the South Africa A squad to play England on Monday,” Smith said. “The Test squad will then go into immediate camp to prepare for the Test series and some of them will be included in the South Africa A team. Aiden Markram is likely to be the only player released for franchise duty in the 4-day series as he is in need of match practice after his lengthy injury-enforced absence.

“As far as my vision for the future is concerned, we need to rewind to performance excellence and that will be the focus going forward. Our public want and demand a world-class Proteas side and we must deliver on that. As far as my own future is concerned, I face a very busy and at times hectic three months and I am not going to look further ahead than that. I am sure everybody will understand that.

“Because of the time frame the Proteas Test squad is my most immediate concern and we will be rolling out plans for the Proteas Women and the under-19s, who both face important ICC global events next year, in the immediate future.”



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