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Recent Match Report – Northamptonshire vs Lancashire, Twenty20 Cup (England), North Group

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Lancashire 160 for 2 (Davies 75*) beat Northamptonshire 157 for 7 by eight wickets

After the rare taste of defeat against Birmingham Bears, normal service resumed as Lancashire Lightning eased home with nine balls to spare on a night on which one sensed they would not have broken into a sweat even had the temperature been 10 degrees warmer.

With Alex Davies dominating with a masterful 75 at the top, finding the boundary 10 times but impressing also with some skilful shot placement backed up with superb running between the wickets, the absence of their leading scorer, Glenn Maxwell, through a minor hamstring injury was barely noticed.

Supported with vigour by Liam Livingstone at the start, with measured calm by Steven Croft through the middle overs and improvisation by Dane Vilas at the end, Davies underlined the depth of resources in the current Lightning squad that sees them with a five-point cushion at the top of the North Group, albeit from a match more than everyone else.

Adam Rossington (40) and Dwaine Pretorius (38) top scored as the Steelbacks posted 157 for 7 but even on a used pitch that gave the slow bowlers something to work with there was a never even a hint of a wobble from their opponents, who surely have one foot in the quarter-finals, not least with Maxwell set to return for Friday’s game against Birmingham.

Northamptonshire are not completely out of the picture, even in eighth place, but they will have to go some to qualify from here.

What had been shaping up as a pretty decent powerplay for the home side stalled rather dramatically after a bemused Richard Levi, aiming to chip into the legside field, was caught at third man off a leading edge in the fourth over. Adam Rossington worked a four off his hips in the same over to take the total to 37 for 1 after four but Richard Gleeson conceded only three in the fifth over and Saqib Mahmood just a single in the sixth, in which the Steelbacks lost another big wicket when Josh Cobb holed out to deep square leg without scoring.

Lancashire, who had won the toss and fancied there would be something in the conditions for their bowlers after a miserably wet day, then took the pace off and put the squeeze on some more before Rossington and Alex Wakely eased the pressure with a boundary each as Northamptonshire reached the halfway stage at 69 for 2.

On a slow pitch against disciplined bowling, the Steelbacks struggled to build any momentum, picking up only a couple of boundaries in the next five overs. A full swing of the bat from Wakely sent the ball over the rope at deep midwicket, but in the same over of an impressive spell of legspin by Livingstone came another setback as Rossington failed to clear the fielder at long-on.

Livingstone cleverly bowled Wakely in his next over to finish with a tidy two for 24 before Rob Keogh and Pretorius gave the innings some belated substance with a flurry of big blows, the latter walloping Matt Parkinson for consecutive legside sixes on his way to 38 off 22 balls before the legspinner thudded the next delivery into his pads.

The two had added 52 in five overs, most of them in a furious assault against Mahmood and Parkinson that accrued 37 in 12 deliveries. But James Faulkner tightened things up again with a superb final over that conceded only four and claimed two more wickets as he finished with 3 for 36.

Needing just under eight an over to overhaul the Steelbacks and claim their sixth win after three no-results in their first 10 matches, Lancashire could not have asked for a more emphatic statement of intent from their openers than Davies provided by smashing the first three balls of Ben Sanderson’s opening over to the rope.

Livingstone took up the gauntlet, needing little time to loosen up as lofted three of his first nine deliveries for six and though he was out looking for a fourth, well caught at deep mid-wicket, Lancashire were ahead of the game at 55 for 1 after the powerplay, even though the Steelbacks dragged the rate back a little in overs five and six.

The torrent of boundaries had dwindled to a trickle as Lightning reach the halfway point at 83 for 1 after some largely tidy work by Graeme White and Keogh but Davies and Croft were content with ones and twos with wickets in hand and the scoring ahead of the required rate.

Davies took advantage of a couple of loose deliveries from White to raise his boundary count to eight as he passed 50 in 38 balls before Faheem Ashraf checked Lancashire’s progress a little by yorking Croft in an excellent over that went for just two singles.

But Davies continued to play splendidly, rarely passing up the opportunity for an easy boundary that came his way all too often and never keen to settle for singles if a two was available as the target came down to 34 off the last five.

By now, the Steelbacks’ heads had dropped as Vilas warmed to the task and chopped Sanderson away twice through the offside before the game ended in a manner that aptly reflected the crumbling nature of the home side’s cricket as Vilas swatted away a Nathan Buck full toss which Wakely’s misfield at deep backward square turned into the winning boundary.



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Recent Match Report – Nottinghamshire vs Warwickshire, County Championship Division One, 2nd Innings

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Warwickshire 488 (Sibley 215*, Hain 76) and 271 for 2 (Sibley 109, Burgess 61*) beat Nottinghamshire 498 (Mullaney 179, Clarke 125) and 260 (Clarke 112, Hannon-Dalby 4-54) by eight wickets

Dominic Sibley followed his unbeaten first-innings double century with another hundred as Warwickshire completed a successful run chase on the final day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Sibley, who scored an undefeated 215 in the first innings, followed up with 109 as the visitors reached their target of 271 from a minimum of 58 overs with eight wickets to spare. The 24-year old opener Sibley scored his runs from 147 balls, with 10 fours, and shared in an opening stand of 146 with Will Rhodes, who made 65.

Having been on the field for virtually the entire match, Sibley was eventually bowled by Paul Coughlin, who took 2 for 85.

By that stage the victory was already in sight, with Michael Burgess hitting an unbeaten 61 after coming in at No. 3.

Earlier, the day had looked as if it might belong to Joe Clarke, who registered his second hundred of the match.

Clarke followed up his first innings score of 125 with 112 as Notts made 260 in their second innings. He was last out, bowled by Oliver Hannon-Dalby, who took 4 for 54, with Jeetan Patel picking up 3 for 52.

Clarke’s championship season had begun with scores of 112 and 97 not out against Yorkshire in early April but off-field issues disrupted his campaign and he had failed to reach 50 in any of his 17 Division One innings since then.

Dropped for the previous match, he returned to the starting XI as Notts rested players ahead of this weekend’s Vitality Blast Finals Day. His return to form now puts him in contention to figure on Saturday as well.

The former Worcestershire batsman reached his sixteenth first-class century from 130 deliveries, having hit 15 fours.

“Firstly, Dom Sibley is a man in form and has played unbelievably well,” Clarke said. “As a close mate of mine, hopefully I can see him in England colours this winter.

“It was nice for me after missing out last week. I was gutted, so coming back in I worked really hard to show people I don’t want to be left out again.”

On the prospect of playing at Finals Day on Saturday, he added: “I felt like I went ok in the T20s and feel confident but the decision is in other people’s hands, not mine. I’ll have a swing and be prepped to go if I get the nod.”

Resuming from their overnight score of 105 for 5, a lead of 115, the home side had an early set-back when Coughlin was given out caught behind off Henry Brookes for 16.

Ravi Ashwin joined Clarke and kept the scoreboard moving in a partnership of 73, made in only 13 overs.

George Garrett broke the stand, gaining a positive lbw verdict against Ashwin, who made 42. The same bowler wasn’t able to build on his success, clutching his thigh as he limped out of the action during his next over.

Clarke was on 89 when he lost his next partner, Luke Fletcher, popping Patel into the hands of Sam Hain at short leg.

Patel dismissed Zak Chappell for a promising 29 soon after lunch and the innings was completed when Clarke was bowled trying to farm the strike. In his disappointment he knocked out a stump with his bat – apologising immediately to the umpires.

Brendan Taylor, who made 114 and 105 not out against Durham in 2016 was the last Nottinghamshire batsman to record two hundreds in the same match.

The visitors began well, reaching tea on 82 without loss, with Sibley unbeaten on 48 and Rhodes on 34.

Gradual accumulation saw the openers advance the score to 146 before they were separated. Rhodes, who had hit Ashwin for two leg-side sixes in his 80-ball half-century, picked out Chappell in the deep, upper-cutting Coughlin.

A tired-looking Sibley then wandered across his stumps but Burgess reached his 50 from 51 balls, leaving Matt Lamb to hit the winning run.

The match aggregate of 1,517 runs is the largest in the competition this summer but leaves Notts still without a victory at the foot of the table. They now turn their attention to Finals Day on Saturday, before completing their red-ball season against Surrey at The Kia Oval next week.

Warwickshire move up to sixth in the table with their victory and host Yorkshire in their final encounter.



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There’s no question, Virat Kohli is RCB captain: Simon Katich

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Recently the owners at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) carried out a complete overhaul of the coaching staff, brining in former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson as team director and appointing former Australia batsman Simon Katich as the head coach.

On Friday, in Bengaluru, both Hesson and Katich had a media interaction where they discussed a wide range of issues including why they feel Royal Challengers, which is lead by India captain Virat Kohli, can be realistic about winning their maiden IPL title in 2020.

Excerpts:

Royal Challengers Bangalore haven’t made the playoffs for three seasons now. How can you turn it around?

Mike Hesson: We have spent a lot of time in the last two weeks looking at how we want to structure things as a support staff. With the structure we have got and people we’ve got around us, we’re well aware that we have to make a few tweaks in the squad to get the balance that we think we need moving forward. We are not going to talk about player names, obviously we are not going to give too much away, but there has certainly been a lot of behind the scenes thinking about how we want to structure things.

ALSO READ – RCB support staff overhaul: Kirsten and Nehra out, Hesson and Katich in

Has there been any thought at all at looking at a different captain?

Simon Katich: Not at all.

How will the team management set-up work in the new structure?

Hesson: I will be having input pre-game, but Simon and Virat will be in charge on game days in terms of the XI they put on the park. The dealings I had with both are inclusive as well. I am sure coaches that have experience at certain venues against opposition, but it’s a collective agreement. But Simon and Virat will be in charge on game days.

“You need to have guys who are prepared to put the team first over their individual needs of trying keep getting a game, or just potentially do well for the next option.”

RCB’s head coach on what he expects

Kohli has lead for the past seven seasons. The outside perception is he calls the shots. Is that a strength or do you have any apprehensions about working with him?

Katich: From our point of view, we have been aligned about how we are going to go about things. We haven’t got that perception about Virat at all. Potentially there is a learning from that and the fact that what he has done in the past, maybe he has learnt from that and wants to go about things differently moving forward. But from what we’ve discussed with him so far, he is very much been aligned about how we want to move forward, and happy to take advice from our experience and how we see things.

There is always going to be different opinions, but it is about what is best for the team and I think we have both (him and Hesson) spoken about it over the last couple of weeks. There’s no question, for us Virat is captain.

How easy or difficult is it to talk to with superstar players like Kohli or Brendon McCullum (at New Zealand when he was head coach) to have an open discussion on decision-making?

Hesson: Simon, Virat and myself, everybody have been working together to this point and so far those relationships have been very good. There is a time and place for everything, but the three of us have to be brutally honest with each other behind closed doors around every decision.

There will be decisions we all make where we might say: “hang on, what we were thinking there?” And it might not necessarily be saying you have done something wrong. It’s just asking for clarity on what you were thinking. I think this is responsibility of all of us to challenge the three of us as a leadership group to make sure we are getting the best out of each other. We are not gonna be passive and not be afraid of having honest discussions. There is no value in that for anybody.

Royal Challengers have never been short of talent. As a coach how do you get that talent work together?

Katich: A big part of it is identifying what sort of style of players will bat well with each other or potentially bowl well in partnerships together in different phases of the innings. So that’s something we are working through at the moment. But then when it comes to a team’s style of play, you need to have guys with that character that they are prepared to put the team first over their individual needs of trying keep getting a game, or just potentially do well for the next option.

So that’s the balancing act of trying to put a squad together and that’s where the character side of it comes into it because yes, they are a lot of players out there with lots of talent but are they playing in winning teams and how are they contributing in being part of winning teams? So that’s all the things we have to weigh up when we are making these judgments over the next few months.

How do you make sure the Chinnaswamy pitch will favour RCB so that they utilise home advantage, a crucial determining factor in making play-offs?

Katich: It was probably the first thing I mentioned when I first came on about the job, was asking the question about the wicket because I have seen it evolved over the last four years. Obviously in 2017, it was a different type of wicket given what happened with the drainage. And obviously it affected the balance of the team because it was playing differently to what the team had been used to in the past. So that was one of the first questions asked because you want to really utilise your home ground advantage for seven games and if you make it a fortress which others teams have done at their venues, whether it’s at Chennai (Chennai Super Kings) or whoever it is, that becomes a big determining factor whether you can make it to the playoffs. So that’s one thing we certainly will be taking into account and making sure that it suits the balance of our team and so we have to understand how it is going to play.



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From local icons to ‘non-playing players’: Details of The Hundred draft revealed

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The Professional Cricketers Association has sent its members full details of how to register for The Hundred, with the wheres, whens and wherefores starting to become clear. If you’re after the full lowdown on local icons, luxury coach travel, non-playing players, Finals Day details, wildcard picks and fixtures at Sedbergh, you’ve come to the right place…

Draft details:

On October 3, each team will pick players from the list of those with a Test contract. Each team will be able to select one such player from its catchment area, or in the case of the teams without such a player, from the pool of those left over. Any remaining players will then be automatically allocated according to their catchment area.

One or more men’s Test players may be appointed as a ‘non-playing player’ for The Hundred, seemingly at the ECB’s discretion. They will be used in promotional material, but will not train or play. James Anderson is almost certain to have such status, having last played a T20 in 2014, while Stuart Broad and Rory Burns are other candidates.

Overseas players:

Each team will be permitted a maximum of three overseas players. As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the ECB have been successful in changing the visa criteria with the Home Office. In addition to the existing criteria regarding international appearances, players will now qualify for a visa if they have played 20 domestic T20s in full-member countries in the past 24 months – though the stipulations were mistakenly omitted from the men’s draft FAQs.

Several Australia players are expected to enter the draft. They have no international cricket scheduled between their six white-ball games in England, which finish immediately before the competition starts.

The gap in Australia’s schedule also means that some of their Test specialists will hope to secure county deals. Several counties are understood to have enquired about Nathan Lyon’s availability, while several of those who had deals this year will plan to extend them into 2020.

Local icon draft:

Also on October 3, each team will be able (but not obliged) to pick up to two ‘local icon’ players, who have played at a county within the team’s catchment area in the 2019 season, at a fee at or above their reserve price. The team will then lose a pick in the actual draft according to the player’s salary band. For example, if Southern Brave wanted to sign Liam Dawson, and agreed a fee of £75,000, they would lose a Round Six pick in the main draft.

The ‘local icon’ draft will only be held this year – effectively in order to increase the number of players signed by their local team – but raises conflict-of-interest issues due to the shared governance between ‘stakeholder’ counties and new teams. It would be feasible for ‘bundling’ – the practice allegedly carried out by Western Australia and Perth Scorchers – to take place between counties and Hundred teams.

The ECB have inserted a clause in the draft regulations attempting to outlaw the practice, but it is possible that given the overlap in management between counties and Hundred teams, a county could offer a higher county salary on the agreement that they would sign a less lucrative Hundred deal and thus open up an earlier-round pick.

The ECB maintain such a scenario is unlikely, due to the risk involved, the role of independent head coaches in picking players, and the fact they are funding Hundred salaries.

The PCA have previously flagged the possibility of conflict of interests, and chairman Daryl Mitchell said in a statement that they were “very strong” in pushing for an independent selection structure.

“The ECB have put governance in place where the counties self-police behaviours as part of these team boards,” Mitchell said. In response to concerns about the overlap between the governance of Lancashire and Manchester Originals, he added: “Lancashire is a standalone county which has caused concerns which has been raised from the very outset.”

Wildcards:

Each men’s team will pick one ‘wildcard’ player around ten days before the tournament starts, expected to be based on performances in the T20 Blast. Each wildcard player will be paid £30,000, the lowest men’s salary band.

The Blast’s group stage will end before The Hundred starts, despite the fact its Finals Day is not scheduled until September 2, more than six weeks later.

Finals Day formats:

Both the men’s and women’s competitions will mirror the current Kia Super League format for their knockout stages. The team that finishes top of the 32-match group stage will go straight into the final, while the second and third-placed teams will play a semi-final immediately before.

Women’s Finals Day will be on Friday, August 14, while the men’s version is likely to be on Saturday, August 15.* The venues for both days are yet to be confirmed.

Women’s tournament:

The salary bands for the women’s competition have been released. Each squad will comprise players earning: £15,000 (two players), £12,000 (two), £9,000 (two), £7,200 (two), £6,000 (two), £4,800 (two), £3,600 (three), with the captain earning a further £1,200 as a bonus.

While the top salaries are not dissimilar to those on offer in the Women’s Big Bash League, each men’s team will have two players earning £125,000, while the total budget for an entire women’s squad of 15 will be £120,000.

The Manchester Originals’ women’s venue will be Sedbergh School, in Cumbria. The decision to host a Lancashire men’s County Championship game there was unpopular with the club’s members due to the school’s location (80 miles from Old Trafford). Lancashire Thunder, the KSL team, had hosted its games at Aigburth, Chester, and Blackpool.

As previously reported, each women’s team will play at least one double-header at their paired men’s venue.

Post-scripts:

Players have been told to register by 4pm on September 30. It is anticipated that the vast majority of players with county contracts will do so. Players without a first-class contract can apply to enter the draft, and will be entered if a team expresses an interest in them.

All players coming from overseas will be booked on business-class flights, and players will be given a daily allowance of £35 to cover basic expenses like food and drink. “Luxury coach travel” will be provided for away games.

*1715 BST – this piece was updated to amend the likely date of men’s Finals Day



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