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Recent Match Report – Derbyshire vs Essex, Twenty20 Cup (England), 2nd Semi-Final



Essex 160 for 5 (Delport 55, Reece 2-24) beat Derbyshire 126 (Harmer 4-19, Nijjar 3-26) by 34 runs

Simon Harmer hadn’t had a particularly rewarding Blast season. Unstoppable in the Championship, he had generally become a mere mortal over 20 overs. Then Derbyshire, in their first T20 Finals Day, had to contend with him on a turning Edgbaston pitch and the story changed as his destructive display pointed Essex towards a comprehensive victory and added another satisfying memory to an outstanding summer.

Harmer has been Essex’s Championship showstopper: his 78 wickets at 18.12 are the prime reason why they have a title showdown with Somerset at Taunton next week. As Essex’s captain in the Blast, however, he had mustered 10 wickets all season and disappeared for nine an over. He was just another player hoping that Edgbaston might look favourably upon him.

All that changed in a second semi-final in which Derbyshire succumbed meekly on a turning surface, falling 34 runs short of Essex’s challenging 160 for 5. They didn’t play spin particularly well, and a couple of their dismissals could fairly be described as naïve, but when it comes to facing Harmer they are not alone in that charge.

Harmer finished with 4 for 19, his tranquillity never threatened, and he had quite an ally, too, in Aron Nijjar, a 24-year-old left-arm spinner from Romford, who had the onerous task of replacing the modish Australian leggie Adam Zampa on Finals Day in only his second Twenty20 match, conceded 14 runs in his first four balls, but lived to tell a glorious tale as Essex won a T20 semi-final at the fifth attempt.

Harmer and Nijjar took three wickets apiece in the space of 58 balls, five of them hitting the stumps. When the sixth batsman to perish, Alex Hughes, was lured down the pitch by Nijjar and stumped, so fell Derbyshire’s top-scorer, on 23. There was another wicket for a spinner, too, when Dan Lawrence bowled Fynn Hudson-Prentice.

Harmer’s first ball jolted Derbyshire, their captain, Billy Godleman, the second batsmen to fall as he turned one sharply to hit the left-hander’s off stump. He repeated the dose in his third over against Leus du Plooy, another left-hander, another delivery that turned big. Next ball, Anuj Dal, determined to use his feet, ran at one and was bowled through the gate. His last wicket was Daryn Smit, who tried to reverse sweep him past two fielders at backward point, the most befuddled shot of all.

“I’m used to seeing the ball disappear so it’s nice to bowl on something that suits me,” Harmer said. Essex started their Blast campaign in the South Group so badly that they have essentially been playing knockout cricket for six matches, knowing that one more defeat would be fatal, and the knowledge has improved them.

Nijjar will attract less attention, but his contribution was, in a way, all the more remarkable because he had not bowled a single delivery in Essex 1st XI cricket all season. His last game of note was a 2nd XI match against Hampshire at Southampton in the first week of August. When Wayne Madsen sniffed vulnerability and struck him for 4-6-4 in his first four balls, things looked ominous; for him to then bowl Madsen round his legs, trying to sweep, was a crucial response.

Derbyshire were the last of the 18 counties to reach Finals Day and for all but the most committed follower of county cricket they could hardly have been more of an unknown quantity. Names did not as much trip off the tongue as go clean out of the mind. Obscurity, for a few hours at least, was in vogue. A side that reached the final stages by toppling Lancashire at Old Trafford were clearly capable of being better than the sum of their parts, and they will be deflated by their display.

Essex took command with an opening stand of 78 in 8.1 overs, Cameron Delport the dominant factor. His 55 from 31 balls gave him 408 runs for the tournament and the highest strike rate, at 172.15, of any of the 13 batsmen who had passed that 400-run mark. He might have fallen early, a leg-side swing against Logan van Beek falling safely when he was only 6, but his strokeplay became increasingly daunting until he deposited Hughes to long-off.

Once Delport had been silenced, Derbyshire shook themselves down and gradually got back into the match on a grippy surface that suited their medium-paced mix. Lawrence, who has grown into the T20 format this season by adopting a more aggressive approach, made little impact as he carved Hughes’ knuckle ball to third man; Ryan ten Doeschate, lbw to Luis Reece’s offcutter, also missed out.

Tom Westley, Delport’s opening partner, played the other innings of substance, 39 from 34 balls, although he, too, had fortune on his side, on 13, when van Beek failed to throw him out from mid-on. Westley’s departure to Reece at deep backward square leg preceded a problematic finish for Essex as they failed to find the boundary for 37 deliveries, from Ravi Bopara’s third-man dab off Reece to Adam Wheater’s square drive four balls from the end when Ravi Rampaul narrowly missed his yorker.

Bopara has crabbed all season about batting as a finisher at No. 6, and who found himself up at five for Finals Day. His scoring rate in the closing overs has been spectacular, justifying his place in the order, but it was a more restrained Bopara (28 from 23 balls when a ramp shot went awry) who guided then to 160 for 5. It was easily enough.

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No answer to India-Pakistan bilateral ties resumption – Ganguly



Sourav Ganguly, who will take charge as BCCI’s next president on October 23, has said that resumption of bilateral cricket with Pakistan is subject to the permission of the Indian government. Ganguly said that the decision could only be taken by the prime ministers of the two countries: Narendra Modi and Imran Khan, who also happens to be the patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

“You have to ask that question to Modi ji and the Pakistan Prime Minister,” Ganguly said at a media briefing in Kolkata on Tuesday. “Of course we have (to take permission), because international exposure (tours) is all through governments. So we don’t have an answer to that question.”

Ganguly had led India on the historic tour of Pakistan in 2004, the first bilateral series since the Kargil war in 1999 and India’s first visit to Pakistan since 1989.

The last time both neighbours featured in a bilateral series was in late 2012, when India hosted Pakistan for a limited-overs series comprising two T20Is and three ODIs.

In February, the BCCI asked the ICC in an e-mail letter “to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates”. That letter was sent at the behest of the three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), which was appointed as the supervisory authority of the board till fresh elections were held. The previous day the CoA had mulled over asking the ICC to boycott Pakistan from the World Cup.

At the time the BCCI and CoA were reacting to the terror strikes in Pulwama in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in which more than 40 paramilitary troops were killed.

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James Pamment takes over as USA interim coach | Cricket



Coach James Pamment goes through a fielding drill during pre-game warm-ups © Peter Della Penna

James Pamment, the 51-year-old former Auckland batsman, has taken the role of USA head coach on an interim basis through to the end of 2019. This comes after the contracts of USA director of cricket Kiran More and a string of other assistant coaches were not renewed following an initial three-month period. Pamment’s appointment had been rumoured since the start of the month but has since been confirmed to ESPNcricinfo by multiple USA Cricket sources.

More had been appointed in July by USA Cricket to oversee their quest to qualify for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, serving as a “senior operations consultant” according to a USA Cricket press release. But his arrival sparked a power struggle with USA head coach Pubudu Dassanayake, who had been in place since September 2016 and had led USA to ODI status in April at WCL Division Two. After mounting tension at a USA squad camp at Los Angeles in June, Dassanayake resigned, citing a “loss of freedom” in selection decisions.

More did not to travel with the USA squad to Bermuda in August for the Americas Regional Final for the T20 World Cup Qualifier. Sunil Joshi was notified by email after the team arrived on tour that he would be the stand-in head coach in More’s place. Though USA headed into the four-team event as favourites after winning the sub-regional qualifier over Canada in North Carolina in September 2018, the team finished third after losing all four of their matches to Canada and Bermuda, who wound up advancing instead of USA to the T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE.

A tentative plan had been discussed to extend More’s consultant contract through to the 2020 T20 World Cup had USA qualified, but once they failed in Bermuda, that became a non-starter. He oversaw USA’s ODI tri-series performances in Florida last month, where they went 3-1 in their opening round of Cricket World Cup League Two matches against Namibia and Papua New Guinea. Those were his last matches in charge. David Saker had left as fast bowling consultant coach to go back to Australia immediately after the Bermuda tour while batting consultant coaches Pravin Amre and Kieran Powell were not present in Bermuda nor Florida.

Pamment had initially been contracted as fielding coach for USA when More came on board. However, he has been asked to remain to help oversee a transition period for USA’s next two tours – the CWI Super50 in Trinidad next month and a CWC League Two ODI tri-series against UAE and Scotland in Dubai in December – until a full-time appointment can be made in January 2020. Pamment is not expected to apply for the full-time role because, like More, he has a multi-year contract with Mumbai Indians in the IPL, having replaced Jonty Rhodes as their fielding coach in 2018.

USA Cricket is seeking a full-time commitment after the failed strategy of hiring short-term consultants to replace Dassanayake for T20 World Cup Qualifier.

Originally from Yorkshire, Pamment migrated to New Zealand early in his career and played 14 first-class and 33 List A games from 1993 to 1996. Aside from his stint with Mumbai Indians in the IPL, Pamment previously coached Northern Districts in New Zealand from 2013 to 2017.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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UAE duo ‘stood to make US$272,000’ in successful fix



The two UAE players provisionally suspended for alleged breaches of the ICC anti-corruption code stood to make up to US$272,000 (approx.) if they successfully corrupted the games in the upcoming T20 World Cup qualifiers.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the players had been engaged in talks to carry out fixes – ranging from a session to a result – in three of the matches in the qualifiers, which begins on Friday with the UAE playing in the day’s second fixture in Abu Dhabi.

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The operations that have led to provisional suspensions of captain Mohammad Naveed and senior pro Shaiman Anwar was so planned that, it is understood, the players had contracts drawn up for the amounts that would be paid depending on the nature of the fix.

It is understood that investigations by the ICC’s ACU revealed that both Naveed and Anwar had been engaged by corruptors to fix the results and or session(s) in those three matches; the amounts involved were on a sliding scale of up to around US$272,000.

The ACU had been monitoring the players in question since the UAE’s tour of Zimbabwe in April this year. Among others being surveilled was Mehardeep Chhayakar, an alleged corruptor, originally from India, who has been involved with cricket in Ajman and is apparently known in gambling circles as “Gary”.

It was during that series in April, played in Harare, that Chhayakar is believed to have attempted to induce Qadeer Ahmed, the third UAE cricketer to be provisionally suspended along with Naveed and Anwar, into fixing in one of the matches.

Chhayakar, along with three other Indian men – all alleged corruptors – were detained by local police in Harare on corruption allegations at the time but released later. The ACU continued to keep a close eye on the movements of the four.

On October 6, the ACU brought in five persons for questioning, including the players charged today. It is understood that the ACU has kept the local police in the UAE informed about the developments.

The ACU handed the charges in person to Naveed and Anwar earlier on Wednesday; Qadeer is currently away in Pakistan while Chhayakar’s whereabouts are unknown.

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