January 19: Hobart Hurricanes v Adelaide Strikers
Our XI: Mathew Wade, Jake Weatherald, George Bailey, Ben McDermott, Travis Head, Jonathan Wells, Rashid Khan (capt), Qais Ahmed (vice-capt), Nathan Ellis, Micheal Neser, Scott Boland
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about a late injury (or other relevant updates)
Captain: Rashid Khan
The Hurricanes have struggled with the bat and have a weakened batting line up. Rashid Khan is coming up against this opposition for the first time this season and would be looking to display his skills. Hurricanes have been the worst team against spin this tournament and one can expect Rashid to add to his 16 wickets.
Vice-captain: Qais Ahmed
Similar to the Hurricanes, the Strikers have also been struggling with the bat in the last few games. Qais Ahmed has 11 wickets at an economy of 7.91 and a best of 4 for 12. He could control the middle overs, which has been a bit of a problem for the Strikers.
Hurricanes desperately need a win and Wade is key to that. Wade scored 61 runs against the Heat but has failed in the other two matches. Wade’s foundation is vital in ensuring the likes of David Miller, George Bailey and Ben McDermott can regain some form and help the Hurricanes get past the Strikers at home.
With 306 runs from 10 matches, Wells has been the best performer for the Strikers. In the absence of Alex Carey, it is up to Wells to take the Strikers to a good total. His average is 61.20, and his strike rate is 131.89. The strike rate could have been a bit higher, but is also a function of the situations he has come in to bat.
With Riley Meredith injured, the Hurricanes have struggled with the ball. Boland’s been the key for them having taken a wicket in every match he has played in. Boland has eight wickets from five matches at an impressive economy of 7.44.
Head is yet to start scoring in this season. The captain has played just two matches but has been dismissed cheaply on both occasions. One could take a punt on Head to lead by example, as the game against the lower ranked Hurricanes is key to the Strikers’ chances of qualifying.
Point to note The Match is being played at a venue that has not hosted too many games. Wait for the toss and pitch report before you choose your captain and vice-captain.
Recent Match Report – Queensland vs Tasmania, Sheffield Shield, 21st Match
Queensland 2 for 115 (Street 41*, Bird 2-43) lead Tasmania 78 (Neser 4-18, Wildermuth 3-17) by 37 runs
Michael Neser and the other Queensland seam bowlers thrived on a green Gabba pitch to roll Tasmania over for just 78 on the opening morning in Brisbane.
Neser took 4 for 18 and Jack Wildermuth bagged 3 for 17 as Tasmania were bowled out inside 38 overs after being sent in to bat after losing the toss.
The pitch was scarcely distinguishable from the rest of the square and the outfield, and batting was brutally difficult as the ball seamed and swung consistently. Neser removed both openers, trapping Jordan Silk in front and taking the outside edge of Alex Doolan’s bat. He later returned to nab Australia Test skipper Tim Paine with the worst ball of the day as Paine chipped a full toss to mid-on.
Charlie Wakim was the only Tasmania batsman to reach double-figures. He and Jake Doran were also the only ones to bat for a significant stretch of time – Wakim faced 50 balls for his 11 and Doran 56 for his 7.
Ben McDermott was unfortunate to be given out caught behind but the rest could not help but nick to a hungry cordon of catchers behind the wicket. Queensland’s spinner Mitch Swepson was not required to bowl.
The Bulls were then able to blunt Tasmania’s attack late in the day despite the ball continuing to move prodigiously, with Bryce Street absorbing 154 deliveries to finish not out on 41.
Joe Burns fell top-edging a pull off Jackson Bird for 23 before Marnus Labuschagne appeared to be caught behind first ball from what looked like a regulation and healthy outside edge. But the umpire was unmoved and the Tasmanians were mystified. Bird eventually got his man with Labuschagne edging to second slip for 26 attempting an ambitious drive on the up.
Street was the immovable object continuing the form he displayed before the BBL break steering the Bulls to stumps just two down with a lead of 37, alongside skipper Usman Khawaja.
Hanuma Vihari presents India with left-field choice for opener
With Rohit Sharma out of the New Zealand tour with a calf injury, a place has opened up at the top of India’s Test-match batting line-up. The warm-up game in Hamilton was supposed to help them resolve the question of who would open alongside Mayank Agarwal in the first Test in Wellington, but their first innings only complicated the issue. Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill were both out for ducks, to balls that bounced disconcertingly from short of a length, and Agarwal extended a run of lean form by edging behind for 1.
It’s still unlikely, but a different, left-field option may have presented itself to India’s team management. Hanuma Vihari has opened before, at the MCG, and while he only made 8 and 13, he spent 80 minutes at the crease in the first innings, and nearly an hour in the second, helping see off the new ball and earning the praise of his captain Virat Kohli.
Batting at No. 6, Vihari made 101 at Seddon Park on Friday, and while he didn’t face the new ball, there was still seam and extra bounce for the fast bowlers when he came in, and his unhurried, close-to-the-body technique was just what the Indians needed at 38 for 4.
It would be harsh to judge the three regular openers for their failures in one innings, in difficult conditions, but with Agarwal struggling for form and with Shaw (two Tests) and the uncapped Gill low on experience, Vihari could be an option for India to consider. This, of course, leaves the question of who bats at No. 6.
All this is speculation, of course, and India might not even pause to consider the idea of Vihari opening. He certainly hasn’t heard any such talk just yet.
“As a player, I am prepared to bat anywhere,” Vihari said at the end of the day’s play. “As of now, I’ve not been informed [of] anything. As I’ve said before as well, if the team requires me to bat wherever, I am ready to bat.”
Whenever he bats, there’s a sense of calmness about Vihari, a sense that he has a plan and won’t be swayed from it too easily. Here, he found the extra bounce surprising, but along with Cheteshwar Pujara – with whom he would eventually put on 195 – formulated a plan to deal with it.
“The talk was to bat time and to see off the new ball,” he said. “Obviously they were bowling in great areas and the wicket had good bounce, extra bounce, more than what I’ve experienced in New Zealand before. So I took some time to adjust and once I knew what shots I had to avoid early on this wicket, maybe horizontal [-bat] shots, I tried to avoid that.”
Vihari said he was pleased to have worked out a way to adjust to testing conditions.
“At the international level, you have to be thinking on your feet,” he said. “And I was quick enough to adjust my game according to the conditions, so whenever I bat next, New Zealand or Australia, wherever it is, it is up to me what I want to do with my game and how quickly I adjust and I’m happy that I could do it.”
Once Pujara and Vihari settled in, the New Zealand XI briefly attempted to bounce both batsmen out, with Scott Kuggeleijn, who took the first three wickets, going around the wicket and peppering them with short balls. Neither batsman was unduly troubled with this tactic, but Vihari knows he might have to face more of it in the upcoming Test series, particularly from Neil Wagner.
“We experienced that [in India A’s unofficial Test series] against New Zealand A as well,” Vihari said. “When the wicket flattens out, they try to experiment with the short balls and I’m sure even Neil Wagner will come up with the same ploy.
“We’ve seen it before in the Australian series and the home series for them. We are prepared for it. We’ve got that good experience in India A as well. They did come up with short balls when we played against New Zealand A. Today as well they bowled quite a number of short balls. It’s good exposure for us.”
The bounce at Seddon Park may have been a surprise, but the grass cover was fairly typical of New Zealand pitches in red-ball cricket. Vihari expects more of the same in the Test series.
“Maybe we’ll get pitches like these,” he said. “Because their [New Zealand’s] strength is fast bowling, so maybe they’ll give this much grass or a little less. They have a very experienced bowling attack but it’s good that we got some time in the middle and we experienced these conditions. They were tough and it’s good to experience tough conditions before the series and we’re happy with the way the day went.”
Recent Match Report – South Africa vs England 2nd T20I 2020
South Africa won the toss and chose to bowl first against England
Dale Steyn was a notable absentee as South Africa won the toss and chose to bowl first in the second T20I at Durban, where they have a chance to close out the three-match series after Wednesday’s thrilling one-run win at East London.
Steyn was the solitary change on either side, with South Africa taking the cautious approach to their returning veteran, who showed good rhythm in his first international outing for 11 months, but whose omission possibly owes as much to the 48-hour turnaround as to his form.
In his place came the offspinner Bjorn Fortuin, who made his ODI debut on this same ground last week, but who didn’t play any part in the 11.2-over washout. He has two previous T20I appearances to his name, both on the tour of India in September, where he opened the bowling and claimed 2 for 19 in three overs at Bengaluru to help square the series with an impressive nine-wicket win.
England, by contrast, opted to stick with the same XI that came up short at Buffalo Park, which means another outing for Joe Denly in the middle order and another frustration day in the dug-out for Dawid Malan, whose non-selection continues to raise eyebrows after his 48-ball hundred at Napier in his most recent appearance.
“I hope we come out and bring that energy and ruthlessness,” said Quinton de Kock, South Africa’s captain. “I think it’s about a mental point of view, we’ve just made sure that from a discipline, aggressive point of view, that we’re always on the mark or at least getting better in all departments.”
Morgan admitted he would have bowled first too. “We do enjoy chasing, even though we didn’t get over the line the other night,” he said. “I thought we played some good cricket but we’ll probably look for a bit of a marked improvement and that starts with the bat.
“This is the first opportunity to impose ourselves on the game, so hopefully we can have as competitive a game as the other night but hopefully we get across the line.”
Morgan added that it was a rare blessing to arrive at Durban without rain in the air, given that each of his three previous visits had resulted in abandonments.
“The first time we came here to play, I think, was back in 2010 [December 2009] and this is the first game that I think it will complete so it’s a fantastic place to be, especially with a lot of friends and family here tonight.”
South Africa (possible): 1 Quinton de Kock (capt, wk), 2 Temba Bavuma, 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Jon-Jon Smuts, 5 David Miller, 6 Andile Phehlukwayo, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Beuran Hendricks, 9 Bjorn Fortuin, 10 Tabraiz Shamsi, 11 Lungi Ngidi.
England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Jonny Bairstow, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Joe Denly, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran/Tom Curran, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood
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