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Siddhesh Veer sets up India’s win; Pakistan’s quicks rout Scotland



India Under-19s 297 for 4 (Jaiswal 59, Garg 56, Jurel 52*, Veer 44*) beat Sri Lanka Under-19s 207 all out (Dananjaya 50, Rasantha 49, Veer 2-34) by 90 runs

Siddhesh Veer was India’s main man as they kicked off their title defence with a resounding victory over Sri Lanka in Bloemfontein. The 18-year old allrounder carved out 44 unbeaten runs at a strike-rate of 163 and then came back to pick up two wickets while conceding less than run-a-ball. Thanks to his efforts, India made the most of a platform set by half-centuries by Yashasvi Jaiswal, Priyam Garg and Dhruv Jurel. Without Veer’s six fours and a six, they wouldn’t have got 88 runs in the last 10 overs to finish on an imposing 297 for 4.

That pace of scoring is not always seen at Under-19 level and those extra runs proved crucial against a Sri Lankan batting unit that was up for the chase, at least in the early stages. Captain Nipun Dananjaya scored a fifty of his own but the asking rate just kept climbing. By the 30th over, it was up past 8, and India used the resulting pressure extremely well, picking up the last seven wickets for the cost of only 48 runs. Sri Lanka crashed from 148 for 3 to 207 all out.

Pakistan Under-19s 77 for 3 (Irfan 38*, Naylor 1-12) beat Scotland Under-19s 75 (Uzzair 20, Wasim 5-12, Tahir 3-23, Afridi 2-32) by seven wickets

It was all rather one-sided in Potchefstroom as Pakistan steamrolled Scotland to get their Under-19 World Cup Group C campaign off to a rousing start.

Medium-pacers Tahir Hussain, Mohammad Wasim and Abbas Afridi first shared all ten wickets between them to bowl Scotland out for 75, and Irfan Khan then led the way in a straightforward chase, the target coming up in just 11.4 overs with seven wickets in hand.

Angus Guy, the Scotland captain, won the toss and opted to bat, but was bowled by Tahir off the second ball of the innings for a duck, his opening partner Ben Davidson suffering the same fate two balls later to leave the scoreboard reading 1 for 2 after four balls. Tomas Mackintosh got going, but became Tahir’s third victim when he was caught behind for an 18-ball 17.

Once Tahir was done, Wasim – who came into Pakistan’s squad as Naseem Shah’s replacement – and Afridi took over. Apart from Mackintosh, Uzzair Shah was the only other batsman to get to double-digits as Wasim returned 5 for 12 in 75 overs, to go with Tahir’s 3 for 23 and Afridi’s 2 for 32. The Scotland innings lasted just 23.5 overs.

The reply didn’t start well for the 2004 and 2006 champions, as openers Haider Ali and Muhammad Shehzad were dismissed with just four runs on the board. That was as good as it got for Scotland, though, as captain Rohail Nazir and Irfan scored quickly in a 47-run third-wicket stand and, after Rohail was sent back for a 23-ball 27, Irfan took Pakistan home in the company of Qasim Akram, finishing unbeaten on 38 off 37 balls.

Pakistan next play Zimbabwe on January 22, while Scotland take on Bangladesh a day before.

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Recent Match Report – Northern Diamonds vs Central Sparks North Group 2020



Central Sparks 218 for 4 (Jones 77) beat Northern Diamonds 217 (Kalis 87, Russell 4-28, Baker 3-26) by six wickets

Captain Eve Jones hit a composed 77 to lead a successful Central Sparks chase of 218 as they inflicted a first defeat in five Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy games upon North Group leaders Northern Diamonds at Emerald Headingley.

The six-wicket victory, secured with 3.2 overs to spare, keeps the race for a final spot at Edgbaston (September 27) alive going into next weekend’s last round of matches. A third win in five games for the Sparks cuts the gap from nine points to five at the top.

That means to have any chance of qualifying for the final, the Sparks need to beat Lightning at Grace Road on Saturday with a bonus point (achieved by scoring at a run-rate 25% higher than your opponent) and hope the Diamonds lose against North West Thunder at Headingley. Then it would come down to net run-rate.

Opener Jones helped her side recover from 0 for 1 in the first over of the reply under a sunny Leeds sky, sharing 123 inside 26 overs with second-wicket partner Marie Kelly, who made 49.

Left-handed Jones played a calm hand and was strong on both sides of the wicket, a similar knock to the 87 from home No. 3 Sterre Kalis.

Netherlands international Kalis had bounced back from three successive ducks to underpin the Diamonds 217 all out.

For the Sparks, new ball seamer Liz Russell was excellent with 4 for 28 from nine overs, while legspinner Hannah Baker claimed 3 for 26 from 10.

Having elected to bat, the momentum swung back and forth during the Diamonds innings. At 113 for 1 in the 27th over, with 21-year-old Kalis set at the crease on a good pitch offering only the odd sign of uneven bounce, they were looking at a total in the region of 250.

However, they later slipped to 185 for 8 in the 45th, with three wickets apiece at that stage for Russell and Baker. Kalis played the anchor role expertly, calmly picking the gaps and putting away the bad ball in her 115-ball knock.

She was supported by opener Rachel Hopkins, who made 35 – the pair sharing 85 inside 20 overs for the second wicket to advance from 28 for 1 in the seventh. Later, Beth Langston added an important 26 down the order to boost the target.

The Sparks fightback was started by three quick wickets for Baker, who removed Hopkins, Ami Campbell and Alex MacDonald as the score slipped from 113 for 1 in the 27th over to 120 for 4 in the 29th.

The Diamonds lost two wickets in an over on three separate occasions, the first of those being when Baker had Campbell caught at mid-on and MacDonald lbw sweeping two balls later.

Another legspinner, Anisha Patel later did the same, getting Jenny Gunn and Bess Heath, before Russell returned at the death to get Kalis caught at mid-off and Phoebe Graham to leave the Diamonds 185 for 8 in the 45th.

After an early Langston wicket with the new ball, the Sparks controlled the chase through Jones, who hit nine fours in 114 balls, and Kelly.

There was a brief wobble when Jones chipped a return catch to legspinner Katie Levick and Langston trapped Millie Home lbw two balls later, leaving the score at 172 for 4 in the 40th over.

But Poppy Davies (31 not out) and Chloe Hill calmed nerves with an unbroken 46. Hill finished with an unbeaten 23 and hit the winning runs.

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Recent Match Report – Sunrisers vs South East Stars South Group 2020



South East Stars 199 for 4 (Capsey 73*, Cranstone 46) beat Sunrisers 198 (Farrant 3-24) by six wickets

All-rounder Alice Capsey struck an unbeaten 73 as South East Stars strolled to a six-wicket Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy victory against winless Sunrisers at Chelmsford.

Capsey’s bustling knock took her just 75 deliveries and included nine fours as she and Aylish Cranstone put together a match-winning partnership of 114 to secure the Stars’ second success of the tournament.

Stars skipper Tash Farrant made early inroads after the home side had opted to bat, having opposite number Amara Carr caught at second slip and removing Lissy MacLeod in her next over.

That left Sunrisers struggling at 17 for 2, although their prospects of posting a competitive total were raised by a solid partnership of 55 from 57 balls between Cordelia Griffith and Naomi Dattani.

However, none of the Sunrisers batters were able to convert starts into the significant score that could have anchored their innings, with spin duo Dani Gregory and Capsey stifling them through the middle overs.

Capsey also made a key contribution in the field, with throws from backward square to run out Hayley Brown and Grace Scrivens – the latter having just clubbed her for three consecutive boundaries.

Jo Gardner and Katie Midwood did their best to haul Sunrisers above the 200 mark, but both fell to well-executed stumpings off Hannah Jones before Farrant returned to finish them off in the penultimate over.

Stars made an uncertain start to their run chase, with Kirstie White leg before in the third over to seamer Katie Wolfe, who produced a tight opening spell in tandem with the nagging spin of Scrivens.

Debutant Chloe Brewer lifted the shackles by steering Wolfe through the slips twice for boundaries and, with Cranstone also starting to find the gaps, the visitors began to make steady progress.

The pair added 56 before Brewer fell to Scrivens, caught behind attempting a cut, but new batter Capsey immediately made her intentions clear, pulling her first delivery through midwicket for four.

Capsey flourished against the Sunrisers spinners, outscoring her partner as she reached 50 from 52 balls – and Cranstone missed out on a half-century of her own, cutting Gardner to the point fielder with just 20 more required.

Although the impressive Gardner followed that up with the wicket of Amy Gordon, it made no difference to the outcome, Susie Rowe stroking the winning single with 12.5 overs to spare.

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IPL 2020 – Inexperienced middle order the weak link for Sunrisers Hyderabad



Where they finished in 2019: Fourth. Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab had 12 points each at the end of the group stage, but a superior net run-rate saw the Sunrisers through to the Eliminator, where they lost to the Delhi Capitals.

Potential XI: David Warner (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed

Batting: As always, the Sunrisers’ batting will revolve around David Warner, who has topped 500 runs every season he has played for the franchise. Warner will open the innings with Jonny Bairstow – both were exceptional as an opening pair last year, their average stand being 79 in just eight overs.

The middle order, though, once again appears a bit shaky. In the absence of a proven anchor, Manish Pandey may have to bat at No. 4 instead of No. 3, with Vijay Shankar slotting in after him. For the No. 3 position, the Sunrisers may start with Wriddhiman Saha. Their other options are Priyam Garg, who was India’s captain at the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, and Virat Singh, who scored 343 runs at 57.16 with a strike rate of 142.32 in the last Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Kane Williamson can also come in for Bairstow, with Saha opening the innings in that case.

Abdul Samad and Fabian Allen are in the side as finishers. Then there is Mohammad Nabi, who had a fantastic CPL both with bat and ball. With Warner and Rashid Khan taking up two overseas slots, the Sunrisers will have to leave Bairstow out if they want to fit both Allen and Nabi into their XI.

Bowling: Rashid is arguably the world’s best T20 bowler. Even though teams have started playing out his four overs of late, he remains a wicket-taking option. His compatriot Nabi will have a bigger role to play this year given the slow nature of the UAE pitches. If a third spinner is required, the Sunrisers can turn to Shahbaz Nadeem.

Still, a lot will depend on how Bhuvneshwar Kumar fares. Kumar was the leading wicket-taker for the Sunrisers for four successive years, from 2014 to 2017. However, he has struggled with injuries in the past two years and last played a representative game in December 2019. His form in the tournament could be the difference between a top-four finish and a title win.

In the supporting cast, the Sunrisers have a left-arm seamer in Khaleel Ahmed, a swing bowler in Sandeep Sharma and a hit-the-deck bowler in Siddarth Kaul. They also have the option of playing the tall Australian pacer Billy Stanlake in place of one of the overseas players.

Young player to watch out for: The spotlight will be on the 18-year-old Abdul Samad. In India’s last domestic season, the Jammu & Kashmir batsman was the most prolific six-hitter across formats (61 sixes). Moreover, he hit a six every 13 balls, the best rate among those with a minimum of 25 sixes. In March, just before India went into lockdown, Samad worked with Milap Mewada and Irfan Pathan to further sharpen his game and add shots like the uppercut to his repertoire. Apart from Samad, there is Priyam Garg, who has a more all-round game, though it needs to be seen how many matches he gets.

Coaching staff: Trevor Bayliss (head coach), Brad Haddin (assistant coach), Muttiah Muralitharan (bowling coach), Biju George (fielding coach), VVS Laxman (mentor)

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