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Match Preview Pakistan vs Bangladesh, 1st T20I 2020

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The sight of Bangladesh players walking down from their chartered aircraft at the Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore, late on Wednesday evening, was an assuring sign for cricket lovers from both countries. Not too long ago, the tour was nearly called off after the BCB stuck to their position of only playing T20Is, while Pakistan sent a fresh proposal of only Tests.

But it all changed dramatically when, over the course of a meeting in Dubai last week in the presence of ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, the two parties reached a deal. Bangladesh are on the first of three legs of touring Pakistan over the next three months, this time to only play the T20Is.

Bangladesh will be without Mushfiqur Rahim, who opted out of the tour due to his family’s concerns, while five members of the coaching staff have also been excluded from the travelling party. It has unquestionably made Bangladesh a lesser side, with added responsibility on Tamim Iqbal and captain Mahmudullah. Bangladesh have an experienced pace attack to call upon, but lack a genuine spinner. The batting line-up has form, but needs careful organising and reshuffling.

Bangladesh performed admirably in the T20Is in India in November, where only a sensational Deepak Chahar spell stood between them and a famous series win. The same cannot be said about Pakistan, however. They have lost eight of their last ten T20Is, including a series defeat to Sri Lanka at home in October last year.

In the need to improve their record, the coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has included some newcomers like Amad Butt, Ahsan Ali and Haris Rauf, as well as veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to beef up the batting line-up.

Form guide

Pakistan LLLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)

Bangladesh LLWWW

In the spotlight

Sixteen wickets at a strike-rate of exactly ten, economy rate of 6.89 and 11.56 bowling average in the BBL has not only landed Haris Rauf a place in the Pakistan T20I side, but his tape-ball to BBL story has made fans quite excited to see him bowl at home.

Mohammad Naim’s 81 against India in Bangladesh’s last T20I made heads turn, and he followed it up with an impressive BPL campaign for Rangpur Rangers. Naim, too, is a virtual unknown in Bangladesh cricket, but fans have noticed the youngster’s unassuming strokeplay.

Team news

Pakistan are going with a whole host of changes from the side that last played a T20I. Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Shaheen Afridi are likely to return while Ahsan Ali and Haris Rauf are set to be handed T20I debuts. Three places would obviously open up in the absence of Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir and Haris Sohail who don’t feature in the squad.

Pakistan (possible): 1 Ahsan Ali, 2 Babar Azam, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Iftikhar Ahmed, 6 Imad Wasim, 7 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 8 Shadab Khan, 9 Haris Rauf, 10 Shaheen Afridi 11 Mohammad Hasnain

Bangladesh’s team management will have a tough time replacing Mushfiqur Rahim, and maneuvering the five openers within the line-up. Coach Russell Domingo said a few days ago that many of them may have to bat out of position, although the bowling line-up is likely to be similar to the one that faced India in November.

Bangladesh (possible): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Mohammad Naim, 3 Afif Hossain, 4 Liton Das (wk), 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Soumya Sarkar, 7 Mahedi Hasan, 8 Aminul Islam, 9 Shafiul Islam, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Al-Amin Hossain

Pitch and conditions

The brownish wicket is projected to be a belter, giving the chasing side enough of an advantage to go after even a 200-plus total. The weather forecast seems perfect, with a high of 17 degrees.

Stats and trivia

  • This will be only be the second T20 tp be played during the day at the Gaddafi Stadium in the last six years.

  • Only Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah have played in Pakistan from this current Bangladesh side.

  • Mohammad Hafeez, who has made a comeback into the Pakistan T20I side, is 92 runs short of 2000 T20I runs, while Shadab Khan is four scalps away from 50 T20I wickets.



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India vs England Tests, IPL 2021 could be held in the UAE

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India could host England in the UAE this winter, with the BCCI signing an agreement with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to “boost cricketing ties” between the two boards on Saturday. While the agreement is restricted only to this year’s IPL, which begins today in Abu Dhabi, ESPNcricinfo understands there have been brief discussions in which the possibility of India hosting England, as well as next year’s IPL, in the UAE has been raised.

On Saturday, BCCI secretary Jay Shah posted a tweet announcing the Indian board had signed a “hosting agreement” with the ECB “to boost cricketing ties between our countries”. Shah signed the agreement at a meeting with ECB vice-chairman Khalid Al Zarooni.

Also present at the meeting were BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and board treasurer Arun Dhumal. Shah did not spell out details of what the agreement entailed, but a senior BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo that it was specific to the 2020 IPL. The IPL was shifted to the UAE because India is still experiencing a surge of Covid-19 infections.

More to follow…



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England Women v West Indies Women 2020

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West Indies allrounders Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews believe that having a “strong mindset” proved pivotal in keeping themselves motivated through the Covid-19 pandemic-induced off season. It helped them overcome fears that “we wouldn’t have any women’s cricket for the rest of the year” after the T20 World Cup in Australia ended in early March.

The 2021 Women’s World Cup has been postponed by a year. That along with the cancellation of several bilateral women’s series, even after international men’s cricket resumed in July, threatened to leave the women’s calendar vacant for the rest of 2020, outside of Australia’s home series against New Zealand which begins September 26.

However, the ECB successfully drew up contingency plans to make up for India and South Africa’s withdrawal for tours in July-August by inviting West Indies. Their first T20I against England in Derby on Monday is set to mark the return of top-level women’s international cricket 196 days on from the T20 World Cup final at the MCG.

“The whole time in the pandemic I just thought that that was it for the year for women’s cricket,” Dottin, the West Indies vice-captain, told ESPNcricinfo. “I think this pandemic [has taught] that mentally you’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to have a strong mindset. It [is] something that you can’t easily give up.

“I actually thought we wouldn’t have any women’s cricket for the rest of the year. I just kept training and doing things here and there and kept motivating myself in all ways. I started playing cricket with my cousins, the boys, just to keep active and keep that work up: of playing cricket.”

Matthews echoed her team-mate’s apprehensions. She was, like Dottin, part of West Indies’ 2016 T20 World Cup-winning side. She has also been a sought-after name in domestic T20 competitions, plying her trade in the WBBL, the now-defunct KSL and the Women’s T20 Challenge.

ALSO READ: West Indies women in England: ‘Women’s cricket needs this’ – Stafanie Taylor

“It’s obviously something very challenging,” said Matthews, who will play for the Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL later this year. “You have to have a strong mentality to go out there, still be training, and putting in all the hard work, not knowing if you’re going to be able to be playing again this year. I’m just really glad we are able to get back over again and that Cricket West Indies and ECB have [made that possible] for us to play.

“We also see the Women’s Big Bash League; it seems it’s going to come off as well. It’s really good to see these boards are stepping up at this point and get cricket played – not only for the men’s sides but the women’s sides as well.”

West Indies have lost (19) more times than they’ve won (17) in their 37 T20Is since their 2016 T20 World Cup victory. Like the side, Matthews, the Player of the final in that tournament, too, has struggled to replicate the abandon that became a hallmark of the side’s maiden world title triumph four years ago. In her last 15 T20I innings, she has reached 30 only thrice, her maiden T20I hundred in May last year included.

In the T20 World Cup earlier this year, Matthews, who opens for the side, made only 26 runs in three innings as eventual semi-finalists England knocked West Indies out in the league stage with a game to go. Their poor performance prompted then head coach Gus Logie to describe their performance in the world tournament as “timid” and possessing a “fear factor”.

Matthews, however, was hopeful the upcoming five-T20I series against England could be a starting point for West Indies to make up lost ground.

“Probably of late, the pressure [on us] has eased off a bit,” Matthews said. “If you look at our performances [from the recent past], because they probably weren’t the best, the expectations from us for a lot of people aren’t as high.

“I don’t necessarily say that as a bad thing, though. Coming back after the pandemic and being given the opportunity to start afresh, especially against a team like England, we’re going out there knowing we’re the underdogs. I think it kind of gives us that freedom to really be able to go out there and play our natural game and play freely and express ourselves as players and as a team as well.”

With Logie’s tenure having ended with the T20 World Cup, Andre Coley, who was West Indies women’s head coach in 2012, has stepped in an interim capacity. He’s overseeing the tourists’ 18-member squad, which will be based in a biosecure environment in Derby throughout the tour and is without Anisa Mohammed, the veteran offspinner who declined the invitation to tour, with uncapped Guyanese left-arm spinner Kaysia Schultz included.

Matthews, 22, underlined that the opposition’s lack of familiarity with the West Indian rookies could hold them in good stead as would the experience of the seasoned campaigners in the likes of captain Stafanie Taylor, legspinner Afy Fletcher, Dottin and herself.

“We have a lot of versatility,” Matthews said. “We have a lot of different players that have stepped in, including the new players. Obviously, there wouldn’t have been much footage on them out there and stuff, so it definitely brings something new to the table when we face up against England.

“We also have a lot of experience within the team: people have been playing for the last five, ten years now, so that makes our combination pretty good, and hopefully it will win us some games as well.”



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Former NZ batsman Craig McMillan not to join Bangladesh for Sri Lanka tour due to family tragedy

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Craig McMillan will be unable to take up his role as batting consultant for Bangladesh’s Test series against Sri Lanka due to a loss in the family. McMillan was supposed to join the team later this month to prepare for the three-match series which would have been Bangladesh’s first assignment since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out worldwide in March.

BCB’s chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said on Saturday that McMillan had informed them of the tragedy, and that they recognise his predicament.

“Craig has communicated to us that his father has passed away recently and therefore it would not be possible for him to take up the batting consultant’s position of the national team for the upcoming tour at this moment of grief. We fully understand his situation. Our sympathies are with Craig and his family during this difficult time,” Chowdhury said.

ALSO READ: Sri Lanka Cricket proposes split quarantine to Bangladesh Cricket Board

McMillan had agreed to take up the role last month after spending five years as New Zealand’s all-format batting coach. He was to replace Neil McKenzie, who had worked with Bangladesh for two years in the same capacity before deciding against travelling during the pandemic.

If the Sri Lanka tour does go ahead, it would leave the BCB with very little time to replace McMillan ahead of their preparatory camp for the tour, which is likely to be split between Dhaka and Colombo in the coming weeks.

However, the series remains an uncertainty as the Sri Lankan health authorities haven’t agreed with the BCB’s offer to scale down the quarantine period for their players upon arrival in Sri Lanka.



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