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Amir, Hafeez, Malik, Wahab secure preferential financial PCB treatment for seniority

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The seniority of Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir has resulted in the PCB agreeing to offer the quartet of non-contracted players preferential treatment. It sees all of them paid Category A match fees for representing Pakistan in any format. This is in direct departure from the official PCB policy on match fees, which stipulates that any player outside the pool of central contracted will be paid a category C match fee.

The PCB confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that this had been approved because all four had requested the PCB to make an exception because they were senior players. “The four players made a logical and reasonable request to the PCB prior to the Zimbabwe series,” a PCB spokesman said. “The PCB, taking into consideration their seniority and accepting that their request has merit, agreed to pay their match fees in accordance with Category A scales for all matches they will play from the series against Zimbabwe until 30 June 2021.”

Both Malik, 38, and Hafeez, 40, were dropped from the central-contracts list in 2019. Last year, both came under heavy scrutiny for their performances, with their international prospects appearing bleak. Hafeez had opted to retire from international cricket at the conclusion of the T20 World Cup, originally scheduled for earlier this year, but decided to prolong it after it was postponed. Strong performances over the past year have meant Hafeez stands a good chance of remaining involved with the national set-up, while Malik has struggled.

Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz lost their central contracts after both retired from Test cricket last year citing workload management to extend their white-ball careers with Pakistan, and in T20 leagues around the world. Both were demoted to category C in 2019 and were axed altogether this year.

Despite losing their contracts, all four remained in national contention in the last 18 months. Malik and Amir, however, were not part of the departing squad for New Zealand. Riaz and Hafeez are among the 35-man squad – a combined group for Pakistan senior and Pakistan A team (Shaheens). Should they play, they will continue to receive Category A match fees.



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Bangabandhu T20 Cup – Mustafizur Rahman runs through Khulna to make it two in two for Chattogram

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Gazi Group Chattogram (Liton 53*, Soumya 26) beat Gemcon Khulna 86 (Kayes 21, Mustafizur 4-5, Nahidul 2-15) by nine wickets

Gazi Group Chattogram bowled out a side for a double-digit total for the second game in a row in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, trouncing Gemcon Khulna by nine wickets and reaching their 87-run target in just 13.4 overs. The win took Chattogram to the top of the points table, equal with Rajshahi who have also won two out of two.

Mustafizur Rahman finished with incredible figures of 4 for 5 from 3.5 overs as Khulna’s lower order collapsed; their last five wickets falling for 13 runs in 29 balls. The left-arm quick snuffed out any chance of a late resistance after deceiving Shamim Hossain with a slower ball, and getting Ariful Haque caught at deep square-leg.

Chattogram’s performance was very similar to how they had brushed aside Beximco Dhaka in their previous game, beating them with 55 balls to spare.

The groundwork was laid by offspinner Nahidul Islam who dismissed Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah in the fifth over; Shakib mistimed one to mid-on while Mahmudullah was given out lbw. For the third game in a row, Khulna’s two most experienced batsmen fell cheaply, while Jahurul Islam and Imrul Kayes also failed to make a decent contribution.

Mustafizur finished off the innings with his four-wicket haul, while Nahidul and left-arm spinner Taijul Islam took two wickets each.

As they had done against Dhaka on Thursday, Chattogram openers Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das blazed to a half-century stand, but this time at a slightly slower pace.

Soumya fell in the 11th over, having made 26 off 29 balls, with four boundaries, and Liton saw the chase through, finishing unbeaten on 53 off 46 balls with nine fours.

Fortune Barishal 136 for 5 (Tamim 77*, Emon 23, Mukidul 2-27) beat Minister Rajshahi 132 for 9 (Mahedi 34, Mahmud 31, Rabbi 4-21) by five wickets

Tamim Iqbal got Fortune Barishal their first win, and handed Minister Rajshahi their first defeat, with an unbeaten 77, his first half-century of the tournament. Barishal’s five-wicket win was a bounce back from their final-over blowout against Gemcon Khulna last week.

Tamim added 61 for the second wicket with Parvez Hossain Emon and another 46 with Towhid Hridoy for the third wicket. He struck ten fours and two sixes in his 61-ball knock as he ensured Barishal won with an over to spare.

Earlier, Rajshahi squandered a steady start by their openers, Anisul Islam Emon and captain Najmul Hossain Shanto, after they slipped from 61 for 2 to 63 for 5 in the space of eight deliveries. Mohammad Ashraful was run out before Emon and Nurul Hasan holed out in the deep square-leg boundary. They were brought back into the game with a 65-run stand between Mahedi Hasan and Fazle Mahmud. Mahedi struck three sixes in his 23-ball 34, and looked in great nick; Mahmud supported him with 31.

Kamrul Islam Rabbi took four wickets while Mehidy Hasan Miraz took 2 for 18.



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Nicholas Pooran named in West Indies A red-ball squad to face New Zealand A in December

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Nicholas Pooran has been given the opportunity to stake his claim for future involvement in West Indies’ Test squads, after his inclusion in a 14-man ‘A’ squad to play a pair of first-class matches in New Zealand next month.

Pooran, 25, has asserted his position as one of the most exciting young limited-overs batsmen in the world in the last two years, making a flying start to his ODI career and continuing to impress on the global T20 circuit.

That form has led several prominent voices within West Indies cricket – most notably Michael Holding, the commentator and former fast bowler – to suggest he should be considered for Test selection, despite his first-class experience extending to three games for Trinidad and Tobago back in 2014.

But Pooran will have the chance to face the red ball for the first time since then in December, after being named in the West Indies A squad to play two fixtures against New Zealand A. The squad comprises eight members of the team currently playing a T20I series in the country, and six reserves from the Test party. There are two four-day matches scheduled, due to start on December 3 in Mount Maunganui and December 11 in Nelson.

“This series will give our players an opportunity to play first-class cricket against foreign opposition as well as experience different conditions here in New Zealand,” Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies’ lead selector, said. “It will also help to keep them in the frame should the need for replacements for the Test team arise, as we will have players who have been playing red-ball cricket and in form to consider.”

While it is highly unlikely that Pooran will play any part in the Test series against New Zealand even if he scores heavily – the A-team fixtures run in parallel to the Tests – he could feasibly be considered for the planned series in Bangladesh in January, where his ability against spin could come to the fore.

Pooran is due to link up with the Melbourne Stars for six matches in the BBL season following those fixtures, with the New Zealand-Australia travel corridor meaning that he will not have to quarantine on arrival in Australia.

West Indies A squad vs New Zealand A: Fabian Allen, Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh

Fixtures: December 3-6, Mount Maunganui, December 11-14, Nelson



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Recent Match Report – Dambulla Viiking vs Kandy Tuskers 3rd Match 2020

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Dambulla Viiking 195 for 4 (Shanaka 73, Patel 58, Gunaratne 2-20) beat Kandy Tuskers 84 for 3 (Mendis 34, Ali 1-13) by four runs (DLS method)

How the game played out

The Kandy Tuskers suffered their second-straight narrow defeat as the Dambulla Viiking eked out a four-run victory (DLS method) after rain brought play to an abrupt close in Sooriyawewa.

Set a target of 196, the Tuskers lost Kusal Perera early in the chase but Rahmanullah Gurbaz carried on where he had left off from the previous game, blazing four boundaries and six in an 18-ball 30. With rain on the horizon, many of those runs took on added meaning.

As such when he was dropped in the fifth over, it was all the more painful for the Viiking, though Malinda Pushpakumara would rattle his stumps a few balls later to ensure no further damage was done.

Despite Kusal Mendis’ best efforts the asking rate would remain just beyond reach – particularly once Kamindu Mendis found the man in the deep six balls before play was called off, to make the DLS equation even more troublesome.

While the rollercoaster nature of impending rain and DLS permutations provided much of the excitement towards the end, it was the 127-run fourth-wicket stand between Viiking Captain Dasun Shanaka and Samit Patel‘s that was the highlight of the game. While the Viiking looked like they would struggle to make 150, the pair took it upon themselves to put up a competitive, and eventually match-winning, total.

Stars of the day

Who else but Shanaka and Patel. Coming together with the Viiking limping at 64 for 2 – effectively three down with Oshada Fernando retired hurt – at the end of the ninth over, the pair would eventually only be separated midway through the final over.

Shanaka’s innings despite a shaky start – he twice came close to being dismissed early – was largely one of little risk and maximum effectiveness. On a flat deck with almost no lateral movement, over half of his 38-ball 74 came from booming hits down the ground, though he wasn’t afraid to mix things up, twice scooping Nuwan Pradeep over the keeper’s head for four – the quintessential captain’s knock.

Patel, meanwhile, did well to keep the momentum on Viiking’s side. While not quite keeping up with the near-200 strike rate of Shanaka, he saved his big hits for the crucial moments – many a time converting good Tuskers overs into mediocre ones in one swing.

Turning point

In a word, rain. With rain in the air, the Tuskers’ chase had fast turned into a race. With each run and wicket potentially decisive, 19-year old Gurbaz was threatening to take the game away. But when domestic circuit veteran Pushpakumara cleaned him up first ball of his spell, not only did it temporarily put the Viiking ahead on DLS, but it would handicap the Tuskers’ ability to score quick runs – as well as amp up the scoreboard pressure.

The big miss

In the 11th over of the game, Shanaka, fresh at the crease, nicked one between keeper and first slip. Two balls later Naveen-ul-Haq would drop a tough chance at long on. That Nuwan Pradeep over would end up going for 17 runs. Between those missed chances and the end of the Viiking innings, there would be five more overs that would go for double digit sums – including 22 off Kavishka Anjula in the 18th.

The decision by Kusal Perera to not bowl out his trio of spinners – Asela Gunaratne, Dilruwan Perera, and Seekkuge Prasanna – who in nine overs between them had picked up two wickets and conceded just 58 runs, is a perplexing one. Particularly when the Tuskers’ seam contingent proceeded to concede 80 runs – 22 in that Anjula over – in the final six overs of the innings.



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