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Aus women vs NZ 2021-22

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Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt are the core of one of the greatest Australian Women’s sides yet to take the field. Their quality has helped the national team to victories at each of the past two T20 World Cups and dominant runs of victories in bilateral series, in addition to their pioneering place in the game’s vault into full-time professionalism in Australia.

While this generation remains a lauded bunch still vital to the team’s fortunes, the national selector Shawn Flegler is having to plan for the days when they begin to sidle off into retirement, either one by one – as he would no doubt prefer – or as a group leaving an enormous hole. The delay in the next ODI World Cup, meant to have been played in New Zealand presently but postponed by a year ostensibly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, means it is a younger squad going across the Tasman for a series against New Zealand.



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NZ vs Aus, 1st T20I, 2020-21

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“We were all satisfied with how we went about our planning. It just comes down to an execution thing”

Jhye Richardson said Australia’s bowlers will be looking to improve their execution in the death overs after missing their lengths in the heavy defeat to New Zealand at Hagley Oval in the first T20I of the five-match series.

New Zealand had slumped to 19 for 3 in the Powerplay after being sent in to bat, with Daniel Sams and Richardson bowling superbly upfront.

However, Australia’s bowlers conceded 76 runs in the last six overs of the innings and 33 off the last two, as Devon Conway produced a stunning 99 not out to lift New Zealand to a winning total of 184 for 5.

Richardson was the pick of Australia’s quicks claiming 2 for 31 on his return to the T20I side. He only bowled one over in the last four, picking up the wicket of James Neesham, but he did admit he didn’t quite hit his lengths, conceding a six each to Conway and Glenn Phillips in his four overs.

“I think from a personal point of view I certainly missed my length,” Richardson said. “I think they batted really well. The outfield was exceptionally fast. It got a little bit dewy at the end so we found the ball was probably skidding on a little bit more at the end as to the start of the innings which probably helped them a little bit, just in terms of slower balls not sticking into the wicket as much as they were earlier.

“If we missed our length we got punished. I think the planning and everything from that aspect was fine. We were all satisfied with how we went about our planning and the decisions made out there. It just comes down to an execution thing.”

Australia were then surprised that the ball swung as prodigiously as it did for New Zealand under lights after the dew had settled in with Trent Boult and Tim Southee ripping through the top order to leave them 19 for 4.

“They just kept it really simple, didn’t they?” Richardson said. “How often do you see three slips in a T20? We probably didn’t expect the ball to swing for that long and that much, to be honest. [It] didn’t really swing too much in our innings.

“It was a little bit of a surprise but knowing that now, it’s something we’ll keep in the back of our mind going into the next game. [Boult and Southee are] two class bowlers and we saw them keep it really simple while the ball was swinging, just bowling a really nice line and length and making us make mistakes.”

Richardson was pleased to be back playing at the international level. It was just his second appearance for Australia since his shoulder injury in 2019, and his first in 12 months after missing Australia’s tour to England and the ODI and T20I series against India before Christmas.
He spoke in the build-up about trying to take some pressure off himself after struggling with the weight of his own expectations at the end of the BBL.

“I think I had plenty of time between the end of the Big Bash and now to think about how I was going about my last few Big Bash games, putting myself under a lot of pressure,” Richardson said.

“I had a lot of time to think and reflect on that and went into the game really wanting to enjoy myself and not put myself under so much pressure because I know what I’ve done to get to this point. I can trust that.

“I just went out there yesterday with the sole focus of just trying to enjoy myself and certainly did.”

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne



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NZ vs Aus 2021 – 1st T20I – Christchurch

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The New Zealand batsman has now hit five consecutive 50-plus scores in T20 cricket

Devon Conway is just trying to “ride the wave” of his spectacular T20 form after an innings in the series opener against Australia that those from both sides lauded as incredible.

Conway finished unbeaten on 99 in Christchurch when he struck the final ball of the innings to deep cover and was unable to make it back for the second, having hit the previous two deliveries from Kane Richardson for six and four to bring the three-digit score within touching distance.

He had already become the first New Zealand batsman to make five consecutive 50-plus scores in T20 cricket, having entered this series on the back of 50, 69*, 91* and 93* in the domestic Super Smash. He has now scored 352 T20 runs since last being dismissed and has three half-centuries in his first five T20I innings. That includes an impressive start to his T20I career, with promising knocks against Pakistan and West Indies earlier in the season.

“You’ve just got to ride that wave as long as it lasts, but [I am] pretty happy; it’s a good start to the series and [we have] just got to keep the momentum going,” he said at the post-match presentation. “For me, the key to my batting is just playing strong shots and running hard between the wickets. [I’m] not looking too much into it and just enjoying the moment.

“Naturally, [I am] a little disappointed [to miss the hundred] but good to get the win. Probably a little more disappointed for Ish [Sodhi] not getting his five-for but happy days. It’s pretty cool.”

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson lauded Conway’s display which led a recovery from 19 for 3 after he had joined the fall of powerplay wickets against Daniel Sams and Jhye Richardson.

“An incredible knock [it was],” he said. “It was obviously a really tough start for us with the bat and to see those partnerships through the middle order led by Devon with an unbelievable 99 on a surface that starting on wasn’t all that easy. We saw that with a bit of swing in our innings as well. An incredible knock and a great effort to get to that 180-mark.”

Mitchell Marsh, who top-scored for Australia with a strong 33-ball 45, was equally fulsome in his praise of Conway, and suggested the visitors would need to do some more scouting on him ahead of the second match in Dunedin.

“It was an incredible innings,” Marsh said. “He is obviously someone we’ll have to make sure we do a lot of homework over the next few days. Days like that you have to take your hat off and say well done. There’s no doubt all our bowling group were well planned; he just had a great day.”



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WI vs SL – Dasun Shanaka appointed Sri Lanka’s T20I captain

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He replaces Malinga, who is understood to be out of contention for selection, having not trained with the squad in the past few months

Dasun Shanaka has been appointed the Sri Lanka men’s team’s new T20I captain, replacing Lasith Malinga, who is understood to be out of contention for selection, having not trained with the squad in the past few months. Shanaka has previously led the T20 side – on the 2019 tour to Pakistan, where Sri Lanka won 3-0. More recently, he has also captained the Dambulla Viiking franchise at the Lanka Premier League. He has been handed the captaincy over Thisara Perera, who has also led Sri Lanka in the format before and had also been the captain of the winning LPL franchise.

Shanaka’s first assignment will be the three-match T20 series in the West Indies beginning on March 3, and on this tour, Sri Lanka have two uncapped batsmen to choose from. Opener Pathum Nissanka and middle-order batsman Ashen Bandara have both been chosen in the 20-strong squad – Nissanka’s selection in particular having resulted from strong domestic performances.

Dilshan Madushanka, a 20-year-old fast bowler with only four senior matches on his record, is the other uncapped player in the squad, while allrounder Dhananjaya Lakshan, who was among the finds of the LPL, has been overlooked.

Making a return, meanwhile, is spinner Akila Dananjaya, who last played for Sri Lanka in September 2019, before serving a one-year suspension over an illegal bowling action. Dananjaya has since remodeled his action, but was not especially successful in the three LPL matches he played in since his return. He is one of three frontline spinners in the squad, alongside legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga, and left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan. Two allrounders also add spin-bowling options – the offspin of Ramesh Mendis is available, as is the ambidextrous finger spin of Kamindu Mendis.

On the fast bowling front, Sri Lanka will miss Lahiru Kumara, who tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the team’s departure to the Caribbean. In his place, the selectors have chosen Suranga Lakmal. Nuwan Pradeep, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera and Madushanka are the other quicks in the squad.

After Shanaka leads the team in the T20s that begin the tour, Dimuth Karunaratne will take over for the ODI and Test legs that follow. These teams last faced each other early in 2020, in Sri Lanka. On that tour, West Indies had won the T20s 2-0, and Sri Lanka swept the three-match ODI sereis.

Sri Lanka squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (ODI captain), Dasun Shanaka (T20 captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Ashen Bandara, Oshada Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera, Kamindu Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ramesh Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dananajaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilshan Madushanka, Suranga Lakmal

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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