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Match Preview – New Zealand vs Bangladesh, Bangladesh in NZ 2020/21, 2nd T20I

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A win remains elusive for Bangladesh while New Zealand have their eyes on claiming an unprecedented ninth consecutive home series. Going by their form and confidence in the three ODIs and the first T20I in Hamilton, Napier is appearing to be a repeat: Bangladesh being left behind by New Zealand’s high-octane cricket.

The charge is being led by Devon Conway, who made his international debut at the start of the 2020-21 season, and now has scores of 72, 126 and 92 not out in his last three innings. His innings included some beautiful shots, as well as periods when he let Will Young, on debut, go after the bowling. Glenn Phillips provided the flourish as they combined to blast 101 runs in the last seven overs in Hamilton. Later it was Ish Sodhi whose four wickets in eleven balls sunk Bangladesh completely.

Only Mohammad Naim with his 18-ball 27 at the top and Afif Hossain‘s 45, after they lost six wickets, looked comfortable against New Zealand’s pace attack. Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar continued their slump while Mohammad Mithun and Mahmudullah couldn’t bring their ODI form to the first T20I.

Bangladesh’s bowling wore an experimental look, with Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain rested despite both bowling at good pace and showing discipline in the third ODI in Wellington. Mustafizur Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin couldn’t contain New Zealand’s scoring, while newcomer Shoriful Islam, despite all his promise, made a nervous start.

While stranger things have happened in cricket, it just doesn’t seem like Bangladesh have it in them to turn things around on this tour. They have looked listless under pressure every time, particularly reflected through their lackluster fielding.

New Zealand are a formidable opponent particularly at home and even though they are without half of their best T20 players, they don’t look like stopping against these visitors.

Form guide

(last five completed matches)

New Zealand WWLLW
Bangladesh LWWLL

In the spotlight

Ish Sodhi has already taken 20 wickets at 13.75 in T20Is during the 2020-21 season. He needed only 11 balls to tie up the Bangladesh batsmen in Hamilton, picking up four wickets. Sodhi will be a menacing factor in the remaining matches.

Mohammad Naim sparkled briefly in Hamilton, hammering 27 off 18 balls with five fours. Premeditation against Lockie Ferguson brought about his wicket, but he looked mostly comfortable driving the New Zealand quicks.

Team news

With a series win to confirm in Napier, New Zealand may remain unchanged in the second T20I. However, including Adam Milne could be a temptation against a struggling opposition.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Finn Allen, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Devon Conway (wk), 4 Will Young, 5 Glenn Phillips, 6 Mark Chapman, 7 Daryl Mitchell, 8 Tim Southee (capt), 9 Ish Sodhi, 10, Lockie Ferguson, 11 Hamish Bennett

Bangladesh will sweat on Mushfiqur Rahim’s fitness, while Najmul Hossain Shanto could replace Soumya Sarkar at No. 3. Either one of Taskin Ahmed or Rubel Hossain can also expect to play.

Bangladesh (probable) 1 Liton Das (wk), 2 Mohammad Naim, 3 Soumya Sarkar/Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Mohammad Mithun, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Mahedi Hasan, 8 Mohammad Saifuddin, 9 Shoriful Islam/Taskin Ahmed, 10 Nasum Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Pitch and conditions

Batsmen will relish at the prospect of batting on the evenly-paced pitches of McLean Park which will also have shorter boundaries. Weather however is slightly iffy with rain in the forecast later in the evening.

Stats and trivia

  • Shoriful Islam’s figures of 4-0-50-0 in Hamilton is the worst bowling figures by a Bangladeshi bowler on T20I debut.
  • Finn Allen became only the third New Zealander to be out for a golden duck on their T20I debut.

Quotes

“Bangladesh’s young batsmen played some really aggressive and expansive shots. Grounds like Napier and Eden Park are going to be challenging to bowl to these guys. We have to be really patient and keep working hard.”
New Zealand legspinner Ish Sodhi remains wary of the opposition despite figures of 4-28 in the first T20I in Hamilton.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Recent Match Report – Essex vs Worcs Group 1 2021

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Worcestershire 364 (Mitchell 67, D’Oliveira 67, Fell 53) and 129 for 2 (Libby 52*, Cook 2-7) drew with Essex 561 for 8 dec (Cook 115, Westley 113, Lawrence 90, Walter 65, Harmer 57*)

When spectators are finally allowed back into New Road, they will be greeted by something of a sad sight. Two of the horse chestnut trees that have overlooked the ground for many years have gone; felled to prevent the disease they suffered spreading to the fortunate remaining tree.

As this match has worn on, however, the suspicion has grown that the two trees were the lucky ones. Indeed, an alternate theory is they hacked themselves down as they could no longer bear to watch the grim cricket being played in front of them.

That is not to decry the efforts of the two sides in this match. Both fought hard throughout. There was no shortage of skill or commitment on offer in this game.

But 40 wickets have now fallen at this ground in eight days of cricket this season. And, while a total of 2,002 runs in that time might make it sound as if there has been a feast of batting, the run-rate has been 2.75 per over. It is not a wicket that is good for batters, bowlers or spectators. At times in this match, there were six fielders on the boundary and batters were more concerned with shovelling out low-bouncing grubbers than thinking of the stokes they might play. You could almost imagine the poor remaining tree calling out for a lumberjack.

Such a track has not been designed. Instead, the club are dealing with the consequences of severe winter flooding followed by a dry but cold March. As a result, there has been little grass growth. The groundstaff cannot be blamed.

It does make for pretty grim cricket, though. You wonder whether the use of heat lamps – to promote grass growth – or hybrid surfaces – which are now routinely used in limited-overs cricket – might play a part in finding a solution. But Worcestershire are going to find it desperately tough to win games here if the wickets are like this. The extra points provided for a draw this season do little to discourage such tracks.

“It was a low, slow, turgid wicket,” Essex head coach Anthony McGrath said afterwards. “It was tough for bowlers and not free-flowing for batsmen. When Simon Harmer isn’t getting any turn at nearly 5pm on the fourth evening, you know things are tough. It’s been a grind. It’s not made for great watching.

“I’d be open-minded about trials of hybrid pitches. In some circumstances, like those we’ve seen here, it might be worth experimenting.”



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Recent Match Report – Leics vs Gloucs Group 2 2021

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Cockbain scores a century and Lace 97 as fourth-wicket stand worth 224 sees hosts home

Gloucestershire 275 (Dent 53, Wright 7-53) and 348 for 6 (Cockbain 117, Lace 97) beat Leicestershire 421 (Hill 121, Evans 102, Harris 62, Mike 54, Worrall 5-79) and 201 for 9 dec (Higgins 5-62) by 4 wickets

Ian Cockbain‘s first County Championship century since 2014 and 97 from Tom Lace saw Gloucestershire chase 348 to beat Leicestershire by four wickets at Bristol.

Cockbain and Lace arrived just after lunch at 52 for 3 when winning the game was fanciful but they played calmly through to tea to leave 216 to win from 37 overs of the final session.

Their intent was immediate and they extended their stand to 224. Lace couldn’t see the chase through and Cockbain fell for 117 so it was left to George Hankins to strike the winning runs.

It was the fourth-highest Championship run chase in Gloucestershire’s history, a third victory to take them top of Group 2 and a remarkable turnaround having conceded a first-innings lead of 146.



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Recent Match Report – Punjab Kings vs Capitals 29th Match 2021

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Agarwal’s 99 on IPL captaincy debut in vain as Kings slump to fifth loss in eight matches

Delhi Capitals 167 for 3 (Dhawan 69*, Shaw 39) beat Punjab Kings 166 for 6 (Agarwal 99*, Rabada 3-36) by seven wickets

On his IPL captaincy debut, Mayank Agarwal scored 60% of Punjab Kings’ runs in fewer than half the balls but his unbeaten 99 was not enough to push his side to a total that would challenge Delhi Capitals in the chase. Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan broke the back of the chase in the Powerplay, and Dhawan went on to seal the win, reclaiming the orange cap as he did so. A sixth win in eight matches took capitals to the top of the table.

Replacing KL Rahul, who had to be pulled out because of appendicitis, Agarwal found himself in a Rahul-like predicament. Losing wickets at the other end added extra slowness to his apparent role of batting through the innings, but a Rahul-like finishing kick took him from 40 off 34 to 99 off 58. However, as with Rahul, you need at least one quick contribution from the other end to make the strategy work. Agarwal found none, with IPL debutant Dawid Malan‘s run-a-ball 26 being the only other contribution to talk of.

Ishant circles the prey, Rabada swoops in

Ishant Sharma, an under-rated part of Capitals’ success, began the match with a maiden to Prabhsimran Singh, moving the ball either way to tie up the batter. With just 15 off the first three overs, Capitals knew there was an opportunity around. On came Kagiso Rabada and for the first time in the IPL took two wickets in the Powerplay. The under-pressure Prabhsimran found mid-off, and Gayle missed a swinging full toss that hit the top of off. Kings 39 for 2 at the end of the Powerplay.

Two men drop anchor

Against two fingerspinners, Lalit Yadav and Axar Patel, Agarwal and Malan failed to transfer the pressure back on to the bowlers. Only one boundary came in the next five overs. The spinners denied them the rank bad ball, and the batsmen weren’t too keen to take risks on good balls.

Malan began the 12th over at 11 off 17, but a bowling change to pace brought some freedom for him. The freedom was short-lived as Axar came back to knock his leg stump over. The run-out of Deepak Hooda followed to make it 88 for 2 in the 14th over.

Agarwal takes off

At this point, Agarwal had faced only 29 of the 81 legal deliveries bowled for a debate-inducing 35. Not only did he turn around the share of strike in the remaining innings, Agarwal corrected the strike-rate too. He faced 29 of the remaining 39 balls, sending nine of them past the fence and scoring 64 additional runs. The remaining 10 balls brought two wickets and 10 runs. The hitting was breathtaking but it was also evidence that the pitch was easy enough to hit through the line of the ball.

Dhawan, Shaw carry on the fireworks

And the Capitals batting is built to hit through the line. Before this match, three of the top four Powerplay scores in this IPL belonged to Capitals. They duly made a fourth entry in the top five with an unbeaten 63 in the first six overs. Believe it or not, it came after Riley Meredith troubled both Dhawan and Shaw in his first two overs. Against other bowlers, though, Shaw ran riot and Dhawan followed suit. Shaw hit three sixes and three fours in the Powerplay, and Dhawan managed four fours. It included a first-ball six off Kings’ key bowler in the middle overs, Ravi Bishnoi.

Dhawan carries on

Shaw perished trying to dominate everyone, bowled first ball by left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar, but he left the job to a man in the T20 form of his life. Dhawan might not be brightest star while Shaw is around, but what a side won’t do to have a second fiddle who is averaging xx and striking at xx per 100 balls.

The start gave Dhawan and Steven Smith some breathing space as they added just 34 in the first five overs of their partnership. Dhawan, though, settled any nerves in the dugout by unleashing his slog sweep against Bishnoi. It didn’t matter which way Bishnoi turned it; Dhawan took 25 off the 12th and 14th overs, making it 41 required off the last six even though he lost Smith in between.

If there was any doubt this was a done deal, Shimron Hetmyer removed it with two sixes and a four to end it in the 18th over.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo



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