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Recent Match Report – Sussex vs Lancashire Group 3 2021

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Lancashire captain remains unbeaten on 158 after rescuing side from top-order wobble

Lancashire 339 for 5 (Vilas 158*, Davies 61, Jones 58) lead Sussex 301 (Haines 155, Robinson 59, Bailey 4-48) by 38 runs

Counties nowadays do plenty of research before they invest in overseas players. There is little doubt Lancashire had a good idea what they were getting when they signed Dane Vilas in advance of the 2017 season. Yet even the most painstaking official could scarcely fail to have been surprised by Vilas’s impact on life at Emirates Old Trafford. Time and then time again he has changed games. His influence as captain on the dressing room is deep and abiding. And today, as spring’s impertinent ambition transformed the so recently skeletal trees around this most urban of grounds, Lancashire’s captain performed his familiar trick once more.

There are occasions when too much importance is attached to sportsmen’s body language. But as Vilas marched off the ground with an unbeaten 158 to his name and Sussex’s players dragged themselves back to their dressing room after they had suffered the sort of mauling handed out by an irritable lion, it was plain where the balance of this game lay. Although only 64 of his runs had come in boundaries, Vilas had harried Ben Brown’s bowlers at every opportunity, constantly exhorting his partners, Alex Davies, Rob Jones and Luke Wood to sprint harder and increase the pressure on a young attack.

But admirable avarice has been one of Vilas’s trademarks at Lancashire and it has only been satisfied because the captain takes pride in his fitness. During the course of his century against Sussex he passed 3000 runs in his 50th first-class match at an average exceeded by only three Lancashire batsmen at similar stages of their careers. Then there is the multi-faceted leadership; Vilas is not simply Lancashire’s skipper; he sets the standard and provides the example for others to follow. Rob Jones, with whom Vilas put on 125 for the fifth wicket against Sussex, is a far better player for having been encouraged to assess situations by his captain and then bat according to his findings.

This has been a match of dropped catches. Yet as Vilas took Lancashire into a 38-run first-innings lead late in the evening session, it became clear that the most significant spill will not be those that allowed Tom Haines to make 155 on the first day but the diving chance at slip that George Garton put down off Jack Carson’s off spin when Vilas was a mere 47. It would certainly have improved Carson’s day, albeit the young off-spinner at least claimed the final wicket to fall when Jones reverse-swept a full toss straight to Tom Clark at backward point and departed for 58.



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Recent Match Report – Kings vs Zalmi 24th Match 2020/21-2021

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Peshawar’s bowlers restricted Karachi Kings to their lowest ever PSL total before Zazai made short work of it

Peshawar Zalmi 109 for 4 (Hazratullah Zazai 63, Imad Wasim 2-2) beat Karachi Kings 108 for 9 (Abbas Afridi 27*, Abrar 3-14, Wahab 3-34, Gul 2-13) by six wickets

There are dispiriting losses, humiliations, and whatever it is that happened to Karachi Kings today. A bowling performance of near perfect discipline by Peshawar Zalmi was followed up by a whirlwind 26-ball 63 from Hazratullah Zazai to conclude one of the more one-sided PSL games in the league’s history.

Only Islamabad United have gunned down a target quicker, and even their ten-over chase against Quetta Gladiators earlier this week looked like it would be eclipsed comfortably. In the end, three late wickets slowed things down slightly, but it still meant Zalmi had coasted to the target with nine overs to spare. Karachi Kings’ poor run since the resumption of the league continues, but the damage this defeat will inflict might reflect just as heavily in the minds as it will in the run-rate column.

The squeeze began from the outset, with Wahab Riaz trapping Babar Azam in front off just the third delivery. Counter-intuitively, Azam’s duck underlined his importance to the side; over the past few games, his role, and the rate at which he scores his runs, had come under forensic scrutiny. But with him out of the way, few Kings batsmen could stamp their authority on an innings regularly punctuated by the fall of wickets.
Kings might have been hoisted by their own petard to some extent, playing as they were a batsmen light, meaning they had no fallback plan when four wickets fell inside seven overs. Imad Wasim hobbled along during an innings that never caught fire, managing just 19 off 31. It was Karachi’s ex-player Abrar Ahmed who was the pick for Zalmi in the end, taking three crucial middle-order wickets, denying the Kings a chance at pushing the score past 120. The 108 they finished with was their lowest in PSL history, and even that came about thanks to some lusty lower-order hitting from bowling allrounder Abbas Afridi. In the end, though, Zazai ensured it mattered not one jot.

Zazai’s devastating debut

Zazai is set to become a T20 franchise darling over the years, but even so, the contempt with which he lay waste to experienced, wily Kings bowlers in his first PSL game was a sight to behold. Once Kamran Akmal was dismissed in the second over, Zazai decided he wouldn’t let it scupper plans to wrap up the game in a hurry, and Amir was the unfortunate recipient at the end of his first offensive.

The first six was a shade streaky, a top edge over third man, but there was nothing chancy about the three boundaries that followed in an over that leaked 21. It was followed up by an over from the other Aamer Yamin – which proved even costlier, two sixes and two fours from the Afghan seeing him hurtle along to a blitzkrieg half-century. The timing and power were both astonishing, a fearsome 97-metre swipe over square leg perhaps the shot of the night. The 50 would come in just 17 balls – a joint record – and by then, the match had long been over as a contest.

Abrar haunts his old franchise

When legspinner Abrar was first introduced to the PSL by Karachi Kings in 2017, he looked a proper mystery spin bowler, one who might go on to become a valuable asset for his franchise. Opportunities were hard to come by and he was let go after a couple of seasons, but making his debut for Peshawar Zalmi, he showed his old side what they missed. Coming in when Imad Wasim’s side were already hobbling after a difficult first ten overs, he kept the Kings on a leash in his first over, allowing just two runs.

The 22-year old burst to life in the one that followed, though. He broke the budding partnership with a carrom ball Najibullah Zadran ended up holing out to long-off, before one that drifted back in put paid to Yamin’s brief stint at the crease. With Wahab deciding to bowl him out consecutively, he would sign off by deceiving Waqas Maqsood with a googly, two balls after the batsman had smashed him for six. He would end his day with figures of 4-0-14-3, and they didn’t flatter him in the slightest.

Where they stand

Karachi Kings were top when the league resumed, but slipped to fifth, outside the qualification spots. Peshawar Zalmi moved up to 10 points alongside Lahore Qalandars, and into second place.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000



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Recent Match Report – Essex vs Sussex South Group 2021

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Skipper slams 75 from 44 to help make short work of small chase

Sussex 130 for 3 (Wright 75) beat Essex 128 for 8 (Garton 3-31) by seven wickets

Luke Wright entered the 2021 Vitality Blast with a stunning 75 off 44 balls as Sussex Sharks made it three wins from three with a seven-wicket victory over Essex Eagles.

The Blast’s all-time leading run-scorer missed the opening two rounds after splitting the webbing in his hand while practising fielding on the eve of the competition. But he made up for lost time by bringing up his fifty in 33 deliveries as Sussex chased down Essex’s below-par 128 for eight with 36 balls to spare.

Wright looked at home right from the start, with boundaries from his second and third deliveries – two of eight fours.

Opening partner Phil Salt earned a life when he bludgeoned a full toss to mid-on, only to earn a reprieve for the umpire to judge the ball to have been above waist-height, much to Simon Harmer’s chagrin. Salt was run out for 13, after putting on 54 with Wright before Travis Head added 60 together with the skipper.

Wright continued to his 26th Blast half-century, going past 8000 T20 career runs, with a pair of straight sixes and another over cow corner. He departed with six still needed but Delray Rawlins clattered the winning runs over long-off soon after.

Wright’s day had started perfectly as he won the toss and stuck the hosts in – although Will Buttleman struck successive sixes in the fourth over. On a used hybrid pitch, scoring proved difficult for Essex with only Buttleman, Michael Pepper and Jimmy Neesham’s strike rates topping 100, for those who reached double figures.

The strain on scoring was exemplified by the last over of the Powerplay, which saw just one run, as Paul Walter struggled to lay a bat on Chris Jordan – the run rate throughout the innings hovering just below seven an over.

To add to the Eagles’ woes, wickets were a regular occurrence. Tom Westley and Buttleman fell in the Powerplay – the former picking out deep midwicket off George Garton and the latter slapping a Tymal Mills slower ball to cover.

Walter was stumped, Ryan ten Doeschate clubbed old pal Ravi Bopara to long off, Pepper – having scored 38 off 25 balls – drilled to extra cover, Harmer miscued to midwicket, Jack Plom skied to mid-off and Neesham was comprehensively bowled.

Garton ended up with 3 for 31, with Mills, Jordan and Bopara all going at under a run-a-ball.



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Eng vs Ind Women’s Test

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“Maybe in the coming years it might also lead to a World Test Championship [for women]. You never know.”

Mithali Raj believes India Women’s return to Test cricket after a gap of nearly seven years could pave the way for multi-format, points-based bilateral series becoming a regular feature on the women’s cricket calendar. This, she said, could even begin the pathway towards a multi-team global tournament for women’s teams fashioned after the men’s World Test Championship.

“I feel this Test match and even the pink-ball Test, which is in Australia in the coming months, it’s just the beginning of having a three-format bilateral series,” Raj, India’s Test and ODI captain, said on the eve of the one-off Test against England in Bristol. “It probably opens up the channel to have another format added in a bilateral series and that will clearly help the overall standard of women’s cricket.

“Also, the players – I mean, you ask any modern-day cricketer, they still want to play the longer format because they eventually know that the format tests the skill of a player.”

The last time India played two or more Tests in a year was in 2014, which was also the last time they appeared in the format. The Bristol Test, which marks their return to red-ball cricket after a break of 2401 days, carries four points for a win under the multi-format system for the tour, which also includes three ODIs and three T20Is.

A draw will fetch the teams two points apiece and one point will be awarded for a no-result. Wins in the white-ball games will be worth two points each. The Ashes, which has been the only occasion that has involved Test matches in women’s cricket since 2014, follows the same grading system.



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