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Recent Match Report – Derbyshire vs Warwickshire Group 1 2021

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Derbyshire 189 (Critchley 64, Reece 63, Norwell 5-32) and 244 (Critchley 83, Hosein 78*, Hannon-Dalby 5-76) drew with Warwickshire 221 (Lamb 54) and 7 for 0

A century stand from Matt Critchley and Harvey Hosein led Derbyshire to safety on the final day of their Championship match at Edgbaston. Resuming on the fourth morning with a lead of 39 and five wickets in hand, Critchley and Hosein added 113 in 36 overs to steer their side from danger.

While Derbyshire had dug something of a hole for themselves with their aggressive batting on the third evening, Critchley and Hosein adopted a more sophisticated approach on the final day. Prepared to wait for scoring opportunities, they played admirably straight, shrugged off the times they were beaten – inevitable on these early-season surfaces – and put away the loose ball without fuss.

Perhaps understandably in these horribly uncomfortable conditions – play started in sub-zero temperatures – Warwickshire’s seamers lacked the required consistency to build pressure. For although ball continued to beat bat fairly regularly, there were also a number of release deliveries that helped Derbyshire stretch their lead towards safety.

Critchley was, perhaps, the more eye-catching of the pair. While every other batter in the match has struggled for fluency, he timed the ball sweetly in both innings and looked a high-class player. He was particularly efficient off his legs and punished anything overpitched. He brought up his half-century (73 balls, eight fours) with a rasping cut for four off Hannon-Dalby and finished as Derbyshire’s top-scorer in both innings.



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Recent Match Report – Glamorgan vs Surrey South Group 2021

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Surrey 167 for 5 (Roy 64) beat Glamorgan 166 for 8 (Labuschagne 74, Moriarty 3-26) by five wickets

Bowlers, beware: Jason Roy has got his mojo back. Surrey’s margin of victory at the Kia Oval should have been much bigger than five wickets as they won their third game out of three in the Vitality Blast, but a middle-order wobble obscured the fact Roy had killed the game as a contest inside four overs of the chase; Glamorgan, who once boasted a proud record of six T20 wins in a row at this ground, had Marnus Labuschagne‘s third consecutive fifty to thank for sparing their blushes.

Roy’s personality does not lend itself to bio-bubbles and “secure team environments” and his form has suffered at times over the last 12 months, with a rare lean patch in ODIs and scratchy form in both the Big Bash and England’s T20I series in India and South Africa. Last week, he started the Blast with an ugly innings of 45 off 42 at Lord’s, swinging rustily and being outscored by a ratio of five-to-two by Will Jacks, then thrashed a cameo of 30 off 14 at Taunton.

But here, in front of 4000 or so supporters, he scoffed at Glamorgan’s plan to start with spin against him in the Powerplay, racing to 41 off 18 balls. “I always look for small progressions,” he said afterwards. “Lord’s was very scratchy and I didn’t have that rhythm, hitting a lot of fielders and just getting a bit frustrated. At Taunton I had a bit of fun after a four-and-a-half-hour journey – I thought ‘why not?’ But tonight, it was a lot better.”

Roy had dumped the first ball he faced straight back over Prem Sisodiya’s head for four and the second over of the chase demonstrated his dominance over bowlers at this level. Andrew Salter, the offspinner, went full and straight to start with, so Roy cleared his front leg and smeared him over mid-off. Roy realised the second would be shorter, so rocked back and slapped a cut through point with a powerful snap of the wrists. Salter had nowhere to go, and went full again; Roy lined him up, and hammered him straight back over his head.

He was quieter against Glamorgan’s seamers, but still brought up a 28-ball half-century off the final ball of the Powerplay. When Labuschagne was introduced, Roy swept his first ball hard for four, and belted his third over midwicket; the only surprise came in Labuschagne’s second over, when he miscued a skier to backward point via a thick top-edge.

“Someone has to get you out at some stage, don’t they?” Roy said of Glamorgan’s ploy to bowl spin at him up front, which has become a consistent plan against England in T20Is. “Sometimes it happens to be a left-arm spinner. A leggie got me out tonight eventually, didn’t they? So I’m sure someone will have something to write about. As a player, it gives you something to work on, which is always nice.”

Roy’s innings took the equation from 167 off 120 balls to 79 off 71 by the time he was dismissed, effectively sealing the game despite their minor stumble. Sam Curran and Jamie Overton fell in successive overs after Roy’s dismissal before Laurie Evans drilled Sisodiya straight to long-off, but Jamie Smith’s cool-headed 35 not out saw them across the line with 10 balls to spare.

Roy will play two more games for Surrey, at home against Sussex and Hampshire on Thursday and Friday, before he links up with England on Saturday ahead of their white-ball summer, which comprises six ODIs and six T20Is, three each against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“You always go back to square one, no matter how many runs you’ve scored,” he said. “Before every series you go back to the drawing board and get yourself back to basics and go from there – you certainly don’t want to think that you’re going to score runs every game, because unfortunately that’s not the way the game works. But it’s obviously very nice to have these runs behind me – it makes it a lot easier.

“[Last year] was a huge experience and a massive learning curve. I’ve come through the other side a lot better for it. It was a very tough year on and off the field so it was about keeping my head down and making sure I stay consistent with my training and back myself, knowing that eventually it would come right. Am I in a good headspace now? Absolutely.”

For Glamorgan, Labuschagne had been the glue holding the innings together for the third game in a row after Nick Selman’s leg-side pick-ups had got them to 55 for 1 inside six overs. Surrey exploited match-ups to their advantage, with Gareth Batty and Dan Moriarty encouraging batters to hit towards the long boundary and Glamorgan duly obliging.

Labuschagne had stated his desire to use the Blast as a chance to pitch his case for inclusion in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad at the start of the season and his early efforts have been persuasive: 93 not out, 59 and 74 tonight, giving him 226 runs for twice out at a strike rate of 146.75 and four cheap wickets to boot.

One of his biggest assets in T20 is his willingness to use his position on the crease to throw bowlers off their line, and his ability to adjust. There was no better demonstration than the fifth ball of the 17th over, when he jumped outside leg stump to encourage Tom Curran to bowl wide outside off, despite having point and third man up inside the ring. Curran landed a perfect wide yorker, but Labuschagne stretched out and deflected it away through the gap, like a centre-forward in hockey deflecting the ball in at the back post.

He had started slowly, eking out 17 off the first 22 balls he faced, but once he had adjusted to the slowness of the pitch he was away, hitting 57 off the next 29. His slow start was put into perspective by Roy’s fireworks, but with Surrey applying the squeeze, there had been no other option.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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Recent Match Report – Kings vs United 22nd Match 2020/21-2021

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Islamabad United two points clear of Lahore Qalandars at the top of the PSL standings

Islamabad United 191 for 2 (Munro 88*, Iftikhar 71*) beat Karachi Kings 190 for 4 (Babar 81, Zadran 71*) by eight wickets

Colin Munro and Iftikhar Ahmed pulled off a stunning turnaround in the second half of the innings as Islamabad United sealed a comprehensive victory over Karachi Kings. Overcoming a sluggish start, the pair finished unbeaten on 150 off 79 balls as they won with eight balls to spare. Munro finished with a 56-ball 88, while Iftikhar delivered the knockout punches at the end with a 39-ball 71 as the Kings came apart in defence.
Dropped catches, extras, and visibly flustered bowlers were the picture for the Kings who had earlier put up 190 on a true surface. Babar Azam‘s 81 and Najibullah Zadran‘s unbeaten 71 had ensured that; it didn’t prove to be enough.

Karachi do it smart

Kings were put into bat and went off to a decent start. While Azam took some time to suss the pitch out, they had the insurance of Sharjeel Khan, who managed to hit two sixes in the powerplay in an opening stand of 37. Once he fell, Babar opened up to find some boundaries. It was a role reversal, with No. 3 Martin Guptill struggling for timing during his brief stay before eventually chopping on.

However, the steady start to the innings meant they were still going at nine an over. From there, Babar and Zadran kept the rate up, finding the pitch to be conducive to driving on the up. Babar used the bounce and lift in the surface to bring out some delightful flicks, and drives through extra cover, with the occasional indulgence of hitting fast bowlers straight over their heads. He took a liking to Hasan Ali, but did end up falling to him on 81 in the 19th over.

Zadran outlasted Babar, with whom he had put up 117 in just over 12 overs, and came into his own with confident aerial shots towards the end. He was lethal with the cut shot early on, and particularly took a liking to Shadab Khan off whom he hit sixes off consecutive deliveries in the 14th over – one over midwicket, one over extra cover. That 14th over was the start of a phase in which they score more than 15 an over on four occasions. It hauled them to 190, which didn’t prove enough.

A slow start to the chase

United had a streaky, ungainly start to their chase. Amir had Usman Khawaja in knots in the first over with outswing, and Waqas Maqsood kept Munro reasonably quiet at the other end too. In their first three overs, United had only three boundaries. At Khawaja’s dismissal in the fifth over, they had only 28 on the board, and a brand new No. 3 in Muhammad Akhlaq lasted only two balls, losing his off stump comprehensively to Maqsood.

The pattern would hold – much like the pitch seemed to be. Munro and Iftikhar had scarcely any scoring opportunities on a pitch that suddenly seemed to have slowed. On the occasions Munro seemed to have bludgeoned the ball, he unfailingly found the fielders as well. At 72 for 2 in 10 overs, they didn’t look healthy in the chase – like a wicket would open up the gates for the Kings.

Maqsood and Perera live the horror

That wicket never came. But it could have. At the start of the 12th over, Munro toe-ended a pull shot in the direction of mid-off, having charged down the track at Abbas Afridi. A simple catch was presented to Maqsood, who didn’t have to move too much, but ended up dropping that.

In the span of one over from there, Munro managed to hit four boundaries, including the one that took him to fifty. Iftikhar heaved one into the grass banks over square leg too. It was the start of the end for the Kings. United needed 80 off seven at that point, and Thisara Perera was handed the ball after the strategic break. Imad Wasim had suffered a finger injury trying to take a return catch, and couldn’t finish his overs.

Munro sent the first ball for six, the second for four, and then dispatched a waist-high full toss – Perera’s second of the evening – over cover. His next ball, also a high full toss, was clubbed straight to long-off by Munro. But the third umpire intervened to rule it above waist height, and the resulting free hit was launched into the leg side by Iftikhar.

Seventeen had come off the previous over, 23 came off Perera’s 14th. That was the pivot – Munro and Iftikhar unleashed a force that proved too much for the Kings; Munro ended having hit ten boundaries and two sixes, and Iftikhar five fours and five sixes. It was an indication of just how much Kings’ bowling fell apart in the final quarter of the game.

Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Eng vs Ind women’s Test 2021

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India women’s Test vice-captain says the team got valuable tips on constructing a Test innings from her male counterpart, Ajinkya Rahane

Harmanpreet Kaur believes that a lack of adequate game time in the longest format in the lead-up to India Women’s return to Test cricket after nearly seven years can be offset in some measure by cultivating a positive outlook and heeding advice received from Ajinkya Rahane.

“I’ve played only two red-ball matches [in international cricket]. As a batting group when we have a discussion… this time we got a chance to speak to Rahane as well,” Kaur, the India Test vice-captain, said of her “easy and friendly talk” with her male counterpart in Southampton, where both the Indian teams served a hard quarantine upon arriving in the UK on June 3. “He shared his knowledge with us as to how to approach batting in the longest format and how one should divide their innings into parts.

“We may not have much practice under our belt [going into the Test], but mentally [we are prepared]. We’ve discussed a lot of things so we prepare ourselves well for the match. Even in the nets, we’ve tried to be in a good frame of mind because when you are happy, other than thinking too much about your batting, you tend to play well.”

The women’s team arrived in Bristol on Monday for the one-off Test against hosts England that begins on Wednesday. The opening fixture of a seven-match multi-format assignment, the Test marks India’s first outing in the format since the one-off Test at home against South Africa in November 2014. On the domestic circuit, the last multi-day women’s competition – the Senior Women’s Inter-Zonal Three-Day Game – was held in March-April 2018, in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kaur admitted that inadequate preparedness heading into the tour wasn’t ideal, but welcomed the revival of Test cricket for her team.

“Whatever time we’ve got [since coming out of quarantine], we’ve tried to simulate match scenarios as much as possible and tried to keep ourselves in the best frame of mind,” Kaur said. “We didn’t get much time to prepare, or any practice games. Individually, it’s imperative to adapt to the situation.

“We’ve never tried tinkering too much with Shafali because she is a natural player, and if you try talking too much technique or game planning with her, she can get disturbed because she is only 17”

Harmanpreet Kaur is all for letting Shafali Verma develop her own way

“The surfaces are different to what we get in India. We’ve practised against the swinging ball in the nets. We have a further two days – today and tomorrow – to prepare ourselves better for the match, so I hope we’ll be able to do that well.

“It’s a totally different scenario [to playing with the white ball]. I know we didn’t even get any domestic games with the red ball. In the upcoming season and years we’ll get more red-ball cricket also, which is a very good sign for us.”

As with Tests in the Women’s Ashes, the Bristol Test will feature the use of the Kookaburra red ball (the Dukes ball is usually used in England), with England captain Heather Knight saying last week that “we’re going to be using a Kookaburra in this match because that’s what we’re going to be using in the Ashes and it’s no secret this Test match is a huge part of our preparation going into that Ashes series and that Ashes Test match away from home.”

Kaur said that in the practice sessions India have had so far, the Kookaburra didn’t pose much challenge.

“Dealing with a Kookaburra didn’t feel too different because the ball size and weight is roughly the same [as the white ball we use in limited-overs cricket]. The last time we played [a Test], we felt the red ball was a bit heavier than the white variant, which makes you rely on your timing more. But the Kookaburra white and red ball feels the same; just the colour is different. We felt good playing with it because when you’re in whites and you play with the red ball, it’s a totally different feeling.”

When asked about the likelihood of 17-year-old big-hitter Shafali Verma making her debut on Wednesday, Kaur stressed that it was important for the senior players and the team management to refrain from talking shop too much with the young batter.

“We’ve never tried tinkering too much with Shafali because she is a natural player, and if you try talking too much technique or game planning with her, she can get disturbed because she is only 17 years old,” Kaur said. “To burden her with too many thoughts isn’t the right thing.



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