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Match Preview – South Africa vs Pakistan, Pakistan tour of South Africa 2021, 3rd T20I

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South Africa might want to tinker with their batting personnel, while Pakistan would look for more from their bowlers

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Match one went down to the penultimate ball. Match two was as one-sided as they come. What are these two teams really about?

South Africa have been rebuilding for much of the last six years and still don’t seem to have much beyond the outlines of a foundation. They know they have a host of decent players – so much so that even with seven first-choice ones missing, they have packed a decent punch against Pakistan in the two T20Is. The next question is how best to make use of the wealth of talent at their disposal.

While their combinations are dictated largely by player availability, batting is one area they may want to address. Though they have gone into both matches with a surplus of bowlers, their batting line-up appears short of at least one batsman. Calls for Kyle Verreynne – the second-highest run-scorer in the 2018-19 one-day cup – to be included have abounded among public and pundits alike, and it is difficult to see the rest of this series playing out without him making an appearance – whether at the expense of another batsman or as an addition to the line-up.



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WI vs SA, 1st Test, 2021

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Kieran Powell will replace him under the concussion substitute rule

West Indies batter Nkrumah Bonner has been ruled out of the first Test against South Africa in St Lucia after being diagnosed with concussion. Kieran Powell will replace him under the concussion substitute rule.

Bonner top edged the very first ball he faced, off pacer Anrich Nortje, when he attempted to hook a short delivery but played the ball onto his helmet’s badge. He appeared shaken and was checked for concussion on the field – while South Africa reviewed unsuccessfully for a possible catch – and allowed to continue. He faced 32 balls in all and scored 10 runs but did not take the field when West Indies arrived to bowl, midway through the second session.

Instead, Powell was on the field and will now also bat in Bonner’s place. Powell has not played for West Indies since 2018 and was recalled for the series.

If was a big blow on a day of blows for West Indies, who were routed for 97 – the 19th time in Test cricket they’ve been bowled out below 100, and their lowest total against South Africa. Bonner, averaging 62.50 in his four Tests before this one, was one of only five players to face more than 30 balls in the innings.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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Eng vs NZ 2021 – New Zealand’s wholesale changes show immense strength in depth

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Unprecedented six changes also highlight WTC’s impact on international cricket

New Zealand have never previously made six changes to their side within a series and that they did so at Edgbaston and still managed to take seven wickets after being asked to bowl on a flat pitch was evidence of two things: firstly, unprecedented strength in depth within their Test squad, and secondly, the extent of the World Test Championship’s impact on international cricket.

Tom Latham, their stand-in captain, insisted in his pre-match press conference that beating England was “higher on our priority list” than the WTC final, but that he was saying it in the first place was proof of the inverse: Kane Williamson was ruled out through elbow pain here but would surely be risked against India if he suffered the same ailment next week.
Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Colin de Grandhomme were all rotated out to manage their workloads ahead of the same fixture, and while BJ Watling’s stiff back and Mitchell Santner’s cut finger might well have caused them to miss out under any circumstances, the presence of ready-made replacements in Tom Blundell and Ajaz Patel and Trent Boult’s return meant only a limited drop-off in the quality of New Zealand’s side.

It has been clear for some time that the notion of teams knowing their ‘best XI’ is anachronistic in this era of international cricket but in the Covid era of enlarged squads, bubble fatigue, variety in conditions and a punishing schedule, squad depth is more relevant than ever. India proved as much during their improbable series win in Australia at the start of this year, and with New Zealand fielding 17 players across these two Tests, they are showing that the era of “Hadlee at one end, Ilford seconds at the other” is long gone.

The only time a team has used more than that in a two-match series was when Sri Lanka rested seven players after an innings-and-196-run win against a struggling Bangladesh in 2002, which led Sanath Jayasuriya to complain he had never seen some of his new side before and drew the disapproval of the government’s sports minister – though they still won the second Test by 288 runs.



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SL vs Ind 2021 – Shikhar Dhawan to captain India on limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar named vice-captain, Chetan Sakariya and Nitish Rana among new faces in the mix

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya have all received maiden call-ups to the national team, figuring in the 20-man India squad for the white-ball series in Sri Lanka, scheduled for July. The second-string squad – the main team will be in England at the time – will be captained by opening batter Shikhar Dhawan, who has never led India previously, and will also see the international comeback of fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been appointed vice-captain.
India’s Sri Lanka tour comprises six matches: three ODIs (on July 13, 16 and 18), followed by three T20Is (July 21, 23, 25). Former India captain Rahul Dravid has been confirmed as the head coach, although the BCCI did not announce the coaching staff for the side on Thursday when it announced the squad, which will have five reserve bowlers.

Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-capt), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, R Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh

More to follow…



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