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Recent Match Report – Yorkshire vs Sussex Group 3 2021

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Sussex 221 (Haines 86, Patterson 4-26) and 136 for 6 (Bess 5-33) need another 99 runs to beat Yorkshire 150 and 305 (Ballance 74, Lyth 66, Carson 5-85)

Yorkshire’s trip to the south coast proved a restorative experience for England offspinner Dom Bess, as a five-wicket haul on the third afternoon helped push the visitors towards a hard-fought victory. There remained work to do on the final morning, after a day of blustering winds and shifting fortunes, but Bess’ dismissal of George Garton with his final delivery left the Sussex chase precariously placed.

Having steadily dragged their way back into this contest, turning an overnight lead of 92 into a fourth-innings target of 235, Yorkshire seemed set to complete the turnaround by reducing the home side to 86 for 5 during the evening session. Ben Brown, Sussex’s doughty captain, bolted together a stand with Garton as the shadows lengthened, only for Bess to cap his day by securing a maiden five-for in Yorkshire whites.

On a dry Hove surface, and following success for Sussex’s young offspinner, Jack Carson, Bess quickly became the focus of attention – much as he was for large portions of England’s winter assignments in Sri Lanka and India. He has not had an easy start to the season, going wicketless in Yorshire’s opening two fixtures, and suffered a rib problem while fielding in the first innings of this match, though he was able to bowl through the discomfort.

The ease with which David Willey and Duanne Olivier added 51 in 13.2 overs during a last-wicket stand for Yorkshire either side of lunch hinted at some of the life going out of the pitch. But there has been turn throughout, and Bess was soon into the attack after the openers got off to a solid start – much as in each of the three preceding innings of this match – with Tom Haines setting the tempo for Sussex during a 45-run stand.

Having started his spell with a maiden to Aaron Thomason, Bess’ seventh delivery was replete with intent: drift into Haines from round the wicket, spin and bounce past the outside edge. Carson had found plenty of grip bowling from the Sea End, and with five left-handers in the Sussex top seven, the sense only increased that this was a golden opportunity for Bess.

The breakthrough came in the same over, as Thomason’s attempt to get down the track ended with him being bowled through the gate after a desperate hoy across the line. A second for Bess followed soon after the tea interval, as Tom Clark was lured forward only for some extra bounce to see the ball pop off the splice to silly point. In between times, the lively Haines was caught down the leg side off Jordan Thompson.

With Joe Root joining the attack from the Cromwell Road End, Hove suddenly became reminiscent of England’s most-recent Test outing in Ahmedabad – albeit you would struggle to squeeze in a 130,000-seater “Modium” between the flats and terraces that flank this ground. Root might have removed Stiaan van Zyl on 21, as a thin edge evaded Adam Lyth at slip, but the Sussex No. 3 became a third victim for Bess in the following over, leaving one that went on with the arm to clip off stump.

Bess was now in a groove, and Delray Rawlins was dispatched first ball, a thin edge deflecting off Jonny Tattersall behind the stumps to be taken at slip. Garton saw off the hat-trick delivery, but Bess had 4 for 12 from 13 overs and Yorkshire seemed set to roll through, only for Brown, who edged Root through the hands of Lyth on 11, to battle through to the close and keep his side in contention.

Not that Yorkshire will be getting roundly clapped back to the broad acres, should they manage to make it back-to-back wins on the road. “All French people have two jobs, their own and film critic,” said the director Francois Truffaut. Substitute in the words “Yorkshire” and “cricket”, and you might have a fair reflection of how seriously things are taken in the White Rose county. There had been mithering aplenty after Yorkshire were second best to Glamorgan in their opening game of the season, and they have had to come from behind here.

A factor in the final analysis might well be the relative experience of these teams. While Yorkshire could draw on the skill and knowhow of six full internationals in their XI, the Sussex side has just two men aged over 30 – van Zyl and Brown – and as many as seven who are 23 or younger. Sussex have had their chances in this game, but too many have slipped by.



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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Sussex Group 3 2021

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Fast bowler confirms bid for full fitness is back on track after fiery opening gambit at Hove

Sussex 51 for 2 trail Kent 145 (Leaning 63; Robinson 3-29, Garton 3-65, Archer 2-29) by 94 runs

When Jofra Archer last played a first-class match at Hove he was not a World Cup winner nor had he played in an Ashes series. The game took place in September 2018 and was memorable for the final first-class centuries of both Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell. Trott’s hundred satisfied the technicians; Bell’s pleased the aesthetes and brings them comfort still. Archer had played 10 IPL games for Rajasthan Royals and was plainly England’s next big thing. But his four late wickets against Warwickshire hardly disturbed the universe and certainly nobody gave a monkey’s what he did with his fish tank apart, one assumes, from the fish. The age of aquaria had not yet dawned.

That era is upon us now, though, and so Archer is perhaps fortunate that he is based in Brighton, where other-worldliness is an asset and where shredding your finger cleaning up after your piscine pets is something that could happen to anyone. Even more than Britain’s metropolises this city is a shrine to the outré and the baroque. Archer is thus an extraordinary cricketer in a city filled with extraordinary people and maybe he enjoys the camouflage, even if such concealment is not always available. The news that he had recovered sufficiently from a right-elbow injury to be named in Sussex’s squad for this game against Kent brought extra photographers and journalists to the County Ground and in the first half an hour of the day we could all see why.

In Archer’s third over Daniel Bell-Drummond was beaten for pace and bounce; the catch went very fast to second slip where George Garton made it look laughably easy. Next over, though, Archer over-pitched and Zak Crawley helped himself to four runs past wide mid-on. We settled down for a duel between a couple of England’s Test cricketers, only for it to end two balls later when Crawley could do nothing with sharp lift and movement off a length except nick the ball to Ben Brown.

“Usually I bowl to Zak n the [England] nets and I have done that quite a bit,” observed Archer when our day’s cricket was done. “Obviously, you’re never out in the nets so it was good to get him out here, with umpires.”



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ICC consider expanding T20 World Cup to 20 teams

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Change of attitude from governing body with shorter form seen as vehicle for growth

The T20 World Cup could be increased to include 20 teams as part of the ICC’s attempts to develop the game globally.

While the 2021 tournament, currently scheduled to be played in India, will still feature 16 teams, ESPNcricinfo understands there are plans to increase that number from the 2024 edition. Current thinking suggests that version of the event will feature four groups of five teams in its opening phase.

The ICC has long seen the T20 format as a vehicle for the game’s expansion and there has been previous talk of such an expansion. The ICC have already confirmed their plans to increase the number of teams in their women’s competitions.

But the move sustains a notably more inclusive recent approach from the ICC across formats. This is also likely to involve an increased number of teams (from 10 to 14) in the 50-over World Cup, a more positive attitude towards participation in the Olympics and talk of a return of the Intercontinental Cup (albeit with a different name).

It is, perhaps, the move to increasing the number of teams in the 50-over World Cup which provides the most revealing insight into the changing mood of the ICC. In recent years, the ICC cut the number of teams in the 50-over World Cup (from 16 in 2007, to 14 in 2011 and 2015 and 10 in 2019) arguing that broadcasters preferred the streamlined format with the probability of fewer one-sided games.

There is, however, understood to be a growing appreciation of the need to balance long-term global development with the monetary value of short-term broadcast deals. It may be relevant, too, that since the powers of the ‘Big Three’ were rolled back in 2017, the influence of other nations has grown.



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Recent Match Report – Middlesex vs Hampshire Group 2 2021

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Handscomb’s woeful form continues with first-ball duck after late-afternoon start

Middlesex 90 for 4 (Abbott 3-21) vs Hampshire

When the Lord’s media centre was still in its infancy, those working within were served tea and coffee in the most magnificent mugs – unbelievably tall, well insulated with a perfectly balanced handle and, best of all, decorated with a sketch of the building in celebration of its love-it-or-hate-it design.

Those mugs were solid too, with evidence suggesting they could survive numerous moves across the world (you were allowed to take just one as a souvenir, right?) until the inevitable happened.

After a long wait to begin their match, Middlesex started solidly enough against Hampshire, too. Play didn’t begin until 4.15pm after two false starts when the covers were removed and players began to warm up, only to be forced back inside the Pavilion when the rain returned.

Jack Davies, playing just his second first-class match and his first of the season after replacing fellow left-hander Max Holden in the hosts’ line-up, and Sam Robson saw their side into the 18th over as they worked their way to 33 without loss.

That was in the face of some class bowling from Keith Barker and Mohammad Abbas, who conceded just 16 from the first 10 overs without getting the rewards they were really after when Hampshire won the toss.

It was Kyle Abbott who cashed in instead with three quick wickets to shatter Middlesex, leaving them 90 for 4 at the close and the not-out Nick Gubbins and John Simpson with a serious mending task.

Abbott replaced Abbas from the Nursery End in the 14th over and, while Robson helped himself to a couple of boundaries in Abbott’s second, one of those was in fact very nearly a breakthrough for Hampshire when Robson sent the ball airborne towards point and rocketing through the hands of a leaping Tom Alsop.

It would have been spectacular had Alsop managed to pull it down, and perhaps it was a breakthrough of sorts because, a short time later, Abbott made good on the threat he had posed, drawing Robson forward on an off-stump line and finding an edge which went straight to Liam Dawson at second slip.



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