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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Sussex Group 3 2021

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A whole lot of not a lot at Hove, but it’s an improvement on this time last year

Sussex 256 (van Zyl 52; Quinn 4-54, Gilchrist 3-51, Stevens 3-64) drew with Kent 145 (Leaning 63, Robinson 3-29, Garton 3-65) and 387 for 4 dec (Leaning 127*, Robinson 85, Crawley 85)

A match that had once seemed likely to end in a Sussex victory with Jofra Archer displaying his fitness for Test cricket ended in the most sclerotic of draws with Archer not even on the field. The first of these outcomes had always seemed likely once Kent had survived a short session on Saturday, and the second was probable once the England bowler’s sore elbow had prevented him bowling that same evening.

Despite their lowly positions in Group C these sides never appeared to contemplate the possibility of setting up a game and the 43 overs we saw this afternoon might not be numbered among the most gripping of the season. Other correspondents could even judge them balls-achingly tedious.

But Jack Leaning will take a different view. The former Yorkshire batsman notched only his second first-class century since 2017 and will approach Thursday’s game against Glamorgan in a more confident mood. Likewise, from their different perspectives, Tom Clark, who took his maiden first-class wicket, and Tawanda Muyeye, who batted half an hour for 12 not out on his debut. A drop of red ink is as comforting as a duvet to a young professional making his way. Every solid defensive shot is a moment.

And if these slightly aimless sessions were still a disappointment we could scourge no one but ourselves. On Friday, when a 104-over day had heaved itself beyond seven o’clock, we little thought how fortunate we were to see any cricket at all, let alone to be doing so when millions could not.

Zak Crawley was batting on that second evening, so such ingratitude required public abasement. But our penance, such as it might have been, was useless. The following evening, when only 24 overs were possible, Crawley was dismissed by the excellent Jack Carson and even that moment was given the elbow by Archer’s inaction, forced or otherwise.

Thus to Sunday with the Channel turquoise in its shallows but gravely blue farther out to sea. A pleasant dawn was replaced by an unlucky bag of showers, some of them slight, others heavy with Anabaptist doom. While David Millns and Graham Lloyd made one of their inspections the clouds to the west were grey as an undertaker’s work-suit; to the east they were blue as one of Bryan Ferry’s more exotic two-piece numbers. Birds gathered ravenously on the white pyramidal roofs of the hospitality suites. By the way, the gulls in Hove have clearly been watching Alfred Hitchcock movies; I’ve seen smaller turkeys. The white thugs waited for scraps; we waited for cricket.



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Australia in Bangladesh 2021 – Australia set to tour Bangladesh for five T20Is in August

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This will be Australia’s first tour to Bangladesh since 2017

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have confirmed that Australia will arrive in Dhaka on July 29 to play five T20Is against Bangladesh, from August 3 to 9. Australia will comply with local health regulations by being quarantined in their hotel rooms for three days before they begin training at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, where they will play all five matches.

“The BCB and Cricket Australia have worked tirelessly together for confirming the itinerary,” BCB’s chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said. “Naturally this was a challenge due to the Covid-19 pandemic as ensuring health safety and security is a priority prerequisite for holding any cricket series in these times. I am pleased to say that a comprehensive bio-security plan is in place and will be implemented during the tour for the protection of players and staff of the two teams and the match officials.”

BCB and Cricket Australia (CA) have reportedly agreed on extensive pandemic protocols that include a 10-day quarantine, which started earlier this week. Both teams will count their current bio-bubble measures on their respective tours as part of the quarantine. Match officials have already been isolated while the Bangladesh T20I team currently in Zimbabwe will go straight to the team hotel in Dhaka upon arrival. Bangladesh’s T20I series against Zimbabwe was also brought forward by a couple of days.

The major protocols for this tour include Australia’s immigration process conducted separately after CA expressed reservations about exposing their touring party in a hall room inside the airport. After they go through the VIP entry and into the team bus, their passports will be processed separately.

The team hotel will be completely off-limits to the public during the tour, which is reportedly a tighter plan than the BCB’s bio-bubbles for West Indies and Sri Lanka. The scheduling of the series has been at the CA’s request: to be held at one venue over a short window.

Bangladesh, in the midst of a second wave of Covid-19, reported 173 deaths on Wednesday, taking the tally to 18,498 since March this year, according to the Directorate General of Health Services. According to the official data, the Covid-19 fatality rate in Bangladesh is now 1.63 percent and the current recovery rate is 84.56 percent.

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said on Thursday that they are familiar with the limitations of their movement on tours.

“We’ve had a few meetings about what it’s going to look like in Bangladesh and it’s obviously going to be quite tight restrictions and within the bubble,” Hazlewood said. “I think it’s purely going to be either at the hotel or at the cricket ground, which we’ve done before and we’re used to. It’s quite a short trip as well, which is good, so I think it’ll be no dramas, we’ll get that done on the back end of this tour.”

This is Australia’s first tour to Bangladesh since their 2017 visit to play two Tests in Dhaka and Chattogram. They had cancelled their 2015 and 2016 (Under-19 World Cup) visits due to security concerns.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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India in England 2021 – Rishabh Pant returns to India camp after recovering from Covid-19

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It would appear, meanwhile, that the injured Shubman Gill is now back in India

Rishabh Pant has joined the India squad after recovering from Covid-19 and completing his mandatory period of isolation. Pant tested positive on July 8, and had not travelled with the rest of the team to Durham, where the Indians are playing a three-day warm-up match against a County Select XI ahead of the five-match Test series against England, which begins on August 4 in Nottingham.

On Thursday, the BCCI put out a tweet welcoming Pant back into the India contingent.

Pant’s mandatory isolation period of ten days, as prescribed by Public Health England, was set to end on July 18, subject to clearing two Covid-19 tests. He did not join the India camp immediately upon the end of his quarantine, however, and KL Rahul took the wicketkeeping gloves in his stead in the match against the County Select XI.



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The Hundred 2021 – Kate Cross

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Dane van Niekerk, meanwhile, was thrilled by “the biggest crowd that I’ve played in front of at The Oval”

Players were “buzzing” after soaking up an “electric” atmosphere and making history on the opening night of the Hundred.

The Oval Invincibles won by five wickets with two balls to spare on the back of an unbeaten fifty by their captain Dane van Niekerk, but even Kate Cross, her opposite number on the losing Manchester Originals side, felt like she’d won something.

And she had. Winner of the first toss, choosing to bat despite thinking for months leading up to the game that she would field first in an attempt to settle inevitable nerves by allowing her side to absorb the occasion together on the field.

Striker of the first six, stepping down the pitch to slap Danielle Gregory over long-on, a look of sheer delight spreading across her face before she’d even finished her swing. She also cheerfully owned up to bowling the first front-foot no-ball.

“First” stats lose meaning when they are part and parcel of playing the first match of the first tournament of its kind. But most meaningful to Cross was the slice of history she, her team, and the opposition for that matter were part of.

“It feels like a win,” Cross said. “I don’t feel like we’ve lost that game of cricket. It’s a strange feeling but I just can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it.

“There’s a lot of learning while we’re out there but I said to the girls, tonight my biggest thing was first and foremost, enjoy everything. Enjoy the crowd, enjoy the occasion because we’ve made history. Regardless of the result. I said that’s irrelevant, we’re history makers.

“Let’s be honest, we were the guinea pigs. No one knew what tonight was going to look like and I’m so glad for the tournament, I’m so glad for everyone that’s worked so hard behind the scenes… they got the night they wanted and hopefully people enjoyed it.”

Cross had an excellent night, scoring 12 off just four balls, claiming three wickets with her first seven deliveries and leading her side with distinction.

The crowd of 7395 was well below The Oval’s capacity of 28,000, and while it didn’t feel massive, it felt highly respectable. The atmosphere began as interested anticipation, grew quickly into enthusiasm once the match got underway, and as the home side neared their target of 136 the place was jumping.

“Honestly, I don’t think I could come off a cricket pitch and be more pleased with a loss,” Cross said. “Genuinely it was the most electric atmosphere, I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that before.

“A new tournament with new rules, a lot of nerves around the group, a lot of unknowns, I couldn’t be prouder of the girls, I couldn’t be prouder of our performance.

“It was just an amazing night for women’s cricket, it felt like it was almost a perfect night for what the tournament needed to open. I’m absolutely buzzing, I don’t think I’m going to get to sleep tonight.”

For van Niekerk, the win clearly meant something too. As she edged Cross to the rope at deep third to seal victory, she stretched her arms wide in triumph.

“I was just really happy that that the first match of the Hundred was so entertaining,” van Niekerk said. “A bit more stressful than we wanted it to be but it was nice to give the crowd something to watch and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves.

“It was electric, it was incredible. The crowd carried us at the back end.”

The trick for Hundred’s organisers will be maintaining that warm afterglow.

“I hope that people come out every single game like that and enjoy this tournament, it’s really entertaining,” van Niekerk said. “I played for Surrey Stars for two years and it was definitely the biggest crowd that I’ve played in front of at The Oval and it showed that people are interested in this tournament.

“I hope that the people saw that it’s still cricket, it’s just a little bit shorter and a little bit faster, but the skill is still up there, it’s still exciting. A hundred balls is a hundred balls but it’s still cricket and I hope everyone was entertained as much as we were.”

As a standalone contest, this match was keenly fought, high quality and entirely watchable. You can bet the men will set out to be at least as competitive and entertaining when they begin their tournament with the corresponding teams meeting at The Oval on Saturday night.

Whether the Hundred is enough of a twist on the game already loved by many to attract new fans, whether it differs from T20 sufficiently to last long-term, and whether it will harm other formats as much as some fear, no one knows. But at least it’s started with a bit of a buzz.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo



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