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Eng vs NZ 2021 – Ben Stokes to make comeback from injury for Durham in Vitality Blast

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Jofra Archer to see specialist about long-standing elbow problem

Ben Stokes is set to play for Durham at some stage during the Vitality T20 Blast after making “excellent progress” following the finger injury which has ruled him out of England’s Test series against New Zealand.

Stokes underwent surgery last month after he fractured his left index finger while taking a catch in Rajasthan Royals’ opening game of the IPL season, an injury which the ECB initially suggested would rule him out for up to 12 weeks. He will be assessed again later this month, with a view to returning during the Blast. The competition’s group stage runs from June 9 to July 16.



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Sri Lanka vs India, 1st ODI, 2021

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The return of his pairing with Yuzvendra Chahal paid dividends for India

Among the eleven Indians who took the field against Sri Lanka in the first ODI, perhaps none had a greater point to prove than Kuldeep Yadav. The left-arm wristspinner has not been part of India’s first-choice XI in limited-overs formats recently, and faced several questions about his form. He responded by bowling with guile and bit to return 2 for 48, putting to rest the demons of his last ODI outing for India, where he had given up 84 runs in 10 overs as Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes ran amok.

After the game against Sri Lanka on Sunday, Yadav pointed to his past record when asked if he feared his white-ball career was over, and said it would be nicer if that was talked about as much as the times he’s not done well.

“Sometimes you get hit for runs, but other times you get wickets too. I have taken three-four wickets often, taken five-six wickets too,” Yadav said. “If people talk about that more, it’ll be nicer (smiles). Nobody’s cricket [career] is finished after one game or two games. I think the last series was good for England because the pitches were very good in Pune. Spinners didn’t have much help. It happens sometimes, the pitch is not in your favour. But sometimes you should credit the batsmen too for batting well, rather than say someone’s cricket is finished.”

Yadav did admit to nerves at the start of the game, nerves compounded by spending a lot of time on the bench, and within bio-bubbles, which can foster self-doubt even with well-intentioned advice.



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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Sussex South Group 2021

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Luke Wright, Delray Rawlins overhaul small target to secure quarter-final vs Yorkshire

Sussex 134 for 6 (Wright 39, Podmore 3-35) beat Kent 130 for 7 (Bopara 3-15) by four wickets

Jofra Archer made a low-key return from his elbow injury to help Sussex seal a quarter-final spot in the Vitality Blast by beating a depleted Kent side by four wickets at Canterbury.

Archer was restricted to three overs as an injury precaution, returning figures of 0 for 20 as he bowled two overs with the new ball and then returned to bowl the 19th. It was his first appearance since May, when he aggravated an elbow injury during a County Championship match against Kent and was required to undergo surgery.

Sussex finished on 134 for 6, Luke Wright‘s 39 and Delray Rawlins‘ 33 steering them into the last eight with 2.5 overs to spare.
Earlier Ravi Bopara took 3 for 15 and David Wiese 2 for 16 as a Kent side with 15 first-teamers still isolating struggled 130 for 7, Calum MacLeod – the Scotland batter on a short-term deal – their top scorer with 31.

Kent had already ensured top spot in the South Group and will play their quarter-final against Birmingham Bears at the St Lawrence Ground despite tonight’s defeat, while Sussex will play Yorkshire at Chester-le-Street on August 24.



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Recent Match Report – Somerset vs Gloucs South Group 2021

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Somerset 183 for 7 (Lammony 90) beat Gloucestershire 160 for 6 (Cobain 72, Overton 2-18) by 23 runs

Tom Lammonby, one of county cricket’s breakout stars of 2020, thrust aside a miserable follow-up season to play one of the most scintillating innings of this season’s Vitality Blast and dump Gloucestershire out of the competition in the process. Somerset were ailing before Lammonby infused them with life with a freewheeling 90 from 36 balls which turned the likelihood of defeat into a 23-run victory.

Until Lammonby transformed the mood, Gloucestershire had everything under control. Their disciplined bowling performance had restricted Somerset to 89 for 5 after 14.2 overs, the run out of Will Smeed for 39, the one batsman to muster any sort of resistance, pointing towards the win they needed to secure a quarter-final place alongside Somerset.

Instead, Somerset secured a home quarter-final in late July while Gloucestershire were left to reflect on final-day heartache which has seen them fail to qualify for the latter stages of both the Championship and the Blast in the space of a few days. Ian Cockbain fought valiantly with 72 from 46 balls, but the big over never quite came.

How Taunton deserves that quarter-final. Cold-shouldered in the Hundred, they can at least look forward to a home tie against Lancashire, followed by a possible Finals Day at Edgbaston and they are still in the hunt for a first Championship title, too.

Lammonby, 21, long limbed and wristy, evidenced why there was such excitement over his entry into county cricket last season. Discriminating judges were prone to a touch of fantasy. Talk was more of his Test potential rather than white-ball – and how England must yearn for a touch of class in their top order. As for white-ball, the queue is a long one, but perhaps this was the night when Lammonby signalled his intention one day to join them.

This innings – a veritable one-man show – was the evening that a bright flash of sunlight finally flashed through the clouds. A demoralising second season in the Championship led to his omission at the start of the Blast, but that was hard to credit as he appeared to be intent on exhibition cricket, running through his repertoire with a game-changing confidence.

At one stage a 12th man seemed about to bring on a drink, but Lammonby waved him away, a batter back in the zone, desperate not to lose his uninhibited mood. His whiplash wrists enabled him to find gaps in the field. He was masterful behind square, his speciality the paddle and reverse paddle. All but 14 of his runs came in the arc between midwicket and third. If there was a defensive shot, it must have been an accident.

David Payne and Dan Worrall, who had the game where they wanted it with the new ball, ran into a young upstart of high ambition. “It was a special knock,” said Gloucestershire’s captain, Jack Taylor, “but our execution was a bit wanting.” Somerset’s stand-in skipper, Craig Overton, was obviously more ecstatic. “He will be the first to admit he has struggled this year, but I think that’s the best I’ve ever seen him play.”

Sixteen from three balls from Worrall – paddle against a head high full toss, reverse paddle from the free hit, and a no-messing long-on six, took him to his first Blast fifty at the 26th attempt, a reminder that not all nights have been like this. But another 20 came off Payne’s penultimate over and Ryan Higgins, charged with controlling things at the death, spilled 45 from three overs.

Gloucestershire had set the tone with an excellent Powerplay during which they drew pace and a little movement from an excellent surface. Somerset were restricted to 32 for 2 for the loss of Devon Conway and Steve Davies.

Conway has had a plentiful season, averaging more than 60, his moderate strike rate of 124 also illustrating how he has glued this Somerset side together. Payne had bowled only four overs in July after his inactive spell with England’s ODI shadow squad, but he outfoxed him with a widish delivery as he tried to make room to hit over the off side. Davies, who has been brought back late in the tournament as injury cover, trod on his stumps as Payne took a second wicket. Benny Howell’s sleight of hand removed James Hildreth in his first over.

Somerset’s innings descended into a succession of scrambled runs and what felt like endless TV adjudications. Gloucestershire finally got the run-out they had threatened when Higgins, alert and well in from the rope at deep midwicket, defeated Smeed’s second run.

Somerset’s most pressing need in the field was to curb Glenn Phillips, the leading six-hitter in the tournament, well ahead of the Nottinghamshire pair of Alex Hales and Joe Clarke. Phillips added two more to his total – he finishes on 35 for the season – but he miscued Ben Green to deep mid-off on 29.

Overton and Brooks both delivered spells for under 20, and the medium-pacer Green hit his yorkers in the closing overs, one of them bowling Taylor. Cockbain was left needing to hit the last four balls for six, but nobody was about to steal Lammonby’s thunder.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps



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