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Recent Match Report – Derbyshire vs Durham Group 1 2021

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Mark Wood denied as Billy Godleman and Brooke Guest dig in

Derbyshire 48 for 0 vs Durham

Derbyshire’s openers denied Durham’s bowlers on a rain-shortened opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match at Derby. Billy Godleman and Brooke Guest negotiated 17 overs in difficult conditions to reach 48 without loss before play was called off at 4.30pm.

England fast bowler Mark Wood was unlucky not to take a wicket in his seven overs after Durham won the toss but the weather made it a test for players and umpires.

On a day borrowed from winter, Durham’s bowlers had to contend with a buffeting wind that forced Wood to abort his run-up in his brief opening spell from the Racecourse End. The conditions were a challenge for everyone, not least the hundred or so Derbyshire members who braved the unseasonable weather on the first day spectators were allowed back to the Incora County Ground.

For Godleman and Guest, who moved up to open in the absence of Luis Reece, it was a question of resisting Durham’s pace attack under slate grey skies with the floodlights on from the start although it was not just about survival for the openers.

Godleman moved into one-day mode several times, advancing down the pitch to smack Ben Raines down the ground while Rushworth was dispatched through the covers. Rushworth was close to having Godleman caught behind before rain forced the players off after 35 minutes and although the match resumed after an early lunch, bad light and more rain had the last word.

There was bad news for Derbyshire who announced Australian fast bowler Billy Stanlake will not play again this season because of a back injury. The 26-year-old made his debut in the defeat against Essex at Chelmsford last week but a scan has revealed a stress fracture.



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Recent Match Report – Yorkshire vs Lancashire North Group 2021

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Lancashire 131 for 6 (Wells 30, Croft 26*) beat Yorkshire 128 for 7 (Root 32, Ballance 31, Wood 4-20) by four wickets

Those in charge of recording Roses folklore, pens and pads to the ready please. Joe Root, as a stand-in Yorkshire captain, was at the centre of one of the most debatable acts of sportsmanship (now there’s a word that, seriously, needs some urgent gender-neutral consideration) in Roses history. If it is not read about a hundred years from now then either the chroniclers have not done their job or county cricket has collapsed without trace.

Lancashire needed to win their final North Group tie to join Yorkshire in the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast, but do not believe that Yorkshire were soft-pedalling as a result. They were tigerishly defending their inadequate 128 for 7 with Lancashire five down, 15 needed from 18 balls and enough tension to ensure that the result was not quite the formality it sounds.

Matthew Waite’s delivery to Luke Wells was worked into the leg-side with a single on offer, only for Steven Croft to hesitate and collapse in mid-pitch, clutching his hamstring as if he would never play again. Yorkshire chose not to remove the bails, it turned out to be cramp and thanks to the seemingly magical hands of the Lancashire physio, he was able not only to resume, but celebrate a four-wicket victory with an over to spare as if he had drunk from the elixir of life in the meantime. That’s what qualifying for the last eight of the Blast means to people. Tell that to advocates of the Hundred.

Not since Marcelo Bielsa ordered Leeds United deliberately to concede a goal against Aston Villa two years ago will Yorkshire have debated acts of sporting integrity with such passion. It’s probably worth reflecting that the three players involved in the decision had a combined age of 68 and have not actually played much professional cricket. The bowler, Matthew Waite, the fielder Jordan Thompson, the keeper Harry Duke. Integrity or largely confusion? It would be no surprise to find that some on Yorkshire’s coaching staff disagreed with their humanitarian stance (this is not often presented as a prime feature of Yorkshire cricket) and for the sake of history perhaps they should put their views on the record.

Root, impressively, seeking unity, protecting all concerned, was a master of diplomacy. “As a side we made a very difficult decision under pressure,” he said. “It looked very serious at first glance. In many ways it was a relief it was nothing serious. I am sure there will be many different opinions. Many people would have handled it differently.”

(Forgive the personal intervention here, but as somebody who ruptured two Achilles tendons in mid-pitch in successive seasons in Yorkshire club cricket and was run out both times, yes, it’s possible they probably would have done. Maybe I morally deserved those not outs? Acts of integrity, 30 years on, seem a very good thing).

The umpires called a dead ball, although that decision was just to negotiate a settlement. There was no right or wrong. There was just half a second when three young players wondered what to do. It is not clear whether Root, a captain, who whether he likes it or not has become the moral conscience of England cricket, uttered an instruction.

But what of Croft, Lancashire’s Lazarus? “Two games in two days at 36 and a bit of sun has done me,” he told Sky TV. “I put the brakes on, they worked, and my legs just cramped up. I didn’t know where the ball had gone. They could have taken the bails off and credit to them that they didn’t.”

There was little need to ask him how he was. His unbeaten 26 from 29 balls had concluded with a sprinted two and an uninhibited pull against Matt Fisher, with six needed from eight balls, that was almost intercepted, left-handed, by Thompson on the midwicket boundary only for him to fall into the boundary advertising and the ball to roll for four. He struck the next ball slightly squarer for the winning hit. He had the decency to curb his celebrations.

All this meant that Lancashire extended a winning sequence against Yorkshire in the Old Trafford Roses T20 that began in 2015. Simply put, but accurate for all that, they won it on the Powerplay. On a grabby, used Old Trafford pitch, this is where runs are most easily made. Yorkshire made 27 for 2, restricted by an entire top five (with the exception of Adam Lyth who got out early) which seemed to want to play the controlling role. Lancashire, by contrast, returned 57 for 3.

Lancashire understood the Old Trafford pitch and bought into the nature of what they had to do, no more so than the New Zealander Finn Allen, who made 22 from eight balls, easefully striking Adam Lyth’s fill-in offspin for two successive legside sixes in the second over before he was bowled in what has become a very predictable fashion – careering outside off stump against the seam bowling of Matthew Fisher to leave his leg stump exposed.

And Lancashire had a champion with the ball up front. Luke Wood’s left-arm pace is always full of verve and on this occasion his length, his change-ups, his concentration, was also on the money. He returned a career-best 4 for 20 and to rub it in for Yorkshire he was born in Sheffield.

He had Lyth brilliantly caught down the legside by Dane Vilas, who spring athletically to his right to hold a pukka leg glance, and left Mark Stoneman uncertain with changes of length and pace before nipping one back into his off stump. Stoneman’s loan from Surrey, despite a half-century, had not been a success.

Root and Harry Brook, brought together after 2.5 overs, both wanted to play the long game before expanding. Root, the England captain, whose game is built upon it. Brook, the leading scorer in the Blast, whose success has been built upon a low-risk start. Wood had shaken Yorkshire and by the time both were dismissed (Root cutting, Brook bowled by the workaday offspin of Luke Wells) Yorkshire has used more than half their overs in making 59.

There followed panic. Here’s one for the data analysts. What are the record number of balls in a second half of a T20 innings where batsmen swing above the ball without making contract? Yorkshire must be up there. Somehow, Gary Balance, desperation etched on his face, emerged with a highly creditable 31 from 21 before Wood’s on-a-length cutter defeated his legside swipe.
At 64 for 5 off 7.2 overs, Lancashire could have lost the game. They should have reined in their aggression with three down, instead they adjusted with five lost. They had probably just about won it when Croft, innocently enough, collapsed in mid-pitch. But it is a rare Roses match that proves to be straightforward.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps



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Match Preview – England vs Pakistan, Pakistan tour of England 2021, 2nd T20I

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Buttler is expected to return to the side for the hosts, and Bairstow is fit despite bruising his finger

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Phew, wasn’t that fun? After a three-hour bonanza of six-hitting that felt like a blur later, Pakistan justified their reputation of being predictably unpredictable, seeing off a near full-strength England side with a comfortable 31-run win. Off the back of an ODI series where their worst instincts were more evident, there’s little doubt the T20I series will be a much more tightly-contested affair.
It all just meshed into one, didn’t it? The Babar Azam-Mohammad Rizwan stand that just continued to snowball, the onslaught by Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez, Jason Roy taking Imad Wasim to the cleaners despite supposedly struggling again spin, and Liam Livingstone’s record-obliterating hundred. Of course, the bowlers played their part too, though it might not feel like it at times. Shaheen Afridi bagged the Player-of-the-Match award, Shadab Khan took three priceless wickets despite going for 52, while Mohammad Hasnain allowed just 28 in four overs, a stupendous effort in a game that saw 433 runs scored.

An England win on Friday and Pakistan might have checked out of the tour, but the series is instead poised tantalisingly now. England have to reconcile their desire to test and tinker ahead of the T20 World Cup with staving off a series defeat before they name their squad for the big event. Livingstone, until recently an outsider, suddenly appears central. Meanwhile, a strangely off-colour captain Eoin Morgan must ensure he has to score runs to pull his weight in a side essentially moulded in his image.



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SL vs IND 2021 – 1st ODI – Shikhar Dhawan

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Limited-overs captain says no chats with team management in England about player selection have happened yet

Competition for the opening slot is a good thing, and the Sri Lanka tour will be a step towards narrowing down on a few options ahead of the T20 World Cup, according to India’s stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan, ahead of the first ODI in Colombo.

“Every series is big when you play for India and all the players know how important every game is,” Dhawan said. “There is competition for the opening slot and it’s a very good thing. Whoever plays, the goal is to do well as a team. Along the way, if we also do well, then these things [selection] take care of themselves.”



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