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Recent Match Report – Lancashire vs Glamorgan Group 3 2021




With Labuschagne, Carlson unbeaten and 51 needed, hosts should prosper in low-scoring contest

Glamorgan 150 (Labuschagne 44) and 137 for 3 (Labuschagne 32*, Lloyd 41, Cooke 38) need 51 runs to beat Lancashire 173 (Bailey 31, Neser 3-46) and 164 (Davies 47, Neser 4-53)

Glamorgan have left themselves well placed to claim a second LV=Insurance County Championship win of the season on another eventful day in their match against Lancashire in Cardiff.

The visitors started the day the happier of the two teams, but a collapse let Glamorgan back into the match as Lancashire were bowled out for 164 in their second innings.

Joe Cooke and David Lloyd put on the highest stand of the match so far as Glamorgan reached the close at 137 for 3 with 51 runs needed for victory.

While Glamorgan will feel that victory is not too far away the regularity with which wickets have fallen in this match means that an unlikely Lancashire win cannot be ruled out.

The Glamorgan first innings lasted just two balls on the second morning with Michael Hogan run out without any addition to the overnight score. Glamorgan’s 150 all out gave Lancashire a lead of 23 on first innings and with the difficulty of run scoring throughout this game that seemed significant.

Throughout the Lancashire second innings batsmen were once again getting out almost as soon as it looked like they were set with Alex Davies making the only significant contribution with 47.

Lancashire had taken the lead to 132 when that dramatic collapse of 5 for 15 set them back. This period included two fantastic fielding moments. First Michael Neser took an outstanding diving catch at third man to dismiss Liam Livingstone, who was aiming for somewhere over the midwicket boundary. Then Marnus Labuschagne ran out Luke Wood, who had yet to face a ball, with a direct hit from cover point.

Lancashire had gone from 109 for 3 to 124 for 8 but thanks to some late-order runs from Saqib Mahmood and Danny Lamb they managed to reach 164 all out, setting Glamorgan 188 runs to win. Neser was the pick of the Glamorgan bowlers, claiming 4 for 53.

This left Glamorgan with the task of making the highest total of this match to secure victory, but the stand of 72 between Cooke and Lloyd made that look achievable. Cooke made a career-best 38 as the bowlers struggled to find wickets for the first time in this match. Both were dismissed before the close, but Labuschagne was 32 not out and Kiran Carlson was unbeaten on 14.

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Recent Match Report – SE Stars vs Diamonds 2021




England great plays her part in three-wicket win as she revels in new mindset

Northern Diamonds 254 for 7 (Kalis 76, Langston 59* Gunn 50) beat South East Stars 250 for 6 (White 73) by three wickets with four balls remaining

It is half-past ten on a perfect June morning at Emerald Headingley and Sarah Taylor squats down in readiness for the first ball of a cricket match. This is something she will have done hundreds of times, for in addition to club and county games Taylor has played ten Tests, 126 one-day internationals and 90 T20Is for England. And even since her retirement from international cricket in September 2019, she has kept wicket for Sussex Women in a few T20 games. This is rather different, though, because Taylor is making her debut for the Northern Diamonds against South East Stars in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

This is a higher-profile, professional game, the type of match Taylor was not sure she would ever play again. But earlier this year she agreed to play for Welsh Fire in The Hundred and she is plainly satisfied that returning to the game will no longer risk harming her mental health. Playing cricket, you see, is now only one of the things Sarah Taylor does. There is teaching at Bede’s in East Sussex; there is coaching at the County Ground in Hove, where she works with the full-time professional wicketkeepers and the Academy players; there is, in other words, a balanced life.

“I don’t see myself as Sarah Taylor the cricketer anymore,” she told ESPNcricinfo in January. “I just see myself as Sarah. It’s just a really healthy place to be.”

The first ball is bowled by Beth Langston and Bryony Smith plays it out to midwicket where Ami Campbell trots in to field. Already Sarah is up at the stumps to collect the return, although there is not the remotest possibility of a run. A pattern has been set, one that will be familiar to wicketkeepers of whatever standard throughout the game.

The eighth delivery of the morning is bowled by Phoebe Graham and it jags back a little to Alice Davidson-Richards, whose cut is now a cramped ungainly effort. The ball would have passed over middle stump and down leg side but it catches Davidson-Richards’ glove and flies between wicketkeeper and first slip. Taylor has transferred her weight to her left but dives back, holds the ball in her right gauntlet… and spills it. It would have been a stunning grab. There is little more she could have done except hang on to the thing.

“I had it!” she said afterwards. “It was literally in my webbing and I just hit the deck. The girls will tell you I was talking about it when we were batting. I did the hard work and I was thinking, ‘Yes, stunner!’ and then my elbow hit the ground and it popped out. But to be fair, it was nice to get there. I felt rusty, believe me, but it was just nice to dust the cobwebs off. Legs, back, hands…Yeah, pretty happy with that. That was good fun.”

After that eighth ball Taylor returned to the more routine habits and skills of her chosen trade. Over the next three hours she squatted down over 300 times and the ball was returned to her after the vast majority of deliveries. It frequently went to her directly, of course, and her takes were clean, unfussy, professional. There is never a point in an innings when wicketkeepers are not involved in the game and Taylor was constantly encouraging, congratulating or commiserating with her new colleagues. She was the focus around which the Northern Diamonds’ efforts revolved. In the 48th over there was a stumping off Jenny Gunn that Taylor clearly thought was a decent shout but Tom Lungley took a different view. South East Stars scored 250 for 6 in 50 overs and 14 of the runs came from wides. There were no byes.

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Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Sussex South Group 2021



Sussex 155 for 1 (Salt 72*, Bopara 56*) beat Hampshire 154 for 7 (Vince 36, Lenham 3-14) by nine wickets

Over at Edgbaston, English cricket had descended into its periodic bout of unremitting gloom. But 170 miles away on the south coast the world was a bountiful place as Archie Lenham, a 16-year-old Sussex legspinner, provided a salutary reminder that the optimism and ambition of a talented youngster can lift the spirits in an instance.
Lenham is the first player to have make his debut in the T20 Blast who was born after it started. If his debut against Gloucestershire at Hove on Friday night was historic, as the second-youngest player in Blast history, his follow-up against Hampshire was so heartwarming and inspirational that Hove was bathed in smiles and laughter for most of the night. And, after the last year or so, those smiles felt broader than ever.

It was a wonderful occasion for all those who witnessed it and even Hampshire’s players, once the professional hurt at a nine-wicket defeat has softened, once age has begun to do it work, will tell the tale of how they fell prey to a slight, but ever so sprightly kid with a spring in his step and a world ahead of him.

Legspinners always have an emotional hold over cricket watchers. Sixteen-year-old leggies even more so. Sixteen-year-old leggies who drop the simplest of catches then before the blush has faded take a wicket, and then follow up with a wicket in each of their next two overs to finish with 3 for 14 – well that was a story to match any in the Blast’s 18-year-history.

Lenham watched Sussex hit the winning runs – emphatic half-centuries by Phil Salt and Ravi Bopara sealing victory with 22 balls unused – sandwiched between two players who have enjoyed distinguished England careers, Luke Wright and Chris Jordan, and both marked the moment by warm congratulations: county cricket’s values there for all to see.

The dropped catch would have embarrassed him, and could sympathetically be put down in part to the presence of the Sky TV cameras. Joe Weatherley, Hampshire’s No. 4, reverse-swept the first ball he faced from Sussex’s senior legspinner, Will Beer, (there was a time when you could suggest that reverse sweep was a surprise, but batters have been doing that for Lenham’s entire life) and he dived gently towards it and put it down. Only 16 remember – but he looked 12 as he dwelt upon his error.

Jordan, a stand-in skipper who captained him kindly and faithfully all night, stuck to the plan and threw him the ball for the next over. Lenham was bowling down the Hove slope, Tom Alsop immediately sought to assert himself with a slog-sweep and, a foot in from the midwicket boundary, Aaron Thomason caught the ball above his head, hopped on his left leg four times, initially fearing that he might overbalance and ultimately turning it into a victory dance.

In his second over, Lenham removed Lewis McManus, who spliced him to deep midwicket. But it was his third over, when he had Weatherley stumped, that said much about his night. He had bowled with an energy and a length which made him hard to get down the pitch to, naturally in vogue for T20 cricket. With overs running out, Jordan wisely did not bring him back for a fourth over, a stick rather than twist.

“It was pretty surreal,” he said (and for once this most over-used of sporting descriptions was appropriate). “I wasn’t feeling great after my dropped catch. It was a good thing I got straight into my bowling and started to redeem myself. It helped my nerves and everything.”

Lenham is son of Neil, a former Sussex opening batsman, and grandson of Les, a renowned cricket coach who was still coaching Sussex part-time deep into his 70s. It’s fair to say that young Archie has never been short of guidance. He was the youngest Eastbourne 1st XI player at 14 when he made his Sussex Premier League debut, family to the fore.

Hampshire’s T20 cricket is on the decline. From 2010 to 2017 when they reached seven out of eight Finals Days, and won twice, no county won more matches. Since then, no county has won fewer.

They now have two defeats in three (Sussex have won both their opening matches) and their opening partnership is their stand-out feature. Bearing that in mind, and factoring in an excellent batting surface and a beautiful night, and 3 for 1 after three overs was not exactly what they had in mind.

D’Arcy Short is an Australia opening batsman of great destruction, his reputation built at Hobart Hurricanes and maker of 483 runs for Durham in 2019. James Vince could be mentioned as an England candidate again – although it has taken months of abysmal England Test batting to make it happen.

They were met by an electrifying start by Sussex’s left-arm pace pair, George Garton and Tymal Mills, both of them fast and aggressive. Vince survived Mills’ appeal for a catch at the wicket, but Garton silenced Short, who edged to the keeper attempting a foot-fast leg-side flick to one that bounced a little. A paltry 35 for 1 in the Powerplay represented a recovery of sorts, but it set up Lenham for the night of his life.

Hampshire’s 154 for 7 was well below par, even if they had successfully defended 155 against Essex the previous night. It soon became apparent that this would be a Sussex party night, Travis Head the only batsman to fall, Salt, overlooked by England, registering his second successive 70-something and Bopara, who first played T20 before Lenham was conceived, never mind born, made his first half-century for Sussex, rounding things off with some wondrous inside-out blows over extra cover that must have made him imagine that he, too, was young again.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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Recent Match Report – Zalmi vs Gladiators 19th Match 2020/21-2021




The 61-run defeat means the Gladiators now have just one win in seven matches

Peshawar Zalmi 197 for 5 (Miller 73, Akmal 59, Powell 43*, Nawaz 2-33) beat Quetta Gladiators 136 for 9 (Sarfaraz 36*, Ayub 35, Irfan 3-27, Umaid 2-17) by 61 runs

Peshawar Zalmi picked up their first win in the UAE leg of the PSL, as scintillating knocks from David Miller, Kamran Akmal and Rovman Powell led them to an imposing total of 197, which proved well beyond the reach of an underpowered Quetta Gladiators line-up.
The Gladiators, already weakened by the absence of Andre Russell, lost the services of Faf du Plessis mid-match, with the South Africa batter picking up a concussion during an on-field collision with his team-mate Mohammad Hasnain.
The Gladiators were never really in contention during their chase, and Mohammad Irfan made sure they wouldn’t even get close, the giant left-armer picking up three wickets in the tenth over to consign them to certain defeat. The Gladiators, with only one win in seven matches, seem all but certain to miss the playoffs.

A misleading start
Having chosen to bowl, the Gladiators would have been thrilled with how they began. Mohammad Nawaz picked up two wickets in his first two overs, and Akmal and Miller, the third-wicket pair, seemed to struggle for timing on a pitch that appeared two-paced. At the end of their powerplay, Zalmi were 22 for 2, with Akmal batting on 5 off 16 balls, and Miller on 12 off 13.

Zalmi blast off
The turnaround began with the introduction of the legspinner Zahid Mahmood, who kept floating balls into Miller’s hitting arc in the eighth and the tenth overs. Miller hit him for two sixes and a four, all in the arc between the sightscreen and deep midwicket, all to the audible disgust of the Gladiators’ wicketkeeper-captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.

The Gladiators’ spin-heavy attack suddenly seemed vulnerable, with Akmal and, in particular, Miller now looking well-set. Left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan, having conceded just eight off his first two overs, went for three fours in his third. Nawaz, who had figures of 2 for 13 after three overs, was taken apart in his fourth, with Miller hitting him for a six and a four over midwicket and extra-cover respectively, and Akmal capitalising on width to pick up two fours.

The carnage didn’t stop there, as the part-timer Cameron Delport entered the attack and promptly went for 25 in what turned out to be his only over. This meant Zalmi had scored 104 runs in their last seven overs, and began the 15th over at 134 for 2.

Hasnain trapped Akmal lbw with an inducker – which was deemed to be hitting the top of leg stump after the Gladiators reviewed the on-field not-out decision – at the start of the 15th over, but Zalmi’s scoring didn’t let up. Miller fell two overs later for a 46-ball 73, but Rovman Powell kept the hitting going, smashing five sixes in an unbeaten 19-ball 43, including an eye-catching whip over square leg off Khurram Shahzad, and three in the final over, which was bowled by the legspinner Zahid.

Gladiators fall off the pace
Saim Ayub, the 19-year-old left-hand batter, came on as du Plessis’ concussion substitute, and opened alongside Usman Khan. They put on 62 for the first wicket, but only briefly threatened to match the pace of Zalmi’s scoring. This brief flash of promise came when Usman, stepping away to the leg side to manufacture room, chipped and carved Irfan for 4, 4, 6 off the first three balls of the fourth over.

That aside, the Zalmi bowlers ensured both batters kept hitting well-protected areas of the field, and the pressure eventually led to Usman holing out in the eighth over, off Fabian Allen’s left-arm spin. Ayub, who put away any width he was offered, struggled against other lines, and moved to 35 off 30 before falling to Irfan, sending a leading edge ballooning into backward point’s hands.

Irfan followed that up with two more wickets in the same over; Azam Khan caught at long leg, and Delport bowled first ball, playing down the wrong line. At 70 for 4, needing 128 from the last ten overs, the Gladiators were all but out of the contest.

They all but disappeared in the 12th over, when Umaid Asif came on and dismissed Jake Weatherald and Nawaz with his first two balls. All that remained was for Sarfaraz to score an unbeaten 36 and ensure his side weren’t bowled out.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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