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Men’s T20 World Cup 2021

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The left-arm spinner has a long association with Langer and said the coach has “100 percent” backing

Ashton Agar would be “absolutely shattered” if subjected to the sort of public critique directed at Justin Langer, adding he is full of respect for Australia’s coach and his unwavering values.

Player unease about Langer and his approach ignited intense speculation about the future of the former Test opener, who is contracted until mid-2022.

Langer’s posting of a motivational message on LinkedIn made headlines this week but the issue hit its crescendo in August, when Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley publicly backed Langer to remain coach for the Twenty20 World Cup and Ashes.

Hockley, CA chairman Earl Eddings and on-field leaders Tim Paine, Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins even met to discuss “the elephant in the room”.

Langer and Australia’s T20 World Cup squad will assemble later this week ahead of their tournament-opener against South Africa on October 23.

Agar, a long-time mentee of Langer at both domestic and international level, said he and team-mates know the head coach is listening to feedback and will do “whatever he can to suit the needs of the team”.



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T20 World Cup 2021 – Could England captain Eoin Morgan drop himself? ‘It’s always an option’

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Morgan says Liam Livingstone is “fully fit” after injuring his finger during the warm-up match

Eoin Morgan has said he would be willing to drop himself from the team if it increased England’s chances of winning the T20 World Cup. Morgan has been short on T20 runs this year, averaging 16.63 with a highest score of 47 not out from 35 innings, but his credentials as a captain – he comes into the World Cup off the back of leading Kolkata Knight Riders to the final of the IPL – remain unimpeachable.
Morgan, who confirmed that Liam Livingstone was “fully fit” despite injuring his finger while fielding against India, will have a chance to find some form in England’s second warm-up match, against New Zealand on Wednesday. He only reached double-figures once in nine innings during the second half of the IPL, but nevertheless oversaw an impressive turnaround in Knight Riders’ form as they came within a game of winning their first title since 2014.



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Recent Match Report – Scotland vs P.N.G. 5th Match, First Round Group B 2021/22

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Second win in a row puts Scotland in a great position to make it to the Super 12s

Scotland 165 for 9 (Berrington 70, Cross 45, Morea 4-31, Soper 3-24) beat Papua New Guinea 148 (Vanua 47, Davey 4-18) by 17 runs

Papua New Guinea threatened a late heist courtesy the big-hitting Norman Vanua after stumbling to 35 for 5 in a 166 chase, but Scotland’s experience and excellent work up until then helped them prevail for their second win of the T20 World Cup, and PNG’s second loss.

Scotland now top Group B, but in minimising the margin of defeat, PNG may have ensured they will have to wait till the end of their final game to see if they can progress to the Super 12s or not. In case there is a three-way on two wins each, or on one win each, it will come down to net run-rate.

For PNG, this was a massive improvement from their ten-wicket pounding against Oman. In Vanua and Chad Soper, who had an excellent game with bat and ball, they had two heroic performances that nearly helped them achieve the impossible. In the end, they fell 17 short, having to rue their top order meltdown. When Josh Davey, the fast bowler, picked up the final wicket, to finish with 4 for 18, the relief in the Scotland camp was palpable.

0:33

WATCH - Richie Berrington raises fifty with four over the bowler's head

WATCH – Richie Berrington raises fifty with four over the bowler’s head

PNG’s early strikes
George Munsey looked to premeditate and picked off two boundaries courtesy slog sweeps off legspinner Charles Amini, but fell soon after as he top-edged a heave to square leg in the fourth over. It came on the back of left-arm seamer Kabua Morea giving PNG their first World Cup wicket. Beaten on the outside edge on Sunday, Kyle Coetzer was deceived by a slower delivery that nipped back in to beat his inside edge this time. Richie Berrington and Matthew Cross, in his 50th T20I, then needed to rebuild as Soper’s accuracy and late movement kept them honest.

Berrington and Cross rescue act
Having struggled early on to gauge the pace of the pitch, Berrington, who had scored five runs in ten balls, broke the shackles by launching legspinner Lega Siaka for a big six down the ground. It proved to be the trigger for him to get going. His quick footwork to fully go back or get right to the pitch helped negotiate the spinners. And Cross’ tactful strike rotation ensured Scotland didn’t get stuck. He launched the half-century stand off just 44 balls by muscling a slog sweep into the stands, Amini coming in for special treatment. His four wicketless overs would eventually cost 41.

The acceleration
Scotland smashed three fours and three sixes between overs ten and 13, picking 42 off those in all, to signal a significant shift in momentum. Cross was a beneficiary of some friendly long-hops that he put away over the ropes, and PNG’s sloppy outfielding also contributed to the run-bleeding. Ironically, it was a long hop that had Cross pulling one to the lone man on the leg side at deep midwicket for a 36-ball 45 in the 15th over. It brought an end to the 92-run third-wicket stand, Scotland’s highest for any wicket in T20Is. An excellent final over from Nosaina Pokana, where he executed his yorkers well, and tight bowling from Soper that included the wickets of Calum MacLeod and Berrington in the space of three balls, denied Scotland a final kick after they looked set for 180-plus at one stage. Morea picked up three wickets in his final over with the batters looking for the big hits, finishing with 4 for 31.

1:13

WATCH - Smart-work by Cross runs out Amini

WATCH – Smart-work by Cross runs out Amini

PNG’s sorry collapse
PNG came out swinging, lost shape, and lost wickets. The openers fell inside four overs, Assad Vala sparkled briefly before hitting to mid-off, Amini was brilliantly run-out by Michael Leask‘s rocket throw from the deep as he wandered out for a second, and Berrington plucked a one-handed stunner at backward point. PNG were 35 for 5 inside the powerplay.
Vanua, Doriga’s fightback
Faced with a steep ask, Vanua struck a few meaty blows to keep PNG’s interest fluttering. His takedown of Brad Wheal in an 18-run over brought the equation down to 62 off the last five overs. His mantra was simple: clear front leg, keep stable base, and swing like a golfer. As the runs suddenly cascaded, Kiplin Doriga found his hitting range against legspinner Chris Greaves as the 16th over went for 16. Suddenly, the pressure was on Scotland as the pair raised a half-century stand off just 25 balls. Then, the Mark Watt-Matt Cross combine dealt a massive blow to remove a charging Doriga, Cross collecting a full and wide half-volley way outside off to effect a smart stumping. It deflated PNG, who eventually went out with their heads held high.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Recent Match Report – Bangladesh vs Oman 6th Match, First Round Group B 2021/22

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Fast bowler Fayyaz Butt came in for Khawar Ali in the Oman XI

Toss Bangladesh opted to bat vs Oman

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah chose to bat against Oman in Al Amerat. He admitted that dew is a factor as they looked to defend a big score. He also said that they want to build more partnerships.

For the home side, fast bowler Fayyaz Butt came in for Khawar Ali, the top-order batter and legspinner.

Bangladesh brought in Mohammad Naim to replace Soumya Sarkar. It was a big surprise when Soumya played ahead of Naim against Scotland. Coach Russell Domingo had later said that Soumya was a sixth bowling option but now that Mahmudullah was fit to bowl, they would go back to Naim, who has been a regular in the Bangladesh side in the recent T20Is.

Oman: 1 Aqib Ilyas, 2 Jatinder Singh, 3 Khawar Ali, 4 Zeeshan Maqsood (capt), 5 Kashyap Prajapati, 6 Naseem Khushi (wk), 7 Mohammad Nadeem, 8 Ayaan Khan, 9 Sandeep Goud, 10 Kaleemullah, 11 Bilal Khan

Bangladesh: 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Liton Das, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mahedi Hasan, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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