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Recent Match Report – RCB vs KKR Eliminator 2021




It was one of the great IPL all-round performances, as Narine’s 4 for 21 and 15-ball 26 swung, and changed, the match

Kolkata Knight Riders 139 for 6 (Gill 29, Narine 26, Iyer 26, Chahal 2-16, Harshal 2-19, Siraj 2-19) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 138 for 7 (Kohli 39, Narine 4-21, Ferguson 2-30) by four wickets

Three balls of Sunil Narine, with the bat, changed the game, putting Kolkata Knight Riders one step closer to the IPL final.

It was tough though. Royal Challengers Bangalore were defending a total of 138 with fearsome spirit.

The score was 80 for 3 in the 12th over. The Sharjah slowdown was well and truly on. On this pitch an equation that reads 59 from 51 can be dicey. You can’t leave it too late. Too many variables. So Knight Riders sent in their pinch hitter and he went 6, 6, (wide) and 6.

Three balls of Narine changed the game. Twenty-four balls earlier had set it up. Royal Challengers actually had a solid powerplay – 53 for 1 at 8.8. Then he came on and the runs dried up. Only 60 came off the next 11 overs. 60 for 4 at 5.45.

Narine Sublime
Virat Kohli. Clean bowled. AB de Villiers. Clean Bowled. Glenn Maxwell. Completely deceived. Most people need a cheat code and a computer screen to pull that off. Narine doesn’t. He imposed video game logic on this real life game and turned it in Knight Riders’ favour.

Pressure was mounting on Kohli. He had slowed down once again after the powerplay – 24 off 16 and 15 off 17 – and his desperation was apparent. Narine knew that in these situations, batters often forget about the basics and just swing across the line. Even one as good as Kohli was susceptible to this weakness as a straightforward offbreak sneaked through his defences.


WATCH - Sunil Narine clobbers three back-to-back sixes

WATCH – Narine clobbers three back-to-back sixes

Taking down the big boys
Doing de Villiers required a bit more subtlety. Royal Challengers’ talisman had come out with a plan. It involved thrusting his front foot outside off stump to eliminate lbw, and playing across it. Narine, though, spotted the smallest gap between bat and pad and he targeted it with missile-like precision. Pace, drift, length and spin – everything came together as de Villiers played all around an offbreak and lost his middle stump.

That only left Maxwell. And having to do all the heavy lifting with time running out and the spinners closing in, even those invincible sweep shots of his suddenly looked not quite invincible. Narine got him to top edge one straight into the hands of short third.

Knight Riders had saved their mystery spinner for Royal Challengers’ big three. And it worked a treat. Twelve runs. Seventeen balls. And three massive wickets.

The fightback
Kohli wanted this one badly. He got in the face of the umpire when he made a poor decision. When the resulting DRS proved how plumb the lbw was he roared like only he can. He had said this would be his last season as captain in the IPL. He would have imagined signing off with that big shiny trophy. So he kept going to his match-winners.

Harshal Patel has the honour in 2021 and he responded by knocking out Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer. Those two wickets took his season tally to 32, an IPL record, tied with 2013 Dwayne Bravo.

Yuzvendra Chahal has had the honour for pretty much the entire time Royal Challengers have been around. He created the DRS drama.

Dan Christian has had the honour in various T20 leagues around the world. Even at 38, he broke into the Australian World Cup squad on the basis of that. But here he missed his areas. Narine pulled a short ball that didn’t rise high enough for six over square leg to start his innings. Then he launched a length ball on leg stump over midwicket. And to top it off, he cleared the long-off boundary with one hand. Just one hand. That brought the required rate down from 6.9 to 4.8.

And though Royal Challengers continued to fight – Mohammed Siraj took two wickets in the 18th over to throw the game open again – Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al Hasan harnessed over 600 T20s worth of experience to eventually seal the game.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Recent Match Report – Hurricanes W vs Stars Wmn 6th Match 2021/22




Hurricanes captain scored fourth-highest score in WBBL history, before Ruth Johnston’s 4 for 8 bowled Stars out for 89

Hobart Hurricanes 4 for 152 (Priest 107*, Stalenberg 17*, Sutherland 2-22) beat Melbourne Stars 89 (Lanning 25, Johnston 4-8, Carey 2-11) by 63 runs

Hobart Hurricanes captain Rachel Priest bludgeoned a remarkable century to set up a dominant WBBL victory over Melbourne Stars in Hobart.
Priest’s 107 not out from 68 balls, including ten fours and seven sixes, was the fourth-highest score in WBBL history and the highest by an international player. She also made 70% of Hobart’s total of 4 for 152, with the other five batters contributing just 36 runs off the bat.
The Hurricanes’ spinners then ripped through the Stars’ line-up as they were bowled out for 89, with Ruth Johnston claiming figures of 4 for 8, in just her second WBBL match, while Nicola Carey claimed 2 for 11 and Molly Strano bagged 2 for 21.

Stars were in control early, having won the toss and sent Hurricanes in. The home side slumped to 3 for 39 after seven overs, with Johnston, Mignon du Preez and Richa Ghosh all falling cheaply.

Priest was on 30 off 25 balls at one stage before striking 14 from Rhys McKenna’s first over. She reached 50 from 37 deliveries and then exploded, thumping five sixes in the last seven overs. Priest was 95 not out at the start of the final over, and brought up her century with a six.

Stars’ chase got off to a disastrous start with Elyse Villani chipping Strano to midwicket in the first over. They fell to 2 for 3 when Annabel Sutherland also succumbed to Strano two overs later. Meg Lanning made 25, but watched wickets tumble at the other end. Lanning too was eventually bowled trying to slog-sweep Johnston, who cleaned up the tail. Johnston had never bowled before at WBBL level, but finished with the extraordinary figures of 4 for 8 from 3.2 overs.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Recent Match Report – West Indies vs Pakistan 2021/22




West Indies scored at less than six an over until Kieron Pollard hit five successive fours in the final over

Pakistan 131 for 3 (Babar 50, Zaman 46*, Walsh 2-41) beat West Indies 130 for 7 (Hetmyer 28, Hasan Ali 2-21, Rauf 2-32, Afridi 2-41) by seven wickets

Pakistan brushed defending champions West Indies aside in their first warm-up game, crushing Kieron Pollard’s side by seven wickets with 27 balls to spare. In a comprehensive all-round bowling performance, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Imad Wasim, Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali found themselves amongst the wickets while keeping the run-scoring down, before a majestic half-century from Babar Azam, and an unbeaten 24-ball 46 from Fakhar Zaman put West Indies out of their misery.

West Indies had won the toss and opted to bat first, but found themselves tied down by a disciplined Pakistan bowling attack. Andre Fletcher fell cheaply while Lendl Simmons and Chris Gayle found themselves bogged down, the pair scoring 38 runs between them in 53 deliveries as West Indies fell well behind the rate. Pakistan’s control over the innings continued almost unabated until the final over of the West Indies innings, when five successive fours by Pollard at Rauf’s expense pushed them to 130.

That sort of chase is exactly what Babar and Mohammad Rizwan excel at, and they got Pakistan off to an assured start before Ravi Rampaul cleaned up the Pakistan wicketkeeper. It ushered in Fakhar, though who freed his arms with carefree abandon, taking the attack to Hayden Walsh in particular as Pakistan began to hurtle to victory. Babar, at the other end, played a characteristically controlled, effective knock, scoring 50 in 41 balls to break the back of the chase.

West Indies got some joy when Walsh dismissed him and Mohammad Hafeez off successive deliveries, but by then the intensity of the contest had all but disappeared. Shoaib Malik got some batting practice while Zaman lashed Walsh for one more six, getting Pakistan off to the perfect start while leaving the defending champions with much thinking to do.

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Antigua, Barbados, Grenada to host England Tests in 2022




Bridgetown will also host all five T20Is in a nine-day period in late January

England will play a five-match T20I series in Barbados in January, before competing for the Richards-Botham Trophy across three Tests in Antigua, Barbados and Grenada in March, after Cricket West Indies confirmed the dates for their home internationals in the new year.

England’s white-ball squad will arrive in the Caribbean in mid-January, at the same time as the fifth Ashes Test is due to be taking place in Perth, and will play all five of their T20Is in a nine-day period between January 22 and 30, 2022, including two consecutive weekends of back-to-back fixtures.

After a month’s break, the focus will then switch to the Test format, with a four-day warm-up at the Coolidge Ground in Antigua, ahead of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, beginning March 8 – an apt venue given that this will be the first time that the newly minted Richards-Botham trophy will be contested, following the retirement of the Wisden Trophy at the end of England’s 2-1 series win in 2020.

West Indies secured a memorable 2-1 series win in their last home campaign against England in 2019, the highlight of which was an emphatic 381-run win in the opening Test at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, in which England were bowled out for 77 before Jason Holder starred on his home ground with 202 not out.

Barbados will be the venue for the second Test this time around, from March 16-20, before the series concludes at St George’s in Grenada on March 24-28 – a ground where England have played just one previous Test, a nine-wicket victory to square the series on their 2015 tour.

England have won just one Test series in the Caribbean since 1968, when Michael Vaughan’s achieved a 3-0 victory in 2004.

The venues for the series are among the most popular for England’s travelling fans, with CWI stating that they will be welcoming “fully vaccinated” spectators throughout the tour. Online ticket sales are expected to be available from mid-November.

“We are delighted to be able to confirm the venues for this extended West Indies vs England T20I and Test Series,” Johnny Grave, West Indies’ CEO, said. “The history and rivalry between the two teams creates great anticipation for fans here in the Caribbean and around the world. These fixtures are part of a bumper year of international home cricket running from January to August in the Caribbean.”

“A West Indies vs England home Test Series is the biggest sporting and sports tourism event in the Caribbean. Dating back to 1930 when the first England team visited, these fixtures are steeped in history and a new chapter in this great rivalry will be written, this time with the prize of the new Richards Botham Trophy.

“Celebrating these two heroes of cricket and lifelong friends with the new trophy, staging world-class cricket and hosting thousands of England fans will be a welcome boost for cricket and for the whole region. We are all really looking forward to welcoming fully vaccinated England fans who can not only enjoy some winter sun and Caribbean hospitality but also some world class cricket with both these England Tours, as well as the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup that will also take place in the West Indies in January next year.”

T20I Series

1st T20I January 22, Barbados
2nd T20I January 23, Barbados
3rd T20I January 26, Barbados
4th T20I January 29, Barbados
5th T20I January 30, Barbados

Test Series

Warm-up March 1-4, Coolidge Ground, Antigua
1st Test March 8-12, Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua
2nd Test March 16-20, Kensington Oval, Barbados
3rd Test March 24-28, St George’s, Grenada

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