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Aus Women vs Ind Women 2021, 3rd T20I

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India have to “address some future roles for leadership”, perhaps after the 50-over World Cup in March-April. When they do, it’s possible Smriti Mandhana will become a top contender to take over the leadership.

While no timeframe has been set, head coach Ramesh Powar insists a chat will have to be had “at some stage” after the event where India will be gunning for their maiden World Cup title. As things stand, Mithali Raj captains in the longer formats while Harmanpreet Kaur remains T20I captain. Mandhana, deputy to Harmanpreet in T20Is, however, was the vice-captain throughout the multi-format series in Australia in Harmanpreet’s injury-enforced absence from the three-ODI leg and the standalone pink-ball Test.

“See at some point we have to address some future roles for the leadership,” Powar said after the third T20I against Australia on Sunday. “There are some talks around it. We will take it after the World Cup, and we will decide exactly what [needs to be]. We are not going to hurry it up, we will give it good thought and then will we decide what’s happening.”

“It makes a huge impact on the young generation because she inspires a lot of our current team players, and it makes a huge difference to all of us.”

Powar on Mandhana’s maiden Test hundred in the pink-ball fixture

Within the set-up, however, Mandhana is as such part of the leadership group as a senior player, even if she may not be full-time captain. Her reading of the game and the experience of playing around the world, Powar believes, is invaluable.

“We are looking at her (Mandhana) as a leader as always,” Powar said of her role. “She has been the vice-captain and at some point, she will lead this side. I don’t know the format now; BCCI, the selectors and me will get together and decide the next course of action.”

Seniority has also brought about a slight shift in her main role – batting. While Mandhana’s power game and the ability to provide fast starts has undergone a transformation in recent years, the coaching staff have impressed upon her the need to occupy the crease and bat longer, like she did in the second ODI where she held the innings together to make 86. The emergence of a dasher in Shafali Verma, Mandhana’s opening partner across formats, may have helped make this change to a certain extent.

“She has been very expressive in her batting for the last two-three years,” Powar clarified, when asked of an imminent captaincy switch after the World Cup. “Let’s not make it spicy. We want her to change in the sense if you’ve seen her batting, she is trying to spend a lot of time in the middle, that is the strategy. We want her to spend a lot of time in the middle. It’s just a change of role for her.”

As such, Powar’s ringing endorsement of Mandhana’s credentials follows former head coach WV Raman’s. The former India batter, who was in charge of the team until March this year, is convinced the 25-year-old, who is now into her eighth year in international cricket, is ready.

“Captaincy has got nothing to do with age, but I am convinced that Mandhana can be the captain [after the 50-over World Cup],” Raman had said during a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports India last week. “She is a good reader of the game and has already played few years of cricket. It can be a good time and giving captaincy to a younger cricketer means they can lead the side for a stretch for some years.”

Mandhana has had a consistent run of form in the multi-format series, hitting a chart-topping tally of 352 runs across seven innings. The left-hand batter, who has in the past been a stand-in for Harmanpreet in T20Is, hit the high notes during the pink-ball Test, where she struck 127, her maiden Test ton, in what was India’s first-ever day-night Test.



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T20 World Cup – Ban vs PNG – Mahmudullah

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After sealing a berth in the Super 12s, Mahmudullah admitted the criticism following their loss to Scotland had brought the team down

Mahmudullah has said that it wasn’t right for Bangladesh’s “commitment” to be questioned, after their difficult week in Muscat ended with a ticket to the T20 World Cup Super 12s. Bangladesh were stunned by Scotland in the first match of the first round, following which they came back with a 26-run win against Oman in the second match before wrapping up a big win against PNG on Thursday.
It is understood that BCB president Nazmul Hassan criticised Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim for their performances in the match against Scotland. Even when Bangladesh beat Oman by 26 runs, it couldn’t win over many of their fans who felt that Bangladesh should have still played better. Mahmudullah admitted that the criticism from all sides brought the team down.

“We all felt bad by each and everything, from all sides,” Mahmudullah said. “We are human, we also have feelings. We have families. Our parents and children sit in front of the TV. They also get upset. Everyone has social media on their phone these days. We expect criticism when it is warranted but if that resorts to being belittled, we feel bad. There were many questions, including about the three senior players’ strike rate.

“Shakib is a champion player for Bangladesh. We are lucky to have a performer like him. But we are not worried about Mushfiq or Mustafiz. We are not losing faith in them, probably people from outside are.”

Mahmudullah

“We tried hard, but we didn’t get the result. Everyone makes sacrifices. We play with injuries. Some of us take painkillers every day. Many don’t know about these things, so it is not right to talk about our commitment. I hope we can be more settled now. Within the team, there is positive energy, and for that I thank the whole team. I hope things will get better.”

Mahmudullah praised Shakib for winning back-to-back Player-of-the-Match performances, which takes his tally to five consecutive awards during Bangladesh’s wins in World Cups.

0:42

WATCH - Shakib gets his 4th as Hiri Hiri departs for 8

WATCH – Shakib gets his 4th as Hiri Hiri departs for 8

“Shakib is a champion player for Bangladesh. He has been outstanding. We are lucky to have a performer like him. But we are not worried about Mushfiq or Mustafiz. We are not losing faith in them, probably people from outside are.”

Mahmudullah was also pleased with the performances of three youngsters in the side – Mohammad Saifuddin, Mahedi Hasan and Mohammad Naim.

“Their performance is a positive sign for us. Saifuddin has bowled well in all three matches, and batted well today. Mahedi has been outstanding with the ball. Naim made 64 in his first match.

“I hope they will continue in this vein. It looks good when they perform, and it inspires us too. I hope they do better in the Super 12s.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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T20 World Cup 2021 – New Zealand ‘tracking well’ despite Kane Williamson elbow niggle, says Gary Stead

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Captain needs to find balance between rest and batting in nets as he manages long-standing problem

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has cautioned captain Kane Williamson against “over-hitting” in the nets after his elbow complaint flared up during the warm-up fixtures in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup. Williamson captained the side and fielded during New Zealand’s most recent warm-up against England on Wednesday, but didn’t bat in their pursuit of 164.
Williamson missed New Zealand’s first warm-up, against Netherlands, with a niggly hamstring. He then came back in against Australia, top-scoring for New Zealand with 37 off 30 balls, but aggravated his elbow, a problem that he has been managing in the recent past.

“I think we’re still pretty hopeful and confident that if we get the rest right, initially here now, and get that balance right then he should be right to play,” Stead said. “I mean Kane is a prodigious hitter of balls, he loves to prepare that way as well, and in some ways that’s probably the worst thing he can do, is over-hit at times. So, it’s really [about] getting that balance right, between feeling ready and feeling prepared to go, and making sure we don’t aggravate anything any further.”

Mark Chapman also missed the game against Netherlands with a hamstring niggle but slotted into the middle order against England, although he was dismissed for 1 off 5 balls. Meanwhile, Tim Seifert, who had suffered an abdominal strain, returned to his dual role of opening the batting and wicketkeeping on Wednesday.

“Good to have Tim [Seifert] back, he just had a very minor abdominal strain and so he’s recovered well,” Stead said. “Played full part today and no issues at all. Mark [Chapman] had his first run back for a while as well and got through the games nicely, so again we will see how he scrubs up tomorrow morning when the physio looks at him; just to check over where he’s at. Kane’s elbow has just flared up a little bit after the last match and so it was more precautionary than anything. We just feel if we can get his preparation right in terms of not over-hitting and aggravating it through training, then it gives him the best chance to be right through the tournament. I think on the whole we’re tracking pretty well.”

Stead was particularly wary of the Sharjah pitches that were relaid ahead of the UAE leg of the IPL. He admitted that Sharjah tracks could pose a greater challenge to the batters than the ones in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. New Zealand will open their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan in Sharjah and will play one more match, against a qualifier from the first round, at the venue.

“Yes, it looks that way from what we’ve seen,” Stead said. “Look, they [teams] haven’t played there since the semi-finals of the IPL, so there’s probably about a ten-day period there where, who knows, it could be better and even through the IPL we saw, I think, where KKR scored 170 there in one game as well. So sometimes you don’t want to overthink what it might be, but you do want an idea at the back of your mind how you believe it will play. And we have that in our mind now, we just have to make sure we’re really clear on our strategy around how we get there and adapt if we need to.”

Stead wasn’t too perturbed by New Zealand’s back-to-back defeats in the official warm-ups against Australia and England, reckoning his side got the game-time they needed.

“Certainly not the result of them – hasn’t [affected us] at all,” he said. “We had the game against Australia that went down to the last couple of balls. I think from our perspective we didn’t bowl out all of our bowlers we thought would bowl at the time and I know Australia sent in an opening batsman to come in at No.9 as well, which you normally wouldn’t see in that situation.

“Versus England, I think it was little bit more of bowling… we wanted to make sure [Daryl] Mitchell and [Glenn] Phillips had an over, for example, and just making sure they were ready if they do get the opportunity further down the track. So, there’s a lot of things: we retired Daryl Mitchell in one of them as well, so it’s really about us trying to get the best out of the warm-up games – what we felt that we needed. And overall, we got that, which was really good.”

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Match Preview – Netherlands vs Sri Lanka, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 12th Match, First Round Group A

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Preview

Dinesh Chandimal’s poor form might prompt Sri Lanka to bring in Charith Asalanka

Big picture

Of all the matches in this qualifying round, this one seems to most have the feel of a dead rubber. Not only do Netherlands have no chance of making the Super 12s, but Sri Lanka are also highly likely to finish top of Group A thanks to their superior net run rate.

For Netherlands, this is a chance to make a mark in a tournament in which they will feel they have underperformed. In the first match, their batting was blown away by Ireland’s seam bowlers, while in the second, their bowlers could not withstand David Wiese’s assault for Namibia.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have earned themselves an opportunity to find a solution to their top-order issues. Dinesh Chandimal had another failure against Ireland on Wednesday, thus finding his position at No. 3 in serious peril. The likeliest replacement may be Charith Asalanka, but Dhananjaya de Silva is also in the squad.
Their fast bowlers, meanwhile, might get a rest. Lahiru Kumara has had a particularly taxing workload over the past few weeks, although it may be Dushmantha Chameera that Sri Lanka would prefer had a night off to recharge for the Super 12s.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches, most recent first)

Netherlands LLLTW
Sri Lanka WWLLL

In the spotlight

One of the few bright spots for Netherlands has been the batting of opener Max O’Dowd. He hit 51 off 47 balls against Ireland while the rest of the top order blew up around him, before making a 56-ball 70 that was the backbone of Netherlands’ innings against Namibia. He has got arguably the best attack of the qualifying stage to contend with in this match, though. Can he maintain his output?
Pathum Nissanka has promised a lot more in Tests than he has in the shortest format, but in hitting his first half-century against Ireland, he suggested he could find success in this World Cup yet. He was unambitious in the early overs while wickets fell around him, but never seemed bogged down either, finding a way to keep his score moving until the boundaries eventually came. After all, Sri Lanka desperately need a reliable run-scorer in their top three.

Pitch and conditions

This will be both teams’ first match in Sharjah. During the IPL, the Sharjah tracks were slow, turned a bit and had variable bounce. Temperatures are expected to hover around the low 30s Celsius range again. If the conditions in Abu Dhabi are anything to go by, dew could be an issue too.

Team news

Although No. 5 is a more familiar position for Asalanka, he may slot in at No.3, leaving Bhanuka Rajapaksa at No. 5.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Avishka Fernando, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt.), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Binura Fernando, 10 Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Lahiru Kumara

Netherlands may bring in Brandon Glover in place of Timm van der Gugten.

Netherlands (possible): 1 Max O’Dowd, 2 Stephan Myburgh, 3 Roelof van der Merwe, 4 Colin Ackerman, 5 Ryan ten Doeschate, 6 Scott Edwards (wk), 7 Bas de Leede, 8 Pieter Seelar, 9 Logan van Beek, 10 Fred Klaassen, 11 Timm van der Gugten/Brandon Glover

Stats and trivia

  • In the only previous T20I between these teams, Netherlands were bowled out for 39, a game which Sri Lanka won with 15 overs to spare. That was, however, during the World T20 in 2014, when Sri Lanka had arguably their greatest T20I side – a team which went on to lift the trophy.
  • This year, O’Dowd has hit 293 runs in just six innings, and at a strike rate of 137.
  • In 14 innings in 2021, Wanindu Hasaranga has 23 wickets and an economy rate of just 5.43.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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