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T20 World Cup – Andy Balbirnie

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“Hopefully, it’s a week for us to put in three really good performances and peak at the right time”

Ireland may have one of the youngest squads in the T20 World Cup, but their captain Andy Balbirnie feels their opening pair of Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien could be key if they are to progress to the second phase of the competition.

The team’s management made a surprise decision in early 2019 to move O’Brien – who had spent the majority of his long career as a middle-order batter – up to open alongside Stirling, and the reshuffle has paid off: in 37 opening stands in T20Is, they have put on 1479 runs at 39.97, with a partnership scoring rate of 8.46 runs per over.



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ICC annual awards for 2021

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Zeeshan Maqsood, Andrea-Mae Zepeda, Janneman Malan and Fatima Sana among the other winners

Rizwan, who also won the PCB’s Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year award recently following a stellar year, scored 1326 runs in 29 T20Is at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 134.89. He also effected 22 dismissals behind the stumps in the format.
At the Men’s T20 World Cup, where Pakistan lost in the semi-finals, Rizwan finished as the third-highest run-getter with 281 runs in six matches. In 2021, Rizwan also became the first batter to touch the 1000-run mark in a calendar year in T20Is, and the 2000-run mark in T20s.

“I want to thank all my team-mates and coaching staff who helped me throughout the year by preparing and training me well enough to contribute to Pakistan’s successes,” Rizwan said in an ICC statement. “As cricket is a team sport, I would like to dedicate this award to my team-mates and fans.”

As for Beaumont, the England opener notched up 303 runs in nine T20Is at an average of 33.66 in 2021, with three half-centuries. She was England’s highest run-getter in the year in the format, and was also the third-highest scorer overall. Against New Zealand away from home, she was named the Player of the Series for her contribution of 102 runs in three matches.

She also hit 97 against New Zealand, at home, to help England post their highest T20I total of 184 for 4 in 2021. Beaumont claimed the Player-of-the-Series award then too.

“It’s a huge privilege to win the ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year Award,” Beaumont said. “I’ve worked incredibly hard on my T20 game in the last few years. My T20I career has had its ups and downs and I don’t think I’ve always been known for my T20 abilities, so this award gives me a huge amount of confidence.

“As a team we had a great year in terms of T20I results and it feels great to have contributed to team wins. We’ve got a big year ahead in all formats – with the Ashes, the ICC Women’s World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, and I look forward to continuing to work hard alongside my teammates to help us win as many games as possible.”

Oman’s captain Zeeshan Maqsood, meanwhile, was named the ICC Men’s Associate Cricketer of the Year. Maqsood, who bats in the middle-order and bowls left-arm spin, scored a total of 316 runs at 31.60 and picked up 21 wickets at 18.80 across 13 limited-overs matches in 2021.
Maqsood scored valuable fifties against USA and Namibia in ODIs this year. He was especially impressive against PNG, taking four wickets against them twice last year, once in an ODI and the other time at the T20 World Cup.
The Women’s Associate Cricketer of the Year award has gone to Austria’s Andrea-Mae Zepeda. In 2021, she scored 361 runs in eight T20Is at 51.57 with a strike rate of 102.55. Zepeda was outstanding in the series against Belgium, where she scored a hundred and two fifties in three T20Is. In the first T20I, she hit 101 off 63 balls and shared 111 runs with Busra Uca to guide Austria to a big 197 for 2. Her knock at the top included 17 fours.
South Africa’s Janneman Malan has been named the ICC Emerging Men’s Cricketer of the Year. He accumulated 715 runs in 17 international matches at 47.66 through the year, including two centuries and three fifties.
Having made his T20I debut in 2019 and in ODIs in 2020, Malan’s most noteworthy performance came when he scored an unbeaten 177 – the fourth-highest score by a South African in ODIs – against Ireland in Dublin in July. He followed that up with another hundred against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Pakistan’s Fatima Sana, a seam-bowling allrounder, was named ICC Women’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year. Sana, 20, claimed 24 wickets and scored 165 runs in 16 games across ODI and T20I cricket in 2021.
Apart from playing West Indies at home, she also toured South Africa and the West Indies, and played the Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. Her most eye-catching performance came in an ODI in Antigua in July, when she hit an unbeaten 28 off 19 and then took her maiden international five-wicket haul to help Pakistan to a win.



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Womens Ashes Test 2021-22 Australia vs England

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Australia batter back in the nets less than a week after surgery, with coach Mott declaring her a chance for Thursday’s Test

Australia batter Beth Mooney has a chance to play in the women’s Ashes Test match on Thursday in Canberra despite having undergone surgery on a fractured jaw last week.
Mooney missed the three T20Is in Adelaide, although two of them were washed out, after fracturing her jaw while batting in the nets last Monday. But Mooney returned to the nets on Sunday facing some throwdowns and ran some laps before rain enveloped Adelaide Oval.
Australia coach Matthew Mott told Channel Seven that Mooney has a chance to play in the Canberra Test.

“She was hitting out the back with Peter Clarke our sports psych, she’s in good nick,” Mott said. “We’ll certainly look at her for the Test match. All the indications are looking very positive. She’s been up and about. She’s a warrior. She’s tough. We can’t wait to have her back in our group. But she’s going ok.”

Her team-mate Rachael Haynes said the players were stunned at Mooney’s recovery.

“It’s pretty incredible, to be honest,” Haynes said. “It’s been really nice to see how much she’s progressed. Even little things over the last couple of days, the swelling around her face has gone down quite substantially and just having a bit of a chat with her and checking in and seeing how she’s been going, she’s feeling really confident.

“She had a hit today in the net and also a run around and by all accounts, she’s not in any pain or anything like that. So I think it’s just about her stepping through those little markers that she needs to get through and without a doubt, she’s definitely got her eye on that Test match in Canberra.”

Mooney opened in Australia’s last Test against India earlier this summer alongside Alyssa Healy but there is a squeeze for places at the top of the order with Haynes returning to the side after missing the India Test with a hamstring injury.

Haynes has opened in five of her nine Test innings, however, she has only reached 30 three times in Tests and all three have come batting in the middle order – that includes scores of 98 and 87 in previous Ashes Tests at No.7 and No.5. But Haynes is preparing to bat at the top as well.

“Obviously, that’s a conversation probably for Meg and Motty to have,” Haynes said. “I’ve certainly been preparing like I will bat in the top order, facing plenty of the new ball, and those sorts of things in preparation for the Test match. But as I’ve said in the past, I’m happy to bat wherever they need me to. I’ve prepared for that knowing that I could end up in the middle but I’m definitely preparing to open at this stage.”

Campbell was left out of Australia’s Ashes squad but is part of the Australia A squad and took 7 for 25 for NSW in a recent WNCL match against ACT at Manuka Oval.

“Having watched first-hand the damage she did against ACT and just the wicket as well and [it] had a little bit more bounce and carry in it than perhaps what we’ve seen in the past,” Haynes said. “I think she’d definitely be coming into calculation. She obviously debuted earlier on in the summer as well. And I think particularly in red-ball cricket, where your ability to take wickets is, obviously, fundamental to winning Test matches. No doubt they’ll be sitting down and having a bit of a discussion on who they think the best makeup is for our side to be able to take 20 wickets because that’s ultimately what we’re going to look to do. We do want to be positive and try and win this Test match.”

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Recent Match Report – South Africa vs India 3rd ODI 2021/22

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R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Venkatesh Iyer and Bhuvneshwar Kumar made way for Jayant Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Prasidh Krishna and Deepak Chahar

Toss: India opt to bowl vs South Africa

Having already conceded the ODI series and with no Super League points up for grabs, India made four changes and chose to bowl in what was a dead rubber at Newlands. R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Venkatesh Iyer and Bhuvneshwar Kumar made way for Jayant Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Prasidh Krishna and Deepak Chahar.

While India paired up offspinner Jayant with legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal, South Africa broke up their successful spin combination, swapping out left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi for seam-bowling allrounder Dwaine Pretorius.

Captain Temba Bavuma said that left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell was also in contention to play his second ODI since being recalled to the national side after the Kolpak system ceased to exist. However, the 32-year-old fell ill on the eve of the game and hence missed out.

According to Bavuma, “anything over 300” would be a competitive total at Newlands, where South Africa have won 31 out of the 37 ODIs they have played before Sunday.

As for Rahul, he described the pitch as a “sticky” one and hoped for some early juice for his revamped attack. However, on the batting front, there was still no room for Ruturaj Gaikwad who was in prolific form in IPL 2021 and more recently in the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, where he rattled off four centuries in five innings for Maharashtra.

South Africa: 1 Janneman Malan, 2 Quinton de Kock(wk), 3 Temba Bavuma(capt), 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Rassie van der Dussen, 6 David Miller, 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Dwaine Pretorius, 10 Lungi Ngidi, 11 Sisanda Magala

India: 1 KL Rahul(capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rishabh Pant(wk), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Suryakumar Yadav 7 Jayant Yadav, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Prasidh Krishna, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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