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T20 World Cup – ‘We will be their biggest game’

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Scotland have beaten Netherlands and Namibia recently, and take on Bangladesh, PNG and Oman in the first round of the T20 World Cup

Scotland coach Shane Burger believes the side’s experience with the bat and depth in bowling will allow it to go toe-to-toe against Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Oman in the first round of the T20 World Cup.

“We know we can catch any team off guard if we play our best cricket, it is as simple as that,” Burger told ESPNcricinfo. “The shortest format does bring every team closer together. We know what we have in the tank. If we deliver our best cricket, we can beat any team, whether that’s Bangladesh, Oman or Papua New Guinea.”

Bangladesh are the top-rated team in that group – B – and Scotland start their campaign against them on Sunday, but Burger is confident. “We don’t see Bangladesh being anywhere higher than PNG or Oman in terms of these group games. We know every single team is going to come at us. We will be their biggest game. We are prepped and ready.”

“We have to make sure we are in the present, and put in our best performance. We can only focus on the Scotland way, and back each and every individual to bring out the best performance on the day”

Shane Burger

Burger’s confidence also comes from Scotland’s wins over Netherlands and Namibia in the warm-up games last week, and while they haven’t played a lot of T20Is this year, Burger is hoping that they are peaking at the right time.

“The matches against Netherlands and Namibia would give us fantastic momentum going into our first World Cup game against a quality team like Bangladesh,” he said. “It has allowed us to feel pressure. It has allowed us to win big moments. We have made mistakes but we also played some really good cricket over the past month.

“In a nutshell, come Sunday, those performances in the past won’t really make a huge difference. It depends what we do on the day. We have to make sure we are in the present, and put in our best performance. We can only focus on the Scotland way, and back each and every individual to bring out the best performance on the day.”



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Vikram Solanki leaves Surrey job after being appointed Ahmedabad IPL team’s director of cricket

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Joins Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra in the backroom of the new IPL franchise

Vikram Solanki has resigned from his position as head coach at Surrey CCC with immediate effect, ending a nine-year association with the club, after being recruited to join the new IPL franchise – based in Ahmedabad – as its director of cricket.

“Surrey has been an extremely valuable part of my life for the last nine years, both as a player and as a coach, making the decision to leave a difficult one,” Solanki said in a statement issued by Surrey. “I am forever grateful for the level of support that has always been afforded to me and my family during my time here. A special thank you too to Alec Stewart who has been a mentor and a guide.

“I will always remain inspired by all the interactions and learnings with players and staff I have had the good fortune of working so closely with. There are many respected friendships I will cherish for a lifetime.

“Finally, it has been a privilege to serve this great club in the small way I have, and it has been an honour to have been the head coach of Surrey for the last two years. To all the players, staff and Members, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!”

Solanki, who played 51 ODIs and three T20Is for England between 2000 and 2007 with moderate returns, had joined Surrey as a player ahead of the 2013 season. In 2016, he took on a player-cum-coach role with the Surrey Second XI. He stayed with the Second XI for the 2017 season entirely in a coaching capacity.

He became assistant head coach, to Michael di Venuto, in the winter of 2017, and following di Venuto’s departure at the end of the 2020 season, Solanki was appointed head coach – making him the first British Asian to hold such a position at any of the first-class counties.

“Taking over during a period of great uncertainty at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, Solanki guided Surrey to the final of the 2020 Vitality Blast with a squad including 16 academy graduates,” a Surrey statement said. “During his time at the helm, seven Surrey players have featured in England men’s sides.”

Solanki was also named president of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations in March 2016, a position he holds to this day.

An announcement on Solanki’s successor as Surrey head coach will be made in due course.



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Recent Match Report – Strikers vs Hurricanes Eliminator 2021/22

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Solid fifties from both openers, and Siddle’s four-for, paved the way for Hurricanes’ exit as they fell well short of a 189 chase

Adelaide Strikers 6 for 188 (Short 89, Carey 67, Meredith 2-37, Rogers 2-37) beat Hobart Hurricanes 166 (Short 56, Siddle 4-32, Thornton 2-25, Conway 2-32) by 22 runs

Alex Carey starred with a half-century in his BBL return as in-form Adelaide Strikers ended Hobart Hurricanes’ season to start the finals with a 22-run victory at a barren MCG.
In the Eliminator, a must-win match between the fourth- and fifth-ranked teams, Carey smashed 67 off 45 balls in his comeback from Ashes duties and combined brilliantly with opening partner Matthew Short, who made 89 of Strikers’ 6 for 188.

Their strong attack then nullified Hurricanes, whose inconsistent season finished on a sour note.

Strikers have stormed into unlikely title contention after their fifth straight win to book a clash with third-placed Sydney Thunder in the Knockout on Sunday.

Carey and Short destroy Hurricanes

Ashes heroes Carey and Travis Head returned for their first BBL matches of the season to significantly bolster Strikers’ batting order. Carey stole the show early with a calculated assault on the smaller boundaries down the ground.

He showed his intent with a powerful straight blow off Test teammate Scott Boland and stormed to 20 runs off his first 10 balls in an impressive switching of gears after playing in the long format.

Carey’s fast start eased the pressure on Short, who for most of a breakout season had provided the fireworks during the four-over powerplay. He had a back seat to Carey before notching his half-century with a huge six off speedster Riley Meredith in the 12th over during the power surge.

He then put his foot down just as a bogged down Carey holed out in the 15th over to end the 145-run partnership. Short smashed spinner Wil Parker for consecutive sixes in the next over but his dismissal snuffed Strikers’ momentum at the death.

Boland returns but Hurricanes struggle

Boland was back in the BBL after playing his sole game this season in mid-December just before he became an Ashes cult hero. But this MCG deck was nothing like the green top he decimated England on during the Boxing Day Test with Boland suffering against a red-hot Carey.

Hurricanes mostly struggled and badly missed frontline spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who has left the BBL due to national commitments with Nepal. Parker, his replacement, was on a hiding to nothing and promptly smashed for 42 runs off 4 overs although picked up Short with his final ball.

Hurricanes weren’t helped by ragged fielding marked by several dropped catches with Tom Rogers’ sitter to reprieve Short on 15 particularly costly. Their sloppiness seemed to suggest the wheels were falling off but Hurricanes fought back late to give them some hope.

Strikers impress with ball and in the field

Short’s terrific game continued with the key wicket of Ben McDermott as he bowled four overs of his handy offspin on the trot. Peter Siddle, who took the most wickets in the BBL’s regular season, then claimed opposite number Matthew Wade to tighten Strikers’ stranglehold and he finished with four wickets to lead from the front.

Strikers have not missed a beat since losing talisman Rashid Khan late in the season with veteran spinner Fawad Ahmed proving a more than useful replacement.

They’ve also been rejuvenated by the inclusion of quicks Harry Conway and Henry Thornton, whose fast and straight bowling has been a revelation after playing just one BBL game before this season for Sydney Sixers five years ago.

The duo claimed four wickets between them with Thornton holding his nerve against a rampaging D’Arcy Short, who briefly rattled Strikers.

In a major contrast to Hurricanes, Strikers were sharp in the field to underline their remarkable resurrection having spent most of the season in the bottom two.

Short fires in vain

Hurricanes’ batting oozes with firepower on paper but hasn’t quite clicked all season. They’ve been reliant on McDermott, whose terrific tournament ended when he fell in the first over. A failure from Wade made their chase particularly grim and they needed Short to recapture his belligerent best from his heyday.

He responded with his best knock of a sluggish season to give Hurricanes a flicker of hope. He smashed 22 runs in the power surge but his wicket in the 15th over triggered a collapse.

Big-hitter Tim David, who has been their designated finisher all season, showed off his prowess but it was too late. Perhaps Hurricanes’ brains trust will rue once again not allowing the Singapore national player more time at the crease.

There was much hype over Hurricanes heading into the season but their early finals demise should be considered a disappointment.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth



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Recent Match Report – Challengers vs Barishal 1st Match 2021/22

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Benny Howell made a breezy 41 for Chattogram Challengers, who set a paltry 126 target

Fortune Barishal 126 for 6 (Shykat 39, Miraz 4-16) beat Chattogram Challengers 125 for 8 (Howell 41, Joseph 3-32) by four wickets

How the match played out

Ziaur Rahman fixed Fortune Barishal’s ways with a big finish against Chattogram Challengers. His unbeaten 19 off 12 balls helped Barishal win by four wickets with eight balls to spare, despite slipping to 92 for 6 in the 15th over, chasing 126.

Ziaur smashed Mukidul Islam for 18 runs in the 17th over, striking fours through square-leg and extra cover, and a carved six over cover. Dwayne Bravo finished unbeaten on 12 off 10 balls with one boundary, as they took Barishal home.

Ziaur’s big hitting helped Barishal recover from the loss of three wickets in the 15th over. Player of the Match Mehidy Hasan Miraz had Shykat Ali caught at deep midwicket, Irfan Sukkur lbw, and then Salman Hossain run out, with Afif Hossain affecting a direct hit from the covers.
Earlier, Chattogram reached a mediocre 125 for 8, thanks mainly to No. 9 Benny Howell’s 41. Alzarri Joseph took three wickets while Nayeem Hasan took two wickets.

Big hit

Howell struck three fours and three sixes in his 20-ball knock. It was a relief for Chattogram after they were stunted by Shakib Al Hasan‘s four tight overs that went for just nine runs. Joseph took 3-32 on his BPL debut.

Chattogram captain Miraz then stepped up with his maiden four-wicket haul in T20s, finishing with 4 for 16 after taking two of the three wickets to fall in his last over.

Big miss

Barishal, however, could have finished the game much earlier had Shakib batted for longer. Instead, the captain fell for 13 after hitting twoboundaries. Shykat’s dismissal for 39 started the mini collapse in the 15th over.

For Chattogram, Shamim Hossain was the big disappointment. He made 14 off 23 balls, falling to a Joseph short ball, trying to swat the ball.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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