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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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how the BBL finalists stack up as Ashes stars return




Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers, Sydney Thunder, Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes are left chasing the prize

After a turbulent regular season, the BBL has pushed through Covid-19 upheaval as a much-anticipated finals series starts on schedule on Friday. Amid player movement, where several of Australia’s Ashes heroes return, here’s a round-up of the five teams eyeing the BBL title.

Perth Scorchers

The minor premiers received a massive boost in their regular season finale against Brisbane Heat with the inclusions of Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis, who both hadn’t played since December 28 after being called up into Australia’s Ashes squad.

New Zealand import Colin Munro also returned after recovering from Covid-19 while star allrounder Ashton Agar was back after missing one match due to a shoulder injury.

Scorchers will enter the Qualifier on Saturday almost full-strength with quick Jhye Richardson available for his first match of the season after being part of Australia’s squad for the entire Ashes. English import Laurie Evans, who had cemented a position in the middle-order, is injured with a broken toe suffered last week against Adelaide Strikers, while quick Matt Kelly and batter Cameron Bancroft are currently sidelined after testing positive to Covid-19.

Canny left-arm quick Tymal Mills had been a key part of Scorchers’ strong early season form having taken 12 wickets from seven matches before being called up for England’s T20 tour of the Caribbean.

Sydney Sixers

In search of a hat-trick of titles, they have been bolstered by the return of Test spinner Nathan Lyon, who made his season debut against Heat on Wednesday. Justin Avendano, who is the first BBL player to play for two teams in the same season after featuring for Covid-hit Melbourne Stars earlier in the month, has cemented a spot in the squad after a recent whirlwind half-century against Adelaide Strikers.

Sixers have dealt with personnel changes throughout the season with imports Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, James Vince and Shadab Khan departing at various stages.

Sydney Thunder

Captain Usman Khawaja is Thunder’s big addition having backed up his Ashes heroics with a BBL season debut against Melbourne Renegades on Wednesday.

Thunder had been rocked by Covid-19 earlier in the month but their affected players, including Alex Ross, Chris Green and Sam Whiteman, are back in the line-up.

However, they will be without Sam Billings, who made his Test debut in Hobart and has since joined England’s tour of the Caribbean, with the wicketkeeper-batter having been a key cog in the line-up after a terrific season where he averaged 40.57 with a strike rate of 153.51 from nine innings.

Adelaide Strikers

In-form Strikers have benefited the most from the returns of Australia’s Test players with Ashes dynamo Travis Head and wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey back in the fold.
They strengthen an improved batting order which suddenly looks well stocked since Matthew Renshaw came into the line-up after Australia A duties and the emergence of Englishman Ian Cockbain.

The 34-year-old, who was plucked from club cricket in Melbourne, smashed an unbeaten 71 to power Strikers past Sixers earlier in the week in an eye-catching knock that helped him secure a PSL contract with Karachi Kings.

Strikers, however, will need to go all the way without star spinner Rashid Khan, who recently left due to national duties with Afghanistan. Left-arm seamer George Garton had departed earlier in the season because of England commitments although he had minimal impact with six wickets from six games and was eventually dropped.

Hobart Hurricanes

Hurricanes, who secured the last BBL playoff spot on Tuesday after beating Renegades, have regained the services of Ashes cult hero Scott Boland, who lined up against Stars in their regular season finale on Wednesday.
Boland’s only previous BBL match this season was against Scorchers on December 14, where he took 1 for 45. His inclusion strengthens Hurricanes’ attack missing injured quicks Nathan Ellis and Joel Paris. They rested their main attack for the final regular-season game against Stars and were dealt a record-breaking hammering.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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Australia call-up Grace Harris after Beth Mooney's injury



Call-up for the Brisbane Heat allrounder backs up selectors’ talk of specialist T20 players

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Players to watch in the Women’s Ashes



News Analysis

With the multi-format series beginning on Thursday here are four players to keep a close eye on

Tests: 2 matches, 75 runs at 37.50; 3 wickets at 34.33
ODIs: 8 matches, 179 runs at 35.80; 5 wickets at 44.20
T20Is: 3 matches, 86 runs, strike-rate 134.37
Tahlia McGrath is a very different cricketer to the one who was part of the 2017-18 Ashes series where she made her Test debut at North Sydney Oval. It was a more-than-handy performance with three wickets and 47 – adding 103 alongside Ellyse Perry who made her famous double century – but that would be her last international appearance until a one-off outing in late 2020 against New Zealand.
This season, however, has seen her state her claims as a top-class allrounder having worked on her game at domestic level. Against India she made 74 in the second ODI to help resurrect the chase with Beth Mooney then produced two key innings in the T20I series having batted nicely in Test before finding point. Her return has further added to Australia’s middle-order options with the bat and pace-bowling options in the field.
Tests: 1 match, 74 runs
ODIs: 8 matches, 156 runs at 31.20
T20Is: 21 matches, 149 runs at 21.28, strike-rate 101.36; 1 wicket
After spending 18 months on the fringes of selection through 2019-20, Sophia Dunkley made quite an impression during the English summer of 2021. She debuted at the Women’s World T20 in 2018, but it was an assured 74 not out against India in June, when she became the first black woman to play Test cricket for England, that set her on course to make a place in England’s middle order her own across formats.
The nerveless nature of that innings pervaded limited-overs series against India and New Zealand when, more than once, she kept a cool head to see England to victory. Her unbeaten 73 batting for the first time in ODIs was instrumental in England’s win against India at Taunton and she scored a four off the penultimate ball to clinch a tight chase – and the series – in the third T20I against New Zealand.

In England’s warm-ups against England A in Australia, Dunkley struck 15 off 12 balls in the rain-affected 35-over match, where her sharp fielding was also on display with three catches, while in the two T20s, she hit 10 off eight and 17 off 10. Her legspin has been used sparingly by England but she provides another option while her batting is key.

ODIs: 3 matches, 5 wickets at 20.40
T20Is: 1 match, 1 wicket

It feels like Darcie Brown, the 18-year-old quick bowler, is on the verge of taking the cricket world by storm. Capable of rapid late outswing and also possessing one of the best bouncers in the game, Brown has put together two impressive WBBL seasons – 29 wickets across the two editions at an economy under a run-a-ball – and earned her first call-up for last year’s tour of New Zealand.

In just her second ODI, earlier this season against India, she served notice of her potential with a Player of the Match 4 for 33 with her scalps all being among the top five of the order. She was wicketless on her Test debut at Metricon Stadium and there is an understandable caution about over-bowling her as she continues to develop, but there are few more exciting prospects in the game.
Yet to play Tests or ODIs
T20Is: 5 matches, 10 wickets at 19.20, economy 4.64
Something of an unknown in Australia, 21-year-old offspinner Charlie Dean has made the most of her handful of opportunities. She made her debut in the first ODI against New Zealand in September and played all five fixtures. It was her 4 for 36 to help England to victory in the rain-hit match at Worcester – just her second match at this level – which really caught the eye, as did her enthusiasm in the field throughout.

Dean had been in line to feature earlier in New Zealand’s tour when she was named in England’s squad for their three-match T20I series before she and Maia Bouchier had to isolate as possible contacts of a suspected Covid case in their Southern Vipers team. Fifty overs is Dean’s preferred format at this stage and that may be where she features most heavily in this Ashes series, but her ability to deceive batters by generating plenty of overspin and drop makes her a valuable addition for England.

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