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Recent Match Report – Australia vs India Warm-up 2021/22

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Virat Kohli turned his arm over as India looked to explore bowling options

India 153 for 2 (Rohit 60, Rahul 39, Suryakumar 38*) beat Australia 152 for 5 (Smith 57, Maxwell 37, Stoinis 41*, Ashwin 2-8) by seven wickets

A rollicking fifty by Rohit Sharma led India to a comfortable nine-wicket win against Australia in both teams’ second – and final – warm-up game ahead of their main T20 World Cup campaign. India’s bowlers, led by R Ashwin‘s 2 for 8, had kept Australia to 152 for 5, and the batters then motored through the chase.
Rohit retired out after getting to 60 in 41 balls, leaving Suryakumar Yadav to apply the finishing touches to a chase that had been well set up by an opening stand of 68 between Rohit and KL Rahul.
Rohit had captained India in this game, with Virat Kohli sitting out of the batting innings, though he did play an active role in the first innings, being on the field and even bowling two overs.
India had Australia in early trouble after Aaron Finch had chosen to bat first, reducing them to 11 for 3 in the fourth over, striking with spin through Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. India had rested both Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in this game, and turned to the spinners for half of the powerplay overs. Ashwin, sharing the new ball with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, made an immediate impact, having David Warner lbw for 1 and then Mitchell Marsh caught at slip next ball to rock Australia early.
An over later, Jadeja trapped Finch in front, and it was left to Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell to rebuild. Maxwell was uninhibited despite the loss of wickets, playing his reverse hits whenever he saw an opportunity. The two had added 61 runs in 52 balls before Maxwell dragged on against Rahul Chahar.
Australia found a bit of a finishing kick via Marcus Stoinis, who stayed unbeaten on a 25-ball 41, while Smith also picked up his pace in the death overs, to drag the score beyond 150.

India used seven bowlers, but Hardik Pandya was not among them. However, with Kohli turning his arm over, it suggested India were looking at giving themselves bowling options.

India’s chase was largely untroubled, Rahul reprising his attacking role and not reining himself in as he has done often in the IPL. He didn’t always connect with his attempted big hits, but the intent was unmissable. He had three sixes, and was out trying to hit another to Adam Zampa for 39 off 31.

Rohit had started rapidly and then played anchor, but he sped up again once Rahul was out. He was on 28 off 25 when Rahul fell, and blasted 32 from his next 16 balls. He retired when 26 were needed in the last 30 balls, allowing Hardik to have a hit. Suryakumar stayed unbeaten on 38 off 27.

Ishan Kishan, the back-up opener, has also been in terrific form, but it seems likely he’ll not be in the first XI. Suryakumar and Hardik getting time in the middle further pointed to them being part of the team’s preferred starting XI.

Like India had done, Australia also used the warm-up game to allow overs under the belt for a variety of bowlers, using eight overall in 17.5 overs, though none of them posed any sustained threat. However, their key takeaway was Stoinis bowling two overs after recovering from an injury.

Australia will open their T20 World Cup campaign against South Africa on October 23, while India will face Pakistan in their first game, on October 24.



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BCCI rejigs schedule of India vs West Indies ODIs and T20Is to avoid clash with IPL auction

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The board also confirmed the ODIs will be played in Ahmedabad, followed by the T20Is in Kolkata

The BCCI has confirmed that the venues for the limited-overs series at home against West Indies will be Ahmedabad and Kolkata, and has also advanced the third ODI from February 12 to 11, to avoid a clash with the IPL auction slated for February 12-13. As reported by ESPNcricinfo on January 20, the board had planned to keep the venues to two instead of the original six, to limit any chance of the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the series.

The BCCI said the move was “to mitigate biosecurity risks by cutting down on travel and movement of the teams, match officials, broadcasters, and other stakeholders.”

The tour will begin with three ODIs, which will all take place in Ahmedabad, and the teams will then move to Kolkata for three T20Is. The ODIs are scheduled on February 6, 9 and 11. The opening T20I will now take place on February 16 instead of 15, and the remaining two T20Is will go ahead on February 18 and 20, as originally planned.

As reported by ESPNcricinfo earlier, the BCCI had mooted the change of dates, and was waiting to make an official decision after discussions with Cricket West Indies.

Last September, while unveiling India’s home calendar for 2021-22, the BCCI had named Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Kolkata as the venues for the ODIs, with the original dates being February 6, 9 and 12. The T20Is were to be played in Cuttack, Visakhapatnam and Thiruvananthapuram, on February 15, 18 and 20.

Apart from avoiding a clash with the IPL auctions, the change in schedule is a precautionary step by the BCCI, taken in response to the growing number of positive cases in India, which is currently experiencing a third wave of the pandemic, with the Omicron variant dominant across the country. Though the impact of this wave has been less severe than the preceding Delta wave, the high degree of transmissiblity of Omicron has led to stringent curbs on movement and public activities, particularly in big cities.



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Recent Match Report – Sunrisers vs Victorians 3rd Match 2021/22

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Nahidul picked up two wickets before scoring 16, as Victorians were made to work hard by Sunrisers

Comilla Victorians 97 for 8 (Janat 18, Nazmul 3-17, Mosaddek 2-10) beat Sylhet Sunrisers 96 (Ingram 20, Mustafizur 2-15, Shohidul 2-15) by two wickets

Comilla Victorians crawled to a two-wicket win in a low-scoring game against Sylhet Sunrisers in Mirpur. The match ended when Kesrick Williams bowled two wides, as Victorians needed two runs off nine balls with two wickets in hand. Victorians’ Nahidul Islam was adjudged Player of the Match after he followed his two wickets with 16 runs.
Sunrisers’ left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam took three wickets, while offspinners Sohag Gazi and captain Mosaddek Hossain got two each. However, all their effort went in vain. Despite Victorians slipping to 88 for 8 in the 17th over, Mahidul Islam and Tanvir Islam, unbeaten on 9 and 3 respectively, got the job done.
Big hit
Sohag Gazi, out of the national side’s reckoning for five years, removed Victorians’ openers Faf du Plessis and Cameron Delport, before Mosaddek had Mominul Haque and Imrul Kayes caught on the off side. Karim Janat and Nahidul then added 27 runs for the sixth wicket, but both fell to Nazmul.
Janat holed out at deep cover, while Nahidul gave Colin Ingram a simple catch at point. When Ravi Bopara took a tumbling catch at long-on to dismiss Shohidul Islam, Victorians were in trouble. With six required off the last two overs, Williams bowled a poor 19th over to hand victory to Victorians.

Earlier, Sunrisers had batted similarly when they lost their top order early. Ingram fell to a miscued pull off seamer Shohidul for 20, giving Victorians control with the ball. Offspinner Nahidul bowled his four overs in one go, taking 2 for 20, as he made an impressive return to Victorians’ colours after six years.

Left-arm spinner Tanvir followed it up with more control, taking 1 for 10 from his four overs. It encouraged Victorians captain Kayes to bring on the part-timer Mominul who removed Bopara. Mustafizur Rahman and Shohidul then completed the formalities, bowling Sunrisers out for 96 in 19.1 overs.

Big miss
Several of Bangladesh’s batting stars had a poor outing in this game. Sunrisers’ Anamul Haque, Mohammad Mithun and captain Mosaddek got out for single digits. Nahidul removed both Anamul, who lost his balance while trying to cut the ball, and Mithun, who was caught at point.
Mosaddek gave Ariful Haque an easy catch at slip.

Kayes swung and missed a couple of balls before hitting one to cover. Mominul holed out to short third man. du Plessis, billed as the BPL’s
biggest star this season, also fell for a single-digit score when Gazi had him caught-and-bowled for 2.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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IPL 2022 likely to start from March 27

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Mumbai slotted in as first option to host 10-team tournament, with UAE and South Africa as back-ups

The 2022 season of IPL is set to start in the last week of March, and is scheduled to run till May end. ESPNcricinfo has learned that in a meeting with the ten franchises on Saturday (January 22), the IPL authorities informed owners that they had pencilled in March 27 as a likely start date.

The franchises were also told that the tournament would be held in India, with Mumbai slotted in as the main venue. And in case the Covid-19 numbers in India are low at the time, Ahmedabad could be considered as a second venue to host the play-offs. In case the pandemic situation in India is found to be not feasible to host the tournament, then South Africa and the UAE will be the back-up options in no particular order. At Saturday’s meeting, the IPL told the franchises that a final decision is expected to be taken by February 20.

The reason the IPL has zeroed in on just one venue in Mumbai, which has multiple grounds, was to avoid travel and the debacle of 2021 edition, when the tournament had to be called off at the halfway stage due to the spike in the number of cases among teams. One key reason responsible for teams reporting growing Covid-19 positive cases was travelling between different cities. The tournament was postponed, before the second leg was held in the UAE in September-October.

India is currently experiencing the third wave of the pandemic, with the Omicron variant dominant across the country. Though the impact is less severe, the high degree of transmissibility has led to stringent curbs on movement and public activities in big cities.

Incidentally, even in 2021, the IPL had thought about holding the entire tournament in Mumbai, before deciding to host it across two cities at a time. This time they have decided to wait until mid-February, by when necessary government permissions would have been received and the feasibiity of hosting the tournament, which will feature 74 matches, in Mumbai can be checked.

Along with the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai also has two other grounds that have hosted international matches: the Brabourne Stadium and the DY Patil stadium. There is also the Mumbai Cricket Association-run ground in Bandra-Kurla Complex, which has hosted domestic tournaments and where IPL teams have trained in the past.

Teams split over UAE and South Africa
It is learned that not all teams are unanimous about either of the two back-up options. Some of the franchises pointed out that the UAE, which has three venues, was becoming more predictable in terms of results as witnessed during the men’s T20 World Cup that was held in 2021, as well as the second leg of IPL 2021 that immediately preceded it. Another concern with the UAE was that the pitches could become weary by April-May, after a long season with multiple tournaments. However, others felt that barring Sharjah, which dished out slower pitches with low bounce last IPL, Dubai and Abu Dhabi hosted close contests.

Some franchises also backed UAE only because there was no internal travel involved and the venue itself overall had been one of the safest spots globally during the pandemic. It was also pointed out by the IPL authorities that South Africa had one clear advantage in terms of multiple venues, but the counter to that – as pointed out by some franchises – was that any travel during the pandemic came laden with risk, as was already experienced in the first half of IPL 2021 in India, when the country had struggled to cope with the Delta variant.

It is learned that some franchises said that one crucial aspect that the IPL had to take into account was the absence of any window in 2022 in case the tournament were to disrupted once again, due to travel-related reasons.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo



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