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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs Ireland 8th Match, First Round Group A 2021/22

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Ireland now face Namibia, and the winner will progress to the next round of the World Cup

Sri Lanka 171 for 7 (Hasaranga 71, Nissanka 61, Little 4-23) beat Ireland 101 all out (Balbirnie 41, Theekshana 3-17) by 70 runs

For the second game in a row, Sri Lanka survived an early scare to record a commanding win. This time, Ireland were at the receiving end, Andrew Balbirnie’s men thumped by 70 runs as Sri Lanka guaranteed safe passage to the Super 12s. A superb all-round performance by Wanindu Hasaranga, who smashed 71 off 40 balls and doubled with figures of 4-0-12-1, rescued his side from the perilous position of 8 for 3, first carrying them to 171 before helping skittle Ireland out for 101.
For Sri Lanka, this was a comprehensive performance, if not quite as complete as Mickey Arthur and the coaching staff will have wished for. The problems with the top order persist, though Hasaranga’s knock – alongside a classy 47-ball 61 from Pathum Nissanka – will go some way towards alleviating concerns around the quality of Sri Lanka’s batting. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan fielding wasn’t quite as clinical as a side at their level might demand, but against a lacklustre Ireland batting performance, it proved more than enough.

Ireland began to bleed wickets right from the outset of the chase, and the big innings they required from someone like Paul Stirling never materialised. Stirling and Kevin O’Brien both fell cheaply, and any resistance of not came from a 53-run fourth wicket partnership between skipper Balbirnie and Curtis Campher. However, with the asking rate rising, all they managed to do was rebuild, and once the stand was broken, Sri Lanka zipped through the last seven wickets for 16 runs.

Ireland will need to shake off the disappointment from a day that began so brightly for them, and turn their attention towards their final game this round, a knockout against the Namibia, with the victor joining Sri Lanka in the Super 12.

Irish start
For all that happened after it, it’s easy to forget the perfect start Ireland enjoyed to this game. Sri Lanka’s top three struggled against Namibia, but what happened here against the Irish was a downright capitulation. Stirling opened the bowling, and right at the outset, had Kusal Perera hole out to George Dockrell at cover point, who took a splendid catch diving forward.

That was followed by an over for the ages from Josh Little – six balls that would not have looked out of place on a green-top wicket with the red ball. Coming in over the wicket and shaping it back into the right-handers, he knocked back Dinesh Chandimal and Avishka Fernando’s off stump off successive deliveries, combining metronomic accuracy with seam movement and swing. It reduced Sri Lanka to three-down with less than 10 on the board, and at that stage, The Irish were buoyant. It would require a Herculean effort for Sri Lanka to wrest back control, and that’s what the fourth-wicket stand provided.

Hasaranga, Nissanka flay Ireland
Hasaranga tends not to bat as high as No. 5, but with Sri Lanka having lost wickets in a heap and needing to get a move on, they needed to take a punt. That’s what Hasaranga represented when he walked out to bat, a low-value, high-impact wicket.

He got Sri Lanka on their way with a classical back-foot drive through the offside, and all of a sudden, the momentum shifted. Nissanka and Hasaranga smacked Mark Adair for another three fours next over, before Hasaranga clobbered Simi Singh for four successive boundaries to round out the powerplay. They were all low-risk, high-class cricket shots, and got Sri Lanka back into a position of superiority.

With the powerplay over, the two transitioned masterfully into the next passage of play. There were regular ones and twos punctuated with the odd boundary, and whenever Ireland’s fielding let them down, the batters were there to make them pay. Ireland’s frustrations began to increase as last game’s hero Campher went for plenty in his spell, unaware to summon the magic of that four-wicket spell against the Netherlands. But then again, in Hasaranga and Nissanka, they were up against an opposition in a different league to anything Netherlands had thrown up against them.

By the time the partnership was broken, the duo had added 133 in 13.4 overs, the fourth wicket partnership accounting for nearly 80% of all runs scored.

Sri Lankan spin suffocation
Well, this bit was predictable, wasn’t it? With runs on the board, Sri Lanka unleashed their myriad of spin-bowling options, this time Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana the most potent ones. The combination of flippers, wrong’uns, conventional offspin and round-arm balls with variable bounce kept the Irish batters guessing. With all thoughts focused firmly on survival, the asking rate only ever went up. Stirling tried to force the issue early on and paid for it with his wicket, Theekshana causing him to hole out to fine leg. Campher and Neil Rock also fell to his wile later in the innings. Hasaranga, meanwhile, beat Gareth Delany all ends up, as one that kept low clattered into the hapless batter’s middle stump.
What was perhaps less predictable is the role the pace battery played in keeping the Irish at bay. Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera were sensation in the early overs, the speed gun consistently showing they were clocking speeds in the high 140s. The yorkers were toe-crushing, the short balls menacing and the slower ones unpredictable. With Sri Lanka alternating between express pace and unorthodox spin, Ireland were being stifled out of the contest.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000



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2022 English season – County Championship gets midsummer boost as 2022 fixtures are announced

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Bob Willis Trophy shelved, Yorkshire retained in Division One, Blast to be played in single block

“Lessons have been learnt” from England’s poor Test showing in 2021, according to Neil Snowball, the ECB’s managing director of county cricket, following the announcement of a 2022 domestic schedule which will provide prospective Test players more opportunity for red-ball cricket in the lead-up to their encounters with New Zealand, South Africa and India this summer.

Two “County Select XI” fixtures against New Zealand and South Africa, distinct from the England Lions set-up, have been added to the schedule as well, to provide Test candidates with further opportunities to pit themselves against the tourists. This comes after complaints in 2021 that England were undercooked going into their main campaign of the summer, against India in August and September, following just two Championship rounds in early July prior to the launch of the first season of the Hundred.

“It’s obviously well documented and acknowledged that recent results were extremely disappointing which again has called for a look at our approach to red-ball cricket,” Snowball said. “Clearly, the men’s domestic game has got a significant role to play in that, in terms of making sure that we can develop the best possible Test players who can then go on to aspire to be the best team in the world. We don’t think that county cricket has all the answers, but it certainly has some of the answers, and it certainly has an important role to play going forward, along with the first-class counties and the PCA and other stakeholders.”

Yorkshire have been included in the schedule as a Division One team, in spite of the ongoing investigation into the racism scandal that rocked the club in 2021 and may yet lead to further sanctions from the Cricket Discipline Committee (CDC), while both the Bob Willis Trophy final and the traditional Champion County versus MCC fixture, which has been held in the UAE and Barbados in recent seasons, have been shelved.
The Bob Willis Trophy, hastily arranged for the delayed 2020 season, was a success in providing context to a condensed first-class programme and culminated in a showpiece final at Lord’s. However, last season’s final was an anti-climax – comfortably won by Warwickshire, for whom it was a distant second to their County Championship triumph.

“The Bob Willis Trophy served us very well in 2020 to rescue the season, and of course we played for it last year as well,” Snowball said. “We’re very keen to continue to celebrate Bob’s legacy with a Bob Willis Trophy in some format but we’re not quite sure what that’s going to be yet. We’re in discussions with his family on that.”

In a bid to maximise the counties’ preference for Blast fixtures towards the back end of the working week, 99 of the 126 fixtures have been scheduled for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. And, in an echo of the successful staging of the Hundred, in which the majority of women’s fixtures were played as double-headers alongside the men, ten Charlotte Edwards Cup matches will also feature on the same bill as the Blast, and at their respective county HQs.

Alan Fordham, the ECB’s head of cricket operations, said that the counties’ desire to put the women’s game on an equal footing to the men had been a factor in the double-header decision – as had the double bank holiday at the beginning of June, which encompasses half term and will provide an opportunity for more families to attend the matches. At this stage, one of the double-headers is due to be televised on Sky Sports.

A further boost for the women’s game will come with the final of the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, which is due to be held at Lord’s for the first time, on Sunday, September 25. The men’s Royal London Cup final will once again be held at Trent Bridge, but has been moved back to a Saturday (September 17), having been held on a Thursday last season.

“The women’s game is just going to have a phenomenal year,” Snowball added. “We’ve got the Ashes starting in Adelaide. We’ve got the Women’s World Cup and then the Commonwealth Games In Birmingham as well as the second edition of the Hundred. So it’s a huge year for women’s domestic cricket and international cricket. We look forward to seeing how that unfolds.”

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket



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CPL 2022 – Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Curtly Ambrose join Jamaica Tallawahs coaching staff

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The pair have been appointed as head coach and bowling coach respectively

Former West Indies batter Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been named Jamaica Tallawahs head coach for the 2022 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) while Curtly Ambrose, the former West Indies quick, has been roped in as bowling coach.
Chanderpaul, 47, represented West Indies in 164 Tests, 264 ODIs, and 22 T20Is, scoring more than 20,000 international runs in an international career that began in 1994 and ended in 2015. He replaces Floyd Reifer, who quit the position after taking over as head coach of the West Indies Under-19 side.

Ambrose, 58, took 405 wickets in Tests and 225 wickets in ODIs in an international career spanning 274 matches over 12 years, from 1988 to 2000. He has had spells as bowling coach of West Indies – he was in the role when the team won the T20 World Cup in 2016 – as well as in the CPL (with Guyana Amazon Warriors for three years). He also spent three years as assistant coach of the Combined Campuses and Colleges in Caribbean regional cricket. He is qualified to Level 3 standard.

“Shivnarine has had an illustrious playing career and is one of the greats of the game. He has served West Indies cricket with distinction, and I know he will take the Tallawahs to new heights,” Krishna Persaud, the Tallawahs owner, said. “Sir Curtly brings in a lot of technical expertise and experience to the Tallawahs and we look forward to having him in the team.”

Chanderpaul said being appointed the head coach was an honour.

“It’s an absolute honour to be appointed as the new Head Coach of the Jamaica Tallawahs and I am really looking forward to working with the players and support staff to bring another championship to Jamaica,” Chanderpaul said.

Andre Coley will serve as the Tallawahs assistant coach. He was part of the inaugural management team at the High Performance Centre Programme in Barbados from 2010-2013.



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Mark Boucher charged with ‘gross misconduct’

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South Africa’s head coach to face a disciplinary hearing chaired by senior counsel advocate Terry Motau; he will remain in his role as coach in the interim

In a follow-up to the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report, Mark Boucher has been charged with gross misconduct by Cricket South Africa, and will face a disciplinary hearing chaired by senior counsel advocate Terry Motau. Boucher remains in his role as head coach of the senior men’s team, and will be with the team as they take on India in the second ODI in Paarl on Friday.

On Thursday, CSA named Motau as chairperson of the disciplinary hearing into the allegations of misconduct against Boucher, and said in a statement that the coach had been presented with his charge sheet.

The statement said: “It is proposed that the parties [Boucher] will meet with Advocate [Motau] on 26th January 2022 to determine a timetable for the proceedings.

“This follows December’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report, which made tentative findings regarding allegations of discrimination and racism against various persons, including Mr Boucher. Specifically, during the SJN process, allegations of racism were levelled against Mr Boucher by his former Proteas team-mate, Paul Adams.
“CSA confirms that a charge sheet, containing both the disciplinary charges against Mr Boucher, as well as his rights, was provided to him on 17 January. The upcoming inquiry will also consider concerns and allegations that arose following the resignation of former assistant coach, Enoch Nkwe.

“While Mr Boucher is being charged with gross misconduct, which could lead to his dismissal, CSA emphasises it is important that the independent inquiry first needs to test all allegations before any question of sanction can arise.”

Responding to the development, Boucher issued a statement of his own later in the day, saying: “I look forward to dealing with and defending these allegations which have been made and will do so at the hearing in due course. For now I am solely focused on my duties as head coach of the Proteas.”*

The SJN report, which was released in December, made “tentative” findings that Boucher, among others, had engaged in prejudicial and discriminatory conduct in the past on the basis of race. But ombudsman Dumisa Ntsebeza was unable to make definite findings, and recommended to CSA that a further process be undertaken for this. This secondary process is now what CSA is flagging off, with Motau at the helm.

The CSA statement said further steps in this regard will be announced “in due course”. “Further steps and action by CSA to transform cricket and act on other applicable recommendations in the SJN report, aligned to the Board’s new strategic framework and pillars of access, inclusion and excellence, will be announced in due course.”

*2.45pm GMT, February 20: The article was updated with Boucher’s statement.



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