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Match Preview – Netherlands vs Sri Lanka, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 12th Match, First Round Group A




Dinesh Chandimal’s poor form might prompt Sri Lanka to bring in Charith Asalanka

Big picture

Of all the matches in this qualifying round, this one seems to most have the feel of a dead rubber. Not only do Netherlands have no chance of making the Super 12s, but Sri Lanka are also highly likely to finish top of Group A thanks to their superior net run rate.

For Netherlands, this is a chance to make a mark in a tournament in which they will feel they have underperformed. In the first match, their batting was blown away by Ireland’s seam bowlers, while in the second, their bowlers could not withstand David Wiese’s assault for Namibia.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have earned themselves an opportunity to find a solution to their top-order issues. Dinesh Chandimal had another failure against Ireland on Wednesday, thus finding his position at No. 3 in serious peril. The likeliest replacement may be Charith Asalanka, but Dhananjaya de Silva is also in the squad.
Their fast bowlers, meanwhile, might get a rest. Lahiru Kumara has had a particularly taxing workload over the past few weeks, although it may be Dushmantha Chameera that Sri Lanka would prefer had a night off to recharge for the Super 12s.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches, most recent first)

Netherlands LLLTW
Sri Lanka WWLLL

In the spotlight

One of the few bright spots for Netherlands has been the batting of opener Max O’Dowd. He hit 51 off 47 balls against Ireland while the rest of the top order blew up around him, before making a 56-ball 70 that was the backbone of Netherlands’ innings against Namibia. He has got arguably the best attack of the qualifying stage to contend with in this match, though. Can he maintain his output?
Pathum Nissanka has promised a lot more in Tests than he has in the shortest format, but in hitting his first half-century against Ireland, he suggested he could find success in this World Cup yet. He was unambitious in the early overs while wickets fell around him, but never seemed bogged down either, finding a way to keep his score moving until the boundaries eventually came. After all, Sri Lanka desperately need a reliable run-scorer in their top three.

Pitch and conditions

This will be both teams’ first match in Sharjah. During the IPL, the Sharjah tracks were slow, turned a bit and had variable bounce. Temperatures are expected to hover around the low 30s Celsius range again. If the conditions in Abu Dhabi are anything to go by, dew could be an issue too.

Team news

Although No. 5 is a more familiar position for Asalanka, he may slot in at No.3, leaving Bhanuka Rajapaksa at No. 5.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Avishka Fernando, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt.), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Binura Fernando, 10 Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Lahiru Kumara

Netherlands may bring in Brandon Glover in place of Timm van der Gugten.

Netherlands (possible): 1 Max O’Dowd, 2 Stephan Myburgh, 3 Roelof van der Merwe, 4 Colin Ackerman, 5 Ryan ten Doeschate, 6 Scott Edwards (wk), 7 Bas de Leede, 8 Pieter Seelar, 9 Logan van Beek, 10 Fred Klaassen, 11 Timm van der Gugten/Brandon Glover

Stats and trivia

  • In the only previous T20I between these teams, Netherlands were bowled out for 39, a game which Sri Lanka won with 15 overs to spare. That was, however, during the World T20 in 2014, when Sri Lanka had arguably their greatest T20I side – a team which went on to lift the trophy.
  • This year, O’Dowd has hit 293 runs in just six innings, and at a strike rate of 137.
  • In 14 innings in 2021, Wanindu Hasaranga has 23 wickets and an economy rate of just 5.43.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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Michael Holding calls for more sportspersons to speak out against racism




“If people who have a platform and who are able to reach out and get people to listen and understand say nothing, then who will?”

West Indies bowling great Michael Holding wants more sportspeople to step forward and speak out against racism because they have an important platform.

In an interview at the Reuters Next conference on Wednesday, Holding said it was important that public figures used their celebrity status to get across important messages, particularly on racism.

“If people who have a platform and who are able to reach out and get people to listen and people to understand say nothing, then who will?” Holding asked. “There are sportspeople who are well known throughout the entire world. If they get up and say something, people around the world will want to hear what they have to say and will want to try to understand what they had to say.

“And that’s the reason why people with a platform, people with a name, people that are recognised all over the world, need to speak up about things that affect them and affect the world.”

Holding has spoken out extensively on racism since an emotive plea for society to change its attitudes following the death of George Floyd in May 2020 in the United States. Floyd’s death led to the Black Lives Matter movement going global.

Holding has published a book “Why we Kneel, How We Rise” which covers racism in sport and has contributions from several high profile black athletes. He said athletes should not have to confine their opinions to sporting matters.

“When they leave the arena, or the basketball courts, they have to go back into society to live a normal life. If they are affected by society, they have to speak up and use their platform.”

Holding also said there was a danger that the recent accusations of racism in English county cricket would be compartmentalised into “small boxes” when they were part of a larger societal problem.

“We know it’s a cricket problem, because it’s happening now in cricket. But don’t put it in a little box because it’s comfortable to put it in a box. It’s not only football or cricket has a [racism] problem. It’s a society that has a problem. And that is what we need to fix, that’s we need to start. If we can accept that it’s society and not try to put it in small boxes, then we can get somewhere.”

Holding said education ensured unconscious bias and required urgent review, with governments needing to take the lead. “The history of mankind has not been taught, what has been taught is what suits our particular narrative. And that narrative is white superiority. Everything taught, even in Africa, in the Caribbean, where I’m from, highlights what white folks have done.

“But what about what people of colour have done? They don’t teach that. And that is why I highlighted in my book, so many discoveries, so many innovations, so many things that people of colour have done, that they need to teach.

“People must recognise that it’s all folks from different denominations and from different sectors and different parts of the world have done great things.”

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Recent Match Report – Eng Lions vs England Tour Match 2021/22




England Lions XI make 226 for 4 against potential Test attack featuring Stokes, Anderson and Broad

England Lions XI 226 for 4 vs England XI

Ben Stokes was England’s most-successful bowler as the Brisbane rains finally relented, allowing the tourists their most significant warm-up action since arriving in Australia.

Stokes claimed 2 for 31 from 10 overs in his first red-ball outing since appearing for Durham in July, as an England Lions XI batted through the scheduled third day at Ian Healy Oval. Three batters retired their innings not out in order to give others an opportunity, with Liam Norwell and captain Joe Root the other England XI bowlers to take wickets.

Both sides featured 13 players, with Alex Lees captaining the Lions. Lees and Zak Crawley batted through the first session against a potential Test attack of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach and Stokes, with Saqib Mahmood also involved for England.

Lees was first to retire, before Stokes struck to remove Crawley, the top-scorer for the Lions XI with 45. Dan Lawrence did not last long, removed by Norwell for 1, but Ollie Pope spent some time in the middle before falling to Root’s offspin.

James Bracey and Tom Abell kept the bowlers at bay before retiring not out, and Stokes claimed his second wicket when dismissing Chris Woakes late on.

Following four straight days of washed-out practice across two fixtures in Brisbane, England managed to get through 78 overs, with Anderson bowling eight, Broad 11 and Robinson 12, while Leach also went wicketless from his 18 overs.

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Recent Match Report – Delhi Bulls vs Abu Dhabi 30th Match 2021/22



Delhi Bulls 135 for 5 (Gurbaz 69, Rutherford 52) beat Team Abu Dhabi 86 for 8 (Rashid 3-15, Drakes 3-15) by 49 runs

It’s tough to think of a more exciting and promising young batter in world cricket right now than Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

With the IPL auction a month or so away, Gurbaz has gone about executing his audition in style at the Abu Dhabi T10.

A night after hitting the fastest fifty of the tournament with a quite stunning 14-ball effort, the baby-faced Afghanistan international smashed 69 off just 29 deliveries to remarkably drag Delhi Bulls into the top two and into a straight qualifier for the final against Deccan Gladiators on Friday. A 49-run hammering of Team Abu Dhabi was more than enough to go ahead of their opponents on net run rate.

The top two will have the luxury of getting another chance, with the losing side playing the winner of the eliminator between Team Abu Dhabi and Bangla Tigers, in a triple-header on Friday at the Zayed Cricket Ground.

Over the course of two nights, Gurbaz has accumulated 126 runs in 45 balls. In a tournament with renowned hitters of a cricket ball from across the globe, it is the emergence of Gurbaz that has lit up the competition. He stands clear at the top of the runs and boundaries leaderboard with 310 runs and 50 boundaries

In so many ways, Gurbaz embodies the term “the exuberance of youth” beautifully, with his fearlessness and the genuine 360-degree game – something that doesn’t come as a surprise, given that AB de Villiers is his idol. Mind you, here is a talent who hit a scintillating century on his ODI debut for Afghanistan at the very same ground in January. Eleven months on and there isn’t a more thrilling prospect across the cricketing globe.

The 50th National Day of the UAE has signalled a long holiday weekend in Abu Dhabi, which has been filled with a frenzy of celebrations thus far. On Thursday night, in front of the biggest crowd of the tournament thus far, Gurbaz provided the best fireworks display yet with a classy knock that included five fours and six sixes.

Here is a man who has grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed. A week ago, as he blasted a devastating 70 in a 116-run partnership with Luke Wright, Gurbaz spoke about how his confidence increased when there was experience alongside him.

He didn’t need experience by his side on this occasion. This was a man showcasing to the world what he was all about. That trust in his own ability. That decisiveness in his decision making. The execution of the shots themselves.

Put into bat by Liam Livingstone, Gurbaz carried on from where left off the night before, effortlessly cutting a wide delivery from Sheldon Cottrell first up for four. He took the West Indian for 14 in his second over, including a majestic six over deep midwicket and the very next over, he and Sherfane Rutherford, who scored a blistering 54 off 22 deliveries, combined to smash Jamie Overton for 22.

Livingstone brought himself on to try to break the partnership. Instead, Gurbaz gave the England allrounder a taste of his own medicine to audaciously send him for consecutive maximums. By now, he was putting on a show.

Rutherford belted Naveen-ul-Haq for three sixes in an over, before Gurbaz reached a second half-century in as many nights, gloriously dispatching his countryman over extra-cover for six. It was a shot of the highest class and entertainment of the highest order. The youngster’s celebration was something to behold.

Gurbaz let out an almighty roar, removed his helmet and raised his bat towards a Bulls dugout that was standing in ovation for their superstar. The cameras panned towards the likes of Eoin Morgan and Dwayne Bravo who were stood beaming with joy, clapping in appreciation of a sparkling talent that perhaps encapsulates the next wave of young cricketers, a generation who have grown up immersed in the short-format cricket that has revolutionised the art of batting itself.

Alongside Rutherford, they put on a partnership of over a hundred in six overs and by the time Gurbaz was dismissed, Bulls not only had a total to defend, but also a chance to go above Team Abu Dhabi if they managed to win by 28 runs or more.

That they did in emphatic fashion, with three wickets from Dominic Drakes and a mesmerising hat-trick from Adil Rashid, which included the scalps of Livingstone, Colin Ingram and Overton. Livingstone top-edged one into the night sky to Gurbaz who held on and celebrated that wicket with the same intensity and energy that he had displayed with the bat. Ingram was undone by a legbreak, before Overton was clean bowled by a googly from Rashid that snuck past his inside edge.

The icing on the cake of Gurbaz’s night out in Abu Dhabi was seeing his friend and team-mate, Fazalhaq Farooqi bowl a maiden as the Team Abu Dhabi innings petered out. At the end of the over, he sprinted towards Farooqi with a joyous smile and greeted him with a double fist bump, knowing that the job was almost complete.

Whether or not Delhi Bulls go on to become champions of the Abu Dhabi T10, one thing is for certain; in Rahmanullah Gurbaz, there is a champion player in the making.

Aadam Patel is a freelance sports reporter who has written for BBC Sport, the Daily Mail, ESPNcricinfo, the Cricketer and other publications @aadamp9

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