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T20 World Cup – Side strain set to rule Maheesh Theekshana out of Sri Lanka-Bangladesh match

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Mahela Jayawardene returns home after successful consultancy spell with team

Maheesh Theekshana is unlikely to be risked in Sri Lanka’s first Super 12s fixture against Bangladesh on Sunday after picking up a side injury during the eight-wicket win against Netherlands in Sharjah.

Theekshana, the mystery spinner, took two wickets for three runs in his only over to reduce Netherlands to 20 for 3 but left the field holding his side, with Dhananjaya de Silva spending the rest of the innings deputising as a substitute fielder. Theekshana was seen receiving treatment in the dressing room and is likely to miss the Bangladesh fixture.

“The physios have said the decision might be probably to leave him for the next game,” Bhanuka Rajapaksa, the middle-order batter, said. “We don’t want to risk it by playing him and then him not playing in the rest of the series. For the moment he will be missing the next game as far as I know. It’s not 100% decided yet, but most probably, he will miss the first game and then play the rest of the games.”

Sri Lanka’s bowling attack has been a key component of their success in the tournament so far – they have bowled teams out for 96, 101 and 44 – and Rajapaksa hailed the combination of Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara‘s high pace and Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga‘s spin. He also said that Sri Lanka were prepared to face “much harder sides” than they had in the preliminary phase.

“I think it’s such a benefit having two bowlers who are bowling above 90mph. Any batsman, they get shook because bowling at 145 [kph] plus and not having any room, just bowling good areas, it’s always difficult as a batsman to get over.

“I think at the same time, the spinners have been extremely good for us, and they’ve been sticking to their basics, and that’s one of the reasons why we have been winning throughout this tournament.

“It’s always special to win games, whether it’s playing against Associate teams or whether it’s against good teams. Going forward, I think we’ll be facing much harder sides than Netherlands, Ireland and Namibia, [but I’m] extremely happy that Namibia went through because being an Associate side. I think they played some good cricket, as well. Going forward this is some good confidence for the boys.”

Mahela Jayawardene, who has been with the squad as a consultant coach, will fly home before the Super 12s as intended but has had a clear influence on the side, having masterminded the decisions to use Avishka Fernando as a No. 4 and to promote Hasaranga to No. 5 in the win against Ireland.

“It’s tough: I just counted that I have been 135 days in quarantine and bubbles since June and I am on my last legs,” he told Sri Lankan reporters in the UAE on Thursday. “But I totally understand and I told them I will be with the group with the technology that we have. I hope that anyone can understand that being a father that I haven’t seen my daughter for that many days. I definitely need to get back home.”

Rajapaksa said: “He is a father and he has not seen his kids for like almost six months now, and we totally understand that, but we wish that he was with us for the rest of the tournament, as well.

“But yes, he has made us a plan already. He had taken about 14, 15 hours yesterday with analysing and made some plans, but yeah, via Zoom, whatever internet connection we can get through, we will be dealing with him.

“The presence of him, I don’t need to comment about it. Everyone has seen the difference of the side. We are very thankful for the effort he has put into this squad, and we want to work with him in the future, as well.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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Recent Match Report – Challengers vs Dhaka 4th Match 2021/22

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Tamim Iqbal scored 52 but no other team-mate could build on that start

Chattogram Challengers 161 for 8 (Jacks 41, Rubel 3-26) beat Minister Group Dhaka 131 (Tamim 52, Shoriful 4-34, Nasum 3-9) by 30 runs

How the match played out

Chattogram Challengers brought down the very experienced Minister Group Dhaka by 30 runs to round off a thrilling second day in the BPL. Nasum Ahmed‘s superb figures of 3 for 9 scripted Dhaka’s doom, including Andre Russell’s wicket, before he could get going in the chase of 162.
Left-arm quick Shoriful Islam mopped up the lower order with career-best T20 figures of 4 for 34, as Dhaka were bowled out for 131 in 19.5 overs. Chattogram had put on a competitive 161 for 8 in 20 overs, with the English pair of Will Jacks and Benny Howell providing big hits at either ends of the innings.
Dhaka were unable to take advantage of a good start provided by Tamim Iqbal‘s 42nd and second straight T20 half-century. Instead, Shoriful and Nasum engineered a collapse by sharing seven wickets in their eight overs.

Big hit

Two big overs helped Chattogram knock over Dhaka. Shoriful took out Tamim, for 52, and Jahurul Islam in the space of three balls in the 12th over. Nasum then removed Mohammad Naim and Dhaka captain Mahmudullah in the 14th over, and Dhaka had slipped from 73 for 1 to 83 for 5 in the space of three overs.

Nasum then took out Russell in his last over. A big hit was palpable but when Russell mistimed a hoick, and Shamim Hossain stayed calm under the skier for his third catch.

Chattogram got an early boost when Jacks struck 41 off 24 balls, with six fours and two sixes over midwicket and square leg, all within the first 7.4 overs. Howell added three sixes of his own, one over long-on and two high over square leg, towards the end of the innings, in his 19-ball 37. Rubel Hossain, meanwhile, made up for his poor figures in the first match, this time taking 3 for 26.

Big miss

After being bizarrely run out on the tournament’s opening day, Russell had another day to forget. He conceded 17 runs in his only over, before getting out for 12. He also dropped two catches. The only saving grace for Russell was the two good catches he held on to.

Chattogram captain Mehidy Hasan Miraz also went wicketless after taking a four-wicket haul in their game on Friday, but he would be more than happy to pick up the hard-fought win.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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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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