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T20 World Cup 2021 – New Zealand’s Martin Guptill hopes to draw confidence from 2016 performance to turn UAE form around

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The opener, who was New Zealand’s top run-scorer in the last edition of the tournament, feeling ‘not too bad’ at the moment

New Zealand opening batter Martin Guptill has had a rough time in the UAE, managing only 126 runs in nine T20 innings at an average of 14 and strike rate of 104.13. However, he hopes to draw confidence from the last T20 World Cup in India and turn around his form in the UAE at this World Cup. Guptill was New Zealand’s top-scorer in the 2016 T20 World Cup, making 140 runs in four innings at an average of 35 and strike rate of 157.30 in the side’s run to the semi-finals.

“Obviously I’d have liked to have gone better [in the UAE], but you know that’s all in the past now,” Guptill said. “In the last World Cup, I think I was our top run-scorer in the T20 World Cup. I can draw some on that experience and that confidence that I’ve been able to do that before. So, I’m just looking forward to going out and doing my thing and just making sure I’m as positive as I can be at the top of the order.

Guptill has tuned up for the tournament with 30 off 20 balls against Australia and 41 off 20 balls against England in the warm-ups at the Tolerance Oval.

“I feel not too bad to be honest,” Guptill said. “Nice to spend a little bit of time in the middle although I faced only 20 balls in each of the three games (including the unofficial warm-up against Netherlands). So, it will be nice to push on through that, but at the end of the day my role is to get the team off to a good start and I feel I did it in those three games.”

In New Zealand’s warm-up against Netherlands, Guptill captained the side after regular captain Kane Williamson was rested for that fixture because of a niggly hamstring. Guptill said he relished leading the side and being a senior figure in the set-up.

“I feel like I’ve been a senior figure in the side for a while now,” he said. “I’ve played over 300-odd games for New Zealand, so there’s a few miles in the legs there. But, no, it is enjoyable. I did enjoy captaining the other day – it was a little bit different. I haven’t done it for a few years since I last did at the CPL (for Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2017). So, now to put the armband back on and just have a crack at it, albeit in a warm-up game, that was enjoyable.”

“There are a couple of teams there we haven’t played before and we haven’t played Scotland in a long time. So, it’s going to be a tough pool, but also a great challenge for us as well.”

Martin Guptill

Win the powerplay (as the batting side) and win the game has been the recent trend in Sharjah after the pitches were relaid ahead of the second leg of IPL 2021. Guptill cautioned New Zealand against going too hard or too slow during the field restrictions as they prepare for their tournament opener against Pakistan in Sharjah.

“Our [openers’] role is to go out there and get the team off to a good start,” he said. “We’re trying to do the best we can throughout the tournament and, obviously, trends from Sharjah for our first game haven’t been that high-scoring. We have to adapt our game to still be positive, but still look to score some runs off the powerplay.”

Guptill was wary of facing Namibia and Scotland who have made it to the tournament proper. While New Zealand had come up against Scotland in 2009 – Guptill was part of that team too in the 2009 T20 World Cup – they have never faced Namibia and Afghanistan in T20Is.

“Yes, it’s not going to be easy,” Guptill said. “There are a couple of teams there we haven’t played before and we haven’t played Scotland in a long time. So, we’ve got to sit down a bit at meetings and go through footage and watch those teams. Obviously, Afghanistan have got some match-winners in their line-up as well. So, it’s going to be a tough pool, but also a great challenge for us as well. You know we’re really looking forward to get stuck in and getting into the tournament.”

Guptill also said that New Zealand haven’t let the bubble life get to them by finding various ways to keep themselves engaged, in the lead-up to the World Cup.

‘I can tell you we’ve got some pretty heated table tennis going on and I’m a way down the board, but I can still hear it,” Guptill said. “It can go up to sort of midnight-1am at certain times, but we’re obviously exposed to foosball tables and dartboards that have turned up in the last couple of days as well. The boys are keeping their minds fresh and getting amongst each other and there’s some coffee drinks going around as well.

“So, we’re keeping fresh, not thinking about cricket too much. But now that cricket is on, the boys are getting stuck in and watching that as well. I had about five-six guys in my room yesterday (Saturday) for about half an hour or so watching the Australia-South Africa game. So, [it’s] nice to have a few guys around so we’re not sitting by ourselves.”

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Under-19 World Cup 2022 – Yash Dhull bowlers help India start with win Zimbabwe crush PNG by 228 runs

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India 232 (Dhull 82, Tambe 35, Boast 3-40) beat South Africa 187 (Brevis 65, Ostwal 5-28, Bawa 4-47) by 45 runs

India’s captain Yash Dhull impressed with his batting and catching to help his side seal a 45-run win over South Africa. However, the game was closer than what the scorecard would suggest, with South Africa capitulating in the final third of the chase. And making most of their collapse was left-arm spinner Vicky Ostwal, who took three lower-order wickets to finish with 5 for 28.
In pursuit of 233, South Africa needed 100 to win in the last 15 overs with seven wickets in hand. At that stage, both Dewald Brevis, who top-scored with 65, and captain George Van Heerden were set at the crease. But South Africa went on to lose their next five wickets for only 20 runs, a collapse triggered by Brevis’ dismissal.
Nicknamed ‘Baby AB’, No. 3 Brevis showed off his range of shots with six fours and two sixes, but was caught by Dhull while diving forward at mid-off off right-arm seamer Raj Bawa. Bawa, who had conceded 17 runs in his first over, was bowling his second spell when he prised out Brevis’ wicket in the 36th over, and followed it up with Van Heerden’s dismissal, eventually finishing with 4 for 47.

However, Bawa was not the standout bowler. India’s bowling effort was controlled by their two left-arm spinners Nishant Sindhu and Ostwal. Although Sindhu went wicketless, he conceded only 22 runs in his quota of ten overs, while Ostwal’s five-wicket haul came at an economy of 2.80.

South Africa’s chase had started off with opener Ethan-John Cunningham out lbw to a beautiful length delivery from seamer Rajvardhan Hangargekar. It nipped in and trapped Cunningham while he shouldered arms. Ostwal then removed the dangerous-looking Valentine Kitime for 25 with a ball spinning away that took the right-hander’s outside edge to wicketkeeper Dinesh Bana, and took his second when Gerhardus Maree edged another one behind.

Brevis and Van Heerden then began South Africa’s recovery from a score of 83 for 3, but consumed too many dots, scoring just 55 runs in a partnership that lasted 91 deliveries. Most of those overs were bowled by the two left-arm spinners who put in the choke. Yet, with seven wickets standing and the required run rate a manageable 6.67 in the last 15 overs, it was still doable for South Africa.

That is when Bawa got in their way to remove Brevis. Ostwal too returned, rattlling Michael Copeland’s stumps, and going on to dismiss Kadence Sullivan and Matthew Boast as well. Dhull, earlier India’s hero with the bat, took the final catch in the 46th over to complete India’s 45-run victory.

But during India’s innings, South Africa’s left-arm seamer Aphiwe Mnyanda had given his side a promising start. He got both openers Harnoor Singh and Angkrish Raghuvanshi lbw early on, taking advantage of the moisture that was around following some pre-match rain.

At 11 for 2, Dhull joined his vice-captain Shaik Rasheed, who scored 31, and despite the early jolts, batted positively to keep the scoreboard ticking with a 71-run third-wicket stand.

Dhull played exquisite cuts off the back foot, and crunched cover drives through the gaps to balls that had width. And when the No. 5 Sindhu began with a flurry of boundaries, Dhull briefly took the back seat, but the partnership broke when Sindhu was stumped off Copeland for a 25-ball 27.

At that stage, India were 126 for 4 in the 27th over, but Dhull was growing in confidence after going past fifty. He struck 11 fours in all and looked set for a century, offering no real chance to the South Africa bowlers. But that changed in the 39th over when he looked for a single that wasn’t there, and while trying to turn back, was out via a direct hit from point.

Kaushal Tambe then took over, contributing 35 after a slow start to his innings. However, he was out while trying to cut to point off Boast. Next ball, Boast took his third when Hangargekar fell for a duck with India in danger of not batting the entire 50 overs. And that is what ultimately happened when Ostwal chipped a half-tracker back to legspinner Brevis with India’s score at 232.

In the end, though, the 19 deliveries that India did not face did not end up hurting them. Their superior run rate on a two-paced and spinning surface proved too much for South Africa.

United Arab Emirates 284 for 7 (Naseer 73, Mehra 71, Gurnek 2-38) beat Canada 235 (Mihir 96, Chima 46, Giyanani 2-10) by 49 runs

Group A started off with United Arab Emirates riding on the back of seventies from Punya Mehra and Ali Naseer to defeat Canada by 49 runs in Basseterre.
Batting first, they put on 70 for the fifth wicket after UAE were 104 for 4 at one stage, and once Mehra was out for 71, Naseer brought out the big shots, including four sixes and five fours, to score 73 in just 50 deliveries. He combined with Nilansh Keswani, who scored 39, in a 69-run sixth-wicket stand as UAE added 92 runs in the last nine-and-a-half overs before Naseer was the last man out in the final over with the total at 284.
Canada had three significant batting contributions, with their captain Mihir Patel leading from the front with a 105-ball 96, while opener Anoop Chima made 46 and No. 8 Kairav Sharma scored 43. But with only one other batter crossing double digits, they fell well short, bowled out for 235 in the 47th over.
Keswani contributed with the ball too, taking 2 for 32 with his left-arm spin. Legspinner Adithya Shetty grabbed two middle-order wickets, and seam-bowling allrounder Alishan Sharafu dismissed Mihir and Kairav.

Zimbabwe 321 for 9 (Bawa 100, D Bennett 58, Kevau 3-65) beat Papua New Guinea 93 (Maha 15, Chirwa 2-11, B Bennett 2-20) by 228 runs

In Port of Spain, a century from their captain Emmanuel Bawa and a collective effort from the bowlers helped Zimbabwe crush Papua New Guinea by 228 runs.
Batting first, Bawa’s 95-ball 100 – that included ten fours and two sixes – set the tone for others around him to help Zimbabwe post 321. Opener Panashe Taruvinga scored a patient 36, but the rest of the batters went at a much quicker clip. David Bennett scored 58 in 53 balls, Brian Bennett struck a quick-fire 23, Connor Mitchell smacked a run-a-ball 35 and, in the death overs, No. 10 Victor Chirwa cracked a 16-ball 35. Albeit expensive, PNG’s Rasan Kevau took three wickets in ten overs.

In response, however, PNG were all out for 93 in 35 overs, their highest partnership reading 23 and their highest individual score being 15. Ngenyasha Zvinoera, Brian Bennett and Chirwa took two wickets each, with one apiece from Tendekai Mataranyika and Mitchell.

Ireland 236 for 9 (Cox 111*, Rouz 32, Baguma 2-34) beat Uganda 197 (Murungi 63, Miyaji 38, Humphreys 4-25) by 39 runs

In the other Group B match of the day, Ireland’s wicketkeeper-batter Joshua Cox struck an unbeaten 111 to set up a 39-run win over Uganda. Uganda rode on their captain Pascal Murungi‘s innings of 63 to stay in contention of the 237-run target, but eventually fell short as a result of four wickets from Ireland’s left-arm spinner Matthew Humphreys.

Batting first, Ireland had lost four wickets before even crossing 100, but Cox’s 59-run fifth-wicket stand with Philippus le Roux, who got 32, started their recovery. Even though wickets fell around him, Cox at No. 4 stayed undefeated in an innings of eight fours and one six to take Ireland to 236 in the end.

In the chase, Humphreys began Uganda’s downfall with two wickets in third over, dismissing both openers cheaply. In the 29th over, he got Pius Olaba to reduce Uganda to 97 for 6. And with Murungi being the lone man standing between Ireland and a win, Humphreys sent him back too in the 42nd over with an lbw. Even though Juna Miyaji hit a 21-ball 38 from No. 9 for Uganda, Ireland seamer Muzamil Sherzad returned in his last spell to clean up the last two wickets to give Ireland the two points.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx



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Pat Cummins eager for clarity over Justin Langer’s contract

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The coach is not certain to get a new deal despite T20 World Cup and Ashes success

Pat Cummins is keen to have clarity on Justin Langer‘s contract status beyond this summer’s Ashes, insisting Australia’s Test side “absolutely love” their coach.

The future of Langer, who comes off contract in mid-2022 and has made it clear he is keen to continue, remains an unresolved talking point.

Langer came under intense pressure to keep his job last year, when Cummins and other on-field leaders delivered forthright feedback about dressing-room disgruntlement.

The former Test opener changed his ways, adopting more of a low-key role as Australia went on to win the Twenty20 World Cup and retain the urn. But there remains speculation Cricket Australia will opt to move Langer on.

Cummins, asked about Langer after Australia claimed an unassailable 3-0 lead in their five-Test series against England, bluntly replied that “his contract is up for renewal in a few months and we’ll deal with that then”.

He struck a more diplomatic note in Hobart, speaking after his four-wicket haul helped Australia claim a first-innings lead of 115 runs in the fifth and final Ashes Test.

“That’s above my pay grade. We’ll wait and see, it’d be nice to have clarity for everyone,” Cummins said. “But he’s been doing a fantastic job, we absolutely love JL.

“He’s been really great through the World Cup and the Ashes. Honestly, it’s not been a talking point at all within the camp.

“The plan has always been to chat about it after the Ashes, so the powers that be, I’m sure, will chat at some stage. But he’s been fantastic for us and the boys love having him around.”

CA chief executive Nick Hockley and high-performance boss Ben Oliver are yet to set a definitive timeline around the call on Langer, likewise a final decision on potentially splitting the role by installing separate white-ball and red-ball mentors.

But the growing expectation is the elephant in the room will be addressed soon after the Ashes series finale. Oliver noted last month that CA will take player feedback on board before resolving Langer’s future.

Former captain Steve Waugh, who worked under Langer as a consultant during the 2019 Ashes, offered strong support for his former team-mate on social media.

“Position in doubt? Influenced the culture and character of the team after the Cape Town debacle,” Waugh posted on Instagram. “Coached the team to a winning World Cup 20/20 and now to a commanding Ashes victory. Time to put the rumours and innuendo to rest. #respect #culture #character.”

Other former team-mates of Langer have also offered their support in recent days with Shane Warne questioning why he had not already had his deal renewed.

“I don’t know what everyone’s waiting for,” Warne told Fox Cricket. “He should be signed up in my opinion because he’s done such a good job.

“We’re not inside the dressing room, so we don’t know all the inside-outs, but I think the only way we can judge a coach is from the performances and has Australian cricket got better? Is the better of cricket better domestically? Is there a group of players? There’s probably three or four players outside this squad now that could all play and that wasn’t there a couple of years ago.”

Australia do not have much of a break in their schedule after the Ashes with limited-overs matches against New Zealand and Sri Lanka from late January to mid-February.

That is then followed by the tour of Pakistan, Australia’s first to the country since 1998, which also falls within Langer’s current contract. There will be the need to split coaches during that period with a brief T20I series in New Zealand during March, the same situation that was set to occur last season before the South Africa tour was postponed.



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Recent Match Report – South Z (BD) vs Cent Z (BD) Final 2021/22

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Bowlers, Al-Amin shine as Central beat South by six wickets after bowling them out for 163

Central Zone 164 for four (Al-Amin 53 not out, Mizanur 39, Ahmed 3 for 32) beat South Zone 163 all out (Pinak 35) by six wickets

Central Zone completed a domestic double after they beat South Zone by six wickets in the BCL One-Day final held at the Sylhet International Stadium on Saturday. Central Zone took 42.3 overs to chase down 164 in the low-scoring tournament.

Asked to bat first, South Zone were bowled out for 163 runs in 48.5 overs. They gave away a good start as they slipped to 99 for four after Anamul Haque and Pinak Ghosh added 51 for the opening stand. Nahidul Islam’s 31 took them past the 150-mark.

In reply, Soumya and Mizanur Rahman helped Central Zone get off to a brisk start. The duo added 65 for the opening stand in 12.1 overs. Al-Amin Hossain followed it up with an unbeaten 53, adding 88 runs for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Mosaddek, who remained unbeaten on 33.

Captain Mosaddek was later adjudged the Player-of-the-Match and the Player-of-the-Series for scoring 148 runs and taking six wickets in the tournament. Imrul Kayes was the only batter to score more than 150 runs in the competition while Soumya was one of the four bowlers to take seven wickets.

Earlier this month, Central Zone had won the BCL first-class competition after they beat South Zone by four wickets in a tense final day.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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