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Recent Match Report – Scotland vs Namibia 21st Match, Group 2 2021/22




After losing three wickets in four balls to begin the match, Scotland could post only an under-par 109

Namibia 115 for 6 (Smit 32*, Williams 23, Leask 2-12) beat Scotland 109 for 8 (Leask 44, Greaves 25, Trumpelmann 3-17, Frylinck 2-10) by four wickets

After countless clashes played in relative obscurity, two Associates gunning to go one up on the other came head to head in low, slow Abu Dhabi on the world stage. The setting may have been slightly unfamiliar, but the same couldn’t have been said about the compelling nature of the contest.

After being blown away by Afghanistan spinners two nights ago, Scotland were snuffed out by a succession of left-arm swing and medium pace that Namibia threw up on Wednesday. But they made a terrific fist of it courtesy their spin trio, before JJ Smit and David Wiese put together a crucial partnership to eke out a tight win.

Namibia now have three wins on the bounce, having started the Super 12s in a thumping fashion. Scotland will need to regroup ahead of potentially three of their toughest clashes, against New Zealand, Pakistan and India.

Trumpelmann’s early magic
Late inswing: check. Ball holding its line across: check. Short ball into the ribcage: check. Hard length into the pitch: check. An assortment of these combined to deliver three wickets in the first four balls of the match. George Munsey was out chopping on, Calum MacLeod nicking one he poked at and Richie Berrington, standing in for the injured Kyle Coetzer, taken out by late inswing. It made Ruben Trumpelmann the first bowler to take three wickets in the opening over of a T20I game.

Cross, Leask revive Scotland
Over the past three weeks, Scotland have often spoken about playing an attacking brand of cricket. At 2 for 3, could they really take a chance though? Matthew Cross and Michael Leask weathered the early storm and saw off the eventful powerplay that Scotland finished on 22 for 4, the second-lowest this World Cup behind Papua New Guinea’s 17 for 4 against Bangladesh.

Cross was far from fluent but dug in to give Leask support and the two added 39 to move on from that seismic shocks early on. Much of the runs in the stand came from Leask, who used the long handle effectively to pepper the short straight and leg-side boundary on one side. Cross, in trying to follow suit, perished to Jan Frylinck after missing a straight length delivery he backed away to slap over cover.

Namibia’s superb death overs
The secret of Namibia’s success with the ball lay in being boring and robotic with their tactics: stump-to-stump, cutters into the pitch, pace off and trying to bowl away from hitting arcs. It’s a different matter that the batters weren’t able to attack enough because of the early meltdown. Namibia’s excellent death bowling courtesy Wiese and Frylinck – they didn’t concede a single boundary in the last 25 balls – meant Scotland, despite Leask’s enterprise and the odd big hits from Chris Greaves, ended with a below-par total. They managed just 13 off the last three overs.

Namibia tread caution with the bat
Namibia openers Craig Williams and Michael van Lingen started slowly, the first 27 balls producing no boundaries off the bat as Scotland kept it tight. Pace off was working well, but their first attempt at bowling seam-ups and short in the mid-120kph led to two successive fours as van Lingen followed a thumping pull shot to the long boundary with a ferocious slap down the ground. But he perished in trying to force the pace as Safyaan Sharif got him to slice a pull to extra cover. His first two overs went for just five with Namibia ending the powerplay on 29 for 1.

Scotland’s spin trio strange Namibia
In trying to milk runs instead of going for broke, Namibia allowed Scotland a shoe in, and their spinners made quite a fist of it. A fine cocktail of Mark Watt’s skiddy left-arm spin and Leask’s loopy offbreaks led to a few flutters in the Namibian camp, after Greaves removed Zane Green at the halfway mark.

Green didn’t pick the googly and sliced a straight hit to Munsey at long-off, leaving Namibia needing 54 from the last ten overs with eight wickets in hand. But Leask left his mark seven balls later when he deceived Gerhard Erasmus with dip and turn to spin past a wild swing. Williams was brilliantly stumped after running down to Watt. At 67 for 4 in the 12th over, it was game on.

Wiese, Smit allay pressure
Scotland appeared to have had control, but in tying down Namibia with spin in the middle, Berrington look to get one over of Sharif out of the way. But with dew taking effect, the ball slid on, allowing Smit and Wiese to pick off crucial runs as the pair added 35 in 31 balls to ensure the asking rate never spiralled out of hand. Eighteen runs came from overs 15th and 16th, at which point the wheels appeared to have fallen. Wiese fell in trying to finish it off quickly, but by then he had done enough to close out the game. Namibia won eventually with five balls to spare with Smith scything a full ball from Sharif to the point boundary for six to seal the deal.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Recent Match Report – Barishal vs Dhaka 5th Match 2021/22




Shakib Al Hasan becomes the fifth bowler to take 400 wickets in T20 cricket

Minister Group Dhaka 130 for 6 (Mahmudullah 47, Russell 31*, Shafiul 2-20) beat Fortune Barishal 129 for 8 (Gayle 36, Russell 2-27, Udana 2-29) by four wickets

How the match played out
Andre Russell was in his element, following up figures of 2 for 27 with an unbeaten 31 off 15 balls, as Minister Group Dhaka beat Fortune Barishal by four wickets in Mirpur. This was Dhaka’s first win in three matches in BPL 2022 and Russell’s first major contribution this season.
Chasing 130, Dhaka were in early trouble at 10 for 4 in the third over. Left-arm quick Shafiqul Islam bowled Tamim Iqbal in the first over of their chase before Alzarri Joseph dismissed both Mohammad Naim and Jahurul Islam in the second over. When Shafiqul bowled Mohammad Shahzad in the next over, Dhaka were tottering.
Mahmudullah and Shuvagata Hom then steadied things with a 69-run fifth-wicket stand before Russell did what he does best: close out games with his big hits. Shakib Al Hasan, however, gave Barishal a reason to celebrate: he became only the fifth bowler to take 400 T20 wickets.

Earlier, Barishal had slipped to 23 for 3 in the powerplay, when they lost Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shykat Ali and Towhid Hridoy. The experienced pair of Shakib (23) and Chris Gayle (36) then added a semblance of respectability to their innings. But neither could convert it into a bigger knock, which left Barishal at 94 for 6 in the 16th over. Dwayne Bravo’s unbeaten 26-ball 33 then dragged the side to 129 for 8.

All six of Dhaka’s bowlers were among the wickets, with Isuru Udana and Russell taking two each. Meanwhile, Rubel Hossain, Hom and Hasan Murad all bowled economical spells.

Big hit
Russell’s big blows – a four and a six clobbered through square-leg off Joseph – gave Dhaka a huge sigh of relief. It ensured Dhaka were in touch with the asking rate before Russell rushed them to victory with a six and a brace of fours off Taijul Islam in the 17th over.

Dhaka captain Mahmudullah provided Russell great support at the other end, scoring a run-a-ball 47. He struck three fours and a six before he became Shakib’s 400th victim in T20 cricket.

Barishal made a decent fist of their defence, thanks to Shafiqul who bowled with good pace and a bit of movement with the new ball. He was well-supported by Joseph before Russell lined up his West Indies team-mate.

Big miss
Tamim missed out for the first time in three matches, getting out for a second-ball duck in this game. Dhaka’s top four managed only single-digit scores of 0,5,4,0. It could be an alarming sign for Naim and Jahurul who are yet to make a sizeable contribution this season.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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Zimbabwe cricket – Brendan Taylor says he faces ICC ban for delay in reporting approach




Former Zimbabwe captain says cocaine involved in trap laid by alleged corruptors

Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has revealed that the ICC is about to “impose a multi-year ban” on his international career after he allegedly delayed reporting a corrupt approach “by an Indian businessman”. Taylor had met with the businessman in October 2019 after being asked “to discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe”.
Taylor delayed reporting that meeting in India because, he said, he wanted to protect his family. He describes substance abuse having taken place during that meeting in a statement on Twitter, which he says led to him being allegedly blackmailed. The men he had met, Taylor said, stormed into his hotel room the next day, and threatened to release video of the substance abuse unless he carried out spot-fixing for them. He was given USD 15,000 – which he said he took to flee India – and told it was a deposit for a future payment once the fix was carried out.

“It took me 4 months to report this offence and interaction to the ICC,” Taylor said. “I acknowledge this was too long of a time but I thought I could protect everyone and in particular, my family. I approached the ICC on my own terms and I hoped that if I explained my predicament, my genuine fear for our safety and wellbeing, that they would understand the delay.

“Unfortunately, they did not, but I cannot feign ignorance in this regard. I have attended many anti-corruption seminars over the years and we know that time is of the essence when making reports.”

Taylor also said he had “never been involved in any form of match-fixing. I may be many things but I am not a cheat. My love for the beautiful game of cricket far outweighs and surpasses any threats which could be thrown my way.”

The ICC has yet to comment on Taylor’s statement, and if he does – as he said – face a ban on his international cricket career, it’s worth noting he does not have much of one at the moment: in September last year he retired from international cricket, after a 17-year career.

Taylor’s statement does reveal, however, some of the difficulties in playing for Zimbabwe, which led to him eventually being prescribed a strong anti-psychotic medication. He said that at the time of the incident he hadn’t been paid by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) for six months “and it was questionable whether Zimbabwe would be able to continue playing in the international arena”.

Another former Zimbabwe captain, Heath Streak, was banned by the ICC for breaches of the anti-corruption code in April 2021. Streak was coach of the side during the World Cup qualifiers in Harare in 2018 and revealed in a recent interview with The Cricket Monthly that the coaching team had agreed to forfeit pay during that period, hoping that if Zimbabwe qualified, the ICC prize money for doing so would enable payments to be made eventually. Zimbabwe did not qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

“I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and to get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point.”

Brendan Taylor

Taylor revealed that he will be “checking into a rehabilitation centre” from January 25th in order to deal with the substance abuse.

“I will admit that the past two years have been incredibly challenging, both personally and professionally and it is from absolute rock bottom that I am trying to climb out of this mess I made. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive of me and it is clear to me now that I have a much bigger problem which for some time has needed addressing.

“And so, I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and to get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point. But for many weeks I will be away and trying to get better.

“l owe it to myself and to my family to get clean and to put them first. I have let a substance take control of me and impair my vision, my morals and my values and it is time that I prioritise what really matters.”

Taylor captained Zimbabwe in 71 games between 2011 and 2021 across the three formats. He was full-time captain between mid-2011 and mid 2014, before Zimbabwe went the split captaincy route and Taylor remained in charge only in Test cricket. Then, at the end of the 2015 World Cup, he retired from internationals and went to the UK on a Kolpak deal aged 29. In late 2017, he ended his Kolpak deal and returned to Zimbabwean cricket.

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ICC awards – Babar Azam and Joe Root take ICC men’s honours for 2021




Babar was named the ODI cricketer of the year, while Root bagged the Test award after making six centuries from 15 matches

Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain, has been named the ICC men’s ODI cricketer of the year for 2021, while England Test captain Joe Root bagged the award for men’s Test cricketer of the year.
Babar’s 158 in the third ODI against England at Edgbaston during the summer was instrumental in him winning the award.

With the series already lost, Pakistan were left to fight for World Cup Super League points, and Babar built on a solid foundation to bring up his career-best score. The knock, however, ended up in a losing cause due to a century stand between James Vince and Lewis Gregory.

Overall, Babar featured in just six ODIs in 2021, finishing with 405 runs at an average of 67.50.

“The best innings of the year if you ask me of the year, it’s this one. It’s the best innings of my career,” Babar said of his knock. “I was struggling a bit, I needed a knock like that and it gave me a lot of confidence.”

Meanwhile, Root’s splendid batting year that fetched him 1708 runs in 15 Tests with six centuries, played a key role in him bagging the Test honours.

Root’s purple patch started right at the start in Sri Lanka, where made a stunning double-century on a Galle turner, and followed that with prolific returns against India, both home and away. With the ball too, Root chipped in with 14 wickets including a maiden Test five-for against India in Ahmedabad.

Root’s numbers stood out amid a poor run from England, as they lost to India both home and away, and finished the year with two losses in Australia. England eventually lost the Ashes 4-0.

The knock that stood out was his 128 that helped England begin their India tour with a win in Chennai in February. He batted for 377 deliveries to craft 218 as England’s imposing first-innings total helped set the tone for a 227-run win.

“The Chennai hundred sticks out, to get it in my hundredth game will live long in may memory,” Root said. “Incredibly proud to have received this award. Humbled to be in the same breath as a number of players around the world. It means a huge amount to get this award.”

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