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Recent Match Report – Australia vs England 26th Match, Group 1 2021/22

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England are on the brink of a semi-final spot at the T20 World Cup

England 126 for 2 (Buttler 71*) beat Australia 125 (Finch 44, Jordan 3-17) by eight wickets

Never mind the Ashes, Australia’s T20I team was reduced to rubble in Dubai, as England maintained their hot streak in the T20 World Cup Super 12s. Chris Woakes produced another incisive display of fast bowling in the powerplay before Jos Buttler did pretty much as he pleased during an innings of 71 from 32 balls. The chase of 125 was a formality, achieved with more than eight overs to spare.
If the game wasn’t decided by the toss – teams batting second have now won 12 out of 14 Super 12 encounters at this World Cup – it effectively was by new-ball spells from Woakes, who finished with 2 for 23, and Chris Jordan (3 for 17). Australia limped to 21 for 3 at the end of the powerplay, and although they managed something of a recovery from 41 for 4 at halfway, their total looked severely under par.

Australia’s lower order had in fact managed to plunder 50 from the last four overs of their innings, and the ball continued to fly to all parts as Buttler and Jason Roy got the England reply going. They raced to 66 for 0 from the first six overs – the highest powerplay score of the tournament so far – before Buttler and Jonny Bairstow finished the contest in a blaze of sixes, sending England clear at the top of Group 1 and to the brink of a semi-final spot.

0:52

WATCH - England outplay Australia by a mile

WATCH – England outplay Australia by a mile

Woakes bosses the powerplay (again)

In 2020, England’s attack had a powerplay problem, managing 10 wickets in 11 innings at an average of 60.00. In this tournament, they have picked up 10 from three at an average of 7.90, to go with an economy of 4.38. Their opponents’ scores after six overs have read: 31 for 4, 27 for 3 and now 21 for 3.

The return of Woakes, who did not play a T20I for almost six years between 2015 and June this year, has been a big factor in their increased potency. He struck with his second ball in this match, a sharp lifter finding David Warner’s outside edge – a dismissal reminiscent the opener’s early exit during the 2019 World Cup semi-final – and then pinned Glenn Maxwell dead in front during his second over. In between he claimed an acrobatic overhead catch to help remove Steven Smith.

An opening spell of 3-0-7-2 took Woakes’ returns during the powerplay in the UAE to 4 for 29 from eight overs. With Jordan, bowling with the new ball for the first time at the tournament and picking up 1 for 6 from his two, England fully capitalised on bowling first on a slightly grassy surface and were able to dictate the pace of game from there on.

Shuffling the deck

England played an unchanged team for the third match running, but there was an immediate switch of approach with the ball, as Adil Rashid was preferred to Moeen Ali as the spinner to open the bowling. Although Warner took first strike, the match-up England were looking for was Rashid against Finch – the Australia captain came into this game having been dismissed seven times by legspin this year.
In the event, Rashid’s exploratory over gave way to a diet of seam bowling, but he returned to dismiss Marcus Stoinis with the first ball of the seventh over. With Finch, who has a domineering record against offspin, batting through to the 18th over, Moeen wasn’t used at all – but Liam Livingstone stepped in to deliver a full four-over allocation for the first time in T20Is. With Livingstone able to switch between leg- and offspin, he kept a lid on Australia during the middle overs, finishing as England’s most economical bowler while deceiving Matthew Wade with a flighted delivery that tempted a mis-hit to long-on.

Early success meant Eoin Morgan could save Tymal Mills for the second half of the innings – and although he was expensive, finishing with 2 for 45 from his four overs, Australia had sustained too much damage to be able to mount an effective recovery as conditions for batting eased. Finch battled through before finally falling to an excellent Bairstow catch in the 19th over, 44 off 49 his slowest T20I innings of more than 14 balls.

Buoyant Buttler

England’s chase was more of a saunter. Needing barely a run a ball, the openers quickly stamped their mark on proceedings. Roy charged Josh Hazlewood’s first ball, swatting four through mid-on, and then creamed Pat Cummins into the stands in the third over – Australia had taken until the 17th before they managed to clear the ropes. Buttler did the same to Ashton Agar, brought in for this game as a specialist bowling option but soon on a hiding to nothing.

Roy fell to Adam Zampa’s second ball after the powerplay, trapped lbw on review (one of the few things that went Finch’s way). But Buttler responded by smashing 4-4-6-1-2-4 off Mitchell Starc and Zampa, bringing up a 25-ball half-century in the ninth over; soon it became a range-hitting exercise, with one of Buttler’s blows measuring 105 metres. England needed 29 from 66 when Agar had Dawid Malan caught behind for 8, and the end came swiftly after, a third thumping win in a row for Morgan’s side.

Never mind the Ashes, England have the T20 World Cup firmly in their sights.

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick



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Recent Match Report – Gladiators vs Delhi Bulls Final 2021/22

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Reinvented as an opener, Russell dominates 159-run stand with Tom Kohler-Cadmore

Deccan Gladiators 159 for 0 (Russell 90*, Kohler-Cadmore 59*) beat Delhi Bulls 103 for 7 (Hemraj 42) by 56 runs

Once he gets going, there is quite simply no stopping him. Dynamic, powerful and with the ability to hit sixes at will; a revolutionary, a game-changer. Andre Russell has helped to redefine the scope of short-format batting in and of itself, with his ability to fuse his natural strength with the sheer level of skill that he has developed over time.

With an astonishing 90 not out off 32 deliveries, ‘Dre Russ’ saved his very best till last to secure a first-ever Abu Dhabi T10 title for the Deccan Gladiators in devastating style, as they thrashed the Delhi Bulls in the tournament’s final.

Alongside Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who smashed 59 not out off 28 himself, the pair put up 159 without loss in their ten overs, with an exhibition-like batting display. There could have been no better moment to score the highest total of the T10 season, as they battered the ball all around the Zayed Cricket Ground.
For the second successive day and the fourth time in the tournament, the Bulls fell short against a Gladiators outfit, led expertly by Wahab Riaz. Dwayne Bravo’s side’s wait for a first T10 title continues after another final defeat, to add to their loss in February.

For much of his career, Russell has played the finisher role better than anyone else. It took the Gladiators until the last game of the league phase of the Abu Dhabi T10 to recognise that the nature of the 10-over format meant that leaving Russell in the middle order risked wasting their single most valuable resource.

For nine of the ten games, Russell came in to bat at No. 3 or below. Yes, the Gladiators were winning, but their prized asset and his qualities were yet to be truly exploited. After 43 not out in the first game, scores of 0, 9*, 4, 3, 3*, 4*, 22 and 4 indicated of a man that wasn’t really getting the chance to get going and do what he had done in franchise leagues all around the world.

On Wednesday against the Bangla Tigers, knowing that qualification into the play-offs was secured, they sent him in to open alongside Kohler-Cadmore. Together, the pair put on 128 but it was Kohler-Cadmore who took centre stage with 96. Russell played an uncharacteristic back-up role with 26 not out but Wahab hailed his attacking intent.

“It was about giving much more time and opportunity to someone like Andre [Russell],” he explained. “He’s shown across the world that he’s not just a batter who bats the last three or four overs. He may not have got many runs but his intent was there and at the end of the day, he puts pressure on the bowler because he is Andre Russell.”

That fact alone was the difference on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi, as Russell epitomised exactly why he is revered across the cricketing world and exactly why the Kolkata Knight Riders chose to retain him ahead of the IPL auction.

On Friday night against the Bulls, with a place in the final on the line, Russell blitzed 39 off 14, before dismissing both Eoin Morgan and Dwayne Bravo to seal their place in the final. On Saturday, he went one better with a ruthless clinic of hitting, smashing nine fours and seven sixes.

There was no hint of mercy, not least for his fellow West Indians. Each of Bravo, Ravi Rampaul, Dominic Drakes and Romario Shepherd were sent all over the park; Drakes went into the final as the joint highest wicket-taker, but went wicketless and was ultimately dispatched for 33 off his two overs.

Instead, Wanindu Hasaranga took home the prize for most wickets, after picking up the prized scalps of Morgan and a well-set Chandrapaul Hemraj. That was after Odean Smith had made early inroads, getting rid of the in-form Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Sherfane Rutherford in his first over.
Smith is a 25-year-old who possesses Russell-like traits with his ruthless six-hitting ability, his knack of striking with the ball and not least, his Jamaican heritage. Tymal Mills was brought on by Wahab to perform the last rites and with the dismissal of Drakes and Bravo, he finished with figures of two wickets for just four runs in his two overs.

It was fitting that the man of the night, would have the final say. With a searing yorker off the last-ball of the Bulls chase, Russell cleaned up the stumps of Shepherd to start the party for the Gladiators. He roared with delight and his first embrace was a jubilant one with his captain Wahab, before he was lofted up joyously by his fellow teammates. “In a relaxed environment, you get to be you and express yourself,” Russell said. Express himself, he did.

Michael Atherton once wrote that “if you were constructing a perfect prototype of a Twenty20 cricketer in a laboratory, Andre Russell, the Jamaican allrounder, would serve as an ideal template. He is physically imposing, a brutal hitter of the ball, a bowler of waspish pace and a brilliant all-round fielder”. His finishing act to conclude Season 5 of the Abu Dhabi T10 certified his standing in the game as one of the all-time greats.

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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Sacked staff seek legal action after purge

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The 16 members of Yorkshire’s coaching and backroom staff who were sacked this week are expected to seek legal advice on Monday, as a club that has long specialised in internal strife braces itself for the deepest crisis in its history.
Even allowing for the widespread acceptance that change at Yorkshire was necessary in the wake of Azeem Rafiq‘s allegations of institutional racism, the purge of the club’s coaching and medical staff has left many in the county in a state of shock. Where there was briefly talk of a brave new world of inclusivity and enlightenment, there is now more division, hurt and punishment. Legal action, or potential pay-offs running into millions of pounds, and player departures in protest are all possible outcomes as the affair spirals out of control.
The charge levelled against many of the 16 sacked staff members is that they jointly wrote a letter to the Yorkshire board on October 14. In that letter, seen by ESPNcricinfo, they deplored the reputational damage being done to the club, questioned why Rafiq’s claims had not been rebutted, and further accused Rafiq of being “on a one-man mission to bring down the club and, with it, people of genuine integrity”. They spoke of the “grossly unfair” criticism of the former chief executive, Mark Arthur, and director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, and said that the allegations were “having a profound effect on us all, physically, emotionally and psychologically”.

The letter makes no concessions as to Yorkshire’s treatment of Rafiq, who told ESPNcricinfo last year that he had been driven “to the brink of suicide” during his time at the club; in fact, it doubles down on his reputation as a troublemaker (“problematic in the dressing room and a complete liability off the field”), and seeks to defend the name of Yorkshire cricket and the “White Rose” culture that Rafiq called into question during his emotional testimony to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee last month.

For the likes of Lord Kamlesh Patel, the county’s new chairman, and the ECB – for whom the Yorkshire crisis is a direct threat to their attempts to promote diversity and to ensure that the game is universally recognised as offering fair opportunities for all – this private appeal to the board appears now to have regarded as evidence of an unwillingness to change. However, in the event of legal action, it may fall well short of constituting gross misconduct.

The best-known names on the redundancy roll are the club’s coach, Andrew Gale, and the director of cricket, Moxon, who has been a popular character in Yorkshire cricket for most of the past 40 years, and who was on sick leave before his sacking. Moxon has been deeply affected by general allegations of racism, and there is general fury within Yorkshire cricket circles that despite his illness, he was labelled “a coward” by Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS committee, for not appearing before their investigation last month.
Among the other casualties are Paul Grayson, the batting coach who returned to the club less than three years ago, when Rafiq had already left, and so can hardly be implicated in his allegations; and Dr Nigel Mayers, the club’s medical officer, who has served the club for 40 years and who has committed much of his life to working in Kirkstall, a diverse Leeds ward. Wayne Morton, head of sports science and medicine, has gone, too – a man who once had to be pulled out of the crowd at Scarborough for his own safety after confronting a group of spectators who had been throwing bananas at the black Gloucestershire fast bowler, David ‘Syd’ Lawrence.
By midweek, an emergency director of cricket is expected to have been appointed – there is even talk of Darren Gough, who has minimal coaching experience and who has spent the past decade as a sports radio host – supported by a skeleton staff which is being assembled with the help of the ECB.

Rafiq’s claims of racial mistreatment have taken a wrecking ball to Yorkshire cricket, with sponsors abandoning the club in the wake of the allegations and the ECB suspending the county from hosting major matches. Many within the club suspect that the imposition of an ECB-approved emergency staff could be a means of ensuring an early return of international cricket to Headingley.

Either way, the dismissal of individuals with not far short of 300 years’ service to Yorkshire, and the county’s apparent scapegoating as English cricket’s bad apple, would appear to draw attention away from the sport’s long-term failures in the development of minority-ethnic cricketers, a widespread and complex issue. But in a febrile social media world, with a culture war at its height, general postures are adopted in an instant with little care for specific facts.

Yorkshire’s playing staff have held an emergency meeting with Lord Patel, but his conciliatory remarks upon taking up the role, including assurances that the club was seeking a quick return to stability and normality, now seem very much at odds with the mass dismissals. Players’ talk of finding new counties are often not followed up – and many counties’ budgets are already spent – but the mood is an unhappy one.

Lord Patel is not the only person in this drama to now be accused of duplicitous behaviour. The former chairman of Yorkshire and the ECB, Colin Graves, whose family trust is owed nearly £20 million by Yorkshire, has an investment to protect. And Roger Hutton, the former president, and the one person who gave evidence on behalf of Yorkshire to the DCMS committee, is also facing renewed accusations that he mishandled an investigation that should have been settled in weeks, but has now stretched for well over a year. Hutton, for his part, told the DCMS hearing that he felt the club’s culture had been “stuck in the past”, and that his resignation back in August, in the wake of the club’s “profound apologies” to Rafiq, would not have helped to bring about change.

Many people have bought into the view that Yorkshire’s systems were institutionally racist, more by obstinate refusal to change than design, and that this had contributed to the failure to bring through Muslim cricketers from Yorkshire’s inner cities. Many were appalled by the details of Rafiq’s relationship with Gary Ballance, which had racial overtones at its heart. Many, too, watched Rafiq’s evidence to the DCMS committee and, even those who argued that he was a far from perfect individual, felt the need for change, to rid Yorkshire of this stain once and for all.

But many of those same people had signed up for a vision of a better way forward, of a vision of fairness for all, not a full-scale coup d’etat. To express deep misgivings is uncomfortable, and risks echoing the views of the far-right, who are now sniffing round this story with a growing realization that here is a chance to sow division and disunity. Rifts could now deepen. That, in itself, is a tragedy.

Lord Patel, whose family relocated to Bradford in the early 60s when he was an infant, has an impressive CV, but his approach, seemingly endorsed by the ECB, is now giving grave cause for concern. Uncompromising, implacable, adamant that only his way is the right one, and supremely confident in his own moral compass, he has revealed many of the Yorkshire attributes that over generations have caused the county so much pain.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps



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Mehidy Hasan Miraz: Rest of Bangladesh attack couldn't apply pressure like Taijul and Shakib

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Spinner says the hosts’ bowlers failed to form partnerships as Pakistan put on 161 for 2 on day one in Dhaka



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