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Match Preview – Sri Lanka vs Australia, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 22nd Match, Group 1

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Australia are likely to be unchanged but Maheesh Theekshana could return for Sri Lanka if fit

Big Picture

This group is accepted as the toughest to emerge from but a victory for either Australia or Sri Lanka to make it two from two would leave them strongly placed for a semi-final slot.

Both sides chased successfully in their opening games, but Sri Lanka’s was more convincing than Australia’s albeit on a surface that was easier for strokeplay in Sharjah. The two teams last met in 2019 when Australia won 3-0 in home conditions.

Having come through the qualifying stage unbeaten, Sri Lanka are building some nice momentum having been an unfancied side before the tournament. The way Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa resurrected the innings against Bangladesh will have been a huge fillip.
For Australia, there was a bit of a sigh of relief to get over the line against South Africa, a match that shaped as vital for their hopes of progressing. They were excellent with the ball and in the field – led by Josh Hazlewood‘s superb opening spell and the bonus of Glenn Maxwell’s four overs – but if they are to go deep in the competition, they will need David Warner and Aaron Finch to fire.

Form guide

Australia WLWLL (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWWWL

In the spotlight

Before the tournament, Marcus Stoinis spoke to ESPNcricinfo about wanting to make himself into the best finisher in the world. One innings does not mean he has cracked the role, but it was significant that he was able to see Australia across the line when the pressure was on having fallen short previously. It would be a major box ticked if Stoinis can make a long-term success of it.
Lahiru Kumara was certainly fired up against Bangladesh and his actions after dismissing Liton Das, where he squared up to the batter and had to be separated by team-mates and umpires, cost him 25% of his match. He has pace and could trouble Australia’s top order that has some uncertainty about it. He needs to be careful to keep his cool, though.

Team news

While Justin Langer has said Australia will be flexible with their selections, it would appear unlikely they will change unless there are specific match-ups they want for the Sri Lankans. Mitchell Marsh and Stoinis were not needed with the ball against South Africa, so they provide extra options if Maxwell (or anyone else) can’t get through four overs.

Australia (probable) 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Sri Lanka may also be unchanged although they could recall spinner Maheesh Theekshana, who missed the Bangladesh game with a side strain. If so he would likely replace Binura Fernando.

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

Pitch and conditions

After the match where West Indies were skittled for 55, Pakistan and South Africa have both chased middling targets comfortably in Dubai, which suggest batting second is the way to go. Dew could be a factor although not as much as in Abu Dhabi or Sharjah.

Stats and trivia

  • Going by the match-up data, Maxwell taking the new ball will be a good tactic again: in 13 balls against Kusal Perera in T20Is, he has dismissed him twice.
  • This is a contest between the two teams (who are in the Super 12s) with the lowest win percentage in 2021 – Australia is at 31.2% and Sri Lanka 43.7%.
  • In his search for runs, Warner won’t mind seeing Sri Lanka against whom he averages 55.90 in T20Is.
  • Quotes

    “The other day I saw their bowlers swing the ball early, then they bashed a length as well with the guys who have a bit of pace. So for it’s about identifying that the wicket suited that and Dubai might be a bit different, bigger boundaries, so they might go shorter.”
    David Warner on Sri Lanka’s quicks

    Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo



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    BBL 2021-22 – Chris Jordan jets into Sydney Sixers squad as replacement for Carlos Brathwaite

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    Jordan set to play for his fourth BBL club after Brathwaite is ruled out of the tournament due to shoulder surgery

    Two-time defending BBL champions Sydney Sixers have pulled off a coup signing England quick Chris Jordan as an international replacement for Carlos Brathwaite after the West Indian was ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury.

    Brathwaite has undergone surgery and is unavailable for the entire BBL. Jordan has been signed at short notice to bolster Sixers’ squad alongside fellow England internationals James Vince and Tom Curran.

    Jordan has previously played for three different BBL clubs in three different seasons, starting at Adelaide Strikers in 2016-17 before a short stint with Sydney Thunder in 2018-19. He played almost a full season with Perth Scorchers in 2019-20 before having to leave the tournament late due to international duty.

    Jordan comes off a T20 World Cup where he was arguably England’s best seamer claiming six wickets at an economy rate of 6.84. Cricket NSW Head of Male Cricket Michael Klinger, who oversees Sixers’ list management, said Jordan was a valuable addition.

    “It’s disappointing for Carlos and the group that he has succumbed to injury but Chris is a world-class T20 cricketer and will provide the Sixers with fantastic versatility and high-quality skills in all three aspects of the game,” Klinger said.

    “His death bowling and changeups, as well as being one of the world’s best fielders, will be a huge asset for the Sixers early in the BBL.

    “He is experienced in playing in the BBL and has been previously successful in this tournament.

    “I know Greg Shipperd (Sixers coach) and the rest of the coaching staff are very excited to have Chris on board.”

    Sixers will open their new campaign on Sunday, December 5 against Melbourne Stars at the SCG.

    Sydney Sixers squad: Moises Henriques (c), Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Daniel Christian, Tom Curran (Eng), Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Daniel Hughes, Chris Jordan (Eng), Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon, Ben Manenti, Stephen O’Keefe, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Jordan Silk, James Vince (Eng)



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    South Africa vs Netherlands 2021

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    Although Netherlands are unable to catch a flight out, it is understood the players have communicated they are not in the right mental state to play

    The second and third ODIs between South Africa and Netherlands have been postponed after concerns around a new Coronavirus variant, Omicron. The first match in the series, which forms part of the World Cup Super League, was washed out on Friday, leaving the teams sharing five points each. That keeps Netherlands in last place on the points table, and South Africa in ninth, outside the automatic qualification zone.

    Although Netherlands will be in South Africa for the duration of the series because they are unable to catch a flight out, ESPNcricinfo understands that the players have communicated they are not in the right mental state to play. On Friday, their coach Ryan Campbell tweeted that the team played with “unbelievable pressure hanging over their heads,” after travel restrictions began to affect the southern African region.

    “We are disappointed by the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, but the comfort of all visiting teams must always be paramount,” Pholetsi Moseki, CSA’s acting CEO, said. “The mental well-being of players is one of CSA’s top priorities, and we respect our visitors’ position and point of view.

    “CSA and KNCB will get into discussions around possibly rescheduling the tour within this cycle of the ICC Future Tours Programme ending in 2023.”

    “We are saddened by these circumstances, but are grateful to Cricket South Africa for their assistance and understanding of our team’s position,” Jurgen Delfos, chairman of Netherlands cricket board, said. “

    It must be made clear that the concerns are strictly over travel issues and how soon the team can get home and have nothing to do with the integrity of the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) that CSA has successfully hosted. Our team has been pleased with every aspect of the organisation of the tour and have been well treated by our hosts.”

    The United Kingdom, United States, much of Europe, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand have all banned travel to and from countries in southern Africa, and imposed a quarantine on their own citizens returning from the region in response to Omicron.

    News of a new variant was first made public on Tuesday, November 23 and cases in the Gauteng province of South Africa, where the Netherlands series is taking place, have increased severalfold since. Although South Africa is only reporting around 2,000 new cases a day, there are concerns this will rise exponentially and stricter restrictions are due to be introduced soon. South Africa is currently on Level 1 of 5 of its restrictions, the most lenient since the pandemic began, and the first ODI was the first time since March 2020 that cricket was played in front of a limited crowd, but the government is meeting on Saturday to discuss further measures.

    As yet there is no indication of how this will affect the rest of the cricket calendar. India A are also in South Africa, playing first-class matches against South Africa A in Bloemfontein. So far, that series is continuing. India’s senior side is due to travel to South Africa for three Tests, three ODIs and four ODIs on December 8. India has not imposed any restrictions on southern African travelers to date, but has stricter testing measures for people from the region in place.

    Last summer, South Africa’s season was severely impacted after England left the country early without playing the ODI leg of their white-ball tour and Australia pulled out of a four-Test series which was pencilled in as the marquee event of the summer. Sri Lanka and Pakistan both toured the country without incident in strict bio-bubble conditions, which Cricket South Africa will replicate for the India series.

    Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent





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    Recent Match Report – Scorchers Wm vs StrikersWmn Final 2021/22

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    The home side finished strongly with the bat and started superbly with the ball in the powerplay

    Perth Scorchers 5 for 146 beat Adelaide Strikers 6 for 134 by 12 runs

    Marizanne Kapp, who had been ill all week in the lead-up to the WBBL final and barely left her hotel room, produced a critical all-round display to help Perth Scorchers claim their maiden title as Adelaide Strikers’ powerful late-tournament surge came to a halt at Optus Stadium.
    In front of a crowd of 15,511, the highest for a standalone WBBL match, the defining passages of the match were how Scorchers finished their batting innings and then started with the ball: their final five overs brought 47 runs, with vital hands from Player of the Match Kapp and Alana King, then they restricted Strikers to 2 for 16 in their powerplay with Kapp’s first two overs costing just two runs and Sophie Devine producing a wicket maiden.

    The middle order did their best to keep Strikers in the match with useful hands but it proved out of reach despite Madeline Penna’s best efforts with 30 not out off 21 balls.

    Kapp produced some superb deliveries to build the pressure on Strikers’ openers and it was Devine who earned the reward when Katie Mack’s extraordinary run of scoring was halted as he she drove to cover. Before this match Mack had made 332 runs in her last six innings for just one out.

    Without a run added van Niekerk also departed, edging Taneale Peschel down the leg side, and by the end of the powerplay the asking rate was above nine an over.

    Laura Wolvaardt and captain Tahlia McGrath rebuilt with a stand of 65 in eight overs which was forming a base from where Strikers could have run down the target. However, both fell within the space of six balls carving catches to the off-side ring which meant new batters had little time to get set.

    The prolific Scorchers opening pair of Devine and Beth Mooney made a solid if unspectacular start after being put into bat, reaching 0 for 37 after the powerplay. They were immediately aggressive against Amanda-Jade Wellington who conceded more in her first four balls than she did the entire record-breaking Eliminator spell, although she would fight back well.

    Neither opener could really cut loose and Strikers started to chip away at the top order. Mooney picked out mid-off, Devine was run out by a direct hit by Dane van Niekerk from short third and Chloe Piparo edged Darcie Brown who was rewarded for some rapid outswing bowling.

    At 3 for 75 in the 12th the innings was at a tipping point and there was caution from Kapp and Heather Graham which threatened to leave Scorchers short. However, Kapp started to find the boundary and King made a dynamic late entrance with three boundaries in a five-ball stay.

    Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo



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