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Match Preview – New Zealand vs Scotland, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 32nd Match, Group 2

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When Scotland last played New Zealand in a T20I in 2009, Kane Williamson was a year away from an international debut. Devon Conway was a struggling age-group cricketer looking to break into the franchise system in South Africa. Mark Chapman was contemplating a career with Hong Kong. Daryl Mitchell was looking at Rugby as a career option. And Adam Milne hadn’t even made his first-class debut.

Kyle Coetzer, Scotland’s captain, was their key batter then, as he is today. Calum MacLeod was their middle-order lynchpin then, as he is today. These two and Martin Guptill are the only players from their previous fixture who will line up on Wednesday for the Super 12s in Dubai.

This tells you two things. One: just how long it has been since these two sides have played. And two: how MacLeod and Coetzer have held Scotland’s batting line-up through the last 12 years, even as many others have come and gone, some in search of greener pastures because of the non-viability to carry on playing cricket professionally.

Scotland have had five days off to sit back and reflect on what they’ve achieved. The critics may argue they’ve run out of gas, after dashing to three wins in the first round, but it doesn’t take much to realise how they’ve beaten the odds – pandemic, fund crunch, player attrition among the reasons – to get to where they are.

In the Super 12s, they’ve now lost to Namibia and Afghanistan, two sides they would’ve fancied themselves against. Now, it’s time to look ahead to possibly three of their biggest clashes. It starts with New Zealand, followed by fixtures against India and Pakistan. And in trying to come up against three big teams, Scotland have an opportunity to garner eyeballs.

Imagine what Safyaan Sharif uprooting Williamson’s middle stump or Michael Leask bowling Virat Kohli through the gate has the potential to do? They could, if only for a moment, become household names with millions watching. Maybe they will inspire another kid to pick up the bat or ball back home. It’s more than just a game in many ways.

Meanwhile, New Zealand are quietly confident, having bounced back from a loss to Pakistan. By dismissing India in the way they did, Williamson’s team, flying under the radar like they always do, have shown they’re as capable as, say England or even Pakistan, to make the run to the finals. A five-day break before the India game allowed Williamson to nurse his elbow and gave their fast bowlers plenty of rest before the business end.

And while everyone’s been focusing on the Boults, Southees and Milne, their spinners have shown just why they could be in the same bracket as the Rashids or Mujeebs in these conditions. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi may not be household T20 names, an embarrassment of riches across teams they’ve represented has given them fewer opportunities. Here, with the world watching, they’ve shown how good they are. And they will be mighty hard to get away. Scotland will need to buck up their spin game several fold to just sit up and compete.

Form Guide

New Zealand WLWLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Scotland LLWWW

In the spotlight

Devon Conway, a consistent top-order performer since his international debut in November last year, has now been handed the wicketkeeping duties too. And his new role opens multiple possibilities for New Zealand, not least the luxury of playing an extra spinner or allrounder, depending on conditions. Conway has made 27 and 2* in his two outings so far. He would be itching for a big knock in his maiden T20 World Cup.

In the 2009 T20 World Cup, Kyle Coetzer gave Scotland a realistic shot at an upset over New Zealand when he smashed an unbeaten 15-ball 33 that helped his team post 89 in a truncated seven-overs shootout. But a combination of rain, wet ball and a greasy outfield went against them. Twelve years later, Coetzer has a second chance.

Team news

Coetzer is set to return after missing the previous game due to bruising on his finger. Craig Wallace could make way.

Scotland (probable): 1 Kyle Coetzer (capt), 2 George Munsey, 3 Calum MacLeod, 4 Richie Berrington, 5 Matt Cross, 6 Michael Leask, 7 Chris Greaves, 8 Mark Watt, 9 Josh Davey, 10 Safyaan Sharif, 11 Brad Wheal

New Zealand, meanwhile, are likely to remain unchanged. But if there is scope to make a change, it’s possible they may want to give Kyle Jamieson a go.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Daryl Mitchell, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Devon Conway (wk), 5 Glenn Phillips, 6 Jimmy Neesham, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Adam Milne, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Trent Boult/Kyle Jamieson, 11 Ish Sodhi

Pitch and conditions

The Dubai surfaces have slowed down considerably, having hosted non-stop cricket since the IPL in September, but the one big difference on Wednesday will be the absence of dew given this is a day game.

Stats that matter

  • This is Scotland’s first game in Dubai this tournament. They have won four out of the eight T20Is here.
  • New Zealand are second only to Afghanistan in the powerplay (in terms of strike rates) in 2021. They pick up a wicket every 17.4 deliveries and concede at only 6.6 an over.
  • Among pacers, Tim Southee (101) is next best to Lasith Malinga (107) in terms of T20I wickets. His 14 wickets are the joint-most in 2021. Among pacers, only Josh Hazlewood (9) has taken more wickets than Southee (8) in the Powerplay this year.
  • In T20Is since 2016, only three bowlers (Rashid Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal and Mustafizur Rahman) have taken more than Ish Sodhi’s 61.
  • Scotland have lost the most wickets (13) in the powerplay this tournament.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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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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Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2021-22 in Zimbabwe called off following concerns over new Covid-19 variant

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The tournament cannot be rescheduled, as the ODI World Cup is scheduled for March-April 2022

The women’s ODI World Cup qualifying event in Zimbabwe has been called off after travel restrictions were imposed on large parts of southern Africa following the detection of a new Covid-19 variant, called Omicron, in the region. With the marquee event scheduled to take place next year in March and April, the qualifier cannot be held at a later date, and the three remaining spots will be decided according to the ICC rankings.

Hosts New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and India have already qualified for the tournament. They will now be joined by Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan.

The news will be a disappointment to Thailand, who do not have a ranking at the moment, but beat Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in the tournament. Bangladesh were on top of Group B with wins over Pakistan and USA, while West Indies topped Group A after beating Ireland.

ESPNcricinfo has learned that the cutoff date for the women’s ODI rankings taken into consideration for deciding on the final three teams for 2022 ODI World Cup was September 30. Between the start of the pandemic and August 31, 2021, Pakistan played eight ODIs, winning two, West Indies played 10, winning three and having one tied, while Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh played none. Bangladesh, however, are understood to have been well ahead of Ireland and Sri Lanka on the rankings for more than a year.

Concerns over the future of the qualifier were raised on Saturday morning when the match between Sri Lanka and West Indies was called off without a ball bowled. ESPNcricinfo understands that the fixture could not be played because a member of the Sri Lankan support staff had tested positive for Covid-19.

“We are incredibly disappointed to have to cancel the remainder of this event but with travel restrictions from a number of African countries being imposed at such short notice, there was a serious risk that teams would be unable to return home,” Chris Tetley, the ICC head of events, said.

“We have explored a number of options to allow us to complete the event but it isn’t feasible and we will fly the teams out of Zimbabwe as soon as possible. Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will now qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 by virtue of their rankings, whilst Sri Lanka and Ireland will also join them in the next cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship.”

There had already been a few positive Covid-19 tests in the Sri Lanka camp after reaching Zimbabwe, the last of which was detected prior to their match against Netherlands on Tuesday. That match did go ahead with Sri Lanka winning a rain-affected fixture by 34 runs.

On the whole, Zimbabwe’s caseload remains relatively low at under 135,000, with fewer than 5000 deaths. However, with travel in and out of the country becoming increasingly difficult, the qualifier had to be scrapped for logistical reasons. Emirates Airline, which flew the teams into Harare, is understood to be suspending the route in the coming days.

The variant was first discovered in Botswana and has infected several hundred people in neighbouring South Africa, which is on the brink of a fourth wave of infection. The UK, USA, much of Europe, Australia, Sri Lanka and Thailand have all suspended travel to and from countries in southern Africa, putting several international events in doubt.

The women’s World Cup qualifiers got underway on Sunday, November 21, amid low case numbers in southern Africa, but Papua New Guinea had been “forced to withdraw” from the tournament at the start of the month due to a slew of infections in the camp. News of a new variant was first made public on Tuesday, November 23, and cases in the Gauteng province of South Africa have increased several fold since. Although South Africa is reporting around 2000 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.
The Netherlands men’s team is currently in South Africa playing a World Cup Super League ODI series and have two matches left to play. A decision on whether those are going to go ahead will be taken today.

India A are also in South Africa, playing first-class matches in Bloemfontein. So far, that series is known to be on schedule, since the region is regarded as safe. 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 travellers yet, but has installed stricter testing measures for people from the region.



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