Opener’s 93 sets up big batting finish; Scotland chase fizzles after brief dominance
New Zealand gained two valuable points with a solid win over Scotland, who applied themselves better than they did in the first two Super 12 fixtures. It means New Zealand join Afghanistan on four points in Group 2, which setS up an intriguing clash between the two teams on Sunday. Before that, Afghanistan have to play India, the result of which could also be crucial in determining who progresses to the semi-final.
WATCH – Guptill pulls Sharif into the stands
Guptill anchored and then accelerated New Zealand’s innings and enjoyed several achievements along the way. He became the second batter to reach 3000 T20I runs when he sent an Alasdair Evans leg-stump half-volley over backward square leg for six. Guptill is second only to Virat Kohli in T20I runs, and is only 156 runs behind. He also became the batter with the most sixes in this format, when he slog-swept Chris Greaves onto the top tier of the stands. That was Guptill’s 150th six in T20Is and measured 102 metres, one short of the biggest in the tournament so far. Guptill shared in a 105-run stand with Phillips which formed the spine of New Zealand’s total, and was in a good position to bring up his third T20I hundred but was out when chipped Brad Wheal to long-on to end what looked like an exhausting innings.
Safyaan Sharif pulled Scotland back from their worst start in this tournament – an opening over that cost 13 runs – when he gave away only a single in the second over. Then, he changed ends and pushed them ahead with a double strike in the fifth over, which was one wide away from giving Scotland their first maiden over at this competition. With the first ball of his second over, Sharif had Daryl Mitchell trapped on the back pad with a delivery that looked a touch too high at first glance. Ahsan Raza raised his finger and Mitchell reviewed but ball-tracking showed the ball tickling the bails and the decision was upheld. Four balls later, Sharif bagged one of the wickets of his career when Kane Williamson followed a delivery headed down the leg side, Matthew Cross took a diving catch to his left and Williamson walked. New Zealand were 36 for 2, which became 52 for 3 when Devon Conway was dismissed for 1 and in some trouble.
WATCH – Cross makes it five boundaries in five balls against Milne
Scotland applied a squeeze through spin in the four overs after the Powerplay to put the breaks on New Zealand. Mark Watt and Chris Greaves gave away just 18 runs in 24 balls between overs 6-10, with only one boundary. Watt also got rid of Conway in that time to continue a magical run at this T20 World Cup. He has taken at least one wicket in all the nine matches he has played at the men’s T20 World Cup. And he has been miserly too. Watt has conceded less than 24 runs in all but his debut game where he went for 30 runs.
The 13th maiden over at this competition came from Adam Milne, who bowled the fourth over of Scotland’s chase. All six of his deliveries were back of a length and speedy. He reached up to 147kph and beat Matthew Cross three times in the over to complete only his second run-less over in his format. His first was vs Pakistan in 2016. But Milne did not have the final say on the Powerplay after Cross got his own back in the sixth over when he hit five successive fours, and should have had a sixth. Cross pulled the first two balls before picking the knuckle ball and driving it through the covers. He got a top-edge as he tried to pull the fourth – a bouncer – and it went over the wicket-keeper’s head for four, and then settled to slice the fifth ball past gully. The final delivery was back of a length and could have been swatted through mid-wicket but Cross inside-edged onto his pad. It’s only the second time we’ve seen five fours in an over in the men’s T20I World Cup after Jacques Kallis’ against Scotland’s Jan Stander, in 2009.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
More WBBL matches could move to primetime as viewership hits new records
The crowd for the final in Perth set a new benchmark for a standalone WBBL match
A WBBL final which brought a record crowd and record TV ratings could herald a shift towards more primetime matches in the future as the tournament looks to its next stage of evolution.
Perth Scorchers claimed the title on Saturday in front of 15,511 spectators at Optus Stadium which set a new benchmark for a standalone WBBL match. It also had the largest average broadcast audience in the competition’s history with 535,000 put it ahead of the 2018-19 final which was played ahead of a day of men’s Test cricket.
This was the first season where every match was available on television and overall CA said it was the most-watched edition. While Alistair Dobson, the general manager of Big Bash Leagues, believes the weekend festivals, which see multiple matches at the same venue, will continue to be an important part of the tournament there will be a push to exploit more evening time slots.
“Ultimately the ambition was of getting every game on TV and we were really thankful we could do that this year,” Dobson told ESPNcricinfo. “The next evolution is to optimise those blockbusters and there’s an opportunity for us to explore more primetime matches, whether that’s Thursday or Friday nights, and working with our broadcasters to build up some big annual marquee matches which I think is the obvious next step for the competition.”
The new finals structure, which gave the team who finished top of the regular season direct entry into the final, meant there was a week to promote the match in Perth.
“I think it worked exactly how we intended to give us a full week’s build-up but also rightfully rewarding the team that finished first with the biggest advantage which we felt was warranted,” Dobson said. “The atmosphere and noise just showed how passionate the fans are and think the quality of the game did it justice as well.
The season started in a Tasmania-based hub due to border restrictions in Australia and barring a brief lockdown in Hobart was played without significant problems although two major markets – Melbourne and Sydney – were unable to stage games.
“Firstly just being able to play and getting all eight teams together in Tasmania was no mean feat,” Dobson said. “But then the quality of the cricket throughout, the quality of the overseas players, it was amazing to have such a great group of Indian players, they brought a whole new dimension, alongside all the other players.
“Matched by the depth of talent in Australia, a lot of the really big household names were easily matched by a lot of players we are all getting to know a lot better.
“In reinforces the WBBL as the No.1 cricket league for women and it’s really important we maintain that position in the future.”
Recent Match Report – South Aust vs Queensland 10th Match 2021/22
Renshaw hammered 156 from 109 balls after Gurinder Sandhu’s hat-trick had restricted the home side
Queensland 4 for 275 (Renshaw 156*, Bryant 68) beat South Australia 274 (Carey 101, Sandhu 4-44) by six wickets
It was Queensland’s second win from four matches in the one-day competition this season, while South Australia are struggling with a 1-3 record.
In the mix to replace former captain Tim Paine as Australia’s Test gloveman at the Gabba next month, Carey had failed to reach double figures in any of his previous six innings for the Redbacks this season.
He made a patient start to his innings before blasting his second 50 in just 30 balls, charging to his second one-day century of the season. He smashed a huge slog-sweep six off Marnus Labuschagne but was eventually bowled by the part-time legspinner when attempting to cut a delivery that wasn’t quite as short as he had expected.
Queensland quick Sandhu finished with 4 for 44 from his nine overs, with Matt Kuhnemann also impressing as the final six South Australia wickets fell in the space of just 15 balls.
Like Carey, Travis Head was hoping to impress national selectors, but he was dropped twice before his luck ran out on 29, caught by Mark Steketee off Kuhnemann.
Queensland’s run chase began slowly and they were in trouble early when Test squad members Usman Khawaja and Labuschagne fell cheaply. Labuschagne departed in stunning fashion when he was run out by Hunt’s direct hit from a tough angle.
But Renshaw’s composed knock steered the Bulls home. Featuring 15 fours and five sixes, his century came from 91 balls with his third fifty taking just 16 deliveries as he plundered Wes Agar.
Abu Dhabi T10, 2021 – Phil Salt, Tom Banton show off their credentials
Across a weekend of triple-headers, there has been an exhibition of opening batting on display
Across a weekend of triple-headers at the Abu Dhabi T10, there has been an exhibition of opening batting on display. No doubt, the shorter boundaries have helped, especially in a format whereby the risk of losing a wicket is also considerably less.
If there was any doubt as to whether the injury could have affected him, Salt erased it instantly. In the first over of the chase, he blasted 21 runs off the five deliveries he faced, clipping away his first and last ball from Nuwan Pradeep to the boundary, and smashing two sixes in between.
In a tournament with some of the biggest names in world cricket, Salt has been one of the standout players. The game he was injured in and the game he missed subsequently have been the only two games that Team Abu Dhabi have lost this season.
Amongst anyone who has scored at least 100 runs in the Abu Dhabi T10, no batter possesses a better strike rate than Salt. In fact, no one has scored more boundaries than his 17 fours and 21 sixes.
“Something you do when you’re playing well is that you pick your areas based on instinct” Salt said. “Chris Gayle, I’ve chewed his ear off. He’s got so many tools that I want to add to my game… The most impressive thing and a few guys have it, is that ruthless mentality that someone like Chris has, in the way he takes the game on.
“If I can just keep tapping into things like that, the biggest improvements to be made and the lessons to be learnt are from those guys, in terms of how they deal with the game upstairs.”
Asked where he sees himself across formats domestically and internationally, Salt said: “It’s something I used to struggle with, really wanting to get on to the next stage. I still do want it just as bad, but I’m very aware now that the only way to get there is to take it day by day by day. I know that’s a really boring answer, but I’ve found that’s the most effective way to improve and not get ahead of myself.”
Salt’s tale bears a hint of similarity with that of Banton, whose unbeaten 46 against Delhi Bulls included seven fours and two sixes. Two players brimming with talent, with aspirations to regularly represent their country, yet coming to an understanding with their opportunities and their experiences thus far, that ultimately it is something that will find its way, rather than something that can be chased.
Whilst Salt made his international bow in perhaps fortuitous circumstances with three ODIs against Pakistan, Banton was unfortunately part of the England playing group that was forced to isolate before that series.
Banton was the breakout star of 2019 and an England call-up followed – he was part of Eoin Morgan’s white-ball set-up for the best part of a year between November 2019 and September 2020 – yet bubble life and quarantine took its toll on him.
A blistering 47-ball century in the T20 Blast against Kent served as a reminder of his ability, but a second-ball duck in the final against the same opposition summed up a somewhat disappointing and challenging year in which he was also released by Kolkata Knight Riders.
“I had quite a big break. For the whole of October, I didn’t play any cricket – nothing whatsoever. I just lived a social life and saw a lot of friends and family, which I felt was quite important, and now I feel like I’m enjoying it again,” said Banton.
“I’d love to get back in the squad but I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself to be there next year. I just want to enjoy my cricket and I think if you’re in that headspace, the rest will take care of itself.”
For the pair of them, knowing that Morgan is around, will no doubt add some extra motivation as the Abu Dhabi T10 enters its final week.
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