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Recent Match Report – Afghanistan vs New Zealand 40th Match, Group 2 2021/22

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Southee-Boult strike with the ball, Williamson-Conway see the chase through as New Zealand enter semifinals

New Zealand 125 for 2 (Williamson 40*, Conway 36*) beat Afghanistan 124 for 8 (Najibullah 73, Boult 3-17, Southee 2-24) by eight wickets

New Zealand were clinical. As they have now made the semi finals of four World Cups in a row (including ODI World Cups), this is perhaps not surprising.

Needing a win to ensure themselves a place in the final four, they produced what turned out to be a match-winning powerplay. Kane Williamson cycled his three quicks – Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Adam Milne – through the first six overs, giving them two apiece. They each claimed a wicket, and helped keep Afghanistan to less than four an over while the fielding restrictions were in operation.
Afghanistan recovered slightly, through a Najibullah Zadran half-century, but apart from one 19-run over against Mitchell Santner, never really managed to find momentum after that awful start. They spluttered their way to 124 for 8, and were always going to struggle to defend it.
In response, New Zealand strode to 45 for 1 at the end of their powerplay, and then Kane Williamson and Devon Conway came together to stroll to the finish – their unbeaten 68-run stand taking up 56 balls, even as the side won with 11 balls to spare.

With this win they have not only ended Afghanistan’s semi-final hopes, but also those of India, whom they had beaten earlier in the tournament.

New Zealand quicks scythe through Afghanistan’s top order

Afghanistan banked on their attack when they chose to bat first, with mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman back in the lineup after recovering from injury. They needed a decent batting Powerplay, though, and could hardly have done any worse. Mohammad Shahzad was the first to go, trying to larrup an Adam Milne bouncer over third man, and managing only to send an edge through to wicketkeeper Conway (who did excellently to get a glove behind it, and complete the catch on the second rebound), in the third over. Trent Boult then had Hazratullah Zazai caught at short midwicket. Soon after, Tim Southee had Rahmanullah Gurbaz lbw. After six overs, Afghanistan were 23 for 3, and had struck just three boundaries – one of which was an unintentional top edge.

Afghanistan fizzle at the death

Despite the start, Afghanistan did recover slightly through the middle period, through a 37-run stand between Najibullah Zadran and Gulbadin Naib, then a 59-run partnership between Najibullah and Mohammad Nabi. But they could not fire at the death.

In the last six overs, Afghanistan managed just 37 runs, as they lost four wickets. Trent Boult picked up two dismissals in his final over to end with the game’s best figures, of 3 for 17.

New Zealand ace the chase

It didn’t need much chasing, really. At no point did New Zealand seem rushed. Mujeeb struck at the start of the fourth over, when a carrom ball that didn’t really turn caught Daryl Mitchell’s outside edge, but Afghanistan really needed a couple more wickets in the Powerplay if they were really going to challenge New Zealand.

Instead, Kane Williamson came out and played an ice-cool innings, almost never taking a risk, working the singles, striking only the occasional boundary, as he strolled to 40 not out off 42. Conway’s stay was not quite as assured, but despite having nicked a ball early in his innings (Afghanistan barely appealed), made his way to 36 not out off 32.

The whole thing was drama-free.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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WBBL 2021-22 – In sickness and in health Kapp stars after difficult build-up

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Kapp was bedridden for three days before the final due to illness and then had to deal with the emotional challenge of playing against her wife Dane van Niekerk

Player of the WBBL final Marizanne Kapp revealed that she didn’t leave her hotel room for three days in the lead-up to the final after coming down with an illness following Perth Scorchers trip to Adelaide.

Kapp produced a phenomenal effort with both bat and ball scoring a critical 31 not out from 23 balls, including four boundaries, to help lift Scorchers to a competitive total of 5 for 146.

She then bowled superbly in the powerplay delivering a maiden over while bowling to her wife, Strikers opener Dane van Niekerk, and finished with match-winning figures of 1 for 25.

Kapp revealed she had passed a covid test in the lead-up to the game but was seriously concerned about her health.

“On Monday when we travelled back from Adelaide I already wasn’t feeling too great,” Kapp said. “I woke up the next morning and I was so sick, for the last three days I was so sick and I didn’t move out of my room. I knew today was going to be really tough, especially with the heat as well. After the batting, I felt like I was going to pass out, I didn’t feel well at all, but at the end of the day it was worth it.”

Kapp was on her haunches after running twos while batting in oppressive 36-degree heat. Teammate Beth Mooney revealed Kapp had Facetimed into the team meeting the day before the game but she was conserving energy in order to be able to play.

“I started to show signs of feeling a bit better yesterday and this morning,” Kapp said. “That’s why I decided not to go and train this week because I knew it was going to set me back and I probably would’ve missed today. I knew it was going to be hard and luckily it was worth it.”

The victory was bittersweet for Kapp. She had to deal with the emotional toll of having to play against her wife in the final. The pair had faced off twice earlier in the season with Kapp dismissing van Niekerk in both meetings. Kapp got the better of van Niekerk again in the final as they faced each other with both bat and ball. Van Niekerk bowled two balls to Kapp for two singles in Scorchers innings. Van Niekerk got off the mark with a leg glance off Kapp first ball in the chase but then faced a maiden from Kapp in the third over of the innings which stalled the Strikers momentum severely. Kapp beat the outside edge twice in the over and struck van Niekerk on the pad.

“It’s never easy,” Kapp said. “When I saw that wicket earlier, I knew with the new ball there was going to be something in it and it will probably get some movement. It’s a tough wicket to get in on, and once you’re in on it becomes a lot easier.”

Kapp said she would not hold it over van Niekerk in any way after the victory.

“No definitely not,” Kapp said. “I already feel so bad, because I feel like the Strikers were worthy of winning the cup as well, especially the two semi-finals they played, they were absolutely amazing.”

Alex Malcolm is an Associate 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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