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Sheffield Shield 2021-22 – Peter Handscomb and Matthew Short dominate as Victoria take a stranglehold of NSW

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Pair make 90 each to set up a declaration with NSW slumping to 3 for 61 at stumps, chasing 422 to win

New South Wales 140 & 3 for 61 (Patterson 24) trail Victoria 9 for 313 dec and 5 for 248 dec (Handscomb 90, Short 90) by 361 runs

Peter Handscomb and Matthew Short both made 90 each to put Victoria on the brink of a second successive victory over New South Wales as the visitors battled to 3 for 61 chasing 422 to win, at stumps on day three at the MCG.

Handscomb continued his excellent start to the season, backing up his century at Drummoyne Oval with a classy 90 in challenging conditions at the MCG. Short cashed in on weary Blues’ bowling attack, still missing Trent Copeland, who attempted to bowl in the nets on the morning of day three but wasn’t fit enough to take the field due to the lower leg injury he sustained early on day one.

Victoria started the day with a first-innings lead of 173 after bowling the Blues out for 140. Having begun the day at 9 for 139, Blues wicketkeeper Peter Nevill was the last to fall in their first innings, holing out at deep long-on off the second ball of the morning.

Victoria’s second innings started poorly with Marcus Harris falling for a duck, although he may have been unfortunate to be adjudged lbw to Sean Abbott, with major question marks over whether it pitched in line with leg stump and whether it would have clipped the bails given the pronounced bounce of this MCG pitch. Harris will head to Queensland to quarantine with the Australia squad ahead of the Ashes. He is coming off scores of 1 and 0, however, he did not do much wrong in either innings.

James Seymour also fell cheaply, but Handscomb played with great control as the ball nipped around consistently in overcast conditions. He struck nine boundaries in his 90 from 177 deliveries. Handscomb looked assured in defence and drove and pulled with control. He also played Nathan Lyon with ease, showing some of the class that earned him two Test centuries in 2016-17.

Nic Maddinson played nicely again, following on from his first innings century, although he did have a huge slice of luck gloving a pull shot to Nevill off a no-ball from Abbott. However, he didn’t make NSW pay as he was clean bowled for 33 while attempting a booming drive on the up. Handscomb was unfortunate to miss out on a century with Jack Edwards producing a sharp off-cutter to see him caught behind off the inside edge.

Short then teed off, clubbing eight fours and two huge sixes down the ground as Victoria pursued a declaration. He fell unselfishly for 90 from 122 balls trying to launch Edwards again, with the allrounder claiming his career-best Sheffield Shield figures of 3 for 47.

Set 422 to win with just under four sessions remaining, the Blues’ chase got off to a disastrous start with Matt Gilkes caught and bowled for a duck off a leading edge while trying to turn Scott Boland into the leg side. They slumped to 2 for 15 when James Pattinson had Jason Sangha caught behind with a ball that leapt from a length.

The experience of Daniel Hughes and Kurtis Patterson steadied the ship under intense pressure and in fading light, although Hughes nearly ran himself out for the second time in the match. The pair survived some outstanding fast bowling but needed some luck with several plays and misses and some inside edges running safely to fine leg.

But right on stumps, Patterson got himself in a tangle missing a full straight ball from Will Sutherland to be plumb lbw. Jack Edwards survived the last three balls of the day, leaving Victoria needing just seven wickets for victory on the final day.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



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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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