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England vs New Zealand – T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final

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Despite lean run with the bat and semi-final exit, skipper wants to lead side at next year’s T20 World Cup

Eoin Morgan has insisted that he will stay on as England’s limited-overs captain despite his lean run with the bat and their defeat to New Zealand in Wednesday night’s T20 World Cup semi-final in Abu Dhabi.

Morgan has endured the worst year of his T20 career with the bat in 2021, averaging 17.71 with a strike rate of 118.61 across 39 games for England, Kolkata Knight Riders, Middlesex and London Spirit and made only a limited contribution with the bat in the World Cup, with scores of 7 not out, 40, 17 and 4 not out in his four innings.

But he indicated before the tournament that he intended to stay on as captain for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, a message which he reiterated after England’s dramatic five-wicket defeat.

“I hope so,” he said, asked if he would continue as captain. “I’m still offering enough within the side. I absolutely love playing cricket at the moment for that changing room. The guys give everything. They’re at the forefront of change on and off the field and we’ve a lot of things to be proud about – I’m incredibly proud to be the leader.”

Morgan said that England had felt “ahead of the game” after taking two early wickets in defence of 166, but hailed Jimmy Neesham‘s innings of 27 off 11 balls as the difference between the two teams.

“We’re devastated,” he said. “To be on the wrong side of a close game is not easy to take. I thought we fought unbelievably well today on a wicket that didn’t necessarily suit our batting, but we managed to post in and around a par score. We were brilliant with the ball.

“We were right in the game probably until Jimmy Neesham came to the wicket, if not ahead of the game. I think throughout those innings everybody struggled to clear the ropes on both sides, and I think that was just the nature of the pitch. You have to take your hat off to him: he played really well.

“The method that New Zealand have used is obviously come hard in the powerplay, steady the ship throughout the middle and then come hard again at the end. When you take two big wickets as early as we did, you feel ahead of the game. They were trying to, I suppose, steady the ship, and I think we managed to keep them at bay for quite some time, so they did well again to wrestle back momentum and then just obviously put them in a commanding position.”

England’s death bowlers struggled with a wet ball at the end of their innings but Morgan downplayed the impact that the result of the toss and the loss of Jason Roy and Tymal Mills to injury had on the outcome.

“I don’t think it [dew] was a huge impact,” he said. “Maybe a little bit, but the Black Caps have still outplayed us. We know the dew is around. We were still right in the game. I don’t think it was a major factor, maybe an advantage slightly but not a major factor.”

“I don’t think you can put a measure on missing a player. The eleven guys that took the field today gave absolutely everything. I’m extremely proud of the performance that they put in. When you play really well, it doesn’t always guarantee that you win games. Unfortunately we found ourselves on the wrong side of a really tight game today.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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The Ashes 2021-22 – Joe Root says ‘Ashes will define my captaincy’

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Captain’s head-to-head with rival Pat Cummins could be major factor as Gabba Test looms

Captain Joe Root says England’s squad can win the big moments to secure an Ashes win in Australia and that he’d be foolish not to understand this series will define him.

Set for a third tour and second as captain – his first was his first overseas tour as skipper – Root will walk onto the Gabba on Wednesday as the world’s top-ranked Test batsmen in rare form.

His 1455 runs in 12 matches at an average of 66 are already the fourth-most by an English batter in a calendar year, while he’s poised to overtake Alastair Cook as the country’s most-capped skipper in Sydney’s fourth Test.

But he’s yet to score a Test hundred in Australia and England, regularly humbled in Australian conditions for the past 30 years, are chasing their first Ashes series win away from home in a decade.

The rise of Pat Cummins to captaincy for Australia adds another element, with the pair’s head-to-head battle looming as a key factor.

“Absolutely it is, you look at how hard it has been for English captains and English teams over the years,” Root, who led a team that lost 4-0 in Australia’s last home Ashes series, said.

“It’s been something that doesn’t happen very often. Of course it will define my captaincy – I’m not naive enough to think that it won’t – but again, what a great opportunity.”

In his favour is the return of allrounder Ben Stokes, who showed form with bat and ball in last week’s warm-up game in an important first step back after a break from cricket since July.

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad offer vast knowledge of Australian conditions for their pace battery that could include any of Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Ollie Robinson.

Stokes’ penchant for the big moment was on show at Headingley in 2019 while an exciting list of batters are waiting to follow his lead.

“Yeah, it has to be, absolutely it does,” Root said when asked if his side was ready to win the big moments. “You look at some of the players, some of the individuals, some of the performances guys have put in … the senior guys have done it time and time again.

“The junior guys have shown glimpses of what they can do and their potential. What better stage to really grab a series and make an announcement on the international stage. I’m an Ashes player and I want to live in the history of this great rivalry.
“That carrot is there for everyone.”

Root is yet to settle on his side, refusing to bite when asked if he would select an all-out pace attack for a Gabba green-top and leave out spinner Jack Leach.



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The Hundred 2022 – England stars to receive Hundred salary boost for 2022 tournament

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Increase in team purses from £800,000 to £1 million should help attact overseas stars too

England’s leading white-ball cricketers will earn up to £135,000 for their involvement in the Hundred next summer, following a 25% increase in salaries for the competition, ESPNcricinfo can reveal.

Men’s salaries were due to range from £30,000-£125,000 – with a £10,000 bonus for captains – in the inaugural year of the Hundred in 2020 but were cut by 20% following the competition’s postponement.
But according to regulations circulated to Hundred teams this week and seen by ESPNcricinfo, salary bands have reverted to their initial levels for the 2022 edition, meaning teams will have a purse of £1 million rather than last year’s £800,000. As a result, the country’s top limited-overs players including Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan and Liam Livingstone are in line for pay rises.
The ECB will also hope that the increase in earning potential helps to attract leading overseas players for the 2022 season after a raft of internationals including Glenn Maxwell, David Warner and Shaheen Shah Afridi withdrew from the first edition due to international travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Men’s teams will be allow to retain up to 10 players who were contracted for the 2021 season, including those who withdrew due to injury or Covid-related factors like Maxwell, Warner and Shaheen. The window for retentions opened at 9am on Wednesday morning and will run until mid-February, before the draft is held in March.

Changes in England’s central contracts system have not had a major impact on the draft process, despite the removal of public distinctions between players on Test, white-ball and all-format deals. Test players are due to be available for up to three group games before the start of the South Africa series in mid-August and potentially the knockout stages in the first weekend of September.
Four out of the 20 centrally-contracted players – Moeen, Morgan, Roy and Adil Rashid – are considered white-ball specialists, meaning that they will continue to be paid through the draft mechanism, while the remaining 16 will either be retained or reallocated through a central contract draft. Some players, including James Anderson and Stuart Broad, will be given dispensation to miss the competition and be designated ‘non-playing players’.

The order of picks in March’s draft will be the reverse of the final standings for the 2021 season, meaning London Spirit will pick first in the first round and defending champions Southern Brave will pick last. Each team will have one ‘right-to-match’ option available in which they can re-sign a player who was contracted for 2021, so long as they have a free spot at the salary band offered to them by another team.

Australia and New Zealand players are expected to prove popular, with the majority of other major international teams due to play series during the Hundred’s window. New Zealand are due to play three Tests in England in June before white-ball series in Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands in July and early August, while Australia have a window free between a tour of Sri Lanka and three early-season ODIs at home to Zimbabwe.

The wildcard draft will be held in July after the group stages of the T20 Blast, with each team picking one final squad member based on performances in that competition. As ESPNcricinfo revealed on Tuesday, the four-week window for the Hundred is due to start in early August, around two weeks later than in 2021.
Salaries for the women’s competition are also expected to increase after a record-breaking first season, with Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, promising “some good news” in August. The open-market system for retentions is expected to continue.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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Recent Match Report – Pakistan vs Bangladesh 2nd Test 2021/22

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The weather lived up to the original forecast of rain on Sunday, and it is likely to continue into the third and fourth days

Lunch Pakistan 161 for 2 (Babar 60*, Abid 39, Taijul 2-49) vs Bangladesh

Lunch was taken at 11:25am local time after play was suspended during the first session of the second day in Dhaka. The players were out around 11:15am local time when the umpires announced that play was going to start at 11:20am. But minutes before the start, the drizzle returned, suspending play for the session.

The weather lived up to the original forecast of rain on Sunday, and it is likely to continue into the third and fourth days. However, with only occasional rain predicted on the second day, there might be some play in the post-lunch session.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam was unbeaten on 60 off 99 balls with seven fours and a six while No 3 Azhar Ali was on 36 off 112 balls with four fours.

The pair added 91 runs for the unbroken third wicket stand, with the visitors placed at 161 for 2.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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