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Recent Match Report – England vs New Zealand 1st Semi-Final 2021/22

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With 57 needed in the last four overs and the chase seemingly dead, New Zealand won with an over to spare

New Zealand 167 for 5 (Mitchell 72*, Conway 46, Neesham 27; Livingstone 2-22) beat England 166 for 4 (Malan 41, Moeen 51*; Southee 1-24) by 5 wickets

James Neesham contemplated retirement in 2019. He didn’t. Daryl Mitchell never contemplated opening the batting. He did. And together they dragged a New Zealand side that was adamantly trying to lose all the way into a T20 World Cup final.

It was big-hitting madness. And it came from outta nowhere. England, much like they did five years ago on a sparkling night in Kolkata, had the game in their hands. And not one but two big-hitting allrounders took it away from them.

The equation was 57 off 24. More than two runs a ball. As much as conditions in this tournament have favoured the team batting second, here there was no dew. The single biggest thing that made run-scoring easy on these dry UAE pitches was nowhere to be found.

That’s why Mitchell – the biggest six-hitter in New Zealand’s T20 domestic circuit for the last five years – went through the first 10 overs of the chase with only two hits to the fence.

That’s why Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson were dismissed for single-digits.

That’s why Liam Livingstone could bowl four overs of his part-time all-sorts for just 22 runs. When he finished his spell – after taking out New Zealand’s top-scorer Devon Conway for 46 – England’s chance of victory according to ESPNcricinfo’s forecaster was nudging 80%.

Neesham has had enough of these games. His twitter timeline is a tribute to his wit – yes – but also to how badly that 2019 World Cup final broke him. He was out there in the Super Over. He hit Jofra Archer for a six. He ignited New Zealand’s hopes when they really shouldn’t have had any on that night only for them to fall so agonizingly short.

He went through the same routine here. Only this time he pulled it off. It was his six the start the 17th over that turned the tide. A monster blow over deep square leg off Chris Jordan was the centerpiece of New Zealand’s breathtaking resurrection, 23 runs coming off an eight-ball over as the fast bowler wilted under the incredible pressure of a World Cup semi-final.

Suddenly New Zealand only needed 34 off 18 balls. That was Mitchell’s cue to wind up. He set up deep in his crease. His front leg had the good sense to stay away. Chris Woakes missed his lengths. And three brutal hits in the 19th over – two over the ropes and one onto it – brought both sweet, unbelievable and everlasting victory.

England change it up
This semi-final had all the feels of two heavyweight boxers sizing each other up. But there was no real KO punch.

Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow were rather cautious at the top, their gameplan dictated in equal parts by the early swing on offer and the big occasion they found themselves in.

England went away from their typical T20 template – attack every ball – to a more nuanced one – respect every ball. For the first time since 2014, they had to wait till after the 15th over of the game to pick up their first six.

Malan and Moeen adapt
England’s approach protected them from early wickets, but that left a lot on the middle-order’s shoulders. A middle order that hasn’t had too much time in the middle at this tournament.

But Dawid Malan controlled things beautifully. If you’re in any doubt about that, pull up clips of his cover drives. With flowing hands and sublime timing, he guided England through the middle overs and was unlucky to miss out on a half-century.

Moeen Ali didn’t make that mistake. Playing the world’s most elegant leg-side slogs, his 51* off 37 provided the finishing kick that took a good total to a defendable one. With most of England’s batting tonight revolving around left-handed blades, New Zealand’s best spinner Mitchell Santner bowled only one of his four overs.

No dew
Guptill was caught off a flick. Williamson was caught off a scoop. Now those shots come off when there’s pace in the pitch. And there’s always pace in the pitch if there’s dew around. New Zealand expected it to come. But it stood them up instead.

Chris Woakes – who before this World Cup was left in T20I wilderness for five-and-a-half years – picked up both those wickets and set England on their victory march. This team prides itself in being on cutting edge pf both batting and bowling. But in Abu Dhabi – where cricket takes a time machine back to the 90s – they realised knocking it around for 160 and building on scoreboard pressure with tight Test-match lengths had the better chance of success.

And it would have all worked a treat if a big-hitting allrounder hadn’t decided to turn everything on its head. Again.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-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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