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Recent Match Report – Queensland vs West Aust 9th Match 2021/22




Michael Neser, who will be in the frame for the Test squad, limped out of the Queensland attack

Western Australia 2 for 108 (Green 48*) trail Queensland 129 (Khawaja 70) by 21 runs

Usman Khawaja made his strongest case yet for a Test recall as he dominated a paltry Queensland batting effort with a masterly 70 in demanding conditions at the Gabba.
Western Australia ended the opening day firmly in control with Cameron Green playing equally as well as Khawaja, but Queensland would have been in an even deeper hole without their captain who helped haul them from the depths of 7 for 56 having been inserted on a green pitch.
Other Test match strands played out with Jhye Richardson impressing as he claimed 3 for 38 but Michael Neser sent a scare into Australia’s plans when he limped off midway through his ninth over having injured his hamstring.

Neser was one of three injuries during the day with Joel Paris also suffering a hamstring strain having done the early damage to Queensland with two wickets in two balls including Marnus Labuschage first ball.

Shaun Marsh was later forced to retire hurt with a calf injury early in Western Australia’s reply but having slipped for 2 for 18, Green and Josh Philippe produced the most confident partnership of the day to stitch together an unbroken 90 through to stumps.

Seven of Queensland’s top eight had fallen in single figures as they were undone by an accurate pace attack that exploited conditions well. Paris had Bryce Street playing on trying to leave then Labuschagne pushed forward the first ball to edge behind.

Joe Burns played a poor stroke, miscuing a pull to mid-on, while both Matt Renshaw and Jimmy Peirson edged to the keeper off Lance Morris – the latter falling to a terrific catch in front of first slip.

Cameron Bancroft also did very well to hold an edge off Jack Wildermuth as the third slip came across in front of him and when Neser’s wild slash gave Richardson his third three figures looked unlikely for Queensland.

But Khawaja, who has scored two centuries this season, took charge in what was a strong riposte to Ian Chappell questioning his credentials. In all, he struck 11 boundaries before picking out a long leg searching for another. The last three wickets helped him add 73.

That looked significant when Neser struck the first ball to remove Bancroft and when Gurinder Sandhu produced a good delivery to claim debutant Jayden Goodwin, the son of Murray, the game felt wide open with Marsh also back in the dressing room.

However, Green and Philippe were excellent for the rest of the day. Green’s footwork was compact and confident while Philippe was composed against some testing bowling although Queensland lost a little control late in the day which ended with Labuschagne bowling medium pace in Neser’s absence.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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BBL 2021-22 – Colin Munro accepts international career probably over but questions remain




Back at Perth Scorchers for another BBL, he believes his decision to play last year was a major reason why he lost his New Zealand spot

Colin Munro insists he has moved on from likely seeing the end of his international career although believes his record still stacks up against others at the top of New Zealand’s order.

When he was omitted from New Zealand’s T20 World Cup squad, Munro said his career had appeared to be ended “not by choice.” He had made himself unavailable for the pre-World Cup trips to Bangladesh and Pakistan, but pinpoints his decision to play the Big Bash last season for Perth Scorchers – where he is returning this summer – as probably the defining moment.

That continues to leave Munro confused, given that Adam Milne was able to leave his New Zealand domestic contract to play for Sydney Thunder, but he is adamant he made the best decision for himself and his family.

“Yeah, at the time, to be honest I was very disappointed,” Munro said. “But now I’ve made peace with it, towards the back end my career, I can’t be too bitter.

“I’ve grown up a little bit, if this was 25 or 26-year-old Colin getting that information I would have been all over social media too much. Whereas now I’ve sort of just gone about my business and know that chapter is probably closed. And I’m just fortunate enough that there are some leagues around the world that I can still ply my trade and get looked after pretty well.”

“I’m pretty comfortable. I think the thing that probably hurt me the most was coming to the Scorchers last year and not playing the home summer. Then I asked about Milney [Adam Milne], he gave up his contract and I was sort of told that it’s comparing apples and oranges. So I just sort of left it at that.

“Financially for me, and it’s not always about finance, but when you’ve got two kids and you’re trying to set them up as well as you can, it was a no brainer for me to come over and play.”


Moises Henriques: A Sydney Sixers three-peat 'very possible'

Moises Henriques: A Sydney Sixers three-peat ‘very possible’

Munro’s last T20I came in February 2020 against India. Since cricket resumed amid the pandemic he has played CPL, BBL, PSL and the Hundred. This year he is averaging 38.39 with a strike-rate 130.46 and has passed 1000 runs for the second time in a calendar year after his prolific 2018 where he made 1530 runs at 34.00.

“My records are there and everyone can have a look at it,” he said. “But since opening the batting three, four years ago, my numbers are really, really good. But it’s not always about the numbers, I think I also fit in really well to the team, offer a little bit of leadership, which would probably help playing franchise cricket where you go in as an overseas player and try and give back to that environment as much as you can.”

He admitted he was difficult at times watching the T20 World Cup, where New Zealand finished runner’s up, particularly when they changed tack and opened with Daryl Mitchell, but conceded that the success the team has had means it is difficult to pick holes in the decisions made.

“It was a bit tough,” he said. “Especially when you see somebody that doesn’t open the batting but give credit to Daryl Mitchell, he batted really well.

“All the things that Gary Stead’s doing at the moment, and Kane Williamson, they are ticking off quite nicely. So you can’t really go up against them and say that they are not doing their job as well as they can. I watched a lot of the games because I was doing a little bit of TV [work] which was probably quite good for me. You’re trying to analyse the game and think about it more rather than just sit back and be a little bit bitter that you that you’re not there.”

He is still a little uncertain what role he will play for Scorchers this season but expects it to be either opening or at No. 4 because of Mitchell Marsh’s form at No. 3 for Australia in recent months. Marsh is likely to be absent for the club’s first two matches due to being part of the Australia A squad.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Recent Match Report – Bangladesh vs Pakistan 1st Test 2021/22




Abid missed the rare achievement of a century in each innings, falling for 91 with victory in sight

Pakistan 286 and 203 for 2 (Abid 91, Shafique 73) beat Bangladesh 330 and 157 (Liton 59, Yasir 36, Afridi 5-32) by 8 wickets

Pakistan made light work of what might have seemed a tricky target on Monday evening, getting to 203 for the loss of just the openers. As in the first innings, Abid Ali and Abdullah Shafique did the bulk of the work, backing up that 146-run first-innings partnership with a 151-run stand. Abid was unfortunate not to get two hundreds in a Test when Taijul Islam had him trapped in front nine short of the three-figure mark, but by then Pakistan needed just 22 to win, which Babar Azam and Azhar Ali knocked off with ease.

Pakistan began the day at 109 for no wicket, but the chase didn’t seem like the cakewalk that score might imply. In the first innings, Pakistan lost nine wickets for 111 runs, so Bangladesh would have been aware early wickets up top could test the middle order. Abid and Shafique, though, ensured they didn’t make the mistakes of day three and refused to let Bangladesh get an early wicket, seeing off the first few overs cautiously before going after them.

It was the 39th over, with Taijul bowling to Abid, that Pakistan made their move. The batter skipped down the wicket to whip Bangladesh’s best bowler through midwicket, before dispatching a long hop. He went on to make it three in three with a punch through cover, and Pakistan were on their way.

Shafique was quieter but picked up a couple of boundaries to keep the runs ticking over. Just after the 150-run partnership was brought up, he missed a sweep that was set to flick off stump, bringing down the curtain on Pakistan’s opening partnership and a dream debut for the 22-year-old.

Abid continued to press on, closing in on his second hundred of the Test. The runs by now were flowing freely, and the jeopardy had been sucked out of the game. But Taijul ensured he’d have the last laugh over Abid once more, capping a superb individual fight by the Bangladesh left-arm orthodox bowler. Bangladesh were exceptionally generous in their send-off to him, much as Pakistan had been with Liton Das. Between two sides that have on occasion seen frosty relationships, this was a game played amid much warmth in the late November sunshine.

By now, the target itself was a formality. Taijul had the chance to pick up the prized wicket of Babar if he’d clung on to a sharp return catch, but that was just about the last moment of excitement Bangladesh had in this Test. The badly out-of-form Azhar used this time to try and get some runs under his belt. Before the chase was out, he was even reverse sweeping behind point for four, finishing off with a swipe behind fine leg to complete the victory.

Pakistan take a 1-0 lead into the series, and just as importantly, rise up to second in the World Test Championship table in a cycle where they have more than a decent chance of staying around the top two.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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BBL 2021-22 – Reece Topley sets sights on next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia




England quick hopes to use BBL stint with Melbourne Renegades to build his case

Left-arm quick Reece Topley is hoping to use the Big Bash League as a launching pad to build his case to be in England’s first-choice squad for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Topley was a late addition to England’s squad halfway through the recent T20 World Cup in the UAE as a replacement for the injured Tymal Mills.

He has never played in the BBL before and has only played one England Lions List A game in Australia back in 2013, but he’s hoping a full season with Melbourne Renegades will put him firmly in the frame for next year’s World Cup.

“It’s obviously an opportunity and it’s one that I hope to take and hopefully try and impress the right people,” Topley said. “But obviously, being around in Dubai, I felt I was ready if the opportunity came. Unfortunately, it never did. But, you know, it was nice to have this lined up for when I left there. And it was going to be a great opportunity to get some playing time after being on the sidelines for a month or so.”

Topley found the experience in the UAE invaluable despite not getting the opportunity to play. He was particularly grateful for spending some time with Chris Woakes and new Surrey T20 captain, and Sydney Sixers recruit, Chris Jordan.

“Being around someone like Chris Jordan, trying to take things away from how he goes about it at the death and different stages of the game,” Topley said. “Even someone like Woakesy with bowling up top, why wouldn’t you if you’ve got those people around you in the changing room.”

Topley has joined Renegades for the upcoming BBL with a special connection to the club having spent two summers in Melbourne during his prolonged rehabilitation from his series of back injuries.

After making his T20I debut against Australia in 2015 in Cardiff and playing international cricket over the next year including at the 2016 T20 World Cup his career stalled. But a trip to Melbourne in 2018-19 provided a great opportunity for him to train with Victoria on an ad hoc basis while he continued his rehab and it remains a fond memory as Renegades won the BBL title that year.

“I know some of the guys from being in and around Melbourne and I trained with Victoria a few times and obviously there were a few Renegades players around that,” Topley said. “So I know a lot of the guys pretty well which is nice. Obviously, you’re arriving to this environment having already formed a relationship with a lot of guys.

“Honestly, I was just out here training, just bowling in the nets. Lucky I’m a bowler because everyone, you know, would love a net bowler. If I was a batter asking guys to charge in at me I don’t think I’d have been as popular. But I was always ready to bowl at anyone that would fancy having a net around here and it really helped me, especially while it’s cold in England getting outside here bowling in the nets is a lot better than bowling indoors where it’s freezing.”

Topley is excited to work with new coach David Saker and bowling coach Mick Lewis, particularly on finding the right lengths and variations in Australia.

But more than anything, he is simply happy to be fit and back playing regularly.

“I’m real happy with where I’m at,” Topley said. “To play consistently for I think three years now like summer, winter, summer, winter, it’s obviously a big ask but I’m happy that I’ve been able to answer that with playing consistently and staying relatively injury-free. Obviously, as a bowler that’s probably the biggest battle you face most of the time is just being fit, but I think being fit and available and then playing is definitely helping me with developing.”

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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