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Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final

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Hasan Ali’s spill in the deep off Matthew Wade turns tight contest on its head

Pakistan captain Babar Azam acknowledged that Hasan Ali’s key dropped catch in the 19th over might have cost his side a spot in the T20 World Cup final. Speaking immediately after Australia’s five-wicket win in Dubai that put an end to Pakistan’s hopes of emulating their victory in the 2009 tournament, a visibly gutted Babar said mistakes at this level were bound to be punished.
With the game finely poised and Shaheen Shah Afridi bowling a make-or-break 19th over, Australia needed 20 off 10 balls for victory. Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade had dragged Australia back into the game with a 61-run stand for the sixth wicket, but the momentum looked set to swing again when Wade mistimed a drive to deep midwicket, only for Hasan to put down the chance.

The moment capped a difficult day – and tournament – in general, for Hasan, who had just conceded 15 runs in the previous over. Wade went on to hit Shaheen for three sixes off the next three balls as Australia sealed a sensational heist.

“When you give teams like Aus a chance they take the match away from you,” Babar said after the game. “If that catch that Hasan Ali dropped had been taken, maybe the result would have been different. As a player, you have to be on your toes and avail any opportunity you get. We made a mistake and it cost us the match.”

It was Pakistan’s first defeat after cruising through the group stages with five wins out of five, including a famous ten-wicket win over India and a five-wicket victory over their fellow qualifiers New Zealand, who went on to complete a successful run-chase against England in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to book their own place in Sunday’s final.

“The way we played the tournament and gelled together as a team, I am very satisfied with my team’s efforts as captain,” Babar said. “We’ll try and learn from our mistakes and come back stronger. When you play a big tournament so well, it’s good but you have to perform on the day. You can’t relax in any department.”

The semi-final defeat stung particularly hard for Pakistan given that they had been the most settled team of the tournament. They made no changes to their line-up throughout their group-stage dominance but, as was the case in a famous T20 World Cup semi-final against Australia in 2010, Pakistan found themselves undone by a fightback from the lower middle order to deprive them of a place in the final. Babar, however, said the tournament there were plenty of positives through the tournament to take forward.

“We’ll try and continue our efforts; how we performed gave us confidence and we’ll try and build on from that,” he said. “The roles we had defined for everyone, they executed brilliantly, and you saw that from us on the field. The way the crowd supported us was very enjoyable. We always enjoy ourselves here and I’m thankful to the fans back home for supporting us.”

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



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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2nd Test 2021/22

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Roston Chase dismissed Dimuth Karunaratne late in the day, but not before another century opening stand

Sri Lanka 113 for 1 (Nissanka 61*, Karunaratne 42, Chase 1-33) vs West Indies

Pathum Nissanka breezed his way to a half-century, Dimuth Karunaratne fell eight short of a fifty that would have seen him equal a world record, and on a day in which rain washed out the first two sessions, Sri Lanka gained a significant advantage, moving to 113 for 1 in the 33.4 overs that were possible.
Before Roston Chase caught-and-bowled Karunaratne late in the day, Sri Lanka’s openers had put on 106 runs in 31 overs – their second century stand in the series. Kemar Roach, returning for this game after having been left out in favour of Shannon Gabriel, was perhaps the best of West Indies’ bowlers, delivering six overs and conceding just 12. Sri Lanka’s batters were largely untroubled by the others.

Nissanka was positive almost from the outset. He drilled a full Jason Holder ball down the ground for four to begin the second over, carved Roach past the slip cordon soon after, and although occasionally beaten by deliveries that jagged past his outside edge, was on a constant hunt for runs, moving to 20 off his first 30 balls. Karunaratne was typically conservative by comparison – defending and leaving the majority of deliveries he faced from the seamers, making just 4 from his first 30 deliveries.

Eventually though, Holder and Roach wrapped up their spells, and batting seemed to get easier. Kyle Mayers was hit for three fours – twice through the leg side by Karunaratne – in his first two overs, the only two he bowled on the first day. Nissanka attempted to dominate the left-arm spin of Veerasammy Permaul, who was playing his first Test since 2015, coming down the track in Permaul’s second over to launch him into the sightscreen.

Soon, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite had spinners bowling from both ends, and although they prompted the occasional mistake, the batters largely settled into a rhythm against them, with Nissanka scoring primarily through the off side, and Karunaratne favouring the leg side, as he often does. Nissanka got to fifty – his third in Tests, and second in the series – off the 74th ball he faced.

Karunaratne’s dismissal came against the run of play. Earlier in that Chase over, he had played a late cut and a flick through midwicket, both of which went for four. But Chase found some rip off the last delivery of that over, and turned a ball more than the batter expected, which produced a return catch off the inside half of the bat as Karunaratne attempted to drive him down the ground.

If he had got to fifty, Karunaratne would have made seven Test half-centuries in as many innings, a feat only six batters had accomplished. In any case, his last seven scores read 42, 83, 147, 66, 118, 244 and 75.

Oshada Fernando survived ten balls before the players went off for bad light. Nissanka was 61 not out off 109 balls, his scoring rate having slowed as the light faded.

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



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Ray Illingworth reveals cancer diagnosis amid support for assisted dying

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Former England captain wants law changed to prevent the suffering of terminally ill patients

Ray Illingworth, the former England captain, has revealed he is being treated for oesophageal cancer, and has called for assisted dying to be legalised in the UK after witnessing the way his wife Shirley suffered from the same disease.

Illingworth, who captained England to victory in Australia in 1970-71 and went on to become English cricket’s most powerful figure in the mid-1990s, says that he has undergone two rounds of radiotherapy and hopes to hear a positive prognosis when his condition is reassessed next month.

“They got rid of a lot of the tumour but there were still two centimetres left, originally it was eight,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “They are just hoping to get rid of the last bit with extra double doses. I will see how these next two doses go, keep my fingers crossed and hope I have a bit of luck.”

However, having cared for his wife for the final years of her life, prior to her death in March, Illingworth has lent his support to the Assisted Dying Bill, which received its second reading in the House of Lords in October, and would enable mentally competent adults to make the decision to end their own lives.

At present, the 1961 Suicide Act states that anyone who is found to have assisted a person to take their own life could face up to 14 years’ imprisonment. However, earlier this month, Jersey became the first British parliament to approve assisted dying, with the prospect for a draft law by 2023.

“I don’t want to have the last 12 months that my wife had. She had a terrible time going from hospital to hospital and in pain. I don’t want that,” Illingworth said. “I would rather go peacefully. I believe in assisted dying. The way my wife was, there was no pleasure in life in the last 12 months and I don’t see the point of living like that, to be honest.

“But we don’t have assisted dying in England yet so you don’t have the option do you? They are debating it and I think it will come eventually. A lot of doctors are against it but if they had to live like my wife did in her last 12 months they might change their minds.”



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Recent Match Report – Warriors vs Braves 26th Match 2021/22

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Shahzad, Rajapaksa romp to victory after Bopara, Munaf star with ball

Chennai Braves 114 for 0 (Rajapaksa 55*, Shahzad 54*) beat Northern Warriors 108 (Bopara 2-6) by ten wickets

Eleven days and 26 games later, the Chennai Braves finally got themselves their first win of the Abu Dhabi T10, at the ninth time of asking.

“Better late than never,” as player of the match, Bhanuka Rajapaksa said post-match. They had the Sri Lankan to thank as he notched up his third half-century of the tournament with 55 not out off just 23 deliveries. Alongside the always-entertaining Mohammad Shahzad, who hit 54 not out off 29 balls, the pair ensured that the Braves got their first points on the board.
Of course, it was all a little too late. After eight consecutive defeats, the Braves looked all but destined to end their first experience at the Abu Dhabi T10 without a win to their name. Without Nicholas Pooran – their icon player – throughout the tournament, the Braves have lacked match-winners and an injury to Yusuf Pathan certainly didn’t help.
Angelo Perera, handed the captaincy midway through the tournament, praised two of their more experienced players in Ravi Bopara and Munaf Patel for orchestrating their win, as Northern Warriors were bowled out for 108. It was the first time that the Braves had managed to take more than five wickets in an innings.
From the moment Curtis Campher trapped the devastating Kennar Lewis for a golden duck, the Braves looked like a team determined to end their hoodoo thus far. Campher had Moeen Ali caught at deep backward square leg, just as he was getting going and despite the tournament top scorer, Rovman Powell smashing young Englishman, Roman Walker, for three sixes in the seventh over, Shanaka got the West Indian in the next, Powell sending one straight to Campher in the deep.

With the very next ball, Shanaka dismissed Umair Ali and after Bopara picked up two wickets in the penultimate over. It was left to Dhananjaya Lakshan to get rid of Imran Tahir, before Oshane Thomas was run out with a ball to spare.

“A lot of credit goes to the bowling unit and also, we had a good outing in the field,” said Perera. “Yes, it was frustrating [to be winless], but today we had a different plan and Ravi and Munaf took the responsibility of talking to the bowlers and their experience has shown today. I think they executed the plan really well.”

In their previous three matches, the Braves had managed totals of 107, 89 & 57, so chasing 109 was never going to be a walk in the park. However Rajapaksa and Shahzad got the job done in style. After a tight first over from Tahir, Shahzad let loose with five boundaries off Abhimanyu Mithun in the second. Together, the pair picked away at the total, sucking the energy out of the Warriors – who knew that they also had no chance of progressing to the play-offs.

There was still 21 needed off three overs when Oshane Thomas was brought back into the attack. Thomas has had a fascinating tournament thus far, picking up the only hat-trick of the T10 in his first game, before returning the worst figures in T10 history with 0 for 50 in his two overs against Team Abu Dhabi. Yet, he came back from that, with three wickets the following night against the Deccan Gladiators.

However, Rajapaksa ensured that this was another night to forget for the West Indian, who after getting run-out for a duck, was dispatched by the Sri Lankan for 20 in his second over. With a majestic drive over the sweeper cover, the 30-year-old brought up his fifty in style.

And it was left for Shahzad to bring up his half-century too with a six, which also sealed the win. Between them, the pair hit 15 fours and six sixes and at long last, the Chennai outfit had some points on the table and something to shout about.

“When I was batting with Shazy [Shahzad], I can’t really run so it’s really a case of see ball, hit ball,” said Rajapaksa. “I guess it worked tonight!”

As the league stage of the tournament comes to a conclusion with just four games remaining, the four play-off spots have already been decided. Team Abu Dhabi, Deccan Gladiators, Bangla Tigers and Delhi Bulls will make up the sides ready to battle it out over two play-off days on Friday and Saturday. It remains to be seen which two sides will finish as the top two and thus have two bites of the cherry, as they look to make the final of the Abu Dhabi T10.

In the earlier game, Liam Livingstone smashed a brutal 59 off 24 to help Team Abu Dhabi reclaim top spot, as they edged out Deccan Gladiators by eight runs.



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