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Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final, Australia vs Pakistan

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Wicketkeeper believes Marcus Stoinis’ composure under pressure was the key to the pair finishing off Pakistan

Marcus Stoinis‘ takedown of Haris Rauf – and not Pakistan’s lapses in the field – was the turning point in a wildly fluctuating semi-final, according to Matthew Wade.
Wade was dropped on 12 by Hasan Ali in the outfield when he miscued a slog in the penultimate over of Australia’s chase of 177. Wade then hit the next three balls for sixes as Australia snatched victory, with an over and five wickets to spare.

“I don’t think any of them [the drop and missed run-out chances] were the turning points of the match,” Wade said at the post-match press conference. “I think the way Marcus Stoinis batted at the end, to be honest, was probably the turning point of the match.

“I think when I came out there, he might have hit the spinner [Shadab Khan] for six, the first ball when I got out there. I think that kind of play, in my eyes, he’s really gutsy in those decisions that you make out in the middle, win you games. He could’ve easily blocked that ball he went for, hit a six and then that total comes down a little bit more.

“But I think the turning point of the game I thought was Marcus’s over against Rauf. I thought that kind of swung the momentum our way and gave us an opportunity to win the game. It’s just an easy thing to do to focus in on missed chances. Yes, maybe it would have gone down late in the last over, but I’m still confident we could have gone home.”

Wade usually opens in the BBL, as does Stoinis, but on Thursday the pair sealed a tense chase without panicking. When they came together, Australia required 81 off 46 balls. They finished it off with an over to spare. Wade put down their success to “confidence” and work put in behind the scenes.

“It’s confidence, I think. Confidence in your ability to be able to finish the game,” Wade said. “To be able to bat with Marcus has been awesome. Obviously [I’ve] played a lot of cricket with him at Victoria and early on in his career. Obviously saw him grow into the cricketer he is today.

“To go out and bat with him certainly gives you a lot of confidence. I know if I can just hang with him for four or five overs, then he’s going to find the boundary. He’s too good and strong not to. So, the reason that me and him are working well towards the back end is we know each other’s game so much.

“In the optional sessions, the day before the game, you’ll find me and Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis go down again in closed sessions because we haven’t got a lot of match practice. It’s been invaluable to see what those guys are doing in training, especially Stoiny, work out his strengths, when he’s hitting the ball at his best. And he can see me do exactly the same thing.”

Wade, 33, admitted that his international career might have been over had he not won the semi-final for Australia. In the recent past, Australia have had other keeping options in Josh Philippe, Alex Carey and Josh Inglis, who was a wildcard pick in the World Cup squad after impressing in the Vitality Blast and the Hundred in the UK. However, the team management persisted with Wade and he delivered under pressure.

“I don’t feel like it’s on the line anymore so much because I’m not 23 anymore,” Wade said. “And if this is it, this is it. It’s not really on the line for me. It’s going to be all over, I suppose. A little bit, I think… I was a little bit nervous coming into the game and knowing potentially it could be the last opportunity to represent Australia.

“I just wanted to do well and really wanted us to win this game, give us an opportunity to win the whole thing. We have a great bunch of guys in that dressing room and guys that I have played with for a long, long period of time.

“So, yeah, just really I feel like this game was probably hard on nerves than maybe what the final will be because now we’re in it. We’ve got nothing to lose. We’re going to go out there, do our absolute best. It [the final] might be my last game too. As I’ve said to you before in the past, I’m comfortable with it. If it is it, then it’s it. I’ll play as long as they need me and hopefully, we can win some games while I’m there.”

The scoop served Wade well against Shaheen Shah Afridi at the death when fine leg was up in the circle and he pointed out that the shot allows him to manipulate the field.

“I’ve had those [scoops and laps] for a longish period of time,” Wade said. “I’ve been playing them from early on in my career as well. But, yes, certainly [it] was something I needed to tap back into a little bit more when I’m batting down the bottom.

“It’s easy to have the fine leg up a lot of the time at the end, but someone that laps, it kind of opens up the whole field for you. You’ve got to either have mid-off up or third man up or one of the fielders on the off side. It kind of opens the whole field up for you a little bit.”

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Travis Head wins the race to be Australia's No. 5 in the Ashes

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Mitchell Starc will complete the fast-bowling trio alongside Josh Hazlewood and captain Pat Cummins



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Mithali Raj – We have had ‘good preparation’ for 2022 World Cup by playing SA, England, Australia this year

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“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good,” she says

India Women are scheduled to play only one ODI series – against New Zealand – before the World Cup early next year but captain Mithali Raj feels the team has had “good preparation” so far in 2021.
This year, India hosted South Africa for five ODIs before playing a three-match series in England and Australia each. They lost all three series but made Australia, the No. 1 team, work really hard for their 2-1 win and also ended their 26-match winning streak in the third ODI there.

India will play World Cup hosts New Zealand for five ODIs before the World Cup in March-April.

“We have played three best teams since March and it has given us good preparation,” Raj said after a partnership between KFC and Indian Deaf Cricket Association in Delhi on Wednesday. “Players have played domestic cricket and also in the Women’s Big Bash so they are getting game time which is the most important thing.

“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good.”

India, who were unable to post 250-plus scores regularly earlier, did that twice in the Australia series and chased down 265 in the final ODI.

“When you play against a strong team in its backyard you try to give your best,” Raj said. “Though we lost the series, the matches were very close. We scored 270 (274) and chased 270-odd, if we can do that consistently we will be among the best sides in world cricket.”

India’s middle-order batting needs improvement but Raj said all departments must fire as a unit if they are to win the World Cup.

“We bat as a unit so you can’t pinpoint one area,” she said. “There are times when the top order failed and the others performed. As a unit if we look to post a good total then it will help. If we focus on one area like middle order then it becomes too much of a burden for that particular slot.”

India finished runners-up in the 2017 World Cup in England when not many expected them to but expectations will be higher this time.

“There were not enough expectations back then,” Raj said. “Now in 2021, players have got experience and got a lot of exposure with the T20 leagues. Overall we have young players but they have got enough exposure. It is just of matter of gelling well as a team.

“Every match will be different there. The quicker we read our opponents the better it will be for us.”



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The Ashes 2021-22 – Michael Vaughan stood down from BT Sport Ashes coverage after Azeem Rafiq allegations

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Channel to adopt a “hybrid” approach with Vaughan’s stints on Fox Sports to be overlaid

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, will not be heard by UK audiences during this winter’s Ashes in Australia, after BT Sport followed the BBC’s decision to remove him from their TV coverage of the series.

Vaughan, 47, was last week stood down from BBC Test Match Special’s coverage for “editorial” reasons, following allegations from Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire cricketer, that he had said “there are too many of you lot” following the selection of four players of Asian heritage in a county fixture in 2009.

Vaughan, who denies the allegations, apologised last week in an interview on BBC Breakfast for the “hurt” caused to Rafiq during his time as a player at Yorkshire, and will still be involved in this winter’s Ashes coverage through his commentary role with Fox Sports, the Australian host broadcaster.

However, BT Sport – who are due to take the Fox Sports feed after choosing not to send a bespoke commentary team to Australia – announced on Tuesday that they will be taking a “hybrid” approach to their coverage, with Vaughan’s on-air stints to be overlaid with studio analysis.

“As a result of Covid and travel restrictions BT Sport had made the decision to take our commentary feed from the Australian host broadcaster,” the channel said in a statement. “The recent report presented to UK Parliament uncovering institutional racism within cricket and specifically Yorkshire County Cricket Club is extremely disappointing and a concern for all.

“Given these recent events and the controversy with the situation we have taken the decision that including Michael Vaughan within our Ashes coverage would not be editorially appropriate or fit with BT Sport’s values. We are still finalising plans but we are assessing the option of taking a hybrid approach, using Fox commentary where possible with the aim of putting our own commentary team in place if necessary.”

Vaughan’s troubled build-up to the series continued on Tuesday, when he announced on Twitter that his arrival in Australia had been delayed by a week due to a positive Covid test. “[It] is frustrating,” he wrote. “But at least I’ll avoid the rain in Brisbane for a few days!”

However, his hopes of being retained by the BBC after the Ashes have received a boost, after the corporation confirmed that they had been in “regular contact” with Vaughan since his suspension, and had held “positive conversations with him in recent days”.

“Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael’s involvement in a story of such significance means it’s not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment,” the statement added. “We’re pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC.”

The BBC’s stance was criticised this week by his former England team-mate Monty Panesar, who wrote in a column in the Daily Telegraph: “This feels deeply unethical — a classic case of someone being tried and convicted without any form of due process being undertaken.”



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