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Match Preview – South Africa vs Netherlands, Netherlands in South Africa 2021/22, 1st ODI




Netherlands have their own points to prove against the “big boys”, with the ODI Super League being scrapped going forward

You may expect the usual David and Goliath angle for a preview about a series between South Africa and Netherlands but this won’t exactly be it. You only have to go back a little over four months for the last time a so-called David beat South Africa’s Goliath, when Ireland registered their first ODI win over them and took what could-yet be 10 crucial points off them in the World Cup Super League.
The series was shared and South Africa were shaken, even if circumstances at the time suggest that Ireland’s victory was an anomaly. It came at the height of South Africa’s third wave of coronavirus and players on tour had family and friends who were ill at home. It also came during an incident since described as an insurrection in South Africa, characterised by riots and looting in the provinces of Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal, where a significant number of the national squad are based. It’s fair to say that South Africa’s minds were elsewhere. They went to lose an ODI series in Sri Lanka, but since that defeat they have won all but one of their matches, the T20 World Cup opener against Australia, so the wheel appears to be turning. But how far? This summer might tell.
This week marked the start of the fourth wave of the pandemic in South Africa, with a three-fold increase in the seven-day rolling averages of positive cases, the bulk of them in the Gauteng province where this series is being played. One of those cases was Lungi Ngidi, who has been withdrawn from the squad thereby depriving South Africa of their senior-most seamer for the ODIs against the Dutch. Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are being rested and with Ngidi now out, it will be up to a three-time ODI capped Daryn Dupavillon, twice-capped Junior Dala and uncapped Sisanda Magala to lead the attack. Happily, for South Africa, they also have three seam-bowling allrounders in their ranks. Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo and Wayne Parnell will all add experience to a green pace pack.

Though the civil unrest was short lived, South Africa remains far from stable with rolling blackouts at their worst in 2021 and the economy in freefall, and cricket has not escaped the crunch. Money is still tight at Cricket South Africa and that’s not the only shadow hanging over the administration.

The Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) project will reach its conclusion as the season starts with the transformation ombudsman, Dumisa Ntsebeza, set to release his report on November 30, the day before the final ODI against the Dutch. It is expected to contain recommendations that could directly impact the national team. Head coach Mark Boucher was among those who was implicated in testimony detailing racism, and responded with an affidavit admitting to naivety and apologising for his past conduct. His assistant, Enoch Nkwe, resigned in the midst of these events, citing problems with the team culture without going into any further details. Nkwe may yet be courted by Netherlands, where he was previously assistant coach, and where he has family.

But out of all that, South Africa have emerged, finally, with clarity on their anti-racism gesture. Less than 48 hours before the first international delivery of the summer is bowled, CSA released a statement confirming that the team will take a knee throughout the season. “The Proteas should continue to take the knee as a contribution towards the global sports endeavour to demonstrate its commitment to eradicating racism and all forms of discrimination,” CSA said.

Considering that South Africa previously had a three-pronged approach to showing anti-racism (take a knee, raise a fist or stand to attention) and that several players only took a knee when it was mandated by the board (and one, Quinton de Kock only after sitting out a game for refusing to accept the instruction at first), there will still be questions about whether South African cricket is inclusive enough or representative enough. Addressing these questions remains an ongoing process, but there will be plenty of on-field tests as well in a busy summer ahead.

Lined up are ODI series against Netherlands, India and Bangladesh – which will collectively go a long way to determining their chances of automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup – and Tests against India, New Zealand and Bangladesh. The T20 format takes a backseat, with only four fixtures against India but, all in all, it’s a full schedule that could prove crucial for Boucher’s longevity as head coach and several players’ careers.

Netherlands can only dream of a sentence like that being written about them. As the only Associate in the World Cup Super League, they are relishing their opportunity to play against the big teams but it will be shortlived. The scrapping of the league and return to a one-off qualifier event for the 2027 World Cup has created uncertainty among Associates, who fear their chances to test themselves against the best will be severely reduced. In the long-term, Dutch coach Ryan Campbell believes it could shrink the game; in the short-term, it gives a team like Netherlands even more incentive to make statements where they can, especially against a side like South Africa, where many of their players started their careers.

And then there’s the added niggle. Expats have historically been fan favourites for some actual banter (not the kind that has been talked about in the English circuit over the last few weeks) and for the first time since the pandemic began, there will be a cricket crowd in a South African stadium. Current government regulations allow for a maximum of 2,000 fully vaccinated spectators at sports events but Cricket South Africa has petitioned for this to increase to 10% of stadium capacity. ESPNcricinfo understands that this request will be granted but that it needs to be published in the national gazette and that may only happen in time for the Test series against India. So it may be a small crowd for this series, but certainly a vocal one, albeit sans minors. Children under 12, to whom the Covid-19 vaccine is not yet available in South Africa, will not be allowed to attend matches and there’s another hard sell: no alcohol is allowed to be sold at sporting venues.

The absence of a party atmosphere will not take away from this series, marking the start of the festive season in some way. Pandemic-weary South Africans are looking forward to a more “normal” December-January after last year’s holiday lockdown, and having international cricket will be one way of enjoying summer. Despite six regulars – big names like captain Temba Bavuma, de Kock, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje – being given a break from the biobubble for these matches, there are enough eye-catchers to keep people interested. Janneman Malan, David Miller, Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj have all put in standout performances over the past year and more will be expected this summer. And if the start of it, a three-match ODI series against Netherlands, doesn’t seem like an enticing match-up for you, just think back to July and that match against Ireland.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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England add South Africa and New Zealand tours to packed 2022-23 winter




Changes to FTP mean England will play bilateral men’s series in five different countries

England will tour South Africa and New Zealand in early 2023, ESPNcricinfo can reveal.

In the original version of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) for 2018-23, the men’s 50-over World Cup was due to be staged in India in February-March 2023 but the postponement of the 2020 men’s T20 World Cup to October-November 2022 shifted that tournament back to an October-November window.
The ECB confirmed in August that England’s tour of Bangladesh, which will feature three ODIs and three T20Is, had been pushed back until March 2023, filling part of the gap in their schedule, and ESPNcricinfo understands that England will also complete tours of South Africa and New Zealand at the start of the year.
The tour of South Africa will feature three ODIs and forms part of the World Cup Super League, with the series initially set for December 2020 until a Covid-19 scare in the England camp prompted a last-minute postponement. The series will now be played in late January.
England will then travel to New Zealand for a two-Test series in February, which does not form part of the World Test Championship and reciprocates New Zealand’s tour immediately before the WTC final in June this year.

England are now due to play men’s bilateral series in five different countries in the 2022-23 winter, as well as the T20 World Cup in Australia. Their winter is scheduled to start with seven T20Is in Pakistan from late September, then three T20Is and three ODIs in Australia either side of the World Cup. They then tour Pakistan again for three Tests in December 2022 before the tours of South Africa, New Zealand and Bangladesh in early 2023.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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Recent Match Report – Gladiators vs Bangla Tiger 27th Match 2021/22



Deccan Gladiators 140 for 1 (Kohler-Cadmore 96) beat Bangla Tigers 78 (Udana 33, Hasaranga 5-8) by 62 runs

According to ESPN Cricinfo’s Smart Stats, Wanindu Hasaranga was the MVP of the T20 World Cup. In the Super 12s, the Sri Lankan took ten wickets and conceded at just 5.84 an over.

At the Abu Dhabi T10, he is once again the most valuable player and an instrumental part of Deccan Gladiators’ rise to the top of the leaderboard, as the tournament reaches its business end. Time and again, he has bamboozled the opposition with the ball in hand.

Hasaranga is the only man with a bowling average that is in single figures. He has 18 wickets thus far at 8.61 and the lowest economy rate at 8.15. Unsurprisingly, he is also the only bowler that has bowled a maiden in the competition. No one else really comes close.

On a day where two batters lit up the Zayed Cricket Ground with their ferocious hitting, Hasaranga ensured that this is a format where the bowlers can also shine with a five-wicket haul that destroyed the Bangla Tigers.

To pull off a five-wicket haul in any match is an achievement. To do it in two overs is quite frankly ridiculous.

In his first over, he dismissed Karim Janat before bowling Johnson Charles with a googly the very next delivery. Isuru Udana survived the hat-trick ball.

Hasaranga’s second over was pure magic. Benny Howell attempted a reverse sweep but he found Tymal Mills at backward point. The following ball, James Faulkner played across the line, missing the ball entirely and was bowled.

Vishnu Sukumaran came out to face Hasaranga’s fifth hat-trick ball of the tournament. He didn’t last long either. Another three dot balls followed, before Sukumaran pulled one straight to the fielder.

Hasaranga had a five-for and the best figures in T10 history. Perhaps, even more impressively, he had a maiden in a T10 game. A triple-wicket maiden to be precise.

“I’m very impressed with Hasaranga,” said his Deccan Gladiators coach and one of the greatest spinners of all time, Mushtaq Ahmed. “I’ve been talking with him about how to do his variations. He’s got a good wrong-un, but he has to develop his leggies more. People are waiting for his wrong-un, but he’s bowling more leg breaks and flippers and also he’s developed his off spin against the left-hander.

“He’s learning the trade, using the crease, taking the pace off the ball, all the little things we’ve been discussing. He is very open-minded and a really good listener,”

That he didn’t get his fifth player of the match award of the competition was due to the explosive Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who played the innings of the tournament so far.

Kohler-Cadmore agonisingly fell four short of what would have been the first ever century of the Abu Dhabi T10. In 2019, Chris Lynn ended unbeaten with 91* off deliveries and no one had reached the nineties since. Kohler-Cadmore’s brutal 96 off 39 will take some beating.

The 27-year-old went out to bat knowing that another low score could have meant trouble for his position, going into the play-offs. Aside from an unbeaten half-century against the Delhi Bulls earlier in the tournament, his next highest score was 12. He had managed just 46 runs in his last six innings, including a golden duck last time out.

After hitting a couple of boundaries off both Mohammad Amir and Luke Wood in the powerplay, Kohler-Cadmore needed a slice off luck when he was dropped on 24 off Faulkner, but he made his good fortune count. With Andre Russell at the other end, Kohler-Cadmore took centre stage with 12 fours and five sixes, before driving a full-toss in the last over to a diving Will Jacks at mid off.

Kohler-Cadmore said post-match that he decided to use one grip on his bat, as opposed the two that he had previously been using, and perhaps that was all he needed.

“I could have easily been left out today, but it gives you confidence knowing that they back you,” said Kohler-Cadmore. “Getting dropped changed the innings for me – I think today was just my day, with that little bit of luck going my way,, like when I hit it in the air, it’d just go over the fielder.”

The Yorkshire batter now has a slice of T10 history, but it was a bittersweet moment falling just short of becoming the first ever centurion.

“Obviously, it’s a shame when you get that close to not get it (the hundred), but if you’d have asked me at the start of the game ‘would you take 96’, I’d have said, ‘100%’, I’d take that and I’d have bitten your hand off for it,” said Kohler-Cadmore.

Such a stunning knock made Hasaranga’s spell look even more mesmerising. After Kohler-Cadmore made 96 himself, the Tigers were bowled out for just 78.

For Hasaranga, Kohler-Cadmore and the Gladiators, that next game will be a straight shoot-out on Friday for a place in the final against either Team Abu Dhabi or Delhi Bulls.

In the later game, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, just a few days after turning 20, hit the fastest 50 of the tournament. Gurbaz’s blistering knock took just 14 deliveries, including five fours and six sixes as the Delhi Bulls hammered the Chennai Braves. They raced to a target of 81 in 25 deliveries and ended an abysmal campaign for the Braves.

Aadam Patel is a freelance sports reporter who has written for BBC Sport, the Daily Mail, ESPNcricinfo, the Cricketer and other publications @aadamp9

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Lanka Premier League 2021 – SLC to allow double vaccinated spectators up to 50% stadium capacity




SLC confident they can keep the bubble secure with the tournament being staged in different venues unlike last edition

The SLC has confirmed that spectators will be allowed up to 50% of stadium capacity for the second edition of the Lanka Premier League, starting on Sunday.

Fans entering the stadium will need to be double vaccinated, with a period of at least two weeks having elapsed since receiving their second dose, Arjuna De Silva, the head of SLC’s medical committee, revealed on Thursday. The board said that the tickets will be available for online purchase in the coming days.

“We have had discussions right along with the Ministry of Health, and they have agreed to give us 50% spectators,” Arjuna said at a media briefing ahead of the tournament. “There is a new variant [Omicron], but that is immaterial, as we always follow the health guidelines. We are asking for spectators who have been double vaccinated for at least two weeks.”

The ongoing Test series between Sri Lanka and the West Indies is the first instance of fans being allowed in a stadium in Sri Lanka since the pandemic last year.

Sri Lanka’s bio-bubble protocols were successful during the last year’s LPL, with no Covid-19 cases detected during the tournament – two cases were reported before its start. All the matches took place at a single venue last year. This time around, though, most of the games – including the playoffs – will take place at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, with the action switching to Hambantota for the start of the Eliminator and the final.

“There could be a problem when moving from venue to venue,” Arjuna said. “That was the problem faced during the IPL, though that was also because many teams had to fly to different venues. But we’re confident we can keep the bubble secure.”

As per the Covid protocols, players will be tested every five days during the competition. Before entering the bubble, a player who is already in the country must do a PCR test 48 hours prior, and quarantine himself for 24 hours. Double vaccinated (by an SL/WHO-recognised vaccine) foreign players and local players flying in from abroad will be required to show a negative PCR test 48 hours before arrival, as well as an on-arrival PCR. They will also need to quarantine for three days after that.

Most of the protocols will remain the same for the non-vaccinated players too, except the quarantine period, which will be extended to six days. They will also need to undergo both a PCR and antigen test before entering the bubble.

“This is just to further ensure the safety of the players and the security of the bubble,” Arjuna said.

SLC will also be obtaining the services of the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit, along with the Sri Lankan sports ministry’s anti-corruption officers, to oversee the tournament.

“There are three anti-corruption officers, nominated by the ICC. There were anti-corruption officers last year as well,” SLC CEO Ashley De Silva said.

When asked if there had been any anti-corruption breaches reported during the inaugural edition, Ashley said: “We have not been notified of any approaches last year. But we do have their [ICC] anti-corruption unit and the anti-corruption unit from the ministry [of sport] officiating in this year’s tournament.”

Although the inaugural edition of LPL had largely been deemed a success, the lead-up to the second season has faced significant hurdles. The tournament was postponed twice to avoid clashes with other T20 leagues around the world. And of the five franchises that competed in the first edition, three have been terminated by organisers, including the Jaffna Stallions franchise, who had won the first season. Colombo and Dambulla franchises are the other two to have been terminated.

Upon the defending champions’ exit, the Stallions owners alleged mismanagement and a lack of transparency within the league. Earlier this week, the former owner of the Dambulla Giants made similar allegations.

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