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SA-W vs WI-W, 2021-22 – Afy Fletcher returns for South Africa ODIs, Qiana Joseph out injured

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Uncapped players Kaysia Schultz, Mandy Mangru and Jannillea Glasgow also named in the 18-member squad

West Indies Women have named legspinner Afy Fletcher in their 18-member squad for the four-match ODI series in South Africa. Fletcher, 34, is returning from maternity leave, having last played for West Indies in a T20I against England in September 2020. With Qiana Joseph ruled out injured, Fletcher will be expected to play a key role, and help Anisa Mohammed, in the spin department.
Three uncapped players – left-arm spinner Kaysia Schultz, batter Mandy Mangru and right-arm seamer Jannillea Glasgow – have also been included in the side. All three were also part of West Indies Women’s A side that played against Pakistan Women A last July.

“The return of the experienced Afy Fletcher brings added variety to the bowling particularly with the absence of Qiana Joseph who has been ruled out due to injury,” Ann Browne-John, the women’s lead selector, said. “In our drive to continue the expansion of our player pool, the panel has included three young, uncapped players. Exposure to international cricket at this time will most certainly give them the experience and match time needed to develop and grow their individual talents.”

West Indies are due to land in South Africa on Sunday, after which they will have a training camp and a warm-up match on January 25. The four-match ODI series will begin on January 28. All the matches will be played at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

Squad: Stafanie Taylor (capt), Anisa Mohammed (vice-captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Cherry Ann Fraser, Jannillea Glasgow, Chinelle Henry, Kycia Knight, Mandy Mangru, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Kaysia Schultz, Shakera Selman, Rashada Williams



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Aus vs Eng, Women’s Ashes Test

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Australia opener says she was “more disappointed to lose two wickets in a row,” when she fell soon after Lanning

With the one-off Ashes Tests, which form part of the multi-format series, the only guaranteed games in the format Australia get – although this is their second of the season after the game against India in October – and most nations not playing them, Haynes admitted it might be the final time she pulls on the whites for her country.

Her 86 was the third occasion she had got within touching distance of a Test century following her 98 on debut in Worcester in 2009 and the 87 in Taunton two years ago. Having taken advantage of being dropped on 44, she was closing in on triple figures until receiving a terrific delivery from Katherine Brunt which bounced to take the glove.

“It’s probably a fair assumption, think it probably will be my last Ashes Test,” she said. “I just want to enjoy it. It’s a really special occasion, not just for me but for the whole team. This series is one that’s held in really high regard. First and foremost I just want to focus on tomorrow and get another good day’s play.”

Haynes combined in a 169-run stand with captain Meg Lanning – who was dropped on 0 and 16 – which lifted Australia from 43 for 3, and things had been even more uncertain when Haynes watched from the non-striker’s end as Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney edged to the wicketkeeper inside the first four overs.

As much as the missed landmark, it was the fact Haynes’ departure came just three balls after Lanning had also fallen narrowly short of a century that frustrated her, although the partnership between Ashleigh Gardner and Tahlia McGrath ensured Australia ended on top despite McGrath falling to the last ball of the day.

“I wasn’t thinking about it [the hundred] to be honest,” she said. “I was more just disappointed to lose two wickets in a row. It just opened the door a little bit but think our batting order rallied really well and had a good counterpunch. It was pretty good to watch as well, the contest between Ash and Katherine [Brunt], it was good fun. It was a really positive way to finish the day.”

If the chance had been taken off Lanning before she had scored, edging low to second slip, Australia would have been 43 for 4 and if she had been held by Heather Knight at slip in the last over before lunch it would have been 78 for 4.

However, Nat Sciver said that overall England were satisfied with seven wickets on the opening day having opted to bowl in conditions where she felt runs could be scored at a good rate throughout the game. Four wickets in the final session kept them in the hunt after Australia had scored 120 without loss between lunch and tea.

“All the bowlers can do is create them [the chances]. We have to take them really,” Sciver said. “We’re frustrated with the drops and maybe we lacked a bit of energy in the middle session.

“We brought it back at the end and feel pretty positive…probably buoyed a little more with the wicket on the last ball. When they got in it seemed a lot easier to score so hopefully that’s what we can do.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Match Preview – Scorchers vs Sixers, Big Bash League 2021/22, Final

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Mitchell Marsh available for Scorchers following hamstring injury, while Sixers hope Steve O’Keefe recovers from injured calf

Big Picture

At stake in the final is – obviously – the title, and also the mantle of being deemed the greatest club in BBL history, with the winner to claim a record fourth crown. Perth Scorchers were the competition’s trendsetters after making the final in five of the first six seasons, but two-time defending champions Sydney Sixers have been the dominant side recently, including beating their arch-rivals in last season’s decider. Remarkably, this will be the fifth final contested between them, with the 2-2 deadlock to be broken at the Marvel Stadium.

But these powerhouses enter the decider in vastly different shapes, with a full-strength Scorchers hot favourites against a depleted Sixers. Even though they have been shut out of Perth for the last seven weeks due to Western Australia’s hard border restrictions, Scorchers’ enviable depth and talent across the board have made them the team to beat all season.

Scorchers have endured Covid-19 dramas and injuries at various points but eventually fielded their strongest team of the season in the qualifying final, where they demolished Sixers by 48 runs. However, a hamstring niggle to star Mitchell Marsh soured the win, although he has been confirmed to play in the final.
Scorchers have the wood over Sixers, having beaten them three times this month, and face a weakened opponent who limped into the final after emerging allrounder Hayden Kerr inspired a dramatic victory over Adelaide Strikers on Wednesday.
A decimated Sixers will be without openers Josh Philippe and Jack Edwards, who have tested positive for Covid-19, while veteran spinner Steve O’Keefe and batter Jordan Silk suffered injuries during Strikers’ innings.

Sixers are optimistic that O’Keefe will recover from a calf injury in time for the final, but Silk, who was retired hurt before the final ball against Strikers due to a hamstring injury, is almost certain to miss. Batter Daniel Hughes could be a welcome addition, having not played since injuring an ankle during the warm-up ahead of the qualifying final.

So shorthanded were Sixers against Strikers that they had to call up assistant coach Jay Lenton at the last minute, as he took the gloves in his first competitive match in a month. They are set to request for a third time for an exemption for Steve Smith to play, and if successful, his presence would be a major tonic for Sixers’ quest for a historic hat-trick of titles.

In the spotlight

Mitchell Marsh has arguably been the most in-form T20 batter in the world since his heroics at the T20 World Cup, but a hamstring injury has threatened to derail his golden run. Fortunately for the 30-year-old, who has a history of soft-tissue injuries, scans revealed no serious damage, as captain Ashton Turner on Thursday declared Marsh was a certain starter, although the allrounder might just be confined to batting.

There are plenty of unknowns in Sixers’ make up, but Hayden Kerr‘s major emergence this season has been a success story. The left-arm quick is the second-highest wicket-taker this BBL, while his explosive batting materialised memorably against Strikers at the top of the order. If he conjures another starring role in the final, Kerr could soon find himself vying for higher honours.

Team news

With Marsh available, Scorchers are set to field the same line-up that accounted for Sixers in the qualifying final.

Perth Scorchers (possible): 1 Josh Inglis (wk), 2 Kurtis Patterson, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Colin Munro, 5 Ashton Turner (capt), 6 Laurie Evans, 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Jhye Richardson, 9 Andrew Tye, 10 Jason Behrendorff, 11 Peter Hatzoglou

Henriques has had a lingering calf injury, but he revealed on Thursday that he would play. The Sixers’ captain also believed O’Keefe would find a place in the XI, but ruled Silk outr. There are, however, still considerable unknowns, not least whether they can risk Hughes.

Sydney Sixers (possible): 1 Hayden Kerr, 2 Justin Avendano, 3 Jake Carder, 4 Moises Henriques (capt), 5 Daniel Hughes, 6 Dan Christian, 7 Sean Abbott, 8 Ben Dwashuis, 9 Jay Lenton (wk), 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Steve O’Keefe

Pitch and conditions

The final will be at Scorchers’ favoured Marvel Stadium, where they are unbeaten from four matches this season. In the qualifying final, the pitch showed signs of wear and tear, with the venue having hosted several matches amid Victoria’s hub due to the BBL’s Covid-19 chaos. The pitch should be conducive to spin, but the ground’s short boundaries ensure plenty of runs is always in the offering. Heavy rain is forecast in Melbourne on Friday, meaning the final is expected to be played under Marvel Stadium’s closed roof.

Stats and trivia

  • Scorchers have an overall 14-9 record over Sixers, including three back-to-back wins.
  • Scorchers’ opener Kurtis Patterson has hit four half-centuries in 12 innings. In 27 innings before this season, he hadn’t cracked fifty even once.
  • Quotes

    “They’ve been the best team for the last couple of years. We can’t wait for the opportunity for a little bit of redemption after what happened last year. We feel like we have taken lessons out of that. We have come back this year as a better team.”
    Scorchers’ captain Ashton Turner on another chapter in the rivalry against Sixers

    “It adds complexity when you’re carrying [injured] players in the field. Fielding is such a large component of T20 cricket. You want your key players playing, but you need to make sure they can contribute in the field.”
    Moises Henriques on the risk of taking in too many injured players

    Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth



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    New Zealand home fixtures streamlined to mitigate Covid-19 risk

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    Tours by SA, Australia, Netherlands and India women will now be confined to a small list of venues

    New Zealand Cricket has announced a revised home international schedule for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, with its venue list streamlined in order to mitigate the risk of disruption by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

    South Africa’s upcoming visit for two men’s Tests, as a result, will be confined to Christchurch – originally they were scheduled to play one Test there and one in Wellington.

    All three men’s T20Is against Australia will now be played in Napier, and Netherland’s visit for a men’s white-ball tour will be split between Mount Maunganui (one-off T20I and one ODI) and Hamilton (two ODIs).

    India women, meanwhile, will play their entire white-ball series (one T20I and five ODIs) in Queenstown.

    “These risk mitigations are based on avoiding known Covid-19 hotspots, and include limiting air travel, limiting accommodation transfers and, essentially, operating in safer environments,” said NZC chief executive David White.

    “We know the more domestic flights we have, and the more movement there is between hotels, the greater the chance of a match or even a series being put at risk.”

    Wellington is set to be hardest hit by the streamlining of venues. Apart from the second Test against South Africa, it was also set to host two of the T20Is against Australia.

    “It’s a real blow for those in our cricket family who have missed out on hosting events through no fault of their own.

    “However, the current environment demands we take every possible measure to, 1) ensure people are safe and well, and 2) deliver a summer of international cricket with the least possible disruption.”

    Fans who have purchased tickets at venues that will no longer host games are entitled to a full refund.



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