Asia Cup team of the tournament – Power up top, many all-round options, and fire with the ball
Six last-over finishes, one century, one five-for, and plenty of thrills and spills – the Asia Cup 2022 had it all. A tournament that fights for relevance was in the end the perfect build-up to the T20 World Cup that will follow, and had a number of star performers to thank for it. The best of them figure in the ESPNcricinfo Team of the Tournament.
155 runs at a strike rate of 156.56
He ended the tournament with back-to-back ducks, but played a big role in Sri Lanka’s inspired run to the final. He set the tone at the top of the order with his blazing strokeplay and firebrand approach to help scale down targets of 184, 176 and 174 against Bangladesh, Afghanistan and India respectively. That he has made a seamless switch from being a middle-order batter to an opener bodes well for Sri Lanka as they prepare for the T20 World Cup.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk)
Numbers: 152 runs at a strike rate of 163.44; three catches
Gurbaz provided a peek into his big-hitting abilities on the opening night when he blasted an 18-ball 40 in a small chase against Sri Lanka. Around a week later, also against Sri Lanka, he was at it again, when he laid the platform up top with a robust 45-ball 84 to set up a strong total batting first. He ended with a duck, against India, but it was good signs from a strong hitter up top.
Numbers: 276 runs at a strike rate of 147.59
Two half-centuries, and, finally, his first T20I century. Along the way, his century drought across formats, that had lasted 1020 days, ended. He started scratchily, but the fluency kept getting better with every passing innings. He ended the tournament second on the run chart behind Mohammad Rizwan and looked his dominant old self again.
Numbers: 196 runs at a strike rate of 104.25
If Afghanistan proved there’s more to them than just their spinners and six-hitters, it was courtesy performances of the kind Ibrahim displayed. Normally an opener, he has had to adjust to a middle-order role, and provided the ice to the fire of the stroke-makers around him. His unbeaten 42 against Bangladesh was a big show of responsibility in seeing off a small chase, while knocks of 40 and 64* against Sri Lanka and India respectively were further proof of his evolution.
Numbers: 191 runs at a strike rate of 149.21
Only nine months ago, he had hastily retired from international cricket, only to be coaxed back. An IPL stint followed by a stream of decent scores all year round made him a key player for Sri Lanka. At the Asia Cup, he brought out a big performance on the big stage – the final – with Sri Lanka with their backs to the wall. From 58 for 5, his rescue act, along with Wanindu Hasaranga, took them to 170 for 6, which was then defended by a young line-up.
Dasun Shanaka (capt)
Numbers: 111 runs at a strike rate of 138.75; 2 wickets at an economy rate of 12
He rallied a young team through a tough phase and is now reaping the rewards. He also played a key role in delivering two key wins. The first was a 33-ball 45 in a chase of 184 against Bangladesh. And then, he went one better against India. First, his wickets of Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya denied India the finish they were looking for. Then he made a calm, unbeaten 18-ball 33 to take them home in the final over.
Numbers: 8 wickets in six innings at an economy rate of 5.89; 79 runs at a strike rate of 143.63
His overs of no-frills left-arm spin gave Babar Azam some flexibility in the field to bring him on according to match-ups. With the bat, Nawaz proved to be more than a handful, especially in Pakistan’s win over India where he was essentially promoted to disrupt India’s two legspinners. He responded with a 20-ball 42 to script a win that helped them make a dash to the final.
Numbers: 9 wickets in six innings at an economy rate of 7.39; 66 runs at a strike rate of 150
He was a star with the bat in the final, and a star with the ball all tournament long. With him around, Sri Lanka didn’t need to worry about keeping batters quiet in the middle overs. He ended the tournament with back-to-back three-wicket hauls, but the impact performance was his 58-run partnership off just 36 balls with Rajapaksa that helped launch the big fightback. His nine strikes were the second-most in the tournament.
Numbers: 11 wickets in five innings at an economy rate of 6.05
It was far from a perfect performance, where his death-overs execution went awry more than once, but with the new ball, Bhuvneshwar was as good as they come. Like Afghanistan found out in the dead rubber when he uprooted their top order in a superb spell of 5 for 4. His impact performance, however, was in the tournament opener against Pakistan, when he combined with Hardik to set up victory for India by executing a sharp short-ball plan. He finished as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.
Numbers: 8 wickets in six innings at an economy rate of 7.65
If opponents thought they could relax a bit after Pakistan’s relentless new-ball attack, Haris Rauf had reason to have a good laugh about it. He can be deceptive, especially when he hits hard lengths. He can combine that with serious gas, like he did in the final when he sent Danushka Gunathilaka’s stumps flying with a 151kph thunderbolt. His strengths lie in being able to bowl with pace and fire at all stages of an innings.
Numbers: 7 wickets in five innings at an economy rate of 7.66
The late curve into Mendis in the final, that snuck through to send off stump cartwheeling, was a small glimpse into the magical world of Naseem Shah. He swings the ball at a serious pace and has an excellent short ball to boot. With the bat, he reminded many of good old Javed Miandad when he hit back-to-back sixes to win a Sharjah thriller against Afghanistan.
Australia and India set for showdown at The Oval
Australia and India will meet at the Oval on Wednesday (07) for the ICC World Test Championship 2023.
The winners of the World Test Championship final will receive £1.29m in prize money and the losers £644,000.
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Ravichandran Ashwin, KS Bharat, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Axar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadakt, Umesh Yadav.
First sprinter to run 100m in under 10 seconds dies
US sprinter Jim Hines, the first man to run the 100m in under 10 seconds, has died at the age of 76.
He broke the record in 1968 when he recorded a hand-timed 9.9 seconds at the US Championships. Hines then broke his own record shortly after while winning gold at the 1968 Olympics, where an electronic timer in Mexico City recorded him at 9.95. His record held for nearly 15 years until Calvin Smith ran a time of 9.93 in 1983.
That is the longest length of time an athlete has held the record for the men’s 100m since the International Amateur Athletic Foundation began keeping track – 110 years ago.
His death was announced in a statement by World Athletics. The organisation said it is “deeply saddened” by the news. Both the Olympics and USA Track and Field shared tributes to Hines on Twitter. “The sport has lost a legend,” USA Track and Field said.
Hines was born in the state of Arkansas in 1946 but was raised in Oakland, California.
He had an early love of sport, namely baseball, but showed a real talent for sprinting as a teenager. He attended Texas Southern University where he ran for the Tigers track team before competing in national championships and the Olympics.
In addition to winning the 100m at the Mexico Olympics, he was also part of the US 4x100m relay team which won a gold.
He ended his sprinting career shortly after the Olympics and joined the NFL. He spent three years in the league, playing for the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Silverwood promises to address dot ball issue
Leading up to the World Cup Qualifiers starting in less than two weeks’ time in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chris Silverwood promised to address the team’s dot-ball woes.
In the first ODI against Afghanistan which the hosts lost by six wickets here on Friday, there were 158 dot balls with the batters struggling to rotate the strike. That is a huge amount coming up to more than 25 overs. Although the number was cut down to 128 in the second game, Sri Lanka would like to do better than that.
“The dot ball issue is something that we are addressing. A lot of people are talking about it I know. We need to rotate the strike better and put the pressure back on the bowlers. The boundary percentage went up in the last game. Getting a balance between the two will help us to score above 300,” Silverwood told journalists.
Silverwood, the former England Head Coach, also welcomed the return of seniors Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne back into the side bringing more stability to the batting unit. Mathews was left out for game two, but that appears to be part of the team’s strategy to give everyone in the squad a go.
“Angelo was brought into the squad to boost the batting lineup and bring confidence into the side. He has experience of playing big matches. The fact is we must prepare the whole squad to cover ourselves to face any situation.
“Dimuth is making a comeback into the ODI side and he played superbly. He had a good Test series against Ireland. His tempo is very good. He gave us something to build on. The openers added 80 plus for the first wicket. Every partnership after that was scored at less than run a ball. It shows what we can do when we have a good start,” noted Silverwood.
Dhananjaya de Silva came up with a match-winning effort in the second game bowling his off-spin so well picking up three wickets that included the prize scalp of Ibrahim Zadran and earlier his less than run a ball 29 had helped Sri Lanka to a match-winning total of 323 for six.
“Dhananjaya is at six and has to adapt to situations whether it be setting a target or chasing one. The first game he played a superb inning. Today we saw him capitalizing after we had a great start. He kept the momentum going. Obviously scored quickly which is exactly what we need to get over 300. We want to keep pushing the barriers. When it comes to his bowling, he has been threatening to do it for a while.”
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