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Babar, Rizwan power Pakistan to a thumping win

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Babar Azam’s second T20I hundred (110* off 66, 11 fours and 5 sixes) came in a record stand with Mohammad Rizwan (88* off 51, 5 fours and 4 sixes) as Pakistan prevailed in a high-scoring encounter at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday (September 22) in the second T20I to square the series against England. Moeen Ali’s 23-ball fifty headlined a collective batting show from England as they posted an imposing 199 for 5. But the hosts sprinted to the target, winning with three deliveries to spare thanks to the Babar-Rizwan stand, which was the first double century partnership for Pakistan who became the first team to achieve success in a 200-run chase with all wickets intact.

Pakistan got off to a good start in the chase as the openers raised a half-century stand inside the powerplay. Rizwan set the tone with two fours in the opening over off David Willey while Babar struck two fours off Curran and a boundary off Luke Wood after a slow start. Liam Dawson, coming in for Richard Gleeson, started with an economical over and should have also picked up the wicket of Rizwan but for a back-pedalling Hales to put down the catch in the sixth over. Rizwan went on to hit a six off the spinner, clearing the fence for the second time inside the first six having played a pick-up shot off Willey earlier for a maximum. By the time the powerplay ended, Babar had struck five fours while Rizwan had scored two fours apart from the sixes as Pakistan raced to 59/0.

In comparison to England at the halfway stage of the innings, Pakistan were seven ahead and had all their wickets intact. Rizwan was also reprieved by a stumping chance gone a begging as Salt failed to grab the ball when Adil Rashid went past the outside edge. Rizwan went on to bring up a 30-ball fifty – his 18th T20I half-century – while Babar, who was on 38 off 31 at that stage, got to fifty off 39 deliveries. Both batters then dealt in sixes, making most of the conditions that had improved for the batters in the second innings, as they took Pakistan to 151/0 after 15 overs, bringing down the equation to 48 off 30.

When Babar had reached his fifty in the 12th over, Rizwan had scored three more runs than the Pakistan skipper. But it was a Babar show after that as he raced past his opening partner. Babar took only 22 deliveries from 50-100, blasting four sixes and three fours in his second fifty as he became the first Pakistan player to score two centuries in T20Is. Pakistan needed 20 off the last two overs and they coasted to the target, with Babar adding two more fours to his tally, including the winning four, while Rizwan also struck a boundary.

Alex Hales powered England’s positive start while Phil Salt also managed a couple of boundaries. Barring a three-run opening over from Mohammad Hasnain – who replaced Naseem Shah – England found the fence in every other over in the powerplay. There were a couple of sixes too – with Salt just about clearing the long-off boundary in a Mohammad Nawaz over while Hales edged a Hasnain delivery over the third-man fence. Hales and Salt weren’t always in control of their shots but they managed four fours between them in a quick-fire 42-run stand. Pakistan, however, came back well in the final over of the powerplay as Hales was bowled by Shahnawaz Dahani attempting a pull while Dawid Malan was bowled around his legs. Ben Duckett ended the over with a four as England managed 48/2 in the first six overs.

On a wicket that was on the slower side, with balls keeping low, Pakistan tried to strangle the England batters with spin at both ends. But Duckett was well-equipped to handle them, bringing out the sweeps, reverse-sweep and scoop to ensure regular boundaries. Salt, at the other end, slowed down, not adding to his boundary count after the powerplay. He eventually fell to Haris Rauf, cleaned up for a 27-ball 30. Duckett extended his tally of fours to seven before becoming Nawaz’s only wicket as he deflected a sweep onto the stumps ending a fine 22-ball knock for 43 runs. Harry Brook hit a six off Dahani while Moeen took the attack to Usman Qadir, scoring a four and two sixes in the 15th as England collected 85 runs at a scoring rate of more than 9 in the middle overs.

Pakistan ended up conceding 66 runs in the last five overs. Hasnain was taken for 18 runs in the 16th over which included a four apiece for Moeen and Brook, with the latter also going inside out over extra cover for a six. Brook also top-edged a Rauf delivery over fine leg for another maximum before an attempted reverse scoop led to his downfall. Moeen struck two fours off Dahani on either side of a catch put down by Kushdil Shah in the 18th over while Sam Curran showcased some cheeky shot-making walking across to a Rauf delivery and lapping it over short fine leg for a four. Rauf, though, gave away only 30 runs off his four overs to finish as the most economical of the Pakistan bowlers but the rest weren’t as effective. Hasnain was the most expensive of the lot, conceding 51 runs – including 19 in the final over – as Moeen finished off the innings with two sixes to get to his sixth T20I fifty, which ended up in a losing cause.

Brief scores:

England 199/5 in 20 overs (Moeen Ali 55*, Ben Duckett 43; Haris Rauf 2-30) lost to Pakistan 203/0 in 19.3 overs (Babar Azam 110*, Mohammad Rizwan 88*) by 10 wickets.

(Cricbuzz)



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Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

 

 

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My best knock for Sri Lanka – Asalanka

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By Rex Clementine

If you had no idea why Roy Dias identified Charith Asalanka as a Test captain in the waiting some seven years ago, there was proof for his claims at Pallekele on Wednesday as the diminutive left-hander from Elpitiya pulled off a stunning run chase against Afghanistan.Sri Lanka chased down a target of 314 in the last over with Asalanka finishing things off in style with a pulled six. What’s so special with the win is that it is Sri Lanka’s highest successful run chase ever at home.

“I was struggling with cramps. The heat was too much in the afternoon.

Once Dunith came in, I told him not to do too much running and target the gaps. There was a good partnership with Dasun too before that and that helped us to get back into the game,” Asalanka noted.

Most players when they get into the Sri Lankan cricket set up they get themselves tattooed and buy fancy cars and luxury apartments. Asalanka has remained grounded and he is very much close to his roots at Elpitiya.

In fact, he married his childhood sweetheart, whom he fell in love with at the age of 15. The pair met at the school bus when Asalanka was playing under-17 cricket and despite money and fame the captain in waiting hasn’t forgotten his past. Asalanka took a break middle of the series to get married on the 28th of November, the day of their tenth anniversary of falling in love. However, there was no honeymoon as Asalanka had to return to Pallekele for the rest of the series.

His wife is an English teacher and that gives us hope that press conferences are going to be interesting again although the good old days of Sanga will never come.Asalanka received a scholarship to Richmond College after passing the Grade Five scholarship and he is known as a sharp thinker of the game.

“First game the ball swung a lot. It was a grassy pitch. We knew this wicket was not going to do much for the bowlers. The main thing we wanted was to bat 50 overs. Everyone contributed from top to the lower middle order, and it was great to watch.”

Sri Lanka have a settled top order when it comes to white ball cricket and the middle order could be built on Asalanka who can accelerate and rebuild an innings. “Dasun is the one who told me that I’d be batting at number five and to feel comfortable. I was going to get the long rope. I had never batted at number five before that and glad I have cemented my place now.”

“This is my best innings in international cricket. Dunith Wellalage was outstanding as well. Afghanistan have a very experienced side. They have lot of players who are involved in league cricket. Dunith showed lot of maturity.”

“We had identified that Rashid Khan was their key players. We didn’t want to take risks against him. We got out for some good balls. We made sure that we didn’t give wickets to him, and it got easier to score runs.

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Richmond, Trinity clash for Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket title  

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by Reemus Fernando  

The stage is set for a thrilling climax when unbeaten Richmond meet formidable Trinity in the final of the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket tournament at the Thurstan College ground today.

There are two factors indicating to a thrilling climax. Both teams know what it takes to win a championship title as they have players who have featured in finals before. It was not long ago that a few players in the Trinity team guided their Under 17 team to joint champions title of the Division I cricket tournament of that age category. The team from Galle have in their ranks a number of players who had to be content with the runner up position after reaching the final of this tournament during the last season.

For the final, Trinity are likely to stick to the same team which won the semi –final against their arch rivals St. Anthony’s at the same venue early this week. During this tournament captain Rahal Amarasinghe has seen Manula Kularathne, Theeraka Ranatunga, Dinusha Pieris  and Janith Warnakula sharing most of the batting responsibilities for the team’s success.

In the bowling department, Ranatunga (with over 20 wickets) has topped the wicket takers list. Dinuka Thennakoon, Tharana Wimaladharma and Manula Kularathne are the others shouldering most of the wicket taking duties.

During the semi-final Ranatunga was joined by skipper Amarasinghe, Peiris, Wathila Udara and Vibhavith Ehelepola to play crucial roles with the bat, while the former and deputy skipper Ehelepola took two wickets each to contain St. Anthony’s to 202 runs.  A prominent feature of Richmond during this tournament was the dominant role played by their Sri Lanka Under 19 player Malsha Tharupathi. Tharupathi produced outstanding all-round feats to beat defending champions St. Joseph’s and St. Benedict’s in the quarter-final and the semi-final.

They have a strong batting line up from skipper Tharinda Nirmal, Helitha Edirisinghe, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Kavindu Nirmana, wicketkeeper batsman Janeth Kaushal to Tharupathi.

While Tharupathi is easily their top wicket taker, Nalaka Jaywardena, Nirmal and Sharon Abishek have all shared bowling responsibilities. Maheesha de Silva and Kaveesha Induwara have been economical with the new ball.

How they reached the final 

Trinity beat St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa and St. Anthony’s, Katugastota during the knockout stage after completing their first round matches as the third placed team in their group. They won five out of the eight matches during that phase.

Richmond have remained unbeaten during this tournament. They won all their eight matches in the first round to be the champions in their group. During the knockout stage they ousted defending champions St. Joseph’s and St. Benedict’s in a row to reach their second consecutive final.

Teams:

Richmond (from): Tharinda Nirmal  (Captain), Kavindu Nirmana (Vice Captain), Ruwan Jayawardena, Janeth Kaushal, Maheesha De Silva, Malsha Tharupathi, Sharon Abhishek, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Chehan Subasinghe, Sihath Ramanayake, Sasindu De Silva, Seneth Sisan, Kaveesha Induwara, Manuja Dulneth, Helith Edirisinghe, K.K Yuri, Pubudu Mihiranga,  Charuka Gunasekara. 

Officials:

Nuwan Jayasinghe (Master in Charge), Lakmal de Silva (Head Coach), Umal Udayanga (Asst. Coach), Lahiru Madhuwantha (Asst. Coach) 

Trinity (from):  Rahal Amarasinghe (Captain), Vibhavith Ehelepola (Vice Captain), Theeraka Ranatunga, Supun Waduge, Manula Kularatne, Tharana Wimaladharma, Kusal Wijetunga, Dinusha Pieris, Dinuka Tennakoon, Jayavi Liyanagama, Janith Warnakula, Malith Rathnayake, Lakvin Abeysinghe, Wathila Udara, Yewan Hulangamuwa, Viduka Dhammage. 

Officials:

Brian Senaratne (Master in Charge), Naveen Ekanayake (Head Coach),  Lakshitha Alahakoon (Asst. Coach) 

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