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Bangladesh appoint McMillan as consultant for Sri Lanka tour



Following the resignation of Neil McKenzie last week, due to personal reasons, Bangladesh Cricket Board have appointed Craig McMillan as the team’s batting consultant for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh are slated to visit Sri Lanka for three Test matches in October-November this year. McMillan will link up with the team directly in Sri Lanka, for its pre-tour camp.

The former New Zealand batsman scored over 8000 international runs in his decade-long international career, across formats. Following his retirement, McMillan served as New Zealand’s batting-cum-fielding coach from 2014 to 2019. His coaching CV further extends to Canterbury, Middlesex and the Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.

Despite the attempts from BCB to hold on to him, McKenzie decided to head home, desperate for some family time in these testing times. ‘’Yes I’ve resigned, only reason being time away from the family,” McKenzie had told Cricbuzz on Friday. “With Covid, the schedule and doing all formats… the time away from my young family would be too much. I’ve loved being a part of the Tigers and will always have a soft spot for Bangladesh cricket and the great guys I’ve been fortunate to work with.”

Bangladesh will arrive in Sri Lanka early in order to follow quarantine guidelines and to resume training with movements restricted in their own country. The tourists will bring two squads to engage in meaningful training sessions and to play warm-up games.

Sri Lanka Cricket were looking at the possibility of converting one of the Test matches into shorter formats of the game. No final decision has been made.

The return of Bangladesh will see resumption of cricket in the island after several cricket tours were postponed.

England were in Colombo when the pandemic went out of control in the UK and they returned home a week prior to the start of first Test in Galle.

Then South Africa and India were forced to postpone their limited over engagements in Sri Lanka. Bangladesh were scheduled to play in July but the tour was postponed to October.


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Kumari and Dilhari bag three-fors as Sri Lanka go 1-0 up




[File photo] Sugandika Kumari picked up 3 for 30

Three-wicket hauls from Sugandika Kumari and Kavisha Dilhari set Sri Lanka up for their first women’s ODI win over West Indies since 2015, the hosts going 1-0 up in the three-match series in Hambantota on Saturday.

Since that last win in 2015, Sri Lanka had lost their last six ODIs against West Indies going into this match.

Sent in, West Indies made a strong start, getting to 75 for 1 courtesy a 68-run second-wicket stand between Hayley Matthews and Shemaine Campbelle. They lost steam after left-arm spinner Kumari broke that partnership in the 19th over, losing their last eight wickets for 120 runs. Matthews (38) apart, only Stafanie Taylor (33) got past 30, as the spinners, led by Kumari and Dilhari, chipped away.

Sri Lanka’s top five managed the chase perfectly, with four of them getting past 35. Captain Chamari Athapaththu (38) and Vishmi Gunaratne (40) got them off to a solid start, putting on 88 in 13.2 overs, before Sri Lanka stumbled briefly, losing three wickets for 13 runs, with two of them falling to the medium-pace of  Aaliyah Alleyne.

Harshitha Samarawickrama (44*) and Hasini Perera (43), however, ensured there wouldn’t be any more major hiccups, putting on 63 for the fourth wicket to all but seal victory, before Afy Fletcher picked up a consolation wicket late in the game.

Brief scores:
Sri Lanka Women 198 for 4 in 34.1 overs (Harshitha Samarawickrama 44*, Hasini Perera 43, Vishmi Gunaratne 40, Chamari Athapaththu 38; Aaliyah Alleyne 2-22, Afy Fletcher 2-31) beat  West Indies Women 195 in 47.1 overs  (Hayley Matthews 38, Shemaine Campbelle 27,  Stefanie Taylor 33; Sugandika Kumari 3-30, Kavisha Dilhari 3-41) by six wickets


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Pakistan and Ireland await a damp finish in Florida




Pakistan have never been eliminated so early from a T20 World Cup [Cricinfo]

There are parties you don’t want to be at, and parties the host doesn’t want you at. And then there are parties no one wants to be at.

Pakistan and Ireland find themselves in that last position, in extremely wet conditions in Lauderhill, Florida. They’ve both been eliminated from the T20 World Cup  and nothing that happens during their final group game on Sunday can change that. But it must be played, weather permitting, and so they will gear up for one more fixture that will have no impact on this tournament, and almost certainly no implications on qualification for the next one in 2026.

For Pakistan, it’s one more day in America before the players return to face the wrath of a nation whose anger has been bubbling up in the days following defeats to the USA and India.  PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi is in an impregnable position, and is expected to ring the changes in the coming weeks, with Pakistan’s central contracts also up for review at the end of this month. Babar Azam’s side can do little to change the mood back home, though another defeat won’t help at all.

Ireland have also endured a disappointing tournament, especially since the build-up was promising. A home win over Pakistan and victory in a T20 tri-nation series in the Netherlands. But crumpling on a horror pitch in New York against India set the tone for a dismal campaign, with a defeat against Canada the nadir. While their qualification chances were theoretically alive before Lauderhill’s weather washed out their match against the hosts, all that’s left now is the hope that they may end their party in the USA on a high note.

This is almost certainly Imad Wasim’s final international match. Controversially brought back into the side, he has failed to provide the stardust Pakistan believed he would bring when they persuaded him to rescind his international retirement. His performances with the ball have been solid, if unspectacular, with no batting contribution of any heft, a point his innings during Pakistan’s chase against India painfully underscored. His statement before the tournament that “no one remembers semi-finalists and finalists, people remember champions” has aged like milk after Pakistan’s earliest T20 World Cup exit, but at this point, a game to remember as he signs off is the best consolation he can ask for.

Lorcan Tucker scored two half centuries in three games against Pakistan last month, before following up with 40 and 55 in the tri-series against the Netherlands and Scotland. Since then, his runs have dried up as Ireland’s T20 World Cup campaign flamed out before it even got off the ground. He has managed starts in each of the group games, getting into double figures while facing 13 and 15 balls. With no pressure and little to lose, Tucker has the opportunity to rediscover the form he found against Pakistan just a few weeks ago.

Pakistan may give Abrar Ahmed and Abbas Afridi – the two players who haven’t got a game so far – a start.

Pakistan: (probable):  Mohammad Rizwan (wk),  Saim Ayub,  Babar Azam (capt),  Fakhar Zaman,  Usman Khan,  Shadab Khan,  Imad Wasim,  Shaheen Afridi/Abbas Afridi,  Naseem Shah/Abrar Ahmed,  Haris Rauf,  Mohammad Amir

It’s been over a week since Ireland last played, so it’s trickier to predict how Ireland line-up.

Ireland: (probable): Andy Balbirnie,  Paul Stirling (capt),  Lorcan Tucker (wk),  Harry Tector,  Curtis Campher,  George Dockrell,  Gareth Delany, Mark Adair,  Barry McCarthy,  Josh Little,  Craig Young/Ben White


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Mathews on Sri Lanka’s exit: ‘We’ve let the entire nation down’




Angelo Mathews issued an apology to Sri Lanka on behalf of his team-mates on Saturday, saying they were “heartbroken” to have “let the entire nation down”. Their group-stage exit from the T20 World Cup 2024 was confirmed when Bangladesh beat Netherlands in St Vincent on Thursday.

Sri Lanka lost both of their completed matches at the T20 World Cup, against South Africa in New York and Bangladesh in Dallas, and had their fixture against Nepal washed out in Florida on Tuesday. Their early elimination means it is now a decade since they have reached the semi-finals of a men’s T20 World Cup.

Their tournament has been characterized by logistical challenges. Along with Netherlands, they were one of two teams scheduled to play their group games at four different venues, leading their spinner Maheesh Theekshana to complain the fixture list was “so unfair”. But Mathews, the most senior player in Sri Lanka’s squad played down their impact.

“We’ve let the entire nation down and we are really sorry because we’ve let ourselves down. We never expected this,” Mathews said. “We came across a lot of challenges but those are not something to worry about. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t make the second round.”

Sri Lanka face Netherlands in St Lucia on Sunday night in a match that is a dead-rubber for them. Netherlands can still qualify for the Super Eight but are reliant on Nepal securing their first-ever win against a full-member team in Bangladesh, and also need to leapfrog Bangladesh on net run rate.

“We can’t take any given team lightly,” Mathews said ahead of Sunday’s match. “We saw Nepal almost beat South Africa yesterday. It’s unfortunate that our Nepal game was washed out, but it is what it is. We have just one more game in the tournament and we’ll play for our pride.

“We haven’t done justice to ourselves, especially the way we played in the first two games, so it’s very unfortunate. We are heartbroken, and we are hurting so much within ourselves. But it’s another day tomorrow and then we have to come up against the Netherlands, and the Netherlands are a very, very dangerous team. So, we hope to play well and beat them.”

Sri Lanka came into the T20 World Cup after three consecutive T20I series wins since December and Mathews said it was frustrating to have unperformed. “That’s something we regret because  the way we played Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh in Bangladesh, I thought we didn’t do justice to our capabilities in this tournament.

“When you come into a World Cup, you can’t take any team lightly but unfortunately, the way we played against those teams just before the World Cup, and then once we came back here and the way we played, obviously the wickets were quite different but we didn’t do justice to ourselves.”

Mathews, now 37, also said that on the personal front, he had made no hard decisions on his white-ball future. He has been a consistent presence in the Test side over the past few years, but had been dropped from the limited-overs teams until the current selection committee brought him back.

It is possible he will be available for the next T20 World Cup in 2026, which Sri Lanka will co-host. But it is also possible this match against Netherlands will be his last in T20 World Cups.

“I play every game as if its my last game,” Mathews said. “Nothing in life is certain. I’m trying to do whatever I can for the team. I don’t have big hopes about the next game, or the next series. I have some time to think about all those things and make a decision. From my side I haven’t settled on anything. The selectors’ opinions are needed, more than mine. I’m playing because of the love I have for the sport – whether that’s for the national team or my club team.”


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