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Jayawardene’s brilliance takes Southern Brave to Hundred title

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Southern Brave’s men stuck to the Mahela Jayawardene template. His tried-and-tested formula at Mumbai Indians has been to lose the first game of the IPL season and then storm to the title and he joked with his squad after their defeat to Trent Rockets that they had kept up his streak. Defeat against Welsh Fire in Cardiff left them no room for error but they responded by winning seven games out of seven.

Brave were the bookies’ favourites ever since the initial draft in October 2019 and their success has been underpinned by performances from their big names: Quinton de Kock, a late replacement for David Warner, struck at 172.64; James Vince led from the front and grew into his role as captain; and Tymal Mills, challenged by Eoin Morgan to pitch his case for T20 World Cup selection ahead of the season, was nerveless at the death.

But their win in Saturday night’s final was not about their superstars: Vince and de Kock made 11 between them and for all Mills’ skill at closing, the game was sewn up before he came back. Instead, it was proof of the depth of white-ball talent that county loyalists have known about for years but the wider public has seen only in glimpses. Brave’s two heroes with the bat have been dominating the T20 Blast for the best part of a decade but their talents have been hidden behind a paywall, with the vast majority of games seen only by those in the crowd rather than casual fans at home.

(cricinfo)



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Rutherford and bowlers take West Indies to Super Eight; New Zealand’s campaign in trouble

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Gudakesh Motie is on cloud nine after dismissing Kane Williamson [ICC]

A sensational rescue effort from Sherfane Rutherford set up a third win on the trot for West Indies in the T20 World Cup 2024 while putting New Zealand on the verge of elimination at the Brian Lara stadium in Tarouba. With the win, the co-hosts have also secured a spot in the Super Eight.

New Zealand’s fast bowlers dictated proceedings in the powerplay to have West Indies four down in the first innings. Rutherford found little support as they slid to 112 for 9 after 18 overs, but he plundered 37 runs off the last two overs to take West Indies to 149 before the bowlers stepped up during their defense.

Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie and Akeal Hosein were the stars with the ball, as New Zealand slumped to two defeats in as many games.

Rutherford found himself in unfamiliar territory thanks to West Indies’ top-order collapse, coming in to bat in the sixth over. Only for the second time in his T20I career, he faced a ball in the powerplay. But he vied his time in his partnerships with Hosein, Andre Russell and Romario Shepherd. For long, his only two boundary shots were two sixes off drag downs from Santner and Neesham before he finally let loose in the last two overs.

New Zealand took a gambit in using up their best frontline bowlers early and ended up giving Daryl Mitchell the penultimate over and Santner the last.

The plan nearly paid off, with West Indies having just one wicket in hand after the 18th over. But Rutherford resisted as he first tore into Mitchell, hitting him for back-to-back sixes down the V’ before depositing the ball over the fine-leg fence for a third six in the over.

He then hit Santner for two fours and a majestic six slog-swept from wide of off over wide long-on, on the way to a 33-ball half-century. The 37 runs off the last two overs helped take West Indies to 149, a score that seemed unattainable for almost all of their innings.

Brief scores:
West Indies 149 for 9 in 20 overs  (Sherfane Rutherford 68*; Trent Boult 3-16, Tim Southee 2-21, Lockie Ferguson 2-27, James Neesham 1-27, Mitchell Santner 1-27) beat  New Zealand 136 for 9 in 20 overs (Finn Allen 26, Glenn Phillips 40, Mitchell Santner 21*; Akeal Hossein 1-21, Andre Rusell 1-30, Alzarri Joseph 4-19, Gudakesh Motie 3-25) by 13 runs

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Suryakumar and Arshdeep the architects of hard-fought India win

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Arshdeep Singh returned his best T20I figures [Cricinfo]

USA had several things going against them.

The conditions: Before today, they’d never played at Nassau County Stadium; this was India’s fourth game at the venue.

Personnel: Monank Patel, the designated captain, was out injured.

The toss: Rohit Sharma called correctly and asked USA to bat in seaming conditions.

Experience: A motley crew with day jobs against cricketing royalty.

It had all the makings of a one-sided fare. Except, it was anything but.

At one stage, with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma both dismissed by Saurabh Netravalkar and India 15 for 2 in the chase of 111, USA dared to dream.

When Rishabh Pant was castled by Ali Khan, thirty-thousand screaming fans, many of them Indian-Americans, gave more wings to those dreams.

This was now USA’s game to lose.

But in Suriyakumar Yadav, India had a crisis man who bailed them out of choppy waters. He was helped along by Shivam Dube during the course of a half-century stand that proved to be a game-changer.

India are now through to the Super Eights, but USA are still very much masters of their own fate; a win over Ireland, even a washout will see them through, ahead of Pakistan whom they famously beat in a Super Over thriller last week.

USA were bowling cutters into the pitch. Suryakumar was struggling to hit the ball off the square, and was trying to manufacture strokes. Most times, it comes off. Here, it wasn’t.

An over after nearly getting bowled trying to sweep Corey Anderson off his length, he tried to open the bat face to play his trademark loft, only to slice the ball high. Saurabh Netravalkar circled under it after doing exceedingly well to get to the ball running back from short third, but couldn’t hold on to the chance.  The superhero who could not put a foot wrong until then was human, after all.

The ball that felled Kohli in the first over was a dream delivery. The batter nicking off with a perfect away-going delivery that had him jabbing. It was only Kohli’s second golden duck in T20Is.

The ball that got Rohit was somewhat similar. Except it was a lot closer to the stumps and had Rohit turning the face of the bat to take the leading edge. At mid-off, Harmeet Singh, Rohit’s school junior by a few years, ran back and held on.

India were shell-shocked at 15 for 2, which soon became 44 for 3 when Rishabh Pant was out to one that skidded low and through his defence.

It was almost as if the reprieve of Suryakumar deflated USA.  Suddenly, Aaron Jones was switching fields every ball, running up to have a chat between deliveries, all of it playing into the hands of the batters. Twice, USA were warned about delaying the game by not beginning their next over within their 60-second allowance. When they erred for a third time, the umpires awarded five penalty runs to India.

From 35 off 30, India now needed a run-a-ball 30. It didn’t matter then that Dube had at one point been struggling on 5 off 14, or that Suryakumar was far from his 360-degree mode.

In the 17th over, India truly broke the stranglehold when Suryakumar picked Shadley van Schalkwyk’s medium pace for a lofted six over extra cover and a trademark flick over his shoulder for four off back-to-back deliveries.

Off the first ball of the 19th, he got to a 49-ball half-century. The winning runs were hit one legitimate delivery later when Dube dug out a yorker-length delivery to long-off. It could have so easily been another knock that had Dube’s self-doubts spiralling, but that he dug in to remain unbeaten on 31 in what was a hard scrap should give him lot of confidence.

The day began with a two-wicket opening over in which Arshdeep Singh swung the ball back in. Shayan Jahangir, replacing Monank Patel, was out lbw, and Andries Gous picked out mid-off attempting to pull a skiddy short ball.

It wasn’t until Nitish Kumar and Corey Anderson added 25 off 18 heading into the final overs that USA had some injection of momentum that gave them a chance of getting towards 120.

However, overs 16-18 scuppered those plans. Hardik bowled a wicket-maiden in the 17th, dismissing Anderson for his second wicket, and Arshdeep had Harmeet Singh – who had top-edged Bumrah for a six to get off the mark – caught behind.

USA ended up with 110, which they’d look back at and wonder what could’ve been had they only got 10 more.

Brief scores:
India 111 for 3 in 18.2 overs (Suryakumar  Yadav 50*, Shivam Dube 31*; Saurabh Netravalkar 2-18, Ali Khan 1-21) beat  USA 110 for 8 in 20 overs (Nitish Kumar 27, Steven Taylor 24;  Arshdeep Singh  4-09, Hardik Pandya 2-14, Axar Patel 1-25) by seven wickets

(Cricinfo)

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A gloomy end to Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign

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The ground staff did an excellent job to clear the water, but their effort wasn’t good enough

Rex Clementine in Miami

Sri Lanka crashed out of the ICC T-20 World Cup with a game to spare after their match against Nepal in Miami was washed out by rain. The former champions had made things difficult for themselves after losing back-to-back games against South Africa and Bangladesh, but still had an outside chance of making it to the second round depending on decisions of other games going in their favour. But after Tuesday’s washout, even if they win their next game against Netherlands they will be left with only three points and that’s not good enough to go through.

It rained the whole day in Miami on Tuesday. Although the rains cleared by 6:00 pm, there were hopes of a delayed start with overs shortened. The match officials did an inspection at 8:30pm local time and decided to abandon the game. There were two puddles in long off and long-on and playing the game would have been too risky. The ground staff did an excellent job to clear the water, but their effort wasn’t good enough.

The players left the ground half an hour after the match was abandoned and it started raining again.

Sri Lanka will now travel to St. Lucia where they will play their remaining group game against Netherlands later this week.

It’s been a disappointing campaign for Sri Lanka no doubt. The same team had beaten Afghanistan at home and Bangladesh away from home in T-20 series and there were high hopes of Sri Lanka doing well.

However, the team had little momentum during their campaign from the moment they won the toss against South Africa and decided to bat first on an unknown wicket. Sri Lanka were shot out for 77 in New York, their lowest total ever in T-20 cricket.

Sri Lanka were poor in handling game situations and playing under pressure as several batters perished trying to attack whereas picking up singles would have been the wiser choice on two paced tracks.

“It has been a disappointing campaign for us. Our batting didn’t click and although our bowlers and fielders fought hard, we didn’t simply have enough runs on the board to fight back,” spin bowler Maheesh Theekshana told journalists after the game was abandoned.

“We were poor in assessing the conditions. It’s been a tough campaign for us. I don’t think we deserve a place in the second round. We know we are out of the tournament but we have one more game and realistically we need to finish that game off in a good manner.”

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