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Wanidu Hasaranga among nominees for ICC Men’s T20I Player of the Year

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Wanidu Hasaranga, Mohamed Rizwan, Mitchelle Marsh, and Jos Buttler are the nominees for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20I Player of the Year awards.

Here, we take a look at the memorable performances of the two brilliant wicket keepers and two all-rounders.

Mohammad Rizwan – Pakistan

1326 runs in 29 matches at an average of 73.66 with one century; 24 dismissals.

The Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter ruled the roost in 2021 when it came to the shortest format of the game. Aggregating a staggering 1326 runs in only 29 matches, Rizwan struck at an average of 73.66 and a strike-rate of 134.89. Apart from his exploits with the bat, he was as solid as ever behind the stumps, playing a key role in Pakistan’s run to the semis during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, where he ended up as the third-highest run-scorer.

He also scored the maiden T20I century of his career against South Africa in Lahore early in the year and ended it continuing his form with a brilliant knock of 87 against West Indies in Karachi. With another T20 World Cup coming up next year, Pakistan will hope that Rizwan continues in the same vein.

Though a chase of 152 looked easy on paper, Pakistan had the weight of history against them in the T20 World Cup encounter against India. With the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami in opposition attack, the task was made all the more complicated. But as was almost always the case in 2021, Rizwan along with his skipper Babar Azam ensured that a famous victory would be sealed that would be celebrated in the history of Pakistan cricket for years to come.

Rizwan smacked 79* in only 55 deliveries, hitting six fours and three sixes. The ease with which he countered the Indian bowling attack was a thing of sheer beauty. He ensured that there were no hiccups in the run-chase as Pakistan galloped towards the target without losing a single wicket to seal a 10-wicket victory.

Wanindu Hasaranga – Sri Lanka

36 wickets in 20 matches at 11.63; 196 runs with one half-century

It was a breakthrough year for Wanindu Hasaranga, who established himself as one of the best spinners in the shortest format while also being a player who could contribute with the bat. A consistent performer throughout the year, Hasaranga’s star shone the brightest during the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman.

He ended the tournament as the leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps and also played some handy knocks with the bat, like his 71 against Ireland. He was a constant menace for the opposition as Sri Lanka impressed one and all during the tournament with their young and energetic side.

Still only 24, Hasaranga is expected to become a cornerstone of Sri Lankan cricket, especially in the shortest formats of the game.

In a pressure encounter in Sharjah against South Africa, Hasaranga almost single-handedly helped his side claw back into the contest with his brilliance with the ball. Claiming a memorable hat-trick, he took the big scalps of Aiden Markram (19) and Temba Bavuma (46) before dismissing Dwaine Pretorius to complete his hat-trick.

Hasaranga would end up with figures of 3/20 in his four-over spell, and it was only the power-hitting of David Miller at the death that got the Proteas over the line.

Mitchell Marsh – Australia

627 runs in 27 matches at 36.88; 8 wickets at 18.37.

The year that was

Australia’s success at the T20 World Cup can be traced back to the decision to move Mitchell Marsh up the batting order to No.3, instead of designating him the role of being a finisher lower down. Throughout the calendar year, he was their best batter in the shortest format, improving his game by leaps and bounds, especially against spin and when it came to rotating the strike.

He was the silver lining in Australia’s poor showings in West Indies and Bangladesh batting higher up the order. Heading into the tournament in UAE and Oman, he was in supreme confidence after his good displays and improved fitness. This led to a fruitful tournament as he aggregated 185 runs in 6 matches at an average of 61.66 and a healthy strike-rate of 146.82. He would reserve the best for the last, playing a match-winning knock in the final against New Zealand.

Chasing down a target of 173 and after the early departure of skipper Aaron Finch, the pressure was on Marsh to build a substantial partnership with David Warner. He did exactly that, playing his best knock of the tournament. His unbeaten 77 off 50 deliveries consisted of six fours and four sixes.

Starting off aggressively, he rotated the strike brilliantly in the middle overs as he teed off again towards the end. His knock ensured that Australia chased down the challenging target in only 18.5 overs, and were crowned the winners of the T20 World Cup for the first time. For his performance, he was adjudged the Player of the Match.

Jos Buttler – England

589 runs in 14 matches at 65.44 with one century; 13 dismissals

The year gone by

Buttler started the year off brilliantly with two blistering knocks against India away from home. He would continue this run in the subsequent series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, despite not playing all the matches. This boded well for England as their key batter was in sublime touch heading into the T20 World Cup.

He did not disappoint in the tournament, always getting his side off to brilliant starts. His two best knocks came in consecutive matches – first against age-old rivals Australia and then against Sri Lanka who faced his full wrath.

He ended the tournament as England’s leading run-scorer with 269 runs, as their run would be ended by New Zealand in the semi-finals in a nail-biting thriller.

Blasting the first century of the tournament, Buttler was at his belligerent best in the encounter against Sri Lanka in Sharjah. It was ball-striking of the highest order as the wicketkeeper-batter penetrated all areas of the ground.

His unbeaten 101 came in only 67 deliveries and consisted of six fours and six sixes. Buttler’s knock allowed England to post a competitive score of 163/4, which they ended up defending and winning the contest by 26 runs.

The value of his knock was accentuated as it came on a slow and low pitch in Sharjah, which wasn’t conducive to a stroke-maker like Buttler, with the batters finding it generally tough to time the ball.

(ICC)



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Shoriful ruled out of SL Tests with wrist injury

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Bangladesh’s injury woes continue as pace bowler Shoriful Islam has now been ruled out of the remainder of the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka due to a wrist injury. Shoriful is the latest addition to the hosts’ injury list as they earlier lost Taskin Ahmed (shoulder) and Mehedy Hasan (finger).

“Shoriful Islam had a contusion of the right hand while batting. After the fourth day’s play an X-ray was carried out which has revealed a fracture on the base of the 5th metacarpal bone,” physio Bayjedul Islam said in a statement on Thursday.

“Such injuries tend to take around three weeks to heal followed by a couple of week’s rehab. He will not be available to play for four to five weeks.”

Shoriful was retired out on Day 4 after pacer Kasun Rajitha’s short delivery hit him on the gloves. Bangladesh were forced to end their innings at 465 following his injury.

Cricbuzz has learnt that Shoriful is unlikely to be available for the Test series against West Indies as well. Bangladesh will leave on June 6 to take part in the full fledged tour of West Indies, comprising two Tests, three ODIs and as many T20Is.

Meanwhile, the BCB has retained the same squad for the second Test against Sri Lanka that will begin on May 23. The board opted to not name a replacement for Shoriful since they have a big squad to pick from.

“We did not take any replacement for Shoriful as we have got a big squad in hand,” BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin told Cricbuzz. ‘’We have to see fitness of Hasan Mahmud (who was in discussion as a possible replacement of Shoriful) and though we are not considering him in this series, if he is fit we might pick him for the Bangladesh ‘A’ team tour of West Indies.”

Squad:

Mominul Haque (C), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Kumar Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Syed Khaled Ahmed, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Quazi Nurul Hasan Sohan, Musaddek Hossain, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Shohidul Islam, Rezaur Rahman Raja.

( Cricbuzz)

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Yupun enters World Championship qualifying fray with a superb start

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by Reemus Fernando  

National record holder of the men’s 100 metres Yupun Abeykoon produced a superb sprint performance to commence his season proper at the World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger meeting at Savona’s Fontanassa Sports Centre on Wednesday.

In a race where Marcell Jacobs also made his first 100m appearance since his Tokyo Olympic triumph, Abeykoon clocked 10.16 seconds to finish fourth. That was after the sprinter clocked a wind assisted 10.04 seconds in the heats.

His 10.04 seconds performance is the fastest sprint a Sri Lankan has run according to Sri Lanka Athletics statistician Saman Kumara Gunawardana.

In 2019 former record holder Himasha Eshan, who is currently serving a suspension, had a 10.11 seconds feat to a tailwind measured at +3.1.

With his superb season open performance, Abeykoon has entered the race to earn qualification for the World Championships which will be held in Oregon in July. The Italy based sprinter enters the fray at the 56th position in the ‘Road to Oregon 2022’ rankings.

The athletics’ showcase discipline will have 48 slots for the World Championships. While 26 spots will be filled by athletes who reach the tough qualifying standard of 10.05 seconds, the other positions will be filled according to ranking positions in the ‘Road to Oregon 2022’ list.

With the qualifying period closing on June 26th Abeykoon who also set a new Asian record in the 150 metres recently, will have just over a month to achieve the rare honour.

Currently, javelin thrower Sumedha Ranasinghe (25th) and high jumper Ushan Thiwanka are the only Sri Lankan male athletes to have secured a top position in the Road to Oregon 2022 Rankings. The US-based high jumper has come closer to accomplishing the target with back to back 2.20 metres feats. Thiwanka is currently ranked 30th on the list of high jumpers. Both athletes need to remain within the top 32 positions until June 26th to qualify for the event.

In the women’s category, steeplechaser Nilani Ratnayake is the only Sri Lankan athlete to be ranked within the top 30 places.

At the World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger meeting on Wednesday where Abeykoon finished fourth, Marcell Jacobs made a victorious return winning the final in 10.04 seconds after a wind-assisted 9.99 (2.3m/s) in the heats.

Ivory Coast sprinter Arthur Cisse finished second in 10.10 seconds beating former European record-holder Jimmy Vicaut (10.12).

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Dickwella, Chandimal help Sri Lanka draw opening Test

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Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella dug deep with the Chattogram surface staying true to its nature of being a batting paradise as the first Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, ended in a draw. Things, however, could have been different if not for the pair’s dogged 99-run stand for the seventh wicket on the fifth and final day.

Having started the morning on a brisk note, Sri Lanka lost two wickets each on either side of the lunch interval to stumble to 161 for 6, with a narrow lead of 93. But both Chandimal and Dickwella showed grit and determination keeping the Bangladesh bowlers at bay for 203 deliveries to eke out a draw. Dickwella, more adventurous with his shot-making, brought up his 20th Test half-century and finished with an unbeaten 61 off 96 balls. Chandimal, on the other hand, was more measured during his 135-ball 39 not out. The two teams shook hands an hour before the scheduled close of play, with Sri Lanka on 260 for 6 in 90.1 overs.

The Bangladesh bowlers, particularly Taijul Islam and Shakib Al Hasan, stuck to their lines, but were unable to break the seventh-wicket stand. Taijul was the pick of the bowlers returning 4 for 82. Angelo Mathews was named Player of the Match for his 199 in the first innings.

It took Sri Lanka all of 24 balls to wipe off the 29-run deficit in the first session with Kusal Mendis taking the attack to Bangladesh. He was the aggressor while Karunaratne, more circumspect in his approach, rotated the strike well as runs came at a premium in the first hour of the morning.

Kusal started off the day by clattering Taijul for two fours in the first over before slamming Khaled Ahmed for a hattrick of four either side of the wicket as Sri Lanka scored 59 runs in the first nine overs of the first session. It did not help that Bangladesh were a bowler short with Shoriful Islam ruled out of the series, after fracturing his right hand courtesy a Kasun Rajitha bouncer late on day three.

Shakib and Taijul then restored some parity with the latter striking twice. He first removed Kusal Mendis with a peach of a delivery that pitched on middle stump to turn and trim the off bail for a 43-ball 48 before accounting for Mathews with a stunning return catch for a duck. Mathews, who was visibly frustrated having not scored for 14 balls launched a straight drive back at Taijul, who somehow got both hands to it and completed the catch above his head.

Sri Lanka, ahead by 60 runs at lunch, started off after the break on a positive note collecting seven runs from each of the first two overs. Karunaratne reached his 28th half-century with a thick outside edge off Shakib. However, his joy was short-lived as he fell soon after to Taijul. Going the aggressive route, Karunaratne skipped down the track but his mistimed flick could only travel as far as Mominul Haque at midwicket, who completed a good catch diving to his right.

Dhananjaya de Silva continued taking the attacking option and he did succeed to an extent before falling to a rank long-hop for 33. Shakib, to his credit, floated the short of a length delivery, enticing the batter, who took the bait and pulled straight to Mushfiqur Rahim. Shakib could have had another wicket the very next ball but Dickwella’s sweep just evaded a leaping Taijul at backward square.

Sri Lanka were staring down the barrel at that stage but Chandimal and Dickwella dug in to rescue the visitors.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 397

(Angelo Mathews 199, Dinesh Chandimal 66, Kusal Mendis 54; Nayeem Hasan 6/105) & 260/6 (Niroshan Dickwella 61*, Dimuth Karunaratne 52, Kusal Mendis 48; Taijul Islam 4/82) drew with Bangladesh 465 (Tamim Iqbal 133, Mushfiqur Rahim 105, Liton Das 88; Kasun Rajitha 4/60, Asitha Fernando 3/72).

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