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Tuesday,18-January-2022

International

Called up coach Langer to say I want Warner in team: Australia skipper Finch

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Aaron Finch backing opener David Warner through his bad patch was perhaps the Australian limited-overs captain’s masterstroke at the ICC T20 World Cup, as the 35-year-old reposed the faith of his skipper to guide the team to its maiden ICC T20 World Cup title.

Coming into the T20 World Cup, critics were targetting Warner for his below-par performance in the Indian Premier League, but Finch said during the post-match press conference after defeating New Zealand that he never lost faith in the stalwart.

Asked, how he backed the out-of-form opener amid calls to replace him, Finch said, “You didn’t expect that (good showing from Warner)? I certainly did. Without a word of a lie, I promise you, I called (coach) Justin Langer a few months ago and said, ‘Don’t worry about Davey, he’ll be Man of the Tournament.’

“I thought Adam Zampa should have been Man of the Tournament personally, but he’s (Warner) a great player. He’s one of the all-time great batters. And he’s a fighter. He’s someone who when his back is against the wall, that’s when you get the very, very best of David Warner. It was a special finish to the tournament for him, the last couple of knocks,” added Finch.

Finch added that Mitchell Marsh’s move to No.3 in the ‘Super 12’ game against the West Indies was the game-changer for the Kangaroos. Marsh’s unbeaten 77 of 50 deliveries was pivotal to Australia clinching a facile win against the Blach Caps on Sunday night.

“No. 3 was a really important one in the West Indies. We felt as though he’s (Marsh) someone who could play — he obviously plays fast bowling very well. Growing up in the WACA, he’s very, very dominant off the back foot. He’s someone who loves the contest, loves the challenge. And we just backed him from the start. We committed to him batting No. 3 for a long time. He knew that, and that was — that’s all you need sometimes. You need a little bit of backing and you need some confidence from everybody else.

“And I think it was the first ball he faced in the practice game, the first practice game against New Zealand where he hit for six, also. That just shows the confidence that he has, the confidence we have in each other. It was brilliant,” added Finch.

Finch conceded that no matter how much he tried to play down the luck of the toss, it was a big factor in the tournament. On Sunday, going with the trend, Finch won the toss and elected to bowl.

“It (toss) did play a big factor to be honest. I tried to play it down as much as I could because I thought at some point in the tournament I’m going to lose a toss and we’ll have to bat first. But it did play a big part. You saw at the end there, the dew factor, the slow balls weren’t holding in the wicket as much. I don’t know how I did it. Maybe it was just fate.”

International

U-19 CWC: Haseebullah Khan’s century gives Pakistan a flying start

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Pakistan got off to a flying start in the Under-19 ICC Cricket World Cup, as wicketkeeper-batter Haseebullah Khan smashed a century to help them crush Zimbabwe by 115 runs in a Group C match at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex here on Tuesday (IST).

Flaunting their batting strength, Pakistan put on 315/9, thanks to a Haseebullah 135 (155 balls, 10 fours, 4 sixes). Zimbabwe fell more than a century short in the chase despite an 83-run eighth-wicket partnership between Brian Bennett and Tendekai Mataranyika.

‘Player of the match’ Haseebullah also earned the distinction of posting the highest score of the U-19 World Cup so far. Haseebullah and Irfan Khan combined for a mammoth 192-run third-wicket partnership before the latter was forced to go for 81 from 77 balls after being caught by David Bennett off the bowling of Mcgini Dube.

Zimbabwe continued the fight-back, led by right-arm seamer Alex Falao, who took the wicket of Haseebullah on his way to 58/5 as Pakistan ended with 315/9. Zimbabwe had already produced a score higher than this against Papua New Guinea in their opening game of Group C but faltered in this chase.

Matthew Welch and Steven Saul combined at the top of the order to put on 34 for the first wicket. The next six wickets fell for 77 runs before a timely partnership of 83 runs between Bennett and Mataranyika gave Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope.

But with Bennett’s dismissal they were left needing 121 runs with only 58 balls remaining, Mataranyika followed his partner back to the hutch two balls later before the final wicket of Mcgini Dube fell to hand Pakistan a convincing 115-run victory.

Brief scores: Pakistan 315/9 in 50 overs (Haseebullah Khan 135, Irfan Khan 75; Alex Falao 5/58) beat Zimbabwe 200 in 42.4 overs (Brian Bennett 83; Awais Ali 6/56) by 115 runs.

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Australia’s No.1-ranked T20I woman batter Mooney out of Ashes with broken jaw

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The Australian women’s cricket team suffered a huge setback on Tuesday after their world No.1-ranked T20I batter Beth Mooney was ruled on the eve of the Ashes with a broken jaw.

The 28-year-old Mooney suffered the injury during Australia’s team training. Australia and England are scheduled to play the opening match of the multi-format Ashes when they clash in the first of the three T20Is on January 20 at Sydney.

The T20Is will be followed by a one-off Test and a three match ODI series.

Mooney was hit by a ball under the grill of her helmet during training and will undergo immediate surgery, according to Cricket Australia.

The injury all but rules Mooney out of the series, and the left-hander is also in doubt for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup beginning in March in New Zealand.

Mooney has been a mainstay of Australia’s top order across the formats, boasting the top individual ranking in T20I cricket and two centuries in both international limited-overs formats.

A replacement for Mooney is yet to be named, though Australia have backup with the Australia ‘A’ side joining the Ashes squad for series preparation.

While Rachael Haynes seems a likely option to step into Mooney’s spot, it also opens the door for a number of other ‘A’ team members such as Elyse Villani, Georgia Redmayne, Grace Harris and young gun Phoebe Litchfield.

Mooney’s injury is not Australia’s only issue, with Ellyse Perry’s arrival in Adelaide delayed due to a COVID-19 scare. Molly Strano and Katie Mack, two players in the Australia ‘A’ squad, will also miss action after testing positive for COVID-19.

Australia squad for the Ashes: Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning (captain), Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck.

Australia A squad: Georgia Redmayne (captain), Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Nicole Faltum, Tess Flintoff, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Phoebe Litchfield, Katie Mack, Courtney Sippel, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Georgia Voll, Amanda-Jade Wellington.

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‘To my superhero,’ Siraj’s heartfelt message to Virat Kohli

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India pace bowler Mohammed Siraj has called Virat Kohli his “superhero” after the latter stepped down as the Test skipper following the 1-2 series loss to the Dean Elgar-led South Africa.

Siraj was a part of the opening Test against the Proteas at Centurion, grabbing three wickets as India defeated the home team by 113 runs. He had issues with his hamstring on the opening day of the second Test at Johannesburg, which India lost by seven wickets.

Ahead of the third Test, Kohli said that the pacer was “not match-fit” and excluded him from the playing XI. “Siraj is recovering from the niggle he had from the last game I don’t think he is match fit to take the field (for the third Test),” Kohli had said.

Siraj is also Kohli’s teammate at the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.

On Tuesday, the 27-year-old Siraj posted a heartfelt message on Instagram days after Kohli relinquished his Test captaincy.

“To my superhero, I cannot be thankful enough for the support and the encouragement that I got from you. You have always been my great brother. Thank you for trusting me and believing in me for all these years. For seeing the great at my worst. You will always be my captain King Kohli @virat.kohli,” wrote Siraj.

Kohli will now play purely as a batter in the three-match ODI series beginning at Paarl on January 19.

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