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Thursday,28-October-2021

International

New Zealand grab maximum points in 3rd successive WTC series

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New Zealand’s third successive 2-0 win in a home series has helped them stay in contention as the ICC World Test Championship is interestingly poised with the finalists yet to be decided.

The Black Caps gained the maximum of 120 points from the series against Pakistan after their win in the second Test at the Hagley Oval, taking their points tally to 420 out of a possible 600 after having also beaten West Indies and India by the same margin in their two previous series.

The Kane Williamson led-side stand third in the points table with 0.700 percentage points won, the factor that determines the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption. Pakistan are on 0.307 percentage points.

Australia and India, locked 1-1 after two matches of their four-Test series, are still ahead of New Zealand, while England are at the fourth spot. England are still to play Sri Lanka and India while Australia and New Zealand do not have any other series scheduled.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka have fetched them a full 120 points but neither team are in contention to make the final. The Proteas are on 0.400 percentage points and Sri Lanka on 0.222.

International

Pakistan played in the right spirit; will consider playing in PSL in future: Williamson

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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has said that Pakistan played the ICC T20 World Cup ‘Super 12’ game against his side on Tuesday in the “right spirit”, contrary to speculation that Babar Azam’s boys would be all charged up after the Black Caps abandoned the tour of the country last month due to “security threats”.

Several former Pakistani cricketers and commentators have been vocal about New Zealand cancelling the limited-overs tour of Pakistan hours before the start of the opening ODI in Rawalpindi last month, terming the T20 World Cup game a “revenge” match.

Asked during the post-match press conference, if the Pakistan player were “aggressive towards” New Zealand cricketers, Williamson said, “No, they played in the right spirit, I believe, and a great spirit. They’re a very competitive, proud cricketing nation, and they showed that tonight. They’ve been outstanding in the first couple of games of this tournament. I’m sure they’ll be very, very competitive throughout the back end as well. Their hopes are high, no doubt.”

Speaking about the cancellation of tour due to the security threat perception, Williamson, whose side lost by five wickets in a low-scoring game on Tuesday, said, “That was obviously a very unfortunate, disappointing situation for Pakistani cricket fans and the cricketers; a decision that was outside of the players’ control.

“But all the guys were there looking forward to that series to start, and unfortunately it didn’t happen. So it was very disappointing for all involved.”

To a question on whether he would play in the Pakistan Super League if he gets an opportunity, Williamson started by saying that t was a “real shame” to not have played the series in the first place.

“It was a real shame to not have that series go ahead and be played in front of what are some of the most passionate cricket supporters in the world and a very proud cricketing nation. So that was a real shame.

“The Pakistan league is a brilliant league. Sometimes that clashes, I think, with some of our cricket back home. So that’s always a tough one, but as an international player, often you do look at these other opportunities when the timing is right, and they’re always fantastic experiences. I’ve heard a lot of really good things from other players that have played over there as well. Yeah, it’s, I suppose, something to consider in the future.”

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Shocked and surprised by de Kock’s decision: SA skipper Bavuma

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South African skipper Temba Bavuma has said he was “surprised and taken aback” by the decision of team-mate Quinton de Kock to opt out of the game against the West Indies in the ICC T20 World Cup on Tuesday due to “personal reasons”, adding that he will still get “whatever support he wants from the team”.

Minutes before the toss in the ‘Super 12’ game, which the Proteas won by eight wickets on Tuesday evening, de Kock made himself unavailable for selection. The news came after Cricket South Africa (CSA) released a statement saying that all players should take the knee before their remaining T20 World Cup matches in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

De Kock was one of a number of South Africa players who had not been taking the knee ahead of recent internationals, including the team’s tournament-opener against Australia, with some players kneeling, some raising a fist and some standing.

The inconsistencies with the way players have been acknowledging a stance against racism was one of the reasons CSA issued the clear directive to its team.

Indian batsman Dinesh Karthik, meanwhile, added fuel to the fire by revealing on Twitter that the Proteas batsman is not playing because of his stand on Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

Although de Kock himself has not elaborated on missing the game, statements from CSA and Bavuma make it clear the decision had to do with CSA’s directive for all players to take the knee at the start of the game.

“We as a team were surprised and taken aback by the news. Quinton is a big player for the team, not only with the bat but also the role he plays from an experience point of view. Not having that at my disposal as a captain was obviously not something I was looking forward to,” said Bavuma after the win against the West Indies.

“In saying that, Quinton is an adult. He’s a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision, we respect his convictions.”

On de Kock’s future playing for South Africa, Bavuma said, “It wouldn’t be my decision whether to replace Quinton or get a substitute. As far as we stand, Quinton is still one of the players, one of the boys. So whatever support that he needs, whatever shoulder that he requires from his teammates will be there for him. And if there’s a need for further conversations to be had, those will definitely happen among the guys,” he said.

Bavuma said that the instructions from the board to take the knee, “in a united and consistent stance”, was taken on the morning of the game. The message was passed on to the players before they got on to the bus to travel to Dubai.

“The trip was about an hour and half to two hours. In that trip I guess that’s where Quinton made his decision. I found out when we got to the changing room. (The timing) was probably not ideal. The good thing is we were still able to find a way to get on the field and represent our country the way we did.

“Quinton is still one of the players, one of the boys. So whatever support that he needs, whatever shoulder that he requires from his teammates will be there for him. And if there’s a need for further conversations to be had, those will definitely happen among the guys. The timing meant the team had not had the time to discuss the matter with de Kock and clear the air,” Bavuma explained.

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Feels great to win, we’ll look to carry forward confidence, says Pak skipper Babar

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After a clinical five-wicket victory over New Zealand, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam on Tuesday said that it’s great to win and his team will look to carry forward the confidence in the upcoming matches of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Haris Rauf’s superb bowling followed by Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik’s late blitz helped Pakistan beat New Zealand by five wickets in a Super 12 match of the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

The victory sends Pakistan back above Afghanistan to the top of Group 2 with two wins from two matches in the tournament.

“Feels great to win and we’ll look to carry forward the confidence. The spinners started off brilliantly, and Haris and Shaheen carried it through. I would like to compliment our fielding that has carried us through here. I thought we gave 10 runs too many. But this is cricket and it happens,” said Babar after the win.

Babar also praised Malik and Asif Ali for their match-winning partnership.

“While batting, there were wickets early on and we needed a partnership. Malik showed experience and Asif Ali contributed too. Every match is crucial. There is no easy match. We’ll look to play it day by day and game by game,” he said.

Meanwhile, Haris Rauf, who got the Player of the Match, for his sensational bowling performance said that there is competition in the bowling unit and they also complement each other.

“There’s competition in the bowling unit, we have been playing together for two years, myself, Shaheen, and Hasan Ali. We talk with each other, assess the conditions and we do get confidence from each other,” he said.

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