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Tuesday,18-January-2022

International

T20 World Cup another opportunity to learn and move on, says Williamson

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 New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson is seeing the ICC T20 World Cup as a learning experience for his side, and the final against Australia here later on Sunday will be “another opportunity” for his team to gain some more knowledge and move on to the next goal.

The lessons learnt from the ‘Super 12’ defeat against Pakistan were implemented in the games against India in the league phase and England in the semifinals.

“It’s been important that we’ve tried to grow and learn throughout, and I think we’ve seen that a little bit (here), and (the final) is another opportunity for that,” Williamson said during the post-match press conference ahead of the final.

With big days of cricket becoming commonplace for Williamson and his side in recent years, the team — which reached the 2015 World Cup Final, 2016 T20 World Cup semifinal and 2019 World Cup Final — would be aiming to take lessons from those disappointments to overcome their Trans-Tasman rivals on later on Sunday.

Earlier this year, they lifted the ICC World Test Championship trophy defeating India and would now like to add a white-ball trophy. The semifinal against England gave enough indication that the Black Caps can go the distance here.

“Our semifinal was an amazing game of cricket against a very strong side. We sort of managed to take the game deep, and there were a couple of outstanding contributions at the end that got us across the line from Daryl Mitchell and Jimmy Neesham which is fantastic,” said Williamson.

But their opponents in the final aren’t short of players capable of providing moments of brilliance of their own. Matthew Wade provided a reminder of that with his six-hitting feats to see Australia past Pakistan in their semifinal, while Adam Zampa continued his remarkable tournament, picking up his 12th dismissal to make him the highest wicket-taker from any side to have joined at the ‘Super 12’ stage.

“Zampa is a world-class bowler, one of the top in the world and complimented nicely by obviously some of the top seamers in the world,” Williamson said.

“As a side they have got a lot of match-winners, and you know, I think that’s a large part of the strength in their team throughout. They have got world-class cricketers.”

In their bid for a maiden World T20 title, the Kiwis have suffered an injury blow with wicketkeeper-batter Devon Conway being ruled out of the final with a fractured hand, a freak injury that he picked up by striking his bat in frustration when dismissed against England.

“Obviously the loss of Devon is a big one. You know, he’s been a big part of all formats for us, and you know, it’s a disappointing and really freak thing to happen. But for us it’s about keeping our focus on the task, and all the players are really excited with the opportunity to go out (in the final), and like I say, try to improve and adjust to what will be new, which is a different opposition and a different venue,” added Williamson.

A different opposition and a different venue will yield a different T20 World Cup champion, with neither of these sides yet to lift an ICC 20-over trophy in their history.

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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