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Wednesday,26-January-2022

International

Tector, McBrine guide Ireland to 5-wicket win against West Indies in 2nd ODI

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An unbeaten half-century by youngster Harry Tector backed by a strong Irish bowling performance, especially Andy McBrine (4/36), helped the tourists clinch a five-wicket victory over the West Indies in a rain-curtailed second One-day International at the Sabina Park here on Friday (IST).

The tourists, thus, levelled the series 1-1, performing admirably despite missing several key players, including skipper Andrew Balbirnie due to COVID-19.

Led by stand-in skipper Paul Stirling, Ireland were particularly efficient with ball, as McBrine, Craig Young (3/42) and Josh Little (2/40) making significant contributions. McBrine also compiling 35 with the bat to help Ireland to victory in the match which had to be rescheduled due to several COVID-19 cases being reported in the touring side.

Stirling won the toss and elected to bowl, perhaps with afternoon rain and DLS calculations in mind. It was the opening batter’s first ODI in charge, and his bowlers backed his early decision, largely through the inroads made by Young. He claimed 3/12 in his first four overs, and proved too much for Shai Hope (17), Justin Greaves (10), and Nicholas Pooran (1).

Roston Chase and Shamarh Brooks steadied, only for McBrine to end the partnership on 48, taking a return catch off Chase for 13. McBrine then claimed the key wicket of Kieron Pollard for one, as Little claimed Jason Holder’s wicket soon after.

Stirling was aggressive in his captaincy, and the spin of George Dockrell trapped Brooks lbw for 43.

Despite the early dominance, not all went the tourists’ way, as a late-innings scramble from the West Indies took them to 229. A ninth-wicket partnership of 58 off just 27 balls from Romario Shepherd (50 from 41 balls) and Odean Smith (49 off 19 balls) swung the momentum slightly, though the upper hand remained Ireland’s, even after conceding almost 30 extras.

McBrine’s 4/29 was his second-best bowling figures in ODI cricket, moving him into fifth place on Ireland’s all-time ODI wicket-taking list.

Stirling was his usual aggressive self with the bat, making a quick-fire 21 next to long-time opening partner Will Porterfield, who made 26. Stirling fell to the left-arm orthodox of Akeal Hosein, but not before becoming the first Irish player to reach 5,000 ODI runs.

Porterfield fell at the end of the 10th over, though McBrine and Tector built well to move the game out of the hosts’ reach. McBrine fell to a top-edge from a well-directed Shepherd short ball for 35, though Curtis Campher joined Tector in another strong stand.

Tector brought up his sixth ODI half-century in the last nine matches, though more importantly moved the side well in front on DLS when the match was delayed by rain.

When play resumed, Ireland, 26 runs ahead on DLS, knocked off the remaining 11 runs comfortably.

“It means a lot — we’re delighted with how the lads responded, coming from a tough loss the other day where we thought we were really in the game a lot of the time, and to come and put on a performance like this after the off-field activities that have gone on. We’re delighted to get the win today, we really are,” Stirling told icc-cricket.com.

The teams will play the final World Cup Super League match on January 16 at the same venue.

Brief scores: West Indies 229 in 48 overs (Shamarh Brooks 43, Romario Shepherd 50, Odean Smith 46; Josh Little 2/40, Craig Young 3/42, Andy McBrine 4/36) lost to Ireland 168/5 in 32.3 overs (Harry Tector 54 not out, Andy McBrine 35; Akeal Hosein 2/51) by five wickets D/L Method.

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Afghanistan complete whitewash to grab crucial Cricket World Cup Super League points

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Afghanistan completed a 3-0 series victory over the Netherlands to grab 30 crucial World Cup Super League points, here on Tuesday.

Half-centuries from Najibullah Zadran and debutant Riaz Hassan and a three-wicket haul from another debutant Qais Ahmad helped Afghanistan to a 75-run win, setting up a 3-0 series victory in the ODI series.

After deciding to bat first, Afghanistan were driven by 19-year old opener Riaz on debut. The Netherlands managed to send back the centurion from the last game, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, for 12, but Riaz and Rahmat Shah put on an 86-run partnership to revive the innings.

Once Saqib Zulfiqar broke the partnership by sending back Riaz, the Netherlands managed another wicket soon with Rahmat dismissed in the 33rd over. Najibullah Zadran compiled a fine half-century with aid from the lower middle-order. Najibullah finished on 71 off 59 balls as Afghanistan made 254/5 in their 50 overs.

In reply, the Netherlands made a strong start with Scott Edwards once again leading the charge. Colin Ackermann gave him solid company and the duo thwarted Afghanistan’s new ball plans. Their 50 came up in 10 overs with the openers laying a solid platform.

They carried on in the same vein, putting on 103 for the opening wicket before Afghanistan’s debutant Qais broke the stand with his maiden ODI wicket, that of Edwards, trapped in front by the leg-spinner. Fareed Ahmad sent back skipper Pieter Seelaar for a duck and Afghanistan had the opportunity to put a leash on the chase.

The spinners worked in tandem and soon the Netherlands went from 103/0 to 153/5 with Boris Gorlee, Bas de Leede and the well-set Colin Ackermann, who made 81 off 96 balls, also back in the hut. The tables had turned around at this stage and Afghanistan were right on top in the game. They went on to bowl out the Netherlands for 179 to seal a 75-run victory and secure a series whitewash.

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Australia to tour Pakistan with a full-strength squad, says George Bailey

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Chief selector George Bailey on Tuesday confirmed that no Australian player has asked to be left out of the squad that is set to embark on their first tour of Pakistan since 1999.

Bailey added that the selection will be solely based on managing their workload.

“I believe the boards are still working through some of the minor details around that tour, so once that gets the formal tick of approval then we’ll announce the squad post that, but we’re reasonably well down the track,” Bailey was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia’s website.

“The two (security) briefings that I’ve sat in on, the security sounds very, very robust.”

The tour is set to start on March 3. It will consist of three Test matches to be played in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore and will be followed by a three-match ODI series from March 29 to April 2. A lone T20I will be played on April 5.

The last time Pakistan had an ICC event on its soil was when it co-hosted the 1996 World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka. The terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 ensured Test cricket remained out of bounds until 2019.

In 2020, before the T20 World Cup, New Zealand and England had pulled out of the tour of Pakistan citing security concerns.

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Hockey: France join Men’s Pro League, to start campaign against India on Feb 8

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Canada have withdrawn from the Men’s FIH Pro League due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has called up France to take place in the third edition of the Series. France will take on India in their opening match on February 8.

“After Canada eventually pulled out due to Covid-related issues, FIH had contacted the next best teams, according to the FIH World Rankings, to invite one of them to replace Canada. France have accepted the invitation and, as the highest-ranked team having done so, will join the global home-and-away league for this season,” the FIH informed in a release on Tuesday.

As Canada, along with South Africa had been included in the men’s FIH Pro League in place of Australia and New Zealand, who had pulled out last year citing Covid-19 related travel restrictions by their respective countries. As Canada and South Africa were included only for the ongoing third edition of the Pro League, France too will participate in the current edition and will be left out once Australia and New Zealand return to the field for the fourth edition in 2023.

“As communicated earlier, France’s participation in the FIH Hockey Pro League is planned for this third edition only. Indeed, Australia and New Zealand, who are not playing the current season due to Covid-related international travel constraints, are expected to come back for the fourth edition (2022-2023),” the FIH release said.

French, who will host the next Olympics in Paris in 2024, will play their first match on February 8 against India, in Potchefstroom, South Africa, and meet the Netherlands on February 9.

France have qualified for the next Men’s World Cup, which will be played in January 2023 in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. The French Men’s Junior team recently claimed the bronze medal in the Men’s Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, with France captain Timothée Clément crowned Best Player of the Tournament.

“It is great news that France are joining the FIH Hockey Pro League for the current season. As hosts of the next Olympic Games, being part of such a top-flight competition involving the best teams in the world can only be a positive move for the French team as well as for the growth of hockey in the country,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil was quoted as saying in the statement.

The first FIH Hockey Pro League matches of the year will involve the women’s teams of China and India. They will take place on January 31 and February 1 in Muscat, Oman, where both teams are currently playing the women’s Asia Cup 2022.

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