Day report: Netherlands v Oman, Bangladesh v Ireland

It rained heavily in Dharamsala and a result only 8 overs were bowled throught both games.

The Netherlands and Ireland were both left in positions making qualification impossible, knocking them out. It’s been a bad tournament for Europe so far, with remaining hopes all resting on Englands shoulders (Not a chance there then).

The first fixture of the day was a wash out between Oman and the Netherlands, meaning Oman go joint top on points with Bangladesh with an all to play for game between the two to come. The Netherlands were emotional after being eliminated, rightly so since the administration has made them qualify for a tournament twice (a ridiculous system, in America you can’t even be tried for a murder twice) with no mitigation incase rain interrupts, which it did. The worlds premier T20 event looks more like a joke daily, and if there is a good punchline you wouldn’t hear the laughs in the stadiums because only 4 people turn up each game, and of those 4 only 2 are allowed into the ground due to BCCI cock ups.

The Ireland Bangladesh game was also heavily rain affected, with a delayed start reducing the game to 12 overs each. Bangladesh started quickly, with Tamim and Soumya both scoring heavily, 52-0 after 4 overs and some mistakes in the field from Ireland (2 drops, both of which should have been caught, and several misfields), Soumya departed first 20(13) being stumped on a ball that turned away from the bat after soupy charged at it off McBrines bowling.

Tamil fell in what turned to be the last over of the match for a very good 47(26), chipping to midwicket of Dockrell, recalled for this game.

Both spinners bowled well, but with K O’Brien being carted for 19 chasing 94-2 (8) would have been a tall order if the chance had been given.

A disappointing day for neutrals and especially europeans, but a good one for Bangladesh and for Oman, who Netherlands would have fancied their chances against.


Match Report: Afghanistan v Hong Kong

It was a comprehensive victory for Afghanistan. The spinners outclassed Hong Kongs batsmen before the Afghanistan batsmen walked home in the chase.

Hong Kong won the toss, and chose to bat first. Afghanistan shed a spinner, thinking there wouldn’t be much turn. Mark Campbell started brightly, and Hong Kong were 34-0 after the first five overs.

Campbell then fell to Nabi in rather unfortunate circumstances. He got down to play a sweep, only to misjudge the bounce, being hit on the chest and the the helmet, the ball then bouncing and hitting the stumps. Campbell left after a good 27 (24) during which he looked in good touch, only sometimes struggling to deal with the pace of Dhawlat Zadran, who exceeded 150 kph on occasion.

Babar then came in and recorded a second ball duck, chipping to mid on trying to flick into the square leg region. At the end of the power play Hong Kong were sat on 42-2.

With the introduction of spinners it soon became clear this was a turning wicket, with Nabi and Rashid getting consistent spin.

The Campbell wicket had signalled the beginning of the end though, as the spin from Nabi (20-4) and Rashid (23-1) defeated the Hong Kong team, with Rashid proving difficult to pick.

Rath finished 28*(31) as Hong Kong finished 116/6. It was an excellent bowling performance from Afghanistan on a pitch that spun significantly. Hong Kong were going to need something special to threaten with a victory.

Afghanistan started strongly, sending Tanwir for 9 as Noor Ali showed attacking intent. At the other end, Shazhad played with uncharacteristic restraint, and moved along at less than a run a ball. The pair remained together throughout the power play, and in the sixth over Shahzad finally unleashed a big 6 after a Nadeem no ball signalled a free hit, which shazhad sent straight down the ground.

After cruising to 68-0 after 10, Shahzad started to get the itch, and targeted Campbell, trying to deceive the spinner by stepping back in his crease then charging forward. Campbell stuck to his line, and though Shahzd managed a good connection, it went too high and too short, to be caught at long on.

Knowing that victory was in sight, Nabi, number five last game, came to the crease for some batting practice, and was dropped on five out in the deep.

the 14th over brought the first obvious umpiring error of the tournament with Gould not giving an LBW appeal that hit 3/4 off the way up middle. The BCCIs refusal to adopt hawk-eye once again stunting the game of cricket.

Noor Ali was run out looking for a second during the 15th over for 35, but this was not going to stop what was a comfortable win for Afghanistan, with Najib Zadran scoring a quick 18 to get them over the line.

Final thoughts

Afghanistan looked a very good team, showcasing their spin attack on a turning pitch. If it spins on saturday, they would be my pick to advance to the super 10.

Match report: Scotland v Zimbabwe

The second round of games at Nagpur got underway With Scotland playing Zimbabwe, Scotland desperate for a win in a global tournament in the 20th attempt and Zimbabwe looking to build on a good start against HGK.

Zimbabwe opened the batting getting to decent score of 147-7, about par but again, a few less than should have been achieved. Scotland collapsed spectaturarly, going 4 down within 4 overs, a spirited lower middle order partnership and lower order bashing brought them close, but in reality it was asking an awful lot at the end an Scotland weren’t up for it, being bowled out for 136.

Zimbabwe started slowly, getting to 17-0 after three overs, wth Masakazda hitting a couple of nice boundaries. In the fourth over though a fluke runout occurred. Sibanda on strike, cut Watt away towards cover point, calling Masakazda through for a single. Both batsmen watched the ball and found themselves on a collision course, hitting each other at near full pace. This cost masakazda his wicket as he could not recover in time to beat the throw to the strikers end.

Sibanda received on field treatment for a few minutes, with medics patching up a cut chin (from his helmet) and assessing for concussion. He was adjudged to be fit to carry on, however he did not last much longer at the crease holing out at deep square for 4 (12).

After Mutambami was dropped on the edge of the circle (and leaking 4) Zimbabwe were left on 30-2 at the end of the power play.

The pitch was slow, as it was a couple of days ago, and short pitched bowling with pace of the ball was the standard ploy for the pacemen on both sides throughout the match.

Williams and Mutumbami continued to build, the rate hovering around 6, until Mutambami fell on 19 (17). Going for the straight 6 off Watt, he picked out Leask in the deep, who spilled it, only to snatch it out of the air as he fell towards the ground. It was a sublime reaction catch from what should have been a straightforward catch.

Williams continued to score, going at a decent rate (striking roughly 150 throughout the innings) as Raza came and went 9(9).

The 100 came up at the start of the 15th over, with Williams on 44(26). Zimbabwe looked poised to go to to 150+.

Williams brought up his 50 from 31, only to fall soon after after sweeping a full toss to deep square for 56(36), Zimbabwe failed to continue upping the rate and eventually grafted to 147-7.

Davey (21-0) and Watt (21-2) both bowled very well.

Scotland came out against the Spin of Wellington Masakazda with Munsey facing, who played four reverse sweeps in his first five balls,collecting two 4’s for his troubles. After changing the field to accommodate for this, Munsey charged the last ball of the over, and was duly stumped.

Cross came in at three, and was caught behind first ball after hanging his bat outside of off playing, in truth, a non shot.  Machan, next man in, hit consecutive fours the next over all in the midwicket region only to be caught trying it a third time at mid off. It was needless play.

Coetzee, 3(3) after three overs then took on Chatara, connecting well to hit a drive down the ground, Raza had other ideas though and threw himself at it from short extra cover and caught it one handed (It rivals Masqood as the best catch of the tournament so far).

After four overs, Scotland were sat on 22-4, looking like they had thrown it away, and in truth they had.

Least fell for 9(13) after a 20 run partnership with Berrington, bringing Mommsren the crease and a period of stability and good run scoring, with a 50(41) partnership blossoming, until the next ball, the it ended with Mommsen slapping a ball straight down covers throat for a well played 31(27).

In the last five overs, Scotland were on 95-7, with victory looking increasingly unlikely. Davey hit Chatara hard, with two 6’s and a 4 in the 17th over, leaving the equation 30 off 18.

Scotland then lost their momentum, with Tiripano and Panyangara choking the life of out of Scotlands chase, Berrington 36(39) and Davey 24(13) falling along with the rest of the liine-up, as Scotland were bowled out for 136.

Masakazda took 28-4 and Tiripano 20-2 off 3.4

Final thoughts

Sibanda didn’t field. his chin was patched up so it ws presumably a head concern. He should not have come back on in my opinion. Sport should take concussion more seriously. He could have retired hurt and been properly assessed and monitored for half and hour or more before maybe coming back on if needed.

Scotland top order lost their head, with the exception of the Coetzer, who can count himself unlucky. Both teams bowled well, using slow ball and short pitched bowling well.

Match Report: Ireland v Oman


Ireland walked out to bat and scored 154-5, a good effort, but it should have been at least 10 more, they kept losing key wickets at important times.

Oman came out to bat second, made a strong start to their innings (opening partnership of 69 off 51), then lost 5 wickets leaving them 90-5 needing 10 an over to win.

The second game of the day began with a maiden, the first of the tournament. Lalchettta, with his slow, staggered run up, made it difficult for porter field to make contact and sent down his first world cup over for a maiden.

Stirling was in the mood though, hitting boundaries through the offside against Bilal, who managed to get a bit of shape in the air. The powerplay went smoothly, with ireland emerging with a respectable 46-0, with both batsmen now looking fluent, especially against pace, with the new ball coming on nicely and batsmen timing the ball well.

Stirling, in the 7th over, Hit a crisp shot wide of short mid off for a 2, only to repeat the same shot next ball, hitting it harder, only to be caught brilliantly by short midd off (Masqood), diving with his left hand outstretched and pouching it, holding onto the ball as he hit the turf.

This saw a period of rebuilding as Wilson came to the crease, the pair building a partnership typified by good running, a theme of the Irish innings. During the twelfth over, with the partnership settled and the run rate cruising around 7.5, Porterfield tried to up the rate, only to be stumped after charging the spin of Khawar Ali.

Again Ireland rebuilt, and going into the back 5 overs were on 112-2, with hitters still in the shed.

Ansari came back into the attack, with his clingy, low arm action, and accounted for both N O’Brien 16(11) and Wilson 38(33). Wilsons dismissal was a good ball, tailing slightly, full on clattering into middle and off as Wilson gave himself room by shuffling down leg.

Despite the arrival of K O’Brien and Pointer, two big hitters, the rate never really went up, with K O’Brien being bowled by Ansari, after seemingly loosing track of the ball in the air.

Ireland finished with 154-5, which again, should have been higher. regular wickets pegged the score back, but it was still a good total to defend.

Oman came in, knowing they had restricted Ireland somewhat but needing a solid start and sustained effort. Masqood and Khawar matched the rate from the off, scoring 44 off the power play. Masqood scoring heavily through the leg side and Khawar joined in scoring both sides of the wicket.

After a strong partnership of 69 Oman collapsed, Kevin O’Brein getting both openers to play on a couple of overs apart.

69-0 (8.3 overs)
90-5 (13.6 overs)

5.3 overs, 21 runs and and 5 wickets thanks due to inadequate batting and tight bowling, typified by McBrine (3-0-15-2).

Oman were left needing 65 of six overs.

A.Ali, new to the crease, hit 3 boundaries in the Next two overs as both Sorenson and Stirling were hit for 11, however the rate was still going to be difficult, needing 43 off 20. The Murtagh came back into the attack, having gone 2-0-16-0 so far.

A no ball (height), two wides and a misfield were followed by three consecutive 4’s off the bat of A.Ali, in a disastrous over for Ireland Murtagh went for 20, giving Oman a sniff.

Kevin O’Brein bowled the 18th over, and Ali swung, the ball just passed the Midwicket boundary only for Wilson to throw himself up and backwards, flicking it back onto the outfield, saving five runs. O’Brein went for five runs.

18 off 12

Rankin, after a torrid opening spell against Masqood and Khawar (2-0-19-0) came on and bowled tightly, clean bowling Jatinder Singh 24(26), who had played with wickets falling around him but could not hit the boundary often enough. Nerves were apparent though as A.Ali called new batsmen Sultan Ahmed through for a non existent single, only to send his captain back and run him out. Rankin went for 4 for the over.

14 off 6

19.1  No Ball (height), flicked for 4 down to fine leg
19.1  Free hit, clean bowled, scurried for a single. 1 Bye
19.2  Thick outside edge runs fine of third man for 4
19.3  Leg bye, one run, brings Ali on strike

3 off 3

19.4 Wicket. Caught behind (replays suggest no contact is made, Ali walks of)
19.5 Full toss, no ball on height. The ball runs through the Keeper for 5 runs

Oman win.

Final thoughts

I was originally supporting Ireland, and did not think Oman were ever in pole position, they started well, but I waited for them to duly collapse, and they did. Murtagh bowled them back into it, and Ali, the 37 year old with a cool head, helped them home. Ireland gave this game away, and Oman grabbed it with both hands.

Russell arnold may well have exploded when Oman won, never have I heard a commentator chat so much rubbish only to, by sheer dumb luck, be vindicated at the end.

It was an amazing game, and only about 3 fans turned up to watch it. Well done BCCI.


Match Report: Bangladesh v The Netherlands

Bangladesh, runners up in the Asia cup, took on the Netherlands, Joint winners of the World cup T20 qualifying. As the camera panned in for the first ball, immediately as a viewer you are stuck at how little people are in attendance, for the second day running.

It was a game, like the Scotland Afghanistan fixture yesterday decided on the back of one batsmen against a team who struggled to hit the boundary and pick the spin. Similar to the Scotland game, the winning margin should have been greater as the more established team fell short when setting a target.

The first over brought a big chance for the Netherlands as Soumya top edged a ball that flew to the third man boundary where Van Meereken dropped a sitter through his hands, which then went for 4. Van Meereken redeemed himself not long after when he got Soumya for a regulation nick to the keeper for 15 (13). The power play showcased disciplined bowling from the Netherlands and yielded 33 runs for the loss of one wicket.

Bangladesh, going into the middle overs started to pick up the scoring, particularly going after Van de Merwe, who conceded a 6 in every over he bowled. Tamim kept scoring steadily as parters fell around him; Shabbier falling Lbw to a suspect leg side clip attempt for XXX and Al Hasan falling extremely softly, chipping a ball to short third man in the 11th over, with Bangladesh on 79-3.

Tamil however continued his solo effort to post a competitive total, reaching his 50 from 36 balls (2 6’s, 3 4’s), with a missed stumping from a tricky chance along the way.

Van de Gughten and Van Meereken had other ideas though, and slowed the rate right down in the 15th-19th over, picking up regular wickets and conceding few runs. Between them they picked up 21-3 and 17-2 respectively.

The last over went for 15 runs, leaving Bangladesh to defend 153-7 with Tamim Iqbal finishing 83* (58).

The rest of the Bangladesh line up managed a poultry 63 (62). The Netherlands managed to keep Bangladesh15 runs short.

When Myburgh and Baressi came out to bat the Netherlands looked to be in with a good shout, and a slow start didn’t deter them, after 4 overs the chase was under way, with the Netherlands on 21-0, with both players struggling for timing, but with some runs on the board and no wickets falling.

However the discomfort of the batsmen told for Baressi when he fell he hit a  short ball going for the leg side boundary only to be caught in the deep, a common theme of the innings.

When Ben Cooper came to the crease though things started going well for the chasing team, with Cooper striking two fours in his first over, and my burgh starting to find some rhythm.

The rate was always above 7.5 in the chase, which in end accounted for my burgh, who played a sweep and missed, being clean bowled by the impressive Al Hasan for 29 (29). This brought Boren to the crease who got on the way quickly with a reverse dab for 4 down to the fine leg boundary.

At 76-2 at the start of the 12th over, the game was poised, however a lack of regular boundaries was building pressure on the batting side, and Cooper was clean bowled trying to slog sweep, again by Al Hasan.

From then on the Netherlands really struggled, staying in the game only by Borrens pure willpower to get down and hit through the leg side against the spinner which eventually accounted for his wicket as a sweep shot went arial and was duly caught for 29 (28) but only after being dropped for a very similar chance the same over for.

Mortaza (14-1) and Al Hasan (28-2) choked the life out of the Netherlands, and if it weren’t for a charge from Bukhari 14 (5) the winning margin would have looked more commanding.

In the end the Netherlands managed 145-7 (17 extras).

Final thoughts

The crowd was tiny and hence not very loud, the atmosphere was like drinking alone hearing people next door having fun. The sweep shot was deployed repeatedly just as the scots did, suggesting a serious weakness against spin, which could prove terminal. Only Tamim Iqbal made more than 30 runs, and if Bangladesh are to do well some of their batsmen must make scores.

Match report: AFG v SCO

On the same Nagpur pitch used earlier in the day, with a livelier pitch and under lights, the second world cup t20 match got underway. Mark watt, the 19yr old spinner, began and showcased his unique action, bowling so wide on the crease his front foot goes wide of the lines. Shahzad got off to a confident start, and Afghanistan started by taking the first over for 8.

Davey opened at the other end, and was carted around as Noor Ali found his stride, playing a couple of cute shots down tot third man. Davey’s over showed that the pitch had liven up slightly with the ball going onto the bat nicely, rising the par score slightly from the first game.

After losing fluent, Noor Ali lost his wicket trying to muscle an uppercut to the backward point boundary, only to top edge and get caught in the deep.

This lead to a period of rebuilding, as Sharif and Evans in particular bowled tightly. The 50 for the innings duly came, and of 44 balls. Shazhad had started to play shots and didn’t look like stopping as he hit reverse sweeps, sixes own the ground and through the leg side, and crunched a few shots through the covers. He played a masterful innings and eventually fell on 61 of only 39. Throughout his innings at the other end Asghar was playing a good supporting role, yet curiously never really managed to push on.

Watt finished his 4 overs at the end of the 15th with figures of 30/1 and afghanistan poised to go big at the end on 120/2.Some good scottish bowling restricted the next two overs to only 13, and accounted for the loss of Naib to a brilliant effort in the deep by Machan. The runs started to flow with 27 taken from the last three overs of the much, a large part due to a cameo from Shafaq 14(5)who came in due an unfortunate runout of Nabi when Asghar played a nice drive that hit the non-strikers stumps, Evans took the rebound and pulled the stump out of the ground, leaving Shafaq short of his ground.

Shafaq himself fell to a runout. Asghar was on strike (striking around 110), and Shafaq new he stood a better chance of getting the runs, so he sprinted for a single as soon as the ball left the bowlers hand, tragically for Shafaq, asghar was left on his knees after missing the ball, and Cross (wicketkeeper) threw the ball to the bowlers end and Shafaq had to walk.

Asghar played a curious innings. he was good support for Shahzad but was too slow after his Shahzads departure. He tried the ramp shot a few times without any luck, and until he successfully pulled on off in the last over looked certain to be left with a very unimpressive strike rate, as it was he finished with 55(50) and Afghanistan 170/5, a decent total, but should really have been 180+.

Evans and Shafir both bowled very well between them and shared 53/1 from 8. Scotland very much in the game at the interval.

Scotland came out and started slowly, scoring only two off the first over, bowled by Hamza neatly. Zairean came on though, and Coetzer and Munsey found his pace to their liking, and took him for 7, Zadran also found lateral movement for the first time.

From then on though it was all Scotland for a while, as Munsey and Coetzer tucked into what was offered, quickly getting to their 50 partnership in 33 balls. Menses looked in particularly good touch, and both utilised the new ball and good timing to penetrate the outfield. Coetzee was more inclined to go over he top.

Against the spinners, Munsey favoured the reverse sweep, pulling it out often and scoring good runs. Coetzee continued to score but had some good fortune, with top edges and lob shots falling away from fielders. At the end of the power play Scotland were 60/0.

Scotland continued to accumulate until the ninth over, when Coetzer fell trying to pull a ball behind square, but instead edging it to square leg for an easy catch, his 40(27) looked to have set things up with Scotlan at 85-1. The rot then started to set in as next over Munsey was out LBW missing a sweep to Rashid, who bowled well and looked composed at only 17 years of age.

The 11th over brought another wicket as poor decision making and a slip cost MacLeod his wicket. Turning for a second, he hesitated, only to lose his footing and slip, and was consequently easily run out.

Barrington then came to the crease to try and recover with Machan, but before the rate could be raised he fell for only 8(10), leaving Machan work to do as the rate neared 10 with 6 overs remaining.

From there one the rate climbed as boundaries were nowhere to be seen, until Machan, set on 30 and Scotland requiring 50 from 30, decided enough was enough and hit a 6 in the 18th over (the first boundary in 8 overs), however to win this was going to have to be a sustained boundary hitting effort and Machan fell trying to cut the spinner, being caught easily at backward point needing 27 form the last two overs. They managed 12.

It was a game decided by Shahzads batting and the combined efforts of Afghanistans spinners, who bowled very well indeed, the pick being Nabi (27-1) and Rashid (28-2). Just as with the previous games, the rate slowed in the middle until power hitting upped it at the end. However Scotlands inability to pick the spinners and Afghanistan’s disciplined bowling stopped any power hitting, and won them a very tense game.

17 Tests in a year

England play 17 tests in 2016, which is an obscene amount. The english summer features 47 days of international cricket, and between May 2016 and February 2017 England play 14 tests, 18 ODi’s and three T20i’s.

That is 91 days of international cricket.

Several England players will feature across all three formats for England; Root, Ali, Stokes, Hales (form dependent in tests), Finn and possibly others.

I could well have called this article: ‘Predicting when Roots back will crumble to dust’, but that seemed a touch melodramatic, and doesn’t quite paint the wider picture. How will Anderson get through the next year of cricket and play beyond, as he has stated he wants to do? 14 tests in 10 months is a huge amount. And, looking at the schedule, even around the Champions trophy in 2017 England still get 20 tests in 2017-2019. At this rate, if Root plays every test match before he is 25, he will have played 50 tests.

It is lucky we don’t have someone of Rabadas quality and youth, because if we did by the time he was 25 he would have been broken and battered by our schedule.

There are concerns over players who are injury prone at the moment anyway (Anderson, Broad, Finn, Wood, Root etc.), how will they pull through the next year, and then the year beyond that, and that.

There are other issues, if you have players who are constantly injured, then rotation happens more and the team is less settled. Playing injured for fear of losing your spot can also kill your career, though under the current management this does seem less likely.

In a year round schedule, if there is a chink in your game it is difficult to be able to step away and work on it; When Morgan took time out of the county championship to copped a lot of flak before he even batted again (and has played well since). Cook was forced to step away from the game when he was ejected out of the one day set up, and this time away helped build rebuild his test technique, and he is now somewhere near his best.

Bad form can also ruin your career, or delay it significantly. With limited time between tours, there is no way of correcting you game away from the limelight’s discussed above. You have to go away and rebuild in the county championship, and  suddenly you have missed 10 tests, there are still question marks over your ability and someone else has your spot (Balance is a good example of this, one dodgy tour, and his spot is gone for the foreseeable future).

The one commonly touted argument for less test cricket is that it reduces the spectacle of the game if so many tests are played. This I disagree with because I haven’t seen much evidence to support this, the english game is very well followed.

However, there are upsides to 17 tests in a year. The fans. I love test cricket, and the more its on the better. 85 days a year of test cricket? Hell yes. Most other fans i have spoken to agree, they want to watch as many England tests that are on offer.

It’s also very good for the very greedy ECB, who like vampires, suck blood out of every cricketing opportunity, whether it damages the host or not. The ECB are not skint, they have £80 million in reserve. They are not fighting to stay afloat. The TV deals are simply huge and the administration will take every opportunity to gain more money.

You could argue its good for the game, it makes cricket more accessible. Except that Sky shows nearly all the cricket, which is only accessible if you have a spare £50 a month kicking about.

I don’t think it is good for the team to play so much cricket, and its worse for the players (mainly the bowlers). As a fan, I love the idea of year round cricket. The solution: Give Ireland test status and let them play, so the summer can be full of tests without destroying Roots back.