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Colombo Kings 219 for 7 (Chandimal 80) tied with Kandy Tuskers 219 for 3 (Perera 87, Gurbaz 53)
Super OverColombo Kings 16 for 1 beat Kandy Tuskers 12 for 0

How the game played out

After what seemed like endless setbacks, the first game of the Lankan Premier League is finally in the books, and it could hardly have been scripted better. Over 400 runs, dropped catches, monster sixes, quick fire fifties, an Andre Russell cameo – and a Super Over. Welcome to the LPL, ladies and gentleman.

In the end though, it was the Colombo Kings that emerged victorious in a game that neither team really deserved to lose. The one-over eliminator saw the Kings set a target of 17, with the Tuskers only able to respond with 12, but that was arguably the least of the game’s highlights.

While showcase knocks from Kusal Perera and Dinesh Chandimal would have pleased many of the cricket-starved Sri Lankan fans watching at home, it was 18 year-old Rahmanullah Gurbaz from Afghanistan that gave the LPL its first taste of firepower, punishing a lacklustre Angelo Mathews to kickstart the Tuskers’ innings. He and Perera put on 75 for the opening partnership inside the Powerplay period.

After Gurbaz fell, Perera continued to carry his bat virtually throughout the innings, eventually falling in the final over. Perera’s partnerships with Kusal Mendis and Asela Gunaratne were calculated in their execution, and ensured that an ideal platform was in place for a late assault that saw 70 taken off the final five overs to propel the Tuskers to 219 for 3 – the highest ever score at Sooriyawewa – and one that should have been match-winning.

However a reinvigorated Chandimal kept the Kings in the chase, with his 46-ball 80, and cameos from Laurie Evans, Thikshila de Silva and Russell kept the scoreboard ticking. But it was Isuru Udana‘s outrageous late heroics that took the game into a decisive super over.

Star of the day

There were several that could have made this section. There was young Gurbaz’s blistering 22-ball 53, Perera’s brand of measured belligerence which brought him a 52-ball 87, and Chandimal’s homage to his early maverick years as he kept the Kings in the game with a 46-ball 80.

But in the end it was Udana’s clutch innings of 34 from 12, inclusive of four monster sixes, that stole the show. When Russell holed out with 53 still needed from 19 deliveries, the Tuskers could have been forgiven for thinking the game was as good as done. But in Udana the Kings have a genuine game-changer, and really the only surprise by the end was that he was unable to finish the game off in regulation play.

Turning point

In the 18th over, with Russell back in the pavilion, the Kings’ hopes were waning. Udana, new to the crease, then top-edged one to Kusal Mendis coming in from cover, only for the chance to be grassed. With 50 runs needed off 16 balls, it seemed a mistake of little consequence at the time.

The big miss

The Tuskers executed their game plan almost flawlessly with the bat, but they will know that they lost the game in the field. Three catches were dropped over the course of the Kings’ chase, and while Udana’s was ultimately the most costly as noted above, it’s arguable that the Kings might not even have been in that position if Chandimal hadn’t been reprieved in just the second over of the chase.

There was also a dubious non-wide call in fourth ball of the Tuskers’ Super Over chase. With 6 needed off 3 deliveries, Udana strayed down Gurbaz’s leg side – an obvious wide. If called it would have given the Tuskers an extra delivery and brought the equation down to 5 from 3. Instead, the subsequent dot ball saw the them needing 6 off 1.

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ENG vs SL 2nd T20I – Mickey Arthur on England and Sri Lanka




Sri Lanka’s head coach said he wants the batsmen to be more proactive against a world-class England attack

Mickey Arthur has urged his Sri Lanka side to stay patient after they slipped to a second defeat in as many nights in Cardiff, leaving them on a run of 11 defeats in their last 12 completed T20Is dating back to October 2019.
Opting to bat first in both games after winning the toss, Sri Lanka posted scores of 129 and 111, and while they came much closer to defending their total on Thursday night than in Wednesday’s eight-wicket pasting, they always looked a long way short of a par score, failing to hit a boundary in the powerplay for the first time in their T20I history. Arthur, Sri Lanka’s head coach, stressed at the start of the tour that he wanted to add a level of consistency to selection following a turbulent period of chopping and changing, and that it would be important to “nail down the guys’ roles” in this series.
Dasun Shanaka, with scores of 50 and 8 from No. 7, is their leading run-scorer in the series, with Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando – backed as opening options for the long term – both struggling to make an impact at the top of the order. Their lack of attacking intent with the bat came under scrutiny on Thursday, but while Arthur suggested that they could be “more proactive” in future, he said that there had been limited opportunities to score against a “world-class” England side on a slow, two-paced pitch being used for the second night in a row.

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England vs Sri Lanka T20Is – Liam Livingstone makes virtue of versatility in pitch for England World Cup role | Cricket



Liam Livingstone has enhanced his World Cup claims with two important displays © Getty Images

Teams can take a squad of 33 players to cover 15 starting positions in rugby’s next World Cup, and 23 for 11 spots in football’s, but cricket diverges from the norm. England will take a 15-man squad to the T20 World Cup this winter – albeit with the possibility of a couple of reserves as a Covid precaution – and as a result, the ability of back-up players to cover a range of roles is crucial.

With that in mind, Liam Livingstone has done his chances of inclusion no harm at all in the first two games of their T20I series against Sri Lanka in Cardiff. An innings of 29 not out off 26 balls and four tight overs of liquorice-all-sort spin that have cost 19 runs do not demand retention in themselves, but have demonstrated the flexibility that Livingstone would add to a touring party as a utility player.

“It’s something that I pride myself on, being as versatile as I can,” he said after the second T20I, in which he won the match award after steering England home from No. 6. “It’s something that’s rolled into my bowling as well, trying to bowl both legspin and offspin to give people different options [and] it’s the same with my batting, trying to make myself a player who can bat all the way from No. 1 to No. 8.”

While he has made a reputation for himself as a power-hitter who deals in sixes – in last year’s Big Bash, he scored a higher percentages of his runs in sixes (39.4%) than anyone else in the top 25 run-scorers – Livingstone’s innings on Thursday night demonstrated his willingness to adapt, with a single ramped six standing out alongside a series of clips and pushes into gaps to suit the situation and build a partnership with Sam Billings. Four years on from a pair of frenetic innings in his first two T20Is, he looked a different player.

Importantly, given England’s logjam of top-three options, it also demonstrated an ability to bat in the middle order. Twenty-five of Livingstone’s last 26 innings in domestic T20 cricket for Lancashire and Perth Scorchers have come as an opener, with Jos Buttler even moving down to No. 4 in order to accommodate him at the top in this year’s T20 Blast, but there is little chance of him batting there in an England shirt.

While he will have limited opportunity to do so before the start of the World Cup, Livingstone should consider shuffling down the order for one of his clubs if he can – potentially for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred – in order to gain more experience in the role, though batting in the middle order for Peshawar Zalmi and Cape Town Blitz two winters ago meant he had something to lean back on.

“I batted at No. 4 and 5 in the PSL and in the South African T20 [MSL],” he said. “I guess that’s the reason I go away and play in these competitions: trying to get experience of batting in different roles, which has obviously helped me coming into an England side, batting in a position I’m not really used to.”

But it is with the ball that Livingstone is particularly multi-talented, as he has demonstrated in this series. He generally bowls legbreaks to right-handers and offbreaks to left-handers, and while not a prodigious turner of the ball, he gets enough spin both ways to keep batters guessing and forcing them to watch him carefully out of the hand.

“It’s certainly advantageous isn’t it?” Buttler said after Wednesday night’s game. “It’s a fantastic skill to have, to be able to bowl offspin and legspin to international standard. We will potentially see that come into the game more and more. He’s an exciting package, a great guy to have in your squad and your XI.”

Livingstone is not the finished article with the ball. Two of the three most expensive overs of his T20 career have come at crunch moments, confirming Lancashire’s exits in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the last two Blast seasons when Ravi Bopara and Dan Christian took him down, but he insisted that those experiences have been beneficial in the long run.

“[My bowling] has always been well-regarded at Lancashire,” he said. “I’ve obviously had a couple of tough moments with it over the last couple of years, but they are the moments that have made me a better bowler. It’s something I’ve worked hard on for this sort of opportunity, to push my way into a team as someone that can offer something in all three facets of the game.”

As an excellent outfielder too, Livingstone’s case for inclusion in the World Cup squad is strong: even if he is unlikely to start once Ben Stokes returns from injury, the fact he offers some overs as a second – or even third – spinner, can cover a number of batting roles and is a good option to come on as a substitute fielder mean that he has quickly become England’s Mr Versatile.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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WTC final Ind vs NZ – Michael Mason and Kane ‘not the last man standing’ Williamson




“I have never experienced 139 runs taking so long and there was a lot of nervous energy in the change room” – Southee

Meet “Michael Mason“. Not him, actually, but the mace that has gone to the New Zealand team after they became the inaugural Test world champions. They also took home a prize money of US$ 1.6 million, but it’s the mace, nicknamed after the former fast bowler by the current players, that is all the talk.
But impressive as it looks, you still can’t drink out of it. You can instead give it a special nickname. Or, as a wise man agreed to a suggestion on Twitter, it can be used to stir drinks in the Bledisloe Cup.
The party’s just started
The mace – or the Mason – was also given a seat on the flight the players are taking back home. The team – minus the players who are staying back for The Hundred and county stints – is expected to land in Auckland on Saturday morning, and Trent Boult is hoping the celebrations continue at home after they get through their quarantine.

“Waggy [Neil Wagner] probably hasn’t let the mace go since last night,” Boult was quoted as saying by “The boys are ecstatic. There’s been a mixture of emotion and jubilation. Once we get home and through quarantine, we’ll hopefully continue the celebrations.

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