Shoaib Malik has given the Lanka Premier League his seal of approval, a week into the tournament. Malik is the most experienced T20 player in the league, having now played 405 T20s, and is among the high-profile overseas players in the tournament. He has played in various T20 leagues around the world, including the Big Bash League, Bangladesh Premier League and Pakistan Super League.
“Overall the tournament is going very nicely and I’m really enjoying it,” Malik said. “I was talking to some other overseas players as well and they were praising the whole league. In these tough times the way the people who are involved in the league must be given credit. The first year is tough for any league. But if we support the league, I’m sure, the second year will be better and the third year will be the same. I think I was expecting more big names, but with their personal commitments, they are not there. Definitely from next year, they will also be the participants in the league.”
The tournament is being played at Sooriyawewa stadium in its entirety, largely because that arrangement allowed the tournament organisers to more efficiently maintain a playing bubble. Players also had to undergo seven days of quarantine before the tournament, and many foreign players – including Malik – did not arrive in Sri Lanka early enough to train substantially with their teams ahead of the event.
“It wasn’t easy to stay in the room on the quarantine days, but there are rules and regulations to follow – we have to respect them,” Malik said. “Of course I wanted to practice before getting into the tournament, but I had no time to go through practice sessions and everything. It’s not anybody’s fault. We are all going through these tough times.
“But the quality of cricket in LPL is very good. From next year, I’m sure there will be more big names. We’re also very limited in the sense of having to use one stadium and facility. Next year, Inshallah, we will come out of this Covid-19 thing and there will be more venues and a crowd at the ground, and the crowd will make things bigger.”
Malik has been part of the Jaffna Stallions franchise – the only as-yet unbeaten side in the tournament. Captain Thisara Perera‘s batting has contributed significantly to their success so far, but Malik had praise for legspinning allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga, as well. Hasaranga has five wickets from three outings with the ball and has only gone at 4.41 runs an over from his 12 overs.
“We know Wanindu is a quality bowler. He’s improving day by day. The best part is that it’s not just about his bowling. If you ask him to go field in the hot spots, he would love to do that. He’s a proper team man. It’s not just about your own bowling – he’s fielding as well as batting. I would say he’s the complete allrounder.
“It’s a lot easier when you know your management and the captain. We’ve found nice combinations for our team. The first wins are always important. The team is going in the right direction. Everyone is backing each other up.”
Recent Match Report – Sultans vs Kings 16th Match 2020/21-2021
Needing to win nearly every game for play-off contention, Imran Tahir also plays starring role
Multan Sultans 176 for 5 (Shah 44*, Rossouw 44, Perera 2-12) beat Karachi Kings 164 for 6 (Azam 85*, Walton 35, Imran 3-28) by 12 runs
Walking in to bat in the very first over, Sohaib Maqsood didn’t take long to get sighters as he went after Imad Wasim. With the knowledge that the ball wasn’t going to turn or even skid through on a slow deck, he used his height and muscle to keep backing away to pepper the off-side boundaries in a sequence of 4,4,6,4 in Wasim’s second over, the third of the innings, to give the Sultans a power boost.
Mohammad Amir’s search for swing was unsuccessful, which meant easy pickings for both Mohammad Rizwan and Rossouw. Off the third ball he faced off Amir, Rizwan nonchalantly flicked him over fine leg to get going. And when Amir went shorter, Rossouw backed away to muscle a pull as if he was swatting a mid-120s bowler. This was some kind of a message that the Sultans were going to counter-punch. The pair raised their half-century stand off just 28 deliveries as the Sultans were well-perched at 107 for 2 in ten overs.
Then came the brakes. The Sultans didn’t score a boundary for 38 deliveries – from the middle of the tenth over till the start of the 16th – and lost both set batsmen in Rizwan and Rossouw in the space of three deliveries. Thisara Perera dictated terms, as he stuck to a simple wicket-to-wicket approach with excellent variations in pace. Perera would bowl just three overs, his 2 for 12 going a long way in restricting the Sultans in the middle. Having lost 4 for 21 going into the death overs, the Sultans found a saviour in Shah. Perhaps realising the need to bat till the end, he delayed his slog before suddenly coming alive by clouting Amir for two fours and a six in a final over that went for 19. Shah’s contribution by then was a neat unbeaten 32-ball 44.
Azam left high and dry, as Tahir leaves imprint
The Kings had an early setback when Sharjeel Khan was run out backing up too far at the non-striker’s end in the fourth over. Thereafter, Martin Guptill did little to enhance his reputation in Asia, totally foxed by a Tahir googly for a painstaking 16-ball 11 in the tenth over, by which time the asking rate had spiralled to 11.50. Only Azam stood in the way of victory for the Sultans.
He found an ally in Chadwick Walton as the pair offset the mounting asking rate with some cheeky strokes by looking to use the pace rather than muscle the ball big. With 72 needed off 29 deliveries, Tahir was denied a third wicket when Rizwan missed a stumping to reprieve him on 61. Azam immediately put the pressure back by shellacking the second ball he faced after that for a six.
Going into the final three overs, the Kings continued to mount a final assault, eventually bringing it down to 36 off the last two. But you got the sense they were one big shot or a run out away from losing the game, which is what eventually happened. Azam was stranded in the end on 85, perhaps wondering if he’d just miscalculated a bit.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
England vs NZ 2021 – As it happened: England vs New Zealand, 2nd Test, Edgbaston, 1st day
* Most recent entry will appear at the top, please refresh your page for the latest updates. All times are local
5.55pm: Lawrence brings up his fifty
5.35pm: Patel strikes again
Olly Stone falls after a valuable partnership with Dan Lawrence worth 47. Stone was trapped lbw for 20 trying to sweep Ajaz Patel but he provided some stabilty to a wobbling England innings. Lawrence is also digging in nicely as he eyes his half-century.
4.50pm: Beer snake? It’s as if they’d never been away
4.25pm: Boult strikes twice
Trent Boult removes Rory Burns and James Bracey with consecutive balls. England are in all sorts of bother.
4.15pm: Burns down
New Zealand strike again, removing Rory Burns shortly after tea, edging Trent Boult to Tom Latham at second slip. England lose their man who looked well set in reaching 81 to be 169 for 5.
3.45pm: Tea time
England 152 for 4 (Burns 73*, Lawrence 11*, Henry 2-36) vs New Zealand
3.35pm: Patel removes Pope
England go four down as Ajaz Patel accounts for Ollie Pope, caught behind by Tom Blundell for 19. This has been an excellent session for New Zealand – and it’s not over yet.
2.55pm: In-form Burns
2.35pm: Burn(s)ing bright
Rory Burns brings up England’s 100 with a lovely drive through cover point off Matt Henry to lift England’s spirits after a post-lunch slump that saw them lose Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Joe Root in quick succession. Burns, a centurion in the first Test, is not out 49 and Ollie Pope is unbeaten on 10.
2.10pm: One, two, three!
Well, we’ve had postprandial escalation with Matt Henry snaring two wickets and Neil Wagner one to remove Sibley, Crawley and Root in quick succession.
2.00pm: And another!
1.50pm: Henry breaks through
1.15pm: They’ll take that
Lunch England 67 for 0 (Sibley 31*, Burns 32*) vs New Zealand
12.50pm: Fifty up
Dom Sibley brought up England’s fifty with a four through sqare leg off Daryl Mitchell. Sibley has now moved on to 31 not out with Rory Burns unbeaten on 28. Our stats legend Shiva Jayaraman points out that this is England’s first fifty-run opening stand in the first innings in 14 home Tests. Their previous one was between Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings against India at The Oval in 2018!
12.30pm: C’mon feel the noise
Don’t know about you, but the roar of the crowd for each boundary – Dom Sibley and Rory Burns have struck two fours each – is giving me chills after so long without hearing the sound of full-ish stands. Some 6,700 fans attended each day of the first Test at Lord’s but there’s more than double that at Edgbaston. Imagine what it feels like being there. Our man on the ground, Matt Roller, knows and sent us this:
This is the second-biggest sporting crowd that has been seen in the UK since the start of the pandemic, behind the 20,000 or so who attended Leicester City’s win in the FA Cup final at Wembley last month, and the largest attendance for a home England fixture since the fifth Test of the 2019 Ashes.
There are around 17,000 fans in the crowd, all of whom were required to take a lateral flow test in the 24 hours before the start as part of a government pilot event (though no Under-16s, who were deemed unable to give medical consent), with loud cheers for every boundary, an ironic jeer when Matt Henry’s first over contained a wide, and – hearteningly – a warm applause during the ‘moment of unity’ before the start. There’s plenty of fancy dress on show and hundreds of pints have already been poured – let’s hope the ominous grey clouds rolling across the ground don’t ruin the fun.
11.50am: Ah, the memories
How young he looks! James Anderson, who turns 39 in July, says he can rememeber “as clear as anything” making his Test debut as a 20-year-old back in 2003. But does he remember getting those frosted tips done? Here’s what he had to say to Sky Sports this morning about playing his 162nd Test to overtake good friend Alastair Cook as England’s most-capped player:
“I spoke to him [Cook] last night, he rang me last night to congratulate me. It’s incredible that someone like him who I look up to so much and have so much respect for, that I’m actually going past him.
“I can remember that as clear as anything, my debut, and then some amazing memories all the way through that period and I can’t believe that I’ve got to where I have today.
“I think a lot of it is luck, I’ve been born with a body that can cope with the pressures of bowling. I do work hard on my fitness, and I think it’s try to stay hungry, I still feel like I’ve got a lot to feel like I’ve got a lot to give the game. I feel like I can still take wickets. It’s about just turning up every day and having that hunger to improve, to get better, whether it’s your fitness or your bowling skills, and I think I’ve still got that, and that’s probably helped me throughout the years and hopefully that will help me carry on for a little bit longer.”
11.10am: Jimmy’s honour
10.50am: Things of Stone and Wood
It’s an Australian folk band, it’s an Aussie beer but it’s not about Australia, it’s about all about England and New Zealand as the hosts win the toss and choose to bat first. Joe Root reckons: “It looks a brilliant pitch. Generally the wicket’s good here, we want to make good use of that first.”
New Zealand, meanwhile, have made six changes! Some of those are forced with Will Young in for Kane Williamson, who has a sore elbow, and Tom Blundell taking the gloves for injured keeper BJ Watling. Daryl Mitchell, Matt Henry, Ajaz Patel and Trent Boult also come in.
England: 1 Rory Burns, 2 Dom Sibley, 3 Zak Crawley, 4 Joe Root (captain), 5 Ollie Pope, 6 Dan Lawrence, 7 James Bracey (wk), 8 Mark Wood, 9 Olly Stone, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson
New Zealand 1 Tom Latham (captain), 2 Devon Conway, 3 Will Young, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 Tom Blundell (wk), 7 Daryl Mitchell, 8 Neil Wagner, 9 Matt Henry, 10 Ajaz Patel, 11 Trent Boult
10.15am: Good morning – for some
Hello, and welcome to our coverage from the opening day at Edgbaston. We have some news for you first up, with New Zealand revealing that wicket-keeper BJ Watling is a late withdrawal after failing to overcome a sore back. The injury has troubled Watling in the past and although it has improved over the past 24 hours, it hasn’t improved enough for him to be confident of making it through a full Test behind the stumps. As a result, Tom Blundell will take the gloves and bat at No. 6 in his 11th Test.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo
Tasmania confirm signings of Elyse Villani and Molly Strano
The state has been able to gain the leading run-scorer and leading wicket-taker from last season
Securing Villani and Strano is especially significant as it gives Tasmania both the leading run-scorer and leading wicket-taker from last season’s WNCL.
Villani was prolific with the bat as she scored 611 runs at 87.28 with three centuries while Strano captured 14 wickets at 14.42.
Offspinner Strano, who was part of Australia’s successful T20 World Cup squad last year, was a late addition to Australia’s tour of New Zealand although did not feature in any of the matches but Villani has not been selected since early 2019.
Silver-Holmes made her WBBL debut for Sydney Sixers aged 15 and her WNCL debut for New South Wales at 16 making her the second-youngster player for state. She will bolster Tasmania’s pace-bowling resources as they look to build on last season’s third-place finish.
“It’s a really exciting group of players we’ve got here at the Tigers,” head coach Salliann Beams said. “We’ve worked to build both our program and our list over the past few years, and with the additions to our playing group this year, it’s a testament to the staff and players within our program – as well as the wider organisation – that we have players of this calibre wanting to be a part of our team.”
Amy Smith, the 16-year-old legspinner, is among the current Tasmania players to sign new deals along with former New Zealand wicketkeeper Rachel Priest. Emma Thompson will miss the 2021-22 season on maternity leave.
Tasmania squad Chloe Abel, Nicola Carey (CA contracted), Maisy Gibson, Heather Graham, Corinne Hall, Emma Manix-Geeves, Sasha Moloney, Rachel Priest, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Amy Smith, Emily Smith, Naomi Stalenberg, Molly Strano, Emma Thompson (maternity leave 2021-22), Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani.
Boxing6 days ago
Mayweather fight time tonight: What time is Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul tonight?
NFL6 days ago
Stars would have to align for Seahawks to trade for Julio Jones – Seattle Seahawks Blog
MLB5 days ago
Todd Frazier’s 4 hits, including a solo HR, help U.S. qualify for Olympic baseball tournament
Motorsport4 days ago
Daniel Ricciardo behind Lando Norris again, McLaren, result, Baku
Soccer4 days ago
Gareth Southgate snubs Jesse Lingard again as England boss picks Euro 2020 replacement
NFL6 days ago
Rookie card of Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady sells for record $3.107 million at auction
Soccer5 days ago
Pep Guardiola's thoughts on Jadon Sancho as Man Utd look to sign former Man City wonderkid
Boxing5 days ago
Floyd Mayweather net worth: How much is boxing legend worth ahead of Logan Paul fight?