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Australia choose worst time to put in ‘worst performance’ of the World Cup

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Australia chose the worst possible time to put in their “worst performance” of the tournament, an eight-wicket thumping not only ending their world title defence but also consigning them to a first semi-final defeat at a World Cup.

In days to come the defeat might sting less, especially in light of where Australia’s ODI form has been over the last year, but Aaron Finch could not hide his disappointment.

WATCH on Hotstar (India only) – Highlights of England’s win over Australia

“In terms of where we were 12 months ago, obviously I think we have made a huge amount of progress,” he said. “Really proud of everyone involved for how much hard work and how far we have come, but at the same time we came here today to win a semi-final and get ourselves into a position to win another World Cup.

“So that was really disappointing how it ended, especially to put up probably one of our worst performances overall for the tournament, so that was really disappointing.”

There was a brief phase, during a 103-run partnership between Steve Smith and Alex Carey, when Australia were threatening to do what countless Australian sides before them have done at these tournaments. But Australia were otherwise outplayed, as Finch admitted. And it was the very first ten overs of the game in which the semi-final was lost, Australia left dazed, confused and almost down at 27 for 3.

“The damage was really done with the ball,” Finch said. “That sets you back. That forced us to rebuild for such a long time and start to drag some momentum back and then, like I said, you lose a couple of quick wickets again, new batters starting, it is always tough against really good leg-spin and good quicks as well.

“So, all in all, we were totally outplayed to be honest all throughout the day, so you look back at that and you can analyse each ten overs, but just outplayed.”

Carey apart, each of the players who had done so much to get Australia to this point – the ones who stand up in big games, said Finch – failed. They’re not at all in the crisis that England found themselves in after the 2015 World Cup – and this tournament, as Finch pointed out, has been part of overall progress – but a longer-term look towards the next World Cup will be a natural outcome. Part of that will take in the new ODI league that leads into qualification for 2023.

“I think that after a World Cup you always start looking and you have one eye towards the next one,” Finch said. “I think that as a management, senior players, I’m sure over the next next couple of months or so we will sit down and start talking about that and start planning how we think that we can best plan and prepare and improve over the next four years to get us to go, well two steps further.

“I think that every team will do that. You start looking at what you can improve most, areas that you can identify that you need some work to be done and that will happen no doubt – that happens naturally with players when you are talking about the game and trying to find ways to improve.

“But as a coaching staff, as a management, that will be really important as well that everyone gets on the same page and everyone pulls in the same direction which is what we have done. We have been really lucky. Everyone has bought into the way we have played and it is unfortunate we have come up short.”



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James Faulkner set for Lancashire T20 Blast return in 2020

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James Faulkner, the Australian left-arm seamer, will return to Lancashire for his fourth stint at the club for next year’s T20 Blast.

Faulkner first appeared for the county in 2015, and has been one of their overseas players in the Blast since 2018. This season, he took 11 wickets with an economy rate of 7.88 as Lancashire topped the North Group, but were beaten by eventual winners Essex in the quarter-finals.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Emirates Old Trafford for next season’s Vitality Blast,” Faulkner said. “It feels like a home away from home for me and I cannot wait to get started again in May.

“We were unlucky not to progress past the quarter-finals last year and we are all determined to put that right in 2020. We will be going all out to repeat the success of 2015, which remains one of the proudest memories in my cricketing career.

“Emirates Old Trafford is an amazing place to play cricket and I can’t wait to reunite with the squad next summer. I’m determined to win the Vitality Blast trophy back for the Club.”

Paul Allott, the club’s director of cricket, said: “James is a fantastic, well-rounded cricketer of significant experience and we are delighted to welcome him back to Emirates Old Trafford for a fourth season in 2020.

“He is the very definition of an all-rounder. He can bowl in any situation, which he has done successfully for us at both the beginning and back end of an innings, and is still a powerful batsman, not to mention his outstanding ability in the field too.

“His enthusiasm in representing the Red Rose is evident and he has established himself as a key figure in our T20 side. He is a proven winner and a great role model to the younger players.”



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South Africa lose title sponsor as freefall continues

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South Africa’s men’s team will lose their major sponsor, Standard Bank, who have opted not to renew their deal when it expires on April 30, 2020. This ends an association with cricket that dates back to 1998. Standard Bank sponsored South African cricket between 1998 and 2011, when it ended its sports associations with both cricket and football. The company then returned to cricket in 2016 and signed a four-year deal with Cricket South Africa (CSA) which is understood to be to the tune of R400 million (approx. US$ 27.3 million). Currently, they are only the title sponsor for the men’s team and their withdrawal is a direct result of administrative and governance problems at CSA which Standard Bank believes is tarnishing its reputation.

“Standard Bank is committed to upholding the highest levels of leadership, integrity and governance. In light of recent developments at CSA, which are a culmination of long-standing problems which have damaged Standard Bank’s reputation, it has decided not to renew its partnership with CSA,” Thulani Sibeko, Standard Bank Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer said in a statement released on Friday morning.

Cricket South Africa’s protracted problems, which include a court battle against the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA), projected financial losses of at least R654 million (approx. US$44.7 million) in the next four-year cycle, and the suspension of six staff members – three of whom were given notice of their suspension on Thursday – came to a head last weekend when five journalists’ accreditation was revoked during the Mzansi Super League (MSL).

On Monday, CSA CEO Thabang Moroe confirmed CSA made the decision because they did not approve of the way these reporters were writing about the organisation. That same day, Standard Bank expressed its “grave concerns,” about the situation at CSA and demanded a meeting with CSA to “know about developments within CSA, especially those that relate to governance and conduct.”

Sources told ESPNcricinfo that Standard Bank had been severe on CSA officials at the meeting and demanded they “clean up their act”. On Tuesday, Standard Bank issued a statement expressing its satisfaction that the meeting was “productive” and that they were left with the assurance that CSA would “urgently take the South African public into its confidence about the state of governance at the cricket administrative body”. It also said CSA had agreed to “urgently implement remedial actions to address stakeholder concerns, including the unacceptable manner in which it treated members of the media”.

However, just three days later, Standard Bank has confirmed it will not renew the sponsorship deal. Between Tuesday and Friday, three independent directors, Professor Shirley Zinn, Iqbal Khan and Dawn Makhobo, have resigned from the CSA board, and there have been calls from all quarters for the CEO and President, Chris Nenzani to step down.

Among the chorus has been former UCB managing director Ali Bacher, who was involved in mediating an agreement between Moroe and Graeme Smith, which would have seen Smith become director of cricket on October 1. Critiques have also emerged from development sponsors The Willowton Group and, last night, the Gauteng Cricket Board, the biggest provincial affiliate of CSA. In addition to the voices of dissent, CSA also faces allegations of credit card abuse from Khan, and a second commercial rights dispute with South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) in as many months.

Now, CSA has also lost its only major team sponsor after deals with Sunfoil and Momentum ended last year.



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Crisis in South African cricket – full coverage

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Crisis in South African cricket – full coverage



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