Hampshire 131 for 3 (Vince 69) beat Middlesex 128 (Hafeez 34, Morris 3-22, Abbott 3-25) by seven wickets
The men from the Ageas Bowl came through the Grace Gates knowing they needed four wins out of four to have a chance of making the knockout stages and their South African pace duo all but clinched the first of these as they bundled out the hosts for 128.
James Vince‘s 69 made short work of the chase, leaving Middlesex, who have been riding high in the South Group standings still looking for a couple of wins to book their own place in the quarter-finals.
Middlesex were put in after losing the toss and struggled from the outset.
Paul Stirling’s poor form in T20 this year continued when he became Abbott’s first victim, lbw to the first ball of the fourth over.
Dawid Malan and Stevie Eskinazi briefly threatened to post a score, but once the former had edged Morris through to keeper Lewis McManus the Seaxes lost their way.
Eoin Morgan continued the cameos trend, striking two sixes in his 20, before perishing attempting a third from the bowling of the excellent Liam Dawson, who bowled well in tandem with South African debutant Tabraiz Shamsi.
Middlesex debutant and Pakistan Test star Mohammed Hafeez tried to hold things together with 34, sharing a stand of 46 with wicketkeeper John Simpson. But he was bowled by Wood before Abbott dismissed Simpson and Toby Roland-Jones with successive balls.
Morris picked up two late scalps as Middlesex lost their last five wickets for seven runs in 16 balls.
Having top scored with the bat, Hafeez struck an early blow with the ball when Rilee Rossouw drove him straight to Nathan Sowter at cover.
Hampshire skipper Vince, though, looked in ominous form from the get-go, one sumptuous cover-drive underlining his class.
Sam Northeast tried to follow his example only to blast a Roland-Jones delivery straight up in the air and give Stirling a simple catch.
But Dawson, fresh from his unbeaten half-century against Surrey in the County Championship 24 hours earlier, proved a valuable ally to Vince, who went to 50 from 33 balls with his seventh boundary. The 50 partnership came in just 32 deliveries and although Vince holed out on the cover boundary, Hampshire sprinted home with 31 balls to spare.
Jofra Archer caps stellar summer with ECB central contract
Jofra Archer’s rise in England cricket continues after being awarded an ECB central contract across all formats.
Barbados-born Archer only made his international debut in May shortly after he qualified to represent England and then went on to play a crucial role in the triumphant World Cup campaign and the Ashes series. He was among six players to receive both Test and white-ball contracts for the 2019-20 season, announced on Friday.
In all, selectors awarded 10 Test contracts and 12 white-ball contracts.
Opening batsman Rory Burns earned a Test contract after becoming the third-highest runscorer of the Ashes series with 390 runs from his 10 innings. Batsman Joe Denly – who missed out on World Cup selection after much discussion about his possible role as a spin-bowling all-rounder – was awarded his first white-ball contract.
Moeen Ali, who was dropped for the second Test against Australia and took no further part in the Ashes, missed out on a Test contract, as did Adil Rashid. Both had been contracted across all three formats last year but were awarded only limited-overs deals for next season. Rashid has not played since the World Cup final in July because of a right shoulder injury that required painkilling injections during the tournament.
Jason Roy, who battled to establish himself as a Test batsman through the Ashes was awarded only a white-ball contract.
James Anderson, whose Ashes campaign was ruined by a calf injury, retained his Test contract and World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan remains on a white-ball contract.
Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett and David Willey missed out on white-ball contracts for 2019-20.
Selectors can also award a limited number of increment contracts, which went to Burns, Denly and Jack Leach for 2018-19 in recognition of their performances for the team through the current season. Leach and Tom Curran received increment contract for the 2019-20 year commencing on October 1.
BREAKING: Jofra Archer awarded an all-format contract by the ECB, Rory Burns and Joe Denly get Test and white-ball contracts for the first time.
More to follow… pic.twitter.com/XCmp5GIbWk
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 20, 2019
Incremental: Tom Curran, Jack Leach
Australia women set to further fine-tune their T20I batting order
Australia women are likely to experiment with their batting order in the T20Is against Sri Lanka later this month as they further fine-tune planning ahead of defending the T20 World Cup title next year.
Having completed a comprehensive 3-0 victory over West Indies in Barbados, they have now won 19 of their last 21 T20Is dating back to March 2018.
They were not given much of a challenge by a depleted West Indies side, securing back-to-back nine-wicket wins following a six-wicket victory to start the series.
Alyssa Healy was the leading run-scorer in the series and is locked in at the top of the order, but coach Matthew Mott said there were still various combinations to be tried ahead of the T20 World Cup which starts at the end of February although did not see them moving much outside this group of players.
Beth Mooney made 4 and 8 in the first two T20s before finishing with an unbeaten 24 while Ellyse Perry came in at No. 3 ahead of captain Meg Lanning to knock off the target in the final outing.
Australia play Sri Lanka in three matches in Sydney, starting at the end of September, and then have a tri-series with England and India ahead of the World Cup.
“Our batting has been really good, thought we got better with each game, Mott said. “Our first chase wasn’t our best but the last two we did it in style. But we’ve still got some tinkering to do, think we’ll tinker a bit in the T20s against Sri Lanka with that batting order and get the right formula leading into the World Cup.
“I think [the squad] will be pretty close to what we’ve got here. The only changes will be in batting orders. We’ve got a strong nucleus of players who we have earmarked to take a lead into the World Cup. Back home there’s a WNCL round which is a good opportunity for the players to put their hand up and show what they can do, but pretty sure we’ll be close to this 14.”
Mott was impressed with the performance of legspinner Georgia Wareham in the final T20I against West Indies as she claimed 3 for 14 and was also pleased with the point-of-difference provided by pace bowler Tayla Vlaeminck even though she was wicketless.
“We are really happy with the way the bowling until is going, there has been some great changes there, even seeing Megan Schutt trying some new things – coming round the wicket to the left-handers – and thought Georgia Wareham bowled incredibly well and spun the ball, so that’s good for her confidence.
“[Tayla’s] bounce is really potent, fires the team up each time she comes in. You can see the batters are getting hurried up so even if she’s not taking wickets she’s changing the way the batters are moving their feet, putting pressure on at the other end.”
The T20I series against Sri Lanka starts on September 29 at North Sydney Oval with all three matches played at that venue before three ODIs take place in Brisbane from October 5.
Match Preview – Afghanistan vs Zimbabwe, Bangladesh Twenty20 Tri-Series 2019, 5th Match
This game is the first of two dead rubbers in this tri-series, but try telling that to Hamilton Masakadza. This will be his last international match and, having contributed for so long to Zimbabwe cricket, a win over a side that has totally dominated them in T20Is will make for a sweet exit.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, will once again rely on their heavy hitters and their spin attack to stop Zimbabwe, a formula that has worked on each of the eight occasions the teams have met in this format. In this series, Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi have scored most of the runs but Afghanistan will also hope to see Hazratullah Zazai recover from a batting slump. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who impressed on his debut earlier in the tri-series, would look to bounce back from the first-ball duck in the second game.
Among their bowlers, Mujeeb Ur Rahman stopped Bangladesh in their tracks with his maiden four-wicket haul in the previous game, also his T20I best. Fareed Ahmad, the left-arm quick, also looked impressive, although medium-pacer Karim Janat hasn’t been among the wickets.
Zimbabwe haven’t had as many impressive individual performances. Richmond Mutumbami did justice to his call-up against Bangladesh on Wednesday with a half-century but his efforts did not have an impact on the result. Ryan Burl, who made a quickfire fifty in the first game against Bangladesh, has struggled for consistency, as has Regis Chakabva. And the side’s senior batsmen, including Masakadza, haven’t scored enough to put pressure on the opposition.
They have some variety in their bowling attack but apart from Kyle Jarvis, the others haven’t quite stepped up. Neville Madziva, Ainsley Ndlovu and Sean Williams will look to do a better job with the ball.
Afghanistan WWWWW (Last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Like his team, Hamilton Masakadza, too, has had a rough time in the tournament, scoring only 62 in three innings so far. In his final match, a big knock from the Zimbabwe captain could well have a big impact on the morale of the side.
With two matches to go before the final, this would be the right time for Hazratullah Zazai to get back among the runs. The opener hasn’t scored a fifty in his last 14 international innings, after his 67 against Ireland in March this year
Having played their first two matches in the series with an unchanged XI, Afghanistan now have the luxury of two matches to test out their bench strength. Fast bowlers Dawlat Zadran and Naveen-ul-Haq, seaming allrounder Fazal Niazai and wicketkeeper Shafiqullah and left-arm spinner Shahidullah and Sharafuddin Ashraf are their options should they rest a few key players.
Afghanistan (probable): 1 Hazratullah Zazai, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 3 Najeeb Tarakai, 4 Asghar Afghan, 5 Najibullah Zadran, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Gulbadin Naib, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Karim Janat, 10 Fareed Ahmad, 11 Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Richmond Mutumbami’s fifty should keep him in the side but Zimbabwe might consider recalling quick bowler Tendai Chatara and allrounder Tony Munyonga to bolster the bowling.
Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Brendan Taylor (wk), 2 Hamilton Masakadza (capt), 3 Sean Williams, 4 Regis Chakabva, 5 Tinotenda Mutombodzi, 6 Ryan Burl, 7 Richmond Mutumbami, 8 Neville Madziva, 9 Kyle Jarvis, 10 Ainsley Ndlovu, 11 Chris Mpofu
Pitch and conditions
In the match between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury pitch offered runs to batsmen, who were ready to take time to assess the situation. There’s chance of a late shower on Friday evening.
Stats and trivia
Masakadza will retire having played the most T20Is for Zimbabwe. He has missed only four of Zimbabwe’s 69 T20Is, all in 2015. He is also their highest run-getter in the format, with the most 50-plus scores and the most boundaries.
Mohammad Nabi’s unbeaten 84 in Afghanistan’s previous game against Bangladesh is the third-highest score by a No. 6 batsman in all T20Is.
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