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‘Bangladesh are not here just to serve up balls to India’ – Coach Russell Domingo



Bangladesh’s decision to bat first in Kolkata may look unwise after they were blown away for just 106, but it is the type of boldness that coach Russell Domingo said he wants to bring to the dressing room. Conventional cricketing wisdom certainly went with Bangladesh but there was also the perception that an inexperienced batting line-up was left to take on a red-hot fast bowling unit.

That plan which had already played out poorly for the visitors in Indore but Domingo said doing anything other than putting runs on the board would have been a negative approach.

“It was not a 30-over all out wicket. There’s no doubt that we didn’t bat well enough”

“Obviously, it was a terrible day for us but I really think it is important to understand that Bangladesh are not just here to serve up balls for India,” he said at the end-of-day press conference. “I know everyone was hoping Bangladesh can bowl first so India can get 400-450. But that’s not why we were here. We think the best way to win a Test match in India is to bat first. Ninety-nine per cent of the time you bat first in the sub-continent, on a good wicket. We have no qualms with the decision to bat first.”

ALSO READ: Bangladesh batting falls flat on big occasion

In time, Domingo hoped Bangladesh can approach big games as calm as they approached the T20s earlier this month, when they won the Delhi game to go 1-0 up in the series.

“When we won the first T20, our dugout was calm and no one was jumping up and down. It is a conscious thing we are doing, by not being surprised when beating India. It has to become something that we expect to do. When you win the toss in India, doesn’t mean we will bowl first because we are scared of getting bowled out. We are trying to make those brave decisions that will benefit us in the long run. There’s going to be some hurt and disappointment now, but hopefully we can continue making those brave decisions and it will ultimately help us.”

“We are a long way behind in Tests. Virat Kohli has 26 Test hundreds while our whole team has 16 or 17. We have to address that”

Domingo said that the big gap in experience and performance between the two sides is making a big difference in this Test series. He cited the example of Virat Kohli having more Test centuries than the entire Bangladesh team to explain the gulf between the two line-ups. Domingo said that no matter how well they were prepared for the pink ball, that gap would not have shortened in a week.

“I wouldn’t say we were underprepared for the pink ball. India had similar time to train. There’s a big difference between the two sides, regardless of six or seven days of preparation for the pink ball.

“We are a long way behind in Tests. Virat Kohli has 26 Test hundreds while our whole team has 16 or 17. We have to address that, going forward,” he said.

Domingo said that the batting line-up is short in confidence too, and they have a number of issues to deal with, which will take time to get over. “There’s lack of confidence. There’s lack of experience against this type of attack week in, week out. It is a bit of mental, technical and confidence.

“It was not a 30-over all out wicket. There’s no doubt that we didn’t bat well enough. We are facing some really world-class bowlers and coming short. We have to deal with a whole host of issues at the moment.”

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Pack your side with batsmen at high-scoring Eden Park



New Zealand v India, 2nd T20I, Auckland

Our XI: KL Rahul (wk), Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Colin Munro, Shreyas Iyer, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja*, Yuzvendra Chahal

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about a late injury (or other relevant) updates.

Captain: KL Rahul

Rahul has been in red-hot form in limited-overs cricket for a while now, and it continued in the first T20I as he raced to a 27-ball 56. No reason to look anywhere else yet, irrespective of whether India bat first or second.

Vice-captain: Virat Kohli

Kohli was also among the runs in his first-ever T20I on the New Zealand soil, although it was a rare chase when he didn’t see the side home. Kohli still averages 52.57 in T20Is, and if India chase once again, you could consider slotting him in as captain too.

Hot picks

Kane Williamson

Williamson found his hitting range, moved up a few gears and made full use of the angles and short boundaries at Eden Park during his 26-ball 51 in the first game. It was only his second fifty at the ground from ten innings, but he looks in solid hitting form on his return to the national side.

Yuzvendra Chahal

Outside of Jasprit Bumrah, Chahal (along with Shivam Dube) had the best economy rate among all the bowlers who bowled in the first T20I. As much as the run-saving, he brings proven wicket-taking ability to your side, and is always a chance at a ground where batsmen are going hell for leather from the get-go. The only specialist bowler in our line-up.

Colin Munro

Munro relishes playing in New Zealand, where his numbers are world-class: an average of 35.30 and a strike rate of 172.75. True to form, he smashed a brisk fifty at the top of the order. Another potential vice-captain option, especially if New Zealand bat first. Munro is also tagged as an “allrounder” on fantasy platforms thanks to his part-time bowling abilities, so he could help fill another hole too.

Value picks

Ross Taylor

Taylor hasn’t exactly been a T20I run-scoring beast, partly due to where he bats in the order, and made his first T20I half-century in six years on Friday. Not surprisingly, he comes on the cheap on fantasy platforms. Taylor is a vital cog in New Zealand’s middle order along with Williamson, and with short legside boundaries, you can always back him to smoke a few into the upper tiers.

Shreyas Iyer

The star of India’s win in the first T20I, Iyer defied a mini-slump in form that saw him get out early through the latter half of India’s home season. His timely big hits ensured India chased down 204 with a full over to spare. Form is everything in T20 cricket, and at the same ground where he won his first Player-of-the-Match award for India two days ago, you should continue to back him.

Points to note

  • India are likely to sweat over Jasprit Bumrah’s fitness after he injured his ankle during his final over in the first T20I. Watch out for team news and pick him in your XI (we would replace Ravindra Jadeja with him) if he is selected in the playing XI.

  • Eden Park has produced high-scoring duels in T20Is over the years, and Monday was no different. Therefore, our XI includes as many as ten men who can bat (nine if Bumrah comes in). If you decide to go with an additional New Zealand player, we’d recommend Ish Sodhi.

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Members’ Council likely to rescind CSA’s domestic restructure



Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Members’ Council is likely to go back on their proposal of having a 12-team provincial set-up in place of the six-team franchise system. The decision was mooted during a meeting of the 14 affiliate presidents, who made up the council, in Johannesburg on Friday. The council also plans to appoint a committee to chart the way forward.

The decision of the Members’ Council comes 10 days before CSA’s board is due to deliberate on the organisational structure as well as the future of Chris Nenzani, the president, and Beresford Williams, the vice-president. The duo is under pressure to step down following CSA’s recent turmoil, which includes a stand-off with the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA).

SACA has opposed CSA’s plans of restructuring the domestic game because the move is seen as a way to cull expenses after the board projected losses of R654 million over the next four-year cycle.

The players’ body claimed it wasn’t consulted over the proposal, which would result in 70 cricketers losing their contracts, by extension their jobs, if the move was formalised. SACA also later launched a case against CSA on this very issue at the Johannesburg High Court. CSA responded to the showcause notice seven months later, in November.

All this took place under Thabang Moroe. The board CEO was suspended in December after CSA was mired in further controversy following the resignation of three board members and suspension of six staff members. Major sponsors pulling out of their contracts with CSA also played a part in Moroe’s suspension.

Since then, Jacques Faul has taken over as acting CEO. One of the most important items on his agenda is to repair CSA’s relationship with SACA and obtain clarity over the domestic system.

To that end, CSA appointed former ICC CEO David Richardson to head a steering committee to make recommendations on the domestic structure. However, SACA refused to engage while the matter remained sub-judice. If the Members’ Council formally withdraws plans to restructure the game, it is likely SACA will withdraw its case and agree to discussions with CSA.

It is imperative for talks to be held soon as the contracts of franchise and provincial cricketers will expire in April. If a new system is put in place, that leaves little time to finalise arrangements for the 2020-21 season.

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Recent Match Report – South Africa Under-19s vs United Arab Emirates Under-19s, Under-19s World Cup, 23rd Match, Group D



South Africa Under-19s 299 for 8 (Beaufort 85, Parsons 84, Bird 43, Lakra 3-48, Sanchit 3-57) beat UAE Under-19s 112 for 3 in 23.5 overs (Figy 36*, Aravind 31) by 23 runs (DLS method)

Bryce Parsons and Luke Beaufort struck classy half-centuries but it was inclement weather that had the final word in South Africa’s game against United Arab Emirates. It ensured the hosts qualifed into the quarterfinals, winning by 23 runs via the DLS method in what was a must-win game for both sides.

UAE were at 112 for 3 after 23.5 overs when a dust storm – and subsequently rain – stopped play at 4pm. The rain relented thereafter, but conditions didn’t improve enough for a restart, and the match was called off at 5.30pm, securing South Africa’s quarterfinal appointment against Bangladesh on January 30.

Aware that the weather may play a role later in the day, UAE had begun their chase of 300 in blazing fashion, scoring 46 runs inside the first six overs, but they lost both openers within that period. No. 4 Ansh Tandon then fell in the tenth over, after which Jonathan Figy and Kai Smith put on an unbroken 45-run stand for the fourth wicket. Both batsmen were set and enjoying the pace on the ball, but then the weather got in the way.

UAE captain Aryan Lakra felt the game was his team’s to be won, had it not been abandoned. He vowed to make an impression in the Plate League, where UAE now find themselves, fighting among the teams that finished in the bottom two of their groups.

“Really heartbreaking for the team,” Lakra said at the post-match press conference. “We got pretty close. If it wasn’t for DLS, we had two set batters in the crease. If we had the full game, we had enough firepower to chase the total down.”

South Africa’s innings, of 299 for 8, was set up by the 152-run third-wicket stand between Parsons and Beaufort, their third straight fifty-plus stand of the tournament. Parsons was the aggressor, scoring his 84 off 83 balls, and Beaufort dug in after his dismissal to finish with 85 off 104. South Africa were in a bit of trouble early on, losing openers Jonathan Bird (43) and Khaya Cotani in the 11th over, delivered by left-arm spinner Lakra, but the Parsons-Beaufort stand put them back on track. Fast bowler Sanchit Sharma, who removed both set batsmen, was the star of UAE’s bowling performance, finishing with 3 for 57.

South Africa captain Parsons later said his team had learned a lot from their opening-game defeat to Afghanistan, especially with respect to batting against spin. He also looked forward to changing cities and move to Potchefstroom, which traditionally offers a faster surface.

“We’ve got good memories at Potchefstroom and it’s now time to show the world what we can do,” Parsons said at his press conference. “We don’t know much about Bangladesh, so we need to focus on ourselves.

“The UAE spinners were really good today, so we played them well. Although the quarterfinals will now force every team to reset, we just want to carry on with the momentum. [After the Afghanistan loss] both our next two games were must-wins, so nothing changes for us.

“The boys have shown their character. We bounced back well after the first loss. The boys learned what mistakes they did against Afghanistan and practiced hard. We’ve shown in the last two games that we can play spin, get big scores, and we need to move away from that Afghanistan defeat.”

South Africa’s quarterfinal against Bangladesh is scheduled for January 30, while UAE now play Scotland in the Plate League on January 27.

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