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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Sussex, County Championship Division Two, 1st Innings

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Sussex 73 for 0 (Salt 53*, Wells 6*) trail Gloucestershire 200 (Bracey 61) by 127 runs

Studies in Texas have revealed that it took a meteorite hitting Earth at a force ten billion times the power of the Hiroshima bomb to wipe out the dinosaurs. Bowlers at flat-track Bristol must often feel they need something equivalent to remove 20 batsmen, and one theory for Gloucestershire’s surge to second place in Division Two is their high ratio of games at Cheltenham to headquarters this season.

Surprise all round, then, at the clatter of wickets on a slightly untypical surface that, while slow, has offered signs of variable bounce. Sussex capitalised by dismissing Gloucestershire for only 200 in 77.5 overs in a game that they might not quite need to win to remain in contention for promotion, but can hardly afford to lose to a side four places and 30 points ahead of them at the start.

Things are so tight that three successive wins, including two at Cheltenham, have propelled Gloucester from second-from-bottom in mid-July to next-to-top. They also boast most batting points in the division, but could add only one more this time as too many players made starts before losing their way against generally well-disciplined bowling and reliable fielding.

Only the composed James Bracey made a serious contribution before becoming the first of two victims in a fine spell by Chris Jordan after lunch. The England bowler swung the ball from lines that made both right and left-handers play consistently. When Bracey nibbled, Ben Brown took an excellent, low catch in front of first slip, and Tom Smith did well even to edge one that compelled a stroke.

Any hope that Gloucester might then end the day more positively was denied as they failed to break through with the new ball. Shannon Gabriel has been signed for the sound and obvious reason that his extra pace gives sharper teeth to the attack, but spells from both ends proved erratic and expensive despite the odd one signalling menace as well as promise. Maybe he was trying too hard.

Phil Salt almost edged an attempted hook behind having been rushed into the stroke, but the vehement appeal was rejected and Salt proceeded to play the best shot of the day, a lovely, fierce off-drive when David Payne overpitched. As if that was not enough, Ryan Higgins found himself warned for running on the pitch, the penultimate misfortune of a rotten old day.

The final ignominy arrived as the shadows neared the square when Salt struck four boundaries in a row off Gabriel to complete a half-century from 56 balls. If Gabriel thought that Salt would hang on the back foot expecting bouncers the hope proved wishful as half-volleys were stroked through the off side. Thanks to Salt’s positive attitude the deficit has already been cut (or driven) to 127.

“They got away from us at the end, but if we can stand up and fight for a bit tomorrow we can get back in the game,” Bracey said. “It always seems to be low and slow here, it does a little bit for the first couple of sessions but come tea we hope to be no more than four-down rather than six-down as we were this time. That does make it hard. Hopefully we can be a bit more precise.”

Without a big innings or anything more than a three-fer the day was not one for the painters or the poets. But there was scope for comedians in a stoppage of several minutes when glare from an open doorway in a flat at the Ashley Down Road End disturbed Matt Taylor, the batsman. Unfortunately, the home-owner wasn’t at immediate hand to shut it.

Umpire Ben Debenham could only shout from the boundary to the nearest neighbour for advice and help in spreading the word. This well-tanned, second-floor resident was bare of chest, in holiday blue shorts and sandals, and did not look prepared to have his half-hour of sun worship interrupted by a man in a white coat. Play resumed, the episode a footnote and the spectator back catching his rays.

Gloucester actually started solidly, undaunted under cloudy sky with the floodlights on. Bracey made an immediate impact when he moved up to open in the previous game against Derbyshire and started to look good value for a second century, leaving and defending well without ever getting bogged down against a very varied attack.

But Gareth Roderick was bowled shouldering arms and another important moment came when Miles Hammond top-edged George Garton’s second ball into the off side. A happy moment for Garton, briefly an England squad member on the 2017-18 Ashes but here making his first Championship appearance since May last year. His skiddy, left-arm pace is still there, still promising.



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‘World Cup or IPL?’ – Quinton de Kock clarifies

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During the World Cup earlier this year, Quinton de Kock created a mild furore by saying the atmosphere during his IPL 2019 win with Mumbai Indians was more emotionally intense than the one during South Africa’s semi-final defeat in the World Cup in 2015. Blasphemy, cried those who support international cricket over leagues, national flags over similar-looking jerseys. Blown out of proportion, said those who had heard the question, which related to emotional atmosphere at a ground and not the value of a tournament or a match.

A couple of months later, on the eve of South Africa’s T20I against India in Mohali, de Kock was given an opportunity to clarify what he meant.

“What must I say?” It is the biggest thing I have won so far. I haven’t won a World Cup,” de Kock said as a matter of fact. “So obviously once I win a World Cup, if I do, that will be the biggest ever thing I have done in my career. So far it is an IPL. I had played for a couple of teams but had never made the play-offs before. I played for Mumbai, we made the final and we won. So obviously it is a big achievement for any cricketer. There are so many things that cricketers these days want to be part of. They want to win IPL finals. They want to be part of World Cup finals and win them. Personally it’s different for everyone. Everyone has their opinions. My opinion is mine. Their opinion is theirs. For me that’s the biggest thing I have achieved so far.”

The IPL final could not be accused of being dull. Played in front of a raucous crowd, the match involved a successful defence of eight runs in the final over. De Kock was in the thick of him: taking a catch, effecting a run-out, but also conceding four byes off a Jasprit Bumrah hand grenade. The World Cup semi-final was a similarly close affair, but New Zealand beat South Africa in that heart-breaking finish. As a wicketkeeper, de Kock was in the thick of it again, taking a superlative catch to send back Ross Taylor but missing the run-out of Grant Elliott, who eventually took New Zealand home.



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Recent Match Report – India A vs South Africa A 2nd unofficial Test 2019

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Vernon Philander, Lungi Ngidi and Senuran Muthusamy, three bowlers who could line-up together in the XI for South Africa’s first Test against India in Visakhapatnam, had to go through the grind on the first day of South Africa A’s second four-day fixture against India A in Mysuru. They managed just one wicket between them in 35 overs as the Indians got to a healthy 233 for 3 in 74 overs before bad light forced early stumps.

Shubman Gill, who is unlikely to feature in that Test but is part of the India squad, provided yet another reminder of why he’s rated so highly. Opening the innings, he struck a 137-ball 92, courtesy 12 fours and a six, before becoming the third Indian wicket to fall. Karun Nair, the man with whom Gill forged a 135-run third-wicket stand, continued his good form from the Duleep Trophy to remain unbeaten on 78. His first-class scores for the season before this one read: 20, 90, 166* and 99.

ALSO READ: Shubman Gill interview: ‘Mindset, not game should change.’

When play ended for the day, Nair was batting alongside India A captain Wriddhiman Saha, unbeaten on 36. Rishabh Pant’s Test position isn’t yet under scrutiny, but with a potentially tough examination coming up against South Africa, Saha, who has been named the second wicket-keeper in the Test squad, will have an opportunity to further press his credentials.

Abhimanyu Easwaran, who opened alongside Gill, and Priyank Panchal, who came in at No.3 with Gill opening, scored 5 and 6 respectively. Abhimanyu, coming off a match-winning 153 in the Duleep Trophy final that potentially set him in line for a Test call-up, was the first to go lbw to Ngidi in the sixth over. Panchal followed 11 overs later when he was out to Wiaan Mulder’s medium pace.

From there, Gill and Nair drove home the advantage before Gill fell eight short of his fifth first-class century, shortly before the tea interval. In his 15-match first class career, the 21-year-old now has two centuries and two double-centuries, the last of which was an unbeaten 204 against West Indies A in a second innings, which lifted India A from the pits of 14 for 3 to set up a declaration and eventually push for victory.



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Match Preview – Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, Bangladesh Twenty20 Tri-Series 2019, 4th Match

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Big Picture

Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have been no match for Afghanistan in the T20I tri-series so far, so the game on Wednesday is one neither side can afford to slip up in. Both have not produced noteworthy moments so far, with both sets of senior players going through a rough time, though Bangladesh hold the advantage of having won the first encounter between the two.

The hosts’ problems against Afghanistan have resulted in wholesale changes in their squad for the remaining league matches, although only Soumya Sarkar’s axing was courtesy his performance or lack thereof; Mahedi Hasan, Abu Hider and Yeasin Arafat were all dropped without playing a game.

Bangladesh must arrest the top-order slides that marred their first two matches. Seniors Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah have not made important contributions, neither have the likes of Liton Das and Sabbir Rahman. Among the bowlers, only Mohammad Saifuddin has stood out with wickets.

Zimbabwe have plenty to gain if they can manage to beat the under-fire home side. Much like in the case of Bangladesh, their senior batsmen – Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine – must be desperate for decent contributions. On the bowling front, Neville Madziva has at times shown some skills with his slower bouncers and Kyle Jarvis has at times tested with pace and bounce, but Masakadza will probably rely on his spinners to slow things down.

It will be interesting to see if both team managements feel some of their younger players can be tried out in their top orders. For Zimbabwe, that could mean breaking up the Taylor-Masakadza opening pairing, but one of them can add a handy bit of meat and experience down the order.

Form guide

Bangladesh: LWLWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Zimbabwe: LLWLT

In the spotlight

Since his breakthrough 94 against West Indies in the World Cup, Liton Das hasn’t crossed 33 in eight innings across formats, culminating in a duck against Afghanistan in the previous game. Some of Bangladesh’s batting woes will go away if he finds form.

Ryan Burl has been something akin to Zimbabwe’s surprise package in this tri-series, having made a rapid, unbeaten fifty against Bangladesh in the first game, and a run-a-ball 25 against Afghanistan. His side would hope for consistency from him in the rest of the series.

Team news

With Soumya Sarkar axed from the squad, Bangladesh may look to hand a T20I debut to Mohammad Naim, the lanky opener who has impressed recently in domestic cricket. If they are willing to be a little adventurous, legspin-bowling allrounder Aminul Islam could be a possible replacement for Sabbir Rahman.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Liton Das, 3 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Sabbir Rahman, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Afif Hossain, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Taijul Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Zimbabwe can try out Chris Mpofu and Richmond Mutumbami who are yet to play on this tour. Tony Munyonga, the 20-year-old allrounder should get another opportunity as he neither batted nor bowled in his debut against Bangladesh on September 13.

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Brendan Taylor (wk), 2 Hamilton Masakadza (capt), 3 Craig Ervine, 4 Sean Williams, 5 Tinotenda Mutombodzi, 6 Ryan Burl, 7 Regis Chakabva, 8 Neville Madziva, 9 Kyle Jarvis, 10 Ainsley Ndlovu, Tendai Chatara

Pitch and conditions

Sides batting first have averaged 138 runs in night games at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, but the totals vary wildly: from Netherlands’ 39 all out to South Africa’s 196 for 5.

There is a slight possibility of a shower in the evening.

Stats and trivia

  • Asghar Afghan is now the second Afghanistan player to appear in 50 consecutive T20Is for his country. Mohammad Shahzad tops the overall list with 58 appearances in a row.

  • Mustafizur Rahman is one wicket short of becoming the second Bangladesh bowler to take 50 T20I wickets. Shakib Al Hasan is the overall leader with 90 wickets.

  • Sabbir Rahman is 55 short of becoming the fifth batsman to reach 1,000 T20I runs for Bangladesh.

Quotes

“We know they [Bangladesh] are under pressure, but we have to get the basics right.”
Zimbabwe allrounder Sean Williams on whether this is his side’s best chance to push Bangladesh



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