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Bangladesh to play two Tests, one ODI and three T20Is in Pakistan

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Bangladesh will play two Tests, one ODI and three T20Is in Pakistan – though the matches will be split across three legs. There will be three T20Is played from January 24 to 27, all in Lahore. The first Test will take place in Rawalpindi from February 7 to 11 in the second leg, and Bangladesh will return in April to play a solitary ODI and the second Test, both in Karachi.

The Pakistan Super League, also to be played in Pakistan in its entirety, will be played between the second and third legs of Bangladesh’s tour. After the PSL concludes on March 22, Bangladesh will return to Pakistan to play a solitary ODI, in Karachi on April 3, followed by the second Test of the series, from April 5 to 9.

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said: “I am pleased that we have amicably achieved a resolution that is in the best interest of this great sport as well as both the proud cricket playing countries. I also want to thank ICC Chairman Shaskank Manohar for the leadership he provided and ensured the sport continues to grow and thrive in the two countries.”

PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan, who also attended Tuesday’s meeting at the ICC headquarters, said: “It is a win-win outcome for both the boards. I am glad that the uncertainty around the series is now over and we can start planning for the smooth delivery of the matches. Bangladesh will visit Pakistan thrice, which should give them the comfort that Pakistan is as safe and secure as any other cricket playing country.”

This latest update to the status of the series is, the PCB will hope, the final chapter of a saga that has dragged on for weeks now, with the prospect of the tour believed to be all but killed off after the BCB announced on Sunday it was against government advice to stay on for any more than 6-7 days in Pakistan, which would only be conducive to a T20I series. But the PCB’s announcement the following day that they would continue to have discussions with the BCB on the sidelines of the ICC’s Governance Review Committee meeting implied they had not yet given up on a favourable outcome. Manohar having facilitated these talks led to the surprise outcome announced on Tuesday.

Bangladesh had maintained from the start that they were ready to play a limited-overs series in Pakistan, but the PCB was adamant any visit would have to include the two-Test series set in the ICC Test Championship calendar and the Future Tours Programme. The Bangladesh women’s team toured Pakistan for three T20Is and two ODIs in October-November 2019, with the series going off without incident. That came on the back of the Sri Lankan cricket team touring Karachi for three ODIs and Lahore for three T20Is, before they would return for two Test matches in December 2019, the first Test held in Pakistan since 2009.



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Hill takes four as England make short work of Nigeria | Cricket

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George Hill had a good day with the ball © Getty Images


England allrounder George Hill, playing his first game of the Under-19 World Cup, finished with figures of 4 for 12 to help England bowl Nigeria out for 58 in 27.5 overs in the final Group D game at Kimberley. England, for whom this was their first win of the tournament, won by eight wickets with opener Sam Young finishing the game off with a six, as England racing to 64 for 2 in just 11 overs.

Nigeria had opted to bat first, but the England seamers reduced them to 19 for 3 early. A 23-run fourth-wicket then took Nigeria past the forties, but then offspinner Hamidullah Qadri, who also took four wickets, and medium-pacer Hill bowled them out soon after. Nigeria captain Sylvester Okpe top-scored with 16.

Young was brisk in England’s pursuit of 59, crunching five fours and two sixes in his 33-ball 39, while Hil, who batted at No.4, was not out on 7 when the winning runs were hit. Both teams will move to the Plate League stage of the tournament, having failed to come in the top two of their group. West Indies topped the group, with Australia finishing second.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo


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Hitting ‘thousands’ of balls helps Josh Philippe find form for BBL finals

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Josh Philippe has followed the lead of his idol Steven Smith and is reaping the rewards for hitting “thousands” of balls over the last few weeks, as he battled a mid-tournament dip in form which he has turned around with the Sydney Sixers preparing for the Big Bash finals

The Sixers’ route may yet be tougher if the Adelaide Strikers take second place, and the double chance at qualifying for the final, but they are comfortably in the mix. Three wins on the bounce to finish the group stage has been an impressive way to overcome a stretch where they suffered at the hands of Marcus Stoinis’ 147* and were on the wrong end of some rain.

Philippe has made half-centuries in the last two of those outings against the Brisbane Heat and the Melbourne Renegades which came after a run of five matches where he managed 8, 6, 7, 1 and 10 following his unbeaten 83 against the Strikers in Coffs Harbour. He is the Sixers’ highest run-scorer from the regular season with 401 runs at 36.45, and a strike-rate of 126.10.

“To be honest I’ve hit thousands and thousands of balls, I’ve hit so many balls in the last few weeks. The thing with T20 cricket is when you miss out a few times it feels like it all happens so quickly,” Philippe told ESPNcricinfo. “We’ve had so many games close together, just the last few weeks where I didn’t get too many it felt like it all happened at once and I just kept backing myself, hitting a lot of balls, and hoping it would work out which it kind of did, which is nice.

“In the last couple of games I’ve just taken a few more balls to get myself in then starting to go, but sometimes you are chasing massive scores and don’t have time to do that. It’s all about reading the game, reading the situation, and the more you play the better you get at that.”

Hitting masses of deliveries at training is something associated with Smith, and the pair have had the chance to bat together for the first time in their careers in the last two games. Smith was instrumental in getting Philippe to sign for the Sixers in 2018 and is never shy of saying how far he believes the younger man can go.

“Geez, he was striking some balls very cleanly again,” Smith said after his unbeaten 66 completed the chase against the Renegades. “I’ve said it so much that kid has got some serious talent and he showed that again today. He just let me get into my innings before I could start getting a bit more expansive. That really helped.”

When asked about direct comparisons, Smith joked before lauding his striking: “He’s got a tiny head like me, so the boys give him a bit of stick about that. He’s got a pretty unique swing, the way he hits so clean, that six he hit to the on side early on against [Dan Christian] was an amazing shot, the way he check-drove it and gained so much power just shows the talent he’s got. He’ll enjoy playing in those pressure situations, he’ll learn. He’s so young, he’s got so much time on his hands.”

What is it like to hear Smith so often praise your game? “It’s amazing, really nice to hear so sorts of things. He’s a massive idol of mine and I look up to him,” Philippe said. “I’d love to one day get half as many runs as he’s got at the next level. It’s really cool to have that, and fingers crossed, I can keep making runs.”

And if someone had told Philippe a few years ago that he would be batting alongside Smith he wouldn’t have believed them. “I would have said ‘you’re dreaming’ but it’s pretty amazing. I’m stoked to be here and be in a really cool set-up with the Sixers. It’s such a bonus that we get Smith, [Josh] Hazlewood and [Nathan] Lyon back playing and it’s really cool to mix with those guys.”

As Philippe noted, the Sixers have their Australia players back and there remains some hope that Sean Abbott may yet be able to return from the side injury that ruled him out of the ODI squad to tour India. That would be a boost because the one issue the Sixers have to ponder is how to fill to the hole left by their leading wicket-taker Tom Curran, who departs for England duty now the regular season has finished, having claimed 22 wickets capped off with 3 for 27 against the Renegades.

“[He has] some great skills, he has been magnificent with the ball and under pressure with the bat,” Smith said. “Watching on TV that game that got to the Super Over [against Sydney Thunder] that was one of the best knocks I’ve seen at this Big Bash. He’ll be a big loss. He’s done his job as an overseas player, helped get us to the finals, now it’s our job to get it done for him.”



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AB de Villiers' magic keeps Brisbane Heat alive

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The Melbourne Stars have been uncatchable at the top of the points table for a while, but they have now lost three matches in a row



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