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Eight PSL games in Pakistan next year across three venues



Eight Pakistan Super League matches are set to be played in Pakistan next year, according to the PCB chairman Najam Sethi. It was also confirmed that UAE will continue to be the main venue for the league, where the rest of it be scheduled. The idea of having the entire tournament in Pakistan, ESPNcricinfo understands, is deemed logistically “not feasible” at this stage.

Pakistan had concerns as their home season in the UAE runs alongside various other leagues slotted in the UAE, which hurts the PCB’s commercial rights. As a result, a clash has been brewing between the PCB and Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), forcing the former to explore other venues. However, the PCB has reached a deal with the ECB and retained the UAE as the venue for their home season. The ECB will avoid overlapping other tournaments with Pakistan’s home series, and agreed to keep the PSL free of other cricket in the country. In addition, no cricket will be played in the country for at least six weeks before the PSL starts.

Pakistan are also due to host New Zealand and Australia later this year. The schedule for the series has been organised in a way it avoids clashing with the Afghanistan T20 league and Emirates T20 league in the season, both of which are scheduled to be held in the UAE. Both the PCB, as well as the six PSL franchise owners, met in Lahore on Tuesday to evaluate the potential threats to their league in UAE, with the Afghan T20, the T10 and Emirates T20 league the major reasons for concern. ESPNcricinfo understands that there is a reluctance to host the PSL in the UAE, but with alternatives in short supply, the PCB has come to a decision. The board has also decided to host eight games in Pakistan across three venues; Lahore and Karachi are confirmed as two of them, with a third yet to be decided on.

Pakistan doesn’t yet have the ability to host the entire PSL in Pakistan, what with the resources that extensive security arrangements will likely demand. It will also require enlisting the help of local governments, and all these factors, according to the PCB chairman, rule this out as an option.

“Eventually the whole PSL will come back to Pakistan one day, but at this stage it’s not feasible,” Sethi told ESPNcricinfo. “With every passing year, things are improving and, from the first to the third edition, we have continued to have more games in Pakistan. Next year eight or more games will come to Pakistan.”

Not all stadiums are fully ready to host PSL matches at present, with several needing extensive renovations. Size of the seating area is also an issue in certain stadiums, particularly Faisalabad and Rawalpindi. Multan is a potentially viable venue, but arrangements to stay overnight in the city aren’t quite up to the mark just yet. In a surprise move, the Muzaffarabad Stadium in Kashmir is being explored as a venue, in which case teams would likely have to be flown in and out via helicopter.

In separate proceedings, the PCB is at loggerheads with the franchises over the broadcast bid committee, with Multan Sultans understood to have been demanded representation for the franchises on the broadcast bid committee, which Sethi refused. The PCB is set to sell its broadcasting rights now that the original three-year cycle has come to an end, with the entire commercial and title sponsorship deal to be revised ahead of the fourth edition for a further period of three years.

According to the PCB, the franchises, being stakeholders, can only have a “consultative role” in commercial deals such as broadcasting and title sponsorship deals.

“The consensus in the PCB is that there could be conflict of interest if franchises were given representation on the broadcast bid committee in view of the other business interests franchises have. There are also issues of disclosure of information since most franchisees have media partnerships,” Sethi said. “It’s our prerogative to safeguard the interest of the PSL to get maximum revenues. Broadcasting deals and bidding processes are extremely confidential and sensitive matters.”

One out of six franchises is reportedly in dispute over payments with the PCB. It is understood the PCB was considering terminating the franchise over non-payment, but the Multan Sultans owner came to the rescue, convincing the PCB to allow them another 48 hours to make payment arrangements. The franchise owner, when approached, confirmed that USD 600,000 was owed, but claimed the PCB hadn’t shared revenue fairly, and he believed it was the PCB who owed the franchise money instead.

ESPNcricinfo’s investigations suggest all other franchises have cleared any outstanding financial obligations they had to the PCB.

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Joe Root receives ICC demerit point after being found guilty of dissent



Joe Root has received an official reprimand and one demerit point, after breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during the second day’s play of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Pallekele.

The incident occurred in the 76th over of Sri Lanka’s innings, when Root was deemed to have shown dissent at umpire Marais Erasmus’ decision by shaking his head and then kicking the turf after Dilruwan Perera had been given not out off Moeen Ali.

Root pleaded not guilty to the charge and, as such, a hearing took place at the close of the second day. The match referee, Andy Pycroft, duly found the England captain guilty of violating Article 2.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match”.

The charge was levelled by on-field umpires Erasmus and S. Ravi, third umpire Chris Gaffaney and fourth umpire Ranmore Martinesz.

Level 1 breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand, a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee, and one or two demerit points.

This was the first demerit point of Root’s career. When a player reaches four or more demerit points within a 24-month period, they are converted into suspension points, after which a player is banned.

Two suspension points equate to a ban from one Test or two ODIs or two T20Is, whichever comes first for the player.

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Zimbabwe’s fight a big takeaway for satisfied Masakadza



The confidence of doing well in conditions where better teams have struggled is Zimbabwe’s biggest gain in Bangladesh, according to Hamilton Masakadza, their captain. In the second Test, Zimbabwe fought back after conceding a 218-run deficit but pushed the game into the second session on the final day. They eventually lost the Test with the series finishing 1-1.

In the last three years, South Africa, England, Australia and Sri Lanka have struggled in Mirpur, England and Australia were famously defeated by Bangladesh for the first time in Tests.

“I think the biggest thing for us is the way the guys played in both Tests, just showed us what we can do as a team,” Masakadza said. “It will give us a lot of confidence going forward. Having been in battles like this really hardens you, and you come out the better for it on the other side. That’s the biggest lesson and the biggest positive for us.

“We came and showed what we can do in foreign condition, conditions that have been really hard for pretty much everyone around the world. We came and really competed and took the game to Bangladesh. So that’s really positive and big for us.”

Masakadza credited Brendan Taylor for becoming the first Zimbabwean to score hundreds in each innings of a Test twice, and Kyle Jarvis for bowling consistently throughout the tour. In Sylhet, it was the spin trio of Sikandar Raza, Brandon Mavuta and Wellington Masakadza who kept the home side under pressure.

“A world-class performance from a world-class player there in Brendan Taylor in this game. He really showed the way of how to bat in these conditions. That was really impressive from him, the way he batted in both innings.

“Kyle Jarvis also bowled really well. Even in Sylhet, Tendai Chatara. The seamers have got us wickets early in every game, and the spinners came into it in the first match with Brandon [Mavuta], my brother [Wellington Masakadza] and Sikander [Raza] bowling really well,” he said.

Masakadza however rued giving away the advantage on the fourth morning when they reduced Bangladesh to 25 for 4 in the first hour.

“If we had managed to build on that four wickets, we might have managed to keep them down to something sort of 320-350 which we would definitely have fancied our chances of getting.

“That wicket didn’t really deteriorate or misbehave as much as we expected it to, or as much as it normally does. If we had managed to get a few more after they were four down, we could have had them under pressure.”

But for all the gains made in the two Tests, Masakadza said that fewer matches in the near future wasn’t “ideal” for the team. It is likely that their only international cricket in the next six months is a Test in India, likely to be held in March.

“I haven’t really had a look, but I think we only have one series between now and the next six months, and that’s some games against India. That’s the only thing that’s on the radar.

“I know the board is trying to organise some more games for us, but I don’t know how far along that has gone. That will be the next challenge for us. It’s not ideal to be waiting this long before play, but we have to take that as it is.”

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India choke Ireland for first semi-final entry since 2010



India 145 for 6 (Mithali 51, Mandhana 33, Garth 2-22) beat Ireland 93 for 8 (Joyce 33, Shillington 23, Radha 3-25) by 52 runs

India cruised into the semi-finals of the Women’s World T20 after demolishing Ireland by 52 runs in Providence. The result meant that Group B’s top-two spots are now decided, with Australia being the other semi-finalist. For Ireland, it was their third-straight loss of the tournament. The result also meant New Zealand and Pakistan were knocked out.

On a day where torrential rain in the morning made batting conditions difficult, Mithali Raj battled her way to a 17th T20I half-century to help India post 145. With the outfield slightly wet and a damp pitch to boot, Mithali anchored India’s innings till the 19th over, collecting four fours and a six in her 56-ball 51.

Openers Smriti Mandhana (29-ball 33) and Mithali added 67 after Ireland asked India to bat. This partnership gave India a platform that allowed young Jemimah Rodrigues (11-ball 18) to inject some momentum. But a flurry of wickets in the middle overs forced India to lose their way and eventually limited their surge in the death overs. Kim Garth, the medium-pace bowler, was the pick of the Ireland bowlers, dismissing Mithali and Mandhana, in her first spell, to finish with 2 for 22.

The lack of pace from the Ireland bowlers forced Mithali to reply on late dabs and glances. Later in the game, there was an injury scare for Mithali when she hurt her knee while diving at square leg. But at the end of the game, Mithali, who was named Player of the Match, put it down to just a minor niggle and hoped to be fit for the Australia game on Saturday.

Ireland started their chase of 146 positively, going wicketless till the sixth over. Clare Shillington (23-ball 23) and Gaby Lewis added 27, but once the opening stand was broken, the India spinners continued to rattle Ireland. Barring Shillingford, only Isobel Joyce (33) reached double digits for Ireland, as they played out the 20 overs, a big positive.

But Ireland were nowhere in the contest after the Powerplay. The duo of Deepti Sharma (2 for 15) and Radha Yadav (3 for 25) began Ireland’s choke as the field spread out, and regular wickets meant they could not stitch together any useful partnership.

At 84 for 4 in the 16th over, it looked like Ireland’s batsmen would respectably see the game out, but a flurry of late wickets – one apiece for Harmanpreet and Poonam Yadav – and a run-out from D Hemalatha ensured Ireland finished their innings with only two wickets in hand. Taniya Bhatia had an excellent day with the gloves. Three of the eight Irish wickets were due to her quick glovework.

The winner of the India-Australia clash will determine the Group B topper. For Ireland, their last game against New Zealand will be a consolatory affair.

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