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Chris Lynn narrowly misses out on becoming first centurion in Abu Dhabi T10

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Australia batsman Chris Lynn came painfully close to becoming the first player to score an Abu Dhabi T10 century in the UAE capital on Monday night but believes there is ample opportunity to go nine runs better over the tournament’s remaining six days.

The 29-year-old struck a blistering unbeaten 91 from a mere 30 balls, an innings containing a total of nine fours and seven sixes at a strike rate of 303.33 for Maratha Arabians.

Lynn broke his countryman Alex Hales’ record of 87 not out in the ten-over tournament – also made while playing for the Arabians in 2018.

He could have had three-figures were it not for being relatively starved of the strike towards the end of the Maratha’s innings. After smashing Harry Gurney for three fours and two sixes in the seventh over, Lynn was well set to notch up the competition’s maiden hundred with 82 from 26 balls.

But the opener faced only four of the last 18 balls of the innings due to a combination of Adam Lyth (30 off 18) demolishing Marchant de Lange in the eighth over and being unable to get Lynn back on strike in the penultimate over.

He started the final over as the non-striker, unable to get down the other end until hitting the final ball of the innings for four. And although he admitted he would’ve liked to reach the historic milestone, Lynn said he had no reason to complain due to Lyth’s own impressive striking.

“Obviously when you get a bit closer, you want to get [to a hundred],” Lynn said, “but the guy at the other end was hitting boundaries as well. So to get 138 on that wicket was a really good job.

“It would have been nice to get the first hundred of the T10 but that’s the way it goes and there’re plenty more games in this tournament to try and get another opportunity to do that. We’ll just see what happens.”

Lynn’s teammate Yuvraj Singh hailed the knock as outstanding. “It’ a sign of how the game has evolved that guys are getting close to scoring a hundred in a T10 game,” Yuvraj said. “It’s amazing how the game has changed over the years.

“He is someone I have seen in the IPL. He has given some great starts to KKR [Kolkata Knight Riders]. I really don’t understand how they didn’t retain him. I think that’s a bad call, must send SRK [Shah Rukh Khan, the franchise owner] a message on that.”

It has been a discussion often broached over the course of the T10 format’s emergence as to whether an individual century is possible, a course of discourse prompted by league owner Shaji ul Mulk offering up an apartment to the first centurion at the start of the inaugural season in 2017. Luke Ronchi top-scored with 70 that year, with the idea gaining real momentum in 2018.

First, Sherfane Rutherford hit a hundred in a warm-up match that season before Mohammad Shahzad’s 74 not out from just 16 balls – an innings only brought to a premature end as the Rajputs chased down 95 in four overs – suggested it would be a matter of time before someone scores a T10 hundred.

Hales, Jonny Bairstow (84*) and Rovman Powell (80*) went on to break the 80-run barrier in the second season as players inched closer and closer to scoring a century.

Will Jacks – now a teammate of Rutherford for Delhi Bulls this year – further greased the wheels by hitting a hundred in a ten-over contest for Surrey against their County Championship counterparts Lancashire at the ICC Academy in Dubai back in March.

But the tournament’s move to Abu Dhabi seemed to imply that batsmen would struggle to get near that mark in 2019 due to slow, tacky pitches as well as long square boundaries.

Lynn, however, had other ideas, hitting relentlessly to all parts of the ground on a fresh wicket described as “amazing” by Abu Dhabi’s captain Moeen Ali and one that proved not to be as two-paced as the others used across the first three days.

Despite coming up just short, Lynn’s innings showed that as the tournament enters its second group stage, the race to become Abu Dhabi T10’s first centurion is well and truly back on.

“We know there are players in the competition who can [hit a century],” Moeen, the man trying to counter Lynn’s onslaught, said. “I’m sure it’s going to happen very soon. There’s a great chance [of it happening] if somebody gets in.”



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Recent Match Report – England Women vs Pakistan Women, ICC Women’s Championship, 3rd ODI

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Pakistan 145 for 8 (Nahida Khan 55, Glenn 4-18) v England – Match abandoned

Legspinner Sarah Glenn claimed a four-wicket haul in only her third ODI but rain ruined the prospect of a result in the final match of the series between Pakistan and England. Having been put in to bat, Pakistan were 145 for 8 from 37.4 overs before the weather intervened, meaning England took the series 2-0.

Looking for their first ODI win over England, Pakistan made an impressive start in reaching 96 without loss. Glenn then removed both openers in consecutive overs, dismissing Javeria Khan for 37 and Nahida Khan for a fluent half-century.

The spin pairing of Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone wheeled their way through 16 overs in tandem, as England dragged the game back their way. Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof was caught behind off Ecclestone and Glenn bowled Kaynat Hafeez and Nida Dar to give her figures of 8-1-18-4.

“I was really happy to get four wickets today, but it’s a shame the rain came and the game had to be abandoned,” Glenn said. “We came back really well with the ball after Pakistan had started on top. We kept it tight and we got our rewards.

“I’ve really enjoyed the three matches and it’s good to come out with a series win. The girls have been really welcoming and I’m looking forward to the T20s.”

Anya Shrubsole returned from an expensive opening spell to pick up three wickets, with only Umaima Sohail’s unbeaten 27 offering much in the way of middle-order resistance for Pakistan. There was also an economical performance with the ball from Freya Davies, making her ODI debut, but England’s chances of claiming a third consecutive win were ended by the rain.

The result means England finished their ICC Women’s Championship campaign with 14 wins from 21 games, placing them second on the table behind Australia. Pakistan moved up a spot to fourth, level on 16 points with South Africa, but having played three games more. The top four teams qualify automatically for the 2021 World Cup.



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‘They can execute it for a long period’ – Burns on New Zealand’s short-ball tactic

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New Zealand’s eyes are still firmly fixed on trying to save, or even win, the opening Test in Perth but if, as is very likely, Australia come out on top they may have won a few little battles late on the third day.

Their short-ball tactics, led by Neil Wagner and this time implemented by Tim Southee as well, are so well telegraphed yet still continue to reap considerable reward. “The five men out on the pull gave it away,” Joe Burns said with a smile.

Burns was one of the five Australia second-innings wickets to fall to the short delivery, when he gloved Southee to gully, the odd one out being Tim Paine who was cleaned up second ball.

Significantly, the plan worked for the second time in the match against Steven Smith, who picked out deep square leg having been given a working over by Wagner which included a painful blow on the gloves. It meant that for the first time in his career, Smith had gone three Tests without a half-century.

David Warner miscued a pull to mid-on, Marnus Labuschagne picked out midwicket (although not until he had scored another fifty and become the first batsman to 1000 Test runs this year) and Travis Head flicked straight to leg gully, his second poor dismissal of the match. Those moments are unlikely to have much bearing on this game, but they are little markers for the Tests to come.

“First and foremost it’s to try and get through this match but we have wait and see what the wicket’s like in Melbourne,” Ross Taylor said. “It’s definitely a tactic we’ve used in New Zealand to good effect and Neil has been a fantastic exponent of doing that. The match-ups throughout this whole series, not just this match, will be key and we’ll get a lot of confidence from that.”

Burns acknowledged that knowing the plan was coming and play it are two different things, highlighting the fact that the pace of New Zealand’s – around the low 130kph-mark without the injured Lockie Ferguson – presents a different challenge to when the ball is fired down at 150kph.

“We spoke it, they’ve done it to us and all sorts of different teams in the past,” he said. “We spoke about being clear how you want to play. It’s always disappointing when you lose wickets but credit to the New Zealand bowlers, to get through the overs they’ve done and get executing the short ball for long periods of time. It’s probably why they are No. 2 in the world

“It’s easier said than done to say you’ll come round the wicket, or for Wagner to bowl long periods of the short ball to that field, there isn’t much margin of error if you miss. If you bowl bad balls you’ll leak a lot of runs. Credit to them, it’s a big part of their bowling plans. As a batter you just try to wear them down, pounce on bad balls, but they didn’t miss too many times.

“It’s awkward because you feel like you can play it. At the speeds they bowl it’s challenging, different because they are asking you to play the shot to get off strike and you are bringing in all their catchers. Credit to them because they can execute it for a long period of time. They find a way to keep creating wickets when they flatten out.”



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BCB chief positive about getting security clearance for Pakistan tour

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BCB president Nazmul Hassan is hopeful that the Bangladesh team will get security clearance from the government to tour Pakistan next month for a series comprising three T20Is and two Tests. However, he also said that there remained a couple of more steps that needed to be taken before a final decision could be arrived at.

Last week, BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury had said that the board was expecting a decision from the government imminently, but that time was running out. However, Hassan struck a more positive tone on Saturday.

“We had written to the government about our security clearance for Pakistan,” Hassan said. “We had sent a women’s team and an Under-16 team previously. We don’t have the clearance for the senior men’s team yet. Security is paramount even if it is for an Under-12 side. It is going to be the same for everyone, which is why I believe that we are likely to get the security clearance.”

Bangladeshi sides have toured Pakistan in the recent past, but the men’s team haven’t done so since 2008. Seven years ago they were close to deciding on a tour to Pakistan, only for the AHM Mustafa Kamal-led BCB to pull out shortly after the decision to tour was taken.

Hassan has said that after the government announces their decision, it would be up to the BCB to speak to the players who could decide for themselves whether they were keen to tour or not. BCB director Akram Khan has already suggested splitting the tour so that the Tests could be played later.

“The government had sent their security team, so once we get the clearance we can tell you our decision. After the security clearance, we also must ask the cricketers, whose opinion is important.

“We also have to consider the board’s decision, but we are at the final stages of our decision. I think we will know about it in the next 4-5 days,” said Hassan.

The tour comprises of three T20Is, scheduled to be held in Lahore on January 23, 25 and 27, and two Tests, which are slated to be held in Rawalpindi and Karachi.



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