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ZIM vs BAN | Wessley Madhevere, Masakadza help the hosts level T20I series with scintillating win

Going into the second T20I, the Zimbabwe team were under huge pressure having lost the one-off Test, being whitewashed in the ODI series 3-0 and then humbled in the first T20I by eight wickets. But credit to their belief and skills on display on Friday, July 23 at the Harare Sports Club, Harare that they came out triumphant and managed to level the series and gave themselves hope to win the shortest format of the three format Bangladesh’s tour of their nation. 

Wessley Madhevere was the star of the show for the hosts as he hit his third fifty and highest individual T20I score of 73 from 57 balls to take Zimbabwe to a total of 166 in the 20 overs. But along with Madhevere, the Zimbabwean bowlers were superb as well with Wellington Masakadza and Blessing Muzarabani making inroads into the Bangladesh innings and in the end getting them all out for 143 and winning the game by 23 runs. 

The Bangladeshi chase didn’t start well at all with both the openers, their heroes from the last game getting dismissed in the third over of the innings by Muzarabani. Once Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar were dismissed, the bowlers in Red and Gold got bold and started attacking, even more, eventually removing Shakib Al Hasan, skipperMahmudullah and big-hitting Mahedi Hasan even before the team score touched 70. Nurul Hasan, another of the cameo players from the last two games could not do much either.

Debutant Shamim Hossain Patwari and Afif Hossain tried to make chase out of an otherwise disappointing effort till then. Patwarihit same gleeful and extraordinary shops for a 20-year-old, leaving up to his selection on the basis of the Dhaka PremnierLeaguie performances. However one shot too many meant that the 23 balls 41 runs partnership was brought to an end by Luke Jongwe as Patwari departed for 29 off 12 balls. 

At 109-7, the game was still alive as Mohammad Sifudiin, a proven talent with the bat joined Afif who had already starred with the bat in two of  Bangladesh’s ODIs wins so far. But it wasn’t simply his day as he was caught at the deep fine leg by Milton Shumba off a short ball by Tendai Chatara. 

The formalities were then completed by Jongwe as he picked two wickets in the last over and got his side to a much-needed win. 

Earlier in the day, after winning the toss, Zimbabwe skipper SikanderRaza won the toss and decided to bat first. And even after Regis Chakabva, Tadiwanashe Marumani and skipper Raza failing himself, Madhever with the help of Dion Myers in the middle and some late blows oi Ryan Burl took their team to a defendable total. The 20-year-old right-hander was eventually awarded man of the match for his brilliant innings. 

Reacting to the win, the Zimbabwe skipper Raza said, “Today we managed to tick a lot more boxes than we managed yesterday. I would have taken 166 at the start of the match and with a young squad, it gives us confidence.” The 35-year-old, 105 ODIs veteran further hoped that the team will stick to the plan in the final game as well. “We back ourselves to defend... Blessing listened to the team plan... and hopefully, we all listen to the team plan for the final game!"

On the other hand, Mahmudullah was disappointed with his team’s effort and said, “We didn't have a good partnership and missed a few chances in the field. We need to look into those areas and come back stronger."

The two teams meet next on Sunday, July 25 for the final match of the tour as well as the series.

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SL vs IND | 3rd ODI: Avishka Fernando, spinners stop India's juggernaut, salvage Sri Lanka's pride

Sri Lanka finally broke the shackles of dismal performances and wasting opportunities and won the third and final ODI of the series against India by three wickets. The series, however, was already won by India in the last game. Chasing a middling score of 226 runs from a 47-over long innings, Sri Lanka were off to a decent start as Avishka Fernando once again showed his potential with the bat. Minod Bhnauka looked under pressure and perished in the process of trying to break free. The match-winning partnership came between Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa, as the duo put a magnificent 109 runs partnership to show Sri Lanka hope of consolation in the series. However, just when things started to go beyond India’s grasp, debutant Chetan Sakariya employed all his guile and deception to bring them back into the game. He first dismissed Rajapaksa and then dismissed Dhanajaya de Silva with a beauty of a slower ball that kicked off from a length. Sri Lanka’s batting effort was then stabilised by Charith Asalanka, who too like Fernando has proved his mettle with the bat in the series. Another debutant Rahul Chahar broke through twice in the late phase of the game to keep India in the hunt but a defiant Fernando at one end did not let India enforce a capitulation of Sri Lanka’s batting order. The bowling from the Indians was not under par but the batsmen left a lot to be covered with their inept stroke play in the first half of the game. After the early departure of the skipper Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw and Snaju Samson, who finally made his ODI debut after missing out on the first two ODIs, played delightful strokes. Samson, in particular, was sublime in his timing through the off side as inside out drives over cover were a frequent sight. However, none of them could convert their starts into substantial scores and both will feel dejected having ended the series without a three-figure score to their name. India looked on the path of a big score with Sanju Samson and Manish Pandey at the crease at the halfway point. However, Pandey’s loose waft outside off stump that anyway wouldn’t have yielded anything but a single, ended his another frustrating stay the crease. This could well be his last appearance for India with the cut-throat competition in the side and he would be kicking himself for not making the most of the opportunities in all the games of the series. Suryakumar Yadav played some delightful strokes and his short stay at the crease created enough drama and chaos for entertainment. However, he too did not help India a great deal and when Hardik Pandya went for, India’s debutants were left to bail the side out of trouble. For Sri Lanka, Akila Dananjaya and debutant Praveen Jayawickrama were the pick of the bowlers and both of them picked three wickets each. Chameera was rapid as usual and picked two wickets to end the lower order’s resistance. Debutantes among batsmen, Krishnappa Gowtham and Nitish Rana failed to shine in the first attempt at international cricket and left Indian bowlers to do a lot for than they would have desired on not so helpful pitch. India would be disappointed for not winning the series 3-0 and in the insight will value the match-winning innings of Deepak Chahar a lot more than it was done. On the other hand, Sri Lanka would be delighted at putting up a clinical performance in all the departments of the game and getting their second win of the year. Now, the caravan will move to the three-match T20 series which will be played at the same venue from Sunday, July 25.


Watch out for Mr Nabi: London Spirit coach Shane Warne hints at new role for Afghan all-rounder

London Spirit will be facing Birmingham Phoenix in what would be the second game of The Hundred Men’s competition after the league opened up to a thrilling encounter between Manchester Originals and Oval Invincibles at Kia Oval in London. Spirit will be playing this game away from home but their coach Shane Warne has issued a warning for the Phoenix team that they should watch out for the overseas star Mohammad Nabi. "Just watch out for Mr Nabi. He might play a different role than the one people are expecting,” Warne was quoted as saying to BBC ahead of the Friday night encounter at Edgbaston. Nabi, the 36-year-old Afghan all-rounder is a travelling merchant in franchise leagues and has mostly batted as a finisher in most of them. But as far as Spirit are concerned, they might even play him as an opener as Warne said, “Expect things differently but expect some entertaining cricket from London Spirit, that's for sure." Talking about the skipper of the London based side, Eoin Morgan, the 51-year-old coach said, “He doesn't like team meetings and doesn't like those silly ladders at warm-ups.” But went on to say, “We are both on the right track there. We have been going through scenarios - good and bad - asking his thoughts on certain situations and whether he has thought of this or that.” Saying that all the teams are equally loaded in terms of player powers, the former Australia international and second-highest wicket-taker Test cricket, Warne said, "When there is not much between the teams it can come down to the way you think and the right fields.” "We have the best white-ball captain in world cricket so have an advantage there,” he signed off.