Wanindu Hasaranga | Sportzwiki

Wanindu Hasaranga

Wanindu Hasaranga
Wanindu Hasaranga
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Mohammad Rizwan And Wanindu Hasaranga Among ICC’s 4 Nominees For T20I Player Of The Year Award

Mohammad Rizwan, the Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter topped the batting charts in 2021 when it came to the shortest format of the game. Aggregating a staggering 1326 runs in only 29 matches, Mohammad Rizwan struck at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 134.89. Another keeper England’s Jos Buttler amassed 589 runs in 14 matches at 65.44 with one century alongside getting 13 dismissals. Mohammad Rizwan registered his name in history as he became the first-ever batter to reach 2000 runs in a calendar year in the T20s.

Wanindu Hasaranga, the Sri Lankan all-rounder established himself as one of the best spinners in the shortest format picking up 36 wickets in 20 matches at 11.63 while also being a player who could contribute with the bat scoring 196 runs with one half-century. Another Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh amassed 627 runs in 27 matches at 36.88 besides picking 8 wickets at 18.37.

Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mohammad Rizwan Of Pakistan And Jos Butler Of England Are Keepers Among ICC Player Of The Year 2021 Award

Apart from Mohammad Rizwan’s exploits with the bat, he was as solid as ever behind the stumps, getting 24 dismissals and playing a key role in Pakistan’s run to the semi-finals during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, where he ended up as the third-highest run-scorer.

He also scored the maiden T20I century of his career against South Africa in Lahore early in 2021 and ended it continuing his form with a brilliant knock of 87 against West Indies in Karachi. Pakistan will hope that Mohammad Rizwan continues in the same vein, with another 2022 T20I World Cup nearby. Though a chase of 152 looked relatively easy on paper, Pakistan had never beaten India in a World Cup encounter.

Jos Buttler smashed his maiden T20I ton | Photo: Rajasthan Royals
Jos Buttler smashed his maiden T20I ton | Photo: Rajasthan Royals

With the likes of pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami in opposition attack, the task was made all the more complicated. Mohammad Rizwan along with his skipper Babar Azam ensured that a famous victory would be sealed to break the jinx. He smacked an unbeaten 79 in only 55 deliveries, hitting six fours and three sixes. He ensured that there were no hiccups in the run-chase as Pakistan galloped towards the target without losing any wicket to seal a 10-wicket victory.

Jos Buttler started the year off brilliantly with two blistering knocks against India away from home. He would continue this run in the subsequent series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, despite not playing all the matches. This boded well for England as their key batter was in sublime touch heading into the T20 World Cup.

He did not disappoint in the tournament, always getting his side off to brilliant starts. His two best knocks came in consecutive matches – first against Australia and then against Sri Lanka who faced his full wrath. He ended the tournament as England’s leading run-scorer with 269 runs before their run ended by New Zealand in the semi-finals in a nail-biting thriller.

Blasting the first century of the 2021 T20I WC, Jos Buttler was at his belligerent best in the encounter against Sri Lanka in Sharjah. It was ball-striking of the highest order as the wicketkeeper-batter penetrated all areas of the ground.  His unbeaten 101 came in only 67 deliveries and consisted of six fours and six sixes. His knock allowed England to post a competitive score of 163/4, which they ended up defending and winning the contest by 26 runs.

The value of his knock was vital as it came on a slow and low pitch in Sharjah, which wasn’t conducive to a stroke-maker like Jos Buttler, with the batters finding it generally tough to time the ball.

Wanindu Hasaranga And Mitchell Marsh Are The Two All-Rounders Among Nominees For Player Of The 2021 Year In T20Is

A consistent performer throughout the year, Wanindu Hasaranga’s star shone the brightest during the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman.  He ended the tournament as the leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps and also played some handy knocks with the bat, like his 71 against Ireland.

He was a constant menace for the opposition as Sri Lanka impressed all during the tournament with their young and energetic side. Still only 24, Wanindu Hasaranga is expected to become a cornerstone of Sri Lankan cricket, especially in the shortest formats of the game.

In a pressure encounter in Sharjah against South Africa, Wanindu Hasaranga almost single-handedly helped his side claw back into the contest with his brilliance with the ball. Claiming a memorable hat-trick, he took the big scalps of Aiden Markram (19) and Temba Bavuma (46) before dismissing Dwaine Pretorius to complete his hat-trick.  He ended up with figures of 3/20 in his four-over spell, and it was only the power-hitting of David Miller at the death that got the Proteas over the line.

Australia’s success at the T20 World Cup can be traced back to the decision to move Mitchell Marsh up the batting order to No.3, instead of designating him the role of being a finisher lower down. Throughout the calendar year, he was their best batter in the shortest format, improving his game by leaps and bounds, especially against spin and when it came to rotating the strike.

Mitchell Marsh soaks the T20 World Cup triumph ICC via Getty Images
Mitchell Marsh soaks the T20 World Cup triumph ICC via Getty Images

He was the silver lining in Australia’s otherwise poor showings in West Indies and Bangladesh, where they lost both T20I series by 4-1, batting higher up the order. Heading into the tournament in UAE, he was in supreme confidence after his good displays and improved fitness. This led to a fruitful tournament as he aggregated 185 runs in 6 matches at an average of 61.66 and a healthy strike rate of 146.82.

He reserved the best for the last, playing a match-winning knock in the final against New Zealand. Chasing down a stiff target of 173 and after the early departure of skipper Aaron Finch, the pressure was on Mitchell Marsh to build a substantial partnership with David Warner. He played his best knock of the tournament. His unbeaten 77 off 50 deliveries consisted of six fours and four sixes.

Starting off on an aggressive note, he rotated the strike brilliantly in the middle overs as he teed off again towards the end. His knock ensured that Australia chased down the challenging target in only 18.5 overs, and was crowned the winners of the T20 World Cup for the first time. For his performance, he has been adjudged the Player of the Match.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal. Image Credits: Twitter
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Yuzvendra Chahal Who Wasn’t Retained By RCB For IPL 2022 Expressed Gratitude To RCB For Overwhelming Support

Yuzvendra Chahal, the Indian leg-spinner, expressed his gratitude towards the franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore for their support over the years. His reaction came after he wasn’t retained on Tuesday by the franchise ahead of the mega auction.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore, just like other franchises, announced their retained players list on Tuesday night. As was widely expected, the 2016 runners-up have retained former skipper Virat Kohli, Australian swashbuckler Glenn Maxwell, and pacer Mohammed Siraj.

Virat Kohli, Mohammed Siraj And Glenn Maxwell Retained By RCB Image: IPL/BCCI/PTI
Virat Kohli, Mohammed Siraj, And Glenn Maxwell Retained By RCB Image: IPL/BCCI/PTI

Yuzvendra Chahal Not Retained By Royal Challengers

Yuzvendra Chahal proceeded to comment on a video post where RCB revealed the names of players they’ve retained.

He wrote: “Thank you for everything @RCBTweets”

Virat Kohli is the first player retained by the franchise. He will fetch Rs 15 crore as opposed to Rs 17 Crore, which he was earning earlier. Glenn Maxwell is the second player to be retained for an annual retainer of Rs 11 crore.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Siraj is the third pick at a sum of Rs 7 crore. As a result, the total purse remaining for the Bangalore franchise is Rs 57 Crore.

RCB leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in action during IPL 2020 | Saikat Das / Sportzpics for BCCI
RCB leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in action during IPL 2020 | Saikat Das / Sportzpics for BCCI

Yuzvendra Chahal’s exclusion comes as a huge surprise to RCB fans. The leg-spinner has been the leader of Bangalore’s bowling attack for a good five to six years now. Yuzvendra Chahal is the only RCB bowler to claim 100+ IPL wickets. Over the course of the last few years, he was the real Most Valuable Player for the franchise as far as bowling is concerned.

Glenn Maxwell was phenomenal with the bat in his first season for RCB as he ended up the season as their highest-run scorer with 513 runs from 14 innings at the strike rate of 144.10. In 2008, Virat Kohli was inducted into the RCB squad and started leading the side in the year 2013.

In the year 2016, he sat atop on the leading run-scorers list, thereby donning the Orange Cap at the end of the ninth edition of the league. He is the leading run-scorer in IPL history with over 6000 runs, (6283 runs) at an average of over 37 in 207 matches, all for RCB. In addition, he has 5 tons and 42 fifties.

Pace bowler Mohammed Siraj has also developed his skills and is progressing at RCB by not leaking enough runs. Mohammed Siraj has picked 11 wickets each time in the last two seasons. Virat Kohli (15 cr), Glenn Maxwell (11 cr), and Mohammed Siraj (7 cr) were retained.

Royal Challengers Bangalore Expressed Gratitude To Non-Retained Cricketers

According to media reports, negotiations over contract money between the management and Yuzvendra Chahal couldn’t come to fruition. However, following the release of the retention list, RCB social media handles expressed their gratitude towards players who have not been retained.

“The RCB management wholeheartedly thanks all the players who were a part of our 2021 squad for their unquestionable commitment to RCB and we sincerely hope this is not a goodbye, and our paths cross sooner than later,” they wrote.

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Image Credit: Twitter)

With Yuzvendra Chahal back in the auction pool, it could lead to a bidding war between the franchises. The newly formed Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises are also set to randomly pick three players from the release pool.

Hence, the leg spinner could very well land up in either of these two teams. On the other hand, Yuzvendra Chahal has thus far featured in 114 IPL games, claiming 139 wickets at an average of 22.28 and an economy rate of 7.59-all for RCB.

The likes of George Garton, Navdeep Saini, Dushmantha Chameera, Tim David, Shahbaz Ahmad, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dan Christian, and retired AB de Villiers were released before IPL 2032 mega auctions.

Tymal Mills. Image-Twitter
Tymal Mills. Image-Twitter
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Tymal Mills Was Disappointed And Frustrated To Miss Crunch Matches Of 2021 T20I World Cup

Tymal Mills, England pacer, said that missing out on the crucial matches of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup because of a right thigh strain was very frustrating.

The 29-year-old pacer didn’t play in England’s last two matches of the tournament. England lost their semi-finals to New Zealand in Abu Dhabi.

Tymal Mills Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images
Tymal Mills Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images

Tymal Mills Was A Surprise Inclusion In 2021 T20I World Cup England Squad

Tymal Mills was among the 15-strong squad England announced for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. Tymal Mills last played a T20I in 2018, as part of a World XI that took on West Indies at Lord’s, and his latest appearance for England goes further back to February 2017 in a T20I against India in Bengaluru. His pace helped the England team offset the loss of Jofra Archer, who was sidelined for the rest of the year with an elbow injury.

Reece Topley
Reece Topley. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

However, the 29-year-old suffered an injury during the match against Sri Lanka at Sharjah Cricket Stadium and was ruled out, and Reece Topley was announced as his replacement. Tymal Mills did well in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, as he was able to bag 7 wickets in 4 games at an average of 15.42 and an economy of 8.00.

Tymal Mills Feels Good To Return In Abu Dhabi T10 League But Was Disappointed After Picking Up An Injury In 2021 T20I WC And Missing Crucial Games

The left-arm quick is now making a return and starred in two wins for Deccan Gladiators in the Abu Dhabi T10 played at Zayed Cricket Stadium.

“It’s feeling good,” Mills said after the Gladiators defeated Northern Warriors by six wickets on Tuesday.

“Obviously very disappointed to pick up an injury during the World Cup. It wasn’t a bad injury. So, I knew it would be a couple of weeks. But, yes, it was very frustrating to miss the end of the World Cup. I am looking forward to getting back here for the T10. I am still easing my way into it. Getting my confidence back. It’s nice to contribute to the win.”

Hazratullah Zazai and Johnson Charles hammered 67 in 3.1 overs, Bangla Tigers vs Chennai Braves, Abu Dhabi T10, Zayed Cricket Ground, November 23, 2021 @Abu Dhabi T10
Hazratullah Zazai and Johnson Charles hammered 67 in 3.1 overs, Bangla Tigers vs Chennai Braves, Abu Dhabi T10, Zayed Cricket Ground, November 23, 2021, @Abu Dhabi T10

After missing out on the first two matches of the Abu Dhabi T10, Tymal Mills took two wickets against Delhi Bulls and one against the Warriors.

“I stayed with the England team in the UAE. So, I didn’t go back to England. I stayed to support and do my rehab with the England physio. They knew I had this tournament coming up if I was fit. They helped me prepare for that. When I arrived (for the T10) I told the coaching staff that I probably need just a few more days and that’s why I missed the first couple of games. It is quite a long tournament. So, I am sure that I will continue to manage myself through that. I am being diligent and sensible.”

In the second match of the day, Bangla Tigers thrashed Chennai Braves by nine wickets. The Gladiators are second on the points table with six points from four matches, behind leaders Team Abu Dhabi. The Tigers are fourth with four points from four matches, behind Delhi Bulls.

Tasked with chasing 91 to beat Chennai Braves, Johnson Charles, promoted to open after struggling lower down the order, blasted 36 off 12 balls, including five sixes, alongside Hazratullah Zazai, who smashed 34 not out off the nine deliveries he faced, in a quite brutal display of T10 hitting.
In the 1st match, Samit Patel top-scored with 21 for Northern Warriors, with Wanindu Hasaranga returning with figures of 2-0-5-2. David Wiese then scored an unbeaten 27 to guide Deccan Gladiators home.

Brief scores

Northern Warriors: 70/6 (10 overs), Samit Patel (21), Abhimanyu Mithun (11 not out), Wanindu Hasaranga (2 for 5). Deccan Gladiators: 76/4 (7.1 overs), David Wiese (27 not out), Tom Moores (21 not out), Josh Little (1 for 5).

Chennai Braves: 90/6 (10 overs), Angelo Perera (26), Samiullah Shinwari (20), Benny Howell (2 for 22). Bangla Tigers: 91/1 (4.2 overs), Johnson Charles (36), Hazratullah Zazai (34 not out).

Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
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Kevin Pietersen Picked His Best 11 After 2021 T20I World Cup Concludes; David Warner Left Out

Kevin Pietersen, the former England superstar, has also picked his Best XI on the completion of the T20I World Cup in a blog after Australia won their maiden title. Interestingly, Kevin Pietersen has picked a spinner (Wanindu Hasaranga) and a batsman (Charith Asalanka) from Sri Lanka. Both have shown enormous promise.

Pietermaritzburg (Natal)-born Kevin Pietersen has chosen South Africans batsman Aiden Markram and pacer Anrich Nortje in his XI. Anrich Nortje has emerged as a top T20I bowler and should be a hot property in the big IPL 2022 auctions early next year.

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter

Kevin Pietersen Picked 2021 T20I World Cup Top Scorer Babar Azam In His XI

Another ICC event has ended, and every cricket lover is busy picking his best XI of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. In a format where the margin of error is virtually negligible, it is extremely difficult to shortlist the best 11 players. The T20I  World Cup 2021 in UAE has been a tournament of comebacks.

If Player of the Tournament opener David Warner and Mitchell Marsh turned up for Australia at a time when critics had written them off after defeats against West Indies and even Bangladesh prior to WC, debutants Namibia caught the eye with some spirited performances.

At the same time, Pakistan rose from the ashes, and India’s pride as a T20I monster was buried. A World Cup tests the skills, temperament, and application of every cricketer. India was a classic example of how reputation can go for a toss if a team has two bad days in office.

After losing for the first time in a World Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan and then being humbled by New Zealand, India was always playing catch-up in their group and eventually did not qualify for the knockouts. As a result, Virat Kohli, who was captaining India for the last time in T20Is, had to leave UAE a disappointed man.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan and Australia were never the bookmaker’s favourites. Australia had never won the T20 World Cup, and Aaron Finch’s team arrived in the Emirates, sans the aura of formidability usually associated with an Australian cricket team. A defeat against India in a warm-up match did no good to their morale.

A loss against England in a group match further exposed their vulnerability. But then the Aussies made a stunning turnaround, improved every match largely due to their top-order batting where David Warner and Mitchell Marsh were simply outstanding.

Even when the ICC named their dream 11 at the end of the T20 World Cup, there was not a single Indian player. There were no Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah – the world’s leading players in the game’s shortest format. And even more surprising, there was no Mitchell Marsh, who anchored Australia to their maiden T20 World Cup title.

Invariably, the ICC had a jury comprising former cricketers, journalists, and even match officials who racked their brains to arrive at a list agreeable to all. ICC produced a team with Pakistan’s Babar Azam as captain. No one questioned Babar Azam’s selection. He led Pakistan from the front in every game till Mathew Wade played an unbelievable inning to end the fairy-tale run by the Green Shirts.

While Babar Azam scored 303 runs in 6 innings, David Warner managed 289 runs in 7 innings, followed by Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan (281 runs) and Jos Buttler (269 runs).

Kevin Pietersen Didn’t Pick Player Of The Tournament David Warner In His XI.

Interestingly, there is no David Warner, no Mitchell Marsh, Kane Williamson, or Daryl Mitchell in Kevin Pietersen’s Best XI. Kevin Pietersen has gone with four specialist batsmen, three all-rounders, and four specialist bowlers, two of whom are leg-spinners.

Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
Australia’s David Warner (Associated Press)

Kevin Pietersen’s Best XI

Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan, 281 runs): Consistent run-scorer at the top of Pakistan’s line-up, who did brilliantly to battle back from illness and scored 67 against Australia in the semi-final.

Jos Buttler (England, 269 runs): Magnificent century against Sri Lanka was the highlight of a superb tournament for England’s opener.

Babar Azam (Pakistan, 303 runs): Proved once more that he is among the most consistent and best T20 batters in the world.

Charith Asalanka (Sri Lanka, 231 runs): One of several exciting young Sri Lankan players who we can look forward to watching again at next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Aiden Markram (South Africa, 162 runs): A solid presence in South Africa’s middle-order and bowled some useful overs with the new ball.

Moeen Ali (England, 92 runs): A very versatile and important member of England’s side, who impressed with bat and ball.

Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka, 119 runs, 16 wickets): The tournament’s leading wicket-taker with his devilish leg-spin, and showed his potential with the bat, too.

Adam Zampa (Australia, 13 wickets): Wicket-taking ability in the middle overs was one of the key reasons why Australia won the tournament.

Trent Boult (New Zealand, 13 wickets): Once again proved his worth to New Zealand with a string of timely and important wickets.

Anrich Nortje (South Africa, 9 wickets): Becoming a leader in South Africa’s attack after taking more wickets in the tournament than all but five bowlers.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan, 7 wickets): A sensational new-ball spell against India set Pakistan’s tournament tone.

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Harbhajan Singh Named 3 Pakistan And 2 Indian Cricketers In His T20I World Cup XI

Harbhajan Singh has named three Pakistan players in his T20 World Cup team of the tournament. Harbhajan Singh picked three players from Pakistan, two each from India and New Zealand, and one each from Australia, England, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

Harbhajan Singh, who played 103 Tests, 236 One-Day Internationals, and a further 28 T20 Internationals for India, opted to pick two members of the Indian side, who disappointingly failed to make it out of the Super 12 stages of the tournament held in the UAE.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh Chose David Warner And Mohammad Rizwan As Openers

The 41-year-old spinner chose Australian batsman and the ICC player of the tournament David Warner to open the batting after the charismatic New South Welshman amassed an impressive 289 runs, including a blistering 53 off 38 balls in the final to help the Aussies successfully chase down 172 against New Zealand. David Warner finished the tournament as the second-leading run-scorer behind Babar Azam, who failed to find a place in Harbhajan Singh’s XI.

Opening the batting alongside David Warner is Pakistan wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan, who scored 281 runs at the top of the order while also playing a key role for his side behind the stumps. Mohammad Rizwan’s tournament may be best remembered for his fantastic 67 runs against Australia in the semi-final, despite being in hospital with a chest infection just hours before the match was due to begin.

Australia's David Warner (Associated Press)
Australia’s David Warner (Associated Press)

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made it into Harbhajan Singh’s team of the tournament after he lead the Black Caps to another ICC final, where he hit 85 off 48 balls, only to be beaten yet again. England superstar Jos Buttler, who scored the only hundred of the tournament against Sri Lanka in Sharjah, is picked at four following his fine campaign with both bat and gloves.

While Babar Azam scored 303 runs in 6 innings, David Warner managed 289 runs in 7 innings, followed by Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan (281 runs) and Jos Buttler (269 runs).

Harbhajan Singh Picks Ravindra Jadeja And Jasprit Bumrah

The middle-order comprised of South Africa batsman and part-time off-spinner Aiden Makram, Sri Lanka’s leg-spinning all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and Pakistan’s hard-hitting finisher Asif Ali, while India slow-left arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja also made the team, surprisingly.

Young Pakistan seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who wowed everyone with his pace and new-ball swing, was slotted in at nine, with fellow left-arm pacer Trent Boult, who is dangerous both at the start of the innings and at the death, being picked at 10.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)

India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah sneaked into the team at 11, despite having an uncharacteristically poor tournament, and Afghanistan mystery spinner Rashid Khan was selected as Harbhajan Singh’s 12th man. However, there was surprisingly no place in the team for the tournament’s leading run-scorer, Babar Azam, nor was there a spot for the Super 12’s leading wicket-taker, Adam Zampa.

Aiden Markram managed 162 runs in 5 innings while Wanindu Hasaranga managed 119 runs, besides picking the most 16 scalps. Both Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja picked 7 wickets each. Shaheen Shah Afridi also picked 7 scalps while Rashid Khan picked 8 scalps. Trent Boult was the joint 2nd highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps besides his name.

Harbhajan Singh’s T20 World Cup Team Of The Tournament

David Warner (Australia), Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan), Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Jos Buttler (England), Aiden Makram (South Africa), Wahindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka), Asif Ali (Pakistan), Ravindra Jadeja (India), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan), Trent Boult (New Zealand), Jasprit Bumrah (India), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan-twelfth man)

India's Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Avishka Fernando during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP Photo)
India's Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Avishka Fernando during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP Photo)
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Yuzvendra Chahal Who Felt Down For 2-3 Days After His Axe In T20I WC Feels Rashid Khan Is In A Different League

Yuzvendra Chahal put in impressive performances during the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which led to many questioning his omission from India’s T20 World Cup 2021 squad.

Varun Chakravarthy, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja were the spin options for India in the T20 World Cup. Spinners, wrist spinners especially, had a massive impact in the recently-concluded tournament, which Australia won for the first time. The top two highest wicket-takers in the competition were both spinners — Wanindu Hasaranga and Adam Zampa.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal feels Afghan spinner Rashid Khan is in a “different league” to others.© AFP

Yuzvendra Chahal: Rashid Khan Is In A Different League

But Yuzvendra Chahal is of the opinion that one spinner is head and shoulders above the rest and in a different league altogether.

“Rashid Khan is in a different league. I believe he is a cut above the rest like we used to talk about Muralidharan sir or Shane Warne sir. My calling card is mind game. I don’t try fancy variations. I back whatever variations I have,” Yuzvendra Chahal said in an interview.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Rashid Khan of Afghanistan picked up 8 scalps at an economic rate of 6.1 in the T20I World Cup. Rashid Khan has 93 scalps in 76 games in IPL, averaging 20.55 at an economic rate of 6.33- the best in IPL history.

Yuzvendra Chahal was left out of the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup 2021, and he wasn’t named in the reserves as well, owing to his poor form in the last six months. Even in phase one of IPL 2021 in India, Yuzvendra Chahal could pick up just 4 wickets in 6 games at a high bowling average and never looked in a good rhythm.

However, he started to get better in the series against Sri Lanka and has been a revelation since the start of the UAE phase of IPL 2021. Yuzvendra Chahal has picked up 14 wickets in 8 games in UAE with an excellent economic rate. In his international career thus far, the 30-year old has bagged 97 and 63 wickets in 56 ODIs and 49 T20Is, respectively apart from 139 scalps in 114 IPL games.

Yuxzvendra Chahal Felt Down For 2-3 Days After His Surprising Axe For 2021 T20I World Cup

Speaking about his exclusion, Yuzvendra Chahal said he felt “really bad” and was feeling “down for two-three days”. But encouragement from his family and fans helped him overcome the tough period.

“I was not dropped in four years and then I got dropped for such a marquee event. I felt really bad. I was down for two-three days. But then I knew the second leg of the IPL was still around the corner.”

“I went back to my coaches and spoke to them a lot. My wife and family were constantly encouraging me. My fans kept putting out motivational posts. That buoyed me. I decided to back my strengths and overcome my confusion. I couldn’t have sulked for long because that would have impacted my IPL form,” said the India spinner.

During the T20 World Cup, India persisted with mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, but he could not replicate his performances in domestic tournaments on the international stage going wicketless in 3 games. Rahul Chahar got a solitary game but did nothing of note.

After being overlooked for the first two games, both of which India lost, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was finally brought into the playing XI after a hiatus of 4 years in T20Is and was the standout spinner for Team India in the three matches he played in the Super 12 stage.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin of India. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Yuzvendra Chahal, though, is back in the reckoning after being included in the T20I squad for the upcoming home series against World Cup finalists New Zealand. India play three T20Is against New Zealand on November 17, 19, and 21.

India’s T20I squad against NZ: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj
Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty
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Brett Lee Opens Up On “Underdogs” Australia’s Chances To Win Maiden T20I World Cup

Brett Lee, former Australian pacer, believes with David Warner in prime form, “underdogs” Australia is well poised to clinch their maiden ICC T20 World Cup title this time.

But for that to be realized, Australia first will have to beat firm favourites Pakistan, yet to be defeated in T20I World Cup in the second semifinal on Thursday.

Brett Lee Getty Images
Brett Lee Getty Images

Brett Lee Sense Their Is Belief In The Australia Camp To Clinch Maiden T20I World Cup Trophy

Brett Lee said England are the favourites of the 4 semi-finalists, but New Zealand defeated them by five wickets to reach the finals of the T20I World cup for the first time.

“After almost a month of action, it all comes down to five days, four teams and three matches at the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2021. And I reckon this could be Australia’s year,”Brett Lee wrote in a column for the ICC.

“England is the favourites from here but I sense the belief in the Australia camp and I think there is some real momentum there. Everything is clicking nicely ahead of Thursday’s semi-final against Pakistan.”

Australia's Aaron Finch (L) and teammate David Warner (R) are expected to open throughout the World Cup. Photo: AFP
Australia’s Aaron Finch (L) and teammate David Warner (R) are expected to open throughout the World Cup. Photo: AFP

Brett Lee said he had faith in David Warner’s ability to regain form and had a chat with him ahead of the tournament. For Australia, all eyes will be on opener David Warner, who has amassed 187 runs at an average of 46.75 in this edition.

“I was speaking to David Warner before it started and told him ‘I have you down to be Australia’s leading run-scorer, so don’t let me down!’ I did that on the belief that he is a big-match player, a big tournament player and that has not changed. Aaron Finch has found some form, Mitchell Marsh is hitting the ball well and Glenn Maxwell will come good,” said Brett Lee.

In the run-up to the World Cup, Australia had lost five straight T20I bilateral series, suffering defeats against Bangladesh, West Indies, New Zealand, India, and England. However, Brett Lee feels coming into the tournament on a low has helped Australia immensely.

“They have been underdogs in this tournament and going under the radar has really helped them. When you go in as one of the favourites like England, with their history and success, it breeds confidence but also expectations. If England don’t beat New Zealand and make the final, people will be asking questions, just like India, who started slowly and didn’t peak at the right time.”

The 45-year-old former tear-away pacer feels the four semifinalists rightfully deserved their places in the business end of the tournament but pointed out that only one team from the sub-continent is there.

“I think we have the right four teams in the semi-finals and it’s interesting to note that only one of them is from the sub-continent. We thought the conditions would favour the likes of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but it just didn’t happen for them,” Lee said.

Australia, who were comprehensively defeated by West Indies and even Bangladesh in bilateral T20Is prior to World Cup, beat South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and West Indies and lost only to England.

Brett Lee Reasoned Australians Utilization Of Spin Behind Success

He observed that the unlikely success story for Australia in the tournament so far was the way how the batters handled spinners.

“A key reason for Australia’s success is how they have utilised spin. With the bat, we have some great players of spin and they have shown that in this tournament, but the big weapon is Adam Zampa,” Lee wrote.

“His form spinning the ball has been key and Australia have embraced a different T20 style with him. Before, the method was always to try to score 170-odd and then try and blow teams away with the quicks. But they know they can’t do that in the UAE and introducing a bigger spin element has helped massively.”

Adam Zampa ----- Getty Images
Adam Zampa —– Getty Images

Brett Lee advised Australian players just to enjoy the moment.

“The advice I would give is to enjoy it. Enjoy how far you have come. Focus on the strengths, and the strengths for all four teams are they have done the basics far better than most other teams. T20 cricket is about match-winners, big runs and big totals. But it is also about the one per cent moments,” he said.

“Australia are experienced in these situations. Some of these boys won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015 and then reached the semi-finals four years later and that counts for so much in those pressure situations at the death. If you have been there and done it, whether you have won or lost, you will have learnt from that experience and playing under that pressure.”

Another Aussie who will have his say in the heavyweight clash is Adam Zampa (11 scalps). Only Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga has taken more wickets than Australia’s x-factor spinner. Accompanying him will be the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, and Glenn Maxwell’s tricks.

Pakistan has suffered a big blow with Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik down with flu ahead of the semi-final. It remains to be seen if they will take part in the all-important clash or not.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
/

Babar Azam Is Going To Become One Of The All-Time Greats If He Keeps Himself Fit And Motivated: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar said Australia would be desperate to add the missing T20 World Cup crown in their cabinet. Sunil Gavaskar pointed out that Australia came into the T20I World cup after being defeated by West Indies and surprisingly by even Bangladesh by sam margins 4-1. However, the team missed several of their star players who pulled out.

Sunil Gavaskar said a stellar test awaits them against Pakistan in the semi-final. Pakistan is the only team undefeated in the tournament. Australia, on the other hand, finished second in Group 1. They won four of their five matches to seal their place in the semi-finals.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sunil Gavaskar: Australia Would Be Desperate To Bring T20I World Cup Trophy From UAE

Australia and Pakistan will be locking horns against each other in the second semi-final of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup on Thursday at the Dubai International Stadium. The winner will meet New Zealand, who beat England in the first semi-final.

“The one Cup that is missing from Cricket Australia’s Trophy cabinet is the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup and they will be desperate to bring that back from UAE.

“They have had a tough time in this format and have just not been able to click as a team despite the fact that some of their players are such dominant players in the various T20 leagues in the world, ” said Sunil Gavaskar.

Adam Zampa ----- Getty Images
Adam Zampa —– Getty Images

“They came into this tournament on the back of some pretty ordinary performances in Bangladesh. The pitches and longer boundaries in UAE have certainly helped their bowlers and leg spinner Adam Zampa in particular and with David Warner back to his fearsome striking form they will certainly fancy their chances of bringing that elusive Cup home, ” said Sunil Gavaskar.

For Australia, all eyes will be on David Warner, who has amassed 187 runs at an average of 46.75 in this edition. Another Aussie who will have his say in the heavyweight clash is Adam Zampa (11 scalps). Only Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga (16 scalps) has taken more wickets than Australia’s x-factor spinner. Accompanying him will be the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, and Glenn Maxwell’s tricks.

Sunil Gavaskar: If Babar Azam Is Fit And Motivated, He Is Going To Become One Of The All-Time Greats

Pakistan has suffered a big blow with Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik down with flu. It remains to be seen if they will take part in the all-important clash or not.  Sunil Gavaskar reckoned that if Babar Azam remains fit and motivated carrying his form, he can become an all-time great.

“They will have to first contend in the semifinals with Pakistan who have been by far the best all-round team in the competition so far. Pakistan has played dazzling cricket and is the only team to have won all their group matches and they have hardly been stretched in doing so.

“The only game where they were almost taken the distance was against Afghanistan, but even that was settled by an awesome display of power hitting by Asif Ali that meant they eventually won that game with more than an over to spare, ” said Sunil Gavaskar.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP via Getty Images)

“Pakistan has always been a mercurial side with some of the most naturally talented cricketers in the game. What has pulled them back is an excitable temperament. This time with Babar Azam leading them they are a lot calmer and a lot more game-aware team.

“There is no doubt that Babar if he keeps himself fit and motivated is going to become one of the all-time greats of the game. What he can become is also one of the greatest captains that Pakistan has produced. His reading of the game situation is brilliant and the changes that he has been making with the bowling and field placing have been unbelievably accurate, ” said Sunil Gavaskar.

“The variety he has at his disposal in bowling means that at no time is he going to be a bowler short and that for any captain is a huge plus. They need to take the early wickets for if the Finch-Warner duo gets going then it will be tough to stop the Aussies. This should be a thriller too, ” said Sunil Gavaskar.

The two sides have met 23 times in T20I cricket, with Pakistan leading the head-to-head series 13-9 (1 NR). Pakistan and Australia last faced each other in T20Is in November 2019. Aussies won the three-match series 2-0. As far as the T20 World Cup is concerned, both sides have won three matches each. Australia won by 21 runs when both teams last faced each other in the 2016 edition.

Pakistan probable playing XI

Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi.

Australia probable playing XI

David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.

Australia's Aaron Finch ©Reuters
Australia's Aaron Finch ©Reuters
/

Aaron Finch Says Powerplay Holds The Key As Australia Wary Of Shaheen Shah Afridi’s Brilliance Ahead Of 2021 T20I World Cup Semi Final

On Wednesday, Aaron Finch, Australia skipper, said that the battle against Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi will hold the key in his side’s match in the upcoming semi-final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Australia and Pakistan will be locking horns against each other in the second semi-final of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup on Thursday at the Dubai International Stadium.

Aaron Finch, AFP
Aaron Finch, AFP

Aaron Finch: Powerplay Definitely Holds The Key As Shaheen Shah Afridi’s Excellent Form Is A Concern To Deal With

While Aaron Finch’s men are now just two wins away from tasting T20 World Cup glory for the very first time, Pakistan will look to continue the momentum from the Super 12 stage. The Men in Green will clearly enter the semi-final as hot favourites as they remain the only unbeaten side so far in the showpiece event, having won all five games in Group 2.

“I think what we have seen through the course of the tournament is how important the powerplay is both batting and bowling. I think the stats around the middle and death overs are pretty similar throughout.

“The powerplay definitely holds the key, Shaheen Shah Afridi has been in good form for Pakistan, that will be a crucial battle in the game,” said Aaron Finch while replying to a query during the virtual pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)

While replying to a query about how important the toss will be in the semi-final, Finch said: “I think when it comes to the finals, it does not make a huge difference. I believe getting runs on the board especially in knockouts can be really beneficial. We have talked about it, we are confident that we can win if we happen to bat first.”

Australia, who advance in top-4 clash from ‘group of death’, have lost just one match till now. This will be Pakistan fifth appearance in the T20 WC semi-finals. The 2009 champions have reached this stage in the first four editions (2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012). On the other hand, Australia, who is yet to win the tournament, will be playing their fourth semi-final (2007, 2010, and 2012).

The tall left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi has troubled Australia in four meetings with eight wickets and a best of 3-37. He dismissed both Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell in his first outing against the Aussies in July 2018 in a tri-series in Harare.

Aaron Finch: The Semi-Final Will Be A Close Battle

Aaron Finch also said that Pakistan had done very well in the ongoing tournament, and the match would be a battle for the ages, and the fans can expect thrilling action.

“I think Pakistan has been in good form, they have won five matches and they have played good cricket throughout. I do not think you can read too much into history. They have a completely different team to what we have played in the past. In terms of Pakistan’s spin, they have had good success with Imad Wasim bowling in the powerplay. Shadab has also been excellent,” said Finch.

For Australia, all eyes will be on David Warner, who has amassed 187 runs at an average of 46.75 in this edition. Another Aussie who will have his say in the heavyweight clash is Adam Zampa (11 scalps). Only Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga (16 scalps) has taken more wickets than Australia’s x-factor spinner. Accompanying him will be the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, and Glenn Maxwell’s tricks.

Adam Zampa ----- Getty Images
Adam Zampa —– Getty Images

“It will be a close battle no doubt. Our quicks have done a really good job, I think having wickets that have been used quite a bit in the IPL and this tournament, I have been surprised with how well they have played.

“The curators have done a good job in keeping the conditions fair across all venues. That has been brilliant. Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood have been fantastic. Sometimes it comes down to execution, we have been really happy with how they have gone, they are a world-class trio. Yeah, we are really happy with how that has gone,” he added.

Aaron Finch, however, refrained from saying that Pakistan will enter the contest as clear favourites. Instead, Aaron Finch, who has had knocks of 37, 44 and 40, praised Pakistan’s powerplay blitz with bat and ball.

“Pakistan has played brilliant cricket, the way they have gone in the powerplay with bat and ball, that has been crucial to their success. I think in this format of the game over the past few series, everyone had written us off. So you can read into that as you like,” Finch further added. 

The two sides have met 23 times in T20I cricket, with Pakistan leading the head-to-head series 13-9 (1 NR). Pakistan and Australia last faced each other in T20Is in November 2019. Aussies won the three-match series 2-0. As far as the T20 World Cup is concerned, both sides have won three matches each. Australia won by 21 runs when both teams last faced each other in the 2016 edition.

Australia Image Source: Twitter
Australia Image Source: Twitter
/

Brett Lee Confident Of Australia Bouncing Back From Group Stage Defeat Against England In T20I WC 2021

Brett Lee, former Australia pacer, is confident that Australia-led by Aaron Finch can bounce back from their crushing group stage defeat at the hands of England, who have already qualified for semis, provided their top-order fires in the upcoming matches of the T20 World Cup against West Indies and Bangladesh.

England put up a thoroughly professional display against Australia last week, bundling out the Men from Down Under for 125 before overhauling the target in 11.4 overs to record a dominating eight-wicket win.

Brett Lee Getty Images
Brett Lee Getty Images

Brett Lee: England Was Outstanding Against Australia As Australia Let Themselves Down

Australia has four points from three outings and is under the pump to win their remaining fixtures as South Africa is ahead of them with six points from four games and also has a better net run rate.

“England were outstanding against Australia. The 50-over World champions were just too good in the end, it’s as simple as that. Parts of the game were outstanding for Australia but in other parts, they probably let themselves down,” Lee wrote in his column for the ICC’s official website.

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )

While Australia has beaten South Africa and Sri Lanka, South Africa has beaten West Indies, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh quite comprehensively.

“Now it’s not all doom and gloom for Australia – I try and look at things from a positive point of view. There are a lot of people saying, ‘he shouldn’t be in the team’, ‘he shouldn’t be batting there’ and so on. “But they say- relax and go about things patiently. I think that’s a really good expression that the team can use just to relax,” Brett Lee said.

“Everything will be okay. I know that there could be changes, they might look to shuffle the order, they might look to some different bowling options but sometimes you just get outplayed and England outplayed Australia,” Brett Lee said.

Australia beat South Africa by 5 wickets and Sri Lanka by 7 wickets before losing to England by 8 wickets. They will play against Bangladesh and West Indies next.

Brett Lee: Australian Top Order Has To Fire As Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis And Matthew Wade Has To Score Runs

Brett Lee feels it is imperative that the Australian top-order, comprising the likes of David Warner, skipper Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, and all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, fires upfront, while wicketkeeper Matthew Wade provides a solid finish.

“The top order has to fire, they have to get runs from guys like Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, who has been in good form the first two games but missed out with a duck against England and that’s part of the game. Matthew Wade has been getting a few runs, getting some starts but Australia needs a big 40 or 50 from him to finish so there are areas where Australia can take some positives out,” he said.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith- Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

While Aaron Finch and David Warner have scored 80 odd runs in 3 games, Steve Smith has amassed 64 runs in the leading run-scorers list headed by England’s Jos Buttler-214 runs. Among leading wicket-takers, Australians Adam Zampa has 5 scalps, and Mitchell Starc has 4 scalps in a list headed by Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga-14 scalps in as many games.

Brett Lee suggested that the Australian openers David Warner and Aaron Finch could try out a slightly different strategy rather than going all out at the beginning of the innings.

“I know the Aussies want to get off to a flyer, I heard Warner say it, I heard it from Aaron Finch and they are two brilliant players, two guys I’d pick in my side every single day of the week. Maybe it’s about taking the foot off the accelerator a fraction at the top. I know that some teams go really hard in the first six but other teams don’t take as many risks so perhaps Australia can do that but I’ll still back Warner every day of the week to go down town first ball if he has to,” he said.

Talking about the Australian bowling unit, he said, “They probably didn’t get the right line or length against England and in this format there are days where the batsmen miss out and the bowlers defend. But when collectively you don’t have your best game, you can see what happens.”

Despite the ordinary performance against England, the 44-year-old backed Australia to lift their maiden T20 World Cup title. Ahead of the tournament, Brett Lee had picked India as the team to beat, but the former pacer feels England and Pakistan are top contenders.

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