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'Shrubsole had game of her life'

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 24 July 2017 20:20

Charlotte Edwards said Anya Shrubsole gave the "performance of her life" as her 6-46 saw England to a thrilling nine-run win over India in the Women's World Cup final.

In front of a sell-out Lord's crowd, England seemed to be heading toward defeat as India found themselves well-placed at 191-3, chasing 229 to win, in the 43rd over.

But Shrubsole took five of the next seven wickets to fall - and even affected a run-out - as India were bowled out for 219 in the penultimate over of a thrilling finish.

"England were amazing," said Edwards. "Shrubsole gave the performance of her life.


"I thought we would see a special performance from her today. She hasn't had the best of tournaments, but in the back of my mind, I felt there was a big performance left in the bag.

"She has got better over the last two games and the big players so often turn up on the big occasions. Today it was Shrubsole.

"You started feeling the pressure for India when England got the seventh wicket, but then it looked like Deepti Sharma and Shikha Pandey were going along nicely, adding 17 for the eighth.

"But Anya pops up again, that run-out, and then you just knew it was game over.

"She is so calm under pressure, cool, and I'm just so pleased for her. She has worked so hard for this."

Edwards also reserved special praise for head coach Mark Robinson, despite his involvement in her retirement from England, and the captaincy, a year ago.

The former England skipper pinpoints the team's ability to perform in the pressure moments as the key to their success, identifying their group stage win over Australia as key.

"Robinson has played a massive part in winning this trophy," Edwards added. "Since he has come in, he has made some big decisions but they've all worked.

"He has got these playing well under pressure and he has to take a lot of credit.

"The win against Australia was the turning point for me. It gave this team so much confidence going forward - the relief of beating Australia in a World Cup.

"They looked unstoppable from there and then today was just something else - a World Cup final at Lord's in front of 22,000 people, you can't prepare these girls for this kind of occasion, you can only hope that they can call on the pressurised situations they've played in the past.

"No-one knew how England would react today, how India would react, and that's been the great thing; it was such an amazing game. They'll now want to play every game in front of a full house at Lord's. I know I would!"

An emotional Claire Connor, a former captain and current director of England Women's Cricket, said the World Cup win was "a dream", and hopes that with a huge global audience watching the game can continue to grow.

"It's incredibly special and hard to find the words", said Connor. "It was a dream final from an England point of view.

"It has been an amazing journey. It's not just about the last year or so, it's about everyone who has been involved in these four years - Lottie, Lydia Greenway - players who have played a massive part in the whole campaign.

"The team has been developing towards this tournament and they've now expressed themselves on the biggest stage I couldn't be prouder of them.

"But also, it was great to see an Indian team play like that, so free and strong, I hope that with millions watching back in India, at peak time, hopefully this can really propel women's cricket and women's sport in general in India."

Mark Butcher echoed Connor's sentiments, saying the attendance and atmosphere at the final were vastly different at Lord's to the final in India four years ago and believes women's cricket is on the up.

"I remember being in India, in Mumbai, for the previous World Cup final, and literally no-one appeared to care." said Butcher.

"There has been an enormous change since then to get to this point. Women's cricket looks to be going nowhere but up.

"England were dumped out in the semi-finals in that tournament and it looked all the way like India had the game in the bag here, but somehow England stuck in there and managed to turn them over.

"Sport often is about moments of brilliance and, even with the pressure of a 22,000 strong crowd, Shrubsole stayed stone cold while the rest of this place was losing its mind. Superb."

Whiteley's six sixes in vain

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 24 July 2017 20:00

Worcestershire's Ross Whiteley hit six sixes in an over but finished on the losing side after David Willey's career-best 118 helped Yorkshire climb to the top of the NatWest T20 Blast North Group.

Willey sent records tumbling with a 55-ball assault as the Vikings, invited to bat, posted 233-6 from their 20 overs at Headingley.

Fellow left-hander Whiteley then hit left-arm spinner Karl Carver over the ropes six times in the 16th over, which included a wide. That took the score to 173-3, but he fell for 65 off 26 balls as the Rapids finished on 196-7 in a 37-run defeat.

A career-best T20 innings of 61 by Liam Livingstone and some tight leg-spin bowling by Matthew Parkinson guided Lancashire to a routine 31-run victory over Durham at Old Trafford.

The victory was Lancashire's third in six games but left Durham with four defeats to show for their efforts in this season's competition.

Paul Coughlin's side remain on minus four points thanks to the England and Wales Cricket Board's sanction last October, and their chances of qualifying from the North Group are already very slim.

There was, however, no doubting the justice of the result of Sunday's game in which Lancashire posted 174-5 off their 20 overs, only for Durham to respond with 143-8.

Birmingham Bears stars Colin De Grandhomme and Grant Elliott produced fine displays to beat the Derbyshire Falcons by 20 runs in an entertaining match at Edgbaston.

De Grandhomme produced an unbeaten 65, to add to debutant Ed Pollock's 66 off 40 balls, before Elliott took 4-37 to help his side to victory.

In the South Group, James Hildreth upstaged England captain Eoin Morgan as Somerset beat Middlesex for the second time in a week to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Morgan smashed 59 from 28 balls as Middlesex registered a competitive 162-6 having been put in on a drying Taunton pitch in a game reduced to 16 overs-a-side by rain.

However, Hildreth responded with an enterprising 63 from 34 balls to set up a thrilling finale.

Somerset, requiring 13 to win off the final over, reached their target with one ball to spare thanks to an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 36 between Corey Anderson and Roelof van der Merwe which delivered a five-wicket win.

A rain-shortened contest between Sussex and Kent at Hove ended in a thrilling Duckworth-Lewis draw as Alex Blake hit the stumps to run out Laurie Evans.

Kent's total of 176-4 owed much to Sam Billings and Jimmy Neesham, who added a record 102 in 10 overs for the fourth wicket, scoring 64 and 51 not out respectively before heavy rain interrupted.

Sussex were then set 89 from a revised eight overs and needed two off the final ball to win and one to tie, however Laurie Evans was run out by Alex Blake after Chris Nash struck to long on.

South Group leaders Surrey were left frustrated after their match at Hampshire was abandoned without a ball being hit due to rain, while Glamorgan's meeting with Essex Eagles at Sophia Gardens suffered the same fate.

Pietersen injured in Surrey win

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 21 July 2017 22:22

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen had a night to forget at The Oval as Surrey beat Middlesex by 15 runs in the NatWest T20 Blast London derby.

The 37-year-old, who struck a half-century on his return to English domestic cricket earlier this week, passed a fitness test on a calf injury to play but saw the problem flare up again as soon as he reached the crease.

Pietersen faced one delivery, which led to the run-out of Aaron Finch when he rejected a quick single, and then called for a runner before holing out off Steven Finn for four off nine balls.

Pietersen appeared in some discomfort as he trudged off the pitch and up the stairs to the changing room, where a furious Finch was sitting following his dismissal for a 22-ball 40.

Surrey managed to post 156-7 and then saw Sam Curran take 3-28 to restrict Middlesex to 141-7 and complete their fifth consecutive home T20 win over their local rivals.

Hampshire missed the chance to leapfrog Gloucestershire to the top of the South Group after losing to Essex by seven wickets at Chelmsford.

Ravi Bopara took 4-19 to restrict the visitors to 124-9 before Dan Lawrence hit 47 and Adam Wheater contributed 44 not out to see Essex home with six overs to spare.

The right-hander finished with 110 and Brendan Taylor weighed in with a 42-ball 67 to help Notts amass 227-3 in their first game since the retirement of prolific sprint-format batsman Michael Lumb.

Derbyshire gave it a good go in their mammoth chase, Wayne Madsen smashing 86 not out off 44 balls, but they could not manage the 21 runs required from Jake Ball's final over.

Leicestershire's 100 per cent record ended with a two-run Duckworth/Lewis defeat to Northamptonshire at Grace Road - the Foxes finished on 107-3 in pursuit of 110 after Northants posted 165-8

England international David Willey belted 70 off just 38 balls as Yorkshire beat Birmingham by 29 runs at Headingley.

Willey struck four fours and six sixes to lift the Vikings to 179-5, which proved too much for the Bears as they were dismissed for 150 with Azeem Rafiq and Tim Bresnan both taking three wickets.

Worcestershire's fixture with Lancashire at New Road was washed out

England's Road to the Final

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 21 July 2017 22:19

England are through to the Women's World Cup final at Lord's after overcoming a first-match blip to string together a stunning run of seven successes.

Heather Knight's side will be looking for revenge over Mitahli Raj's after the World Cup opener, in Derby, did not go as they hoped...


A sold-out crowd in Derby expected England to kick off their campaign with a win - but instead saw India rack up 281-3 and dismiss the hosts for 246.

Smriti Mandhana biffed 90 from 72 balls while putting on 144 with opening partner Punam Raut (86) and India's unflappable skipper Mithali Raj (71) also passed fifty.

Only Fran Wilson (81) did the same for England and when she was run out - one of four players to fall in that fashion - in the 44th over with 52 runs needed, the game was up.

Talk about a response! Sure, England's openers, Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor fell cheaply - their time was still to come - but that meant Knight (106) and Natalie Sciver (137) joined forces, to devastating effect. Both blasted their maiden ODI tons during a rollicking stand of 213 in 30 overs, in Leicester, as England amassed their highest World Cup score, and second-best ever, of 377-7. Pakistan limped to 107-3 from 29.2 overs in reply before the rain ended a one-sided encounter early.

Back in her favoured No 3 position with Lauren Winfield fit again, Taylor (74) oozed class as she made her first half-century since returning to the England set-up after a stress-related illness.

Supported by Knight (82) during a third-wicket partnership of 148 at Taunton, Taylor stroked 11 boundaries as England cantered past Sri Lanka's 204-8 with almost 20 overs in the bank.

Recalled off-spinner Laura Marsh (4-45) had earlier done the damage with the ball, ousting three of Sri Lanka's top six.

Taylor (147) then pummelled her sixth ODI ton - and first since 2013 - while sharing a World Cup-record stand of 275 with Beaumont (148) in Bristol as England blasted 373-5, Beaumont bursting into life after compiling just 40 runs in her previous three innings.

South Africa went down fighting, though, with their 305-9 taking the tally of runs in the match to 678, a record in a Women's ODI, Chloe Tryon (54 off 26) whacking four sixes before becoming one of three wickets for Danielle Hazell.

Nerves jangled as England edged old rivals Australia in a see-saw Sunday showdown, at Bristol. Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn were the heroes, starting with their 85-run stand for the seventh wicket which lifted England up to 259-8.

Gunn then held her nerve in the final over with the ball, limiting Australia to 12 of the 16 runs they required, with Brunt catching Ashleigh Gardner in the deep from the penultimate delivery, having dismissed Alex Blackwell and Ellyse Perry (70) in the 47th over.

England secured a semi-final spot thanks to Sciver's second century of the tournament - a 111-ball 129 - but it was the shot through her legs, quickly coined the Nat-meg, that hogged the headlines.

Beaumont (93) also impressed with the bat in England's 284-9, in Derby, while slow left-armer Alex Hartley (3-44) did likewise with ball - dismissing White Ferns skipper Suzie Bates and the dangerous Sophie Devine, before ensuring New Zealand totalled just 209 by pinning No 11 Holly Huddleston lbw.

England made it three wins from three at fortress Bristol to seal top spot in the group and a return to the venue for their semi-final by downing the World T20 champions.

Things looked dicey for England when they stumbled to 105-5 - Taylor and Sciver departing for ducks - but Knight's gritty 67 and a late, unbroken stand of 48 between Gunn and Marsh swelled their score to 220-7, which proved ample, with West Indies losing 6-36 in the middle overs - Sciver bagging 3-3 - and seven of their batsmen lbw.

England almost came a cropper as South Africa bravely defended a modest total of 219, taking the game down to the final over before Anya Shrubsole struck the match-winning boundary with two balls left.

England seemed to be cruising at 139-2 only to lose 3-6, including Taylor (54) - who had produced a stunning stumping in South Africa's knock - and Knight (30) to collapse to 145-5. Wilson (30) and Gunn (27no) took the hosts to within Shrubsole range. Now it's India again...

England Women stutter to 220

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Saturday, 15 July 2017 15:25

England laboured to 220-7 against West Indies, at Bristol, in their bid to secure top spot in the Women's World Cup standings.

England, already assured of a semi-final place following their 75-run win over New Zealand on Wednesday, had skipper Heather Knight (67) and an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 48 between Jenny Gunn (31no) and Laura Marsh (24no) to thank for limping past 200, as they struggled to deal with West Indies' spin pair of Afy Fletcher (3-33) and Anisa Mohammed (1-32).

Natalie Sciver, who made headlines against New Zealand by hammering her second century of the tournament and playing the Nat-meg, was bowled for a two-ball duck, while Sarah Taylor went first delivery after slashing to slip.

England began slowly after being inserted, chalking up their first run on the 11th ball and scoring just 12 from the first five overs, and just as Tammy Beaumont (42) began to get going, she lost two partners, Lauren Winfield (11) and Taylor.

Winfield pulled to deep square leg to hand 16-year-old left-arm seamer Qiana Joseph her maiden ODI wicket, before Taylor flashed Deandra Dottin into the cordon, Hayley Matthews the catcher on both occasions.

Beaumont and Knight rebuilt, before leg-spinner Fletcher struck twice in three balls - Beaumont caught behind by Merissa Aguilleira after clipping a ramp shot onto her helmet and Sciver (0) castled looking to work through midwicket.

Fletcher then had Fran Wilson (5) out on review, Ultra-Edge proving the batter had cue-ended a sweep shot into Aguilleira's gloves, as England lost three wickets for 14 runs.

Knight continued to plug away - although she would have been given out lbw on 39 had West Indies opted for the review when Fletcher pinged her on the pad - and brought up her 13th ODI fifty off 76 deliveries, a couple of overs after Katherine Brunt (14) had been stumped off Mohammed.

Knight also fell to spin, however, when she was bowled through the gate by Matthews, before Gunn and Marsh finished England's knock with a few lusty blows, Gunn slamming the innings' only six.

Australia pay deal talks continue

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Published in Cricket
Saturday, 15 July 2017 15:24

Australia's players and the country's governing body are yet to reach a pay deal agreement as talks continue for a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) said on Saturday.

Discussions began on Friday to resolve the issue, which has seen Australia's "A" tour of South Africa fall victim to the drawn-out pay dispute with the squad deciding not to travel in the absence of a revised deal.

With talks between the union and the governing body deadlocked, around 230 players were left effectively unemployed when the previous five-year agreement expired at the end of last month.

"The ACA confirms that agreement has not been reached for a new MoU," the union said in a statement with its chief executive Alistair Nicholson, calling for urgency in negotiations with the players already unemployed for two weeks.

At the heart of the acrimonious dispute is Cricket Australia's insistence that the two-decade-old model, under which players get a fixed percentage of revenue, should be jettisoned.

Cricket Australia believes the revenue-share model is unfit for modern times and is starving grass-roots cricket of funding, while players say it has underpinned the game's growth and prosperity over the past 20 years.

The ACA, however, welcomed the latest round of talks, believing it has boosted hopes of an imminent resolution.

"The increased involvement of CA CEO James Sutherland has been pleasing," Nicholson said. "A better understanding has been established on both parties' positions."

The senior Australia team is scheduled to play a two-Test series in Bangladesh in August and September, before a limited-overs tour in India and then the Ashes at home against England.

Shaun Pollock Masterclass

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Published in Cricket
Friday, 14 July 2017 19:25

Pollock claimed 421 wickets in his 108 Tests for South Africa, including the prized wicket of Atherton six times in tussles with England.

And as well as looking to 'unofficially' add to that number, we'll also be hearing Pollock's top tips on how he shaped the ball away to such great effect during his career.

Pollock has also promised to come in off his full run-up and try to rough up Atherton with some short stuff. The pair have previous in that regard, with Pollock hitting Atherton on the head three times before lunch on his Test debut at Centurion in 1995.

Delport extends Leics contract

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Friday, 14 July 2017 19:23

All-rounder Cameron Delport has extended his white-ball contract with Leicestershire until the end of the 2019 season, the county have announced.

The 28-year-old South African scored 243 runs at an average of 34.71 during Leicestershire's Royal London One-Day Cup campaign and also contributed with bat and ball as they beat Lancashire in their opening T20 Blast fixture last weekend.

"We are really excited that Cameron has signed an extension to his contract," head coach Pierre de Bruyn said in a statement.

"He has been a match-winner for us with the bat in both the 50-over and T20 format, offers us a good option with the ball, and is also a fine fielder."

Next up for Delport and his team-mates is a trip to New Road this evening to play Worcestershire in the T20 Blast.

Gloucs, Middlesex tie thriller

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Saturday, 08 July 2017 12:05

Gloucestershire and Middlesex got the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast off to a thrilling start with a high-scoring tie at Cheltenham on Friday afternoon.

Middlesex tail-ender Nathan Sowter (12) was caught off Benny Howell's last ball of the match at cover as the visitors had to settle for matching Gloucestershire's tally of 182 after Ryan Higgins' stonking 68 not from 28 balls had pulled Brendon McCullum's side back from the brink of defeat.

Middlesex looked all-but beaten when they slumped to 119-8 with 4.2 overs remaining but Higgins - whose innings featured six sixes and four fours - then ran riot, smearing the next three overs for 11, 19 and 18 respectively.

The 22-year-old hit his final maximum three balls from the end but then could only bag a single off the next before Sowter picked out Tom Smith as Gloucester earned a share of the spoils.

Tom Curran (3-28) also starred at the death for Surrey as they pipped Essex Eagles by two runs at Chelmsford - the England seamer taking two wickets, including Ravi Bopara (75), in the final over as he shipped just seven of the 10 runs Essex required.

Aaron Finch (56 off 27) and Dom Sibley (61 off 40) had earlier hit half-centuries for Surrey as they posted 188-8, Bopara taking two scalps, including that of Finch caught behind.

Finally, in the South Group, Hampshire downed Glamorgan by 22 runs in Cardiff - veteran Pakistan leg-spinner Shahid Afridi (4-20) and left-arm pacer Reece Topley (3-23) starring with the ball after Lewis McManus (59 off 35) hit five sixes in the visitors' score of 167-5.

Graham Wagg clubbed a 28-ball fifty for Glamorgan, his knock including three sixes and the same number of fours, but no one else passed 25 as the home team were limited to 145-9.

In the North Group, meanwhile, 2016 champions Northamptonshire Steelbacks and the side they beat in that final, Durham Jets, suffered opening-day defeats to Derbyshire Falcons and Lancashire Lightning by seven wickets and 52 runs respectively.

Luis Reece's unbeaten 75 from 51 deliveries saw Derbyshire trump Northants' 179-6 with five balls in the bank, rendering Ben Duckett's 69 from 52 deliveries for Steelbacks in vain.

Joe Buttler, meanwhile, hammered 59 from 39 balls for Lancashire as they comprehensively downed Durham, Lightning posting 192-6 and then restricting Jets to 140-7, with Jordan Clark snaring 3-26.

Yorkshire Vikings biffed their best T20 score of 227-5 as they defeated Royal London One-Day Cup champions Nottinghamshire Outlaws by 48 runs - Adam Lyth (82 off 50) and Shaun Marsh (60no off 37) flourishing with the bat and Peter Handscomb chipping in with 21 from seven deliveries.

Adil Rashid - overlooked by England for the first Test against South Africa - then bowled four overs of spin for just 22 runs, and picked up the wicket of Samit Patel, as Vikings contained Outlaws to 179-5, Alex Hales (47) and Steven Mullaney's boundary-laden knocks too fleeting for Notts.

Plus, Birmingham Bears eased to an eight-wicket triumph over Worcestershire Rapids at New Road, captain Ian Bell stroking 75 not out as his men topped Rapids' 152-9 with an over in reserve.

Eagles sign Tamin for Blast

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Saturday, 08 July 2017 11:52

Essex have signed Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal for eight matches of this summer's NatWest T20 Blast.

The 28-year-old opener will join up with the squad ahead of Sunday's trip to Beckenham to face Kent. He has played 49 Tests, as well as 173 ODIs and 56 T20 Internationals.

He has a career T20 strike rate of close to 120, and will provide an explosive addition to the top order in Chelmsford.

The left-hander was a member of the Bangladesh side during the recent Champions Trophy tournament in England against whom he scored a hundred.

Essex Eagles head coach Chris Silverwood said: "Tamim has shown how good a player he is in the recent Champions Trophy.

"As a batsman he is capable of being destructive and that is reflected in his strike rate.

"We identified the opening berth as an area we wanted to strengthen and we are thrilled to get a player of Tamim's calibre into the club.

"He will bolster the side for eight games and we look forward to his arrival."

The player himself added: "I have played plenty of cricket with and against the likes of Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate and Ashar Zaidi, so I'm sure it will be an environment I will settle into quickly."


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