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Ireland confident for ODI series

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Published in Cricket
Thursday, 04 May 2017 15:33

Ireland head coach John Bracewell is confident they can cause an upset when they face England in their upcoming two-match ODI series.

Bristol hosts the opening match on Friday before the action moves to Lord's on Sunday, with the Irish hoping they can repeat their stunning success over England in the 2007 World Cup, when they recovered from 111-5 to claim a three-wicket win in Bangalore.

England could prove to be a different proposition on home soil but Bracewell believes they can beat any team in the world on their day.

"Historically, it's massive. The guys have been looking forward to this for a long time," Bracewell said.

"The opportunity has come round and they are pretty excited about it. We are as competitive as any side and they have proven that over the last 10 years.

"On their day, they are capable of knocking over one of the big teams and that is what we aim to do over at least one of these two games, hopefully both."

Ireland still retain hopes of achieving Test status one day and Bracewell says they have made great strides towards fulfilling that ambition.

"That's one of the great dreams and, once again, historically that's what they have been working for," he added.

"They have got a lot of processes in place and now let's see what happens. You never know in cricket until you cross the line."

New Edinburgh deal for Hardie

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Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 19:50

John Hardie has signed a new one-year deal with Edinburgh.

The Scotland international flanker has not had the best of seasons with Edinburgh, but is looking forward to playing for the club's new coach Richard Cockerill.

New Zealand-born Hardie moved to the Scottish capital from Super Rugby side Highlanders two years ago, and the 28-year-old said: "I'm looking forward to another year at Edinburgh.

"The club has been great to me since I arrived a few years ago, and I've loved every minute playing alongside the boys.

"It's been a disappointing season for us all, but we've got a good squad and the potential to really kick on next season.

"There's a good mix of youth and experience and we should really benefit from that going forward."

Acting head coach Duncan Hodge added: "It's great news for the club and Scottish rugby that John has committed to Edinburgh for another year.

"He's an outstanding openside and gives everything for the shirt every time he takes to the field.

"It's a real boost to the squad to add further depth to a highly-competitive back-row ahead of next season, and we're looking forward to seeing the players thrive in that environment."

Ex-Yorkshire bowler Bore dies

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Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 19:31

Former Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire bowler Mike Bore has died at the age of 69.

A left-arm seamer by trade, Bore made his White Rose debut in 1969 before switching 10 years later to Nottinghamshire, where he was part of the 1981 and 1987 County Championship winning campaigns.

He ended his playing career in 1988 with a first-class haul of 372 wickets in 159 first-class matches and a further 139 scalps in 147 List A games, with his average in both formats a shade over 30.

The Professional Cricketers' Association - the representative body of past and present first-class cricketers - wrote on its website: "Mike Bore, the former Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire left-arm medium pacer, has died aged 69."

Following his retirement from playing, Bore coached at mainly youth level for both of his former clubs - and former England captain Michael Vaughan was among those to pay their respects.

He tweeted: "Such a sad day..Mike Bore has left us ..My 1st academy coach at Yorkshire..A great man..made me fetch the fish & chips every Friday lunch!!"

Misbah hits 99 again

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Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 19:29

Misbah-ul-Haq scored 99 for the second game running as Pakistan's first-innings 393 earned them a lead over West Indies in the second Test.

Misbah, stranded one short of an 11th Test century in last month's opener, fell on 99 after Azhar Ali (105) had got to three figures shortly after lunch on day three in Bridgetown.

Kieran Powell was the one West Ind

ies batsman to fall before stumps, caught at the wicket off Mohammad Abbas as his side closed on 40-1 to trail by 41.

Pakistan began the day in Bridgetown on 172-3, 140 short of their hosts' first-innings total, and it took Azhar more than a session to take his overnight 81 past the century mark.

Devendra Bishoo had him caught at the wicket shortly afterwards, but by that stage Misbah had progressed to a half-century at the other end.

The Pakistan captain had helped take his side to 316-4 when he withdrew his bat too late to a Jason Holder delivery and looped a catch to the slips.

Two more wickets went to Holder (3-42) as Pakistan lost their last six for 77 runs, Yasir Shah's lively 24 boosting the total late on.

Victory in Barbados would give Pakistan a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Root: England in good shape

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Published in Cricket
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 19:27

Joe Root says he is encouraged by England's one-day strength in depth ahead of their first summer fixtures this week.

The new Test captain is part of a 14-man squad, skippered by Eoin Morgan, selected for two one-day internationals against Ireland on Friday and Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

Three ODIs against South Africa follow at the end of the month before the Champions Trophy begins on June 1.

"You look at how we've playing over six months or even a year, and and we keep moving forward as a side.

"We've got depth in every area, and it's set us up nicely, but you don't win games on paper and it's all about building up nicely before that tournament, getting some results under our belts and making sure the guys are feeling confident."

Root's first Test as captain follows later in the summer against South Africa, and he said: "I'd love the Test series to be next week and be able to dive in and get into the role, but there's plenty of important cricket to play in front of that.

"What better focus than a major tournament like the Champions Trophy to get ready for."

Morgan aiming for Trophy glory

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Wednesday, 03 May 2017 19:21

Eoin Morgan says England have the "ability and confidence" to claim Champions Trophy glory on home soil this summer.

England have yet to win an ICC 50-over tournament but performances have been much improved since a disappointing showing in the 2015 World Cup.

They start their build-up towards this summer's big tournament when they take on Ireland in the first of two one-day internationals on Friday.

And Morgan is looking forward to what he thinks could be an excellent summer for England's limited overs squad.

The England captain said: "I am extremely proud of the team, where we have come from in the last two years, and the confidence we have built.

"We have tried to build a culture around the team that allows guys to go out and express themselves, play with a no-fear aspect to the game.

"We were a long way behind the eight-ball in regards to where the very best were and where we were.

"It has been an amazing ride so far, but we are only coming up to the halfway stage.

"The Champions Trophy in June is something that we are really looking forward to. We have earmarked it as a good gauge to see where we are at as a side.

"The goal is always to win, and I certainly think we have the ability and the confidence in the side to win that tournament.

"We have done some fantastic things against some very good sides."

England players are beginning to make more of an impression in the Indian Premier League, led by Ben Stokes, who made a brilliant match-winning century for Rising Pune Supergiant on Monday.

Looking towards the next World Cup, Morgan thinks the England side will benefit from the extra IPL experience within their ranks.

"That's a huge step towards our success in 2019," he added. "We have been behind trends in the past, I think at the moment we are about level par.

"Ben Stokes almost sets a new trend as an English player."

'Upset' Finn fighting for place

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 01 May 2017 21:01

Steven Finn says he was upset to be overlooked for England's Champions Trophy squad and will work hard to get back in favour.

Finn was included in England's party for two one-day internationals against Ireland, the first of which takes place on Friday in Bristol, but he missed the cut for the tournament which follows soon after.

The return of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes from the Indian Premier League, plus the return to fitness of Durham paceman Mark Wood, left Finn on the sidelines for the summer event, which takes place in June on home soil.

"It's never nice receiving the call. Even though I've been left out of teams, I've never really missed out on being in a squad.

"To get the call telling me you are not in the squad for a tournament such as this was disappointing. I was quite upset after it but that's the way cricket goes and it's the cycle your career can go in at times.

"It just means I have to work doubly hard to make sure that, if I do get another opportunity, if James rings me up and says you're in the squad I am ready to go and do myself justice. He said I was in a pool of bowlers pushing for places but unfortunately didn't get the call this time.

"I read the feedback he gave about the variations in the newspapers and I take that on board. I am constantly looking to improve as a cricketer and I'll continue to do that whether I am in the squad or not."

Finn could get the chance to show the selectors what they are missing in the two-game series, which also gives Ireland the chance to play at Lord's, and he feels it is a vital part of their preparation for the rest of a busy summer.

He added: "There's been a little period between our last international game and this one so it's a good opportunity for the squad to get together to play against a talented Ireland side that could be dangerous in these two ODIs.

"It's a good chance to build momentum and hopefully we can take that through the summer.

"The way the guys have played over the last couple of years has embraced the modern style of one-day cricket. We've got one of the most explosive batting line-ups in the world and I think the variety we have in our bowling line-up will allow us to take wickets on any track put in front of us.

"It's important we don't get carried away as fundamentally we are still a young side, still learning, but the elements of an exciting one-day team are there and that has been reflected in results over the last couple of years.

"This tournament on our home patch is a good opportunity to put down a marker and see where we are against the best in the world, and I think we have a great chance of winning it."

South Africa keep ODI top spot

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 01 May 2017 20:47

England remain fifth behind leaders South Africa in the International Cricket Council's one-day rankings after the yearly update.

The standings change regularly but undergo a yearly recalculation, when older results slip from the reckoning.

The Proteas have extended their advantage at the top but are still not favourites for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy - most bookmakers putting them in third behind hosts England and improving Australia.

There has been minimal change in the rankings, with India and New Zealand swapping places in third and fourth and the rest of the top 10 unchanged.

The West Indies have slipped nine points behind eight-placed Pakistan, with hosts England and the next seven teams qualifying automatically for the 2019 World Cup.

Elsewhere, Ireland remain in 12th behind Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.

ICC one-day ranking (May 1):

1. South Africa 119pts
2. Australia 118
3. New Zealand 113
4. India 112
5. England 108
6. Sri Lanka 98
7. Bangladesh 92
8. Pakistan 90
9. West Indies 83
10. Afghanistan 52
11. Zimbabwe 48
12. Ireland 42

Chase leads Windies recovery

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Monday, 01 May 2017 20:44

Centurion Roston Chase and skipper Jason Holder rescued the West Indies on the opening day of the second Test with Pakistan in Barbados.

Chase scored an unbeaten 131 and Holder added 58 in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 132 as the hosts recovered from early trouble to reach 286-6 at the Kensington Oval.

They had slumped to 37-3 on the back of some fierce bowling from Mohammad Amir, who claimed the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite for nine before Mohammad Abbas had Shimron Hetmyer caught for just one.

Shai Hope managed only five before being caught behind off the bowling of Yasir Shah, bringing Chase to the crease for what would turn out to be a memorable couple of sessions.

He put on 65 for the fourth wicket with opener Kieran Powell before Amir ended their partnership, and Vishaul Singh (1) followed soon after as Abbas claimed his second wicket of the day.

Shane Dowrich managed 29 before falling victim to Shadab Khan but the Windies would recover well from 154-6 thanks to Chase and Holder.

Chase reached three figures after tea, having hit 14 fours, and he added three more boundaries by the close in an innings that saw him face 207 balls - he is six runs short of his Test best of 137 scored last year against India.

Holder smashed eight fours and made it past 50 just before stumps as the West Indies turned things around into a relatively positive start in their bid to overcome their 1-0 series deficit.

Mumbai grab Super Over win

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Published in Cricket
Sunday, 30 April 2017 15:39

Seamer Jasprit Bumrah proved the hero as Mumbai Indians overcame Gujarat Lions in the first Super Over of IPL 10 after match 35 ended in a tie.

Bumra, 23, restricted Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum to just six runs - including a no-ball and a wide - after Mumbai had posted 11-2 off five balls, bowled by James Faulkner.

Kieron Pollard (10) and Jos Buttler (one) were the batsmen dismissed for Mumbai, who had earlier been bowled out for 153 to match Gujarat's 153-9 when Krunal Pandya (29 off 20) was run out off the final ball of the match by Ravindra Jadeja's direct hit.

That forced only the seventh Super Over in IPL history and while Faulkner, on his 27th birthday, followed up his match figures of 2-24 with another double it was Bumrah who had the final say with a clever combination of well-executed, slower-ball yorkers.

Krunal - recalled by Mumbai along with Lasith Malinga (2-33) - had earlier claimed (3-14) after Gujarat won the toss and opted to bat.

Malinga was expensive in his first over - going for 14 runs including a six from Ishan Kishan (48 off 35 balls) - but hit back by knocking McCullum's off-stump out of the turf.

Gujarat seemed well-placed at 46-1 off 4.1 overs but lost three wickets for 10 runs, including the in-form Aaron Finch, bowled for a duck by Malinga off the inside edge.

Jadeja slog-swept his second ball from for six but the innings was rescued by an eighth-wicket stand between Faulkner (21) and Andrew Tye (25 off 12), who put on 43 runs in just 3.1 overs.

In response, Buttler (nine) struck two of his first three balls to the rope as he and Parthiv Patel (70 off 44) got Mumbai's chase off to a rapid start, 40 runs coming off the opening 18 balls.

The flow was interrupted when Patel called Buttler through for a tight single having drilled the ball to point, where Faulkner pulled off a sprawling stop before shying at the stumps and beating the England batsman's dive with a direct hit.

Buttler departed with a face darker than the night sky but the setback didn't knock Patel out of his stride, the 32-year-old striking the ball around the wicket to post a 32-ball half-century.

Mumbai lost their second wicket on 82 when Nitish Rana was adjudged lbw to Ankit Soni - umpire Chris Gaffaney failing to spot a healthy flick off the batsman's glove.

Faulkner shifted the momentum of the match with two wickets in an over after Tye had been carried off the field on a stretcher with a suspected dislocated shoulder - Rohit Sharma and Patel both nicking through - the opener falling one ball after Kieron Pollard was put down badly at midwicket.

The West Indian failed to cash in, picking out McCullum at long on to depart for 15 and wickets continued to tumble - including that of Mitchell McClenaghan, run out by Irfan Pathan's throw from the deep - to pave the way for a grandstand finish.


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