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Women’s World T20: Players to watch out for

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Smriti Mandhana top-scored in the Kia Super League with 421 runs at 60.14 and a strike rate of 174.68 © Getty

Suzie Bates (NZ)

The highest run-getter in Women’s T20Is – closing in on 3000 runs – Suzie Bates has been in prolific form this year. She’s the lone batter to cross 500 runs in the format. She’s also the only player to average in excess of 50 among the top 10 run-getters in T20Is, having scored four fifties and one T20I hundred in 12 innings at a strike rate of 141.38. The New Zealand opener also scored in excess of 400 runs in the Women’s Big Bash League and close to 250 runs in the Women’s Super League in England and will be central to New Zealand’s batting plans at the World T20.

 

Elyse Villani (AUS)

The experienced Victorian, who has been the linchpin of the Australian middle-order, has been a consistent performer for her teams in the 20-over format. One of only two players to cross 500 runs in the 2017-18 edition of the Big Bash League, Villani also had a useful stint with Loughborough Lightning in the Women’s Super League, averaging close to 30 despite limited opportunities with the bat. In nine T20I innings for Australia this year, Villani has scored 253 runs at an average of 42.16 with three half-centuries, with her strike rate of 131.77 providing more fire-power to the strong Australian batting order.

Natalie Sciver (ENG)

The Tokyo-born 26-year-old, who grew up playing cricket in the Netherlands, has been an integral part of the England setup with her all-round skills – close to 1000 runs and nine short of 50 wickets in the T20I format. The third highest run-getter in the Women’s Super League this year, with 363 runs at an average of 45.25 and a strike rate of 143.65, Sciver had also scored in excess of 300 runs in the WBBL. She also averages 53.83 in T20Is this year.

 

Smriti Mandhana (IND)

 

While Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj have been among the top Indian run-getters in T20Is this year, Mandhana completes India’s trio in the top-five run-scorers’ list. Her average of 26.11 in T20Is in 2018 is overshadowed by other batters but Mandhana came into her own during the Super League where she amassed 421 runs at 60.14 with a strike rate of 174.68, with a hundred and two fifties to finish as the league’s top run-scorer. In March this year, she scored the fastest fifty for India in T20Is for Women, entering the record books twice in four days when she scored a 30-ball 50 against Australia and followed it up with a 25-ball half-century against England.

 

The South African captain is the fifth highest run-scorer in T20Is this year

The South African captain is the fifth highest run-scorer in T20Is this year © Getty

 

 

Dane van Niekerk (SA)

 

The fifth highest run-scorer in T20Is this year, the South Africa skipper has been a consistent performer for her side. Van Niekerk’s value goes to the team goes beyond the runs she scores. She claimed 13 wickets in the Super League at 14.76 and 20 wickets in the WBBL at 11.70 to finish among the top-five wicket-takers in both the leagues.

 

Nida Dar (PAK)

 

It has been a mixed-bag year for Pakistan in T20I cricket, with the team registering series wins against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh while failing to make it to the Asia Cup final and being white-washed by Australia in the three-match series in October. The one person who has stood tall amidst these results is the experienced Nida Dar, who is the lone Pakistan player to feature among the top-10 wicket-takers in T20Is in 2018. Occupying the third spot currently with 20 wickets, her economy of 4.44 and average of 10.55 is the best among the top five. Her offbreak on slow Caribbean pitches will be a key component in Pakistan’s attack.

 

Rumana Ahmed (BAN)

 

Two three-wicket hauls in the Asia Cup, including one against India in the all-important final, the 27-year-old legbreak bowler has been a key performer for Bangladesh this year. With 26 wickets at an average of 10.73 and an economy of 4.53, Rumana occupies the second spot on the list of highest wicket-takers in T20Is in 2018. Rumana is also a capable batter in the middle-order, coming up with crucial knocks in the 50-over format for Bangladesh, although she’s yet to translate that into T20Is.

 

Hayley Matthews (WI)

 

When she made her T20I debut against New Zealand in November 2014, she was not even 16. Apart from a couple of useful knocks she didn’t really make a mark until the final of the 2016 World T20, when she smashed 66 off 45 against Australia to help the Windies clinch the title. There has been no looking back ever since as she has evolved into a proven performer for her side and the 20-year-old will be key to Windies’ fortunes during this tournament. Fresh off a three-figure score against South Africa in an ODI and 70 against the same team in a T20I, Matthews forms a vital cog in the Windies batting unit along with experienced names such as Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor.

 


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I am the greatest player in the world: Gayle after announcing retirement

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Dubai: West Indies swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle, who recently announced that he would bid adieu to one-day internationals after the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, has described himself as the “greatest player in the world”.

When quizzed if he is satisfied with his career, the 29-year-old said that he is a great man and that he would take the tag of the “Universe Boss” to his grave.

“You’re looking at a great man.I’m the greatest player in the world. Of course I’m still the Universe Boss. That will never change. I’ll take that to the grave,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Gayle as saying.

 

Looking forward to a fairy-tale swansong by winning the May 30 to July 14 showpiece event, the 39-year-old said that it is time to give opportunities to youngsters to come forward and show their talent.

“Yes, I’m looking to draw the line after the World Cup. Or should I say cut the string? Definitely, in 50-over cricket, the World Cup is the end for me. I’ll let the youngsters have some fun and I can sit back in the party stand and watch them have some fun,” Gayle said.

“Winning the World Cup would be a fairy-tale finish. The youngsters owe it to me to win. They have to do that for me and try and get me the trophy. I’ll be looking to put my input in as well,” he added.

However, it will not be an end of the international career for Gayle as he has not ruled out playing for West Indies in the ICC World T20 in Australia in late 2020, when he will be 41-year-old.

While stressing that his body is feeling good at the moment, Gayle further hoped to feature in England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) inaugural 100-ball competition in 2020.

“If I don’t start it, it won’t be a tournament. I guess England should invite me over. Then I’ll explode the tournament and say ‘thank you guys; bring in a youngster now.’ I’ll set the trend like I did in all tournaments around the world,” the Caribbean star said.

“I’m in good condition. The body is feeling good and I’m pleased with that. I’ve lost a bit of weight and I don’t want to get too big. I’m still working on my six pack. I’m trying to keep up with the youngsters in the field who are like cats the way they chase the ball. I still have it in me and I’m still enjoying it,”he continued.

Gayle, who made his debut in 1999 during an ODI series against Bangladesh, has appeared in a total of 284 matches in the 50-over format and scored 9,727 runs, including 29 centuries and 49 fifties. He also notched 1,607 runs in 56 T20Is and 7,215 runs in 103 Tests he played for West Indies.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean batsman is just 273 runs short of becoming the 14th man and second West Indies player to smash 10,000 ODI runs.

The part-time off-spinner, who has a total of 255 scalps to his name in the three formats, will look to reach the 10,000-run mark when he will lock horns with England in the five-match ODI series beginning February 20 in Barbados.

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Covering of Imran Khan Pictures in India ‘Regrettable’, Says PCB

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Islamabad:The Pakistan Cricket Board has said it will take up with the BCCI the “regrettable” removal of pictures of its former players at venues in India after the Pulwama attack.

PCB’s Managing Director Wasim Khan, in a statement issued , 17 February, said the issue will be raised during an ICC meeting scheduled to held in Dubai next month.

This comes after the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai covered a portrait of former Pakistan captain and present prime minister Imran Khan, as a sign of protesting against the ghastly attack , 14 February, which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF jawans.

 

“… covering or removing portrait of former Pakistan cricket captain and Prime Minister Imran Khan and other legendary cricketers from one of the most historic cricket clubs and venues are highly regrettable actions.”

In addition to CCI’s move, the Punjab Cricket Association too removed photographs of Pakistani cricketers from various points inside the PCA Stadium in Mohali.

Elsewhere, IMG Reliance announced its withdrawal as the official production partner for the Pakistan Super League to protest against the Pulwama attack.

“… we have always believed and emphasised that sports and politics should be kept separate. History tells us that sports, particularly cricket, have always played a key role in building bridges between people and countries.”

Reacting to IMG Reliance’s pull-out as broadcasters of PSL 2019, Wasim said: “We have been informed by IMG Reliance that they will be unable to partner with us for the remaining PSL 2019 and PCB has reserved all its rights. The PCB always had a contingency plan in place.”

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Messi the only player in the world who can win a game on his own : Anderson

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London: Former Barcelona striker Sonny Anderson says Lionel Messi can win any game on his own, but he understands why coach Ernesto Valverde has left him out of his team this season.

The Spanish champions are preparing to face another of Anderson’s former sides Lyon in the Champions League.

Messi has been left out of Valverde’s team on a number of occasions this term, most significantly for the Copa del Rey semi-final draw against Real Madrid earlier in February.

 

And ahead of Champions League last-16 first leg, Anderson was sympathetic with Valverde’s need to rotate his star man in order to get the best out of him.

In an exclusive interview with Goal, the Brazilian said: “Messi is one hundred per cent capable of winning any game on his own and at any moment he wants, and that is why he [Valverde] takes care of him at Barcelona.

“He wants him to be at his best. Barcelona will suffer a lot when he is not there, so I see very well that they take care of him.

“I fully understand that he was not in the starting line against Real Madrid, and that the team has the quality to play some games without Messi.

“But as a rule he [Valverde] has to try to get the most out of him because he is the only player in the world capable of deciding a game on his own.”

Barca go into the tie against the Ligue 1 outfit as favourites to progress, but to do so they will have to find a way past a team that has already got the better of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain this season.

Lyon edged through to the last-16 after finishing second behind City in the group stage, and needed a hard-fought draw against Shakhtar Donetsk on the final matchday to ensure progression.

“The Lyon game is more difficult than it seems,” said Anderson. “Already against Manchester City and PSG, they have made good duels this season. It is a team that usually improves when playing against the strongest in Europe.

“I think with or without Messi, it will be very difficult for them. Lyon can get a good result at home but at Camp Nou it will be very difficult for them to do what Messi does.”

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