Sri Lanka sweep Bangladesh Test series with crushing win

Sri Lanka sweep Bangladesh Test series with crushing win
Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Kumara (R) celebrates after the dismissal of Bangladesh’s Litton Das during the fourth day of the second Test cricket match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 03 April 2024
Follow

Sri Lanka sweep Bangladesh Test series with crushing win

Sri Lanka sweep Bangladesh Test series with crushing win
  • Sri Lanka won the first Test in Sylhet by 328 runs
  • Bangladesh will host Zimbabwe for five T20s in May in their next international engagement, ahead of the T20 World Cup starting in June.

CHITTAGONG: Lahiru Kumara finished with 4-50 to help Sri Lanka thump Bangladesh by 192 runs in the second Test and sweep the two-match series 2-0 on Wednesday.

The fast bowler dismissed last man Khaled Ahmed to wrap up a one-sided contest before lunch on the fifth day in Chittagong.

Hosts Bangladesh, chasing a mammoth 511 in their second innings, added just 50 after resuming on 268-7.

Mehidy Hasan Miraz staged a lone fight to stay unbeaten on 81 after completing his sixth Test half-century.

With a Sri Lankan triumph all but inevitable when the day began, Mehidy played some positive strokes to bring up his 50 off 68 balls.

He lost overnight partner Taijul Islam for 14 when the batsman drove off-spinner Kamindu Mendis to Nishan Madushka at gully.

Kamindu finished with 3-32 to go with his unbeaten 92 with the bat in the first innings, earning him the man of the match award.

He was also named player of the series after scoring a hundred in both innings of the first Test.

“The bowlers did their basics on this wicket and the batters did their job as well,” Sri Lankan captain Dhananjaya de Silva said.

“The batters were a bit disappointed about not getting runs in the first Test, but we have experienced players. I was confident they would get runs,” he added.

“There wasn’t a lot of spin on offer. So I thought about reverse swing as a way to get wickets. The pacers were really on the spot.”

Sri Lankan pacers accounted for 33 of the 40 Bangladesh wickets to fall, a rare feat on Bangladesh’s generally spin-friendly pitches.

Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto said the home side’s poor showing for the red-ball series would provoke some soul-searching.

“If you look at our batting, everyone got set but didn’t get a big score. That’s something to think about,” he said.

“If you get set, you have to make a score. We have to play more first-class cricket.”

Sri Lanka won the first Test in Sylhet by 328 runs.

They also triumphed in the three-match T20 series 2-1 but lost the one-day international series by the same margin.

Bangladesh will host Zimbabwe for five T20s in May in their next international engagement, ahead of the T20 World Cup starting in June.


Saudi Arabia display resilience to secure notable ACC Premier Cup victory

Saudi Arabia display resilience to secure notable ACC Premier Cup victory
Updated 2 sec ago
Follow

Saudi Arabia display resilience to secure notable ACC Premier Cup victory

Saudi Arabia display resilience to secure notable ACC Premier Cup victory
  • Match likely to represent a landmark triumph

AL-AMARAT: On the evening of the second day of the ACC Premier Cup, my taxi driver rubbed the tips of his fingers together, not in anticipation of money but to indicate that something was in the air.

If he meant rain, he was correct. People woke early in Muscat on day three, Sunday, to the sound and sight of medium to heavy rain. Forecasts indicated that it would die away by 11 a.m. This turned out to be the case. The ground staff got to work on turf two at Al-Amarat, clearing the covers, rolling the wicket and preparing the outfield, which had dried very quickly.

Fortunately, only two matches were scheduled for day three, both on turf two. The first was Oman v Cambodia; the second, Hong Kong v Saudi Arabia. Play commenced at noon on turf two with Oman batting in a match reduced to 11 overs per side.

Prior to that, at 11:45, the covers came off turf one, the roller went to work, along with associated preparations. Perhaps turf one would be used for the second game of the day, thus allowing a full quota of overs for the first match. However, it seemed that, despite those preparations, turf one would be rested. The day’s second match was to be played to the 20 overs per team. It would have been interesting to see how the matches would have been balanced in terms of overs had four games been scheduled for day three.

Oman were asked to bat first, and lost a wicket in the first over. Undeterred, the batters sought to score quickly, given the reduced number of overs. Seventeen came off the third over, 18 off the fifth, largely off the bat of Naseem Khushi, who finally perished with 69 in the eighth over. Further hitting in the final two overs propelled the total to 154 for five.

Cambodia made a steady start in the first five overs, scoring 44 runs, but their innings unraveled in dramatic fashion in the sixth over, bowled by Aqib Ilyas. The first ball was scooped to deep square, where the fielder could not get his hands to the ball. However, off the next ball, Viraj was caught at deep midwicket, Beukes came in and was bowled first ball, followed by Godara, who misread the delivery, cutting it onto his stumps, to give Ilyas a hat-trick.

After that, wickets continued to fall, only captain Luqman Butt displaying resistance in a lone fight, ending undefeated on 41 out of 91 for seven.

There had been little danger of an upset after the first five overs of the game, but the scene was set for Saudi Arabia to achieve the first one of the tournament, after a disappointing defeat in the first match. The team elected to bat and a different intent was visible from the outset. Although S. Khan was dismissed in the fourth over, Abdul Waheed, who could easily have been run out in the same over, stroked his way to 77 in partnership, first with F. Khan, 30, and then with Manan Ali, 44, whose straight hitting was instrumental in Saudi reaching an imposing 202 for eight.

 

 

It was the team’s second highest T20I total after the 221 for three against Bhutan on Feb. 15, 2024. Indeed, the team’s top five T20I totals have all been scored in 2024. Signs, perhaps, of a team on the rise.

In Saudi’s first match on day two, the bowlers had impressed. If a defense of 202 was to be achieved, they needed to impress again. Despite an early success for Ishtiaq Ahmad, who pinned Y. Murtaza lbw, the opening bowlers were not at their best, conceding 57 runs in five overs. The introduction of captain Hisham Shaikh turned out to be inspirational. Out of nowhere, for no reason, A. Rath skied a catch, and two balls later B. Hayat pulled a shortish ball into the deep but straight to a fielder who took a fine catch above his head.

In the first match Saudi had reduced Malaysia to 53 for five after 10 overs, but failed to make that advantage count. In this match, the introduction of slow left armer Zain Ul Abidin was responsible for restricting the progress of Hong Kong. He bowled four overs and claimed three wickets for only 16 runs. When his spell ended, Hong Kong were 106 for six after 13 overs, requiring another 97 runs in seven overs at 14 per over. This was beyond the capabilities of Nizakat Khan, who made a defiant 73 in a lost cause as the innings closed on 147 all out, 55 runs adrift.

This is likely to represent a landmark victory; a sign of a team adapting to the demands of a higher level of competition, especially after the day two defeat.

Perhaps that has galvanized the team. It does mean that in Group A Nepal lead the way with four points from two matches, followed by three teams, each with two points — Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong — with Qatar bottom with no points. The stage is set for a probable three-way battle for second place.


Big bucks Mitchell Starc, Phil Salt help Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Lucknow Super Giants in IPL

Big bucks Mitchell Starc, Phil Salt help Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Lucknow Super Giants in IPL
Updated 14 April 2024
Follow

Big bucks Mitchell Starc, Phil Salt help Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Lucknow Super Giants in IPL

Big bucks Mitchell Starc, Phil Salt help Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Lucknow Super Giants in IPL
  • Starc's 3-28 kept Lucknow down to 161-7 at Kolkata's Eden Gardens

KOLKATA: Phil Salt's rapid 89 and three wickets for Mitchell Starc helped Kolkata Knight Riders race to a crushing eight-wicket win over Lucknow Super Giants on Sunday.
Starc's 3-28 kept Lucknow down to 161-7 at Kolkata's Eden Gardens, with the other Knight Riders' bowlers putting in disciplined performances after their side elected to field first.
The Australian left-arm quick became the most expensive buy in IPL history after Kolkata shelled out $2.98 million for his services.
Opener Salt then steered the two-time IPL winners to their target in 15.4 overs for their fourth victory in five matches this season.
It was the English wicketkeeper-batsman's second half-century in the current IPL edition after he scored 54 in his team's opening win last month.
Salt held the chase together despite Kolkata losing two wickets including opener Sunil Narine for six.
He put on 120 runs with skipper Shreyas Iyer, who made 38, smashing 14 fours and three sixes in his 47-ball knock.
Players have been jostling to impress their national selectors ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup starting June 1 in the West Indies and the United States.
Starc started slowly, leaking 10 runs in his first over, but came back strongly and sent back Deepak Hooda in his third with the help of a diving catch at backward point from Ramandeep Singh.
Mystery spinner Narine choked the flow of runs and returned figures of 1-17 before Starc bowled the 20th over for just six runs and two wickets.
He got the dangerous Nicholas Pooran on the first ball, caught behind for 45, and finished with a yorker to bowl Arshad Khan.


Disappointment for Saudi team in first match of ACC Men’s Premier Cup

Disappointment for Saudi team in first match of ACC Men’s Premier Cup
Updated 14 April 2024
Follow

Disappointment for Saudi team in first match of ACC Men’s Premier Cup

Disappointment for Saudi team in first match of ACC Men’s Premier Cup
  • Saudi Arabia now play Hong Kong in a must win match on day three

AL-AMERAT: On April 12, the men’s Asia Premier Cup got off to a flying start on Oman’s two side-by-side turf grounds at Al-Amerat, Muscat.

This excellent facility provides the opportunity for two matches to be played on each turf a day. The press tent is situated between the two grounds so that both matches can be observed simultaneously.

Prospects of upsets were high. In Group A, Oman, one of the favorites to earn the top place and progress to the Asia Cup in 2025, were run close by Bahrain, who fell four runs short of victory. Oman had been given a scare and an upset avoided.

Another contender for top spot, the UAE, was subject to a steady top-order batting display by Kuwait, who posted 178 for 8. At 26 for 3, the UAE innings was on the back foot, but an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 153 avoided another potential upset.

Nepal twanged the heartstrings of their supporters against Malaysia, who posted a creditable 143 for 3. Captain Virandeep Singh anchored the innings with an unbeaten 72, supported by S. Muniandy, Nepal, using eight bowlers. Nepal made heavy weather of its reply, wickets falling at critical times, before a sixth-wicket partnership of 30 runs sent their delirious supporters into raptures. No other team in this tournament has this boisterous, enthusiastic support. There seemed to 100 or so, all working in Oman, making a noise far beyond their numbers. Crucially for them, another potential upset had been avoided.

In their performance, Malaysia had given a warning that they represented a strong challenge for Saudi Arabia on Day 2. Choosing to bat first, Malaysia lost Virandeep Singh in the first over, bowled by Ishtiaq Ahmad. Tight bowling by Saudi’s quicks reduced Malaysia to 53 for 5 after 10 overs. Several smart catches were taken but there was some ragged fielding.

At this critical juncture in the innings, Saudi needed to turn the screw. However, the left-handed A. A. Wahid rebuilt the innings, with help from V. Unni, and a late flurry of scoring in the last two overs took Malaysia to 146 for 7. This target looked achievable on a good batting pitch.

Saudi’s start was steady, but the introduction of spin at both ends stifled the scoring. In the sixth over, Saudi attacked but then lost two wickets in the seventh over, the score 47 for 3. Then came drama. First there was the dismissal of the captain, H. Shaikh, who was adjudged to be stumped, and then K. Abbas was caught behind in the same over, the batter being unimpressed to be out.

At 91 for 5 in the 15th over, the game was in the balance. A profitable over of 12 runs then ensued off a left-arm quick. The return of slower bowlers brought extra pressure and, despite several lusty blows, the lower order all gave straightforward catches in their attempts to find the boundary. As a result, the innings closed 12 runs short on 134 all out, with 5 balls spare.

It is a match that Saudi will be disappointed to lose. At 53 for 5, the Malaysian innings was in deep trouble, but they managed to wriggle free and then post a competitive score. The Saudi batters had difficulty in scoring sufficiently against the slower bowlers. Even so, to finish 12 runs short with 5 balls remaining suggests that some improved game management will be beneficial. Overall, the Malaysian team probably fielded better. The margins are so tight in T20 cricket that fielding often makes the difference.

In the other matches of day two, Kuwait made light of Cambodia’s 141 for 5, reaching the target in the 12-over for the loss of only 2 wickets. The UAE totalled an imposing 236 for 6 against Bahrain, who responded in positive fashion, particularly Ali Butt and I. Anwar with some superlative straight hitting. Ultimately, they perished and the team fell short by 37 runs.

However, the real fireworks of the day were provided by Nepal who scored 210 for 7. Before the last over, they had scored 174 for 7. Dipendra Singh Airee then smashed 6 sixes to place himself as only the third player to do that in T20I cricket. The others were Yuvraj Singh in 2007 and Kieron Pollard in 2021. Qatar replied with a spirited 178 for 9 and will wonder how much closer they might had been, but for Airee’s blitz.

At the end of Day 2, the UAE and Nepal lead their respective groups, each with two wins from two matches. Saudi Arabia play Hong Kong in a must-win match on Day 3.


Shimron Hetmyer seals IPL thriller for Rajasthan Royals over Punjab Kings

Shimron Hetmyer seals IPL thriller for Rajasthan Royals over Punjab Kings
Updated 13 April 2024
Follow

Shimron Hetmyer seals IPL thriller for Rajasthan Royals over Punjab Kings

Shimron Hetmyer seals IPL thriller for Rajasthan Royals over Punjab Kings
  • Royals cemented top spot in the IPL table with third straight win

CHANDIGARH: Shimron Hetmyer provided the finishing touches to Rajasthan Royals’ last-over win against Punjab Kings in an Indian Premier League thriller on Saturday.
Punjab needed 10 runs from the last over, and Hetmyer (27 not out off 10 balls) held his nerve against death-bowling specialist Arshdeep Singh. After two dot deliveries, Hetmyer hit 6-2-6 to help Rajasthan cross the finish line with a ball left.
Rajasthan finished with 152-7 in reply to Punjab’s 147-8.
The Royals cemented top spot in the league with a third straight win, while the slumping Kings were handed a fourth loss in six games.
Put in to bat, Punjab missed Shikhar Dhawan and English allrounder Sam Curran stepped in as skipper.
The hosts were pegged back regularly by losing wickets.
Rajasthan’s spinners squeezed the scoring rate. Yuzvendra Chahal took 1-31 in four overs and Keshav Maharaj picked 2-23. Maharaj dismissed Jonny Bairstow (15) and Curran (6) and helped to reduce Punjab to 52-4 in 9.3 overs.
Jitesh Sharma anchored Punjab with 29 off 24 balls, including two sixes, but it was impact player Ashutosh Sharma who gave Punjab 147 to defend by scoring 31 off 16 until he was dismissed by Trent Boult (1-22) off the final ball.
Tanush Kotian replaced Rajasthan opener Jos Buttler and combined for 56 runs with Yashasvi Jaiswal. Jaiswal, in a slump, scored 39 off 28 balls with four fours.
As opposed to Rajasthan’s spin, Punjab’s pace did the heavy lifting and got the vital breakthroughs. Kagiso Ramada dismissed Jaiswal, and in-form skipper Sanju Samson for 18.
Liam Livingstone bowled Kotian as Rajasthan’s chase was struggling at 89-3 in the 14th over.
At 115-5, Hetmyer and fellow West Indian batter Rovman Powell took charge. Powell 11-off-five cameo gave Rajasthan the impetus that Hetmyer used to finish with a flourish of three sixes.


Jake Fraser-McGurk shines on IPL debut as Delhi Capitals thrash Lucknow Super Giants

Jake Fraser-McGurk shines on IPL debut as Delhi Capitals thrash Lucknow Super Giants
Updated 12 April 2024
Follow

Jake Fraser-McGurk shines on IPL debut as Delhi Capitals thrash Lucknow Super Giants

Jake Fraser-McGurk shines on IPL debut as Delhi Capitals thrash Lucknow Super Giants
  • Australian’s 55-run knock, studded with five sixes and two fours, came to an end when he holed out to Arshad Khan
  • Delhi moved to ninth in the 10-team contest after registering only their second victory

LUCKNOW: Jake Fraser-McGurk smashed a half-century on his Indian Premier League debut as Delhi Capitals thrashed Lucknow Super Giants by six wickets on Friday to reignite their hopes in the money-spinning T20 competition.
Fraser-McGurk, who had celebrated his 22nd birthday on Thursday, shared a 77-run partnership for the third wicket with captain Rishabh Pant (41) to help Delhi overhaul Lucknow’s 167-7 with 11 balls to spare.
Delhi moved to ninth in the 10-team contest after registering only their second victory from six outings.
Lucknow, who came into the match with three wins out of four, are now placed fourth.
“Spent five-six games on the sidelines itching to get out there,” said Fraser-McGurk.
“I’m so happy to be here, different world in terms of cricket. Never seen anything like it, to be able to savour eight weeks, hopefully more, is amazing.”
Delhi lost opener David Warner early with the Australian dragging a ball from Yash Thakur on to his stumps soon after he was attended to by the physio for a blow he took on his knuckles.
Prithvi Shaw (32) was caught brilliantly by Nicholas Pooran at deep midwicket off Ravi Bishnoi but Pant and Fraser-McGurk steadied the innings with their stand.
Fraser-McGurk, who went unsold in the IPL auction but came in as a replacement for Lungi Ngidi, hit Krunal Pandya for three huge sixes in a row in one over to underline his power-hitting prowess.
The Australian’s 55-run knock, studded with five sixes and two fours, came to an end when he holed out to Arshad Khan, but by then Delhi needed just 28 runs off 32 balls.
Pant went past 3,000 IPL runs before being stumped off Bishnoi for 41 off 24 balls including two sixes and four boundaries.
“We were about 15-20 runs short, we should’ve capitalized to get to 180,” said Lucknow skipper K.L. Rahul.
“McGurk was very unknown. We’ve watched a lot of videos of him but he hit the ball really well, credit to him.”
Earlier, Lucknow were off to a fine start after electing to bat but they stumbled after the powerplay, losing two wickets in two balls to left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav (3-20).
Yadav, 29, had missed Delhi’s last two matches due to an injury.
The slow bowler struck to send back Rahul (39 off 22 balls).
Rahul tried to slash the ball which was turning away and a Delhi review confirmed a nick.
Lucknow were tottering at 94-7 in the 13th over but Ayush Badoni top-scored with an unbeaten 35-ball 55 and shared 73 runs for the eighth wicket with Arshad Khan (20 not out) to ensure a fighting total on the board.
It was the first half-century this IPL season for Badoni, who hit one six and five fours.