Shane Warne dies: Gilchrist, Stokes and Botham lead tributes to Australia great

By Sports Desk March 04, 2022

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  • India crush South Africa in first T20I after bowlers make record-breaking start in Kerala India crush South Africa in first T20I after bowlers make record-breaking start in Kerala

    India capitalised on a blistering start to post an eight-wicket win over South Africa in their first T20I on Wednesday, becoming the first team to capture five wickets in the opening three overs of a game in the format.

    The Men in Blue wasted no time in decimating the South African batting order in Kerala, with Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Chahar combining to reduce the Proteas to 9-5. 

    The stunned tourists set a target of just 106, one India experienced little trouble in surpassing courtesy of half-centuries from KL Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav.

    South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma failed to lead from the front on his return from injury as he was dismissed six balls in, and that was a sign of things to come as Arshdeep produced an incredible second over.

    Arshdeep accounted for Quinton de Kock (1), Rilee Rossouw and David Miller – the latter duo for ducks – in the space of five deliveries as South Africa crumbled, before Chahar handed him a catch from Tristan Stubbs (0).

    South Africa avoided further loss until Harshal Patel bowled Aiden Markram (25) lbw in the eighth over, but they made slow progress towards their score of 106-8 through Wayne Parnell (24) and Keshav Maharaj (41).

    India joined South Africa in losing their captain early as De Kock caught Rohit Sharma for a duck following Kagiso Rabada's delivery before doubling up to fell Virat Kohli (3).

    That was the extent of the Proteas' response, however, with the efforts of Rahul (51 not out) and Yadav (50 not out) ensuring India brought up 110 runs with 20 balls remaining as they seized the initiative in the three-match series.

    South Africa run ends in dramatic fashion 

    South Africa came into Wednesday's match having won their last four completed T20Is away from home, looking to post seven wins on tour in a calendar year for just the second time in the format (after winning 14 in 2021).

    However, their hopes of extending that fine run were left in tatters by India's fast start with the ball, as Arshdeep and Chahar ensured they became the first bowling side among full-member teams to scalp five wickets in the first three overs of a T20I.

    Rahul and Yadav ease India to victory

    South Africa's tally of 106 runs is the seventh-lowest score they have managed in the format, with their worst such performance also coming in India this year (87 all out in Rajkot in June).

    India made a slow start to their chase, posting their lowest score (17-1) in a six overs powerplay in the format. However, the patience of Rahul and Yadav ultimately paid dividends as India cruised to a routine win.

  • India-Pakistan Tests in England 'would be awesome', says Moeen India-Pakistan Tests in England 'would be awesome', says Moeen

    Moeen Ali has voiced his support for a reported proposal from the England and Wales Cricket Board to host Test matches between India and Pakistan.

    The two neighbouring nations, who share a complex history, have not played one another in cricket's longest format since 2007.

    Pakistan have only recently seen the resumption of home matches for the first time in 10 years.

    But the ECB is said to be working on a plan to have India play Pakistan on neutral in England. ESPNcricinfo reports Pakistan are unlikely to take up the offer as the PCB concentrates on hosting matches itself.

    It is an idea that appeals to Moeen – an England international of Pakistani descent.

    "That would be awesome, brilliant," he said. "It's a shame that they don't play each other unless it's a World Cup or an ICC event because they're two great teams and two massive playing nations.

    "With the viewing figures involved, it would be one of the biggest games, and it’s not been done for a very long time.

    "It would be great because Pakistan have a really good bowling attack, and India have a great Test side. It would be really good."

  • Pakistan looking to cast away Asia Cup disappointment as England return after 17 years Pakistan looking to cast away Asia Cup disappointment as England return after 17 years

    England has seen its fair share of historic moments as of late, and the trend will continue when the men's national cricket team plays a first match in Pakistan since 2005.

    The first of seven T20Is takes place in Karachi on Tuesday, with England facing a Pakistan team that lost to Sri Lanka by five wickets in the final of the Asia Cup earlier this month.

    It is expected that a sell-out crowd of 35,000 will be on hand to take the moment in, and England vice-captain Moeen Ali is "honoured" to be leading his team against in the country of his birth, with regular skipper Jos Buttler missing for the opener with a calf injury.

    "Being captain, regardless of who it's against, is a great honour," he said at a press conference. "But to do it in Pakistan, coming back after so long... on top of that, having family who migrated from here back in the day, it's amazing to lead the England side. It's awesome.

    "I'm somebody that wants to play cricket in every cricketing nation. Pakistan and Zimbabwe were the two I've really wanted to tour. It's amazing that we're here. It's a big thing for England to come to Pakistan."

    With the T20 World Cup on the horizon, both teams will be looking to prepare with a strong showing in this series.

    England are unbeaten in their last five men's T20I matches against Pakistan away from home, winning four and drawing one.

    However, they have not played them outside of England since November 2015.

    Despite heartbreak in the recent Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka, Pakistan are in strong form, having won four of their last five men's T20Is on home soil, with their only defeat coming in their most recent clash against Australia in April.

    They have a 100 per cent winning record in the seven T20Is played at the National Stadium in Karachi. At no other venue have Pakistan won more games in the format without registering a single loss, which does not bode well for the tourists given the first four games of the series will be played there.

    England come into the series having begun a new white-ball era, with head coach Matthew Mott and freshly installed captain Buttler, who took over following the retirement of Eoin Morgan.

    Moeen is taking his role as vice-captain seriously, though, and wants this tour to be the "starting point" as England look ahead to the World Cup in Australia.

    "It's important we don't put pressure on ourselves and say 'we are going to win the World Cup'," he said. "I don't think we're favourites now. We are one of the better sides, but not favourites.

    "This summer was quite poor for us. We didn't play very well at all. This is going to be the starting point. You are going to see a real change in the way this side plays and goes about things."

    If they can match the change in fortunes of their Test side, England could be about to put on a show in Pakistan. Either way, the fact they are once again playing in the country feels more significant than any result that could occur over the next seven games.

    Shadab looking to climb the ranks

    Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan is hoping for a historic series of his own.

    He currently sits on 81 wickets in T20Is, and needs just five more to become the outright second-highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in the format, with Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul on 85 each.

    Safe hands the key for England

    T20Is can often be decided by the fine margins, such as competence in the field. To that end, England have managed a catch success rate of 89 per cent in the format in 2022, the highest such rate for any full member side of the ICC this year.

    England have caught 47 of the 53 chances presented to them in this span.

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