Pakistan's T20I match against Bangladesh was called off on Monday due to heavy rain in Lahore.

The hosts had won the first two clashes in the three-match series, so were already assured of victory before the cancellation of the final meeting meant they came out on top by a 2-0 scoreline.

Pakistan will now play Bangladesh in a Rawalpindi Test match that begins on February 7.

There is a further Test in Karachi on April 5, which starts two days after a solitary ODI clash between the nations.

Bangladesh agreed a revised schedule for their tour earlier this month.

The Tigers had initially said they would only play the three T20Is due to the situation in the Middle East amid tension between Iran and the United States.

India cruised to a 2-0 series lead against New Zealand with a controlled seven-wicket in the second Twenty20 at Eden Park on Sunday.

KL Rahul made a second successive half-century and Shreyas Iyer, who starred at the same venue two days earlier, contributed 44 runs as the tourists easily chased down the required 133 with 15 balls to spare.

Unlike in the series opener, the Black Caps failed to set a competitive total, with Martin Guptill (33) and Tom Seifert (33) the only batsman able to get on top of India's bowlers.

New Zealand must now win all three remaining matches to snatch an unlikely series victory from an in-form India.

Jasprit Bumrah held his place in the line-up after Friday's injury scare and was effective in restricting the home nation to 132-5 on a challenging surface in Auckland.

The seamer finished with economical figures of 1-21 from four overs as New Zealand were made to rue their decision to bat first.

Guptill fell to Shardul Thakur after building a promising 48-run opening partnership with Colin Munro (26), who followed him to the pavilion after giving Virat Kohli his second catch of the game off Shivam Dube.

The excellent Ravindra Jadeja (2-18) removed danger man Colin de Grandhomme and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson in quick succession to reduce New Zealand to 81-4 in the 13th over.

Ross Taylor (18 from 24) and wicketkeeper Seifert added 44 together to lift the total beyond 130, though it never looked like being enough to trouble India.

Rohit Sharma's departure in the opening over of the chase provided false hope to the home fans, who otherwise only had Kohli's exit for 11 - the skipper strangled down the leg side - to cheer about.

Tim Southee (20-2) claimed both key wickets but the rest of the Kiwi attack struggled to make inroads into a high-class top order.

Rahul anchored the innings with a measured 57 from 50 as he and Iyer put on 86 in 11 overs, the latter eventually well caught by Southee off Ish Sodhi (1-33) as India accelerated towards the finish line.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez powered Pakistan to a dominant nine-wicket win over Bangladesh as they clinched the Twenty20 series with a game to spare. 

Pakistan claimed a five-wicket victory in the opening game in Lahore on Friday, and Babar and Hafeez ensured the hosts were in cruise control again at the same venue on Saturday.

After Bangladesh finished on 136-6 thanks predominantly to Tamim Iqbal's 65, Babar (66 not out) and Hafeez (67no) combined superbly for an unbroken stand of 131.

It meant Pakistan clinched the match and the three-match series with 20 balls to spare, rendering Monday's finale a dead rubber.

Bangladesh opener Mohammad Naim went for a duck in the second over and, though Tamim held the innings together, he found little in the way of partners.

Afif Hossain (21), stayed with Tamim for a stand of 45, but after the latter was run out in the 18th over, any impetus Bangladesh's innings had was lost.

Shafiul Islam removed Ahsan Ali for a duck to give Bangladesh hope of defending their total, which was swiftly and brutally extinguished by Babar and Hafeez.

Hafeez brought up his half-century in 39 balls, but Babar was four deliveries quicker, the pair hitting 16 fours and two sixes between them as they tormented the Bangladesh attack en route to an easy win.

Brisbane Heat kept their hopes of a place in the Big Bash League playoffs very much alive with a dominant win over leaders Melbourne Stars.

The Heat started the day on 10 points with two games to play but vaulted into the top five with a 71-run victory clinched with 14 balls to spare at the MCG.

AB de Villiers laid the platform for the Heat with a searing 71 off just 37 balls, helping Brisbane to 186-5.

The table-topping Stars promptly collapsed in response, spinners Mitchell Swepson and Mujeeb Ur Rahman doing the damage for Brisbane as Melbourne were bowled out for 115.

 

DEVASTATING DE VILLIERS

Veteran De Villiers had not scored a half-century in the BBL going into Saturday's contest, but he changed that fact in emphatic fashion.

The South African cleared the rope six times, with two of his sixes coming in an expensive Clint Hinchcliffe over.

De Villiers' primary support came from Australia international Marnus Labuschagne, who finished unbeaten on a 13-ball 24, the pair combining for a fifth-wicket stand of 70.

 

STARS PUT IN A SPIN

Marcus Stoinis (17) got the Stars' chase off to a strong start but it proved the first of two false dawns for the Stars, who lost Stoinis and Seb Gotch to James Pattinson in the fourth over.

Peter Handscomb (27) and Nick Larkin (22) appeared to have mounted a recovery with a stand of 36, only for the former to be run out chasing two as Mujeeb and De Villiers combined in the field.

Danger man Glenn Maxwell (1) followed three balls later as he was bowled by Swepson, who struck again to remove Nic Maddinson (9) and then Larkin after Nathan Coulter-Nile had fallen to Mujeeb for a duck.

That left the Stars on 92-7 and the tail never looked like mounting a remarkable recovery.

 

A TIGHT FINISH

In the fight for the final two playoff places, the Heat join the Scorchers on 12 points and would qualify as it stands, with Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder each a point back with a game to play.

Perth face the Thunder in their finale, while the Hurricanes visit Adelaide Strikers and the Heat face bottom side Melbourne Renegades.

The fight for the top five is going down to the wire.

D'Arcy Short claimed a stunning five-wicket haul as Hobart Hurricanes thrashed Sydney Thunder by 57 runs in the Big Bash League to move into the final play-off spot on Friday.

All-rounder Short had never previously claimed four wickets in a Twenty20 match, but he went one better with figures of 5-21 to make up for a duck with the bat.

Captain Matthew Wade (56) and Mac Wright (64) struck half-centuries to get the Hurricanes up to 185-6 at Blundstone Arena.

The Thunder were always struggling after Short got rid of the in-form Alex Hales for 63, and a dismal collapse saw them collapse to 128 all out all out midway through the 18th over.

Victory for Hobart moves them above the Thunder into fifth spot on net run-rate, with both sides having one match of the regular season remaining. Brisbane Heat are one point behind them with two to play.


SKIPPER WADES IN AS D'ARCY FALLS SHORT

It did not seem it would be Short's day on his return to the side when he was dismissed by Arjun Nair (2-19) from the second delivery he faced, but fellow opener Wade and Wright made amends.

A second-wicket partnership of 97 lifted Hobart but was broken in frustrating fashion, Wade, with eight boundaries from 34 balls, caught behind off the excellent Daniels Sams.

The same combination of Sams and wicketkeeper Jay Lenton accounted for Wright, too, although only after he had dished out some further damage.

Sams ended with 4-34, but George Bailey's 29 off 10 helped ensure Hurricanes put an imposing total on the board.


THUNDEROUS HALES STRETCH INSPIRES

Sydney were always struggling to reach their target, but Hales gave them hope in the sixth over, blasting three straight sixes and a four to end to the powerplay on a competitive 55-0.

Hales stuck around for a time, but the boundaries were not so easy to find.

The opener went in the 13th over as Short claimed his first wicket of the evening, leaving Thunder on 100-3 and in need of something special.


SHORT ROARS BACK TO STUN SYDNEY

Instead Short tore through Sydney's middle order. Chris Morris was trapped lbw later in the same over, before Wright had his revenge for Lenton's earlier work with a diving catch.

Short checked Alex Ross' (36) briefly explosive knock, too, and had his five-for three balls later - fittingly seeing the back of Nair.

Thunder ultimately fell short in dismal fashion, consecutive balls seeing Gurinder Sandhu bowled and Liam Bowe ran out by Wright.

Shreyas Iyer's second Twenty20 International half-century fired India to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand after Jasprit Bumrah gave the tourists a brief injury scare at Eden Park.

The five-match series got under way in impressive fashion for India, despite the Black Caps - led by half-centuries from Colin Munro (59), Kane Williamson (51) and Ross Taylor (54 not out) - posting 204-4 in Auckland on Friday.

KL Rahul (56) and Virat Kohli (45) combined for a second-wicket stand of 99 - aided by some gifts in the field -  to do much of the heavy lifting, and the chase was then completed in style by an unbeaten 58 from Iyer with an over to spare.

Paceman Bumrah took 1-31, yet he looked to be in real pain after a fall during New Zealand's final over, requiring treatment and initially appearing to indicate he could not continue.

India's bowling options for the Test series already look to be restricted by an injury to Ishant Sharma, but Bumrah, who has just returned from a back problem, was able to see out the innings.

New Zealand had started with an excellent partnership of 80 between Martin Guptill (30) and Munro, before Williamson sought to lift the rate as the pace slowed.

Williamson's stand with Taylor was particularly effective - 61 off 28 - but the captain offered a simple catch to opposite number Kohli, and Bumrah then came to the fore.

Tim Seifert was swiftly dealt with, yet the final over began with a four from overthrows, before Bumrah rolled his left ankle on the edge of the wicket with the second delivery, eventually lifting himself to at least limit New Zealand to 203-5.

India's unconvincing fielding paled in comparison to their opponents' initial efforts, though.

Rohit Sharma departed for only seven but New Zealand passed up huge opportunities to halt Rahul and Kohli, failing to run out the former with two attempts and then seeing Ish Sodhi drop the captain.

But Tim Southee clung on brilliantly as Rahul belatedly departed in the 10th over, before an even better take from Guptill spelled the end of Kohli's knock.

The boundaries subsequently dried up, threatening to let New Zealand back in, before Iyer took up the mantle, blasting the winning six - his third - with the final ball of the penultimate over.

James Vince and Josh Philippe made half-centuries as Sydney Sixers thrashed Brisbane Heat by eight wickets in Steve Smith's Big Bash League return.

All eyes were on Sixers batsman Smith in his first BBL appearance for six years, while Heat batsman Marnus Labuschagne played his first match of the 2019-20 tournament after returning from Australia's ODI series in India.

Labuschagne made only three as the Heat were restricted to 126-8, with runs hard to come by on a slow Gabba surface on Thursday.

Steve O'Keefe was named man of the match after taking 1-20 from his four overs, while Jackson Bird, Tom Curran and Ben Dwarshuis took two wickets apiece.

The Sixers eased to their target with 25 balls to spare, Vince making a stylish 51 off 37 balls and fellow opener Philippe an unbeaten 52 from 43.

Smith fell for only nine, but the Sixers were all-but home by then as they moved above Adelaide Strikers into second spot in the battle to face Melbourne Stars in the first Qualifier at the MCG.

The Heat have now lost three in a row and are just outside the play-off spots with two games to play.

 

STRUGGLING HEAT BATSMEN FAIL TO FIRE

O'Keefe stuck a big blow by removing Chris Lynn's off stump in the third over and the Heat were 33-2 in the fifth when Matt Renshaw was removed by Bird, having struck Nathan Lyon for six and four in the previous over.

Lyon had Sam Heazlett caught and bowled before Labuschagne was taken by Smith attempting to pull Curran, with the Heat slumping to 57-5 halfway through their innings.

James Pattinson made a brisk 27 not out from 15 balls after AB de Villiers (25) was caught by Smith in the deep, but the Sixers bowlers did a great job of restricting the Heat to a below-par total.

 

VINCE PROMOTION PAYS OFF

England batsman Vince was promoted to open with Philippe, Daniel Hughes dropping down the order.

He made the most of his opportunity at the top of the order, full of confidence after making an unbeaten 41 in a victory over the Melbourne Stars last time out.

Vince showed his class with glorious strokes on both sides of the wicket, coming down the track to launch Mujeeb Ur Rahman into the stands and reaching his half-century off 34 balls with a classy drive over cover before pulling Ben Laughlin to Heazlett.

 

PHILIPPE RETURNS TO FORM, SMITH MISSES OUT

Wicketkeeper batsman Philippe had mustered only 32 in his previous five knocks, but returned to form in batting conditions that were not straightforward.

Vince comfortably outscored Philippe in a stand of 75, but the 22-year-old clattered Laughlin for 10 off two balls as the Sixers closed in on an emphatic victory.

Pattinson followed Smith and had his Australia team-mate caught behind when he moved outside leg stump attempting an expansive drive, but Philippe brought up his half-century before Moises Henriques put the Heat out of their misery.

Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of India's upcoming Twenty20 and ODI matches against New Zealand with a shoulder injury.

Opening batsman Dhawan sustained the problem while fielding in the first innings of the third ODI against Australia - a series India won 2-1 - in Bengaluru on Sunday.

An MRI has since confirmed the left-hander sustained a grade two injury to his acromioclavicular joint and will begin rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in the first week of November.

Sanju Samson had replaced him in the T20 squad with Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami returning after being rested for the January series against Sri Lanka, while Prithvi Shaw got the nod for the ODIs.

The first of five T20s against New Zealand is at Eden Park on Friday, before the three ODIs begin with a meeting at Seddon Park on February 5.

 

T20 squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Sanju Samson, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur.

ODI squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Kedar Jadhav.

Sydney Thunder's bowlers tore through Sydney Sixers before they won a rain-affected Big Bash League derby match by four runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method on Saturday.

Two interruptions due to adverse weather inside the opening three overs resulted in the match being reduced to 16 overs each, but the Sixers were already in trouble at 6-3.

Daniel Sams claimed figures of 3-14, which included the scalps of Justin Avendano (28) and Ben Dwarshuis (19) – the only Sixers batsmen to reach double figures.

Chris Morris (2-12 from 3.5 overs) removed Jackson Bird and took the bails off to run out Steve O'Keefe for a diamond duck in the final over as Moises Henriques' team were skittled for the second-lowest BBL score of 76.

Usman Khawaja was on 13 when he fell to Tom Curran in the fourth over of the chase, but Callum Ferguson (8 not out) and Sams (5no) ensured the Thunder stayed above the par score by getting to 28-2 when the rain hit again.

The Sixers consequently missed a chance to open up a four-point advantage on the teams chasing second place, with the Thunder now two points back in fourth.

MS Dhoni has lost his central contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), sparking fresh speculation over his international future.

Former limited-overs captain Dhoni was not among the 27 India players to receive deals for the period from October 2019 to September 2020.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has not been in action since the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup last July, though he has not officially retired from the international arena.

India coach Ravi Shastri previously said Dhoni had a chance of featuring at the T20 World Cup if he performed well in the Indian Premier League, which starts in March.

Dhoni made his international debut in an ODI against Bangladesh in 2004 and captained his country to glory at the 2007 World Twenty20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.

He featured in 90 Tests before retiring from the longest format in 2014.

Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Khaleel Ahmed also lost their central contracts, while Mayank Agarwal, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar were granted deals by the BCCI.

Melbourne Renegades' long wait for a first win of the Big Bash League season finally came to an end on Wednesday.

The Renegades beat Sydney Thunder by 12 runs under the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method in a rain-affected clash in Canberra to end their nine-match losing streak in convincing fashion.

Sam Harper (52 off 38 balls) and Shaun Marsh (47 from 34) starred with the bat as the defending champions posted 172-4, with Mohammad Nabi and captain Dan Christian's late big hitting bolstering the total.

Sydney were behind the rate when the weather closed in, returning with a revised total of 135 off 14 overs and coming up short on 122-7 despite the best efforts of Alex Ross (51 off 27), as Christian proved the Renegades' saviour with the ball.

RENEGADES MAKE A STATEMENT

With such a miserable run of form weighing on them, Melbourne needed to post a challenging target.

Opener Marsh certainly got the memo, his 34-ball knock including six fours and a maximum, while Harper also got on the front foot to boost the holders.

Still, the late cameos of Nabi (11 off 3) and Christian (21 off 12) were key, with the Renegades on a modest 125-3 at the end of the 17th over.

A strong finish saw them put up another 47 runs in the final three overs, Nabi thrashing the last ball for six.

 

ROSS CUTS LOOSE BEFORE CHRISTIAN FIGHTS BACK

The revised target was a tough ask for the Thunder, who initially made precious little headway in pursuit.

That was until Ross thrashed 26 balls of one Nabi over to haul his side back into the contest.

But all-rounder Christian came to the fore in the next over, in which he took two wickets – including that of danger man Ross – for just five runs.

There were no late fireworks as the Thunder, who sit sixth, finished on 122-7.

AB de Villiers says he would "love" to make a South Africa comeback but says talk of him playing in the T20 World Cup is premature.

The maverick batsman announced his retirement from international cricket in May 2018 as he had "run out of gas."

Mark Boucher said it would be remiss of him not to try to tempt De Villiers, who turns 36 next month, to play for his country again after he was appointed as Proteas head coach last month.

Captain Faf du Plessis has also spoken of his hope that one of South Africa's greatest ever players will grace the international stage again and talks had been held over a return.

De Villiers is not getting ahead of himself, but would jump at the chance to feature in the T20 World Cup in Australia this year.

"There's a lot that needs to happen before that becomes reality," he said after scoring a quickfire 40 on his Big Bash League debut for Brisbane Heat in a thrashing of Adelaide Strikers on Tuesday.

"I would love to. I've been talking to Bouch, Graeme Smith [South Africa director of cricket] and Faf back home, we're all keen to make it happen.

"It's a long way away still, and plenty can happen – there's the IPL coming up, I've still got to be in form at that time. 

"So I'm thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping that everything will work out. 

"It's not a guarantee, once again. I don't want to disappoint myself or other people, so for now I'm just going to try and keep a low profile, try and play the best possible cricket that I can and then see what happens towards the end of the year."

De Villiers appeared in 114 Tests for his country, with 228 ODI and 78 T20s under his belt.

Josh Inglis and Mitchell Marsh put on a century stand with the bat before Jhye Richardson posted T20-best figures as the Perth Scorchers hammered the Hobart Hurricanes by 77 runs in the Big Bash League.

A 46-ball 73 from Inglis and a valuable knock of 40 from Marsh helped the Scorchers to 175-7 at the Bellerive Oval.

The hosts completely wilted in reply, mustering a measly 98 with George Bailey's 36 providing the best resistance.

Richardson took two wickets in his first over to inflict early damage before returning for a couple more late on and the paceman finished with figures of 4-20.

Perth's third straight win sees them climb to third in the standings, while Hobart remain second from bottom.


INGLIS LESSON FOR HURRICANES

The early losses of Liam Livingstone (3) and Sam Whiteman (8) left the Scorchers reeling but Inglis and Marsh piled on the pressure.

Inglis anchored the innings with four fours and as many sixes in an exciting display, while Marsh was looking dangerous before mistiming one off Rogers to Qais Ahmad.

Just seven balls later, Qais tempted Inglis into a slog to long on and a flurry of late wickets stemmed the momentum.


RICHARDSON ROARS

Things started badly for the home side as the excellent Richardson angled one into Matthew Wade (3), who hurried one to deep square leg, before David Miller (0) top-edged the same man to cover.

Bailey and Caleb Jewell (28) put on 41 but from there only Simon Milenko (19) made double figures.

Richardson would return to the attack to account for Thomas Rogers (5) and Nathan Ellis (0) to complete a fine outing. 

Jonathan Wells and Matthew Short put on a big partnership before Peter Siddle led the way with the ball as the Adelaide Strikers hammered the sorry Melbourne Renegades by 63 runs.

The Strikers scored 66 from the final five overs after a sedate start, with Wells (58 off 38) and Short (41 off 28) combining for 80 runs to help set a competitive total of 173-6 at the Adelaide Oval.

It was a score the Renegades, Big Bash League champions last season, never got near with only Beau Webster (49) and Shaun Marsh (21) making double figures in a risible chase.

Siddle (3-14) was chief protagonist, while Travis Head (2-26) - playing his first BBL game of the season - did early damage and Rashid Khan (2-19) also played an influential role in bowling the visitors out for 110.

The Strikers move third in the table, while the Renegades are 0-9 in an awful defence of their title.


WELLS AND SHORT STEP UP

Phil Salt (18), Jake Weatherald (27) and Head (22) all failed to build on starts and the Strikers were 81-4 when Harry Nielsen (4) trudged back in the 11th over.

But Wells upped the ante, with his knock including five fours and a six, while Short slogged three straight over the ropes in his innings.

It was a partnership that boosted the Strikers at the right time, with each member of the Renegades attack taking a wicket bar Dan Christian.


SIDDLE SINKS RENEGADES

The Renegades were up against it right from the off, with Head sweeping up Marcus Harris (4) in the very first over.

The sensational Siddle cleared up Sam Harper (5) from his first set of six and Marsh's promise was ended by the dangerous Head.

Rashid kept things tight and earned his reward with the wicket of Mohammad Nabi (6) before also ending the valiant resistance of Webster, who clobbered 49 off 33.

Siddle then accounted for Samit Patel (8) and Christian (2), with the rest of the Renegades tail unable to stop the rot.

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