Steve Smith insists there are no hard feelings towards West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran despite his relatively lenient four-match ban for ball tampering.

Australia's skipper at the time, Smith, along with vice-captain David Warner and team-mate Cameron Bancroft, received a long suspension for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March 2018.

Smith and Warner did not play for a year following sanctions handed out by Cricket Australia, with Bancroft returning after nine months.

Meanwhile, Pooran, who admitted to changing the condition of the ball in a one-dayer against Afghanistan, will miss four games after being punished by the International Cricket Council.

The Windies will soon have Pooran available again, but Smith would prefer not to reflect upon the contrasting punishments.

"Everyone is different, every [cricket] board is different with the way they deal with certain issues," Smith said. "For me, I copped it on the chin. It is what it is.

"I don't feel hard done by. It was a long time ago now. I've moved past it and I'm focusing on the present.

"I know Nicholas, I've played a bit of cricket with him, and he's a talented player and someone with a bright future.

"I think he'll learn from his mistake and move past it. I think he's going to be an exceptional player in white-ball cricket."

Evin Lewis produced a fiery batting display as West Indies made a winning start to their Twenty20 series against Afghanistan.

After a 3-0 success in the ODI games, the apparent wide gulf between the sides was exposed again as West Indies powered to a 30-run victory.

West Indies posted 164-5 as Lewis flayed Afghanistan for 68 from 41 deliveries, before the minnows were limited to 134-9 in reply.

Curiously, a cloud reportedly made up of insect repellent forced a delayed start to the night match in Lucknow, but there was little holding back Lewis once he found his rhythm.

Despite failing to score a run from the first seven balls he faced, Lewis made up for lost time with a brutal assault of the Afghanistan attack.

He was eventually caught by Mohammad Nabi off Gulbadin Naib, having plundered six sixes and four fours, and captain Kieron Pollard added middle-order impetus with 32 from 22 balls to help West Indies to their competitive total.

Four Afghanistan batsmen went past 20 but Najibullah Zadran top-scored with just 27. Fareed Ahmad was unbeaten on 24 after a late flourish, but momentum was always lacking.

Early wickets fell at a steady rate before four fell for just seven runs as the run rate soared, West Indies quick Kesrick Williams returning of 3-17 from four overs.

Pollard also poached two wickets to swing man-of-the-match honours his way.

The second and third matches in the T20 series take place on Saturday and Sunday before a one-off Test, which gets underway on November 27.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran has been handed a four-game ban for ball tampering, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday.

Pooran admitted changing the condition of the ball as the Windies sealed a whitewash in their three-game ODI series against Afghanistan with a five-wicket victory in Lucknow on Monday.

Video footage showed the 24-year-old scratching the surface of the ball with his thumbnail and he accepted the sanction put forward by match referee Chris Broad, avoiding the need for a formal hearing.

As part of the suspension handed down by the ICC, Pooran will sit out the three Twenty20 internationals against Afghanistan.

Pooran said: "I want to issue a sincere apology to my team-mates, supporters and the Afghanistan team for what transpired on the field of play on Monday in Lucknow.

"I recognise that I made an extreme error in judgement and I fully accept the ICC penalty. I want to assure everyone that this is an isolated incident and it will not be repeated.

"I promise to learn from this and come back stronger and wiser."

Deepak Chahar claimed the best bowling figures in Twenty20 Internationals history, extinguishing Bangladesh's victory ambitions as India claimed a 30-run win to clinch the series in Nagpur.

With the three-match rubber all-square at 1-1, Bangladesh were well-placed in pursuit of India's 174-5, with Mohammad Naim dominating from the top of the order.

Naim fell for a superb 81 off 48 balls, containing 10 fours and two sixes, yorked by the impressive Shivam Dube (3-30), who held a return catch to remove Afif Hossain the next ball.

But it was Chahar who would steal the limelight.

Having accounted for Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar with consecutive deliveries in his first over, right-arm seamer Chahar returned to have Mohammad Mithun (27) caught in the deep by KL Rahul.

The score was 110-3 after 13 overs at that stage, but Mushfiqur Rahim chopped on for Dube's first wicket and his double strike left India clearly in the ascendancy.

Chahar still had a glorious salvo up his sleeve, having Shafiul Islam and Mustafizur Rahman caught at long-on and deep point before bowling Aminul Islam for his hat-trick and an astonishing return of 6-7.

Rahul earlier laid the platform for India's match-winning total with an accomplished 52, while Shreyas Iyer provided the fireworks with 62 from 33 deliveries – illuminating a match that would ultimately belong to Chahar.

Tim Southee is praying the deciding game of New Zealand's back-and-forth T20 series against England does not end in a tie after his country's haunting Cricket World Cup final defeat to the same opponents.

England beat the Black Caps to win the showpiece on home soil in July via a super over after the scores were level at the end of 100 gripping overs.

The two sides are now closely matched once again, with the five-game T20 series level at 2-2 after England's 76-run win in Napier on Friday.

Inspired by Dawid Malan hitting England's fastest T20 century (103 not out from 51 balls) and captain Eoin Morgan, who hit 91 from 41 deliveries, the tourists triumphed to set up a decider in Auckland on Sunday.

Asked about the chance of a tie, stand-in New Zealand captain Southee (1-47) said: "We've been there! Hopefully it doesn't come down to that."

Of his side's heavy defeat, with New Zealand only making 165 in response to England's 241-3, Southee added: "That can happen in T20, the guys will learn from it and move on. Good thing is we go again in two days. 

"It's more about guys learning from the experience of being put under pressure by Morgs and Malan - the only way is to take wickets."

Regular skipper Kane Williamson, who is not playing in the series due to a hip injury, has been training with his team-mates and is confident he will be fit for the first Test against England at Mount Maunganui on November 21.

He has only batted four times since that World Cup final defeat and explained to Sky Sports: "It's been an ongoing niggle that comes and goes.

"It is settling, which is nice. A lot of [the last few months] has been rehab to get the hip right. 

"I had a four-dayer recently and there's a gap between this series and the first Test, so it's basically training going into it.

"If you're looking at perfect preparation, gametime can be nice - spending time in the middle - but it'll be tough to come by seeing as there's not a lot of cricket between now and then. 

"So it's just trying to get the mindset right to go on and execute your plans as well as you can."

Sean Abbott described his Australia return as "a privilege" after he earned the man-of-the-match award in his first international appearance for five years.

The fast bowler, 27, had not played for his country since a Twenty20 against South Africa in Sydney on November 9, 2014, but was back to face Pakistan in Perth on Friday.

Abbott was only hit for two boundaries as his figures of 2-14 from four overs helped Australia to restrict Pakistan to 106-8 in the third T20I. 

Captain Aaron Finch (52 not out) and David Warner (48 not out) then led Australia to a 10-wicket triumph, sealing a 2-0 win in the three-match series.

"It's been a privilege to be part of this side," Abbott said of his return. "It's awesome to be back out here.

"A lot of hard work has gone into it, but there's a lot of talent in this country.

"The guys have been playing really well and they've welcomed me back in the group. Very pleased."

Australia have a rating of 269 in the T20I rankings and are just one behind leaders Pakistan.

They have won series against India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 2019 without losing a match, putting them in a strong position ahead of hosting next year's T20 World Cup.

Finch said: "Really proud of my boys. The way we've applied ourselves over the last couple of weeks has been really impressive. We're improving as a team and that's the most important thing. 

"The way Ashton Agar bowled in these two series was amazing. He was outstanding, alongside Adam Zampa and they were bowling against quality players of spin. The quicks in the powerplay were outstanding, too. Mitchell Starc in general and Abbott in this game.

"It's pleasing one of our top three batted really deep throughout the two series and we can only kick on from here."

Pakistan, by contrast, are on a miserable run. They have lost 2-1 to South Africa, 1-0 to England, 3-0 to Sri Lanka and now struggled against the Aussies in their last four series in the shortest format.

"I am very disappointed, but we lost to a very good team," said captain Babar Azam.

"We've learnt a lot and we want to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again. As captain, I learnt a lot personally too, but there's a long way to go. 

"[Muhammad] Musa and [Mohammad] Hasnain were bowling well, but Finch and Warner were just in a different class. We wanted to blood them and I'm sure the experience will be good for them in future."

Australia and Pakistan will now prepare for two Test matches, the first coming in Brisbane on November 21.

Aaron Finch hit an unbeaten fifty as Australia stormed to a 10-wicket victory over Pakistan in the third Twenty20 international, sealing a 2-0 triumph in the three-match series.

After weather impacted the first match, Steve Smith inspired Australia to victory in Canberra and Friday's match in Perth also went the way of the hosts in comprehensive fashion.

Captain Finch opted to bowl after winning the toss on a lively pitch and was rewarded when Pakistan struggled to 106-8, Kane Richardson recording the best figures as he took 3-18.

Openers Finch (52 not out) and David Warner (48no) reached the target themselves in only 11.5 overs.

Australia's win cuts Pakistan's lead at the top of the world rankings to just one point.

Mitchell Starc got Australia off to a flying start, taking the key wicket of Pakistan captain Babar Azam (6), which was upheld after the batsman reviewed, before bowling wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan for a golden duck.

Pakistan were in a hole at 22-3 when man of the match Sean Abbott (2-14) – playing his first international in five years – got rid of Imam-ul-Haq (14).

Iftikhar Ahmed was the only man to offer meaningful resistance as he hit 45 from 37 balls, but wickets tumbled around him, including that of debutant Khushdil Shah (8), who fell to Richardson.

When Richardson removed Iftikhar as Starc caught him at fine leg, the tourists' total was only 92 with 23 deliveries left, the tail left to bat out the innings.

Australia's reply got off to an eventful start, with David Warner's six from the third ball only just beating third man before Imam missed a glorious run-out opportunity.

The openers were in control from there, though, Finch's total coming from just 36 balls with three maximums, and Warner ending just short of a half century himself after hitting six boundaries in a 35-ball knock.

Pakistan's other debutant, Muhammad Musa, came in for punishment with figures of 0-39 from his 3.5 overs.

The teams will now turn their attention to two Test matches, the first of which starts in Brisbane on November 21.

Dawid Malan credited Eoin Morgan with providing him the momentum to break records in England's Twenty20 victory over New Zealand on Friday.

Malan scored England's fastest T20 century by smashing an unbeaten 103 from 51 balls, while captain Morgan raced to 91 off just 41 deliveries in Napier.

The duo shared 182 runs as the tourists reached an imposing 241-3 – England's highest partnership and innings total in the format.

The Black Caps were skittled for 165 in response, Matt Parkinson claiming figures of 4-47, as Morgan's men clinched a 76-run triumph that levelled the series at 2-2 ahead of the final game in Auckland on Sunday.

"The message is always the same, play aggressively and back yourself," said Malan, who hit nine fours and six maximums.

"It's not very often you have days like that when every time you have a hack at one it lands safe or goes for six. It's as good as it gets.

"I felt like I had rhythm today, glad I clicked especially with these short boundaries.

"It helps batting with Morgs as well, he changed the momentum of the game and I piggybacked him a bit. To do it on the biggest stage is a fantastic experience."

Morgan added: "It was quite a clinical performance. Myself and Dawid have played for a long time together at Middlesex and we know each other pretty well.

"It was enjoyable, we had a lot of laughs out there. It was a beautiful wicket to bat on."

Eoin Morgan put England's collapse in the 14-run defeat to New Zealand down to a lack of experience as they fell behind in the five-match Twenty20 international series.

The tourists were coasting towards their 181-run target at Saxton Oval on 139-2 in the 15th over on Monday.

However, captain Morgan holed out to Mitchell Santner to spark a loss of five wickets for just 10 runs as New Zealand moved 2-1 ahead in Nelson.

"I think that's one that got away from us," Morgan said in the post-match presentation. 

"I thought we were in control the whole chase, probably until we went three or four down - then the lack of experience in the chase possibly cost us.

"But the guys that have come in need to play more games and get in more situations like that, in order for us to find more out about them.

"I think it's great the series has been so competitive so far, we're integrating everybody into the squad, but certainly we feel that's one that slipped away.

"The game plan remains the same. Everything about what we do is positive, smart, aggressive cricket - in the field, with the bat, with the ball - and we want young guys to come in and adapt to that.

"There are a lot of positives to take from today but, certainly moving to Napier and a must-win game to level the series, we'll need to up our game."

Opposite number Tim Southee acknowledged the Morgan wicket swung the match towards New Zealand, but he was confident his side were always in the contest and praised Colin de Grandhomme's ultimately crucial knock of 55 off 35 in the team's 180-7.

"It showed that if we could keep taking wickets, it would get tougher and tougher for the news guys coming in," Southee said. 

"I think with Morgan going they were nicely placed but we kept chipping away. It was great to see Colin come out and get a score. It's nice to win game like that, could have gone either way at the halfway mark."

England lost five wickets in the space of four overs in collapsing to a 14-run defeat to New Zealand in the third Twenty20 in Nelson on Tuesday.

Dawid Malan's half-century and a measured 49 from James Vince had the tourists cruising towards their target of 181 before captain Eoin Morgan slogged a Mitchell Santner (1-41) delivery to Colin Munro in the 15th over.

Munro then ran out Sam Billings (1), Vince scooped Beau Tickner to mid-off and Lockie Ferguson removed Sam Curran (2) and Lewis Gregory (0) in quick succession as England crumbled from a position of strength at 139-2.

Colin de Grandhomme earlier rattled off 55 from 35 balls to help give the Black Caps a 2-1 series lead going into the penultimate match of the series on Friday.

New Zealand elected to bat first and made a blistering start thanks to Martin Guptill, who continued the form that saw him make 41 in Wellington.

The experienced opener clubbed seven fours in a quick-fire 33 before falling to a fine Tom Curran catch off the bowling of Pat Brown (1-34).

Momentum stalled as Munro and Tim Seifert (7) departed cheaply but a 66-run stand between all-rounder De Grandhomme and veteran Ross Taylor (27), along with contributions from Jimmy Neesham (20) and Santner (15), bumped the total up to a defendable 180-7.

England looked set to make light work of the chase after losing only Tom Banton inside the opening 10 overs, the debutant completely missing a Tickner off-cutter on 18.

Malan threw away his wicket with the score on 90 by heaving Ish Sodhi's (1-30) full toss to Guptill in the deep but Vince and Morgan combined to add another 49 runs in less than five overs.

Vince further reduced the required run rate with four boundaries in as many balls faced, only for Morgan's exit on 18 to spark the collapse.

England lost 10-5 in all, with Tom Curran (14 not out) playing a lone hand amid the fall of wickets.

Ferguson (25-2) and Tickner (25-2) were the pick of the bowlers for the Black Caps, who now have the chance to complete a series victory when the teams meet in Napier.

Quinton de Kock expects Faf du Plessis to captain South Africa in the ICC T20 World Cup next year but says he would grab the opportunity "with both hands" if he was asked to take over.

De Kock led the Proteas in a drawn Twenty20 series with India in September as Du Plessis was given a rest.

The wicketkeeper-batsman will also skipper Cape Town Blitz in the Mzansi Super League, but he believes Du Plessis will lead his country in Australia next year.

De Kock told ESPNcricinfo: "The way I see it is that I was just a replacement. That's the way I took it. For now, it's still Faf's baby. But maybe if things change and they do want me to do it, then I will do it.

"For the moment, I am not looking too far ahead. I am just trying to look at how I can help out with the youngsters, with the new guys in the T20 team and by myself, just getting better and getting ready for the T20 World Cup next year.

"But if that does come upon me, then I will try to grab it with both hands."

De Kock says South Africa can take inspiration from the way England turned around their fortunes in limited-overs cricket to win the Cricket World Cup this year.

"We are not the first team that has gone through a transition," De Kock said. "England did it after their last World Cup and look at them. Four years later, they end up winning the thing.

"It's alright if the whole country and guys are a bit down and out but when we all gather together, especially after winning this Rugby World Cup, a lot of people are pumped up.

"[People] want to get this transition going so, by the time we get to our next World Cup, we can really put ourselves in a good stead, just like England did."

Rain stopped Australia from chasing down Pakistan's total as the opening Twenty20 match was abandoned at the SCG on Sunday.

Australia were 41-0 from 3.1 overs in the revised 15-over contest after Pakistan set the hosts 119 for victory, when the rain arrived again in Sydney.

Pakistan had reached 107-5 in the weather-affected game – a target readjusted after play was halted for just over an hour mid-match – before the clash was washed out.

Amid the threat of showers, Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and sent Pakistan into bat in the first of three T20s.

Fresh off a 3-0 series sweep of Sri Lanka, Australia got on top early after Mitchell Starc (2-22) – producing a first-ball duck – and Kane Richardson (2-16) struck to leave Pakistan 10-2.

Led by top-ranked T20 batsman and captain Babar Azam – who finished unbeaten on 59 from 38 balls atop the order – Pakistan recovered from their slow start.

Mohammad Rizwan (31) was Pakistan's next best performer before he fell victim to the spin of Ashton Agar (1-23), with Asif Ali (11) the only other batsman in double-figures.

Desperate for a result against the touring nation, Finch got Australia off to a flying start with an unbeaten 37 runs from 16 deliveries.

Finch hit 26 from one Mohammad Irfan over but rain spoiled the party, with the game just 11 balls shy of the five overs needed to constitute a match.

 

 

 

New Zealand defeated England by 21 runs to level the Twenty20 series at 1-1 in Wellington on Sunday.

England were too good for the Black Caps in Friday's series opener – a rematch of the heartbreaking Cricket World Cup final won by the tourists.

But New Zealand managed to strike back at Westpac Stadium, where the hosts bowled England out for 155 in reply to the Black Caps' 176-8 target.

A quick 41-run partnership between Chris Jordan (36) and Lewis Gregory (15) gave England hope after the ODI champions were struggling at 91-5, but man of the match Mitchell Santner (3-25) ended that stand – and with it – the touring side's chances.

Daryl Mitchell (1-9) claimed the final wicket with one ball remaining, while Tim Southee (2-25), Lockie Ferguson (2-34) and Ish Sodhi (2-37) also impressed with the ball.

Like game one of the five-match series, New Zealand were sent in to bat by England captain Eoin Morgan, but it did not work out as well for the visiting skipper.

A power-packed Jimmy Neesham finish led the Black Caps to a healthy total – the batsman hitting 42 off 22 deliveries after England's Jordan had starred with 3-23 and Sam Curran chipped in with 2-22.

New Zealand capitalised on a poor fielding display from England, who dropped five catches – James Vince the main culprit after shelling three himself.

Martin Guptill set the tone, but the Black Caps opener was unable to build on his 41 as he was removed by Adil Rashid (1-40), after Colin Munro (7) and Tim Seifert (16) fell cheaply – the latter becoming debutant Saqib Mahmood's (1-46) first victim.

At 96-3 through 10 overs, New Zealand looked on track for a big score, however, Colin de Grandhomme (28), Ross Taylor (28) and Mitchell (5) were unable to bat through and dominate before Neesham's late show.

The Black Caps then defended stoutly as Dawid Malan (39) and Morgan (32) lacked support from their team-mates atop the order.

Joe Denly has been ruled out for the remainder of England's T20 international series against New Zealand with a right ankle injury.

The Kent batsman did not feature in England's seven-wicket opening game win on Friday, having picked up the injury in practice on Thursday, with scans since showing the 33-year-old has sustained ligament damage.

A replacement will not be called up for the remaining four matches of the series with Denly to be monitored in view of a return to the Test Series against the Black Caps, which begins on November 21.

The second T20 international with New Zealand will be playing in Wellington on Sunday.

Peerless David Warner concluded a dominant Twenty20 series with another half-century as Australia made it three wins from three with a seven-wicket defeat of much-improved tourists Sri Lanka.

Australia clinched the series after just two matches following a pair of dismal Sri Lanka showings, before the 3-0 whitewash was sealed on Friday in more testing circumstances.

Sri Lanka had failed to reach three figures in the opener as their hosts celebrated a record win, before their batting effort in a nine-wicket second reverse was condemned as "unacceptable" by coach Rumesh Ratnayake.

A total of 142-6 at the MCG was therefore encouraging, with Kusal Perera top-scoring by making 57 - his side's first fifty of the series.

Yet that tally was still never likely to be enough to stop an Australia outfit powered by the resurgent Warner, who followed up knocks of 100 not out and 60no with an unbeaten 57, completing the chase on 145-3 with 14 balls to spare.

Playing for his country for the first time since a dismal Ashes series with the bat, Warner led the way in all three matches without losing a wicket on his return to a shorter format, with T20s and Tests against Pakistan now next up later this month.

It had appeared Sri Lanka might be set for further humiliation when Niroshan Dickwella departed for a golden duck in the first over, but Kusal Mendis (13) and Perera steadied the ship.

Ben McDermott had taken a simple catch for the breakthrough off Mitchell Starc's (2-32) bowling, and the next two wickets - Kane Richardson (2-25) removing Mendis, and Pat Cummins (2-23) prising out Avishka Fernando (20) - also landed kindly in the lap of the Tasmania star.

Yet Sri Lanka still did not crumble, thanks largely to Perera, who responded in a partnership with Oshada Fernando that plundered 23 off 14.

Cummins finally got rid of Perera, directing to extra cover, in the 17th over, but some solid late work from Bhanuka Rajapaksa (17 no) carried the visitors to a respectable if ultimately uncompetitive score.

Aaron Finch recovered from his first-ball exit in the second match to do the early heavy lifting with the bat for Australia, making 37 off 25 before Lahiru Kumara intervened.

The Warner-Steve Smith partnership that sped the Aussies to victory last time out was less effective on this occasion - the latter going for 13 - but the in-form opener kept to his task.

Warner found another effective partner in Ashton Turner (22 off 15), although the former might have departed when the ball dropped onto his stumps and the bails stayed on.

That let-off allowed the T20 specialist to reach his half-century and then fittingly clinch victory with a four.

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