The IPL ended, and less than two days later the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup started. In between, the Women’s Big Bash League got underway after a COVID-19 scare in Hobart.
Here is a look at the main news from the week so far.
Scotland edge out Bangladesh
Who’d a thunk it? Sixth-ranked Bangladesh, coming off home T20I series wins over Australia and New Zealand, were beaten by Scotland on the opening night of the T20 World Cup in Oman.
Having been stunned by Ireland in a warm-up match leading into the tournament, Bangladesh dropped their tournament opener and now need to beat both Oman and Papua New Guinea to be guaranteed of advancing to the Super 12 stage.
Having opted to field, Bangladesh dragged Scotland back from 45/1 to 53/6 with offspinner Mahedi Hasan grabbed two wickets in his opening overs en route to figures of 3/19 and Shakib Al Hasan surpassing Lasith Malinga for most wickets in men’s T20Is. But up stepped Chris Greaves (45 from 28 balls) and Mark Watt (22 off 17) with a half-century stand that hauled Scotland past 100.
Chasing a target of 141, Bangladesh kept losing wickets. Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das perished to aerial shots inside the Powerplay, but Shakib (20) and Mushfiqur Rahim (38) steadied the innings. It seemed as if Bangladesh, despite a mounting asking rate, had enough wickets in hand but Greaves came into the attack and turned the match with two wickets. Looking for big runs against the legspinner, Shakib and Mushfiqur perished to Greaves.
The pressure told on Bangladesh, who ended up needing 24 runs from the last over. Mahedi and Mohammad Saifuddin combined to strike two fours and a six off Safyaan Sharif but still fell short by six runs.
Campher grabs four in four
On day two of the T20 World Cup, the Ireland allrounder Curtis Campher became the third man to claim four wickets in four balls in a T20I match, after Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan.
Campher achieved the remarkable feat during the 10th over of Netherlands’ innings in Abu Dhab, when he dismissed Colin Ackermann, Ryan ten Doeschate and Scott Edwards to take a hat-trick and then claimed Roelof van der Merwe to make it four in four.
The first wicket was Ackermann, who gloved a short ball down the leg side. Then the Netherlands and Essex veteran ten Doeschate was trapped lbw, before the hat-trick ball delivered the wicket of Edwards, via some help from DRS. Campher’s fourth in a row came when former South Africa international van der Merwe dragged a wide ball onto his stumps.
Following this unprecedented collapse, Netherlands were bowled out for 106 and Ireland chased it down with 29 balls and seven wickets remaining.
Indian flavour adds spice to WBBL
The Indian contingent in the seventh season of the WBBL in Australia made headlines for their respective franchises over the past few days.
Playing her first WBBL, teenage batting sensation Shafali Verma struck a fifty in her second match to help the Sydney Sixers beat the Hobart Hurricanes by five wickets with three balls to spare. Chasing 126, the Sixers were 14/2 after the losses of Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner before Verma (57) and Ellyse Perry (27) put on 63 to steady the innings. The usually swashbuckling Verma was sedate in reaching her maiden fifty from 45 balls, but then struck three fours in four deliveries to put her team within reach of victory.
In the same match, Verma’s team-mate Radha Yadav took two wickets and held a superb one-handed catch to dismiss the dangerous Mignon du Preez for 1, while teenaged batter Richa Ghosh made 46 from 46 balls for the Hurricanes, hitting three sixes.
Elsewhere in the WBBL, India’s Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur made winning contributions for the Melbourne Renegades in a six-wicket win. Opening the innings, Jemimah scored 33 from 34 balls and Harmanpreet, who earlier took a wicket, remained not out on 24 from 19.
England wait on Livingstone injury concern
England’s bid to become joint ODI and T20 World Cup champions has been given a serious concern with an injury to key allrounder Liam Livingstone, who was forced off the field in the latter stages of the team’s warm-up loss to India in Dubai with a finger injury.
Livingstone, who scored 30 off 20 balls and dismissed Virat Kohli with his offspin, hurt the little finger on his left hand when attempting a catch. England’s medical team will wait for the swelling to subside before releasing further news on Livingstone’s injury.
The allrounder returned to England’s T20I team this year after scoring heavily in domestic cricket and T20 leagues around the world, and then smacked the quickest century for his country (off 42 balls) against Pakistan. In Ben Stokes’ absence, Livingstone is shaping as a pivotal figure in England’s lineup.