Thursday, 18 January 2018

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A ruthless opening spell from pace man Tim Southee has set the Black Caps up for a 61-run Duckworth-Lewis win in the first one-day international against Pakistan in Wellington. Southee grabbed two wickets in the first over at the Basin Reserve after the Black Caps set a daunting target of 316 for the visitors to chase down. He went on to finish with figures of 3-22 as Pakistan struggled to 166-6 before steady rain forced the match's abandonment at 6.45pm. Southee trapped Azhar Ali lbw with the fourth ball of the first over, a decision which was upheld on review, then removed Babar Azam the same way two balls later with a delivery which looked a little high. Trent Boult induced a loose shot from Mohammad Hafeez late in the fourth over, Southee running in from backward square leg to take the catch and leave Pakistan reeling at 13-3. Opener Fakhar Zaman was immovable, anchoring the innings with an unbeatenl 82, but couldn't find a teammate capable of sticking around at the other end. Shadab Khan came closest, putting on 78 for the sixth wicket before he top-edged Boult to Latham in the 27th over to leave Pakistan 132-6 before rain halted play three overs later. Earlier, Kane Williamson's 115 had set up a record Basin Reserve ODI tally of 315-7 for the Black Caps. It was Williamson's 10th ODI ton, his 27th international century and came off 117 balls. Williamson's century aside, New Zealand's total was underpinned by two solid partnerships. Colin Munro and Martin Guptill set the tone in blustery conditions with an 83-run stand before Hasan Ali finally removed Munro three balls into the 13th over. His 58 off 35 balls included six fours and two sixes, and continued the form which featured a 53-ball 104 in the third Twenty20 against the West Indies earlier in the week. Guptill and Williamson then put on 73 for the second wicket before Guptill was gone for 48. Hasan, who headed the Pakistan bowling with figures of 3-61, bowled Ross Taylor for 12 in the 33rd over, Tom Latham making only three before he followed in the next over to leave New Zealand 198-4. But Williamson and Henry Nicholls steadied the ship with a 90-run stand for the fifth wicket before Nicholls was dismissed on 50 by Hasan Ali with just two overs remaining. The second ODI of the five-match series is at Saxton Oval in Nelson on Tuesday.
The England Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that Ben Stokes has been replaced by Dawid Malan in England's one-day international squad to face Australia. Stokes was named earlier this month in England's squad for the forthcoming series, even though he remains unavailable for international selection. The ECB said he would not travel with the group of players leaving for Australia on Tuesday and his availability will depend on Crown Prosecution Service advice. The match-winning all-rounder is still waiting to see if he will be charged by British police over an incident following the late-night fracas outside a Bristol nightclub on September 25. "Should ECB receive formal confirmation that he has either, a) been charged or, b) will face no charges, the ECB board would convene within 48 hours to make a decision on his availability to represent England at that stage," ECB said in a statement on their website. The ECB has also confirmed that Ben Stokes has been given approval to enter the IPL draft and granted a No Objection Certificate [NOC].
Australia are well placed to reclaim the Ashes with an emphatic victory in the third Test, having broken records with the bat then reduced England to 4-132 at stumps on day four at the WACA. Australia posted their highest total in a home Ashes Test innings, declaring at 9-662 some three and a half overs after Sunday's meal break. England require a further 127 runs to make the hosts bat again. The enormity of their challenge was underlined by a near-unplayable delivery from Mitchell Starc that straightened after hitting a crack then uprooted James Vince's off stump. "Ball of the Ashes and possibly the ball of the 21st century," Shane Warne remarked on social media. Mother Nature, not mother country, looms as the biggest threat to Steve Smith's side taking an unassailable 3-0 series lead in Perth.
The Blackcaps have wrapped a 3-0 series win against the West Indies with a comprehensive 66-run victory in the rain-affected third ODI in Christchurch. The hosts were teetering at 83-3 after 19 overs when increasingly steady rain first forced the players from the field just before 12.30pm. After a couple of false starts the teams finally returned to play out a 23-over contest, the Blackcaps total of 131/4 adjusted by the Duckworth-Lewis system. Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner were the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets apiece as the side ripped through the tourist's top order, at one stage reducing them to 5/9. Ross Taylor top-scored for New Zealand with an unbeaten 47 off 54 balls, while stand-in skipper Tom Latham notched 38. Earlier, West Indies left-armer Sheldon Cottrell had grabbed two early wickets, removing George Worker and Neil Broom - both for two - inside the first five overs. Skipper Jason Holder chipped to dismiss the dangerous Colin Munro for 21, three balls into the sixth over to leave the Kiwis 26-3. Stand-in skipper Tom Latham (23) and the in-form Ross Taylor (32) had launched a comeback with a 57-run fourth-wicket partnership before the rain break. The Black Caps had won the toss and opted to bat against a West Indies team boosted by the return of big-hitting opener Chris Gayle after he missed the second ODI, and played a limited part in the first, due to illness. He replaced Evin Lewis, while Nikita Miller was also back in the side, replacing Ronsford Beaton, and Chad Walton came in for Shimron Hetmyer. The Kiwis comfortably won the first two ODIs, the first by five wickets in Whangarei last Wednesday, and the second by 204 runs at Hagley Oval on Saturday
New Zealand have ended a 21 month drought without a men's sevens title to capture gold in Cape Town, South Africa. They had too much class for Argentina in the final on Monday morning (NZT), winning 38-14 with six tries to two. It was New Zealand's first title win since securing victory in Vancouver in March 2016, a run of 15 tournaments without a Cup win. Leading 14-7 at halftime in Cape Town, New Zealand scored the all important first try of the second half. Tim Mikkelson finished off a break from Vilimoni Koroi to give the Kiwis breathing space.

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