In the heart of the majestic Southern Alps in Queenstown, the Indian women’s cricket team have an uphill task. They need to prepare for the World Cup in March, and the rehearsals started with two consecutive losses.
After surrendering in the first T20I, Mithali Raj and Co. lost the first ODI of the five-match series by 62 runs. The bowlers had a decent outing as they dismissed the White Ferns for 275, but the batters folded for 213, falling short of the target by a mile.
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New Zealand opener Suzie Bates led the charge with a fine hundred (106 off 111), followed by a gritty fifty (63 off 67) by Amy Satterthwaite. Both the Indian pace and spin department bowled with a lot of heart and shared nine dismissals among themselves, one being a run-out, but the batters could not chase down the target.
Mithali Raj (59) and Yastika Bhatia (41) were the only ones among runs in the chase. India missed superstar opener Smriti Mandhana who missed the game due to extended quarantine restrictions.
Langer resigns from Australia coach job
After deliberate discussions and meetings, Justin Langer is no more part of the Australian cricket set-up. The former international batter, who recently coached the Aussies to a 4-0 Ashes win besides emerging victorious in the T20 World Cup, resigned this fortnight.
Cricket Australia had offered a short-term extension to Langer, but he did not accept the offer. There were several reports about the Australian’s intense coaching style and that it had rubbed the players the wrong way, but recently Test skipper Pat Cummins penned down a heartfelt note.
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“Justin has acknowledged that his style was intense. And it was. He has apologised to players and staff for his intensity. I think the apology was unnecessary. Because the players were ok with JL’s intensity. It came from a good place — his fierce love of Australia and the baggy green — something which has served Australian cricket well for three decades,” Cummins said in a statement.
Fixing complaint in Lanka Premier League
The Lanka Premier League, Sri Lanka’s franchise T20 tournament, ran into rough waters as the Sports Ministry of the island nation has launched an investigation after complaints of match-fixing.
Jagath Fonseka, the head of the corruption prevention unit, informed that a leading national batter complained after being approached to fix games. “He told us that he had been approached by a rich businessman’s son and a friend of the same man to do so. We have forwarded the papers for the Attorney General,” Fonseka told reporters.
The second edition of the league, with many foreign players, concluded in December 2021. Thisara Perera’s Jaffna Kings beat the Galle Gladiators to lift the trophy.
The tournament also included international cricketers such as Shoaib Malik, Jayden Seales, Mohammad Amir and Samit Patel.
Hazlewood records best T20I figures in Australia
Josh Hazlewood made a sensational return to international cricket by recording his best figures in T20Is. The lanky paceman, whose Ashes campaign was cut short due to a side strain, returned 4/12 in the rain-interrupted first game of the five-match series against Sri Lanka.
Ben McDermott’s 41-ball 53 and Marcus Stoinis’ 17-ball 30 lifted the Aussies to 149/9. With rain playing spoilsport, the target was reduced to 143 in 19 overs. The touring party ended at 122/8 in 19 overs. The host won the game by 20 runs under the DLS method.
Hazlewood was the chief architect of the victory, followed by leg-spinner Adam Zampa who finished 3/18. Sri Lanka batters Pathum Nissanka Silva (36) and Dinesh Chandimal (25 not out off 16 balls) provided a ray of hope that lasted for a brief period.
The series also marked the beginning of the post-Langer era for Australia under interim coach Andrew McDonald.