Steve Smith conceded he may lack the strength of Twenty20 cricket's big hitters, but the Australia star knows he has the talent to make runs in the shortest format.

Speaking after smashing a magnificent unbeaten 80 off 51 deliveries to help Australia beat Pakistan by seven wickets, Smith cited his placement and timing as key.

The result at Manuka Oval gave the hosts a 1-0 series lead and it all hinged on Smith's well-crafted knock.

"If you look at my batting record in T20 internationals, it's not crash hot," said Smith.

"I guess you have to bear in mind, [early in my career] I was batting number eight or nine, coming in and slogging, facing half a dozen balls tops. It's never easy so it's going to affect your record at some point.

"I don't doubt my ability. I know the tempos of the game and I've played a lot of [T20] cricket now.

"I may not be as strong as some of the other guys but I use placement and timing.

"The white ball usually flies off the bat particularly when it's brand new. If you're timing the ball well you get value for your shots most places."

Australia successfully chased down 151 for victory in the second of three T20 meetings, with Smith accounting for over half of that total in an innings that included 11 fours and one maximum.

The former captain gave an insight into his thought processes when he is at the crease with a target to beat, and described his responsibility to "fix it" when things are not going to plan.

"If you're chasing, you weigh up the situation and what you need and what you need to go at, which bowlers you want to target and just work out the maths in your head and that's chasing," he explained.

"Batting first you have to sum up conditions and how the wicket is playing, what you think a good score is and who is in the opposition, all those sorts of things.

"I've played a lot of cricket now, I'm pretty experienced and my role in this team is to fix it if the top don't come off.

"They [the top order] have been exceptional in these games that we've played, Sri Lanka and the first one against Pakistan before we got washed out.

"They're pretty consistent up top so if they don't come off then it's up to me to fix it."

Steve Smith smashed an unbeaten half-century as Australia beat Pakistan by seven wickets at Manuka Oval to lead the Twenty20 International series.

Prolific captain Babar Azam made a classy 50 and Iftikhar Ahmed bludgeoned 63 not out from only 34 balls to get the tourists up to 150-6 after winning the toss.

Australia looked to be heading for an emphatic victory in the first match of the series when they were frustrated by rain, but they were not to be denied two days later in the day-night contest in Canberra.

Smith got them home with a magnificent 80 off 51 deliveries, pacing his innings to perfection as top-ranked Pakistan were consigned to defeat with nine balls to spare.

The brilliant Babar struck Kane Richardson's first two balls for four and kept Pakistan ticking along after Fakhar Zaman and Haris Sohail fell cheaply to Pat Cummins and Richardson respectively.

Ashton Agar (2-23) put the squeeze on, seeing the back of Mohammad Rizwan and Asif Ali with Pakistan struggling to increase the run rate, Cummins and Mitchell Starc also giving little away.

Pakistan were 106-5 when Babar was superbly run out by David Warner just after reaching his half-century - which included six fours - but Iftikhar struck Richardson for three sixes and found the ropes five times in a much-needed onslaught.

Warner (20) was looking ominous in the run chase until the in-form opener's off stump was clattered by Mohammad Amir and Australia were 48-2 in the sixth over when Mohammad Irfan got rid of Aaron Finch.

Smith was in imperious touch, though, effortlessly flicking Amir for a wristy six and putting on 58 for the third wicket with Ben McDermott, who was trapped in front by Imad Wasim for 21.

Former captain Smith took 15 off the 17th over from Amir and struck 11 boundaries before watching on from the other end as Ashton Turner struck the winning run in the penultimate over.

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."

Mushfiqur Rahim's inspired display with the bat led Bangladesh to their first Twenty20 win over India on Sunday.

With the tourists needing 149 and the required run rate up at 12 heading into the final three overs, Mushfiqur stepped on the accelerator to propel his country to a seven-wicket triumph in Delhi with an unbeaten 60.

A run of four consecutive boundaries in the 19th over swung the contest decisively in the Tigers' favour, with captain Mahmudullah contributing an eye-catching 15 from seven balls and sealing the victory with a six.

The result hands Bangladesh, shorn of the services of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

India posted 148-6 in an innings headlined by Shikhar Dhawan's 41 from 42 deliveries.

Bangladesh removed the dangerous Rohit Sharma in the first over, the captain given out lbw on umpire's call after a review.

KL Rahul (15) threw his wicket away with an indecisive stroke that resulted in a simple catch for Mahmudullah off the bowling of Aminul Islam, leaving India on 36-2.

Dhawan's fun was curtailed by a run out induced by a poor call and sudden change of mind from Rishabh Pant in the 15th over, with Shreyas Iyer (22) having already been sent packing.

Pant sought to make amends with a brisk 27 that included three boundaries and there were fireworks down the order from Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar, who between them struck a trio of maximums in a combined 29 runs from 13 balls to elevate Bangladesh's target.

The tourists, who also failed to negotiate the first over unscathed as Liton Das tamely looped one into the hands of Rahul, breezed past the 50 mark in short order.

Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar (39) batted with freedom until the former slogged one to Dhawan at long on for 26.

Sarkar lasted until the 17th over before his dismissal to a slower ball from Khaleel Ahmed following a promising 60-run partnership with Mushfiqur.

With seven wickets remaining, Mushfiqur and the incoming Mahmudullah were emboldened and took the contest by the scruff of the neck to deliver a famous win for their country. 

The sides meet again in Rajkot on Thursday.

Eoin Morgan questioned wasteful England's attitude after they dropped five catches in a 21-run Twenty20 International defeat to New Zealand on Sunday.

James Vince put down three chances as the Black Caps posted 176-8 in the second match of the series at Westpac Stadium, Jimmy Neesham top scoring with 42 after Martin Guptill made 41.

The tourists were all out for 155 in reply to be pegged back at 1-1, spinner Mitchell Santner taking 3-25 in Wellington.

Captain Morgan said England only had themselves to blame for a poor performance in the field. 

"When you drop that amount of catches it's not a great reflection on the performance and the levels of fielding we aspire to," said the skipper.

"There were a couple of catches that went in the sun, which made it look a lot worse, but we expect more.

"I think it's an attitude thing. Because there's such a short turnaround between games, the natural default of any player is to step back and not commit to a 50-50 chance, or their mindset changes to go back in their shell.

"That's not what we want. We want guys continuing to attack the ball and find themselves in hot spots if they're good enough."

Santner hopes New Zealand can maintain their momentum with three matches to play in the series.

"They've had the rub of the green on us a little bit lately but I think after the last performance, we were a little bit off, it was nice to get that win," he said.

"As a unit we just wanted to be a little bit better in all three aspects and I think today we were, so I guess that's the pleasing thing. You can take that momentum into the next game as well."

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.

West Indies women offspinner Anisa Mohammed claimed a wicket off the last ball to lead the Caribbean team to a one-run victory over India woman in the first of a three-match One-Day International (ODI) series at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds in Antigua on Friday.

Chasing 226 for victory, India women finished with 224 at the end of 50 overs after needing nine off the last over with two wickets in hand. Mohammed took both wickets to finish with five for 46 from her allotted 10 overs.

Captain Stafanie Taylor top scored with 94 and Natasha McClean made 51 as West Indies women posted 225 for seven in their 50 overs.

Shikha Pandey and Deepti Sharma picked up two wickets each but West Indies women were able to stitch partnerships at regular intervals.

In reply,  Priya Punia (75) and Jemimah Rodrigues (41) gave India women a good start as the duo added 78 for the opening stand.

The visitors were cruising towards the target as they were 124 for two in the 30th over but suffered a collapse by losing their last eight wickets for just 55 runs.

Captain Mithali Raj failed to shine with the bat and Harmanpreet Kaur managed just five runs.

Taylor was also among the wickets, following up her 94 off 91 balls with the wickets of Rodrigues and Shikha Pandey (five) to finish with figures of two for 30 in her 10 overs. 

The teams will meet in the second ODI on Sunday.

The two teams will also play five T20Is as part of the build-up to next year's T20 World Cup.

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.

Retired Jamaican cricketer Renford Pinnock had plans to take graduation pictures of his youngest son, Phillip, who was graduating from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Friday with a Master’s degree in Education.

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.

James Vince hopes his half-century in England's seven-wicket win over New Zealand on Friday boosted his case for inclusion at next year's Twenty20 World Cup.

England won the first T20 game of their five-match series with the Black Caps in Christchurch in what was a repeat of July's Cricket World Cup final, though there was an absence of drama this time as the tourists chased down 154 with nine balls to spare.

After New Zealand had made 153-5, Vince, who was part of that triumphant England ODI squad but only featured in three games when Jason Roy was injured, top-scored for England with a 38-ball 59 as he shared a 54-run partnership with captain Eoin Morgan (34 not out).

With Roy, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes among those rested for this series, Vince is keen to grasp his chance as England build towards the T20 World Cup in Australia.

"I'm happy with the contribution and it's great to get off to a winning start as a team," he told BBC TMS.

"I managed to time it well and build a partnership with Bluey [Jonny Bairstow], then got another going with Morgs [Morgan].

"You always feel confident of chasing a total like that. It was a good pitch. It was a solid performance all round. There were not many outstanding performances but a solid display.

"There are some world-class players here, but it gives me and some other guys a great chance to stake a claim with the World Cup next year.

"I don't think there are many spots up for grabs, so it's going to be a tough one to break into. Hopefully it will be nice to get a run of games."

The hosts, missing the injured Kane Williamson, struggled for fluency with the bat and Daryl Mitchell admitted their below-par total meant they were always up against it.

"We were probably 10 or 15 short to put some pressure on with the ball –160 would have been very tough," Mitchell, who made an unbeaten 30, added.

"The pitch was a bit two-paced. England adapted better than us."

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