Sydney Thunder's bowlers tore through Sydney Sixers before they won a rain-affected Big Bash League derby match by four runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method on Saturday.

Two interruptions due to adverse weather inside the opening three overs resulted in the match being reduced to 16 overs each, but the Sixers were already in trouble at 6-3.

Daniel Sams claimed figures of 3-14, which included the scalps of Justin Avendano (28) and Ben Dwarshuis (19) – the only Sixers batsmen to reach double figures.

Chris Morris (2-12 from 3.5 overs) removed Jackson Bird and took the bails off to run out Steve O'Keefe for a diamond duck in the final over as Moises Henriques' team were skittled for the second-lowest BBL score of 76.

Usman Khawaja was on 13 when he fell to Tom Curran in the fourth over of the chase, but Callum Ferguson (8 not out) and Sams (5no) ensured the Thunder stayed above the par score by getting to 28-2 when the rain hit again.

The Sixers consequently missed a chance to open up a four-point advantage on the teams chasing second place, with the Thunder now two points back in fourth.

The Melbourne Stars extended their winning streak to eight matches in the Big Bash League with a 10-run victory over the Perth Scorchers on Saturday.

Hilton Cartwright (58 not out off 56 balls) guided the table-topping Stars to 141-6 from their 20 overs at the MCG.

That appeared a below-par total despite a slow pitch, but Perth struggled as Nic Maddinson (3-24) helped the Stars to a 10th win in 11 games.

The Scorchers finished on 131-9 as their chase fell apart in the second half of their innings, the loss a blow to their play-off chances.

 

CARTWRIGHT IN CONTROL FOR STARS

On a slow wicket, Cartwright ended up playing the key role for the Stars with the bat.

The opener's innings included seven fours, although it looked like his side were at least 20 runs short after electing to bat first.

The Stars were 34-3 in the eighth over when Maddinson fell, but Cartwright's ability to see out the innings after Marcus Stoinis (6) went cheaply proved crucial.

 

MARSH RUN-OUT COSTLY

Perth appeared in control in their chase, reaching 62-2 off nine overs and needing 80 off the final 11.

However, Mitchell Marsh (11) was run out to begin the 10th over and the Scorchers' middle and lower order failed.

MARVELLOUS MADDINSON

Glenn Maxwell's decision to bowl Maddinson late in the Perth innings looked a risky one, but it paid off spectacularly.

Cameron Bancroft (32) was the key man for the Scorchers, but was removed by Maddinson.

The right-hander produced a powerful drive from a low full toss, only for Maddinson to take an incredible return catch.

Maddinson also had Tim David (11) and Matthew Kelly (5) stumped as the Scorchers capitulated late in their chase.

West Indies U19 Head Coach, Graeme West is backing the young team to show the qualities they have developed in the last year, when they bowl off their ICC U19 Cricket World Cup campaign against three-time tournament winners Australia in Zone B at the De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Saturday, January 18.

The team is gaining confidence after wins in the two warm-up games against Canada and Scotland. All 15 players are fit and available for selection as the team begins their preparations for the opening group game against Australia.

West provided a detailed account of the team’s work as they prepare to start the ICC U19 World Cup which West Indies famously won in 2016.

“The two warm-up games were certainly competitive and provided all squad members with opportunities to demonstrate their skills and show that they had made the necessary adjustments to the conditions and wickets to be effective,” said West.

“The Scotland performance was an improvement on the Canada game when Nyeem Young and Antonio Morris batted superbly to turn the game around.

“The bowling unit was slightly below par against Canada given how well they have performed since the Tri-Series in December, but on Wednesday against Scotland we were far more controlled and disciplined.”

West said the most pleasing aspect of the Scotland game was the contribution from the top four batters, who needed time in the middle.

“Kevlon Anderson’s hundred was well-paced as he mixed good strike rotation with some power hitting. Captain Kimani Melius and Leonardo Julien set the tempo for the innings with run-a-ball half-centuries on a wicked that was well suited to their stroke play and positive intent,” West said.

“We are well aware of the quality Australia and England possess  and both games will provide great opportunities for our players to demonstrate the learning that has taken place over the last year, we know we will have to produce a perfect performance to beat both sides.”

He urged the West Indies fans to support the young team as they seek to emulate the title-winning class of 2016.

 “They know the importance of the tournament and the stage they are about to perform on and we would love to have everyone supporting and following us. The boys will be doing everything they can to make their friends, families and all the Windies Cricket fans proud,” he said.

 

India avenged their Mumbai mauling with a 36-run defeat of Australia in the second ODI in Rajkot to level the series.

The tourists had embarrassed India in the first match, cruising to a 10-wicket win with unbeaten centuries from David Warner and Aaron Finch.

India posted a more challenging total of 340-6 on Friday, featuring 96 from Shikhar Dhawan, 80 from KL Rahul and Virat Kohli's 78, to give Australia a tricky chase and they fell short on 304 all out to set up a series decider in Bengaluru on Sunday.

At 220-3 with more than 12 overs remaining, Australia were firmly in the hunt, but India's bowlers got on top and the tourists did not recover from losing Steve Smith, whose 98 was the fulcrum of their innings.

Smith played on to give Kuldeep Yadav his second victim in the 38th over after dismissing Alex Carey to bring up 100 ODI career wickets.

Warner had earlier been dismissed for just 15, flicking at a length ball from Mohammed Shami (3-77) outside off stump and caught spectacularly above his head by Manish Pandey at cover.

Finch fell for 33 and Marnus Labuschagne made 46 in his first ODI knock, but Australia's hopes of a late flurry were savaged by Shami yorking Ashton Turner and Pat Cummins with the first two deliveries of the 44th over before Navdeep Saini and Jasprit Bumrah mopped up the tail.

Dhawan and Rohit Sharma had earlier put on a run-a-ball 81 for India's first wicket, before the latter fell for 42, pegged lbw by leg-spinner Adam Zampa.

Dhawan and Kohli kept the runs flowing, with their stand of 103 eventually broken when Dhawan, four short of an 18th ODI century and looking to reach three figures with one blow, was caught at fine leg by Mitchell Starc off Kane Richardson.

India had collapsed from 134 for one to 255 all out in Mumbai, but this time it would be a different story.

The classy Kohli scored at just over a run a ball before becoming the second of three victims for Zampa (3-50), before Rahul injected late pace into the scoring by plundering his 80 from 52 balls, clearing the ropes three times before being run out in the final over.

A blow for India on an otherwise positive day came with Dhawan taking a blow to the ribs when batting that prevented him from fielding.

England skipper Joe Root prompted confusion and hilarity on day two of the third Test with South Africa as he withdrew a declaration after a wicket was ruled out due to a no-ball.

When Mark Wood was caught at mid-on off Kagiso Rabada to seemingly leave England 467-9, Root called a halt to his side's first innings at Port Elizabeth.

However, replays then showed Rabada had over-stepped, prompting Root to reverse his decision and instead advise his side to carry on batting.

Wood and Ollie Pope, who had earlier completed his maiden Test century, made the most of the bizarre situation by plundering a further 31 runs - in addition to the run England received for Rabada's no-ball - in quick time.

After racing to 42 from 23 balls, Wood eventually holed out to deep midwicket off Keshav Maharaj (5-180) and England declared on 499-9, with Pope 135 not out.

Ben Stokes (120) had also reached three figures for the tourists prior to lunch as they kicked on superbly from an overnight score of 224-4.

Ben Stokes surpassed 4,000 Test runs on Friday with his century in the third Test against South Africa, becoming just the second England player to reach that landmark and take 100 wickets in the longest format.

The all-rounder joined compatriot Ian Botham on the list of players to achieve both feats, which now features seven men after Stokes' exploits in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Of those to have gone beyond 4,000 runs, India great Kapil Dev has the most wickets to his name with 434. Botham, who scored 5,200 runs in his career, is second with 383 wickets.

Stokes will look to add to his tally when South Africa begin their first innings at St George's Park. England reached lunch on day two on 335-4 with Stokes and Ollie Pope unbeaten on 108 and 75 respectively.

Daniel Vettori, Jacques Kallis, Garfield Sobers and Carl Hooper round off the list.

Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff fell short of 4,000 runs in his career. He took 226 wickets but managed 3,845 runs before retiring from Test cricket.

Kagiso Rabada will miss the fourth Test between South Africa and England after receiving a demerit point for his celebration of Joe Root's wicket on day one of the third Test.

Rabada was also fined 15 per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of a Level 1 breach of the ICC's code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel.

The seamer beat the England captain for pace to dismiss Root for 27 in Port Elizabeth, reducing England to 148-4.

Rabada roared in celebration while just a matter of inches away from Root and was ruled to have violated Article 2.5 of the Code of Conduct, relating to "using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his or her dismissal during an international match".

Andy Pycroft of the ICC Elite Panel of Match referees proposed the sanction, which was accepted by Rabada, meaning a formal hearing was not needed.

Rabada now has four demerit points in a 24-month period and as a result will be unavailable for the final match of the series at the Wanderers, which starts on January 24.

The series is level at 1-1, with England claiming victory in Cape Town having lost the opener in Centurion.

Phil Salt smacked an unbeaten 67 to propel Adelaide Strikers to a 10-wicket win over Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League on Friday.

The Heat were stunningly bowled out for 100 in their innings at The Adelaide Oval, Matt Renshaw (43) and captain Chris Lynn (26) the only players to reach double figures.

Adelaide reached the modest target of 101 with 9.1 overs to spare, Salt and Jake Weatherald (33) securing their biggest BBL win ever by balls remaining.

They are third in the table with 11 points from 10 games. Brisbane are a point behind them in fifth.

BRISBANE FAIL TO HEAT UP

The visitors' innings never got going, and the Heat were two down inside the first four overs when AB de Villiers (2) was taken at deep square.

Lynn and Renshaw's stand of 35 briefly steadied the ship, but when the former went to Liam O'Connor (3-30) the Heat fell apart.

Renshaw found nothing in the way of support as a talented attack featuring Michael Neser and Rashid Khan along with Peter Siddle ripped through the Brisbane line-up.


PHIL WORTH HIS SALT

Salt has struggled for form since his half century against the Melbourne Renegades on December 29.

However, the opener proved his worth with an excellent display of ball striking.

He hit five fours and five sixes in a superb showing, with Weatherald - who found the rope six times - more than playing his part as Adelaide eased to a victory that was fittingly sealed with a Salt maximum.

Half-centuries of Kavem Hodge and Devon Smith have put the Windward Islands Volcanoes in a strong position of 314 for 5 at stumps at Sabina Park on day one of the Regional Four-Day Championships.

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard has pointed out running between the wickets as a key area of concern for the team, on the back of a surprise four-runs loss to Ireland in the opening T20 international.

On the back of a brisk 95 off 47 balls, which included an explosive eight 6s, the Irish posted 208 for 7.  The Windies, led by Evin Lewis’ 53 and a decent all-round team batting performance, made a good chase of the target before running out of enough balls to get there.

In analyzing the match, Pollard commended the bowlers for recovering from a poor start and the batsmen for making a competitive chase of the target.  He, however, believes the team could have done more running between the crease.

“When we were batting we did not have the urgency running between the wickets.  We know we are a good power-hitting team but when the singles are there and the twos are there we need to run hard between the wickets,” Pollard said.

“When Ireland were batting they hit the ball to our fieldsmen and they ran and that is something we did not do,” he added.

In their total, the Windies amassed 142 boundaries with 55 singles as compared to Ireland’s 124 boundary runs and 74 singles.

 

Odean Smith was the chief destroyer as the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force gained the early ascendancy on the first day of their second-round regional-four day match against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Tarouba on Thursday.

Windies T20 star Andre Russell has insisted he lives for the high-pressure moments after a solid performance with the bat to see Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) side Rajshahi Royals safely into the final, at the expense of Chris Gayle’s Chattogram Challengers.

Russell smashed an unbeaten 54 from 22 balls, which included seven sixes and two fours as the team successfully recovered from 80-4 in the 14th over to reach 164-8 with four balls remaining.  The total saw them claim a dramatic two-wicket win over Chattogram, who had been powered by Gayle’s blistering 60 off 24 balls.

"The plan was just to stay there until the end.  I wasn't worried about the falling wickets but as more wickets fell, it put pressure on me,” Russell told Espncricinfo.

“I just wanted one person from one end, and then let me do my thing at the other end. [Abu Jayed] Rahi stood up with me. Well done to him. I think every run was really important. These scores can be very tricky at times,” he added.

"I love playing in these situations, when it is 12, 13 or 14 runs [needed] per over," Russell said. "Sometimes I love when its like even 15 or 16. I like these challenges. I am strong and I know if I stay as still as possible, I will always have an open mindset and I don't premeditate.”

Rajshahi will face Khulna Tigers in the final on  Friday.

Moeen Ali believes he had cruelly become a scapegoat for England's shortcomings before he stepped away from Test cricket last summer.

The 60-Test veteran is looking for a return to the five-day game in the near future, saying he hoped it would come "very soon".

Yet Moeen has revealed his frustration at being singled out for criticism at times when his overall contribution has not justified the scrutiny.

His most recent Test was the Ashes opener against Australia at Edgbaston in August, when the tourists scored a 251-run victory.

Spinning all-rounder Moeen took three wickets in the match but scored just a duck and four with the bat.

He asked for a hiatus from Tests later in the English summer, which meant he missed the tour of New Zealand and the current trip to South Africa.

Describing himself as feeling "burnt out" at the time, Moeen said: "There have been days I've had not so good games but I feel like sometimes it's easy to point the finger at me.

"It did get to me and that was probably one of the reasons why I felt like I needed to step back from Test cricket in particular."

Speaking to the BBC Asian Network, Moeen said: "It's not something people would normally do, especially when you've just won the World Cup, you're playing in the Ashes - I was doing quite well before that.

"Obviously I had a very bad game against Australia in the Ashes and then rightfully I got dropped, but it was almost like it was all my fault and like I've not been good enough for a while and not done anything for two years - but I have.

"I bat number eight and if I don't score runs it's all my fault? It's difficult sometimes."

Moeen, who has made five Test hundreds and boasts 181 five-day wickets, may come back into contention for England's home series against West Indies and Pakistan, describing the England and Wales Cricket board as "amazing in terms of support".

"They've just said, 'Whenever you're ready, mate. We'll be here for you'," Moeen said. "Hopefully very soon I'll be back."

MS Dhoni has lost his central contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), sparking fresh speculation over his international future.

Former limited-overs captain Dhoni was not among the 27 India players to receive deals for the period from October 2019 to September 2020.

The wicketkeeper-batsman has not been in action since the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup last July, though he has not officially retired from the international arena.

India coach Ravi Shastri previously said Dhoni had a chance of featuring at the T20 World Cup if he performed well in the Indian Premier League, which starts in March.

Dhoni made his international debut in an ODI against Bangladesh in 2004 and captained his country to glory at the 2007 World Twenty20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.

He featured in 90 Tests before retiring from the longest format in 2014.

Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Khaleel Ahmed also lost their central contracts, while Mayank Agarwal, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar were granted deals by the BCCI.

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