A stunning 93 off 56 deliveries from Martin Guptill helped New Zealand to a 16-run victory over Scotland in the T20 World Cup Super 12 stage.

The Black Caps' quest for the semi-finals got off to a strong start as they set a target of 172 in Dubai.

Although they lost Daryl Mitchell (13) and captain Kane Williamson for a duck in the fifth over, Guptill steadied the ship with a supreme display of batting that included six fours and seven sixes.

Glenn Phillips managed 33 off 37 balls before he was caught off a good ball from Brad Wheal (2-40). Guptill fell at the next ball, a tired launch to long on comfortably caught by Calum MacLeod.

Scotland put up a spirited chase after Kyle Coetzer (17) was caught by Tim Southee. George Munsey (22) and Matthew Cross (27) spearheaded a brave batting display, the latter smashing five consecutive fours in the sixth over to put his side at 48-1.

When Munsey was caught superbly by Southee after hammering a full toss from Ish Sodhi (2-42), Scotland's resistance seemed to falter, Southee skittling Cross in the 11th over.

Michael Leask led a late charge with a brilliant 42 from 20 balls, but they could not stop New Zealand moving onto four points in the group.

Guptill greatness

Guptill's ruthless knock saw him become just the second batsman to reach 3,000 runs in T20 internationals after Virat Kohli.

Only four men have hit more sixes in the entire tournament this year than the 35-year-old managed in these innings alone.

Scotland show heart

Scotland have now gone three defeats in a row in this format for the first time since they lost four on the spin from January 2017 to June 2018.

Yet this was a spirited performance that should give them confidence ahead of Friday's showdown with India.

Babar Azam claimed "everything has gone to plan" after Pakistan sealed their T20 World Cup semi-final spot with victory over Namibia on Tuesday.

Captain Babar and Mohammed Rizwan combined for their second 100-opening stand of the tournament, leading Pakistan to 189-2 – the second-highest score in the competition so far.

Namibia – led by David Wiese (43 not out) and George Williams (40) – batted impressively in their response but could still only muster a 45-run loss against the 2009 champions, who have now won all four of their opening games.

Despite a few misdemeanours in the field, Babar was left satisfied with yet another efficient performance from his side as they became the first team to officially confirm their place in the final four.

"It was a different plan today, we wanted that opening partnership to go deep and it worked for us," Babar said at the post-match presentation.

"We then had two good players in [Mohammed] Hafeez and Hasan Ali. They'll be important in the next stage and it was important we ticked those boxes [scoring runs at the end, batting first].

"There was some dew that didn't help with the fielding, but that's not an excuse, we need to be better.

"Everything has gone according to plan. We're looking forward to the semi-finals and playing our cricket with the same intensity."

Pakistan sit on eight points at the top of Group 2, with Afghanistan currently in second on four points.

In Group 1, England have all but qualified with four wins in four games, with South Africa – Pakistan's potential semi-final opponents – on six points in second, two clear of third-placed Australia.

The West Indies Women will be guarded by a massive security detail for their upcoming tour of Pakistan with the total security team engaged for the tour expected to be above 800.

The Windies Women arrived in Karachi on Monday, ahead of a three-match ODI series against the hosts.  The tour is part of a reciprocal arrangement after the regional team hosted Pakistan in the Caribbean earlier this year.

International cricket returned to Pakistan in 2019 after a near 10-year absence, following a deadly terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.  Things have, however, not returned to normal with both New Zealand and England pulling out of tours earlier this year, with security concerns being pointed to as an underlying issue. 

With the West Indies Women coming to town, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and country are determined to show the environment is safe for international athletes.  As such a reported 368 commandoes from the Pakistan Police Special Security Unit, including lady commandoes, and 500 personnel of the Security and Emergency Services Division (DIGa) will join other law enforcement agencies to secure the National Stadium Karachi, airport, route, hotels, and other places. 

In addition, a specialized command and control bus will remain deployed around the stadium to monitor the law-and-order situation.  A Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team including women commandos will be on standby at the SSU headquarters to deal with any emergent situation.

South Africa edged closer to a T20 World Cup semi-final spot thanks to a straightforward six-wicket victory over struggling Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Few gave Bangladesh any hope of picking up their first win following the loss of talisman Shakib Al Hasan and they folded without putting up much of a fight, South Africa comfortably reaching their target of 85.

After a somewhat slow start for the South African bowlers, they soon found their stride as Kagiso Rabada (3-20) made a real dent in Bangladesh's batting order.

Rabada took Mohammad Naim (9) and Soumya Sarkar (0) in consecutive deliveries in the fourth over and got his third wicket in the sixth, with Reeza Hendricks catching Mushfiqur Rahim (0).

Wickets continued to tumble, with Mahmudullah (3) and Afif Hossain (0) also joining their fallen team-mates back in the pavilion by the end of the ninth over.

Mahedi Hasan (27) and Liton Das (24) did their best to give Bangladesh a chance but otherwise only Shamim Hossain (11) even reached double figures and they were all out for 84 with eight balls left, Anrich Nortje (3-8) finishing them off with successive wickets.

The Proteas' chase did not get off to the greatest start as they lost Hendricks (4) lbw to the impressive Taskin Ahmed (2-18) on the sixth delivery, though they soon found something of a groove with four boundaries before losing their next wicket, Quinton de Kock (16), in the fifth over.

Aiden Markram's day then ended before it had barely started, the right-hander caught by Naim at wide slip for a duck, but Temba Bavuma (31 not out) stepped up and hit three fours and a single six as he top-scored.

Rassie van der Dussen's dismissal after 22 off 27 deliveries meant little in the grand scheme, as South Africa comfortably crossed the line with 39 balls remaining.

Victory keeps them in second place in Group 1 behind England with one match left, and with a superior run rate to Australia.

Rabada cadabra!

The wicket in Abu Dhabi always looked promising for seamers and Rabada was in fine form. Nortje got even better figures with the ball, but Rabada's work was decisive in truly dismantling Bangladesh nice and early.

He said: "That wicket favoured the seamers and I'm just glad that today was my day. Every time we have the opportunity to practice, we try and implement what could possibly work for us. We always train hard, and today it paid off. It's nice to see the ball swing, especially in T20 cricket, but it wasn't a surprise, having seen that happen in the IPL games here."

Ahmed a bright spark

Ahmed was one of few reasons for optimism for Bangladesh here. Overall, he has enjoyed a decent tournament and he kept South Africa's batsmen on their toes, impressing his captain.

Mahmudullah said: "That was a poor batting display but having said that there was enough assistance in the pitch. Taskin has been bowling well in this tournament. We had the choice between Taskin and Fizzy [Mustafizur Rahman], but we went with Taskin because he has been bowling well."

Half-centuries from Shai Hope and Jeremy Solozano proved to be the foundation for Team Brathwaite’s first innings score of 280-4 at stumps on the first day of the second BestvBest match against Team Blackwood at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua on Monday.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who opened the batting with Solozano, also scored a half-century before he retired hurt after he and Solozano had taken Team Brathwaite to 98-0 at lunch. Brathwaite faced 118 balls and struck six fours and a six but did not return to the crease after lunch.

Solozano, who was on 34 at the interval, and Shamarh Brooks took the score to 120 when the latter was dismissed by Nial Smith for 11. Solozano eventually got out to the bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall for 74.

Hope, who had joined Solozano and the crease after Brooks’ dismissal, eventually retired on 71. Kyle Mayers scored 45 before he was dismissed by Jayden Seales for 45.

Joshua Da Silva (10) and Alzarri Joseph (0) are the batsmen at the crease at stumps.

Seales was the best of the bowlers with 2-28.

 

Jos Buttler took his magnificent T20 World Cup campaign to new heights with his first international century in the shortest format as England made it four wins from four by defeating Sri Lanka.

Buttler's stunning 32-ball 71 lifted England to a dominant victory against Australia on Saturday and he reached another level in Sharjah two days later as one of the tournament favourites further cemented their position at the top of Group 1 to stand on the brink of the semi-finals.

They ultimately prevailed by 26 runs as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 137, a margin of victory that appeared unlikely as England laboured to 36-3 during the powerplay and were 47-3 after 10 overs.

But the ability of Buttler and previously out-of-form captain Eoin Morgan (40) to manage the situation on a tricky pitch turned the game in England's favour, the wicketkeeper-batsman hitting the gas with a devastating display of hitting for a 67-ball 101 that ensured their 163-4 was beyond Sri Lanka despite the best efforts of the excellent Wanindu Hasaranga (34) - who also took 3-21.

Jason Roy (9), Dawid Malan (6) and Jonny Bairstow (0) all failed to get going for England but, having withstood pressure from the Sri Lanka attack, Morgan and Buttler turned the tide emphatically.

Lahiru Kumara (0-44) was Sri Lanka's most expensive bowler and was brutally bludgeoned in a 15th over that went for 22 -  including three sixes - and Sri Lanka never looked like wresting control back thereafter.

Morgan was eventually dismissed as he became Hasaranga's 50th T20I victim, but Buttler could not be denied his hundred, which came off the last ball of the innings with his sixth maximum as a full toss on leg stump was dispatched in style.

Hasaranga's stand of 53 with captain Dasun Shanaka (26) kept Sri Lanka in the hunt but their chances essentially evaporated with some stunning fielding from Roy. 

Roy performed heroics at the long-off boundary to flick the ball to Sam Billings before falling over the rope to dismiss Hasaranga. In fourth place with two points, Sri Lanka's hopes of progress are hanging by a thread, but England can begin to start thinking about the semi-finals.

Buttler's historic innings

Buttler became the fourth English men's batter to score a T20I hundred and, in doing so, joined Heather Knight as only the second England cricketer to record a century in all three international formats.

Morgan leads the way

This was Morgan's 43rd win as captain, the most by a skipper in T20I cricket, taking him past MS Dhoni and Ashgar Afghan. The only blemish for Morgan was a quad injury for fast bowler Tymal Mills.

West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard suffered a muscle injury to his left thigh in the match against Bangladesh and will be assessed ahead of their crucial T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Prior to the start of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, Cricket West Indies’ Facebook Page had labelled the West Indies team’s campaign to regain its title as the tournament’s reigning champions “Mission Maroon!” With two defeats and just one win, a highly squeaky last over three-run win over Bangladesh, the West Indies team’s Mission Maroon has for all intents and purposes become Mission Improbable, if not altogether impossible.

The first three matches played by the West Indies have also been a major source of embarrassment to its Selectors both at home and at the actual tournament itself.

Having accumulated just two points after its first three matches, the West Indies still has a mathematical chance of emerging as one of the two Group A teams that will progress to the tournament’s semi-final matches. In order to do so, the West Indies will have to win both of its remaining matches against Sri Lanka and Australia by very sizeable margins so as to ensure it has a better run rate than any of the other likely semi-final spot contenders. Sri Lanka, in its very close loss to South Africa, has indicated that it will not in any way be an easy pushover!

Mission Improbable indeed, made even more so by the far superior performances to date from the likes of England, Australia, and even South Africa. Punctuated as they have been by much healthier run rates than that of the West Indies.

The chances of the West Indies now progressing beyond the Super 6 and into the semi-finals now, therefore, seems highly unlikely. What has become far more of a very tangible reality is the embarrassment that has been caused to the West Indies Selectors, Chairman Roger Harper and his Panel, by the substandard performances to date from the very players whose selections to the squad were so highly controversial. Messrs Gayle and Rampaul in particular, have to date done absolutely nothing to justify the Selectors’ expressed faith in their respective abilities to perform with merit during the World Cup.

Chris Gayle had celebrated his 42nd birthday on September 21, just weeks before the World Cup’s commencement. With his legendary skills as T20 cricket’s greatest ever batsman clearly in decline, as evidenced by repeated paltry scores in his most recent matches, Gayle’s inclusion in the West Indies 15 member World Cup Squad was discussed and debated throughout the entire Caribbean.

The West Indies Selectors, as well as the team’s Coach, Captain and Vice-Captain who had all publicly voiced their respective outstanding support for Gayle’s inclusion would therefore have been hoping for him to have effectively silenced all his critics with some superlative batting performances in his World Cup appearances. His scores to date: 13, 12 and 4 in the three matches he’s played, can now only be regarded as a source of colossal embarrassment to all concerned.

Much the same can also be said of Ravi Rampaul’s World Cup performances to date, the associated embarrassment factor for which has only been slightly less than Gayle’s. Rampaul was controversially selected to the West Indies World Cup Squad based on his 2021 Caribbean Premier League bowling. Rampaul’s World Cup performances to date have, however, confirmed the substantial gap between the batting skills of the West Indies’ opponents by comparison to those he would have encountered at this year’s CPL.

Rampaul has to date taken 2 wickets at an average of 30.50 from his 9 overs bowled to date. His economy rate within those 9 overs has been a relatively unimpressive 6.77. Yet in their infinite and now obvious lack of wisdom, Messrs Harper and Co, chose him at 36 to be one of the West Indies bowling attack’s supposed leaders.

As controversial as the West Indies’ Selectors final squad inclusion of both Gayle and Rampaul may have been, it was far less so than their non-inclusion of the ICC’s number one ranked Test all-rounder Jason Holder. To add further insult to injury, the Selectors’ also found it necessary to include Holder among the squad’s four travelling reserves.

As fate would have it, Obed McCoy’s subsequent failure to recover fully from the shin splints he had suffered prior to the tournament, yet another source of embarrassment for the Selectors, eventually resulted in Holder replacing him on the squad just prior to the West Indies’ match against Bangladesh. An opportunity that Holder fully grasped with both of his very large hands.

Included in the West Indies final XI for October 29 encounter, Holder struck two much-needed boundaries in a breezy cameo innings of 15 made off of just five balls which helped the West Indies to reach its eventual 20 over a total of 142-7. His economical bowling, which yielded 1/22-4, then helped restrict Bangladesh to 138/5-20 to give the West Indies its much-needed victory by just three runs.

Holder’s height also proved crucial in his boundary-catching dismissal of Bangladesh’s top scorer Liton Das. Attempting to hit a six off the last delivery of Dwayne Bravo’s fourth and final over, the nineteenth of the innings, Das must have thought that he’d successfully cleared the boundary only to see, in absolute dismay, the ball being plucked out of the air by Holder’s extended hands.

Holder’s outstanding performances with the bat, ball, and in the field during the Bangladesh encounter would have been an additional source of embarrassment to the Roger Harper led Selection Panel. It would also have undermined whatever level of joy they must have been feeling by the reported extension of their tenure by an additional two months. Scheduled to have ended this very month, the West Indies Selectors’ term of Office has again, reportedly, recently been extended to the end of December.

As if to be consistent with the highly controversial decisions prior to the World Cup’s commencement, some of the West Indies final XI choices made for the matches played to date have been equally bizarre. Selected to the squad based on his outstanding CPL 2021 performances and has been the West Indies’ most outstanding batsman, with the only recorded half-century in either of the team’s two official warm-up matches, Roston Chase, was somehow not included in the final XI for the West Indies’ opening match encounter against England.

Despite the West Indies having been bowled out for 55 by England, the Selectors still opted not to include Chase in the XI for its second match against South Africa. They chose instead to replace the injured McCoy a bowler with Hayden Walsh a leg-spinner.

Having been so repeatedly embarrassed the West Indies’ Selectors, both at home and at the actual World Cup, will be hoping that their choices, particularly those of Gayle and Rampaul, will be vindicated by their outstanding performances in the remaining two matches and by also by the team’s progression into the semi-finals.

If and when the latter fails to become a reality, however, Mission Maroon will have effectively become “marooned!”

Virat Kohli accused his India team-mates of a lack of courage after defeat to New Zealand left them on the brink of elimination from the T20 World Cup.

India went down by eight wickets against the Black Caps on Sunday as they produced another meek display following the 10-wicket thrashing by Pakistan in their opening game.

The pre-tournament favourites posted a modest 110-7 from their 20 overs and the Kiwis knocked it off with 33 balls to spare at the Dubai International Stadium.

Kohli's side now need to beat Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, and hope results elsewhere go their way to become one of the two teams in their group to progress to the semi-finals.

"I don't think we were brave enough with bat or ball," India captain Kohli said in the post-match presentation.

"With the ball, I mean, obviously we didn't have much to play with, but we were just not brave enough with our body language when we entered the field. 

"New Zealand had better intensity, better body language, and they created pressure on us from the first over onwards, really, and continued that through the innings.

"Every time we felt like we wanted to take a chance [while batting], we lost a wicket. That happens in T20 cricket, but that's most probably or most often the result of that little bit of hesitation with the bat, when you feel like should you go for the shot or not."

New Zealand recorded a third straight victory over India at T20 World Cups, having previously prevailed when they met in 2007 and 2016, as the Men in Blue lost successive T20Is outside India for the first time.

Kohli claimed India's players have been affected by the burden of expectation on them from millions of fans back home and failed to cope with the pressure that brings.

"When you play for the Indian cricket team, you obviously have a lot of expectations, everyone knows that – not only from the fans but from the players themselves," he explained.

"Wherever we play, we are watched, people come to the stadiums to support us, so there's always going to be more with our games, that's always been the case. 

"We've embraced it over the years, and everyone who plays for the Indian team obviously has to embrace that as well, and learn how to cope with it.

"And when you cope with that as a team, you tend to overcome that pressure and those tough situations. And we haven't, in these two games, and that's why we haven't won.

"There's only one way to play T20 cricket – you have to be optimistic, you have to be positive, take calculated risks, and that's what this format is all about.

"Just because you're the Indian cricket team and there's expectations, doesn't mean that you start playing the format differently."

India bowler Jasprit Bumrah has suggested that an aggressive batting approach was the cause of their eight-wicket defeat to New Zealand in the T20 World Cup.

After the pre-tournament favourites only posted 110-7 from their 20 overs, Bumrah and his fellow bowlers could not stop their opponents from easing to their target for the cost of just two wickets and with five and a half overs to spare.

Sunday's result is India's second loss in as many games and leaves their hopes of qualifying hanging by a thread.

It follows the 10-wicket hammering at the hands of rivals Pakistan in their opening game, and means that India will need to win well against Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, while hoping for favourable results from elsewhere.

Virat Kholi's team had no answer to the power of the Black Caps, and instead of the Indian captain, it was Bumrah who faced the post-match press conference.

When asked about the first innings, Bumrah said: "We wanted to get extra runs that could give us an advantage in the second innings. I think in that process we played a lot of attacking shots. That didn't come off today.

"I think that was the approach as a batting unit because in the second innings, batting does get easier. So we wanted to give that cushion to the bowlers. I think that was the thought process. I think in that thought process, there were a lot of attack issues."


Bumrah - who took the only two wickets in the New Zealand innings - was also asked about the scheduling of the tournament, with India's opener against Pakistan coming just nine days after the final of the Indian Premier League, and the requirement for players to be on the road for such long periods in bubbles.

"Absolutely. Sometimes you need a break. You miss your family sometimes," he added. "You've been on the road for six months. So all of that sometimes plays on the back of your mind.

"But when you're on the field, you don't think of all those things. You don't control a lot of things, how the scheduling goes on or what tournament is played when.

"So obviously staying in a bubble and staying away from your family for such a long period of time does play a role on the player's mind as well. But they also tried their best to make us feel comfortable.

"But this is the time which we're living in right now. It's a difficult time. There's a pandemic going on. So we try to adapt. But sometimes bubble fatigue, mental fatigue also creeps in, that you're doing the same thing again and again and again.

"So it is the way it is, and you can't control a lot of it here."

The 27-year-old made clear that he and his team-mates should not focus on the negatives, and urged calmness. 

"As a sportsman, you face a lot of days in cricket. Some days will be good and some days would be bad. What I try to do is not get very high when good days happen and not get very low when low days happen," Bumrah said.

"All of these things are always part and parcel of a cricketer's life. Try to stay in the moment, analyse what went wrong, what went well and try to move forward. That's the only way that you can move forward in this game."

The bowling attacks have been switched around for the second Best v Best between Team Blackwood and Team Brathwaite set to begin on Monday, November 1, at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.

New Zealand landed their first win at this year's T20 World Cup after defeating India by eight wickets in the Group 2 clash at the Dubai International Stadium.

Trent Boult took three wickets – taking his T20I career tally to 50 – as the Black Caps recorded a third straight victory over India at the tournament, having previously prevailed when they met in 2007 and 2016.

After Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to field, Boult dismissed Ishan Kishan (4), Hardik Pandya (23) and Shardul Thakur (0).

He also caught Virat Kohli for nine from Ish Sodhi’s delivery, as India posted a total of 110-7, which proved much too low.

Daryl Mitchell led New Zealand's charge with 49 from 35 balls, while Martin Guptill had a knock of 20 in his 100th T20I innings.

Captain Williamson coasted to 33 not out as the Black Caps secured a commanding victory with 5.3 overs to spare, condemning their opponents to a fourth successive T20I defeat outside India for the first time. India could still reach the semi-finals, but it will take a huge turnaround in fortunes after losing their opening two games.


Brilliant Boult reaches the half-century

The 32-year-old left-arm quick captured 3-20 during another impressive performance for the Black Caps.

Reaching 50 T20I wickets, Boult became the fifth New Zealand bowler to achieve the feat after Tim Southee, Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum.

Ton up for Guptill

The batsman chalked up his 100th innings in the short format for the Black Caps, but it was his exploits in the field that were more important here.

The 35-year-old took catches to remove Pandya, Thakur and Rohit Sharma.

Bangladesh have lost all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for the rest of the T20 World Cup due to a hamstring injury.

The 34-year-old pulled up while fielding in the Tigers' defeat to West Indies at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Shakib was able to bowl four overs and open the batting, but will play no further part in the tournament.

"Shakib sustained a left lower hamstring strain while fielding during the match against the West Indies. In clinical examination, it was diagnosed as an injury of Grade 1 intensity,'' said Debashish Chowdhury, the chief physician of the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

"He is ruled out from participation in the last two matches of the tournament and until further review."

Bangladesh will not replace Shakib, as they do not have any reverse players in the squad to step up.

The Tigers are bottom of Group 1 after losing all three matches, with games against South Africa and Australia to come.

The inaugural Tony Cozier and Reds Perreira 23 and Under T-6 Regional Cricket Festival is scheduled to bowl off from April 14-18, 2022 in Barbados.

Afghanistan got back to winning ways at the T20 World Cup as they beat Namibia by 62 runs in what was the final match of Asghar Afghan's career.

The former skipper announced prior to the Group 2 clash in Dubai that he would retire from all forms of cricket following the conclusion of the contest.

Asghar received a guard of honour in his 75th and final T20I before producing a knock of 31 – taking his overall tally to 1,382 runs – as Afghanistan looked to bounce back from Friday's defeat by Pakistan.

Mohammad Shahzad top-scored with 45 – surpassing 2,000 runs in men's T20I – while Hazratullah Zazai hit 33 and captain Mohammad Nabi was 32 not out as Afghanistan set a target of 160-5.

Namibia were aiming to build on their opening win over Scotland, but their quest suffered an early blow when Naveen-ul-Haq (3-26) bowled Craig Williams and Michael van Lingen within the opening three overs.

Hamid Hassan also claimed three wickets as the Eagles' chase fell way short at 98-9.

David Wiese hit 26 for Namibia, but it was not enough to prevent a first defeat in the Super 12s.

History for Shahzad

Dismissed by Pakistan for just eight, Shahzad had another opportunity to reach 2,000 runs in the short format.

This time, he made no mistake with his knock of 45 making him the first Afghan to achieve the feat – and 12th overall.

Naveen shines

It was always going to take a special effort to chase down Afghanistan's total of 160-5, but Naveen quickly put Namibia on the back foot.

The 22-year-old dismissed Williams and Van Lingen within his opening 10 deliveries, and that set his side well on the way to what was eventually a commanding victory.

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