Karthik Meiyappan's historic hat-trick was in vain as Sri Lanka thrashed the United Arab Emirates by 79 runs after Netherlands moved to the brink of the T20 World Cup Super 12s.

Sri Lanka suffered a shock defeat to Namibia in the first game of the tournament on Sunday, but responded with an emphatic win over UAE at Kardinia Park.

Pathum Nissanka top scored with 74 from 60 balls as the Asia Cup champions posted 152-8, Meiyappan (3-19) becoming the first UAE player to take a T20I hat-trick.

Sri Lanka had been 117-2 in the 15th over, but a late collapse did not prove to be costly as UAE were skittled out for only 73 in 17.1 overs.

Wanindu Hasaranga claimed brilliant figures of 3-8 from four overs, while Dushmantha Chameera (3-15) and Maheesh Theekshana (2-15) also sparkled under the lights to leave Sri Lanka in third place in Group A, level on points with Namibia with an inferior net run-rate.

The Netherlands are two points clear at the top of the group after bringing Namibia back down to earth with a five-wicket victory.

Namibia posted 121-6 and the Dutch got home with three balls to spare, Bas de Leede named man of the match after making an unbeaten 30 and taking two wickets.

Reece Topley is an injury doubt for England's first game of the T20 World Cup against Afghanistan on Saturday.

The left-arm paceman rolled his ankle during a fielding drill ahead of Monday's warm-up win over Pakistan at the Gabba.

Topley will be assessed before Jos Buttler's side take on Afghanistan in their Group 1 opener at Perth Stadium.

England will face a qualifier in their second World Cup match next Wednesday, then face hosts Australia two days later.

The quick has made an impressive return to the international stage after fears his career could be over due to back injuries.

Topley played in all three of England's matches in the recent T20I series win over Australia, having featured in four of the seven games in the 4-3 victory in Pakistan.

 

Harry Brook and Ben Stokes impressed as England stormed to a six-wicket triumph over Pakistan at the Gabba in their final warm-up fixture before the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan set England a target of 161, led by opener Shan Masood top-scoring with 39 runs off 22 deliveries, while David Willey impressed with the ball by taking two wickets for England.

England opener Phil Salt was bowled by Naseem Shah for just one run, but a rapid innings from Stokes (36 off 18), coupled with Liam Livingstone's 28, put England in good stead to secure victory by the time of their dismissals.

Brook scored 45 not out from 24 balls and Sam Curran smashed an unbeaten 33 from just 14 to finish the job as England chased down Pakistan's total in just 14.4 overs.

England middle order impresses

With their openers producing a combined 10 runs off 16 balls, it fell on the middle order to win England the match, and they did so in thrilling fashion.

Stokes, Livingstone, Brook and Curran smashed the ball to all areas and accounted for all 12 of their team's sixes.

Each of that quartet finished with strike rates of at least 175 to help England to a morale-boosting victory before their World Cup campaign gets underway against Afghanistan on Saturday.

Jordan improves after tough start

Pakistan ended up on 160-8 from 19 overs, with the match shortened slightly due to a brief rain stoppage.

They had threatened a bigger total, with Chris Jordan smashed for 27 off his first two overs without taking a wicket, but the England bowler steadied the ship to finish with figures of 1-36 from four, including a final over which went for just three runs and included the wicket of Mohammad Wasim (26).

Jordan's bowling at the death ensured England's target was achievable, and they then chased it down comfortably.

Mohammed Shami made a sensational return to the India set up as his blistering final over helped secure a six-run win over Australia in a pulsating T20 World Cup warm-up fixture.

Shami replaced the injured Jasprit Bumrah for the tournament Down Under and four wickets fell from the final four deliveries with defending champions Australia requiring 11 to win.

That was Shami's only over of the game at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, a match where Aaron Finch (76) found form but only three other Australia batsmen made double figures as they were bowled for 180 – losing six wickets for just nine runs from the final two overs.

Earlier, KL Rahul (57 off 33) and Suryakumar Yadav (50 off 33) had guided India to 186-7, a total that had looked under-par until Shami's heroics.

Shami steals the show

Shami was overlooked by India originally in favour of rising stars Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel but Bumrah's misfortune provided him an opportunity, and boy did he take it in a brilliant final over that had started with Pat Cummins taking a couple of twos, before the Australia paceman came unstuck by a scarcely believable one-handed catch by Virat Kohli on the boundary.

More great work by Kohli saw Ashton Agar run out when trying to sneak a bye, which preceded a couple of stunning Yorkers, uprooting the wickets of Josh Inglis and Kane Richardson, who had been the pick of Australia's bowlers with figures of 4-30.

Finch finds his wings again

Australia may have lost the unlosable but a massive takeaway for the hosts was captain Finch finding form on the eve of the World Cup.

Finch had managed only one half-century in his past 10 T20I knocks, and amassed just 25 runs across three innings in the series loss to England. The Australia skipper not only scored runs against India, but did so with a strike rate of 140.74.

 

South Africa's bowlers tuned up for the T20 World Cup with a dominant display to help the Proteas to a nine-wicket victory over New Zealand at Allan Border Field on Sunday.

Stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj claimed 17-3 as South Africa skittled the Black Caps for 98, chasing down the target in 11.2 overs led by opener Rilee Rossouw's 54 not out.

The Proteas, who are due to commence their World Cup campaign against a qualifier on Sunday in Hobart, triumphed without Quinton de Kock, who was rested, and skipper Temba Bavuma, who is being eased into training with a view to playing in their final warm-up game against Bangladesh on Wednesday.

Last year's World Cup runners-up New Zealand, who will face Australia in the tournament opener on Saturday at the SCG, struggled throughout with the bat, with Martin Guptill top scoring with 26.

Wayne Parnell (8-2 from two overs) removed opener Finn Allen and skipper Kane Williamson cheaply within the opening three overs. The Black Caps threatened to rebuild until Glenn Phillips fell for 20 skying a drive to Marco Jansen off Tabraiz Shamsi, prompting a collapse of 45-8.

There was little resistance after Guptill was trapped LBW trying to sweep from Maharaj for 26 from 23 deliveries, as Shamsi finished with 6-2 from his three overs including a rare maiden.

The Proteas made light work of the chase, with Rossouw's unbeaten 54 coming from 32 balls with nine fours and one six, while Reeza Hendricks added 27 from 24 deliveries.

Parnell responds with blistering spell

South Africa's attack was on song, led by Parnell who managed nine dot balls despite only being used for two overs up front. Allen had blasted Parnell for a maximum with the first ball of the game but the left-armer fought back with a spell which set the tone.

Jan Frylinck starred with bat and ball as Namibia stunned Sri Lanka with a 55-run victory in the first game of the T20 World Cup.

Sri Lanka were crowned Asia Cup champions last month, but they were brought back down to earth in the Group A opener at Kardinia Park on Sunday.

Frylinck top scored with 44 off 28 balls as Namibia recovered from 35-3 to post 163-7 in Geelong, JJ Smit also making a quickfire unbeaten 31 down the order.

Sri Lanka were all out for only 108 in reply after they were reduced to 21-3 inside four overs, captain Dusan Shanaka (29) one of only four players to make double figures.

All-rounder Frylinck claimed 2-26, with David Wiese, Bernard Scholtz and Ben Shikongo also took two wickets apiece in an excellent display in the field from Namibia in their quest to reach the Super 12 stage for the second successive World Cup.

Sri Lanka had been forced to make a last-minute change to their squad, replacing the injured Dilshan Madushanka (quad) with fellow paceman Binura Fernando.

David Warner could miss Australia's final T20 World Cup warm-up match against India on Monday through injury, but captain Aaron Finch is confident the batsman will be fit for the tournament.

Warner suffered an injury to his neck during the second T20I match against England on Wednesday, which forced him to miss the series finale on Friday – a match that was abandoned due to rain.

Finch is unsure whether his fellow opener will be fit enough to face India, but has no concerns over Warner's availability for the clash against New Zealand on October 22.

"I think he would definitely be right for New Zealand," Finch said. "I'm not sure about the warm-up game against India.

"I think he was okay the day after he hit his head and then the following day, his neck got really sore and stiff.

"We'll wait and see what it's like. If he's fit he'll play. If he's still a little bit sore, we'd err on the side of caution.

"I think when you've got experienced players who know what they need to do to be ready for a tournament, you're not too concerned whether they play that game or not."

Finch also confirmed Australia are taking it easy with all-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh in a bid to avoid injury flare-ups.

Stoinis missed both T20I series against India and the West Indies with a side injury he sustained in September, while Marsh has not bowled in a match since injuring an ankle in the ODI series against Zimbabwe in August.

"Stoinis, the reason he wasn't available to bowl yesterday was just prior injury history," Finch explained.

"Every time that he's tried to come back and ball back-to-back games coming off the same injury he has struggled and got a niggle on the back of it. So, we went with the conservative route there."

"Mitch has been building up his bowling at the moment.  He just hasn't been at the intensity to go into a game that's required especially so close to a World Cup."

Fakhar Zaman has replaced Usman Qadir in Pakistan's squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Batter Fakhar was selected on Friday, as leg spinner Qadir has not yet recovered from the hairline fracture on his right thumb that he suffered during the recent series defeat to England.

Qadir will be a travelling reserve along with Mohammad Haris and Shahnawaz Dahani.

Fakhar will arrive in Brisbane from London on Saturday along with fit-again paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi and will be available for selection in the warm-up matches against England next Monday and Afghanistan two days later.

The 31-year-old left-hander was out first ball in his last T20I appearance, a defeat to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final just over a month ago.

He has played for his country 71 times in the shortest format, scoring 1,349 runs at an average of 21.75.

Pakistan start their quest to win the World Cup by taking on arch-rivals India at the MCG on October 23.

Pakistan T20 World Cup squad:

Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood.

Mohammed Shami has been called up to replace the injured Jasprit Bumrah in India's T20 World Cup squad.

Bumrah was ruled out of the tournament earlier this month due to a back problem, which will keep the paceman out of action for around six weeks.

A BCCI statement on Friday confirmed Shami, who has not played at all over the past three months, has now joined India's squad in Australia.

Shami, who starred for Indian Premier League champions Gujarat Titans earlier this year, was included in India's squad for their T20I series against Australia and South Africa, only to test positive for COVID-19.

 

Mohammed Siraj was named the player of the series against South Africa, which India won 2-1, and has been named as a back-up alongside Shardul Thakur.

While Shami has not featured in recent months, he always seemed a likely option to replace Bumrah due to his experience of playing in Australia - he has played Down Under in two Test series and was one of India's best performers with the ball in the 2015 ODI World Cup.

The 32-year-old last played a T20I in last year's World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, taking six wickets in five appearances. 

Shami helped the Titans to an IPL title in their maiden season in the competition, taking 20 wickets and playing in all 16 of their games.

India start their World Cup campaign against fierce rivals Pakistan at the MCG a week on Sunday.

 

India T20 World Cup squad:

Rohit Sharma (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chaha, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, KL Rahul, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami, Suryakumar Yadav.

Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes impressed before England were denied the chance to press for a 3-0 series clean sweep against Australia by rain in Canberra.

Captain Buttler cracked 65 from 41 balls as England posted 112-2 from 12 overs in the third T20I, their innings having been disrupted twice by downpours at Manuka Oval.

Buttler's fellow opener Alex Hales made a disappointing duck, while Dawid Malan scored 23 and Ben Stokes added an unbeaten 17.

The fifth over of England's innings saw a minor flash point as Australia paceman Starc appear to threaten a 'Mankad' dismissal when he claimed Buttler, later named player of the series, was leaving the crease at the bowler's end too early.

England held a 2-0 lead coming into the final match of the series, after posting eight-run wins in Perth and the first leg of a Canberra double-header, and they had another victory in their sights, particularly when the home team made a dreadful start to their reply.

Australia lost Aaron Finch to the first ball of their innings, with the captain reaching outside off stump and flogging Chris Woakes to Harry Brook at deep point.

Woakes had two wickets in two balls when Mitchell Marsh fell, Mark Wood taking the catch after the batter looked to be caught in two minds and got a leading edge to short third man. Steve Smith fended off the hat-trick ball.

Australia got to 30-3 in their reply from 3.5 overs, with Woakes (3-4 from two overs) having also dismissed Glenn Maxwell, when rain stopped play again.

Five overs needed to be completed for a result to be called, but there was no prospect of play resuming, the teams denied what could have been a useful finale to the contest ahead of the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup campaign.

It has been a long time coming but the T20 World Cup will finally get under way in Australia on Sunday.

Two years later than scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament will start with Sri Lanka taking on Namibia at Kardinia Park followed by the United Arab Emirates versus the Netherlands at the same venue on Sunday.

There will be six days of qualifying matches to decide which four teams will go through to the Super 12, which starts with a repeat of last year's final between holders Australia and New Zealand on October 22.

You could make a case for several teams being strong contenders to lift the trophy at the MCG on November 13.

Stats Perform picks out some of the storylines to look out for in a tournament that will be well worth the wait.

 

Windies and Sri Lanka should avoid shock early exit

The only team to have won the T20 World Cup twice is West Indies, but they failed to secure direct qualification for the Super 12 on this occasion.

They lost four out of five matches as defending champions in the United Arab Emirates last year, a crushing six-wicket defeat to England setting the tone as they were skittled out for a pitiful 55.

Nicholas Pooran's side will face Scotland, Zimbabwe, Ireland at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart and will be expected to advance from Group B.

Sri Lanka were crowned Asia Cup champions last month and ought to have no trouble in advancing from a Group A that also includes the Netherlands, the UAE and Namibia.

On a high from lifting the trophy in Dubai, Dasun Shanaka's men could be dangerous if they made it through to the Super 12 as expected.

 

Hosts in quest to make history

Australia ended their wait for a first T20 World Cup title in Dubai last year at the expense of the Black Caps, Mitchell Marsh blasting an unbeaten 77 in the final to seal an eight-wicket win.

No team has won back-to-back T20 World Cup titles, so the hosts have an opportunity to make history on home soil.

Tim David has emerged as another potential match-winner that has bolted his way into the squad and he is capable of making a big impact, while big things will be expected from the likes of David Warner with the bat.

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are a formidable pace trio and leg-spinner Adam Zampa brings an X-Factor. Australia have a great chance of achieving a feat no other side has accomplished.

Can India make amends?

India were strongly fancied to win the rearranged T20 World Cup last year, but their challenge was all-but over soon after it had started.

They were consigned to a 10-wicket thrashing by fierce rivals in Pakistan in their first match and still looked shellshocked when New Zealand hammered them by eight wickets.

Virat Kohli stepped down as captain after that failure, with Rohit Sharma the skipper of what is another star-studded squad.

The loss of paceman Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja to injury were huge blows, but India will be expected to mount a strong challenge as the top-ranked side in the world and batter Suryakumar Yadav can make a big impact.

Buttler to deliver in first tournament as skipper?

England looked unstoppable in the World Cup last year until they were knocked out by New Zealand at the semi-final stage.

Jos Buttler has since taken over as captain after Eoin Morgan retired from international cricket, and Matthew Mott was appointed as head coach.

Buttler has recovered from injury for what will be his first tournament as skipper and will look to produce the sort of form he did in the 2021 World Cup, in which he averaged a staggering 89.66.

England have huge firepower with the bat, while Reece Topley, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid are among the bowlers Buttler will be counting on to step up as they strive to lift the trophy for a second time.

 

Proteas a force to be reckoned with

South Africa have never been beyond the semi-final of a T20 World Cup, but there is every chance this could be their year.

Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje are a hostile trio of pace bowlers and they also have the wizardry of spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.

The absence of Rassie van der Dussen is a big loss, but the Proteas are not short of explosive batting with the likes of Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Rillee Rossouw and Tristan Stubbs to call upon.

Ravi Shastri believes India's Twenty20 side is as strong as it has ever been ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia.

India failed to qualify from their group at the World Cup in the United Arab Emirates last year following heavy defeats to arch-rivals Pakistan and New Zealand.

Rahul Dravid replaced Shastri as head coach following that tournament and Rohit Sharma took over as captain after Virat Kohli stepped down.

India head into the 2022 World Cup at the top of the rankings, with expectations of being strong contenders to dethrone the hosts.

They will be without injured paceman Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, but Shastri fancies their chances.

He said: "I have been part of the system for the last six-seven years, first as a coach and now I am watching from the outside, and I think this is as good a line-up as India has ever had in T20 cricket.

"With Surya [Suryakumar Yadav] at number four, Hardik [Pandya] at number five, and Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik at number six, it makes a massive difference as it allows the top order to play the way they are playing."

However, there is one area of concern for legendary former all-rounder Shastri as India prepare for their opening match against Pakistan at the MCG on October 23.

"One area that India will have to pick up and start right from the beginning is fielding," Shastri said.

"They need to work hard and get their A-game on the field when they step out against Pakistan.

"Those 15-20 runs that you save can make all the difference because otherwise every time you get out to bat, you need to get 15-20 runs extra."

India will also face South Africa, Bangladesh and two qualifiers in Group 2.

David Warner could have his lifetime ban on captaining Australia lifted.

Cricket Australia (CA) ruled that the opening batter would never hold a leadership role again due to his part in the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

Warner was seen to have been a main protagonist in Cameron Bancroft using sandpaper to try and alter the condition of the ball during the Test against South Africa in Cape Town four years ago.

The 35-year-old has been mentioned as a candidate to replace Aaron Finch as ODI skipper after he stepped down last month.

With CA directors looking at rewriting the governing body's code of ethics, Warner may get another opportunity to lead his country.

"The view within Cricket Australia is that David is doing particularly well on the field and making a great contribution off the field," CA chairman Lachlan Henderson said. 

"The first step in terms of David's leadership ban is to review the code and see if those sanctions are able to be reviewed. And the appropriate revisions to that code that would need to be made.

Henderson added: "Our intention is to review the code as quick as is practical. It's not in anyone's interest for us to delay that. It would be in time for any future leadership conversations in relation to David."

Finch remains Australia's T20 captain for the World Cup on home soil.

A half-century knock from Dawid Malan steered England to an eight-run victory in their latest T20 World Cup warm-up against Australia on Wednesday.

The Yorkshire top-order batsman posted a superb 82 off 49 balls, and combined with Moeen Ali for a fifth-wicket stand of 92 at Canberra's Manuka Oval against the world champions for a total of 178-7.

The hosts looked to threaten a successful chase throughout, with Mitchell Marsh (45) forming the bedrock of their pursuit, ably supplanted by Tim David (40) following his dismissal.

Pat Cummins supplied a late burst of pyrotechnics too, smashing a six at the start of the final over into the scoreboard to set up a nerve-jangling last act.

But Sam Curran's taut bowling, with figures of 3-25, ultimately kept any resistance at bay, to make it two wins from two for the tourists ahead of this month's tournament as Australia finished with 170-6.

Victory hands England the three-match series, with a dead rubber third encounter to come on October 14, before they play their last warm-up against Pakistan on October 17.

Curran doubles down

Having bowled the final over in the first T20I to keep Australia out at the death, it was more of the same from the Surrey left-hander, who dismissed Marcus Stonis, Glenn Maxwell and David.

If there is any doubt about his position now, it looks to have been mostly eradicated, with the 24-year-old likely to make the cut for their opener against Afghanistan on October 22.

Finch reinforces position

Back at the top of the order after Cameron Green partnered David Warner against the West Indies, Australia captain Aaron Finch appears to not be moving from his spot now.

The 35-year-old played his part in claiming the T20 World Cup last year and will do so again from his preferred position, despite a lacklustre 13 off as many balls.

Shaheen Shah Afridi will join up with the Pakistan squad in Brisbane on Saturday ahead of the T20 World Cup after recovering from a knee injury.

The paceman has been out since July due to a knee ligament injury, but he completed his rehabilitation programme at Premier League football club Crystal Palace in London.

Afridi is available for Pakistan's World Cup warm-up games against England and Afghanistan next week.

The left-arm quick's fitness will be assessed prior to Pakistan's first game of the tournament versus fierce rivals India at the MCG on October 23.

Afridi said: "I am super-excited at the prospects of rejoining the national side for the T20 World Cup and playing my part in our Australia campaign. It has been a difficult period for me to be miles away from the game and the team I love the most, and not be part of some gruelling and exciting matches.

"I have been bowling six to eight overs trouble-free for the past 10 days with full run-up and pace. While I have enjoyed bowling and batting in the nets, nothing can replace the feel of the match environment and I can't wait to be in that setting.

"It has been a rigorous and challenging rehabilitation programme, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. To be honest, I am feeling fitter than ever before and can't wait to wear the playing kit and fire a few thunderbolts.

"I want to thank the PCB medical advisory committee as well as Crystal Palace FC for allowing me to use their outstanding facilities and looking after me so well during the rehabilitation programme."

Opening batter Fakhar Zaman, one of three travelling reserves, will also fly to Brisbane this weekend to complete his rehabilitation after he was also sidelined by a knee injury.

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