New faces in Bangladesh ODI set-up, Afif Hossain and Mohammad Naim, said they are hopeful to have the ODI cap in the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe starting from March 1 at Sylhet International Stadium.
While Afif and Naim are excited about their possible induction to ODI cricket, all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin is eying to make a remarkable comeback to the ODI side after seven months.
Both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe teams are now in Sylhet. Zimbabwe flew to the city at 11pm on Thursday while Bangladesh team left Dhaka at 6pm on the same day.
“I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Now my dream came true as I am a member of the Bangladesh ODI team. If I get a chance in the playing XI, I will try to utilise it for my team,” Afif told the media before leaving for Sylhet on Thursday.
Afif usually bats at the middle-order. But in the national team, he might not get a chance at the same place as there are some established members at the top-order. However, the southpaw said he is ready to bat at in any position.
“It depends on the team combination. If the team management decides to play me at the top of the order, I am up for that. Actually, I am ready to bat at any position,” Afif added.
Like Afif, Naim is also excited to be a part of the Bangladesh ODI team. The left-handed batsman said he is confident to take the challenge of 50-over cricket in the international arena.
“It’s a new challenge for me and I am ready to take a challenge at any time. I was advised to work on some special aspects of my game during the two-day practice match against Zimbabwe before the Test. I worked on those and now, I am ready to play 50-over cricket,” Naim told the media on Thursday.
Naim also insisted that he feels lucky to play for the Bangladesh team under the captaincy of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.
Saifuddin, who was so close to establishing himself in the limited-over set-up of Bangladesh, returned to the ODI team after a gap of seven months due to a back injury. The all-rounder said he has no injury-related problem now.
“I got the clearance from the BCB medical team. I am allowed to play any sort of cricket now. There were some restrictions during Bangladesh Cricket League as I was not permitted to bowl for more than eight overs a day. But now, I am ready to play without any restriction,” Saifuddin said.
All of Afif, Naim and Saifuddin believe they can beat Zimbabwe in the ODI series if they can come up with their standard brand of cricket.
While the first match of the ODI series will take place on March 1, the remaining matches will be played on March 3 and 6. All the matches will be played at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
In the second game of the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup, Bangladesh Women’s team suffered a big defeat by 86 runs against the hosts and defending champions Australia at Perth on Thursday.
Australia won on the toss in today’s game and opted to bat first. They posted 189 for one in 20 overs, the highest total of the event so far. Bangladeshi bowlers were clueless to prevent the hosts’ batters from scoring runs.
Openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney posted 151 runs in the first wicket stand. While Alyssa scored 83 off 53 balls with 10 fours and three sixes and fell prey to Salma Khatun, Beth scored 81 off 58 with nine fours and remained unbeaten. Ashleigh Gardner was the only other batter who has batted in this game for Australia and scored 22 unbeaten off nine balls with three fours and one six.
All of the Bangladeshi bowlers were expensive in this game. Rumana Ahmed, who returned with the most economical figures, conceded as much as 7.50 runs per overs. Khadija Tul Kubra and Jahanara Alam were the most expensive bowlers. While Khadija conceded 29 runs in just two overs, Jahanara gave away 40 runs in her four overs.
In reply, Bangladesh tumbled for 103 runs for nine wickets in 20 overs with the highest score of 36 by Fargana Haque. The other batatters were failed to cope up with the wicket of Perth and subsequently endured a disappointing defeat.
Apart from Fargana, Shamima Sultana (13), Nigar Sultana (19) and Rumana Ahmed (13) were the only other three batters to have reached two-digit scores, but their efforts were not enough to avoid a defeat.
Right-arm pacer Megan Schutt scalped three wickets conceding 21 runs in four overs while the left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen took two wickets conceding 17 runs in four overs.
Bangladesh suffered the same fate in the first game when they lost to India by 18 runs. The Tigress will take on New Zealand and Sri Lanka on February 29 and March 2 respectively. If they fail to win these two games, they will have to play a qualifying round to play the next edition of Women’s T20 World Cup.
India secured the first of the semifinal spots at the Women's Twenty20 World Cup after holding off New Zealand for a three-run win at the Junction Oval on Thursday to improve to 3-0 in the group stage.
The 16-year-old opener Shafali Verma scored 46 from 34 balls to guide India to 133-8, a target usually well within reach of a New Zealand lineup that hadn't failed to chase a sub-140 total in the T20 format in more than six years.
But with Sophie Devine (14), Rachel Priest (12) and Suzie Bates (6) all out by the ninth over, New Zealand slipped to 34-3 and just fell short in the chase, finishing 130-6 despite a late 34 from 19 balls from 19-year-old Amelia Kerr, who earlier took two wickets.
India opened the tournament with a 17-run win over defending champion Australia at the Sydney Showground Stadium last Friday and followed up with an 18-run win over Bangladesh. It has one more group game against Sri Lanka on Saturday before the semifinals, which are scheduled for March 5.
India has never won the women's T20 World Cup. The Australians have won four of the previous six editions, with England winning the inaugural event in 2009 and West Indies winning in 2018.
David Warner returned to the scene of the scandal and played a central role in a victory this time as Australia beat South Africa by 97 runs in the final Twenty20 to clinch the series 2-1 on Wednesday.
The last time Warner was at Newlands he instigated one of the biggest embarrassments in Australian cricket history with a ball-tampering plot in a test against South Africa in March 2018.
Warner's contribution in this game was to top score for the Aussies with 57 off 37 balls to set up a total of 193-5.
South Africa didn't come close.
Mitchell Starc blasted out captain Quinton de Kock (5) and former skipper Faf du Plessis (5) in the first and third overs of the chase. The quick bowler finished it with Kagiso Rabada's wicket and South Africa was all out for 96 in 15.3 overs for a formidable victory for the Australians.
In between Starc's early and late strikes, spinners Ashton Agar (3-16) and Adam Zampa (2-10) knocked the stuffing out of the South African lineup.
Agar, who has already taken a hat trick in this series, nearly had another when he had Anrich Nortje lbw and bowled Lungi Ngidi next ball.
Earlier, Warner and captain Aaron Finch, who hit 55 off 37, put on 120 in their opening stand after South Africa put them in to bat. Australia was ahead from then on.
The series win is a promising start to Australia's buildup to the Twenty20 World Cup in October and November, which will be held in Australia.
South Africa has had a tough season. It lost test and T20 series at home to England earlier this year and drew the one-day series. With just a three-match ODI series against Australia left, the Proteas are in danger of going through a home summer without a series win in any format.
For Australia, the victory may not completely erase memories of the ball-tampering scandal but it might soften them for the team and for Warner and former captain Steve Smith, another man involved in the tampering plot two years ago and who also made his return to Newlands on Wednesday.
Smith made 30 not out in a valuable contribution at the end of the Australian innings. He hit two sixes and 20 runs off the last over. The sixes disappeared over long-on and then an extraordinary lofted drive over extra cover.
Warner and Smith were both banned for a year by Cricket Australia for their roles in the cheating in 2018 and Smith was stripped of the captaincy. They've been back in international cricket for nearly a year now but the return to Cape Town felt like the final step on the road to redemption.
Rilee Rossouw hit an unbeaten 49 and left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir grabbed 4-13 as the Multan Sultans notched a six-wicket victory over Peshawar Zalmi in their first home game of the Pakistan Super League on Wednesday.
Multan now has two wins from three games and is level at the top of the points table with title defender Quetta Gladiators and two-time champion Islamabad United.
The 2017 champion Peshawar, which was dismissed for its lowest PSL total of 123 in 18.3 overs, lost its second game and has two points from three matches.
Left-handers Rossouw and Khushdil Shah (43 not out off 29 balls) delighted a capacity crowd of 25,000 at the Multan Cricket Stadium with a match-winning unbeaten 77-run fifth-wicket stand as the home team raced to 124-4 off 14.5 overs.
"We executed our bowling plans very well and restricted the opponents," Multan captain Shan Masood said. "The intensity was right there although we dropped a catch off the very first ball, but both our seamers and spinners did a very good job."
After putting up a disappointing show with the bat, the Darren Sammy-led Peshawar struggled with its fielding as well. Sammy dropped James Vince in the first slip off the very first ball.
Rossouw also escaped twice when Rahat Ali dropped a low return catch off his own bowling and Liam Livingstone couldn't hold on to a tough chance in the deep when the batsman reached 46.
"They (Multan) used the conditions to their advantage and now we have to bounce back," Sammy said.
Earlier, after being put into bat, Tom Banton (4) couldn't capitalize after being dropped in the slip off Mohammad Irfan's first ball as veteran Shahid Afridi took a smart catch at short extra cover to dismiss the Englishman in the same over.
Pakistan Under-19 batsman Haider Ali made an aggressive 47 off 27 balls with six fours and two sixes, but once he holed out to Rossouw at deep mid-wicket off Tanvir in the 11th over, Peshawar's innings never got back on track.
Sammy (2) took 12 balls to get off the mark as both spinners Imran Tahir of South Africa and Afridi tied down the West Indian before the Peshawar captain miscued a pull and was caught at mid on.
Tanvir returned for his second spell and claimed the last two wickets as Peshawar finished on a below-par total.
Multan, which plays three matches at home, next faces Karachi Kings on Friday while Peshawar takes on bottom-placed Lahore Qalandars in Rawalpindi the same day.