Rory Burns says Ben Stokes' return to the England Test squad in time for the Ashes tour of Australia has provided "a massive boost".

Stokes was initially omitted from the squad for the away series as he recovered from a second operation on a broken finger and took a break from cricket to protect his mental wellbeing.

But the all-rounder gave Joe Root's side a huge lift last week by declaring he was ready to make his comeback, and he flew out to Australia on Thursday.

He will be available, barring any fitness issues, for the first Test at The Gabba on December 8.

 

Stokes was a star of the previous Ashes series in 2019, albeit his heroics in a famous Headingley Test did not prove enough for England to reclaim the urn.

And Burns explained the confidence boost Stokes' timely return has provided.

"It's obviously a massive boost, you know. To get Stokesy back in the side and back in the squad and back around things is obviously a massive boost for us," the opener told reporters.

"We all know what a good player he is. I don't really have to tell you about that. To get a bloke of his calibre and background back in our group is obviously a massive lift for us."

Stokes' return may have come as a surprise to some, but not Burns, who said: "I wasn't actually that surprised. I kind of felt like something was bubbling away.

"So, it was nice when I saw it announced. Because it is exciting and we want to get out there and have the best side possible, and obviously Ben adds to that in a massive way."

Burns impressed in the 2019 series, scoring 133 in the first innings of his Ashes debut before going on to record two more half-centuries (53 and 81).

"I think, from a personal standpoint, I played quite nicely in my only Ashes series to date," Burns continued.

"That was in my home conditions and those sort of things; we are probably going to get some different conditions out here in Australia. There is confidence there but also, at the same time, it's just taking what's in front of you every step of the way."

The West Indies Women will open their ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup qualifying campaign on November 21 against Papua New Guinea at the Sunrise Cricket Club in Harare, Zimbabwe in the first of their four Group A fixtures.

New Zealand qualified for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup with an eight-wicket win over Afghanistan, who have been eliminated along with India in the process.

India needed Afghanistan to beat the Black Caps, before also having to beat Namibia themselves, but it was not to be as victory for Kane Williamson's men sees them progress from Group 2 along with Pakistan, with England and Australia already through from Group 1.

Any other outcome rarely looked likely in Abu Dhabi as Afghanistan got off to a cumbersome start in their innings, only managing 23 runs for the loss of three wickets during the powerplay.

Najibullah Zadran was the only batsman to impress, hitting 73 from 48 balls including six boundaries and three sixes, before being caught by Jimmy Neesham off the bowling of Trent Boult.

Boult was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with 3-17, though Tim Southee (2-24) became the second all-time leading wicket taker for the Black Caps in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup history as Afghanistan were limited to 124-8.

A fast start for New Zealand saw 26 runs come from the first three overs, only for Daryl Mitchell (17) to fall from the first ball of the fourth over, caught behind off the bowling of Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Rashid Khan, who had already made history in the tournament by taking 100 wickets in T20Is in the fewest innings (53), clinched his 400th wicket in the format, clean bowling Martin Guptill for 28.

Despite that minor setback, New Zealand eases to victory, with Williamson (four) and Devon Conway (36) knocking off the remainder of the total.

Najibullah effort in vain

At times it felt like a one-man-innings from Afghanistan, with Najibullah hitting 73 of their 124 runs himself. Without him, it is doubtful his team-mates would have reached three figures.

Najibullah ended the tournament as his team's top scorer, knocking 172 runs in his five innings.

Williamson gets everything right

The New Zealand captain knew how crucial victory was here, and followed up a superb innings for his team in the field by calmly seeing them home with the bat to book their place in the semi-finals.

Williamson and Conway were happy to score around a run a ball, taking no risks and comfortably reaching the modest target set by Afghanistan. The Black Caps have now won each of their last four T20 World Cup matches; the only other time they have enjoyed a four-match winning run at the tournament was in March 2016.

West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo hopes to play cricket for a few more years yet, despite recently pulling the curtains on his international career.

The 38-year-old officially called time on representing the West Indies, following the close of a disappointing T20 World Cup campaign that ended with a loss to South Africa.  An uninspiring performance from the titleholders saw them lose four of the five matches played. 

Overall, Bravo made 295 appearances for the Caribbean team, winning two T20 World Cup titles and one ICC Champions Trophy.  Despite the disappointment of the most recent tournamet, however, Bravo, who only months ago claimed the Indian Premier League (IPL) title with the Chennai Super Kings, is not quite ready to walk away from the game completely.

“I will continue playing franchise cricket for a few more years as long as my body will allow me to,” Bravo said during the post-match press conference.

“My aim was to retire a few years ago, but with a change of presidency and change of leadership comes a change of heart, and I wanted to give back to West Indies because I was still in a good place physically and enjoy my cricket,” he said.

Bravo had previously announced his international retirement in October of 2018 but came out of retirement in 2019 to help West Indies defend their T20 title.  He is convinced now is the time for a new generation to step into the limelight.

“I think this was the right moment for me to walk away from the game, and allow the next generation and young players who I share a very good friendship with to come through.”

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard says it’s time for the team to rebuild from foundations following a disappointing showing at the T20 World Cup and the end of the road for a generation of players.

A miserable campaign for the defending champions ended with an 8-wicket loss to Australia, the team’s fourth defeat in five games.  The West Indies' lone win of the campaign came against Bangladesh, which preceded heavy losses to England, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

For some the West Indies were listed among the pre-tournament favourites due to boasting a line-up packed with heavy hitters.  The likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, and Andre Russell were not only household T20 names but already had the experience of winning the tournament.

In reality, however, the team struggled to put runs on the board, ending with the fourth-worst net run rate and the team’s experienced players' general failure to ever really get a foothold at the crease.

"Overall it's been a disappointing campaign. In terms of the batting, we have not done well at all. Our bowling has been decent but not good enough. It's the end of a generation, we have some guys who have done good things for T20 cricket in our team and around the world," Pollard said at the post-match presentation.


"We as people are very proud. We have to look at the way we play T20 cricket. What we've seen is that one guy in the top four has to bat as long as possible. Going forward I need to do that better. We have to start from a foundation now," Pollard said at the post-match press conference."

West Indies batting star Chris Gayle joked about wanting to play another World Cup but is expected to officially sign off an exceptional career with one more match, at Sabina Park, when he returns to his birth nation Jamaica.

The 42-year-old competed in his final World Cup match on Thursday, his third appearance overall at the premier T20 competition.  Unlike the other two appearances, which had resulted in the West Indies lifting the trophy, however, this one ended in disappointment with the team limping to the line in second to last place and being eliminated at the group stages.

Nor was Gayle’s performance particularly statistically significant.  In five matches, Gayle tottered to 45 runs with a high score of 15 and an average of 9.  In fact, even before the tournament, the player's inclusion had divided opinion around the Caribbean region with many insisting that the batsman, no longer at the top of his game, should have stepped aside for younger talent.  He admits it was not the fairytale ending.

“It was a very disappointing World Cup, disappointing for me as well.  This is probably my worst World Cup, but these things happen and it's just sad that it came at the back end of my career,” Gayle told ICC Cricket media.

“We still have a lot to go in West Indies cricket, we have some great talent coming up right now, so all I can do is play my supporting role with them and wish West Indies Cricket the best.

“I’d love to play one more World Cup, but I don’t think they would allow me,” a laughing Gayle added.

“I haven’t announced any retirement because they have given me one more game in Jamaica, in front of my home crowd then I can saw alright, thanks, guys.  So, let’s see.  If it wasn’t for that I would have announced it a long time ago with DJ Bravo.”

Gayle has been one of the most dominant players in the sport of T20 cricket, with over 14,000 runs scored.  Internationally, he has scored the most runs for the West Indies with 1899.

 

 

 

 

Eoin Morgan vowed England would find a way to cope without Jason Roy if the hard-hitting opener is ruled out of the rest of the T20 World Cup.

A calf injury sustained by Roy in Saturday's thrilling clash with South Africa has put his hopes of featuring again at the tournament in doubt.

He retired hurt for 20 early in England's innings as Morgan's side made sure of a semi-final place, despite losing by 10 runs to the Proteas in Sharjah.

South Africa headed out of the tournament, due to their net run rate falling short of that of England and Australia, despite all three sides finishing Group 1 with four wins and one loss.

Roy had not been at his explosive best in the tournament, and England are confident they have players who can come in and prove able deputies.

"We've dealt with a lot of injuries in this tournament and pre-tournament – [Ben] Stokes, [Sam] Curran, [Jofra] Archer are not here, Tymal [Mills] goes down," Morgan said.

"Possibly Jason will be assessed tomorrow. We have a lot of talent coming in, so that gives us a huge amount of confidence.

"In the last couple of years, having built a core group of white-ball players, it allows us to delve into that depth and really explore it."

England paceman Mark Wood said on Sky Sports: "I'm disappointed for J-Roy. I'm sure from the pictures, you saw how disappointed he is. 

"He's pretty disappointed in the dressing room now, upset. He's a big character and a brilliant player for us.

"We've got plenty of good players and good depth, so someone will have to step up, but it's really sad for him.

"We've got [Jonny] Bairstow who opens in the 50 overs; James Vince is a reserve, so he could maybe come in and open the batting; and [Liam] Livingstone opens for Lancashire, so we've got plenty of options."

England made sure of a T20 World Cup semi-final place and took Australia through with them as South Africa went out in a blaze of glory in Sharjah.

The South Africans piled up 189-2 as Rassie van der Dussen plundered 94 from 60 deliveries and Aiden Markram cracked 52 from 25 balls, and they sealed a 10-run win on the back of a final-over hat-trick from Kagiso Rabada.

South Africa's hefty total meant England needed 87 to be sure of a semi-final place, with Eoin Morgan's team's net run rate sky-high coming into this game after four successive wins. Such calculations told South Africa they had to limit their opposition to no more than 131, if the Proteas were to squeeze Australia out of the final four, but England soon scotched those hopes.

Even as their tournament hopes were dashed, South Africa found focus, limiting Group 1 winners England to 179-8 in an absorbing finish capped by Rabada's feats.

Jos Buttler, England's star man in their early games, fell for just 26, and opener Jason Roy retired hurt, his prospects for the rest of the tournament in the balance after he suffered a calf muscle injury when setting off for a single.

England were soon past their primary target. Moeen Ali clattered Tabraiz Shamsi onto the stadium roof from the first ball of the 13th over, but he fell to the next delivery, looking to go deep again but holing out for 37 to David Miller at long-on.

Liam Livingstone flogged Rabada out of the ground for a 112-metre six, the longest in the tournament so far, and repeated the treatment from the next two balls as England officially condemned South Africa to their exit.

David Malan fell for 33 and England, effectively five wickets down, required 45 from 22 deliveries. Livingstone went for 28 from 17 balls, and England needed 14 from the final over. Rabada had Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan caught in the deep from the first three deliveries and made sure there was no way back from that. 

Quinton de Kock (34) had earlier helped South Africa make a strong start. Van der Dussen lashed Woakes for two successive sixes at the start of the 16th over, with Markram following suit from the fifth ball as the England seamer suffered.

The maximums kept coming, with Van der Dussen hitting six in all and Markram blasting four, both batters hitting Jordan over the rope in the final over, but home beckons for the South Africans.
 

VAN DER DUSSEN TOPS PROTEAS BEST

Van der Dussen's bravura knock was the highest score by a South Africa player in T20 World Cup history, surpassing the 90 not out by Herschelle Gibbs against West Indies at the 2007 tournament.

KNOCKING WOOD TO ALL CORNERS

Mark Wood's first appearance for England in this tournament was not one he will look back on too fondly, given the England paceman conceded 0-47. In his 18th T20I appearance, this was just the second time when he has failed to take a wicket. The other occasion saw him return 0-53 when England lost a series decider to India in Ahmedabad in March.

Australia took a huge step towards the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup as they thrashed the West Indies by eight wickets to deny Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo victorious farewells.

Seeking to win the tournament for the first time, Australia made sure South Africa will need a truly remarkable victory over England later on Saturday to deny them a place in the last four.

Josh Hazlewood produced a stunning performance with the ball for Australia, taking 4-39, including the wicket of Bravo on his final appearance for the Windies, who only managed to get to 157-7 because of a late salvo from Andre Russell.

Hazlewood's efforts with the ball were backed up brilliantly by a superb batting display from David Warner, whose unbeaten 89 off 56 ensured victory was rarely in doubt, Australia getting home with 22 balls to spare.

Already eliminated from contention with only one win to their name, the Windies saw a strong start dissipate as Gayle (15) departed the crease in what is expected to be his final game for the Windies.

Gayle chopped onto his stumps the next delivery after smashing Pat Cummins for six and saluted the crowd as he strode off. Nicholas Pooran followed in short order at the hands of Hazelwood, who then castled Roston Chase for a duck and the Windies failed to wrestle back the initiative after falling to 35-3.

Australia skipper Aaron Finch did fall cheaply for nine in reply, though that was as good as it got for the Windies as they were bludgeoned by Warner and Mitchell Marsh.

They put together a seemingly effortless partnership of 124, combining for 13 fours and six maximums before it was finally ended by Gayle, much to the delight of the Windies, as he removed Marsh with the scores level, before Warner clinched victory with a boundary to finish things off with a flourish.

Australia all but through

Australia sit second in Group 1 with eight points and a clear net run-rate advantage over third-placed South Africa, who will need to thump unbeaten England in Sharjah to progress to the semis ahead of Australia.

Gayle & Bravo all smiles

Though the result was not they wanted, Gayle and Bravo made sure to soak up the experience of their final match. They were all smiles throughout and received a guard of honour from the Australia players after the game.

Gayle is the Windies' top run-scorer in T20I cricket with 1,899. Known for his devastating batting in the shortest format, his dismissal of Marsh as he and Bravo bowled two of the final three overs marked an unconventional farewell.

Virat Kohli lauded India's performance in an eight-wicket win over Scotland, though they will need luck on their side to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup.

India skittled Scotland for 85 in Dubai before KL Rahul (50) and Rohit Sharma (30) set them well on their way to a resounding, but crucial, victory.

Kohli, playing on his 33rd birthday, nosed two singles, with Suryakumar Yadav hitting the winning six as India sealed the triumph in 6.3 overs.

India moved up to third in Group 2 and have a superior net run rate when compared to second-placed New Zealand, who are two points to the good.

It means India need a favour from Afghanistan, who take on New Zealand in their last outing, while also having to get the job done themselves against Namibia.

While Kohli regrets the mistakes that have put India in such a perilous position – his side having lost to Pakistan and New Zealand in their opening two games – he was thrilled with the display on Friday.

"A dominating performance. It was something we were striving to do again," he said at the post-match presentation.

"I don't want to say too much about today because we know how we can play. These little things in T20 cricket... the toss, conditions matter, and we're glad to be back in our mojo. We spoke about [limiting Scotland to] 100, 120 maximum, but we restricted them to a total that allowed us to leapfrog everyone else.

"We spoke about finishing in the eight to 10 over bracket. You don't want to go in with six-and-a-half or a seven-and-a-half run [per over] mark because then you're doing too much.

"If you look at our practice games as well, the guys have been batting like that. Two overs of cricket like that [earlier in the competition] and the momentum of the tournament could have been completely different."

Kohli's counterpart Kyle Coetzer reflected on his side having learned a stern lesson.

"A tough day in the office, we were outclassed in every department," the Scotland captain said.

"But the only way we'll improve is going through games like that and seeing it head on."

While India are battling for the last four, Scotland remain winless and sit bottom of Group 2, with Pakistan to come in their final game.

India kept their hopes of progressing to the T20 World Cup semi-finals alive with an eight-wicket win over Scotland in Dubai.

Virat Kohli turned 33 on Friday, and his team handed the captain a birthday gift with a brilliant display against the minnows.

With New Zealand having beaten Namibia to move onto six points in Group 2, India needed a big win to maintain their slim semi-final hopes.

Kohli won the toss and chose to field, and though George Munsey – who hit a six off the first over – started brightly, his knock of 24 from 19 deliveries was the highest score any Scotland batsman managed.

Scotland were skittled out for just 85, Mohammed Shami finishing with figures of 3-15, identical to those of Ravindra Jadeja, while Jasprit Bumrah took 2-10. Shami began the 17th over with wickets from the first three balls, including a run out.

The bowling performance paved the way for a swift India success, led by the magnificent KL Rahul, who hit 50 from 19 balls before looping a shot down the ground to Calum MacLeod from Mark Watt's enticing delivery.

Rahul's fellow opener Rohit Sharma – aiming to become just the third player to reach 3,000 T20I runs – reached 30 before succumbing lbw to Brad Wheal.

Kohli ticked over two singles before a huge six from Suryakumar Yadav sealed India's success after just 6.3 overs.

Rahul and Rohit sparkle

India's openers raced to the fastest team 50 in the tournament, taking just 23 balls to reach that mark.

Rohit is now just 18 runs short of joining team-mate Kohli and New Zealand's Martin Guptill in the 3,000-runs club, though he may well only have one more shot at that this tournament. His partner Rahul dazzled, hitting three sixes and a further six boundaries in a sensational show of quality.

India need a New Zealand slip-up

There is real jeopardy in Group 2, and a big team will miss out on going any further. Pakistan top the standings with eight points from their four games, so are assured of their place in the semi-finals.

India, who round off their Super 12 campaign against Namibia, are now on four points, two behind New Zealand, but they have a much better run rate of 1.62 compared to 1.28 for the Black Caps, who face Afghanistan (another side on fourth points) in their last game. It is all to play for.

West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has officially announced his retirement from international cricket, following a disappointing title defense for the team at the T20 World Cup.

The West Indies still have one fixture remaining against Australia but have officially been eliminated after losing to Sri Lanka on Thursday.  Overall, the team lost three matches and won one.  The West Indies' lone win so far came against Bangladesh, after losing to England and South Africa to open the tournament.

Ahead of the World Cup, the 38-year-old Bravo had suggested that the tournament would be his last for the region, after a long and decorated career.

I think the time has come," Bravo to the ICC Cricket media channel.

 "I've had a very good career. To represent the West Indies for 18 years, had some ups and downs, but as I look back at it I'm very grateful to represent the region and the Caribbean people for so long,” he added.

Since making his debut in 2006, against New Zealand, Bravo went on to represent the West Indies 90 times in T20 internationals.  Overall, he has made 223 appearances for the Caribbean team in all formats.

"To win three ICC trophies, two with my captain [Daren Sammy] on the left here. One thing I am proud about is that the era of cricketers we had we were able to make a name for ourselves on the global stage and not only do that but have silverware to show for it,” he added.

As for the current campaign, Bravo admitted that it did not go the way the team wanted it to, but that he hoped to be able to still pass on his knowledge to the upcoming generation.

"For me now I want to try and pass on whatever experience and information I have with the younger players," he said. "I think in the white-ball formats West Indies cricket have a bright future and it's important for us to keep supporting the guys and keep encouraging them.

"It wasn't the World Cup we expected, it wasn't the World Cup we wanted as players. We shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves, it was a tough competition, we should keep our heads high."

 

 

New Zealand negotiated a Super 12 win over Namibia with minimal fuss, prevailing by 52 runs to maintain control of their semi-final fate at the T20 World Cup.

The Black Caps came into Friday's match third in Group 2 but crucially two points ahead of India with a superior net run rate.

And although Namibia initially kept the New Zealand batsmen quiet, there was to be no great upset, meaning Kane Williamson's men can book their place in the last four by beating Afghanistan – also still in contention – in their final match.

There may have been some Kiwi nerves when they stumbled to 87-4 through 14 overs having been put in to bat, with captain Williamson a big scalp, bowled for 28 by opposite number Gerhard Erasmus (1-22).

But Glenn Phillips (39 not out) and James Neesham (35 not out) then combined for an unbeaten 76 to reach 163-4 in a devastating finish to the innings, as five sixes across the last four overs included 21 runs off David Wiese in the 18th alone.

The task with the bat then got away from Namibia, who stuck with New Zealand's early run rate but lacked the same acceleration in the closing stages.

Nobody topped opener Michael van Lingen's contribution of 25, fittingly ended by Neesham, as the chase fell well short on 111-7.

Erasmus efforts in vain

Namibia captain Erasmus had bowled only two overs at this World Cup prior to this point but took on a far more prominent role in a bid to slow New Zealand. It was successful as he conceded only 22 runs from his four overs.

However, he then put the ball in the hands of his team-mates in the closing stages of the innings and saw them punished ruthlessly by Phillips and Neesham. In reply, Erasmus could score only three.

Southee stunts chase hopes

Having starred with the bat, Neesham's dismissal of Van Lingen was a big one, ending a stand of 47 for the first wicket. However, Namibia were still in contention deep into their innings due to New Zealand's slow start.

But Tim Southee stepped up in good time to lead the All Blacks comfortably across the finish line. Wiese had averaged 61.7 at this World Cup, the best efforts of any batsman from a non-Test playing nation, but he went lbw to Southee, who also accounted for Zane Smith en route to figures of 2-15 from four overs. He now has wickets in eight straight T20I innings.

Former West Indies opening batsman Philo Wallace believes T20 captain Kieron Pollard must shoulder a huge part of the blame following the team’s faltering and ultimately fruitless title defense of the T20 World Cup.

On Thursday, the regional team limped out of semi-final contention after losing to Sri Lanka by 20 runs, a result that had followed heavy defeats to England and South Africa. 

In between the three defeats, the team did manage one win, which came against Bangladesh but that was far from some of the loftier expectations heading into the event.

Ahead of the competition, the selection of several senior players had proven to be a major bone of contention with some fans around the region, who clamoured for younger players to be included. 

In response, however, it was argued that the experience of the senior players would prove vital to the campaign.  In reality, things did not quite pan out that way.  The likes of Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Dwayne Bravo, and Pollard himself, had disappointing performances.  In addition to his performances with the bat and ball, Wallace argues, however, that Pollard failed to deliver in another key area, his leadership.

“I think Pollard has failed us in that he has not stepped up to lead the team, the way we thought he would have led the team,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“…I thought that Pollard would have been the one to step up and say gentlemen I will take this on my back, and we are going to do this, X, Y, Z.  To tell the public that it is not a developing tour and then be in the position that we are in with seasoned campaigners is detrimental to his credibility,” he added.

“For all that he is worth in T20 cricket, I have not seen it at this World Cup…I know he had an injury but I expected more from him in terms of gluing that middle order together and with bowling and stuff, those guys needed a leader.”

Overall, Pollard scored 46 runs, with a best of 26 and an average of 15.33.

 

Former Jamaica and West Indies spinner, Nikita Miller is to open his cricket academy later this month.

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