History made during Strikers BBL win, NZ captain stands aside, ‘family emergency’ sees Scorcher out of side

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Matt Short believes he was fortunate to survive the BBL’s historic first-ever DRS challenge, before making the most of his second life to spearhead the Adelaide Strikers to an emphatic 51-run trouncing of the Sydney Sixers at Adelaide Oval.

Batting first, the Strikers plummeted temporarily to 2-2 on Wednesday when Short, on one, was adjudged lbw to Sean Abbott by umpire Bruce Oxenford.

Short was ready to walk before batting partner Chris Lynn urged him to review the decision.

Television replays confirmed the ball was missing and Short went on to stroke a classy 84, masterminding the Strikers’ imposing 6-184, before Henry Thornton’s career-best 4-20 helped limit the Sixers to a paltry 7-133 in reply.

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“I was probably thinking it was going to hit or at least umpire’s call,” Short admitted.

“It was good to have Lynny down the other end – he said, ‘go for it’.

“Even with the replays I thought it was maybe hitting the stumps.

“Lucky to get away with that one.”

Long-time former Brisbane Heat captain Lynn (41) and swashbuckling England import Adam Hose (40) both impressed for their new side, providing wonderful support for Short.

Sean Abbott (3-37) and 19-year-old Afghan mystery spinner Izarulhaq Naveed (2-25) were the pick of the Sixers’ bowlers.

Thornton and legspinning wizard Rashid Khan (3-21) then starred with the ball for the Strikers who exacted some retribution for last season’s Challenger Final between the two sides at the SCG, which the Sixers won in a last-ball heart-stopper to advance to the decider.

Jordan Silk (36) top-scored for the Sixers, whose lacklustre reply spluttered early and never recovered.

Introduced in the third over, Thornton struck twice in his first three balls, dismissing dangerous duo Kurtis Patterson (9) and James Vince (0).

Josh Philippe (26) and captain Moises Henriques (24) both fell victim to Rashid wrong ‘uns as the Strikers’ grip on the contest tightened.

With the asking rate escalating out of control, the Sixers were aiming to match the home side’s 30-run haul when they took the two-over power surge but could muster just six runs, corralled by the Strikers’ two greatest bowlers, Rashid and Peter Siddle.

Thornton returned to the attack near the death and skittled Dan Christian and Sean Abbott.

Williamson steps down as NZ Test captain

Kane Williamson has stepped down as New Zealand’s Test captain and will be replaced by Tim Southee.

Williamson will continue to skipper his country in one-day internationals and Twenty20 cricket and has reiterated his desire to continue playing all three formats.

The 32-year-old captained the Black Caps’ Test team on 40 occasions – 22 wins, eight draws and 10 losses – after assuming the role from Brendon McCullum in 2016. 

He scored 11 centuries during that period.

Southee, who has 346 internationals to his name and has led the T20 side on 22 occasions, will become New Zealand’s 31st Test captain when he leads the team on this month’s Test tour to Pakistan.

Canterbury opener Tom Latham has been confirmed as Test vice-captain, having previously led the side in Williamson’s absence.

“Captaincy comes with an increased workload on and off the field and at this stage of my career I feel the time is right for this decision,” Williamson said in a statement.

“After discussions with NZC (New Zealand Cricket), we felt that continuing to captain the white-ball formats was preferable with two World Cups in the next two years.

“I’m excited to support Tim as captain and Tom as vice-captain. Having played with both of them for most of my career, I’m confident they’ll do a great job.

“Playing for the Black Caps and contributing in all three formats is my number one priority and I’m looking forward to the cricket we have ahead.”

Black Caps coach Gary Stead said he hoped the move would help prolong Williamson’s international career and backed bowler Southee, 34, to bring a “slightly different perspective” to the role.

“Kane’s guided the Test team through an immensely successful period which is testament to his ability to bring people together and work towards a common goal,” Stead said.

“We hope by lessening his workload we can continue to see the best of Kane Williamson for longer on the international stage.”

Stead described new skipper Southee as “a quality leader with a good cricket brain”.

“He will also come from a slightly different perspective in being a bowler which I’m sure will also bring with it new ideas and fresh thinking,” he said.

Scorchers’ Mills out of BBL over emergency

England seamer Tymal Mills has withdrawn from a planned stint in the Big Bash League due to a “family emergency”.

Mills, part of Jos Buttler’s triumphant T20 World Cup squad earlier this year, was due to return to Perth Scorchers having made seven appearances in their title-winning campaign last season but he’s been forced to pull out.

A club statement read: “Perth Scorchers fast bowler Tymal Mills will not be available for the 2022/23 KFC Big Bash League season due to a family emergency.

“Mills was recruited by Perth in the inaugural BBL12 Draft after playing an important role during the Scorchers’ title-winning BBL11 campaign. 

“The club fully supports Mills’ decision, and sends its thoughts and best wishes to his family during this time.

“Perth is exploring its options to recruit a replacement international player.”

No fear for Pope in Stokes’ new England

Ollie Pope says he’s “stopped fearing getting out” as he feels he’s been freed up in England’s cricketing revolution under the guidance of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum.

Stokes’ man-management skills have inspired a loyalty and devotion from the England dressing room and he, in turn, has instilled a sense of belief.

Since Stokes took over the permanent captaincy, Pope was promoted to No.3 in the summer and retained the gloves over a fit Ben Foakes for the series-clinching victory over Pakistan in Multan.

RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN - DECEMBER 05: Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach and Ben Stokes of England celebrate winning the First Test Match between Pakistan and England at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on December 05, 2022 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

James Anderson, who has been around the national side for almost two decades, declared in the summer that, under the current leadership, he was “the happiest he’s ever felt” in an England side.

And it seems that sentiment is trickling down to the younger members of the squad, such as Pope.

“I feel a new player at the minute, personally, to what I felt in the past playing for England,” 24-year-old Pope said after the conclusion of the Test in Pakistan’s City of Saints.

“I feel I’ve been a bit more consistent, I’ve stopped fearing getting out.

“The two guys at the top have helped me grow, not confidence but the freedom to express myself and how I want to play. It’s been great for me, hopefully I keep that consistency.”

Pope has cut a composed figure with the gloves, and has taken 10 catches and one stumping in the first two Tests of the series in Pakistan.

However, he insisted that his primary focus remains on consistently scoring runs.

“I’d still love to tie down number three, make that my own,” Pope said.

“That will be my primary focus. Obviously, different conditions, somewhere like NZ, we might go with a more regular team – that’s not for me to decide, my main priority is to keep churning out runs at number three.”

Harry Brook has immediately taken to Test cricket and, after three matches, boasts an average of 73.80, scored at a strike rate of just under one a ball.

The Yorkshireman’s success has earned high praise from his captain, who after the conclusion of the Multan Test match likened the 23-year-old to Virat Kohli for his attributes across all formats.

Brook believes the style of cricket played by the current England team has helped his seamless transition into the format.

“The lads just say go out there and do what you’re doing for your county side and I think I have done really,” he said.

“I’ve gone out there and I think I slot into this team fairly well with the way I’ve played, I’m generally quite an aggressive player who always looks to score and put the bowler under pressure, so it suits my natural game, and it’s been quite easy to slot in, and the lads have been great. So it’s been good fun.”

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