World T20: Warm-up wins for India, England and South Africa

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India, England and South Africa collected wins as warm-up action continued ahead of the ICC World T20 on Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates.

South Africa clinch last-ball thriller against Pakistan

 Rassie van der Dussen hit a stunning unbeaten century off 51 deliveries as South Africa pulled off an extraordinary run chase to beat Pakistan. Van der Dussen and David Miller slammed 22 off the final over to seal the win off the very last ball of the match.

Earlier, Pakistan were asked to bat first at the Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi, and lost skipper Babar Azam inside the powerplay, with the opener clean bowled by Kagiso Rabada.

Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman led the rebuild, with the Proteas managing to keep the scoring rate down with the early fielding restrictions in place. But Zaman unleashed through the middle overs, slamming five sixes as he raced up through the gears before retiring out with 52 off 28 to his name.

Shoaib Malik’s 28(20) and Asif Ali’s explosive 32(18) kept the momentum going until Rabada returned to dismiss both in the penultimate over.

And Hasan Ali hit a maximum of his own in the final over to help Pakistan to 186-6 off their full allocation.

Rassie van der Dussen and captain Temba Bavuma consolidated after Imad Wasim had removed both of the South African openers early.

There was still plenty for South Africa to do at the halfway stage of the chase, at 71-2 and with still 116 runs required.

But Van der Dussen teed off, ably supported by Bavuma, Heinrich Klaasen and then Miller to secure an unlikely win.

Rohit Sharma of India plays a shot during the India and Australia warm-up match prior to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at on October 20, 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

India bag second warm-up win with demolition of Australia

India cruised to back-to-back wins in the warm-up games ahead of the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. All the Indian batters contributed to the eight-wicket win, with Rohit Sharma leading the way with a fantastic half-century.

India spun a web around the Australian top-order before Steve Smith’s half-century and Marcus Stoinis’ cameo propelled Australia to 152.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul started steadily on a sluggish track where shot-making was difficult against the pacers. Against the spinners, however, Rahul looked at absolute ease as he smashed Agar and Zampa down the ground for two sixes and a four. Rohit, at the other end, seemed happy to play second fiddle.

KL Rahul eventually fell to Ashton Agar, trying to clear the boundary once again only to find David Warner in the deep. By the time Rahul was out, Rohit Sharma had got his eye in and took over the mettle of run-scoring. He brought up his half-century with a wonderful cut off Stonis.

Suryakumar Yadav too got some valuable runs to boost his confidence ahead of India’s Super 12 opener against Pakistan. When India needed 26 off 30, Rohit decided to retire himself out to give Hardik Pandya some much-needed game time and it was eventually him who sealed the game with a straight six.

Earlier in the day, Australia skipper Aaron Finch chose to bat first against Rohit Sharma-led Indian team.

India chose to start with spin at one end and reaped instant rewards as Ashwin sent David Warner and Mitchell Marsh back to the pavilion off consecutive balls.

Ravindra Jadeja scalped Aaron Finch off his first ball after which Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell have steadied the ship as Australia go into the drinks break at 57-3.

Just when it looked like Maxwell was getting in the groove, Rahul Chahar got the better of him with the googly.

Though Virat Kohli did not come out for the toss, he did roll his arm over for a couple of overs.

Steve Smith soon brought up a well-made half-century after smashing Shardul Thakur for three consecutive fours. Stoinis’ unbeaten 25-ball 41 helped Australia post 152-5 at the end of 20.

Jos Buttler of England bats during the England and New Zealand warm-up match prior to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at on October 20, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Gareth Copley-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Buttler fires as England survive late scare against New Zealand

New Zealand recovered from 103-9 to take their game against England to the last over, but fell short by 13 runs in the end in Abu Dhabi.

After Guptill got New Zealand off to a flyer, England roared back into the game and threatened to finish it early before Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle strung together a 47-run stand for the final wicket.

Defending 165, England’s decision to open the bowling with Liam Livingstone backfired after Martin Guptill smashed two sixes in the first over. Tim Seifert’s stay at the crease did not last long but Guptill at the other end showed no signs of slowing down, hitting Mark Wood for three fours in an over.

Going strong at 59-1 after the Powerplay, three wickets in four overs pegged New Zealand back as they went into the drinks breaks at 87-4.

The Kiwis never got their innings going after that as wickets kept tumbling. Adil Rashid struck twice in two balls to remove Mark Chapman and Mitchell Santner. Wood ran through the lower order and was on a hat-trick after he dismissed Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson off consecutive balls.

Earlier, Kane Williamson won the toss and chose to put England in to bat first.

Jos Buttler led the recovery after England lost Jason Roy to the first ball of the game, with Buttler hitting a classy 73 off 51.

The introduction of spin helped New Zealand put the brakes on the scoring. Ish Sodhi, who had earlier scalped Dawid Malan, trapped Morgan in front and then bagged the big wicket of Buttler in the deep.

Spinners continued to make merry as Glenn Phillips scalped Liam Livingstone for one, but Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings helped England finish strongly.

En route to his 27, Billings smashed Jamieson for 20 in the penultimate over as England finished on 163/6. (WT20)

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