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Cricket 19: Career Mode – Steady Scores!

When in Richmond , we were destroyed by double centurion Harry Koch in the limited overs showdown but home fortunes and the return of the longer format proved too strong for Koch and his side.

In the top of the table clash, wily spinner Axel Dickson led the way in front of the ever developing and growing Twickers army’ with 4-48 including the vital scalp of Koch for 39 and opener Roy for 72. Dickson was well supported by the other 4 main bowlers as I wasn’t required to roll my arm over for some little twirlers in either innings.

Usually, we have been at similar levels with the ball in our sweaty palms and when we have had the stick in hand but crucially we secured a 60 run advantage spearheaded by skipper Jace Young’s fluent instrumental knock of 93 ably supported by the compact sturdy defence of opener Carter Flynn with 73. My contribution was as brief as the length of my innings 1 off 2 deliveries before nicking off. Nate Knight took my wicket and the bustling left arm bowler was the knight in shining armour collecting 7-43 to cause an unfortunate collapse.

Just when the Richmond resistance and fight back seemed to have sprung into life, it was decimated within the space of a session! Wickets tumbled and were spread pretty evenly as John Barker continued his searing hot form. The marvel Maverick Cook at the age of 31 contributed 3-13 in 4 overs as his off breakers provoked a late innings subside leading to a slender 62 run leverage. Our batting was safe and measured and meant that my recent good 3 day form was not needed as we cruised to a second day victory taking us top of the table.

Our extra day rest granted us the chance to play another round of four ball golf which much like my cricket against Richmond was long yet successful as Mildenhall and I defeated Young and Barker 3&2 to level up the mini series.

We made the 40 minute journey the following day up to the Brent Park Bowl via the A406 and prepared ourselves to go toe to toe with the 50 over leaders. So far, we had lost both of our opening games in the limited overs format and that rot unfortunately continued despite an improved outing.

Young won the toss and inserted the home side which looked initially like a very good decision when Cook dismissed both in form batsman Micah Wesley (36) and Lachlan Lyon (8).

My leg breaks had been expensive with small reward in all competitions but that all changed when I induced a reckless attempt at a slog from other opener Austin Garrett which resulted in his turmoil – stumped by Mildenhall for 34. Despite probing away, middle order batter Hudson Cunningham (129*) slowly manipulated the turn and the bounce to single handily plunder the hosts to 280-7 in their 50 overs. After some tough spells with the orb, I feel like I am getting the ball ripping in the right areas and the 1-21 from 10 was a good sign of that.

Left arm newly Middlesex bowler Muhammad Wiley removed Hempenstall and Lawson in the first over and we were teetering when I joined the crease at 31-3. I decided to slowly get myself in and bat time whilst wickets seemed to fall at the other end. In particular the Wiley led pacers were extracting varying degrees of bounce and swing even after the opening power play and forced me in turn to play more conservatively to rebuild.

With the arrival of Maverick Cook to the crease at 67-4, I tried to up my scoring rate and push more singles and twos to apply some more pressure to the on top fielding side. Cook looked in ominous form which allowed me to settle in with more time to adapt to the fruitful bounce. However, on 29 after a few quick singles, a gap opened up at short third man and despite my best efforts to execute a reverse sweep on numerous occasions, I managed to glove behind to the keeper. It was a disappointing end to my innings but I felt I was forced to showcase attacking intent to provide us an opportunity to push the match deeper.

Chasing 100 off the last 10 with only Mildenhall left as a recognised batsman, the challenge appeared impossible yet Mildenhall dismantled the Brent Park attack launching 65 off 5 overs including 6 maximums. Surely he couldn’t…. and cruelly he didn’t when No.11 John Barker fell to Wiley (4-64) to curtail our innings with a minor 35 run deficit.

From the last T20 super over thriller, captain Young won the toss and elected to pad up first on a inviting pitch for batting. Gael Dunkley’s hectic first game saw him called up to the Middlesex squad so Juan Hempenstall made his T20 debut. After two early losses of the skipper (7) and Lawson (13), Flynn and Hempenstall reached a fifty run partnership to steady the ship. Two runs later though, I was facing the music replacing Flynn (23) looking to prove my worth in the shorter format. Unfortunately, I was quickly involved with the run out of Hempenstall for 28 – not an ideal start.

I was keen to make up for that lapse in judgment and I was determined to value you my wicket and be the batsman to take the innings deep to enable the more attacking minded players the chance to express their shots. Cook showed glimpses of that in his 14 before his failed attempt at a dive pushing for 2 spelt his downfall. Keeper and golf partner Mildenhall joined me and instantly the tempo was increased as the runs steadily flowed.

Once I passed my run a ball 20, I felt better at the crease and promptly whacked two fours through mid wicket adding to the stack of runs being plundered by Mildenhall. With two overs to go, I went ultra aggressive to try and accumulate as many runs as possible however it backfired with my off pole flying through the air. I didn’t need to worry as Mildenhall (37* off 15) and Tristan Hunter (20* off 9) pumped us up to a ominous looking 190.

Hampstead had other ideas and attacked from ball 1 dismissing all of our frontline bowlers into the car park over and over again. The introduction of spin with myself and Axel Dickson turned the tide of the match when Dickson had set batsman Lachlan Williams (47 off 29) and Parker Hester (59 off 47) caught Cook and trapped lbw. 105-0 turned to 116-2.

116-2 changed to 183-3 in the 16th over as I eventually induced Eli Andrews (35 from 19) out of his crease stumped safely by Mildenhall to cause some small panic in the Hampstead dressing room. They didn’t have to worry though as off my bowling in the 18.3 over, Hudson Wallace counter attacking 36* guided the opposition to a comfortable victory.

To lose all 3 of our shorter format matches in both competitions is bitterly disappointing especially after our amazing performances in the 3 day season. Personally, I am starting to find my feet in the limited overs format as the anchor man who can bowl some handy overs when needed. I am enjoying my journey and the varying challenges I land into in the club cricket circuit.

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Cricket 19: Career Mode – First and Last Super Over!

Hamilton bowled 0 (2)

The wild scenes of the week before where we produced an unbelievable team comeback led by seamer John Barker, who took 6 wickets for 11 runs to provide a stunning 3 day victory, were soon forgotten when we took to the field for the limited overs double header.

Attempting to chase down 290, we stumbled to 30-3 as Aiden Aitken ripped through the opening pair. I entered the TCG cauldron hoping to rebuild a platform for the team however Aitken’s rip roaring pace saw my stumps cartwheeling off to fine leg resulting in a 2 ball duck. We ended up falling 120 shy despite another solo half century innings from wicketkeeper Hayden Mildenhall, who has become my new golf partner!

The final showdown against Watford came on the T20 scene. Captain Jace Young correctly called the coin toss and stuck the pads on. Opening pair Lucas Lawson and Carter Flynn propelled us to 60 from the opening powerplay as Watford’s bowlers looked visibly fatigued from their gruelling past encounters. Both soon fell after the powerplay and wickets became a regular occurrence throughout the innings. Young and I contributed a quick scoring 50 run partnership and as I began to aim to be expansive, I was caught and bowled by spinner Kayden McKnight for 22 looking to lift it over the top of the infield. 3 day bowling star John Barker demonstrated his all round ability with a quick fire 20* from 6 contributing to 46 from the last 5 overs to boost our score up to 186-8 in our 20 overs. Young finished 64 not out in a typical captain’s innings!

Hamilton caught and bowled T20

Upcoming star Marcus Jennings continued to inflict pain to our bowlers as he commenced his innings in an ultra attacking style blitzing the ball to the boundary. Our seamers struggled to contain the stroke play of Jennings but following the powerplay, I bowled in tandem with fellow spinner Axel Dickson to restrict the run rate considerably. The pressure of a run chase slowly began to overwhelm the Watford top order with Dickson taking 2 quick wickets (2-24 from 4).

Jennings stood firm though and with Wyatt Walter built a partnership taking them to 10 from the final two overs – not quite super over territory or was it? Cue captain Young who used his tactical nous to bring me on with Jennings on strike and it worked instantly as he chipped a simple return catch straight to me ending his 70 run knock. Walter and Parsons needed one from four but it was wily seamer again John Barker who delivered 3 dot balls and a run out to send us to the first ever South East Cup Super Over! I finished with figures of 1-20 from 4 overs.

Marcus Jennings and Charles Mullaney scored 15 from John Barker’s 6 balls which left Carter Flynn and Jace Young requiring 16 to win. 

Watford T20 team celebration

2 1 1 1 4 6 – the pulsating over finished with two Young boundaries however due to Watford losing less wickets in their first innings, the visitors reigned out victorious on comeback.

An epic week of club cricket was sadly over but would never be forgotten in hard core Twickers army fans memories, following scintillating hattricks super overs and golden ducks all contributing to a fantastic image for Middlesex’s future stars. Personally, I was unhappy to have not made a telling score with the bat as my form from the 3 day cricket showed signs of translating into the limited overs. However, the main focus for me from this week was the enjoyment that these exciting, finger biting matches have given all of Twickenham.

After the triple header showdown, the results left us joint top of the 3 day circuit with 2 wins from 2. On the other hand, the limited overs formats have produced good personal highlights but no team wins and we sit bottom of the 50 over and 20 Over Cups in this early stage of the competiton.

Thank you for reading the latest instalment of Cricket 19 Career Mode in Middlesex and keep following the blog for the next update on the club cricket travels and the outcome of the next fourball competition for my team…

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Predicting England’s Squads for the Winter Tour of New Zealand

England Team

The World Cup, the Ashes and the Vitality T20 Blast Finals have all concluded, the biggest summer of cricket has come to a close! Amazing life long memories were made including Ben Stokes and Jack Leach’s heroics at Headingly as well as the World Cup Super Over drama against New Zealand.

New Zealand in fact will be the opponents when England begin their winter tour in November. 5 T20I’s and 2 Test matches have been scheduled with a chance for the uncapped to stake their claim as rotation will be paramount for the selectors of the World Cup winning and Ashes players. A new interim or permanent coach could be in place for the Kiwi tour and it will be interesting to see which way England will go with the focus – white or red ball cricket. My predicted squads are listed down below:

T20I 

Jason Roy

Jonny Bairstow 

Tom Banton

Phil Salt

Dawid Malan

Eoin Morgan (C)

Sam Billings (+)

Moeen Ali

David Willey

Sam Curran

Tom Curran

Tymal Mills

Toby Roland Jones

Pat Brown

Matt Parkinson

In Tom Banton and Phil Salt, we have two of the most exciting and talented modern day openers who deserve a chance at higher honours after exceptional eye catching performances in the T20 Blast with the latter going to play the Big Bash for the Adelaide Strikers in the winter. Also rewarded for brilliant T20 blast form are Lancashire’s leg spinner Matt Parkinson who plays instead of Rashid (injury) with 21 wickets at an average of 14 in this years blast as well as slower ball specialist Pat Brown who impressed yet again on Finals Day.

Roland Jones has starred with the ball this year ( 19 wickets at 19 a piece) and is also a Test candidate after showing glimpses of potential in 2017 versus South Africa. Mills is a fast skilful bowler who guided Sussex to the top of the group table before injury and has demonstrated amazing ability in the shortest form.

I have rested a lot if not most of the England World cup Squad and Ashes team to give them an extended break and recharge them for the Test series and then the Test Championship fixtures.

New Zealand Team

Test

Rory Burns

Dominic Sibley

Joe Denly

Joe Root (C)

Ben Stokes

Jonny Bairstow (+)

Jos Buttler

Chris Woakes

Jack Leach

Jofra Archer

Stuart Broad

Ollie Pope

Ben Foakes (+) 

Sam Curran

Craig Overton

Dom Bess

England ODI

Warwickshire’s Sibley must be a shoo-in after his fantastic season amassing 1575 runs with 6 centuries including last week’s 215 not out against Notts, carrying his bat. Burns and Sibley have great Test futures and their ability to stick around at the crease striving to score big runs is an ideal platform for England. Denly deserves to keep his spot following his determined half century knocks in the Ashes and can bat anywhere in the top 4. 

The middle order conundrum is still out for jury but I have decided to stick faith with Bairstow and Buttler as both have run scoring talent and will have a point to prove to the selectors down in New Zealand. Ben Foakes is in the squad as a reserve keeper batsman who can fill the void if needed.

Foakes’ teammate Ollie Pope is in as a reserve batsman who has played some consistent (221 not out) innings for Surrey and needs a chance to show his talent on the international stage. Dom Bess has played for Yorkshire and Somerset this county season and has replicated the sort of form that saw him make his Test debut in 2017. Overton will pip out any other county seamers due to his knack of taking partnership breaking wickets and overall consistency.

A lot of players can fill these roles more than adequately and I am sure that both of these squads would give the Kiwis a big test. English cricket needs people to be pushing constantly for positions or else the standard drops. It will be intriguing to see who is selected when the squads are released on Monday…


 

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Cricket 19: EHTL – Round Two Squad Selection

Bairstow - Stokes fist bump

Following our opening round victory at the hands of Papua New Guinea, we return to a familiar venue, the Home of Cricket, to entertain Hong Kong with the aim to win consecutive games on the bounce.

After consulting with Ed Smith and James Taylor, we have decided to alter our squad slightly with the aim of using home advantage and knowledge of conditions to bring a winning formula. Test great and our stalwart James Anderson has retired following the PNG match and we would like to take the chance to congratulate Jimmy on his fantastic record breaking career and note he will be sorely missed in our future plans.

The playing squad for our EHTL math against Hong Kong is: 

Joe Root (Captain)

Rory Burns

Luke Wells

Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)

Ben Stokes

Jos Buttler

Moeen Ali

Chris Woakes

Liam Dawson

Sam Curran

Stuart Broad

Mark Wood

Additional Squad Members: David Malan, Ben Foakes, Jake Ball

Fast bowler Mark Wood makes his eagerly anticipated return to Test Cricket in place of Anderson. Wood’s hostility and extra pace/bounce will make him a valuable asset to our bowling group as Lords is quite two paced. The Durham man is a dynamic player who provides a different point of attack which could be crucial against a strong Hong Kong outfit should he make the XI. 

Hampshire’s Liam Dawson retains his place and provides healthy competition for incumbent spinner Moeen Ali and should Lords take a twist towards spin favouring conditions, Dawson is more than capable of stepping up.

The team look forward to gracing the field again in the inaugural Eastern Hemisphere Test League and are excited by the competition created for spots which should push our players to their best. We are extremely grateful and thankful for the support shown in the opening match and hope the fan base can deliver once again whilst we hope to have two wins on the bounce.

Jamie Hamilton, Selection Drafter and Designer, England

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Cricket 19: Career Mode – Golden Ducks!

Twickenham - Watford 3 day

After my man of the match winning performance at Enfield, we returned to our home cauldron for our triple header week starting with a 3 day match against visitors Watford. Captain Jace Young won the toss and opted to bat first bodily inviting debutant Juan Hempenstall to bat at 4 replacing batting all rounder Eric Leon. I joined the crease at 91-3 with spin certainly playing a decisive role taking the scalps of the openers and Young. I had to be watchful early on with left arm spinner Kayden McKnight getting fruitful bounce and turn which did for Hempenstall (10) just after my arrival. It was my 11th ball which sprung me into life as I began to feel more comfortable against the spin.

Hamilton 47 (69) ran out

White ball star Hayden Mildenhall was soon in with me at 116-5 and we settled into our partnership well. I decided to look to drive off the seamers through the covers which brought instant success – the ball racing to the boundary. However, the frightening forties this time took its toll on me as I pushed the ball to extra cover and took off only to be ran out by a direct hit. Replays confirmed I was marginally out – very frustrating! After making 3 good contributions to the 3 day team,  I was annoyed I couldn’t add to my starts with a big score. Keeper Mildenhall 62NO steered us to a respectable 238 as McKnight exploited the spinning surface with 6-70.

Mullaney bowled by Hamilton.jpg

Watford found themselves reduced to 52-2 when my leg break abolished the stumps, Mullaney playing all around a straight delivery. No.3 Marcus Jennings demonstrated his early season form as he anchored the Watford innings skilfully bashing boundaries and pinching singles. We did superbly to try and restrict his fluency by dismissing his partners but it didn’t prevent him notching a magnificent 129. His wicket though sparked the Watford collapse as seamer Ashton Kenny wrapped up the tail to leave them 20 short of our total.

Hamilton 5 (16)

Day three’s early start hampered us as we were reduced to 24-3 before debutant Hempenstall inexplicably ran himself out for a 10 ball duck. The lowest score in the South East cup was on the horizon when Maverick Cook was dismissed for a second ball duck – 25-5! Myself and Mildenhall set about settling into the innings and providing a healthy lead to defend on the wearing TCG pitch. A cover drive narrowly fell short of the close fielder on the off side but Kettleborough soon had me unsuccessfully driving as I aimed to replicate the shot that had brought me some success in my short career, this time finding Mullaney in the slips. 49-6 became 102 all out as Mildenhall played a counter attacking gem of an innings of 69NO leaving Watford a tricky 123 run chase.

Short leg catch

Duck was on the menu at lunch and it needed to be repeated on the field if we were going to force an unlikely memorable victory. Mullaney (8) and Watkin (12) avoided duck and went for geese instead before Walter (6) opted for lamb (enough of the jokes) as a result the victim of a great grab by Hunter at short leg. Walter gave me my second wicket of the match and reduced Watford to 41-3. Unfortunately first innings centurion Jennings was an immoveable object and alongside Johnson, they put on 67 valuable runs. The Twickers Army were in full voice and provided entertaining and encouraging support.

Watford 2nd innings 119.jpg

Wily seamer John Barker was brought on by captain Young in a last ditch effort to save the game and what an inspired decision that was! Barker first removed the Jennings – Johnson partnership before letting loose on the tail including a scintillating hat trick with rip roaring pace bowling. An astonished Twickers army raised their voice and were being treated to an epic climax as I held my nerve delivering a maiden at Parsons. Barker decimated the final three within 4 balls as I held the catch on the square leg boundary for the final wicket sparking wild celebrations and scenes in the local Twickenham bar!

Dismal batting and skilful bowling between both sides added to the excitement and entertainment for the club cricket crowd and ultimately Mildenhall’s two counter attacking knocks hugely contributed to our second 3 day victory. Personally, I was happy with my first innings score but knew that on a pitch that you have to play yourself into to make runs, I should have gone onto to score more. My second innings dismissal was disappointing but we put a line through the sand and move on. I am satisfied to be picking up the odd wicket to aid our bowling performance.

Match Analysis:

Twickenham 238 (Mildenhall 62*, Flynn 52, Hamilton 47/ McKnight 6-70, Johnson 1-26, Parsons 1-49)

Watford 218 (Jennings 129, Mullaney 23, Walter 22/ Kenny 3-53, Dickson 2-38, Barker 1-35)

Twickenham 102 (Mildenhall 69*, Flynn 10, Young 7/ Aitken 4-41, Parsons 3-10, Kettleborough 2-28)

Watford 119 (Jennings 61*, Johnson 20, Watkin 12 / Barker 8-32, Hamilton 1-12, Kenny 1-17)

Twickenham won by 3 runs MOM: Marcus Jennings

Thanks for the continued support and be sure to check out the next career update when we take on Watford in a double header limited overs showdown!

 

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Cricket 19: EHTL Fortnightly – Danish Delight and Hong Kong Hammering!

Hong Kong vs Germany Kowloon.jpg

The Eastern Hemisphere Test League is all about spreading the beautiful game of cricket across the world and giving smaller nations exposure to the top levels of the game and mixing it in with the best. Hong Kong vs Germany pulled in record crowds of over 4,000 supporters as both nations made their Test debuts at the Kowloon ground. Throughout the 2 days of cricket, the supporters were treated to plenty of wickets and exciting action which will set the tone for the rest of the competition.

Mohammad Ghazanfar 5-17 from 6

England beware – Mohammad Ghazanfar is in deadly form! A ripping display of fast bowling decimated the middle to lower order of the Germans batting as they were rolled out for 63. Targeting the pads, Ghazanfar used his probing lines and lengths to assists Germany’s collapse from 34-3 to 63 all out! Tanveer Ahmed (117) proved the pitch wasn’t as bad as the Germans batting display showed and held the Hong Kong first innings together to guide them to 307 before bowling Germany out for 63. Unsurprisingly, the Germans were sent in for a second dig on a free admission second day’s play and fared slightly better scoring 96 all out. Spinner Ehsan Khan took figures of 9 – 5 – 11 – 5 and was well supported by other seamer Ehsan Nawaz 9.4 – 0 – 53 – 5. All rounder Craig Meschede (18 + 23) and opener Amir Mangal ( 10 + 12) were the only two batsman to pass double figures in both innings as their were 6 ducks for the Germans.

Hong Kong vs Germany Scorecard

A thumping win for Hong Kong who travel to Lords to play England whilst Germany head back to the nets to score some more runs!

Denmark vs Fiji Hammerby Arena

The Hammerby Arena also became a new Test ground as nations Denmark and Fiji contested in an entertaining and exciting match over the course of 2 days. Spinner Yash Christian 3-22 and seamer Victor Kuipers 3-43 gave the hosts the upper hand as Fiji were bowled out for 151 in the opening two sessions – credit due to top scorer Sakiusa Dokosobau’s 123 ball vigil for 37.

Villiame Manakiwai 5 for 37 from 11.1.jpg

Fiji exploited the first day bowling conditions and promptly bowled out Denmark for 166 yielding just a slender 15 run lead for the hosts. Seamer Villaime Manakiwai bowled superbly and led the Danish collapse of the lower order with some precise lengths and lines. However, the free admission crowd on Day 2 for all (well done EHTL administrators) witnessed some fantastic bowling and abysmal batting as Fiji crumbled to 67 all out incidentally the 4th score of under 100 across the league. Christian yet again starred with 3-13 as only Sekove Ravoka (13) and Karan Kumar (10) passed double figures as bowling headlined the first round of fixtures.

Denmark had struggled early on in the chase of 54 falling to 20-3 at the hands of Manakiwai (3-25) but it was English county cricket regulars Vasconcellos and Tattersall who guided the Danish home in front of their jubilant home fans. Both teams played a fair and tough contest and the score line doesn’t represent well how Fiji played.

Denmark vs Fiji scorecard.jpg

Yorkshire’s Jonny Tattersall played two important knocks of 62 and 15* to give Denmark their first ever Test match victory. 

Following our (England) 4 wicket victory at the expense of Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong’s Tanveer Ahmed leads the batting statistics from his only innings of 117. Luke Wells is our leading run scorer after his Test debut whilst Stuart Broad (9 wickets) tops the chart narrowly ahead of Fiji seamer Manakiwai (8 wickets). The EHTL prides itself on bringing through the lesser and new nations and giving them a taste of Test cricket and providing a platform to expand International cricket and the game itself. It is pleasantly encouraging to see players like Manakiwai go toe to toe with the likes of the highly respected and brilliant Broad. As a team, I am delighted we decided to participate in this competition and we hope to bring home the glory come the finals stage.

Round 1 Table.jpg

Papua New Guinea will look to bounce back from their narrow 4 wicket defeat against England and head towards home advantage at Port Moresby against Fiji – the battle of the bottom two. Bochum ground becomes the first ever ground in Germany to host a cricket match let alone a Test match as the Germans will look to exploit and face their new conditions and ground to land victory against the delighted Danish side. Finally, England will lock horns with Hong Kong as Lords holds its second EHTL match (a fixtures bug of England home stadiums). Sam Curran and Stuart Broad will no doubt be aiming to take more wickets in the absence of Anderson whilst captain Joe Root leads the batting ranks.

Thanks for the continued support!

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Cricket 19: Eastern Hemisphere Test League – PNG Pummelling!

England vs Papua New Guinea Lineup

22 players stood proudly in front of the retrospective flags at the iconic Lords ground  awaiting an exciting new preposition.  England and Papua New Guinea took the field at the Home of Cricket to begin the inaugural Eastern Hemisphere Test League match.  The dry and hard surface that was presented to us meant that second spinner Liam Dawson was omitted from the playing XI for left arm seamer Sam Curran.  Sussex’s opening batsman Luke Wells was invited to open alongside Rory Burns whilst a makeshift top order took place with captain Joe Root at NO.3 and wicket keeper Jonny Bairstow at an unfamiliar NO.4 role.  However, the wait would continue to see the English batting order as the opponents won the toss and elected to bat.

In his final game before retirement, James Anderson set the tone perfectly dismissing captain Carlos Ahuja inside the opening over for a 6 ball duck.  The visitors, slightly jaded from the 22 hour flight, negotiated the first 10 overs without the loss of a further wicket and paused for rain.  Stuart Broad, though had other ideas and accounted for the second PNG wicket after the rain delay bowling Shekar Biswas for 13.  Lakshman Som and Kaiden Donahue combined together through until lunch in a shortened session.  The resumption of the session saw the outcome of the game dramatically change in the space of an hour.  Left armer Sam Curran struck with Donahue departing LBW for a patient 12 before bowling Marnus Dave two balls later.  At the other end, Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes entered the attack immediately trapping Timothy Upadhyay (1) LBW and then removing Akbar Vig for a three ball duck curtailing the extraordinary collapse of 4 wickets for just the 1 run in 9 balls!  Som had watched wickets fall at the non strikers end and that probably had affected his shot selection as he tamely edged Surrey’s Curran through to Jonny Bairstow for a spirited 20.  Som and Donahue’s 24 run partnership through rain and beverage breaks was the highest in the innings.  Jos Buttler took two smart catches at second slip off Curran and then Woakes to leave PNG hovering at 67-9 (Sandhu 5 Norris 3) before fittingly Curran sealed his five wicket haul and wrapped up the innings with the wicket of Jayant Rege (7) – 69 all out!

Sam Curran 5 for 18

After beginning as the 4th choice seamer, Sam Curran had increased his stocks with a devastating spell of out and in swinging deliveries unsettling the PNG batsman in their rain affected innings.  Woakes bowled with good accuracy and finished with outstanding figures of (5-2-7-3).  We dominated in early home favouring conditions but there was an even contest between bat and ball until the end of the Som – Donahue partnership.  Papua New Guinea gifted a too many easy wickets to us especially in the nine ball period where Curran and Woakes rained havoc with disciplined lines and length which got our rewards.  We were happy to have rolled PNG over but would have liked more of a challenge however the game was certainly not over.

A tricky 40 minute session before lunch was ideal for the confidence of the incumbent Rory Burns and debutant Luke Wells but the pressure told. Papua New Guinea had bravely opted not to bowl left arm seamer Naryaan Palla and went with Caspar Sandhu and Rege which worked with instant success as Burns played all around a straight Rege delivering dismantling his stumps for 3.  The removal of our opening combo saw captain Joe Root stride to the crease and he started freely and flowingly with his trademark cover drives on show. Disappointingly, Root could not build on his early platform as he edged behind off the relentless Sandhu for 15 in the final over of the second session.

Luke Wells fifty vs PNG

Teas and scones had been gobbled and now it was back to the task in hand at 30-2 to build a healthy first innings lead. Wells and Jonny Bairstow batted with patience and determinedness to see off the threat of seamers Sandhu and Rege. With evident seam movement and bounce on show it was definitely a tricky pitch to get a start on. On debut, Wells (51) ploughed through to register his maiden Test match fifty with a gorgeous leg glance which pierced the boundary rope but celebrations were short lived as a leading edge found bowler Rege’s diving hands. The introduction of slow seamer Atticus Norris had dire effects…

Norris first removed Bairstow (42) with a deceiving slower ball cheaply chipped into the hands of mid off before Ali dragged on for a 2 ball duck. In the midst of that, Ben Stokes (2) was guilty of casually grounding his bat and Ahuja exploited that with a direct throw. From 117-2 we had plummeted to 126-6 in an abysmal middle order batting display. More measured and sensible batting followed by Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes however the latter was dismissed in the final over of the day by Naryaan Palla to leave us at stumps on 158-7 (41). An epic 17 scalps had taken place over the course of the first day however EHTL pitch inspectors and head groundsmen were satisfied with the pitch citing batsman errors on both sides and consistent nagging bowling lengths culminating in the downfall of wickets.

Jos Buttler 50 vs PNG.jpg

On the second morning, Curran joined Buttler who looked in impressive form. A counter attacking lofted offside innings was the key to the limited overs batsman’s success as Papua New Guinea eased the pressure with some poor field setting and numerous dropped catches. Left arm pacer Naryaan Palla (3-32) was thumped into the members pavilion twice in a row from Buttler to bring up his fifty but much like Wells he fell the following ball attempting to repeat his shot making. Palla was on a hattrick as first innings bowling demon Curran (13) edged behind off the fellow left armer and despite Jimmy Anderson smashing the hattrick ball for a huge maximum, he fell for 8 bowled by Norris to curtail our innings.

The 205 had come from just the 50 overs and had subsided dramatically from 117-2. Only double JB and Wells converted their starts and demonstrated the fair even wicket Lords had produced for ball and bat. Poor shot choices and lack of application didn’t aid our cause with Bairstow’s clumsy dismissal the cornerstone of our batting effort. In our opening EHTL match, we had already collapsed in true English fashion but were on the whole content with our 136 run lead.

Broad and England team celebration

Sandwiches had been eaten and the debrief was completed when we returned to the field and had an instant impact with the promoted inform Sam Curran striking in the 5th over, Ahuja (3) the victim of a vicious in swinging delivery which found the edge to Bairstow.  Wicketkeeper Kaiden Donahue was joined by the new man Biswas and began to look comfortable against the swinging ball from Curran and Anderson abolishing the near memory of the first innings.  The pair combined for a healthy 55 runs but were fortunate to be on the receiving end of overthrows and the edges dropping short.  In a 10 over spell, Curran ended on a high note breaking the partnership, rearranging Biswas’s stumps for a respectable 26.  Top scorer of the first innings, Som entered the field and safely negotiated Papua New Guinea over the dreaded 69 total to warm cheers from all sections of the Lords crowd.  Som batted with the most fluency of any PNG batsman and took advantage of Stokes and Woakes’ bad balls to relive the pressure.  Donahue’s patient innings payed off securing a well fought 50 but as the partnership had reached 51, on the stroke of tea, Stuart Broad bounced back from his poor first spell with a ripping over of swing and seam bowling which accounted for Som’s (25) departure via Root at first slip. Having been 69 all out in the first dig, Papua New Guinea had reached a much improved 119-3 at tea but still 17 runs away from possibly making us bat again…

In the final session, Broad had begun in very similar fashion seaming and swinging the ball round the PNG batsman who had little reply.  Marnus Dave avoided a pair but just made 10 before Buttler took a smart catch at 3rd slip to remove the all rounder.  Broad then struck again soon finding the edge of Timothy Upadhyay (8) through to keeper Bairstow.  Donahue meanwhile resisted well against the fired up Broad who had his fourth victim of the innings when Akbar Vig (4) well caught by Bairstow. And when Donahue grew frustrated at the lack of batsman applying themselves against the moving ball, he took a wild swing at a loose Broad ball which landed in Bairstow’s gloves ending his 135 ball vigil for 82. Next man Casper Sandhu smoked the ball to the boundary on three occasions only to become Broad’s sixth victim and Bairstow’s fifth catch a short while later. Sandhu’s wicket had restricted Papua New Guinea to 183-8 in an all too familiar collapse of the middle order. Atticus Norris (10NO) and Jayant Rege (2NO) prevented any more wickets from falling as they steered PNG to the close of play at 196-8 with a 59 run lead to sit on.

A quick word for Broad whose blistering 12 over spell accounted for 6 Papua New Guinea wickets in a display of high class quality bowling. Regularly beating the bat and constantly causing concerns to the stumps was the cornerstone of Broad’s bowling as he obliterated the middle order including the crucial wicket of well set Donahue for 82. He was ably backed up by Woakes (0-47 from 12), Ali (0-21 from 8) , Curran (2-84 from 22) and Stokes (0-7 from 3) at the other end who dried up the runs effectively.

Stuart Broad 8 for 75.jpg

The jubilant scenes from the previous day seemed to be forgotten when Norris and Rege demonstrated resilient batting against the older and wearing ball. Broad’s threat from Day 2 had been diminishing with Norris in particular playing some fine strokes. These fine strokes along with his entertaining batting technique culminated in a maiden Test match fifty which was richly deserved and set the example for how the middle order should have played. Rege had fallen beforehand for a gallant 25 from 44 balls with the returning Broad and Bairstow combination striking once more.

At 235-9 Papua New Guinea had a small 99 run lead but a partnership of 55 runs between Norris (58NO) and Naryaan Palla (14 from 66 balls) catapulted PNG to 290. Skipper Joe Root persisted with the seam prolonged attack and it paid off at 290 when Broad pierced Palla’s edge through to Bairstow for the 5th time in the innings. A good bowling performance by us was spearheaded from the sensational Broad who bowled immaculately and consistently to remove PNG batsman via their outside edge. 290 had become the top score in the match and would give England an achievable but potentially dangerous 154 runs to wrap up the Test match.

Burns and Wells opened up for us hoping to cement their places and add some valuable runs to their current position. PNG were searching for early wickets with attacking and sometimes bizarre field settings at stages aimed to bamboozle the openers. Norris backed up his superb 58NO in the second innings by immediately striking as the second change bowler nicking off Burns (14) to second slip at 29-1. Captain Root settled instantly and began to up the run rate with quick running and glorious cover drives for 4 the key to his innings. Seemingly in control at 72-1, we became 111-5 and still 43 runs short of a victory.

Luke Wells lbw hotspot

Joe Root’s counter attacking 33 from 31 balls was ended by Jayant Rege (1-30 from 6) who found Root’s edge through to keeper Donahue. Fellow keeper Bairstow fell quickly for 6, Sandhu the wicket taker, before Luke Wells’ dogged nature was cruelly and wrongly ended by the third umpire following a bat pad review off the seamer Sandhu (2-16 from 9). Replays seem to suggest that Wells had edged the ball onto his pad but the third umpire thought otherwise and he was judged lbw for 36. Jos Buttler ambitiously attempting to sweep leg spinner Ahuja away but was pinned plumb in front for 3. Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali steadied the ship but didn’t relent from their attacking mindset in getting the game completed.

England 4 wicket win vs PNG.jpg

Though Ali fell for 6 abysmally edging to keeper Donahue from Ahuja (2-30) however it was Chris Woakes (15NO from 9) who hammered the ball over the fence to secure victory by 4 wickets in the opening EHTL contest. Ben Stokes found some form finishing up on 34NO from 45 in an encouraging knock for him but most importantly guiding us home despite wickets walking around him.

Match Analysis: 

Papua New Guinea 69 (Som 20, Biswas 13, Donahue 12/ S Curran 5-18, Woakes 3-7, Anderson 1-18)

England 205 (Wells 51, Buttler 50, Bairstow 42/ Palla 3-32, Norris 3-50, Rege 2-36)

Papua New Guinea 290 (Donahue 82, Norris 58*, Biswas 26/ Broad 8-75, S Curran 2-84, Ali 0-21)

England 155-6 (Wells 36, Stokes 34*, Root 33/ Sandhu 2-16, Ahuja 2-30, Rege 1-30)

England win by 4 wickets  MOM: Stuart Broad 

Despite our victory, there are a lot of areas to improve on as Papua New Guinea gave us a very good test after seemingly looking very distant second bests after their first knock. However, they applied themselves fantastically (Donahue and Norris in particular) in the second innings to post a difficult and tough chase for us. We didn’t bat well in both innings and failed to apply ourselves well enough to secure a emphatic win and instead found ourselves creeping towards victory. Our bowling was spot on in both innings led by Sam Curran and Stuart Broad who both obliterated promising partnerships and found the outside edge towards the slips and Bairstow on several occasions. This means that we have very suitable candidates to step up in Anderson’s absence and shape the future of English bowling for good. 

In the other two matches, Hong Kong thrashed Germany by an innings and 148 runs with a Tanveer Ahmed century leading the way whilst Mohammad Ghazanfar (5-17) and Ehsan Khan (5-10) demolishing an English county studded German line up. The Hammerby Arena hosted Denmark versus Fiji and saw the home side cruise to a 7 wicket victory. Yorkshire’s Jonny Tattersall starred with bat (62) whilst spinner Yash Christian (6-36) put the icing on the Danish cake. Fiji’s bowler Villaime Manakiwai was unfortunate to be on the losing side after figures of 5-37 and 3-25.

Next up for us is Hong Kong yet again at the Home of Cricket with a fixture error leaving our first 3 home games at Lords…. We will ponder team changes and will have one enforced with the retirement of Jimmy Anderson. Scouts and analysts were sent to the Hong Kong – Germany match to gain insight and knowledge to where we can be successful against the tourists. The team are grateful and thankful for the support in the newly formed league and look forward to our upcoming match aiming to right the wrongs from our victory against PNG.

Jamie Hamilton ( Selection Drafter/Designer for England)

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Cricket 19: EHTL Weekly – End of an era for Jimmy!

Anderson 50 (2)

Ahead of our inaugural Eastern Hemisphere Test League debut against Papua New Guinea at Lords (match report to be released soon), prolific fast bowler James Anderson has announced his retirement from international cricket following the PNG encounter. Anderson is the leading wicket taker in English history and will finish his star studded career with a final match fitting at the Home of Cricket, Lords. Lords was incidentally the exact venue where Anderson clinched his 500th Test wicket against the West Indies – Kraigg Braithwaite the unfortunate victim!

He will leave the game after securing 575 wickets and possibly more if he secures a PNG batsman’s wicket with fond memories of a blazing 55NO against the West Indies from 59 balls in the Global Test Championship played on Ashes Cricket 17.

Ashes Cricket GTC (PS4): Storms and Gayle’s! – England vs West Indies

James Anderson Finale Test Match

The legendary Anderson and Broad new ball partnership will be separated after the Papua New Guinea encounter so who waits in the wings. Do we go to familiar faces to take up the opportunity – Toby Roland Jones, Tom Curran, Jake Ball? Do we go the opposite way and hand a county player their debut with Jamie Porter, Ben Coad and Craig Overton amongst others regularly churning out the wickets or does pace and bounce fit the bill alongside the fiery Broad with Jofra Archer and Mark Wood fitting this criteria. These are just some of the questions and possibilities that will no doubt swirling around in the England selection committee for the future.

Regardless of his replacement, James Anderson will be remembered as an England legend for his constant and consistent wicket taking and his deadly partnership with Stuart Broad, who will now look to become the leading England bowler. At the end of the PNG Test match, Lords will broadcast each and every wicket that Anderson has taken on the big screen with the EHTL sponsoring the end of match presentation including Anderson’s selection of beer. 

So come and join us on this blog, for the inaugural Eastern Hemisphere Test League match as well as the departure of one of the world’s best in James Anderson.

  • ETHL will strive throughout the tournament to conserve light and energy with earlier timed matches and secure use of floodlights in day/night encounters.
  • They will also add to the Ocean Rescue project by supplying plastic bottles alongside cricket themed plastic stumps, balls and bat and England/Papua New Guinea wristbands and flags!
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World Cup Sundries

Chris Gayle 203 (2)

Bye: Chris Gayle has dusted off the cobwebs from his whites it seems as he has reversed his retirement decision and will continue on after the World Cup. He has hinted at a future Test match against the imperious India and will be looking to add to his two triple centuries in a Test career where his last appearance came 5 years ago – however he might want to inform his captain.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/27058640/chris-gayle-says-definitely-playing-odis-maybe-test-post-world-cup

south africa win by 4 wickets

Leg Bye: South Africa have been a well talked story in the World Cup but for all the wrong reasons as their talented side crashed miserably out of the World Cup with games to spare. Losing Dale Steyn to injury was a blow but it has been the incumbent players that have not delivered with only Rassie Van der Dussen and Imran Tahir having a  successful time. 4 fifties and no hundred alongside key players not performing as (wickets) Rabada (6) and Ngidi (7) haven’t adjusted to the conditions. Back to the 4 year drawing board!

Gopal bowled

No Ball: Previously banned David Warner leads the tournament currently for most runs scored with 500 followed by Australian batting partner Aaron Finch (496). Warner holds the highest score (166) whilst Shakib Al Hasan has been in super form becoming only the third player to score a hundred and take a 5 wicket haul in the tournament. 

Wide: We have some amazing cricket matches with some nail biting matches including New Zealand’s pair of brilliant chases against South Africa and Bangladesh led well by Captain Kane Williamson! England’s collapses against Sri Lanka and Australia as well as a poor showing against Pakistan have had an old era about them. Cricket is on the up and it is a sensational sport!

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Cricket 19: Career Mode – Harry’s double too much to Koch!

 

Richmond vs Twickenham 50 Over Match Opening

We embarked on the beginning of the carousel of matches in the South East Cup with a short journey of 18 minutes to Richmond Cricket Ground for a double header weekend with a 50 over and T20 over match. Driving via the A316, we opted not to book a hotel and instead played golf at the Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club on the Friday with some of the lads also entertaining us in some tennis doubles match at Richmond lawn -its fair to say, cricket was not our main focus in the build up to the match. Richmond 50 over batting innings
As early morning rain converted our match to an old school 40 – 40, Richmond exploited the flat conditions and attacked opening bowlers Ashton Kenny and John Barker. Bizarrely, my part time leg spin was required in the opening powerplay and yielded 18 from 3 overs. Despite my relatively tight bowling, I was not needed again and the runs kept piling on. Harry Koch led the way with some audacious and inventive shots on his way to a huge score. Tristan Hunter (0-60 from 6) and Lars Bender (0-51 from 5) had a shocker of a time from Koch’s master knock. Barker halted the progressing threat of an opening stand beating 250 with two wickets including Jax Roy (63). However, Koch motored on and reached 200 with a stunning scoop shot ending the innings on a ominous 302-3 in 40 overs.

Hamilton out sweeping Whites in a white ball match – not what I selected.

Chasing an imposing 7.5 runs an over, we stumbled to 78-3 where I joined the crease alongside captain Jace Young. Young has batted fluently and continued in that merry way as I aimed to translate my 3 day early batting form into the limited overs games. I planned to score my runs at a quick rate and did so with a gorgeous cover drive for 4 off my second delivery. However, Ian Warwick struck! Warwick (3-45 from 7) had removed the set opening pair of Carter Flynn (34) and Lucas Lawson (26) and added my wicket bowling me around my legs from a conventional sweep. I played a high risk shot from my 6th ball to ease the pressure on the partnership and the team and it didn’t pay off. In hindsight my 7 from 6 was not what we needed and I had to stick around and anchor the unlikely run chase.

Following another wicket leaving us at 105-5, wicketkeeper Hayden Mildenhall came to the crease and brought some fireworks! Mildenhall and Young (81) complied a mammoth 152 run partnership which gave us a small shot at victory. However Young’s departure in the 37th over effectively ended our chances and sparked a huge collapse to 261-9. Mildenhall (112NO from 66) though thumped 27 runs from the final over to complete a sensational century in a losing cause by 14 runs. In an incredible run scoring game, we were unfortunate to end up on the losing side despite Koch’s 202NO as Mildenhall played an equally brilliant knock. I was personally disappointed with my short knock and would look to make amends in the T20 the following day.

Match Analysis: 

Richmond 302-3 from 40 overs (Koch 202*, Roy 63/ Barker 2-63 Kenny 1-56)

Twickenham 288-9 from 40 overs (Mildenhall 112*, Young 81/ Deli 4-43 Warwick 3-45)

Richmond won by 14 runs MOM: Harry Koch

Richmond vs Twickenham T20 Result

After scoring the winning goal in the football warm up, captain Young gave batsman Gael Dunkley his debut and elected to bat first. Lawson (7) was bowled early by Yearwood but early indications were that this pitch was a belter for batting much like the 40 over contest. Opening partner Flynn (49) fell agonisingly short of a half ton whilst Young accelerated our total alongside debutant Dunkley. Dunkley played an anchor role in the innings scoring a productive 35NO from 31, allowing captain Young to play expansively and expressively too good outcome! Twickenham scored 45 from the final 4 overs to propel us to 179-2 and give Richmond a tricky 180 run chase. Mildenhall and I were not needed to provide fireworks and felt that personally my leg spin would come in handy if we were to defend this total.

Harry Koch, fresh off his outstanding 202NO the previous day, started in similar blistering form but lacked support from the rest of the top 4 as we took wickets to halt their progress to 82-3 with 12 overs to go. Koch and Flynn Milne though began a crucial partnership and brought the game away from us with attacking and entertaining batting. Milne (52* from 31) played the more aggressive role as Koch continued to pile misery on our bowling attack becoming a thorn in our side. I came on to bowl at the 16th over and provided some late tense pressure with just the 8 runs coming from my 2 overs at the death. However, despite bringing it down to the last three balls, Richmond saw themselves home as Koch (85* from 48) hit the winning runs to seal a double header win for the home side!

Not getting a bat in the T20 match might have been a blessing in disguise as we head back into the 3 day format which is my preferred run scoring source. I am enjoying career mode in Middlesex and hope to find some of the new features on Cricket 19 including headlines and sponsorships!

Keep following the blog to see Cricket 19 career mode updates and an incoming report from our first Eastern Hemisphere Test League match.