Jack Wildermuth hits 20 off last over to lead Australia A into quadrangular series final

Alex Broun 27/08/2018
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Jack Wildermuth is congratulated after smashing the winning runs

An incredible 20 run final-over onslaught from Queensland all-rounder Jack Wildermuth led Australia A to victory against India B at Alur, and a place in the final of the ‘A Team’ quadrangular series, which also involves India A and South Africa A.

Requiring 19 from the final over, Wildermuth faced all six balls, and with five needed to win off the last ball he smashed a six over mid-wicket to win the game.

The 24-year-old finished unbeaten on 62 off just 42 balls, as player-of-the-match Usman Khawaja saw the innings through from start to finish with a brilliant century (101 not out off 93).

It will now be a rematch in the final at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday, with Australia A to face India B.

“I knew I had to take the innings deep,” said Wildermuth after the match. “Ussie’s (Khawaja) obviously the set batsman, so I tried to not put too much pressure on him and if we could take it deep we were always in with a chance.”

But as the overs ran down the Melbourne Renegades star felt the game was slipping away.

“We were really trying to go there for a few overs but we couldn’t get the ball out of the meat of the bat,” he explained.

“It was ‘watch the ball, try to put it over the fence’. We needed 19 off the last over so we needed boundaries.”

Of the final ball maximum, Wildermuth said he had tried the winning shot a couple of times earlier in the over.

“I’d been trying to play that same shot a couple of times during the (last) over and I didn’t get them,” he said. “So I just made sure I watched the ball really hard and I knew if it was there I could probably put it over the fence.”

In a rain-affected match, Australia A reached 132-4 from 24.2 overs before the covers came on, in pursuit of India B’s 276-6 from their 50 overs.

Travis Head won the toss and elected to bowl, with Michael Neser (3-47 off nine) the pick of the Australian bowlers as India B captain Manish Pandey (117 not out off 109 balls) reached three figures.

Australia A’s target was revised to 247 from 40 overs after the rain break, a further 115 runs from 15.4 overs to win.

Alex Carey (23) made an impact alongside Khawaja at the top of the order in a 77-run opening partnership, while Marnus Labuschagne (13) and Ashton Agar (15) also made starts either side of the rain break.

But it was Wildermuth and Khawaja who held their nerve in thrilling finish, as the run rate crept up to 11 an over with six overs to go, and then 28 runs needed off the last two overs.

The first two balls of the final over- bowled by pacer Prasidh Krishna – went for two runs each, followed by a four and another two.

With nine needed off the final two balls, Wildermuth found the boundary on both occasions – a four followed by a maximum with Australia A finishing their 40 overs at 248-8 to win by five wickets.

Relieved to reach the final, Wildermuth said the team “knew we needed to win” against India B.

“We didn’t probably start the tournament as well as we had liked but the last two battings innings have been really great, especially from our top order.

“Someone’s stood up and got a hundred which is great, Ussie and Heady (Travis Head), so it’s great to get some momentum going into the final.”

Australia A quadrangular series results: 

August 23: Australia A (151) lost to India A (152-5)

August 25: Australia A (322-5) beat South Africa A (290)

August 27: Australia A (248-5) beat India B (276-6) via DLS method

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Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson retires from all cricket

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Mitchell Johnson in action for the Perth Scorchers

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson said Sunday he was retiring from all forms of cricket as his body was “starting to shut down”, almost three years after he stepped down from the international game.

The 36-year-old quit Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) team the Perth Scorchers last month, but had not ruled out playing in the Indian Premier League or other domestic T20 competitions.

“It’s over. I’ve bowled my final ball. Taken my final wicket. Today I announce my retirement from all forms of cricket,” Johnson wrote for the Perth Now news website on Sunday.

“I had hoped to continue playing in various Twenty20 competitions around the world until perhaps the middle of next year. But the fact is my body is starting to shut down.”

Johnson said he experienced back problems during this year’s IPL and “that was probably a sign that it was time to move on”.

“I’m ready to break clear of playing cricket and move on to the next period of my life,” he added.

“If I can’t play at 100 percent then I can’t give my best to the team. And for me it’s always been about the team.”

Johnson said he would consider channelling his “competitive edge” into a coaching or mentoring role in the future.

Renowned for his ferocious pace, Johnson announced his retirement from international cricket during the Test series against New Zealand in Perth in November 2015, saying he had lost the hunger to play the long form of the game.

From the coastal Queensland city of Townsville, Johnson made his first class debut with the state in 2001 before getting his start in the Test team in 2007.

His best haul was 8-61 against South Africa, at the WACA in 2008.

Described by long-time mentor Dennis Lillee as a “once in a generation” bowler, the former ICC Cricketer of the Year played 73 Tests for Australia, claiming 313 wickets.

He also claimed 239 wickets in 153 one-day internationals, and 38 wickets in 30 T20 internationals for Australia.

Johnson joined the Scorchers following his retirement from international cricket. In the IPL, he had stints with the Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab.

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Ball-tampering protagonist Cameron Bancroft signs county deal with Durham

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Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft.

Durham have signed ball-tampering Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft.

Bancroft, who will join Durham as their overseas player for 2019, received a nine-month ban from Cricket Australia earlier this year for his role in a ball-tampering scandal.

Bancroft was found guilty of attempting to manipulate the condition of the ball on day three of the third Test against South Africa on March 24.

It was an act which led to widespread condemnation and also saw Australia captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner receive 12-month suspensions for their involvement.

In their official announcement confirming the recruitment of 25-year-old Bancroft on Friday, Durham made no mention of the ball-tampering row.

Bancroft, who has played in eight Tests, will be available to Durham next season in all formats of the game.

In a statement released by the club, Bancroft said he was “grateful for the opportunity”.

He added: “I am excited to join Durham for the 2019 county season. With the Ashes and ODI World Cup both being played in the UK in 2019, it will be a huge summer of cricket.

“I am grateful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get over and make an impact with Durham.”

Durham head coach Jon Lewis said: “Cameron provides us with a very talented overseas signing who can bulk up our batting line-up and help us compete for silverware.

“Tom Latham has done a great job for us over the past two seasons, but we anticipate Tom being unavailable due to the World Cup in 2019, therefore we were delighted to be able to bring Cameron in. Cameron is a talented top order batsman and a great talent across all formats. He has the appetite and temperament for scoring big runs.”

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