Pakistan to play T20I tri-series in the United States against Bangladesh and West Indies

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Pakistan will play play in front of the USA crowds for the first time.

Pakistan will get their first taste of playing in front of American fans in a T20I tri-series involving Bangladesh and the West Indies.

The tournament is set to take place in August this year in the United States with Houston and Lauderhill (Florida) in the running to host the matches.

The developments were confirmed by an unnamed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official to the Indian Express during the first ICC meeting of the year held in Dubai last weekend.

“It (USA tri-series) is an arrangement for this year, and we will see how things pan out later on,” the official said.

The agreement is said to have been finalised after discussions between PCB chairman Najam Sethi and Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief Dave Cameron in Dubai.

During the meeting between the two board chiefs, the schedule for the postponed West Indies’ T20I tour of Pakistan was also confirmed. The Caribbean side is now set to visit Pakistan at the end of the March for the three T20s.

The West Indies have already played a few times in Florida.

The West Indies have already played a few times in Florida.

All three matches will be held at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on March 29 and 31, and April 1.

Meanwhile this will be the first time that Pakistan’s national team will play in the United States. West Indies have already played two T20Is against India at Lauderhill last year while some matches of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) have also been hosted there.

If Houston is selected as a venue, it will be the first international match to be held there.

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Rohit Sharma v Kagiso Rabada and the other key battles that could decide the fifth ODI between South Africa and India

Ashish Peter 12/02/2018
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The battle between Rohit and Rabada will be one to keep an eye on.

Stakes will be high when South Africa and India meet in the fifth ODI of the six-match series at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

With a 3-1 lead, India will be looking to seal their maiden one-day series triumph on South African soil while the hosts will know that nothing less than a victory will do for them.

Here, we look at the key battles which could decide the fate of the clash.

AB de Villiers V India’s wrist-spinners

The South Africans have dearly missed AB de Villiers’s mastery against the spinners in the first-half of the series as India established their dominance. There are not many more destructive batsmen in the world against the spinning ball than the 33-year-old and if he gets stuck in on Tuesday, the spin-twins could be in for another testing evening.

Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal meanwhile will be hoping that their display at the Wanderers was just an off-day and that they can re-establish their superiority on the South Africans. For that, they will need to subdue De Villiers first.

Kuldeep will have his task cut out against AB de Villiers.

Kuldeep will have his task cut out against AB de Villiers.

ROHIT SHARMA V KAGISO RABADA

Rohit Sharma has had a tour to forget so far having failed to register a single fifty in eight innings now. It has simply not worked for the Mumbai-based man, be it in the Test series or now the ODIs.

Six out of his eight dismissals have come against South Africa’s young pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada. He has a combined total of only 40 runs in the four games so far and will have to clear the Rabada hurdle at the start if he is to get a big one on Tuesday.

Rohit has been Rabada's bunny so far.

Rohit has been Rabada’s bunny so far.

HASHIM AMLA V INDIA’S PACERS

Hashim Amla has not been uprooting any trees in the series either with 33 being his highest score. He has been dismissed twice by Jasprit Bumrah and once by Bhuvneshwar Kumar as he has found it difficult to get past the new-ball stage.

India’s new-ball pairing has been successful in subduing the Proteas veteran so far but you wouldn’t put it past Amla to turn the scales on Tuesday.

Amla has not had his own way against India's pacers.

Amla has not had his own way against India’s pacers.

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Proteas' increasing confidence and other talking points ahead of the fifth ODI between India and South Africa

Ashish Peter 12/02/2018
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South Africa will have their tails up after victory in the PinkDay ODI.

South Africa and India will meet in the fifth ODI at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday with the series well and truly alive.

Aiden Markram’s men secured a thrilling five-wicket win at Johannesburg has set up an exciting finish with two games remaining with India currently leading the six-match series 3-1.

Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of the penultimate ODI.

HAVE SOUTH AFRICA COME TO TERMS WITH WRIST-SPIN?

It was India’s two wrist-spinners who were at the forefront as the visitors stormed to victories in the first three one-dayers. They were completely on top of the Proteas batsmen as they shared 21 wickets between themselves. However, at Johannesburg, both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav came in for some heavy punishment as South Africa romped to victory.

They did have a wet outfield to contend with which made the task of gripping the ball just a bit harder but it remains to be seen if they will be able to repeat their heroics from the first three ODIs.

It remains to be seen if the spin-twins can bounce back after taking a hammering.

It remains to be seen if the spin-twins can bounce back after taking a hammering.


INDIA’S MIDDLE-ORDER WOES

When India’s middle-order was finally called to action at Johannesburg, they floundered. From a position of strength at 200-2 in 34 overs, India came undone in the death overs as they finished with 289-7 on the board.

Virat Kohli will want the likes of MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya to step up to the plate when it comes to acceleration in the death overs. Both have been subdued with the bat in hand so far and it was what cost the Men in Blue in the fourth ODI.

The likes of Pandya will need to step up with the bat for India.

The likes of Pandya will need to step up with the bat for India.


HOSTS RIDING CONFIDENCE WAVE

The Proteas looked dead and buried at 3-0 with injuries to key personnel only compounding matters. However, AB de Villiers’ return and victory in front of a packed house at the Wanderers on PinkDay will do the confidence in the dressing room a world of good.

Expect the hosts to be a different beast altogether with confidence pumping through their veins again.

The Proteas will be a different beast altogether after the last win.

The Proteas will be a different beast altogether after the last win.


KEDAR/IYER DILEMMA FOR KOHLI

One headache for Kohli going into Port Elizabeth will be deciding who bats in the number five position. Shreyas Iyer played in the last game but he did not fare well, scoring just 18. He was also guilty of dropping a sitter off David Miller which proved to be huge turning point in the game.

It was Kedar Jadhav who was preferred in the first three matches but he got only one opportunity to bat, managing to notch just a single run to his name. His part-time off-spin provides something different though than the wrist-spinners and that could be the deciding factor given how the latter fared at Durban.

Jadhav's off-spin could tilt the balance in his favour.

Jadhav’s off-spin could tilt the balance in his favour.

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