Live Cricket Blog: Sahibzada Farhan set for Pakistan debut

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Catch the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Hello, Ashish Peter and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout your day and the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

9:00 pm – Tabraiz Shamsi picks up five wickets

South Africa wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi staked his claim for a spot in the Test team after picking up five wickets in the two-day warm-up match against Sri Lanka Board XI in Colombo.

South Africa will play two Tests – starting on July 12 – five ODIs and and T20 in Sri Lanka.

For more, click here.

8:00 pm – Sahibzada Farhan to debut

Sahibzada Farhan will make his Pakistan debut. Image: PCB/Twitter.

Sahibzada Farhan will make his Pakistan debut. Image: PCB/Twitter.

Pakistan batsman Sahibzada Farhan will make his international debut in the T20 tri-series final against Australia in Harare on Sunday.

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed said Farhan will open the innings in place of Haris Sohail.

Read more here.

5:00pm – Pakistan consolidate lead at the top of T20I rankings

No1 ranked T20 outfit Pakistan have extended their lead in the latest rankings released by the ICC on Saturday. The men in green have moved up to 131 points, six points ahead of India in second place while Australia have now slipped to the third position.

Read more on how the latest rankings are stacked in our full story here.

Pakistan have extended their lead at the top.

Pakistan have extended their lead at the top.

4:00pm – Faf du Plessis, Dinesh Chandimal seek clarity on ball-tampering laws

Ahead of the first Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa which will get underway at Galle on July 12, Faf du Plessis and Dinesh Chandimal are seeking further clarity from the ICC with regards to ball-tampering laws. The two skippers want to know what is permissible in the wake of ICC’s recent sanctions against Chandimal during Sri Lanka’s tour of West Indies.

Read what the two skippers had to say during their press conference in Colombo here.

The South Africa and Sri Lanka skippers pose together in Colombo.

The South Africa and Sri Lanka skippers pose together in Colombo.

3:00pm – Yuzvendra Chahal says England took calculated risks against Kuldeep

England’s batsman were much more assured in their handling of Kuldeep Yadav in the second T20 at Cardiff after the wrist-spinner had run riot with a five-wicket haul in the series opener. Yuzvendra Chahal gave his explanation as to what went right for England’s batsmen in Cardiff.

Read what the India spinner had to say in his full quotes here.

Chahal has had his say on England's performance in Cardiff.

Chahal has had his say on England’s performance in Cardiff.

2:00pm – Glenn Maxwell targeting Test return with Australia

Australia batsman Glenn Maxwell was in the thick of things during his side’s narrow win over Zimbabwe on Saturday. Maxwell struck a 38-ball 56 to led the Aussies to a five-wicket win. Now, the maverick batsman is targeting a return to Australia’s Test squad for the two-match series against Pakistan in the UAE later this year.

Read what Maxwell had to say about his Test recall chances in the full story here.

Glenn Maxwell has played only seven Tests so far in his career.

Glenn Maxwell has played only seven Tests so far in his career.

1:00pm – Shaheen Afridi gives Sarfraz Ahmed selection headache ahead of tri-series final

Pakistan will lock horns with Australia in the final of the T20 tri-series in Harare on Sunday. Both the sides have met twice already in the round-robin stage with each side garnering one win apiece.

The excellent showing of teenage pacer Shaheen Afridi in Pakistan’s 45-run win over Australia has given skipper Sarfraz Ahmed plenty to think about with regards to his team composition.

Read more about this mouthwatering T20 clash in our talking points for the final.

Shaheen Afridi had impressed in Pakistan's last match.

Shaheen Afridi had impressed in Pakistan’s last match.

12:30pm – Virat Kohli shares MS Dhoni’s birthday celebrations image

With the birthday wishes pouring in from all quarters for MS Dhoni, India skipper Virat Kohli wasn’t going to be left too far behind. Kohli took to Twitter to post an image of Dhoni’s face smeared with cake at the team hotel in Cardiff.

Read what Kohli had to say about the veteran on his birthday in the full story here.

Image - Twitter/@imVkohli.

Image – Twitter/@imVkohli.

11:00am – Birthday wishes pour in for India stalwart MS Dhoni

India stalwart turned 37 on Saturday and social media has been awash with wishes pouring in for the former skipper.

Suresh Raina, Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, Virender Sehwag and many more have sent their wishes to ‘Captain Cool’ who on Friday became only the third Indian to make 500 international appearances.

Read how the cricketing fraternity has reacted to Dhoni’s birthday by clicking here.

MS Dhoni turned 37 on Saturday.

MS Dhoni turned 37 on Saturday.

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South Africa wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi picks up five wickets in Sri Lanka tour match

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South Africa left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi put his hat in the ring for a spot in the Test playing XI after picking up five wickets in the two-day warm-up match against Sri Lanka Board XI on Saturday.

Shamsi finished with 5-45 from 13.2 overs as the South Africans dismissed the hosts for 287 in Colombo. South Africa are in the island nation for a full tour that includes two Tests – starting on July 12 – five ODIs and one T20.

The South Africans did not field their main spinner – left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj – but found a highly effective option in Shamsi on a wicket that didn’t have a lot for the bowlers.

Returning fast bowler Dale Steyn failed to impress as he went for 52 runs from 12 overs without picking up a wicket and according to reports from Sri Lanka, did not look threatening. Young fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi were far more incisive on a docile pitch.

Shamsi chipped away at the middle order and kept the scoring in check after the hosts were at one point 161-2.

The SL Board XI included established batsmen like Angelo Mathews (92), Danushka Gunathilaka (53), Dhananjaya de Silva (28) and Kaushal Silva (76).

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Wrist-spin in focus again as England and India clash in T20 decider at Bristol

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India's wrist-spinners will be key once again in the decider.

Less than 48 hours after England beat India by five wickets in the second T20 to level the three-match series at 1-1, the two sides will meet once again for the decider to be held at Bristol on Sunday.

India started the series on fire with a crushing eight-wicket win in the opener at Manchester before the hosts pulled things back at Cardiff.

With all to play for on Sunday, we look at the key talking points ahead of the clash.

ENGLAND FACE BEN STOKES DILEMMA

Ahead of the second T20 in Cardiff, England recalled star all-rounder Ben Stokes to the side for the final match. Stokes had missed out on the first two matches due to a hamstring injury but showed that he is back to full fitness with an unbeaten 68-ball 90 for Durham against Yorkshire in the T20 Blast.

Stokes’ late call up could have had something to do with Alex Hale’s struggles in the first T20 where the batsman scratched around for eight from 18 balls. However, Hales roared back into form with a match-winning unbeaten 58 in England’s win a Cardiff.

Skipper Eoin Morgan will need to make a tough call on how to possibly accommodate both Hales and Stokes. Other options for the England skipper are to drop Joe Root, which looks unlikely, or not include Stokes.

Ben Stokes has thrown up a selection headache for Morgan.

Ben Stokes has thrown up a selection headache for Morgan.

BATTLE OF WRIST-SPIN IN FOCUS

England were blown away by Kuldeep Yadav’s wrist-spin in the first T20 with the youngster returning with figures of 5-24 in India’s big win. How the hosts handled the wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep was always going to be the defining battle of the series.

Like the series, that battle is also locked at one apiece with England showing much better application in their handling of the pair in the second T20.

It will be interesting to see if India’s spinners alter their strategy after England’s new approach in Cardiff.

Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal could be forced to alter their strategy.

Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal could be forced to alter their strategy.

BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR REST OF THE SUMMER

With a three-match ODI series and a five-match Test series to follow, the outcome of the T20 decider could set the tone for the rest of the English summer.

Both sides have been in excellent form in white-ball cricket of late and are the two early favourites for the World Cup to be held in England next year.

A win for either side on Sunday could provide a much needed mental edge going into the rest of the clashes, especially the ODI series.

Both skippers will aim for a confidence boosting win ahead of the ODIs.

Both skippers will aim for a confidence boosting win ahead of the ODIs.

ROHIT AND DHAWAN EYE PERSONAL MILESTONES

While England has not been a happy hunting ground for Shikhar Dhawan so far in the series with a combined total of 14 runs, the India opener is closing in on 1,000 runs in T20I cricket. The left-hander needs 28 more runs to get to the landmark.

On the other hand, his opening partner Rohit Sharma is on the verge of becoming only the second Indian batsman to score 2,000 runs in the T20I format. The Mumbai-man is currently 14 runs short of the mark and should he reach the mark on Sunday, he will become only the fifth batsman overall to do so and the second from India after skipper Virat Kohli breached the landmark in the first T20 at Manchester.

Rohit Sharma is just 14 runs shy of the 2, 000-run mark.

Rohit Sharma is just 14 runs shy of the 2,000-run mark.

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