Eoin Morgan sees bright future for T10 after league expands to eight teams

Denzil Pinto 18/03/2018
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Eoin Morgan captained Kerala Kings in T10 League.

Eoin Morgan has welcomed the news of an expanded T10 League, saying it’s proof that the format has a ‘bright future’.

Morgan led Kerala Kings to title glory in the inaugural competition last December which attracted six franchises. Bengal Tigers, Maratha Arabians, Pakhtoons, Punjabi Legends, Team Sri Lanka and Kerala were all part of the four-day event at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Following the success of the inaugural edition, two more teams have been added to the roster when the tournament returns to the Emirate this December.

Morgan says a bigger tournament can only be a good thing for players.

“I think demand of more teams underlines the growth of the tournament,” said the 31-year-old during the inauguration of the RNS Diagnostic and Imaging Centre, part of Mulk Healthcare Enterprises which is owned by Kerala Kings chief Dr Shafi Ul Mulk, on Monday.

“The success the tournament has shown last year through all of the feedback we had from the players and the public is something that is exciting. That’s a very good sign and points to a bright future for T10 cricket.”

After joining his Karachi Kings’ team-mates last week, Morgan will travel back to the UK after the team’s Pakistan Super League Eliminator against Islamabad United on Sunday.

Three of the four remaining matches are set to be held in Lahore and Karachi this week and the England ODI and T20 captain has refused to travel to Pakistan, saying the decision is purely down to family reasons.

“I’m going home to see my family,” he said. “I haven’t been home since November and since I got drafted, that has always been the plan.”

He joins a number of key foreigners including Kevin Pietersen to not make the trip. However, he lauded the Pakistan Cricket Board’s efforts in bringing high-profile cricket back to Pakistan.

“Gradually more fixtures are being announced,” he said. “The West Indies have said that they will be playing three T20 matches, so gradually more and more cricket is being played there. I think if the preparation and everything goes well, then it will be fine.”

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UAE captain Rohan Mustafa says fast-bowlers must improve after Scotland defeat

Denzil Pinto 15/03/2018
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A tough day: Muhammad Usman scored 80 for the UAE

UAE captain Rohan Mustafa believes the fast bowlers must shoulder some responsibility for their 73-run defeat to Scotland in their World Cup Qualifier on Thursday.

It was a tough day for the UAE bowlers as Scotland reached an imposing total of 322-6 in their 50-overs  in the Super Six clash at Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Matthew Cross led the way for the European side with 114 runs, his second ODI century.

In the end, the target proved to be too much for the UAE as they were all out for 249 despite the brave efforts of Muhammad Usman (80) and Ahmed Raza (50). Although their chances were slim, the result meant that the UAE’s hopes of reaching their second successive and third World Cup is over with two matches to play.

Mustafa stood out with the ball with four wickets, while spinner Imran Haider and medium-pacer Zahoor Khan shared one scalp each.

Fellow fast-bowler Mohammad Naveed was the most expensive out all the bowlers after going for 6-68 despite only bowling eight overs.

But Mustafa was critical of his bowlers, particularly the pacers, who were unable to chip in with wickets at a time when they really needed them.

“I think to be honest if I have to say that our fast bowlers didn’t bowl really well,” he said during his post-match press conference.

“I will give credit to Scotland but our bowlers didn’t do much on this type of wicket. As you saw our fast bowlers have not been taking much wickets apart from Papua New Guinea, so I think that’s the thing that has been disappointing.

“This kind of wicket was a very slow wicket and it was turning at the start of the day as well. It was not easy but the guys managed to get beyond the 250 mark. We gave away too many runs in the bowling to be honest and their batsmen played really well and took advantage.”

They will be aiming to get their first Super Six points on board when they take on hosts Zimbabwe and Afghanistan within the next week.

Mustafa says his team-mates can take a leaf of how Mohammad Usman and Ahmed Raza performed against Scotland. Usman and Raza put on a 105-run stand for the seventh wicket and the skipper added: “That’s the bright point. Even if you stay on a wicket, what those boys did was exceptional. They stayed at the wicket over a long time and scored the runs. We will play hard in the remaining games and hopefully take some points.”

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Matthew Cross hits century as Scotland defeat UAE in Super Six stage

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Centurion: Matthew Cross

A career-best 114 from Matthew Cross proved to be the difference as Scotland defeated the UAE by 73 runs in their World Cup Qualifier clash on Thursday.

The Saltires kicked off their Super Six campaign in style with a commanding win which puts them in a strong position to qualify for the final ahead of next year’s World Cup.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, it was a welcome return to form for Scotland who have struggled to post big scores in the early stages of the tournament.

Cross in particular had been struggling, having failed to pass 18 in his four knocks so far, but was back in form as Scotland posted a mammoth 322 for six. UAE captain Rohan Mustafa was the stand-out bowler with figures of 4-56.

Kyle Coetzer made a breezy 43 before he was dismissed, but Cross combined with Calum MacLeod (78) for a 161-run stand for the second wicket to put Scotland in a strong position.

The two pressed the accelerator going into the final 10 overs as Scotland put on 121 in the final 11 overs, but it was Cross who anchored the innings brilliantly in his 135-ball knock, which included four sixes. Richie Berrington and Harry Munsey helped boost the total above the 300 mark.

With a big target to chase, the UAE made a positive start in reply but after reaching 62, they lose three wickets for two runs.

A superb seventh-wicket stand of 104 between Mohammad Usman (80) and Ahmed Raza (50) lent some respectability to the UAE’s run-chase, but it was not quite enough as they were bowled out for 249.

Chris Sole finished with four for 68 as Scotland eventually clinched the win to move to the top of the table following West Indies’ defeat to Afghanistan.

For the UAE, they will take on Afghanistan on March 20.

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