Australia spinner Ashton Agar expecting another run-fest in T20I tri-series finals against New Zealand at Eden Park

Sport360 staff 11:34 19/02/2018
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Agar is expecting runs to flow once again with Eden Park's short boundaries.

Australia spinner Ashton Agar said on Monday that Eden Park’s notoriously short boundaries mean another run-fest is likely in this week’s Twenty20 tri-series final against New Zealand.

Australia completed a world-record run chase to overhaul New Zealand’s 243 at the Auckland ground last Friday in a match that featured 32 sixes.

They go into Wednesday’s decider as favourites after winning all four of their round robin matches, and Agar said the “amazing” result had further boosted their belief.

“It was great for us to take confidence out of chasing a record total, knowing we can do that,” he said.

“We’ve had the right guys firing at the right times now and I think we’re ready to put together a really good performance again.”

Eden Park more closely resembles a rectangular pitch than traditional cricket oval, and the Australian spinner described the layout as “unique”.

The Aussies had pulled off the highest ever T20I chase last time at the venue.

The Aussies had pulled off the highest ever T20I chase last time at the venue.

Agar said bowling there was the hardest challenge he had faced in T20 cricket but he had accepted batsmen were going to go after him at the ground.

“If I get hit I’ve got to turn around, keep a smile on my face and try my best with the next ball,” he said, adding that “some people are going to get away to a flyer here”.

Agar said containing New Zealand’s in-form openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro would be a key element in the final.

The pair took full advantage of the ground’s tiny dimensions to score 105 and 76 respectively last Friday, only for Australia’s batters to produce similar pyrotechnics and claim the win.

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AB de Villiers out of remainder of T20I series against India due to knee injury

Sport360 staff 11:12 19/02/2018
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AB de Villiers' injury woes refuse to end.

South Africa’s limited-overs woes continue to grow with stalwart AB de Villiers being ruled out of the rest of the T20I series against India due to a knee injury.

The 34-year-old played no part in the opening Twenty20 clash on Sunday and broke down with what he described as a sore left knee before a ball had even been bowled.

The swashbuckling batsman had suffered the injury after the fifth ODI itself but decided to soldier on in the last two matches. He had missed the first three ODIs due to an injury in his index finger which he had suffered during the Test series which South Africa won 2-1.

Following the latest setback, the South Africa selectors have decided to rest the star in a bid to help him regain full fitness ahead of the upcoming Test series against Australia which gets underway next month.

de Villiers had suffered the injury in the fifth ODI.

Injury-prone: The legendary batsman has spent more time on the treatment table of late.

“He suffered a blow to the knee while batting ahead of the fifth ODI, and although he passed a fitness test on Friday, the injury worsened significantly throughout the match,” South Africa’s team manager Mohammed Moosajee stated.

The fresh setback will be a big blow to South Africa’s hopes in the T20I series after already having been on the receiving end of a 5-1 thrashing in the ODIs. India were on top once again on Sunday as they garnered a 28-run win to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

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Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar shine in India's win over South Africa in first T20I

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India started the T20 series against South Africa in fine style, winning the opener at Wanderers relatively comfortably.

Virat Kohli’s men put up 203 runs on the board after batting first before restricting the Proteas to 175-9 in their 20 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Here we look at the good and the bad from India’s 28-run win.

THE GOOD

DHAWAN CASHES IN

Carrying on from his efforts in the ODIs, Shikhar Dhawan seemed in cruise control from ball one. On a pitch perfect for shot-making, the left-hander attacked pacers and spinners in equal measure.

He raced away to a 27-ball fifty, his fourth in T20I cricket, as he helped India post their highest-ever power-play score of 78-2. Dhawan found gaps at will as he combined aggression with placement before ultimately falling for a 39-ball 72.

BHUVNESHWAR AT HIS BEST

Bhuvneshwar Kumar enjoyed some well deserved rest in the final ODI and came back fresh for the T20 opener. Where South Africa’s pacers failed, he succeeded by making use of his variations; he removed Jon-Jon Smuts and JP Duminy with a knuckle ball and leg-cutter respectively.

He then returned at the death to pick up three wickets in his final over to finish with best-ever T20 figures of 5-24 off his four overs to seal the game for India.

THE BAD

DANE PATERSON’S HORROR START

The 28-year-old opened the bowling for the Proteas and was taken to the cleaners by India’s openers. Rohit Sharma went after him in the first over smashing two sixes before Dhawan inflicted similar punishment in his next over.

Paterson went for 31 runs off his first two overs and although he bowled two tight overs at the end, he finished with figures of 0-48.

Paterson did not have the best of starts with the ball.

Paterson did not have the best of starts with the ball.

DUMINY FAILS TO LEAD FROM THE FRONT

After losing stalwart AB de Villiers for the entire series to a knee-injury, the onus was on South Africa’s captain and senior-most batsman to lead from the front.

JP Duminy however, succumbed to the scoreboard pressure. He threw his wicket away to a slower delivery from Bhuvneshwar to perish for just three runs off seven balls.

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