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Thursday, February 20, 2020

ICC Women T20 WC - and India NZ test at Basin Reserve

A 95-year-old, $8 million stand with no name officially reopens at the Basin Reserve tomorrow  morning as a cricket legend's contribution is recognised on the nearby pavilion. What used to be known as the Museum Stand, which hasn't seated a spectator in eight years after being declared an earthquake risk, is back in business for day one of the Black Caps test against India. At last count, 994 shiny new seats will be available to spectators for the same price - around $50 - as a ticket to lounge on the grass hill, giving the Basin's capacity a welcome boost to near 8000 as Ross Taylor is feted for his 100th test. The new players' pavilion which was opened in December 2018 will now be known as the Ewen Chatfield Pavilion. The signage was already up on Thursday and Chatfield - whose record 403 first-class wickets for Wellington still stands - will be guest of honour at a lunch on Friday to officially unveil it. Before you read further do you observe anything in this roadside kirana shop in Mumbai.

Indians did so well in T20 Series but lost the plot to Kiwis in ODI Series – so the 2 Test Series should be very interesting.  India played here at Basin Reserve way back in Feb 1968 in Test no. 632. The bowling attack was : medium pace of RF Surti; off-spin of ML Jaisimha; left arm spinner Bishan singh Bedi & RG Nadkarni; offie Erapalli Anandha Sundara Prasanna and leg spinner V Subramanya.  Much water has flown under the bridge as India will play offie Ravi Ashwin and 3 pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav.

Before we read more on Test match, there is another interesting game tomorrow a T20 at that.  It is the T20 WC at Australia.  There are a lot of big-picture themes about this T20 World Cup: participation, inclusion, expansion to name a few.  The best team in the world against the potential future giants of the sport play tomorrow. There would a star off-spinner Radha Yadav, who is India's joint highest wicket-taker in T20Is since the start of 2019.

The 2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup is the seventh ICC Women's T20 World Cup tournament, now held in Australia between 21 Feb – 8 Mar 2020.    Australia are the defending champions, and will play their opening match of the tournament against India.  For the first time at the Women's T20 World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the use of technology to monitor front-foot no-balls for all matches during the tournament. The third umpire will call the front-foot no-balls, communicating this with the on-field umpires.  The tourney features 10 teams – 8 ranked teams from finishing positions of 2018 ICC Women World T20 and qualifiers Bangladesh and Thailand.  The teams are : Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, Thailand.

Just as we read impressive life-stories of some cricketers braving difficulties to raise in U19 WC, Radha Yadav too is inspirational.  She hails from a poor family. Upon getting a BCCI contract, allrounder Radha Yadav bought her family a small grocery shop in Kandivali, Mumbai, a stone's throw away from the makeshift stall where her father has been selling milk/veggies for decades. Really great – kudos Radha Yadav. The photo at the start is the shop of Radha.

Nestled beneath Mount Victoria and Mount Cook, the Basin Reserve is an island of cricket in inner city Wellington. Spectators are accommodated on a grass bank on the eastern side of the ground, a natural sun trap which also provides shelter from the notorious southerly winds. The ground is protected by Act of Parliament and is New Zealand's only sport ground on the National Heritage list. Cricket in Wellington received a surprise boost in 1855, courtesy of an unexpected earthquake which flattened out enough ground to create the Basin Reserve.

In that  3rd Test in 1968, India triumphed.  NZ playing first made 186 in 89.2 overs with Mark Burgess topscoring with 66.  Prasanna took 5/32 & Surti took 3/44.  India made 327 with Farokh Engineer making 44 and Ajit Wadekar making 143.  In the Second, NZ were again bowled out for 199 with Prasanna taking 3 and Bapu Nadkarni spinning a web with 6/43.  The required 59 runs were knocked with loss of 2 wickets with Abid Ali making 36.

Tomorrow at Basin Reserve, Kyle Jamieson will become New Zealand's 279th Test player as he replaces Wagner. Jamieson brings those hard lengths and extra bounce with his height. Depending on what they read of the pitch of the morning of the match, New Zealand will choose between Daryl Mitchell and Ajaz Patel, the lone spinner in the squad.  India seem to have settled with the opening combination of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal. With fewer vagaries in New Zealand pitches, India seem to be going with the batting prowess of Rishabh Pant ahead of the wicketkeeping purity of Wriddhiman Saha. Unlike New Zealand, India are sure to play at least one spinner – the most successful Ravichandran Ashwin who is being treated rather unfairly these days. The middle order would be Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Feb 2020.

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