Musings from Beyond the Boundary – 27 May

Musings from beyond the boundary – cricketing thoughts through the eyes of Trevor Auger, an Auckland Cricket Society and Supporters Club Member.

It took two attempts but Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers Hyderabad did find their way into the IPL Final, although ironically their captain, after his remarkable campaign, had only a small part to play in their second qualifier, scoring just 3.

On this occasion the hero was the young Afghanistan all-rounder Rashid Khan who delivered a late cameo with the bat, a 10-ball unbeaten 34 with two fours and four sixes, before claiming 3/19 in his four overs. Throw in two catches off Carlos Brathwaite, and his involvement in effecting a run out and you could call it a completely dominant performance by the 19-year-old.

With Afghanistan’s inaugural test appearance against India just weeks away it will be interesting to watch Khan’s transition into the longer form. He has played only four first class matches in his short career, but his short form statistics are remarkable – in 107 T20 matches he has 156 wickets at an average of 15.9, all while conceding less than 6 runs an over.

And talking of test matches, Ireland will be looking ever more satisfyingly at their own first match at the top level as they’ve watched England struggle against the Pakistan attack at Lord’s. Remarkably, when Joe Root was out for 68 in their second innings England were 110/6. Respectability had been restored somewhat by stumps by recalled Jos Buttler and Dom Bess.

Last season, Bess, the twenty-year-old debutant, was one half of the prolific Somerset spin-bowling partnership with slow left-armer Jack Leach that made such a big impact in the County Championship, particularly at home in spin-friendly Taunton.

We saw Leach in action for England at Christchurch but when he was injured early in his home season the selectors turned to Bess. He didn’t make too much impact with the ball in the Pakistan first innings but his 63 first class wickets in 16 matches suggest the off-spinner’s day will come.  With the bat he already has a first class hundred and a pair of half-centuries to sit alongside his first test fifty, which may yet prove critical to the outcome of this fascinating match.

Elsewhere in England the Royal London One Day Cup continues, with mixed results for the New Zealand contingent over the last week.

Most consistent have been the veterans, with Jeetan Patel taking 4/33 in his ten overs against Yorkshire and setting up his Warwickshire side for a five wicket victory. And for Middlesex James Franklin followed up a pair of unbeaten 29s with a 50-ball 62 not out against Glamorgan. He has batted four times in the contest to date, and is yet to be dismissed.

Tom Latham, captaining Durham, has had a couple of twenties either side of finding form with 66 against Derbyshire, top-scoring in a losing cause. Ross Taylor has also made useful, if not telling contributions over the past few days, though he’ll have been disappointed to have scored only 25 as Nottinghamshire piled up an impressive (and match-winning) 409/7 against Leicestershire.

And of course Matt Henry keeps collecting scalps for Kent, following up his 3/60 against Middlesex with 2 for 50 against Glamorgan. What value he is delivering!

With the White Ferns heading north this week for their tour of Ireland and England, Suzie Bates, Lea Tahuhu and Sophie Devine have been in action in the exhibition match on India which may prove to be the precursor to a Women’s IPL in the near future. Amongst two line-ups filled with the world’s top cricketers, Bates took away the Player of the Match Award. Having top-scored for her side, she then captured 2 wickets for just 16 from her three overs, one of which was her New Zealand team-mate Sophie Devine, the other the opposition captain Harmanpreet Kaur.

The New Zealanders line up for their first match against Ireland on 6 June, with 17 year-old Amelia Kerr another of the side to earn headlines. She has won a contract with the Southern Vipers in England’s Kia Super League, the premier English Women’s T20 competition. Kerr joins Bates in the team, who were beaten finalists last year, as she takes another step to build her future as a professional cricketer.