There were plenty of talking points from the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman.
Fast bowler Curtis Campher took four wickets in four balls to help Ireland thrash the Netherlands by seven wickets in a first-round match.
Campher claimed a hat-trick and then struck again to return figures of 4-26 as the Netherlands were dismissed for 106.
Campher became only the third bowler in T20I history to claim four wickets in four balls after Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan and Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka in 2019.
Pakistan end India jinx
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan smashed unbeaten half-centuries as Pakistan crushed India by 10 wickets to register a first win over their arch-rivals in a T20 World Cup.
Chasing 152 for victory, Babar (68) and Rizwan (79) steered their team home with 13 balls to spare in Dubai.
Left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi set up victory – Pakistan’s first over their neighbours in six attempts in the tournament – with figures of 3-31 that restricted India to 151-7 despite a valiant 57 from skipper Virat Kohli.
De Kock makes a stand, then takes a knee
Quinton de Kock withdrew from South Africa’s match against the West Indies after refusing to take the knee.
The 28-year-old’s shock decision came just hours after Cricket South Africa (CSA) had ordered all their players at the tournament to take part in the anti-racism gesture.
De Kock apologised two days later and said he would be happy to join the rest of the team in making a stand.
“If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so,” he said.
Kohli anger at ‘spineless, pathetic’ trolls
India captain Virat Kohli launched a blistering attack on “spineless” and “pathetic” fans, reserving particular vitriol for the trolls who blamed Mohammed Shami, the only Muslim player in the squad, for the loss to Pakistan.
“There’s a good reason why we are playing on the field and not a bunch of spineless people on social media that have no courage to actually speak to any individual in person,” said Kohli. “Attacking someone over their religion is the most pathetic thing that a human being can do.”
Pre-tournament favourites India went on to lose to New Zealand and failed to make the last four.
Buttler serves masterclass
England made it four wins in four after Jos Buttler hit the first century of the World Cup in a 26-run victory over Sri Lanka.
Buttler’s unbeaten 101 – his maiden century in 86 T20Is – steered England to 163-4.
Buttler smashed six fours and six sixes in his 67-ball knock as he achieved the feat of making centuries in all three formats.
Hasaranga – a star is born?
Sri Lanka may have been knocked out in the Super 12 stage but their youthful team caught the eye and are already being talked of as potential champions at the 2022 World Cup in Australia.
Wanindu Hasaranga, their leg-spinning all-rounder, stood out with 16 wickets at an average of under 10. The 24-year-old took his wickets total for 2021 to 36, the year’s best at the time of his country’s elimination.
“Hasaranga is a special cricketer,” said coach Mickey Arthur.
End of Windies generation
West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard lamented the “end of a generation” as Dwayne Bravo brought the curtain down on his international career with Chris Gayle almost certain to join him in calling it quits.
The defending champions were defeated by Australia by eight wickets in their final group, their fourth loss in five matches.
Both Bravo (38) and 42-year-old Gayle – who played in the 2012 and 2016 T20 title-winning teams – were given a guard of honour by the Australia players in Abu Dhabi.
Rizwan – from hospital bed to semi-final
Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan top-scored with 67 in the semi-final loss against Australia despite spending two days in a hospital intensive care unit due to a chest infection.
Saheer Sainalabdeen, a pulmonologist who hails from the south Indian state of Kerala, said it was Rizwan’s “faith in God” and desire to play for Pakistan that got the batter through.
“I must admit that we did not expect his recovery to be so fast as it takes around five to seven days for improvement with the kind of condition that he came in with,” Sainalabdeen told AFP.
“But because of his fit lifestyle, of course he is a sportsperson, he improved in two to three days and it was miraculous.
“Main thing, I thought, was his faith in God and his strong belief to play in the World Cup for his country.”
Rizwan was so grateful that he sent the doctor an autographed Pakistan shirt.
Conway punches out
New Zealand batter Devon Conway was ruled out of the final after breaking his right hand when he punched his bat on his dismissal for 46 in the semi-final win over England.
Conway had made 46 when he was out stumped by Jos Buttler off Liam Livingstone.
“It looked a pretty innocuous reactionary incident on the field,” said New Zealand coach Gary Stead. “But the blow obviously caught the bat between the glove padding and, while it’s not the smartest thing he’s done, there’s certainly an element of bad luck in the injury.
“He’s absolutely gutted to be ruled out like this at this time.”
Aussies end long wait
Mitchell Marsh smashed an unbeaten 77 as Australia hammered New Zealand by eight wickets to clinch their maiden T20 World Cup title with captain Aaron Finch describing the achievement as “huge”.
Chasing 173 for victory, Australia relied on a 92-run second-wicket stand between player-of-the-tournament David Warner, who made 53, and Marsh to achieve their target with seven balls to spare in Dubai.
Australia now have a T20 crown to add to their five 50-over World Cups.
After being put into bat, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson made 85.
Teams bowling first won 12 of 13 matches played at the Dubai International Stadium.
© Agence France-Presse
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