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Jonny Bairstow insists he doesn’t mind where he bats for England, as long as he has a role in the team.

Bairstow hit an unbeaten 86 from 48 balls – his highest score in T20I cricket – to carry England to a narrow victory with four balls of the game remaining in the first match of the series against South Africa in Cape Town

But he did it from No. 4 in the batting line-up having been demoted after England opted for Jos Buttler and Jason Roy as their openers and Dawid Malan as their No. 3. That left Bairstow – who is the only England player in the top 10 of the ODI batting rankings – batting outside the top three for the first time in more than two years and potentially facing a fight for his position with the likes of Joe Root and Sam Billings, neither of whom are in the team at present.

Given that this rejig came after he had lost both his place in the Test side and his full central contract, as well as being dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad for the final rounds of the IPL, Bairstow could have been forgiven for expressing some disappointment. Instead, he said he is determined to use his experiences in a constructive manner.

“I think you’ve two choices,” Bairstow, who made his maiden Test century on the same ground in 2016, said. “You can be disgruntled or you can use the experiences you’ve had previously – whether for England or at the IPL – and utilise them in the best way possible. I’m really happy with where my game is at. The calmness and composure was really pleasing. Seeing England over the line is important.

“I want to be playing cricket for England. I don’t mind [where I bat]. As long as I’m contributing and putting in match-winning performances, so be it.

“I was really pleased with how I played tonight. It’s a different role to what I’ve played previously, so going out and gaining confidence and contributing to winning the match is what it’s all about. I was delighted with the pace in which we structured the innings. To win with three or four balls left… I’m really happy.”

ALSO READ: A victory for England, a victory for the IPL

However, aside from Bairstow and a couple of colleagues – notably Sam Curran – England were not at their best. With 25 deliveries of the match remaining, they still required 55 runs and knew that, with Kagiso Rabada to deliver one of those overs, their chances were diminishing by the moment.

But then Beuran Hendricks bowled a horrible over – the 17th of the England innings – which occupied nine balls and cost 28 runs. Without it, England may have struggled to overcome what Eoin Morgan, England’s captain, termed “an above-par score” set by South Africa.

For while Morgan declared himself “very pleased” with the victory, he was not allowing it to mask a performance he admitted was “pretty average”.

“I thought we were pretty average apart from two or three guys,” Morgan told Sky Sports. “And when you win games of cricket like that when you don’t play your best cricket, it is very pleasing.

“There are areas with the ball that we missed; we were a tad too full in certain periods of the game. And then with the bat we were three-down early and did not build partnerships. But Jonny has had an unbelievably good day out on a wicket that was two-paced.

“When you win games like that and you’ve a lot [of improvement] to make up in all three facets [of the game] you can be pleased. I would imagine the more time we spend together and the more we play, the more we will get used to roles that we play and start to gel like we have in 50-over cricket. It is not doom and gloom but hopefully we will improve and progress in the next couple of games.”

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FIFA Club World Cup 2020 – News – Afif: Al Duhail can reach the final

  • Ali Afif played for Al Sadd at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011
  • Forward hopes to play a part at Qatar 2020 with Al Duhail SC
  • “I’ll use all my experience for the good of the team”

Al Duhail front man Ali Afif is all set to grace the FIFA Club World Cup for the second time in his career. His first appearance in the competition came ten years ago, when he played for Al Sadd, the then Asian champions.

Afif was only 23 when he ran out at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011, having made a big contribution to Al Sadd’s second continental title, playing eight matches in their victorious AFC Champions League campaign.

Though he missed Al Sadd’s first two matches in the competition – a 2-1 win over Esperance Sportive de Tunis and a 4-0 semi-final defeat to Barcelona – he came on for the last 18 minutes of the match for third place against host team Kashiwa Reysol, a game Al Sadd won 5-3 on penalties.

Now 33, the forward spoke exclusively to about the importance of a competition he hopes to feature in again this year.

“I didn’t play a lot [in the 2011 competition], but the Club World Cup is a very demanding tournament,” said Afif. “The coach wanted to give everyone some playing time and a chance to compete at this level.”

A month after his maiden FIFA Club World Cup appearance, Afif left Al Sadd to join Lekhwiya, which has since become Al Duhail SC. It was there that he embarked on a successful new phase in his career, helping the club to win six Qatari league titles, the latest of which came last season and earned them a place at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™.

“I’m delighted to be one of the few Qatari players to play in the Club World Cup twice, which is not something many players can say,” he added, before discussing Al Duhail’s bid to better Al Sadd’s run to the semi-finals ten years ago. “It’s always pleasing to equal records but we’ve got the ability to reach the final and go one step further than Al Sadd did in 2011. We need a bit of luck to do that. And when it comes to knockout matches you also need to use your head sometimes.”

The road ahead

The Qatari champions received a bye into the second round of Qatar 2020 when their scheduled first-round opponents, New Zealand side Auckland City, pulled out of the tournament due to the nation’s coronavirus restrictions.

That does not mean to say, however, that Afif and Al Duhail will have it easy in their bid to go far in the competition. Their first opponents will be reigning African champions Al Ahly, a team with considerable Club World Cup experience, having made five previous appearances in the competition.

“There’s no question that Al Ahly are one of the biggest sides in Africa. They were named the continent’s club of the 20th century,” said Afif ahead of the meeting with the Egyptians on Thursday 4 February at Education City Stadium.

“We’ll see what happens against the African champions but it’s 11 versus 11,” he added. “If we beat Al Ahly, we’ll then play Bayern Munich, but we have to face the African champions first. We have to prepare and focus on how to play them because they’re a great side too.”

Afif was part of the Qatar team that won the country’s first ever AFC Asian Cup title in 2019, a tournament in which his younger brother Akram played a starring role. Afif’s aim now is to use his experience and help his young Al Duhail team-mates make history at Qatar 2020.

“I give thanks to God for all the success I’ve achieved and for playing at two Club World Cups,” he said, wrapping things up. “I’d like to thank Al Sadd, Al Duhail and the Qatar Football Association for showing faith in me and my football career. I’ll use all my experience for the good of the team. It makes me really happy that the players are proud of me and proud of having me by their side at Al Duhail.”

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Bangladesh news – Abdur Razzak to join BCB’s selection panel



He will join as a third selector and will join former captains Minhajul Abedin, the panel chief, and Habibul Bashar

The Bangladesh Cricket Board has named left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak as the third senior selector, to join former captains Minhajul Abedin, the panel chief, and Habibul Bashar. Razzak, who played 200 international matches between 2004 and 2018 and, at 38, continues to be an active cricketer, will have to retire from the game to take up the new job.

“My playing experience will certainly be valuable in this regard,” Razzak told ESPNcricinfo. “I used to play cricket, and now I have to help build the national team. I have been captaining in domestic cricket for a long time and I have often helped form teams. It has usually gone well. But the stakes are higher here, and the expectations are more. But still, I believe I can manage it.

“I am pretty sure I have to (retire). I haven’t mentioned it yet since I am awaiting the appointment letter but certainly when I join this new job, I have to quit (playing).”

Razzak was the first Bangladesh bowler to pick up 200 ODI wickets – he has 207 from 153 outings – and, despite not being a frontline batsman, is the holder of the record for the fastest half-century by a Bangladeshi in ODI cricket – 21 balls, joint with Mohammad Ashraful. He also made a comeback in the Test team against Sri Lanka in 2018 after a four-year break, which turned out to be his last international outing.

Over the years, he has been a domestic giant, with 137 first-class appearances. He has taken 634 wickets in them with 41 five-fors. He is also the first Bangladeshi bowler to bag 600 first-class wickets and has won nine domestic first-class titles with Khulna Division and South Zone.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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Mizzou charges back after halftime but can’t hold on in 88-82 loss to Auburn

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AUBURN, Ala. — Sharife Cooper had 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead Auburn to an 88-82 win over No. 12 Missouri on Tuesday night.

Cooper, a freshman point guard who missed Auburn’s first 11 contests this season, had his fourth 20-point outing in six career games. Bruce Pearl’s young Tigers, who also got 23 combined points from freshmen forwards JT Thor and Chris Moore, are now 4-2 since Cooper was ruled eligible by the NCAA.

“(Missouri is) one of the top teams in the country,” Cooper said. “It gives you confidence. We feel like we can compete with anybody.”

Auburn (10-7, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) raced out to a 14-point lead early, thanks in large part to some tenacious defense and rebounding.

However, a veteran Missouri team clawed its way back late in the first half, when Cooper was forced to sit because of foul trouble. While Missouri led by as many as seven in the second half, Auburn battled back and took the lead for good with 7:34 left on a floater from Cooper.

“He’s an alpha dog,” Pearl said of Cooper. “He’s the biggest little man out there, period. Everybody knows it.”

Missouri (10-3, 4-3) was led by seniors Jeremiah Tilmon and Dru Smith, who scored 42 of the team’s 82 points.

“It’s shot selection in timely situations… we were up by seven in the second half by getting the ball inside and moving it,” Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Then, all of a sudden, it was a quick shot here, a turnover there, a missed layup there. Those were momentum-killers.”


Missouri: Missouri’s winning streak in SEC play has come to an end at three games. Shooting woes, which were a theme in the previous SEC losses to Tennessee and Mississippi State, popped up again Tuesday. Missouri shot just 38.2 percent from the floor and 24 percent from deep for the game.

Auburn: Although Auburn has self-imposed a postseason ban, it now has a win over a ranked team that it can build on for the rest of the SEC slate. Auburn also showed it could come back and grab a victory after losing an early double-digit lead, something it failed to do last Wednesday in a road loss at Arkansas.


Missouri committed 31 fouls in the game, with Dru Smith, Mark Smith and Xavier Pinson all fouling out. Auburn shot 44 free throws as a team, with 30 of them coming after halftime.

Cooper hit 18 of 21 free-throw attempts in the second half alone.

“I’ll go back and watch film, and I’m not saying that the officials didn’t do a good job,” Martin said. “But 44 free throws is a lot when you’re trying to beat a team on the road.”


Two weeks ago, in a win over Georgia, Auburn became the first team in Division I basketball to have 14 blocks in a single game this season.

Auburn repeated the feat Tuesday night against Missouri. Sophomore center Babatunde Akingbola recorded five in just eight minutes off the bench. Thor blocked four shots. Six different Auburn players had at least one block.

“That’s just huge,” Pearl said of the 14 blocks. “We have some weaknesses, we have some warts. But we have some length.”


Missouri hosts TCU in the Big 12-SEC Challenge on Saturday, the first of three straight home games. Kentucky and Alabama will visit Mizzou Arena next week.

Auburn plays at No. 2 Baylor in the Big 12-SEC Challenge on Saturday. Pearl’s Tigers also played No. 1 Gonzaga away from home earlier this season.

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