Desert Delight / Desert Disaster!

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Afghanistan have won the inaugural Desert T20 Challenge after thrashing Ireland in the final in Dubai.

Ireland had actually produced a thrashing of their own earlier in the day with a 98-run demolition job on their Scottish neighbours after amassing an intimidating 211-6 in the allotted 20 overs.

The Afghan Hounds chased down 149 to overhaul Oman in the other semi, thanks in the main to the lynchpin of their side, opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad, who struck 80 from 60 deliveries.

The Irish had clearly used up all their energy in the semi as come the final they were dismissed for a paltry 71 in just 13.2 overs. Afghanistan then romped to their crown with a ruthless ten-wicket victory, the effervescent Shahzad (52 not out) again leading the way.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/desert-t20-challenge/engine/match/1074971.html

Though a more evenly contested final would have been better, the tournament can surely be considered a great success for associate cricket and the global spread of the game and we’ll wait with baited breath to discover whether or not this will be an annual, bi-annual, tri-annual, quad-annual, pent-annual, you get the idea, arranged tournament.

Though this is a T20 tournament the result comes at a convenient time for Afghanistan as speculation mounts that they’ll soon put forward a bid for Test status. If they achieve such then it could be a bitter pill for the Irish to swallow, unless of course they too are granted Test status.

Dislcaimer: I can’t find any evidence of the Afghanistan cricket team actually being nicknamed the Afghan Hounds but I hope that it comes across as affectionate and is not in anyway meant in a derogatory way, not that I have any reason to think it would unless of course Afghan Hounds have a bad reputation and the Afghanistan cricket team don’t want to be named after dogs!

Extras

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Bye: Tempted, very tempted!

http://www.allroundercricket.com/new-balance-tc-560-cricket-bat

Leg Bye: Monty Panesar will act as a spin bowling consultant for… Australia!

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/tennis/monty-panesar-hired-as-spin-doctor/news-story/2297b92bc206b9babffe8298ef2c8293

Supposedly Monty is to help fellow spinner Steve O’Keefe ahead of Australia’s tour of India. Obviously Monty has more international experience than O’Keefe but SO’K averages about eight runs less with the ball than Monty in First Class cricket!

What’s Panesar doing helping the Ozzies anyway?

Shouldn’t he be working on earning an England recall?

No Ball: Desert T20 Challenge

I’m sure that like me you’ve been wondering why Papua New Guinea aren’t present. A fellow blogger told me that they wanted to save costs and didn’t think that the tournament was relevant, hence Namibia’s presence. Surely some competitive matches against their fellow associates would have been worth the investment.

Are the PNG players happy with not actually playing international cricket?

Oh and Owais Shah is coaching UAE!

http://www.espncricinfo.com/desert-t20-challenge/content/series/1074956.html

Wide: Ouch! Australian wicketkeeper Peter Nevill isn’t having much luck at the moment. Dropped from the national side, hit on the head first with a ball and now with a bat!

http://www.bigbash.com.au/news/peter-nevill-hit-face-cricket-bat-hodge-concussion-ruling-renegades-strikers-highlights-big-bash/2017-01-16

International Duck Watch!

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Silva by name, golden by nature. Sri Lanka’s Kaushal Silva was caught behind first ball as Sri Lanka went down by an innings in the third Test in Johannesburg. Lahiru Kumara later followed for a silver duck as South Africa wrapped up a comprehensive 3-0 series victory.

Dislcaimer: Please accept my apologies but due to a lack of resources here at Silly Point and despite my desire for the game to spread globally, I’m unable to commit to International Duck Watch incorporating the Desert T20 Challenge. Having said that, Hong Kong opener Aizaz Khan was run out without facing a ball and that surely merits a mention. Also, If I was doing Big Bash Duck Watch, Perth Scorchers Ian Bell would get a shiny, golden mention!

Desert Anybody!

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A T20 tournament in the desert. Sounds a bit dodgy. Don’t worry, Allen Stanford is nowhere in sight!

There’s nothing we love more on this site than seeing the game make progress on the global stage. An eight-team associate tournament is surely an example of that.

Group A

Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Namibia

Group B

Netherlands, Hong Kong, Scotland, Oman

Hold on a minute. Two groups of four, teams play each other once, top two teams go through to semi-finals, semi-finals and final played on the same day. This is far, far too logical. What have the ICC been drinking?!

Afghanistan have been pencilled in as favourites by many and with rumours circulating that they’ll be applying for full membership complete with Test status soon, a strong showing here could be crucial.

It’s good to see Namibia back on the scene but there’s no place for the likes of Nepal, Papua New Guinea or USA.

The first matches will take place in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Apologies to Hong Kong and Scotland re: the pic but Flags of the World doesn’t recognise you as independent nations!