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Halfpenny out of Six Nations opener due to injury

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Halfpenny out of Six Nations opener due to injury

Leigh Halfpenny has been ruled out of Wales’ Six Nations opener against Ireland on Saturday due to a back spasm.

The full-back was due to win his 98th cap in his first start for 19 months in the opening game of Warren Gatland’s second spell in charge.

Halfpenny had overcome a serious knee injury to get himself back into contention for selection.

His replacement for the clash against the top-ranked side in the world at the Principality Stadium will be Cardiff’s Liam Williams.

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“Unfortunately, Leigh had a back spasm this morning and Liam will be playing,” said Wales assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys. “I think it’s more disappointing for him as a person. He is an unbelievable professional and an unbelievable person.

“He has got to pick himself up again. You feel for him that he’s got to pull out at this late stage.” 

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Caribbean, USA venues confirmed for T20 World Cup 2024

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Caribbean, USA venues confirmed for T20 World Cup 2024

 All the venues for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 in the Caribbean and USA have been announced.

The ICC on Friday, 22 September confirmed Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, St Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, and St Vincent & The Grenadines as the seven Caribbean venues that will host matches during the T20 World Cup 2024 from 4 to 20 June.

Along with the Caribbean Islands, the USA is also set to co-host the event for the first time, with Grand Prairie in Dallas, Broward County in Florida and Nassau County in New York announced as venues earlier this week.

Speaking about the announcement, ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said: “We’re delighted to announce the seven Caribbean venues that will host the biggest ICC Men’s T20 World Cup ever staged, with 20 teams competing for the trophy. They’re all popular venues with players and fans alike that will provide a wonderful backdrop to the event.

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“This will be the third ICC senior men’s event hosted by the West Indies, and the matches will again give cricket fans the unique experience of enjoying cricket in the Caribbean. I’d like to thank Cricket West Indies and the seven host governments for their continued commitment and support of our sport.”

The co-hosts for the global tournament were selected back in November 2021, when the ICC Board awarded them the hosting rights. The venues were chosen following an extensive evaluation of several options.

A total of 20 teams will contest for the big prize in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup. 15 teams have already been confirmed, with the Americas, Asia and Africa Qualifier set to determine the remaining five spots in the coming months.

United States and West Indies qualify by virtue of being hosts. Australia, England, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka will be part of the tournament after finishing in the top 8 in the 2022 edition.

Bangladesh and Afghanistan qualified, thanks to their position in the ICC Men’s T20I Team Ranking at the end of the previous T20 World Cup. So far, Ireland, Scotland and PNG have booked their berths via the Qualifiers.  

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India batters shine against Australia after Shami strikes

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India batters shine against Australia after Shami strikes

India’s young openers ensured an easy five-wicket win over Australia after pacer Mohammed Shami took five wickets to restrict visitors at 276 in the first one-day international in Mohali on Friday.

Stand-in skipper KL Rahul, who won the toss and chose to field first, hit an unbeaten half-century, and stitched a key 80-run stand with Twenty20 sensation Suryakumar Yadav (50).

The duo stabilised the innings as the hosts lost four quick wickets, including openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (71) and Shubman Gill (74), after their 142-run opening stand.

The Indian openers looked at ease against the varied Australian attack led by skipper Pat Cummins who returned for the three-match ODI series after a wrist injury.

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Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa removed both openers to finish his spell with 2-57.

After Gaikwad’s wicket at 142, India also lost Shreyas Iyer (3), Gill, and Ishan Kishan (18) to slip to 185-4.

Flamboyant Yadav fell to Sean Abbott with only 12 runs needed, trying to hit India to the winning target of 277.

Earlier, Shami gave India the perfect start by dismissing dangerous Mitchell Marsh in the first over.

Opener David Warner and veteran Steven Smith stabilised the Australian innings after Marsh’s wicket with a 94-run stand before Warner fell to the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja.

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Smith fell soon after to leave visitors struggling at 112-3, and India’s veteran off-spinner R Ashwin removed a well-set Marnus Labuschagne (39).

A passing shower briefly disrupted play before a key partnership between Josh Inglis (45) and Marcus Stoinis (29) began to take the initiative from the hosts.

But Shami returned to remove Stoinis, Matthew Short, and Sean Abbott and finish with 5-51.

Cummins remained unbeaten after nine-ball 21 as Australia set the hosts a below-par target.

Rahul praised player-of-the-match Shami and said that India “started really well with the ball”.

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“It was tough for the middle-order batters,” the skipper said after the game and acknowledged his “good” partnership with Yadav.

Both teams see the three-match ODI series as a key preparation for their World Cup campaign next month.
 

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Anrich Nortje, Sisanda Magala ruled out of World Cup

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Anrich Nortje, Sisanda Magala ruled out of World Cup

Fast bowlers Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala have been ruled out of the 2023 ODI World Cup with injuries. They have been replaced by Andile Phehlukwayo and Lizaad Williams in South Africa’s 15-man squad for the tournament that begins in India on October 5.

Nortje has a suspected stress fracture of the back after experiencing spasms during the second ODI against Australia earlier this month. Magala, who played only the third ODI against Australia and went for 1 for 46 in four overs, has a left-knee injury.

“It’s hugely disappointing for Anrich and Sisanda to be missing out on the 50-over World Cup,” South Africa’s coach Rob Walter said. “We sympathize in their omission and will continue to provide all the necessary support as they work towards their return to competitive action.

“This provides an opportunity for Andile and Lizaad on the global stage. Both players have been part of our winter programs as well as having represented South Africa in the recent white-ball tour against Australia. They offer great skill sets and we’re excited to have them complete the 15-player squad for this year’s World Cup.”

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Phehlukwayo played in the second and fifth ODIs against Australia. While he did not make much of an impression in the first game, he scored 38 off 19 balls to finish the innings strongly in the series finale and then took 1 for 44. Williams played three of the five matches, taking 3 for 44, 1 for 17 and 0 for 24.

Nortje’s absence is a major blow for South Africa as he is their quickest bowler with substantial experience in India, where he plays for Delhi Capitals in the IPL. He played in the Major League Cricket tournament in the USA over the South African winter and was rested for the T20Is against Australia. He was then ruled out of the first ODI but played the second, bowling only five overs before leaving the field. He missed the third game after he was sent for scans and was then ruled out of the series.

Magala had not played any cricket since splitting the webbing in his hand at the IPL in early April and was subsequently ruled out of the T20Is against Australia with infrapatellar tendinopathy – pain in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin bone. He experienced discomfort in the knee again after playing one ODI against Australia.

South Africa leave for India on September 23, and play their warm-up games against Afghanistan on September 29 and New Zealand on October 2. Their first game of the tournament is against Sri Lanka on October 7.

Temba Bavuma (capt), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lizaad Williams
 

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