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Jaiswal, Varma Get Maiden India T20I Call-up

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Jaiswal, Varma Join T20I

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tilak Varma, the talented left-handed batsmen who impressed during the IPL, have been rewarded with their first call-up to the Indian T20I squad. The 15-member squad is set to face West Indies in a five-match series starting from August 3.

Pandya Leads, Stars Missing

Leading the team as captain is Hardik Pandya, with Suryakumar Yadav appointed as his deputy. However, notable names like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who haven’t featured in T20Is since the 2022 T20 World Cup, are absent from the squad. Ravindra Jadeja, the star of the 2023 IPL final, and fast bowler Mohammed Siraj have also not been included.

Jaiswal, Varma: Powerplay Specialists

This squad, chosen by the new men’s senior selection panel, reflects the emphasis on explosive batting from the first ball. Jaiswal has gained recognition as a powerplay specialist, known for dismantling opposition bowlers in the early overs. Varma, who already had the backing of Mahela Jayawardene before his IPL debut, has proven his worth with an average of almost 40 from 47 T20 matches and an impressive strike rate of 142.54.

Gill, Hardik; Singh Overlooked

While Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya provide backup options, the selectors have placed their trust in a lineup that prioritizes boundary-hitting and aggressive play. Surprisingly, Rinku Singh, who showcased a similar style of play in this year’s IPL, has been overlooked. The squad appears light on finishers, with Hardik being the sole recognized option.

Seven Dropped from T20I

India’s last T20I series took place in February 2023 against New Zealand, and seven members of that squad have been excluded. Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tripathi, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, and Jitesh Sharma find themselves sidelined without getting an opportunity to feature in the playing XI.

Chahal Leads India's Spin

India’s T20I bowling attack will be led by Yuzvendra Chahal, the highest wicket-taker for India in the format. He will be supported by two other wristspinners, including his long-time companion Kuldeep Yadav. Axar Patel, the fingerspin specialist, completes the spin options.

Seamers Spotlight: T20I Squad Selection

In terms of seam bowling, the squad boasts some promising but relatively inexperienced players. Arshdeep Singh adds swing and seam variation as a left-arm pacer, while Umran Malik brings raw pace to the table. Mukesh Kumar, who recently earned his maiden Test call-up, retains his spot in the T20I team. Avesh Khan, who last played a T20I in August 2022, has been given another opportunity. Deepak Chahar, despite his successful return from injury during the IPL for the Chennai Super Kings, was not included in the squad. Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are the wicketkeeping options for the team. Both players are part of the ODI squad for the West Indies tour.

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India Tours, England Wins

India’s tour of West Indies will commence with two Test matches in Dominica on July 12. This will be followed by a three-match ODI series scheduled from July 27 to August 1. The tour will culminate with the T20Is, with the final two matches taking place in Florida, USA. In a thrilling encounter at the Kia Oval, Danni Wyatt’s exceptional batting display and the impressive performance of England’s spinners kept their hopes alive in the Women’s Ashes series. Despite Ellyse Perry’s unbeaten half-century, Australia fell short by three runs, giving England a crucial victory and two valuable points.

Wyatt Leads England's Blitz

Wyatt’s remarkable innings, supported by Sophia Dunkley, provided a blistering start for England as they forged a solid 57-run opening partnership. Although they faced a mini-collapse at 119 for 6, Sophie Ecclestone’s quickfire cameo of 22 runs off just 12 balls, including crucial partnerships with both Wyatt and Sarah Glenn, propelled England to their highest T20I score against Australia – 186 for 9. It marked the second-highest total ever conceded by Australia in the T20I format, with their only other defeat in the past 25 completed matches occurring in a Super Over against India.

England Revives Ashes Hopes

Despite a strong start from Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney, England’s spin duo of Ecclestone and Glenn made significant breakthroughs, claiming two wickets each. The Australian team couldn’t surpass England’s total, even with Ellyse Perry’s resilient unbeaten half-century. For England, this victory breathed new life into their Ashes campaign, as they entered the match needing to win all remaining matches to regain the prestigious trophy. After a remarkable turnaround in the 50-over World Cup last year, where they reached the final after a shaky start, this win instills hope in the English camp, trailing 6-2 but with eight more points still up for grabs.

Wyatt's Dominance Shines

England received an early reprieve as Dunkley was given a lifeline when she skied a delivery from Megan Schutt, but Tahlia McGrath failed to hold onto the catch. This misfield was just one of several errors made by Australia in the early stages of England’s innings. Wyatt took advantage of the situation, hitting consecutive boundaries off Ashleigh Gardener and guiding England to a strong start. At the end of the powerplay, England reached 54 without loss, a significant improvement from their performance in the previous T20I at Edgbaston.

McGrath redeemed herself by successfully taking a catch off Dunkley’s bat, ending her innings at 23. Nat Sciver-Brunt also contributed 23 runs before being caught at long-on off Gardener. However, it was Wyatt who continued to dominate, reaching her half-century off 36 balls with a powerful shot wide of midwicket for a one-bounce four. The 16th over proved to be particularly destructive, with Wyatt leading the charge. She punished Schutt, hitting boundary after boundary, including a free hit and five wides. Eventually, Wyatt departed after hoisting a delivery to deep third, caught by Annabel Sutherland.

Sutherland Turns the Tide

Annabel Sutherland’s impact shifted the momentum in Australia’s favor as she claimed two wickets in two balls. England went from 100 for 1 to 109 for 4 as Alice Capsey fell to a top-edged hook and Heather Knight was bowled by a brilliant cross-seam delivery that hit off stump. Amy Jones survived the hat-trick ball, but Sutherland soon took an outstanding diving catch in the outfield to dismiss her. England lost four wickets for just 12 runs in the span of 13 balls.

Ecclestone and Glenn Provide Hope

Despite the collapse, Ecclestone and Glenn sparked a revival that thrilled the crowd. Ecclestone’s attacking shots, including a four, a six, and another four off McGrath, helped England recover to 181 for 8. However, Darcie Brown’s exceptional catch at short third off Gardener removed Glenn and brought an end to England’s innings.

Australia Vulnerable to Defeat

Australia seemed to be following their usual script as openers Healy and Mooney took them to 58 without loss during the powerplay. Healy was particularly impressive, smashing two massive sixes off Sciver-Brunt in the fifth over. However, her innings came to an abrupt end when Glenn, the legspinner, entered the attack in the seventh over and deceived Healy, resulting in a bowled dismissal. McGrath was run out shortly after, courtesy of Dean’s quick fielding and a direct hit by wicketkeeper Jones. Gibson, making her international debut, claimed her first wicket when Mooney found Wyatt at deep midwicket. 

Ecclestone, the left-arm spinner, dismissed Gardner with an easy return catch, reaching the milestone of 100 wickets in T20Is in just 72 matches. Australia found themselves in a precarious position at 75 for 4. With 12 overs remaining, they needed to score at a rate of 11.5 runs per over. Dean, the offspinner brought in as the only change for both teams, dismissed Grace Harris to keep England in control. Wareham provided a glimmer of hope with a boundary and two sixes off Dean in the 18th over. However, with 31 runs required off the final two overs, Bell, who had been expensive with her bowling, removed Wareham with eight balls to spare. Australia needed 20 runs off the last over, and although Perry fought till the end with an unbeaten 51 off 27 balls, it wasn’t enough to secure victory for her

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