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News

Aussies abroad: Mitchell Marsh breaks loose, Marnus Labuschagne among the wickets again

Pat Cummins heads home early in the IPL, while there was a hat-trick for Grace Harris at FairBreak

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
16-May-2022

IPL

After a disrupted campaign which had not quite sparked into life, Mitchell Marsh hit top gear against Rajasthan Royals with a fantastic all-round display. His 89 off 62 balls, including seven sixes, powered Delhi Capitals to their target in good time in what is becoming a tight race for the play-offs where net run-rate could be vital. It was the first half-century of Marsh's IPL career. As in the T20 World Cup final last year, Marsh partnered with David Warner in the dominant stand as Warner eased his way to 52 off 41 balls to continue his fine tournament. Marsh had earlier picked up an important 2 for 26 including the scalp of Royals' top-scorer R Ashwin.
Daniel Sams' resurgence continued as he claimed 3 for 16 against Chennai Super Kings in the basement battle. He blew Super Kings' top order away by removing Devon Conway (albeit a controversial lbw decision when the DRS was unavailable) and Moeen Ali for ducks in the first over then adding Ruturaj Gaikwad. After having combined figures of 1 for 139 from 11 overs across his first three matches of the season, Sams has now taken 10 for 162 from 23 overs in his next six outings.
There was a rare bad day with the ball for Josh Hazlewood in what has been a stellar run in T20 cricket as he was taken for 64 off his four overs against Punjab Kings. They are the most expensive figures of his career, surpassing the 54 he conceded against Royals last season. He felt the full force of two England batters: Jonny Bairstow took his first over for 22 and Liam Livingstone hammered 24 off the last. His second over was pretty good and went for just seven.
Pat Cummins' tournament came to an early end when he flew home to manage a hip niggle ahead of Australia's tour to Sri Lanka next month. There are no concerns over his fitness - he had already been rested from the T20Is so has some extra time up his sleeve - but with Knight Riders only having an outside chance of progressing it felt a pragmatic move. Before leaving Cummins had produced his best bowling performance of the season with 3 for 22 against Mumbai Indians and all the wickets came in a single over as he all but ended Mumbai's chase.
Gujarat Titans are flying high in their first season and are assured of a top-two finish. Matthew Wade was back in the side this week but a lean tournament continued with scores of 10 and 20.

County

Matt Renshaw comfortably took the honours in a battle between two Australian left-handers as his 94 helped set up Somerset for a crushing innings-and-246-run victory over Gloucestershire for who Marcus Harris made 32 and 15. Both batters will be part of the Australia A squad in Sri Lanka but while Renshaw is opening at Somerset he may well find himself back in the middle order for that side.
Michael Neser and Marnus Labuschagne shared seven second-innings wickets for Glamorgan but it wasn't enough for victory as they fell short in a chase of 196 against Durham with Matthew Potts, who is expected to earn an England call-up for the New Zealand series, bagging 7 for 40. Neser also made 62 in the first innings but was ninth out in the chase. Labuschagne's 3 for 35 were a career-best and followed his three-wicket bag last week against Leicestershire. It is a promising sign for Australia and it will be interesting to see whether he bowls more in Sri Lanka than he did in Pakistan. With the bat he was again left frustrated, however, removed for 17 and 31 - the latter of those to the final ball of the third day in what was a pivotal moment.

FairBreak

Grace Harris bagged herself a hat-trick as part of a haul of 5 for 22 but even though she followed that with 31 off 20 balls it wasn't enough for Sapphires against Barmy Army. Team-mate Elyse Villani capped off her FairBreak tournament with 71 off 54 balls as they did get over the line against Falcons but it was the latter who edged into the top four. Nicola Carey made her second half-century of the tournament for Spirit - 53 off 26 balls against Tornadoes - and her team then won the third-place play-off thanks for Sophia Dunkley's brilliant 123 off 73 balls against Barmy Army.

Did you see?

James Pattinson took 4 for 46 in the first innings against Middlesex and claimed some bragging rights to take back to Australia with him. Twice in the game he removed his Victoria captain Peter Handscomb - lbw in the first innings then caught at slip in the second. However, rain on the final day thwarted Nottinghamshire's push for victory and may have left them regretting not enforcing the follow-on.

Performance of the week

Hard to look past Mitchell Marsh's all-round display. There have been some challenges for him over the last couple of months with a lot of drinks carrying in Pakistan before injury ruled him out of the limited-overs matches and then he caught Covid-19 early in the IPL. He'll now be looking to finish the IPL strongly before heading to Sri Lanka.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo