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Winter Watch: Ollie Robinson stars for England Lions as PSL gets underway

It’s been another busy week for the Sussex contingent playing around the globe, with Ollie Robinson starring for England Lions and the 2020 Pakistan Super League getting underway on Thursday.

The first unofficial Test match between the Lions and Australia A began on Saturday morning, with the tourists batting first at The MCG.

Dom Sibley and Dan Lawrence both scored centuries to continue their excellent form, while Robinson hit 13 off 30 deliveries before the Lions were dismissed for 428.

It was an impressive batting performance, and they matched that showing with the ball, as Australia were blown away under the lights in Melbourne.

Robinson struck early to dismiss Marcus Harris for six, and then had Australia skipper, Moises Henriques caught by Gloucestershire’s James Bracey for 25.

The Sussex bowler had his third wicket of the innings when he bowled Josh Inglis for 40, and eventually finished with figures of 3-66 to skittle Australia for 176.

The Lions enforced the follow on, with Inglis soon falling victim to Robinson again, and Australia are now 180-5 - still 72 runs behind England at stumps on day three.

Phil Salt, Ravi Bopara, David Wiese, Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan are all involved in this year’s PSL, and it was Jordan who made his tournament bow first.

The fast-bowler, who is playing for Karachi Kings, was not required to bat after his former side, Peshawar Zalmi, opted to field first on Friday afternoon.

Babar Azam and Imad Wasim impressed for the Kings as they set Zalmi a daunting 202 to win, and CJ dealt Darren Sammy’s side two big blows early on.

Jordan trapped the dangerous Tom Banton LBW for just 13 off 13 balls at the start of the third over, and then dismissed Haider Ali three balls later with a fantastic yorker.

The Sussex man finished with figures of 2-39 from his four overs, and despite Liam Livingstone’s unbeaten 54, Zalmi fell 10 runs short of their target as the Kings earned an opening victory.

David Wiese was the next Shark to play in the 2020 PSL when the South African’s Lahore Qalandars side hosted Multan Sultans on Friday night.

The Sultans bowled first in Lahore, and took regular wickets to stunt the home team’s innings with the bat.

Chris Lynn top-scored with 39, while Wiese scored three off five balls, and the Qalandars eventually finished on 138-8 with Imran Tahir the pick of the Sultans bowlers after taking 2-21.

In reply, Wiese bowled very well, and his slower delivery fooled Shan Masood to earn him figures of 1-11 from his two overs, but the Sultans managed to seal a five-wicket win with four overs remaining.

On Saturday, it was Tymal Mills’ turn to play as Quetta Gladiators faced Peshawar Zalmi in Karachi.

Zalmi opted to bowl first after winning the toss, but an impressive Jason Roy knock of 73* off 57 balls made that decision look questionable.

Gladiators captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed also batted well to score 41 off 25 balls and help his side finish their 20 overs on 148-5.

In reply, Zalmi’s Banton once again fell to a Sussex bowler, with Mills having the Somerset man caught on the off-side for just three, but from then on, it was the Kamran Akmal show.

The experienced wicket-keeper batsman was in irresistible form with the bat, smashing 101 off just 55 balls.

Mills bowled well to finish with figures of 1-25 from his four overs, but Akmal’s destructive performance meant Zalmi won by six-wickets.

It was then Shark vs. Shark on Sunday morning, with Mills in action once again as the Gladiators played Jordan’s Karachi Kings.

The Kings batted first after their excellent showing against Peshawar Zalmi, but Azam couldn’t continue his form with Mills forcing him to chop a lovely delivery onto his own stumps.

The pumped-up Mills then took his second wicket of the day, and earned some local bragging rights, when he caught and bowled CJ for 14 – but not before his Sussex teammate had hit him for six with the previous delivery.

Jordan was out for 14 off nine balls, and Mills eventually finished with figures of 2-30, as the Kings set their opponents 157 to win.

It was an exciting chase, with Jordan forcing Mohammad Nawaz to swing hard towards mid-wicket with the Gladiators still needing 17 off the last two overs.

Alex Hales was under Nawaz’s misplaced shot to earn CJ figures of 1-34, but the Kings snuck home to win by five wickets.

Wiese rounded the week off by playing in a thrilling clash between the Qalandars and Islamabad United on Sunday night.

With the Qalandars batting first, Wiese added a late flurry of 19 runs from nine deliveries to help his side finish on 182-6, before taking 1-33 in the second innings.

Wiese’s wicket was accompanied by regular Qalandars dismissals, and a home victory appeared to be the only outcome when Islamabad were reduced to 169-9 with three overs to go, but somehow, the two-time winners clinched a one-wicket victory with one ball remaining.

Despite Phil Salt starring for Islamabad United in last year’s PSL, the Sussex batsman is yet to play in this year’s edition, while Ravi Bopara is also still waiting to make his Multan Sultans debut – but did play against the PSL franchise on Wednesday.

Our new signing was part of the MCC team who played the Sultans in a T20 on Wednesday in Lahore, and played brilliantly for Kumar Sangakarra’s team.

After the Sri Lankan legend proved class is permanent and scored 52 off 50 balls, Bopara came to the crease and hit an unbeaten 70 off just 55 balls, with seven fours and four sixes.

Bopara’s performance helped the MCC set the Sultans 185 to win, and that was a target too high for the PSL team, who were all out for 112.

Sussex Women star Danni Wyatt was part of the England side who suffered a disappointing start to their T20 World Cup campaign on Sunday morning.

After Heather Knight’s side were on the wrong side of a 10-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in their final World Cup warm-up match, with Wyatt scoring five and her Sussex teammate, Freya Davies taking 0-25, England were hoping for an improvement against South Africa in Perth.

Wyatt opened the batting alongside Amy Jones but only scored two before she struck Ayabonga Khaka’s low full toss straight to Lizelle Lee at point.

Nat Sciver’s half-century gave England hope heading into the second innings, with South Africa requiring 124 to win, but Dane van Nierkerk’s side held their nerve expertly to win by six wickets.

The South Africa captain top-scored for her side with 46, before Mignon du Preez and Sune Luus saw their team home with two balls remaining.

England will be hoping to bounce back against Pakistan on Friday.

Luke Wells was also in action down under over the weekend, but couldn’t prevent Casey South Melbourne from losing to Ringwood in the Victorian Premier League.

Wells took figures of 1-37 after putting the visiting side into bat first, but that dismissal was one of only three wickets to fall as Ringwood finished their 50-overs on 241-3.

In reply, the Sussex batsman hit 27 with the bat before Casey South were all out for 190.