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Winter Watch (w/e 3rd Feb): Laurie Evans finishes Bangladesh Premier League on a high

Laurie Evans finished his first Bangladesh Premier League in style. His Rajshahi Kings missed out on the knock-out stages as a result of an inferior net run-rate to Dhaka Dynamites, but Laurie top-scored for the team in both of their final two group games.

On Tuesday, Laurie made 35 off 31 balls out of a team total of 141-8 and was awarded the player of the match award as the Kings were beaten by six wickets by Rangpur Riders in Chattogram, the city formely known as Chittagong.

That left the Kings needing to win their final match against Sylhet Sixers on Wednesday, again in Bangladesh’s second-city. The Sixers set an imposing 190-5 batting first, but Laurie blazed 76 from 36 balls with ten fours and two sixes to help his team romp home with five wickets and two overs to spare. Unfortunately for the Kings, Dhaka Dynamites win against Khulna Titans meant a fith-place finish and the end of their tournament.

The group stage finished with Laurie fifth in the tournament run-scorers list. In total, he made 339 runs from his eleven innings, including a maiden T20 hundred and two fifties.  

David Wiese’s BPL also came to an end last week, with his Khulna Titans finishing at the bottom of the league. On Monday, David was one of a number of Titans bowlers whose figures took a battering as Comilla Victorians racked up 237-5 batting first in Chittagong. The all-rounders four overs cost 49 runs, although he did take two catches. The Titans were then bowled out for 157, with David making a run-a-ball eight from number seven.

In their final match on Saturday, the Titans came up against Dhaka Dynamites in Dhaka. David top-scored with 30 from 27 balls as his side reached 123-9 from their 20 overs. The Dynamites reached their target with 5.1 overs to spare and six wickets in hand. David bowled two overs for 17 runs.

The South African finishes the BPL with 189 runs from his nine innings and an impressive strike-rate of 141. He took six wickets at an economy rate of 7.9.

Luke Wright received a late call-up by Dhaka Dynamites in the middle of last week and is available for the rest of the tournament. The Dynamites are through to the first play-off having won the eliminator match against Chittagong Vikings earlier today.

There were three more matches for Danny Briggs on England Lions’ tour of India last week. In the fourth unofficial ODI on Tuesday, Danny was unbeaten on nought at the end of the Lions’ innings of 221-8 and then took the new ball on his way to 0-33 from eight overs as India A recorded a six-wicket win to make it 4-0 in the 50-over leg of the tour.

A defiant Lions performance on Thursday made sure they finished the series with a win. India A were bowled out for 121 with Danny’s four overs of left-arm spin costing just nine runs, before the Lions scraped home by one wicket thanks largely to 70 not out from Ben Duckett. Batting at nine, Danny was bowled for a duck.

Despite the oppositions’ dominance, Danny finished the five-match one-day leg with an economy rate of just 3.4 runs per over. Only one bowler on either side that delivered at least twenty overs – fellow slow left-armer Axar Patel, a veteran of 38 full ODIs – was more economical.

The Lions round off their tour with two unofficial tests this week and next. In preparation, they played a two-day 16-a-side match against an Indian Board President’s side. Danny took 2-40 from ten overs in the fourth innings as the home side won by 152 runs.

In Australia, the group stage of the Big Bash League continued last week, with the picture of which sides are likely to progress to the semi-finals becoming clearer. Jofra Archer’s Hobart Hurricanes are at the top of the table and have already booked their place in the knock-out stages with two matches left to play.

On Tuesday, they thumped Brisbane Heat by nine wickets in Hobart. Jofra took the wickets of Chris Lynn and Matt Renshaw with consecutive deliveries on his way to figures of 2-28, but it was his incredible boundary catch that got people talking.

The Hurricanes suffered just their third defeat of the tournament so far on Thursday, going down by seven wickets to Adelaide Strikers at Launceston. Jofra made 11 off seven balls batting at number eight as the Hurricanes made 169-7, before taking 1-32 as the Strikers made made it home by seven wickets.

Rashid Khan was part of the winning Strikers side in that match, taking 2-28 from his four overs.

Two days prior, the leg-spinner finished with figures of 0-39 and scored four runs from number eight as Adelaide went down by eight wickets against Sydney Sixers.

Jason Gillespie’s team went into their third match of the week against Brisbane Heat at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday needing a win to keep their hopes of progression alive. Rashid made 19 from just six balls as the Strikers posted 176-8 batting first and then took 1-30 from his four overs. The Heat made it home by six wickets and with eight balls to spare, however, ending the Strikers’ hopes of defending their Big Bash title.

Chris Jordan’s Sydney Thunder will need to win their final match against the Hurricanes in Canberra next Saturday and hope rivals for fourth spot, Melbourne Stars lose their remaining two games if they are to progress to the semi-finals.

The Thunder played two matches last week. On Wednesday, they lost by 27 runs to Melbourne Renegades at the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne. CJ has Aaron Finch caught behind and bowled Sam Harper on his way to 2-44 during the Renegades’ innings of 140-7. He also took a catch to get rid of Mohammad Nabi. The Thunder were then dismissed for 113, with CJ making one batting at number nine.

In a rain-affected Sydney derby at the SCG on Saturday the Sixers overcame the Thunder by nine wickets. CJ made one from number nine as the Thunder made 128-6 batting first and then bowled 1.3 overs for 16 runs as the Sixers reached their revised target of 84 from 12 overs with nine balls to spare.

In Victorian grade cricket, Luke Wells made 25 at the top of the order on Saturday as Casey-South Melbourne replied to Melbourne University’s 332 from the weekend before. Casey reached 274-9 at the close to secure a draw and sit in seventh place with three matches of the regular season remaining. The top eight will contest the quarter-finals.

In the same competition, George Garton took 3-50 from 20 overs for Northcote were defeated by seven-wickets by Frankston Peninsula. Northcote are now 13th out of 18 teams in the league.

Over in South Australia, Michael Burgess enjoyed the first of two weekends off.  With 13 sides involved in the first-grade, it was his Adelaide University side’s turn to miss a round. With two matches to play, Adelaide University are well-placed to make the semi-finals, sitting as they do in third place.