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Tuesday, Jul 07th

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Pakistan saw off some stiff resistance from the West Indies to snatch victory off the very last ball of the match and secure a narrow 2-wicket victory in the First T20 international at the Arnos Vale Cricket Ground, in Kingston, St. Vincent.  Set a total of 153 to win, Pakistan needed 6 to win off the final over, and then 1 run to win off the last ball, when debutant Zulfiqar Babar smashed Marlon Samuels over long-off for a 6 to seal the win.

Earlier in the day, it was West Indies who won the toss and decided to bat first. West Indies brought in Shannon Gabriel to replace Darren Bravo, who was unwell. For Pakistan, Umar Amin and 34-year old Zulfiqar Babar made their international T20 debuts, while Hammad Azam was the other new face to feature in the Playing XI for Pakistan in the game. This was also the First T20 International match to be played at the Arnos Vale Cricket Ground. 

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New Zealand beat England 1-0 in the two match T20 series, after the second game between England and New Zealand was abandoned after only two balls were bowled in the game at the Kennington Oval in London.

The game was affected by constant showers from the very beginning and was reduced to a 6-over-a-side game at 9 pm local time, a full three hours after the toss was completed. The rains did not stay away though, and the game was forced to be abandoned after the cut off time had passed.

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New Zealand beat England by five runs in the first of the two-match T-20 series at the Kennington Oval in London after batting first and posting 201-4 in their 20 overs. England were in the the game till the very last over, but didn't find the boundary rope enough to get over the line.

Champions Trophy Runners-up England had just a couple of days between Sunday's final against India and the First T-20 against New Zealand. England T-20 skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to field first. Kevin Pietersen, who was slated to make a comeback to the English squad for this game, was not selected in the Starting XI, while for New Zealand, Martin Guptill missed out due to an injury.

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Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Wednesday re-appointed Faf du Plessis as captain of the Proteas squad for the KFC T20 International Series against Pakistan next month. AB de Villiers has requested to stand down from this role. This means that the Proteas will have a different captain for all three formats of the game with De Villiers continuing as captain of the Proteas Castle Lager squad for the five-match Momentum ODI Series against the same opponents.

“Handing Faf the T20 captaincy is an exciting option for us to explore our leadership resources,” commented national coach Gary Kirsten said. “He showed a lot of potential during the series against New Zealand in both the T20 and ODI formats, and this will be another great opportunity for him to work on his role as a leader.

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The World T20 Champions, West Indies, breezed through to a 27-run win against Australia in the sole T20 International at Brisbane to end their short tour of Australia on a high. Batting first on winning the toss, West Indies made the most of excellent batting conditions and a second string Australian line-up to post an imposing 191-6 on the board in their 20 overs. Johnson Charles continued his superb form from the One Day series to make a blistering 57 from just 35 balls to give the visitors the perfect start. Australia were never really in the hunt in their chase, with two run outs at the top of the order, especially that of top scorer Adam Voges (55 from 31 balls) setting them back in a big way. In the end, the hosts' run chase petered out to 164-8 with Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard doing the damage with the ball taking 2 and 3 wickets respectively.

The West Indies lost Chris Gayle (8) early to an outstanding catch from Nathan Counter-Nile, but recovered thanks to an 88 run partnership between Charles and Darren Bravo (32). At that stage the Windies were scoring at 9 an over, and with wickets in hand threatened to make well above 200. However, the Australians were able to sneak some quiet overs in the middle and pick up wickets just when the West Indies batsmen were threatening to cut loose.

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Confidence is oozing in the Trinidad and Tobago camp ahead of their Caribbean T20 2013 opening match against Jamaica on Sunday. Skipper Denesh Ramdin and his team looked relaxed and comfortable in their training session on Saturday at Queen’s Park Oval.

“It’s really great to hear that tickets are almost sold out for the first match. We can expect a full house when we take on Jamaica tomorrow. Playing at home is always great for us and we enjoy the feeling of being in front our supporters. This is the kind of occasion we dream of and we will look to get off to winning start tomorrow night (Sunday night). It will be a fantastic atmosphere,” the longstanding wicket-keeper said.

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yuvraj singhIndia salvaged some pride and skipper MS Dhoni might have just hung on to his job as the hosts levelled the T20 series with Pakistan 1-1 thanks to an excellent batting display by Yuvraj Singh, backed up by some good bowling from India's medium pace posse at the death. Yuvraj was in his element with the bat, spanking his way to 72 from just 36 balls to help India post an imposing target of 193 runs for Pakistan to chase. While they started the off well, Pakistan crumbled towards the end of their innings and could muster up just 181 runs in reply, despite an exceptional half-century from skipper Mohammad Hafeez. Ashok Dinda came back very well for India towards the end of the game, picking up 3 wickets after a poor start.

The 2nd and final T20 match between arch rivals India and Pakistan kicked off at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad today, with the latter winning the toss and deciding to field first once again. Pakistan also unsurprisingly named an unchanged side from the first T20, while India replaced Ravindra Jadeja with R Ashwin.

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