The BBL takes center stage. The playoffs are set, and Adelaide Strikers will play Brisbane Heat to decide the first eliminated team. Then Perth Scorchers take on Sydney Sixers to decide who gets the first spot in the finals. The winner of the first game plays Sydney Thunder, and then the winner of that game plays the loser of the second game to determine the other finals spot. The final will be played at the home side of the Perth/Sydney Sixers winner on February 6th.
England completed a 2-0 Test series sweep of Sri Lanka, but are still in fourth place in the World Test Rankings. The second Test at Galle saw England fall behind in the first innings, but then get 4-fers from Dom Bess and Jack Leach on Day 3 to bowl out the Lions for 126 to set up a comfortable 164 chase, which they managed with 6 wickets to spare. Joe Root’s 186 in England’s first innings earned him Player of the Match.
South Africa and Pakistan started a Test series in Karachi yesterday. Pakistan bowled out the Proteas for 220 and lost 4 wickets themselves on a track that South Africa thought would be good for batting given that they won the toss and elected to bat. Spinners Yasir Shah and Nauman Ali took 5 of the South African wickets.
Wellington Firebirds are still well out in front in the Men’s Super Smash in New Zealand with 28 points over Canterbury in second place with 20 points. Wellington Blaze, led by the sublime Sophie Devine, are also atop the Women’s Super Smash. Devine followed up her world T20 record 36-ball 100 (which I forgot to mention last week) with an 80 in 44 balls in a win over Otago Sparks.
Bangladesh smoked West Indies in three ODIs and move into second place (temporarily, no doubt) in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League behind Australia on points and just ahead of England on net run rate. These two teams will also be playing in two Tests, starting February 2nd.
Afghanistan completed a series sweep this morning of Ireland in three ODIs in Abu Dhabi to move into 4th place in that same ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, just behind Bangladesh and England on net run rate.