Don Bradman Cricket 17: New York City Pioneers!

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I’m delighted to announce the formation of a new cricket franchise: The New York City Pioneers. As the owner of this new venture, I’ve worked tirelessly to compose a competitive squad. Earlier today, in the heart of the ‘Big Apple’, we played our first game against a visiting Mutare Peaks side from Zimbabwe. The following is a report of how our inaugural match panned out:

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We were invited to bowl first and whilst our pace bowling and fielding units maintained their heads above water, we struggled to find a breakthrough. Our Zimbabwean guests moved quickly to 95-0. In order to quell the run-scoring, skipper Robin Hunter, a native of Pallenville, turned to Dutch spinner Guy de Maan. After seeing Hamilton Masakadza reach his half-century with a four from de Maan’s first delivery, de Maan then followed up with a dot before officially becoming ‘The Man’ to claim NYC Pioneers’ first ever wicket, a smart caught and bowled to send Masakadza (50) back to the hut and leave Mutare Peaks on 99-1. Just six runs later, captain Hunter ran out Louis Klazinga following a horrendous mix-up between he and new batsman Vusi Sibanda. At first Hunter appeared to throw to the wrong end but he’d made sure to send the set batsman packing. After a good throw, stumper Lyon Cage finished the deed. Like Masakadza, Klazinga had made 50 exactly. De Maan would later double his wicket tally courtesy of a superb diving catch by Ali El Naany and opening bowler Jacques Dawes returned to snatch a maiden victim in the final over. The only blemish in the innings being that of a dropped catch by the skipper off the bowling of Brooklyn born Brotherhood Collins. Though both went wicketless, Chris Kasprowicz (4-0-34-0) and Woody Forrest (4-0-28-0) were our most economical bowlers.

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In pursuit of 177 for a famous victory, we were soon in trouble with Kuwaiti native El Naany out second ball of the innings with the scoreboard yet to get rolling. Fellow opener Independence Masakadza (No relation to Hamilton) laboured to 5 from 11 balls but did cobble together a partnership of 30 alongside his captain before being dismissed. Ozzie left-hander Mitch Djordevic was out for a golden duck when trying to go big on the leg-side first ball.

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Queens born Dean McQueen ventured to the crease to a rapturous applause but disappointed his local following when being caught having made just 5.

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Skipper Hunter, keen to make amends for his drop, batted with skill in compiling a top score of 23 on debut. Brotherhood Collins took out his disgust at his skipper’s dropped catch by blazing 4,4,4,6,1 before wicketkeeper Lyon Cage finished the over with a further four to provide the Queens crowd with some excitement and even a glimmer of hope. That hope soon evaporated as Collins ran himself out the first delivery of the following over. South African stumper Cage chopped on next ball.

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From the depths of 68-7, we raised ourselves to 90 with Ozzie pacer Dawes (10) joining Hunter and Collins in double figures. When he was out however we became the victims of an 86-run defeat.

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This performance was by no means a disgrace and our squad are better for the experience. We have a squad of sixteen that will breed healthy competition and we look forward to our next match with much anticipation. To our fans in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Pallenville and throughout both the USA and the globe, we offer our deepest gratitude for your support and we will strive to attain the success that you deserve.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: England v USA T20I: Trumped!

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There have been many dark days in English cricket. Today was one of those days. It was like being in the world’s longest tunnel without a torch or possibly with a torch but no batteries or the batteries had run out!

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Having seemingly had the Trumpeteers under control at 117-5, we ‘allowed’ Team USA to post a competitive target of 170. A recalled Ajmal Shahzad was the pick of our bowlers. He claimed figures of 2-25 from his full allocation as well as having a chance dropped. Tom Curran also claimed two wickets (4-0-31-2). Matt Coles figures were less impressive: 4-0-40-0 and he would go onto compliment these with a golden duck!

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We began our pursuit sedately, the intention to keep wickets intact and accelerate as the overs elapsed. We were aided early on by some wides and opening batsmen Ben Duckett and Michael Carberry posted a half-century stand to commence the chase. Duckett fell first, caught behind off a good delivery from the spinner having constructed a decent 30 from 24 deliveries. Captain Joe Root built a brisk 30 from 21 deliveries but was harshly adjudged LBW before the returning Michael Carberry was also dismissed in debatable fashion. By then, Carberry had grafted to 26 from 30 deliveries. His innings lacked fluency but did include one majestic leg-side flick for four. He was adjudged caught behind off the spinner though no edge was apparent. Why there were no reviews available in this T20 International remains unclear.

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Dawid Malan (7), Liam Livingstone (Run out for 2 to add to a dropped dolly!) and Liam Dawson (0 to compliment figures of 2-0-20-0) offered little to the chase. After Jos Buttler had struck a rapid 27 both Tom Curran and Ajmal Shahzad found the boundary on more than one occasion but ultimately Shahzad was unable to clear the ropes as required from the last ball of the match. Tom Curran (8) was run out and The Stars and Stripes ran out victors in Taunton by the small margin of just three runs.

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Maybe we got our tactics wrong. Possibly we should have attacked in the Powerplay but whilst we may have had more runs on the board early on, we would likely have lost more wickets too. To the loyal supporters of English cricket, the team offer their sincerest apologies for this result and promise to dig deep in the face of opposition to come.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: England v Uganda Test Match: Taking Route 166 to Victory!

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We opted to make numerous changes to our side for our first Test match in a while, having primarily played white ball stuff in recent times. The XI wasn’t far from our strongest team though with Jonny Bairstow rested, Gareth Roderick made his debut behind the stumps.

In our first innings, opening batsman Keaton Jennings led the way but having reached 50 exactly he fell to the very next delivery bowled by spin. El capitan Joe Root however ploughed on, ably supported by Scott Borthwick. Borthwick was making his first appearance during my tenure and his first Test match since his debut more than three years ago. The new Surrey recruit acquitted himself well in composing a… composed 37 before nicking behind off the quick bowler. Debutant Roderick came and went for 11 but as wickets fell, Root was relentless. He was chaperoned through the 90s by Chris Woakes who made a vital 27 in a partnership of 115 with his skipper. Root eventually fell for 166 before Stuart Broad clobbered 47 from just 24 deliveries to propel England to 398.

James Anderson then ripped through the Ugandan batting line-up on his way to figures of 10-1-24-4 as the visitors crashed to 36-5 and at 61-6 they looked destined to follow-on. Their lower order dug deep however to do just enough to make us have to bat again. Chris Woakes (2-23) and the recalled Mark Footitt (2-31) bowled well to restrict Uganda to 204.

In our second venture to the crease, Haseeb Hameed again fell cheaply. Scores of 16 and 3 leave him in need of runs come our next Test match. He will be given that chance. Consistency in selection is an important part of our genesis. Keaton Jennings recorded his second half-century of the match but was run out for 54 with skipper Joe Root at fault. Scott Borthwick again looked assured but this time fell for 43. Roderick (He did at least claim four dismissals in the match) and an out of sorts Ben Stokes again missed out before Adil Rashid (22) and Chris Woakes (29) again batted sensibly. Also again, Stuart Broad (38 from 22 balls) went on the rampage and James Anderson followed suit striking 36 from just 14 deliveries including 21 off one over!

Mark Footitt struck in the first over of Uganda’s pursuit of 460 and there was little resistance after that. Spinner Adil Rashid exploited the deteriorating pitch to claim figures of 3-39 from 13 overs and Mark Footitt finished with 5-35 from 13.1 overs of high quality left-arm pace bowling to record impressive match figures of 7-66.

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Despite the bowling exertions of Anderson, Rashid and Footitt, it was captain Joe Root’s 166 that set us on our way and so he claimed the Player of the Match Award. It was a thoroughly good team performance though with contributions from throughout the composition. Bring on our next opponents!

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Don Bradman Cricket 17: Career Heading North!

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Yes I designed that bat and yes it looks great doesn’t it? Thank you very much!

After nearly a decade on the T20 club circuit, the call finally came. Yorkshire County Cricket Club selected the Leeds captain Paul Morris in their County Championship side. No messing about with the pyjama stuff for me. They sent me straight in at the deep end without any armbands to take on Australian pace ace Mitchell Starc.

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Always happy to provide free promotion to my friends at UNICEF.

I made my way to 8 runs on my First Class debut before Starkers came onto bowl. Three deliveries later I was back in the pavilion. After safely negating his first two deliveries via solid defensive shots, I then pushed at the third, got a nick and the ball flew (And I mean flew!) to third slip.

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Wouldn’t wanna get sunburnt!

I went onto dismiss Pakistan Test batsman Umar Akmal in Leicestershire’s second innings, my maiden First Class wicket.

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Day One pre lunch strike rate: 170.0. Let that sink in for a minute!

Derbyshire didn’t have Mitchell Starc and so I promptly made hay against their attack. Having registered only four half-centuries in ten years on the club scene, I smacked 61 before lunch on the first morning of my second professional outing but was disappointed to be out in the last over of the session. I’d arrived signed, sealed and delivered as a First Class cricketer then promptly got out to the last ball of the day for a duck in the second innings!

After a quiet third match, I batted really well against former England Test spinner James Tredwell and co. in making 48 against Kent but again was out to the very last ball before an interval, in this case lunch. I did however settle things after a wobble in our second innings by striking a composed 33 not out in partnership with skipper Gary Ballance.

I hope to get a call-up to the one-day (List A) side soon. If my international ambitions are to be realised then I really need to make headway at domestic level pronto.

It’s been a long hard slog on the club scene for the last decade and though I’ve been sincerely honoured to represent and captain the city of Leeds, to have finally played First Class cricket for my home county of Yorkshire has fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition and to have made a small contribution to the team so far provides me with great pride. I still have work to do to cement my place at this level and to have a fulfilling career as well as chasing international ambitions but I’d like to take this opportunity to put on record my gratitude to all that have supported me in my career thus far. Many thanks to you all.

Paul Morris

Leeds and Yorkshire Cricket

Don Bradman Cricket 17: A Lyth Less Ordinary!

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After serially struggling to cobble together 200 runs in an innings, we made over 300 against Nepal… and still lost!

Nepal were tracking at a run a ball from the get go. El capitan Joe Root spilled a simple chance early doors and twelve overthrows (An improvement on the 16 conceded in our last match) would ultimately prove costly. Jamie Overton’s ten overs were also costly… 1-81!

All-rounder Sam Curran, recalled at the expense of batsman Tom Fell, claimed figures of 3-53 from his ten overs, providing two dismissals to stumper Gareth Roderick. The ever impressive Matt Coles finished with outstanding analysis of 2-34 from his full allocation and Liam Livingstone claimed three catches to add to the four he held against Afghanistan.

In pursuit of 313 for victory, a little over a run a ball, openers Adam Lyth and Dawid Malan put on 85 for the first wicket before Malan was clean bowled for 38 in exactly the same manner as in the last match, i.e.: stepping outside off and trying to flick to leg. Malan is good for a thirty or forty but will he ever go big?

Brett D’Oliveira used up 37 deliveries in making 25 and skipper Root wasted six costly balls in making… 0!

Liam Livingstone made a busy 15 and Sam Curran a brisk 33. Lyth was run out early in the second powerplay for an excellently paced 120. He got bogged down in the eighties but fought back however his run out may well have been crucial. Spinner Liam Dawson followed another wicketless outing: 5-0-29-0 with 9 runs before being run out. In the circumstances, both Lyth and Dawson’s run outs were as acceptable as getting run out comes but if Lyth in particular could have avoided being so… ?

Matt Coles was harshly dismissed LBW for 6 to follow his debatable stumping against Pakistan. Jamie Overton made 5, one beautiful sweep included and Tom Curran would finish 1 not out. Wicketkeeper Roderick swept well but missed out on ones and twos when attempting to hit boundaries. 17 were needed from the final over for us to secure an epic chase. A dot ball was followed by Curran getting off the mark with a single. Roderick then hit a four to bring the equation down to 12 from 3. Nepal then bowled a wide but to the next ball Roderick was unable to clear the field and was caught at mid off. Agonisingly, despite a vastly improved performance and having totalled in excess of 300 with the bat, we fell just eleven runs short of victory with two balls to spare. Overthrows, Matt Coles LBW decision, Adam Lyth’s run out, they’re all moments in the game that we can look back on and consider costly.

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As a team, we neither celebrate nor are we content with defeat but we do recognise improvement. The team can hold their heads high after this effort but it’s imperative that we maintain this standard as we move forward.