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MS Dhoni fined 50 per cent of match fees for umpiring outburst



MS Dhoni has been docked 50 per cent of his match fees for a Code of Conduct breach after Chennai Super Kings’ match against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Thursday.

Dhoni admitted to the Level 2 offence under Article 2.20 of the IPL’s Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction. Article 2.20 deals with “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game” and “is intended to cover all types of conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game and which is not specifically and adequately covered by the specific offences set out elsewhere” in the IPL’s Code of Conduct.

Article 2.20 also states that “when assessing the seriousness of the offence, the context of the particular situation, and whether it was deliberate, reckless, negligent, avoidable and/or accidental, shall be considered. Further, the person lodging the Report shall determine where on the range of severity the conduct lays (with the range of severity starting at conduct of a minor nature (and hence a Level 1 Offence) up to conduct of an extremely serious nature (and hence a Level 4 Offence)).”

ALSO READ: Sixes, (non-)no-balls, confrontations: how that dramatic final over unfolded in Jaipur

In the last over of Super Kings’ chase, Dhoni had walked onto the field of play to remonstrate with the umpires over a contentious no-ball call. Super Kings had begun the over needing 18 to win, and Dhoni was bowled by a Ben Stokes yorker off the third ball. With eight needed off the last three balls and new man Mitchell Santner on strike, Stokes bowled a full toss. Umpire Ulhas Gandhe signaled a no-ball for height, only for his square-leg colleague Bruce Oxenford to overrule him.

That led to heated arguments in the middle, with batsmen Ravindra Jadeja and Santner getting involved. Dhoni also marched onto the field and got involved in an animated discussion with the umpires.

The delivery stood as a legal one, but Super Kings clinched a thrilling win, with Santner hitting a six off the last ball.

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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Leicestershire, County Championship Division Two, 2nd Innings



Gloucestershire 504 for 9 dec (Dent 125, J Taylor 99, Smith 84, Howell 76) and 48 for 4 beat Leicestershire 252 (Dexter 56, M Taylor 3-39) and 299 (Azad 121, Higgins 5-71) by six wickets

Ryan Higgins claimed five wickets as Gloucestershire moved into the Division Two promotion race with a thrilling six-wicket Specsavers County Championship win over Leicestershire at Cheltenham.

Hassan Azad‘s battling last-day hundred helped the visitors extend their second-innings total from an overnight 78 for 2 to 299 all out, Higgins returning 5 for 71, but did not prove enough in an exciting finale.

The visitors collapsed from 255 for 4 at tea and Gloucestershire were left with eight overs to score the 48 needed for victory. They got home with three balls to spare, Gareth Roderick ending the game with an amazing six over point off Chris Wright. The home side took 22 points to move within ten of third-placed Northamptonshire with a game in hand, while Leicestershire had to be content with four.

Azad, who had hit 137 and 100 not out in the corresponding game at Grace Road this summer, began the day on 38, with occupation of the crease was his primary objective as his side chased the 174 more runs needed to make Gloucestershire bat again. He offered just one chance in the morning session, on 69 when Jack Taylor could not grasp a sharp catch at short-leg off the bowling of left-arm spinner Tom Smith.

Colin Ackerman helped frustrate the home attack on a fourth-day pitch offering little other than some variable bounce for the seamers, although there was some evidence of turn out of the rough. He and Azad maintained their third-wicket partnership until lunch, which was taken at 168 for 2, Azad having progressed to 82 after reaching a 134-ball fifty.

The second ball after lunch saw Ackerman edge Matt Taylor to wicketkeeper Roderick and depart for 41. Leicestershire still trailed by 83 and it looked an important breakthrough with a new ball not far away. It was taken at 205 for 3 and Higgins made good use, sending Harry Dearden’s middle stump cartwheeling after he had made 19.

Azad remained unruffled, having combined excellent defensive technique with neat footwork against spinners Smith and Graeme van Buuren to reach his hundred off 256 balls.

By tea, he and Ben Mike had taken the total to 255 for 4, a lead of three runs. But the first ball after the break raised Gloucestershire hopes again as Azad edged Ethan Bamber to Miles Hammond at slip to end six hours and 22 minutes of intense concentration.

Mike was caught behind off Taylor, whose hostile post-tea spell brought him 1 for 6 from seven overs. Then, after Harry Swindells and Callum Parkinson had added 33 to take Leicestershire to the brink of safety, both fell in quick succession. Swindells was well caught by Benny Howell at first slip off Higgins and the following over saw Parkinson nick Chadd Sayers to Hammond at second slip. When Will Davis was lbw to Higgins for a duck, three wickets had fallen in 14 balls.

There were still more than 15 overs remaining and the Foxes led by only 41 at 293 for 9. Amid growing tension, Sayers ripped through Wright’s defence to bowl him and end the innings with only six runs added.

Gloucestershire’s frantic second innings saw Chris Dent bowled by Wright, who also had Miles Hammond caught on the boundary, while Abbas had Jack Taylor caught in the deep before a Higgins straight six off Abbas off the last ball of the penultimate over left nine runs needed.

Benny Howell was run out seeking a second run off the first ball of the final over. But Roderick marched out to hit a two before his extraordinary match-winning shot.

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Recent Match Report – Glamorgan vs Somerset, Twenty20 Cup (England), South Group



Somerset 181 for 2 (Banton 64) beat Glamorgan 180 for 5 (Lloyd 57, Ingram 50*, van der Merwe 2-17) by eight wickets

Somerset got off to a winning start at Sophia Gardens as they defeated an inexperienced Glamorgan team featuring three T20 debutants by wickets, with two overs to spare.

Despite an excellent start, Glamorgan should have scored in excess of 200, but instead of consolidating they lost three wickets in three overs and were grateful that Colin Ingram enabled them to reach a challenging total.

Needing 181 to win at nine runs an over, Somerset emulated Glamorgan with Tom Banton scoring 22 from Marchant De Lange’s opening over and 50 coming from only four overs. On a perfect batting pitch, runs continued to be plundered with Somerset 75 for 0 after six overs, four runs more than Glamorgan.

Banton soon reached fifty with a high proportion of boundaries – five sixes and four fours – as Somerset raced to 100 in the 9th over and well in control. They did lose Pakistan batsman Babar Azam to Dan Douthwaite, and in the following over Banton’s excellent innings of 64 ended when Billy Root held on to a fine catch at deep midwicket.

The experience of James Hildreth and Peter Trego saw Somerset reach their target with ease, while Glamorgan will reflect on their failure to capitalise on a good start, while their bowlers need to improve their accuracy.

Earlier, Glamorgan who were put in, made 180 for 5 after a rapid start, reaching 50 in the fourth over and 70 at the end of the six-over Powerplay. Jeremy Lawlor, making his debut in the competition, set the tone by striking early boundaries and lifting Jamie Overton over long-on for six.

Somerset used five bowlers in the first five overs, but apart from Roelof van der Merwe, no one was able to stem the stem of runs. The opening partnership of 82 was broken in the ninth over when Lawlor, who scored 43 from 30 balls, was caught on the long-off boundary off van der Merwe.

After reaching 95 for 1 at the halfway stage, Glamorgan fell away in mid-innings, and had Ingram not blasted a 28-ball half-century, their score would have been well below par.

David Lloyd, was the next to go after scoring 57 from 37 balls when he was deceived by Craig Overton’s slower ball, giving short square leg a simple catch. Two wickets then fell for three runs as Chris Cooke became van der Merwe’s second victim and Douthwaite fell for 2.

With one over remaining, Glamorgan were 153 for 5 but Ingram, relatively quiet until then, suddenly exploded by hitting Craig Overton for three sixes and two fours, with 27 coming from the over.

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Recent Match Report – Middlesex vs Essex, Twenty20 Cup (England), South Group



Middlesex 166 for 3 (de Villiers 88*) beat Essex 164 for 6 (ten Doeschate 74*, Helm 3-27) by seven wickets

“Me, I’m from the Wild West / Guess you’d call it Middlesex” sing The Rhythm Method on their debut album How Would You Know I Was Lonely? Tonight, AB de Villiers played the role of the gunslinging sheriff at Lord’s, with the middle of his bat the weapon of choice, as Middlesex cruised to a seven-wicket win in their Vitality Blast opener thanks to his 43-ball 88 not out.

On the same slow pitch that saw so few batsmen manage to time the ball in Sunday’s World Cup final, de Villiers took 15 balls to score his first 17 runs before launching a memorable assault on Essex’s misfiring attack in partnership with the more sedate Dawid Malan.

Essex had hatched a plan early to bowl spin at de Villiers, as so many sides successfully did in this year’s IPL. With Adam Zampa and Simon Harmer at their disposal, it had briefly seemed like a canny move as he struggled to find his rhythm early on.

Then, he flicked the switch – and how. Ravi Bopara’s cutter was whacked over extra cover for six; Harmer was launched ten rows back into the Mound Stand; Shane Snater’s drag-down was nailed high and mighty into the night sky.

The pick of the bunch came off Dan Lawrence, the part-timer entrusted with the 14th over just as de Villiers had put his right foot all the way to the floor.

He speared in an offbreak, hoping to cramp de Villiers for room; moments later, Lord’s fell into momentary silence, as the 28,000 sell-out collectively held its breath while the ball flew into the top tier of the Grandstand some 90 metres away.

Lawrence is a handy bowler on his day, who has had success at this ground in the past, but in such a situation was a lamb to the slaughter; if the unthinkable had happened and he had got the star man out, de Villiers would have been entitled to repeat that infamous W.G. Grace line: “They came to watch me bat, not you bowl.”

A six and a four off Harmer to finish the job meant 61 had come from his final 28 deliveries. He finished the night with six sixes – no other Middlesex batsman hit even one.

Statistically, de Villiers sits alongside a bunch of superstars in the top handful of T20 players; aesthetically, he is in a class of one. There is no finer combination of brute force and beauty than a de Villiers assault, and this innings will live long in the memory of those who witnessed it.

It was an innings several years in the making, too.

It is five years since Middlesex first talked about a deal with de Villiers, and they had a gentleman’s agreement in place by 2016. Several counties tried their utmost to sign him after his international retirement last year, with Northamptonshire reportedly pulling out all the stops in their bid to secure his signature, but Lord’s and London proved too great a pull to resist.

The Blast’s bizarre scheduling meant a single net at Merchant Taylor’s School was the only practice de Villiers had with his new team-mates before this game; his most recent innings was as long ago as May 5, long before the debacle of his World Cup will-he-won’t-he had come to light.

But this was not the innings of a man lacking match practice. Essex bowled too short, and played to his strengths, but that is the mark of the best players.

There is a reason that tennis players double-fault more when they face Roger Federer, and why golfers play worse when Tiger Woods is playing in the same tournament as them. It is the very spectre of de Villiers that throws his opponents off their game.

Things could have been so different. Essex’s total of 164 looked like an imposing total at the interval, not least after Ryan ten Doeschate had helped them add 88 in the final eight overs. And after Paul Stirling – having been dropped twice, once comically by Cameron Delport – and Nick Gubbins fell cheaply, they were in some sort of trouble at 39 for 2.

They needn’t have worried. De Villiers claimed afterwards that he didn’t feel like he was quite at his best, despite his brilliance; if he can reach that level when Middlesex travel to The Oval on Tuesday, it will be another night to remember.

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