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‘Those last two overs were like hell’ – Shreyas Iyer

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Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer has said the last two overs of their chase in the IPL eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad were “like hell”. In that time, Capitals saw a straightforward equation of 12 runs from 12 balls come down to two needed off the last two with three wickets also falling in between.

Capitals were 151 for 5, chasing a target of 163, but lost Sherfane Rutherford, Rishabh Pant and Amit Mishra in the next ten balls, before Keemo Paul pulled Khaleel Ahmed for the winning boundary off the penultimate delivery. Capitals will now meet Chennai Super Kings in the second qualifier to decide who goes through to the final against Mumbai Indians.

“I can’t express my emotions,” Iyer said at the presentation ceremony, after Capitals had won their first ever IPL playoff or knockout match. “It was such a pressure situation. I was just sitting with my teammates and it felt as if I’ve been sitting with them for years! Those last two overs it was like hell, to be honest.

“I could see the happiness in everyone’s faces, and it was an amazing feeling to see them coming out and expressing themselves. Obviously the joy we’re going to share after victory is going to be really good. And yes, hoping for another one against Chennai. We’re definitely not going to be intimidated by any team. Looking forward to the next game.”

The chase for Capitals was set up by Prithvi Shaw‘s 56 off 38 at the top of the order, before Rishabh Pant blasted 49 off 21 to take them to the brink of victory. Iyer said he didn’t interfere with the instincts of both young batsmen, preferring to let them express themselves.

“I personally feel they are the sort of batsmen you can’t [try to] control,” Iyer said. “You just have to leave them on their own and not say anything to them. Because if you say anything, it will play in their minds. When you stop a batsman like Rishabh or Prithvi, if you stop their flow, definitely they are not going to perform up to your expectation. Such situations if they go with their flow, they can win you matches, and it was really amazing to see both of them chipping in today and taking our team through.”

Pant had blasted Basil Thampi for 22 runs in the 18th over, changing the complexion of the match and ensuring Capitals could get over the line despite their late collapse from 151 for 5 to 161 for 8. Pant himself was out in the 19th over, leaving Capitals five to get from seven balls.

“If you are set inside on a wicket like this you need to finish the match for the team. I took it very close, but in the end I couldn’t finish the match. Next time I’ll try to finish it for my team,” Pant, the Player of the Match, said. “I just try to be positive every time I go in. If your mindset is negative, it’s difficult to play your shots. Especially in T20 when you’re set, and you need some 40 runs in four overs, you have to have a big over. That’s what I did today. I didn’t try to hit the ball too hard, I just took my time and in the end, I was just trying to time the ball and it went all my way today.”

The pitch at the ACA stadium in Visakhapatnam was sticky, with the ball not coming on to the bat and scoring becoming more difficult after the Powerplay. Sunrisers got off to a good start after being put in, with Martin Guptill hitting a 19-ball 36, but Capitals pulled things back.

“The start they got was really good on this track. It was really tough to control Martin Guptill,” Iyer said. “The way he carried on with this flow in the Powerplay, I think they got an above-par score. We controlled in between, especially Mishy bhai (Amit Mishra) with that amazing spell, coming up and giving 15-odd runs I guess (1 for 16 in four overs). He was exceptionally good. The other bowlers came and chipped in with good economic bowling. Overall, really happy with the efforts of our bowlers. It was a good wicket to bat against the seamers, but 160 was a good total to defend on this wicket.”



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Recent Match Report – Middlesex vs Hampshire South Group 2020

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Hampshire 296 (Murtagh 4-61) and 60 for 2 need a further 98 to beat Middlesex 252 and 201 (Gubbins 46, Organ 4-42)

Felix Organ stepped into the breach to bowl injury-hit Hampshire into a winning position with a four-wicket haul against Middlesex at Radlett.

Organ was called on to send down 13 overs of offbreaks during Middlesex’s second innings after a second freak injury in as many days, to seamer Ryan Stevenson, deprived the visitors of two frontline bowlers. But the 21-year-old responded with figures of 4 for 42 – his second-best return in red-ball cricket – as the home side were dismissed for 201 to leave Hampshire chasing a victory target of 158.

Although they lost two wickets – and will probably have just nine fit batsmen – Sam Northeast’s side advanced to 60 for 2 at stumps and go into the final day as clear favourites to clinch their first victory in the Bob Willis Trophy.

The visitors had resumed their first innings in the morning with a 27-run advantage – which they extended by another 17 before Tim Murtagh claimed the last two wickets inside the first half-hour.

Middlesex quickly wiped out their 44-run deficit, with Max Holden playing some attacking shots before Keith Barker had him caught behind. But play was held up soon afterwards when Stevenson, chasing Sam Robson’s leg-side drive to the boundary, skidded into a pitchside marquee and gashed his shin on one of the supporting poles.

Even without both Stevenson and spinner Liam Dawson – who had sustained an Achilles tendon injury while batting the previous day – Hampshire’s remaining bowlers were able to peg their hosts back.

Ian Holland picked up the wicket of Robson just before lunch, but Nick Gubbins and Middlesex captain Stephen Eskinazi threatened to seize control of the game as they put together a partnership of 54. Gubbins was progressing nicely, with 46 from 65 deliveries, until he was given out leg before to former team-mate James Fuller – although it appeared the ball might have taken the left-hander’s inside edge before hitting the pad.

However, his dismissal prompted a clatter of wickets, with Eskinazi top-edging a sweep into the hands of deep square leg in Organ’s next over and Martin Andersson neatly yorked by Fuller.

A blinding catch at cover by substitute Brad Wheal removed Nathan Sowter to reward Holland for his tidy spell, while Organ also trapped John Simpson lbw for 23 before returning to take two more wickets post-tea. Murtagh registered a couple of boundaries off Barker to lift the Middlesex total above 200 before edging the left-armer to second slip, leaving Hampshire to face 26 overs ahead of stumps.

Organ and Joe Weatherley – who top scored with 98 in Hampshire’s first innings – made steady progress until James Harris produced the breakthrough in his first over, tempting Organ to prod at an outswinger.

Left-arm spinner Thilan Wallalawita matched that feat by having Tom Alsop, who had just survived a sharp chance to short leg, caught at first slip with his fifth delivery to leave Hampshire 48 for 2. But Weatherley and Northeast batted sensibly until the close, bringing the target down to just 98 going into day four.



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Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis get big scores as domestic cricket in Sri Lanka resumes

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Sri Lanka’s domestic cricket season resumed on Monday with runs from Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews, almost five months after it was suspended due to Covid-19.

Mendis hit 132 not out for Colombo Cricket Club and Mathews made 80 not out for Colts Cricket Club, in separate ‘Super Eights’ matches. All up, six first-class matches were played. That many of these featured current Sri Lanka cricketers is a rare occurrence, as top players are often busy with international commitments during the domestic season, which ordinarily runs from November to April.

ALSO READ: South Africa’s tours of West Indies and Sri Lanka postponed indefinitely

The resumption of domestic games, however, comes in the absence of international cricket, which SLC had hoped would take place in July and August. India’s limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka was postponed indefinitely, while the Bangladesh Test tour of Sri Lanka has been pencilled in – but not confirmed – for October. Instead of these tours, SLC now hopes to play the Lankan Premier League (LPL) T20 franchise tournament.

Sri Lanka’s domestic cricket was slated to begin at the end of July after the government had lifted curfews and supposedly brought the spread of Covid-19 under strong control, but an outbreak of the virus last month forced the resumption date to be pushed back. According to government figures, Sri Lanka has been largely successful in containing the virus, with fewer than 300 Covid-19 patients in medical care at present.



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Dan Lawrence leaves England squad due to family bereavement

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Dan Lawrence has left the England bio-secure bubble due to a family bereavement, and will miss the chance to make his Test debut in Thursday’s second Test against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl.

Lawrence, 23, had been named as one of England’s reserve batsmen for the Test leg of England’s summer, and had been a possible inclusion for the second Test following Ben Stokes’ departure from the squad due to his own family reasons.

Ollie Robinson, the fast bowler, was this week withdrawn from Sussex’s Bob Willis Trophy fixture against Kent to bolster England’s seam options ahead of the second Test. However, the management have chosen not to replace Lawrence in England’s 18-man party.

That means that Zak Crawley is the likely beneficiary of Stokes’ absence, having been omitted to include an extra seamer in the last two Tests. The uncapped James Bracey and Ben Foakes, both wicketkeeper-batsmen, are the other two batting options at England’s disposal.

One of the heroes of England’s victory on Saturday, Jos Buttler, produced his match-winning innings despite his father being taken into hospital during the match.

Speaking about the team environment before Lawrence’s news was made public, James Anderson praised the efforts that the current management go to, in particular the captain Joe Root and head coach Chris Silverwood, to ensure the players’ mental wellbeing is taken into account.

“I do think cricket is more empathetic now, yes,” Anderson said. “It has definitely changed for the better. We quite often take this game very seriously – I have done this week – and it is quite a big deal for some people.

“But there is nothing more important than family. It is something that certainly Joe and Chris have brought in under their leadership: family comes first. And this group of players rally round each other and help if there is anything that needs help.”



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