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RR vs RCB, IPL 2020 – AB de Villiers on tense chases



Only minutes after another stunning knock – an unbeaten 55 off 22 balls – to help the Royal Challengers Bangalore wallop 64 runs off the last 28 balls for a seven-wicket win against the Rajasthan Royals, AB de Villiers said he gets “very, very nervous and erratic” in such chases. It was a pursuit of 178 against the Royals, and de Villiers walked out after 13 overs with 76 needed from 42 and saw Virat Kohli get out the very next ball.

When it came down to 35 from 12, de Villiers tore into Jaydev Unadkat for three consecutive sixes and then sealed the match with a six off Jofra Archer with two balls to spare. While it looked from the outside like de Villiers went about his work with a calm head yet again, he later said it was not quite so.

“I’m very, very nervous and erratic [in chases] and all sorts of funny stuff [in my head],” he said at the presentation. “I try to hide it (laughs). I get very stressed like any player does before playing. I’m proud of my performances, I want to perform for the team and have any impact in us winning games. I want to show the owners I’m here for a good reason. I want to put the faith in me and repay them. [For my] family at home, people watching me, fans… all those things play a big part and obviously for myself.

“AB is always someone who’s ready to look at the team situation and adapt his game accordingly. We’ve seen him do this time and again. In my eyes he’s the most impactful match-winner in the IPL.”

Virat Kohli on AB de Villiers

“I want to play as well as I can out there every time. [In the] last game I didn’t play as well, I didn’t perform my role as well as I should have, and I was very happy to have done that in this game.”

In the Royal Challengers’ last game, against the Kings XI Punjab, de Villiers was asked to bat out of position at No. 6 and scored only 2 as his team stumbled to an eight-wicket loss. Now back at No. 4, he scored his fourth fifty of the season, and probably the one scored under the most pressure as it was the first one while chasing. De Villiers said in such tight finishes, he aims to “impose” himself on bowlers.

ALSO READ: Kohli on de Villiers at No. 6: ‘Sometimes decisions you take don’t come off’

“I try and impose myself out there and show that I’m present, show them I’m going to stick to my game plans and if you don’t get me out then I’m going to be a threat,” de Villiers said. “It’s a cat-and-mouse game, or a game of chess whatever you want to call it. I always respect the bowlers. If they bowl well to me, they’ll have the upper hand and I’m going to do everything I can in my ability to turn the tide. Luckily for me that worked today.”



Ajit Agarkar and Tom Moody discuss how unique AB de Villiers is in destroying attacks

De Villiers struck six sixes and finished with a strike rate of 250, but said he hardly got one from the middle of the bat.

“Honestly, I didn’t hit [even] one of them [sixes] really off the middle of the bat but close enough to the middle to get it across these boundaries,” he said. “There was a very big boundary on one side and when Unadkat was bowling [the 19th over], I was looking to the leg side… to be very honest, I was very worried because I knew I had to hit them well. Luckily I did hit a couple and got him off his game plan, and made him nervous towards the end. We got some important runs before the last over.”

Kohli said de Villiers adapts his game according to the team situation and is “the most impactful match-winner in the IPL”.

“AB always bats by situation,” Kohli said at the presentation. “AB is always someone who’s ready to look at the team situation and adapt his game accordingly. We’ve seen him do this time and again. In my eyes he’s the most impactful match-winner in the IPL. When he goes [to bat], the opposition knows they’ve got a slim chance and there’s a good reason for that. To be able to chase 50-plus in four overs and to finish off the way he did… it’s purely because of the presence of that man in the middle we feel like we are never out of the game.”

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BBL 2020-21 – New Zealand-New South Wales air bubble could help bring top West Indies players to the BBL



The West Indies squad could provide a lucrative source of overseas signings for the BBL, after the competition added scope for a third foreign player in the XIs, if the tournament can take advantage of the travel bubble that exists with New Zealand.

West Indies have a three-match T20I series in the country at the end of November followed by two Tests, and since earlier this month it is now possible to travel from New Zealand into New South Wales without needing to quarantine on arrival.

The West Indies players will undergo managed isolation when they arrive at the start of the tour next month, but under current regulations, they will then be able to move around freely with the normal population unlike the restrictive biosecure bubbles which are in operation around the world.

ALSO READ: BBL clubs to be allowed three overseas players in XI

That could mean they are able to fly directly to Australia to take up BBL deals without the need to quarantine for 14 days, although Cricket Australia (CA) stressed that all overseas players are subject to Australian Border Force approval. The T20I series finishes on November 30 and the second Test ends on December 15 in Wellington. The BBL, meanwhile, is expected to begin in the second week of the month.

A significant number of the West Indies squad could be of interest to BBL clubs since it was confirmed there is now room for an extra overseas player, revealed by ESPNcricinfo earlier this week, which will be funded outside of the salary cap.

Kieron Pollard is captain of the T20I side which includes Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer, the latter who is also in the Test group. West Indies Test captain Jason Holder is not part of their T20 set-up but is currently at the IPL and could interest clubs as might fast bowler Kemar Roach who has previously played in the BBL.

Andre Russell, who would likely gain plenty of interest, Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis opted out of the New Zealand tour so they would need to go through 14 days quarantine to be part of the BBL. Dwayne Bravo recently withdrew due to an injury sustained at the IPL.

The BBL is attempting to attract as many big-name overseas signings as possible to help compensate for the potential absence of more Australian internationals to the larger squads that will be needed this season. They’re also looking to ease tensions with broadcaster Channel Seven, although the postponement of New Zealand’s limited-overs tour in January means there is a clear window in the latter part of the competition. However, given the strains on multi-format players this season, it would appear unlikely the likes of David Warner, Steven Smith, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc will feature.

“It’s such a fast-changing environment with borders and different considerations. Our clubs have been really innovative and agile to be able to adjust their recruitment strategies so that [bubble] is a good example of one that’s opened up recently and I know there’s conversations happening,” Alistair Dobson, the head of the BBL, said. “There’s a unique opportunity to capitalise on it if that’s the way our clubs decide to go, there are a players that are available and suit the contracting strategies. That would be a great result.”

“I think having the best players in the BBL is always a primary objective of our clubs. You can see by some of the announcements in recent days that they’ve been really ambitious. The third player on the list just adds another dimension, [more] depth and quality to the teams. The types of players we get, there will be some names you know and some up and coming stars. There’s plenty of history in the BBL of players leaving the competition with much bigger profiles than when they arrived.”

However, while the bubble exists with New Zealand it could be harder to get their own players involved. Pakistan tour after West Indies and though that series finishes on January 7, there is no more international cricket until late February. When the schedule was announced, NZC made specific mention of having their leading names available for the T20 Super Smash, although some could well be attracted across the Tasman.

“One of the silver linings is that our Super Smash competition, which will be played in that window, will now be boosted by the presence of Blackcaps and White Ferns,” David White, the NZC CEO, said last month. “It’s going to be the best Super Smash yet, I’m confident of that.”

Dobson said: “I know there’s some players from New Zealand we’d love to have in the BBL if it lines up. I can see a way for them to be part of it. They’ve got their own commitments at the same time, [so] it all comes down to the unique requirements of each club, borders and contract strategies. But it certainly looks like there’s a unique opportunity this year with that bubble opening.”

Outside of the potential advantages of the New Zealand bubble, Dobson said that all indications were that other overseas players would still require 14 days hard quarantine including the England contingent who will have come from a biosecure series in South Africa. The WBBL players recently completed the same protocols and were not allowed outside of their hotels room for that period, but Dobson added he had not received any significant concerns from the BBL players already signed.

The schedule itself is expected to be confirmed shortly after the rubberstamping of the Australia-India fixtures. That tour received government approval on Thursday and is awaiting final BCCI sign-off. On Friday, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated that state borders, expect Western Australia’s, could be open again by Christmas which may give the BBL more flexibility with the fixturing.

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Sheffield Shield catch-up – Allrounders to the fore, Test batsmen shine, and all eyes on Cameron Green



The opening two rounds of the Sheffield Shield being played in an Adelaide hub are completed and they have produced some compelling cricket. Here’s a few things that have stood out and a quick look at what’s to come

Allrounders galore

The multi-skilled players have been making their mark everywhere you look in the opening two rounds. In the space of an hour in the first week Michael Neser and Ashton Agar completed the double of a century and a five-wicket haul which had not been achieved in the Shield for 10 years. The following week Sean Abbott scored an unbeaten half-century then collected 6 for 89 on a back-breaking surface for pace bowlers and in the same game Moises Henriques, who does not bowl as much as he once did, scored a faultless 167.

To take being an allrounder to an extra level, Beau Webster has scored runs, and bowled nagging medium-pace and offspin in the first two matches for Tasmania. To cap things off, the most talked-about young allrounder in Australian cricket, Cameron Green, made a superb 197 and is close to a return to the bowling crease. Such is his batting ability, it may not matter how much Green is able to bowl when it comes to the inevitable selection chatter. Watch this space.

Test batsmen find form

The Test matches against India are still the best part of two months away, but the form of some of the likely batting order will be encouraging for the selectors. Marnus Labuschagne showed his outstanding game sense when he battled through a tricky start (with the help of a bat change) to make a superb century against Tasmania. Travis Head has started the season strongly for South Australia, producing an excellent unbeaten 171 to secure a draw from a tough position against Tasmania which followed a half-century in the opening match.

As the opposing captain, Tim Paine will have rued the runs of Labuschagne and Head from Tasmania’s perspective but will hope it sets both up for big summers. And Paine himself notched up three figures – just the third century of his first-class career – with the Australia captain’s game looking in good order in front of and behind the stumps. Joe Burns and Matthew Wade (who has been rested from the first two rounds) will hope for similar results in the coming weeks.


The nature of the Adelaide pitches has meant a big role for spin in the opening matches. The first round of games included a telling performance from Mitchell Swepson, which helped Queensland to victory deep in the final session against Tasmania, while next door Agar wheeled away with good effect against the Redbacks. There was a promising start for Lloyd Pope with five wickets on the opening day of the season but it has been tough going since: 2 for 310 after the first day of the tournament. The two surfaces in the recent round of games offered less for the spinners with Nathan Lyon toiling through 47 overs against Western Australia and Tom Andrews going wicketless on his Tasmania debut.

A big save for South Australia?

South Australia have claimed the wooden spoon in the last three seasons and there is a big rebuilding job ahead for new coach Jason Gillespie. Quite how significant surviving the final day against Tasmania ends up proving to their season remains to be seen, but starting with two heavy defeats – as looked likely midway through the last afternoon – could have been potentially debilitating for their campaign even so early in the summer. Gillespie completed his quarantine in time to join the match from the second day and can now start to get properly involved with what looks like a long-term project to revive the states’ fortunes.

What’s to come in the next two rounds?

After the rejigging of the opening rounds due to Victoria’s quarantine issues, there are now set to be two full rounds of action as they get their season underway with matches against Tasmania and Queensland. It will the first chance to see how Victoria will cope with a bowling attack that is stripped of significant experience with Chris Tremain having gone to New South Wales and James Pattinson at the IPL. A number of their top order will be looking to make a case to the Australia selectors: Marcus Harris, Will Pucovski, Nic Maddinson and Peter Handscomb could all be a chance for reserve batting slots. Elsewhere there will be much interest in Green’s potential bowling comeback and whether Mitchell Marsh is able to get a game before the BBL following his injury at the IPL.

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BBL 2020-21 – Jason Roy signing provides Perth Scorchers with opening riches



Jason Roy has become the latest England player to sign for the upcoming BBL after joining the Perth Scorchers.

He will link up with Liam Livingstone and it provides the Scorchers with enviable top-order options after last year’s opening pair of Livingstone and Josh Inglis became one of the most destructive in the league.

Roy follows England team-mate Dawid Malan (Hobart Hurricanes) in securing a BBL deal in recent days while Tom Banton (Brisbane Heat) and Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers) will also be in show. Alex Hales is also returning to the Sydney Thunder.

ALSO READ: BBL clubs to be allowed three overseas players in XI

England have a limited-overs tour to South Africa which will finish on December 9 so it remains to be seen exactly when anyone who is part of that squad will be available for their BBL teams pending quarantine requirements when they reach Australia.

“The Scorchers squad looks very strong, I’m excited to be joining the club,” Roy said. “I’ve heard the environment of the club is awesome and that it’s a place where everyone wants to help get the best out of each other.”

Roy did not have the best season for England with just 49 runs in six ODIs against Ireland and Australia. He missed the T20Is against Pakistan and Australia due to injury but did finish strongly in the T20 Blast for Surrey with three half-centuries in his last four innings.

He pulled out of his IPL deal with the Delhi Capitals in order to get himself back to full fitness.

Meanwhile, the Scorchers have also signed pace-bowling duo Cameron Gannon – who joined Western Australia from Queensland over the winter – and Joel Paris.

“Jason is a world-class performer who will bring added power and experience to our top order,” head coach Adam Voges said. “It’s great to be able to maintain a really strong WA flavour to our Scorchers squad. Both Joel and Cam bring plenty of experience and can fill a variety of roles throughout the tournament for us.”

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