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Match Preview – Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians, Indian Premier League 2020 2020, 41st Match

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Captain MS Dhoni and head coach Stephen Fleming may have sounded unusually downbeat after Chennai Super Kings put in a below-par performance in their previous match against Rajasthan Royals, but mathematically the Super Kings are still in the race to maintain their record of qualifying for the playoffs every season. This despite losing the services of allrounder Dwayne Bravo to injury, and with Dhoni’s selection choices coming under fire from various quarters. The fact that even three wins from their four remaining games could just sneak them into the top four – provided other results go their way – should give them the necessary spark with the death of the round robin games approaching.

Their immediate opponents Mumbai Indians have suffered a couple of hiccups along the way, but look on course to making the playoffs yet again. They have had an extra day’s rest compared to the Super Kings, and considering the drama of their epic encounter with the Kings XI Punjab, they would be thankful for it. Captain Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan appeared to suffer injuries during Sunday’s match, and their non-availability might not be such a bad thing. With just 13 players used from their roster yet, Mumbai wouldn’t mind valuable match practice for those having warmed the bench thus far, especially looking at the business end of the tournament.

In the news

  • The 2020 season remains the only time when Dhoni is yet to register a score of 50 or more while his average of 27.30 is his lowest for the Super Kings in any season. Dhoni’s strike rate of 125 is also the second lowest for the franchise – he had struck 372 runs at 122 in 2015 – and with the middle order a weak link for the Super Kings, Dhoni hitting form is not just crucial but also imperative for their playoffs hopes to stay alive.

  • If Mumbai choose to rest Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard can step into the role of captain, as he has in the past for them. This can also allow Chris Lynn and Dhawal Kulkarni – both unused so far – to play at the expense of a foreign seamer. Pollard’s form with the bat has been key for Mumbai’s continued form this season. After falling to Lungi Ngidi for 18 in the first match of the season, he has rattled up 190 more runs at a strike rate of 211 in six innings without being dismissed. Owing to Pollard, Mumbai average 10.60 in the last 10 overs while batting, and have smashed 20 or more runs in an over at the death for as many as seven times.

Previous meeting

It was the very first game of the season in Abu Dhabi. Dhoni used his resources expertly to ensure no Mumbai batsman scored more than 42, as all his bowlers chipped in with wickets and restricted the defending champions to 162. Despite early jitters, Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis spearheaded the Super Kings’ reply to bring them their first win against Mumbai following a 4-0 wipeout last season.

Likely XIs

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Shane Watson, 3 N Jagadeesan/Ruturaj Gaikwad, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (capt and wk), 6 Sam Curran, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Karn Sharma/KM Asif, 11 Josh Hazlewood/Imran Tahir

Mumbai Indians: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt)/Chris Lynn, 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan/Saurabh Tiwary, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile/Dhawal Kulkarni, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Strategy punts

  • The Super Kings promoted Sam Curran to open the batting against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, and while they won that match, his strike rate of 108 at the top pales in comparison to the 219 he was going at previously this season. Curran also strikes at 190 against spin, as opposed to 127 against pace.

  • Similarly, Ravindra Jadeja currently averages 48.50 and strikes at 164, both being his best returns with the bat in an IPL. Curran and Jadeja can both be employed as floaters – especially keeping the smaller boundaries of Sharjah in mind – to motor along in the middle overs.

  • Typically, Mumbai use one over of Jasprit Bumrah in the powerplay and another around the 11th or 12th over mark, before holding back two overs for the death. However, his recent form has been terrific – his average and economy have dipped to 11.50 and 5.80 in the last four matches, as opposed to 25.1 and 8.80 in the first five. Besides, his match-ups with Shane Watson (who averages 23.5 and strikes at 87), Dhoni (average 15.7 and strike rate 92) and Curran (dismissed both times they’ve met while averaging seven) could encourage a break from the norm and more overs in the first half of the innings.

Stats that matter

  • Matches in Sharjah have followed no set pattern that the teams can go by. If the first four games produced an average first innings total of 219 with four successive teams batting first and crossing 200, that number has dipped to 182 and zero respectively, in the four matches that have followed. Similarly, the economy rate for spinners went from 10.5 in the first four matches to 7.5 in the four played since.

  • This will be the 200th T20 match for the Super Kings, who have 118 wins from 199 games till now. They will join Mumbai, the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders as teams with 200 T20 matches, with only Mumbai (126) having won more matches.

  • Dhoni needs one six to reach 200 sixes as captain in the IPL.

  • Bumrah needs three wickets to reach 100 wickets in the IPL and 200 in all T20s.

  • Krunal Pandya needs 27 runs to reach 1000 IPL runs.



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The Hundred 2021 – Tom Curran to join brother Sam at Oval Invincibles

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Tom Curran will join brother Sam at Oval Invincibles for the inaugural edition of the Hundred next year.

Tom Curran, the England allrounder whose death-bowling is an asset for his national white-ball and global franchise teams, was among four new signings announced by the London-based outfit on Thursday, alongside Reece Topley, Georgia Adams and Tash Farrant.

Sam Curran was retained last month by Invincibles, who also play at the Surrey ground that is the home of both Curran brothers in county cricket .

Tom Curran said: “I love playing at the Oval and it will be special to play in the first season of The Hundred at my home ground. I think The Hundred is an incredibly exciting competition and I’m really looking forward to it. We are building a strong squad with a number of local players which I hope will help us be successful next summer.”

Left-arm seamer Topley is touring South Africa as part of England’s T20I and ODI squads, having overcome a run of injuries to play his first international match in four years during the ODI series against Ireland in August. He joined Surrey in 2019 on a white-ball deal after spells with Essex, Hampshire and Sussex.

“It was a no-brainer to stay at Oval Invincibles and I’m really pleased it has been confirmed,” Topley said. “I’ve got some good memories of playing at The Oval already and I’m looking forward to creating some more in The Hundred next summer.”

Adams starred for Southern Vipers during the recent Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, leading her side to the title with a competition-leading 500 runs at an average of 83.33 and including an unbeaten 154 during a breakout season.

She was keen to begin her Hundred career after the tournament, which should have begun this year, was postponed until 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The delay was a blow to the women’s game, which faced having no domestic cricket during the UK summer until the hastily arranged but ultimately successful 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy was arranged.

“It will definitely be the spectacle of the summer and I’m particularly looking forward to playing a format of cricket where I can express myself as a batter and play expansive cricket,” Adams said.

Farrant, the left-arm seamer who captained South East Stars in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and has been a key part of Kent’s successful side since 2012, echoed Adams’ enthusiasm.

“The women’s game continues to grow despite the wider challenges the entire sport is facing and next summer can’t come soon enough,” Farrant said.

Oval Invincibles 2021 squads so far: Men: Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Reece Topley Women: Fran Wilson, Georgia Adams, Tash Farrant



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South Africa vs England 2020-21 – SA to make anti-racism statement ahead of series after Black Lives Matter criticism | Cricket

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South Africa’s men’s team hasn’t played any cricket since its aborted tour of India in March © Getty Images


The South Africa men’s team will make a statement of anti-racism when they take on England in the white-ball series starting Friday. Their action, which will not be the taking of a knee, has been unanimously agreed on by all members of the squad and will demonstrate their commitment to inclusion.

A source close to the team told ESPNcricinfo that the decision was made in the last few days, upon reflection, after their stance on not taking a knee was made public and widely criticised. They will also be wearing black armbands in support of the fight against gender-based violence and to mourn the lives lost to coronavirus.

More to follow…

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent


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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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Match Preview – Australia vs India, India tour of Australia 2020, 1st ODI

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Big Picture

The SCG. Australia and New Zealand played an ODI here in March, in eerie silence. It was to be the last bit of international action for four months.

Cricket has been back for a while now, but the silence hasn’t gone away. On Friday, though, we could witness something close to normalcy – something like the old times – with the SCG filled to 50% capacity when Australia meet India for the first of three ODIs.

Fans at the ground, and India. You have both been missed.

The match will open a long and an important Australian summer for both teams, who are looking to address two major long-term goals: to build towards next year’s T20 World Cup, and to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and firm up their respective chances of qualifying for the World Test Championship final.

There’s plenty of wider context to the ODI series too. It’s part of the new ODI Super League, and for the India players who will be featuring in the Test series too, it’s also a chance to get back into the rhythm of longer innings and longer spells after a long IPL season that followed months of dormancy. For once, though, the wider context will be secondary.

The context, on Friday, will be the game itself, and for India fans especially, all those familiar pleasures you may have regretted taking for granted. Two of the best teams in the world filled with some of the most competitive characters in the sport, clashing in front of a crowd. What more can you ask for?

Form guide

Australia WLWWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
India LLLWW

In the spotlight

An average of 15.42, a strike rate barely scraping above a run-a-ball, and no sixes in 106 balls. Glenn Maxwell had a horror IPL with the bat, but he’s back in home conditions. And in the ODI format too, which should give him a little more space and time – only a little, mind you, down at No. 7 – to play himself back into form. He batted magnificently in his last ODI series, in England just before the IPL, tonking 77 off 59 balls in the first ODI and 108 off 90 in the third, turning two dire situations into wins for Australia. But can Maxwell recapture that sort of form after a lean patch, and how will he go against his old nemesis Yuzvendra Chahal?

Hardik Pandya didn’t bowl a ball right through IPL 2020, and while that didn’t necessarily hurt the Mumbai Indians’ campaign, it could upset India’s ODI balance given none of their other batsmen is a viable sixth bowling option. Pandya was in terrific hitting form right through the IPL, but he may have to show a little more versatility as a top-six batsman in ODI cricket. He has the game for it, but it will be interesting to see how he adapts, especially given that he hasn’t played an ODI since the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in July 2019.

Team news

Steven Smith, who missed the ODI series in England with a concussion, is all set to slot back into the side in place of the injured Mitchell Marsh, with Marcus Stoinis vacating the No. 3 slot in all likelihood.

Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood.

In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal is likely to partner Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order with KL Rahul continuing to keep wicket and bat at No. 5. If India pick both Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, they will have to choose between Navdeep Saini’s pace and Shardul Thakur’s lower-order batting for the third seamer’s role. Also, Chahal’s IPL form may help him edge out Kuldeep Yadav for the lone wristspinner’s slot.

India: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur/Navdeep Saini, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.

Pitch and conditions

The game should be high-scoring if the pitch plays true to recent form. Teams batting first have won six of the last seven ODIs at this ground, and the average first-innings total in that period has been 312. The weather is expected to be warm and sunny, with a high of around 24 degrees Celsius.

Stats and trivia

Quotes

“If you look at his record, it’s second to none. It really is remarkable. So I think what we have to keep in mind is we have to keep looking to get him out. When you go away from that and you’re looking to contain players, you can miss a trick there. He’s probably the best one-day player of all time, so it’s about sticking to our plans and being really committed in that regard.”

Aaron Finch on how he wants Australia to approach his counterpart Virat Kohli this time around



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