About a couple of weeks into the tournament, these were the two sides that were among the favourites to make the top four. It was all going according to plan for the Delhi Capitals until the game against Kings XI Punjab about 10 days ago. A loss in that game was followed by two more defeats, in the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad. As a result, they had to give up their top position to the Mumbai Indians, who are sitting pretty with 16 points having earned their playoff qualification.
The Capitals had a major meltdown in their last match against the Sunrisers. A brilliant Rashid Khan made sure their batting never took off and their go-to wicket-taker Kagiso Rabada had a bad day. He went wicketless for the first time in 25 IPL games and was the most expensive bowler on the day. Another thing ailing the Capitals is their batting, especially the top order. Ajinkya Rahane was brought in place of Prithvi Shaw but that has not effected a substantial turnaround. Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliance won them a couple of games but the rest of the batsmen haven’t been able to get going. A win in this match would give them a spot in the playoffs. But a loss here and in their final group match could possibly eliminate them if other teams in fray finish on 14 points with a better net run rate.
Meanwhile, a Rohit Sharma-less Mumbai are doing alright. They arguably have the best batting unit in the tournament: Ishan Kishan is enjoying his best IPL season yet, Quinton de Kock has been ably supported by his partners at the top of the order, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard have helped with superb cameos and Suryakumar Yadav has been consistently brilliant. Plus, if the batting order has a rare day off, they’ve got Jasprit Bumrah, their ultimate weapon of choice, who has been lethal especially in the death overs, where he got 12 of his 20 wickets this season.
Mumbai have an excellent net run rate, and after their win against Royal Challengers Bangalore, they’ve also all but sealed a top-two finish. All the pressure is definitely on the demoralised Capitals in this encounter.
Mumbai Indians: 1 Ishan Kishan, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Saurabh Tiwary, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard (capt), 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 James Pattinson, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.
Delhi Capitals: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Prithvi Shaw/Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Harshal Patel/Tushar Deshpande, 8 Axar Patel, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Anrich Nortje
Fifties from Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton de Kock, and a 15-ball 28 from Ishan Kishan, helped Mumbai chase down 162 with two balls remaining.
The Capitals have been using Shimron Hetmyer as a floater this season and he has been quite impressive in his role, striking at nearly 150 and also providing the finishing touches. Given how the Capitals’ batting order has struggled in the last few games, Hetmyer can probably be given the No. 4 spot, which is usually reserved for Rishabh Pant, and use the latter as a floater instead. Hetmyer has done well in the middle overs in T20s this year, averaging 68.8 and striking at 140 in overs 7 to 15 in addition to tackling spinners well.
The Royal Challengers might have missed a trick in their previous match Mumbai by not bowling Washington Sundar to the left-handed opening pair of Quinton de Kock and Ishan Kishan. The Capitals can take a cue from this and get R Ashwin to bowl from one end and share the new ball duty with Rabada. Ashwin has dismissed Quinton de Kock thrice in four meetings.
Stats that matter
Ishan Kishan is one among the five players to have a strike rate of 140-plus against pacers and spinners in IPL 2020
Rishabh Pant needs 11 runs to reach 2000 runs in IPL
Kieron Pollard needs 27 runs to reach 3000 runs in IPL
New Zealand vs West Indies 2020-21
When West Indies play their first T20I against New Zealand in Auckland on Friday, they will do so without one of the format’s best players in Andre Russell. Instead, Russell will be in Sri Lanka, where he will be competing for the Colombo Kings in the inaugural Lanka Premier League.
Russell declined selection for the tour back in October, but the circumstances surrounding his absence are increasingly unclear, not least after Phil Simmons, West Indies’ head coach, said in a media briefing on Wednesday morning that he was unaware of Russell’s whereabouts.
Asked for his take on Russell’s participation in the league and the fact he is in Sri Lanka rather than taking part in the tour, Simmons responded: “Is he? That’s news to me.”
“I haven’t spoken to him since we came down here [to New Zealand],” Simmons said. “He was at the IPL and I haven’t spoken to him since then. I didn’t know he was in Sri Lanka. I can’t answer your question about that until I know what the whole situation is.”
When West Indies announced their squads for the tour, CWI said that Russell, along with Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis, had opted out of selection. “CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so and states that this will not impact consideration for future selection,” a media release said.
Roger Harper, the lead selector, said in a virtual press conference that Russell “said that he wasn’t really handling the whole thing very well and that he needed some time to clear his head and get himself together because he’s been going from one lockdown, so to speak, to another.”
In a subsequent press conference, Harper suggested that Russell might struggle to regain his place in the T20I side if those on the tour impressed in his absence. “I think as we move forward we will look at all situations, all players and determine whether we need to continue to look at those players, continue to consider those players, or we need to move on,” he said.
“A lot of things are determined by how well the team performs. I think if players in the team perform exceedingly well, then it will make it difficult for those that are not on the tour to get back into the team. So a lot of things will be taken into consideration as we move forward.”
Russell signalled towards the end of the IPL that he was some way short of full fitness following an injury, despite returning to the Kolkata Knight Riders side in time for their final group match against Rajasthan Royals.
He told Star Sports, the tournament’s broadcaster, after that fixture that he had “”a grade two, grade three hamstring tear,” but that he had rushed back after it had healed faster than expected. “When I looked at the scan, it was very ugly: that type of result, normally, would be six to eight weeks out,” he said.
Russell then stayed in the UAE after the end of the tournament, posting photos on his Instagram account of himself and Chris Gayle at a Dubai nightclub, at a shisha bar, and with a local barber. He flew to Sri Lanka last week ahead of the LPL, with videos of him wearing the Colombo Kings jersey as part of a promotional photoshoot appearing on Tuesday.
Russell has been only a sporadic member of West Indies’ T20I side in the last three years, regularly missing games in order to manage his injuries. Since August 2018, he has played only twice in the format, with both of his appearances coming in the series win against Sri Lanka earlier this year, and he does not have a CWI central contract.
West Indies’ series in New Zealand starts at Eden Park on Friday night, while the Colombo Kings get their LPL season underway on Thursday.
Greg Barclay elected ICC chairman after second round of voting
The white smoke is visible and after a long and fractious process, the ICC has elected Greg Barclay as its new chairman. Barclay, the NZC head, secured an all-crucial 11th vote from Cricket South Africa in a second round of voting, to beat Imran Khwaja, who had been the interim chairman after Shashank Manohar stepped down from the post in July this year.
Barclay had 10 votes to Khwaja’s six in the first round of voting last week, but ICC stipulations meant he needed 11 – a two-thirds majority of the 16-person ICC Board. That vote arrived in the form of CSA this time and Barclay now becomes, after Manohar, the second independent chairman of the world body. It also ends a secretive and long drawn-out process which has brought to the surface clear divisions among those running the game, and how they see it being run.
Working through those divisions, deepest around the balance between ICC events and bilateral cricket in the next cycle will be front and centre of his briefs. That had become one of the major running themes in this election. Barclay, a well-respected administrator admired for his overseeing of the game in New Zealand, is a believer in the primacy of bilateral cricket.
“New Zealand Cricket’s been pretty clear in our view around the bilateral playing arrangements, we want to make sure from an international point of view that there is relevance and currency and interest in the international programme. We certainly don’t want to be totally reliant on an ICC events programme,” Barclay told New Zealand’s Radio Sport earlier this year.
Those comments had come after a meeting in Mumbai with officials from the BCCI, CA, ECB and CSA in which the five appeared to find common ground in wanting to push back against the ICC’s wishes to squeeze an extra ICC event in the next cycle.
“The commonality in terms of the five is that we’ve been quite well voiced that we want to see our bilateral rights protected because we see genuine value in them,” Barclay said. “The Black Caps are playing well at the moment, they’re reasonably well ranked, they’re getting good opportunity to play against some of the better countries and we’re fortunate that we produce reasonable revenue out of it. So absolutely we want to see those bilateral rights catered for.”
The other side, represented by Khwaja, wants to push for the primacy of ICC events in the next rights cycle. Last year, the ICC Board consented to include an extra global tournament in the next cycle, beginning after the 2023 World Cup, meaning that the next eight-year cycle (to 2031) would have one ICC global event (men’s and women’s) every year: two 50-over World Cups, four T20 World Cups and two editions of this extra event, which is understood to be in the 50-overs format and could be similar to a Champions Trophy, but with six sides.
A commercial lawyer by trade, Barclay has served as a director of NZC since 2012 – a position he will give up to become ICC chair. He was a director of 2015 Men’s World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand, and is a former board member and chairman of the Northern Districts Cricket Association. He is also an experienced company director holding board positions with various New Zealand and Australian companies.
“It is an honour to be elected as the chair of the International Cricket Council and I would like to thank my fellow ICC directors for their support,” Barclay said in an ICC release. “I hope we can come together to lead the sport and emerge from the global pandemic in a strong position and poised for growth.
“I look forward to working in partnership with our members to strengthen the game in our core markets as well as grow it beyond that ensuring more of the world can enjoy cricket. I take my position as a custodian of the game very seriously and am committed to working on behalf of all 104 ICC Members to create a sustainable future for our sport.
“I’d like to thank Imran Khwaja for his leadership as acting ICC chair during a difficult period for the game and I look forward to continuing a close working relationship with him in the future.”
Sussex League votes to end provision of cricket teas
Clubs in the Sussex Cricket League will be allowed to choose whether to provide a mid-match tea from 2021 onwards, after voting to end decades of precedent at their annual general meeting.
With 140 clubs and 355 teams, the SCL is the world’s biggest recreational set-up, and the proposal was carried in a closely contested vote, by 114 in favour to 89 against.
It means that home sides will no longer be obliged to provide food during the innings break, although they will still be expected to offer cold and hot drinks for players on both sides, as well as the match officials. The innings break in Sussex league fixtures will remain 30 minutes in length.
The announcement met with a predictable wave of reaction on social media, with the traditional image of the bountiful mid-innings spread prompting much nostalgic outpouring. For cricketers of all generations, faced with dropped catches and first-ball ducks, a good tea has quite often ended up being the saving grace of a weekend afternoon.
However, the reality for many modern-day league sides is far less idyllic, with a decline in the number of volunteers willing to focus on the catering, and the onus tending to fall on hard-pressed match managers, whose main priority is to ensure 11 fit and able players for any given contest.
Match teas were suspended as a precautionary measure during the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, after comments from the prime minister, Boris Johnson, appeared to single out their social aspect as one of the main reasons why the recreational game could not take place for the whole of April, May and June.
Instead, players were encouraged to bring their own food when the sport resumed in July, and with many clubs facing cash-flow issues in the wake of the pandemic, the opportunity to offload the financial burden of the cricket tea is one that looks set to catch on. Other leagues up and down the country are expected to follow Sussex’s example and offer their members a vote in the coming weeks and months.
Here’s a sample of how the debate has unfolded on Twitter since the decision was announced.
We will unilaterally disregard the outcome of this vote. We encourage other clubs to follow suit. https://t.co/1y9q1XrpOn
— Preston Nomads CC (@PrestonNomads) November 24, 2020
HKCC are disappointed that cricket teas are being dropped from the @SussexCricketLg.
We will still be providing teas for our players at home games, and are happy to also provide for any opposition who are happy to reciprocate.
In fact, we are working on a new pavlova recipe.
— HKCC – Home of The HK Horsemen T20 team (@horstedkeynescc) November 23, 2020
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) November 24, 2020
Good Lord. Sussex Cricket League has voted that teams no longer have to provide a cricket tea for a match. No tea? During a match? If this twaddle catches on, an asteroid may as well destroy us all now.
— Mark Steel (@mrmarksteel) November 24, 2020
My hot take on #teagate….
Most of the biggest defenders of teas aren’t those who have to organise or make them!
I mean I’m sad, but I wish players had the same enthusiasm to help me make tte food and clear up as they seem to have for eating.
— TheTeaLady (@crickettealady) November 24, 2020
Bit sensationalised tbf.
Teas not stopped – any club wanting too can
We’ve struggled to get XI out at times with a slip cordon having an average age of 70+
Try then getting a volunteer to do tea when you’ve begged players to play.
At least the option is there now
— Aldwick Cricket Club (@AldwickCC) November 24, 2020
No cricket teas are just another nail in the coffin of one club providing something for the away team and officials. The jug has gone. The umpires who stand in the cold and rain might just need something to warm them up. I am in favour of keeping them.
— Dan Whiting (@TheMiddleStump) November 24, 2020
Lots of discussion about cricket teas at the moment. If you can’t understand why people are voting to scrap em.
1. Your not involved with the hassle of organising them.
2. You take the tea ladies for granted.
3. Your teas are amazing
4. Your making decent profit #teagate
— The Fat Cricketer (@DatFatCricketer) November 23, 2020
The misrepresentation of the cricket tea was precisely what fooled our PM into thinking the sport was a greater threat to public health than tennis. Those who just want to play can & do live without it. Those who want to socialise (post-Covid) will put on massive spreads! Hurrah!
— Andrew Miller (@miller_cricket) November 24, 2020
Some lads play a whole season without getting much of a bat or bowl. The social aspect of cricket coupled with the chance for everyone, no matter what size, shape or age, to play is a huge part of the sport at recreational level. Cancelling teas is so short sighted & damaging
— Keyser Söze (@LeightonTreagus) November 24, 2020
— James Mayne (@jamesmchi) November 24, 2020
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