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IPL 2021 – Delhi Capitals’ Axar Patel tests positive for Covid-19

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Allrounder is in the team hotel in Mumbai, in isolation at a designated medical care facility

Axar Patel, the Delhi Capitals allrounder, has tested positive for Covid-19. Patel had checked into the team hotel in Mumbai on March 28 after arriving with a negative Covid-19 report, but has has returned a positive test since.

He is “currently in isolation at a designated medical care facility”. The franchise’s medical team “is in constant touch with Axar and ensuring his safety and well-being”.

Patel is the second cricketer, after the Kolkata Knight Riders’ Nitish Rana, to test positive since the teams started checking into their hotels in Mumbai and Chennai. There was positive news for Rana, however, with the Knight Riders putting out a video that showed him attending a team training session after an extended 12-day quarantine.

“I first got tested because it’s compulsory for an entry into Mumbai, so I did it, and I got a negative result. Then I flew into Mumbai, and came straight to the hotel. The day I came, I did my usual workouts inside the room,” Rana said in the video. “In Mumbai, after the first day (Day 2) of quarantine, I got tested again. I didn’t have any symptoms. It wasn’t like I was feeling any different for three days or so.

“Obviously wasn’t expecting the tests to come positive. I had taken all sorts of precautions. But despite that, I contracted Covid. The protocols that I had to follow, the BCCI guidelines, or the things that my doctors had told me to do, I followed each and everything.

“On the 11 th day (of quarantine), I got tested yet again, and I got a negative report. And on the 12 th day, today [Friday] I got tested again, and I got a negative again.”

The BCCI’s “IPL 2021: Health and Safety Protocols” manual lays down the rules and regulations for dealing with Covid-19 cases in detail.

  • Suspected/positive cases will be immediately isolated from rest of the squad.
  • The team doctor will inform the BCCI chief medical officer immediately.
  • The local health authority will be immediately notified of the positive RT-PCR test result.
  • The case will be managed in close coordination with accredited hospitals and treatment centres equipped with Covid-19 testing and treatment equipment.
  • All concerned cases shall be dealt with as per the guidelines set by the government applicable to that particular area.
  • Contact tracing must commence immediately. All individuals who have been in close contact with the case during the previous 48 hours starting from the time of collection of the sample which resulted in a positive test, will be isolated and tested. All casual contacts in the last 48 hours starting from the time of collection of the sample which resulted in a positive test, will also be isolated and tested immediately.
  • All staff handling positive cases must mandatorily wear a full PPE kit (goggles, face shield, N95 mask, gloves, coverall/gowns, head cover and shoe covers) while handling a suspected/positive Covid-19 case.

This aside, in case of asymptomatic people or ones with mild symptoms, the protocol is for the person to be isolated in a designated area outside the bio-secure environment for a minimum of ten days from the day on which the sample which resulted in the positive report was taken.

As such, the situation in Mumbai, as well as other parts of the country, is rather grim, with a fresh spike in Covid-19 cases, which the chief minister of Maharashtra (of which Mumbai is a part) Uddhav Thakeray has called a “second wave”. Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad are the six host centres for 2021 IPL, which will start on April 9, with Hyderabad identified as a contingency option in case one or more of the six designated cities cannot host matches.

More to follow…



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WI vs Pak 2021 – Pakistan’s Hasan Ali happy to beat a West Indies side ‘with such firepower’

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Pakistan’s focus now on the Tests, says the pacer, with the series being a key one for his side in the new World Test Championship cycle

An early 1-0 lead that’s consolidated by not much happening for the rest of the contest sounds like something out of Jose Mourinho’s playbook, but if ever a cricketing equivalent were to have such a result, you’d put good money on Misbah-ul-Haq being the mastermind. There weren’t too many tactics involved in that scoreline, though, with uncooperative weather ensuring a T20I in Guyana was all the cricket that could be played, and once Pakistan edged West Indies in it, there was little West Indies could do to prevent a Pakistan series win.
But while the weather might be the enduring narrative from what should have been a five-match series (even before the weather played foul, Covid-19 cut into the schedule), Pakistan fast bowler Hasan Ali insisted a series win at the home of the defending T20 world champions meant a lot to his side. “Winning away to a side with such firepower that they can hurt you anytime is great. A win is a win and we’re very happy with the series victory in the West Indies,” he said. “We’re all disappointed because we wanted to play. Even when it was raining we were all raring to go. But the weather is not in our control. Of course, the disappointment is we couldn’t prepare properly away to a champion side.
“We had to learn some lessons from the England series, and we’re working on our bowling in the middle and the death. I really like our bowling unit right now, and also my personal form. As a bowling unit, we trust each other and our coaches trust us too. Of course, we have to improve, but we have a month or two to hone our skills ahead of the T20 World Cup.”

“We’re not looking forward to the India match right now at all, to be honest with you. That’s still very far away. My focus is just on these two Tests right now”

Hasan Ali on the T20 World Cup game against India

There’s another assignment, though, before the focus shifts completely to the shortest format. A two-match Test series against West Indies starting next week, to kick off the new World Test Championship (WTC) cycle for both sides. Unlike the last cycle, which somewhat passed Pakistan by, the fixtures and scheduling have fallen in a way that represents a real chance for Babar Azam’s side to claim a spot in the final come 2023. The upcoming two-match series presents arguably Pakistan’s most challenging away fixtures in this cycle, with the other away series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

That, of course, makes performing in this Test series that much more important, and Ali said the series was his side’s primary focus for the moment.

“We’re looking forward to the Tests; we have a few days to get used to the red ball. I’ll try to capitalise on my form and the rhythm I’ve got going for now,” Ali said. “Our team is very balanced. We have plenty of spinners with Yasir [Shah] coming back, and in dry conditions like these that’s very useful.

“Then we also have [pace options in] Shaheen [Afridi], Naseem [Shah], [Mohammad] Abbas and myself. We’ve won the last two Test series [against West Indies] and we’re looking to continue that and get the WTC off in victorious fashion.”

Facing up to the usual, mandatory question on Pakistan being drawn in the same group as India in the T20 World Cup group, Ali was clear that it was not something the team was dwelling on. “We’re not looking forward to the India match right now at all, to be honest with you,” he said. “That’s still very far away. My focus is just on these two Tests right now.”

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000



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Recent Match Report – Derbyshire vs Notts Group 1 2021

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Wood’s 55-ball ton is Derbyshire’s fastest in List A as Harry Came chimes in with half-century

Derbyshire 258 for 6 (Wood 109, Came 57) beat Nottinghamshire 217 (Hutton 46, Hudson-Prentice 3-37) by 41 runs

A brilliant record-breaking maiden List A century by Tom Wood led Derbyshire to a 41-run victory over Nottinghamshire in the Royal London Cup match at Derby.

Wood’s 55-ball hundred was Derbyshire’s fastest in List A cricket and the second-fastest in all formats for the county.

The 27-year-old smashed 14 fours and three sixes in his 59-ball 109, which propelled Derbyshire to 258 for 6 in a game reduced to 27 overs by heavy rain the previous evening.

Harry Came scored 57, his first List A fifty, and an unlikely target of 259 proved beyond Nottinghamshire, who were bowled out for 217 with Brett Hutton scoring 46 from 20 balls and Finn Hudson-Prentice taking 3 for 37.

The start had been delayed by three-and-a-half hours while groundstaff dried out part of the square that was saturated when it was left uncovered overnight.

After matting was eventually put over the wet areas, the match began at 2.30pm with Wood and Came going into overdrive after Nottinghamshire elected to bowl.

Although Mitch Wagstaff skied Joey Evison to point, Came pulled Hutton for six and drove Liam Patterson-White over the long off boundary.

Dane Paterson conceded 14 from his third over which also included four byes and Came pulled Evison for his third six before missing a sweep at Patterson-White.

Brooke Guest was bowled advancing at Patterson-White but Wood pulled Hutton for a big six as 18 came from the 20th over.

Alex Hughes was lbw trying to swing a full length ball from Paterson and after Hudson-Prentice lofted Patterson-White over long off for six, he was brilliantly caught by Peter Trego diving full length at mid off.

Wood took three fours from Luke Fletcher and then drove Paterson for six as Nottinghamshire leaked 65 from the last four overs.

His hundred came when he pulled Hutton for his third six and he left to a standing ovation when he was caught at short third man off the last ball of the innings.

It needed something special for Nottinghamshire to deny Derbyshire their first victory in the competition and although Trego briefly threatened to match Wood’s pyrotechnics with 28 from 20 balls, they fell well short.

Trego and Matthew Montgomery added 54 in five overs but an athletic catch by Wagstaff at point removed Montgomery and Trego miscued a pull at George Scrimshaw.

Lyndon James was stumped coming down the pitch to Mattie McKiernan and Nottinghamshire’s fading hopes ended when former Derbyshire batsman Ben Slater drilled Alex Thomson to long off.

Hutton enjoyed himself in the evening sunshine but could not save Nottinghamshire from their first defeat to Derbyshire in one-day cricket since 2004.



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Recent Match Report – Invincibles vs Phoenix 18th Match 2021

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Hosts join Hundred front runners with six-wicket victory over Invincibles in Edgbaston run-fest

Birmingham Phoenix 174 for 4 (Ali 49, Smeed 45, Benjamin 37*) beat Oval Invincibles 172 for 3 (Ingram 81*) by six wickets

Birmingham Phoenix jumped right among the Hundred front runners with a thrilling six-wicket victory over Oval Invincibles in a runfest at Edgbaston.

A powerhouse innings from Colin Ingram – 81 from 43 balls – lifted the Invincibles to 172 for 3 – the second-highest total in the Hundred.

The 36-year-old built on a fast start from Jason Roy (38, 22 balls) and hit eight fours and four sixes, many coming in a third-wicket stand of 72 in 39 balls with captain Sam Billings (24, 17 balls).

But the Phoenix reeled in the tall target, reaching 174 for 4 with six balls to spare thanks to Moeen Ali‘s 49 off 26 balls, Will Smeed‘s 45 from 28 and a dazzling cameo by Chris Benjamin, whose unbeaten 37 from 16 balls tilted a knife-edge contest his side’s way.

After choosing to bowl, the Phoenix started well with Adam Milne and Imran Tahir each conceding just a single from their first over. The Invincibles then hit their stride, though, Roy batting with characteristic power, hitting five fours and a six before he was bowled by a slower ball from Benny Howell.

Ingram and Billings accelerated in a violent partnership which ended when the latter lifted Pat Brown to long off where Howell took a fine catch. Ingram cleared the ropes in each of the last two overs to provide late impetus and round off a perfectly paced innings from the South African.

Finn Allen’s 23 off 13 balls gave the Phoenix reply a fiery start with five fours in eight balls but he fell in strange fashion when he played back to Sunil Narine’s first ball and trod on his wicket.

Liam Livingstone heaved one huge six but was denied another when Laurie Evans took a stinging catch on the mid-wicket rope to give Tabraiz Shamsi his first wicket.

Sneed stepped it up after a watchful start but skied Saqib Mahmood to extra cover. With such a big target, the pressure on the Phoenix batters was high but Ali responded with a furious attack which included successive sixes off Tom Curran. The skipper was within one run of a half-century when Curran got his revenge, taking a superb catch at deep mid-wicket.

That left the Phoenix needing 34 from 25 balls. Benjamin got to grips with the task straight away, trimming the target to ten fom ten and then striking the winning four to continue his fairy-tale rise.



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