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RR vs DC, IPL 2021 – Ricky Ponting

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The Delhi Capitals coach also says his bowlers bowled “a few too many slot balls” to Chris Morris

R Ashwin bowled the seventh, ninth and 11th overs of the chase. He conceded 14 runs and no boundaries. He had two left-hand batters to bowl at. Neither of them enjoys a favourable match-up against Ashwin. The dew was setting in, and it would have been difficult to get Ashwin back later if the ball had got wet or if he had right-hand batters to bowl to. Rishabh Pant, though, went to Marcus Stoinis, who conceded 15 in that over, and Ashwin ended the night without bowling his quota in what turned out to be a close defeat.

The move didn’t make much sense to those watching nor to the Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting. “That’s certainly something that we will talk about when I get a chance to sit down with the team,” Ponting said at the post-match press conference. “He had bowled beautifully. Three overs, none for 14. Hadn’t even conceded a boundary. Look he had a disappointing game in game one, but he has worked really hard in the last few days to make sure he adjusted and got things right in this game. I thought he bowled beautifully tonight. Probably a mistake on our behalf, and something we will be talking about later on.”

Something else that Ponting and the Capitals will be talking about is the sheer number of “slot balls” they gave to Chris Morris in the last two overs, who in turn hit four sixes to run away with a game that had looked like it was in the Capitals’ bag. Until the start of the 15th over of the second innings, there hadn’t been a single six hit in the game, but the Rajasthan Royals hit seven in the last 4.4 overs to make it home.

Morris might have missed out on a couple of these when the Royals lost to the Punjab Kings chasing 222, but he managed to connect enough of them to sink the Capitals.

“We probably gave him a few too many easy balls, a few too many slot balls if you like,” Ponting said. “The length wasn’t quite where it needed to be. If you look at the replay of the game, if you bowled a reasonable yorker, he didn’t score off them. If it was back of a length, sort of, above stump high, he didn’t get hold of them either, especially with pace on the ball. We talked about how to bowl to him, but the execution probably wasn’t there.”

It is not entirely a coincidence that the errors increased as the dew set in. “The other thing you have got to factor in is just how wet and how dewy the ball was in the second innings of the game,” Ponting said. “It wasn’t easy for the bowlers to grip. You could see it at the end there. There were a few full tosses that fast bowlers bowled with the ball slipping out of their hand a little bit. That’s part and parcel of IPL cricket. We knew coming here that there will be a little bit of dew in the second half of the game. And we didn’t adapt, and we didn’t execute as well as we could have tonight.

“Till around the 13th-over mark in our bowling innings, the second innings of the game, everything was going according to plan. We made a few errors coming in the last four or five overs of the game. When you are a little bit off against any team in the IPL, just bowl a couple of bad balls or just a couple of those here and there, it is quite often the difference in the outcome. We didn’t get things right at the back end tonight.”

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo



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WI vs SA, 1st Test, 2021

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Kieran Powell will replace him under the concussion substitute rule

West Indies batter Nkrumah Bonner has been ruled out of the first Test against South Africa in St Lucia after being diagnosed with concussion. Kieran Powell will replace him under the concussion substitute rule.

Bonner top edged the very first ball he faced, off pacer Anrich Nortje, when he attempted to hook a short delivery but played the ball onto his helmet’s badge. He appeared shaken and was checked for concussion on the field – while South Africa reviewed unsuccessfully for a possible catch – and allowed to continue. He faced 32 balls in all and scored 10 runs but did not take the field when West Indies arrived to bowl, midway through the second session.

Instead, Powell was on the field and will now also bat in Bonner’s place. Powell has not played for West Indies since 2018 and was recalled for the series.

If was a big blow on a day of blows for West Indies, who were routed for 97 – the 19th time in Test cricket they’ve been bowled out below 100, and their lowest total against South Africa. Bonner, averaging 62.50 in his four Tests before this one, was one of only five players to face more than 30 balls in the innings.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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Eng vs NZ 2021 – New Zealand’s wholesale changes show immense strength in depth

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Unprecedented six changes also highlight WTC’s impact on international cricket

New Zealand have never previously made six changes to their side within a series and that they did so at Edgbaston and still managed to take seven wickets after being asked to bowl on a flat pitch was evidence of two things: firstly, unprecedented strength in depth within their Test squad, and secondly, the extent of the World Test Championship’s impact on international cricket.

Tom Latham, their stand-in captain, insisted in his pre-match press conference that beating England was “higher on our priority list” than the WTC final, but that he was saying it in the first place was proof of the inverse: Kane Williamson was ruled out through elbow pain here but would surely be risked against India if he suffered the same ailment next week.
Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Colin de Grandhomme were all rotated out to manage their workloads ahead of the same fixture, and while BJ Watling’s stiff back and Mitchell Santner’s cut finger might well have caused them to miss out under any circumstances, the presence of ready-made replacements in Tom Blundell and Ajaz Patel and Trent Boult’s return meant only a limited drop-off in the quality of New Zealand’s side.

It has been clear for some time that the notion of teams knowing their ‘best XI’ is anachronistic in this era of international cricket but in the Covid era of enlarged squads, bubble fatigue, variety in conditions and a punishing schedule, squad depth is more relevant than ever. India proved as much during their improbable series win in Australia at the start of this year, and with New Zealand fielding 17 players across these two Tests, they are showing that the era of “Hadlee at one end, Ilford seconds at the other” is long gone.

The only time a team has used more than that in a two-match series was when Sri Lanka rested seven players after an innings-and-196-run win against a struggling Bangladesh in 2002, which led Sanath Jayasuriya to complain he had never seen some of his new side before and drew the disapproval of the government’s sports minister – though they still won the second Test by 288 runs.



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SL vs Ind 2021 – Shikhar Dhawan to captain India on limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar named vice-captain, Chetan Sakariya and Nitish Rana among new faces in the mix

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya have all received maiden call-ups to the national team, figuring in the 20-man India squad for the white-ball series in Sri Lanka, scheduled for July. The second-string squad – the main team will be in England at the time – will be captained by opening batter Shikhar Dhawan, who has never led India previously, and will also see the international comeback of fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been appointed vice-captain.
India’s Sri Lanka tour comprises six matches: three ODIs (on July 13, 16 and 18), followed by three T20Is (July 21, 23, 25). Former India captain Rahul Dravid has been confirmed as the head coach, although the BCCI did not announce the coaching staff for the side on Thursday when it announced the squad, which will have five reserve bowlers.

Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-capt), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, R Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh

More to follow…



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