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Match Preview – Capitals vs Punjab Kings, IPL 2021, 11th Match

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Both teams are strong at the top but have a tendency of losing steam towards the end of their innings

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In the blue corner, we have Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and others. In the red, there are KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and friends. The Delhi Capitals’ contest against the Punjab Kings is of the kind where, were it a boxing match, there would be the promise of some heavy-duty action in the first few rounds, with the possibility of a peter-out later on.

That’s because of how the two teams are made up. Both rely on their top orders to do the bulk of the work, and if the top order falters, then the batting goes from sizzle to fizzle pretty quickly. There are other points in common too: they are stocked with lots of pace options, and each has won one game and lost one. However, while the Capitals might look back at their defeat against the Rajasthan Royals and think they could have won two in two, the Kings would need to pick themselves up after a rather comprehensive wipe-out against the Chennai Super Kings.



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Cricketers around the world express solidarity with Palestine after civilian casualties rise

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As the death toll in Gaza following Israeli air strikes escalated, cricketers around the world made their voices heard

Cricketers from around the world have expressed support and solidarity with the people of Palestine, with the death toll from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza rising sharply over the past few days. Several of the dead are civilians, including at least 13 children.

The violence began on Monday when the Israeli military entered the Al Aqsa mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, in the final days of Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims.

Several members of the Pakistan cricket team, led by captain Babar Azam posted messages on Twitter, with a running theme of prayers for the Palestinian people, imploring the world to “stand up for humanity”. Shan Masood, Azhar Ali and Shadab Khan were among the other Pakistanis who expressed solidarity.

The messages of goodwill weren’t limited to Pakistani cricketers. Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan called it “no crime more heinous than the killing of a child”. Hashim Amla, in a lengthy Instagram post, drew comparisons to Nelson Mandela’s struggle against apartheid, reminding people of Mandela’s unstinting support for the people of Palestine throughout his life. Mandela had said South Africa’s struggle was “incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.

Tabraiz Shamsi, Daren Sammy and Kagiso Rabada also posted messages on Twitter praying for Palestine, while former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan said one “only needed to be human” to support their cause. George Linde condemned the “terrible scenes” while England bowler Saqib Mahmood asked people not to turn a blind eye, using the hashtag #FreePalestine.

This isn’t the first time cricket has found itself caught up in the issue. In 2014, at the height of an Israeli military operation in Gaza, England allrounder Moeen Ali wore wristbands with slogans reading #FreePalestine and #SaveGaza during a Test match between England and India. The ICC match referee David Boon decided it was a breach of the ICC regulation forbidding cricketers from sending out political messages and asked Moeen to remove the wristbands.





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Qais Ahmad signs Kent deal for T20 Blast, two County Championship games

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Last season’s beaten quarter-finalists lean towards spin-heavy strategy for Blast

Qais Ahmad, the Afghanistan legspinner, has signed for Kent for the whole of T20 Blast and two County Championship fixtures, adding to the burgeoning list of teams he has represented around the world in short-form cricket.

Ahmad, 20, was due to join Gloucestershire as an overseas player last summer but had his contract cancelled on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, this will be his first stint in county cricket.

He is also due to play for Welsh Fire in the inaugural season of the Hundred, after he was retained ahead of February’s re-draft. As a result, he will stay in the UK after the conclusion of the Blast’s group stage, and is likely to be available for the knockout stages.

The club also signed Mohammad Amir for the second half of the competition last month, while Heino Kuhn is registered as an overseas player after the expiration of Kolpak status. Counties are allowed to register three overseas players simultaneously, but can field a maximum of two in a match.

Ahmad is the fifth Afghanistan player to sign a deal for this year’s Blast, after Rashid Khan (Sussex), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Middlesex), Mohammad Nabi (Northamptonshire) and Naveen-ul-Haq (Leicestershire). He would not have qualified for a governing body endorsement for his visa but for a change in the ECB’s requirements two years ago.



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LPL 2021 – SLC lines up August window for Lanka Premier League’s second season

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Franchise tournament to be staged immediately after India’s white-ball tour

Sri Lanka Cricket have announced that the second season of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) will be played from July 30 to August 22, with further details about the franchise tournament yet to be confirmed.

The window falls immediately after Sri Lanka’s home series against India, which comprises three ODIs and three T20Is, finishing on July 27. It also means that the LPL will clash with the Hundred, the ECB’s new 100-ball competition, which starts on July 21, but will be finished before the start of the Caribbean Premier League on August 28.

Professor Arjuna de Silva, the chairman of SLC’s management committee, said: “We have found a suitable window to hold this year’s edition, whilst we are currently working on finalising the other details of the tournament.”

The inaugural season of the tournament was played between November 26 and December 16 in a bio-secure bubble, with all 23 fixtures staged in Hambantota. Jaffna Stallions were the champions, beating Galle Gladiators in the final.

SLC said in a statement that it would “assess the country’s situation and discuss with the Ministry of Health closer to the tournament to ascertain the health situation in the country prior to taking a final decision on the competition.”



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