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DC vs PBKS, 11th match, IPL 2021

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Updates, colour and analysis with ESPNcricinfo’s match-day blog

In Sunday’s second game we have Rishabh Pant’s Delhi Capitals facing off against KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings. We’ll have the likes of R Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Shikhar Dhawan and Anrich Nortje against the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami, Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan and Nicholas Pooran. If the blog doesn’t load for you, click here. For our ball-by-ball commentary, click here

Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Covid-19 at IPL 2021 – Michael Hussey, and rest of Australia contingent in Maldives, set to fly home

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While Hussey flies commercial via Doha, the group waiting in the Maldives will take a BCCI charter flight

Michael Hussey will be home from India on Monday, about the same time as the 38 Australian players, coaches and media land on their return from the Maldives.

Following a series of Covid-19 positive tests, Hussey was unable to join the Maldives group after the postponement of the IPL but returned a negative test on Thursday night India time. He has now been cleared to return to Australian soil on a commercial flight via Doha.

The larger Maldives contingent, including the likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steven Smith and Michael Slater, will travel home to hotel quarantine in Sydney, on a BCCI charter flight that will also stopover in Perth once it reaches Australian airspace.

The return of the cricketers, coaches and media have been secured over the incoming arrival caps put in place for overseas travellers to Australia, following negotiations between Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers Association, and state and federal governments.

“The public will see our best Australian cricketers as almost superheroes. They’re brilliant athletes, great cricketers but they’re human beings [too],” Todd Greenberg, the ACA chief executive had said on May 5. “Some of them are fathers and husbands, and they’re under enormous amounts of stress. Some deal with it differently. This will probably be an experience they will never forget. We will help them when they come home. Some will cope with it really well, others will need support and counselling and that’s what we’ll do.

“The last 12 months around the globe, we’ve seen all professional athletes travel differently and charter flights maybe two years ago would have seen a different type of commentary than what we would see today. The reality is we’re going to try to keep them as safe as possible and if that’s available, I don’t think we should shy away from that.

“I’m not sure it will create reticence but it will ensure players do their due diligence before they sign [future] agreements,” he added, with the ACA having already advised its players to complete due diligence before signing up for T20 leagues during the pandemic.

“The world is literally changing before our eyes, particularly with Covid and on that side of the world, obviously those cases are going up exponentially. We’re enjoying our freedoms here in Australia. It is a very different place over there. If anything it sends a message to players about making sure you do your homework before making any decisions.”

A federal government pause on the return of Australians from India concluded on Saturday, with a series of repatriation flights for the first portion of some 9000 citizens beginning over the weekend.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig



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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Sussex Group 3 2021

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Confusion over elbow injury leaves Sussex captain Ben Brown shorn of options

Kent 145 and 220 for 3 (Crawley 85, Leaning 61*) lead Sussex 256 (Quinn 5-54, Gilchrist 3-51, Stevens 3-64) by 109 runs

We had to wait for our cricket on this third evening at Hove but one suspects we will remember it. Heavy showers delayed the start of play until five o’clock, by which time only 24 overs could be bowled. What we then saw and what we did not witness will interest the supporters of both teams and concern the England hierarchy as it prepares for a very hard year of international cricket.

Chief among the delights was the batting of Zak Crawley and Jack Leaning, whose 130-run fourth-wicket partnership should help Kent avoid defeat in this match, especially if tomorrow’s weather is as poor as has been forecast. Taking the gong for best supporting actor was the Sussex off-spinner, Jack Carson, who took Crawley’s wicket and whose engaging enthusiasm for his work was plain.

But, rather like the non-activity of the dog in the night-time, the studied quiescence of Jofra Archer standing at mid-on or deep midwicket with his hands in his pockets also commanded our attention. Archer did nothing except field a few balls today. On an evening when his team-mates were pulling their tripes out to take the wickets that might secure a much-needed win for Sussex, he effectively did nothing, although it was later disclosed by the Sussex coach Ian Salisbury that Archer’s sore elbow had prevented him adding to the five overs he had bowled on Friday evening.

Initially it was astonishing that Archer did not add to the brief spell he had bowled on Friday evening, especially as this is a game in which he is supposed to proving his match fitness in advance of an absurdly busy year. More disturbingly for Sussex supporters, it appeared that Archer’s county captain, Ben Brown, wanted his spearhead to deliver the second of the day’s 24 overs and had the briefest of discussions with him after Ollie Robinson had opened the bowling from the Cromwell Road End.

At the end of the chat Brown seemed to gesticulate towards Archer and called up George Garton from the slips. Sussex coach Ian Salisbury later disclosed that Archer’s long-standing elbow injury had prevented him bowling.

“I think there was some confusion over the state of his elbow,” said Salisbury. “Ben thought he was going to bowl but his elbow’s sore and so he couldn’t bowl. Regarding any other information about his elbow, it’s the ECB’s job to answer that. If he’s sore today, he’s not going to bowl tomorrow.”

Nevertheless, two further questions remain: if Archer had a sore elbow, why did the ECB allow him to field and risk further injury? And secondly, given that Archer has bowled a mere 18 overs in this game, how can he be risked in a five-day Test until he has proved his fitness, probably by taking a full part in a four-day county match?

When asked why Archer was on the field if he was not fit, Salisbury replied that both Archer and Brown “were desperate to win games for Sussex. Ben’s disappointment stems from the fact that one of his premier bowlers wasn’t available and we’re desperate to win this game against our local rivals”.



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Recent Match Report – Essex vs Derbyshire Group 1 2021

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Derbyshire 146 (Guest 49, Harmer 9-80) and 97 for 1 (Guest 56*) trail Essex 412 for 3 dec by 169 runs

A career-best Simon Harmer haul dragged Derbyshire into trouble at a rain-swept Chelmsford, as the visitors threatened to disappear down the gurgler in less than two days’ play. Essex have made all the running in their bid to beat both their opponents and the elements here, and only an improved showing second time around – underpinned by a maiden first-class fifty for the impressive Brooke Guest – kept Derbyshire above water going into the final day.

With the rain sluicing down on Thursday afternoon, Tom Westley, Essex’s captain, had looked out of the window and admitted winning would be a challenge. Scoring enough runs quickly while batting first, then taking 20 wickets in short order, that was the conundrum. “But I think the scripts that Essex generate for themselves over the last few years, you never know what’s going to happen,” he added.

Essex’s scriptwriters have truly been red hot in recent seasons, and no player has had his name in lights more often than Harmer. Nine Derbyshire batsmen were dazzled by his star wattage, as the plot for this match took a familiar turn; only Dan Lawrence’s dismissal of Billy Godleman on the second evening prevented a shot at all ten. “We try our best to create a bit of theatre around the bat,” Harmer said afterwards.

After being railroaded by Lawrence and Westley with the bat, Derbyshire were then mown down by the county game’s premier spinner coming the other way. So hapless was Derbyshire’s capitulation, the sight of an ACME anvil landing on one of the openers on the way out from the dressing room after they were invited to follow on would not have caused much of a stir.



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