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Match Preview – Capitals vs Mum Indians, IPL 2021, 13th Match

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Mumbai have been brilliant at defending low totals so far, while the Capitals have twice chased down big targets

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The Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Capitals, the finalists of IPL 2020, will go face to face for the first time this season on Tuesday.

Both teams have two wins in their first three games of this edition, and they have done that in conditions they don’t generally get at their respective home grounds. Defending champions Mumbai have put up a masterclass in defending low totals on the slow Chepauk pitches, while the Capitals chased down daunting ones with ease at the dewy Wankhede Stadium.

The Capitals will now have to adjust to the conditions in Chennai. At the Wankhede, their batters enjoyed the ball coming on to the bat; that may not happen on Tuesday. What may work in their favour, though, is the conditions in Chennai wouldn’t be very different from the ones they get in Delhi. Having said that, they still need to figure out their best XI, especially the bowling unit with Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav still recovering from their heel and calf issues respectively.

Mumbai’s playing XI, on the other hand, picks itself, barring one slot that they tinker with depending on the pitch and the opposition. Their bowling has been top-notch but the batting has lacked the usual firepower. After three outings, Suryakumar Yadav‘s 56 against the Kolkata Knight Riders remains the only 50-plus score for them. And while they have adapted well to the Chennai conditions, the Capitals too may feel equally at home there.

In the news

Hardik Pandya is carrying a niggle, which he picked up during the last ODI against England. That’s the reason he hasn’t bowled in IPL 2021 so far. On the eve of the match, Mumbai’s head coach Mahela Jayawardene said that Pandya wouldn’t be bowling till the niggle cools off, which may take a few weeks.

Likely XIs

Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Rishabh Pant (capt, wk), 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Lalit Yadav, 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Avesh Khan

Mumbai Indians: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Jayant Yadav, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Strategy punt

  • Mumbai could consider playing offspinner Jayant Yadav in place of Adam Milne. Not only because the Chepauk pitches have been conducive to spin, two of the Capitals’ main batters – Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant – are left-handers. Mumbai had used the same ploy against the Capitals in last year’s final too. In his brief IPL career, Jayant has picked up six wickets, all six of them of left-hand batters.
  • The Capitals could play legspinner Amit Mishra in place of left-arm seamer Lukman Meriwala. Mishra has an impressive head-to-head record against Rohit Sharma (80 runs in 85 balls, six dismissals), Quinton de Kock (11 runs in 12 balls, no dismissal) and Ishan Kishan (six runs in two balls, two dismissals). Only Sunil Narine (eight times) has dismissed Rohit more often in T20 cricket.

Stats that matter

  • Since 2019, Dhawan has a batting average of 41.40 and a strike rate of 143.24 in the IPL. Prior to that, those numbers were 33.26 and 123.53 respectively. Earlier, he used to be predominantly an off-side player, but recently he has added more shots to his repertoire to improve his leg-side game as well.
  • In IPL 2021, R Ashwin has picked up just one wicket so far in 11 overs.
  • Since 2017, Rohit has batted 57 times in the top four in the IPL. In those innings, he has an average of 26.66 and a strike rate of 127.52. In the same timeframe, Ajinkya Rahane has played 52 innings in the top four, averaging 25.83 at a strike rate of 122.20. No other top-four batter who averages under 30 and strikes below 130 in that period has played more than 25 innings.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Former India Women’s coach WV Raman alleges ‘smear campaign’ against him in email to Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid

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He says it will be “extremely disconcerting” if his candidature was rejected due to reasons other than “my incompetency as a coach”

India Women’s outgoing head coach WV Raman has alleged that a “smear campaign” against him has gained unwarranted traction and he has urged the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly to stop it. In an email that Raman also sent to the National Cricket Academy head Rahul Dravid, he wrote it will be “extremely disconcerting” if his candidature was rejected due to reasons other than “my incompetency as a coach”.

Raman was not retained as the head coach of the senior women’s team by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) which picked Ramesh Powar for the job.

“I presume you might have been told different views about my style of functioning and work ethic,” Raman wrote. “Whether those views conveyed to the officials of the BCCI had any impact on my candidature is of no consequence now.



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Cameron Bancroft – ‘Self-explanatory’ that bowlers were aware of ball-tampering tactics in Newlands Test

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“All I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part”

Cameron Bancroft has conceded there had to be wider knowledge of Australia’s ball-tampering tactics against South Africa in the Newlands Test than the punished trio of himself, David Warner and Steven Smith.

Speaking to the Guardian interviewer Donald McRae in Durham where he is playing county cricket, Bancroft admitted under questioning that it was “self-explanatory” that bowlers in the Test team had to be aware the ball was being tampered with.

“Yeah, look, all I wanted to do was to be responsible and accountable for my own actions and part. Yeah, obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” Bancroft said. “I guess one thing I learnt through the journey and being responsible is that’s where the buck stops [with Bancroft himself]. Had I had better awareness I would have made a much better decision.”

When pressed further, he replied: “Uh… yeah, look, I think, yeah, I think it’s pretty probably self-explanatory.”

While levying extremely heavy penalties on Bancroft, Warner and Smith for their roles in the ball-tampering, Cricket Australia ring-fenced the matter away from the rest of the team, although head coach Darren Lehmann resigned a few days later after seeing the tearful press conferences of the players upon their early returns to Australia.

The lengthy bans placed on Bancroft (nine months), Warner and Smith (one year each, with Warner banned from holding any leadership positions for life) have left plenty of questions unanswered, even though CA has in the past called for anyone with further evidence about the affair to come forward. Former chief executive Kevin Roberts had this to say in March 2019 about that prospect, while defending the initial investigation conducted by the former CA head of integrity, Iain Roy, between the Cape Town and Johannesburg Tests.

“If they’ve got any concerns about ball-tampering or any concerns about any integrity issue in the game, we’ve invited them to report that through our anonymous integrity hotline or through other means that are available to them,” Roberts had said. “We haven’t had any such reports, so we won’t jump at shadows, but if anyone does report concerns about any integrity matter prior to ball-tampering or whatever it may be, we’re serious about addressing that, and we have a process to address it.

“We’re really serious about addressing any unresolved issues and we’re sincere in the way we’re going about that. So if there are any reports or allegations as opposed to innuendo, then we will investigate that thoroughly.

“Certainly the investigation needed to be conducted swiftly, we needed to fulfil our commitment to field a team against South Africa the following week, and we didn’t know whether we’d need to fly 11 new players in to fill that team or no new players. The ultimate answer was somewhere in between. So the investigation was absolutely fit for purpose, but we haven’t rested on those laurels. We’ve made repeated and extensive invitations to anyone to report any integrity matters or concerns about ball-tampering ever since.”

Though Smith and Warner have returned to the team, Bancroft is now a long way from international consideration, having played the first two Test of the 2019 Ashes series before being discarded and then struggling to recreate his best days in the Sheffield Shield in 2019-20. He performed better last summer but is not considered to be in the front rank of contenders for a place in the national side.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig



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England head coach Chris Silverwood to take time off during Sri Lanka, Pakistan ODI series

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England head coach will hand over to assistants Thorpe and Collingwood during busy summer

Chris Silverwood will miss the ODI series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan as part of England’s rest-and-rotation policy.

Silverwood, the England coach, was one of few ever-presents on England’s tours of Sri Lanka and India and accepts he will find it hard to switch off. But he also acknowledged the need for fallow periods amid England’s relentlessly busy schedule and said that without such breaks, he “won’t be providing the level of service” players deserve.

England’s assistant coaches, Paul Collingwood and Graham Thorpe, will each take charge of an ODI series in his absence.

“It is important we keep our personnel as fresh as possible,” Silverwood said. “It’s not fair on the players if I am operating at less than 100 percent and it is not fair on myself either. I won’t be providing the level of service that I need.



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