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Recent Match Report – Super Kings vs Royals 12th Match 2021

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With Royals slipping from 87 for 2 to 95 for 7, they were beaten long before the match ended

Chennai Super Kings 188 for 9 (du Plessis 33, Ali 26, Sakariya 3-36, Morris 2-33) beat Rajasthan Royals 143 for 9 (Buttler 49, Unadkat 24, Ali 3-7, Curran 2-24, Jadeja 2-28) by 45 runs

A batting order that stretches all the way down to No. 11 continues to mask the Chennai Super Kings’ flaws – two very glaring ones at least. But the rest of their team is functioning pretty well. Too well as it turned out for Rajasthan Royals, who collapsed in the middle overs in a chase of 189, and were beaten long before the match ended.

The opener rising to the challenge
When Faf du Plessis walks out to bat, he knows he needs to score runs for two people, and he kinda seems okay with it.

Jaydev Unadkat probably wasn’t. He was left utterly confused as he leaked two fours behind the wicket and two sixes in front of it.

du Plessis’ innovation – he appears one of the few Super Kings batsmen willing to try unorthodox shots – helped them to 46 for 2 in the powerplay. And so long as he can do that, his under-fire partner has some room to breathe.

Ruturaj Gaikwad doesn’t have a power game and in all three of his innings so far he has looked very out of place.

The fading captain
There were so many times in the past that the arrival of MS Dhoni, with the score at 125 and six overs left in the game, would herald total destruction.

Here he faced 17 of the last 37 balls of the innings and made 18 uncomfortable runs. A run a ball for half the deliveries at the death is just not ideal at all.

The Royals deserve credit for that. They forced him to play spin, which he hates at the start of his innings, and their two left-arm quicks, Chetan Sakariya in particular, were brilliant with their changes of pace.

So it’s not just that Dhoni’s powers are fading. His opponents know just what to do to make them fade.

The end-overs rally
The Super Kings bat deep. And they just wouldn’t stop swinging. Sam Curran (13 off six) launched his second delivery for a jaw-dropping six over point. It is hard to reconcile his power and his frame. But he has it. And he uses it superbly.

Dwayne Bravo (20* off eight) was on it too, starting off with a vintage loft over extra cover and signing off with a six straight down the ground. The amount of effort he was putting into clearing the boundary was apparent when one time when he tried the bat just flew out of his hand and went halfway to fine leg.

Thanks to their efforts, the Super Kings made 45 runs off the last three overs to finish with 188.

The new Mr Super King
Last season he was their best hitter. And as a result of that the management is now giving him the chance to face more deliveries. Ravindra Jadeja walked out to bat in the 14th over tonight. And while he couldn’t reprise his big-hitting heroics from 2020, he has found his bowling groove again.

An impossibly beautiful delivery that bowled Jos Buttler was ample proof of that.

It pitched on middle and leg, at a spot and pace that didn’t allow the batter to push forward or back, and turned waspishly to strike the middle and off. Buttler was practically keeling over, his balance and his wicket both ripped out of his hands.

That kickstarted a Royals collapse. Five wickets – two to Jadeja, three to Moeen Ali – for just eight runs. And here are the names that were part of that procession. Shivam Dube, David Miller, Chris Morris and Riyan Parag. All potential match-winners. All undone in the tamest way. The first two lbw playing across the line. The next two caught slogging to the deep.

With Royals slipping from 87 for 2 to 95 for 7, their chase was, y’know… sad face emoji.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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County Championship 2021 – Tom Westley seeks uplift after ‘strange’ start to Essex’s twin title defence

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Halfway through the group stage of the Championship, and Essex have got it all to do. The defending champions are currently fifth in Group One – albeit only 15 points off a top-two spot – and in need of a run of good form in order to make sure of qualifying for Division One when the competition splits. If Tom Westley, Essex’s captain, had been hoping a return to Chelmsford would spark an uplift after two defeats and a draw on the road, then a washed-out first day against Derbyshire only served to dampen the mood.

Westley admits it has been a “strange start” to the season. Having scored 490 for 9 declared in their opening game, only to be held to a draw by Worcestershire, Essex then recovered from being skittled for 96 by Durham to defend their manor in the manner to which most observers have become accustomed – scrapping hard in the second innings to post a target of 168, and then defending it ruthlessly on the back of another Simon Harmer ten-for.

But defeats at Edgbaston, by seven wickets, and Trent Bridge, by an innings, either side of another stalemate away to Worcestershire have left Westley puzzling over how to get what he views as “the best team in the country” playing like they can.

“Things definitely could be going a bit better,” he tells ESPNcricinfo. “It’s been quite challenging, a bit disappointing for the standards that we set at Essex. We’re used to winning lots of games of cricket, which hasn’t been the case this year. Halfway through, still a lot of games to be played and the group is tight – if you win a couple of games all of a sudden you’re right back up there.

“It’s been quite strange, in that we’ve been bowled out for less than 100 twice, and we’ve also got 500 twice. We haven’t been able to piece the whole game together with bat and ball. Certain games we’ve batted really well and bowled not as well, and in other games we’ve bowled well and not batted well. Which is the crux of cricket, I suppose.

“It’s immensely frustrating not being able to piece it together. It’s been a reminder of how hard four-day cricket is, especially when the some of the surfaces have been either way – very flat or [doing a bit]. It’s a strange start for us.”



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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Sussex Group 3 2021

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Fast bowler confirms bid for full fitness is back on track after fiery opening gambit at Hove

Sussex 51 for 2 trail Kent 145 (Leaning 63; Robinson 3-29, Garton 3-65, Archer 2-29) by 94 runs

When Jofra Archer last played a first-class match at Hove he was not a World Cup winner nor had he played in an Ashes series. The game took place in September 2018 and was memorable for the final first-class centuries of both Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell. Trott’s hundred satisfied the technicians; Bell’s pleased the aesthetes and brings them comfort still. Archer had played 10 IPL games for Rajasthan Royals and was plainly England’s next big thing. But his four late wickets against Warwickshire hardly disturbed the universe and certainly nobody gave a monkey’s what he did with his fish tank apart, one assumes, from the fish. The age of aquaria had not yet dawned.

That era is upon us now, though, and so Archer is perhaps fortunate that he is based in Brighton, where other-worldliness is an asset and where shredding your finger cleaning up after your piscine pets is something that could happen to anyone. Even more than Britain’s metropolises this city is a shrine to the outré and the baroque. Archer is thus an extraordinary cricketer in a city filled with extraordinary people and maybe he enjoys the camouflage, even if such concealment is not always available. The news that he had recovered sufficiently from a right-elbow injury to be named in Sussex’s squad for this game against Kent brought extra photographers and journalists to the County Ground and in the first half an hour of the day we could all see why.

In Archer’s third over Daniel Bell-Drummond was beaten for pace and bounce; the catch went very fast to second slip where George Garton made it look laughably easy. Next over, though, Archer over-pitched and Zak Crawley helped himself to four runs past wide mid-on. We settled down for a duel between a couple of England’s Test cricketers, only for it to end two balls later when Crawley could do nothing with sharp lift and movement off a length except nick the ball to Ben Brown.

“Usually I bowl to Zak n the [England] nets and I have done that quite a bit,” observed Archer when our day’s cricket was done. “Obviously, you’re never out in the nets so it was good to get him out here, with umpires.”



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ICC consider expanding T20 World Cup to 20 teams

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Change of attitude from governing body with shorter form seen as vehicle for growth

The T20 World Cup could be increased to include 20 teams as part of the ICC’s attempts to develop the game globally.

While the 2021 tournament, currently scheduled to be played in India, will still feature 16 teams, ESPNcricinfo understands there are plans to increase that number from the 2024 edition. Current thinking suggests that version of the event will feature four groups of five teams in its opening phase.

The ICC has long seen the T20 format as a vehicle for the game’s expansion and there has been previous talk of such an expansion. The ICC have already confirmed their plans to increase the number of teams in their women’s competitions.

But the move sustains a notably more inclusive recent approach from the ICC across formats. This is also likely to involve an increased number of teams (from 10 to 14) in the 50-over World Cup, a more positive attitude towards participation in the Olympics and talk of a return of the Intercontinental Cup (albeit with a different name).

It is, perhaps, the move to increasing the number of teams in the 50-over World Cup which provides the most revealing insight into the changing mood of the ICC. In recent years, the ICC cut the number of teams in the 50-over World Cup (from 16 in 2007, to 14 in 2011 and 2015 and 10 in 2019) arguing that broadcasters preferred the streamlined format with the probability of fewer one-sided games.

There is, however, understood to be a growing appreciation of the need to balance long-term global development with the monetary value of short-term broadcast deals. It may be relevant, too, that since the powers of the ‘Big Three’ were rolled back in 2017, the influence of other nations has grown.



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