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Recent Match Report – Capitals vs Super Kings Qualifier 1 2021



Chennai Super Kings 173 for 6 (Gaikwad 70, Uthappa 63*, T Curran 3-29) beat Delhi Capitals 172 for 5 (Shaw 60, Pant 51*, Hazlewood 2-29) by four wickets

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Robin Uthappa put on 110 for the second wicket and MS Dhoni rolled back the clock with a finishing act as Chennai Super Kings qualified for their ninth IPL final, beating league-stage toppers Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1.

After the second-wicket stand had laid the platform for Super Kings in a chase of 173, the middle order stuttered before Dhoni came in with Super Kings needing 23 off 11. He played his first ball with them needing 19 off 9, and missed it. The next ball from Avesh Khan was clobbered over the midwicket boundary, and Dhoni then had strike against Tom Curran with 13 to get off 5.

Curran was Capitals’ most successful bowler of the night at that point, but boundaries from Dhoni – even if one was an inside edge – off the next two balls put the pressure squarely on him; that resulted in a wide, and eventually the half-tracker slower ball that Dhoni swung to the leg-side boundary to seal the win with two balls to spare.


WATCH - Dhoni rolls back the years to take CSK home in last over

WATCH – Dhoni rolls back the years to take CSK home in last over

Uthappa brings out the classics, Gaikwad takes it deep

Uthappa’s promotion to No. 3, the position from which he has scored many IPL runs, turned out to be a crucial decision for Super Kings. He walked in during the first over, with nearly the entire powerplay at his disposal, and made the best of his favourite phase of the innings. It was a typical Uthappa knock, studded with elegant drives on the rise, deflections behind the wicket, and dominant punches over the infield. With Gaikwad going about it in his usual languid manner to begin, Uthappa made sure Super Kings scored at a healthy rate. Five of his seven boundaries and two of his three sixes came in the powerplay, with two of each coming in a 20-run Avesh Khan over to end the powerplay.

Rishabh Pant turned to R Ashwin in the middle overs and for a brief period, he played a part as the Capitals stopped the flow of the second-wicket partnership; at least twice from Ashwin, that meant a literal stop, when he pulled out of his delivery stride to Gaikwad’s annoyance. But, in his second over, Uthappa reverse swept Ashwin and then hit him over his head next ball to put an end to his night.

Gaikwad then began reaping the rewards of his method: his acceleration came, as it often does, in the second half of the innings. His 50-ball 70, with typically well-placed boundaries, and a lot of smart running, took Super Kings all the way into the 19th over even as their middle-order shuffles – Shardul Thakur at four, Ambati Rayudu ahead of Moeen Ali at five – had begun failing.

Iyer’s spark in the field brings Capitals back

Curran came in as a replacement for specialist batter Ripal Patel, and bowled two economical overs to check Super Kings’ scoring rate. In his third over, the 14th of the innings, he had Uthappa skying one to long-on’s right. Shreyas Iyer sprinted towards it, managed to keep his composure despite Axar Patel running across him from deep midwicket, caught it, lobbed the ball up, stepped over the rope and returned to the field to complete the catch. That over ended with Thakur finding Iyer at long-on for a second-ball duck.

Super Kings were still favourites at this point, needing 56 off six overs, but Iyer was there again to turn the match Capitals’ way. A mistimed Gaikwad pull to his right at long-on offered the chance of a second run for Super Kings, but Iyer’s sprint to the ball and then a rapid throw – while he was nearly off balance – to the non-striker’s end meant Rayudu’s call had quickly begun to look precarious. The bowler, Kagiso Rabada, wasn’t in the best position running back to the stumps, but managed to grab the one-bounce stinger from Iyer and relay it onto the stumps to catch Rayudu short. With the required rate climbing, and only one boundary coming off each of the next two overs, Iyer’s fielding exploits nearly turned into defining moments for Capitals. But then came Dhoni…

Shaw, Pant, Hetmyer do the heavy lifting

Dhoni had said at the toss that his team had been finding the ball to be stopping and the pitches to be two-paced when they bowled first. That seemed to be the case here again as Prithvi Shaw began his innings with three streaky boundaries – one a top edge for six – behind the wicket. After the third one, it seemed he had figured the pitch out though, punching Deepak Chahar elegantly on the rise through point in the third over. He closed off that over – worth 18 runs -with a flick past short fine and a vicious cut to beat deep point.

That was followed by two sixes off a Shardul Thakur over, in which he was also dropped by Dhoni, diving one-handed to the right trying to get to a late dab. Josh Hazlewood kept plucking away at the batters at the other end, first getting Shikhar Dhawan and then Shreyas Iyer, but Shaw kept the attack going even when spin came on. He cut Ravindra Jadeja to get to fifty and then swept him against the turn – at the end of that over, the ninth, he had made 57 of Capitals’ 74 runs. Eventually, he fell looking to go with the turn against Jadeja, chipping straight to long-off the over after a promoted Axar Patel had fallen. Capitals were four-down just past the halfway stage, but had a lot to thank him for – his 60 off 34 had ensured they weren’t behind the rate.

That allowed Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer – the Capitals’ last specialist batting pair – to play risk-free cricket as they tried to stretch the innings as deep as possible. Their 83-run stand for the fifth wicket came off 50 balls and gave Capitals a bigger total than had seemed possible after Shaw’s departure.

Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Match Preview – Netherlands vs Sri Lanka, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 12th Match, First Round Group A




Dinesh Chandimal’s poor form might prompt Sri Lanka to bring in Charith Asalanka

Big picture

Of all the matches in this qualifying round, this one seems to most have the feel of a dead rubber. Not only do Netherlands have no chance of making the Super 12s, but Sri Lanka are also highly likely to finish top of Group A thanks to their superior net run rate.

For Netherlands, this is a chance to make a mark in a tournament in which they will feel they have underperformed. In the first match, their batting was blown away by Ireland’s seam bowlers, while in the second, their bowlers could not withstand David Wiese’s assault for Namibia.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have earned themselves an opportunity to find a solution to their top-order issues. Dinesh Chandimal had another failure against Ireland on Wednesday, thus finding his position at No. 3 in serious peril. The likeliest replacement may be Charith Asalanka, but Dhananjaya de Silva is also in the squad.
Their fast bowlers, meanwhile, might get a rest. Lahiru Kumara has had a particularly taxing workload over the past few weeks, although it may be Dushmantha Chameera that Sri Lanka would prefer had a night off to recharge for the Super 12s.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches, most recent first)

Netherlands LLLTW
Sri Lanka WWLLL

In the spotlight

One of the few bright spots for Netherlands has been the batting of opener Max O’Dowd. He hit 51 off 47 balls against Ireland while the rest of the top order blew up around him, before making a 56-ball 70 that was the backbone of Netherlands’ innings against Namibia. He has got arguably the best attack of the qualifying stage to contend with in this match, though. Can he maintain his output?
Pathum Nissanka has promised a lot more in Tests than he has in the shortest format, but in hitting his first half-century against Ireland, he suggested he could find success in this World Cup yet. He was unambitious in the early overs while wickets fell around him, but never seemed bogged down either, finding a way to keep his score moving until the boundaries eventually came. After all, Sri Lanka desperately need a reliable run-scorer in their top three.

Pitch and conditions

This will be both teams’ first match in Sharjah. During the IPL, the Sharjah tracks were slow, turned a bit and had variable bounce. Temperatures are expected to hover around the low 30s Celsius range again. If the conditions in Abu Dhabi are anything to go by, dew could be an issue too.

Team news

Although No. 5 is a more familiar position for Asalanka, he may slot in at No.3, leaving Bhanuka Rajapaksa at No. 5.

Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Perera (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Avishka Fernando, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt.), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Binura Fernando, 10 Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Lahiru Kumara

Netherlands may bring in Brandon Glover in place of Timm van der Gugten.

Netherlands (possible): 1 Max O’Dowd, 2 Stephan Myburgh, 3 Roelof van der Merwe, 4 Colin Ackerman, 5 Ryan ten Doeschate, 6 Scott Edwards (wk), 7 Bas de Leede, 8 Pieter Seelar, 9 Logan van Beek, 10 Fred Klaassen, 11 Timm van der Gugten/Brandon Glover

Stats and trivia

  • In the only previous T20I between these teams, Netherlands were bowled out for 39, a game which Sri Lanka won with 15 overs to spare. That was, however, during the World T20 in 2014, when Sri Lanka had arguably their greatest T20I side – a team which went on to lift the trophy.
  • This year, O’Dowd has hit 293 runs in just six innings, and at a strike rate of 137.
  • In 14 innings in 2021, Wanindu Hasaranga has 23 wickets and an economy rate of just 5.43.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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SJN hearings – Linda Zondi on why he turned down AB de Villiers when wanted to return for 2019 World Cup




South Africa’s then-chief selector says such a decision would have been “unethical to the players already selected”

AB de Villiers‘ availability for the 2019 World Cup was brought to the attention of South Africa’s then-chief selector Linda Zondi two days before the squad was announced, but was turned down because it would’ve been unfair on players already selected.

Zondi appeared before Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Social Justice and National-Building (SJN) committee to discuss various selections that took place under his watch. Specifically, Zondi went over the incident which saw a de Villiers’ return to the national side, a year after leaving the international game, shot down.

“When AB took a break [in 2017], he didn’t share the information with me,” Zondi said. “I contacted him and said I wasn’t happy with what you have done and he apologised. Then there was the World Cup, which was a massive story. The captain [Faf du Plessis] came to me and said AB would like to be included in the World Cup. I turned it down because AB had earlier come to me and said he wanted to retire and I told him [then] we need you in the World Cup in England. If there are certain series you miss, we can work with that. I said I am happy to manage your time and you can retire after the World Cup. He said no, he wants to retire. Then, Faf came that AB wanted to return. I turned it down. I thought it was unethical to the players who were part of the squad.”
Zondi also provided more detail on the case of Khaya Zondo, whose non-selection has become, over the course of the hearings, a central illustration of the complexities of selection in South Africa over the years.
Former selector Hussein Manack has already claimed at the hearings that de Villiers blocked Zondo’s selection for an ODI against India.

“What happened on the day was, because I wasn’t there, the selector on tour became the final decision-maker,” Zondi said. “I’m glad Hussein came and confessed that he had pressure put on him. I was clear with him that I was very unhappy with the decision.”

Zondi said Manack had called the selection panel on the previous evening and they agreed that Zondo would play. “He contacted us the night before saying JP is injured, so we will need a replacement. Secondly, we have David Miller who is not in form. The first thing we had to deal with was to fly in a replacement from South Africa. Because even if Khaya played, we still needed to have a back-up.

“We said fine, it’s not a difficult situation. Khaya must play. Khaya had been to India. He was in form. He was a batter, and the spot was in his position. He would not have been thrown in the deep end. It was a no-brainer. Khaya must play. It was made clear to Hussein that Khaya must play. In the morning, I turned on the TV and I saw Khaya was not playing.

“He [Hussein] shared the information with the captain AB de Villiers and according to Hussein, AB was unhappy. He sensed AB put him in a corner. He felt Dean Elgar, because of experience, should play, and Hussein gave in. When he gave in, he didn’t come back to me and said we are changing our decision. AB knew that I was a full-time convenor. At any stage, if the captain was not happy with the selection, he should have contacted me. The CEO [Haroon Lorgat] was on tour and the CEO himself entertained the discussion. The captain didn’t come to me, the CEO didn’t come to me. When the team came back to South Africa, I made sure the right process was followed and Khaya played in the next series.”

In a response to ESPNcricinfo in August, de Villiers did not deny that leaving Zondo out was his call but said he felt it was for the benefit of the team. “It is obviously difficult to pick apart selection discussions many years later, and recollections will vary. However, I can unequivocally state that my input to such discussions was always motivated only by what I considered to be best for the team, and nothing else.”

Despite that incident, and his frustration with de Villiers, Zondi said he never experienced any racism from de Villiers and “never had any issues with him in terms of him undermining me because I was a black convenor”.

Zondi also spoke of his experience over the exclusion of Thami Tsolekile from the Test team in the 2013-14 season. Tsolekile was nationally contracted and identified as Mark Boucher’s successor in 2012 but did not play in series in England or Australia because de Villiers was preferred. Tsolekile was told by then convenor Andrew Hudson that he would play in the following home series against New Zealand but de Villiers chose to stay on as wicketkeeper, before Quinton de Kock made his debut in February 2014.

By then, Zondi had joined the selection panel and been part of discussions over whether Tsolekile should play or de Kock should debut when Alviro Petersen was injured against Australia. Zondi’s view was that Tsolekile should play, but he was outvoted 3-2 on the selection panel. “I personally went to Graeme Smith to speak to him as a captain,” Zondi said. “I said to him that I believe it’s important we see Thami playing. To his credit, Smith said he will take the team from the convener and play that team. We voted on it and it ended up being 3-2, and then Thami didn’t play and wasn’t in the team given to Smith.”

The panel at the time consisted of Hudson, former national player Shafiek Abrahams, Zondi, Manack and national coach Russell Domingo. Zondi and Manack voted in favour of Tsolekile playing while the other three voted against it. None of Hudson, who serves on CSA’s board currently, Abrahams or Domingo are due to testify at the SJN.

Zondi maintained that during his time in selection he aimed to balance objectives between ensuring transformation goals were being met and that the South African team remained a world-class outfit. “I made sure that the black African players we picked were good enough; that they were world-class. And in doing so, we couldn’t put aside the white players who were doing well within the structures.

“We did very well in saying there was no white player who was good enough who never played. For example, [Rassie] van der Dussen, was one of those guys who were doing well in the franchise system and we played him. We had to make sure we created balance.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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T20 World Cup 2021 – Ban vs PNG




The PNG captain also called Kiplin Doriga’s lower-order rearguard ‘the blueprint of what we expect from him’

Papua New Guinea will understandably leave Muscat crestfallen, after bowing out winless from the T20 World Cup. After their 84-run loss to Bangladesh, their captain Assad Vala embodied their frustrations and spoke about where they will need to improve when they are back home.

“I am proud that we are here but I wouldn’t say we achieved,” Vala said. “We wanted to win games here. Not to make up the numbers. Losing all three games is pretty disappointing. If we could play our best cricket, we would have given ourselves the chance. We were up and down. We have to find out how to get the best out of ourselves.”

When asked what the team would leave the T20 World Cup with, Vala picked their fielding out as a positive but said there was a lot of room for improvement with bat and ball.

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