What a damp squib the second Test match between England and Pakistan at Southampton turned out to be! After the pulsating events in the first Test cricket fans were eagerly waiting for another thriller between two fairly evenly matched teams. But only 134.3 overs were bowled over five days, not even the first innings of both teams was completed and the weather really ruined what could well have been an exciting game.
Or perhaps it was not the weather alone. The rain-ruined Test brought to the fore a vexed issue that has been plaguing cricket for a long time. The rules governing bad light and when play can be called off and when it can be resumed are quite ambiguous and so have been interpreted in various ways. There was a time when the umpires offered the light to the players who then walked off the field even if one party didn’t want to continue. For some time now it has been left to the umpires to take the call and quite often their ruling has been questioned. When the light is still good enough to play, when both sides want to continue they have taken the decision to halt proceedings and also have been reluctant to resume play.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan is of the view that there was little urgency in getting the match underway again after the stoppages for bad light. His predecessor Nasser Hussain has often wondered why play cannot be made up with an early start the following morning like it is in other countries. In England, play can be extended in the evening to accommodate the maximum overs but an early start is frowned upon even when there is no rain and the light is good.
It is right and proper that the safety of the players should be paramount and no one wants a scenario where a cricketer is seriously injured because the light is insufficient. But the general feeling is that the officials go overboard when it comes to the safety factor in calling off play. They have been generally uncompromising in their adherence to normal playing conditions. As it is there are questions over the relevance and future of Test cricket and instances like the Southampton game will intensify the arguments against the game’s traditional format which of course still has much to offer which the first Test at Old Trafford underlined.
It is an issue that needs to be addressed and England captain Joe Root called for a variety of different things that could be trialed to avoid the farcical scenes at Southampton. Among the measures, he has suggested is earlier start times, the use of a brighter ball, and improved floodlights to ensure play could continue regardless of the light. And it is heartening to read reports that the ICC’s cricket committee is likely to discuss regulations around delays for bad light and wet weather in the wake of what happened at Southampton.
India will tour Australia to play three ODIs, as many T20Is, followed by a four-match Test series after the conclusion of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season in UAE.
Cricket Australia (CA) on Wednesday announced the full schedule after getting clearances from the respective state governments amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The tour will kick-off with a three-match ODI series starting from November 27.
The first two ODIs will be played at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on November 27 and 29, respectively. The series will conclude with a trip to the capital, Canberra, as the Manuka Oval will host the final One Day International on December 2.
Here's how Virat Kohli and his men are expected to line-up for the ODI series.
Openers: Shikhar Dhawan & Mayank Agarwal
Veteran batsman Shikhar Dhawan is expected to return to the playing XI after missing out during the New Zealand tour earlier this year. Mayank Agarwal, owing to his brilliant form in the ongoing IPL 2020, is expected to partner Shikhar in the absence of veteran stalwart, Rohit Sharma, who is out injured.
Middle-Order: KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, & Shreyas Iyer
After being named vice-captain, following Rohit Sharma's surprise exclusion from the team, KL Rahul will lead the middle-order along with his master and skipper, Virat Kohli, who once again will be the topic of discussion throughout the two-month-long tour. Shreyas Iyer, who is currently marshaling his troops at the helm of the Delhi Capitals, will provide much-needed depth to the middle-order.
All-Rounders: Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja
Hardik Pandya, back after a 6-month sabbatical amidst a back injury, has been firing on all cylinders in the ongoing edition of the IPL in UAE. Though he is still not cleared to bowl, Pandya, who is plying his trade for Mumbai Indians, continues to impress with the bat.
Meanwhile, Jadeja is known as more of a bowling all-rounder, has time in time showcased that he can bat like any other batting all-rounder, including Hardik. Jadeja will also aim to contribute with the ball, especially when it comes to bagging those crucial wickets in the middle.
Bowlers: Navdeep Saini, Mohammad Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, & Jasprit Bumrah
Though still quite young, Jasprit Bumrah will be eager to lead the pace department along with the experience and exuberance of Mohammad Shami and Navdeep Saini, respectively. The spinners department, on the other hand, will be led by Yuzvendra Chahal.
India's ODI squad for Australia Tour: Virat Kohli (Capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vc & wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur
Defending champions Mumbai Indians all but secured their play-offs berth with a professional five-wicket triumph over Royal Challengers Bangalore in match number 48 of IPL 2020 at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Batting first after losing the toss, RCB only managed 164 for 6 on the board despite a good start from their openers. It proved to be far from enough as Mumbai chased down the target with five balls to spare. With RCB’s inconsistency coming to the fore again, we take a look at three mistakes that cost them the match against Mumbai.
1. Kohli, de Villiers’ twin failures
Despite losing the toss, RCB would have been pleased with their progress with the bat for most of the first part. The new opening pair of Devdutt Padikkal and Josh Philippe stood up to the renowned Mumbai pace attack and actually put them to the sword. The pair had added 71 in 7.5 overs when the partnership was broken courtesy Rahul Chahar, who had Philippe stumped for 33 from 24. The youngster was looking good for a lot more when his promising innings was cut short. He had done a fine job on his comeback to the team though as RCB had been struggling with their opening partnership.
The platform was set for Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to take over. However, the RCB skipper once again fell to the short ball, trying to take on Jasprit Bumrah, but only managing to top edge one straight up in the air to present a simple catch. With Kohli back in the pavilion for 9 from 14, RCB’s hopes rested on de Villiers. But, the prolific South African batsman also perished, hitting an awkward full toss from Kieron Pollard straight to deep square leg, having scored 15 from 12. Star players like Kohli and de Villiers are bound to have their off-days. However, both of them failing simultaneously was too big a setback for RCB, and that too in the high-stakes match.
2. Lower-order meltdown for RCB
With Kohli and de Villiers perishing cheaply, it was a good opportunity for some of the other names in the batting department to come good. However, they failed to grab their chances. Shivam Dube struggled to make just 2 from six balls at a time when boundaries were the order of the day. He tried to go after a quick bouncer from Bumrah but was only successful in handing a sitter to deep midwicket. Coming into bat with three overs to go, the big-hitting Chris Morris had enough time to make a significant impression. But, he lasted just two balls, hitting a boundary off the first, and presenting a catch to a third man very next ball. Morris’ wicket was a massive one, as it cost RCB a good 10-15 runs. The constant departure of wickets saw Bangalore stumble from 95 for 1 to 164 for 6, opener Padikkal playing a lone hand with 74 from 45.
3. Pacers putting no pressure on Mumbai batsmen
To be in with a chance, RCB bowlers needed to strike quickly. The pace bowling duo of Morris and Dale Steyn though just could not build any sort of pressure on the Mumbai batsmen. Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal did combine to pick a few crucial scalps, but the pressure was released every time Morris and Steyn came on to bowl, as they just couldn’t get their line and length right. Steyn, in particular, was disappointing with figures of 0 for 43 in his four overs. Defending a target of 165 needed RCB to produce a complete bowling effort. They failed to do so and had to pay the price.
Mumbai Indians locked horns against the ravishing Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 48th match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Ahead of the game, RCB made three alterations from the team which lost out to CSK on Sunday. Josh Phillippe, Dale Steyn, and Shivam Dube came in at the expense of Aaron Finch, injured Navdeep Saini, and Moeen Ali while MI remained unchanged from their defeat to Rajasthan Royals.
RCB were asked to bat first by stand-in MI skipper Kieron Pollard, as Rohit Sharma continues to recover from his injury. Josh Philippe (33 from 24) and Devdutt Padikkal (74 from 45) gave a brilliant start to RCB.
The pair added 71 runs for the first wicket before Rahul Chahal dismissed the Australian youngster. Philippe's dismissal triggered a MI comeback, which was led by Jasprit Bumrah. RCB, at one point of their innings, lost four wickets in the space of seven runs before MI eventually restricted them to 164/6.
Chasing a target of 165, Suryakumar Yadav (79 from 43) stood his ground to take the defending champions, MI, one step closer to the IPL 2020 playoffs. With this 5-wicket success over RCB, MI currently occupies the top spot with 16 points.
Here are 10 hilarious memes from the MI vs RCB game:
Former Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir lavished praise on the equation between Chennai Super Kings owners and MS Dhoni, calling it a 'fabulous relationship'.
Gambhir said Dhoni's relationship with CSK should be a blueprint for other teams to treat their successful captains. He further stated that he won't be surprised if Dhoni remains at the helm with a relatively new squad next season.
CSK have struggled this season as they failed to reach the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time in its history. Their problem has been the absence of key players -- Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh -- coupled with their relatively aging squad.
"I keep saying that why CSK is CSK is because of the relationship between the owners and the Dhoni. They have given all the freedom to MS, and he has received all the mutual respect from the owners as well," Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo.
"What he has done for the franchise and how the franchise actually deals with MS and treats him is a fabulous relationship. So I'd not be surprised if they continue with MS and he plays till the time he wants to play. And then next season he still continues to be the captain and have a much different squad than what he has this time around."
Recently, CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan said MS Dhoni might be with CSK till IPL 2022, despite their torrid outing in the ongoing season. Gambhir added that their relationship is adamant from the fact that they're continuing to back Dhoni, who has been under a lot of pressure this season
"MS has won them three trophies, couple of Champions Leagues, so he has made them one of the top successful sides in the IPL after Mumbai Indians," Gambhir said.
"So CSK saying they are going to continue with MS - it's just the relationship, it's just the mutual respect. That's why MS has been so loyal to CSK. That's why MS has given everything: heart and soul, his sweat, sleepless nights - I'm sure he must have had sleepless nights while he has continued to lead CSK."
England batsman Jonny Bairstow has been plying his trade for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in UAE. Bairstow, so far, has looked good with the bat, scoring 345 runs in 11 outings.
However, in SRH's last game against the Delhi Capitals, Bairstow didn't feature in the playing XI, but SRH won the game by 88 runs. It was their must-win outing to keep their playoffs hope alive.
SRH’s head coach Trevor Bayliss and captain David Warner have cleared that Bairstow was a part of their tactics. Wriddhiman Saha, who replaced Bairstow at the top of the order, played a match-winning knock of 87 off 45 and shared a 107-run partnership with Warner to help the team post a massive 219 on the board.
After the match, Bayliss cleared his stand by saying that they wanted to play an all-rounder in Jason Holder in the middle and Kane Williamson has also been batting well. That's why they had to drop Bairstow.
“Look, we wanted to play the all-rounder in the middle just to give us some more bowling. It gives it another option with five bowlers plus Vijay Shankar. From Jonny’s point of view, that meant one of the top-three batters had to miss out.
“Kane [Williamson] has been batting very well for us when available, and obviously the other overseas is the captain [David Warner] so, Jonny was the odd one out on this occasion. But look, with the way Jonny plays, I’m sure he will play a lot more,” Bayliss told Metro News.
SRH skipper David Warner highlighted that it was a tough decision to leave out Bairstow, but they needed to make the alteration, as they've to win all of their games to qualify for the playoffs.
“It was a very tough call, especially with Jonny playing as well as he has. We felt picking Kane would work out,” Warner signed off.
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