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Worcestershire confident that New Road flood won’t disrupt Championship plans



Worcestershire hope to play their first home match of the season at their New Road ground despite several feet of floodwater currently covering the pitch.

Worcestershire are due to host Nottinghamshire in a Division One County Championship match on April 27; a match in which Stuart Broad is scheduled to be available for the visitors.

While Worcestershire do have contingency plans to relocate to the Worcester Royal Grammar School’s Flagge Meadow ground as a first alternative, and Kidderminster Cricket Club as a second, they retain hopes that the floodwater will recede and New Road will prove fit for play. They expect to come to a decision by the end of next week when the extent of any damage from the water should have become clear.

“There’s a bit more moisture in the pitch that we would like,” the club’s head groundsman, Tim Packwood, told ESPNcricinfo with a smile. “But the river has peaked now so hopefully over the weekend as the river levels drop, we’ll start to see a bit more grass out there.

“The water is only two or three feet deep on the square – as opposed to six foot, as it is normally – and it doesn’t look too dirty.

“Ideally I’d like three weeks’ preparation time for a game. But if the water doesn’t stay on for too long, the plan is to play here on April 27.”

Mick Newell, the Nottinghamshire director of cricket, described himself as “pretty relaxed” about the situation and said he expected the clubs to have a chat about the situation towards the end of next week.

It is the third time this winter New Road, a ground situated on a floodplain, has been at least partially flooded. But it is the first time it has happened during the domestic season since 2007. That year, the club won the Pro40 League despite not being able to play a single game at home. Their home games in the competition were instead played at Taunton, Edgbaston and Kidderminster. Another ‘home’ game, scheduled to be played in Derby, was abandoned due to rain.

They did run into trouble, however, after opting to try and play a home Championship match against Kent at New Road only a week or so after a flood. Despite decent weather, no play was possible over the four days and some felt the club was fortunate to escape disciplinary action from the ECB.

In those days, the floods caused huge damage to the buildings at a charming but somewhat dilapidated venue with Worcestershire reckoning the 2007 floods cost them around 1.2m in lost revenue and clear-up costs. Since, then, however, much of the ground has been redeveloped and the Graeme Hick Pavilion, the club’s offices and function rooms and the hotel that looks over the playing area are all well above the water.

In the longer term, the flood has strengthened Packwood’s belief that further experimentation into the use of hybrid pitches may prove beneficial. Worcestershire was the first of the 18 counties to lay such a surface in its net area and declared themselves delighted by the results.

With a few shoots of plastic ‘grass’ sewn into the surface, it is believed grass roots bind around them and grow stronger providing surfaces that not only offer decent pace and carry, but last longer than a normal grass pitch. Around 10 percent of the pitch is plastic and it is hard to tell any difference visually. Warwickshire have already sewn such a surface on the edge of their squad, while the MCC are in the process of doing the same thing at Lord’s.

But for Packwood, who regularly has to battle challenges that other groundsmen do not, the pitches might prove of particular help.

“We kept our hybrid pitch in play for about six weeks,” Packwood said. “It played virtually as true on day one as at the end of week six. The results were really good.

“It would be nice to install one near the middle of the square. It’s something we would like to trial. It’s gone a little bit quiet from the ECB at the moment, but we need to have it sanctioned so we can play second-team cricket on it and take it from there.”

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Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, live stream, where to watch KXIP vs RCB, IPL 2020, 7.30pm, Sep 24



Do the Royal Challengers Bangalore have enough lower-order firepower to balance their solid top order, and if so, do the top-order batsmen trust that lower order enough? Do Kings XI Punjab have a death-bowling problem, and do they have solutions for it within their squad? Those are some of the factors that will decide today’s match.

Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore is available to view in India on Disney+ Hotstar, Jio TV and Airtel TV.

When does KXIP vs RCB live streaming start?
KXIP vs RCB live stream will start at 7:00 PM India Time September 24, 2020.

Where is the KXIP vs RCB match being played?
KXIP vs RCB match will be played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai in the UAE.

On which TV channels will KXIP vs RCB live coverage be available?
In India, Star Sports 1 and 1HD, Star Sports Select 1 and 1HD and SS1 Hindi and 1 Hindi HD will have live coverage of KXIP vs RCB, IPL 2020 on September 24, 2000.

Where can one find KXIP vs RCB live score and commentary online?
The fastest and most comprehensive live score and details will be available here: KXIP vs RCB live score.

What are the likely playing XIs for today’s KXIP vs RCB game?

Kings XI Punjab: 1 KL Rahul (capt & wk), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Karun Nair, 4 Nicholas Pooran, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Sarfaraz Khan, 7 K Gowtham, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Ravi Bishnoi, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Devdutt Padikkal, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Josh Philippe (wk)/Moeen Ali, 6 Shivam Dube/Gurkeerat Singh Mann, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Who are the captains for today’s KXIP vs RCB game?
The captains for today’s game will be KL Rahul (KXIP) and Virat Kohli (RCB).

Who are the umpires for KXIP vs RCB game?
The umpires for today’s game will be Paul Reiffel and Anil Chaudhary. The third umpire will be Nitin Menon.

Who will be the match referee for KXIP vs RCB game?
The match referee for today’s game will be Javagal Srinath.

All telecast and streaming timings are according to information received from the host broadcaster.

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Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals, IPL 2020, Fantasy Pick, team predictions



Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals, IPL Match 7, Dubai

Pro tip

Have a couple of top-order batsmen but go big on middle-order batsmen.

Our XI: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Faf Du Plessis (c), 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk & vc), 6 MS Dhoni, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Lungi Ngidi, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Kagiso Rabada

Substitutes: Prithvi Shaw, Shane Watson, Ravindra Jadeja, Marcus Stoinis

Note: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Player availability:

  • There is little clarity on the extent of R Ashwin’s shoulder injury but we are expecting him to sit this game out as a precautionary measure.

  • Dwayne Bravo still hasn’t recovered completely from his knee injury and Ambati Rayudu has picked up a minor hamstring injury. So both of them are out of this game but are expected to be back for the Super Kings’ next game.

Captain: Faf Du Plessis

Du Plessis has already scored 130 runs in two innings at a strike rate of 160.49 and we expect him to continue the good work. Since he fields in key positions, you could get a few points for some catches too.

Vice-captain: Rishabh Pant

Since the start of IPL 2019, Pant has scored the most runs in the middle overs – 356 runs at a strike rate of 143.54. Batting at No. 5 can be tough in UAE conditions, but he’s got the talent to pull it off

Hot picks

Sam Curran: Curran is filling the void left by Bravo with some terrific performances. He has already picked up four wickets and scored some crucial runs for the Super Kings. More than anything else, he has the knack of making things happen.

Shikhar Dhawan: Dhawan missed out in his first outing and will be eager to make a statement this time around. Since 2018, he strikes at 139.76 against pace. The absence of Harbhajan Singh, the bowler who got Dhawan out twice last season could be another reason to have him in your XI.

Shreyas Iyer: On big grounds where running ones and twos is key, Iyer is a great pick. Since 2019, he has scored 53.16% of runs in ones and twos. He scored a confident 39 against Kings XI, including three big sixes, so he can go big as well.

Differential Players

Anrich Nortje: With the Super Kings openers struggling to score freely, Nortje could have a big role to play. He has picked up 27 wickets in 23 T20 games at a good economy of 7.57.

Shimron Hetmyer: He is capable of destroying bowling attacks in the matter of overs and while his consistency is a cause for concern, he is someone worth gambling on. Hetmyer scored 267 runs including three fifties in CPL 2020 and ended up as the fourth-highest run-getter in the tournament.

Points to note

  • Going by the first few games, batsmen have found the going easier in the second innings. So, it is better to have your captain from the team batting second.

  • If R Ashwin recovers from the shoulder injury and plays this game, replace a Capitals batsman with him.

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The Hundred 2021 – ECB clarify player retention plans for postponed Hundred



Teams in the Hundred will be able to retain as many men’s players as they wish for the 2021 competition, as details for next season’s draft were revealed on Thursday.

The Hundred, the ECB’s new flagship 100-ball competition, was due to be staged for the first time this summer before the Covid-19 pandemic caused its postponement to 2021. The competition’s regulations had initially allowed teams to retain up to 10 players at a mutually agreed salary band for the second season, but that has been extended to the full squad on account of the delay.

In practice, teams are unlikely to retain their entire squads due to a number of factors, including the end of Kolpak status, a lack of clarity over the international calendar, and form over the last 12 months.

The ECB are due to release a list of centrally-contracted players for 2020-21 – likely to be within the next two weeks – at which point teams will be able to negotiate to retain a player at a mutually-agreed salary. That could be higher or lower than their salary last year, meaning that Dawid Malan (a £40,000 pick by Trent Rockets) could negotiate up after an impressive 12 months, while a player who had struggled for form could agree a deal worth less. As revealed by ESPNcricinfo, all salary bands have been cut by 20% from last year.

Teams will have from October through to January in which to negotiate with players and agents, with a mini-draft to follow at some point in early 2021. In that draft, each team will then have a ‘right to match’ option, allowing them to retain players with whom they failed to negotiate a deal, if they have a spot remaining in the draft at the salary band at which another team picks him.

Each team will still be able to pick one ‘wildcard’ player, who will be chosen after the T20 Blast season in 2021 and will sign a £24,000 contract for the competition.

The early stages of retention will depend on England’s red-ball central contract list, with the competition again set to overlap with a Test series, this time against India, and their Hundred deals falling outside of the main draft system. It is unlikely that many of the 10 players currently with deals will fall off the list, with Jonny Bairstow the main exception, but a handful of players – Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Dom Bess – will come under consideration for red-ball contracts.

Players with red-ball central contracts both years will be able to be retained. Ultimately, each team will have at least one, and at most two players with a red-ball central contract, which will be confirmed in October.

There will be several sub-plots regarding retentions, not least questions over the availability of certain players on Kolpak deals. Dane Vilas, for example, was signed by Manchester Originals as a top-price pick in last year’s draft. He hopes to continue playing as a local via a UK ancestral visa next year, but would be less likely to command a top salary if competing for one of three overseas spots. Cameron Delport, signed by Birmingham Phoenix, is in the same position.

Some players may also negotiate with teams closer to home. The Originals, for example, may try to sign Liam Livingstone – a first-round pick by Birmingham Phoenix – who lives in Manchester, but could lose Joe Clarke – based in Nottingham – to the Trent Rockets.

The process for women’s retentions has already been confirmed, with players given more control in that they are able to choose to roll their contracts over at the same salary if they choose to do so.

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