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Curran departure leads frustrated Stewart to call for IPL cut-off date

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Alec Stewart, Surrey’s director of cricket, has lent his weight to calls for the ECB to consider a cut-off date for future call-ups to the IPL, after his team’s early-season plans were thrown “out of the window” due to the last-minute departure of Tom Curran to Kolkata Knight Riders.

Though Curran went unsold at his base price of USD156,000 during the IPL auction in February, his stock as a limited-overs allrounder rose considerably during England’s subsequent ODI series win in New Zealand.

And, when Mitchell Starc was ruled out of this year’s campaign due to a shin injury, KKR swooped for Curran in a USD253,000 deal. Barely a week later, he made his debut against Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk, and has impressed his new employers with three wickets in two appearances to date.

While Stewart did not begrudge his player either the pay packet or the high-pressure experience that he accepts will help mould Curran into a better player, he bridled at the timing of his departure, just days before the start of a County Championship campaign in which he had been expected to be a pivotal player.

Curran’s departure was one of three high-profile call-ups from the county circuit this month, preceding Yorkshire’s twin losses of David Willey and Liam Plunkett to Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils respectively, and the subject was the hot topic of discussion at last week’s crisis meeting of county coaches at Edgbaston.

“It’s far from ideal losing Tom so late,” Stewart said. “I hope in time this will be looked at. The IPL is not going anywhere – I fully understand players wanting to be part of it because, one, it’s a good competition and, second, it helps your bank balance.

“The problem is when you get the phone calls I got for Tom, and Martyn Moxon [Yorkshire’s director of cricket] got for Willey and Plunkett. Your planning goes out of the window.”

“Tom will come back a better player so I don’t have a real issue with it, but the issue is who controls the players – are they our players or are they IPL players?”

Alec Stewart, Surrey director of cricket

The fact that the IPL overlaps with the start of the county season has long been a bone of contention for the ECB, who were resistant to allowing their players to take part in the tournament for most of the first decade of its existence.

But now, having relaxed their attitude towards English involvement, an alternative problem is rearing its head – given that the players’ efforts to get ready for the English season make them obvious oven-ready replacements for IPL franchises seeking to replace injured players.

“All I think needs to be looked at is a cut-off, ideally a month before the championship starts,” Stewart said. “If you get picked up in the auction, that’s fine – it’s at the end of February, so that’s six or seven weeks before the start of the season.

“Then everyone knows that, even if you don’t get picked up in the auction, there’s a three- or four-week window, but once that has gone, you can’t then go and play.”

Stewart believes that the matter has been complicated by blurred lines of communication between the players, the counties, the ECB and the franchises, and says that a redrafting of the No Objection Certificate is the only way to prevent the situation being presented to the counties as a fait accompli.

“How it should work is that IPL phone the ECB to ask about a player, and the ECB talk to the county. That’s how it is meant to work – but it doesn’t, though, because the franchise will ring the player or agent direct to see if they are interested and, once they are told the money, they always are – so you have to let them go.”

“That needs to go on the No Objection Certificate, so that the IPL know and the franchises know that’s the deal and the players understand as well. Otherwise it leaves us in a bit of a mess.

“Tom will come back a better player so I don’t have a real issue with it, but the issue is who controls the players – are they our players or are they IPL players? They are under contract [to the counties] for 12 months, so I would argue they are ours. We should have more control than just saying ‘I guess you are going then’.”

A further complication stems from what Stewart believes is insufficient compensation to those counties who lose out when their star players are snapped up by the IPL – an issue that came to light when Plunkett, who is on an ECB white-ball contract, was approached by Delhi earlier this month.

“We have discovered that the ECB have been receiving 10% of the overall contract a player gets from IPL for a number of years and this year it is 20%,” he said. “I hope that it will now be looked at – now that we are aware that this has been happening, which we weren’t before.

“Should the ECB be keeping that? Or should that money come back to the county, who are the ones who miss out? I personally believe all that money should come back to the county if you are not an ECB contracted player because of the money that has been invested.”



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Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab, live streaming, where to watch RR vs KXIP, IPL 2020, 7.30pm, Sep 27

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The Kings XI Punjab recovered superbly – a 97-run win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore – after their Super Over heartbreak against the Kings XI Punjab. Now they move to Sharjah, the smallest of the three venues, to take on the Rajasthan Royals, who made 216 at that venue earlier this week for a 16-run win over the Chennai Super Kings. We could be in for another high-scoring game.

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

When does the RR vs KXIP live streaming start?
The RR vs KXIP live streaming will start at 7:00 PM India Time September 27, 2020.

Where is the RR vs KXIP match being played?
RR vs KXIP match will be played at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah in the UAE.

On which TV channels will RR vs KXIP 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 RR vs KXIP, IPL 2020 on September 27, 2020.

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

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

Rajasthan Royals: 1 Steven Smith (capt), 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Jos Buttler (wk), 5 Robin Uthappa, 6 Riyan Parag, 7 Shreyas Gopal, 8 Jofra Archer, 9 Tom Curran, 10 Rahul Tewatia, 11 Jaydev Unadkat

Kings XI Punjab: 1 KL Rahul (capt, wk), 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Mayank Agarwal, 4 Karun Nair, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Sarfaraz Khan, 7 Jimmy Neesham/Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 8 Ravi Bishnoi, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 M Ashwin

Who are the captains for today’s RR vs KXIP game?
The captains for today’s game will be Steven Smith (RR) and KL Rahul (KXIP).

Who are the umpires for RR vs KXIP game?
The umpires for today’s game will be Richard Illingworth and K Srinivasan. The third umpire will be C Shamshuddin.

Who will be the match referee for RR vs KXIP game?
The match referee for today’s game will be V Narayan Kutty.

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



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Australia v New Zealand, 2nd T20I

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Alyssa Healy was caught unaware when TV commentator Mel Jones started asking her about MS Dhoni towards the end of New Zealand’s innings in the second T20I.

Her alert catch to remove Lauren Down was her 92nd T20I wicketkeeping dismissal, making her the most prolific keeper in the format. Fittingly, too, she had equalled Dhoni’s tally with another brilliant piece of glovework to stump Amy Satterthwaite; the decision, which took nearly five minutes to make, can be debated but as with the leg-side stumping to remove Sophie Devine the day before it was a wonderful piece of wicketkeeping.

Not one to dwell over individual statistics, Healy said it was a “very nice accolade” but shifted the praise towards her bowlers. She even conceded she did not believe she had a great day with the gloves with a stumping chance going down against Katie Perkins and a few byes slipping through.

“I had no idea about it, I wondered why Mel Jones was asking me about MS Dhoni, I thought it was a very strange discussion we were about to have,” she said. “It’s obviously a very nice individual accolade but it reflects better on our bowling attack than myself.

“It just shows the strength of our bowling attack we’ve had throughout my career that they are giving these opportunities. Makes me think about all the ones I’ve missed but at the same it is nice, but it’s more credit to the bowlers.

“There’s a lot of stuff you do as a wicketkeeper, so for me I’m always really content when I come off the field and I’ve had a good day behind the stumps. Didn’t feel like I had a great day today so it’s sort of a weird feeling. I love wicketkeeping, have done it my whole life – much as I wanted to be a bowler I love my keeping – so if I come off the ground and I’ve done my job for the bowlers and team, more often than not I’m pretty happy.”

The stumping to remove Satterthwaite was also her 50th in T20Is and she has more than catches which is a testament to her alertness up to the stumps where she will spend most of an innings. While the borderline decisions have gone Australia’s way in the first two matches of this series, all Healy can do is be ready for a batter’s error and force a decision from the umpires.

“Being a wicketkeeper you’ve sometimes got to create opportunities for your side,” she said. “It’s not something I pride myself on or anything like, it’s just how I can swing the momentum back in our favour, whether that’s driving our fielding standards or taking a half chance that could change the game.”

On the Satterthwaite dismissal specifically, Healy said: “From my point of view I could see a lot of the line so that’s probably why I seemed a bit more confident than not. I thought it was out, but I haven’t seen a replay and it taking so long it must have been incredibly tight. It’s not every day you get the benefit of the doubt going to the fielding side so I’ve got two in a row now, so hopefully it continues.”

“It was a big play, we wanted the wicket, but either way being so tight one side would have been unhappy. If it had been not out, I think people would have been happy with that as well.”

Healy, who would have been a worthy Player of the Match, then contributed a blistering 33 off 17 balls which virtually sealed the match inside Australia’s Powerplay and secured them a tenth T20 prize in a row dating back to 2018 which has included two World Cups along the way.

“There’s probably a little bit of rust floating around with my bat in hand but in saying that when we are chasing down totals like it’s my job to take it to the opposition, see if I can get that run rate down as low as possible for our middle order to get the job done,” Healy said. “Pleasing it came off today and puts me in good stead for the one-day format.”

The final T20I takes place on Wednesday before the three-match ODI series begins on October 3.



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Recent Match Report – New Zealand Women vs Australia Women 2nd T20I 2020

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Australia 2 for 129 (Haynes 40*, Healy 33) beat New Zealand 128 (Satterthwaite 30, Kimmince 3-21, Wareham 3-26) by 8 wickets

A combined 0 for 43 for Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt, while Ellyse Perry continued her rehabilitation at the boundary’s edge, merely allowed Australia to showcase their formidable bowling depth as New Zealand were outclassed for the second time in as many days to surrender the T20I series at Allan Border Field.

Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux all shone in exploiting the vagaries of a slow and at times sharply spinning surface in Brisbane to round up the visitors for 128, before Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney added a rapid 51 to leave a comfortable equation for Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning to complete.

New Zealand were again on the wrong end of a couple of marginal decisions, Amy Satterthwaite given out stumped by a millimetre when she was just getting into a position to hurt Australia, but overall the gulf between the sides was enormous. Australia have now won 10 bilateral T20I series in succession against all comers, and will be particularly gratified to have closed this one out without major contributions from their three most seasoned bowlers.

Spinning into early trouble

A used surface and the prospect of assistance for slow bowlers had Sophie Devine showing little hesitation in batting first upon winning the toss. Lanning responded in kind by giving Jonassen the first over, from which she conceded a frugal five. But after Schutt went for 11 in the second, Lanning adjusted by loading up on spin and bringing Molineux, Ash Garnder and then Wareham all into the attack.

Molineux dropped on the ideal length quickly enough to coax a return catch from Devine with her very first ball, and with her sixth she turned one a vast distance to beat Maddie Green. It was the sort of over to swing momentum, and in the next over Green was run out trying to force a second run – replays showing she had failed to ground her bat over the line in a desperate dive for safety. So from a promising first couple of overs, New Zealand were already starting to flounder.

Line calls to Australia again

For the second time in as many days, the Australians were given a good deal of assistance by the close calls going their way. First, Satterthwaite was given out stumped off the bowling of Wareham, just as she appeared to be in a position to accelerate. There were millimetres in the question of whether or not Satterthwaite had grounded her foot back over the crease line, and a deliberation time of nearly five minutes for third umpire Donavan Koch suggested more than enough doubt to rule in New Zealand’s favour. Nevertheless, the red light eventually flashed.

Later, as Wareham and Molineux had spun their web further, Lauren Down trying to swing a ball away to leg and being given out after a jumble of ball, pads and possibly bat or glove. Neither Wareham nor Healy – who appeared more interested in the stumping – appealed with any conviction, but the finger was once again raised. In all, spin combined for figures of 5 for 74 from 13 overs, backed up nicely by the seam variations of Kimmince and Nicola Carey.

Powerplayers set the pace

At best, New Zealand needed a repeat of their tidy early overs in game one if they were to pressure the Australians into a scenario from where the visitors could win. Instead, Healy and Mooney recognised the chance to take the initiative and were into stride almost before Devine or her bowlers could do much at all about it. Mooney, out cheaply on Saturday, found a couple of sweetly timed drives against the new ball, before Healy launched herself at Suzie Bates to crunch 22 from a single over.

ALSO SEE: Australia women v New Zealand women live score 27 September 2020

These blows meant that the hosts were able to march past 50 in the space of 4.1 overs, meaning that whatever happened next, the run rate was never likely to be an issue. So when Healy and Mooney both fell relatively soon after the milestone was passed, the seasoned pair of Lanning and Haynes had plenty of time to get themselves set before relaunching.

Haynes, Lanning mop up operation

Sixty-five were required from 75 balls when Haynes joined Lanning, meaning that a calm union would likely be more than enough. Australia’s Nos. 3 and 4 were duly able to absorb some tight bowling before gradually accelerating, doing so in a manner that allowed the target to be reeled in with an ample 20 balls to spare.

In two days, each member of the Australian top five has contributed at least one score of note, making for a truly daunting combination against New Zealand or indeed any opponent. All this with Perry watching from the sidelines – there appears absolutely no need to rush her back from the hamstring injury that had compelled Australia to so memorably win the T20 World Cup without her earlier this year.



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