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RR v KXIP – IPL 2020



Sanju Samson has been one of the Rajasthan Royals’ lynchpins since 2013. He even made it to our all-time Royals XI. But, until IPL 2020 came along, Samson had never hit consecutive 50-plus scores for the Royals. That changed on Sunday, with Samson following his 74 off 32 against the Chennai Super Kings with 85 off 42 in a record chase against the Kings XI Punjab.

After the Royals made 226 for 6 in 19.3 overs, Samson said his new-found success stems from some intensive work on his power game, alongside some hard questions asked of himself.

“I think I have been hitting it well for the last one year,” Samson told the host broadcaster, Star, after the game. “So I’m in the right frame of mind. I can see a change in my game and my fitness.”

Achieving that “right” frame of mind came after what Samson described as some “soul-searching”.

“I was really fed up of myself last year,” he said. “I had been trying very hard but things were not happening. Then I really went back to myself, did a bit of soul-searching and I really asked myself lots of different questions. Like, ‘What do I want to achieve in my life?’ and ‘Where do I want to reach until my cricket career finishes?’

“I decided that I have ten more years to play this wonderful game, so I decided to just give my everything towards cricket and nothing else. My family, friends and everyone is really supportive and I’m really happy that I’m giving my whole energy towards cricket – and it’s giving back to me.”

“I decided that I have ten more years to play this wonderful game, so I decided to just give my everything towards cricket and nothing else.”

Sanju Samson on his “soul searching”

One of the features of Samson’s batting in both his half-centuries so far has been his power hitting: he’s hit 16 sixes and five fours in 74 balls faced so far. No one has hit more sixes in the season till date, and Samson’s balls per sixes ratio of 4.6 is easily the highest among the top ten run-getters.

Samson had earlier revealed he had worked on his range-hitting skills during the pandemic-enforced break from cricket.

“I believe that it’s in my genes. My father is a very powerful man so I think I also get the same strength,” he said with a laugh, when asked about his power-hitting on Sunday. “I have really worked hard on my fitness. I have understood that my game is all about power, so I have invested a lot of time in developing my muscles and all those things, so I’m very happy that it’s coming out nicely.”

Samson’s hitting left captain Steven Smith almost searching for words.

“Wow,” Smith said when asked about Samson’s batting. “He’s just striking the ball cleanly all around the ground. Jeez, he’s powerful, he’s hitting the ball so well, and making the job easier for whoever he’s batting with. He’s hitting sixes at will at the moment.

“It’s just going to be about adapting when we get to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, where it’s [the ground] a little bit bigger I think. But most of the balls he’s hitting are probably going out of most grounds. Pretty good that.”

ALSO SEE: Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals live score, September 27 2020

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Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2020, Fantasy Pick, team predictions



Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Dubai

Pro Tip: Expect both captains, Steven Smith and David Warner, to come good, given they are long due and have shown improved form of late.

Our XI: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Manish Pandey, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammad Nabi, Jofra Archer, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Kartik Tyagi

Substitutes: Jason Holder, Shreyas Gopal, Ben Stokes, Basil Thampi

Player availability: Kane Williamson is likely to miss this game because of an adductor injury. All other players are available for selection.

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.

Captain: David Warner

Though Warner hasn’t played a really big innings in the tournament so far, his run tally of 331 runs shows he has been consistent. Also, in three innings against the Royals since 2019, Warner has scored 154 runs at a strike rate of 143.92, including 48 in their previous meeting.

Vice-captain: Steven Smith

Smith has found some form of late, scoring a fifty against the Royal Challengers Bangalore before seeing his team through against the Chennai Super Kings. Though he starts a bit slowly, he is capable of making up for it. Since 2019 in all T20s, Smith has a strike rate of 124.77 in the middle overs, which goes up to 156.19 at the death.

Hot Picks

Jos Buttler: Buttler has now shifted to the middle order for the Royals – thus taking up the job of the finisher – and is fresh off a match-winning 70 not out against the Super Kings. Though his preferred position in the format is at the top, he has a decent record in the middle order too. Buttler has scored 214 runs at an average of 30.57 and a strike rate of 127.38 as a non-opener in the IPL since 2018.

Mohammad Nabi: Nabi bowls four overs every game as well as bats in the top six. His economy rate of 5.10 was the best among all bowlers with ten or more wickets in the recent CPL. In his only game this season – though he had gone wicketless – his economy was just 5.75. That apart, he strikes at 183.92 at the death across all T20s since 2019.

Jonny Bairstow: Since 2019, Bairstow has scored 30-plus on 11 occasions in 19 innings in the IPL. Given Williamson is likely to miss this game, he must take more responsibility and convert his decent starts into a big knock. Two out of his three fifties this season have come at this venue as well.

Differential Picks

Rahul Tewatia: Tewatia has scored 222 runs at a strike rate of 145.09 and an average of 44.40, both of those being the best among all the Royals batsmen who have faced 75 or more balls. With the ball, he has picked up seven wickets at an economy of 7.38 so far in the tournament.

Kartik Tyagi: Young Tyagi shown great promise with his ability and confidence. He has picked up six wickets in as many games at an economy of 8.56. He bowls both in the powerplay and at the death, which makes his economy impressive.

Alternate Scenarios

  • If Jason Holder plays ahead of Nabi, then bring him into your XI.

  • Manish Pandey has scored two half-centuries in his last two innings against the Royals, including one this season. That makes him an alternate vice-captain choice, especially if the Sunrisers bat second. Smith, on the other hand, has only scored 115 runs in seven innings while chasing this season.

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Pakistan tour on pre-season agenda for Warwickshire



Pakistan’s reputation as open for business looks set to take another step forward with news that at least a couple of England’s first-class counties are considering the country as an option for their pre-season tours.

Days after ESPNcricinfo revealed that England are considering a short tour to the country in January, it has emerged that Warwickshire are considering visiting Lahore as part of their preparations for the 2021 domestic season.

ALSO READ: ECB confirms plans to undertake first tour of Pakistan in more than 15 years

ESPNcricinfo understands the club have held talks with Pakistan CEO, Wasim Khan, with a view to sending the entire first team squad to the country in March. Wasim, a former Warwickshire player, is believed to have guaranteed good quality training facilities and opposition.

If the tour goes ahead, it seems likely the side will be based at Aitchison College. Two senior Warwickshire players, Will Rhodes, the club captain, and Oliver Hannon-Dalby, went on the MCC’s tour to Pakistan in February, which was also based at Aitchison College. Both enjoyed the experience and have given positive reports about the facilities on offer.

A final decision will not be made until the club are satisfied that the tour is safe in terms of both security and Covid-19. Finances could also be an issue, with the club also understood to be considering the La Manga, in Spain, as a pre-season option.

Either way, the fact that Pakistan is being considered for such visits is a sure sign of progress. England have not visited the country since late 2005 due to security concerns.

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Recent Match Report – South Australia vs Tasmania 3rd Match 2020



South Australia 195 and 2 for 93 trail Tasmania 8 for 493 dec (Doran 112, Paine 111*, McDermott 90, Wakim 83) by 205 runs

Tim Paine‘s third first-class century pushed Tasmania into a position from where they will hunt a final-day victory against South Australia who are in danger of beginning the Sheffield Shield season with a brace of heavy losses.

They negotiated the final session with what was probably the maximum damage if they were to have genuine hope of escaping with a draw. Jake Weatherald was well caught, low at third slip, and Brad Davis paid the price of shouldering arms against Peter Siddle before Henry Hunt and Travis Head, who had earlier dislocated a finger in the field, saw out the day.

South Australia were already comfortably ahead at the start of the third day and left hander Jake Doran was the first to register three figures with his second Shield hundred.

Paine had waited 13 years to double his century tally when he made a hundred against Western Australia at the WACA last season. He was discomforted for a while here, following a blow on the arm from Wes Agar and was treated to some sustained short-pitched bowling, but his third hundred came from 191 deliveries with a pull off Kane Richardson on a day of remorseless accumulation by South Australia. It set him up nicely for a season that, everyone hopes, will include four Tests against India.

By the time Doran was taken at slip, Lloyd Pope finding a touch of extra bounce from round the wicket to take the top edge, the sixth-wicket stand was worth 153 and it had long-since become a match-saving mission for South Australia.

For the rest of the afternoon Paine was accompanied by Beau Webster and Tom Andrews to further deflate the Redbacks’ attack. Webster looked aghast to be given caught down the leg side and Pope was able to collect a second wicket, but they came at the considerable cost of 203 – the first bowler to concede a double ton in the Shield since 2015.

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