Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, Abu Dhabi
Pro Tip: Top order batsmen and allrounders are crucial in Abu Dhabi.
Our XI: Jos Buttler, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Steven Smith, Rahul Tewatia, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Jofra Archer, Shardul Thakur, Kartik Tyagi
Substitutes: Ben Stokes, Deepak Chahar, MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa
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: Dwayne Bravo is out for a while, but all other players are available for selection.
Captain: Faf du Plessis
Du Plessis has scored 365 runs at a strike rate of 142.57 so far this season. He also has a healthy strike rate of 132.60 in the powerplay. Given that the Royals have picked up only one wicket in the powerplay on average this tournament, du Plessis should play a long innings.
Vice-captain: Sam Curran
Curran has been contributing with both bat and ball for the Super Kings. He has picked up ten wickets at an economy of 8.57 and scored 99 runs at a strike rate of 180. Since Curran is opening both the batting as well as the bowling for them, he is a good choice for vice-captain.
Ambati Rayudu: Rayudu has dropped down to No. 4 in the batting line-up, but that has only done more good to him. He has a boundary percentage of 53.99 in the middle overs in the IPL since 2018 – since then, he has scored 493 runs at an average of 37.92 and a strike rate of 124.49 for CSK at No. 4.
Jofra Archer: Archer has been bowling with great pace and accuracy. Among all pacers who have picked up ten or more wickets so far this season, Archer has the second-best economy rate of 6.95. He can also contribute with the bat, and has 91 runs at a strike rate of 193.61.
Ravindra Jadeja: Jadeja has become the new finisher for the Super Kings. Among all batsmen who have faced 40 or more balls at the death this season, Jadeja has the third-best strike rate of 215.87. He also bowls and can help get points with his fielding as well.
Kartik Tyagi: Tyagi has been mixing his lengths and pace admirably this season. Even if he gets hit, he makes up for it with wickets. Tyagi has an economy of 7.33 in the middle overs and 9 at the death.
Rahul Tewatia: Tewatia has been the find of the season for the Royals. He has contributed with both bat and ball, and on the field as well. With 222 runs at a strike rate of 145.09, he’s the second-highest run-getter for the Royals so far, while his six wickets have come at an economy of just 7.81.
Ben Stokes is an alternate option for Tewatia, given that Stokes will open the batting. But Tewatia remains a better option as Stokes showed discomfort on the field in the last game and may not bowl against the Super Kings.
In Bravo’s absence, Josh Hazlewood or Imran Tahir could get in.
Dawid Malan secures Hobart Hurricanes deal for BBL
England’s Dawid Malan, the No.1-ranked T20I batsman, has signed a BBL deal with the Hobart Hurricanes.
Malan’s interest in the tournament had been confirmed during the series against Australia when his consistent displays propelled him to the top of the rankings.
In 16 T20Is, Malan has scored 682 runs at 48.71 and a strike-rate of 146.66 with a top score of 103 not not out while he has another four centuries across his T20 career.
He will be part of what is shaping as a very strong Hurricanes top order. Matthew Wade’s availability is likely to be impacted by Test duty, but it will also include D’Arcy Short, Peter Handscomb, Ben McDermott and Mac Wright – the latter making a strong impression when he came into the side last season.
However, Malan’s own availability could yet be restricted due to England commitments with a limited-overs tour of South Africa from late November awaiting government sign-off and talks ongoing about a short T20I trip to Pakistan in mid-January.
The original BBL schedule has the tournament starting on December 3 but there is likely to be some change to that amid the reworking of the season.
All the overseas signings for the BBL are currently England players: Liam Livingstone has returned to Perth while Tom Banton (Brisbane Heat) and Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers) had existing deals.
New Zealand players provide overseas cover for WBBL
Five New Zealand players will provide overseas back-up for WBBL squads during the tournament that begins in Sydney next weekend
Katie Perkins (Adelaide Strikers), Lauren Down (Melbourne Renegades), Holly Huddleston (Brisbane Heat) and Rosemary Mair (Perth Scorchers) will train alongside their allocated team but will only be available if a marquee player – either a Cricket Australia contracted name or overseas player – becomes injured or unavailable.
It is the same arrangement that saw Hayley Jensen confirmed as part of the Hobart Hurricanes’ set-up.
The Renegades currently have doubt over whether New Zealand fast bowler Lea Tahuhu will be able to take part in the tournament following the injury she picked up during the series against Australia while Suzie Bates, who is with the Adelaide Strikers, damaged her shoulder in the first ODI.
The opportunity for the extra players to remain as reserves was opened up because they had already been in Australia as part of the New Zealand squad earlier this month and did not need to go through further quarantine before heading into the WBBL bubble in Sydney.
“NZC are committed to supporting our centrally contracted players wherever we can,” NZC head of women’s high performance Ant Sharp, said. “By staying on and being exposed to new training environments, alongside other quality players, they will continue to learn more about their game.”
Mair said. “We get into Sydney on Monday and I can’t wait to catch up with the Perth Scorchers. It’s a great opportunity to learn more from the Scorchers set-up and how they go about their cricket. I’ll be looking to glean as much knowledge as I can from the staff and players.
“There’s a couple of English internationals in the squad too, so it will be interesting to compare our cricket experiences from different parts of the world.”
The other New Zealand players involved as main signings for the WBBL are Sophie Devine (Perth Scorchers), Amelia Kerr and Maddy Green (Brisbane Heat) and Amy Satterthwaite (Melbourne Renegades). Former international Rachel Priest is also part of the Hurricanes squad.
Australians at the IPL – Steven Smith back in the groove, David Warner’s Super Over frustration and Pat Cummins’ runs
Five single-figure scores for Steven Smith had brought the spotlight on him, to the extent that there were a few questions being asked about his place in the Rajasthan Royals side. It would have been a huge call to leave out the captain – and one of the world’s best batsmen – and it was little surprise when Smith came good after moving to No. 4 as part of a batting shake up. He reached his half-century from 30 balls and two deliveries later produced the most astonishing shot of his innings when he played a reverse whip through point from a standing position. However, in the end his runs weren’t enough for the struggling Royals who fell victim to an AB de Villiers epic. Smith’s captaincy came under the microscope when he opted not to give Jofra Archer the 19th over with 35 needed, instead opting for Jaydev Unadkat who got taken for 25 to change the course of the match.
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