“The vaccine doses will be administered on Thursday and will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure bubble”
The PCB has offered doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to all participants of PSL 2021. The decision comes as a boost after the recent cases in the PSL which saw three overseas players and a support staff member test positive, which has even made the PCB think about hosting the entire tournament in Karachi. Originally, Karachi and Lahore were scheduled to host this season of the PSL. The decision to offer the vaccine was made in line with the PCB’s duty of care policy and to “ensure all participants of the league remain safe and healthy during the event.”
The PCB is the first cricket board to offer vaccine to its players.
“The vaccine doses will be administered on Thursday and will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure bubble,” a PCB release said. “However, it will solely be the players and officials’ decision if they want to get the vaccine shots.”
The release further said the PCB has been in discussions with the federal and provincial government officials, “highlighting the national cricket teams’ international engagements and commitments as well as the significance, reputation, integrity and credibility” of the PSL.
“The PCB takes health, safety and well-being of its players and officials very seriously,” board chief executive Wasim Khan said. “In line with our duty of care policy, we have acquired a small allocation of SARS-Coronavirus Vaccine, which will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure environment created for the HBL Pakistan Super League 6.
“The players and officials will be under no obligation to have the vaccine. The vaccinations will be administered on Thursday morning by qualified health workers, strictly in line with government protocols.
“While we live in these challenging times, the vaccine has been sourced to provide an added level of protection and comfort for players and all personnel inside the bubble. We will continue to operate responsibly in our duty to those involved in the tournament.”
Legspinner Fawad Ahmed was the first player to test positive for Covid-19 in the ongoing PSL, followed by Tom Banton and another Islamabad United player, and a support staff member of the Karachi Kings, Kamran Khan. This has forced the PCB to look at back-up plans if more positive cases come up, as the board has decided to carry out PCR tests once in four days instead of the original plan of weekly tests. The next round of tests is set for Thursday, which is considered the most crucial one after the recent outbreak.
Recent Match Report – Durham vs NOTTS Group 1 2021
Nottinghamshire slip to 85 for 6 in response to 330 before Tom Moores steadies innings
Nottinghamshire 165 for 7 (Salisbury 3-54) trail Durham 330 (Raine 59*) by 165 runs
Durham seized the initiative at a cold and damp Trent Bridge, where a familiar Nottinghamshire collapse with the bat was compounded by an injury to their England fast bowler, Jake Ball.
The 30-year-old, whose return to wicket-taking form last season earned him a place in England’s white-ball squads in India after three years out of the international picture, took two wickets on the first day here but had bowled only nine deliveries on the second morning when a back problem forced him off the field. Nottinghamshire said it was “sore” and is “being monitored”.
With Ball out of the attack, Durham built well on the fightback mounted by Brydon Carse and Ben Raine late on the first evening to post a more competitive first-innings total than had once seemed likely.
Their seam attack then took advantage of difficult batting conditions on a gloomy afternoon to reduce Nottinghamshire to 85 for 6 before Tom Moores and Liam Patterson-White stemmed the flow of wickets in a stand of 56.
Durham’s recovery with the bat had been built around Raine’s unbeaten 59 as their last three wickets added 134. His partnership with Carse – ended by Brett Hutton’s first wicket of his second spell as a Nottinghamshire player – added 54 before last man Chris Rushworth helped put on another 59.
“We have spoken a lot about getting runs down the order because those extra 40-60 runs can make a big difference, especially on a wicket that is doing a bit,” Rushworth said. “Getting from 260 to 330 is a massive difference in conditions like this, so we think we did a really good job batting.
“Speaking to a few of their lads, the wicket didn’t really change much but I think we bowled a fuller length and got more reward from it. There was less wind, too, and the conditions suited, slightly warmer and with cloud cover all day, but overall I think we bowled better.
“We are still well in front in the game and we have played some good cricket up to now but it is important we start right on the money again in the morning.”
Relegated in 2019, Nottinghamshire looked to have remedied some of their batting woes last year, clocking up more batting points than any other side in the Bob Willis Trophy, even if they still failed to conjure up a win.
Yet now they looked fragile again, albeit with the ball zipping around. Ben Slater, Ben Duckett and Steven Mullaney all fell in defensive mode, bemused by late movement that found the edge. Likewise Haseeb Hameed, who lost his off bail to Matt Salisbury‘s best delivery in a three-wicket new-ball spell. Joe Clarke, on the other hand, executed a horrible shot to the ball that followed Hameed’s demise and was caught behind off a bottom edge.
Lyndon James, the young allrounder, played nicely for his 28 but was caught off a steepling top edge as he swung lavishly at a ball from Carse, Poynter sprinting halfway down the pitch to claim his fourth catch.
Patterson-White gave good back-up to the more experienced Moores in adding 56 for the next wicket but as Poynter pouched a fifth catch and Rushworth a second wicket Nottinghamshire were still 165 behind when the bad light and drizzle that caused a brief stoppage before tea ended play early.
Nottinghamshire assistant coach Ant Botha said: “We knew that Durham bat deep and, though losing Jake Ball early didn’t help, we would have liked their total to be 50-60 short of what it was. With 330 on the board the momentum was with them and we needed to start off well. We didn’t, but to give Durham credit I thought they bowled exceptionally well and if you look at the wickets lost, barring Joe Clarke, there were some good balls out there.
“On a day like this, it is tough to bat because there are going to be some good balls, but we can sense there is fight in the team and if we can fight from here and get close to their score it is game on.”
In common with other grounds, the afternoon session began with players and match officials lining up on the outfield in front of the pavilion to observe a two-minute silence in remembrance of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, whose death had been announced during the morning. The flag over the pavilion was lowered to half-mast and the players took to the field wearing black armbands.
Recent Match Report – Middlesex vs Somerset Group 2 2021
Middlesex 313 and 87 for 2 lead Somerset 172 (de Lange 51, Murtagh 4-46) by 228 runs
Relationships between incumbents and their successors-in-waiting are rarely straightforward. According to the Harvard Business Review, they are “fraught with emotion”, and leave the heir apparent in an impossible situation: “if he pushes too hard, he alienates the CEO; if he doesn’t push hard enough, his performance doesn’t warrant a promotion to the top spot.” Tony Blair and Sven-Göran Eriksson will happily attest that it leaves the current boss in an awkward position.
But at Middlesex, there are no such concerns. Tim Murtagh and Ethan Bamber, two right-arm swing bowlers at opposite ends of their careers, shared seven wickets between them on the second day at Lord’s as they took charge of their County Championship season opener, combining either side of lunch to reduce Somerset to 89 for 9. Marchant de Lange hit a typically assertive fifty from No. 10 on debut to drag them past the follow-on target, but a calm innings from Nick Gubbins at No. 3 gave Middlesex a healthy lead by the close.
Perhaps Murtagh is not quite old enough to be Bamber’s dad, but a 17-year age gap is still substantial. They are both nibbly bowlers who focus on control and movement rather than pace and bounce, and managed to extract enough from the overhead conditions to expose the batting frailties that have plagued Somerset throughout their pushes for the title over the course of the last five years.
Bamber’s method of plugging away on a length is not particularly eye-catching, but his ability to maintain a tight economy rate and bowl long spells earned him selection ahead of both James Harris and Steven Finn in this fixture – a call vindicated by his three top-order wickets. There is life in the old dog yet, but Murtagh knows he is playing his part in grooming his eventual replacement.
“Just watching Tim work away is an absolute pleasure,” Bamber said. “He’s such a magician, and nobody bats an eyelid when he cleans up. I think he’s absolutely sick of all the questions I ask him. I’m flattered by that comparison: Tim can do a lot of things that I certainly can’t and probably will never be able to do and I hope that I bring something different to our attack.”
Murtagh struck the first blows, bustling in from the Nursery End as is his wont. Using the slope to nip the ball back into the left-hander, he had Tom Lammonby caught behind off the inside edge – though Lammonby stood disconsolate, convinced he had played and missed – before Tom Abell poked an outswinger to Sam Robson at second slip.
Bamber’s hooping inswinger from a length accounted for the off stump of Tom Banton, an old England Under-19 team-mate, before he had George Bartlett caught at slip and trapped James Hildreth, playing across a straight one, lbw straight after lunch. At 40 for 5, Somerset’s hopes of starting the season with a win were in tatters, and they had a last-wicket stand of 83 to thank for sparing them the ignominy of batting again.
Murtagh is in the final year of his Middlesex contract, and will turn 40 later in the season, but shows no sign of slowing down. He says that he is fitter than he was 10 years ago, and remains in monthly conversations with the club’s management about his future with them. It is not out of the question that Murtagh could yet end his career with 1000 first-class wickets – the example of Darren Stevens, who turns 45 this month, is serving a generation of players with a reminder that if the body holds, age does not need to be a barrier.
He appears to be embracing his role as a senior player, too. “The whole bowling group with the eight or nine seamers get on pretty well,” Bamber said. “Those conversations are where you learn the most, especially with the experience we have in our dressing room – it would be silly not to take advantage of that. Everyone is so generous with their time and their experience.”
While the new-ball attack did most of the damage, it was heartening to see Toby Roland-Jones back among the wickets after missing the whole of the 2020 season. Injuries have provided him with a number of significant setbacks since his breakthrough for England four summers ago, and while he was not at his metronomic best, he struck two significant blows by removing Craig Overton and Steven Davies early in the afternoon session.
For Somerset, a top-order collapse followed by a lower-order bailout was an all-too-familiar sensation. They have made 350 only five times since the start of the 2019 Championship season, with their top score in that time – 413 for 9 declared against Warwickshire last summer – largely down to some tail-end heroics. Having a stock of fast bowlers who can bat has been hugely helpful to them, but is not a sustainable source of big first-innings totals; the middle order of Abell, Hildreth and Bartlett will not reflect fondly on their dismissals here.
It could easily have been worse. De Lange expressed his batting approach in the simplest possible terms – “see ball, hit ball” – but his last-wicket stand with Jack Leach could yet prove crucial, especially with the third day set to be interrupted by rain. Overton gave Somerset hope with two early wickets in Middlesex’s third innings, but Gubbins dug in before finding some fluency to reach the close unbeaten on 37 and put Middlesex firmly in the ascendancy.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
MI vs RCB, 1st match, IPL 2021
Buckle up, it’s time for the IPL 2021 to begin! To get us started, we have Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, taking on Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. Tonight we’ll see Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah facing off against AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Yuzvendra Chahal. If this blog doesn’t load for you, click here.
You can also follow our ball-by-ball commentary here.
Click here for the full live scorecard.
Harshal Patel digs out a near yorker last ball to take RCB to a win in a thrilling finish. Harshal had taken a five-for earlier in the night to restrict Mumbai to 160. It was that once-in-a-generation slow end from Mumbai, and then some genius of AB de Villiers that has sealed the win for RCB. This is the eighth time in a row that Mumbai have lost their first match of the IPL. If this start is anything to go by, we are in for some ride this IPL. Thanks for joining us tonight.
Why no Bumrah against Maxwell?
Rohit and Mumbai Indians are big on match-ups. And here is a match-up if ever there was one: Japsrit Bumrah has taken Glenn Maxwell out six times in 58 balls in T20 cricket for just 67 runs. Rohit usually brings Bumrah on as soon as Maxwell comes on to bat, but not on this occasion. By the end of the 10th over, Maxwell has faced 15 balls, but none from Bumrah.
It is not as though Rohit is not aware of the match-up. Is he saving Bumrah up for AB de Villiers? Or does he think a slightly older ball will provide Bumrah’s slower balls more grip?
Introducing Rajat Patidar
Shashank Kishore has been on the ball, and has produced this piece immediately after it was confirmed Patidar was making his IPL debut
“It’s been amazing, the last few months,” Patidar says. “The night of the IPL auction, I received a text from Virat, saying ‘welcome Rajat, wishing you the best, go smash it.’ I didn’t even have his number. Now, getting a chance to bat with him in the nets and maybe even in the matches will be a dream.”
There have been only three one-run final overs in the IPL. Harshal Patel joined Praveen Kumar and Dale Steyn, both of whom managed it back in 2008.
How did Harshal Patel outdo the Mumbai hitting machinery?
Harshal Patel’s five-for was the first five-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians in all IPL. More important than that, his bowling at the death kept Mumbai to just 25 off the last four overs, their lowest since 2016. Harshal took the wickets of the designated death-overs hitters, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya, to go with Ishan Kishan in his last three overs.
Two things happened, which both had to do with the pitch in all likelihood. The ball reversed for him, and it gripped the surface too. It was probably down to a dry track. It was expected the bowlers would go for slower balls into the surface to use both the surface and the dimensions of the ground, but the little bit of tail made Harshal even more dangerous. RCb bowled slower 23 balls in the last five overs, which accounted for four wickets and just 29 runs.
Expect Mumbai to do more of the same?
Did Virat Kohli miss a trick by not bowling Washington Sundar earlier than the 13th over?
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) April 9, 2021
Why is Washington Sundar not bowling?
It’s a slow, low surface, and Washington Sundar is at his home ground. He is at Chepauk where he has played most of his cricket, but he hasn’t been used in the first 11 overs. The most obvious reasons might be all the right-hand batsmen at the top of Mumbai Indians’ batting order. However, there is another trend here.
Sundar came to prominence with his superb restrictive performances with the ball in the Powerplay for Rising Pune Supergiant. Then he joined Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2018. So 2017 remains the only year in which he bowled more overs in the Powerplay than the middle overs.
Protecting fingerspinners against right-hand batsmen makes sense, but if there is an offspinner you would back against right-hand batsmen, it is Sundar. In all IPL, he has a better average against right-hand batsmen than left (26.4 as against 39.22) and only a slightly worse economy rate (6.9 as against 6.83).
Also Glenn Maxwell, who bowled a lot in the Powerplay for Kings XI Punjab last year, hasn’t been used at all. Could RCB have made better use of their spinners on this slow surface?
Mumbai Indians 94 for 2 in 11 overs.
Early signs of a slow, low pitch
It is evident from the bottom edges in the first four overs. This is a slow pitch with low bounce, and Chris Lynn is struggling to force the pace. Rohit Sharma has been run out after he did create the pace in a couple of shots by advancing down. This might be a very good toss to win because if there is any dew the pitch might quicken up a little later in the night. Mumbai Indians 24 for 1 after four overs
Virat Kohli has finally won a toss. RCB have decided to field. There is a whole new look to RCB. Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson, Dan Christian. Devdutt Paddikal has just recovered from Covid-19, and has been advised not to play this game. Rajat Patidar comes in in his place.
Mumbai Indians are so settled they have made just the two changes from the last final, and one of them is forced because Quinton de Kock is still in quarantine. Chris Lynn comes in as does Jansen. Two changes is what Rohit Sharma said at the toss. There are three. Seems he forgot the tactical inclusion of Jayant Yadav in the final. I sure forgot. So Rahul Chahar is in too.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 1 Virat Kohli (capt.), 2 Rajat Patidar, 3 AB de Villiers (wk), 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Daniel Christian, 6 Washington Sundar, 7 Kyle Jamieson, 8 Shahbaz Ahmed 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Mumbai Indians 1 Rohit Sharma (capt.), 2 Chris Lynn, 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Ishan Kishan (wk), 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Marco Jansen, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Surely you have heard Marco Jansen is making his debut? Who is he, did you ask? The young South African beanpole who beat Kohli in the nets, that’s who. Here’s Saurabh Somani’s piece on him
What if I told you we could put together all the awesome Cricinfo content in one place so you don’t have to go looking. And what if I told you that place is here?
Aakash Chopra has declared he will be training his binoculars to focus on a select group of players this IPL, men who can have a big impact on their teams winning the tournament.
Among the multitude of people MS Dhoni has influenced is Rishabh Pant. The 23-year-old became the fifth-youngest captain in the IPL after the Delhi Capitals appointed Pant as the interim captain this season after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due shoulder surgery. At his first toss Pant will walk out with Dhoni, on Saturday, and he has promised to expect something different.
Millions mean nothing to Glenn Maxwell, who has said he wants to be a “positive influence” on the group. But former Indian opener and IPL-winning captain Gautam Gambhir reminds Maxwell here that why it is important for him to be consistent, something he was in 2014 IPL when he won the Most Valuable Player award.
Talking about impact players, there are few who can match Kieron Pollard, who has been the key backbone for five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians, the team he joined in 2009 IPL. And it was Pollard’s knock in the final of the 2013 edition that helped Mumbai win their first title. Pollard’s 32-ball 60 is among ESPNcricinfo’s Greatest IPL Performances series.
There are also a host of expansive interviews to choose from: T Natarajan talks about his fairy tale journey since the last IPL. Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara returns to the IPL after seven years, to a format he believes is a “piece of cake”. T20 specialist Dan Christian returns to the IPL after a forgettable outing last time, and is ready to make a mark even as he will turn 38 during the tournament at the Royal Challengers.
Robin Uthappa reveals how he is coming into grips with specialist roles of a topo-order batsman that has evolved rapidly.
Also have a listen to the IPL-10 series where Shubman Gill talks about not only scoring the “most runs” but also dominating a bowler, that has been among the best bowlers in the tournament for the past few years. Others in this series include Shakib-Al-Hasan, who is back in the IPL, at Kolkata Knight Riders and wants to score a 100 and take 5-for.
Also get ready for some key changes to the IPL playing conditions: no more soft signal, cap on the time for multiple super overs, and third umpire to rule on a short run.
Finally, Alan Gardner analyses why 40 is the new 30 in T20 cricket.
It is not all normal at Cricinfo. There’s a Covid baby here. Please welcome the newest member of the family, Cricinfo Hindi. This is from a welcome note from our editor Sambit Bal. And here is the first live Hindi scorecard on Cricinfo
Technology makes it possible today to get descriptions from raw data or to create instant translation. But that would never have felt right. Communication is a deeply personal experience: it requires individuality, personality, quirks and human imperfection. Ball-by-ball commentary is the heartbeat of our site, it needs flesh and blood. Over the years, you have related to our commentators, bantered with them, sent them your affection and cursed them too. It’s a ride, and it’s very human.
So we now have a team that will bring Hindi commentary to you, with all the flavours that the language merits and you deserve. We have spent the last few weeks discussing tone and temper and words and idioms, and we have been energised by the new flush of enthusiasm in our commentary team. But now we will let their natural impulse and instinct take over. Engage with them, let them know what you like and what you don’t and we will learn together. And, while at it, you can follow ESPNcricinfo Hindi on Facebook and on Twitter.
It’s been a hard hard year/
Pushing shit uphill/
But shit happens all the time/
And I guess it always will
Now the days are getting long/
Summer’s on its way/
I can’t wait for Christmas/
‘Cause the day after Christmas is Boxing Day
You’ll know where to find me/
Ten rows back at the MCG/
Right behind the bowler’s arm/
Right behind the bowler’s arm
That is the legendary Paul Kelly’s legendary welcome to the grand occasion of Boxing Day Test in Australia. We are living a dystopian version of this song in India and in the rest of the world. It’s been a – pardon my French – shitty year-and-a-half, and I really don’t know if cricket or any sport can provide a distraction from what is going on. All I know is, any activity going on with any semblance of normalcy is a message that we need to get up and keep living and working no matter what. So here is to a somewhat normal IPL 2021
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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