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The defending champions have had an inconsistent start to the campaign, with their big hitters far from their best

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Their batters have scored at 13.24 an over at death, the best for any team so far in IPL 2021. Their new-ball bowler has picked up the most wickets in the powerplay. As a team, they are on a five-match winning streak. What the Mumbai Indians did last year, the Chennai Super Kings are doing this time around.

The Super Kings had a forgettable 2020 season but their new recruit Moeen Ali has resurrected them in 2021. Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Sam Curran have all made vital contributions. And with Faf du Plessis and Deepak Chahar seizing the momentum against and with the new ball respectively, the Super Kings look as formidable as ever.

On the other hand, Mumbai have had a difficult start to their title defence. Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya have been far from their usual destructive bests. Trent Boult has failed to provide breakthroughs with the new ball. The slow and sticky pitches of Chennai didn’t help either.

However, they showed signs of recovery in their last game. Playing in Delhi, they registered a seven-wicket win against the Rajasthan Royals. With three wins in six games, they have managed to stay in the top four on the points table. But can they stop the Super Kings’ juggernaut?

Likely XIs

Mumbai Indians: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Krunal Pandya, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 8 Jayant Yadav, 9 Rahul Chahar, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Ambati Rayudu, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Sam Curran, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Deepak Chahar, 11 Lungi Ngidi

Strategy punt

  • Given the number of left-hand batters – Ali, Suresh Raina, Jadeja and Curran – in the Super Kings’ line-up, Mumbai could retain Jayant Yadav in the XI, especially when their other two spinners, Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya, bring the ball into the left-handers.
  • Since 2018, MS Dhoni has ransacked 65 runs in 27 balls off Trent Boult. His strike rate of 240.74 against the left-arm seamer is second only to AB de Villiers’ 268.42 (minimum ten balls). While Dhoni apparently takes decisions based on instincts than data and may not come out specifically to counter Boult, he does have the upper hand against one half of Mumbai’s death-bowling duo.

Stats that matter

  • Since 2019, chasing teams have won seven (including a Super Over win) of the nine IPL games played in Delhi.
  • Mumbai have picked up just three powerplay wicket in six games so far in this season. Only the Sunrisers Hyderabad have fared worse, taking two powerplay wickets from six outings. On the other hand, the Super Kings bowlers have picked up 14 powerplay wickets, the best by any team in the tournament.
  • Gaikwad’s powerplay strike rate of 91.11 is the lowest for any batter in IPL 2021. But in the middle overs, nobody has a better strike rate than his 189.65. (Minimum 30 balls in each phase)
  • Among those who have bowled at least four death overs this season, Jasprit Bumrah’s economy of 6.54 is the best.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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Australia in West Indies 2021

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The Australia captain said that performances on the upcoming tours will count for a lot in final selection

Australia’s planning for the 2021 T20 World Cup has been significantly disrupted by tour pullouts but captain Aaron Finch is maintaining his focus – in more ways than one.
Finch underwent surgery on his left eye after the tour of New Zealand in March – which was the last time he played – and is hopeful of seeing a positive impact on the upcoming trip to the West Indies and yet-to-be-confirmed assignment against Bangladesh.
Finch revealed that he had first suffered from blurred vision during last year’s IPL, where he started to suffer a lean run of form that continued through the BBL before he finished the series in New Zealand strongly, and when the use of contact lenses didn’t work opted for surgery from which he believes he has already felt the benefits.

“I’m seeing them pretty good,” he said in Brisbane ahead of the squad’s chartered flight to the Caribbean on Monday. “I’ve only been hitting indoors on hard wickets, so [I] think the big test will come in night matches, that’s when I noticed the biggest difference in my eyesight.



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Australians at the PSL: Usman Khawaja, Tim David and James Faulkner leave a mark

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Recent Match Report – Gloucs vs Glamorgan South Group 2021

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NZ wicketkeeper-bat required just 41 balls to take game away from visitors

Gloucestershire 216 for 2 (Phillips 94*, Howell 53*) beat Glamorgan 182 for 8 (Lloyd 44, Higgins 2-27) by 34 runs

Glenn Phillips slammed an unbeaten 94 from just 41 balls to power Gloucestershire to victory by 34 runs over Glamorgan at Bristol, sending them top of the South Group.

Phillips’ fifth-highest score of his career, and first half-century in the Vitality Blast, powered Gloucestershire to 216 for 2 – their own fifth-highest T20 total. He struck nine fours and six sixes to overwhelm Glamorgan, who gave game chase for a while but could only reply with 182 for 8.

Phillips and Benny Howell, promoted to No. 3 in place of the injured Ian Cockbain, shared 130 for the third wicket in 64 balls – a record T20 partnership for Gloucestershire’s third wicket.

Phillips arrived after Miles Hammond and Chris Dent had given the innings a lively start after losing the toss, making 60 without loss. He cut Marnus Labuschagne through extra cover before lifting Dan Douthwaite over the sight screen. He blasted Prem Sisodiya twice straight back past his for four and swept him fine for another boundary in going to fifty in 26 balls.

He took 14 from the 17th over, clubbing Timm van der Gugten over long-off, before uppercutting Douthwaite for a third six. An extraordinary reverse-scoop flew over third man for six as 23 came from the 18th. In the final over, he launched van der Gugten over the longest boundary at midwicket, crashed him wide of deep cover for four and swung the final ball of the innings over deep-square.

Howell took his chance up at three to make an unbeaten 53 in 33 balls. He struck Callum Taylor for four through extra cover and wide of midwicket before a slug down the ground cleared long-off for six. He drove Weighell for four to raise a fifth T20 half-century.

Glamorgan needed their third-highest T20 total to win and stayed in the game for the first half of the chase. David Lloyd gave them a rattling start with 44 in 22 balls, striking four sixes, three of them short-arm jabs over midwicket and Glamorgan reached 101 for 4 at halfway. But Tom Smith then bowled an over for 9 followed by a wicket maiden to leave 15-an-over for the final five.

Labuschagne was, as ever, a crucial wicket and David Payne yorked him walking across his stumps. His 33 in 21 balls was well light of what Glamorgan needed.



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