Rajasthan Royals remain hopeful that Jofra Archer can play in the Indian Premier League despite the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealing he would miss the tournament.

The ECB on Friday stated that paceman Archer has been ruled out of England's Test tour of Sri Lanka and the IPL due to a low-grade stress fracture of his right elbow.

Archer is due to commence a rehabilitation programme with the ECB medical team with a view to facing West Indies in a three-match Test series in June.

Yet the Royals, who signed the quick for 7.2 crore (£800,000) in the 2018 IPL auction, have not given up hope of Archer playing in a tournament that gets under way at the end of March and finishes on May 24.

Rajasthan head coach Andrew McDonald told ESPNcricinfo: "It is a blow but these things always confront teams. These are the setbacks that you have to contend with.

"First and foremost, our thoughts are with Jofra. Getting an elbow injury when you are at the top of your game is far from ideal, but watching him from afar it's been great to see what he's been able to achieve.

"We'll see what happens. The ECB have been reasonably solid on ruling him out of the IPL, but we still hold out some hope that he may recover.

"We'll get those details over the next 24-48 hours as to the extent of the injury, and we'll work with the ECB as to what that may or may not look like.

"I'm sure he's keen [to play in the IPL]. He loves playing for Rajasthan, but injuries happen, and until more details come to light, we will always hold out hope for a player of that quality.

"It doesn't look good at the moment, but we won't be in any rush to replace him at this moment in time."

MS Dhoni is set to play on for Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings in 2021.

The pledge came from Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the former ICC chairman and BCCI president who is managing director of India Cements, the team's owners.

Dhoni has not played for India since last year's Cricket World Cup, with the 38-year-old having occasionally made himself unavailable for selection at times since the tournament.

Speculation has since been rife over Dhoni's future ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup, which takes place later this year.

However, Srinivasan has moved to end any doubt over Dhoni's place with IPL side Super Kings, insisting the wicketkeeper-batsman will be retained next season.

"People keep saying when will he... how long will he play, etc," Srinivasan told reporters when asked about Dhoni, who has been left off the BCCI's list of centrally contracted players.

Srinivasan, speaking at an Entrepreneurs' Organization event in Chennai, added: "He will play. I can assure you. He will play this year. Next year he will go the auction; he will be retained there. So there is no doubt in anybody's mind."

Dhoni previously led India to two world titles – the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup – making 90 Test appearances, featuring in 350 ODIs and playing 98 T20 internationals.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons is not be concerned that the life-changing contract awarded to Sheldon Cottrell to play for the Kings XI Punjab in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will impact his cricket.

West Indies middle-order batsman, Shimron Hetmyer, while happy for a second chance at the Indian Premier League, isn’t focusing on the lucrative, high-profile show, in which his price tag suggests he needs to play a starring role.

Hetmyer was discarded by the Royal Challengers Bangalore after just one season but scored a brilliant century in the first One-Day International against India, as well as a few attractive-looking cameos in T20 Internationals against the same team, inclusive of his first half-century.

The left-hander went for US1.1 million to the Capitals at the IPL draft but wasn’t paying any attention to it, choosing instead to focus on the final game his Windies side have against India on Sunday.

The teams go into that third ODI locked at a game apiece.

“I wasn’t really looking too far ahead about it (auction). Really and truly I was just thinking all about the West Indies,” he said.

Hetmyer believes it is what has happened while playing with the Windies that makes him an attractive sell in the IPL and he doesn’t want to quickly forget that.

“They have brought me [here] and made me the person I am today so all thanks to the West Indies for just giving me the chance to represent [them]. I just do my thing and it’s all for the team,” he said.

Windies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell is raring to go after he landed a million-dollar contract from the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this week.

Cottrell entered the draft at a base price of US$70,400 but found himself the subject of a bidding war, with Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab displaying more than just a passing interest.

That interest catapulted his value to US$1.2 million with Kings XI eventually coming out tops.

“I’m really looking forward [to] that,” the Jamaican left-armer said following the auction.

“I am very thankful and humbled at the same time, and just to play alongside Chris (Gayle) and Nicholas (Pooran), KL Rahul – just some of the names – I’m very elated.”

Cottrell  earned his place among the elites of T20 cricket after a year in which he bagged 30 wickets from 23 One-Day Internationals and 14 from 12 T20 Internationals.

Even a disastrous World Cup campaign for the West Indies did little to stop his momentum, the pacer collecting 12 scalps despite.

Though his good bowling has not resulted in many wins for the West Indies, Cottrell doesn’t believe he could have achieved what he has this season without his teammates.

“Without my teammates [and] West Indies, I wouldn’t have made it here in my personal view,” he pointed out. “They have backed me 100 per cent and I just want to tell them thanks.”

Before all that though, Cottrell will be eyeing another good performance for the West Indies in the deciding game of three-match ODI series against India in a few hours time.  

 

Kolkata Knight Riders splashed out a record INR 15.5 crore for Australia star Pat Cummins in the IPL auction on Thursday.

Cummins had been the subject of bids from both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals before Knight Riders gazumped their rivals.

The deal, worth roughly $2.2million, makes Cummins the most expensive overseas buy in IPL history.

The top-ranked Test bowler previously played in Kolkata in 2014 and 2015, along with Delhi Capitals in 2017. He missed the 2018 tournament with Mumbai Indians through injury.

Cummins has 17 wickets, at a rate of 29.35, in his 16 career IPL matches to date.

He is joined at Knight Riders by England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, whose reward for 2019 Cricket World Cup success is a much-improved deal.

Morgan, who is set to lead England again at the 2020 T20 World Cup, fetched INR 5.25 crore - more than double his wage for Kings XI Punjab in his most recent appearance in 2017.

Meanwhile, Cummins was not the only quick to welcome a big contract on Thursday, as debutant Sheldon Cottrell went to Kings XI for INR 8.5 crore.

And Indians signed Nathan Coulter-Nile for INR 8 crore.

Rajasthan Royals brought Jaydev Unadkat back for a third straight year, this time for a more modest INR 3 crore having spent top fees on the 28-year-old at the past two tournaments.

Glenn Maxwell went to Kings XI for INR 10.75 crore, while Royal Challengers sent INR 10 crore to Chris Morris.

Yohan Blake, the second-fastest man in history, could be set to play T20 cricket for the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), once he hangs up his spikes.

Ajinkya Rahane has been traded to Delhi Capitals while Kolkata Knight Riders have released Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn ahead of the next Indian Premier League auction.

Batsman Rahane is Rajasthan Royals' most-capped player and scored 393 runs at an average of 32.75 in the 2019 campaign, including 105 not out against his new team.

As part of the deal, the Capitals have agreed to send leg-spinners Mayank Markande - who had only joined Delhi from Mumbai Indians in July - and Rahul Tewatia in the opposite direction.

Rahane is the second high-profile India international to arrive at Delhi during the off-season, with the franchise having previously completed a trade to bring in spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from Kings XI Punjab.

Uthappa and Lynn, meanwhile, will be in the auction pool after the two batsmen were among a list of 11 names to be released by the Knight Riders, along with England international Joe Denly and West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite.

Royal Challengers Bangalore, meanwhile, announced the departure of 12 players, with the cuts leaving Moeen Ali and AB de Villiers as the only overseas players on their roster.

Less than a year after he was purchased for 720Lakhs (£800,000), England all-rounder Sam Curran has been released by Kings XI, while international team-mates Sam Billings and David Willey were not retained by Chennai Super Kings.

The auction for the 2020 season takes place on December 19.

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has added the head coach role at the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to his stewardship of the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR).

Last week it was announced that McCullum, in addition to taking up head coaching duties with the Hero Caribbean Premier League defending champions, TKR, he would be an assistant with parent organization, KKR in the Indian Premier League.

McCullum’s appointments had come just weeks after the former opener announced his retirement from all forms of the game.

According to KKR’s chief executive, Venky Mysore, McCullum is an ideal replacement for Jacques Kallis, former South Africa all-rounder.

"Brendon has been an integral part of the Knight Riders family for a long time," Mysore said.

"His leadership qualities, honesty, positive and aggressive style, combined with his natural ability to bring the best out of the teams he has been a part of makes him ideally suited to lead both KKR and TKR as a head coach."

McCullum believes both organisations have the kind of pedigree that makes it an honour to take on the roles.

"It's a great honour to take on this responsibility," McCullum said. "The Knight Rider franchises in IPL and CPL have become iconic and have set the standard in franchise cricket. We have fantastic squads in both KKR and TKR and I, along with the support staff will be looking to build on the success both franchises have enjoyed," said the aggressive opener.

McCullum ended his international career a few years ago, having scored 6,453 Test runs at an average of 38.64 from 101 matches. He scored 12 centuries and 31 half centuries along the way.

In ODIs, McCullum averaged 30.41, scoring 6,083 runs from 260 games. He would score five centuries and 32 half centuries in that format.

His aggressive style meant he was well suited to the T20 game and in T20 Internationals for New Zealand, he scored 2,140 runs from 71 matches at an average of 35.66. He scored two centuries and had 13 half centuries.

In franchise cricket, McCullum was a veteran of some 370 games, scoring 9,922 runs at an average of 29.97. In those almost 400 games, he scored seven centuries and 55 half centuries.

Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad have appointed a new head coach in Trevor Bayliss, who will leave his role with England after the Ashes.

The Sunrisers have parted ways with former incumbent Tom Moody and will replace him with Bayliss, who led England to Cricket World Cup glory, culminating in Sunday's dramatic final against New Zealand at Lord's.

Bayliss joined England in 2015 but it has long been known that he will step down when his contract expires in September, following the five-Test series against the country of his birth, Australia.

Windies veteran batsman Chris Gayle has admitted to focusing on his mental preparation, ahead of even the physical aspects as his final World Cup appearance looms on the horizon.

Despite being one of the oldest players heading to the tournament, the 39-year-old has been in solid form in recent months.  In this season’s IPL Gayle has scored 490 runs in 13 matches but really stood out for the recent England series in the Caribbean.  The veteran batsman was named man of the series after amassing 429 runs in four matches at an average of 106.  The player believes keeping fresh has been key.

"I am just taking a lot of rest, getting a lot of massages, lots of stretching, just trying to stay fresh for games. I know what is required to keep me going on the field," Chris Gayle told PTI.

"Age catches up as you ain't getting any younger. But most important thing for me is the mental part of the game. It is not so much about the physical side of the game anymore. I have not done much fitness in the last couple of months," said the Windies veteran.

"I use my experience and mental aspect. I have not done gym for some time," said Chris Gayle.

Jasprit Bumrah said Mumbai Indians never doubted their ability to claim a record fourth Indian Premier League title after they dethroned Chennai Super Kings in the most dramatic fashion.

CSK looked set to retain a trophy they have won three times when they needed nine off the last over to reach their victory target of 150 with Shane Watson at the crease.

MS Dhoni's side required four off two deliveries after Watson - man of the match in last year's final having smashed an unbeaten century - was run out for 80 off 59 balls when coming back for a second after he had been dropped twice by Rahul Chahar.

Lasith Malinga held his nerve by trapping Shardul Thakur leg before with a slower-ball yorker off the last delivery to seal victory two years after Mumbai were also crowned champions with a last-ball win.

Man of the match Bumrah, who removed Dwayne Bravo from a penultimate over that cost only nine runs and claimed 2-14, says self-belief was key to Mumbai coming out on top.

"I'm really happy, we always believed in our team," said the India paceman.

"Whenever we are in tough situations we back each other, stay close and have confidence in each and every individual. On a given day anybody can win us the game. It's a great feeling and we are really happy."

Kieron Pollard top scored with 41 not out off only 25 balls to get the Indians up to 149-8 and the all-rounder knew his knock could be decisive.

"These are the games you want to perform in, they are the games that people remember," said the West Indies international.

"Playing in so many finals, you know the most runs you get on the board, pressure is going to be on them. My aim was to try and stay in until the end. Then Bumrah and Malinga bowled brilliantly, taking the game away from CSK."

Lasith Malinga produced an outstanding exhibition of death bowling to secure a dramatic one-run win over Chennai Super Kings and seal a record fourth Indian Premier League title for Mumbai Indians.

Chennai needed only nine runs off the last over to retain their crown and become the first team to win the IPL four times, but Malinga held his nerve to deny MS Dhoni's side.

CSK required four to win off two balls after Shane Watson was run out for 80 having hesitated going for a second as the tension built in the final over in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Shardul Thakur struck the penultimate delivery for two, but was trapped leg before by the ice-cool Malinga off the final ball to spark huge celebrations from the Indians and their supporters.

There was nobody more relieved than Indians teenager Rahul Chahar, who dropped Watson on 42 and 55.

Deepak Chahar, Rahul's cousin, earlier took 3-26 and Imran Tahir claimed 2-23 to restrict Mumbai to 149-8, Kieron Pollard top scoring with 41 not out off 25 balls.

Watson was named man of the match after smashing an unbeaten century in last year's final against Sunrisers Hyderabad and looked set to see CSK home again, but fellow veteran Malinga was the hero on this occasion.

Chennai have now lost three out of four deciders they have played against Mumbai, who were worthy champions after being top at the end of the regular season.

After 56 games in the round-robin stage, plus an eliminator play-off and two qualifiers, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the last two left standing in the Indian Premier League.

Both franchises have a fine pedigree when it comes to lifting the trophy; they have combined for six titles between them, including triumphing in three of the previous four seasons.

Mumbai were victorious in 2015 and 2017 but it is Chennai who are the defending champions, MS Dhoni's side overcoming Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2018 final at the Indians' Wankhede Stadium.

However, Rohit Sharma's side have already beaten their opponents in the play-offs this year, as a six-wicket win in the qualifier secured them a place in the final.

Ahead of Sunday's showdown in Hyderabad, we pick out some of the key IPL facts with the help of Opta.

 

7 – Chennai have reached the final in seven of the previous eight seasons they have featured in. They are also looking to register back-to-back titles for a second time, having previously achieved the feat in 2010 and 2011.

3 – Mumbai have been crowned champions in three of the past six seasons. They have never won in successive years, however, and were last triumphant in 2017.

8 – In the last eight meetings between the teams, Chennai have been victorious just once. That run includes three defeats to the Indians in 2019.

1 – There has been one final previously at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Mumbai won on that occasion, beating Rising Pune Supergiant by one run in 2017.

173 – Chennai's Deepak Chahar (173) has registered more dot balls in this year's tournament than any other bowler. Of his 363 deliveries, only nine have been hit for six by opposing batsmen.

24 – Imran Tahir has claimed 24 wickets in 2019, putting him one behind fellow South Africa international Kagiso Rabada at the top of the charts.

84 - Suryakumar Yadav is a man in form with the bat for the Indians. His tally of 84 runs from flicked shots played on the leg side this term is 20 more than any other batsman.

Chennai Super Kings are a win away from successfully defending their Indian Premier League title after easing past Delhi Capitals and into the final courtesy of a six-wicket victory.

The Super Kings strangled the Capitals' batting line-up as Delhi disappointed in the second qualifier, in which they could only post 147-9.

And it was a total that proved easily within the grasp of Chennai, whose cause was aided significantly by excellent batting performances from Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson.

The duo each made half-centuries before Ambati Rayudu (20 not out) guided Chennai over the line with six balls to spare to set up a blockbuster final with Mumbai Indians on Sunday.

Shikhar Dhawan (18 off 14) and Colin Munro (27 off 24) each failed to build on strong starts, the impressive duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo combining to dismiss the latter, who swept to the West Indian at deep square leg.

Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel went within nine balls of each other to leave them 80-5 and, though Rishabh Pant (38 off 25), recovered the situation somewhat, a sub-150 total proved well under par.

Du Plessis and Watson's 81-run opening-wicket stand put the Super Kings in a commanding position they never looked like relinquishing, four leg byes sealing the success.

BRAVO BUILDS THE FOUNDATION

The Super Kings' attack has been superb, throughout the tournament, with spinner Imran Tahir so often the star.

Yet he took something of a backseat as Bravo, Jadeja, Deepak Chahar and Harbhajan Singh each took two wickets apiece.

It was Bravo, though, who was the standout. Eleven of his deliveries were dot balls and he conceded just one boundary in his four overs.


DU PLESSIS & WATSON DO THE DAMAGE

Any hope of the Capitals replicating the Super Kings' bowling display was swiftly taken away by Chennai's top two.

They put on 81 in just 59 balls and there was no reprieve for Delhi even after Du Plessis (50) was caught at deep square leg after hitting seven fours and a six. 

Watson (50) piled further misery on the Capitals, bringing up his 31-ball fifty with a slice for six over long on and, when he holed out from the next delivery he faced, Chennai needed just 39 runs for victory.


CHENNAI EYE REVENGE

Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi all finished on 18 points in progressing to the play-offs, but the Super Kings' progression means the top two will contest the final.

They will need no extra motivation having lost to Mumbai in the first qualifier three days ago, and should be confident of gaining revenge after this emphatic triumph.

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