Eight of England's 11 players involved in the Indian Premier League have returned home following the indefinite suspension of the tournament.

The decision to call a halt to this year's competition was taken on Tuesday amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in India.

After two cases were confirmed among the Kolkata Knight Riders, Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed. A Sunrisers Hyderabad player then also tested positive ahead of their fixture with Mumbai Indians.

Focus is now on seeing participants leave the country safely, with fears players would need to self-isolate in India and also return a negative coronavirus test before attempting to get a flight.

However, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy all boarded a flight that landed at Heathrow on Wednesday.

They will have to quarantine in government-approved hotels for the next 10 days.

The remaining three England players who were on duty - Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan - are expected to leave India within the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley has confirmed the contingent of Australian IPL players will be moved to the Maldives or Sri Lanka in the coming days.

The Australian government has blocked citizens returning home within 14 days of being in India, meaning they will first have to isolate elsewhere.

Kolkata Knight Riders ended their four-match IPL slump with a comfortable five-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad.

KKR had lost each game since winning their tournament opener but were quickly on top on Monday, given a straightforward chase - led by captain Eoin Morgan (47 not out) and Rahul Tripathi (41) - after limiting the Kings to 123-9.

That total could easily have been far lower as Punjab failed to fire, with Mayank Agarwal their top scorer on an underwhelming 31 off 34.

By the time he departed to Sunil Narine in the 12th over, the Kings had just 60 runs on the board and had already lost three prior wickets - including Chris Gayle, who had previously averaged 47 against the Knight Riders but went for a duck.

Wickets continued to fall apace, but Chris Jordan ensured his side made three figures and then kept going, 30 off 18 keeping Punjab's slim hopes alive.

Those hopes grew when Kolkata made a similarly shaky start, losing three wickets in the first three overs.

But Tripathi survived and a partnership of 66 with Morgan set the stage for a stress-free finale, even with Andre Russell run out for 10.

A 13-run 16th over, including back-to-back Morgan boundaries, brought the finish line into view, with Dinesh Karthik's four then completing the job at 126-5 with 20 balls to spare.

Narine celebrations soon subside

The Knight Riders had not previously had much to savour this season, but Sunil Narine always enjoys himself against the Kings and figures of 2-22 took him to 30 Punjab wickets, the most of any bowler in the IPL.

His quota was finished by the time Jordan threatened a fightback, though, and then the West Indies all-rounder was unable to contribute with the bat as Ravi Bishnoi's outstanding diving catch ended his innings after four balls and no runs.

Morgan makes sure of no momentum swing

This has been a tough tournament for the Knight Riders and they might have feared another difficult outing against the Kings, who had been eight-wicket victors in their previous meeting in October.

But skipper Morgan was a typically steady presence throughout the chase before accelerating late on to pass 7,000 Twenty20 runs and ensure Kolkata retain the upper hand against a side they have now beaten in 13 of their past 16 outings.

Rajasthan Royals lifted themselves off the foot of the Indian Premier League with a six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a bottom-of-the-table encounter.

Dismantled by Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last game, the Royals got the response they needed on Saturday.

Chris Morris was the star with the ball for Rajasthan, his 4-23 helping limit Kolkata to 133-9 at the Wankhede Stadium, while the South African also ran out Eoin Morgan.

Jos Buttler was struck in the grille early on by Pat Cummins, but the Royals did not allow that incident to shake them, captain Sanju Samson (42 not out) guiding them to an important victory.

Put into bat by Samson, KKR looked set to reach the end of the first powerplay with their full complement of wickets intact, only for Buttler to send Shubman Gill packing with a direct hit.

Gill had been dropped early on by Yashasvi Jaiswal, but the teenager atoned with a fine take to dismiss Sunil Narine.

Morgan was walking back to the sidelines without facing a ball when a mix-up with Rahul Tripathi resulted in a run-out.

Tripathi (36) made amends with a pair of sixes, yet he soon picked out Mustafizur Rahman at deep midwicket, and Morris subsequently took centre stage with four wickets in the space of two overs.

With an achievable target in Rajasthan's sites, Buttler took a nasty blow in the second over, but was passed fit to continue, only to be pinned leg before wicket by Varun Chakravarthy.

An impressive flurry from Jaiswal (22) was cut short in the next over, though Samson and Shivam Dube steadied the ship, picking their moments to punish any slack deliveries.

A googly from Varun did for Dube, with Rahul Tewatia succumbing in the 14th over. 

KKR appeared to have the bit between their teeth when David Miller was given out lbw, but a review proved the ball had pitched outside leg and, after surviving a run-out scare, Samson clipped away the winning run with seven balls to spare.

Morgan gets it wrong

It was a poor performance all-round for Morgan – who had averaged 81 runs across his five previous knocks against the Royals – and his side. Tripathi was their top scorer with the bat, while Cummins (0-36) was particularly expensive with the ball, and Russell was not even called upon. 

"The batting was the let down and we lacked a lot of intent throughout the whole innings," Morgan said. "We were behind the eight ball right from the get-go. Possibly, we were 40 short which is a lot in a T20 game. The bowlers had too much to do. It's a stark contrast to the last game."

More Mumbai misery for KKR

Kolkata had beaten the Royals in six of their last seven IPL encounters before Saturday's meeting, but that streak ended with a whimper.

Indeed, the Wankhede Stadium has been an unhappy hunting ground for KKR, who have now lost each of their last eight IPL games at the ground.

Nitish Rana led the way with the bat as Kolkata Knight Riders opened their Indian Premier League campaign with a 10-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Rana made an impressive 80 from 56 deliveries, hitting nine fours and four sixes as the Knight Riders posted 187-6 after being put in at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Rahul Tripathi helped add 93 for the second wicket, his innings of 53 seeing him surpass 1,000 career runs in the competition.

Having crashed their way to 145-1 after 15 overs, Kolkata lost four wickets for 14 runs in trying to lift the run-rate even higher, including two in as many deliveries during a Mohammad Nabi over.

However, it was Nabi’s Afghanistan team-mate Rashid Khan who was the pick of the Hyderabad attack, taking 2-24 from four overs.

Dinesh Karthik produced a late cameo – he hit 22 not out from nine balls – to hurt Sunrisers, who then slipped to 10-2 early in their reply as openers David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha fell cheaply.

Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey both made half-centuries to lift their team after the early setbacks, yet an ever-increasing required rate proved too much for the middle order to manage.

Knight Riders make fast start

Rana's 12th IPL half-century came to an end when he departed to Nabi, who then tempted Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan to loft the next ball straight to Abdul Samad at deep backward square leg.

Having lost Andre Russell cheaply in the previous over too, the clatter of wickets ended any hopes that Kolkata - who missed the play-offs last season after finishing fifth in the round-robin stage – may have had of making it to 200 and beyond.

Jonny be good but Sunrisers come up short

Bairstow was utilised at number four in the batting order - a position he also occupied for England in the recent Twenty20 series against India. At the crease after just 13 deliveries, the right-hander's clean hitting kept Hyderabad's hopes alive as he made 55 from 40 balls.

Pandey ended up unbeaten on 61 - including hitting the final ball of the game for six - while Samad slammed 19 not out from just eight deliveries at the end, raising questions over why he did not come in earlier in the run chase.

England captain Eoin Morgan has been ruled out of the remainder of the ODI series against India due to injury. 

Morgan required four stitches in his right hand after the batsman split the webbing between his thumb and index finger in an opening match that was won by India on Tuesday. 

England's white-ball captain took part in a fielding drill at the MCA Stadium on Thursday but declared himself unfit to feature in the two remaining contests in Pune. 

Jos Buttler will lead the team in the absence of Morgan, while Liam Livingstone is to make his ODI debut in the second match of the series on Friday. 

Morgan said: "I had the hand re-dressed before the start of training today [Thursday] but it quickly became apparent that I found myself protecting the injury and getting into the wrong positions to catch the ball. 

"There's nowhere to hide on the field in international cricket these days, especially in limited-over formats so it didn't require any great thought to make myself unavailable. 

"It was a freak injury and it's extremely frustrating but there's nothing I can do about it. It's now just a case of letting the cut heal. I have every confidence in Jos and the rest of the squad coping without me." 

Sam Billings will not feature in the second ODI and the batsman will be checked again ahead of the final encounter on Sunday, having bruised his left collarbone in a 66-run defeat on Tuesday. 

Dawid Malan, already in the touring party as cover, has been added to the squad.

Virat Kohli hailed "one of our sweetest victories" after India fought hard to overcome England by 66 runs in the opening ODI in Pune.

Man-of-the-match Shikhar Dhawan laid a solid foundation for India with an assured 98, missing out on three figures when he miscued a pull off Ben Stokes to Eoin Morgan at midwicket.

Kohli made a similarly fluent half-century but the hosts had stumbled to 202-5 when debutant Krunal Pandya joined KL Rahul in the 41st over.

Krunal (58 not out) laid waste to an otherwise impressive England bowling performance, his 26-ball fifty the fastest ever in a maiden ODI, while wicketkeeper Rahul similarly impressed with an unbeaten 62 as India posted 317-5.

England threatened to make short work of that total as Jonny Bairstow (94) and Jason Roy (46) motored to 135 without loss inside 15 overs, before India's seamers turned the contest on its head.

Prasidh Krishna, also on debut, was the pick with 4-54, while Shardul Thakur's 3-37 accounted for the dangerous trio of Bairstow, Morgan (22) and Jos Buttler (2), and the excellent Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 2-30.

"That's one of our sweetest victories in the recent past. We haven't won many good games in ODIs," India skipper Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"It was a great comeback from all our bowlers after going for few runs early on. Prasidh was amazing, Krunal as well. Shardul, Bhuvi were amazing. I am a really proud man right now.

"The team showed great character and intensity. As I've mentioned in the past as well, we promote players who have intent and back their skills.

"A special mention to Shikhar's innings as well and KL was back among the runs. We want to back people who will do a selfless job.

"It's a healthy competition between everyone for every slot. We have two or three players available for every slot."

Perhaps not to quite the same extent, but world champions England have their own enviable depth of talent.

Nevertheless, the steadying hand of Joe Root at number three, where Stokes stepped up to be dismissed for one, and Jofra Archer's death bowling were certainly missed as both players undertake a period of rest.

As in the recent 3-2 reverse in the T20I series, captain Morgan was left to rue middle-order failings, with the plummet form 135-0 to 176-5 key in England's challenge fading to 251 all out with 47 deliveries unused.

Nevertheless, he stood by the aggressive approach that has brought his side so much recent success.

"I thought the bowlers were outstanding and there was a bit more on offer for their seamers," he said.

"The two openers were outstanding, but we failed to build on from that. We need to execute better than we did. India did really well and deserved to win.

"Being able to take the attack to the opposition is something that we pride ourselves on. We want to continue to push the envelope in that regard. It's better for us to lose like this than losing by 20 runs.

"The game is always moving forward, technology and fitness are moving forward, so we need to push hard as we can. It's important for us to dictate the way we play."

Pune will be the venue as England round out their tour to India with a three-match one-day series, starting on Tuesday. 

While the Test leg of the trip was won convincingly by the hosts, the two nations played out a high-quality Twenty20 battle that saw India rally from 2-1 down to prevail 3-2 in a decider.

Virat Kohli opened the innings in Saturday's fifth and final T20 fixture, but the India captain has confirmed he will be moving back down the order now the focus switches over quickly to the 50-over format.

"As far as the opening combination is concerned, Shikhar (Dhawan) and Rohit (Sharma) will definitely start. They have been amazing for us in the past few years," Kohli said ahead of the series. 

England used only 12 players during the T20 games, a decision taken with the focus on gaining experience in Indian conditions ahead of the World Cup in the same country later this year. 

However, white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan revealed the tourists will use the one-day fixtures to take a look at those players who have not featured too much on the trip so far. 

"Throughout the one-day series, we will see guys given opportunities, more so than we did in the T20 series," Morgan told the media. 

"It's going to be exciting, playing three games at the same ground against a very, very strong India side is a huge opportunity for everybody to go out there and get back into the frame of mind and the pace of 50-over cricket, but also for guys who haven't had an opportunity to really put their case forward. 

"Given there is a (T20) World Cup around the corner, playing any international cricket at all is a huge opportunity for guys who have been here, on the fringes, and not made selection so far."

Jofra Archer will not be involved after returning home for treatment on a persistent elbow injury, while Joe Root and Chris Woakes – two key players in the side that secured World Cup glory on home soil in 2019 – are not involved, England choosing to rest and rotate amid a hectic schedule while staying in bio-secure bubbles. 

Moeen Ali, Sam Billings and Liam Livingstone provide options to come into a batting order that will see Root missing from his usual position at number three. As for the bowling, leg-spinner Matt Parkinson will hope for a chance to impress, while Reece Topley could be the one to benefit the most from Archer's absence.

Jasprit Bumrah is a notable absentee from an India squad that does include Suryakumar Yadav - an exciting batsman yet to make his ODI debut - and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.  


Kohli close to matching Tendulkar

Having finished as leading run-scorer in the T20 series, Kohli is one away from equalling the record for most centuries for India in one-day cricket, the great Sachin Tendulkar sitting top of the pile with 20. The India captain is also one three-figure score shy of posting the joint-most hundreds for India in 50-games against England, as he stands on the brink of matching Yuvraj Singh's tally of four.

England aim to keep streak alive

England have put together a run of three successive victories versus India in the one-day format; another triumph in the opener on Tuesday would see them equal their longest winning streak against their opponents in the format (four in a row was achieved in games between 1974 and 1981).

Key series facts

- India are set to face off against England for the first time in an ODI since losing a Cricket World Cup group game by a margin of 31 runs against the eventual champions, back in June 2019.

- The hosts have been involved in only one completed ODI against England at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, beating them by three wickets there in January 2017.

- Both sides have only managed to win 50 per cent of their completed one-day games since the end of the Cricket World Cup. India have recorded seven victories, while their opponents have four wins across the same time period.

- Virat Kohli has registered 30 ODI knocks versus England, with his highest score against them in the format coming in Pune, posting 122 off 105 balls there in January 2017.

- Bhuvneshwar Kumar managed to get Jos Buttler out on three occasions during the T20 series, the most instances of any bowler dismissing a batsman across those five fixtures (conceding just 26 runs).

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

 

England is among the T20 World Cup favourites.

 It is no secret that England has put a lot of focus on white-ball cricket in the last eight years. The results were clear when they trampled South Africa at the end of 2020 winning all three T20 games. It was at that point; they rose to the number one T20 team in the world. 

 Since then, they have dominated in this format of the game, having won their last five T20I and eight of their last T20I series overall. Despite struggles with their batting during the recently concluded Test series against India, it is evident that the English possess firepower in their T20 lineup.

 In the ongoing T20I against India, opener Jason Roy appears to be in great form, having blasted 49 of 32 balls. David Malan, who averages an excellent average of 54 in T20I, is also an asset with 24 from 20 balls while remaining not out.

 In this shorter format of the game, England’s rest and rotation policy has worked to their advantage and has been endorsed by England’s T20 captain Eoin Morgan.

One notable example of the benefit of their rotation policy is the performance of England’s pace bowler Jofra Archer. Having struggled with an elbow injury, the 25-year-old Archer missed two Tests in England’s 3-1 series defeat by India, he returned taking in 3 for 23 in the first T20I. 

The England Cricket and Wales Cricket Board has also maximized the benefits of having their players in the Indian Premier League. The ECB has made provisions for 13 of their players in this year’s IPL even at the expense of missing the first Test of the summer. 

“As a white-ball captain planning towards World Cups, certainly over the last five years, we’ve used it ( the IPL) and benefitted from it hugely in the development of our players and the confidence that we’ve built in the changing room in guys like Ben Stokes and Jos Butler going there and being MVP and bringing the knowledge they’ve learnt into our dressing room,” said Morgan is endorsing the move to allow their players the opportunity to play in the IPL.

A combination of all these factors places England among the favourites for the ICC T20 World Cup.

  Welcome back Shai Hope

West Indies right-hand batsman Shai Hope announced his return to international last Wednesday with his 10th ODI century as West Indies beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Due to a lack of form, Hope was dropped for the West Indies tour of New Zealand. He missed the tour of Bangladesh after he was infected by the Covid-19 virus.

However, while his Test form has been poor, Hope has been among the best batsmen in the world in the 50-over version of the game.

In ODIs, he continues to stamp his authority, having amassed 3483 runs at an average of 53.58. The 27-year-old hit a brilliant century in the first T20 match against Sri Lanka and maintained that form in the second match ODI, scoring 84 from 104 balls.

His maturity opening the innings for the West Indies has helped his team and the fact that the West Indies have been winning recently and he has the backing of Captain Kieron Pollard, would have helped his confidence.

“For us in the white-ball cricket Hope is the guy. He has been given a role he gives us a foundation and others can bat around him. In one day, cricket, he’s been fantastic,” Pollard said after Hope’s century in the first ODI.

Hope will now be banking transferring his form to Test cricket where he could be a boon for the West Indies for the foreseeable future.

 

Eoin Morgan says Jofra Archer is a "huge asset" to England after the paceman hit out at suggestions he is not committed to playing Test cricket.

Archer is expected to be in the England side when they start a five-match Twenty20 International series against India at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, having missed the final Test at the same Ahmedabad venue due to an elbow injury.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned Archer's desire for featuring in the longest format, comments which clearly irked the paceman.

Archer wrote in his Daily Mail column: "A lot of people are saying a lot of things about my right elbow, and so as the person the elbow belongs to, I would like to say something in response.

"Let me be clear about something: I've never changed my attitude towards playing for England. I've always wanted to play all three formats. That hasn't changed, and never will as far as I'm concerned.

"I always dreamed of playing Test cricket and don't feel I've had a bad game so far – yet unless I am taking four or five wickets in an innings, I am placed under scrutiny and some people start trying to decipher what's going on.

"Comments like 'he's not committed' or 'he's not good enough' appear as soon as you are not 110 per cent. I find it quite annoying how people read into stuff and form their own opinions.

"I saw one article from Michael Vaughan in which he said: 'If Jofra doesn't love Test cricket, England need to find out why.' We've never had a conversation about cricket, so I found it a bit odd. He doesn't know what makes me tick. He doesn't know what's driving me."

And white-ball captain Morgan said he has had no problems with World Cup winner Archer. In fact quite the opposite.

"He's a huge asset," said England's skipper. "He's a guy that bowls in three parts of the game and can be threatening whenever he comes on. He obviously has express pace, can bowl cutters, variations, and has a very good yorker. He's a huge asset in any format."

Asked if he finds Archer easy to captain, Morgan replied: "I do. He's always been engaging. He is a younger member of our squad that has different interests to the majority of our squad, because the majority of our squad is in their late 20s, early 30s.

"He loves enjoying what he does, in travelling, playing Xbox, playing cricket, playing in front of big, big crowds and he is a huge family man.

"The more I have got to know him: one, the better our relationship is but two, the more I have grown to enjoy his company away from the game because I have got to know him more. He's a funny guy."

England's opening one-day international against South Africa on Friday has been postponed after a player from the host team tested positive for coronavirus.

Eoin Morgan's side had been due to play the Proteas in the first of three ODIs at Newlands but the match was called off an hour before play was due to start.

The first fixture will now take place on Sunday at Boland Park, with the second and third ODIs at Newlands next Monday and Wednesday respectively.

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board said: "The ECB and Cricket South Africa have announced the postponement of the first one-day International of the three-match series to Sunday, December 6.

"This decision results from a player from the Proteas team testing positive for COVID-19 after the teams’ last round of scheduled testing performed on Thursday ahead of the ODIs.

"In the interests of the safety and well-being of both teams, match officials and all involved in the match, the acting chief executive of CSA, Kugandrie Govender as well as the chief executive of the ECB, Tom Harrison, have agreed to postpone the first fixture to Sunday."

England beat South Africa 3-0 in the recent three-match T20 series.

Jonny Bairstow hit his highest Twenty20 International score as England defeated South Africa by five wickets in the first game of their three-match series.

Faf du Plessis got 58 as South Africa posted a competitive total of 179-6 after England won the toss and elected to bowl at Newlands on Friday.

A successful run chase was looking unlikely for the tourists by the time they fell to 34-3 in the sixth over, but Bairstow scored 86 not out from just 48 balls in a superb innings.

After dropping down to number four in the order, Bairstow hit nine fours and four sixes, sealing victory with four deliveries to spare with a huge maximum.

Ben Stokes (37) provided good support as England took a big step towards winning a third consecutive T20I series against South Africa, who are playing their first international cricket since March.

The second match is in Paarl on Sunday before the series concludes back in Cape Town next Tuesday.

CAPTAIN AND FORMER SKIPPER SET UP PROTEAS

England made a good start with the Proteas only mustering 12 runs from the first three overs.

But a six from captain Quinton de Kock off Jofra Archer (1-28) sparked 38 runs in just two overs to kick-start the South Africa innings and he went on to build a partnership of 77 with former skipper Du Plessis.

Chris Jordan (1-40) ultimately removed De Kock for 30 and then claimed a catch at deep square leg to end the 40-ball innings of Du Plessis.

But by that point South Africa were 110-3 and a platform had been set for Rassie van der Dussen (37) to keep up the pace.

BAIRSTOW BOOSTS ENGLAND

Stokes made an astonishing Test-best 258 in Cape Town in January 2016 and Bairstow also shone in that game, scoring a maiden Test ton.

The duo impressed again by putting on a crucial 85 partnership, but Bairstow still had plenty to do when Stokes holed out to long on off the bowling of Tabraiz Shamsi (1-27).

After Eoin Morgan (12) made a slow start, England suddenly needed 55 from 25 but Bairstow hit six of his side's eight boundaries from there in an impressive finish.

LINDE AND SAM CURRAN IMPRESS

It was a good T20I debut for South Africa's George Linde, who hit a quickfire 12 from six balls with the bat before taking 2-20, including the early wicket of Jason Roy (0), plus a key catch to remove Stokes.

While Tom Curran (1-55) struggled, Sam was the pick of the England bowlers, with figures of 3-28 from his four overs and the crucial wicket of Du Plessis.

He later hit a six with the bat in the penultimate over to help settle the tourists' nerves after Morgan's dismissal.

Eoin Morgan is unsure of England's best side ahead of the Twenty20 International series against South Africa with the luxury of having such strength in depth.

The tourists and the Proteas start at three-match T20 series at Newlands on Friday, less than a year before they go in search of T20 World Cup glory in India.

England have taken a star-studded squad to South Africa, with Morgan among a strong contingent to have recently plied their trade in the Indian Premier League.

The in-form batsman, who led England to World Cup glory in the 50-over format last year, feels fortunate to have so much talent to call upon.

"The honest answer is we don't know our best 11 yet," Morgan said. "There are probably seven or eight guys who are pretty strong candidates to be in our playing 11, but the strength of the squad that we've selected, and the reserves that we have here, has made our full-strength side available for selection for the first time in a long time. That makes it very exciting.

"Winning at the moment would be great, but the process of going through what's best for our team and best for our players, to try and beat the opposition is extremely important," he added.

South Africa also have star men coming into the series, which is their first since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, on the back of outstanding performances in the IPL.

They will be without two unnamed players who are self-isolating, but in good health, after testing positive for COVID-19 and South African cricket has been in the headlines far too often due to administration issues.

Yet Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock said: "It's a fresh start. The guys are keen to play. It's been a while since we've played for the Proteas.

"The guys are keen to change what has been going on around cricket. We're the leaders and we'll try to lead from the front. The guys are keen to get going."

South Africa will be without all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius due to a hamstring injury.


DE KOCK, RABADA AND ARCHER HOPING TO REPEAT IPL EXPLOITS

Wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock will be on a high after playing a big part in another IPL triumph for the Mumbai Indians.

He was the sixth-highest run-scorer in a thrilling tournament with 503 at an average of 35.92 at the top of the order, making four half-centuries and smashing 22 sixes.

Proteas paceman Kagiso Rabada was the leading wicket-taker in the competition for beaten finalists Delhi Capitals, claiming 30 scalps at 18.26 apiece.

England quick Jofra Archer also showed he is one of the best bowlers in the world, striking 20 times and showing his ability to be classed as an all-rounder with some entertaining knocks.

South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje also impressed in the United Arab Emirates along with Faf du Plessis and England skipper Morgan.

 

STOKES PRIMED FOR ANOTHER CAPE TOWN CLASSIC?

England all-rounder Ben Stokes arrived late at the IPL, having been given time to spend time with his family in New Zealand after his father, Ged, was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Stokes made the second-highest score of the tournament with a magnificent 107 not out from only 60 balls to seal a stunning victory for the Rajasthan Royals over champions Mumbai.

He returns to England duty after leaving the squad to head to New Zealand during the Test series against Pakistan in August and will be back in action at a world-famous venue where he produced one of his finest performances.

Stokes made an astonishing Test-best 258 off 198 balls in a drawn second Test in Cape Town in January 2016, smashing the Proteas attack to all parts.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS 

- The tourists are looking to secure a third successive T20 series win over the Proteas, having beaten them earlier this year and in 2017.
- England have won five of their last seven games against South Africa in the shortest format.
- South Africa have won both of their T20 matches against England at Newlands, but have come out on top in only 33 per cent of all matches at the venue in the shortest format.
- England have the lowest catching success rate of any Test-playing nation in T20s since the start of 2019 (76 per cent). 
- Only Pakistan captain Babar Azam (53 – 25 innings) has a higher batting average as an opener in T20Is than England's Jos Buttler (51 – 11 innings) among those to record 10 or more knocks at the top of the order. Buttler has posted scores of 57, 44 and 77 not out in his last three T20 appearances, all of which came as an opener.

Pat Cummins took four wickets after Eoin Morgan blasted a half-century as Kolkata Knight Riders kept their play-off hopes alive and ended Rajasthan Royals' Indian Premier League season with a 60-run victory.

Both sides needed an emphatic win in their last match of the regular season to stay in the hunt for a place in the last four and it was KKR who delivered.

Morgan's side are up to fourth and must now wait for the outcome of the clashes between Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday and Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians the following day to see if they qualify.

England ODI captain Morgan top scored with 68 not out off 35 balls to get the Knight Riders up to 191-7 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Shubman Gill (36) and Rahul Tripathi (39) also chipped in, while Rahul Tewatia was the pick of the bowlers with 3-25 and Jofra Archer (1-19) was outstanding yet again.

The Royals could only muster 131-9 in reply, paceman Cummins doing the bulk of the damage with 4-34.

Defeat for Steve Smith's men leaves them bottom of the table despite a late resurgence, Shivam Mavi and Varun Chakravarthy taking two wickets apiece as they fell well short of their victory target.

MORGAN GIVES STOKES A TASTE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE

Gill and Tripathi put on 72 for the second wicket in eight overs after Archer had Nitish Rana caught behind for a golden duck in the first over.

Tewatia got rid of Gill and Sunil Narine in a ninth over that went for just six runs, but skipper Morgan flexed his muscles in dewy conditions and Andre Russell smashed 25 off 11 balls.

Ben Stokes had a day to forget, Morgan hitting his England team-mate for back-to-back sixes in a penultimate over that cost 24 runs, with the left-hander – who cleared the rope six times – also setting about Shreyas Gopal.

RAPID CUMMINS RATTLES ROYALS

The Royals needed their key men such as Stokes and Smith to fire, but their tournament was all-but over when they were 41-5 at the end of the powerplay.

Cummins steamed through the top order, removing Robin Uthappa, Stokes, Smith and Riyan Parag.

Jos Buttler made 35 and Tewatia 31 but Rajasthan were never going to recover from Australia paceman Cummins' devastating early hostile burst.

David Warner became the fastest to 5,000 Indian Premier League runs but Sunrisers Hyderabad lost again, this time to Kolkata Knight Riders in a Super Over. 

Batting in the unusual position of four in the order, Warner made an unbeaten 47 off 33 balls as Sunrisers managed to get 17 runs off the final over to level the scores. 

However, the left-hander was bowled at the start of the Super Over by the excellent Lockie Ferguson, who then cleaned up Abdul Samad two balls later. 

Left needing just three to win off leg-spinner Rashid Khan, Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan combined with the man he recently replaced in the job, Dinesh Karthik, to complete the job, the pair having earlier made 34 and 29 not out respectively. 

Shubman Gill top-scored with 36 as five of the Knight Riders' top six reached double figures, Andre Russell the only exception as they finished on 163-5. 

The West Indies all-rounder then suffered an apparent hamstring injury in the field, though he returned to bowl the final over with Hyderabad needing 18. 

They appeared on course to reach their target when the equation was reduced down to two from the final ball, but Warner had to settle for a tie as they scampered through for a leg bye. 

WARNER JOINS ILLUSTRIOUS CLUB

Warner is the fourth batsman to reach 5,000 runs in the Twenty20 tournament, though the first overseas player to achieve the feat. 

The Australian joins Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in the illustrious club. Worryingly, though, his Sunrisers team are on the slide as the season reaches a critical stage, this their fourth loss in five games. They are now four points behind fourth-placed Kolkata in the table.

LOCKIE THE KEY TO VICTORY

Playing his first game in this year's IPL, Lockie Ferguson showed the value of pace as he picked up five wickets in the match - including two in a Super Over for Hyderabad that did not last long.

He had also claimed 3-15 in the Sunrisers' innings, dismissing fellow New Zealander Kane Williamson, who replaced Warner as opener and, despite an obvious injury, made 29.

David Warner became the fastest to 5,000 Indian Premier League runs but Sunrisers Hyderabad lost again, this time to Kolkata Knight Riders in a Super Over. 

Batting in the unusual position of four in the order, Warner made an unbeaten 47 off 33 balls as Sunrisers managed to get 17 runs off the final over to level the scores. 

However, the left-hander was bowled at the start of the Super Over by the excellent Lockie Ferguson, who then cleaned up Abdul Samad two balls later. 

Left needing just three to win off leg-spinner Rashid Khan, Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan combined with the man he recently replaced in the job, Dinesh Karthik, to complete the job, the pair having earlier made 34 and 29 not out respectively. 

Shubman Gill top-scored with 36 as five of the Knight Riders' top six reached double figures, Andre Russell the only exception as they finished on 163-5. 

The West Indies all-rounder then suffered an apparent hamstring injury in the field, though he returned to bowl the final over with Hyderabad needing 18. 

They appeared on course to reach their target when the equation was reduced down to two from the final ball, but Warner had to settle for a tie as they scampered through for a leg bye. 

WARNER JOINS ILLUSTRIOUS CLUB

Warner is the fourth batsman to reach 5,000 runs in the Twenty20 tournament, though the first overseas player to achieve the feat. 

The Australian joins Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in the illustrious club. Worryingly, though, his Sunrisers team are on the slide as the season reaches a critical stage, this their fourth loss in five games. They are now four points behind fourth-placed Kolkata in the table.

LOCKIE THE KEY TO VICTORY

Playing his first game in this year's IPL, Lockie Ferguson showed the value of pace as he picked up five wickets in the match - including two in a Super Over for Hyderabad that did not last long.

He had also claimed 3-15 in the Sunrisers' innings, dismissing fellow New Zealander Kane Williamson, who replaced Warner as opener and, despite an obvious injury, made 29.

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