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With two wins and one comprehensive defeat each, the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Delhi Capitals have begun their IPL 2020 campaigns well enough to be among the top few teams. With every result causing big changes to the points table, though, only victories can ensure they remain in the top half of the table.

Both teams have earned their two victories primarily on the back of their bowling. Pat Cummins and Kagiso Rabada have hit their straps for the Knight Riders and the Capitals respectively, and both teams have bowling line-ups that more or less cancel each other out: for the Capitals’ Anrich Nortje, there’s the Knight Riders’ Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti. Among the spinners, the combination of Axar Patel and Amit Mishra for the Capitals have made run-scoring as difficult as the Knight Riders pair of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy have

So, the way these teams will likely be separated is by who bats smarter. They are playing in Sharjah – where all four innings so far have crossed 200 – and both have their share of hard-hitters. Batting spots, therefore, could play an important role.

The cardinal sin at Sharjah would be if teams can’t maximise their batting resources across 20 overs, and therefore it will be an interesting sub-plot to see if teams use their biggest hitters further up the order than usual. Even No. 4, where Rishabh Pant bats, and Shimron Hetmyer at No. 5 could be wasted that low at Sharjah for the Capitals, and in what order Narine, Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik bat could seal the deal for the Knight Riders.

This season, ten of the first 13 games have been won by teams batting first, but in Sharjah that stat is split down the middle with one win each for the batting and chasing side. It’s also the first time both teams would be playing at this venue. Although the Capitals lost their last game – compared to the Knight Riders, who are seeking their third straight win – Shreyas Iyer’s team enters the contest knowing they have won their last three meetings against Dinesh Karthik’s men.

In the news

On the eve of the match, Capitals’ bowling coach Ryan Harris confirmed that R Ashwin had had a full session at the nets and could be up for selection after recovering from a shoulder injury, sustained in their tournament opener. The final word on Ashwin’s availability, however, remains with the medical team. The Knight Riders are injury-free.

Likely XIs

Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Anrich Nortje, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Amit Mishra

Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Nitish Rana, 4 Dinesh Karthik (capt, wk), 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Pat Cummins, 8 Kamlesh Nagarkoti, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Shivam Mavi, 11 Varun Chakravarthy

Strategy punts

  • In Sharjah, batsmen are going to try to send even the best bowlers for plenty. Therefore, attacking up front may be the best ploy for the later overs. Teams should try to take as many wickets early and not save their best resources for the death. That means Rabada, for example, who almost always bowls two overs at the top, could be given a third over in the powerplay.

  • If the first punt is successful, though, then the Capitals should hold back at least one over from Rabada because Russell has struggled against ultra-fast bowlers, especially if they can execute the yorkers and short balls. Russell would remember that Rabada had floored him before dismissing him in the Super Over in 2019, and teams also know that Russell struggles against particular deliveries. Russell has an average of 22 against the short ball, including six dismissals in his last 28 innings, while his strike rate is just 62.16 against the yorker. However, whoever bowls to him must also be accurate because if the yorker ends up as a full toss, he hits those deliveries at a strike rate of 225.92.

  • The Knight Riders may not want to open with Narine, because dot-balls can hurt teams in Sharjah more than elsewhere. Sides have slowly begun to understand that the short ball, on a leg stump line, is the way to keep Narine quiet, and off the 26 deliveries he has faced in IPL 2020, 17 (including leg-byes and dismissals) have been dot balls. It’s a dangerously high number.

  • The Knight Riders may opt to leave out left-arm wristspinner Yadav. He has been the least successful of their three spinners, and the Capitals have four left-handers in their top seven, which poses a poor match-up for Yadav. They could play an extra batsman since, currently, their No. 7 is Cummins. There’s no real difference in economies for spinners (10.6) and pacers (11.0) in Sharjah this season, and therefore, more depth in their batting might allow their top order to bat more freely. If they do want some spin overs, Nitish Rana can bowl handy offbreaks, although they may not want to use him at all, since pacers have taken 14 wickets at an average of 39.1 in Sharjah this season, compared to spinners taking six wickets at 52.0.

Stats that matter

  • When Narine has taken at least one wicket against the Delhi franchise, the Knight Riders have won 80% of their matches. And among the Capitals’ top seven that played their last game, no batsman has a particularly high strike rate in T20s against him. The strike rates of Dhawan (102), Iyer (100), Stoinis (86), Patel (73) and Hetmyer (64) are especially poor, while no one has topped 129.

  • Since IPL 2018, of all his IPL opponents, Russell has scored the most runs (192) and has the second-highest strike rate (211) against the Delhi franchise. In all T20s since 2019, Russell also has the best ball-per-six ratio (6.1) and has struck the most sixes (142) too.

  • The Capitals have a win percentage of 87.5% when Shaw scores 25 or more runs for them. The Capitals’ average score boosts up to 184 when he gets at least 25 runs. Compare that to a win percentage of 45% and an average score of 155 when he doesn’t get 25.

  • If they play, it will be Mishra’s 150th IPL game and Rana’s 50th in the IPL and 100th overall in T20s. Cummins needs one wicket to 100 T20 strikes.

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Former CA chief James Sutherland heads multimillion-dollar deal to replace MyCricket

A company headed by two former Cricket Australia executives has won a multimillion-dollar contract to build a bespoke replacement for MyCricket, the much-criticised digital portal for community cricket in Australia.

PlayHQ, which boasts the former CA chief executive James Sutherland as chairman and the ex-CA manager of media rights and strategy, Sam Walch, as chief executive, had already picked up major contracts to run digital fixturing, scoring and administration of basketball and Australian football at community levels.

But the confirmation of the deal with CA, which will see PlayHQ provide the platform for cricket clubs and programs across the country to be, in the words of the head of community cricket Belinda Clark, “able to be run from a smartphone” and is believed to be worth more than A$5 million, will have a huge impact on the lives of around 300,000 club players registered with MyCricket across the country, plus many more junior and school program participants.

“This is a critical project for Australian cricket. We need to get the basics right first, and there is an immediate need to replace the legacy platform with a system that is modern and makes it easier to do all the tasks required to run local programs and competitions,” CA’s head of customer experience Kieran McMillan said. “Tens of thousands of volunteers give up their evenings and weekends for our sport, and we want to give them back some time to enjoy the best parts of getting involved in their club.

“Technology will play an increasingly important role in community sport and we have an opportunity to be leading the charge. Through the support of quality partners, the community can expect more digital innovation and increased functionality over time. Whether that be live streaming, or club management tools, or even micro-chips in balls – the products and services you will be able to access on your phone or laptop will make it easier to run the game and more enjoyable to play the game.”

Basketball provided the first means for PlayHQ to test out its capabilities, and early suggestions prior to the onset of Covid-19 were that its systems enabled faster and easier management of clubs and competitions, based in particular on a pilot program involving around 20 country basketball associations.

The AFL then announced a deal with Play HQ in June. Its head of states and game development, Sam Graham, described the project’s goals at the time as: “It’s about getting the admin done more quickly and easily, so there’s time to focus on the footy.”

Speaking about the cricket deal, Walch offered similar words. “PlayHQ’s vision is to provide a world class solution for the administration of grassroots sport, and to make it easier for volunteers, participants, parents, coaches and umpires to engage with the games they love.”

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A look at the Twins’ contract situations heading into 2020-21 offseason

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With the offseason now officially upon us with the end of the World Series, Major League Baseball teams can now turn their attention to the 2021 season.

Minnesota actually has several players signed for multiple years — including four through 2023.

But that’s not to say there aren’t decisions to make this offseason.

There’s one option (Sergio Romo) which could be picked up, 10 players facing free agency (including big names like Nelson Cruz and Jake Odorizzi) and six players due nice salary bumps in arbitration.

The Twins now face the decision on whether to non-tender any of those arbitration-eligible players, making that player(s) a free agent.

Most notable will be outfielder Eddie Rosario, who would have made $7.75 million if 2020 was played in full, reliever Taylor Rogers ($4.45 million) and outfielder Byron Buxton ($3.075 million).

Jose Berrios ($4.025 million in 2020) figures to be one player who Minnesota will look to re-sign.

Here’s a rundown of the Twins’ contract situations this offseason, with salary included (information from Cot’s Baseball Contracts and baseball-reference.com).

 

Signed

3B Josh Donaldson – Signed through 2023 ($21 million in 2021, $21 million in 2022, $21 million in 2023 and $16 million team option with $8 million buyout in 2024).

OF Max Kepler – Signed through 2023 ($6.5 million in 2021, $6.75 million in 2022, $8.5 million in 2023 and $10 million team option with $1 million buyout in 2024).

SP Kenta Maeda – Signed through 2023 ($3 million in 2021; $3 million in 2022; $3 million in 2023; also has several bonuses including $150,000 for being on opening day roster and performances bonuses based on games started and innings).

SP Michael Pineda – Signed through 2021 ($10 million in 2021).

SS Jorge Polanco – Signed through 2023 ($4,333,333 in 2021, $5 million in 2022, $7.5 million in 2023, $10.5 team option with $1 million buyout in 2024, $12 million team option with $750,000 buyout in 2025).

1B Miguel Sano – Signed through 2022 ($11 million in 2021, $9.25 million in 2022 with $14 million team option with $2.75 million buyout in 2023).

 

Options

RP Sergio Romo — $5 million team option and $250,000 million buyout

 

Free agents (2020 salary)
(note: salaries for 2020 are for the original 162-game season, not prorated to 60 games)

UT Ehire Adrianza ($1.6 million)

C Alex Avila ($4.25 million)

RP Tyler Clippard ($2.75 million)

DH Nelson Cruz ($12 million)

RP Cory Gearrin (minor-league contract — $1 million if made majors; was called up Aug. 9)

UT Marwin Gonzalez ($9 million)

SP Rich Hill ($3 million)

RP Trevor May ($2.205 million)

SP Jake Odorizzi ($17.8 million)

 

Arbitration eligible (2020 salary)
(note: salaries for 2020 are for the original 162-game season, not prorated to 60 games)

SP Jose Berrios ($4.025 million; eligible for free agency in 2023)

OF Byron Buxton ($3.075 million; eligible for free agency in 2023)

RP Tyler Duffey ($1.2 million; eligible for free agency in 2023)

RP Taylor Rogers ($4.45 million; eligible for free agency in 2023)

OF Eddie Rosario ($7.75 million; eligible for free agency in 2022)

RP Matt Wisler ($725,000; eligible for free agency in 2023)

 

Pre-arbitration (2020 salary)
(note: salaries for 2020 are for the original 162-game season, not prorated to 60 games)

C/3B Willians Astudillo ($571,000)

OF Jake Cave ($587,500)

C Mitch Garver ($620,000)

RP Caleb Thielbar ($563,500)



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Welcome to FIFA.com News – What happened to the stars of India 2017?

  • How have the stars of the U-17 World Cup 2017 progressed?
  • Sancho, Sargent, Torres and Foden among those already causing a sensation
  • Others with remarkable stories outside top leagues

Exactly three years ago, on 28 October 2017, England won the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time with victory over Spain in Kolkata, India.

As you would expect, a select group of players – particularly from the triumphant Three Lions side – announced their arrival at this memorable World Cup, suggesting they had what it takes to make it at senior level.

Now three years on from the grand finale, FIFA.com looks at how some of the tournament’s star names have fared in the interim.

Rhian Brewster

Brewster topped the scoring charts in India with eight strikes. A graduate of Liverpool’s youth academy, he would go on to sign professionally for the Reds in 2017 only to suffer a major setback the following January, when a severe ankle injury and related ligament problem kept him out of action for more than a year. Despite not having played a competitive game for the club, he was among the substitutes for the Reds’ 2019 UEFA Champions League final victory over Tottenham.

In January 2020, he was loaned out to Swansea City and reunited with Steve Cooper, who coached England at India 2017. Brewster scored 11 goals in 22 league games for the Swans, paving the way for a permanent move to Sheffield United earlier this month for a club record transfer fee. The 20-year-old played the first two games of the new Premier League season.

Ferran Torres

Torres was a member of the Spain side that won the UEFA European U-17 Championship in 2017 and finished runners-up at the World Cup later the same year. In India, he was somewhat overshadowed by six-goal hero Abel Ruiz, who made his loan move to Portugal’s Braga permanent this year, and Sergio Gomez, who won the adidas Silver Ball and is currently on loan to Huesca following his move to Borussia Dortmund (two Bundesliga appearances) in 2018.

Torres’ rapid progress soon saw him overtake his former team-mates and rack up 71 La Liga appearances for Valencia (six goals) as well as nine for them in the Champions League. That was followed by a high profile move this summer to Manchester City, with whom the forward has already made his Premier League debut and starred in the Champions League, scoring again last night in the win over Marseille. It came as no surprise then to see him called up to the Roja senior squad this year.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 3 September 2020
  • Four appearances (one goal)






© Getty Images


Phil Foden

The versatile midfielder was awarded the adidas Golden Ball for best player in India and wasted no time in making his breakthrough in professional football. He made his Champions League debut for Manchester City back in November 2017 and his first Premier League appearance the following month.

The left-footer has already racked up two Premier League titles (becoming the youngest ever winner in 2018), and one FA Cup. To date he has played almost 50 times in the English top flight and was handed his first full international cap in September this year.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 5 September 2020
  • One appearance



Phil Foden of England celebrates with his team mates after scoring his teams second goal



© Getty Images


Josh Sargent

Sargent not only represented the USA U-17 side at the World Cup in 2017, but also the U-20s at the corresponding FIFA World Cup a few months earlier, scoring in both competitions. 2017 was certainly a landmark year for him: two World Cups, a call-up to the senior team squad as well as a move to German side Werder Bremen. The forward is now an established Bundesliga player with six goals and almost 50 league games to his name, while his strike rate with the Stars and Stripes is even more impressive.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 28 May 2018
  • 12 appearances (five goals)



Tim Weah #11 and Josh Sargent #13 of the United States celebrate after a goal by Sargent 



© Getty Images


Cheick Doucoure

While Lassana N’Diaye (currently with AFC Eskilstuna in the Swedish second tier) was Mali’s star attraction in their run to fourth place at India 2017 (six goals), it is compatriot Cheick Doucoure who has made the biggest strides in the interim. Since 2018, the midfielder has been on the books of Lens, where he is a mainstay of the team. The 20-year-old is now competing in Ligue 1 following promotion last year and almost 50 games in the country’s second division. This steady progress has also earned him several appearances with the full Mali team.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 4 September 2020
  • Five appearances



Cheick Oumar of Mali (C) Doucoure and Elijah Just of New Zealand battle for the ball during the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017



© Getty Images


Jann-Fiete Arp

Even before he graced the U-17 World Cup, German forward Arp had become the first player born in the 2000s to compete in the Bundesliga. He managed the feat in the colours of Hamburg, for whom he scored twice in 18 top-flight games – the first making him the club’s youngest ever Bundesliga scorer. After their relegation, Arp played 17 times (one goal) in the second division before moving to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019. Unable as yet to make his first team debut, he is playing for Bayern’s U-23 side this season in the country’s third division.

Jadon Sancho

Despite his side lifting the trophy in India, Jadon Sancho’s tournament ended after the group stage, when he was recalled to Germany to make his Bundesliga debut for Borussia Dortmund. Since then, the England international has played 82 league games for BVB, scoring 30 times and making 40 assists. Moreover, he has competed 16 times in the Champions League and is regarded as one of the most promising young wingers in world football thanks to his pace, vision and eye for goal.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 12 October 2018
  • 15 caps (2 goals)



Harry Kane of England celebrates after scoring his sides third goal with Jadon Sancho



© Getty Images


Callum Hudson-Odoi

Hudson-Odoi became the youngest player to debut in a competitive match for England when he faced Czech Republic in March 2019 in a European Championship qualifier. Having previously represented his club Chelsea in several cup ties, the winger made his Premier League debut on 31 January. Since then he has played 37 times (two goals) in the top flight for the Blues, who he has been with since 2007, and made 15 appearances in European club competitions. However, in the recently commenced 2020/21 season, he has not yet managed to hold down a starting berth.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 22 March 2019
  • Three appearances



Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Europa League Group L match between Chelsea and PAOK 



© Getty Images


Amarjit Singh Kiyam

After his side’s tough draw and subsequent group-stage elimination at the U-17 World Cup on home soil, Indian midfielder Amarjit Singh Kiyam was selected for the Indian Arrows, a national football federation team created to nurture young talents and provide them with match time in the I-League. After making his professional debut there, he made history by progressing from the national U-17 team to the senior side in just two years. Ahead of the 2019/20 domestic season, he moved to Jamshedpur, for whom he has played several times in the Indian Super League. The 19-year-old was on the cusp of making his FIFA World Cup™ qualifying debut this September but had to pull out of the squad because of an arm injury.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 5 June 2019
  • Five appearances



Amarjit Singh Kiyam (L) in a match for India's senior national team against the Republic of Korea - undated



© Others


Amine Gouiri

The French striker netted five times in India having previously top-scored at the European U-17 Championship. By November 2017, the teenager had already debuted for Lyon in Ligue 1, but a torn cruciate in the summer of 2018 made it difficult for him to establish himself with OL on his return. The 2019/20 season saw him make a brief Champions League appearance and play only once in Ligue 1, prompting a move to Nice in the summer of 2020. Gouiri has hit the ground running with his new club, bagging a brace on his league debut against Lens to immediately nail down a starting berth.




Amine Gouiri of France reacts after scoring his team's second goal during the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup



© Getty Images


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