Coronavirus seems like the only topic of conversation these days: Dale Steyn

News Network
March 19, 2020

London, Mar 19: Talking about the break in cricketing activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa pacer Dale Steyn said that the disease seems to be to the only topic of conversation these days.

"I don't know how to describe it. Doesn't matter where you go, everyone is talking about it - whether it is on an airplane or you are just popping into a grocery store. It just seems like it is the only topic of conversation," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Steyn as saying.

"Yeah, it's so strange. Normally if I am on holiday I'll be planning a fishing trip or a surfing trip. At the moment I am just chilling at home," he added.

Steyn was last seen in action in the Pakistan Super League where he took two wickets in two matches.

When asked whether he has enough hand sanitizers, he replied: "We just decided that stockpiling is definitely not the way to go. It is not fair on everybody who needs that stuff. I went to the grocery store the other day and everyone had bought all the toilet paper. We have what we need, and when that runs out, that runs out, and we need to go and get some more".

"We didn't feel it was necessary to go and absolutely just, like, zombie our lives up. There's other people that live on a day-to-day basis. They are not going to get all of that stuff, so we thought it was best not to do that".

Steyn also had a message for the fans, "Stay healthy, wash your hands, look after yourself, don't be greedy. Right now they are saying old people are really struggling, so if in a position to help, rather help them than help yourself. Pretty simple, really."

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the ODI series between India-South Africa and Australia-New Zealand have been postponed.

The start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has also been postponed until April 15.

Cricket South Africa has suspended all forms of cricket for 60 days while Cricket Australia has advised all its employees to work from home.

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News Network
September 24,2020

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Abu Dhabi, Sept 24: Mumbai Indians displayed a stunning performance against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to seal a comfortable 49-run victory in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Wednesday.

Rohit Sharma played a fast-paced inning of 80 runs before bowlers destroyed KKR's batting line up, confirming Mumbai Indians' win in the match.

Chasing a massive target of 196 runs, KKR got off to a poor start as both the openers Shubman Gill and Sunil Narine were dismissed within the first five overs. Trent Boult got hold of Gill (7) while Narine was caught behind off James Pattinson's delivery.

Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik then took the field and played cautiously and took the team over the 50-run mark. They formed a 46-run partnership before Karthik (30) was given LBW in the 11th over, bowled by Rahul Chahar. In the next over, Kieron Pollard dismissed Rana (24), putting KKR under immense pressure.

Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell then took the responsibility of the chase but Jasprit Bumrah was brought back into the attack and the pacer restricted batsmen from hitting big shots. KKR were playing at 82/4 after the completion of the 13th over.

The fall of the wickets did not stop as Bumrah removed both Russell and Morgan in the 16th over. In the Bumrah's next over, Pat Cummins came out furiously and struck four sixes to the pacer.

Although Bumrah conceded 27 runs in the over, it did not make much of a difference. Pattinson then dismissed Cummins (33) in the 19th over.

Chahar bowled the last over and Mumbai Indians easily registered a win in the match. Bumrah, Boult, Chahar, and Pattinson all picked up two wickets each in the match.

Earlier, put in to bat, Mumbai Indians had a worst possible start with opener Quinton de Kock back in the hut in the very second over.

Suryakumar then joined skipper Rohit and bludgeoned the KKR bowling attack. Suryakumar smashed six fours and one six in his 47 runs knock off 28 balls.

In the 11th over, Rohit and Suryakumar tried to steal a double but the 30-year-old batsman had to make his way back to the dugout after a mixup in the middle. The run-out came against the run of play.

Meanwhile, Rohit continued his brilliant batting and scored boundaries at regular intervals. Saurabh Tiwary and Rohit stitched a 49 run stand before Sunil Narine dismissed the left-handed batsman in the 16th over.

Two overs later, Shivam Mavi ended Rohit's blistering innings. He whacked six maximum in his knock of 80 runs and also registred his 200th six in the IPL. He is the second Indian to do so. CSK skipper MS Dhoni has 214 IPL sixes under his belt.

In the death overs, Hardik Pandya failed to leave a mark and got out hit-wicket. Kieron Pollard too didn't connect how he used to and Mumbai weren't able to get past 200 run-mark.

For KKR, Mavi took two while Narine and Andre Russell scalped one wicket each.

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News Network
September 11,2020

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Buenos Aires, Sept 11: Lionel Messi can play in Argentina's opening World Cup qualifier next month because the statute of limitations has run out on the ban he was given during last year's Copa America, the president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) said on Thursday.

Messi was banned for one game after being sent off in the Copa America third-place playoff against Chile and for levelling accusations of "corruption" at South American soccer chiefs.

Messi had been expected to serve the ban by missing Argentina's qualifier against Ecuador that is scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires on October 8.

However, Claudio Tapia said he had consulted with the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) President Alejandro Dominguez, who "confirmed the statute of limitations had expired and that he (Messi) is able to play," the AFA twitter said.

The Barcelona forward was shown the red card after clashing with Gary Medel and afterwards he alleged the tournament had been fixed in favour of the hosts Brazil, who beat Argentina in a controversial semi-final on their way to claiming the title.

Argentina, who last won the World Cup in 1986, kick off their qualifying campaign with a double header at home to Ecuador and away to Bolivia.

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News Network
September 11,2020

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Former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris feels Ambati Rayudu is the ideal candidate to bat at number three for Chennai Super Kings after Suresh Raina's pullout from the upcoming IPL.

Weeks before the start of the 13th edition of the league, Raina pulled out abruptly citing personal reasons, his decision coming in the wake of the 13 positive cases of COVID-19 in the CSK unit. IPL starts on September 19.

"Personally, I'd put Rayudu in there to take that spot," Styris said on Star Sports show 'Cricket Connected'.

Styris acknowledged that Raina's absence has left a huge void in the CSK middle-order and that it is not going to be easy to find a substitute for the seasoned left-handed batsman who last month retired from international cricket.

"...a player of that class, a player who has been so good for so long. To suddenly finds those runs, even in the field and the odd over as well with the ball, is going to be a big task.

"I know that the CSK squad is deep, they've got a lot of options at the top, but I also believe that as much as the pressure is now on to find that No. 3, it's just probably the most challenging time that I can look for anyway for CSK.

"And in particular, the leadership of this group – I think with (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and Stephen Fleming – it's up to them now to bring the group together, now that they have lost Raina and Harbhajan (Singh)."

Under Dhoni's leadership, CSK will be looking to win their fourth IPL title and draw level with Mumbai Indians.

Moved out of India due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the IPL will be held in the three cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.

On CSK, Styris added, "Couple of options they could go with, the two overseas players at the top and bring in the youngster Gaekwad as well or they may decide to have a pitch-hitter."

Speaking about the team's possible bowling combination in the absence of the veteran Harbhajan Singh, who too withdrew due to personal reasons, former India seamer Ajit Agarkar said CSK has a lot of options in the spin department.

"...that kind of experience, quality that you lose, it is going to be a loss, but I think CSK have a lot more cover in that department at least as far as spin is concerned," Agarkar said.

"They have got Piyush Chawla as well that they have brought in. This year they have got (Imran) Tahir, (Mitchell) Santner, so they have got enough spin.

"...And they will be hoping that the conditions are in their favour what they get in Chennai, which is a little bit of turn, then those spinners come into play."

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