IPL

Injured Rabada to miss rest of IPL

By Sports Desk May 03, 2019

Kagiso Rabada has given South Africa a scare ahead of the Cricket World Cup, suffering a back injury that has ended his stint in the Indian Premier League.

Delhi Capitals paceman Rabada is the leading wicket-taker in the 2019 IPL, claiming 25 at an average of 14.72 to help his side secure a play-off place.

However, Rabada did not feature against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday due to a niggle and the 23-year-old will play no further part in the tournament.

"It is indeed very hard for me to leave the Delhi Capitals at this stage of the tournament," said Rabada, who will return to South Africa for further assessment.

"But with the World Cup just a month away, a collective decision has been made for me in this regard. It's been a tremendous season for me with the Delhi Capitals, both on and off the field, and I truly believe that our team can win the trophy."

The Proteas also have injury concerns over fellow pacemen Dale Steyn (shoulder), Lungi Ngidi (side strain) and Anrich Nortje (shoulder).

Faf du Plessis' side face tournament hosts England in the first game of the World Cup on May 30.

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    England were undone by the leader of a pace attack for the second time in the space of four days as their World Cup semi-final hopes suffered a further blow at Lord's. However, rather than it being one in the twilight of his career, it was a bowler at the peak of his powers.

    Lasith Malinga's performance in Sri Lanka's stunning win at Headingley on Friday felt like a parting gift from a player heading for international retirement. Starc's showing, in which he joined Malinga in helping prevent England chase down a sub-300 total, was more of an ominous message to those hoping to dethrone Australia as world champions.

    Those rivals did not need a reminder of Starc's pedigree as the best fast bowler on the planet, but he delivered one anyway.

    Jason Behrendorff will take plenty of acclaim with a five-wicket haul, while there is also sure to be significant rumination over the decision-making of England's batsmen when chasing such a modest score, with Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler dismissed via questionable shots.

    Yet there can be no doubt of the quality of Starc's pivotal 4-43. An inswinging length ball did for Joe Root and, though his dismissal of Morgan came as a result of a rash shot, it is the glorious way in which he ended Ben Stokes' brave resistance that will live long in the memory.

    Stokes was gaining steam towards a century and serving as the glue holding together an unlikely England fightback from 53-4 in pursuit of 286. The all-rounder had been growing increasingly emphatic in his treatment of the other members of the Australia attack but there was nothing he could about the ball that ended his stay 11 runs shy of a first ODI hundred since June 2017.

    Starc produced a superb yorker that swung into the base of the off stump and left Stokes kicking his bat in frustration. Afterwards, though, he seemed to accept it was a delivery he could do little about.

    "It was a good ball, yeah," Stokes told reporters. "Ninety miles per hour reverse-swing yorker," he added with a nervous smile.

    Nervous would be an understandable emotion for England and the other contenders to be feeling with Starc in this kind of form.

    "I'm in a really good place, physically, mentally and with my cricket and just loving being part of this group and contributing to the group as well," Starc said.

    "There's going to be times where it doesn't go too well but I'm playing cricket for Australia with a group of great guys so life's not too bad."

    To say life's not too bad may be putting it mildly. After being named player of the tournament in the last World Cup, Starc is now the leading wicket-taker in this one with 19 and has a sensational average of just 21.07 in ODI cricket.

    And, worryingly for everyone else, Starc believes he and Australia are capable of even more as they look ahead to the semi-finals with their last-four spot already sewn up.

    "I said before, it's a great feeling amongst the group," Starc added. "It's been a lot of fun at the last World Cup and again in this World Cup to have a group with a lot of smiles on their faces.

    "We're playing some really good cricket but we're still searching for that complete performance. We're building nicely for the back end."

    Few could argue with that assessment and, with Starc firing, many may be reconsidering England's status as tournament favourites and attaching that moniker to Australia instead. 

    This World Cup was supposed to be the one where the top-ranked ODI side completed a journey to their first 50-over world title. However, thanks to Starc and a bowling unit now with added depth through the inclusion of Behrendorff, their Ashes rivals are threatening to tear up the script.

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    A hamstring injury meant Roy was sidelined once again on Tuesday when the tournament hosts fell to a 64-run loss to Australia, denting their semi-final aspirations.

    Morgan's side have lost two of the three matches Roy has missed, with his deputy James Vince dismissed for a second-ball duck against Australia after scoring a combined 40 in his previous two knocks.

    Roy took part in practice on Monday and Morgan said the 28-year-old believes he will be ready to take on India at Edgbaston in a match which has suddenly become crucial for their last-four hopes.

    "I think with four days of rehabilitation, he's hopeful of being fit," Morgan told Sky Sports.

    "But if it's a big risk, we'll play it as it is."

    Roy smashed 153 in his last innings against Bangladesh on June 8 but pulled up in the field when chasing a ball in England's clash with West Indies.

    Without him, England were bowled out for 212 against Sri Lanka in a 20-run loss at Headingley last Friday, while they were dismissed for 221 when chasing Australia's 285-7 on Tuesday.

    Their explosive batting was considered a large reason why they were made pre-tournament favourites and Morgan insisted it was too simplistic to think Roy's absence was the only reason for their struggles.

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    Reigning champions Australia became the first team to seal their last-four berth with a 64-run success, captain Aaron Finch scoring 100 in their 285-7 before the recalled Jason Behrendorff (5-44) and the tournament's leading wicket-taker Mitchell Starc (4-43) helped dismiss England for 221.

    The tournament hosts, who lost to Pakistan and were beaten by Sri Lanka last week, could have slipped out of the top four by the time they play their penultimate fixture against India at Edgbaston on Sunday.

    However, Morgan, whose men face unbeaten New Zealand in their final group game, is confident the pre-tournament favourites can get back on track.

    "I think given the circumstances it's not hugely disappointing – our fate is in our own hands the next two games that we play," he said at the post-match presentation.

    "If we can control that and produce performances, we'll be in a healthy position come the latter stages.

    "I think everything we need to turn around is quite simple. We're not going to search for anything that's not there. The basics of the game have let us down the last couple of games so we're going to hopefully improve on them moving forward."

    Morgan claimed England were "outplayed" and pointed to the disappointing start to their reply as James Vince, Joe Root and the captain himself all fell inside the opening six overs to leave them on 26-3.

    "Until the 25th [over of Australia's innings], they sort of dominated," he said.

    "I thought we pegged them back really well – for a long time they looked like they were going to get 330 or 340; to restrict them to 280 was a good effort.

    "But when you make inroads early and get us 20-3, it obviously pegs us back quite substantially."

    Australia's decision to bring in Behrendorff for Nathan Coulter-Nile paid off as he claimed his best figures in ODIs, but it was Starc who took the most crucial wicket, Ben Stokes (89) undone by a brilliant yorker when it had looked like he might be England's hero.

    "You can't win the tournament if you don't make the semis so that's the first part ticked off, which is a really nice feeling," said Finch. 

    "We've played some good cricket throughout so far so touch wood it keeps going in the right direction.

    "England are a standout side and they're a team that can take you apart with the ball and with the bat in certain stages.

    "Even you saw today we got them down four down quite quickly and then Stokes and [Jos] Buttler build a partnership and Stokesy, when he gets in, can be pretty brutal on an attack.

    "It was nice that we found ways to keep getting wickets in that middle part as well."

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