Defending champions Mumbai Indians will be looking to make a statement against the Chennai Super Kings when the Indian Premier League resumes this weekend. 

Four months after the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament restarts at Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. 

Mumbai, eyeing a third successive title, had won back-to-back games to move up to fourth place when the decision was made to halt the IPL and will be out to pick up where they left off against second-placed CSK. 

With India unable to stage the competition, the remainder of the action over the next month will be staged in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. 

Delhi Capitals are the franchise to catch at the top of the table, although the Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore are only two points behind them with a game in hand. 

Stats Perform take a look at the state of play ahead of the resumption. 

 

What is the schedule and where will the games take place?

There will be 31 matches contested in the space of 27 days and fans will be allowed in to watch, starting with the showdown between two of the top four. 

Dubai will stage 13 games, including the final on October 15, with 10 contests taking place in Sharjah and eight in Abu Dhabi. 

The first qualifier of the post-season will be played in Dubai on October 10, with the eliminator and second qualifier taking place in Sharjah on October 11 and 13 respectively. 

 

Pant continues to captain leaders Delhi

Delhi lost to Mumbai in the final last year but responded impressively, winning six of eight matches to top the table this season. 

They return to action against bottom side Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Wednesday with Rishabh Pant retaining captaincy duties. 

The Capitals revealed Pant will continue to lead the side despite Shreyas Iyer's return from a shoulder injury. 

Pant had extra time to rest his legs after he was among the India Test players who flew to the UAE earlier than expected, with the final match at Old Trafford dramatically called off due to concerns over a COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp. 

Star men absent

While there will be an array of star quality on show, there will also be a number of notable absentees. 

England World Cup winners Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes will not feature, and the same goes for Dawid Malan. 

Australia paceman Pat Cummins will also be absent, while India all-rounder Washington Sundar was ruled out due to injury. 

 

Ground to make up

Sunrisers will be desperate to salvage some pride, having won only one of seven matches. 

Second-bottom Kolkata Knight Riders, who have signed Tim Southee with Cummins unavailable, also have a lot of work to do. 

Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals are two points behind fourth-placed Mumbai. 

Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

The death bowling specialist had already retired from Test cricket in 2011 and subsequently from 50-over internationals in 2019 as well, but the 38-year-old has now confirmed he will no longer play T20Is either.

The paceman, who took 546 wickets across all formats for his country, captained his side to the T20 World Cup title in 2014 and flourished in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Mumbai Indians.

Malinga, who is the only player to take three ODI hat-tricks, managed 107 wickets in 84 internationals in the T20I format and his last appearance for Sri Lanka came against West Indies in March 2020.

"I've had many experiences throughout my career, and I want to share all of my experience in the future, especially with young cricketers," said Malinga in a post on Twitter.

He added on his YouTube channel: "I will be continuously supporting the younger generations who strive to uplift the spirit of the game and I will always be there with all who love the game.

"I want to thank each and everyone who supported me throughout my T20 journey. I want to thank the Sri Lankan cricket board and team members. And Mumbai Indians cricket team, especially the team owners and officials."

Jos Buttler will not be joining up with Rajasthan Royals to complete the 2021 Indian Premier League season in the United Arab Emirates.

This year's tournament was suspended indefinitely back on May 4 amid a rise in COVID-19 cases within the bio-secure bubbles set up for the teams in India.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India have since announced the final 31 games will be staged in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi instead, starting with Chennai Super Kings against Mumbai Indians on September 19.

While the Royals sit just outside the top four ahead of the resumption overseas, they have been dealt a blow following confirmation Buttler will miss the rest of the campaign.

The England wicketkeeper-batsman is expecting a second child with his partner and will not be part of the Rajasthan squad, as confirmed by the team on social media on Saturday.

New Zealander Glenn Phillips has been signed as a replacement for Buttler, who scored 254 runs an at an average of 36.28 in his seven appearances earlier this year, including making 124 – his maiden T20 hundred – against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Buttler is currently part of England's Test squad taking on India in a five-match series on home soil, which will be followed by a busy winter schedule.

The rearranged T20 World Cup takes place in October and November, while the following month sees the start of the Ashes series in Australia.

The Indian Premier League will resume with a showdown between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in Dubai on September 19.

Four months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the season will finally resume in the United Arab Emirates.

There are 31 matches still to be contested over the space of 27 days, 13 taking place in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah and eight in Abu Dhabi.

The first qualifier of the post-season will be played in Dubai on October 10, with the eliminator and second qualifier taking place in Sharjah on October 11 and 13 respectively.

Dubai will stage the final on October 15, according to the fixture programme released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The campaign will restart with Delhi Capitals at the top of the table with 12 points from eight matches.

The Indian Premier League season will be completed in the United Arab Emirates during September and October this year.

A statement released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday outlined the planned resumption of a campaign that was suspended in early May amid the worsening coronavirus crisis within the country.

The 2021 edition of the Twenty20 tournament was halted following positive cases within the IPL bubble, forcing fixtures to be rearranged.

However, the BCCI's media release said the switch in location had been made to avoid clashing with the monsoon season in India, which usually begins in late May or early June and continues through into October.

Last year's tournament was staged entirely in the UAE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Mumbai Indians winning a fifth title by beating Delhi Capitals in the final.

As well as announcing a new venue for the IPL, the BCCI revealed they will "seek an extension" from the International Cricket Council over a decision on the T20 World Cup, which India is due to stage in October and November.

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday announced to complete the remaining matches of VIVO Indian Premier League 2021 season in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) considering the monsoon season in India in the months of September-October this year," the BCCI statement read.

"The decision was taken at a special general meeting (SGM) held virtually, where members unanimously agreed to resume IPL.

"The BCCI SGM further authorised the office bearers to seek an extension of time from the ICC to take an appropriate call on the hosting of ICC T20 World Cup 2021."

The fifth and final Test of India's series in England begins at Old Trafford on September 10.

A rescheduled Indian Premier League looks highly unlikely to take place with any centrally contracted England players involved.

The IPL was postponed last week due to rising coronavirus cases in India.

It is up in the air as to where and when the tournament can be completed, but dates in September or November - either side of the T20 World Cup - have been talked of as options.

England players were permitted to miss the Test series against New Zealand next month to play in the IPL before it was cut short, but a rearranged event would be likely to clash with Future Tours Programme (FTP) commitments.

Ashley Giles, England's director of cricket, does not see how the players will be able play any further part in the IPL in what is such a busy year.

"We're planning on the involvement of England players in England matches," Giles said.

"We've got a full FTP schedule. So if those tours to Pakistan and Bangladesh [in September and October] are going ahead, I'd expect the players to be there.

"The New Zealand scenario was very different. Those Test matches were formalised at the end of January, by which time all those contracts and NOCs [no objection certificates] were signed for full involvement in the IPL.

"None of us knows what a rearranged IPL looks like at the moment; where it's going to be or when. But from when we start this summer against New Zealand, our programme is incredibly busy.

"We've got a lot of important, high-profile cricket including the T20 World Cup and the Ashes. And we're going to have to look after our players."

New Zealand paceman Trent Boult could miss both Tests against England after being cleared to visit his family following the postponement of the Indian Premier League.

Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner and physio Tommy Simsek will stay in the IPL New Delhi mini-bubble before departing for England on May 11.

Boult, who had been playing for the Mumbai Indians before the IPL season was postponed due to rising coronavirus cases in India, has been allowed to return to his homeland before heading to England.

He will join up with the Test squad early next month, so will not feature in the first Test at Lord's - which starts on June 2.

Boult may be back in contention for the second Test at Edgbaston and will definitely be available for the ICC World Test Championship final against India, which gets under way at the Ageas Bowl on June 18.

Black Caps trainer Chris Donaldson, who has been working with the Kolkata Knight Riders, will also return home briefly to see his family before joining the Test squad.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said: "We're completely supportive of Chris and Trent taking the opportunity to see their families before heading to the UK.

"They've always been the consummate professionals and we're more than happy to accommodate these arrangements.

"We've worked closely with the BCCI and the IPL franchises on the various departure strategies and we're very appreciative of their support during what is, clearly, a very challenging time.

"Were also very grateful to the England and Wales Cricket Board for accommodating the early arrival of the four members of the Test squad currently in India."

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.

The Indian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India and Indian Premier League Governing Council confirmed the news in a joint statement on Tuesday after reports of COVID cases in three teams.

Kolkata Knight Riders duo Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Reports also suggest Sunrisers Hyderabad wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha tested positive, leading to the whole team having to isolate, while there were two reported cases in the Chennai Super Kings team.

"The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect," a statement read.

"The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind.

"These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.

"The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.

"The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times."

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 20 million since the start of the global pandemic.

The Indian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India and Indian Premier League Governing Council confirmed the news in a joint statement on Tuesday after reports of COVID cases in three teams.

Kolkata Knight Riders duo Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Reports also suggest Sunrisers Hyderabad wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha tested positive, leading to the whole team having to isolate, while there were two reported cases in the Chennai Super Kings team.

"The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect," a statement read.

"The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind.

"These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.

"The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.

"The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times."

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 20 million since the start of the global pandemic.

The Indian Premier League has confirmed two positive coronavirus cases in the Kolkata Knight Riders squad, forcing Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be rescheduled.

Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier both tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating away from the squad.

The rest of the Knight Riders' group returned negative results, though a daily testing schedule has now been put in place to quickly identify any further cases that occur.

No new date for the round-robin game against the Royal Challengers has been announced.

India has seen a sharp rise in COVID numbers in the country in recent weeks, with the total number in excess of 19million since the start of the global pandemic.

However, this is the first time there have been confirmed cases within the IPL bubble. The Twenty20 tournament returned to India this year after the 2020 edition was staged in the United Arab Emirates.

"Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for COVID -19," a statement on the IPL website read.

"Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The medical team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest.

"The medical team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample that returned the positive test results.

"The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the Kolkata Knight Riders prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved and all measures are being taken in that endeavour."

Kolkata sit seventh in the IPL table after two wins in seven games. They lost by seven wickets to Delhi Capitals in their most recent outing, which took place last Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Delhi Capitals piled on the pain for Punjab Kings and KL Rahul by racing to a seven-wicket victory in the Indian Premier League and going top of the table.

It was revealed earlier on Sunday that Kings captain and star batsman Rahul faces surgery after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and he was in hospital while this match played out at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

In his absence, stand-in skipper Mayank Agarwal made a dominant 99 not out in a total of 166-6, helming the Kings innings and cutting loose when he saw fit in a terrific 58-ball knock that contained four sixes and eight fours.

Shikhar Dhawan produced the key innings for the Capitals in response, making an unbeaten 69 and finding the sort of support that Agarwal lacked, helping Delhi to 167-3, winning with 14 balls to spare.

Agarwal had required five from the final ball of the Kings innings to post what would have been just the second IPL century of his career, but he could only crunch a four down the ground rather than clear the ropes.

Kagiso Rabada had earlier taken two wickets in his first two overs, the second coming when he bowled Kings veteran Chris Gayle with a full toss immediately after being cracked for six by the West Indies batsman.

That was the first of three sixes off Rabada's bowling, but the South African paceman also removed Prabhsimran Singh and Chris Jordan while taking 3-36 in his four-over allocation.

Dawid Malan made 26 but it was ostensibly a one-man show as Agarwal contended with a revolving cast of batting partners.

Delhi had more about them, with Prithvi Shaw making 39 in a 63-run first-wicket stand alongside Dhawan, before Steve Smith added 25.

Shimron Hetmyer launched Riley Meredith for two consecutive sixes followed by a cover drive for four in the 18th over, leaving Delhi just two short of their victory target.

Neither Hetmyer nor Dhawan had the privilege of finishing the job, however, with a pair of wides from Meredith carrying the Capitals over the line.


Agarwal deserved better

Not only did he take over as captain, Agarwal also led by proud example, just as Rahul as so often done. His innings was the standout performance of this match, but where he rose to the occasion, others in the Kings ranks wilted. Gayle, with 13, was the team's third highest scorer, and it is almost impossible to win matches that way.

Getting all Het up

Hetmyer's late care-free cameo of 16 from four deliveries would likely not have happened without his team-mates laying solid foundations. They did so in the face of largely unthreatening bowling from Punjab, who sit sixth with three wins from eight games, amid doubts over whether their leader will be back in action this season.

Jos Buttler smashed a majestic century as Rajasthan Royals compounded Sunrisers Hyderabad's Indian Premier League misery with a dominant 55-run victory.

The Sunrisers, bottom of the standings with six defeats from seven, made the dramatic decision to strip David Warner of their captaincy on Saturday and there was no place in their XI for the deposed Australia opener.

Buttler proceeded to provide the sort of fireworks at the top of the order that are seemingly beyond Warner at present, plundering a maiden T20 ton in style as he smashed 124 from 64 deliveries, with 11 fours and eight sixes, to account for the bulk of an imposing 220-3.

Despite the promise of first-wicket stand of 57 between Manish Pandey (31) and Jonny Bairstow (30), Hyderabad's chase never really threatened and they limped to 165-8 – left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman (3-20) the pick of the Rajasthan attack.

Although he had twice come close with knocks of 49 and 41, Buttler entered the match without a half-century to his name in six previous attempts this season.

The England star was not initially at his fluent best, gutsing his way to a 39-ball fifty after surviving an lbw shout from Rashid Khan on seven, the leg-spinner dismissing Buttler's opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal for 12 in similar fashion.

Supported by skipper Sanju Samson (48) in a 150-run stand for the second wicket, Buttler cut loose. The 15th over, Mohammad Nabi's sole contribution with the ball, disappeared for 21, and by the time Sandeep Sharma (1-50) forced him to drag on, Buttler had already walloped three sixes and a four from the penultimate over.

Pandey and Bairstow made light of Warner's axing, although Mustafizur bowled the former off his pads with a slower ball and the procession that followed Buttler's England colleague perishing at long-on off Rahul Tewatia (1-45) showed Hyderabad's problems are myriad.

New skipper Kane Williamson scored 20 off 21 deliveries and any lingering hope was gone when he became Kartik Tyagi's first IPL wicket.

Kedar Jadhav's run-a-ball 19 was the best any one else could muster and he was bowled to be one of three victims for Chris Morris (3-29).

Patience pays off for Buttler

It seems unusual to flag up how a batsman who flayed the opposition to all parts actually played within himself initially, but Buttler shrewdly recognised his way out of a relative slump. "I think sometimes you have to swallow your ego when you're not in perfect touch," he said when receiving the man-of-the-match award.

"You have to give yourself time and find your way. I tried to stay in and keep the belief that something will click." As the final 25 deliveries Buttler faced disappeared for 74, it was fair to say something exploded.

A new role for Rashid

Khan was into the attack early for Hyderabad, Williamson breaking from Warner's habit of using the spinner in the middle overs. The skipper was partially vindicated by the early wicket and it would have been a very different contest had Buttler not survived.

However, Khan's allocation being used by the 11th over arguably left the Sunrisers exposed to one of the most destructive batsman on the planet and lacking the means to check his charge.

India and Punjab Kings batsman KL Rahul has been diagnosed with acute appendicitis which requires him to undergo surgery.

The 29-year-old opener was admitted to hospital on Saturday after suffering from discomfort in his abdomen.

No timeframe has been placed on his recovery but he will be absent from Punjab Kings' Indian Premier League fixture against Delhi Capitals in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

A statement from Punjab Kings said: "KL Rahul complained of severe abdomen pain and, after not responding to medication, he was taken for further tests which revealed that he was diagnosed with acute appendicitis.

"It will be resolved surgically and for safety measures he has been transferred to the hospital."

Rahul is the top runscorer in the 2021 IPL with 331 runs in seven matches at an average of 66.20 and a strike rate of 136.21.

He has the best all-time batting average in IPL history with 2,978 runs in 88 matches at 46.53 and a strike rate of 135.85.

The right-hand batsman has played 36 Tests, 38 ODIs and 49 T20 internationals for India.

 

Kieron Pollard was the hero as Mumbai Indians achieved the second-highest run chase in Indian Premier League history to beat Chennai Super Kings in a final-ball thriller.

All-rounder Pollard claimed 2-12 but Chennai posted 218-4 in their innings, with Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali and Ambati Rayudu all hitting half-centuries.

Rayudu top scored with a brutal 72 from just 27 deliveries after Moeen (58) and Du Plessis (50) had put on 108 for the second wicket.

However, the defending champions handed the Super Kings just a second loss of the 2021 season, reaching their target from the final delivery with four wickets to spare as Pollard accepted the responsibility of seeing his team over the line in astonishing fashion.

The West Indies international smashed eight sixes as he finished up unbeaten on 87 from just 34 balls. He hit the penultimate delivery of the contest for six off Lungi Ngidi, then managed to sneak through for the two runs required from the last.

Pollard was dropped by Du Plessis in the 18th over and that proved to be costly for leaders CSK in a dramatic contest at Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

Quinton de Kock (38) and Rohit Sharma (35) had put on 71 for the first wicket in 7.4 overs, but the openers were dismissed by Moeen and Shardul Thakur respectively before the halfway point of the run chase.

Pollard stepped forward to pull off Mumbai's highest chase, though, with the Indians taking 48 runs off the last three overs to move just two points behind CSK in fourth place.

 

Bumrah toils as Super Kings prosper

Chennai endured a mid-innings wobble – slipping from 112-1 to 116-4 after losing two wickets in as many balls in a Pollard over - but Rayudu's onslaught carried them well beyond the 200 barrier.

Jasprit Bumrah was one of the bowlers who suffered the most. The India international finished with figures of 1-56 from his four overs, the highest number of runs he has conceded in the format. 

Powerhouse Pollard completes record chase

Mumbai were 81-3 in the 10th over when Pollard arrived at the crease to produce an incredible display of clean striking, racing to a 17-ball half-century.

Sam Curran removed Hardik Pandya and Jimmy Neesham in the penultimate over after the England all-rounder had trapped Krunal Pandya leg before. However, it was not enough for Chennai.

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