South Africa have named a strong 16-man squad for their upcoming five-match T20I series against India, but former captain Faf du Plessis has been overlooked.

Paceman Anrich Nortje is back in the fold for the first time since last year's 2020 World Cup after proving his fitness in the Indian Premier League following a hip and back problem, while Tristan Stubbs has received a maiden call-up.

All of the South African players who opted out of the Test series against Bangladesh in March and April in favour of playing in the IPL have been called back up for the tour, which takes place next month.

That includes Kagiso Rabada, who has taken 22 wickets in the IPL this season - the third-best total in the competition.

However, in-form batter Du Plessis, who is the seventh-highest run scorer in the IPL with 399 at an average of 33.25, misses out again.

Du Plessis, who captains Royal Challengers Bangalore, has not played white-ball cricket for the Proteas since December 2020. He retired from the longest format last year.

Head coach Mark Boucher remains in place after Cricket South Africa "formally and unreservedly" withdrew the charges of gross misconduct against him.

South Africa's selection convener Victor Mpitsang said: "This is the Proteas like we have not seen them in a long time. The injection of the IPL players means that we will have a team that's ready to fire on all cylinders immediately and has vast experience of the conditions that we will be playing in.

"The country can also join us in a collective sigh of relief at the return of Anrich Nortje, who has been working hard to recover from a frustrating injury. The National Selection Panel and I are really excited to watch our full-strength Proteas take on the world's number one T20 team."

South Africa's squad in full: Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jansen.

Delhi Capitals sealed a big victory in the race for the playoffs against Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League on Monday, thanks largely to the efforts of Mitchell Marsh and Shardul Thakur.

Marsh top-scored with 63 runs as the Capitals posted a target of 160, which the Kings never realistically looked like reaching, in part due to Shardul's outstanding four-wicket haul.

Things could not have started in worse fashion for the Capitals, with David Warner out first ball to Liam Livingstone (3-27).

However, Sarfaraz Khan (32) and Marsh steadied the ship with a partnership of 51, while Marsh and Lalit Yadav (24) added a further 47 to the total, with Arshdeep Singh (3-37) taking the wickets of both Khan and Yadav.

Livingstone then struck twice to remove Rishabh Pant (7) and Rovman Powell (2), before Kagiso Rabada finally claimed Marsh for 63 off 48 balls with 10 deliveries remaining.

Jonny Bairstow (28) and Shikhar Dhawan (19) made a good start to the reply with a partnership of 38 inside four overs before the England man fell to Anrich Nortje.

There soon followed a collapse for the Kings, who quickly went from 53-1 to 67-6 with only Jitesh Sharma showing any sign of sticking around.

He and Rahul Chahar (25) calmed things down to claim 41 from five overs before Jitesh fell for 44 from 34 balls, and although the Kings avoided losing all 10 wickets, Shardul (4-36) completed a strong bowling spell to comfortably close the game out for a 17-run victory, moving the Capitals to fourth in the table.

Shardul leads joint-bowling effort

While Shardul will get the headlines with his four wickets, there was some tremendous economic bowling on display elsewhere in the Capitals' attack.

Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav both posted figures of 2-14, with the former doing so from four overs at a rate of just 3.50, conceding just one boundary.

Kings suffer with the bat

Bairstow, Dhawan, Jitesh, and Chahar aside, the Kings really let themselves down with the bat.

Only one of the top five batsmen in the order hit a six (Bairstow), while no other batsman aside from the aforementioned quartet scored more than six overall.

Stafanie Taylor’s Tornadoes Women claimed the inaugural FairBreak Invitational T20 title with an emphatic eight-wicket win over Falcons Women at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the UAE on Saturday.

Tornadoes Women captain Sophie Devine called right at the toss and asked the Falcons to bat first before the Tornadoes had the Falcons reeling at 59-4 in the 10th over.

An unbeaten 92-run fifth wicket partnership between South African Marizanne Kapp (67 not out) and Hong Kong’s Mariko Hill (30 not out) then propelled the Falcons to a respectable 151-4 off their 20 overs.

Thailand’s Chanida Sutthiruang led the bowling for the Tornadoes with 2-19 from three overs.

The Tornadoes completed the chase without stress as captain Sophie Devine (51) and Sterre Kalis (44) shared in an opening partnership of 76 before Stafanie Taylor (34 not out) and South African Sune Luus (18 not out) steered them to 152-2 with five balls to spare.

 

England seamer Saqib Mahmood will miss the rest of the season after sustaining a lumbar stress fracture.

The 25-year-old was handed a Test debut against West Indies in March and impressed in his two matches in the Caribbean, taking six wickets.

Mahmood has only made one appearance since that tour for Lancashire against Gloucestershire in the County Championship last month.

He now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines at the start of a new era for England following the appointments of head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement: "After being diagnosed with a lumbar stress fracture, England and Lancashire seamer Saqib Mahmood has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

"Mahmood was unavailable for Lancashire's last Championship fixture [against Yorkshire] due to low back pain, and scans have revealed that he has a lumbar stress fracture and will miss the remainder of the 2022 English summer. 

"No timeframe has been set for his return. His ongoing rehabilitation will be co-managed between Lancashire and England medical teams."

Mahmood has also made his mark for his country in white-ball cricket, playing in 12 Twenty20 Internationals and seven ODIs.

England start a three-match Test series against New Zealand at Lord's on June 2.

Rajasthan Royals moved up to second in the Indian Premier League and are on the brink of sealing a play-off place after a 24-run defeat of Lucknow Super Giants.

Lucknow knew a win at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday would secure a top-four finish with one game to spare, but they slipped below the Royals into third spot.

Yashasvi Jaiswal top-scored with 41 in Rajasthan's total of 178-6 in Mumbai, with Ravi Bishnoi taking 2-31.

Deepak Hooda's 59 was in vain as Lucknow could only make 154-8 in reply, Trent Boult the pick of the bowlers with 2-18 as the Royals took a big stride towards the play-offs.

Avesh Khan struck a big early blow when he bowled Rajasthan's Jos Buttler in the third over, but Jaiswal and Sanju Samson (32) put on 64 for the second wicket before the captain fell to Jason Holder.

Jaiswal was caught and bowled in Ayush Badoni's only over, but Devdut Padikkal kept Rajasthan ticking with a couple of sixes and five fours.

Bishnoi (2-31) denied Padikkal the chance of a half-century, dismissing him for 39, and also removed Riyan Parag, but Boult added a quickfire unbeaten 17 after Jimmy Neesham was run out.

Neesham, playing his second match of the tournament, took a catch for his New Zealand team-mate Boult to claim the scalp of Quinton de Kock in the third over of the run chase and the left-arm seamer also trapped Badoni leg before first ball.

Lucknow were 29-3 when Prasidh Krishna (2-32) sent KL Rahul packing, but a stand of 65 between Hooda and Krunal Pandya kept them in the game.

Ravichandran Ashwin ended the partnership by sending Pandya on his way for 25, and Hooda was stumped off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal, while Obed McCoy claimed 2-35 in a big win for the Royals.

Brilliant Boult strikes twice

Boult made it advantage the Royals when he took two early wickets in as many balls, preventing De Kock from doing damage and snaring Badoni for a golden duck.

He bowled 14 dot balls in his four overs and conceded only two boundaries, leaving the Super Giants up against it.

Three play-off spots still up for grabs

Gujarat Titans are the only side guaranteed a play-off place as the battle for top-four finishes goes to the wire.

The Royals do battle with Chennai Super Kings in their last game of the league season, while Lucknow must regroup before facing Kolkata Knight Riders.

Gujarat Titans consolidated their place at the top of the Indian Premier League with a seven-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings.

It has been a miserable season for 2021 champions Chennai, who sit in ninth place with only one game remaining.

While the Super Kings let themselves down with the bat last time out against Mumbai Indians, Ruturaj Gaikwad's 53 and Narayan Jagadeesan's 39 not out this time helped them to 133-5 from their 20 overs.

But the run rate was not quick enough, with Gaikwad's score coming from 49 balls while it took 33 for Jagadeesan to reach his total as the Titans bowlers, spearheaded by Mohammed Shami (2-19), stifled the defending champions.

Gujarat's chase started well, and it took until the start of the eighth over for Chennai to strike, with Matheesha Pathirana dismissing Shubman Gill for 18.

Moeen Ali sent Matthew Wade (20) packing four overs later, but much of the damage had been done, with the Titans having already chipped away 90.

Wriddhiman Saha anchored the innings with a wonderful 67 not out, and his ninth boundary sealed an ultimately comfortable victory with five balls to spare.

Saha shows the Super Kings how it is done

Though Gaikwad scored a half-century, the Chennai opener was only able to hit five boundaries. Saha kept up the pace in reply, hitting eight fours and one six, with his unbeaten 67 coming at a strike rate of 117.54.

Woeful title defence coming to a sorry close

It is now two defeats in a row for the Super Kings, who face Rajasthan Royals in their final match. Gujarat, meanwhile, could have a say in who comes with them into the play-offs, when they face Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday.

The cricket world is grieving another loss of an Australian great after former Test star Andrew Symonds was killed on Saturday.

The 46-year-old was involved a single-vehicle accident at Hervey Range, approximately 50km from Townsville in Queensland.

Symonds' death continues a devastating year for Australian cricket, after the passings of legends Rod Marsh and Shane Warne from heart attacks in March.

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor said it was "another tragic day" for cricket.

"Unfortunately, I've been here too often, this year, under these circumstances," he told the Nine Network. "I can't quite believe it, to be honest. Another tragic day for cricket."

"He was an entertainer with the bat when it came to cricket and as you say he was an imposing guy, he was a big lad."

Tributes on social media flowed for the man affectionately known as "Roy", who was an instrumental figure in Australia's cricketing dominance across the Test and short-form versions of the game of the 2000s.

Former Australia teammate Adam Gilchrist wrote on Twitter how Symonds' passing "really hurts", while Pakistan legend Shoaib Akhtar tweeted how he was "devastated" at the news.

Michael Vaughan also posted on Twitter how it "didn't feel real", while former Australian Test captain and colleague on Fox Cricket, Allan Border, spoke on his distinct style on and off the pitch.

"He hit the ball a long way and just wanted to entertain," Border told the Nine Network. "He was, in a way, a little bit of an old-fashioned cricketer.

"He was an adventurer. Loved his fishing, he loved hiking, camping. People liked his very laid-back style.

"Symo away from the cameras and away from the spotlight, loved, I think, a bit of solitude and that is why he loved his fishing. Loved his own time."

Jamaica Scorpions coach Andre Coley would like to see batsmen taking more responsibility at the crease, and place more emphasis on batting time, as the West Indies Championship resumes next week.

With two rounds already in the books for the shortened season, the Scorpions will have plenty of work to obtain a satisfactory finish.   On the back of some lukewarm performances, the Jamaica franchise finds itself at the foot of the six-team standings having earned just 8.8 points they have so far.

In that regard, the team has added two batsmen, in West Indies batsman Brandon King and wicketkeeper Aldane Thomas who it is hoped will provide the team with added impetus heading into next Wednesday’s fixtures against the Windward Islands in Trinidad & Tobago.  Coley, however, also believes a change of attitude will be needed to turn things around.

“We are not just looking or starts but to transfer and to translate that into bigger scores, into bigger team partnerships and actually spending time (at the crease),” Coley told members of the media on Friday.

“We are a team that if you look at our record or even the first two games, our run rate has always been healthy.  We just now have to bat time and accept personal responsibility, from a batting standpoint and build more significant partnerships.”

 

Andre Russell made a big impact with bat and ball as Kolkata Knight Riders stayed in the hunt for an Indian Premier League play-off place with a 54-run defeat of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

KKR needed a win at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday to keep themselves in contention for a top-four finish and they delivered under pressure.

Russell blasted 49 off 28 balls to get the Knight Riders up to 177-6 in Pune, where hostile paceman Umran Malik gave another exhibition of his quality by taking 3-33.

Sunrisers fell well short at 123-8 in their run chase as their play-off hopes suffered a blow, with this their fifth consecutive defeat.

Malik halted KKR's momentum by dismissing Nitish Rana (26) and Ajinkya Rahane (28) in the same over, reducing them to 72-3 after eight overs.

He also had Shreyas Iyer caught by Rahul Tripathi at deep midwicket, but Sam Billings got Kolkata ticking with 34 and unbeaten Russell struck four sixes - three of which came in the final over from Washington Sundar - in a much-need display of powerful striking.

All-rounder Russell (3-22) then cleaned an out-of-sorts Kane Williamson up for only nine and Tim Southee (2-23) took an excellent catch off his own bowling to send Tripathi on his way for the same score as his captain.

Abhishek Sharma made a brisk 43 and Aiden Markram 32, but Russell took another two wickets as Sunrisers' slump continued and they slipped to eighth spot with two games to play, while sixth-placed KKR face Lucknow Super Giants as they strive to sneak into the play-offs.

Malik back in business

Sunrisers quick Malik has been a revelation in this tournament and made his mark once again after failing to take a wicket in three matches following his five-wicket haul against Gujarat Titans.

The 22-year-old has claimed 18 scalps in the 2022 IPL at an average of 22 and there will surely be many more to come in such a promising career.

Russell keeps KKR in the mix

So many times over the years Russell has stepped up when his side have needed him.

He gave KKR a huge lift by taking Sundar apart in the last over of KKR's innings and then did the bulk of the damage with the ball, dismissing Williamson, Sundar and Marco Jansen.

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma agreed with the team’s decision to leave him out of the squad ahead of Thursday's encounter against Chennai Super Kings.

Much-like compatriot and fellow power-hitter Chris Gayle was last year, Pollard was left out of the line-up on his 35th birthday.  Instead, the team opted to go with South Africa big-hitter Tristan Stubbs on debut.

Despite it being a special day for the West Indian, few could have disagreed with the decision considering the player’s recent form.  In 11 IPL matches so far, the big West Indian has scored just 144 runs at an average of 14.40 and with a strike rate of 107.46.  The ball-striking tally is the player’s lowest since he made his debut in the IPL in 2010.

In explaining the decision, Sharma insisted the team, which is currently bottom of the IPL, has begun to contemplate its future.

"Keeping an eye on the future, Pollard is out and Stubbs is in. He (Pollard) was the one who came up to us and he was ready for it,” Rohit told Star Sport.

 “We want to try out a few players, got to see what they have to offer.”

Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone produced their best displays of the Indian Premier League season to lead the Punjab Kings to a dominant win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The England duo each hit half-centuries as the Kings hit 209-9, before Kagiso Rabada (3-21), Rishi Dhawan (2-36), and Rahul Chahar (2-37) wrecked RCB's top-order.

Glenn Maxwell's 35 marked the best individual performance of Bangalore's chase, as they finished 54 runs short of the Kings' tally.

With 14 points, RCB's place in the play-offs now looks vulnerable ahead of their final clash with table-topping Gujarat Titans, while the Kings kept their own hopes of a top-four finish alive with two games left to play.

Having been put in to bat by Faf du Plessis, Punjab quickly set about building a tough target, reaching 60 before their first loss when Shikhar Dhawan went for 21.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa followed, but that simply allowed Livingstone to step up and produce a terrific display alongside Bairstow, who struck 66 from 29 balls before falling to Shahbaz Ahmed in the 10th over.

Livingstone plundered a rapid 70 to ensure the Kings recovered, and RCB's hopes were severely dented when Virat Kohli, Du Plessis and Mahipal Lomror were sent packing within the opening five overs.

Maxwell's 12th-over dismissal all but sealed victory for Punjab, with Rabada adding the wickets of Shahbaz Ahmed and Harshal Patel.

Dhawan's blushes spared as Bairstow and Livingstone turn on the style

Although the Kings' best-performing batsmen Dhawan fell short of his season average of 40, a combined 136 from Bairstow and Livingstone propelled Punjab to victory.

Rabada on a roll

Fast-bowler Rabada led the Kings' attack admirably to end the contest with three wickets, taking his tally for the season to 21, some seven clear of his closest team-mate in Rahul. 

New England Test head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes must challenge each other to transform the country's red-ball fortunes, says Nasser Hussain.

McCullum has been tasked with fixing the failings in the five-day game of England, who will be captained by Stokes after Joe Root resigned in April following a run of one win in 17 Tests.

Former opener and now England men's managing director Rob Key has entrusted McCullum with the Test side despite all the 40-year-old's coaching experience coming within white-ball franchise cricket.

McCullum has coached Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders, but has playing experience in Test cricket with New Zealand.

Indeed, McCullum captained New Zealand's red-ball side through a transformative period and played in 101 Tests for his country.

Former England captain Hussain believes he and Stokes can take England in a different direction.

"It's a bold, brave, exciting decision," Hussain told Sky Sports.

"It's a little bit left field, I think most people expected maybe a Brendon McCullum type to come into the white-ball team and work with his mate Eoin Morgan and possibly somebody with more experience in red-ball cricket like a Gary Kirsten come in for the Test match format.

"But Rob Key sees it differently, I think both Stokes and McCullum are cut from the same cloth and Key has that sort of idea that he wants a positive captain and positive coach taking the team in a new direction and McCullum definitely fits that bill.

"That captain-coach relationship - they do have to sing off the same hymn sheet, they have to both constantly be working together.

"They also have to challenge each other, I'll be perfectly honest.

"It's not a case of Stokes and McCullum always agreeing with each other. It's also how you describe positive cricket really, it's not reckless cricket.

"I nearly picked Rob Key up on this the other day, he talked about brand of cricket, he wants England to play a positive brand of cricket.

"I think England fans and myself want to see England play a winning brand of cricket, however that's done, go out and start winning Test matches. If it is positive and exciting, double bonus. But winning is the most important thing.

"It's hugely exciting, to have Stokes as your captain, McCullum as your coach, it will be a very exciting few months and years ahead."

McCullum and Stokes' first task sees the pair host the country of their birth, New Zealand, in a three-Test series that starts on June 2.

Brendon McCullum is the "perfect person" to turn around England's Test fortunes, according to Andrew Strauss, who was a part of the selection panel for the new men's head coach.

England have won just one of their last 17 Tests, leading to the resignation of captain Joe Root, with Ben Stokes stepping up as skipper in April.

Former opener Rob Key was also appointed as managing director of men's cricket and was tasked with reshaping the faltering structure to make England competitive once more in the five-day game.

As well as confirming Stokes as captain, a decision was made to hire separate coaches for the red ball and limited-overs sides, with McCullum announced as Test coach on Thursday.

The decision represents somewhat of a gamble as New Zealand legend McCullum has only ever coached T20 franchises in the form of Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders.

However, McCullum played 101 Tests for New Zealand and captained the side through a transformative period, and Strauss believes the 40-year-old is a great appointment by England.

"I'm delighted and I'm excited. He blew us away with his clarity of thinking and his simple approach," the England and Wales Cricket Board's strategic adviser Strauss told Sky Sports.

"He's a very positive guy with a very clear mindset and he will embed that in the Test team at a time when confidence is a bit low and people need a bit of clarity and direction.

"He's an impressive guy. He can't wait to start and, quite frankly, I can't wait for him to start.

"[As a player] he was incredibly ambitious, he used to run down the wicket against some of the quickest bowlers in the world.

"He always took the positive option, he wasn't scared of failing, he wasn't scared of making mistakes and I think that is what this Test team needs at the moment.

"They need someone to back them, to give them confidence and inspire them, and they need to break the shackles and realise how good they are. I think he's the perfect person to do that."

McCullum's first task will see England host his country of birth, New Zealand, in a three-Test series that starts at Lord's on June 2.

West Indies fast bowler turned commentator Ian Bishop does not believe recently retired Windies skipper Kieron Pollard is washed-up but insists the time has come for the player to adjust his game.

Typically, a reliable source of runs for five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians, Pollard has struggled mightily to make an impact this season.  In 11 IPL matches so far, the big West Indian has scored just 144 runs at an average of 14.40 and with a strike rate of 107.46.  The ball-striking tally is the player’s lowest since he made his debut in the IPL in 2010.

Having retired from international cricket a few weeks ago, some have suggested that it might be time for Pollard to take another step in moving away from the sport entirely.  While acknowledging that he has struggled in the tournament this season, Bishop believes the player could still have a bit more left in the tank.

"People are saying he's washed, I'm not going to go there. I think he's a player who can reinvent himself,” Bishop told Espncricinfo.

"You look at Pollard's numbers when Mumbai have won the championships: 400 runs in 2013 at 42, up to 2019 and 2020, where he averaged over 30 with a strike rate sometimes in the 160s to 190s - he's been integral to them. You can't forget that as a franchise, so they're giving him every possible chance,” he added.

Despite the franchise choosing to stick with the veteran player, however, Bishop insists it’s up to Pollard to adjust.

"Pollard himself has to reinvent his game, however, he chooses to do that, because he's still got a future ahead of him we hope.”

 Legendary West Indies batsman Viv Richards is confident Nicholas Pooran was the right choice for captain of the One Day  International squad and has backed the player to do well in the position.

Pooran was named as the replacement for all-rounder Kieron Pollard last week, following the latter’s surprise decision to retire from international cricket a few weeks ago.  The decision to appoint the 25-year-old by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) panel of selectors hardly came as a surprise as the players was already being groomed for the position.

Pooran, who had served as Pollard’s vice-captain over the last year, took charge of the team for a series against India earlier this year.  For Richards who himself captained the team between 1980 and 1991, the choice was an obvious one.

“There wasn’t any other choice in my opinion. I think the young man is pretty studious about what he wants to get done. He takes his cricket pretty studiously and I am a fan of Nicholas Pooran,” Richards told the Antigua Observer.

The Master Blaster believes the player has come a long way since making his debut for the team in 2016 and has now blossomed into the role.

“Early in his career I guess there was some immaturity … but having been through the mill and where he’s at now, I think he is the perfect choice as captain.”

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