Faf du Plessis, who captained the Kings to a second successive Hero CPL final in 2021, will return this season. Tim David and David Wiese will join him after were both instrumental to the Kings' success during the 2021 season.

This season will also see the return of Scott Kuggeleijn who played for the Kings in 2020, where he finished as the tournament’s leading wicket taker that season. The Kings have one more overseas spot left to fill, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Kings will have six more spots to fill at the Hero CPL draft with details of these picks released during the draft show which will be broadcast this Thursday 7 July – at 9 am Eastern Caribbean Time.

The Kings' squad so far: Faf du Plessis,.

To be confirmed: Tim David, Roston Chase, Johnson Charles, Kesrick Williams, David Wiese, Alzarri Joseph, Scott Kuggeleijn, Mark Deyal, Jeavor Royal.

 

Virat Kohli returned to form with a crucial 73 as Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their Indian Premier League playoffs hopes alive with an eight-wicket victory over Gujarat Titans.

Titans opener Wriddhiman Saha scored a brisk 31 and David Miller added 34 in a 61-run partnership with captain Hardik Pandya, who finished unbeaten on 62 as Gujarat posted 168-5 at the Wankhede Stadium.

That total was boosted by a late flurry from Rashid Khan, who smashed 19 off just six balls, but the target seemed below par as RCB's openers raced out of the blocks.

Kohli and Faf du Plessis made a blistering start to the chase, the India star reaching his second half-century of the tournament off 33 deliveries with a six against Khan (2-32).

Khan then removed Du Plessis, caught by Pandya, for 44 with the score on 115-1 in the 15th over, before beating Glenn Maxwell for pace and clipping the stumps without the bails coming off with the next ball.

Maxwell capitalised on the reprieve by blasting the next Pandya over for 21 and, although Khan had Kohli stumped in the 17th over, the Australian's unbeaten 40 off just 18 balls saw RCB over the line with eight deliveries to spare.

RCB's playoff hopes now rely on Delhi Capitals losing to Mumbai Indians on Saturday, while IPL debutants Gujarat are already assured top spot after winning 10 of 14 games.

King Kohli

Before this game, Kohli averaged just 21.45 in the IPL this term – his lowest in the tournament since 2008, when he averaged 15 – and had been dismissed for under 10 runs six times, including three golden ducks.

The 33-year-old has acknowledged he may need a break to rejuvenate mentally and physically, but he was at his imperious best here, smashing eight fours and two sixes in his 54-ball 73.

Hasaranga keeps it tight

Wanindu Hasaranga, who claimed 1-25 from his four-over allocation, continues to dominate through the middle overs for RCB.

The Sri Lanka international dismissed Miller with a wonderful caught and bowled to pick up his 24th wicket of the tournament – the joint-most with Rajasthan Royals' Yuzvendra Chahal.

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.

Royal Challengers Bangalore secured a routine victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, with captain Faf du Plessis and Wanindu Hasaranga playing a big part.

The South African batted through his team's 20 overs, scoring 73 from 50 balls as RCB set their opponents a target of 193.

Opposite number Kane Williamson marched back to the pavilion without facing a ball, which set the tone as Sunrisers were bowled all out for 125, with Hasaranga taking 5-18.

Having won five of their first seven matches this season, Sunrisers have now lost their last four outings.

Things could not have started better for them as Jagadeesha Suchith claimed the wicket of Virat Kohli with the first ball of the match, but Du Plessis and Rajat Patidar (48) put on a partnership of 105 to rescue the innings.

Glenn Maxwell's 33 helped RCB tick along, before Dinesh Karthik came in with some fireworks at the end of the innings, hitting 30 from just eight balls, including three sixes and a four from the final four balls.

It was a disastrous start for Sunrisers, with Williamson run out without facing a ball, before fellow opener Abhishek Sharma was also dismissed without scoring by Maxwell.

Rahul Tripathi's 58 from 37 balls was the only real fight put up by Sunrisers, with Aiden Markram (21) and Nicholas Pooran (19) the only other batsmen to make double figures.

Hasaranga and Josh Hazlewood's economical bowling ensured there was never a question of who was going to win here, and Harshal Patel wrapped up the 67-run victory after dismissing Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

A captain's innings

Karthik may get some headlines after his explosive efforts in the final over, but Du Plessis was the spine of his team's innings, playing the entire 20 overs and setting the table for the win with his eight fours and two sixes.

Hasaranga and Hazlewood shine

Hasaranga was deadly with his four overs, taking out the middle order with exceptional ruthlessness, while Hazlewood was even more economical with his 2-17 from four overs.

It could have been even better for the Australian, who conceded seven of those runs in his final over to a nothing-to-lose attitude from 11th wicket partnership, Kumar and Fazalhaq Farooqi.

The Punjab Kings claimed a dramatic five-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Indian Premier League opener, despite Faf du Plessis' impressive debut at the DY Patil Stadium.

Former South Africa skipper Du Plessis made the switch to the Challengers after leading the Chennai Super Kings to glory last year.

Du Plessis mustered an impressive 88 off just 57 balls alongside Virat Kohli (41), who he replaced as captain, as the 37-year-old made his mark on his new side in emphatic fashion.

That partnership generated 118 runs from 61 balls, while fellow veteran Dinesh Karthik added 32 off just 14 deliveries as the three-time runners-up concluded on 205-6 from their 20-over allocation.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa (43) and Mayank Agarwal (32) led the Kings’ response as they chased the target of 206.

Their momentum stalled at the start of the 14th over; Mohammed Siraj dismissing Rajapaksa before Rajangad Bawa was trapped in front for a duck with the following ball.

Akash Deep claimed Liam Livingstone (19) soon after but a late surge from Odean Smith, who managed 25 off only eight balls, and Shahrukh Khan (24) saw the Kings over the line with an over to spare.

Fantastic Faf

Du Plessis hit 633 runs last season – a tally only bettered by Ruturaj Gaikwad (635) – as he inspired the Super Kings to a fourth IPL title.

The veteran began this campaign in the same vein, although his 10 boundaries (seven sixes, three fours) came in a losing cause for the Challengers.

Late surge stuns Challengers

Du Plessis' side must have thought they had contained their opponents after claiming three wickets in the space of two overs.

But Smith and Shahrukh had other ideas as their partnership brought 52 runs from 25 deliveries – including 38 in the final two overs – to complete a remarkable chase down.

Virat Kohli feels "much more relaxed" without the responsibility of being captain ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore's opening game against Punjab Kings on Sunday.

Kohli relinquished the captaincy at the end of the 2021 IPL and Faf du Plessis has been charged with the task of replacing him.

The former India skipper is in no doubt it was a wise decision to step down from a role he had held since 2013.

He told RCB's official website: "It's a good change; I'm much more relaxed.

"The same excitement of coming to practice and just focusing on my skills and what I need to do as a batter, looking forward to these sessions is something that I used to experience very regularly before.

"Not that you don't focus on it, but somewhere when you have other responsibilities, that tends to kind of take a back seat, and over a period of time when you do it over and over again, and your mind is only running in one direction, then you can tend to lose that joy to come and practice.

"For me, that's always been the essence of playing cricket and something that I've always wanted for it to be alive within me. And I certainly feel that joy of purely coming here and hitting the ball again."

Kohli says he can see things from a different perspective without being captain, but will still be a leader.

He said: "I see it from a very different point of view. When you take a decision like this, a lot of people go, 'One should look at things from a point of responsibility and you have to take responsibility'. 

"And people don't understand that if you as a player cannot be the best version of yourself on the field, then that responsibility for me personally as a player means nothing."

Kohli added: "You can still be a leader within the team, drive the team forward towards success and winning trophies and titles, but I take a lot of pride in contributing for the team.

"If something, I feel, is pushing that joy down, that fun factor of just playing cricket, and just looking forward to doing something special on the field.

"If anything is coming in between that, and having the knowledge that you do have people who have able minds to be able to take the team forward, then I think it’s a wise thing for anyone to create some space for themselves.

"Just take a deep breath and restructure things and say, 'Hold on, I might not have looked at a lot of things that I need to work on, and here's a chance for me to restructure, rethink about what I want to do', and just find things to improve, find a little bit at practice something that you look forward to. That is something I’ve experienced in this phase."

Man of the Match Sunil Narine scored the fastest 50 in BPL history on Wednesday to propel Comilla Victorians to a seven-wicket victory over Chattogram Challengers and a place in the finals of the tournament where they will face Fortune Barishal.

Andre Fletcher scored an unbeaten 100 to lead Khulna Tigers to a nine-wicket victory over Comilla Victorians on Saturday and a place in the play-offs of the Bangladesh Premier League.

The Chennai Super Kings won their fourth Indian Premier League title after victory in an enthralling final against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

A brilliant batting display led by Faf du Plessis's superb 86 saw MS Dhoni's men reach 192-3 in the first innings in Dubai.

KKR, who had won both of their previous IPL finals in 2012 and 2014, made a decent fight of a forlorn-looking chase but finished 27 runs short on 165-9.

Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad (32), the top-scoring batsman of the IPL season, put up an opening stand of 61 before the latter was caught by Shivam Mari off a delivery from Sunil Narine (2-26).

Du Plessis was unperturbed, blunting the Knight Riders' attack with ruthless efficiency in a stellar knock. Robin Uthappa also scored 31 off just 15 balls before being trapped lbw and Moeen Ali kept up the impeccable standards with 37.

By the time Du Plessis was caught by Mari at long-on off the final ball of the innings, KKR's hopes were already looking slim, although they still mustered a creditable challenge.

Dhoni, in his 300th match as a captain in T20 cricket, dropped what looked a routine catch in the second over and Venkatesh Iyer took full advantage as he raced to a half-century.

It looked as though his stand with Shubman Gill (51) was finally over at 79-0 when Ambati Rayudu got a fine running catch, but Gill was granted a dead-ball reprieve after it struck one of the spider-cam cables on its way down.

Iyer was not so fortunate when he sent another ball from Shardul Thakur (3-38) high into the sky, Ravindra Jadeja grasping it in outstretched fingers as Kolkata's hopes took a major blow.

Du Plessis caught Nitish Rana for a first-ball duck and Narine holed out to Jadeja four deliveries later, as the middle order began to collapse.

Gill (51) was struck flush on the pad as he tried an ambitious scoop shot before Dinesh Karthik, Shakib Al Hasan and Rahul Tripathi were out for 11 runs combined.

Captain Eoin Morgan fell five runs short of reaching 1,000 in the IPL, Deepak Chahar taking a brilliant boundary catch, as the party started among the yellow shirts in the stands long before the fireworks flared after the final ball.

 

Four-midables

The Super Kings have now beaten the Knight Riders in six of their past seven IPL meetings, including the previous four in a row.

This was their ninth final, at least three more than any other side has reached, but they had only won three of the previous eight and were beaten by Kolkata in the showpiece nine years ago.

Yet their batting display was of a quality worthy of champions, Du Plessis in particular showing power and poise as he hit seven fours and three sixes en route to a third IPL title with the franchise.

Luckless Lockie

Before this match, Kolkata had a bowling dot-ball figure of 40 per cent, the best of any side in the competition. Here, they had little answer to the Super Kings' batting excellence.

Lockie Ferguson endured an especially tough time, posting figures of 0-56 and giving up nine boundaries and two wide balls from just four overs.

Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and Chris Morris have all missed out on selection for South Africa's preliminary T20 World Cup squad but Keshav Maharaj is included despite having yet to make his international debut in the shortest format.

Du Plessis had retired from all other forms of cricket, with an eye on the World Cup, while all-rounder Morris also misses out on a squad where Temba Bavuma has been named captain.

World number-one ranked T20I bowler Tabraiz Shamsi, who has taken 24 wickets at an average of 12.2 in 2021, will operate as the main leg-spinner with veteran Tahir, who last appeared for his country in 2019, left out.

While the Proteas opted to leave out the experienced trio, they will have the likes of Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Aiden Markram to call upon, with Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje the standout pace options.

And Victor Mpitsang, South Africa's convenor of selectors, feels the 15-man squad could challenge in October after crashing out in the group stages of the last T20 World Cup in 2016.

"There is no better time than now for us to bring home the trophy and bring the nation together in a way that only sport can," said Mpitsang. 

"We hope that South Africans will rally behind this team and cheer them all the way to the final."

Maharaj is perhaps the surprise inclusion having never played a T20I and only featuring 14 times in 50-over cricket, taking 19 wickets.

The left-arm off-spinner will captain in the absence of the injured Bavuma as the Proteas face Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series starting on Friday, a decision supported by Mpitsang.

"Kesh [Maharaj] is an excellent leader," said Mpitsang. "He has the backing of the team and us as a panel. 

"He has more than proven his leadership skills in the Dolphins set up and reinforced our good decision during the ODI series against Sri Lanka which ended on Tuesday.

"His exemplary captaincy is what we believe is in the best interests of the team’s stability during this last international series that the team gets to play ahead of the World Cup."

South Africa start their World Cup campaign against Australia on October 23 before facing West Indies three days later.
 

South Africa squad: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen

Reserves: George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams.

Faf du Plessis struck his highest ever T20 score (120*) and first century of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as the Saint Lucia Kings recorded a commanding 100 run win over St Kitts & Nevis Patriots to end their unbeaten run in this year’s tournament.

The Patriots won the toss and opted to put Saint Lucia Kings into bat, with the superb du Plessis batting through the whole innings as he recorded 120* off just 60 balls, supported by Roston Chase, who once again excelled with both the bat and ball.

The Patriots succumbed in their chase, bowled out for 124 despite some fireworks from Evin Lewis, but ultimately a disciplined bowling performance from the Kings won them the game. 

Saint Lucia Kings got off to a flying start as openers Andre Fletcher and Faf du Plessis ensured they batted through the Powerplay to reach 71-0. Despite losing the wickets of Fletcher and Keron Cottoy, the Kings built a mammoth total as du Plessis and Chase hit boundaries at will, contributing eight sixes between them.

The Patriots had a more restrained start as they began the chase; Devon Thomas fell to the bowling of Alzarri Joseph, with Chris Gayle following in the third over. Chase added pressure by bowling a maiden in the fourth over before Evin Lewis started to deliver some destructive shots, reaching his half century in just 25 balls. However, his 73 was in vain, as wickets tumbled, with Keemo Paul taking three wickets in the 16th over. 

Saint Lucia Kings now have six points and are firmly in contention for a play-off spot, while the Patriots remain top of the league.

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.

Chennai Super Kings once again got the better of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, recording a seventh win in nine meetings by easily chasing down a target of 172.

Ruturaj Gaikwad made 75 - his highest IPL score - and the in-form Faf du Plessis contributed 56 as Chennai triumphed with seven wickets and nine balls to spare at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Rashid Khan (3-36) was the only successful Hyderabad bowler, though even the leg-spinner was not spared from punishment. With a fifth successive win, the Super Kings move above Royal Challengers Bangalore to top of the table.

Hyderabad, in contrast, prop up the rest in the standings; winning the toss was about the only thing that went right for them.

Captain David Warner laboured to 57 from 55 balls and Manish Pandey finished as his team's leading scorer with 61, helping add 106 in combination with his skipper for the second wicket.

However, after Lungi Ngidi (2-35) removed both well-set batsmen, Kane Williamson finally provided some much-needed impetus in the closing overs.

The New Zealand captain hit 26 from the 10 deliveries he faced, raising the question as to why he did not come in earlier in the innings. Kedar Jadhav (12 not out) also contributed a late cameo, though a final score of 171-3 always appeared below par.


Warner signs not good

Warner now has 193 runs at an average of 32.16 in the tournament this year, while the left-hander reached the notable personal milestone of 10,000 in his first-class career in the shortest format.

Still, his strike-rate of 110.28 runs per 100 deliveries in 2021 is well below his IPL career mark of 140.13. The skipper's frustration was obvious in this innings, as he struggled to pierce the field, albeit he did manage three fours and a pair of sixes.

Openers dominate in chase

Having seen Hyderabad struggle for momentum, Chennai made sure they did not have similar issues in their reply. Gaikwad recorded his fifth IPL half-century thanks to 12 boundaries and Du Plessis played his part in an opening stand worth 129 to take over as the leading run-scorer in the tournament.

While Rashid dismissed the pair – as well as getting Moeen Ali caught for 15 in the deep – Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina, who finished unbeaten on seven and 17 respectively, made sure their team cruised over the line in the penultimate over.

Deepak Chahar produced career-best Indian Premier League figures to inspire Chennai Super Kings to a dominant victory over Punjab Kings.

Making his 50th appearance in the competition, Chahar helped ensure Punjab's innings never got going as they were restricted to 106-8.

He finished with 4-13 from four overs, including one maiden, Punjab never getting to grips with a challenging surface in Mumbai.

Faf du Plessis (36 not out) and Moeen Ali (46) combined for 66 to help CSK ease to their target with 26 balls to spare, winning by six wickets.

Mayank Agarwal went for a two-ball duck to Chahar in the opening over, misjudging a wondrous delivery that pinged the top off-stump.

A direct hit from Ravindra Jadeja saw KL Rahul run out before the West Indian pair of Chris Gayle (10) and Nicholas Pooran (0) each fell to Chahar before the end of the powerplay.

Deepak Hooda tamely chipped to mid-off for Chahar's fourth wicket, leaving Punjab on 26-5 in the seventh over.

Shahrukh Khan's 36-ball 47, which included two sixes, at least made sure Punjab had something to defend, but a lack of support from the lower order meant the target was always one well within CSK's grasp.

Moeen and Du Plessis extinguished any hopes of Punjab claiming an unlikely win, their second-wicket stand allowing the Super Kings to coast to victory despite a 15th-over blitz from Mohammed Shami that saw Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu dismissed.

Chahar makes mark on landmark appearance

Chahar let out a huge roar when he castled Agarwal and he had every right to do so after producing a delivery that nipped away from middle stump to deceive the opener.

The subsequent dismissals owed more to a fine catch from Jadeja to get rid of Gayle and batting errors from Pooran and Hooda, but nothing should be taken away from Chahar after he tilted the game firmly in CSK's favour.

Moeen gets things moving

Moeen and Du Plessis showed Punjab how to bat on the surface with an excellent partnership, the England all-rounder's 46 coming off 31 deliveries, his strike rate of 148.38 the best in the contest.

He recorded seven fours and one maximum, with Du Plessis' sole six coming off a scoop shot in the fourth over. The South African was still in at the end when Sam Curran wrapped things up after a brief wobble.

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