IPL

Morris the hero as Royals rally to take down Capitals

By Sports Desk April 15, 2021

Rajasthan Royals climbed off the canvas to record their first win over Delhi Capitals since April 2018, Chris Morris the hero as he blasted his side to a three-wicket win in the final over.

The Royals were on the ropes at 42-5 during their reply to the Capitals' total of 147-8, yet David Miller's fighting innings of 62 helped keep them in a see-saw contest in Mumbai.

His departure - caught in the deep trying to hit Avesh Khan (3-32) for a third successive six - left the score at 104-7, yet Morris delivered the knockout blows at the death.

Needing 27 from the final two overs, the all-rounder hammered four sixes – including two off compatriot Kagiso Rabada – to sensationally steer Rajasthan home with two balls to spare.

Delhi had suffered a poor start in their innings earlier in proceedings, a superb opening burst from Jaydev Unadkat, who finished with figures of 3-15, helping the Royals reduce their opponents to 37-4.

However, captain Rishabh Pant led the recovery mission for the Capitals, who were unbeaten in the previous five meetings between the franchises.

Lalit Yadav (20) and Tom Curran (21) made useful contributions down the order, while Chris Woakes finished up on 15 not out before playing a starring role for his team with the ball.

The England pace bowler removed international team-mate Jos Buttler for two early on, but the Royals – without the injured Ben Stokes, who will miss the rest of the campaign due to a broken finger – recovered to end Delhi's three-game winning streak at the Wankhede Stadium.

Morris shows his value

Back for a second spell with Rajasthan, who made him the most expensive buy in IPL auction history earlier this year, Morris demonstrated just why he was in such high demand.

Denied the chance to be the hero in their opening game – Sanju Samson turned down a single from the penultimate delivery against Punjab Kings, then got out when needing six to win – he benefited from some loose bowling from Delhi to cash in during the closing stages this time.

Pant down, then out

Skipper Pant rescued his team with a fluent 51 that included nine fours. However, when seemingly well set, he ran himself out trying to sneak a single, some smart work by bowler Riyan Parag seeing the left-hander dismissed by a distance.

Speaking after the game, the wicketkeeper-batsman admitted his team's score was "15-20 short", runs he could easily have provided had he not taken such an unnecessary risk.

Related items

  • Estwick pleased with Windies bowling performance on rain-affected first day of second Sri Lanka Test Estwick pleased with Windies bowling performance on rain-affected first day of second Sri Lanka Test

    West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, was pleased with the bowling performance of his team on Monday's rain-affected first day of their second Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle.

    Sri Lanka ended the day on 113-1 from the 34.4 overs that were possible after rain washed out the entire first two sessions.

    Pathum Nissanka and Oshada Fernando are the batsmen at the crease on 61 and two, respectively, while Roston Chase has so far taken 1-33 from 7.4 overs.

    The West Indies made two changes to the team from the first test in the bowling department with Veerasammy Permaul and Kemar Roach playing instead of Rakheem Cornwall and Shannon Gabriel.

    Estwick says the presence of a number of right-handers in the Sri Lankan batting line-up was the reason why Permaul, a left-arm spinner, came into the side at the expense of Cornwall, who bowls off-spin.

    “When you look at the Sri Lankan batting line-up, they’re packed with right-handers. We felt that with Roston already bowling off-spin, it would be wiser to go with two left-arm spinners,” he said.

    Meanwhile, according to Estwick Roach replacing Gabriel was due to the short turnaround between matches.

    “You now have to manage your bowlers with the short turnaround. Before, you had eight or nine days between Test matches and that is a thing of the past. There’s three days between Test matches plus there’s been a lot of rain around Galle so the field is a bit heavy and that can be very taxing on the fast bowler’s body. Kemar didn’t play in the first test and that was planned to keep him fresh for this one,” he said.

    Overall, Estwick was, for the most part, pleased with the bowling of his left arm spinners on the day.

    “I thought Jomel Warrican, in the few overs he bowled this evening, looked threatening. He went past the bat a lot. Permaul, obviously coming back from being out of Test cricket for a while, I thought he looked good initially but then a change in (the) field, meant he went a little bit too wide. He needed to be on the stumps a bit more challenging both the outside and inside edges.,” he said.

    He was also generally pleased with how the Caribbean side executed their plans on the day, especially to Sri Lankan captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, who got scores of 147 and 83 in the first test but who made 42 Monday.

    “Obviously, their captain is in good form. I think we stuck to our plans well. We wanted to take the stumps out of the equation and make him hit the ball through the offside. I think we achieved that. If you look at it, he scored 42 off 90 balls so I thought that, all in all, we bowled well,” said Estwick.

    Looking at what lies ahead in the match, Estwick emphasised cutting down on loose deliveries and being flexible with their tactics.

    “We could have been better with maybe a little bit; too many boundary balls. We’ll come tomorrow and work hard, make sure we keep reviewing our plans and then try to go and execute them,” he said.

    Day 2 begins at 11:30 pm.

  • Stafford not blaming injuries as Rams slump continues Stafford not blaming injuries as Rams slump continues

    Matthew Stafford insisted he was feeling "fine" physically as he faced questions over his fitness following the disappointing loss at the Green Bay Packers.

    The Los Angeles Rams fell to 7-4 after losing 36-28 in an entertaining road game against Green Bay on Sunday.

    Stafford threw for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but also had his lowest completion percentage (55.3) of the season so far.

    After making an electric start to the season, Stafford has thrown five interceptions in a run of three straight loses for the Rams, going for a pick-six in each of those defeats.

    Stafford also had a lost fumble against the Packers and a report before the game suggested he was battling with back, elbow and ankle problems despite not appearing on the injury report.

    "I am feeling fine," said Stafford, per ESPN. 

    "Back was kind of barking at me a little bit that week [Week 9], but I haven't missed any time since then. 

    "The rest of my body, is it 100 per cent? No, nor is anybody else's in this league at this point of the season.

    "You have to take them all [my turnovers] individually. I know that is probably tough for you guys to hear, but that is the truth of the matter. That's the way I see it."

    Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been surprised by a losing streak that he says must end given the team's star quality.

    "It's not a good mood – I can say that," he said.

    "Of course I am [shocked]. We have guys that are way too good for us to be losing games like this and losing games on the road. 

    "We've just got to get it right. We have to play better, everything has to be better because we're too good to be losing games like this but we're not playing like we're that good right now, so we got to correct our stuff."

    Stafford still sits third in the NFL with 3,316 passing yards, second in the league with 27 TD passes and has a fourth-best passer rating of 105.2.

    He has had 27 passing plays which have gone for 25 or more yards, which is third-best in the league in a tie with Aaron Rodgers, who was the winning QB in Sunday's game at Lambeau Field.

    The impressive Rodgers had 307 passing yards and two touchdowns without an interception, as well as rushing for a score.

    It was Rodgers' 60th career game with at least 300 yards through the air and two TDs, becoming only the fourth QB to achieve that feat after fellow NFL greats Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

  • Fix the defence and accommodate Ronaldo – five problems for Rangnick to solve at Man Utd Fix the defence and accommodate Ronaldo – five problems for Rangnick to solve at Man Utd

    Manchester United have broken with modern tradition and made a footballing decision that everyone seems to think is a good one.

    The appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season was confirmed on Monday, a day after caretaker Michael Carrick managed a creditable 1-1 draw at Premier League leaders Chelsea.

    While he hasn't been a coach for the best part of three years, Rangnick's legacy in the Bundesliga and his influence on some of Germany's finest minds makes him a shrewd appointment for United, not least because he will take up a two-year consultancy role after 2021-22.

    This, then, is a decision taken by United with a view to long-term changes to their fortunes, not simply a quick fix to arrest poor results. Still, with more than half the season still to go, Rangnick could yet guide the Red Devils to some tangible on-pitch success over the coming months – provided that he gets to work quickly on some of their biggest problems.

    Stats Perform looks at five things Rangnick must address as soon as possible...

     

    Fix the defence

    United conceded 21 goals in the first 12 games of the season; they have never previously let in more at the same stage in the competition's history. In November alone, they have faced 60 shots, the most of any side in the division.

    That tells you something about the state of their defence.

    Of course, Rangnick's gegenpressing system is likely to demand off-the-ball contributions from every player on the pitch (more on that shortly) but the rearguard is in need of some serious fine-tuning. In particular, captain Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have seen their individual form fall off a cliff since they helped England to the final of Euro 2020; it was telling that a good defensive performance against Chelsea on Sunday came with both players sidelined.

    Getting the best out of Shaw and Maguire, arresting Aaron Wan-Bissaka's decline and getting Raphael Varane fit and integrated into the side will be essential to Rangnick's aims.

    Get Bruno firing again

    So often United's star performer under Solskjaer, Bruno Fernandes is another who has endured a comparatively poor season.

    He tallied his 50 direct goal involvement on his 58th appearance in October (30 goals, 20 assists), which is a tally only Andy Cole (43), Alan Shearer (54) and Eric Cantona (54) reached in fewer games, so it's not all bad. But the Portugal playmaker has scored just once in 19 appearances for club and country.

    He looks a player in need of a lift and, so central is he to United's attack play, he could be Rangnick's first port of call at Carrington. Well, apart from...

    Accommodate Ronaldo

    Like a black hole devouring a gas cloud, all the noise surrounding United's performances seems to be drawn inexorably back to Cristiano Ronaldo.

    It's a beguiling narrative: a five-time Ballon d'Or winner who has to start every game but who should not expect to start every game; a 36-year-old forward who no longer contributes enough to make up for any shortcomings, but one with six goals in five Champions League matches this season, two of them winners and one a last-gasp equaliser.

    There are some writing off Ronaldo's chances of winning over a coach like Rangnick who demands hard graft from every member of his team, while others say the onus is on the incoming manager to construct a unit that brings the best out of the leading male international goalscorer in history. Time will tell what the future holds.

    And just a note for the 'Ronaldo doesn't press' crowd: he made three more sprints and 21 more intensive runs against Chelsea than Jesse Lingard, who came on at the same time.

    Tie down Pogba and tidy the squad

    Some of Solskjaer's best work at United was putting together a strong squad, but that seemed to unravel in his final few months in charge.

    Lingard returned rejuvenated from West Ham but, rather than cash in when there was a demand, Solskjaer kept the England international yet gave him just 63 minutes of league action. It's now likely he'll leave for nothing next June.

    There were similarly strange decisions behind contract extensions for Eric Bailly and the seldom-seen Juan Mata, while Phil Jones is still at the club after two years of injury hell and Anthony Martial was retained despite falling way down the attacking pecking order. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson also appears unlikely now to dislodge David de Gea.

    Then there is Paul Pogba, still yet to sign a new deal or announce plans to leave for free next year, whose agent wastes few opportunities to discuss potentially interested parties. The word is that Pogba is excited to work with Rangnick, but the France star is just one of several members of the United squad who needs clarity on their positions.

    Give Donny a chance

    It felt almost pre-ordained when Donny van de Beek scored the final goal of the Solskjaer era against Watford, having come on as a substitute to rapturous (and ironic) cheers from the visiting fans.

    Van de Beek has spent most of his time at United being assured his chances would come, then left wondering when that would be. Having only started four league games in 14 months, the Netherlands international – who has lost his place in the national squad – would almost certainly have pushed to leave in January had Solskjaer stayed in the job.

    Now, Van de Beek has the opportunity to prove himself to a new manager. Rangnick's methods might not be Cruyffian exactly, but they are certainly more closely aligned to the Ajax way than Solskjaer's focus on individual inspiration.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.