Cricket news round-up – February 16: Mumbai, Chennai to clash in IPL 2020 opener

Cricket news round-up – February 16: Mumbai, Chennai to clash in IPL 2020 opener

Rohit Sharma MS Dhoni IPL 2019 12 Chennai Super Kings Mumbai Indians

The 2020 Indian Premier League will begin with Mumbai Indians taking on Chennai Super Kings on March 29 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Elsewhere, Ishant Sharma is set to link up with the rest of the Indian squad after recovering from his ankle injury, and Mohammed Shami has jumped to the defence of fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah.

Mumbai to clash with Chennai in IPL opener

The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League will begin with a rematch of the last edition’s final when Mumbai Indians take on Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium on March 29.

The final of the tournament will take place on May 24, and the IPL have also decided to do away with double-headers on Saturdays. To make up for the lost time, an extra week of league action has been added, with the tournament stretching to 50 days compared to the 44-day event last year.

It is uncertain at the moment when the proposed All-Stars match will take place.

Ishant Sharma clears fitness test

India pacer Ishant Sharma has recovered from his ankle injury and is set to join the rest of the squad in Wellington ahead of the first Test against New Zealand.

Ishant was only provisionally named in the Test squad after he did his ankle during a Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Vidarbha last month. However, he has recovered after a period of rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy.

He will, according to ESPNCricinfo, fly out of India on February 16, Sunday to link up with the squad.

Shami throws weight behind out-of-form Bumrah

Mohammad Shami, the India paceman, has thrown his weight behind new-ball partner Jasprit Bumrah, who has been out of form since returning from a back injury.

Bumrah went through the three ODIs against New Zealand without taking a wicket, and has largely underwhelmed since his return, but Shami lambasted his critics. “Every sportsman can get injured and one should try and look at the positives rather than harp on negatives,” he said.

“Just because he hasn’t performed in two games, you can’t just ignore his ability to win matches. What Bumrah has achieved for India, how can you even forget that or for that matter ignore it? I think if you think positively, then it’s good for the players, good for his confidence also.”

‘This will be the best World Cup we’ve ever had’ – Lauren Winfield

England star Lauren Winfield believes the team can out-do their achievement in 2017 when they won the ODI World Cup in the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 if they play to their potential.

“I don’t think we know how good we can be yet,” she said. “That’s a really exciting space for us to be in. ‘We’ve had a change in coach and also our batting order, while there are also a few young players who have come in which has changed the dynamic within the team – it looks completely different to the one we had at the last T20 World Cup in 2018.”

This will be England’s first World Cup under new coach Lisa Keightley, and the squad possess fresh faces in Sarah Glenn, Mady Villiers and Freya Davies.