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English County Championship to return in 2021 | Cricket News

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LONDON: The County Championship will return next year in a group-stage format after it was scrapped this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Friday.
The 18 first-class counties have agreed to a revised structure for the 2021 men’s first-class season, which will end with a showpiece five-day Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s.
Essex will defend both titles after the county won the 2019 County Championship and this year’s inaugural Bob Willis Trophy.
Each county has been placed into one of three seeded groups of six and will play 10 matches during the group stages.
The top two teams in each group will progress to Division One, with the other counties moving into Divisions Two and Three, where they will each play a further four matches.

The winner of Division One will be crowned county champions.
The top two teams in Division One will also earn the right to play in the Bob Willis Trophy
England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Ian Watmore said: “I am delighted that the counties have been able to reach this agreement less than three weeks after Essex won the Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s.
“The success of that competition provides reassurance that this structure can help safeguard against any impact the global pandemic may have on next season while also ensuring the integrity of the County Championship.”



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Morbidelli wins Teruel MotoGP, Mir extends championship lead | Racing News

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Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli produced a masterclass to keep the Suzuki duo of Alex Rins and Joan Mir at bay and claim his second win of the season with victory at the Teruel Grand Prix on Sunday.
Rins finished second behind the Italian, while championship leader Mir, who has yet to win a race this season, was third, extending his lead to 14 points over Morbidelli’s team mate Fabio Quartararo who finished eighth.
Polesitter Takaaki Nakagami, who became the first Japanese rider in 16 years to clinch a premier-class pole, endured heartbreak when he crashed on the opening lap while the LCR Honda rider was in the lead.
“When I had clean air in front of me, I decided to give everything I had in every single lap,” Morbidelli, who started second on the grid, said in the post-race interview.
“We adjusted the bike very well to be fast throughout the race so I could ride with precision and aggression the whole time.”
Morbidelli’s victory moved him up to fourth in the championship standings behind Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, who finished seventh.
Rins said the wear on his soft front tyre prevented him from challenging Morbidelli towards the end of the race and decided to play it safe to secure Suzuki’s double podium while Mir said a podium was “like a victory” after starting 12th on the grid.
“Today, to give a bit more was a bit too much,” Mir said after his sixth podium in eight races.
“The guys in front of me were a bit far at the beginning and I couldn’t recover the distance. I couldn’t be faster today (but) another podium is an amazing result from 12th on the grid.”
Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira finished fourth and sixth for their respective KTM teams, with Johann Zarco the lone Ducati in the top five sandwiched between the two.
Andrea Dovizioso’s title challenge also began to fade as the Italian Ducati rider slipped to fifth in the championship standings — 28 points behind Mir — after a 13th-placed finish.


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Portuguese GP: Hamilton dons ‘#EndSARS’ T-shirt for pre-race interview | Racing News

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Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton donned a T-shirt protesting against police violence in Nigeria for a pre-race television interview at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday.
Nigerians have been demonstrating for weeks against a police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which rights groups have for years accused of extortion, harassment, torture and murders.
“I’ve got to show this,” Hamilton, Formula One’s only Black driver, told Sky Sports television as he revealed a green T-shirt with #EndSARS written on it at the end of the off-grid interview.
The Briton reverted to his usual ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirt for the officially-sanctioned pre-race anti-racism gesture on the starting grid.
Formula One’s governing body last month set out new pre- and post-race rules for driver attire after Hamilton wore a T-shirt on the Tuscan Grand Prix grid with the words “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” on the front.
Taylor, a Black medical worker, was killed by police officers who burst into her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.
“Lots of rules have been written for me over the years and that hasn’t stopped me,” Hamilton said when the new rules were announced.


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You have 12 painful hours left in IPL but got to enjoy every moment: Dhoni | Cricket News

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DUBAI: Chennai Super Kings‘ IPL campaign may well end on Monday, which will be their first without reaching the play-offs, if KKR win their next match but Mahendra Singh Dhoni wants his team to enjoy it even as they endure a painful next 12 hours.
KKR are on 12 points and a win against KXIP on Monday will take them to 14 points. Three other sides — Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore — have already got 14 points.
CSK, on the other hand, can go up to 12 points even if they win their next two games.
RCB vs CSK: SCORECARD | POINTS TABLE
“It does hurt when you don’t do well so you try to amplify certain emotions. So that the guys just don’t drop the game. That can leave with 12 painful hours of the remaining time in the tournament. You have to enjoy the game no matter where you are on the table,” Dhoni said during the post-match presentation.

The last two games could well be inconsequential but the CSK skipper wants his men to just go out there and enjoy themselves.
“If you are not enjoying the cricket, it can become cruel and painful. So I am glad with how the youngsters have responded.”
The eight-wicket victory over RCB on Sunday was the kind of performance that Dhoni always wanted from his team during the tournament.

“I felt this one was one of the perfect games. Everything went to plan, and the execution was there. We kept picking wickets, and kept them to a total that was slightly below par.”
He lauded spinners Imran Tahir and Mitchell Santner who kept things tight while Ruturaj Gaikwad also got some amount of praise from the legend.
“The wicket was on a slower side, and the spinners did a good job. We haven’t been very consistent with the batting.
“Today, the start was very good. Rutu batted well. He backed himself to play the shots he is known for. Looking to time the ball, if you look for four, you can get six,” Dhoni said.


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