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Yackey Dominates Tucson’s Turkey Shoot

Published in Racing
Monday, 30 November 2020 04:00

TUCSON, Ariz. – Brett Yackey topped a 10-car field to win the 125-lap Turkey Shoot super late model race Sunday afternoon at Tucson Speedway.

Yackey started third and was able to move past polesitter Bryce Bezanson on the sixth lap to take the lead. He dominated the race from there, easily outclassing the field on his way to victory at the three-eighths-mile paved oval.

“We had a really good car,” said Yackey. “The 7 (Bezanson) was real good there at the beginning. I was just kinda of cruising behind him, holding my time. I knew there probably wasn’t going to be many cautions so once I got out (in front) I just kind of held my pace to get a little bit of a lead.”

Bezanson settled for second, several seconds behind Yackey. Brandon Farrington was third, followed by Tanner Reif and Dylan Jones.

In other action Sunday, Bill Lawrence won the vintage sprint main event while Grant Thompson won the 75-lap junior late model feature from the pole.

Pietro Fittipaldi Set For F-1 Debut With Haas

Published in Racing
Monday, 30 November 2020 05:23

SAKHIR, Bahrain – Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time Formula One champion Emerson Fittipaldi, will make his Formula One debut for the Haas F1 Team on Dec. 6 in place of injured driver Romain Grosjean.

Grosjean suffered burns to his hands during a violent crash in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain Int’l Circuit, forcing him to miss the next round of the championship that will also take place in Bahrain.

Twenty-four-year-old Fittipaldi has attended the majority of Formula One races this season in his test and reserve driver role with the team. The Miami-born Brazilian won the Formula V8 3.5 Championship in 2017 and competed in six NTT IndyCar Series events in 2018.

Prior to transitioning to open-wheel racing, Fittipaldi spent the early portion of his career racing stock cars in the United States. He won the limited late model track championship at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway driving for Lee Faulk Racing in 2011.

“After it was decided that the best thing for Romain (Grosjean) was to skip at least one race, the choice to put Pietro (Fittipaldi) in the car was pretty easy,” said team principal Guenther Steiner. “Pietro will drive the VF-20 and he’s familiar with us having been around the team for the past two seasons as a test and reserve driver. It’s the right thing to do and it’s obviously a good opportunity for him. He’s been patient and was always prepared for this opportunity – and now it has come. That’s why we want him in the car and I’m sure he’ll do a good job. It’s very demanding being called in at the last minute, but as I said, I think it’s the right thing to do for Haas F1 Team.”

“Most importantly I’m happy Romain (Grosjean) is safe and healthy,” said Fittipaldi. “We’re all very happy his injuries are relatively minor after such a huge incident. Obviously, it’s not an ideal set of circumstances to get my first opportunity to compete in Formula One, but I’m extremely grateful to Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner for their faith in putting me behind the wheel this weekend. I’ve been with the team a lot this season, both trackside and working on simulator sessions, so I’m familiar with the team’s operating procedures on a grand prix weekend. It’s going to be exciting to make my first career start in Formula One – I’ll be giving it my all and I look forward to starting in free practice on Friday in Bahrain.”

Bill McAnally Racing Forms BMR Drivers Academy

Published in Racing
Monday, 30 November 2020 07:00

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Bill McAnally Racing has announced the BMR Drivers Academy, which will debut during the 2021 racing season.

The BMR Drivers Academy will provide an opportunity for at least 14 drivers to participate with the 10-time NASCAR and ARCA regional championship-winning organization.

Academy competition will encompass 40 races across 18 two-day sessions at five tracks in California.

The Academy season will culminate with opportunities for race winners and point leaders to compete in ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events.

Oval tracks in the program include All American Speedway in Roseville, Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway and Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield. Road courses will feature Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Thunderhill Raceway near Willows, Calif.

Drivers will compete in full-sized stock cars utilizing 625-horsepower Robert Yates Racing spec engines and the same chassis components as ARCA and the NASCAR Truck Series. Races will be streamed live to a worldwide audience via SPEEDSPORT.TV.

In addition to driver support on track, the BMR program will also provide training in media relations, sponsorship relations, social media, fitness, leadership development and nutrition.

At the beginning of the season, all drivers will participate in a drawing to determine their choice of race cars for the season. Drivers will be guided by a crew chief/spotter who has experience as a proven winner. After eight events a redraw of crew chief/spotter will occur, giving drivers opportunities to have a different perspective. If a participant reaches six victories, that racer’s car becomes eligible for exchange.

Primary car inventory including hood, quarter panels, color scheme, number and font can be utilized by academy participants for their supporters and sponsors upon approval by the Academy.

Bill McAnally Racing is based in Roseville, Calif., and has won a record 10 NASCAR and ARCA regional championships and more than 100 races.

Drivers who have raced at BMR include Cole Custer, Chase Briscoe, Brendan Gaughan, Todd Gilliland, Hailie Deegan, Derek Kraus and Peyton Sellers.

This year, BMR won the ARCA Menards Series West championship with 15-year-old Jesse Love — the youngest champion in series history.

Drivers that win race events in the Drivers Academy during the season will receive one entry per win, toward a drawing for an opportunity with BMR in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Phoenix next November.

The program is being made available to 14 drivers, along with two additional cars being made available for one-off or part-time entries. Program costs and additional details are available by visiting www.BMRDriversAcademy.com.

The planned schedule begins in March and ends in October. For more information about Bill McAnally Racing, visit www.BMRNAPARacing.com.

The National Hockey League of Nations

Published in Hockey
Monday, 30 November 2020 07:22

Walk into any NHL locker room today and you'll hear a cacophony of languages and accents from around the world. Rewind 50 years ago and the acoustics were much different.

Take the 1970 Stanley Cup champions, the Boston Bruins. Their roster had more Canadians than a season of "Letterkenny," with U.K. native Ken Hodge the lone outlier. Contrast that with the 2020 champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had six nations represented on their roster.

As the scope of the league's talent search broadened through the years, the NHL became the premier destination for the world's greatest players. That's reflected within its franchises, as records held exclusively by Canadians and the occasional American fell to Swedes, Finns and Russians.

It's the National Hockey League of Nations, and it's time to determine the best of the best.

ESPN has taken all 31 franchises and determined the best representative for eight countries: Canada, U.S., Finland, Sweden, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Russia. There's also a wild-card category that encompasses hockey nations such as Switzerland, Norway, Austria, Latvia, as well as nontraditional locales as Taiwan.

A couple of ground rules: We're using place of birth rather than citizenship for this experiment, so keep that in mind for those "born in Canada, played for Team USA" types. We're also cutting off the stats for relocated teams, using only the accomplishments of players after that relocation. There might be some Thrashers on the Jets' NHL of Nations, but we're judging them based only on their impact in Winnipeg.

About the judging: This is a subjective measuring of stats, franchise impact and worthiness to represent the nation above all countrymen who played for the team. If there wasn't a candidate for a given nation -- perhaps one who didn't play a suitable amount of games -- we left that blank.

There will be disagreement, but that's to be expected in world affairs. Enjoy.

Jump to a team:
ANA | ARI | BOS | BUF | CGY | CAR | CHI
COL | CBJ | DAL | DET | EDM | FLA

LA | MIN | MTL | NSH | NJ | NYI
NYR | OTT | PHI | PIT | SJ | STL
TB | TOR | VAN | VGS | WSH | WPG

Death threats for player not silent for Maradona

Published in Soccer
Monday, 30 November 2020 06:55

Paula Dapena, a footballer from Spanish third division women's club Viajes InterRias FF, has said she has received death threats after refusing to honour the late Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

Prior to Saturday's friendly game against Deportivo La Coruna, all the players, with the exception of Dapena, lined up around the centre circle to observe a minute's silence in memory of Maradona.

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Maradona, 60, passed away on Nov. 25 after suffering a heart attack.

Dapena sat down and turned her back as a sign of protest.

"It's not just me that has been harassed on social media but also my teammates," Dapena said.

"We have also received death threats and messages such as 'I'm going to find your home address and go there and break your legs.'"

Maradona died on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

He had been forced to respond to accusations of domestic violence in 2014 when a video appeared to show him striking his wife Oliva.

"I grabbed the phone but I swear to God that I have never hit a woman. The incident was over immediately. I threw the phone but nothing else," he said at the time.

Dapena, a teacher by profession, said it would have been "hypocritical" for her to ignore his past.

"It seems hypocritical to observe a minute's silence for Maradona, who was known for being an abuser, and not [observe] it for the victims of violence against women," she added.

"It [Maradona's death] totally overshadowed that day. We went from putting the spotlight on the death of women due to this cause to talking only about Maradona and what an idol he was for everyone.

"For me, from a football standpoint, Maradona had spectacular skills and qualities. But as a person, he left a lot to be desired."

Dapena said she was "surprised" to be the only female footballer to have refused to honour Maradona.

"To have observed a minute's silence and honoured him would have gone against my values," she added. "I couldn't do it."

Robertson: Players not certain of rules anymore

Published in Soccer
Monday, 30 November 2020 07:00

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has called for greater clarity on the game's rules and said players are desperate for some "consistency" across the board.

Robertson hoped VAR would end up making decisions clear cut, but has instead led to further confusion. He gave away a penalty in Liverpool's 1-1 draw at Brighton on Saturday and while he had no complaints over the decision, he was left bemused by other similar challenges going unpunished.

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The fullback wants more ex-professionals to be involved in decision making and hopes the rules are implemented with greater consistency from match to match.

"There has been a lot of change in the rules in England in particular," Robertson told a news conference ahead of Liverpool's Champions League clash against Ajax.

"I think Kevin De Bruyne said the other week he wasn't certain of the rules anymore. I think we can all can echo that. It's a wee bit uncertain now. When VAR came in we believed there would be no grey areas, it would all be black and white and I don't think we're quite getting that right now.

"There are a lot of improvements to be made. We knew we had to be patient with VAR and it wouldn't be perfect over night, but we are 18 months down the line, and still the same mistakes are being made.

"On Saturday, I've got no problem if my tackle is a penalty if the rules and referee deem that penalty. But I was watching the games yesterday and seen two very similar instances on Marcus Rashford and Adama Traore that went unpunished and looked very, very similar to what I did on Danny Welbeck. For me, either all three have to be penalties or all three aren't penalties.

"I think that's where we are struggling a wee bit. We are just looking for consistency, hopefully that comes in time. The game's crying out for it.

"We thought we would be getting that with VAR but maybe we aren't getting that just now.

"Too many games are passing by, with people in the studios still discussing referee's decisions, and what could or couldn't have been. I didn't think that would be possible post-VAR.

"If that is still going to be a thing, then I would much rather leave it up to the referee's naked eye. It is much easier to accept mistakes then, rather than when so much technology is around it."

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said Thiago's recovery will take a further "few weeks" and the injury he picked up against Everton in October had a "massive impact on the knee."

Klopp is battling a growing injury list after James Milner limped off against Brighton at the weekend with a hamstring strain. He joins the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Xherdan Shaqiri, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the sidelines with Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk long-term absentees.

"Thiago we have to clarify a little bit," Klopp said. "On that day when Thiago got injured in the challenge in the Everton game, there was another bad injury [Van Dijk] after the scans, it was one was bad news, one was good.

"We realise now it was still a massive impact on the knee. The impact on the knee was that big it's still not okay. It's not [a] massive [issue], he trains from time to time, but not in the moment as we realise we need to go through further steps. I can't say when he'll be fine but it will take a few weeks with Thiago. That's how it is."

Both Klopp and Robertson backed the proposal for concussion substitutions after Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull following a sickening head clash with David Luiz in Wolves' win at Arsenal on Sunday.

It has been the most unpredictable of seasons, with fixture congestion, mounting injuries and the impact of COVID-19 creating unprecedented challenges for the 20 Premier League clubs.

Heading into the arduous month of December, Tottenham are the surprise leaders, Manchester City are stuck in mid-table, while Arsenal are languishing in 14th having made their worst-ever start to a Premier League season. Meanwhile, Sheffield United, the surprise team of last season, are winless after 10 games and rooted to the foot of the table.

It's been a topsy-turvy Premier League season so far, so with 10 games played we look at the storylines that are a surprise, and those that aren't.

SURPRISE

Tottenham are title contenders

Having sneaked into the Europa League on the final weekend of last season, Spurs did not end the 2019-20 campaign like a team that would make such an impressive start this time around. But Jose Mourinho is back at the top of the table and showing signs that he might just be able to become the first manager to win the Premier League with two different clubs.

Time will tell if Spurs can last the pace, but they have the best defensive record so far and only Liverpool and Chelsea have scored more goals, so Mourinho is certainly on the right track.

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Jota is more than a backup

When Liverpool sealed a deal worth up to £45m for Wolves forward Diogo Jota in September, it seemed that the Premier League champions had taken an expensive gamble on a forward only likely to be first reserve behind Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

But the Portuguese has proved to be anything but a back-up forward, with nine goals in all competitions and a goal in each of his four league games at Anfield so far.

Everton can reach Champions League

Carlo Ancelotti's team were the early leaders of the Premier League and, although the Toffees have dropped off the pace in recent games, they remain a contender for a top four finish.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's 10 Premier League goals have been a crucial factor, but so have the performances of summer signings James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Bamford has stepped up

Leeds United have been an exciting addition to the Premier League under Marcelo Bielsa, but no player has shone as brightly as striker Patrick Bamford.

The 27-year-old had previously scored just one Premier League goal during spells with Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Norwich, Burnley and Middlesbrough and appeared destined to fail at the top level. But Bamford now has seven goals in 10 Premier League games for Leeds and he is proving his doubters wrong.

Kane can create as well as score

One of the biggest surprise of this season has been the reinvention of Tottenham striker Harry Kane as a playmaking No. 10.

The England captain is once again proving to be Mr Consistent for Spurs with seven league goals so far, but he is also sitting at the top of the assists table with nine in 10 games this season.

Man City are midtable

Pep Guardiola's City have been unconvincing so far, but it is unusual to see them in midtable after almost a quarter of their games.

Perhaps a reduced summer break, the failure to sign Lionel Messi, David Silva's summer exit and Sergio Aguero's injury problems have all had an effect, but one thing for certain is that nobody should write City off just yet.

Aubameyang has stopped scoring

The Arsenal forward was the goal scoring inspiration of the club's FA Cup success last season and his decision to commit to a new three-year contract in September was a major boost for the Gunners.

But Aubameyang's goals have dried up since -- he has just two league goals -- and Arsenal's progress under Mikel Arteta has ground to a halt as a result. Stop Aubameyang and you stop Arsenal.

Grealish is the real deal

The Aston Villa midfielder missed out on a big-money move in the summer and signed a new contract at Villa Park instead, but rather than sulk about failing to seal a switch to a Champions League side, Grealish has kicked on to become one of the standout performers for club and country this season.

The 25-year-old has been Villa's talisman, but he has also grabbed his chance with England and made himself a strong contender for a starting role in Gareth Southgate's XI for Euro 2020.

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2:04

Burley: Klopp must stop complaining about fixture congestion

Craig Burley and Frank Leboeuf share their thoughts on Jurgen Klopp's continued complaints about overworked players.

NO SURPRISE

Man United going round in circles again

Inconsistency has been the only consistent thread of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign as manager at Man United, which will hit the two-year mark in mid-December.

United have won all four away games in the Premier League, and even Sir Alex Ferguson's great teams never managed to win their first four away games in a season, yet Solskjaer's team have won just one of five games at home.

Whenever United look set to kick on, they fall down again. New season, same old story.

More games = more injuries

Managers and players voiced concerns ahead of this season over the increased risk of injuries due to the absence of a regular preseason break and fixture congestion caused by the campaign starting a month later than usual due to the pandemic.

And those fears have been confirmed, with Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle all missing eight players due to injury. Arsenal and Aston Villa have also been hit hard, with those clubs both having seven players on the sidelines.

VAR is no better

Last season's teething troubles with VAR were just that -- the inevitable stumbles of a new system that everyone was having to adjust to. There can be no such excuses this season, but rather than iron out its flaws, VAR has arguably got worse, with so many decisions angering players, coaches and supporters alike.

Liverpool complained to the Premier League after VAR's worst day of the season at Everton, but the club did not get satisfactory answers to their questions.

Handball is still confusing

The attempt to bring clarity to handball decisions has only succeeded in adding more confusion. There have been some inexplicable penalty decisions this season due to the Premier League adopting the stricter interpretation which was already in force in most other leagues last season.

Handball is now awarded if the hand/arm is clearly away the body and outside the 'body line.' Sounds simple, but it has been anything but. The Premier League adopted a more relaxed interpretation after three rounds of games, but that hasn't stopped the controversy.

Gazi Group Chattogram continued their early dominance of the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, clinching their third consecutive win. This time they beat Fortune Barishal by 10 runs, a slightly tighter contest than their two big wins previously over Beximco Dhaka and Gemcon Khulna.

Chattogram's left-arm duo of Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful Islam strangled Barishal, particularly in the last five overs when they conceded just 39 runs when 50 was required for Barishal to win. They took three wickets each, apart from Mosaddek Hossain and Soumya Sarkar taking one each.

Barishal's 152-run chase was on track till the 11th over when the captain Tamim Iqbal, who had single-handedly won them their previous game against Minister Group Rajshahi, fell trying to clear long-on. Tamim made a run-a-ball 32 with two sixes and a four, but the momentum shifted as soon as he left the scene.

Towhid Hridoy tried to accelerate, hitting two fours and a six in his 10-ball 17, while Afif Hossain hung around till the 17th over for his 24. The rest of the batting, however, just fizzled out in front of accurate left-arm quick bowling from Rahman and Islam.

Earlier, Liton Das and captain Mohammad Mithun had given Chattogram a decent powerplay when they reached 52 for 2. The Barishal bowlers slowed down the scoring rate somewhat in the following 12 overs, as well as taking the wickets of Liton, Shamsur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman.

It was the penultimate over that set Chattogram for a 150-plus total. Shykat Ali slammed Abu Jayed for three sixes in an over that went for 21 runs. Ali finished with an unbeaten 11-ball 27 while Das top-scored with 35.

Chris Jordan says that a mixture of intra-squad rivalry and on-field collaboration has been the key to England's T20I success in South Africa, after the team came through two stiff tests in Cape Town and Paarl to secure an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

In the course of Sunday's four-wicket win in Paarl, Jordan also drew level with Stuart Broad as England's leading T20I wicket-taker with 65 scalps in 54 games. But, he said, such accolades were just a by-product of the team's success, and that he took more satisfaction from the improvements he and his fellow bowlers had made from the first match to the second.

"Winning the series, that's what we set out to do first and foremost," Jordan told Sky Sports after Sunday's victory. "It's obviously a nice milestone to have but, as long as I'm doing the job for the team, and the team are winning series and winning games, I'm more than happy. If the accolades come with that, then so be it.

"It was a solid team performance in the first game, but we put a lot of things right this game, especially in the bowling department and to restrict them to 146, on what we thought was a pretty decent wicket, and to get over the line, was very pleasing.

"Once we'd got a couple of wickets, we were able to build a bit a little bit of pressure, build a few dots," he added. "But with our batting line-up, most par scores feel as if the teams are 15-20 short most of the time, and [Dawid Malan's] innings shows why he's at No.1 right now."

England's captain, Eoin Morgan, had been underwhelmed with England's efforts in the field in Friday's opening fixture, describing the performance as "average" after South Africa racked up a challenging 179 for 6 in their 20 overs - a total that was only overcome thanks to Jonny Bairstow's brilliant 86 not out from 48 balls.

And Jordan admitted he had taken that criticism on the chin and gone away to work on his game to visible effect, as did his fellow death bowler, Tom Curran, who followed up figures of 1 for 55 at Newlands - the most expensive T20I figures of his career - with a much improved haul of 1 for 37, which included an excellent 20th over in which he conceded just seven runs.

ALSO READ: Jason Roy's spin struggles could provide test of Eoin Morgan's loyalty

"We didn't really speak as an entire group," Jordan said. "You just drag the coaches to one side, and make your own personal assessments on the game. For the first game, I gave away a couple of soft wides which then cost me at the back end of the over with a couple of boundaries, so I just tried to tidy that up.

"And TC [Curran], he tried to stick to his strengths as much as possible, and go to his slowies a little bit earlier. He was a bit more clever with the way he bowled, and was able to look after his figures as well. So it's about making those personal assessments and trying to put those wrongs right."

As Morgan admitted ahead of the opening fixture, victory in South Africa hasn't been England's sole objective for the series. The process of defining roles for each player in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup has been every bit as important, and thanks to two highly competitive intra-squad warm-up games as well as the on-field collaboration that he and his fellow bowlers have been working on this week, Jordan believes they've already made good strides.

"In the first couple of overs, we try to get a read [of the pitch] from Sam and Jof," Jordan said. "I stand at mid-off quite a lot, so I'm just trying to get feedback from the bowlers, until I get into the game myself. Obviously Jof's a taller bowler, Sam's a skiddier bowler, me and TC are probably a little bit similar in height, so we try to get a read, almost every single ball, and then feed back to Morgs and try and come up with the best possible plans.

"The competition for places is brilliant," he added. "[The warm-up games] were really good fun because everyone wanted to get each other out, or match each other for sixes. It just raised the level of everyone's game.

"The way Sam [Curran] is striking the ball at the minute is pretty unbelievable, he's come back with a lot of confidence from the IPL. Stokesy and Rooty, there's a little bit of rivalry there as well, but it's all in good spirits because we're trying to pull in the same direction as a team. We're trying to make the entire team and squad better, and those type of things just get you ready for series like this."

Big picture

You know, it's beginning to look like England have got the hang of this white-ball stuff. After successfully completing their 50-over World Cup quest last year, they are now honing their competitive edge in the shortest format, ahead of back-to-back tournaments in 2021 and 2022. Victory in Paarl gave them a 2-0 lead with one to play, and extended their unbeaten run in T20I series to eight.

Both wins over South Africa were hard-fought, and Quinton de Kock could rightfully point to "one or two small things" that cost his side at Boland Park. But England are increasingly battle-hardened, both through success on the pitch and competition within the squad. Dawid Malan, ranked the ICC's No. 1 T20I batsman, came into the tour saying he couldn't be certain of his place in the side - but after scores of 42, 21 and 19 (a relative trough in his 18-match career) he produced the sort of match-winning hand that has made him all but impossible to leave out.

Ignoring the vagaries of form and conditions, Eoin Morgan might already feel he is closer to knowing his best XI - although the difficulties being experienced by Jason Roy could represent a problem to chew on. The batting looks dangerous, and Morgan seems perfectly suited to the finisher's role at No. 6; the bowling features two of England's most-successful T20I bowlers, plus the effortless brilliance of Jofra Archer, and is bolstered by healthy competition among the rest of the seamers. Only the emergence of further spin options could fatten their goose.

For the hosts, times are tough for a variety of reasons. The burden on de Kock as the team's leader, best batsman and wicketkeeper looks a heavy one, and they face a fraught 12 months of trying to settle on the right combinations to support a T20 World Cup challenge.

To have victory snatched from your grasp is arguably harder to take than to not be in the running in the first place - but as Morgan's side would attest, reflecting on the experience of Kolkata 2016 or Cardiff 2017, you only learn by getting into those positions and then dealing with the consequences. South Africa went down 2-1 to England earlier in the year, knowing that the series could have gone the other way. It would be hard to find the same consolation in a 3-0 whitewash, so de Kock and Mark Boucher will be looking for a response back at Newlands and signs that lessons are being learned.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)

South Africa LLLWL
England WWLWW

In the spotlight

He has barely been in the role a year, but already de Kock seems a captain under the pump. His T20I win percentage is well below any of his permanent predecessors in the role - which must be all the more galling given his record with the bat has improved - and the strain of captaining, opening and keeping seemed evident at the toss in Paarl, where he cut a distracted figure (broadcaster technical issues notwithstanding). The unique off-field pressures of the South African system mean he should get plenty of leeway but it remains to be seen whether he can inspire his players to produce better on the field.

The focus will doubtless remain on Roy and his attempts to fight his way out of the paper bag of poor form he finds himself in. But it's also worth highlighting the success of Adil Rashid and what that means for England's World Cup planning. Rashid's 2 for 23 in the second T20I saw him pass 50 wickets in the format and draw level with Graeme Swann as England's most-prolific spinner. The flight and snap have returned after shoulder problems in 2019, and probably helps justify his reticence over a potential Test return and increase in workloads. But with Moeen Ali currently out of the side, England's reliance on Rashid serves to underscore a lack of depth in the position.

Team news

South Africa looked stronger overall in Paarl, particularly their bowling, but there remains scope for another rejig back in Cape Town. Jon-Jon Smuts would provide another spin option if drafted into the middle order, while Lungi Ngidi's spot could come in for scrutiny after leaking 51 from his four overs. Andile Phehlukwayo and David Miller remain unavailable for selection.

South Africa (possible): 1 Quinton de Kock (capt, wk), 2 Temba Bavuma, 3 Reeza Hendricks, 4 Faf du Plessis, 5 Rassie van der Dussen, 6 Heinrich Klaasen/Jon-Jon Smuts, 7 George Linde, 8 Lungi Ngidi/Beuran Hendricks/Lutho Sipamla, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi

Despite having sealed the series, Morgan has said England will resist the temptation to experiment. However, a used pitch at Newlands might mean Moeen gets a chance as second spinner, while Mark Wood's extra pace is another option - with Tom Curran and Chris Jordan both expensive in the first T20I.

England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Eoin Morgan (capt), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood

Pitch and conditions

There was some spin on offer for the first game of the series, and that ought to increase with the same surface being used again. England felt the ball started to come on better under lights, which may influence the thinking for another day-night game. The forecast is for a cool day in Cape Town, with the chance of some rain earlier in the day.

Stats and trivia

  • Victory in the third T20I would see England draw level with Australia at the top of the ICC rankings.

  • Newlands has not been a happy hunting ground for South Africa in recent years, with five defeats in seven T20Is going back to 2016.

  • Jonny Bairstow needs 62 runs to become the fifth Englishman to reach 1000 in T20Is.

Quotes

"Patience is key at the moment. The team haven't played cricket together for five or six months, this is our first series back together, but over time, when we spend more time together, the results will start showing."
De Kock eyes long-term improvements

"We will focus on trying to get our best XI out, given what type of pitch we might be playing on. I think we are on the same pitch as we played on at Newlands in the first game so we will have a look at that over the next couple of days and see potentially a change in the bowling line-up but I'd imagine the batting would stay the same."
Morgan on England selection

Soccer

Team plays with 12 after sub forgets to leave

Team plays with 12 after sub forgets to leave

Italian Serie B side Cosenza have said they will protest after they accidentally ended up with 12 me...

Champions League Matchday 5 preview: Man United vs. PSG big in Group H

Champions League Matchday 5 preview: Man United vs. PSG big in Group H

With just two rounds to go in the Champions League group stage, matchday five has plenty of big game...

FA Cup draw: Spurs vs. 8th-tier Marine in 3rd rd.

FA Cup draw: Spurs vs. 8th-tier Marine in 3rd rd.

Defending champions Arsenal welcome Newcastle United in the FA Cup third round, while eighth-tier Ma...

Basketball

Okongwu among Hawks newbies nursing injuries

Okongwu among Hawks newbies nursing injuries

ATLANTA -- Three Atlanta Hawks newcomers are dealing with injuries as the team prepares to open trai...

Ex-NBAer Bogut retires from competitive hoops

Ex-NBAer Bogut retires from competitive hoops

Andrew Bogut has announced his retirement from professional basketball.Widely regarded as one the gr...

Baseball

Marlins acquire Cimber from Indians, DFA Urena

Marlins acquire Cimber from Indians, DFA Urena

CLEVELAND -- The Indians sold side-arm reliever Adam Cimber to the Marlins on Monday for $100,000, a...

MLB launches wood-bat league for prospects

MLB launches wood-bat league for prospects

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball is creating a minor league for top eligible prospects leading to t...

Sports Leagues

  • FIFA

    Fédération Internationale de Football Association
  • NBA

    National Basketball Association
  • ATP

    Association of Tennis Professionals
  • MLB

    Major League Baseball
  • ITTF

    International Table Tennis Federation

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