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Guys batted really well to get us to 154/6 on a difficult wicket against Rajasthan Royals, says Delhi Capitals’ Anrich Nortje

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Dubai: The Delhi Capitals registered yet another victory in the VIVO IPL 2021 season after defeating the Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Shreyas Iyer played a fantastic knock of 43 runs off 32 balls to help the Delhi franchise post a total of 154/6 before each of the bowlers chipped in wickets to help their team reclaim their position at the top of the IPL table.

Delhi Capitals’ fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who picked up figures of 2/18, expressed that the batsmen performed very well on a difficult wicket, “It was a good game for us. The guys batted really well to get us to 154/6 on a difficult wicket. Shreyas played his part and Hetmyer played well towards the end of the innings, which was really nice to see.”

The fast bowler added that the batsmen also gave good insights about the pitch to the bowlers before they went out to defend their total, “The batsmen gave us good feedback about the wicket. Shreyas said that it was not easy to hit straight. So we just looked to hit our lengths while bowling and things worked out for us.”

When asked about his thoughts on bowling with the current crop of Delhi Capitals bowlers, Nortje said, “It’s really nice to be part of the Delhi Capitals bowling attack. Everyone knows what they have to do and how to execute it. All bowlers, whether it’s Axar, Ashwin, Avesh or Rabada, everyone is clear about their roles. We’ve got two consecutive games in Sharjah next. So interesting times coming up for us.”

The Delhi Capitals will take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in their next match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on Tuesday, 28 September 2021.


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Giants once again going down wrong path, which could finally force John Mara to make major changes

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Daniel Jones rolls right 9/26 cropped

The Giants are headed to a deep, dark place — a place they didn’t expect to be, and a place they never even wanted to imagine.

And at this point, it’s hard to see how they can avoid it.

The one thing John Mara doesn’t want to do is blow up his entire organization. He doesn’t want to shake up his front office for the second time in four years. He really doesn’t want to bring in an outsider. And he certainly doesn’t want to even ponder firing a third straight head coach after just two seasons.

If he does that, the Giants would become a picture of chaos and dysfunction, which would be heartbreaking for an owner who craves stability only slightly less than he craves wins. His organization would be the laughingstock of the NFL, if it isn’t already.

But the Giants are 0-3 for the second straight year, staring at a brutal seven-game stretch, and coming off four straight seasons of double-digit losses. They’ve been bad for a decade now, and they’re heading in the wrong direction again.

So Mara knows he may not have a choice. The darkness awaits.

“We’re going to be all right guys, you got that?” Joe Judge said as he walked off the postgame podium after the Giants’ heart-breaking, soul-crushing, 17-14 loss to the Falcons on Sunday. “We’ll be all right.”

Maybe someday they will be. But when? And how? The Giants’ first three games were supposed to be the easy part of their schedule. What comes next is an absolutely brutal gauntlet where it’s honestly hard to pick out even a possible win. They go to New Orleans next, for the Saints’ first game back home since Hurricane Ida chased them away. Then they’re on to Dallas before home games against the Rams and undefeated Panthers. Then it’s at Kansas City, home to the surprising Raiders, and at the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

How exactly are they going to be all right?

Because right now it’s all wrong and everyone has had enough. Daniel Jones admitted players are frustrated. And if you weren’t clear on how frustrated the fan base is, check out the boos that rained down on Mara as he was officially retiring Eli Manning’s No. 10 at halftime on Sunday.

For the next few months, you can be sure those are going to ring in his ears.

The Giants, quite simply, have become a complete embarrassment and there is not an obvious light at the end of the tunnel. This season was supposed to be their salvation, the year all the young players GM Dave Gettleman has been accumulating finally come together into a playoff team. It was the year where Jones was going to arrive as an NFL quarterback and Judge was going to show he was the right choice, not just a surprising choice, to be the Giants’ coach.

At least Jones is looking good. The rest? Not so much. And that’s going to put Mara in a very unwanted spot this offseason, if not before. He can’t possibly justify bringing back Gettleman, his 70-year-old GM, if this season continues to head in this depressing direction. And he might have a hard time justifying what would almost certainly be his next preference — promoting Gettleman’s replacement from within.

And if he’s forced to look outside for the first time since then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle pushed George Young on the Mara family way back in 1979, all bets are off. It’s inconceivable that Mara would fire Judge after two seasons, after firing Pat Shurmur after two seasons, and after Ben McAdoo didn’t even get that long. But if a new GM has a new idea and a coach he likes better, it’s not impossible to imagine

The more this spirals, the more all bets are off.

Yes, there certainly is a long way to go this season. No one is getting fired at 0-3. And while Mara is undoubtedly furious, he has always managed to calm himself down before he makes any rash decisions. But even his mind is surely racing ahead, fearful of the direction this train is headed. He likes Gettleman. He loves stability. But he surely realizes both are slipping through his grasp.

Could it all be turned around? Sure. Judge, who is trying to ooze positivity while his team just oozes, seems to be a firm believer that if his team stays the course, everything will be just fine.

“I think the DNA of our team is a team that comes back and goes to work,” Judge said. “Look, no one is going to be happy after a loss, that’s the reality of what it is. The element of what we do as professionals (is) we’ve got to come back and go to work. In terms of the morale of the team, I trust in the way the guys work.”

That’s quaint, but this shipwreck is beyond that now. They can work all they want and maybe they can steal a game or two over the next seven, but can they possibly win enough the rest of the way to actually salvage their season? They’d probably need to go 9-5, minimum, to make the playoffs. Can they even come close with their painful schedule? Or even close enough to convince Mara to return in 2022 with the status quo?

In the darkness of 0-3, that’s hard to see. And it’s getting darker by the minute. This is such a mess, the hole is so deep, the Giants just might not be able to find their way out.

“Where do we go from here?” asked Giants safety Logan Ryan. “Keep on trucking.”

That’s all they can do. But if they don’t get that truck going in the right direction quickly, then pretty soon Mara will have no choice but to back the truck up to the Giants offices to clear everybody out.


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College football Week 4 takeaways — Texas A&M’s troubles, a wide-open playoff race and more

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The College Football Playoff field hasn’t expanded yet, and the race is already more interesting — especially after Clemson lost for the second time this season.

Our writers break down the biggest takeaways from Week 4 in college football, from the ACC to the Pac-12.

Texas A&M better get creative to save its season

The biggest questions facing Texas A&M after its stellar 2020 season were how it would replace four-year starter Kellen Mond at quarterback and the four starting offensive linemen who powered the Aggies’ potent ground game.

After losing starting QB Haynes King to injury, those questions loom larger than ever. His replacement, Zach Calzada, has struggled. The Aggies have scored 95 points in four games. Among SEC teams, only South Carolina (89) and Vanderbilt (50) have scored fewer. The offensive line has struggled despite Jimbo Fisher trying multiple combinations up front. In the two games Calzada has played against Power 5 competition, he has completed just 51.4% of his passes for 334 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Aggies scored 10 points in each, a 10-7 win over Colorado and Saturday’s 20-10 loss to Arkansas.

Against the Hogs, A&M ran 20 plays and had three first downs in the second half, yet managed to break open a 67-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Spiller with 7:51 left in the third quarter. That would be Spiller’s last carry of the game. Devon Achane, his backup, got the only carry by an Aggies running back after that, for eight yards on first down with about four minutes left in the third quarter. Aggies wide receivers caught seven passes for 81 yards the entire game. Star tight end Jalen Wydermyer caught one for 18.

Mike Elko’s defense has been a highlight of the Fisher era in College Station, yet in three meetings with Alabama, the Aggies have given up 45, 47 and 52 points. We know A&M can’t keep that pace. But at this pace, you have to wonder if Fisher’s offense can hang in there against Mississippi State next week, not to mention later games against Missouri and Ole Miss. If the Aggies don’t find a way to throw the ball down the field, it could be a long road from here on out. — Dave Wilson

Some positivity in the ACC

It’s open season on an even weaker than normal ACC, especially given Clemson’s 27-21 loss Saturday in double overtime to NC State. Going back to the start of the 2015 season, Clemson had won 53 of its last 56 games against ACC opponents before coming up short against the Wolfpack. So, yes, Clemson has dominated the ACC. And, yes, the ACC has essentially been Clemson and everybody else ever since Florida State faded into the football wasteland. It’s difficult to see a pathway this season for the ACC to be included in the College Football Playoff festivities.

But perhaps there’s a more positive way to look at the carnage in the ACC to this point. The only two unbeaten teams overall are Boston College and Wake Forest, two schools that are hardly recognized as football factories with two head coaches who’ve done tremendous jobs. Jeff Hafley is in his second season at BC after guiding the Eagles to a winning record in Year 1 during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. And Dave Clawson is one of the most underrated coaches in college football. He has improved programs and players everywhere he has been as a head coach. His teams play smart, disciplined football, and rarely does he have the better personnel on the field. — Chris Low

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Clemson loses to an unranked team for the first time since 2017 as NC State pulls off a 27-21 win in double overtime.

A bigger playoff race without the expanded field

The College Football Playoff race is already more interesting, and it hasn’t even expanded yet. Clemson’s second loss has essentially eliminated a weak ACC (still a premature declaration tempered with reality), making room for somebody else (or in the SEC’s case, two somebodies). While the field will naturally narrow — especially with so many critical conference games looming in October — new dark-horse candidates have emerged.

The Big Ten still has five undefeated teams (don’t forget about Maryland!), and Arkansas looks ahead of schedule under coach Sam Pittman. Florida is motivated by getting a second chance at Bama in the SEC title game. UCLA has only one loss and gets Oregon at home on Oct. 23, and nobody outside of the Big 12 seems to have noticed Oklahoma State is undefeated, too. Cincinnati has a chance to earn a statement win at Notre Dame on Saturday. And while the Irish continue to figure out their identity, they keep finding ways to win as well.

Parity or mediocrity — however you want to label this season — means more teams can be in the mix. We’ll see how long it lasts. — Heather Dinich

Finally, some good NC State fortune for a change

After Christopher Dunn missed a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation against Clemson, you couldn’t help but get a sinking feeling about NC State. The same script unfolded so many times against the Tigers in nine years under Dave Doeren. In 2013, Bryan Underwood had a touchdown called back that changed momentum in the game, and for years afterward Doeren kept a screenshot on his phone that showed Underwood tiptoeing the sideline in-bounds as a reminder of what should have been.

In 2016, the Wolfpack missed a short kick in regulation and eventually lost. Similar heartbreak in 2017, when NC State led at halftime and eventually lost. But Doeren felt different about this team headed into the season because it returned so many veterans, and he believed his players had a greater understanding and appreciation for the work that goes into winning a championship.

Yet reality was right in front of him: “There’s something on the table we want to have and Clemson’s been a team that’s taken it every year,” Doeren said in early September. “So we’ve got to get over that hump, if that’s possible. We finished second to them twice so I think it is possible. I feel like we’re in a pretty good spot.”

Those words seem prophetic now. NC State did not wilt the way it has been known to do. Rather, the Wolfpack rose to the occasion, steeling itself in double overtime behind a magnificent touchdown pass from Devin Leary to Devin Carter and a defensive stop that won’t soon be forgotten in the second overtime. It hardly matters that Clemson is down. NC State beat a top-10 team for the first time since 2012. Doeren beat Clemson for the first time, and now NC State is in the driver’s seat in the Atlantic Division.

During an interview on ACC Network afterward, Doeren smoked a victory cigar and had a smile a football field wide. But NC State is also a team that scored 10 points at Mississippi State just two weeks ago and has a history of bad stuff happening when things seem to be going well (there’s a phrase for it, too!). The bulk of the season remains for NC State to truly flip the script and put its past history where it belongs. — Andrea Adelson

Coming into the season, Oregon State was tired of being close. The Beavers made obvious signs of progress during coach Jonathan Smith’s first three seasons but finishing games was a major problem. Dating to 2019, the Beavers were in a one-score game in the fourth quarter in eight of their last nine losses. That represents a massive improvement over 2017 and 2018 when they were uncompetitive, but it was also a source of frustration in that they weren’t able to find ways to win.

After four games in what is a down year for the Pac-12, the Beavers are one of the bright spots. After losing the opener to Purdue — in another game that was close in the fourth — the Beavers have rattled off three straight dominant wins. Saturday’s 45-27 victory against USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was the Beavers’ first win there since 1960.

It’s still too early to have a great feel for how good this team is, but it would come as a major surprise if the Beavers don’t finish conference play with a winning record. That hasn’t happened since 2012, the lone time it has occurred over the past 11 years. Smith was a major reason for Washington’s rise after arriving with Chris Petersen as the offensive coordinator in 2014 and deserves praise here for the trajectory of his alma mater. — Kyle Bonagura


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