Indian southpaw, Yuvraj Singh has been one of the biggest match-winners for India over the years. He hasn't been in the best of touch for a while now. The 37 years old, however, returned back to some sort of form as he smashed a fifty in his very first outing for Mumbai Indians against Delhi Capitals in the IPL.
Yuvraj Singh last played for India in June 2017 when the team toured West Indies. He opened up on his retirement plans in the post-match press conference after his side lost to Delhi Capitals.
“When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang up my boots. I spoke to Sachin (Tendulkar) as well and he has gone through such a time at 38-39. Talking to him makes things easier for me,” said Yuvraj Singh during the post-match press conference.
“In the last two years, I have been up and down. I started playing cricket because I enjoyed the game and then I was not playing for Indian. It was U-14, U-16, so till the time I enjoy, I will play,” he added.
These are very early days yet but it can safely be said that the batting pyrotechnics that one witnessed in the two matches on Sunday has set the pattern for IPL – 12. The shocking low scoring game at Chepauk in the tournament opener on Saturday can be taken as an aberration.
Right from the time Brendon McCullum smashed a breath taking 158 not out off just 73 balls in the very first IPL game in 2008 the premier T-20 league in the contemporary game has been associated with huge hits, breezy hundreds, unorthodox, even outrageous strokes, strike rates of 200 and above and outsize team totals. Even then, some of them are not safe for huge targets have been chased down quite often. Yes, this is the tone in almost every T-20 match but it applies even more so in the IPL given the kind of wickets that the games are played on. The slow surface at Chepauk surprised everyone even if it was not a 70 all out pitch.
The knocks played by Andre Russell and Rishabh Pant symbolized the fare generally provided in the IPL. But a 19-ball 49 at a strike rate of 258 and a 27-ball 78 at a strike rate of almost 289 is superlative even by T-20 standards and it will be something if these feats are matched over the next six weeks of the tournament. But then with so many T-20 specialists around and with the wickets being in favour of the batsmen it would not be surprising even if a strike rate of 300 is reached for an innings of some length.
Of the two knocks Rishabh’s was the one that stood out. Russell has made a name for himself over the years for big hitting, for sixes that are hit out of the ground and for not being overawed by a seemingly insurmountable target as was the case on Sunday. His career strike rate of 140 tells its own tale. Rishabh in contrast is a new kid on the block even though he has already earned a reputation for fast scoring and unorthodox shots. His penchant for the leg side is well known and this was underlined by his pyrotechnics on Sunday when 63 of his 78 runs were scored on that side. The manner in which he hit balls pitched well outside the off stump and smashed them to the on side repeatedly underscored his timing and confidence. In the process he also did his chances of making the squad for the World Cup no harm.
Delhi Capitals' wicket-keeper batsman, Rishabh Pant made a terrific start to the 2019 IPL. He started off from where he had left in the last season of IPL. The young southpaw blasted 78 runs off 27 deliveries against Mumbai Indians. His knock helped Delhi post a big total on the board and win the game against the hosts.
Pant not only terrified the opposition bowlers but also his own teammate, Ishant Sharma. The senior Indian pacer revealed how. “Actually I was quite nervous. When you see the ball flying everywhere when Pant was batting, it shows how good a batting track it was. I was backing myself, I had a good County season, a good Test season as well and was among the wickets. I was only trying to hold my nerve and control the process because when you try and control the results, you lose track of the processes,” he explained.
Ishant Sharma, who was making comeback to the IPL finished with figures of 2/34 from his quota of four overs, on a flat batting deck, which isn't a bad beginning at all.
KL Rahul is one of the most important players in the Kings XI Punjab side. Earlier, he represented Royal Challengers Bangalore where he brushed shoulders with players like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Chris Gayle. The Jamaican batsman, Chris Gayle is also playing for Kings XI Punjab since the last season like KL Rahul.
The Karnataka batsman, Rahul described Gayle as the naughtiest and most mischievous player. "Chris Gayle is the best T20 batsman the game has ever had. But he is always up to a mischief and tries to pull my legs. He does not seem like a senior player in the dressing room but in fact he is the naughtiest and most mischievous player in a dressing room,” Rahul said ahead of their Indian T20 League match against Rajasthan.
“I have played with Gayle for quite a while, we had an opportunity to bat together for a few years in RCB and he considered me as a 21 year boy. I have learnt a lot from him. I love his company,” he added.
For a moment it looked like Jasprit Bumrah has done serious damage to his shoulder during the Indian Premier League game against Delhi Capitals. In an attempt to stop the ball, he hurt himself and was seen in a lot of pain.
Former Indian cricketer and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar revealed in the commentary box that the update from the Mumbai Indians team was that Bumrah is fine.
Bumrah, who will lead India's pace attack in the World Cup, looked in discomfort after he fell awkwardly while trying to save a single.
There were worrying signs on the faces of his fellow players, who ran towards him to know about his condition. The physio was called in and Bumrah left the ground after speaking to him.
Earlier, Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, had stated the need to manage the workload of the World Cup bound players. He had stressed that the World Cup is played in four years while IPL comes every year.
Andre Russell proved to be the difference in the end as Kolkata Knight Riders surpassed Sunrises Hyderabad's resistance in their opening match of the Indian Premier League. The big West Indies all-rounder was is in terrific touch and his bullet shots came handy for the two-time winners.
Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan, who was there at the Eden Gardens, has thanked the fans for their unconditional support. He revealed that Andre Russell was touched by the love of KKR fans that he wanted to cry after the game.
Chasing a target of 182 runs, KKR were under the pump when they lost Chris Lynn early but Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa stitched a 80-run partnership to steady the ship. However, with dismissals of Uthappa, Karthik and Rana, it looked all over for the team before Russell started his onslaught and then there was no looking back for the maestro.
He scored 49 runs off 19 balls, which included four sixes and as many boundaries.
"@Russell12A said to me that he was so overwhelmed with the welcome fans gave him, that he wanted to cry. Then decided big boys don't cry in public. @NitishRana_27 @robbieuthappa & @RealShubmanGill & the whole team plays for You Kolkata. Thk u for the Love (sic)," Shah Rukh Khan wrote on Twitter.
Captain Aaron Finch smashed another century as Australia again beat Pakistan by eight wickets in the second one-day cricket international on Sunday.
Finch hit 11 fours and six sixes in his career-best 153 not out as Australia reached 285-2 in 47.5 overs for a 2-0 series lead. Pakistan had chosen to bat first and Mohammad Rizwan made 115 for his first ODI century in a total of 284-7.
Finch's 13th ODI century led Australia to its second successful chase at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in three days after the visitors had won the first match by eight wickets on Friday, with Finch scoring 116.
Finch put on a 209-run opening stand on Sunday with Usman Khawaja, who made 88, with Pakistan opting to rest two of its frontline fast bowlers for this five-match series ahead of the World Cup.
"On a wicket like that, you can't afford to take it too deep with new batters," Finch said.
"Usman has been in good form, and he's getting big runs at an important time. Things are going quite well at the moment, but there are always things to improve."
Eighteen-year-old debutant fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain briefly tested Finch and Khawaja with his short-pitched deliveries before leg spinner Yasir Shah (1-60) finally broke through when he had Khawaja caught at midwicket.
Australia fast bowler Jhye Richardson was ruled out early in the 11th over when he dislocated his shoulder after taking 2-16 in his five-over spell before falling awkwardly on his bowling arm in the outfield.
But Finch himself stepped in, bowled 10 overs of left-arm spin and conceded only 41 runs for the wicket of Haris Sohail (34).
A 127-run partnership between Rizwan and Shoaib Malik (60) formed the nucleus of Pakistan's innings after Australia had reduced the home team to 112-4 in the 23rd over.
Glenn Maxwell made amends for dropping Malik on 52 at long on when he took a smart low catch at the same position to dismiss the Pakistan captain in the 45th over.
Rizwan, who hit 11 boundaries in his 126-ball knock, followed his skipper soon after when Maxwell took a smart catch on the long on boundary as the batsman went for his first big shot.
"To be honest, I think early strike in our bowling is what we are lacking," Malik said. "Since we have rested a lot of our players, we are trying other players and these things happen in international cricket, especially when you are playing a big team."
"It's not about winning the series, it's about testing our bench strength."
The third ODI is at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Mustafizur Rahman has tied the knot with Samia Parvin after returning from New Zealand. The wedding ceremony was attended by family members and relatives.
Samia Parvin is Mustafizur's cousin, who is pursuing psychology from Dhaka University. Mahfuzur Rahman Mithu, Mustafizur's brother, has requested everyone to pray for the newly-wed couple.
"Mustafizur was really upset after coming home, following the incident in New Zealand. That's why we decided to get him married. It was my mother's decision. The wedding reception will take place after the World Cup," he said.
Earlier, his teammate Mehidy Hasan Miraz also got married. "Alhamdulillah...I am starting a new journey in my life today. I would like to request the blessings of all my fans and well wishers for my new beginning. May the Rahmat of Allah always shower upon us," Miraz had wrote in a post on Facebook and shared a photo of the wedding.
In order to make Test cricket more popular, the governing body of international cricket has allowed Test playing teams to have the name and number on the back of jersey's sported by players.
"Yes, it starts from August 1 for the World Test Championship. It is a part of the wider plan to promote Test cricket," Claire Furlong, ICC's GM Manager (Strategic Communications) told PTI on Friday.
The decision was taken last week and was welcomed by former England captain Michael Vaughan.
"Delighted to hear Names & Numbers will potentially be on Test playing shirts .. About time .. Add a bit of colour as well .. make the Shirts more inviting for Kids to want to wear .. Test cricket has to become more commercial .. CUE .. A lot of abuse !!!," Vaughan had tweeted.
Suresh Raina became the first batsman to surpass 5,000 runs in the Indian Premier League. The left hand batsman touched this landmark during the opening game of the season against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
He came to the crease after the dismissal of Shane Watson. Before the game, Raina needed just 15 runs to achieve another important feat in his IPL career.
Raina was dismissed by Moeen Ali for 19 runs. He currently has 5,004 runs in 176 IPL games.
Rishabh Pant is scared of Virat Kohli's anger. The young Indian wicketkeeper batsman had a miserable ODI series against Australia, and his mistakes behind the stumps in the fourth ODI, allowed Australia to level the series.
“I am not scared of anyone but Virat bhaiya ke gusse se dar lagta hai (I’m scared of Virat Kohli’s anger),” Pant said in a video posted by his IPL team, Delhi Capitals in their official website.
“But if you are doing everything correctly, then why he (Kohli) should get angry.
“But if you make a mistake and someone gets angry with you..it’s good because you only learn from your mistakes,” he added.
Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli was thinking of turning the tide against Chennai Super Kings in IPL's opening game. The right hand batsman had scored a lot of runs against MS Dhoni's team in the past. However, Kohli was undone by Harbhajan Singh as he achieved his worst-ever score against the Kings.
Bhajji bowled a short delivery and Kohli pulled it over midwicket to find Ravindra Jadeja in the deep. The all-rounder took the catch easily as Kohli departed after scoring just six runs.
Here’s how fans reacted:
Ahead of the first match against CSK, Kohli had amassed a prolific 732 runs in 21 innings against the same opposition. Virat Kohli holds the record of most fifty-plus scores (6) and most thirty-plus knocks (12) against Chennai Super Kings.
IPL – 12 cannot get off to a better start. It kicks off at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai on Saturday with a really big bang with two heavyweights Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore beginning the proceedings. Tickets were sold out within hours not surprisingly when one side is led by MS Dhoni and the other by Virat Kohli. Besides the charismatic captains there are a number of crowd pullers in both sides and this being T-20 cricket it goes without saying that it will be a close contest going down to the last over – or perhaps even to the last ball.
There cannot be any favourites in this format particularly given the fact that it is the tournament opener. CSK however enjoys a much better record overall having won the title three times in nine editions (they were banned for two years) whereas RCB has not won the IPL even once, its best being finishing runners up three times.
The inability of RCB to inscribe their names on the trophy has been the subject of much discussion for on team personnel they would be right up there as leading contenders. But they have frequently played well below the high standards they are capable of. Otherwise there is no reason why a team which has three of the best players in the world in this format - Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers – should not be able to win the title at least once.
Is it then a leadership problem? It is this point that Gautam Gambhir raised a few days ago while questioning various aspects of Kohli’s captaincy. He was of the view that the Indian captain is ``very lucky’’ to be continuing as captain of RCB. He said that Kohli should be thankful that the franchisee has not sacked him despite his continued failure to win them a title.
Under Kohli RCB have won 44 and lost 47 matches. Kohli took over the captaincy full time in 2012 and in seven seasons under him RCB have progressed to the play offs on just two occasions despite having the most star studded batting line-up in the competition and a number of other big names. Incidentally RCB, King’s XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils/Capitals remain the only sides without a title but RCB are the only franchisee to have shown faith in their leadership.
RCB have the opportunity to set the record straight in IPL – 12. Can they play up to their potential and lift the trophy for the first time?
After what seems like a rather jaded season, rather protracted and turmoil filled, Australia found a glimmer of hope not only on their own turf but rather on the distant land of India. Now buoyed by their unexpected series success in limited overs cricket, Australia are eying time against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as their final dress rehearsal for defending their title in England come June.
It would be fair to say Australia did not appear to stand a chance, not a realistic one anyway, judging by the way they fared at home against essentially the same Indian team at the end of a Test series that, also, went India’s way for the first time in seven decades. The ball tampering/sandpaper-gate fiasco last March appeared to have hit the final nail in the coffin of Australia’s burgeoning problems. June and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, not to mention the Ashes, seemed like a distant dream as the home season ended disastrously with plenty of worrying questions and not enough by way of answers.
However, even as the tide seemed not to budge for Australia when they landed in India, the close finish in the second one day international spurred something in the Australians and although 2-0 in the five match series, they suddenly found resilience and hope in the likes of branded Test specialist Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb who was living like on a tightrope and an unexpected bonus in Ashton Turner. Adam Zampa turned the game on its head with his spinning ability, enough to suggest that Nathan Lyon would be playing catch up.
Even in the midst of this sudden good fortune in the form of a series win, their first in a couple of years, Australia have a few headaches and worries they must consider. Although they appear to have hit a golden streak, the shifting of sands from India to the UAE from India to Pakistan could well be a different story if Australia are not able adapt. Furthermore, the performances of these players still proves a tricky headache for the coach and the rest of the think tank because the skipper, Arron Finch, is himself under pressure to score runs. Steven Smith and David Warner will not be playing in the series against Pakistan which means, barring the Indian Premier League (IPL), the two seasoned players could be heading to the ICC Cricket World Cup virtually without an international match under the belt post the ban. Whether their past reputation is enough to merit automatic solution at the cost of these players who appear to be just about hitting their stride in pivotal positions is something Australia will have to weigh.
If Australia could struggle to accommodate Shaun March or find a place more stable for David Maxwell, their bowling is, also, under the scanner. For one, Mitchell Starc has not had a great run and Josh Hazlewood has been rendered unavailable with stress fractures in his back. In that light, there could be a few selection headaches in the bowling department as well with the likes of Jhye Richardson, also, throwing his hat into the ring and vying for a spot.
While Justin Langer, the Australian coach, is right in thinking the Australian batting order would not be tampered with too much with success continues for them in the UAE, there are some pivotal questions Australia must address if they are to successfully defend their title as champions of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Chennai Super Kings have performed exceptionally well in the Indian Premier League since the inception of the tournament in 2008.
Despite their two-year ban, they made a successful return to cash rich league, winning the title in 2018.
CSK's key player and former West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has revealed their success mantra.
"Keeping the core group and retaining most of the players has been CSK’s strength over 10 seasons. It’s a belief and a reward at the same time."
MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Stephen Fleming have been associated with the franchise since 2008. They were recently felicitated for their long term association with the Chennai based franchise.
After the IPL 2018 auction, many termed CSK as 'Dad's Army' due to a vast number of players aged above 30. With the likes of Dhoni, Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Bravo, Shane Watson, Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu, very few thought that the Yellow Brigade will go the distance. However, they defied odds as many of their veterans stood out in crucial situations and bailed the team out of a crisis.
"We were aware for the name-calling, but you can’t beat experience, no matter. The way CSK went about picking the squad at the auction – experience along with some talented young players. The core of the team was kept, and that made a huge difference. Last year everyone doubted us, and we went on to win the crown."
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