Yuvraj Singh hit back to form with a smashing fifty against Delhi Capitals in his very first appearances for the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium. However, his inning was overshadowed by Rishabh Pant's 27-balls-78 run-knock, which included seven fours and as many sixes. Pant's knock helped Delhi win the first game.
Yuvraj Singh heaped high praise on Pant's batting. "I can't really say about (World Cup) selection but Rishabh was outstanding today," 37-year-old Yuvraj told reporters at the post-match media conference.
"He (Pant) had an outstanding season last year as well. He is playing well in Test matches as well. To score two hundreds overseas at such an age (21 years) shows his character. It is important that we groom him well and hopefully, he is the next big thing for us," said Yuvraj.
Former West Indies skipper Brian Lara wants to see India taking on Pakistan in the finale of the World Cup. However, he is also backing West Indies to perform better in the mega event in England.
"The World Cup is going to be very dependent on weather. The English weather, you never know what it is going to be like. England in England are a tough opposition but they are also a team that knows how to lose important matches.
“I was not surprised when Pakistan won the Champions Trophy. I felt that even though they are a team that are inconsistent, they do have players that can win any tournament. The West Indies are similar. Very inconsistent, but on their day they can beat any team," he added.
He praised the Indian team despite their recent ODI series defeat against Australia. "They are capable of playing all around the world. India start as favourites," added the 49-year-old.
"The Champions Trophy final a couple of years ago, Pakistan versus India… that would be a wonderful final to see again," opined the veteran.
Rishabh Pant is the talk of the town after he made a brilliant 78 in the tie against Mumbai Indians. He was amazing for Delhi last season as well. In fact, he was one of the major talking points in the last year's edition of the lucrative league.
Chennai Super Kings coach, Stephen Fleming heaped high praise on Pant and said, “You have to respect so many players in the tournament and he is one of them. But there are others as well. Have to be sure you don’t overplan. He is one of the great young prospects in Indian cricket. But there is Shikhar Dhawan, Colin Ingram, captain Shreyas Iyer. One thing is to find a weakness, but have to use it well. You must focus on own strength.”
Australia have been on fire in the last seven ODIs, winning five and losing just two that too against India and Pakistan, the top two sides of the 2017 Champions Trophy. Australia's 3-2 win over India was unprecedented as not many gave them a chance and now the Men in Yellow are creating ripples against Pakistan in UAE as well.
Not to forget with the comeback of Steven Smith, David Warner, and Mitchell Starc, Australia will only get stronger. But, whom will the trio replace is a question that will give sleepless nights to selectors.
"That is just going to cause a massive headache for our selectors heading into the World Cup. It is a great problem to have for Australia. The guys in our dressing room, and with Steve Smith and David Warner coming back – they are world-class players – we have enough to be adaptable to whatever conditions and scenarios are thrown at us. The guys worked their backside off, firstly, and are now getting the rewards in the middle,” Nathan Lyon was quoted as saying by ICC.
Delhi Capitals' wicket-keeper batsman, Rishabh Pant starred for his side in the encounter against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. He scored 78 runs off 27 deliveries and helped Delhi post in excess of 200 runs, which proved too much for the hosts, Mumbai Indians to chase down.
Rishabh Pant is a star in making. He has made giant strides at the highest level and is also doing well in IPL. "It's been a great journey, I'm trying to learn every day of my cricketing career. It feels good when your team wins. I always play according to the situation most of the time, said Rishabh Pant.
"This time I needed to increase the run rate for the team, and I took my chances, and it came off today. Especially in T20, you have to do something different. When the bowler cramps you for room, you need to make your own room."
"First game is always a bit of a challenge for most of the teams. Lot of new players in the squad as well. We made a lot of mistakes today, as simple as that. We were pretty much in the game in the first 10 overs when we were bowling, but the way Rishabh batted, you've got to give him credit, said the swashbuckling batsman.
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.
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