CONFIDENT ROYAL CHALLENGERS HOPE TO KEEP THE JUGGERNAUT ROLLING AGAINST RAJASTHAN ROYALS - The Daily Guardian
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CONFIDENT ROYAL CHALLENGERS HOPE TO KEEP THE JUGGERNAUT ROLLING AGAINST RAJASTHAN ROYALS

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This has been the best opening the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) could have hoped for. Virat Kolhi’s team is currently at the top of table in IPL 2021, winning first three games comprehensively. And he would like to keep the juggernaut rolling when RCB take on Rajasthan Royals in an IPL match in Mumbai on Thursday.

The Royals so far have a mixed tournament, winning only one of their three fixtures. They lost to Chennai Super Kings in their previous match to slip down to the sixth spot. Sanju Samson and his men will be eyeing a second win at the Wankhade Stadium.

Samson and boys have struggled to perform as a cohesive batting unit. While the skipper led the team to within touching distance of victory with his sensational century against Punjab Kings, it was the South African duo of David Miller and Chris Morris that pulled off a win against the Delhi Capitals. Against CSK, opener Jos Buttler looked dangerous but other batsmen failed to provide any valuable contributions.

Their bowling unit has not fired well as a unit. Pacer Jaydev Unadkat shone against the Delhi Capitals, registering the impressive figures of 3/15, while young Chetan Sakariya has shown promise. But as a unit they need to do more. In the absence of Jofra Archer, more will be expected out of the likes of Chris Morris and Bangladesh speedster Mustafizur Rahman.

For RCB, A.B. de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell have been the standout batsmen. While the South African continues to deliver season after season, the Australian all-rounder is proving to be a valuable addition to the middle order. Kohli has got decent starts in a couple of games but a big knock is eagerly awaited. Young Devdutt Padikkal, who impressed everyone last season, has been out of form.

The RCB bowling department has been impressive with pacers Harshal Patel and Mohammed Siraj boasting economy rate of of 5.75 and 5.81 respectively. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed (3/7) helped the team win the match in just one over against the Sunrisers.

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AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT IN MALDIVES TO LAND BACK HOME ON MONDAY

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Thirty-eight members of the Australian contingent stranded in the Maldives will be reaching back home on Monday.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season was postponed on May 4 due to a rising number of Covid-19 cases and the entire Australian contingent had travelled to the Maldives due to a travel ban from India. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batting coach Michael Hussey who had tested positive for Covid-19 in India will also reach Australia from India on Monday, reported ESPNcricinfo.

The 38-member Australian contingent stranded in Maldives which includes the likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steve Smith and Michael Slater, will travel to Australia on a BCCI charter flight and then they will undergo hotel quarantine.

Australian government’s pause on the return of Australians from India concluded on May 15.

Earlier, Cricket Australia’s Interim CEO Nick Hockley had praised the BCCI and the Indian board’s effort to get the Australian players back to their homes. “I would say the BCCI have been absolutely fantastic. So they’re committed to not only the first movement to either the Maldives or Sri Lanka but they’re also then committed to putting on a charter to bring them back to Australia,” he had said.

Asked if Cricket Australia regrets letting the players go for this year’s IPL, Hockley said: “No, I don’t think so. I mean, our hearts go out to everyone in India. Clearly, I mean, I think the IPL, you know, put so much work, so much effort into putting on the tournament. They obviously did that on the best available information at the time and they’ve come to the decision over the last 24 hours that it’s in everyone’s — well, in the interests of the health and safety of everyone to suspend the tournament indefinitely.”

“At the moment — I was on the phone to my counterpart less than an hour ago and I can’t speak more highly for how the BCCI but also all of the franchises have worked to look after our players and put in plans to make sure that they get home safely and as quickly as possible.”

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JOFRA ARCHER’S PARTICIPATION IN NZ TEST SERIES IN DOUBT AFTER ELBOW INJURY RESURFACES

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Sussex coach Ian Salisbury said that pacer Jofra Archer’s sore elbow stopped the England pacer from bowling against Kent in the County Championship match on Saturday.

Archer made a comeback on Thursday as he played his first-class match for Sussex since September 2018. However, the England pacer didn’t bowl in the game on Saturday having picked up the ball a day before. Salisbury said England and Wales Cricket (ECB) board will have to provide any further information on Archer’s injury.

“I think there was some confusion over the state of his elbow. Ben thought he was going to bowl but his elbow’s sore and so he couldn’t bowl,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Salisbury as saying.

“Regarding any other information about his elbow, it’s the ECB’s job to answer that. If he’s sore today, he’s not going to bowl tomorrow,” he added.

When inquired as to why Archer was on the field if he wasn’t fit, the Sussex coach said, “both Archer and Brown were desperate to win games for Sussex. Ben’s disappointment stems from the fact that one of his premier bowlers wasn’t available and we’re desperate to win this game against our local rivals.”

Archer had suffered a cut to his hand while cleaning at his home in January shortly before flying to India to prepare for the Test series.

The ECB’s medical team managed the injury throughout the tour, and it did not impact his availability. A fragment of glass was removed during the operation to his middle finger on his right hand in March.

Archer had played two Tests and all the five T20Is against India, and then he was ruled out from the ODI series and the first half of the IPL.

The England pacer then made a return to competitive cricket as he played in the ongoing County match against Sussex. He also bowled five overs and picked up a wicket against Kent.

England and New Zealand are slated to lock horns in a two-match Test series, which gets underway on June 2.

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India women’s cricket team to tour Down Under in mid-September, says Megan Schutt

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Australia women’s pacer Megan Schutt has revealed that the Indian team would be touring in mid-September this year for a white-ball series.

India was slated to tour Australia this year for three ODIs but it had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cricket Australia is yet to formally announce the tour but Schutt has announced that her side’s next assignment would be against India. “We have a tour against India in mid-September. So, there are a couple of camps. I believe we are doing one in Darwin, which will be really cool and then the tour against India. And then pretty much from there things get crazy with Big Bash, WNCL, Ashes, World Cup, and hopefully the Commonwealth Games,” Schutt said on No Balls: The Cricket Podcast, hosted by Kate Cross and Alex Hartley, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

On Thursday, Ramesh Powar was appointed as the head coach of the Indian women’s cricket team. Powar’s first assignment as a coach would be in June-July this year as the women’s team heads to the UK to play one Test, three T20Is, and three ODIs.

On April 13, the BCCI had invited applications for the position of head coach of the India women’s team for a period of two years. Raman had been appointed the head coach of the India women’s team in December 2018. Under his tenure, India managed to reach the finals of the T20 World Cup in 2020. The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side ended up losing the summit clash against Australia.

Raman had taken over from Powar as the coach. In August 2018, the BCCI had appointed Powar as the head coach of the Indian women’s team. Powar was at first asked to lead the team after the resignation of former coach Tushar Arothe and then he was handed the full-time duties till November 30, 2018.

The BCCI had advertised for the post and received over 35 applications. The three-member CAC comprising Sulakshana Naik, Madan Lal, and Rudra Pratap Singh interviewed the applicants and unanimously agreed on Powar’s candidature, as per the BCCI release.

A former international, Powar played 2 Tests and 31 ODIs for India. Post his playing career, he took up cricket coaching and is an ECB Level 2 certified coach, and has also attended BCCI-NCA Level 2 coaching course.

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TENDULKAR TERMS 2011 WC WIN AS ‘BEST CRICKETING DAY’ OF HIS LIFE

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Former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday termed the winning of the 2011 World Cup as the “best cricketing day of his life” as his biggest dream came true.

India had defeated Sri Lanka in the finals of 2011 World Cup to lift their second 50-over World Cup title and this year, 10th anniversary of the feat was celebrated. In the tournament, Tendulkar had scored centuries against England and South Africa. “When I saw Kapil Dev lifting the World Cup in 1983, it was an unbelievable experience, I enjoyed it with my friends and I wanted to chase my dream. I decided what may come, I have to focus and chase my dream of lifting the World Cup. In Mumbai at Wankhede, it was just unbelievable, it was the best cricketing day of life. How many times you have the country celebrate, many few things are there which the entire country celebrates,” said Tendulkar during Unacademy’s session aiming at Lessons in Resilience, Passion, Preparation, Innovation and more.

“The victory lap had one incident, when Virat and Yusuf Pathan lifted me, I told them to ensure that I do not fall down. It was not just the Indian team that won the World Cup, it was the entire nation, it is all of us who did it,” he added.

Earlier this year, Tendulkar tested positive for Covid-19 and he even had to be admitted to a hospital. India has been reporting more than 3,00,000 cases off late and these are challenging times for the country.

Talking about Covid-19, Tendulkar said: “I think it is a difficult time for all of us, these are unprecedented times and all I can say is from my first-hand experience, the entire medical fraternity, I cannot thank them enough. How they have stayed committed to saving lives, helping so many people, and nobody has complained. Nobody has said that today we do not feel like working, they are saving lives. A big thankyou to all of them.”

“To my friends and family, when I was diagnosed with COVID-19, they kept me in that positive frame of mind. It is a challenging time for everyone, but we have to stay positive and help each other. My message for everyone will be to follow the new normal, washing your hands, making sure you maintain a certain level of hygiene and also to maintain social distancing,” he added.

The Master Blaster also stressed on the importance of addressing mental health and not taking it lightly at any moment.

“Yes, there are a number of mental challenges that people face. When there are physical challenges, there are physios and doctors and they help you what’s wrong and this is the reason with mental health as well. It is normal for anyone to go through ups and downs. When you hit those lows, you need people around you to help you get back up again. You need to accept that there is something wrong, it is not just for that particular, it is for people around also. Once we have accepted that, then you start looking for solutions,” said Tendulkar.

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BHULLAR FIRST INDIAN-ORIGIN FIGHTER TO WIN WORLD TITLE AT TOP-LEVEL MMA EVENT

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Arjan “Singh” Bhullar dethroned longtime heavyweight king Brandon “The Truth” Vera to capture the ONE Heavyweight World Title and become the first Indian Mixed Martial Arts World Champion in history.

In a women’s atomweight contest, perennial contender Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen took home a hard-earned victory over Indian wrestling superstar Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat, winning by razor-thin split decision after three close rounds. Fourth-ranked women’s strawweight contender Ayaka Miura made quick work of Rayane Bastos, submitting the Brazilian in the first round of a catchweight contest. Additionally, Indian veteran Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat overcame a spirited effort from the rising star and compatriot Roshan Mainam to win by unanimous decision

Bhullar cautiously approached Vera in the first round, looking to string together combinations to set up a takedown. The Indian star stifled Vera with feints and strikes, freezing the Filipino-American on his feet and making him hesitant to engage. Bhullar took Vera down toward the end of the opening frame and controlled him on the mat.

In the second round, Bhullar capitalised on his feints by catching “The Truth” with an overhand right that sent him reeling toward the Circle Wall. A few more right hands compounded the damage, and a debilitating body shot had Vera gasping for air. Once “Singh” was able to close the distance and latch onto the defending World Champion with a body lock, it signaled the beginning of the end. Bhullar brought Vera to the mat and pounded him out for the technical knockout victory.

Muay Thai phenom Tawanchai PK Saenchai Muaythaigym made his promotional debut in the co-main event and dominated former WBC Muay Thai World Champion Sean “Clubber” Clancy to win by knockout in round three.

Operating behind a furious offensive, Tawanchai attacked with force, showcasing leaping elbows, laser-like punching accuracy, and his signature left kick. A left hand dropped Clancy in the first round, but the Irishman was able to recover. In the third and final frame, a solid left roundhouse kick to the jaw ended the fight abruptly.

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Kohli challenging to play against, can get under your skin: Oz skipper Tim Paine

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Australia Test skipper Tim Paine has said that Virat Kohli has the ability to get under the skin of opposition and this makes him a challenging player to play against.

Kohli and Paine were seen involved in a heated battle during the 2018-19 series and both of them famously had a showdown during the Perth Test. Earlier this year, India had defeated Australia, but Kohli had missed the last three Tests as he along with wife Anushka Sharma was expecting the birth of their first child. “For Virat Kohli, I have said many times, he seems like the type of player you would love to have in your team. He is competitive. He is the best batsman in the world,” Paine said while speaking on the Gilly and Goss podcast.

“Kohli is challenging to play against and he can get under your skin because he is so good and he is so competitive. But yeah, for me from where I came from, sharing a feud with him four years ago, He is certainly someone I will always remember,” he added.

Earlier, Paine had clarified that he did not try to make up any excuses for the series loss against India earlier this year. Paine had indicated that Australia was distracted by Team India during the tour which eventually saw the hosts losing the Test series in January this year.

“I was asked a number of things, and one of those was talking about the challenges of playing against India. One of them is the distraction they can create,” Paine said.

“There was a lot of talk that they weren’t going to Brisbane. They’re always changing gloves and bringing out physios and all that can get on your nerves. Just said that was one of the things that probably distracted me and took my eye off the ball at times,” he added.

The Australian skipper reiterated that he “was not making excuses” when he said the visitors created “sideshows”.

“But also, I did say that they simply outplayed us and that they deserved to win but they left that one out. The Indian fans have been slamming me on social media. They say that I am making excuses again but it is all good fun,” said Paine.

India defeated Australia by three wickets against all odds in the final Test of the four-match series at The Gabba in January to take the series 2-1.

The last time a visiting team came out triumphant from the Brisbane Cricket Ground was back in November 1988 when the mighty West Indian outfit under the leadership of Viv Richards thrashed Allan Border’s team by nine wickets.

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