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England win second T20 against Oz to seal series

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England’s Chris Jordan.

Riding high on Jos Buttler’s 77 off 52 balls, England romped home to a six wicket victory with seven balls to spare to win the series, their first in T20 cricket against Australia. It renders Tuesday’s game a dead rubber as far as the series is concerned but if England win they will topple Australia as no 1 in the T20 rankings.

England’s bowlers also showed discipline and skill to restrict Australia to 157/7 in 20 overs in the second T20I here on Sunday. Paceman Chris Jordan was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts, returning figures of 2/40 but it was a team effort really as Jofra Archer (1/31) and Mark Wood (1/25) bowled superbly to never let the Aussies get the better of them.

 For the visitors, skipper Aaron Finch top-scored with a 33-ball 40, with his innings laced with four fours and two sixes.

Marcus Stoinis also looked good for his 35 and Glenn Maxwell made 25 but all three batsmen were removed just when they looked to get going.

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Rejuvenated KXIP aim to settle scores with Delhi

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After a memorable double Super Over win against reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI), a rejuvenated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will aim to carry their momentum and keep their chances of making it to the playoffs alive when they meet table toppers Delhi Capitals (DC) here on Tuesday. Led by KL Rahul, KXIP held their nerves in the heartstopping contest at the same venue, Dubai International Stadium. The win would have surely boosted the morale of KXIP and the squad would aim to replicate the performance against Shreyas Iyer’s men, who are currently atop the table with 14 points. 

The sole problem with KXIP has been their failure to click as a unit, barring Rahul and opener Mayank Agarwal. The others have not supported them as they should have. The Punjab batting lineup has surely been strengthened after the inclusion of Chris Gayle in the playing XI. But the others, especially West Indian Nicholas Pooran and Australian Glenn Maxwell, are yet to step up and be counted. The same has been the story with their bowling. Apart from Mohammad Shami and Ravi Bishnoi the oth- ers have lived up to the expectations. Arshdeep Singh had a decent spell (2/35) against MI but the young pacer needs to be consistent. The bowlers need to be wary of the Delhi batters. On the other hand, despite enduring several injuries to their players — like Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, and Rishab Pant — DC have displayed consistency. 

Opener Shikhar Dhawan has finally regained his form while Iyer has continued to lead from the front. Prithvi Shaw has failed in the previous two outings and needs to get back on track as early as possible. Ajinkya Rahane, too, needs to step up as being one of the most dependable batsmen of his side, he has failed to make an impact in the limited opportunities he has got. Axar Patel and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis will once again be the key players for DC as both have proved their worth with bat and ball.

 It was Patel’s fireworks against CSK in the final over that sealed a win for DC. In the bowling department, Kagiso Rabada is in superb form and has received good support from compatriot Anrich Nortje. The duo would once again aim to create havoc in the KXIP lineup. The last time the two teams met this season, DC defeated KXIP in a Super Over thriller and Rahul’s KXIP would be eager to settle scores on Tuesday.

 With agency inputs

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ANIL KUMBLE: THE UNDERRATED LEGEND

Arjun Hemmady

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Determined, driven, dignified, and intense, Anil Kumble is one of the greatest cricketers India has produced. Tall and lanky, he had a long runup and the aggression of a fast bowler. His will to win was unsurpassed and the batsmen knew that there won’t be a drop in intensity whether it be the first or last ball of the day. So, let’s go through some of Kumble’s best moments during his playing career. 

In February 1999, India played Pakistan in the Second Test in Delhi after having lost by 12 runs in a nail-biting encounter in Chennai after which the sporting crowd at the MA Chidambaram Stadium gave the victorious Pakistanis a standing ovation, something which will go down in history as one of the greatest shows of sportsmanship. On a flat wicket, India set Pakistan a target of 420 runs. All seemed to be going smoothly for the Pakistanis as their opening batsmen Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi raced to 101 runs in 24 overs. However, Anil Kumble had other plans. One by one, he ran through the Pakistani batting line up and before we knew it, there was a chance to create history. It was on the third ball of the 60th over that Kumble became the second bowler after Jim Laker to take 10 wickets in an innings. In the 4th Test in Antigua in May 2002, Anil Kumble came out to bowl with a fractured jaw after being struck by a bouncer by Mervyn Dillon while batting.

 He bowled 14 overs and got Brian Lara out in what is one of the most inspirational acts of selfless courage displayed on the cricket field. Even the pain of a broken jaw did not stop Kumble from giving his best on that day. It is a moment that gives cricket fans goosebumps till today. Kumble always had leadership skills but was never India’s full-time captain till 2007 when he was handed over the reins of the Test Team after Rahul Dravid resigned from captaincy. His captaincy tenure is defined by the ill-tempered Tour of Australia wherein he showed assertiveness, dignity, and courage in the face of incessant Aussie aggression, both on and off the field. His one-sentence “only one team played in the spirit of the game”, after the controversial loss at Sydney was terse, self-assured and eerily similar to the words of Bill Woodfull, the Australian captain during the tempestuous Bodyline series, “there are two teams out there, and only one of them is playing cricket.” Kumble rallied the troops and India won a historic match in the Third Test at Perth, which was once the fortress of the Australians. During that Tour, Kumble never lost his cool, but never backed down either and led his team from the front in an unparalleled show of leadership.

 Kumble was appointed as Head Coach of the Indian Cricket Team in 2016. The team set high standards of performance under him, but unfortunately, reports of a rift between him and captain Virat Kohli meant that his tenure would last only a year. Kumble is one of those champion cricketers who has contributed to the game even after his retirement. I sincerely hope that he once again becomes part of the Indian coaching staff as there is so much to learn from him. On the occasion of his 50th birthday, I humbly extend my wishes to this living legend. 

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BLITZKRIEG YOUNGSTERS WHO ARE CHANGING THE FACADE OF IPL 2020

Raman Bhanot

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The richest cricket league in the world — the Indian Premier League— has also been the premier platform to showcase one’s cricketing ability. Over the last 12 years of the IPL, many uncapped players have made their presence felt in the muchacclaimed tournament and forced the selectors to consider their name for the Indian side. 

Players like Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Manpreet Gony, Hardik Pandya, Bhuveneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and many more, first turned out for an IPL franchise, before getting a chance to don India colors. Not to forget, the current India captain Virat Kohli also played in the inaugural edition of the IPL in April 2008, before debuting for India in August that year versus Sri Lanka. One must point out that these players had a spectacular domestic season as well, with consistent performances in the Ranji Trophy and limited-overs domestic tournaments, to catch the selectors’ eyes. 

That non-withstanding, the impact created by a stellar showing in the IPL resonated more with the fans, and became a far more accurate measure of a player’s ability in the limited-overs format, while competing against top players from around the world. As we head into the business end of the 13th edition of the IPL, let’s take a look at some of the youngsters who have made their mark on the big stage. 

Devdutt Padikkal

 The Karnataka lad who was picked by RCB in 2019, but didn’t play a single game for them then, got his chance this season. With 3 half-centuries in his first four IPL matches, he forced everyone to sit up and take notice, scoring 174 runs in those 4 innings. With a couple of 30+ scores as well, so far, he has aggregated 296 runs in 9 innings, at an impressive T20 average of 32.88, and a respectable strike rate of 122.82. With so much video footage & analysis available to all teams, coaches are quick to highlight a batsman’s weakness and they develop a game-plan for the bowlers to implement accordingly. Despite that, the young 20-year-old is regularly giving important starts to RCB this season, which is laying the foundation of the Virat Kohli & ABD show. To me, Devdutt Padikkal is the understated yet dependable performer so far in this IPL, and he is a major contributor to RCB finding themselves in the Top 3 in the points standings at the moment. 

Riyan Parag

 The 18-year old riled David Warner when he came up with the right moves— both with the bat and the Bihu dance, after guiding the Rajasthan Royals to a 5 wicket win versus Sunrisers Hyderabad. The right-handed batsman made his IPL debut last year after being bought by Rajasthan Royals for INR 20 lakh and he went on to become the youngest player to score an IPL fifty, a knock that came versus Delhi Capitals in the 2019 season. A member of India’s 2018 U19 World Cup-winning squad, Riyan Parag is the son of former Assam state cricketer Parag Das and national level swimmer Mithu Baruah. 

Ravi Bishnoi 

The 20-year old leg-spinner who hails from Rajasthan got 10 times his base price as Kings XI Punjab picked him at the auction for Rs 2 crore. Gifted with a good googly, Bishnoi has already claimed 9 wickets in 9 matches to date. He had claimed 17 wickets in 6 matches in the Under 19 World Cup and is looking good to emulate that success at the big stage in the IPL, under the tutelage of spin legend Anil Kumble. The author is a sports broadcaster & cricket commentator who has worked on assignments for leading sports networks in India and abroad.

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Buttler, Smith guide Royals to 7-wicket win over CSK

With this win, Rajasthan Royals has moved to the fifth position in the IPLpoints table with
8 points from 10 matches, while CSK is now languishing at the bottom with just six points.

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Jos Buttler and Steve Smith played unbeaten knocks of 70 and 26 respectively as Rajasthan Royals (RR) defeated Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by seven wickets on Monday here at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. 

With this win, Steve Smith-led Royals has moved to the fifth position in the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table with 8 points from 10 matches while CSK is now languishing at the bottom with just six points. Chasing 126, RR openers provided the side with a steady start as Ben Stokes and Robin Uthappa put on 26 runs for the first wicket. However, on the last ball of the third over, Deepak Chahar provided the muchneeded breakthrough to CSK as he dismissed Stokes (19).

 In the very next over, Uthappa also gifted his wicket as he tried to play a ramp shot, but the ball landed in the hands of CSK skipper MS Dhoni off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood. Dhoni was in action once again as he took a blinder of a catch off the bowling of Chahar to dismiss Sanju Samson (0), reducing RR to 28/3 in the 5th over. Steve Smith and Jos Buttler then got together at the crease and the duo retrieved the innings for RR by forming an unbeaten stand of 98 runs. In the end, both batsmen took Royals over the line by seven wickets and 15 balls to spare. 

Earlier, RR restricted CSK to 125-5 in the allotted twenty overs. Ravindra Jadeja top-scored for Chennai as he played an unbeaten knock of 35 runs. 

After opting to bat first, CSK openers Sam Curran and Faf du Plessis failed to set up a solid foundation for the side and the latter departed in the third over after scoring 10 runs. Shane Watson then joined Curran in the middle and the duo stitched a brief 13-run stand for the second wicket. Pacer Karthik Tyagi provided the second breakthrough for his side as he scalped Watson (8) in the fourth over. 

Ambati Rayudu and Curran then tried to retrieve the innings for CSK as the duo put on 27 runs for the third wicket. However, Rajasthan once again made a come back as the side scalped wickets of Curran (22) and Rayudu (13), reducing CSK to 56/4 in the 10th over. Jadeja played an unbeaten knock of 35* while Kedar Jadhav scored 4 runs as CSK posted a total of more than 120 runs. 

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Rahul Tripathi reprimanded for breaching IPL’s Code of Conduct

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Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) Rahul Tripathi was on Sunday reprimanded for breaching the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Code of Conduct during the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). “Rahul Tripathi, the Kolkata Knight Riders batsman, has been reprimanded for breaching the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Code of Conduct during his team’s match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Abu Dhabi,” IPL said in an official release. 

“Tripathi admitted to the Level 1 offence 2.3 of the IPL’s Code of Conduct. For Level 1 breaches of the Code of Conduct, the Match Referee’s decision is final and binding,” it added. KKR defeated SRH in Super Over at Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Sunday. Both teams scored 163 runs in their allotted 20 overs which had dragged the match into the Super Over. During the match, SRH needed 30 runs from the last two overs. 

Shivam Mavi bowled the penultimate over and conceded 12 runs and took the wicket of in-form Abdul Samad (23). Hyderabad needed 18 runs off the last six balls and struggling Andre Russell bowled the last over of the innings. Warner failed to score two off the last ball and the match went into the Super Over.

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Struggling CSK face off-colour Royals in must-win game

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Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) have a chance to jump out of the bottom three of the IPL table when they face each other at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday.

 Both sides have six points but CSK is ahead of RR because of their superior net run rate. CSK’s top order of Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu showed they have regained their touch in recent matches, while Ravindra Jadeja was also quite handy with the bat in their last game against the Delhi Capitals (DC). However, the form of captain M.S. Dhoni could be a cause of concern. 

The veteran wicketkeeper batsman has not been able match up to the lofty standards he has set over the years with the bat this season. With 3,994 runs from 169 games, Dhoni is also the leading run-scorer for his side. The injury of Dwayne Bravo, whose bowling CSK are dependent upon in the death overs will be a cause for concern. The bowlers did well in the initial overs against DC but failed to click recurrently, leading to Shikhar Dhawan’s maiden IPL ton almost single-handedly snatching the game away from them. 

On the other hand, RR too face similar issues. Their batsmen did well in the last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), particularly Steve Smith and Robin Uthappa, who was promoted to the top of the order for that match. 

The RR think-tank will, however, hope that Ben Stokes and the out-of-form Sanju Samson, also the highest run-getter for RR with 1,768 runs, will reverse their run of low scores as the league stage enters its home stretch. Jofra Archer, RR’s leading wicket-taker with 38 wickets from 29 games, will once again lead the bowling attack and will expect good support from Stokes to keep the CSK batters in check. 

Squads: Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (Captain), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma. 

Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Andrew Tye, Kartik Tyagi, Steven Smith (Captain), Ankit Rajpoot, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Riyan Parag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Akash Singh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Shashank Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Robin Uthappa, Aniruddha Joshi, Jofra Archer

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