Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Pant showed great courage, probably his 'finest' knock, says Rohit - The Daily Guardian
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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Pant showed great courage, probably his ‘finest’ knock, says Rohit

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): India opener Rohit Sharma on Friday labelled Rishabh Pant’s 101-run knock as the finest he has seen from the wicketkeeper-batsman so far in the longest format of the game.
Reverse sweeping James Anderson to pick a boundary on the second day of a Test match perfectly summed up Pant’s belligerent knock at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday. The swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman single-handedly put India in command on the second day of the fourth Test against England with his third century in Test cricket.
“In my opinion, it was probably his (Pant) finest knock. It came under pressure as well, we were not in a good position when he came out to bat. We saw few sides of Rishabh Pant’s knock today. He was cautious at the beginning and then he actually flourished like we know Rishabh can. He put the team into a good position, when we came inside during the tea break, the message to both Rishabh and Washington Sundar was that we need to get to England’s score and then try to press from there.
“Then, Rishabh played his natural game, which is absolutely fine and a lot of courage he showed in the middle and it was fantastic,” said Rohit while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Friday.
When asked about the pitch behaviour in the first session, where India lost three wickets, Rohit said: “The pitch was fine, good to bat on. There was some help for the seamers and the spinners. We know that early on there is a lot of moisture on the pitch, we need to get through that 40-45 minutes in the beginning. We did that pretty well, actually, unfortunately, we lost Pujara at that time. We played that spell of Anderson and Stokes pretty well. They bowled in good areas, got some wickets as well.
“But it was important for us that we make sure to assess the pitch and try to build partnerships. England’s first innings was a small total so we needed to get to their total first. Test cricket we have seen many times that there could be occasions where you could be tested. We knew there was something on offer for the bowlers, it was important for us to not lose many wickets. Unfortunately, we lost few wickets but we knew we were in the game if we keep on batting as long as possible,” he added.
Further elaborating on his point, Rohit said: “Rishabh took his chances after tea, they came off and that is something we need, we need that spark in the middle and Pant brings that for us. He understands his game really well now. You need to give credit to Washington as well for the way he batted, he showed a lot of respect and he was tight on his technique and he put away the loose balls when they were on offer. We were on the backfoot when we lost wickets but the partnership between Washington and Rishabh was so important from the team’s perspective. They put us in the driver’s seat, our lead is 90-odd which is fantastic and I just hope Axar and Washington can carry the same intent tomorrow as well.”
At stumps, India’s score read 294/7 with Washington Sundar (60) and Axar Patel (11) at the crease — leading the visitors by 89 runs in the first innings. India scored 141 runs in 32 overs in the final session of the second day.
With wickets tumbling around him, Pant took 82 balls to reach his first fifty runs. But the next 50 came off just 33 balls as he decided to send the English bowlers on a leather hunt. The second new ball turned to be a blessing in disguise for the batsman as the ball started coming onto the bat beautifully and Pant was more than happy to bring out the unorthodox shots from the kitty. (ANI)

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Dravid surprises Kohli with his ‘angry’ avatar

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Former India batsman Rahul Dravid has surprised many, including current skipper Virat Kohli, with his never-seen-before angry side.

Featuring in an ad, Dravid can be seen shouting at others from his car and even saying: “Indiranagar ka gunda hun main.” Dravid featured in an ad for CRED, a Bangalore-based credit card bill payment platform. In the ad, shared by Kohli on Twitter, actor Jim Sarbh can be seen saying: “When you pay your Credit Cards bills on CRED, you earn CRED coins. Use them to claim cashback and rewards. I know this sounds ridiculous. It is like saying Rahul Dravid has anger issues.”

Later, Dravid appears in the ad, shouting at everyone from his car and even breaking the side-mirror of a car standing next to him with his bat before getting out of the car’s rooftop and shouting: “Indiranagar ka gunda hun main.”

“Never seen this side of Rahul bhai,” said India skipper Kohli while preparing for the opening game of IPL season 14 as his team Royals Challengers Bangalore (RCB) takes on defending champions Mumbai Indians in Chennai on Friday. Kohli said he expects a great game against the defending champions and added that the side will focus on their skills and strength. “I truly believe that we have to focus on our skills and our strengths as a side. Mumbai, obviously, is a champion team they know how to win this competition, we know the strength of their team so if focus too much on that then we are not gonna focus on what we can do.

“At the end of the day, you are playing cricket which is played on the day in the moment and you could be better than any other guy in the world at that moment,” Kohli said in a video posted by the RCB on their official Twitter handle.

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DELHI CAPITALS SWEAT IT OUT AHEAD OF FIRST MATCH AGAINST CSK

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Ahead of their first match in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday, Delhi Capitals is working hard to take on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

The IPL 2020 will kick start on Friday with Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) locking horns in the tournament opener.

Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals will begin their campaign against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. Ahead of their first match, the Capitals held a full-fledged training session, in which players were seen sweating it out. While the players honed their respective skills, assistant coach Pravin Amre shared valuable tips with them during the training session.

“Mentally aim for a six, you will at least get a four. Timing is important, timing will generate the power and you’ll hit a six. Hold your shape and then generate power,” Amre told Ajinkya Rahane in the video posted by Delhi Capitals.

Meanwhile, CSK has signed Australia pacer Jason Behrendorff as a replacement for Josh Hazlewood for IPL 14.

The left-arm quick has featured in 11 ODIs and seven T20Is so far. This is Behrendorff’s second IPL team, having represented Mumbai Indians in 2019 where he played five matches and picked as many wickets.

Earlier in the month, Hazlewood pulled out of the IPL. He was set to depart for India with Australia’s IPL-bound players, but the pacer decided to give this year’s IPL a miss in order to spend some time with his family.

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DE VILLIERS, HARSHAL HELP RCB BEAT MUMBAI IN A THRILLER

A.B. de Villiers smashes a 27-ball 48 to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to a two-wicket win over defending champions; Harshal Patel scalps five wickets.

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A.B. de Villiers smashed a 27-ball 48 to guided Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to a two-wicket victory over defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL opener in Chennai on Friday.

Sent into bat first, MI scored 159/9 against RCB. In reply, RCB completed the job in the final ball of the match with de Villiers leading the way.

Earlier in the match, Harshal Patel delivered a stunning bowling performance as RCB restricted MI to 159 runs. Harshal scalped five wickets in the innings and gave away just 27 runs from his four overs.

After being asked to bat first, Mumbai Indians got off to a good start with openers Rohit Sharma and Chris Lynn scoring regular boundaries. However, the duo only managed to form a 24-run partnership as Rohit (19) got run out in the fourth over.

Suryakumar Yadav then came out to bat and played brilliantly along with Lynn. Both played with an aggressive mindset and took the team’s score to 86/1 after the completion of 10 overs. In the 11th over, Kyle Jamieson put an end to their impressive 70-run partnership as the pacer dismissed Suryakumar (31). Soon after that, Washington Sundar caught and bowled Lynn, who missed his half-century by one run.

Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya then came out in the middle. However, this partnership also did not last long as Harshal removed Hardik (13) in the 16th over, bringing Kieron Pollard on the field.

RCB bowlers continued their sublime bowling performance and did not allow Mumbai Indians batters to settle. Kishan (28) too was sent back to the pavilion in the 18th over by Harshal. Krunal Pandya then joined Pollard and the duo took the team’s score over the 150-run mark in the 19th over.

Harshal bowled the final over of the innings and dismissed Krunal and Pollard on the first two deliveries. Harshal then bowled Marco Jansen and Jasprit Bumrah got run out on the final delivery of the over.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 159/9 (Chris Lynn 49, Suryakumar Yadav 31; Harshal Patel 5/27); RCB 160/8 (Glenn Maxwell 39, AB de Villiers 48; Jasprit Bumrah 2-26)

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IPL 2021: Debutants to keep our eyes on

Over the 14 years, IPL has given priceless talents who could have been easily lost had it not been for the big stage. Seemingly, this season is not going to be different either, as several youngsters eye to debut.

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Indian Premier League (IPL), over the last 12 years, is known for its quality to produce sensational players. Some of the players who are shining on the international horizons are findings of the IPL. So this season won`t be an exception in terms of finding ineffable talent from the cash-rich tournament. Some of the debutants we will see in this edition are:

Lalith Yadav (Delhi Capitals), 24, all-rounder.

T20s – 35, Runs – 560, SR-149.33, Wickets – 27, Eco – 6.86

Lalith Yadav is an effective middle-order batsman who usually bats from No. 5 to No. 7. He played a crucial role for Delhi in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, scoring 152 in five games. His batting figures in the last three innings are: 36* (19b), 23 (14b), 52* (25b) – reflect his ability. His strike-rate (197.40) in the tournament was tremendous.

Shahrukh Khan (Punjab Kings), 25, batsman.

T20s – 31, Runs – 293, SR – 131.39, HS – 40*

Punjab Kings are desperate to find an answer for their middle-order problems. And now they have a panacea in the avatar of Shahrukh Khan. Khan did trememdous job on numerous occasions for his state team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament. TN were 66/5 in 13 overs chasing 136 before Khan took them home with an innings that included five fours and two sixes. In the final against Baroda, he scored a crucial 18* off seven balls in a 121-run chase.

Chetan Sakariya (Rajasthan Royals), 23, fast bowler

T20s – 16, Wickets – 28, Economy – 7.08, Average – 15.10, 4w/5w – 1/1

Chetan Sakariya got his first big break when Jaydev Unadkat got injured ahead of Saurashtra’s Ranji Trophy match against Gujarat in 2018. In that match Sakariya picked 5/83. He ended with 29 wickets in eight matches. In T20s, Sakariya has taken 28 wickets in 16 matches at an economy of 7.08 per over.

Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings), 33, batsman

T20Is – 24, Runs – 1003, Avg – 50.15, SR – 144.31, HS – 103*

England the batsman is ready for his maiden foray in IPL. The left-hander, a destructive top-order bat, will provide Punjab Kings the versatility they need with two right-handed top-order options available in skipper KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.

Mohammed Azharuddin (Royal Challengers Bangalore), 27, batsman

T20s – 24, Runs – 451, SR – 142.27, HS – 137*

The wicketkeeper-batsman turned everyone’s head around when he blasted a 54-ball 137* for Kerala against hosts Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20. The opener reached his century off just 37 balls. The innings included nine fours and 11 sixes. It was the first T20 ton by a Kerala batsman. He has finally had red hot form. It remains to be seen if it continues in IPL or not.

Kyle Jamieson (Royal Challengers Bangalore), 26, fast bowler

T20s: Matches: 42, Wickets: 55, Best: 6/7, Econ: 8.33, 4w/5w: 1/1

The world is bound to sit up and take notice when Kyle took the first two Test wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. His most eye-catching international performance so far has come in Test cricket (he took 16 wickets in the recent two-Test series against Pakistan). For sure, Jamieson is an exciting prospect.

Jhye Richardson (Punjab Kings), 24, fast bowler

T20s: Matches: 67, Wickets: 82, Best: 4/19, Econ: 7.92, 4w/5w: 3/0

Australian’s biggest asset is his ability to swing the new ball prodigiously at a decent pace. It was on display in the 2020-21 Big Bash League (BBL) season, Richardson finishing as the highest wicket-taker with 29 wickets in 17 matches at an economy of 7.69 for the Perth Scorchers. Will his BBL success translate into the success of an IPL that is the question over which Punjab Kings look for an answer.

Rajat Patidar (Royal Challengers Bangalore), 27, all-rounder

T20s: Matches: 22, Runs: 699, Highest: 96, SR: 143.53, 50/100: 6/0

The Indore top-order batsman hit 221 runs in five matches, including three fifties at a strike rate of over 150, including a 51-ball 96 against Goa at No. 4. Even Rajat had been tracking by RCB for two years revealed by the coach Mike Hesson. Now, it’s interesting to see what Virat Kohli and AB de Villers can do with an experienced domestic top-order batsman.

Lukman Merivale (Delhi Capitals), 29, bowler

T20s: Matches: 44, Wickets: 72, Best: 5/8, Econ: 6.72, 4w/5w: 1/3

Merivale proved his metal in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 by taking 15 wickets in eight matches (second highest in the tournament). In Baroda’s semi-final win against Punjab, he took three wickets, two with the new ball and one at the death. 29-year old Meriwala will definitely enjoy the company of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh Yadav.

Finn Allen (Royal Challengers Banglore), 21, batsman

T20s– 3, Runs – 88, SR – 220.0, HS – 71

Finn Allen is all set to play in his maiden IPL. He was signed up by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) even before he played that breathtaking knock against Bangladesh. He scored 71 off just 29 balls. This brilliant start to Allen’s career would make him a great attraction for T20 teams around the world and a key player for New Zealand.

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SANIA MIRZA SELECTED FOR TOPS IN 56TH MOC MEETING

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Indian tennis player Sania Mirza was on Wednesday selected for Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) during the 56th Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) meeting. Sania is making her comeback in the TOPS as she was earlier selected for TOPS during the fourth meeting of the TOPS Elite Athletes Identification Committee that was held in 2017 at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) headquarters. But soon after the selection, she had withdrawn from TOPS.

She is currently ranked 157th in the world but has a protected ranking of nine (doubles ranking) based on which she is likely to go to the Tokyo Olympics, slated to begin in July this year.

According to WTA, special ranking is a ranking freeze assigned to a player who is out of competition for a minimum period of six months due to a medical condition. When a player is out of competition for more than 52 weeks, they get a ranking freeze for 3 years based on their last tournament played. Within this 3-year period, the player can enter 12 tournaments using their protected ranking (1 Grand Slam/Olympics & 1 WTA 1000 Mandatory Event).

Sania was out of competition for more than 52 weeks that is from October 2017 and returned to competition last year in January 2020 when she made a comeback by winning her first doubles tournament in nearly 2 years. Sania’s out of competition period began in October 2017 with an application for a special ranking of 9. In October 2018 she ended her pregnancy period and started parental care with a deadline of 104 weeks.

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WIJNALDUM FEELS LIVERPOOL’S CHANCES TO ADVANCE IN UCL ARE LESS

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MADRID: After a defeat against Real Madrid in the Champions League, Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum said that overcoming the first leg deficit in the second leg match will be difficult but “not impossible” for his side.

Real Madrid secured a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final here on Wednesday. The second leg is scheduled to take place on April 15. During the match, Vinicius Junior scored twice while Marco Asensio netted a goal to hand Real Madrid a big win. Mohamed Salah scored the only goal for Liverpool.

“It’s always good to have an away goal. Unfortunately, they scored one after we scored,” Wijnaldum told Liverpoolfc.com.

“So I have to say it would have been easier if it was 2-1 or we scored [to make it] 2-2. Now we have to score two and make sure we don’t concede. It’s not impossible, [like] we’ve shown in previous years, but it’s difficult,” he added.

Real Madrid had taken a two-goal lead within the first 36 minutes. When asked if he felt the opening 45 minutes was where the game slipped away from the visitors, Wijnaldum said: “Yes, for sure. You saw how we gave the goals away and how we played when we had the ball — it was not good enough. When we recovered the ball we gave it away too quickly and that’s why we had to run a lot and that’s why the first half was really intense, really heavy and hard.”

Goals from Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio helped Real Madrid thrash Liverpool in the first-leg quarterfinal of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 and as a result, the latter now faces an uphill task of making it to the semi-finals. Jurgen Klopp’s side would be required to score big in the second leg quarterfinal. Liverpool and Real Madrid will now take on each other in the second leg quarterfinal on Wednesday, April 14.

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