ISL 7: Buoyant NorthEast United look to snatch fourth spot from Goa - The Daily Guardian
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ISL 7: Buoyant NorthEast United look to snatch fourth spot from Goa

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Vasco (Goa) [India], February 3 (ANI): Just when all hope seemed lost for NorthEast United, Khalid Jamil’s appointment as an interim coach has proved to be a breath of fresh air. The Highlanders found themselves in the wrong half of the table and there was uncertainty surrounding their playoff hopes after the departure of Gerard Nus.
But three wins on the trot under Jamil has put them back in contention of a top-four spot again. And after making a big statement by beating leaders Mumbai City FC, NEUFC will hope to prove their credentials once again as they face FC Goa at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, here on Thursday.
Both sides have accumulated 21 points after 14 games with fifth-placed NEUFC just below their opponents. While NEUFC has been unbeaten in their last four games, Goa has not suffered a loss in their previous seven matches, making this an encounter to savour for the neutrals.
“We have analysed them. We have to approach the game well, put our best effort and try to win,” said NEUFC assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew in an ISL release.
Although NEUFC has not managed to record a clean sheet in eight games now, under Jamil they won three matches in a row – the first time in history that they have managed to do that.
“I would like to give credit to coach Khalid, the technical director, the coaching staff and all the players who have done very well. We haven’t changed anything. We have just strengthened our attacking and defensive principles and that’s the only thing. We’ve been trying to play creative football.”
The two sides played out a draw 1-1 earlier in the season but Goa coach Juan Ferrando is expecting NEUFC to come hard at them.
“The (NorthEast) players are happy, they are enjoying every game, every minute. The ambiance in their dressing room will be nice. They won the difficult games. The players are free on the pitch. They have gained a lot of positives,” said Ferrando.
Goa will also miss the services of Edu Bedia (suspended) and Brandon Fernandes (injured), making their task difficult.
Ferrando admitted he’s feeling the heating of the playoff race but feels that has been a positive for his side.
“I feel pressure all the time. It’s good for the Indian league because more or less there is a difference of 3-4 points maximum between teams. It’s good for us because we aren’t relaxed. Every game is important and our mentality is to get the three points,” he said. (ANI)

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Will Dhoni’s Chennai up their ante against Punjab?

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MUMBAI

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have their work cut out as they take on buoyant Punjab Kings in their second match of the IPL 2021 on Friday night.The MS Dhoni-led side put in a horrible performance on the field in their first match against Delhi Capitals, dropping catches and bowling too many poor deliveries.

Punjab Kings on the other hand survived a scare from Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson, who hit a century, in their first match as they held on to win the game by a slender margin of four runs even after having put up 221.

CSK have had too many ageing cricketers in their side. That apart, many of the players, including skipper MS Dhoni, haven’t played too much cricket in recent times which is why they look rusty.

On a belter of a wicket at the Wankhede Stadium, CSK’s bowling struggled for ideas. Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali looked ineffective partly because Prithvi Shaw was dropped twice off Moeen’s bowling.

CSK’s top-order batting also needs to fire. Had it not been for Sam Curran, who hit a 15-ball 34 towards the end, CSK would have barely crossed 150.

Skipper Dhoni had said after the match that a 200-run total would be the safest considering the dew sets in later.

Dew could have been the problem for CSK in their first match and Friday’s match against PK will prove further if it was dew or plain rustiness.

PK have very few worries, especially in their batting. Deepak Hooda was pushed up the batting order, to No. 4 and he repaid the faith put in him by the team management, scoring a 28-ball 64.

With Hooda shining, the top six of the line-up looks completely packed with power. KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Hooda, Nicholas Pooran and Shahrukh Khan are batsmen who can whack the ball to a distance while Mayank Agarwal can provide the steady hand.

The only concern for PK would be the Australian pace duo Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson, who were clobbered for runs.

One of those Aussies may have to give way to spinner Ravi Bishnoi.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

Strengths:

• The successful comeback of Suresh Raina.

• Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, and Sam Curran.

Weaknesses:

• Flop show of openers in the previous match.

• Sam Curran and Shardul Thakur were very expensive.

PUNJAB KINGS

Strengths:

• K.L. Rahul and Chris Gayle are in good touch.

• Hooda’s power-hitting.

• Mohammed Shami’s comeback boost to the team.

Weaknesses:

• Expensive buys like Riley Meredith & Jhye Richardson proved to be expensive.

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NEED TO WORK ON PLAN B IF WE WANT TO WIN A MEDAL IN OLYMPICS: CHIRAG SHETTY

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NEW DELHI

World number ten doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have been on top of their game and the duo would be expected to perform to the best of their ability in order to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The duo was recently knocked out from the All England Open in the second round and they would next be seen in the India Open which will be played in New Delhi behind closed doors this May. India Open 2021 will be conducted behind closed doors at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi from May 11-16. The tournament, which is also an Olympic qualifier event, has attracted 228 (114 men and 114 women) entries from 33 different national associations including China.

Chirag Shetty believes that if the duo wants to return with a medal from the Olympics, then they need to have a sort-out plan B as sometimes plan A does not work out.

“We started off the year playing tournaments, we have played a pre-quarterfinal and a semi-final in the second tournament. Playing after a year, we had some good matches in Thailand, although we lost in the second match of our first tournament, we played a very close game against the world number two and also in the second tournament, we beat some really good players to make the semi-final. We would have loved to play the finals, but I think overall it was a good tournament.

“I think we would like to play a new trend of the game. If we really need to go for a shot at the medal in Olympics, we need to have a Plan B as well because we need to focus on our Plan B if our plan A is not working,” said Shetty while replying to a query.

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Morris’ cameo, Miller magic help RR beat DC

Chasing 148, the left-handed Miller came out to bat with the score at 17/3, and guided Rajasthan’s innings with a knock of 62 runs. With 27 needed off the final two overs, Morris stepped up to the occasion to take his side over the line.

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MUMBAI

Back against the ball, left-handed batsman David Miller produced a 62-run knock and it was followed by Chris Morris’ cameo of 36 runs off just 18 balls as Rajasthan Royals defeated Delhi Capitals by three wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Thursday here at the Wankhede Stadium.

Miller played a knock of 62 runs. The left-handed batter came out to bat with the score at 17/3, and he guided Rajasthan’s innings. And with 27 needed off the final two overs, Morris stepped up to the occasion to take his side over the line with two balls to spare. With this win, Rajasthan has registered their first victory in this edition of the IPL. Chasing 148, Rajasthan did not get off to an ideal start as the side lost its opening batters Manan Vohra (9) and Jos Buttler (2) in the third over of the innings. Chris Woakes provided the first two breakthroughs to Delhi. In the very next over, Kagiso Rabada dismissed Sanju Samson (4), leaving Rajasthan in a spot of bother at 17/3.

Shivam Dube and David Miller put on a 19-run stand for the fourth wicket, but Avesh Khan cut short the partnership in the eighth over as he dismissed the left-handed Dube (2). Avesh caused further trouble as he sent Riyan Parag (2) back to the pavilion, reducing Rajasthan to 42/5 in the 10th over. Rahul Tewatia then joined Miller in the middle and the partnership between these two batters saw Miller taking the mantle and accelerating the innings.

Miller and Tewatia put on 48 runs for the sixth wicket, but as soon as Rajasthan started getting on course for a win, Delhi stormed right back as Rabada sent Tewatia (19) back to the pavilion. Miller went on to register his half-century and he even dispatch Avesh for two consecutive sixes, but in looking for a third, he ended up losing his wicket in the 16th over after playing a knock of 62 runs.

With 27 needed off the final two overs, Morris first smashed Rabada for 15 runs in the penultimate over, and with 12 needed off the final over, Morris and Jaydev Unadkat managed to guide Rajasthan over the line by three wickets.

Earlier, an inspired bowling performance by Jaydev Unadkat, Chris Morris, and Mustafizur Rahman helped Rajasthan Royals restrict Delhi Capitals to 147/8. Delhi kept on losing wickets at regular intervals, and although skipper Rishabh Pant played a knock of 51, Delhi would have been hoping for a big partnership from skipper Rishabh Pant and Marcus Stoinis, but this was not to be the case as Mustafizur Rahman had Stoinis (0) fooled by a slower delivery in the seventh over, and as a result, Delhi was reduced to 37/4.

Lalit Yadav and Rishabh Pant then got together at the crease and the duo revived the innings for Delhi by stitching a partnership of 51 runs for the fifth wicket, and this saw skipper Pant going past his 50-run mark. However, as soon as Delhi’s innings started to come on track, Pant (51) was sent back to the pavilion via a run-out. Soon after, Lalit Yadav (20) was dismissed by Chris Morris, reducing Delhi to 100/6 in the 15th over. In the final overs, Tom Curran (21), Ravichandran Ashwin (7), and Chris Woakes (15*) added some crucial runs to the total and as a result, Delhi Capitals posted a total of more than the 140-run mark.

Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 147/8 (Rishabh Pant 51, Tom Curran 21, Jaydev Unadkat 3-15); Rajasthan Royals 150/7 (David Miller 62, Chris Morris 36*, Avesh Khan 3-32).

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ZIMBABWE’S HEATH STREAK BANNED FOR EIGHT YEARS UNDER ICC ANTI-CORRUPTION CODE

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Former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak on Wednesday was banned from all cricket for eight years after he accepted five charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

Streak was charged as a participant under the Code by virtue of his status as the coach of Zimbabwe from 2016 to 2018 and as the coach of various domestic teams. The charges are as follows: 2.3.2 – disclosing inside information under both the ICC Code and various domestic Codes, in circumstances where he knew or should have known that such information may be used for betting purposes. In particular, he disclosed inside information in relation to matches in the 2018 Tri-Series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, the Zimbabwe versus Afghanistan series in 2018, the IPL 2018, and the APL 2018.

2.3.3 – directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging, or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach the Code. In particular, he facilitated or attempted to facilitate the introduction of four different players, including a national captain, to someone he knew, or should have known, may have wanted to approach them to provide inside information for betting purposes.

Under the provisions of the Code, Streak chose to admit the charges and agreed with the sanction with the ICC in lieu of an Anti-Corruption Tribunal hearing. He will be free to resume his involvement in the game on March 28, 2029.

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BABAR AZAM ENDS KING KOHLI’S REIGN AT TOP OF ODI BATTING CHART

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam has ended Virat Kohli’s long reign at the top of the ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings, becoming only the fourth batsman from his country to attain the number one position in the latest update released on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old’s player of the match effort of an 82-ball 94 in the last match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League series against South Africa in Centurion has helped him gain 13 rating points to reach 865 points and he now leads the Indian captain by eight points. Babar, a star of the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cups in 2010 and 2012 and who has been playing ODIs since 2015, had started the series against South Africa at 837 rating points but moved up to 858 (ahead of Kohli) after his score of 103 in the first match. He dropped to 852 by the time of the last weekly rankings update with a score of 32 in the second ODI.

By ending Kohli’s 1,258 day-supremacy, Babar has emulated compatriots Zaheer Abbas (1983-84), Javed Miandad (1988-89), and Mohammad Yousuf (2003) as the number one ODI batsman. In Tests, Babar has attained a best of fifth position and is currently ranked sixth while in T20Is he is third but has been number one in the past.

Left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman is another Pakistan batsman to move up the ODI batting charts, gaining five slots to reach a career-best seventh position after his knock of 101 while left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi gained four places to a career-best 11th place and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz moved up 29 places to 96th, have progressed thanks to their three-wicket hauls in the match.

For South Africa, all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo has gained 11 slots to reach 83rd position after notching a half-century while captain Temba Bavuma has progressed from 88th to 86th place.

In the ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings, Mohammad Rizwan’s unbeaten 74 in the first match of their series against South Africa has helped him jump 24 places to 23rd position while Nawaz (up 36 places to 28), Hasan Ali (up 22 places to 62nd) and Usman Qadir (up 24 places to 68th) have moved up in the bowlers’ list.

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BABAR, RIZWAN SCRIPT PAK’S HIGHEST SUCCESSFUL T20I RUN CHASE

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CENTURION : Babar Azam’s stunning century and Mohammad Rizwan’s classy fifty helped Pakistan complete their highest successful T20I run-chase with 12 balls to spare against South Africa in the third game here on Wednesday.

Pakistan defeated South Africa by nine wickets to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match T20I series. The visiting captain struck 122 off just 59 balls (15 fours, 4 sixes) and shared a record 197-run opening partnership with vice-captain Rizwan, who ended unbeaten on 73 off 47 balls (5 fours, 2 sixes), as the tourists chased down 204 with two overs to spare.

Earlier, half-centuries by the in-form Aiden Markram (63 off 31 balls, 6 fours, 4 sixes) and Janneman Malan (55 off 40 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes) provided South Africa with a strong start that put them on course for well beyond 200, before they tailed off slightly at the end.

And Pakistan then made merry at a venue they have not lost at so far on their tour, securing a key win that meant they now cannot lose the series with just one match to come on Friday.

The Asian side won the toss and opted to field first, but that looked a wrong call as Markram and Malan both flew out of the blocks.

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