ISL 7: First of four finals for SC East Bengal against Hyderabad - The Daily Guardian
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ISL 7: First of four finals for SC East Bengal against Hyderabad

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Goa [India], February 11 (ANI): SC East Bengal have had a stop-start debut campaign in the Indian Super League (ISL). They’ve spent most of the season near the bottom of the table. Despite that, it’s not all over for them, a win against fourth-placed Hyderabad FC at the Tilak Maidan on Friday will take them to within four points of their opponents with three games left. The first of four finals for them starts tomorrow.
SCEB have 16 points from 16 games. They would still need favors from other teams to dent the chances of NorthEast United FC, Hyderabad and FC Goa – who are all tied on 23 points with 16 games played — but it is not out of the question. They face ATK Mohun Bagan, NorthEast and Odisha FC in their last three games. But for assistant coach Tony Grant, Friday’s test may be the toughest one yet. “I rate them higher than most of the other clubs. They are better than the last two years and they got some good players. It’s going to be a tough game. They are few points ahead of us so they have got more to try and hold on to,” he said.
But to get anything out of the match, SCEB will have to be at their best in the final third. They have scored the lowest number of goals from open play (7) and talisman Bright Enobakhare has faded after a bright start. There is every chance the match will be decided in the second half — Hyderabad have scored 75 percent of their goals in the second half while SCEB have conceded 14 out of 21 goals in the same period.
East Bengal had their finest game against Jamshedpur FC with the entire squad putting on a good display. Grant maintained that he prefers to start with a similar eleven but wasn’t sure if that was the best 11. “We can’t play the same 11. We played really well. We would like to play the same team but whether we have any knocks or inquiries, we will find out later,” Grant said.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad coach Manuel Marquez, who has just extended his contract with the team, knows that a win will be a giant step towards making the playoffs. His team is on an eight-match unbeaten run and will look to continue their good form.
“It’s a tough game. I think that they have changed a lot of players. But we will try to win. (If) we win all the games, we will be in the top four. The end is close. We need to take it game by game and win points,” he said. (ANI)

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Yusuf Pathan, Sanath Jayasuriya to feature in Road Safety World Series

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Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], February 27 (ANI): All-rounder Yusuf Pathan, wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha and pacer Vinay Kumar will feature in the India Legends team in the upcoming Road Safety World Series scheduled to start at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium in Raipur from March 5.
While Yusuf and Vinay announced their retirement from cricket on Friday, Naman had hung up his boots earlier this month. Vinay played one Test, 31 ODIs, and 9 T20Is for India while Yusuf featured in 57 ODIs, 22 T20Is, and was a part of the 2007 T20 World Cup-winning squad and the 2011 50-over World Cup squad.
On the other hand, Naman had made his international debut for India in 2010, but he played just one ODI for the Men in Blue. In the same year, Ojha went on to play his first T20I for India.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Legends have also included Sanath Jayasuriya, Russel Arnold, and Upul Tharanga in their team led by Tillakaratne Dilshan.
India Legends play their first match against Bangladesh Legends on March 5 and Sri Lanka Legends start their campaign against West Indies Legends on March 6.
England legends will open their account against Bangladesh on March 7 while India will take on the English side in their second match on March 9
The semi-finals of the tournament is slated for March 17 and 19 while the final will be held on March 21. All the matches will start at 7:00 p.m.
The Road Safety World Series is an initiative by Road Safety Cell of Maharashtra in association with Professional Management Group (PMG) spearheaded by Sunil Gavaskar as the Commissioner of the Series and Sachin Tendulkar is the brand ambassador of the league.
Education technology platform Unacademy is the title sponsor and Viacom18 is the broadcast partner of the league.
The first edition of the series had to be called off after four games on March 11 last year due to the Covid-19 situation worldwide. (ANI)

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India name ODI and T20I squad for series against South Africa women

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], February 27 (ANI): The All-India women’s selection committee on Saturday announced the squads for the upcoming ODI and T20I series against South Africa.
India and South Africa will lock horns in a five-match ODI series before they face each other in three T20Is in March. The ODI series will begin from March 7 while the T20I series will be played from March 20 at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
Ekta Bisht, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia, and Shikha Pandey aren’t part of the squad while C. Pratyusha, Yastika Bhatia, Ayushi Soni, Swetha Verma, Monica Patel, and Simran Dil Bahadur have earned their maiden call-ups.
Veteran cricketer Mithali Raj will lead India in the ODIs while star batter Harmanpreet Kaur will captain the hosts in the T20I series against South Africa.
While Sushma Verma has been picked up as the wicket-keeper for both the series, Swetha and Nuzhat Parveen will give her company in ODIs and T20Is respectively.
Team India will undergo a full fledge training session on March 6 before they play their first international match after almost a year. While there is a gap between all the ODIs, the first two T20Is will be played on consecutive days.
The Indian women’s cricket team last played cricket during the Women’s T20 Challenge in November 2020 while their last international match was on March 8, 2020, when they faced Australia in the T20 World Cup final.
Australia defeated India in the final of the mega event to secure a fifth title on home soil. The hosts beat India by 85 runs at the MCG on the back of Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney’s sensational batting performances.
India Women’s ODI squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), D. Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma (wicket-keeper), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C. Prathyusha, Monica Patel
India Women’s T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Harleen Deol, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Nuzhat Parveen (wicket-keeper), Ayushi Soni, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Mansi Joshi, Monica Patel, C. Prathyusha, Simran Dil Bahadur (ANI)

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PSL 6: Sandeep Lamichanne replaces Rashid Khan in Lahore Qalandars’ squad

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Karachi [Pakistan], February 27 (ANI): Nepal spinner Sandeep Lamichanne has been named as the replacement for Afghanistan bowler Rashid Khan in the Lahore Qalandars squad for the ongoing sixth season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Sandeep, the 20-year-old leg-spinner from Nepal, made his PSL debut in the 2019 edition and played seven matches for Lahore Qalandars.
Rashid had to depart after featuring in two matches against Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi as he was called up for national duty. Qalandars won the games by four and nine wickets respectively.
“Sandeep Lamichanne will be in Lahore Qalandars colours once again as he has been drafted in the 2020 edition’s runners-up’s squad as a replacement for Rashid Khan,” read an official statement from PSL.
Last week, Rashid was named in Afghanistan’s squad for the two-match Test series against Zimbabwe which gets underway from Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Lamichanne will be available to Qalandars for the entire season. The Sohail Akhtar-led side got off to good start with wins in the first two games.
However, the Qalandars lost the third game after half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Sohaib Maqsood guided Multan Sultans to a comfortable seven-wicket on Friday.
Sultans surmounted the 158-run target with 22 balls spare as Rizwan, who posted his second half-century and became the leading run-getter of the season, scored a breezy 49-ball 76, studded with 12 fours, and Sohaib hammered 61 not out off 41 balls.
Lahore Qalandars will next lock horns with Karachi Kings on Sunday. (ANI)

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Vijay Hazare Trophy: Shreyas Iyer slams ton as Mumbai amass 317/7 against Rajasthan

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Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], February 27 (ANI): In-form Mumbai skipper Shreyas Iyer continued to pile the agony on opposition bowlers as he slammed his second consecutive century in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy against Rajasthan on Saturday.
Shreyas smashed 11 fours and three sixes on his way to a 103-ball 116 to power Mumbai to a total of 317 in the allotted 50 overs. Following his not-so-good outing in Australia, Shreyas has ensured he makes the most of the Vijay Hazare games to get into the groove ahead of the T20I series against England.
During the Australia tour last year, Shreyas wasn’t able to live up to expectations with his scores of two, 38, and 19 in the three ODIs. While he scored 12 runs off five in the second T20I, the right-handed batsman was back in the hut for a golden duck in the final white-ball match against the Aussies.
Earlier this week, Shreyas had smashed a match-winning hundred to power Mumbai to a six-wicket win over Maharashtra. The Mumbai batsmen have been on a roll and opener Prithvi Shaw also hit a double ton in the game against Puducherry as the team amassed a mammoth 457/4.
Last week, Ishan Kishan smashed 173 runs in just 94 balls against Madhya Pradesh. Ishan whacked five sixes and 12 fours to bring up 102 runs in just 74 balls before unleashing the beast within himself. In the last 20 balls he faced, the Jharkhand skipper slammed 71 runs.
On the same day, Ishan earned a maiden national call-up when he was named in India’s T20 squad for the England series. With Ishan and Suryakumar Yadav both looking in form in the Vijay Hazare trophy, it will be interesting to see who will get a nod in the playing XI for the T20I series against England.
In another match between Maharashtra and Delhi, out of favour batsman, Kedar Jadhav impressed with his knock of 86 runs in 81 balls. Jadhav’s form had come under the scanner and he was dropped from Chennai Super Kings (CSK) playing XI after a poor show with the bat in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The right-handed batsman was then released from the CSK squad ahead of the auction and has now been picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for IPL 2021. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Jasprit Bumrah released from squad for fourth Test

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], February 27 (ANI): India pacer Jasprit Bumrah has been released from the squad and will not be available for the selection for the fourth and final Test against England which gets underway from March 4 at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Bumrah had made a request to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to be released from the squad owing to personal reasons. The BCCI also informed that there will no replacement named for Bumrah.
“Jasprit Bumrah made a request to BCCI to be released from India’s squad ahead of the fourth Test owing to personal reasons. Accordingly, the fast bowler has been released and he will not be available for selection for the fourth Test,” the BCCI said in an official statement on Saturday.
India’s squad for the 4th Test: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Md. Siraj, Umesh Yadav
India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.
England, who are now 2-1 down in the four-match series, are out of the race for a place in the final of the ICC World Test Championship.
England has dropped to 64.1 percentage points on the points table, which is now led by India with 71 percentage points. New Zealand is assured of a place in the final with 70 percentage points.
India needs to either win or draw the last Test to stay ahead of Australia, who are in third place with 69.2 percentage points. (ANI)

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Pitch debate: Rank turner the issue or inability of modern batsmen to play on spinning tracks

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By Vishesh Roy
New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): When the four-match series between India and England started, cricket fans were expecting to be enthralled by the quality of cricket on display. While the contests have been entertaining, the pitches on offer have also hogged quite a bit of limelight.
If comments were made by critics during the second Test in Chennai, things have taken an altogether different turn after the third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad ended in two days.
The Virat Kohli-led side defeated England comprehensively — by ten wickets — in the third Test which was played with the pink ball. However, many cricket pundits have questioned the quality of pitch on the show. Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh went on to say that if these types of wickets were created when Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were playing, they would have finished with 1000 and 800 wickets respectively.
But one cannot forget the spell from Australia batsman Michael Clarke when he picked six wickets while giving away just nine runs at the Mumbai Test in 2004. Murali Kartik and Harbhajan returned the favour as they picked 8 wickets to see Australia bundle out for 93. So are these type of wickets really new?
Most of the former English cricketers like Alistair Cook, Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss have questioned India’s need to produce such rank turners. But again the question remains if rank turners really reduce the contest between bat and ball or is it the batsmen who are losing their ability to play the turning ball and making spinning tracks look unplayable?
If green tops require a certain skill set, then the rank-turners also require the same. Which ball turns and which one goes straight is a simple question in cricketing books and all the batters prepare for it from the very start when they go to coaching schools or academies. But it is about putting those hours of training into play at the crease.
When playing on turning tracks, batters are required to be confident about their footwork. But looking at all the dismissals in the third Test, most of them saw batters in two minds on whether they should stay on the frontfoot or go back to the balls which mostly skidded through after pitching.
This is a fact that even Sunil Gavaskar spoke about during his commentary stint. Most of the English batsmen were caught pressing forward and as a result, they were either bowled or caught plumb in front of the wicket.
When one looks at the third Test once again, they will notice that only a handful of the deliveries were turning sharply and there was nothing that kicked up at an alarming rate. The pitch also did not offer invariable bounce and the batters were able to leave the ball on length.
If anything, the pink-ball has extra lacquer on it, and that may have made the ball skid on more. And this is a point which was highlighted by Rohit Sharma and Joe Root after the third Test came to an end.
These types of challenging wickets do require batters to think on their feet and as former India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin suggested, the batsmen can look to play with rubber soles on dry-turning wickets rather than wearing spikes.
One needs to ask why does it seem like the world comes to an end when there is a little bit of assistance for the spinners from day one of a Test match? Nothing in the rule book restricts the degree of turn that a pitch is allowed to take. But no sooner does a sub-continent wicket take a bit of turn, eyebrows are raised — mostly unnecessary.
England skipper Joe Root did not openly criticise the pitch, but he did say: “If I am getting a fifer, it pretty much sums up the pitch.”
One doesn’t need to be a genius to read between the lines and understand what Root truly opines about the pitch. But credit to the current England management that none have come out openly to use the pitch as an excuse for the loss.
Kohli suggested that the batting from both sides was not up to the mark in the third Test and he went on to give a clean chit to the 22 yards on offer. It is safe to say that Kohli is not entirely wrong.
Even, Rohit Sharma suggested that the pitch was good to bat on and there were no demons. The right-handed opener hit 66 runs in the first innings and he did not look in any sort of trouble in the second as he smashed boundaries at will to take India home in style while chasing 49.
In fact, England opening batsman Zak Crawley also scored a fifty in the first innings and he looked quite comfortable at the crease. Man of the Match Axar Patel has made it clear that he wouldn’t mind the same wicket for the fourth Test.
Now, it would be interesting to see what type of pitch is on offer in the fourth Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium. The ICC rule book clearly states that a pitch can be deemed ‘poor’ if the match referee decides that the pitch is offering excessive turn from day one of a Test and the contest between bat and ball is not fair. But as Virat Kohli pointed out, 21 of the 30 wickets fell to straight deliveries in the day-night Test. (ANI)

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