NZ vs Ban: Tamim Iqbal opts out of T20I series - The Daily Guardian
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NZ vs Ban: Tamim Iqbal opts out of T20I series

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Auckland [New Zealand], March 18 (ANI): Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal has opted out of the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand due to personal reasons.
Iqbal, who is the ODI skipper, said that he had conveyed his decision earlier to coach Russell Domingo and the selection committee led by Minhajul Abedin.
“Before coming to New Zealand, I had informed the head coach and chief selector that I won’t be available for the T20I series,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Iqbal as saying.
“It is for personal reasons. My best wishes are with the team. When the coach said that we have an opportunity to do well here, it includes the T20Is as well,” he added.
Bangladesh is yet to name its T20 squad for the series against the Kiwis. The T20I side is led by Mahmudullah and most likely the squad will come out during the ODI series.
Bangladesh and New Zealand will be locking horns in the three-match ODI series, beginning Saturday and it will conclude on March 26.
After that, both teams will shift their attention to the shortest format as they will lock horns in the three-match T20I series.
The first T20I will be played on March 28, while the other two will go ahead on March 30 and April 1.
Tamim Iqbal is Bangladesh’s leading run-getter in the shortest format and he is their only centurion in T20I cricket and the left-handed batsman also has eight fifties to his name.
Bangladesh had last played a T20I against Zimbabwe last year, and the three-match series against New Zealand will be their first chance since then to prepare for the T20 World Cup scheduled to be played in India this year. (ANI)

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Samson’s blitzkrieg goes in vain as Punjab Kings clinch the cliffhanger

K.L. Rahul’s knock, aided by Deepak Hooda’s belligerent hitting, helped Punjab Kings post 221 in the allotted 20 overs. In response, Rajasthan Royals fell just five runs short of the target.

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Sanju Samson’s fighting hundred went in vain as Arshdeep Singh held his nerves in the final over to help Punjab Kings register a thrilling win over Rajasthan Royals here at the Wankhede on Monday.

Punjab Kings squad celebrating a dismissal.Sanju Samson, the losing captain, of Rajasthan Royals, was given man of the match for scoring 119 runs off 63 balls.

KL Rahul’s calm and composed knock, aided by Deepak Hooda’s belligerent hitting, helped Punjab Kings post 221 in the allotted 20 overs. In response, Rajasthan Royals fell just five runs short of the target to clinch the game. With Ben Stokes back in the hut, Jos Buttler and Samson had revived Rajasthan Royals’ innings before the English batsman lost the plot and got out in the eighth over.

However, Samson and Riyan Parag didn’t give up and kept fighting as the duo smashed 13 and 20 runs in the 15th and 16th over. Samson took on Richardson and whacked him for 19 runs in the 18th over as the equation came down to 21 off two overs.

Samson, who smashed 119 off 63 balls, kept fighting till the end but wasn’t able to get the job done for the Royals as Punjab Kings clinched a thriller on the last ball. The wicket-keeper batsman had also refused a run to remain at a strike when Rajasthan Royals needed 5 off 2 balls.

Chasing a mammoth 222, Rajasthan Royals suffered an early jolt as they lost star all-rounder Ben Stokes in the first over. Manan Vohra tried to revive the innings with a six and a four but eventually got out in an attempt to slog every ball.

However, Jos Buttler was in some other mood as the wicket-keeper started firing right from the word go. The English batsman creamed four consecutive fours in Australian pacer Riley Meredith’s first over in the IPL.

Despite a few initial blips, Rajasthan Royals went past 50 in quick time. With runs flowing from both ends, the Sanju Samson-led side scored 59 runs after the completion of powerplay.

But Jhye Richardson’s slower yorker did the trick for the Punjab Kings as Buttler was cleaned up in the eighth over to reduced Rajasthan Royals to 70/3. With the ever-mounting required rate, Samson decided to switch gears, but finally team fell five runs short and succumbed to the battle.

Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 221/6 (Rahul 91, Hooda 64, Sakariya 3-31); Rajasthan Royals 217/7 (Samson 119, Riyan Parag 25; Arshdeep Singh 3-35 )

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Very unhappy about referee’s two decisions: Barca coach Koeman

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Real Madrid held on to earn a narrow 2-1 El Clasico win over Barcelona on Sunday and go top of the La Liga charts on Saturday. Karim Benzema broke the deadlock in the 13th minute with his ninth goal in seven league games, finishing Lucas Vazquez’s cross with a back heel nudge.

Madrid doubled the lead before the half-hour mark when Toni Kroos’ freekick deflected against Sergino Dest’s back and flew past Jordi Alba on the line, reports DPA.

Barcelona fought back in the second half in torrential rain, with Oscar Mingueza pulling one back from close range. Substitute Ilaix Moriba almost equalised in stoppage time but hit the crossbar.

Atletico Madrid travel to face Real Betis later on Sunday and could go back top with a point. They are currently level with Real on 66, while Barcelona are third on 65.

Barcelona complained of two penalty decisions they were not given, with Ferland Mendy clashing with Ousmane Dembele and later Martin Braithwaite in the area.

“I think everyone saw the game, if you’re a Barcelona fan you’re furious, very unhappy about the two refereeing decisions,” said an angry Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman.

“In the first half we were not good in attack or defence, in the second we improved. It’s a very clear penalty, once more we have to shut up and accept it.”

The Barcelona coach later walked out of a pitch-side interview after a reporter did not answer his question about whether his team should have been given a penalty.

Neither incident was clear cut, and Madrid could have put the game to bed in the first half when Fede Valverde hit the post with the score already at 2-0.

“I’m happy for (the players), we made a lot of subs today, we suffered but nothing changed,” said Real manager Zidane. “They are all committed, and they want to play and that’s the good thing. We have to enjoy today and the other day,” he said, referring to the team’s defeat of Liverpool in the Champions League.

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PSL 6 TO RESUME ON 1 JUNE, FINAL ON 20 JUNE

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The Board of Governors (BoG) of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) met through a virtual conference call and the board received a presentation and an update on the report of the two-person fact-finding panel that was set-up by the PCB chairman to review the bio-security protocols, bylaws, and arrangements for the Pakistan Super League.

The presentation was given in order to help them make recommendations on how to better ensure the implementation of a bio-secure environment for future events. The BoG discussed and debated the panel’s findings in detail. They expressed their disappointment at the failures that were highlighted in the report and advised remedial actions needed to be taken. The BoG also endorsed all recommendations of the fact-finding panel, including robust and stringent implementation of the protocols, as well as maintaining a zero-tolerance approach towards all those who breach the Covid-19 SOPs, which are put in place for safeguarding the health and safety of all participants.

The BoG was informed that as part of the strategy to ensure the PSL 6 resumed and completed in a safe and secure environment, the PCB was in the final stages of appointing a globally recognised safety management company that specialises in providing Covid-safe technology solutions, bio-secure monitoring & management, as well as response and reaction to positive tests.

The members were informed that a mandatory seven-day quarantine period for all participants will commence from May 22 in one hotel and following three days of training sessions, PSL matches will resume on June 1 with the final scheduled for June 20.

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Will Morris, Stokes help RR to vanquish Punjab Kings?

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Indian Premier League’s (IPL) most expensive player of all time Chris Morris will be on display and facing a huge challenge when Rajasthan Royals (RR) take on Punjab Kings in their opening encounter of this season on Monday.

With Jofra Archer missing from at least the first part of the IPL season due to injury, Morris will have to shoulder the responsibility of being his team’s frontline bowler as RR will look to stall the power-packed batting of Punjab Kings.

RR’s biggest problem is the lack of support to overseas pace bowlers. Last year, Archer failed to get any support from others as only spinners did well. This time though Morris should have the support of pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman.

However, whether Rahman finds a place in the playing XI remains to be seen. With batsman Jos Buttler, all-rounder Ben Stokes and Morris a certainty, RR will be hard-pressed to pick between Rahman, a fast bowler, or other big-hitting overseas batsmen like Liam Livingstone or David Miller.

“Sanju (Samson) and I will both agree that it’s a big blow for us. Jofra is a very vital part of our make-up and not to have him is unfortunately the reality of it. We have to work around it and plan contingencies,” Kumar Sangakkara, the Rajasthan Royals director of cricket, told media in an interaction on Sunday afternoon.

With the Mumbai wicket being batting-friendly, it is likely that RR will go in with Rahman who is known to bring variations with his cutters and can extract something from the pitch.

Punjab Kings batsman KL Rahul, who was the Orange Cap winner last year, had an indifferent run in recent times at international level. But he and Mayank Agarwal could again be the backbone of Punjab franchise’s batting.

It will also be interesting to see how Punjab balance their overseas quota of four players. They will play West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran but whether they will play Dawid Malan, the top ranked batsman in T20 Internationals, or not remains to be seen.

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TOKYO QUALIFIERS: WRESTLERS BRING LAURELS TO INDIA

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Indian female wrestlers Anshu Malik and Sonam Malik on Saturday made the country proud as they booked spots for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in the 57kg and 62kg category respectively.

At the same time, in the 77 kg Greco-Roman style wrestling, Gurpreet Singh, despite defeating the former Olympic champion, could not succeed to get an Olympic ticket. Although India won several medals in this Asian qualifying competition, it was necessary to at least reach the final for qualifying for Tokyo mega event. Many Indian wrestlers, including Gurpreet, lost in the semi-finals, losing their penultimate chance. Nevertheless, the last Olympic qualifying competition will take place in Sofia (a city in Bulgaria) from 6th to 9th May.

Once Anshu and Sonam were rivals at the school level. Sonam decided to participate in the above weight category. Sonam’s qualification means that Rio Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik will not be able to participate in the Olympics this time as WFI only permits those wrestlers to the Olympics who win the Olympic quota.

This time in the semi-finals, she faced Ayaulym Kassymova of Kazakhstan who won the silver medal in the Asian Championship in New Delhi last year. Sonam defeated Ayaulym 9-6 to fulfill her dream of participating in the Olympics. Similarly, 19-year-old Anshu’s dominant display against Uzbekistan’s Akhmedova in the semi-final enabled her to seal a spot for the Olympics.

Earlier, Sonam defeated Taipei’s Hin Ping Pai with technical superiority and defeated China’s emerging Jia Long by 5–0.

Anshu Malik competed in 57 kg and topped the trials first and then won the wrestling based on technical superiority against the wrestlers from Korea, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. In the final, she lost to Mongolia’s Khongorzul BoldsaiKhan 4-7 who was the gold medalist of the Asian Under-23 Championship.

In the Greco-Roman-style wrestling, Gyanendra, Ashu, Gurpreet Singh, Sunil, and Naveen lost in the semi-finals. Winning this competition meant qualifying for the Olympics. Similarly, in the freestyle, Sandeep Mann, Satyavrat Kadian, and Sumit lost their semi-finals, with their hopes being exhausted.

Thus so far, six Indians have qualified for the Olympics: Ravi, Bajrang, Deepak Poonia in the freestyle, and Vinesh, Anshu Malik, and Sonam in the women’s category. Now, this is the last opportunity for our wrestlers at World Olympic qualifying in Sofia (Bulgaria) from 6th to 9th May. It will now be interesting to see if the participation of Indian wrestlers will be able to surpass the number seven of Rio.

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Morgan’s XI defeat SunRisers by 10 runs

Kolkata Knight Riders, after posting a total of 187/6 in the allotted twenty overs, managed to restrict SRH to 177/5. SRH skipper David Warner said that poor bowling and losing early wickets ended up costing them the match.

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Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi’s knocks of 80 and 53 were backed by a spirited bowling performance as Kolkata Knight Riders triumphed over SunRisers Hyderabad by 10 runs on Sunday here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

KKR first posted a total of 187/6 in the allotted twenty overs and then the bowlers managed to restrict SRH to 177/5. For Eoin Morgan’s side, Prasidh Krishna managed to take two wickets. For SRH, Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey played knocks of 55 and 61 respectively. Chasing 188, SRH got off to a bad start as the side lost its skipper David Warner (3) in the second over of the innings. Prasidh Krishna provided the first breakthrough to KKR. In the very next over, Shakib Al Hasan clean bowled Wriddhiman Saha (7), reducing SRH to 10/2.

Pandey and Bairstow then got together at the crease and the duo revived SRH’s innings as both batters put on 92 runs for the third wicket. The partnership between these two batters saw Bairstow registering a half-century. However, the introduction of Pat Cummins in the 13th over, paid off as he got the prized scalp of Bairstow (55), with SRH still needing 86 runs for the win.

In trying to hit big shots, Mohammad Nabi (14) also ended up losing his wicket to Prasidh in the 16th over and hopes of an SRH win relied heavily on Pandey. Vijay Shankar (11) also did not manage to stay at the crease for a long haul, but Abdul Samad hit Pat Cummins for two sixes in the penultimate over to revive SRH’s hopes of a win. However, in the end, KKR managed to hang on to gain a 10-run victory.

Earlier, Rana and Tripathi played knocks of 80 and 53 respectively as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) posted a total of 187/6 in the allotted twenty overs. Asked to bat first, KKR got off to a solid start as openers Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill put on 50 runs in the first six overs. Rana took on the aggressive role and he dispatched all the SRH bowlers for regular boundaries, while Gill played the second fiddle.

The introduction of Rashid Khan paid off instantly as he clean bowled Gill (15) in the seventh over of the innings, ending the 53-run opening stand between Gill and Rana. Rahul Tripathi next joined Rana in the middle and the duo kept on ticking the scoreboard along. In the 10th over, Rana dispatched a short ball bowled by Vijay Shankar and as a result, he brought up his fifty.

Rana and Tripathi continued with their carnage and they started the onslaught from the 11th over of the innings. Tripathi went on to register his half-century in the 15th over of the innings and KKR looked set for a big total after being 145/1 at the end of the 15th over. However, in trying to further accelerate the innings, Tripathi (53) ended up losing his wicket to Natarajan in the 16th over, ending the 93-run stand for the second wicket.

Andre Russell (5) failed to leave a mark with the bat as he was dismissed by Rashid Khan and in the very next over, Rana (80) and Eoin Morgan (2) were sent back to the pavilion by Mohammed Nabi as SRH maintained a stranglehold over the KKR batters in the death overs. In the final two overs, Dinesh Karthik (22*) and Shakib (3) managed to add a few crucial runs and KKR’s total got beyond the 185-run mark.

Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 187/6 (Nitish Rana 80, Rahul Tripathi 53, Rashid Khan 2-24); SunRisers Hyderabad 177/5 (Manish Pandey 61*, Jonny Bairstow 55, Prasidh Krishna 2-35).

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