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SRH look to continue winning streak versus shaky RCB

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With three back-to-back wins, a confident SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) will be looking to march ahead in the Indian Premier league (IPL) when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Eliminator at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Friday. Bangalore have suffered four consecutive defeats and the Virat Kohli-led side last tasted a victory against Kolkata Knight Riders nearly two weeks ago. However, RCB still managed to enter the playoffs, thanks to their first-half performances and the different permutations and combinations that went their way.

 On Friday, Kohli and Co. will, however, face a must-win situation as another defeat will end their campaign. Young open- er Josh Philippe (78 in 5 matches) is yet to score big after get- ting starts in the last few matches. RCB may also decide to bring back Aaron Finch at the top order to partner Devdutt Padikkal (472 in 14 matches) who has been brilliant so far at the top of the order. Kohli (460 in 14 matches), whose strike-rate has been under scanner in recent times, will have the responsibility to build the innings with AB de Villiers (398 in 14 matches) in the middle-order. Chris Morris and Shivam Dube will need to escalate the run-rate with fireworks down the order. 

Pacer Navdeep Saini (6 wickets in 12 matches), who missed the last match due to a split webbing, will likely return in the big game. Saini along with Mohammed Siraj (9 wickets in 8 matches), Isuru Udana (8 wickets in 10 matches) and all- rounder Mor- ris (11 wickets in 9 matches) will have the responsibility to jolt the in-form SRH top-order. Yuzvendra Chahal (20 from 14) will again be RCB’s go-to man and would hope some quality support from Washington Sundar. On the other hand, SRH would be high on confidence after their magnificent 10-wicket over Mumbai Indians in their last game. The Warner-led side, however, should be aware of the fact that MI were without the services of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, who were rested in the game. 

The SRH top-order, comprising Warner (529 in 14 matches) and Wriddhiman Saha (214 in 4 matches), has been the major reason behind their success. Manish Pandey (380 in 14 matches) and Kane Williamson (200 in 10 matches) will have the onus to strengthen the innings in the middle-order while Priyam Garg and all-rounder Jason Holder (31 runs, 10 wickets) should build on the momentum.

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Wouldn’t have done that: Warner on playing Tests against India with injury

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Sydney [Australia], March 3 (ANI): Australia opener David Warner admitted that he “would not have” played with the injury in the Test series against India which extended his return back to the field.
Warner had played the last two Tests against India while still being hampered by the groin injury he sustained in the ODI series at the end of November 2020.
“I made the call to play those Test matches, felt like I needed to be out there and help the guys. Looking back in hindsight I probably wouldn’t have done that, where I am with the injury it put me back a little bit,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Warner as saying.
“If I’m thinking about myself I probably would have said no, but I did what I felt was best for the team and me being out there opening the batting was I felt the best thing for the team,” he added.
On Tuesday, Warner was named in New South Wales’ (NSW) squad for the upcoming Marsh ODI Cup match against South Australia.
The opening batsman will be returning to cricket for the NSW Blues on Thursday after six weeks recovering from a groin injury.
Warner will be taking the place of Daniel Hughes, who has a shoulder complaint, while Nick Larkin comes in for Steve Smith, who is still rehabbing his elbow injury.
Pat Cummins will again captain the One Day Cup squad that won their season opener against Victoria at North Sydney Oval last month by 59 runs. (ANI)

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Pele gets Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil, urges people to maintain social distancing

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Brasilia [Brazil], March 3 (ANI): Brazilian football legend Pele has got himself vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine and has urged people to adhere to social distancing norms.
On Tuesday local time, Pele took to Instagram to post a picture of him receiving the vaccine jab.
“Today is an unforgettable day – I received the vaccine! The pandemic is not over yet. We must keep the discipline to preserve lives until many people have taken the vaccine. Please continue to wash your hands and stay home if possible,” Pele wrote as the caption.
“When you go out please don’t forget your mask and maintain social distance. This will pass if we can think of others and help each other,” he added.
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As per John Hopkins University, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Brazil currently stands at 10,646,926 while 2,57,361 people have lost their lives in the country due to the deadly disease.
Pele is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and he was also labelled “the greatest” by FIFA. The former Brazilian star was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century.
During his playing days, Pele was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century.
The same year, Pele was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. Pele registered a total of 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, and this is a Guinness World Record. (ANI)

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NZ vs Aus: Santner ruled out of 3rd T20I, Milne joins as cover

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 3 (ANI): Ahead of the third T20I against Australia, New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner has been ruled out of Wednesday’s clash after “waking up this morning with a head-cold”.
“He is self-isolating as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of a COVID test,” New Zealand Cricket said in a statement.
“Wellington-based Adam Milne will join the team for today’s match at Sky Stadium as squad cover,” it added.
Santner returned with the figures of 4-31 in the second T20I that New Zealand won by four runs.
Hosts are currently leading the five-match series 2-0 after outclassing Aussies in the first two games. On Monday, NZC had announced that the final T20I between New Zealand and Australia will be shifted to Wellington from Bay Oval.
Australia is set to make a few changes in the upcoming third T20I of the five-match series, assistant coach Andrew McDonald confirmed on Tuesday.
Wellington’s Sky Stadium will be hosting the final three T20Is between Australia and New Zealand and the visitors are likely to include Ashton Turner or D’Arcy Short in their starting XI.
All-rounder Ashton Agar can be left out of the team as he has conceded 50 runs from five overs bowled in the first T20Is against New Zealand.
“We haven’t got those middle overs right. That may be a reason for us to reinforce that area or make some changes that potentially strengthen that area with both bat and ball. They’ve played spin well at this stage. Agar has played two games in the last three and a half months as well so he’s going to be better every game that he plays,” cricket.com.au had quoted McDonald as saying.
“Zampa at this stage hasn’t gotten into the games but his quality over the last two years suggests that the next game he probably will have an impact. It is an area that we do need to improve in if we’re going to compete and beat this Kiwi side,” he had added. (ANI)

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Wasn’t expecting to be picked up in IPL auction, says Moises Henriques

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Melbourne [Australia], March 3 (ANI): Australia all-rounder Moises Henriques has said that he did not expect to be picked up by any franchise in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) players’ mini-auction.
Henriques was picked up by Punjab Kings in the mini-auction held on February 18 and he was bought by the franchise for Rs 4.2 crore.
The all-rounder would now be sharing the dressing room with the likes of fellow Australians Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
“I was not expecting to get picked up at all. It wasn’t until I woke up to go to the bathroom that I noticed I saw a couple of messages saying congrats on the pick-up and I thought, ‘That’s nice,’ and tried to go back to sleep as soon as possible,” cricket.com.au quoted Henriques as saying.
“I just assumed I would have been picked up at base price. Then it wasn’t until I woke up properly in the morning that I realised how much I went for,” he added.
Henriques has played 57 matches in the IPL so far and he first played the tournament way back in 2009. The all-rounder has now said that is hopeful of making into Australia’s T20 squad if he has a good showing in the IPL.
“There’s no secret I was gutted when you fight your way into the international white-ball teams and then you get selected to go to South Africa and that tour doesn’t go ahead, and you don’t get your opportunity to defend your spot in that (T20) team when it goes to new Zealand,” Henriques said.
“By not playing, someone else gets that opportunity – and deservedly so. But the IPL is more T20 cricket, more white-ball cricket for me to play and learn from. If I do get that opportunity (for Australia) in the future, then I’d be ready to go,” he added. (ANI)

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Kohli thanks fans after becoming first cricketer to reach 100 million followers on Instagram

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): After hitting the 100 million followers mark on Instagram, India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday thanked the fans for making the journey beautiful.
Kohli shared a clip on Instagram which starts off reading “milestone reached together” and a montage of Kohli’s pictures and videos pops us on the screen.
“You have made this journey beautiful. Feeling blessed and grateful for all the love. Thank you 100 million #instafam,” Kohli wrote as the caption.

On Monday, Kohli added another feather to his illustrious cap as he became the first cricketer to hit 100 million followers on photo and video sharing social networking platform Instagram.
The Indian skipper joined Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker Neymar, Argentine forward Lionel Messi, Hollywood actor and former pro-wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, American singer-songwriter Beyonce, and Ariana Grande in the 100 million club.
Kohli is also the fourth most followed sportsperson on Instagram. Ronaldo tops the list (sportsperson) with 266 million followers while Messi is second on the list with 187 million followers on the Facebook-owned platform.
Kohli, who holds the top spot in ICC’s ODI batting rankings, made his debut in the format in August 2008. The Indian skipper has scored 12,040 runs in 251 ODIs at an average of 59.31. Kohli has represented India in 90 Tests, scoring 7,490 runs with the highest of 254*.
In T20I cricket, he has played 85 matches, piling 2,928 runs at a strike rate of 138.43.
The Indian skipper is currently gearing up for the fourth and final Test against England which gets underway on Thursday. The hosts are leaving no stone unturned to prepare for the upcoming fixture at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
In the ongoing series, Rohit, Axar Patel, and Ravichandran Ashwin have been the standout performers and now in the fourth Test, skipper Kohli would look to come to the party and end his century-drought.
Kohli had last scored a century way back in 2019 in a day-night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens.
If India manages to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side will qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) and the side would take on New Zealand in the summit clash at the Lord’s Cricket Ground from June 18-22. (ANI)

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IPL GC to take final call on venues: BCCI official

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By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Indian Premier League’s (IPL) governing council is monitoring the situation of Covid-19 in Mumbai and the body would be soon deciding how to go about conducting the 14th edition of the premier T20 tournament.
A source in the know of developments revealed that nothing has been decided as of now regarding the venues for this year’s edition and it has also come to light that the BCCI would be seeking assurance from the state governments before letting them host IPL matches this year.
“As if now it’s all speculation whether it’s Punjab or Hyderabad. We will soon have IPL GC in which we will decide what needs to be done and how the IPL needs to be conducted this year, as of now nothing has been decided yet. BCCI will seek assurances from state governments before allowing them to host the matches,” a source within the BCCI told ANI.
“Whether it can be held in a state while elections are taking place and when talking about Punjab, BCCI needs concrete assurance from authorities that no unwanted incident will take place when the matches happen there,” the source added.
When talking about Mumbai being an IPL venue or not, the source said: “We are keeping a close watch on Mumbai also because of Covid cases.”
On Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said that he was surprised to see Mohali not being chosen as one of the IPL venues and he also asked the BCCI to reconsider their decision.
Speaking on Amarinder Singh’s appeal, the source within the BCCI said: “We will discuss everything in the governing council meeting.” (ANI)

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