CSK TOP

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In a game full of twists and turns, Ravindra Jadeja’s sensational finish helped Chennai Super Kings beat Kolkata Knight Riders by two wickets. CSK chased down 171 on the last ball with Jadeja smashing 22 off 8 before falling on the penultimate delivery. CSK picked up their eighth win and also took the top spot away from Delhi CapitalsKKR, having opted to bat, made a scratchy beginning. Shubman Gill struck two consecutive boundaries against Deepak Chahar, overturned an lbw call with the help of DRS but was eventually run out. Venkatesh Iyer couldn’t really find the rhythm he had in the last two matches and made just 18. KKR had 50 in the opening five overs and had lost just one wicket. In the next five, they scored only 28 for 2 as Shardul Thakur dismissed Iyer in the sixth. Eoin Morgan fell in the tenth as KKR slipped to 78 for 3..

While other batsmen failed to get going, it was Rahul Tripathi’s assault that kept the scoreboard moving for KKR. He struck 45 off 33 but had his share of luck. He was caught behind trying to upper-cut a Sam Curran bouncer. The umpires deemed the pacer had delivered his second bouncer of the over and signalled a no ball. Tripathi fell in the 13th with 89 on the board. The stage was set for Andre Russell but the slow nature of the track didn’t allow the allrounder the pace he needed. Russell did strike two boundaries and a six but fell for 20 off 15.

At one stage, Nitish Rana was batting on 22 off 21. KKR needed a move on and it came from Dinesh Karthik. In the 19th, Karthik struck 19 against Curran to lift the side past 150. Rana finished strong and ended with unbeaten 37 off 27.

At the 10-over mark, batting coach David Hussey felt 170 was going to be a winning score. Ruturaj Gaikwad (40 off 28) and Faf du Plessis (43 off 30) made 74 in 8.2 overs. The plan was clear as they not only took on the pacers but also put pressure on Varun Chakaravarthy (4 overs, eight dots, 22 runs and one wicket) in the first over. The spinner was struck for two boundaries by du Plessis and leaked nine in the over. Sunil Narine’s first two overs too proved to be expensive with 25 runs.

Chakaravarthy gave five in his second – the eighth of the innings – and that out pressure on the openers to keep going at a sustained higher pace. Gaikwad fell in the ninth – to Russell – but CSK eased past 100 in the 12th. Du Plessis fell in the 12th to Lockie Ferguson but Moeen Ali’s brisk start ensuredCSK continued to stay ahead.

Narine continued to be expensive but dismissed Ambati Rayudu in the 15th to start CSK’s wobble. Iyer too did a great job as he gave away just five in the 16th. CSK needed 40 off 24 and lost Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni from there on. That was the only joy for KKR as Ravindra Jadeja turned things around in grand style in the penultimate over.

Prasidh Krishan crumbled under pressure 6, 6, 4, and 4 to leave CSK needing 4 off 6. The drama, though, didn’t end there. Narine dismissed Curran and Jadeja before Deepak Chahar got the one run needed for the win on the last ball.

lancesire win

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After Luke Wells’s three-fer on Day 2, Tom Bailey, George Balderson and Jack Blatherwick picked two wickets each to end Somerset’s second innings while following on, on 314. Though Lammonby and Azhar Ali put up a fight on the previous day, the lower middle-order couldn’t stretch their lead for too long, leaving Lancashire to chase just 32 runs. Balderson and Alex Davies, the openers, finished it in six overs – earning 19 points for Lancashire. Somerset, who lost by 10 wickets, pocketed 3 points from the fixture.

The Warwickshire-Yorkshire fixture at Leeds was tantalisingly poised after Day 2, but persistent showers proved to be a dampener on Tuesday as the entire Day 3 was washed out. If play happens on Wednesday, Yorkshire will need 174 runs to record a victory while Warwickshire need seven wickets.Hampshire pushed on from an overnight score of 133 for 7 – with a lead of 204 – but were bowled out for 178, with Liam Patterson-White registering a fifer. But the target of 249 turned out to be too steep for Nottinghamshire as Liam Dawson picked a five-wicket haul and the duo of Felix Organ and Mohammad Abbas played fine supporting cast to bundle out the chasing side for just 127 runs.

Saf win

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The sorry not sorry strains of “It wasn’t me” rang out from the Premadasa’s speakers after 13 overs of South Africa’s reply in the third T20I on Tuesday. Another dozen runs were needed and the visitors had yet to lose a wicket. Ten balls later the match was over.

South Africa completed their third 10-wicket win in the format and their first over Sri Lanka thanks to an unbroken stand of 121 shared by Reeza Hendricks and Quinton de Kock. It was the highest T20I stand for any wicket against the Lankans by South Africa, and it sealed their 3-0 series whitewash.

Maybe this: who was that out there in the blue and yellow playing kit? They looked like Sri Lanka, but they didn’t play like Sri Lanka – not even compared to the team that had lost the first two games.

The Lankans were 28/4 after four overs and 86/7 in the 15th, when the South Africans – satisfied that the contest had all but been decided – eased up a touch. The rest of the match had all the intensity of a folded umbrella.

Under the circumstances it was almost unfair to ask Dasun Shanaka what he was going to do about the way his team had limped through the series. “Our bowling was quite good but we need to think about our batting,” he said at the presentation. Who could argue with that.

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IND squad for WC

Back in March, Virat Kohli successfully opened for India in the series-sealing fifth T20I against England and even admitted how he would “definitely like to partner Rohit” at the top going forward. But come the T20 World Cup squad, he’s not been picked as one of the three openers for India. In fact, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan are the “only three openers” in the squad, stressed BCCI Chairman of Selectors Chetan Sharma during the team announcement.

Kohli, who got unbeaten 80 off 52 balls in that game in Ahmedabad, had at the time opened in place of KL Rahul, who had scores of 1, 0, 0, 14 in the first four matches. The move, deemed “tactical” by Rohit Sharma after the game, allowed India to play a sixth bowler — the inability to do so being a constant pain point for the team management in the recent past.

Chetan, though, left the decision to play Kohli at the top to the team management. “If the management thinks that Virat should be played as an opener depending on the situation, then it’s up to them … What the circumstances are during the tournament that only till will tell but at this time, we only have the three openers I named,” the Chairman of Selectors said.

KL Rahul has been picked as a “genuine opener” in the squad and will keep wickets only if needed, Chetan said, while Ishan finds himself as the third opener on the basis of flexibility vis-a-vis his batting position and spin-hitting skills. He cut ahead of the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw to make a place in the squad.

“Ishan Kishan can bat as an opener as well as fit in as a middle-order batsman. He gave us a lot of options as a player. He’s already opened in the ODI format and even got a fifty in the first game. He’s also a good player of spin in the middle order,” Chetan said. “Also a left-hander is important. When legspinners from different countries come at us, someone explosive like Ishan is important. Shreyas hasn’t played much cricket of late so we have kept him in standby. That’s why Ishan made the cut,” he added.

While Kohli’s move to the top in Ahmedabad had allowed India to play Natarajan as the sixth bowler, the left-arm seamer doesn’t find a place in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup. Instead, India went with only three pacers in Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, with Hardik Pandya being the fourth bowler, and it has a lot to do with the nature of pitches that could be in store in the UAE.

“Considering the wickets we could get, where only two fast bowlers play, there’s no point taking someone to warm the bench. It was better to take utility players who can come in handy,” Chetan said.

“We did discuss T Natarajan’s name but he hasn’t played cricket for long and he’s also been on the injury list, so we stuck to the main guys who are our strike bowlers. There’s always an intention to have some variation but because of the wickets that are expected, we decided on three fast bowlers with Hardik Pandya as the fourth bowler. In that case, it was difficult to include a left-arm fast bowler.

“Hardik is absolutely fit and he’s going to bowl his quota of overs in every match. We didn’t bowl him very often because we were saving him for the World Cup.”

TkR win

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Trinbago Knight Riders raced away to their third win on the bounce as their spin troika tied down bottom-placed Barbados Royals for just 93 for 9 in 20 overs. The Knight Riders lost two early wickets in the PowerPlay but Colin Munro ended any plans of a second-half resurrection for the Royals. The Knight Riders lost four wickets but Munro remained unbeaten on 41 off 47 to see his side through.

Johnson Charles and Kyle Mayers made a flying start for the Royals after Kieron Pollard asked them to bat first. But after four fours in two overs, the opening stand was breached by the left-arm spin of Kharry Pierre, sending Mayers back for 24 off 12 balls. Pierre then had Smit Patel nicking him to Lendl Simmons at slip for a six-ball duck as the Royals stumbled a bit.

Charles looked to kick on after dragging the team to 36 for 3 in six overs but was undone by Jayden Seales’s searing pace in the eighth over. Pierre returned to make another incision into the Royals’ line-up, cleaning up Glenn Phillip with a tossed up delivery to finish with a spell of 3 for 16 in his four overs. The Royals had no real respite even then as Sunil Narine and Akeal Hosein stepped in to cause more batting woes against spin.

Hosein picked two wickets in a single over to leave the Royals reeling at 59 for 7. Azam Khan and Joshua Bishop dragged the side ahead in the hope of getting to three figures but that wasn’t possible. Narine cleaned up Azam for a 21-ball 17, after which Ravi Rampaul bowled an exceptional penultimate over consisting of five dots and a single run. Seales was tight in the final over too, conceding just one boundary and dismissing Jake Lintott. Barbados Royals finished with a paltry 93 for 9.

Mohammad Amir raised early hopes of an incredible defense with the wicket of Simmons on the first ball. He had Tion Webster caught at mid-on off a slower ball to make the Knight Riders a bit queasy in the chase. But up stepped Munro to ease those worries with a steady hand in the company of Darren Bravo. The pair added 39 off 49 balls, without having scoreboard pressure in a small chase.

Bishop aimed to contribute with the ball too, breaking the third wicket stand by snuffing out Bravo and ending Tim Seifert’s stay too. But it came too little too late as Hosein sealed it with two successive sixes in the 17th over to hand Royals their sixth defeat of the season.

england’s day

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England just made too much ground in that middle session. Joe Root hit his third hundred of the series and sixth of the year. Dawid Malan struck a fifty. England went to tea 220 runs ahead with seven wickets in hand, and though they ended the day eight down, they scored briskly through session three as well, finishing 345 runs in front. India needed a dramatic collapse to force themselves back into the match on day two, and did their best to set one in motion during an attritional first session. But they were eventually foiled by Root in the form of his already exceptional cricketing life.Once Root got going after lunch, India’s strategy of bowling tightly and keeping the runs down – which had been somewhat successful in a morning session in which they removed the overnight batters – was essentially torn apart. It’s not that Root’s innings was necessarily a counterattack – he just went into ODI mode and found ways to score off even good balls, frequently deflecting balls in the arc between point and third man in particular. He was on 27 off his first 25 balls, 41 off 50, and reached triple figures off the 123rd ball he faced.Growing in confidence as he batted in Root’s slipstream, Malan grew in confidence as he hit 70 off 128 balls in his comeback Test innings. The pair’s 139-run partnership was the best of the innings, just pipping Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns’ opening stand, which was worth 135. Root also shared a 52-run association with Jonny Bairstow, and it is between these three stands that much of England’s batting progress has been made. At stumps, they still had Craig Overton and Ollie Robinson at the crease. Both have been known to contribute handy runs at the county level.India had a tough day, though perhaps the final session, in which they claimed five wickets, took the worst of the edge off. They are so far behind in the match that chances of victory appear remote. There are still three days left in the game, so a draw seems almost as unlikely. Still, the bowlers will be pleased that they can at least dream of wiping England’s last two wickets out early on day three, when for much of Thursday, there was a strong possibility India would be made to bowl for substantial portions of Friday as well.Mohammed Shami was the best of India’s bowlers, nipping one back through the defences of Rory Burns early in the day, before having Bairstow caught at slip, and Jos Buttler out at catching midwicket after tea. Ravindra Jadeja picked up Haseeb Hameed and Moeen Ali. And although he was expensive, Mohammed Siraj took two wickets, while Bumrah claimed one. The severe disappointment in this bowling effort, however, was Ishant Sharma, who struggled for rhythm all day, rarely seemed menacing, and went at 4.18 across his 22 overs. That Kohli bowled him so much was something of a surprise.

champions

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Paul Stirling smashed 61 off 36 balls while Ross Whiteley whacked 44 off 19 before an all-round bowling performance helped Southern Brave defeat Birmingham Phoenix to lift the inaugural The Hundred title.

Southern Brave defeated Birmingham Phoenix by 32 runs on Saturday. The Brave scored 168 runs in the new 100-ball format game and then restricted the Phoenix to 136/5 to clinch the men’s title.

Put in to bat first, Southern Brave got off to a bad start as they lost opening batsman Quinton de Kock early in the innings.

Skipper James Vince too departed after scoring just four runs before Stirling whirlwind knock raced the Brave to 85 runs. However, he was dismissed on the 61st ball of the match.

Whiteley then carried forward the momentum and smashed 44 runs off just 19 balls to help Southern Brave set up a target of 169 in the final.

Chasing, Birmingham Phoenix got off to a worst possible start and never really recovered from the early blows.

The side lost two wickets for 14 runs, Liam Livingstone did provide the Phoenix some momentum with his blistering 46 off 19 balls however, no other batsmen except him were able to score some quick runs.

In the end, Birmingham Phoenix fell 33 runs short of the target.

Brief Scores: Southern Brave 168/5 (Stirling 61, Ross Whiteley 44; Milne 2-8); Birmingham Phoenix (Moeen Ali 36, Liam Livingstone 46; Tymal Mills 1-13

pujara the wall

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After England took a 27-run lead in the first innings, Durham bowler Mark Wood got the wickets of Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul even before India could cross the deficit.Indian skipper Virat Kohli seemed in good touch when he started but just before lunch, he perished off Sam Curran’s full-length delivery that took the batsman’s edge.Pujara made 45 from 206 balls, something which did not please the former Pakistan skipper Butt, who believes the batsman could have at least scored 70 runs and also said that India were 35 runs short at the end of the penultimate day.

“After India lost three wickets, their defensive mechanism was on. Obviously, they would have been worried. Had they lost a few more wickets, the game could have been over the same day. But, speaking about Cheteshwar Pujara, he faced more than 200 balls and scored 45 runs,” Butt said on his YouTube channel.

“After being so experienced, if you are facing over 200 balls, I think you should be able to score at least 70 runs. The pitch did not offer a lot of movement. England kept things very tight early on. But once that was gone, there should have been a better flow of runs. That did not happen.”Despite batting for so long, if India are unable to add another 35-40 runs… If someone occupies the crease for so much time and doesn’t score runs, that doesn’t make sense. Yes, India needed to be careful for a period of an hour or a little more. But despite being set, the runs didn’t come. Being in the Indian team for so long, Pujara is obviously a highly capable player. But that needs to translate into runs. He should have scored more than 45,” he added.

kaif’s view

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Former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif has explained that injury-prone Bhuvneshwar Kumar might need to play a few first-class matches before becoming fit enough to play for the national side. Kaif also stated that Ranji Trophy games might be on the medium pacer’s agenda going forward.

For a while now, Bhuvneshwar has fought consistent bouts of injuries that have seen him go out of favor in the Indian team’s Test setup. Recently, he played for India in the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka and he’s slowly gaining match fitness. However, Kaif feels the best way back is through first-class games.Bhuvneshwar last played a Test match in January 2018 against South Africa. Since then, he has been a stranger to red-ball cricket. If he manages to stay away from injuries, he will bring a lot of variety into the current team’s seam-bowling attack, and the Ranji games are the best way to do it, as per Kaif.Kaif also stressed the fact that although fitness does hold a lot of importance in recent times, cricket boils down to being a game of skills. Therefore, form is also a major concern when considering all the criteria for selection.Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s next assignment will be for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second phase of 2021 IPL. If he gets through without harming his body, he’s all but guaranteed a spot in India’s squad for the 2021 T20 World Cup.

india post 121

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India lost four wickets for 15 runs to end second day of the first Test at 125/4 and let England back in to the match after openers Rohit Sharma (36) and KL Rahul (batting 57) had given them a strong start putting on 97 runs for the first wicket on Thursday.

England pace bowler James Anderson turned the clock back as he picked two crucial wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara (4) and Virat Kohli (0) to send jitters in the Indian camp before play was stopped due to rain, just 8.4 overs after lunch.

Kohli’s dismissal makes him the first Indian captain to register three first ball ducks in Test cricket.

India had dismissed England for 183 on Wednesday. More importantly, openers Sharma and Rahul had ensured that England bowlers couldn’t exploit the new ball. They had buckled down and almost saw off the first session of the second day before Sharma played a hook shot straight into the hands of fine leg fielder at the stroke of lunch.

After lunch, it was mayhem as Anderson induced edges from No. 3 Pujara and No. 4 Kohli off successive deliveries. India were reduced to 104/3.

Soon after that, India’s No. 5 Ajinkya Rahane was run out for five with the team score on 112/4.

At stumps, Rishabh Pant was unbeaten on seven with Rahul on 57.

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