Ruturaj Gaikwad's magnificent maiden Twenty20 century was in vain as Rajasthan Royals boosted their Indian Premier League play-off hopes with a seven-wicket win over leaders Chennai Super Kings.

Gaikwad replaced KL Rahul as the leading run-scorer in the 2021 tournament, hitting a six off the final ball of CSK's innings to finish unbeaten on 101 off 60 balls.

The opener struck five sixes in a sensational knock, with Ravindra Jadeja scoring a rapid 32 not out in the Super Kings' 189-4 at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Rahul Tewatia took 3-39 but it was a tough day for the Royals bowlers, Mustafizur Rahman going for 51 off his wicket-less four overs.

A big run chase was no problem for the Royals, though, as they cruised to a what could be a vital win with 15 balls to spare in an Abu Dhabi run-fest.

Shivam Dube (64no from 42) struck a brilliant maiden IPL half-century after Yashasvi Jaiswal made 50 from just 21 balls, with Josh Hazlewood (0-54) and Sam Curran (0-55) given the treatment.

Victory for the Royals leaves them in sixth place with two games of the regular season to play, behind Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings on net run-rate.

CSK are already assured of a play-off place but are not guaranteed a top-two finish after their four-game winning run came to an end in MS Dhoni's 200th match as an IPL captain.

Gaikwad takes Royals to all parts

The Rajasthan bowlers were taken to all parts by an inspired Gaikwad, who set the tone by hitting the first ball of the match from Akash Singh for four. 

He brought up a seventh IPL half-century off 43 balls and then cut loose, taking 71 off 30 deliveries and reaching three figures by launching Mustafizur for a huge six.

Gaikwad has 19 runs more than Rahul in the battle for the orange cap, having found the rope nine times to go with his five sixes in a breathtaking innings.

Dube and Jaiswal stun CSK

It was the turn of the CSK bowlers to suffer as Jaiswal and Evin Lewis (27 off 12) made a blistering start to the run chase, putting on 77 in 5.2 overs.

Teenager Jaiswal had his half-century off only 19 balls, striking Hazlewood for two sixes in a fifth over that cost 22 runs before falling to KM Asif to leave the Super Kings on 81-2.

Dube then came to the fore in a stand of 89 with captain Sanju Samson (28), bringing up a maiden fifty from 31 deliveries in a knock that included four sixes, and debutant Glenn Phillips hit the winning run to end the Royals' run of three consecutive defeats.

Shreyas Iyer nudged Delhi Capitals to a four-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians to leave the defending Indian Premier League champions in danger of missing out on the play-offs.

Avesh Khan (3-15) and Axar Patel (3-21) limited Mumbai - who are sixth with two matches to play - to 129-8 as the holders lost wickets at regular intervals.

Anrich Nortje also picked up 1-19 from his four-over allocation and, despite Suryakumar Yadav's 33, Rishabh Pant's side looked like the firm favourites at the halfway point in Sharjah on Saturday.

Nathan Coulter-Nile dismissed fellow Australian Steve Smith (nine) with his first delivery to leave the Capitals teetering at 30-3 after openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw were also dismissed cheaply.

Pant (26) followed to off-spinner Jayant Yadav to leave Delhi 57-4 but Iyer and Shimron Hetmyer (15) offered resistance to drag their side up to 93-6 before the latter fell to Jasprit Bumrah's deceiving slower ball.

Ravichandran Ashwin (20) then joined Iyer, who finished unbeaten on 33, to secure victory for second-placed Delhi with five balls to spare and leave the Indians under serious threat of failing to reach the play-offs.

Avesh torments Indians

Avesh toyed with the Mumbai line-up as he delivered a mix of slower balls and inswinging yorkers to secure his three dismissals.

The seamer impressively dismissed the dangerous finisher Hardik Pandya in the penultimate over, while also removing Coulter-Nile after he had claimed the big scalp of Rohit Sharma in his first over.

Ashwin final-over gamble fails

Pant gambled by holding back Ashwin to the final over of Mumbai's innings. The off-spinner dismissed Jayant Yadav but conceded 13 from his final six deliveries as he ended with 1-41 from his four overs.

However, Ashwin made up for it with the bat as he sealed the win with a six off Krunal Pandya's first ball of the last over.

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan insists the franchise is monitoring the fitness of West Indies star Andre Russell on a day-by-day basic but remains unsure of exactly when the player will return to action.

The bit-hitting all-rounder was forced to leave the field after making a good save on the mid-wicket boundary and jumped himself off the field as soon as he threw back the ball.  The 33-year-old did not feature for the team against the Dehli Capitals, or Friday’s encounter against the Punjab Kings XI.

Despite Russell missing the second game in a row, Morgan did not shed any more light on the player’s current injury status.

“Lockie and Russell are being monitored day by day. They have to rehab extremely well in order to be fit,” Morgan said.

Earlier, David Hussey, KKR’s team mentor, had described Russell’s injury as a hamstring injury but expressed hope that the player could return to the line-up soon,

“He said he felt something pop in his leg, his hamstring. We’ve got the best medical staff in the business so they’ll tend to him and hopefully, it’s nothing too serious, because he’s a key part of our team,” Hussey said.

In addition to the Knight Riders, the West Indies will also be closely monitoring the situation, with the player expected to line up for the World T20 later this month.

 

 

Punjab Kings emerged triumphant after a dramatic finish to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets and keep their Indian Premier League play-off hopes alive.

Chasing 166 to win, captain KL Rahul (67 runs from 55 balls) took Punjab to the brink of a vital victory only to fall in the final over, leaving them needing four from as many balls.

Shahrukh Khan (22 from nine) then looked like he had been caught in the deep off the next delivery, only for Rahul Tripathi to drop the ball over the boundary for a six, ending the contest.

That thrilling finale came after a run chase that Punjab had long looked to have under control, with Mayank Agarwal (40 from 27) also making a key contribution.

KKR had earlier managed 165-7 after being put in to bat, with Venkatesh Iyer scoring 67 off 49 to give his side a chance.

Instead, Punjab's successful chase means they join KKR and Mumbai Indians on 10 points in a competitive battle to achieve a top-four place.

No Gayle, no problem for Kings

Chris Gayle leaving the IPL due to bubble fatigue was a blow for the Kings, but they were still able to get the win they desperately needed here.

Rahul, who had two maximums, anchored the innings and would have been disappointed not to have finished the chase himself. Still, he can reflect on a job well done while sitting as the competition's leading run scorer with 489, this being his fifth fifty in 11 matches.

KKR fail to build on Iyer platform

With Andre Russell out injured, it was Iyer who did the damage with the bat for KKR, his 72-run partnership with Tripathi for the second wicket setting an impressive platform.

However, KKR did not take full advantage and, having reached 120-2, they struggled. After Iyer's dismissal, Nitish Rana (31 off 18) was the only batter able to accelerate the rate.

Tim Paine says the Ashes will go ahead as scheduled regardless of whether Joe Root and other key England players travel to Australia.

Root this week stated that he is "desperate" to do battle with fierce rivals Australia, but the England captain is not ready to commit to the tour until there is more clarity over coronavirus restrictions.

Jos Buttler is among the other England players who have made it clear they may pull out if their families are not allowed to head to Australia.

Talks between Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board over what protocols may be in place are ongoing, with players having already spent long periods in bio-secure bubbles at home and overseas.

Skipper Paine says he will lead his side out at The Gabba on December 8 come what may.

"The Ashes are going ahead - the first Test is on December 8 whether Joe's here or not," the wicketkeeper told SEN Hobart.

"They all want to come, there's no doubt about it.

"They're trying to get themselves the best possible conditions they can, but at the end of the day, we all are.

"It will be worked out above us and then they'll make a decision whether or not they'll get on that plane. There will be a squad of England players coming here for the first Test on December 8th."

Australia prime minister Scott Morrison last month warned England will not benefit from any "special deals" regarding quarantine rules when they arrive in the country.

Former West Indies batting coach Toby Radford has expressed concern that Cricket West Indies' (CWI) current system of allowing for medical exemptions for some players could present the illusion of unfairness.

The debate has continued to rage around the selection of the squad after the selection panel was unable to even considered some players for the World Cup squad after they had reportedly not made the requisite CWI fitness standard.

Among that crown were batsman Sherfane Rutherford, promising fast bowler Odean Smith and spinner Sunil Narine. With that considered, for some, the selection of players like Chris Gayle and Ravi Rampaul proved problematic, but both players were given exemptions by the CWI’s medical committee.

At current, all players are required to pass the popular Yoyo fitness test, but the results of the tests are graded on a sliding scale.  The CWI has repeatedly insisted that its policy, along with the exemptions is a standard international practice.  It has, however, continued to stir debate.

“You have to be seen to be fair across the board.  Either everybody does it (meet fitness standard) or nobody does it,” Radford told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“You can’t choose who gets tested and who gets an exemption, it doesn’t seem to be a fair system.  I think it either all the players are tested and they all need to pass it or they don’t,” he added.

“Otherwise, it makes a mockery of the test.  You’re leaving out players who are on form and younger and fitter, generally, saying they haven’t passed the test and you are taking people 10 years older who struggle to run between wickets and the field.”

The Universe Boss Chris Gayle has left the IPL bubble citing bubble fatigue and a need to stay fresh for next month’s ICC T20 World Cup.

Chennai Super Kings qualified for the Indian Premier League play-offs thanks to a six-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad, who are eliminated from contention.

Hyderabad had won their previous outing, beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets to snap a five-game losing run in the competition, but this was another poor performance during a disappointing season for the franchise.

They mustered just 134-7 from their 20 overs, with only Wriddhiman Saha managing more than 18 runs in a sub-par showing with the bat in Sharjah.

However, the Sunrisers still ran their opponents close in the end, Chennai left needing 16 off the final two overs despite strong showings from opening duo Ruturaj Gaikwad (45) and Faf du Plessis (41). 

However, 40-year-old MS Dhoni rolled back the years to finish the game in style, smashing a six to secure the victory with two balls to spare.

Super Kings bolster impressive record

Chennai have now won eight of their last 10 matches against the Sunrisers. This latest success was built on a solid team bowling performance, one which was led by Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood (3-24).

Saha show not quite enough

While he was on the losing side, Saha certainly cannot be blamed for the defeat. He made nearly a third of Hyderabad's runs on his own as he managed 44 from 46 deliveries, including a pair of sixes, but received little support from the rest of the top order.

At 34-years-old, West Indies big-hitter Kieron Pollard admits these days there is great satisfaction in showing younger players he has plenty left in the tank, despite the realization that time is slowly catching up to him.

On Monday, the West Indian captain became the first player in history to take 300 wickets and 10,000 runs in T20s, after taking two wickets and making 15 runs for Indian Premier League team Mumbai Indians.

Over an outstanding career, the all-rounder is now second behind Chris Gayle on the all-time list with 11,217 runs and 8th on the all-time bowling list in terms of wickets taken.  Perhaps fitting Gayle was among one of the wickets he claimed on the way to the special milestone.  While proud of what he has accomplished in the sport, the dynamic player is keenly aware of a new generation of cricketers eager to make their own mark on the sport.

“Age is catching up with me because (there are) young guys in the dressing room, so I have to continue to show them that, ‘listen, I still got it,” Pollard said after the game.

“So, most of the time, it’s just to show these young guys what I can do,” he added.

“For me, you are just supposed to do what the team requires. As an individual, I know what I can do in all the facets of the game, and whenever I get the opportunity just try to do my best.”

Glenn Maxwell scored his 10th Indian Premier League fifty as Royal Challengers Bangalore cruised to a seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals.

Australia star Maxwell scored 50 not out from 30 deliveries as RCB comfortably chased down their target of 150 with 17 balls to spare, finishing on 153-3.

Maxwell put on 69 with wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat (44), a partnership that ended any doubt over the outcome of the match after a brief hiccup when captain Virat Kohli (25) was run out.

Having been put in to bat by Kohli, Rajasthan had earlier looked like they were cruising to a huge total when they reached 100-1 after 11 overs, but the dismissal of opener Evin Lewis - who had smashed 58 runs off 37 balls - sparked a collapse to 149-9.

Yuzvendra Chahal (2-18) and Shahbaz Ahmed (2-10) impressed, with their combined six overs producing four wickets at an economy rate of 4.67, while debutant George Garton (1-30) was the man to remove Lewis.

Maxwell then racked up six fours and a sole maximum in an easy run chase for RCB, with Mustafizur Rahman (2-20) the only Rajasthan bowler to offer up any meaningful resistance.

More misery for Rajasthan against RCB

Rajasthan Royals have now lost their last four matches against RCB, extending what was already their longest active losing streak against a single opponent in the IPL.

With three straight losses, a playoff berth is starting to look like a tough ask for Rajasthan in contrast to RCB, who sit comfortably in third place after responding to a three-game losing run with two consecutive victories, Maxwell getting a fifty in both triumphs.

Fine season for Harshal continues

Harshal Patel (3-34) was already the leader in the purple cap race with 23 wickets coming into the match, having become only the fourth RCB player in IPL history to record a hat-trick last time out against Mumbai Indians.

It looked like he was in for a frustrating outing here but his persistence paid off as he claimed three wickets in the last over of a Rajasthan innings that went downhill rapidly, extending his advantage atop the standings.

Mumbai Indians put an end to a three-game losing streak to boost their play-off hopes in the Indian Premier League, beating Punjab Kings by six wickets. 

Saurabh Tiwary made 45 and Hardik Pandya hit an unbeaten 40 as the reigning champions overhauled their opponents' score of 135-6 with an over to spare on Tuesday. 

Looking to beat Mumbai for a third time in a row – a feat they had not managed since a run between the 2008-09 seasons – Punjab Kings simply failed to fire with the bat. They appeared to be making solid progress when their opening pair reached 36 without loss, only to then lose four wickets for the addition of just 12 runs.

Kieron Pollard claimed two in one over, including dismissing fellow West Indian Chris Gayle for one. Captain KL Rahul followed soon after, hitting a slower bouncer straight to Jasprit Bumrah at short fine leg to depart for 21. 

Aiden Markram led a recovery of sorts, finishing as the top scorer in the innings with 42. Deepak Hooda contributed 28 while Harpreet Brar ended up unbeaten on 14, though both struggled to up the run-rate in the closing overs. 

Ravi Bishnoi provided hope for Punjab Kings by dismissing Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav with successive deliveries in the powerplay, but Pollard came out at number six in the order to rush his team to victory, making 15 not out from just seven balls.

 

Bowlers help dethrone Kings 

Mumbai Indians have lost 13 games against Punjab Kings in the history of the IPL, the joint-most for the franchise against any rival in the tournament. 

However, they came out on top this time thanks mainly to their bowling attack. Krunal Pandya and Bumrah both claimed 1-24, while Nathan Coulter-Nile's four-over stint conceded just 19 runs. 

All-round excellence in Abu Dhabi 

Pollard may be better known for his big-hitting exploits with the bat, but the all-rounder has now reached the milestone of 300 wickets in Twenty20 cricket, meaning he becomes the first player to achieve both that feat and also score 10,000 runs in the format.

He dismissed Gayle for just the second time in T20 action, tempting the left-hander to have a go at a slower delivery that only ended up in the safe hands of Hardik Pandya. 

Former Cricket West Indies head of corporate communications and Director of Communications for Guyana’s chief opposition party, Imran Khan, has died after a brief battle brought about by Covid-19 complications.

Khan who worked for several years with regional cricket’s governing body, formerly known as the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), had spent the last 8 days in the intensive care unit before going into respiratory failure on Tuesday.

At the time of his death, Khan, who was 43, worked for the Alliance For Change (AFC) as head of their communications unit. During the coalition APNU+AFC’s time in office from 2015 to 2020, he also sat on several State Boards including that of the National Communications Network (NCN).

On Sunday Khan had expressed thanks for the outpouring of support he had received and vowed to keep fighting.

“Thank you for all your love, prayers, messages of encouragement, and support. I am overwhelmed beyond explanation and I am in excellent spirits…Please be assured that I am fighting and there is no giving up. One Love,” he wrote.

According to numerous reports, the communications expert was not vaccinated and did not have any underlying disease.  Khan’s wife, Tammy,  an attorney, later also tested positive for the disease and was admitted in the ICU but was discharged on Monday.

Sunrisers Hyderabad put an end to a five-match losing streak in the Indian Premier League, recording an emphatic seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on Monday. 

Captain Sanju Samson made 82 for the Royals, yet their total of 164-5 was no problem for a Sunrisers team out who saw Jason Roy star at the top of the order. 

The England batsman – selected ahead of the out-of-sorts David Warner – made 60 from 42 deliveries on his debut for the franchise, in the process giving their run chase a solid start. 

Kane Williamson made sure there were few alarms with an unbeaten half-century, the Sunrisers captain helping reach the victory target with nine balls to spare. 

Abhishek Sharma ended up on 21 not out as the Royals missed out on doing the double over their opponents for the first time in the round-robin stage of an IPL season. 

Sunrisers avoid unwanted record

Despite the impressive triumph, Hyderabad remain bottom of the table. Still, they at least avoided losing six in a row for the first time ever in the competition's history. 

Roy certainly made the most of his opportunity, hitting a solitary six and eight fours. While both he and Priyam Garg, out for a first-ball duck, fell in quick succession, Williamson's unbeaten 51 saw the Sunrisers coast home. 

Samson strong again as he reaches milestone

Samson sure likes playing the Sunrisers. His 57-ball knock saw him become the highest scorer against them, while he also moved past 3,000 IPL runs in his career. 

Yashasvi Jaiswal made 36 and Mahipal Lomror contributed an unbeaten 29 with the bat for Rajasthan, though a second successive defeat damages their hopes of making the play-offs. 

West Indies Women Head Coach Courtney Walsh was impressed by the young bowlers, Qiana Joseph and Sheneta Grimmond, who performed well in the recent series against South Africa but insists that there is a need for greater levels of consistency from them.

Joseph, the 20-year-old left-arm spinner from St Lucia, was the leading wicket-taker for the West Indies Women with five wickets in the four ODI matches she played at an average of 19.40 and economy rate of 3.38.

Speaking to the media late last week, Walsh lauded Joseph’s performance during the series.

“Obviously, Qiana has played before but it’s the first time we were looking at her to play the role she did and she did it in both competitions; very, very satisfying,” Walsh said.

“We haven’t had a left-arm spinner for quite some time, most teams struggle against that or have that in their set up, so from a coaching perspective, it was something I had been very keen to have a look at and she has answered the right questions.

“She did well, it was very satisfying with her performance and how she went about it so it is definitely something to work on to give us those options with the bowling.”

Grimmond, the 23-year-old right-arm off-break bowler from Guyana, played in just two matches in the ODI series but four wickets at an average of 13.00 and an economy of 3.66.

“Grimmond came into the last two games and did well in the last game from a bowling perspective, so that is also another good question answered,” he said while also singling out Trinidadian Karishma Ramharack for praise on the strength of her best bowling figures of 3-8 in the T20 series.

“Ramharack did well in the T20 in the game she played and won Player of the Match, so these are some of the positive signs, what is lacking is the consistency and that is what we have to work on and which we will keep working on,” Walsh said.

“We want them to execute more consistently and once that is happening then it will give us more chances of winning games.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell appeared to have suffered a hamstring injury during the Kolkata Knight Riders’ two-wicket loss to the Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

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