Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh take Kings XI Punjab to top four in IPL after beating KKR by 8 wickets

News Network
October 27, 2020

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Sharjah, Oct 27: Chris Gayle channelised his inner anger while Mandeep Singh played through immense personal grief as they conjured to script another chapter in a beautiful comeback story for Kings XI Punjab which beat Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets in the IPL on Monday.

Chasing a target of 150, KXIP achieved the target in 18.5 overs losing only two wickets as they have now won their fifth successive match to keep play-off hopes alive.

Gayle, who was overlooked and was also ill during the first phase showed why he is the 'Universe Boss' during his innings of 51 off 29 balls with five sixes. Mandeep, who is grieving the loss of his father, anchored the chase with an unbeaten 66 off 56 balls as the duo added 100 runs in 10.1 overs.

Such was the effect of Gayle-storm that it rubbed off on Mandeep (8x4, 2x6) who also completed a splendid sixth IPL half-century. The duo added 100 runs from 61 balls to take them home with seven balls to spare. KXIP's dream run of five wins on the bounce not only took them to top-four but also opened up the table before the penultimate round. KKR slipped to fifth with 12 points from 12 matches as with a negative run rate of (-0.479) things have become more difficult to make the last-four.

Opting to field, Kings XI Punjab dished out a disciplined bowling show, especially at the back-end, to restrict Kolkata Knight Riders to a modest 149/9.

Mohammed Shami (3/35) was the pick of the Kings XI Punjab bowlers while leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2/20) and Chris Jordan (2/25) claimed two wickets apiece to put brakes on KKR who were invited to bat first.

After a familiar jittery start, KKR got the momentum going with opener Shubman Gill (57 off 45 balls) and skipper Eoin Morgan (40) firing all cylinders inside the Powerplay.

But KXIP's last match hero Jordan pulled things back for his team by brilliantly mixing up his slow deliveries, while Bishnoi took the prized scalp of Morgan after KKR reached 54/3 inside the Powerplay.

Morgan holed out to Murugan Ashwin at deep square leg as Bishoi ended the freeflowing partnership for 81 runs from 47 balls and from then onwards KKR struggled to get going.

Earlier, KKR had another messy start and looked in deep trouble at 10/3 inside two overs after Shami's exceptional first over.

But Morgan and Gill counter-attacked beautifully, getting the boundaries and sixes. The duo made full use of the Powerplay restrictions and Shami conceded 21 runs from his third over.

This was after opener Nitish Rana got out for a golden duck and Shami dismissing Rahul Tripathi (7) and Dinesh Karthik (0) in the space of three balls.

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News Network
December 1,2020

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Canberra, Dec 1: Although India have already lost the three-match ODI series against Australia with the hosts taking an unassailable 2-0 lead, the Virat Kohli-led side still has much to play for in the third and final ODI, scheduled to be held on Wednesday. Apart from avoiding the humiliating ODI series whitewash, India can earn points in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League.

The ongoing series between India and Australia is a part of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League and defeats in the opening two ODIs means India is yet to open their account. Whereas, Australia have so far played five matches in the Super League, registering four wins and one defeat. With 40 points under their belt, Australia top the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League standings followed by England, who have 30 points from six games.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the Men's Cricket World Cup Super League in July this year, with an aim to bring context to ODI cricket. The Super League will determine qualification for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 with the top seven teams automatically booking their spot at the event in India.

However, it will not be an easy task for the Indian team to overpower Australia, who are high on confidence after securing two comprehensive wins over the visitors. In both ODIs, Australia racked up a total of more than 350 runs with Indian bowlers struggling to thwart their opposition's batsmen.

Jasprit Bumrah, who holds the second spot in the ICC ODI Bowling Rankings, also failed to hinder Australia's batting line-up in both ODIs. Whereas, Australia batsmen are showing no signs of trouble hitting the ball all around the park, and bowlers are also delivering good performances to ensure big wins for the team. The Aaron Finch-led team registered a 66-run win in the first ODI and a 51-run win in the second.

Steve Smith smashed a century in both matches, playing a knock of 105 and 104 in the first and second ODI respectively. However, the only advantage that India is going to enjoy going into the third ODI is that Australia will be without their in-form opener David Warner and Pat Cummins as the duo is set to miss the remaining white-ball matches. Warner had suffered a groin injury during the second ODI.

While D'Arcy Short has replaced Warner, no direct replacement has been made for Cummins at this stage. "Pat and Davie are critical to our plans for the Test Series. Davie will work through his injury rehab and in Pat's case it is important all of our players are managed well to keep them mentally and physically fit throughout what is a challenging summer," Australia's Head Coach Justin Langer had said.

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson.

Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (Captain), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, D'Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

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News Network
November 24,2020

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Sydney, Nov 24: Red-ball captain Tim Paine has admitted the "annoying" Test series defeat to India still "grinds" him, adding that Australia now has a better all round side which is pumped up to take on the holders of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

India had stunned Australia 2-1 to win their maiden Test series Down Under in 2018-19, which was Paine's first assignment as skipper on home soil.

The wicket-keeper batman was handed the charge of leading the Baggy Greens after the 2018 ball-tampering incident that saw the then skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner being slapped with year-long bans.

"Certainly for me sitting back it still annoys me that we lost that Test series," Paine told 2GB's Wide World of Sports radio.

"Whether we had Steve or David or not you don't want to be losing any Test matches or Test series you're involved in, so that still grinds me a little bit," Paine added.

The 35-year-old said that the every player involved in the loss has improved in the last couple of years.

"We're a much better all round side. Not just adding Steve and David back into it, which is a hell of a lot of runs to add back into a side, but I think every other cricketer in that team has improved in the last 18 months as well and we've been playing some really good cricket.

"Whereas back then I think we were finding our way through a really challenging or different type of set up."

India had won the first and third Test at Adelaide and Melbourne respectively, while Australia claimed a victory in the second game at Perth with the final match ending in a draw.

Paine, who has led Australia to 10 Test victories in 19 outings, said the loss drives the players involved in the series to do better and even Warner and Smith are eager to show what they are capable of.

"I know that it drives a lot of the guys that were involved in that and I certainly know Steve and David are looking forward to coming back and showing just how good they are as well."

The two teams are set to lock horns again on Australian soil in a four-Test series with the opening Day-Night game in Adelaide starting December 17.

"Everyone is absolutely pumped. The key is going to be last time we didn't get enough runs, this time, I think a few of our players have spoken about it.

"If we can make their fast bowlers bowl more overs than last time, I think our attack showed we can get the 20 wickets one way or another."

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News Network
November 19,2020

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Colombo, Nov 19: Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga, two of T20 cricket's biggest draws, have pulled out of the inaugural Lanka Premier League (LPL) along with England pacer Liam Plunkett, dealing a huge blow to the tournament even before its take-off.

While Gayle and Plunkett's withdrawals were confirmed by their franchise Kandy Tuskers, Malinga pulled out citing "inadequate preparation time", according to a report in ESPNcricinfo.

"We are sad to announce that Chris Gayle will not be playing for us in this year's @LPLT20," Tuskers tweeted without specifying the reasons for the West Indian's decision.

This was followed by another tweet, "We are also sad to announce that Liam Plunkett will also not be playing in this year's @LPLT20."

The 41-year-old swashbuckling Jamaican holds the record for hitting the most number of sixes in the T20 format. He was recently seen in the IPL, turning up for Kings XI Punjab.

Malinga, Sri Lanka's T20 skipper, who was supposed to lead the Galle Gladiators, said he didn't have any training since March and it would be tough for him to play a high-level tournament without any practice.

"Since the West Indies series early this year, I haven't had any cricket, and there hasn't been any training for me at all," Malinga, who had opted out of the recently-concluded IPL in the UAE citing personal reasons, told ESPNcricinfo.

"When the draft happened last month, I thought there would be about three weeks of training before the LPL, but there has been nothing. They are only having us come to Hambantota this week, and even there they are asking us to do three days of quarantine.

"It's not easy for a bowler to play at a high level without training. At the LPL they also have matches on back-to-back days. So I decided not to play the tournament."

The latest developments from the LPL come a day after former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed's pullout from the franchise-based T20 tournament that is facing a host of issues, including player payments and contracts.

Sarfraz was to captain the Galle Gladiators franchise.

Gayle and Plunkett were set to join former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, local icon Kusal Perera, Sri Lankan T20 specialists Kusal Mendis and Nuwan Pradeep among others in the team.

England batsman Ravi Bopara, who was drafted into the Jaffna Stallions franchise, too has pulled out. He has confirmed to the franchise that he will not play.

Meanwhile, Colombo Kings franchise has roped in former South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs as coach, replacing Kabir Ali, who had tested positive for Covid-19 this week. Gibbs will have Rangana Herath as an assistant coach.

The LPL is scheduled to start on November 26 with a clash between Colombo Kings and Kandy Tuskers in Hambantota, with the final slated for December 16.

Five teams -- Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and Jaffna -- will compete for the top prize in the tournament.

The Kandy franchise is owned by Bollywood actor Salman Khan's brother Sohail and will be coached by former Sri Lanka batsman Hashan Tillakaratne.

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