'At least start leading from the front': Gambhir slams Dhoni

News Network
September 23, 2020

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Sharjah, Sept 23: Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir has slammed Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper, MS Dhoni, for coming to bat at number seven when the side was chasing 217 against Rajasthan Royals.

His remarks came after CSK's 16-run loss against Rajasthan Royals by 16 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Dhoni came out to bat in the 14th over of the innings with CSK at 114/5. The side still needed 103 runs for the win at that time and many pundits and experts have said that Dhoni should have come in earlier. Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad had come in front of Dhoni to bat against Rajasthan.

"I was a bit surprised, to be honest. MS Dhoni batting at No. 7? And sending Gaikwad before him, Sam Curran before him. Makes no sense to me. In fact, you should be leading from the front. And this is not what you call leading from the front. Batting at number seven when you're chasing what 217? The game was over. Faf was probably the lone warrior," ESPNCricinfo quoted Gambhir as saying.

"Yes, you can talk about MS Dhoni's last over when he hit three sixes, but it was of no use, to be honest. It was just all personal runs. See, if someone else would have done this, some other captain had batted number seven, he would have got a lot of flak. It is MS Dhoni - probably why people don't talk about it. When you don't have Suresh Raina, you're making people believe that Sam Curran is better than you. You're making people believe that Ruturaj Gaikwad, Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, all these guys, are better than you," he added.

Dhoni found going a little tough initially as he was able to score just nine runs off his first twelve balls, but in the final over as CSK needed 38 to win, Dhoni was able to smash 20 runs, including three sixes.

"There is nothing wrong if you end up getting out early, at least start leading from the front, trying to inspire the team as well. What you did in the last over, probably if you'd done that coming in at No. 4 or 5, alongside Faf, you could have made a game out of it. But probably there was no such intent to make a game out of it," said Gambhir.

"I thought that after the first six overs, they had literally given up on the game. And probably MS was trying to get back into that match rhythm of batting till the end and get some runs under his belt so he can actually play these kind of innings in the coming games. You've got to be in the present, try and win each game possible. I thought there was no intent to win the game and they were never there in the chase. You can talk about Faf's innings, but Faf initially was struggling big time. So I thought it was an absolute miscalculation, probably not the right captaincy as well. This is not how you ask someone like MS to lead the side," he added.

For CSK, Faf du Plessis top-scored after playing a knock of 72 from just 37 balls. The MS Dhoni-led side posted 200 in the end, but they still lost the match by 16 runs.

Earlier, Sanju Samson had played a knock of 74 runs from just 32 balls to take Rajasthan Royals' total to 216/7 in the allotted twenty overs. Skipper Steve Smith also registered 69 runs.

The game-changing moment had come in the final over of Rajasthan's innings as Jofra Archer smashed CSK's Lungi Ngidi for 30 runs.

CSK will next take on Delhi Capitals on September 25 while Rajasthan will face Kings XI Punjab on September 27.

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News Network
October 31,2020

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Abu Dhabi, Oct 31: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) batsman Chris Gayle has been fined 10 percent of his match-fee for breaching the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Code of Conduct during his team's match against Rajasthan Royals at Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Rajasthan Royals pacer Jofra Archer had ended Gayle's stint at the crease as the 'Universe Boss' missed his century by a run. After getting out Gayle flung his bat away in frustration.

Gayle admitted to the Level 1 offense 2.2 of the IPL's Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction.

"For Level 1 breaches of the Code of Conduct, the Match Referee's decision is final and binding," the IPL statement read.

Rajasthan Royals thrashed KXIP on Friday to keep their playoffs alive. The Royals are now at fifth in the points table and will next lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Sunday.

Meanwhile, KXIP are still alive in the playoff race as they are at fourth spot with 12 points in 13 games just above Rajasthan Royals (12 points) courtesy of better net run-rate. They will next take on Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, November 1.

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News Network
October 26,2020

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Dubai, Oct 25: Ben Stokes' ton and Sanju Samson's fifty steered Rajasthan Royals to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Mumbai Indians here at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Sunday.

Chasing a mammoth target of 196, Robin Uthappa and Ben Stokes opened the innings for Rajasthan. Uthappa played a knock of 13 runs before he was removed by James Pattinson in the second over.

Skipper Steve Smith joined Stokes in the middle and added 31-run for the second wicket. Pattinson struck again and this time it was Smith (11) in the fifth over.

Sanju Samson joined Stokes in the middle and stitched a match-winning stand of 152-run. The duo smashed Mumbai bowlers all around the ground and chased the target with 10 balls to spare.

Stokes played a quickfire knock of 107 off 60 balls including three sixes and 14 fours while Samson accumulated 54 from 31 balls.

For Mumbai, Pattinson scalped both the wickets.

Earlier, Saurabh Tiwary and Hardik Pandya smashed 74 runs off the final four overs as Mumbai Indians posted a total of 195/5 in the allotted twenty overs.

Opting to bat first, Mumbai Indians did not get off to a good start as opener Quinton de Kock (6) was clean bowled by Jofra Archer in the very first over of the innings.

Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav then got together at the crease and the duo bought the innings back on track for Mumbai Indians. Both batsmen put on 83 runs for the second wicket, however, Rajasthan finally broke the partnership as Kartik Tyagi dismissed Kishan (37) in the 11th over, reducing Mumbai to 90/2.

Jofra Archer produced one of the best catches of the tournament so far to dismiss Kishan. Archer in the deep had initially misjudged the catch but he recovered well to leap and grab the catch at third man.

Rajasthan Royals then staged a comeback as the side dismissed Suryakumar Yadav (40) and Kieron Pollard (6) in quick succession, reducing Mumbai Indians to 101/4 in the 13th over.

In the final four overs, Mumbai Indians smashed 74 runs. Tiwary (34) was dismissed in the penultimate over by Archer, but Hardik marched on to take Mumbai's total past the 190-run mark. Hardik Pandya brought up his half-century off just 20 balls. Hardik Pandya, in the end, remained unbeaten on 60 runs off just 21 balls.

Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 195/5 (Hardik Pandya 60*, Suryakumar Yadav 40, Jofra Archer 2-31) lost to Rajasthan Royals 196/2 in 18.2 overs (Ben Stokes 107*, Sanju Samson 54*, J Pattinson 2-40) by eight wickets.

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News Network
October 25,2020

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Australian batswoman Grace Harris says she takes inspiration from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and she is moulding herself in the role of a finisher like the former India skipper.

Harris, who has played nine ODIs and 11 T20Is for Australia since making her debut in 2015, smashed 53 off 37 balls as defending champions Brisbane Heat started their WBBL campaign with a win against Perth Scorchers on Sunday.

"I've been watching a lot of MS Dhoni’s innings really, I took a bit of inspiration from him," Harris was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

Dhoni, who announced retirement from international cricket in August, is considered as one of the best finishers ever as he has won innumerable matches for India from seemingly hopeless positions.

"He (Dhoni) is a fantastic finisher of the game and he might get behind but at the end of the day, they win games and he's ahead of the count. I'm definitely hoping to do something similar to that," Harris said.

Chasing 133, the 27-year-old Harris paced her innings well. She scored 11 off the first 18 balls but then took the opposition bowlers to the cleaners as the required run rate started to climb up.

"I can catch up, it doesn’t matter how many dot balls I have – it’s not ideal and you want to rotate the strike as much as possible – but in situations like today where I struggle early, it's (about) remaining in a calm mindset," she said.

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