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Dissecting the reasons behind where India lost the ODI series



India had started their tour of South Africa on a bright note, winning the Centurion Test by 113 runs. But after that, South Africa came back to win the next two Tests and take the series 2-1. One expected that with the ODI series, there will be a change in results.

But the same script followed as India were blanked 3-0 by South Africa in the ODIs. Playing ODIs for the first time after July 2021 (for first-choice players, after March 2021), India were rusty and looked out of sorts in the 50-over matches. We dissect the reasons behind India’s 3-0 loss in the ODIs against South Africa:

Batting returns not up to the mark

A quick glance at the batting cards of both teams will show the difference between South Africa and India. Three of the four highest run-scorers in the series were all from the hosts. Quinton de Kock topped the chart with 229 runs at an average of 76.33 and strike rate of 96.62 with a hundred and a fifty, Rassie van der Dussen at number two with 218 runs with a whopping average of 218.00 (was unbeaten twice in the series) and strike rate of 112.95 with a hundred and fifty as well.

Skipper Temba Bavuma made 153 runs at an average of 51 and strike rate of 80.10, including a century in the first match.

For India, Shikhar Dhawan was their top run-getter in the series, sandwiched between van der Dussen and Bavuma, making 169 runs at an average of 56.33 and strike rate of 86.66, with just two fifties.

India’s batters failed to aggregate 200 runs in the series. Moreover, no Indian batter got to the three-figure mark. While Dhawan and Kohli gave starts but were unable to make it big, the middle-order failed to stand up to the occasion and India’s batting lost the plot from there.

With the ODI series against West Indies at home in February, India will be hoping to fix the glitches in batting.

Middle overs muddle

It is no denying that India has a middle overs problem in batting, which was clearly illustrated in the ODIs against South Africa. In the first ODI, compared to South Africa’s 171/2 in that stage, India were 148/6, unable to stop the wickets from falling and thus weren’t able to make as many runs as they would have liked.

The script repeated when India batted first in the second ODI, making 160/5 in the middle overs phase. Then the script again repeated itself when chasing 288 on Sunday, India could muster 160/5 in the middle overs. Also, in terms of partnership, South Africa had at least a three-figure stand in every match of the series, something India did only once (in the second ODI).
Spinners outplayed
Much was expected of Ravichandran Ashwin’s off-spin and Yuzvendra Chahal’s leg-spin against South Africa. But they couldn’t put up a good show as South Africa’s spinners outplayed them. In a complete reversal of 2018, where Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav bamboozled the South Africa batters, here the Proteas’ spinners were getting the better of India’s batters.
Overall, the troika of Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj and Aiden Markram took nine wickets in 65 overs while conceding 218 runs. On the other hand, combining Ashwin, Chahal, Jayant Yadav and Shreyas Iyer’s numbers, India had just three wickets from spin in 32.1 overs while conceding 343 runs. In terms of pace, South Africa took 15 wickets while their Indian counterparts could get ten wickets. Clearly, the spin attack didn’t do wonders for India.

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Sub-jr national boxing: Five boxers from Haryana, U.P in quarters




Five boys from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh progressed to the quarter-finals as boxers from these states continued their impressive run at the 2022 Sub-junior Girls’ and Boys’ National Boxing Championships here.

Vinit Kumar began the day brilliantly for Haryana when he outclassed Rajasthan’s Chandra Shekhar by a unanimous decision in the 40kg pre-quarterfinal bout at the Inspire Institute of Sports here on Tuesday.

Hunny (43kg), Mahesh (46kg), and Lokesh (64kg) further extended Haryana’s dominance with victories by similar margins. While Hunny and Mahesh thrashed Telangana’s Sana Ulla and Nikhil Goud respectively, Lokesh defeated Uttar Pradesh’s Pritam Gupta, the Boxing Federation of India informed in a release on Tuesday.

Yogesh Danda was the fifth Haryana boxer to make his way into the last-8 stage after beating Pondicherry’s Prithvi by RSC verdict in the 52kg category.

Producing equally dominant performances, four other Uttar Pradesh pugilists — MD Faiz (61kg), Lakshya Singh Parihar (40kg), Vishal Yadav (67kg), and Vishu Rajtun (70kg) — clinched RSC wins in their respective pre-quarter-finals while Ravi Gond had to work hard during his 55kg match against Assam’s Shahiman Newar but managed to win by a split 4-1 decision.

While Faiz and Lakshya defeated Andhra Pradesh’s Teja Krishna Yadav and Uttarakhand’s Karan Adhikari respectively, Vishal and Vishnu outpunched Maharashtra’s Shivam Ijagaj and Orissa’s Akash Kumar Panigrahi.

Delhi’s Shivam and Lovjeet, an’ Chandigarh’s Loven and Nittin were among the other pugilists who entered the quarter-finals with strong performances. Shivam (49kg) and Lovjeet (58kg) registered identical 5-0 wins against their respective opponents from Maharashtra, Atharva Naik, and Atharva Bhatt.

While Nittin made light work of Telangana’s Pranav Shiva to win by a 5-0 margin in the 37kg category, in the 70kg last-16 bout, Loven notched up a commanding RSC win against Madhya Pradesh’s Suryabhan Singh.

The ongoing championship has been witnessing the participation of 621 boxers, including 348 in the boys’ section, from 31 teams across the country. Each bout consists of three rounds of two minutes each with a minute’s break between each round.

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CSK take on Mumbai Indians in a likely match of academic interest




Four-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings will take on five-time winners Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday hoping to salvage some pride in an otherwise dismal season, which has seen the two giants of the league dish out their worst performance in the tournament’s 15 years of existence.

While the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians are out of contention, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK only have a mathematical possibility of making the last-four as they languish in ninth place with just eight points from 11 outings.

The Super Kings will enter the match after beating the Delhi Capitals by 91 runs in their previous encounter.

Their charismatic batter from New Zealand Devon Conway has been in good form and has scored three consecutive half-centuries. Dwayne Bravo leads the charts with the ball and has scalped 16 wickets thus far.

When these two sides met each other last time, a Dhoni special helped the Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians by three wickets. Dhoni scored 16 runs off the final four deliveries to help his side past the finish line.

In the 15 matches that have taken place in this stadium, the team chasing has emerged triumphant on eight occasions, with the average first innings score at this venue this season being 173.


Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (capt and WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Chris Jordan, Subhranshu Senapati, Dwaine Pretorius, Mukesh Choudhary, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Dwayne Bravo, Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mitchell Santner, Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Prashant Solanki, KM Asif, Simarjeet Singh, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Maheesh Theekshana, Bhagath Varma, Matheesha Pathirana.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Ishan Kishan (Wk), Kieron Pollard, Jasprit Bumrah, Tim David, Jaydev Unadkat, Riley Meredith, Daniel Sams, Fabian Allen, Mayank Markande, Murugan Ashwin, Basil Thampi, Anmolpreet Singh, Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma, Aryan Juyal (Wk), Arjun Tendulkar, Ramandeep Singh, Rahul Buddhi, Hrithik Shokeen, Sanjay Yadav, Arshad Khan, Tristan Stubbs.

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Titans’ Rashid Khan making it a habit of proving his critics wrong




Gujarat Titans bowler Rashid Khan has made it a habit of proving his critics wrong by giving sterling performance, time and again. The 23-year-old Afghanistan cricketer was at the receiving end in IPL 2022 when he went wicket-less in just a couple of games, with experts saying that he had lost his winning touch, though he contributed handsomely with the bat on those occasions.

Against Mumabi Indians, the spinner came into his own, hitting back at his critics by taking two wickets for 24 runs in his four overs — the best bowling figures for Gujarat Titans in the game against the five-time champions at the Brabourne Stadium on May 6.

On Tuesday, against Lucknow Super Giants, Rashid was at his devastating best, snaring four wickets for just 24 runs as Gujarat Titans secured a playoffs berth with two games to spare.

“I think those couple of games which didn’t go well, it was all about my line and length,” said Rashid after the magical spell against LSG. “That was something I was missing in those games. The kind of pace I bowl and action I have, I cannot afford to lose my line and length and that was something I missed in two or three games. It was all about focusing on hitting the right area.”

With a bit of assistance from the wicket, and the bounce he got on Tuesday, Rashid turned the game on its head as the Titans managed to defend an easily gettable score of 144, restricting their opponents to just 82 runs for a 62-run win.

“The wicket was helping and there was bounce and turn but overall it was just about my length. I have to bowl the right area, right length, and I will be able to pick wickets and make the run rate go higher,” said Rashid.

Rashid’s utility for Gujarat Titans has never been in question. He can bowl amazing spells and can whack the ball at strike rates of 200 or beyond. Gujarat might have lost their way on a couple of occasions — like the game against Mumbai Indians — but the fact that he has helped pull off amazing chases earlier makes him one of the best all-rounders in IPL 2022.

While people thought Rashid had suddenly become ineffective, one look at his economy rate showed that he was busy choking rival batters and stemming the flow of runs, if not taking wickets. On Tuesday night, he took advantage of the platform provided by the pacers in the powerplay overs to completely demolish the opposition later on.

They (pacers) have given us a platform (in the powerplay). (Mohd) Shami the way he bowled, Yash (Dayal), Hardik (Pandya) and (Alzarri) Joseph, I think the way they bowled in the powerplay, they gave us a kind of platform where we can come and put the pressure up and up,” said Rashid.

He conceded that defending 144 was always going to be tough but with the seamers making early breakthroughs, the task to restrict the opponents was made easy.

“In a score like 140-145, you always need to have a good Powerplay and that was something the seamers gave us today. This is a very crucial part of the competition. The mistakes that we made in the games, whether we lost or won, it’s all about the process. We have to keep the same process. We keep getting better day by day and match by match. It’s not just about the result.

“If we keep learning and doing good things more and more, we have now qualified but the focus is on playing good cricket and enjoying the cricket. That is something we as a team will do and take it one day at a time. (Which wicket he enjoyed most) The wicket I got Jason Holder, that was a very crucial wicket at that time. We knew he’s someone who can take the game away. So his wicket is something, I had planned to bowl that leggie from middle stump and I was expecting it to go to slip but leg before was something. That wicket I enjoyed a lot,” he added.

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