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IND v SA, 1st T20I: Miller, Van der Dussen, Pretorius make it an evening to remember for South Africa



On a belter of a pitch at Arun Jaitley Stadium, with some help for pacers and spinners, chasing 212 was going to be an enormous task for South Africa. But the impossible was made possible by the troika of Dwaine Pretorius, David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen unleashing knocks in contrasting ways to secure a seven-wicket win and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

On the eve of the match, captain Temba Bavuma had said to reporters that the pitch had become better to bat as the game progressed, as seen from their intra-squad practice match. On match day, despite occasional fumbles and asking rate touching either 12 or 13, Pretorius, Miller and van der Dussen ensured that South Africa hunted down 212 with five balls to spare.

When Bavuma fell to a leg-cutter from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, South Africa sprung a surprise by sending Pretorius at three, whose career-best knock in the format, an unbeaten 77, laced with seven fours and three sixes, came at the same position against Sri Lanka in March 2019.

Though his stay was of just 14 balls against India, Pretorius justified his move by punching Bhuvneshwar crisply through cover on his second ball.

But it was a clean slog-sweep off Yuzvendra Chahal for a huge six over cow corner that signalled Pretorius’ intentions to go for the kill. He muscled Pandya for three sixes — one over fine leg, others over mid-wicket, as South Africa soared to 60/1 in five overs.

Though he was undone by a slower, dipping full toss from Harshal Patel, Pretorius’ clean strikes had done the job of giving the chase early impetus.

“Dwaine is probably one of the guys in world cricket who hits the ball hardest. If you look at his domestic as well as international statistics, number three has been the position where he’s been successful at. Tonight, there was a clear instruction to go in and put the bowlers under pressure.

“With a total of that nature, you gotta almost go hard for 20 overs,” said van der Dussen to reporters after the match.

“When Dwaine gets it right, it’s really, really tough to bowl to him as he’s a very powerful hitter of the ball. He played brilliantly and got out to a really good ball from Harshal, but he will take a lot of confidence from it going into the series and will definitely put the bowlers under pressure,” added the right-hander.

At the half-way mark, South Africa needed 126 runs off the last 10 overs. It was a gettable target, mainly due to Miller’s rich vein of form. Miller, coming after enjoying a prolific season in Gujarat Titans’ trophy run in IPL 2022, teed off with successive boundaries off Harshal before taking four and two sixes off Axar to pave the way for South Africa’s chase.

Bhuvneshwar tried to stop him with slower balls, but were duly dispatched by Miller for boundaries.

But the real game-changer for South Africa came when van der Dussen, who was struggling to time the ball, broke the toe-end of his bat and signalled for a new one. At that time, he was 22 off 25 balls and with the new bat, it seemed that the timing which deserted van der Dussen, had come back.

Luck also helped him as Shreyas Iyer spilled a catch at deep mid-wicket, giving van der Dussen life at 29 off 30 balls.

“I think I had put myself and the team under a bit of pressure by not being able to get boundaries early on in my innings. But it wasn’t through lack of intent, or lack of planning, or lack of clarity of mind. You know, sometimes it just doesn’t come off. When Shreyas dropped it, I knew I had to make them pay because I took the balls to get myself in,” revealed van der Dussen.

Miller and van der Dussen looted 22 runs from overs 17 and 18, slamming five gigantic sixes and three crisp boundaries off Harshal and Bhuvneshwar.

Fittingly, van der Dussen finished off the chase with a reverse sweep off Chahal on the first ball of the final over to secure the highest successful chase made by South Africa in the format, with the duo sharing an unbroken stand of 131 runs for the fourth wicket.

“When David came in, I said to him, ‘You can play it as you see it but I’m pretty happy to take between 12 and 13 an over in the last ten.’ Because if you were in on this wicket, you could really capitalise. So, we didn’t panic at all. We knew even if the asking rate got up to 14-15, we could use that one short boundary with the right-left combination. We knew we could target the bowlers,” signed off van der Dussen.

In an ideal world, Pretorius wouldn’t have been promoted to three if Aiden Markram wasn’t down with Covid-19 and van der Dussen could have batted at three. But on Thursday, the personnel on positions shuffled, with Pretorius, Miller and van der Dussen playing chief roles in making Thursday a memorable evening for the Proteas.


PM Narendra Modi Lays Foundation Stone For Rs.451 Crore International Cricket Stadium In Varanasi 




India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the new International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi on September 23rd (Saturday). The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri, Dilip Vengsarkar, and Sunil Gavaskar were also present for the ceremony. The Prime Minister also went on to present an Indian team jersey to Tendulkar.

The state government, led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has remitted a whopping ₹121 crore for the purpose of land acquisition, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shall put in ₹330 crore from their side for the iconic stadium’s construction. Some of the notable features that the stadium would have are trishul-shaped floodlights, drum-shaped media center, and crescent moon-shaped roof.

Meanwhile, the stone-laying ceremony witnessed some of the most top figures from the BCCI, including President Roger Binny, Vice-President Rajiv Shukla, and Secretary Jay Shah. This will also be the third international stadium in Uttar Pradesh, with Kanpur and Lucknow already having one.

“The sportspersons here will benefit from the construction of an international stadium” – Narendra Modi

Speaking at the ceremony, Modi stated that sports are no longer prohibited by the elders, unlike before, as it acts as an incentive in several ways. He said, as quoted by The Indian Express:

“This stadium in the city of ‘Mahadev’ will be dedicated to ‘Mahadev’ himself. The sportspersons here will benefit from the construction of an international stadium in Kashi. There was a time when parents used to scold their children for playing sports, but that is no longer true. When sports infrastructure is built in an area, it acts as an incentive not just for young sporting talent but also spurs the local economy.”

The stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 30000 and the construction of the same is likely to finish by December 2025.

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Legends Including Sachin Tendulkar And Ravi Shastri Leave For Varanasi For Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony For New International Stadium In UP




Legendary Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, and Dilip Vengsarkar on Saturday headed for Varanasi for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the international cricket stadium in Uttar Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the International Cricket Stadium in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi on Saturday afternoon.

The Uttar Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has spent Rs 121 crores on land acquisition for the construction of the International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi. Moreover, the BCCI will spend Rs 330 crores on the stadium’s construction.

The former India head coach Shashti on Saturday took to social media ‘X’, formerly known as Twitter, and wrote in a post, “Varanasi bound. Great to be amongst Greats and colleagues for Mumbai and India. Just a few international runs and wickets there. Pic of a lifetime. Gr8 memories.”

The thematic architecture of this stadium draws inspiration from Lord Shiva, with designs developed for crescent-shaped roof covers, trident-shaped floodlights, ghat steps-based seating, and Bilvipatra-shaped metallic sheets on the facade. The stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 spectators.
Veteran players like Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Shastri, Vengsarkar will be present at the foundation stone laying ceremony.

Uttar Pradesh to have its 3rd international stadium:

The event will also have the presence of key figures from the BCCI, including President Roger Binny, Vice President Rajiv Shukla, and Secretary Jay Shah, the release stated. Furthermore, many veteran players are expected to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony. After Kanpur and Lucknow, this will be Uttar Pradesh’s third international cricket stadium. 

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IND vs AUS: ‘Always Well Looked After And Well Protected’ As David Warner Feeling ‘Great’ To Be Back In India




The Australian cricket team has landed in India ahead of what will be their final dress rehearsal for the 2023 World Cup. Veteran Australian opener David Warner took to his official Instagram handle and expressed their gratefulness at landing in India. He also thanked GMR Aerocity for making their transit easy.

Warner will be one of the few players most in focus ahead of the ODI series, especially due to his inconsistency in the preceding rubber against South Africa. The left-hander made only two fifty-plus scores in five innings and threw away starts consistently.

The five-time World Champions will be keen to get back in the groove after missing an opportunity to win the series in South Africa despite a 2-0 lead. The middle-order batters, including Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis will be under pressure for consistently failing against the Proteas. With Steve Smith back in the side and Australia set to field a full-strength attack, they should be in a good stead.

The 36-year-old took to his Instagram handle and wrote:

“Always great to be welcomed back to india. We are always well looked after and well protected. Thanks so much. @gmraerocity always makes our transits so easy.”

Australia won the three-game ODI series in India earlier this year:

Pat Cummins and co. should draw confidence from their success against the Men in Blue in their backyard earlier this year under the captaincy of Steve Smith. Nevertheless, India are an in-form team, having won the Asia Cup 2023.

However, the men’s team’s chief selector Chief selector Ajit Agarkar has announced resting Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for the first two ODIs. KL Rahul will captain India in Mohali and Indore,

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