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Wednesday,01-December-2021

National

IPL 2021: Bowlers and Gill hand Kolkata a crucial win over Hyderabad

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Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers maintained a tight leash before Shubman Gill steered the chase to help his team register a six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Dubai International Stadium here on Sunday. With the win, Kolkata now have 12 points from 13 matches and remain in contention for the last spot in the playoffs stage.

It wasn’t a straightforward chase of 116 for Kolkata, who were watchful in their first four overs. Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi fell cheaply in the first ten overs. But Shubman Gill displayed a subtle shift in gears to make up for the slowness in the scoring rate. Sedate till the last ball of eleventh over, Gill hit Kolkata’s first boundary after power-play by coming down the pitch and hitting through mid-wicket off Khan.

He then pulled Holder twice through mid-wicket in the next over. Debutant Umran Malik, who impressed with his searing pace, was hit for back-to-back boundaries through square leg and mid-wicket. Gill hit five boundaries in seven balls to ease tension in Kolkata camp. Nitish Rana, who found it hard to come to terms with Malik’s pace, struck his first boundary by reverse-sweeping Khan.

Gill reached his maiden half-century in IPL 2021 with a pull through mid-wicket off Malik. The 55-run partnership between Gill and Rana was broken by Siddarth Kaul in the 17th over, with Gill mistiming a flick to long-on. Dinesh Karthik nailed an off-drive on his first ball from Kaul.

Rana pulled Holder through mid-wicket in the next over before a top-edge on the pull was pouched by keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Karthik slapped through point off Kumar in the 19th over before finishing off the chase with a fierce pull through deep mid-wicket off Kaul.

Earlier, opting to bat first, Hyderabad had a bad start with Wriddhiman Saha trapped in front of the wicket by Tim Southee on second ball of the innings. Jason Roy never looked to be settled at the crease and mishit to mid-on off Shivam Mavi in the fourth over.

Kane Williamson crunched Mavi for four fours in the last over of power-play. But his promising stay at the crease was cut short in a huge misjudgement for a tight single towards short mid-wicket. Shakib Al Hasan ran to collect the ball and fired a direct hit to catch Williamson short of the crease at the non-striker’s end.

Abhishek Sharma, in a bid to break the dry run, charged down the pitch to hit over leg-side. But he couldn’t connect with the ball from Shakib and was easily stumped. Priyam Garg had a six but a top-edge on slog-sweep landed in deep mid-wicket’s hands off Varun Chakravarthy. The leg-spinner had his second wicket in his next over as Jason Holder miscued to long-off.

Abdul Samad made a quickfire 25 laced with three sixes before holing out to long-on off Southee. Rashid Khan hit a boundary through covers off Mavi to take Hyderabad past 100. On the next ball, Mavi had his man as Khan mistimed to long-on. Siddarth Kaul got a boundary on the last ball, which wasn’t enough for Hyderabad to avoid their 10th loss of the tournament.

Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 115/8 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 26, Abdul Samad 25, Varun Chakravarthy 2/25, Tim Southee 2/26) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 119/4 in 19.4 overs (Shubman Gill 57, Nitish Rana 25, Jason Holder 2/32, Siddarth Kaul 1/17) by six wickets.

National

Eighth season of Pro Kabaddi League to begin from December 22 in Bengaluru

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The organisers of the Pro Kabaddi League announced on Wednesday that the eighth edition of the league will be held here from December 22. It also said that the entire season will be conducted without the presence of spectators for the matches.

Mashal Sports, the organisers of the league, have scheduled triple headers on the first four days. The season will kick-start with U Mumba facing Bengaluru Bulls. The second match will be the league’s ‘Southern Derby’ as Telugu Titans lock horns with Tamil Thalaivas while UP Yoddha will be squaring off against the defending champions Bengal Warriors in the last match of the opening day.

The triple-headers will be only-Saturday affairs throughout the whole duration of the league, starting at 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm respectively. The schedule of the first half of season 8 has come while the organisers say that the second half of the league’s schedule will come in mid-January next year.

Keeping the health and safety of players in mind amid COVID times, the organisers have converted the entire venue at Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre into an integrated and secure bio-bubble.

All 12 teams will be staying and playing at the same venue in order to follow and adhering to the safety protocols set by the authorities.

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Laxman finally agrees to head NCA: Sources

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VVS-Laxman

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has managed to convince former cricketer VVS Laxman to head the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, sources said.

After Rahul Dravid took over the post of Indian team’s head coach, there were reports that Laxman might be appointed as a new head of NCA.

However, later it was said that the former batter “is uninterested”. But now he is ready to take the charge after the BCCI officials held a meeting with him in Dubai.

“There were some issues and it has been sorted out. The board wanted him to take the reponsibility and he is the right man to come in place of Dravid,” sources said.

It is also learnt that Laxman has also agreed to leave the lucrative commentary career for the NCA.

“Laxman is currently mentor of IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad, apart from being a commentator and cricket analyst. And he will leave it all for NCA now.”

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Everyone had written us off; we are here to rectify that: Finch

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Australian captain Aaron Finch has conceded that not winning the ICC T20 World Cup title so far has been a sore point with the Kangaroos and the final against New Zealand later on Sunday is the “best opportunity to rectify that”.

The closest Australia came to winning the T20 World Cup was during the 2010 edition held in the West Indies, where they lost to England by seven wickets.

“It’s one that’s eluded us in the past, and the fact that we are here in the final gives us the best opportunity to rectify that. Yeah, I think it will be a great game against New Zealand. They are a great side and they have been in all the finals over the last six years. Looking forward to it,” said Finch ahead of the title clash.

Finch added that despite critics writing his team off, the way the players had gone about their business was heartening.

“Everyone had written us off but we had a lot of confidence within. We’re really confident the way that we were preparing, the way that our strategy was coming together. Yeah, I think it hasn’t defied expectation. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament, and we still feel as though we’ve got the squad to do that.

“Well, I think the spirit among the team… and that’s been really impressive the way we’ve gone about our business. Everyone has prepared really well. Everyone has had a really defining match or match-defining performance at some point. The guys are really up and about for the final,” said Finch.

Finch added that batting stalwart Steve Smith’s form wasn’t a concern despite the fact that the former skipper has been unimpressive so far in the tournament, and the team management has drawn flak for persisting with him.

“No, not concerned one bit about his (Smith) form. He’s a world-class player and he’s someone in big games has showed how valuable he is. He’s been hitting the ball as well as I’ve seen for a long time, so no, no concerns there whatsoever.”

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