Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming has played down the concerns over the form of experienced Suresh Raina, saying that southpaw has earned the leeway and also backed him to come good in the upcoming matches of IPL 2021.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 6 wickets in match 44 of the IPL 2021 in Sharjah on Thursday and became the first team to seal a place in the playoffs of the ongoing league.
The three-time IPL champions have 18 points on the back of nine wins from 11 matches. However, Suresh Raina’s batting form is a concern for Super Kings.
The left-handed batsman had started the season with a 36-ball 54 against Delhi Capitals in Mumbai but since then has crossed 20 only once in nine innings. Overall, Raina has scored only 157 runs from 11 innings with 1 fifty.
“We’ve got a pretty clear role for him. He has got an optimal time that we want him to bat, and we’re afforded the luxury of having a player that can come in and be aggressive. So it’s just getting the timing right with that and managing the batters around him,” Fleming said about Raina in the post-match press-conference.
“We value his experience and we think he’s got a part to play through the middle, which is an area that we’ve identified we can make a strength. Suresh is an experienced player, who has earned a bit of leeway. I expect as the tournament goes on, his performances will improve,” he added.
Super Kings are the table-toppers and they would want to have a top-two finish, which will give them two shots at the final.
Head coach Fleming said that reaching the IPL playoffs early gives CSK an opportunity to manage the workload of certain players in the next couple of games, but there won’t be too many changes in the side.
“I’m not big on momentum, momentum can go just as quick as you have it,” he said. “So we’re not really talking about that. But what we probably have been afforded is the opportunity to just manage workloads a bit better. We’ve got a day and then we travel to Abu Dhabi, and then another day, another game,” the former Kiwi cricketer said.
“So we’ll certainly talk about how we can manage our players, making sure that we manage the team that played today and also the opportunities for guys who are on the fringe. So we’ve afforded that luxury now, but we won’t be too experimental,” he added.
MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings will next face Rajasthan Royals at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
PKL 8: Patna Pirates beat Puneri Paltan 38-26
Raider Sachin scored 10 points as three-time champions Patna Pirates defeated Puneri Paltan 38-26 in Match 17 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, on Tuesday. Sachin scored a Super 10 (10 points) and was ably supported by Patna’s defensive trio of Sunil (4 points), Mohammadreza Chiyaneh (3 points), and Sajin C (3 points). The lack of a quality raider despite promising performances from youngsters will be a cause of concern for the Puneri Paltan who succumbed to their second loss in three matches.
All eyes were once again on Pune’s Rahul Chaudhari but the showman, despite starting the match, was substituted for young Mohit Goyat by coach Anup Kumar in the first half. The trio of raiders including Aslam Inamdar and Pankaj Mohite caused problems for the Patna defence while at the other end Prashant Kumar Rai and Sachin were equally effective.
Patna were facing the risk of an all-out with six minutes left to half-time, but their defender Sajin C completed a Super Tackle to turn the momentum. The three-time champions got lucky later when Monu Goyat entered the lobby without contact, in a do-or-die raid only to be followed by three Pune defenders who had been deceived by his actions. The first half ended 14-14 with Pune having just two men on the mat.
Pune coach Anup Kumar clearly expected from his set of raiders and brought in Shubham Shelke for Pankaj Mohite in the second half. But Patna kept fighting back, thanks to the largely confident tackles from the likes of Mohammadreza Chiyaneh and Sajin. With 10 minutes remaining, Patna had a four-point lead and that was extended a’ Pune’s plan to play on the Do-or-Die raid backfired. Sachin scored two points in the crucial raid for Patna to inspire another ALL OUT in the 13th minute and open a 10-point lead.
Patna maintained the momentum and though Sunil and Vishal Bharadwaj picked up yellow cards in the final minutes as the match became intense the three-time champions ensured there was no late comeback by Pune and clinched an important win.
PKL 8: Bengal Warriors beat Gujarat Giants
Bengal Warriors defeated Gujarat Giants 31-28 on Day 3 of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 held at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Friday. This was Bengal Warriors’ second win in as many matches while Gujarat Gaints have one win and one loss. The Warriors have 10 points the same as Dabang Delhi but are placed second on a lower points-difference while Gujarat have six points.
Bengal Warriors started well and established a slender lead (16-11) against Gujarat Giants at half-time. They maintained their advantage despite the valiant efforts of the Gujarat Giants, managed to register a narrow victory.
Maninder Singh was the top scorer for Bengal Warriors with eight points while Esmaeil Nabibakhsh contributed four points.
Bengal Warriors won 18 raid points as against 19 by Gujarat Giants. But it was in defence that they scored, claiming 10 points as against eight by their rivals. They bagged two all-outs as against none by the Giants.
Rakesh Narwal was the top scorer for Gujarat Giants with 12 points while Rakesh Sungroya contributed four points.
Rishabh Pant appointed as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday announced that Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been appointed as the brand ambassador of the state.
Taking to Twitter, the Chief Minister said that Pant will encourage the youngsters to take up sports.
“One of the best cricket players of India, the idol of youth and son of Uttarakhand, Rishabh Pant has been appointed as “State Brand Ambassador” by our government with the aim of encouraging the youth of the state towards sports and public health,” tweeted Dhami in Hindi, along with the video.
In the video, CM Dhami can be seen interacting with Rishabh and asking about his well-being.
The attacking batter also thanked the Chief Minister for the opportunity, saying that he will try his best to motivate people towards fitness.
“Thank you @pushkardhami sir for giving me the opportunity to be the Brand Ambassador of promoting Sports and General Health among the people of Uttarakhand. I’ll do my best to spread this message and feeling happy that you are taking these steps towards a fitter India,” tweeted Pant.
“Coming from a small town of Roorkee, I am confident that the people here have the ability to make the country proud in various fields of life,” he added.
The 24-year Pant, who was rested for the New Zealand Tests, is currently in Johannesburg, South Africa as the Indian Team is all set to face Proteas in the three-match Test series, starting December 26.
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