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Friday,03-December-2021

National

IPL 2021: Kohli credits bowlers for comeback win against Rajasthan

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Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli praised his bowlers for their fine comeback to restrict Rajasthan Royals, after their good start, to a manageable total as they coasted to a seven-wicket win in IPL 2021.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell starred for Bangalore on Wednesday’s win. He stitched an important stand with KS Bharat after Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal were dismissed. Bharat got out to Mustafizur Rahman for 44 but Maxwell smashed Chris Morris an unbeated 50 to seal victory.

But things would have looked difficult for RCB if their bowlers had not managed to stop the Rajasthan Royals batters. Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal had raised 56 runs without a loss for RR in the Powerplay and were looking increasingly dangerous. Though Jaiswal got out with the team’s score of 77, Rajasthan were still in a strong position with 100 on the board in 11 overs. But the RCB bowlers came back strongly, allowing their opponents to score only 49 runs in the remaining nine overs, claiming eight wickets in the process.

Medium-pacer Harshal Patel was the star performer taking three wickets for 34 runs but it was the performance by spinners that would have pleased Kohli more. Yuzvendra Chahal took 2/18 while left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed claimed 2/10 off two overs.

In their previous match, RCB had restricted Mumbai Indians from 56/0 in the Powerplay to 111 all out in 18.1 overs.

“We have come back strongly in two games back-to-back with the ball. Which is a great sign. We know if you can hold your nerve with the ball you’re going in the right direction. In both games, the opponents were 56/0 in the powerplay, but in both games, we took wickets to ensure the opposition does not get away,” Kohli said after the match.

“We knew that with the kind of bowling attack we have, things can open up when we take wickets. As batters you can’t take too many risks when you’re searching for two points too, so we went to look for mistakes from their batters. Lewis hit a few sixes and it was courageous from Garton and the others. We’ve got the rewards because we’ve been fearless and confident in the moments that the game can go either way,” said Kohli.

He said that the Red Army is “slowly but surely getting in groove” in the UAE leg of IPL 2021. The win now strengthens Bangalore’s chances of making the IPL 2021 playoffs.

Kohli said a couple of things clicked for his team on Wednesday night and middle-overs bowling was one of them.

“Couple of important things are clicking: middle-overs bowling is one. If you take wickets you can change the game. And batting also, we’ve got a few good opening starts. Devdutt and I have focused on giving the team a good start so that the middle-order with AB, Bharat, and Maxwell can make more. Boys have stepped up, so that’s been key for us.”

The RCB, who had a good first-half of IPL 2021, took time to get going in the UAE leg. “The break was tough as you saw initially. We were blown away in Game 1. That defeat gave us confidence though. In the second game, we were not quite there either, left 25-30 out there with the bat. But last two games we are going in the right direction. Slowly but surely we are getting in the groove,” Kohli added.

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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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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