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Friday,03-December-2021

National

IPL 2021: Kohli happy to see Chahal getting form back

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Though it was an inconsequential match as far as the playoffs position goes, the clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad was still crucial for Royal Challengers Bangalore as victory would have maintained their chances of finishing at the second position in the IPL 2021 points table, giving them a chance to play the Qualifier 1 thus getting another shot at making it to the final.

Victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad would have put RCB level on 18 points with Chennai Super Kings and in a position to claim the second spot. But that was not to be as Susnrisers Hyderabad won by four runs here on Wednesday night. Kohli’s team remained on 16 points and in the third position behind Delhi Capitals (20) and CSK (18).

Though his franchise team lost, India skipper Kohli was happy to see Indian bowlers — Harshal Patel (3/33), Yuzvendra Chahal(1/27), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/25), and newcomer Umran Malik (1/21) doing well in IPL 2021.

Chahal has lost his place in the Indian white-ball squad and the selectors had ignored Chahal for the T20 World Cup starting later this month, Bhuvneshwar is part of the squad, and seeing him bowling well gladdened Kohli’s heart. The Indian skipper was also happy to see Jammu and Kashmir bowler Malik bowling at 150kph regularly and said it augurs well for Indian fast bowling stock.

“Chahal’s bowling pretty well now. Looks like he’s worked on his bowling with all the time off. Him bowling well is a good sign for the team,” Kohli said on Wednesday night after the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

About Malik, Kohli said, “Good to see a guy bowling at 150 clicks. It’s important to understand the progress of individuals from here, how to look after yourself. We’ve got to maximise the potential of our fast bowling stocks.”

While Chahal got his form back in the last few IPL 2021 matches, Kumar kept his nerves to deny AB de Villiers many chances in the final overs of the match and SRH defended a small total of 141/7 and won by four runs.

“It’s fine, I got hit thrice, but it’s okay. If I say there were no nerves, I would be lying. For AB – I was just trying to be full, and nothing else. That was the only plan – I went for six and then I went to wide yorkers. We were thinking 10-15 runs short but the way everyone bowled was tremendous,” said Kumar, who denied RCB the 13 runs they needed in the final over to win.

Kohli also said that his team could have won the match if they had done well in key moments and not taken things to the final over.

“The intent should always be to get it done as soon as possible. We don’t want to stretch things too deep. Dev (Devdutt Padikkal) and Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) set things up but Maxi’s run out was the key moment for us. With AB you’re never out of the game, but it’s also a case of keeping the guy in the flow on strike. Shahbaz (Ahmed) I think played a crucial knock at the stage and pulled us back into the game. It’s a game of small margins. Things could have gone anywhere and Sunrisers held their nerves to not allow us to get away,” said Kohli.

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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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