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IPL 2021 Qualifier 2: KKR survive late scare to beat DC by 3 wickets, to face CSK in final

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Riding on a brilliant fifty by Venkatesh Iyer (55 off 41), Kolkata Knight Riders overcome a dramatic collapse to beat Delhi Capitals by 3 wickets in a low-scoring Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2021 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, here on Wednesday.

KKR will now face the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash, which is scheduled to be played at Dubai International Stadium on Friday. This is KKR’s first final since 2014.

Chasing a total of 136 runs for victory, openers Iyer and Shubman Gill gave Kolkata a solid start. The duo mixed caution with aggression and took KKR to 51/0 after 6 overs. Even after the powerplay, both the openers continued in the same vein, taking KKR to 76/0 in 10 overs.

Kagiso Rabada, finally gave Capitals a breakthrough as he dismissed Iyer. The youngster played a quickfire knock of 55 runs in 41 balls and stitched a 96-run opening stand with Gill. After Iyer’s wicket, Nitish Rana joined Shubman Gill in the middle. But Rana couldn’t do much and got out to Anrich Nortje after scoring 13 runs. In the next over, Gill also got out and things took a dramatic turn as KKR collapsed from 125 for 2 to 130 for 7.

But Rahul Tripathi held his nerve to hit a sixer and finish the game for KKR when six runs were required off 2 balls in the final over.

Earlier in the day, openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan gave Delhi Capitals a solid start, scoring 32/0 after 4 overs. However, Kolkata bounced back with the wicket of Shaw (18), who was dismissed by Varun.

After Prithvi’s wicket, Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis joined forces and looked to maintain the run-flow. But KKR bowlers didn’t allow them to score freely by bowling hard length deliveries. As a result, Delhi were 65/1 at the halfway mark, lurching towards the average total.

The pressure was building on Stoinis, who was promoted in the batting order despite coming from an injury. In order to score freely, the all-rounder gave himself room to hit one through the off side but missed a quick and cross-seamed delivery, which crashed into the stumps. Stoinis (18) and Dhawan added 39-runs for the 2nd wicket partnership.

From there on, Kolkata continued to strangle the batters further and Delhi kept on losing wickets at regular intervals. Dhawan, who scored 36 off 39, was the first to go. He charged down the track, trying to slam Chakaravarthy’s delivery straight down the ground but the ball took the outside edge and Shakib did well to cover ground quickly and take a diving catch.

DC skipper Pant came to bat next and started his innings with a boundary. But he couldn’t carry his knock longer and got out to Lockie Ferguson, leaving DC in trouble at 90/4 after 15.2 overs.

After losing the wickets of Dhawan and Pant in quick succession, Delhi were in deep trouble and Shreyas Iyer and Shimron Hetmyer had the responsibility to bring their team back in the game. Hetmyer survived a close call on the individual score of 3 as he was caught brilliantly by Shubman Gill at long on off a Varun Chakravarthy delivery but it was called a no ball by the TV umpire.

After getting the life-line, the Windies cricketer hit a couple of sixes in the 18th over bowled by Ferguson. However, in the next over, Hetmyer (17) got run out. Iyer wanted to squeeze out a run but Venkatesh Iyer did well to throw the ball back on time to Dinesh Karthik and Hetmyer was well short of the crease.

In the end, Shreyas Iyer hit a six and four in the last over of the innings and took Delhi Capitals to a total of 135/5 in 20 overs, which was not enough.

Brief scores;

Delhi Capitals: 135-5 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 36, Shreyas Iyer 30*; Varun Chakaravarthy (2/26) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders: 136-7 in 19.5 overs (Venkatesh Iyer 55, Shubman Gill 46 ; Kagiso Rabada 2/23).

National

T20 World Cup: Unchanged India win toss, elect to bat first against the Netherlands

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 India won the toss and elected to bat first against The Netherlands in their second Group 2 match of the Super 12s in the Men’s T20 World Cup at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Wednesday.

This will be the first time India and The Netherlands will play a T20I against each other. Both teams are playing with unchanged elevens from their opening Super 12 matches in Melbourne and Hobart respectively.

“Morale is really high (after the four-wicket win over Pakistan). Winning a game like that takes your confidence to the next level but at the same time we understand we need to stay calm, just the first game of the tournament and plenty of things to happen,” said India skipper Rohit Sharma.

“We have to calm ourselves and look forward to this game. We want to keep improving no matter what the results are, it always keeps you in good stead when you are thinking like that,” Sharma added.

Sharma further noted that the pitch could be a touch slower at Sydney. “The pitch has been used for 40 overs so I expect it is going to be slightly slower. We are used to playing on such tracks.”

The Netherlands captain Scott Edwar’s said he’s happy to bowl first though he would have wanted to bat first too. “Our bowlers have been sensational all tournament, hopefully, we can continue that and our batters can come out and perform today. Batting is the obvious one (to improve), just need to get some scores together.”

Playing XIs:

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh

Netherlands: Vikramjit Singh, Max O’Dowd, Bas de Leede, Colin Ackermann, Tom Cooper, Scott Edwards (captain & wk), Tim Pringle, Logan van Beek, Shariz Ahmed, Fred Klaassen and Paul van Meekeren

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India, Saudi Arabia shortlisted for AFC Asian Cup in 2027; Qatar to host 2023 edition

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The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has shortlisted India and Saudi Arabia to bid for the 2027 edition of its flagship Men’s Asian Cup at a meeting of its Executive Committee at which it was also confirmed that Qatar will host AFC Asian Cup 2023.

The AFC Executive Committee deliberated upon the bidding proposals for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 and shortlisted the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) as the final two bidders with the hosting decision to be taken by the AFC Congress at its next meeting in February 2023.

The decision brings to a close the bid proposal of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) who were considered to have withdrawn from the 2027 race following their successful 2023 bid in accordance with the applicable bidding regulations.

China was to host the 2023 Asian Cup but pulled out as hosts a few months back citing the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason.

Chairing the 11th AFC Executive Committee meeting, AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa congratulated the Qatar Football Association (QFA) on their successful bid and also conveyed the appreciation of the Asian football family to the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) and the Korea Football Association (KFA) for their proposals.

“On behalf of the AFC and the Asian football family, I want to congratulate the Qatar Football Association on being awarded the hosting rights of the upcoming edition of the AFC Asian Cup,” he said.

“We must also thank the Football Association of Indonesia and the Korea Football Association for outlining their intentions to stage the tournament.

“Qatar’s capabilities and track record in hosting major international sporting events and their meticulous attention to detail are well admired throughout the globe.

“I must also commend the AFC for showcasing utmost professionalism in conducting a fair and transparent expedited bidding process and I thank all our commercial partners and sponsors for their patience during these unprecedented times.

“Given the short lead time in preparation, we know that the hard work begins immediately but with their existing world-class infrastructure and unrivalled hosting capabilities, we are confident that Qatar will stage a worthy spectacle befitting the prestige and stature of Asia’s crown jewel,” he added.

Qatar are the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions and will be hosting the continent’s most prestigious men’s tournament for the third time after staging the 1988 and 2011 editions.

Meanwhile, Football Australia withdrew from the AFC Asian Cup 2023 bidding process on September 1, 2022, while the Uzbekistan Football Association and the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran officially withdrew their bids to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027 on December 14, 2020, and October 13, 2022, respectively.

The AFC President added, “Again, we thank our three Member Associations — the All India Football Federation, the Qatar Football Association and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation — for submitting strong bids to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027.

“We must also acknowledge the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran and the Uzbekistan Football Association for signaling their intent to host the 2027 edition and Football Australia for indicating their interest for the 2023 tournament.

“Across our competitions, we are seeing our digital engagement and TV viewership grow in record numbers and it is our responsibility to ensure that each tournament surpasses the achievements of the previous edition.

“In the All India Football Federation and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, we have two exemplary bids, and I am confident that the Qatar Football Association will strengthen the foundations for the eventual 2027 hosts to build upon,” said the AFC president.

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I am scoring runs, doing a lot of hard work, but not getting a chance: Prithvi Shaw

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India opening batter Prithvi Shaw admitted that he was disappointed over not being considered for the ongoing ODI series against South Africa despite scoring runs and putting in a lot of hard work.

With the first-choice players in Australia to prepare for the T20 World Cup, many performers in domestic and India ‘A’ matches like Rajat Patidar, Sanju Samson apart from young players like Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad were picked too for the ODIs against South Africa.

But Shaw, who hit two centuries while playing for West Zone in Duleep Trophy and smacked a 48-ball 77 against the visiting New Zealand ‘A’ team for India ‘A’ in one-day series, was not given a look-in for the 50-over matches against South Africa.

“I was disappointed. I am scoring runs, doing a lot of hard work, but not getting a chance. But, it’s alright. When they (national selectors) feel I am ready, they will play me. Whatever opportunities I get, whether it is for India ‘A’ or other teams, I will make sure I do my best and keep my fitness levels up to the mark,” Shaw was quoted as saying by Mid-day.

Shaw, who last played for India during the white-ball tour to Sri Lanka in July last year, further revealed that he has shed seven-eight kilos of in the last couple of months and is not touching Chinese food, sweets and cold drinks anymore.

“I did not work on different things in my batting, but did a lot of fitness work. I worked on weight-loss and reduced by seven to eight kgs after the last IPL. I spent a lot of time in the gym, did a lot of running, didn’t consume any sweets and cold drinks. Chinese food is totally out of my menu now,” added the right-handed batter.

Shaw will now be aiming for a national comeback through playing for Mumbai in the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, starting from Monday. Mumbai are placed in Group A of the T20 competition alongside Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Railways, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Vidarbha, playing all of their league matches in Rajkot.

“We played a few practice games here (in Ahmedabad). All players are in good shape. We have good all-rounders, batsmen and bowlers. I believe it’s a very strong team. All the support staff members are working hard on our preparation and I am optimistic of doing well as a team. All the players in this team are established somewhere, played a good level and are experienced.”

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