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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).

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BCCI wants Dravid to be India’s chief coach; sources say Rahul’s ‘agreed but…!’

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Rahul-Dravid

 Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid has agreed to coach the national side after the ICC T20 World Cup but there are a couple of issues which he wants to be sorted out before joining, said a BCCI official.

Earlier, there were reports that Dravid would be the interim coach for the upcoming home series against New Zealand.

However, the BCCI official has now confirmed that “Rahul has agreed to coach the Indian team till 2023 World Cup”.

The official told IANS that BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah had a meeting with Dravid on the side-lines of the IPL final on Friday evening and they managed to convince him.

“There are a couple of issues which Dravid wants to settle with the BCCI and hopefully that will be done,” he added.

Asked what are the “issues”, the official said, “Like, Dravid wants to have new support staff… changing the entire old one. And a couple of other things. I am sure everything will be sorted out. Because BCCI wants Dravid to lead the charge.”

It is learnt that former Mumbai pacer Paras Mhambrey may take over from Bharat Arun as the bowling coach.

Sources further said that Dravid had suggested Australian Tom Moody’s name for the coach’s job, but the Board didn’t show too much interest.

The 48-year-old Dravid has been in charge of the India A and U-19 set-up for the past six years. He currently heads the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

“He will resign from there and take over the charge (of Team India),” sources added.

Dravid had recently coached a second-string Indian team to a tour of Sri Lanka even as the national senior team was playing concurrently in England.

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Dhoni is still non-committal on playing IPL next season

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MS-Dhoni

 Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni did not commit to playing another season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the team from Tamil Nadu though he did say that he was not done with the World’s richest T20 tournament.

Though Dhoni maintained that whether he continues to play or not depends on the decisions the BCCI takes regarding player retention when two more teams join the league next year, the 40-year-old said he has not left any legacy behind as of yet.

“Still I haven’t left behind….” he signed off during the prize distribution ceremony after CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs to lift their fourth IPL title.

“Again I’ve said it before, it depends on BCCI. With two new teams coming in. We have to decide what is good for CSK. It’s not about me being there in top-three or four. It’s about making a strong core to ensure the franchise doesn’t suffer. The core group, we have to have a hard look to see who can contribute for the next 10 years,” said Dhoni on Friday.

CSK set up a big target and then defended it successfully, keeping their nerves even when Kolkata Knight Riders openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer and given KKR a great start by putting on 91 runs for the first wicket. There was no panic in CSK ranks and the players went about performing their roles as things just fell in place.

Dhoni said they don’t plan or strategise too much before the game and the net sessions are more of one-on-one sessions.

“Frankly no chats, we don’t talk a lot [meetings]. It’s more one-on-one, our practice sessions are meeting sessions. The moment you get into a team room, it brings about different pressure. Our practice sessions hav” been good,” Dhoni said, adding that the chat sessions don’t last more than 29 minutes as that’s the attention span for a normal person.

About his team’s performance, Dhoni said that they shuffled players around after the first half and that paid for them. “Coming to CSK, we shuffled players. We had match winners coming game after game and doing really well. Every final is special, if you look at stats, we may say we’re the most consistent team to lose the final too. I feel it’s important to come back strong, especially in the knockouts,” Dhoni added.

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IPL 2021: Extremely grateful, feels amazing to be part of CSK, says Uthappa

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Chennai Super Kings. (Photo: Twitter/@ChennaiIPL)

After Chennai Super Kings (CSK) won their fourth IPL trophy, star batsman Robin Uthappa on Friday said that he is extremely grateful and it feels amazing to be part of MS Dhoni-led side, especially how last year went for them.

CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the IPL 2021 final and lifted their fourth IPL title. CSK had earlier won three IPL titles in 2010, 2011, and 2018.

“Extremely grateful, it feels amazing to be part of this side, especially how last year went for us. It was a very lean season for us last year and so it was important for us to come back and play as well as we could and be really grateful that we have been able to,” said Robin Uthappa after the win.

“I just want to come in and contribute to the team’s success,” he added.

Talking about the environment in the CSK group, the stylish batsman said that there is a lot of clarity.

“They create a very secure environment within the group and there’s a lot of clarity and communication within the support staff and the players and that really helps in building a secure group,” said Uthappa, who performed well with the bat for CSK in the last two matches.

“I believe it’s your players who are not playing in the eleven that really create the atmosphere within the group and they make sure that they look after the players who are not playing in the eleven and I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways of our success in IPL,” he added.

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