Former India opener Aakash Chopra feels senior players like captain Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, and Glenn Maxwell will have to step up for Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Qualifier 2 match against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2022.
During the 14-run win over Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator at Kolkata, the grand total of runs scored by du Plessis, Kohli and Maxwell was just 34 as Rajat Patidar struck a scintillating century, an unbeaten 112 off just 54 balls though the trio has chipped in patches throughout the tournament.
“Experience will be helpful in today’s match. I believe but I could still be wrong because if we look at RCB’s performance so far in this season, they reached this stage after winning the Eliminator without Kohli, Maxwell and Faf du Plessis scoring runs. If you still reached there, it means RCB’s season has been good.”
“So, well done RCB! But if you want to go forward from here and win today’s match, and then defeat Gujarat in the final, then it is not going to be possible without Faf, Kohli, and Maxwell scoring runs,” said Chopra on Game Plan show on Star Sports.
Chopra cautioned that the senior trio will have to get runs, especially against left-arm pacer Trent Boult and right-arm fast bowler Prasidh Krishna as whirlwind knocks like what Patidar produced in the Eliminator won’t happen every time. “They have a lot of experience. Trent Boult will be up against Faf du Plessis and he has struggled against left-armers. So, it will be a key battle to watch how he faces Boult. Virat Kohli has no such issue, he only needs to play Prasidh Krishna a little cautiously.”
“The rest he will handle pretty well. He hasn’t been dismissed by Trent Boult till now. But Faf has to score runs. It will not work every time that he gets a golden duck and expect someone to rescue the team from danger and reach 200. Rajat Patidar won’t be able to do it every time like he did in the Eliminator. Someone else will have to take the responsibility.”
Chopra further felt Rajasthan Royals’ leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, currently, the leading wicket-taker with 26 scalps in 15 matches, needs to bring out his best against his former IPL side in the contest for a spot for the final on Sunday. “They (Rajasthan) are not very over-dependent off-course. He is the highest wicket-taker not only for his team but has got the most wickets in the league. They’ve got other bowlers too, so it’s a good bowling unit.”
“In the opposition’s batting unit, looking at your main batters – Virat Kohli or Faf du Plessis – if they don’t score runs, then Rajat Patidar will score runs once in a while else it will become difficult for him. The same is happening with Jos Buttler if you look at his current batting. Yuzi Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin have played only once or twice where both have failed to take any wickets and RR lost both the matches.”
“So, it’s no doubt that they are important players and bowl important overs. But the good thing about today is that the field is very big and if there’s no dew on the field, you’ll see these bowlers bowling smartly. You will see Chahal bowling his best against his former team. In the previous match, he bowled well, but this time he needs to do even better since he needs to make his former team regret for not keeping him.”
Chopra signed off by saying Bangalore might win Qualifier 2 and face Gujarat Titans in the final. “Royals will win it. Let’s go with Royal Challengers Bangalore though the Rajasthani Rajwadas won’t let me enter Jaipur. They are very close to my heart but this time I would go for RCB.”
Australian Open: Sania Mirza bids adieu to Grand Slam career as runner-up in Melbourne
India tennis star Sania Mirza on Friday wrapped up her legendary Grand slam career as Australian Open mixed doubles runner-up. The Indian ace and partner Rohan Bopanna lost to the all-Brazilian pair Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos in the mixed doubles final here at Melbourne Park.
Sania and Bopanna were beaten 7-6(2), 6-2 by Brazilians Stefani and Matos, who were playing in their first-ever Grand Slam final.
In her final major, the 36-year-old Sania admitted her emotions almost boiled over after the Indians stunned third seeds and reigning Wimbledon champions Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski in the semifinals. There was no holding them back after her final match at Melbourne Park, 22 years after she first teamed with Bopanna.
Interestingly, Sania claimed her first major in 2009 at Melbourne Park, when she paired up with Mahesh Bhupathi. And she ended her illustrious Grand Slam career here.
Melbourne Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Indian star. After his maiden triumph in 2009. Seven years later, in 2016, she paired up with Swiss star Martina Hingis and claimed the women’s doubles title as the top seed.
Outside Australia, she earned four other Grand Slam titles: 2015 Wimbledon and 2015 US Open women’s doubles with Hingis, 2012 Roland Garros mixed doubles with Bhupathi and 2014 US Open mixed doubles with Bruno Soares.
“The journey of my professional career started in Melbourne� in 2005 when I played Serena Williams in the third round as an 18-year-old,” an emotional Sania said.
“That was scarily enough 18 years ago and I’ve had the privilege to come back here again and again and win some titles here. Rod Laver Arena has really been special in my life� To play the final, obviously, we couldn’t get over the line, but there’s no better place and no better person to finish my Grand Slam career with.”
“I never thought I’d be able to play in front of my child in a Grand Slam final, so it’s truly special for me to have my four-year-old here and my parents here, Rohan’s wife here,” she added.
Bopanna was looking to add a second Grand Slam mixed doubles title after his 2017 Roland Garros victory. Despite coming up short, he paid tribute to his compatriot and friend.
“It’s truly special for me to play with Sania,” he said. “Our first mixed doubles together was when she was 14 years old and we happened to win the title.
“Today we get to play the last match here on Rod Laver Arena. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the title, but thank you so much for your time, for Indian tennis, for inspiring each and everyone.”
Stefani and Matos are the first all-Brazilian team to win a major after ending Sania and Rohan Bopanna’s farewell appearance together in the Australian Open mixed doubles final.
“Rohan and Sania� I know how many people you’ve inspired,” Stefani said. “Like Brazil, like India, this means so much to our countries. It inspires the kids, it inspires the next generations.”
The six-time Grand Slam champion, Sania, earlier this month announced that she will retire from professional tennis after the Dubai Tennis Championships, a WTA 1000 event, which begins on February 19.
AAP moves SC seeking time-bound mayoral polls in Delhi, barring aldermen from voting
The Aam Aadmi Party has moved the Supreme Court over the repeated adjournments of mayoral polls in Delhi.
In its suit, the AAP has demanded time-bound urgent mayoral elections and has also sought the prohibition on voting by aldermen as per law.
“People of Delhi gave majority to the Aam Aadmi Party in the MCD but BJP is not allowing us to form a government in the MCD. Aam Aadmi Party has moved the Supreme Court through its Leader of the House and Mayor candidate (Shelly Oberoi). We have placed two major demands in the Supreme Court, the first is to elect the Mayor in a time-bound manner and form the government in the MCD. Second, as aldermen do not have the right to vote under Article 243R of the Constitution and Section 3 of the DMC Act, they should be prohibited from casting votes,” said AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj.
Noting that the BJP’s MCD tenure ended in March 2022 itself, he said that “they have no moral right to capture and illegally control the MCD for so long”.
The MCD was put under the Central government on the pretext of unification and delimitation works, he said.
“Now the people of Delhi have given a majority to the Aam Aadmi Party in the MCD and elected 134 councillors of the AAP. Despite that, the BJP is not allowing the Aam Aadmi Party government to be formed in the MCD due to its conspiracy and dirty politics. Despite many efforts, they are not allowing the election of the Mayor and the formation of the government to take place,” he said.
“The court should complete this process as soon as possible. Because the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Central Government will not allow to complete this process. The Aldermen, in principle and in law, are unelected nominees and do not have the right to vote under Article 243R of the Constitution and Section 3 of the DMC Act. But the BJP wants to get them to vote by committing hooliganism. The Supreme Court should also give strict orders in this matter to the Central Government and the administration of MCD in this regard.”
The Mayoral election was first scheduled for January 6, but the House was adjourned following scuffle between the councillors of the BJP and the AAP. Then a session was convened on January 24 to elect the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and members of the Standing Committee.
However, after all the 250 newly-elected MCD councillors and 10 nominated members (aldermen) took their oath, the House was again adjourned until the next date after a ruckus created by the councillors of AAP and BJP.
The results of the MCD elections were declared on December 7, wherein out of the 250 seats, the AAP got majority by winning 134 seats, followed by BJP (104), Congress (nine) and Independents (three).
BCCI, PCB likely to clash over calendar at ACC board meeting
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its counterpart Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are likely to have a fiery exchange during the Asian Cricket Council’s emergency board meeting on February 4, a report said on Monday.
According to the report, the point of contention for the two parties is BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s announcement on the ACC’s calendar for 2023, which the PCB alleges was made “unilaterally” without consulting them. Jay Shah is also president of ACC.
The PCB has sought an emergency ACC Board meeting, which PCB chairman Najam Sethi announced will take place next month, ESPNCricinfo said in a report on Monday.
“For some time there hasn’t been any ACC Board meeting and there were a lot of decisions being made and one of them we have challenged,” Sethi said in a press conference. “Now the good news is that we managed to convince them to have their Board meeting and I will be attending it.”
The point of contention between the two boards is the Asia Cup 2023 which is scheduled to be held in Pakistan in September. The event was thrown into uncertainty after Shah announced that the tournament should be moved to a neutral venue as India could not travel to Pakistan to participate.
Ramiz Raja, who was the PCB chief at that time, objected to it and said Pakistan will not travel to India for the ODI World Cup later this year.
With Sethi returning to the helm of PCB last month, he has taken up the issue and sought a meeting of the ACC Board to discuss the matter.
“We have to look at what we can do but we can’t [fight] another case, but I can say that that case wasn’t handled properly and I think we didn’t give a good fight. But eventually, even judges said that if you look through the microscope this case is in favour of Pakistan but if you see this case with a telescope this is going in India’s favour. So in nutshell, with all the nitty-gritty it’s Pakistan’s case, but then their stance was that it’s the [Indian] government which isn’t allowing us [to tour Pakistan],” Sethi was quoted as saying in the report.
The two sides are expected to discuss the matter in the February 4 meeting.
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