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KKR owe big win to Varun Chakravarthy, Rana and Narine




Leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy’s five-wicket haul and superb half-centuries from Nitish Rana and off-spinner Sunil Narine combined to guide Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a crucial 59-run win over Delhi Capitals (DC) that kept the team in contention for the Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs.

The win took KKR to 12 points from 11 matches, though they remain at the fourth place in the eight-team competition. And despite the defeat, DC remain static at the second spot, behind Mumbai Indians. Both DC and MI, as well as Royal Challengers Bangalore have 14 points each.

Four top teams qualify for the playoffs. Overall, the race for the fourth qualifying spot, if not for other potions above it, is still wide open, with even the wooden spooners Chennai Super Kings still in the fray, though mathematically and not on form.

KKR, who were asked to bat by DC captain Shreyas Iyer, recovered from early jolts to put a respectable 194/6 wickets on board, thanks to Rana’s scintillating knock (81, 53 balls, 13x4s, 1×6). Later, Chakravarthy (4-0-20-5) ripped apart the KKR batting line-up as the spinner claimed the first five-wicket haul of the current tournament to restrict DC to 135 for nine wickets in 20 overs.

Chasing the target, Delhi never looked in control, barring a 63-run partnership between Iyer (47) and Rishabh Pant (27).

DC lost openers Ajinkya Rahane, who failed to open his account, and in-form Shikhar Dhawan (6) with just 13 runs on board before Iyer and Pant stabilised the innings. Both DC openers were claimed by Pat Cummins (3/17), who looked quite impressive after some lacklustre performance in the recent past.

Chakravarthy, however, didn’t let the partnership develop as he cut short Pant’s stay in the 12th over, leaving DC at 76/3.

It was an absolute carnage by the KKR’s Chakravarthy as he went on to pick the wickets of Shimron Hetmyer (10), Iyer, Marcus Stoinis (6) and Axar Patel (9) in quick succession to leave DC at 112/7 wickets in 15.5 overs.

Kagiso Rabada chipped in with nine runs before becoming a victim of Cummins while Ravichandran Ashwin remained unbeaten on 14 as DC failed to cross the line by huge margin.

It was DC’s fourth defeat of the season.

Earlier, Rana (81) and Sunil Narine (64)rescued KKR from early blows, helping their side post a challenging 194/6 in the allotted 20 overs.

Anrich Nortje (2/27) struck twice to pack up Shubman Gill (9) and Rahul Tripathi (13) while Kagiso Rabada (2/33) dismissed Dinesh Karthik (3) to leave KKR tottering at 42/3 in 7.2 overs.

However, Rana and Narine anchored the innings with a crucial 115-run partnership and in the process also notched up their respective half-centuries.

Rabada struck again in the 17th over to send back Narine, whose innings contained six boundaries and four sixes. His fall saw KKR skipper Eoin Morgan (17) joining Rana in the middle and the duo were involved in a brief 37-run stand.

While trying to improve the run-rate, Rana and Morgan fell on the final two balls of the final over of the innings. However, it hardly affected KKR, which had already managed to put a decent total on board.

Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders: 194/6 wkts in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 81, Sunil Narine 64; Anrich Nortje 2/27) beat Delhi Capitals: 135/9 wkts in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 47, Rishabh Pant 27; Varun Chakravarthy 5/20) by 59 runs


PKL 8: Patna Pirates beat Puneri Paltan 38-26




Raider Sachin scored 10 points as three-time champions Patna Pirates defeated Puneri Paltan 38-26 in Match 17 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, on Tuesday. Sachin scored a Super 10 (10 points) and was ably supported by Patna’s defensive trio of Sunil (4 points), Mohammadreza Chiyaneh (3 points), and Sajin C (3 points). The lack of a quality raider despite promising performances from youngsters will be a cause of concern for the Puneri Paltan who succumbed to their second loss in three matches.

All eyes were once again on Pune’s Rahul Chaudhari but the showman, despite starting the match, was substituted for young Mohit Goyat by coach Anup Kumar in the first half. The trio of raiders including Aslam Inamdar and Pankaj Mohite caused problems for the Patna defence while at the other end Prashant Kumar Rai and Sachin were equally effective.

Patna were facing the risk of an all-out with six minutes left to half-time, but their defender Sajin C completed a Super Tackle to turn the momentum. The three-time champions got lucky later when Monu Goyat entered the lobby without contact, in a do-or-die raid only to be followed by three Pune defenders who had been deceived by his actions. The first half ended 14-14 with Pune having just two men on the mat.

Pune coach Anup Kumar clearly expected from his set of raiders and brought in Shubham Shelke for Pankaj Mohite in the second half. But Patna kept fighting back, thanks to the largely confident tackles from the likes of Mohammadreza Chiyaneh and Sajin. With 10 minutes remaining, Patna had a four-point lead and that was extended a’ Pune’s plan to play on the Do-or-Die raid backfired. Sachin scored two points in the crucial raid for Patna to inspire another ALL OUT in the 13th minute and open a 10-point lead.

Patna maintained the momentum and though Sunil and Vishal Bharadwaj picked up yellow cards in the final minutes as the match became intense the three-time champions ensured there was no late comeback by Pune and clinched an important win.

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PKL 8: Bengal Warriors beat Gujarat Giants




Bengal Warriors defeated Gujarat Giants 31-28 on Day 3 of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 held at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Friday. This was Bengal Warriors’ second win in as many matches while Gujarat Gaints have one win and one loss. The Warriors have 10 points the same as Dabang Delhi but are placed second on a lower points-difference while Gujarat have six points.

Bengal Warriors started well and established a slender lead (16-11) against Gujarat Giants at half-time. They maintained their advantage despite the valiant efforts of the Gujarat Giants, managed to register a narrow victory.

Maninder Singh was the top scorer for Bengal Warriors with eight points while Esmaeil Nabibakhsh contributed four points.

Bengal Warriors won 18 raid points as against 19 by Gujarat Giants. But it was in defence that they scored, claiming 10 points as against eight by their rivals. They bagged two all-outs as against none by the Giants.

Rakesh Narwal was the top scorer for Gujarat Giants with 12 points while Rakesh Sungroya contributed four points.

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Rishabh Pant appointed as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador





 Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday announced that Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been appointed as the brand ambassador of the state.

Taking to Twitter, the Chief Minister said that Pant will encourage the youngsters to take up sports.

“One of the best cricket players of India, the idol of youth and son of Uttarakhand, Rishabh Pant has been appointed as “State Brand Ambassador” by our government with the aim of encouraging the youth of the state towards sports and public health,” tweeted Dhami in Hindi, along with the video.

In the video, CM Dhami can be seen interacting with Rishabh and asking about his well-being.

The attacking batter also thanked the Chief Minister for the opportunity, saying that he will try his best to motivate people towards fitness.

“Thank you @pushkardhami sir for giving me the opportunity to be the Brand Ambassador of promoting Sports and General Health among the people of Uttarakhand. I’ll do my best to spread this message and feeling happy that you are taking these steps towards a fitter India,” tweeted Pant.

“Coming from a small town of Roorkee, I am confident that the people here have the ability to make the country proud in various fields of life,” he added.

The 24-year Pant, who was rested for the New Zealand Tests, is currently in Johannesburg, South Africa as the Indian Team is all set to face Proteas in the three-match Test series, starting December 26.

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