It’s now or never for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) when they take on Delhi Capitals who are also looking to get back to winning ways, in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash here on Sunday.
After losing their first five games, RCB find themselves at the bottom of the eight-team points table. On Friday night, they looked to be in the groove with star batsmen Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers roaring back to form.
Both batsmen hit belligerent half centuries as RCB posted a mammoth 205/3 after being asked to bat first by the Kolkata Knight Riders.
But while defending the score, they were never really in the game as KKR always had a measure of it. And once Andre Russell came in to bat with 53 runs needed off the last three overs, it was carnage as RCB lost with five balls to spare.
Pawan Negi (2/21) impressed with the ball and Yuzvendra Chahal was economical as usual. But barring the spin duo, RCB’s thin bowling attack was once again exposed as Chris Lynn, Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa took them to the cleaners before Russell made them look like amateurs.
If we bowl like that, (and) we don’t show composure in pressure moments, we deserve to be where we are in the table,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
Kohli’s captaincy has already come under the scanner and on Friday it was surprising to see England all-rounder Moeen Ali not being used on a spin-friendly wicket.
Coming to Delhi, their batting left a lot to be desired in their last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. While bowling too, they were good in patches as Hyderabad cantered to a five-wicket win in the end.
The likes of Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris would look to impose themselves more against RCB while Shikhar Dhawan, skippper Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw would aim to make the most of a poor bowling arsenal of their opponents.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Heinrich Klaasen (WK), Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Akshdeep Nath, Milind Kumar, Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Prayas Ray Barman, Kulwant Kejroliya, Navdeep Saini, Himmat Singh.
Delhi Capitals: Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Colin Ingram, Trent Boult, Axar Patel, Shreyas Iyer (c), Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Tewatia, Rishabh Pant (wk), Keemo Paul, Prithvi Shaw, Amit Mishra, Colin Munro, Jalaj Saxena, Harshal Patel, Hanuma Vihari, Bandaru Ayyappa, Ankush Bains, Avesh Khan, Nathu Singh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Manjot Kalra, Sherfane Rutherford
Fitness & mental clarity will be key in this year’s IPL, feels Suresh Raina
Veteran India and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman Suresh Raina feels fitness and clarity of thought will be the key when players take the field to participate in the 13th edition of of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which will be played in the UAE.
The BCCI will be organising the league at three venues — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah — from September 19 to November 10 after it was postponed from March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This IPL, it would be very interesting to see how players are thinking, you are playing in different circumstances, you have a lot of protocols from ICC and at the same time, you are going through tests every two-three weeks, so I would say coming out from all those tests, you need to be clear with your head on what you are going to do on the field because at the end of the day when you are playing a sport, you need to enjoy your game,” Raina said on Wednesday during a webinar interaction on the sidelines of the launch of WTF fantasy gaming app.
“Then you can come out of the ground as a happy soul. So I believe, all tests will be done before the IPL and we will be in a good frame of mind because we all are sitting at home from last five months. I’m looking forward to this,” added the 33-year old who along with India women’s team T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur are the brand ambassadors for WTF fantasy gaming app.
Raina, the second highest run-getter in IPL history, also opined the wickets in Dubai would be like the ones in Chennai.
“There (wickets in Dubai) could be Chennai wickets. In this pandemic, a lot of challenges have happened (for the players) and fitness is the key,” he said.
“Luckily, we are going early in the UAE, so I think, right now there is humidity in Dubai, the weather is 40 degrees Celsius, sandstorm is there, but the best thing in Dubai is that you don’t have logistical problems, it is 45 minutes from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, you go from there to Sharjah, it’s 40 minutes,” said Raina who was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning team.
The left-handed batsman also said during this long break due to the pandemic, he got time to reflect on the time he spent on the field and analyse his performances over the years.
“We have not had such a long break. You look back at your old innings. You reflect on what you were thinking at that time and try to analyse. So when I hit the greens now, I feel we will enjoy a lot this time,” Raina said.
Banking on mental strength & fitness to do well, says Harmanpreet Kaur
A long break can create doubts in your mind, but India’s T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur is banking on her mental strength and physical activity during the lockdown period to fire in the Women’s T20 Challenger games which will take place during the playoffs of the IPL in the UAE. The team has not played since the T20 World Cup final in March.
“When there is a long break and after that however good touch you are in, you start doubting yourself,” Harmanpreet said on Wednesday during a webinar interaction on the sidelines of the launch of WTF fantasy gaming app. Harmanpreet and veteran India batsman Suresh Raina are the brand ambassadors.
“Mental strength helps here and if you are mentally strong, it’s a long break. But I am not going to give up. Initially, I might have fear of injury but we have the advantage of working on our strength while at home. Those things are going to help us on the field. But physically we have tried to keep ourselves fit during this lockdown,” said the 31-year old.
Harmanpreet added that she is excited to play in the UAE for the first time.
“Yes definitely, I’m excited because this is our first tour to Dubai and we haven’t played there before. I had questions like how would the wickets be there, as a batter we need to think about these things. We need to play on our strength because if you don’t play to your strengths, then your natural game doesn’t come out.
“It is a very good idea to see the ball and play. Everybody has to remain clean on this idea and I hope that we grab the opportunity that we get. I hope we play good cricket in the four games that we will get and entertain everybody,” she said.
Phased restart of training at SAI NCOEs from Oct 1, says kiren Rijiju
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said that the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) National Centres of Excellence (NCOE) across the country will be opened in a “phased manner” starting on October 1.
In a review meeting held by the ministry and SAI, Rijiju also said that the re-opening of the NCOEs will be done only in accordance to the COVID-19 situation in the respective state.
Athletes who will be initially allowed for training apart from the elite athletes who are in the mix for the Tokyo Olympics would be juniors who have been shortlisted in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Junior scheme.
Additionally, it has also been decided that the funds extended to all SAI NCOEs will be enhanced.
“Funds will be provided to upgrade existing infrastructure and equipment or procure new ones, as per the need of athletes. We are ready to provide all support needed to ensure that athletes in India have the best facilities at par with the world,” said Rijiju.
It has also been decided to increase awareness workshops held at the NCOEs including workshops on sexual harassment act with aim to make athletes aware of sexual harassment issues and about the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and motivate them to speak up against any form of harassment.
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