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Tuesday,26-January-2021

National

Now or never for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Delhi Capitals

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 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.

Squads:

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

National

One of the grittiest batters in the game, Cheteshwar Pujara turns 33

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Cheteshwar Pujara on Monday turned 33 and his teammates, including Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin, led the pouring in of wishes for India’s Test batting mainstay.

During the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia, Pujara faced a total of 928 balls — the fifth-most by a visiting batsman in Australia in four or fewer Tests.

He scored 271 runs at a strike rate of 33.88, with the help of 29 fours and played a key role in India’s remarkable Test series victory, which included a historic win at the Gabba in Brisbane. As India chased down 328 in the final innings, Pujara endured as amany as 11 blows but put up a “great wall” against the Aussie onslaught.

During the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar series Down Under, Pujara had faced a total of 1,258 deliveries and had scored 521 runs at an average of 74.43 and a strike rate of 41.21 with the help of 50 fours and two sixes.

“Happy birthday pujji. Wish you good health, happiness and more hours at the crease. Have a great year ahead,” tweeted India skipper Kohli.

“He makes playing hours of cricket look easy and is one of the strongest guys I know. Happy birthday Puji,” said Ajinkya Rahane, who led India to their second Test series win in Australia, in an Instagram story.

“He takes body blows, grinds it out in the middle, braves it all & stands tall. 81 Tests, 6111 runs, 13572 balls faced, 18 hundreds. Here’s wishing Team India’s Mr. Dependable Cheteshwar Pujara a very happy birthday,” the official Twitter handle of BCCI said in their wishes.

“Happy birthday to the Wall 2.0 Cheteshwar Pujara. One of the grittiest batters in the game,” said the International Cricket Council (ICC) while extending birthday wishes.

Ashwin posted a video on social media to wish Pujara and termed the Indian batsman “Rock of Gibraltar”. In the video, Ashwin’s daughter can be seen extending birthday greetings to Pujara.

“Many more happy returns of the day Rock of Gibraltar Cheteshwar Pujara, can’t thank you enough for being my bunny though,” Ashwin said.

“Wishing you a very happy birthday Cheteshwar Pujara bhai. May you continue winning games for India and score a lot of runs,” said Umesh Yadav.

“Wishing a very happy birthday Birthday @cheteshwar1 who put his body on the line for the country proud of the brave fight you gave the Aussies! Best wishes for the England series,” tweeted Yuvraj Singh.

Pujara has played a total of 81 Tests for India in which he has scored 6,111 runs. Besides, he has also played five ODIs for the Men in Blue in which he amassed 51 runs.

He will next be seen in action in the four-match Test series against England beginning February 5 in Chennai.

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National

Shikhar Dhawan’s boat ride spells trouble for boatman

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Cricketer Shikhar Dhawan’s boat ride on the Ganga river in Varanasi, has landed the boatman in trouble.

Dhawan was seen in photographs, feeding birds during a boat ride.

Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma told a news agency that action would be taken against the boatman but not the tourist.

“It was made clear by the police and the administration to the boatmen that they should not allow the tourists on their boat to feed the birds. Whosoever flouted these rules will be served notice and they will be asked as to why their license should not be cancelled.

“No action will be taken against the tourists,” Sharma was quoted as saying by the media.

The state government has banned feeding of birds by tourists in the wake of the bird flu scare.

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National

England to start summer with two-Test series against Black Caps

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England will start their home international summer with a two-Test series against New Zealand beginning June 2, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday.

The two Tests will be played at Lord’s (June 2-6) and Edgbaston (June 10-14).

Then England will face Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series at Sophia Gardens (June 23 and 24) and The Ageas Bowl (June 26). These matches will be followed by a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka between June 29 and July 4.

After the Sri Lanka series, England will take on Pakistan in three ODIs and as many T20Is from July 8 to 20.

“The prospect of our England men’s team taking on the world’s two top-ranked Test nations in New Zealand and India this summer is something for us all to savour,” ECB CEO Tom Harrison said in a statement.

Currently, the Joe Root-led England are in Sri Lanka participating in a two-match Test series. After that, they will be travelling to India to compete in four-match Test series, followed by five T20Is and three ODIs.

India will also be touring England for a five-match Test series, currently scheduled to begin from August 4 in Nottingham.

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