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Friday,24-September-2021

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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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Six arrested from Goa for IPL betting

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 Six persons, five belonging to Nagpur in Maharashtra and one Rajasthan, were arrested on Friday for allegedly running an IPL betting racket in the port town of Vasco, Goa police said.

Police have seized two laptops, mobile phones, television sets and other betting paraphernalia from the persons arrested.

“We acted on a tip-off that accused persons were accepting bets from a rented premise in the Vaddem area of Vasco,” a Goa Police spokesperson said.

The arrested persons have been booked under the relevant sections of the Public Gambling Act.

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IPL 2021: Iyer, Tripathi and bowlers help Kolkata thrash Mumbai by seven wickets

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An emphatic batting performance by Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi coupled with a comeback effort from bowlers helped Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Mumbai Indians by seven wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Thursday. Chasing 156, Kolkata reached the target with 29 balls to spare.

With this win, Kolkata have now registered two out of two wins in their UAE leg of the tournament and are now at fourth place in the points table with eight points from nine matches.

Kolkata were off to a flier with Venkatesh Iyer smacking Trent Boult for a six over deep square leg. He then smacked Adam Milne for a six followed by two fours in the second over. With seven boundaries hit in less than three overs, Kolkata were on a rampage, making chances of comeback difficult for Mumbai.

It needed an off-cutter from Jasprit Bumrah which got Gill (13) to chop onto his stumps, ending the opening partnership at 40. Gill’s dismissal caused Iyer and Rahul Tripathi to tread cautiously. But after the completion of power-play at 63/1, Iyer danced down the pitch to hit Krunal Pandya for a clean six over deep mid-wicket. Rahul Chahar was taken for eleven in his opening over as Iyer and Tripathi took a boundary each off him.

Tripathi smacked a six over long-on before sweeping between long-on and deep mid-wicket for a boundary off Krunal. Tripathi, put down on 43 by Chahar, reached his half-century with a leading edge on scoop going over third man for six. He followed it up with a boundary slogged through mid-wicket off Bumrah.

Iyer, after reaching his fifty in 25 balls, saw his blitzkrieg end at 55 with his stumps disturbed by a slower delivery from Bumrah. Tripathi was undeterred by Iyer’s dismissal and continued to whack Chahar, slog-sweeping over deep mid-wicket followed by an edge which Kishan tried to stop but touched the rope with his leg.

Though Eoin Morgan (7) fell cheaply to become Bumrah’s third scalp of the match, Tripathi and Nitish Rana knocked off the remaining runs, with the latter reverse scoring the winning boundary by sweeping Chahar to seal a famous win.

Earlier, after being put to bat first, Mumbai got off to a flying start with the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock putting 78 runs for the first wicket. But once Sharma fell on 33, the runs started to dry up for Mumbai.

After 75/1 in ten overs, Kolkata kept picking up wickets at regular intervals. Krishna, after conceding 16 in his opening over, came back to dismiss Suryakumar Yadav (5) edging behind to keeper Dinesh Karthik. De Kock went slow in middle overs but managed to reach his half-century in 37 balls. But the pressure of going big forced de Kock (55) to hoick a slower ball off Krishna straight to mid-wicket.

Ishan Kishan (14) pulled Andre Russell for a six over fine leg. But in a bid to go big, Kishan again went for the pull off Ferguson, only for top-edge to be caught by Russell running from long-on.

Kieron Pollard smacked Krishna for a pull over deep mid-wicket before bottom edge on another pull ran through fine leg in the 18th over which went for 18 runs, including a no-ball and two wides. Pollard’s attempt to apply finishing touches ended in a run-out by a throw from Morgan at cover in Ferguson’s final over.

One brought two for Kolkata as Krunal Pandya (12) mistimed to long-on. Ferguson’s final over went for just six runs as Kolkata conceded 75 runs for five wickets in the last ten overs, ensuring that Mumbai were kept to a score of 155.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 155/6 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 55, Rohit Sharma 33, Lockie Ferguson 2/27, Prasidh Krishna 2/43) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 159/3 in 15.1 overs (Rahul Tripathi 74 not out, Venkatesh Iyer 55, Jasprit Bumrah 3/43) by seven wickets.

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RCB skipper Kohli finishes quarantine, joins team for first practice session

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 Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli joined his team-mates for the first practice session here in Dubai early on Saturday morning after spending six days in quarantine on his return from England.

Kohli and pace bowler Mohammed Siraj had reached the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on September 12 on a charter flight from London arranged by the franchise. The duo had gone into six days of mandatory quarantine following their arrival.

RCB posted a three-minute video on Saturday morning and tweeted, “Bold Diaries: Virat Kohli joins the RCB team after quarantine — There were smiles, hugs and laughter in the RCB camp as captain Virat Kohli, Mohammed Siraj and some of our foreign players had their first hit in the nets. #PlayBold #WeAreChallengers #IPL2021.”

The video showed Kohli and several teammates, who completed their quarantine on Saturday, entering the training ground with their kit bags for an early-morning session and being greeted by fellow cricketers and the coaching staff, including South African stalwart AB de Viliers.

Kohli was later seen playing a few lofted cover drives.

Siraj said in the video that, “All the batsmen look in great form. It’s a good thing for the team that (Glenn Maxwell), Virat bhai and AB (de Villiers) sir are all in good form.”

RCB’s director of cricket operations, New Zealand’s Mike Hesson, said that, “It’s always good to be face to face rather than discussing strategy (with the skipper) from a distance. It (six days of quarantine) gave him (Virat) a chance to freshen up. Now working on ensuring we are all on the same page.”

On Siraj, Hesson said, “He has got more and more confident over the last two seasons. Obviously, he has done well for India (in the Test series against England). He is aware of what he wants to do and therefore he shows more confidence.”

RCB will play their opening match of the second leg in Dubai against Kolkata Knight Riders on September 20.

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