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Virat Kohli’s RCB to face Warner’s SunRisers




After finishing fourth in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL), SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) will start their present campaign with a game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), who are looking for their maiden title, at the iconic Dubai International Cricket stadium here on Monday.

While SRH have clinched the trophy once in 2016, besides the 2009 triumph in their earlier avatar as Deccan Chargers, the Virat Kohli-led RCB are yet to lay their hands on the coveted trophy.

For this year’s edition of the lucrative league, the David Warner-led SRH have made a few changes in their squad. The ‘Orange Army’ will miss the services of ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was released by the franchise after being banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for failing to report the approach of bookies elsewhere.

With skipper Warner and Jonny Bairstow, the SRH are considered to have one of the best opening pairs and if the duo gets going, the Hyderabad franchise will pose a big threat for their opponents.

Warner is also the leading run scorer for SRH after accumulating 3,271 runs from 71 games, averaging 55.44. Bairstow, who joined SRH last year, also impressed everyone after gathering 445 runs from 10 games at a decent average of 55.62.

The pace attack will be led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who hasn’t played any professional game since December 2019. The 30-year-old has 109 wickets from 86 games and is the leading wicket-taker for SRH. Bhuvneshwar, however, will need support from Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi and Siddarth Kaul.

If SRH want to replicate their 2016 show, a lot will depend on how their spinners perform in the low and slow tracks in the UAE.

The spin attack will be led by Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan and will be supported by his compatriot Mohammad Nabi, who had a decent outing in he just concluded Caribbean Premier League. Nabi picked 12 wickets from as many games with an economy rate of 5.10.

Other than these two, SRH also have left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem in their ranks and the Jharkhand spinner is known to be very accurate with his line and length.

Warner’s side also has spin-bowling all-rounders in Fabian Allen, Sanjay Yadav, Abdul Samad, and Abhishek Sharma.

On the other hand, RCB is one of the three teams in the league who are yet to win the trophy.

Kohli-led RCB’s biggest strength has been their batting and the skipper is undoubtedly, one of the best in business when it comes to white-ball cricket. The team management along with Kohli will hope that he replicates the form he had shown in the 2016 edition where he had scored four centuries.

Alongside Kohli, the RCB also have one of the best explosive T20 batsmen in AB de Villiers. The RCB’s batting mostly revolves around Kohli and de Villiers and if the duo fires, things will be easier for the team. Moreover, they both have also shown over the past how to be a livewire in the ground when it comes to fielding.

Also with the inclusion of Aaron Finch, the RCB’s top-order looks quite effective.

Youngster Devdutt Padikkal is likely to open the innings with Finch while Joshua Phillipe is the other opening option for the RCB.

Also, all-rounder Chris Morris has been a great addition to the side and will play the role of the explosive finisher that the RCB always looked for.

The RCB franchise has acquired the services of Morris and Isuru Udana to overcome their weaknesses at ‘death’ bowling.

In the middle-order, the RCB has some quality with the likes of Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube and Morris, who all have the ability to demolish any bowling attack.

Experienced South African pacer Dale Steyn will lead the charge of the pace bowling attack while Navdeep Saini, Isuru Udana, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav will look to hand equal support to the lethal pacer.

Meanwhile, Yuzvendra Chahal, , Pawan Negi, Adam Zampa and Washington Sundar whosoever gets a chance in the playing XI, are the spin bowling options for skipper Kohli and looking at the nature of wicket in the UAE, they all need to step up if the RCB wantsto march ahead in the league.

Overall, SRH looks slightly better than their opponents for the Monday game but with the change in venues and conditions, it could be anybody’s game in Dubai


Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (Captain), Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Mitchell Marsh, Sandeep Bavanaka, Fabian Allen, Abdul Samad, Sanjay Yadav

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (Captain), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Chris Morris, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shivam Dubey, Aaron Finch, Umesh Yadav, Adam Zampa, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Dale Steyn, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Isuru Udana, Devdutt Padikkal, Shahbaz Ahamad, Joshua Philippe, Pavan Deshpande


IPL: Our place in points table appropriate, says CSK coach Stephen Fleming




Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming said that there is a lot of hurt, disappointment and frustration within the camp after the three-time IPL champions crashed to Mumbai Indians (MI) by 10 wickets on Friday.

Fleming added that the loss to Mumbai Indians was symptomatic of the entire season which has gone totally wrong. He added that CSK deserve the bottom place in the points table. The Chennai franchise is placed eighth with six points.

“There is a lot hurt, disappointment, frustration that goes along with a disappointing season. There were a lot of things tried but we just couldn’t put a game together,” said Fleming after the humiliating loss on Friday.

“We’ve had holes throughout, like losing a player before the start of the season to things like being one over short or losing a couple of wickets too many. That can happen to a team off the pace. We don’t have the numbers from individuals, therefore our place in points table is probably appropriate.”

CSK were reduced to 24 for five in the power-play as MI seamers Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah ran riot. Boult picked three of those power-play wickets while Bumrah got two.

“We were pretty stunned, we had a terrible power-play, losing wickets so quickly and frequently. The game was almost over in the power-play itself. It was tough watching. They bowled well but we made them find ways of getting us out.”

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Jason Roy signs up with Perth Scorchers for BBL 10




The Perth Scorchers have strengthened their top-order for the upcoming Big Bash League season, with the signing of explosive England opening batsman Jason Roy. Roy will play alongside countryman Liam Livingstone in orange this year.

“The Scorchers squad looks very strong, I’m excited to be joining the club,” Roy said in a statement.

“I’ve heard the environment of the club is awesome and that it’s a place where everyone wants to help get the best out of each other. I can’t wait to get amongst the boys and help contribute to as many wins as possible,” he added.

With over 200 T20 matches to his name, Roy comes with a wealth of experience and the enviable reputation of a power hitter capable of match-winning brilliance. The explosive opener has devastated new-ball attacks on the international stage with a strike rate of 147.51 across his T20I career.

Perth Scorchers coach Adam Voges said: “Jason is a world-class performer who will bring added power and experience to our top order. He is a great competitor and we look forward to welcoming Jason to the Scorchers.”

Scorchers also confirmed signing Joel Paris, who returns for his sixth season with the club, and Cameron Gannon, who’s previously played for Brisbane Heat, Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars.

Perth Scorchers squad: Mitch Marsh (c), Jason Roy, Cameron Bancroft, Ashton Agar, Liam Livingstone, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Fawad Ahmad, Cameron Gannon, Jason Behrendorff, Matt Kelly, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner

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No air travel this IPL brings smile on Chris Morris’ face




Being put up at one place throughout an entire Indian Premier League (IPL) season can be boring but it certainly is saving players from the exhaustion caused by travelling whenever the tournament is staged in India.

This is the first time since 2009 that an entire IPL season is being held outside India. Even in 2009, when the tournament was held in South Africa due to the general elections, it demanded air travel between different venues.

However, since the event is being held in the UAE this time and the only three venues being used — Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai — are in the vicinity of each other, travel between hotel and stadia has been by road.

Importantly, the teams have been stationed at one place and haven’t had to change hotels.

Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder Chris Morris said the experience this time has been ‘magnificent’ as they’ve been saved the trouble of frequent travel.

“The toughest part of (previous editions of) Indian Premier League is travelling in India. IPL games are tough but the travelling is absolutely hectic. You finish the game late, come back at 12.30-1 am and pack everything up by 3-4 am, put the stuff outside your room. Then you have to leave the hotel (for the airport) in a couple of hours.

“You take shower, dress well because you have to look good, respectable. Then you drive for one to one-and-a-half hours to the airport and fly for another one, one-and-a-half, two hours to a venue where you might be playing a match may be two days later,” Morris told reporters from the UAE on Friday.

Morris called the experience of being stationed at one place ‘refreshing’.

Even when part of the IPL season (20 matches) was held in the UAE back in 2014 due to general elections, some of the players had said that less travelling had made it easier for them.

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