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Sunday,26-September-2021

International

You should never write off champions: Michael Hussey on Dhoni’s future

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Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey believes M.S. Dhoni is a champion cricketer and the ongoing forced break would provide him with an opportunity to introspect and see whether he wants to play again for the Indian team.

“I am obviously not an Indian selector but I don’t think you can discount MSD. You should never write off champions and champion players, and he has given so much to the country as a player and leader,” Hussey said during ‘HotSpot: The Cricket Podcast’ by Chetan Narula (sports journalist and broadcaster) and Deep Dasgupta (former Indian cricketer and broadcaster).

“He (Dhoni) still keeps himself in very good shape so as long as he keeps himself fit and healthy, and maybe this break is really helpful for him to rest and get a break especially from the physical side of things…because he has so much experience.

“It will take time to get his skills to the required level but not as long as other players who don’t know their game as well. He has a great understanding of his own game and the whole game in general. I am not worried from the skill perspective,” Hussey added.

Dhoni has been on a sabbatical since the 2019 World Cup where India lost to New Zealand in the semifinals under Virat Kohli’s leadership.

There has been a lot of talk whether the wicketkeeper batsman will return to the Indian team or not with the T20 World Cup, to be held later this year in Australia, now in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The only question is it is upto MSD himself really. Whether he is willing to be physically and mentally fully engaged to play for the country at the international level, then I have no doubt he can still do it. But does he want to do it?” asked Hussey.

“Maybe this forced break for MSD will give him an opportunity to mentally refresh (in that regard) and get that hunger to want to do it again (for India). I am not writing him off no question whatsoever, but I think it is upto him, and in his mind, in his heart, whether he still wants to do it (at the international level),” he added.

He was scheduled to lead Chennai Super Kings in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League which currently stands indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

International

KKR elect to bat first against CSK

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Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bat first against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL 2021 match here on Sunday.

Morgan said the reason he chose to bat first was that he reckoned the pitch may slow down further in the second half of the match.

The Knight Riders were unchanged while the Super Kings brought in Sam Curran for Dwayne Bravo. MS Dhoni said Bravo has been rested as he had picked up a niggle in the Caribbean Premier League.

Playing XI:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (capt), Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy.

Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaekwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt) (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood.

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India finish ODI series on a high, snatch 2-wicket win vs Australia

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India finished the ODI leg of the multi-format series on a high with a brilliant two-wicket win — fashioned by a collective team effort — which ended Australia’s unbeaten ODI streak of 26 matches on Sunday. However, Australia won the ODI series 2-1, with the multi-format series’ scoreline reading 4-2.

The third and final ODI in Mackay went down to the wire but this time India held their nerves as they sealed a thrilling two-wicket win with just three balls to spare. Tall India pacer Jhulan Goswami hit the winning runs, lofting it straight for a four.

Chasing a target of 265, India showed poise and power in their response, with the opening pair of Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana putting on 59 for the first wicket. Negotiating the new-ball partnership of Perry and McGrath, Mandhana fell to the off-spin of Gardner for 22 (25), with Annabel Sutherland taking a catch running back from mid-off.

Young Yastika Bhatia continued her fine start to international cricket, ticking things along with Verma, bringing up a 100-run stand in just 19 overs.

At 160/1 after 29 overs and needing just 105, India looked in prime position, before a double blow swung the pendulum back once again. Verma fell to the left-arm orthodox spin of Sophie Molineux for 56, while wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh was dismissed an over later, with Sutherland taking her first wicket.

Bhatia continued her press with captain Mithali Raj, with only a piece of inspired fielder ending her stay at the crease. Top-edging a short ball, Bhatia became Stella Campbell’s first victim in international cricket, only after a diving catch from substitute fielder Molly Strano.

Sutherland doubled her tally by rattling Vastrakar’s (3) stumps, leaving Mithali and No.7 Deepti Sharma needing a run a ball from the last 10 overs. Sutherland struck once again, in her next over, snaring the India skipper, who was bowled for 16.

Rana got a lifeline when she was dropped by Nicola Carey on 11 on the last ball of the 44th over. The equation came down to India requiring 33 runs from the last five overs, with four wickets in hand.

The luck was on Rana’s side as she got another life in the next over. Once again it was Carey, who completed a caught and bowled dismissal, but the delivery was called a no-ball as Carey had overstepped.

McGrath broke the 33-run seventh-wicket stand by snaring Deepti’s wicket for 31. Riding on a lucky run, the onus was on Rana to take her side across the line but she eventually became Carey’s victim in the penultimate over.

Goswami and Meghna Singh made sure there weren’t any more hiccups, as they guided India to a memorable win, that will help boost their confidence for next year’s ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.

Earlier, Meg Lanning won the third consecutive toss for the Australians in the series and elected to bat. Australia’s opening pair of Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy looked to keep the heat on in the middle, racing to 40 inside the first eight overs, only for the pressure to be released through the work of veteran quick Jhulan Goswami.

Brief scores: Australia Women 264/9 in 50 overs (A Healy 35, B Mooney 52, A Gardner 67; T McGrath 47; J Goswami 3/37, P Vastrakar 3/46) lost to India Women 266/8 in 49.3 overs (S Verma 56, Y Bhatia 64; A Sutherland 3/30) by 2 wickets.

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Needed someone to stay with Samson and build a partnership: Sangakkara

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Rajasthan Royals director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara rued the fact that there was no one in the side to build a partnership with skipper Sanju Samson, which would have helped the side beat Delhi Capitals in a low-scoring match here on Saturday.

Superb bowling on a slow pitch where batting was difficult helped Delhi Capitals outplay Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs and move to the top of the points table in IPL 2021 at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Rajasthan skipper Samson (70 not out, 53 balls) waged a lone battle, keeping the scoreboard moving with singles and twos through small nudges and touches interspersed with trick shots, reverse sweeps, and scoops, hitting boundaries here and there. But in the end that proved too little and too late as Rajasthan fell well short of the target.

“Well, it was a tough one for the skipper (Samson), he was batting so well. All we needed was someone to stay with him and unfortunately losing wickets so regularly, didn’t allow Sanju to cut free early on,” said Sangakkara.

“154 was a great total to limit Delhi Capitals to, [what] we needed to do was not be careless in the first 10 overs. Unfortunately, Delhi came hard at us, they bowled smartly and we weren’t up to it,” the Sri Lankan said.

While the batting didn’t click, Sanga believes it’s not something he is worried about given the quality of the batting line-up. He has backed the players to do well as the tournament goes forward.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about the lower middle-order, they got us out of a lot of trouble in the first half of the IPL this season, and I am sure they will come good, as we go along,” he added.

Sanga further added that RR won’t necessarily be making a change in the eleven because of the defeat. Samson, too, said that a decision on the playing XI will be made when the emotions from the defeat have dried up.

“It is not just about making changes, it is about whoever does play, to kind of stick to the game plan and understand what is happening and assess conditions,” Sanga said.

“I thought the total was chaseable but we lost too many early wickets and weren’t able to get any momentum in our chase. We might consider changes for the next game, but it is too early now. We have to remove all emotion before that,” Samson said.

After their defeat to the table-toppers and Punjab Kings’ win over SRH, RR have slipped to seventh in the table. They will look to bounce back against SRH on September 27 without overthinking this loss, considering there’s barely any time in between.

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