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Decision on remaining IPL games on May 29

New Delhi: Indian cricket board will take a decision on holding remaining Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 matches at a special general meeting on May 29, in which the entire domestic cricket schedule for 2021-22 will be discussed.

“As of now, nothing has been finalised (regarding IPL),” a top BCCI office-bearer was quoted as saying in media reports.

The franchises too haven’t got any intimation though they have been told that they will get to know only after May 29.

“There is nothing concrete yet. But we are aware that the Board is likely to decide the matter on May 29 and may convey to us after that,” a franchise official told IANS.

There are 31 matches remaining in IPL 2021 which was postponed, after completion of 29 matches, due to Covid-19 cases in the bio-secure environment.

Although there has been no official intimation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), UAE, where IPL 2020 edition was also held, appears to be the most likely venue to hold the remainder of IPL.

The window being discussed is the month-long gap between the end of India’s Test series in England on September 14 and the start of the T20 World Cup in mid-October. The T20 World Cup could also be held in UAE in the wake of the rise of Covid-19 cases in India.

Jay Shah, secretary of BCCI, had earlier issued a note to state associations, calling them for a special general meeting.

The 2020-21 domestic season, held in India, could only witness limited overs tournaments — Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s and Vijay Hazare one-dayers.

The IPL, also a domestic event with international stars, was held in UAE.

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IPL bio-bubble bursts, Covid forces postponement

New Delhi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 was postponed indefinitely after at least four of the eight franchises reported positive Covid-19 cases of players/officials and “weren’t that keen on continuing”, leaving the Indian cricket board with no option but to stop it amid rapidly escalating pandemic in the country.

At least half of the eight franchises — Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and Delhi Capitals (DC) – had confirmed that players/officials have tested positive.

A red-faced Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has been staunchly defending the IPL’s continuation as the country reeled under the Covid-19 massive onslaught, was left with no option but to postpone it when the teams got impacted.

The postponement of the IPL at the halfway stage – 29 of the 60 matches were played — may have a big impact on the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in India in October-November. The United Arab Emirates is the alternate venue for the T20 World Cup.

The BCCI is now facing the pressure of looking for a window after a few of the franchises on Tuesday expressed their unwillingness to continue playing the tournament.

The BCCI had to call off the IPL on Tuesday after it emerged SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha in Delhi and DC’s Amit Mishra in Ahmedabad tested positive. Michael Hussey, a member of the CSK coaching staff, also reportedly tested positive twice on Tuesday in Delhi.

On Monday, CSK bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji and a member of the “travel support staff” and KKR bowlers Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier had tested positive along with a few members of the ground staff at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

That forced three teams — KKR, CSK and DC — to go into isolation. However, more positive cases on Tuesday and SRH also getting affected made it impossible for the league to continue.

BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla said that some franchises were not keen on playing after the deadly virus penetrated the supposedly secure IPL bio-bubble.

While the IPL teams unaffected by the Covid-19 have already started leaving or, in some cases, are prepared to leave the bio-bubble in a day or two, the affected teams have to be cautious.

The IPL won’t be able to resume anytime soon, as a window for it is likely to be an issue.

The BCCI finally admitted that these are indeed “difficult times”.

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England done and dusted, now the IPL

The Indian cricket team has done magnificently well with their resounding win over England in all formats of the game. The Test series was important since a convincing series win was required for India to qualify for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in June.

India, having lost the first Test match, came back forcefully to win the series. To win both the T20 and the ODI series after that against the strong England limited-overs side was a remarkable feat.

The heroes involved in this success were the young Indian brigade. The most destructive and devastating of all was Rishabh Pant. The wicketkeeper-batsman, having done an incredible task of taking India to one of their most enthralling wins against Australia, proved to be England’s nemesis.

His batting controlled the middle-order and in both the Test and the limited overs series, the English bowlers were clobbered by him.

One marvelled at how Pant left them in complete disarray and were amazed with his 360 degrees stroke-play along with his gang-buster approach. He was similar to a Bollywood film hero, who took on a gang of villains by the swash-buckling swing of his bat and acrobatic body and leg movements to dispatch the English bowlers to all corners of the field.

The success stories of Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Siraj, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, T. Natrajan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna and Krunal Pandya are a result of the situation that the Covid-19 pandemic caused.

These Indian cricketers have proved that India is now blessed with a talented pool of cricketers who, on a given day, are ready to rub shoulders with the best. The BCCI needs to be congratulated for creating this structure. The India ‘A’ and India U19’s frequent visits to play overseas and most importantly the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been the prime reason for this success.

The IPL will be important for India’s established cricketers to cement their place in the Indian side and for the aspiring ones to claim a spot.

The foreign players and the support staff will use this opportunity to get acclimatized to the conditions. Their input will be crucial for their national teams in the planning, preparation and strategising for the T20 World Cup.

The 2021 IPL will also provide much-needed entertainment to the fans in these times of Covid-19 pandemic. For millions of viewers saddled with curfews and lockdowns, cricket will be the April showers which one is looking forward to.

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Ruthless Mumbai defeat Delhi to enter 6th IPL final

Dubai:  Speedsters Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult on Thursday bowled four-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI) into their second successive Indian Premier League (IPL) final after crushing Delhi Capitals (DC) by 57 runs in Qualifier 1. DC, however, have a lifeline left.

Bumrah captured four for 14 and New Zealander Boult two for nine, after half-centuries by Ishan Kishan (55 not out off 30 balls) and Suryakumar Yadav (51 off 38), to ensure that reigning champions MI entered their sixth final in 13 attempts. Bumrah was adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant spell.

DC will now play the winners of the Eliminator in Qualifier 2 on Sunday. In the Eliminator, SunRisers Hyderabad will play Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday. The winners of Qualifier will play MI in the final on November 10.

As it had happened throughout the round-robin league, MI got solid contributions from their batters to first put a challenging total (200/5 wickets) before their bowlers came out all guns blazing to restrict DC at 143/8 wickets in 20 overs at the Dubai International Cricket stadium.

Lethal Bumrah was once again on song, emerging with impressive figures of 4-1-14-4. These are his best figures in all T20 matches and best by a MI bowler in an IPL playoff match. He is the only bowler to take two four-wicket hauls in IPL 2020. Thursday’s burst took his tally to 27 — most wickets by an Indian bowler in a single IPL.

Boult, on the other hand, scalped a couple of wickets conceding merely nine runs. Krunal Pandya (1/22) and Keiron Pollard (1/36) settled with one wicket apiece.

Chasing a challenging 201-run target, DC endured their worst start of the season after losing openers out-of-form Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, and Ajinkya Rahane, all departing without troubling the scorers. While Boult accounted for the DC opener’s wicket, Boult trapped Rahane.

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Hyderabad stay afloat after Rashid, Saha star in win

Dubai: Leg-spinner Rashid Khan returned his best ever Indian Premier League (IPL) figures of three wickets for seven runs and Wriddhiman Saha smashed 87 off just 45 balls to guide SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) to an emphatic 88-run win over Delhi Capitals (DC), and stay in race for the playoffs.

The win has kept SRH afloat. They have now moved a spot ahead in the points table, to sixth, with 10 points while DC slipped a place, to third, but they are equal on points (14) with toppers Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, thanks to their superior net run-rate than DC.

Each team plays 14 league matches each and the top four teams will qualify for the playoffs.

Delhi’s decision to field backfired as even their most lethal guns – speedsters Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje — struggled to stop the flow of runs. The duo along with the other bowlers was brutally hammered by Warner (66) and Saha (87) as SRH posted a mammoth total.

Defending the total, the SRH bowlers bowled exceptionally well, especially Afghanistan’s Rashid, who impressed with stunning figures of 4-0-7-3.

Chasing the huge target, DC never looked in control, losing opener Shikhar Dhawan, who failed to open his account, and incoming batter Marcus Stoinis (5) with just 14 runs on board in two overs.

Ajinkya Rahane (26) and Shimron Hetmyer (16) steadied the ship, forging a brief 40-run partnership for the third wicket before Rashid castled the latter’s stumps in the seventh over. Four balls later, the leg-spinner trapped Rahane to put DC on back foot.

Shreyas Iyer (7) and Axar Patel (1), too, failed to rescue their side, becoming victims of Vijay Shankar (1/11) and Rashid as DC were left reeling at 83/6 in 12.5 overs.

While Rishabh Pant (36) tried his best to put things in control for DC, the others failed to support the stumper.

T Natarajan (2/26) too, joined the party, dismissing Kagiso Rabada (3) in the 16th over before Pant also departed, falling to Sandeep Sharma in the next over.

Jason Holder (1/46) dismissed Ravichandran Ashwin (7) while Natarajan put the final nail in the coffin as he scalped Nortje (1) to hand DC their biggest defeat of the season.

DC’s Tushar Deshpande remained unbeaten on 20 off nine balls. However, the entire DC team ultimately collapsed at 131 in 19 overs.

Earlier, SRH openers Warner and Saha blistering knocks propelled their side to a massive 219/2 wickets in the allotted 20 overs. The openers were involved in a crucial 107-run partnership.

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Ex-Australian cricketer Dean Jones dies of cardiac arrest in Mumbai

New Delhi: Former Australian cricketer Dean Jones passed away in Mumbai on Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest. The 59-year-old was part of the Star Sports commentary panel for the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) being held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing away of Mr. Dean Mervyn Jones AM. He died of a sudden cardiac arrest,” Star India confirmed in a statement.

“We express our deep condolences to his family and stand ready to support them in this difficult time. We are in touch with the Australian High Commission to make the necessary arrangements,” the statement added.

Jones played 52 Tests for Australia, amassing 3,631 runs at 46.55 with 11 centuries and 14 fifties. In 164 ODIs, Jones scored 6,068 runs at 44.61 with seven tons and 46 fifties.

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Mumbai hammer Kolkata by 49 runs in one-sided affair

Abu Dhabi: Four-time champions Mumbai Indians rode on a quality knock from captain Rohit Sharma (80) and some decent show by their bowlers to hammer Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 49 runs in the fifth match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Wednesday.

After Mumbai, who were put to bat, amassed a huge 195 for five wickets in 20 overs, their bowlers too stepped up and came all guns blazing to restrict their opponents to 146/9 in the allotted 20 overs.

Chasing the massive 196-run target, Kolkata lost both their openers — Shubhman Gill (7) and Sunil Narine (9) — within the first five overs with their scorecard reading 25/2. While Trent Boult dismissed Gill, James Pattinson accounted for Narine.

KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (30) and NitishRana (24), however, scored at a brisk pace, taking their side past the 50-run mark in the next 2.4 overs.

The partnership didn’t last too long as Rahul Chahar trapped Karthik before the wicket in the 11th over. Just when KKR managed to add another six runs, Keiron Pollard sent Rana back to reduce the opponents to 77/4 in 11.4 overs.

Jasprit Bumrah, who conceded 43 runs in four overs against Chennai Super Kings, made a magnificent comeback and jolted KKR twice in an over. Both Eoin Morgan (16) Andre Russell (11) became the victim of Bumrah in the 16th over.

Boult struck again in the 17th over, this time to send back Nikhil Naik (1) as KKR reeled at 103/7. Pat Cummins, who had a horrible time with the ball earlier in the innings, showed his potential with the bat as he played a cameo of 12-ball 33 before being consumed by James Pattinson in the 19th over. Cummins innings somehow reduced the deficit but wasn’t enough to help KKR cross the line as the two-time IPL champions fell 49 short of the target.

For Mumbai, Bumrah, Pattinson, Rahul Chahar and Boult picked couple of wickets each.

Earlier, Mumbai Indians’ skipper Rohit led from the front with his explosive 54-ball 80 as his side posted a challenging 195/5 in the allotted overs. Rohit’s blitzkrieg was decorated with three boundaries and six hits into the stands.

Apart from Rohit’s innings, it was some lacklustre bowling and fielding from Kolkata Knight Riders that helped Mumbai reach a good total.

After putting MI into bat, KKR managed to contain MI opener Quinton de Kock (1) early. However, their joy didn’t last long as the next batsman Suryakumar Yadav, along with Rohit, repaired the early damage quite comfortably.

The duo forged a 90-run partnership for the second wicket, before Yadav while trying to steal a single fell short of the crease.

Hardik gets out via rare hit-wicket mode, takes 3 catches

New Delhi: It is rare to watch a batsman get out hit wicket in the Indian Premier League (IPL) – a tournament that is all about hitting sixes and boundaries, often off the front foot. But Mumbai Indians’ Hardik Pandya did get out in that manner – his first such dismissal in 68 IPL matches – against Kolkata Knight Riders in Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

The Baroda player later in the match atoned for his mistake by taking three catches, with the one coming off Nitish Rana’s lofted cover drive being simply breathtaking.

Pandya scored 13 off 18 balls before he went too far back into the crease to play a shot against pacer Andre Russell. As his aimed to play the ball on the off side, the toe of his bat clipped the bails. Curiously, Pandya found something funny in his dismissal as he smiled while walking back into the hut.

Later, Pandya seemed to make amends for that rare dismissal. Although Pandya also took the catches of Nikhil Naik and Pat Cummins, the running grab of Rana was brilliant as he maintained is balance even as he kept his eye on the ball while running along the boundary.

Rana’s catch by Pandya provided much happiness to the bowler, Kieron Adrian Pollard, for whom it was his first IPL wicket since 2015.

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Ali Khan will be IPL’s first American cricketer

By The SATimes News Service

New YorkThe Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to see the participation of a player from the USA for the first time with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) roping in fast bowler Ali Khan for the upcoming 13th edition of the league.

The two-time winners will pick the 29-year-old fast bowler — pending IPL approval — as a replacement for the English seamer Harry Gurney, according to an ESPNcricinfo.com report.

Gurney is scheduled to have surgery related to a shoulder injury, and has pulled out of both the IPL and England’s Vitality Blast last month.

Khan’s signing will make him the first USA player to feature in the IPL.

Khan was part of the Trinbago Knight Riders’ squad which remained unbeaten on the way to their CPL title win on Thursday. He picked up eight wickets from as many matches with an economy rate of 7.43.

He was on KKR’s radar last season as well but no deal could be worked out. 

The pacer burst on to the limelight during the 2018 Global T20 Canada, where he was spotted by star West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who brought him to the CPL. He had featured in the CPL All-Star team that season.

Khan returned a haul of 16 wickets from 12 matches for Guyana Amazon Warriors that year, the second-most by a fast bowler in the season.

Khan can hit speeds in excess of 140kph and is known to have a good yorker.

The Dinesh Karthik-led KKR Riders will start their campaign against Mumbai Indians on September 23.

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IPL will take place as scheduled: BCCI

New Delhi: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Arun Dhumal on Wednesday made it clear that the Indian Premier League (IPL) would begin on September 19 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as scheduled.

Doubts about the 2020 IPL had arisen after 13 members of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) tested positive for Coronavirus last month, and that led to speculation that the tournament might be postponed, depending on the COVID-19 situation in the UAE.

However, Dhumal said that everything was fine now in the UAE and the event would take place as planned.

“They all [CSK members] have come negative now. And the IPL will take place as scheduled; there is no doubt about that. Don’t worry, players are following the COVID-19 protocols and matches will be played without spectators. So, I don’t think there will be any problem with that,” Dhumal said.

The BCCI has also put on hold the release of the tournament schedule. Asked about it, the BCCI treasurer said the Board is in talks with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), “and hopefully the announcement will be made soon”. “IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel is also there in the UAE and he is working on it. The ECB is helping us in all the way possible. Just hope for the best,” he added.

It is also learnt that the BCCI could go for a change in the schedule it has reportedly prepared if it goes ahead with the already decided dates. In that case, the opening encounter of the tournament could be held between champions Mumbai Indians and the runners-up of 2018 edition, Sunrisers Hyderabad. It was expected the opening game would be between Mumbai Indians and 2019 runners-up CSK.

All eight teams have resumed training in the UAE, but CSK is yet to hit the ground running. They were quarantined after 13 members of the squad tested positive. They are likely to start training from September 4.

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