SRH vs CSK: 3 takeaways from the thirty-third encounter

SRH vs CSK: 3 takeaways from the thirty-third encounter

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) registered an easy win over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Wednesday, April 18 at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. 

Chennai Super Kings won the toss and opted to bat first. Openers Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis got off to a flying start. They added 79 runs in the opening partnership but the middle orders failed to carry the momentum and they ended up putting 132 on board.

Chasing 133, Hyderabad openers also started in a great way. David Warner and Jonny Bairstow added 66 runs in 5.4 overs. Their middle orders didn’t lose the plot and they registered a comfortable victory within 17 overs.

Here are the three talking points of the game:

Chennai’s middle order crumbled

Having chosen to bat first, Chennai openers Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis started hitting from the beginning and put up 41 runs within the powerplay. However, they didn’t stop scoring and their big shots led them to 79 runs together before Watson got dismissed for 31. Another opener Faf du Plessis also got out in the very next over for 45.

Also Read: The Fantasy Guide for SRH vs CSK

The problem started from there. Middle orders failed to carry the momentum given by the openers. Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, and Sam Billings dismissed in quick succession and suddenly they reduced to 101/5 from 79/0. Apart from Ambati Rayudu in the middle order, other batsmen failed to score big and that didn’t allow Chennai to put up a competitive total. They managed to put up 132/5 after 20 overs.

Rashid Khan’s spell

Rashid Khan is one of the key players of Hyderabad. He has the ability to restrict any batsman by his spin. He has once again proved his worth in the team in yesterday’s game. Rashid Khan first came to bowl in the eighth over. However, he conceded 14 runs in the first two overs. But his third over made the change.

Chennai were 97 for 2 after 13 overs when Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina were on the crease. They were hoping for a big score but Rashid Khan had other plans. He returned for his second spell in the 14th over and started with the dismissal of Suresh Raina. He trapped Raina before the stump for 13 in the first ball. 

He again trapped Kedar Jadhav before the stumps for mere 1 in the fourth delivery. That left Chennai for 99/4. Rashid ended up his spell with the figures of 4-0-17-2; where he bowled 13 dot balls in his four-over spell.

Hyderabad openers made the winning foundation

Chasing a mere total of 133, Hyderabad openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow started hitting from the very first over. Their back-to-back big shots helped them to add 66 runs within 5.4 overs before Warner’s dismissal; who got dismissed right after scoring another half-century off 24 balls; which included 10 boundaries.

On the other hand, Jonny Bairstow started to steady the ship with the middle order batsmen. He took on Karn Sharma for two maximums in the 11th over and reached his half-century in the 15th over off 39 balls. He scored 61 off 44, including three boundaries and as many sixes. However, both the openers made the winning foundation for the team; where Hyderabad claimed an easy win with 19 balls to spare.

SRH vs RR: 3 takeaways from the eighth encounter

SRH vs RR: 3 takeaways from the eighth encounter

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) faced Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the eighth game of Indian Premier League (IPL) this season where SRH registered their first win in a thriller by 5 wickets. 

In a nail-biting game at Hyderabad showed many notable things. An astonishing century from Sanju Samson took the limelight in the first innings as RR put up a huge total of 198 on board while batting first. However, David Warner’s quickfire 69 in the run-chase and Vijay Shankar and Rashid Khan’s brilliant cameos helped SRH to register their first win.

Here are the three talking points of the game:

Sanju Samson’s century

Rajasthan Royals chose to bat first after winning the toss. But they got the big blow when their inform opener Joss Buttler was dismissed by Rashid Khan in the 4th over. Sanju Samson walked in to bat at number three and started his inning with a boundary off Rashid Khan through slip.

Then he took some time to settle down. He again started hitting all over the park after 2-3 overs and made a solid partnership of 119 runs for the second wicket.

In the 17th over, Sanju Samson flicked a knuckle-ball from Siddharth Kaul which was an easy catch. Four fielders were there to take the catch along with the keeper, Jonny Bairstow; who went for a full dive but failed to hold it. Samson was on 58 then, went to punish the bowlers, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 18th over where he smashed 24 runs which included four fours and a six.

Also Read: Fantasy Team for KXIP vs MI

The drop from Bairstow proved too costly for SRH as Samson scored the first century of IPL 2019 in style. His 102 off 55 included ten fours and four sixes which guided RR to a huge total of 198.

The opening partnership between David Warner and Jonny Bairstow

To chase a huge total of 199, SRH needed a flying start from the beginning and the openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow made no mistake. Warner welcomed the bowler with a boundary in the first ball. They both added 69 runs in the powerplay and were no mood in slowing down.

RR were struggling to find a way of their dismissal as both of the batsmen were looking dangerous in the middle. They put up the 110-run partnership for the opening wicket within 10 overs made the winning foundation for the team.

However, Warner took just 26 balls to reach his 50. Both of them got dismissed back to back later as Stokes picked up the wicket of Warner in the 10th over, while Bairstow was dismissed by Shreyas Gopal in the 11th over. Warner’s 37-ball 69 included 9 boundaries and 2 sixes while Bairstow’s 45 off 28 included 6 boundaries and a six.

Vijay Shankar and Rashid Khan’s cameos

After the dismissal of the openers, Kane Williamson and Vijay Shankar started to steady the ship. More than Williamson, Shankar took on the bowlers as he hit two sixes in the 14th over off Kulkarni and another one in the next over off Jaydev Unadkat.

But Shankar got dismissed in the 16th over after scoring a 15-ball 35. Then Rashid Khan and Yusuf Pathan again started to steady the ship. However, Rashid hit a full-length delivery from Archer through cover for a boundary and he flicked the next ball using the depth of the crease over deep square leg for a maximum which took SRH to their first win with 1 over to spare.

KKR vs SRH: 3 takeaways from the second encounter

IPL 2019: DC vs KKR - Key battles to watch out for

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) faced Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at Eden Gardens in the second game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) where KKR won the game convincingly. 

Having won the toss, KKR chose to field first. SRH openers David Warner and Bairstow got off to a flying start. Warner made a stunning 53-ball 85 which included 9 boundaries and 3 sixes. Along with him Bairstow too scored 39 off 35 and put up the 100-run mark. It was only in the 13th over when KKR finally managed to get the first breakthrough by dismissing Bairstow.

After Warner’s dismissal, Shankar came into bat at three and played a cameo of 40 off 24 which helped SRH to put up 181 for 3 in 20 overs.

While chasing 182, KKR lost the opener, Chris Lynn, very cheaply but Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa steadied the ship with an 80 runs partnership. However, still, the game was on SRH’s court as they came back into the game with a few wickets quickly. But Andre Russell and Shubman Gill added 53 runs in the final three overs and win the game for KKR.

Here are the three takeaways from the second encounter:

The formidable form of David Warner

The former captain of SRH and the destructive opener David Warner has returned in the IPL after a 12-month ban. He was banned for a year from all the international games due to the ball-tampering scandal in Australia’s away test against South Africa. Though he was allowed to play the IPL, BCCI took another strict decision by not allowing him to play in the IPL last year.

However, he had a lot to prove to the world. The opener started hitting all over the park and literally punished all the bowlers of KKR. His come back inning made of a swashbuckling 85 off 43 balls which included 9 boundaries and 3 sixes. His batting was so flawless that it never showed that he was not in touch. He was supported well by Bairstow as the pair put up a brilliant 118 run opening standing. His brilliant inning helped SRH to put up a mammoth total of 181 on board.

Also Read: KKR vs SRH Uncapped players’ performance

However, with the 85, Warner surpassed Gautam Gambhir’s record of most half-centuries in IPL and moved up to the top of the table with 37 half-centuries in Indian Premier League.

Andre Russell’s match-winning 49*

After David Warner’s heroics and Vijay Shankar’s cameo, SRH managed to put up 181 on board after 20 overs. To chase the total, KKR were needed a flying start which the openers were not able to provide. As the opener, Chris Lynn dismissed for 7, another opener Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa tried to steady the ship with an 80-run stand. 

KKR were doing well with Rana and Uthappa but Sunrisers bounced back with 3 quick successions which left Kolkata in a trouble. Along with this, the run rate too had started to increase.

53 runs were required off last 3 overs when Andre Russell and Shubman Gill were at the crease. Siddarth Kaul came to bowl the 18th over where Andre Russell smashed 2 big sixes and a boundary along with 3 singles and 19 runs came from the 18th over. Somehow, the game turned its way towards KKR.

Stand-in captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned for the penultimate over when KKR needed 34 runs off last two overs. But Russell smashed 2 sixes and 2 fours in the 19th over and kept the hope alive of the victory.

With 13 runs required in the last over, the youngster Shubman Gill hit two big sixes and seal the game for KKR. Russell scored an unbeaten 49 runs off 19 balls, including 4 fours and 4 sixes and became the game changer for his side.

Poor bowling by SRH

SRH has the strongest bowling lineup in the IPL but they failed to win the first game against KKR. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was captaining the team for the very first time in absence of Kane Williamson. Though they put up a huge competitive total of 181, bowlers, somehow couldn’t bowl as per their strength and that caused them the defeat.

Getting early wickets always help any side to win the game. With the proper wicket-taker in the form of Rashid Khan, SRH should have opened the bowling with him in the powerplay. But he came into the attack in the seventh over. He also created a few chances of dismissals but the team failed to grab those. However, KKR batsmen survived his spell well with the loss of one wicket.

KKR were needed more than 50 runs in the last three overs where the game was pretty much in SRH’s court. But Siddarth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave 19 and 21 runs in the 18th and 19th over respectively.

When 13 was needed from the last over, stand-in captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave the ball to Shakib Al Hasan. The over started with a wide and single but two sixes hit by young Shubman Gill helped KKR to win the nail-biting game with two balls to spare.

What if Vijay Shankar came into bowl the last over? The result could be different as we have seen earlier how Shankar did manage to win India a game against Australia by bowling the last over.

IPL 2019 Purple Cap – Highest wicket taker of IPL 2019?

IPL 2019 PuIPL 2019: Why KKR can win this seasonrple Cap - Highest wicket taker of IPL 2019?

Bowlers have always played a very crucial role when it comes to the IPL, as they have the potential of turning a game in the team’s favor.

Bowlers have always played a very crucial role during these matches. Without a quality lineup of bowlers, it can get extremely difficult for teams to maintain their morale, and winning a competitive league like the IPL can be close to impossible. This season of the IPL will also see a plethora of bowlers taking the field, and they may be favorites for the Purple Cap. However, a majority of them may not play all the matches, owing to the World Cup. Here’s taking a look at 5 of the top contenders.

Trent Boult- Delhi Captains

IPL 2019 Purple Cap - Highest wicket taker of IPL 2019?
Image Source – Zee News

The bowling sensation from New Zealand could very easily turn the tide in favor of Delhi Capitals. Boult possesses all the attributes of a fine bowler that is needed in T20, and he snapped up 18 wickets in 14 matches of the last IPL. Moreover, he ended 2018 with amazing form as well, as he picked nine wickets against Sri Lanka in the recently concluded Test Series and then bagged five wickets in an ODI against India.

Also Read: A complete analysis – DC

Jasprit Bumrah- Mumbai Indians

IPL 2019 Purple Cap - Highest wicket taker of IPL 2019?
Image Source – Deccan Chronicle

An emerging bowler in the Indian cricket team, Bumrah is sure to have a lasting impact in the 2019 edition of the IPL. He could easily be the star of the Mumbai Indians, as he is in peak form right now, scalping 48 wickets last year. In the 2018 edition of the IPL, he took 17 wickets for the Mumbai Indians.

Also Read: A complete analysis – MI

Rashid Khan- Sunrisers Hyderabad

IPL 2019 Purple Cap - Highest wicket taker of IPL 2019?
Image Source – The Indian Express

Ever since he has been discovered, the bowling sensation from Afghanistan has constantly been in the news for his exceptional bowling skills, especially in the last couple of years. Currently, he is playing in the Big Bash League and is constantly blowing away the opposing team like a house of cards. In the 2019 season of the IPL, Rashid Khan will look to be an effective architect in the bowling attack of his team. In the previous season, he picked up 21 wickets for his team and bamboozled batters throughout with his wily spinning deliveries.

Also Read: A complete analysis – SRH

Sunil Narine- Kolkata Knight Riders

Image Source – India TV

Without a doubt, Narine is one of the best bowlers in the world currently and will be an essential part of all the matches that the Kolkata Knight Riders play. The bowler from West Indies is not only a dangerous bowler but an effective batter too. In the last couple of years, he has molded himself into becoming one of the most effective all-rounders in the field today and can play any part required of him with ease. In the 2018 version of the tournament, he snatched up 17 wickets for his team. The fact that he might not play in the World Cup further boosts his chances of winning the coveted Cap.

Also Read: A complete analysis – KKR

Kuldeep Yadav- Kolkata Knight Riders

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The bowler from India has been an extremely important asset for both his teams, Team India as well as KKR, in the IPL. He is known for his consistency and can be extremely dangerous. In IPL 11, he took 17 wickets as well. His chinaman bowling is yet to be deciphered and with Edens Gardens producing a surface that helps spinners, Kuldeep could be among the wickets.

Also Read: Record-breaking moments of KKR

Rashid Khan: Cricket has changed everything in Afghanistan in the last few years

Rashid Khan: Cricket has changed everything in Afghanistan in the last few years

Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s wily spinner, said that cricket has ‘changed everything’ in his country and that nothing pleased the citizens of Afghanistan more than a good display by their cricket team in the last few years. 

Rashid, speaking on January 29, in an event that revealed the fixtures of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020, further said that the rise of the sport had given the people back home plenty to smile and rejoice about.

“It feels good. People back home, they love cricket,” he said in a panel interview at the launch. “It has changed everything in the country in the last five-six years. The young generation … everyone’s following cricket, they love it. It means a lot that Afghanistan is participating in the World Cup.

“(The fans) are loving it. They love the sport, they love cricket. (We players) just try and give 100% in each and every competition. Everywhere, we try our best to give something to the people back home. I know what is happening, so there is nothing else that can bring such a smile on their faces.

“We – me, (Mohammad) Nabi, Mujeeb (Ur Rehman) – we just try and give our best in each and every game. The World Cup will be good experience. Can’t wait for it.”

Afghanistan have come a long way since their first competitive appearance in 2010 and are currently the number 8 ranked ICC T20I team in the world. After a series of impressive showings in ODIs and the shortest format, the ICC awarded Afghanistan with the honour of Test status. The country played their first Test match in June against India in Bangalore last year.

Trending: Most promising teams of IPL 2019

The nation has been pooled in Group 2 for the T20 World Cup, alongside India, England and South Africa and will begin their campaign in the event against a Qualifier at Perth.

The meteoric rise of Afghanistan in world cricket has been synonymous with the rise of Khan, with him heading the T20I bowler’s ranking and standing on second place in the ICC ODI bowler’s ranking. The fact that he is only 20 years of age and made his international debut only three years ago further signifies his importance and mettle to the side.

His consistent showings has ensured that Khan is in huge demand across T20 leagues all over the world. Though fame has been plenty, Khan misses time away from his family, which is the only side-effect that cricket has.

“They are just watching it, it doesn’t matter whatever the time is back home in Afghanistan,” he said. “Everyone gets together and watches in one room. It feels really good and special, having good support from the family. They just keep following me.

“When I was playing in the West Indies and the time difference was too much – matches were starting at 3 am in Afghanistan – my mom was waking up and watching my game and praying for me. That is really special for me.

“Before the game, she was calling me and telling me to not worry, ‘just go there and enjoy yourself. Our prayers and support is with you’. That gives you a lot of energy and motivation. It’s needed as a player.”

5 Fastest Bowlers To Complete 100 ODI Wickets

5 Fastest Bowlers To Complete 100 ODI Wickets

Mohammed Shami carried on his good form in New Zealand to become the fastest Indian bowler to complete 100 wickets in One Day Internationals. 

On Wednesday Shami picked up the wicket of Kiwi opener Martin Guptill in the first ODI of the India New Zealand series and achieved this feat. This record was previously held by Irfan Pathan who had gone to this landmark in his 59th ODI whereas Shami achieved it in 56 matches. From India, the other three bowlers who are in the top five fastest Indian to complete 100 wickets are Zaheer Khan (65 ODIs), Ajit Agarkar (67 ODIs) and Javagal Srinath (68 ODIs).

Overall Mohammad Shami stands at the 6th position jointly with Kiwi fast bowler Trent Boult in the list of the fastest bowler to get 100 ODI wickets.  Let’s have a look at the top five fastest bowlers in this list.

Rashid Khan

5 Fastest Bowlers To Complete 100 ODI Wickets

Rashid Khan from Afghanistan became the fastest bowler to take 100 One Day International wickets in just 44 matches. He achieved this feat on March 25, 2018, against West Indies and took the wicket of Shai Hope in Harare. Afghanistan won the match by seven wickets. Rashid has been really quick in his journey and his difference with the second fastest bowler is the list is of eight matches.

Mitchell Starc

Mitchell Starc (Image- Getty Images)

Australian bowler Mitchell Starc is the second fastest bowler in the list. On August 21, 2016, he took the wicket of Dhananjaya de Silva to complete his 100 One Day Internationals wickets. Starc took only 52 One Day matches to record this achievement. He picked up three wickets and the host country was lost by 3 wickets in Colombo.

Saqlain Mushtaq

5 Fastest Bowlers To Complete 100 ODI Wickets

Saqlain Mushtaq, the veteran Pakistani bowler still remains one of the top bowlers in this list. During Independence Cup 1997 Saqlain achieved this landmark against Sri Lanka in Gwalior in his 53rd ODI match. He took three wickets in the match and Pakistan won it by 30 runs. This particular record of Saqlain Mushtaq was unbroken till Starc broke it in 2016.

Shane Bond

Shane Bond (Image- AFP)

Shane Bond from New Zealand stands at the 4th position in this list. He took 100 ODI wickets in his 54th One Day match. On January 23, 2017, he got his 100th ODI wicket against England. Bond picked up two wickets in the match held in Adelaide Oval and New Zealand won it by 90 runs.

Bret Lee

Bret Lee (Image- AFP)

Former Australian pacer Bret Lee currently holds the record of a 5th fastest bowler to reach 100 One Day Internationals wickets. Formidable Lee took his 100th ODI wicket on January 25, 2003. Australia won the match against England by three wickets in Melbourne and Lee had a 5-wicket haul.

ODI XI of 2018

ODI XI of 2018

With the ICC Cricket World Cup lurking around the corner, cricketers were eager to impress with their performances in ODIs in 2018.  

While some players were unable to leave a mark, others were consistent and had a memorable outing last year. Here is the ODI XI of 2018.


Rohit Sharma

Image Source – Times Now

The Indian was one of the best openers in 2018, with 1030 runs at an average of 73.75. He started off the year with a composed 115 against South Africa in the Rainbow Nation, and continued his form in England as well, with a knock of 137. Three more hundreds followed – one in the Asia Cup and two against Windies – as Rohit capped off a memorable year. He also led the Indian team to the Asia Cup triumph in the absence of Virat Kohli.

Also Read: 5 lesser known facts about Rohit Sharma


Shikhar Dhawan

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Rohit’s partner for India, Dhawan is the other opener in my squad. The left-hander had a phenomenal start to 2018, scoring two fifties and a ton against the South Africans. Though he was unable to touch 50 in the ODIs in England, Dhawan scored at a strike-rate of above 113, which helped provide his team with the desired starts. Dhawan ended the year with two hundred in the Asia Cup, which took his run tally to 897 runs at an average of just below 50.


Virat Kohli

Image Source – India Today

Kohli, once again, had a phenomenal year in 2018. The Indian skipper was in fine form against the South Africans, scoring three hundred and a fifty in the 6-match series. He managed to score a 50 and a 45 against England as well and ended 2018 by becoming the first Indian captain to score three successive hundreds – a record he achieved against West Indies. He will also lead the side.


Ross Taylor

Image Source – NDTV Sports

Taylor played only 11 games in 2018 as New Zealand did not have many international commitments, but he ensured to leave his mark in the limited opportunities, scoring at an average of 91.28 in the games. He smashed two hundred and four fifties in 11 innings and was one of the silent performers of the year.


Sikandar Raza

Image Source – SportsKeeda

With a batting average of 39.56 and a bowling average of 29.50, Raza forces his way into the ODI XI of 2018. He started off the year by scoring two half-centuries against Bangladesh and ended the year with two 40+ scores against the same opponents. He even nullified the impact of Rashid Khan when Zimbabwe took on Afghanistan in the World Cup Qualifiers last year, which shows his value to the side. His off-spin can be handy as well.


Jos Buttler

Image Source – Sky Sports

The Englishman had a year to remember, producing important cameos and playing the role of an anchor when needed. Though he scored his runs at a strike-rate of 113.53, he also has the temperament of holding an innings together and playing the waiting game, as he illustrated during the fifth ODI against Australia, when his side needed 206 to win. After England had been reduced to 50 for 5, the keeper held his nerves to guide his side to a nerve-wracking 1-wicket win.


Thisara Perera

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The Sri Lankan was one of the surprise performers of 2018. With a batting average of 34.58 and a strike-rate of 115.59 along with a bowling average of 20.72, Perera ensured he was the lone consistent player in his side.


Rashid Khan

Image Source – NDTV Sports

Unsurprisingly, the Afghan spinner was in the news throughout 2018 for bamboozling opponents and scalping 48 wickets in just 20 games. He left his mark in the World Cup Qualifiers where he had picked up 15 wickets and helped guide his side to the title. He can tonk the ball for a few sixes as well down the order.


Kuldeep Yadav

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Yadav picked up 45 wickets at an average of 17.77 even though he played almost half of his games on the bouncy tracks of South Africa and England. He started off by picking 17 wickets in South Africa and scalped a further 9 in England. He picked up 19 wickets in the Asia Cup and against Windies to end a memorable year.


Jasprit Bumrah

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Though the Indian picked up only 22 wickets in 13 ODIs, what stood out was his impressive economy rate of 3.62 in 2018. In an era when batters are always eager to go for the big hits, Bumrah impressed by stalling the flow of runs both in the powerplay and the death overs. His best performance came against the Windies when he bowled 6 overs at Thiruvananthapuram and conceded only 1.83 runs per over!


Lungi Ngidi

Image Source – India Today

The tearaway quick does not need quick and bouncy tracks to perform, and this was evident in his performances in Sri Lanka, where he picked up 10 wickets in 4 games. He also fared well against Australia and India and hence gets a look in.

Afghanistan and India level scores in a dead rubber

Afghanistan and India level scores in a dead rubber

With India having already sealed a place in the finals and Afghanistan already eliminated, few would have expected the game to have piqued as much interest as it eventually did. Afghan keeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad produced a scintillating hundred as the two teams Tied the match on September 25, in Dubai. The toss was won by Afghanistan, wherein there was a surprising albeit familiar sight in the form of MS Dhoni standing-in for Rohit Sharma in his 200th ODI as a captain.


Of the opening stand of 65, Shahzad scored 56 runs while his partner Javed Ahmadi could only score a meager 5 off 30 deliveries. The introduction of the spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav brought smiles back into the Indian dressing room as they began dismantling the Afghan top and middle order, reducing them from 65/0 in the 13th over to 82/4 in the 16th. Gulbadin Naib forged a 50-run partnership with the swashbuckling Shahzad but perished off a Chahar delivery while on 15. After Nabi’s departure, India did extremely well to peg Afghanistan back, conceding merely 9 runs off the final 3 overs, restricting Afghanistan to 252/8. Shahzad was obviously the pick of the batsmen with his 124 off 116 balls, complete with 11 boundaries and 7 towering sixes, giving his idol Dhoni a lot to worry about throughout the innings. Jadeja and Kuldeep were the picks of the Indian bowlers, returning with figures of 3/46 and 2/38 off their quota of 10 overs respectively.

Chasing 253 off their 50, India looked set on course for yet another comfortable victory in the Asia Cup. The opening duo put on a stand of 110 within 18 overs, scoring twin half-centuries with ease.  However, Rayudu’s dismissal in the 18th over brought forth a slew of wickets as the Afghan spinners tore into the Indian middle order Dinesh Karthik tried to hold fort at one end, knocking the ball around en route to a sedate 66-ball 44, before being caught leg-before by Nabi, which was seen in replays to have been a dubious decision by the umpire. That left India at 207/6 at the end of the 40th over, with the required run rate in control, but Jadeja being the only recognized batsman left. The pressure from the Afghan bowlers also ensured that the required rate crept up, and with 3 overs remaining, India needed 17 with 3 wickets in hand and Jadeja and Kuldeep at the crease. Captain Asghar Afghan then turned to Rashid Khan, his ace, to bowl the 48th and 50th overs.

The last over Jadeja with 7 to win off Rashid’s last over with tail-ender Khaleel for company. However, the tension seemed all for naught when Jadeja hoiked the second ball over mid-wicket, for what looked like a score-leveling sixer, but was judged by the third umpire to be merely a boundary. A couple of singles off subsequent deliveries brought India’s score level at 252. However, off the fifth ball, needing merely one run to win, Jadeja- who had till they made a very sensible 25 – managed to hole out to Najibullah Zadran, the only man Asghar had left outside the 30-yard circle. Zadran came running in to catch Jadeja’s mistimed shot and kept running with the smile of a victor, smiles that were shared by the entire Afghan team. They may not have won a single match in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup, but their spirited performances showed that they belonged on the stage, and the tie against India ensures that they would at least take a point home from the contest.

Shahzad was deservedly awarded the Man-of-the-Match award, with his swashbuckling effort in the midst of wickets collapsing at the other end, winning plaudits all around. India, meanwhile, would be licking their wounds from this tie, seeking solace from the fact that it was a second-string side they featured, as they look forward to tomorrow’s clash between Bangladesh and Pakistan to see who it is that shall face them in the final.

Afghanistan want to finish Asia Cup campaign on high note

Afghanistan want to finish Asia Cup campaign on high note

Barring India, it is Afghanistan who have the most competitive throughout this Asia Cup. They topped the group beating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh convincingly. However, in the two ‘Super Four’ games, two back-to-back narrow defeats against Pakistan and Bangladesh have cost them severely. And now with this match against Indian at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, Afghanistan will end their campaign in this competition.

This will be Afghanistan’s first match against India in the ODI format since 2014 Asia Cup. Also, following this game they don’t have any international fixture until February next year.

Hence, the Afghans would like to come out hard and prove a point. Their batting looks settled and most of the batsmen are in-form. In bowling, the spin-trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi hold the key. They have some exciting talents in the pace department as well.

For India, it is all about a match-practice ahead of Friday final. Ideally, the Indian think-tank should rest some of their first-choice players in order to test their bench strength. KL Rahul may get a look in here in place of Shikhar Dhawan, who will perhaps get a day off. The think-tank can also rest MS Dhoni and play Manish Pandey while handing over the keeping gloves to Dinesh Karthik.

In the bowling department, both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah deserve a break following their hectic workload. In their place, 20-year Khaleel Ahmed, who impressed during his debut against Hong Kong as well as Siddharth Kaul can come in the playing XI. Though the spin-attack is expected to remain the same for the defending champions.

In this particular game, Rohit Sharma should look to defend a target for a change, if he wins the toss. The trend at the DIC stadium shows that the wicket over here gets quicker under lights and becomes easy for batsmen. So, in order to prepare his bowlers for any adverse situation in the final, Rohit and the team management should change the gameplan a little bit in this dead-rubber.

No team had any practice session on Monday. Keeping the cramped scheduled of the tournament, preserving the energy for the match-days, has been the usual trend in this Asia Cup.

Shoaib Malik helps Pakistan win a thriller against Afghanistan

The first day of the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup belonged to India and Pakistan. While India thrashed Bangladesh with a seven-wicket victory, Pakistan dismantled a fully loaded undefeated Afghanistan. A 43-ball unbeaten 51 from Shoaib Malik ensured his team a victory in the last over. Malik, with 19 years of experience behind him, hit a six and four off back to back deliveries in the 50th over. Hence, Pakistan won their first game in the Super Group stage by 3 wickets with just three balls remaining.

Previously, before the start of the match, the closest to a thriller in this Asia cup was the game between India and Hong Kong. The minnows gave the jitters to the second best ODI team before the latter came back strong into the game to win by 26 runs. The real thriller of a show was the clash between Pakistan and Afghanistan wherein at a point Afghanistan had an edge over Pakistan. The latter started losing wickets after a point when they were at 154/1 while chasing a target of 258 set by Afghanistan. The well-equipped Pakistani bowling side could only manage to dismiss six Afghani batsmen but restricted them to a total of 257/6. Left-handed batsman Hasmatullah Shahidi produced an unbeaten 97 off 118 while Asghar Afghan had come up with a captain knock of 67 off 56 deliveries. 

Pakistan had lost their first wicket for zero runs, during the chase, in the last ball of the first over. Fakhar Zaman was declared out for LBW following his decision of not reviewing a certain inside edge. But they found their momentum in Imam-ul-Haq’s 80 off 104 and Babar Azam’s 94-ball 66. Afghanistan found their way back later into the game when they bagged the wickets of the two set Pakistani batsmen in the 34th and 36th over. The most celebrated Afghan bowler Rashid Khan playing his 50th ODI match has the most wickets for any bowler within that span. While skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Asif Ali and Mohammad Nawaz fell cheaply, Shoaib Malik stood his ground and kept playing his shots. Afghanistan sent in their most expensive bowler for the night and also a wicketless Aftab Alam, as all other bowlers had their respective 10 overs exhausted. The first ball of the 50th over was a dot ball, but Pakistan could breathe their sigh if relief when the second ball was hit for a SIX followed by a boundary off the third. 

Malik used his experience of 19 years to finish the game for his team under an extremely tense situation. Looking at the numbers, he has played a little fewer matches(267: 294) and scored more runs(7024: 6273) and boundaries(681:615) than the rest of the ten batsmen in the playing XI combined. Quite naturally, he was adjudged as the Man of the Match for his match-winning 51*.