RR vs RCB: 3 takeaways from the fourteenth encounter

RR vs RCB: 3 takeaways from the fourteenth encounter

Rajasthan Royals (RR) have finally opened their account with a convincing seven-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Tuesday in Jaipur. 

Rajasthan won the toss and elected to field first. A brilliant spell from Shreyas Gopal dismantled Bangalore’s batting line up and restricted them within 158/4 in 20 overs; where Parthiv Patel scored a 41-ball 67.

Chasing the total, Rajasthan also faced some hiccups but a half-century from Jos Buttler and a late cameo from Rahul Tripathi and Steven Smith guided them to a comfortable win in the final over.

Here are the three talking points from the encounter:

Shreyas Gopal’s fiery spell

The Karnataka leg spinner Shreyas Gopal’s spell was the highlight of yesterday’s game. He came into bowl in the 7th over. His third delivery sent Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in the dugout. His next over saw AB de Villiers’ dismissal for 13.

He again came into bowl in the 11th over and his first delivery was seen the dismissal of Shimron Hetmyer; was caught by Jos Buttler behind the stumps in the 11th over. He ended up his spell with a brilliant figure of 4-1-12-3. His fiery spell didn’t let Bangalore’s batting settle down in the middle and they managed to put up 158 on board.

Over-dependence on Yuzvendra Chahal

Rajasthan started their chase in a strong way. Both Ajinkya Rahane and Joss Buttler started hitting big shots from the beginning. They added 55 runs in the powerplay without any loss of wicket.

When the other bowlers couldn’t restrict the Rajasthan openers, Kohli handed over the ball to Yuzvendra Chahal. He picked up Rahane in his very first over and give his side their first breakthrough while conceding mere 2 runs.

Also Read: 4 most important players for RR this season

He came back in the 13th over and dismissed the dangerous looking Joss Buttler who was playing at 59 then. In the 16th over which was eventually Chahal’s final over, he once again created another chance of dismissing Steve Smith but Umesh Yadav missed to grab the catch. He ended his spell with 4-0-17-2.

Apart from Yuzvendra Chahal, none of the other bowlers were able to pose a hurdle in front of the Rajasthan Batsmen and their victory was evident.

Poor fielding by RCB

Bangalore managed to put up 158 on board after 20 overs; which was not a great score but a competitive one. But their bowlers failed to restrict Rajasthan from winning. Along with the bowling, a dismal fielding also caused their defeat.

They dropped 4 catches which could have turned the table in the game. The first one was the dismissal of Rahane which came very early when Rahane had edged the ball by Navdeep Saini and was dropped behind the stumps by the captain Virat Kohli. This early life helped Rahane to score more runs before his dismissal for 22.

Steve Smith got two lives in the 16th and 19th over respectively. Smith was playing on 23 off 21 balls in the 16th over when he hit Chahal over extra cover. The ball safely landed in Umesh Yadav’s palm at deep cover but he failed to hold that which gave Smith a chance to survive.

In the 19th over, Smith was dropped down again. This time it was the substitute fielder, Pawan Negi at mid-wicket who dropped Smith. After one ball, Rahul Tripathi was dropped by Moeen Ali at deep mid-wicket. Both Smith and Tripathi anchored the chase till the end and Tripathi smashed a maximum to seal the chase.

If RCB grab those dismissal chances, they might have won the game. Since they failed to do it, they need to settle their squad as soon as possible to win the games.

IPL 2019: 4 most important players for Rajasthan Royals

IPL 2019: 4 most important players for Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals are set to begin their campaign of this year’s Indian Premier League against Kings XI Punjab at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur on March 25th. Last year they fell short in the eliminator. 

However, the teams are looking quite balanced with likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Steven Smith in the squad. They also have some youngsters like Sanju Samson and Oshane Thomas in their squad. Here are the four players who could play a crucial role for Rajasthan Royals.

Steve Smith

Image Source – CricTracker.com

Steve Smith is returning after a one year ban on him due to ball tampering scandal. His return will add some much-needed strength to the batting unit. He is expected to lead Rajasthan Royals this year and he can certainly help the side for their second IPL title after 11 long years.

Smith is one of the best batsmen in the world and he has the ability to turn the table single-handedly.

Also Read: 4 key players for KXIP in this season

Jofra Archer

Jofra Archer is one of the perfect wicket-taking bowlers who bowl at a great pace and with perfect accuracy. He has crafty cutters, cross-seam deliveries and the yorkers in his kitty. He is the complete package in the death over bowling.

Though the Rajasthan Royals don’t have too much depth in their bowling lineup, Jofra Archer is capable of doing damages in the opponent’s batting line up all alone.

Ashton Turner

Image Source – CricTracker.com

Hardly few Indians knew about Ashton Turner prior to the auction of the IPL 2019. Ashton Turner is a dangerous player and performed exceptionally well in the Big Bash League before showing his ability in the fourth ODI against India in the recently concluded ODI series.

His formidable innings against India made him a finisher in the international circuit. He has the ability to be a finisher in the IPL as well. Along with this, he can bowl too which will be an extra benefit for them. He will surely try to continue his form in the IPL as well.

Krishnappa Gowtham

Krishnappa Gowtham will play a major role for Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming IPL. He has been in a good form in the last IPL and helped the team as well. He is an all-rounder who can bowl in the powerplay also. 

His strike rate was 196.87 in the last IPL which was the highest in the last year. This certainly shows his ability as a game changer. He will surely try to keep his form intact and will also be looking forward to taking his game to another level.

Steve Smith, David Warner to join Australia ODI squad in UAE

Steve Smith, David Warner to join Australia ODI squad in UAE

Steve Smith and David Warner are all set to return in the squad for their upcoming series against Pakistan in UAE. 

Both Smith and Warner were banned from international cricket for a year due to ball tampering case; which will end on March 28. That makes them eligible to be in the playing XI for the final two One Day international games on March 29 and 31 in the five-match series against Pakistan in UAE.

However, Australia Cricket Board has decided not to include them in the squad and asked them to return to their franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL); which is scheduled to be started from March 23. Hence, both Smith and Warner will get nearly one week to train with their national teammates before they return to their respective IPL teams.

“After consultation with members of the National Selection Panel, Greg Chappell and Head Coach Justin Langer, Interim EGM Team Performance Belinda Clark, CA Medical Team and both players, it has been agreed Steve Smith and David Warner will not be available for selection for the final two matches of the series against Pakistan,” Trevor Hohns, the selection chairman said in a statement.

“While their bans will be finished on March 28, Steve and David have been working through rehabilitation from elbow surgery and it has been agreed the best pathway for them to return to play is in the Indian Premier League, a strong competition which features some of the world’s best players,” he further added.

However, both Smith and Warner had trained with NSW and their respective grade cricket clubs. They also practiced with their teammates Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood before playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, but unfortunately, they got injured there.

David Warner and Steve Smith’s return in the squad will certainly strengthen the Australian side and will boost the Kangaroo’s confidence before World Cup 2019.

Also Read: Top 3 contenders for IPL 2019

IPL 2019 : Steve Smith And David Warner Will Play, Confirms Cricket Australia

IPL 2019 : Steve Smith And David Warner Will Play, Confirms Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia (CA) finally confirmed on the IPL comeback of Steve Smith and David Warner. The duo will be seen playing in the upcoming IPL 2019 after serving one year ban each following the sandpaper gate incident in South Africa last year.

IPL 2019 Important For WC Selection

IPL 2019 is set to begin from March 23 and Smith and Warner’s suspension will finish on March 28. Australia’s national selectors chief Trevor Hohns opined how IPL could be the best pathway for them to make a comeback. Hohns further added that both Smith and Warner will be monitored closely as their forms in upcoming IPL 2019 would be crucial for their selection in the upcoming 2019 World Cup and Ashes.  

He said, “While their bans will be finished on March 28, Steve and David have been working through rehabilitation from elbow surgery and it has been agreed the best pathway for them to return to play is in the Indian Premier League, a strong competition which features some of the world’s best players.”

Hohnes further added, “David will play with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Steve with Rajasthan Royals. Cricket Australia will continue to liaise with both Steve, David and their IPL clubs to monitor progress as we build towards the ICC World Cup and the Ashes.”

IPL 2019 Ready To Welcome The Aussie Duo

Last year the Committee of Administrators banned Smith and Warner from participating in IPL 2018 following the controversy and the ban from international cricket. The statement by CoA mentioned

“The CoA, in consultation with BCCI acting president Mr. CK Khanna, IPL chairman Mr. Rajeev Shukla and BCCI acting hon. secretary Mr. Amitabh Choudhary has decided to ban Mr. Smith and Mr. Warner with immediate effect from participation in IPL 2018. The BCCI hopes that the cricketers participating in the IPL hold the highest regard for the Spirit of Cricket and Code of Conduct for Players and Match Officials.”

Now with these two megastars back in the league, IPL 2019 will be more exciting for the entire cricket fraternity. It will e nice to see how they cope up with the 22yards after a year-long suspension. With World Cup beginning from May 30 in England, Steve Smith and David Warner will also look forward to this IPL for practice.

Also Read: Top 3 contenders for IPL 2019

After Smith, Mitchell Starc’s injury looms danger for Australia

After Smith, Mitchell Starc's injury looms danger for Australia


The latest injury of Mitchell Starc has ruled him out of the India tour

The left-arm fast bowler will be out from Cricket for at least two months

Australia recently faced a similar blow with Steve Smith’s prolonged injury 

India will host Australia for two T20Is and five ODIs, starting later this month 

Mitchell Starc’s recent 10-wicket haul against Sri Lanka was in the news as it was instrumental in Australia’s 2-0 series win. Soon after the series got over, Starc injury woes have returned. Reports suggest that he will miss the entire tour of India, with selectors set to name their ODI and T20 squad on Thursday. 

Australia’s tour of India will comprise two Twenty20 International and five One Day International matches. With their leading quick ruled out of the series, Australia’s clouds of worry seem to have darkened. Over two months of exile for Starc means he will miss out on other upcoming series over and beyond India’s tour alone. The left-arm fast bowler is suffering from a soft tissue injury in his upper half of the body. This places him in doubt for the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE that will follow. 

Also Read: Shastri backs Dhoni for World Cup

The conundrum circling Steve Smith and David Warner’s return to Australian colours is now bigger than ever. As CA was scheming their return, Smith came out and spoke about his elbow injury. Last month he revealed that he’ll undergo surgery for the same. It came around as a huge blow for Australia as there’s a probability that he might miss out on playing the World Cup. Thinking of last year, at this time, we were sure to be named as the captain of the Australian side. But how the times have changed! Now, in addition to that, Mitchell Starc’s injury is a big scare for Australia ahead of the World Cup that starts on May 30.

Johnson chooses Maxwell as his captain of Australia’s 2019 World Cup squad

Johnson chooses Maxwell as his captain of Australia's 2019 World Cup squad

Retired Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson has picked allrounder Glenn Maxwell as his captain for Australia’s 2019 World Cup squad. The mega event is scheduled to be played in England and Wales, from 30 May to 14 July 2019. 

Johnson, in his column for Perth Now, wrote that Maxwell would be a great choice for the captain of the team for the upcoming mega event. Maxwell has been leading Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League (BBL); which has helped him to grow as a cricketer as well.

“My decision to pick Glenn Maxwell as captain might raise eyebrows. But having played with him both for Australia and in the Indian Premier League, I can say that this polarising cricketer is misunderstood,” former pace spearhead wrote in his column. “He might not be your typical first-choice captain, though clearly Melbourne Stars have seen something in Maxwell. Leadership has helped him mature, helped to settle him and bring the best out of him. More importantly, Maxwell is a cricket tragic who loves the game and thinks deeply about it,” added Johnson.

Johnson and Maxwell both played an important role in Australia’s World Cup win in 2015 at home. Also, Johnson played alongside Maxwell in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as well for Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab. Moreover, Johnson expressed how Maxwell used to give ideas during team meetings and help in making strategies against the opposition.

“I spent a lot of time with Maxwell in the IPL at both Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab and he was always very vocal in team meetings particularly with planning such as fielding positions for certain players. He knows opposition players very well and doesn’t forget much,” wrote Johnson.

“He reads the game well and that’s essential for a captain. Maxi is not a leader who will just let things roll on, either. He thinks outside the square. He is 30 now and knows the game inside out.”

However, Johnson wrote that due to captaincy pressure, Finch isn’t able to perform well. He can perform brilliantly if the pressure isn’t there as he is a world-class player.

“A change in captain would also help take some pressure off struggling opener Aaron Finch. I’ve retained Finch in my squad as a batsman because he has had some excellent performances in England previously,” Johnson added. 

Australia squad as chosen by Mitchell Johnson:

Glenn Maxwell (C), Usman Khawaja (VC), Aaron Finch, David Warner, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Peter Handscomb (WK), Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, AJ Tye, Adam Zampa

Trending: Top 3 contenders of IPL 2019

5 Talking Points- India Australia ODI Series

5 Talking Points- India Australia ODI Series

India got their first bilateral series win in Australia by beating the host 2-1. Barring the first match in Sydney, Indian team looked mostly untroubled as Australian batsmen except for Shaun Marsh in 2nd ODI failed to make big scores after getting set. 

Their bowling in last two matches also looked toothless. Whereas Indians kept their cool except some part of the first match and looked mostly set for the upcoming World Cup. Here are some of the key talking points from the series.

Re-emergence of MS Dhoni

Image Source – The Indian Express

MS Dhoni did not score a single ODI fifty in 2018. He scored just 275 runs with an average of 25 and a strike rate of 71.42. Many questions were raised, people felt the old Dhoni was gone and even a part of media and fans were not sure whether Dhoni deserved a place in 2019 World cup planning or not. But India’s senior statesman started 2019 with a bang. This is the first time when Dhoni started the year with three consecutive 50’s. Two of these 50’s are unbeaten and came in winning causes. Although in all the matches Dhoni started slowly but picked up the scoring rate at the last stage of the chase. It has to be mentioned that in both matches he got excellent support from Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav, however, Dhoni himself showed enough promise to prove everyone that the 37-year-old can still contribute to Indian cricket. At least till the mega event of World Cup in June-July.

Also Read: Dhoni is happy to bat at any position

India’s middle order conundrum

Image Source – India Today

With ICC Cricket World Cup less than six months away, all these ODI matches are important to test various combinations to get a set team to take to the World cup. Despite a stable top, three India’s middle order is still not set and in this series also we saw them to try different combinations. In the last two years, India have given chance to players like Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Yuvraj Singh etc. All the above-mentioned names were not part of this tour as India trusted Ambati Rayudu for the number four spot based on his heroics in the 2018 IPL and also good showing in home ODIs against Windies. However, with two not so flattering performance, Rayudu was replaced by Kedar Jadhav who played a solid knock and looked solid to seal his spot for next few matches. Dinesh Karthik performed pretty well as a finisher in limited chances he got. He needs to produce some more decent performances in upcoming New Zealand tour then India’s 4-5-6 can be Dhoni-Kedar-DK with Rayudu as back up option. Interestingly the selectors have included the young talented Shubhman Gill in the Squad for the New Zealand tour and given a chance if he can display some part of his domestic/under-19 form, then that would give a happy headache to the selectors.

Also Read: Dhoni should bat at no. 4

India’s bowling reaches

Image Source – sportskeeda.com

In recent times, Indian bowlers are one of the best performers in world cricket. With around 10 world class bowlers with everyone offering something different, Indian bowling has great depth and gives various options to the captain. A big credit should goes to India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun, especially considering that bowling was India’s Achilles’ heel for the ages. In this series, India rested Jasprit Bumrah and with Hardik Pandya out due to unfortunate circumstances, India had to move away from the preferred combination of two wrist spinners to maintain balance. They played Ravindra Jadeja as an all-rounder and only one of Kuldeep or Chahal could play. Where Kuldeep Yadav was preferred for his recent performances and was steady in first two matches, Yuzvendra Chahal got a chance in the 3rd ODI and promptly delivered a man-of-the-match performance. His bowling analysis of 6-42 is the best bowling analysis for a spinner ever in ODI’s on Australian soil.

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who could not break into the eleven during the test series, was the leading wicket-taker in the ODI’s from both team and kept giving good starts to India. He got Australian captain Aaron Finch during his first spell in all three matches and ensured that Australia could not take the game ways from the beginning. Mohammed Shami provided much-needed stability during the middle and end overs with his control and a hint of reverse swing. Although both Khaleel and Siraj were not great they would get more chances and mostly be the backup options once Bumrah is back. India also has bowlers like Umesh Yadav, Deepak Chahar, and Siddarth Kaul to fall back on in case they need more bowling options.

Australia far from settled

Image Source – CricTracker.com

In the World Cup, Australia will go as defending champion, but in one of the rare occasions not as favorites. The absence of Steve Smith and David Warner has impacted their batting. Although their bans will be lifted before the World Cup, both have complained about injuries and their participation is not guaranteed. Without them, Australian batting looked weak and unsettled. Finch is out of form since the test series. Their experiment of opening with Alex Carey was not successful, Usman Khawaja kept getting starts but could not push towards big scores and Glenn Maxwell’s batting position looks one spot too low. Shaun Marsh is their best batsman currently and needs to lead the batting pack and control the innings especially towards the end.

In the bowling department, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were rested and with another back injury for Hazlewood, his chance of participating in World Cup looks bleak. Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff looked promising but have combined experience of 9 ODI’s among them and Australia will look to test various other options in their road to World Cup. They recalled Peter Siddle which looked like a failed move as Siddle ended with just 2 wickets with a bowling average of 81. Australia won just 4 of their last 26 ODI’s with this scenario even a semi-final spot looks unlikely for them

Kohli showing class

Image Source – NDTV Sports

If we go by the recent social media trend of #10yearchallenge, for Indian cricket it is how the mantle has passed from one Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli in the last ten years. Virat Kohli is arguably the best batsman in the world in all formats currently and he showed enough class to score another hundred in his favorite Adelaide cricket ground. This was ODI century number 39 and with 10 more ODI’s leading to World Cup and at least 9 matches during the World cup, Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries is looking ever so close. His captaincy was solid and mostly without any blemish. But we can say that he was not challenged much by Australia and mostly played the ODI series in a calm, relaxed manner unlike his passionate self displayed during the test series.

Smith & Warner set to play Club Cricket in Sydney

Smith & Warner set to play Club Cricket in Sydney

Former Australian Captain Steve Smith and Vice-Captain David Warner are set to play in Sydney’s first-grade cricket after getting clearance from the regional New South Wales Cricket Association (NSWCA). Steve Smith will play for the Sutherland team, while Warner will represent the Randwick-Petersham club. This would be the first time that the two will play on home soil after being banned by Cricket Australia for their involvement in ball-tampering in South Africa.

Both players will play their opening games on 22 September. Sutherland will take on Mosman, while the Randwick-Petersham club will face St. George in their opening fixture of the tournament, as reported on the Cricket Australia (CA) website.

The duo would look forward to playing on home turf and try to win back the trust of the home fans while serving their year-long ouster from international, state and the Big Bash League.

According to the schedule released on the CA website, the duo might face off against each other when Sutherland take on Randwick-Petersham on November 10. This would not be the first time that the duo would play against each other since the ball-tampering debacle at Cape Town in March. During the course of the ban, both Smith and Warner have played in domestic T20 leagues in Canada and West Indies.

Smith played for the Toronto Nationals that was beaten by Warner’s Winnipeg Hawks in the Global T20 Canada tournament league match. Both players will lock horns on Friday, 17 August when the Smith’s Barbados Tridents host Warner’s St. Lucia. Since their return to cricket in June, Warner has also played in the Northern Strike League, which also featured Cameron Bancroft who received a nine-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering episode.

While Smith and Warner received their clearances, Bancroft will also turn up for his club side Willetton in the Western Australia Premier League.

The CA while handing down its ban statement to the players had said that it will encourage them to play grade cricket to keep in touch with the game.

Steve Smith, who has not played international cricket since March, surpassed Virat Kohli in the ICC’s Test player rankings after the Indian Captain was forced to sit out in the second test against England due to a sore back.

Return of Warner, Bancroft in July

David Warner

Australian cricketers, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will be returning to the field for the NT Strike League in Darwin. This is a month-long commitment consisting of T20 and one-day matches and four franchises – Desert Blaze, City Cyclones, Northern Tide, and Southern Storm.

David Warner used to be an opening batsman for the Australian Tests along with Cameron Bancroft.

Warner and Bancroft made the headlines for their involvement in the ball tampering scandal in their third Test against South Africa which took place in March. They were handed a one-year and nine-month suspension respectively from top-flight international and state cricket.

However, the Strike League being a low-level, limited-overs tournament does not come under either of those categories and hence, allowed both to be drafted.

According to Joel Morrison, however, the duo will be covering their own costs to play.

Bancroft will be participating for the entirety of the tournament while Warner will take part in two one-day matches on July 21st and 22nd.

“I’m really looking forward to playing in the Strike League in July. I heard so much about the competition while I was in Darwin earlier this month that I’m keen to be part of it,” Warner said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We’re delighted that Cameron and David will be joining us in Darwin for the Strike League, their presence and experience will be invaluable for our local players,” NT Cricket CEO Joel Morrison said.

‘There’s no payment to any players in our competition. These two players are coming up here, looking after their own flights and accommodation. We don’t lose sight of the fact that they’re up here because of the events in Cape Town. They made a big error in judgment and ultimately paid the price. They’ve also demonstrated a willingness to learn from their mistakes and move forward.’

“We’re more than happy to support them on that journey. It’s great they can start it now, as opposed to waiting for summer”, he added.

Steve Smith, the former Captain of the Australian International Cricket Team,  will also be making a return to cricket for the Global T20 Tournament in Canada and he is to be joined by Warner as well. Warner will be joining in as a marquee player. The tournament extends from 28th June to 15th July.

Warner was selected in the third round by the Winnipeg Hawks after Dwayne Bravo and David Miller, while Smith has been taken in by the Toronto Nationals along with Darren Sammy and Keiron Pollard.

Warner is also taking part in the Sydney club tournament for Randwick Petersham. Bancroft will be playing with his West Australian club side – Willetton – further along, this year.

It will not be a smooth comeback for any of them after everything that has happened but this will be the first step to their recovery in the game. We wish all three the best of luck!