Quick Stats: M4 – RCB vs SRH

3 Number of instances when two bowlers conceded 50 or more runs in same innings in an IPL match. Royal Challengers Bangalore have done this to opposition bowlers twice. On one occasion Royal Challengers bowlers were at the receiving end.

7
Number of times David Warner has reached a fifty in 25 balls or fewer in IPL – most for any batsman.

21 Number of balls taken by David Warner to reach his fifty . There has been only one faster fifty against Royal Challengers Bangalore at their home turf. Owais Shah had raced to his fifty off 19 balls for Rajasthan Royals in 2012.

157 Runs added by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers for the second wicket – second highest for any wicket at this venue. Gayle and Dilshan had added 167 runs for the first wicket against Pune Warriors India in 2013.

227 for four- Royal Challengers Bangalore’s total – highest for any team against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Chennai Super Kings had made 223 for three at Hyderabad in 2013.

350
Sarfraz Khan’s strike-rate in the match (35* off 10). There had been only one innings of 10 or more balls with higher strike-rate in IPL. AB de Villiers had made 41 off 11 balls against Mumbai Indians also at Bangalore last year at a strike-rate of 372.72

IPL 9: Gujarat Lions purr, more than roar against Kings XI Punjab but showed they are contenders

It hasn’t quite got started yet. But the best vintage vehicles often need a little time to warm up the engine before they are firing on all cylinders and accelerating down the motorway.

And the IPL is THE classic. It might not have fully clicked into ‘top’ yet, but in its initial manoeuvres it has promised much, and will doubtless move seamlessly through the gears until it reaches full throttle.

Maybe this was inevitable after the high drama of the recently concluded ICC World T20? After the giddy heights of that breathless Brathwaite finale, perhaps we needed a little time to get some air back into our lungs, and inhale deeply after scaling those rarefied heights.

The 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League has stuttered a little in its opening encounters – this third game ultimately proving as one-sided as the first two. The thrillometer has barely ticked over yet.

One of two new models fresh out of the garage for this year’s competition are the Gujarat Lions. They didn’t so much as roar out of the starting blocks, as purr – with satisfaction as they made fairly easy meat of the Kings XI Punjab.

The Lions could prove to be genuinely big cats in this cricketing circus. And in DJ Bravo – the ‘New Big Dog’ – they’ve already demonstrated that they have not only one of this format’s biggest entertainers, but one of its biggest match-winners. He provided Monday night’s turning point when he brought the curtain down on ‘the Big Show’.

Kings XI had set off quite nicely; and were yet to lose a wicket when Ravindra Jadeja began his second over. He opened with a wide; which was followed by being thrashed into the stands by Manan Vohra. 78-0 after 8.1 overs. Vohra, however, was out next ball – a bat-pad offering being neatly snapped up by wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik – running around to intercept the ballooning ball at silly point.

Vohra and his opening partner, Murali Vijay had been in easy, pleasing form. Vijay especially, had effortlessly unfurled a delightful range of authentic shots as he scored freely without the need for anything overly creative, or dangerous. But he fell to Jadeja too, in his third over of slow-left arm. It surely wasn’t necessary at this stage (the eleventh over) to make so extravagant a move to the leg-side to target the off-side boundary? He made room dramatically, swished his bat in a fierce, huge arc – and missed a straight one.

Jadeja, with no more than considered, intelligent bowling – rather than any great flight or spin – had pulled the Lions back into the game. In between those two dismissals, Dwayne Bravo had entered the arena. His first over had gone for a handful of singles. His second, effectively won the match.

At the wicket now were Kings XI captain David Miller and Glenn Maxwell. Before Bravo began his next over, the Punjab side’s mentor, Virender Sehwag was asked what his team’s target was for the innings? He replied: “If these two stay there, we’re looking at over 200. Otherwise, 170-180.” Within a few moments, the Trinidadian had removed them both, picking up his three-hundredth T20 wicket in the process – and Sehwag could only dream of reaching 170.

Both were undone by brilliant slower balls. Not ‘ordinary’ slower balls, mind you. Many a good bowler has those in his armoury. No, these were things of beauty that Bravo has patented and perfected – slower-ball yorkers. The ‘Champions’ dance is far from being the only thing that DJ Bravo has given the cricket world.

The first was a good example, helped somewhat by Maxwell’s desire, rather like Vijay, to step away and open up the offside for a full flourish of the bat. But it didn’t make a difference – if he’d stayed in line, such was the precision of the delivery he would surely have been lbw rather than bowled.

The ball that got Miller, though was superb. The South-African advanced a little, essaying his movement quite early – early enough for the bowler to adjust his length a fraction without in any way altering the flight and pace of the ball from his hand. It dipped under Miller’s bat like a mouse under a doorway, and the wicket was thoroughly splayed. It was a wonderful, wonderful sight. And it was easy to see in retrospect that there had been the game’s decisive moment.

Marcus Stoinis and Wriddhiman Saha both batted well to get the innings back on course – and 161 may have proved to be a defendable total. But it didn’t.

Aaron Finch returned to his unstoppable form that made him at one time the world’s top-ranked T20 batsman. His excellent 74 from 47 balls, assisted by bright cameos from captain Suresh Raina and Karthik mean Brendon McCullum’s bizarre second-ball stumping for 0 could be quickly forgiven and forgotten. Apparently, the former New Zealand captain once said that in this form of the game a batsman can reckon on succeeding one innings in seven. Well, at least that’s one of his failures out-of-the-way.

The promise of runs to come from him is only one of several positives the Lions can take away from this good start: the batting of Finch, Raina and Karthik; the all-round skill of Bravo; and a bowling attack that had options and didn’t go ragged – even in the face of the opposition’s excellent start. Praveen Kumar in particular so looks and plays like a ‘wily old-pro’ that it’s hard to believe he’s not yet thirty. It seems his cricket brain is the maturest part of his body.

The only small concern for the Lions was perhaps the bowling of James Faulkner. His first couple of overs were wayward rubbish; but skipper Raina persevered with him; and the Australian’s third and fourth overs were marked improvements. Raina showed faith in Faulkner; and he has faith in his players. On the evidence of this start, it is not misplaced.

We were on a break: Is Virat Kohli hinting at his patch up with Anushka Sharma?

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s break-up rumours have been in the news for quite some time now. Their break-up came as a shock for Bollywood. And now it seems that Virat and Anushka have sorted out their differences.virat-kohli-story-fb_647_041216125116

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma‘s break-up rumours have been in the news for quite some time now. Their break-up came as a shock for Bollywood. And now it seems that Virat and Anushka have sorted out their differences. The two were recently spotted enjoying a cozy dinner together.

After their dinner date, the gossip mills were abuzz with their patch up stories. To clear the air about his relationship status, Virat has found new and an innovative way of expressing his feelings. The cricket star was spotted wearing a tee that said, “We were on a break.” Does this hint at his patch up with the Sultan actor? Well, this only time will tell.

But this picture has now gone viral and has been doing the rounds on the internet.

 

 

 

ALSO SEE: Virat-Anushka spotted on a dinner date. Are they back together?

Virat Kohli, India’s Test Captain, Becomes Brand Ambassador of Premier Futsal League

virat-kohli-futsal-1104Virat Kohli has joined the recently-announced Premier Futsal football league as its brand ambassador. (Virat Kohli Names MS Dhoni The Best Finisher in the World)

Premier Futsal was launched amid much fanfare last week and Kohli, who has been the face of Indian Cricket over the last few years, will now lend his name to Futsal, the newer, shorter 5-a-side variant of soccer.

His announcement as brand ambassador follows the unveiling of soccer legend Luis Figo as Premier Futsal’s president last week, marking another major coup for the league as it heads into its inaugural season. It also shared this announcement on Twitter

 

IPL 2016: Yet again, RCB is the most gifted team, but it’s time to show results

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Royal Challengers Bangalore have assembled some really serious batting firepower for the ninth edition of Indian Premier League and any opposing teams’ plans will specifically focus on means to contain it.

Those like captain Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers were already magnificent hits with RCB’s fans. The mini-auction of IPL in February threw in two more fearsome weapons into the armoury in the form of tried and tested Australian star Shane Watson and young Travis Head, whom many in Australia reckon to be their potential future skipper.

Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli with teammate Chris Gayle. PTI

The left handed Head who made his first class debut at the age of 18 was appointed South Australia captain when he was just 21 years of age. Now, a year older, great things are expected of him. And if his Australian T20 strike rate of 149.73 (1 hundred & 4 50s) is anything to go by, he will be a massive hit whenever he gets a chance for RCB.

The fact that coach Daniel Vettori has seen Head in close action in the Big Bash is probably the reason RCB opened its purse and bid for him in February.

RCB will, of course, expect great things from its four master blasters, Gayle, De Villiers, Kohli and Watson. Last season, after the dismissal of the first three, the team struggled to maitain the tempo of scoring. But now, with the acquisition of Watson and Stuart Binny the heat will be maintained on the opposition.

Watson and Binny also have skill and experience in bowling their medium pacers and hence skipper Kohli would have a lot more options than he had in previous years.

However, the non-availability of Mitchell Starc would be a heavy blow. The left arm paceman was superb last season when both in the opening overs and at the death he rattled batsmen with his pace and ability to fire toe-crushing yorkers.

Starc is still recovering from an ankle injury and news coming out of Australia is that he would not be match-fit till June at least. That rules him out of this season’s IPL.

However RCB still have two real quick bowlers in Australian Kane Richardson and New Zealander Adam Milne. Both are in their early 20s and hence relatively short of experience. Milne is genuinely fast and capable of consistently bowling close to 150 kilometers per hour. He may have the edge over Richardson, but the fact that RCB have a cover for an express bowler must be comforting for its selectors.

The Indian trio of medium pacers, Varun Aaron, Sreenath Arvind and Harshal Patel will get plenty of opportunities, particularly if RCB opts to go batting heavy with the four foreigners permitted in the playing eleven.

Of course they have the ICC World T20s most impressive spinner, Samuel Badree of West Indies, in the ranks. He had a bit of a shoulder injury while fielding in the World T20 final but is expected to be ready in time for the IPL.

Badree’s bowling with the new ball was a revelation. If in some of the away games the hosts decide to present slow turning tracks to counter explosive batsmen Gayle and De Villiers, RCB could hit back through Badree and leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal who had made such a favourable impression last season.

Will use recycled sewage water for IPL matches: BCCI to Bombay HC

The Board of Control For Cricket in India (BCCI) told the Bombay high court on Tuesday it has requested the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) to provide water from its sewage treatment plant for the 17 IPL matches to be held in Mumbai and Pune.

The court was hearing the PIL filed by an NGO against holding Indian Premiere League matches in Maharashtra in view of the severe water crisis in the state where nearly 70% region has been declared drought-hit, forcing the government to impose rationing in many parts.

The PIL had said that as much as 60 lakh litres of water is proposed to be used for maintaining cricket pitches in the three venues that will host the IPL matches.

The RWITC has agreed to provide seven to eight tankers from its plant, BCCI informed the court.

The cricket body also told the court that Kings XI Punjab are considering to shift the three matches out of Vidarbha to Mohali. The court will now hear arguments at 3pm as Maharashtra government’s affidavit was not ready.

Kings XI co-owner Ness Wadia had said on Monday that the franchise is “very seriously considering” shifting its three IPL matches from Maharashtra to some other venue.

They are scheduled to play Delhi Daredevils on May 7 in Nagpur, followed by a match against Mumbai Indians on May 13 in Mumbai and against Rising Pune Supergiants in Pune on May 21.

A bench led by justice VM Kanade had earlier allowed the first match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede in Mumbai on April 9 considering the BCCI’s submission that a stay would be “unfair” since the PIL was filed at the last hour and all arrangements, including the sale of tickets for the match, were already made.

The bench had taken a strict view against both the state government and the cricket associations for scheduling and subsequently justifying the matches in the state despite the situation of acute water shortage. It said that the water crisis in Maharashtra was now an “emergency” and a “political will” was needed to resolve it.

The bench had directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit detailing its policy on procurement and distribution of water, its contingency plan to tackle the situation in the state, and to identify the source of water distributed or sold by private tankers.

The bench had also asked whether the state proposes to impose restrictions on organising large gatherings, weddings, receptions etc. between April and May owing to the water shortage.

It had taken a particularly stern note of the BCCI’s submission that the pitches in the state were of international standard and would die a “natural death” if not watered adequately each day.

It had also directed the cricket associations to conduct a meeting and decide upon changing the venue of the remaining matches.ipl-preparations-at-wankhede-stadium_b4fb1352-fd73-11e5-89a7-e0427befb59e