IPL

IPL: Bairstow century gives Kings stunning win over KKR with record run chase

By Sports Desk April 26, 2024

Jonny Bairstow scored an unbeaten century to lead Punjab Kings to a magnificent record Indian Premier League run chase against Kolkata Knight Riders.

England batter Bairstow scored a stunning 108 not out off 48 balls with nine maximums as the Kings somehow chased down a victory target of 262 with eight balls to spare at Eden Gardens.

Bairstow was helped by Shashank Singh, who smashed an unbeaten 68 from 28 deliveries with eight maximums of his own in a remarkable display of hitting.

Hosts KKR thought they had done enough for victory when a fast start from Phil Salt (75 from 37) and Sunil Narine (71 off 32) set them up a huge total of 261-6, but the Kings battled back to earn a famous triumph.

Data Debrief

This astonishing IPL 2024 campaign has already seen Sunrisers Hyderabad twice break the record for the highest innings score in the competition and now the Kings have made more history by recording the biggest chase ever seen in T20 cricket.

This was Bairstow’s second IPL hundred, more than five years after he registered his first while playing for SRH in 2019, and it has given the Kings just their third victory of the season to snap a four-game losing streak. 

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    Having downed England 3-2 in their T20I series last year, West Indies are hoping to replicate those winning performances on an even bigger stage, as the two familiar foes square off in Super Eight of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, in St Lucia, on Wednesday night.

    First ball is 7:30pm Jamaica time.

    With both West Indies and England being two-time champions, the anticipation is high ahead of what should be another intriguing clash in which familiarity will bring success for one or the other.

    However, West Indies captain Rovman Powell is optimistic that his team will come out tops and set the tone for the remainder of their Super Eight fixtures, while pushing England, the reigning champions, on the back foot.

    Both teams have met 29 times in the game’s shortest format, with West Indies holding a 17-12 advantage, one which they are intent on extending, especially on the back of their rich vein of form. Still, while the Caribbean side enters the business end of the tournament unbeaten and England just squeezed through by virtue of a better net run rate than Scotland, Powell knows better that to take the opposition lightly.

    “They are the defending champions and they are a very good team. So, it’s for us now to just sit and find some plans and see how those plans can work against them,” Powell said in a pre-match press conference.

    West Indies celebrate after topping England in their five-match T20I series last year.

    “We play them [England] actually every year, so they know a lot about us, we know a lot about them. It’s just that when you’re playing the game on the day, whoever gets on top has to stay on top for as long as possible,” he added.

    With the venue –named in honour of their current coach Darren Sammy, who captained West Indies to World Cup triumph in 2012 and 2016 –being to their liking, Powell pointed out that they will once again be aiming to capitalise on the conditions in Saint Lucia. West Indies rewrote the record books a few times in their first game of the tournament at the venue on Monday, as they hammered Afghanistan by 104 runs.

    West Indies have won six of 10 T20Is played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, including five of the last six. But, Powell is well aware that England also have a liking to the venue, as they have never lost any of their previous three T20Is at the ground, including five years ago when they beat West Indies by four wickets.

    “We always knew that St Lucia was going to be one of the better pitches to play matches on in the Caribbean because of our experience during CPL (Caribbean Premier League) and all the years of playing here,” Powell noted.

    Obed McCoy (left) and Nicholas Pooran (back turned) starred for West Indies against Afghanistan.

    “So, it’s good that we’re starting here, and we played one game on it (against Afghanistan) before the start of the Super Eights. We’re kind of a little bit accustomed to the boundaries and accustomed to the wicket. Hopefully, it would suit us a little bit more than the Englishmen,” he said.

    On that note, Powell welcomed the headache that comes with selecting the most formidable 11, as pacer Obed McCoy replaced Romario Shepherd and did well, bagging 3-14 against Afghanistan, while Shai Hope, wo replaced Roston Chase in the middle order, also contributed handily to the victory.

    Shepherd, who returned home for personal reasons ahead of the Afghanistan contest, is expected to rejoin the team for this Super Eight opener.

    “It’s always good and encouraging when you give guys an opportunity and they take the opportunity because it makes for good competition within the squad. It’s for us as a selection panel – myself, the coach and the chairman – to actually sit down and try to find the best combination. It’s good that guys are putting themselves up and making it a little bit difficult to pick the team,” the Jamaican reasoned.

    “I think a big part of my captaincy is giving guys opportunities and supporting them. Johnson Charles didn’t have particularly a good start to the World Cup but we always knew when he comes home, he’s going to feel at home, he’s going to feel his St Lucians behind him,” Powell shared.

  • Williamson steps down as New Zealand white-ball captain Williamson steps down as New Zealand white-ball captain

    Kane Williamson has stepped down as New Zealand's captain in both ODIs and T20Is, while also declining a central contract.

    New Zealand endured a disappointing T20 World Cup campaign, exiting at the end of the group stage after losing their opening two games against Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea.

    Williamson played his 100th Test earlier this year, leading New Zealand in 40 of those, and has 165 ODI caps and 93 T20I caps.

    As captain, he led them to the World Test Championship title in 2021, and two finals in the ODI World Cup in 2019, and the T20 World Cup in 2021, both of which they lost.

    With the hopes of prolonging his international career, the 33-year-old explained his decision to decline the contract for 2024-25.

    "Helping push the team forward across the formats is something I'm very passionate about and something I want to keep contributing towards," Williamson said in a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) release.

    "However, pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I'm unable to accept a central contract offer."

    Ahead of last season, Williamson had given up his Test captaincy, with Tim Southee appointed as his successor.

    Despite not taking the offer of a central contract, he has not written off signing one in the future if the timing is right.

    "Playing for New Zealand is something I treasure, and my desire to give back to the team remains undiminished.

    "My life outside cricket has changed, however. Spending more time with my family and enjoying experiences with them at home or abroad is something that's even more important to me."

  • Warner only one to receive 'flak' for ball-tampering, he believes Warner only one to receive 'flak' for ball-tampering, he believes

    David Warner believes he is the only one who has taken "a lot of flak" over Australia’s ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

    Warner and then-captain Steve Smith were banned from cricket for a year after being found guilty of using sandpaper to damage the ball during a Test match against South Africa.

    Cameron Bancroft, who carried out the act, was also suspended for nine months.

    Warner was ruled out of any leadership positions for Australia throughout the rest of his career after it was found that he orchestrated the plan, while Smith knew about it but failed to prevent it.

    The 37-year-old is set to retire from international cricket at the end of the T20 World Cup and admitted he was looking forward to not being reminded of the scandal when he does.

    "One can only absorb so much," Warner told Cricket Australia. "Coming back since 2018, I've probably been the only one that's ever copped a lot of flak.

    "I've always been that person who has copped it. It's great to go out knowing I'm not going to cop it anymore."

    Australia are currently competing for their second T20 World Cup title, previously winning the tournament in 2021, with Warner remaining a key part of the team after returning from his ban.

    While Warner admits he will probably always be associated with the ball-tampering scandal, he is hopeful his career will be viewed in a different light when he retires.

    "If they're real cricket tragics, and they love cricket, they will always see me as that cricketer - someone who tried to change the game," he added.

    "Someone who tried to follow in the footsteps of the openers before me, and try and score runs at a great tempo and change Test cricket."

    Australia face Bangladesh in the Super 8s of the T20 World Cup on Friday.

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