IPL

Sunrisers Hyderabad's Natarajan tests positive for COVID-19

By Sports Desk September 22, 2021

A Sunrisers Hyderabad player has tested positive for COVID-19 and six close contacts are isolating, but their Indian Premier League clash with Delhi Capitals will go ahead.

An IPL statement confirmed on Wednesday that India bowler Thangarasu Natarajan had returned a positive PCR test result and had isolated himself from the rest of the Sunrisers squad.

While Natarajan was asymptomatic, six close contacts were identified by the team's medical staff, including India international Vijay Shankar, team manager Vijay Kumar, a physiotherapist, a team doctor, the logistics manager and net bowler Periyasamy Ganesan.

However, further PCR tests conducted on the rest of the squad and staff early on Wednesday all returned negative results, meaning the match against the Capitals will go ahead in Dubai.

The IPL has restarted this week after it was brought to a halt in May due to a rise in COVID-19 cases across India, with the tournament subsequently suspended and relocated to the United Arab Emirates for the rest of the 2021 season.

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  • Phil Simmons defends decision to exclude Roston Chase from West Indies team for England match Phil Simmons defends decision to exclude Roston Chase from West Indies team for England match

    West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has defended the decision to exclude Roston Chase from the team’s opening match in the ICC T20 World Cup against England on Saturday and insists that they did not misread the pitch before selecting the team.

    In a rematch of the 2016 T20 World Cup final when the West Indies emerged victoriously, England bowled the defending champions out for 55 with Chris Gayle top-scoring with 13. England’s spinners took six of the 10 wickets to fall before their batters achieved the winning target in 8.2 overs.

    The West Indies were unable to build partnerships and were missing the role of an anchor that Chase demonstrated while scoring an unbeaten 54 in the West Indies’ final warm-up match against Afghanistan. Playing anchor was something demonstrated he could do well during the 2021 Hero CPL season when he was the top scorer with 446 runs at an incredible average of 49.55.

    When England batted, Akeal Hosein, the only spinner selected, was the best of the bowlers with 2-24.

    Chase, a more than useful bowler, would have also given the West Indies another bowling option as a spinner in the match where spinners took eight of the 14 wickets to fall, the best of them being England’s Adil Rashid, who boasted ridiculous figures of four wickets for two runs from his four overs.

    Still, Coach Simmons speaking with the media on Sunday, insisted that the team they selected was the right one for the conditions.

    “I don’t think we misread the pitch. Yes, the spinners got some wickets but as you go along you have seen that the pitch was a good pitch,” he said during a media conference from Dubai on Sunday where the West Indies are preparing to face South Africa on Tuesday.

    “You have to try and make the most of the first six or seven overs and then you have to fight until you get to the latter part. I think when you assess the pitch, you assess the squad we thought that the 11 that went into the game was the right squad.

    “Yes, Chase got some runs in the game before but when were at the ground we assessed and we thought it was the right combination.”

     

     

  • T20 World Cup: Kohli insists India will not press panic button after Pakistan loss T20 World Cup: Kohli insists India will not press panic button after Pakistan loss

    Virat Kohli will not press the panic button after Pakistan defeated his India side in a 10-wicket thumping at the T20 World Cup.

    India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins but Azam's side prevailed in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

    Kohli's 57 – his 29th half-century in the format in which he is the leading run scorer in history (3,216) – guided India to 151-7.

    However, India had lost all eight games defending 160 or lower and that trend continued Sunday.

    Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan combined for a 152-run opening stand, the highest opening partnership against India and the second-highest in the history of the competition, to see Pakistan to a maiden victory over India in the competition.

    Yet despite conceding Pakistan outclassed his side, Kohli insisted India would not begin to worry in the early stages of the tournament.

    "We did not execute the things that we wanted to but credit is certainly due – they outplayed us today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

    "When you lose three early it's very difficult to come back, especially when you know the dew is coming. They were very professional with the bat as well. 

    "Hitting through the line was not as easy in the first half as it seemed in the Pakistan innings, so when you know the conditions can change, you need 10-20 extra runs. 

    "But some quality bowling from Pakistan didn't let us get off the blocks. We're certainly not a team that presses the panic button, it's the start of the tournament, not the end."

    Meanwhile, Azam – who is the leading scorer in the last three years of T20I cricket with 1,241 runs – credited Shaheen Afridi's excellent opening bowling spell in which he managed 3-31, while also praising his opening partner Rizwan.

    "We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful," Azam said after Kohli had spoken. 

    "Shaheen's wickets gave us a lot of confidence and the spinners dominated as well. The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely. 

    "This is just the start, we have the confidence to build on now. It will remain match by match for us. 

    "The pressure on us wasn't that much - we weren't thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who've been preparing well. 

    "When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players came in with a lot of confidence because of that."

  • T20 World Cup: Azam and Rizwan shine as Pakistan cruise to first win over India T20 World Cup: Azam and Rizwan shine as Pakistan cruise to first win over India

    Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan both scored half-centuries as Pakistan recorded their first ever T20 World Cup win over India with a 10-wicket triumph.

    India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins – the joint longest streak in the competition.

    But Shaheen Afridi (3-31) gave his country early hope as he struck twice to remove both Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck and KL Rahul (three), with Hasan Ali (2-44) dismissing Suryakumar Yadav (11) to leave India 36-3 at the end of the powerplay.

    However, captain Virat Kohli (57) – who has scored the most runs in men's T20I history (3,216) - responded emphatically as he registered his 29th half-century in the format to lift his side to 151-7 at the end of their 20-over allocation.

    Kohli's side had lost all eight T20Is in which they posted a first-innings total under 160 since 2018 and that trend looked set to continue as Azam (68 not out) and Rizwan (79 not out) enjoyed a century opening stand inside 13 overs.

    The openers motored on as they managed the highest opening partnership ever against India, Azam taking 40 balls to reach his half-century and Rizwan taking one delivery more before the former sealed victory with 13 balls to spare in their first Super 12 Group 2 game.

    India's openers struggle

    Rohit, who has hit the second-most sixes in the history of the competition (133), offered India experience at the top of the order but his tournament got off to the worst start as he was removed lbw for a golden duck.

    His opening partner, Rahul, did not last much longer as the Punjab Kings captain disappointed following warm-up scores of 51 and 39 after his blistering 98 not out in his final IPL 2021 game.

    Magical Azam continues remarkable form

    In the last three years, no one has scored more T20I runs than Azam's 1,241. Kohli is second on the list, with 1,050.

    The Pakistan leader produced a captain's knock to see his side over the line in a famous victory, perfectly kick-starting their World Cup campaign as he smashed six fours and two maximums for his 68.

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