IPL

Jadeja masterclass sees Chennai ruin RCB's perfect start

By Sports Desk April 25, 2021

Ravindra Jadeja produced an utterly remarkable all-round performance as Chennai Super Kings extinguished Royal Challengers Bangalore's 100 per cent record with a thumping 69-run Indian Premier League victory.

Bangalore's attack combined to shackle Chennai to reasonable effect until Jadeja – dropped on nought by Dan Christian – laid waste to the final over of the innings from Harshal Patel (3-51), taking advantage of a no ball to bludgeon 37 and finish on 62 not out in a total of 191-4.

The Royal Challengers will still have harboured high hopes after Devdutt Padikkal and skipper Virat Kohli chased down 178 without loss against Rajasthan Royals last time out, but there was to be no repeat of those heroics as they staggered to 122-9, Jadeja starring with 3-13 and a run out.

Faf du Plessis scored 50 for Chennai and combined in an opening stand of 74 with Ruturaj Gaikwad (33) to lay a solid foundation, although Kohli cajoled his attack in typical fashion to keep the Super Kings on a leash, with Harshal to the fore.

The right-armer's outing unravelled in spectacular fashion, though, seeing a length ball and a missed yorker disappear before over-stepping as Jadeja smoked him over midwicket.

The additional delivery was similarly dispatched by the India all-rounder to bring up a 25-ball fifty, before a drop at extra cover allowed Jadeja to swipe a full toss beyond long-on and score four more through square leg to complete the humiliation.

Buoyed by his majestic century last time out, Padikkal went briskly about his work, although he pulled Shardul Thakur to Suresh Raina to depart for 34.

Kohli had already edged Sam Curran behind by that point and Jadeja ensured there was no way back for RCB. He had Washington Sundar caught at long-on from the second ball of his spell, while running out Christian in between bowling Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers showed everything the slow left-armer touched turned to gold.

Veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir took 2-16 and ran out Kyle Jamieson for 16 as Bangalore fell well short and Chennai went top of the table.

Record-equalling Ravi enjoys a performance to savour

Jadeja's merciless flogging of Harshal equalled the record for runs scored in a single IPL over – Chris Gayle having taken Prasanth Parameswaran of the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala for 37 when in RCB colours back in 2011. Scott Styris' 38 at James Fuller's expense for Sussex against Gloucestershire in 2012 remains the all-time T20 record.

Harsh on Harshal

If ever anyone had due cause to lament T20 as a batsman's game, it was poor old Harshal. For three overs, he bowled beautifully and approached that fateful final set of six with figures of 3-14. Raina and Du Plessis departed in successive balls to leave him on a hat-trick, Harshal's off-cutters proving a tough code to crack until Jadeja explosively intervened.

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    “The GCB is also concerned with the non-award of an International Retainer Contract to Veerasammy Permaul.”

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  • Centurions Abid and Azhar dominate before Muzarabani hits back for Zimbabwe Centurions Abid and Azhar dominate before Muzarabani hits back for Zimbabwe

    Abid Ali and Azhar Ali each hit centuries to put Pakistan in control on day one of the second Test in Harare before three late wickets from Blessing Muzarabani hauled Zimbabwe back into the contest.

    Opener Abid carried his bat through the day to reach stumps on 118 not out and Azhar struck 126, having combined in a mammoth second-wicket stand of 236.

    But after toiling on a sluggish surface for most of the day, Zimbabwe and Muzarabani (3-41) made the second new ball pay, as skipper Babar Azam and Fawad Alam followed Azhar back to the pavilion in short order and Pakistan closed on 268-4.

    The hosts could at least reflect on having bookended the day effectively.

    Pakistan, who handed a debut to veteran seamer Tabish Khan, batted after Babar won the toss, although Imran Butt scratched around for two runs from 20 deliveries before miscuing a pull at Richard Ngarava (1-35).

    Given how Ngarava and Muzarabani impressed in their initial burst and what followed, it appears how each team uses the new ball will be vital on a benign Harare pitch.

    Although Abid was the more circumspect throughout, the two centurions picked up the pace after lunch as Zimbabwe's discipline began to wane – Azhar enjoying himself backward of square and through midwicket, while Abid showed lovely timing through the covers.

    After Zimbabwe persuaded the umpires to change the ball in the 53rd over, slow left-armer Tendai Chisoro (0-80) dropped short and Abid smashed the ball into Roy Kaia's knee, forcing the short leg from the field after lengthy treatment.

    Azhar was the first to three figures off 198 balls, while Abid followed from his 224th delivery before a mini-collapse from 248-1.

    Muzarabani drew Azhar into a drive on the up, seeing him pouched at gully by Milton Shumba, before Babar edged to Kevin Kasuza in the cordon and Alam dragged on after struggling under a barrage of short deliveries.

    Abid and Azhar set up Pakistan for series win

    Abid would not have envisaged being joined by Sajid Khan to see out the day, but he will resume alongside the nightwatchman on Saturday having put questions over his place in the side to bed. The opener had a top score of 26 in his 10 Test innings preceding this tour, meaning he needed to back up a 60 in the initial encounter with something more substantial.

    There were no such doubts over the 36-year-old Azhar's credentials, but his century was also a redemptive one after being sacked as captain last November.

    Babar fed up of counting his Blessings

    Azhar's successor Babar has generally become Pakistan's sure thing across all formats and was in blistering form during the recent white-ball trip to South Africa. Not here, though, as he followed up a first-ball duck in his team's innings victory last time out with another single-figure score.

    Muzarabani appears to be a big part of the problem. Since returning to international cricket last year, the seamer has removed Babar on six occasions.

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