Cricket great Sunil Gavaskar believes having Sunil Narine batting in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ middle order is a complete waste of time as the team needs quality batsmen in their line-up to be able to reverse their fortunes in the IPL this season.

KKR are currently eighth in the IPL standings after just two wins from their seven matches to date, a position that Gavaskar believes comes down to one thing.

"To be honest, they don’t have too many classy batsmen. I don’t know how many in the dugout they can look to and say, ‘Look… why don’t you come in and bat up the order.’ Because if you have a look at their batting, apart from Shubman Gill and Morgan himself, there is no class," Gavaskar said on Cricket Connected.

"There is Andre Russell down at five or six and Dinesh Karthik,” Gavaskar continued.

“I would look at promoting Karthik up the order, because for simple reasons. There is Rahul Tripathi up. Sunil Narine at 4 or 5 whatever is a waste of space. It doesn’t make any sense having him there. If you want to have Sunil Narine, have him at the top of the order where he can throw his bat around, and maybe if he connects a few, that’s fine.

“KKR’s problem is that they haven’t got anybody at three, four, five who can play an impact innings."

 

West Indies and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder, Andre Russell, has crossed the threshold of 6000 runs in T20 cricket during an IPL match against the Delhi Capitals.

The big hitter became the sixth West Indian to reach the mark behind the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard on top run-getter Chris Gayle.  Russell is, however, the youngest West Indian player to reach the total.

Russell, who was celebrating his birthday, reached the milestone with a double in the 16th over of the match.  He went on to blast an unbeaten 45 from 27 deliveries but Delhi won the match by 7 runs.

Overall, Russell has played 80 matches in the Indian Premier League, scoring 1635 runs at an average of 29.68 with a strike rate of 179.67 and a high score of 88*.  He has also taken 68 wickets in IPL so far, at an economy rate of 9.08 and an average of 26.86.

 This season the player is off to a strong start for Kolkata, scoring 118 runs in six matches at a solid strike rate of 151. He has also claimed seven wickets in six games.  Things have, however, not gone well for KKR who have lost four of their first 6 games.

Former Indian cricketer, Pragyan Ojha, believes the Punjab Kings XI are heaping unnecessary pressure onto batsmen Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, due to the team's approach to structuring its innings.

Pooran has struggled to make an impact in six matches so far this season, managing just a high score of 19 and failing to score on three occasions.  Gayle has had more of a mixed performance, scoring 40 plus on two occasions but also had a series of low scores, including a golden duck in the team’s last encounter against Kolkata Knightriders.

Ojha, however, believes that the team’s top two KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal might be thinking about scoring too quickly and posting too big a target too early in the innings.

"They should think about 160-170 at first. But if you start thinking from the beginning that we have a very good batting line-up with Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran and we should aim 180-190 then you are putting undue pressure on (them),” Ojha told Cricbuzz.

"You can only think about a big score once you have got a good start. So you have to change your plans accordingly. You can't think that you have big names and they will always score runs. You have the look at the kind of form they are in too. Can't plan based on past glory," Ojha added.

 West Indies Indies T20 star, Chris Gayle, insists he is feeling fit and at the top of his game after a decisive performance for Punjab Kings XI, in a win against defending champions Mumbai Indians, in the Indian Premier Leauge (IPL) on Friday.

Gayle made a steady 43 from 35 deliveries, and along with KL Rahul, who added 60 from 52, anchored Kings XI to an 8-wicket win. 

The batsman’s innings was, however, uncharacteristically devoid of massive slogs over the boundary as he hit only two sixes.  The 41-year-old did gather quite a few runs darting for quick singles, which has not been a part of his game in recent years.

The veteran batsman had come under criticism in recent days following a string of low scores and a 1-3 start for Punjab.  Gayle, however, insists he is feeling in excellent shape and was happy for the result.

"I am feeling very good, a bit relieved. We wanted this win badly, playing against the defending champions was always going to be tough. They played four games, to actually get this win is fantastic for the team and the Universe Boss as well.

“I was looking pretty good, running between the wickets, I am feeling fit and good about myself. I am enjoying it, I am looking after my body, getting a lot of massages so I can move freely, humidity here in Chennai also kind of lets the blood flow so I am on top of my game," Gayle told the official IPL website.

West Indies all-rounder, Andre Russell, has revealed he was too overcome with emotion to head straight back to the dressing room, after being bowled by Chennai Super Kings’ Sam Curran, in an 18 runs loss for Kolkatta Knight Riders on Wednesday.

The viral photo of a dejected Russell sitting on the steps did the rounds on social media, and the player has taken the time out to explain the emotions associated with the moment.

“Well, I was very emotional and I didn’t know how to go to the changing room and face all my teammates after leaving a ball and getting out bowled like that,” Russell told KKR.in.

“You know, the job is not complete, and I wanted to take the team over the line. So, I think the emotions got the best of me but staying strong,” he added.

KKR found themselves chasing a sizeable 221 for victory and in real trouble at 31 for 5. Russell and Dinesh Karthik had, however, started to lead the fightback. Russell hit 6 sixes and smashed a 21-ball fifty to give KKR hope and seemed set on delivering on one of his famous comeback specials.  He was, however, dismissed against the run of play, for 54, in the 12th over when he left a Curran delivery, which crashed into his leg stump.

 

South African and Chennai Super Kings fast bowler, Lungi Ngidi, has credited West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo with playing a pivotal role in his strong start to the 2021 IPL season.

The towering speedster earned widespread plaudits after putting together an extraordinarily economical 3 for 28, in a high-scoring encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.

With some 422 runs scored in the match, Ngidi, who was tasked with death bowling duties after replacing Bravo in the line-up, had a solid economy rate of 7.00.  The South African’s skills and variations were on full display after he trapped an attacking Dinesh Karthik with a slower ball dismissal, a delivery that would surely have pleased his West Indian tutor.

“There was a lot of pressure, Bravo has been doing very well for CSK. So, I had to come in and fill his shoes,” Ngidi told the IPL’s official website.

“I have worked very closely with Bravo on the slower bowls at the death. One of the slower bowls he has been teaching me for a long time came off and got us a wicket.”

In the end, CSK won by 18 runs, in no small part thanks to Faf Du Plessis’ brutal, unbeaten 95 from 60 deliveries.  The 37-year-old Bravo was rested for the encounter, due to workload concerns.

 

Former Indian bowler Ajit Agarkar believes an out of sorts Chris Gayle creates a tricky situation for Punjab Kings XI who may be hesitant to drop the player.

The 41-year-old game began the season on a good note, scoring 40 from 28 balls in the first match, a victory against Rajasthan Royals.  The veteran batsman has struggled to connect since then, scoring 10, 11, and 15 in the team’s next three games.  The Kings have lost all three for a 1-3 start to the season.

Agarkar believes at this age, the Kings must weigh closely the benefits of keeping Gayle in the line-up, if he is not scoring the required runs.

"I don't know, he started well. He got 40 in the first game. The challenge with Chris Gayle is that he did not play the first few games last season and then came back, and he was as good as ever. So, I can understand it is a difficult decision to sit him out," Agarkar told Espncricinfo.

"If he is it and when he has done well, you always want to accommodate him. How long can you go on if he is not firing, especially at this stage of his career?" he asked.

Last season, Gaye was left out of the line-up for the team’s first 6 games but returned to play a pivotal role in their run for a place in the play-offs, following another slow start.  Gayle is not the only West Indian struggling at the moment, however, as Nicholas Pooran, a standout performer last season has only scored 9 runs in fours games, including three ducks.

"Their problem is that Nicholas Pooran is not scoring run either, who they must have had high hopes from. It's a tricky one. I don't know how long they can keep playing Chris Gayle if he is not getting runs.”

A wretched start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) continued for Windies and Punjab Kings XI batsman, Nicholas Pooran, as he was dismissed for a third duck in just four games against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Last season, Pooran lit up the tournament as one of the competition’s most in-form players, scoring an impressive 353 runs in 14 games, with an average of 35.  He clearly has not started this campaign at a similar pace.

In four matches so far, the batsman has scored just nine runs, and that was in one match.  In the others, he has left the crease much too quickly to trouble the tally.

In addition to just the wretched run of form, however, some fans have poked fun at the order of the player’s scoreless dismissals. 

He was dismissed for a two balls duck against the Rajasthan Royals in his side's first game. He was then out for a first-ball duck against the Chennai Super Kings.  On Wednesday, Pooran got out for a diamond duck, without even facing a ball as he was run out as soon as he came to the crease.  Punjab Kings XI, who could muster only 120 runs in their 20 overs, lost the match by eight wickets and have recorded one win in their first four games.

 

West Indies legend Brian Lara has tipped for T20 captain, Jason Holder, as the Windies player who could shine most brightly in the India Premier League (IPL) this season.

 The all-rounder was retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for the new campaign, after only coming in as a substitute for Australian Mitchell Marsh last season.

Holder went on to score 66 runs, in seven matches, at an average of 33, and claimed 14 wickets, the third most on the team despite playing less than half the games.  Lara, who is part of a commentary panel for this season’s tournament, has tipped the player to carry on in the same vein.

“Jason Holder could do pretty well. He ended up replacing Mitchell Marsh in the 2020 IPL, so I expect him to maybe come up with trumps this year,” Lara told StarSports.

“The tracks are not so favourable to the pace where he is playing at present, but he is such a good all-round player that I hope he can maintain his play and really show that the West Indians are here to stay,” he added.

Holder could, however, have plenty of competition for the top West Indian player with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, and Nicholas Pooran also taking part in this season’s competition.

 

 

 Former England captain turned cricket analyst. Michael Vaughan. has questioned the overall fitness of West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell, despite the player’s fair start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

In the second game of the campaign for the Kolkatta Knight Riders, Russell cleaned up the Mumbai Indians' tail for career-best figures of 5-15.  In the same match, however, the player was unable to finish the job with the bat as the Knight Riders slumped to a dramatic 10-run defeat as Russell added 9 from 15.

Vaughan pointed to the batsman’s work in the field and running between the crease as evidence the big hitter is not quite at his best.

“You got a player like Andre Russell, who has been a superstar, but on the field, when the ball is coming to him, he is always using his feet. He is obviously someone who cannot go down. It’s a very clever and careful aspect which Eoin Morgan will have to manage,” Vaughan told Cricbuzz.

“When he (Andre Russell) is at his best, he is great. But when you see him on the field, and when is bowling, he appears to be struggling. While batting he is not taking the twos,” he added.

“He needed to take the twos in the 19th over. Because you want him back on strike. Very difficult to manage for Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan.”

The Knight Riders have won 1 of their first 3 matches.

Big-hitting West Indian batsman, Kieron Pollard, joined elite Indian Premier League (IPL) company when became one of only a handful of players to hit 200 sixes, during Mumbai Indians' third match of IPL 2021 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

After a slow start to the campaign, Pollard exploded into life on Saturday hitting 35 from just 22 balls, lifting Mumbai to 150.  The West Indian’s knock consisted of three sixes, in the end playing a crucial role in a 13-run win.

 Pollard became the 6th batter to get past 200 sixes in the IPL.  The list is led by his compatriot Gayle who has hit 351 sixes, 114 more than 2nd-placed AB de Villiers. Rohit Sharma is third on the list followed by MS Dhoni.  Pollard went level with Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli after finishing the Mumbai Indians innings on Saturday with 201 sixes.

Pollard is, however, the only man among the top 10 on the list for most boundaries in the IPL with more sixes than fours — 201 sixes, 199 fours.  Pollard also became only the third overseas player after Gayle and de Villiers to hit 200 sixes.

Chris Gayle was among the runs as the Punjab Kings defeated the Rajasthan Royals by four runs in a thriller in Mumbai today.

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

   A 2021 risk-free IPL sets the stage for T20 World Cup.

The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League, IPL is off to a competitive start despite concerns over spikes in Covod-19 infections in India. India has averaged 90,000 new infections daily but the richest T20 tournament has proceeded with eight teams playing 52 games at six venues.

On April 1, India became the second country after the U.S to report 100,000 new cases in a single day.

Before the start of the tournament, four cricketers and a team consultant tested positive for Covid-19 and were isolated. In addition, 10 members of the ground staff at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium tested positive.

The stadium has been earmarked to host 10 games, and as such, the number of infected grounds men raised questions regarding the tournament being played in six cities when spectators are not allowed.

There is no doubt that managing these bubbles will be difficult but once executed properly it will go some way into reassuring organizers of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup scheduled for October.

Cancelling the tournament would cause massive financial losses and have a potentially disastrous ripple effect if a large number of players become infected. The spillover could significantly impact India’s cricket calendar which includes 14 tests, 12 ODI’s, 22 T20’s as well as the World T20.

What is making a difference are the vaccines that are now available.

  Real Madrid looks dangerous.

Saturday’s El Clasico had a bit of everything as defending La Liga champions Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium to move to the top of the table.

There was controversy, yellow cards, goals, rain, and a thrilling end.

Los Blancos, fresh of their 3-1 Champions League win over Liverpool on Tuesday, went into the match with similar energy. When Karim Benzema scored the opening goal, his ninth in the last seven games, he became one of four Real Madrid players to ever score in consecutive El Clasico encounters joining Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Toni Kroos doubled the lead before half-time and even though Óscar Mingueza García pulling one back late in the second half, Real Madrid was simply tactically superior.

 The firepower and finesse displayed by Real Madrid clearly demonstrate that they are not ready to concede the title without a fight.

  Draymond Green knows better and should do better.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green last Thursday said his tweets about the pay disparity between men and women’s sports have been “misconstrued”. “I am on their side,” he declared.

His response came after U.S women’s soccer team star Megan Rapinoe lashed out saying Green’s tweets were “unfortunate” and that she expected he would have had a more informed opinion.

In his tweets posted on March 27, Green blamed women for making “complaints rather than taking action to reduce the pay gap between men and women playing the same sport.  Green’s response that they want the same thing is not enough.

Initially, I found his tweets quite alarming, especially his use of the word “complaints” because he comes from a household where his mother Mary Baker is very expressive and he has been cited saying he has adopted that quality from her. There is no doubt that Green wants to see the women thrive but he can do better.

The first step to allyship is listening and then assisting. The first response of posting on Twitter did more harm than good.  The fact that he is now the centre of the conversation shifts the focus from the issue of wage parity. It would be only fair that Green use his political capital and resources to assist where he can.

 

 

 

Big-hitting Windies T20 batsman, Kieron Pollard, failed to move closer to a historic IPL milestone after being dismissed for just 7 in the season opener, which pitted Mumbai Indians against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chepauk Stadium on Friday.

Pollard remains just two sixes shy of 200 IPL sixes, a feat which has been achieved by just five other five batsmen.  At the top of the list is Pollard’s compatriot and Punjab Kings batsman Chris Gayle (349), Royal Challengers Bangalore premier batsman AB de Villiers is next (235), followed by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni (216), Mumbai Indians (MI) Rohit Sharma (213), and RCB skipper Virat Kohli (201) close the list.

In Friday’s encounter, Pollard was, however, undone by a slower delivery from Harshal Patel and caught in the deep by Washington Sundar.  The player’s 7 runs consisted of just one four with no sixes.  RCB won the thrilling encounter by just two wickets.  Batting first Mumbai made 159 for 8 before RCB, needing 7 off the last over, ended with 160 for 8 off the final ball of the over.  RCB batsman AB De Villiers top-scored with 48 from 27 deliveries.

 

Shimron Hetmyer, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell were among West Indies players were retained by their Indian Premier League franchises on Wednesday. However, several others were cut loose and will re-enter the pool of players eligible for the IPL Draft coming up on February 11.

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