Fawad Alam scored his fourth Test century to put Pakistan in complete command of the first Test against Zimbabwe on day two in Harare.

The tourists started the day in an extremely strong position, having skittled Zimbabwe for 176 and then reached stumps on 103 on day one.

Openers Imran Butt and Abid Ali (60) were well set and they each kicked on to post half-centuries, Butt coming nine runs short of a hundred.

But, after a show of resistance from the Zimbabwe attack, which included Pakistan captain Babar Azam going for a duck, it was Fawad who stole the show with an unbeaten 108.

He led Pakistan to 374-6 at the close, a lead of 198, and will Hasan Ali (21 off 18) for company at the crease as they look to further their control on day three.

Butt and Abid put on 115 for the first wicket, however, after the latter edged to first slip to give the breakthrough to Zimbabwe, the hosts continued their inroads as Donald Tiripano removed Azhar Ali (36) and then dismissed Babar first ball when the skipper pushed a full delivery to straight mid-on.

Yet by that point, Pakistan already had a 50-run lead and Fawad ensured that advantage would be added to considerably.

He reaped the rewards for a measured innings and his century was brought up with a four following a misfield at mid-off.

Mohammad Rizwan's 45 also helped Pakistan's cause, while Hasan struck two sixes and a four to accelerate things further before stumps.

Fawad continues fine form

Three of Fawad's centuries have come since December 2020, with the left-hander making the most of the second act of his Test career having spent more than 10 years in the wilderness.

He scored 102 against New Zealand last Boxing Day and then 109 versus South Africa on home soil in January. His career-best remains his 168 against Sri Lanka back in 2009, but that total could be under threat if he maintains his composure here.

Babar tripped up by Donald

An ill-advised shot from Babar in which he was tempted in a risky drive off the bowling of Tiripano saw him go for a golden duck for the first time in his career. It is his first of any variety in Test cricket since October 2018 against Australia.

Former West Indies spinner and Jamaica captain, Nehemiah Perry, has called on delegates of his home country to put the interest of the sport first and not pursue what he described as a ‘separate agenda’ than wanting the best for the game.

Although an election date is yet to set, Jamaica Cricket Association president (JCA) Wilford Billy Heaven is expected to run unopposed for a fourth two-year team when the annual general meeting is held. 

He has successfully held off two challenges, winning by only four votes on the last occasion, but many in the country’s local cricketing circles believe he would still emerge victorious if confronted by any opposition in the 2021 election.

Perry, however, sees the continued re-election of the official and his slate, unchallenged, or being re-elected by big margins as incongruous when juxtaposed against the current state of the game on the island.

“I think we definitely need change.  I cannot understand why it is that we have not won anything over the years, we have been last, second to last, we’ve only won one trophy out of 30-odd, and at the end of the day the administration is winning by a landslide,” Perry told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Something is wrong if people keep voting for persons who are not delivering.  I don’t believe you should be there because at the end of the day we need positive results.  We need the team to be doing well, we need to produce a lot of Test cricketers and a lot of first-class cricketers,” he added.

“I’m not only saying Billy Heaven should be removed but that the delegates who continue to vote for a particular board need to examine themselves.  At the end of the day, if cricket is what you are really there for and you are not getting the results then why is it that you continue to put those persons to lead.  You don’t have the cricket at heart, somehow you have some sort of agenda.”  

 

 

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.

Prithvi Shaw was the star performer for Delhi Capitals as they recorded an emphatic seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Shaw hit 11 fours – including six in a row in one over – and a trio of sixes in an innings of 82 that helped the Capitals coast to a 155-run target at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Shikhar Dhawan was happy enough to play second fiddle to his opening partner, making 46 from 47 balls before falling lbw to Pat Cummins with the total on 132 in the 14th over.

Cummins (3-24) also removed the outstanding Shaw and Rishabh Pant (16) with the finishing line in sight, leaving Marcus Stoinis to complete the job with a streaky four as Delhi triumphed with 21 balls to spare.

Kolkata had been indebted to some big hitting in the closing stages from Andre Russell but still finished with a below-par 154-6. The all-rounder blasted two fours and four sixes to top score with 45 not out.

Their hopes of posting a more substantial total had been damaged by losing four wickets for 13 runs in the middle overs, seeing them slip from 69-1 to 82-5.

Shubman Gill made 43 at the top of the order but both captain Eoin Morgan and Sunil Narine failed to trouble the scorers amid the collapse.

Lalit Yadav finished with figures of 2-13 for Delhi, while Axar Patel (2-32) also struck twice with his left-arm spin to help restrict the Knight Riders, who have now lost five of the past six meetings between the teams.


Double celebration for Russell

Russell celebrated his 33rd birthday with an eye-catching 27-ball knock that saw him surpass 6,000 Twenty20 runs in his career.

The right-hander was cautious at first before cutting loose, smashing Kagiso Rabada for successive sixes to finish the 19th over before ending the 20th with another off the bowling of Avesh Khan.

Capitals gain from a Shaw thing

Shaw reached his half-century from just 18 deliveries, aided by taking Shivam Mavi for six successive fours in an opening over that cost 25 runs (Delhi's reply had started with a wide).

Delhi's fifth victory in seven outings in the 2021 season sees them move level on 10 points with leaders Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the table.

Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali tore through Zimbabwe as Pakistan dominated day one of the Test series at the Harare Sports Club.

Zimbabwe were bowled out for only 176 after Brendan Taylor, captain in the absence of the injured Sean Williams, won the toss and opted to bat first.

Afridi and Ali took four wickets apiece as tourists as Zimbabwe were skittled out before tea and Pakistan looked set for a substantial lead after closing on 103 without loss.

Roy Kaia, one of three Zimbabwe debutants, top scored with 48 but it was all about Pakistan's new-ball duo at the start of the two-match series.

Afridi (4-43) claimed his 50th Test scalp in only his 16th match, the same number as it took the great Wasim Akram to reach that landmark, and Ali (4-53) was also outstanding.

They bowled with great skill and discipline along with Nauman Ali (1-29), reducing the hosts to 30-4 before fellow debutant Milton Shumba provided some support for Kaia in a fifth-wicket stand of 59.

Donald Tiripano made an unbeaten 28 but Zimbabwe's shortcomings with the bat were exposed as Pakistan look to end a run of 11 games without a victory away from home in the longest format.

An unbroken opening stand from Abid Ali (56) and Imran Butt (43) put Pakistan in an ominous position at stumps.

 

Afridi emulates Akram

At just 21-year-old, Afridi has raced to half a century of Test wickets at the same age and in as many matches as Pakistan legend Akram.

Afridi and Ali played a big hand in a Test series win over South Africa and they did damage with the red ball once again as Zimbabwe bid to secure a first Test away win for almost three years - the previous success coming against England at Lord's.

Kevin Kasuza dragged on an Ali delivery before Zimbabwe had a run on the board and they were 30-4 when Taylor fell to the same bowler for only five.

They showed some fight after lunch, but lost their last five wickets for 52 runs, with Afridi cleaning up Tendai Chisoro for his 50th scalp before bowling Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava.

 

Kaia a plus, umpire Rusere makes history

One positive for Zimbabwe was an encouraging knock from Kaia, who showed some resistance after coming in at number six in the opening session.

He struck seven boundaries in almost two hours at the crease, just missing out on a half-century on debut when was snared leg before by the excellent Ali.

One Zimbabwean who will have fond memories of the day is umpire Langton Rusere, who became the first Black African to stand in a Test match.

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel has named 30 players for an estimated month-long West Indies Women’s high-performance camp to be held in Antigua starting on May 2.

This will be the second such month-long camp in 2021 assembled under the guidance of Head Coach Courtney Walsh and his support team.

With the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers now rescheduled for December, Coach Walsh has devised a programme to maximize team preparations ahead of international cricket and the qualifiers later in the year.

“The purpose of this camp is to work on consistency and game awareness. The last camp was more observational, and we got a pretty good idea of where the ladies are at. There are 30 players coming in and a few of them are coming in nursing injuries, so the coaching staff and medical team are ready to work with all of them,” he said.

“We are going to use this camp to see as much of the players as possible. I am most excited to see the younger ones coming into the camp because we’re trying to build the pool of players available. So, I think it’ll be a great opportunity for these youngsters and the other new players to grasp the chance before them.”

Among the 30 players called up for the camp are eight (8) uncapped players including teenagers Zaida James from St. Lucia and Jannillea Glasgow from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. James is a left-arm medium-pacer while Glasgow is a right-arm medium pacer.

The other uncapped players are Rashada Williams, Caneisha Isaac, Shanika Bruce, Mandy Mangru and Rachel Vincent. Making a return to the camp is left-handed wicket-keeper/batter Kycia Knight.

CWI’s Lead Selector for Women’s cricket, Ann Browne-John was excited by the bigger pool of players for this camp.

 “It is very important to have the West Indies players back in a training camp as the coaches can continue to help them hone their skills as we prepare for our next series. Most of the top international teams have now restarted playing and it is critical for the WI team to prepare as we anticipate more international cricket coming up this summer,” she said while indicating that the camp will also focus on specific areas for development.

“In an effort to continue to unearth talent, eight players have been included who were not in the January camp. It serves as an opportunity for the coaches and selectors to look at some of the young up and coming players. Due to the pandemic, a regional tournament has not been held yet, so the players haven’t had the opportunity to impress the selectors in competitive matches.

“Heavy emphasis has been placed on batters including first-timers Rachel Vincent, an opening batter from Trinidad and Tobago, and Mandy Mangru, a young player from Guyana who has been impressive in the Under-19 tournament. The camp also includes two young teenage medium pacers, Zaida James and Jannillea Glasgow.”

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sport in Antigua & Barbuda to orchestrate logistics and agree on the safety protocols for the camp after the successful hosting of the first Women’s high-performance camp, the CG Insurance Super50 Cup and the West Indies Men’s International Home Series against Sri Lanka. All players and support staff were tested with negative COVID-19 results before their arrival in Antigua. The players and support staff will train and live in a bio-secure bubble for the duration of the camp.

Full squad: Aaliyah Alleyne, Reniece Boyce, Shanika Bruce, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Cherry Ann Fraser, Shabika Gajnabi, Jannillea Glasgow, Sheneta Grimmond, Shawnisha Hector, Chinelle Henry, Caneisha Isaac, Zaida James, Japhina Joseph, Qiana Joseph, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Mandy Mangru, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Kaysia Schultz, Shakera Selman, Steffi Soogrim, Stafanie Taylor, Rachel Vincent and Rashada Williams.

The team-management unit comprises Courtney Walsh - Head Coach; Sheena Gooding - Team Manager; Ryan Austin - Assistant Coach; Corey Collymore - Assistant Coach; Steve Liburd - Assistant Coach; Samantha Lynch - Assistant Coach; Robert Samuels - Assistant Coach; Neil Barry – Physiotherapist; Shayne Cooper - Strength & Conditioning

Quinton de Kock guided Mumbai Indians back to winning ways as his dazzling innings helped last season's champions beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets.

Rajasthan made 171-4 but were lacking an outstanding contribution with the bat, which is what De Kock gave Mumbai as his unbeaten 70 from 50 balls proved telling, halting a two-game slide.

Chris Morris took two of the three Mumbai wickets to fall, but the Indian Premier League's most expensive player also saw his first delivery swatted for six by De Kock and could not win that contest.

Jasprit Bumrah had earlier played a key role with the ball in restricting the flow of runs late in Rajasthan's innings, and Mumbai reached their target with nine balls to spare, finishing on 172-3.

At Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi, Rajasthan's top four all made useful scores, with Jos Buttler having three fours and three sixes in making 41 from 32 deliveries and fellow opener Yashasvi Jaiswal also clearing the ropes twice in a rapid 32 from 20 balls.

Both fell to Rahul Chahar (2-33), with Sanju Samson top-scoring with 42 from 27 balls before being cleaned up by a Trent Boult yorker. Shivam Dube (35) was caught and bowled by Bumrah, who snagged his reward for a dazzling performance, finishing with 1-15 from four overs.

Mumbai began their reply in solid fashion and De Kock welcomed fellow South African Morris into the attack with a brutal pull over the ropes.

Morris conceded four leg byes from the next delivery too, but from the final ball of the over he coaxed Rohit Sharma to chip to Chetan Sakariya at mid-on for the first breakthrough of the innings, with 49 on the board.

De Kock kept the runs flowing but lost second-wicket partner Suryakumar Yadav for just 16, flicking Morris to Buttler at mid-wicket, and almost departed himself when he was dropped on 58 by Jaiswal off Sakariya. It would have been a stunning catch and Jaiswal, dashing backwards in the field, got hands to the ball but could not cling on.

Krunal Pandya cracked two sixes in making 39 from 26 balls, edging a delivery from Mustafizur Rahman into his stumps to perish before the winning line, but De Kock and Kieron Pollard (16no), who also struck a maximum off Morris, soon made sure.

Bumrah gets it right

Bumrah may not have the wickets to show for it yet this season, but few batsmen will have relished facing his pace and skill. Here he delivered 12 dot balls, conceded just one boundary, and picked up a wicket from his penultimate delivery, which was probably one of the worst balls he bowled. Stifling the Royals batsmen late in the innings proved so valuable in the end.

De Kock makes his mark

With three failures from his first four IPL innings this season, De Kock knew the team were due a score from him, and here it was. After going 2, 40, 2, 3 in Mumbai's previous matches, opener De Kock stepped up and made all the difference in this clash. His six off Morris was a highlight and De Kock twice went over the ropes, also cracking six fours while proving both sturdy and ever-dangerous. Mumbai had won just two of their opening five games, but this third win was a dominant one, largely thanks to their powerful left-hander.

English rugby and cricket will follow football in a social media boycott aimed at combatting the ongoing problem of online abuse.

Last Sunday, it was announced that teams from the top men's and women's leagues in England would not post to their social media accounts from Friday until next Monday, with players expected to follow suit.

A joint statement from governing bodies including the FA, the Premier League, the Women's Super League and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), confirmed the action was aimed at demonstrating "that the game is willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight".

On Wednesday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed all 18 first-class county sides, as well as regional women's teams and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) "will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the football community" by taking part in the blackout.

PCA chief executive Rob Lynch said: "Social media companies have to do more. Our members are often victims of horrific online abuse with little or no punishment for the perpetrators and this has to change.

"A unified silence from players and the wider game is a powerful stance to show that our members will not allow social media companies, which have brought so much benefit to the game, to continue to ignore and fail to prioritise the need for appropriate legislation in protecting people against online discriminatory behaviour."

On Thursday, England Rugby announced that all social media channels run by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) would also join the boycott, along with leading clubs.

Sarah Hunter, who this month captained England to a third successive Women's Six Nations title, said: "No professional sportsperson should have to suffer abuse, racism or harassment on social media.

"We've all seen how social media can help bring fans and players closer together but this does not mean abuse should be ignored.

"While we have an important Test match in France on Friday, we understand there are bigger and more important issues and hopefully this is an important statement that online hate will not be tolerated."

Jamaicans Andre Russell and Fabian Allen are among five West Indies players who were picked up yesterday’s Pakistan Super League Replacement Draft that is expected to resume. However, one player is on the way out.

Chennai Super Kings once again got the better of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, recording a seventh win in nine meetings by easily chasing down a target of 172.

Ruturaj Gaikwad made 75 - his highest IPL score - and the in-form Faf du Plessis contributed 56 as Chennai triumphed with seven wickets and nine balls to spare at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Rashid Khan (3-36) was the only successful Hyderabad bowler, though even the leg-spinner was not spared from punishment. With a fifth successive win, the Super Kings move above Royal Challengers Bangalore to top of the table.

Hyderabad, in contrast, prop up the rest in the standings; winning the toss was about the only thing that went right for them.

Captain David Warner laboured to 57 from 55 balls and Manish Pandey finished as his team's leading scorer with 61, helping add 106 in combination with his skipper for the second wicket.

However, after Lungi Ngidi (2-35) removed both well-set batsmen, Kane Williamson finally provided some much-needed impetus in the closing overs.

The New Zealand captain hit 26 from the 10 deliveries he faced, raising the question as to why he did not come in earlier in the innings. Kedar Jadhav (12 not out) also contributed a late cameo, though a final score of 171-3 always appeared below par.


Warner signs not good

Warner now has 193 runs at an average of 32.16 in the tournament this year, while the left-hander reached the notable personal milestone of 10,000 in his first-class career in the shortest format.

Still, his strike-rate of 110.28 runs per 100 deliveries in 2021 is well below his IPL career mark of 140.13. The skipper's frustration was obvious in this innings, as he struggled to pierce the field, albeit he did manage three fours and a pair of sixes.

Openers dominate in chase

Having seen Hyderabad struggle for momentum, Chennai made sure they did not have similar issues in their reply. Gaikwad recorded his fifth IPL half-century thanks to 12 boundaries and Du Plessis played his part in an opening stand worth 129 to take over as the leading run-scorer in the tournament.

While Rashid dismissed the pair – as well as getting Moeen Ali caught for 15 in the deep – Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina, who finished unbeaten on seven and 17 respectively, made sure their team cruised over the line in the penultimate over.

Former Sri Lanka paceman Nuwan Zoysa has been hit with a six-year ban from all cricket after being found guilty of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

The 42-year-old's suspension has been backdated to October 31, 2018 – the date when he was provisionally banned during his employment as Sri Lanka's bowling coach

An ICC Anti-Corruption Tribunal found Zoysa guilty of "being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect(s) of an international match".

He was also found guilty of "directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach Code Article 2.1". 

Zoya's third guilty charge was for "failing to disclose to the ACU [ICC Anti-Corruption Unit] full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in corrupt conduct under the code".

"Mr Zoysa has also been charged by the ICC on behalf of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) with breaching four counts of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code for participants for the T10 League and those proceedings are ongoing," an ICC statement added.

The quick played 95 ODIs and 30 Tests for Sri Lanka, with his last international appearance coming in 2007.

Alex Marshall, ICC general manager – Integrity Unit, said: "Nuwan played 125 matches for Sri Lanka, attending a number of anti-corruption sessions during a decade-long international career.

"In his role as a national coach, he should have acted as a role model. Instead, he became involved with a corrupter and attempted to corrupt others.

"Contriving to fix a game betrays the basis of sporting principles. It will not be tolerated in our sport."

 

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.

The upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) set to be held entirely on the island of St Kitts & Nevis and bowls off on August 28.

Due to the threat posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the entire 2020 edition of the tournament was held in Trinidad and Tobago, under strict COVID-19 protocols.

In several respects, the tournament was a success with the event successfully being delivered to a record audience of over 500 million.  The Trinbago Knightriders were eventually crowned champions on their own patch.

St Kitts and Nevis’ Warner Park has been the scene of some of the most iconic matches in Hero CPL history.  Fans were treated to Chris Gayle’s brilliant hundred against the Jamaica Tallawahs in 2019 and Andre Russell’s even more explosive century against the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2016. There have also been some amazing matches, not least the game that went to a Super Over finish between St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and the Knight Riders in 2019.

This year’s tournament takes on extra significance with it taking place in the lead up to the ICC T20 World Cup and both West Indies and overseas players will be using the opportunity to push for selection for their international teams.

 “We are delighted to be able to announce that we will be having the Hero CPL in St Kitts & Nevis in 2021 and we would like to thank those involved in welcoming the tournament to this wonderful country,” Pete Russell, Hero CPL’s COO, said.

“As was demonstrated during the 2020 tournament the CPL is a massive boost for the host country with US$51.5million delivered in sponsorship value for Trinidad & Tobago. We are really looking forward to giving St Kitts & Nevis the exposure they deserve.”

 

Kolkata Knight Riders ended their four-match IPL slump with a comfortable five-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad.

KKR had lost each game since winning their tournament opener but were quickly on top on Monday, given a straightforward chase - led by captain Eoin Morgan (47 not out) and Rahul Tripathi (41) - after limiting the Kings to 123-9.

That total could easily have been far lower as Punjab failed to fire, with Mayank Agarwal their top scorer on an underwhelming 31 off 34.

By the time he departed to Sunil Narine in the 12th over, the Kings had just 60 runs on the board and had already lost three prior wickets - including Chris Gayle, who had previously averaged 47 against the Knight Riders but went for a duck.

Wickets continued to fall apace, but Chris Jordan ensured his side made three figures and then kept going, 30 off 18 keeping Punjab's slim hopes alive.

Those hopes grew when Kolkata made a similarly shaky start, losing three wickets in the first three overs.

But Tripathi survived and a partnership of 66 with Morgan set the stage for a stress-free finale, even with Andre Russell run out for 10.

A 13-run 16th over, including back-to-back Morgan boundaries, brought the finish line into view, with Dinesh Karthik's four then completing the job at 126-5 with 20 balls to spare.

Narine celebrations soon subside

The Knight Riders had not previously had much to savour this season, but Sunil Narine always enjoys himself against the Kings and figures of 2-22 took him to 30 Punjab wickets, the most of any bowler in the IPL.

His quota was finished by the time Jordan threatened a fightback, though, and then the West Indies all-rounder was unable to contribute with the bat as Ravi Bishnoi's outstanding diving catch ended his innings after four balls and no runs.

Morgan makes sure of no momentum swing

This has been a tough tournament for the Knight Riders and they might have feared another difficult outing against the Kings, who had been eight-wicket victors in their previous meeting in October.

But skipper Morgan was a typically steady presence throughout the chase before accelerating late on to pass 7,000 Twenty20 runs and ensure Kolkata retain the upper hand against a side they have now beaten in 13 of their past 16 outings.

Australia internationals Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa are returning home from the Indian Premier League, while Ravichandran Ashwin has announced he is taking a break from the tournament.

Fast bowler Richardson played once in the 2021 edition, taking 1-29 from three overs in Bangalore's 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on April 22.

Leg-spinner Zampa, however, did not feature for the Royal Challengers, who confirmed the departure of the duo for personal reasons.

"Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are returning to Australia for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of #IPL2021. Royal Challengers Bangalore management respects their decision and offers them complete support," a statement on Twitter read.

Andrew Tye had become the first Australian to depart the IPL bubble on Sunday, a decision made by the Rajasthan Royals fast bowler over concerns about flights home amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in India.

The country has been setting global records for daily figures, with over 17million confirmed cases in total during the pandemic.

"I just thought I should try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country," Tye told radio station SEN while in Doha awaiting to complete his journey to Australia.

"There's definitely concerns. A lot of guys have been in touch once they've realised I was leaving. Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it."

A three-day snap lockdown was placed on the Perth and Peel areas of Western Australia last week amid concerns over coronavirus spreading within communities.

Ashwin, meanwhile, is leaving the Delhi Capitals squad to focus on helping his family during the coronavirus crisis.

"I would be taking a break from this year's IPL from tomorrow," he tweeted on Sunday. "My family and extended family are putting up a fight against COVID-19 and I want to support them during these tough times. I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you."

Ashwin has taken one wicket and posted an economy rate of 7.73 runs per over in his five outings for the Capitals, who defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday to make it four wins in five outings.

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