Kevin Pietersen fined for slow play to pile more misery on Delhi

Sudhir Gupta 21/05/2014
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More worries: As if his team’s poor form was not already an issue, Daredevils’ Kevin Pietersen has now been slapped with a hefty fine for slow over rate.

Kevin Pietersen’s miserable spell as Delhi Daredevils captain has continued after he was fined  for maintaining a slow over rate in his side’s 10th Indian Premier League defeat of the season.

The competition’s governing body announced the measure, which occured during Monday’s four-wicket loss to table toppers Kings XI Punjab.

Since it was the former England international’s first offence of the season, he was docked Rs 12 lakhs (Dh75,177).

Meanwhile, batsman Jean-Paul Duminy admitted he is at a loss to explain why they are performing so poorly. The Daredevils have won only twice this season, with their last triumph coming on April 27 against Mumbai Indians.

"It is a very difficult question to answer. It has been very disappointing to have such a dismalrun this season. We have some very good players, but we haven’t fired as a group. Our batting and bowling hasn’t quite clicked simultaneously in a game, which has resulted in our downfall," said Duminy. 

“[Against Kings XI], I thought we fought hard and took the game to the last over from a position where they needed only seven runs an over to win. To fight back from there was a good sign, and that’s all we ask off ourselves in the last two games.

“We cannot control the results, but we can give our best in all the remaining games.”

Despite the miserable displays around him, Duminy has managed to excel. The aggressive batsman has helped himself to a respectable 357 runs from 12 matches, with a particularly memorable performance seeing him help his side past Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai International Stadium last month.

The South Africa international even managed to take two wickets in four measured overs against the free-hitting Kings XI, adding to his ability with the bat down the order.

“I am pretty pleased with my personal performances, but it doesn’t really mean much when you’re losing,” Duminy said. “The only way I can make things better is by improving my own performances and finding ways where I can help the team in other ways. I was pretty pleased to contribute with the ball [against Kings XI] as that’s something I haven’t been able to do in the matches gone by.”

Delhi wind up a miserable campaign with games against Mumbai on Friday and Kings XI on Sunday. 

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David Warner relishes return to the top as Sunrisers down Bangalore

Sudhir Gupta 21/05/2014
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David Warner, who recently pulled out of Australia’s tour of Zimbabwe because his batteries were “slowly draining” was completely charged up against Royal Challengers Bangalore as he masterminded a successful chase in Hyderabad.

Warner, promoted to the role of an opener alongside Shikhar Dhawan for the first time in this seventh edition of the Indian Premier League, smashed 59 runs in 46 balls to seal Hyderabad’s chances of making the playoffs.

The dashing Aussie added 100 runs for the opening stand with Dhawan in 12.3 overs, which paved the way for a comfortable seven-wicket win for Sunrisers, who were chasing a stiff target of 161.

Dhawan also made a welcome return to form, before getting out for 50 in 39 balls.

In the end it was a clinical performance by Hyderabad who always looked comfortable as they knocked off the runs in 19.4 overs.

Both Sunrisers and RCB now have 10 points from 12 games, but Bangalore are a place ahead at fifth with a better net run-rate.

However, Kolkata’s win against Chennai meant they won’t be able to move into the top-four just on the basis of points.

It was Dhawan who attacked from the onset with some flowing cover drives and a hooked six off Varun Aaron. The 50 then up in the last over of the powerful for Sunrisers' best start of the tournament. 

Warner then continued the charge before eventually falling to a fulltoss from Aaron but Naman Ojha (24) along with Aaron Finch (11 no) and captain Darren Sammy (10 no) ensured they crossed the line.

Earlier, RCB captain Virat Kohli scored his first half-century of the tournament this year with a superb knock of 67, around which Bangalore’s score of 160-6 was built after opting to bat first.

Kohli’s 67 came off 41 balls and he hit four boundaries and as many sixes, while AB de Villiers (29) and Yuvraj Singh (21) were the other main contributors. 

However, it was another ultimately disappointing performance from Bangloare who have won just five of their 12 matches despite starting the tournament as one of the favourites. 

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Rampant Robin helps KKR thrash CSK

Sudhir Gupta 21/05/2014
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Hands in the air: Kolkata players gather to congratulate Sunil Narine for the wicket of Brendon McCullum.

Robin Uthappa showed no signs of slowing down as a superb half-century set up a fifth consecutive win for Kolkata Knight Riders over Chennai Super Kings and considerably brightened up their chances of reaching the playoffs.

The classy 28-year-old carried on his mesmerising form which has seen him play seven back-to-back knocks of 40-plus, making a quickfire 67 in 39 balls and setting the initial tempo as Kolkata chased down the modest target of 153.

Kolkata are now tied with Rajasthan on 14 points but below them on net run rate despite their emphatic eight-wicket victory. They now require one win from their two remaining matches to book their place in the knockout stage of the tournament. 

After Uthappa had laid the foundation, Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan provided the finishing touches with a 21-ball unbeaten 46 (6×4, 2×6) and his 34-run stand with Manish Pandey (18 no) gave Kolkata the win with 12 balls to spare.

Uthappa’s innings was not without blemish, and he was twice lucky in the initial overs. Ravi Ashwin dropped a sitter in slips off Ben Hilfenhaus’ before Suresh Raina could not get to a difficult edge at the same position in the third over from Mohit Sharma.

The reprieves proved costly for Super Kings, who did not have the best day on the field. Even while batting, only Suresh Raina’s 51- ball 65 provided some substance to their total of 154-4.

From there on, Uthappa never looked back as he continued his dream run. With skipper Gautam Gambhir, he first added 64 runs for the opening wicket.

If there was any danger of Kolkata innings crumbling from that point, Shakib put it to rest as he boldly smashed the bowlers to all parts of the ground in his 21-ball knock that featured six boundaries and two sixes.

And after collecting yet another Man of the Match award, Uthappa said: “I’ve enjoyed batting here on this ground. The crowd is fantastic and I have always done well here. It's sort of a lucky ground for me.

“The ball was coming on well, and the dew factor also helped us. But I just wanted to play every ball on its merit and maintain the shape of my shots. When you play T20, you tend to lose shape technically because you want to hit the ball hard. That’s what I have been trying to avoid, to not lose shape in the first six overs.”

Earlier, Raina’s second half-century in as many innings propelled Chennai to a fighting 154-4. The left-hander was severe on both spinners and pace bowlers as he hit five sixes and three boundaries in his 65.

Put into bat, CSK were struggling at 60/2 in 10.3 overs after IPL debutant Pat Cummins removed Dwayne Smith in his first over and Sunil Narine then dismissed Brendon McCullum for 28.

It was Raina’s 62-run partnership in just 36 balls with Faf du Plessis (23) that upped the run rate for Chennai.

Narain was once again the most successful bowler for Kolkata, picking up 1-24 in his four overs despite being hit by Raina for a six off his first ball.

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