IPL 2018: AB de Villiers calls Virat Kohli a 'force of nature' at the crease

Sudhir Gupta 14/05/2018
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The pair cannot stop singing the other's praises. Image - IPL/Twitter.

The ‘bromance’ between Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers continues to grow.

The two Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen had hit superb half-centuries in the side’s win against Delhi Daredevils in the IPL on Saturday.

Following their 118-run partnership, RCB skipper Kohli took to Twitter to praise the South African stalwart.

“Have always loved batting with this guy. Makes things simpler for the person at the other end. Today was yet another special partnership. Glad to finish on a winning note,” the India skipper wrote on Twitter.

The Proteas ace returned the compliment in his column for the Times of India.

“After the loss of two early wickets, Virat Kohli and I found ourselves batting together, something we both enjoy,” De Villiers wrote.

“I battled at first, struggling to find my timing; it has been hard to regain my rhythm after falling ill and missing a couple of matches, but it was great to see Virat driving the ball for six over extra cover and then whipping another maximum over mid-wicket.

“He is so skillful and determined, a force of nature at the crease and, ball by ball, he helped me get back into the game until I could start to make a contribution, playing my part as we reached our target with an over to spare.”

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IPL 2018: Team news as Kings XI Punjab hope Mujeeb ur Rahman is fit for of clash with RCB

Sudhir Gupta 14/05/2018
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Mujeeb has injured his hand in KXIP's last outing. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Kings XI Punjab take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the the IPL at Indore on Monday. The game is a must-win for Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers if they have any aspirations of making the playoff.

For Kings XI, although the game isn’t a must-win, a loss could undo all the good work they have done in the first-half of the campaign. With two consecutive losses on the bounce, another on Monday could see the side face a five-way race for two playoff spots.

For Ravichandran Ashwin and his Kings XI, Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman’s fitness will be a huge concern coming into the crunch clash. The 17-year-old had to leave the field after being struck on the bowling hand by a fierce shot in the side’s loss to Kolkata Knight Riders.

The teenager has been highly impressive with the ball in his debut IPL season and it could be a huge loss for the hosts if he is unable to take the field at Indore. If the Afghan man is unable to play on Monday, it could mean a return into the line-up for Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.

Kohli faces a dilemma when it comes to Quinton de Kock. The South African wicket-keeper has missed the side’s last few matches after returning home to attend a wedding.

De Kock is back with the franchise now but with Parthiv Patel donning the wicket-keeping gloves in his absence, Kohli could opt to persist with England all-rounder Moeen Ali in the line-up instead of reinstating the South African.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Manoj Tiwary, Ravichandran Ashwin (c),  Mujeeb ur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Barinder Sran

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (wk), Mandeep Singh, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal

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IPL 2018: Afghanistan's Mujeeb ur Rahman among five most impressive youngsters this season

Ashish Peter 14/05/2018
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Mujeeb has been the standout young bowler. Image: BCCI.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is hurtling towards its final stages as the battle for the playoff spots nears its conclusion. The season has once witnessed the rise of potential stars while the reputation of some established players has taken a beating.

A few plenty of youngsters have made their mark already in the tournament. Here, we look at five of the most impressive players below the age of 21 on show this year.

PRITHVI SHAW – DELHI DAREDEVILS

The India U19 World Cup winning skipper came into his maiden IPL with a reputation to uphold. He had to wait to get his chance in the playing XI but once he got a look-in, the 18-year-old has grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

A fine knock of 62 in only his second IPL innings was followed by excellent showings against Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Shaw has gone off the boil in his last two innings but 216 runs in seven innings in his debut IPL season is impressive.

Shaw has shone since being given his IPL debut. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Shaw has made a big impact on his IPL debut. Image: IPL/Twitter

SHUBMAN GILL – KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

The player of the tournament in India’s U19 World Cup win, Shubman Gill has stepped up to the IPl challenge with ease. His unbeaten 57 in Kolkata’s win over Chennai Super Kings proved his class and maturity.

He has been asked to bat down the order and while he has scored just one half-century to show for, Gill has managed to prove that he is destined for great things.

His composed performances have drawn huge praise from none other than South African legend Jacques Kallis who is the coach of the team.

Gill scored a fine half-century against CSK. Image - KKR/Twitter.

Gill scored a fine half-century against CSK. Image – KKR/Twitter.

MUJEEB UR RAHMAN – KINGS XI PUNJAB

Mujeeb created history at the start of the tournament when he became the youngest player to debut in the IPL. The 17-year-old Afghanistan spinner has bamboozled well-established batsmen with his variations.

With 14 scalps in 11 matches, Mujeeb is currently the fourth highest wicket-taker in the tournament. His performances with the ball along with KL Rahul’s batting have been the major forces behind Kings XI’s impressive campaign. With his mystery spin still confounding batsmen, Mujeeb could be a real handful for the Indians when Afghanistan make their Test bow next month.

Mujeeb has been almost impossible to pick. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Mujeeb has been almost impossible to pick. Image – IPL/Twitter.

MAYANK MARKANDE – MUMBAI INDIANS

The Punjab-born leg-spinner has been the find of the tournament so far. Virtually an unknown prior to the IPL, Markande has surprised one and all with 14 wickets in 12 matches.

He started the season on fire with a three-wicket haul against Chennai in the tournament opener followed by four wickets against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The wrist-spinner has exhibited great control with his line and length and possesses an excellent googly. His emergence has shades of Yuzvvendra Chahal’s rise in the IPL two years ago and the youngster would do well to follow in the footsteps of the India player.

Markande (R) has been on of the finds of the IPL. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Markande (R) has been on of the finds of the IPL. Image – IPL/Twitter.

RISHABH PANT – DELHI DAREDEVILS

If there has been any positive for bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils this year, it has been the performance of young Rishabh Pant. The 20-year-old wicket-keeper batsman is currently the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 582 runs from 12 innings at an average of over 52 and a strike-rate on nearly 180.

Striking the ball to all parts of the ground with brute force, Pant has been fearless with his batting. His unbeaten 63-ball 128 in the loss against Sunrisers Hyderabad could well go down as the standout innings of the IPL this year. How he was not picked for India’s T20 squad for the England series remains a mystery.

Pant has taken the league by storm this year. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Pant has taken the league by storm this year. Image – IPL/Twitter.

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