IPL 2018: Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Billy Stanlake ruled out for the season

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The Aussie pacer has suffered a fractured finger.

The trend of international pacers being ruled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) through injury continued on Tuesday with Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Billy Stanlake becoming the latest victim.

The Australian quick will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured finger. The franchise confirmed the news on Tuesday evening, on the eve of their clash with Mumbai Indians.

Pacers like Mitchell Starc, Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins are among several players who have had to pull out due to injuries.

Stanlake has so far played four matches for the Hyderabad franchise and has managed to pick up five wickets.

The 23-year-old’s injury will come as a huge blow to Kane Williamson’s men who are already grappling with the absence of pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the clash against Mumbai due to a niggling back injury.

Stanlake’s place in the squad for Tuesday’s clash was taken by Basil Thampi. This was the Australian’s second stint in the IPL The tall pacer had been a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise in 2017 before being purchased by the Sunrisers during the auctions earlier this year.

It remains to be seen which bowler the Hyderabad franchise will sign as a replacement, if any. Given the recent injury troubles though, one would fully expect them to bring a fresh face in to shore up the bowling attack.

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IPL 2018 Preview: Resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore face high-flying Chennai Super Kings test in South India derby

Ashish Peter 24/04/2018
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RCB have been put into bat after MS Dhoni won the toss. Image - IPL/Twitter.

India’s current and former skippers will go head-to-head in the IPL on Wednesday when Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore takes on MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings at the Chinnaswamy stadium.

Both sides come into the clash on the backs of impressive wins although it is the Super Kings who are the in-form team with four wins out five matches so far.

On the other hand, Kohli’s men lost three of their first four matches in the competition before getting their campaign back on track with a six-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils.

TALKING POINTS

AGEING SUPER KINGS STILL A FORCE

At 25 years of age, pacer Deepak Chahar was the youngest player in the Chennai playing XI which beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets on Sunday. That Chennai Super Kings have an ageing squad compared to the rest of the pack is well known and even skipper Dhoni has poked fun at the topic.

However, there is no denying that the two-time champions have plenty of IPL experience in their side and the veterans in the team have all stood up to be counted at crucial times in their campaign so far. The likes of Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina have all made vital contributions while the ‘younger’ guns in Chahar and Sam Billings have also chipped in when called upon.

Whether they have the legs to go all the way to the title remains to be seen, but for now, they seem to be a force to be reckoned with.

BATTING DEFINING RCB ONCE AGAIN

With Kohli, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock in the ranks, Bangalore’s batting was always going to be their forte.  However, the bowling unit is looking patchy at the moment save for a few stellar individual performances.

This has placed all the more onus on the batsmen in the side and it is the batting which has primarily decided the side’s fortunes in the season so far. While Kohli has been largely consistent, the supporting cast has largely been patchy. De Villiers came to the party with an unbeaten 90 (39) in the win against the Daredevils and the Royal Challengers will need their star batsmen to click together once again if they are to have a chance against a high-flying Super Kings.

SOUTHERN DERBY 

There is no shortage of excitement whenever the two sides meet in the IPL. Having been loosely classified as the South India derby, the match is set to take place in the backdrop of the ongoing Cauvery river dispute between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Political protests over the affair was the cause of the Super Kings’ home matches being shifted out of Chennai to Pune after just one match. While no such protests are expected on Wednesday in Bengaluru, expect the Chinnaswamy stadium to be jam-packed and rocking when the Super Kings come calling.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Quinton de Kock (wk), Manan Vohra, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Corey Anderson, Mandeep Singh, Washington Sundar, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c, wk), Ambati Rayudu, Sam Billings, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur

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IPL 2018: Reborn Chris Gayle and rise of Mujeeb Ur Rahman have lit up Kings XI Punjab's title dreams

Denzil Pinto 24/04/2018
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Good so far: Kings XI Punjab/Image: Twitter -Indian Premier League

Kings XI Punjab’s four-run win over Delhi Daredevils on Monday wasn’t their most convincing success of the IPL this season. But a win is a win and it’s something that they are making a bit of a habit of with five triumphs in six matches so far. That form deservedly sees them sit atop of the standings with 10 points, a two-point cushion over second-placed Chennai Super Kings.

There’s still a long way to go before they can even think about lifting the title on May 27 but the signs are already there that they could be a serious challenger for the IPL crown after coming so close in 2014.

Here, we look at why Kings XI should be optimistic about their chances.

CHRIS GAYLE REDISCOVERING HIS FORM

Royal Challengers Bangalore thought Chris Gayle‘s best days were over when they released a player who had scored more IPL tons (five) and half-centuries (19) than anyone else.

But, the West Indian, who initially went unsold for the first two rounds, has proved them wrong by letting his bat do the talking in some style for his new employers. His release has been Kings XI Punjab’s biggest gain and although he didn’t feature in the first two games, the ‘Universe Boss’ wasted no time in showing what he’s made of with three sensational innings.

His 63 against Chennai Super Kings was his second-fastest IPL 50 off just 22 balls while he went even better in his next outing with his sixth IPL century (104) in the win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. His unbeaten 62 against Kolkata Knight Riders means he’s now the fifth highest run-scorer in the competition with a staggering strike-rate of 170.89.

A ‘sore’ injury saw him miss the game against Delhi but as his scores suggest, he looks back to his best and that bodes really well for Kings XI.

COMBINATION OF MUJEEB UR RAHMAN AND ANDREW TYE

The fact that Mujeeb Ur Rahman only made his international T20 debut two months ago in February and is now mixing it with the world’s best, speaks volumes of how highly-rated the Afghan spinner is.

Having already made history by becoming the youngest player to feature in the IPL, aged 17 years and 11 days old, he didn’t waste much time to showcase his bowling skills by taking his first wicket with his third ball against Delhi two weeks ago. He’s gone on to become a key player and today, has six wickets to his name including the last-ball scalp against Delhi that sealed victory for his side on Monday.

While Mujeeb can do the damage with the spin, Andrew Tye has been doing exactly the same with his pace. A few eyebrows were raised when the Australian was bought for a hefty price tag of  $1.4 million AUS in the auction. However, the 31-year-old seems to be well worth the investment. He has hardly put a foot wrong, claiming four two-wicket hauls in as many matches.

RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN’S CAPTAINCY

Having completely revamped their squad with only Axar Patel retained, Ravichandran Ashwin had a big task of leading from the front. History would suggest they would find it difficult to be a competitive force especially with two-time champions Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals returning to the fold after a two-year ban. But in Ashwin, Kings XI have an experienced international and one who knows how to win IPL. He may not have been quite effective as he would have liked to with the ball but his captaincy decisions on the field seem to be spot on.

MAKING MOHALI A FORTRESS AND ABILITY TO WIN AWAY FROM HOME

Delhi Daredevils, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad have all made the trip to Mohali but came away with nothing as Kings XI Punjab have been dominant on their own patch. On the road, they’ve been impressive as well with wins over Kolkata and Delhi while their only defeat coming against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their second game.

The early signs show they have the ability to win in any stadium but as the competition progresses, there will be even more at stake. Despite sitting top of the league, nothing is done and dusted yet with two tests against three-time champions Mumbai Indians to come as well as visits to Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

But, as long as they build on this encouraging start and maintain the momentum going into the business end of the tournament, there’s no reason why Kings XI faithful can start dreaming of IPL success.

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