IPL 2018: Unplayable Rashid Khan brings the heat and other talking points as Kings XI Punjab capitulate against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Ashish Peter 26/04/2018
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Rashid Khan and SRH will be up against the DD. Image: IPL/Twitter.

After defending a paltry total of 118 in their win over Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad once again showed their bowling prowess as they defended a score of 132-6 to beat Kings XI Punjab by 13 runs in the IPL on Thursday.

Kane Williamson‘s men made up for an average show with the bat with a stirring bowling performance at the Rajeev Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad that saw Kings XI bowled out for just 119 runs.

Here, we look at the key talking points from another edge-of-the-seat affair in the 2018 edition of the IPL.

YUVRAJ RUNS OUT OF CHANCES

Yuvraj Singh might have returned to his ‘home’ with Kings XI Punjab, but it has simply not happened for the veteran batsman in 2018.

The 36-year-old has cut a painful picture on the batting crease whenever he has been given the chance. Struggling to generate any timing or fluency in his batting, Yuvraj’s best days look well and truly behind him.

The World Cup winner has been called into action four times this campaign and nowhere have his struggles been more evident than in his scratchy innings of 14 against the Delhi Daredevils.

That innings has broken the camel’s back for Yuvraj and he find himself out of the playing XI on Thursday with Manish Tiwary taking his place.

RAJPOOT BLOWS AWAY HYDERABAD’S TOP-ORDER

After putting in a man-of-the-match performance in Kings XI’s previous match, Ankit Rajpoot started very much in the same vein on Thursday as he took apart Sunrisers’ top-order with an exceptional display of swing and bounce.

The 24-year-old pacer removed opposition skipper Williamson in the first over itself after generating some extra bounce before dismissing Shikhar Dhawan with a peach of an out-swinger in his next over. When Wriddhiman Saha miscued a slog to be caught, Rajpoot had three wickets in three overs. The youngster could have had a fourth victim too in his third over if Andrew Tye had not dropped a straightforward catch to let off Manish Pandey.

He did return to bowl an exceptional final over of the innings where he conceded just five runs and picked up two more wickets to register the best bowling figures (5-14) so far in the ongoing edition.

KINGS XI’S COSTLY DROPS AND NO-BALL

With the Hyderabad top-order back in the shed in no time, Kings XI were sniffing blood as they sought to tighten the noose around the hosts. However, some shoddy fielding and a big no-ball prevented them for inflicting even further damage on last year’s runners-up.

Rajpoot could have had two wickets in consecutive balls after he dismissed Saha but Tye could not hold on to Manish Pandey’s mishit pull as the chance went begging. Skipper Ravichandran Ashwin himself put down an easy chance running back from mid-off to give a reprieve to the very same batsman.

Then, Barinder Sran had new batsman Shakib Al Hasan caught at third man for a duck but was retrospectively found to have overstepped the bowling crease by some distance to let off Hyderabad once again. Such was their profligacy that Ashwin’s men could well have at least half the Hyderabad line-up back in the dressing in the powerplay itself.

Two more sitters would be put down by the side in the death overs taking their dropped catches tally to four for the match.

UNPLAYABLE RASHID BRINGS THE HEAT

When Chris Gayle and KL Rahul gave Kings XI Punjab another solid start, it seemed like the visitors would romp to victory without a sweat. The Kings XI openers had raced away to a 55-run partnership before the magical Rashid Khan was introduced.

The Afghan leg-spinner had been taken to the cleaners by the same pair in the reverse clash at Mohali but at Hyderabad, he was literally unplayable.

He took out the off-stump of the well-set Rahul with a ripping leg-spinner before trapping Karun Nair plumb in front of the wickets with a sharp googly that the batsmen just didn’t pick.

In between these two wickets, the highly-rated teenage prodigy made batsmen look silly plenty of times as they struggled to read his variations. He picked up the wicket of Rajpoot in his final over to finish with excellent figures of 3-19 from his four overs. His wicket of Rahul opened the doors of victory for Williamson’s men.

KINGS XI’S MIDDLE-ORDER HORRIBLY EXPOSED

The rollicking starts given by Gayle and Rahul have meant that the Kings XI middle-order has rarely been put under pressure in their strong run. On Thursday too, the pair put on 55 runs for the opening wicket.

However, once both openers fell in quick succession, the Kings XI batsmen looked all at sea in the face of incessant pressure from the strong Sunrisers bowling attack.

Aaron Finch, Manoj Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal were all guilty of throwing away their wickets as the batsmen started a procession back to the pavilion. From 55-0, the visitors were ultimately bowled out for just as defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. For once, the rest of the Kings XI batsmen apart from Gayle and Rahul needed to be counted, but it was not to be at Hyderabad.

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IPL 2018 Preview: Shreyas Iyer begins Delhi Daredevils captaincy stint against hot and cold Kolkata Knight Riders

Ashish Peter 26/04/2018
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Iyer will face his first DD captaincy test on Friday. Image: DD/Twitter.

Bottom-of-the-table Delhi Daredevils will have new leadership in tow when they host Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL on Friday.

Having faced five defeats in six games so far, Gautam Gambhir has stood down from his role as skipper of the side with Shreyas Iyer appointed to the position.

On the other hand, the Knight Riders have blown very hot and cold in their campaign so far, though they do find themselves in fourth spot in the table. After sweeping aside Rajasthan Royals with ease at their own fortress in Jaipur, Dinesh Karthik’s men were inflicted a nine-wicket defeat by Kings XI Punjab at home in Eden Gardens.

IYER NEW FACE OF DAREDEVILS

The 23-year-old Iyer will take charge of a floundering Daredevils who have been completely abject in the competition. The young batsman has been one of the consistent performers for the Delhi franchise in their horror run but he will have his work cut out in resurrecting their miserable IPL campaign.

While Iyer takes the reins of the Daredevils, it could very well be the end of Gambhir’s playing career with the left-hander in woeful form with the bat personally. Having started with a knock of 55 in the side’s opening  game, the left-hander has only scored only 30 runs combined in his subsequent four innings.

That Gambhir will not feature against his former side, whom he led to two IPL titles, is a big possibility for Friday.

PLAYERS IN-FOCUS

It tells you all you need to know about Glenn Maxwell’s form in the IPL this year when he was not considered for captaincy before a 23-year-old youngster. The Aussie maverick has simply not come to the party in the current campaign, bar one knock of 47 against the same opposition at the Eden Gardens.

Come Friday, head coach Ricky Ponting will definitely want more from his compatriot who has not crossed the 20-run mark in any of his four other innings so far.

For Kolkata, Andre Russell has been in sensational six-hitting form and will be one to keep an eye at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. The Caribbean all-rounder might not be able to contribute with the ball due to a thigh strain suffered in the clash against Kings XI, but his batting alone makes him a match-winner for the Kolkata based outfit.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Delhi Daredevils: Prithvi Shaw, Jason Roy, Glenn Maxwell, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishab Pant (wk), Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Liam Plunkett, Trent Boult, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c, wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Piyush Chawla, Tom Curran, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav

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Virat Kohli blasts 'criminal' bowling by Royal Challengers Bangalore after IPL six-fest

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Virat Kohli was not happ

Captain Virat Kohli slammed Royal Challengers’ bowling as “criminal” after Mahendra Singh Dhoni lifted Chennai Super Kings to the top of the Indian Premier League in a game featuring a record 33 sixes.

Dhoni – who stood down for Kohli as India skipper in all formats last year – smashed an unbeaten 70 off 34 as the Super Kings chased down 206 to defeat Bangalore with two balls to spare.

Dhoni hit the ball over the boundary seven times – including to seal the winning runs – while opener Ambati Rayudu slammed eight sixes on Thursday.

Kohli was also docked his match fee of $18,000 because of the Challengers’ slow over-rate at Bangalore’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

“The way we bowled was just not acceptable, giving that many runs in the end was criminal,” said Kohli.

“Dhoni is looking in really good touch, he’s hitting the ball really well this IPL but not great to see it against us,” he added.

Dhoni, 36, displayed his signature cool at the crease in a 101-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Rayudu, who hit 82.

Some have suggested the wicketkeeper-batsman is past his prime but Dhoni’s 209 runs in six games, including two half-centuries, have been critical to putting two-time champions Chennai top of the IPL.

“What’s important in a chase is to know which bowler has how many (overs) left and who the captain will bowl when, and you play accordingly,” said Dhoni.

“You will win some, you’ll lose some but the job of the finisher is to finish the job and help others.”

This year’s IPL is offering $8 million in prize money, including $4 million for the team crowned champions at the May 27 final in Mumbai.

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