Mumbai: Anurag Thakur was on Sunday unanimously elected as the youngest BCCI President post-Independence, while Ajay Shirke was chosen as Secretary in a smooth change of guard at a time when the world's richest Board is sailing through choppy waters. The 41-year-old Thakur replaced Shashank Manohar who quit the position to take up the ICC chairman's job. The Maharashtra Cricket Association chief and business magnate Shirke expectedly filled in the Secretary's post which was left vacant by Thakur's resignation yesterday. Senior BCCI vice-president C K Khanna chaired the Special General Meeting (SGM) and announced Thakur's name for the top job. Manohar's exit from the top post barely seven months into his tenure had necessitated the election of the new chief of the world's richest and most powerful cricket body. Soon after his resignation, Thakur got the signatures of all six east zone units in his BCCI presidential nomination from yesterday, paving the way for his unanimous choice as the 34th President of the world's most influential cricket body. In a show of solidarity yesterday, all the six east units - Cricket Association of Bengal, Assam CA, Tripura CA, NCC and Jharkhand SCA - had signed his nomination papers even though the rules required only one unit to nominate the name of the presidential candidate. It was the East zone's turn this time. The BJP MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh will be taking over the reins of the embattled Board in rather tough times as the BCCI is facing heat from the Supreme Court to implement the Justice RM Lodha Committee's recommendations for sweeping reforms. Thakur, incidentally, will go into the books as the first first-class cricketer to turn BCCI president after Raj Singh Dungarpur lay down office in 1998-99. Although cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar had held the post jointly with another Test cricketer Shivlal Yadav briefly, specifically in charge of IPL affairs, that had been done at the direction of the Supreme Court which ordered then President N Srinivasan to step aside in the wake of the 2013 IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. While Raj had played 86 first-class matches for Rajasthan and the then Madhya Bharat as a medium pacer and also claimed 206 wickets, Thakur has represented HP in a lone Ranji Trophy game as a right-hand batsman and off break bowler in 2000-11 season. Jagmohan Dalmiya, who was the consensus candidate after Srinivasan's exit, died in office last year and Manohar took over in October, 2015.
Posted by RP on 22 May
Kanpur: Gujarat Lions guaranteed themselves a top-two finish on the IPL league table, and earned themselves two shots at a place in the final, after a 96-run partnership between Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina set them up for a six-wicket win over Mumbai Indians here on Saturday. Lions ended the league stage on 18 points while Mumbai finished on 14. To make the playoffs, Mumbai will need Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils - who also have 14 points each - to lose their matches on Sunday, and lose by big enough margins for their net run rates to dip below Mumbai's -0.146. Mumbai's total of 172 proved well short of challenging as Lions, given a strong platform by Raina and McCullum, and a sure finish by Dwayne Smith - who swapped places in the batting order with Aaron Finch - cruised home with 13 balls remaining. Brief scores: Gujarat Lions 173 for 4 (Raina 58, McCullum 48, Smith 37*, Vinay 2-17) beat Mumbai Indians 172 for 8 (Rana 70, Buttler 33, Bravo 2-22, Praveen 2-24) by six wickets.
Posted by RP on 19 May
Bengaluru: Virat Kohli scored his fourth century in IPL 2016 season as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab here on Wednesday. He also topped the IPL run charts during his 50-ball 113 that powered Royal Challengers to an 82-run victory via D/L method after heavy rain delayed the start for nearly two hours. Royal Challengers' seventh win meant that they jumped from fifth to second on the points table. Chris Gayle was in his groove too, bashing 73 off 32 balls in a 147-run opening stand that floored Kings XI, who conceded 211 for 3 after opting to bowl in a 15-over shootout. Kohli began the run-fest with slapped fours of Sandeep before Gayle went 6,6,4 against fast bowler Kyle Abbott in the fourth over. KC Cariappa's assortment of legbreaks, offbreaks, sliders and even a seam-up that clocked 134kph, proved ineffective. Kohli and Gayle flayed him for 55 runs in three overs and left captain M Vijay searching for answers. Axar wasn't spared either, Gayle taking him for three leg-side sixes in four balls before holing out to the same bowler at the end of the 11th over. Four balls later, Abbott had AB de Villiers dragging on for a duck. KL Rahul applied the finishing touches with a cameo, which was studded by a reverse-scooped four, after Kohli's dismissal in the penultimate over. The pressure of a rapidly rising asking rate was too much for Kings XI. Left-arm seamer S Aravind removed Vijay and Hashim Amla early before legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal made light work of the middle order with career-best T20 figures of 4 for 25. Kings XI limped past 100 in the 12th over before rain returned at the end of the 14th to force an end to a lop-sided contest. Royal Challengers are one of the three teams in the playoffs race to have a positive net rate (+0.93), and a win in their final match against Delhi Daredevils in Raipur on Sunday could confirm their place in the final four. Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 211 for 3 in 15 overs (Kohli 113, Gayle 73) beat Kings XI Punjab 120 for 9 in 14 overs (Saha 24, Chahal 4-25) by 82 runs (D/L method).
Posted by RP on 18 May
Visakhapatnam: Fast bowler Ashok Dinda knocked over the Delhi Daredevils openers within five overs, before R Ashwin and Adam Zampa found sharp turn to smother Daredevils to 121 for 6 with Karun Nair being top scorer with 41. Rain gave Daredevils two reprieves in their defence, before the game was called off by midnight. Ajinkya Rahane's steady 42 not out steered Supergiants ahead in the chase and dented Daredevils' chances of making the playoffs. The 19-run win via D/L method helped Supergiants drag themselves off the bottom of the table. Daredevils can still qualify for the playoffs with 14 or 16 points, but their current net rate of -0.125 means they may need to win by a substantial margin in their remaining two games. Dinda got his first ball to swing prodigiously as he rapped Quinton de Kock's pad with an inducker. This was heading down leg, but Dinda had de Kock lbw for 2, with a similar ball in his second over. Dinda then prolonged the lean patch of the returning Shreyas Iyer when he bounced the opener out for his fifth single-digit score in six matches in IPL 2016. Nair began fluently with drives and pulls against the seamers before the advent of spin restored Supergiants' ascendancy. Zampa worked Sanju Samson over, stumping him with a perfect legbreak, following a brace of skiddy, quicker balls. He went on to dismiss Rishabh Pant and Nair in his next two overs. Daredevils were reduced to 70 for 5 in 14.3 overs. Ashwin, who was introduced in the 12th over, sent down an unbroken spell that read: 4-0-23-0. JP Duminy hung on for a run-a-ball 14 before he scooped Dinda to short fine leg. Morris mowed six boundaries, including two sixes and two fours off the last four balls of the innings, to finish with an unbeaten 38 off 20 balls. Usman Khawaja threw away another bright start when he sliced Morris to backward point for 19 off 13 balls, but Rahane gave the chase substance with three off-driven fours and an upper cut off a Nathan Coulter-Nile bouncer. A top-edge off another hurrying bouncer from the Australia fast bowler detached George Bailey's helmet before rain forced a delay of nearly an hour. Supergiants needed 65 off 70 balls when play resumed at 11.30pm and Bailey shook off the blow by getting on top of another lifting ball and whipping past midwicket. Sixteen balls after the first interruption, rain made another appearance. This spell brought an end to the game. Brief scores: Rising Pune Supergiants 76 for 1 (Rahane 42*, Khawaja 19) beat Delhi Daredevils 121 for 6 (Nair 41, Morris 38*, Dinda 3-20, Zampa 3-21) by 19 runs (D/L method).
Posted by RP
Kolkata: On a humid night at the Eden Gardens, Chris Gayle struck form to help Royal Challengers Bangalore stay alive in their hunt for the playoffs, with a nine-wicket win against Kolkata Knight Riders. Royal Challengers' top order made light work of the 184 target as Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers carried their stellar show from Bangalore to Kolkata, after Gayle's exit. Gayle was trapped lbw by Sunil Narine after former's 31-ball 49 and that brought together Kohli and de Villiers. They were watchful at times but picked boundaries regularly. While de Villiers targeted Ankit Rajpoot and Shakib Al Hasan, who was repeatedly swept into the stands at deep square leg, Kohli picked runs against Andre Russell and Piyush Chawla. Kohli sauntered to his eighth fifty-plus score of the tournament and de Villiers, more attacking of the two, registered his 28-ball half-century as the duo whittled down the target with eight balls to spare. Their unbeaten stand read 115 runs from 11.1 overs at a scoring rate of 10.29. Along the way, Kohli surpassed the Chris Gayle and Michael Hussey's tally of 733 runs to become the highest run-scorer in an IPL season. Knight Riders' journey to 183 had been a bumpy ride, led first by the top order and then the lower order. Iqbal Abdulla, who replaced Varun Aaron, took a one-handed catch to dismiss Robin Uthappa in the third over. Gambhir and Pandey didn't look perturbed though. While the captain relied more on nudges, Pandey's big swings towards the midwicket region kept the fielders busy, as Knight Riders crossed fifty at the end of the Powerplay. Just when they were hitting the pedal harder, Royal Challengers pulled things back with three wickets in 10 balls. Gambhir and Pandey fell just after crossing their fifties to allow Abdulla and Chahal to slow things down further. Yusuf Pathan, who made an unbeaten 29-ball 60 in a match-winning effort when the sides last met in Bangalore, was deceived in flight and was stumped for 6, while Suryakumar Yadav holed out to long-off. Knight Riders stumbled to 125 for 5. The momentum switched sides again when Russell and Shakib got together. Shakib used more of leg-side swipes and Russell unfurled his commanding swings from deep in the crease to collect boundaries at will. Even though Shakib raced to 12 off his first four deliveries, he later took singles to give the strike to Russell, who targeted the quicks more to clear the ropes and scored a quickfire 39 off 19. Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 186 for 1 (Kohli 75*, de Villiers 59*, Gayle 49) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 183 for 5 (Gambhir 51, Pandey 50) by nine wickets.
Posted by RP on 16 May
Vishakapatnam: Mumbai Indians' Krunal Pandya pummeled 13 boundaries in a 37-ball exhibition of power-hitting against Delhi Daredevils to notch his career-best score of 86 set up Mumbai's total of 206 and their subsequent 80-run win in Visakhapatnam. As a result, they climbed to third spot on the points table, and Daredevils dropped from fourth to fifth. Daredevils' bowlers forced many chips and bunts through wily changes in pace. Rohit Sharma though, peppered the midwicket region with exquisitely-timed heaves, primarily off the front foot. Just when it looked like Rohit was settling into the anchor role, he skewed a cut to point. With two legspinners and a left-arm spinner, Krunal, batting at No. 3, utilised his hitting arc through midwicket. Even googlies from Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir were heaved across the line. Krunal's brisk stand with Martin Guptill resulted in a strong platform where Mumbai could launch from towards the end. Krunal got to a 22-ball fifty with a muscular biff over long-on and celebrated it with an imitation of his brother Hardik's stance. In the 18th over, Chris Morris used variations in pace and length to remove Krunal and Kieron Pollard in the space of four balls. A 16-run penultimate over and twelve more runs in the last over gave Mumbai their fifth-highest IPL total. Daredevils were never in the hunt after losing regular wickets in the chase. Quinton de Kock's impressive pick-up strokes kept Daredevils hoping briefly. But those slim chances were ended when he was adjudged caught behind in the 10th over. By then, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair and Sanju Samson, had fallen for single-digit scores. With Harbhajan Singh ripping his offbreaks, Mumbai's challenging score seemed out of reach as the required rate climbed steeply. JP Duminy and Rishabh Pant fell off Jasprit Bumrah's consecutive balls in the search of quick runs. Daredevils folded for 126 as Mumbai recorded their third-biggest win. It was fitting that Krunal finished the game with an offbreak that turned past Zaheer's outside edge to hit the off stump. Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 206 for 4 (Pandya 86, Guptill 48, Morris 2-34) beat Delhi Daredevils 126 (de Kock 40, Bumrah 3-13) by 80 runs.
Posted by RP on 16 May
Mohali: Yuvraj Singh and Ben Cutting unleashed some brutal end-overs hitting to nail a chase of 180 in Mohali and all but seal Sunrisers Hyderabad's berth in the playoffs of IPL 2016. For their part, Kings XI Punjab became the second team after Rising Pune Supergiants to crash out of the tournament, despite a 56-ball 96 by Hashim Amla. Yuvraj showcased his clean striking, with three fours and three massive sixes, in an unbeaten 42 off 24, while Ben Cutting - playing his first game for Sunrisers - chipped in with crucial monster hits of his own. The chase was completed with seven wickets in hand and two balls to spare. The early stages of the chase were anchored by David Warner's sixth fifty of the season. Warner and Shikhar Dhawan put on a 68-run opening stand, and after Dhawan was run out, Warner and Deepak Hooda looked set to take control of the innings. Just as they seemed to have settled in, however, Warner got out softly against the run of play. Looking to tuck the ball onto the leg side, he stepped deep into his crease and trod onto his stumps. Warner's dismissal - Sunrisers' third hit-wicket in four matches - left the game open again. They still required 83 off 47 balls - a stern test for a shaky middle order - but Yuvraj and Hooda hit Axar Patel for a four and a six later in the same over. The next three overs yielded roughly ten runs apiece, courtesy Hooda's lusty hacks and Yuvraj's well-timed blows. Hooda's dismissal off the last ball of the 16th was followed by Axar's stingy 17th over, which left Sunrisers with 39 to get off the last three overs. But Yuvraj and Cutting laid into Mohit Sharma and never looked back. After Kings XI had opted to bat on a hot Mohali afternoon, Amla set a brisk pace by square-cutting the second ball for four. Amla was helped by the fact that Sunrisers' new-ball bowlers were not at their best. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was tidy but not threatening, while Ashish Nehra offered too many boundary balls in his first two overs. Despite the early loss of M Vijay - who spooned a well-disguised slower ball from Mustafizur Rahman to mid-off - the Kings XI innings soon gathered momentum. Amla stroked 14 fours and two sixes en route to his 96, receiving support from Wriddhiman Saha, Gurkeerat Singh and David Miller, in increasing order of explosiveness. Miller's unbeaten nine-ball 20 towards the end of the innings was a timely boost to Kings XI, as Amla was beginning to run out of steam. Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 180 for 3 (Warner 52) beat Kings XI Punjab 179 for 4 (Amla 96) by seven wickets.
Posted by RP on 14 May
Visakhapatnam: Marcus Stoinis grabbed four wickets as Kings XI Punjab's bowling attack restricted Mumbai Indians to 124 here on Friday. Left with a target they could get to by sticking to cricketing shots, Kings XI coasted to a seven-wicket win with three overs remaining, courtesy half-centuries from M Vijay and Wriddhiman Saha. Where Mumbai had ended their Powerplay on 21 for 2 - the lowest six-over score of the season - Kings XI ended theirs on 32 for 1. Not a massive difference, but significant given they knew they were chasing 125. Mumbai needed wickets, and a half-chance - perhaps only a quarter-chance - evaporated in the seventh over when Harbhajan Singh found turn and bounce to leave Vijay yards out of his crease. But the ball beat Jos Buttler as well, spinning a long way to the wicketkeeper's left, and sped away for four byes. Saha fell soon after both batsmen had reached their half-centuries, dragging a slower bouncer from McClenaghan onto his stumps, and Glenn Maxwell chipped one to mid-on in the same over, but by then Kings XI only needed seven to win. The team batting first had won both the previous matches at this venue and Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai captain, chose to bat, expecting the pitch to get "slower and slower". The two Sharmas - Mohit and Sandeep - and Stoinis bowled stump to stump, taking the pace off the ball, while the spinners bowled just short of a good length, denying the batsmen hits down the ground. KC Cariappa bowled legbreaks to the right-handers, offbreaks to the left-handers, and spun both varieties sharply. Mumbai's run rate was less than five an over when the 15th over began, and they had lost Jos Buttler as well, holding out when he was through a lofted drive too soon off Stoinis. Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya hit the spinners for four sixes in two overs to hint at a revival, but Stoinis dismissed both in the 17th, with Pollard another casualty of hitting across one that bounced less than expected. Mohit and Sandeep have bowled splendidly at the death through the tournament, and they were under far less pressure now than usual, with Mumbai already seven down. Only 20 came off the last three overs, with Mumbai losing two more, and Kings XI knew they only needed to bat sensibly to keep their season alive, just about. Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab 127 for 3 (Saha 56, Vijay 54*, McClenaghan 2-24) beat Mumbai Indians 124 for 9 (Stoinis 4-15, Sandeep 2-11, Mohit 2-26) by seven wickets.
Posted by RP on 13 May
Hyderabad: Delhi Daredevils were without captain Zaheer Khan who missed his second game of the season because of a niggle. Chris Morris stepped up and unfurled cutters, fast yorkers, slower yorkers, and bouncers. Amit Mishra tested Sunrisers Hyderabad with googlies and claimed two wickets, both with seam-up balls, clocked at over 110kph. Nathan Coulter-Nile, playing his second game of the season, impressed in the end overs as the bowlers triggered Sunrisers' disintegration, after a fast start from David Warner. From 80 for 1 after ten overs, Sunrisers finished with 146 for 8. Warner later said that they were 20-30 runs short. Quinton de Kock took charge of the chase. His cuts and pick-up shots flew off his bat. He looked in control until he was given out caught behind by umpire Marais Erasmus after a prolonged appeal. De Kock slashed at a short, wide ball and his helmet fell onto the ground as he completed his stroke, but Ultra Edge indicated there was no bat involved. When he was dismissed for a 31-ball 44, Daredevils needed 69 off 61 balls and Mustafizur Rahman had three overs left. Sunrisers believed but Sanju Samson and teenager Rishabh Pant showed nous to end Sunrisers' four-match winning streak. Daredevils' stand-in captain JP Duminy credited the "collective bowling effort" for the side's sixth win in ten games. Mishra was introduced into the attack in the 11th over, after offspinner Jayant Yadav completed a tidy spell. Jayant gave the ball plenty of air in his three Powerplay overs. His reward, though, came off a quicker ball when Warner backed away outside leg, played inside the line, and had his leg stump pegged back for 46 off 30 balls. Mishra cranked up his pace in his second over, ending Dhawan's sedate 34 with a 114kph seam-up ball. The variation accounted for Yuvraj Singh as well, as a leading edge carried to short fine leg. The shaky middle order was exposed. Mohammed Shami made another dent when he pinned Moises Henriques lbw for a duck. The ball wasn't coming onto the bat and stroke-making was difficult. Kane Williamson aimed to force the pace before he was bowled by an inswinging Morris full toss for 27 off 24 balls. The fast bowler capped his spell by kicking an inside edge, that rolled back up the pitch, onto the stumps to effect the run out of Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 1. Deepak Hooda stepped on his stumps off the bowling of Coulter-Nile in the 19th over. Naman Ojha was caught at square leg off a full toss in the last over. This meant that Daredevils picked up five wickets in the last five overs for 33. The returning Mayank Agarwal began brightly with a lofted drive over mid-on for four. The opener was undone by the slowness of the pitch when he sliced Ashish Nehra to extra cover in the fourth over. An unfazed de Kock cracked Nehra for back-to-back boundaries in the same over before cutting Mustafizur for four in the sixth over. De Kock's blows meant that Daredevils closed the Powerplay at 50 for 1. Henriques, however, dismissed Karun Nair and de Kock in the tenth over to tighten the chase. Samson and Pant steered Daredevils home with an unbroken 72-run stand off 50 balls. Pant, in particular, was aggressive against Mustafizur - first launching him over long-on for six and three balls later, whipping him for four past midwicket. Pant plundered 26 off Mustafizur from 13 balls, the most by any batsman against the left-arm seamer in a T20. Samson sealed the chase with a pulled six, and the night ended with Nehra warmly embracing Pant. Brief scores: Delhi Daredevils 150 for for 3 (De Kock 44, Pant 39*, Henriques 2-19) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 146 for 8 (Warner 46, Mishra 2-19, Coulter-Nile 2-25) by seven wickets.
Posted by RP on 11 May
Visakhapatnam: Sunrisers Hyderabad won a low-scoring thriller against Rising Pune Supergiants here on Tuesday, which took Sunrisers top of the points table and left Supergiants with close to no chance of qualifying for the playoffs Adam Zampa - whose figures of 6 for 19 were the second-best in the tournament's history - helped keep Sunrisers to 137, but there was also swing for the new ball, a bit of bounce, and grip for Mustafizur Rahman's cutters. The chase was a chess game. MS Dhoni promoted George Bailey and Ashwin to Nos. 3 and 4 after the early loss of both openers, with the third-wicket pair ostensibly instructed to push the ball around and stabilise Supergiants' innings, given the modest required rate. Bailey and Ashwin put on 49 in eight overs, and when the partnership ended Supergiants needed 70 from 48 balls. Dhoni didn't walk in then; he came in with 60 required from 40. It eventually came down to 42 off the last four, and Dhoni and Thisara Perera, conscious of the risk of hitting out against Mustafizur, were content to take singles and twos against the left-armer. The ploy kept Mustafizur wicketless, even as he conceded only 13 off his last two overs. Dhoni and Perera made up for that in the 18th over, in which they took 15 off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but they were still left needing 14 from the last over. Ashish Nehra started the final over with a full ball that Perera couldn't get under, and then a perfect yorker that Dhoni could only hit for one. Perera skied the third ball to extra cover, leaving 12 to get off the last three. Dhoni hammered the first of them - a full toss - over the wide long-on boundary, but when he was run-out going for a second that didn't really exist - he went for it because he simply had to - Zampa was left needing to hit a six to win it off the last ball, or a four to tie. He only managed an outside edge to a flying Naman Ojha behind the stumps as Nehra closed the match with a wide yorker. Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 137 for 8 (Dhawan 33, Williamson 32, Zampa 6-19) beat Rising Pune Supergiants 133 for 8 (Bailey 34, Dhoni 30, Nehra 3-29) by four runs.