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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Caught & Told: IPL stunners to savour

As the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League enters its final stretch, suffice to say, the lucrative Twenty20 tournament has witnessed quite a few spectacular efforts in the field.
There may be diverse opinion about the fielding standards in the tournament, but the catching, to say the least, was spectacular. presents the best of the lot. Tell us which is the best in the poll below.
Dwayne Bravo - Shane Watson
A collage of images depicting Chennai Super Kings' Dwayne Bravo's spectacular effort in the match against Rajasthan Royals. Photograph: BCCI
Dwayne Bravo has taken quite a few brilliant catches this season in helping the Chennai Super Kings cement the top spot in the league table.
His best effort is undoubtedly the incredible one-handed catch to dismiss Shane Watson of Rajasthan Royals.
Watson (28) had settled down well even as Rajasthan chased Chennai's total of 157 for five.
It was at this stage that Bravo stunned him, and the crowd, with a brilliant effort.
Chennai went on to win by 12 runs. 
'It was a fluke,' a humble Bravo said after the match. 'I stuck my hand out and the ball got stuck there.'
KL Rahul - Wridhimaan Saha
KL Rahul of Sunrisers Hyderabad takes a catch to dismiss Wriddhiman Saha of Kings XI Punjab. Photograph: BCCI
A sharp, low, one-handed catch ensured a premature end to Wridhimaan Saha's stay at the crease. 
KL Rahul made quite an effort in taking the catch, running in from mid-off, diving forward and plucking the ball out with his right hand.
Saha's wicket reduced Punjab to 65 for four by the ninth over.
They recovered, thanks to David Miller, but failed to win. 
Tim Southee/Karun Nair - George Bailey
Rajasthan Royals players Tim Southee and Karun Nair celebrate the wicket Kings XI Punjab captain George Bailey. Photograph: BCCI
The Tim Southee-Karun Nair acrobatic relay work at the long-on boundary came about in Rajasthan Royals’ match against the Kings XI Punjab.
The remarkable effort helped their team account for rival skipper George Bailey, James Faulkner being the lucky bowler.
In that match in Pune, which Rajasthan won by 26 runs, Southee took another blinder to cut short Glenn Maxwell's innings.
David Warner - Mandeep Singh 
David Warner, captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, takes a catch. Photograph: BCCI
David Warner isn't just the tournament's highest scorer.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad's captain is also one of the best fielders. His best effort on the field came in the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. 
Warner soared high to his right and took a stunning one-handed catch to end Mandeep Singh's innings before the batsman could open his account.
The dismissal reduced Royal Challengers Bangalore to 93 for four after 12 overs. They managed 166.
The Australian then led from the front, scoring 57, as Hyderabad won by eight wickets.
Faf du Plessis - Manvinder Bisla
Faf du Plessis of Chennai Super Kings takes a catch to account for Malvinder Bisla of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Photograph: BCCI
Faf du Plessis is one of the best fielders around in world cricket, and Chennai Super Kings have benefited from his skills more often than not.
While the South African's effort to send back Corey Anderson of Mumbai Indians was top class, he bettered it with a stunner against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Manvinder Bisla (17) top-edged a delivery and the South African took a brilliant catch, running back, to set Chennai on course for a memorable victory.
Coincidentally, in both the catches mentioned, Ashish Nehra was the bowler who benefited.
Dwayne Smith - David Warner
Chennai Super Kings' Dwayne Smith's effort ends Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner's innings. Photograph: BCCI
Batting first against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Chepauk, Chennai Super Kings put up 209, thanks largely to Brendon McCullum's 100.
Dwayne Smith (27) had helped his partner add 75 runs for the opening wicket.
In response, captain David Warner led Sunrisers' charge, scoring 53, before a spectacular effort by Smith cut short his stay.
Chennai earned a 45-run victory as a result.
Glenn Maxwell - James Faulkner
Glenn Maxwell of Kings XI Punjab takes a catch to account for Rajasthan Royals' Steven Smith. Photograph: BCCI
This was, so far,  the lone game that had a 'Super Over'.
With both the teams -- Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab -- having scored 191-6, it was the latter who won the one-over eliminator in Motera.
While Glenn Maxwell failed with the bat on the day, scoring just one, he did his bit on the field, taking two brilliant catches.
His catch at long-on, to account for James Faulkner, was a supreme effort. So was the one at deep mid-wicket, which ensured the in-form Steve Smith was sent back to the pavilion even before he had opened his account.

England's loss is IPL's gain... Find out!

Pietersen will fly to India at the request of his IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad
‘I am absolutely devastated that it looks like my hopes of an England recall have been brought to a close’
‘They have used the word trust to justify not selecting me, well, trust is a two-way thing’
Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen of Surrey leaves the field. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
An extraordinary week in Kevin Pietersen's turbulent career will end with him flying back to India to play in the IPL feeling betrayed by what he described as ‘deceitful’ behaviour by the England management.
Pietersen was told by new England cricket director Andrew Strauss on Monday that he was not in his plans for this summer's Test matches due to a complete breakdown of trust.
And the flamboyant 34-year-old right-hander, who completed a career-best 355 not out for Surrey on Tuesday, responded in typically forthright manner.
"I am absolutely devastated that it looks like my hopes of an England recall have been brought to a close, especially given everything that has been said and asked of me," Pietersen wrote in a column to be published in the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.
"I had a meeting with Andrew Strauss and (England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive) Tom Harrison at a hotel in London on Monday night.
"I have never hidden my determination to once again represent England and, having played one of the best innings of my career earlier in the day, I must admit I was riding the crest of a wave.
"They have used the word trust to justify not selecting me, well, trust is a two-way thing."
Pietersen will fly to India on Friday at the request of his IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad.
"It’ll give me a good opportunity to cool down and assess what I'm going to do next. I'm just sorry it won’t be putting on an England shirt," added Pietersen, who pulled out of a deal to join the Sunrisers in order to play for Surrey and boost his chances of an England recall.
Strauss, who fired England coach Peter Moores on Saturday to raise Pietersen's hopes of a return to the team, explained his thinking at a news conference at Lord's on Tuesday.
"The truth about Kevin is that he is a phenomenal cricketer. But over months and years trust has eroded between Kevin Pietersen and the ECB," Strauss said.
"There is a massive trust issue between me and Kevin."
Despite his chequered past and undoubtedly egotistical approach to the game, it is hard not to feel sympathy for a player who has scored 8,181 Test runs, including 23 centuries.
Pietersen was sacked by England in February 2014 after being accused of being disengaged from the team during the 5-0 Ashes mauling in Australia.
A controversial autobiography further distanced him from an international recall but incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves said in March that he would be considered for selection if he made runs in county cricket.
He has done exactly that.
"I went into the meeting expecting Strauss to say that England’s batting order is good at the moment but if I continued to score runs and if an injury occurred then I would be in contention to play," Pietersen said.
"I would naturally have to earn my recall, but at least I would be eligible. But no.
"Quite simply, I feel deeply misled. I had two phone conversations with Colin Graves and he was crystal clear in saying I had to get a county, score runs and that there was a clean slate."
Pietersen said he had given up his IPL contract at great personal expense.
"It is horrendous to feel I have been led down the garden path. They knew all along this was a dead end for me.
"I am angry and hurt but right now there is nothing I can do about it. Strauss will be judged on his results."

IPL: Zaheer Khan, Shreyas Iyer help Delhi secure elusive win

Shreyas Iyer of the Delhi Daredevils raises his bat after scoring a fifty. Photograph: BCCI
Delhi Daredevils beat Chennai Super Kings by six wickets in their Indian Premier League match at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur on Tuesday.
It was the Daredevils' first win over the Super Kings after seven consecutive defeats. Their fifth win of the season, in 13 games, helped the Delhi side take their points total to the double digits. They stay seventh in the table though and are out of contention. 
An unbeaten 70 by opener Shreyas Iyer helped the Daredevils chase down a modest target of 120, with 20 balls to spare. Shreyas' 49-ball innings was inclusive of 10 boundaries and a six.
Yuvraj Singh made 32, his 28-ball innings inclusive of four hits to the fence and one over it, and helped Shreyas add 69 runs (off just 55 balls) for the third wicket. 
MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis of the Chennai Super Kings run between the wickets during their Indian Premier League match against Delhi Daredevils. Photograph: BCCI
Earlier, the Daredevils produced a disciplined bowling show to restrict table toppers Chennai Super Kings to 119 for six.
Electing to bat, Chennai found scoring difficult on a pitch which had patches of grass as they failed to build partnerships while losing wickets at regular intervals .
The two-time champions made a slow start and lost three wickets by the halfway mark before top-scorer Faf du Plessis (29 off 23 balls) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (27 off 24 balls) tried to repair the innings with a 36-run stand for the fourth wicket but in vain.
Zaheer Khan of the Delhi Daredevils is congratulated by teammate Yuvraj Singh for taking the wicket of Chennai Super Kings capytain MS Dhoni. Photograph: BCCI
For Delhi, veteran pacer Zaheer Khan (2-9) and Albie Morkel (2-21) were the top bowlers while Gurinder Sandhu and Jayant Yadav took a wicket apiece.
Brendon McCullum (11) struggled at the crease and was the first Chennai batsman to be dismissed in the sixth over bowled by Zaheer. The Kiwi drove into the hands of Delhi captain Jean-Paul Duminy at mid-off off a fuller ball outside the off-stump.
Dhoni, who hit three fours and a six, was out in the penultimate over, becoming Zaheer's second victim as Chennai ended their innings on a below par score. 
Zaheer was named the man of the match for his effort. 

India rise to 4th in ICC Test rankings annual update

India benefited from the annual update of the International Cricket Council's Test rankings as it gained four points and two places to occupy fourth in the latest chart issued on Monday.

In the annual update, the results from 2011-12 were dropped from the calculations and outcomes from the 2013-14 series weighted at 50 per cent. Thus, India's heavy defeats against England and Australia in 2011-12 were no longer taken into account.

South Africa extended its advantage over Australia from six points to 22 points at the top of the ICC Test rankings following the annual update. Australia lost 10 points from the annual update while South Africa gained six.

The annual update saw a reshuffle in the middle of the pack and now just three rankings points separate third-ranked New Zealand from seventh-ranked
Sri Lanka. Prior to the annual update, the gap between the third and seventh ranked sides was seven points.

Fifth-ranked England and sixth-ranked Pakistan slipped on the ladder after dropping five points apiece. This was after England's 4-0 win over India and Pakistan's 3-0 clean sweep over England among other results in 2011-12 were dropped from the rankings calculations.

Eighth-ranked West Indies gained five ratings points to reduce the gap with seventh-ranked Sri Lanka from 17 points to 12 points, while Bangladesh collected six points and Zimbabwe dropped 13 points as the difference between the two bottom-ranked sides increased to 34 points.

As fifth-ranked England take on New Zealand in a two-Test series on May 21 and sixth-ranked Pakistan travel to Sri Lanka next month for a three-Test series, the series outcomes may well result in significant movements on the ICC Test rankings.

'Yuvraj's Rs 16 crore price tag was market determined'

Delhi Daredevils player Yuvraj Singh. Photograph: BCCI
Delhi Daredevils CEO Hemant Dua has said that it was IPL market that decided Yuvraj Singh's price of Rs 16 crore and the franchise is firmly backing the ageing star despite his failure to turn the team's fortunes in the ongoing eighth edition of the league. 
Yuvraj has managed only 205 runs at a dismal average of 18.63 from 12 games and Daredevils are practically out of contention for a place in the play-off.
"I think we talk about Rs 14 crore-Rs 16 crore but that's all a market place. As Yuvraj had rightly said (in Vizag) that he never asked for that price. It was a market place," Daredevils CEO Dua told PTI during an interaction where he analysed the team's performance in the current season. 
He did state that they would have ideally liked to get him for lesser amount but once bidding started they had to go all out.
"Would we have liked it to be Rs 16 crores? No, as a franchise, I would want it to be as less as possible, right. But there is an opposition (rival franchises), which is there and they want the price to go up. So as I said, it was market determined," Dua explained.
Yuvraj Sing of the Delhi Daredevils reacts after a missed opportunity. Photograph: BCCI
While Dua made it clear that the franchise is behind Yuvraj he did admit that constant reminder of a big price tag affects the player as "they are also human" at the end of the day.
"At the end of day, the hype created, especially by the social media, starts hurting a player and his conscience. You have to understand that players are also human beings. 
Emotions (outbursts on failure) from all side is bound to affect a player and however big you are, you are only human. That burden does come in somewhere," Dua said, batting for the elegant left-hander, who is now past his prime. He is confident that Yuvraj will come out of his bad patch.
"Being a player that he is, he will overcome it and as a franchise we support him wherever we can. We don't see that as his fault. He is here to perform and is trying his best," the CEO added.
Yuvraj Singh during practice. Photograph: BCCI
Asked if Yuvraj and Zaheer Khan was in Daredevils' long-term plans considering their age, the CEO seemed non-committal. 
"If they are fit and happy to play, we have no problems. But when their bodies give signals it is completely up to them. A career decision is taken by the individual himself and I am no one to comment on that," he said.
Delhi Daredevils have been short of top grade current India player (save Mohammed Shami, who is injured) but the CEO didn't buy the argument that 'Retention Policy' is hurting their cause badly. Dua said that their team is getting closer towards being stable. 
"Most of the other squads are stable and our rebuilding process has kind of finished. Probably, one more year and we will be back in the charts."

Struggling Johnson, Marsh released by Kings XI Punjab

Kings XI Punjab, who are already out of the race for a place in the play-offs in the Indian Premier League, released Australian players Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson to prepare for their forthcoming two-Test series in the West Indies.
The two players will return to Australia to commence their preparations prior to next month's tour of the West Indies featuring two Test matches at Dominica (June 3-7) and Jamaica (June 11-15).
"Two of our players Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson have been granted permission to return home at their request for preparation of the upcoming West Indies Tour. While both the players have been of great significance to the team and contributed immensely, we respect our players’ decisions. We have a fine line up in place and are hopeful of a good performance in the upcoming matches," Kings XI Punjab said in a statement.
Kings XI are currently languishing at the bottom of the eight-team table with just two wins from 11 games, that includes six straight losses in their last six matches.
They have two away games in hand against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday and against Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 13 followed by a home game against Chennai Super Kings on May 16. 
Image: Mitchell Johnson of Kings XI Punjab.

Again, NO ENTRY for Shah Rukh at Wankhede stadium!

Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan. Photograph: BCCI
For the third year running after the ruckus he had created in 2012, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan will not be allowed to witness the high-profile Indian Premier League contest between his side Kolkata Knight Riders and home team Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 14.

"No, he will not be allowed as the ban continues," said an official of the Mumbai Cricket Association, which banned him for five years from entering their premises, including the Wankhede Stadium, after the actor was involved in an ugly skirmish with security staff and officials of MCA following KKR's victory over Mumbai Indians on May 16, 2012 at the stadium.

Last year, MCA was willing to lift the ban on the actor temporarily in order to host the June 2 final before it was taken away and allotted to Bengaluru by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

On May 16 this year, however, Shah Rukh will be able to witness defending champions KKR, of which he is the co-owner, taking on Rajasthan Royals at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai which is owned by another BCCI affiliate - Cricket Club of India - and is just a stone's throw away from the Wankhede Stadium.

CCI has been allotted the last three home games of the Royals this season. The 2008 champions had played their first four home games at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedaba