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IPL 2024: Clarke terms Phil Salt as KKR's X factor after successive batting heroics

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Kolkata, April 30 (IANS) Former Australia cricketer Michael Clarke lavished praise on Phil Salt, branding him an X factor within the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) team. He highlighted that the wicketkeeper-batter’s impact goes beyond merely the runs he accumulates, underscoring the significance of how he scored them.

Salt hammered 68 runs in 33 deliveries, his fourth half-century of the season, adding 79 runs with opener Sunil Narine in the chase of 154, which guided the hosts to a seven-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals at the Eden Gardens here on Monday.

With 392 runs off nine matches in IPL 2024, Salt now stands in the fourth position in the race for the Orange Cap.

“Yeah, it doesn’t hurt Phil Salt. He’ll be very happy with his performance tonight. He’s been very good, there’s no doubt about it. Again, he can find those boundaries, in just the 33 balls. He’s had a really good IPL so far and he’s such an important player for KKR. Like I say, it’s not just about the runs he’s scoring, but it’s also about the way he’s scoring them,” said Clarke on Star Sports Cricket Live.

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Clarke further said that a lot of teams have got at least one destructive player in their top order but KKR have two in the form of Salt and Narine.

“That positive intent, he plays his spinners pretty well, very aggressive to the quicks. And when someone like him is in form, he’s that X factor. He’s that player that can really make a lot of difference like a lot of teams have got at least one of those players in their top three or four. KKR’s got two, they’ve got Narine and Salt who are very destructive and very dangerous,” he said.

Meanwhile, former India cricketer Varun Aaron lauded Varun Chakravarthy’s bowling performance against DC. The leg-spinner claimed the figures of 3-16 to restrict and adjudged the player of the match.

“The way Varun bowled today; he swung things in favour of KKR at home. He took all three very important wickets, including the captain. He bowled with a lot more flight, let the ball turn, and didn’t bowl that flat like he was bowling in previous matches. He needed this performance to boost his confidence, as he acknowledged after the presentation. Until now, he hadn’t been having the best tournament.

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“It’s crucial for any team eyeing the playoffs and the title to have all their players performing at their peak, and that’s precisely what’s happening with Rajasthan. Every player is chipping in at different times, Jurel chipped in last night. Similarly, KKR would want all of their players to get the confidence going before they eventually qualify, which I think they will,” said Aaron.

With six wins in nine games, KKR are currently sitting second on the points table, two points behind table topper Rajasthan Royals.

Kolkata will next play Mumbai Indians on May 3 at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Arshdeep’s four-fer restricts USA to 110/8 in key clash

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New York, June 12 (IANS) A clinical bowling performances by pacer Arshdeep Singh (4-9) and Hardik Pandya (2 for 14) helped India restrict host the United States to 110 for 8 in a Group A match of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.

Put in to bat first, the host had a disappointing start on a track that offered plenty of swing and seam movement. It took Arshdeep all of one delivery to strike Shayan Jahangir’s pad with a superb in-swinger.

With three overs on the scoreboard, USA were yet to score a boundary and had already lost two wickets, both in the first over to Arshdeep Singh. Andries Gous tried to slap a short-of-length delivery but was defeated by an extra bounce.

The USA’s only boundary in the Power-play came off a top edge that flew over fine-leg for six when Aaron Jones attempted to hook a Mohammed Siraj bumper. After scores of 94* and 36*, Jones couldn’t get going against India. He got away with a short ball that he top-edged for six off Siraj, but fell trying to pull Hardik as the ball skidded on quicker than he anticipated. It’s Siraj who took the catch at fine leg to effect the dismissal.

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Shivam Dube, who bowled all of one over in IPL 2024, was given the ball and USA went after him immediately with eleven runs in the over. Steven Taylor cut loose by walloping a 122kph half-tracker over deep midwicket. The USA were 42 for 3 after the halfway mark.

Axar Patel was handed the ball ahead of Ravindra Jadeja and he got the dangerous Steven Taylor (24) off his second over, after conceding 12 runs in the over. A ball after he was dismissed into the stands off a slot ball, Axar slowed it down and shortened his length nicely to have Taylor chop on while attempting a cut shot.

Nitish Kumar, who hit the last ball for a four to take their game against Pakistan into a Super Over, had a clean swing. It didn’t take him long to find his hitting range. Hardik kept bowling length and short-of-a-length but got punished at the first instance of bowling. Two balls later, he drilled another straight hit off a full delivery.

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In the following over, Corey Anderson slog-swept Axar to the deep midwicket fence. After a crawl of a first half, USA finally got momentum towards the end and were eyeing a score of 120. However, Kumar’s (27) journey was cut short by Arshdeep Singh courtesy of Mohammad Siraj picking a blinder at deep mid-wicket.

Arshdeep ended his spell with 4 for 9 as Pandya claimed a two-fer for just 14 in four overs.

Brief score:

USA 110/8 in 20 overs (Nitish Kumar 27, Steven Taylor 24; Arshdeep Singh 4-9, Hardik Pandya 2-14) against India.

–IANS

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PCB proposes Feb 19 start for Champions Trophy 2025, rejects hybrid model for India’s matches

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Lahore, June 12 (IANS) The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has proposed that the ICC Champions Trophy 2025 will start on February 19 and will be held in Pakistan, refusing to entertain a hybrid model for India’s matches, like in case of the Asia Cup 2023.

As per the PCB proposal, the ICC Champion’s Trophy 2025 will be scheduled from February 19 to March 9 2025 with all the matches to take place across three major cities — Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

As per sources in the PCB, International Cricket Council (ICC) officials, who visited Pakistan to inspect the arrangements for the event, have expressed satisfaction with the systems in place.

Interestingly, the PCB has refused to entertain a hybrid model, specifically for India’s matches, and has insisted that all matches should be played in Pakistan.

The move is expected to get a concentrated response from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which had proposed a hybrid model with India’s matches being played at neutral venues on foreign land.

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In the past, India’s matches were relocated to Sri Lanka during the Asia Cup 2023. However, this time, Pakistan is not ready to opt for a hybrid model and wants to have all matches including that of India be played in Pakistan.

“We have not opted for the hybrid model. However, we have given this leverage that India’s matches can be played in Lahore only. This way, the team will not be required to move around cities within Pakistan and its security can be well maintained in Lahore”, said a source in the PCB.

“India can be based in Lahore for the entire tournament. This would minimise logistical and security complications associated with their travel between cities”, the source added.

The mentioned special arrangement for the Indian team may also provide an easier and more convenient option to attend matches, as they would be held in one city.

“The proximity of Lahore to Wagah Border crossing is also going to be more suitable for the Indian fans. However, the question remains, if India would accept and participate in the event”, the PCB source said.

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As per the PCB’s proposed schedule for the Champions Trophy, at least three matches will be played in Karachi, which includes the opening match and a semifinal. Lahore will hold at least seven matches, including the final. Rawalpindi will host at least five matches, including a semifinal.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Indian cricket team has not played in Pakistan since the Asia Cup in 2008. The decision to travel to Pakistan for the Champion’s Trophy will rest with the Indian government, which has not favoured the cricket team travelling across the border because of Pakistan’s alleged support of terrorism in India.

The ICC Champions Trophy 2025 will be the first major international cricket tournament hosted solely by Pakistan. Previously, Pakistan had c-hosted the 1996 Cricket World Cup with India and Sri Lanka and before that co-hosted the Reliance Cup with India in 1987.

–IANS

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Australian Open: Shuttlers Prannoy, Aakashi, Malvika, Anupama reach second round

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Sydney, June 12 (IANS) Indian shuttlers had a mixed day at the Australian Open 2024 with the top male player and fifth seed H.S. Prannoy and women’s eighth seed Aakarshi Kashyap advancing into the second round in their respective categories on Wednesday.

Former Thomas Cup winner Prannoy, who is ranked 33rd in BWF World Rankings, is the highest-ranked Indian player in this event and defeated Coelho Ygor of Brazil in straight games in the event being played at Quaycentre in Sydney.

Prannoy defeated the Brazilian 21-10, 23-21 in 47 minutes to reach the men’s singles second round of the BWF World Tour Super 500 Series event with a prize fund of USD 420,000.

Sameer Verma and Kiran George also progressed to the second round while Mithun Manjunath, Ravi, Abhishek Yeligar, Raghu Mariswamy and S.Sankar Muthusamy Subramanian were eliminated in the first round of action.

Sameer Verma defeated Australia’s Ricky Tang 21-10, 21-10 while Kiran George got the better of Xiaodong Sheng 21-17, 21-10. Manjunath lost to Farhan Alvi of Indonesia 17-21, 17-21; Ravi Lost to Lin Chun-Yi of Chinese Taipei 6-21, 13-21, Yeligar succumbed to Misha Zilberman of Israel 9-21, 15-21; Raghu lost to sixth seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 6-21, 8-21 while Shankar Muthusamy went down in three games against third seed Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia 16-21, 21-18, 10-21 in a hard-fought contest that lasted just over an hour.-

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In women’s singles, Aakarshi Kashyap defeated Ukraine’s Polina Buhrova 21-14, 21-11in just 36 minutes to advance to the second round. In other women’s singles matches, Anupama Upadhyaya defeated Ling Ching Wong of Malaysia 21-14, 23-31 while Malvika Bansod defeated compatriot Keyura Mopati 21-10.21-8.

Samiya Imad Farooqui of India went down to Yu Po Pai of Chinese Taipei 23-21, 13-21, 22-24 in a well-fought encounter in 63 minutes.

In mixed doubles, the Indian pair of B. Sumeeth Reddy and Sikki Reddy defeated Malaysia’s Oi Tein Wong and Chiew Sien Lim 21-17, 21-19 but Tarun Kona and Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli lost to Malaysia’s Pang Ron Hoo and Su Yin Cheng 6-21, 11-21.

In men’s doubles, Abhimanyu Rajain and Aman Nandal gave a walkover to Aneesh Nirmal and Stephen Sam Emmanuel of Australia in their first-round match.

–IANS

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Tennis: Nadal, Alcaraz to team up in doubles for Spain at Paris Olympics

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Madrid, June 12 (IANS) The Spaniards Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal are set to join forces as doubles partners at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, to be held on the storied clay courts of Roland Garros.

Carlos Alcaraz, the 21-year-old prodigy who recently captured his third Grand Slam title at the French Open, will be back at the site of his latest triumph with a burgeoning legacy and the confidence of a champion. On the other side, Rafael Nadal’s return, with clay court dominance and an unparalleled record of 14 French Open titles and 22 major wins overall, at the Roland Garros is always met with reverence.

Nadal’s participation was uncertain earlier this year due to a series of injuries, but his tenacity saw him return to the clay courts in April, determined to give one last memorable performance.

David Ferrer, Spain’s national team coach and a former top player himself, couldn’t contain his excitement as he confirmed the dream pairing. “One pair, which I think everyone knows and was hoping for, is Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal,” Ferrer announced. “Rafa and Carlos will be playing together in Paris.”

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Nadal won his first and only Olympic gold medal in singles at the Beijing Games in 2008, a crowning achievement in his illustrious career. Now, with the Paris Games potentially marking his swan song, the opportunity to mentor and compete alongside Alcaraz adds a layer of significance to his participation.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Monank Patel out with injury as unchanged India elect to bowl against USA

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New York, June 12 (IANS) India won the toss and elected to bowl first against the USA in a Group A match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday. The USA captain Monank Patel is out due to a left shoulder injury and the host will be led by Aaron Jones.

Shayan Jahangir replaces Patel while Shadley van Schalkwyk replaces Noshtush Kenjige as India remain unchanged.

Both the teams are coming after a win and the one which will win Wednesday’s game will qualify for the Super Eight stage from Group A.

India captain Rohit Sharma said, “We will bowl first. It has played better in the last two games, but you need to assess the conditions quickly and then let the game take over. It’s all about constantly getting better and keeping the momentum going. It’s important to do the right things. That was a great game to play, we didn’t have enough runs on the board, but the bowlers came to the party and won the game for us. We’re playing the same team.”

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USA captain Aaron Jones said, “We would have bowled first as well, there’s some help for the bowlers early. He’s (Monank Patel) having a niggle and should be back quickly. It should be a good game and we’re looking to play well. The camp is very positive, just looking to play some good cricket. Shayan Jahangir replaces Monank and Shadley is in for Nosthush.”

Playing XIs:

United States: Steven Taylor, Shayan Jahangir, Andries Gous (wk), Aaron Jones (c), Nitish Kumar, Corey Anderson, Harmeet Singh, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Jasdeep Singh, Saurabh Netravalkar, Ali Khan.

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Shivam Dube, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj

— IANS

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