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IPL 2024: Nitish Reddy's maiden fifty propels SRH as Shashank, Ashutosh's valiant efforts go in vain (Ld)

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Mullanpur, April 10 (IANS) A brilliant stroke-filled rearguard half-century by Nitish Kumar Reddy helped Sunrisers Hyderabad prevail over Punjab Kings despite a sensational fightback by Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma after Arshdeep Singh had given them a good start with a 4-29 haul in Match 23 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at the PCA Stadium here on Tuesday.

Nitish Kumar Reddy rescued Sunrisers Hyderabad from a precarious 100/5 to reach 182/9, the 20-year-old’s mesmerising 37-ball 64 studded with four boundaries and five maximums topping an equally sensational display of swing bowling by Arshdeep Singh, two claimed two wickets in an over twice to peg back SRH. However, SRH came back strongly to take the upper hand when they reduced PBKS to 114/6 before Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma took charge and nearly pulled off a sensational victory.

With 67 needed from 24 balls, Punjab Kings had Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, the heroes of their sensational victory over Gujarat Titans, at the crease against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Match 23 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023-24 at the PCA Stadium here on Tuesday.

The two youngsters nearly pulled out another heist, with valiant efforts on Tuesday but their brilliant knocks in a thrilling finish proved futile as PBKS fell agonisingly short by two runs, despite hammering 26 from the final over, the highest score in a chase.

Shashank Singh remained unbeaten on 46 off 25 balls, six boundaries and one six, while Ashutosh Sharma finished on 33 not out off 15 balls, hitting three boundaries and two maximums, as Punjab Kings made 180/6 in 20 overs in a match in which both the teams made many mistakes. However, players like Nitish Reddy, Arshdeep, Shashank and Ashutosh showed nerves of steel as the match ended in a dramatic finish. The three young batters put up a mesmerizing display of power-hitting effortlessly and conjuring shots with ingenuity.

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In that match against Gujarat Titans played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Shashank Singh, who had hammered a 22-ball 61, and Ashutosh had blasted a 17-ball 31 as Punjab recovered from 111/5 to win the match by three wickets as they successfully chased 199 with one ball to spare.

On Tuesday, Punjab Kings were in a similar situation. While chasing 183 for victory, Shashank was batting on 19 off 14 balls and Ashutosh was on 1. The duo scored 17 runs from the 17th over with Shashank hitting Bhuvneshwar for boundaries off successive deliveries and following it up with another four as the seasoned pacer bowled a couple of wide balls.

Ashutosh blasted Pat Cummins for boundaries off successive deliveries as they scored 11 runs. With the two batters taking 10 runs off T. Natarajan with Shashank and Ashutosh scoring a boundary each, Punjab Kings needed 29 runs from the final over.

In a dramatic over, Ashutosh’s shot off Jaydev Unadkat was palmed over the rope and two wide balls later, it was deja vu as Ashutosh’s shot was once again palmed over for a six. The batters ran two doubles, thus leaving Punjab Kings 11 from two balls. Unadkat bowled another wide and Rahul Tripathi dropped Ashutosh, but they managed only one run, thus leaving PBKS leaving them needing nine off the last over. Shashank hammered a six but, in the end, their brilliant fightback went in vain as PBKS fell short by two runs.

Punjab looked down and out at 114/6 when Jitesh Sharma was out in the 16th over. However, there was not much to differentiate between the two teams as Sunrisers Hyderabad 100/5 at one stage before going on to make 182/9 thanks to Reddy’s pyrotechnics.

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Chasing 183, Punjab Kings got off to a poor start as Jonny Bairstow was cleaned up by Pat Cummins in the second over after Bhuvneshwar Kumar started with a maiden. Bhuvi made it 11/2 for SRH as Prabhsimran Singh induced a top-edge off a wide one as Nitish Kumar took an easy catch. Skipper Shikhar Dhawan was stumped by Heinrich Klaasen standing up off Bhuvi and Punjab’s woes continued. Sam Curran (29) and Sikandar Raza got starts but were out just when they looked dangerous and PBKS were down to 91/5. Jitesh Sharma did not last long and PBKS were down to 114/6 from where Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma took over.

But their valiant efforts went in vain. After a superb start, PBKS allowed SRH to score at least 15-20 runs more than they should have got considering their situation. Especially, off the last ball when Unadkat’s shot was palmed over the boundary rope, resulting in a six. Even saving those runs could have won the match for Punjab Kings on Tuesday.

Earlier, SRH found a hero in the 20-year-old Nitish Reddy after SRH lost Travis Head (21), Abhishek Sharma (16), Aiden Markram (0), Rahul Tripathi (11) and Heinrich Klaasen (9) cheaply and looked in trouble. Reddy stepped up to the plate and hammered a 37-ball 64 to give some respectability to their score. Reddy, who had played just eight T20s before Tuesday’s match, delighted the capacity crowd with some beautiful pull shots, a couple of nice cuts and ramp shots taking the ball on the up and hitting it in the air. He was dropped by Shashank Singh at the boundary.

From 14 off 18 balls at one stage, Reddy motored to 40 off 28, pulling Rabada over long leg and clubbing Sam Curran over deep square.

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Reddy, who was lucky as a skier from him just eluded Dhawan despite a valiant attempt, blasted 22 runs off the 15th over off Harpreet Brar, hitting two fours and two sixes as he completed his half-century off 32 balls, studded with three fours and four maximums to take Hyderabad to some respectability. He found a good partner in Abdul Samad, who played a nice cameo, scoring a 12-ball 25, as they raised 50 runs off 18 balls and raised SRH’s hopes of reaching a big total.

But PBKS skipper Dhawan brought Arshdeep back into attack and the left-handed pacer responded superbly by claiming two wickets in an over to push SRH back again. Struck for a four by Samad, Arshdeep bowled one far and wide outside off, and Samad ended up hitting it to Harshal Patel at deep point. A delivery and one run later, Arshdeep sent down a low full toss and Reddy tried to ramp it and found Rabada at long-off. Rabada got Pat Cummins in the next over to further hamper their progress.

Shahbaz Ahmed blasted a four and six sandwiched by a wide as Arshdeep Singh ended his fourth over with 15 runs but Sam Curran sent back Bhuvneshwar off the penultimate delivery. The innings ended dramatically when Harshal Patel palmed over the rope at long-on as Jaydev Unadkat threw his bat at a slower one.

Brief scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad 182/9 in 20 overs (Nitish Kumar Reddy 64, Abdul Samad 25; Arsndeep Singh 4-29, Sam Curran 2-41, Harshal Patel 2-30) beat Punjab Kings 180/6 in 20 overs (Shashank Singh 46 not out, Ashutosh Sharma 33 not out; Sam Curran 29; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2-32) by two runs.

–IANS

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Garnacho's bicycle kick against Everton wins Premier League Goal of the Season

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Less than 24-hours after Alejandro Garnacho scored an all important goal in Manchester United’s FA Cup final victory over town-rivals Manchester City, his goal against Everton has been named the Premier League Goal of the Season.

Garnacho scored a beautiful bicycle goal against Everton in a 0-3 victory at Merseyside Stadium on November 26, 2023. It led fans to draw comparisons with Wayne Rooney’s iconic goal against Manchester City.

Kaoru Mitoma (vs Brighton), Bruno Fernandes (vs Burnley), Saman Ghoddos (vs Burnley), Alexis Mac Allister (vs Fulham), Oscar Bobb (vs Newcastle), Kobbie Mainoo (vs Wolves), Marcus Rashford (vs Man City), Cole Palmer (vs Everton) and Moises Caicedo (vs AFC Bournemouth) were the other nine nominees for the personal honor.

Manchester United won the FA Cup final against City (2-1) on Saturday in a surprising result. Garnacho and Kobe Mainoo became the first teenagers to score in an FA Cup final since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004 (vs Millwall).

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–IANS

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Looking forward to competing in the WR Chess Masters Cup: Viswanathan Anand

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Former five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand is all set to compete in the WR Chess Masters Cup, scheduled to take place in London from October 14 to 18.

The tournament features the best 16 players across four intense rounds.

“I am looking forward to competing in the WR Chess Masters Cup, taking place from October 14th to 18th. Looking forward to see some great games,” Vishy Anand wrote on X.

The WR Chess Masters Cup have recently been officially included in the FIDE Circuit.

It will be an intense elimination tournament with a K.O. System of best-of-two games with the time control of 60 minutes for the first 30 moves, 30 minutes for the next 20 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game.

In case of tiebreaks, there will be a bidding rapid armageddon game.

–IANS

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Babar Azam slams batters for not ‘finishing well’ in second T20I against England

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Birmingham (UK), May 26 (IANS) Pakistan captain Babar Azam said his team didn’t finish well and faltered in the batting department after a 23-run loss against England in the second T20I here on Saturday.

England took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series after the first fixture was washed out due to rain in Leeds.

Chasing 184, Fakhar Zaman looked in great touch as he slammed 45 off 21 runs including five fours and three sixes but failed to take the side over the line. Babar, who scored 32 runs, said they lacked in building partnerships in the middle overs and ended on a losing side.

“It was a par score, our bowlers bowled very well. In the batting, there were moments, but we didn’t finish well. Small partnership between me and Fakhar and later on, there was no big partnership. If someone got 40s and 50s, it could have been different. We are flexible, everyone knows their role. We have decided each player’s role. If you are not in good form, we are flexible,” Babar said in the post-match presentation.

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He heaped praise on Fakhar for his blistering knock despite the fall of wickets at regular intervals on the other end.

“The way Fakhar dominated after wickets fell … if me and Fakhar had batted for three more overs, it would have been a different ball game,” Babar added.

Earlier, Jos Buttler’s 84 off 51 balls decorated with eight fours and three sixes guided England to 183/7 in 20 overs after being asked to bat first.

For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi bagged three wickets while Iman Wasim and Haris Rauf added two scalps each to their tally.

Imad remained economical in his four-over spell and just leaked 19 runs including wickets of Phil Salt (13) and Harry Brook (1). With the bat, he contributed 22 in 13 balls to keep Pakistan’s hopes alive in the match.

Commenting on his performance, Babaar said, “He is experienced, he knows how to bowl at different situations and how read the batsman. He’s a very clever bowler. In the batting, he has improved a lot, so good for us.

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“Shadab is one of the best players, batting, bowling and especially fielding. He’ll come back. We announced the team (for WC), we are giving confidence,” he added.

The third T20I between England and Pakistan will be played in Cardiff on Tuesday, May 28.

–IANS

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ECB missed trick, playing in IPL better preparation than facing Pak: Vaughan

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Vaughan opined that playing in IPL would have served English players “better preparations for the T20 World Cup than playing against Pakistan” after the hoast of players returned home from the cash-rich league.

Will Jacks, Phil Salt, and Jos Butler were among the players who ended their IPL campaign before the playoffs and returned home to participate in the four-match home series against Pakistan.

“I think you’re going to miss the trick by sending all their players home. You know, I think Will Jacks, Phil Salt, Jos Butler, in particular, playing in the IPL in the eliminators, pressure, crowd, expectation. I would argue that playing here is better preparation than playing a T20 game against Pakistan,” said Vaughan on the Club Praire Fire Podcast.

After the culmination of the series against Pakistan, England will head for the T20 pinnacle in the West Indies and the USA, starting on June 1 (local time). The defending champions will not play any warm-up match and will take on Scotland in their opening match on June 4.

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The first game of the series was called off due to rain while in the second match, England sealed a 23-run win in Edgbaston on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead.

Pakistan won the toss and invited the hosts to bat first. England skipper Jos Buttler gave his side a great start to the game scoring 84 runs while Will Jacks hit 37 as the two batters propelled their side’s total to 183 in 20 overs.

Reece Topley grabbed three wickets in the second innings with Moeen Ali and Jofra Archer chipped in with two scalps each to restrict Pakistan to 160/9.

England will now square up against Pakistan in the third game, scheduled to be played at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Tuesday, May 28.

–IANS

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IPL is better preparation for England than T20 games against Pakistan: Vaughan ahead of T20 WC

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Vaughan opined that playing in IPL would have served English players “better preparations for the T20 World Cup than playing against Pakistan” after the hoast of players returned home from the cash-rich league.

Will Jacks, Phil Salt, and Jos Butler were among the players who ended their IPL campaign before the playoffs and returned home to participate in the four-match home series against Pakistan.

“I think you’re going to miss the trick by sending all their players home. You know, I think Will Jacks, Phil Salt, Jos Butler, in particular, playing in the IPL in the eliminators, pressure, crowd, expectation. I would argue that playing here is better preparation than playing a T20 game against Pakistan,” said Vaughan on the Club Praire Fire Podcast.

After the culmination of the series against Pakistan, England will head for the T20 pinnacle in the West Indies and the USA, starting on June 1 (local time). The defending champions will not play any warm-up match and will take on Scotland in their opening match on June 4.

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The first game of the series was called off due to rain while in the second match, England sealed a 23-run win in Edgbaston on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead.

Pakistan won the toss and invited the hosts to bat first. England skipper Jos Buttler gave his side a great start to the game scoring 84 runs while Will Jacks hit 37 as the two batters propelled their side’s total to 183 in 20 overs.

Reece Topley grabbed three wickets in the second innings with Moeen Ali and Jofra Archer chipped in with two scalps each to restrict Pakistan to 160/9.

England will now square up against Pakistan in the third game, scheduled to be played at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Tuesday, May 28.

–IANS

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