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IPL 2020 in UAE

MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
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MS Dhoni May Be ‘Retained’ As A Mentor By CSK Ahead Of IPL 2022 Mega Auctions: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra, former Indian opener, and commentator on Thursday (October 14), made an interesting prediction about CSK skipper MS Dhoni ahead of the IPL 2021 Final. Aakash Chopra is of the opinion that MS Dhoni will be retained by Chennai ahead of the mega auctions but not as one would expect.

MS Dhoni showed his match-winning abilities in crunch situations as his 6 ball cameo of 18 runs, including 3 fours and 1 six. CSK was in a spot of bother at 149/5, and then 160/6, and MS Dhoni contributed when it mattered most.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: MS Dhoni Is Going To Be Retained By CSK, But He Might Be In The IPL 2022 As A Mentor, Not As A Player

MS Dhoni will next be seen in action on the field on 15th October 2021 during the summit clash of IPL 2021 against a resurgent Kolkata Knight Riders. The 2021 IPL final will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

“Dhoni is going to retain CSK for sure. Now in what capacity it’s up to him. It’s never been a transactional kind of relationship between the two. MSD is equal to CSK, so if he has a season in him, which is only six months away, and if he has the desire to play as he will play,” Aakash Chopra said.

“But I`m sure he`s also mindful of the fact that next year’s big auction, a lot of money is being parked on one player for the next three seasons. If that’s going to happen then you`re going to hamper the chances of creating a good team at a big auction. So if that plays out the way I think it is, MS might be there as a mentor and not as a player,” Aakash Chopra said.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

The 44-year-old feels that some things have gone Chennai Super Kings way, which led to them being exceeding expectations. He also said that Chennai went from strength to strength as they did well in their matches in Mumbai. Chennai is now in their ninth IPL final and will try to bag the trophy for the fourth time against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday in Dubai.

“Well, few things have gone their way and they have exceeded expectations, because in the first leg when they were playing in Wankhede stadium and I thought they didn’t have the side to conquer that frontier. They were extraordinary there and they have gone from strength to strength,” Aakash Chopra said.

Commenting on the players who have done well for Chennai, Aakash Chopra said, “Because the middle order hasn’t fired, so the opening partnership of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf Du Plessis has.”

“Moeen Ali in the first half of the tournament with the bat, Ravindra Jadeja`s resurgence as a T20 finisher – he did finish a couple of games on his own. Also, a lot of factors have also contributed. Lord Shardul, let`s not forget him, if they have the Lord on their side, then the light of the Lord is with them,” Aakash Chopra said.

The major reason for CSK’s success in IPL 2021 is the resounding start given by Ruturaj Gaikwad (603 runs) and Faf du Plessis (547 runs). The pair have complemented each other throughout the tournament and have been the most impressive opening partnership in the tournament, by far. Moreover, the bowlers, especially Shardul Thakur, have been clinching wickets at crucial times.

The middle-order batsmen’s form also poses a big headache for CSK despite Robin Uthappa soothing the concerns with a half-century and MS Dhoni finishing off the match with a quick cameo. If the openers don’t get a good start, then Chennai is in trouble with the bat. If the dew sets in with the ball, their bowling attack comprised of Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood, and Dwayne Bravo, among others, gets nullified and becomes toothless.

Ajit Agarkar: At The Start Of IPL, CSK Decided To Build A Team Around MS Dhoni

Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar mentioned the Indian core of Chennai as a reason for them being a strong franchise in the tournament.

“So, what they did was, at the start of the IPL, they decided to build the team around MS Dhoni and obviously got the Indian guys like Suresh Raina and M Vijay at the start.”

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

“So, the nucleus was there of the Indian players, then it becomes a lot easier to get your overseas guys. And then they kept on adding one or two players, and that’s why they have been such a good time for so long, but it is time, they will have to make changes,” concluded Agarkar.

MS Dhoni scored exactly 200 runs in IPL 2020, averaging a below-par 25 while managing only 114 runs in IPL 2021 in 15 games averaging a dismal 16.28. His strike rate is also below 120 both times and below 110 this season.

CSK Predicted XI: Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar & Josh Hazlewood. 

KKR Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (C), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy & Shivam Mavi

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
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Hardik Pandya’s Inability To Bowl In IPL 2021 May Cost Him His Place In The T20I World Cup Squad

Hardik Pandya’s failure to bowl in the ongoing IPL 2021 is likely to cost him dearly as his place in the T20 World Cup squad remains uncertain.

The final 15-member squad has to be submitted to the International Cricket Council by October 10. Any changes after the deadline will have to be cleared by the tournament’s technical committee.

Hardik Pandya Bowling [Image-Twitter]
Hardik Pandya Bowling [Image-Twitter]

Hardik Pandya’s Inability To Bowl In IPL 2021 May Cost Him His Place In The T20I World Cup Squad

There’s also a good chance that out-of-favour spinner Yuzvendra Chahal could be rewarded for his consistent IPL performances. He may find himself among the reserves, subject to clearance from the team management. Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene has admitted that Hardik Pandya’s fitness could be an issue if he is forced to bowl now. That has set the alarm bells ringing among the national selectors.

Yuzvendra Chahal was left out of the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup 2021, and he wasn’t named in the reserves as well, owing to his poor form in the last six months. Even in phase one of IPL 2021 in India, Yuzvendra Chahal could pick up just 4 wickets in 7 games at a high bowling average and never looked in a good rhythm. However, he started to get better in the series against Sri Lanka and has been a revelation since the start of the UAE phase of IPL 2021.

Yuzvendra Chahal has picked up 11 wickets in 6 games in UAE already with an excellent economic rate.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal appeals for a wicket © ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

A one-dimensional Hardik Pandya upsets the team balance since he has been picked for his all-around abilities. Chief selector Chetan Sharma had said  Hardik Pandya would be available to bowl his quota of overs. However, Hardik Pandya sat out Mumbai Indians’ first two matches after the resumption because of a niggle.

Hardik Pandya-the younger Pandya brother largely failed to hit a big knock in the first leg of IPL 2021. In 11 IPL 2021 matches so far, he scored 117 runs averaging a pathetic 14.62. After missing out on a lot of action owing to a back injury, Hardik Pandya made a phenomenal comeback in the IPL 2020 season, playing the finisher role for the team and hammering the ball in the slog overs at a strike rate of 178, unlike this season.

Shardul Thakur Or Deepak Chahar From The Reserves Will Make It To The Main Squad If Hardik Pandya Isn’t Available

The selectors are awaiting the team management’s views. The Indian support staff will leave for Dubai on Friday, barring head coach Ravi Shastri, who is already there for personal reasons. If Hardik Pandya is left out, Shardul Thakur or Deepak Chahar will make the squad from among the reserves. Talk about Varun Chakravarthy’s fitness issues have been dismissed by KKR, who feel the mystery spinner has shown huge improvement.

Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar (Image Source: @IPL)
Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar (Image Source: @IPL)

Shardul Thakur, who has been instrumental in India’s red-ball success over the past two years, made the T20 World Cup squad only as an injury reserve. The bowling all-rounder has extended his purple patch to the IPL as well.  He has consistently provided CSK with pivotal breakthroughs at just the right moment.

Shardul Thakur’s overall tally in IPL 2021 reads at 15 wickets from 14 matches at an average of 28.33. He is among the top 10 wicket-takers in IPL 2021. The right-arm pacer Deepak Chahar showed magnificent form in the first leg, picking 2 four-wicket hauls. He has picked up 12 scalps from 13 games, averaged 28.75, and had an economy of 8.02.

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Brian Lara Praised ‘Orthodox’ Orange Cap Holder Ruturaj Gaikwad But His 101* Goes In Vain

Brian Lara, the former West Indies captain heaped rich praise on CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, saying the young CSK opener is a testament to the fact that big runs can be scored in T20 cricket by playing orthodox cricket.

Brian Lara, the legendary batsman and former West Indies captain said he is hugely impressed by Ruturaj Gaikwad’s batsmanship in the ongoing 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) after the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener hit a record-breaking century, albeit in a losing cause against Rajasthan Royals in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)

Brian Lara: Ruturaj Gaikwad Is In KL Rahul’s Category

Brian Lara said CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad proves that a batsman can score much-needed runs in T20 cricket with orthodox shots and it gives him great pleasure watching the CSK opener dominate the opposition with his silky gameplay.

Brian Lara’s comments came after Ruturaj Gaikwad took the Rajasthan bowlers to the cleaners on Saturday. The opener got off to a slow start, hitting 30 runs off his first 29 balls but he ended up with 101 not out in just 60 balls, helping CSK post a mammoth 189/4 in 20 overs after RR sent them in to bat.

Ruturaj Gaikwad showcased his class, hitting spinners inside-out and sending pacers on a leather hunt with his elegance. He needed a six off the last two balls of the CSK innings against RR to get to his maiden hundred and he missed the penultimate delivery.

However, Ruturaj Gaikwad held his stance and smashed the final delivery into the mid-wicket stands to become the youngest batsman to score a hundred for CSK in the IPL.

Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)
Brian Lara (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Yeah, he could have been 135 if he had got more strike in the end overs. But it was a complete show of batsmanship. That’s what I like about him, seeing how he put that innings together, how he surged in the second half of the innings. He was just tremendous to watch,” Brian Lara told Star Sports.

“He shows that you can play good cricket shots and still score big runs. And that’s what I am proud of as a batsman. It was just remarkable and unbelievable. I will put him now in the KL Rahul category,” Brian Lara said. 

Ruturaj Gaikwad also bagged the Orange Cap from Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul, becoming the first batsman in IPL 2021 to get to 500 runs. Ruturaj Gaikwad now has 508 runs in 12 matches at an average of over 50 and a strike rate over 140. But Yashasvi Jaiswal’s 50 and Shivam Dube’s unbeaten 64 saw Rajasthan reach 190 in the 18th over.

Ruturaj Gaikwad Carrying CSK’s Batting At The Moment: Ajit Agarkar

The 24-year-old grabbed the limelight in IPL 2020, providing CSK fans something to cheer for with three fifties in a season where the 3-time champions failed to qualify for the play-offs. He has grown from strength to strength, leading the CSK batting unit. Lauding the young opener, former India pacer Ajit Agarkar said Ruturaj Gaikwad is carrying the CSK batting unit on his shoulders in IPL 2021.

“He took a little bit of time to get his first 30 rims and after that, he just took off. For me, he has been the find for CSK in the last season and a half. He is improving with every game. He is carrying their batting at the moment. He needed 6 off the last two balls. He misses one and hits the last one, it’s incredible,” Agarkar said.

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

Ruturaj Gaikwad, promising Chennai Super Kings batsman recalled how he overcame his early struggles in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 where he scored just 5 runs in the first three games.

Gaikwad smashed a hat-trick of half-centuries in the last three games to amass 204 runs averaging 51 in 6 games after scoring 5 runs in the first 3 outings. He scored unbeaten 65, 72, and unbeaten 62 as CSK won the last 3 games but finished 7th.

He has played 12 games in IPL 2021 so far amassing 508 runs averaging 50.8 besides being the 4th batsman to score a ton in IPL 2021 after Devdutt Padikkal, Jos Buttler, and Sanju Samson.

Shakib Al Hasan. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/GettyImages)
Shakib Al Hasan. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/GettyImages)
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Aakash Chopra Questions Whether KKR Contemplate Making Shakib Al Hasan The Skipper For The Remaining Games Of IPL 2021

Aakash Chopra has proposed an unconventional solution to Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) problems in IPL 2021 regarding their position in the points table and skipper Eoin Morgan’s poor form.

The cricketer-turned-commentator suggested KKR to contemplate making Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan the captain for the rest of the tournament. Aakash Chopra said he has “nothing against” Eoin Morgan and explained that Shakib Al Hasan will provide KKR’s playing XIs with more balance with his all-around ability.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Questions Whether KKR Contemplate Making Shakib Al Hasan The Skipper For The Remaining Games

Aakash Chopra’s comments came in light of KKR’s defeat to Punjab Kings (PBKS) in Dubai on Friday which landed a major blow to the two-time champions’ dreams of finishing in the top-four. Eoin Morgan came to bat at a crucial juncture in the game but registered single-digit scores. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Eoin Morgan’s lack of form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 has been a talking point in the ongoing season.

In the last five matches, since the resumption of IPL 2021, Eoin Morgan has failed to cross the double digits. He has contributed only 7,8,0 and 2 in the last 4 innings at the UAE leg. His tally for the tournament now reads at 107 runs from 11 matches at 11.89, including single-digit scores in all UAE-leg games so far.

Aakash Chopra wrote on Twitter: “Desperate times, desperate measures. Can #KKR contemplate making Shakib the captain for the remaining games? Nothing against Morgan but if runs aren’t coming, they simply aren’t. Can happen to the best of players. Shakib would give a few overs alongside his batting. Thoughts?”

Eoin Morgan, Aakash Chopra and Shakib Al Hasan (from left to right).
Eoin Morgan, Aakash Chopra, and Shakib Al Hasan (from left to right).

Meanwhile, Shakib Al Hasan hasn’t played a game in the UAE. He played in three games during the first phase of IPL 2021 in India but failed to make any notable impact – 38 runs at 12.67 and two wickets via his left-arm off-spin from three games. Picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011, he was an important part of their two title-winning sides in 2012 and 2014. In the 2012 final, his calm cameo at the end helped Kolkata clinch the title.

Aakash Chopra: Eoin Morgan Is The Weak Link In The Batting

Aakash Chopra had also spoken about Eoin Morgan’s form before Friday’s match. The former opener called the Englishman the “weak link” in the KKR batting order who needs to introspect and get his bat to “do the talking.”
The 2019 World Cup-winning captain like Shakib Al Hasan made a return to the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2020 after being one of the top buys for KKR in the 2020 IPL Auction. He also took over captaincy duties from Dinesh Karthik mid-season in 2020.

Aakash Chopra told ESPNcricinfo: “Morgan’s bat should do the talking but unfortunately that has not been the case. If the captain of your team comes to bat at No.4 or No.5 meaning that if he is the engine room of your team but he is the weak link in the batting then it is time to look inwards and understand that scoring runs is important. He makes this team a bit weak because there is no movement in the middle order except when Nitish Rana or Dinesh Karthik does it.”

KKR captain Eoin Morgan Twitter/@KKRiders
KKR captain Eoin Morgan  Twitter/@KKRiders

KKR is still placed fourth in the points table but needs to win their remaining two matches, while simultaneously hoping for at least one defeat each to PBKS, Mumbai Indians (MI), and Rajasthan Royals (RR).

KKR captain Eoin Morgan Twitter/@KKRiders
KKR captain Eoin Morgan- Twitter/@KKRiders
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We Want Some More Runs From Eoin Morgan, Says Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum, Kolkata Knight Riders coach on Friday admitted that captain Eoin Morgan’s lack of form is not a good sign and demands runs from the skipper’s bat for the upcoming matches. Kolkata Knight Riders lost their IPL match against Punjab Kings by 5 wickets.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Eoin Morgan’s lack of form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 has been a talking point in the ongoing season. In the last five matches, since the resumption of IPL 2021, Eoin Morgan has failed to cross the double digits. He has contributed only 7,8,0 and 2 in the last 4 matches at UAE leg.

Head coach Brendon McCullum says KKR will make couple of changes in Mumbai (Image Courtesy: KKR Twitter)
Head coach Brendon McCullum with skipper Eoin Morgan (Image Courtesy: KKR Twitter)

Brendon McCullum, Kolkata Knight Riders Coach Said Team Wants Some More Runs From Skipper Eoin Morgan

The skipper has managed only 17 runs in 4 innings so far when IPL 2021 resumed in UAE. After KKR’s five-wicket loss against Punjab Kings, coach Brendon McCullum also questioned Eoin Morgan’s lack of form with the bat.

“Morgan is one of our senior players, and he is one of our international batters. As captain also, in his own head he would have liked to contribute a lot more runs,” said Brendon McCullum during a virtual post-match press conference.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Actually, I think he has captained the side really well tactically. We want some more runs from him. No doubt in that, you need some runs from your overseas batter. Look, I am confident that he will come right,” Brendon McCullum added.

The 2019 World Cup-winning captain made a return to the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2020 after being one of the top buys for KKR in the 2020 IPL Auction. He also took over captaincy duties from Dinesh Karthik mid-season in 2020 but hasn’t been consistent with the bat and as skipper. He scored 418 runs from 145 games in IPL 2020 averaging 41.8 but is clearly struggling in IPL 2021 managing only 109 runs from 12 appearances averaging a pathetic 10.9.

Eoin Morgan has scored 109 runs in 11 innings so far in IPL 2021 at an average of 10.98 and a strike rate of 100.92. While there have been several instances of franchises changing their captains because of a lack of runs, KKR has stressed that Eoin Morgan will stay in the role.

Brendon McCullum: Punjab Kings Deserved To Win As They Seized The Key Moments

Punjab Kings boosted their chances of making the IPL play-offs with a five-wicket close win over KKR as effective death over bowling and smart batting by skipper KL Rahul and Shahrukh Khan shaped their crucial victory in Dubai on Friday. KL Rahul scored 67 runs off 55 balls.

He shared a 70-run stand with fellow teammate opener Mayank Agarwal (40), knocking off a 166-run target with three balls to spare. Shahrukh Khan then produced an impactful 9-ball 22-run knock when it mattered and finished the match with a six.

“We played a great game, Punjab Kings deserved to win because they seized the key moments. I still felt we had a chance in the game, with two overs to go. It was a touch and go, small margin in the game, which didn’t go our way,” said Brendon McCullum.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

Earlier, Venkatesh Iyer hit a fluent 67 while Nitish Rana produced a fiery 31 off 18 balls before Punjab Kings managed to stop KKR at 165 for 7.

“Venkatesh Iyer is definitely an all-rounder. It is not just his cricketing ability, it is his mindset and cricketing brain. He is a guy with huge ambition and has a great as a general all-rounder. I think he is one of those cricketer, who is going to get better and better,” said Brendon McCullum.

Kolkata Knight Riders will face SunRisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Sunday. KKR, who have ten points from 12 matches, now need to win their next two matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals and hope some other results go their way as well.

Suresh Raina (Image Credit: IPL)
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Stephen Fleming Unconcerned About Suresh Raina’s Poor Form In IPL 2021

Stephen Fleming, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach, has played down concerns over the form of senior batsman Suresh Raina as IPL 2021 approached the business end of the tournament.

CSK became the first team to qualify for the play-off stages of IPL 2021 following their ninth win of the campaign, but the form of experienced Suresh Raina has dipped ever since his fifty in the tournament opener back in April.

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: Twitter)

Stephen Fleming: CSK Has A Clear Role For Suresh Raina

Since his knock of 36 balls 54, Suresh Raina has added 103 more runs in 9 innings, but an unconcerned Stephen Fleming said he expects the southpaw to improve his performance as the tournament progresses.

“We have a pretty clear role for him. He has got an optimal time. We want him to bat and we’ve afforded the luxury of a player coming out and being aggressive. So, just getting the timing right without managing the batters,” Fleming said at the virtual post-match conference.

Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)

“We value his experience and everything has got a part to play in the middle. Suresh is an experienced player who has earned a bit of leeway and as the tournament goes on, his performance will improve.”

In 7 matches so far, the left-handed batsman scored 157 runs in 11 games at a below-par average of 19.62. Suresh Raina has also hit a half-century in one game. He has played exactly 204 IPL games, scored 5525 runs in IPL, and is the 4th highest run-getter in IPL history.

MS Dhoni-led CSK produced a convincing performance against bottom-ranked Sunrisers Hyderabad to maintain their remarkable consistency this season and sailed into the playoffs on Thursday with a six-wicket win at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Stephen Fleming: CSK Has A Chance To Manage The Workload Of Players

Despite registering four wins on the trot, Stephen Fleming said he is not big on momentum, which he believes can go quickly as it comes, and with the play-off berth sealed, the coach said CSK has a chance to manage the workload of players. The likes of Robin Uthappa, Narayan Jagadeesan, Krishnappa Gowtham, and Mitchell Santner may get chances in inconsequential games.

“I am not big on momentum. Momentum can go as quickly as you have it. We don’t really talk about that. What we have probably been afforded is that we can manage workloads of players a bit better,” Stephen Fleming said.

“We have got a day and travel to Abu Dhabi and a day and then a game. The opportunities for guys who are on the fringe… we have afforded that luxury now. But we won’t be too experimental,” Stephen Fleming added.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

The three-time IPL champions, who had a season to forget in 2020 as they failed to qualify for playoffs for the first time, have 18 points on the back of nine wins from 11 matches and are the first team to secure a spot in the playoffs. Stephen Fleming said they finished well after a poor start last season and took confidence out of it to emerge stronger in this IPL 2021 campaign.

Bravo back to his best, bowling at death outstanding, says CSK coach Fleming “I think I mentioned it at that time. We were really proud of the way we finished. The way we won the last four games in a row and started to get a little bit of rhythm together. In the first half of the tournament, a number of things went wrong,” Fleming said.

“Our form and confidence were really low but the way we finished was really encouraging and gave us the look of what we could be. We sat down and analyzed to get competitive and took confidence out of it and knew it was just a couple of positions that might make a better-balanced side.”

“In fact though it was a bad year, we were only a win away from a semifinal. Just about trying to create a balanced side that would suit us. It was just about creating an environment that was positive and making sure there was no doubt,” he concluded.

CSK will look to carry on the winning momentum when they next take on Rajasthan Royals at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (October 2).

Moeen Ali has played the last of his 64 Tests for England AFP/Getty Images
Moeen Ali has played the last of his 64 Tests for England AFP/Getty Images
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Moeen Ali Retires After Playing 64 Tests To Focus On White-Ball Cricket

Moeen Ali, England’s all-rounder announced his retirement from Test cricket right ahead of the upcoming Ashes. Moeen Ali, who has played 64 Tests, has decided to bid adieu to the longest format.

He has come to his decision because he is uncomfortable with possible extended time away from home in the coming months as a likely member of both the T20 World Cup and Ashes squad.

Moeen Ali has retired from Test cricket.© AFP
Moeen Ali has retired from Test cricket.© AFP

Moeen Ali Decides To Retire From Tests To Focus On White Ball Cricket

The left-handed batsman is currently in the UAE, playing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season. The spin bowling all-rounder has informed about his decision to head coach Chris Silverwood and Test captain Joe Root.

Moeen Ali celebrates after completing his hat trick against South Africa in 2017 Getty Images
Moeen Ali celebrates after completing his hat trick against South Africa in 2017 Getty Images

The all-rounder announced his retirement from Test cricket on Monday 27th September. Making his Test debut in 2014, the affable all-rounder scored 2914 runs at 28.29 and took 195 wickets at 36.66 with his off-spin. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that Moeen Ali will be Joe Root’s deputy in the fourth Test against India which turned out his last Test outing.

Moeen Ali Wants To Prolong His White Ball Career

The England all-rounder wants to prolong his white-ball career so it is likely that he will continue to play county and franchise cricket. Moeen Ali has played 64 Tests for England, managing to score 2,914 runs at an average of 28.29 with his highest score being 155 not out. With the ball in hand, the off-spinner has taken 195 wickets with his best figures being 6-53.

Moeen Ali (Photo Credit : CSK Twitter Handle)
Moeen Ali (Photo Credit: CSK Twitter Handle)

A versatile left-handed batsman and an aggressive off-break bowler, Moeen Ali was bought by Chennai Super Kings for INR 7 crores at the IPL 2021 Player Auction. The left-hander represented RCB for two seasons in 2019 and 2020 before he was released by the franchise ahead of the 2021 edition of the league. He scored 261 runs playing 9 IPL 2021 games besides picking 5 scalps as the move to promote him to No. 3 worked.

The England player played 6 matches in the first leg, scoring 206 runs in 6 innings at an average of 34.33. The leg-handed batsman owned a strike rate of 157+ and also hit 1 fifty. He also picked 5 scalps averaging an impressive 14.8.

England has picked Tymal Mills in the squad as they announced their 15-member preliminary squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021, slated to commence on October 17 in the UAE and Oman. Meanwhile, ace all-rounder, Ben Stokes has not been considered, who is currently on a break citing mental health.

Despite wickets in UAE likely to be spin-friendly, England has picked just two frontline spinners in the squad in Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid. Liam Livingstone, who has been in spectacular form with the bat recently, is expected to take up the job of the third spinner.

England’s Squad For Upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021: Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Tymal Mills, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood; Reserves: Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, James Vince

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Sanjay Manjrekar Wants Mumbai Indians To Dump The Left-Right Combination In IPL 2021

Sanjay Manjrekar said the poor form of Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan and Krunal Pandya has hurt MI.

Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels that Mumbai Indians should stop following their strategy of the left-right batting combination for some time, given their recent results in the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League 2021.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Sanjay Manjrekar Wants Mumbai Indians To Dump The Left Hand Right Hand Combination For Some Time Being

Rohit Sharma-led defending champions MI lost their third game in succession, with a 54-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday. They are currently languishing in the seventh spot on the points table. Sanjay Manjrekar feels the poor form of Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, and Krunal Pandya has hurt MI’s prospects of advancing to the play-offs and suggested that Kieron Pollard must come up in the batting order.

“It’s a pretty unique scenario where they’ve got their three main players- Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya and to an extent Krunal Pandya- looking really off-colour. So, they might want to dump the left-hand right-hand combination,” Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo.

Ishan Kishan (centre) with Krunal and Hardik Pandya. (Photo: Sportzpics for BCCI)
Ishan Kishan (centre) with Krunal and Hardik Pandya. (Photo: Sportzpics for BCCI)

“What happened today is because there was always a left-hander in that middle stage as a part of their left-right combo tactic, allowed Maxwell to bowl four overs. The left-hander was there because there was a leg-spinner operating, waiting to make his life difficult,” he said.

Hardik Pandya has scored 55 runs in 8 IPL 2021 games, while his elder brother Krunal Pandya managed only 121 runs and only 3 wickets in 10 outings. The in-form Suryakumar Yadav has managed only 189 runs in 10 IPL games, while Ishan Kishan has scored 107 runs in 8 games. This is in stark contrast to MI’s last season in UAE, where Suryakumar Yadav had scored 480 runs in 16 games, and Ishan Kishan had hit 516 runs in 14 games in IPL 2020.

Sanjay Manjrekar: Maybe Someone Like Confident Kieron Pollard Should Bat Higher Up The Batting Order

Kieron Pollard scored 268 runs in 16 IPL 2020 matches and has amassed 211 runs in 10 IPL 2021 games, averaging about 35. Pollard formed a critical part of the victorious MI squad in the 2020 season, smashing the ball at a strike rate of 191.

Mumbai Indians' Kieron Pollard after playing a match-winning knock against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL 2021 match. Sportzpics for IPL
Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard after playing a match-winning knock against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL 2021 match.
Sportzpics for IPL

“But Chahal bowled a googly to get Kishan out. So, the leggie has another delivery that will make it tough for the lefty. I would request MI to send batters as per their self-confidence at the moment.

“No point in sending Krunal, who’s feeling the pressure. Maybe someone like Pollard could come up and MI can abandon the left-right combo at least for a couple of games,” Manjrekar added.

Mumbai Indians will next face Punjab Kings on Tuesday, September 28, at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
//

Chennai Super Kings Batting More Aggressively In IPL 2021 Than IPL 2020: Eric Simons

Chennai Super Kings batsmen had planned to bat more aggressively on the slowish UAE tracks compared to last time, and that’s what they have been doing during the first two games, said CSK bowling consultant Eric Simons.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) produced a clinical all-round show to humble Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by six wickets and claim the top spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) pecking order in Sharjah on Friday.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings. Image Credits: Twitter

Chennai Super Kings Bowling Consultant Eric Simons Said Difference From Last IPL 2020 Was CSK Batted More Aggressively

The former India bowling coach said that the last IPL 2020 was a good learning experience for the Chennai Super Kings yellow brigade failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their IPL history.

“So, what went wrong here in the last IPL was a tremendous lesson for us. But I think, probably the biggest different is the aggression in our batting, we have come out lot more aggressive than we did last time,” Simons said at the post-match press conference after his side outplayed Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Eric Simmons
Eric Simons

Eric Simons also had words of praise for all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who returned with figures of 3/24, saying the team was delighted with his performance and the West Indian has bowled exceptionally well in the last few matches. All-rounder Shardul Thakur also scalped two crucial wickets, and Eric Simons said that the Palghar boy was very smart in using his tactics and ability to read the wicket and the batsman in the crunch situation.

Eric Simons: MS Dhoni-led CSK Learned Its Lesson From A Miserable IPL 2020 At UAE

Eric Simons also said that the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings outfit had learned its lesson after a horrendous show in the 2020 edition, which was also held in the UAE.

“We have already spoken about what worked for us in India during the first half of the IPL (2021). We spoke about what we did wrong here (in the United Arab Emirates last time). You know any situation, often the bad performance is the best place to learn,” Simons said.

Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)

If Dwayne Bravo put up a fantastic bowling performance, it was Shardul Thakur, who kept things tidy, scalping two wickets to dampen RCB’s batting after a fine start. CSK coach Eric Simons said the self-belief helped Shardul Thakur fight back after going for 18 runs in the first two overs.

In the 15th over, Shardul Thakur conceded just four runs and returned for his final over in the 17th over of RCB’s innings, with AB de Villiers still on the crease. He was hammered for a six, but Shardul Thakur returned and sent him back in the same over. Then came the prized wicket of top scorer Devdutt Padikkal, who was set with 70 runs. However, his slower short ball was poorly executed, and the pacer got his second wicket with RCB struggling.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
//

Hardik Pandya Is Getting Closer To Playing After Missing First 2 IPL Games In UAE :Shane Bond

Hardik Pandya is “close to playing” but Mumbai Indians won’t rush him back as the franchise is also keeping in mind the needs of the Indian team while managing his workload, MI bowling coach Shane Bond said.

Hardik Pandya, who has hardly bowled ever since returning to action after back surgery last year, missed his second successive IPL game in the UAE leg but coach Shane Bond asserted that the Baroda all-rounder was training well and hopefully will make a mark in the business end of the tournament.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya[photo: Twitter]

Hardik Pandya Is Getting Closer To Playing As MI Balancing Needs Of Team With The Needs Of Indian Team As Well: Shane Bond

Mumbai Indians suffered a seven-wicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday in their second IPL 2021 game at UAE. It was after their 20-run loss to Chennai Super Kings in the first game after the resumption.

“Look, Hardik is training well, like Rohit. He is getting closer to playing. We are obviously balancing the needs of our team with the needs of Team India as well,” Bond said at the post-match press conference when asked about Hardik’s status.

“The one thing that this franchise does very well is look after its players with an eye on not only to try and win this competition but also on the T20 World Cup that’s following on,” said the former New Zealand speedster.

“We are hopeful that Hardik will be back for the next match. As I said, he has trained today and trained pretty well by all counts.”

Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene (Photo| Mumbai Indians website)
Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene (Photo| Mumbai Indians website)

Mumbai head coach Mahela Jayawardene had earlier said that Hardik Pandya was kept out of the IPL game against Chennai Super Kings as a precautionary measure as he had a little niggle. Shane Bond backed the team management’s decision to not play the all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the first two matches. Hardik Pandya is in India’s T20I 2021 World Cup squad and may be seen bowling apart from aggressive batting.

“We are obviously desperate to put him back out on the field. But like anything you have to balance everything up, you have to also consider what the player wants,” he said.

“There’s also no point rushing him back to get injured to miss the rest of the tournament when we may have a chance to win it. I think we are doing the right thing and hopeful (that) we will get him back shortly and he’ll have an impact on the back-end of the tournament and get us into the playoffs and hopefully win the tournament from there.”

Hardik Pandya scored just 19 runs in the two innings he played in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. He picked up only two wickets in the three matches. Even in the solitary T20I, he played on the tour, Hardik Pandya scored 10 runs at a strike rate of 83.33 and conceded 17 runs in the two overs he bowled.

After missing out on a lot of action owing to a back injury, Hardik Pandya made a phenomenal comeback in the IPL 2020 season, playing the finisher role for the team Mumbai Indians and hammering the ball in the slog overs at a strike rate of 178. But in IPL 2021, he disappointed scoring only 52 runs in 7 games averaging a pathetic 8.66. He didn’t bowl in the last two IPL editions.

Shane Bond: Mumbai Indians Was Short Of Their Target Predicted Score As He Credited KKR Bowlers For Restricting Them To Below 160

On Thursday, Mumbai Indians were restricted to sub-par 155 against eventual winners KKR and Shane Bond said that the defending champions were well short of the score.

“I think it was a 175-180 kind of wicket and we were well short of the score. And KKR bowled beautifully, bowled disciplined and then came out and really put us under pressure with the bat and dominated the game and they really deserved to win,” said the 46-year-old.

Shane Bond (BCCI.TV)
Shane Bond (BCCI.TV)

Shane Bond conceded that his team was completely outplayed by the Eoin Morgan-led KKR.

“Today, they played well. You have to give them credit. They were positive, put us under pressure. We bowled some balls that by our standards weren’t good enough,” he said.

“You can say that they put pressure on us and we weren’t good enough to respond. Look, we have won four of the last six tournaments on the back of some brilliant bowling performances. We will improve, I am sure, over the next coming outings. I am not concerned about that. We were just outplayed today but expect a lot better from us in our next game.”

Rahul Tripathi and Venkatesh Iyer smashed quick half-centuries as Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Mumbai Indians by seven wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Abu Dhabi. Rahul Tripathi scored an unbeaten 74 off 42 balls and Venkatesh Iyer, playing his second IPL game, smashed 53 off 30 balls, as Kolkata raced to 159 for 3 in 15.1 overs, chasing down Mumbai Indians’ 155 for 6 quite comfortably.

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