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IPL: Mumbai outplay Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah

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Mumbai Indians have jumped to the fifth spot in IPL points table after downing Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. 

The defending IPL champions chased down the 91-run target in 8.2 overs, thanks to a Ishan Kishan special.

Nathan Coulter-Nile was awarded the Player of the Match award for his 4/14 in his quota of four overs. The Australian never allowed the RR batsmen to pull through in the first innings.

“Just trying to keep simple. It was a hard wicket to bat on. I’m not fussed about when I come to bowl,” he said.

Kishan is back with a bang

After a series of disappointing outings, Ishan Kishan returned to his absolute best against Rajasthan Royals.

Covering more than half of what the target was, Kishan remained unbeaten at 50*.

The left-handed batter was promoted up the order for the first time this season in place of Quinton de Kock. 

Opening with skipper Rohit Sharma, the lefty-righty duo gave a blistering start to the reigning champions.

By the time Hardik Pandya came in to bat at No.4, the game was already up for grabs for the defending champions.

“Obviously it’s nice to be back opening and getting the runs. It is a very nice feeling. We fielded first and got a good idea of the wicket,” Kishan said after anchoring the MI to a much-needed victory.

Rohit Sharma was all praise for the youngster.

When asked about the maiden over that Chetan Sakariya bowled to Kishan, he said: “I didn’t say anything to him [after he played a maiden]. All we wanted for him was to play his shots, which is what he did… When you are under the radar, it is important to do your job.”

Mumbai Indians 94 for 2 (Kishan 50*, Rohit 22) beat Rajasthan Royals 90 for 9 (Coulter-Nile 4-14, Neesham 3-12, Bumrah 2-14) by eight wickets.

Match preview – RCB vs SRH

Bangalore firm favourite against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Royal Challengers Bangalore will have the opportunity to run riot against Sunrisers Hyderabad before completing their quota of the games in first stage.

The two sides will clash at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium at 7:30 pm (India Time).

Best probable performers

Glenn Maxwell

Maxwell has been the highest run-getter for Bangalore playing in his first season for Virat Kohli’s team.

He’s scored five fifties already, leading him to a whopping 407 runs in 12 games.

He won the last game single-handedly with another unbeaten fifty to bag the Man of the Match award.

Chahal

On two-paced wickets, like we have seen in the UAE so far, Yuzvendra Chahal’s addition to the team seems mandatory.

The leg spinner is likely to keep the economy tight and chip away vital wickets in the middle overs.

Chahal’s overs will be very crucial for Bangalore in terms of restricting Hyderabad to a low total.

Match prediction

Sunrisers Hyderabad are all over the place with team selection, batting through the overs, and strategic moves.

Be it David Warner or Kane Williamson, the team just doesn’t win games.

In 12 contests, SRH have won only two.

Whereas, RCB’s form speaks volumes of their star-studded line-up and form. Hence, Kohli’s men are most likely to win tomorrow.

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Harsha Bhogle gives major update on Dharamshala’s weather for fifth Test between India and England

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Harsha Bhogle

Harsha Bhogle gave a major update on Dharamshala’s weather for the five days of the commencement of the 5th Test between India and England. The popular commentator and analyst took to his X account and claimed that he is set to go to the venue in the coming days and claimed to have checked the forecast for the Test between India and England.

“I am due to go to Dharamshala in a week,” wrote Bhogle on X. The fifth Test of the series will be taking place from the 7th of March to the 11th of March. Harsha claimed that just reading the forecast made him shiver. “I checked the forecast today and just reading that makes me shiver,” wrote Harsha on his social media handle. The tweet of Harsha has gone viral on X.

The analysts further added that the temperature in Dharamshala is likely to be 10 degrees centigrade at maximum. While Bhogle hoped it would change, he added that the temperature at the morning in the venue would be two degrees centigrade. The maximum temperature forecast for March 07 (at this stage, hopefully, it will change) is 10°. The temperature forecast at 7 am is 2°! Snow??” added Bhogle on X.

Will England have any advantage?

As soon as Bhogle gave the update on X, the fans started claiming that England could have an advantage given the weather. There has been an opinion that the lack of sunshine could help their pace attack more than that of India. England possess a serious weapon in James Anderson who is known to get unreal swing in overcast conditions.

In addition to the experienced pacer, England has three more talented pacers. While Mark Wood can be effective with his express pace, the likes of Ollie Robinson and Gus Atkinson could prove handy as well. The fans also felt that India had an attack to counter that of England. Either way, the 5th Test is set to be a no-dud, as it could be valuable for the teams keeping in mind the points for the WTC.

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Former Under 19 winning captain claims Big Bash league similar to Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

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Unmukt Chand

Unmukt Chand has made a huge claim on the Big Bash League. The former Under19 World Cup-winning captain of India claimed that the BBL is similar to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The fans are divided over the statement of the USA player. While some believe that his context is right, others feel that he has exaggerated his opinion on the BBL. Many consider it to be a top league in cricket.

Unmukt did accept the fact that BBL is big in its own way. But he felt that the IPL is on a different level altogether. Chand felt that the best players in the world take part in the IPL. The former DC player claimed that the management in the league is different from that of the other leagues. Chand claimed the IPL to be ten times bigger than the other leagues.

The former U19-winning WC skipper played a lot in the BBL. He represented Melbourne Renegades in the league. Having played in the league in the past, he added that BBL in Australia is good in its own way. Unmukt was of the opinion that Australia is a great place to play cricket. He felt that Australia has people who love the sport a lot.

Unmukt Chand’s comparison of BBL with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Chand felt that Australia had good ground, wicket, and stadiums. “I mean playing the Big Bash in Australia is anyways great. It is a great place to play cricket where you know you have your sport, you have your sports-loving people, they come and watch and good grounds, good stadiums, good wicket,” added Chand in his statement on Australia and BBL.

Chand claimed that BBL is similar to India’s Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. He claimed BBL to be more of its top T20 tournament than a big T20 league like the IPL. “But Big Bash was more like it’s Cricket Australia’s premier tournament like you know we have a Syed Mushtaq Ali in India. So, it’s that but obviously done at a bigger stage,” said Unmukt Chand.

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Will Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer remain in contention for national selection? Explained

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Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan

In a major move, the Indian Cricket Board has decided to terminate the central contracts of Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan and Mumbai batter Shreyas Iyer. This decision can be seen as walking the talk by the board, as players were seen avoiding crucial instructions from both the board and team management.

Now, a major question arises: will Kishan and Iyer remain in contention for further national selections? This is important as both have been key members of the Indian cricket team in the last few months. Kishan’s participation in the Asia Cup 2023 and Iyer’s in the ODI World Cup 2023 have been phenomenal for India. So, will they be in contention?

The answer is yes. Despite being omitted from the Board’s central contracts for the 2023–24 season, both will remain eligible for selection to the national team. The duo’s exclusion from the annual contracts was a result of their reported defiance of directives to participate in the Ranji Trophy. It prompts the board’s decision not to consider them for the prestigious contracts.

However, the national selection depends on various factors, which certainly do not include the central contract. Players like Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel are playing for India without a central contract. Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer’s comeback will depend on the team’s needs and their performance in the domestic and the Indian Premier League in 2024.

Who has received central contracts for India?

The central contract announcement revealed that the Grade A+ category, which houses elite players, included stalwarts such as captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja. In the Grade A category, veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, pacers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, as well as batters KL Rahul and Shubman Gill, secured central contracts.

Hardik Pandya, who led the Indian T20I squad in 2023, earned a Grade A contract, emphasising his crucial role in the team. On a positive note, the central contracts did introduce new faces like Rinku Singh and Tilak Varma, securing places in the Grade C category alongside 15 players. The category also welcomed the comeback duo Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shivam Dube, who showcased strong performances in the Indian T20I team.

The Grade B contracts included Rishabh Pant, alongside Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Pant’s return is anticipated in the upcoming Indian Premier League, while Suryakumar continues to shine as a promising batter in the T20 format.

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