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Multan crowned PSL champions

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Led by Mohammad Rizwan, Multan Sultans got their hands on the coveted Pakistan Super League trophy for the first time this season.

In pursuit of 207, Zalmi finished at 159/9 to let the Sultans grab a win by 47 runs.

The Maqsood and Rossouw show

Shan Masood and Mohammad Rizwan did not kick off their innings in the best of fashion.

They got some runs under the belt, but at a comparatively snail-paced strike rate.

After their departure, it was down to in-form Sohaib Maqsood who wanted to justify the national team selectors for picking him for the upcoming white-ball series against England and West Indies.

He has been picked in place of Haider Ali for the away tours.

With a quickfire 65 off 35, Maqsood became only the third man to have scored 400+ runs in this season, just behind his captain Mohammad Rizwan who scored 500 runs.

Riley Rossouw was not holding back either.

The South African belted a 20-ball fifty before one hit too many got him walking back.

His knock helped the Sultans reached 206/4, a humongous total considering the magnitude of the night.

The Malik scares

Shoaib Malik started pretty slow.

He took six balls to open his account and tried to take a few overs to settle in.

Imran Khan got the better of him on one occasion only to call him back since he overstepped the line.

After Malik returned, he took on the bowlers and hit the ball for back-to-back boundaries until Sohail Tanvir deceived him with a sharp, timely and slow bouncer.

Imran Tahir did not miss the chance to hold onto Malik’s catch.

Sameen sizzles on the big night

Sameen Gul was bowling like a veteran on the flat Dubai track, not giving two cents about kind of red-hot form the Multan batters were rejoicing.

The right-arm pacer who impressed the cricket fraternity with his pace and lengths in the under-19 ICC World Cup in 2016 back stood tall again on the big night.

The Zalmi quick fetched two big wickets and conceded only 25 runs.

Mohammad Irfan was the other man who kept the pressure on the opposition with only 27 runs in his quota.

These were great figures when you take a glimpse at the kind of beating other Peshawar bowlers absorbed.

Wahab Riaz and Amad Butt are the two experienced men in the side, but they let themselves down with sub-standard bowling in the final.

They conceded 52 runs apiece without claiming any scalp, allowing the Multan middle-order to reach a big total.

The game-changing over

Shane Rutherford was looking in a golden touch until he met Imran Tahir in the 17th over.

He had two big sixes and seemingly threatened Multan’s title hopes.

But Tahir had other plans.

After sending Rutherford back to the dressing room with an inch-perfect googly, he dismissed Wahab Riaz and Muhammad Imran on a duck.

His three wickets and two runs in the final over of his quota took the game away from Peshawar Zalmi in a jiffy.

Multan Sultans 206 for 4 (Maqsood 65*, Rossouw 50, Gul 2-26) beat Peshawar Zalmi 159/9 (Malik 48, Tahir 3-33) by 47 runs.

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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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