Knockout stage: Ups and downs as IPL2021 games enter a decisive stage of this season

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K.S Bharat of Royal Challengers Bangalore plays a shot during match 43 of IPL between the Rajasthan Royals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on Wednesday. (ANI)

As the action goes on in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, we bring you the best of glimpses from the field and off it 

Our Bureau
Dubai/Sharjah   

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) skipper Kane Williamson admitted the side didn’t put on a fighting total against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Thursday. CSK defeated SRH by six wickets despite a late wobble in the Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. SRH were only able to score 134 in the allotted 20 overs and Williamson cited this as one of the reasons for the loss.

“Not quite enough runs. It wasn’t an easy surface and although we didn’t get enough we showed a fighting spirit in the last quarter with the ball. We need 10-15 extra runs with the bat though and we need to make those small,” said Williamson during the post-match presentation.

“After the powerplay we were 40-something and although you feel like you want more, it was a good start on that surface. You want to score a few more runs though, but we saw some nice contributions from the lower order. We need to improve. This team is at the top of the table,” he added.

CSK was the first team to get knocked out in IPL 2020 and on Thursday the Dhoni-led side became the first team to qualify for the playoffs after defeating SRH by six wickets.

“If you make better decisions with the bat, the final score could have been a little more. CSK played really well. It looked challenging and variable. We are back to the drawing board,” said Williamson.

“Although every match is about the W or the L against your name, you do look at the growth of the team. This season has been a bit disjointed given that it was played in two halves, but we’ll look to grow and build some momentum,” he added.

SRH have been knocked out of the IPL 2021.

Gayle leaves early for T20 WC

Star batsman Chris Gayle left the Punjab Kings team hotel and bio-bubble on Thursday owing to ‘bubble fatigue’ accumulated over months of playing franchise and International cricket, said the IPL franchise.

The 42-year-old won’t be available now for selection for the remainder of Punjab Kings’ games. Chris Gayle has been part of bio-bubbles constantly since cricket resumed post the pandemic, starting from the 2020 Indian Premier League.

He also was part of the West Indies squads for their home games against Sri Lanka and Australia. That was immediately followed by the 2021 Caribbean Premier League, where Gayle was once again in a bio-bubble environment for the entirety of the competition.

“Over the last few months, I have been a part of the CWI bubble, CPL bubble followed by the IPL bubble, and I wish to mentally recharge and refresh myself,” said Gayle in a statement.

“I want to refocus on helping the West Indies in the T20 World Cup and would like to take a break in Dubai. My thanks to the Punjab Kings for giving me the time off. My wishes and hopes are with the squad always. All the very best for the upcoming games,” he added.

Punjab Kings said Gayle took this decision keeping in mind the T20 World Cup which begins on October 17.

The 42-year-old has opted to prioritize his mental health and take a bit of a breather from bubble environments so as to stay fresh and energized in what could be his last T20 World Cup as a player for West Indies

Dhoni thanks Fans for support and faith

After qualifying for the playoffs of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni expressed gratitude towards the fans who kept supporting the side despite the poor run in the last edition.

CSK was the first team to get knocked out in IPL 2020 and on Thursday the Dhoni-led side became the first team to qualify for the playoffs after defeating SRH by six wickets. “It means a lot, because the last time, we said we wanted to come back strong. We are known for that and there was a lot at stake. You won’t always win games and a lot didn’t go our way last time, and it’s important not to make excuses and we have done that this year,” Dhoni said during the post-match presentation.

“Not much needs to be said of the fans, who have supported us through thick and thin and I’m glad we have repaid their faith,” he added.

CSK defeated SRH by six wickets despite a late wobble on Thursday. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis scored 45 and 41 runs respectively before Ambati Rayudu and skipper MS Dhoni took CSK over the line in the final over.

“The boys did well to keep the momentum going, and they’ve taken responsibilities to keep all departments of the game in balance so the players and the support staff get the credit,” said Dhoni.

“The bounce of the wicket was different – instead of knee height, it was shin height, and once the batsmen figured out that they have to hit straight, they succeeded,” he further said.

“The bowlers tried to swing it upfront and got hit straight when they pitched it up too much, but then adjusted very well. I told the bowlers that they needed to exploit the conditions in today’s game. If the odd ball stopped early on, it started coming onto the bat later,” Dhoni added.

Mustafizur Rahman of Rajasthan Royals drop the catch during match 43 of IPL between the Rajasthan Royals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

Neesham on Ashwin-Morgan altercation

New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham has a different take on Ravichandran Ashwin-Eoin Morgan’s ‘spirit of cricket’ argument. Delhi Capitals’ spinner Ashwin on Thursday cleared the air on what exactly happened and he also gave his take on the much-debated altercation he had with Morgan during the DC-KKR game.

But Neesham cited how not running after the batsman has caused a deflection to the ball is one of those unspoken rules of cricket. The New Zealand all-rounder openly backed Morgan and also rallied behind the England team for their 2019 World Cup win despite the home team getting a debatable boundary. Neesham was asked why the Kiwis didn’t say anything when Stokes was given six runs after the ball touched his bat by mistake and went for a boundary. “Because they’re runs if the ball crosses the boundary. But the etiquette of the game is that you don’t run if you’ve caused the deflection. It’s just one of those unspoken spirit of the game things,” Neesham answered a fan’s query on Twitter.

Ashwin and Morgan were involved in a heated exchange after the former was dismissed by Tim Southee in the last over of the DC innings at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

DC skipper Rishabh Pant and Ashwin had picked a second run off the last ball of the 19th over and that seemed to have irked the KKR outfit as some consider it to be against the guidelines of Fair Play to take a run when the ball thrown by the fielder ricochets off the batter.

In a series of tweets, Ashwin defended his move and said he will always take a stand for himself because that is what he has been taught by his parents and teachers.

“Did I fight? No, I stood up for myself and that’s what my teachers and parents taught me to do and pls teach your children to stand up for themselves. In Morgan or Southee’s world of cricket, they can choose and stick to what they believe is right or wrong but do not have the right to take a moral high ground and use words that are derogatory. What’s even more surprising is the fact that people are discussing this and also trying to talk about who is the good and bad person here,” said Ashwin in a tweet.

Bharat is top-class batter: Maxwell

After registering a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) all-rounder Glenn Maxwell praised Srikar Bharat, calling him ‘genuine top-class’ batter.

Chasing 150, Glenn Maxwell and Srikar Bharat scored 50 and 44 respectively as RCB defeated Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with 17 balls to spare. With this win, RCB consolidated its position at the third spot with 14 points from 11 games. “I thought we played really well. They got off to an absolute flier and to bring them back in the last 10 overs was outstanding, then we controlled the tempo of the innings and finished it off. I have felt good since coming here, got myself into a nice routine at training and outside of training as well, just feel like it is really clicking for me. I don’t suppose it (the atmosphere) is different to any other franchise, just what we have created as a group,” Maxwell told host broadcaster Star Sports after the game ended.

Earlier, Harshal Patel’s three-wicket haul helped RCB restrict Rajasthan Royals to 149/9 in the allotted twenty overs. For Sanju Samson’s side, Evin Lewis top-scored with a knock of 58 runs from 37 balls. Yuzvendra Chahal was adjudged as Man of the Match for his two-wicket haul.

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