Dhoni’s return to top, Kohli’s lean patch and Mumbai Indians finding their form

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Chennai Super Kings Mukesh Choudhary and MS Dhoni celebrate a dismissal during the Indian Premier League 2022 cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings, at MCA Stadium, in Pune on Sunday. (ANI Photo/ Chennai Super Kings Twitter)

As the season gets into full flow, we bring to you all the action on and off the field

Our Bureau
Mumbai

Chennai Super Kings star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja last Saturday decided to step down as captain and focus on his game while Mahendra Singh Dhoni has accepted to lead the franchise again. “Ravindra Jadeja has decided to relinquish captaincy to focus and concentrate more on his game and has requested MS Dhoni to lead CSK. MS Dhoni has accepted to lead CSK in the larger interest & to allow Jadeja to focus on his game,” reads an official statement from CSK. This comes after the worst start of the season by the four-time champions in the 15th season of the IPL. In 8 games, the team has won only two games and is currently sitting at the ninth position in the points tally with four points, just above their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians.

Jadeja as well has not been at his best, managing only 112 runs in 8 innings with the bat and five wickets so far.

Meanwhile, CSK pacer Mukesh Choudhary after a match has revealed what skipper MS Dhoni told him during the last over against SunRisers Hyderabad on Sunday. Notably, Mukesh Choudhary dropped Abhishek Sharma in the powerplay. He, however, made amends with the ball by picking up a four-fer and more importantly his wickets right at the edge of powerplay brought CSK back into the game. SRH got off to a blazing start, smacking 46 off the first 4 overs but wickets on successive deliveries (Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi) in the 6th over hindered their momentum.

Mukesh Choudhary in the post-match presentation talking about that 6th over said: “A wicket hadn’t fallen yet, so I had to take my chances, I knew I dropped a catch but I had to take a wicket and thankfully that happened.”

Royal Challengers Bangalore Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis during the Indian Premier League 2022 match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings, at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Wednesday. (ANI Photo/IPL Twitter)

Warner tells Kohli to ‘stick to basics’
Australian opener and star Delhi Capitals batter David Warner has advised Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batter Virat Kohli to “stick to the basics” following his dearth of runs.

Kohli has been going through a lean patch and has struggled to score runs in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). The former Indian skipper did hit a fifty in his last match against Gujarat Titans but he took 53 balls to score 58. Warner, who is in sensational form, said every player goes through a lean patch and advised Kohli to have a couple of kids and cricket.

“Have a couple more kids and enjoy love! The form is temporary and the class is permanent so you don’t lose that. It happens to every single player in the world,” Warner told Sports Yaari founder Sushant Mehta.

“It doesn’t matter how good a player you are, you’re always going to have these ebbs and flows. Sometimes the ebb is a long way before you get back up there. Stick to the basics,” he added.

In IPL 2022, the RCB batter has scored 186 runs in 10 innings including two golden ducks.

Mumbai Indians Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the Indian Premier League 2022 cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians, at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. (ANI Photo/Rajasthan Royals Twitter)

Victory brings ‘very positive outlook’ to MI

The Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene praised the team for sticking together in tough times, and added that the aim for the rest of IPL 2022 will be to enjoy cricket for the five-time champions.

Mumbai Indians notched their first win of IPL 2022, beating Rajasthan Royal by five wickets on April 30, and after a season where they came close to winning several games before earning their first points, head coach Mahela Jayawardene stated that the victory had brought a “very positive outlook” to the entire group. “It was good to see that we managed to execute skills and at the same time finish the game off,” Jayawardene said of game against the Royals. “The bowling was pretty good… with the bat as well we were able to cross the line. We had the same opportunities through this season with the ball and the bat too, to try and finish games off, which we were not able to. So, to get points on the table, cross the line, brings a very positive outlook to the entire group.”

“Unfortunately, we had to wait for another four days before we could play another game,” Jayawardene said. “The focus has been good; we’ve had a couple of good chats. Looking forward to the next game, which is a tough one. Probably the in-form best team in the competition, and looking forward to that.”

“We just need to win matches, play some good cricket. It’s all about confidence. As players, as a group it’s been tough for us, there’s nothing to hide,” Jayawardene stated, looking ahead at the remainder of the season.

“We were not satisfied with our execution; we were not satisfied with the way we played. But everyone stuck together and worked harder. I can’t complain about the work ethic of the group. We’ve stayed together and believed in our ability. The rest of the season is going to be the same. Stick to our processes that we’ve always worked on, and make sure we win matches and go out and enjoy our cricket,” the Sri Lankan pointed.

Even though the points have not come, Mumbai Indians have continued to uncover fresh talent. Tilak Varma has been spectacular with the bat and Dewald Brevis has shown a glimpse of enormous potential. Against the Royals, mystery left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya was handed a debut and did exceptionally, while the young Hrithik Shokeen has also continued to be impressive.

You take Mumbai lightly at your own peril: Solanki

Debutants Gujarat Titans have been on a rampage winning eight out of 10 IPL matches and are on top of the points table. Rohit Sharma led Mumbai are languishing at the bottom of the points table having lost eight out of nine matches. But despite Mumbai’s poor run of form, Gujarat Titans are not taking them lightly.

“I would say that each and every one of those teams have the ability to beat any team on their day. Mumbai have a proud history if you think of the championships they have won. They are coming on the back of a win. They are a very competitive team. They have match winners and we will have to be at our best to give ourselves a chance of winning the game. You can’t take any team lightly and, for Mumbai, you can take them lightly at your own peril,” said Gujarat Titans’ Director of Cricket Vikram Solanki.

Gujarat Titans are close to booking their play-offs berth but they are not looking that far ahead and taking one match at a time. Gujarat Titans faced a rare defeat in their previous match against Punjab Kings and much to the surprise Hardik Pandya won the toss and elected to bat first and Punjab chased down a 144-run target in just 16 overs.

“I would not describe it as an experiment. All credit to Punjab to get going as far as our innings are concerned. We certainly could have done things differently; we could have done better in terms of setting that total. So, sort of acknowledge that and Punjab managed their run chase very well,” said Vikram Solanki.

Sunrisers Hyderabad Umran Malik celebrates the dismissal of Gujarat Titans Wriddhiman Saha during the Indian Premier League 2022 match between Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad, at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. (ANI Photo/IPL Twitter)

Umran Malik clocks 157 kmph against DC

Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Umran Malik clocked 157 kmph on Thursday, bowling the fastest delivery of ongoing IPL 2022.

Malik accomplished this feat during his side’s match against Delhi Capitals at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. During the final over of DC’s innings, he bowled a full-length delivery which was wide of off stump, which was hit by batter Rovman Powell for a four. Though the result was not in favour of Malik, the ball was another feather in the cap for the pacer, who has been garnering acclaim for his fast bowling, accuracy and wicket-taking ability during the ongoing season of IPL from fans and cricketers from past and present alike.

Overall, the match was not really great for the Jammu and Kashmir pacer, as he ended his four-over spell giving away 52 runs without any wicket. With an economy of 13.00, he was the most expensive bowler for SRH.

Malik has been having a great IPL so far. In 10 games, he has taken 15 wickets at an average of 22.60 and an economy of 8.92. His best bowling figures are 5/25 against Gujarat Titans.

Coming to the match, an unbeaten 122-run stand between David Warner (92*) and Rovman Powell (67*) powered Delhi Capitals to a massive 207 for 3 in 20 overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday.

It was not a day to remember for SRH’s bowling attack, as it was smashed all over the park by DC batters.

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