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England ace Curran under fire as IPL record price tag weighs heavy



(Last Updated On: May 16, 2023)

Sam Curran is the most expensive player in Indian Premier League history but England’s World Cup hero is drawing flak after failing to justify his price tag with bat or ball.

Punjab Kings shelled out $2.23 million on the all-rounder but they are eighth in the 10-team table and barring a miracle will not qualify for the knock-out phase, AFP reported.

With a week of the group phase left, Curran was languishing at 39th on the runs table as of early Monday, with 216 from 11 innings and only one half-century.

South African six-machine Faf du Plessis at Bangalore has almost three times as many runs and seven 50s to top the batting stats.

Left-arm quick Curran, who with his run-choking bowling at the death was player of the tournament at the T20 World Cup last winter, has been even less effective with the ball.

He has seven wickets (51st position) at an economy of over 10.

Former India opener Virender Sehwag was the latest commentator to lay into the 24-year-old’s sub-par performance, comparing him unfavorably with bargain-buy teammate Prabhsimran Singh after the Indian player’s century on Saturday.

“You bought Sam Curran for ($2.23 million), what has he done?” Sehwag told the website Cricbuzz.

Sehwag, known for his straight talk, also criticized Curran last month, saying “he doesn’t have that experience yet” despite the record-setting price tag.

Curran, who had a previous stint in the IPL with Chennai, started this edition of the competition well.

He captained Punjab in three matches in the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan and played match-winning roles in two of them.

Bowling figures of 3-31 — his best this season — helped Punjab down Lucknow and then his 29-ball 55 won him the player of the match award against the Mumbai Indians.

Curran tried to make light of the fee Punjab paid, telling Sky Sports last month: “They’ve put a lot of faith in me and I guess I’m the type of person try not to put too much pressure on myself.

“Hopefully I can show some good performances for the team. The price tag is what it is.”

But Curran has since struggled with the pitches and conditions, and on Saturday pundit Simon Doull picked him as his biggest disappointment of the current IPL season.

“Sorry Sam Curran. It’s you this season so far,” the former New Zealand paceman said.

“Hasn’t bowled well enough at the death, going at over 10 an over. You buy a big-priced all-rounder, you have to deliver.”

‘A little disappointed’

Curran is not the only big buy to disappoint.

Australian all-rounder Cameron Green has been decent if not spectacular, hitting 274 runs to help Mumbai to third in the table, but taking only six wickets.

Green was the second most expensive buy in the December auction after Mumbai Indians paid out 175 million rupees ($2.11 million) on him.

Several Englishmen have failed to live up to the hype — a worry for the country ahead of the Ashes and one-day World Cup, AFP reported.

England Test skipper Ben Stokes was bought by Chennai Super Kings for 162 million rupees but managed only two underwhelming performances before being benched with injury.

Harry Brook is another Englishman who has not been at his destructive best, despite hitting the first century of this edition last month.

Brook, who was snapped up by Sunrisers Hyderabad, has scored just 63 runs in eight matches.

The right-handed batsman is 51st in the runs table.

“I was very, very excited to see Harry Brook,” Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle said.

“I thought Brook and SKY (Suryakumar Yadav), these were the two players I thought, ‘Wow! Let’s see them go head to head.

“I saw (Brook’s) hundred in Kolkata but I am a little disappointed by what followed.”


Chennai Super Kings pip Gujarat Titans in dramatic final to win fifth IPL title



(Last Updated On: May 30, 2023)

Chennai Super Kings equalled Mumbai Indians’ record of five Indian Premier League (IPL) titles after Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side triumphed in a last-ball thriller, beating champions Gujarat Titans by five wickets in Monday’s rain-marred final in Ahmedabad.

Put into bat, Gujarat racked up 214-4 after their number three batter Sai Sudharsan capitalised on a strong start and smashed an incendiary 96 off 47 balls that included six sixes.

Chasing a revised target of 171 from 15 overs after a lengthy rain interruption, Chennai survived intense drama before Ravindra Jadeja sealed their victory, milking 10 runs off the last two deliveries.

The final was originally scheduled on Sunday but incessant rain forced the organisers to move the game to its reserve day.

After Chennai skipper Dhoni won the toss and elected to field, Shubman Gill walked out to bat having smashed three hundreds in his last four innings, read the report.

The opener seemed to have luck on his side too as Deepak Chahar dropped Gill, the tournament’s leading scorer, at square leg when the batter was on three.

Gill also survived a run-out chance when Jadeja could not properly gather the ball before breaking the stumps.

The left-arm spinner, however, made amends in the same over.

Jadeja lured Gill (39) out of the crease and Dhoni proved age has not dulled his reflexes as the 41-year-old whipped off the bails in a flash.

Chahar also floored a return catch from Wriddhiman Saha, who smashed 54 before falling to the seamer with Dhoni collecting the top edge, Reuters reported.

Sudharsan then tore into the Chennai attack and hit Matheesha Pathirana for back-to-back sixes in the final over of the innings to inch closer to a hundred.

Pathirana denied him the milestone but Gujarat could not be denied a 200-plus total.

Chennai’s openers faced three balls before rain forced them off the field and held up play for two hours and 20 minutes.

Chasing a revised target on return, Ruturaj Gaikwad (26) and Devon Conway (47) plundered 72 runs from the first six overs before Noor Ahmad removed both in the seventh over.

Shivam Dube, who made 32 not out, kept Chennai in the race but Mohit Sharma removed Ambati Rayudu and Dhoni in successive deliveries to inject fresh drama into the contest.

Chennai needed 13 runs from the last over from Mohit, who conceded three runs in his first four deliveries.

Needing 10 off the last two, Jadeja hit Mohit over his head for a six and followed it with a boundary to seal a thrilling victory.

“I was just trying to swing hard because every ball was important,” Jadeja said of the dramatic last over.

“I knew anything could happen, so I was trying to swing hard and hit it straight.”

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IPL: Chennai v Gujarat final, a ‘replay’ of opening match



(Last Updated On: May 27, 2023)

After nearly two months of intense action, cricket fans around the world will get to see a “rematch” of the opening game of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) when Gujarat Titans take on Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad.

The title match of this year’s Indian Premier League is a repeat of the opening game – a coincidence that did not surprise many.

Gujarat are the defending champions and hammered Mumbai Indians by 62 runs on Friday through Shubman Gill’s stunning 126 off 60 balls – which powered Gujarat to 233-3. 

Gill hit 10 sixes in his knock and put on a second-wicket stand of 138 with Sai Sudharsan, who made 43, to tear into the opposition attack at the world’s biggest cricket stadium.

He became the leading batsman this season with 851 runs, surpassing Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Faf du Plessis (730), before he reached his IPL best and the top score of this season.

Chennai however are near permanent residents of the play-offs and will be fighting for the trophy for the 10th time.

If Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat manage to defend their title, the franchise will establish itself as the undisputed pioneers of the tournament in just their second season.

Chennai however has a lot riding on the game and victory will not only give them their fifth crown but also provide veteran captain MS Dhoni with what many expect will be a perfect send-off. Dhoni, 41, is expected to retire after having played this year’s IPL with a serious knee injury.

IPL 2023 prize money

Over the years, the prize money for the IPL, the richest T20 league in the world, has grown substantially and the winning team this year will receive a cheque of $2.4 million. 

The runners up will get $1.5 million, third place will take $840,000 and fourth place will get $780,000.

Friday meanwhile saw the back of Mumbai Indians, who went down to Gujurat in the final playoff. 

Mumbai’s coach Mark Boucher put his team’s loss down to injuries to fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer which he said left a hole in the team. 

Boucher, in his first season with Mumbai, said the replacement players offered their best efforts but were still not good enough for a place in the final.

“If you are losing out on your quality players, yes it’s going to leave a hole,” Boucher told reporters after his team’s 62-run hammering.

“Not to put any blame on anyone, those things happen in sports, injuries happen in sports and you’ve got to deal with it.”

Boucher, regarded as one of the world’s best wicket keepers during his playing days, said Mumbai may have to replace some of the team down the line.

“Hopefully the guys can get over the injuries. If they can’t, then we’ve got to look for other places,” said Boucher.

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Afghanistan beat Lebanon 3-2 in first futsal friendly



(Last Updated On: May 26, 2023)

Afghanistan defeated Lebanon 3-2 in the first futsal friendly match in Beirut on Thursday.

Reza Hussain Pur, Ali Amiri and Farzad Mahmoodi were the goal-scorers for the Afghan team in the match.

Afghanistan’s National Futsal team arrived in Beirut on Tuesday for three friendly matches.

The next match will be played on Saturday.

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