IPL giants Mumbai on shaky ground in play-off race
The IPL is hotting up with seven teams still in the hunt for play-off spots after five-time champions Mumbai Indians suffered a shock loss to Lucknow.
Defending champions Gujarat Titans are the only franchise to have booked one of the four play-off places, with the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad now out of contention, AFP reported.
Mumbai’s five-run loss on Tuesday at the hands of Marcus Stoinis and Mohsin Khan left them needing to win their remaining group fixture against Hyderabad, and they still need other results to go their way.
“We didn’t play well enough to win. There were moments we didn’t win. Unfortunate but we need to keep our heads high,” Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma said after the defeat.
Rohit, who led Mumbai to titles in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020, said: “We have to come out and win that game (against Hyderabad on Sunday).”
The top two teams will play the first qualifier, with the winner heading straight to the final in Ahmedabad on May 28 and the loser playing the winner of the “eliminator” between teams three and four in the second qualifier.
Lucknow, who made their IPL debut alongside Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat last year, have had a hot-and-cold season but a better run rate than Mumbai has kept them in contention for the top four even if they lose their final group game.
Four-time winners Chennai Super Kings, led by M.S. Dhoni — who is believed to be playing his final season — looked like sailing into the next round but a shock defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders kept them waiting.
They need to win their final match against the Delhi Capitals on Saturday to make the play-offs and possibly seal a top-two finish, but a loss will leave them at the mercy of other results.
Other teams in contention include Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by Faf du Plessis, as well as the Rajasthan Royals, the Punjab Kings and Kolkata.
Chennai Super Kings pip Gujarat Titans in dramatic final to win fifth IPL title
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.”
IPL: Chennai v Gujarat final, a ‘replay’ of opening match
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.
Afghanistan beat Lebanon 3-2 in first futsal friendly
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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