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Ali, Mustafa clinch Himalayan Drive 5 title

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5th JK Tyre Himalayan Drive

Siliguri (West Bengal), March 2 : Unlike the serpentine mountain roads the rallyists traversed during the course of the five-day Biswa Bangla JK Tyre Himalayan Drive 5, the results had few twists and turns as favourites Ajgar Ali and Mohammed Mustafa won the title here on Thursday.

The reigning national Time Speed Distance (TSD) champions led from the first day and were on top on all three days barring the final day where they finished second to score over others as the marathon rally ended at Club Montana Vista next to Siliguri’s City Centre.

This was the duo’s second title in this competition, the first coming in the inaugural edition in 2013.

The Bengal-Tamil Nadu pair, who have won India’s premier rallies like the Raid de Himalaya and Desert Storm in the adventure categories, were helped by the fact that title contenders Subir Roy and Nirav Mehta pulled out of the reckoning on the second day due to technical snag.

In the open category also, Amit Garg and Abhishek Khemka led from the first day to sweep away the crown.

As per the provisional results, Deep Dutta and Prakash Muthuswamy ranked second and Ashish Budhia and Arindam Ghosh came third in the national rally.

The fourth and fifth positions went to Vikay Kumar Sharma and Chandan Sen and Sandip Mukherjee and Nagarajan Thangaraj respectively.

In the open category, Shrenique Golecha and Sashi Jain ranked second, followed by Pranjal More and Milindo Paul in the third position, Shailesh Jha and Kaushik Halder in fourth position and Bishal Tamang and Vivek Thakuri in the fifth.

The flag off ceremony on Thursday morning was from the town square of Hile (6480 feet), a mountain town nestled in the eastern Himalayas.

Nepal Army’s Colonel Vishwa Rawat, Dhankuta district’s Chief District Officer Prem Prakash Uprety and some other local dignitaries flagged off the contestants with townsfolk lining the streets and giving a warm send-off to the rallyists.

Overall, the participants drove more than 1,250 km through forests, riverbeds, mountain roads and dirt tracks across three countries (India, Bhutan, Nepal) over five days.

There were four cars from Nepal which also took part, a first time in this competition.

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IPL: Punjab stun Delhi in last-ball thriller to clinch top spot

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New Delhi, Apr. 24: In another thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) game this season, the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) floored the Delhi Daredevils (DD) in a closely-fought, last-ball thriller, here at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Monday.

Kings XI Punjab pipped Delhi Daredevils by four runs and with this nail-biting win over Delhi also lifted Punjab to the top spot in the points table.

Chasing a paltry 144-run target, lack of big partnerships hurt Delhi as they suffered a hattrick of defeats in this year’s edition of the cash-rich league.

Delhi started their proceedings on a shaky note as pacer Ankit Rajpoot came with the first breakthrough for Punjab in the third over, dismissing opener Prithvi Shaw for 22 runs.

Incoming batter Glen Maxwell (12) and skipper Gautam Gambhir (4) once again struggled to gather runs as both were back in the dug-out in the fifth and sixth over respectively, leaving Delhi at 42/3.

Gambhir’s dismissal brought Shreyas Iyer in the middle, who tried his best to change Delhi’s fortune, but lacked partnership from the other end.

Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman struck in the ninth over to dismiss in-form Rishabh Pant (4) cheaply. All-rounder Daniel Christian (6) was the next to fall for Delhi however, Iyer kept the scoreboard ticking.

With the match slipping from Delhi’s hand as the host were reeling at 76/5, Iyer and Rahul Tewatia (24 off 21 balls) stiched a 47-run partnership for the sixth wicket, bringing back the host back in the contest.

As the low-scoring issue went to the final over with Delhi needing 17 runs, Iyer six off the first delivery gave Delhi a ray of hope. However, Iyer failed to give a finishing touch to his fighting knock as Delhi fell short of the 144-run target by four runs.

For Punjab, Rajpoot, Rahman and Andrew Tye bagged two wickets apiece while Barinder Sran took one wicket.

With this nail-biting win, Punjab one again have become the table toppers with five wins from six games and 10 points in their kitty. On the other hand, Delhi continues to be seated at the bottom with just two points.

Earlier, a disciplined bowling effort by Delhi restricted Punjab to a moderate 143/8.

Pacer Liam Plunkett scalped three wickets while Avesh Khan and Trent Boult chipped in with two each to hurt the Punjab’s batting line-up.

Put in to bat, the visitors received the early blow when Avesh dismissed opener Aaron Finch (2) in the second over.

Incoming batter Mayank Agarwal and opener Lokesh Rahul (23) then showed some resistance, putting a 36-run partnership for the second wicket to take Punjab to 42 runs. However, Plunkett struck in the fifth over to put an end to Rahul’s innings.

Agarwal (21) was the next to depart as in-form Plunkett struck again in the eighth over, which left Punjab reeling at 60/3.

After adding 15 more runs tot he total, Avesh sent back veteran batsman Yuvraj Singh (14) to make things worse for the visitors.

Yuvraj’s fall brought Karun Nair in the middle, who showed a little fight against the hosts and slammed 34 runs to take his team past the 100-run mark before falling in the 17th over to Plunkett.

Delhi’s Daniel Christian also joined the party and dismissed David Miller (26) with Punjab’s scorecard reading 127/6.

Meagre contributions by Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (6 runs off 7 balls), Andrew Tye (3) and with the help of 14 extra runs, Punjab managed to put 143

Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 143/8 (Karun Nair 34, Lokesh Rahul 23; Liam Plunkett 3/17) beat Delhi Daredevils 139/8 (Shreyas Iyer 57, Rahul Tewatia 24; Ankit Rajpoot 2/23) by 4 runs.

 

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Will take a call on my career after 2019 World Cup, says Yuvraj Singh

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YUVRAJ SINGH

New Delhi, April 23: Flamboyant Indian batsman ‘Yuvraj Singh’ has revealed that he will take a call on his career after the ICC World Cup 2019, scheduled to be held in England and Wales.

India’s 2011 World Cup winning hero, Yuvraj last represented the country during the limited-overs tour of the West Indies in 2017. “I am going to look to play till 2019, whatever cricket I get to play. I will take a call when that year is over,” Yuvraj told news agency ANI.

The 36-year-old said that he has been playing for India for nearly two decades and will have to retire someday.

“Everybody has to take a decision after a while. I have been playing international cricket since 2000, it has been almost 17-18 years on and off. So, I will definitely take a call after 2019,” he further added.

Singh also spoke about his Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), adding that their immediate goal is to qualify for the semi-finals.

“We are looking ahead to first qualify in the last four and I think we have got a great team this year. We have got a very powerful batting attack, smart bowling attack, and hopefully we look to qualify and then see if we can win the finals,” he said.

The batsman was all praises for his teammate and star batsman Chris Gayle, who recently scored a century against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) on April 19. He also added that their main competition this season is Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

“Oh, I am loving it. Chris has always been a friend off the field. He has been a great batsman, probably one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world and performing like a boss on the field. I am really happy for him and the way he is batting,” he said.

“T20 cricket is unpredictable. Anybody can win on any day. But Chennai has always been a very consistent team and KKR has been playing really well. I think these are two really good teams in the IPL,” he concluded.

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are currently at second rank on the IPL points table with four victories and one loss.

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IPL: Rajasthan beat Mumbai By 3 wickets, jumps to 5th spot

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PC- @IPL/Twitter

Jaipur, April 23: K. Gowthams quickfire 33 not out off 11 deliveries helped Rajasthan Royals defeat Mumbai Indians by three wickets here on Sunday as they ended their two-match losing streak in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

In pursuit of Mumbai’s 167/7, powered by half-centuries from Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, Rajasthan were in trouble having lost six wickets for 125 runs till 17.1 overs. But 29-year-old Karnataka bowling all-rounder Gowtham whacked four fours and two sixes to see Rajasthan overhaul Mumbai target with two deliveries to spare.

Earlier in the first innings, Yadav and Kishan put on an excellent batting display to add 129 runs between them off 82 deliveries coming together after the early departure of Mumbai opener Evin Lewis.

Yadav scored a whirlwind knock of 72 runs, smashing six boundaries and three hits into the stands during his 47-ball stay in the middle.

Kishan posted a steady 58 off 42 balls which included four boundaries and three sixes.

For Rajasthan, young West Indies pacer Jofra Archer was the most successful bowler with figures of 3/22.

Fellow pacer Dhawal Kulkarni returned 2/32 while Jaidev Unadkat also got a wicket.

Kulkarni struck the first blow for the hosts in the very first over when Lewis dragged an inside edge on to his stumps.

But that was the only bit of success Rajasthan managed as Yadav and Kishan took their bowlers to the cleaners.

However, while Yadav and Kishan laid the foundation for a big total in the vicinity of 200 runs, the rest of the Mumbai batting line-up failed to provide the big final push. The Rajasthan bowlers did well to stage a strong comeback by picking up quick wickets in the late overs.

Kulkarni finally brought the partnership to an end when Kishan botched up a cheeky reverse scoop from outside the off-stump, only to hand an easy skier to Rajasthan wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.

Kishan’s dismissal seemed to break Mumbai’s momentum as Rajasthan staged a strong comeback with two quick wickets in a span of three balls.

Yadav departed soon after when Unadkat outfoxed him with a slower ball. The Mumbai opener went for a big shot but was fooled by the lack of pace and the ball went flying high into the night sky before Buttler pulled off another easy catch.

Rohit Sharma was dismissed in his very first ball when he went for an ill-judged quick single but excellent fielding by Ajinkya Rahane at cover caught the Mumbai skipper short of his crease.

Archer extinguished any chances of a late surge by Mumbai with three wickets in the second last over.

During the chase, Rajasthan openers Ajinkya Rahane (14) and Rahul Tripathi (9) fell early. Rahane was caught by Krunal Pandya at midwicket off seamer Mitchell McClenaghan, Tripathi played a poor shot off a delivery from spinner Krunal and was pouched by Suryakumar Yadav.

At 38/2, Sanju Samson and Ben Stokes joined hands and stitched together a 72-run stand to put Rajasthan in a position in a fighting position.

The partnership was broken by medium pacer Hardik Pandya, who bowled Stokes in the first ball of the 15th over. Stokes departed after hitting three fours and a six of the 27 deliveries he faced.

With the hosts requiring 57 of 5.5 overs after the fall of Stokes, Rajasthan were still in the game, with Samson completing his fifty in the following over.

But in the 17th over, paceman Jasprit Bumrah removed Samson and Jos Buttler (6) to tilt the match in Mumbai’s favour, with the hosts at 125/5 in 16.3 overs.

Bangladeshi medium pacer Mustafizur Rahman dealt Rajasthan a crucial blow as he got rid of South African Heinrich Klassen (0) in the first delivery of the 18th over, reducing the hosts to 125/6.

Gowtham and Jofra Archer (8 off nine) then did the rest of the work. With 28 required off two overs, Bumrah conceded 18 runs in the penultimate over, leaving 10 needed off one over.

Hardik removed Archer in the first ball of the final over. While Gowtham hit a four in the next delivery, the third ball yielded no run. With six requiring off three balls, Gowtham pulled one over the midwicket boundary for a six to give Rajasthan their third win in five games.

Following the win, Rajasthan jumped to the fifth spot with six points, while Mumbai, who lost their fourth match in five games, are now at the seventh position.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians: 167/7 in 20 overs (Surya Kumar Yadav 72, Ishan Kishan 58; Jofra Archer 3/22, Dhawal Kulkarni 2/32) vs Rajasthan Royals: 168/7 in 19.4 overs (Sanju Samson 52, Ben Stokes 40, Gowtham 33 not out; Hardik Pandya 2/25, Jasprit Bumrah 2/28).

IANS

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