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Dhoni made players feel they can be world-beaters

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Tiger Pataudi showed his India teammates what self-respect is, Sourav Ganguly taught his troops to stand up to the best in the business and Mahendra Singh Dhoni provided them the spunk to be world-beaters.

There have also been captains who can be categorised as brilliant and even inspiring. They led the side by personal example, like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar, or even Mohammad Azharuddin. They all had their innings, never looking like leaders of champions.

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Not that they lacked leadership qualities, they only left others in the team awestuck by raising their own bar, making it difficult for others to aim at. Dhoni inspired confidence in his players that they are free to go about their work diligently as he was there to back them.

In any team, egos come into play, more so when equals start performing and start thinking that they, too, should get an opportunity to lead the side. Indian cricket is replete with internecine wars affecting the morale of the players. It took close to 50 years for things to fall in place and evolve systems to ensure that the right men are there to lead the team.

Dhoni is one leader who said after his first major success — the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa — what he looked for in his teammates: He would like to see them stand in front of a moving truck! In other words, he wanted them to sacrifice everything for the team and the captain.

Certainly not all were willing to do that and there were times a couple of them challenged his authority, but he overcame them without the arguments getting ugly. Of course, like some of his predecessors he had the backing of the Indian cricket board, to be precise, its chief.

dhoni pngh-minIt was India coach Greg Chappell who noticed a great talent in Dhoni as wicketkeeper-batsman but also the potential to be a captain. Greg surprisingly, very early in his stint, thought that both Dhoni and another wicketkeeper, Dinesh Karthik, could be groomed to be captains.

If he were just a batsman, bowler or even a wicketkeeper, Dhoni would have prolonged his career, but he managed a far tougher assignment as a wicketkeeper-batsman captaining a side. He did all this without betraying his emotions on the field of play.

In a time span of six years he has achieved everything possible, starting with the 2007 Twenty20 title to the World Number One Test team in 2009 to the 2011 World Cup and finally the Champions Trophy in 2013. Incredible! And the only man who can aspire to reach such heights is Virat Kohli, brought up in the same school of thought in recognising the talent of his players and nursing it.

Whether he called upon Joginder Singh to bowl the do-or-die last over in the World Twenty20 final, that too against Pakistan with 13 needed, pushing himself to go ahead of in-form Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 World Cup final to play a match-winning unbeaten 91, or in that nerve-wracking Champions Trophy final against England in their backyard, reveal him as an unflappable leader.

Virat has aleady achieved the No.1 Test ranking and in six months he can have a shot at the Champions Trophy in the country where Dhoni won it, in England and Wales where in two years’ time he will be up against the world’s best One-Day sides to try and win the World Cup.

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Virat, like a good leader, has built his Test squad with a strong bench and it’s time for him to carry forward Dhoni’s legacy in the other formats. That’s not going to be easy. Virat will have the benefit of his predecessor’s sound advice behind the stumps for some time and if everything goes well, even in the 2019 World Cup.

There are very few who can command the respect that Dhoni did. His deputy, Virat Kohli, paid the greatest tribute to his captain saying he will always remain a captain to him. If the captain and his deputy are not on the same wavelength, there will be fissures in the team.

Many addressed Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi as Nawab Saab and he straightaway told them to call him just Tiger. Another gentleman who has always been a captain to his players is Cottari Kanakaiya (CK) Nayudu, India’s first captain, even when intrigues made life of a cricketer difficult.

By Veturi Srivatsa (IANS)

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IPL 2018 Eliminator : KKR beat RR by 25 runs at Eden Gardens

KKR will now play Sun Risers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 on Friday as the two teams battle for a place in the final on Sunday. The team that wins that match will face MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

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Kolkata, May 23 : Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) produced a disciplined bowling performance to beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 25 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 Eliminator at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.

KKR will now play Sun Risers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 on Friday as the two teams battle for a place in the final on Sunday. The team that wins that match will face MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Chasing 170, Rajasthan were in control with Sanju Samson and captain Ajinkya Rahane at the crease. Samson went on to score 50 while Rahane scored 46. But the Rajasthan lost wickets in quick succession and eventually lost the match to get eliminated. Piyush Chawla (2/24) and Kuldeep Yadav (1/18) clinched the game for the hosts.

Cruising for the most part of the game, RR lost the plot in the 16th over after Rahane’s dismissal. Piyush Chawla came to bowl 17th. Samson completed his 50 by hitting a four over covers. Samson hit one high in the air and was caught at the boundary. He made 50 runs. Prasidh came to bowl the 18 and bowled dot after dot. Binny was dismissed for a duck. Prasidh gave only 3 runs his over. RR needed 40 from 12 balls. Russell came to bowl the penultimate the over. Only 6 runs came from his over. RR needed 34 from 6 balls. Prasidh bowled the last over and gave just 8 runs to seal the victory for KKR.

KKR are the only team from the four qualifiers to get the home advantage in the Eliminator Earlier, Andre Russell’s late blitz of 25-ball-49-run and captain Dinesh Karthik’s half ton helped Kolkata Knight Riders to score 169/7 against Rajasthan Royals.

When the score was looking to be under 150 in 20 overs cricket with 4/51, Chennai man Dinesh Karthik held the willow steadily for KKR and partnered 55 runs in 5th wicket with Shubhman Gill (28) and he made 52 runs from 38 balls.

Unbeaten West Indian Andre Russell did his final job 49 runs from 25 balls with three boundaries and five big sixes to post 169 for loss of seven wickets.

RR bowlers K Gowtham took 2/15, following by Jofra 2/25 and Ben lagghlin 2/35 and Shreyas Gopal ended 1/34. Sent to batting first in home ground by the visiting captain Ajinkya Rahane, KKR received an immediate jolt conceding their first wicket of Sunil Narine (4) in the second ball of the day as the West Indian left his crease to attempt for a big of Krishnappa Gowtham delivery but missed the line and wicket keeper Heinrich Klaasen did his job and stumped.

Spinner from Bangaleru Gowtham did not stop there and struck again heavily on the rivals as he held Robin Uthappa’s (3) straight drive of his delivery silencing the home crowds when KKR lost their second wicket in 17 run from 2.1 overs.

Rahane rotating his bowlers well to unsettle the batting order of KKR brought in medium pacer Jofra Archer and he ended young Nitish Rana (3) early. Nitish Rana’s poor shot went up to Jaydev Unadkad and he grabbed when KKR were struggling at 24 in 3.4 overs.

RR bowlers kept on attacking in right earnest with line and length. This time another spinner Shreyas Gopal held the catch of Chris Lynn (18), who was looking for a big score as his other side of his partners were going quickly, of his delivery.

The googly from Gopal which stuck onto the pitch a touch and as Lynn wanted to work it away off the back foot but could only spoon it back to the leg spinner. As home team captain Dinesh Karthik was almost fighting a lone battle, young Shubhan Gill (28) did his best with some quick scoring with his three boundaries and a six from 17 balls. As he was temping almost all the delivery to speed up the score board, Shubman Gill missed the line and edged behind the wicket from Jofra Archer’s delivery.

Dinesh Karthik’s heroic batting came abruptly end when power shot from Ben Laughlin went up and Ajinkya Rahane held the catch ending KKR captain batting at 52. Right handed batter DK facing 38 balls hit four boundaries and two big sixes to bring cheer for the local fans.

After won the match KKR captain Dinesh Karthik said, We were initially under the pump, so good on us to come back. Credit to Shubman Gill to absorb the pressure. He played some lovely shots. That eased the pressure off me, and then Andre was just special. In these kind of games the score doesn’t matter, it’s about believing. The par scores don’t matter, but just how much you believe, he said. The bowlers have picked their game and have bowled some good balls. Royals do spring a surprise, so you need to hold your nerve and execute your plans. Every game is important this stage.

Next game, two good teams competing, Karthik added. Rajasthan Royals captain Rahane said, Disappointed. The way we started with the ball, especially after that. The dropped catch of Russell hurt. But when you start your chase so well, you generally win the game, but KKR bowled really well and that’s disappointed us. I thought the total was gettable, and the partnerships between me and Rahul and me and Sanju were good. But credit to Kuldeep and the spinners. When me and Sanju were batting, we were trying to be positive. I told him to bat deep, but he got out. He tried well. With eight wickets in hand with five overs to go, we should’ve gotten the job done. Through the season, our bowlers have been great, but we need to improve on our batting for next season, Rahane added.

Kuldeep said, Excited. It was a slow wicket, and it was gripping, but later it became good to bat on. We started well, but couldn’t get early wickets. The wicket of Rahane was the turning point. Every game is important, and we are now four out of four, so we’ll go for it. Yes, we’ll probably beat the Sunrisers.

Man of the Match Andre Russell said, Feels very good. Been hectic since the Kings XI game. Every game has been a final for us since then, so feel good to contribute. I have a clear head, so if you get a short ball, slower ball, wide ball, you can play accordingly. Have a still base, and make sure you get bat to ball. Once I connect, I know it’ll be either a four or a six. I swing hard, and that’s what helps the ball to go over the road. It’s good to take responsibility with the ball as well. Especially, as a senior player.

Just goes to show you’re improving. Every game is a final for us, and the home advantage will be good. It’s going to be a new game, so need to start afresh," Russell added.

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AB de Villiers announces retirement from all forms of International Cricket

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AB de Villiers

New Delhi, May 23: In a shock move, Former South African captain AB de Villiers has announced his retirement from all international cricket with immediate effect.

The 34-year-old announced the news on Twitter on Wednesday, posting a video to his followers. In the video, De Villiers said, “It is time for others to take over. I’ve had my turn and to be honest, I am tired.”

The decision comes as a massive blow to the Proteas, who would have been counting on De Villiers at next year’s World Cup at the end of May next year.

AB de Villiers has played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20 Internationals for South Africa. His last appearance was in the final Test between Australia and South Africa between March and April, 2018.

De Villiers was known as a ‘360 degree’ batsman who could play shots in all directions and his attacking batting style has often been compared to that of Sir Viv Richards’.

He holds the unique record of scoring the fastest 50 (in 16 balls), fastest 100 (in 31 balls) and fastest 150 (in 64 balls) in ODI cricket.

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IPL Qualifier 1: CSK qualifies for the finals.

CSK who needed 6 runs in the final over, it was Plessis who hit a six in Kumra’s spell in the first ball of the last over taking CSK towards victory.

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Mumbai, May 22 : Faf du Plessis brillant unbeaten half century 67 off 42 helped CSK reach the finals of the Qualifier 1 match, beating SRH by 2 wickets in the 11th edition of IPL here at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.

CSK who needed 6 runs in the final over, it was Plessis who hit a six in Kumra’s spell in the first ball of the last over taking CSK towards victory.

Chasing a low total of 139/7 set by the SRH an a target of 140 runs to make to the finals.

CSK too fumbled with its opening batsman and all-rounder Shane Watson was sent to the pavillion without scoring a run after facing 5 balls caught by Goswami in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowl.

CSK started to show signs of struggle with their batting line-up against SRH’s bowling after Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu’s wicket fell in the same over of the 4th over.

Raina’s 22 off 13 was a good effort, but was bowled by kaul. He hit 4 fours while Rayudu too went down to Kaul without scoring a run after facing one ball.

Skipper MS Dhoni too was not at his best form and chipped in 9 off 18 hitting one four before being dismissed by Rashid Khan in 8th over. 

Same as SRH CSK’s wicket also kept falling at regular intervals.

After Raina none of the batsman contributed from their side.

With Dhoni’s departure it was now turn of Bravo who was caught by Dhawan bowled by Rashid Khan in the 12th over. Bravo’s 7 off 11.

Then Jadeja in 13th over, Chahar 15th and Harbhajan Singh in 18th over all of them failed to stick to the wicket and lost their wickets.

Thakur too remained unbeaten and chipped in 15 off 5 hitting 3 fours.

However, it was Faf du Plessis magnificent half-century that took CSK towards victory, in the end, hitting a winning six in the first bowl of the last over in Kumar’s spell taking then to the finals on May 27 here at the wankhede stadium.

For SRH it was Rashid Khan’s 2/11 with best of 2.75 of economy rate, while Kaul and Sandeep Sharma bagged two wickets each while Bhuvneshwar Kumar took one wicket.

CSK won the toss and elected to field first allowing SRH to bat.

However it was due to Brathwaite’s who remained unbeaten and rescued his team emerging the top scorer blasting 43 off 29 hitting one four and 4 sixes.

SRH received a major jolt in the very first over of the first ball when opener Shikhar Dhawan fell victim to Chahar without scoring a run.

After Dhawan Goswami tried to pace the innings, but then he too after scoring 12 off 9 balls lost his wicket after being caught and bowled by Lungi Ngidi in the 4th over. Goswami hit 2 fours.

CSK bowlers didn’t allow SRH batters to settle and wickets kept falling at regular intervals as now it was turn of skipper Williamson as Dhoni caught him behind the stumps in the 5th over in Thakur’s spell.

Williamson’s 24 came off in 15 balls hitting 4 fours.

With Williamson’s departure Shakib Al Hasan buckled under pressure and scored 12 off 10 hit 2 fours caught off behind stumps by Dhoni in Bravo’s bowl.

Then came Manish Pandey he scored just 8 off 16 balls caught and bowled by Jadeja in the 12th over.<br />
Yusuf Pathan managed to contribute a useful 24 off 29 balls hit 3 fours before being caught and bowled by Bravo in the 15th over.

However, in the last over of the last ball Bhuvneshwar Kumar was run out by Dhoni.

Bhuvneshwar scored 7 off 11 balls.

For CSK Bravo’s 2/25 while Chahar, Ngidi, Thakur and Jadeja scalped one wickets each.Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.

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