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KXIP escape with four-run win after Dhoni special

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni Chennai Super Kings

Mohali, Apr 15 : A grimacing M S Dhoni pulled off a near impossible win for Chennai Super Kings before Kings XI Punjab scraped through with a dramatic four-run victory in the Indian Premier League here tonight.

Dhoni, battling back pain, took the match into the last over with a blistering 79 off 44 balls. However, his valiant effort did not prove to be enough as CSK ended at 193 for five in response to KXIP’s 197 for seven at the PCA Stadium.

The Super Kings needed as many as 76 off the last 30 balls and Dhoni got his team almost over the line with an innings comprising six fours and five sixes.

With 17 needing off the final over, pacer Mohit Sharma did the job for KXIP, who recorded their second win in three games this season. It was the first loss of the season for the Dhoni-led team.

Dhoni’s exhibition of powerful hitting was witnessed after the Chris Gayle show. The Jamaican showed that he was far from being a spent force as his second fastest fifty in the IPL helped KXIP put up a healthy total.

The 38-year-old, who twice went unsold at the auction before being picked up by KXIP for his base price, hammered 66 off 33 balls. The other contributions came from the in-form K L Rahul (37 off 22), Mayank Agarwal (30 off 19) and Karun Nair (29 off 17).

Gayle weaved a 96-run opening partnership alongside Rahul setting up the platform for a big score.

The West Indies raced to his half-century off 22 balls, a shade slower than his 17 ball fifty against Pune in 2013.

For CSK , Shardul Thakur and Imran Tahir picked up two scalps each while Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo got a wicket each.

Harbhajan gave Chennai the first breakthrough when Rahul was caught by Dwayne Bravo, but by then KXIP were comfortably placed and reached 100 in just 8.4 overs.

Two overs later Gayle too departed, handing over a simple catch to Imran Tahir at short fine leg off Shane Watson’s bowling.

Tahir dealt a double blow in innings’ 16th over removing a set Agarwal and Aaron Finch, who was out for a first-ball duck for the second game in a row.

Yuvraj Singh (20 off 13), who struggled in the first two games, seemed to get into his groove before Thakur had him caught behind off a short ball.

The Punjab openers made their intentions clear right from the first over when Rahul despatched medium pacer Deepak Chahar for two boundaries.

The second and third overs of the innings bowled by Harbhajan and Chahar somewhat contained the two openers, but the off-spinner was severely punished in his second over.

After a boundary, Gayle hit Harbhajan for a towering six over long off which was followed by two stylish boundaries from Rahul.

The first bowling change introduced by Dhoni to bring in Shradul Thakur did not help as Punjab batsmen continued their blistering strikes. The medium pacer was greeted by two boundaries by the West Indian while Rahul too hit a four of him.

Punjab raced to 50 in just 30 balls and there was no respite in sight for Dhoni’s bowlers.

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Real Madrid tops Huesca 1-0 in La Liga action

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Real Madrid

Huesca (Spain), Dec 10: Real Madrid played at less than its best but still managed to earn a 1-0 win over recently promoted Huesca, whose winless streak has now extended to 14 matches.

With nemesis Barcelona and rival Atletico Madrid having won their respective matches, Real Madrid did not crumble under pressure, although the club did not shine against a tough team that lacked precision, especially in the second half on Sunday, reports Efe.

Real Madrid got going early, when Welsh forward Gareth Bale tried his luck, but Serbian goalkeeper Aleksandar Jovanovic saved the day for Huesca, although not for long.

On his second opportunity, Bale did not disappoint, finding the back of the net on a left-footed shot off a cross from right back Alvaro Odriozola in the 8th minute.

Having taken the lead, Real Madrid waited for the opportunity to attack, while keeping the ball under control.

At the other end of the field, Huesca struggled to move the ball, but the club tried to take advantage of the space left behind the opponent’s backs and relied on the counter-attack.

Argentine midfielder Ezequiel Avila fired a powerful shot in the 17th minute, forcing a nice save by Real Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois.

Huesca’s Jovanovic had to save another shot by Bale in the 25th minute.

After the half, Huesca put pressure on its rival and besieged Real Madrid’s area, but the club did not make the most of the crosses sent into the box.

Bale fired a shot that Jovanovic barely blocked in the 62nd minute and he squandered another chance on a lob eight minutes later.

Real Madrid managed to hold its 1-0 lead until the end of the game despite Huesca’s efforts.

With the win, Real Madrid is in fourth place in the La Liga standings with 26 points, five points behind leader Barcelona, while Huesca remains in the 20th and last spot with seven points.

IANS

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1st Test: India creates history, beat Australia by 31 runs

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IND vs AUS 1st Test

Adelaide, Dec 10: India on Monday created a historic 31-run win over Australia by beating them on their home ground after 10 years in the final day of the opening Test at the Adelaide Oval. With this win, India has taken a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series.

This is the sixth Test win for India on Australian soil.

Earlier, resuming the day at 104/4, the hosts soon lost overnight batsman Travis Head (14) with the scoreboard ticking 115/5.

Head fell to a short pitched delivery from the experienced Ishant that resulted in a simple catch by Ajinkya Rahane at gully. The hosts still had a ray of hope with the other overnight batter Shaun Marsh (60) and captain Tim Paine (41) raising 41 runs for the sixth wicket before Bumrah packed away the former.

Bumrah jolted the Australians once again just at the stroke of lunch by getting Paine caught behind, leaving the hosts to the tail to achieve the target.

It was always going to be a tall ask for the tailenders to survive two full sessions but the Australians — Pat Cummins (28), Mitchell Starc (28), Nathan Lyon (38 not out) and Josh Hazlewood (13) — batted their skin out to reduce the deficit to only 31 runs.

Needing three wickets for an outright win, the Indian attack seemed to be on a mission as Shami started the post-lunch session with the wicket of Starc after the Aussie quick put on 59 runs for the eighth wicket with fellow pacer Cummins.

Starc’s departure brought in Lyon, who doubled his effort of getting six wickets in India’s second innings, with a solid 47-ball unbeaten 38 and more importantly being involved in two crucial stands.

Lyon first raised 31 runs for the 9th wicket with Cummins before adding another 32 runs for the final wicket with Hazlewood to leave the Indians frustrating before Ashwin managed to get Hazlewood caught by Lokesh Rahul to guide India to a fabulous victory.

Brief Scores: India 250, 307 (Cheteshwar Pujara 71, Ajinkya Rahane 70; Nathan Lyon 6/1 22) beat Australia 235 and 291 (Shaun Marsh 60, Tim Paine 41; Mohammed Shami 3/65, Jasprit Bumrah 3/68, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/92) by 31 runs.

WeForNews

 

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Gambhir’s retirement draws curtains on glorious career

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gautam gambhir

New Delhi, Dec 9 : The high points of Gautam Gambhir’s career are a stuff every aspiring cricketer dreams of. Top scorer in two World Cups, winner of two IPL titles with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), one of the most prolific opening pairs in world cricket alongside the great Virender Sehwag. The list goes on and on.

On Sunday, the combative former Team India player made his exit from the game as the Ranji Trophy match between his native Delhi and Andhra drew to a close.

The match ended in a dull stalemate at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. The match itself however, faded into inconsequence as Gambhir was at the centre of attention of the spectators present in the stadium.

He made the occasion a memorable one, top scoring with 112 in Delhi’s first innings.

The 37-year-old has an enviable record. He has played 58 Tests (4154 runs), 147 One-Day Internationals (5238 runs) and 37 Twenty20 Internationals. He has also played 197 first-class matches.

But apart from the statistics, what fans will remember most is his combative attitude, the never-say-die spirit which stood out during those nerve wracking run chases or when the going became tough.

These qualities were on full display during two of the most memorable occasions for Indian cricket since the World Cup triumph in 1983 — winning the 2007 World Twenty20 and the 2011 ODI World Cup.

He played an integral part in India’s wins in both finals. At the the 2007 World Twenty20 final against arch-rivals Pakistan, he top scored with 75 runs from 54 balls.

He was the top scorer in the 2011 World Cup final as well with a composed 97 from 122 deliveries as India pulled off an exciting chase against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

Gambhir is also the lone Indian and only one of four cricketers to have scored hundreds in five consecutive Test matches. He is the also the only Indian batsman to score in excess of 300 runs in four consecutive Test series.

But even before he announced his retirement earlier in the week, the signs were there for the past couple of years.

Gambhir did not exactly see eye to eye with India captain Virat Kohli which played a part in his exit from the national squad. He also struggled in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in recent times and his last season after returning to the Delhi Daredevils was not a very memorable one.

On Sunday, as Gambhir walked off the field and into the sunset, the curtains came down on a glorious career. Indian fans, perhaps even several around the cricketing world will miss one of the most exciting and talented batsmen of his generation.

(Ajeyo Basu can be contacted at [email protected])

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