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Jos Buttler guides Rajasthan to seven-wicket victory over Mumbai

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Mumbai, May 14: English batsman Jos Buttler continued his red-hot form with a 94 not out as Rajasthan Royals thumped Mumbai Indians by seven wickets here on Sunday to boost their chance of qualifying for the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs.

After Mumbai posted 168/6, thanks to opening batsmen Suryakumar Yadav (60) and Evin Lewis, Buttler registered his fifth consecutive fifty, which contained five sixes and nine fours, to guide his team to seven-wicket victory with two overs to spare.

The loss left three-time champions Mumbai stranded at 10 points from 12 games, while Rajasthan took their tally to 12 after 12 games.

The Jaipur-based outfit needs to win its remaining two games to qualify for the play-offs, while Mumbai’s fate is not in their hands and will have to depend on the performances of other teams.

The result at the Wankhede Stadium was decisive since the winner not only bagged two valuable points, but also derail the loser’s challenge for the race to the knockouts.

Asked to bat first, Mumbai were off to a steady start with Evin Lewis and Suryakumar coming up with an opening partnership of 87 runs off 64 balls.

Lewis, who narrowly survived being caught by Stuart Binny in the third over, made good use of the reprieve to blast his way to 60 runs off 42 deliveries. His quick-fire knock included four boundaries and as many sixes.

Suryakumar, who also got an early let-off, being dropped by Krishna Gowtham off Dhawal Kulkarni early in the second over, went on to post a steady 38 off 31 deliveries.

Although the opening duo gave the hosts a strong platform for a big total, the rest of the Mumbai batsmen failed to capitalise.

Rajasthan bowlers did well to bag five wickets over the next six overs to make a strong comeback. Jofra Archer was the most impressive of the bunch, giving away a mere 16 runs in his four overs while claiming the crucial wickets of Suryakumar and Rohit Sharma.

Fellow pacer Ben Stokes bowled well in the late stages to return figures of 2/26. Indian pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni also got a wicket each as Mumbai seemed in real danger of failing to cross the 150-run mark.

However, Hardik Pandya helped the hosts to a competitive total with a late charge, scoring 36 runs off 21 balls before holing out to Stokes in the penultimate ball of the innings.

During the chase, Rajasthan had a poor start, losing D’Arcy Short (4) to paceman Jasprit Bumrah in the first over.

However, Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane (37 off 36) stitched together a 95-run stand for the second wicket to keep the visitors in the hunt.

It was a perfect partnership as Rahane played a run-a-ball knock, Buttler dealt in with fours and sixes to get the things going.

The stand was broken after Rahane failed to clear Suryakumar at mid-off boundary off a ball from Hardik Pandya in the first delivery of the 14th over, with Rajasthan’s score at 104.

Later, Buttler continued his good work and found good support from Sanju Samson, who played a quickfire knock of 26 off 14 balls. Samson hit Hardik for two sixes in the 18th over as Rajasthan romped to victory.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians: 168/6 in 20 overs (Evin Lewis 60, Suryakumar Yadav 38, Hardik Pandya 36; Jofra Archer 2/16, Ben Stokes 2/26) vs Rajasthan Royals: 171/3 in 18 overs (Jos Buttler 94 not out, Ajinkya Rahane 37; Hardik Pandya 2/52).

IANS

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BCCI, cricket team join nation in condoling Vajpayee’s death

Several former and current India cricketers also took to Twitter to condole the demise of the former Prime Minister.

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New Delhi, Aug 16 : The Indian cricket team and the BCCI joined the nation in mourning the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away on Thursday after battling ill health. He was 93.

“The Indian cricket team and BCCI condoles the sad demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Atalji dedicated his life in service of the nation,” the BCCI said in a statement.

Vajpayee, the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term in office, died here on Thursday after a prolonged illness.

Former India captain and coach Anil Kumble wrote: “A sad day for the country, as we lose one of our greatest leaders. #AtalBihariVajpayee contributed so much for the betterment of the country. May his soul rest in peace.”

“It’s been a sad week, the demise of one of India’s finest leaders “Mr. Vajpayee” is heartbreaking,” India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin wrote.

India opener Shikhar Dhawan wrote: “My deepest condolences on the passing of our former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji. One of the few politicians I always respected for his honesty and devotion to the national cause. May his soul rest in peace.”

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara in his message wrote: “Deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. His values and ideologies will be remembered forever.”

Vajpayee, who was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 2014, was undergoing treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

His condition worsened on Wednesday evening with leaders from across the political spectrum thronging the hospital and enquiring about his health.

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Vengsarkar calls for Pant’s inclusion in 3rd India-England Test

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Rishabh Pant

London, Aug 16: Former BCCI chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar has backed the inclusion of rookie wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant in India’s playing XI for the third cricket Test against England, starting at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

Already in the backfoot after losing the first two Tests at Edgbaston and Lord’s, India find themselves in a must-win situation in the five-match Test rubber with all eyes on the non-performing batting order with the exception of skipper Virat Kohli.

Vengsarkar, who was the chairman of selectors when Kohli made his debut, has now called for the inclusion of the explosive southpaw in the playing XI.

“Rishabh Pant should get in. Apart from Kohli, nobody has shown that they could score runs here. Whether it’s English or Australian conditions, you have to adapt quickly. You have to apply yourself and get runs,” Vengsarkar was quoted as saying by BBC Radio.

“You have to give respect to the bowlers,” he added.

If Pant gets his maiden Test cap in Nottingham, that means Dinesh Karthik will be shown the door. Karthik, with scores of 0, 20, 1 and 0 in the four innings so far, has failed to justify his inclusion in the side.

Earlier, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly had also backed the inclusion of Pant for the third Test.

IANS

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Former India captain Ajit Wadekar passes away

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Ajit Wadekar

Mumbai, Aug 15 (IANS) Former India cricket captain Ajit Wadekar passed away here on Wednesday after a prolonged illness. He was 77.

Wadekar, who played 37 Tests, led India to historic triumphs in the West Indies and England in the 1970s.

Under him, India won five matches in the West Indies in the early 1970s before beating England in a three-match series.

Wadekar, who scored 2,113 Test runs with 14 half centuries and a century, led India to a third successive series victory, beating England once again in 1972-73.

He also appeared in two One-day Internationals.

An aggressive left-handed batsman, Wadekar made his first class debut in 1958-59 before making his India debut in 1966-67.

After his retirement, he also served as the Manager of the national team led by Mohammed Azharuddin in the 1990s.

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