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Lynn-less KKR look to start home run with a win against Punjab

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Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata, April 12

Sans the services of big-hitting Australian batsman Chris Lynn, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will hope fit-again Umesh Yadav can deliver when they take on high-flying Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League (IPL) engagement at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.

Lynn, who has set the pace as far as accumulating runs is concerned this IPL by staying on top of the batting charts (125 runs in two matches), is down with a shoulder injury which might see him not take any further part in the T20 league.

The KKR management has said its medical team would need a few days to establish Lynn’s availability for the rest of the tournament.

The Queenslander fell awkwardly while trying to take a Jos Buttler catch against Mumbai Indians in his side’s last outing.

The latest injury was the third time Lynn had done the same shoulder in the last two years.

Since he was asked to join captain Gautam Gambhir in opening the batting, the 27-year-old struck a 41-ball 93 to help KKR win by 10 wickets against Gujarat Lions in Rajkot. In the side’s next game, Lynn looked menacing for his 24-ball 32.

Against Kings XI, who will come into the game on the back of two victories, it goes without saying that Lynn will be missed.

The good news for the home team is the availability of in-form Umesh.

The India pacer missed the first two KKR matches due to right hip and lower back soreness after a gruelling home season where he played 12 of the 13 Tests.

Umesh was the pick of the quick bowlers in the recently concluded India-Australia series, scalping 17 wickets in eight innings.

The 29-year-old Nagpur boy has been working up some serious pace lately and on a wicket that is expected to offer a lot of pace and bounce, Umesh’s addition might make the difference.

KKR threw away their previous encounter against Mumbai and at the forefront was poor death bowling.

Failing to defend 60 runs off 23 balls, the likes of pace spearhead Trent Boult and young Ankit Rajpoot bled runs in the final three overs.

Rajpoot is likely to make way for Umesh in the side while seasoned Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will replace Lynn in the first XI.

Coming to Punjab, last season’s wooden spooners in the league standings seem to have found their mojo early on this time.

Although chasing down modest totals in both their matches (164 against Rising Pune Supergiant and 149 against Royal Challengers Bangalore), the form of South African opener Hashim Amla — who scored a crafty 58 in their last game — captain Glenn Maxwell and David Miller are enough to worry their rivals.

Though the slam-bang nature of T20 cricket makes drawing inference from history as risky as predicting the London weather, record shows Kings XI don’t have a good record either at the Eden or opposite KKR.

The visitors have just won twice here, with their last win coming way back on April 15, 2012. Overall, they have finished on top in just six games, with KKR winning the remaining 13.

The squads:

KKR: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh, Colin de Grandhomme

Kings XI: Glenn Maxwell (captain), Manan Vohra, Axar Patel, David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhiman Saha, Nikhil Naik, Mohit Sharma, Marcus Stoinis, KC Cariappa, Armaan Jaffer, Pardeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh, Hashim Amla, Varun Aaron, Eoin Morgan, Matt Henry, Rahul Tewatia, Martin Guptill, Darren Sammy, Rinku Singh, T Natarajan.

(IANS)

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Argentina declares three-day national mourning for Maradona

The former star player and coach, most recently of the Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata football team, underwent surgery following a stroke in early November.

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diego maradona

Buenos Aires: The Argentina government has declared three days of national mourning for the death of football legend Diego Armando Maradona, the office of the presidency has said.

“The President of the Nation will decree three days of national mourning from the day (of his death),” according to the statement on Wednesday evening, reports Xinhua news agency.

Maradona died due to cardiorespiratory arrest at his home in the Tigre district on the northern outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.

His body did not show “any sign of violence” and everything indicates that he died of “natural causes,” the prosecutor general of the Argentinian town of San Isidro, John Broyad, said.

According to Broyad, Maradona passed away “around 12:00” local time (1500 GMT) Wednesday at his home in the neighbourhood of San Andres, on the northern outskirts of the capital.

In statements to the press, Broyad said that “at 16:00 (local time) the work of the Forensics Police began” on the body of the former footballer.

“No signs of criminality were evident, no signs of violence,” said the prosecutor.

In addition, he reported that an autopsy would be carried out at the morgue of San Fernando Hospital, to “reliably determine the causes of death”.

The former star player and coach, most recently of the Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata football team, underwent surgery following a stroke in early November.

On October 30, Maradona had celebrated his 60th birthday.

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Diego Maradona (1960-2020): When death felt like a tackle from behind

In India, the 1986 World Cup was where all games were shown live for the first time. And since he made that World Cup his own, Maradona straddled a line between legend and God in a country he wouldn’t visit till 2008.

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diego maradona argentina

Diego Maradona, the shanty-town boy who became a supernatural footballer before his life went into a downward spiral of addiction and myriad health issues for over 30 years, died of a heart attack on Wednesday. He turned 60 on October 30.

Maradona had looked death in the eye a number of times and when he underwent successful surgery for a subdural haematoma recently, his fans would have been forgiven for thinking the worst had passed. In 2004, doctors said his heart was functioning at 40% efficiency. Back then, Maradona pulled through and went on to coach Argentina in the 2010 World Cup where amid the constellation of the planet’s football star, he — in a sharp suit, a diamond stud glinting from an ear and a wristwatch on either hand — was the cynosure till Argentina were gobsmacked by Germany one day after Holland sent Brazil home.

Life, it seemed, was sucked out of that World Cup because the curtains had come down on Maradona’s performance. At press conferences — where once he climbed over the dais to bearhug a journalist who then became the story — and on the pitch where his last memorable act was possibly burying his face on son-in-law Sergio Aguero’s back as Germany scored another goal in that 4-0 rout.

The year 2004 wasn’t the only time he had flirted with death and had the world praying and believing in a miracle. One year later, he had a gastric bypass surgery to help deal with obesity. And as a boy he had survived falling into a pit where he could have drowned. On turning 45 at a party with 400 friends for company, Maradona had said: “I am 45. And I am alive,” wrote Marcela Mora y Araujo, who translated his autobiography “El Diego” in The Observer. “He’s a crazy little giant who dices with death and toboggans unto hell on a daily basis,” wrote Araujo in the introduction to the autobiography.

So it wasn’t surprising that the Maradona of 2006 had again made way to a bloated version of the genius who slalomed his way past England in the 1986 World Cup to score one of the most memorable goals of the competition ever. In Russia in 2018, the version of Maradona that filled fans with dread was seen in the World Cup when he had to be helped from his seat during the Argentina-Nigeria game. He blamed it on wine and said he was fine and we got on with our lives. So when news broke of his heart attack at home in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, it felt like a tackle from behind. How could death win this round?

In India, the 1986 World Cup was where all games were shown live for the first time. And since he made that World Cup his own, Maradona straddled a line between legend and God in a country he wouldn’t visit till 2008. In Egypt, bandits released a group of Argentine tourists on realizing they were from Maradona Country, writes Jimmy Burns, in “Hand of God” . But at least he had played a friendly there. He had not in Kolkata, where the Salt Lake stadium spilled over to see him move in a car. In Bangladesh he had not either, but it didn’t matter. Seeing God, the hero of the 1990 World Cup too and in the bit part he played in 1994 before failing a drug test, felt like an act of fulfillment itself.

Maradona’s rise coincided with football transforming into a billion dollar industry, in whose crosscurrents he found himself for most of his playing career. Except possibly the time at Napoli, where he handheld a team trod upon by the rest of the country to European glory. Two Serie A titles, two second-place finishes an Italian Cup and the UEFA Cup immortalized him in the city. It was while he was at Napoli that Maradona transformed from being an artful dodger to a messiah.

It was also where he came in contact with the Cammora, the city’s crime syndicate. It was where he became a cocaine addict. With Maradona, you see, the sublime and the ridiculous are never mutually exclusive, they exist cheek by jowl. Just as life and death did with him till the final blow on Wednesday.

“Maradona,” Burns begins in ‘Hand of God’, “is the story of a natural-born football talent who grew up to believe he was God and suffered as a result. It was on the pitch where he was the happiest, away from all his troubles, he had said. But while doing what he loved since his uncle gifted him a ball when he could barely walk, he also became a hero for the downtrodden, his ‘Hand of God’ epitomizing — justifying too perhaps — the chicanery that they needed to deal with life’s unfair hand. That magical left foot drew you to him, his outspokenness then endeared him to you.

“Poor old Diego. For so many years we have told him repeatedly, ‘You’re a God’, ‘You are a star’, ‘You are our salvation’ that we forgot to tell him the most important thing: ‘You are a man.’” The words of Jorge Valdano, Maradona’s Argentina teammate in the 1986 World Cup, sums up a life extraordinary.

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Our style of play is non-negotiable: Mumbai City boss Lobera

It also means that Jahouh will now miss Mumbai’s next match against the reigning ISL Shield winners FC Goa.

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Sergio Lobera

Panaji: After Sergio Lobera’s reign at Mumbai City got off on the wrong foot on Saturday with a 1-0 loss to NorthEast United, the Spaniard said that his attack oriented possession-based game was non-negotiable.

“Our style of play is non-negotiable. I used some players in different positions from what they are used, for example Adam in right wing but I believe he has the experience to adjust. We have to improve a lot of course,” Lobera told media after the match.

Mumbai went in with two strikers up front with Adam Le Fondre playing as a make shift right winger along with Bartholomew Ogbeche. The Englishman created some good chances in the first half but a red card to midfield mainstay Ahmed Jahouh and Rowllin Borges conceding a penalty in the second meant at Mumbai ended up losing the match 1-0.

It also means that Jahouh will now miss Mumbai’s next match against the reigning ISL Shield winners FC Goa.

“Today (the red card) was a big problem for us. It changed the game, we were playing with 10 men and missing a very important player. But for the next game, I have 28 players, I am very happy with my squad. Just one player is not an excuse for losing the next game,” said Lobera.

“We need to improve, we had a short pre-season and have a short time between games. But it is my job to improve the level of the team and I am very positive that it is possible for the next game.”

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