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He will be one of the highest run-getters this IPL season: David Hussey on Shubman Gill

Former Australia big-hitting batsman and currently the chief mentor of the Kolkata Knight Riders, David Hussey believes that even after pertinent failures of the opening batsman Shubman Gill, he is going to end up as one of the highest run-getters this season. 

"One thing I do know is that he took the Test match arena by storm in Australia. The way he works on his game in the nets, he's very specific,” Hussey, 43, said. 

“He's got a great work ethic and I reckon all I can say is probably form will come and go, but class is always permanent. Mark my words he'll be one of the highest-scoring individuals by the end of the tournament. He's an absolute class act,” the Aussie added praising the 21-year-old Punjab born.

Gill has so far had a meek outing in the IPL with only 80 runs to his kitty in five innings at a despicable average of 16 and a modest strike rate of 121.

The demand to play Lockie Ferguson is also being raised from all corners of the KKR fan support base. Reacting to that, Hussey said, "Lockie is a class act and an excellent bowler for New Zealand. He particularly played well for Kolkata last year. He's handy in the death, but he'll also push the selection over the remaining games.” 

Finally, the mentor feels that all the issues would be resolved once the team starts winning some games. “We're going to start winning some games and I think everything will be discussed."

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IPL 2021 | RR vs KKR: Hits & Flops as Rajasthan's revival act drowns Kolkata

Rajasthan Royals newly-appointed captain Sanju Samson was in total despair when he failed to take his team over the line against Punjab Kings while chasing a mammoth 222 in Mumbai on April 12. Samson had struck a century in that particular game and the Royals needed five off the last ball when the right-hander tried to clear the fence over deep cover but fractionally miscued his stroke and was caught by Deepak Hooda off Arshdeep Singh. Well, RR might have lost that game but it was a captain’s day out as Punjab skipper KL Rahul notched up 91 off 50 earlier. Both Rajasthan and Punjab have had a similar script so far in the tournament after that high-scoring match. Both the teams have now won two out of the five matches that they have played in the IPL 2021 and have lost three. To add to this, the respective captains have been on the receiving end of some backlash for their and the team’s performance. The only aspect that separates the two batsmen is the number of runs that the two have scored. While KL has been denounced for his slow scoring rate which has turned out to be one of the major reasons for his side to be on the backfoot, Samson’s consistency with the bat is the cause of concern. But fortunes turned for both the teams and within a span of a couple of days when their all-round performance in their respective matches handed them the much-needed victory. Rahul’s Punjab thumped Mumbai Indians by 9 wickets on Friday in Chennai while Samson’s RR etched a win by 6 wickets on Saturday in Mumbai. Chasing a small total of 134 against Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan won the match with more than an over to spare. RR did lose a wicket of Jos Buttler early in the innings and had a few hiccups in the middle of the chase but captain Samson, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shivam Dube and David Miller chipped in with some runs to ensure that the team was never really under pressure during the course of the chase. Samson hit the winning runs to stay unbeaten at 42 while Miller scored 24* off 23. Earlier, riding on some brilliant piece of bowling, RR restricted KKR at 133/9 in 20 overs. While Rahul Tripathi top-scored with 36 off 26 for KKR, Chris Morris bagged a four-wicket haul for RR to return with figures of 4/23 in 4 overs. Let’s now take a look at the hits and flops from this game. HITS Sanju Samson Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson has always faced the heat for not being consistent with the bat and the right-handed batsman had repeated the feat in this edition of the IPL before this game against KKR. After scoring a valiant ton against Punjab Kings in the first game, it felt as if Sanju’s batting prowess just faded away. A well-equipped batsman who was once thought to be one of the answers to that query as to who will fill that big void behind the stumps in the Indian team was struggling to even middle a shot now. The questions began to mount. Was it the captaincy pressure that wasn’t letting Sanju be him? Was it about scoring runs quickly for his team? Was it about taking the onus on himself? What was it? Well, the right-handed batsman didn’t take much time to put these inquiries to rest. He played a knock. A knock that wasn’t decorated with glorious strokes. But it had the intimation of the class and calibre that this 26-year-old has. Samson took 41 deliveries for his 42* that included just a couple of boundaries and six. These are the stats that clearly suggests how majorly he was dependent on taking those singles and doubles which of course led to the scoreboard moving. More than his score, it was about creating pressure on the opposition with some good running between the wickets. RR never stopped scoring runs at any given stage of the game and that eventually led them to victory and dominated the KKR bowling unit. Yes, the skipper top-scored for the side but more than his score was his strategy towards the target. A slight adjustment in his approach and not in his technique made him fall in our list of HITS from this game. And guess what, he tops the chart for this edition of our hits and flops. Chris Morris A ‘wealthy’ Chris Morris is back in form with the ball. There is a tradition where the rich are thrashed when they are not able to fulfil the expectations that the society has from them and so was Morris, especially after his horrific performance in his last outing for RR against Royal Challengers Bangalore where he just scored 10 runs and went for 38. To add to his misery, he didn’t even complete his quota of 4 overs. But it seemed as if the South African pacer had learnt from his mistakes very quickly before coming into this game. The right-arm bowler mixed up his lengths pretty well. In the initial phase of the game, Morris bowled on length deliveries and banged a couple of them short in between to surprise the batsmen. He changed the plan in the death overs and bowled more fuller and yorker length balls in the later stage of the game. One important facet of his bowling against KKR was the line that he maintained. The right-arm quick maintained the line outside off stump channel and didn’t bowl any deliveries going down the leg. He in fact bowled just one wide delivery that was way too outside off. Morris eventually returned with figures of 4/23 in four overs which included the dismissals of Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins and Shivam Mavi. He was also involved in a runout of captain Eoin Morgan. He started off with the wicket of Andre Russell who was bowled a juicy delivery, in the slot for him that could have been deposited out of the park. Morris bowled this one full, outside off and was angling into the right-hander when Russell decided to swing his bat. But the West Indian cricketer slightly miscued his shot and gave a catch to Miller at long on to get dismissed for 9 off 7. The Proteas bowler next removed Karthik. Well, Karthik’s wicket was more about youngster Chetan Sakariya’s catch who took a second blinder of the tournament. Morris once again bowled a fuller ball, in the slot for Karthik who tried to go over the extra cover but a well-timed jump from Sakariya helped him grab a stunner at the position to send the KKR wicket-keeper batsman packing for 25 off 24. The right-arm bowler then got rid of Cummins. The batsman went for a slog on this one but failed to find the gap and ended up giving a catch to Riyan Parag at deep mid-wicket who concluded the proceedings pretty effortlessly. Morris then cleaned up Mavi who tried to go for a paddle sweep on a length ball, outside off but ended up playing it on to his stumps. Yashasvi Jaiswal Featuring in his first match for Rajasthan Royals in this edition, youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal played a brief innings but an important one. RR had already lost Buttler early in the innings and needed someone to hold the other end firmly and the left-handed batsman did exactly what was expected from him. He played 17 balls and scored 22 runs during the course which included 5 boundaries. While Jaiswal was cautious enough during the course of his innings, he didn’t let go of any chance where he could rack up a boundary. The power to pull the international fast bowlers when they are hitting the deck at short lengths, possessing a competence of cutting them through the covers when they miss their line and length slightly and the ability to choose the bad deliveries for his strokes summed up the young boy’s innings on Saturday. Well, he did get out eventually after mistiming one of his shots. Shivam Mavi pitched one up that was angling away from the left-hander and Jaiswal took the aerial route slicing it up to make the ball land straight into the hands of Kamlesh Nagarkoti at deep cover. Nevertheless, he is a young kid who has a lot of time to learn from his mistakes. But the knock that he played surely deserves a round of applause as a wicket at that early stage would have pushed RR on the backfoot. FLOPS Jos Buttler This is surely a rare sight when a player of Jos Buttler’s calibre makes it to the list of the flops for a match. Buttler had a forgettable day at the office after he just managed to score 5 runs off 7 deliveries that he faced. The wicket-keeper batsman was trapped in front of the stumps by Varun Chakravarthy in the fourth over of the innings. The spinner drifted this one with the angle and beat Buttler with the turn. The batsman didn’t have a big stride on this occasion and the ball hit the pads to send him back in the hut. The RR gloveman was hit on the head a few deliveries before getting out. A short ball from Cummins had hit his helmet that possibly would have rattled his concentration. But as professional cricketers, you have to stay in the groove. Shubman Gill Something is probably really wrong with this young lad. And this isn’t about his scores in the recent past but the latest ways he is finding to give away his wicket. On Saturday, Shubman got himself runout for 11 off 19. Gill never looked comfortable at the crease against RR and there came a time when just wanted to get away from the striker’s end. But the Gods up there didn’t just help him get away from the batting end but guided him back to the dugout. Mustafizur bowled a perfect yorker on the off-stump that was somehow negotiated by Gill to the off side and the batsman straight away called for a single. But a swift Jos Buttler ran towards his right, picked up the ball and under-arms the throw to disturb the woodwork at the running end. Gill was found to be short of his ground and the youngster had to take the long walk back into the hut. The KKR batsman, for now, seems to be that ‘conventional’ Indian willow holder who is facing some issues against the left-arm pacers. RR have three left-arm fast bowlers in Mustafizur, Jaydev Unadkat and Sakariya. While Fizz and Unadkat deceived him with the pace, Sakariya bowled on and around that off-stump channel to trouble Gill thoroughly. All said and done, Gill really needs to get back in form if KKR want some positive results in the coming future. KKR will now play Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad on Monday while RR will be up against Mumbai Indians in Delhi on Thursday.


IPL 2021 | RR vs KKR: What Experts Said as disciplined Royals thrash spiritless Knight Riders

Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson played a patient innings and stayed at the crease till the end to lead the men in pink over their second win of the season against the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Knight Riders were abysmal with the bat and played without any intent in the powerplay to leave them helpless with only 133 runs on the board. In reply, the Royals were hurt early by Varun Chakarvarthay who dismissed Jos Buttler for another low score but captain Samson took it upon himself and did not throw his wicket away to lead the Royals’ comeback in the IPL 2021. Captains’ corner Talking about the loss, Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan lamented the hopeless batting that left them behind the curve from the word go. He also said that the lack of aggressive approach by the batsmen meant that they fell short by some 40 runs which could have made a significant difference in the end. He drew comparisons with the last game where the Knight Riders batted with full-on intent and took on the Super Kings bowlers and said that the bowlers could not have done any better defending only 133 runs. “The batting was the letdown and we lacked a lot of intent throughout the whole innings. We were behind the eight ball right from the get-go. Possibly, we were 40 short which is a lot in a T20 game. The bowlers had too much to do. It's a stark contrast to the last game,” Morgan said to the host broadcaster Star. Morgan further added that the wicket at the Wankhede Stadium was not as batting friendly as it has been in previous matches and batsmen could not overcoming the challenge of balls not coming onto the bat. He said that the Knight Riders needed at least one player who could bat with a clear mind and free approach to get to a defendable total. However, it was not to be and the Knight Riders came second even in the game against the Royals, who too, were struggling to lift their performances before this game in the 14th edition of the IPL. “The wicket hasn't been as good as it has been in the previous games and we couldn't overcome the challenge. It left us with a lot to do, which we couldn't do. The clearer the mind, the easier it is. Ultimately, one guy needs to play free-flowing cricket. Two sides struggling to gain momentum in the tournament and we missed big two points,” Morgan concluded analysing a disappointing game. The victorious captain Sanju Samson lauded the bowling line up which is an ideal mixture of young and experienced players to step up in the last few games. Talking about the most expensive player in the auction earlier this year, Samson said that his eyes were full of emotions and it could show his eagerness to dominate the game and get the best of the opposition best batsmen. “It was brilliant actually. The bowlers have been doing well in the last four-five matches - the youngsters as well as the seniors. I enjoy captaining them. I think we could see in Morris' eyes that we wanted the competition to get big batsmen out,” Samson said in the post-match presentation. Samson’s risk-taking approach has always caught the attention of critics who berate him as inconsistent but the Royals skipper said that he is adapting to playing according to the situation and style that suit his team the most. “My thought process is actually I don't come with a mindset. I just love to keep enjoying my batting, but nowadays I play according to a situation and try to win games for my team,” Samson said. Showering praise on one of the newest members of the Royals team Chetan Sakariya who plays for Saurashtra in the domestic circuit, Samson said that the left-armer is a very chilled out person who creates a positive environment for other players. He put his weight behind him and expressed that the left-armer will be producing more and more match-winning performances going forward in the IPL. “He's a very different kind of a person and chilled-out person. It's a very positive thing for Rajasthan Royals. He's ready to play this tournament and big matches. Hopefully, he'll win more matches for us in the future. We will take one day off and sit down and plan for the next game,” Samson concluded. Experts’ views Analysing the game between the Rajasthan Royals and the Knight Riders, cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle deduced two broad points. First, he said that the innings Sanju Samson played on Saturday night against the Knight Riders would give the Royals skipper a lot of satisfaction. The second, Harsha said that the Knight Riders must sort out their batting order where the inexperienced batsmen have been assigned the task of setting the games up while the experienced pros have been stacked up lower down the order to control and finish well. He asserted that the Knight Riders are wasting their resources being a side doing ‘too much bottom loading. The Royals bowling lineup had tightened the noose around the Knight Riders batting line up till the 12th over the mark and cricket analyst Joy Bhattacharjya put the onus on the big guns to take the Knight Riders to a respectable total. Cricket analyst Ben Jones who keeps his hawkish eyes on all teams across the world said that the Royals bowling lineup ticked all the boxes on how should a bowler bowl to different Knight Riders batsmen. Jones also highlighted the inflexion point for the Knight Riders who are likely to need six wins out of their remaining nine matches to have a chance to advance to the playoff stage. He suggested that the men in purple and gold need to find a way for Lockie Ferguson in the playing XI to make the bowling attack lot more competitive than it is now. Venerable journalist Ayaz Memon highlighted the performances of two young players from either side. He said that Shubman Gill had a horrible game both with the bat and while fielding while Sanju Samson rose to the occasion and pace his innings perfectly. The Knight Riders have lost four out of the five games they have played this season and find themselves languishing at the bottom of the table. On the other hand, the Royals found a way through to break the chain of losing but still find themselves at only the sixth position on the points table with two wins from five games played this season.


Wasim Jaffer joins R Ashwin in extending helping hands to people suffering due to Covid-19

Amidst the mounting criticism surrounding the Indian Premier League and players playing in it while the country is embroiled in Covid-19 pandemic, former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer has joined Ravichandran Ashwin in a short list of players voice concerns and prayers for the devastation being caused by the pandemic. India has reported more than 3 lakhs cases of novel coronavirus for the third time today and the number of deaths have also surged to record level beyond 2,000 each day. Jaffer took to his Twitter account and sought suggestions from his followers being ‘a public figure with a verified Twitter account’ on the ways he can extend helps in order to provide assistance to people who are struggling due to Covid-19. He promised to offer help in the best possible way while also reuqtesing people to help the people who have been mentioned in tweets he has liked before. Jaffer, who is the batting coach of the Punjab Kings in the ongoing 14th edition of the IPL, said that the cricketers or support staff who are part of the IPL are bunch of lucky people however his heart bleeds for the people who have to take the full bunt of raging pandemic. Notably, Ravichandran Ashwin also took to his Twitter account to seel suggestions and extend helps to people seeking assistance. He too recognised his privileges and the criticism that it brings with itself but said that the novel coronavirus has not spared any irrespective of their social and economic status. There have been clamour among citizens that have come in the form of criticism on social media about how can an event such as the IPL can coexist with the pain and devastation ongoing in the country.