IPL

Superb Rahul century steers Super Knights to victory over winless Indians

By Sports Desk April 16, 2022

KL Rahul knocked a freewheeling century to steer Lucknow Super Giants to an 18-run victory as they inflicted a sixth defeat of the season upon Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

The Super Giants captain muscled 103 not out off 60 balls to guide his side to an unassailable 199-4 on Saturday.

Suryakumar Yadav mustered a side-best 37 for the Indians in response, but their spirited attempts to deliver a first win of the campaign fell short.

Rahul had showcased some typical virtuosity over the past few weeks with the Super Giants, including a patient 68 in victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

But his effort here was of the more explosively entertaining kind, with the tone set by a fifth-over frenzy off Tyrone Mills and capped with an exquisite six.

Able support from Quinton de Kock (24) and Manish Pandey (38) helped drive the Indians, despite Jaydev Unadkat's 2-32 bowling figures.

Any hopes of a response from the Indians looked in jeopardy when they were reduced to 57-3, before Yadav and Tilak Varma mounted a sturdy 64-run fourth-wicket partnership.

Kieron Pollard and Unadkat combined to leave the hosts needing an ambitious 26 off the last over, but three wickets in those final six balls ended any hopes.

Rahul delivers captain's knock

Taking to the crease for the first ball alongside wicketkeeper De Kock, the India star turned in a contender for the performance of the tournament to date with his assured strokes.

With nine fours and five sixes, the opening batsman led from the front, with an impressive strike rate of 171.66, while Avesh Khan led the way with the ball, taking 3-30.

Luckless Indians continue barren run

It has been six games and six losses across the start of the 2022 campaign now for Mumbai, and their hopes of making the playoffs truly look to be in tatters.

On the back of Wednesday's loss to Punjab Kings, it is the second game in a row where their margin of defeat has clocked in under the 20-run mark, but it is still a painful streak they are yet to buck.

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    Phil Salt is "grateful for the backing" he has received after starring for England in their eight-wicket victory over Pakistan.

    Having struggled in his previous five innings in England's seven-match T20I series, when managing just 59 runs, Salt hit a blistering 88 not out from 41 deliveries on Friday.

    Salt reached a half-century in 19 balls – the third-fastest by an England player in the format – as the tourists levelled up the series at 3-3 in Lahore.

    That set up a decider on Sunday, when Salt will have another chance to underline his credentials to retain his spot at the top of the order at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

    "I'm very grateful for the backing I've got from my team-mates and the management. It's very clear the way they want me to play," the 26-year-old said.

    "The way I play is aggressive and I want to win as many games as possible while I'm in an England shirt. 

    "The first few games haven't gone to plan – I've been finding ways to get out, hitting fielders or whatever – but it's nice to come up with a performance like that in a big game.

    “It's always a challenge at the top of the order when you feel like you're playing well but you're picking out fielders and finding ways to get out.

    "It was definitely [my best T20 innings] and it was nice to do it with the series in the balance."

    With Jos Buttler due to return from injury in time for the World Cup, Salt is realistically in competition with Alex Hales over partnering the white-ball skipper.

    "You need competition. The best sides in the world have competition and you can't get away from that – it's the same in any sport," Salt added.

    "Everyone is trying to put their best foot forwards and show the coaching team and the team-mates how good they are.

    "I'm not looking too far into the future; I'm just focused on the next game in a couple of days' time."

    Salt's destruction of the Pakistan attack came after home captain Babar Azam had hit an unbeaten 87 to set England a target of 170 for victory.

    Babar became the first Pakistan batter to reach 3,000 T20I runs during his half-century, doing so in the absence of the rested Mohammad Rizwan.

    He is the fifth men's player to reach that milestone in the format and the joint-quickest to do so alongside India great Virat Kohli.

    Reflecting on what was ultimately a disappointing day for his side, however, Babar said: "After losing a couple of early wickets, we thought 170 was a good score. 

    "Maybe we were 10 runs or so short, but the way Salt batted in the first four or five overs, they took the game away from us. 

    "The way they used the powerplay was the turnaround today. I think the middle-order needs to step up, they need to take responsibility."

  • Salt stars as England canter to eight-wicket victory over Pakistan and set up series decider Salt stars as England canter to eight-wicket victory over Pakistan and set up series decider

    Phil Salt hit a blistering 88 as England beat Pakistan by eight wickets on Friday to level up their seven-match T20I series at 3-3 in Lahore.

    Pakistan recovered from a slow start that saw them 15-2 at one point to post 169-6 at the Gaddafi Stadium, thanks in large to the brilliant Babar Azam (87 not out).

    But England made easy work of the chase as they reached 100 from seven overs to set up a decider on Sunday.

    Without in-form Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan initially struggled as Mohammad Haris (7) and Shan Masood (0) fell early on, leaving Babar to do much of the leg work.

    Haider Ali (18), Iftikhar Ahmed (31) and Asif Ali took their side to 136-4, but the latter upper cut to Reece Topley for nine runs and Mohammad Nawaz (12) followed soon after.

    Babar's 87 did at least give England something to think about, but Salt and Alex Hales put on an opening partnership of 55 off 23 balls, before the latter was removed for 27.

    Salt reached his half-century off just 19 balls en route to an unbeaten 88, including the decisive shot as England posted 170-2 to level things up.

    Babar brilliance not enough

    Pakistan were without run machine Rizwan but Babar stepped up with 87 runs off 59 balls, which included three sixes and seven fours.

    Babar surpassed a milestone 3,000 T20I runs in the process, yet it was not enough to steer the hosts to an unassailable series lead.

    England ease to victory

    The tourists were set 170 to avoid a third successive T20I defeat to Pakistan for the first time ever and had no trouble in reaching that target.

    Only once before – against New Zealand in November 2019 (6.4 overs in a game reduced by rain to 11 overs) – have England previously reached 100 from seven overs.

    Salt played a key part in that as he underlined his credentials to partner Jos Buttler at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

  • Charles, Powell included as Kings and Tallawahs players dominate 2022 Hero CPL Team of the Tournament Charles, Powell included as Kings and Tallawahs players dominate 2022 Hero CPL Team of the Tournament

    Johnson Charles of the St Lucia Kings and Kyle Mayers of the Barbados Royals were among the 12-man 2022 Hero CPL Team of the Tournament released on Friday. Noticeably absent, however, is Brandon King of the Jamaica Tallawahs, who is the second highest run-scorer in the tournament and one of only three men who have scored hundreds in this year’s tournament.

    The team that was picked by the Hero CPL commentary team – Ian Bishop, Samuel Badree, Daren Ganga, Simon Doull and Danny Morrison, also includes South Africa’s Faf Du Plessis, who captained the Kings and Tallawahs’ captain Rovman Powell.

     In fact, players from the Kings and Tallawahs dominated the selection with only Sunil  Narine of four-time champions Trinbago Knight Riders among the selectees while other than Mayers, only Jason Holder was selected among the 11 from the Barbados Royals.

     However, the selection panel picked the Royals’ Ramon Simmonds as the 12th man as a result of his impressive performances throughout the tournament.

     Simmonds is one of the 12 emerging players in the Hero CPL squads and has been an important part of the Barbados Royals team in 2022. 

     The 2022 Hero CPL Team of the Tournament: Johnson Charles (Saint Lucia Kings), Kyle Mayers (Barbados Royals), Faf Du Plessis (Saint Lucia Kings), Rovman Powell (Jamaica Tallawahs), Raymon Reifer (Jamaica Tallawahs), Imad Wasim (Jamaica Tallawahs), Jason Holder (Barbados Royals), David Wiese (Saint Lucia Kings), Alzarri Joseph (Saint Lucia Kings), Mohammad Amir (Jamaica Tallawahs) Sunil Narine (Trinbago Knight Riders) and 12th man – Ramon Simmonds (Barbados Royals).

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