Big-hitting West Indian batsman, Kieron Pollard, joined elite Indian Premier League (IPL) company when became one of only a handful of players to hit 200 sixes, during Mumbai Indians' third match of IPL 2021 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

After a slow start to the campaign, Pollard exploded into life on Saturday hitting 35 from just 22 balls, lifting Mumbai to 150.  The West Indian’s knock consisted of three sixes, in the end playing a crucial role in a 13-run win.

 Pollard became the 6th batter to get past 200 sixes in the IPL.  The list is led by his compatriot Gayle who has hit 351 sixes, 114 more than 2nd-placed AB de Villiers. Rohit Sharma is third on the list followed by MS Dhoni.  Pollard went level with Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli after finishing the Mumbai Indians innings on Saturday with 201 sixes.

Pollard is, however, the only man among the top 10 on the list for most boundaries in the IPL with more sixes than fours — 201 sixes, 199 fours.  Pollard also became only the third overseas player after Gayle and de Villiers to hit 200 sixes.

Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar took three wickets apiece as Mumbai Indians claimed their second victory of the 2021 Indian Premier League against winless Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Mumbai posted a modest 150-5 from their allocation on Saturday with the total boosted largely to some valuable late-order hitting from Kieron Pollard.

Jonny Bairstow (43 off 22) laid a solid platform for Hyderabad's reply with an aggressive knock alongside the more cautious David Warner (36 off 34).

But both men departed to soft dismissals before India leg-spinner Rahul (3-19) stifled the middle order and Boult (3-28) blew away the tail as Hyderabad were bowled out for 137.

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma (32) and fellow opener Quinton de Kock (40) made good use of the powerplay after they had elected to bat first as they picked up length well, punishing anything short, on a slow pitch in Chennai.

Mumbai's innings stuttered in the middle overs as Vijay Shankar (2-19) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2-29) put the brakes on before Pollard (35 not out) whacked 16 crucial runs off the last over from Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Boult and Jasprit Bumrah initially made life tough for Hyderabad before Bairstow exploded in with a brutal assault, striking three fours and four sixes before he stepped on his stumps trying to work a ball from Krunal Pandya.

Hyderabad skipper Warner was then run out and Rahul's leggies swung the momentum Mumbai's way with three wickets before Boult and Bumrah (1-14) proved formidable at the death.

The victory took Mumbai top of the table, until Sunday at least, while Hyderabad are languishing at the bottom.

Sunrisers need more from Bairstow and Warner

In the third over of their reply, England's Bairstow launched a towering six off Boult straight down the ground which shattered the glass on a drinks fridge next to the Sunrisers' dugout.

His 43 off 22 balls got Hyderabad's reply off to a great start while Australian Warner played a more methodical innings to put his side within striking distance.

Both openers, however, were out to soft dismissals – Warner made a daft call for a single while Bairstow was out hit wicket – and the pair need to place greater value on their wickets.

Boult and Bumrah masterful 

Rahul caught the eye with his with his leg spin as he removed the top-six wickets of Manish Pandey, Virat Singh and Abhishek Sharma.

But at the business end of the game New Zealand left-armer Boult and India paceman Bumrah, who did not concede a single boundary, gave an exhibition in how to bowl at the death to snuff out any lingering Hyderabad's hopes.

That was backed up by some superb fielding from Hardik Pandya, who prowled the infield sharply and claimed two run outs including Warner.

Cricketer turned commentator Michael Holding believes British society and its media are all talk and little action when it comes to championing equal rights for all, more specifically the Black Lives Matter movement.

Deepak Chahar produced career-best Indian Premier League figures to inspire Chennai Super Kings to a dominant victory over Punjab Kings.

Making his 50th appearance in the competition, Chahar helped ensure Punjab's innings never got going as they were restricted to 106-8.

He finished with 4-13 from four overs, including one maiden, Punjab never getting to grips with a challenging surface in Mumbai.

Faf du Plessis (36 not out) and Moeen Ali (46) combined for 66 to help CSK ease to their target with 26 balls to spare, winning by six wickets.

Mayank Agarwal went for a two-ball duck to Chahar in the opening over, misjudging a wondrous delivery that pinged the top off-stump.

A direct hit from Ravindra Jadeja saw KL Rahul run out before the West Indian pair of Chris Gayle (10) and Nicholas Pooran (0) each fell to Chahar before the end of the powerplay.

Deepak Hooda tamely chipped to mid-off for Chahar's fourth wicket, leaving Punjab on 26-5 in the seventh over.

Shahrukh Khan's 36-ball 47, which included two sixes, at least made sure Punjab had something to defend, but a lack of support from the lower order meant the target was always one well within CSK's grasp.

Moeen and Du Plessis extinguished any hopes of Punjab claiming an unlikely win, their second-wicket stand allowing the Super Kings to coast to victory despite a 15th-over blitz from Mohammed Shami that saw Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu dismissed.

Chahar makes mark on landmark appearance

Chahar let out a huge roar when he castled Agarwal and he had every right to do so after producing a delivery that nipped away from middle stump to deceive the opener.

The subsequent dismissals owed more to a fine catch from Jadeja to get rid of Gayle and batting errors from Pooran and Hooda, but nothing should be taken away from Chahar after he tilted the game firmly in CSK's favour.

Moeen gets things moving

Moeen and Du Plessis showed Punjab how to bat on the surface with an excellent partnership, the England all-rounder's 46 coming off 31 deliveries, his strike rate of 148.38 the best in the contest.

He recorded seven fours and one maximum, with Du Plessis' sole six coming off a scoop shot in the fourth over. The South African was still in at the end when Sam Curran wrapped things up after a brief wobble.

Pakistan sealed a 3-1 triumph over South Africa in their Twenty20 series despite almost matching a wretched batting collapse by the hosts in the Centurion finale.

The Proteas slumped from 109-2 to 144 all out amid a display of artless batsmanship to set Pakistan just a modest victory target, yet the chasing side almost threw away the match with an implosion of their own.

Eventually they won by three wickets with one ball to spare, Fakhar Zaman smashing 60 from 34 balls and Mohammad Nawaz clinching victory with a six when just two runs were required.

Babar Azam's century had spurred Pakistan to a nine-wicket win in the third game of this four-match series, but where that contest, also at Centurion, was a run-fest, with both teams topping 200, this time South Africa were masters of their own downfall.

Aiden Markram came into the match behind three successive T20 fifties, attempting to be only the third player, after Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle, to make four in a row.

He was the first batsman to be dismissed, however, lbw to Nawaz, and although Janneman Malan (33) and Rassie van der Dussen (52) then put on 57 for the second wicket, there was little other resistance to be found among the South Africa batsmen.

Faheem Ashraf tormented the top order for figures of 3-17 in four overs, while Hasan Ali rebounded well from being carted for 29 in his opening two overs, finishing with 3-40.

In Pakistan's reply, Fakhar came to the crease after Mohammad Rizwan slumped to a first-over stumping, and the left-hander soon set about the home attack, crunching five fours and four sixes before being caught as a wild swipe at Lizaad Williams sent the ball skywards.

His departure triggered the second heavy flurry of wickets in the match, Pakistan sliding from 92-1 to 129-7, needing someone to find some composure.

Nawaz was that man, first punishing Sisanda Magala for delivering two consecutive no-balls in the penultimate over, flogging his second free hit over the ropes. In a nervy final over, Nawaz (25 not out) picked off Williams from the fifth ball, pulling square over the boundary for the winning runs.

Chaos reigns

A contest littered with chaotic cricket was perhaps best summed up by the first delivery of the ninth over in Pakistan's reply. Tabraiz Shamsi's delivery was short, sat up and called for severe punishment. Even so, Fakhar looked sure to miss out on a boundary as George Linde moved to sweep up inside the boundary. Yet Linde inexplicably failed to get his body in the way of the ball. Really rather poor all round.

Hasan heroic

While Faheem and Haris Rauf (2-18) kept it supremely tight throughout their spells, the same could not be said for Hasan, who came in for some brutal early treatment. It takes sporting courage and skill to rebound from two horror overs, and he demonstrated such attributes by taking three wickets in his next two sets of six, including that of Magala from his final delivery.

The third match of the Hero CPL Esports series was a topsy-turvy affair with the Kesrick Williams of the St Lucia Zouks emerging victorious against Sheldon Cottrell of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots after a brilliant come back with the ball.

 West Indies batsman, Kyle Mayers, thinks losing the captaincy may have been a blessing in disguise for all-rounder Jason Holder, who he thinks is freer to be more himself without the additional responsibility.

After seven years in charge, Holder was replaced as captain of the Test team last month by Kraigg Brathwaite.  Brathwaite was himself promoted to the post after successfully taking charge during a successful tour of Bangladesh, which Holder had opted out of, along with 11 other players.

The change in circumstances has, however, not affected Holder’s play on the field and, equally importantly, he has been vocal with his encouragement of teammates on the field.  The previously mentioned characteristic is one many of his critics believe was absent during the majority of his tenure as captain.

 “Jason brought a different personality to the dressing room than what was in Bangladesh and it’s been working out nicely, especially the hard times in the field, Jason has been behind the guys, pushing us to do well.  I think him being skipper stopped that for a few years,” Mayers told SportsMax.tv’s The Commentators podcast.

“That’s the type of person he actually is.  A jovial person, always making fun, talking a lot.  I guess as captain being focused on the game, he couldn’t do that as much but now he is free, probably just trying to play as well as he can and be as free as he can,” he added.

“For me, if you are enjoying cricket more and you have less to worry about, it should make you better.  You focus more on yourself.”

Catch the full episode of The Commentators podcast below 

 

 

Rajasthan Royals climbed off the canvas to record their first win over Delhi Capitals since April 2018, Chris Morris the hero as he blasted his side to a three-wicket win in the final over.

The Royals were on the ropes at 42-5 during their reply to the Capitals' total of 147-8, yet David Miller's fighting innings of 62 helped keep them in a see-saw contest in Mumbai.

His departure - caught in the deep trying to hit Avesh Khan (3-32) for a third successive six - left the score at 104-7, yet Morris delivered the knockout blows at the death.

Needing 27 from the final two overs, the all-rounder hammered four sixes – including two off compatriot Kagiso Rabada – to sensationally steer Rajasthan home with two balls to spare.

Delhi had suffered a poor start in their innings earlier in proceedings, a superb opening burst from Jaydev Unadkat, who finished with figures of 3-15, helping the Royals reduce their opponents to 37-4.

However, captain Rishabh Pant led the recovery mission for the Capitals, who were unbeaten in the previous five meetings between the franchises.

Lalit Yadav (20) and Tom Curran (21) made useful contributions down the order, while Chris Woakes finished up on 15 not out before playing a starring role for his team with the ball.

The England pace bowler removed international team-mate Jos Buttler for two early on, but the Royals – without the injured Ben Stokes, who will miss the rest of the campaign due to a broken finger – recovered to end Delhi's three-game winning streak at the Wankhede Stadium.

Morris shows his value

Back for a second spell with Rajasthan, who made him the most expensive buy in IPL auction history earlier this year, Morris demonstrated just why he was in such high demand.

Denied the chance to be the hero in their opening game – Sanju Samson turned down a single from the penultimate delivery against Punjab Kings, then got out when needing six to win – he benefited from some loose bowling from Delhi to cash in during the closing stages this time.

Pant down, then out

Skipper Pant rescued his team with a fluent 51 that included nine fours. However, when seemingly well set, he ran himself out trying to sneak a single, some smart work by bowler Riyan Parag seeing the left-hander dismissed by a distance.

Speaking after the game, the wicketkeeper-batsman admitted his team's score was "15-20 short", runs he could easily have provided had he not taken such an unnecessary risk.

Promising West Indies batsman, Kyle Mayers, has expressed confidence at the prospect of becoming a top international Test cricket all-rounder, on the back of encouraging displays with both the bat and ball in recent months.

The attacking-minded Mayers burst on the scene with a stroke-filled 210 unbeaten in the first Test against Bangladesh, in February of this year.  However, against Sri Lanka last month, the player also had a good turn with the ball.  Not only extracting movement from a placid pitch but taking four wickets in the process, with just a short spell.

The display prompted some pundits to suggest that the player had the ability to become a dependable all-rounder for the squad if he could improve his overall fitness.

Bowling would not have been entirely new to Mayers, however, as he was at one point considered more of a bowling all-rounder, having claimed 71 wickets in 30 first-class matches at an average of 21.54.  Having displayed more prowess with the bat in recent months, Mayers is convinced that he can do both at the highest level in the mold of former West Indies captain Jason Holder, or England’s Ben Stokes, the world’s top-ranked all-rounders.

“I have it in me to do it.  I just have to become fitter,” Mayer’s told SportsMax’s The Commentators podcast.

“I just started Test cricket and people think watching it on tv, it’s very easy, it’s very hard.  I will always say that, and I will always let young people coming up know that if you want to play Test cricket you need to work very hard,” he added.

“Preparation is key for me to be up there with Jason.  It will take that hard work, but I believe I can do it for sure.  Having number one and maybe number two in the world can’t be so bad.  If they had two of the world’s best all-rounders the guys would be happy.”

 Catch full interview in the Podcast below

 

 

Former West Indies Captain Jason Holder has expressed his delight at being named among Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year.

Former West Indies captain Sir Clive Lloyd is taking the Guyana Chronicle to court, his lawyer Ralph Thorne confirmed Tuesday night.

Lloyd claims that the newspaper attributed to him, disparaging comments made about all-rounder Jason Holder, himself now a former West Indies captain. However, the man who is also known as the 'Big Cat' insists that he did not speak to the reporter employed by the Guyanese media house.

The offending story published on March 13, was headlined ‘Holder has outlived his usefulness in the position, says Lloyd’ over the byline of Rajiv Bisnauth, who has subsequently been suspended. The newspaper has also apologized for their publication of the story.

However, Thorne revealed on the Mason & Guest talk show in Barbados last night that they were proceeding with legal action against the newspaper.

“I am representing Sir Clive Lloyd in association with Guyanese counsel and if the Chronicle or anybody at the Chronicle is hearing let them understand that we are pressing ahead with the case on behalf of one of the great West Indians of the last 100 years,” Ralph Thorne.

In response to Thorne’s declaration, Editor at the Guyana Chronicle Tajeram Mahabir told Sportsmax.TV that since the story was published online, they had taken several actions that included reaching out to Sir Clive Lloyd with an apology as well as publishing a retraction and apology on the front page of their online publication.

Mr Mahabir also revealed that the newspaper had also reached out to Lloyd’s attorney with an apology, also indicating that the attorney had requested a settlement. He was unable to say whether an agreement was reached on any settlement.

He directed Sportsmax.TV to General Manager Moshamie Ramotar, who was said to be in a meeting when a call was made to her office.

Meanwhile, Mr Mahbir, who said he was disappointed and appalled by the headline and the story saying that had he seen it before it would not have been published. The editor, who described Lloyd as an icon, also said that the newspaper has also engaged the reporting staff in libel training.

On Tuesday night, Thorne said regional newspapers needed to be more responsible with their reporting.

“This region is what it is because we have some people called cricketers. This region derives much of its identity and much of its respect in the international community because of cricket, and therefore because of our cricketers you are not going to meet a more distinguished West Indian than Sir Clive Lloyd,” he said.

“And therefore, newspapers must be very careful how they portray our heroes. Sir Clive Lloyd is a West Indian hero, an authentic West Indian hero and when a reporter is going to say to the world in an online edition that Sir Clive Lloyd spoke to him and he quoted Sir Clive Lloyd as having said that he disavowed Jason Holder.

That is unkind, not only because Sir Clive Lloyd is a West Indian hero speaking about a West Indian captain but Sir Clive Lloyd never said that. These men must not be defamed by newspapers simply because they have the power of the pen.”

Royal Challengers Bangalore made it two wins from two in the Indian Premier League as Sunrisers Hyderabad's miserable record at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium continued on Wednesday.

Glenn Maxwell hit his first half-century in the tournament since 2016 as the Royal Challengers – who had beaten defending champions Mumbai Indians in their opening fixture – posted 149-8 after being put into bat.

Hyderabad appeared on course to prevail in pursuit of their target when they reached 96-1, only for the departure of captain David Warner – caught in the deep for 54 - to trigger a dramatic collapse.

Shahbaz Ahmed claimed three wickets in an over, including Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey with back-to-back deliveries, to completely change the complexion of a run chase that fell apart.

While Rashid Khan made 17 in a hurry the Sunrisers still finished up six runs short on 143-9, meaning they have still yet to win a completed fixture at the venue in Chennai.

Bangalore's innings had been similar too, captain Virat Kohli making 33 before his departure to Jason Holder started a mid-innings wobble, his team slipping from 91-2 to 109-6.

However, Maxwell eventually mastered the tough batting conditions, producing a late onslaught as 39 runs came from the final three overs. He was dismissed off the last delivery of the innings for 59, caught behind to give Holder final figures of 3-30.

Taking it to the Max

Maxwell endured a lean 2020 IPL campaign in the United Arab Emirates, averaging 15.42 for Kings XI Punjab as he made only 108 runs. Having been released ahead of the auction, Bangalore already appear to be getting plenty for their money.

The Australian has now scored 98 runs in his two innings for the Royal Challengers, who sit on top of the table in the embryonic stages of the season.

Chennai trouble for chasing teams

After Kolkata Knight Riders had faltered in pursuit of a 153-run target to lose narrowly against Mumbai at the ground 24 hours earlier, Sunrisers let the same situation happen when seemingly well on top.

Shahbaz (3-7) bowled only two overs, yet the second from the left-arm spinner saw Bairstow, Pandey - who struggled to up the pace as he made 38 from 39 balls - and Abdul Samad all caught off top-edged attempts to go big to the leg side.

Andre Russell cleaned up the Mumbai Indians' tail for career-best figures of 5-15 but was unable to finish the job with the bat as the Kolkata Knight Riders slumped to a dramatic 10-run defeat

Suryakumar Yadav hit a wonderfully fluent 56 but Mumbai's innings stuttered after he holed out to Shakib Al Hasan and they lost 7-37 in the final five overs to be dismissed for 152, as Russell claimed a remarkable 5-15 from 12 deliveries.

Nitish Rana (57) and Shubman Gill (33) tore into the Indians attack with an opening stand of 72, only for Kolkata to subside meekly from a position of strength to a final score of 142-7 – leg-spinner Rahul Chahar (4-27) chipping away at the top order before Trent Boult (2-27) sealed the deal by removing Russell and Pat Cummins in the final over.

Batsmen on either side generally found the going tough but Suryakumar played beautifully, hitting seven fours and two sixes with some wonderfully languid strokeplay before being caught by Gill when trying to plough Shakib back over his head.

Skipper Rohit Sharma anchored the innings until the impressive Cummins (2-24) bowled him with an off-cutter for 43 and Russell made hay.

Fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard edged behind to start the procession and Cummins held on as Russell dismissed Marco Jansen for nought, with Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Chahar all caught in the deep off the final four balls of the innings.

Unfortunately for Kolkata, they similarly fell apart down the stretch after Chahar had Gill caught by Pollard and claimed the key wicket of Rana stumped, Rahul Tripathi and captain Eoin Morgan giving their wickets away cheaply in every sense to the wrist-spinner.

Shakib played a reckless slog sweep to fall to Krunal Pandya, who sent down a miserly four overs for 1-13. He dropped a return catch with Russell on nought but Boult ensured that did not matter, removing the all-rounder in similar fashion before cleaning up Cummins first ball to effectively end the argument.

Mumbai keep Kolkata under their spell

This was certainly a victory worthy of the defending champions, for whom everything looked lost as Rana and Gill went about their work. There will have been a sense of grim inevitability for the Knight Riders when Chahar and Krunal Pandya began to turn the screw – they have now lost 11 of the past 12 matches between the sides.

Forgot about Dre?

A specialist in franchise T20 all over the world, it was no surprise to see Russell bringing his know-how to the fore. However, in a game of such tight margins, perhaps Morgan might regret not giving the Jamaican his full allocation of overs.

Rajasthan Royals and England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the remainder of the Indian Premier League after breaking his finger.

Stokes did the damage when he ran in from the boundary to claim a low catch and dismiss Punjab Kings batsman Chris Gayle in the Royals' first game of the tournament, which they lost by four runs on Monday.

The Royals on Tuesday revealed that Stokes will play no further part in the competition.

A statement from the franchise said: "Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes injured a finger on his left hand while fielding during the team's match against Punjab Kings on 12 April 2021 in Mumbai.

"Subsequent investigations revealed that he sustained a broken finger, which will unfortunately rule him out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League 2021 season.

"Everyone at Rajasthan Royals absolutely admires Ben for being such a huge asset and a valuable member of the Royals family, both on and off the field, and wishes him a speedy recovery.

"We are delighted that Ben would like to stay with the group to provide his valued support and inputs off the field. In the meantime, we will be reviewing potential replacement options for the remainder of the season."

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it will confirm the next steps for Stokes after he is assessed over the coming days.

There was positive news on Stokes' England and Royals team-mate Jofra Archer earlier in the day, with the paceman given the all-clear by his hand consultant to resume training.

Archer, who underwent surgery last month, was given the go-ahead to return to light training this week, working closely with the Sussex and England men's medical teams.

An update on his elbow injury will be provided once he has resumed bowling and it is not yet clear when he will be available to play again.

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