Ben Stokes plundered a glorious century to help Rajasthan Royals chase down Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League on Sunday. 

The England all-rounder was in imperious form in Abu Dhabi, hitting an unbeaten 107 off 60 balls to keep the Royals – who had started the day bottom of the table – in the play-off picture. 

Mumbai, who remain top, had the chance to seal a play-off spot of their own with a win and they put themselves in a commanding position with a total of 195-5. 

Hardik Pandya was the star of their innings, striking an unbeaten 60 off 21 balls. His knock, which included seven sixes and two fours, was the fourth-fastest of this season's IPL. 

Mumbai opener Ishan Kishan went for 37 in spectacular circumstances, with Stokes' England team-mate Jofra Archer taking an acrobatic one-handed catch by the boundary.

The Indians might have thought they had done enough to secure an eighth win in 11 games this season but Stokes and Sanju Samson had other ideas, the pair putting on a third-wicket stand of 152 from 82 balls to take the Royals home with 10 balls to spare 

Rajasthan move up to sixth in the table with 10 points from their 12 games, while the result condemns Chennai Super Kings, who had thumped Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier in the day, to elimination. 

STOKES FINALLY ARRIVES IN THIS SEASON'S IPL  

Stokes had struggled to make an impact in the IPL before his match-winning turn on Sunday, scoring just 110 runs off 103 balls in this season's competition. The 29-year-old said he felt in confident mood ahead of Sunday's game thanks to a positive training session a day earlier. 

"I'm a bit taken aback by why it's taken me so long to get into the tournament for the team," he said. "To be honest, the training I've had yesterday was the best I had throughout my time here, so I came into this with a bit of confidence. It was coming on nicely."

ARCHER PLAYS HIS PART

Archer set the stage for Stokes' heroics with a fine display in the field. His catch from Kishan was a thing of beauty, while he also removed Quinton de Kock and Saurabh Tiwary on six and 34 respectively. 

Chennai Super Kings rekindled their slim Indian Premier League play-off hopes with a resounding eight-wicket triumph over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday. 

The Super Kings had managed just one win in their previous six games but belied that poor run of form with a fine all-round performance in Dubai. 

Bangalore had the chance to go top of the table but a total of 145-6 was not enough, despite a defiant half-century from captain Virat Kohli and 39 from AB de Villiers.

Sam Curran claimed 3-19 while Mitchell Santner returned figures of 1-23 from his four overs, setting up the opportunity for Chennai's batsmen to deliver a much-needed result. 

Ruturaj Gaikwad led the way at the top of the order, finishing up unbeaten on 65 not out after sharing stands worth 46 and 67 with Faf du Plessis (25) and Ambati Rayudu (39) respectively. 

Skipper MS Dhoni made 19 not out as his side cruised to their target with eight balls to spare, a victory that moves them off the bottom of the standings. 

 

SAM THE MAN FOR A CHALLENGE 

In a difficult campaign, Curran has shone for the Super Kings. The England all-rounder has performed whatever role required efficiently and is now his franchise's leading wicket-taker in 2020. 

His left-arm seam accounted for a trio of big names, as he dismissed Aaron Finch early on before returning to take out international team-mate Moeen Ali and the key wicket of Kohli in the 19th over. 

CHENNAI OPEN TO CHANGE 

Gaikwad recorded his maiden half-century in the Twenty20 tournament, producing a fluent 51-ball innings that included three sixes. 

The right-hander, 23, completed the job in style, pulling a Chris Morris short ball over the boundary. It was a far cry from his previous knock too, having fallen for a duck against Mumbai Indians last time out. 

Chris Jordan and Arshdeep Singh took three wickets apiece in a dramatic Sunrisers Hyderabad collapse as Kings XI Punjab extended their winning streak to four Indian Premier League matches.

In-form Kings XI could only post 126-7 in Dubai on Saturday – Nicholas Pooran top-scoring with 32 on a slow track.

Spin wizard Rashid Khan was yet again the standout bowler with 2-14 from four overs, while Sandeep Sharma and Jason Holder also struck twice.

Sunrisers were 100-3 in reply and looked set for victory, but went down by 12 runs after they capitulated to 114 all out as their play-off hopes took a huge blow.

David Warner made a brisk 35 at the top of the order before the Kings XI bowlers put the squeeze on, with the excellent Jordan taking 3-17.

Arshdeep also played a big part in such a low-scoring contest, finishing with outstanding figures of 3-23, while Ravi Bishnoi took 1-13 as Sunrisers fell apart to slip below Kings XI into sixth place.

They lost five wickets from nine balls in the last two overs, three falling in the final over from Arshdeep, which they started needing 14 to win.

What a victory this for @lionsdenkxip. Four wins in a row for them.

They win by 12 runs.#Dream11IPL pic.twitter.com/YuzbILBiAd

— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) October 24, 2020

 

RASHID COMES TO THE PARTY AGAIN WITH BOX OF TRICKS 

Afghanistan star Rashid was unplayable yet again, bowling KL Rahul with a peach of a delivery.

The Kings XI batsmen had no answer to Rashid's flight, dip and turn, while Deepak Honda missed a leg-break and Jonny Bairstow whipped off the bails to give the 22-year-old his second wicket.

Rashid's economy rate of 5.29 is the third-best in the competition and he has played considerably more games than the two men – Chris Morris and Lockie Ferguson – above him on that list.

SUNRISERS GO DOWN AFTER BRIGHT START

With only a modest total to chase down, Sunrisers looked destined for victory with Warner going along nicely in an opening stand of 56 with Bairstow.

But the impressive Bishnoi had Warner caught behind and Bairstow followed for 19 in the next over, bowled trying to sweep Ravichandran Ashwin.

Vijay Shankar made 26, yet Sunrisers fell to pieces with Jordan – who also took a catch – and Arshdeep ripping through the order, while Bishnoi bowled as many as 14 dot balls.

Varun Chakravarthy claimed the best bowling figures seen in the 2020 Indian Premier League so far as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Delhi Capitals by 59 runs on Saturday. 

The Capitals would have returned to the top of the table with a win at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, but KKR consigned them to back-to-back defeats to give their own play-off hopes a major boost. 

Nitish Rana (81 off 53 balls) and Sunil Narine (64 from 32) put on 115 to get Eoin Morgan's side up to an imposing 194-6. 

South Africa pacemen Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada - the leading wicket-taker in the tournament - took two wickets apiece, but Rana and Narine shifted the momentum after Kolkata had slipped to 42-3. 

The brilliant Pat Cummins (3-17) put the Knight Riders in control when he got rid of openers Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan cheaply. 

Chakravarthy then demolished the middle order with a magnificent exhibition of spin bowling, taking 5-20 from his four overs as the Capitals could only make 135-9 in their reply. 

Captain Shreyas Iyer (47) gave Delhi hope, but they lost seven wickets for 59 runs as Chakravarthy claimed the first five-wicket haul of this year's IPL. 

 

RANA AND NARINE TO THE RESCUE

Nortje (2-27) removed Shubman Gill in his first over and struck again in his second, giving Rahul Tripathi no chance to keep out a searing yorker. 

Rabada (2-33) got in on the act by dismissing Dinesh Karthik, but a century stand between Rana and Narine got KKR up to a challenging total. 

Narine smashed four sixes as Ravichandran Ashwin went for 45 off his three overs, while Rana struck 13 fours and a six in a 10th IPL half-century he dedicated to his late father-in-law, who passed away earlier this week.

CHAK ATTACK AFTER CUMMINS GETS KKR GOING

Cummins set the tone by getting a sharp first delivery to nip back and hit Rahane bang in front, then followed that up by removing Dhawan's off stump in his second over.

Iyer and Rishabh Pant put on 63 for the third wicket, but they were unable to score at the required rate as the Knight Riders' attack bowled with impressive discipline. 

The craft and composure of Chakravarthy then ended any hope of Delhi rising back to the summit, as he dismissed Shimron Hetmyer and Iyer in the 14th over after Pant had already holed out.

Trent Boult took four wickets and Ishan Kishan blasted an unbeaten half-century as Mumbai Indians returned to the top of the Indian Premier League with a 10-wicket hammering of Chennai Super Kings.

It was the most one-sided of contests at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, where CSK could only post 114-9 on Friday.

That marked something of a recovery for the bottom side, who were reeling on 3-4 after Boult (4-18) and Jasprit Bumrah (2-25) took two wickets apiece in devastating opening bursts.

They were rocking on 43-7 before Sam Curran spared them complete humiliation with 52 from 47 balls. 

Rahul Chahar also capitalised on the sorry Super Kings' batting frailties by taking 2-22 and the Indians openers made light work of moving them back to the summit.

Kishan made 68 from a mere 37 deliveries and the in-form Quinton de Kock finished unbeaten on 46 as the defending champions sealed a thumping win with as many as 7.4 overs to spare.

Victory moves Mumbai level on points with Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

 

BOULT AND BUMRAH WREAK HAVOC IN PITIFUL POWERPLAY

CSK were floored by Boult and Bumrah as they lost five wickets in the powerplay for the first time ever.

The brilliant Boult trapped Ruturaj Gaikwad leg before in the first over and had Faf du Plessis caught behind by De Kock after Bumrah struck twice in as many balls, seeing the back of Ambati Rayudu and Narayan Jagadeesan.

Curran offered some much-needed resistance without notable support before he was bowled off the last ball of the innings from Boult, who also dismissed Ravindra Jadeja.

New Zealand seamer Boult is third in the list of leading wicket-takers in the 2020 IPL with 16, one less than Bumrah.

 

SEALED WITH A KISH

It takes a special innings to upstage South Africa white-ball captain De Kock and Kishan produced one.

The 22-year-old struck five sixes in another demonstration of his immense talent, reaching his half-century by disdainfully reverse-sweeping Jadea over the rope.

Gaikwad gave Kishan a life when he put him down, summing up CSK's day, and De Kock - who had made three consecutive half-centuries - struck a couple of sixes as Mumbai coasted to victory.

Jason Holder made an instant impact and Manish Pandey cut loose as Sunrisers Hyderabad stopped the rot with an eight-wicket Indian Premier League win over Rajasthan Royals.

David Warner's Sunrisers had lost three consecutive games but ended their slump with an impressive performance in Dubai on Thursday.

West Indies captain Holder, unsold at the IPL auction but drafted in to replace the injured Mitchell Marsh last month, took 3-33 and also ran out Robin Uthappa in his first appearance of the tournament.

Sanju Samson top-scored with 36 and Ben Stokes laboured to 30 as the Royals could only post 154-6 after Warner put them in.

Jofra Archer blasted a quickfire 16 and then removed Warner yet again before bowling his England team-mate Jonny Bairstow in a rapid early burst.

At 16-2 in the third over of Sunrisers' reply it was very much game on, but an unbroken stand of 140 between Pandey (83 not out) and Vijak Shankar (52) consigned Rajasthan to defeat.

Pandey was the chief aggressor, hitting eight sixes in a brilliant 47-ball knock to move Sunrisers up to fifth, finding great support from Shankar, who hit the winning runs off the first ball of the 19th over.

HOLDER GRASPS HIS CHANCE

All-rounder Holder was given his opportunity after Kane Williamson was ruled out and he grabbed it with both hands.

He ended an opening stand of 30 by producing a sharp piece of work to dismiss Uthappa with a direct hit and then bowled the dangerous Samson with a slower ball, having seen the previous delivery disappear for six.

Holder was not finished there, removing Steve Smith and Riyan Parag from successive deliveries. He bowled 11 dot balls in an impressive start with ball in hand.

 

PANDEY PUMMELS ROYALS

Archer rocked Sunrisers with a hostile opening spell, Stokes taking a good slip catch to ensure his England colleague has dismissed the Australia opener six times in seven innings.

Bairstow also failed to hang around, but Pandey and Shankar took charge of the run chase with a stand that sapped the life out of the Royals.

Shankar was content to score at just over a run a ball as Pandey produced a masterful display of timing, power and use of the feet, reaching his half-century in 28 balls and finishing with a 176.59 strike rate.

Kartik Tyagi and Stokes were hit for three sixes apiece as Pandey put the Royals attack to the sword. Only Samson and Ishan Kishan - with nine apiece - have scored more maximums in an IPL innings this year.

Mohammed Siraj made history with an astonishing display of bowling to set up a crushing eight-wicket win for Royal Challengers Bangalore over the sorry Kolkata Knight Riders.

Seamer Siraj claiming incredible figures of 3-8 off four overs as KKR could only post a pitiful 84-8 from their 20 overs in a one-sided Indian Premier League match at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Kolkata's total was the lowest from the full complement of overs in an IPL game without a team getting bowled out and Siraj's figures were the most economical in the tournament this year.

Siraj was the first to bowl two maidens in an IPL innings, while Yuzvendra Chahal claimed 2-15 and captain Eoin Morgan (30) was one of only four KKR batsmen to make double figures.

RCB needed just 13.3 overs to reach their target in Abu Dhabi and go second in the table, level on points with leaders Delhi Capitals. 

Lockie Ferguson was the Knight Riders' only wicket-taker, getting Aaron Finch caught behind after Devdutt Padikkal (25) was run out.

KKR never recovered from the magnificent Siraj taking two wickets in as many balls in the second over and remain in fourth spot.

 

SIRAJ STUNS KKR, TON UP FOR AB

Siraj had three wickets without conceding a run from two overs and was on a hat-trick after seeing the back of Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana.

Morgan's men were deep in the mire on 14-4 when Tom Banton was taken by AB de Villiers, who reached the 100 IPL catches landmark.

KKR never got going, Morgan scoring half of their six fours as the RCB bowlers gave little away, bowling 72 dot balls in a strange innings.

 

KOHLI ON A ROLL

RCB unsurprisingly made easy work of putting KKR out of their misery, getting home at a canter.

An unbroken stand of 39 between Gurkeerat Singh (21) and Virat Kohli (18) sealed it, the skipper maintaining his excellent form after a slow start to the competition.

The India captain has scored 329 runs since the beginning of this month, averaging a mammoth 109.7. He has also racked up 285 in his last four knocks versus KKR at an average of 142.5.

Shikhar Dhawan's second consecutive IPL century was not enough for Delhi Capitals to overcome a resurgent Kings XI Punjab, who claimed a five-wicket victory in Dubai - their third win in a row.

Dhawan became the first player in the history of the tournament to register back-to-back tons, carrying his bat for an accomplished 106 not out that accounted for the bulk of 164 for five.

The lack of support for the India opener cost Delhi dear, however, with 14 their next highest individual score, and contributions throughout won the day for the Kings XI.

In at number three after a breezy 15 from captain KL Rahul, Chris Gayle tucked into the beleaguered Tushar Deshpande, hitting three fours and two sixes in a riotous fifth over.

After Gayle was bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin for 29 and Mayank Agarwal was run out in the sixth over, another West Indian in Nicholas Pooran thrillingly picked up the baton.

Pooran compiled a blistering half-century as he added 69 for the fourth wicket alongside Glenn Maxwell. He departed the ball after reaching his milestone, edging the impressive Kagiso Rabada (2-27) behind for a 28-ball 53.

Maxwell departed for 32 when Rishabh Pant pouched a swirling chance off Rabada but Deepak Hooda and Jimmy Neesham - 15 and 10 not out respectively - finished the job authoritatively, the New Zealander planting Daniel Sams over midwicket to finish matters with an over to spare.

Dhawan plays stunning lone hand

Dhawan is in simply irresistible form. His knock on Tuesday made it two centuries and two fifties in his past four innings. During that time he has scored 333 runs and been dismissed only once. However, it would be nice for some of his team-mates to join him. Pant matched skipper Shreyas Iyer's 14 but did so glacially off 20 deliveries.

Deshpande dominated

The right-arm medium pacer found himself in the eye of the storm against Gayle and things got no better when a rampant Pooran tucked into him. A ploy of slow, short deliveries missed the mark horribly and Deshpande's two overs cost 41, featuring five fours and three sixes.

Jos Buttler powered Rajasthan Royals to a much-needed victory in the Indian Premier League, his unbeaten 70 inspiring a seven-wicket defeat of Chennai Super Kings.

The Royals had lost six of their last seven matches heading into a meeting with a CSK side that also started the day on six points from nine games.

CSK won the toss and their decision to bat first ultimately proved ill-advised, though Rajasthan initially laboured in pursuit of 126.

Buttler came to the crease with the Royals teetering on 28-3 in the fifth over and had to exercise patience alongside Steve Smith (26 not out) before being able to cut loose.

When he was able to get into his rhythm, Buttler produced his brilliant best, hitting seven fours and a pair of sixes in a 48-ball knock that helped Rajasthan move within two points of the top four

CSK earlier recovered from 56-4 to reach 125-5 thanks to a fifth-wicket stand between MS Dhoni (28) and Ravindra Jadeja (35 not out), however, a run out of the former by Jofra Archer and Sanju Samson proved key in keeping them under 130.


ARCHER EXCELS AGAIN

Archer has been outstanding for Rajasthan, adding to his reputation as one of the world's most fearsome fast bowlers in all formats.

He was excellent again on Monday, removing Faf du Plessis with the final ball of the third over and sending down 11 dot balls in his 1-20.

The England paceman ran out CSK skipper Dhoni to end an ominous partnership with Jadeja, though the Royals initially made heavy weather of a manageable chase.

BUTTLER LEADS ROYALS RESURGENCE

Though he and Smith had to deal with some concerted pressure early in their decisive stand of 98, Buttler eventually got his reward for frustrating the CSK attack.

His was an innings typically defined by precision and timing and a 15th over that saw Buttler hit England colleague Sam Curran for three successive fours effectively took the game away from CSK.

Rajasthan were left needing just 18 off the final five overs and there was to be no dramatic collapse, Jadeja falling over the boundary rope at long-on for Buttler's final six in the 17th over before Smith then hit the winning run.

Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal combined to help Kings XI Punjab snatch a dramatic victory over Mumbai Indians in Dubai after double Super Over drama.

An extraordinary Indian Premier League match saw both sides post 176-6, with KL Rahul making a terrific 77 for Kings XI, before the teams then managed just five runs each in the first series of extra overs.

Chris Jordan gave away 11 to Mumbai as the second round of Super Overs began, helped by a magnificent piece of boundary fielding from Agarwal who denied Pollard a six from the final ball.

Agarwal caught the ball while in mid-air over the ropes and threw it back into play, athleticism that saved four runs, and after Gayle blasted Trent Boult for six at the start of KXIP's second extra over, it was Agarwal who finished the match with back-to-back boundaries.

Jasprit Bumrah (3-24) had earlier ended Rahul's innings with a scorching delivery at a pivotal point in KXIP's run chase, and Jordan was run out from the final ball of their 20 overs, chasing a second run for victory.

Bumrah limited Kings XI to just 5-2 in six balls of the first Super Over, before Mohammed Shami incredibly kept Mumbai to 5-1 thanks to a set of super yorkers.

After just two wins from their previous eight games this season, the Mohali-based Kings XI had looked poised for more disappointment as momentum repeatedly appeared to swing to their second-placed opponents, only for Gayle and Agarwal to produce the late heroics.

Quinton de Kock made a team-high 53 in Mumbai's innings, which benefited from an explosive seventh-wicket partnership of 57 between Kieron Pollard and Nathan Coulter-Nile, who only came together midway through the 17th over.

Jordan's turning circle

Had Jordan turned and run straight back on a batsman's usual path, he would surely have made his ground for the second run in that 20th over. Instead he swung around in a wide curve at the non-striker's end and ended up charging back bizarrely wide, seemingly taking several unnecessary strides that cost him his wicket. Somehow, he finished on the winning side nonetheless.

Living on the edge

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma could have found himself facing questions if his early call in KXIP's innings proved pivotal. Boult drew a thin edge from opener Agarwal in the first over that was not spotted by the umpire, and there was no obvious shout from De Kock who gathered the ball safely behind the stumps. Boult was convinced and replays confirmed what he had seen, but Sharma declined the bowler's call for a review. Agarwal perished for 11, presumably sparing Sharma a post-game inquisition.

David Warner became the fastest to 5,000 Indian Premier League runs but Sunrisers Hyderabad lost again, this time to Kolkata Knight Riders in a Super Over. 

Batting in the unusual position of four in the order, Warner made an unbeaten 47 off 33 balls as Sunrisers managed to get 17 runs off the final over to level the scores. 

However, the left-hander was bowled at the start of the Super Over by the excellent Lockie Ferguson, who then cleaned up Abdul Samad two balls later. 

Left needing just three to win off leg-spinner Rashid Khan, Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan combined with the man he recently replaced in the job, Dinesh Karthik, to complete the job, the pair having earlier made 34 and 29 not out respectively. 

Shubman Gill top-scored with 36 as five of the Knight Riders' top six reached double figures, Andre Russell the only exception as they finished on 163-5. 

The West Indies all-rounder then suffered an apparent hamstring injury in the field, though he returned to bowl the final over with Hyderabad needing 18. 

They appeared on course to reach their target when the equation was reduced down to two from the final ball, but Warner had to settle for a tie as they scampered through for a leg bye. 

WARNER JOINS ILLUSTRIOUS CLUB

Warner is the fourth batsman to reach 5,000 runs in the Twenty20 tournament, though the first overseas player to achieve the feat. 

The Australian joins Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in the illustrious club. Worryingly, though, his Sunrisers team are on the slide as the season reaches a critical stage, this their fourth loss in five games. They are now four points behind fourth-placed Kolkata in the table.

LOCKIE THE KEY TO VICTORY

Playing his first game in this year's IPL, Lockie Ferguson showed the value of pace as he picked up five wickets in the match - including two in a Super Over for Hyderabad that did not last long.

He had also claimed 3-15 in the Sunrisers' innings, dismissing fellow New Zealander Kane Williamson, who replaced Warner as opener and, despite an obvious injury, made 29.

David Warner became the fastest to 5,000 Indian Premier League runs but Sunrisers Hyderabad lost again, this time to Kolkata Knight Riders in a Super Over. 

Batting in the unusual position of four in the order, Warner made an unbeaten 47 off 33 balls as Sunrisers managed to get 17 runs off the final over to level the scores. 

However, the left-hander was bowled at the start of the Super Over by the excellent Lockie Ferguson, who then cleaned up Abdul Samad two balls later. 

Left needing just three to win off leg-spinner Rashid Khan, Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan combined with the man he recently replaced in the job, Dinesh Karthik, to complete the job, the pair having earlier made 34 and 29 not out respectively. 

Shubman Gill top-scored with 36 as five of the Knight Riders' top six reached double figures, Andre Russell the only exception as they finished on 163-5. 

The West Indies all-rounder then suffered an apparent hamstring injury in the field, though he returned to bowl the final over with Hyderabad needing 18. 

They appeared on course to reach their target when the equation was reduced down to two from the final ball, but Warner had to settle for a tie as they scampered through for a leg bye. 

WARNER JOINS ILLUSTRIOUS CLUB

Warner is the fourth batsman to reach 5,000 runs in the Twenty20 tournament, though the first overseas player to achieve the feat. 

The Australian joins Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in the illustrious club. Worryingly, though, his Sunrisers team are on the slide as the season reaches a critical stage, this their fourth loss in five games. They are now four points behind fourth-placed Kolkata in the table.

LOCKIE THE KEY TO VICTORY

Playing his first game in this year's IPL, Lockie Ferguson showed the value of pace as he picked up five wickets in the match - including two in a Super Over for Hyderabad that did not last long.

He had also claimed 3-15 in the Sunrisers' innings, dismissing fellow New Zealander Kane Williamson, who replaced Warner as opener and, despite an obvious injury, made 29.

West Indies bowler Dwayne Bravo is expected to be out of IPL 2020 action again for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) after picking up another injury.

The specialist death bowler sustained the latest setback, a groin injury, in action against the Delhi Capitals on Saturday.  Bravo was as a result unable to bowl the final over for the team, which in the end saw CSK lose by 5 wickets with one ball to spare.  As of now, it is unknown how long the player will be out of action.

"He seems to have a right groin injury, I think, and it was obviously serious enough to keep him off the field," CSK head coach Stephen Fleming explained at the post-match press conference.

"He's obviously desperately disappointed that he couldn't bowl the last over - that's what he's pretty much in the team for. He will have to be reassessed going forward, but at this stage, you'd imagine it's going to take a few days or a couple of weeks, but we will assess that tomorrow."

Bravo had arrived for IPL duty in the UAE with an entirely different injury, a knee problem sustained during this season’s CPL.  He missed the Super Kings' first three games, as the team had decided to take extra caution.

Since his re-introduction, however, the player has made an impact, impressing with his yorkers and slower variations in the Super Kings' return fixture against the Sunrisers and the Kolkata Knight Riders and providing more depth to both the bowling attack

 

 

West Indies all-rounder, Andre Russell, has come under fire for what has been described as the lack of improvement in his game, as his struggles with the bat for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have been plainly noticeable in IPL 2020 so far.

In eight matches to date, Russell has struggled to an average of 11.85, with a high score of 24.  As those stats will tell you, the typically big-hitting West Indian has managed to clear the boundary rope just 6 times, reaching to it on four occasions, well short of his explosive best.

The performance is light years away from last season’s bulldozer campaign, which saw the player accumulate 510 runs from the stipulated 14 games at an average of 56.66, with a whopping 204.81 strike rate. 

Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha believes a big part of the issue is that Russell has not developed his game and is the same player he was four years ago.  Worse yet, he believes it could increasingly become a liability for KKR.

“Andre Russell is not an improved cricketer, he has not changed his game. You see all the top players, they have changed their approach. Andre Russell is playing just the way he was playing 4 years ago, that is a liability,” Ojha told India Today’s Sports Tak.

“Look at Jasprit Bumrah, when he came into the Mumbai Indians side and what he is today, you have to improve. You have to improve as a cricketer, cricket is evolving and you have to evolve, you cannot be stagnant.”

Russell has done a bit better with the ball, claiming six wickets at an economy rate of 9.12.

 

AB de Villiers smashed a match-winning fifty as Royal Challengers Bangalore claimed a brilliant seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

South African great De Villiers made it three unbeaten half centuries for the tournament, lofting Jofra Archer over deep midwicket for his sixth maximum to make it 55 off 22 deliveries and seal the points with two balls to spare.

Rajasthan set Bangalore 177-6, as Steve Smith returned to form with an excellent 57 from 36 deliveries, but they have now lost four of their past five matches.

The Royal Challengers are third with six wins from nine outings and their other standout performer was Chris Morris, whose 4-24 include the scalps of Smith, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.

Bangalore lost Aaron Finch for 14 after a couple of sixes early in the run chase as the Australia opener sliced a slog sweep off Shreyas Gopal high into the air.

Skipper Virat Kohli (43) and Devdutt Padikkal combined in an assured stand of 79 for the second wicket but departed in consecutive balls when trying to force the pace, leaving their side 102-3 in the 14th over.

Enter De Villiers, who took the attack back to Rajasthan with able support from Gurkeerat Singh (19 not out). He made his move decisively at the start of the penultimate over, when he bludgeoned Jaydev Unadkat for three consecutive sixes.

Earlier, a reshuffled Rajasthan order paid dividends for their captain Smith, who dropped down to four after a succession of single-figure scores.

Robin Uthappa's breezy 41 accounted for the bulk of a half-century opening stand with Stokes (15) but they were 69-3 when Sanju Samson fell to Yuzvendra Chahal.

Smith rebuilt alongside Buttler (25) and remained until the final over, when Morris added the Australia star and Archer to his haul. It might have been enough, but for the inimitable De Villiers.

De Villiers turns in another masterclass

"I'm very, very nervous and erratic [in a run chase] and I get very stressed like any player," De Villiers said when being presented with the man-of-the-match award. Spare a thought for Unadkat, in that case. The left-armer might feel he was hung out to dry by Smith handing him the 19th over. His first delivery was crashed over midwicket, with a slower ball dispatched beyond wide long-on next ball.

A dismissive swipe over square leg followed before a single from an attempted yorker ended the assault. De Villiers and Gurkeerat still needed 11 from Archer's final over, but the momentum had unquestionably shifted.

Buttler loses out in Rajasthan reshuffle

While a move down the order worked for Smith, the same could not be said for England big-hitter Buttler. Demoted from opening alongside Stokes, he scored an unusually circumspect 24 off 25 deliveries before holing out to Morris.

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