When the Mumbai Indians defeated the Delhi Capitals on Tuesday’s final of the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League, it also made Kieron Pollard the player with the most T20 titles in the history of the format.

The powerfully built Trinidadian allrounder was winning his 15th title and his fifth with Mumbai, also a record for the franchise.

It puts him above compatriot Dwayne Bravo, who has 14, Shoaib Malik with 12, Rohit Sharma, Mumbai’s captain Rohit Sharma with 10 and Lasith Malinga, who has nine titles.

Following Tuesday’s comfortable five-wicket victory over the Capitals, Pollard expressed his joy at winning yet another title but confesses that the path to winning the many trophies he has won has never been easy.

“It's a great feeling. I've been here 11 years, fifth trophy,” said Pollard who won a record fourth Caribbean Premier League title with the Trinbago Knight Riders in September.

“No one sees the planning and training, it's pressure playing for a franchise like this. The amount of trophies, the amount of work, the amount of players who go on to play for their countries, I think we'll have to say so [that this is the best T20 franchise].”

Pollard praised the owners and management of the franchise and aimed a friendly dig at his fellow Trinidadian, who plays for the Chennai Super Kings.

“Dwayne Bravo you're behind now and I'm in front of you, just had to say it on camera.”

From all indications, he seems to relish the pressure that comes with a final. He made reference to this prior to Tuesday's final in a video on Mumbai's Twitter page.

“The name of the game is pressure, in a final. Everyone takes that pressure. You want to win and not commit a mistake, but at the end of the day, you have to try to take the finals as a normal game. Just go out there, enjoy yourself and the atmosphere,” Pollard said.

“Obviously, no crowds in this final, but enjoy the magnitude of it. It is an IPL final, it’s the biggest thing after the World Cup final,. 

Pollard will now head to New Zealand where he will represent the West Indies in their three-match T20 season set to begin on November 27.

Rohit Sharma has not been included in any of India's squads for the tour to Australia due to injury, joining Ishant Sharma on the sidelines.

Batsman Rohit suffered a hamstring injury during the ongoing Indian Premier League season, and it is unclear if he will play again in the 2020 edition for Mumbai Indians.

Ishant, meanwhile, has not featured at all in the IPL due to an abdominal muscle issue, though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) added the duo will continue to be monitored.

The Test party does include uncapped paceman Mohammed Siraj, as well as left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav.

KL Rahul, who is vice-captain for the one-day and Twenty20 squads, is recalled for Test duty. His previous outing in the longest format was against West Indies over a year ago, though the right-handed batsman has been in superb form for King's XI Punjab in the IPL.

Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant are selected as the wicketkeepers for the four-match series, though the latter has been left out of the white-ball squads.

Virat Kohli will captain India in all three formats, with the schedule for the trip still to be officially confirmed.

The BCCI also announced that four additional bowlers – Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kartik Tyagi, Ishan Porel and T Natarajan – will travel.

 

Test squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj.

ODI squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.

T20 squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy.

Quinton de Kock blasted another half-century as Mumbai Indians cruised to an eight-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders to go top of the Indian Premier League. 

De Kock had earlier been left red-faced when he dropped Pat Cummins on 36 and the Australia paceman went on to make his maiden IPL half-century on Friday. 

An unbroken stand of 87 between Cummins (53 not out) and new captain Eoin Morgan (39no) got KKR up to 148-5 in Abu Dhabi. 

Rahul Chahar was the pick of the Mumbai bowlers with 2-18 and it was South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock who played the biggest hand with the bat. 

The left-hander smashed an unbeaten 78 off 44 balls to get the defending champions home with 19 balls to spare, sealing a sixth win in eight games. 

De Kock has now made three half-centuries in his last four innings, although he did have a bit of fortune when Varun Chakravarthy missed a tough chance to send him on his way for 20. 

Rohit Sharma made a slow 35 by his usual standards in an opening partnership of 94, while Hardik Pandya weighed in with a brisk 21 not out. 

Victory for Mumbai moves them to the summit, level on points with Delhi Capitals, while the Knight Riders are fourth. 

 

CHAHAR DOUBLE STRIKE JOLTS KKR AT START OF MORGAN REIGN

Kolkata announced on the day of the game that Dinesh Karthik had handed over the captaincy to England's white-ball skipper Morgan. 

Morgan opted to bat after winning the toss and might have been wondering if that was the right call when his side were 61-5 after Jasprit Bumrah removed Andre Russell. 

The excellent Chahar had Shubman Gill caught at long-on and Karthik played the next ball on, so it was left for Morgan and Cummins to come to the rescue. 

Cummins and Morgan both struck two sixes as they produced a much-needed late flurry of runs, Nathan Coulter-Nile (1-51) proving to be particularly expensive.

DE KOCK STARS IN RUN CHASE 

The destructive De Kock produced another devastating exhibition of clean striking, moving into the top 10 in the list of the highest run-scorers in the 2020 edition of the IPL. 

He was the chief aggressor in the opening partnership with Rohit, who faced 36 deliveries. 

De Kock struck two of his three maximums in a costly seventh over from Prasidh Krishna, also hitting nine fours in another high-quality knock. 

The 27-year-old has 269 runs in the tournament at an average of 38.42 and, on this evidence, there may be plenty more to come. 

Rohit Sharma passed 5,000 runs in the Indian Premier League as Mumbai Indians returned to winning ways in style, recording a 48-run victory over Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi. 

India batsman Rohit surpassed the milestone with the very first ball he faced, clipping a wide outswinger from Mohammed Shami through the cover region. 

It set the tone for a sublime innings, with the right-hander reaching 70 off 45 balls, striking eight boundaries and three sixes. 

 A late flurry from Kieron Pollard (47), set Kings XI a target of 192 – a total they never threatened to reach despite the efforts of Nicholas Pooran, who scored 44 on the eve of his 25th birthday. 

Mumbai – who lost their last match following a super over – saw Quinton de Kock depart for a duck from the fifth delivery of the game. 

Rohit swiftly set about taking the initiative, and struck two fours from the second over, before he successfully overturned a leg before wicket decision after the technology deemed Mohammed Shami's delivery was heading down the leg side. 

When Pollard was positive from the outset on his arrival at the crease, Rohit stepped up, hitting 21 off a James Neesham over, while four sixes in the 20th helped the Indians reach 191-4. 

Kings XI began speedily enough in response, yet the first of two Jasprit Bumrah wickets saw Mayank Agarwal removed for 25 in the fifth over. 

Pooran was soon at the crease and tallied three fours and two maximums, although captain and opener KL Rahul could not stick around to provide a steady partner, departing for 17. 

Glenn Maxwell helped Pooran take the chasing side past 100, but Kings XI's star man perished when James Pattinson found his outside edge, a huge wicket that left the West Indian’s team-mates with too much to do as three were out for single figures. 

ROHIT PUNISHES NEESHAM 

It was a torrid day with the ball for Neesham, who finished with figures of 0-52 from four overs. 

Neesham attempted successive yorkers in the costly 16th over, with Rohit dispatching both of them to the boundary, yet things got worse when the Mumbai skipper pulled the next delivery over square for six, with the fifth ball of the over also heading over the ropes. 

NO PARTY FOR POORAN 

It looked for a brief time as though Pooran might be about to have a birthday to remember as he threatened a fightback. 

He did the heavy lifting in partnerships of 21 with Rahul and then 41 with Maxwell, yet his departure in the 14th over sparked a collapse as those further down the order failed to pack the same punch. 

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming hopes to draw strength from a nightmare build-up to the IPL season ahead of Saturday's opener against Mumbai Indians.

Fleming is without Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, who opted out of the tournament that has been moved to the UAE amid the on-going effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar also tested positive for COVID-19, along with several members of support staff, while a number of Fleming's first-choice personnel - the likes of Shane Watson, MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu - are short of competitive action due to the wider realities of 2020.

"It has been different, and that's been part of the challenge - understanding the unknown," Fleming said.

"We didn't get off to a great start, with some positive COVID-19 cases, but I think we dealt with it very well.

"We were calm around our approach, looked after the players and staff very well, and the rest of the players were calm in the hotel room. There was a bit of anxiety wanting to get out and train.

"It is what it is, and the players dealt with it very well. In hindsight, the amount of pre-season training that we've done up to now, and the extra few days in the room, was probably a blessing."

Mumbai's reasons for trepidation are more historically based.

The last time the IPL was moved to the UAE in 2014, they lost each of their five games.

"We didn't have a great experience last time yes, but it's a different team now," skipper Rohit Sharma said.

"The thought process is different. Six years is a lot of time. Like I said, it's about understanding pitches and conditions, that is crucial so we are putting a lot of emphasis on that.

"Eventually the pitches will play a big part, so understanding and adapting quickly is important. But yes, the past won't play any part - it was just myself, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah from that team.

"I think Bumrah played just one game. So the team is different, the staff is different [and] thought process is different. Looking forward to a great IPL."

The Indian Premier League returns this weekend, with the creme de la creme of the sport in the United Arab Emirates for the marquee Twenty20 competition of franchise cricket.

Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, face Chennai Super Kings in Saturday's curtain-raiser, which is a repeat of the 2019 final.

Here, we take a look at the players who should light up the tournament.

 

VIRAT KOHLI (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

No man has more IPL runs than RCB captain Kohli, whose 5,412 have been accrued at an average of 37.84 across his 117 matches.

Key Stat: India superstar Kohli is the only batsman in the history of T20 internationals to average more than 50 (50.80) among those with a minimum of 20 innings.

MS DHONI (Chennai Super Kings)

He may have retired from international duty, but Chennai skipper Dhoni is not calling time on his IPL career just yet. You feel the 'finisher' will want to end with a flourish.

Key Stat: Dhoni has made the most runs as a captain (4,142) among the eight skippers. Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith is the only man to have a better win percentage (65.5 per cent) than Dhoni's 59.8 per cent too.

JASPRIT BUMRAH (Mumbai Indians)

Player of the match in the 2019 final, it was Bumrah's 2-14 that proved pivotal to Mumbai's success. The seamer has mastered the art of death bowling.

Key stat: No one bowled more balls at the death (overs 17-20) than Bumrah's 172 deliveries in 2019. He had an economy of just 7.7 during that period. 

ANDRE RUSSELL (Kolkata Knight Riders)

West Indian all-rounder Russell is a box office draw for Kolkata Knight Riders having averaged 56.7 with the bat last year.

Key stat: Russell made 510 runs in 2019, of which 85.5 per cent were made from boundaries. That was the biggest percentage for those to have made at least 20 runs.

ROHIT SHARMA (Mumbai Indians)

A record four-time winner of the IPL as Mumbai captain, Rohit made 52 fours last season - the most of his 12-year IPL career.

Key stat: Rohit is 102 runs away from becoming the third batsman to reach 5,000 IPL runs after Kohli and Suresh Raina.

DAVID WARNER (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Last season Warner won the Orange Cap - awarded to the IPL's leading run-scorer - for a record third time after amassing 692 runs, 99 more than anyone else in the tournament.

Key stat: Warner has now accumulated at least 600 runs in three separate campaigns. Chris Gayle (also three) is the only other batsman to have done so more than once.

DEEPAK CHAHAR (Chennai Super Kings)

Chahar had a breakthrough campaign with the Super Kings last year, claiming 22 wickets - a figure only South African duo Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada could better.

Key stat: The seamer bowled 64.3 overs in 2019 and 49 per cent of his deliveries were dot balls - the highest figure among those who bowled at least 10 overs.

KAGISO RABADA (Delhi Capitals)

The Proteas quick made his mark in the IPL last season when he took 25 wickets in the Capitals' run to the semi-finals.

Key stat: Of those who bowled at least 10 overs, Rabada had the best average (14.72) while he and international team-mate Tahir were the only two bowlers to have more than one four-wicket haul.

A panel of experts has decided that a pairing of Christopher Henry Gayle and David Warner would represent the best openers the T20 game has ever seen.

According to Zaheer Clarke, statistician, Chris Taylor, cricket umpire and commentator and noted cricket commentator and journalist, Fazeer Mohammed, Gayle’s body of work over the course of his career in the T20 game made him the first name on any list of all-time greats in the format.

The panel were picking from a final six after 13 shortlisted players were whittled down on Wednesday.

The six who made the final were Gayle, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Aaron Finch, David Warner, and Brendon McCullum.

While Gayle was a shoo-in on all the panellists books, there was a little difficulty in picking who would partner him.

According to Fazeer Mohammed, Finch would make a good partner for the big left hander, while Taylor and Clarke felt that Warner would do more damage up front with the Universe Boss.

The panel’s decision counts for 40% of the overall vote on who makes the SportsMax Ultimate XI, while the SportsMax Zone, like an online voting audience, has a 30% stake in proceedings.

This means there are still some decisions to be made with Gayle, by virtue of bagging votes from the Zone and the panel being selected as one of two Ultimate XI T20 openers.

The uncertainty about who will make up the other part of the pairing lies in the fact that the SportsMax Zone did not agree with the panel on who should partner Gayle, instead going with India’s Sharma.

Gayle stands head and shoulders over every batsman to ever play the T20 game with 13,296 runs behind his name at a healthy average of 38.20 from 404 games. Gayle strikes at an incredible 146.94 and has a whopping 22 centuries and 82 half-centuries in the format.

Sharma, who the Zone has picked, from 328 games has 8,642 runs at an average of 32.24 and has scored six centuries and 60 half-centuries.

Warner has not played as many games as the two, but enjoys a 142.20 strike rate from his 280 games, and has scored 9,218 runs, inclusive of eight centuries and 75 half-centuries already.

The choice is tough and may come down to who you like, as Lance Whittaker says, he is a Sharma fan.

To make your choice regarding who makes the SportsMax Ultimate XI, click here. Maybe like George Davis, you think the Zone is crazy for not picking Warner. If you want to learn more about the players, you can click here.

Rohit Sharma has distanced himself from comparisons to former India captain MS Dhoni which were made by Suresh Raina.

Speaking on the Super Over podcast, Raina likened Rohit's leadership to that of Dhoni, who captained India in over 300 matches across all formats and led the team to all three ICC white-ball trophies during his tenure between 2007 and 2016.

Though Virat Kohli succeeded Dhoni as India's skipper, Raina talked up Rohit's demeanour and described him as "the next MS Dhoni for the Indian cricket team".

When that was put to Rohit in an online question-and-answer session, the opener said on a Twitter video: "Yes, I heard about that comment from Suresh Raina.

"MS Dhoni is one of a kind and nobody can be like him and I believe comparisons should not be made like that, every individual is different and has his strengths and weaknesses."

Rohit, 33, has led Mumbai Indians to a record four Indian Premier League titles and has also captained India in 10 ODIs and 19 Twenty20 internationals, winning 23 of those 29 matches.

"Around him, players enjoy the intensity, they enjoy his aura," former India batsman Raina had said.

"When you enjoy the aura of a player, you like to be positive and I think that is what he is good at.

"MS Dhoni was brilliant. He [Rohit] has won more [IPL] trophies than MS, but they both are very similar. Both of them, as captains, like to listen.

"When your captain is listening, you can solve a lot of problems, you can solve the mental aspects of the players. So in my book, they both are wonderful.

"I have seen [Rohit], he is calm, he likes to listen. He likes to give confidence to the players and on top of that, he likes to lead from the front.

"When a captain leads from the front and, at the same time, he gives respect to the dressing-room atmosphere, you know you have it all."

Rohit Sharma debuted for India in T20 internationals during the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 and was part of the World Cup-winning Indian national team. He is only the second cricketer to have scored a century in all three formats on the international stage. Sharma is the second Indian batsman after Virat Kohli, and fifth worldwide to score 2,000 runs in Twenty20 internationals.

Sharma has had one of the most successful and illustrious IPL careers ever. He debuted in the IPL in 2008. He was signed by the Deccan Chargers franchise, based in Hyderabad. His contract got him a whopping US$750,000 a year. Although he was selected as a batsman, he proved his worth as a bowler too.

 

Career Statistics (2007-present)

Full name: Rohit Gurunath Sharma

Born: April 30, 1987, Bansod, Nagpur, Maharashtra

Major teams: India, Air India, Deccan Chargers, India A, India Blue, India Green, India Red, India Under-19s, Indian Board President's XI, Indian Oil Corporation XI, Mumbai, Mumbai Cricket Association President's XI, Mumbai Cricket Association XI, Mumbai Indians, Mumbai Under-19s, Rest of India, West Zone

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm off-break

 

T20I Career

Mat    Inns    NO      Runs   HS       Ave     BF       SR       100     50       4s        6s            

108     100     15       2773    118     32.62  1998   138.78       4      21       245     127    

 

T20 Career

Mat    Inns    NO      Runs   HS       Ave     BF       SR       100     50       4s        6s             

328     315     47       8642  118      32.24   6463   133.71       6      60       763     361    

 

Career Highlights

  • Most-capped Indian cricketer in T20Is (108)
  • 2nd most runs all-time in T20I, 2773- avg. 32.63
  • 2nd Indian cricketer to score centuries in all three formats
  • Record for most sixes in T20Is (127)
  • First and only batsman to score (4) T20I centuries
  • 3rd highest runs scorer in IPL history (4898)
  • 8642 total T20 runs at an average of 32.24

Christopher Henry Gayle is arguably the greatest One-Day International batsman the West Indies has ever produced but today his innings in the Ultimate XI ODI edition came up short.

Gayle had, yesterday, avoided the cut and made the final six among contestants vying for the honour of being one of the two best openers the game has ever seen.

According to the SportsMax panel of experts, Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar would form the greatest partnership the game to ever grace an ODI cricket pitch.

That would leave other greats like South Africa’s Hashim Amla, Sri Lankan legend Tillakaratne Dilshan, Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar, and, of course, Gayle as bystanders.

According to the SportsMax Zone, Sharma and Tendulkar are also the best it could come up with from the shortlist of 12, of course, the Zone did not do the culling of the herd the panel did yesterday.

For the unitiated, Rohit Sharma has scored as many ODI double hundreds as there are people who have scored them, while Tendulkar is by far and away, the heaviest ODI runscorer in the history of the sport and their picks may be hard to disagree with.

Unless, of course, you’re a Fanalyst.

Fanalysts have, so far, chosen Chris Gayle as one of their two openers and have also disagreed with the choice of Tendulkar to be the man to join him, instead going for Sharma.

Tendulkar, is at this point, the reserve option for the Fanalysts, but that could all change.

Have your say in the conversation by going to SportsMax.tv and clicking on the banner, or following the link here.

Rohit Sharma’s career started slowly. He was clearly a talented player but never found that consistency all great players possess. Over the last few years though, that part of his game has come on in leaps and bounds and India can count on him to contribute significantly to most of their totals. That consistency came when he moved to the opening position in 2012. Since then, ‘hitman’, has shown a particular penchant for scoring double hundreds. In fact, as an ODI opener, facing the first delivery, he averages 56, while as the man at the non-striker’s end when the first ball is bowled to India, he averages 64.84, both higher than his career average of 49.27. Sharma is for want of a less common phrase, easy on the eye, and uses timing and classic intent to get his runs, however, he has plenty of power too. Sharma has scored almost half the number of total double hundreds the ODI game has seen in its history, his 209, 264, and 208 not out, equivalent to three of the seven scored to date. The West Indies’ Chris Gayle, India’s Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, along with New Zealand’s Martin Guptill, are the only other players to score ODI double hundreds, each of them doing so once.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Rohit Gurunath Sharma

Born: April 30, 1987, Bansod, Nagpur, Maharashtra

Major teams: India, Air India, Deccan Chargers, India A, India Blue, India Green, India Red, India Under-19s, Indian Board President's XI, Indian Oil Corporation XI, Mumbai, Mumbai Cricket Association President's XI, Mumbai Cricket Association XI, Mumbai Indians, Mumbai Under-19s, Rest of India, West Zone

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

 

ODI Career: India (2007-present)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave      BF          SR           100s      50s         4s        6s     

224      217    32      9115      264    49.27   10250     88.92           29       43           817      244

 

Career Highlights

  • World record holder for highest score in an ODI (264)
  • Only cricketer to score more than one ODI double hundred
  • ICC ODI player of the year 2019
  • Scored most runs in ICC World Cup 2019

There are so many things to love about cricket.  But most of us will freely admit that very few things are as satisfying as watching the ball scream well clear of the boundary ropes, perhaps to parts unknown. Unless, of course, you are watching your favourite bowler, or it was your team that desperately needed the ball to stay in the ground. 

Standing obdurately at the crease to deliver these telling blows are often some of cricket's Supermen, bulky, sinewy they come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing remains constant, once they get going, nothing gets in their way. 

Today we pay tribute to 10 of the game’s biggest hitters but with a twist. Our hitting greats have been put into two teams of five. Who could you count on to get the runs you need? Your guess is as good as ours.  Below are the picks for 10 of the heaviest hitters.