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Reece Topley out for three months with stress fracture -
5/25/2016 9:48:56 AM

Topley has been ruled out for three months and will miss England's ODIs and T20I against Sri Lanka.
Topley has been ruled out for three months and will miss England's ODIs and T20I against Sri Lanka.

Reece Topley, the England and Hampshire fast bowler, faces a lengthy period on the sidelines after suffering a partial stress fracture of the lumbar spine. The 22-year-old will now miss the next three months and will try to regain fitness by the end of the English County Season. 

This is Topley's second injury in as many months. He had suffered a fracture on his right hand while batting for Hampshire on his county debut. 

"Hampshire and England seamer Reece Topley has been diagnosed with a partial stress fracture of the lumbar spine and will require a significant period of rehabilitation. He will miss the next three months and will aim for a return with Hampshire by the end of the season," England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed in a statement, on Tuesday (May 24).

The injury rules Topley, who has played 10 One-Day Internationals and six T20 Internationals for England, out of the five ODIs and lone T20 against the visiting Sri Lankans. The fracture also casts a question mark over his availability when Pakistan tour England later this year.

ECB also revealed that David Willey, the Yorkshire allrounder, has a small abdominal muscle tear and will miss his county's match against Leicestershire on Friday (May 27). Another England pacer, Mark Wood, meanwhile, is set to begin his rehabilitation programme later this week. Wood had been sidelined by an injury to his left ankle.

STATBUZZ: 13 not-outs in chases, 13 wins for AB de Villiers -
5/25/2016 9:48:09 AM

Royal Challengers Bangalore have reached their third Indian Premier League final with a thumping win over table toppers Gujarat Lions at Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday (24 May). In a match of fluctuating fortunes, Royal Challengers took early advantage in the powerplay overs before a good innings by Dwayne Smith put the Lions back on track. Royal Challengers then got off to the worst possible start, losing five wickets inside their powerplay overs. And it took another masterpiece from AB de Villiers to pave the way for his side's progress to their third IPL final. Contrary to the matches so far this season, it was a game where the bowlers too had their say. Stat excerpts from the first qualifier.

The 79* by AB de Villiers is his second highest score while batting second in IPL. The highest remains 89* off 41 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2014 at the same venue.

AB de Villiers' 228 runs against Lions this season is the most by a player against a particular opposition in a season in IPL. Virat Kohli is the only other player to score 200 plus against a particular opposition in a season - 209 against Lions.

de Villiers now have seven scores of fifty or more this IPL. Kohli (10 in 2016), Gayle (eight in 2012) and Warner (seven in 2015 & 2016) are the others with seven or more such scores in a season in IPL.

The 682 runs scored by de Villiers is the fifth most by any player in season in IPL. Among the top five run-scorers in a season in IPL, four entries are from Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The unbeaten partnership of 91 runs by AB de Villiers and Iqbal Abdulla is the second highest seventh-wicket stand in IPL history after the 100-run stand between Harbhajan Singh and Jagadesh Suchith against Kings XI at Wankhede Stadium last season.

29 is the lowest score from which a team has recovered to win a match in IPL. The previous lowest was 37 by Knight Riders against Royals in Durban in 2009 recovering to chase down 102 by the loss of six wickets.

AB de Villiers has now remained not out 13 times in run chases in IPL (thrice for Daredevils and 10 times for Royal Challengers) and his team went on to win all the 13 matches, a joint record with Rohit Sharma who also has 13 such instances.

AB de Villiers now has won 13 Man of the Match awards for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL. It is the second most a player has won for a team in IPL after Chris Gayle's 16 for the same team. Overall it his 15th in IPL, third behind Gayle (17) and Yusuf Pathan (16).

The catch AB de Villiers took to dismiss Brendon McCullum's was his 19th of the season - the most by any player in a season in IPL. Naman Ojha's 18 catches this season is the next highest.

The 23 for three scored by Gujarat Lions is their lowest powerplay score in IPL and the third lowest this season after Mumbai Indians' 21 for two against Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils' 22 for three against Gujarat Lions.

The aggregate of 54 runs in powerplay by both the teams is the second lowest in a match this IPL. The lowest is 53 in the match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab at Vizag. However, the eight wickets lost by both the teams in Powerplay is the most this season.

The 73 scored by Dwayne Smith is his highest score while batting first in an IPL match and his third highest overall. Out of his 15 fifties in IPL, five have come while batting first and this is only the second time he crossed sixty. In the ten fifties while chasing, he went past the 60-run mark eight times.

The four for 29 by Shane Watson is his best bowling figures in an IPL match. His previous best was three for ten for Rajasthan Royals against Delhi Daredevils in the semifinals of the 2008 edition.

The 168 runs scored by Shane Watson is the lowest for him in a season in IPL (previous lowest being 185 runs from six matches in 2010) but the 20 wickets taken by him is the most for him in a season (previous highest being 17 wickets in 2008).

Virat Kohli was dismissed for a duck for the first time in more than two years in T20s. The last time he was dismissed for a duck was against Kings XI Punjab in Bengaluru on 9 May 2014, 52 innings ago. This is his sixth duck in T20s, all coming for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Virat Kohli became the sixth player to score a hundred and a duck against the same team in the same season. The others are AB de Villiers vs Chennai Super Kings (2009), David Warner vs Kolkata Knight Riders (2010), Chris Gayle vs Kings XI Punjab (2011), Adam Gilchrist vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (2011) and Murali Vijay vs Delhi Daredevils (2012).

Both Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle were dismissed for single figure scores seven times this IPL - the most for a player along with David Miller, Deepak Hooda and Hardik Pandya.

Dhawal Kulkarni's four for 14 is his best figures in T20s. His previous best was three for 18 for Mumbai Indians against Rajasthan Royals in the 2012 season.

There were three ducks in the Royal Challengers innings today, the joint most in an innings this season. Kings XI had three ducks each in their games against Gujarat Lions at Rajkot and Knight Riders at Kolkata.

Lions have now lost four out of five games while batting first. On the other hand, they have done exceptionally well chasing - winning eight out of ten matches.

Big honour to be in a final with this great franchise: AB de Villiers -
5/25/2016 9:47:16 AM

"I thought I'd have to say a lot to him (Abdulla) but he was probably calmer than me," AB de Villiers heaps praise on his young teammate. 

At 68 for 6 near the halfway stage in chase, Royal Challengers Bangalore's hope of cruising through to the Indian Premier League 2016 final was in absolute tatters. Stuart Binny, the last recognised batsman of a reputed top-order walked back, albeit to a poor umpiring call while AB de Villiers watched helplessly from the non-striker's end. Back in the dug-out, Virat Kohli, still padded up since falling in the second over for his first IPL duck in two years, was livid at the umpire's gaffe, walking up to an official at the boundary line and gesticulating wildly. In the middle, Gujarat Lions huddled around Ravindra Jadeja, who'd added to Royal Challengers' procession and given the first-timers a reason to believe that a victory was there to be had.

When Iqbal Abdulla joined de Villiers, Royal Challengers still needed 91 off 63 balls - an equation that looked far more daunting than it already was as they were four mistakes away from losing the contest. 

"To be very honest, I thought I'd have to say a lot to him (Abdulla) but he was probably calmer than me. When he walked up, you could see that he has done this before," AB de Villiers would describe his batting partner in the post-match press conference. 

De Villiers endured a tough night to begin with. He walked out due to his skipper's rare failure and watched Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Shane Watson and Sachin Baby depart in a span of 13 deliveries before plotting a recovery plan with Binny. That too didn't last. Abdulla, much to the chagrin of the Lions, turned out to be the one man who was capable of standing long enough for de Villiers to ensure the game was seen off. Understandably, the South African had a lot of praise to shower. 

"He had a calm head on his shoulders and straight away understood what I was trying to tell him. I didn't have to talk to him after that. You can just see it when you have a connection with someone his eyes were open and he was there to win the game for the team and cross the line with me. A lot of credit should go to him, fantastic partnership," de Villiers quipped. 

The 'connection' that de Villiers struck early with Abdulla went a long way in helping the duo stitch together their unbeaten, match-winning stand of 91 runs off just 36 balls for the seventh wicket, the best partnership of the night on a surprisingly two-paced strip at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.

"It was a funny kind of wicket. I thought anything more than 160 and we'd be in trouble. It didn't seem like a wicket where you can just go and score. I always felt we needed a foundation in the first six but we didn't get that," de Villiers said, before crediting Dhawal Kulkarni for a fantastic spell of bowling that saw him reduce the Royal Challengers to 25 for 3 in the fourth over.

"Kulkarni bowled that fantastic spell, a lot of credit should go to him. He basically had the game in the pocket but like Zaheer Khan always tells me, it's a funny old game and you're never out of it. We had a lot of belief. They almost won the game in the powerplay but we kept fighting," the South African swashbuckler added. 

With this win, their fifth on the bounce, Royal Challengers became the first finalist of the tournament and are primed to lift the IPL trophy that has eluded them all these years. De Villiers, who has been with the franchise since 2012, conveyed his delight at the prospect of playing in a final. 

"Tonight was a special for me. To cross the line for the team, to have an impact on winning the game thats why I play this game. Honestly, I can't explain what this final means to me. I haven't played in a lot of finals throughout my career.

"I've been with RCB for six years [five]. We haven't seen a lot of finals. Lot of people say we were under-performing. But it's moments like this that really makes it worthwhile. We've had a great team spirit for quite a few years. We've played some really good cricket. Never got to really enjoy a final and hopefully we'll win it. We don't know what's going to happen. It is a great honour and privilege to be in a final with this great franchise, which has looked after me and the team so well over the years," he gushed.

Jason Gillespie front-runner for Australia bowling coach job -
5/25/2016 9:45:12 AM

Jason Gillespie's success with Yorkshire has earned rave reviews
Jason Gillespie's success with Yorkshire has earned rave reviews

Jason Gillespie, the former Australia paceman, is firming as the likely new full-time bowling coach for Australia. The position has been vacant after Craig McDermott stepped down as the team's bowling coach in the aftermath of the World T20.

Adam Griffith, Western Australia bowling coach, and South African bowling legend Allan Donald will be Australia's interim bowling coaches during upcoming tours of the Caribbean and Sri Lanka respectively. But Gillespie, who is currently coaching Yorkshire, is set be installed as Australia's permanent bowling coach with discussions now at an "advanced level", according to The Age.

The 41-year-old's success with Yorkshire has earned rave reviews and some influential English cricket figures, including Nasser Hussain, were calling for him to be named Peter Moores's successor as England's coach last year. Gillespie ultimately lost out to compatriot Trevor Bayliss.

Cricket Australia remained coy on Gillespie's impending signing. "We're speaking with a number of candidates but by no means is anything confirmed," a Cricket Australia spokesperson told cricket.com.au on Tuesday (May 24). "We'll look to make an announcement as soon as the process is complete, with the aim to have the coaching team finalised, at latest, by the start of the 2016-17 Australian summer."

Darren Lehmann, Australia coach, is an ardent backer of Gillespie and told an Adelaide radio station last month that he hoped to entice his former teammate back to Australia. It has been reported that Gillespie is keen to return home with his family.

"There is still a lot to do at Yorkshire and I solely want to concentrate on helping this team win cricket matches," Gillespie told Yorkshire's official website last month. "You don't rule out opportunities in the future. It's whether you feel like you can make a difference in any job that comes available."

Other candidates for the role include former Australian pacemen Ryan Harris and Andy Bichel, while Shane Bond, the ex-New Zealand quick, has also been reportedly sounded out.

Griffith, who is currently working with the Australian team ahead of their tour of the Caribbean, recently told Cricbuzz that he would "absolutely" love to be Australia's permanent bowling coach. "It has been a goal of mine and something that I strive for. But firstly I need to do a good job in the Caribbean, so that is what I am focusing on," Griffith said.