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IPL qualifier stats wrap: David Warner joins elite list of run-makers -
5/28/2016 9:59:22 AM

David Warner became the fourth player to score 700 runs in a single IPL season
David Warner became the fourth player to score 700 runs in a single IPL season

David Warner's Sunrisers Hyderabad overcame the table topper's Gujarat Lions to seal a berth in the finals in a humdinger at Feroz Shah Kotla. Warner once again led from the front with 58-ball unbeaten 93 with excellent support from Bipul Sharma who scored 27 off just 11 balls. The top two leading run-getters of the tournament will go head-to-head in two days' time for the silverware. Here are some key stats from the second Qualifier.

- David Warner became the fourth player to score 700 runs in a single IPL season. Virat Kohli (919 runs in 2016), Chris Gayle (733 in 2012 and 708 in 2013) and Michael Hussey (733 in 2013) were the others before him.

- Warner now have 31 fifties in IPL, the joint most with Gautam Gambhir. While Gambhir took 131 innings, Warner needed just 99 innings. His 17 fifties while chasing is most for anyone in IPL.

-93 not out by Warner is the highest score for Sunrisers in IPL. He holds the next four spots as well with scores of 92, 91, 90 and 90*.

- Warner has now five scores in nineties (three of them this season) - the most for any in IPL. Glenn Maxwell is next best with three, all coming in the 2014 season.

- Warner has now scored 468 runs in run chases in this IPL. This is most by anyone in chases in a single edition of IPL, eclipsing Robin Uthappa's 457 runs in 11 innings in the 2014 season.

- Warner's 779 runs in IPL 2016 is the second-most by anyone in a T20 series after Virat Kohli's 919 runs (in the same series). As captain, James Vince is the only other to score more than 700 runs in a single T20 series (710 runs in Natwest T20 Blast 2015).

- The opening stand of seven between Brendon McCullum and Ekalavya Dwivedi was the fifth successive single figure partnership for Gujarat Lions after 9, 0, 0 and 2 in their last four matches.

- This is the second successive season Suresh Raina has failed to score 400-plus runs after seven seasons in a row between 2008 to 2014. He finished with 399 runs from 15 innings.

- Gujarat Lions scored 38 for two in the powerplay. making it an average score of 41 in their last nine games. In the first seven matches however, they averaged 61 in the opening six overs. They lost just five wickets in their first seven matches to 20 in their last nine.

Brendon McCullum's dismissal by Bipul Sharma was the fifth wicket earned by a Sunrisers spinner in this IPL. It is the first time since Rajasthan Royals (nine wickets) in 2013 that spinners from a team have failed to pick at least 10 wickets in a season.

- Bhuvaneshwar Kumar's 23 wickets is the joint second-most wickets taken by an Indian bowler in a season in IPL. Harbhajan Singh's 24 wickets in the 2013 edition is the best tally.

- Gujarat Lions have now lost five out of six matches while defending a target. They have faced and lost all three games against Sunrisers, all while batting first.

- Teams chasing have won 41 out of 59 matches so far in this IPL. This eclipses previous tally of 40 wins out of 73 and 75 matches each in the 2011 and 2011 seasons respectively.

Losing Mustafizur wasn't good for us: Bhuvneshwar Kumar -
5/28/2016 9:58:27 AM

Mustafizur missed Sunrisers' victory over Gujarat Lions in the second qualifier due to a hamstring niggle
Mustafizur missed Sunrisers' victory over Gujarat Lions in the second qualifier due to a hamstring niggle

After the conclusion of the Eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders, David Warner said that he was a believer of putting runs on the board. That wasn't the case, however, on Friday (May 27), where Warner opted to bowl at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi against Gujarat Lions in the second Qualifier of the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League.

When asked about why there was a change in plan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, after the game said, "We had decided in the meeting to bowl first. If you look at their (Gujarat's) batting line-up, they have good batsmen like Finch, Raina, McCullum and Smith. They are good chasers. So we wanted to make them bat first so that we could get them out early and chase down the target."

Sunrisers were dealt a mighty blow earlier in the tournament when their veteran paceman Ashish Nehra was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring-tendon injury. They were dealt with a mightier blow after, as their star bowler, Mustafizur Rahman, had a hamstring strain ahead of the clash against Gujarat and was subsequently ruled out.

Mustafizur, who has picked up 16 wickets in 15 games, with the lowest economy rate in the top ten bowlers this season, was replaced by Trent Boult, who hadn't played a game since March. While bowling upfront was a piece of cake for Boult, having conceded only 13 runs and accounted for Suresh Raina's wicket, the challenge was bowling at the death that Mustafizur was outstanding at. In his final two overs, Boult ended up conceding 26 runs.

"Mustafizur did really well but losing him in a crucial game wasn't good for us but Boult did very well," said an encouraging Bhuvneshwar. "It's a part of the game that he went for a few runs in the second-last over. But if you look at him, he has really worked hard in the nets. He knew that there might be a chance for him to play either the semifinals or finals but you can't say he has given runs; it's a part of the game. Losing Fizz wasn't good for us," he added.

While Warner's 93 took him to 779 runs, the four-wicket win wouldn't have been possible without the support of Bipul Sharma. The spinner, who went in at No.8, not just held his end, but also, delivered in his own right with a crucial 11-ball 27.

"The last 4-5 overs when Bipul went in to bat (was the turning point). Warner needed support from the other end, which is what Bipul did. It's never easy to go out and score runs immediately, but Bipul hit. He's a good pinch-hitter. He told Warner that he would give him support when he went in to bat and that's exactly what we wanted."

Sunrisers have only one day between the qualifier that they won and the final against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Without worrying too much about which, Bhuvneshwar conceded that a celebration was in due before the side addressed their apex challenge.

"We'll enjoy for now because we know there's a pressure match coming up," he said with a smile. "We will definitely strategiise because I read somewhere the other day that Virat Kohli has scored 35 per cent of RCB's runs. It'll be a big task for us to get Gayle, Virat and AB and later, Watson, out. We are hoping for a good contest," he concluded.

Natwest T20 Blast wrap (May 27) - Richard Levi steers Northamptonshire in record chase -
5/28/2016 9:57:22 AM

Richard Levi scored 58 off 37 balls
Richard Levi scored 58 off 37 balls

Middlesex v Hampshire

Dawid Malan's power-packed unbeaten 93 and an all-round bowling performance helped Middlesex record a comprehensive 69-run victory over Hampshire and take top spot in the South group points table, with a Net Run Rate of +3.450.

Asked to bat first at the Uxbridge Cricket Ground, Middlesex benefitted from Malan's 48-ball devastating essay that included 10 fours and five sixes. Despite losing two early wickets, Malan's two strong partnerships in excess of 50 - with Adam Voges and John Simpson - laid the foundation for the team's total. Despite Malan's dismissal in the 15th over, Middlesex powered on to post a massive total of 195 for 6.

Hampshire suffered in chase as none of their batsmen could match Malan's efficiency at run-making and fell while attempting to up the scoring rate. Four Middlesex bowlers shared two wickets each as Liam Dawson's 29-ball 46 and Adam Wheater's 15-ball 30 were the only bright spots of Hampshire's scorecard as they folded on 126.

Brief Score: Middlesex 195/6 in 20 overs (Dawid Malan 93*; Shahid Afridi 2-27) beat Hampshire 126 in 15.1 overs (Liam Dawson 46, Adam Wheater 30; Toby Roland-Jones 2-24, Ravi Patel 2-27) by 69 runs.

Lancashire v Durham

Phil Mustard's early onslaught (18-ball 46) and key contributions from Graham Clark (27-ball 36) and Michael Richardson (27-ball 34*) helped Durham render Martin Guptill's first-innings effort (46-ball 72) ineffective as Lancashire suffered a six-wicket defeat at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Usman Arshad and Barry McCarthy made good on Durham's call to field first but Guptill's breezy knock, laced with 10 fours and a six, powered Lancashire. Unfortunately for them, however, no other batsmen could stand up and consolidate Guptill's efforts as the team posted a sub-par total of 149 for 8. Despite two wickets each for Neil Wagner and George Edwards, it was Mustard's hammer-and-tongs approach that threw Lancashire out of the fixture. Mustard smashed smashed for four fours and a six by Mustard in the first over of the innings, off Arron Lilley, setting the record straight. He departed four short of a sensational half-century but his side got home with 5 overs to spare.

Brief Scores: Lancashire 149/8 in 20 overs (Martin Guptil 72; Usman Arshad 3-40, Barry McCarthy 3-23) lost to Durham 151/4 in 15 overs (Phil Mustard 46, Graham Clark 36; Neil Wager 2-25) by 6 wickets

Northamptonshire v Derbyshire

In a tense, tall chase, Richard Levi's half-century laid the foundation, Joshua Cobb and Ben Duckett consolidated and Steven Crook soaked the pressure to help Northamptonshire prevailed over Derbyshire in a record chase at the County Ground in Northampton.

Asked to bat first, Derbyshire rode on a solid second-wicket stand between skipper Wes Durson and Chesney Hughes. There was a bit of a wobble in the middle-order before Tom Poynton slammed a 21-ball 37 to help his side sprint to a commanding total of 195 for 7.

In reply, Levi smashed three fours and four sixes in his 37-ball 58 while Cobb, Duckett and Crook also played stroke-filled knocks to take their side home with two balls and three wickets to spare.

Brief Scores: Derbyshire 195/7 in 20 overs (Wes Durson 46, Cheshney Hughes 47; Seekkuge Prasanna 2-27) lost to Northamptonshire 197/7 in 19.4 overs (Richard Levi 58, Joshua Cobb 35, Steven Crook 33*; Andy Carter 3-34) by 3 wickets

Warwickshire v Worcestershire

Brett D'Oliveira and Alexei Kervezee guided Worcestershire in chase as the Ian Bell-led Warwickshire were handed a five-wicket defeat at Birmingham. Bell's 57-ball 66 helped his team post a respectable total of 155 for 7, as the rest of the batting line-up failed to convert starts into big innings. The Worcestershire batsmen did not have that issue as Kervezee's 29-ball 40 and D'Oliveira's unbeaten 62 off just 38 balls took their team through with five balls to spare.

Brief Scores: Warwickshire 155/7 in 20 overs (Ian Bell 66; Joe Leech 2-39) lost to Worcestershire 161/5 in 19.1 overs (Brett D'Oliveira 62*, Alexei Kervezee 40; Recardo Gordon 2-21) by 5 wickets.

Yorkshire v Leicestershire

An exceptional all-round show from Ben Raine, along with good support from the O'Brien brothers - Kevin and Niall - helped Leicestershire complete a 54-run victory over Yorkshire at Headingley in Leeds. Despite Mark Pettini's dismissal in the first over, Leicestershire's innings was built by swift contributions from Mark Cosgrove, Kevin and Ben Raine, before Niall Lewis Hill's late-order surge provided some impetus towards the end of the innings to reach a challenging total despite the efforts of Liam Plunkett (2-23) and Tim Bresnan (2-28).

Yorkshire suffered a poor start, losing three wickets inside the powerplay overs for just 20 runs. Despite Will Rhodes's counter-attacking display of batting (45 off 26 balls), there was no avenue for the side to make a comeback in chase after Leicestershire posted 174 for 7. Raine finished with phenomenal figures of 3 for 7 in 3.4 overs, while Kevin too picked up three wickets as Yorkshire were bundled out for 120 in 18.4 overs.

Brief Scores: Leicestershire 174/7 in 20 overs (Ben Raine 48, Niall O'Brien 39; Liam Plunkett 2-23, Tim Bresnan 2-28) beat Yorkshire 120 in 18.4 overs (Will Rhodes 45; Ben Raine 3-7, Kevin O'Brien 3-27) by 54 runs

Mustafizur ahead of the pack, feel former cricketers -
5/28/2016 9:54:17 AM

"There aren't too many better than him at the moment," feels Krishnamachari Srikkanth, former Indian captain.

Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh left-arm seamer, might have missed the 2016 Indian Premier League Qualifier against Gujarat Lions on Friday (May 27) due to an injury, but he is well on way to becoming the best pacer in the world in limited-overs cricket.

Since the time Australia's Mitchell Starc went down with an injury, world cricket has seen the emergence of the lanky Mustafizur, who is making life difficult for batsmen in One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. Be it his yorkers, off-cutters or the subtle changes in pace, the Bangladesh boy has been extremely difficult to get away.

Even in the ongoing IPL, his performances for Sunrisers Hyderabad have proved that he has the ability to keep doing it, game after game. Mustafizur, however, isn't getting too excited about this new-found fame. "I am just doing what I love. My only aim is to get better," Mustafizur told TOI. There have been many bowlers who have been successful with their national teams but when it came to IPL, they found the going tough. The likes of Dale Steyn, Trent Boult or Tim Southee, who have done brilliantly across formats, struggled to get going on the unresponsive pitches in India during the IPL.

"There are quite a lot of them like James Anderson or Steyn, who are very good in Tests. But right now, Mustafizur is the best pacer in limited-overs," said Rameez Raja, former Pakistan captain who is a part of the IPL commentary pannel. "Our Wahab Riaz is also good, but he is generally in his elements in Tests," he added.

Manoj Prabhakar, Afghanistan's bowling coach and former Indian pacer, too agreed with Rameez. "There is no doubt that Mustafizur is the best bowler right now. Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga was one who could bowl good yorkers. But right now, Mustafizur is at his peak. He bowls the cutters really fast and has other variations, which he delivers with the same momentum," he noted.

Mustafizur's economy rate of 6.74 in 15 IPL games underlines what Prabhakar is talking about. Of the 16 wickets that he has taken, many have come at crucial junctures, changing the course of games. Prabhakar also explained how a quality bowler like Steyn often bowls yorkers with cross seam for better control. "If you are struggling to control the swing, it becomes important to bowl cross seam. But Mustafizur doesn't need to do that," Prabhakar said.

Even Krishnamachari Srikkanth, former Indian captain, feels Mustafizur is the best in limited-overs cricket. "There aren't too many better than him at the moment. But he needs to perform like this for some more time before we can say he is the best. For now, he looks ahead of the pack," Srikkanth said.

It's now for the unassuming youngster to stay fit and keep it going for Bangladesh in the days to come.