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Chennai Super Kings crush pathetic Kings XI Punjab -
4/26/2015 10:22:28 AM

Brendon McCullum made up a 44-ball 66 to set up the win.
Brendon McCullum made up a 44-ball 66 to set up the win.

After Kings XI Punjab dropped important catches and misfielded on several occasions to let Chennai Super Kings score 192 for 3 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday night, they needed a gargantuan effort in the batting department to beat the odds but even there they went belly up and the result was a humiliating 97-run defeat, their fourth in six matches.

Virender Sehwag, last-match hero Shaun Marsh, George Bailey, David Miller, Murali Vijay all departed without putting up any fight, leaving the team reeling at 55 for 5 in the 10th over and after that it was only a matter of time before Chennai Super Kings registered their fifth win in six matches, their biggest in terms of runs. The tourists could only go as far as 95 for 9 in their reply.

With a big total behind them, Chennai Super Kings spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled well and shared five wickets between them to oversee Kings XI Punjab's complete surrender.

Nothing went right for Kings XI Punjab from the moment Chennai Super Kings won the toss and decided to bat. The hosts' imposing score, fuelled by Brendon McCullum's 44-ball 66, was the proof of Kings XI Punjab's misery on the field.

This edition, Kings XI Punjab have been reluctant to bowl Mitchell Johnson in the first five overs, and today captain George Bailey, whose return from a shoulder niggle saw the exclusion of Glenn Maxwell, threw the ball to Karanveer Singh to start the proceedings and the legspinner conceded 26 runs in his first two overs.

Chennai Super Kings openers Dwayne Smith and McCullum batted with murderous intentions and poor fielding made situation worse for Kings XI Punjab. Johnson had a horrible day in the field and dropped two catches, first McCullum on 23 and then Suresh Raina on 14 and Kings XI Punjab paid a heavy price for his blunders.

McCullum didn't let up on his aggressive approach even after the departure of Smith (26), and kept on throwing his bat around to good effect. By the time he got out off the bowling of Axar Patel, he had laid the foundations for a big score.

Raina, who was also lucky to have not been given caught behind on 8 off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma, failed to make his reprieves count and was run out for 29 while backing up at the non-striker's end but his wicket didn't affect Chennai Super Kings' momentum in the least. MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja retained their batting positions from the last match and added an unbeaten 48 for the fourth wicket to take the team to a threatening total.

Johnson could have made up for his poor catching with a spirited bowling performance but even there he came a cropper, conceding 40 runs in four overs. Anureet Singh and Axar were the only ones among the wickets but both gave away quite a few runs.

To all intents and purposes, it was a nightmarish outing for Kings XI Punjab and they have less than two days to move on from this defeat, before they host Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mohali on Monday.

Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings 192 for 3 in 20 overs (McCullum 66, Dhoni 41*, Raina 29, Smith 26 Jadeja 18*; Axar 1/35) beat Kings XI Punjab 95/9 in 20 overs (Vijay 34; Jadeja 3/22, Nehra 2/16, Ashwin 2/14) by 97 runs

One of our most convincing wins in IPL: MS Dhoni -
4/26/2015 10:21:34 AM

McCullum scored 66 off 44 balls for CSK.
McCullum scored 66 off 44 balls for CSK.

Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni was pleased with his team's 97-run win over Kings XI Punjab at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai and rated the victory as one of their best in IPL history.

"I think it is one of the most convincing wins for us throughout the history of IPL. The spinners did really well. A very good effort from everyone, including the batsmen," said Dhoni, who scored 41 off 27 balls as CSK racked up 193 for 3 batting first, before the bowlers restricted KXIP to a lowly 95 for 9, thanks largely to Ravindra Jadeja (3/22) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/14).

Brendon McCullum (66) and Dwayne Smith (26) once again provided CSK with a blazing start scoring 50 runs in just 4.3 overs and Dhoni reckoned that the duo played a significant role in handing the team early momentum.

"Once you get going in the first few overs, it is the ideal platform for the middle-order. They (McCullum and Smith) back their strengths and they do it really well. They play the right kind of shots and they have done all the basics right," said Dhoni.

The skipper was all praise for Ashish Nehra as well who picked up two wickets for just 16 runs in his four overs. "He (Nehra) has the experience and it counts. He has not slowed down with age. We need to keep him fit," he said.

Rival skipper George Bailey conceded that his team was totally outplayed in all three facets of the game. "Full credit to CSK, they smothered us and outplayed us in all three facets of the game. We made things pretty difficult for ourselves and you need to do better when you're playing against a formidable batting line-up like that of CSK," said Bailey.

KXIP were lackluster in the field and dropped important catches and misfielded on several occasions. Chasing the stiff total, KXIP lost wickets in heaps with senior players like Virender Sehwag, Bailey and David Miller falling cheaply as they succumbed to their fourth defeat in six games.

"We haven't put a complete game together yet. We need to put the bad stuff behind us and move on. We need to get a bit of momentum and cash in on that. You want your senior players to stand up. It will be nice to put this loss behind us and put up a better performance," the Australian added.

McCullum was adjudged the Man of the Match for his 44-ball 66-run knock and said that the fifty-run partnerships with Smith and Suresh Raina were crucial.

"It's nice to win first and foremost. I thought 190 was a good score and they have chased down well against us. It was a great team performance. We were good with the ball and in the field too. I got a good start and I was fortunate to get away with a couple of chances too. It was a good partnership with Smith and later with Raina. It was a convincing performance by us. Every team has enough match-winners and it is nice to be in this position right now. We need to keep performing like this and win more games," said the opener.

The win, CSK's biggest in terms of runs in IPL history, took them to the top of the points table.

Lucky to be playing with Anderson: Cook -
4/26/2015 10:20:48 AM

James Anderson picked up three quick wickets with the second new ball as West Indies lost eight wickets for 83 runs.

England skipper Alastair Cook has expressed tremendous satisfaction after the team achieved a wonderful nine-wicket victory over West Indies in Grenada and believes that English cricket should cherish every moment James Anderson plays for the country.

Anderson, who became the leading wicket-taker for England after the first Test in Antigua, changed the entire complexion of the match on day five. With the second new ball, he took three quick wickets and West Indies lost six wickets in the first session to surrender the advantage. His haul of 4 for 43, combined with two catches and the run-out of Jason Holder, resulted in West Indies losing eight wickets for 83 runs to give England a target of 143 runs. Cook and Gary Ballance stroked fifties to give England the win.

Speaking to The Daily Mail, Cook said, "When Jimmy got that rhythm going, I thought he would be the guy to change the game. I was slightly surprised with his run out and his two catches, I didn't quite know he had that in him, but it was fantastic skill and heart. His spell in that heat, after all the overs he bowled in this game and the last one was fantastic. It was the turning point."

"Sometimes we take Jimmy for granted because we kind of expect him to be able to swing it both ways, reverse it and never miss his length. That doesn't always happen but he's pretty close time and time again. I'm very lucky to have played with Jimmy and to still be playing with him."

England had worked hard on a pitch that was flat and on the first four days, they had struggled to trouble the West Indies. "We turned up at the ground thinking it would be a lot of hard work on a flat wicket and it was, but when you've got special players in your team they can produce special performances at the drop of a hat," Cook said.

Meanwhile, Joe Root, who made 182 and gave England a vital 165-run lead, said that his knock feels a lot better after this victory, the first for England overseas after 2012. For Root, who made his Test debut in the series against India in 2012, it was the first time that he had tasted victory after 10 Tests overseas.

Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Root said, "It obviously feels a lot better now. I thought for a time that we might have just botched it [the match] up a little bit. To be involved in any Test match win is really special. It's my first away from home and I'm looking forward to celebrating with the lads tonight."

When asked about the value of Anderson in the team, Root lavished praise on him. "He's showed time and time again why hes so important to this team. Today is just another reflection on that. He's a great bloke to have in the dressing room. He's obviously a record-breaker. I'm sure more than anything he'll be celebrating with all of us tonight," he stated.

Mathews revels in Delhi Daredevils' turnaround -
4/26/2015 10:19:49 AM

  • Mathews has has carried his fine run in international cricket in the IPL
  • Delhi Daredevils are slowly making a climb in the points-table
Angelo Mathews has chipped in with a couple of cameos in the IPL
Angelo Mathews has chipped in with a couple of cameos in the IPL

Things have been remarkably different for the Delhi Daredevils once they snapped their 11-match losing streak against Kings XI Punjab. Ever since, they've registered wins against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, the latter coming at their home turf at the Feroz Shah Kotla after enduring nine consecutive losses at the venue.

Skipper JP Duminy has led from the front whereas the domestic crop of Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Agarwal and Domnic Joseph have contributed significantly. Adding to Delhi Daredevils' turnaround is Sri Lankan allrounder Angelo Mathews, whose performance so far has demonstrated that his fine run of form in international cricket, has carried into this tournament. Besides having scored 93 runs in five matches, Mathews has picked up five wickets as well, and his spell of 2 for 17 against Mumbai Indians was as economical as it gets.

Ahead of the Daredevils' clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mathews said it's all gradually falling in place for his side and that they will try and keep things simple by sticking to the basics. "I think we've got to play the same way as we did in the last game," Mathews said. "We've just got go out there be positive and aggressive and play with lot of freedom, not regarding whoever the opposition is we got to play our best cricket to play against them. We played pretty good cricket in the last game and we try to emphasise on those things."

Mathews lauded openers Iyer and Agarwal, and even though they haven't provided the Daredevils with the best of starts every game, both have shown potential at the top. So far, Iyer and Agarwal have opened in has opened in five games and have put on scores of 45, 23, 15, 3 and 2. However, their individual performances have been inspiring - Agarwal's 68 against Kings XI Punjab was crucial to the Daredevils winning the game and Iyer already has a couple of fine half-centuries to his name.

"The top order are the ones who are scoring a lot of runs for us. Mayank has been really good, Shreyas has been tremendous," Mathews said. "They play with a lot of freedom and thankfully to the owners from the coaches to the captain they have created an environment were the youngsters can go out their express freedom."

Daredevils' next opponents, RCB, are in sixth spot with two wins in five matches but Mathews is wary of the Virat Kohli-led side. "We have got a few plans for them, it is just that we have to go out there and be aggressive and try to take wickets all the time," Mathews said.

"You can't really contain. You may have noticed that most teams that have dominated in the past, have done in the last six-seven overs, having wickets in hand. So whoever the opposition is, you just have to try to take wickets early.

"They have got really good batsmen and if they can get going it is really hard to stop them so we got to find ways to try and stop them and attack them early and get them early. Don't really know about the team it depends on the wicket out there and team managements decides on the team but whoever goes there are capable of winning the game so we back all of them."

Anderson's spell put us out of the match: Ramdin -
4/26/2015 10:17:58 AM

James Anderson picked up three quick wickets with the second new ball and West Indies never recovered.

Heading into the final day of the second Test between West Indies and England from Grenada, the hosts were in a position of relative safety with Kraigg Brathwaite holding firm after scoring his fourth Test century. The pitch was flat and there seemed to be no assistance for the bowlers. However, with the second new ball, James Anderson changed the course of the match as he ripped through the West Indies batting. He picked up three quick wickets with the second new ball and they lost six wickets in the first session. They lost the last two wickets after lunch and England romped home to a nine-wicket victory.

Speaking in the post-match press conference, West Indies skipper Denesh Ramdin said the collapse in the first session took the game away from them. "Losing six wickets in one session let us down badly. We had played well on the first four days but the spell from Anderson with the new ball cost us this match," he said.

Ramdin also said the lack of partnerships also hurt them immensely on the final day. "We needed to build partnerships but England kept coming back us. We should have carried on and scored runs but the bowlers just maintained the pressure."

The third and final Test begins in Barbados on May 01 and Ramdin hopes for a good pitch. "We have had two good wickets in the first two Tests. Both of them went till the last day. I am hopeful that the groundsman provide us with a pitch that aids the fast bowlers in Barbados because both teams have good fast bowlers," he said.

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