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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ireland set to play Test ~ Rishab Pant sets Kotla ablaze !!


Malahide, is an affluent coastal suburban town on the northside of Dublin city, Ireland and is in news !

Exciting IPL and exhilarating batting by this young man ~ he  was involved in two run outs, and then batted like a man possessed.  Bhuvneshwar Kumar is stingy but today he was torn apart – the last over of his reads : W-4-4-6-6-6 ! – today Bhuvi has leaked runs and Pant scored 43 of them in just 11 balls; against Rashid Khan he scored 27 in 13 balls – he scored 128* of mere 63 balls with 7 sixers.  With that century he is the Orange cap holder with 521 runs in 11 innings. Lokesh Rahul has 471 in 10; Suryakumar Yadav 435 in 11; Ambati Rayudu 423 in 10 and Kane Williamson 416 in 11 (he is batting now)


Rishabh Pant moved around from city to city in his early teens to make a name for himself. He switched bases from Roorkee to Delhi to Rajasthan, then returned to Delhi, and was even thrown out of an academy once. A few years down the road, he opened the batting for India in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, smashed a record-breaking fifty against Nepal and followed it up with a century against Namibia to help India qualify for the semi-finals. Incidentally, his century came on the same day when he was bought by Delhi Daredevils for INR 1.9 crores from a base price of Rs 10 lakhs, Cricinfo writes on him. 

Delhi Daredevils captain Shreyas Iyer opted to bat in a must-win clash against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad on a cracked pitch in Delhi. They left out allrounder Dan Christian but persisted with his Australia team-mate Glenn Maxwell, who has managed only 133 runs in nine matches this season. Fast bowler Avesh Khan and wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha also missed the cut. Instead, Harshal Patel and Shahbaz Nadeem were picked. Prithvi Shaw, Jason roy, Shreyas Iyer, Harshal Patel, Glenn Maxwell – all failed – all more than made up by that great innings by Rishab Pant.  DD has now set a target of 188!

The Bangladesh Cricket Board has expressed disappointment at Cricket Australia's decision to cancel their bilateral series in Australia later this year because the tour was not commercially viable.  BCB chief executive, said that boards like CA were expected to host teams regardless of the tour's appeal to the home audience. He cited the example of Bangladesh hosting teams despite not having made profits for some tours.  BCB reportedly makes money only when teams like India, Pakistan, England and Australia tour Bangladesh.  The official felt that it was disappointing that CA looked at financial viability – though many host matches   to maintain bilateral commitments. It is not always financially viable. If the BCB can afford them, then we would expect the bigger cricket boards to do the same, said he.

The BCB's response stems from the disappointment of Cricket Australia cancelling two trips to Bangladesh - in 2015 for a full tour and in 2016 for the Under-19 World Cup - because of security fears. CA was only convinced of security in Bangladesh after England toured in October 2016.

Eleven years and counting have elapsed since the single most transformative moment in the history of Irish cricket - the legendary World Cup victory at Sabina Park, on St Patrick's Day 2007, that propelled a team of part-timers into the big-time and made feasible the scenes that will unfold at Malahide in the coming five days. Ireland are about to become cricket's 11th  Test nation.

Extraordinarily, four of the men who held their nerve in that Group D thriller those years ago will be back on parade for Ireland tomorrow. The current captain Will Porterfield, the fast bowler Boyd Rankin - whose own journey has taken him to England Test colours and back again - and the O'Brien brothers: Niall, whose dogged 72 set up that thrilling three-wicket win, and Kevin, whose unbeaten 16 guided his side over the line on that occasion, but whose own crowning glory would come against England at Bangalore in the subsequent World Cup. Pak is likely to debut another  ul-Haq in their ranks Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of the then-captain, Inzamam.

Whatever is in this colour was part 1 ~ part 2 was to unfold differently for Delhi Daredevils or rather a familiar story ? 128* of 63 was not the player of the match but 92* off 50 was !!! ~ it was to be  another Delhi boy,  Shikhar Dhawan and man from down under  Kane Williamson stole the  thunder and ensured Sunrisers Hyderabad became the first team to progress to the playoffs. The result also meant Daredevils were the first team to be knocked out.  On a typically slow Feroz Shah Kotla pitch, the chase ought to have been a challenging one, but Dhawan scored his second half-century of the season and Williamson hit his sixth to make light work of it. They added an unbroken 176 for the second wicket - the highest stand for Sunrisers - to usher their team home with nine wickets and seven balls to spare.

Yes ~ such things happen in Cricket – one cannot help recalling what uninformed critics would speak on every Indian loss -  that when Sachin scores a century India loses !   ..  statistically far away from the truth and exposing lack of understanding of the game.  Of his 51 Test centuries, 20 came in matches when India won and in One dayers – 33 of them out of 49 in One dayers were winning efforts ~ not to speak of some more – where he waged a lone battle. Sad, after that unbelievable innings, Pant is on losing side.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th May 2018.

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