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Ruthless Mumbai Indians seal second qualifier spot



Akash Madhwal’s stunning spell of 5-5 helped skittle out LSG for 101, eliminating them from IPL 2023

IPL 2023 edged one step closer to a dream MI-CSK final as Akash Madhwal’s stunning five-fer in the Eliminator helped Mumbai Indians brush aside Lucknow Super Giants at Chepauk on Wednesday. Chasing a stiff 183, LSG collapsed in dramatic fashion to get bowled out for just 101 as they lost their last eight wickets for just 32 runs. In the process, Madhwal broke into the record books by registering the best figures in IPL playoffs history and the fifth-best overall.

Both teams made very similar starts in the powerplay. Ishan Kishan got going with three boundaries for Mumbai Indians and Kyle Mayers fetched a couple of boundaries in the first over of the chase. But MI lost Rohit Sharma and Ishan in quick succession whereas LSG were crippled by the wickets of Kyle Mayers and Prerak Mankad. But Cameron Green launched a stunning counterattack to shift the pressure back onto the bowling side very quickly and raced to 23 off just 9 balls to help MI post 62 in the powerplay. Similarly for LSG, Marcus Stoinis stepped up after the early losses and took on Hrithik Shokeen in particular to help his side knock off 54 in the powerplay.

They stepped on the accelerator and put LSG under immense pressure. Suryakumar Yadav and Green hit Mohsin Khan for a six each and kept the runs coming to take MI to 98 at the halfway stage. The partnership put MI firmly in control of the contest as they looked good to get closer to 200, a total that always sounds daunting in this part of the world. But the game turned on its head once again as Naveen-ul-Haq removed both the set batters in the space of three deliveries. Using the surface to his advantage. Naveen bowled two well disguised slower deliveries to deceive both Suryakumar and Green to stop the rampage.

While Tilak Varma did clear the midwicket fielder immediately despite Naveen’s heroics in the previous over, Tim David struggled to get going. He was content rotating the strike as MI set themselves up for a big finish at 131/4. But the impressive Yash Thakur got rid of David and Naveen returned to put an end to Tilak’s innings and pick up his fourth wicket in the process. The onus was now on impact sub Nehal Wadhera who made a telling contribution right at the death. He fetched crucial boundaries in the end overs to guide MI beyond 180.

While Suryakumar and Green took off after the powerplay, LSG’s innings witnessed the exact opposite. They collapsed in extraordinary fashion to lose the momentum they had fetched in the final two overs of the powerplay. Krunal’s stuttering innings came to an end when he failed to clear the fielder at long on and the impressive Akash Madhwal struck twice off successive deliveries that included the key wicket of Nicholas Pooran as MI ran away with the game.

Absolutely not. In fact, things only became worse. Stoinis, the only batter who looked like putting up a challenge, was run out as he collided with Deepak Hooda in the middle of the pitch that hampered his momentum while he was on his way to making it back. K Gowtham’s suicidal sun out soon after summed up the innings as LSG were down to 92/7. From thereon, they definitely didn’t have a way back. Madhwal, who already had stunning figures, added to his tally by picking Ravi Bishnoi’s wicket. At that stage, he had figures of 4/4 after three overs. He made it 5/5 in the final over by castling Mohsin that sealed the deal.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians 182/8 in 20 overs (Cameron Green 41, Suryakumar Yadav 33; Naveen-ul-Haq 4/38, Yash Thakur 3/34) beat Lucknow Super Giants 101 all out in 16.3 overs (Marcus Stoinis 40; Akash Madhwal 5/5) by 81 runs


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Jadeja’s nerveless hitting gifts Chennai Super Kings fifth IPL title




Jadeja finished the chase with a 6 and a 4 off the last two balls from Mohit Sharma in the 20th over

Chennai Super Kings became IPL champions for the fifth time in a game befitting a title clash. With 10 needed off the last two deliveries, Ravindra Jadeja smacked a six down the ground and a four to fine leg off Mohit Sharma to seal one of the most dramatic finales in the history the tournament.

Brief Scores:

Gujarat Titans 214/4 in 20 overs (Sai Sudharsan 96, Wriddhiman Saha 54; Matheesha Pathirana 2-44) lost to Chennai Super Kings 171/5 in 20 overs (Devon Conway 47, Shivam Dube 32*) by 5 wickets (DLS method)

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Chameera returns after surgery but no place for KJP



Dushmantha Chameera returns to the side after a seventh month layoff.

Fast bowler Dushmanta Chameera returns to the side after a seven month layoff having undergone ankle surgery as the selectors picked a balanced squad for the three-match series against Afghanistan starting later this week at Suriyawewa.

Although Chameera has been named in the squad, there was no place for top order batsman Kusal Janith Perera, who had returned to 20 side in New Zealand two months ago. KJP on that occasion had only been picked for T-20s and there are question marks about his fitness for the 50 over format.

Fans will be hoping that by the time the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe begin next month, KJP will be cleared to feature in the 50 over format as well. One of the most destructive batters in the side, KJP has been in and out of the team due to injuries.

Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne also makes a comeback to the ODI outfit having been axed from the 50 over format two years ago. Sri Lanka’s problems of not being able to bat out 50 overs in recent times is seen as the reason for Dimuth’s return to the side.

Uncapped leg-spinner Dushan Hemantha has also been named in the squad but now that Wanindu Hasaranga has recovered from an injury, he’s expected to play ahead of the 29-year-old.

There’s no place for left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka either although there was lot of excitement when he first made an impact during last year’s Asia Cup. Young all-rounder Dunith Wellalage has also been overlooked for the three-match series.

The selectors are not expected to do too many changes from the 16-member squad chosen for the Afghanistan series for the World Cup qualifiers.

The first ODI gets underway Friday (2nd June) followed by games on June 4th and 7th. The series was drafted in to give the Sri Lankan team some competitive games ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

Sri Lanka Squad:

Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Kusal Mendis (Vice-Captain), Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha

Afghanistan Squad:

Hashmatullah Shahidi (Captain), Rahmat Shah (Vice-Captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhail (wk), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujib ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Farid Ahmad Malik.

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Yupun out of competitions for few weeks due to injury



Yupun Abeykoon

by Reemus Fernando

Sprinter Yupun Abeykoon who suffered an injury during last week’s 100 metres final of the Savona International Meet will ‘stay away from competitions for few weeks.’

“After the MRI test which I took after my race in Savona, it is unfortunate that I have to inform you all that due to a minor hamstring injury I have to stay away from competitions for a few weeks due to medical advice given by experts,” said the Italy based sprinter in a statement yesterday.

Abeykoon was placed second behind Reece Prescod of Britain in the final of the Savona International Meet last week. The national record holder returned a wind-assisted 10.01 seconds (+2.7) performance to open his season in the 100metres. However, despite placing second in the final, he was seen struggling during the last few metres of the race. The injury means he must skip one of the major 100 metres events this week.

The first South Asian Sprinter to break the ten seconds barrier in the men’s 100 metres, Abeykoon was expected to compete against a star-studded lineup at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in Florence later this week.

The world-class lineup includes world champion Fred Kerley and Kenyan world leader in the 100 metres this season, Ferdinand Omanyala.

“I have already started my rehab process with my physio, doctors and the rest of the staff and I am looking forward to coming back stronger than I was in the upcoming competitions,” he further stated.

The highest-ranked Sri Lankan male athlete, Abeykoon is the prime medal hopeful at this year’s Asian Games. Sri Lanka Athletics is relying heavily on Abeykoon to end the country’s medal drought in track and field at the quadrennial event.

He is also the only male athlete to be in the required range in the world rankings to be eligible for selection for this year’s World Championships.

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