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Varun and Salt star in comprehensive Kolkata Knight Riders win

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Varun Chakravarthy finished with 3 for 16 (Cricinfo)

Having just hosted a run-fest where 262 was chased down with eight balls to spare, Eden Gardens reverted to a former template familiar to fans of its home team, and Kolkata Knight Riders returned to winning ways and moved to second place on the IPL table with a confident, net-run-rate-boosting seven-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals.

After a succession of flat pitches, Eden served up one with a little bit of grip, and KKR’s bowlers made full use of it after Capitals chose to bat first. Mitchell Starc and Vaibhav Arora took three wickets inside the powerplay, after which the spinners took over, with Varun Chakrawarthy and Sunil Narine combining for figures of 8-0-40-4. Reduced to 111 for 8 at one stage, Capitals set KKR a 150-plus target thanks to an unlikely, unbeaten 26-ball 35 from Kuldeep Yadav.

With Kuldeep and Axar Patel in their attack, Capitals had the tools to create a bit of pressure on this pitch, but KKR were well on their way to victory before either spinner had bowled a ball. Phil Salt made his fourth fifty in five home games this season, dominating a powerplay in which KKR rushed to 79 for no loss.

Axar Patel removed both KKR openers when he came on, but it was too little, too late for Capitals, as Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer put on an unbroken 57 off 43 balls to end the match with 21 balls remaining.

KKR now have 12 points from nine games, and a NRR of 1.096, the best of any team in the competition.

Jake Fraser-McGurk faced just seven balls on Monday night, and five of the seven were attempted yorkers, two of which ended up as full-tosses. The other two were banged into a hard length. The bulk of these balls were from Mitchell Starc, but Vaibhav Arora also stuck to the same plan with his two balls. This wasn’t two fast bowlers searching for swing from a fullish good length with the new ball. This was death bowling inside the powerplay, and as T20 batting leans more and more towards all-out attack, it’s likely we’ll see a lot more of it in the future.

On the day, Fraser-McGurk hit a four and a six and picked out deep square leg while looking to flick Starc for another six.

By then, Capitals had already lost Prithvi Shaw, who had begun ominously with three fours off Starc, off the first three balls of the match. He had fallen in innocuous manner, strangling Arora down the leg side.

Arora took one more wicket, delivering a peach that straightened off the deck to hit the top of Shai Hope’s off stump. That ball suggested the ball would grip for the spinners too, and so it proved.

Before this match, Varun had endured a difficult season, going at 9.72 while picking up eight wickets in eight games. While Narine had defied flat conditions, particularly in Kolkata, and prevented batters from accessing the boundaries, his spin partner had gone for plenty like every other bowler in KKR’s games.

Now, though, Varun had a bit of help from the pitch, and he could have struck first ball had Harshit Rana – who had just dismissed a dangerous-looking Abishek Porel in the previous over – not dropped a sitter off a Rishabh Pant miscue at short third. Pant, though, would go after Varun again in his next over – the 11th of the Capitals innings – and miscue again, with Shreyas Iyer pouching him safely in the covers on this occasion.

Varun was getting the ball to bite on the surface, and he quickly picked up two more wickets, of Tristan Stubbs and Kumar Kushagra – who came on as Impact Sub in a failed attempt to lengthen Capitals’ batting and stem the collapse. With Narine dismissing Axar Patel at the other end, Capitals were eight down inside the 15th over.

They managed to see out their 20, though, with Kuldeep getting them that far with a mixture of skill and luck. He hit two edged fours in his first four balls, and then hit a six off Starc that was very nearly a catch at deep backward square leg, and eventually finished with a control percentage of 41. They were important runs for Capitals, though, ensuring that they got to 150.

It was evident through the initial stages of KKR’s chase that the slower ball was gripping the surface and stopping on the batters, but it was also evident that Capitals’ quicks were offering frequent width to free the arms. With Salt and Narine in the form they were in, this was asking for trouble. And the trouble was compounded when Lizaad Williams, who went for 23 in the first over, dropped a straightforward chance off Khaleel Ahmed at the start of the second to reprieve Salt on 15.

The openers raced to 79 for 0 in the powerplay, with Salt, who had the bulk of the strike, reaching a 26-ball half-century in the sixth over.

Narine went after Axar’s first ball and perished, picking out deep midwicket in the seventh over while trying to hit with the turn, and Axar bowled Salt with a trademark, inward-angling skidder in the ninth. But KKR’s required rate was well below a run a ball, and it remained so even when Williams dismissed Rinku Singh with a good, hard-length ball in the 10th over.

KKR had a long, in-form line of batters still to come, and in the end didn’t require Andre Russell, Angkrish Raghuvanshi or Ramandeep Singh to bat, as the two Iyers ticked off the remaining runs with little fuss beyond a mix-up in the 16th over when the match was already all but won.

Brief scores:
Delhi Capitals
153/9 in 20 overs (Kuldeep Yadav 35*, Rishabh Pant 27; Mitchell Starc 1-43, Vaibhav Arora 2-29, Varun Chakravarthy 3-16, Harshit Rana 2-28, Sunil Narine 1-24) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 157/3 in 16.3 overs (Phil Salt 68, Shreyas Iyer 33*, Venkatesh Iyer 26*; Lizaad Williams 1-38, Axar Patel 2-25) by 7 wickets

(Cricinfo)

 



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Advisory for strong winds and rough seas for naval and fisher communities in the deep-sea areas in the South-eastern Arabian Sea

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Advisory for strong winds and rough seas issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre at 12.30 p.m. 18 May 2024

Naval and Fisher communities in the deep-sea areas in the South-eastern Arabian Sea have been warned  that strong winds accompanied with heavy rainfalls and very rough seas are likely over the sea areas around the country and over the South-eastern Arabian Sea areas during the next few days.

Naval and fishing communities are advised not to venture into the sea areas marked RED color on the map below until further notice.

Naval and fishing communities are also requested to be attentive to future forecasts issued by the Department of Meteorology in this regard.

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England spinners apply the squeeze as Pakistan slump to series-ending 65-run loss

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Alice Capsey struck twice in her first over, after an important innings with the bat (Cricinfo)

A disciplined, clinical performance with the ball and in the field saw England ease to a 65-run win in Northampton, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead over Pakistan. As in the first T20I, Sarah Glenn spearheaded her side with two wickets to follow up her four-wicket haul last Saturday, chopping through Pakistan’s middle order to cut the visitors, who fell apart with the bat once more, adrift.

Several bowlers chipped in, with Lauren Bell, Charlie Dean, Alice Capsey and Sophie Ecclestone – who became the leading WT20I wicket-taker for England with her three, all among the wickets. It came during another tame batting performance from Pakistan, whose flashes of talent were unable to plug the holes their lack of consistency left exposed. The pursuit of 145 never really got off the ground, and before long, Nida Dar’s side folded feebly for 79.

Pakistan had much to be hopeful about after the first innings. They dragged England back after a bright powerplay from the hosts, taking wickets at regular overs to stymie English momentum at every turn. It wasn’t quite as helpful a wicket to bat on as the one at Edgbaston, and England ensured most batters made contributions; five of the top seven scored between 15 and 31. A late cameo from Dani Gibson took England to 144, and while it seemed a vulnerable target at the time, England’s excellence in the second innings demonstrated it was anything but.

In an ultimately low-scoring game, England’s bellicose approach right from the outset provided them a buffer that would ultimately come in handy. Waheeda Akhtar was too straight with the first ball, and Maia Bouchier punished her with a flick for four, setting the powerplay tempo early. Another slap past point in the same over went for four, and Sadia Malik’s width was punished with a drive through the covers.

Capsey, meanwhile began stodgily, managing just two off the first nine. However, she cut loose in an onslaught against Waheeda in the fifth over, plundering five boundaries to make up for lost time. By the end of the fifth over, England had raced along to 43 for one; it would take Pakistan until the eighth over and the loss of three extra wickets before they breached that number. By that time, the game was all but secure for the hosts.

If Pakistan could have strung together their powerplay bowling performance in Birmingham with their middle-overs showing today, the series may well have been level. Pakistan enjoyed relative control during the eight overs that followed the powerplay in the first innings, keeping England on a leash with their parsimony with the ball and in the field. Nida, Nashra Sandhu and Diana Baig whizzed through their overs, tying Bouchier down before a stunning bit of fielding caught her out of her crease and ran her out. Dar’s variety in the air was instrumental in deceiving an onrushing Capsey as the brakes were applied across a 48-ball spell that saw just 42 scored and set Pakistan up nicely for the death

There’s little point in breaking Pakistan’s innings down into phases. Much of it was a phantasmagoria of an absence of intent, frenetic shot selection and self-imploding running between the wickets, all of which England were much too impressive not to punish. Bell received the payoff for a tight couple of overs with two wickets in the third, Gull Feroza and Sadaf Shamas smacking a couple straight to fielders as the pressure told. A handful of boundaries from Muneeba Ali in the second half of the powerplay was as good as it got for the Pakistan batters, but that 30-run partnership was followed by another clump of wickets that killed Pakistan off.

All of England’s bowlers understood Pakistan’s dilemma perfectly. They lack power hitters, and that means racking up dot deliveries can amp up the pressure in no time. That plan was executed to perfection, with a series of dot deliveries almost invariably followed up by high-risk shots that did not pay off. The last six wickets fell for just 19 on a scorecard that did not truly reflect Pakistan’s competitiveness in the first innings, though the gulf in quality between the two sides means the 2-0 scoreline is well deserved.

Brief scores:
England Women  144 for 6 in 20 overs (Maia Bouchier 30, Nat Sciver-Brunt 31, Alice Capsey 31; Waheeda Akhtar 1-31, Diana Baig 1-24, Sadia Iqbal 1-20, Nida Dar 2-33) beat Pakistan Women  79 in 15.5 overs (Aliya Riaz 19, Muneeba Ali 18; Sophie  Ecclestone 3-11, Alice Capsey 2-04, Lauren Bell 2-20, Sarah Glenn 2-10) by 65 runs

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Brazil named as hosts for 2027 Women’s World Cup

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Brazil will be the first South American country to host a Women's World Cup (BBC)

Brazil have been named hosts of the 2027 Women’s World Cup after beating a joint bid by Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany (BNG).

They became the first nation to be handed the rights by an open vote, with member associations voting 119 to 78 in favour of Brazil at Fifa’s congress in Bangkok on Friday.

It will be the first time a Women’s World Cup has been hosted by a South American country.

“Congratulations to Brazil,” Fifa president Gianni Infantino said.  “We will have the best World Cup in Brazil. Many thanks as well to the BNG bid, who have been fantastic.”

Both bids met hosting criteria, but Brazil scored higher on technical aspects covering areas such as stadiums, accommodation, fan zones and transport in a Fifa bid evaluation report.

The United States and Mexico withdrew their joint bid in April, saying they would focus on bidding for the tournament in 2031, while South Africa did the same in November.

“We knew we would be celebrating a victory for South American women’s soccer and for women,” said president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, Ednaldo Rodrigues.  “You can be sure, with no vanity, we will accomplish the best World Cup for women.”

Valesca Araujo, the operational manager of Brazil’s bid team, added: “We are working on a transformation, not only for the country but for the continent.”

Brazil hosted the men’s World Cup in 1950 and 2014.

The 10th edition of the Women’s World Cup will follow the same 32-team format as was used in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand, where Spain were crowned champions after defeating England in the final.

China, Sweden, the United States, Germany, Canada and France have all also previously hosted the competition.

(BBC Sports)

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