Imran Khan won a Cricket World Cup for Pakistan long before he won an election to be prime minister.
The PM had a few ideas on how Pakistan might end its run of six World Cup losses to archrival India, so he sent a few thoughts via social media for the team.
The main advice from the 1992 World Cup-winning captain ahead of Sunday's game: bat first if you win the toss; pick specialist batters and specialist bowlers.
— Pakistan won the toss and sent India in to bat at Old Trafford. It wasn't an unreasonable decision considering the cool, overcast conditions, the fact it had rained heavily the previous day and the likelihood further bad weather would trigger the revised run-rate scenarios which tend to favor the chasing team.
— Pakistan dropped a specialist batsman and a specialist bowler and recalled two all-rounders. The aim was to add depth to the spin attack on a wicket that takes turn.
The result? Loss No. 7.
"Today's match was a disaster for us, but I'm confident we can bounce back from this," Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said, in comments translated from Urdu.
Pakistan has so far had matches in this tournament against all the other previous champions, losing to West Indies, Australia and India and having to share the points in a washout against Sri Lanka.
The one win to date was against top-ranked England, the pre-tournament favorite. The next game is South Africa, which also has three points. Lose that and there's no chance they can reach the semifinals.
Sarfaraz faced questions about team selection and the body language of the players but said the 89-run loss, based on a revised target after the rain-interrupted game, was the result of his team not capitalizing on its chances.
Rohit Sharma scored 140 from 113 balls, but was in his 30s when he should have been run out. Fakhar Zaman threw to the wrong end from midwicket after KL Rahul had turned his batting partner back instead of taking a second run and Sharma was well out of his ground.
"We had two lapses. We had chances we didn't take," Sarfaraz said. "If we'd taken those chances it could have been different — we would have been in a better position."
Left-arm paceman Mohammad Amir took 3-47 after India's flying start, but the 2011 World Cup winners still posted 336-5, a record total for a one-day international at Old Trafford. Pakistan lost opener Imam-ul-Haq with the total at 13, recovered with a 104-run stand between Fakhar Zaman (62) and Babar Azam (48), but fell behind a competitive strike-rate and lost steam when Kuldeep Yadav took both their wickets.
Pakistan went to a rain delay in the 35th over at 166-6, and was set a revised target of 302 from 40 overs to win — a near-impossible 136 from five overs.
They never got close.
Sarfaraz said India was just playing better cricket at the moment than Pakistan, which lost the first World Cup encounter between the two countries in 1992 but still captured the title that year.
He also defended the decision to bowl first, which backfired when Sharma shared partnerships of 136 with KL Rahul and 98 with Virat Kohli for the first two wickets.
"I think we won a good toss — we just didn't capitalize," he said. "When we saw the pitch, a little bit of moisture on the pitch, we used the conditions. I think we didn't hit the right areas ... while they played really well through that."
Pakistan still has matches to play against South Africa, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
"Yes, we haven't played good cricket today, but we're looking forward to the remaining four matches," Sarfaraz said. "Our target is to win the next four matches."
Devdutt Padikkal showed his class on his IPL debut in the ongoing match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The left-handed batsman played some stunning strokes and stunned the rivals by his attitude.
Devdutt Padikkal, already a known name in the Indian domestic circuit scored an impressive fifty for Virat Kohli-led franchise. He made full use of the power-play and slammed bug shots. Devdutt added 90 runs with his opening partner, Aaron Finch.
His 56 runs came off just 42 balls and his strike rate of 133.33 impressed everyone. Fans took to Twitter to congratulate the 20-year old.
Here are some of the reactions.
Prodigal Padikkal 😇🤗 A star is born. #IPL2020— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) September 21, 2020
Padikkal 👏 👏 👏 #RCBVsSRH— Ashwin 🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) September 21, 2020
In 35 domestic matches, he has scored 1879 runs at an average of 52.19.
Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrahrevealed that the freedom he enjoys playing under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy in Mumbai Indians set-up has been a massive confidence booster for him in his career.
Bumrah has been an integral part of Mumbai Indians' team, which has won record four IPL titles since Rohit Sharma took over as captain in 2013.
“For me, he (Rohit) has always given me the freedom, he has always told me to express yourself (myself), be whatever you want, be it any situation, take ownership of your own bowling, so that gives me a lot of confidence and a responsibility that I’m responsible for whatever I’m doing,” Bumrah said.
“So that’s a big thing for a captain because then he gives a bowler so much of confidence. He trusts you so much and he trusts the decisions that you will take and that’s a very positive sign,” he added.
Not just Bumrah, Rohit’s captaincy has also come in for praise from fellow players and management staff.
“He is always open to take suggestions on the ground. I have seen him a lot of times when there is a crunch situation, or when he is put under pressure, that time he is very calm, cool and composed. He takes tough decisions during that time,” batsman Suryakumar Yadav told MITV.
Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene termed Rohit as a “very instinctive leader”, while former India speedster Zaheer Khan, who is part of the team’s support staff, described the right-handed batsman as “a thinking cricketer.”
Ahead of their IPL 2020 opener against SRH on Monday, the Royal Challengers Bangalore players were seen wearing jerseys in training which had the message ‘My Covid heroes’ written on the backside of it.
The franchise later announced that they'll be wearing the same, throughout the season during training sessions to celebrate everyone who have worked towards “making the world a better place” throughout the ongoing pandemic.
The Royal Challengers wore the MY COVID HEROES jersey during practice yesterday, to pay tribute to all the REAL CHALLENGERS who have strived to make the world a better place during the pandemic! 🙌🏻🙌🏻— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) September 20, 2020
(1/2)#PlayBold #IPL2020 #WeAreChallengers #MyCovidHeroes #Dream11IPL pic.twitter.com/TLW7IiNSmq
In an interview before the match, RCB star player AB de Villiers was asked about the same, and he believes that it's a great initiative by the franchise to honour the frontline warriors.
My Covid Heroes: Over the past few days we’ve been bringing stories of Real Challengers who’ve inspired us. To pay homage to every Covid Hero out there, RCB has decided to sport ‘My Covid Heroes’ jersey throughout the Dream 11 IPL#PlayBold #IPL2020 #WeAreChallengers #Dream11IPL pic.twitter.com/y7Xbs69cQ1— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) September 21, 2020
On being asked about the teams prospects for the ongoing season, De Villiers said: “Have done some fantastic work behind the scenes and we are very well prepared and our net session and training session have been very intense. It’s about trusting each other and executing all the hard work we have put in.”
Days before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, Ali Khan's dream of playing in the cash-lucrative league got fulfilled.
The American pace sensation was roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders as the direct replacement of bowler Harry Gurney.
Ali's surprise selection came after impressing during the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, where he plied his trade for the Trinbago Knight Riders. He picked up eight wickets from eight matches with and an economy of 7.43.
Ali has won two of the last three CPL editions and he will be the first player to play in the IPL.
Acording to reports, Ali was also in KKR's radar, last year, after his solid performances in the 2018 Global T20 Canada with the Winnipeg Hawks. He was initially scouted by Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
Just before their semi-final game against the Jamaica Tallawahs, the TKR squad had gathered for a team dinner when Khan came to know about the start of his journey with the Kolkata franchise.
“As soon as everyone sat in their seats, [Knight Riders coach] Brendon McCullum welcomed everyone to dinner and then he said, ‘A man from the USA will be joining us in Kolkata Knight Riders. I want to take this opportunity to announce that…’,” said Khan as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Ali said that he started crying when Brendon made the announcement. He also revealed that the KKR coach gave him a big hug and said: "You deserve it".
Ahead of their opening fixture against MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals' skipper Steve Smith has been declared fit to play, having passed his concussion tests.
Smith has missed three ODIs against England in the UK due to a concussion issue, and there were doubts whether he will be fit to feature in Royals’ season opener.
Andrew McDonald, RR's head coach, confirmed that Smith is available for selection against CSK.
“Fantastic news that Steve is available. It’s fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It’s obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game as I’ve said before we are in really good hands. In terms of the rest of the squad, we couldn’t be happier with their preparation. We have got what we needed, having been here nice and early to get our preparation going on the back of the long lay-off,” McDonald said in a RR's virtual press release
“We have got the bases covered and have some really good depth in the squad and really looking forward to seeing what it looks like in a real competitive match against CSK. They had a fantastic first game, they’re one game into the tournament which is a slight advantage when you come out against the team that’s already played and performed. So, we’ll definitely have our work cut out and really looking forward to what our guys can bring to the table and we’re really excited about what the journey presents,” he added.
Smith, meanwhile, revealed that he is eager to get back to action, having missed the ODI series against England.
The 31-year-old, Smith, is one of the four main overseas players in the team alongside English trio of Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.
Jofra is expected to be in the playing XI while both are Buttler and Stokes will play no part in the game. Buttler is serving a 6-day quarantine period with his family while Stokes has not yet arrived in UAE.
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