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South Australia stun KKR on the back of Ferguson special

south_australia_celebrateA terrific 84 run partnership off 44 balls between Man of the match Callum Ferguson and the brutal Daniel Christian accompanied by a tidy bowling effort enabled the Redbacks to open their account in the CLT20 with a comprehensive 19 run win over Kolkata who fizzled-out under immense pressure. South Australia manipulated the middle overs better in all departments to knock out the Knight Riders. SAR who raced to 188-5 in 20 overs restricted KKR to 169-9 by picking up wickets at regular intervals. Daniel Harris and Gary Putland inherited 3 wickets apiece to steer the Australian T20 Champions to Glory.

Desperate for a turnaround, the Kokata Knight Riders and the South Australian Redbacks would be facing-off in a Group B encounter on a slow and slugglish wicket at Hyderabad with plenty of juice for the spinners.The toss of the coin went South Australia's way and expectedly Michael Klinger decided to bat first. The Redbacks benched wayward Shaun Tait to make way for Kane Richardson while left arm paceman Gary Putland made the cut at the cost of leg-spinner Adil Rashid. On the contrary, the Knight Riders retained the eleven that went down to Somerset on Sunday. Cricket Pundits were reckoning that 160 would be a good score on that wicket.


Mumbai snatch another incredible win as Trinidad and Tobago fall agonizingly short

harbhajan_iplIn yet another nerve wracking finish at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Monday night, Mumbai Indians managed to pull off a narrow one wicket win on the last ball over Trinidad and Tobago. Having won the toss and electing to bat, the T&T batsmen threw away a promising start with some loose shots as they crumbled under pressure to be shot out for a paltry total of 98 having played only 16 and a bit overs. Mumbai, having to chase just 99, began poorly losing 4 wickets inside the first six overs. A patient 34 off 47 balls from Ambati Rayudu got them close to the total, but it needed some big hitting from Malinga in the last over and some incredible luck to go their way on the last ball to sneak a win.

On a greenish looking pitch at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru, the star studded Mumbai Indians took on the domestic champions from the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago, on Monday night. The T&T captain Darren Ganga won the toss and surprisingly chose to bat, on a pitch where previous results were firmly in favour of the teams chasing. The Caribbean side went in with an unchanged side from their qualifying campaign, while Mumbai were forced to make a change to the team which beat Chennai with Kiwi allrounder James Franklin coming in for the injured Davy Jacobs, which meant young Ambati Rayudu had to take up wicket-keeping responsibilities once again.


South African fringe players shine in Champions League T20

south_africa_celebrateRest and recuperation seems to have been the perfect preparation for the Proteas' squad ahead of the two limited overs series against Australia next month. Far from being rusty and generally underdone the South African players have hit the ground running at full steam during the first weekend of the Nokia Champions League T20 in India. And this applies not only to current Proteas but those on the fringes of promotion as well.

South African players won the Man of the Match award in four of the first five matches with Ashwell Prince and Jon-Jon Smuts (Chevrolet Warriors), Herschelle Gibbs (Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras) and Roelof van der Merwe (Somerset) doing the honours. The Warriors have won both their matches to date and the Cobras will be out to emulate them when they play their second match against the defending champions, the Chennai Super Kings, on Wednesday.


Van der Merwe bludgeons Somerset to excellent win against KKR

A belligerent 73 from just 40 balls by South African journeyman allrounder Roelof van der Merwe propelled the Somerset Sabres to an excellent 5 wicket win against the Kolkata Knight Riders in what was clearly a match of 4 very different quarters. After a very slow start, the Knight Riders exploded late in their innings to smash 9 sixes en route to an exceptional score of 161 on what was a very sluggish Hyderabad pitch. An unbeaten 74 from Jacques Kallis and a brisk 39 from Yusuf Pathan helping them post an imposing total. However, Van der Merwe turned the match on its head with some awesome hitting of his own, picking up 9 boundaries (more than the whole KKR team combined) and 2 sixes to put Somerset firmly in the driver's seat in their chase. A loss of 3 wickets for 3 runs brought the match alive late on, but a cool head from Nick Compton, grandson of the late great Denis Compton, saw the Sabres home with 2 balls to spare. 

The big news at the toss at the start of Kolkata vs Somerset Part Deux was the return of KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir, who had recovered from the concussion he sustained on India's tour of England to take his place in the team ranks. That meant that young Sreevats Goswami would drop to the bench as did another youngster Jaidev Unadkat with former Indian medium pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji getting his first match of the tournament. Somerset were yet to welcome their two heroes, who were in action for England against the West Indies later tonight, but did bring in Irish tweaker George Dockrell for leg-spinner Max Waller. The spin of the coin went Gambhir's way, and he opted to make first use of the pitch.

The first 6 overs though belonged to the Somerset Sabres despite another lightning start from Manvinder Bisla. The powerful wicketkeeper batsman kept his place at the top of the order and showed why, smacking the first two balls of the match from Alfonso Thomas to the fence. At the other end, Murali Kartik wasn't spared either, with Bisla depositing the former Indian spinner into the stands. However, the decision to bring 19-year old Lewis Gregory into the attack for the third over proved to be a golden one as he dismissed Bisla for 17 and picked up the wicket of Gautam Gambhir a couple of balls later for a golden duck (Kallis took strike when Bisla was dismissed). Somerset pegged the scoring rate back, and at the end of the powerplay, KKR had posted a run a ball 36.


Warriors destroy the South Australian RedBacks to edge closer to CLT20 Semis

sar_batThe Chevrolet Warriors kept up their stranglehold on the top of Group B of the Champions League T20 with their second consecutive win of the tournament. The South African giants comprehensively thrashed an outmatched South Australian Redbacks outfit to record a 50-run victory in Hyderabad on Sunday. Not only have the Warriors taken control of Group B, their two wins by convincing margins has gives them a net run rate of +1.28 which could be crucial should things get tight in this group later on. As things stand though, a victory in either of their two remaining games against the Kolkata Knight Riders or England's Somerset would book them a berth in the semi-finals.

JJ Smuts was the star for the Warriors in the first session as he powered his way to an 88 off just 65 balls, an innings etched with 10 fours and 2 sixes. Along the way he shared partnerships of 73 for the second wicket with Colin Ingram (30) and 80 for the third with Mark Boucher (34). Remarkably both these partnerships came in exactly 52 balls and set the Warriors up for their total of 171/5 after they had won the toss. It was only the second time that Smuts had passed 50 in a T20 match and it was the highest score yet for the Warriors in this format, beating the 84 that Tyron Henderson made against the bizhub Highveld Lions in 2004.


Malinga, Harbhajan lead Mumbai to thrilling late win against Chennai Super Kings

harbhajan_iplThe Mumbai Indians came back from the dead to shock the defending Champions Chennai Super Kings in the 3rd game of the Champions League T20. Mumbai unearthed an unlikely batting hero in Lasith Malinga whose rapid fire 37 from 18 balls powered Mumbai to an amazing win. Earlier Michael Hussey's 81 from 57 balls guided Chennai to a competitive score of 158. Although Mumbai slumped to 106-7 a fantastic unbeaten partnership between Malinga and new Mumbai skipper Harbhajan Singh allowed a considerably under strength Mumbai to start their CLT20 campaign with a thrilling final over win.

The M.A.Chidambaram stadium at Chennai was bleeding 'Yellow' as the charming city's adopted son Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his 'Superkings' took on an injury-hit Mumbai Indians in the second Group A Match of the Champions League T20. The Mumbai Indians received some rare good news earlier in the week with the CLT20 governing council allowing the side to field 5 overseas players due to their injury concerns.


Cape Cobras thrash NSW Blues in Champions League T20 Group A Opener

moises_henriques_3South African veteran batsman Herschelle Gibbs and 23-year old dashing opener Richard Levi carried on from where they left off in last season's Domestic T20 Final to lead the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras to an impressive seven-wicket victory over the NSW Blues in their opening Champions League T20 match at Chennai on Saturday. In the clash between the domestic T20 champions of South Africa and Australia the Cobras completed a wonderful double for South African cricket after the Chevrolet Warriors' victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore the previous day.

The Blues, who won the toss, dominated the first 10 overs when the international duo of Shane Watson and David Warner exploited some sloppy fielding to enable them to post 82/2 on the board at the halfway stage of the innings. Warner made 20 from just 13 balls before falling to Charl Langeveldt, while Watson smashed 34 from 29 deliveries before Robin Peterson got the better of him. During this period the Cobras dropped three catches and also gave away two unnecessary boundaries with some careless work on the ground.


Warriors beat RCB on final ball of thrilling CLT20 Opener

The first game of the Champions League T20 2011 concluded in dramatic fashion as the team from the rainbow nation, the Chevrolet Warriors edged out the home side, Royal Challengers Bangalore by 3 wickets in a last ball thriller at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Friday night. Been sent into bat, RCB went through a roller coaster ride before putting up a competitive 172/8 on the board in their 20 overs with valuable contributions from Virat Kohli and Saurabh Tiwary . The Warriors suffered a mini collapse after a good start, but managed to recover in time to chase the target down thanks to a valiant 74 off 55 balls from opener Ashwell Prince and a brilliant 42 from 24 balls from captain Johan Botha.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore walked out on to the field on Friday night amidst a jam packed Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru for the curtain raiser of the tournament against a strong Warriors side from South Africa. The Warriors captain Johan Botha won the toss on a sticky wicket and decided to put the hosts in to bat. Both sides went in with nearly full strength squads while ex-Indian national team regular Mohammed Kaif getting a rare opportunity to showcase his skills because of an injury to young Cheteshwar Pujara. Warriors looked extremely strong on the bowling front with Proteas players - Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Wayne Parnell, Johan Botha and Juan Theron all in the side.

Lonwabo Tsotsobe struck early for the Warriors utilising the conditions perfectly to remove rookie Mayank Aggarwal for no score. The big man Chris Gayle looked ominous at the start pelting 23 runs in a flash, including 2 towering sixes before the Warriors' captain Johan Botha took a smart catch at mid-on to send him back. South Africa's new limited overs captain AB de Villiers then joined Virat Kohli to steady the ship for the Royal Challengers before striking some fluent boundaries towards the end of the powerplay. At the end of the powerplay RCB recovered well from from the early set backs to regain supremacy, making 57 for 2.


Mumbai Indians permitted to field 5 foreign players in CLT20

Mumbai's preparation for the CLT20 has been rocked by injuries. The long list of absentees includes Skipper Sachin Tendulkar(injured toe) and dashing batsman Rohit Sharma(fractured finger). Their bowling department also presents a depleted outlook as Munaf Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni and Ali Murtaza have been ruled out.

Following the spate of injuries the CLT20 Governing Council has given Mumbai the nod to field five overseas players in the lucrative tournament. Whereas the other franchises can add only 4 foreigners to their XI. The Mumbai squad comprises of 7 Indians and 7 overseas players. Andrew Symonds, Dilhara Fernando, Abu Nechim, Sarul Kanwar and Rajagopal Satish have been drafted into the Mumbai Indian's squad.


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