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Saturday, Sep 18th

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Ravichandran Ashwin has finished the year 2015 as the top-ranked Test bowler and all-rounder on the ICC’s rankings. With 871 ranking points, the Indian off-spinner leads Dale Steyn (867) by four points on the bowlers’ list.

Ashwin bagged 62 wickets in nine Test matches in the year with seven five-wicket hauls and the best figures of 7 for 66. He was instrumental in India’s most recent Test series wins over Sri Lanka and South Africa with 21 and 31 wickets respectively. He walked away with the Man of the Series awards on both occasions.

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Fifty players were up for grabs on Tuesday afternoon as the braintrust of new IPL teams Pune and Rajkot were allowed first grab at 5 players each before the 'real' IPL auction gets underway in February next year.

Pune, by virtue of bidding higher for the rights to their team, were given the right to choose first, and unsurprisingly they opted for Skipper MS Dhoni. Rajkot followed suit by buying IPL legend Suresh Raina, who might finally get a chance to show his leadership potential in this format.

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India pair of Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin has attained career-best rankings, at the end of the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014, in the latest ICC Player Rankings for T20I batsmen and ICC Player Ranking for T20I bowlers respectively.

While Kohli moved up a place to career-best second in the batting table, Ashwin rose three places to a best-ever third position in the bowlers’ list.

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India bid adieu to the Asia Cup in style today, winning their dead rubber against Afghanistan by 8 wickets in a one-sided contest at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Stand in skipper Virat Kohli won a rare toss and invited Afghanistan to have a bat. The rookies capitulated miserably against India's spin trio with Ravindra Jadeja running through the side, picking up 4-30 in 10 overs. He was well assisted by Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra, who had figures of 3-31 and 1-21 from their respective 10 over spells. Samiullah Shenwari batting at no.8 scored a battling half century for Afghanistan to add some respectability to the scorecard, though India really should have knocked over their opponents sooner had it not been for another poor catching effort.

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A nail biting contest between India and New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday ended in a tie. Set an unlikely 315 to win, and finding themselves in a world of trouble at 184-6, India made a terrific comeback in the close contest thanks to some exceptional batting by Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, both of whom scored better than a run a ball half-centuries. The match was the third in a 5-match series, and New Zealand continue to lead it 2-0. India can still level the series by winning the remaining two matches.

New Zealand dropped Kyle Mills and brought in Hamish Bennett for his first match of the series. For India, right-arm fast bowler Varun Aaron replaced Ishant Sharma after the latter’s consistently poor performances.

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India have taken an unassailable 1-0 lead in 'Sachin's Farewell Series' against the West Indies, crushing their visitors by an innings and 51 runs in the first test at the Eden Garderns, Kolkata. Resuming from their overnight score of 354-6, India batted out the morning session to reach an imposing 453 with Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin scoring the bulk of the runs. The hosts then rattled the Windies out for just 168 in 54.1 overs with Mohammad Shami completing a dream debut by grabbing a 5-fer, while Ashwin made it a very memorable game for himself too, taking 3 wickets in the second innings.

West Indies wrapped up the Indian innings on the stroke of lunch on the third morning of the Kolkata Test, but not before the hosts had stretched their first innings lead to 219 to put themselves in a commanding position in this test match. Rohit Sharma (177) and Ravichandran Ashwin (124) continued from where they left off yesterday and added a record 280 runs for the 7th wicket for India against the West Indies before a spate of poor umpiring decisions conspired to bring a rushed end to India's innings with the 4 wickets falling for 17 runs to the two Windies spinners just before lunch.

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The Rajasthan Royals completed a perfect home season, 13-0, to book their spot in the Final of the 2013 Champions League with a tense 14 run win over the Chennai Super Kings at Fortress Jaipur on Friday night. Ajinkya Rahane shone with the bat for the home team as his innings of 70 laid the foundation for Rajasthan to post 159-8 from their 20 overs, but on paper that shouldn't have really been enough.

The reality though was Pravin Tambe produced another man of the match winning effort to reduce Chennai to 72-7 before Ravichandran Ashwin (46) and Chris Morris (26*) took the match down to the last over with Chennai needing 17 to win from 5 balls before James Faulkner bowled Rajasthan to victory.

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