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The clash of the titans turned out to be a bit of an anticlimax as the Chennai Super Kings humbled defending champions Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets in Match 13 of IPL 2014 in Dubai on Friday.

After having won the toss and electing to bat, Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians got off to yet another poor start as they lost retired Aussie left-hander Mike Hussey for just 1. Despite a brisk cameo of 23 from 19 balls from young Aditya Tare, Mumbai were restricted in the powerplay to just 31/2.

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It is clash of the heavyweights time once again in the IPL as two-time winners Chennai Super Kings will face up to defending Champions Mumbai Indians in Dubai on Friday.

After an initial hiccup against table toppers Kings XI Punjab, Chennai have rallied on to win two games on the bounce and will be eager to trounce their arch rivals Mumbai.

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The IPL 2013 was widely considered to be a success for the sheer quality of cricket it produced to go with the huge crowds at all venues throughout the competition and the record numbers of viewers on television and online.

There were records broken in all three departments of the T20 game and some great innings, bowling spells and catches which stood out at the end of the competition.

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india celebrateIndia have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in their four match series with Australia, beating the hosts comprehensively by an innings and 135 runs in the second Test at Hyderabad with 5 sessions to spare. Australia came into Day 4 at 74-2, 192 runs behind India from their first innings, and suffered a dramatic collapse in the morning session, losing 8 wickets for just 57 runs with Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin doing the bulk of the damage.

India made the perfect start to the fourth day with MS Dhoni's decision to give the ball to Ishant Sharma first up instead of deploying spin at both ends paying rich dividends. The lanky pacer was able to extract a lot of reverse swing with the 30 over old ball. After beating Ed Cowan a couple of times, Ishant snared Shane Watson, caught down the leg side without adding to his overnight score of 9.

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The Indian national selection committee headed by former Mumbai batsman Sandeep Patil has taken yet another stern call by choosing to exclude established opener Gautam Gambhir for the first two test matches against Australia, the first of which starts in Chennai on the 22nd of February. Gambhir has been replaced by his Delhi team mate Shikhar Dhawan in the 15 man squad on the back of some strong domestic performances over the past couple of seasons, including an impressive aggregate of 833 runs this season at an average of over 55 runs per innings. Gambhir's axing was on the cards though as the elegant left hander has had a woeful last couple seasons with national side which saw him score at a below par average of 30.2 over 26 tests in that period.

The selection panel made two more noticeable changes in the squad that was picked for the final test against England by giving a maiden call up Uttar Pradesh swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar and return call to experienced off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. Parvinder Awana and Piyush Chawla missed the cut this time around to make way for the new inclusions. This selection leaves India with just 3 pace bowling options ahead of the first test with Delhi pacer Ishant Sharma leading the pack and to be supported by Kumar and Bengal seamer Ashok Dinda. The Absence of fast bowler Umesh Yadav due to injury is a big blow to the side as he seemed a threat in the only test he played against the Poms in Ahmedabad.

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zaheer_khanAfter losing back-to-back test matches at home for the first time in a decade, the All-India Selection Committee has made a few changes to their squad for the fourth and final test of their series against England. The selectors have opted to axe Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh from the 15-man squad, but have decided to stick on with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a host of other non-performers in the team that lost the Kolkata Test earlier today.

Zaheer Khan may consider himself a tad unfortunate to have been made a scapegoat, with most pundits still believing the ageing left-arm seamer to be India's best medium pacer in this format of the game. The veteran bowler has been replaced in the squad by the uncapped Parvinder Awana, with Umesh Yadav continuing to miss out due to injury. Ishant Sharma, who made his comeback into test cricket earlier this week after an 11 month absence, failed to impress either, and it will be interesting to see if he keeps his place in the playing eleven come Nagpur.

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cheteshwar_pujara1India's new no.3, Cheteshwar Pujara, appears to have taken off from where his predecessor Rahul Dravid left off, proving himself to be not just the new crisis man for Indian cricket, but a run machine as well. Pujara, who scored in excess of 240 runs unbeaten in the first test at Ahmedabad, followed up with a match saving 114 on the opening day of the second test in Mumbai. The Rajkot lad walked in to bat on just the third ball of the morning, and survived the day keeping the England spinners at bay, rescuing India from a perilous 169-6. Pujara shared in three half-century partnerships with Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin, with the last of these worth 97 with Ashwin getting 60 of those runs. Pujara and Ashwin saw India through to the close of play at 266-6 after Monty Panesar had dominated the first two sessions, taking 4 of the 6 wickets that fell.

The second test of the four match series between former world no.1 sides India and England in Mumbai started off on a happy note for the hosts as the Indian captain MS Dhoni won his second toss of the series and chose to bat on a wicket that looked like one waiting to turn straight away. Dhoni also sprung a surprise for one and all as he picked a third specialist spinner in Harbhajan Singh in place of the unfit Umesh Yadav for this game, hoping to exploit the conditions. England on the other hand had to make two changes from the previous game in Ahmedabad. Yorkshire batsman Jonny Bairstow came in for Ian Bell, who had leave for England for personal reasons and the visitors also predictably drafted a second spinner in Monty Panesar in place of the ineffective Tim Bresnan.

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