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Chennai extend lead at the top of the IPL with crushing win against Pune

An exceptional 45 from just 16 balls, littered with 3 sixes and 4 fours, from Skipper MS Dhoni helped the Chennai Super Kings recover from a slow start and post a competitive 164-3 from their 20 overs against the forlorn Pune Warriors at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune. The runs proved to be more than enough as Chennai cruised to an easy win as the Warriors were never really in the hunt, sliding to 61-6 early in the run chase, and eventually ending a substantial 37 runs shy. The win takes Chennai well clear at the top of the table with 16 points and virtually guarantees them a spot in the play-offs.

Batting first on winning the toss, Chennai suffered the rare early loss of Michael Hussey for just 5 as Kane Richardson knocked over his veteran compatriot with just his 3rd ball. Wriddhiman Saha also fell early for 13, leg before to Rahul Sharma, leaving CSK in a spot of bother at 28-2.


Rohit special downs Gilchrist-less Kings XI in high scoring thriller


Over the course of IPL 2013, there have been several versions of Mumbai Indians, who have turned up on the field. Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians, lacking the clinical approach they displayed in the previous game, let Kings XI off the hook after a resplendent batting performance . Rohit led from the front with a remarkable innings at a break-neck speed as Mumbai piled up a massive 174-3. The spirited Punjab side made a fist of the challenge keeping the chase alive till the very last ball before eventually falling short by 4 runs. Mumbai's razor-sharp fielding, in sharp contrast to Punjab's sloppiness proved the difference in a tight affair.

The last time Adam Gilchrist strode out for the toss against Kolkata, he said he was tantalizingly close to stepping aside because of his repeated failures. Believe it or not, Gilly has only tallied 94 in as many as 8 games. Tonight he sat out to pave way for Shaun Marsh with David Hussey leading the side in his conspicuous absence.

Marsh did not create any impact though, falling to Pragyan Ojha with Pollard plucking out a one-handed catch, his second of the night. At 60-3, KXIP was looking up to David Hussey to revive the chase. Hussey (still smarting from the game-changing final over) briefly threatened before he holed out in the deep. The spin twins- Bhajji (3-14) and Ojha (2-22) combined well to hike the required rate.

Refusing to yield, David Miller(56) and Praveen Kumar(24) landed some meaty blows but it ended in vain.

Kumar's penultimate ball six left Punjab needing 5 off the last delivery. Buckling under pressure, PK sliced a juicy full toss right down the throat of Sachin at point. The story would have been even closer had umpire Kulkarni not got away unscathed with a waist high no-ball the same crucial over.

There is nothing like a packed stadium in India, cheering one of its heroes horse and it peaks when the player is Sachin Tendulkar and the venue is Mumbai. Sachin gave the crowd good reason to clear their collective throats, hitting a couple of vintage drives past cover earlier in the day. Unfortunately, the master blaster flattered only to deceive, inside-edging a Praveen Kumar delivery back onto the stumps. Dinesh Karthik's knock was then cut short by Manpreet Gony's extra pace and bounce.

Settling on a probing line and length, Kings XI's four pronged pace attack, spear-headed by the wily Praveen Kumar, pushed Dwayne Smith into a tight corner. In a crucial mid passage of play though, Punjab's fielding froze, frittering away the early advantage- Vohra spilled Smith, Chawla let off a four at deep cover, Gurkeerat Singh missed a stumping to gift Kieron Pollard a life. Benefiting from the dropped catch, Dwayne Smith(33) proceeded to raise his strike rate to 103.

Indeed,the presents were overflowing for Mumbai. Pollard received another lucky respite when he was bowled off a Gony no-ball in the ante-penultimate over. Gony, in particular, was picked out for special treatment by Rohit Sharma.

Blending finesse with power, Mumbai's new captain ran amok in the death overs as the Wankhede stadium went baila again. The Trinidadian , meanwhile,was happy to play the pick-up truck for 'Rolls Royce Rohit'.

Rohit Sharma's 39-ball unbeaten 79, including 26 off a debatable last over from David Hussey propelled Mumbai to an imposing total that seemed a pipe-dream at the dawn of the innings. His innings was a montage of magnificent shots ranging from the front foot, elbow cover drive to the precise pull to the lethal loft.

The hi-flying Mumbai Indians will be in action against Hyderabad on Wednesday whist Kings XI will confront their neighbors, the mighty Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk the next day.


MI: D Smith, S Tendulkar, D Karthik(wk), R Sharma, A Rayudu, K Pollard, H Singh, D Kulkarni, M Johnson, L Malinga, P Ojha

KXIP: S Marsh, M Singh, M Vohra, D Hussey(c), D Miller, G Singh(wk), A Mahmood,  P Chawla,  M Gony, P Kumar, P Awana

Mini Scorecard:

MI 174-3 (20 overs, 8.7 rpo)

R Sharma 79*(39) P Kumar 1-24

D Smith 33(32) P Chwala 1-24

KXIP: 170 all out (20 overs, 8.5 rpo)

D Miller 56(34) H Singh 3-14

D Hussey 34(18) P Ojha 2-22

Mumbai win by 4 runs


Rajasthan win battle of the Royals to down Bangalore

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The Royal Challengers Bangalore were handed their second consecutive defeat as the Gayle-storm failed to breach Fortress Jaipur with the Rajasthan Royals winning an entertaining encounter with a ball to spare.

Sent in to bat by Rahul Dravid, the Royal Challengers Bangalore posted a competitive 171-6 in their 20 overs. Chris Gayle got his team off to a typical flier, racing to 34 from 16 balls before becoming the first of Shane Watson's three victims.


Delhi beat Pune by 15 runs as Raipur celebrates maiden IPL game

The battle to avoid the wooden spoon at Raipur's new Chhattisgarh International Stadium went the way of the Delhi Daredevils as they beat the Pune Warriors by 15 runs in an entertaining contest. Batting first after being put in, Delhi posted a competitive 164-5 on the back of an excellent unbeaten 51 from Australian import David Warner. Pune looked on course in their run chase, but a couple of poor overs at different stages of their run chase cost them a game they could have well won.

Pune Warriors Skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and decided to bowl first. Finch acknowledged that his side had not played upto their potential in this tournament as yet but was hopeful for a turnaround in the fortunes of his side. Pune made three changes to their side from the previous game against the RCB. Australian pacer Kane Richardson made his IPL debut, replacing all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, while Abhishek Nayar and Rahul Sharma came in for spinner Ali Murtaza and pacer Ishwar Pandey.


Hussey guides Chennai to hard fought win against Kolkata


Mike Hussey took center stage once again continuing his red hot form with a match winning 95 and then effecting a run out of the other star of the evening Manvinder Bisla in what threatened to be an action replay of last year's final. The Chennai seamers held their nerves very well in the tense closing moments overcoming a late assault by Bisla and Eoin Morgan to down a devastated Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai.

KKR captain Gautam Gambhir won the flip of the coin and immediately opted to bowl first considering Chennai are ruthless chasers. The unavailability of Sri Lankan players for games at Chennai forced Sachitra Senanayake out of this tie as Brendon McCullum made his first appearance of the season. The visitors also substituted spinner Iqbal Abdulla with Shami Ahmed deciding to go with Sunil Narine as the lone spinner.


Mumbai thrash hapless Bangalore by 58 runs to storm into Top 4

The table topping Royal Challengers Bangalore were routed by 58 runs by the Mumbai Indians in a one sided contest at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night. Batting first on a flat track, the Indians amassed an imposing 194-7 in their 20 overs, with Dwayne Smith top scoring with 50, and most of the big guns contributing some quick runs. For Bangalore, their big guns failed to fire as Dhawal Kulkarni ran through the top order, while Harbhajan Singh netted the big fish, Chris Gayle, to steer their side to an easy win.

Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma, standing in once again for Ricky Ponting, won the toss and elected to bat first. Mumbai made one change from their last game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, bringing in pace bowler Dhawal Kulkarni in place of spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Skipper Rohit Sharma hoped to put up a good total on board and make good use of the conditions at the Wankhede.


IPL 2013: Delhi to host first two Playoffs

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The Qualifier I and Eliminator of the ongoing Pepsi IPL 2013, will be played at the Ferozeshah Kotla Ground, Delhi, on Tuesday, 21 May 2013, and Wednesday, 22 May 2013, respectively. The Ferozeshah Kotla Ground is the home venue of the Delhi Daredevils, who topped the league stage in the 2012 edition of the IPL.

The team ranked first at the end of the league stage of the Pepsi IPL 2013, will play the team ranked second, in Qualifier I, at 8:00 pm on 21 May 2013. The winner of this game will qualify for the Pepsi IPL 2013 final.


Faulkner, Watson script easy Royals win

The Rajasthan Royals continued to dominate sides visiting the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, producing a comfortable 8 wicket win against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Batting first, the Sunrisers posted an incredible 144-9, a fantastic performance considering they were 19-5 at one stage. A battling 60 from 41 balls from West Indies skipper Darren Sammy helped rescue the innings, but the day surely belonged to James Faulkner who took a career best 5-20. Rajasthan though cruised home in their run chase with more than 2 overs to spare, courtesy an excellent unbeaten 98 from Shane Watson, who smashed 13 boundaries and 4 sixes to take his side to victory.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad arrived at Fortress Jaipur on Saturday afternoon hoping for a change of fortune after their disappointing last over defeat at the hands of the table topping Chennai Super Kings earlier in the week. Kumar Sangakkara returned to captain the side, and took back the gloves with Quinton de Kock and Cameron White both sitting out of the game. Allrounders Thisara Perera and Darren Sammy also got the nod, while Dale Steyn retained his place. The Royals made just the solitary change to their side with the aptly named Sachin Baby coming into the side for his IPL debut in place of Rahul Shukla.


Kolkata return to winning ways with easy thumping of Punjab

The Kolkata Knight Riders finally ended their 3 game losing streak and got their season back on track with a crucial 6 wicket win against the Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens on Friday night. The Kings XI posted an under par 149-6 on the board with everyone in their top order making starts, but no one going on to make a telling contribution. Jacques Kallis was outstanding with the ball, taking 2-14 from his 4 overs.

The Kings XI Punjab made a fist of it at the start, landing two crucial early blows in the run chase, but a welcome return to form for Manvinder Bisla (51), and some excellent and highly contrasting contributions from Jacques Kallis and Eoin Morgan, saw KKR over the line with nearly 2 overs to spare.


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