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AB de Villiers is IPL’s most impactful player, says Virat Kohli | Cricket News

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DUBAI: Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday called AB de Villiers the “most impactful player in IPL” after the South African blasted a 22-ball 55 to set up an incredible win against Rajasthan Royals.
Chasing 178, De Villiers smashed six sixes to help RCB win the game after all seemed lost for them following the dismissal of Kohli (43) in the 14th over.

“AB has always been someone who’s been ready to look at the situation and adapt his game accordingly. In my eyes he’s the most impactful player in the IPL,” Kohli said during the post-match presentation ceremony.

“If he goes, the opposition know they have a slim chance and there’s a good reason for that. It’s purely because of the presence of someone like him that teams feel we are never out of the game.”
“To be honest, you’re always tense in chase because you’re not sure how many balls AB is going to get. Credit to Gurkeerat as well, he stuck with AB, got that important boundary. It doesn’t matter who the bowler is, he does what he does.”
The seven-wicket victory takes RCB to 12 points — same as table-toppers Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals.
“The individuals are stepping up and we’ve been done that all through the tournament, which is why we have 12 points. Very happy right now because after this we get three days off,” Kohli said.
Talking about his team, the Indian skipper said: “Our game pattern is very clear. Young Dev (Devdutt Padikkal) has batted beautifully, Finchy (Aaron Finch) has played some impact innings. We understand the dynamics and we’re sticking to our plans. The bowling has really stepped up this season.
“(Chris) Morris has been brilliant, just that energy he brings. (Navdeep) Saini, Washy (Washington Sundar) and Isuru (Udana) as well, the bowling has come together well.”
De Villiers, who was adjudged the Man of the Match for his blistering knock, said he was nervous in the 19th over as he had to hit those big sixes to get his team home.
“I didn’t hit even one of them (sixes) off the middle. When Unadkat was bowling, I was looking at the leg side but to be honest I was nervous because I knew I had to hit it well. Luckily I got a few away,” he said.
With four fifties, including a 33-ball 73 against Kolkata Knight Riders, the former South African skipper has been in rampaging form this IPL.
“I’m very very nervous and erratic (in chase) and I get very stressed like any player. I want to perform for the team and show the owners I’m here for a good reason. And family, fans, and also for myself.
“Last game I didn’t perform my role as well as I should have, but this time I did. It’s a cat and mouse game, I always respect the bowlers. If they bowl well to me, they’ll have the upper hand.”
RR captain Steve Smith was crestfallen after yet another defeat, their sixth in nine games.
“Sure it is a hard pill to swallow. Just got AB’d there. That’s two in a row we were in the box seat to win but didn’t. Disappointing,” he said.
“I think it was a good score on a slow wicket. I thought we built the pressure pretty well and it took a pretty special innings to take RCB home.”
Smith’s decision to bowl Jaydev Unadkat in the penultimate over backfired as he was taken to the task by de Villiers, who smashed three successive sixes to swing the match in his team’s favour.
“We wanted to use Jaydev to the bigger boundary, he bowls a lot of slower stuff into the wicket. Obviously the boundary is not big enough for AB.”
Morris, who was the peak of RCB bowlers with four for 26, said watching de Villiers “still blows my mind how AB is so calm and hits it so far.”
“… I said to a few of the Rajasthan boys, I know you lost but sometimes it doesn’t matter which side you’re on, you can only go wow.”


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Ritu Phogat wins third straight MMA title | More sports News

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NEW DELHI: Indian wrestler-turned-Mixed Martial Arts fighter Ritu Phogat won her third consecutive MMA championship title in Singapore on Friday.
The 26-year-old Indian notched up a technical knockout win over Cambodia’s Nou Srey Pov in the second round.
“It feels ecstatic to have a hat-trick in my MMA career with this win,” Ritu said in a release.
“Moreover, the hardships and challenges that I faced during to the pandemic have indeed paid off. I feel euphoric to be taking India to a new height in the MMA space and I cannot be more proud.
“I am grateful to my family, friends and fans back home who have rooted for me unwaveringly and have been extremely optimistic about my performance today. Lastly, I would also want to thank my coach who has played a significant role in my journey.”


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Chris Gayle becomes first to hit 1,000 sixes in T20 cricket

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Chris Gayle on Friday became the first batsman to get to 1,000 sixes in T20 cricket history when he smashed the seventh of his eight sixes during his belligerent 99 against Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League match here.

“Oh 1,000 sixes! I do not know the record [of 1,000 sixes]. Still have to be hitting it well at the age of 41. Got to give thanks for that,” said Gayle when told about his milestone.

Gayle, 41, is way ahead of his nearest competitor, fellow West Indian and a Mumbai Indians‘ player Kieron Pollard, who has hit 690 sixes in T20 format and is 311 adrift of Gayle’s 1,001.

The left-handed batsman, who was benched in the initial part of the tournament, has got starts in all the innings since his comeback to the XI. He had a highest score of 53 this season before Friday’s knock. This was his third 50-plus score in six matches in this IPL.

Gayle hit eight sixes and six fours, scoring 72 of his 99 in boundaries. In the remaining 27 runs he ran between the wickets, he also took a very cheeky couple once.

The Jamaican was disappointed when he was bowled for 99 by Jofra Archer in the last over and threw his bat away in disappointment. However, he regained his composure soon after and went on to shake hands with Archer, who too was born in the West Indies but now plays for England.

“Getting out on 99 is unfortunate. These things will happen but it was a good ball; still feeling good. To be honest, it is all about the mental aspect of my game and that is what keeps me going. I am enjoying the cricket the same way. I would love to have the IPL trophy under my belt,” Gayle said after his innings.

“The hard work and the dedication over the years have paid off. To the guys, who I promised to get a century, I missed out today but in my mind, it is a century.”



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Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: Afridi leads Pakistan’s victory despite Taylor’s hundred | Cricket News

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RAWALPINDI (Pakistan): Shaheen Shah Afridi grabbed five wickets and Wahab Riaz took four as Pakistan thwarted a fighting Zimbabwe to win the first one-day international by 26 runs in Rawalpindi on Friday.
Afridi finished with 5-49 while Riaz had figures of 4-41 as Pakistan survived a brilliant knock of 112 by Brendan Taylor, who put Zimbabwe briefly on course for an upset as they chased a daunting 282-run target.
The experienced Taylor lifted Zimbabwe from a struggling 115-4 with a solid partnership of 119 for the fifth wicket with newcomer Wesley Madhevere, who finished with a career-best 55.
Taylor knocked 11 boundaries and three well-timed sixes in his 117-ball knock, but holed out to Afridi at mid-off in the 47th over, leaving Pakistan to wrap up the last four wickets for just 15 runs.
The win gives Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the three-match series with the remaining matches at the same venue on Sunday and Tuesday.
They also claim 10 points in the World Cup One-Day Super League, which determines qualifiers for the next World Cup in 2023.
Afridi had given Pakistan two early breakthroughs by bowling Brian Chari (two) and skipper Chamu Chibhabha (13) by the fifth over.
Taylor steadied the innings with a 71-run stand with Craig Ervine (41) for the third wicket before Ervine and Sean Williams (four) fell quickly.
Taylor completed his 11th one-day century with a sharp single on overthrow, raising his bat to the standing ovation from his team’s dressing room.
Haris Sohail scored an attractive 71 from 82 balls while Imam made 58 in Pakistan’s 281-8 after the hosts won the toss and opted to bat on a slow pitch.
Once opener Abid Ali departed for 21, Pakistan had high hopes with new captain Babar Azam, regarded as one of the world’s best batsmen in limited-overs cricket.
But his debut as ODI skipper ended early after a clumsy-looking shot off pacer Blessing Muzarabani for 19.
Imam and Sohail took Pakistan past 100 and looked set for a big partnership until they were both got out at the same end while taking a sharp single.
Imam’s knock had six hits to the boundary. Sohail, who hit two sixes and six boundaries, pulled a leg muscle and needed treatment on the ground.
Imad Wasim (34 not out) and Faheem Ashraf (23) added a quickfire 42 in their late partnership and Pakistan made 48 in the last five overs.
Zimbabwe’s spinners controlled the pace, with left-arm slow bowler Tendai Chisoro taking 2-31.
With this match, Pakistan’s Aleem Dar equalled South African umpire Rudi Koertzen’s record of officiating the most ODIs, with 209.


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