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Chennai Super Kings ride Watson ton to lift third IPL crown

Shane Watson notched up a brilliant century as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by eight wickets in the final to lift the Indian Premier League (IPL) title here at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
 
Chasing 179 for victory, seasoned Australian opener Watson smashed an unbeaten 57-ball 117, his fourth IPL hundred, as M.S. Dhoni's team bagged their third crown after returning to the fold following a two-year suspension. 
 
Chennai piled up 181/2 in 18.3 overs against Sunrisers' 178/6 in 20 overs, riding on skipper Kane Williamson's 36-ball 47 and Yusuf Pathan's 21 off 11 balls.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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IPL: Yusuf, Williamson help Hyderabad post 178/6 against Chennai in final

Yusuf Pathan's unbeaten 45 runs off 25 balls along with skipper Kane Williamson's 47 helped Sunrisers Hyderabad post a competitive 178/6 against Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Sunday.
 
In a batting-friendly track at the Wankhede Stadium here, Yusuf, who came when the scoreboard was reading 101/3, played a good knock to propel Hyderabad to a decent total in their 20 overs. 
 
The Baroda batsman's unbeaten innings contained four boundaries and a couple of hits into the stands.
 
Put in to bat, Hyderabad started their proceedings on a bad note as opener Shreevats Goswami (5) gifted his wicket in the second over with  just 13 runs on the board.
 
While trying to convert a single, Goswami fell short of the crease when a throw from long leg by Karn Sharma was easily picked by Dhoni to give Hyderabad the first jolt.
 
Opener Shikhar Dhawan was then joined by Williamson and the duo stabilised Hyderabad's innings putting on a 51-run partnership for the second wicket.
 
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja broke the partnership in the ninth over as he clean bowled Dhawan on 26 runs.
 
Shakib Al Hasan then took Hyderabad's innings forward with his skipper as the side crossed the 100-run mark in 11.5 overs. However, in a desperate attempt, Williamson came down the wicket trying to play big, but the ball drifted away and Dhoni did the rest behind the stumps.
 
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The Hyderabad skipper's knock came off 36 balls, decorated with five boundaries and two sixes.
 
Williamson's fall bought Yusuf in the middle and the right-hander made clear his intentions from the very beginning, smashing a boundary in the second ball he faced.
 
But when things seemed good in the middle, Bravo packed back Shakib (23 off 15) in the 16th over, leaving Hyderabad at 133/4.
 
Incoming batsman Deepak Hooda (3) fell cheaply in the 17th over which saw Carlos Brathwaite joining Yusuf.
 
The Baroda batsman then accumulated 34 runs for Hyderabad with Brathwaite in the remaining 18 deliveries to help their side reach a competitive total in the mega final. 
 
Brathwaite, who fell in the final delivery of Hyderabad's innings, chipped in with a valuable 21 runs off 11 balls.
 
For Chennai, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma, Dwayne Bravo and Jadeja bagged one wicket each.
 
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 178/6 (Kane Williamson 47, Yusuf Pathan 45 not out; Lungi Ngidi 1/26) vs Chennai Super Kings 
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Hyderabad post 178/6 against Chennai in final

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) posted 178/6 in 20 overs against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) final at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.
 
Skipper Kane Williamson top-scored for Hyderabad with a 36-ball 47 while Yusuf Pathan hit an unbeaten 25-ball 45 and Carlos Brathwaite smashed 21 off 11.
 
For Chennai, Lungi Ngidi, Karn Sharma, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja all got a wicket each.
 
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 178/6 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 47, Yusuf Pathan 45; Lungi Ngidi 1/26, Karn Sharma 1/25, Dwayne Bravo 1/46, R Jadeja 1/24).
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Chennai, Hyderabad to face off in high-octane IPL final

The 51-day-long T20 carnival has finally reached its climax as two-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Sunrisers Hyderabad will face off in the summit clash of the 11th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.
 
While Chennai, the two-time IPL champions, had already made it to the final by beating Hyderabad by two wickets in the Qualifier 1 of the cash-rich league here on Tuesday, Hyderabad had to go through the second qualifier.
 
The Kane Williamson-led side overcame Kolkata Knight Riders' challenge by 14 runs at the Eden Gardens on Friday to seal a place in the coveted final.
 
Both the sides have met each other thrice in the ongoing edition of the league and the Super Kings hold a 3-0 record over their southern neighbours.
 
In the much-awaited final on Sunday, which could also be seen as a southern derby, it will be clash between Hyderabad's bowling and Chennai's batting. 
 
With the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Siddarth Kaul, the orange army boasts of a superb bowling attack whereas the yellow brigade has a star-studded batting line-up comprising Shane Watson, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina and others.
 
For Chennai, each of the batsman had risen to the occassion whenever their side needed it.
 
The yellow brigade have been on a roll since making their comeback to the IPL fold after serving a two-year-ban, and have rarely lost the momentum this season with the old guards and new sensations firing in unison.
 
In their final league game at their adopted home ground in Pune last Sunday, CSK rode on Suresh Raina's gutsy half-century to romp home by five wickets. 
 
Later, in the Qualifier 1, a match where most of the Chennai batsmen faultered against Hyderabad, opener Faf du PLessies smashed a match-winning half-century to help Chennai reach their seventh IPL final on Tuesday.
 
Rayudu, the other opener in Chennai's side, has been the standout performer with 586 runs. Australian Watson has also been in top form, accumulating 438 runs from 13 matches, while Raina, skipper Dhoni and all-rounder Deepak Chahar have been the backbone of CSK's middle order.
 
On the bowling front, the former two-time champions will bank on young South African Lungi Ngidi, who has six wickets from 10 games with a decent economy rate of 5.90.
 
With Shardul Thakur, Chahar and Dwayne Bravo doing their bit on the pace bowling front, CSK will hope for veteran Harbhajan Singh leading the spin attack with left-armer Ravindra Jadeja in the middle overs. 
 
Coming to Hyderabad, the orange army has mainly banked on their bowling which has a lot of variety and some of the best names in the business.
 
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Afghan spinner Rashid has been brilliant throughout the season bagging 21 wickets from 16 games.
 
The leggie came up with a sensational figure of 3/19 against Kolkata last night apart from a quick-fire cameo of 34 from just 10 balls.
 
Rashid had also troubled Chennai in the first qualifier with figures of 2/11. 
 
On the batting front, top scorer of the tournament Williamson has led from the front. The New Zealand skipper, rated as one of the best batters of the current generation, has so far amassed 688 runs in 16 games at an average of 52.92. 
 
Williamson has also led admirably on the field.
 
Opener Shikhar Dhawan has also been good, amassing 471 runs from 15 games and Hyderabad's opening will mostly rely on him.
 
The middle-order however, needs to find their touch for one final time in the league as Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan have failed to live up to the expectations.
 
It will also be interesting to see whether Yusuf gets a chance in the playing XI in the mega final as the Baroda right hander has failed miserably in the present season, with just 215 runs from 15 games.
 
Overall, it could be another edge-of-the-seat match on a Super Sunday for fans when the two best teams of this year's league square-off for one final time.
 
Squads:
 
Chennai Super Kings- MS Dhoni(Captain/WK), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willey.
 
Sunrisers Hyderabad- Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan, Kane Williamson(Captain), Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Rashid Khan, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Mohammad Nabi, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Tanmay Agarwal, Shreevats Goswami, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Alex Hales.
 
IANS
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TN CM blames parties, anti-socials for Thoothukudi violence

 
One dead, three injured in fresh violence in Thoothukudi
 
 
Thoothukudi remained tense for the third day as the death toll in police firing climbed to 13 while Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswamy on Thursday accused political parties and anti-social elements of "deliberately instigating and misleading" innocent people leading to violence and loss of lives.
 
Selvasekar (43), who suffered serious injuries in police lathicharge on Tuesday, succumbed to injuries in hospital. More than 70 people, including police personnel who were injured in the clashes and violence, were undergoing treatment in the Government General Hospital.
 
Meanwhile, an uneasy calm prevailed in Thoothukudi after two days of riots, arson and firing and the situation continues to be tense across the district. Shops and commercial establishments were shut for the third consecutive day while government offices witnessed thin attendance.
 
Chief Minister Palaniswamy, who met reporters in Chennai, said his government would continue to take steps legally for closure of the Sterlite copper smelter plant against which the local people have been protesting and said electricity to the plant was cut on Thursday.
 
"Some political parties and anti-social elements have wantonly instigated the innocent people who have been protesting peacefully all along and took them on the wrong path, leading to unfortunate incidents," Palaniswamy said without naming any political party.
 
Replying to a question on who had given permission for the firing, he said there was nothing like permission. 
 
"It was natural that somebody would act in self-defence when attacked and the action was not pre-meditated. The police used tear gas shells, resorted to lathi charge and then only opened fire when mobs set on fire vehicles near the district collectorate and stormed the residential quarters in the plant and the district collectorate," he said.
 
Usualy the police make preventive arrests but this time there was sudden violence compared to the peaceful protest that had been going on. The protesters had met the district administration 16 times in the past and their grievances had been addressed. 
 
"We express deep condolences and a sense of sorrow over the loss of lives," he said.
 
Appealing to the people to maintain peace and calm, he said all efforts were being taken to ensure return of normalcy in Thoothukudi.
 
Asked about the charge by DMK leader M.K. Stalin that he refused to meet him on the issue, the Chief Minister accused him of enacting a drama outside his roon in the Secretariat by doing a dharna when he was not there.
 
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Replying to a question about the criticism that he did not visit Thoothukudi to meet the relatives of the victims and the injured, he said prohibitory orders had been imposed and people should respect law by not holding protests or taking out processions.
 
"Our first priority is return of normalcy," he said, taking an apparent dig at Stalin and other opposition leaders who have made a beeline to Thoothukudi.
 
Referring to the protests and the functioning of the sterlite plant, the Chief Minister said that the late Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha had ordered closure of the sterlite plant in 2013 but the company appealed against the order in the National Green Tribunal which allowed the company to operate under some conditions.
 
A case in this regard was still on in the Supreme Court and the Tamil Nadu government's lawyers have strongly put forward their arguments.
 
With prohibitory orders continuing in sensitive areas, a bandh like situation prevailed in Thhothukudi town for the third day. Most people struggled to buy essential commodities. Internet services have been suspended folloing the state government advisory to the service providers to prevent provocative messages and rumours being spread on the social media.
 
Sanddep Nanduri, the new Collector of Thhothukudi, told newsmen that his first priority was to restore normalcy.
 
Meanwhile, a day after the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court stayed the expansion of the Sterlite plant and directed the Vedanta Group to cease construction of its second unit in Thoothukudi, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) ordered the closure of the plant with immediate effect and disconnected power supply to it for non-compliance of certain conditions imposed on it.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai edge out Hyderabad in thriller to enter final

A fighting unbeaten half-century under pressure from Faf du Plessis helped Chennai Super Kings edge past Sunrisers Hyderabad by two wickets in the first qualifier here on Tuesday to enter the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
 
Needing 140 runs to win, Chennai made heavy weather of what should have been a comfortable chase before crossing the line with five balls to spare.
 
Chennai have reached the final seven times in the nine seasons they have competed in the IPL. They had missed out on the previous two seasons as they were banned following the spot fixing and betting scandal.
 
Du Plessis batted through the innings to remain not out on 67 runs, with five hits to the fence and four sixes studding his 42-ball knock. The opener kept on playing sensibly throughout even as no other batman clicked at the other end. 
 
For Hyderabad, spinner Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma scalped two wickets each. 
 
Hyderabad will now face the winner of the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals in the Qualifier 2 on May 25 in Kolkata.
 
Chasing a modest total, Chennai lost their first wicket on the fifth ball of the first over. Wicket-keeper Shreevats Goswami took a brilliant catch to dismiss opener Shane Watson (0) off pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
 
In-form Suresh Raina was playing beautifully, hitting four well-timed boundaries on his way to 22 off 13 balls. But he was bowled by pacer Kaul in the fourth over when he shuffled across and exposed his leg-stump.
 
Off the very next ball, Ambati Rayudu (0) was also clean bowled by Kaul. Rayudu's dismissal was largely due to poor shot selection as he misjudged a slow yorker only to see the ball crash into the base of middle and off-stump.
 
Unperturbed by the fall of wickets, du Plessis kept on playing sensibly. New batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni (9), then joined in the middle and the duo rotated the strike perfectly.
 
But just when the duo started timing the ball well, leg-spinner Rashid Khan delivered one that turned the wrong way to dismiss Dhoni.
 
With Chennai struggling at 39/4 after eight overs, all eyes were on the lower-middle order But it failed as Dwayne Bravo (7), Ravindra Jadeja (3) and Deepak Chahar (10) went back to the pavilion in quick succession.
 
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Du Plesis, on the other hand, started unleashing his shots and hammered a few sixes but lacked support from other batters 
 
Harbhajan Singh could only manage two runs off nine balls before being run out. With Chennai in deep trouble, Shardul Thakur gave some much needed impetus to the run rate with three boundaries off the five balls he faced.
 
Thakur, who remained unbeaten on 15 runs, played sensibly and gave the strike to du Plesis.
 
With Chennai needing six runs off the last over, du Plessis brought up the victory in style over the umpire's head off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's bowling.
 
Earlier, lower-order batsman Carlos Brathwaite's unbeaten 43-run knock and some useful contributions from skipper Kane Williamson and Yusuf Pathan helped Sunrisers Hyderabad post a modest total of 139/7 in their allotted 20 overs.
 
Put in to bat, Hyderabad started the proceeding on a poor note, losing opener Shikhar Dhawan (0) on the first ball.
 
Other batsmen Goswami (12), Manish Pandey (8) and Shakib Al Hasan (12) also failed to deliver when needed the most. Brathwaite then came in the middle and played a quick-fire knock and took his team out of troubled waters. He played 29 balls and one boundary and slammed four sixes.
 
For Chennai, Dwayne Bravo scalped two wickets.
 
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad: 139/7 in 20 overs (Carlos Brathwaite 43 not out; Dwayne Bravo 2/25) against Chennai Super Kings: 140/8 in 19.1 overs (Du Plesis 67; Rashid Khan 2/12)
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai in final; beat Hyderabad by two wickets in Qualifier 1

An under-pressure innings from Faf du Plesis (67 not out) helped Chennai Super Kings edge past Sunrisers Hyderabad by two wickets in the first qualifier to enter the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Tuesday.
 
Needing 140 runs to win, Chennai chased down the target with five balls to spare.
 
Du Plesis kept on playing sensibly throughout when no other batman clicked and went back cheaply. He played 42 balls and slammed five boundaries and four sixes.
 
Hyderabad will now face the winner of the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2 on May 25 at Kolkata.
 
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad: 139/7 in 20 overs (Carlos Brathwaite 43 not out; Dwayne Bravo 2/25) against Chennai Super Kings: 140/8 in 19.1 overs (Du Plesis 67; Rashid Khan 2/12).
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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IPL play-offs: Chennai to field vs Hyderabad

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Chennai Super Kings won the toss and elected to field against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first qualifier match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Tuesday.
 
Chennai made only one change to their squad. Shane Watson came in for Sam Billings. Hyderabad, on the other hand, are playing with the same squad.
 
Teams:
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Shreevats Goswami(w), Kane Williamson(c), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma.
 
Chennai Super Kings: Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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IPL play-offs: Chennai, Hyderabad look to seal final berth

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As the 11th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) nears its climax, all eyes will be on the top two sides -- Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) -- locking horns in the first qualifier on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium here for a place in the May 27 final.
 
Both Chennai and Hyderabad finished the league stage on 18 points, but the Kane Williamson-led side got their neck ahead to the No.1 spot with a superior net run-rate and Tuesday's winner will be guaranteed a place in the final at the same venue while the loser gets a second chance in the second qualifier in Kolkata on May 25.
 
Going in to the match, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK hold a slight edge as they have got the better of their southern rivals twice in the league stage this season.
 
The yellow brigade have been on a roll since making their comeback to the IPL fold after serving a two-year-ban, and have rarely lost the momentum this season with the old guards and new sensations firing in unison.
 
In their final league game at their adopted home ground in Pune on Sunday, CSK rode on Suresh Raina's gutsy half century to not only romp home by five wickets but also stop Kings XI Punjab from entering the play-offs.
 
On the other hand, the Sunrisers have been on a three-game losing run, having already sealed their play-off spot with a victory on May 10 against Delhi Daredevils.
 
Interestingly, it was the CSK who halted Sunrisers' six-game winning streak with a comprehensive eight-wicket drubbing on May 13 in Pune.
 
Much of the credit for the Orange Army's entry into the playoffs goes to the consistency of skipper Kane Williamson, who sits second in the leading run-getters' list with 661 runs and the bowling unit led by paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Afghan spinner Rashid Khan.
 
Besides Williamson, Shikhar Dhawan (437 runs) has lately come good with the bat but it is the middle order comprising Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan, who needs to share the responsibility of building on the platform set up by the top order.
 
Sunrisers' bowling this season has been extraordinary with Rashid and Shakib as well as the pace trio of Bhuvneshwar, Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma combining well to defend paltry totals.
 
On Tuesday, Sunrisers will once again hope that their bowling will do the trick against an in-form Chennai top order comprising the likes of Ambati Rayudu, who has been their standout performer with 586 runs and had in fact taken the game away with a scintillating hundred when the two teams last met. 
 
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Rayudu's opening partner Shane Watson has also been in top form, accumulating 438 runs from 13 matches, while Suresh Raina, skipper Dhoni and all-rounder Deepak Chahar have been the backbone of CSK's middle order.
 
In the bowling front, the two-time champions will bank on young South African Lungi Ngidi, who grabbed 4 for 10 to take the man of the match award on Sunday.
 
With Shardul Thakur, Chahar and Dwayne Bravo doing their bit on the pace bowling front, CSK will hope for veteran Harbhajan Singh leading the spin attack with left-armer Ravindra Jadeja in the middle overs.
 
The match timings for the play-offs have been advanced by one hour, which means the match will start at 7 p.m. Ahead of the clash, a women's exhibition game will take place at 2 p.m. with top Indian and foreign players taking part in the contest at the Wankhede.
 
Teams: 
 
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf Du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayadu, Deepak Chahar, K.M. Asif, Kanish Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshtiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N agadeesan, David Willy.
 
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami (WK), Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi and Chris Jordan.
 
IANS
 
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IPL 2018: Chennai outplay Punjab by five wickets

Chennai Super Kings knocked out Kings XI Punjab from the play-offs race of the Indian Premier League (IPL), outplaying them in the last league match by five wickets here on Sunday.
 
In order to qualify for the play-offs, Punjab had to win this game by 53 runs or more but the visitors failed in doing so and thus got knocked out of the play-offs.
 
With this result, Rajasthan Royals became the fourth team to progress to the next stage with 14 points. Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai are the other three teams.
 
Chennai put Punjab  in to bat first and their bowlers did a fantastic job to bundle out the visitors for 153. After that, Suresh Raina (61 not out), who played sensibly throughout the innings, and Deepak Chahar (39) along with other batters helped Chennai to complete the chase in 19.1 overs.
 
Chennai got off to a bad start, losing opener Ambati Rayudu (1) in the second over.
 
After adding 24 runs to the total with new batsman Suresh Raina (61 not out), opener Faf du Plesis (14) also departed in the fifth over. In the same over, Sam Billings (0) was also sent packing by Ankit Rajpoot.
 
After five overs, Chennai were reeling at 27/3. Harbhajan Singh was sent up the order. The move also paid little as the off-spinner scored 19 runs in 22 balls which included two boundaries and one six. But in the 11th over, Harbhajan was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin
 
New batsman Deepak Chahar (39) and Raina then joined hands and forged a crucial 56-run partnership to steady the Chennai innings.
 
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But just when things seemed good in the middle, Chahar was sent back to the pavilion by Ashwin in the 17th over when scoreboard was reading 114.
 
Unperturbed by the fall of wickets, Raina kept on playing sensibly and completed his half century.
 
New batsman and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16 not out) then joined Raina in the middle and completed the proceedings with ease.
 
Earlier, a quickfire lower order cameo by Karun Nair helped Kings XI Punjab post a modest 153.
 
Coming in to bat when Punjab were in a spot of a bother at 76/4 in the 12th over, Nair plundered 54 runs off 26 balls to breathe life into the innings. The right-hander produced an exciting display of power hitting, smashing three boundaries and five towering sixes.
 
The Chennai bowlers came out all guns blazing at their adopted home ground to bundle out the visitors for a modest total.
 
Lungi Ngidi was the wrecker-in-chief for the yellow brigade with stunning figures of 4/10 from his four overs.
 
Brief scores:
 
Kings XI Punjab: 153 all out in 19.4 overs (Karun Nair 54, Manoj Tiwary 35; Lungi Ngidi 4/10) vs Chennai Super Kings:159/5 (Suresh Raina 61 not out; Ankit Rajpoot 2/19)
 
 
IANS
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IPL: Nair's quickfire half-century lifts Punjab to 153 vs Chennai

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A quickfire lower order cameo by Karun Nair helped Kings XI Punjab post a modest 153 against Chennai Super Kings in the last league encounter of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
 
Coming into bat when Punjab were in a spot of bother at 76/4 in the 12th over, Nair plundered 54 runs off 26 balls to breathe life into the innings. The right-hander produced an exciting display of power hitting, smashing three boundaries and five towering sixes. 
 
The Chennai bowlers came out all guns blazing at their adopted home ground to bundle out the visitors for a modest total. 
 
Lungi Ngidi was the wrecker-in-chief for the yellow brigade with stunning figures of 4/10 from his four overs.
 
Put in to bat, the visitors were off to a disastrous start as Chennai pacers Ngidi and Deepak Chahar shattered Punjab's top order.
 
While Ngidi sent back Punjab openers Lokesh Rahul (7) and Chris Gayle (0), Chahar dismissed the dangerous Aaron Finch (4) which left Punjab reeling at 16/3 after the first four overs.
 
Manoj Tiwary (35 off 30) and David Miller (24 off 22) then showed some resistance, putting on a 60-run stand for the fourth wicket.
 
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However, just when the partnership was settling down, Ravindra Jadeja sent back Tiwary, who was caught behind by Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 12th over.
 
All-rounder Dwayne Bravo too, joined the party as a perfect yorker from him dismantled Miller's stump in the 13th over with Punjab's score reading 80/5.
 
Karun Nair then showed terrific fight down the order, hitting some lusty blows. However, he lacked support from the other end as Punjab again lost three wickets of Axar Patel (14), Ravichandran Ashwin (0) and Andrew Tye (0) in quick succession.
 
It was South African paceman Ngidi again who scalped the wickets of Ashwin and Tye while Shardul Thakur got the better of Patel.
 
Just when the visitors reached the 150-run mark, Bravo applied the brakes on a dangerous looking Nair's innings. Nair's knock was laced with three boundaries and five hits into the stands.
 
Thakur then performed the last rites as he dismissed tailender Ankit Rajpoot (2) to wrap up Ashwin's men for 153.
 
Brief scores: 
 
Kings XI Punjab: 153 all out in 19.4 overs (Karun Nair 54, Manoj Tiwary 35; Lungi Ngidi 4/10) vs Chennai Super Kings.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai opts to field first against Punjab

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Chennai Super Kings' skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to field against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the last league game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
 
The visitors have made couple of changes in their playing XI as Yuvraj Singh and Marcus Stoinis have been replaced by David Miller and Karun Nair.
 
On the other hand, Chennai made one change as Faf du Plessis came in for Shane Watson.
 
Teams:
 
Chennai Super Kings- Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (Captain/Wicket-keeper), Sam Billings, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi
 
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul (Wicket-keeper), Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, David Miller, Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (Captain), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Ankit Rajpoot
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai's march to top halted by Delhi's 34-run win

Chennai Super Kings' (CSK) march to the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table was halted by bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils, who romped home by 34 runs at the Ferozshah Kotla here on Friday.
 
Having already qualified for the play-offs, second-placed Chennai had a chance to rise to the top of the table but a disciplined Delhi applied the brakes to notch their fourth consolidatory win in front of their home crowd.
 
Chasing 163, the tourists were off to a decent 46-run start by Ambati Rayudu (50 from 29 balls; 4x4, 6x4)and Shane Watson (14) before leg-spinner Amit Mishra applied the brakes with the wicket of the veteran Australian.
 
Mishra could have struck off the very next ball with the wicket of new man Suresh Raina (15), had stumper Rishabh Pant latched on to a simple edge.
 
Rayudu, however continued his glorious run with the willow, meting out special treatment to pacer Avesh Khan in the final over of the powerplay which saw the right-hander belting three sixes and a four.
 
With Raina playing the perfect second fiddle, Rayudu continued to send the Delhi bowlers on a leather hunt and eventually brought up yet another half century off 28 balls.
 
But the joy was short-lived as Rayudu perished off the very next ball, when he mistimed a short pitched delivery off medium pacer Harshal Patel to the safe hands of Glenn Mawell at deep mid-wicket.
 
While the jampacked Kotla crowd, painted in yellow, celebrated Rayudu's dismissal, it was the arrival of the Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17), that they rejoiced by switching on mobile flashlights.
 
The former India skipper started in his customary style by rotating the strike with Raina, who didn't last long, perishing to Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane caught by Shankar at deep mid wicket.
 
Mishra then came back to see the back of new man Sam Billings (1), caught by Abhishek Sharma at short fine leg before Ravindra Jadeja (27 not out) joined his captain in the middle.
 
Jadeja started off by clobbering the Nepalese leggie for a massive six and kept the rising run rate under control by converting the singles to twos and threes, thanks to Delhi's poor ground fielding.
 
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But Chennai's hopes were dashed soon after Delhi's strike bowler Trent Boult was brought back and the New Zealander responded in style with the wicket of the dangerman Dhoni, caught by his opposite number Shreyas Iyer at long on.
 
With two overs remaining and the asking rate mounting, Jadeja and new man Dwayne Bravo (1) could do little as Boult once again struck in the final over with the wicket of the West Indian to restrict the visitors to 128/6.
 
Earlier, Delhi rode on late order blitzkriegs from Vijay Shankar and Harshal Patel to post a healthy 162/5 after being put in to bat.
 
Shankar (36 not out from 28 balls; 4x2, 6x2) and Patel (36 not out from 16; 4x1, 6x4) milked 26 runs off the final over from Bravo to forge a 65-run sixth wicket stand -- the highest of Delhi's innings -- and rescue the hosts from a troubled start.
 
Shankar and Patel capitalised well on the platform set by the in-form duo of skipper Shreyas Iyer (19 from 22; 4x3) and Rishabh Pant (38 from 26; 4x3, 6x2), who produced 54 runs for the second wicket after losing opener Prithi Shaw to a run-a-ball 17.
 
Delhi's innings, however, experienced a slump in the middle overs after South African pacer Lungi Ngidi struck twice to remove both Iyer and Pant in a span of four deliveries before Maxwell (5) and Abhishek (2) too perished cheaply.
 
Shankar and Patel, however ensured the hosts finished with a fighting total with their later order fireworks.
 
Brief Scores: Delhi Daredevils 162/5 (Rishabh Pant 38, Vijay Shankar 36 not out, Harshal Patel 36 not out; Lungi Ngidi 2/14) beat Chennai Super Kings 128/6 (Ambati Rayudu 50, Ravindra Jadeja 27 not out; Trent Boult 2/20, Amit Mishra 2/20) by 34 runs.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Late order fireworks propel Delhi to 162/5 vs Chennai

Delhi Daredevils rode on late order blitzkriegs from Vijay Shankar and Harshal Patel to post a healthy 162/5 against a disciplined Chennai Super Kings (CSK) attack in an Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the Ferozshah Kotla here on Friday.
 
Shankar (36 not out from 28 balls; 4x2, 6x2) and Patel (36 not out from 16; 4x1, 6x4) milked 26 runs off the final over from Dwayne Bravo to forge a 65-run sixth wicket stand -- the highest of Delhi's innings -- and rescue the hosts from a troubled start.
 
Put in to bat, Delhi were off to a sluggish start before losing in-form opener Prithvi Shaw, who made a run-a-ball 17, in the fifth over with the scoreboard showing 24 runs.
 
Shaw, who received a reprieve a couple of balls earlier when Shardul Thakur dropped a simple catch off Ravindra Jadeja, failed to cash in on it and fell to Deepak Chahar with Thakur making no mistake this time around.
 
Shaw's dismissal brought together the in-form duo of skipper Shreyas Iyer (19 from 22; 4x3) and Rishabh Pant (38 from 26; 4x3, 6x2) and the right-left combo forged a 54-run second wicket stand to stabilise Delhi's innings.
 
While Iyer played the more sedate innings, Pant looked at his aggressive best punishing veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for two sixes and a four.
 
But as things started going smoothly Delhi's way, South African Lungi Ngidi jolted the hosts by packing back both Iyer and Pant in a span of four deliveries.
 
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Back into the attack for his second over, Ngidi cleaned up Iyer with a skiddy short of length delivery before enticing Pant with a short ball, which resulted in a top edge into the safe hands of Bravo at third man.
 
Struggling at 81/3, Glenn Maxwell and Shankar were assigned to resurrect the innings but form continued to elude the Australian who found his leg stick walking with a straight delivery from left-arm spinner Jadeja.
 
Delhi immediately lost another wicket in rookie Abhishek Sharma (2), whose top edge found the safe hands of Harbhajan at mid-on.
 
With half the side back in the hut at 97, Patel joined Shankar to strike a few lusty blows to take the side past the 150-run mark.
 
Shankar started slowly before picking Bravo for some special treatment over the fence before Patel joined the party in the final over by clobbering the West Indian for three maximums.
 
Brief Scores: Delhi Daredevils 162/5 (Rishabh Pant 38, Vijay Shankar 36 not out, Harshal Patel 36 not out; Lungi Ngidi 2/14) vs Chennai Super Kings.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai put Delhi in to bat in dead rubber

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Aiming for the top spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table, Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to field first against Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozshah Kotla here on Friday.
 
Already out of contention for the play-offs, Delhi made two changes by bringing back Glenn Maxwell and Avesh Khan in place of Jason Roy and Junior Dala.
 
Chennai, on the other hand, made just one change by including pacer Lungi Ngidi in place of David Willey.
 
Teams: 
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Sam Billings, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain/WK), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi
 
Delhi Daredevils: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Harshal Patel, Amit Mishra,Avesh Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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IPL: Rayudu, Watson help Chennai hammer Hyderabad by 8 wickets

 
Chennai Super Kings rode on the  heroics of opener Ambati Rayudu (100 not out) and Shane Watson (57) to hammer Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets here on Sunday and maintain their second spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
 
Following the win at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Chennai are virtually through to the play-offs with 16 points.
 
In pursuit of Hyderabad's 179/4, it was the Chennai openers who gave their side a flying start, forging a match-winning 134-run partnership.
 
Rayudu, meanwhile, also slammed his maiden IPL ton facing 62 deliveries, smashing seven fours and as many hits into the stands. On the other hand, Watson's knock off 35 balls contained five boundaries and three sixes.
 
Chennai started the proceedings straight away as the openers gathered 28 runs in the first three overs.
 
The duo fully utilised the powerplay overs as Chennai put 53 runs on board in the initial six overs. The hosts went on to hammer the visiting bowlers as the openers lifted Chennai to 93 runs at the end of 10 overs. Meanwhile, the Australian all-rounder also got his fifty.
 
Hyderabad got the much-needed breakthrough in the 14th over when Watson fell short of the crease as skipper Kane Williamson's throw from extra-cover ended the all-rounder's innings.
 
Incoming batsman Suresh Raina fell cheaply, contributing just a couple of runs, with Chennai's scorecard reading 137/2 in 14.1 overs.
 
Rayudu was then joined by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (20 not out off 14 balls) and the pair played sensibly to help their side recover from the consecutive blows.
 
Denying any more wickets to the visitors, the duo added the remaining 43 runs for the third wicket in the next five overs to inch Chennai closer towards the play-offs.
 
For Hyderabad, Sandeep Sharma bagged a wicket conceding 36 runs while the others remained wicketless.
 
Earlier, a 123-run partnership between opener Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Williamson propelled Hyderabad to a competitive total.
 
After receiving an eary jolt, the in-form visiting batsmen feasted on the Chennai bowlers, smashing most of them to various parts of the ground.
 
Put in to bat, the visitors lost Alex Hales (2) cheaply as the opener chipped an away swinging length ball from Deepak Chahar to Raina at cover-point in the fourth over.
 
His dismissal saw Williamson joining Dhawan in the middle as the duo slowly and steadily started building Hyderabad's innings, taking their side past the 50-run mark in 8.3 overs.
 
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After managing to put just 62 runs on board in the first ten overs, the Hyderabad batsman switched gears to accumulate 38 runs off the next three overs to touch the three-figure mark.
 
Meanwhile, Dhawan also bought his fifty off 38 deliveries.
 
The duo then went on to add another 41 runs off the next three overs to inch towards a fighting total. With Chennai struggling to break the partnership, it was Dwayne Bravo who came with the much-needed breakthrough in the 16th over.
 
Hyderabad lost their well-settled batsmen in consecutive deliveries as Bravo pegged back a good-looking Dhawan through his slower one. Straightway in the first ball of the 17th over, Shardul Thakur sent back the visiting skipper, which left Hyderabad at 141/3.
 
Manish Pandey and Deepak Hooda then added 20 runs for the fourth wicket before Thakur struck to send back Pandey (5) in the 19th over.
 
Hooda chipped in with a 11-ball unbeaten 21 while Shakib Al Hasan remained not out on 8 to take the visitors to a fighting total.
 
For Chennai, Thakur bagged a couple of wickets conceding 32 runs while Bravo and Chahar settled for one wicket each.
 
Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 180/2 (Ambati Rayudu 100 not out, Shane Watson 57; Sandeep Sharma 1/36) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (Shikhar Dhawan 79, Kane Williamson 51; Shardul Thakur 2/32) by eight wickets.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai outclass Hyderabad by eight wickets

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Chennai Super Kings are virtually through to the play-offs as they hammered Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
 
Both Hyderabad and Chennai continue to be at the first and second spot, respectively, in the points table.
 
Chasing a competitive total of 180 runs, it was the 134-run opening stand between Ambati Rayudu (100 not out) and Shane Watson (57 off 35 balls), which guided the hosts home with ease with an over to spare.
 
It was also Rayudu's maiden IPL hundred.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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IPL: Buttler leads Rajasthan to exciting win over CSK

Rajasthan Royals rode a heroic batting effort by Jos Buttler to edge out Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by four wickets in a nail-biting Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Friday.
 
Buttler batted through the innings to help Rajasthan overhaul a stiff 177-run target with just one ball to go.
 
Having opened the Rajasthan innings along with England star Ben Stokes, Buttler continued to defy the CSK bowlers even as wickets fell at the other end. He remained unbeaten on 95 runs off just 60 balls, hitting 11 boundaries and a couple of sixes along the way.
 
Despite the defeat, CSK continue to hold on to the second spot with 14 points from 11 matches. They trail league leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad by four points. Rajasthan are eighth in the 10-team table with 10 points from 11 matches.
 
In an edge-of-the-seat affair that went right down to the wire, it was Buttler who gave the Rajasthan innings a powerful start by hitting David Willey for consecutive boundaries off the opening three balls. He hit Harbhajan Singh for two boundaries and a six in the next over.
 
Ben Stokes was in good touch and seemed set to end his run of lean form when he hit Harbhajan Singh for a six over mid-wicket in the fourth over.
 
But the veteran off-spinner had his revenge in the very next ball when the Englishman went for another big hit but the incoming delivery managed to find the gap between bat and pad to disturb the stumps.
 
Ravindra Jadeja then dismissed Rajasthan captain Ajinkya Rahane in the next over to put Chennai in the driver's seat.
 
Buttler and Sanju Samson then added 45 runs between them over the next seven overs before the latter was run out following a horrible mix-up.
 
Prashant Chopra then handed an easy catch to Dwayne Bravo at short mid-wicket off a rather ordinary delivery from Shardul Thakur as Chennai gradually started to gain the upper hand.
 
Stuart Binny also failed to last long as Chennai seemed destined for another win.
 
Krishnappa Gowtham gave the hosts hope with a power packed innings that produced 13 runs off just four balls. But a careless shot saw him hand an easy top edge to Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps as the hosts' chances seemed to recede fast. 
 
All that changed in the nail biting last over. Fittingly, it was Buttler who hit the winning runs.
 
With 10 runs needed off the last four deliveries, the visitors missed a great chance when Buttler tried to hit Dwayne Bravo for a six but the ball skied up off the toe end of the bat.
 
But there was no one to in position to take the catch as Buttler ran for two runs. The England star punished the visitors for that dropped chance with a six into the stands beyond the mid-wicket boundary.
 
An overthrow in the next ball allowed him to complete the victory as the Rajasthan dugout erupted in celebration. 
 
Earlier, a decent batting effort helped CSK post a fighting total of 176/4.
 
It was a fine knock by Suresh Raina (52 off 35 balls), followed by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's unbeaten 33 and opener Shane Watson's 39 runs which took the yellow brigade to a good total against the hosts.
 
Opting to bat first, the visitors were off to a quick start as openers Ambati Rayudu and Watson accumulated 19 runs from the first two overs.
 
However, the decent start was short-lived as Jofra Archer drew the first blood for the hosts, when a short-ball from him took an inside edge to shattered Rayudu's (12 off 9 balls) stumps in the third over.
 
The opener's fall saw Raina joining Watson in the middle and the duo helped Chennai recover from the early blow taking their side past the 50-run mark in 5.1 overs.
 
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Both batsmen further played sensibly and shared an 81-run partnership to help the yellow brigade cross 100-run mark in 11.1 overs.
 
With the Australian all-rounder inching towards his half-centrury, Archer struck again in the 12th over to pack back a good looking Watson on 39 runs and Chennai's scorecard reading 105/2.
 
On the other hand, Raina, who was then accompanied by skipper Dhoni, slammed his half century facing 32 balls however, the southpaw threw his wicket when he failed to read a googly by Ish Sodhi, giving an easy catch to Stuart Binny at short-fine leg.
 
With Chennai at 119/3 in 13 overs, Dhoni and Sam Billings (27 off 22) forged a 55-run partnership off 39 balls to put back things in control.
 
Billings departed in the final over while trying to take a single as wicket-keeper Jos Buttler's throw from behind demolised the Englishman's stump.
 
Dhoni remained unbeaten on 33 runs facing 23 balls, hitting a boundary and a six to help his side reach a fighting total of 176 runs.
 
For Rajasthan, Archer bagged couple of wickets but leaked 42 runs while Sodhi scalped one conceding 29 runs.
 
Brief scores: 
 
Chennai Super Kings: 176/4 in 20 overs (Suresh Raina 52, Shane Watson 39; Jofra Archer 2/42) vs Rajasthan Royals: 177/6 in 19.5 overs (Jos Buttler 95 not out, Stuart Binny 22).
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Raina, Watson help Chennai hand 177-run target to Rajasthan

 
A decent batting effort helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) post a fighting total of 176/4 against Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Friday.
 
It was a fine knock by Suresh Raina (52 off 35 balls), followed by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's unbeaten 33 and opener Shane Watson's 39 runs which took the yellow brigade to a good total against the hosts.
 
Opting to bat first, the visitors were off to a quick start as openers Ambati Rayudu and Watson accumulated 19 runs from the first two overs.
 
However, the decent start was short-lived as Jofra Archer drew first blood for the hosts, when a short ball from him took an inside edge to shattere Rayudu's (12 off 9 balls) stumps in the third over.
 
The opener's fall saw Raina joining Watson in the middle and the duo helped Chennai recover from the early blow, taking their side past the 50-run mark in 5.1 overs.
 
Both batsmen further played sensibly and shared an 81-run partnership to help the yellow brigade cross 100-run mark in 11.1 overs.
 
With the Australian all-rounder inching towards his half-centrury, Archer struck again in the 12th over to pack back a good looking Watson on 39 runs and Chennai's scorecard reading 105/2.
 
On the other hand, Raina, who was then accompanied by skipper Dhoni, slammed his half century facing 32 balls. However, the southpaw threw his wicket when he failed to read a googly by Ish Sodhi, giving an easy catch to Stuart Binny at short-fine leg.
 
With Chennai at 119/3 in 13 overs, Dhoni and Sam Billings (27 off 22) forged a 55-run partnership off 39 balls to put back things in control.
 
Billings departed in the final over while trying to take a single as wicket-keeper Jos Buttler's throw from behind demolised the Englishman's stump.
 
Dhoni remained unbeaten on 33 runs facing 23 balls, hitting a boundary and a six to help his side reach a fighting total of 176 runs.
 
For Rajasthan, Archer bagged a couple of wickets but leaked 42 runs while Sodhi scalped one conceding 29 runs.
 
Brief scores: 
 
Chennai Super Kings: 176/4 (Suresh Raina 52, Shane Watson 39; Jofra Archer 2/42) vs Rajasthan Royals.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai Super Kings opt to bat first against Rajasthan Royals

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Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat first against Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Friday.
 
Both teams have made two changes in their playing XI with Sam Billings and Karn Sharma replacing Dhruv Shorey and Lungi Ngidi for the visitors.
 
Rajasthan, meanwhile, have included Ankit Sharma and Prashant Chopra, who makes his debut, in place of Mahipal Lomror and Anureet Singh.
 
The teams:
 
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Sam Billings, MS Dhoni (Captain/Wicketkeeper), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, David Willey, Harbhajan Singh, Shardul Thakur
 
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Jos Buttler (Wicketkeeper), Prashant Chopra, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Ankit Sharma, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Rajasthan to face Chennai in do-or-die game

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Rajasthan Royals (RR) will aim to keep themselves alive in the Indian Premier League (IPL) when they take on a confident Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Friday.
 
After a hat-trick of defeats, Rajasthan kept themselves afloat in the cash-rich league when they defeated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by 15 runs in their last game.
 
The Ajinkya Rahane-led side, placed at the sixth spot in the points table with just eight points in their kitty, will need to come out with their best in a do-or-die game against the yellow brigade.
 
Skipper Rahane will once again expect his team to get their act together and aim for consistency as they did against Punjab on Sunday.
 
Rahane and Samson have been average while the inconsistent run of Ben Stokes has affected their performance this season.
 
Stokes, the costliest buy in IPL auction 2018, has miserably failed to perform both with the bat and ball.
 
Jos Buttler played a 58-ball 82 run knock to lift Rajasthan to 158 for eight against Punjab, a target which their bowlers defended. The English batsman has accumulated 320 runs from ten games averaging 35.55.
 
Among the bowlers, young seamer Jofra Archer has done well to claim nine wickets from four matches while this IPL's costliest Indian buy Jaydev Unadkat has also been amongst the wickets.
 
Spinner K. Gowtham, who has bagged eight wickets from ten matches, came out with an impressive performance in the last outing and will need to repeat the show as the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side has struggled against spinners this season.
 
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On the other hand, another win for Chennai will cement their place in the play-offs.
 
The southern outfit is in red-hot form this season after seven wins from 10 games and will look to consolidate their position in the top two. 
 
Chennai batters are in top form however, death-over bowling still remains a concern. 
 
Most of the batsmen -- Ambati Rayudu, Australian Shane Watson, West Indian Dwayne Bravo, skipper Dhoni and Suresh Raina -- have contributed whenever the team needed. Rayudu has batted well both as an opener and at number four, amassing 423 runs from 10 games.
 
With 360 runs from 10 innings, Dhoni is placed seventh on the run-scorers list.
 
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who struggled against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), emerged with a match-winning figure of 3/18 -- in a major relief for the team management. 
 
The pace attack will once again feature Lungi Ngidi, David Willey and Shardul Thakur.
 
Depending on their terrific form, Chennai will once again be the favourites in Friday's clash, though a desperate Rajasthan will look to come out all guns blazing.
 
Squads:
 
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain/Wicket-keeper), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willey
 
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Jos Buttler, Rahul Tripathi, D'Arcy Short, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, Heinrich Klaasen, Ish Sodhi
 
IANS
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Body of Chennai tourist flown home, widespread condemnation continues

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The body of a 22-year old tourist from Chennai killed by stone pelters here was flown home on Tuesday as Kashmiris cutting across the political spectrum continued to condemn the cowardly act.
 
The grieving parents and sister of the slain R. Thirumani, whose vehicle was among many attacked on the Srinagar-Gulmarg road on Monday, accompanied the body on an Indigo flight, an official of the tourism department told IANS.
 
Thirumani was hit on the forehead and nose when the stone pelters targeted several vehicles with rocks during protests called against the Sunday killings of five militants and six civilians in Shopian district.
 
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti reiterated her condemnation of the tourist's killing.
 
"I have no words strong enough to condemn this tragic incident or even condole with the family," she said in a statement.
 
She described the incident as a blot on the cultural value system of Kashmir and an attempt to bulldoze its economy.
 
The Chief Minister, who went to meet the tourist's family at the hospital immediately after the killing, had said on Monday: "My head hangs in shame."
 
Her predecessor and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said: "We have killed a tourist by throwing stones at the vehicle he was travelling in. Let's try and wrap our heads around the fact that we stoned a tourist, a guest, to death while we glorify these stone pelters and their methods."
 
Senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said: "Deeply saddened by the news of the death of a tourist due to stone pelting. I condemn such hooliganism and rowdiness.
 
"It is totally against our ethos of treating tourists as respected guests and brings a bad name to the people's movement."
 
The common man in the valley is no less shocked. Those who earn from tourism are particularly shocked.
 
"What have we proved by doing this? We claim to be the most hospitable society and here we have a guest killed in stone pelting," said Zahoor Ahmad, 33, a taxi operator.
 
"What crime had the tourist committed? His only crime was that he trusted his life with us," Ahmad added.
 
"What message are we sending out? Those who targeted the tourists cannot be fighting for the rights of Kashmiris. The incident has deeply shocked us all," said Nazir Ahmad, a hotel owner in north Kashmir's Sonamarg tourist resort.
 
"How can anyone claim to be fighting for human rights by violating the rights of others? The guilty need to be exposed," said Bashir Ahmad, a university employee here.
 
Some locals who too condemned the attack added that all innocent killings, including those of Kashmiris, also needed to be denounced.
 
"Nobody will support an attack on an innocent tourist. At the same time, there must be unequivocal condemnation of killings of innocent Kashmiris as well", said Mehrajuddin, a fruit seller in Srinagar.
 
Stone pelting has become a part of street protests in the Kashmir Valley, particularly in Srinagar, the urban hub of a separatist movement that has claimed thousands of lives since 1989.
 
As security personnel advance to disperse mobs, bands of young men attack them with stones and then disappear into narrow lanes.
 
Last week, a school bus came under attack in Shopian, badly injuring a young boy.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai Super Kings overwhelm Royal Challengers Bangalore to go to top

 
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) made heavy weather of a small total before captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni did his famous finishing act to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by six wickets and virtually seal their place in the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs here on Saturday, needing just one more win in five matches.
 
RCB, on the other hand, are virtually out of the race for the play-offs. They are currently on six points and have to win all their five remaining matches, which is a big ask for the off-colour unit.
 
Chennai are sitting pretty on top of the table with 14 points from 10 matches. They have won seven of those matches while losing three.
 
The Chennai team, which has a reputed batting line-up, were expected to accomplish the job quite easily. But the team put themselves under pressure in the slog overs before skipper Dhoni smashed three sixes off RCB's star spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to take his side across the line in the 18th over. 
 
Having elected to field first on winning the toss, CSK restricted the visitors to 127/9 in their 20 overs.
 
CSK were boosted by an excellent display by the hitherto off-colour Ravindra Jadeja who roared back to form with figures of 3/18.
 
Ambati Rayudu laid the foundation of a successful chase with 32 runs off 25 balls after the other opener Shane Watson was bowled by Umesh Yadav in the third over.
 
Rayudu and Suresh Raina tried to bring the chase back on track with a 44-run stand before Yadav struck again, removing Raina in the ninth over.
 
Rayudu fell a couple of overs later when he attempted an expansive shot off Murugan Ashwin, only to hand an easy top edge to Mohammed Siraj at short third man. Colin de Grandhomme then removed Dhruv Shorey, who made his IPL debut, in the next over to put the hosts under pressure.
 
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However, Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo batted slowly but sensibly to ensure victory for the hosts without any further loss of wickets.
 
Earlier, disciplined bowling by CSK and a few reckless shots by the RCB batsmen saw the visitors being restricted to a low total.
 
The highlight of the RCB batting effort was a half-century from opener Parthiv Patel, who was their highest scorer with 53 runs off 41 balls.
 
The only other RCB batsman to reach double figures was tailender Tim Southee who remained unbeaten on 36 off 26 balls.
 
Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi struck the first blow for CSK early on when he dismissed RCB opener Brendan McCullum in the second over. 
 
McCullum had gone for a big shot but was fooled by the lack of pace as the ball skied up after finding the toe end of the bat for an easy catch to Shardul Thakur at mid-on.
 
RCB skipper Virat Kohli made a bold move by promoting himself up the order coming out to bat at the one-down slot. 
 
But his move did not pay off as Jadeja struck a big blow with his first ball of the match when he bowled the RCB skipper with a delivery that turned in sharply after pitching.
 
CSK struck another big blow in the very next over when the dangerous AB De Villiers was stumped off Harbhajan Singh's bowling. Jadeja got his second wicket when Mandeep Singh miscued a slog sweep, only to find David Willey at deep backward square leg.
 
Patel however, continued to battle on at the other end bringing up his half-century with a single off Harbhajan in the 12th over.
 
However, he too fell victim to the resurgent Jadeja when a mistimed flick handed an easy return catch to the CSK all-rounder.
 
RCB continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as CSK restricted them to a low total.
 
Brief scores:
 
CSK: 128/4 in 18 overs (Ambati Rayudu 32, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 31 not out) vs RCB: 127/9 in 20 overs (Parthiv Patel 53; Tim Southee 36 not out; Ravindra Jadeja 3/18).
 
IANS
 
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Kovind calls for more undergraduate seats to address gaps in medical education

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Stressing the urgent need for filling the gap in the number of healthcare professionals in India, President Ram Nath Kovind has called for reforms in medical education so as to create room for more colleges and more medical graduates.
 
Delivering his address after inaugurating the centenary celebrations of the Christian Medical College (CMC) here yesterday, Mr Kovind said that, in comparison to 1.47 million undergraduate engineering seats, the number of undergraduate medical seats was only 67,352.
 
“About 20% of those seats were added in the past four years. As a country and a system, we need to address this gap quickly,” he added.
 
“Public health is a global public good and a basic human right. Despite the strides we have taken as a country, there remain regional, rural-urban and gender and community imbalances in terms of health provision. Without adequately addressing these, we cannot rest.
 
“As societies evolve, economies develop and population patterns change, countries go through epidemiological transitions. India too is experiencing such a transition. It is marked by three challenges in disease control. And we have to manage all three simultaneously,” the President said.
 
“First, India has to reduce maternal and infant mortality as well as communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, vector-borne diseases such as malaria, water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoeal diseases, and vaccine-preventable like measles and tetanus.
 
“Second, India has to find an answer to the rise in non-communicable or lifestyle diseases – like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and many cancers. And finally, we need to develop systems to detect and cope with new and re-emerging infectious diseases like HIV, avian flu and H1N1 influenza.
 
“In a globalised world, with people travelling in and out of our country in larger and larger numbers, a few small cases can very quickly scale up into a large outbreak,” he added.
 
The President said this three-pronged challenge calls for interventions across the continuum of care. It calls for prevention of disease, promotion of good health practices and treatment and cure in case of an illness.
 
The impact of a health problem is cross-cutting – it affects a variety of sectors. The meeting of this challenge should also follow a multi-stakeholder approach. The Government and civil society, private and public health care providers, charitable and economic institutions all have a role and a stake, he added.
 
Referring to the centenary celebrations, he said completing 100 years was an occasion to both look back and take fresh guard.
 
“In this, CMC must take inspiration from the values and the idealism of its founder. In the early 20th century, shortly after graduating from Cornell University in the United States, Ida Sophia Scudder returned to India. This was the country where several generations of her family had lived and served. This was the country where medicine became her mission.
 
“India was under colonial rule then and most people lived in tough conditions. Health indices were very poor. Average life expectancy was just about 24 years. One person died every minute of tuberculosis,” he said.
 
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“One in four babies died in the first year. Cholera, smallpox and polio – several epidemics and diseases were rampant. Independence was still a dream. It was in such an India that Ida Sophia Scudder devoted her life to healthcare. In 1918, she set up a medical school that was initially open only to women. From 1947, both girls and boys began to study here.
 
Mr Kovind said, “India has come a long way since then. Revolutions in our economy, in agriculture and in technology have changed how we act, think and live. Inevitably, our health outcomes have also improved.
 
“Average life expectancy is now above 68 years. Diseases such as polio and smallpox, which once claimed so many lives, have been defeated. Our immunisation programme is gaining strength. The government has launched Mission Indradhanush primarily to target hard-to-access areas and ensure all children benefit from immunisation,” he added.
 
Primary and secondary healthcare facilities have undergone a change for the better. In this context, it must be said the state of Tamil Nadu has exceptional health indicators and remains a model for our country. Institutions such as CMC Vellore have contributed to this deserved reputation, he said.
 
“CMC Vellore has a justifiable reputation for excellence. India’s first reconstructive surgery on leprosy patients was carried out here, and so was the first successful open heart surgery and the first kidney transplant. These are only some of your many achievements,” he added.
 
“A range of research takes place at CMC. Recent research on the rotavirus vaccine, hepatitis, malnutrition, bio-engineering and stem cells underlines your commitment to research that is relevant to India’s health needs.
 
“I have been told that the medical education programme here combines professional expertise with social relevance and ethical practice. I understand clinical training in your hospital is complemented by placements in villages and underserved areas. This is commendable. Please keep it up. Doctors need a sharp mind – but much more than that, they need a warm heart. And CMC Vellore must continue to train doctors and nurses with warm hearts,” the President said.
 
NNN
 
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IPL: Gill, Karthik guide KKR to six-wicket win over CSK; move to third spot

 
Top-order batsman Shubman Gill cracked an unbeaten 36-ball 57 while skipper Dinesh Karthik bludgeoned an 18-ball 45 not out to guide Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to a six-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
 
Chasing 178 for victory, Gill, an U-19 World Cup winner, joined hands with Karthik for an unbroken 83-run fifth wicket partnership off 36 deliveries that took the game away from M.S. Dhoni's team despite their making early inroads. This was Gill's maiden IPL fifty.
 
Put in to bat first, CSK rode Dhoni's unbeaten 25-ball 43 to post 177/5 in 20 overs. In reply, KKR finished on 180/4 with 14 balls to spare to register their second win on the bounce and fifth overall in the tournament so far.
 
KKR moved to third spot having 10 points from 9 games while Sunrisers Hyderabad pipped CSK to the top of the table.
 
Pushed up the order, Gill's innings was laced with six fours and two sixes as Karthik ably supported him hitting seven fours and a six.
 
KKR lost Chris Lynn (12) early with young South African seamer pacer Lungi Ngidi (1/36) picking up his wicket in the first over.
 
Sunil Narine (32; 20b 4x4 2x6) made the most of two reprieves in consecutive deliveries in the second over, when Ravindra Jadeja dropped him at wide mid on off K.M. Asif when he was on 6.
 
Robin Uthappa (6) did not last long, top-edging a mistimed pull to Dwayne Bravo at midwicket off Asif. Narine, who set the platform for KKR's chase, holed out to Bravo in the deep off Jadeja.
 
Despite the early blows, KKR kept pace with the target, racing to 90/3 at the halfway stage, the same as CSK albeit losing two more wickets.
 
Rinku Singh (16) failed too before Gill and Karthik took the game by the scruff of the neck, taking Asif for 21 runs in the 15th over which proved to be the game-changer.
 
Earlier, Dhoni continued his good form with the bat and made the most of Gill dropping him on 29.
 
The 36-year old hit four sixes and one four, stitching together a 54-run stand for the fifth wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (12).
 
Openers Faf du Plessis (27; 15b 4x4 1x6), Shane Watson (36; 25b 4x4 2x6) and Raina (31; 26b 4x4 0x6) also contributed with the bat for the visitors but Shivam Mavi (0/21) and Piyush Chawla (2/35) bowled well for the hosts besides Narine.
 
Narine was the pick of the bowlers for KKR, returning figures of 2/20 in four overs.
 
The atmosphere was electric inside the stadium as well as outside, with much of the fanfare around the CSK side and their iconic skipper Dhoni.
 
A sea of yellow engulfed parts of the Eden as every boundary was cheered vociferously, giving a feeling of it being an away match for KKR.
 
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 180/4 in 17.4 overs (Shubman Gill 57 not out, Dinesh Karthik 45 not out) beat Chennai Super Kings 177/5 (Dhoni 43; Sunil Narine 2/20, Piyush Chawla 2/35) by six wickets.
 
IANS
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