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Opposition slams Modi government at Mamata rally, calls for BJP ouster

Leaders of more than 20 opposition parties attended a massive rally in Kolkata organised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and joined her in giving a clarion call for the ouster of the BJP government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre in the coming elections.

 
TMC rally: Opposition unites in a show of strength
Leaders of more than 20 opposition parties attended a massive rally in Kolkata organised by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chairperson Mamata Banerjee and joined her in giving a clarion call for the ouster of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre in the coming elections.
 
All the leaders who were present at the "United India Rally", which attracted thousands of people, spoke of the problems being faced by the poor and vulnerable sections across the country because of the present regime's policies and measures and urged the people to vote it out in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Ms. Banerjee also said the question about the Prime Ministerial candidate could be decided later, stressing the immediate task was for all of them to come together and oust the BJP from power.
 
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) did not attend the rally but sent their representatives. Mr. Gandhi also sent a message in which he extended his support to "Mamata Di" on the show of unity and hoped that they send a powerful message of a united India together.
 
"Across India, there are powerful forces afoot. Forces that are fanned by the anger and disappointment of hundreds of millions of Indians who have seen through the false promises and lies peddled by the Modi government," he said in the message.
 
"These forces are moved by the hope of a new tomorrow; a tomorrow filled with the idea of an India in which  the voice of every man, woman and child will be heard and respected no matter what their religion, economic status or region.
 
"The entire opposition is united in our belief that true nationalism and development can only be defended on the tested pillars of democracy, social justice and secularism, ideas that the BJP and Mr. Modi are intent on destroying.
 
"We commend the great people of Bengal who have historically been at the forefront of defending our ideas," he said.
 
Those present at the rally included former Prime Minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief H D Deve Gowda, Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Singhvi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD-S leader H D Kumaraswamy, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmy Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav,  former Union Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers and National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Gegong Apang.
 
Others present included Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) chief Sharad Yadav, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M K Stalin,  Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, senior BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra, former BJP Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Ram Jethmalani, dissident BJP MP and actor Shatrughna Sinha, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren.
 
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"A new dawn is coming. We have taken the pledge to work together," Ms. Banerjee told the huge crowd.
 
"Some people are trying to destroy the country. As Arvind Kejriwal said, what Pakistan could not do in 70 years, the Government at Centre managed to do in just five years. They have managed to drive a wedge between communities. They have destroyed all the institutions. They have started politics of hate. They have destroyed the country’s economy," she said.
 
"Jan Dhan, NPA, Rafale, insurance are big scams. There are other big scams as well. Those who are dishonest are preaching about integrity. They are talking about honesty? How much money did they have five years ago and how did their wealth increase? I don’t want to make personal comments but they initiated it. I believe in politics of courtesy but they do not care about it. They crossed the Lakxman Rekha. They tried to implicate Sonia ji, Lalu ji, Akhilesh, Mayawati ji and even me. Why will they expect to be spared?" she asked.
 
"People are asking who will be the leader. There is no dearth of leaders here. Their party is leaderless, so there is just one Prime Minister. In our gathbandhan, we all are leaders, we all are workers, we all are the subjects and we all are the kings. This is democracy. We will later finalise who will be the Prime Minister. The time has not yet come," she said.
 
"Enough of Achhe Din, it is time to bid goodbye to BJP. It is time for change at Centre. For the sake of youths, farmers, labourers, and people of the country, we have to defeat the BJP," shhe said.
 
"We are against divisive politics. We are against hate. We do not want bloodlust. We are against discrimination. We want constructive politics, not destructive agenda.
 
"Hindu stands for sacrifice, Muslims represent integrity. Christians stand for love and Sikhs represent validaan. This is our country. A person who can work for all, without discrimination, will be the leader of the nation," she said.
 
Addressing the rally, Congress leader Kharge appealed to all parties to unite to save the Constitution and democracy. He said the BJP had promised two crore jobs every year, but has only helped its corporate friends.
 
"A rainbow of 22 parties is replacing dark clouds hovering over the country," Mr. Abhishek Singhvi said.
 
Mr. Chandrababu Naidu said Mr. Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had betrayed the nation. He said the public mandate that brought them to power also had the strength to overthrow them.
 
"If BJP tries to victimize our leaders and harass the public, it will pay a heavy price. We will fight fearlessly to save democracy," he said.
 
"All the leaders forming the Mahagathbandhan have one ambition, ‘Save India, Save Democracy'. Since coming to power, the BJP govt has used every strategy to divide the people. We have united India and a new Prime Minister will rise out of this union," he said.
 
Mr. Kumaraswamy said the government at the Centre was headed by "undemocratic persons". He said demonetisation had hit the poor in the country hard, especially in the rural areas. He said it was sad that the Union Government had turned a deaf ear to the needs and woes of the people.
 
Mr. Stalin said the 2019 Lok Sabha elections would be the second war of independence. He said Mr. Modi was sure that he would not get a second term as Prime Minister and that is way he was fiercely attacking the Opposition at every opportunity.
 
"He is afraid of our unity. We must come together to protect India," he said.
 
Dr. Farooq Abdullah said there was a need to save India from the BJP, which  was dividing people on religious lines. He said the parties present must fight the elections together, pointing out that the question of who should become the Prime Minister could be decided later.
 
Mr. Tejashwi Yadav said the opposition parties were united in their diversity and would not be scared by the government's intimidation tactics.
 
Mr. Arun Shourie said no Government had said so many lies or undermined institutions as the Modi regime had done. "We all should have one aim, of removing BJP from the Centre," he said. He said the Opposition must ensure a single candidate against the BJP in all constitutuencies and urged them to hold rallies in every corner of the country.
 
Mr. Yashwant Sinha said it was not about removing one man from power but about coming together to defeat an ideology.
 
Shatrughan Sinha said people kept asking him why he spoke against the BJP when he was still in the party. "The mood of the nation is for 'parivartan' (change). People want a new leader," he said.
 
"If speaking truth is rebellion then you should consider me a rebel. Along with truth, I also don't compromise with principles," he said.
 
Mr. Jayant Chaudhary said Ms. Banerjee had united the Opposition and said it was imperative to get rid of Mr. Modi from the Centre.
 
Hardik Patel, who was invited to be the first speaker, said, "Subhas Chandra Bose had given a slogan to fight against ‘goro’ (Britishers), we are fighting against ‘choro’ (thieves),” he said.
 
Mr. Jignesh Mevani said the country was facing an unprecedented crisis with the exploitation of the poor, minorities and Dalits under the present regime.
 
Mr. Pu Lalduhoma of Zoram Nationalist Party of Mizoram said minorities felt unsafe under the BJP-led NDA government.
 
Mr. Hemant Soren said the BJP must be uprooted from not just the Centre but the States, too.
 
Thousands of people turned up for the rally. The TMC put up flexes and posters with photographs of the visiting leaders on roads leading to the venue of the rally from the airport.
 
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Calcutta HC gives conditional nod to BJP's rath yatra in Bengal

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday gave conditional permission to the Bharatiya Janata Party's Rath Yatra rallies, saying the organisers will be liable for any untoward incident or damage to public property.

Calcutta High Court (File photo: IANS)
Calcutta High Court (File photo: IANS)
The Calcutta High Court on Thursday gave conditional permission to the Bharatiya Janata Party's Rath Yatra rallies, saying the organisers will be liable for any untoward incident or damage to public property.
 
The state government had last week rejected BJP's plea to hold the 'Rath Yatra', touted as the 'save democracy rally', saying there was "grave apprehension of major breach of peace and communal violence during and in the aftermath" of the programme.
 
The BJP had moved a single bench of the Calcutta High Court on December 17 after the Bengal government's decision and proposed December 22, 24 and 26 as fresh dates for the three Rath Yatra rallies.
 
Acting on a fresh plea filed by the saffron party, Justice Tapobrata Chakraborty allowed the rallies to be taken out, but said the organisers have to inform the police superintendent of the district concerned 12 hours before taking out the yatra.
 
He said the organisers would be liable for any untoward incident or damage to public property during the rallies and directed the state police to deploy adequate force to ensure that there is no breach of law and order.
 
The court has also asked the organisers to make sure that rallies do not affect the vehicular traffic on the state highways and arterial roads.
 
Welcoming the verdict, the state BJP leadership termed it as a victory of democracy and said they would hold discussion with the party's senior leadership in Delhi before officially announcing the dates.
 
"We welcome the verdict. It is a victory of democracy and the democracy-loving people of the state. We will follow the court's directives to conduct the rallies. The court has not mentioned any dates in its verdict. As of now our dates are as announced earlier. But we will discuss the matter and take the final call," said state BJP leader Jay Prakash Majumder after the verdict.
 
"We ask the Trinamool Congress activists not to impede us from conveying our message to the common people. Let the people decide whether they would accept us or not. That is how a democracy should function. So Trinamool should not create any obstruction in our programmes," he added.
 
When asked if the party is ready to fight the state government which may move a division bench in the High Court to seek a stay on the current order, the BJP leader said, "They have the right to do so. But we have said before that no one would be able to stop BJP's 'save democracy' rallies. We have full faith in court and the constitution."
 
The BJP was originally scheduled to hold three Rath Yatra rallies from north Bengal's Cooch Behar, South 24 Parganas district's Gangasagar and Birbhum district's temple town of Tarapith, flagged off by party president Amit Shah on 7, 9 and 14 respectively. These rallies were meant to touch all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state before converging at Kolkata in January.
 
IANS
 

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Kolkata bridge collapse: Rescue operations on, suo motu case lodged

Rescue operations continue on Wednesday after a portion of a 40-year-old bridge collapsed in south Kolkata a day earlier, even as a suo motu case has been lodged against the persons responsible for the accident. Two persons are still reported missing.

 
Kolkata bridge collapse: rescue efforts on
 
 
Rescue operations continue on Wednesday after a portion of a 40-year-old bridge collapsed in south Kolkata a day earlier, even as a suo motu case has been lodged against the persons responsible for the accident. Two persons are still reported missing.
 
A part of the Majherhat Bridge between Taratala and Mominpur collapsed around 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday in south Kolkata, crushing a person to death and injuring 19 others.
 
"Two persons are still missing and a suo motu case has been lodged under IPC 304 and 308 against responsible persons," police said.
 
Four teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), fire brigade and personnel of disaster management teams are at the spot.
 
Cranes have been deployed and gas cutters are being used for the rescue operation. Three columns of army personnel are also present at the spot.
 
"Our team is still working on the rescue. Overnight and this morning, we tried to dig holes in the concrete slab decks that caved in to find out whether anyone is still trapped underneath.
 
"Cameras are also being used to find out what remains below the debris. Removing the rubble would take more time," a member of the rescue team said on Wednesday.
 
The West Bengal government has initiated a probe into the incident. "Investigations are going on. At this point, we cannot come to any conclusion regarding the possible reasons behind the accident," a member of the forensic team said.
 
Pedestrians and commuters in buses and cars who were on the collapsed structure were rescued.
 
The bridge was the main connector between central and southwest part of the city. Due to the partial collapse of the bridge, traffic has been diverted. Tram services on some routes have been withdrawn, a Kolkata Traffic Control official said.
 
Goods vehicles' movement has been restricted on some of the arterial roads between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
 
State government will pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of Soumen Bagh, who died in the accident.
 
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State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said on Tuesday that heavy construction work of the metro project beside the collapsed bridge could have weakened its pillars.
 
City metro railway authority, however, ruled out any such possibility.
 
Amid blame game over the partial collapse of the bridge, the Eastern Railway said it was not conducting any maintenance work at the accident site.
 
However, experts said the bridge was very old and as such structural defect or use of inferior quality material cannot be cited as the reason for the collapse.
 
They said the bridge has been withstanding heavy vehicles for more than 40 years and that the only reason that may have triggered the collapse could be "lack of maintenance".
 
According to a state official, the 40-year-old bridge was constructed by the Kolkata Port Trust and maintained by State Public Works Department.
 
However, a Kolkata Port Trust official said it does not have any records that show the bridge was constructed by it.
 
IANS
 

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16 dead, 63 injured as under-construction flyover collapses in Kolkata

At least 16 persons died and 63 others suffered injuries when an under-construction flyover, which has been more than six years in the making, collapsed in the busy and congested Bura Bazaar area of north Kolkata on Thursday.

 
Kolkata: 10 dead in under-construction bridge collapse
 
At least 16 persons died and 63 others suffered injuries when an under-construction flyover, which has been more than six years in the making, collapsed in the busy and congested Bura Bazaar area of north Kolkata today.
 
Police sources told NetIndian that the 16 dead included 14 men and two women, all of whom were crushed under the tonnes of concrete and steel that came crashing on them around 1215 pm today without any warning.
 
They said nearly 60 others had been taken to various hospitals in the city for treatment of injuries.
 
Officials feared the number of casualties could increase as search and rescue teams made their way through the mangled steel and concrete through the night.
 
Army personnel and teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) joined the local police, the fire brigade, other agencies and hundreds of volunteers in a massive rescue effort with specialised equipment, sniffer dogs and so on.
 
Several people were feared trapped below the debris of the bridge and frantic efforts were being made to reach them without loss of time. As people dug through the rubble, they found cars, taxis and other vehicles trapped under the concrete.
 
Hundreds of people of the locality and passers-by rushed to the spot and began trying to remove the debris with their bare hands, using whatever equipment they could lay their hands on, even as the authorities made arrangements to rush cranes, gas cutters and other machinery as well as ambulancesto the scene. 
 
Scores of witnesses told journalists at the scene that they heard a loud rumble and then a massive thud as the huge bridge suddenly came down without any warning.
 
Footage from a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera in the area showed people going about their normal business and traffic moving as usual under the flyover when it suddenly came crashing down.
 
Traffic in the entire area came to a total standstill and there were traffic snarls in several nearby areas as a consequence.
 
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was campaigning for the state assembly elections outside Kolkata, rushed back to the state capital and visited the scene of the tragedy.
 
She said stringent action would be taken against officials of the construction company, the Hyderabad-based IVRCL Limited, or any others found guilty of negligence.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently in the United States on an official visit, took stock of the situation and expressed shock and grief over the incident.
 
“Shocked and saddened by collapse of under construction flyover in Kolkata. Took stock of the situation and rescue operations. 
 
"My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in Kolkata. May the injured recover at the earliest," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was touring West Bengal as part of the BJP's election campaign, asked the Director General, NDRF, Mr. O.P.Singh, to rush rescue teams to the spot.
 
An official press release said seven NDRF teams had been deputed to the site and two more teams were being mobilized for the rescue operations.
 
"I am deeply saddened to know that precious lives have been lost in the Kolkata accident," he added.
 
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Modi invokes spirit of Team India; says Centre, states must work together

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday described the Central government and the 29 state governments in the country as "30 pillars of Team India" which would together take the country forward.

 
Delhi alone will not run nation: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today described the Central government and the 29 state governments in the country as "30 pillars of Team India" which would together take the country forward.
 
Addressing a public meeting after dedicating to the nation the 2.5 million tonne modernised and expanded IISCO steel plant at Burnpur in West Bengal, he mentioned various instances of cooperative federalism of recent months, including the setting up of the NITI Aayog, and the devolution of additional revenues to the States through acceptance of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. 
 
He also mentioned that the decades-old land boundary issue between India and Bangladesh had been successfully resolved through the same spirit of Team India, with all state governments concerned and political parties coming together to support a solution of the problem.
 
He said the nation would move ahead faster when the Centre and the states worked together.
 
"Sadly Centre-State relations were tensed for a long time. I have been Chief Minister for a long time and I know that such behaviour will not be good. We have brought in a change, we focused on co-operative federalism. Delhi alone will not run the nation," he said.
 
"India will not change without a 'Team India'. The Prime Minister and Chief Ministers are one team that will take India ahead. The nation is bigger than any party," he said.
 
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Mr Modi said the time had now come for India to address the issue of "geographical imbalance" along with the economic and social imbalances. He said that eastern India, too, should develop as fast as western India is developing, and for that, development of West Bengal is essential. 
 
"The eastern part of India has immense potential. The people are also skilled," he said.
 
He said District Mineral Foundations would be set up to help speed up progress and welfare of the poor in mineral-rich districts. He said that, within a year, the atmosphere of gloom in the country had lifted, and all global rating agencies were now agreed that India is among the world's fastest growing economies.
 
"A year ago the world had a different perception about India. Now the world says in one voice that India is a fast growing economy," he added.
 
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Warner, Bairstow power SRH to huge win over KKR

 
Valiant knocks by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) openers David Warner (67 off 38) and Jonny Bairstow (80 unbeaten off 43) guided the team to a massive nine-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) tie here on Sunday.
 
The duo forged a crucial 131-run partnership for the opening wicket to help Hyderabad run away with the contest with five overs to spare as all the Kolkata bowlers struggled to pick wickets beside leaking runs right from the start. 
 
Hyderabad now sits at the fourth spot in the points-table, while Kolkata slipped to the sixth place following the huge defeat, also their fifth straight loss this season.
 
Chasing a modest 160-run target, Warner and Bairstow dominated right from the word go. As the openers started hammering Kolkata bowlers, Hyderabad was comfortably placed at 32/0 in the first three overs before they crossed the 50-run mark in just 4.3 overs.
 
The openers steered thier side past the three-digit mark in 8.4 overs. Warner and Bairstow also notched up their respective half-centuries in the next over. The duo kept on clobbering KKR bowlers all around the park and hammered Sunil Narine for 16 runs in the 12th over with Hyderabad just 30-runs away from victory.
 
The lone wicket of the Orange Army fell in the 13th over when Warner became victim of Yarra Prithviraj. The Australian's innings was laced with three boundaries and five hits into the stands.
 
Despite Warner's dismissal, there was no stopping for Bairstow who seemed in a hurry to finish things off. Bairstow kept the scoreboard ticking with incoming batsman Kane Williamson (8 unbeaten off 9) before slamming Piyush Chawla for 19 runs in the 14th over to seal a comfortable victory for Hyderabad.
 
Bairstow's knock contained seven fours and four sixes.
 
Earlier, three wickets from left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed helped Hyderabad (SRH) restrict KKR to 159/8.
 
Put in to bat first, KKR had a brisk start with openers Narine and Chris Lynn scoring 42 runs in just 2.4 overs before the West Indian fell prey to Khaleel. After collecting 14 runs off the first three deliveries of Khaleel, Narine missed the slower ball and got bowled at 25 (8 balls, 4x3, 6x2). 
 
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Shubhman Gill who came in to bat at number three couldn't stay long at the crease and became the second victim of Khaleel. Gill scored just three runs of four deliveries. 
 
Nitish Rana (11), coming after Gill's dismissal, battled sensibly alongside Lynn and the duo took the score to 61-2 at the end of the powerplay. But his stay at the wicket was ended by Bhuvneshwar Kumar by getting him caught behind with a spectacular delivery. 
 
Skipper Dinesh Karthik (6) yet again failed to deliver and was run out while trying to snatch a second run off Shabaz Nadeem, leaving KKR reeling at 73/4 in the ninth over. 
 
Rinku Singh, included in the side in place of Robin Uthappa, stitched a good partnership with the Australian and both took the score to 116/4 after 15 overs. But while trying to accelerate scoring and go for big hits, Singh (30) got out after Rashid Khan took a good, sliding catch at the mid-wicket boundary with the team score being 124. 
 
Meanwhile, Lynn kept his composure and contributed a well-played 50 to the team before becoming the third victim of Khaleel. 
 
What KKR needed was another late flourish from big-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell. But it didn't turn out to be the case as Russell departed after scoring 15 off nine balls (6x2, 0x4). In the last over, bowled by Rashid, KKR collected 13 runs to post a 160-run target for the hosts. 
 
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 161/1 in 15 overs (Jonny Bairstow 80 not out, David Warner 67; Yarra Prithviraj 1/29) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 159/8 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 51, Rinku Singh 30; Khaleel Ahmed 3/33) by 9 wickets.
 
IANS
 

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Kohli ton helps RCB beat KKR despite Rana-Russell show

 
Virat Kohli struck a masterly hundred to put Nitish Rana and Andre Russell's magnificent fightback in the shade as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 10 runs in a thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.
 
In desperate need of a win to keep their slim playoff chances alive, Kohli took 58 balls to bring up his fifth ton of the IPL and first this season with the help of nine fours and four sixes after Moeen Ali gave the much-needed oxygen to their innings with a whirlwind 28-ball 66 (4x5, 6x6).
 
This was Kohli's first hundred since 2016 when he had dragged the team out of a hole with four centuries in a record-shattering performance which yielded 973 runs from 16 matches as RCB finished as runners-up.
 
Kohli and Ali added 90 runs for the third wicket off just 43 balls as RCB posted 213/4 after being only 70/2 at the half-way stage.
 
Chasing a stiff 214 for victory, Rana (79 off 45 not out; 9x4, 4x6) and Russell (65 off 25 balls; 2x4; 9x6) stitched together a 118-run partnership off 48 balls to take the match to the last over.
 
Ali was handed the final over with 24 needed. Rana could manage just one run off the first two balls but brought back Russell to the strike. The West Indies allrounder then smashed a six but was run out in the penultimate ball to end KKR's hopes. Rana hit a six in the last ball but it was too late.
 
KKR were reduced to 79/4 with comeback man Dale Steyn -- playing for RCB after nine years -- accounting for Chris Lynn (1) and Shubman Gill (9). Navdeep Saini removed Sunil Narine (18) while Robin Uthappa (9) got out to Marcus Stoinis.
 
Russell, braving a shoulder injury, then kept KKR in the game with Rana also giving him able company as KKR posted 203/5 in 20 overs.
 
The pair took the likes of Steyn (2/40), Saini 1/31) and Yuzvendra Chahal 0/450 to the cleaners but in the end, fell just short.
 
The result saw rock-bottom RCB move to four points from nine matches while KKR slumped to their fourth successive defeat to further dent their playoff chances.
 
Put in to bat first, Kohli paced his innings to perfection, and got out on the last ball of the innings off Harry Gurney.
 
The India skipper, facing flak for his captaincy and the team's woeful performance, took 40 balls to reach his first 50 to then change gears and score the next 50 off just 17 deliveries.
 
The match swung in the 16th over when Kuldeep Yadav bled 27 runs with Ali going berserk, smashing the star India leggie for three sixes and two boundaries. The chinaman ended with figures of 1/59 in four overs. In the last five overs, RCB scored 91 runs to record their highest total of the season.
 
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore: 213/4 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 100; Andre Russell 1/17); Kolkata Knight Riders: 203/5 in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 85 not out; Dale Steyn 2/40)
 
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Kohli hits 100 to power RCB to 213/4 against KKR

 
Virat Kohli notched up his fifth century in the Indian Premier League (IPL)while Moeen Ali too struck a belligerent fifty to help Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) post a mammoth 213/4 in 20 overs against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.
 
Put in to bat first in a must-win tie, Kohli took 58 balls to bring up his first ton of the season with the help of nine fours and four sixes.
 
Moeen Ali, meanwhile, bludgeoned a 28-ball 66 (4x5, 6x6), as the pair added 90 runs for the third wicket off just 43 balls.
 
After Ali's dismissal, Kohli joined hands with Marcus Stoinis (17* off 8) for a 64-run fourth wicket partnership as the visitors amassed 143 runs in the last 10 overs to flatten the home team.
 
Kohli got to his 50 off 40 deliveries but stepped on the accelerator to score his next 50 in just 17 deliveries before getting out to Harry Gurney off the final ball of the innings.
 
Among his boundaries, the most eye-catching was a square drive past point off Gurney in the 17th over.
 
For KKR, India's star spinner Kuldeep Yadav had a forgettable day with figures of 1/59 from 4 overs.
 
RCB lost Parthiv Patel (11) early after the diminutive southpaw holed out to Nitish Rana at deep mid-wicket off Sunil Narine.
 
Kohli got off to a slow start, finding the fence only in the fourth over after a horrible misfield by Shubman Gill at the deep mid-wicket boundary off Narine.
 
The India skipper did not look his usual self as his next boundary came off an outside edge off Prasidh Krishna through third man.
 
RCB were 42/1 after six overs with Kohli taking on India teammate Kuldeep in the eighth over, hitting a lofted straight drive and a trademark cover drive for four.
 
With AB de Villiers indisposed, Akshdeep Nath (13) was sent to bat at No. 3 but the move did not bear fruit as the batsman skied a Andre Russell delivery for Robin Uthappa to charge in from short cover and snaffle it.
 
Ali then took it upon himself to up the ante by tonking Kuldeep for a six over long-on in the 10th over as the RCB scoreboard read 70/2 at the half-way stage.
 
Ali went berserk from there on, smashing Kuldeep for 27 runs in the 16th over with a series that read 4-6-4-6-1W-6 before holing out to Prasidh at long-on in the last ball of the over.
 
RCB scored 70 runs for the loss of just one wicket between overs 14 and 17. After Ali was dismissed, Kohli and Stoinis continued the carnage with the last three overs leaking 45 runs.
 
Brief scores
 
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 213/4 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 100, Moeen Ali 66, Andre Russell 1/17) vs Kolkata Knight Riders
 
IANS

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EC appoints Special Observer for West Bengal

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed Bihar's former Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ajay V. Nayak as a special observer for West Bengal, an official said on Wednesday.
 
"Ajay V Nayak, a retired IAS officer of the 1984-batch has been appointed as a special observer for West Bengal by ECI," said a senior official of the CEO of West Bengal.
 
Nayak is likely to reach the state by Friday. He will oversee the last five phases of elections and report to the Commission on a daily basis.
 
The Commission had earlier appointed Vivek Dube as the special police observer for the state. He has been looking after the deployment of central and state forces.
 
Three constituencies -- Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Raiganj -- will vote in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 18.
 
IANS
 

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Ganguly ready to quit cricket committee to avoid conflict

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Sourav Ganguly is willing to resign from the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after CEO Rahul Johri -- on behalf of the board -- asked ombudsman D. K. Jain to examine his dual role as a member of CAC and Delhi Capitals advisor.
 
Speaking to IANS, sources in the know of developments said that while the Cricket Association of Bengal president-cum-DC advisor is confident that he is not conflicted, even then, the former India skipper is willing to step down from the CAC which also has Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor V. V. S. Laxman and Mumbai Indians mentor Sachin Tendulkar as members.
 
"Sourav last attended a CAC meeting during the appointment of Ravi Shastri as coach after the Champions Trophy in 2017. In fact, the committee has not even met in recent times and he is clear that if required, he will step down from the role to avoid any questions of conflict. Even though his stance remains unchanged that he is not conflicted in any way, he will meet the ombudsman and discuss the same," the source said.
 
Jain has asked Ganguly to depose before him on April 20 with regards to questions of conflict of interest raised against him by three complainants from West Bengal -- Bhaswati Santua, Ranjit Seal and Abhijeet Mukherjee, who questioned how Ganguly as CAB chief was allowed to sit in the Delhi Capitals dug out during their match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.
 
April 20 will also see DC clash against Kings XI Punjab at the Feroze Shah Kotla. Interestingly, while the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators has through Johri asked the ombudsman to check on any conflict, the letter from Johri also stated that Ganguly should be allowed to continue as DC advisor if he makes full disclosure due to his vast knowledge.
 
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Tahir, Raina help CSK beat KKR, put foot in playoffs

Imran Tahir and Suresh Raina helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) put one foot in the playoffs as they got past Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by five wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) return-leg fixture at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
 
CSK, who had defeated KKR in their first meeting also, consolidated their spot at the top of the table with 14 points from eight matches.
 
KKR, on the other hand, slumped to their third straight defeat, remaining on eight points from eight matches.
 
Tahir (4/27) first played a pivotal role in restricting KKR to 161/8.
 
Chasing a modest 162 for victory, Raina struck an unbeaten 58 off 42 balls (7x4; 1x6), his 36th IPL fifty, adding 41 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (31 off 17 balls not out; 4x5) for the sixth wicket. 
 
CSK needed 24 in the last two overs, but Jadeja hit Harry Gurney for a hattrick of fours in the 19th over to bring the equation down to eight runs off six balls. 
 
The India all-rounder then creamed Piyush Chawla for a boundary to hit the winning runs as the defending champions won with two balls to spare.
 
CSK lost Shane Watson (6) early with Gurney trapping him in front of the wicket. Faf Du Plessis (24) was castled by Sunil Narine (2/19), who bowled a wicket maiden in the sixth over. 
 
Ambati Rayudu (5) failed to impress the selectors on the eve of World Cup selection while Kedar Jadhav (20) also got out to leave CSK on 81/4. 
 
Dhoni and Raina combined for a 40-run fifth wicket stand before the former was trapped by Narine, with reviews not going in the former India skipper's favour.
 
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Earlier, recording his best figures (4/27) in the competition, Tahir bowled a game-changing 15th over to account for Chris Lynn (82; 51 balls; 7x4 6x6) and Andre Russell (10) to dent the KKR's surge as they could only manage 161/8.
 
Tahir was introduced in the ninth over with Lynn going great guns. The South Africa leg-spinner gave away just four runs in his first over to then wreak havoc.
 
The 40-year-old removed Nitish Rana (21) and Robin Uthappa (0) in the 11th over to start KKR's slide and then did the major damage in the 15th over by removing Lynn and Russell in the space of four balls.
 
Lynn was caught at deep square leg by Shardul Thakur while substitute Dhruv Shorey took an excellent catch at long on.
 
In the last five overs, the hosts could muster only 28 runs with only one four at the cost of three wickets. Shardul (2/18), who along with Tahir was the other architect of Chennai's choke, removed Shubman Gill (15) and Piyush Chawla (0) in the final over.
 
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 161/8 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 82; Imran Tahir 4/27) vs Chennai Super Kings 162/5 in 19.4 overs (Suresh Raina 58 not out, Ravindra Jadeja 31 not out; Sunil Narine 2/19)
 
IANS
 

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IPL: CSK take on KKR amid Dhoni rant backdrop

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In the backdrop of M. S. Dhoni's on-field argument with umpires, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will start as overwhelming favourites when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
 
Chennai captain Dhoni was fined 50 percent of his match fee for an unprecedented confrontation with the umpires during their encounter against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Thursday.
 
Former cricketers came down heavily on India's two-time World Cup-winning captain, saying Dhoni's act set a wrong precedent.
 
Chennai went on to win the match, their sixth victory in seven outings as they gunned down a modest 152 run target in a dramatic final over.
 
A sharp departure from his 'Captain Cool' image, it remains to be seen whether the first-of-its-kind incident in Dhoni's career ruffles his feathers or not.
 
Sitting pretty at the top of the table, Chennai have so far ticked all the boxes with every passing game. Dhoni has led the team from the front, racking up 214 runs in five innings at an average of 107.
 
The 37-year-old has looked like his vintage best, finishing off ties for the side and hitting those trademark sixes to roll back the years.
 
Dhoni is also the team's highest run-getter. Chennai have been playing as a unit, with the likes of Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav all coming good in some matches or the other.
 
With the ball, Deepak Chahar has been in sensational form, setting the record the other day for most dot balls in an innings. The Rajasthan pacer is the second highest wicket-taker so far this season with 10 scalps.
 
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Often termed as a team of oldies, spinners Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir have shown why experience is needed with good displays with the ball.
 
Harbhajan has been the surprise package, taking seven wickets from four matches and finding himself inside the top 10 wicket takers' list.
 
Coming to the hosts, KKR have lost two games in a row now, and there are chinks in the armour which skipper Dinesh Karthik needs to fix as soon as possible.
 
In their first meeting, KKR were swept aside by Chennai and another defeat on Sunday would not help their cause as other teams are fast catching up on the second spot.
 
KKR have injury and sickness issues, too, with Chris Lynn and Karthik suffering from flu, Sunil Narine injured and Andre Russell also picking up a niggle.
 
Russell has been the team's go-to man and his possible absence might hurt the home team big.
 
KKR lost to Delhi Capitals on Friday night with Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant making short work of their bowlers. One good sign is Shubman Gill hitting form after he was asked to open the batting. Now it remains to be seen whether the 19-year-old is given another shot at his favoured position or not with the team having plenty of them to stake a claim.
 
Squads:
 
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (captain), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Joe Denly, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Harry Gurnley, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, K.C. Cariappa, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Naik, Anrich Nortje, Prithvi Raj, Prasidh Krishna.
 
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, K.M. Asif, Deepak Chahar, N. Jagadeesan (wk), Scott Kuggeleign
 
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IPL: Gill, Russell propel Kolkata to 178/7 against Delhi

Shubman Gill and Andre Russell played contrasting knocks to help Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) post a competitive 178/7 in 20 overs against Delhi Capitals (DC) in their Indian Premier League clash at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.
 
Gill (65; 39 balls, 4x7, 6x2) struck his maiden half-century of the season to set the platform before Russell, who is in great form, smacked a 21-ball 45 (4x3, 6x4) as the hosts scored 106 runs in the last 10 overs after being asked to bat first by DC skipper Shreyas Iyer.
 
KKR were 72/2 at the halfway stage.
 
For DC, Kagiso Rabada (2/42) was expensive but picked up two wickets while Chris Morris (2/38) and Keemo Paul (2/46) also chipped in as team advisor Sourav Ganguly watched from the dugout as a 'visitor' in his own den.
 
Russell came in to bat when KKR were 93/3 after 12.4 overs, needing to up the ante. Soon compatriot Carlos Brathwaite joined him at the crease, and the big-hitting pair combined for a 19-ball 39-run stand for the sixth wicket in which Brathwaite's contribution was just 6.
 
Russell hit Rabada for a four and six in the 16th over and then took him apart in the 18th, smashing two maximums as the South Africa pace ace leaked 16 runs.
 
Morris got the better of Russell with a full toss outside off which the Caribbean all-rounder hit straight down Rabada's throat at third-man.
Paul was given the last over in which he got the wicket of Carlos Brathwaite (6), giving away 10 runs.
 
Opener Gill, who never got to bat up the order for KKR earlier, made the most of the opportunity by playing some delectable shots en route his first fifty of the season.
 
KKR lost debutant Joe Denly off the very first ball of the innings with Ishant Sharma sending the Englishman's off-stump cartwheeling with a full-length delivery that jagged back from just outside the off-stump. It was a wicket maiden for Ishant.
 
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Gill and Uthappa then joined hands to stitch together a 63-run stand for the second wicket.
 
Uthappa hit three fours off the in-form Rabada in the fourth over but the South Africa pacer made amends by removing the experienced right-hander with Rishabh Pant taking a brilliant diving catch behind the stumps.
 
Nitish Rana (11) was castled by a Morris yorker as the home team promoted Russell up the order.
 
Russell and Gill took Axar Patel for 16 runs in the 14th over but the U-19 World Cup winner got out in the next over, giving a catch to Patel at short fine-leg while trying to flick Paul through that area.
 
Skipper Dinesh Karthik (2) failed to contribute, clipping a full delivery on the pads by Rabada to Shikhar Dhawan at deep square-leg.
 
However, some lusty blows by Russell help the team post a competitive total.
 
Brief scores: 178/7 in 20 overs (Shubman Gill 65, Andre Russell 45; Kagiso Rabada 2/42, Chris Morris 2/38, Keemo Paul (2/46)
 
IANS

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Delhi win toss, ask KKR to bat first

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Delhi Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer won the toss and elected to field against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an Indian Premier League game at the Eden Gardens here on Friday.
 
The visitors made one change to the team that beat Royal Challengers Bangalore in the last match with West Indies pacer Keemo Paul replacing Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane with the Eden wicket having a tinge of grass on it.
 
KKR, meanwhile, made three changes with openers Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn and Harry Gurney making way for Joe Denly, Carlos Brathwaite and Lockie Ferguson. KKR lost to Chennai Super Kings in their last outing.
 
Playing XI: 
 
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Colin Ingram, Chris Morris, Axar Patel, Keemo Paul, Rahul Tewatia, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma
 
Kolkata Knight Riders: Joe Denly, Robbie Uthappa, Carlos Brathwaite, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (Captain/wicket-keeper), Andre Russell, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna
 
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All-round Chennai thrash KKR to go on top of table

All-round Chennai Super Kings (CSK) made short work of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), thrashing them by seven wickets in a lopsided Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Tuesday.
 
The victory saw the defending champions replace KKR at the top of the eight-team points table with 10 points from six matches.
 
KKR, meanwhile, dropped down to the second spot, having eight points from six outings.
 
After being asked to bat first by home team skipper M. S. Dhoni, the visitors managed just 108/9, riding Andre Russell's unbeaten yet uncharacteristic 44-ball 50.
 
Deepak Chahar (3/20) scalped three wickets and was well supported by veteran spinners Harbhajan Singh (2/15) and Imran Tahir (2/21).
 
Chasing a paltry 109 for victory, Chennai were never in trouble as South Africa captain Faf du Plessis carried his bat with an unbeaten 43 off 45 balls, his innings studded with three fours.
 
After the hosts lost Shane Watson (17) and Suresh Raina (14) inside the powerplay with Sunil Narine (2/24) taking both the wickets, du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu (21) stitched together a 46-run third wicket partnership, mostly scoring off singles.
 
Once Rayudu was out, caught by Nitish Rana at short extra cover off Piyush Chawla, Kedar Jadhav (8 not out) joined hands with du Plessis to take the team over the line with 16 balls to spare.
 
Earlier, Chahar shaved off the KKR top order early as Chennai never allowed the visitors to get an upper hand.
 
Chennai even kept Russell quiet as the big-hitting West Indian hit five fours and three sixes but never got into the groove.
 
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KKR never really got going and it looked like they would not cross the 100-run mark before Russell -- struggling with niggles -- hit Scott Kuggeleijn for one six and two fours as the purple brigade managed to get 15 runs off the last over.
 
Russell was dropped when he was batting on 8 by Harbhajan which was a difficult chance.
 
KKR were reduced to 24/4 inside the first five overs, largely due to Chahar who bowled a superb first spell of 3-0-14-3.
 
He first trapped Chris Lynn (0) in front to then account for the wicket of Rana (0) who hit a rising delivery straight to Ambati Rayudu at midwicket.
 
In between those two wickets, Harbhajan continued his rich vein of form with the ball by removing Narine (6) with a tossed up delivery that the West Indian top-edged to Chahar who ran backward from point to complete an excellent catch.
 
The Rajasthan pacer then got the back of Robin Uthappa (11) who was guilty of trying to play one shot too many and holing out to Jadhav at deep square leg.
 
Dinesh Karthik (19) and Shubman Gill (9) then tried to stem the rot but just when the pair looked to have settled in, Karthik hit straight to midwicket where Harbhajan took a sharp catch off Tahir.
 
Tahir removed Gill too with a googly that slipped through between inside edge and leg for Dhoni to take the bails off behind the stumps.
 
Russell and Chawla (8) joined hands for a 29-run stand for the seventh wicket but once Harbhajan sent the latter back with a delivery that spun sharply away from the batsman for Dhoni to effect an easy stumping, it was all downhill for the visitors.
 
Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna did not trouble the scorers with Harry Gurney 1 not out) staying till the end with Russell.
 
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 108/9 (Andre Russell 50; Deepak Chahar 3/20, Harbhajan Singh 2/15, Imran Tahir 2/21; Chennai Super Kings 111/3 in 17.2 overs (Faf du Plessis 43 not out; Sunil Narine 2/24)
 
IANS
 

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Chahar takes three as Chennai restrict KKR to 108/9

Deepak Chahar took three wickets as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) restricted Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to 108/9 in 20 overs in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Tuesday.
 
Chahar (3/20 in four overs) shaved off the KKR top order early and was well supported by veteran Harbhajan Singh (2/15 in four overs) who was very economical and Imran Tahir (2/21 in four overs) as Chennai never allowed the visitors to get an upper hand after they were asked to bat first by M. S. Dhoni.
 
The defending champions, led admirably by Dhoni, even kept Andre Russell quiet as the big-hitting West Indian scored 50 off 44 ball not out, his innings laced with five fours and three sixes.
 
KKR never really got going and it looked like they would not cross the 100-run mark before Russell -- struggling with niggles -- hit Scott Kuggeleijn for one six and two fours as the purple brigade managed to get 15 runs off the last over.
 
Russell was dropped when he was batting on 8 by Harbhajan which was a difficult chance.
 
KKR were reduced to 24/4 inside the first five overs, largely due to Chahar who bowled a superb first spell of 3-0-14-3.
 
He first trapped Chris Lynn (0) in front and then accounted for the wicket of Nitish Rana (0) who hit a rising delivery straight to Ambati Rayudu at midwicket.
 
In between those two wickets, Harbhajan continued his rich vein of form with the ball by removing Sunil Narine (6) with a tossed up delivery that the West Indian top-edged to Chahar who ran backwards from point to complete an excellent catch.
 
The Rajasthan pacer then got the back of Robin Uthappa (11) who was guilty of trying to play one shot too many, and holing out to Kedar Jadhav at deep square leg.
 
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Dinesh Karthik (19) and Shubman Gill (9) then tried to stem the rot but just when the pair looked to have settled in, Karthik hit straight to midwicket where Harbhajan took a sharp catch off Tahir.
 
Tahir removed Gill, too, with a googly that slipped through between inside edge and leg for Dhoni to take the bails off behind the stumps.
 
Russell and Piyush Chawla (8) joined hands for a 29-run stand for the seventh wicket but once Harbhajan sent the latter back with a delivery that spun sharply away from the batsman for Dhoni to effect an easy stumping, it was all downhill for the visitors.
 
Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna did not trouble the scorers with Harry Gurney (1 not out) staying till the end with Russell.
 
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 108/9 (Andre Russell 50; Deepak Chahar 3/20, Harbhajan Singh 2/15, Imran Tahir 2/21)
 
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Chennai ask KKR to bat first after winning toss

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Chennai Super Kings skipper M  S Dhoni asked Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to bat first after winning the toss in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash here on Tuesday.
 
Both Chennai and KKR named unchanged teams from their last game. While KKR beat Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets in their last outing, CSK won against Kings XI Punjab by 22 runs.
 
Teams:
 
Kolkata Knight Riders (Playing XI): Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (w/k), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Harry Gurney, Prasidh Krishna
 
Chennai Super Kings (Playing XI): Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni(w/k), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Scott Kuggeleijn, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir
 
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Lynn, Narine fashion KKR's 8-wicket win over Royals

Chris Lynn (50 off 32) and Sunil Narine (47 off 25) starred in Kolkata Knight Riders' thumping eight-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, here on Sunday.
 
Chasing a modest target of 140, Lynn and Narine took the Rajasthan bowlers to the cleaners as the duo forged a 91-run opening stand to help Kolkata register a comfortable victory with as many as 37 balls to spare.
 
Lynn and Narine started the proceedings with a bang as Kolkata raced to 22/0 in the first two overs.
 
Nothing seemed to be going right for Rajasthan, as Rahul Tripathi dropped Narine at point off Dhawal Kulkarni in the fourth over. In the next delivery, Lynn got an inside edge that hit the stumps but didn't dislodge the bails before racing to the fine leg boundary.
 
There was no looking back for the Kolkata openers who sent the Rajasthan fielders on a leather hunt all over the park.
 
Shreyas Gopal finally gave the hosts some respite after dismissing Narine in the ninth over. However, it was too late as the Kolkata scorecard read 91/1. Narine's knock included six boundaries and three sixes.
 
Lynn and Robin Uthappa (26 not out off 16) then took their side to 114/1 before Gopal struck again to dismiss the former in the 11th over. 
 
However, Uthappa ensured that there were no further hiccups as he, along with Shubman Gill (6 not out), helped Kolkata cross the line with ease.
 
Lynn's innings was laced with six boundaries and three hits into the stands.
 
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Earlier, Steve Smith's laborious 58-ball unbeaten 72 propelled Rajasthan to a modest total.
 
The Kolkata bowlers were not amongst the wickets, but they bowled in a disciplined manner at an impressive economy rate to restrict their opponents to an average total.
 
Apart from Smith, Jos Buttler chipped in with 37 as the two stitched a crucial second wicket stand of 72 runs. 
 
Put in to bat, Rajasthan lost skipper Ajinkya Rahane (5) in the second over as Prasidh Krishna trapped him in front of the wicket. Buttler and Smith then joined hands to deny Kolkata any further inroads, but their slow innings hurt Rajasthan's chances of putting up a big total.
 
With both the batsmen looking well-settled, Harry Gurney finally delivered the breakthrough by dismissing Buttler with the Rajasthan scoreboard reading 77/1 in 11.5 overs.
 
Smith was then joined by Tripathi (6) and the duo took their side past the 100-run mark but the latter didn't last long as Gurney struck again in the 16th over.
 
Smith anchored the Rajasthan innings from one end but didn't get much support. After Tripathi's departure, Smith kept the scoreboard ticking and added 19 runs in the next 13 balls as Rajasthan managed to reach 139 runs in the allotted 20 overs.
 
For Kolkata, Gurney picked up two wickets while Krishna settled for one.
 
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 139/3 (Steve Smith 72 not out, Jos Buttler 37; Harry Gurney 2/25) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders: 140/2 in 13.5 overs (Chris Lynn 50, Sunil Narine 47; Shreyas Gopal 2/35) by 8 wickets.
 
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IPL: Kolkata restrict Rajasthan to modest 139/3

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Steve Smith's laborious 58-ball unbeaten 72 propelled Rajasthan Royals to a modest 139/3 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, here on Sunday.
 
The Kolkata bowlers were not amongst the wickets, but they bowled in a disciplined manner at an impressive economy rate to restrict their opponents to an average total.
 
Apart from Smith, Jos Buttler chipped in with 37 as the two stitched a crucial second wicket stand of 72 runs. 
 
Put in to bat first, Rajasthan lost skipper Ajinkya Rahane (5) in the second over as Prasidh Krishna trapped him in front of the wicket. Buttler and Smith then joined hands to deny Kolkata any further inroads, but their slow innings hurt Rajasthan's chances of putting up a big total.
 
With both the batsmen looking well-settled, Harry Gurney finally delivered the breakthrough by dismissing Buttler with the Rajasthan scoreboard reading 77/1 in 11.5 overs.
 
Smith was then joined by Rahul Tripathi (6) and the duo took their side past the 100-run mark but the latter didn't last long as Gurney struck again in the 16th over.
 
Smith anchored the Rajasthan innings from one end but didn't get much support. After Tripathi's departure, Smith kept the scoreboard ticking and added 19 runs in the next 13 balls as Rajasthan managed to reach 139 runs in the allotted 20 overs.
 
For Kolkata, Gurney picked up two wickets while Krishna settled for one.
 
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 139/3 (Steve Smith 72 not out, Jos Buttler 37; Harry Gurney 2/25) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.
 
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Kolkata win toss, opt to field against Rajasthan

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Kolkata Knight Riders's skipper Dinesh Karthik won the toss and opted to field against Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, here on Sunday.
 
Kolkata has made one change in the team with Harry Gurney replacing Lockie Ferguson. Prashant Chopra and Sudhesan Midhun have replaced Stuarrt Binny and Varun Aaron in the Rajasthan playing eleven.
 
Kolkata is currently placed third in the league points-table with three wins from four games. Rajasthan, on the other hand, lie at the seventh spot with just one win from four games.
 
Playing XI:
 
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (Captain/wicket-keeper), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Harry Gurney, Prasidh Krishna
 
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Steven Smith, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Prashant Chopra, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sudhesan Midhun

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Election Commission removes Kolkata Police chief

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The Election Commission of India (EC) on Friday removed Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma and his counterpart in the Bidhannagar Commissionerate Gyanwant Singh.
 
The EC order, which came in the form of a missive to state Chief Secretary Malay De, said Rajesh Kumar would take over as the new Kolkata Police Commissioner.
 
N. Ramesh Babu would replace Gyanwant Singh.
 
The EC also removed two Superintendents of Police -- Shyam Singh of Birbhum and P.S. Selvamurugan of Diamond Harbour police district.
 
Avanyu Rabindranath would be the new Birbhum police superintendent while Srihari Pande takes over as the Diamond Harbour police superintendent.
 
The EC has directed that the orders be implemented with immediate effect and a compliance report be sent within 24 hours.
 
"The present incumbent officers being shifted not to be involved by the state government in any election-related duties," the letter said.
 
This is first time that the EC has cracked down on any IPS officer in West Bengal since the announcement of polls last month.
 
The state opposition parties have been regularly complaining about "the partisan" role of a section of the IPS and administrative officers in the state.
 
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Russell blitzkrieg helps KKR beat RCB by five wickets in thriller

Andre Russell once again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by smashing an unbeaten 13-ball 48 as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by five wickets in a rip-roaring Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Friday.
 
Russell came out to bat with KKR needing 67 off 26 balls. Skipper Dinesh Karthik (19) got out in the next over and in the last three overs, the away side needed 53 runs off 18 balls.
 
It is from there that Russell took over, smacking seven sixes and a four to help KKR win with five balls to spare. KKR posted 206/5, their highest run-chase in IPL history. RCB, thus, remained winless after five games.
 
Russell hit Marcus Stoinis for three back to back sixes in the 18th over and then took on Tim Southee with figures reading 6-6-6-4-6 to leave the visitors needing just one run from the last over. He associated with Shubman Gill (3 not out) to put together a 14-ball 53 run stand for the sixth wicket.
 
It poured cold water on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers' show in the first innings as the pair roared back to form to help RCB post 205/3.
 
Chasing 206 for victory, Chris Lynn (43; 31b 4x4; 2x6) and Sunil Narine (10) gave KKR a flying start. Narine did not last long, Navdeep Saini (2/34) getting rid of him.
 
But Robin Uthappa (33; 25b 6x4) joined hands with Lynn to add 65 runs for the second wicket. But just before the halfway stage, Uthappa lost his wicket trying to clear long-off where Tim Southee took the catch off Pawan Negi (2/21).
 
Lynn was dropped on 42 by Mohammed Siraj off Stoinis in the 11th over, but there was not much damage done as Negi castled him with a terrific delivery that spun heavily to beat the Australian's outside edge.
 
It looked over for KKR from there on before Russell took it upon himself to finish the game in a way only he can.
 
Earlier, put in to bat, Kohli struck a 49-ball 84 (4x9, 6x2) while De Villiers hit a 32-ball 63 (4x5, 6x4) as the famed pair stitched together a 108-run stand for the second wicket to treat the packed crowd at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium to a spectacle as RCB posted 205/3 in their 20 overs.
 
Kohli was dropped by Narine on 35 while Lockie Ferguson could not hold on to a tough De Villiers catch when he was batting on 11.
 
The duo made the most of their second lives and with Stoinis hitting a 13-ball 28, RCB scored 127 runs in the last 10 overs with the last over from Prasidh Krishna going for 18 runs.
 
This was Kohli's 35th IPL fifty as the India skipper went past Suresh Raina to become the T20 meet's highest ever run-getter.
 
While Kohli brought up his half-century in 31 balls, De Villiers took 28 deliveries to get there.
 
Kohli looked in sublime touch from the word go, milking Prasidh Krishna for two consecutive boundaries off the first two balls he faced.
 
ADVERTISEMENTParthiv Patel (25) also looked good to continue his rich vein of form but part-time spinner Nitish Rana cut short his stay by trapping him plumb in front in the eighth over.
 
In the first ball of the same over, Rana could have sent Kohli back in the hut as well but Narine dropped him at short midwicket.
 
Making the most of the reprieve, the Indian captain went from strength to strength, hitting Kuldeep Yadav four a four in the 10th over as RCB were 78/1 at the halfway stage.
 
De Villiers then joined the party after Ferguson grassed a difficult chance running in from long on off Kuldeep in the 12th over.
 
From there on, De Villiers switched gears like only he can to hit Narine for two fours in the next over and two sixes off Andre Russell in the 14th over as the West Indian leaked 16 runs.
 
After Kohli's dismissal, KKR tried to stem the flow of runs and when De Villiers holed out to Shubman Gill on the extra cover boundary off Narine, it looked possible.
 
But Stoinis hit 18 off Prasidh Krishna's last over to guide his team past the 200-run mark.
 
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 205/3 (Virat Kohli 84, AB de Villiers 63; Nitish Rana 1/22) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (206/5 in 19.1 overs (Andre Russell 48, Chris Lynn 43; Pawan Negi 2/21, Navdeep Saini 2/34)
 
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Kohli, de Villiers run riot as RCB post 205/3 against KKR

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers roared back to form as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) found their mojo to post a mammoth 205/3 in 20 overs against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash here on Friday.
 
Kohli struck a 49-ball 84 (4x9, 6x2) while De Villiers hit a 32-ball 63 (4x5, 6x4) as the famed pair stitched together a 108-run stand for the second wicket to treat the packed crowd at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium to a spectacle.
 
Kohli was dropped by Sunil Narine on 35 while Lockie Ferguson could not hold on to a tough De Villiers catch when he was batting on 11.
 
The duo made the most of their second lives and with Marcus Stoinis hitting a 13-ball 28, RCB scored 127 runs in the last 10 overs.
 
This was Kohli's 35th IPL fifty as the India skipper went past Suresh Raina to become the T20 meet's highest ever run-getter.
 
While Kohli brought up his half-century in 31 balls, De Villiers took 28 deliveries to get there.
 
Kohli looked in sublime touch from the word go, milking Prasidh Krishna for two consecutive boundaries off the first two balls he faced.
 
In the fourth over, Kohli made light of Ferguson's tearing pace to find the fence thrice as the hosts raced to 53/0 in six overs.
 
Parthiv Patel (25) also looked good to continue his rich vein of form but part-time spinner Nitish Rana cut short his stay by trapping him plumb in front in the eighth over.
 
In the first ball of the same over, Rana could have sent Kohli back in the hut as well but Narine dropped him at short mid-wicket.
 
Making the most of the reprieve, the Indian captain went from strength to strength, hitting Kuldeep Yadav four a four in the 10th over as RCB were 78/1 at the half-way stage.
 
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Kohli brought his half century off 31 deliveries in the next over with a delicate late cut off Piyush Chawla for a four.
 
De Villiers then joined the party after Ferguson grassed a difficult chance running in from long-on off Kuldeep in the 12th over.
 
From there on, De Villiers switched gears like only he can to hit Narine for two fours in the next over and two sixes off Andre Russell in the 14th over as the West Indian leaked 16 runs.
 
Rana was then taken for 18 runs as the pair went berserk to add 94 runs in seven overs before Kohli was caught and bowled by Kuldeep.
 
After Kohli's dismissal, KKR tried to stem the flow of runs and when De Villiers holed out to Shubman Gill on the extra cover boundary off Narine, it looked possible.
 
But Stoinis hit 18 off Prasidh Krishna's last over to guide his team past the 200-run mark.
 
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 205/3 (Virat Kohli 84, AB de Villiers 63; Nitish Rana 1/22) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.
 
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IPL: KKR ask RCB to bat first

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Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik won the toss and elected to field first against Royal Challengers Bangalore in an Indian Premier League (IPL) game here on Friday.
 
RCB skipper Virat Kohli made two changes to the team that lost to Rajasthan Royals with Tim Southee coming in for Shimron Hetmyer, and Pawan Negi replacing Umesh Yadav.
 
KKR, meanwhile, welcomed back Sunil Narine who was nursing a niggle and left out Nikhil Naik.
 
Coming into the game after a five-day break, KKR will look to put behind their Super Over loss to Delhi Capitals and get back to winning ways. 
 
RCB, on the other hand, will be desperate to log their first win of the campaign after four straight defeats.
 
Playing XI: 
 
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (Captain), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis, Moeen Ali, Akshdeep Nath (wicket-keeper), Pawan Negi, Navdeep Saini, Tim Southee, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Siraj
 
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (Captain/wicket-keeper), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson
 
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Century-old Wari Athletic Club gutted in Kolkata

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A century-old athletic club was on Monday gutted after a fire broke out early in the morning near the Maidan area, the police said.
 
Wari Athletic Club caught fire at around 6 a.m. but the cause of the blaze was yet to be ascertained, said an officer of the Kolkata Police.
 
Four fire tenders were pressed into the service to douse the fire.
 
According to the club officials, the fire damaged club documents, trophies and players' kits, among other things.
 
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