Zaheer to miss rest of the season
After five successive defeats this season, Mumbai Indians finally ended their streak with a five-wicket win against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday. However, the much-needed victory came at a cost, as Mumbai lost their strike bowler Zaheer Khan to a muscle strain and will have to do without the seamer's services for the rest of the season.
"Zaheer will surely be missed," Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai captain wrote in his column for Daily News and Analysis. "His injury doesn't look too good at this stage and it's a terrible blow for us as he was consistently getting us those crucial early breakthroughs."
Mumbai's head coach John Wright had earlier confirmed that Zaheer had strained his left latissinus dorsi muscle, and that he would be undergoing a "thorough medical assessment".
Faulkner aces death-bowling test
Since being smashed for consecutive sixes by Darren Sammy in the last over against West Indies in the World T20 in March, James Faulkner has emerged as something of a specialist death bowler for Rajasthan Royals. After scripting a stunning Super Over-win against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi, Faulkner once again held his nerve at the death against the same opponents in Ahmedabad to help the team to a 10-run victory.
"Personally, I just try to pick the best batsman in our team, preferably the one that generally bats at the death and is used to facing yorkers, slower ones and slower bouncers," Faulkner told iplt20.com when asked how he prepared for bowling at the death. "Some players don't like the straight yorkers, while some cannot reach the wide yorkers. A lot of it comes down to luck - an edge here and there can fly to the fence. It also depends on whether you are setting a target or chasing it.
"You are always going to have nerves and feel the pressure in such situations. Good players overcome them better than the ordinary ones do. You need to block the crowd out, which is not as easy as people think it is. But if you can do that and concentrate on taking in the field what you have done in the nets, it really helps."
Learning a lot from Duminy - Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav has attributed his successful transformation into a finisher for Delhi Daredevils this year to his team-mate JP Duminy. Despite having limited opportunities to score since he bats lower down the order, Jadhav, who was the highest run-getter in last season's Ranji Trophy, has been unbeaten in his last three innings, and added 58 off just 34 balls with Duminy to propel Daredevils to a formidable 178 against Chennai Super Kings on Monday.
"I am getting to learn a lot from Duminy. He is very calm during any chase or while batting first to post a total," Jadhav told iplt20.com. "It is fun to bat with him. The left-right combination helps both of us while batting together. There is a lot to learn from how he approaches the game under pressure."
Laxman lauds special de Villiers innings
Not many would back a team to chase down 28 off 12 balls when Dale Steyn is bowling one of those two overs. But Royal Challengers Bangalore did just that, as AB de Villiers hit his South Africa team-mate for 24 runs in the penultimate over to hand Sunrisers Hyderabad a fourth defeat of the season, causing even the Sunrisers' mentor VVS Laxman to laud the batsman's 41-ball 80 as "one of the best innings" in the shortest format.
"It's very disappointing," Laxman told Deccan Herald. "If you see, most part of the game we were dominating but again one special innings from one special player changed everything. It's one of the best innings you would see in T20 format because you have to be mindful that the wickets were falling at the other end.
"It was not that he was having a partnership with other batsmen at the other end. I think it's a phenomenal batting display and he took the game away from us."