Gambhir fined for dissent
Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata Knight Riders captain, has been fined 15% of his match fee for his outburst against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. Given out caught behind off Dale Steyn, a fuming Gambhir swore loudly and repeatedly as he left the field, and flung his bat aside upon crossing the boundary rope and approaching the Knight Riders dugout.
"In the Pepsi IPL match in Hyderabad last evening, Gautam Gambhir of Kolkata Knight Riders was fined 15 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at the umpire's decision," the IPL said in a statement. "Mr. Gambhir admitted to the level 1 offence (Article 2.1.3) and accepted the sanction. For Level 1 breaches of the IPL Code of Conduct, the Match Referee's decision is final and binding."
Kohli could beat Tendulkar - Jacques Kallis
Jacques Kallis, the South Africa and Kolkata Knight Riders allrounder, believes Virat Kohli has shown qualities that could put Sachin Tendulkar's record for most runs in Test cricket in danger.
"It is a little too early to predict that," Kallis told DNA. "Sachin's record is not going to be beaten easily and it is going to take something special. Virat is a very talented player and he definitely does have the potential."
Kallis has seen Kohli from close quarters having been a team-mate at Royal Challengers Bangalore for three years. He has also witnessed Kohli's growth first-hand when the India batsman celebrated his maiden ton in South Africa during the drawn Test in Johannesburg last year.
Chahal benefits from backroom support
Yuzvendra Chahal has been one of Royal Challengers Bangalore's success stories this season. Inked as an attacking option, the 23-year old is one of their top-three wicket-takers in 2014 and Chahal has credited the coach Daniel Vettori and team-mate Muttiah Muralitharan for ironing out some technical aspects.
"Dan sir has been especially helpful in me getting my stride right," he told iplt20.com. "I tend to unknowingly elongate my stride sometimes during my run-up and he keeps an eye for that and corrects it. With Murali sir, it's more about confidence. He always tells me to bowl confidently, and most importantly, have fun while bowling. He says enjoyment is the main ingredient of success."
Among his 12 wickets was a beauty to have Kevin Pietersen, the Delhi Daredevils captain and a reputed player of spin, stumped. The ball drifted in as the batsman was advancing, dipped on him and swerved away past his swinging blade. "He wasn't stepping out against me for a long time and my instinct told me he could step out in the next delivery. So I bowled him that ball"
Yusuf finds his mojo
Kolkata Knight Riders secured a fourth victory on the trot and Yusuf Pathan was there at the end with a brisk 39 off 28. He was promoted to No.4 and made his fourth double-figure score of the season, and his outlandish celebrations after the match hinted at his relief in playing a key role to push his side across the line.
"I was certain that if I get to bat at the top of the innings and face more deliveries, I will help my team win," he said. "It is a great position to bat at since I get a chance to plan my innings and assess the situation better.
"I was never low on confidence. There were times when I was sent in to bat when there were just two or three overs to spare. At that time, if I fail to score, everyone gets a feeling that I am low on confidence and out of form. I have always had tremendous self-belief and knew I will be getting my runs soon."
Royals against experiments
Rajasthan Royals are targeting a smooth progress into the playoff stage and have shunned the idea of testing their bench strength before affirming a place in the final four, according to Kane Richardson.
"No experiments; we are after a win," he said. "The way the points table is looking, Kolkata Knight Riders are a threat as well. So for us, it is about getting that win to get us through to the playoffs. And it will be nice to do it this game."
Royals have indulged in strategic promotions in their batting throughout the season. Abhishek Nayar, a middle-order batsman by trade, was hoisted to open the batting in the UAE. Another uncapped player, Ankit Sharma was charged with the role against Chennai Super Kings. Legspinner Rahul Tewatia has played all his T20 cricket for Royals, which accounts for two matches. However, in light of the prospect of sealing a playoff spot with a victory over Mumbai Indians on Tuesday, Richardson believes the best personnel will be on the park
"If you do that kind of stuff [experiment], you set yourself up for bad luck," he said. "You have to make sure you win. If your team has qualified for the finals, you can think about stuff like that. Everyone who plays, there is a reason why they are playing. Whichever XI are there tomorrow, there is a reason why they have been picked."
Sammy to lead Sunrisers
Sunrisers Hyderabad made a tactical change by handing over the captaincy from Shikhar Dhawan to Darren Sammy. The West Indian allrounder will continue at the helm till the end of the season. There wasn't a specific reason offered for the decision although team mentor VVS Laxman said, "We are hoping for a lot from Shikhar, the batsman"
Both Dhawan and Sammy have struggled to produce the kind of impact they are known for in this IPL. Dhawan has made five 30+ scores without converting and Sammy was dropped for four matches before returning to the side. The loss to Knight Riders last night has robbed some steam from Sunrisers' push for the playoffs