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Ranbir Kapoor to Host Prelude to IPL Finale

Mumbai: Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor will host a two-hour prelude to the Indian Premier League (IPL) finale. Others joining the celebrations will include Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja.

“Cricket Finals…Party Toh Banti hai” will be telecast on Star Plus. It will see a melange of performances and fun-filled interactions with celebrities. Additionally, actors Ravi Dubey, Gaurav Sareen, Aakriti Sharma and Deshna Dugad will amplify the entertainment quotient of the finale.

It will be followed by the VIVO IPL 2018 grand finale on Star India Network on May 27, a statement issued by the channel said.

Fans have so far been enjoying commentary in six languages – Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Kannada.

In an attempt to reach out to more cricket enthusiasts across India, Star Pravah and Asianet Movies will respectively carry a Marathi and Malayalam broadcast for the first time in IPL history.

The Marathi language broadcast will have Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Swwapnil Joshi joining the celebrations.

Star Gold will also join in with the Hindi broadcast for the grand finale.

“The Dugout” on Star Sports Select will continue to cater to core cricket fans. Giving a predictive and prescriptive analysis will be Dean Jones, Scott Styris, Anil Kumble, Kumar Sangakkara, Darren Sammy, Brett Lee and Mike Hesson.

BCCI vs Lodha: CoA Attempts to Create Strife A…

New Delhi: The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud have set July 5 as the next hearing date in the BCCI matter after Amicus Curiae Gopal Subramanium has shared the suggestions for the new board constitution with all the state associations and office bearers. But in a surprise move, the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has now sent in a mail to create strife within the state bodies.

The CoA is anticipating a direction by the Supreme Court bench that the affairs of each of the state associations be administered by an administrator to be appointed by the High Court till the time fresh, free, fair and untainted elections are conducted. They have accordingly taken the liberty to send a mail — in possession of CricketNext — on these lines to all the state associations.

The CoA has said that there have been certain developments due to which it has become necessary to issue further communication to the state associations. This despite the clear instruction from the three-member bench that the submissions made by the Amicus Curiae are to be deliberated by them. The BCCI state associations and the office-bearers had readied their suggestions and submitted to the Amicus Curiae and the bench had reiterated that the finalisation of the draft constitution would depend on its order and it would be binding.

But now, the CoA has taken exception and gone ahead and written that it is the view of the CoA that: “It is mandatory for all State Associations (including those which have only representatives of district associations or clubs as voting members in the General Body) to grant membership with voting rights to former international players (men and women) hailing from the State. Membership with voting rights should be granted to former international players (men and women) hailing from the State prior to conduct of elections such that they shall be entitled to vote in the said elections. A list of all such former international players (men and women) who have been granted membership with voting rights shall be provided to the Committee of Administrators and put up on the website of the State Association prior to finalization of the electoral roll of the State Association by the electoral officer so that any former international players (men and women) who may have been missed out have an opportunity to have their name included therein.

“It would not be appropriate for any State Association (including any State Association that has or may hereafter be declared compliant for the purpose of receiving funds from BCCI in terms of the orders dated 7th October 2016 and 21st October 2016 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court) to conduct elections until the New BCCI Constitution is finalized/ approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and an administrator is appointed by the concerned Hon’ble High Court to administer the affairs of the said State Association pending elections. Notwithstanding the above, in relation to DDCA, HCA, JKCA and MCA, the respective administrators will be entitled to proceed as per the orders passed by the concerned Hon’ble High Courts regarding conduct of elections but are requested to remain in charge of the affairs of the relevant State Association until the New BCCI Constitution is finalized/ approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court (in the event further changes to the respective constitutions/ bye-laws of that State Association become necessary on account of such finalization/ approval); and where the term/ tenure of the current office bearers of a State Association is over and/or elections are due, the concerned Hon’ble High Court may be approached either by the said State Association itself and/or any member thereof for appointment of an administrator to administer the affairs of the said State Association pending elections.”

Clearly, the CoA is looking to get administrators appointed to oversee affairs of state associations. The committee seems to have ignored the intent of the SC wherein it has clearly stated that the court will settle the draft constitution subject to the outcome of the state associations’ application. The action of the CoA could in fact create a case of confusion between the former players and the state associations.

IPL 2018: Decline in SRH’s Wicket-taking Abili…

There might be a few debatable topics in IPL, as to which is the best team, best bowler or batsman, but when it comes to naming the best bowling side in the tournament, Sunrrisers Hyderabad wins hands down. The bowling unit consists of a rich mix of experienced players like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shakib Al Hasan, and youngsters like Rashid Khan and Siddarth Kaul, who have taken the team forward.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that these very bowlers were responsible for taking SRH to the top of the IPL points table, and give them a qualification in the playoffs. In fact Kaul has taken 17 wickets in 14 matches so far and has a chance to become the highest wicket-taker this year.

SRH’s fearsome bowling unit made a sensational start to their season, conceding less than 150 runs in an innings in their first 3 matches. In these matches, they conceded 410 runs at an economy rate of 6.83 RPO.

In their first 7 matches, SRH bowlers conceded 150 or more runs in only 2 matches, picking up 6 wickets collectively in the two matches.

It was in their first 7 matches, where SRH have defended 2 of their lowest scores in the IPL:

But having said that, in the last few matches Hyderabad’s bowling prowess has been a wane.

In their first 7 matches, SRH bowlers took 51 wickets at a rate of 7.29 wickets a match. In the last 7 matches, they picked up only 35 wickets at a rate of 5 wickets per match.

The average opposition score in the first 7 matches was 143, whereas in the next 7 matches, the average opposition score was 173.

SRH bowlers had an average economy rate of 7.17 in the first 7 matches vs 8.67 in the subsequent 7 matches.

A graphical representation of the wickets/match for SRH this season:

With the league games already over, Sunrisers will take on CSK in the first qualifier at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Till now SRH has won the IPL title once, in 2016.

IPL 2018: Consistent Suresh Raina Shows Why He…

Suresh Raina showed yet again why he is Mr. Dependable for Chennai Super Kings as he played a match-winning knock against Kings XI Punjab, scoring an unbeaten 61 off just 48 balls as he guided Chennai to a 5-wicket win in their final group stage match.

Raina has also now become the only batsman to score more than 300 runs in all the IPL seasons he has played. He has 391 runs to his name in 13 games, at an average of 39.10 with highest of unbeaten 75, which came against the Mumbai Indians.

Against Kings XI, it was a trademark Raina innings as he came in after Rayudu departed early and then took his time to settle in before targeting the bowlers. He also played the short-ball well, which is seen as one of the chinks in his armory.

The southpaw has had bit of an up-and-down season, but has still scored 4 half-centuries.

Rohit Sharma was the only other player who had such a consistent run in the season, but the Mumbai Indians skipper had a poor outing this time around as he could muster only 286 runs in 14 matches.

Mumbai Indians also had to face an early exit this year, being knocked out in the group stages after going down to Delhi Daredevils in the last game of the group stages.

Raina will get further chances to add to his tally as he still has minimum two games remaining, starting with the Qualifier against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

He will certainly be the key for Chennai Super Kings if they are to make a winning return to the IPL.

‘No Harm in Experimenting of Abolishing Toss,’…

Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad has backed the proposal to abolish toss from Test cricket.

While Miandad said such a move would force the home team to prepare better pitches instead of focusing on preparing tracks that suit them, another former captain, Salim Malik said the International Cricket Council should not tinker with the traditions of the game.

“I don’t see any harm in trying out this experiment of abolishing the toss,” Miandad said.

It might ultimately lead to matches particularly Test cricket being played on good standard pitches, he said as the ICC’s cricket committee meets in Mumbai this month to debate on whether the toss should be abolished from the game.

The committee can only make recommendations to the ICC chief executives committee. Since it was disclosed that the cricket committee was considering a move to recommend abolishing the toss from cricket there has been a mixed reaction to the proposal.

Miandad, a veteran of 124 tests and 233 ODIs, said there was no harm in the experiment to get better results.

“Toss has always been an integral part of cricket but times are changing and one needs to try out new things to make the sport more attractive and better,” he said.

He pointed out that in recent years home sides had resorted to preparing sub-standard and one-sided pitches to gain advantage and win matches against touring sides and this didn’t help the game.

“In recent times we have seen Pakistan win in UAE conditions where pitches are low bounced and slow and than go and struggle in Australia or New Zealand. The answer is to ensure they are good quality pitches wherever cricket is played.”

“But Malik, who was banned for life in 2000 for match fixing,” told PTI that the toss made the game more interesting.

“It allows one to judge the wisdom and worth of a captain. Decisions made at the toss eventually shape the result of a match. Why abolish the toss why not make it mandatory to have international curators like elite panel of umpires and referees,” he said.

He felt that the ICC should take it as a challenge to ensure all teams prepared sporting pitches that gave equal help to batsmen, bowlers.

“Doing away with the toss or reducing Test matches to four days is not the answer. One should not tinker with the traditional spirit of cricket,” he felt.

Is Preity Zinta Delighted at Mumbai Indians Ea…

Kings XI Punjab might have had an early exit in the IPL but owner Preity Zinta had other reason to rejoice as a video of her reportedly celebrating Mumbai Indians exit has gone viral on social media.

In the video, Zinta was seen talking to her fellow Kings XI supporter and saying “I am just very happy that Mumbai is not going to the finals … really happy.”

Three-times champion Mumbai Indians were knocked out of the tournament as they went down to Delhi Daredevils in their final league game.

Chasing 175 for a win, Mumbai Indians didn’t really have the best of starts as in-form Suryakumar Yadav (12) departed in the first over itself as he tried to hit Sandeep Lamichhane for one boundary too many. With the sluggish wicket not helping the batters, Shreyas Iyer got Amit Mishra into the attack and the wily leg-spinner sent back Ishan Kishan (5). The score read 57/2 even as Evin Lewis tried to keep up the ante.

But Mishra ensured that he had the last laugh with Lewis (48 off 31 balls) being stumped easily by Rishabh Pant. Lamichhane then dismissed Kieron Pollard (7) and Krunal Pandya (4) in quick succession as the scoreboard read 78/5. Skipper Rohit Sharma did try to stitch a partnership with Hardik Pandya as the two looked to pick the singles and hit the timely boundary.

IPL 2018: Top 5 Batting Performances in the Le…

The shortest format of the game of cricket seemingly is loaded heavily in favour of the batsmen in today’s day and age. There may be a lot of reasons for a belief like that, but one cannot at any stage not give credit where it is due. Favourable or not, the batsmen in the IPL have lit up the evenings in cricket grounds and on TV screens for the better part of a month and a half recently. The likes of KL Rahul and Jos Buttler have played some great knocks as the lone warriors for their sides, whereas someone like a Rishabh Pant has also come of age this season.

Cricketnext takes a look at the top five batting performances from the recently concluded league stages of the IPL.

1) Rishabh Pant (DD) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 128* in New Delhi

The Delhi Daredevils had a dismal season and even a change in captain from the veteran Gautam Gambhir to the young Shreyas Iyer did not help matters. But one of the brightest sparks this IPL for the Delhi side has been the young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant who has shown an explosive side to his batting. Playing against the formidable bowling attack of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Pant came into bat with his team in deep trouble. The left hander though did not crumble under pressure as 15 boundaries and seven sixes later he had scored 128 and remained unbeaten as Delhi rode his effort to post a total of 187/5. Pant, eventually ended the tournament with 684 runs and the record of the most runs by a wicket-keeper batsman in a season.

2) Chris Gayle (KXIP) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 104* in Mohali

The big-hitting West Indian batsmen went unsold in the auction before the KXIP franchise signed him up much later. Gayle, had a statement to make and he began the tournament in blistering form and he silenced his critics with a big century against one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament in the SRH. Gayle batted through the innings, wherein he played 63 balls, smashed 11 sixes and one boundary on his way to an unbeaten 104 as the KXIP posted 193 in their 20 overs. The century, like most Gayle-storms eventually won his side the game.

3) Ambati Rayudu (CSK) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 100* in Pune

Chennai Super Kings came into the tournament with a lot of experience on their side and were heavily criticized for that in the initial stages. Chasing 180 against the SRH bowling attack was never going to be easy but the opening pair of Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu dug deep. The Indian took the charge to the SRH bowlers and while Suresh Raina at number 3 could not do much, Rayudu hung in there with determination to take CSK over the line. Rayudu smashes seven boundaries and seven sixes to complete a 62 ball unbeaten century which helped CSK win by 8 wickets.

4) KL Rahul (KXIP) vs Mumbai Indians – 94 in Mumbai

KL Rahul had a real breakthrough season in the IPL as he almost single-handedly helped Kings XI Punjab enter the playoffs. Rahul scored 659 runs in 14 innings which included 2 unbeaten knocks. Rahul averaged 54.91 and showed that you can play T20 with tight technique and proper cricketing shots. One of his finest innings came against defending champions Mumbai Indians, where he played a lone hand, scoring 94 against a top attack. He almost guided the team to home, only to be dismissed in the end by Jasprit Bumrah and eventually Punjab fell short .

5) Jos Buttler (RR) vs Mumbai Indians – 94* in Mumbai

Mumbai Indians were at the receiving end of quite a few special knocks and this one came from their former player as Englishman Jos Buttler returned to haunt his side at the Wankhede with a splendid unbeaten 94 to guide the Royals to an important victory. It proved to be crucial in the end as it also helped Rajasthan sneak through to the playoffs. Chasing 169 to win, Buttler led from the front and a boundary-laden innings which included 9 boundaries and 5 sixes. He later on said that his experience of conditions helped him perform well.

IPL 2018 Report Card: Performance of the 8 Tea…

New Delhi: The group stages of the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League is over and it took for the last game of the group stages — Match 56 — to decide the fourth qualifier for the knockout stages. In the end, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals ended on the top of the points table and will play in this year’s knockout games.

CricketNext takes a look at the performance of all the eight teams in the group stages in order of their positions in the points table:

Sunrisers Hyderabad: (Overall Rating: 9/10)

It was a not so pleasant start for the franchise as they lost regular captain David Warner to the ball tampering fiasco, but Kane Williamson stepped up brilliantly as SRH finished with 18 points from 14 games. The business end didn’t go as per plan as they lost a few games, but it was a good show overall.

Batting: (Rating: 7/10)

Kane Williamson led the show with the bat, scoring 661 runs with 8 fifties, but there wasn’t much support from the rest of the guys as Shikhar Dhawan came second by a fair margin. The left hander finished with 437 runs with four fifties. The middle-order needs to buckle up going into the knockout stages.

Bowling: (Rating: 9/10)

Bowling has been the forte for the Hyderabad franchise as Siddarth Kaul (17 wickets) and Rashid Khan (16 wickets) have bowled impressively as Hyderabad managed to defend some of the lowest totals in the history of the IPL in this edition. The two were ably supported by the likes of Shakib Al Hasan (13 wickets) and Sandeep Sharma (9 wickets).

Chennai Super Kings: (Overall Rating: 9.5/10)

Back into the tournament after a 2-year suspension, MS Dhoni led from the front as CSK put up a brilliant all-round display. They did lose the plot in a couple of games here and there, but overall, it was a clinical show from the Yellow Army, led by their favourite son MSD.

Batting: (Rating: 10/10)

MS Dhoni led the pack with some power-packed performances with the bat as he amassed 446 runs coming in the middle-order with 3 fifties. Ambati Rayudu stole the show with 586 runs as he batted all over the place and finished with a century, his maiden. Shane Watson was just as good with 438 runs and Suresh Rains too sparkled in patches and finished with 391 runs.

Bowling: (Rating: 8/10)

The bowling is an area that Dhoni has himself spoken about and can be improved upon as Chennai get ready to play in the knockout stages. While the likes of Deepak Chahar (9 wickets) and Shardul Thakur (14 wickets) have been really good, the boys have at time failed to bowl according to plan. Harbhajan Singh (7 wicktes) and Ravindra Jadeja (9 wickets) can also do better.

Kolkata Knight Riders: (Overall Rating: 8/10)

There was a lot of debate about KKR going for a relatively young team at the auction and also releasing Gautam Gambhir. But the move seems to have worked as under Dinesh Karthik, the team did really well and finished third with 16 points.

Batting: (Rating: 8.5/10)

Dinesh Karthik seems to have turned a new leaf when it comes to finishing games and he was once again the pivot around whom the Kolkata batting functioned. He scored 438 runs and was ably supported by Chris Lynn (425 runs) as the two senior pros gave the guidance to youngsters like Shubman Gill (145 runs) and Nitish Rana (279 runs). Sunil Narine (327) and Andre Russell (264) were just too good.

Bowling: (Rating: 7.5/10)

DK looked to give youngsters like Mavi an opportunity to make the stage their own. While they did perform in patches, the bowling was generally not on the mark for the Kolkata brigade and the skipper would want them to come back strongly in the second half of the season as they look to win their third title. Sunil Narine (16 wickets) and Kuldeep Yadav (14 wickets) ensured that the inexperience in the side didn’t hurt the team.

Rajasthan Royals: (Overall Rating: 7.5/10)

Back into the tournament after a 2-year suspension, Royals brought in Shane Warne as the mentor, but Ajinkya Rahane’s boys must thank the stars for being able to qualify for the knockouts. They must also thank Jos Buttler for turning the heat from the moment he was promoted to open the batting. Rahane himself wouldn’t be too pleased with the way he led the team.

Batting: (Rating: 6.5/10)

Apart from Buttler (548 runs) and Sanju Samson (391), none of the top-order batsmen looked convincing. Consistency was a huge issue for the boys as even skipper Rahane managed just 324 runs with a fifty. Rahul Tripathi failed to find a position at the top of the order and that curtailed his influence as he managed just 206 runs. Ben Stokes was a big disappointment.

Bowling: (Rating: 8/10)

The bowling looked slightly better with Jofra Archer (13 wickets) and Shreyas Gopal (10 wickets) doing a good job. They were well supported by K Gowtham (9 wickets) and Jaydev Undakat (11 wickets) although the latter failed to rise to the challenge as the most expensive bowler bought at the auction. Stoke was slightly better with the ball as he picked 8 wickets.

Mumbai Indians: (Overall Rating: 7/10)

The defending champions clearly didn’t deserve to find a place in the knockouts as they once again started with a string of losses. They did have a chance in their last game against DD on Sunday, but they lost that to crash out. In the end, Rohit Sharma would have to admit that they were just not consistent enough.

Batting: (Rating: 6.5/10)

Suryakumar Yadav (512 runs) was like the lone bright spot as he failed to find consistent support from the others. Evin Lewis with 382 runs was good in patches, but you cannot win games when there is no sense of consistency. Ishan Kishan (275) too did a decent job and even though skipper Rohit did manage 286 runs, a lot more was expected from him.

Bowling: (Rating: 7.5/10)

The bowling was comparatively better for the defending champions as the likes of Jasprit Bumrah (17 wickets) and Hardik Pandya (18 wickets) led the show. Mayank Markande (15 wickets) was the surprise package as the Mumbai Indians bowlers did a quality job. They would rue the fact that the batsmen were not on the mark in some of the crucial games.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: (Overall Rating: 6.5/10)

Virat Kohli came into the tournament saying that the boys wanted to lift the cup this time, but unfortunately the performances didn’t show the same zeal as the skipper’s intention. It was again a lone battle from Kohli and AB de Villiers with the bat and Umesh Yadav with the ball. There was no teamwork as such as they finished sixth with 12 points.

Batting: (Rating: 7/10)

Virat Kohli finished with 530 runs and ABD hit 480 runs. But that was as per the script. What hurt the RCB franchise was the lack of consistent performance from the others. 252 was the third-highest score in the team from Mandeep Singh, followed by Quinton de Kock’s 201 runs. It was a complete failure on a home ground which has a batsman-friendly wicket.

Bowling: (Rating: 6/10)

Bowling has never been RCB’s forte over the years, but Umesh Yadav did make a statement as he finished with 20 wickets in the league stages. It was almost like he was driving home a point after Kohli didn’t play him for India in the South Africa series. But Chahal was quite a disappointment and that didn’t help as he has been a pivot for RCB in the last couple of years. The spinner managed just 12 wickets.

Kings XI Punjab: (Overall Rating: 5/10)

The Punjab campaign just fell flat in May after a brilliant start in April. They were one of the lesser fancied teams, but their start had everyone sit up and take note. But sadly, Ashwin’s team failed to rise to the challenge when the going got tough and finished 7th on the points table.

Batting: (Rating: 4/10)

It was again a case of just KL Rahul (659 runs) and Chris Gayle (368 runs) firing at the top and a brittle middle-order undoing the hardwork put in by those two. The middle-order puzzle left KXIP out of the knockout spot as the batting just didn’t have the firepower once Rahul was dismissed.

Bowling: (Rating: 6/10)

The likes of Ankit Rajpoot (11 wickets), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (14 wickets) and Andrew Tye (24 wickets) did show signs of match-winning skills, but you need your batsmen to flourish in a format like the IPL. Also, R Ashwin managing to pick just 10 wickets isn’t a display that the captain will be proud of.

Delhi Daredevils: (Overall Rating: 3/10)

Rishabh Pant shines like the only bright spot for a franchise which otherwise continued to remain in the bottom of the points table almost right through the league stages. They finally managed just 5 wins and finished with 10 points. This is a campaign they would again wish to forget at the earliest. Not to forget the mid-season drama of Gautam Gambhir stepping down as skipper and not playing another game.

Batting: (Rating: 4/10)

Pant finishing with 684 runs makes it even worse as one feels that the batsmen suffered due to the lack of support and could well have been gearing up for the knockouts if he was part of any other franchise. Shreyas Iyer played decently as the mid-season skipper managed 411 runs. Prithvi Shaw with 245 runs flattered to deceive and Glenn Maxwell would find it difficult to find an IPL side if he continues like this.

Bowling: (Rating: 2/10)

Trent Boult was again the only bright spot in the bowling department with 18 wickets. Amit Mishra finished with 12 and Sandeep Lamichhane (5 wickets) did impress in the latter half of the season, but the decision to not play him earlier comes as a shock. As was the decision to bench Harshal Patel (7 wickets) and play someone like Rahul Tewatia.

CSK’s Ngidi Was ‘Grinning’ When he Saw Bounce …

New Delhi: Fast bowlers usually have uncharitable words to describe Indian wickets but Lungi Ngidi was full of praise for the Pune surface where he wrecked Kings XI Punjab on Sunday in a stellar display of pace bowling in the batsman-dominated format.

The Chennai Super Kings bowler tormented Punjab batsmen with his pace and movement to return 4-1-10-4 in the five-wicket Indian Premier League (IPL) victory at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

“Having seen (new ball partner Deepak) Chahar bowl the first over, there was a bit of bounce and pace in the wicket. I was grinning there from the boundary,” the South African said after Chennai’s last group match.

Encouraged by the bounce and carry, the 22-year-old steamed in with keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni gathering several deliveries above shoulder height.

“When I got the ball, and bowled my first ball I actually saw that it’s a very quick wicket and it was playing a lot in my favour,” Ngidi later told reporters.

“I tried to pitch it on the fourth stump line, (thinking) whether it was swinging away or swinging back in, let the batsmen deal with that.

"It was a very good wicket for fast bowlers I’d say. It was very exciting to see Indian conditions offer such a fast bowler-friendly wicket.”

Lungi left the Chennai camp and returned home last month after his father passed away but has been a steady performer for the two-time champions since his return.

On a pitch of his liking on Sunday, Ngidi dismissed the dangerous Chris Gayle for a duck in his maiden first over. In his next, he brought one back to breach the gate of KL Rahul, comfortably Punjab’s best batsman this season.

He then returned to dismiss Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin and Andrew Tye in the same over on his way to register his best Twenty20 figures, which also earned him the Man of the Match award.

Bought for five million Indian rupees ($73,448) in the players’ auction, Lungi said his maiden IPL experience had uplifted his mood following the family tragedy.

“It was the last thing I expected,” he said of the January auction.

“I never thought I’d get picked up in the auction. But the way the coaching staff and (captain) MS Dhoni have backed me has been really amazing.

"The experience here has been eye-opening. I have never played in front of such crowds but then again this is the kind of stages where you find out how really good you are.”

Party-pooper Delhi Daredevils, who finished last in the eight-team league, beat defending champions Mumbai Indians on Sunday as Rajasthan Royals grabbed the final playoff slot.

Table-topper Sunrisers Hyderabad will now clash with Chennai in Tuesday’s qualifier with the winner making it to Sunday’s final.

Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Rajasthan in Wednesday’s eliminator. The winner of which will meet Tuesday’s beaten side for a place in the final in Mumbai.

IPL 2018: Top 5 Bowling Performances of the Le…

The on-going season of the IPL has seen a lot of drama, with the last spot of the final four being decided only after the last league stage match was completed. Like every year, this season was once again heavily loaded in favour of the batsmen, but there were some fantastic bowling performances too with Indian bowlers like Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot and Kuldeep Yadav among the better performers for their respective teams.

Cricketnext takes a look at the top five bowling performances from the recently concluded league stages of the IPL.

1) Ankit Rajpoot (KXIP) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 5/14 in 4 overs in Hyderabad

The Sunrisers Hyderabad have been in some scintillating form through the IPL, with their bowling and batting departments both flexing their muscles at will. The Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan led batting line up have the firepower to take apart any bowling unit. But on April 26th, against the Kings XI Punjab, they met their match in Ankit Rajpoot who bowled 17 dot balls out of his 24 legal deliveries and gave away only 14 runs. What’s more, the top order including the likes of Dhawan, Williamson, Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey all fell prey to his wise bowling tactics. His fifth victim was Mohammad Nabi. Rajpoot is the only bowler to have taken five wicket haul in the league stages.

2) Lungi Ngidi (CSK) vs Kings XI Punjab – 4/10 in 4 overs in Pune

Lungi Ngidi broke onto the scene against India during the Test series in South Africa and since has been identified as one of the more dangerous fast bowlers in world cricket. Once he got his chance with the MS Dhoni-led CSK side, the young man grabbed it with both hands. His best performance in his debut season in the IPL came against the KXIP, who needed to win big against CSK to qualify for the play-offs. The South African opened the bowling and promptly removed the dangerous KL Rahul and Chris Gayle before taking the wickets of R Ashwin and Andrew Tye later on the innings to derail KXIP’s hopes of a big score. In his spell, Ngidi bowled 16 dot balls, which means he conceded 10 runs of eight balls.

3) Andrew Tye (KXIP) vs Mumbai Indians – 4/16 in 4 overs in Mumbai

Just a week after the Australian Andrew Tye had lost his grandmother, he put the brakes efficiently on an otherwise high scoring Mumbai Indians batting line-up. The hosts looked in the mood to score big, but Tye had other plans. Bowling first change, he sent the top order of Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis and Ishan Kishan back to the hut before the end of the powerplay. Tye wasn’t done with that as he dismissed the dangerous all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the 15th over to complete a successful spell. Tye, the lone warrior as a bowler for KXIP, bowled 15 dot balls in his spell as Mumbai were restricted to below 200.

4) Shreyas Gopal (RR) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 4/16 in 4 overs in Jaipur

Both Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore had their season on the line, with the visitors led by Virat Kohli in dire need of a win. Captain Kohli tried to lead the charge from the front but Gopal spun a web around the likes of Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Moeen Ali and Mandeep Singh to break the very backbone of the RCB batting line-up. Gopal bowled 10 dot balls out of 24 and single-handedly ensured the RCB chase would not take off, thus giving his team a Royal boost in the race for the final four spots.

5) Kuldeep Yadav (KKR) vs Rajasthan Royals – 4/20 in Kolkata

The Rajasthan Royals had their backs to the wall and were looking to take the game away right from the start as they began with a flurry of boundaries at the Eden Gardens. KKR, like their opponents were in a must win situation and soon enough Dinesh Karthik turned to Kuldeep Yadav as the rest found the going tough. Yadav, who is known to cause the batsmen trouble took a wicket in all his overs with the danger men Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes all back in the hut along with Stuart Binny. Kuldeep’s four wickets not only put the brakes on Rajasthan but helped lay the platform for KKR to build on towards the win.