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With their premier strike bowler ruled out and the overseas strike-force yet to recover fully from injury, Mumbai Indians' season appeared to have crashed even before it started, given how thin they had become in terms of bowling resources. A repeat of the 2022 season, where they finished at the bottom, loomed large. But the five-time champions found a solution to deal with their crisis, using their batting muscle and the flat pitches of Wankhede to effect a turnaround. A playoffs berth for the first time in three seasons came as a bonus and to finish one step away from the final is a performance that'd have been satisfactory to an extent. A last-minute entry into the playoffs, courtesy Royal Challengers Bangalore's loss in their final league game, Mumbai Indians finished fourth on the points table. A crushing win over Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator sparked hopes of a possible entry to the summit clash but Mumbai were decimated in Qualifier 2 by a as the defending champions prevailed. Mumbai began their campaign with successive losses and the initial phase of the tournament was a mixed bag before they cracked a temporary formula to gain momentum. With the bowling extremely thin, Mumbai backed their batting firepower to deliver and it saw them chase down 200-plus scores for fun. At Wankhede in particular, MI were dominant, registering five wins out of seven. Tim David's hat-trick sixes off Jason Holder to get MI across the line against RR. With just three wins in seven games until then, Mumbai were under the pump, especially with a huge score to chase. This win set the ball rolling for a resurgent second half. 0883kbyaDA Not often that you have three men vying equally for a tag but that's how it was for MI this season. If the unimitably inventive Suryakumar Yadav (605 runs at an SR of 181) was at the forefront of Mumbai's comeback story, Piyush Chawla (22 wickets at an economy of 8.11) shouldered the burden in the bowling department with his best-ever IPL season. Featuring primarily in the second leg, young Akash Madhwal (14 wickets at an economy of 8.58) was as crucial, as he took care of Mumbai's pace bowling woes. The eliminator victory against Lucknow Super Giants. For a team that had made it to the playoffs on the strength of their batting might on flat pitches, the slow Chepauk surface was bound to be a challenge, more so against a Lucknow side that was primed for those conditions. While MI's batting did come to the party again, it was their bowling performance that made everyone take notice with Madhwal leading the charge. LSG did get off to a brisk start but MI's bowling and fielding picked up in intensity, gradually blowing Lucknow away comprehensively. Cameron Green at number three. Having splurged INR 17.5 crore in signing the Australian all-rounder, Mumbai's challenge was to find an ideal spot for him. Green batted at different positions through the tournament but it was at number three that he managed to sync, creating tremendous impact. 452 runs at a SR of 161 are impressive returns for a player in his debut season and it's now a given that Green will be the core of MI's top order going forward. With the batting unit set in stone, Mumbai's only immediate concern will be to stock up their bowling attack. Jasprit Bumrah's potential return next season solves the void to a big extent, but there is a cloud over Jofra Archer's comeback at the moment. With young Madhwal stepping in, there is solace for MI but they'd want an additional overseas pacer as backup and would also need to look for a quality Indian spinner to ease Chawla's workload.

The hope and joy his devotees raise at a fleeting vision of him on the big screen during Chennai Super Kings' innings explodes in a supernova of ecstasy when, eventually, he comes in to bat. The feeling of it is a wonder of the age, even when seen and heard from the other hemisphere by the most agnostic of neutrals. To think this steepling whoop of happiness has been created by the smattering of Dhoni's disciples who are in the ground is sobering: consider the quake that would shake if all of them were gathered together. To think he has been adulated in this year's IPL like no other player might make us think those fans are drunk: Dhoni is among the tournament's most under-worked players, at least as a batter.

The Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), held in Ahmedabad on Saturday (May 27), took cognizance of the criticism of facilities at various stadiums across the country and decided to form a committee on ways to sanction grants for various stadiums. In particular, the BCCI members discussed the criticism, mainly in social media, of amenities at some grounds, and wanted an up-gradation of the grounds for the public turning up at the grounds. The item -- Formation of Infrastructure development and subsidy committee -- was the first point on the five-point agenda for the meeting. The SGM authorized the office-bearers to form the committee. The upgradation of the grounds is expected to be complete before the World Cup in October-November. In a similar point relating to the formation of a working group for the World Cup, the SGM, again, authorized the office-bearers to take a call. The formation of the committee is expected to be announced in a few days, after the final of the IPL on Sunday. Meanwhile, BCCI has revealed that the venues for the World Cup will be made public during the World Test Championship final in London. The schedule will also be disclosed then, at a media event, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said. The WTC final will be held at The Oval from June 7 to 12. In further planning for the World Cup, the BCCI said it will make each office-bearer will be given charge of a venue and they will be responsible for it. "We are looking at all the metros as venues for the tournament," Shah disclosed. About the much contentious Asia Cup, Shah said the venue(s) will be decided after a meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). Hosts Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has proposed a hybrid model for the continental championship with Pakistan and UAE as venues but it has still not found acceptance from the members. "The future of the Asia Cup 2023 will be decided once we have a meeting with the ACC members," Shah observed. The Asia Cup is tentatively scheduled for September. As for the series against Afghanistan, Shah said it will be held before the World Cup but did not confirm the dates. Initially, it was proposed to be staged in June-end, sandwiching the three ODIs between the WTC final and the West Indies series (in July-August), but those dates are unlikely to be considered, as . "We will go ahead with the series this year, before the World Cup," Shah said, leaving the matter in tenterhooks. The BCCI had previously stated that it was looking for a Diwali window for the WPL and Shah hinted that the second edition of the league will be next year, not during the 2023 Diwali, because of the World Cup in India. "We will have a discussion with the broadcaster and decide on a window. We will be looking at a window for organizing the next edition of the WPL before March 2024," he said. He also revealed that the shortlist of applicants for the women's head coach has already been done. "The CAC will meet and decide accordingly. We may have a new women's team head coach before the Bangladesh series," the BCCI secretary asserted.

Numbers matter. But if confidence, pressure and other sporting buzzwords were indeed irrelevant, cricket would've been played by robots. Chennai Super Kings have resisted letting the situation get to them in the past. Players who were a part of the setup have claimed that the feeling of playing a final was never really felt in the team. Yet, a day ahead of the 2023 final, Stephen Fleming, who has been a part of 11 IPL finals, doesn't deny that there is 'a bit of nervousness'. It's what makes the players perform at their best, according to him. On the other hand, Vikram Solanki, GT's Director of Cricket, put up a more relaxed front - of being confident in what the team has achieved in its brief past, as well as giving the due to CSK who have done it many times over. CSK may have in the first Qualifier against Gujarat Titans, but on a slowish surface in Chennai, it was home comfort for them. Irrespective of how many fans turn up wearing the yellow jersey in Ahmedabad on Sunday in the hope to see MS Dhoni lift the trophy again in what could be his last game in the IPL, conditions will be far from home. Fleming isn't fretting though. Playing on all sorts of surfaces this season has equipped his team slightly better to neutral pitches, according to him. Solanki is expecting a fast, high-scoring wicket, similar to the one where the home side had chased down with four balls to spare right at the start of the season. GT may be slightly better equipped for such conditions, as against Mumbai Indians. While a lot of skill and tactics will be at play, the title clash will boil down to the pressures of the day for two teams who have enjoyed spells of domination throughout the season. : Chennai Super Kings vs Gujarat Titans, IPL 2023 Final, Sunday, May 28, 2023, 7:30 PM IST : Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad : Even as the weather is expected to be mostly sunny and dry, the possibility of brief showers hasn't been ruled out. A day ahead of the game, Vikram Solanki has stated that the pitch is expected to be friendly for scoring runs. : Chennai Super Kings 1 - 3 Gujarat Titans : Deepak Chahar is one of the rare bowlers who has had some success against Shubman Gill. The seamer has dismissed the in-form GT opener thrice in 47 balls, while conceding 62 runs, in IPL. His spell upfront will be the key for CSK. Similarly, the out-of-form Ambati Rayudu, could have a role to play in countering Rashid Khan in the middle overs. The batter has scored 91 runs off the leggie in 73 balls, getting dismissed only once. : Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinkya Rahane, Shivam Dube, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana : Mohammed Shami has dismissed Devon Conway thrice in 12 balls, conceding only 5 runs. He could be the key to give GT the early impetus. On the batting front, Gill will continue to be their trump card. If he manages to start well, he can be effective against Ravindra Jadeja, who hasn't dismissed him in 48 balls. : Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudarshan, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Josh Little - This match will be MS Dhoni's 250th appearance in IPL - the first player to achieve the milestone. - Ruturaj Gaikwad has scored a half-century in each of the four encounters against Gujarat Titans - Shubman Gill needs 122 runs to equal Virat Kohli's record of most runs (973) in an IPL season "The game doesn't change but the outcome does. It's really hard not to look too far ahead and dream of winning it again. To be a part of it is what we sit out to do, that's our purpose." - , CSK head coach, on the nervousness of the final "Shubman has batted for a lion's share of overs and we are very pleased that he is doing that. At any given time there can only be two batters. If the entirety of our overs, if it's just the openers batting, it's just fine by us - , GT Director of Cricket

For the 10th time with Chennai Super Kings - in the 14 seasons they have featured in the IPL - Stephen Fleming finds himself preparing for a final. For all the talks of calm that surrounds CSK's lead-up to an , Fleming opened up about the nervousness that has crept in even for the four-time champions. But it's not the worst thing to happen, according to the head coach. "It's a big occasion," reminds Fleming ahead of the summit clash against Gujarat Titans. "The game doesn't change but the outcome does. It's really hard not to look too far ahead and dream of winning it again. To be a part of it (the title win) is what we sit out to do, that's our purpose. "So try and contain that excitement and stay in the present is what is one of the great challenges as you get to the end of the tournament. You got to stay very present about what you're going to do. Gujarat is an excellent side, the most consistent side in the competition so far. We can't afford to dream too much, but this is why we are here. "The excitement levels, the nerves of the big stage, they just simmer away. It's a good thing to have. It's just how you work with your system. We have some good people around us and we look forward to this challenge. You need to have a certain sense of anxiety to be at your best, I believe. It's on how you manage that and how quickly you're able to sink into the game. That's what we'll be doing tomorrow." The Titans have the opportunity of becoming only the third team, after Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, to defend their IPL title. Both MI and CSK, despite all their success, have managed to defend the title only once. "It's going to be so hard for them. Impossible," Fleming joked before praising the Hardik Pandya-led side for being able to make good use of their smart squad selection. Despite being the most regular side to turn up in the finals, CSK's record hasn't particularly been the best in the summit clash, winning only 4 out of 9 times. That much of their strategy and squad selection all along was based to suit the slow and low tracks of Chennai possibly had a big part to play in their inability to adjust as well to neutral conditions. For a change, that could be one of their strengths going into the Sunday's clash, believes Fleming. "We geared ourselves up so well in Chennai that we did struggle a bit with different conditions at times in away games," he admitted. "This year, we are a bit more rounded. We had to be," he said. "In the last qualifying game I wanted to bowl. And batting proved to be the right call. We were well off the mark in getting the conditions right. But the team is rounded enough to put performances together. Come the final, now we don't have to worry about what conditions we get. We're not worried. We're mentally at a lot better place than where we were in the past." KeKaV3LzO4A Having finished ninth last season, CSK managed to script a turnaround without much personnel change, finishing second in the tightly-contested league phase in IPL 2023 before beating the table toppers Gujarat Titans in the Qualifier 1. While Fleming opened up about the mindset that went behind in making the changes, he stressed on the fine margins that often don't reflect adequately on the points table. "The margin between success and failures in this competition has just got closer and closer each year. We may have been ninth, but when you look back, there are a number of games that could've gone different ways. Maybe the last ball finishes or a great performance. Such fine margins determine where you finish on the logs. "It's getting closer and closer as teams are getting smarter and smarter about the players they pick, the conditions they play in. This year is no different. This has been the hardest competition. Each team you come up against, it feels incredibly difficult. "When we've had a bad season, we've been able to bounce back. A part of it is to do with how we finish a bad season. We're always looking for the positives or giving players the opportunities to work in the following year. So we don't just write it off. "There are a lot of things to learn when a season goes well, but there are even more things to learn when the season doesn't. We're always looking to get better and we're realistic about how difficult it is to get to this stage. That's why we're proud about our record of being consistent over a period of time. We've been able to put in performances when we're in form, when we're out of form. "The greatest challenge of this tournament is that when you're trying to create a team that's going really well, you have to disband and keep only four players. The fact that we've been able to be consistent with that, with those rules in places, is something we look back very proudly on." The story of CSK success lies greatly on the consistency they have managed to have - both in terms of player retention as well as those in the coaching and support staff, with MS Dhoni and Fleming forging an extremely long captain-coach partnership that's rarely witnessed in cricket. "It's pretty easy when you have a superstar that does the job very well," he said speaking about the success of the partnership. "What it has allowed us to do is work below the surface and just be a foil for him when he needs some advice or support. "Some of the secrets are the continuity in people, the belief in players, calmness under pressure. Those are all traits that come from him and we're able to add to that. When we turn up, there's a sense of familiarity of what we're doing and with whom we are doing it with. "In a fast-paced turnaround, it gives you an advantage. You can get back to things a lot quicker, if you don't have to learn about the coaching staff every year. That's the part of the reason we stay as consistent as possible. We can add layers rather than starting each year. "It's been an absolute pleasure to be a part of CSK. I couldn't ask for more than getting to work with one of the greatest captains and players of the game. We're very lucky to have him at the top. But we add to him as well, the strength below to what he does. The players respond very well to what he asks. It's a good-feel successful franchise."

Daryl Mitchell blitzed an unbeaten 41-ball 85 as Lancashire posted 208 against Nottinghamshire, a total they defended rather easily to make it three wins from three at the start of their T20 Blast campaign. Lancashire's total proved to be beyond Nottingham's reach despite the best efforts of Colin Munro, who hit a 29-ball 60. Lancashire needed a big score to stay immune from the perils of defending on a true surface at Old Trafford after electing to bat. And they were propped up by a brisk start from openers Phil Salt and Luke Wells. The pair had to ward off the new-ball threat of Shaheen Afridi and once they achieved that, runs came in a torrent. The hosts raced away to 56 in 5.3 overs before Wells fell for a 23-ball 38. Lancashire then lost Salt and Steven Croft in quick succession, bringing together the pair of Mitchell and Liam Livingstone in the 10th over. The pair provided the much-needed middle-overs thrust, adding 82 runs off 45 deliveries before Livingstone was dismissed in the 18th over for a 23-ball 32. Mitchell, a beneficiary of as many as three dropped catches, continued to be severe on the bowling and batted through to finish with four fours and a half-a-dozen sixes, taking the total past the 200-mark. Nottinghamshire stumbled early in the chase as Luke Wood castled Alex Hales for a duck in the first over. The other opener, Joe Clarke, fell in Wood's second over, leaving the visitors with a mountain to climb. Munro and Matthew Mongtomery then put the chase back on track with a 78-run partnership for the third wicket. The New Zealander was in particularly blazing form, hitting five sixes and four fours in his knock before falling to Luke Wells. His dismissal took the fizz off Nottingham's chase as Tom Moores (41*), Steven Mullaney and Lyndon James couldn't keep the big hits coming to keep up with the required rate. Lancashire used as many as eight bowlers to close out an eventually dominant victory by 22 runs and reinforced their place at the top of the North Group standings. Lancashire 208/4 in 20 overs (Daryl Mitchell 85*, Luke Wells 38; Samit Patel 2-41) beat Nottingham 186/5 in 20 overs (Colin Munro 60, Matthew Montgomery 41; Luke Wood 2-29) by 22 runs.

Yashasvi Jaiswal's inclusion in the squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final, albeit as a standby, is an indication of things to come for the young Mumbai batsman. The 21-year-old opener, who is in the running for the Emerging Player of IPL award, now looks a certainty for an India call-up for the Twenty20 squad in the West Indies. A call-up to the red-ball squad too isn't off the table as India will also play two Tests in the Caribbean in July. Jaiswal, who scored 625 runs in 14 games for Rajasthan Royals, comes into the WTC squad as a replacement for Ruturaj Gaikwad, who is getting married and will not be able to be with the team for the June 7-12 final against Australia at The Oval. Jaiswal's call-up to the UK is a recognition for his bumper recent first-class season, during which he scored 1169 runs across nine games, including five hundreds. He is expected to fly out in a day or two, said a source in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Meanwhile, a few other players, including Jaydev Unadkat, who has been doing his rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, will reach London by Monday by when another group, including skipper Rohit Sharma and other WTC-bound players who were part of the Mumbai Indians squad, should be there. The last batch will fly out in the early hours of May 30.

Key match pointers to know... - A full 20-over game will be played even if the game starts as late as 9.35 PM IST - There's a reserve day should even a five-over game not be possible It's currently raining in Ahmedabad! The toss has been delayed here, unfortunately! MS Dhoni started the season on a chariot and has been retained on a very high pedestal all season around the country. You start at Ahmedabad? It's all yellow. You go to Hyderabad? There's yellow. You play in Kolkata? Yes, yellow again. Just overwhelming widespread emotions have dictated the narrative this season. So the question (another one) is, will that emotion hit peak crescendo tonight? Hardik Pandya will say 'definitely not'. He's shown that Gujarat Titans' success last season wasn't a one-off. If anything, they appeared stronger this time. If 2022 was about repeated middle-order bail outs, 2023 has been the year of Shubman Gill and some top-half batting brawn. It's been an interesting path to the final for both these sides. CSK have been one of the best batting sides, maximising their resources to perfection - Ajinkya Rahane shone as the pace hitting, Shivam Dube excelled as the spin smasher, the openers put on 100s for fun and Dhoni, in his limited capacity, gave the crowd what they wanted. Matheesha Pathirana has been the death-overs trump card and even Tushar Deshpande has picked wickets despite being expensive. GT meanwhile, have been the only side with their kind of dominance in a season which will go down as the most competitive. Every team bar SRH and DC have been in the race to make it to the playoffs till the very end.

Ambati Rayudu has announced his retirement from IPL after the final of IPL 2023, bringing to end a 13-year journey in the tournament where he represented Mumbai Indians first and then the Chennai Super Kings. Rayudu made the announcement on social media, tweeting,"2 great teams mi nd csk,204 matches,14 seasons,11 playoffs,8 finals,5 trophies.hopefully 6th tonight. It's been quite a journey.I have decided that tonight's final is going to be my last game in the Ipl.i truly hav enjoyed playing this great tournament.Thank u all. No u turn." Rayudu had previously gone back on a retirement announcement in 2022 where he had tweeted his retirement after the season but deleted the tweet after talks with the team management in CSK. Rayudu has featured in over 200 games in the IPL and has scored over 4000 runs that includes one century. He also featured as a part-time wicketkeeper for Mumbai Indians with whom he hit four fifties in the 2011 season, but his best in the tournament came in 2018 when he got 602 runs at a strike-rate of nearly 150.

The 1 lac capacity for crowds in Ahmedabad's stadium wasn't built for silence. For a few fleeting moments however, the home fans who were happy to cheer and scream for sixes and fours irrespective of their muddled team allegiances, went quiet; stunned into a collective silence, gasping in awe as Shubman Gill deposited Piyush Chawla for a 106-meter six over long on. His captain, Hardik Pandya, too had nothing more to offer than a shake of a head in admiration. It was his eighth six in a space of 30 balls. Gill, who had given life to Mumbai Indians' campaign with a cracking century only last week against RCB, drowned Rohit Sharma's men with another ton, his third of the season, on Friday. It wasn't merely about the assault mode that he had turned on, but the manner in which he was able to hit those sixes. The classical footwork to go down to the pitch of the ball notwithstanding, those shots had an air of nonchalance that's usually visible only when batters are practising range hitting in the nets - when the game pressure is off, no crowds exist and possibly the net bowlers or the machines that don't carry a similar reputation or ability to outhink. Gill ended that differentiation. It was far from the extreme versions of deep at the crease-stable base-big bat swing technique. For many - from former players and coaches to teammates - it was one of the best T20 innings they had ever seen, if not the best of them all. It wasn't even flawless. He was dropped by Tim David when he was batting on 30. A few deliveries later, when he was on 37, Tilak Varma didn't go for a catch as Gill's pull fell just short of him at deep mid wicket. After the eighth six against Chawla, he cracked a couple of more in the innings while looking to swat away at everything following his century - a 60-ball 129. His innings set the base of Gujarat Titans' 233, a total that helped the side to a comfortable win en route their second successive IPL final. "He has amazing work ethics, that's why he is one of the best cricketers right now," Vijay Shankar, his GT teammate, stressed for the second time this season. "He is hitting those sixes like he's batting in Test cricket. The way he practices is something that's important. Every practice session he goes out there and does what he wants, he practices with purpose. Everytime he turns up for a game, it's so lovely to see him switch on from ball one." Even Pandya reflected on Gill's training process behind his recent run of success, "I think a lot of hard work goes behind the guys doing well," the GT captain said. "They keep practising, that reflects. I think the clarity and confidence he is carrying is amazing. Today's innings was one of the finest, he never looked rushed. It felt like someone was throwing balls and he was hitting." qvX8m66D47W Gill's evolution as a six-hitting batter has been one of the cornerstones of GT's success in the last two seasons. A prolific run-scorer in the IPL, Gill's strike rate was a matter of concern in KKR, his previous franchise, where he scored runs at a strike rate of 118.9, 117.96 and 124.36 in the last three seasons respectively. His inability to shift gears was proving troublesome for the team as they failed to take advantage of the powerplay while also getting bogged down through the middle overs. In IPL 2023, he has scored a six every 16 balls - a drastic improvement from his record till the previous seasons, where he was averaging 33 balls per six. "It was not a conscious decision (to hit more sixes), but you want to keep evolving," Gill said at the post match presentation on Friday. "Belief is more important, it helps when you're coming off a good international season. I had a good season last time as well. When I start well, I feel confident that I can score well. Success has been a combination of a lot of things. From the last West Indies tour, I think I have shifted gears. I got injured before the last IPL but I have been working on my game. I have worked on a few areas and made technical changes ahead of the NZ series after the T20I World Cup." But it's not Gill's six-hitting ability that has been the prime reason for his success, according to Vijay. "He is able to do both - hit sixes and find the gaps in the powerplay, which I think is his biggest strength. He can hit those sixes. There was an innings where he scored 90 (101 vs SRH) and had just one six. He has the ability to do both and he knows when to use what, which is a highlight of a top cricketer." In fact, he has played seven innings this season where he has faced more than 30 balls and hit one or less six. Yet, his prolific scores have come at a strike rate of 156.43 and been central to GT's success in the batting department. For as stiff as it might seem, with only 122 runs behind Virat Kohli's 2016 tally of 973 in an IPL season, Gill has every opportunity to overtake that score, especially given his current form where he has notched up three centuries in four games. Most important after spoiling Kohli's century party and ending Rohit Sharma & Co's revival run, he would be keen to make MS Dhoni's possible swansong a bit anti-climatic en route a successive IPL title triumph for the new dominators of the tournament, Gujarat Titans.

Meg Lanning has been ruled out of the upcoming Ashes tour of England due to medical reasons, Cricket Australia revealed on Saturday (May 27). The 31-year-old, on the advice of CA's medical staff, has withdrawn from the squad and will manage her medical issue from home. Lanning's last international appearance came against South Africa in the T20 World Cup final in Cape Town in February this year, having returned to the game in January after a lengthy break to manage her mental health. She had also captained Delhi Capitals in the inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League, where her team lost to Mumbai Indians in the summit clash. Alyssa Healy will captain Australia in the Ashes while Tahlia McGrath has been named her deputy. Meanwhile, CA haven't named any replacement for Lanning, with Australia having the option of bringing in players from Australia A who will also be touring the UK at the same time. "It's an unfortunate setback for Meg and she's obviously disappointed to have been ruled out of the Ashes; it's a significant series for the team and she'll be missed, but she understands the need to put her health first," CA's Head of Performance (Women's Cricket) Shawn Flegler said. "Meg will remain at home where she will continue to work with medical staff with the aim to return to playing as soon as possible. We ask that Meg's privacy is respected at this time," added Flegler. The Women's Ashes begins on June 22 with the one-off Test against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. This will be followed by three T20Is and three ODIs, with the series ending in Taunton on July 18.

There have been as many as 36 200-plus totals in IPL 2023. Mumbai Indians have been at the receiving end of six such scores. Three of those totals came on batting-friendly wickets at the Wankhede stadium, while MI also emerged victorious in three 200-plus chases. But the fact remains that the five-time champions lacked the fire-power in the bowling department with Jasprit Bumrah being absent for the entire tournament and Jofra Archer featuring in only five matches. After losing their opening two games, they did come back well in the competition and got through to the playoffs by winning four of their last five games in the league stage, with Gujarat Titans doing them a favour by defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore. But their journey ended in after the Titans came up with a belligerent batting display, led by Shubman Gill's third hundred of the IPL season. While ruing the absence of their key pacemen, MI's head coach Mark Boucher said the team tried to make do with the options at their disposal. "You can look at Bumrah not being available, Jofra not being available, they are quality players. If you are losing out on your quality players, yes it's going to leave a hole. Not to put any blame on anyone, those things happen in sports, injuries happen in sports and you've got to deal with it. "I thought that the guys that we brought in, they did their best in a situation where they probably weren't selected upfront. So they were brought into the competition maybe a little bit out of season for them. To lose two players like that, that was difficult but we gave our best and we weren't good enough," said Boucher. Going forward, Boucher insisted that the team management might have to take some tough decisions based on the fitness of the players. "You lose two of your stars in the bowling line-up, it's going to create a couple of holes and we tried to fix it up as best as possible. Hopefully the guys can get over the injuries. If they can't, then we've got to look other places. "There are so many things that we can talk about but for me to open up a can of worms now would be stupid. I think it's time to just sit back, reflect a bit, take the emotion out of it and make some good, sound cricketing decisions once everything is calmed down and once we understand the future of certain individuals and where they are from a fitness perspective." Boucher defended the bowlers and said they showed a lot of improvement as the competition wore on but also said the slew of 200-plus scores against his team did dent the confidence of the bowlers. "The bowlers, I think you have to look at it from a different perspective. If you have a look at the totals that were scored at Wankhede and chased down, sometimes you can look at the figures and say our bowlers were going for a lot of runs. And yes, there were certain games where we could have bowled a little bit better. We've got quite an inexperienced bowling line-up. But we had some good chats and I think we improved as the competition went along. "But to look at it just because we went over 200, we also chased a lot of scores over 200. So anyone who comes to Wankhede will know that it is very much a batting-friendly pitch and ground. I feel sorry for the bowlers at times, going for scores over 200 can dent your confidence a bit, which probably did to a couple of our bowlers. But we were chasing scores down of 200-plus. So you have to look at it in a different context," he said. Meanwhile, speaking about his maiden IPL campaign as the head coach, Boucher said: "The experience has been fantastic, I've really enjoyed it. (We've) got a good group of guys in the dressing room, support staff has been great as well, lots of experience. It's a very tough competition, takes a lot to win a game of cricket, there are a lot of good teams that you come up against. So the results can go either way. So it's quite a stressful competition. But in saying that, to get to the playoffs is a good achievement. Obviously disappointed about tonight's result but I thought we fought right the way till the end."

Sean Abbott equalled Andrew Symonds's 19-year-old record for the fastest T20 ton in English T20 cricket as at The Oval on Friday (May 26). Having come in to bat with his team struggling at 64/4 in the ninth over, Abbott then saw Jamie Smith depart in the 13th over with the score reading 94. On a slightly slow surface, Kent were dictating the play before the New South Wales all-rounder headed for the record books. In a display of nonchalant ball-striking, Abbott tore the Kent attack to shreds to bring up a 34-ball ton as 136 came off the final eight overs of the innings, including a 30-run over off fellow Australian Kane Richardson. Abbott ended with 11 sixes and was severe on every bowler that came up against him. In reply, Kent were on track through a brisk century stand between openers Daniel Bell-Drummond and Tawanda Muyeye but once the partnership was broken, the chase fell apart as Surrey made it two out of two to start the season. Surrey 223/5 in 20 overs (Abbott 110*, Clark 29*, Stewart 1-29) beat Kent 182/7 in 20 overs (Muyeye 59, Bell-Drummond 52, Jacks 2-7) by 41 runs. Graham Clark smashed a 49-ball ton as at the County Ground in Northampton. Chasing a low target of 138, the tourists romped home with 40 balls to spare through their openers. Clark was the dominant partner as he bashed the Northants bowling to all parts with skipper Alex Lees more than happy to play second fiddle. The win, though, was set up by Durham's bowlers led by a five-wicket haul from Nathan Sowter. A fifty from Ricardo Vasconcelos was the only saving grace in an otherwise forgettable batting performance from the home side. He added a handy 62-run stand with Saif Zaib to steady the innings but once the partnership was broken, Durham's bowlers sliced through the rest of the batting line-up. Northamptonshire 137 in 20 overs (Vasconcelos 52, Zaib 28, Sowter 5-15) lost to Durham 141/0 in 13.2 overs (Clark 102*, Lees 37*) by 10 wickets. A flamboyant 55-ball 88 from James Vince propelled over Middlesex at The Rose Bowl, Southampton. The skipper put on another display of silky strokeplay and added notable partnerships with Ben McDermott and Tom Prest as Hampshire coasted home in the run chase. None of the Middlesex bowlers were able to create an impact and once Hampshire got off to a strong start, they were always going to be difficult to stop. Pieter Malan's fluid fifty was the backbone of Middlesex's batting performance that saw an unruly collapse at the back end of the innings. The visitors lost their last six wickets for just 29 runs in 29 balls as Hampshire's bowlers finished the innings on a strong note. Middlesex were about 20-25 runs short of a par score and it showed as the game panned out. Middlesex 171 in 17.5 overs (Malan 80, Ellis 2-24, Wood 2-29) lost to Hampshire 172/2 in 17.5 overs (Vince 88*, McDermott 39) by eight wickets. The chasing spree continued at the T20 Blast as against Sussex by five wickets in a last-over finish at County Ground, Hove. Chasing a competitive target of 184 for victory, Tom Banton's cameo put Somerset en route while Tom Kohler-Cadmore's effortless half-century kept the tourists motoring along, with a helping hand from Tom Abell. Somerset did lose a few wickets towards the end but the game was well and truly done by then. Lewis Gregory and Ben Green held their nerve to ensure that there was no last-minute twists in the game. Ravi Bopara stole the show earlier on with a sparkling 49-ball 88 studded with seven sixes. Unfortunately for him, he found very little support at the other end and Ali Orr's cameo was the only other innings of note. It meant that Sussex ended with a total that was about 10-15 runs short at the least. Sussex 183/8 in 20 overs (Bopara 88*, Orr 33, Henry 3-50) lost to Somerset 184/5 in 19.3 overs (Kohler-Cadmore 72, Abell 42, Mills 3-28) beat by five wickets. Driven by a surprising cameo from Adam Finch, to nail a thrilling two-wicket win at New Road, Worcester. With 19 needed off the final over against Matthew Fisher, Finch hit three sixes in five balls including consecutive biggies to seal the game with an over to spare. It was a chase that Worcestershire should have strolled, given how smoothly their middle order led by Adam Hose and Ben Cox had set things up but none of them bothered to stay till the end. For the Yorks, David Wiese bowled a crafty spell to pick up three wickets. Early on, the visitors managed to get to a competitive score with a flurry of cameos right through their innings. In fact, neither side saw a batter getting to fifty despite 170-plus scores from both teams. Patrick Brown and Dillon Pennington were the stars with the ball for Worcestershire. Yorkshire 175/9 in 20 overs (Revis 42, Thompson 36, Brown 3-28, Pennington 2-11) lost to Worcestershire 177/8 in 19.5 overs (Hose 44, Haynes 32, Finch 30*, Wiese 3-18) by two wickets. Sam Hain and Glenn Maxwell produced a riveting 90-run stand of just 51 balls as over Leicestershire at Grace Road, Leicester. Chasing a below-par total on a good batting surface, the visitors were dented early as Callum Parkinson removed openers Paul Stirling and Alex Davies in the powerplay to give Leicestershire some hope of defending the total. However, Hain and Maxwell quickly quashed all that with a sizzling partnership that all but sealed the game. Although Warwickshire did lose a few wickets in pursuit of a quick finish, the result was never in doubt and they won with 15 balls to spare. Leicestershire 166/7 in 20 overs (Welch 30, Patel 28, Briggs 3-15) lost to Warwickshire 167/5 in 17.3 overs (Hain 65*, Maxwell 47, Parkinson 4-33) by five wickets. Joe Clarke's blistering 29-ball 68 stole the show as over Derbyshire at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. On a typically good batting surface with short boundaries, the target of 183 looked comfortably under-par and Clarke's heroics made a mockery of the run chase. He got support from Matthew Montgomery who produced a quickfire fifty of his own as the Derbyshire bowlers were put to the sword. Such was the ease of the chase that the Notts got there with three overs to spare. Earlier on, fifties from Wayne Madsen and Luis Reece put Derbyshire on track for a score well in excess of 200 but once their partnership 112-run stand was broken, the visitors fell like a pack of cards. From 118/1 in the 11th over, Derbyshire could only muster 60 off their last 55 balls. Derbyshire 178/6 in 20 overs (Madsen 61, Reece 53, Mullaney 2-37) lost to Nottinghamshire 182/6 in 17 overs (Clarke 68, Montgomery 51, Scrimshaw 3-52) by four wickets. Timm van der Gugten's late order cameo got in a nervy finish against Gloucestershire at County Ground, Bristol. Chasing a competitive target of 162, the tourists got there in the first ball of the final over with the Dutch seamer hitting Tom Smith for a six to seal the game. Glamorgan nearly messed up a straightforward run chase that was put in cruise control by Colin Ingram and Kiran Carlson who added 69 for the third wicket off just 36 balls. However, Gloucestershire broke the partnership and then chipped away at the wickets to make things very interesting towards the end. With 13 needed off eight and two wickets in hand, the hosts fancied a heist but a six from Ruaidhri Smith followed by one from van der Gugten sealed the deal. Earlier on, Gloucestershire got to a respectable total thanks to knocks from Ben Charlesworth and Graeme van Buuren after the score read 49/4 at one point. The total of 161 wasn't daunting but was a workable score on a slightly two-paced surface. Gloucestershire 161/9 in 20 overs (Charlesworth 56, Price 37, Douthwaite 4-23) lost to Glamorgan 162/8 in 19.1 overs (Ingram 47, Carlson 35, Payne 3-17) by two wickets.

Got to give credit where it's due. Not many expected Titans to win the title in the first season and reach the final in the second. But they have been absolutely brilliant so far. Is this really a new franchise? They have been bossing the IPL ever since they came in and now they are one win away from making it two out of two. They were brilliant tonight and have denied the fans a dream El Clasico final. Nevertheless, we can still expect a terrific final. These two teams topped the table by the end of the league stage and fittingly will face off in the final. Wow, now no one saw that coming. Mohit bowled his first over only in the 16th but he walks off with a five-wicket haul. Those slower deliveries were bowled to good effect and the batters kept gifting their wickets by mistiming their shots. What a redemption this has been for Mohit. He has picked over 20 wickets now this season. In the end, Titans win comfortably by 62 runs. Got to say that the fight is over now. It was good while it lasted but Green's wicket pegged MI back. And now Mohit Sharma comes at the death and gets the huge wicket of Suryakumar. He is castled for 61. He is continuing to chip away with more wickets now and Rashid Khan has trapped Tim David lbw as well. Titans are edging closer to victory now. Josh Little came into the attack and got Titans the crucial breakthrough. Green was castled and Vishnu Vinod, who walked in as the impact sub has struggled so far. Suryakumar at the other end has kept MI's faint hopes alive with a crucial fifty but his side needs 85 from the final six overs. Just one man cannot get the job done. They have only Tim David left in the dugout. You never count MI out. As simple as that. Green and Suryakumar are turning on the heat with a superb partnership. The boundaries are flowing and Rashid has already bowled three overs in the first half of the innings. MI are 110/3 now after 10 overs. They need 124 from the last 10. Not going to be easy but do not put it past them if these two continue to bat. Titans will have to break the partnership. You won't see better powerplays in IPL history. MI have scored 72 runs in these six overs. That's indeed crazy. But they have also lost three wickets in this phase and have two guys out with injuries. How many teams are going to be on the backfoot after scoring 72 in the PP? Tilak Varma turned the tide with a 24-run over off Mohammed Shami but Rashid comes back and strikes in his first over to end the left-hander's stay. He fell for a crazy 14-ball 43. MI need a stable partnership for a while now. Cam Green, who was retired hurt earlier in the PP has now come out to bat after Tilak's wicket. 17 - Mohammed Shami (GT, 2023) 16 - Trent Boult (MI, 2020) 16 - Mitchell Johnson (MI, 2013) 16 - Dhawal Kulkarni (GL, 2016) Rohit Sharma wants to hammer Shami but he mistimes one horribly. Josh Little takes the catch. MI are 21/2 but in reality, it feels like they are 21/4. After Wadhera's dismissal, Cam Green got hit on his forearm and was in a lot of pain. He was unable to carry on and is retired hurt now. Already Ishan is in the dugout as a result of a freak injury. As a result, SKY is in quite early. Ishan did suffer an injury while keeping and was replaced by Vishnu Vinod at one stage. He is definitely not ready to come out and bat now. MI have used the impact sub and Nehal Wadhera has walked out to the middle alongside Rohit Sharma to open the innings. What a finish. For a moment it appeared like Titans might fall a little short but Hardik made up for it in the final over to guide them beyond 230. MI will be mentally down and out after this assault but they have chased 200 plus totals on numerous occasions already this season. They need to remember that. Nothing is impossible!! 132* - KL Rahul (PBKS) vs RCB, Dubai, 2020 129 - Shubman Gill (GT) vs MI, Ahmedabad, 2023 128* - Rishabh Pant (DC) vs SRH, Delhi, 2018 127 - Murali Vijay (CSK) vs RR, Chennai, 2010 Gill is kicking the ground in frustration. He is setting himself great standards. He just played one of the greatest innings in the history of IPL but he still wanted more. Wow!! He just timed the ball well but hit it straight to Tim David, who holds onto the catch near the deep midwicket boundary. Remember, it was David who shelled a tough chance when Gill was batting on 30. GT are 192/2. They still have 19 balls to cause more damage. 230 is definitely on the cards here. What a talent!! What a player!! He has owned this IPL after flattering to deceive in the previous years. Gets to the landmark off just 49 balls and then takes on Cameron Green to hammer him for a couple of more sixes. He has already hit 10 sixes tonight. What a knock!! Titans are 166/1 after 15 overs. He is just not stopping. Why should he? Shubman has cleared the ropes eight times already tonight. He moves to 99 off just 48 balls as the players take a small break. It's the timeout. Sai Sudharsan is batting on 27. The Titans already have 147 on the board in 14 overs. Can they get 220? He is absolutely teeing off now. After getting to another fifty, Gill is taking on MI. And he is taking on the man who just came into the contest on the back of picking nine wickets in his last two wicekts. Madhwal was just swatted aside for back-to-back sixes and rounded off the over with another six off the penultimate ball. And suddenly, he is already batting on 79 now. Titans should definitely eye 200 here. They are 119/1 after 12 overs. Gill's fifty is the 150th 50-plus score in IPL 2023, the next best count is 118 in 2022. The bar is certainly raising with each season now. He has once again looked so good. He is having a dream run over the last four matches. Two hundreds, a 40-plus score in the first qualifier and now he is approaching another half-century. In the process, he has overtaken Faf du Plessis to grab hold of that orange cap. In all probability, he will end up holding onto that. Titans are 80/1 after 9 overs. Saha did depart immediately after the powerplay. Sai Sudharsan has looked good so far in his brief stay. As expected, the wicket wasn't easy to play strokes initially against the new ball so the Titans openers couldn't really get going. Saha got hit on the helmet by Akash once as well. However, they teed off in the last two overs to take the score to exactly 50. Gill could have been dismissed in that final over of the powerplay had Tim David held on to the chance. He did dive at mid on but failed to grasp it. This is a good platform for GT. They will have to now make use of it though. - MI opt to bowl No surprises there. The pitch was under the covers for a while so MI want to bowl first and exploit whatever assistance is there on the surface. MI also generally prefer chasing and they have been superb at that this season. They have one change. Kumar Kartikeya comes into the side in place of Hrithik Shokeen. Sai Sudharsan and Josh Little have been picked by Titans. They replace Darshan Nalkande and Dasun Shanaka. (Playing XI): Wriddhiman Saha(w), Shubman Gill, Sai Sudharsan, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya(c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohit Sharma, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami (Playing XI): Ishan Kishan(w), Rohit Sharma(c), Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Tim David, Chris Jordan, Piyush Chawla, Jason Behrendorff, Kumar Kartikeya, Akash Madhwal - Game to begin at 8 PM That's great news. There will be no reductions in overs. Toss will take place at 19:45 IST and the first ball will be bowled at 8 PM. The rain has stopped. So let's hope it doesn't return again. The toss isn't happening on time. There will be an inspection in a few minutes and we will know more. It's raining in Ahmedabad and our correspondent from the venue can spot lightning and thunder as well. That's a bad start. Let's just hope the rain clears very soon. This is a huge game. It will be a real shame if it gets washed out. It's 1-1. Titans dominated the first fixture at the same venue by posting over 200. Abhinav Manohar and David Miller went crazy that night after Shubman's fifty. Rashid and Noor then combined to pick five wickets in GT's victory. In the second encounter, MI went berserk with the bat, putting up a 200 plus total after an outstanding century from SKY. Titans were down and out in the run chase and were heading for a massive loss before Rashid stepped up with the bat scoring a whirlwind 79 off just 32 balls including 10 sixes to stun the home side. MI still prevailed though by 27 runs. It doesn't really get bigger than this. Well, actually it can get bigger than this on Sunday if Mumbai Indians end up winning tonight. But for now, the focus is obviously on tonight's encounter. It's a blockbuster contest. As we all know already, Chennai Super Kings are already in the final and they are waiting to see who they are going to face. On one hand, you have the most successful franchise in IPL history with five titles to their name. It's extremely commendable that MI have gotten this far in the competition. Not many expected them to throw in a challenge the moment the bowling attack was depleted by Jasprit Bumrah's injury. And except for Piyush Chawla, the others haven't really stepped up. However, Akash Madhwal has been terrific in the last two games that were extremely crucial for MI's progression to this stage. MI's batting might kept pulling them through until then. But now in Chawla and Madhwal, they have at least two reliable bowlers to bank on tonight in this all important second qualifier. Rohit has already gotten past Krunal Pandya but tonight, he will face a much bigger test against Hardik Pandya's Gujarat Titans. They are indeed the defending champions and they were also the first team to qualify in this year's IPL as well. Two more wins and they would pull off an extraordinary feat of winning the title in their first two seasons. Titans have been amazing this campaign with their bowling attack looking very strong. That's the contest to watch out for tonight. The conditions in Ahmedabad are going to be very good for batting but if there is an attack that can contain them, it's GT's. On the batting front, someone or the other keeps putting their hand up and Shubman Gill has been consistent as well. Can he deliver again tonight? Will MI go through and set up a blockbuster final for Sunday? Or will the home team spoil the party? We will find out.

An independent Cricket Discipline Committee has published the sanctions made after investigations into alleged racist and/or discriminatory behaviour in Yorkshire. As a result of the hearings six players - Gary Ballance, Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah - have been sanctioned and fined. While Ballance subsequently moved to Zimbabwe, and then retired from international cricket, the sanctions would still apply if he seeks a return to the English cricket fold. Ballance has been given a six-match ban along with a fine of GBP 3000, Bresnan a three-match ban along with a fine of GBP 4000 while Andrew Blaine and Hoggard have been fined GBP 2500 and GBP 4000 respectively. Additionally coaches Andrew Gale (four-week suspension from coaching and GBP 6000 fine) and Pyrah (two-week suspension and a fine of GBP 2500) have also been sanctioned similarly. All of them have also been strongly recommended by the CDC to "undertake an appropriate racism/discrimination education course identified by the ECB, at his own expense, particularly if he intends to return to cricket in any playing or coaching capacity." The players have the right to appeal these sanctions before June 9, 2023 and the CDC's sanction hearing of the Yorkshire Cricket Club will be on June 27.

Source : Cricbuzz Home