Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
Sunrisers Hyderabad suffered a spectacular batting collapse, losing seven wickets for the addition of just 15 runs, to lose their match on Sunday against Delhi Capitals by 39 runs. Pace bowler Kagiso Rabada led a clinical bowling display with a four-wicket haul as Delhi bowled out Hyderabad in 18.5 overs, defending a par total of 155. West Indian bowler Keemo Paul, who took 3/17, dismissed the dangerous Jonny Bairstow as well as SRH skipper Kane Williamson to take the wind out of the chase. Rabada got rid of David Warner, who top-scored with a 47-ball 51, in the 17th over and that triggered a procession towards the dressing room.
South African all-rounder Chris Morris removed the lower middle order, ensuring there was no rearguard comeback. He took three wickets in the space of five balls in the 18th over. The Sunrisers were 101/3 in 15.2 but went on to lose seven wickets, ending up 116 all out in 18.5 overs in front of a stunned home crowd.
Earlier, young left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed grabbed three key wickets in an impressive spell to help Sunrisers restrict Delhi Capitals to 155/7 after the visitors were invited to bat. He claimed the wickets of key batsmen Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant while conceding 30 runs from his four overs. Senior bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar took 2/33 while leg-spinner Rashid Khan and Abhishek Sharma took a wicket apiece as the Sunrisers' bowlers made it difficult for Delhi batsmen to score runs. Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer top-scored for his team with a 40-ball 45 and, his 56-run partnership with Pant took them to a challenging total.
Colin Munro was the other notable contributor with a 24-ball 40. Following the win on Sunday, the Delhi Capitals jumped into the second spot on the table. They now have 10 points from eight matches, while the Sunrisers are in sixth place after a third consecutive loss.
Chennai Super Kings pulled off another last-over win in their match against the Kolkata Knight Riders and moved a step closer to sealing a spot in the playoffs. Dhoni won the toss and chose to field first on a slow Eden Gardens pitch. However, KKR had a great start thanks to Chris Lynn, who gave them a flying start en route to his second fifty this season that came off just 36 balls. He went ballistic against Deepak Chahar who bled 22 runs from his first two overs, with the Aussie smashing the seamer for 4-6-4 in the third over. A 200-plus score looked all but assured with Lynn in a murderous mood, and the explosive Andre Russell still to bat.
However, Imran Tahir's bowling and some brilliant catching from Faf du Plessis and substitute Dhruv Shorey ensured that Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa were sent back in the space of just two balls. The game changer was the wicket of Andre Russell - he was caught by Shorey who took a swerving low catch to leave the home crowd stunned. Lynn's 82 from 51 balls helped KKR get to 161/8 in their 20 overs while Tahir took 4/27. CSK made heavy weather of what should have been a simple chase. Sunil Narine was the pick of KKR's bowlers, taking 2/19, including the wicket of the in-form Faf du Plessis.
However, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni steadied the ship and looked set to take Chennai to victory comfortably. Narine dismissed Dhoni for 16 with CSK still needing 41 runs from 26 balls, which caused some jitters. Raina held his nerve while Ravindra Jadeja gave the finishing touch. With 24 required from 12 balls, Jadeja smashed Harry Gurney for three successive fours. That meant only 8 runs were required off the last over, and CSK won with two balls to spare. Raina remained not out on 58 while Jadeja scored 31 from 17 balls. Tahir was declared Player of The Match.
The Indian squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup will be announced by the BCCI later today. Rishabh Pant's competition for the second keeper's slot with veteran Dinesh Karthik will be a highlight of the selectors' discussion. Pant, who has scored 222 runs in the IPL this season compared to a mere 93 by Karthik, looks the favourite on paper as his inclusion comes with certain advantages. He can bat at any slot between Nos 1 and 7, and is a left-hander who can be a designated finisher plus the second keeper. While Pant's keeping skills against spinners are not particularly impressive, Karthik has not done much in the last 12 months to make a strong case for himself. A former Indian player told PTI, "The second keeper only comes into play if MS Dhoni is injured. Rishabh is a phenomenal talent but he has not done anything exceptional in ODIs. Can he hit consistently in 50 overs is the question? But he is in the mix."
KL Rahul, who has made 335 runs in the ongoing IPL, could be back in the mix as the third opener, thanks to his time as a keeper for Kings XI Punjab. The selectors might be tempted to use him as the second keeper, apart from third opener. If Rahul is made the second keeper, it might just open the door for Ambati Rayudu as the No 4 batsman. Rayudu was a certainty until November when Kohli and Ravi Shastri had identified him as their No 4 but the Hyderabad batsman's adventurous decision to quit long form domestic cricket and poor technique against fast bowling has left him thoroughly exposed.
In case the team management considers all-rounder Vijay Shankar as their No. 4 at the start of the tournament, it would be curtains for Rayudu. The final bone of contention could be the fourth specialist seamer considering that the weather in England could prove very fickle, especially in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. The source told PTI, "As of now the team is looking at Vijay Shankar and Hardik Pandya as the combined fourth seamer. Ravindra Jadeja with his all-round skills and big hitting prowess is a necessity. Plus in dry conditions, he will be a restrictive option."
Premier League update now. Liverpool stormed back to the top of the table after Mohamed Salah's stunning strike clinched a 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday. Jurgen Klopp's side was replaced at pole position a few hours earlier when Manchester City won 3-1 at Crystal Palace, piling pressure on the Reds to respond as the title race heats up. Liverpool rose to the challenge as Sadio Mane's opener five minutes after the break, and a blistering long-range drive from Salah two minutes later, moved them two points clear of second-placed City on a raucous afternoon at Anfield.
Chelsea posed the last major threat to Liverpool's title bid, yet the table toppers dealt with the challenge impressively to mark Klopp's 200th game as Reds manager in style.
On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster that killed 96 Liverpool fans, and with the passing of club legend Tommy Smith, it was an emotionally charged moment at Anfield. After a minute's silence featuring mosaics reading "30 years" and "96" held up by fans around the ground, Liverpool's focus shifted to avenging one of the more painful defeats in the club's recent history. Steven Gerrard's infamous slip in 2014 led to a defeat against Chelsea that effectively gifted the title to Manchester City when Liverpool had looked odds-on to lift the trophy. Chelsea were unbeaten in their last eight matches at Anfield going into Sunday's clash and showed signs of troubling Liverpool again. When Mohamed Salah scampered onto Roberto Firmino's flick in the Chelsea area, Blues defender Emerson could only prod the ball to the influential Jordan Henderson and his deft cross reached the unmarked Mane, who headed home at the far post. Soon after, Salah blew the roof off Anfield with a moment of pure genius. Taking possession wide on the right flank, Salah cut inside and glided away from Emerson before unleashing a sumptuous 25-yard drive that arrowed past Kepa into the far corner.
There is a growing feeling at Anfield that this will be the season Liverpool finally end their 29-year wait to be crowned kings of English football. For fourth-placed Chelsea, the loss was a blow to their bid for Champions League football next season and they will drop to fifth if Arsenal win at Watford on Monday.
In badminton, Japan's Kento Momota held off a barrage of smashes from Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to prevail 10-21, 21-19, 21-13 in a thrilling Singapore Open final on Sunday. The world champion struggled to contain his powerful Indonesian opponent, who was finding both corners of the court in the first half of the match. But the top seed dug deep to fight back from 16-11 behind in the second game to force a decider.
Momota trailed once again in the last game as Ginting sought a third straight upset win in as many days. However, the left-hander used a combination of improvisation and guile to craft a run of 13 points in 14 to seal a stunning victory with a disguised drop shot on his first match point.
After the match, a candid Momota said, "I felt my opponent played better than me today but I was able to capitalise when he got tired...he tried to push a little too hard in the second game but I kept telling myself to stay patient and never give up."
In the women's singles final, Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan claimed her second Singapore Open title with a 21-19, 21-15, victory over Japan's Nozomi Okuhara. She said after her win, "Okuhara is a good opponent, she's very durable, so I was prepared for a long match. I am playing well right now but it's important to stay injury-free with the Tokyo Olympics coming up next year."