Listen: Full script of Episode 197 of Spodcast where we discuss MI finishing at top of IPL points table, Chelsea securing Champions League qualification and more

In this edition of Firstpost Spodcast, we discuss Mumbai Indians finishing at top of IPL 2019 points table, Chelsea securing Champions League qualification and more

FP Sports May 06, 2019 15:05:04 IST
Listen: Full script of Episode 197 of Spodcast where we discuss MI finishing at top of IPL points table, Chelsea securing Champions League qualification and more
  • MI registered a nine-wicket win over KKR to finish on top of IPL points table

  • SRH qualified for playoffs with 12 points as a result of KKR's loss against MI

  • Chelsea secured top-four finish in EPL and Champions League qualification with win over Watford

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Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma struck an unbeaten 55 to lead his team to an easy nine-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday. The win took Mumbai to the pole position in the IPL table, and also ensured a lucky fourth place finish for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Playing in front of a very vocal home crowd, Mumbai Indians bowled first to restrict KKR to a paltry 133/7 in 20 overs. Kolkata's openers Chris Lynn, who made 41 runs from 29 balls, and Shubman Gill scored 49 runs together in 6.1 overs but KKR suffered a middle-order collapse that they never fully recovered from.

It was left to Robin Uthappa, who scored an unusually slow 40 off 47 balls, and Nitish Rana, who hit a brisk 26 off 13 balls, to stitch a 47-run stand for the fifth wicket to take Kolkata past the 120-run mark. KKR's top run-scorer this IPL, Andre Russell, was dismissed for a first-ball duck as the visiting side frittered away a good start to post a modest total. For Mumbai, Lasith Malinga, who took 3/35 was the pick of the bowlers, while Hardik Pandya took 2/20 and Jasprit Bumrah took 2/31.

Chasing a meager target of 134, Rohit Sharma stitched two crucial partnerships - first, a 49-run opening stand with Quinton de Kock, and another 88-run partnership for the second wicket with Suryakumar Yadav as MI won with 3.5 overs to spare. Mumbai's captain carried his bat through the innings, hitting eight fours as he made 55 off 48 balls while Yadav scored an unbeaten 46 off just 27 balls. Quinton de Kock made 30 from 23 balls, including 3 sixes.

Mumbai's win meant KKR were knocked out of the tournament with Sunrisers Hyderabad qualifying for the playoffs on better net run rate. MI ended the league phase with 18 points from 14 matches - the same as Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals - but they are at the top of the table on account of better run rate. Mumbai have a net run rate of 0.421 compared to CSK's 0.131 and Delhi's 0.044.

KL Rahul scored a scintillating 36-ball-71 that paved the way for a consolation six-wicket victory for Kings XI Punjab on Sunday against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai.  With nothing to lose in the final game of the season, Rahul, Chris Gayle, who made a run-a-ball 28, and Nicholas Pooran, who slammed 36 off 22 balls, played freely to help KXIP's successful chase down the target of 171 runs in just 18 overs. Such was Rahul's domination that 'Universe Boss' Gayle's run-a-ball knock paled in comparison as the duo added 108 runs in only 10.3 overs to seal the match.

MS Dhoni's ploy to use Harbhajan in the Powerplay, which had worked wonderfully at the Chepauk, backfired on a placid Mohali track as the off-spinner went for 41 runs in his first two overs -17 in the first and 24 in the second. Rahul's aggressive innings on Sunday came after skipper Ravichandran Ashwin's recent public admission that KXIP's powerplay batting left a lot to be desired.
Batting first, CSK had a good start as Faf du Plessis played a fantastic hand, nearly scoring a century. Du Plessis' 96 off 55 balls and his 120-run stand with Suresh Raina, who made 53 off 38 balls, set a platform for the defending champions to set a big score. The Protea missed out on a well-deserved hundred by a mere four runs as Punjab bowled well at the death to restrict Chennai Super Kings to 170/5. Sam Curran, who took 3/35, and Mohammed Shami, who claimed 2/17, bowled well in the final overs as CSK seemed at least 10 runs short of a par score.
Despite the loss, CSK will be happy that a net run-rate of +0.131 will see them in the top two, with two clear shots at the summit clash qualification.

In Premier League news, Chelsea defeated Watford to climb to third place on the table, Arsenal were held to a draw by Brighton, and Manchester United's Champions League hopes came to an end on Sunday. Chelsea moved into third place as a quick-fire blitz from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and David Luiz inspired a vital 3-0 win over Watford on Sunday. Maurizio Sarri's side was booed off after a sloppy first half, and it didn't help that they lost midfielder N'Golo Kante to injury after 10 minutes. But two goals in three minutes from Loftus-Cheek and Luiz lifted the mood at Stamford Bridge. Loftus-Cheek, who started on the bench despite an impressive display in Frankfurt, came on for Kante.

Chelsea were also indebted to a stunning save from Kepa Arrizabalaga. When Jose Holebas whipped in a cross, Kepa showed why Sarri only dropped him for one match following the infamous Wembley rebellion as he leapt high to his right to brilliantly claw away Troy Deeney's header from the Holebas cross.
Gonzalo Higuain scored the third goal that helped Chelsea get one point clear of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur after their first win in four games in all competitions.
Gary Cahill was given a standing ovation by Chelsea fans when Sarri sent him on in the final minutes for what could be his farewell appearance.

Meanwhile, Arsenal's chances of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League were all but snuffed out on Sunday as they were held 1-1 by lowly Brighton. The drawn match leaves Unai Emery's men in fifth spot, three points behind north London rivals Tottenham, who have a far superior goal difference. Arsenal can no longer catch up with Chelsea, who have 71 points. Leaders Liverpool and Manchester City have already sealed the top two spots ahead of the final round of Premier League fixtures next weekend.

Emery made five changes for Arsenal's final Premier League home game of the season, juggling the club's league ambitions with Thursday's second leg in Valencia, including recalls for Nacho Monreal, Lucas Torreira and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Gunners were impressive in the early stages and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck from the penalty spot in the ninth minute after Monreal was brought down in the area by Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Brighton levelled from a disputed penalty in the 61st minute. Solly March went down under minimal contact from Granit Xhaka and Glenn Murray found the net from the resulting spot-kick. Aubameyang then missed a golden chance to restore Arsenal's lead as the home side poured forward and Ryan blocked an effort from Alexandre Lacazette.
Despite some frantic play in the final minutes, Arsenal just could not find a winner.

Following the draw, Arsenal have a goal difference of +20, compared to Tottenham's +28, meaning the Spurs, who host Everton next week, are almost assured of finishing the season in fourth spot. Arsenal travel to face Burnley in their final league game.

Elsewhere, Manchester United's hopes of Champions League football next season came to an embarrassing end following a 1-1 draw at already-relegated Huddersfield on Sunday. United have won just two of their last 11 games in all competitions while Huddersfield ended a run of eight straight defeats despite goalkeeper Jonas Lossl's error that handed the visitors an early lead through Scott McTominay.

Terrible defending from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men gave the Terriers something to celebrate in their final home game before heading down to the Championship as Isaac Mbenza levelled on the hour mark. United had to rely on Huddersfield to take the lead - McTominay's strike from the edge of the box went straight through Lossl's legs. Even against a Huddersfield side that previously registered just 14 points all season, United could not press home their advantage. Last night's failure by United, to beat one of the worst teams ever (statistically) to play in the Premier League, will see further questions raised over the decision to hand Solskjaer a three-year contract in March.

Indian cricketer Kedar Jadhav hurt his left shoulder while fielding during Chennai Super Kings' IPL game against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, with CSK head coach Stephen Fleming virtually ruling him out of the play-off matches.

Fleming said, "He is getting an X-ray and a scan (done) tomorrow...We are hopeful for him although I don't think we will see him again in this tournament for us. He is in some discomfort, but we just need to be accurate with our assessments tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it is nothing serious, but it did not look that good." He hurt his shoulder while diving near the boundary ropes to save an overthrow in the 14th over bowled by Dwayne Bravo, who failed to collect a throw from Ravindra Jadeja.
It can be safely concluded that Kedar is not being risked as BCCI has blanket instructions that any injury to World Cup bound players will be given utmost priority.

With just a month remaining until India's first World Cup game, the board is unlikely to risk the veteran Maharashtra all-rounder who is a vital cog in Virat Kohli's plans for the World Cup.
Jadhav hasn't bowled much this IPL, unlike his usual role for India. It has been learnt that his dodgy hamstring is one of the reasons for that, because any aggravation could affect his World Cup chances.

West Indies openers John Campbell and Shai Hope shattered the record for the highest first-wicket partnership in a one-day international with a stand of 365 runs against Ireland in Dublin on Sunday.
Campbell and Hope comfortably exceeded the previous best at this level - a 304-run stand between Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman of Pakistan against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last year. Campbell made 179 runs, and Hope made 170, as the Windies finished with 381/3 after being put in to bat by Ireland captain William Porterfield.
Campbell faced 137 balls, hitting 15 fours and six sixes while Hope's 152-ball knock featured 22 fours and two sixes. Ireland were then dismissed for 185 in just 34.4 overs as the Windies won by a massive 196 runs.
Ireland's bowling attack had sparked an England top-order collapse on Friday but had no answer as the West Indies ran riot in the opening match of a triangular series also featuring Bangladesh.

In boxing, Gaurav Solanki and Manish Kaushik bagged a gold medal each as Indian boxers finished with a rich haul of six medals at the XXXVI Feliks Stamm International Boxing Tournament in Warsaw, Poland on Sunday.

22-year-old Solanki, competing in the 52kg category, outpunched England's William Cawley 5-0 on his way to a first place finish. He showed glimpses of the impeccable form that brought him gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Chemistry Cup last year.

Kaushik, who competed in the 60kg category, exhibited the same confidence he had displayed last year to grab the India Open gold and the Commonwealth Games silver. The 23-year-old was sharp and agile and emerged victorious 4-1 against Morocco's Mohamed Hamout.

Mohammed Hussamuddin had started the 2019 season with a silver from the Gee Bee Boxing tournament. In Poland, competing in the 56kg category, he had to settle for another second-place finish following a 1-4 defeat to Russia's Mukhammad Shekhov, despite producing a strong show throughout the bout. In the 69kg semi-final, 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist and Arjuna awardee Mandeep Jangra went down 0-5 to Russia's Vadim Musaev. In the 91kg semifinal, Sanjeet lost to David Nyika of New Zealand by an identical score. In 64kg, Ankit Khatana gave his all but was edged 2-3 by Damian Durkacz of Poland in a tight semi-final clash.

Double-delight in squash. In a memorable day for India, Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa won the individual titles in the Asian Squash Championship. Joshna Chinappa, the second seed, successfully defended her title, beating the top seed Annie Au of Hong Kong 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 in the summit clash. Ghosal, the top seed and finalist last year, ensured there was no slip this time when he downed the fourth seed Leo Au Chun Ming, also of Hong Kong, in straight games 11-9, 11-2, 11-8.

It easily was one of Joshna's most memorable matches. Only last month in the Macau Open, Annie had beaten her in straight games for her 12th win in 20 meetings between the two. In fact, not since September 2017 in the Hong Kong International Open has Joshna tasted success against the Hong Kong player. All that was set aside as the Indian played with a fixity of purpose and with lot of conviction.

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