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It’s quite clear what’s ailing the Chennai Super Kings this season. Their batting, especially the middle order, has been the major weak link in their four losses. They have scored at 7.6 runs per over in the powerplay this year- the second lowest among all teams – and they tend to slow down further in the middle overs. Their middle-overs run rate of 7.5 is the second worst among all teams this season and it has not worked well with their tradition of taking the games deep, especially given the fact that they’ve had to chase in all the six games this season. In the match against the Kolkata Knight Riders, they didn’t play like a team that had chased down 178 with ten wickets to spare in their previous game against the Kings XI Punjab.

The only team that has worse numbers than the Super Kings in the middle overs are the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The Royal Challengers’ batting struggles cost them their last match against the Delhi Capitals. They lost three wickets within the powerplay, and with the asking rate soaring, their captain Virat Kohli couldn’t help much, with hardly any support from the other end, as they eventually lost by 59 runs. While both sides will want improvements from their middle orders, the Royal Challengers have also been struggling with their death bowling, which has been a long-standing issue for them. Their bowlers have conceded at 12.9 – the second-worst behind Kings XI Punjab – this season.

ALSO READ: Can Jadhav ‘light the fuse’ to ignite CSK’s middle order?

Kedar Jadhav in particular has come in for sharp criticism for his 7 off 12 balls against the Knight Riders, having arrived with 39 needed off 21 balls. Among all teams Jadhav has featured for in IPL, his performance for the Super Kings has been the worst – he has averaged 20.3 in 17 matches. He has the lowest strike rate (98) for a player batting in top seven (minumum 15 innings) since IPL 2018. The Super Kings have always been a team who’ve kept faith in their players, but will they make some big calls and tinker with their XI to put their campaign back on track?

In the news

The Royal Challengers’ captain Kohli said after the game on Monday that allrounder Chris Morris was “very close to playing”. If he’s fit, he could come in for Isuru Udana or Moeen Ali and help fix their death bowling.

Likely XIs

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Kedar Jadhav, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Dwayne Bravo, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Deepak Chahar, 11 Karn Sharma/Piyush Chawla

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Devdutt Padikkal, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers (wk), 5 Moeen Ali, 6 Washington Sundar,7 Shivam Dube, 8 Chris Morris, 9 Navdeep Saini, 10 Mohammad Siraj, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Strategy Punt

  • The Royal Challengers could push Ali to No.4 as he has great numbers against left-arm spinners and legspinners, striking at 165 and 171 respectively. So, Ali could take on Ravindra Jadeja and Karn Sharma in the middle overs. This move will also push AB de Villiers down to No. 5 and allow him to take on the death overs, a phase where he strikes at 222.

  • Bring in spin early against Aaron Finch? Finch has been dismissed twice inside the powerplay this season, both by spinners. While Finch has troubles with incoming deliveries against quicks, the Super Kings could also open with a spinner at the other end. He has been dismissed four times by spinners and his average of 14.8 is the worst among players to have scored 50-plus runs against spin this season.

  • Getting de Villiers out inside the first 10 balls is key as he has been striking at a staggering 195 after facing 10-plus balls since IPL 2019. He has struggled to get going against spinners in the first 10 balls, losing his wicket four times and striking at just 97 against them.

Stats that matter

  • Does MS Dhoni love playing against the Royal Challengers? The last time Royal Challengers got Dhoni out was way back in 2017 when he was part of the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant. Since IPL 2018, they are the only opponents against whom Dhoni has struck at over 170. Three of his five highest scores in the IPL have come against the Royal Challengers. While all other Super Kings batsmen have an average record against Yuzvendra Chahal, striking at less than 100 against him, Dhoni averages 75 and scores at 144 against the legspinner.

  • In ten matches this IPL at Dubai, teams winning the toss have opted to bowl seven times and ended up losing the game on all occasions. Sunrisers Hyderabad are the only team to have opted to bat first and won the game. The side chasing has won just once, when the Super Kings beat Kings XI by 10 wickets, after Rahul opted to bat first.

  • Kohli needs 31 runs to reach 6000 runs for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

  • Dhoni needs to clear the boundary once to reach 300 sixes in T20s.

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Welcome to News – FIFA celebrates Pele’s 80th birthday with exclusive content on its digital platforms

Brazilian and world football legend Pele, the only player to have won the FIFA World Cup three times, celebrates his 80th birthday today. To mark the occasion, FIFA is publishing exclusive content on its digital platforms, including a special video programme which is available on and via FIFA’s YouTube channel.

Football lovers everywhere will have the chance to relive memories from Pelé’s former team-mates, his family and friends, and to view birthday greetings from past and present global football stars, from FIFA Legends and from FIFA President Gianni Infantino. And, last but not least, the special birthday content will include an exclusive interview with O Rei himself.

“Pele took football to another level. Not only did he epitomise the beautiful game, but he also played with an effortless flair, the like of which had never been seen in Europe. It was just amazing to watch him on the pitch. He is nicknamed O Rei – ‘The King’ – and rightly so. I would like to wish Pele a very happy 80th birthday from the bottom of my heart, and above all health. Today is really a celebration day for the entire world of football,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

You can follow the special birthday content all across FIFA’s digital platforms:






Hashtags: #Pele80 | #ORei80

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. says there are too many titles in boxing, ahead of Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz fight

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. believes that there needs to be some big changes in boxing. In an interview with Showtime, prior to next weekend’s fight between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz, Mayweather revealed that he believes that the sport has too many title belts.

“This is not good for the sport of boxing,” Mayweather said. “Now when a fighter fights, every fighter is a champion.”

In boxing, there are four major sanctioning bodies in the WBA, WBO, IBF, and WBC. The WBA has “super” versions of their title belt and Davis currently holds that specific belt.

In addition, Mayweather did reveal that his very own promotional company is partially to blame for the issue throughout the sport.

“We gotta clean the sport of boxing up,” Mayweather added. “This don’t look good.”

Mayweather’s comments come after the a lightweight unification fight between Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Lopez won the fight via unanimous decision and was billed as the undisputed champion after winning the WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, and The Ring lightweight titles.

Mayweather also believes that the only reason for multiple belts is so that each sanctioning body can collect more money from sanctioning fees.

“Ain’t no such thing as super champion,” Mayweather said. “You guys are just taking extra money from all these fighters [by] getting extra money from sanctioning fees.”

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Acting president Beresford Williams, five others resign from Cricket South Africa board

At least six members of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) board have acceded to the request of the nembers’ council – the highest decision-making body in South African cricket, made up of the 14 provincial affiliate presidents – and stood down from their positions. The list included acting president Beresford Williams, who took over from Chris Nenzani in August.

The resignations came after the members’ council asked the entire board to step down on Friday. On Sunday, Williams, Donovan May, Tebogo Siko, Angelo Carolissen and John Mogodi all quit from their positions. The five of them had been elected to the board via their provinces and, therefore, were non-independent members of the board. Dheven Dharmalingam is the only independent board member to resign so far. There are currently three other independent members still sitting on CSA’s board.

“As mentioned in Friday’s press statement, the CSA Board met this week & discussed various strategies that would best position CSA. One of these approaches was that if the Board would need to step down for the best interest of CSA & cricket as a whole, the Board would then do so,” CSA said in a statement on Twitter, while confirming the resignations of the five.

More to follow…

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