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KKR IN IPL FINAL, HEAD MAKES HISTORY, AXAR DEMOTED

Seam bowler Shardul Thakur has replaced left-arm spinner Axar Patel in India’s 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup.

Venkatesh Iyer KKR IPL 2021
Kolkata Knight Riders recover from a collapse of six wickets for seven runs to beat Delhi Capitals and reach the IPL final. (Credit: BCCI/IPL)

A look back at the major events from cricket over the past couple of days. For more from this week, click here

KKR into IPL final despite dramatic collapse

In the second Qualifier of IPL 2021, Kolkata Knight Riders recovered from a collapse of six wickets for seven runs to beat Delhi Capitals and reach the final, where three-time winners Chennai Super Kings await them.

Set a target of 136 after some top bowling from all-sorts spinner Varun Chakravarthy and pace bowler Shivam Mavi, KKR were delivered a rousing start by their openers Venkatesh Iyer (55) and Shubman Gill (46) but then stumbled staggeringly with the finish line in sight. Needing 13 runs from 25 deliveries, KKR went from 123/1 to 130/7 with skipper Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine each out for zero.

rahul tripathi six
Rahul Tripathi hit the winning runs for KKR with a six off the penultimate ball. (Credit: BCCI/IPL)

Holding his own, however, was middle-order batsman Rahul Tripathi who hit R Ashwin for six off the penultimate ball of the evening. Tasked with defending seven runs from the last over, Ashwin prized out Shakib and Narine in successive balls to leave Kolkata needing six from two deliveries. Tripathi managed to get back on strike when Narine lofted the ball to long-off and hit the winning runs to clear the KKR dugout.

This sealed KKR’s fourth win in a row – and seventh out of nine in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 – while for Delhi, this was their fourth defeat in a row. This is Kolkata’s first IPL final since they won the trophy in 2014. Delhi’s wait for a maiden title continues with the 2020 runners-up blowing two chances in the play-offs this season.

Head smashes Australian List A records

Travis Head has become the first Australian to score two List A double-centuries, after smashing 230 from 127 deliveries for South Australia versus Queensland in Adelaide on Wednesday.

Head, who six seasons ago made 202 versus Western Australia, raised his hundred in just 65 deliveries – a state record – and progressed to the second-highest individual total n the history of Australia’s domestic one-day competition.

Travis Head double century
Travis Head is the first Australian man to hit two scores of 200 or more in one-day cricket. (Credit: Twitter/@WestEndRedbacks)

His 230 featured 28 fours and eight sixes and pushed SA to 391/8, their second best effort in the tournament, from 48 overs. Chasing a rain-revised target of 397 from as many overs, Queensland lost by 67 runs.

India demote Axar, add Shardul for World Cup

Seam-bowling allrounder Shardul Thakur has replaced left-arm spinner Axar Patel in India’s 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup, starting October 23 in the UAE.

The BCCI confirmed the news on October 13, three days before the deadline for India to announce changes to their squad. Shardul was already a reserve, alongside Deepak Chahar and Shreyas Iyer, but has been bumped into the main World Cup squad, ostensibly, over concerns about India’s pace quotient for the tournament. Since the IPL resumed in the UAE last month, Shardul has claimed 13 wickets for finalists CSK.

Shardul Thakur IPL 2021 wickets
Shardul Thakur could be an option as a bowling allrounder during the T20 World Cup. (Credit: BCCI/IPL)

Axar, who has bowled very economically for Capitals in the UAE leg of IPL 2021, has now joined Chahar and Iyer in India’s standby list. India can call on R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy from their pool of frontline spin options for the World Cup.

India start their campaign on October 24 versus Pakistan in Dubai, followed by further group games against New Zealand, Afghanistan and two qualifying nations.

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