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4 Teams that can target Steve Smith in the upcoming auction

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IPL 2021: 4 Teams that can target Steve Smith in the upcoming auction

The players’ auction of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is just around the corner. On Thursday (February 18), all franchises will gather in Chennai to pick players in accordance with their requirements.

Ahead of the upcoming bidding process, teams had released many big fishes who were unable to perform in the previous edition of the cash-rich league. One of the big players who was released was Australian batting maestro Steve Smith.

Smith led Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the thirteenth season of the lucrative league but couldn’t perform with the bat and looked clueless as a leader as well. Smith amassed 311 runs from 14 games at an average of 25.91 with three fifties. Under his leadership, RR finished at the bottom in the points table in IPL 2020, winning only 6 of their 14 matches.

Ahead of the mini-auction, Smith has registered his name at a base price of INR 2 crores. He might not attract a lot of money, but given his international cricket credentials, Smith can not be ignored as well.

Let’s have a look at four such teams that can target Smith in IPL 2021 auction:

1.) Royal Challengers Bangalore

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had a good outing in the previous edition of the exciting league held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). After three bad seasons, RCB had qualified for the playoffs in IPL. They finished the lucrative tournament as the 4th best team.

What RCB missed in IPL 2020 was a reliable middle-order batsman who could hold one end to form important partnerships, and Smith is a master of this art.

Since the ‘Team Red’ is quite largely dependent on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, so they need a world-class batsman in the middle and Smith can be a good option.

2.) Kings XI Punjab

Unlike RCB, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) had a disappointing season in IPL last year. The KL Rahul-led side missed out to register a place in the playoffs for a sixth consecutive time.

Ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, KXIP have released several big players like Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Mujeeb ur Rahman, James Neesham, and Karun Nair. The Mohali-based franchise have nine slots left, including five foreigners, and one of them could get fulfilled by Smith.

Apart from Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, no other batsman left an impact in IPL 2020 for Punjab. Though Chris Gayle did impress with the bat, but he missed quite a few games concerning fitness issues. If Smith comes to the squad of KXIP, he will boost the batting unit.

3.) Sunrisers Hyderabad

One of the most consistent sides in IPL, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), showed another fine display of team performance in the lucrative league’s previous season. SRH finished IPL 2020 as the third-best team of the tournament.

Ahead of the upcoming mini-auction, Sunrisers have released Sanjay Yadav, Bavanaka Sandeep, Billy Stanlake, Fabian Allen, and Yarra Prithviraj.

The ‘Oranga Army’ have Kane Williamson for the middle-order slot, and Smith could come in the side as his alternate. In the presence of his Australian teammate and a friend David Warner, Smith could actually become very handy.

4.) Delhi Capitals

Delhi Capitals (DC) have had a wonderful outing in IPL 2020. They qualified for the finals and finished the tournament as the runners-up. Ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, DC have two overseas spots left, and they could take Smith in the side.

The Capitals have released overseas players like Alex Carey and Jason Roy – both are attacking batsmen. Since DC have firepower batsmen in the side already like Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis, they need a reliable stroke maker for the middle-order.

Smith can come in the side and fit perfectly. Since the former Aussie skipper has plenty of leadership experience, it would help young Shreyas Iyer, and eventually, the team will rise new heights.

IPL 2021: 4 Teams that can target Steve Smith in the upcoming auction

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EngVsPak- England defeated Pakistan by three wickets

Pakistan has struggled with their batting, putting up scores of 141 and 195 as they were outplayed in the first two ODIs.

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EngVsPak

James Vince scored a hundred and Lewis Gregory contributed 77 as England defeated Pakistan by three wickets to complete a clean sweep of the three-match ODI series.

Vince raced to 102 off 95 deliveries and Gregory struck his 77 of 69 balls as hosts England, chasing Pakistan’s challenging score of 331 for seven wickets, reached 332 for seven with two overs to spare.

Opener Phil Salt scored 37 while skipper Ben Stokes added 32 as England held their nerves to register a comfortable win in third and final ODI.

Earlier, skipper Babar Azam struck a career-best 158 (139-ball) and helped Pakistan’s batting finally came good in this series.

Opener Imam-ul-Haq scored 56 and Mohammad Rizwan 74 as Pakistan posted 331 for nine wickets in their allotted 50 overs.

Playing against a makeshift England squad, after the originally selected player went into isolation after three players tested positive for COVID-19, Pakistan has struggled with their batting, putting up scores of 141 and 195 as they were outplayed in the first two ODIs.

Babar came in after Fakhar Zaman was out early for 6, caught by Zak Crawley off Saqib Mahmood. He raised 92 runs for the third wicket with opener Imam-ul-Haq and then put together a partnership of 179 with Rizwan.
However, they suffered a collapse soon after Rizwan was out, caught by wicketkeeper Simpson off seamer Brydon Carse, with the score 292/3. Only one of the remaining seven batsman managed to reach double digits.

But Babar kept blasting runs from the other end and was the eighth batsman out with the score 328 in the 50th over.

He struck 14 boundaries and four sixes during his innings.
Carse was the best England bowler on display as he claimed five wickets for 61 in his 10 overs.

Brief scores: Pakistan 331/9 in 50 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 56, Babar Azam 158, M Rizwan 74; Brydon Carse 5/61).

England 332/7 in 48 overs (Phil Salt 37, James Vince 102, Ben Stokes 32, Lewis Gregory 77; Haris Rauf 4/65).

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Corona hit – India-Lanka ODI matches were postponed for four days

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Corona hit - India-Lanka ODI matches were postponed for four days

India’s tour of Sri Lanka has hit a roadblock after two Covid-19 positive cases in the home team’s camp delayed the start of the ODI series by at least four days, and canceled due to more cases. The possibility has been left open. Sri Lankan batting coach Grant Flower and the team’s performance analyst Shirantha Niroshna have both tested positive and the entire team that arrived from England this week has been put in isolation.

Though both the boards have not made any official statement yet, it seems that all the six matches will be played within a period of 10-11 days if there is no scope for any more positive cases. There are also concerns that the series could be called off if more positive cases emerge in the Sri Lankan camp. This means that the Indian team, which has already spent 12 days in Sri Lanka, will have to return home without playing a single match.

The tentative dates for the ODIs have been set as July 17, 19 and 21. The report states that the T20 Internationals will be played on July 24, 25 and 27. However, neither Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) nor the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has given any confirmation regarding the dates.

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Indonesia lacks oxygen, seeks help as virus cases rise

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Indonesia lacks oxygen, seeks help as virus cases rise

Just two months ago, Indonesia came forward to India’s aid with thousands of tanks of oxygen. Today, the Southeast Asian country is running out of oxygen as it grapples with a devastating wave of coronavirus cases and the government is seeking emergency supplies from other countries, including Singapore and China.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the government minister in charge of Indonesia’s pandemic response, said a shipment of more than 1,000 oxygen cylinders, concentrators, ventilators and other health equipment arrived from Singapore on Friday, followed by another 1,000 ventilators from Australia.

In addition, Pandjaitan said, Indonesia plans to purchase 36,000 tons of oxygen and 10,000 concentrators — equipment that generates oxygen — from neighboring Singapore. He said he was in contact with China and other possible oxygen sources. The US and the United Arab Emirates have also offered help.

Overall, Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, has reported more than 2.4 million infections and 63,760 deaths from COVID-19. Those figures are widely believed to be a huge undercount due to low testing and poor tracing measures. On Thursday, Indonesia reported nearly 39,000 confirmed cases, its biggest single-day jump.

Indonesia’s hospitals have been flooded, with increasing numbers of sick people in isolation at home or waiting to receive emergency care. In Indonesia’s most populous island, Java, hospitals began setting up temporary intensive care units in mid-June. Many patients are waiting for several days to get admitted. Oxygen tanks rolled on the sidewalks for the lucky few, while others were told they’d have to find their own.

The city’s deputy mayor Yaya Mulyana said emergency rooms at a public hospital in Bandung city were closed earlier this week amid panic buying over rising infections in the West Java provincial capital.

“The panicked people bought oxygen tanks, though they didn’t need them yet,” said Muliana. “This has exhausted the supply of oxygen.”

At a hospital in Yogyakarta in central Java, 63 COVID-19 patients died in one day – 33 of them during its central liquid oxygen supply, although the hospital switched to using oxygen cylinders was, spokesman Banu Harmawan said.

When a brutal outbreak ravaged the country, Indonesia donated 3,400 oxygen cylinders and concentrators to India. As its own cases rose, Jakarta scrapped plans to send another 2,000 oxygen concentrators to India in late June. The daily requirement of oxygen has reached 1,928 tonnes per day. According to government data, the total available production capacity of the country is 2,262 tonnes per day.

“I asked for 100% oxygen first for medical purposes, which means all industrial allocation should be shifted to medical,” said Panjaitan, a minister in the government. “We are racing against time, we have to act fast.”

Noting the rapid spread of the highly contagious delta variant, he warned that Indonesia could face a worst-case scenario with 50,000 cases a day. The next two weeks will be crucial, he said.

The industry ministry responded by issuing a decree that all oxygen supplies be sent to hospitals packed with coronavirus patients and asked industry players to cooperate.

Oxygen is used to make many products including textiles, plastics and vehicles. Oil refineries, chemical makers and steel makers also use it. But industry leaders are clamoring to support government efforts to maximize supplies for hospitals.

The government has redirected oxygen supplies from industrial plants at Morowali in Central Sulawesi, Balikpapan on the island of Borneo, and Belawan and Batam on the island of Sumatra, Pandjaitan said. Small oxygen industries have also been directed to produce pharmaceutical oxygen.

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