The big hitters and class closers in Arab News’ IPL XI 2018

Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson (L) and Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni pose with the Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy during the pre-match press conference ahead of the 2018 IPL Twenty20 final cricket match between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai on May 26, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 30 May 2018

The big hitters and class closers in Arab News’ IPL XI 2018

LONDON: At the end of the most competitive Indian Premier League (IPL) season since the competition began in 2008, picking an XI from the eight franchises is harder than ever. We will play by the rules though. In the IPL, no team can field more than four foreign players — our XI has the same composition.

KL Rahul: Had his teammates not underperformed so badly, Rahul’s batting would have taken Kings XI Punjab into the playoffs. He scored six half-centuries for a team in which only one other batsman crossed 350 runs for the season.

Jos Buttler: A man transformed after being asked to open, Buttler’s innovative and powerful strokeplay were instrumental in Rajasthan Royals sneaking into the playoffs. With Ben Stokes having a poor season, it was all the more important that he stepped up.

Kane Williamson: Did not have the impact he would have liked in the playoffs, but with eight half-centuries in the league phase, he was a byword for consistency. Shouldered the burden of captaincy and a weak batting side.

Rishabh Pant: He destroyed Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the league’s best bowler in previous seasons, while making a 63-ball 128 against table-topping Hyderabad. Despite Delhi’s season never taking off, Pant was relentless, pounding out the runs at a heady rate.

MS Dhoni: Smashed 30 sixes as he rediscovered his batting mojo. His three half-centuries were as many as he had made in three previous seasons, and his leadership was marked by the usual glacial calm. Got an aging side past the finish line.

Dinesh Karthik: Some would say he overachieved by taking a new-look Kolkata side into the playoffs. But for a heroic display from Rashid Khan, they could even have made the final. Rotated his bowlers cleverly and was exceptional at closing out tight games with the bat.

Krunal Pandya: Hardik Pandya may have the India cap and the rockstar image, but it was his older brother who was more consistent for Mumbai Indians. Krunal was his tidy self with the ball, and he offered a big-hitting option down the order, scoring faster than his sibling.

Rashid Khan: Probably the best T20 bowler in the world. He has been around a couple of seasons now, but so few batsmen continue to pick him from the hand. He is usually too quick to play off the pitch. The list of batsmen he flummoxed — Kohli, de Villiers and Dhoni included — reads like a who’s who of the game.

Deepak Chahar: He was the perfect sidekick for Lungi Ngidi, swinging the new ball accurately and giving little away. After a few seasons of struggle in domestic cricket, he is back in the limelight.

Umesh Yadav: A regular wicket-taker for a Bangalore side that had few others. Whether he pitched full or short, Yadav’s pace made him a potent threat. He and Yuzvendra Chahal seemed to be the only bowlers Kohli trusted.

Andrew Tye: Another whose stellar displays could not cover up the inadequacies of his Punjab teammates. The Tye knuckle-ball confounded most and played a massive part in the team starting the season 5-2.


Neymar donates $1m to fight coronavirus

Updated 03 April 2020

Neymar donates $1m to fight coronavirus

  • Neymar donated part of the money to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • The rest of the donation went to a charitable fund launched by his friend Luciano Huck, a Brazilian TV presenter

RIO DE JANEIRO: Neymar has donated $1 million to fight the impact of the new coronavirus in his native Brazil, according to TV network SBT.
The Paris Saint-Germain star, the world’s third-highest-paid footballer, donated part of the money to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the rest to a charitable fund launched by his friend Luciano Huck, a Brazilian TV presenter, the report said.
The striker’s press office declined to comment, saying: “We never talk about donations or amounts.”
Neymar, 28, followed the example of PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe, who last month made what was described as a major donation — amount undisclosed — to a French charity helping fight the impact of COVID-19.
Huck, who has been touted as a possible candidate in Brazil’s 2022 presidential election, launched his fund to help poor Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods particularly vulnerable to coronavirus.
The donations come as high-paid footballers face pressure to forego some of their salaries amid the crisis, which has ground the sporting world to a halt and left some clubs struggling to pay their staff.
Neymar is riding out the pandemic at his luxury villa in Mangaratiba, a resort town outside Rio.
He faced criticism last week after he was photographed relaxing with a group of friends on a beach volleyball court, even as half the world’s population — including most of Brazil — is in confinement to slow the virus’ spread.
His press team said he was receiving no visitors and was in quarantine at a “completely isolated” residence with people who made the trip from France with him.