cricket:image:1427269 [365x205]
cricket:image:1427269 [365x205] (Credit: BCCI)

Why Spain can win Euro 2024 despite tough group with Italy Croatia

Dhoni's still got it: 37* (16) vs Delhi Capitals

By Karthik Krishnaswamy

It had been nearly a year since his first-ball duck in the final of IPL 2023. He hadn't needed to bat in Chennai Super Kings' first two games of IPL 2024. And then, at roughly 11pm on March 31, Visakhapatnam erupted as MS Dhoni walked to the middle. There must have been some trepidation mixed with all the joy in the stands, because who knew how he would go? It turned out that he'd go very, very well. It didn't matter that the match was already lost. All that mattered was that Dhoni could still wallop left-arm quicks for sixes over extra-cover, and pound one of the fastest bowlers in the world, Anrich Nortje for 4, 6, dot, 4, dot, 6 in the final over. He could still, it turned out, finish an IPL season with the second-highest strike rate (220.54) of any batter with at least 100 runs. Thala for a reason.

Fraser-McGurk at full throttle: 84 (27) vs MI

By Sidharth Monga

Jake Fraser-McGurk's gameplan was plain. Clear the front leg and swing hard if the ball is in your wheelhouse. Play the horizontal-bat shot if the length allows you to get enough power behind it. If the length is precise, try to chip over the infield because there are only two fielders in the circle. If nothing works, then and only then try to not hit a boundary.

In this innings, he was good enough to hit Jasprit Bumrah for a first-ball six, only the second time it has happened, on-drive the swinging ball, back-foot drive a slower short ball that cramped him up for an inside-out six over mid-off, and strike at 311.11. Fraser-McGurk is the ideal T20 batter. Bat at the top of the order, have the willingness to capitalise on the field without getting your eye in, and have the necessary skill to adjust to changes in length and pace and score at three runs per ball he attacked in his first IPL. And he attacked a staggering 106 of the 141 balls. Such batters deserve all the success.

Sunil Narine - T20 centurion: 109 off 56 balls vs RR

By Alagappan Muthu

Sunil Narine was talking about his plans as a T20 batter. He brought out all the classics. Not thinking too much. Give the team a good start. And then he said this: "see how long I can do it for and see if it carries on after the powerplay." As a batter, you'd want to be out there for a while, you'd want to face a lot of balls, you'd want a big score. But Narine, it seems, never plans on batting long. He goes out there just to smash it. Just to take the risks that others can't. Just to put his team ahead, even if it comes at the cost of a low score. 'Bout time the stars aligned to reward that sort of selflessness with a T20 hundred, in which he still went searching for a boundary once in two balls - 33 aggressive responses in 56 deliveries. Never change, Sunny.