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India retain the ICC Test mace

Captain Virat Kohli will be presented with the the mace, which is a symbol of excellence and a recognition of a side’s outstanding performance in the Test format

India have retained the ICC Test Championship mace and have also won an award of $1million after their victory in the Johannesburg Test ensured that South Africa cannot move ahead of them in the ICC Test Team Rankings at the 3 April cut-off date, even if they go on to win all four Tests against Australia in March.

India had arrived in South Africa on 124 points, with South Africa 13 points behind on 111 points. However, Virat Kohli’s men will return on 121 points as opposed to South Africa’s 115 points, which will be good enough for them to keep possession of the prestigious ICC Test Championship mace for the second year in succession at the April cut-off.

Virat will be presented with the mace, which is a symbol of excellence and a recognition of a side’s outstanding performance in the purest format of the game, and a cheque of $1million in a presentation ceremony, the details of which will be announced in due course.

Virat had become the 10th captain since 2002 to get his hands on the mace when he had received it from Sunil Gavaskar following the Indore Test against New Zealand in 2016.

Had South Africa pulled off a 3-0 series win against India, then a win by 2-0 or better against Australia would have helped them reclaim the mace they had last won in 2015.

Below is the list of teams finishing at the number-one position at the 1 April cut-off:

2003 – Australia

2004 – Australia

2005 – Australia

2006 – Australia

2007 – Australia

2008 – Australia

2009 – Australia

2010 – India

2011 – India

2012 – England

2013 – South Africa

2014 – South Africa

2015 – South Africa

2016 – Australia

2017 – India

2018 - India

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Delhi beat Team Rajasthan to lift the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Unmukt Chand hits 53; Captain Pradeep Sangwan, Pawan Negi and Kulwant Khejroliya takes two wickets each

With a thumping 41-run win over Team Rajasthan, Delhi claimed the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2017-18 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. After Unmukt Chand’s 49-ball 53 helped set Team Rajasthan a competitive 154-run target, the Pradeep Sangwan-led attack bundled out the opponents for 112.

After Sangwan elected to bat, Gautam Gambhir and Rishabh Pant got the team off to a good start with a 41-run opening stand before Rahul Chahal rattled the former’s stumps. The wicketkeeper-batsman who had a life on eight was the next to return to the pavilion in the next over top-edging SKK Ahmed and the ‘keeper taking the catch to leave the side on 41 for two.

Unmukt Chand then joined Dhruv Shorey in shaping the innings. The pair added 48 runs for the third wicket until Chahar had the No 3 bat stumped. 16 runs later, Nitish Rana was sent back by Lamba. And after adding another useful 18 runs with the middle-order bat Milind returned to the dressing room leaving the side on 123 for five. Although he kept losing partners at the other end, Chand anchored Delhi to a respectable total with a sensible innings. 24 runs later, he was trapped lbw by Ahmed with five balls still left in the innings. Lalit Yadav and Pawan Negi then took the side to 153 for six in the stipulated overs.

Chasing a 154-run target, Aditya Garhwal creamed Kulwant Khejroliya for three boundaries in the second over as they picked 15 runs off it. However, skipper Sangwan, who had bowled a tight first over caught Lamba off his own bowling.

While the opener looked to milk the attack, S Khan bided his time at the crease and 36 runs later was removed by Negi. Garhwal ‘s blitzkrieg was ended by Lalit Yadav as the batsmen looked to up the ante leaving the side on 77 for three in the 12th over.

The Delhi bowlers then continued to pick wickets at quick intervals. In the next over, T Dhillion was sent back by Nitish Rana while Khejroliya got the better of M Lomror and Chetan Bist in the following over. Delhi then further tightened their grip on the game by stepping up the pressure. Lamba was removed by Negi leaving Rajasthan reeling on 96 for seven while captain accounted for RK Bishnoi to leave Rajasthan on 100 for eight. R Chahar was dismissed by Subodh Bhati while A Choudhary was the last wicket to fall; taking the aerial route to Milind.
With Sangwan, Khejroliya and Negi claiming two wickets each while Bhati, Rana, Lalit and Milind accounting for one scalp each Delhi sealed victory with five balls to spare.

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