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April 8, 2018

Sunday Sport: IPL Cricket, Bahrain GP and the Hell of the North



This weekend the India Premier League of Cricket (IPL) kicks off for the 2018 season.  The IPL is a Twenty20 tournament among teams representing Indian  cities and some states.  It runs through April and May, beginning this weekend, with most of the games being played today.  As a T20 competition, it uses the shortest and most action filled format in the sport, over a dynamite two month season.  Each team gets to pitch only 20 overs (sets of six pitches), so the play is very brief and exciting.  This sport also features some fairly hefty money, so the Indian teams are able to attract foreigners to play.  Each of the eight teams may employ up to four foreigners.



The top team in recent years has been the Mumbai Indians, who were champions last year, and indeed three times in recent years.  If they are not the league’s most popular franchise – and they might well be – then it is at least unquestionable that they are its most successful. Three wins in the past five seasons have established that. The holders have an enviable squad again, with Jasprit Bumrah being their top Indian player, who is a clutch player, who always shines at this time of year.  He is a seamer, one of the top three in the world, which means he has the knack to be able to bowl the ball so that the seam hits the earth, and can cause complicating deviations which can confuse the batsman.  This is also the home of Evin Lewis, of Trinidad, who in other formats, and in T20i has proves himself to be a good player. 



Meanwhile, Sunday is also the day of the running of the Bahrain Grand Prix.  Sebastian Vettel was 'chuffed' after claiming pole for Sunday's race as Ferrari lock out front row.  On the other hand, there was disappointment for world champion Lewis Hamilton, who received a five-place grid penalty, which could adversely affect his chances.  the German took pole position for Sunday’s race with a lap of 1 minute, 27.958 seconds in the final seconds of the qualifying session. 




Vettel is now well placed to open up a commanding early lead in the championship as world champion Lewis Hamilton was only fourth quickest, but will start ninth due to a five-place penalty for a gearbox change made after practice on Friday.  Hamilton admitted it was now a case of damage limitation for the race and trying to minimise the potential points loss to championship leader Vettel.  Hamilton said  “I’ve got the softer tyre so I should be able to go longer [before pitting]. There are a couple of different strategies tomorrow so I will try and eek out every last bit of power and strength from the car.”



From France, don't miss today's Premier cycling event among the Spring classics:  The 2018 Paris–Roubaix is a road cycling one-day race that is scheduled to take place on 8 April 2018 in France. It will be the 116th edition of the Paris–Roubaix and the fifteenth event of the 2018 UCI World Tour, commonly referred to as the "Hell of the North."  


The race is known for it's "pave" or cobblestone sections which pop up when least expected, and are generally surrounded by mud and waterholes.  This year there are 9 cobbled sectors included in the 256.3 km route.  Peter Sagan, perennial nice guy, pro, and contender, has great hopes.  He has great hopes almost every years, but seems to save his great energy for the Grand Tours.  

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