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The Weekly Focus 92

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: On the backfoot

The Russia Ukraine war has had devastating impacts on citizens. Recently, the United Nations confirmed that 1,081 civilians passed away in the course of the war and 1,707 injuries have been caused in Ukraine. Previously, Russian forces’ main aim was to capture Kyiv but Moscow is prioritizing what they call the liberation of the Donbas region. This suggests a new phase in the war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday again appealed to Russia to negotiate an end to the war, but he said Ukraine would not agree to give up any of its territories for the sake of peace. Last week Russian forces bombed a theatre used as shelter by some civilians via an airstrike; this attack alone killed near 300 people, Ukrainian Government officials said that this was the deadliest attack on civilians in this war. Russia's army has put its official losses in Ukraine to date at 1,351 soldiers. At the same time, the United States and other nations are overseeing the transfer of arms and resources to Ukraine to fight back. In a diplomatic way there doesn’t seem to be much progress as no side is willing to compromise. Even though Russia has the upper hand in this war, Ukraine has done a commendable job in defending themselves from a global superpower. If you want to know more about the impacts on other countries from the war read our previous edition where we see how you or your region will be economically affected by the war.

The SphereX mission

SpaceX is ready to launch a spectrophotometer for space history, the era of reionization, and the Ice Explorer (SPHEREx) mission as early as April 2025. The ideology of this mission was derived from the James Webb Space Telescope. The main theme of this mission is to delve into insights into exactly what happened in the first few seconds of the big banks. The SphereX mission, which SpaceX claims to start in 2025, addresses a variety of space exploration issues. The mission permeates the entire sky and understands how galaxies were formed and evolved. In addition to relying on computerized instructions, missions also address actual hardware usage. SpaceX has confirmed that the probe will investigate the basics of the sky within 6 months. The probe also maps the universe, but no such attempt has been made so far.

IPL Preview

After around 6 months, the IPL has returned and this time it’s on Indian soil. This will be a new era in the IPL after another mega auction, as well as the addition of 2 brand new franchises. The entire league stage of the season will be played in Mumbai and Pune, while the playoffs will likely be played in Ahemdabad. Here is a brief analysis of each of the 10 IPL franchises:

Mumbai Indians

Strengths: A strong top order as well as a powerful middle order has been a trademark of the Mumbai Indians, and they have repeated that this year. The core has been retained, and mostly adequate replacements for the players who were part of the team have been found. The bowling lineup will also benefit greatly in the coming years when Jofra Archer joins the MI camp, and until then MI still have express pace in the form of Jasprit Bumrah, Tymal Mills and Riley Meredith.

Weaknesses: MI lack an experienced spinner, and have a significantly weaker bowling lineup. Trent Boult was MI’s opening bowler for the past few seasons, and now although they have replaced him well they will miss his duties. The middle order, although strong, is inexperienced, with players like Dewald Brevis and Tilak Varma filling big spots previously occupied by Quinton de Kock and Hardik Pandya.

Chennai Super Kings

Strengths: Their core has remained the same, and they have plenty of experience in their team. The batting order has a great mix of experience and youth, and the leadership of MS Dhoni will play a big role in boosting Chennai’s title defense mission. They also have one of the best feilding sides.

Weakness: While experience is a strength, age is a weakness as well. Most of the core is above 35 years of age and might not have the fitness levels to sustain the entire season. Devon Conway will have to perform the role of what Faf Du Plessis was doing for CSK for so many years, which is a steep task. Chennai also lack an experienced spinner.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Strengths: RCB have the best top order in the competition, with Faf Du Plessis, Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell. Their bowling attack is also incredibly impressive, with Josh Hazlewood, Mohammed Siraj and Harshal Patel leading the pace attack and the current World Number 1 T20 bowler Wanindu Hasaranga leading the spin attack.

Weaknesses: As always, they have an inexperienced Indian middle order which might end up being reliant on the top order. The lack of an X-Factor player like AB De Villiers in the middle order will be missed by Royal Challengers Bangalore. Although Faf Du Plessis is an experienced captain, this is a major change in the RCB leadership and might take some time to settle in.

Delhi Capitals

Strengths: The dynamic opening pair of Prithvi Shaw and David Warner backed with Rishabh Pant and Mitchell Marsh forms a really good top 4. The presence of an experienced Indian core is also a huge advantage for Delhi, and they also have great batting depth.

Weakness: The absence of Kagiso Rabada will hurt the Dehli bowling attack, and taking wickets early up will be a challenge. The absence of Stoinis also leaves a big hole in the middle order, leaving the inexperienced Rovman Powell to fill in for the big hitter role.

Punjab Kings

Strengths: Punjab kings have another solid Indian opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal, and possess perhaps the most destructive batting lineup with Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone and Shah Rukh Khan to follow.

Weaknesses: Although they have Kagiso Rabada, they lack the presence of a balanced bowling attack, and they will be especially vulnerable in the middle overs with just one reputed spinner of Rahul Chahar.

SunRisers Hyderabad

Strengths: They have a balanced bowling attack with good Indian talent, and have a talented middle order as well. They have a great composed leader in the form of Kane Williamson as well.

Weaknesses: Their batting lineup is significantly weaker than a few seasons ago, with the absence of Jonny Bairstow, David Warner. They also lack a strike spinner with the absence of Rashid Khan

Gujarat Titans

Strengths: They have a great variety of Indian and overseas all rounders, increasing their batting depth and increasing the bowling options. They also have great overseas picks and bench strength

Weaknesses: They lack a quality top order, and will be devastated after Jason Roy left the IPL. Their batting will likely be heavily reliant on the middle and lower order, and the bowling is also quite weak and might be quite expensive at times.

Lucknow Supergiants

Strengths: They have an excellent opening in the form of KL Rahul and Quinton De Kock, and also possess a variety of great all rounders in the form of Krunal Pandya, Marcus Stoinis and Jason Holder. An impressive pace attack and balanced batting order as well.

Weaknesses: There is a threatening lack of bench strength, and there aren’t many viable replacements for players in case they get injured. There is also no experienced quality spinner in the side as well.

Rajasthan Royals

Strengths: They have an explosive top order including the likes of Buttler, Padikal and Samson and also possess an experienced international bowling attack with Ravi Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Trent Boult. Probably the best spin attack in the IPL.

Weaknesses: They lack a good death bowling option, with both Prasidh Krishna and Trent Boult being expensive at the death, and also have a vulnerable 5th bowler spot which will have to be shared by Riyan Parag and Jimmy Neesham

Kolkata Knight Riders

Strengths: The mystery spin duo of Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine will lead the bowling attack, and players like Shreyas Iyer and Aaron Finch form a stable top order. A destructive lower middle order adds balance to the full team as well

Weaknesses: Fitness issues for Andre Russell and Sunil Narine might cause KKR some trouble, as they lack able replacements and the first choice proven wicket keeper.

Other News

  • 132 people die in a plane crash in China, 120 of the 132 victims identified.

  • Many Sri Lankan citizens emerge to the streets to protest amid the worst economic crisis the country has faced in decades engulfing the island nation.

  • North Korea launches its largest ever ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile) test ever, criticized by the west as they threaten to impose further sanctions.

  • India abstain from voting in another resolution at the UNGA, receive, the USA call the decision “unsatisfactory”

  • Political turmoil engulfs Pakistan as the current Imran Khan leads the government to face a no-confidence motion soon.

  • Sergio Perez gets pole for the first time in his F1 career ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

  • India’s PV Sindhu and Prannoy both enter the women’s and men’s singles finals in the Swiss Open badminton tournament

  • BCCI revealed plans to start a Women’s IPL by next year, which will consist of 6-8 franchises.

  • MS Dhoni steps down as CSK captain and hands the reins over to Ravindra Jadeja.

  • Australia won their first Test series in Asia after 11 years as they beat Pakistan 1-0 in the 3 match test series.

Written by Vivaan Dharamshi

Edited by Nirvaan Zaveri

Article 1 by Arhaan Zaveri

Article 2 by Krishnav Bubna

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