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2nd T2oI: India clinch series with thumping win

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Lucknow, Nov 7 (IANS) An all-round show guided India to a thumping 71-run victory over West Indies in the second contest of the three-match T20 international series at the newly inaugurated AB Vajpayee Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.

It was a completely one-sided affair as the hosts dominated the visitors in every department of the game and with the thumping win, India also took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the rubber.

After Rohit Sharma took every West Indian bowler to the cleaners to bring up his fourth T20 ton as India put a mammoth 196-run target before the visitors, the bowlers also rose to the occasion to restrict the opponents to 124/9 in the allotted 20 overs.

Chasing the huge target, the visitors were off to a poor start as openers Shai Hope (6) and Shimron Hetmyer (15) were packed back by Khaleel Ahmed as the West Indies’ scorecard read 33/2 in 5.2 overs.

With the addition of another 15 runs in the visitors’ score, Kuldeep Yadav struck twice in his first over to dismiss Darren Bravo (23) and Nicholas Pooran (4) in the eighth over.

Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar also joined the party to pick up the wicket of Denesh Ramdin (10), leaving West Indies reeling at 81/6 in 13.4 overs. A fine throw by Krunal Pandya in the very next ball saw incoming batsman Fabian Allen failing in making his ground as he departed without any contribution.

Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar then scalped one wicket each to dismantle West Indies’ lower order before skipper Carlos Brathwaite, who remained unbeaten, and Keemo Paul chipped in with 15 and 20 runs respectively as the visitors somehow managed to reach the three-digit mark.

West Indies could only manage to reach 124 runs losing nine wickets in 20 overs as the visitors lost the T20I series too, with one match to go.

For India, Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah, Khaleel and Kuldeep bagged two wickets each.

Earlier, Rohit became the leading Indian scorer in Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) as he cracked an unbeaten hundred to help the hosts post 195/2.

Rohit remained unbeaten after smashing 111 runs off 61 balls, his innings studded with eight fours and seven sixes as the tourists could not find an answer to the Indian stand-in captain’s brilliance after opting to bowl first.

Rohit, who hit counterpart Brathwaite for a four in the third ball of the last over to bring up his fourth T20 ton — the most by any batsman — now has 2108 runs in the shortest format of the game. Regular skipper Virat Kohli is behind him at 2102 runs.

The Indian openers had to weather some good fast bowling by West Indies at the start, but from the moment Rohit broke the shackles with a six off the first ball of spin he faced, he looked unstoppable.

Rohit smashed 20 runs off the last over with Lokesh Rahul (26 not out) for company. Rahul hit two fours and a six to further propel the score.

Shikhar Dhawan (43 off 41; 3×4) also returned to form and joined hands with Rohit for a 123-run opening wicket stand.

For the hapless Windies, Fanian Allen returned best figures of 1/33 as all the bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Rohit.

Pacer Oshane Thomas started proceedings with a maiden, clocking 146 kmph in the last ball of the first over.

Till the fourth over, there was no boundary hit as Keemo and Thomas restricted the hosts to 11/0.

It was only in the fifth over that Rohit and Dhawan changed gears, hitting Thomas for 17 runs to take the score to 49/0 at the end of the powerplay.

There was no stopping the pair from there on as India raced to 83/0 at the halfway stage with both batsmen looking good for big scores.

Rohit was dropped by Khary Pierre when he was batting on 27 with the bowler claiming he had completed the catch but action replays showing the ball bounced before reaching Pierre.

Dhawan was also dropped on 28 by Keemo Paul at the midwicket boundary off Brathwaite.

But just when Dhawan was looking good for a half century, Nicholas Pooran took a fine catch at the long leg boundary off Fabian Allen to get rid of the southpaw.

Pierre got the back of Risabh Pant who was caught on the midwicket boundary by Hetmyer.

Brief scores: India 195/2 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 111 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 43; Fabian Allen 1/33) beat West Indies 124/9 in 20 overs (Darren Bravo 23, Keemo Paul 20; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/12)

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Serena Williams outlasts Simona Halep in epic battle in Australian Open

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Serena Williams
Photo Credit- Twitter/AustralianOpen

Melbourne, Jan 21: Serena Williams of the US advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Monday after a hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Romanian world No 1 Simona Halep.

The 37-year-old shone at the Rod Laver Arena to again demonstrate her remarkable longevity and ability to compete at the game’s highest level, reports Efe news.

“It was an intense match and there were some incredible points,” Williams said on court after the match. “I really needed to elevate my game. She’s the number one player in the world.”

The number 16 seed started strongly, storming into a comfortable lead before taking the first set 6-1 as the number one seed Halep struggled to get a foothold in the match.

After bossing the opening exchanges, Williams let her opponent back into the contest as Halep took the second set 6-4.

The American broke Halep’s serve in the seventh game of the third set to go 4-3 up; she was soon serving for the match at 5-4, sealing the win on the first of two match points.

Williams advances to the last eight of the tournament as she continues her bid to add an eighth Australian Open title to her 23 career Grand Slam wins.

IANS

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Tendulkar eagerly waiting for Anil’s Netflix web series ‘Selection: Day Part 2’

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Tendulkar Selection Day Part 2

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar engaged in a Twitter conversation with actor Anil Kapoor to announce the second season of “Selection Day”. The official Twitter handle of Netflix then announced that “Selection Day: Part 2” will start streaming from April 22 this year.

The series is a coming-of-age drama about two brothers Radha and Manju who are raised by their strict, obsessive father to be star cricket players in India.

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Happy to bat at any number: MS Dhoni

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Melbourne, Jan 18 (IANS) With just a handful of ODIs to be played ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the No.4 slot in the Indian batting order is still up for grabs and with former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni staking a strong claim with a hat-trick of half-centuries against Australia, it will be interesting to see if the team management persists with him in the quadrennial event.

Ask Dhoni, who was on Friday promoted to the No. 4 spot and ended up belting a 114-ball unbeaten 87 to guide India to a maiden 2-1 ODI series win against the Kangaroos in their own backyard, the 37-year-old is “happy to bat at any number”.

“It is not about where you want to bat; I am happy to bat at any number and after playing for 14 years I can’t say that I don’t want to bat at number six and want to bat at four,” said Dhoni, who was adjudged the Man-of-the-Series.

Dhoni’s selfless approach was echoed by none other that his successor Virat Kohli, who said “nobody is more committed to Indian cricket than Dhoni.”

Kohli also heaped praises on middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav, who despite being benched for the opening two ODIs, grabbed the opportunity with both hands in the final ODI, as the right-hander scored an unbeaten 61 and more importantly forged an 121-run unbeaten stand with Dhoni to see India home by 7 wickets.

“It wasn’t a great wicket to bat on, so we had to take it deep, but they were professional in getting the job done. We were a bit nervous but two set batsmen in knew exactly what they wanted to do. Kedar with bat and ball is always handy. We have been here for a long time,” he said.

Dhoni also praised Jadhav’s efforts saying: “Kedar did a great job in playing unorthodox shots and it is important to hit boundaries.”

Similarly, man-of-the-match Yuzvendra Chahal also made the most of the opportunity, returning 6/42 to restrict the hapless Aussies for a meagre 230 at the MCG.

Commenting on the leg-spinner’s effort, Kohli said: We wanted to get in a good combination. We wanted to give Kuldeep (Yadav) a rest and we don’t want to be too predictable as well. Chahal came in and bowled beautifully. 6/42 was magnificent.”

“It’s been an amazing tour for us. We drew the T20 series, won the Test and the ODI series. If someone gave me these results before the tour I would have taken it with both hands.”

“I am really grateful and proud of the side. It was a collective effort. We are feeling confident and balanced as a side with the World Cup in mind. Few games against New Zealand and few more back home to strengthen the areas that we need to work on as a team,” Kohli added.

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