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3 times when Yuvraj changed the game with his fielding




New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) With the likes of skipper Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja in the team, the current Indian squad is undoubtedly one of the best fielding units in the game. The story was not the same a decade back and the transformation from a below-par fielding outfit to becoming one of the best in the business started in the early 2000s.

It was Yuvraj Singh — a retired cricketer after Monday — and Mohammad Kaif who with their electrifying catches and fielding efforts changed the course of many matches and also started the fielding revolution under skipper Sourav Ganguly. While Yuvraj, will mostly be remembered for his six sixes in an over in the 2007 T20 World Cup and his heroics during the 2011 50-over World Cup, it cannot be denied that Yuvraj also changed the course of matches with his fielding efforts.

IANS takes a look at some instances when the southpaw’s fielding turned the games in India’s favour:

  1. India vs South Africa, Champions Trophy, 2002

India took on South Africa in the first semi-final of the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy in Colombo and the then skipper Sourav Ganguly won the toss and decided to bat first. The Indians set the Proteas a formidable 261 run-target. In reply, the South Africans looked to be running away with the match as their score stood at 192/1 at one stage. Herschelle Gibbs’ 116 and Jacques Kallis’ 97 left the Proteas 68 runs away with 71 balls still to be bowled. Not to forget the 9 wickets in the bag for the Proteas. However, as Gibbs had to retire hurt, Jonty Rhodes came in and mistimed a sweep off Harbhajan Singh. Yuvraj ran in at short fine-leg and took a one handed stunner to cut short his stay.

POst the catch, the entire match took a turn as South Africa then lost wickets at regular intervals to finish their innings at 251 for 6.

  1. India vs Bangladesh, 2004

In an ODI against Bangladesh at Chittagong in 2004, batting first India put 245/8. It was the game where M.S. Dhoni also made his ODI debut. Meanwhile, chasing the target, Bangladesh were off to a flying start as opener, Mohammad Rafique was smashing Irfan Pathan. After hitting a six in that over against Pathan, Rafique tried to hit him over backward point, but an outstading Yuvraj was right there and the one-haded catch applied brakes on the opener’s knock as the Men in Blue went on to clinch the issue by 11 runs.

  1. India vs Australia, ICC KnockOut Trophy, 2000

In the first quarter-final against Australia in Nairobi in the ICC KnockOut trophy in 2000, India had scored an impressive 265 for 9, courtesy Yuvraj’s 84.

But apart from his contribution with the bat, it was also his superb catch which made the difference. Australia’s Ian Harvey, who was batting at no. 3, tried to gather some quick runs and hit a lofted drive off Venkatesh Prasad. However, Yuvraj, who was fielding at cover, flew in the air to take an outstanding catch. The catch once again changed the outcome of the match as the Kangaroos fell short by 20 runs.

(Kaushik Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])


Sania scripts dream return, clinches doubles title in Hobart




Hobart: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza along with Nadiia Kichenok came out with yet another brilliant performance as they defeated the China’s Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai in straight sets to win the women’s doubles title at Hobart International on Saturday.

Former doubles No.1 Mirza and Kichenok defeated the second-seeded Chinese duo 6-4, 6-4 in a rather one-sided contest which lasted one hour and 21 minutes.

The Indo-Ukrainian pair were the first to break in each set, but ultimately needed to wrap up the match by delivering the deciding breaks late. The unseeded duo won the last three games of the opener, and eight of the last 10 points to seal victory, having nearly seen a double-break advantage slip away.

Though the duo won six straight games from 3-4 in the opener to lead 6-4, 3-0, the 33-year-old Indian was the one who saw her serve broken twice as the Chinese eventually restored parity at 4-4.

Nonetheless, Mirza and Kichenok finished the match off in style with their fifth break of the match, before the Ukrainian served out the match and the victory for the team.

It is Mirza’s first WTA title in just over two years and 42nd of her storied doubles career, while Kichenok won her fifth, and first since partnering her twin sister, Lyudmyla, to win the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai in 2018.

The Indian star last won a trophy alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Brisbane International in the first week of the 2017 season, one of three doubles finals she reached that year before announcing her pregnancy in April of 2018.

Three-time doubles Grand Slam winner Mirza was making a return to competition after a two-year hiatus away from tennis, initially due to injuries and then welcoming a son in October 2018.

The former world No.1 won the Australian Open doubles title in 2016 following a successful 2015 season in which she claimed the Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles, all paired with Martina Hingis.

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Rajkot ODI: India level series with 36-run win




Rajkot, Jan 17 : India beat South Africa by 36 runs in the second ODI at the SCA stadium in Rajkot to level the three-match series between the two sides 1-1. Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli helped India post a total of 341 to chase. In response, Australia were all out for 304 despite Steve Smith scoring 98.

Openers David Warner and Aaron Finch, who posted a record 258-run stand to help Australia stroll to a win in the first ODI, could not do a repeat of their heroics with the former being dismissed in the fourth over. Smith came in at number three and put up 62 with Finch before the Australian captain fell to Ravindra Jadeja on account of a close stumping call in the 16th over.

Finch had attempted to hit Jadeja over extra cover but missed the delivery due to the turn. Finch dragged his backfoot marginally outside the crease and wicketkeeper Rahul whipped the bails off immediately. Replays made it a tough call for the umpire to make but the decision went India’s way in the end.

However, Marnus Labuschagne, playing his first ODI innings, stuck on with Smith and the pair gave Australia the upper hand in the middle overs. They put up 96 for the third wicket before Labuschagne holed out at mid-off off Jadeja on 46. Smith however looked settled and was cruising to his ninth ODI ton when a loose shot cost him his wicket.

Kuldeep Yadav, who was wicketless in the first eight overs, bowled the 38th over and got Carey when the latter sent the ball straight to Kohli at extra cover. It was Kuldeep’s 100th ODI wicket and two balls later, Smith played on and had to walk back two runs shy of his hundred.

Ashton Turner and Pat Cummins were dismissed off consecutive deliveries by Mohammed Shami in the 44th over. Both players were done in by pinpoint yorkers directed at the middle stump. Shami sent in a leg stump yorker for his hat-trick ball and hit Mitchell Starc on his pads but the umpire didn’t raise his finger with the ball clearly going down the leg side.

Navdeep Saini then got India closer in the 47th with the wickets of Ashton Agar and Starc off the first and third balls of the over. Kane Richardson then delayed the inevitable by smashing Mohammed Shami for three fours and a six in the penultimate over. Jasprit Bumrah ended the match by dismissing Adam Zampa off the first ball of the last over.

Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan scored his third straight fifty with a sublime 96 from 90 balls, his innings laced with 13 fours and a six as skipper Kohli smashed a 76-ball 78 (6×4). But it was Rahul, batting at No.5 who gave India the much-needed push in the last ten overs with his aggressive batting and range of shots. Rahul was run out in the final over for 80 off just 52 balls, his quickfire knock studded with six fours and three sixes.

For the Aussies, leg-spinner Adam Zampa was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/50.

The decisive third ODI will be played on Sunday at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.

Brief scores: India: 340/6 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 96, KL Rahul 80, Virat Kohli 78; Adam Zampa 3/50) vs Australia 304 (Steve Smith 98, Marnus Labuschagne 46; Mohammed Shami 3/77)

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Anand gets past Xiong for first win in Tata Steel Masters

It was a French Defence Winawer variation where none of the players castled throughout the game.




Viswanathan Anand

Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Jan 17 : Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand beat Jeffery Xiong of the United States to notch up his first victory in the Tata Steel Masters chess tournament here on Friday.

Anand was struggling for form but roared back to notch a win after one loss and three draws.

The Indian was very good in the round four match, playing some brilliant chess.

It was a French Defence Winawer variation where none of the players castled throughout the game.

Anand fired a king side attack early with his white pieces and enjoyed spatial advantage in the middle game.

Xiong tried to keep him at bay but in the end Anand found a crucial central breakthrough after which the resulting rook and pawns endgame was a walk in the park.

Anand moved to joint sixth spot with 2.5 points on a day.

Firouzja Alireza also scored a victory over Anish Giri of Holland.

Anish Giri dropped to 11th spot along with Nikita Vituigov of Russia on two points, Yu Yangyi of China is in 13th spot on 1.5 points and Kovalev stands last with just one point in his bag. Eight rounds still remain in the marathon event among 14 players.

Magnus Carlsen’s form was not too good even though he played his 112th game without a defeat.

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