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Bayern vs Real Madrid, Juventus vs Barcelona in Champions League quarters

Both Madrid and Bayern are also currently leading the standings in their respective domestic leagues.

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Nyon (Switzerland), March 17 : The Champions League draw pits Europe’s four heavyweight football clubs in the quarter-finals that also see underdogs vying for a place in the final four showdown. The draw, held here on Friday, left Bayern Munich facing Real Madrid and Juventus grappling with FC Barcelona — in two pairings that are set to absorb soccer fans and viewers across the globe.

The ceremony, presided over by UEFA’s director of competitions, Giorgio Marchetti, also portended a hard-fought battle between Atletico Madrid and Leicester City, while Borussia Dortmund will clash with AS Monaco, reports Efe.

This season’s competition, called “The Road to Cardiff,” will see the two surviving teams clash in the final on June 3 at the Welsh capital’s magnificent Millennium Stadium.

The first-leg matches are set to be played on April 11-12 at the home stadiums of Atletico, Dortmund, Bayern and Juventus, while the second leg is scheduled for April 18-19 in the cities of Leicester, Montecarlo, Madrid and Barcelona.

Bayern-Real Madrid is a classic of European competitions and promises be one of the most attractive clashes, as it pitches coach Carlo Ancelotti against his former team, now led by his ex-assistant Zinedine Zidane.

“The match against Real Madrid will be special for me. It is going to be exciting to play against them,” said Ancelotti, adding that his side wanted to win the Champions League this season.

Both clubs have won the title many times, with Madrid defending the championship this year (they hold the record of 11 cups won) and the Bavarians winning five out of 10 finals they have played.

“There are no easy games in the Champions League and we’re up against a tough and driven opponent. They are a strong team that are doing well. It will be a joy to watch for football fans around the world,” Zidane told his club’s website.

Both Madrid and Bayern are also currently leading the standings in their respective domestic leagues.

Barcelona against Juventus is a repeat of the 2014-15 Champions League final, which ended with a 1-3 victory for the former, adding to the Catalans’ record-shattering treble that season.

Record Italian champions Juventus, who hold the record of being the team who has finished as the runners-up the most times (six), will pursue their third title of the competition.

Meanwhile, Barcelona seek to secure their sixth win and become third in the ranking of total number of championships won after Milan (seven titles) and Real Madrid.

“It will be a passionate, difficult and beautiful tie. We will face a great team with many good players. We will have to play two great matches to get to the next round,” Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta said of Juventus.

“As well as having that solid (defensive) block typical of Italian teams, they have players who can make the difference, some of the best in every position who are at a very high level. It will be a difficult tie but with our capabilities we aim to push the tie in our favour.”

Juventus vice president and former star Pavel Nedved said: “It’s a fascinating tie. We know what a strong side Barcelona are, but we must be brave and take the game to them.

“We’ve come on a long way since the last time we crossed paths in the 2015 final and I believe that this is the right time to be facing them again. I believe that we’ve reached Barcelona’s level this season.”

Atletico Madrid will face the opponent everyone was hoping for, Leicester City, in what nevertheless looks to be a competitive match-up.

Diego Simeone’s team will attempt to finally nab its first title after having lost three finals in the past, two of them against its arch-rival from Madrid.

The reigning English champion will attempt to continue their adventure in the Champions League, a competition they enter for the first time, even after a relatively-poor performance this domestic season and the departure of the coach that led the team to a historical championship win, Italian Claudio Ranieri.

Since coach Craig Shakespeare replaced the Italian, the Foxes have won three consecutive matches.

The last clash will put Borussia Dortmund, who won the cup in 1997, against Monaco, the current Ligue 1 leader which deservingly eliminated Manchester City in the last round and now seeks to reach its second Champions League final.

Monaco lost by 0-3 the 2003-2004 edition to FC Porto, then helmed by Jose Mourinho, in the AufSchalke Arena in Gelsenkirchen (Germany).

Also on Friday, Europa League quarter-finalists confirmed their opponents ahead. Manchester United, aiming for the title to secure one next season’s CL qualification spot, will play against Belgian side Anderlecht, while Lyon are set to meet Beskitas of Turkey.

The other two encounters are Celta Vigo vs Genk, Ajax vs Schalke. The two legs of Europa League quarter-finals will be held on April 13 and 20.

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ICC meet: Cricket might be part of Olympics by 2028

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David Richardson
ICC Chief Executive, ''David Richardson'' addresses a press conference during ICC meeting in Kolkata on April 26, 2018.

New Delhi, April 27: ICC Chief Executive David Richardson on Thursday hoped that cricket would become a part of the Olympics from the 2028 edition in Los Angeles if all the cricket playing nations were united on this.

Stating that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is already late in formally applying to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include the gentleman’s game in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Richardson said they would continue talks with the IOC emphasising that cricket can add value to the Olympic Games.

“…Assuming that we can get all of cricket united in a desire to be a part of Olympics, then I think we would have a very good chance in persuading the IOC that cricket is a sport that can add value to the Olympics going forward,” Richardson told reporters On the final day of a week of ICC meetings here.

“The Olympics are going be held in Paris in 2024 and in Los Angeles in 2028. Already we have missed the boat for applying to the IOC through the front door to get the right to participate. We can go to Paris, talk with them and continue the talks in Los Angeles in due course and hopeful by 2028 we will have cricket in the Olympics,” he said.

The official said the ICC’s decision to engage more nations in global cricketing events through the T20 format would help them move an application to the IOC for the right to participate in the Olympics.

He also said the ICC has to resolve an issue with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Olympic Association to take the issue forward.

IANS

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IPL 2018: Rashid, Shakib star as Hyderabad pip Punjab by 13 runs

Afghan all-rounder Nabi then joined Pathan for the final two deliveries but couldn’t trouble the scorers much as Rajpoot had the last laugh.

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IPL Hyd KXIP

Hyderabad, April 27 : Spin twins Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan shared five wickets between them to help Sunrisers Hyderabad defend a meagre 132 against Kings XI Punjab by 13 runs in a nail-biting Indian Premier League (IPL) clash as the Orange Army vaulted to the No.2 spot in the points table.

Demoted to No.3, Kings XI Punjab squandered a watchful 55-run opening start from Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul before falling apart, as Rashid (3/19) and Shakib (2/18) triggered a batting collapse to see the team home amid thunderous applause from the vociferous crowd at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Thursday.

While Gayle (23 off 22 balls; 4×1, 6×2) started with a thunderous six over off-spinner Mohammad Nabi’s head before going into a shell, Rahul (32 off 26; 4×4, 6×1) sent the Afghan tweaker to the cleaners on three consecutive occasions to outscore his West Indian opening partner.

Rahul’s innings was laced with a range of stylish cover drives and straight drives even as Gayle found back his groove by welcoming medium pacer Basil Thampi for a thunderous six, and helping his side past the 50-run mark.

With Punjab sailing smoothly towards the target, Kane Williamson brought in his strike bowler Rashid Khan, who responded in style by hammering Rahul’s off-stump with a googly.

Thampi (2/14) then joined the party by getting the better of Gayle, who miscued a short ball to non-existent square-leg only to find the bowler completing a clean catch.

At 57/2, Punjab needed to start afresh with Mayank Agarwal (12) and Karun Nair (13) joining forces, but left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan nipped the partnership in the bud with the wicket of Agarwal.

Nair departed soon after failing to read Rashid’s googly which trapped him plumb in front even as Manoj Tiwary (1) was welcomed with a couple of fiery lbw appeals from the Afghan.

Punjab’s nightmare continued in the next over when Shakib packed back Aaron Finch (8) after being clobbered for a massive six on the previous ball.

Medium pacer Sandeep Sharma added salt to Punjab’s woes by packing Tiwary soon after as the visitors’ chase derailed after losing six wickets in a span of just 37 runs.

Skipper Ravichandran Ashwin (4), Andrew Tye (4) and Barinder Sran (2) could hardly offer any resistance as the home bowlers continued their stronghold.

With the target gradually getting out of Punjab’s hands, tailenders Mujeeb Ur Rahman (10 not out) and Ankit Rajpoot (8) got a few hits before Thampi uprooted Rajpoot’s middle stick to take his team home.

Earlier, medium pacer Ankit Rajpoot (5/14) ripped through the Hyderabad batting to restrict them to a paltry 132.

The 24-year-old Rajpoot started off with the key wickets of skipper Kane Williamson (0), Shikhar Dhawan (11) and Wriddhiman Saha (6) from his first three overs before returning to pick Manish Pandey (54) and Mohammad Nabi (4) in the final over of the innings.

Put in to bat, the hosts were saved from the blushes by Pandey’s fighting 51-ball knock, laced with three fours and a six after Rajpoot reduced them to 27/3 in the first five overs.

Pandey, however found a companion in Bangladesh skipper Shakib, who made the most of the two reprieves, striking a 29-ball 28, laced with three hits to the fence and forged a 52-run fourth wicket stand.

But the joy was short-lived as 17-year-old mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman ended the partnership with the wicket of Shakib.

Shakib’s dismissal brought in an experienced Yusuf Pathan (21 not out off 19; 4×1, 6×1) who was forced to curb his natural game, even as Pandey reached his fifty by sending Tye’s slower one to the extra cover boundary.

Afghan all-rounder Nabi then joined Pathan for the final two deliveries but couldn’t trouble the scorers much as Rajpoot had the last laugh.

Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 132/6 (Manish Pandey 54, Shakib Al Hasan 28; Ankit Rajpoot 5/14) beat Kings XI Punjab (Lokesh Rahul 32, Chris Gayle 23; Rashid Khan 3/19, Basil Thampi 2/14, Shakib Al Hasan 2/18) by 13 runs.

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IPL: CSK beat RCB by 5 wickets to return to top spot

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MS Dhoni and Bravo, Photo: IANS

Bengaluru, April 26 (IANS) Mahendra Singh Dhoni (70 not out off 34 deliveries) and Ambati Rayudu’s 53-ball 83 helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) register a thumping five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) here on Wednesday to return to the top spot of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Chasing a massive total of 206 runs, Dhoni was at his explosive best, blasting seven sixes as the visitors won with five wickets and two deliveries to spare clash at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

The veteran skipper was well supported by opener Rayudu, who slammed four boundaries and eight sixes as CSK took their points tally to 10, while RCB remained in the sixth spot with four points.

Earlier, South Africans AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock’s struck breezy half-centuries to power RCB to a mammoth 205/8. De Kock (53, 37 balls; 4×1, 6×4) played the perfect supporting role in the 103-run second wicket stand with de Villiers (68 off 30; 4×2, 6×8), who started from the word go to bring up his half-century in just 23 deliveries.

Put in to bat, RCB got off to a decent 35-run start by skipper Virat Kohli (18) and de Kock before Shardul Thakur saw the back of the Indian captain, thanks to a smart catch by Ravindra Jadeja.

But the visitors wouldn’t have imagined what was coming their way, as de Villiers started off by clobbering Harbhajan Singh for two consecutive sixes before launching left-arm spinner Jadeja to the skies.

Such was the dominance from the former Proteas skipper that the hosts raced to 87/1 midway into the innings, with both de Villiers and de Kock nearing their respective fifties.

Despite being overshadowed by his senior partner, the southpaw brought up his half-century in style, tonking Shane Watson for a six over deep mid-wicket.

On the first ball of the very next over, de Villiers, who had earlier clobbered leg-spinner Imran Tahir for two massive sixes, took Thakur to the cleaners thrice consecutively to bring up his half-century.

With both the RCB batsmen going hammer and tongs, CSK skipper Dhoni threw the ball to his West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, and he responded in style by packing back de Kock with a smart catch off his
own follow through.

Tahir then joined the party by bagging the prized scalp of de Villiers and new man Corey Anderson (2) in the very next over to restore parity into the match.

De Villiers miscued Tahir’s tossed-up delivery pitched outside off-stump for Sam Billings to complete the formalities at deep cover.

Tahir immediately got rid of New Zealand’s Anderson with a googly as Harbhajan Singh completed a brilliant catch at slip.

With the hosts comfortably placed at 142/4, Mandeep Singh (32 off 17; 4×1, 6×3) and Colin de Grandhomme (11) struck a few lusty blows towards the end, even as two run-outs and a wicket in the final over could not stop RCB from crossing the 200-run mark.

During the chase, Chennai were off to a shaky start, losing opener Shane Watson (7), who was trying to clear the mid-on boundary, in the very first over.

Incoming batter Suresh Raina then shared a 42-run partnership with Rayudu, helping CSK touch the 50-run mark.

While trying to flick a Umesh Yadav ball, Raina (11) was caught at backward point by Mandeep Singh.

CSK received another jolt soon as leggie Yuzvendra Chahal struck to dismiss Sam Billings (9) in the seventh over, leaving Chennai reeling at 59/3.

Just when CSK added another 15 runs, Chahal got the better off Ravindra Jadeja (3) in the ninth over to put the visitors on tremendous pressure.

Rayudu however, kept the scoreboard ticking for CSK. The opener was then joined by Dhoni, who made his intentions clear after smashing a massive six over deep midwicket on the vey second ball he faced.

The duo then shared a crucial 101-run partnership for the fifth wicket, bringing back CSK in the contest.

Both the batters fired every RCB bowlers to skies and meanwhile, Rayudu bought his second fifty of the season in the 14th over.

On the other hand, Dhoni too, notched up his second fifty in the 18th over with Chennai’s scorecard reading 169/4.

Just when the visitors were inching closer towards the target, a brilliant throw by Umesh Yadav from short third man area saw the end of Rayudu, who was trying to gather couple of runs.

With 30 required off the last two overs, Chennai managed to accumulate 14 runs in the 19th over bowled by Mohammed Siraj to make the issue another nail-biter.

A boundary and a huge six by Dwayne Bravo (14 not out off seven) off the first two deliveries followed by a six by Dhoni sealed another win for Chennai in an edge of the seat match.

For RCB, Chahal was the pick of the bowlers bagging two wickets for 26 runs while spinner Pawan Negi and Yadav scalped a wicket each.

Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 205/8 (AB de Villiers 68, Quinton de Kock 53; Mandeep Singh 32; Imran Tahir 2/35) vs Chennai Super Kings 207/ 5 in 19.4 overs (Ambati Rayudu 82, MS 70 not out; Yuzvendra Chahal 2/26).

IANS

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