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CWG organisers apologise for ‘shameful’ closing ceremony

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Boxing legend MC Mary Kom led the Indian contingent at the Closing Ceremony. However, the athletes' march past was not shown live on TV. (PC- PTI)

Canberra, April 16: The organizers of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have apologised for Sunday’s closing ceremony on Sunday night which has been roundly criticised for not including athletes.

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Athletes, including the competing countries’ respective flag-bearers, marched on to the arena before the ceremony commenced, meaning the audience at Carrara stadium could see them, but the TV audience couldn’t. Many athletes were seen leaving the stadium while the closing speeches were still in progress, reports Xinhua news agency.

The ceremony was even criticised by Australian broadcasters, Channel Seven, with former CWG bronze Medallist Johanna Griggs saying during the live coverage she was “furious” with the decision.

“They’re actually wrecking a tradition that is so important and part of the Commonwealth Games,” Griggs said, live on air. “Unfortunately tonight, the organizing committee, together with the host broadcasters, just didn’t get it right.”

Commonwealth Games Chairman Peter Beattie acknowledged on Monday that organisers made a mistake featuring athletes in the pre-show instead of the television coverage.

“If the athletes didn’t come into the stadium until the broadcast time they would have been stuck in a field or a paddock somewhere,” Beattie told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday.

Beattie, who had previously described the CWG as “inspirational” and “innovative,” said he was disappointed the viewers at home did not get to see the athletes.

“We wanted athletes to be part of and enjoy the closing ceremony. However, having them come in to the stadium in the pre-show meant the TV audience were not able to see the athletes enter the stadium. We got that wrong,” the Commonwealth Games chairman said.

“The people who are angry are justified. The people who have been critical are also justified,” Beattie said.

“Unfortunately tonight, the organising committee, together with the host broadcasters, just didn’t get it right.”

In a social media post on Monday morning, Beattie said the closing ceremony telecast should have been organised more appropriately.

“The speeches were too many and too long. I was part of that and I acknowledge it. Again, we got that wrong,” he wrote.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who actually spoke at the closing ceremony, also criticised the organisers on Monday.

“At the end of the day, we appoint an agency to run the day to day operations of the Games,” Palaszczuk told reporters.

“Whoever made that decision not to allow those athletes to march in should hang their heads in shame.”

Athletes themselves have said they were disappointed to not be included in the closing ceremony.

Angus Brandt, a member of the Australian basketball team which won a gold medal, said the entire Australian basketball team was disappointed to be left out.

“It was a little disappointing with the athletes being brought in before the actual ceremony began,” Brandt said on Australian Television on Monday.

“We were looking forward to being part of the Closing Ceremony and being recognized for what we had done in the games.”

The host broadcaster of the CWG, NEP Group, also released a social media post saying it was “disappointed.”

IANS

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Will take a call on my career after 2019 World Cup, says Yuvraj Singh

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New Delhi, April 23: Flamboyant Indian batsman ‘Yuvraj Singh’ has revealed that he will take a call on his career after the ICC World Cup 2019, scheduled to be held in England and Wales.

India’s 2011 World Cup winning hero, Yuvraj last represented the country during the limited-overs tour of the West Indies in 2017. “I am going to look to play till 2019, whatever cricket I get to play. I will take a call when that year is over,” Yuvraj told news agency ANI.

The 36-year-old said that he has been playing for India for nearly two decades and will have to retire someday.

“Everybody has to take a decision after a while. I have been playing international cricket since 2000, it has been almost 17-18 years on and off. So, I will definitely take a call after 2019,” he further added.

Singh also spoke about his Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), adding that their immediate goal is to qualify for the semi-finals.

“We are looking ahead to first qualify in the last four and I think we have got a great team this year. We have got a very powerful batting attack, smart bowling attack, and hopefully we look to qualify and then see if we can win the finals,” he said.

The batsman was all praises for his teammate and star batsman Chris Gayle, who recently scored a century against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) on April 19. He also added that their main competition this season is Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

“Oh, I am loving it. Chris has always been a friend off the field. He has been a great batsman, probably one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world and performing like a boss on the field. I am really happy for him and the way he is batting,” he said.

“T20 cricket is unpredictable. Anybody can win on any day. But Chennai has always been a very consistent team and KKR has been playing really well. I think these are two really good teams in the IPL,” he concluded.

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are currently at second rank on the IPL points table with four victories and one loss.

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IPL: Rajasthan beat Mumbai By 3 wickets, jumps to 5th spot

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Jaipur, April 23: K. Gowthams quickfire 33 not out off 11 deliveries helped Rajasthan Royals defeat Mumbai Indians by three wickets here on Sunday as they ended their two-match losing streak in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

In pursuit of Mumbai’s 167/7, powered by half-centuries from Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, Rajasthan were in trouble having lost six wickets for 125 runs till 17.1 overs. But 29-year-old Karnataka bowling all-rounder Gowtham whacked four fours and two sixes to see Rajasthan overhaul Mumbai target with two deliveries to spare.

Earlier in the first innings, Yadav and Kishan put on an excellent batting display to add 129 runs between them off 82 deliveries coming together after the early departure of Mumbai opener Evin Lewis.

Yadav scored a whirlwind knock of 72 runs, smashing six boundaries and three hits into the stands during his 47-ball stay in the middle.

Kishan posted a steady 58 off 42 balls which included four boundaries and three sixes.

For Rajasthan, young West Indies pacer Jofra Archer was the most successful bowler with figures of 3/22.

Fellow pacer Dhawal Kulkarni returned 2/32 while Jaidev Unadkat also got a wicket.

Kulkarni struck the first blow for the hosts in the very first over when Lewis dragged an inside edge on to his stumps.

But that was the only bit of success Rajasthan managed as Yadav and Kishan took their bowlers to the cleaners.

However, while Yadav and Kishan laid the foundation for a big total in the vicinity of 200 runs, the rest of the Mumbai batting line-up failed to provide the big final push. The Rajasthan bowlers did well to stage a strong comeback by picking up quick wickets in the late overs.

Kulkarni finally brought the partnership to an end when Kishan botched up a cheeky reverse scoop from outside the off-stump, only to hand an easy skier to Rajasthan wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.

Kishan’s dismissal seemed to break Mumbai’s momentum as Rajasthan staged a strong comeback with two quick wickets in a span of three balls.

Yadav departed soon after when Unadkat outfoxed him with a slower ball. The Mumbai opener went for a big shot but was fooled by the lack of pace and the ball went flying high into the night sky before Buttler pulled off another easy catch.

Rohit Sharma was dismissed in his very first ball when he went for an ill-judged quick single but excellent fielding by Ajinkya Rahane at cover caught the Mumbai skipper short of his crease.

Archer extinguished any chances of a late surge by Mumbai with three wickets in the second last over.

During the chase, Rajasthan openers Ajinkya Rahane (14) and Rahul Tripathi (9) fell early. Rahane was caught by Krunal Pandya at midwicket off seamer Mitchell McClenaghan, Tripathi played a poor shot off a delivery from spinner Krunal and was pouched by Suryakumar Yadav.

At 38/2, Sanju Samson and Ben Stokes joined hands and stitched together a 72-run stand to put Rajasthan in a position in a fighting position.

The partnership was broken by medium pacer Hardik Pandya, who bowled Stokes in the first ball of the 15th over. Stokes departed after hitting three fours and a six of the 27 deliveries he faced.

With the hosts requiring 57 of 5.5 overs after the fall of Stokes, Rajasthan were still in the game, with Samson completing his fifty in the following over.

But in the 17th over, paceman Jasprit Bumrah removed Samson and Jos Buttler (6) to tilt the match in Mumbai’s favour, with the hosts at 125/5 in 16.3 overs.

Bangladeshi medium pacer Mustafizur Rahman dealt Rajasthan a crucial blow as he got rid of South African Heinrich Klassen (0) in the first delivery of the 18th over, reducing the hosts to 125/6.

Gowtham and Jofra Archer (8 off nine) then did the rest of the work. With 28 required off two overs, Bumrah conceded 18 runs in the penultimate over, leaving 10 needed off one over.

Hardik removed Archer in the first ball of the final over. While Gowtham hit a four in the next delivery, the third ball yielded no run. With six requiring off three balls, Gowtham pulled one over the midwicket boundary for a six to give Rajasthan their third win in five games.

Following the win, Rajasthan jumped to the fifth spot with six points, while Mumbai, who lost their fourth match in five games, are now at the seventh position.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians: 167/7 in 20 overs (Surya Kumar Yadav 72, Ishan Kishan 58; Jofra Archer 3/22, Dhawal Kulkarni 2/32) vs Rajasthan Royals: 168/7 in 19.4 overs (Sanju Samson 52, Ben Stokes 40, Gowtham 33 not out; Hardik Pandya 2/25, Jasprit Bumrah 2/28).

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Punjab ride Gayle-Rahul show to beat KKR and top IPL table

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Kolkata, April 21: Kings XI Punjab openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul made short work of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as they won by nine wickets via the Duckworth Lewis (D/L) method in a rain-truncated Indian Premier League (IPL) game at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.

Chasing 192 for victory, Gayle (49, 27b not out) and Rahul (46 off 23 not out) were going all guns blazing when rain, accompanied by thunderstorms. hit Eden. Play was stopped for 95 minutes after which Punjab were given a revised target of 125 in 13 overs.

Gayle remained unbeaten on 62 off 38 balls (5×4, 6×6), hitting the winning runs by smoking Tom Curran for a six as Punjab, 126/1, eased to victory with 11 balls to spare.

Rahul (60; 27b 9×4 2×6) got out to Sunil Narine by top-edging a pull to Tom Curran at deep midwicket.

With just 29 needed off 28 balls after the break, Gayle resumed from where he had left off, tonking Piyush Chawla for a six to bring up his fifty in 28 balls.

Rahul notched up his half century too at the other end, smashing Sunil Narine for a six over deep midwicket to follow it up with two fours off the West Indian, who then removed him.

The opening wicket stand was for 116 runs off 58 balls. This was the transformed Punjab’s third win in a row, and first at Eden since as they jumped to the top of the table with eight points.

Fresh from his whirlwind century against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Gayle looked in his devastating best and alongwith Rahul started off dealing in boundaries against the KKR pace attack of Shivam Mavi and Andre Russell.

The pair raced to 73 for no loss in Powerplay, and from there on toyed with the home team bowlers.

To make matters worse for KKR, Andre Russell aggravated his hamstring during bowling and had to leave the field.

Earlier, Chris Lynn (74) took time to settle down against the spinners and plundered the quicks, smashing six fours and four sixes in his first half-century of IPL-11.

kkr Kolkata knght riders

Lynn got a reprieve in the 13th over when when he was on 62, Barinder Sran (2/50) dropping a catch at deep extra cover off Andrew Tye (2/30) but the damage was already done.

Skipper Dinesh Karthik (43; 28b 6×4) gave him good company with a composed knock. The pair stitched together a 62-run partnership off 34 balls for the fourth wicket.

Lynn also combined with Robin Uthappa (34; 23b 5×4 1×6) for a 72-run second wicket stand.

Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab 126/1 in 11.1 overs (Chris Gayle 62 not out, KL Rahul 60) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 191/7 (Chris Lynn 74, Dinesh Karthik 43; Andrew Tye 2/30, Barinder Sran 2/50) by 9 wickets via Duckworth-Lewis method.

 

IANS

 

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