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Debutant Priya stars as India crush South Africa in 1st ODI

Punia was then joined by Punam Raut (16) and both shared a short 45-run partnership to help India cross the 100-run mark.

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Debutant Priya

Vadodara, Oct 9 : The India women’s team rode on a clinical effort both with the bat and ball as they outclassed South Africa by eight wickets in the first ODI of the three-match series here on Wednesday.

While Jhulan Goswami (3/33), Shikha Pandey (2/38), Ekta Bisht (2/28) and Poonam Yadav (2/33) starred with the ball, openers Priya Punia (75 not out) and Jemimah Rodrigues (55) made noticeable contributions with the bat to help India clinch a comfortable win at the Reliance Stadium.

Opting to bat, South Africa were off to a poor start and the Indian bowlers kept on jolting them at regular intervals. Laura Wolvaardt (39) and Marizanne Kapp (54) were the only two batswomen who showed some fight to help South Africa reach a moderate total of 164 before they were wrapped up in 45.1 overs.

Chasing the target, Punia — who was making her ODI debut and Rodrigues — gave India an upper hand as the duo shared an 83-run opening partnership. In the 21st over, Rodrigues was trapped in front of the wicket while she tried for a sweep off the bowling of Nondumiso Shangase.

Punia was then joined by Punam Raut (16) and both shared a short 45-run partnership to help India cross the 100-run mark.

Raut however, was dismissed in the 32nd over as she fell in a similar fashion like Rodrigues. Punia and the experienced Mithali Raj (11 off 24) then denied the visitors any further inroads into the Indian batting line-up as they comfortably steered their side to the target in 41.4 overs.

Punia’s debut innings in the 50-over format, which came off 124 balls, was laced with eight boundaries. She was adjudged the Player of the Match.

Both the sides will next lock horns on Friday in the second ODI at the same venue.

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Rohit Sharma surpasses Bradman, adds another feather to his cap

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Rohit Sharma

Ranchi, Oct 20 : Rohit Sharma has silenced his critics with his continuous good run with the bat in the ongoing series against South Africa, proving his mettle as a Test opener.

The Mumbai batsman has so far notched up two centuries and a double ton in the ongoing three-Test series against the Proteas and his knock of 212 on Sunday has helped him break Don Bradman’s record for the highest Test average at home after 10-plus innings.

Rohit now averages 99.84 at home, edging past Bradman’s average of 98.22. Rohit has now amassed 1,298 runs in 18 innings in Tests at home, which includes six centuries and five half-centuries.

The Mumbai batsman struck his maiden double century in Test cricket on Sunday as India declared on 497/9 and reduced South Africa to 9/2 before bad light brought an early end to the second day’s play in the the third Test.

In the process, Rohit also became the fourth batsman to hit a double hundred both in Test and ODI cricket, emulating Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Chris Gayle.

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Nadal ties knot with longtime girlfriend

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Rafael Nadal

Mallorca, Oct 20 Tennis star Rafael Nadal has tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle here.

According to reports in the Spanish media, Nadal, a 19-time grand slam winner, had more than 300 guests invited for the wedding.

The nuptials with Perello was performed at a British-owned fortress.

The 33-year old Nadal met his wife through his younger sister Maribel, a childhood friend of Perello.

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After Nikhat, Pinki questions rule tweak to accommodate Mary Kom

“What are we doing here? We have also come into the camp as national champions. I had defeated Mary Kom in the trials before 2014 Commonwealth Games. Then there’s no reason why I cannot defeat her again.

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Boxer Pinki Jangra

New Delhi, Oct 19 : Boxer Pinki Jangra has backed Nikhat Zareen’s demand for a fair trial for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and wondered why the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) was tweaking the rules and favouring six-time champion Mary Kom.

Speaking to IANS, Pinki said, “On Thursday, I came to know that Mary Kom would not be competing in the trials and will be directly sent to the qualifiers. This is not right. The same thing happened before the World Championships. We had then also raised our concerns but we were told that rules are different for different tournaments and that trials would be conducted for qualifiers.”

Mary Kom has maintained that she would go by the decision taken by the federation, which had earlier stated that only the gold and silver-winners from the world event would be given direct selection for the Olympic qualifiers.

“What are we doing here? We have also come into the camp as national champions. I had defeated Mary Kom in the trials before 2014 Commonwealth Games. Then there’s no reason why I cannot defeat her again. I know she is a legend and I have huge respect for her. But if she is a legend, then why is she not competing in trials? We will feel satisfied if she defeats us and goes to the Qualifiers.”

“We also have the same goal as qualifying for the Olympics just like Mary Kom. We also want to represent India at the world stage but for that we need an opportunity first,” she added.

Pinki, the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, further said that she has demanded a clarification from her coaches as to why the rules are being changed. “If I don’t get a clarification, I will write to the BFI. If by Monday I don’t get a response, I will personally go and meet the BFI President.”

Nikhat had written a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday, demanding that she should be given a trial bout against Mary Kom before the Indian squad for next year’s Olympic qualifiers in China is decided.

Rijiju, however, steered clear of the controversy, saying he can only ask the federation to decide what is best for the nation and athletes.

This was after the BFI stated that it intends to pick Mary Kom (51kg) for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers slated to be held in Wuhan from February 3 to 14 on the back of her recent bronze medal at the world championships in Russia.

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