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ICC Women’s World Cup 2017: India beat Sri Lanka by 16 runs

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New Delhi, July 5: After registering a hat trick of victories the Indian women’s team went one better on Wednesday as they won their fourth game on the trot after beating Sri Lanka by 16 runs. The brilliant all-round performance helped India won in a group stage match of the ICC Women’s World Cup at the County Cricket ground.

After winning the toss skipper Mithali Raj chose to bat. However, the openers never got going and they both departed cheaply. Smriti Mandhana who had grabbed eyeballs with match-winning innings of 90 and 106 respectively failed yet again.

However, Deepti and Mithali forged an 118-run third-wicket partnership in 26 overs to stabilise the Indian innings. The duo also brought up their respective half-centuries which ultimately helped India post a respectable total of 232. The Lankan bowlers despite being good with the ball did not perform up to the mark as they were also lacklustre in the field.

Chasing 233, Sri Lanka never looked in the contention as they lost their wickets at regular intervals. Middle-order players — Chamari Atapattu (25), Dilani Manodara (37) and Shashikala Siriwardene (61) — however, displayed some good batting, but Indian bowlers soon overpowered them.

Besides these, however, no other Sri Lankan batswomen stepped up to the occasion and losing wickets at the regular intervals, Sri Lanka went down to India.

For India, Poonam Yadav and Jhulan Goswami took two wickets each. It was their bowling which completely pegged back the Lankan batsman as they never got going. Only wicketkeeper Dilani Manodara stood out with the bat as she scored 61 which took Sri Lanka close to the winning total.

Despite not losing too many wickets, it was the slow run-rate that ultimately saw Sri Lanka lose the match. With this win, India assereted its strength in the ongoing world cup.

Brief scores: India 232/8 (Deepti Sharma 78 Mithali Raj 53; Weerakkody 3/28) against Sri Lanka: 216/7 (Dilani Manodara 37, Shashikala Siriwardene 61; Poonam Yadav 2/23)

India Women Team: PG Raut, S Mandhana, DB Sharma, M Raj*, H Kaur, V Krishnamurthy, S Verma†, J Goswami, M Joshi, E Bisht, Poonam Yadav, NM Parween, S Pandey, RS Gayakwad, MR Meshram

Sri Lanka Women Team: MDN Hansika, GWHM Perera, AC Jayangani, HASD Siriwardene, MADD Surangika†, PM Weerakkody, OU Ranasinghe, HHC Gunaratne, KADA Kanchana, SS Weerakkody, I Ranaweera*, PRCS Kumarihami, LE Kaushalya, H Madavi, KDU Prabodhani

WeForNews Bureau

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World Cup 2018: Germany face must-win against Sweden

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Sochi, June 23: Holders Germany will have to beat Sweden in order to avoid an early exit from the FIFA World Cup when the two sides meet in a crunch Group F clash at the Fisht Stadium here on Saturday.

Blessed with a strong squad brimming with talented players, Germany were hot contenders to become the first team in 56 years to retain the World Cup.

But after a shock 0-1 defeat to Mexico, the jolted four-time winners will have their task cut out against Sweden. A reversal will all but end their campaign.

“Everyone is aware that this is our first ‘final’, it’s annoying that it comes so early, but it’s self-inflicted,” team director Oliver Bierhoff was quoted as saying.

Germany were all over the place in the first half against Mexico and their heroics in Brazil four years ago seemed distant.

After the defeat, there have been catcalls to drop under-performing players like Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira.

Sweden, meanwhile, will believe they can cause another upset after their confidence lifting 1-0 win over Korea Republic. This was their first win in the competition since hosting the tournament in 1958.

The Swedes are no strangers to upsetting the odds, beating France during qualification and getting past Italy in the play-offs, so an under-performing German side will hold no fears for Janne Anderson’s men.

IANS

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FIFA WC 2018: Confident Mexico up against under-pressure Koreans

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Rostov-on-Don (Russia), June 23: A confident Mexico will be eyeing their second win to seal a pre-quarterfinal berth when they take on South Korea in a Group F match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Rostov Arena here on Saturday.

The South Americans were impressive during their 1-0 win over defending champions Germany in their campaign opener where they put on one of the best team performances.

Meanwhile, the Asian side will be under pressure after going down 0-1 to Sweden on Monday and are facing the prospect of being eliminated at the group stage in a second consecutive World Cup.

Korea head coach Shin Tae-yong will certainly be wanting something special from his side to keep themselves alive in the mega event.

The Koreans played well in their first match, but found the going tough against the tall, physically strong Swedes.

While the Koreans did well in the midfield, the well-organised Sweden defence coupled with the Europeans’ physical advantage proved too much for them.

While most of the Mexican players do not have too much of a physical presence, their superior skills and tactical ability will present a different sort of challenge for the Koreans.

Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio will be hoping for a repeat show from his side and despite being known for reshuffling his lineup, he is not expected to make much changes against the Koreans.

Hirving Lozano, star for Mexico against Germany, scored the only game of the match and will be eager to go against South Korea to find the back of the net again.

However, despite having a great start to their campaign and being favourites in Saturday’s clash, Mexico midfielder Marco Fabian believes his side has to still do a lot.

“We reached our first target and have beaten Germany, but we can’t sit back,” Fabian told the media.

“Some consider us to be group favourites now, and that’s a compliment – but it’s one we shouldn’t believe. There are no favourites in this World Cup,” he added.

On the other hand, Koreans after suffering a defeat by Sweden, would have to reconsider their 4-3-3 formation which handed space to their opponents in the first game.

South Korea midfielder Koo Ja-cheol said his teammates were preparing to tackle Mexico and had found striker Javier Hernandezas as one of the major threat.

“Of course we are not ready to give up. Everyone put in so much effort to get here,” Koo said.

“What we want is to turn fans’ disappointment into joy,” he added.

Overall, it will be a herculean task for the Asian outfit to pull off a victory against the Mexicans on Saturday.

IANS

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FIFA WC 2018: Belgium aim to defeat Tunisia to seal knockout spot

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(PC - @FIFAWorldCup/Twitter)

Moscow, June 23: Belgium will aim to register a second consecutive win and book their spot in the knockout rounds when they take on Tunisia in a Group G match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Spartak Stadium here on Saturday.

The talented Belgium squad are the favourites in the group and they gave ample glimpses of their class in a comfortable 3-0 win over Panama in their campaign opener.

Star centre-forward Romelu Lukaku scored twice in that game and his height and physical presence should be useful against the physically strong Tunisia defence.

The Belgians boast a number of stars in their line-up including the likes of star Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

However, it will not be easy going for Belgium against Tunisia, who have a strong defence and are well organised in midfield.

The north Africans gave England a tough time in their first match. The English line-up, studded with Premier League stars, was effectively blunted by the Tunisia defence.

The Tunisian midfield also did well, consistently winning the 50-50 balls and doing well when in posession. However, they fell short in the final third due to the poor quality of the final pass.

Despite their shortcomings upfront, Tunisia seemed good eonugh to come away with a point. It was the silly conceeding of a corner in second half injury time and some poor marking of England’s star striker Harry Kane at the far post that kept them from what would have been a well-deserved draw.

Tunisia will be keen to avoid such mistakes against the higher rated Belgians. They will however miss goalkeeper Mouez Hassen, who has returned home to undergo surgery on an injured shoulder.

Despite his team’s dominant performance in the first match, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez is not ready to take Tunisia lightly.

“They have a lot of bravery and they’re very dynamic,” he said of Tunisia.

“The players have a good understanding between each other and they can bring energy and intensity on counterattacks. They play direct, efficient football,” Martinez told FIFA.com.

IANS

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