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In-form SRH favourites against struggling KKR in IPL Eliminator

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Bengaluru, May 16:  Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will have to get back to their winning ways when they take on defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday.

The winner of of the match will face the loser of Qualifier 1 between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant on May 19 in Qualifier 2, which will decide the second participant of the final on May 21.

KKR, who lost four out of seven matches in the latter half of the season, will have to play out of their skins to make it to the second qualifier.

In the last game against Mumbai Indians, their batting looked to have run out of patience and were guilty of poor shot selection more often than not.

KKR were the team to beat early on in the season but they seemed to have peaked too early.

The likes of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine will have their task cut out at the top of the order with the likes of India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar on song having 25 scalps this seasons in 13 games and pacer Mohammed Siraj, who was bought for Rs 2.6 crore by SRH after his brilliant bowling in domestic matches, taking four wickets in the must-win game against Gujarat Lions to help Hyderabad qualify for the play-offs, in their ranks.

Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan has also been a revelation, bagging 17 wickets so far.

Besides Lynn and Narine, KKR have Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa, who have scored 396 and 386 runs respectively.

Gambhir too was in form in the first half of the season but seemed a off-colour in the business end and the skipper, who is placed in the third spot in the most runs list with 454 runs, will hope to led from the front.

As far as KKR’s bowling is concerned, Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav have been on song, but will have to stop red-hot David Warner.

Sunrisers, on the other hand, won eight games while lost five in their 14 league games to end the league stage at third position with 17 points.

The team cemented their play-offs berth on the back of a resounding eight-wicket win over Gujarat in their last league match.

Skipper Warner has been at his imperious best, scoring 600-plus runs in back-to-back seasons.

He was the league’s second-highest run-scorer during the franchise’s maiden triumph last year.

Southpaw Shikhar Dhawan has found form too.

Dhawan has scored 468 runs so far this season, which forced selectors to pick him for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy.

Hyderabad would also like Yuvraj Singh, who started the season with a bang hammering 70 not out in the tournament opener against Bangalore, to get runs. He has aggregated only 243 runs from 11 matches with a couple of half-centuries.

Squads:
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Darren Bravo, Trent Boult, Piyush Chawla, Nathan Coulter Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, Rishi Dhawan, Sayan Ghosh, Sheldon Jackson, Ishank Jaggi, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Woakes, Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Ankit Rajpoot, Suryakumar Yadav, Robin Uthappa and Umesh Yadav.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (captain), Tanmay Agarwal, Ricky Bhui, Bipul Sharma, Ben Cutting, Shikhar Dhawan, Eklavya Dwivedi, Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Siddarth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ben Laughlin, Abhimanyu Mithun, Mohammad Nabi Mohammed Siraj, Mustafizur Rahman, Ashish Nehra, Naman Ojha, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Barinder Sran, Pravin Tambe, Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh.

(IANS)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Tony Kroos fives Germany win over Sweden

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Sochi, June 24 : Tony Kroos produced a last gasp winner as Germany revived their campaign with a 2-1 win over Sweden in a Group F match of the FIFA World Cup here.

Ola Toivonen gave Sweden the lead with a superb finish in the 32nd minute during the match on Saturday.

Germany displayed large doses of their famed fighting spirit as they staged a strong comeback in the second half.

Marco Reus (48th minute) got the equaliser early in the second half.

Germany left everything to the last minute, scoring in the 95th minute, avoiding what could have been an embarrassing elimination from the World Cup in the group stage.

The Germans felt disaster coming when Ola Toinoven scored the first goal in the 32nd minute, giving Sweden a 1-0 lead by half time, Efe news reports.

To Germany’s relief, Marco Reus scored three minutes into the second half off a cross from the left by Timo Werner, giving his teammates the jolt of energy and confidence they needed.

Germany soon took control of the match, achieving nearly 80 per cent possession of the ball and finding several clear chances to score, although the Swedish defence held the line.

Even though Jerome Boateng received a red card in the 83rd minute, the Germans continued to play as one would expect from the former World Cup champions.

In the 89th minute, Germany’s Mario Gomez was close to scoring with a superb header that was deflected by keeper Robin Olsen.

It wasn’t until the 95th minute that Germany sealed their 2-1 victory with a free kick by Toni Kroos from the left of the box, beautifully curling the ball into the far corner of the net.

The rest of the game saw the Germans dominate as they created and wasted a hatful of chances.

The Swedish defence also did well, holding the defending champions at bay with some last ditch defending.

Kroos finally found the winner five minutes into second half added time when he curled in a free-kick at the far post.

Sweden and Germany are now tied in Group F with three points each, while Mexico is in first place with six points and South Korea is last with zero point.

Germany have three points from two matches and will face South Korea in their final group engagement.

Sweden, who had beaten the Koreans in their first match, remained on three points as well.

They will take on Mexico in their third and final group match.

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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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