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India beat West Indies by 105 in 2nd ODI

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Port of Spain, June 26 : India showcased a strong all-round performance to beat West Indies by 105 runs in the second One-Day International (ODI) at the Queen’s Park Oval Stadium here on Sunday.

The match had to be reduced to 43 overs a side after a long spell of rain forced the start to be delayed.

Asked to bat first, a century by opener Ajinkya Rahane and half-centuries by skipper Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan helped India post a challenging total of 310/5.

In reply, the hosts could only manage 205/6 in their allotted 43 overs.

India now lead the five-match series 1-0. The first ODI — which was also held at this very same venue — had to be abandoned due to heavy rain.

Shai Hope was the only West Indies batsman who showed some sort of application with 81 runs off 88 deliveries. But the rest of the West Indies batsmen were not really up to the task.

Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers with figures of 3/50.

Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar was exceptional, giving away only nine runs in his five overs while clinching two top order wickets.

The West Indies innings was doomed from the start with Bhuvneshwar getting Kieran Powell caught behind off the third ball of the opening over without a single run on the board.

The hosts into further trouble in the third over when Hardik Pandya pulled off an excellent catch at backward point to send back Jason Mohammed and hand Bhuvneshwar his second wicket.

The West Indies never really recovered from here. Their batsmen never really tried to force the pace and the required run rate steadily climbed up as a result.

The gap in standards between the two sides were too glaringly obvious. After a point, it seemed like the hosts were only going through the motions and their collective heart was not totally in it.

Earlier, India rode on a strong batting performance from the top-order to post a strong total.

Rahane spearheaded the Indian innings with 103 runs off 104 balls.

Kohli and Dhawan also scored breezy half-centuries to lay a strong foundation for the innings.

Kohli plundered 87 runs off 66 deliveries with four boundaries and an equal number of sixes.

Dhawan scored 63 runs off 59 balls.

Pacer Alzarri Joseph was the most successful among the West Indies bowlers with figures of 2/73.

The West Indies bowlers — specially the pacers — did themselves no favour by giving away as many as 13 extras which included five no-balls and four wides.

Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan put together an opening stand of 114 runs in 18.2 overs to give a Indians a solid start.

After Dhawan was stumped off the bowling of off-spinner Ashley Nurse, Kohli joined Rahane in the middle and the duo proceeded to continue the good work with a steady 97-run partnership.

Rahane completed his century in style, hitting pacer Miguel Cummins to the cover boundary.

The Mumbai was dismissed almost immediately after reaching three figures when he hit out at a Cummins delivery which was too close to the stumps and cramped him for room. The ball kissed the stumps and dislodged one of the bails on its way to wicket-keeper Shai Hope.

Rahane smashed 10 boundaries and two sixes during his stint at the crease.

The Indians lost a couple of quick wickets after that as the momentum of the innings seemed to be falling off a bit.

Hardik Pandya lasted all of five balls before offering a high outer edge off a Joseph delivery to Cummins at third man.

Yuvraj Singh looked in good touch during his nine-ball stay in the middle which produced 14 runs. But the veteran southpaw fell to a loose shot when he went after a widish delivery from Jason Holder only to offer the outside edge to Hope behind the stumps.

Kohli came up with a few big shots towards the end to give the Indian innings a rousing end. He was dismissed in the second last over of the innings when he holed out to long on while going for another big shot.

Holder typified the indisciplined effort by the West Indies bowlers when he gave away 20 runs in five balls in the last over. During that time, he gave away three boundaries and two no-balls.

He also bowled two dangerously high full tosses which prompted the umpire to pull him out of the attack and fellow pacer Jonathan Carter had to bowl the last ball which produced two runs — a total of 22 runs in the rather expensive over.

Brief scores:

India: 310/5 in 43 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 103, Virat Kohli 87, Shikhar Dhawan 63; Alzarri Joseph 2/73 ) vs West Indies: 205/6 (Shai Hope 81; Kuldeep Yadav 3/50, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/9).

IANS

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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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Mexico FIFA 2018

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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FIFA Belgium vs Tunisia
(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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