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India clinch women’s T20I series against S. Africa

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Cape Town, Feb 24: India clinched the women’s Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket series 3-1 after crushing South Africa by 54 runs in the fifth and final match here on Saturday.

Mithali Raj became the Player of the Series for her three match-winning half-centuries in the T20I series.

India, who also pocketed the One-Day International (ODI) series, rode on superb all-round show during which they scored 166/4 before bowling out the hosts for 112 in 18 overs.

India had won the first two matches before South Africa bagged the third match, while the fourth match was called off midway due to rain.

In the fifth match, veteran opening batter Mithali Raj (62 off 50 balls) and young Jemimah Rodrigues (44 off 38) shared a 98-run stand for the second wicket to give India a highly competitive total.

Mithali, who scored her 12th fifty, hit eight fours and three sixes before being caught by wicket-keeper Lizelle Lee off medium pacer Shabnim Ismail in the fifth ball of the 16th overs as the visitors lost their second wicket for 130.

After her fall, captain Harmanpreet Kaur played a brisk knock of 27 not out off 17 deliveries to take India to 166/4.

While defending the tota, medium pacers Rumeli Dhar, Shikha Pandey and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad picked three wickets each as India bowled out South Africa for 112.

Marizanne Kapp (27) and Chloe Tryon (25) and Mignon du Preez (17) gave some hopes to the home side, which lost first five wickets for only 44 runs inside the nine overs.

Brief scores: India: 166/4 (Mithali Raj 62, Jemimah Rodrigues 44; Marizanne Kapp 1/22) vs South Africa: 112 in 18 overs (Marizanne Kapp 27, Chloe Tryon 25; Shikha Pandey (3/16), Rumeli Dhar (3/26), Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3/16).

 

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FIFA World Cup: Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0

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Kaliningrad (Russia), June 17 :Croatia went to the top of Group D in the FIFA World Cup following their 2-0 easy victory over Nigeria at the Kaliningrad Stadium here on Saturday.

Veteran striker Mario Mandzukic played his part in both the goals from Croatia, who now have three points. The other teams in the group, Argentina and Iceland, played a 1-1 draw earlier in the day in Kazan.

Croatia, playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation, expectedly controlled the game from the beginning. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, playing in a two-man midfield, had their say in everything, making critical forward passes and stopping Nigeria’s mobility towards Croatian goal.

Croatian left winger Ivan Perisic had the first shot on goal as Mandzukic teed off a counter-attack but the Inter Milan man’s shot from outside of the box sailed over the cross-bar in the 13th minute.

Couple of minutes later, Andrej Kramaric then had his moment but he fired wide of the left post after being fed by Modric.

Croatia were mounting pressure with each passing time while Nigeria struggled to get into the box, let alone making a shot on goal.

Chelsea right winger Victor Moses was impressive but Croatia’s left-back Ivan Strinic, who plays for Italian club Sampdoria, controlled him well.

The first goal for Croatia resulted after Nigerian midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo deflected in a diving header from Mandzukic at the left post into his own net following a corner kick from Luka Modric in the 32nd minute.

Till the first-half end, Nigeria failed to create anything and hardly looked like getting an equaliser.

At the beginning of the second-half, Nigeria tried to push for an equaliser. They earned multiple corners but Mandzukic and his teammates showed their hard work to deny the Africans.

Then off a quick switch of play, Modric played a through ball to Perisic on the left and the latter fired in a swinging cross inside the box but Croatian right winger Ante Rebic’s right foot put a heavy touch for the ball to fly over.

Later, Nigeria tried to infuse attacking firepower by throwing in attackers Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho. But Croatia were tight in their markings and cut down the spaces efficiently to keep Nigeria at bay.

The European team got its cushion goal in the 71st minute when William Ekong brought down Juventus star Mandzukic inside the box while defending a corner, leading to a penalty from which captain Luka Modric scored.

Afterwards, Croatia withdrew some of ther attackers to make it a heavy midfield and successfully defend their two-goal advantage for the convincing victory in the opening match.

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FIFA World Cup 2018: France beat Australia 2-1 in Group C match

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Kazan, June 16: Midfielder Paul Pogba scored the winning goal for France, who overcame Australia 2-1 in a FIFA World Cup Group C contest here on Saturday.

Pogba’s 80th-minute strike, a chip which kissed the cross-bar before moving in, gave France the 2-1 lead after Mile Jedinak’s 62nd-minute penalty had cancelled Antoine Griezmann’s conversion from the penalty spot four minutes earlier.

Griezmann converted a penalty which was awarded after Joshua Risdon fouled the Atletico Madrid forward inside the box in the 56th minute.

A few minutes later, Samuel Umtiti raised his hand to a free-kick from the right, resulting in a penalty. Jedinak stepped up to successfully convert the penalty and pull Australia level 1-1.

IANS

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David Warner to debut in Caribbean Premier League

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St. Lucia, June 16: Caribbean Premier League (CPL) outfit St. Lucia Stars have signed banned Australia batsman David Warner in their squad for the upcoming season beginning August 8, the West Indian club announced on Saturday.

Warner will replace fellow big-hitting Australian D’Arcy Short, who was ruled out of the tournament after being selected in Australia A’s tour of India.

“We are excited to bring David to the Saint Lucia Stars. David is arguably one of the greatest batsman of the modern era and a winning player,” Stars General Manager Mohammad Khan was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

Warner, who was handed a 12-month ban following his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, will make a return to competitive cricket in Canada’s inaugural Global T20 tournament for the Winnipeg Hawks later this month alongside his former skipper Steve Smith, who was also handed a 12-month suspension by CA.

The month-long CPL will also feature other Australians like all-rounder Shane Watson and Chris Lynn.

IANS

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