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ICC World Cup : India thrash Windies to put one foot in the WC semis

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Manchester, June 27 (IANS) Mohammed Shami returned career-best figures of 4/16 as India underlined their bowling might by chalking a huge 125-run victory over the West Indies in their World Cup group stage encounter to knock them out and put one foot in the semi-final.

India rode half centuries from skipper Virat Kohli (72 off 82 balls) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (56 not out) with Hardik Pandya smashing a quickfire 46 to post 268/7 in 50 overs after electing to bat first.

Chasing a challenging 269 for victory, the Windies were never in the hunt as Shami, who grabbed a hat-trick against Afghanistan in India’s last game, returned best figures with Jasprit Bumrah (2/9) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/39) also picking up two wickets.

India, placed second in the points table, now have 11 points from six games and will take on England on Sunday.

Shami got the party underway for the men in blue, taking the wickets of Chris Gayle (6) who was caught at mid on by Kedar Jadhav, and Shai Hope (5) who was clean-bowled inside the first seven overs.

Sunil Ambris and Nicholas Pooran then shared a 55-run stand for the third wicket before Pandya trapped Ambris (31) in front. From then on, it was all downhill for the Caribbean outfit as Pooran also departed for 28, Kuldeep Yadav having him caught by Shami at long off.

In the end, Windies were bundled out for 143 in 34.2 overs as Shami took the final wicket of Oshane Thomas (6). Kemar Roach remained not out on 14.

Earlier, Kohli notched up his fourth consecutive fifty, his innings studded with eight fours, while Dhoni took time till the final over to get his mojo back and remained unbeaten on 56 off 61 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes after India chose to bat first.

Pandya took 38 balls to score 46 (4×5) before holing out to Fabien Allen off Sheldon Cottrell in the 49th over.

In the final over, Dhoni took 16 runs off Oshane Thomas by hitting two sixes — off the first and last ball — and a four to put behind his woeful crawl in which he was let go twice by the Windies.

Dhoni was dropped by Thomas off his own bowling on 37 in the 48th over after wicketkeeper Shai Hope messed up an easy stumping opportunity when the former India skipper was batting on eight.

For the Windies, Roach (3/36) was the pick of the bowlers while Sheldon Cottrell (2/50) and skipper Jason Holder (2/33) chipped in with crucial breakthroughs.

India lost in-form opener Rohit Sharma (18) early, albeit in controversial circumstances, when a Roach delivery pitched on good length and jagged back sharply, kissing what the Windies thought was the inside edge of Rohit’s bat.

The onfield umpire turned down the appeal, but Holder decided to review it. The third umpire overturned the onfield umpire’s decision and Rohit was adjudged to have nicked the ball.

Kohli joined Lokesh Rahul (48; 64b, 4×6) in the middle and the pair stitched together a 69-run stand before the latter once again failed to convert his good start, as Holder castled him all ends up.

Vijay Shankar too could not put to rest the No. 4 slot debate, getting out on 18 after edging Roach to Hope behind the stumps.

Jadhav was promoted up the order ahead of Dhoni, but did not last long with Roach again having him caught behind for just 7.

Kohli, in the meantime, became the fastest batsman to score 20,000 international runs when he reached 37.

Reaching 50 off 55 balls but just when he was looking set for a maiden hundred in this World Cup, Kohli pulled a half-tracker to midwicket where substitute Darren Bravo took the catch off Holder’s bowling.

Pandya upped the ante a bit with some lusty blows as Dhoni found the fence for the first time after 16 overs to underline his struggle. But Dhoni made up for his poor show in the last over to help India put up a challenging total on the board.

Brief scores: India 268/7 in 50 overs (Virat Kohli 72, M.S. Dhoni 56 not out; Kemar Roach 3/36); West Indies: 143 all out in 34.2 overs (Sunil Amris 31; Mohammed Shami 4/16, Jasprit Bumrah 2/9)

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Bengaluru ODI: Smith ton takes Australia to 286/9 vs India

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Bengaluru, Steve Smith slammed a magnificent century as Australia put up 286/9 in 50 overs against India in the third and series-deciding final one day international here on Sunday.

Former captain Smith brought up his ninth 100 in 117 balls, third against India and got out on 131 from 132 deliveries as he tried to change gears and was caught at deep midwicket by Shyreyas Iyer off Mohammed Shami who was India’s best bowler.

Smith had hit 14 fours and a six in his innings. Despite restricting Australia to a score below 300 on what is generally a batsman-friendly track in Bengaluru, India had given away as many as 27 extras.

Shami (4/63) came back for his second spell in the end and picked up four wickets to shave off Australia’s tail and rein in on their scoring to not allow them to get to 300. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was brilliant too although he went wicketless, giving away just 38 runs in 10 overs.

Besides Smith, fast-rising Marnus Labuschagne notched up his maiden ODI fifty as he scored 54 from 64 balls (5×4).

Smith and Labuschagne shared a 127-run stand for the third wicket which formed the visitors’ bedrock after electing to bat first.

India were dealt a blow early on as senior opener Shikhar Dhawan had to go for an x-ray with a call on whether he will take any further part to be taken once he is assessed.

Dhawan was taken off the field after he hurt his left shoulder in the series-deciding tie after he dived to save an Aaron Finch shot in the cover region before hurting his left shoulder in the fifth over.

India made early inroads as Mohammed Shami found David Warner’s outside edge to wicketkeeper K.L. Rahul who was played ahead of fit-again Rishabh Pant. Warner was gone for just three with his captain Finch (19) following suit soon, albeit in frustrating manner as he was run out due to indecision on Smith’s part while taking a single in the 9th over.

A livid Finch stormed out of the ground with the visitors in a spot of bother at 46/2. But as has been the case so often of late in Test cricket, Smith and Labuschagne joined hands to bring the team on track.

Similar in their playing style, the pair used square of the wicket a lot to score runs and punished the bad ball although Labuschagne was lucky not to get run out after Kuldeep Yadav failed to collect a Yuzvendra Chahal throw from the deep.

Smith got to 53 in 63 balls as he looked as consistent as ever with Labuschagne also notching up his maiden half century in 50-over cricket as he got to 53 in 60 deliveries.

It took a breathtaking catch from Indian captain Virat Kohli to break the stand as Labuschagne looked to accelerate in the 32nd over. The 25-year old played an inside out drive off Ravindra Jadeja which Kohli plucked inches off the grass diving low to his right.

Mitchell Starc was sent to bat at No.5 in a bid to up the ante and score briskly, but the experiment failed as Jadeja had him caught at deep mid-wicket fence by substitute Chahal to complete a two-wicket maiden 32nd over.

Alex Carey (35) and Smith associated for a quickfire 58-run partnership before Kuldeep got a timely breakthrough as Carey holed out to Shreyas Iyer at deep cover.

Bumrah followed it up with a near-perfect 43rd over, just conceding one run off the final delivery as Ashton Turner huffed and puffed at the crease.

Smith brought up his hundred by running a Navdeep Saini delivery down to third man but his celebration said it all as the Aussies fell behind in their run-scoring with Turner struggling to eventually get out caught behind in the same over.

Shami then removed Smith, Pat Cummins (0) and Adam Zampa (1) with toe-crushing yorkers as India ended on a high. Ashton Agar was not out on 11.

Australia made one change to the side, bringing in Josh Hazlewood for Kane Richardson while India named the same team.

Brief scores: Australia 286/9 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 131, Marnus Labuschagne 54; Mohammed Shami 4/63) vs India.

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Tata Steel Chess: Anand draws with Jorden van Foreest

It was the 18th straight draw between him and Fabiano Caruana of the United States in the Classical time control.

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Viswanathan Anand

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands), Jan 18 : Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand was on Saturday held to a draw by Dutch Jorden Van Foreest in the sixth round of Tata Steel Masters.

Veteran Anand faced the Four Knights opening in the sixth round as black and unleashed an attack in the centre early by sacrificing two pawns.

Anand tried to make inroads as White’s king was stuck around the centre for a long time and
it was a cautious move by both players especially after white lost back one pawn.

The draw was agreed upon once Anand picked the second pawn.

Anand remained in joint sixth spot after three points from six games.

Anand needs a powerful finish to be in with a chance of finishing on the podium with seven rounds still remaining.

Meanwhile, World champion Magnus Carlsen’s got a sixth draw on the trot as his search for an elusive win continued.

It was the 18th straight draw between him and Fabiano Caruana of the United States in the Classical time control.

Elsewhere, Anish Giri bounced back from his previous round loss to defeat Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus while Daniil Dubov thrashed his Russian compatriot Vladislav Artemiev.

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Sania scripts dream return, clinches doubles title in Hobart

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Hobart: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza along with Nadiia Kichenok came out with yet another brilliant performance as they defeated the China’s Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai in straight sets to win the women’s doubles title at Hobart International on Saturday.

Former doubles No.1 Mirza and Kichenok defeated the second-seeded Chinese duo 6-4, 6-4 in a rather one-sided contest which lasted one hour and 21 minutes.

The Indo-Ukrainian pair were the first to break in each set, but ultimately needed to wrap up the match by delivering the deciding breaks late. The unseeded duo won the last three games of the opener, and eight of the last 10 points to seal victory, having nearly seen a double-break advantage slip away.

Though the duo won six straight games from 3-4 in the opener to lead 6-4, 3-0, the 33-year-old Indian was the one who saw her serve broken twice as the Chinese eventually restored parity at 4-4.

Nonetheless, Mirza and Kichenok finished the match off in style with their fifth break of the match, before the Ukrainian served out the match and the victory for the team.

It is Mirza’s first WTA title in just over two years and 42nd of her storied doubles career, while Kichenok won her fifth, and first since partnering her twin sister, Lyudmyla, to win the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai in 2018.

The Indian star last won a trophy alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Brisbane International in the first week of the 2017 season, one of three doubles finals she reached that year before announcing her pregnancy in April of 2018.

Three-time doubles Grand Slam winner Mirza was making a return to competition after a two-year hiatus away from tennis, initially due to injuries and then welcoming a son in October 2018.

The former world No.1 won the Australian Open doubles title in 2016 following a successful 2015 season in which she claimed the Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles, all paired with Martina Hingis.

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