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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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My eyes fixed firmly on Women’s World Cup trophy: Mithali Raj

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

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New Delhi, Aug 8 : Veteran India batter Mithali Raj has said that she is “definitely looking” at the ICC Women’s World Cup, which has been postponed to 2022 and has added that her eyes are firmly fixed on the trophy.

On Friday, the International Cricket Council decided to postpone the World Cup, originally slated to be held in New Zealand in 2021, until February-March 2022 because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whilst this is never great news to wake up to. I can understand the reasons why given the lack of cricket in some countries. I just hope those players who were planning to retire after the World Cup can hold on for one year…right Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Rachael Haynes,” cricketer-turned-commentator Lisa Sthalekar tweeted following ICC’s decision to postpone Women’s World Cup.

To this, Mithali replied: “Oh absolutely, my eyes are fixed firmly on the trophy. With all niggles recovered, mind and body fresh and stronger than before, I am definitely looking at World Cup 2022.”

Mithali had led the Indian eves to the final of the showpiece event in 2017 where they had to face a heart-wrenching defeat against England in the summit clash at the iconic Lord’s.

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

The 37-year-old has already retired from T20 cricket and now aspires to win India their maiden World Cup for which she will now have to wait at least until 2022.

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Madrid Masters tennis tournament cancelled: organisers

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The Madrid Open that was scheduled to take place from Sept. 12-20 has been cancelled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Spanish Capital, Organisers said on Thursday.

“As an act of responsibility in view of the current situation caused by COVID-19 and having thoroughly evaluated the circumstance that the pandemic continues to generate… it has been decided that 2020 Muta Madrid Open will not take place this year,” organisers said in a satatement.

The tounament, which was to feature both men’s and women’s draws, was seen as an important event for players to prepare for the Frech Open which begins on Sept. 27.

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BCCI issues SOP; players must sign consent form before resuming training

BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

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New Delhi, Aug 2 : The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to the state associations for the resumption of cricket. While these will help the state bodies restart cricketing activities, all players will have to sign consent forms before getting back to training.

In the 100-page SOP, accessed by IANS, the BCCI has touched on principles while returning to training, ground and practice facilities preparation with an eye on the pandemic, gymnasium protocols, physiotherapy and medical protocols as well as protocols to manage a suspected COVID-19 case.

It also has the consent form where the players have to acknowledge that there is risk associated with resuming training and that the player has been informed about the protocols in place and the precautions taken by the association.

The player also needs to acknowledge that the association can’t guarantee complete elimination of risk despite taking necessary precautions and that the player is willing to resume training.

With an eye on the whole situation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI has shared its views with the state bodies with regards to resumption of cricket.

“The BCCI as the governing body for the sport of cricket in India is responsible for ensuring that appropriate protocols are put in place to protect the health and safety of players, staff and all stakeholders. Covid-19, an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs, poses a serious threat to the health of individuals as is evident from its spread to almost all countries around the world with more than 17.5 million infections and over 0.6 million deaths as on 1st August 2020. As the world grapples with Covid-19, cricketing activity has come to a standstill and players confined to the four walls within their homes.

“It is said that cricket is a religion in India and the fanfare and fervor that cricket commands are far greater than any other sport or event in the country. Besides, it also helps generate tremendous revenue and employs players and staff across 38 State teams, both in the men and women category. BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

“However, the BCCI is concerned about the high infectivity rate of SARS CoV-2 and in the interest of health and safety of all players, staff and stakeholders, the BCCI would not like to compromise on the preventive measures by resuming too soon,” the SOP read.

“The purpose of these protocols is to ensure the safe resumption of cricket activities and the below guidelines may be amended from time to time as may be required depending on the existing Covid-19 situation in the country and the guidelines issued by the Government of India at appropriate times. These guidelines have been prepared by the BCCI Medical Team.

“All BCCI affiliated State Cricket Associations will adhere to these guidelines and take additional measures as may be necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. Approvals must also be sought from local administration and health authorities before commencing any cricket activity. The health and safety of players, staff and stakeholders will be the sole responsibility of respective State Cricket Associations.”

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