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IPL-10: All-round Gujarat thrash Pune by 7 wickets

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Gujarat Lions

Rajkot: A hat-trick from debutant all-rounder Andrew Tie and sensible top-order batting helped Gujarat Lions (GL) outclass Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) by seven wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 match at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Friday.

Tie bagged five wickets giving away 17 runs, the first in this edition of the IPL, including a hat-trick in the final over of Pune’s innings, before the batsmen put on a collective show to chase down the 172 target, with two overs to spare.

Tie’s hat-trick was the second of the day after Royal Challengers Bangalore’s leg-spinner Samuel Badree got another in the afternoon game against Mumbai Indians.

Gujarat got off to a flier with the opening duo of Dwayne Smith (47) and Brendon McCullum (49) putting on 94 runs with none of the Pune bowlers having an answer to their onslaught.

The West Indian started his innings with an unconvincing four to square leg off Ankit Sharma before gaining in confidence with a mammoth six on the fifth ball and then ending the over with another boundary through the covers to milk 16 runs.

McCullum did not lag behind either to take fellow New Zealander Lockie Ferguson out of the park for a six over long-off before meting out special treatment to South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, whose initial two overs cost Pune 35 runs.

There was no stopping the duo as the hosts rushed to 50 in just over five overs with Pune skipper Steve Smith changing as many as six bowlers before getting the first breakthrough in the form of Dwayne Smith, three short of his half century.

Playing his first match of the season, pacer Shardul Thakur’s slower delivery did the trick for Pune, when he induced Smith for an uppercut only to be land down the throat of Rahul Chahar at third man. The West Indian’s 30-ball knock was laced with eight hits to the fence and one over it.

Two overs later, a rush of blood saw McCullum’s end, one run short of his half century. The former Kiwi skipper, who had by then faced 32 balls, firing five boundaries and three massive sixes was outsmarted by Chahar, who dragged the length back seeing McCullum coming down the track leaving the rest for stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The very next over saw the back of stumper Dinesh Karthik (3), who failed to pick Tahir’s googly before chopping it back on to his stumps.

The loss of three quick wickets saw Gujarat slump to 111/3, before skipper Suresh Raina (35 not out) and Aaron Finch (33 not out) batted sensibly, sharing a 61-run undefeated stand for the fourth wicket to see the team home.

Finch appeared to be in a hurry to get his team over the line, lofting two consecutive sixes off Ferguson to take the hosts home.

Earlier, Pune’s opening woes continued to haunt them with the loss of the in-form Ajinkya Rahane (0) in the very first over.

Skipper Smith (43) along with opener Rahul Tripathi (33) launched an onslaught, which medium pacer Praveen Kumar will perhaps remember for a long long time.

Bowling his third over on the trot, the 30-year-old Praveen was milked for 25 runs, with Tripathi dispatching him for two consecutive sixes and a four before Smith fetched two back to back boundaries as Pune rushed to their fastest IPL 50.

As Pune looked set for a massive total, Tie ended the 64-run second wicket stand between the duo, dismissing Tripathi with a slower delivery which the batsman failed to lift and was caught by Aaron Finch at mid-off.

Englishman Ben Stokes then joined Smith to add 25 runs before Dwayne Smith got the prized scalp of the Australian, who mistimed a back of a length outside off to be caught at long-on by Finch.

Two overs later, Stokes departed to another slower delivery from Tie which knocked off his off-stump, after the IPL 2017’s costliest buy faced 18 balls, hitting two boundaries and a six.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, playing his first match of the season, immediately provided another breakthrough with the wicket of Dhoni (5), whose form continued to desert him for the fourth consecutive match.

(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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sweden fifa 2018

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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