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IPL 2018: RCB beat Sunrisers by 14 runs to keep play-off hopes alive

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Bengaluru, May 18: Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their playoff hopes alive as Sunrisers Hyderabad’s skipper Kane Williamson (81 off 42) and Manish Pandey’s (62 not-out off 38) blistering knock went in vain in a crucial Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.

It was once again Williamson, who along with Pandey forged a crucial partnership to take Hyderabad on the verge of another nail-biting win. However, it was the hosts who clinched the issue by 14 runs to keep their playoff dream alive.

Chasing the massive 219-run target, Hyderabad openers Shikhar Dhawan (18) and Alex Hales (37) took their side to a quick start, accumulating 47 runs in the first five overs.

However, the decent start was short-lived as Yuzvendra Chahal drew the first blood for the hosts in the sixth over when Dhawan came down the track but chipped back to the bowler.

With addition of another 17 runs in Hyderabad’s scorecard, AB de Villiers took a stunning catch at deep midwicket to pack back Hales off a Moeen Ali delivery.

Skipper Williamson and Pandey then took the command, taking their side to touch the three-figure mark in 11.3 overs.

Meanwhile, the Hyderabad captain slammed his half-century off 28 balls, helping his side inch closer to the target.

The duo went on to forge a crucial 135-run partnership for the third wicket, lifting the visitors to 199 runs in 19.1 overs.

With 19 needed off the final over, Mohammed Siraj jolted Hyderabad dismissing the visiting skipper to bring back Bangalore in the game.

Williamson’s knock was laced with seven fours and five sixes.

Pandey and incoming batsman Deepak Hooda could only manage five runs off the final five deliveries as the hosts sealed the match by 14 runs to keep them afloat in the league.

For Bangalore, Chahal, Siraj, and Ali bagged one wicket each.

Earlier, de Villiers and Moeen Ali smacked breezy half-centuries to help Bangalore overcome a shaky start and post a mammoth 218/6 against Hyderabad in a must-win tie.

De Villiers (69 from 39 balls; 4×12, 6×1) and Moeen (65 from 34; 4×2, 6×6) put on a 107-run third wicket stand to resurrect RCB’s innings which fell apart after the early loss of the opening duo of Parthiv Patel (1) and skipper Virat Kohli (12).

Put in to bat, Parthiv failed to take advantage of the dropped chance off the very first ball and departed off the final ball off Sandeep Sharma, caught by Siddharth Kaul at third man.

Kohli followed his opening partner soon after adding 32 runs with de Villiers, as the India skipper’s struggle with the spinners continued in this edition of the IPL. The right-hander attempted to slog Rashid Khan’s fuller length delivery hoping for a googly only to find his stumps re-arranged.

Struggling at 32/2, de Villiers and Moeen changed the complexion of the innings in no time, with both batsmen trying to outscore each other as it started raining boundaries at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

De Villiers started with two consecutive boundaries off Shakib Al Hasan before sending the other Hyderabad bowlers to the leather hunt, before Moeen joined the party by welcoming rookie pacer Basil Thampi with two consecutive sixes.

In no time, the South African veteran brought up his half-century in mere 32 balls, when he pulled medium pacer Kaul for a boundary before Moeen, who was dropped on 23 by Dhawan off Sandeep, turned on the heat by meting out some special treatment to Thampi.

The English southpaw mercilessly smacked Thampi for a boundary to bring up his maiden IPL half century off just 25 balls before Afghan leg-spinner Rashid came back to break the partnership in a span of three balls.

Rashid first saw the back of de Villiers brilliantly caught by Dhawan at deep backward square before packing Moeen one ball later, caught behind by Shreevats Goswami.

With both the set batsmen back in the dugout, the visitors sniffed at a smaller total when they packed an in-form Mandeep Singh (4) cheaply.

But New Zealander Colin de Grandhomme (40 from 17; 4×1, 6×4) and teenaged Sarfaraz Khan (22 not out from 8; 4×3, 6×1) lit up the stadium with some late order fireworks, to ensure the home side crossed the 200-run mark with a quick-fire 34-run stand.

For the tourists, Rashid once again emerged the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/27, while Siddharth and Sandeep chipped in with two and one wickets, respectively.

Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 218/6 (AB de Villiers 69, Moeen Ali 65; Rashid Khan 3/27) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 204/3 (Kane Williamson 81, Manish Pandey 62 not out; Moeen Ali 1/21) by 14 runs.

IANS

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Uruguay bank on experience as Saudis cling to World Cup dream

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Rostov-on-Don (Russia), June 20: Experience will be the key when Uruguay look to seal their place in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup against Saudi Arabia here on Wednesday.

Uruguay’s 1-0 win against Egypt in their opening match means beating Saudi Arabia would leave Uruguay with six points and allow them to book their place in the knockout phase as long as Egypt does not beat Russia on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Uruguay disappointed against a rugged Egypt side in their first game, needing a late header from Jose Gimenez to seal the win and veteran coach Oscar Tavarez is expected to make changes with Carlos Sanchez and ‘Cebolla’ Rodriguez expected to start.

Rodriguez is an excellent provider, while Sanchez is a box-to-box midfielder with a habit of getting into the rival penalty area at the right time, and the pair should give more punch to a side which struggled to create chances against Egypt as Luis Suarez looked heavy and off the pace.

As well as boosting his options in front of goal, Tavarez’s changes mean he will have seven players aged 30 or more in his starting 11 ( Fernando Muslera (32), Diego Godin (32), Martin Caceres (31), Carlos Sanchez (33), Cristian Rodriguez (32), Luis Suarez (31) y Edinson Cavani (31)); and in theory Uruguay should be too strong for Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia landed here after a frightening journey in which one of the engines on the aircraft which flew them in from Saint Petersburg caught fire.

The Saudi players were strongly criticised for their performance in their 0-5 defeat to Russia in their opening match in the World Cup, with one top official accusing them of making “just 5 percent effort.”

Saudi Arabia enjoyed 60 percent possession against Russia but failed to have a single shot on target and were pulled apart on the break. It remains to be seen whether this was due to ‘stage fright’ caused by meeting the pumped-up hosts (and their fervent fans) in the first game of the tournament, or from a lack of quality and concentration.

Coach Pizzi now has the task of ensuring his players focus on a game where anything other than a win will mean they suffer the ignominy of being one of the first teams to be knocked out of the tournament. And after becoming Saudi Arabia’s third first team coach in a three-month spell when he was appointed in November last year, he also knows what the price of failure is likely to be.

IANS

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Ronaldo’s Portugal look to continue momentum against lowly Morocco

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Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Moscow, June 20: Smarting after a last-gasp defeat to Iran, Morocco will have to deal with the peerless might of Portugal, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, who will attempt to follow up his World Cup opening game heroics when the two sides meet for a Group B clash here on Wednesday.

Five-time World Player of the Year Ronaldo grabbed a hat-rick as European champions Portugal snatched a 3-3 draw against Spain in a heavyweight showdown in Sochi.

It was Ronaldo’s 51st career treble, and the 51st in the tournament’s history, as the Real Madrid superstar became just the fourth player to score in four World Cups.

In hot form, Ronaldo will once again look to continue his magic at the Luzhniki Stadium and haul Portugal into the last 16.

“I am very happy, it’s a nice personal record to have, one more in my career,” Ronaldo was quoted as saying.

“For me the most important thing is to emphasise what the team did against one of the favourites to win this World Cup.”

Portugal are not widely regarded as one of the contenders despite their unlikely European success two years back.

Portugal were less than impressive against Spain in the first game save Ronaldo who was the difference between the two sides.

A world class free kick two minutes from full time sparked wild celebrations from the former Manchester United marksman and his team.

Coming to Morocco, they did not concede a single goal in the final qualifying round as they sealed a return to the World Cup for the first time in 20 years.

Not expected to make the knockouts, their slim hopes were dented when a 95th-minute own goal by Aziz Bouhaddouz gifted Iran three points.

Herve Renard’s men face a monumental challenge, with games to come against Portugal and Spain.

In defence, they have Medhi Benatia and Achraf Hakimi who will be wary of the threat Ronaldo possesses.

Further forward, winger Nordin Amrabat has been ruled out of the clash after a clash of heads with Iran’s Vahid Amiri in St Petersburg on Friday.

Morocco will rely on Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech, who is the fulcrum of their attacking play.b Amine Harit had a very good game against Iran and he will be optimistic that his creativity will combine well with Ayoub El Kaabi.

It will be just the second meeting between the two countries, after Morocco beat Portugal 3-1 in the group stage at the 1986 finals.

IANS

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ICC World Test Championship: India to face West Indies in July 2019

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New Delhi, June 20: International Cricket Council (ICC) released its Future Tours Programme (FTP) from 2018 to 2023, on Wednesday.

Check out the ICC’s release here:

The schedule incorporates all three formats of the game for the men’s teams across the period of five years. It also includes the schedule for the inaugural ICC World Test championship and the 13-team One-Day league.

The Indian cricket team will make its debut in the World Test Championship in July 2019, against West Indies in the Caribbean, and then mark its campaign in the 13-team ODI League versus Sri Lanka (away) in June 2020.

As per the ICC, the nine top-ranked Test teams will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from July 15, 2019 to April 30, 2021.

“The sides will play six series in the two-year cycle on a home and away basis against opponents they have mutually selected. The two top-ranked sides will then progress to the June 2021 final to decide the World Test champions,” said an ICC release on Wednesday.

In addition, the 12 Test playing nations and the Netherlands, will participate in the 13-team ODI League, which will run from 1 May 2020 to 31 March 2022 and all the sides will play eight series over a two-year cycle on a home and away basis against mutually agreed opponents.”

The ODI League, stated the ICC, will serve as a qualification pathway for the 2023 World Cup to be hosted by India. As hosts, India and the next seven highest-ranked teams in the ODI league as of March 31, 2022 will qualify directly for the World Cup while the bottom five sides will get a second chance to qualify through the ICC World Cup Qualifier.

The structure of the men’s FTP (2018-23) includes:

· ICC Cricket World Cup – 2019 and 2023

· ICC World T20 – 2020 and 2021

· World Test Championship

. Cycle 1 – 2019-2021 (final 2021)

. Cycle 2 – 2021-2023 (final 2023)

· All bilateral Tests, ODIs and T20Is outside of the above competitions

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