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IPL 2018: Wanted to put up a good show in front of Warne, says Kuldeep

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Kolkata, May 16: It was the presence of legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne in the Rajasthan Royals dug-out that inspired left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav to produce his career-best performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens here.

“I’m always a big fan of his (Warne). He has been my idol. I always get a different kind of motivation when I play in front of him. I wanted to put up a good show in front of him,” Kuldeep told reporters at the post-match press conference.

Kuldeep returned figures of 4/20 as KKR defeated the Royals by six wickets to inch closer to a play-off berth on Tuesday evening.

Kuldeep was having an ordinary IPL till Tuesday night with just nine wickets from 12 outings at an economy rate of around 8.5.

But India’s premier tweaker first got rid of Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane with a googly and then dismissed dangerman Jos Buttler.

In his next two overs, Kuldeep got Stuart Binny stumped with another googly before accounting for the wicket of Ben Stokes.

“I discussed with him after the match. I have already started my planning for the upcoming England series. But it was a brief conversation. Maybe after the IPL, I will again get a chance to talk to him,” Kuldeep said.

Kuldeep is part of India’s one-off test squad against Afghanistan in Bengaluru next month. India then travel to England for a long tour.

Asked about his sub-par bowling until Tuesday night, Kuldeep said his defensive mind set against Mumbai Indians in their previous game in Kolkata may have cost him dear.

“Maybe my mind set became a bit defensive and thought of restricting the flow of runs. But I’m not the kind of a bowler who stops the flow of runs. If I attack at the batsmen, most of the times I get wickets. My strength is to keep looking for wickets,” he said.

Kuldeep said Buttler’s wicket was special for him as it proved to be the turning point of the game.

“If he had played for 10 more overs, the score would have been 170-180. Everything went according to my plan. For me it was the best wicket,” he said.

KKR will head to Hyderabad on Thursday to take on already-qualified Sunrisers in the last round-robin league match on May 19.

“We have to win the next match straightway. That’s important for us, then only we stand a chance to qualify,” he signed off.

IANS

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Lionel Messi named best La Liga player in September

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Madrid, Oct 17:  Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi on Wednesday was named the best player in the Spanish football league for the month of September, La Liga said in a statement.

Messi is to receive the award in Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium ahead of Saturday’s clash with Sevilla, reports Efe.

“Leo Messi, the FC Barcelona forward, has been named the La Liga Santander Player of the Month for September,” La Liga said via their website.

“The Argentine scoops the first prize of the 2018/2019 season after an impressive start to the campaign which saw his side go to the top of the standings,” the statement added.

Messi scored three La Liga goals last month, one against Girona and a brace against Huesca, as well as collecting four assists.

Barcelona holds the second spot in the Spanish league table with 15 points, one point behind Sevilla.

IANS

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Wrestlers Bajrang, Sakshi to lead Indian challenge at World C’ships

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Bajrang Punia Sakshi Malik

New Delhi, Oct 16 : Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang Punia will spearhead the 30-member Indian contingent at the World Wrestling Championships to be held in Budapest, Hungary from October 20 to 28.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has selected 10 members each in freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s wrestling categories.

The burden of India’s medal hunt at the worlds will mostly be on the shoulders of Bajrang (65kg) and Sandeep Tomar (57kg) in the men’s freestyle category.

In the women’s section, Sakshi (62kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg) and Ritu Phogat (50kg) are expected to be strong medal contenders in their respective weight categories.

Ritu is the only Phogat sister to feature in the squad as Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh was ruled out because of an elbow injury during the trials.

Four wrestlers — Bajrang, Kuldeep, Gurpreet and Harpreet — have been training in Hungary for more than a fortnight while the rest of the squad joined a week back.

The squads:

Freestyle: Sandeep Tomar (57kg), Sonba Tanaji Gongane (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Pankaj Rana (70kg), Jitender (74kg), Sachin Rathi (79kg), Pawan Kumar (86kg), Deepak (92kg) Mausam Khatri (97kg), Sumit (125kg), Jagminder Singh (chief coach).

Women: Ritu Phogat (50kg), Pinki (53kg), Seema (55kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg), Sangeeta (59kg), Sakshi Malik (62kg), Ritu (65kg), Navjot Kaur (68kg), Rajini (72kg), Kiran (76kg), Kuldeep Malik (chief coach).

Greco Roman: Vijay (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Gaurav Sharma (63kg), Manish (67kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Manjeet (82kg), Harpreet Singh (87kg), Hardeep (97kg), Naveen (130kg), Kuldeep Singh (chief coach).

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Saina survives, Sindhu ousted from Denmark Open

Saina, who lost to Cheung in their sole previous meeting two years ago, came back from a game down before eventually holding her nerve to advance to the next round.

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P.V. Sindhu And Saina Nehwal

Odense (Denmark), Oct 16 (IANS) Star shuttler Saina Nehwal survived a scare before progressing to the second round of the Denmark Open but it was heartbreak for Rio silver medallist P.V. Sindhu, who crashed out after being stunned by unseeded American Beiwen Zhang in the opening round of the womens singles event here on Tuesday.

Saina overcame stiff resistance from Hong Kong’s Ngan Yi Cheung before eventually pocketing the match 20-22, 21-17, 24-22 in 81 minutes. However, third seed Sindhu lost 17-21, 21-16, 18-21 to Zhang in another tough opening encounter that lasted 56 minutes.

Saina, who lost to Cheung in their sole previous meeting two years ago, came back from a game down before eventually holding her nerve to advance to the next round.

The match went down to the wire with both the shuttlers going for the kill. But the London Olympics bronze medallist finally managed to keep her cool and save two match points at 21-20 and 22-21 in the decider which helped her pocket the pulsating tie.

Earlier, Sindhu succumbed to her third consecutive loss to American Zhang, who also beat the Hyderabadi at the Indian Open in February this year.

After meekly losing the opening game 17-21, the 23-year-old Sindhu came back strongly in the second and did not allow the American to move ahead before finally winning it 21-16.

In the decider, the American bounced back in style to first take a 12-8 lead before Sindhu hit back to make it 14-13 in her favour.

From thereon, both the shuttlers went neck and neck before the match ended in Zhang’s favour with the scoreline reading a close 21-18.

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