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IPL: Amol Muzumdar to join Rajasthan Royals as batting coach



cricketer Amol Muzumdar
Mumbai: Former cricketer Amol Muzumdar with his award during Dr Dayal Foundation award ceremony in Mumbai on Dec 21, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

Jaipur, March 13: Rajasthan Royals has appointed domestic stalwart Amol Muzumdar as their batting coach for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), it was announced on Tuesday.

Muzumdar, along with Head of Cricket Zubin Bharucha and bowling coach Sairaj Bahutule, will oversee Rajasthan Royals’ first camp in their hometown from March 13 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here.

“We are proud to have Amol Muzumdar on board as the team’s batting coach. His record on domestic circuit speaks for his greatness. The young batsmen will get so much to learn from him and develop their skills,” Bharucha said.

“Amol and Sairaj both bring skill, experience and vehemence that will surely drive the energy of the team in the right direction,” he added.

Amol Muzumdar said he was honoured to be part of Rajasthan Royals and was eager to work with the players.

“These are exciting times for a batsman. Twenty20 has completely changed the contours of the game. The skill-sets are different, the game is more happening. There is never a dull moment,” he said.

“As a coach one has to constantly innovate and adapt while guiding the youngsters acquire new batting skills and keeping the basics of the game intact at the same time. It is a role I am excited about,” Muzumdar added.

Muzumdar made his first-class debut for Mumbai. Playing the pre-quarterfinal against Haryana, Muzumdar racked up 260, setting a world record for the highest first-class score on debut.

In 171 first class matches, Muzumdar has scored a staggering 11,167 runs at an average of 48.13 runs with 30 hundreds and 60 half centuries.

Muzumdar holds second position, behind teammate Wasim Jaffer, in the list of all-time run scorers in the Ranji Trophy with 9,202 runs.



FIFA World Cup: Kane double guides England past Tunisia



fifa world cup tunisia england
(PC- @FIFAWorldCup/Twitter)

Volgograd (Russia), June 19: Captain Harry Kane scored a brace as England overcame Tunisia with a 2-1 victory in their FIFA World Cup Group G campaign opener at the Volgograd Arena here on Monday.

The Tottenham centre-forward gave England the lead in the 11th minute but Ferjani Sassi converted a penalty to pull Tunisia level in the 35th minute. However, Kane headed home off a corner in the 90+1st minute to give England the winning goal.

The North African side had survived an early onslaught and punched above their weight to counter a talented and youthful English team, playing in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Towards the end, Tunisia thought a draw was a fair result and decided to keep it that way until Kane brought out his second strike in the second-half injury time.

England kept it late to seal the win but their overwhelming start nearly blew Tunisia away. England were all over Tunisia, beginning the match in an emphatic manner.

Barely three minutes into the game, Jordan Hernderson sent a cross-field ball towards the right side of the Tunisian box for Dele Alli to bring it down before. But his square pass across the goal to Raheem Sterling was half cleared. The rebound fell to Jesse Lingard, whose drive from the 12 yards out was blocked by a outstretched left leg of keeper Mouez Hassen.

Four minutes later, Sterling overcame three defenders from the left byline before rolling the ball across the face of the goal to the right post where Lingard was waiting. But when the pass arrived, it somehow wrong-footed the teenager and bounced off his shins for a goal kick.

However, the energetic English team was not to be denied the lead for very long as a diving Hassen’s block off a header from John Stones following a corner fell at the feet of Kane, who easily tapped it home in the 11th minute.

Hassen, who had injured his right shoulder before the goal, had to be substituted with Farouk Ben Mustapha.

After an overwhelming 20 minutes of attacking football, England took the pace of the game and began to pass the ball around. It allowed Tunisia to reorganise, gather their nerves and keep the ball.

They waited for England to make mistakes and one of those from Kyle Walker proved costly. Battling for a cross, Walker put his arm in the face of Tunisia attacker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef as the latter plunged to the ground. Sassi calmly slotted a penalty into the bottom-left corner, past a diving Jordan Pickford in the 35th minute.

Just before the halftime break, England could have regained the lead but Lingard, again was denied, this time by the post. A through-ball put Lindgard in a race with the on-rushing Mustapha. Lingard tapped the ball around the keeper, but the ball rolled off the left post.

The second-half was devoid of any dynamic move from either side. Compared to the pulsating first 45 minutes, the second half saw the teams trade possession back and forth in the midfield.

England coach Southgate rushed in Marcus Rashford, replacing Sterling as they stepped up their attacking mode.

England, lacking creativity, kept testing Tunisia with set-pieces until they surrendered at the death. A corner from the right saw Harry Maguire flick towards the left, only for Kane to head it home at the near post, rejoicing the English camp and their fans.


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FIFA 2018 World Cup: Belgium ride Lukaku brace to blank Panama 3-0



fifa 2018 Belgium Panama

Sochi, June 18: Belgium rode a second-half brace from Romelu Lukaku to blank Panama 3-0 in their Group G opener of the FIFA World Cup 2018 at the Fisht Stadium here on Monday.

After a barren first period, striker Lukaku scored in the 69th and 75th minute to ensure the victory after wide midfielder Dries Mertens drew first blood in the 47th minute.

The result means Belgium now have three points from one game while Panama are still to open their account. Belgium take on Tunisia next on June 23 while Panama face England the next day.

After a barren first period where minnows Panama looked to be punching above weight, it took Mertens two minutes into the second period to break the deadlock as the fleet-footed Napoli winger volleyed a crisp right-footer from the edge of the box into the left corner.

Soon after the goal, Panama’s Michael Murillo then drew a smart low save from Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as Roman Torres headed wide of target moments later.

Edgar Barcenas also came close to equalising before Lukaku doubled the tally for Belgium with a powerful header from close after being teed up beautifully by Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.

Six minutes later, the burly Lukaku got on the scoresheet once more, making the most of a quick counter-attack that saw Eden Hazard set up the Manchester United marksman who bulged the centre of the net with a left footer.

It was all Belgium from there on as they controlled ball possession and the game although Panama did not relent and kept looking for options to break.

The impressive Fidel Escobar tried to pull one back for Panama towards the dying minutes of the half as their coach Gomez Hernan brought in Gabriel Torres and Ismael Diaz to increase their attacking options. In the end, they failed to score as Belgium logged full points.

Earlier, the first half was all about Panama’s tenacity as their little-known defenders denied the star-studded Belgium team space.

Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo made three crucial saves to keep Roberto Martinez’s men at bay, the most vital being Hazard’s stinging right-footed effort saved acrobatically by the 36-year old, diving low to his bottom right corner.

Hazard missed a few more chances and so did Mertens. Lukaku had fewer touches of the ball than the two goalkeepers to sum up Belgium’s misery inside the box.

Panama failed to register a single attempt on target.


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FIFA World Cup 2018: Sweden pip South Korea 1-0 in Group F clash



fifa world cup south korea sweden
South Korea vs Sweden (PC- @FIFAWorldCup/Twitter)

Nizhny Novgorod (Russia), June 19: Sweden kicked off their FIFA 2018 World Cup campaign on a winning note as they pipped South Korea 1-0 in a Group F showdown at the Novgorod stadium here on Monday.

It was Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist’s 65th-minute penalty conversion which created the difference between the two sides. Granqvist took a penalty following a video review and slotted the ball into the bottom right corner, with the goalkeeper diving the other way.

This was South Korea’s first loss in their World Cup opener since 1998, reports Yonhap news agency.

South Korea put on some early pressure before Sweden turned the tide in their favour. For all their superior possession numbers early, South Korea made just one shot attempt, and none on target, in the first half, while Sweden had eight attempts, with two on target.

South Korea had a 4-3-3 formation to start the match, with a couple of surprises. In goal, Jo Hyeon-woo made his World Cup debut over supposed starter Kim Seung-gyu.

Kim Shin-wook, the tallest South Korean player at 197 centimetres, also got the nod as a starting forward up front, though he had been seen as a possible option off the bench. He was flanked by Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan.

Captain Ki Sung-yueng was the deeplying playmaker in midfield, with Koo Ja-cheol, captain at the 2014 World Cup, and Lee Jae-sung assigned attacking roles.

Kim Young-gwon, a center back from the much-maligned back line four years ago, was back in the same position, with new partner Jang Hyun-soo next to him this time. Park Joo-ho got into his first World Cup contest as the left back. Lee Yong, another returnee from four years ago, started on the right side.

South Korea spent most of the early moments in the Swedish zone, though they didn’t test Robin Olsen in net.

Sweden had the first real chance in the 17th minute, with center-back Granqvist jumping in on the attack following a Marcus Berg setup, only to have Kim Young-gwon make a solid clearance.

Then about four minutes later, Jo made an outstanding save to deny Marcus Berg from point-blank range at the left post, after the bouncing ball in a scramble landed on the Swedish forward’s foot.

After the ensuing corner, Pontus Jansson saw his header bounce wide of the target.

South Korea caught a tough break in the 26th, when Park Joo-ho went down with an apparent right leg injury after trying to keep a long, cross-field pass in play.

He landed hard on his right leg and grabbed the back of his thigh in pain immediately. Kim Min-woo replaced Park on defense.

Son tried to start something for South Korea in the 35th minute, charging down the right wing past multiple defenders, but his cross from deep in the box went nowhere.

Sweden kept the pressure on, but Jo made a fairly routine save on Granqvist’s shot from just inside the box in the 44th minute.

In stoppage time, Viktor Claesson soared to meet Mikael Lustig’s cross but missed the net to the right.

South Korea had a promising opportunity in the 52nd minute, when Koo, moments after getting stepped on by Sebastian Larsson, recovered to put a header to the side of the net.

Jo had to make another brilliant save in the 56th to keep the match scoreless, denying Ola Toivonen on a header following a Larsson free kick.

Jo and South Korea finally cracked just past the hour mark. Kim Min-woo would have gotten away with his tackle on Claesson in the past, but with the VAR in use for the first time, he couldn’t escape 33 cameras in the 65th minute. Granqvist converted the penalty kick from 12 yards out.

With Lee Seung-woo entering the match for Kim Shin-wook, South Korea switched to a 4-4-2 formation, but it did little to swing the pendulum.

South Korea’s last chance to draw level came during stoppage time, when Hwang Hee-chan’s header missed the net to the left.

South Korea kept buzzing around the Swedish net, with nothing to show for their effort. Second-half sub Lee Seung-woo, making his World Cup debut at 20 in the 73rd minute, failed to spark the stagnant offense.


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