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IPL: Gujarat thrash RCB by seven wickets

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Bengaluru, April 28: Gujarat Lions dominated with both bat and ball to thrash Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by seven wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday evening.

Chasing a modest target of 135 runs, Gujarat crossed the line in 13.5 overs.

Aaron Finch and skipper Suresh Raina played a crucial role with 92-run stand.

Finch produced a whirlwind innings of 72 runs, hitting five boundaries and six sixes during his 34-ball stay in the middle, while Raina remained unbeaten on 34, off 30 balls with four hits to the fence and a six.

This is the sixth defeat for RCB who are going through a poor run this season. They are now placed seventh in the eight-team table with a mere five points from nine matches with only two wins to their credit.

They had suffered a humiliating 82-run defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens on April 23 when they were bundled out for a mere 49 runs which is the lowest-ever total in the IPL’s 10 year history.

Gujarat registered their third win of this season to climb to the sixth position. They have six points from eight matches which include three wins and five defeats.

Defending a modest total, the hosts were handed a glimmer of hope when West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree picket up wickets in consecutive overs.

Badree struck the first blow for RCB in the third over when Ishan Kishan could not time his shot properly while attempting a sweep and was trapped plumb in front of the stumps.

Brendon McCullum also did not last long as he was also dismissed by Badree. The New Zealand star stepped out to attempt a bit hit but miscued his shot only to be caught by A.B. de Villiers at long on.

That was the only bit of success the hosts will enjoy in a long time as Raina and Aaron Finch proceeded to take on the RCB bowling.

Raina enjoyed a major reprieve in the 10th over. The jampacked stadium collectively leapt to their feet when Raina holed out to the fielder on the deep midwicket boundary while attempting to hit Yuzvendra Chahal out of the park.

But the joy of the RCB players and fans soon turned to disappointment when the delivery turned out to be a no ball.

Raina and Finch made full use of the reprieve and continued to punish the RCB bowlers.

By the time Finch holed out to de Villiers at long on when he mistimed a pull off Pawan Negi, Gujarat was well on their way to victory.

Earlier, Gujarat produced a disciplined bowling performance to restrict RCB to 134.

This was the second successive match in which the big three guns of the RCB batting line-up — Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and de Villiers — proved to be a damp squib.

Negi was the highest scorer for the hosts with 32 runs off 19 balls which included three boundaries and two sixes.

Kedar Jadhav, who smashed 31 runs off 18 deliveries, was the only other RCB batsman who managed to trouble the Gujarat bowlers.

For Gujarat, Australian pacer Andrew Tye returned figures of 3/12 while left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja also picked up a couple of wickets.

RCB skipper Virat Kohli was the first to go when he picked out Finch at short fine leg while attempting a big shot off young pacer Basil Thampi.

Tye then took consecutive wickets with the first two balls of the next over. He struck a crucial blow with his very first ball of the match when he induced an outside edge off the dangerous Gayle with wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthick doing the honours behind the stumps.

The Australian pacer then produced a similar delivery to remove Travis Head, whose edge travelled to Raina at first slip.

Jadhav and de Villiers then tried to spark an RCB comeback, adding 36 runs between them off 26 balls after the former kicked off the partnership with three boundaries off Thampi in the sixth over.

But the partnership did not last too long as Jadhav was removed by Jadeja. The batsman had exposed his stumps while attempting a late cut to third man, but he missed as the ball held its line and crashed into the stumps.

RCB plunged into further trouble when a mix-up between de Villiers and Mandeep Singh coupled with an excellent piece of fielding by Jadeja saw the South African being run out.

Negi then strode to the middle to play a slam-bang knock and produce a 40-run stand with Mandeep.

It was however, not enough to revive the hosts’ innings.

By the time Negi hit an Ankit Soni delivery into the hands of Thampi at deep midwicket, the wind had been knocked out of RCB’s sails.

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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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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