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IPL: Pune ride Tripathi’s fireworks to defeat KKR by four wickets



Rising Pune
Image Tweeted by Ravi Shastri‏

Kolkata, May 3: Rising Pune Supergiant rode on little-known Rahul Tripathi’s career-best 93 of 52 balls to win, by four wickets, an Indian Premier League (IPL) engagement against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday and take giant strides towards the playoffs.

Pune, now on 14 points from 11 games, moved to third spot with KKR staying on second with the same number of points as Pune from 11 outings. Replying to KKR’s 155/8, Pune scored 158/6 in 19.2 overs.

Tripathi, who is playing his first IPL, brought up his fifty in just 23 deliveries with eight fours and three sixes.

The Maharashtra batsman went from strength to strength after his half-century spanking chinaman Kuleep Yadav for three sixes on the trot in the 13th over.

Chris Woakes fared best among the bowlers for the hosts (3/18) taking the wickets of Pune and Australia skipper Steve Smith (9) and in-form Manoj Tiwary (8) off two excellent deliveries.

Umesh Yadav (1/22) removed India teammate Ajinkya Rahane (11) early but it was Tripathi who remained unfazed and took the charges against the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile whom he spanked for 32 runs.

Ben Stokes, the hero of Pune’s last game against Gujarat Lions, departed for 14 but by the time the million-dollar England all-rounder trotted back towards the dugout, the job was all but done.

In came Mahendra Singh Dhoni to loud cheers only to make the long walk back to the dressing room scoring just 5 with Kuldeep picking his wicket.

Tripathi was finally dismissed by Woakes, seven runs short of his maiden ton but Dan Christian (9 not out) hit the winning runs with a six off Colin de Grandhomme in the final over.

Earlier, the New Zealand all-rounder Grandhomme’s 36 and Manish Pandey’s 37 saved KKR the blushes as the hosts recovered from a top-order collapse to post 155/8.A

Jaydev Unadkat (2/28) and Washington Sundar (2/18) were the best bowlers for Pune.

Grandhomme (36 of 19 balls) and Pandey (37 of 19 balls) joined hands when their side were tottering at 55/4 to stitch together a 48-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Suryakumar Yadav (30 off 16 not out) struck some lusty blows at the death hitting two consecutive fours and a six off Unadkat who leaked 21 runs in the penultimate over.

Sans the services of their best batsman Robin Uthappa — out with a niggle, the hosts’ batting lacked zip losing three wickets for just 41 runs in the Powerplay.

Sunil Narine was the first to go, not connecting with the ball in the first five deliveries to finally give bowler Unadkat an easy catch in his follow through.

Sheldon Jackon (10) followed suit soon after, getting hit wicket off the bowling of Sundar.

Skipper Gautam Gambhir (24) hit Stokes for two back-to-back fours and in the next over, tanked Sundar for a boundary and a six before holing out to Rahane at deep midwicket.

Imran Tahir got rid of Yusuf Pathan (4) as the men in purple who have an enviable record at home looked hapless.

Pandey and Grandhomme — dropped once at long -off by Dan Christian when the New Zealander was on 10 — steadied the ship somewhat before Pandey got out.

Christian made amends for his grassed catch, with a slower one which Pandey failed to pick, giving an easy catch to Rahane at deep midwicket.

Unadkat got the wicket of Grandhomme with Woakes (1) getting running out soon after.

Coulter-Nile scored six before falling to Stokes as Umesh Yadav remained unbeaten with Suryakumar on 2.



FIFA World Cup 2018: Tony Kroos fives Germany win over Sweden



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



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.


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FIFA WC 2018: Confident Mexico up against under-pressure Koreans



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.


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