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Jos Buttler guides Rajasthan to seven-wicket victory over Mumbai

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Mumbai, May 14: English batsman Jos Buttler continued his red-hot form with a 94 not out as Rajasthan Royals thumped Mumbai Indians by seven wickets here on Sunday to boost their chance of qualifying for the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs.

After Mumbai posted 168/6, thanks to opening batsmen Suryakumar Yadav (60) and Evin Lewis, Buttler registered his fifth consecutive fifty, which contained five sixes and nine fours, to guide his team to seven-wicket victory with two overs to spare.

The loss left three-time champions Mumbai stranded at 10 points from 12 games, while Rajasthan took their tally to 12 after 12 games.

The Jaipur-based outfit needs to win its remaining two games to qualify for the play-offs, while Mumbai’s fate is not in their hands and will have to depend on the performances of other teams.

The result at the Wankhede Stadium was decisive since the winner not only bagged two valuable points, but also derail the loser’s challenge for the race to the knockouts.

Asked to bat first, Mumbai were off to a steady start with Evin Lewis and Suryakumar coming up with an opening partnership of 87 runs off 64 balls.

Lewis, who narrowly survived being caught by Stuart Binny in the third over, made good use of the reprieve to blast his way to 60 runs off 42 deliveries. His quick-fire knock included four boundaries and as many sixes.

Suryakumar, who also got an early let-off, being dropped by Krishna Gowtham off Dhawal Kulkarni early in the second over, went on to post a steady 38 off 31 deliveries.

Although the opening duo gave the hosts a strong platform for a big total, the rest of the Mumbai batsmen failed to capitalise.

Rajasthan bowlers did well to bag five wickets over the next six overs to make a strong comeback. Jofra Archer was the most impressive of the bunch, giving away a mere 16 runs in his four overs while claiming the crucial wickets of Suryakumar and Rohit Sharma.

Fellow pacer Ben Stokes bowled well in the late stages to return figures of 2/26. Indian pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni also got a wicket each as Mumbai seemed in real danger of failing to cross the 150-run mark.

However, Hardik Pandya helped the hosts to a competitive total with a late charge, scoring 36 runs off 21 balls before holing out to Stokes in the penultimate ball of the innings.

During the chase, Rajasthan had a poor start, losing D’Arcy Short (4) to paceman Jasprit Bumrah in the first over.

However, Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane (37 off 36) stitched together a 95-run stand for the second wicket to keep the visitors in the hunt.

It was a perfect partnership as Rahane played a run-a-ball knock, Buttler dealt in with fours and sixes to get the things going.

The stand was broken after Rahane failed to clear Suryakumar at mid-off boundary off a ball from Hardik Pandya in the first delivery of the 14th over, with Rajasthan’s score at 104.

Later, Buttler continued his good work and found good support from Sanju Samson, who played a quickfire knock of 26 off 14 balls. Samson hit Hardik for two sixes in the 18th over as Rajasthan romped to victory.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians: 168/6 in 20 overs (Evin Lewis 60, Suryakumar Yadav 38, Hardik Pandya 36; Jofra Archer 2/16, Ben Stokes 2/26) vs Rajasthan Royals: 171/3 in 18 overs (Jos Buttler 94 not out, Ajinkya Rahane 37; Hardik Pandya 2/52).

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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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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