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KL Rahul moves to career-high third position in T20I rankings

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Dubai, July 9: Top-order batsman Lokesh Rahul’s scores of 70, 101 not out, six and 19 have made him India’s highest-ranked batsman in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) as he moved up nine places to a career-high third position in the ICC rankings.

Opener Rohit Sharma in 11th rank (up by two places) and captain Virat Kohli in 12th rank (down by four places) are the next highest-ranked India batsmen.

Meanwhile, Australia opener Aaron Finch became the first player in the history of T20Is to break the 900-point mark as he moved up three places to finish the tri-series in Harare against Pakistan and Zimbabwe as the top-ranked batsman in the shortest format of the game.

Finch, who captained Australia to the final, had touched the 900-point mark following his record-breaking knock of 172 (76b, 10×6, 16×4) against Zimbabwe in Harare on July 3.

The 31-year-old from Victoria eventually finished the T20Is (also comprising a one-off against England at Edgbaston) in number-one position on 891 points.

Finch had started the T20Is in fourth position on 763 points and a tour aggregate of 391 runs not only helped him leapfrog Babar Azam, Colin Munro and Glen Maxwell, but also earned him 128 points.

In the latest player rankings, which also takes into account India’s 2-0 and 2-1 series win against Ireland and England, respectively, Finch leads Pakistan’s left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman by 45 points.

Like Finch, Fakhar was in stellar form in Harare, when he totaled 278 runs in the series, including a match-winning 91 against Australia after Pakistan had slumped to two for two after being set a victory target of 184.

Fakhar’s string of good scores, that also included knocks of 61, six, 47 and 73, have helped him vault 44 places to claim second position. He has now become Pakistan’s highest-ranked batsman after Babar Azam slipped from first to fifth due to his absence because of an injury.

Australia’s D’Arcy Short, Jason Roy of England and Solomon Mire have also achieved career-best rankings following the latest update.

Short has broken into the top-10 for the first time in his career in 10th position, moving up 18 places. Roy has gained 19 places and is now in 15th spot, while Mire has rocketed 202 places to claim 25th position – seven places behind Hamilton Masakadza.

In the bowling table, Rashid Khan of Afghanistan and Shadab Khan of Pakistan have retained the top two positions, but there have been a number of movements down the order with Australia’s Andrew Tye and Billy Stanlake, and England’s trio of Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and David Willey achieving career-high rankings.

Tye has risen 41 places to seventh in the latest rankings after taking 12 wickets in Harare, Rashid has claimed ninth position after moving up four places, Plunkett has gained 14 places and is now in 11th spot, Willey has risen 12 places to 15th and Stanlake’s seven wickets have given him a leap of 60 places that has put him in 19th position.

Other bowlers to head in the right direction include Mohammad Amir (12th, up by six places), Hardik Pandya (29th, up by five places), Mohammad Nawaz (32nd, up by nine places), Faheem Ashraf (33rd, up by 21 places), Kuldeep Yadav (34th, up by 41 places) and Ashton Agar (45th, up by 39 places).

There is no change in the top three all-rounders, with Maxwell leading the field. Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi is second, while Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh is third.

Meanwhile, in the ICC T20I Team Rankings, Pakistan have retained the top position with their tri-series victory while India have overtaken Australia to take second place after clinching their three-match series against England 2-1.

The top three sides are now separated by 10 points, while three points separate fourth-ranked England and seventh-ranked West Indies.

Team rankings remain crucial as Australia plus the next nine highest-ranked sides will qualify directly for the 16-team ICC Men’s World T20 2020 in Australia.

The remaining six sides will qualify from the 14-team ICC Men’s World T20 Qualifier 2019, which will be participated in by the six sides from the ICC World T20 2016, which are not in the Top 10 of the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Team Rankings as on 31 December 2018, alongside the eight qualifiers from the regional finals.

IANS

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UEFA Nations League: Croatia edge past Spain 3-2

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Zagreb, Nov 16: Croatia battled to the final whistle and prevailed with a 3-2 over Spain to stay alive in the UEFA Nations League.

Spain, with six points from four matches, retain the lead in League A Group 4, while Croatia go level on points with England at 4 after three matches, though the Three Lions have the advantage on goal difference, reports Efe news.

After beating England in the opener in London and routing Croatia at home, Spain looked set to cruise into the final stage until they lost 2-3 to the Three Lions in Seville last month.

That was the backdrop for La Roja’s visit to Zagreb to face the 2018 World Cup runners-up, anxious to dispel the memory of their abysmal performance two months ago in Spain.

The hosts, physical on defence and direct on the attack on Thursday, largely dictated the flow of play until the final seconds of the first half, when Spain’s Saul Ñiguez and Isco Alarcon threatened the Croatia goal.

With the score 0-0 and both teams needing a win, the 36,000 spectators at Maksimir stadium were treated to a second-half offensive display involving some of the most talented players in the game.

Just as Spain seemed to be getting the upper hand, a giveaway by Sergi Roberto left Croatia’s Andrej Kramaric alone in front of goal and he beat keeper David de Gea to put the hosts up 1-0 in the 54th minute.

Spain reacted furiously and the equalizer was not long in coming. Iago Aspas sent a deft pass to Isco behind the Croatia defence and the forward relayed the ball to midfielder Dani Ceballos for an easy goal in the 56th.

The visitors stepped up the pace and would have taken the lead if Aspas hadn’t hit the cross-bar with a strike from close range.

Instead, the next goal went to Croatia thanks to a rare mistake by De Gea, who had a chance to grab the ball before Tin Jedvaj headed-in after a corner to make it 2-1 for the home side with 20 minutes left.

But a blunder at the other end in the 78th minute let Spain get back into the game, as Sergio Ramos converted from the spot after a hand ball by defender Sime Vrsaljko.

The final stretch was all Croatia and Jedvaj completed the brace with a goal in the 93rd minute.

With the outcome, Spain, who have played all four of their matches, need Croatia and England to draw at Wembley next Sunday to be assured of advancing directly to the final stage.

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ICC Women’s WorldT20: Indian ride spinners’ show to beat Ireland and make semis

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Georgetown (Guyana), Nov 16 (IANS) India rode their spinners’ good show to beat Ireland with a comfortable 52-run margin and enter the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World T20 at the Providence Stadium here on Thursday.

After managing 145/6, the tweakers maintained tight leash on Irish women restricting them to 93/8 in 20 overs.

Courtesy their third win, India now have six points and are assured of a last-four spot along with Australia (6 points from 3 games) with New Zealand, Pakistan and Ireland already even before their campaign could officially end.

The spinners Radha Yadav (3/25), Deepti Sharma (2/15), Poonam Yadav (1/14) and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (1/10 in 4 overs) picked wickets at regular intervals although India’s batting performance left a lot to be desired.

Ireland were never in the chase conceding as many as 65 dot balls (nearly 11 overs).

Once Deepti got the wicket of Gaby Lewis (9) with an off-break and Poonam’s leg-break saw the end of Clare Shillington (23) stumped by Taniya Bhatia, Ireland had no chance whatsoever.

Earlier, former skipper Mithali Raj once again came to India’s rescue with a fluent half century to help the women-in-blue post a below-par 145/6.

Mithali, who top-scored with a 56-ball 51, laced with 4 fours and a six, did not find a stable partner at the other end, thanks to some casual batting from her teammates and immaculate bowling from the Irish women.

In the process, the veteran right-hander also created a new record of being the highest run-getter for India in T20Is with 2283 runs. Rohit Sharma (2207 runs) is the second in the list, followed by men’s team skipper Virat Kohli.

Put in to bat, India got off to a steady 67-run start from Mithali and Smriti Mandhana (33 off 29 balls; 4X4, 6X1) before the southpaw once again departed after getting a decent start.

The young Jemimah Rodrigues (18 off 11; 4X3) got off to a brisk start and quickly added 40 runs for the second wicket with Mithali before being stumped off Irish captain Laura Delany’s bowling.

Thereafter, the in-form India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (7) and No.5 Veda Krishnamurthy (9) departed in quick succession, leaving India reeling at 127/4.

Mithali, however, waged a lone battle bringing up her sedate half century off 54 deliveries but perished soon, caught behind off Kim Garth.

Towards the end, Dayalan Hemalatha (4), Deepti Sharma (10 not out) and Radha Yadav (1 not out) failed to accelerate the scoring rate as India ended up with 145.

Brief Scores: India 145/6 (Mithali Raj 51, Smriti Mandhana 33; Kim Garth 2/22) beat Ireland 93/8 in 20 overs (Isobel Joyce 33; Radha Yadav 3/25)

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Hima Das named Unicef-India’s 1st youth ambassador

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New Delhi, Nov 15: The United Nations Children’s Fund-India (Unicef-India) has named Asian Games gold-medalist sprinter Hima Das as the country’s first youth ambassador.

The world organisation made the announcement in a tweet on Wednesday evening coinciding with the Children’s Day celebrated on November 14 commemorating the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s birth anniversary.

“I’m honoured to be chosen as Unicef India’s Youth Ambassador, and I hope I will be able to inspire more children to follow their dreams,” Das responded.

Hailing from Nagaon district, Das won a gold medal in Women’s 4×400 metre relay event at the 2018 Asian Games.

The woman athlete also clinched a silver medal in the Women’s 400m Race event.

WeForNews 

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