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Nidahas Trophy: India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets

For India, Thakur scalped four wickets while Washington Sundar took two wickets.

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Colombo, March 13 : A combined effort helped India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the fourth match of the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket tri-series at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium here on Monday.

Chasing 152/9 target in a match which was curtailed to 19 overs due to rain, Rohit Sharma (11) and Shikhar Dhawan (8) could not provide the start India wanted. The duo was sent back to the pavilion in the fourth over with only 22 runs on board.

New batsmen Lokesh Rahul (18) and Suresh Raina (27), who were looking good at the crease, were dismissed after getting a good start.

The first one to go was Raina in the seventh over. His time at the crease was cut short by Nuwan Pradeep when scoreboard was reading 62 runs.

Three overs later, Rahul got hit-wicket off Jeevan Mendis.

But after that, Manish Pandey (42) and Dinesh Karthik (39) played sensibly and made sure that their team overhaul the target without any more hiccups. Together they forged an unbeaten 68-run partnership.

For Sri Lanka, Akila Dananjaya took two wickets.

Earlier, put in to bat, Sri Lanka posted 152/9. The hosts lost their wickets at regular intervals. Apart from opener Kusal Mendis (55), no other batsmen contributed handsomely.

The hosts started on a steady note but when scoreboard was reading 25 runs in three overs, opener Danushka Gunathilaka (17) was dismissed by pacer Shardul Thakur.

Incoming batsmen Kusal Perera (3) also failed this time and was sent packing cheaply by leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the very next over.

With scoreboard reading 34/2, Mendis and new batsman Upul Tharanga (22) joined hands and forged a 58-run partnership to stabilise the innings.

Just when things seemed good in the middle, Tharanga was sent back by pacer Vijay Shankar in the 11th over, making the score read 96/3.

Skipper Thisara Perera (15) also failed to rise to the occasion and gifted away his wicket to Thakur when he was needed the most.

Lower middle-order batsmen Jeevan Mendis (5), Dasun Shanaka (19), Akila Dananjaya (5) tried to score quickly towards the end but could not provide the finish Sri Lanka wanted.

For India, Thakur scalped four wickets while Washington Sundar took two wickets.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 152/9 (Kusal Mendis 55, Shardul Thakur 4/27); India 153/4 (Manish Pandey 42 not out, Dinesh Karthik 39 not out, Akila Dananjaya 2/19)

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FIFA World Cup: Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0

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Kaliningrad (Russia), June 17 :Croatia went to the top of Group D in the FIFA World Cup following their 2-0 easy victory over Nigeria at the Kaliningrad Stadium here on Saturday.

Veteran striker Mario Mandzukic played his part in both the goals from Croatia, who now have three points. The other teams in the group, Argentina and Iceland, played a 1-1 draw earlier in the day in Kazan.

Croatia, playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation, expectedly controlled the game from the beginning. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, playing in a two-man midfield, had their say in everything, making critical forward passes and stopping Nigeria’s mobility towards Croatian goal.

Croatian left winger Ivan Perisic had the first shot on goal as Mandzukic teed off a counter-attack but the Inter Milan man’s shot from outside of the box sailed over the cross-bar in the 13th minute.

Couple of minutes later, Andrej Kramaric then had his moment but he fired wide of the left post after being fed by Modric.

Croatia were mounting pressure with each passing time while Nigeria struggled to get into the box, let alone making a shot on goal.

Chelsea right winger Victor Moses was impressive but Croatia’s left-back Ivan Strinic, who plays for Italian club Sampdoria, controlled him well.

The first goal for Croatia resulted after Nigerian midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo deflected in a diving header from Mandzukic at the left post into his own net following a corner kick from Luka Modric in the 32nd minute.

Till the first-half end, Nigeria failed to create anything and hardly looked like getting an equaliser.

At the beginning of the second-half, Nigeria tried to push for an equaliser. They earned multiple corners but Mandzukic and his teammates showed their hard work to deny the Africans.

Then off a quick switch of play, Modric played a through ball to Perisic on the left and the latter fired in a swinging cross inside the box but Croatian right winger Ante Rebic’s right foot put a heavy touch for the ball to fly over.

Later, Nigeria tried to infuse attacking firepower by throwing in attackers Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho. But Croatia were tight in their markings and cut down the spaces efficiently to keep Nigeria at bay.

The European team got its cushion goal in the 71st minute when William Ekong brought down Juventus star Mandzukic inside the box while defending a corner, leading to a penalty from which captain Luka Modric scored.

Afterwards, Croatia withdrew some of ther attackers to make it a heavy midfield and successfully defend their two-goal advantage for the convincing victory in the opening match.

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FIFA World Cup 2018: France beat Australia 2-1 in Group C match

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Kazan, June 16: Midfielder Paul Pogba scored the winning goal for France, who overcame Australia 2-1 in a FIFA World Cup Group C contest here on Saturday.

Pogba’s 80th-minute strike, a chip which kissed the cross-bar before moving in, gave France the 2-1 lead after Mile Jedinak’s 62nd-minute penalty had cancelled Antoine Griezmann’s conversion from the penalty spot four minutes earlier.

Griezmann converted a penalty which was awarded after Joshua Risdon fouled the Atletico Madrid forward inside the box in the 56th minute.

A few minutes later, Samuel Umtiti raised his hand to a free-kick from the right, resulting in a penalty. Jedinak stepped up to successfully convert the penalty and pull Australia level 1-1.

IANS

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David Warner to debut in Caribbean Premier League

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St. Lucia, June 16: Caribbean Premier League (CPL) outfit St. Lucia Stars have signed banned Australia batsman David Warner in their squad for the upcoming season beginning August 8, the West Indian club announced on Saturday.

Warner will replace fellow big-hitting Australian D’Arcy Short, who was ruled out of the tournament after being selected in Australia A’s tour of India.

“We are excited to bring David to the Saint Lucia Stars. David is arguably one of the greatest batsman of the modern era and a winning player,” Stars General Manager Mohammad Khan was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

Warner, who was handed a 12-month ban following his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, will make a return to competitive cricket in Canada’s inaugural Global T20 tournament for the Winnipeg Hawks later this month alongside his former skipper Steve Smith, who was also handed a 12-month suspension by CA.

The month-long CPL will also feature other Australians like all-rounder Shane Watson and Chris Lynn.

IANS

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