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Pune beat Mumbai by 20 runs to enter IPL final

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Mumbai, May 17 : Rising Pune Supergiant rode on fine half-centuries from Manoj Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane and impressive off-spin bowling from teenager Washington Sundar (3/16) to defeat Mumbai Indians by 20 runs in the first qualifier and enter the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Tuesday.

Tiwary (58), Rahane (56) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (40 not out off 26) helped Pune post 162/4 in 20 overs. Sundar, 17, then ran through the Mumbai top-order as the hosts could only score 142/9 at the Wankhede Stadium. Medium pacer Shardul Thakur (3/37) created problems for Mumbai at the death overs.

Having finished the league stage in the top position, Mumbai on Friday will have another chance to enter the final as they will face the winner of the Eliminator match between Kolkata Knight Riders and defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad — who face-off on Wednesday.

Two-time champions Mumbai are too good a side to flounder the way they did against Pune. After asking Pune to bat, Mumbai had a near-perfect start, removing in-form Rahul Tripathi (0) and captain Steve Smith (1) in the opening two overs. New Zealand pacer Mitchell McClenaghan drew first blood for the hosts, cleaning up Tripathi for his first duck of the IPL, on the last ball of the opening over before a leading edge off Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga got skipper Smith walking , with Pune at 9/2.

With the visitors in desperate need of a partnership, Rahane and Manoj did the job for them, helping the odd ball to the boundary as Mumbai maintained a perfect line and length.

The right-handed pair went on to add 50 runs off 44 deliveries with Manoj playing the perfect second fiddle to the local boy Rahane, who got to his half-century off 39 balls.

Just when things began to fall in order for Pune, leg-spinner Karn Sharma jolted the visitors, by trapping Rahane, who by now had helped the ball to the boundary on five occasions and once over it.

The fall of Rahane brought in Dhoni who, along with Manoj, played out five overs inconsequentially before the Bengal batsman took the attack to the opposition.

Continuing his fine run with the willow, Manoj first slogged at a good length ball off McCleneghan to get to his half-century off 45 deliveries before taking the bowler to the cleaners. Dhoni too joined the party, clearing the Kiwi twice in the penultimate over.

Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma threw the ball to his death-over specialist Jasprit Bumrah for the final over, but with Dhoni at his attacking best, young Bumrah was clobbered twice out of the park as the final two overs yielded 41 runs for Pune, who managed to post 162/4.

During the chase, opening batsman Parthiv Patel (52 off 40) held one fort as he executed his strokes perfectly from the start. However, Lendl Simmons’s wicket opened the floodgates for Mumbai. Patel’s straight drive off a slower delivery from medium pacer Shardul Thakur was finger-tipped by the bowler before the ball hit the stumps as Simmons was found to be short at the non-striker’s end, with Mumbai at 35/1 in 4.3 overs.

After the wicket, Sundar then had his impressive bowling spell. Rohit Sharma (1) was adjudged lbw as he went for the sweep shot and missed the ball which hit the pad, while Ambati Rayudu (0) pulled straight into the hands of Steven Smith at short midwicket. Smith got hold of another catch at the same position to send back Kieran Pollard (7) as Pune had Mumbai on the mat, with the scoreboard reading 51/4 in eight overs.

Parthiv, who was playing well, was then joined by Hardik Pandya (14) but the pair could only forge a 24-run stand for the fifth wicket as the latter hit a ball from medium pacer Lockie Ferguson straight into the hands of Daniel Christian at long-on, with Mumbai at 75/5 in 11.1 overs.

With Mumbai still behind the target by 88 runs, it was a huge task for the hosts. Under the pressure of mounting required run-rate, Hardik Pandya (15) and Parthiv fell in the 15th over bowled by Thakur. With Mumbai needing 60 runs off five overs, the task proved too much for the lower-order batsmen.

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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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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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