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Rio Olympics 2016: Legends bloom, India’s gloom and dope doom 

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Rio Olympics

New Delhi, December 28: The euphoria over sending its biggest contingent ever to the Olympics did not last as the performance of Indian athletes did not measure up to promise. It was a crushing reminder to not only sports authorities but also to an expectant nation that believed medals were just there for the taking — all our athletes needed do was show up in sufficient numbers.

In the event, the Indian Olympics Association’s (IOA) hope of a double-digit tally — better than the six-medal haul in London four years earlier — came to nought as India returned with a mere silver and a bronze from the Rio Games.

As the Games began, similar headlines — predictably on the lines of “Indians knocked out” — started stacking up on the internet’s “most-viewed” lists.

India’s deep embarrassment was redeemed ever-so-partially by four women — silver-winning shuttler P.V. Sindhu, “bronzed” wrestler Sakshi Malik, a refreshingly confident gymnast Dipa Karmakar and 18-year-old golfer Aditi Ashok, the latter two missing the podium but giving a worthy account of themselves, all treading into unchartered territory as Indian women athletes.

As the collective thought process of the nation turned from hope to despair, it was Malik who finally broke an unwanted duck, on the 13th day of the global competition. Sindhu and Dipa put a bit of gloss on it and everyone was happy again — the narrative changing to “women power” or “girl power”.

Wrestler Narsingh Yadav’s protracted but ultimately wasteful saga of “earning” a spot at the Olympics but getting disqualified for doping hours before his first bout was another ignominy India could have done without.

But all this was a mere footnote when viewed in the global context.

The title-screamers remained two true-blue greats, who were at the sunset end of their distinguished careers.

Swimming superstar Michael Phelps announced his swansong with a haul of 28 medals, 23 of them gold, to become the most decorated Olympian of all time — and tying with India’s overall tally.

The American signed off his glittering career with an Olympic tally of gold in 13 individual events and 10 in team categories, wrapping up his Rio commitments with six medals.

The mantle of being the Games’ greatest crowd-puller and showman was, however, reserved for “sprint king” Usain Bolt.

The Jamaican has repeatedly professed his dream of going out with a bang and he bolted away from his opponents, from the gun shot to the finish line, with the same ridiculous ease that has made the sprint events a one-man show over the years.

His cheeky smile towards the camera before finishing ahead of his rivals by a considerable margin in his 100 metre semi-final heat was as much mirth-invoking as tennis star Victoria Azarenka’s joking but significant assertion: “Who can catch this guy? Maybe The Flash?”

Athletics’ pin-up boy’s glitter didn’t fade despite the threat from an all-engulfing doping scandal, which questioned the very integrity of track and field events and the Games at large.

His broad and muscular shoulders were thrust with the formidable task of restoring faith in a sport that reached its nadir just before the Games were to begin, due to rampant doping abuse that saw Russia’s athletes deemed barred from contesting.

The Jamaican not only showed the world that you can still win by staying “clean”, but gave a thumping snub to all those in the athletics community who believe that it is impossible to win without bending rules or cutting corners.

The first-ever “triple-triple”, nine track and field golds in three successive Olympics (2008, ’12, ’16), gave Bolt Olympic immortality but even more paramount for the world of sports was his image as a drug-free sportsman, of good winning over evil.

The most successful football team on the plant with five world titles, Brazil, led by the prodigiously talented superstar-in-waiting Neymar, also ended their voodoo of never claiming an Olympics gold. Beating Germany, their opponents in that tormenting 1-7 2014 World Cup semi-final humiliation, was an added incentive.

Olympic and world records were re-set in several disciplines at Rio, raising the bar higher for not only podium-seekers in Tokyo 2020 but also India as a sporting nation.

By Sayan Mukherjee (IANS)

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2nd T20I: Pandey, Dhoni take India to big total

India have made one change in their line-up from the previous match as debutant Shardul Thakur has replaced fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who is suffering from abdominal stiffness.

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India Vs South Africa

Centurion, Feb 21 (IANS) :India rode on some power packed batting to post 188/4 in the second Twenty20 International (T20I) against South Africa at the SuperSport Park here on Wednesday.

Manish Pandey was the highest scorer for India with an unbeaten 79 runs off just 48 balls.

His power-packed knock, which included six boundaries and three sixes, provided the late impetus to the Indian innings.

The veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni gave him excellent support from the other end, remaining unbeaten on 52 runs off a mere 28 balls, hitting four boundaries and three sixes along the way.

Coming together in the 11th over, the duo added 98 runs between them to carry the visitors to a formidable total.

Fast bowler Junior Dala bowled well on his T20I debut, notching up figures of 2/28.

Asked to bat first, the visitors suffered a scare off the very first ball when Shikhar Dhawan edged a Chris Morris delivery onto his pads.

The umpire had initially ruled the left-hander out but had to reverse his decision after television replays revealed a clear inside edge.

But the Indians’ relief was only temporary as Dala struck the first blow for the hosts with a delivery that kept low and trapped and outfoxed Rohit Sharma plumb before the stumps.

However, the arrival of Suresh Raina saw the momentum shift to the Indians’ favour as he and Dhawan started to play in an aggressive manner and dominated the South African pacers. The duo kept the Indians on track with a 43-run partnership.

That prompted South African captain Jean-Paul Duminy to come into the attack and the off-spinner had an immediate impact as Dhawan hit his second delivery into the hands of Farhaan Behardien at mid-on.

Dhawan was in good touch, scoring 24 runs off 14 balls with three boundaries and two sixes.

Dala removed Virat Kohli in the next over, outfoxing the Indian skipper with some extra bounce as overjoyed wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen latched onto to the outside edge.

The momentum however, stayed with the Indians as Raina and Manish Pandey added 45 runs between them off the next five overs.

Fast bowler Andile Phehlukwayo broke the crucial partnership when he trapped Raina leg before. Raina’s 24-ball knock produced 30 runs which included five hits to the fence.

That was the last bit of celebration the hosts will eventually manage as Pandey and Dhoni virtually tore the Proteas’ bowling apart.

Brief scores:

India: 188/4 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 79 not out, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 52 not out; Junior D

South Africa won the toss and opted to field in the second Twenty20 International (T20I) against India here on Wednesday.

India have made one change in their line-up from the previous match as debutant Shardul Thakur has replaced fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who is suffering from abdominal stiffness.

The hosts have decided to field an unchanged line-up.

The teams:

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal.

South Africa: J.J. Smuts, Reeza Hendricks, Jean-Paul Duminy (c), David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wicket-keeper), Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Junior Dala, Tabraiz

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IND vs SA, India aim to seal the series in 2nd T20I against S. Africa

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Rohit Sharma india vs south africa

Centurion, Feb 21: After a comprehensive victory in the first Twenty20 International, India will aim to seal the three-match series when they take on South Africa in the second match here at the SuperSport Park on Wednesday.

In the first game, a brilliant all-round show helped visitors beat hosts South Africa by 28 runs at the New Wanderers Stadium. Put in to bat, Shikhar Dhawan (72) hammered the South African bowlers all around the park and helped India post a massive 203/5 before pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/24) wreaked havoc in the South African batting line-up to take a crucial 1-0 lead.

The Virat Kohli-led India will hope to repeat the performance but with middle-order batsmen also playing their part this time. In the last match, Manish Pandey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya failed to provide the expected final flourish. Pandey struggled to score big, scoring 29 not out in 27 deliveries. It will be interesting to see whether the Karnataka right-hander gets another chance.

Bolstered by terrific spell by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was adjudged the Man of the Match, India will hope to create havoc once again to seal the issue.

In the batting department, alongside skipper Kohli, batsmen Rohit Sharma, Dhawan, Dhoni and Pandya will look to make the most of their capabilities this time also.

Batsman Suresh Raina, who made a comeback in the T20Is will act as an vital cog in the middle-order and will look to prove his mettle after his seven balls 15 runs in the first match.

The bowling department, which looked lethal with wrist-spinning duo Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, will try to make a mark in the shortest format.

Pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will only add depth to the formidable Indian bowling line-up.

However, the Proteas, led by Jean-Pau Duminy, in the absence of Faf du Plessis, will look to hit back at India in the second game, especially after a 1-5 thrashing in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs).

Reeza Hendricks was the only one who defied the Indian bowling in the first innings. But middle-order batsman David Miller and Chris Morris, who failed to click in the first match, have to pull up their socks this time to support the lower order which failed drastically. Expectations will be high on Heinrich Klaasen and Farhaan Behardien.

The bowling department, featuring Andile Phehlukwayo, Dane Paterson, Morris along with chinaman Tabraiz Shamsi will have to come up with something special in order to get rid of the flamboyant Indian batsmen.

Squads: 

India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur.

South Africa: Jean-Paul Duminy (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, AB de Villiers, Reeza Hendricks, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Chris Morris, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts.

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IND vs SA: India beat S. Africa by 28 runs in 1st T20I

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India vs south africa odi

Johannesburg, Feb 18: A brilliant all-round show helped India beat South Africa by 28 runs in the first Twenty-20 International (T20I) at the New Wanderers Stadium here on Sunday.

Put in to bat, Shikhar Dhawan (72) hammered the South African bowlers all around the park and helped India to post a massive 203/5 before pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/24) wreaked havoc in the South African batting line-up to take a crucial 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

With this bowling stats, Bhuvneshwar also became the first Indian bowler to take five wickets in each of the three formats (four times in Tests and once each in One Day Internationals and T20Is).

Chasing a challenging target, South African openers J.J.Smuts (14) and Reeza Hendricks got off to a good start. But in the third over, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed Smuts to make it 29/1.

Middle-order batsmen Jean-Paul Duminy (3) and David Miller (9) were also dismissed cheaply by Bhuvneshwar and Hardik Pandya respectively.

With the scoreboard reading 48/3, Farhaan Behardien (39) came in the middle and played sensibly along with Hendricks.

The two displayed quality shots and forged an 81-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But just when things seemed good Behardien was sent back to the pavilion by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the 15th over.

After adding a few more runs with new batsmen Heinrich Klaasen (16), Hendricks (70) was caught behind off Bhuvneshwar in the 18th over.

Now with 46 needed in 14 balls, lower-order batsmen Andile Phehlukwayo (13), Chris Morris (0), Dane Paterson (1) and Junior Dala (2 not out) failed to rise to the occasion and only managed to score 175/9 in 20 overs.

Earlier, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan once again unleashed mayhem in South Africa, with his 72 powering India to 203 for five wickets.

The Delhi left-hander, who hit 323 runs in the six One-Day Internationals (ODIs), blasted 10 fours and two sixes in his 39-ball innings as others batted around him.

After home captain Jean-Paul Duminy put India into bat, India’s innings was lifted by a brisk 21 off nine from Rohit Sharma, who got out in the fifth delivery of the second over after edging to wicket-keeper Heinrich Klassen off debutant Junior Dala.

Dhawan’s show began after this as he got useful support from Suresh Raina (15 off 7) and Virat Kohli (26 off 20). Till the dismissal of Kohli, who was ruled LBW against spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the third delivery of the 10th over, India had already scored 108.

Dhawan made the most of the ill-disciplined bowling from Chris Morris, Dala and Andile Phehlukwayo, who were allowing the 32-year-old to free his arms on the leg side.

A failed scoop attempt of a slower delivery from Phehlukwayo ended Dhawan’s innings as Klassen dived front to removed the danger.

Later, Manish Pandey (29 not out off 27), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) and Hardik Pandya (13 not out) took India past the 200-run mark.

Following is the scoreboard of the first Twenty-20 International match between India and South Africa here on Sunday.

India Innings 203-5 (20)

Rohit Sharma c Klaasen b Junior Dala 21
Shikhar Dhawan c Klaasen b Phehlukwayo 72
Suresh Raina c & b Junior Dala 15
Virat Kohli (c) lbw b Shamsi 26
Manish Pandey not out 29
MS Dhoni (wk) b Chris Morris 16
Hardik Pandya not out 13
Extras 11 (lb 2, w 9) Total 203/5 ( in 20 Overs)

Fall of Wickets 23-1 (Rohit Sharma, 1.5), 49-2 (Suresh Raina, 3.6), 108-3 (Virat Kohli, 9.3), 155-4 (Shikhar Dhawan, 14.4), 183-5 (MS Dhoni, 18.1).

Bowling:

Dane Paterson 4-0-48-0
Junior Dala 4-0-47-2
Chris Morris 4-0-39-1
Tabraiz Shamsi 4-0-37-1
JJ Smuts 2-0-14-0
Andile Phehlukwayo 2-0-16-1

South Africa Innings 175-9 (20)

J.J. Smuts c Dhawan b Bhuvneshwar 14
Reeza Hendricks c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 70
Jean-Paul Duminy c Raina b Bhuvneshwar 3
David Miller c Dhawan b Hardik Pandya 9
Farhaan Behardien c Manish Pandey b Chahal 39
Heinrich Klaasen c Raina b Bhuvneshwar 16
Andile Phehlukwayo c Chahal b Unadkat 13
Chris Morris c Raina b Bhuvneshwar 0
Dane Paterson run out (Hardik Pandya/Dhoni) 1
Junior Dala not out 2
Tabraiz Shamsi not out 0

Extras 8 (b 1, lb 1, w 5, nb 1) Total 175/9 (in 20 Overs)

Fall of Wickets: 29-1 (JJ Smuts, 2.5), 38-2 (Jean-Paul Duminy, 4.6), 48-3 (David Miller, 6.2), 129-4 (Farhaan Behardien, 14.6), 154-5 (Reeza Hendricks, 17.1), 158-6 (Heinrich Klaasen, 17.4), 158-7 (Chris Morris, 17.5), 159-8 (Dane Paterson, 18), 175-9 (Andile Phehlukwayo, 19.4).

Bowling:

Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-0-24-5
Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-33-1
Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-32-0
Hardik Pandya 4-0-45-1
Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-39-1.

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