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Serena bows out in first round of Miami Open

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Serena Williams

Miami (US), March 22: Japan’s Naomi Osaka, fresh from winning the biggest title of her career this month at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, defeated an out-of-sorts Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the second round of the Miami Open.

The 20-year-old Osaka, who was born to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother and grew up in the United States, broke the 23-time Grand Slam champion in the seventh game and then finished off the first set with yet another break of serve here on Wednesday, reports Efe news agency.

Osaka, who broke Williams’ serve on two more occasions in the second set, was clearly the sharper of the two players considering that Serena was playing just her fourth WTA match in the past 12 months.

But the 22nd-ranked Osaka also showed she could match her opponent in the power department and most notably on the serve, ending the match with more aces (seven to three) and winning a higher percentage of first-serve points (78 percent to 76 percent).

She faced just two break points in the match and saved both of them.

Williams’ rust was apparent whenever she had to put in a second serve and enter a baseline rally, as was reflected in her 31 percent winning percentage on second-serve points.

The American went from bad to worse during the one-hour, 17-minute contest and appeared to be shocked at the routine shots she missed to lose her serve in the final game, including a wild forehand well over the baseline on match point.

Next up in the second round of this hard-court event for Osaka, who is unseeded at the Miami Open because she was ranked outside of the top 40 until her strong result in Indian Wells, will be fourth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

IANS

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One of our most balanced performances, Says Captain Virat Kohli

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Virat Kohli

Napier, Jan 23: India skipper Virat Kohli said their 8-wicket win over New Zealand in the first contest of the five-match ODI rubber here was one of their “most balanced” performances.

Chasing a meagre revised 156-run target from 49 overs, opener Shikhar Dhawan (75 not out) starred with the bat to help his side cross the line with ease and 85 balls to spare. Skipper Virat Kohli contributed with 45 runs before falling.

Earlier, India rode the exceptional bowling effort of chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (4/39) and Mohammed Shami (3/19) to restrict the hosts to a paltry 157 runs.

“It was one of our most balanced performances. With the ball, couldn’t have asked for anything better. When I lost the toss, I thought a score of about 300 par but the bowlers were brilliant.

“To get them out for 150-odd on this pitch was brilliant. Belief in his (Shami) abilities is key and as he said, the fast bowling unit is extremely confident of knocking any team out.

“The lines and lengths bowled by the spinners were brilliant because the pitch only slowed down in the second half and they were really good,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Praising Dhawan’s innings, he said: “Really important innings for Shikhar and we spoke during the sun break that he needed to finish the game to get some momentum. He is a dangerous player when in rhythm.”

Commenting on whether he’s experienced a sunstrike break before, Kohli said: “Never in my life, this rule wasn’t there in 2014 and I actually got out in a similar situation.”

Man-of-the-Match Mohammed Shami lauded India’s team effort, saying the teammates enjoy each other’s success and that is the key.

“Till now, whatever we have achieved has been a team effort. We enjoy each other’s success and are able to execute our plans.”

“If we have a plan A that doesn’t work, there’s always a Plan B. As a bowling unit, we decide things together. Injuries changed my outlook. I made a comeback after a long time and spent a good time at our rehab centre which is world class,” he said.

“The management and support staff have been really cooperative, as has been my captain who has always encouraged me. Pitches were similar to Australia but the grounds there were bigger and climate was warmer, here the venues are smaller with pleasant temperatures. Important to adapt and we’re enjoying it.”

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson blamed the batsmen, saying they failed to adjust to the conditions and the surface and their poor show with the bat was not due to lack of match practice.

“Certainly wasn’t our best effort. India, we expected them to be good and they really were on top of the game. The surface wasn’t as traditional as we thought it to be,” he said.

“India bowled well, particularly the lengths hit by their slower bowlers were really good. Getting to just 150ish on a pitch where 250-plus was needed, doesn’t help.

“I think we didn’t adjust well enough to the surface, don’t think it was the lack of match practice that cost us. Their whole bowling unit contributed well and they need credit for that.”

“We also did well with the ball, showed enough intent and will hope to take those things forward,” Williamson added.

IANS

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1st ODI: All-round effort helps India thrash New Zealand

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1st ODI , Ind Vs NZ
1st ODI , Ind Vs NZ. Image : ICC Twitter Handle

Napier, Jan 23: A brilliant all-round effort helped India thrash New Zealand by eight wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method in the first One Day International match at the McLean Park here on Wednesday.

Asked to field first, the Indian bowlers were right on the money as they restricted the hosts to a paltry score and then Indian batters displayed a clinical performance to hand India a 1-0 lead in the five match series.

Chasing 157, Indian openers Rohit Sharma (11) and Shikhar Dhawan (75 not out) started on a positive note, forging a crucial 41-runs partnership before Rohit was dismissed by Doug Bracewell in the 10th over. He was caught by Martin Guptil in the slips.

Just after the fall of Rohit’s wicket, sun stopped the play for around 30 minutes. The sun rays were directly getting into the players eyes which prompted the umpires to suspend the proceedings.

The break saw the match officials reduce the match by one over and the new target for India was revised to 156 from 49 overs.

After the restart, skipper Virat Kohli (45) joined Dhawan in the middle and the duo hammered the New Zealand bowlers all round the park. In the process, Dhawan reached the landmark of 5000 ODI runs and became the second fastest Indian to reach the milestone.

It seemed like the Delhi duo will remain unbeaten and complete the match with ease but in the 29th over, Kohli was sent packing by Lockie Ferguson when scoreboard was reading 132. He was caught behind by Tom Latham.

New batsman Ambati Rayudu (13 not out) and Dhawan then joined hands and completed the proceeding with 85 balls remaining.

For New Zealand, Ferguson and Bracewell took one wicket each.

Earlier, India rode chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and pacer Mohammed Shami’s exceptional bowling effort to restrict New Zealand to a paltry 157 runs.

While Kuldeep’s figures were 4/39, Shami was also phenomenal with the leather, scalping three Kiwi wickets conceding just 19 runs from his six overs.

Yuzvendra Chahal and Kedar Jadhav picked two and one wicket, respectively.

Other than New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (64), no other batsmen put up a fight against the disciplined Indian attack.

Opting to bat, the hosts had the worst possible start as Shami struck early sending back both the openers — Martin Guptill (5) and Colin Munro (8), cheaply.

Newcomers Williamson and Ross Taylor (24) then tried to rescue their side from the early damage, taking New Zealand past the 50-run mark in 13.3 overs.

However, Taylor’s stay was cut short by Chahal in the 15th over with the hosts at 52/3.

With the addition of just 24 runs in the Kiwi scorecard, Chahal struck again to dismiss incoming batsman Tom Latham (11). Jadhav and Shami then joined the party as they sent back Henry Nicholls (12) and Mitchell Santner (14), leaving the hosts reeling at 133/6.

Williamson, however, continued to show resistance and kept one end safe, but lacked support from the other end.

While trying to clear the fence in the 34th over off a Kuldeep delivery, the Kiwi skipper misread the ball and offered a simple catch to Vijay Shankar at long-on.

Kuldeep then put the final nail in the coffin, picking the tailenders — Doug Bracewell (7), Lockie Ferguson (0) and Trent Boult (1) in quick succession to wrap up the host in just 38 overs.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 157 all out (Kane Williamson 64, Ross Taylor 24; Kuldeep Yadav 4/39) vs India 156/2 (Shikhar Dhawan 75 not out, Virat Kohli 45; Doug Bracewell 1/23).

IANS

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Virat Kohli named captain of ICC’s Test, ODI Teams of the Year

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Virat Kohli

New Delhi, Jan 22: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced the men’s Test and ODI teams of the year.

Indian skipper and batting mainstay Virat Kohli on Tuesday named as the captain of both the teams.

“…Virat Kohli named captain of both sides following a remarkable 2018 as batsman and skipper,” the ICC said in a statement.

The cricketers were selected on the basis of their performances in the year 2018.

The ODI team is dominated by India and England with the two teams contributing four players each, while the Test list have three Indian and as many New Zealand players.

Below we have enlisted names of the winners

ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year (in batting order):

  1. Tom Latham (New Zealand)
  2. Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka)
  3. Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
  4. Virat Kohli (India) (capt)
  5. Henry Nicholls (New Zealand)
  6. Rishabh Pant (India) (wk)
  7. Jason Holder (Windies)
  8. Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
  9. Nathan Lyon (Australia)
  10. Jasprit Bumrah (India)
  11. Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan)

ICC Men’s ODI team of the year (in batting order):

  1. Rohit Sharma (India)
  2. Jonny Bairstow (England)
  3. Virat Kohli (India) (capt)
  4. Joe Root (England)
  5. Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
  6. Jos Buttler (England) (wk)
  7. Ben Stokes (England)
  8. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)
  9. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
  10. Kuldeep Yadav (India)
  11. Jasprit Bumrah (India)

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