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Shuttler Srikanth in Australia Open semis; Sindhu, Saina crash out

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Sydney, June 23 : Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth entered the men’s singles semi-finals while the star duo of P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal crashed out of the women’s singles quarter-finals at the $750,000 Australia Open Superseries badminton tournament here on Friday.

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Continuing his fine run, recently-crowned Indonesia Open champion Srikanth defeated fellow Indian shuttler B. Sai Praneeth in the men’s singles quarter-finals.

Srikanth, who was in his third quarter-finals in the last five tournaments that he has participated in, made it to the semi-finals with a 25-23, 21-17 win in a match that lasted for 43 minutes.

Later in the day, P.V. Sindhu lost her quarter-finals match to World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei.

Sindhu won the first game before Tai staged a strong comeback to register a 10-21, 22-20, 21-16 verdict in the women’s singles clash which lasted for about an hour.

Saina Nehwal went down to sixth-seeded Sun Yu of China after another tough three-game battle.

The Chinese shuttler beat Saina 21-17, 10-21, 21-17 in a match that lasted for an hour and 19 minutes.

Praneeth, who defeated Srikanth in the Singapore Open final in April, started Friday’s first game on a strong note, opening up a healthy lead of 9-6.

But Srikanth fought back to make it 10-10 and went into the break with a slight advantage of 11-10.

The two were neck-and-neck from there but at 13-13, before Praneeth took three straight points to make it 16-13 but Srikanth turned his A game right then to win five straight points to make it 18-16.

Srikanth then raced to 20-17 but Praneeth clawed back to win four points on the trot to make it 21-20. From there, an intense battle started as both the Indians saved two game points each, which saw Srikanth pocketing the game 25-23.

In the second game, Srikanth maintained a strong lead making it 9-6 before Praneeth managed three points in a row to equalise at 9-9. However, he could not hold the higher-ranked player as Srikanth extended his lead to 11-9 at the break.

Srikanth then went on to extend his lead to 16-12 before Praneeth came from behind and made it 16-16. Towards the end, Srikanth used all his experience to comfortably win the tie 21-17.

Srikanth will play the winner of the second quarter-final match between Shi Yuqi of China and Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.

In the women’s singles, Sindhu gave a good account of herself agaiunst the World No.1 from Chinese Taipei. The top seeded Tai improved her head to head record against the World No.4 Sindhu to 7-3.

In the opening game, Tai had no response to Sindhu’s smashes as the Rio Olympics silver medallist dominated the proceedings to pocket it easily.

Tai, however, made a strong comeback in the second game, taking a 4-1 lead, before Sindhu clawed her way back to 8-8.

It was a neck and neck battle at that time, and Sindhu then took a 13-10 lead, before Tai won four points on the trot to take a 14-13 lead which she extended further to 18-14.

Sindhu made a critical error at that stage where she allowed Tai to save the match point, and take the game into the decider with a 22-20 win.

The final game was again a close contest with both players trying to outwit each other. While Sindhu raced to a 14-10 lead, Tai kept her nerves to stage a comeback and make it 15-15.

Towards the end, the Chinese Taipei shuttler dominated proceeding before pocketing the third game 21-16.

Later, Sindhu’s compatriot Saina’s also lost crashed out of the quarter-finals following a loss to Sun Yu of China.

Sun Yu dominated the opening game, taking a 8-4 lead before extending it further to 11-9 at the break. Saina, however, made a strong comeback after the break and went ahead 15-13 before Sun Yu gained eight straight points to pocket the game.

In the second game, Saina surged ahead taking six straight points to lead 7-3 and went to the break at 11-4. Coming back, the Hyderabadi never allowed the Chinese to settle and extended her lead to 18-10 and easily winning it 21-10.

The decider witnessed fierce battle between the two shuttlers splitting at 4-4 and then going neck and neck till 9-9 before Saina took the lead at 11-9.

Post the break, Sun Yu took three points in a row to make it 12-12 and then went ahead with six straight points to make it 19-15. She kept her nerves and didn’t allow the Indian free her arms to run away with the match 21-17.

Sun Yu will now take on Nozomi Okuhara, who beat fellow Japanese Sayaka Takahashi in another quarter-final tie.

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IPL: KKR set 192 run-target for KXIP

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Kolkata, April 21: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) rode Chris Lynn’s 41-ball 74 to post 191/7 in 20 overs against Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League (IPL) game at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.

The Queenslander, who had scored a 49 against Sunrisers Hyderabad but did not look his swashbuckling best till now, took time to settle down against the spinners and plundered the quicks, smashing six fours and four sixes in his first half-century of IPL-11.

Lynn got a reprieve in the 13th over when when he was on 62, Barinder Sran (2/50) dropping a catch at deep extra cover off Andrew Tye (2/30) but the damage was already done.

Skipper Dinesh Karthik (43; 28b 6×4) gave him good company with a composed knock. The pair stitched together a 62-run partnership off 34 balls for the fourth wicket.

Karthik holed out to Tye at deep backward square off Sran with U-19 World Cup winner Shubman Gill (14 not out) staying on till the end.

KKR lost Sunil Narine (1) early to Mujeeb before, the mystery spinner-turned opener picking out Karun Nair at long-on where the Karnataka batsman took a brilliant catch.

In his first over, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1/32) gave away just five runs and took the wicket but only to be punished by Robin Uthappa in the next. The dashing right-hander swept the Afghanistan teenage spinner for three consecutive fours, taking 15 runs off the 4th over.

Lynn looked in his elements from the outset, hitting Barinder Sran for two sixes and a four just after the Powerplay as the hosts looked in control of the game.

Skipper Ashwin broke the 72-run second wicket stand in the first ball of his second over when Uthappa (34; 23b 5×4 1×6) lost his concentration and tried to clear the deep wicket boundary, only to find Nair there who took an easy catch.

Nitish Rana (3) was run out after the in-form southpaw fell prey to a poor mix-up with Lynn while trying to take a single.

At the halfway stage, KKR were 86/3 with Karthik and Lynn at the crease.

From there on, Lynn shifted gears to take Yuvraj Singh and Andre Tye to the cleaners in the middle overs and bringing up his 50 off 30 balls.

Suffering from cramps, Lynn finally departed by bottom-edging Tye to wicketkeeper KL Rahul. Andre Russell (10) did not make an impact as KKR’s surge tapered off towards the end as they could not reach the 200-mark.

Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 191/7 (Chris Lynn 74, Dinesh Karthik 43; Andrew Tye 2/30, Barinder Sran 2/50) vs Kings XI Punjab.

Teams:

IANS

 

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Was the first one to know about Chappell’s mail against Sourav, reveals Sehwag

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Virendra Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (File Photo)

Kolkata, April 21: Virender Sehwag was the first to know about then-coach Greg Chappell’s infamous e-mail against Sourav Ganguly during the 2005 Zimbabwe tour, the dashing former India opener revealed on Friday.

“I used to take rest while fielding. I need a break of minimum five overs. I always told the umpire that I had a bad stomach and used to leave the field.

“So Greg was writing his email and I was sitting next to him. I saw he was writing something to the BCCI and I went and told Dada about it. I told him he is writing something to the BCCI and it’s something serious,” Sehwag said during the launch of Boria Majumdar’s book “Eleven Gods and A Billion Indians” at the Fannatic Sports Museum here.

Appointed coach of the Indian cricket team in May 2005, Chappell’s tenure was riddled with controversies, starting with the dropping of Ganguly during a tour of Zimbabwe later that year.

Other famous Indian cricketers too have spoken of Chappell’s tenure as coach.

Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography “Playing It My Way” included an uncharitable passage about Chappell and Harbhajan Singh once said that he “destroyed Indian cricket to such an extent that it required at least three years to again get back on track”.

Zaheer Khan was quoted as saying that Chappell “had agendas and was getting personal”.

Sehwag was asked to recall his most memorable moment as a cricketer.

“My first test hundred,” said the 39-year old. Sehwag scored 105 against South Africa on debut in Bloemfontein way back in 2001.

“When I played ODIs, people said I can’t play tests and can only score in white-ball cricket. So when I scored my first test hundred and hugged Sourav Ganguly as he gave me chance to play in Tests. I wanted to prove myself,” said Sehwag who has a rare feat of hitting two triple hundreds in Tests. He has played 104 Tests for India and 251 ODIs in a career spanning more than a decade.

Sehwag further added that when he was asked to open the batting in the one-dayers, he was surprised but then skipper Ganguly and coach John Wright pushed him to do that.

“I asked them Sachin opened the batting always and Sourav also started as an opener. So why me? Let me bat in the middle order. But Sourav and John would say then you have to sit out as that is the only place for you in the team.”

About the new captains in the Indian Premier League, Dinesh Karthik of Kolkata Knight Riders and R. Ashwin of Kings XI Punjab, Sehwag who is Punjab’s mentor, said: “Dinesh has done captaincy in all formats for Tamil Nadu. Ashwin had the brain and he’s very smart. As a bowler, he can understand the psychology of a bowler.”

IANS

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IPL: Chennai crush Rajasthan by 64 runs

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Chennai Super Kings rode on Shane Watson's brilliant century to beat Rajasthan Royals by 64 runs.

Pune, April 21: Opener Shane Watson hit a fantastic 106-run knock as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) thrashed Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 64 runs here on Friday to register their third win in four games in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Veteran Australian all-rounder Watson took just 51 deliveries to bring up his third IPL century, guided by nine boundaries and six sixes, to propel Chennai to a massive 204/5 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium which is the southern franchise’s new home venue.

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In reply, Rajasthan were bowled out for 140 in 18.3 overs as they suffered second straight loss after winning the first two.

Put in to bat, Chennai were off to a decent start as openers Watson and Ambati Rayudu (12) shared a 50-run partnership for the opening wicket in 4.2 overs.

Medium pacer Ben Laughlin drew the first blood for Rajasthan as he sent back Rayudu in the fifth over.

Watson was then joined by Suresh Raina and the duo stitched together an 81-run partnership for the second wicket. Raina chipped in with a crucial 47-run knock before falling in the 12th over to a Shreyas Gopal delivery which left CSK on 131/2.

K. Gowtham, Stuart Binny and Ben Stokes were severely punished by Raina and Watson. The Australian hit spinner Gowtham for at three sixes, while left-arm medium pacer Jaydev Unadkat also got hit for two sixes by the retired international.

CSK then lost the wickets of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) and Sam Billings (3) with the addition of another 30 runs. It was leggie Shreyas again, who struck to dismiss both the Chennai batters.

Meanwhile, Watson kept the scoreboard ticking and added 41 runs with Dwayne Bravo to take CSK past the 200-run mark. Bravo remained unbeaten on 24 runs facing 16 balls.

The Australian all-rounder however, fell in the last over but it was too late for Rajasthan as CSK posted a massive 205-run target against them.

For Rajasthan, Shreyas was the pick of the bowlers, with figures of 3/20, while Australian Laughlin bagged a couple of wickets conceding 38 runs.

During the chase, Rajasthan lost wickets at regular intervals and never looked like to be in contention. Their start to the innings was quite poor.

Deepak Chahar’s away-moving ball was edged to first slip by Heinrich Klassen but Watson dropped the catch coming at his chest height in the second delivery of the first over. However, Shardul Thakur removed the South African, who was bowled in the fifth delivery of the second over, with the visiting side’s score at 20.

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In the following over, Chahar dismissed Sanju Samson (2) as the Kerala batsman failed to handle a bouncer, managing it to touch it with the top-end of the bat.

Chahar then dismissed Ajinkya Rahane (16 off 11) when the latter missed the line attempting a cross-bat stroke, leaving his side at 32/3 in 4.3 overs.

The writing was on the wall for Rajasthan and a 45-run fourth-wicket stand between Englishmen Ben Stokes (45 off 37) and Jos Buttler (22 off 17) could do little to give them some hopes.

Buttler perished as the ball went up in the air after he failed to time a rising delivery from medium pacer Dwayne Bravo. Imran Tahir took an easy catch to end the partnership, with Rajasthan at 77/4 in 10.1 overs.

Bravo then sent back Rahul Tripathi (5) before left-hander Stokes was caught on the leg side by Sam Billings as he tried to slog sweep leg-spinner Tahir. The wicket of Stokes was nail in the coffin for the visitors who were reduced to 111/6 in 13.5 overs.

Watson then got the wicket of K. Gowtham (1) and Bravo dismissed Stuart Binny (10) to complete the formalities for Chennai.

Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings: 204/5 (Shane Watson 106, Suresh Raina 46; Shreyas Iyer 3/20) vs Rajasthan Royals: 140 all out in 18.3 overs (Ben Stokes 45, Jos Buttler 22; Karn Sharma 2/13, Dwayne Bravo 2/16, Shardul Thakur 2/18).

IANS

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