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Sindhu, Saina face crushing defeats to exit Malaysia Masters

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P.V. Sindhu And Saina Nehwal

Kuala Lumpur: Ace shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal faced straight-games defeat in their respective quarter-final clashes to bow out of the ongoing Malaysia Masters, thus bringing an end to India’s challenge at the Super 500 tournament. While Sindhu lost to Tzu Ying Tai of Taiwan, Saina faced a crushing defeat against Spain’s Carolina Marin.

In the first quarter-final clash, World No.2 Tzu Ying defeated sixth-seeded Sindhu 21-16, 21-16 in just 36 minutes.

The match started on a furious note with Tzu taking an early lead. However, Sindhu was quick to go on the offensive and was able to draw the initial deficit against the World No. 2 at 7-7.

Tzu Ying, however, took better control of the rallies and bagged four straight points to go into the mid-game interval with a two-point advantage.

After the break, the top seed shuttler from Taiwan continued to hold the advantage thanks to her superior control and won the opening game 21-16 in just 17 minutes.

In the second game, Tzu Ying improved her strokeplay and forced Sindhu to go for high risk strokes, resulting in a handsome lead.

At the interval, Tzu had a seven-point lead over Sindhu and looked all set to march into the semi-finals. Towards the end, the World Champion did manage to save five match points as Tzu looked to relax a bit. However, the struggle was short-lived as Sindhu lost the game 12-21 and exited the Super 500 tournament.

This was Sindhu’s 12th loss against Tzu Ying and second since the World Championship in Basel in August last year.

In the next last-eight match between Nehwal and Marin, the Indian shuttler was no match for the reigning Olympic gold medallist as she lost 8-21, 7-21 in half an hour.

In the opening game, Saina conceded a five-point lead at the mid-game break as the scoreline stood 6-11. However, Marin then upped the ante and took the game giving away just two points.

In the second game also, the Indian shuttler was unable to pose any threat to the Spaniard who just went from strength to strength and stormed into the semi-finals.

Sameer Verma, Kidambi Srikanth, H.S. Prannoy and Sai Praneeth had crashed out of the tournament earlier.

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2nd T20I: All-round India ease past New Zealand to take 2-0 series lead

Chasing a modest 136, the Indians were jolted early with Tim Southee (2/20) removing Rohit Sharma (8) and Virat Kohli (11) early.

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KL Rahul.

Auckland, Jan 26 : Opener K.L. Rahul scored consecutive fifties as India took a 2-0 lead in their five-match series against New Zealand with a seven-wicket victory the second T20 international at Eden Park in Auckland Sunday.

Rahul, who had scored 56 in the first T20I at the same venue, remained unbeaten on 57 with Shreyas Iyer also contributing with 44 runs. He put up an 86-run stand with Shreyas Iyer, who scored 44 off 33 balls, his innings punctuated three sixes and a four.

Chasing a modest 136, the Indians were jolted early with Tim Southee (2/20) removing Rohit Sharma (8) and Virat Kohli (11) early.

Spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner then bowled some quiet overs to keep their chances afloat as India were 60/2 at the halfway stage.

But it was in the 15th over that Rahul cut loose to hit Hamish Bennett for 16 runs as New Zealand were made to pay for their two missed run out opportunities, the second of which came in the last ball of the over.

Rahul brought up his fifty with an aerial extra cover drive as he looked to extend his purple patch.

In the next over, Shreyas Iyer hit Blair Tickner for back-to-back four and a six to bring down the equation to 16 from 24 balls after the 16th over.

Iyer then dispatched Sodhi for another maximum in the 17th over before holing out to Southee.

The job was done though as India needed six off the last three overs and Shivam Dube (8 not out) completed the formalities with a six off Southee in the 18th over as the tourists won with 15 balls to spare.

Earlier, the on-song Indian bowlers, led by Ravindra Jadeja, stifled New Zealand batters as they laboured to 132/5 in the allotted 20 overs.

Jadeja returned best figures of 2/18 in his quota of four overs as Jasprit Bumrah (1/21 in 4 overs), Shardul Thakur (1/21 in 2 overs) and Shivam Dube 1/16 in 2 overs) got one wicket apiece. Mohammed Shami was wicketless but gave away just 22 runs in his four overs and bowled superbly to deny Kiwis any advantage.

Tim Seifert (33 not out)and Martin Guptill (33) top-scored for the Black Caps.

Skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor failed to middle the ball and looked off colour after they asked India to field first.

Guptill and Colin Munro gave the hosts a good start by adding 48 runs together for the opening wicket. Guptill tried to go for one too many and holed out to Indian skipper Virat Kohli at mid-off helping Thakur with a wicket.

Williamson joined Munro in the middle but once Guptill fell, the scoring rate slowed down as both batsmen struggled to get going against spin and Shami’s searing pace.

Munro (26) was removed by Dube as the batsman tried to change gears and was caught at extra cover by Kohli in the ninth over.

A Shami bouncer also hit Williamson on the helmet but the Black Caps’ premier batsman seemed to shrug it off. Williamson (14) did not last long though, finding Yuzvendra Chahal at deep square leg as he tried to sweep Jadeja in the 13th over.

Just before Williamson, Colin de Grandhomme (3) was caught and bowled by Jadeja as New Zealand found themselves on 94/4 after 15 overs with the experienced Taylor and Seifert at the crease.

Seifert smashed Chahal for a four and a six in the 16th over as he looked to accelerate, but Jadeja was on top his game, as the all-rounder bowled an excellent 17th, conceding just six runs.

It was relentless pressure from India as Bumrah followed it up with a magnificient 18th over, conceding just three runs but the highlight was Kohli dropping a sitter at long on in the third ball.

Taylor was the batsman who got a second life, but the seasoned campaigner failed to make the most of it as Shami and Bumrah bowled near-perfect last two overs with just 14 runs coming off them.

Brief scores: New Zealand 132/5 in 20 overs (Martin Guptill 33, Tim Seifort 33; Ravindra Jadeja 2/18) vs India 135/3 in 17.3 overs (KL Rahul 57, Shreyas Iyer 44; Tim Southee 2/20)

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Agarkar, Mongia, Sharma apply for BCCI selector’s job

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New Delhi, Jan 25 : Former Indian cricketers, including Chetan Sharma, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Nayan Mongia, Abey Kuruvilla and Ajit Agarkar are among the ones who have applied for two positions in the Indian men’s selection committee in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The BCCI last week invited applications for the posts of selectors for the senior and junior Indian men’s teams and senior women’s team.

According to ESPNcricinfo, Sivaramakrishnan is the oldest among the list of people to have applied, while Mongia, the former wicketkeeper, has the most Test caps (44). Agarkar, meanwhile, was the last of the lot to retire, in 2013 after playing 26 Tests and 191 ODIs.

It is also reported that Venkatesh Prasad, Rajesh Chauhan and Amay Khurasiya have also applied for the selector’s post.

The position of BCCI chairman of selectors is up for grabs with M.S.K. Prasad finishing his four-year term last November. Since then, Prasad has been on an extension along with former India and Rajasthan batsman Gagan Khoda.

However, it is still unclear as to who would conduct the interviews. According to the BCCI Constitution, the men’s selectors need to be appointed by a cricket advisory committee (CAC). However, the CAC has been defunct since last November and is yet to be formed.

The BCCI Constitution says: “The seniormost Test cap among the members of the committee shall be appointed chairperson”.

Apart from that, the criterion for senior men’s selectors is that the candidate should have played 7 Test matches or 30 first-class matches or 10 ODIs and 20 first-class matches. For senior women, the candidate should have represented the national women’s team.

For junior men, the candidate should have played 25 first-class matches.

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Ind vs NZ: Munro & Taylor take Kiwis to 203/5 in 1st T20I

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Team India
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Auckland: New Zealand started with a flourish, but the Indian bowlers — led by Jasprit Bumrah (1/31) — came back strongly at Eden Park on Friday to restrict the Kiwis to 203/5 in their 20 overs in the first T20I of the five-game series.

Colin Munro (59) was the star of the show for the hosts at the top, but he was well supported by skipper Kane Williamson (51) and Ross Taylor (54*).

Put into bat, New Zealand had a great start as opener Munro and Martin Guptill put on a 80-run stand for the first wicket. Both the batsmen took the Indian bowlers to the task as they scored boundaries at will.

It was all-rounder Shivam Dube who provided India with the first breakthrough when Rohit Sharma took a brilliant catch on the boundary to dismiss Guptill who scored 30 off 19 balls.

Skipper Williamson then joined forces with Munro and took the New Zealand score to 116 before the left-handed opener was sent packing by Shardul Thakur in the 12th over. Munro scored 59 off just 42 balls and his power-packed innings was studded with 6 fours and 2 sixes.

Colin de Grandhomme, who came in next, didn’t trouble the scorers as he was sent home by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja in just his second ball of the spell. However, those two quick wickets didn’t deter the hosts as Taylor and Williamson stitched a 61-run partnership and took the Black Caps’ total to 178 before the skipper was dismissed by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

The small ground ensured that the Kiwis kept finding the boundary ropes with Taylor looking to lead the show in the death overs for the home side. While Bumrah did look his brilliant self and gave away just four runs from the 18th over and picked the wicket of Tim Seifert, Taylor looked to take Mohammed Shami to task in the 19th as he started with a boundary. But the senior pro came back strongly and gave away just 9 runs from the over.

Bumrah twisting his ankle in the last over meant that he didn’t look his usual self and gave away 12 runs as New Zealand had Taylor remaining unbeaten on 54 with a strike rate of over 200.

Brief Scores: New Zealand: 203/5 (Munro 59, Taylor 54*, Williamson 51) vs India

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