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New Zealand beat South Africa by 4 wickets

Willamson showed his class to guide Ngidi’s last ball fine of short third man for four, his first boundary after 38 balls.



Kane Williamson New Zealand

Birmingham, June 20 (IANS) New Zealand captain Kane Williamson led from the front and showed nerves of steel with a masterful unbeaten hundred as he guided his team to a four-wicket win over South Africa in a thrilling World Cup clash here on Wednesday.

Williamson remained not out on 106 off 138 balls, his innings decorated with nine fours and a six, as the Kiwis saw off stiff resistance from the Proteas to win with three balls to spare.

Colin de Grandhomme supported Williamson well with a gutsy 47-ball 60 which was studded with five fours and two sixes.

The pair shared a match-winning 91-run stand for the sixth wicket.For South Africa, Chris Morris (3/49) was the best bowler.

New Zealand moved to the top of the table with the win, having nine points from five matches and remaining unbeaten.

South Africa, meanwhile, succumbed to their fourth loss in six games, having three points and being in eighth position in the 10-team table.

Chasing 242 for victory, the Black Caps were reduced 80/4 after Colin Munro (9), Ross Taylor (1), Martin Guptill (35) and Tom Latham (1) failed to get going.

Munro was caught and bowled by Kagiso Rabada (1/42) while Guptill, who looked good, could not carry on as he was hit wicket off Andile Phehlukwayo (1/73).

Taylor was caught behind by de Kock off Morris and Latham was dismissed in similar fashion. But with Williamson holding up one end, James Neesham (23) shared a crucial 57-run stand with his captain to steady to ship.

After Morris broke the partnership sending Neesham back in the hut, de Grandhomme joined the rock-solid Williamson in the middle with the game still in the balance.

The big moment of the match came in the 38th over when Williamson, batting on 76, bottom edged Imran Tahir to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. South Africa did not appeal but replays showed the Kiwi skipper had nicked it with stump microphone also picking up the sound of the ball kissing the bat.

In the next over, de Grandhomme walloped Rabada for a six over square leg as South Africa missed another golden chance to run Williamson out.

There was drama in the 44th over when Williamson was dropped by Lungi Ngidi off Andile Phehlukwayo only for umpire Nigel Llong to call the beamer a no ball. de Grandhomme brought up his 52 in 39 balls but just when he and Williamson seemed to settle the issue, Ngidi had de Grandhomme caught at long-off by du Plessis in the 48th over with 14 needed off 11.

Willamson showed his class to guide Ngidi’s last ball fine of short third man for four, his first boundary after 38 balls.

With eight needed in the final over, Mitchell Santner took a single off the first ball of Phehlukwayo and then it was Williamson show as he hit a six to bring up his ton and tie the game. In the next ball, the ice-cool Williamson dabbed down to third man for a four to win it for his team.

Earlier, a disciplined bowling display helped New Zealand restrict South Africa to a modest 241/6 after the match was reduced to 49 overs per side, opener Hashim Amla (55) and Rassie van der Dussen (67 not out) cracked half-centuries to lend some respectability to the South Africa total.

Kiwi pacer Lockie Ferguson was the pick of the bowlers, returning with figures of 3/59 from his 10 overs. He got support from Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner, who bagged a wicket each.

It was der Dussen’s fireworks towards the final moments of the innings which propelled South Africa to a fighting total. His 64-ball knock was laced with two boundaries and three sixes. Amla took 83 balls for his 55, hitting four boundaries in the process.

Put into bat, South Africa were off to a poor start as they lost opener Quinton de Kock (5) cheaply in the second over, castled by Boult while attempting an on-drive. Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis (23) then shared a 50-run partnership for the second wicket.However, just when the partnership seemed developing, Ferguson came with the breakthrough, dismissing du PLessis to reduce South Africa to 59/2.

Aiden Markram (38) then joined Amla and the two added 52 runs for the third wicket before Santner packed back the latter in the 28th over after a good length delivery turned sharply to dislodge Amla’s off-stump, leaving the Proteas at 111/3.

Twenty-five runs later, de Grandhomme joined the party as he accounted for the wicket of Makram in the 33rd over. der Dussen and David Miller (36) then stabilised the damage as their slow 72-run stand took South Africa past the 200-run mark in the 45th over.

While trying to shift gears, Miller handed a catch to Boult off Ferguson, leaving his team at 208/5. South Africa then lost incoming batsman Andile Phehlukwayo for a duck but some big-hitting by der Dussen towards the end helped the Proteas post a decent score.

Brief scores: South Africa 241/6 in 49 overs (der Dussen 67 not out, Hashim Amla 55; Lockie Ferguson 3/59) vs New Zealand 245/6 in 48.3 overs (Kane Williamson 106 not out, Colin de Grandhomme 60; Chris Morris 3/49)


Sania scripts dream return, clinches doubles title in Hobart




Hobart: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza along with Nadiia Kichenok came out with yet another brilliant performance as they defeated the China’s Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai in straight sets to win the women’s doubles title at Hobart International on Saturday.

Former doubles No.1 Mirza and Kichenok defeated the second-seeded Chinese duo 6-4, 6-4 in a rather one-sided contest which lasted one hour and 21 minutes.

The Indo-Ukrainian pair were the first to break in each set, but ultimately needed to wrap up the match by delivering the deciding breaks late. The unseeded duo won the last three games of the opener, and eight of the last 10 points to seal victory, having nearly seen a double-break advantage slip away.

Though the duo won six straight games from 3-4 in the opener to lead 6-4, 3-0, the 33-year-old Indian was the one who saw her serve broken twice as the Chinese eventually restored parity at 4-4.

Nonetheless, Mirza and Kichenok finished the match off in style with their fifth break of the match, before the Ukrainian served out the match and the victory for the team.

It is Mirza’s first WTA title in just over two years and 42nd of her storied doubles career, while Kichenok won her fifth, and first since partnering her twin sister, Lyudmyla, to win the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai in 2018.

The Indian star last won a trophy alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Brisbane International in the first week of the 2017 season, one of three doubles finals she reached that year before announcing her pregnancy in April of 2018.

Three-time doubles Grand Slam winner Mirza was making a return to competition after a two-year hiatus away from tennis, initially due to injuries and then welcoming a son in October 2018.

The former world No.1 won the Australian Open doubles title in 2016 following a successful 2015 season in which she claimed the Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles, all paired with Martina Hingis.

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Rajkot ODI: India level series with 36-run win




Rajkot, Jan 17 : India beat South Africa by 36 runs in the second ODI at the SCA stadium in Rajkot to level the three-match series between the two sides 1-1. Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli helped India post a total of 341 to chase. In response, Australia were all out for 304 despite Steve Smith scoring 98.

Openers David Warner and Aaron Finch, who posted a record 258-run stand to help Australia stroll to a win in the first ODI, could not do a repeat of their heroics with the former being dismissed in the fourth over. Smith came in at number three and put up 62 with Finch before the Australian captain fell to Ravindra Jadeja on account of a close stumping call in the 16th over.

Finch had attempted to hit Jadeja over extra cover but missed the delivery due to the turn. Finch dragged his backfoot marginally outside the crease and wicketkeeper Rahul whipped the bails off immediately. Replays made it a tough call for the umpire to make but the decision went India’s way in the end.

However, Marnus Labuschagne, playing his first ODI innings, stuck on with Smith and the pair gave Australia the upper hand in the middle overs. They put up 96 for the third wicket before Labuschagne holed out at mid-off off Jadeja on 46. Smith however looked settled and was cruising to his ninth ODI ton when a loose shot cost him his wicket.

Kuldeep Yadav, who was wicketless in the first eight overs, bowled the 38th over and got Carey when the latter sent the ball straight to Kohli at extra cover. It was Kuldeep’s 100th ODI wicket and two balls later, Smith played on and had to walk back two runs shy of his hundred.

Ashton Turner and Pat Cummins were dismissed off consecutive deliveries by Mohammed Shami in the 44th over. Both players were done in by pinpoint yorkers directed at the middle stump. Shami sent in a leg stump yorker for his hat-trick ball and hit Mitchell Starc on his pads but the umpire didn’t raise his finger with the ball clearly going down the leg side.

Navdeep Saini then got India closer in the 47th with the wickets of Ashton Agar and Starc off the first and third balls of the over. Kane Richardson then delayed the inevitable by smashing Mohammed Shami for three fours and a six in the penultimate over. Jasprit Bumrah ended the match by dismissing Adam Zampa off the first ball of the last over.

Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan scored his third straight fifty with a sublime 96 from 90 balls, his innings laced with 13 fours and a six as skipper Kohli smashed a 76-ball 78 (6×4). But it was Rahul, batting at No.5 who gave India the much-needed push in the last ten overs with his aggressive batting and range of shots. Rahul was run out in the final over for 80 off just 52 balls, his quickfire knock studded with six fours and three sixes.

For the Aussies, leg-spinner Adam Zampa was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/50.

The decisive third ODI will be played on Sunday at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.

Brief scores: India: 340/6 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 96, KL Rahul 80, Virat Kohli 78; Adam Zampa 3/50) vs Australia 304 (Steve Smith 98, Marnus Labuschagne 46; Mohammed Shami 3/77)

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Anand gets past Xiong for first win in Tata Steel Masters

It was a French Defence Winawer variation where none of the players castled throughout the game.




Viswanathan Anand

Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Jan 17 : Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand beat Jeffery Xiong of the United States to notch up his first victory in the Tata Steel Masters chess tournament here on Friday.

Anand was struggling for form but roared back to notch a win after one loss and three draws.

The Indian was very good in the round four match, playing some brilliant chess.

It was a French Defence Winawer variation where none of the players castled throughout the game.

Anand fired a king side attack early with his white pieces and enjoyed spatial advantage in the middle game.

Xiong tried to keep him at bay but in the end Anand found a crucial central breakthrough after which the resulting rook and pawns endgame was a walk in the park.

Anand moved to joint sixth spot with 2.5 points on a day.

Firouzja Alireza also scored a victory over Anish Giri of Holland.

Anish Giri dropped to 11th spot along with Nikita Vituigov of Russia on two points, Yu Yangyi of China is in 13th spot on 1.5 points and Kovalev stands last with just one point in his bag. Eight rounds still remain in the marathon event among 14 players.

Magnus Carlsen’s form was not too good even though he played his 112th game without a defeat.

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