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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.

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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)

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My eyes fixed firmly on Women’s World Cup trophy: Mithali Raj

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

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Mithali Raj

New Delhi, Aug 8 : Veteran India batter Mithali Raj has said that she is “definitely looking” at the ICC Women’s World Cup, which has been postponed to 2022 and has added that her eyes are firmly fixed on the trophy.

On Friday, the International Cricket Council decided to postpone the World Cup, originally slated to be held in New Zealand in 2021, until February-March 2022 because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whilst this is never great news to wake up to. I can understand the reasons why given the lack of cricket in some countries. I just hope those players who were planning to retire after the World Cup can hold on for one year…right Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Rachael Haynes,” cricketer-turned-commentator Lisa Sthalekar tweeted following ICC’s decision to postpone Women’s World Cup.

To this, Mithali replied: “Oh absolutely, my eyes are fixed firmly on the trophy. With all niggles recovered, mind and body fresh and stronger than before, I am definitely looking at World Cup 2022.”

Mithali had led the Indian eves to the final of the showpiece event in 2017 where they had to face a heart-wrenching defeat against England in the summit clash at the iconic Lord’s.

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

The 37-year-old has already retired from T20 cricket and now aspires to win India their maiden World Cup for which she will now have to wait at least until 2022.

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Madrid Masters tennis tournament cancelled: organisers

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Madrid Masters tennis

The Madrid Open that was scheduled to take place from Sept. 12-20 has been cancelled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Spanish Capital, Organisers said on Thursday.

“As an act of responsibility in view of the current situation caused by COVID-19 and having thoroughly evaluated the circumstance that the pandemic continues to generate… it has been decided that 2020 Muta Madrid Open will not take place this year,” organisers said in a satatement.

The tounament, which was to feature both men’s and women’s draws, was seen as an important event for players to prepare for the Frech Open which begins on Sept. 27.

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BCCI issues SOP; players must sign consent form before resuming training

BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

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New Delhi, Aug 2 : The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to the state associations for the resumption of cricket. While these will help the state bodies restart cricketing activities, all players will have to sign consent forms before getting back to training.

In the 100-page SOP, accessed by IANS, the BCCI has touched on principles while returning to training, ground and practice facilities preparation with an eye on the pandemic, gymnasium protocols, physiotherapy and medical protocols as well as protocols to manage a suspected COVID-19 case.

It also has the consent form where the players have to acknowledge that there is risk associated with resuming training and that the player has been informed about the protocols in place and the precautions taken by the association.

The player also needs to acknowledge that the association can’t guarantee complete elimination of risk despite taking necessary precautions and that the player is willing to resume training.

With an eye on the whole situation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI has shared its views with the state bodies with regards to resumption of cricket.

“The BCCI as the governing body for the sport of cricket in India is responsible for ensuring that appropriate protocols are put in place to protect the health and safety of players, staff and all stakeholders. Covid-19, an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs, poses a serious threat to the health of individuals as is evident from its spread to almost all countries around the world with more than 17.5 million infections and over 0.6 million deaths as on 1st August 2020. As the world grapples with Covid-19, cricketing activity has come to a standstill and players confined to the four walls within their homes.

“It is said that cricket is a religion in India and the fanfare and fervor that cricket commands are far greater than any other sport or event in the country. Besides, it also helps generate tremendous revenue and employs players and staff across 38 State teams, both in the men and women category. BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

“However, the BCCI is concerned about the high infectivity rate of SARS CoV-2 and in the interest of health and safety of all players, staff and stakeholders, the BCCI would not like to compromise on the preventive measures by resuming too soon,” the SOP read.

“The purpose of these protocols is to ensure the safe resumption of cricket activities and the below guidelines may be amended from time to time as may be required depending on the existing Covid-19 situation in the country and the guidelines issued by the Government of India at appropriate times. These guidelines have been prepared by the BCCI Medical Team.

“All BCCI affiliated State Cricket Associations will adhere to these guidelines and take additional measures as may be necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. Approvals must also be sought from local administration and health authorities before commencing any cricket activity. The health and safety of players, staff and stakeholders will be the sole responsibility of respective State Cricket Associations.”

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