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ICC World Cup 2019: India beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets

All rounder Ravindra Jadeja was given his first opportunity to play in the World Cup in place of pacer Mohammed Shami.

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Indian Cricket Team

Leeds, July 6: Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul slammed brilliant centuries as India won their last World Cup league fixture defeating Sri Lanka by seven wickets at Leeds.India will play either England or New Zealand in the semi-final .

Placed precariously at 55/4 in the 12th over against India at the Headingley Cricket Ground on Saturday, Sri Lanka finally saw their most experienced batsman rise to the challenge as Angelo Mathews hit a slow yet steady 113 off 128 balls (4×10, 6×2) to take the island nation to 264/7 in their 50 overs.

A 124-run partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne (53; 68 balls, 4×4) went a long way in bringing the Lankans back into their final World Cup game.

Opting to bat first, Sri Lanka got off to a terrible start as Jasprit Bumrah sent back Dimuth Karunaratne for just 10 in the fourth over, caught by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The out of form Kusal Perera flattered to deceive once again as he hit a 14-ball 18 before being packed back to the hut by Bumrah, once again caught by Dhoni. This after he was given a life as Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya had a bad mix-up looking to take the top-edge off his bat as Bhuvneshwar Kumar wore a sorry look walking back to his bowling mark.

Kusal Mendis was the next to go, reminding the fans of the typical dismissal before Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal became India’s leading spinners — stumped Dhoni, bowled Ravindra Jadeja. The dismissal saw the Indian fans erupt with joy as Jadeja was playing his first game of the ongoing World Cup.

The otherwise in-form Avishka Fernando also flattered to deceive as Pandya had him caught by Dhoni for a 21-ball 20. With the score on 55/4 and Lanka in trouble, Thirimanne joined Mathews and the two ensured that they focused on stitching a partnership even if that meant the run-rate crawling at the pace of a snail. With almost half the batting back in the hut, they didn’t really have an option.

The duo kept looking for singles even as a plan carrying the slogan “Justice for Kashmir” distracted all in the media box. The episode wasn’t the first and last time that a private jet flew over the stadium with a political message as another plane followed a while later with the slogan “INDIA STOP GENOCIDE & FREE KASHMIR”.

On June 29 during the match between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a plane with a banner reading “Justice for Balochistan” flew over the same stadium.

In the middle though, it was focus personified as both teams looked to gain the upper-hand. While India knew they needed one wicket to get the ball rolling again, the duo of Mathews and Thirimanne knew that batting deep was the key. Mathews was handed a life in the 37th over when Bhuvneshwar dropped him off Jadeja. He was batting on 61 then.

But the Indians finally struck in the 38th over as Kuldeep dismissed Thirimanne, caught by Jadeja, with the scoreboard reading 179/5. Mathews was finally dismissed in the 49th over by Bumrah as Lanka managed to score 64 runs in the last 10 overs. It was a respectable finish considering that the likes of Aravinda de Silva and the recently banned (by ICC) Sanath Jayasuriya were watching the game from the stands.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka: 264/7 in 50 overs (Angelo Mathews 113, Lahiru Thirimanne 53; Jasprit Bumrah 3/37) vs India

(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at [email protected])

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Sania scripts dream return, clinches doubles title in Hobart

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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

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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.

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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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