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Third T20I: Rohit, Shami shine as India beat NZ in Super Over

For the Indians, their failure to grab the opportunity with the bat was followed by some poor show on the field as even someone like Ravindra Jadeja dropped a catch, not to mention quite a few misfields.

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Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

Hamilton, Jan 29 : Hitman Rohit Sharma hit a brilliant unbeaten 15 (including two sixes) in the Super Over as India chased down New Zealand’s score of 17 to win the third T20I at Seddon Park and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match T20I series on Wednesday.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson followed up his excellent 95 with an unbeaten 11 in the Super Over, but it just wasn’t enough as Rohit and K.L. Rahul (5*) took Tim Southee to the cleaners.

This after the game was tied as India pacer Mohammed Shami came up with a classic last over just when it looked like Williamson would take the Kiwis home with a batting master-class.

It is for a reason that the Indian bowling attack is considered one of the best in the world and with Jasprit Bumrah having a one-off bad day, Shami rose to the challenge and bowled a brilliant last over as New Zealand failed to score the 9 runs required despite Ross Taylor starting the over with a six.

While Shami dismissed Williamson off the third ball of the over, he cleaned up Taylor (17) off the last ball with the Kiwis needing one run to win.

Earlier, Williamson single-handedly took the game away from the Indians in the 17th of the innings – Bumrah’s third. The Kiwi skipper picked 14 from the over to bring the required rate below the 10-run mark.

Going into the 17th, New Zealand needed 43 off 24 balls. But at the end of the over, the Kiwis needed 29 from the last three overs. With Ross Taylor giving Williamson company, it was all about not doing anything reckless for the hosts.

For the Indians, their failure to grab the opportunity with the bat was followed by some poor show on the field as even someone like Ravindra Jadeja dropped a catch, not to mention quite a few misfields.

Williamson took full advantage as he ensured that he not only held one end up, but also hit the timely boundaries to keep the hosts in the game. But him getting out with the Kiwis needing 2 runs brought the visitors right back in the game as Shami bowled a couple of dot balls before sending Taylor’s stumps for a walk in the park off the last ball.

Bowling first, New Zealand paceman Hamish Bennett took three wickets to put Rohit Sharma’s half century in the background as the hosts restricted India to 179/5 in 20 overs.

Bennett (3/54) grabbed two wickets in three balls to remove Rohit, who slammed a 40-ball 65 including six fours and three sixes, and Shivam Dube (3) early on and then claimed the prized scalp of skipper Virat Kohli (38) in the 19th over as India never really got going after the initial flourish.

Manish Pandey’s 14-run cameo along with Ravindra Jadeja’s 10 off five helped India reach a defendable total in the end. This after the tourists were off to a blazing start with in-form K.L. Rahul and Rohit looking to take the Kiwi bowlers to the cleaners.

India raced to 69/0 in the first six overs and it looked like New Zealand’s ploy of asking India to bat first to blunt their strength of chasing would fall flat.

But Colin de Grandhomme’s first over of the series broke the 89-run stand as Rahul was caught at point by Colin Munro in the ninth over as he was undone by the extra bounce on offer.

All-rounder Shivam Dube was promoted up the order to No.3 to continue the onslaught but a double strike by Hamish Bennett in the 11th over meant both Rohit and Dube (3) were sent back in quick succession.

While Rohit holed out to Tim Southee at long on, Dube sliced a back of a length delivery to Ish Sodhi at third man.

Kohli took a bit of time to get going as the Kiwis held the upper hand before the Indian captain smashed a six and a four off Mitchell Santner in the 15th over which yielded 13 runs as India moved to 127/3.

Shreyas Iyer looked to heap more misery on Santner as he hit a six off his first ball in the 17th over, but the left-arm spinner had the last laugh on his home ground as he changed the pace to outsmart the batsman who was stumped by Tim Seifert.

Kohli tried to change gears but was caught at extra-cover by Southee off Bennett. India, though, made some ground in the final over as Pandey and Jadeja hit a six each to take 18 off Southee’s over.

Brief Scores: India: 179/5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 65; Hamish Bennett 3/54); New Zealand: 179/6 (Kane Williamson 95); Super Over: New Zealand: 17/0; India: 20

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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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