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West Indies qualify for 2019 Cricket World Cup

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Evin Lewis of West Indies

Harare (Zimbabwe), March 21: Rain came to the rescue of the West Windies, who qualified for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup after defeating defending champions Scotland by five runs via the Duckworth-Lewis (DL) Method in a Super Six fixture of the World Cup Qualifier here on Wednesday.

Scotland, chasing 199 for a place in the World Cup, were 125 for five in 35.2 overs when a heavy downpour prevented further play in the match. When play was called off, Scotland needed 74 runs in just over 14 overs at the Harare Sports Club.

While the result ended Scotland’s hopes of featuring in their second successive World Cup and fourth overall since 1999, Afghanistan and Ireland are now back in contention if rain affects Thursday’s match between the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.

If there is no result, then net run-rate will determine the second qualifier behind the Windies.

In the Super Six winner-takes-all match, the Windies, put in to bat, lost Chris Gayle on the very first ball of the match, his seventh career golden duck, and then saw Shai Hope return to the pavilion 12 balls later to slip to two for two.

Evin Lewis (66, 87b, 7×4, 2×6) and Marlon Samuels (51, 98b, 4×4) revived the Windies’ innings by adding 121 runs for the third wicket in 168 balls. But Lewis departed and 12 runs later Samuels and Shimron Hetmyer also returned to the hut.

The Windies innings was wrapped up for 198 in 48.4 overs, with the last eight wickets falling for just 75 runs in close to 18 overs.

Scotland bowlers maintained a very discipline line and length as is evident from the fact that they delivered 174 dot balls and conceded just 12 fours and three sixes. The most impressive of the lot was 26-year-old Safyaan Sharif who picked up the prized scalps of Gayle, Hope and Rovman Powell conceding 27 runs.

Brad Wheal also rose to the occasion and bowled his heart out, to be rewarded with figures of three for 34, while off-spinner Michael Leask snapped up the wickets of Samuels and Hetmyer off successive deliveries to finish with two for 36.

The Windies needed quick wickets to not only qualify for the World Cup but also end Scotland’s dreams of featuring in the ICC’s pinnacle 50-over event for the second successive time and fourth since 1999.

And Kemar Roach obliged Jason Holder by accounting for the in-form Kyle Coetzer and Michael Jones, while the captain dismissed Matthew Cross as Scotland slipped to 25 for three.

The Windies, sniffing a win, continued to apply pressure and were eventually rewarded at the score of 67 in the third over when Ashley Nurse brilliantly caught Calum MacLeod (21) off his own bowling to end the 42-run resistance and then dismissed Berrington (33) was adjudged leg before as Scotland slipped to 105 for five.

George Munsey lived dangerously for his 32 not out and kept Scotland in the hunt for a place in the World Cup as they reached 125 for five before Mother Nature smiled on the two-time former world champions as rain came down in force to end any chances of resumption.

The victory by five runs meant the Windies finished the Super Six with maximum eight points and not only qualified for the World Cup but also qualified for the March 25 final where they will meet the other qualifier.

Brief scores: Windies: 198 all out in 48.4 overs (Evin Lewis 66, Marlon Samuels 51, Carlos Brathwaite 24; Safyaan Sharif 3/27, Brad Wheal 3/34, Michael Leask 2/36) vs Scotland 125-5 in 35.2 overs (Richie Berrington 33, George Munsey 32 not out, Calum MacLeod 21; Kemar Roach 2-20, Ashley Nurse 2-35). Windies beat Scotland by five runs via Duckworth-Lewis Method.

IANS

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Kasatkina wins Kremlin Cup title, ends Jabeur’s historic run

Kasatkina’s victory also means she will head to the WTA Finals in Singapore after overtaking Aryna Sabalenka as the first alternate.

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Picture Credit Twitter : @DKasatkina

Moscow, Oct 20 : Daria Kasatkina of Russia won the Kremlin Cup title on Saturday, prevailing over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 and ending Jabeur’s historic run in which she became her country’s first-ever WTA finalist.

Kasatkina, World No. 14 and her country’s highest-ranked player, needed a little over two hours to claim her second WTA trophy and her first on home soil, having lost to Germany’s Julia Gorges in straight sets in the 2017 championship match, reports Efe.

But Saturday’s match looked to be headed in a similar direction as her 24-year-old Tunisian opponent, ranked world No. 101, easily came out on top in the opening set and took a 4-1 lead in the second.

However Kasatkina staged a comeback, and two extremely long breaks in a row sent them into the tie-breaker, which the 22-year-old Russian won.

After a tough third set, Kasatkina outlasted Jabeur and won the Premier-level trophy, becoming one of the few Russian players to do so, alongside Anastasia Myskina (2003-2004), Anna Chakvetadze (2006), Elena Dementieva (2007), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2014) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2015-2016), according to the WTA.

Kasatkina’s victory also means she will head to the WTA Finals in Singapore after overtaking Aryna Sabalenka as the first alternate.

IANS

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La Liga: Levante stuns Real Madrid 2-1

After Saturday’s loss, a struggling Real Madrid has failed to win its last four Spanish league matches, suffering three defeats and a draw, reports Efe.

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Levante Real Madrid
Picture Credit Twitter @EjeCentral

Madrid, Oct 20 : On the strength of two goals in the opening minutes, Levante stunned Real Madrid 2-1 on Saturday, earning their second-ever win against Madrid and their third consecutive La Liga victory.

After Saturday’s loss, a struggling Real Madrid has failed to win its last four Spanish league matches, suffering three defeats and a draw, reports Efe.

Los Blancos conceded two goals in the first 13 minutes, then suffered a run of bad luck as they hit the woodwork three times and had two goals ruled out.

Madrid’s third consecutive defeat in all competitions brings coach Julen Lopetegui one step closer to departure, as the team was overwhelmed by a brave Levante squad who relied on five players in the midfield, a strategy that paid off more quickly than they may have imagined.

Just six minutes into the first half, Levante left wing Jose Luis Morales got a long pass by defender Sergio Postigo and took advantage of a lapse of concentration from Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, dribbling past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and putting it home.

The VAR stepped in a few minutes later when a nervous Varane touched the ball with his hand and the referee initially awarded Levante a free kick on the edge of the penalty area.

After the VAR team’s review, the call was changed to a penalty kick that Roger Marti successfully converted.

Just a few minutes later, Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio scored after seizing on a ricocheted ball off the woodwork, but the referee ruled it offside after checking the video replay.

Shortly before the break, Levante’s Ruben Rochina scored what could have been a third goal if not for the VAR team, who disallowed it for being offside.

As the minutes ticked away, Real Madrid was under increasing pressure, and coach Lopetegui’s changes – first inserting French forward Karim Benzema and then Walsh forward Gareth Bale – failed to bring the desired result.

Los Blancos got on the scoreboard in the 72nd minute on a close-range shot by Brazilian defender Marcelo, who broke the team’s record goalless drought of eight hours and one minute, but the equalizer remained beyond their reach.

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Shuttler Srikanth out; Saina in final of Denmark Open

Srikanth struggled from the start and failed to find his rhythm which cost him the match.

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saina nehwal
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Odense (Denmark), Oct 20 : Star Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth lost his men’s singles semi-final match to Kento Momota of Japan while Saina Nehwal entered the women’s singles final of the Denmark Open here on Saturday.

Second seed Momota took 42 minutes to outplay the seventh seed Indian shuttler 21-16, 21-12 in straight games to advance while Saina got the better of Gregoria Mariska Tunjunng of Indonesia 21-11 21-12 in a lop-sided affair which lasted 49 minutes.

It was a cake walk for Saina as she hardly broke sweat to beat her opponent.

Srikanth struggled from the start and failed to find his rhythm which cost him the match.

Earlier, late on Friday night, Saina Nehwal and Srikanth entered the semi-finals of the Denmark Open but were made to sweat en route by Nozomi Okuhara and Sameer Verma respectively.

Saina came back from a game down to beat familiar foe and world number seven Okuhura of Japan 17-21, 21-16, 21-12 in the quarter-final lasting 58 minutes on Friday night.

On the other hand, Srikanth too had to grind it out against countryman Verma with little separating the two in the men’s singles last-eight clash.

In the end, Srikanth prevailed over the 23rd ranked Indian in an epic battle lasting an hour and 18 minutes with the final scoreline reading 22-20, 19-21, 23-21.

Verma had the upper hand for major parts of the third and deciding game where he even had a 17-13 lead before Srikanth roared back to eke out the triumph.

In the women’s doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost to top seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in the quarter-finals.

IANS

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