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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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Serena Williams outlasts Simona Halep in epic battle in Australian Open

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Serena Williams
Photo Credit- Twitter/AustralianOpen

Melbourne, Jan 21: Serena Williams of the US advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Monday after a hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Romanian world No 1 Simona Halep.

The 37-year-old shone at the Rod Laver Arena to again demonstrate her remarkable longevity and ability to compete at the game’s highest level, reports Efe news.

“It was an intense match and there were some incredible points,” Williams said on court after the match. “I really needed to elevate my game. She’s the number one player in the world.”

The number 16 seed started strongly, storming into a comfortable lead before taking the first set 6-1 as the number one seed Halep struggled to get a foothold in the match.

After bossing the opening exchanges, Williams let her opponent back into the contest as Halep took the second set 6-4.

The American broke Halep’s serve in the seventh game of the third set to go 4-3 up; she was soon serving for the match at 5-4, sealing the win on the first of two match points.

Williams advances to the last eight of the tournament as she continues her bid to add an eighth Australian Open title to her 23 career Grand Slam wins.

IANS

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Tendulkar eagerly waiting for Anil’s Netflix web series ‘Selection: Day Part 2’

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Tendulkar Selection Day Part 2

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar engaged in a Twitter conversation with actor Anil Kapoor to announce the second season of “Selection Day”. The official Twitter handle of Netflix then announced that “Selection Day: Part 2” will start streaming from April 22 this year.

The series is a coming-of-age drama about two brothers Radha and Manju who are raised by their strict, obsessive father to be star cricket players in India.

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Happy to bat at any number: MS Dhoni

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Melbourne, Jan 18 (IANS) With just a handful of ODIs to be played ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the No.4 slot in the Indian batting order is still up for grabs and with former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni staking a strong claim with a hat-trick of half-centuries against Australia, it will be interesting to see if the team management persists with him in the quadrennial event.

Ask Dhoni, who was on Friday promoted to the No. 4 spot and ended up belting a 114-ball unbeaten 87 to guide India to a maiden 2-1 ODI series win against the Kangaroos in their own backyard, the 37-year-old is “happy to bat at any number”.

“It is not about where you want to bat; I am happy to bat at any number and after playing for 14 years I can’t say that I don’t want to bat at number six and want to bat at four,” said Dhoni, who was adjudged the Man-of-the-Series.

Dhoni’s selfless approach was echoed by none other that his successor Virat Kohli, who said “nobody is more committed to Indian cricket than Dhoni.”

Kohli also heaped praises on middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav, who despite being benched for the opening two ODIs, grabbed the opportunity with both hands in the final ODI, as the right-hander scored an unbeaten 61 and more importantly forged an 121-run unbeaten stand with Dhoni to see India home by 7 wickets.

“It wasn’t a great wicket to bat on, so we had to take it deep, but they were professional in getting the job done. We were a bit nervous but two set batsmen in knew exactly what they wanted to do. Kedar with bat and ball is always handy. We have been here for a long time,” he said.

Dhoni also praised Jadhav’s efforts saying: “Kedar did a great job in playing unorthodox shots and it is important to hit boundaries.”

Similarly, man-of-the-match Yuzvendra Chahal also made the most of the opportunity, returning 6/42 to restrict the hapless Aussies for a meagre 230 at the MCG.

Commenting on the leg-spinner’s effort, Kohli said: We wanted to get in a good combination. We wanted to give Kuldeep (Yadav) a rest and we don’t want to be too predictable as well. Chahal came in and bowled beautifully. 6/42 was magnificent.”

“It’s been an amazing tour for us. We drew the T20 series, won the Test and the ODI series. If someone gave me these results before the tour I would have taken it with both hands.”

“I am really grateful and proud of the side. It was a collective effort. We are feeling confident and balanced as a side with the World Cup in mind. Few games against New Zealand and few more back home to strengthen the areas that we need to work on as a team,” Kohli added.

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