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Women’s Asia Cup Hockey 2017: India beat China 5-4 to clinch the title

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women asia cup final hockey

Japan, Nov 5: India created history by defeating China 5-4 in finals of Women’s Asia Cup Hockey to clinch the title on Sunday. 

After the 1-1 tie in the regulation time the game went to shoot outs where India clinched the issue.

India win Asia Cup after a gap of 13 years. This was the Indian women’s second Asia Cup title. They had won their last continental title in 2004.

With this, India also qualified for 2018 World Cup as Continental Champions.

It was skipper Rani who scored the winning goal for India while Savita made a great save in sudden death to ensure India the 5-4 score in the penalty shootout.

Earlier, it was Navjot Kaur who scored India’s lone goal in the 25th minute. It was in 2004 when the Indian Women’s Team lifted the Asia Cup after beating Japan 1-0 in the final.

It was advantage China right at the start as a stick check in the circle saw India concede a penalty corner in only the second minute of the game.

However, Savita was at her usual best to pad it away while an alert Deep Grace cleared the ball.

Soon after, the Indian forwards launched a swift attack with Navneet Kaur and Vandana working in tandem to find space in the Chinese defence but an attentive Wang Na averted the danger.

China, meanwhile, won their second penalty corner but Savita was spot on yet again to pad away Meiyu Liang’s flick.

With the first quarter ending in a stalemate, India came back looking determined to find a breakthrough.

The Indian forwards kept the pressure on China as they made brave forays into the striking circle.

Navjot Kaur came close to converting a field goal in the 17th minute but her diving effort was blocked even as skipper Rani made a quick attempt to find a deflection.

It was not until the 25th minute when India found its first breakthrough when Navneet Kaur and Rani played give-and-take before penetrating the circle only to assist Navjot who took a clear shot on goal.

It was a much-needed 1-0 lead for India. Though China launched a counter attack soon after, the Indian defenders were up to the task in denying them success.

India began the third quarter rather positively as they persisted with an aggressive attack.

They dominated the ball possession with accurate passing, rotating the ball and testing China’s patience. Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz showcased good dribbling skills to steer past the Chinese defenders but a second goal was not to come by even as the clock ticked away to the third hooter.

On China’s part, they stayed disciplined in their defence to deny India a chance to score through a penalty corner.

The final quarter was tense as China won a penalty corner through a successful video referral in the 47th minute.

Tiantian Luo kept low as she improvised from the injection to find the right corner of the post, scoring a sensational equaliser for China.

The following minutes saw both teams play at par with each other not allowing either of them to stay in control.

With nine minutes left for the final hooter, India upped their attack desperately attempting to find a gap in the 15-yard mark but the Chinese defenders were resolute in not allowing any room for error.

Meanwhile, China won their fourth penalty corner of the match with a little less than three minutes to go for the final whistle.

But it was brilliantly saved by rusher Sunita Lakra and almost immediately, India launched a counter attack but only to send the ball wide off the target and complete the full-time in a stalemate resulting in a shootout.

In the penalty shootout Rani scored twice while Monica, Lilima Minz and Navjot scored a goal each to ensure India reclaimed the Asia Cup title after 13 years.

Savita was adjudged Goalkeeper of the Tournament while Monica won the Woman of the Match award.

WeForNews Bureau

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Arjuna Award is recognition of my hard work: Paddler Manika Batra

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Manika Batra during a programme

Elated after being among those selected for this year’s prestigious Arjuna Award, star paddler Manika Batra on Thursday said it was a recognition to her hard work over the years.

The 23-year-old Manika recently scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman paddler to win an Asian Games medal when she paired up with veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal to bag the bronze in the mixed doubles competition.

“It’s a real pleasure to be selected for this year’s Arjuna Award. I am excited to receive the award,” Manika told IANS after being signed as the latest face of Herbalife Nutrition.

“This is a recognition of my hard work, and the medals which I won in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. This is the time to be happy and excited,” she added.

Manika has also proved that her Commonwealth Games (CWG) success, where she emerged as the country’s top performer with four medals — a gold each in women’s singles and women’s team event, silver in women’s doubles, and a bronze in mixed doubles — was not a fluke and clearly she is the next big thing in table tennis.

Despite grabbing eyeballs with her brilliant performances this season, Manika has an unfulfilled dream which she is striving hard to achieve.

“From here on, the main target is to improve on my world ranking and find myself in the top-30 or top-20. With a better world ranking, I will have better chances at the Tokyo Olympics.

“The dream is to be among the top-10 in the world. I have the National Ranking zonals and then the Pro Tours where the focus will be mainly on improving my world ranking,” said Manika, who is currently ranked World No.56.

When prodded on the level of competition in the CWG and the Asiad, and how eventually she managed to break the shackles at Jakarta, Manika explained: “The level of competition in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games is totally different.”

“In the CWG, the battle is mainly against the Singapore paddlers whereas in Asiad, all the table tennis powerhouses compete, which makes it really tough,” she added.

Rating her Asian Games medal as the “greatest achievement” till date, Manika was however candid enough to admit that she wasn’t at her fittest self during the Asian Games.

“Even during the Asian Games, I felt I lack on the fitness standards of the Chinese and other Asian paddlers. I have to work more on my reflexes and movements.

“I am currently focussing on my agility and fitness with my fitness coach Subodh More with an eye to match to the standards of the Chinese,” she added.

On being quizzed if her height is the secret of her being touted as the next big thing in the table tennis world, the 5′ 11” paddler said it works both ways for her.

“My height works both ways…it is advantageous as the taller players have a better reach and require less movement but at the same time there is a negative which is we are more prone to back and knee injuries. I suffered from back pain recently but have worked on that and now I’m back to full fitness,” she recounted.

(Tridib Baparnash can be contacted at [email protected])

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Asia Cup: Afghanistan thrash Bangladesh by 136 runs

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Afghanistan Cricket Team

Abu Dhabi, Sep 21 : A disciplined all-round effort saw Afghanistan thrashing Bangladesh by 136 runs in their last group match of the Asia Cup here on Thursday.

Chasing 256, Bangladesh were bundled out for 119.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan picked up two wickets each to hand Afghanistan a comfortable victory.

Chasing a decent target, Bangladesh never looked in the contention as they lost their wickets at regular intervals.

Shakib Al Hasan (32), Mahmudullah (27) and Mosaddek Hossain (26 not out) mainly contributed to the Bangladeshi score. No other batsman clicked and went back to the pavilion one after another, posting single digit individual scores.

Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain scored towards the end but the lack of support denied the run chase.

Earlier, Afghanistan rode on some brilliant batting by Rashid Khan (57 not out), Gulbadin Naib (42 not out) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (58) to post a decent score.

Besides the trio, opener Mohammad Shahzad (37) also played handsomely.

For Bangladesh, Shakib Al Hasan took four wickets while Abu Hider Rony scalped two wickets.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 255/7, (Hashmatullah Shahidi 58, Rashid Khan 57 not out; Shakib Al Hasan 4/42) against Bangladesh 119/10 (Shakib Al Hasan 32; Rashid Khan 2/13)

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Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur ruled out of Asia Cup

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Mumbai, Sep 20: Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur have been ruled out of the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 owing to injuries, the BCCI announced on Thursday.

BCCI’s senior selection committee has now replaced the trio by Deepak Chahar, Ravindra Jadeja and Siddharth Kaul, who will be joining the team in Dubai on Thursday.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya had suffered an acute lower back spasm during the game against Pakistan on Wednesday and is undergoing treatment and assessment by the BCCI medical team.

Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Axar Patel injured his left index finger while fielding against Pakistan. He was sent for scans and the results showed that he had a tendon tear.

On the other hand, right-arm pacer Shardul Thakur had experienced right hip and groin soreness after the match against Hong Kong.

The Rohit Sharma-led Indian side, who had thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan by eight wickets on Wednesday, will take on Bangladesh in their first Super four game on Friday.

IANS

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