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

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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.

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IND vs SA: India beat S. Africa by 28 runs in 1st T20I

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A brilliant all-round show helped India beat South Africa by 28 runs in the first Twenty-20 International (T20I) at the New Wanderers Stadium here on Sunday.

Put in to bat, Shikhar Dhawan (72) hammered the South African bowlers all around the park and helped India to post a massive 203/5 before pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/24) wreaked havoc in the South African batting line-up to take a crucial 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

With this bowling stats, Bhuvneshwar also became the first Indian bowler to take five wickets in each of the three formats (four times in Tests and once each in One Day Internationals and T20Is).

Chasing a challenging target, South African openers J.J.Smuts (14) and Reeza Hendricks got off to a good start. But in the third over, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed Smuts to make it 29/1.

Middle-order batsmen Jean-Paul Duminy (3) and David Miller (9) were also dismissed cheaply by Bhuvneshwar and Hardik Pandya respectively.

With the scoreboard reading 48/3, Farhaan Behardien (39) came in the middle and played sensibly along with Hendricks.

The two displayed quality shots and forged an 81-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But just when things seemed good Behardien was sent back to the pavilion by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the 15th over.

After adding a few more runs with new batsmen Heinrich Klaasen (16), Hendricks (70) was caught behind off Bhuvneshwar in the 18th over.

Now with 46 needed in 14 balls, lower-order batsmen Andile Phehlukwayo (13), Chris Morris (0), Dane Paterson (1) and Junior Dala (2 not out) failed to rise to the occasion and only managed to score 175/9 in 20 overs.

Earlier, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan once again unleashed mayhem in South Africa, with his 72 powering India to 203 for five wickets.

The Delhi left-hander, who hit 323 runs in the six One-Day Internationals (ODIs), blasted 10 fours and two sixes in his 39-ball innings as others batted around him.

After home captain Jean-Paul Duminy put India into bat, India’s innings was lifted by a brisk 21 off nine from Rohit Sharma, who got out in the fifth delivery of the second over after edging to wicket-keeper Heinrich Klassen off debutant Junior Dala.

Dhawan’s show began after this as he got useful support from Suresh Raina (15 off 7) and Virat Kohli (26 off 20). Till the dismissal of Kohli, who was ruled LBW against spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the third delivery of the 10th over, India had already scored 108.

Dhawan made the most of the ill-disciplined bowling from Chris Morris, Dala and Andile Phehlukwayo, who were allowing the 32-year-old to free his arms on the leg side.

A failed scoop attempt of a slower delivery from Phehlukwayo ended Dhawan’s innings as Klassen dived front to removed the danger.

Later, Manish Pandey (29 not out off 27), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (16) and Hardik Pandya (13 not out) took India past the 200-run mark.

Following is the scoreboard of the first Twenty-20 International match between India and South Africa here on Sunday.

India Innings 203-5 (20)

Rohit Sharma c Klaasen b Junior Dala 21
Shikhar Dhawan c Klaasen b Phehlukwayo 72
Suresh Raina c & b Junior Dala 15
Virat Kohli (c) lbw b Shamsi 26
Manish Pandey not out 29
MS Dhoni (wk) b Chris Morris 16
Hardik Pandya not out 13
Extras 11 (lb 2, w 9) Total 203/5 ( in 20 Overs)

Fall of Wickets 23-1 (Rohit Sharma, 1.5), 49-2 (Suresh Raina, 3.6), 108-3 (Virat Kohli, 9.3), 155-4 (Shikhar Dhawan, 14.4), 183-5 (MS Dhoni, 18.1).

Bowling:

Dane Paterson 4-0-48-0
Junior Dala 4-0-47-2
Chris Morris 4-0-39-1
Tabraiz Shamsi 4-0-37-1
JJ Smuts 2-0-14-0
Andile Phehlukwayo 2-0-16-1

South Africa Innings 175-9 (20)

J.J. Smuts c Dhawan b Bhuvneshwar 14
Reeza Hendricks c Dhoni b Bhuvneshwar 70
Jean-Paul Duminy c Raina b Bhuvneshwar 3
David Miller c Dhawan b Hardik Pandya 9
Farhaan Behardien c Manish Pandey b Chahal 39
Heinrich Klaasen c Raina b Bhuvneshwar 16
Andile Phehlukwayo c Chahal b Unadkat 13
Chris Morris c Raina b Bhuvneshwar 0
Dane Paterson run out (Hardik Pandya/Dhoni) 1
Junior Dala not out 2
Tabraiz Shamsi not out 0

Extras 8 (b 1, lb 1, w 5, nb 1) Total 175/9 (in 20 Overs)

Fall of Wickets: 29-1 (JJ Smuts, 2.5), 38-2 (Jean-Paul Duminy, 4.6), 48-3 (David Miller, 6.2), 129-4 (Farhaan Behardien, 14.6), 154-5 (Reeza Hendricks, 17.1), 158-6 (Heinrich Klaasen, 17.4), 158-7 (Chris Morris, 17.5), 159-8 (Dane Paterson, 18), 175-9 (Andile Phehlukwayo, 19.4).

Bowling:

Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-0-24-5
Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-33-1
Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-32-0
Hardik Pandya 4-0-45-1
Yuzvendra Chahal 4-0-39-1.

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Roger Federer, 36, becomes oldest World No. 1 in ATP rankings history

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Roger Federer celebrates after victory over Robin Haase in Rotterdam. (PC- Reuters)

Rotterdam, Feb 17: Roger Federer added another highlight to his age-defying career resurgence by returning to the top of the world rankings on Friday after more than five years and becoming the oldest No. 1 at 36.

On Friday a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Dutchman Robin Haase in the quarter-finals of the ABN AMRO tournament in Rotterdam guaranteed the Swiss would rise to number one for the fourth time in his career.

With return to World No 1, Federer sets multiple records. At 36 years and 195 days, he overtakes Andre Agassi as the oldest number 1 by three years. Agassi was 33 years and 4 months when he held the top spot in September, 2003. Federer would be back as World No 1 after a gap of over five years – the longest gap between stints as World No 1. During this period, Federer won three Grand Slams (two Australian Opens in 2017 and recently in January and Wimbledon last year) and was forced into skipping Grand Slams in 2016 due to injury for the first time since 1999.

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IND vs SA, 6th ODI : Unstoppable Virat Kohli leads India To 5-1 series win over S.Africa

Captain Virat Kohli slammed his 35th century as India crushed South Africa by eight wickets in the sixth One-Day International in Centurion to clinch the six-match series 5-1.

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Centurion, Feb 16: Captain Virat Kohli slammed his 35th century as India crushed South Africa by eight wickets in the sixth One-Day International in Centurion to clinch the six-match series 5-1.

This is the first ever bilateral series win by India on South African soil. Put into bat by India, South Africa were bowled out for a meagre 204 in the dead rubber. Chasing the target, India romped home in just 32.1 overs. Kohli remained unbeaten on 129, an innings studded with 19 boundaries and two sixes.

Kohli was in a punishing mood as he personally anchored Proteas’ biggest humiliation in a bilateral series at home in last 17 years. The last time South Africa lost 1-5 was back in 2001-02 season against a champion Australian side.

Kohli also became the fastest to 9500 ODI runs completing the feat in only 200 innings — 17 less than AB de Villiers.

Such has been Kohli’s dominance in the series, that after his aggregate of 558 runs, the next best is Shikhar Dhawan (323), who is more than 200 runs behind his skipper.

Earlier, playing his first match of the series, young pacer Shardul Thakur claimed four wickets to skittle South Africa for 204. For South Africa, all-rounder Khaya Zondo top-scored with a 74-ball 54, laced with three boundaries and two sixes on a good batting track, where most of the other batsmen failed against a disciplined Indian bowling.

Apart from Thakur, the wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal (2/38) and Kuldeep Yadav (1/51) shared three wickets between them. Jasprit Bumrah also gave good support by taking two wickets.

For his brilliant form in the series, captain Kohli was adjudged Man of the Match and Man of the Series.

Kohli took 82 balls to reach his 35th century with the help of 17 boundaries that saw him break a plethora of records.

Sachin Tendulkar, who is on top of the list with 49 centuries, had taken 309 innings to reach 35 centuries. Kohli got there in his 200th innings.

Kohli also became the first Indian batsman to score three centuries in a bilateral series.

Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman have scored three centuries but not in a bilateral series. Ganguly scored three centuries during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, while Laxman slammed three tons during the 2004 VB Series in Australia.

Not just that, he also became the first man to score 500 runs or more in a bilateral ODI series.

The record was previously held by his team-mate Rohit Sharma, who scored 491 runs in the six-match series against Australia.

The record of most runs as captain in a bilateral series now also belong to Kohli. Australia’s George Bailey is second in the list with 478 runs against India in 2013-14. The Australian is followed by South Africa’s AB de Villiers, who achieved the feat twice – 367 runs vs Pakistan in 2012-13 and 358 runs vs India in 2015-16.

In the process, Kohli has now most runs in a bilateral ODI series against South Africa in South Africa, a record previously held by England’s Kevin Pietersen. Pietersen had scored 454 runs in a six-match series in 2005.

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