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Women’s Hockey World Cup: India face formidable US in must-win tie

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London, July 28 : After a below-par start to their women’s hockey World Cup campaign, India face a do-or-die situation against a higher-ranked United States in their final Pool B match at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre here on Sunday.

With one draw (1-1 against England), one loss (0-1) against Ireland, India are placed third in the Pool B points table. The Americans too have drawn once against England and lost 1-3 to Ireland.

Both India and US have one point each with India being ahead due to goal difference.

But on both occasions, World No.10 India failed to convert their numerous goal-scoring opportunities, which they cannot afford against No.7-ranked US.

While hailing the team’s structure and planning, India’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said in a statement: “The team’s structure and planning is good which enabled us to create chances in the striking circle but not being able to convert these chances into goals cost us the match.”

He further added that though the team is disappointed that they could not come up with a winning performance against Ireland, they take heart from the fact that they created more opportunities.

“We made 27 circle entries against Ireland while had made just 10 against England. Though playing against these two teams is very different from each other, it is frustrating that we could not convert a single goal from these chances (15 shots on goal) against Ireland.

“But at the same time I take this as a positive that we have the abilities to puncture any team’s defence to create potential opportunities. When we play US, the emphasis would certainly be on scoring from these opportunities created. We have to execute better and the girls are working for that,” Marijne added.

While the forward-line needs to ensure they score from the opportunities, the team’s defence has held strong.

While Ireland made just 10 circle entries, England made 34.

“Our defence will be one of our advantages against US. The loss against Ireland has not affected the confidence of the team because we know that if we have created enough chances against Ireland while our defence has held strong, we can do the same against US too,” the coach said.

To remain in contention for a quarterfinal berth, India need a win or a draw from Sunday’s game.

“It is a must-win match for us on Sunday and there is no doubt that,” Marijne said.

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IPL: Gill stars as clinical KKR thrash SRH by 7 wkts

Mohammad Nabi and Abhishek Sharma remained unbeaten on 11 and two runs respectively as SRH reached a fighting total.

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Shubhman Gill

Abu Dhabi, Sep 26 : Opener Shubhman Gill’s unbeaten 70-run knock along with Eoin Morgan’s 42 not out guided Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to their first win this IPL season as they outsmarted SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) by seven wickets with two overs to spare here on Saturday.

Chasing a modest 143-run, KKR, baring few hiccups, overhauled the target comfortably, thanks to the unbeaten knocks by Gill and Morgan. After SRH dragged themselves to 142/4 wickets in 20 overs, KKR finished at 145/3 in 18 overs.

KKR bowlers, too, were clinical with the ball as they restricted SRH to a modest total, before Gill’s heroics in the middle. Pat Cummins, who drew a lot of criticism after his poor show in the previous match, made a great comeback as he conceded just 19 runs from four overs and picked up one wicket.

The other KKR bowlers also remained economical and the entire KKR side clicked together as a unit.

Despite losing opener Sunil Narine, who fell without troubling the scorers, early, young opener Gill ensured his side cross the line with ease as he kept the fight on.

For the second wicket, Nitish Rana (26) and Gill added 37 runs before the former became a victim of T. Natarajan in the fifth over with KKR being reduced to 43/2.

As KKR managed another 10 runs, Afghan spin sensation struck as he trapped KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik before the wickets with KKR scorecard reading 53/3. The tumbling of wickets hardly affected Pandey, who continued to rotate the strike and forged a crucial 92-run unbeaten partnership with Eoin Morgan (42 not out) to drive his side home with two overs to spare. Morgan’s innings contained three boundaries and two sixes.

For SRH, Khaleel Ahmed, Natarajan and Rashid bagged a wicket each.

Earlier, SunRisers Hyderabad rode Manish Pandey’s valiant effort to reach 142/4. Pandey’s innings was decorated with three boundaries and couple of hits into the stands. En-route to his knock, Manish was involved in a 62-run stand for the third wicket with stumper-cum batsman Wriddhiman Saha (30).

Opting to bat, SRH started on a cautious note before Pat Cummins, who was amongst runs in the previous clash, drew the first blood as he dismissed opener Jonny Bairstow (5) in the fourth over itself.

David Warner and Pandey then added 35 runs for the second wicket before mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy sent back the SRH skipper in the 10th over with SRH’s scorecard reading 59/2. Warner scored 36 runs off 30 balls before falling.

Saha and Pandey then denied their opponents making any further inroads. However, their slow innings hurt the side’s chances of posting a big total. While trying to up the ante, Pandey was caught and bowled by Andre Russell in the 18th over before Karthik too, departed in the final over as he fell short of the crease.

Mohammad Nabi and Abhishek Sharma remained unbeaten on 11 and two runs respectively as SRH reached a fighting total.

Brief scores: KKR 145/3 in 18 overs (Shubhman Gill 70 not out, Eoin Morgan 42 not out; Rashid Khan 1/25) beat SRH 142/4 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 51, David Warner 36; Andre Russell 1/16, Pat Cummins 1/19) by 7 wickets

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IPL : Delhi Capitals defeated Chennai Super Kings by 44 runs

Match 7 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 edition saw Shreyas Iyer-led Delhi Capitals (DC) easily emerging on top of MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

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MS Dhoni CSK

Match 7 of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 edition saw a young Shreyas Iyer-led Delhi Capitals (DC) take on experienced campaigners in the form of MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Friday evening (September 25) in Dubai.

While many expected the Dhoni-led camp to bounce back after defeat at the hands of Rajasthan Royals (RR), the Yellow Army failed to stand tall and lost by 44 runs.

Opting to bowl first, Dhoni defended his decision despite the recent norm of chasing side losing games with each passing day. He stated at the toss, “I think we need to respect the conditions and the fact that dew will play a part. Maybe the teams batting second so far in the tournament have made mistakes to not win. It looks better to bat second on TV. Some of the wickets might slow down as the tournament progresses. But given the number of strips out here and the amount of grass, it won’t become a low scoring tournament.”

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‘Where am I being sexist in this?’: Sunil Gavaskar responds after receiving flak for ‘inappropriate’ comments regarding Anushka Sharma

IPL 2020: Sunil Gavaskar expressed his side of the story, explaining how his comments related to Anushka Sharma were ‘twisted’ and taken the wrong way.

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Sunil Gavaskar

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has cleared the air surrounding his comments on Virat Kohli and wife Anushka Sharma, saying his statements have been received the wrong way and that he never intended on being a ‘sexist’. Gavaskar stirred controversy when on air, he made a comment involving Kohli’s actor wife Anushka. This was after Kohli had dropped two catches and looked scratchy while batting.

This is what Gavaskar had said: “Ab jo lockdown tha toh unhone sirf Anushka ke saath bowling ki practice ki hai, usse toh kuch bhi nahi banna (During the lockdown, he has only practiced against Anushka’s bowling. Nothing was to come out of it.).”

It led to a Twitter meltdown with users slamming Gavaskar for crossing a line. Anushka herself took to social media and expressed her disappointment with the remarks through a post on Instagram.

Gavaskar, on Friday, expressed his side of the story, explaining how his comments were ‘twisted’ and whatever he said regarding Kohli stemmed from the fact that none of the senior India players were finding it easy to bat in the IPL due to lack of match practice.

“As you hear from the commentary, Aakash and I were doing commentary for the Hindi channel. And Aakash was talking about the fact that there has been very little chance for proper practice for everybody. That has actually shown in the rustiness of some of the players in their first matches. Rohit didn’t strike the ball well in his first match, MSD didn’t strike the ball well, Virat also didn’t strike the ball. Most of the batsmen have because of the lack of practice,” Gavaskar told India Today.

“That was the point that was being made. Virat also had no practice and the only practice that they had when they were seen them playing in their building compound and Anushka was bowling to him. That’s what I said. That’s the only bowling, I have not used any other word. She was bowling to him, that’s all. Where am I blaming her? Where am I being sexist in this? I am just stating what was seen in the video which was maybe recorded by somebody in the neighbouring buildings and then put up. That’s the only thing I am doing.”

It is not the first time Anushka has been blamed for Kohli’s failure with the bat. In 2015, when India were eliminated from the 2015 World Cup in the semifinal with Kohli scoring 1, his performances were linked to Anushka. Later on, in October of last, a comment made by former India wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer, which claimed that “One of the selectors was serving tea to Anushka Sharma during the 2019 World Cup” triggered a storm.

Gavaskar said his comments weren’t aimed to blame the actor and that it was just a mere reference. “The point I am trying to make is that there was no practice for anybody, including Virat in the lockdown. I am not being sexist. If somebody, has interpreted it, what can I do?” he said.

“I would like to say it again. Where am I blaming her? I am not blaming her. I am only saying that the video said that she was bowling to Virat. Virat has played only that bowling during the lockdown period. It’s a tennis ball, a fun game that people have to pass time during the lockdown. That’s all. Where am I blaming her for Virat’s failures?”

Gavaskar even said he would never cross the line as he himself has been a believer of cricketers’ wives travelling with them on tours.

“You know me, I am the one who has always batted for wives going with husbands on tour. I am the one that a normal guy going to the office for a 9-5 job, when he comes back home, he comes back to his wife. Similarly, cricketers, when they go out for a tour or even when they are playing at home, why can’t they have their wives with them?” Gavaskar added.

“Because after their working hours are over, they have to get back to their wives like every other common man does. So, I am not blaming her.”

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