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Women’s Hockey World Cup: India hold US, qualify for quarters playoffs

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London, July 30 : India qualified for the playoffs of the quarter-finals in the Women’s Hockey World Cup as they held higher-ranked United States 1-1 in their third and final Pool B match at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre here on Sunday.

The Indian team displayed great character and a solid defensive structure throughout the match to earn the draw as captain Rani Rampal (31st minute) cancelled out Margaux Paolino’s 11th-minute goal.

With the first-placed team in the pool, Ireland advancing directly to the quarter-finals, england and India are certain to finish second and third — thereby both securing a spot in the playoffs. Though the US have two points — same as India and England — the former is behind on goal difference. Ireland take on England later in the day.

India needed at least a draw against the US to keep their chances alive for the last eight stage after playing a draw against England before losing to Ireland.

India started the match against the US on the front foot as they showed some quick passing, but had a scare in the fourth minute when their captain Rani was forced off with a twisted ankle.

The World No. 10 team won their first penalty corner of the match in the seventh minute, but Gurjit Kaur’s flick was saved by US goalkeeper Jackie Briggs.

India dominated possession and pressed the Americans but the 11th minute saw the US take the lead as Indian goalkeeper Savita was called into action when Erin Matson’s shot was saved by the shotstopper. However the rebound was put into the back of the net through Savita’s legs by Margaux Paolino.

India looked for an equaliser and were threatening the US defence with some good build-up play; winning their two more penalty corners in the first quarter, but Gurjit Kaur’s efforst were not enough.

India continued to put pressure on the US in the second quarter which saw Rani’s drive being intercepted by a defender while the captain’s penalty corner strike was deflected away by Briggs in the first five minutes of this quarter.

The US earned two penalty corners late in the second quarter but Savita and her defence set-up foiled them, as India trailed 0-1 at the half-time.

After the break, Rani continued to make incursions into the box. In the first minute of the third quarter, she flicked the ball onto Michelle Vittese’s foot inside the striking circle. Rani slammed home from the resulting penalty corner to bring India level.

India displayed a great defensive structure throughout the third quarter as they denied the US any opportunity to create chances. In the 43rd minute, India’s Sunita Lakra made a crunching tackle to deny Michelle Vittese a shot as Savita cleared the ball.

In the final quarter, India maintained a nice balance of attack and defence as they stopped the US from gaining lead, as the match ended in a draw.

Rani said after the match: “I think both the teams fought well throughout the match, US had their chances, and I am proud of our team that we defended well throughout the match.

“We knew we had to take our chances against this strong US team, and we made sure that we earned this draw which keeps us in the competition.”

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1st Test: India hold edge in Kiwi star Taylor’s 100th Test

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Wellington, Feb 20 : India started their New Zealand tour on a note which they could have only dreamt off. They whitewashed the Black Caps in the five-match T20I series, thus boosting their confidence ahead of the T20 World Cup scheduled to be played later in the year in Australia. But the hosts made a remarkable comeback in the ODIs, winning the three-match series 3-0. And now, it is time for the Test matches.

As the focus shifts to the longest format, one must remember that India and New Zealand have had contrasting fortunes in the format in recent times. While India will look to continue their unbeaten run in the World Test Championship when they take on the Kiwis in the first Test of the two-match series beginning Friday at the Basin Reserve, the Kiwis were thrashed by Australia in December-January.

Ever since the Sydney Test in January 2019, India have been unbeaten winning all their seven matches in the ongoing World Test Championship. They have defeated West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh and are currently placed at the top of the table with 360 points.

The Kiwis must tighten their game if they wish to return strongly after the loss to their trans-Tasman rivals as India have very few weaknesses when it comes to Test cricket. Their batting line-up boast of having the likes of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.

The only weak link in India’s batting line-up is their opening slot. Rohit Sharma’s absence presents an opportunity for one of Shubman Gill or Prithvi Shaw to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top, with Shaw probably being the front-runner, having outscored Gill in Hamilton.

According to Rahane, India need to put in at least 320 on the board in their first innings in order to provide their bowlers with a chance to bowl out the opposition.

“When you bat first, your mindset is always positive, not saying that it’s not when you bowl first. If you get 320 to 330 outside India in first innings, it’s a very good total,” he said.

When it comes to the pace battery, India seem to have an upper hand with Ishant Sharma having cleared the fitness test and raring to join a pace attack that also features Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini.

New Zealand, on the other hand, will miss the services of Neil Wagner in the series opener. However, the return of Trent Boult and the promise shown by young Kyle Jamieson in the ODI series still leave the fast-bowling department well-covered.

Thus, quite an exciting battle can be expected between the two teams in what would be historic occasion at the Basin Reserve as Ross Taylor would become the first cricketer to play 100 games in each of the three formats.

Taylor stands out as the biggest positive for New Zealand and with skipper Kane Williamson’s brilliant record at the Basin Reserve (1,048 runs at 65.50, with a highest of 242*), the hosts would definitely give themselves the upper hand.

“I think in New Zealand, it’s all about cricket discipline and what the team brings on to the field. They are intense and very, very fit guys, and they can keep going all day and test your patience, really skilled with what they do as both bowlers and batsmen, and obviously brilliant fielders as well,” Kohli had said and probably that’s what the Indian team needs to do in their road to seal a spot in the Lord’s final slated to be played next year.

Squads: India: Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithivi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), R. Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Navdeep Saini, Shubhman Gill

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham, Tony Blundell, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, B.J. Watling (keeper), Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell

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Twitter users hail Tendulkar over Laureus award

Reacting to the award, a user wrote: “He is an icon of cricket ! True champion and a legend! Salute to him !”

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New Delhi, Feb 18 : A section of Twitterati on Tuesday hailed cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar for his World Cup winning moment winning the Laureus Sporting Moment award of the last 20 years.

Laureus (@LaureusSport) tweeted: “This is a reminder of how powerful sport is and what magic it does to all of our lives. A God for a nation. An inspiration worldwide. And an incredible speech from the Laureus Sporting Moment 2000-2020 winner, the great @sachin_rt. #Laureus20 #SportUnitesUs”

The moment, titled ‘Carried on the shoulders of a nation’, describing the moment when Team India members carried Tendulkar on their shoulders across the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai following their 2011 World Cup victory, received the maximum number of votes from the sport’s fans.

After the award was announced, the Master Blaster greeted his fans and wrote: “Thank you all for the overwhelming love and support! I dedicate this @LaureusSport award to India, all my teammates, fans and well wishers in India and across the world who have always supported Indian cricket. #SportUnitesUs #Laureus20 #SportForGood.”

Reacting to the award, a user wrote: “He is an icon of cricket ! True champion and a legend! Salute to him !”

Another wrote: “In the 90s decade, Sachin was the sole individual who carried team India on his back! Sachin was more than a batsman! Sachin was an emotion! He deserves all the credit. 2K kids may never understand what Sachin meant! #SachinTendulkar.”

A post read: “God of cricket bags the Laureus Sporting moment award… there is no better moment than this in the last two decades… 2011 World Cup memories are always close to my heart and will be remembered for ever.”

“A proud moment for all Indians. Warmest congratulations to @sachin_rt on receiving the prestigious Laureus Sporting Moment Award in Berlin. You have inspired generations of young athletes with your passion, commitment, discipline and tenacity,” a Twitter user remarked.

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Indian Oil comes on board as lead sponsor of Khelo India Youth Games

Prominent shooters like Manu Bhaker, Anish Bhanwala and Sandeep Rajput were all present at the Anthem Launch ceremony.

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New Delhi, Feb 17: The massive success of the first 3 editions of Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG), has paved the way for the Government of India to launch the first season of the Khelo India University Games (KIUG). It received a shot in the arm in its inaugural season with PSU giant coming on board to sponsor the sporting revolution. For the first season of the KIUG, Indian Oil has committed to put its weight behind the Games as the lead sponsor with GAIL and ONGC also supporting.

The coming on board of industry heavyweight as sponsors is testament to the serious intent of the government to build the value of sports in the higher education sector and nurture this talent through guidance and developed infrastructure with KIUG.

Star Sports, India’s leading sports broadcaster continues to partner Khelo India and will broadcast the first-ever Khelo India University Games (KIUG) from February 22 to March 1 to be held in Odisha.

“All the nations in the world which have gone on to become sporting powerhouses have invested heavily in their university structure. It is the first time that such a professionally organized championship is happening at the university level. I would like to thank Indian Oil Corporation who have come on board as the primary sponsor partner for the Khelo India University Games,” Kiren Rijiju said.

Speaking on the association, Subodh Dakhwale, Executive Director, Corporate Communications Branding, Indian Oil Corporation said: “Indian Oil Corporation is a brand which is synonymous with sports. We have 92 active athletes who are currently representing the nation in various sports. I would like to thank Kiren Rijiju for providing us with the opportunity of associating with the Khelo India University Games which is happening for the first time in the country.”

The event also witnessed the launch of Khelo India University Games anthem sung and written by renowned singer and anchor Padamjeet Sherawat. The anthem has a very spirited vibe to it and has been composed keeping in mind the competitive nature of the championship.

Prominent shooters like Manu Bhaker, Anish Bhanwala and Sandeep Rajput were all present at the Anthem Launch ceremony.

The Khelo India University Games 2020 will be broadcast on Star Sports First, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 Hindi and DD Sports.

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