England, June 4: India decimated Pakistan by 124 runs in a one-sided ICC Champions Trophy 2017 match in Birmingham.
The top four Indian batsmen scored half-centuries as India put on a dominating show and posted a mammoth 319 for 3 against Pakistan in their ICC Champions Trophy 2017 match at Edgbaston.
Innings was led by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan’s 136-run opening stand which gave the Men in Blue the perfect start. Virat Kohli played a captain’s knock with a whirlwind 81 not out off 68 balls, Hardik Pandya hammered three sixes in his six-ball 20 runs knock.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (captain), Yuvraj Singh, M.S. Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper/captain), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali.
MSD-2; SUCCESS SOJURN CONTINUES
Contemplating a tiny take from the Oscar-winning movie Gladiator and Academy award-winning actor Russell Crowe’s fabulous narration from that movie only ‘Are you not entertained?’ and annexing with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s entire cricket life, one aspect which comes to mind, who is the greatest entertainer in the current crop of cricketers for India? Not in terms of off the field activities but in the means of closing the cliffhanger in the last penultimate over’s like a classic Hollywood thriller making the most of matches exciting, enthralling and above all entertaining.
India is a nation where cricket is treated as a religion and Tendulkars are worshipped as semi Gods. But for us what matters most is how to snatch a victory from the opposition jaw by a whisker. Hats off to the magician Mahi.
Six months ago his position in Indian side was uncertain and raised few eyebrows of cricket laurels. He proved his critics wrong. Be it in front of the stumps or behind the stumps he is the go-to man for captain Kohli in crunch close matches.
Dhoni’s average in one –the day is 52.07 in 341 outings. Dhoni’s batting record is Bradmanesque when it comes successful run chase in ODI(in a minimum of 20 innings) is 99.85. Even the great Virat Kohli, who is at the prime of his career, is ranked second best to 37 years old with an average of 99.84 in successful ODI run chase.
Looking at recent IPL performances of MSD performance speaks augur well. He averages at an astounding average @42.12 accumulating 358 runs in 11 outings.IPL is the biggest entertaining platform for all the prime cricketer for showcasing and proving their net worth for their franchise. The Ranchi dasher is the best entertainer ever in this format also. Suddenly TRPs of television channels are surging in the closing overs in recent times. Maverick Mahi performances not only proved his prowess in front of stumps but his gloves work behind stumps is stupefying. Dhoni pulls off 2 stumping within 3 balls in last IPL match against Delhi Capitals 0.12 and 0.16 seconds respectively.
People not only get attracted to him in the cricketing arena but also in international relations and affairs. Recently Syed Akbaruddin India’s permanent representative at prestigious UN said,’ he followed Dhoni’s approach of never say times up and never give up early in his efforts to bring member nations on the same platform. “ He relates this to the bidding to list Massod Azhar as a global terrorist.
Before the dawn of Australia series those who have ridiculed and advised the master to hang up his boots, now gambling India’s World-cup winning chances on his presence and performance in the Indian side. That is why he is the true cricket legend for India in modern times.
World Cup Cricket 2019 Selection Conundrum
Selection is a negative process whereas recruitment is a positive one. Last week World Cup cricket 2019 Indian team selection speaks the same story. Be it Risbah Pant, Vijay Sankar, Dinesh Karthik or Ambati Rayudu, mention choices of many. Now the question arises do the selectors hit the bull’s eye or they simply missed a trick by a whisker.
Coming back to the above-cited players if we make one to one comparison, Pant looks to be a stronger and comfortable option rather than others. Starting from stalwarts like Sunil Gavaskar to Ricky Ponting everybody speaks augur well about the southpaw. Definitely, he is a rare breed and absolute murderer of a cricket ball. But he is purely picked as a middle order batsmen because his gloves work behind the stumps have raised eyebrows of many cricket pundits. Another interesting reason may be for his surprise omission is closing games, for which we may require nudgers and playing the ball in gaps for stealing single and converting ones into twos like the class of Michel Bevan rather than power hitting.
He might have proved his mettle in test cricket mostly overseas conditions with two exceptional and sensational centuries against England and Australia but his one-day performances do not sound well. His meek dismissals against weak opposition like West Indies and emerging and re-grouping Australian and below-par average 23.25 mostly in home condition does not cement his place in One-day team. Taking a risk can be a gamble in world-cup like event which may be a career-changing criterion.
Talking about Rayudu vs Sankar the earlier performance is better than Sankar. He averages in one –day at a healthy rate i.e, 47.06. But as rightly advocated by MSK Prasad, chief selector of senior cricket team BCCI,” Sankar is a 360-degree player”. Sanker bowling looks ordinary in Sub-continent conditions where he hardly bowls but in English condition, he can be a handy asset when the weather is overcast and the bowl will be taking in the air. He can give you some game-changing odd break-through. Sankar is an excellent fielder and his batting has come of age in recent times with rare failures(avg;33.0 both in India and overseas conditions).
Now taking attention to another debatable selection, Dinesh Karthik, who is picked purely as a wicket keeper batsmen with better keeping record than Pant and can be a good finisher in crunch situations though still not proved immensely in one-days. As Dhoni is no more getting younger and World cup is a long tournament, India may provide some rest to his all-time best finisher ever in this format.
Having discussed the selection conundrum we must remain sanguine that India must emerge as the conquering of the world cup one –day cricket. They should supplant their 83’s heroes by lifting the cup for the third time with a trademark British champagne in their hands.
Premier League: Liverpool face Tottenham Hotspur test in quest for title
Liverpool face arguably the toughest challenge remaining in their quest to end nearly three decades without a Premier League title when a Tottenham side with their own desperate need for points visit Anfield on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men hold a two-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table but have played one game more meaning they need the champions to slip up at some point in their remaining eight games.
However, City face a brutal April schedule as they bid to complete a historic quadruple of trophies and still have to travel to local rivals Manchester United, as well as hosting Tottenham themselves Tricky trips to Southampton, Cardiff, and Newcastle, who are all battling for survival, await Liverpool but the majority of their seven remaining games are at fortress Anfield, where they have dropped just four points all season.
“They are unbeaten in the Premier League at Anfield, it is going to be a massive challenge,” admitted Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. “We respect them, they are doing a good job.” Just a few weeks ago, Spurs could have circled Sunday’s visit as a chance to claw back ground in the title race themselves.
However, a run of just one point from their last four Premier League games has left Pochettino’s men, now 15 points adrift of Liverpool in third, scrambling just to protect their place in the top four.
Three weeks have passed since their last outing for Pochettino to stew over a 2-1 defeat at Southampton and the Argentine wants a reaction at Anfield.
“We are in a very good position in the Premier League and the Champions League, but of course it is not enough” added Pochettino.
“I feel little disappointed because in some periods during the season we were really good and some, like now, we are not showing our real quality.” A trip north kicks off a momentous week for Spurs as they will finally begin life in the club’s new 62,000 capacity stadium on Wednesday against Crystal Palace after months of delays.
Pochettino hailed the venue as “the best stadium in the world”, but its unveiling at a reported cost of 1 billion has only emphasised the need for Spurs to make sure it hosts Champions League football next season.
However, Klopp believes Tottenham will be buoyed just by the experience of training in their new home this week.
“I think these are exciting times for Tottenham. I saw only pictures of it and it looks pretty impressive,” he added.
“Tottenham played their last game three weeks ago, I don’t think anybody feels any defeat from three weeks ago.
“We expect the strongest Tottenham you can expect because I heard nothing about any injury problems or whatever. They had a few over the season but not in the moment, so there will be a strong side here. A world-class team will be here.” Indeed, Harry Kane continued his strong comeback from an ankle injury by scoring in both England’s comprehensive victories over the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Kane’s streak of 12 goals in 13 matches for club and country has seen him move level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane on 17 Premier League goals, just one behind Man City’s Sergio Aguero in the race for the Golden Boot.
Salah pipped Kane to the award last season, but the Egyptian has scored just once in the last 10 games, while Mane has shouldered the goalscoring burden with 11 in as many games “I’m sure all the players up there will be looking to get that award,” said Kane.
“But it’s just a bonus. As a striker, I’ll be trying to help my team as much as possible.”
Bahrain GP: Valtteri Bottas looking to repeat Albert Park performance
Formula One’s Australian season-opener left Valtteri Bottas with a winning feeling that the Finn is determined to hang on to in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old Mercedes driver, who started the year in meaner and more aggressive mood, took a crushing victory in Melbourne two weeks ago to finish more than 20 seconds clear of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
The result handed him the maximum 25 points for the win plus an extra point for setting the fastest lap.
Buoyed by the margin and finding himself heading the championship standings for the first time, albeit with 20 races remaining, Bottas must try to stay ahead at Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit.
“When you feel you are performing at your best is a beautiful feeling,” the four times race winner told reporters on Thursday. “I now just need to keep the momentum and feel that again soon.”
Bahrain has been one of Bottas’s stronger venues in the past.
The Finn scored his first Formula One pole position around the 5.4-km layout and came within a second of snatching victory from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel last year.
He is aware, however, that he could face a far tougher challenge on Sunday from Briton Hamilton and a resurgent Ferrari than he did in Australia.
“We were all positively surprised on the performance we had in Melbourne but… it is a bit of a funny circuit,” said the Finn.
“I would say here this weekend and (at the next race in) China, we’re going to get a much better picture of the real performance at this point of the year.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appointed as Manchester United manager
Manchester United has confIrmed caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær as the club’s full time manager. He has been given a contract for three years. Ole took over United in December last year when the team’s fortune was virtually down in the dumps. From there, Ole has scripted an amazing turnaround with United winning 14 matches out of 19, with two draws.
United also won the first eight games under Ole at a stretch which was a much needed moral booster for the players still scathed from the Mourinho experience.
Ole is also a former United player with 366 caps in over a decade-long career with the club. Reacting to the announcement, he said, “From the first day I arrived, I felt at home at this special club,” said Solskjær. “It was an honour to be a Manchester United player, and then to start my coaching career here. The last few months have been a fantastic experience and I want to thank all of the coaches, players and staff for the work we’ve done so far. This is the job that I always dreamed of doing and I’m beyond excited to have the chance to lead the club long-term and hopefully deliver the continued success that our amazing fans deserve.”
Captains had earlier decided against Mankading: Rajeev Shukla
Indian Premier League Chairman Rajeev Shukla has claimed that IPL captains, including Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had decided against ‘Mankading’ during a meeting held before one of the editions of the event.
Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandaran Ashwin kicked up a storm on Monday after running out Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler at the non-strikers’ end on his delivery stride, a legally permissible but controversial form of dismissal popularly called ‘Mankading’, in an IPL match in Jaipur.
Ashwin’s action was heavily criticised by RR’s brand ambassador Shane Warne, who also questioned those who found nothing wrong with it.Weighing into the matter, Shukla said a call had been taken to avoid such dismissals in a meeting of captains and match referees in which Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Kohli and Chennai Super Kings skipper Dhoni were also present.
“If I remember in one of the meetings of captains & match referee where I was also present as chairman it had been decided that if non striking batsman steps out bowler as a courtesy will not run him out @IPL @BCCI,” he tweeted.”Most probably this meeting was in Kolkata on the eve of one of the editions of ipl where Dhoni & Virat both were present @BCCI @IPL,” he added without specifying the exact edition before which this decision was made.Ashwin’s run out of Buttler is the first case of ‘Mankading’ in the 12 editions of the IPL.
UEFA fines Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo for Atletico celebration
Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was fined 20,000 euros ($22,712) by UEFA for a gesture he made while celebrating in their Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid last week, European soccer’s governing body said on Thursday.
Ronaldo escaped a ban and will, therefore, be free to face Ajax Amsterdam in the quarter-finals, with the first leg to be played in the Netherlands on April 10.
Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick as the Italian champions overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate against Atletico, gestured towards his groin with two hands.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone had celebrated in a similar way after his team’s opening goal in the first leg in the Spanish capital.
The Argentine coach was fined the same amount by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee.
Basil Thampi reveals how IPL has taken his game to the next level
Young Kerala pacer Basil Thampi feels the IPL has given him the confidence to bowl at just about any batsman in the world as the tournament is more challenging for the bowlers.
The 25-year-old uncapped pacer will be turning up for the Sunrisers Hyderabad this year after two seasons with the now dissolved Gujarat Lions.
“It is very challenging to bowl in the IPL because it is a batsmen’s game and we all know that. We should have confidence to bowl, that is the key. So, in the last three years I got the confidence to bowl at everyone. Whenever I get the ball, I want to deliver my best,” Thampi told PTI in an interaction.
The IPL season 12 commences on March 23.
Thampi is part of an impressive bowling line-up that also includes experienced swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul and left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed.
“This coming season I want to do well. The most important thing is if I get a chance, I want to do well for the team. From the last experience, I learnt a lot for this team,” Thampi said.
The youngster said he will mostly stick to his stock delivery, which is the yorker.
“Because I have good yorkers, I guess, and I want to stick to it and, with that, some variations,” the right-arm medium pacer said.
According to Thampi, the most important thing which he learnt from the senior pacers was how to prepare his body.
Thampi said he shares a good rapport with his co-pacers.
“We know each other. Khaleel, Sandeep and Siddharth Kaul, we have played together in India A matches. We are (always) sharing our thoughts on and off the field,” he said.
Sunrisers will begin their IPL campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders on March 24 at the Eden Gardens. PTI NRB SSR GK
PCB to pay $1.6 million to BCCI after losing legal dispute
The Pakistan Cricket Board has paid the BCCI approximately USD 1.6 million as compensation after losing the case in the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani claimed on Monday.
“We incurred costs of around USD 2.2 million on the compensation case which we lost,” Mani said.
He insisted that besides the amount paid to India to cover the costs of the case the other expenses were related to legal fees and travelling.
The PCB had filed a compensation case against the BCCI last year before the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee for an amount of around USD 70 million.
PCB had sought a huge amount from BCCI for not honouring a MoU signed between the two boards. According to the MoU, India and Pakistan were supposed to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, which the BCCI failed to honour.
The Indian cricket board said they were unable to play against Pakistan as the Indian government did not give them permission. India also dismissed the Pakistan board’s claims as legally binding.
“The ICC committee did accept that Pakistan had a case and that is why the damages/cost we had to pay to the Indian board was around USD 1.6 million,” Mani said.
Angel Di Maria shines at home ground as PSG punish Marseille
Angel Di Maria delivered a near-perfect performance, scoring two and setting up another as runaway leaders Paris St Germain beat 10-man Olympique de Marseille 3-1 at home on Sunday.
The Argentine forward tormented the visitors’ defence throughout, adding to Kylian Mbappe’s opener to put PSG on 77 points from 28 games.
PSG’s bitter rivals Marseille, who equalised through Valere Germain seconds into the second half, are fourth on 47 points from 29 matches.
OM keeper Steve Mandanda was sent off after 62 minutes for handling outside the area.
Earlier on Sunday, third-placed Olympique Lyonnais claimed a 3-2 home win against Montpellier to move within four points of Lille, who slumped to a 1-0 home defeat by Monaco on Friday and are now 20 points behind PSG having played one more game.
At the Parc des Princes, part of the Auteuil stand was left empty just before kickoff as fans protested against PSG’s elimination from the Champions League against Manchester United earlier this month.
“We do not forget,” a banner read.
But with Marseille having scored at least one goal in their last 13 league outings and PSG having found the back of the net in each of their previous 27 matches in Ligue 1, the fans expected goals.
Two minutes into stoppage time in the first half, they got their reward.
Di Maria, who had an early goal disallowed for offside after a VAR review, beat three OM players just outside the area to launch a sharp counter attack.
The Argentine released Mbappe to his left for the France striker to coolly slot the ball past Mandanda for his 26th goal from 23 games in Ligue 1 this season.
Mbappe however missed a penalty in injury time.
PSG were ahead but had already lost fullbacks Dani Alves and Thomas Meunier through injuries.
Germain levelled with a low crossed shot from Lucas Ocampos’s pass in the area, but Di Maria quickly restored the advantage.
He broke down the right flank, cut back into the area and netted into the far corner in the 55th minute.
Six minutes later, as Di Maria led another counter attack, Mandanda, who had rushed out of his box, handled the ball that the Argentine had just released.
The keeper was sent off and Di Maria’s exquisite 30-metre free kick went into the top corner, beating replacement keeper Yohann Pele who had not yet touched the ball.
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