This year has been an eventful one in the world of cricket for various reasons.From Pakistan’s extraordinary effort to beat a red-hot India in the Champions Trophy final to Sri Lanka’s torrid run in limited-overs cricket, 2017 has been a year to remember.Talking of runs, how can one not talk about India’s dominating performance in 2017? India made the most of their home season, winning 14 series this year across the formats.Not only these three, the game also saw new additions. To spice up things, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to introduce four-day Test cricket and also grant Test status to two more teams, Afghanistan and Ireland. And recently, in Sharjah, a new format of the game kicked-off in the form of T-10 cricket.ALSO WATCHWhile these were the good things, a year without controversy isn’t really possible. Is it?England’s ace all-rounder Ben Stokes along with Alex Hales were reportedly involved in a heated incident at a Bristol bar while Jonny Bairstow was also fined by the ECB for staying out late ahead of a match day. While Hales was let off and was available for selection just recently, Stokes is still out of international cricket. He, however, has been added to England’s limited-overs squad against the Aussies.Not only that, Cricket Australia too had a tough time dealing with its players with the country’s game representatives declaring that they won’t be playing for Australia until and unless their demands are met and a better contract offer was on the table. But that got sorted just in time for tours and they went ahead.advertisementSo here’s a look at all the highlights of the year 2017.PAKISTAN’S CHAMPIONS TROPHY TRIUMPHLed by Sarfraz Ahmed, the ‘noisy neighbours’ of Indian cricket, silenced critics by hammering the defending champions by 180 runs at the Oval.Riding on Fakhar Zaman’s 114, Pakistan posted a stiff total of 338/4 from their 50 overs. In reply, the Indian openers — Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma — who were in tremendous form throughout the series, failed to fire. Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali bowled with pace and accuracy and Virat Kohli couldn’t help the cause as well. India were reduced to 5/54 from 13.3 overs and all hopes were lost. Hardik Pandya did try to wage a lone war but was run-out for a 46-ball 76 and the defending champions finally succumbed to defeat.Prior to the final, India had won all their three games, beating South Africa and Pakistan as well. They only lost to Sri Lanka in the group stages and defeated Bangladesh in the semis to make it to the final. Pakistan, on the other hand, lost to India in the group stages and defeated Sri Lanka and South Africa. The eventual winners eased past hosts England by eight wickets in the semis to reach the final.Nobody gave them a chance in the final. But riding on inspiring performances from Fakhar and the pacers, Pakistan lifted their first-ever Champions Trophy.Following their Champions Trophy triumph, cricket in the country also resurrected.The World XI led by Faf Du Plessis toured Pakistan for a three-match T20 series that the hosts won and the West Indies are also going to tour them in 2018 for three T20Is.Cricket has returned to the country after a gap of eight years.SRI LANKA’S DOWNFALLSri Lanka were on a torrid run in 50-over cricket before finally beating India at Dharamsala.Their losing streak started on July 8, 2017 when they lost to Zimbabwe back to back at Hambantota by four and three wickets. After that, they lost five-straight games to India and Pakistan in Sri Lanka and UAE, respectively to go 12 games straight without a win.The island nation suffered their third straight series whitewash in 2017 when Pakistan beat them 5-0 in October. Earlier, they had lost to South Africa and India. Before the Lankans, no team had been whitewashed more than twice in a year in bilateral series of five or more games. They were only whitewashed once in 34 years (1982-2016) in a five-match series and the team to do so was India in 2015.Before this horrendous run, they had lost 14 in a row between 1987 and 1988. None of the eight oldest full-member teams have suffered more than 11 losses in a row. England and West Indies are the only two teams to have lost 11 matches in a row.INDIA’S DOMINANCE Virat Kohli took over the team at the start of the year after Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to step down.India defeated England (ODIs and T20Is), Bangladesh (Test), Australia (Tests, ODIs), West Indies (ODIs), Sri Lanka (Tests, ODIs and T20Is), New Zealand (ODIs and T20Is) and then again Sri Lanka (Tests, ODIs and T20Is).advertisementWith the series win against the Lankans, India finished the year with 37 victories this year, seven of them in Tests, 21 in ODIs and nine in T20Is.NEW TEAMS IN TESTSTwo new teams were added to the roster in the form of Afghanistan and Ireland.As new full members of the ICC, Ireland and Afghanistan took the total of Test-playing countries to 12.Afghanistan are going to play their first-ever Test against India. However, the dates of the series are yet to be finalised.Until 1982 there were only seven full members of the ICC but that year Sri Lanka were admitted. Zimbabwe then joined in 1992 and Bangladesh wew the last to join in 2000.Cricket has a long history in Afghanistan but the country was amongst the sports minnows until gaining one-day international (ODI) status in 2011.In 2015, Afghanistan played in their first 50-over World Cup and they have also featured in the World Twenty20 competition.Ireland have steadily progressed in the game and first qualified for the World Cup in 2007, when they pulled off a shock win over Pakistan and they have qualified for both World Cups since then.INNOVATIONS IN THE GAMEICC approved the idea of four-day Tests and the first-ever four-day game is being played between South Africa and Zimbabwe. The game started on December 26 at Port Elizabeth. Along with being a four-day Test, it is also be a day-night Test.A minimum of 98 overs were to be played on each day and a first-innings lead of 150 was to be enough to enforce the follow-on in the day-night fixture in Port Elizabeth. Play was also to be extended for an extra 30 minutes to accommodate the additional eight overs.The match ended in two days and inside five sessions as the hosts hammered the visitors by an innings and 120 runs.Up north, the shortest format of the game also went underway.The likes of Virender Sehwag, Mohammed Amir, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Alex Hales were signed up by six teams for the T10 league in Sharjah between December 14-17.Shahid Afridi also picked up a hat-trick in one of the matches to set a record.CONTROVERSIES Ben Stokes was arrested after an incident in Bristol and was detained before being released without charge.Hales, who was with teammate Stokes at the time of his arrest, returned to Bristol in southwest England on Tuesday to help police with the investigation.The duo were handed suspensions and Stokes was also dropped from the Ashes squad. However, Hales was cleared for selection recently and Stokes was added to the limited-overs series squad against Australia.Stokes later decided to travel to New Zealand and play cricket for Canterburry. He started off slowly before hitting a brilliant 92 in his third match.Moving on to England’s Ashes rivals, the Aussies. They also had their fair share of controversies. The players decided against representing their countries if they were not given better contracts by June 30. However, nothing was solved and more than 203 people were ‘technically’ unemployed for over a month. After a war of words and cold vibes, the Aussie players decided to put pen on paper and go ahead with their tours of Bangladesh and India.advertisementSPECIAL MENTION: ASHESAlastair Cook has become the first England batsman to carry his bat since @Athersmike in 1997.https://t.co/5X7v95YLjf pic.twitter.com/NtnQwrQuNz- England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 28, 2017Talking of the Ashes, the Aussies regained the prestigious urn after beating England in the first-three Tests. The fourth Test is inclined towards England after Alastair Cook’s double hundred. Cook, who managed only 82 runs in the first three Tests and was heavily criticised for his technique. The southpaw came back and struck a fighting double ton — his fifth in Tests to take England to a commanding position.
The decision to rest stars backfired on Arsene Wenger as a 4-2 collapse at Nottingham Forest saw defending champions Arsenal getting knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round on Sunday.Eric Lichaj scored twice for the hosts either side of a Per Mertesacker equaliser to give Forest a 2-1 halftime lead.Ben Brereton, one of seven players aged 23 or under in the Forest side, made it 3-1 from the penalty spot in the 64th minute.Danny Welbeck took advantage of an error to pull a goal back for Arsenal with 12 minutes left but Forest were awarded another penalty which Kieran Dowell converted.”It hurts even more because it’s a competition we love,” said Wenger, who has lifted the FA Cup in three of the last four seasons and is the 145-year-old competition’s most successful manager with seven triumphs.While Wenger has endured a Premier League title drought since 2004, success in soccer’s oldest cup competition has helped the Frenchman to gain new contracts.The manner of the loss in Nottingham was mortifying for Wenger, who was forced to watch from the stands as he started a three-match touchline ban for misconduct toward a referee.”They were sharper than us,” Wenger said, “more incisive and more dominant in the challenges.”After Lichaj headed in Kieran Dowell’s free kick in the 20th minute, Per Mertesacker quickly leveled but the American defender was on target again just before halftime. Rob Holding’s weak headed clearance fell straight to Lichaj, who brought the ball down with his chest and unleashed a dipping volley into the far corner of the net.advertisement”My wife told me that if I get a hat trick any time during the year, then I get a dog,” Lichaj said. “So I was trying to get the penalty.”TOOTHLESS WEST HAMWhile West Ham avoided being eliminated at Shrewsbury, midfielder Josh Cullen did have a tooth knocked out.And the 0-0 draw means West Ham will have to face the third-tier side again with a replay at the Olympic Stadium after struggling in its third game in five days.Cullen had a front tooth inadvertently kicked out by Shrewsbury midfielder Abu Ogogo as they both went for the ball in the 75th minute. The tooth was recovered from the turf, while a bloodied Cullen was cleaned up on the touchline before returning to the action.KANE DOUBLELike West Ham, Tottenham struggled to breakdown a third-tier side but it did find a breakthrough after 63 minutes against AFC Wimbledon.Harry Kane made up for Tottenham’s profligacy by scoring twice inside two minutes. And Jan Vertonghen netted from 30 yards (meters) in the 71st minute to seal a 3-0 victory at Wembley Stadium – the site of the final being used as the north London club’s temporary home this season.LEEDS UPSETHours before Arsenal’s shock loss, fourth-tier side Newport knocked out Leeds, which is 53 places higher in the league ladder in the second-tier Championship.Leeds led through Gaetano Berardi’s ninth-minute strike but Newport leveled through Conor Shaugnessy’s own-goal in the 76th and Shawn McCoulsky’s 89th-minute header sealed a 2-1 victory.Leeds finished with 10 men after Spanish forward Samuel Saiz was sent off in stoppage time for spitting at Newport midfielder Robbie Willmott.
Former England boss Sam Allardyce will be appointed Everton manager on Thursday after finalising an 18-month deal with the struggling Premier League club.Allardyce watched from the stands as Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick in Everton’s 4-0 thrashing of West Ham United on Wednesday and will be in place for the weekend’s home clash against Huddersfield Town.”Sam has my full backing, the board have made their decision and, like any manager, he needs to be afforded time, patience and given the chance and the backing from the whole football club and he certainly has my full backing,” caretaker boss David Unsworth said after signing off with a smile on his face.Unsworth, who will return to his job with the under 23s having taken charge of the first team since Ronald Koeman’s sacking in October, said he had spoken to Allardyce at the club’s training ground on Wednesday.”I had 10 minutes with him this afternoon at Finch Farm, he came in with Steve Walsh and had a quick look around,” he said.The 63-year-old Allardyce, who has had stints at Sunderland, West Ham United and Crystal Palace after an impressive eight-year stay at Bolton Wanderers, takes over with Everton 13th in the table, five points above the relegation zone.Allardyce has never been relegated from the Premier League and stepped in to rescue struggling Crystal Palace midway through last season. He resigned, however, before the start of the current campaign.Everton sacked Koeman last month and placed Unsworth in temporary charge, but results did not immediately improve.advertisementAllardyce, who has a reputation for building direct, defensively solid teams, has been out of work since leaving Palace in the close season.That job was his first role since resigning as England manager in 2016 following a newspaper sting after just 67 days and one game in charge.Everton have struggled this campaign despite the club spending more than 140 million pounds ($188.09 million)on new players during the close-season.That spending splurge included a club-record 44 million pounds on Gylfi Sigurdsson, 25 million on goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, 25 million on defender Michael Keane and 24 million on Dutch international midfielder Davy Klaassen.While they began the season by beating Stoke City in their opening Premier League game and earning an impressive point away to Manchester City, their form then unravelled with seven defeats in their next 12 matches in all competitions.They suffered heavy losses to Tottenham Hotspur, Atalanta, Manchester United and a 5-2 home thrashing at the hands of Arsenal, which led to Koeman’s sacking.Goals have proved harder to come by for Everton than last season following the departure of striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United in July.Allardyce’s task will be to restore stability and return the club to being regular top-seven finishers as they were under David Moyes from 2004-2013 and under Koeman last season.
TweetPinShare0 Shares BELEK, Turkey – Blame it on Rio. That might as well have been the official slogan of this week’s Olympic gathering here.This turned out to be the occasion when the long-simmering angst over Rio de Janeiro’s troubled preparations for the 2016 Olympics blew up into full crisis mode.On the sidelines of the SportAccord convention in the Mediterranean resort of Belek, the International Olympic Committee executive board and summer sports federations raised the stakes over the critical delays threatening the first games in South America.Here’s five things we learned about the turmoil in Rio:ALARM BELLS RINGINGEveryone has known for some time that Brazil was lagging behind schedule. Until now, however, the IOC had kept relatively restrained with its no-time-to-lose warnings. But Turkey marked a tipping point when the IOC and sports leaders made their complaints loud and clear and exposed just how deep the crisis is, even deeper than it was for the 2004 Athens Games, previously considered the benchmark for organizational disorder. Venue construction delays are not the only concern. Worries are also mounting over accommodations, transport and water pollution. Some officials openly wondered about “Plan B” contingencies. The IOC even refused to rule out moving the games — considered highly improbable at such a late stage. The message: With two years to go, the games need salvaging.FELLI TO THE RESCUEThe man with the task of whipping Rio into shape is Gilbert Felli, the veteran IOC executive director of the Olympic Games. Already having been assigned to work on Rio once he steps down from his IOC role in August, the Swiss administrator is being dispatched to Rio next week to kick-start the process. No one knows the ins and outs of the management operations and deadlines for an Olympics better than Felli. But he’ll have his hands full. Three task forces are also being created and a local construction manager hired. Another key figure working behind the scenes with Felli will be American Olympic operations expert Doug Arnot.PLEASE MR. MAYORThe IOC went out of its way to single out Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes as a crucial player in the efforts to get the games on track. There has been deep frustration over the lack of cooperation on the Olympic project among the three level of government in Brazil. Local Olympic organizing chief Carlos Nuzman, the man credited with winning the games for Brazil, lacks the skills and political leverage that Sebastian Coe had in London. IOC President Thomas Bach and Felli both talked about the importance of Paes in facilitating funding for some of the construction, particularly for Deodoro, a complex for eight sports venues where work has yet to begin. “The mayor is the one really acting to solve the problem,” Felli said. “Be careful not to shoot at him.”NO GRASS FOR GOLFPerhaps the single sport most at risk is golf, due to return to the Olympic program for the first time in more than a century. Trouble is, the course at Venue Reserva de Marapendi, designed by American architect Gil Hanse, doesn’t even have any grass yet. Organizers say the grass installation will begin later this month, but can a world-class golf course be fully tested and ready within two years? Golf needs conditions that will attract the game’s top players. Officials may begin looking for an existing course — inside or outside Brazil — if progress isn’t made in a hurry.BLAME GAMEBach and Felli said they wouldn’t point fingers or blame anyone for the mess in Brazil. Critics could also take aim at the IOC for two things — giving the games to Rio in the first place, and waiting until now to raise the emergency alarm. (Juan Antonio Samaranch issued his famous “yellow light” warning to Athens organizers four years before the games). Was it prudent to give Brazil the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics back-to-back? It’s hard enough for rich, developed nations to host both mega events. Five years ago, the IOC embraced the emotional and sentimental factors of taking the Olympics to a new continent. Today, the prevailing feelings are ones of dismay and anxiety.
TweetPinShare0 Shares Greece’s men’s water polo team rebounded from a semi-final loss to Croatia to beat Italy on penalties and win bronze in the world water polo championship in Russia.The result means the team has advanced to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It’s been 10 years since a Greek men’s team did so well in water polo on the world level.Greece led for most of the match, but Italy turned the 7-5 score to a 7-7 draw at the end of regulation time to take the game to the penalties where the Greeks outscored their rivals, 4-2. Water polo doesn’t play to win if the game ends in a tie and resorts to penalty shots.
TORONTO (AP) — Kyle Lowry shrugged off his Game 1 struggles in style, and got the Raptors back on level terms.Lowry scored 22 points, including the clinching basket with less than 10 seconds to play, as Toronto beat the Milwaukee Bucks 106-100 on Tuesday night to level their first-round playoff series at 1-1.Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks.The best plays from The Greek Freak as he finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds, 7 dimes and 2 steals in Game 2. #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/bHPivLWdMk— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 19, 2017“I’ve been in the trenches with him before and he’s always bounced back,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s just who he is. He’s a competitor, he’s a fighter. I just knew that he wasn’t going to be satisfied with the way he played in the first game.”DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Serge Ibaka added 13 of his 16 in the second half and Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who improved to 5-1 when playing Game 2 of a playoff series on their home court.Lowry scored just four points in Saturday’s Game 1 loss, missing all six of his 3-point attempts.He was much better in Game 2, going 6 for 12, including 2 of 5 from long range.“We knew he was going to be more aggressive, we knew he was going to get his shot off,” Antetokounmpo said. “Tonight he did a better job of shooting the ball and finding his teammates, too.”Of Lowry’s six baskets, none was bigger than his step back jumper with 8.9 seconds remaining, which gave Toronto a 104-100 lead.“The play was for DeMar to get a bucket,” Lowry said. “That’s our guy. He had two guys on him and he trusted us. He threw it to Serge and Serge gave it to me. For me, I just wanted to get to my spot. I knew there were five seconds on the shot clock and I wanted to get to my spot. I got to my spot and let it go.”While they couldn’t snatch a second win away from home, Antetokounmpo said the Bucks had still managed to achieve something important.“We definitely gained a lot of things out of these two games,” he said. “We got their attention.”Toronto went 5 for 23 from behind the 3-point line in Game 1 but nearly tripled its output in Game 2, finishing 14 for 29.“They made more 3s by halftime than they did in the whole game in Game 1,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ve got to get those guys off the 3. That helped them.”Leading 84-83 through three quarters, Toronto opened the fourth with an 11-0 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Ibaka, and a third from P.J. Tucker.Milwaukee battled back, and a layup by Antetokounmpo cut it to 98-97 with 2:46 remaining, leading to a Raptors timeout.Ibaka made a jumper to put Toronto up three but Antetokounmpo answered with a 3-pointer, tying it at 100-all with 2:03 left.DeRozan broke the tie with a jumper and, after missed 3-pointers by Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova, Tucker missed a pair of free throws.DeRozan grabbed the rebound on a missed jumper by Middleton, setting the stage for Lowry’s decisive basket.TIP-INSBucks: Antetokounmpo missed six of his first eight field goal attempts. His only made basket in the first quarter was a dunk. … Antetokounmpo finished with seven assists.Raptors: Ibaka started despite a sore left ankle sustained when he stepped on Antetokounmpo’s foot in the third quarter of Game 1. … Lowry had four rebounds and five assists. … Former Toronto C Bismack Biyombo attended theSTEERING CLEAR OF SLUMPSThe Raptors have lost back-to-back games just once since the All-Star break, losing March 10 at Atlanta and March 11 at Miami.TAKE TWOToronto is 6-6 all time in Game 2s.UP NEXT.The teams meet Thursday in Milwaukee.Tuesday, April 18Toronto 106, Milwaukee 100, series tied 1-1Chicago 111, Boston 97, Chicago lead series 2-0L.A. Clippers 99, Utah 91, series tied 1-1IAN HARRISON, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shares
CRETE (FIBA U20 European Championship 2017) – In front of their adoring home fans, Greece celebrated their first FIBA U20 European Championship in eight years with a 65-56 victory over Israel in the Final.Turning Point: After trailing by 12 points in the third quarter, Israel engineered a brave fightback to get within 4 points moments before the end of the third. However, an astonishing long three from Nikolaos Diplaros on the buzzer stretched Greece’s lead to 7 and gave them the momentum. Israel never threatened again.Game Hero: Vasileios Charalampopoulos faced double teams almost every time he entered the post but his all-round influence was still pronounced. He finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals to cap a brilliant tournament.👌🔊❗️❗️❗️ #FIBAU20Europe @HellenicBF 📺 https://t.co/EdVgKZm8Et pic.twitter.com/oa9gB7Q1Qx— FIBA (@FIBA) July 23, 2017Stats Don’t Lie: Greece was superb defensively, especially displaying active hands. They had 11 steals to Israel’s 4.In their Words: “It is amazing to win and I am so happy. We played great defense and we really played aggressively. I was happy to hit a few threes and help us win the title.” – Antonios Koniaris TweetPinShare33 Shares
As Brazil get ready to play their final group game against Serbia at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow and seal their place in the last 16 of FIFA World Cup 2018, their fans have decided to make them feel at home.On Tuesday, around 300 Brazilian fans took over central Moscow square and threw a Samba party in front of the Bolshoi Theatre and gave a surprise to the city police.Brazil are known for their love of football and a carnival like atmosphere, Moscow square felt like Brazil on Tuesday.Latin Grammy award nominee Diogo Nogueira, himself a football player until a knee injury ended his sporting career, sang from an open-top bus as the square turned into a sea of green and yellow, Brazil’s national colours.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGE “The World Cup is not only (about) football. It’s a unity of cultures,” said samba drummer Wallace Leite, whose face was painted a bright green. “I’m here to represent Brazil to all these people, to show a little bit of Brazil and of course to learn (about) Russian culture as well.”Moscow police soon asked the bus and its powerful sound-system to move on, bringing the street party to a close.WORLD CUP 2018 – FIXTURES | POINTS TABLEBut Russians and foreign fans still got a taste of Brazilian culture.”Though I’m not a football fan at all, there’s a mad energy here… I feel great,” said one Muscovite, who gave her name as Asira. “It’s a Brazilian carnival, a Brazilian soap opera. Everything here is Brazilian.”advertisement Brazil have failed to impress at the World Cup so far.Despite being an extremely strong team on paper, the five-time World Cup winners have been criticised at home for their performance in the tournament so far, drawing with Switzerland and securing a last-gasp victory over Costa Rica in the very final moments of the match.When take on Serbia on Wednesday, they will require at least a draw to advance to the next stage but their aim will be to put up a strong show ahead of the knockout stages.They have some injury concerns of their own with both Danilo and Douglas Costa out with injury. Neymar, despite returning from an injury, has looked rusty and Philippe Coutinho has outshone him thus far.(With Reuters inputs)
New Delhi, Jul 4 (PTI) Congress president Rahul Gandhi today lauded the achievement of Major General V D Dogra for completing a ‘triathlon’ in Austria in just 14 hours and said he was a role model and inspiration for all Indians.It takes tremendous will power, discipline & stamina to complete an Ironman triathlon – 3.8 KM swim; 180 KM cycle; 42.2 KM run. Major General Dogra did that, in Austria, in just 14 hrs! He is a role model & inspiration for all Indians. We salute him!, Gandhi tweeted.Major General Dogra is said to have become the first serving Indian Army officer and the only General across the world to have completed a gruelling ‘Ironman’ competition in Austria. The Ironman is an international triathlon consisting of three consecutive events — 3.8 km of swimming, 180 km cycling and 42.2 km of running. It is considered the toughest one-day sporting event. Major General Dogra completed the three exercises in 14 hours and 21 minutes.The ‘Ironman’ Austria was held in Klagenfurt on July 1. PTI SKC TIRTIR
Sri Lanka pulled off a close three-wicket win in the only Twenty20 match against South Africa on Tuesday after the Sri Lanka spinners dismissed the tourists for their lowest score in the format.Batting first after winning the toss, South Africa were bowled out for 98 runs in the 17th over. South Africa’s previous lowest score in Twenty20 internationals was 100 against Pakistan in 2013.Akila Dananjaya and Dhananjaya de Silva took two wickets each to compliment Lakshan Sandakan who returned best figures of 3/19.Quinton de Kock top scored for South Africa with 20 runs as the Sri Lankan spinners did not allow any significant partnership.Sri Lanka progressed well despite a poor start but soon looked precarious after losing three middle order wickets for six runs. However, Dinesh Chandimal remained unbeaten on 36 to see his team reach 99/7 in 16 overs.Congratulations to @OfficialSLC who win a low-scoring thriller of a T20 by 3 wickets after bowling @OfficialCSA out for 98!#SLvSA scorecard: https://t.co/jIxVGnvck1 pic.twitter.com/WvCHRNUjCdICC (@ICC) August 14, 2018Sri Lanka lost their first two wickets in the first over with the total on six. Fast bowler Kasigo Rabada had Kusal Perera caught at mid-off by Tabraiz Shamsi and also won a leg before decision on review to dismiss Kusal Mendis.Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva (31) added 53 runs for the third wicket and looked to be cruising toward an easy win.However, Junior Dala dismissed de Silva through a catch in the deep with the score on 59 and Heinrich Klassen held a sharp catch at forward-short-leg off Shamsi to dismiss captain Angelo Mathew for a duck.advertisementDasun Shanaka made 16 before mistiming Dala for a high catch to Reeza Hendricks to leave Sri Lanka 82/5.Sri Lanka looked vulnerable at 88/7 after Thisara Perera (0) and Akila Dananjaya (2) were dismissed cheaply. However, Isuru Udana stayed with Chandimal to score the runs needed to win the game.Dala, Rabada and Shamsi took two wickets each for South Africa.
French Open organisers will not allow Serena Williams to wear anything like her sensational body-hugging ‘Black Pather’ catsuit that she turned up in at Roland Garros earlier this year.French Open chiefs have described that wearing an outfit so eye-catching is taking things “too far”.Serena Williams caught the eyes of one and all when she took the court at Roland Garros in an all-black suit, which she later termed as an inspiration from the famous Marvel movie ‘Black Panther’ and that it made her feel like a ‘warrior princess’.French Open was Serena’s first Grand Slam appearance since she gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, during and after which she had a number of complications.Serena described the outfit as “fun and functional” but also insisted that it helped her keep the blood clotting in check, something that endangered her life after her pregnancy. Even though Serena mentioned a strong reason for such a glaring showcase at the tennis court, it seems the French Open organisers are not in mood to entertain any such reasons.The French Tennis Federation (FFT) have decided that Serena’s that particular outfit and anything as evidently noticeable as that will not be allowed at the court at next year’s French Open.”I really believe that sometimes we have gone too far,” FFT president Bernard Giudicelli said to Tennis Magazine, as reported by French media.”The outfit of Serena this year, for example, will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place. Everyone wants to enjoy the showcase.”advertisementGiudicelli made a point that clothing at the 2019 French Open will have “certain limits” now but also admitted that it may turn out to be difficult to be too strict and unwavering.”For 2019, it’s a little late because the collections are already designed, but we will still ask the equipment manufacturers to communicate them to us.”
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Off-spinner Moeen Ali struck twice in three deliveries as England completed a 57-run victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka on the final day on Sunday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.Left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who had taken four wickets on Saturday, picked up the final Sri Lanka scalp to complete a maiden five-wicket haul in his third Test with the hosts all out for 243.Sri Lanka resumed on 226 for seven, needing 75 for victory, and kept the England spinners at bay for 15 minutes before Moeen dismissed Niroshan Dickwella, who was caught at slip by Ben Stokes for 35.2nd Test: Jack Leach, Joe Root lead England to historic series win against Sri LankaThe off-spinner then sent back Sri Lanka’s stand-in captain Suranga Lakmal for a duck two deliveries later. Moeen finished with 4-72 while Leach had figures of 5-83.Malinda Pushpakumara spooned a catch straight back to Leach as England completed their first away series win in Tests since beating South Africa at the beginning of 2016.Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test Day 5: HighlightsIt was also England’s first series win in Asia since the 2012 triumph in India and their first in Sri Lanka since 2001.”It was a brilliant Test match. We were very good for the whole game. At times we were under pressure and we responded really well to that,” England captain Joe Root said at the post-match presentation. “(I) couldn’t be more proud of the guys.”2nd Test: Jack Leach helps England close in on series win over Sri LankaadvertisementRoot was named player of the match for his brilliant 124 in the second innings that helped his team post a daunting target to chase.Sri Lanka batted well in both innings but Sam Curran’s stylish 64 in the first innings and Root’s astounding knock under pressure in the second made the difference for England.Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test: Scorecard”Sri Lanka played brilliantly in both innings. At times we lost clusters of wickets but we stayed very calm and managed to find ways to get back in the game and get the control back in our favour,” Root added.”We said we are going to come out here and play bold cricket, we were quite courageous at times and everyone’s really bought into that. We are seeing the rewards now.”We have to keep looking to improve. We have seen this team grow in the last six-eight months. We are not the finished article, we want to get to number one at some point.”We have to be consistent to do that, in all parts of the world and on different surfaces.”First Test five-fer for @jackleach1991!Scorecard: https://t.co/i1bD0Vzqin#SLvENG pic.twitter.com/oWeXWhJtEuEngland Cricket (@englandcricket) November 18, 2018With the Pallekele pitch assisting the slow bowlers, spinners completely dominated the match, taking 38 wickets.Lakmal was the only seamer to pick up a wicket while the other was a run out.It was also the first time since 1973 in Karachi that no seamer took a wicket in a Test for England.The third and final Test of the series will start on Friday in Colombo.(With Reuters inputs)Also Watch – Virat Kohli’s Team India out to script history in Australia
It’s a season of weddings in Bollywood. After Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s dreamy wedding at Lake Como in Italy, now all eyes are on Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s grand wedding in Jodhpur. It was in August this year that Priyanka and Nick made their relationship official with a roka ceremony, and the two are set to tie the knot soon.While the couple has remained tight-lipped on wedding, the preparations have already kickstarted in Jodhpur. Buzz has it that the lovebirds will have two wedding ceremonies, but before that they have planned some exciting pre-wedding functions.Apart from the mehendi and sangeet ceremonies, the couple are reportedly planning to recreate their first date for one of the pre-wedding functions.”The duo actually took a bit of time to know each other after they walked the red carpet at last year’s Met Gala. They stayed in touch and their relationship got serious only after they dated for a few months,” a source told the daily.According to a report in a leading daily, the couple wants to recreate their first official date.”Both Priyanka and Nick wanted to start the new journey of their lives with a fond memory. They want it exactly the way it was from the ambience to the food and the setting. While the couple will solemnise their marriage on December 2 in Jodhpur, before one of the other ceremonies (mehendi or sangeet), they will go on a similar date. Nickyanka (as they are popularly known) will also sport the same outfits that they had worn for the occasion,” added the source.advertisementWhile Nick is already on his way to India for the wedding, Priyanka is currently busy wrapping up Sky Is Pink in Delhi. The actress will soon join Nick in Jodhpur wherein the two will begin preparing for their joing performance at their sangeet ceremony.The wedding is expected to take place on December 2 at Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur.ALSO READ | Nick Jonas’s phone wallpaper proves he is smitten with Priyanka ChopraALSO READ | Nick Jonas heads to India for wedding with Priyanka ChopraALSO WATCH | Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas get engaged in Mumbai
Sri Lanka great and Indian Premier League’s highest-wicket taker Lasith Malinga is back in the auction pool ahead of the 12th edition of the cash-rich league, scheduled to start in the third week of March.Malinga, who had been three-time champions Mumbai Indians’ key player over the years, has listed himself among nine players with the maximum base price of Rs 2 crore for the auction, which will be held in Jaipur on December 18.The 35-year-old’s decision to make himself available for IPL 2019 helps raise a few eyebrows as the pacer joined Mumbai Indians as a mentor last season after going unsold in the auction in January ahead of the 11th season.However, Malinga, who had been troubled in the recent past by injuries, made a successful comeback to international cricket in 2018 and is bidding to represent Sri Lanka at next year’s World Cup.Meanwhile, Australia’s T20I captain Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell have made themselves unavailable for IPL 2019 after being released by Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Capitals, respectively.The two Australian batsmen have made the decision, keeping in mind a busy schedule and the Cricket World Cup, which will start in England, weeks after the conclusion of IPL, according to ESPNCricinfo.World Cup preparations to affect the availability of players for IPL 12While the IPL is expected to run from the third week of March to mid-May, the World Cup-bound Australian players have been asked by Cricket Australia to return for a preparatory camp by May 2, the report added.advertisementBarring the West Indies and New Zealand, all other countries have put restrictions on the players’ availability for the 12th season of IPL.World Cup-bound English players have been requested to return home by April 25, while South Africa players are expected to join a preparatory camp by May 10, and Sri Lankans by May 6. Bangladesh players and Ireland players have also been asked to head back home by April 15 and April 30, respectively.Sam Curran in INR 2 crore base-price clubA total of 1003 players have registered themselves for the 70 spots available in the eight IPL franchises. There will be 232 overseas players, who have thrown their hat in the ring and 800 uncapped players with 746 of them being Indians.Among the foreign players, 35 Australians have registered themselves while 27 players are from Afghanistan. The highest number of players registered — 59 — are from South Africa while USA, Hong Kong and Ireland have one player each in the initial list.England’s Sam Curran, Colin Ingram, Chris Woakes and Australia’s D’Arcy Short, Shaun Marsh, along with Angelo Mathews, and New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson are part of the Rs 2 crore base-price club.Fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat, who was released by Rajasthan Royals, has listed himself for Rs 1.5 crore, the maximum base price for an Indian.All-rounder Yuvraj Singh has listed himself for Rs 1 crore, so have wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, spinner Axar Patel and pacers Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.The list will be further pruned for the auction with franchises being given time till December 10 to submit their wish-list of players.Another notable development will be the absence of auctioneer Richard Madley, who became a regular feature during the IPL auctions over the years.(With inputs from PTI)Also Read | Pakistan’s Yasir Shah run out after his shoe comes off in Test vs New ZealandAlso Read | India vs Australia: Usman Khawaja’s one-handed catch leaves Virat Kohli stunned
Barcelona on Monday announced the surprise loan signing of Kevin-Prince Boateng from Italian side Sassuolo until the end of the season.The 31-year-old Boateng has appeared to be past his prime after playing for the likes of AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, and Tottenham.The agreement includes an option to buy the former Ghana international for 8 million euros ($9 million). He played for Ghana in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.Boateng, who plays as a midfielder and as a forward, will be officially presented by Barcelona on Tuesday.He becomes another attacking option for coach Ernesto Valverde as Barcelona remains in contention in the Spanish league, the Copa del Rey, and the Champions League.Barcelona have been linked to a host of forwards during the winter transfer window as they seek experienced backup options for Luis Suarez. The club let youngster Munir El Haddadi join Sevilla at the start of the month after he refused the offer of a new contract at the Catalan club.Moves for Cristhian Stuani of Girona and Los Angeles FC’s Mexican international Carlos Vela were rebuffed, with Boateng emerging as a surprise target earlier on Monday in the Spanish press.An attacking midfielder by trade, Boateng has operated as a forward for the midtable Serie A outfit during the first half of this season, scoring four times in 11 starts.He spent the 2016-17 season in Spain with Canary Islands side Las Palmas, netting 10 goals in 28 La Liga appearances, and will be presented officially at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.advertisement
Roger Federer overcame two rain delays to beat Marton Fucsovics 7-6(6), 6-4 on Thursday and reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.After a brief interruption when the players were locked at 5-5 in the opening set, Federer saved two set points in the tiebreak and held firm to gain the upper hand in the contest.The drizzle returned at 4-4 in the second set but Federer switched gears after the restart, sealing a decisive break to go ahead 5-4 and closed out the match in an hour and 56 minutes.The 20-time Grand Slam winner, who is seeking his 100th ATP title, next takes on Borna Coric, who beat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6, 6-2, 7-6.Gael Monfils continued his fine recent form by rallying past Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis 6-1 6-7(3) 6-2, with the victory set to catapult him back into the top 20 on Monday.The Frenchman, who won his first title of the year in Rotterdam earlier this month, takes on Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last-four.Tsitsipas, 20, survived a mid-match wobble to get past Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(4) 6-7(1) 6-1.”We’re both serving really well. We have similar game style. I’m a bit more aggressive than him, but he’s much faster,” Tsitsipas said of Monfils.The pair have a 1-1 head-to-head record with world number 23 Monfils winning their most recent meeting in Sofia this year.”I’m going to have to… be patient, play with passion as well, wait for the opportunities to break him. I’m going to have to serve well,” Tsitsipas added.advertisementAlso Read | Nick Kyrgios lacks respect for the public, opponent and for himself: Rafael NadalAlso Watch:
Flamboyant England opener Alex Hales has been withdrawn from the England squads ahead of a busy international season in order “to create the right environment” around the senior national team.Hales has also been withdrawn from the preliminary squad for the 2019 World Cup and the T20I and ODI squads for series against Ireland and Pakistan, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Monday.The strong action from ECB comes days after Hales was handed a 21-day ban for recreational drug use.”We’ve worked hard to create the right environment around the England team and need to consider what is in the best interests of the team, to ensure they are free from any distractions and able to focus on being successful on the pitch,” Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Ashley Giles, said in a statement.”I want to make it clear this is not the end of Alex’s career as an England player. The ECB and the PCA will continue to aid Alex and work alongside his county club Nottinghamshire to give him the support he needs, to help him fulfil his potential as a professional cricketer.”Prior to his ban, Alex Hales had taken an indefinite break from cricket due to personal reasons, his club Nottinghamshire had confirmed earlier. Hales had missed Nottinghamshire’s 50-over match against Lancashire last week.This is not the first time ECB has taken action against Alex Hales over disciplinary issues. In 2017, Hales was ined and suspended for his involvement in a nightclub altercation with teammate Ben Stokes in Bristol.advertisementAlso Read | I don’t care about records: Hardik Pandya after 34-ball 91 vs KKRAlso See:
Barcelona captain and La Liga top scorer Lionel Messi rounded off a spectacular season by netting twice in a 2-2 draw away to Eibar in the champions’ final game on Sunday, taking his tally to a remarkable 36 goals.Eibar went ahead in the 20th minute with a strike from Barca’s on-loan midfielder Marc Cucurella which squirmed under keeper Jasper Cillessen but Messi levelled in the 31st, sneaking into the box to meet a pass from Arturo Vidal and score.Messi struck again a minute later, racing through the middle unchallenged and calmly chipping the outstretched keeper Marko Dmitrovic, but Eibar’s Pablo de Blasis levelled right before halftime with a superb one-touch strike from long range.Malcom and Gerard Pique missed second-half chances for the champions while Cucurella spurned an even better opportunity for Eibar. Barca finished the campaign on 87 points, 11 clear of runners-up Atletico Madrid and 19 ahead of Real Madrid in third.Also Read | La Liga: Real Madrid end campaign with 12th league defeatAlso See:
Xiaomi sub-brand Redmi has confirmed the launch date of the Redmi K20 series. The two Redmi flagships aka Redmi K20 and the Redmi K20 Pro will launch in China on May 28. Following China, the Redmi K20 with Snapdragon 855 will come to India very soon. A new report now reveals that there’s another device that will launch alongside the Redmi K20 series. The third Redmi phone is expected to be a cheaper one. This suggests that the third phone launching alongside the Redmi K20 series could be the Redmi 6A successor aka Redmi 7A.This bit of information comes from tipster Ishan Agarwal. He took to Twitter to talk about the coming of a cheaper Xiaomi Redmi phone. In the tweet, he said, “Redmi K20 and K20 Pro are not the only devices launching soon in China. There is a budget Redmi coming soon as well…” Although the tipster didn’t reveal the name of the cheaper Redmi phone, we believe it to be the Redmi 7A for two reasons.One: The Redmi 7A is the only phone that’s left to be launched in the Redmi 7 series. The company recently launched the Redmi 7. Two: The Redmi 7A made its way to TENAA benchmarking site with almost all the key specs. Let’s take a quick look at what the benchmark listing revealed about the Redmi 7A.–The TENAA listing reveals that the Redmi 7A will come with a 5.45-inch display with thick bezels. –This means the phone may not sport Dot Drop Notch display. –In the listing the phone is listed with screen resolution of 720×1440 pixels and 18:9 aspect ratio. –The benchmark listing reveals that the Redmi 7A will be powered by 1.4GHz octa-core processor–The phone is said to come in three variants — 2GB RAM/16GB storage, 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, and 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.–The listing shows the phone with dual-SIM slots –It runs on Android Pie-based MIUI 10–On the camera front the Redmi 7A is listed with a 13-megapixel sensor at the back. –On the front, it is tipped to include an 8-megapixel sensor. –The listing shows the Redmi 7A with a 3,900mAh battery, 3.5mm headphone jack. –There may not be face unlock or fingerprint sensor on the Redmi 7A.advertisementAs of now, there are no reports on whether the Redmi 7A will head to India or not. However, considering the past track records, we believe the Redmi 7A will come to India soon. As the Redmi 7A will replace the Redmi 6A in the market the phone is expected to be priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000. The price of the Redmi 7A could be in the Rs 5,000 – Rs 6,000 price segment because the Redmi 7 costs Rs 7,999. So, Xiaomi will try to keep Rs 2,000 price difference. Currently, Xiaomi is gearing up to bring Redmo K20 and Snapdragon 730 powered Mi phone could be the Mi A3.ALSO READ | Honor 20 series launch set for today: Expected specs and livestream detailsALSO READ | US delays Huawei ban for 90 days, founder says company has made preparationsALSO READ | Redmi Note 7 to be discontinued in India soon, will be replaced by Redmi Note 7S