Gutsy India settle for maiden silver medal
Posted by on 18 June

Gutsy India settle for maiden silver medal

London: India were pipped by reigning world champions Australia 1-3 via penalty shootout to settle for their maiden silver medal in the Hockey Champions Trophy on Friday. After the 60 minutes of regulation play remained goalless in the final, Australian goalkeeper Tyler Lovell denied SK Uthappa, SV Sunil and Surender Kumar in the penalty shootout to drive Australia to their 14th Champions Trophy title — most by any side. Harmanpreet Singh was the only scorer for India, while for Australia, Aran Zalewski, Daniel Beale, Simon Orchard succeeded. Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh could only deny Trent Mitton. However, it was India’s best performance in the history of the tournament. India’s previous best performance in the Champions Trophy was a bronze medal in 1982. India, up against the mighty Australians, put up a strong defensive display and showed good counter-attacking skills. Mandeep Singh created the first potent chance in the ninth minute as his speedy run on the right caught the Australians off-guard. His shot at goalkeeper Andrew Charter was deflected to Uthappa but the latter employed a lethargic backhand strike to waste it as the Australians were less in numbers in front of the goal. Australia broke through the Indian defence in the very next minute, earning a penalty corner. But India saw off four back-to-back penalty corners and in their moment of turnover, earned two penalty corners but they did not bear fruit. Australia mounted the pressure on India but the latter managed to stay strong, thanks to the heroics of central defender V.R. Raghunath. During a penalty corner defence, the ball kissed the legs of Uthappa, India’s final defender behind goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, resulting in a penalty stroke in the 18th minute. But Blake Govers hit it wide, much to the relief in the Indian camp. India too earned two penalty corners before the half-time but Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter denied VR Raghunath. India upped the ante in the final few minutes of the third quarter with Mandeep Singh in the centre of the action. India launched a quick counter-attack after defending a penalty corner but Charter rushed out and halted Nikkin Thimmaiah. Later, a byline cross from Mandeep was deflected away by Jeremy Hayward, who then halted Chinglensana Singh’s speedy run. Changed goalkeeper Tyler Lovell then was tested by a reverse-hand strike from Akashdeep Singh, whose direct shot was padded out of danger. Both the teams tried their best but they failed to break the deadlock, taking the game to the shootout, where the Australians won and claimed the title for the seventh time in the last 16 years.  
0 0 473 18 June, 2016 sports more
Euro 2016: Modric stunner sees Croatia past Turkey
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Euro 2016: Modric stunner sees Croatia past Turkey

Paris: Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric scored a brilliant volley as Croatia defeated Turkey 1-0 in their Euro 2016 Group D on Sunday. Ante Cacic's Croatia dominated throughout, twice hitting the bar in the second half. But only Modric's 41st-minute strike -- his 11th international goal -- that separated the teams at the final whistle. Victory gave Croatia revenge for their elimination on penalties by Turkey in the quarter-finals at Euro 2008, although they had previously beaten them in a qualifying play-off prior to Euro 2012. Fatih Terim's Turkey now have it all to do ahead of their meeting with defending champions Spain in Nice on Friday. Croatia can already go into their game against the Czech Republic with one eye on the last 16. Modric illuminated the game with his deft flicks and surefooted touches, and with half-time approaching he provided the breakthrough. Selcuk Inan appeared to have cleared the danger by hooking the ball high to the edge of the Turkey box, but Modric watched it drop before spearing an emphatic, dipping volley past Babacan from 25 yards. The replays did not make kind viewing for Babacan. There was embarrassment, too, for the tournament organisers as a fan ran on the pitch to embrace Modric and flares were let off in the Croatia end. Turkey coach Terim made a change at half-time, sending on Volkan Sen for Oguzhan Ozyakup and moving captain Arda Turan infield to a number 10 position in a 4-2-3-1 system. But Croatia continued to boss proceedings and Srna twice went close, first clipping the crossbar with a free-kick and then lashing wide left-footed after Babacan could only parry Ivan Perisic's cross. The introduction of 18-year-old Emre Mor, the Denmark-born forward dubbed 'The Turkish Messi', drew roars of approval from Turkey's fans. Yet it was Croatia who came closest to scoring in the closing stages as Babacan tipped a header from Brozovic over the bar and then rushed out to thwart Perisic.
0 0 493 13 June, 2016 sports more
Saina Nehwal clinches second Australian Open title
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Saina Nehwal clinches second Australian Open title

Sydney: Indian ace Saina Nehwal received a huge boost ahead of the Rio Olympics as she clinched her second Australian Open title after defeating China’s Sun Yu in a thrilling three-game final of the Super Series badminton tournament here on Sunday. The 26-year-old from Hyderabad eked out a 11-21 21-14 21-19 over the World No. 12 Sun in a fighting summit clash that lasted an hour and 11 minutes here. London Olympics bronze medallist, Saina, who had beaten two world champions Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon (2013) and China’s Yihan Wang (2011) in the quarterfinals and semifinals –, thus clinched her maiden title of the season and pocketed a cheque of USD 56,250. It is Saina’s second Australian Open victory, having clinched the title in 2014 as well. It ended a rather long title drought for the celebrated Indian, whose previous title before today was at the India Super Series in New Delhi in last year. Saina had defeated Sun five times in the last five outings but she faced a tough challenge against the 22-year-old Chinese at the Sydney Olympic Park.  
0 0 527 12 June, 2016 sports more
Bale, Robson-Kanu give Wales winning return
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Bale, Robson-Kanu give Wales winning return

Bordeaux: Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu scored a joyously celebrated 81st-minute winner as Wales marked their major tournament return by edging Slovakia 2-1 in Saturday's Euro 2016 opener at elegant Stadium Bordeaux. Playing their first game at a major championship since the 1958 World Cup, Wales took a 10th-minute lead courtesy of Gareth Bale’s fine free-kick, only for Slovakia substitute Ondrej Duda to equalise. But with nine minutes remaining, Robson-Kanu, released by Reading at the end of the season, scuffed a shot past Matus Kozacik to send Chris Coleman's side striding towards the last 16. His strike ended Wales's four-game winless run and tees the European Championship debutants up perfectly for Thursday's hotly anticipated second Group B fixture against neighbours England in Lens. Jan Kozak's Slovakia, previously unbeaten in eight games, tackle Russia in Lille on Wednesday knowing that a second defeat could be fatal. Bale's moment arrived 10 minutes in as he was presented with a free-kick 30 yards from goal and he slammed the ball over the wall and as Kozacik moved to his left, it darted in the other direction and plunged low into the net. Bale tore down the touchline in celebration of his 20th Wales goal, which came almost 10 years after he opened his international account with a free-kick against the same opposition. Slovakia coach Kozak sent on Adam Nemec and Duda, with Michal Duris and Patrik Hrovosky giving way, and within a minute Duda had scored, arrowing a shot past Ward's left hand from Mak's right-wing cut-back. It made him the first player to score past Wales at a major tournament since a 17-year-old Pele at the 1958 World Cup. Hamsik and Mak threatened before Coleman made a double change of his own, sending on Joe Ledley, 35 days after he fractured a fibula, and Robson-Kanu, who was to make a major impact. After crossing for Aaron Ramsey to head over, the roles were reversed to decisive effect, the Arsenal man skipping past Skrtel and Robson-Kanu steering the ball home.
0 0 441 12 June, 2016 sports more
Euro 2016: Payet’s late stunner helps France floor Romania
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Euro 2016: Payet’s late stunner helps France floor Romania

Paris: Providing the host nation a flying start to their Euro 2016 campaign, Dimitri Payet’s spectacular late strike earned France a 2-1 win over Group A rivals Romania on Friday. Payet played chief tormentor at the Stade de France as he set up Olivier Giroud for the opening goal after the break and then curled a superb left-footer into the top corner of the net with one minute left after Bogdan Stancu had equalised for Romania. After dominating their opponents in the warm-up friendlies, Didier Deschamps’ team failed to ignite in the first half of their first competitive match for two years. They looked set for a draw in the opening match of the tournament until Payet took the ball on the right flank, cut inside and struck a venemous drive to send the crowd into raptures. France made a shaky start with keeper Hugo Lloris saving well from Stancu at the far post in the fourth minute. A reaction finally came in the 11th minute when Giroud's header from a Payet cross went just wide. Lacking the speed and goal instinct that helped them net 13 times in their four previous matches, Les Bleus were a pale shadow of the side who breezed past their recent opponents. Facing a defence that conceded just twice in the qualifiers, France created a few chances though. A Bacary Sagna cross bounced off Vlad Chiriches' chest into the path of Antoine Griezmann whose header from point-blank range smashed into keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu's left post. Payet then whizzed down the right flank and Griezmann latched on to his centre but it took a slight deflection and went narrowly wide. On the stroke of halftime Giroud's header from Payet's corner went just over the bar. In the 57th minute Payet sent a cross into the box, the Romanian keeper flapped weakly at the ball and Giroud headed it under the bar for his eighth goal in six internationals. Eight minutes later Stancu was handed the chance to level after Patrice Evra’s silly foul on Nicolae Stanciu and, facing the Romania fans behind Lloris' goal, calmly slotted home. Deschamps replaced Griezmann with the speedy Kingsley Coman and the disappointing Pogba with Anthony Martial but the two youngsters made little impact. France, who are top of the table with three points, next take on Albania on Wednesday.
0 0 423 11 June, 2016 sports more
Muguruza wins her first Grand Slam at Paris
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Muguruza wins her first Grand Slam at Paris

Paris: Garbine Muguruza won her first Grand Slam title by beating defending champion Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4 at the French Open on Saturday, denying the American her record-equaling 22nd major trophy. The fourth-seeded Muguruza, a 22-year-old from Spain, used her big groundstrokes to keep No. 1 Williams off-balance and overcame signs of nerves in the form of nine double-faults to pull off the surprise. Muguruza also managed to deal with Williams’ dangerous serve, breaking three consecutive times from late in the first set to early in the second. This was Muguruza’s second major final; she lost to Williams at Wimbledon last year. But Muguruza has won her past two matches against Williams on the clay of Roland Garros, including in the second round in 2014. For Williams, whose timing was not exactly right much of the afternoon, Saturday’s loss delayed yet again her pursuit of matching Steffi Graf with 22 Grand Slam singles championships, the most in the Open era, which began in 1968. Margaret Court holds the all-time record of 24. Williams got No. 21 at Wimbledon in 2015, her fourth major title in a row. But since then, she has been beaten in the semifinals at the U.S. Open by Roberta Vinci last September, in the final at the Australian Open by Angelique Kerber in January, and now by Muguruza. This is the first time in Williams’ career she has lost back-to-back Grand Slam finals.  
0 0 446 05 June, 2016 sports more
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74
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Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74

Los Angeles: Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, whose record-setting boxing career, unprecedented flair for showmanship, and controversial stands made him one of the best-known figures of the 20th century, died on Friday aged 74, media reports said. Family spokesman Bob Gunnell told NBC News that Ali died in a Phoenix-area hospital. “My heart is deeply saddened yet both appreciative and relieved that the greatest is now resting in the greatest place,” boxer Roy Jones Jr. said on Twitter. Ali was hospitalised this week for a respiratory ailment. The former prize fighter had long been suffering from Parkinson's syndrome, which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body. Ali proclaimed himself “the greatest” - as well as “the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skillfullest.” Few could argue with him at his peak in the 1960s. With his dancing feet and quick fists, he could - as he put it - float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He was the first person to win the heavyweight championship three times. Ali became much more than a colorful and interesting athlete. He spoke boldly against racism in the '60s, as well as the Vietnam War. Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., a name shared with a 19th century slavery abolitionist. He later changed his name after his conversion to Islam. Ali is survived by his wife, the former Lonnie Williams, who knew him when she was a child in Louisville, along with his nine children.  
0 0 453 04 June, 2016 sports more
Yuvraj, seamers power Sunrisers over KKR
Posted by on 26 May

Yuvraj, seamers power Sunrisers over KKR

New Delhi: A total had been successfully defended in three out of five matches on slow Feroz Shah Kotla surfaces this season. On Wednesday, disciplined bowling and outstanding fielding by Sunrisers Hyderabad derailed Kolkata Knight Riders and by virtue of defending 163 with a 22-run win, Sunrisers have set up a clash with Gujarat Lions in the second qualifier in Delhi on Friday. It wasn't a night for manic six-hitting but Yuvraj Singh’s 30-ball 44 had all the elements that made him a feared limited-overs batsman once upon a time. Yet the effort that underlined his importance was a direct hit from backward point to dismiss Colin Munro early and induce panic among the Knight Riders. It also lifted a unit that applied pressure courtesy David Warner's tactful bowling changes to escalate the asking rate. Bhuvneshwar Kumar pulled off a stunning catch at deep midwicket to dismiss the in-form Yusuf Pathan to further dent Knight Riders. At 69 for 4 in the 11th over, they were firmly behind in the game. A no-holds-barred contest came alive as Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav counterpunched, their 46-run stand, laced with unorthodoxy, caused a few flutters in the Sunrisers camp, but there was always the danger of them perishing in the quest for the big hits. Suryakumar, who was reprieved in the 15th over by Mustafizur Rahman at third man, miscued a slog to Shikhar Dhawan in the next over to leave Knight Riders needing 47 off 24. Warner summoned his trump card Mustafizur for the first of his two remaining overs, and he responded by conceding just eight. With no option but to look for quick runs, Pandey kept swinging, one of which found Deepak Hooda at long-on. Bhuvneshwar, who finished with 3 for 19, followed the dismissal by spearing in yorkers and full-length deliveries which the batsmen couldn't get underneath. It was reduced to a game of hit-and-miss from there on, much like it was in the first half when Yusuf Pathan and Morne Morkel had Sunrisers, who were sent in, struggling for early momentum. Yuvraj was in a belligerent mood as he picked three leg-side boundaries before a premeditated scoop against Jason Holder resulted in the flattening of his middle stump. Bipul Sharma smacking Morkel for two sixes in the last over gave them momentum going into the break, which they rode on to ensure IPL 2016 will have a new champion. Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 162 for 8 (Yuvraj 44, Kuldeep 3-35) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 140 for 8 (Pandey 36, Bhuvneshwar 3-19) beat by 22 runs.
0 0 428 26 May, 2016 sports more
RCB in final after de Villiers’ rescue act
Posted by on 25 May

RCB in final after de Villiers’ rescue act

Bengaluru: AB de Villiers played a scintillating knock and Iqbal Abdulla joined him to take Royal Challengers Bangalore to qualify for the final of IPL 2016 with a four wicket win over Gujarat Lions here on Tuesday. In the chase of 159, Royal Challengers lost Virat Kohli for a duck and slipped to 29 for 5. Then, when Ravindra Jadeja had Stuart Binny lbw sweeping - though replays showed ball hitting pad marginally outside off stump - they were 68 for 6. Royal Challengers got home with 10 balls left to play, with de Villiers remaining unbeaten on 79 and Abdulla on 33 not out. The win took Royal Challengers into the final, while Gujarat Lions will have another crack at it when they take on the winner of Wednesday's Eliminator between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders. Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 159 for 6 (de Villiers 79*, Abdulla 33*, Kulkarni 4-14, Jadeja 2-21) beat Gujarat Lions 158 (Smith 73, Watson 4-29, Abdulla 2-38) by four wickets.
0 0 509 25 May, 2016 sports more
Kohli fifty books No. 2 spot for RCB
Posted by on 23 May

Kohli fifty books No. 2 spot for RCB

Raipur: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s six-wicket dismantling of Delhi Daredevils here on Sunday took them up to second place on the points table, a qualifier at home and a second shot at a place in the IPL final. Raipur provided the toughest batting conditions yet for Royal Challengers this season. The pitch had extra bounce, and the boundaries were long enough that top edges and mis-hits didn't simply skip away. Their bowlers made use of both and strangled Daredevils to 138 for 8. That Quinton de Kock contributed 60 of those runs exemplifies the lack of application from the rest of the Daredevils batsmen. Virat Kohli understood hitting through the line wasn't prudent. When he had tried to do so in the sixth over, a good length ball from Chris Morris had straightened, kissed the edge and fell short of Karun Nair at first slip. Royal Challengers had already lost Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers. Losing the man who has averaged nearly 100 in T20 cricket in 2016 too could have been catastrophic. Kohli, though, refused to give his wicket away. He concentrated on the singles and twos and barring a pristine on-drive that totally disrespected a good length ball on middle stump and an inside edge to fine leg, the rest of his six fours came off deliveries that were short, down leg or overpitched. He struck the winning runs with 11 balls to spare and his unbeaten 45-ball 54 propelled his average above 100 in 2016. The Daredevils innings had cried out for two batsmen to take responsibility like that. De Kock, brought up on the fast and bouncy tracks in Johannesburg, did well to keep one end ticking along. His six down the ground off Aravind was simple and brutal and a four to fine leg off a ball that had been outside off showcased his inventiveness. But his partners were less adept at coping with the pitch and the nagging bowling. Rishabh Pant nicked off for 1 to Aravind. Karun Nair was caught brillinatly on the boundary by Kohli, who had tracked the ball down from mid-off. Samson played an excellent slog sweep by smothering Chahal's legspin but fell the next ball. Billings could not get on top of a Chris Jordan delivery and was caught by a diving Gayle at point. Pawan Negi, elevated to No. 6, to hit the legspinner and left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla off their line was dismissed for 6 off 12 and Carlos Brathwaite guided his second ball to point. Daredevils lost five wickets for 36 runs and lurched from 71 for 2 in the 10th over to 107 for 7 in the 17th. A recovery from there was just too much of an ask. Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 139 for 4 (Kohli 54*) beat Delhi Daredevils 138 for 8 (de Kock 60, Chahal 3-32) by six wickets.
0 0 451 23 May, 2016 sports more