News Cricket

Martin Guptill's second consecutive century leads New Zealand to series win

Staff Writer Updated: 16 February, 2019, 1:43 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

Opener Martin Guptill made a second consecutive century to guide New Zealand to an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in the second one-day cricket international on Saturday and a 2-0 win in the three-match series.

After carrying his bat for 117 in the first match which New Zealand won by eight wickets, Guptill made 118 as New Zealand — at 229-2 — surpassed Bangladesh's total of 226 with almost 14 overs remaining.

Guptill's century on Saturday was the 16th of his career and his third of the summer after his 138 in the first one-day international against Sri Lanka in early January.

Bangladesh was coming off an impressive series victory in the West Indies. But a single warm-up match sent them into the ODI series under-prepared and they have struggled to adapt to New Zealand conditions.

Sent in to bat after losing the toss on Saturday, Bangladesh's top order struggled on a pitch at Hagley Oval which contained moisture under a tight-packed covering of grass. The ball seamed a little and the Bangladesh batsmen struggled to cope.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza hoped his batsmen could survive the threat of the new ball, then hit out later in their innings and set New Zealand a challenging total.

While Bangladesh was reduced to 5-93 in the 21st over after a slow beginning, it began to hit out strongly in the second half of its innings.

Mohammed Mithun, who top-scored with 57, put on 75 for the sixth wicket with Sabbir Rahman (43) and at 168-5 in the 35th over, Bangladesh was in a good position to launch. But the lower order faltered and the last five wickets added only 58 runs, with the last wicket falling with two balls to spare.

When New Zealand batted, Guptill and Henry Nicholls quickly asserted the host's dominance, taking 23 runs from the first three overs.

Nicholls fell with the total 45 but when Guptill was out for 118 in the 29th over, New Zealand was 188-2 and coasting to victory.

Kane Williamson completed his 37th one-day international half century and was 65 not out at the end, hitting a boundary for the winning runs, while Ross Taylor was 21 not out. He put on 143 for the second wicket with Guptill to put the win beyond doubt.

"Another clinical performance for us is what we're wanting," Williamson said. "I thought the lads in the first half with the ball in hand were outstanding."

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News Cricket

MSK Prasad says India might well try Rishbah Pant as an opener

Harshit Anand Updated: 16 February, 2019, 12:34 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The BCCI announced India's T20I and ODI squad for Australia home series yesterday. Rishabh Pant has been included in the team for both the formats. He was in the T20I team against New Zealand where he impressed in the last two games. Now, he has been named in the ODI squad as well and would look to make a strong case for himself.

Indian chief selector, MSK Prasad has said that India are open to playing Pant in the top-order as well. “We have included him considering many factors. We will try and figure out his best possible batting position, because being a left-hander, there is an advantage of playing left-right combination. We are discussing all that,” Prasad said. He also said, "Yes" when asked if India would try Pant in top-order.

He further added, "Prior to this, we had series in New Zealand and Australia. That is where Karthik was chosen because Rishabh played four Tests (against Australia) and we wanted him to get a good rest. Then he (Rishabh) played a couple of matches against England Lions where he played extremely well. Then he played the T20I matches. So we wanted him to give him a few ODIs as well before we take the final call."

News Cricket

Sunil Gavaskar feels England and not India are the favorites to win the World Cup

Harshit Anand Updated: 16 February, 2019, 11:55 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

  • England and India are top-contenders to win the 2019 WC
  • They are ranked no.1 and no.2 in ODI rankings
  • Gavaskar picked England over India to win the ICC megaevent

England and India are touted to be the two favorites for the 50-overs Cricket World Cup that will commence from May 30 in England and Wales. England and India are ranked no.1 and no.2 in ICC ODI team rankings. They are playing at a level, which is far superior in comparison to other ODI sides at the moment.

Indian legend, Sunil Gavaskar has picked England over India as favorites to win the World Cup.

"The strong favourites in the World Cup tournament are England. And it is not because of the fact that it will be a home World Cup for them. But because they have changed their attitude towards ODI cricket. They had lost in the league stage in 2015 World Cup, probably against Bangladesh. But since then, the manner in which they changed their game, the way in which they picked their team, England have grown into a strong side. They have a good opening pair, they have strong middle-order batters, they also have a good all-rounder in the form of and when you play at home you also have a strong backing," Gavaskar told India Today.

"The advantage that India have is they have played in England for two consecutive years - 2017 and 2018. So the players who will be part of the World Cup squad will be aware of the conditions and hence will be able to use their experience and probably India can use the factor to lift the World Cup. But I feel the most favourites are England and then come India," Gavaskar added.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli postpones RP-SG Indian Sports Honours

Harshit Anand Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:56 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

In wake of the dastardly Pulwama terror attack, the RP-SG Indian Sports Honours has been postponed. The entire nation is saddened over the loss of lives of our brave hearts in the attack in which at least 42 CPRF jawans have been martyred. The cowardly attack took place on Thursday when terrorists targeted a convoy with a car bomb at Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district. They were carrying more than 350 kg of explosives.

“At this heavy moment of loss that we all find ourselves in, we would like to cancel this event that was scheduled to take place tomorrow,” said Kohli in his tweet.

“The who’s who of entertainment and sports industry were supposed to be present for the award ceremony. every partner and all the sport-stars and delegates associated with this award have been informed and communicated with stating that hosting an event was unacceptable at this moment when India is mourning the death of its jawans,” the batsman’s PR team said in a statement.

News Tennis

Defending champion Thiem advances to Argentina Open semis

AP Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:46 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Top-seeded defending champion Dominic Thiem of Austria advanced to the Argentina Open semifinals, beating Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Thiem will face fourth-seeded home favorite Diego Schwartzman on Saturday. Schwartzman beat Spain's Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-1, 7-5.

In the other quarterfinals, third-seeded Marco Cecchinato of Italy beat Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6 (3), 6-4, and Argentina's Guido Pella topped Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-7 (3), 7-6 (9), 6-1.

News Wrestling

Houston to Host the 2020 WWE Royal Rumble

AP Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:43 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

WWE announced that Minute Maid Park in Houston will host the Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 26, 2020. The event will mark WWE’s debut at Minute Maid Park and the second time the Royal Rumble has been held at a baseball stadium following this year’s event at Chase Field in Phoenix which took place in front of a capacity crowd of 48,193.

Fans attending this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber event at the Toyota Center in Houston will receive an exclusive pre-sale offer to buy tickets to the Royal Rumble before the general public. Details on ticket availability will be forthcoming. Additionally, fans in attendance will have the chance to win four tickets to the 2020 Royal Rumble by taking part in a special Twitter and Instagram sweepstakes.

“We are thrilled to bring one of WWE’s biggest events of 2020 to Minute Maid Park,” said Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County - Houston Sports Authority. “We look forward to WWE fans from around the world descending on Houston for the Royal Rumble.”

The event, which will stream live around the world on WWE Network, will feature a 30-Man Royal Rumble match, and a 30-Woman Royal Rumble match, with the winners of both matches receiving Championship opportunities at WrestleMania 36.

News Football

Man United forwards Martial, Lingard out for 2-3 weeks

AP Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:40 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Manchester United could be without forwards Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial for at least two weeks.

In the 2-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday, Lingard was substituted just before halftime with a hamstring injury. Martial's groin problem saw him withdrawn before the start of the second half.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the players will be "out for two to three weeks, looking at it now."

It is a setback for United, which plays Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday before hosting Liverpool on Feb. 24.

The injuries could see Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku get more playing time. Teenage attackers Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes could also be in the frame.

News Football

Juventus beats Frosinone 3-0 to go 14 points clear

AP Updated: 16 February, 2019, 10:33 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Juventus warmed up for the Champions League round of 16 in the best possible way, easing to a 3-0 win over Frosinone to move 14 points clear at the top of Serie A.

The result was decided early after goals from Paulo Dybala and Leonardo Bonucci in the first 16 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo then added his league-best 19th goal as Juventus continued its seemingly unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth successive Serie A title.

"The team is growing from a physical point of view," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We struggled a bit after the winter break but now we're ready to face this important period of the season, both in the league and in the Champions League."

Second-place Napoli hosts Torino on Sunday.

Frosinone remained next to last in the standings, but only two points from safety in a tight bottom half of the table.

Juventus plays the first leg of the round of 16 at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and Allegri was able to rest several players while also giving a run out to Bonucci and fellow defender Giorgio Chiellini, who were returning from injury.

Dybala had played just seven minutes in the past two matches but was included in the starting lineup and the Argentina international curled a shot into the top right corner from 20 yards in the sixth minute for his first league goal since Nov. 3.

"I'm happy for Paulo," Allegri said. "He had a great performance and a great goal. Forwards live for that.

"We need his work between the lines, all the more so this year that we're playing with two forwards other than him. That has limited him a bit maybe in scoring but not in his movements and his performances, he's still playing very well."

Juventus doubled its lead 10 minutes later when Bonucci bundled home the rebound after Frosinone goalkeeper Marco Sportiello made a great save of Mario Mandzukic's diving header.

Juventus then sat back and took until the 63 minute to extend its advantage as Mandzukic cut the ball back and Ronaldo fired it into the bottom right corner.

Ronaldo is Serie A's top scorer with 19 goals, three more than Atalanta's Duvan Zapata and Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella.

News Cricket

Navjot Sidhu urges people not to blame entire Pakistan for Pulwama attack

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 11:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu condemned the terror attack on CRPF convey in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on Thursday.

Around 40 security personnel were martyred in this gruesome and coward attack. However, Sidhu landed in a controversy after he urged people to not blame entire Pakistan for the attack.

“For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?,” Sidhu was quoted as saying in Economic Times.

He went to Pakistan to attend the oath taking ceremony of Imran Khan, who was appointed as Prime Minister of the country in 2018.

“It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished,” the 55-year-old from Patiala added.

News Cricket

It's fun hitting guys on the head, says Dale Steyn  

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 10:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Dale Steyn picked up 4-48 to move joint-seventh on the list of all-time wicket-takers as South Africa led Sri Lanka by 170 runs in the first test.

Steyn was the spearhead of South Africa's attack again — as he was so often before a serious shoulder injury in 2016 sidelined him for the best part of two years — and overtook Indian great Kapil Dev in career test wickets.

Steyn was instrumental in bowling Sri Lanka out for 191 to see South Africa hold a 44-run first-innings lead in the series-opener at Kingsmead.

"After not playing for two years, I feel like it's a blessing to just be playing again. I've almost had to start over. I'm not on 430-odd wickets, I'm on 20 since breaking Shaun Pollock's record. It's nice to finish a three-Test series against Pakistan and not have someone write: 'He's an injury away from retiring.' It's nice to contribute again. Hopefully, I can continue this for longer," said an exciting Steyn.

He said that it was good to back among wickets.

"When I'm bowling 10-over spells, it shows I'm enjoying what I do. I could take the easy option, take 4 for 30 and go and stand at fine leg and tell someone else to do it. But it's fun. It's fun taking wickets. It's fun hitting guys on the head. As long as nothing serious happens."

News Cricket

We want to give Pant a few ODIs before taking a final call on World Cup, says chief selector

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 10:12 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The national selectors have announced squads for the limited overs series against Australia. Rishabh Pant, who is touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket, has been recalled to side after being axed from the ODI series against Australia and New Zealand.

Pant was given a go in the ODI series against West Indies but he failed to deliver. However, he has been impressive in the Test format.

"We have included him [Pant] considering the fact that he is a left-hander and we are going to discuss with the team management. We will try and figure the best possible batting position for Pant. With a left-hander in the side, there is an advantage of left-right combination," India's chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said.

"We want to give Pant a few ODIs before taking a final call on World Cup."

Leg-spinner Mayank Markande was included in the squad in place of Kuldeep Yadav.

"We are looking at Markande as a backup spinner. We have been grooming him though India A process and today also he picked up a five-wicket haul. So, we want to look at him and he'll be a backup spinner," Prasad said.

News Cricket

Fans slam BCCI for giving preference to Pant over Dinesh Karthik for Australia series

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 9:56 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rishabh Pant was recalled back for the ODI series against Australia while Dinesh Karthik was axed from the team.

The Indian selectors announced squads for the five match ODI series and tow T20 internationals. Pant has done well in whites but he still has a long way to go in ODIs.

Dinesh Karthik was lambasted for refusing to take a single during the last T20 against New Zealand, which India lost by 4 runs. Krunal Pandya, who was at the other end, was left baffled by Karthik’s decision.

The axing of Karthik didn’t go down well with cricket fanatics, who slammed the BCCI for dropping the right hand batsman.

News Cricket

Dinesh Karthik dropped, Rahul, Pant, Kaul return back to ODI squad

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:29 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The BCCI announced India's squad for first two ODIs and the last three ODIs separately for the five-match ODI series against Australia.

Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Siddarth Kaul have been named in India's ODI squad to take on Australia in the home series, which will be the last series for the Men in Blue to fine tune their balance and combination going forward in the World Cup. Dinesh Karthik has been dropped from India's ODI squad.

India’s squad for 1st and 2nd ODI against Australia: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohamed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, KL Rahul

India’s squad for remaining three ODIs: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MSD (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant

News Cricket

KL Rahul and Umesh Yadav recalled for T20 series against Australia

Staff Writer Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:20 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The national selectors have named the T20 squad to face Australia in the upcoming two-match T20 series. KL Rahul, Sidharth Kaul and Umesh Yadav have been recalled while Mayank Markande has been selected for the first time.

India’s squad for T20I series against Australia: Virat (Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Sidharth Kaul, Mayank Markande

News Cricket

Will Pucovski says mental health issues have nothing to do with his Australia non-selection

Harshit Anand Updated: 15 February, 2019, 5:10 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Kurtis Patterson's twin centuries against Sri Lanka in tour game propelled his selection over Will Pucovski in Australia's Test side against Sri Lanka. Pucovski was likely to make his Test debut against Sri Lanka but Patterson's impressive display in the warm-up game changed everything. But the Australian youngster has dismissed suggestions that his mental health issues were related to non-selection for Sri Lanka Tests.

“I don’t think it (the challenges he faced in Canberra) was anything to do with that,” Pucovski told Cricket.com.au. “A lot of people messaged me afterward (in Brisbane) as if I’d be really shattered. To a degree, I was sitting there like ‘I’m 20 years old, I’m in the Test squad – there are a lot worse situations to be in’. Obviously, it would have been amazing to play, but I was kind of just relieved to find out, either way, to be honest.”

Pucovski was recently honored with the Bradman Young Male Cricketer of the Year at the Australian Cricket Awards. He had left the Australian squad mid-way when they were taking on Sri Lanka in the home Tests due to mental health issues. But, now he is all geared up for returning back to action.