News Tennis

Top-seeded Tsitsipas beats Kukushkin to win Open 13 title

AP Updated: 25 February, 2019, 11:23 AM IST


Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas clinched his first title of the year and second of his career after beating 50th-ranked Mikhail Kukushkin 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the Open 13 final on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Greek had 14 aces and won 84 percent of his first-serve points against the 31-year-old Kazakh, whose only title was nine years ago on indoor hard courts at the St. Petersburg Open in Russia.

"Winning titles is the thing that I am working for," Tsitsipas said. "It is the biggest satisfaction and the biggest joy in tennis."

His career is very much in the ascendancy.

Earlier this year, Tsitsipas became the youngest Grand Slam semifinalist since 2007 when he reached the last four of the Australian Open, getting the better of 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer along the way.

Tsitsipas did not drop a set in winning the Open 13 title in southern France and also beat Kukushkin for the second time, having won their previous meeting on outdoor hard courts in Dubai last year.

"There was a lot of stress this week because I knew I had to face some good opponents," said the 12th-ranked Tsitsipas. "When you care a lot, you tend to be more stressed than usual. I am happy that I got through that stress and played the game that I was supposed to play."

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News Cricket

"Dhoni will give you dots, Umesh won't," Twitter targets Dhoni and Umesh for India's loss

Harshit Anand Updated: 25 February, 2019, 12:42 PM IST


Umesh Yadav and MS Dhoni have been made villains by the fans for India's loss in the first T20I at Vizag against Australia. India could merely score 126 runs after they were put to bat first by Australian skipper, Aaron Finch. Dhoni played a very slow knock. He scored 29 runs off 37 deliveries. He could hit just a six in his 37-ball stay at the crease.

Moreover, Dhoni turned down many singles and even a double, which raised quite a few eyebrows, especially in hindsight after the match ended on the final ball.

Umesh Yadav also got severely criticized for being India's most expensive bowler and not defending 14 runs off the final over. He conceded 35 runs in his quota of four overs. Despite players like Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins on the crease in the last over, Yadav couldn't defend 14 runs.

Both Dhoni and Umesh faced the wrath of social media:

News Football

Kepa Arrizabalaga defies coach Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea loses to City

AP Updated: 25 February, 2019, 11:19 AM IST


Watching goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga appearing to struggle with cramp, and with a penalty shootout looming to settle the League Cup final, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri summoned a substitute from the bench.

Kepa was furious.

Wildly gesticulating with his arms, the world's most expensive goalkeeper forcefully indicated to Sarri he would be ready to face penalties against Manchester City with the Wembley showpiece locked at 0-0 and extra time about to end.

But Sarri was determined to bring on Willy Caballero, who saved three spot kicks in the 2016 League Cup final while in City's winning side.

So Kepa, who joined Chelsea in August for 80 million euros (then $93 million), simply would not leave the field.

"It wasn't that I was refusing to be substituted," Kepa said later, after being beaten by four penalties in City's 4-3 victory in the shootout. "It was a way of trying to tell the bench that I was fine."

But Kepa's behavior wasn't fine at all, according to former Chelsea captain John Terry.

"Once your number goes up you have to come off and show a bit of respect," Terry said in the Sky Sports television studio at Wembley. "Deal with that after."

Publicly humiliated with his authority undermined, Sarri was furious and initially headed down the tunnel before returning just in time for extra time to end.

In the shootout, Kepa made only one save from Leroy Sane as Raheem Sterling completed the shootout victory to defend City's title and keep the team in contention for a quadruple.

"In no moment was it my intention to disobey, or anything like that with the boss," Kepa said. "Just that it was misunderstood because I had been attended to by the medics twice, and he thought that I wasn't in condition to continue.

"It was two or three minutes of confusion until the medics got to the bench, and they explained everything well."

After collecting his runners-up medal, Sarri sought to diffuse the controversy.

"It was a big misunderstanding," Sarri said. "I understood the goalkeeper had cramp and for me he was unable to go to penalties but the problem was not cramp so he was able to go to penalties."

News Cricket

All is well between Sachin and Ganguly, Dada clarifies his conflicting statement on Sachin

Harshit Anand Updated: 25 February, 2019, 11:13 AM IST


The Indo-Pak clash in the upcoming World Cup has already created a stir. Ever since the Pulwama terror attack, cricket experts have been coming up with their views on whether India should boycott Pakistan in the ICC megaevent or not.

Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly had also shared their views on the same. Sachin Tendulkar had said, “India has always come up trumps against Pakistan in the World Cup. Time to beat them once again. Would personally hate to give them two points and help them in the tournament.”

Ganguly courted controversy by saying, "Sachin wants two points against Pakistan, I want the World Cup. Whichever way you look at it." Many people took Dada's statement as targetting Sachin's view.

Ganguly clarified his statement on Twitter and wrote, "A lot of people in the media is trying to put my statement against sachin s when I said “I want the World Cup”My response has got nothing to do with his statement, nor is my statement against his .. he is, has been and will be one of my best friends for last 25 years @sachin_rt."

Sachin, however, had not taken any offence to Dada's opinion on his statement and responded to Ganguly's tweet and said, "Never felt the need for you to justify. Strongly believe that all of us want what’s best for our nation."

News Football

Soccer symmetry as Mbappe, Messi reach milestones

AP Updated: 25 February, 2019, 11:09 AM IST


It seemed like soccer symmetry when Kylian Mbappe made French league history on the same day Lionel Messi reached another incredible milestone.

Arguably the best player in the world, and the one strongly tipped to become the next one, achieved their feats just one hour apart.

After Barcelona star Messi scored the 50th hat trick of his astonishing career at Sevilla on Saturday, Mbappe became the youngest player to reach 50 goals in the French league when he struck twice for Paris Saint-Germain in a 3-0 win against Nimes.

Mbappe only turned 20 in December, but he seems to have been around for years. Probably because, like Messi, he shares the same precocious ability to make the difficult appear easy.

They both have a gift for producing incredible moments with routine-like regularity.

Mbappe has been breaking records since he burst onto the scene during former club Monaco's run to the league title and Champions League semifinals two years ago.

At the age of 18 years, 4 months, he was the youngest to reach 15 league goals in Europe's top five leagues since former Golden Ball winner Michael Owen for Liverpool in 1998; the youngest to net five goals in the Champions League; and the first to score in each of the first four Champions League knockout rounds he played in.

Messi is a five-time Ballon d'Or winner who has won the Champions League four times, as well as nine Spanish titles and the Golden Shoe as the European leagues' top scorer five times. The 31-year-old Argentine leads scoring again this season with 25 league goals, and he could even reach 600 goals overall for Barca by the end of it.

Mbappe's 27 goals in 31 games this season take him to 75 so far in 135 club games, and he's still rising.

Mbappe was fourth in last year's Golden Ball voting after helping France win the World Cup in Russia. Aged 19, he became the youngest player since Brazil's Pele to score in a World Cup final when he netted in the 4-2 win against Croatia .

Messi's glittering resume is still missing a World Cup title .

Given the way Mbappe is playing for PSG this season, with a league-leading 22 goals in just 20 games, he seems destined to finish higher in the next Ballon d'Or vote.

"I go by the principle that one day someone will come along and do better," he said. "You should always try to go as far as you can, otherwise, one day or another, someone will overtake you," he said.

Videos Cricket

Watch: When Bumrah and Kohli insulted Rohit Sharma in the Vizag T20I

Staff Writer Updated: 25 February, 2019, 10:30 AM IST


The first T20I between India and Australia turned out to be a thriller with the match going right down to the final ball. Australia won the first T20I at Vizag by three wickets. After scoring 126 runs, no one would have given India a chance to even compete in the game forget about winning. But some brilliant bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Krunal Pandya ensured the match went right down to the wire.

But the fans noted one incident from the match and took to social media to share the video. In one of Bumrah's overs, Kohli and Rohit were present alongside the bowler to decide, perhaps, what kind of field he would go with. The Indian vice-captain was present there but neither Kohli nor Bumrah communicated with him or even made eye contact with him.

These kinds of things happen in cricket as there are a lot of things going through in the game but some Twitter users felt Kohli and Bumrah ignored Rohit and were disrespectful towards him. Now, only players would know what happened exactly.

Check out the video here:

News Cricket

Rashid Khan becomes first spinner to take T20I hat-trick

AP Updated: 25 February, 2019, 10:10 AM IST


Rashid Khan became the first spinner to get a hat trick in a Twenty20 international as Afghanistan swept Ireland 3-0 with a 32-run victory in the third and final game on Sunday.

Mohammad Nabi's 81 off 36 balls propelled Afghanistan to 210-7 after Ireland captain Paul Stirling won the toss and chose to field. Rashid's 5-27 included the wickets of George Dockrell (18), Shane Getkate (2) and Simi Singh (0) off the first three deliveries of the 18th over to restrict Ireland to 178-8.

Kevin O'Brien top scored with 74 off 47 balls before falling to Rashid in the 16th over that took the game away from Ireland.

O'Brien and Andy Balbirnie (47) had kept Ireland in the hunt when they pushed the total to 72-1 in the first six overs.

Nabi (0-28) put the brakes on Ireland's charge by bowling a steady four-over spell before Rashid got the important breakthrough by having O'Brien caught behind.

"Feeling very good that if you're not doing well with the ball, then you're doing well with the bat," Nabi said after winning both man of the match and series awards.

Earlier, Hazratullah Zazai, who had smashed 162 not out on Saturday, provided Afghanistan with another brisk start by scoring 31 off 17 balls.

But Boyd Rankin dismissed Zazai and Usman Ghani (13) in the fifth over before Nabi single-handedly took the total beyond the 200-run mark by smashing seven sixes and six boundaries in his brisk knock.

Rankin (3-53) claimed wickets but conceded over 13 runs an over as Nabi scored boundaries at will.

Nabi was caught on the edge of the mid-wicket boundary in the 18th over.

"We were in the game 10-12 overs into the chase and then we just lost some wickets," Stirling said. "I think if you get in, you really need to go big."

Afghanistan beat Ireland by five wickets in the first match before posting 278-3 — a world record for a T20 international — in the second match on Saturday for an 84-run victory.

A five-match ODI series between the teams starts Thursday.

News Cricket

Sachin wants two points against Pakistan, I want the World Cup – Sourav Ganguly

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 11:04 PM IST


Reacting to Sachin Tendulkar statement that he would hate to see Men in Blue concede two pints to Pakistan by forfeiting the World Cup game against arch rivals, his former teammate and close friend Sourav Ganguly in an apparent dig aimed at Sachin stated that he would love to see India with the World Cup trophy rather than thinking too much about two points.

"He wants two points against Pakistan, I want the World Cup. Whichever way you look at it," Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of Street Child Cricket World Cup 2019.

Sourav Ganguly praised the current Indian team and said the final decision has to be taken by Indian government.

"That is the only way forward. For what he can control is the way they have played and the way they will play. They are a phenomenal side and they have played absolutely superb cricket for the last six months and that is all he can do and not worry about what is going on. Rest, it is the government who takes the decision on whether to play Pakistan and I am sure that cricketers will stick to that," he added.

News Cricket

Watch - After Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah issues a warning to Virat Kohli

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 10:45 PM IST


After Rishabh Pant issued a warning to MS Dhoni ahead of the Indian Premier League 2019 season, Jasprit Bumrah has done the same. He warned Virat Kohli and stated that he is looking forward to dismiss the world's best batsman to attain the status of best bowler in the world.

In the video released by Star Sports on Twitter, he is seen saying:"World ka best bowler? Nehi yaar. Abhi toh world ke best batsman ke dande udana baaki he. Aa raha hu Cheeku bhaiya aur iss baar, aap meri team mein bhi nahin rahenge. (World's best bowler? Not yet. I still have to dismiss the best batsman in the world. Virat Kohli, I am coming, and this time I am not even part of your team.)" At the end of the video, Kohli is seen and his expression shows that he is perfectly up for the challenge.

Here’s the video:

News Cricket

Afghanistan break plethora of records in second T20 international against Ireland

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 10:34 PM IST


Afghanistan have broken a number of records during the second T20 match against Ireland. They posted a mammoth total of 278 for the loss of three wickets from their allotted 20 overs against a helpless bowling attack.

They surpassed the highest T20 total of 263/3 by Australia, which they had scored against Sri Lanka in 2016. Hazratullah Zazai and Usman Ghani, the two openers, set a new partnership record for the opening wicket with a brilliant 236-run stand.

Hazratullah remained unbeaten on 162, which is the highest T20 score by an Asian player.

News Cricket

Who is real GOAT? Rohit Sharma indulges in a funny banter with Chahal and it’s hilarious

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 9:29 PM IST


Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma trolled Yuzvendra Chahal in a hilarious way ahead of the first T20 match against Australia. Rohit Sharma posted a picture of the Indian spinner where he is seen posing shirtless.

Chahal responded back after some time and his reply was epic. He shared a screenshot of Rohit shaking his leg.

It all started when Chahal tweeted a picture of himself, Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya enjoying after the practice session for the first T20. He captioned it: “My reaction when they tell me you are batting at number 3 tomorrow."

Rohit Sharma hit back instantly and posted the same picture and wrote: "When the #GoatOfInstagram makes a joke it's mandatory for us commoners to laugh."

Kuldeep Yadav enjoyed the hilarious banter and gave his reaction.

India will take on Australia in the first T20 on Sunday. The two teams are scheduled to play two T20Is and five ODIs, which is the last international assignment before the World Cup in England and Wales.

News Cricket

Virat Kohli slams poor scheduling ahead of the Cricket World Cup

Staff Writer Updated: 23 February, 2019, 5:29 PM IST


  • India will play two-T20Is and five ODIs against Australia
  • It will be India's last international assignment before the World Cup
  • Kohli feels a couple of more ODIs than two T20 Internationals would have been ideal

Virat Kohli feels it would have been “more logical” if Indian team was given a couple of more ODIs than two T20 Internationals in lead up to the ICC Cricket World Cup, which commences from May 30 in England and Wales. India will be playing two T20Is and five ODIs against Australia. It is going to be final international series for the Men in Blue ahead of the ICC megaevent.

On the eve of the opening T20I against the Kangaroos, Kohli said, “Probably, a couple of more ODIs would have been more beneficial for both the teams not just us. It would have been more ideal and logical.”

“But look we have to utilize what’s in front of us as best as possible. And as I said we’re going to look to get into the right kind of frame of mind as a team,” the 30 years old added.

India have more or less a settled team but given the enormity of a World Cup, Kohli didn't rule out playing a stand-out performer.

“We’re more or less sorted. But through the course of the series, you might see something which might surprise you as a team and which you might want to change immediately. But those are things that are upon how circumstances come in front of you,” he said.

Feature Cricket

Quinton de Kock – Quietly Explosive

Partab Ramchand Updated: 23 February, 2019, 5:26 PM IST


Cricketers come in different sizes, shapes and shades. They are the over rated and the under rated, those who have a lot of hype built around them and those who are undemonstratively effective. Quinton de Kock is among those cricketers who are under rated and quietly explosive. He does not have a larger than life image, does not figure prominently in discussions, his game is not analyzed as much as some of the others who dominate the cricketing world. But in his own undemonstrative manner he has done more than his bit to see that South Africa stay at second spot just behind India in the Test rankings and among the top four in ODIs.

In the last few years even as the chief attention has been on Hashim Amla’s charming strokeplay, AB de Villiers' pyrotechnics, and the emergence of a new crop of world class fast bowlers de Kock in his own way has frequently had the focus diverted to him. Indeed in the half a dozen years since he has been around the international circuit it has been difficult to keep him out of the headlines because of his work behind the stumps and in front of them and whether it is Tests or the shorter formats of the game. It is not every cricketer who is highly successful in all formats but de Kock is one of a handful.

But whenever his name crops up it is batting approach that is the subject of discussion for de Kock bats the same breezy manner in every format of the game and whatever the situation. This is a very rare quality but the number of times he has come to South Africa’s rescue is legion. The latest example is the ongoing Test against Sri Lanka at Port Elizabeth. He came in at 73 for four on a lively surface and just sailed into the bowling. He does not defuse a crisis with back to the wall defensive batting but by thrilling counter attacks and by the time he was eighth out at 216 he had hit 86 off 87 balls much of it with just the tail for company. But then this is not an isolated case; he has done it time and again.

A strike rate of 73 in Tests allied to a strike rate of almost 95 in ODIs sums up de Kock’s approach. Consistency is not a quality associated with this kind of swashbuckling batting but de Kock has got 13 hundreds in 101 innings in ODIs and an average of 44 makes him an unusually reliable opening batsman. And an average of 40 in 40 Tests to go along with this with four hundreds – almost every time in a crisis – makes de Kock one of South Africa’s most valuable players. Perhaps it is time for him to be the subject of some deserving hype.

Feature Cricket

Strengthen Domestic Cricket

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 23 February, 2019, 5:23 PM IST


In what has been a great season for Test cricket, fortunes for most teams swung one way and then the other. Even top ranked teams were not spared the ignominy of having to eat humble pie on the rollercoaster ride. With the status of Test cricket playing nations in such flux, there is one consensus: the level of domestic cricket must be strengthened worldwide.

It seems like the wrong thing to say on the back of a season of busy, eye catching Test cricket that has seen so much drama and high action. While it is true that Test cricket has perhaps had one of its best seasons since the advent of Twenty20 a decade ago, the truth of the matter is that one of the reasons that has made Test cricket interesting was partly because while some of the lower ranked teams fancied their chances, the top ranked teams were far from consistent, stumbling and occasionally making for huge rung losses across the ICC’s Test cricket rankings.

With the ICC World Test championship on the horizon, slated to begin at the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England, one would think that fluidity across the ranks would only make the championship more open ended, but when it comes to the quality of the contest, even the teams at the top would contend that they would like to face a full strength, in form team rather than settle for a compromised, second string opposition.

To that end, it makes sense that while the anticipation for the world championship contests grows, cricket boards individually and collectively must take the responsibility to review and restructure the state of their domestic cricket. At the present time, most players that make the international cut rarely find themselves in domestic cricket to uplift the game and as in recent controversial moments, forced other players who have toiled consistently through the domestic cricket circuit for a privileged spot only at the business end of a tournament.

At the moment, even teams like India would like to believe that they have a plethora of resources and replacement players. But the truth of the matter is most teams have played musical chairs with some pivotal positions such as that of the openers as well as the important no.3. Rather than it be a competition for places given the quality of cricket, team decisions often boiled down to which player failed less and ironically at a time when no player, particularly in the top three, was a surefire when the next match began. It is something that has ailed India as well as England and Australia.

Trevor Bayliss, the England coach, went as far as to suggest that England’s shock series surrender to the West Indies was a case of batsmen playing too many loose shots, a telling sign from their inability to shift from the shorter formats. While not all England cricketers have agreed with the coach’s contention, the fact remains that players these days not only play far less domestic cricket but also, find that their cricket boards and themselves included are not interested in having even one tour match ahead of a crucial Test series which does not leave time for acclimatization or for the team’s think tank to have an ace or two up their sleeve in terms of decision making.

A close content is always a welcome sign. However, when the quality of the game being played is being steadily diminished, not only is the underdog being denied the opportunity to raise the bar but also, the complacency that sets in in for the top teams could then spell trouble for the sport as a whole when redundancy sets in.

News Cricket

Ishan Kishan does something which even Dhoni and Karthik couldn't

Harshit Anand Updated: 23 February, 2019, 5:18 PM IST


Wicket-keeper batsman, Ishan Kishan hammered a 55-ball century against Jammu and Kashmir in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament against J&K. Batting first, Jammu and Kashmir put up a total of 168 runs, but Kishan's century helped them successfully chase down the total and win the match without breaking a sweat.

Interestingly, he also became the first wicket-keeper captain from India to score a T20 century. None of the Indian wicket-keeping-captains had ever scored a century in any of the T20 games before that. High-quality players like Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni could also never score a T20 century as wicket-keeper captain.

During his explosive innings, Kishan hit eight boundaries and seven sixes.