Men in Blue wore black armbands as a mark of respect to the CRPF security personnel, who lost their lives in the terror attack in Pulwama on February 14.
The players also observed two minutes of silence to pay homage to the jawans before the start of the game. However, there were fans, who continued to make noise, prompting Virat Kohli to signal to them to keep quiet for some time.
"Our sincere condolences to the families of the soldiers who lost their lives. The Indian team is really shocked and sad about what happened," Kohli said on the eve of the game.
There has been growing demands that India should boycott World Cup match against Pakistan following dastardly terror attack on the CRPF convoy.
The governing body of Indian cricket has stated that it will go by government decision in this matter.
Jasprit Bumrah is arguably, the best bowler in world cricket at the moment. His proficiency across different formats makes him a gun player for the team. In 10 Tests, he has 49 wickets at a brilliant average of 21.9. In ODIs and T20Is, he is at par with excellence as well. The Indian quick has 78 wickets in 44 ODIs at 21.01 and has an economy of 4.45.
And the youngster is quite brilliant in the shortest format as well and there also he has 51 wickets in 41 games at an economy of 6.7 and average of 19.59.
Bumrah's numbers are absolutely amazing but most importantly, his impact is paramount to the team's performance. Even in the first T20I against Australia at Vizag, he ended with figures of 3/16 and helped India give Australia a run for their money.
Former Indian player, Aakash Chopra hailed Bumrah as Kohli of the Indian bowling and said he is perhaps even more important than Kohli to the Indian team.
Former Indian skipper and one of the most followed Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar joined thousands of runners and helped in raising Rs 15 lakh for the families of the Pulwama attack martyrs. Before the start of the event at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, he did 10 push-ups and urged others to join him.
"Whatever will be the fund that we receive from here, it will all be donated for a good cause, a bigger cause. It will be donated to the families of the martyrs. I am sure you understand the feelings and hope everyone joins us in this movement," Tendulkar said.
Eighteen thousand runners took part in the four races and Sachin was pretty excited to see the big turnout.
"I am especially delighted to see so many children participating. It is a very big step in life to participate in a marathon and not to be intimidated by seeing so many adults around. You are the next generation who will take over the reins of our nation.
"The whole dream is to transform India from a sports loving nation into a sports playing nation for a healthy active lifestyle. And if children are starting from here, things are going to be better and better.
"So well done Delhi, keep up your energy to run in the marathon. It is fantastic that you all are here with so much enthusiasm and energy."
Australia won on the last ball of its first Twenty20 match against India for a three-wicket victory.
With 14 runs needed from the last over, Umesh Yadav conceded two boundaries and Pat Cummins (7 not out) and Jhye Richardson (7 not out) gave Australia the win by scampering home for two runs off the final delivery.
Lokesh Rahul scored 50 off 36 balls, including six fours and a six. Glenn Maxwell's 56 off 43 balls anchored the Australian innings with Jasprit Bumrah's 3-16 from four overs going in vain.
From 89-2, Australia nosedived to 113-7 as India tightened its bowling and fielding.
Bumrah struck off successive balls in the 19th over to go past 50 wickets in T20 internationals, only the second India bowler after Ravichandran Ashwin (52) to do so in this format.
Asked about Yadav’s last over, Bumrah supported his senior teammate.
“This happens, death bowling is always difficult in any situation. It always goes both ways and it’s sometimes 50-50,” Bumrah said at the post-match news conference.
“You try your best, and you’re clear in your execution. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t. Nothing to be worried. We wanted to close the game in our favour but it’s okay,” he added.
Suresh Raina became the first cricketer from India to score 8,000 runs in T20 cricket. The left hand batsman went pass the landmark when he scored 12 runs for his state team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019 T20 tie against Puducherry.
He is the sixth batsman to touch the milestone. Raina has scored 8,001 runs from 300 matches and is 178 runs ahead of Indian captain Virat Kohli, who has 7,833 from 251 matches.
Chris Gayle is leading the list with 12,298 runs in 269 matches while Brendon McCullum is second with 9,922 runs from 370 matches. Kieron Pollard (8,838), Shoaib Malik (8,603), and David Warner (8,111) are the other batters in the top-five bracket in T20 cricket.
Raina is also the second Indian cricketer who has been part of 300 T20 matches. Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni tops the list with 301 matches to his name.
When MS Dhoni started out his international career, he was an out and out aggressive player. But, of late he has been a pale shadow of himself. In the last two years, his struggles have been well-documented. A lot of times, Dhoni plays according to situations but most of the times, his inability to execute big shots become evitable.
In the first T20I against Australia at Vizag, Dhoni scored 29 runs off 37 deliveries. He could just hit a six in his entire innings. The 37 years old, at times, refused singles as well. Australian batsman, Glenn Maxwell, however, has defended Dhoni's slow-batting.
"It (the slow strike rate) was probably fair enough. With the way the wicket was behaving, it was difficult to score for any batter, let alone a guy who is not known for his power-hitting in Chahal," said Maxwell.
"MS is obviously a world-class finisher and even he was finding it hard to hit the middle of the bat. So, I think it was right of him to try and farm the strike. He hit a six in the last over and I think that showed how difficult it was," he added.
The half-centurion from the first T20I appreciated his sides' bowlers for keeping Dhoni under control.
"If you are holding MS to one boundary in the last few overs, it's a pretty good effort and also a sign of the conditions as well," said the aggressive batsman.
It has to be the biggest shock result in Test cricket’s 141-year-old history. Sri Lanka came to South Africa having been beaten in all three Tests at home by England. They were then roundly thrashed in Australia and New Zealand. There were a side in disarray, having just lost their designated captain Dinesh Chandimal who was left out to regain form around the domestic circuit, two injured frontline fast bowlers and arguably their best Test batsman in Angelo Mathews. The team personnel constitutes players who were hardly known around the cricketing world. And they were up against a South African side brimming with confidence after defeating India and Pakistan. In home conditions South Africa were clearly unbeatable playing on wickets tailor made for their fearsome pace quartet of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Duanne Olivier. Such was the strength that Lungi Ngidi could not even get a look in.
Surely they would brush aside the fragile challenge from Sri Lanka was the pre-series prediction and there was hardly anyone who doubted this. And yes, history too was against the visitors for no Asian team had won a Test series in South Africa and indeed the only teams to have done so were England and Australia.
And yet after the two-Test series, the result astonishingly read: Sri Lanka 2, South Africa 0. The first was won by one wicket in four days thanks to Kusal Perera playing one of the greatest knocks of all time, the second was over in seven sessions with eight wickets to spare. The South Africans did not know what hit them and little wonder that skipper Faf du Plessis described the defeat as ``a massive dent to our confidence.’’
Hitherto it was reckoned that Australia’s thrashing of the all-conquering England side in 1958-59 was right up there as the biggest upset in Test history. But however unexpected that 4-0 result was it was achieved Down Under and Australia were not exactly no-hopers having a couple of world class players and others who were well known around the cricketing world. So it would appear that from any angle the recent result would supersede the result of 60 years ago as the biggest shock in Test cricket history.
But even as one marvels at the Sri Lankan performance the events during the series again underlined how matters of strategy could backfire. South Africa prepared surfaces to suit their main strength – the high quality pace attack – only to be hung by their own petard with their batsmen failing on these surfaces. That the totals they registered were 235, 259, 222 and 128 underscores this. Symbolizing the failure was Hashim Amla who had scores of 3, 16, 0 and 32 in the two Tests.
But enough of South Africa’s miserable showing with the bat. It is Sri Lanka’s moment to rejoice as they savour arguably their finest achievement in Test cricket.
There was a time when the popular adage that sports and politics must not mix seemed the right thing to say and adhere to. But given the gravity of the escalating and chronic skirmishes that have cost lives, a loss that cannot be replaced, it is time for the BCCI to not on the ICC’s word but rather on its own merit.
Many arguments have been put forth about the idea of boycotting Pakistan on the field being a knee jerk reaction. While in the past, the stance may have been that sports could indeed perhaps serve as a bridge between nations, time has proven once too often with great pains that nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, countless of lives lost before the Pulwama attacks and after it have shown that sport has only become a side distraction to a very deep, troubling situation that is nothing short of proxy war played out over decades with no imminent solution at hand.
The idea of India boycotting the match against Pakistan on June 16th at the ICC Cricket World Cup is not a far-fetched notion. Precedent was set when teams such as Australia and the West Indies chose to forfeit their two points respectively by choosing not to travel to Sri Lanka during the ICC Cricket World Cup in 1996. Players with black arm bands chose to protest their nation’s own regime at the risk of threats to themselves and their families with relocation the only solution thereafter.
What will make a great impact than even those two teams is the fact that if the BCCI takes the call this early that India will not play Pakistan in the World Cup unless the terrorist organizations are brought to book, it will inevitably dent the ICC in the long term because it takes away the revenue equation from one of the sport’s greatest rivalry, if not the most commercially pulsating one.
Although there is a time when sports battles are settled on the field, it seems rather misplaced, even from the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, to suggest that India should restore pride with the team beating Pakistan for two points. It is hard to justify this kind of avenging scenario when the families of forty-four brave soldiers are grieving an irreparable loss and Indian cricket decides to sleep with the enemy.
It is a risk that India will take should they decide that they will not play Pakistan. Two points could indeed cost them the World Cup when the eventual tally is made. India have an unblemished record against Pakistan in cricket World Cup contests. This could leave that record with an asterix against the two points to Pakistan. But when the straw that breaks the camel’s back is now firmly front and center, not only cricket but also, other sports in the country could take a similar stand, stating not to play against nations that harbor state-sponsored terrorism. Ultimately it has a global impact because terrorism is rarely ever an isolated story.
Rather than asking for the ICC to ask other nations to endorse the idea of boycotting Pakistan altogether which it will not given how incestuous cricket is under the current scenario, the BCCI will perhaps make the loudest siren call if it stands unequivocally that it will not support Pakistan or its interests, even in sport, unless peace is restored to the valley. Thereby, the BCCI will have set the precedent for other nations, boards and sports who carry with them the burden of the history of their nations.
With the BCCI’s stand not to play Pakistan even in a multi team event, it will ultimately cost cricket and the cricket’s governing body, albeit temporarily, thereby setting in motion corrective measures that could have long lasting impact outside of the sport.
People born in the 80s and 90s have been privileged to witness cricket where the legends graced the field. Cricket back then and even in the 2000s had its own charm and significance. There weren't these T20 leagues and T20Is. All that mattered was Test cricket that boasted of the best players in the world. And then there was ODI cricket that gained significance with time.
What made cricket the sport that we all fell in love was the quality of the game. Technology like today wasn't there and there were some hostile rivalries when players took to the cricket field. Over time, things have changed. Today's cricket do not have many superstars and its become too frequent with the presence of T20s. But cricket lovers who have grown up watching classics, will feel that the previous generations was better.
We fell in love with the game because of several stars that erupted and who served a long lasting legacy for the time to come. There have been many legends who have graced the game during our lifetime. We pick these seven cricketers.
The greatest player after Sir Donald Bradman; Sachin was like religion for all of us. His heroics in both Tests and ODIs made him a class above the others. Bowlers feared him and he enjoyed the rivalry against some of the greatest. Sachin will forever be more than his stunning numbers. He gave an all-new identification to the game. The Master Blaster had a long career and he made it worth for all of us who wanted to become like him. He scored 15,921 Test runs and 18,426 ODI runs that made him the record-holder. He also smashed 100 centuries in total.
Punter was Australia's best in the previous generation. He was a batting maestro whose stroke-play and shot-making was of different level. He unsettled bowlers very easily. Ponting's success as a batsman helped him in his captaincy as well. He has been of the greatest skippers ever. He led Australia to two World Cup trophies. In total, he won three World Cups. His records in the game are outstanding. Ponting was a big match player and his aggression was spellbound. He scored 13,378 Test runs that included 41 tons. Punter bagged 13,704 ODI runs with 30 hundreds.
He is perhaps the greatest all-rounder ever to have played the sport. Kallis took South Africa to new heights and played a huge role in their success in both formats. Kallis had all the time in the world and he hardly made things easy for the opposition. Be it his batting, pace bowling and fielding at the slip cordon, Kallis mastered it all. One can refer to him as the Jack of All Trades. He scored 13,289 Test runs, besides 11,579 ODI runs. He hit 62 tons in total. With the ball, Kallis picked up 292 Test wickets and a further 272 in ODIs.
His pedigree as a pacer will always be remembered. McGrath was a different breed and his accuracy defined his success. He held some stunning records against the world's best batsmen and was a constant menace. McGrath was difficult to play against and he came out strong in the most important occasions. Australia's domination in the cricket fraternity will be known forever and McGrath played a huge role. He took 563 Test wickets and 381 ODI wickets to become the most successful pacer. He won two World Cups as well.
He is the only batsman or player from today's generation to feature in this list. Kohli took off from Sachin left. His eyes for runs and consistency with the bat makes him one of the greatest. Kohli's tryst with records have been amazing. His plethora of runs and ability to score everywhere makes him a class above everyone. He has 6613 Test runs and 10,533 ODI runs under his belt. He also has 2,167 T20I runs. The 30-year-old has a staggering 64 tons and has the potential to break Sachin's record.
Cricket without Shane Warne would have been incomplete. From bowling the 'Ball of the Century' to mesmerizing everyone with his craft, Warne was Australia's hero. He is definitely the best leg-spinner the world has ever seen. Warne was all about glory and performances. He contributed immensely to Australia's success in the golden generation days. He took 708 Test scalps and 293 ODI wickets.
Many compared him to Sachin and debates were the order of the day as in who was better. But it didn't matter to us as we got to witness both legends together. Lara's batting was art. His craftsmanship and capability to bat on and on, made him stand out. He was West Indies' best player back in his day and the team always relied on him. Several world class bowlers termed him the most difficult to bowl against. Such was his impact. He scored 11,953 Test runs and amassed 10,405 ODI runs as well.
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:
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."
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."
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."
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.
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:
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