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Indian women’s football team bow out of Olympic Qualifiers




The Indian women’s football team bowed out of the Olympic Qualifiers after being held 3-3 by hosts Myanmar at the Mandalar Thiri Stadium here on Tuesday.

Despite finishing on level points with Myanmar (7 points from 3 matches) in Group A, India failed to progress to an inferior goal difference of +4, in comparison to Myanmar’s +8.

Sandhiya had given the Indian women an early lead in the 10th minute but a hat-trick from Win Tun for Myanmar (17th, 21th, 72th) held India as Sanju’s 32nd minute strike and Ratanbala Devi’s 64th minute goal couldn’t help gather the visitors three points.

Sanju came close to giving India the lead as early as the 2nd minute when her shot from close range, off a Dangmei Grace cross, went out for a corner.

The women had to wait eight minutes more before surging into the lead. In the 10th minute, Ratanbala burst out on the right flank, and released a low cross for Sandhiya Ranganathan, who made no mistake to finish from inside the box giving India the lead.

The lead, however, was short-lived as Myanmar scored two goals in five minutes. First, in the 17th minute, Win Tun’s header from inside the box equalised the deficit for the opponents.

Four minutes later, Myanmar took the lead from the spot. Goalkeeper Linthoi Devi dived to her right to save the penalty, but Win Tun lurching around scored off the rebound to make it 2-1 for the hosts.

Myanmar goalkeeper May Nwe fluffed her lines and made a howler of a clearance that fell to Ratanbala Devi, who chested it down for Sanju. Making little mistake, Sanju buried her chance in the back of the net to level proceedings in the 32nd minute as both teams headed to the interval at 2-2.

In the second half, Myanmar dominated the opening minutes, and the Indian defence had to shut the opponents with some astute defending.

In the 64th minute, Ratanbala Devi turned the tide for India. The midfielder cut into the box from the right flank and unfurled a curling shot which crashed into the back of the Myanmar net leaving the opponent custodian dumbfounded, giving India the lead as the scoreline read 3-2.

Eight minutes later, Win Tun completed her hat-trick, finishing from close range to equalize Myanmar’s deficit.

India could have sealed the fate in the 76th minute when Sanju ran clear of the defensive mix, but the Myanmar custodian made a good reflex save from close range to tip her shot over the bar.

A minute later, Dangmei Grace burst through but this time the custodian put her body on the line to shield the ball.

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Was nice to be under so much pressure in the first game: Kagiso Rabada



Kagiso Rabada.

South African pacer Kagiso Rabada, who produced a sensational performance in the Super Over to help Delhi Capitals defeat Kings XI Punjab, has stated that “it was nice to be under so much pressure in the first game”.

On Sunday, Rabada restricted Kings XI Punjab to just two runs in the Super Over which was chased down by Delhi Capitals without any hiccups to register a win in their opening match of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

With Marcus Stoinis proving to be vital in the back-end of both the innings, Delhi Capitals managed to take the game into the Super Over, and Rabada was quick to credit his teammate for the win.

“I think it was incredible batting by Stoinis. He played an unbelievable innings towards the end to get us to a respectable total, and I thought Shreyas (Iyer) and Rishabh (Pant) batted extremely well together to get us out of that hole early on,” said the South African.

“What a day Stoinis had – he bowled two full tosses and got two wickets so it was his day. And from there, I think we took our opportunity to win that game,” he added.

Having stepped up to deliver in the Super Over, the 25-year-old conceded two runs off the first ball with his delivery drifting onto KL Rahul’s legs. However, the South African came back to pick up the Indian opener’s wicket by following him down the leg side and forcing him into an awkward position to play the pull shot, which eventually found Axar Patel’s hands.

“You don’t plan anything. I don’t plan to win, but instead I plan to execute to win, and I think I managed to do that well in the Super Over,” Rabada commented on how he approached the six deliveries.

The pacer then managed to strike again as he took apart Nicholas Pooran’s off stump to wrap up the innings in just three balls. “That’s just the way a game of cricket goes. Honestly it was a big relief because I knew if I did that, and with the kind of batters we have, three runs to win, we could do that. I was just very relieved that I took the wicket and could help the team in winning,” expressed Rabada.

Delhi Capitals will next face Chennai Super Kings on Friday and Rabada hopes the top-order, which failed against Kings XI, would get back to form and would click.

“Unfortunately our top order couldn’t do it this time, but we know all of them are quality players and will click in the upcoming games. So, you know, happy for the win but there’s still a long way to go in this tournament.”

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Brisbane Heat sign all-rounder Jack Wildermuth for BBL 10




Brisbane Heat have signed all-rounder Jack Wildermuth for the upcoming season of the Big Bash League (BBL)

Wildermuth made his debut for the Heat in 2016-17 in BBL 6, playing in the Heat’s semi-final team, before switching to the Melbourne Renegades for the next edition. He was a member of their BBL 8 championship squad, playing 10 matches, and was again with the Marvel Stadium based team last summer.

The 27-year-old will link with former Melbourne teammate Tom Cooper on the club’s books for BBL 10 and will be out to add to his career total of nine matches for the Heat, which included the 2016-17 BBL semi-final.

Brisbane coach Darren Lehmann said he was excited about Wildermuth’s return to the team.

“I know that there some good reports on the national side of things around his efforts on the Zimbabwe tour and the Australia ‘A’ quad series in India the same year when he produced some match-winning efforts,” Lehmann said.

“Jack has heaps of potential with bat and ball and we see a lot of upside to him coming back into the Heat set-up.”

The 10th BBL edition is scheduled to start from December 3.

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Novak Djokovic completes 286th week as No.1, pips Sampras




Novak Djokovic, who has started his 287th week at the number one position in the ATP Rankings, has gone past Pete Sampras (286 weeks) for second place in the all-time list of most weeks at the numero uno spot.

Sampras, who was ranked number one for the first time on April 12, 1993, spent a total of 11 stints in top spot, with his longest run of 102 weeks between April 15, 1996 and March 29, 1998.

On Monday, Djokovic won the men’s singles title at the Italian Open after defeating Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in straight sets. He defeated Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 to clinch a record-breaking 36th Masters 1000 crown, one more than Rafael Nadal.

“Pete was my childhood idol growing up, so of course surpassing his record is very special to me,” said Djokovic as per the ATP Tour website.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who began his fifth stint at the summit of men’s professional tennis on February 3, 2020, is now 24 weeks away from breaking Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks at No. 1. If he continues to hold onto the top spot, he will pass the Swiss legend’s record on March 8 next year.

“This is one of my two biggest professional goals,” said Djokovic. “To reach the record of, (and) surpass Roger’s record for longest (time at) No. 1 and win as many (Grand) Slams as possible. I have been saying that before, so I’m working towards that. I’m at a good place right now, in a good position. Hopefully I can stay healthy and continue to play well,” he added.

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