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Friday,03-December-2021

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T20 World Cup: We know exactly where the game went wrong, says Kohli

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India captain Virat Kohli believes that his team has an exact idea of where the opening match against Pakistan went and where it went wrong for them. He added that brilliant bowling by Pakistan in the first six overs meant that India couldn’t get the extra 20-25 runs. In their opening match of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup. India were handed a ten-wicket drubbing by Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

“As a team, we need to understand that what was the reality of the situation out there in the middle. That’s where those 20-25 extra runs would have been good. But brilliant bowling in the first six, did not allow us to get those extra runs. We know exactly how the game went and where it went wrong. We have absolute clarity of it, which is a good thing to know about where you went wrong as a team,” said Kohli in the post-match press conference on Sunday.

“So, you can work and try to correct it and move forward because we still have lot more matches in this tournament. If we stick to the processes we follow, we can definitely feel like we can work on these mistakes,” added Kohli.

Explaining how the match panned out, especially after dew came into the picture during Pakistan’s chase, Kohli said, “If the pitch becomes little better to bat on, you get off to a start. Then you start feeling more confident about the chase. That’s what happened. The more dew came towards the second half of Pakistan’s innings onwards and they were able to rotate strike.”

“We could not get even dot balls in because the pitch was providing a bit more pace to the batters to work with. The slower balls were not holding up as much. These small little factors, as I said, make a massive difference. Toss definitely is going to be a factor in this tournament, especially if dew keeps creeping in the latter half of the game. You then need those extra runs in the first half.”

Talking about Shaheen Shah Afridi’s opening burst, which set up Pakistan’s win, Kohli was in praise of the young left-arm seamer. “He did bowl very well with the new ball. I think he hit the right areas to pick up wickets, and in T20 cricket you need good execution to pick up wickets with the new ball, and certainly, he did that, so credit to him. He put our batsmen under pressure immediately with the new ball, and he ran in with intensity and showed that he’s bowling in consistent areas.”

“So, as batsmen, you are forced to be a bit watchful, and yeah, that spell kind of put us on the back foot immediately, and from there on to get those extra 20, 25 runs, in the end, seemed pretty difficult when you lose three wickets for 20 runs,” concluded Kohli.

Kohli credited Pakistan for outclassing his team in the opening match of the tournament in all departments, saying that his team tried its best to put them under pressure. “They definitely outplayed us. There is no doubt about that. You don’t win by ten wickets if you don’t outplay the opposition. We did not even get any chances. They were very professional. You definitely have to give them credit. We tried our best. We tried to create enough pressure on them. But they had the answers. There is no shame in accepting that one team played better than you.”

“As I said, when you step onto the field, which has eleven players from each side, you have an equal opportunity to win the game. There are no guarantees that you go out there and win every match. But having said that, you also don’t go out there being casual. So, we tried our best. We made a decent total out of a tough situation we thought we could put them under pressure. But they did not let us come into the game at any stage. They deserve the credit for finishing the game very strongly and not allowing us to put any pressure on them throughout the innings.”

India’s next match in the tournament is against New Zealand on October 31 in Dubai.

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IND v NZ, 2nd Test: India reach 111/3 at tea on Day 1

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 India were 111/3 at tea on a truncated opening day of the second Test against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.

Opener Mayank Agarwal was batting on 52 while Shreyas Iyer was not out on 7 as the hosts lost their way after a good start.

Ajaz Patel claimed all three wickets in the space of 15 balls as India slumped from 80/1 in the 28th over to 80/3 at the end of the 30th over.

Brief scores: India 111/3 in 37 overs (Mayank Agarwal batting 52, Shubman Gill 44; Ajaz Patel 3/30) vsNew Zealand.

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ATP backs WTA, asks China to come clean on tennis player Peng Shuai’s wellbeing

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The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has thrown its weight behind the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), expressing concern over the well-being of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a top Chinese government official of sexual assault.

WTA chief Steve Simon recently said that he has “serious doubts” that Peng was “free, safe and not subject to intimidation”. He also announced suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong, with immediate effect till the country investigates in a full, fair and transparent manner the allegation of sexual assault made against a former senior politician by the 35-year-old doubles player.

Late on Thursday, the ATP, the body which governs men’s international tennis, said, “the situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious”.

ATP chairman, Andrea Gaudenzi, issued a statement, saying, “The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport. The response to those concerns has so far fallen short. We again urge for a line of open direct communication between the player and the WTA in order to establish a clearer picture of her situation.

“We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact,” said Gaudenzi.

“We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves.”

WTA administration and players have been in total support of Peng Shuai ever since screenshots of her social media post were shared on Twitter and the WTA has regularly demanded verifiable proof from Chinese government that Peng Shuai is “free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation”.

Chinese authorities have released videos of her at a restaurant and also arranged for a video call with senior officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but WTA is not convinced, thus resulting in the suspension of all its tournaments in China.

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Finally, Test cricket returns to Wankhede and Mumbai is loving it

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Office-goers walking through the ‘D Lane’ in Churchgate area of Mumbai on Friday morning were surprised when a group of people started blowing conch shells, waving India flags and chanting ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ as a bus convoy entered the lane on way to the Wankhede Stadium.

They would have been expecting some activity considering that a Test match was scheduled at the Wankhede, but the reception accorded to the convoy must have come as a surprise to many.

While such enthusiasm was a little unexpected but it was not completely out of place as Mumbai is hosting a Test match after nearly five years, and the small crowd that had gathered since early morning, could not control its emotions as the buses ferrying the Indian team made it to the stadium.

The India versus England game in 2016 was the last time a Test match was played at the Wankhede, and with other cricketing activity not possible because of the suspension of sports activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it meant there was a little more enthusiasm among the faithful.

A small group waited patiently for the gates to open so that they could get into the stadium. Hosts Mumbai Cricket Association is allowed to sell only 8000 tickets as the government has authorised only 25 per cent stadium capacity to be filled. With Mumbai police making elaborate arrangements for the Test, Covid protocols are being followed strictly with officials ensuring that people follow the rules.

Though the sparse crowd’s enthusiasm was dampened a bit as the start of the match was delayed due to wet patches on the ground because of the rains, it waited patiently, waving the Indian flags as the players came out for warm-up and light practice.

The crowd erupted in a loud cheer as the New Zealand players, followed by the Indian openers, walked into the field. And the cheers grew louder as Shubman Gill struck two consecutive boundaries off Kyle Jamieson in the second over, with the typical Mumbai chant of “Sachin, Sachin” reaching a crescendo.

More people are expected to come in the next few days as things get interesting.

The last Test played at Wankhede was against England in which skipper Kohli had scored a majestic 235, while Jayant Yadav has smashed a century.

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