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Women’s World Cup: Inconsistent India eye crucial win against consistent Australia

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 It’s fair to say that India’s campaign in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup hasn’t gone as per their plan. In four matches, they have won two and lost the same number of games.

In all four matches, their batting has oscillated between very high and low extremes. Amidst their inconsistent campaign, India now square off against six-time World Cup winners, Australia, who are on a consistent, undefeated run in the tournament, at Eden Park on Saturday.

It will also be the first time the two teams will meet in a 50-over World Cup match since the semifinal of the 2017 edition at Derby, where Harmanpreet Kaur’s whirlwind 171 served as the knockout punch for Australia.

A win against Australia would set India’s campaign on track to reach the semifinals as they face Bangladesh and South Africa afterwards. In the run-up to the World Cup, India’s batting looked stronger than their bowling in the bilateral series against New Zealand.

But in the mega event, the tables have turned with bowling looking strong while the batting has emerged with weak links.

For now, the Mithali Raj-led side has to ensure that the up-and-down batting performances and losing wickets in a heap has to be avoided against an Australia bowling attack which has bowled out New Zealand and West Indies for 128 and 131 respectively in its last two matches.

Collapses of 114/6, 95/5, 78/3 and 86/7 convey that in both victory and defeat, India have been hampered by this nagging issue, acknowledged by Smriti Mandhana in her pre-match briefing.

Left-handed Mandhana, India’s leading run-getter so far in the tournament with 216 runs, thinks stitching partnerships will be a key in solving the collapse problem.

“Definitely, we have been losing wickets back-to-back. It’s something that we, as a batting unit, want to address it. 50-overs is all about good partnerships. So, we definitely want to work on it.”

“As set batters, it is more responsibility on that batter to take the game forward from that time when you are able to time the ball well. That’s something I will be really conscious about that we don’t have to lose wickets back-to-back and develop a partnership from there because one or two good partnerships will be able to post a good total which we can defend.”

If India are able to avoid the wobble in top and middle order, then they will need runs collectively from the batting order. Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur have been among the runs but the same can’t be said of Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma.

Mithali moved up to three from four while Deepti took her captain’s place but the duo haven’t got the runs in four matches. It remains to be seen if an out-of-form Shafali Verma will come in or India will stick with left-handed Yastika Bhatia.

On the other hand, Australia have got very little to worry about. Rachael Haynes is in brilliant form, leading the run-scoring charts with 277 runs. Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning will be looking to be more consistent while Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner, Tahlia McGrath and Beth Mooney have clicked well.

In terms of bowling, Gardner, McGrath, Perry along with Alana King, Amanda-Jade Wellington and Megan Schutt have been spot-on with their lines and lengths.

Head coach Matthew Mott is aware of what India can bring to the table, having seen them almost win the ODI series at Mackay last year.

“It’s a good time to play India. I see them as an incredibly dangerous side. So, we are rolling some confidence at the moment. But as we always say, it’s this game in isolation and everything that we’re talking about the moments about how we can combat India. I think they’ve got one of the best new-ball bowling attacks in the world. And we found that out last summer.”

For both teams, there will be a sense of walking into the unknown as Eden Park will host its first match in the tournament. With small straight and long square boundaries apart from drop-in pitch and difficulty in catches taken under lights, Eden Park presents a nice challenge for Australia and India meeting for the 13th time in Women’s World Cups.

India will be hoping that they can make Jhulan Goswami’s 200th ODI outing memorable by clicking as a batting unit and halting the winning Australian juggernaut.

Squads

Australia: Meg Lanning (captain), Rachael Haynes (vice-captain), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy (wicket-keeper), Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland and Amanda-Jade Wellington.

India: Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wicket-keeper), Sneh Rana, Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Poonam Yadav.

International

₹136 Crore Per Year To Luxury Suite At Training Ground: All About Kylian Mbappe’s Bumper Deal At Real Madrid

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In a move that has captivated football enthusiasts worldwide, Kylian Mbappe has officially transferred from Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid as of Tuesday.

This long-anticipated switch concludes months of speculation and excitement among fans.

Real Madrid’s Exciting Acquisition

Real Madrid announced on Monday that they had secured a deal with the French superstar for the next five seasons, merging one of football’s brightest talents with its most illustrious club.

This deal follows years of interest from Madrid, eager to bring in the player seen as the heir to Lionel Messi’s throne in the sport.

Financial Details of Mbappe’s Move

The 25-year-old Parisian will reportedly earn 15 million Euros net per season at Real Madrid, translating to over ₹136 crores annually. This figure breaks down to an impressive ₹2.6 crore per week.

While this is a significant reduction from the €75 million net per year he received at PSG, the shortfall will be offset by a massive signing bonus. The bonus, around €150 million, will be disbursed over the course of his contract.

Perks and Anticipated Debuts

Aside from his substantial salary, Mbappe will enjoy a private luxury suite at Real Madrid’s training facility and will sport the iconic No.9 jersey, previously worn by legendary striker Karim Benzema.

His anticipated debut for Real Madrid will occur during the preseason, with their first friendly against AC Milan at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 31.

His competitive debut is expected in the UEFA Super Cup, where Real Madrid will take on Europa League winners Atalanta in Warsaw, Poland, on August 14.

Mbappe’s Stellar PSG Legacy

Mbappe joined PSG from Monaco in 2017 for €180 million and has since become the club’s all-time leading scorer.

Throughout his seven-year tenure in Paris, he consistently demonstrated his scoring prowess, netting at least 30 goals in six of those seasons. His move to Real Madrid marks the next chapter in an already illustrious career, as he aims to further his legacy at one of the world’s most storied football clubs.

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International

ENG vs ESP, Euro 2024 Final: Spain Become The 1st Four-Time Champions Of Europe After Beating England 2-1 In Berlin

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Match Result:

Spain triumphed over England with a 2-1 victory in the Euro 2024 final, held in Berlin, becoming the first team to win the championship four times.

The match saw a tense first half ending goalless, but Spain took the lead shortly after the break. Williams Jr. netted the opener in the 47th minute, capitalizing on a defensive lapse by England.

England fought back, with Palmer leveling the score in the 73rd minute, igniting hopes for the Three Lions. However, Spain maintained their pressure, and in the 86th minute, Oyarzabal clinched the winner with a decisive strike.

This historic win cements Spain’s status as Europe’s most successful team, while England’s wait for a major international trophy continues. The final was a showcase of high-quality football and strategic mastery, ultimately seeing Spain emerge as deserved champions.

This historic win cements Spain’s status as Europe’s most successful team, while England’s wait for a major international trophy continues. The final was a showcase of high-quality football and strategic mastery, ultimately seeing Spain emerge as deserved champions.

Preview of Euro 2024 Cup final:

A strong Spanish outfit will meet a pesky England side in the final of Euro 2024 final at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Spain battled France and defeated them by 2-1 in the semi-final, while England overcame the Netherlands by the same margin.

However, it wasn’t without a contentious penalty call that went in England’s favour. Despite not starting the contest as favourites, England’s ability to hang in there could work against Spain, who are seeking a 4th Euro title. By contrast, England are yet to lift the trophy.

A crucial stat which is in favour of England is the head to head battle, which the former lead by 13-10 against Spain in 27 outings.

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Violent Clash Erupts Between Rival Supporters During Argentina vs Brazil 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

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The 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers has been marred in controversy as the match between Brazil and Argentina saw violent clashes between rival supporters before the start of it. The high-profile fixture had to be delayed by 30 minutes as the Marcana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro witnessed ugly scenes, with disturbing visuals emerging on social media.

With the Brazilian and Argentinian players lining up for national anthems, the camera turned towards the stands as a section of rival fans exchanged blows. The local police officials could be seen beating up a section of Argentinian fans with batons and it did not go well with the tourists. By pointing at the violent scenes, Messi and co. decided to walk off the pitch.

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