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FIH Pro League: Indian women’s hockey team goes down 0-3 against Argentina

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Antwerp, May 26 (IANS) The Indian women’s hockey team went down 0-3 to Argentina in the final match of the Belgium leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24, here on Sunday. Celina Di Santo (1’), Maria Campoy (39’), and Maria Granatto (47′) etched their names on the scoresheet for Argentina.

Argentina took the game by storm in the very first minute, dissecting the Indian high press and penetrating to the shooting circle, where Celina Di Santo deflected Maria Granatto’s shot on goal to score their first goal. As India struggled to play out of their half, a period of Argentinian dominance followed, resulting in a penalty corner eight minutes into the game, but they failed to extend their lead.

Following this, India began stringing a few passes together and grew into the game. They forced Argentine goalkeeper Clara Barberi into action after a low drive into the circle from Udita found Lalremsiami, who dove to direct it towards goal but failed to score.

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Argentina regained control of proceedings in the second quarter, earning a slurry of penalty corners but an alert duo of Bichu Devi Kharibam and Salima Tete helped keep the ball out of the nets. A rare Indian foray into the shooting circle resulted in a penalty corner but Deepika’s drag flick was comfortably swatted away. Argentina pegged India back for the rest of the quarter but the Indian defence held firm to keep the scoreline 0-1 heading into the second half.

India earned a penalty corner early in the third quarter but failed to create a goalscoring opportunity. As the quarter progressed India attempted to push up the pitch but were unable to create any significant chances. Argentina made a breakthrough in the 39th minute, as Maria Campoy picked up the ball on the left wing and bulldozed into the circle, dodging a few challenges and slotting it past Savita to double their lead. India had a chance to score in the last minute of the quarter but Navneet Kaur’s tomahawk was saved by Clara Barberi.

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Argentina earned a penalty corner as soon as the final quarter began and Maria Granatto directed Agustina Gorzelany’s flick over Savita in goal to further solidify their lead. Argentina stepped up the intensity after the goal and pegged India back, creating multiple chances through Maria Granatto but a resilient Indian backline managed to thwart any further advances and the match ended 3-0 in Argentina’s favour.

The Indian women’s team will next take on Germany on June 1.

–IANS

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'Seemed like the right time': Namibia's David Wiese announces international retirement

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North Sound (Antigua), June 16 (IANS) Namibia allrounder David Wiese has retired from international cricket after his teams final T20 World Cup group stage match against England on Sunday.

Namibia’s camapign ended after their third group stage loss on Sunday to defending champion England. Their only win in the tournament came against Oman.

After Wiese was dismissed by Jofra Archer in the final over of Namibia’s chase in a rain-curtailed match, he raised his helmet and bat to the crowd as he walked off before being greeted by his teammates, including captain Gerhard Erasmus, at the dugout.

“I mean, (the next) T20 World Cup is still two years away, I’m 39 years old now, so , in terms of international cricket, I don’t know if there’s much left in me,” Wiese said in the post match press conference. Obviously, I would still like to play the game for a couple more years, I feel like I’ve still got a lot to contribute and a lot to play,” he said.

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“But I just feel like what better place to end a special career for me personally with Namibia. I’ve had a lot of good times with them and to play my last game for them possibly at a World Cup against a world-class team like England, it just seemed like the right time,” he added.

Wiese, who usually bats in the middle order, was promoted up the order to no. 3, smashed two sixes and a four in successive Adil Rashid in his 27 off 12 innings.

Originally from South Africa, Weise has played in three consecutive T20 World Cups for Namibia.

Wiese made his T20I debut for South Africa in 2013 and his ODI debut in 2015. He also represented the Proteas in the 2016 T20 World Cup. In 2021, he debuted for Namibia in the T20 World Cup and played a key role in their qualification for the Super 12s.

Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus too confirmed that Sunday’s game against England was Wiese’s last game for Namibia.

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“Unfortunately it was his last game, which is a great moment for him to perform like that in his last game,” Eramus said in post match interview.

“Massive impact, in terms of the level of cricket he brought to our circle. He’s a great guy on the field in terms of performance but off the field he is someone we have really learned a lot from and he’s inspired us to new heights and greater heights,” the Namibia skipper said.

–IANS

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1st ODI: India women opt to bat first against South Africa in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru, June 16 (IANS) India women have won the toss against South Africa in the first ODI of the three-match series at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, here on Sunday.

India have handed an ODI debut to leg-spinner Asha Sobhana, who made her T20I debut on tour of Bangladesh last month.

On the other hand, Marizanne Kapp is set to only play as a batter in the first ODI due to workload management following a minor back injury.

Nadine de Klerk, Tumi Sekhukhune and Eliz-Mari Marx have been ruled out of the series opener due to illness, with Annerie Dercksen handed an ODI debut.

Playing XIs-

India XI: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, D Hemalatha, Richa Ghosh, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, S Asha, Renuka Singh

South Africa XI: Laura Wolvaardt, Tazmin Brits, Anneke Bosch, Suné Luus, Marizanne Kapp, Annerie Dercksen, Nondumiso Shangase, Sinalo Jafta, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka, Nonkululeko Mlaba.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: 'Pakistan can't go any lower than this,' says Imad Wasim after early exit

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Lauderhill (USA), June 16 (IANS) After being ousted from the T20 World Cup, Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim believes it is the lowest point for the team as they failed to secure a Super Eight spot for the third time in the tournament history.

Pakistan opened their campaign with a Super Over upset against co-hosts USA before facing a close six-run loss against arch-rivals India. However, they defeated Canada by seven wickets but it was too late for Babar and Co. to make their case for the second round. In the last group stage fixture, Pakistan will take on Ireland in Florida on Sunday.

“Yes, this is the lowest point. You can’t go any lower than this. That’s the fact. I know we’re out of the tournament and it’s hard for the players but at the end this is an international game, a World Cup game so we won’t take anything lightly,” Imad said in a pre-match press conference.

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Pakistan will not leave any stone unturned in the match against Ireland despite it being a dead rubber. “We will go out there and play for the country and play for the pride of our country which we already did but unfortunately the results we can’t control it. Yeah, but we go out there and play like it’s a World Cup game,” the all-rounder added.

Imad refrained from blaming individuals for their losses and called it a collective team responsibility. “We have given away two games by ourselves. We have given away the match by ourselves not because of an individual, but collectively, because of team effort, we gave away the match by ourselves.

“There is no excuse for that. Losing to USA, well, losing is a part of the game, but we shouldn’t have lost to USA. Even against India – we had that game in our hands and we shouldn’t have lost. So, there is no excuse for anything. We are losing matches collectively,” he said.

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“And I will tell you again that we never lose a match because of one or two individuals. Matches are lost because of the whole team. Whether someone does it well or not, that’s why it’s called team sport. If it was an individual, anyone can blame anyone and everything can be taken out of the rest. But you have to sit and think where mistakes are happening, how are they happening, why are they happening and you have to sort it out.

“After the match against Ireland – we will sit down and talk and then decide. I don’t do anything secretly. I told everyone when retired last time – If something happens, I will come and tell everyone,” Imad added.

He further acknowledged the disappointment of his teammates and countrymen on their lacklustre performance and said the team needs to revisit its white-ball strategy.

“When you fall, how do you get up and approach the world? And how do you react? That is what we have to see now. It is a very sad thing. But, who knows, it could be a big thing for Pakistan cricket. Revamp it, revisit it and play it the way white ball cricket should be played.

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“So, me personally and our team, including me, are very disappointed and sad. And the whole public is sad that we didn’t perform well and we are to blame for it. But I would also like to say that we are human beings, we can make mistakes and we are also saddened by these things,” Imad said.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: 'It was decided since the team was selected', says Rathour on Gill, Avesh's release

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Lauderhill (USA), June 16 (IANS) India batting coach Vikram Rathour has confirmed that travelling reserves Shubman Gill and Avesh Khan will leave the side after the culmination of T20 World Cup group stage fixtures, saying “it was decided since the team was selected.”

It was reported that Gill and Avesh will return home from the ongoing T20 World Cup home after the match against Canada. Rinku Singh and Khaleel Ahmed will remain with the side for the remainder of the tournament.

The duo, who were part of the four-member travelling reserves along with Rinku and Khaleel, had travelled to Florida for India last group A fixture with the rest of the team as backups in case of any adversity.

“This was a plan from the beginning. When we come to the US, four players will come together. After that two will be released and two will travel with us to West Indies. So, this plan was made from the beginning since the team was selected. This was planned so we are just following that,” Rathour said in a press conference after India’s match against Canada abondoned without a ball being bowled.

India have topped Group A with seven points despite a washout against Canada on Saturday halted their three-match unbeaten run in the ongoing T20 World Cup. Men in Blue will now head to the West Indies to play their Super Eight matches.

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The wet outfield at Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Florida forced the abandonment of the fixture which could have given them a chance to showcase their skills outside the tricky New York pitch.

After a washout due to wet outfield Rathour is looking forward to practice days in Barbados, where Men in Blue will take on Afghanistan in their Super Eight fixture.

“Again, not ideal. It would have been great if we could have gotten a game today. But now this is what it is. So, we look forward to having a couple of good practice days in Barbados and get into the game. So again, now the matches will happen simultaneously after one day.

“So, as a team I think we are ready. We are used to these kind of schedules, we have done it in past and I am sure we will do it really well this time as well,” Rathour said.

“Of course, disappointing I think for fans yes but even for a team we were really looking forward to play a game and we were expecting better conditions, batting conditions than what we got in New York. So as a team I think it was important for us to get a game but again something that we can’t control, we don’t control. So, it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get a game here,” he added.

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When asked about Virat Kohli’s dismal form in the tournament, Rathour backed the star batter and said it is a positive sign that he is hungrier for runs.

“I love it when every time I come there is a question about Virat Kohli, whether he is doing well or not. No concern at all, no concern at all. He has been batting superbly from the tournament that he came from. Couple of dismissals here, doesn’t change anything, he is batting really well.

“Actually, it’s good that he is little hungrier, he is really keen to do well and really switched on. It’s a good space to be as a batsman, I think. Looking forward to some good games and watching some good innings from him,” he said.

Talking about the team’s preparedness for the Super Eight stage, Rathour said they have players to deal with any situation.

“Again, we need to be a flexible team. We need to look at the conditions that are in front of us and be ready to deal with those. So as a team, we are going to be really flexible, I think. We’ll react the way what we get on the day. We have enough resources in our team to deal with any kind of conditions,” said Rathour.

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The batting coach added they are equipped with the best resources in each department to tackle any condition on the field.

“It’s good. You should be able to play on all types of wickets. We have the skills to play in all types of conditions and do well. So, we have got the difficult wickets. Hopefully, we will get good wickets in the tournament. And if we get turning wickets or if we get low-scoring games, our team is equipped to deal with that.

“I think our balance is very good in the team at this time. All the batters are batting well, bowlers are bowling really well, we have 4 spin options, we have enough fast bowlers as well. So, whichever conditions come, I think we are really equipped to deal with that,” Rathour concluded.

India will take on Afghanistan in their first Super Eight match in Barbados on June 20.

–IANS

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Golf: DeChambeau three ahead of McIlroy; Bhatia T-16 at US Open

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Pinehurst (USA), June 16 (IANS) Rory McIlroy was in contention to end his 10-year Major drought, as he was tied second with two others, but Bryson DeChambeau took the three-shot lead in the round 3 at the US Open golf Championships.

DeChambeau, the U.S. Open champion in 2020, carded 3-under-par 67 for a 54-hole total of 7-under 203. He took a three-shot lead into the final round over Rory McIlroy (69), Patrick Cantlay (70) and Matthieu Pavon (69).

In the time since he won his last Major in 2014, McIlroy had been runner-up three times, been third once and has been in Top-5 four other times. In eight Majors starts in 2022 and 2023, he was in Top-8 seven times and missed the cut once, at the 2023 Masters. This year he was T-22 at Masters and T-12 at PGA.

The top Asians are Hideki Matsuyama (70) in Tied-fifth and Tom Kim (71) in T-9.

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Aaron Rai of England, whose parents have an Indian connection, was T-12 after a third round 68, while Indian American Akshay Bhatia (73) is T-16 and Sahith Theegala (72) is T-47.

DeChambeau, who is now so different from the ‘bulked-up’ golfer he was when he won the US Open in 2020, unleased the same power despite needing trainers to work on his ‘tight’ hips. He delivered a 347-yard drive soon after and it fetched him a birdie, too. He shot 3-under 67 and set up a three-shot lead.

Getting along well with the crowds, DeChambeau was in full flow and entertained the spectators, too. Now he is 7-under 203 and the only player to post three straight rounds of 60s in a U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

DeChambeau was runner-up by one shot last month in the PGA Championship and he had a top 10 at the Masters in April.

Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg, who started the third round with a one-shot lead, made a triple on the 13th and fell back into tied fifth Hideki Matsuyama (70). They are five behind DeChambeau.

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McIlroy birdied third, bogeyed sixth and bogeyed ninth to turn in 1-under. On the back nine, he birdied the 12th and the 14th and dropped a bogey on the 15th and the 17th in a roller coaster of a round for 69.

No Asian has won the US Open, but Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama showed his resilience to remain in contention after an even-par 70 which left him five shots behind third round leader, DeChambeau.

The 32-year-old Matsuyama traded four birdies against as many bogeys at Pinehurst No. 2, including one at the last hole, for tied fifth place on 2-under 208.

Korean phenomenon Tom Kim also fought valiantly, posting a 71 which included five birdies, four bogeys, and a double bogey, to lie in a tie for ninth place on 210.

Collin Morikawa remarkably had a bogey-free round with a 66 that took him from a tie to 51st to just inside the top 10.

Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 player who had to settle for a 71, played his fourth straight round over par going back to Sunday at the Memorial Tournament.

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–IANS

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