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Final Oly qualifier: Strong qualification field first big challenge for India’s women air pistol shooters in Rio

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New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) A world-class 52-strong field will only be the first challenge for India’s women 10m air pistol shooters — Palak Gulia, Surbhi Rao and Sainyam, in their quest for a quota place for the Paris Olympics, at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Final Olympic Qualification Championship Rifle/Pistol in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday.

The second test for them will be having to sleep over the qualification result, if one or more of them make the final, which is scheduled for Sunday, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) informed on Friday.

That is the big change which shooters will have to adapt to, given that is how the schedule will be at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics in July. All ISSF Rifle/Pistol events till the Paris Games, as well as the Olympic Selection Trials back home will now be played in this format — finals a day after qualification, as opposed to on the same day as has been the prevailing practice.

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Foreign coach Munkhbayar Dorsjuren accompanying the squad said ahead of qualifications, “Our shooters have trained hard and are confident going into the competition tomorrow. It is a tough challenge, but we are sure if we put our best foot forward, we will achieve our goal.”

Some competitors who are likely to give a tough time to the Indian quest are the likes of Veronika Major (Hungary), Sandra Reitz (Germany), Yu Ai Wen (Chinese Taipei), Haniyeh Rostamiyan (Iran), Yulia Korostylova (Ukraine), Teh Xiu Hong (Singapore) and Tanyaporn Prucksakorn (Thailand) among others.

–IANS

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Afridi reflects on Pak’s win over India in 2021 WC, says “That is one opportunity I missed”

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) With the 2024 T20 World Cup just around the corner and cricketing fans getting ready to watch one of the biggest rivalry in India-Pakistan reignited on the big stage. ICC on Sunday released a clip of Shahid Afridi reflecting on the match between the two juggernauts at the 2021 T20 World Cup.

“I achieved a lot, played a lot of cricket and experienced a lot but we hadn’t beaten India in a World Cup before, that was an unfulfilled wish,” Afridi said to ICC.

The match in Dubai (2021 T20 World Cup) where Pakistan won against India, that was one of the moments I felt I should have been there on that occasion. That is one opportunity I missed,” said the former Pakistan skipper to ICC.

Pakistan’s 10-wicket victory over India at the 2021 T20 World Cup is one of the fondest memories for Pakistan cricket fans in what was a rampant performance by the men in green.

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Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi was recently announced on the star-studded roster of ambassadors for the T20 World Cup 2024 in the USA and West Indies which begins on June 2.

India will face Pakistan on June 9 at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York in both side’s second group A encounter.

–IANS

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Garnacho's bicycle kick against Everton wins Premier League Goal of the Season

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Less than 24-hours after Alejandro Garnacho scored an all important goal in Manchester United’s FA Cup final victory over town-rivals Manchester City, his goal against Everton has been named the Premier League Goal of the Season.

Garnacho scored a beautiful bicycle goal against Everton in a 0-3 victory at Merseyside Stadium on November 26, 2023. It led fans to draw comparisons with Wayne Rooney’s iconic goal against Manchester City.

Kaoru Mitoma (vs Brighton), Bruno Fernandes (vs Burnley), Saman Ghoddos (vs Burnley), Alexis Mac Allister (vs Fulham), Oscar Bobb (vs Newcastle), Kobbie Mainoo (vs Wolves), Marcus Rashford (vs Man City), Cole Palmer (vs Everton) and Moises Caicedo (vs AFC Bournemouth) were the other nine nominees for the personal honor.

Manchester United won the FA Cup final against City (2-1) on Saturday in a surprising result. Garnacho and Kobe Mainoo became the first teenagers to score in an FA Cup final since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004 (vs Millwall).

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–IANS

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Looking forward to competing in the WR Chess Masters Cup: Viswanathan Anand

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Former five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand is all set to compete in the WR Chess Masters Cup, scheduled to take place in London from October 14 to 18.

The tournament features the best 16 players across four intense rounds.

“I am looking forward to competing in the WR Chess Masters Cup, taking place from October 14th to 18th. Looking forward to see some great games,” Vishy Anand wrote on X.

The WR Chess Masters Cup have recently been officially included in the FIDE Circuit.

It will be an intense elimination tournament with a K.O. System of best-of-two games with the time control of 60 minutes for the first 30 moves, 30 minutes for the next 20 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game.

In case of tiebreaks, there will be a bidding rapid armageddon game.

–IANS

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Babar Azam slams batters for not ‘finishing well’ in second T20I against England

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Birmingham (UK), May 26 (IANS) Pakistan captain Babar Azam said his team didn’t finish well and faltered in the batting department after a 23-run loss against England in the second T20I here on Saturday.

England took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series after the first fixture was washed out due to rain in Leeds.

Chasing 184, Fakhar Zaman looked in great touch as he slammed 45 off 21 runs including five fours and three sixes but failed to take the side over the line. Babar, who scored 32 runs, said they lacked in building partnerships in the middle overs and ended on a losing side.

“It was a par score, our bowlers bowled very well. In the batting, there were moments, but we didn’t finish well. Small partnership between me and Fakhar and later on, there was no big partnership. If someone got 40s and 50s, it could have been different. We are flexible, everyone knows their role. We have decided each player’s role. If you are not in good form, we are flexible,” Babar said in the post-match presentation.

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He heaped praise on Fakhar for his blistering knock despite the fall of wickets at regular intervals on the other end.

“The way Fakhar dominated after wickets fell … if me and Fakhar had batted for three more overs, it would have been a different ball game,” Babar added.

Earlier, Jos Buttler’s 84 off 51 balls decorated with eight fours and three sixes guided England to 183/7 in 20 overs after being asked to bat first.

For Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi bagged three wickets while Iman Wasim and Haris Rauf added two scalps each to their tally.

Imad remained economical in his four-over spell and just leaked 19 runs including wickets of Phil Salt (13) and Harry Brook (1). With the bat, he contributed 22 in 13 balls to keep Pakistan’s hopes alive in the match.

Commenting on his performance, Babaar said, “He is experienced, he knows how to bowl at different situations and how read the batsman. He’s a very clever bowler. In the batting, he has improved a lot, so good for us.

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“Shadab is one of the best players, batting, bowling and especially fielding. He’ll come back. We announced the team (for WC), we are giving confidence,” he added.

The third T20I between England and Pakistan will be played in Cardiff on Tuesday, May 28.

–IANS

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ECB missed trick, playing in IPL better preparation than facing Pak: Vaughan

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Vaughan opined that playing in IPL would have served English players “better preparations for the T20 World Cup than playing against Pakistan” after the hoast of players returned home from the cash-rich league.

Will Jacks, Phil Salt, and Jos Butler were among the players who ended their IPL campaign before the playoffs and returned home to participate in the four-match home series against Pakistan.

“I think you’re going to miss the trick by sending all their players home. You know, I think Will Jacks, Phil Salt, Jos Butler, in particular, playing in the IPL in the eliminators, pressure, crowd, expectation. I would argue that playing here is better preparation than playing a T20 game against Pakistan,” said Vaughan on the Club Praire Fire Podcast.

After the culmination of the series against Pakistan, England will head for the T20 pinnacle in the West Indies and the USA, starting on June 1 (local time). The defending champions will not play any warm-up match and will take on Scotland in their opening match on June 4.

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The first game of the series was called off due to rain while in the second match, England sealed a 23-run win in Edgbaston on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead.

Pakistan won the toss and invited the hosts to bat first. England skipper Jos Buttler gave his side a great start to the game scoring 84 runs while Will Jacks hit 37 as the two batters propelled their side’s total to 183 in 20 overs.

Reece Topley grabbed three wickets in the second innings with Moeen Ali and Jofra Archer chipped in with two scalps each to restrict Pakistan to 160/9.

England will now square up against Pakistan in the third game, scheduled to be played at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Tuesday, May 28.

–IANS

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