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Former New Zealand leg-spinner Jack Alabaster dies aged 93

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Wellington, April 10 (IANS) Former New Zealand leg-spinner Jack Alabaster has died at the age of 93 in Cromwell late on Tuesday night, said the country’s cricket governing body.

Alabaster played 21 Tests from 1955-1972, including the first four wins New Zealand achieved in the format spread over 12 years (from 1956 to 1968), and being the only player to do so. Overall, he took 49 wickets at an average of 38.02 in his Test career for New Zealand.

“NZC is deeply saddened to mark the death of leg-spinner Jack Alabaster, who died in Cromwell last night aged 93. A champion of Southland and @OtagoCricket, Jack played 21 Tests from 1955-1972 (including the first four wins NZ achieved), taking 49 wickets at 38.02,” New Zealand Cricket said in a statement posted on X.

As a New Zealand cricketer, Alabaster toured India and Pakistan in 1955-56, England in 1958, South Africa in 1961-62 and ended his international career with the trip to West Indies in 1971-72.

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The spinner took exactly 500 first-class wickets from 143 matches while representing Otago in domestic cricket. After his playing career ended, Alabaster served as the principal of Kingswell High School in Invercargill and also worked as a Rector of Southland Boys High School in the same city in 1981.

He is survived by his younger brother, Gren Alabaster, who is currently 90 years old and was a former New Zealand selector and manager after playing 96 first-class matches for Otago.

The passing of Alabaster now leaves Trevor McMahon, who’s 94 right now, as New Zealand’s oldest living Test player.

–IANS

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Copa America: Uruguay beat Canada on penalties to finish third

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Charlotte, July 14 (IANS) Uruguay beat Canada on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the Copa America 2024 third-place playoff match on Saturday at the Bank of America Stadium.

Rodrigo Bentancur opened the scoring early on for Uruguay, while Canadian midfielder Ismael Kone scored one of the great goals of this edition to equalise at halftime. Jonathan David came on to score his second goal of this edition, turning the score around for the Canadians.

In stoppage time, Luis Suarez forced a penalty shootout where Uruguay hit every shot with Valverde, Betancur, Arrascaeta and Suarez, while Rochet saved Kone’s shot. And then Davies hit the crossbar to determine the winner of the duel.

La Celeste lost just one match in this edition of the Copa America; the semifinal in which they fell by a narrow margin to Colombia.

Before beating Canada on penalties for third place, Uruguay won on penalties against Brazil in the quarterfinals, they beat the United States1-0, Bolivia 5-0 and Panama 3-1.

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–IANS

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Siniakova and Townsend bag Wimbledon women's doubles title

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London, July 14 (IANS) No. 4 seed Czech-American duo of Katerina Siniakova and Taylor Townsend battled past No.2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe to clinch Wimbledon women’s doubles title.

Under a closed roof in the late evening, Siniakova and Townsend came back from two set points down in the first set before beating the reigning US Open champions 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in 2 hours and 4 minutes to wrap up a memorable result. The victors wrapped up the win just before 10:30 pm London time.

This is the duo’s first title together as a pair in only their third tournament alongside one another.

Moreover, it is Siniakova’s third Wimbledon doubles trophy and a ninth major overall while Townsend tasted a Grand Slam success for the first time having finished runner-up in doubles finals at both the US Open and Roland-Garros in the past.

“I feel great. I got 500 text messages. I didn’t know that many people had my number. That’s going to take a while to go through,” Townsend said after the match.

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“This is my first one, my first Grand Slam title. I’ve been close two other times. To get over the finish line the way that we did, I think we played so well. We were just locked in, in control. We played our way. It felt good the way we did it,” she added.

The result completed a remarkable couple of months for Siniakova who makes it back-to-back majors on two different surfaces – with two different partners – after landing the Roland-Garros title in June with Coco Gauff.

“I agree with Taylor, I think it was a really tough match. “We played amazing. I think we stick together. That’s what makes the team even stronger. So I’m really proud of ourselves. Even if it’s nine (Slams), I’m every time happy. It feels every time different, every time good,” Siniakova said.

–IANS

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Colombia must be at best to beat Argentina: Lorenzo

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New Jersey, July 14 (IANS) Colombia will need to be at their best to have any chance of beating Argentina in the Copa America final, Cafeteros manager Nestor Lorenzo said.

Argentina, the reigning Copa America and World Cup champions, occupy top spot in FIFA’s latest world rankings and, according to Lorenzo, are favorites going into Sunday’s duel at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Colombia – who are seeking their second Copa America title and first since 2001 – are 12th in the rankings, despite a 28-game unbeaten run dating back to early 2022.

“We need to be the best version of Colombia to defeat the champions of everything,” Lorenzo said, who also alluded to Argentina’s victory over Italy in the 2022 CONMEBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions.

“If we had not performed well we would not be here. But to beat Argentina you have to have the best version of each player and multiply it.”

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Colombia reached the final by defeating Uruguay 1-0 in their last match, despite playing for more than 45 minutes with only 10 men. Argentina advanced by overcoming Canada 2-0 in the other semifinal.

While conceding that Argentina were formidable rivals, Lorenzo was quietly confident that his team could cause an upset.

“The reason is because we are not satisfied,” he said. “The group is hungry. I said that we have to play at our best level to beat Argentina, but we are confident that we can do it.”

Lorenzo also paid tribute to Colombian fans and expressed hope that his team would bring them joy on Sunday afternoon.

“There is no more joyful and fanatical fan,” Lorenzo said. “We would like to be able to reach finals of big tournaments regularly and not make our fans wait for so long.”

“But staying at the top is not easy. This group has a bright a future. I hope this [run of success] continues and that in the future it won’t be such a surprise to see Colombia in a final,” he added.

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–IANS

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India beat Pakistan to clinch World Championship of Legends title

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Edgbaston, July 14 (IANS) India Champions crowned the World Championship of Legends winners after beating Pakistan five wickets in a pulsating finale.

The Yuvraj Singh-led side showcased their dominance in the competition and secured the coveted title in a match that went down to the wire as two teams fought hard.

Pakistan Champions, opting to bat first after winning the toss, posted a competitive total of 156/6 in 20 overs.

Kamran Akmal (24 off 19) and Maqsood (21 off 12) gave the team a solid start, but regular wickets kept the scoring in check.

The standout performer was Shoaib Malik, who scored a crucial 41 off 36 balls, anchoring the innings. Captain Younis Khan failed to make a mark as he was clean bowled by Irfan Pathan for 7. The middle-order collapsed and Misbah-ul-Haq was retired hurt after a brisk 18, late contributions from Sohail Tanvir (19* off 9) ensured Pakistan posted a respectable score.

Indian bowlers, led by Anureet Singh who claimed three wickets with support from Vinay Kumar, Pawan Negi and Irfan Pathan (one wicket each) were instrumental in containing Pakistan’s batting lineup.

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In response, India Champions started their run chase with intent. Despite losing Robin Uthappa (10) early, Ambati Rayudu’s explosive 50 off 30 balls set the foundation for the chase for the Men in Blue.

Suresh Raina too departed cheaply for 4 in the same over, helping Pakistan make a comeback. But a strong partnership between Rayudu and Gurkeerat Singh Maan (34 off 33) kept India on track.

Rayudu and Mann also departed in a space of 10 runs but the momentum stayed firmly in India’s favour with Yusuf Pathan’s blistering 30 off 16 balls before the latter was dismissed in the penultimate over.

With captain Yuvraj Singh (15*) and Irfan Pathan (5*) at the crease, India sealed the win, finishing at 159 for 5 in 19.1 overs.

Pakistan’s bowlers, despite their best efforts, couldn’t halt India’s march towards the target. Aamer Yamin was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-0-29-2, supported by Sohail Tanvir and Sohail Khan, who took one wicket each.

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Brief Scores: India Champions: 159/5 in 19.1 overs (Ambati Rayudu 50, Gurkeerat Singh Mann 34, Yusuf Pathan 30; Aamer Yamin 2/29) beat Pakistan Champions: 156/6 in 20 overs (Shoaib Malik 41, Kamran Akmal 24; Anureet Singh 2/43) by 5 wickets.

–IANS

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Sonam Kapoor exudes grace at the Wimbledon Women's Final in London

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor, recently seen in the streaming movie ‘Blind’, attended the Wimbledon Women’s Final in London.

Making a fashion statement, the actress exuded elegance and style. She donned an outfit designed by Bottega Veneta. For the occasion, she chose a sophisticated striking long yellow, blue, and black dress layered with the Optical Crinkle Cotton Check ensemble from the Pre-Fall 24 collection.

The outfit featured a long-sleeved white, blue, and black shirt and a matching long skirt. She accessorised her look with a pair of sleek Tex Mule shoes in black, also from the Pre-Fall 24 collection.

Adding a touch of exclusivity, Sonam carried the Liberta bag in black from the Winter 24 special preview, making a chic and timeless fashion statement at the prestigious event.

Sonam, who is known as a fashion icon in the Hindi film industry, has long been celebrated for her impeccable fashion sense. Her consistently brilliant sartorial choices have made her a favourite among top fashion brands worldwide.

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As she gears up for her comeback after her pregnancy, Sonam has two major projects lined up, including ‘Battle for Bittora’, with details of the second tentpole project being kept under wraps.

The actress and her husband Anand Ahuja welcomed their son, Vayu Kapoor Ahuja, in August 2022.

–IANS

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