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IPL 2024: RCB's not Virat-dependent, enough time for overseas stars to come good, says Reece Topley

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Mumbai, April 10 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s English pacer Reece Topley has rejected the claim that the RCB has so far been dependent on Virat Kohli for runs as their overseas batters have failed to fire. He said it is too early to pass such a verdict and there is enough time for everyone to shine.

While Virat Kohli has stolen an early march on all batters, having scored 316 runs in five matches, the rest of the RCB batters have not contributed a lot with skipper Faf du Plessis a distant second with 109 runs while Cameron Green, their big acquisition ahead of IPL 2024, contributing only 68 runs in five innings. That has resulted in RCB lugging the bottom of the points table with only one win in five matches going into the match against Mumbai Indians on Thursday.

But Topley said it is too early to tag them as failures and said though Kohli has been the main contributor to their scores so far, there was enough time for others to shine through.

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“You can take away the fact that it is the overseas batters (only) and you can probably say, Virat has had quite a load in the run-scoring department,” Topley said in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

“I do not think anyone needs to be an expert to sort of look at everyone’s performances and say they haven’t been up to scratch and that’s all aspects of the game, and obviously now we’ve had five games.

“The exciting part is that it’s still relatively young into the tournament. There’s a lot still to play for and what is exciting is that there’s a lot of time to turn that around and still showcase how good we are.”

“At the start of the season (the goal) is to qualify for the finals. To there’s still an opportunity to do that, we’re working hard to make that achievable,” said the left-arm pacer from England.

Asked what should RCB do, starting from the match against Mumbai Indians on Thursday, to pull things back, Topley said they need to put the opposition under pressure.

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“It’s always dangerous when things haven’t been going so well for a side, there’s even more of an emphasis to go out and put the onus on the opposition. We need to put them under pressure and we’ll be doing everything we can to do that,” he said.

–IANS

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Euro 2024: Hjulmand stunner cancels out Kane goal as Denmark hold England 1-1

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Frankfurt, June 21 (IANS) Morten Hjulmand scored the equaliser as Denmark came back to hold favourites England to a 1-1 draw in a Group C match of the UEFA Euro 2024 here on Thursday. Hjulmand struck in the 34th minute to cancel out the goal scored by Harry Kane in the 18th minute as Denmark and England played out a tight 1-1 draw in an even contest in Group C. Both goals came in the first half and the two sides made some good attempts in the second session but could not find the back of the net.

With this draw, England moved to four points from two matches while Denmark and Slovenia have two points each from two draws. Serbia have one point from two games.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s shot on target within the very first minute seemed to promise an end-to-end contest, but what soon transpired was an England team controlling possession and scant opportunities for either side.

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The Three Lions eventually upped the tempo, however, and after a good chance for Phil Foden, Harry Kane buried a diverted cross from close range.

After that, Denmark began cranking up the pressure – and they reaped the benefits. Morten Hjulmand chose the perfect moment to score his first international goal, equalising with an exquisite long-range strike into the bottom corner.

Denmark also created the second half’s first chance, with Jonas Wind’s shot being blocked. The Danes enjoyed spells of fluid possession after the restart, dictating the pace of the game, but it was England who went closest to adding to the scoreline, with a Foden shot coming back off a post.

Both coaches made changes in an attempt to eke out victory, and substitute Ollie Watkins – on for Kane – had a chance to find the net swiftly after coming on, only for Kasper Schmeichel to deny him. Andreas Christensen then fired over at the other end, ensuring an absorbing game ended all square.

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–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Suryakumar and Bumrah propel India to a clinical 47-run win over Afghanistan (ld)

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Bridgetown, June 21 (IANS) Top-ranked batter Suryakumar Yadav made an impressive 53 off 28 balls, while in-form Jasprit Bumrah led a relentless bowling show through a stunning haul of 3-7 as India maintained their unbeaten run in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup with a clinical 47-run win over Afghanistan in their first Super Eight match at the Kensington Oval on Thursday.

With the pitch being damp and slow, Suryakumar proved to be the difference by combining attacking shots with immaculate timing to hit five fours and three sixes at a strike rate of 189. He was also mighty effective with his sweep shots as his 19th T20I fifty put pressure on Afghanistan bowlers and take India to a strong 181/8.

His 60-run stand with Hardik Pandya (32) and a late cameo of 12 from Axar Patel helped India raise the tempo as 56 runs came in the last five overs, despite captain Rashid Khan and left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi taking three wickets each.

In reply, Bumrah bowled 20 dot balls in his searing spell, while Arshdeep Singh, despite being occasionally wayward, took 3-36 as India bowled out Afghanistan for 134.

With the ball holding on to the pitch, Rohit Sharma was kept quiet by Farooqi despite getting a streaky four. He also survived an LBW appeal off him on review, as replays showed ball pitching outside leg-stump. Farooqi struck in the third over when Rohit tried to take on his off-cutter, but miscued off the toe-end to mid-on.

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Rishabh Pant began attacking from the word go by stylishly flicking Farooqi for four, followed by reverse-sweeping, slog-sweeping (dropped by Naveen-ul-Haq on 11) and driving through cover to take three fours off Mohammad Nabi as the final over of Power-play yielded 13 runs.

But Pant was beaten while trying to reverse-sweep a leg-break delivery off Rashid and was trapped plumb lbw for 12-ball 20, with the review showing it would have hit the stumps. Rashid struck again in his next over by having Virat Kohli loft straight to long-off.

Suryakumar kept India going with his variety of sweeps fetching him three boundaries, even as Rashid trapped Shivam Dube lbw with a quicker leg-break which went past his attempted jab, with the review showing it hit flap of pad first in front of off-stump.

Suryakumar left everyone in awe by moving across and whipping a low full toss from Azmatullah Omarzai for four, followed by driving him through mid-off for another boundary. With Pandya timing his drives for boundaries, Suryakumar proceeded to smack a drive from Omarzai down the ground for six.

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Pandya tore into Noor Ahmad by going inside-out beautifully over extra cover for four, followed by smashing a six straight down the ground. Suryakumar smacked Farooqi high over long-on for six and flicked a four through mid-wicket to get his fifty in 27 balls before the batter holed out to long-off in the 17th over.

Pandya smacked Naveen for a 98-metre six clubbed over the terrace of the stadium, before holing out to deep point off the pacer in the 18th over. India’s plans for a big finish were given another big dent when Ravindra Jadeja uppercut to short third man and become Farooqi’s third scalp. Axar picked his gaps well to take two boundaries off Naveen and take India past 180 in the final over.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz got Afghanistan’s chase off to a flying start by carting Arshdeep for four and six in the opening over. But the big-hitter was foxed by a cutter from Bumrah in trying to hit over cover and gave an outside edge behind to keeper.

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Ibrahim Zadran slashed to Kohli at point, but he dropped a simple catch off Arshdeep’s bowling. But Axar struck as Zadran didn’t get any elevation and hit straight to extra cover. Bumrah came back with an off-cutter which gripped off the pitch and took a leading edge off Hazratullah Zazai’s bat to backward point.

The triple strikes from India meant Afghanistan’s required run rate ballooned, despite Azmatullah Omarzai and Gulbadin Naib hitting five boundaries between themselves till the halfway mark.

But after a drinks break, Kuldeep broke the 44-run stand by having Naib miscue high in the air to the keeper and was followed by Ravindra Jadeja having Omarzai holing out to long-on. From there, the result was a foregone conclusion as Bumrah and Arshdeep ended up with three-fers, while Kuldeep had a two-wicket haul on his T20 World Cup debut in a comfortable win for India.

Brief scores:

India 181/8 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 53, Hardik Pandya 32; Rashid Khan 3-26, Fazalhaq Farooqi 3-33) beat Afghanistan 134 all out in 20 overs (Azmatullah Omarzai 26; Jasprit Bumrah 3-7, Arshdeep Singh 3-36) by 47 runs

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Bumrah, Arshdeep bag three each as clinical India register 47-run win over Afghanistan

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Bridgetown (Barbados), June 20 (IANS) Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh picked three-wicket hauls each as India maintained their unbeaten run in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup with a clinical 47-run win over Afghanistan in their first Super Eight match at the Kensington Oval here on Thursday.

With the pitch being damp and slow, Suryakumar Yadav proved to be the difference by hitting a 28-ball 53, laced with five fours and three sixes at a strike-rate of 189, and being mighty effective with his sweep shots to take India to a strong 181/8.

His 60-run stand with Hardik Pandya (32) and a late cameo of 12 from Axar Patel helped India raise the tempo as 56 runs came in the last five overs.

In reply, Bumrah took 3-7, including bowling 20 dot balls, while Arshdeep, despite being occasionally wayward, took 3-36 to bowl out Afghanistan for 134.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz got Afghanistan’s chase off to a flying start by carting Arshdeep for four and six in the opening over. But the big-hitting Gurbaz was foxed by a cutter from Bumrah in looking to hit over cover and gave an outside edge behind to keeper.

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Ibrahim Zadran slashed to Virat Kohli at point, but he dropped a simple catch off Arshdeep’s bowling. But Axar struck quickly as Zadran didn’t get any elevation and hit straight to extra cover. Bumrah came back with an off-cutter which gripped off the pitch and took a leading edge off Hazratullah Zazai’s bat to backward point.

The triple strikes from India meant Afghanistan’s required run rate ballooned, despite Azmatullah Omarzai and Gulbadin Naib hitting five boundaries between themselves till the halfway mark.

But after the drinks break, Kuldeep broke the 44-run stand by having Naib miscue high in the air to the keeper and was followed by Ravindra Jadeja having Omarzai holing out to long-on. From there on, the result was a foregone conclusion as Bumrah and Arshdeep ended up with three-fers, while Kuldeep had a two-wicket haul on his T20 World Cup debut in a comfortable win for India.

Brief scores:

India 181/8 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 53, Hardik Pandya 32; Rashid Khan 3-26, Fazalhaq Farooqi 3-33) beat Afghanistan 134 all out in 20 overs (Azmatullah Omarzai 26; Jasprit Bumrah 3-7, Arshdeep Singh 3-36) by 47 runs

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–IANS

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Tennis: Former champion Barty to play Wimbledon invitation doubles

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London, June 20 (IANS) Former World No.1 Ashleigh Barty will return to Wimbledon this year in the legends’ invitation doubles draw, partnering fellow Australian Casey Dellacqua. Australian player Barty, who won three Grand Slam singles titles before retiring from tennis, will be reliving her success in doubles by playing in this event. “I can announce the band’s back together, ABCD,” Dellacqua told The AO Show Weekly on Thursday.

Barty, the 2021 Wimbledon champion, retired from professional tennis in March 2022 after winning her third major at the Australian Open. Last July, she gave birth to her first son, Hayden.

Between 2013 and 2017, Barty and Dellacqua won five WTA Tour doubles titles together, as well as reaching four Grand Slam finals — including Wimbledon 2013, where they lost the final to Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai. Dellacqua, 39, retired from the sport in 2018 and currently works as a commentator.

That’s another role Barty will be taking on this year. The 28-year-old will also be joining the BBC’s commentary team during Wimbledon.

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Main draw action at Wimbledon begins on July 1, with the invitation events starting on July 9.

–IANS

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Euro 2024: Gourmet Musiala is serving football delicacies as Germany reach Round of 16 stage

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Berlin (Germany), June 20 (IANS) Jamal Musiala’s culinary preferences seem to entertain the entire country of the 2024 UEFA Euro tournament hosts. Social media channels seem packed with video clips showing the 21-year-old England-bred and Bayern Munich forward enjoying so-called “Maultaschen” (filled pasta cases), a Swabian specialty.

“I just love them and minutes ago had the first. There are more to follow later,” the gifted youngster said only minutes after his team’s 2-0 victory over Hungary in Germany’s second Group A encounter, which secured the team’s last-16 participation.

Despite having spent most of his youth and football education in England with Chelsea (2001-2019), Musiala was born in Stuttgart, the capital of the region called Swabia which seems to have affected his preferences, reports Xinhua.

Tens of thousands of fans give out likes for Germany’s tournament surprise after watching the footballer enjoy his favourite dish. Only football seems to similarly affect the youngsters’ mood as the 30-time capped is causing excitement with his on-pitch performance throughout Europe.

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While English media talk about his transformation from a rookie nicknamed “Bambi” to a terminator, the Daily Mail asks “What poor soul allowed Musiala to play for Germany?” after he was part of the Three Lions under-21 side owning both nationalities. In January 2021 it was on former German coach Joachim Loew to convince the attacker to join team Germany and “outline to me my way in the German team.”

Claiming to have grown out of the state of a start-up “as I have gained physical strength,” the attacker is enjoying the “on-pitch freedom” given by German coach Julian Nagelsmann. “I told him to ignore the pressure and fully focus on his joy playing football as if he was performing in a school backyard,” the 36-year-old said.

Nagelsmann called Musiala “tough to defend” while the youngster in the German shirt is entertaining the crowd with his irresistible dribbling as he also scored twice in the tournament’s first two games.

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“Uff, what is there to say: He is a genius,” German captain and Barcelona midfielder Ilkay Gundogan quoted, calling Musiala’s performance and development “breathtaking.”

While being selected as the “UEFA Player of the Match” in Germany’s curtain raiser against Scotland (5-1), it was on Gundogan to take the crown due to his convincing performance against Hungary (2-0). It might be based on the youth of Musiala, that the Bayern youngster is dominating the headlines on the European continent as international media praise his exceptional talent.

“It’s our goal to take this flow into the next games. As for me, I meanwhile have the confidence to score goals as soon as I get the chance to do so,” Germany’s rising star said.

Being substituted off in the 72nd minute, enthusiastic applause dropped on the forward like a warm summer rain giving proof of him having gained the hearts of the German fans by storm.

–IANS

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