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Madrid Spain Masters: PV Sindhu advances to Rd 2

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Madrid, March 28 (IANS) Star Indian shuttler PV Sindhu advanced to the second round of the Madrid Spain Masters with an emphatic straight-game victory over Canada’s Wen Yu Zhang.

The double Olympics medallist, seeking to clinch yet another title, demonstrated her prowess on the court as she humbled her opponent with a score of 21-16, 21-12 in a lope-sided encounter.

From the onset, Sindhu asserted her dominance, swiftly surging to a 4-1 lead in the first game. Despite Zhang’s brief resurgence to take a 7-5 lead, Sindhu remained undeterred, unleashing a barrage of winners to regain control. With steely determination, she closed out the first game at 21-16 after a brief moment of deadlock at 14-14.

The second game proved to be a smoother sail for Sindhu as Zhang struggled to mount a significant challenge. Racing to an 11-6 lead, Sindhu maintained her momentum, capitalizing on her opponent’s faltering game to secure victory at 21-12. With her eyes set on the prize, Sindhu now prepares to face Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Hsun in the upcoming round.

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While Sindhu’s triumph brought joy to Indian fans, the tournament witnessed a mixed bag of results for the Indian contingent. Ashmita Chaliha faced a tough defeat against Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, conceding the match in straight games with a score of 13-21, 11-21.

In the mixed doubles category, Aadya Variyath and Sathish Kumar Karunakaran suffered a similar fate, succumbing to Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas of Indonesia in straight games with a score of 18-21, 14-21.

However, amidst the challenges, there were moments of triumph as well. The mixed doubles pair of B Sumeeth Reddy and Sikki Reddy staged a remarkable comeback, rallying from behind to defeat Chen Zhi Ray and Yang Ching Tun of Chinese Taipei. In a thrilling encounter that stretched for 49 minutes, Sumeeth and Sikki emerged victorious with a hard-fought score of 16-21, 22-20, 21-14.

In the men’s singles category, Mithu Manjunath faced a formidable opponent in Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei, ultimately falling short in straight games with a score of 12-21, 11-21.

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But the Indian hopes remain high as Kidambi Srikanth and Kiran George gear up to showcase their skills in the upcoming matches, aiming to make their mark on the prestigious tournament.

–IANS

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1st ODI: Mandhana, Sobhana help India decimate South Africa by 143 runs (Ld)

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Bengaluru, June 16 (IANS) Vice-captain Smriti Mandhana slammed a fantastic 117 off 127 balls, also her sixth century in ODIs, while leg-spinner Asha Sobhana shined with a four-wicket haul on debut to setup India’s 143-run thrashing of South Africa at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and begin the multi-format series on a high note.

On a slightly sluggish pitch which offered variable bounce, seam movement and spin, India were reduced to 99/5 at one stage after electing to bat first. But Smriti stood tall, played her shots all over the park and even kept cramps at bay to keep India’s innings together with utmost discipline, control and remarkable composure.

In the process of bailing India out of trouble, Smriti brought up her first ODI century at home, laced with 12 fours and a six, to enthrall an enthusiastic Sunday crowd. She was also well-supported by knocks from Deepti Sharma (37) and Pooja Vastrakar (31) as India crossed 250-mark.

In reply, Asha’s fine spell of 4-21, where she spun the ball well and got good zip on her deliveries, ensured South Africa were never in the hunt to chase down 269. The Proteas lost wickets at regular intervals and didn’t stitch a long partnership to be bowled out for 122 in 37.4 overs.

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Renuka Singh Thakur, Pooja Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav were also amongst the wickets and supported Asha very well as India are now 1-0 up in the three-match series. South Africa suffered a big setback in the opening over of the chase as skipper Laura Wolvaardt was castled through the gate by a big nip-backer from Renuka.

Anneke Bosch was next to depart as she was trapped lbw by a seaming in delivery from Pooja Vastrakar which kept low. A returning Tazmin Brits didn’t last long as she came down the pitch for a big shot, but was caught by point off Deepti, who was playing her 200th international match for India. Asha came in to have Marizanne Kapp as her first ODI scalp, as the experienced campaigner cuts the ball straight to cover.

Scoreboard pressure then resulted in the run-out of Annerie Dercksen and Sune Luus, despite putting up a resistance with 33, missed a sweep off Deepti to be trapped lbw. From there, the result was a foregone conclusion as Radha had Nondumiso Shangase lbw, before Asha took out remaining three wickets to make her ODI debut memorable by sealing a dominant win for India.

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Earlier, Smriti started off the proceedings with back-to-back beautiful drives off Masabata Klass, but saw Shafali Verma being lured into an expansive drive off Ayabonga Khaka and nicked behind to a diving Sinalo. Dayalan Hemalatha’s promotion to number three didn’t last long as she miscued to mid-off against Nonkululeko Mlaba.

Though Smriti nailed her pulls off debutante Annerie, India continued to lose wickets as captain Harmanpreet Kaur chipped to extra cover and give the seamer her maiden international wicket. It was followed by a returning Jemimah Rodrigues slog-sweeping to mid-wicket off Nondumiso and Richa Ghosh nicking behind off Ayabonga.

Smriti got a good applause from the crowd when she reached her fifty in 61 balls and brought up the fifty of her partnership with Deepti through a well-timed pull going for four. Deepti began nailing her sweeps off Nondumiso from the other end, followed by Smriti lofting and sweeping her for boundaries to keep India in the hunt for posting a competitive total.

But against the run of play, Deepti chopped on to her stumps off Ayabonga. Smriti, though, was undeterred, swiping and lofting to get a four and six off Masabata, before reaching the three-figure mark in 116 balls with a gentle flick going for a single.

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She hit two more boundaries off Ayabonga, before holing out to deep square leg off a slower ball from Masabata, and fall for 117, with the crowd giving her a standing ovation on scoring her seventh ton in women’s international cricket.

Apart from being the second India women’s batter to cross the landmark of 7000 international runs, Smriti also overtook Mithali Raj’s 109 against West Indies in 2011 to claim the new record for the highest ODI score by an Indian batter in women’s ODIs.

Pooja smashed three boundaries in her unbeaten knock and along with Asha hitting a four, she ensured India posted a fairly good total, which was sufficient to register a comprehensive victory.

Brief Scores: India 265/8 in 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 117, Deepti Sharma 37; Ayabonga Khaka 3-47, Masabata Klass 2-51) beat South Africa 122 in 37.4 overs (Sune Luus 33, Sinalo Jafta 27; Asha Sobhana 4-21, Deepti Sharma 2-10) by 143 runs.

–IANS

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1st ODI: Mandhana’s 117, Sobhana’s 4-21 helps India decimate South Africa by 143 runs

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Bengaluru, June 16 (IANS) Vice-captain Smriti Mandhana slammed a fantastic 117 off 127 balls, also her sixth century in ODIs, while leg-spinner Asha Sobhana shined with a four-wicket haul on debut to setup India’s 143-run thrashing of South Africa at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and begin the multi-format series on a high note.

On a slightly sluggish pitch which offered variable bounce, seam movement and spin, India were reduced to 99/5 at one stage after electing to bat first. But Smriti stood tall, played her shots all over the park and even kept cramps at bay to keep India’s innings together with utmost discipline, control and remarkable composure.

In the process of bailing India out of trouble, Smriti brought up her first ODI century at home, laced with 12 fours and a six, to enthrall an enthusiastic Sunday crowd. She was also well-supported by knocks from Deepti Sharma (37) and Pooja Vastrakar (31) as India crossed 250-mark.

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In reply, Asha’s fine spell of 4-21, where she spun the ball well and got good zip on her deliveries, ensured South Africa were never in the hunt to chase down 269. The Proteas lost wickets at regular intervals and didn’t stitch a long partnership to be bowled out for 122 in 37.4 overs.

Renuka Singh Thakur, Pooja Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav were also amongst the wickets and supported Asha very well as India are now 1-0 up in the three-match series. South Africa suffered a big setback in the opening over of the chase as skipper Laura Wolvaardt was castled through the gate by a big nip-backer from Renuka.

Anneke Bosch was next to depart as she was trapped lbw by a seaming in delivery from Pooja Vastrakar which kept low. A returning Tazmin Brits didn’t last long as she came down the pitch for a big shot, but was caught by point off Deepti, who was playing her 200th international match for India. Asha came in to have Marizanne Kapp as her first ODI scalp, as the experienced campaigner cuts the ball straight to cover.

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Scoreboard pressure then resulted in the run-out of Annerie Dercksen and Sune Luus, despite putting up a resistance with 33, missed a sweep off Deepti to be trapped lbw. From there, the result was a foregone conclusion as Radha had Nondumiso Shangase lbw, before Asha took out remaining three wickets to make her ODI debut memorable by sealing a dominant win for India.

Brief Scores: India 265/8 in 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 117, Deepti Sharma 37; Ayabonga Khaka 3-47, Masabata Klass 2-51) beat South Africa 122 in 37.4 overs (Sune Luus 33, Sinalo Jafta 27; Asha Sobhana 4-21, Deepti Sharma 2-10) by 143 runs

–IANS

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Police shoot man with pickaxe ahead of Netherlands vs Poland Euro 2024 match: Report

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Hamburg (Germany), June 16 (IANS) Hamburg police have shot a man with an axe who threatened security officers “with a pickaxe and an incendiary device” ahead of the Netherlands match against Poland in the Euro 2024.

The incident happened on Sunday afternoon in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district, just before the match at the neighboring Volksparkstadion.

As per police statement, a major operation is underway in St Pauli and the attacker is receiving medical treatment.

“At St Pauli there is currently a major police operation. According to initial findings, a person threatened police officers with a pickaxe and an incendiary device. The police then used their firearms. The attacker was injured and is currently receiving medical treatment,” the Hamburg Police said in a official statement as quoted by Sky Sports.

Video footage posted online, shows a man wielding an axe in front of police officers before a series of suspected gunshot sounds can be heard, the BBC reported.

The man has not been identified by the police and the authorities have not commented on what motivations they believe were behind the incident, it added.

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–IANS

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Ankita Bhakat secures Olympic quota in women's individual recurve archery for Paris 2024

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Antalya, June 16 (IANS) Ankita Bhakat secured a quota for the women’s individual recurve archery event at the Paris 2024 Olympics by reaching the quarterfinals of the Final Olympic Qualifier tournament, here on Sunday.

Bhakat’s impressive performance ensured India’s presence in the coveted event, with eight individual quota places available and a maximum of one per National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Seeded ninth in the tournament, Bhakat received a bye in the first round, which gave her a smooth start. She then registered decisive victories, defeating Israel’s Shelley Hilton 6-4 and Mikaella Moshe 7-3 in the second and third rounds, respectively. Playing for the crucial quota place, Bhakat showcased her skills and composure by defeating Gabrielle Monica Bidaure of Philippines with a 6-0 clean sweep in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, Bhajan Kaur, the tournament’s third seed, stormed into QF of women individual event beating Slovenian archer Urska Cavic 7-3 in fourth round. After a bye into the round of 32, Kaur overcame Mongolia’s Urantungalag Bishindee 6-2.

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However, it was a challenging day for Deepika Kumari, the second seed and one of India’s top archers. Despite receiving byes in the first and second rounds, Kumari was narrowly defeated by Azerbaijan’s Yaylagul Ramazanova 4-6 in the third round, after leading 4-0. The loss was a setback for Kumari, who has been a prominent figure in Indian archery.

On the men’s side, Dhiraj Bommadevara had already secured an individual quota from the Asian qualifying leg earlier, ensuring India’s representation in the men’s recurve event at the Paris Olympics.

The individual competition for men will continue on Monday, with more opportunities for Indian archers to qualify.

Both the Indian men’s and women’s recurve teams missed out on direct qualification but will be relying on their world rankings as of June 24 for potential spots at the Paris Games.

–IANS

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T20 World Cup: Won’t be ruling Ellis out of the Super Eight conversation, says Bailey on Australia’s ideal 11

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Gros Islet (St Lucia), June 16 (IANS) Australia’s chief selector George Bailey has insisted that pacer Nathan Ellis won’t be ruled out of the conversation when the side seeks to select its best playing eleven for the Super Eight stage of the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup.

With either of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood being rested from Australia’s Group B fixtures at some point in the tournament, Ellis has made a strong case for himself by picking four wickets in his three games, as Australia will have just a day’s gap between their Super Eight matches, with India and Afghanistan being confirmed as their opponents.

“Coming back to how we structure up two or three different ways … I certainly won’t be ruling Nathan Ellis out of that conversation. I think he’s got a fantastic skill-set. I think they (the bowlers) all work together really well. It’s a nice squad balance to have.”

“It’s been really pleasing because I think we’ve gone to every selection meeting so far and there are genuinely 15 names on the table. It’s going to be a challenge, this Super Eights (and finals) period of … playing and travelling the next day. Travel is not easy here. Prioritising that recovery in that day is going to be really important for everyone,” said Bailey to cricket.com.au.

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With captain Mitchell Marsh expected to bowl in Super Eights once he takes up bowling loads in practice post a recovery from hamstring injury and Marcus Stoinis available to bowl some overs of pace, it means more bowling options in hand for Australia.

“It’s an option. One of the things that we’re big on, particularly in tournaments and World Cups, is having two or three styles of game that you can go to. That’s depending on the surface and the opponent.”

“Mitch (Marsh) coming back online as a bowler over the next week or so is another piece to that puzzle potentially. Then just weighing up (if) you look to extend that batting line-up if it’s a good wicket (or) if it’s actually an ordinary wicket,” he added.

Australia, the 2021 T20 World Cup winners, will start its Super Eights campaign on June 21 against either of Bangladesh or Netherlands at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. It will be followed by meeting Afghanistan at the Arnos Vale Ground in St Vincent on June 23 and facing India at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in St Lucia on June 24.

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–IANS

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