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Smriti, Deepti & Pooja did the work of contributing for the team: Harmanpreet Kaur

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Smriti, Deepti & Pooja did the work of contributing for the team: Harmanpreet Kaur

Bengaluru, June 16 (IANS) After decimating South Africa by 143 in the ODI series opener at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur appreciated vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, as well as all-rounders Deepti Sharma and Pooja Vastrakar for contributing to team’s victory.

On a slightly sluggish pitch, Smriti smashed a fantastic 117, her sixth ODI century, to take India to 265/8. She was well-supported by knocks from Deepti (37) and Pooja (31 not out), followed by the duo taking two wickets and one scalp respectively to bowl out South Africa for 122 in 37.4 overs. The result has meant India have gone 1-0 up in the three-game series.

“It’s definitely a good start, and it was a great team performance. The message was very clear: just be there and keep backing yourself. We have a long batting line-up; we have at least six batters who can bat for 50 overs.”

“I know in a game everyone can’t contribute; only two or three players are going to take the team ahead. I think today Smriti, Deepti, and Pooja did that work,” said Harmanpreet after the match ended.

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Talking about the bowling combination and Pooja’s left leg injury scare, Harmanpreet said, “We already discussed that we are going with five bowlers, and maybe myself, Hemalatha, or Shafali might come and bowl a few overs when required. I hope (Pooja) she’s fine and not that bad. It was great for me that I got a few overs to bowl for the team.”

Smriti, named Player of the Match for her composed knock in tough situations for India laced with 12 fours and a six, said she was elated to have played a huge role in the hosts’ win. “We won the match so really happy that I could contribute, important to start the tournament well, we got 100+ win, nothing better than that.”

“As I said earlier, it was really a task not to go aerial and go for the grounded shots, we have played a lot of T20 cricket, today the need was for partnerships, credit to Deepti and Pooja for getting those. It was playing the situation.”

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“In one-day cricket and white-ball cricket, there will be days when one or two batters will carry the team. My role was to take it deep, once I was set, having got to 30-40. I don’t think anyone got out after getting set and that was the role given to me.”

Leg-spinner Asha Sobhana, who took 4-21 on her ODI debut, said her plan was to keep things as simple as possible, due to the pitch offering help for bowlers. “I just kept it simple, I wanted to bowl in the right areas, I was in a good rhythm, I wanted to continue. I have been practising this for years, I did not want to do anything extraordinary, wanted to focus on the basics.”

“There was a lot for turn on the wicket, did not want to give space to the batters, wanted to vary the pace so that the batters don’t pick my variations. This stadium is very special for me, by the grace of god everything went well. Pitch is amazing and a little bit of my effort as well.”

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“I woke up in the morning today and prayed to God that everything should go well, glad that it went well. They (team management) just told me to enjoy, they had lot of confidence in my skills, they wanted me to go out and explore. I’m happy that my nation won.”

South Africa skipper said she was disappointed over her batting line-up never being in the hunt to chase down the total posted by India. “Obviously, this is not the ideal way to start the series. I think there are a few positives, however. I thought it was a very decent score.”

“I thought one person needed to bat through; was a very chaseable target. I think the bowlers did pretty well; as I said, 265 was not too bad. We just lost our way with the bat. We had the batting line up to fix whatever had gone wrong earlier. But being 30 for 3 was not ideal.”

–IANS

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Olympic Football: Fans invade pitch, goal disallowed as Morocco 'win' against Argentina two hours after scheduled end (Ld)

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Olympic Football: Fans invade pitch, goal disallowed as Morocco 'win' against Argentina two hours after scheduled end (Ld)

Olympic Football: Fans invade pitch, goal disallowed as Morocco 'win' against Argentina two hours after scheduled end (Ld)

Paris, July 24 (IANS) “It’s the biggest circus I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Argentina team manager Javier Mascherano as his team’s opening match against Morocco in the Olympic Games football competition caused a massive controversy in Paris on Wednesday. The Games witnessed unprecedented controversy and a major scandal after Argentina’s match was suspended due to hooliganism by Morocco fans in the final minutes of the match, their equaliser disallowed, and teams forced to play the final few minutes two hours after scheduled close of the match.

The match was halted at 2-2 when several Moroccan fans invaded the pitch and scared the Argentina players with crackers soon after the South Americans scored the equaliser. There was high drama as Argentina’s 90+16th minute equaliser was eventually ruled out due to offside after a VAR check which took place two hours after it was scored.

The score remained 2-1 in favour of Morocco in the remaining time and the African side was eventually declared the winner while the Argentines walked off the ground for a second time, furious over the way the final minutes of the game were handled.

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Morocco, led by PSG star Achraf Hakimi, started the game on a strong note and soon took a 2-0 lead. However, Argentina fought back into the game in the second half and twice, the equaliser coming in 90+16 minutes to make it 2-2.

The Moroccan fans, absolutely fuming at the equaliser after a host of decisions allegedly went against their team including Argentine players not getting a red card. The fans invaded the pitch in anger and threw firecrackers on the ground, which scared the Argentinian players as they rushed back to the dressing room.

Moroccan fans thought their team was robbed of victory and poured into the field, breaching security, resulting in suspension of play. Eventually, the field of play was cleared of the invaders, the two teams returned to the middle and the referee consulted VAR, eventually ruling out the goal.

The match eventually ended in controversy as the Argentina players were not happy with the way it all ended.

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Also, this incident raised questions over the security of Athletes at the Summer Games in Paris Olympics, a day ahead of the Opening Ceremony, and left the organizing committee red-faced with embarrassment.

Argentina defender Nicolás Otamendi was really disappointed with the way the two teams were forced to play the match following a written statement from the organsiers.

“It’s a historic piece of paper. This never happened. Morocco didn’t want to play it and neither did we. We waited for an hour and forty but no one told us anything. It makes you powerless because it’s the Olympics,” he said.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics: When and Where to watch Indian squad in Archery events?

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Paris Olympics: When and Where to watch Indian squad in Archery events?

Paris Olympics: When and Where to watch Indian squad in Archery events?

Paris, July 24 (IANS) A day before the Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympics, India’s archery squad will get into action with the preliminary rounds scheduled to begin on Thursday at Invalides. The archers will be the first to start India’s campaign in Paris.

India’s hunt for their first-ever Archery medal at the Olympics will begin with the Women’s Individual and team events while the men’s individual, men’s team and mixed team events are scheduled to take place later in the day.

Former World No.1 Deepika Kumari and Tarundeep Rai will be leading the young squad in what will be the duo’s fourth Olympics appearance. Dhiraj Bommadevara, Bhajan Kaur and Ankita Bhakat will all be making their Games debut.

The 2024 Paris Olympics are the first edition since London 2012 when India will field a full-strength squad in Olympic archery competitions.

The squad will be hoping to look past the controversy that saw their coach Baek Woong-Ki return to India over the denial of accreditation and hope to make a solid mark at the Games.

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On Thursday, the archers will hope to achieve good rankings so that they can get comparatively easier opponents in the preliminary rounds.

Indian archery squad:

Men: Tarundeep Rai, Dhiraj Bommadevara and Pravin Jadhav

Women: Deepika Kumari, Bhajan Kaur and Ankita Bhakat

Where to watch:

What: Olympics Archery event

When: Thursday, July 25

Where: Esplanade des Invalides, Paris

Time:

Women’s Individual: 1 pm IST

Women’s Team: 1 pm IST

Men’s Individual: 5:45 pm IST

Mixed Team: 5:45 pm IST

Men’s Team: 5:45 pm IST

Broadcasting: Sports 18

Livestream: Jio Cinema app and website

–IANS

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Foot injury interrupts Ansu Fati's attempts to convince Barcelona

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Foot injury interrupts Ansu Fati's attempts to convince Barcelona

Foot injury interrupts Ansu Fati's attempts to convince Barcelona

Madrid (Spain), July 24 (IANS) FC Barcelona forward Ansu Fati’s injury nightmares continue with the confirmation that he has suffered from a foot injury that will keep him out of his side’s pre-season tour of North America. “Ansu Fati has an injury to his right foot and will undergo conservative treatment in Barcelona,” explained the Barcelona website without specifying a return date.

It is bad luck for the 21-year-old who spent last season on loan at Brighton in an attempt to prove his fitness, after a series of knee operations and muscle problems, but missed around half of the season through injury, reports Xinhua.

Fati will carry out specific training routines in an attempt to build his fitness, and will now miss the chance to convince coach Hansi Flick as he missed matches against Manchester City, AC Milan and Real Madrid.

Days after Brighton and Hove Albion released Fati to return to FC Barcelona after the end of his loan period, the young winger expressed hope that he would gain a permanent position at the Spanish giant.

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Fati, who broke onto the scene at a young age and was hailed as Messi’s successor at the club, had a difficult time at Brighton, which could not be considered successful. He scored only two goals in 18 games in the league and failed to make any significant impact in a struggling Brighton side that finished 11th in the table, a huge disappointment after the club finished sixth in the 2022/23 season.

–IANS

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Jr Women, Men West Zone Hockey: Maharashtra, Rajasthan, M.P, Chhattisgarh win on Day 4

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Jr Women, Men West Zone Hockey: Maharashtra, Rajasthan, M.P, Chhattisgarh win on Day 4

Jr Women, Men West Zone Hockey: Maharashtra, Rajasthan, M.P, Chhattisgarh win on Day 4

Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh), July 24 (IANS) Maharashtra and Rajasthan secured high-scoring wins in the women’s section while in the men’s category, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh scored victories in their respective matches on Day 4 of the 2nd Hockey India Junior Women and Men West Zone Championship 2024 here on Wednesday.

In the first women’s encounter of the day, Hockey Maharashtra defeated Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu Hockey 13-0.

Khushi shone with seven goals (1’, 26’, 27’, 32’, 38’, 50’, 59’), while Tanushree Dinesh Kadu added a hat-trick (12’, 43’, 56’), and captain Sanika Chandrakant Mane contributed with a brace (3’, 49’). Sanjana Khetawat also scored for Maharashtra (39’).

In another women’s fixture, Rajasthan defeated Goans Hockey 4-1. Laxmi’s hat-trick (18’, 26’, 37’) was pivotal for Rajasthan, alongside a goal from Gayatri Mahavar (12’). Prachi Parshuram Yadav (27’) scored the lone goal for Goans Hockey.

In the first men’s fixture of the day, Rajasthan defeated Goans Hockey 4-2. Shahjafar Ansari (3’) initially gave Goans Hockey the lead, but Rajasthan responded with goals from Ravinder Singh Rajvi (15’, 19’, 53’) and Gurjar Manvendra (45’). Kiran Suresh Lamani (42’) added a goal for Goans Hockey.

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In another men’s encounter, Madhya Pradesh beat Maharashtra 7-4. Ritendra Pratap Singh (19’, 46’) scored twice, with contributions from Almaaz Khan (8’), Mohd Anas (35’), Sohil Ali (13’), Viveka Pal (21’), and Subhan Abid (53’). Maharashtra’s goals came from Arjun Santosh Hargude (28’, 54’), Kartik Ramesh Patare (31’), and Santosh Birajdar (37’).

In the final men’s encounter of the day, Chhattisgarh Hockey defeated Hockey Gujarat, 16-1. Mohit Nayak was in sensational form, scoring seven goals (18’, 21’, 31’, 38’, 40’, 56’). Captain Anand Kumar Suryavanshi (17’, 44’, 49’, 58’) and Prakash Patel (53’, 54’, 56’) also contributed significantly, while Piyush Kumar Dhiwar (27’) and Gaurav Yadav (36’) added further goals. Captain Mayank Sanas (30’) was the sole scorer for Hockey Gujarat.

–IANS

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Paris Olympics: World No.1 Jannik Sinner withdraws due to tonsillitis

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Paris Olympics: World No.1 Jannik Sinner withdraws due to tonsillitis

Paris Olympics: World No.1 Jannik Sinner withdraws due to tonsillitis

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) World No. 1 Jannik Sinner has withdrawn from the Paris Olympics tennis tournament due to tonsilitis. The reigning Australian Open champion said he began feeling unwell in recent days and was ‘strongly advised’ against playing at the tournament which would have been his debut at the Olympics.

“I am saddened to inform you that unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in the Paris Olympic Games. After a good week of clay training, I started to feel unwell. I spent a couple of days resting and during a visit, the doctor found tonsillitis and strongly advised me against playing,” read the statement by Sinner on X, formerly Twitter.

Sinner’s withdrawal would mean that World No.2 and 2008 bronze medal winner Novak Djokovic will be given the top billing for the tournament. The official draws will be made on Thursday at Stade-Roland Garros, home of the French Open.

“Missing the Games is a huge disappointment as it was one of my main goals for this season. I couldn’t wait to have the honour of representing my country in this very important event. Good luck to all the Italian athletes who I will support from home. Forza Italia,” he further said in the statement.

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Sinner was also set to be partnered alongside Lorenzo Musetti and placed as the top-seeded doubles team.

–IANS

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