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World Championship of Legends: South Africa beat India; Australia clinch big win over West Indies

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World Championship of Legends: South Africa beat India; Australia clinch big win over West Indies

Northampton, July 11 (IANS) South Africa Champions defeated India Champions while Australia Champions prevailed over West Indies Champions in the last two league games of the World Championship of Legends 2024 here at County Ground.

With that, the league stage came to an end and the four semi-finalists have been locked in.

Pakistan Champions will take on West Indies Champions in the first semifinal while the second will be played between Australia and India on Friday. The winners of the respective games will play the summit clash on Saturday.

In the first match of the day, led by an explosive century from Ben Dunk and a near-century from Daniel Christian, Australia Champions set a commanding total of 274 for 7 in their 20 overs after they were put in to bat first.

Dunk’s 100 off 35 balls, featuring 10 fours and 7 sixes, set the tone for a high-scoring innings. Christian followed with a rapid 99 off 35 balls, which included 11 fours and 8 sixes, ensuring the Australia Champions posted a formidable total. Rayad Emrit was the pick of the West Indies bowlers, taking 4 wickets for 56 runs.

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In response, the West Indies Champions started their chase with a early setback, losing Kirk Edwards for just 5 runs. Dwayne Smith led a spirited effort, smashing 64 off 40 balls with 7 fours and 3 sixes. His aggressive approach gave the West Indies hope, but wickets continued to fall at regular intervals.

They were struggling at 81 for 4 at one stage before a middle-order resilience was showcased by Ashley Nurse, who played a remarkable innings, scoring an unbeaten 70 off 36 balls with 7 fours and 4 sixes. His late partnership with captain Daren Sammy, who contributed 33 off 18 balls, added some respectability to the score.

However, the required run rate kept climbing, and despite Nurse’s valiant efforts, the West Indies Champions fell short of the target, finishing their innings at 219 for 6 in 20 overs.

Brett Lee and Peter Siddle were instrumental in controlling the run chase, taking 2 wickets each as Australians secured a comfortable victory by 55 runs.

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In another action, riding upon blistering half-centuries from opener Jacques Synman and wicketkeeper Richard Levi, the South Africa Champions posted a total of 210/8 in 20 overs, and the bowlers restricted India to 156/6 in the allotted 20 overs to end their campaign on a winning note.

Synman, who scored an unbeaten 82 against Pakistan in the previous game, once again showcased his batting prowess and blasted 73 off 43 balls (10x4s, 3x6s) to lay a solid foundation for his team.

Later, Levi smashed a 25-ball 60, with 5 sixes and as many boundaries, and helped his team dominate the middle overs. While the Indian bowlers did make a strong comeback in the death overs, they couldn’t prevent the Proteas from posting a big total.

Harbhajan Singh (4/25) was the pick of the bowlers for India as the Turbanator rolled back the clock with his off-spin bowling.

Indian openers failed to give their team a good start in the run chase and their top five were back in the dugout with just 77 runs on the board in 11.3 overs. Yusuf Pathan (54* off 44) and Irfan Pathan (35 off 21) shared a vital stand but couldn’t help their side cross the finish line as the asking rate kept getting higher. India lost the game by 54 runs eventually.

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Brief Scores:

Australia Champions Vs West Indies Champions

Australia 274/7 in 20 overs (Ben Dunk: 100 off 35 balls & Daniel Christian: 99 off 35 balls; R Emrit: 4-0-56-4) beat West Indies Champions 219/6 in 20 overs (Dwayne Smith: 64 off 40 balls & Ashley Nurse: 70* off 36 balls; Brett Lee: 3-0-30-2, Peter Siddle: 4-0-32-2) by 55 runs.

South Africa Champions Vs India Champions

South Africa 210/8 in 20 overs (Jacques Synman 73 off 43 & Richard Levi 60 off 25; Harbhajan Singh 4/25) beat India 156/6 in 20 overs (Yusuf Pathan 54* off 44, Irfan Pathan 35 off 21; Vernon Philander 2/17) by 54 runs

–IANS

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Hobart Hurricanes skipper Nathan Ellis eyes historic BBL title glory

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Hobart Hurricanes skipper Nathan Ellis eyes historic BBL title glory

Hobart Hurricanes skipper Nathan Ellis eyes historic BBL title glory

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Hobart Hurricanes captain Nathan Ellis has boldly declared that his team is poised to capture their first BBL title in the upcoming season 2024.

As one of only two clubs yet to lift the men’s Big Bash League trophy in the competition’s 13-year history, Ellis believes the Hurricanes are ready to overcome past disappointments and make a serious run for the championship in BBL 14.

“That has been a bit of a talking point for the Hurricanes in the last few years, we’ve built a squad now that should be winning,” Ellis said to cricket.com.au following the release of the BBL 14 schedule last week.

“I’m really excited at the prospect of getting the first BBL trophy for the Hurricanes. It’s something that I think is very attainable for us and it should be a goal,” he added.

After finishing fifth last season and missing the finals in BBL 12 with a sixth-place finish, the Hurricanes have made strategic moves to strengthen their squad. The signing of England’s T20 World Cup star Chris Jordan for the next two seasons under the league’s new multi-year contracting option for overseas players is a significant boost. Additionally, the team has bolstered its local talent pool by adding batter Charlie Wakim and re-signing Mac Wright and fast bowler Iain Carlisle.

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One player Ellis is particularly excited about is fellow paceman Riley Meredith, whom he predicts will have a standout season. Meredith has been in top form, showcasing his skills in England’s T20 Blast competition for Somerset, where he has claimed 13 wickets in 10 games. His stellar performance included a career-best 4-12 to help Somerset dismantle Middlesex for 78 at Lord’s.

Ellis praised Meredith’s progress, saying, “He’s getting that durability factor back, which is something he’s been working towards over a couple of years. He’s doing really well and bowling really fast. Hopefully, we have him for 10 games this year. He’s one that I’ve earmarked to have a big summer.”

Ellis also emphasised the importance of retaining Chris Jordan, not just for his on-field prowess but for his leadership and experience off the field. “I put an emphasis not only on his on-field performance, but I really love what he brought off the field. He comes with a wealth of knowledge and a lot of experience, but also an eagerness to help not only the younger guys, but guys like myself or ‘Wadey’ (Matthew Wade).”

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Off the field, the Hurricanes have been buoyed by the potential development of a new stadium in Hobart, which could be ready in five years as part of the Tasmania Devils’ introduction as the 19th AFL team. Cricket Tasmania chair David Boon has expressed excitement over the prospect, noting that the proposed 23,000-capacity stadium with a fixed transparent roof could host both daytime and floodlit matches, including the possibility of indoor Test cricket.

Ellis, who is set to join the London Spirit in The Hundred starting July 23, is focused on the immediate future. “Who knows where I’ll be in five years, hopefully I get to play there, it’s a really exciting prospect for sport in Tasmania. But for me, I love Bellerive Oval, so I’m excited to be playing our first game there this season on December 21 against Perth Scorchers.”

The Hurricanes will kick off their BBL 14 campaign against Melbourne Renegades in Geelong on December 19, followed by their first home game against the Scorchers on December 21.

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–IANS

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Facing criticism and tough times are part of a cricketer's journey: Arshdeep Singh

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Facing criticism and tough times are part of a cricketer's journey: Arshdeep Singh

Facing criticism and tough times are part of a cricketer's journey: Arshdeep Singh

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) T20 World Cup winning Indian team star pacer Arshdeep Singh, 25, believes that facing criticism and tough times is part of a cricketer’s journey.

The left-arm fast bowler, Arshdeep played a vital role in India’s T20 World Cup triumph recently. He was India’s highest wicket-taker (17) in the T20 World Cup.

His journey was not easy though, as in the 2022 Asia Cup, he was brutally slammed on social media for his drop catch against Pakistan. Even when Arshdeep was picked in the squad for the 2024 World Cup, many expressed their dissatisfaction.

However, he silenced his critics with unplayable “in-swings” to unsettle the opponent sides in the 2024 mega sporting spectacle.

During the tough time, Arshdeep did not lose hope and kept his mind focused.

Speaking to IANS exclusively, the young cricketer shared his past experience and also lavished praise on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Excerpts from the interview:

IANS: It was a brilliant T20 World Cup for you, your bowling was appreciated by several legendary cricketers. How satisfied are you with your performance?

Arshdeep: Thank you for the kind words. It was indeed a memorable T20 World Cup for me, and I feel grateful for the appreciation from legendary cricketers. Personally, I am satisfied with my performance, but I always strive to improve and contribute more to the team’s success. Each match taught me valuable lessons, and I am eager to build on this experience moving forward. There’s always room for growth, and I am focused on refining my skills to perform even better in the coming future.

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IANS: Previously following unfavorable results, in one match, you were not treated well by fans, faced a lot of criticism. How tough was that time? And now you are a hero, how as a cricketer you keep your head calm and focused?

Arshdeep: Facing criticism and tough times is part of a cricketer’s journey. You have to learn how to be level headed when you are playing for your country at such a level regardless of the situation, be it good or bad. Since, fans love the game so much that it’s in their full right to have as many opinions as they’d like. The feelings run strong in our country especially when it comes to cricket. However, it was indeed a challenging phase, but it taught me resilience and the importance of staying focused on my game. During those times, I leaned on my support system, my family, coaches, and teammates, who helped me stay grounded and motivated.

Maintaining a calm and focused mindset is crucial. It is about learning from setbacks, staying positive, and giving my best in every opportunity that comes my way.

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IANS: Your experience of playing under Rohit Sharma? What do you like the most about his leadership?

Arshdeep: Playing under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy has been an incredible experience. Rohit bhai is definitely fully a bowler’s captain. He allows every bowler full freedom of executing what they want to do on the field. He has a unique way of keeping the dressing room atmosphere light and positive, which really helps in high-pressure situations. What I like the most about his leadership is his calm demeanor on the field. He always backs his players, giving us the confidence to play our natural game. His strategic thinking and the way he read the game are truly inspiring, and I have learned a lot from him about handling different match scenarios.

IANS: Now that Rohit and Virat Kohli are not in the T20I format, your thoughts on their legacy?

Arshdeep: Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have left an indelible mark on T20I cricket. Their contributions have been immense, and their legacy will be remembered for generations. Rohit bhai’s explosive batting at the top and his sharp captaincy have set new benchmarks in the format. Virat bhai, with his consistent performances and relentless pursuit of excellence, has been a role model for cricketers around the world.

Their passion, dedication, and ability to perform under pressure have inspired many young cricketers, including myself. They have shown us what it takes to succeed at the highest level, and their records speak for themselves. Although they may not be playing T20Is anymore, their influence and impact on the game will continue to guide and motivate us.

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IANS: How did the family support helped you during tough times?

Arshdeep: Family support during tough times is invaluable. My family has always been my pillar of strength, providing unwavering support and encouragement through all the ups and downs. Their belief in me keeps me grounded and motivated, especially when things get challenging. Knowing that they are always there, cheering me on, gives me the confidence to keep pushing forward. At the end of the day, nothing comes above the family bond and their love. Family is definitely all that you’ve got.

IANS: For cricketers, all matches are important, but which one was your most favorite?

Arshdeep: For cricketers, every match is important, but my most favourite has to be the recent World Cup final. Winning the trophy was an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere, the intensity, and the sheer joy of lifting the cup with my teammates made it incredibly special. It is a moment I’ll cherish forever, knowing we made our country proud on such a grand stage.

–IANS

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'It was brutal': Kavem Hodge on facing fierce bowling spell from Wood

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'It was brutal': Kavem Hodge on facing fierce bowling spell from Wood

'It was brutal': Kavem Hodge on facing fierce bowling spell from Wood

Nottingham, July 20 (IANS) The West Indies staged a remarkable fightback after a century from Kavem Hodge and a crucial 175-run partnership with Alick Athanaze in the second Test against England. This effort saw the West Indies mounting a strong reply of 351 for 5 at the end of Day 2 to England’s imposing first-innings total of 416.

Responding to the challenge set by their skipper, Kraigg Brathwaite, who had called for an improved batting performance, Hodge and Athanaze rose to the occasion with grit and determination. Reflecting on their partnership at the end of the day, Hodge highlighted their long-standing synergy, developed while playing for the same franchise back home.

“We always bat good together, play for the same franchise back home, we’ve had a lot of big partnerships. He’s more aggressive than I am, I’m more of an accumulator, so I tend to go under the radar and go about my business quietly. Always good to spend time with him at the wicket,” Hodge said after the end of Day 2 play.

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Playing in only his fourth Test match, Hodge was thrilled to achieve his maiden Test hundred. “It’s a dream come true, you play the game as a youngster, that’s something that you want to do, especially at the highest level – in England against England. I’m really happy and satisfied about it, especially also the position of the team, it’s always good to help the team’s cause,” he shared, beaming with pride.

The highlight of Hodge’s innings was his fierce battle against England’s speedster Mark Wood, who relentlessly delivered bouncers at high speed. At one point, a bouncer struck Athanaze on the back of the helmet, causing concern for Hodge. “I flinched. I thought I was going to get hit before him but it didn’t happen like that. But kudos to him that he bounced back well and was able to stand his ground and push on further.”

Reflecting on the intensity of the day, Hodge recounted a humorous exchange with Wood during his spell. “It was brutal. It’s not every day you rock up and you face someone that’s bowling more than 90mph every single ball. There was one point, I made a joke to him, I said: ‘Hey, I have a wife and kids at home.’ But I think that made the century a lot more satisfying. Test cricket is brutal, it’s challenging, it’s mentally draining. To experience that, facing guys like Mark Wood, it was tough but it was satisfying.”

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–IANS

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India advance in style in World Junior squash team event

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India advance in style in World Junior squash team event

India advance in style in World Junior squash team event

Houston, July 20 (IANS) India boys beat Brazil 3-0 to top three-team Group F with a clean slate on Friday in the team event of the World Junior Squash Championships in Houston and will meet Canada in the pre-quarterfinals.

India girls beat Brazil and Australia by an identical 3-0 margin to assure themselves of a quarterfinal berth and will play Hong Kong in their concluding Group D league match.

India results:

Boys (Group F):

India bt Brazil 3-0 (Yuvraj Wadhwani bt Caio Paiva 11-1,11-4,11-7; Shaurya Bawa bt Isaias Silva 12-10, 11-7, 6-11, 5-11,11-8; Ayaan Vaziralli bt Lucas Carlson 11-4, 11-7,11-6).

Girls (Group D):

India bt Brazil 3-0 (Nirupama Dubey bt Gabriella El-Masry 11-3, 11-2, 11-4; Anahat Singh bt Laura Da Silva 11-5, 11-2,11-3; Unnati Tripathi bt Alix Borges 11-4, 11-5, 11-3).

India bt Australia 3-0 (Shameena Riaz bt Emily Lamb 11-6,11-13,11-4,11-3; Anahat bt Hannah Slyth 11-4, 11-1, 11-3; Nirupama bt Joanne Joseph 11-5, 11-3,11-5).

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–IANS

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Geoffrey Boycott returns home after throat cancer surgery

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Geoffrey Boycott returns home after throat cancer surgery

Geoffrey Boycott returns home after throat cancer surgery

London, July 20 (IANS) Former England cricket captain Sir Geoffrey Boycott has been discharged from the hospital following an operation to remove a tumor from his throat.

The 83-year-old cricket legend, who was initially treated for throat cancer in 2002 with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, faced a recurrence of the disease last month.

A statement on his X account, issued by his family, shared that Boycott is now at home, continuing his recovery. “Lots of pain meds [medication] and a liquid-only diet for the foreseeable but he’s on the mend and looking forward to watching The Open and England cricket at home,” the post read.

Boycott’s illustrious cricket career spanned from 1964 to 1982, during which he played 108 Tests for England, amassing 8,114 runs, including 22 centuries. Known for his resilience and technical prowess as an opening batsman, Boycott averaged 56.83 and scored over 48,000 runs in first-class cricket, including 151 centuries. He also captained the England side on four occasions during the 1978 season in the absence of the injured Mike Brearley.

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After retiring from playing, Boycott joined the BBC’s commentary team, becoming a staple voice on Test Match Special until 2020. He stepped away from commentary following quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2018 and due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

–IANS

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