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WPL 2024: Shreyanka’s four-fer, Molineux’s triple strike help RCB bowl out DC for just 113

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New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Off-spin all-rounder Shreyanka Patil shone with a four-wicket haul while Sophie Molineux took three wickets in an over to propel Royal Challengers Bangalore in bowling out Delhi Capitals for just 113 in 18.3 overs of Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024 final at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday.

DC had a blazing start by making 61 runs in the Power-play, also the joint-highest score in the first six overs of this season and looked set to make a big total. But once the spinners came in, DC crumbled like nine pins, falling from 64/0 in seven overs to losing their all-ten wickets in just 49 runs.

Their shot selection, especially in facing straighter deliveries, and clumsy running between the wickets left a lot to be desired as Shreyanka took 4-12 to be the leading wicket-taker in the competition, followed by Sophie taking 3-20 and Asha Sobhana picking 2-14 in what was another impressive spin bowling show for RCB.

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Electing to bat first, Delhi overcame a mix-up between Meg and Shafali in the opening over to have a blistering start. Shafali was the main aggressor -– slamming a brace of sixes over the bowler’s head, before Meg cleared mid-off and sliced Renuka Singh Thakur for back-to-back boundaries.

Shafali continued to deal in boundaries -– sending one down the ground for six, slicing for four more, and carving a drive over cover for another boundary. Meg then whipped a four over backward square leg for four as DC signed off from Power-play with 61/0.

Post Power-play, RCB made a powerful comeback to leave DC’s innings in tatters, thanks to left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux in the eighth over. In a bid to clear a longer boundary, Shafali slog-swept straight to deep mid-wicket.

Sophie had Jemimah Rodrigues castled on sweep for a two-ball duck, before Alice Capsey was cleaned up while shaping up for a lap shot, falling for a golden duck as the left-arm spinner took three wickets in four balls. More trouble followed DC as an edgy Meg was trapped lbw by Shreyanka Patil after playing all around an off-break delivery in the 11th over.

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Marizanne Kapp miscued her slog-sweep against Asha Sobhana and long-on caught the thick top edge. Jess Jonassen was next to fall, miscuing her slog off the leg-spinner, and was safely caught by Smriti Mandhana. Minnu Mani missed a paddle sweep off Shreyanka and was trapped plumb lbw.

Radha Yadav hit back-to-back boundaries to take DC past 100, but her run-out by a direct hit from Sophie in the 17th over ended the side’s prospect of getting a respectable total. Shreyanka knocked over Arundhati Reddy and had Taniyaa Bhatia caught behind by Richa Ghosh on a faint edge to end DC’s innings in 18.3 overs.

Brief scores:

Delhi Capitals 113 all out in 18.3 overs (Shafali Verma 44, Meg Lanning 23; Shreyanka Patil 4-12, Sophie Molineux 3-20) against Royal Challengers Bangalore

–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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Tour de France: Jasper Philipsen edges Wout Van Aert in chaotic Stage 13 Sprint as big crash mars finale

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Paris, July 13 (IANS) A wild day at the Tour de France, the most prominent cycling race in the world, ended on Saturday with Jasper Philipsen taking his second win. Visma-Lease a Bike were tested after Adam Yates, the teammate of race leader Tadej Pogacar, managed to get in the break, prompting a fierce chase in crosswinds. After the race came back together, Biniam Girmay set his team to work in pursuit of a fourth win, but ultimately it was Philipsen who won the day.

A crash-strewn finish after crosswind chaos in south-west France resulted in a second sprint win for Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) over his Belgian rival Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) in Pau. Philipsen came from deep to show his class and hold off Van Aert and the German Pascal Ackermann (Israel-Premier Tech) after a crash on the home straight dashed the hopes of Belgian champion Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) and a handful of other outsiders.

The in-form green jersey Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty) could only finish a distant fourth after his hopes of a famous fourth win did not materialise after a stage that felt more like a hilly spring classic than a sprint stage of the Tour de France. The sight of the yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) taking ninth place in the bunch gallop only emphasised the bonkers nature of the 165.3km ride from Agen, which was animated from the get-go as blustery winds twice tore through the peloton and caused dangerous splits and some serious soul-searching.

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Pogacar retained his 1 minute 06 seconds lead over Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) ahead of a decisive weekend in the Pyrenees, with defending champion Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) lurking in third place a further eight seconds back.

All three riders found themselves in a split off the front of the peloton in the opening hour after winds on exposed roads saw six Visma riders and half a dozen others go clear in pursuit of a select breakaway that included the world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin–Deceuninck) and Pogacar’s UAE team-mate, Adam Yates.

After this select group returned to the peloton, a second wave of echelons occurred around 60km from the finish with the peloton splitting in three. The first two groups came back together after swallowing up the breakaway – but the final group on the road, which included sprinters Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) and Fernando Gaviria (Movistar), would never see the front of the race again.

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The attacks rained down on the lumpy approach to Pau but the main field eventually came back together in time for the finale, which was marred by a crash that saw a handful of riders hit the deck after Belgium’s Maxim van Gils – bringing up his Lotto Dstny team-mate De Lie – violently clipped the shoulders of a retreating Amaury Capiot of Arkea B&B Hotels.

The incident occurred on the opposite side of the road as the battleground occupied by Philipsen, Van Aert and Ackermann, who put on a show to finish in that order after a fast and unforgiving three-and-a-half hours in the saddle.

The mountains that loomed on the metaphorical horizon served as no deterrent to a group of 22 riders that went clear shortly after the start of a day with no shortage of contenders for the combativity prize.

Joining Van der Poel was one of his rainbow predecessors in Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), the Slovenian Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), De Lie and his Lotto Dstny team-mate Brent Van Moer, and the polka dot jersey of Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Mobility).

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The breakaway had not been clear for long before the first gusts of wind began to wreak havoc. An acceleration from Vingegaard’s Visma team was expertly covered by Pogacar and Evenepoel as a dozen zipped clear for a brief foray ahead of the pack. If they were soon pegged back, it was a precursor to what was still in store.

With Yates threatening the general classification places of riders from Visma-Lease a Bike, Soudal Quick-Step, and Ineos Grenadiers, an alliance soon formed on the front to keep the gap no bigger than a minute.

The upshot of the fast pace and early drama also involved the UAE team of the race leader, with Spain’s Juan Ayuso – struggling with illness for a few days – forced to become the 17th rider to abandon after losing touch with the peloton. The climbing lieutenant’s presence in the mountains could well prove to be a huge loss for Pogacar in his bid to win a third Tour and complete a famous Giro-Tour double.

–IANS

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Copa America 2024: Argentina legend Messi hails 'dynamic' Colombia ahead of final

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Buenos Aires (Argentina), July 13 (IANS) Argentina captain Lionel Messi noted that Colombia will pose a formidable test when the two teams meet in the Copa America final at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey in the USA on Sunday. Colombia is unbeaten in the past 28 matches and earned a place in the final by defeating Uruguay 1-0 in the semifinal, despite playing for more than half the match with only 10 men.

“We were able to watch the Uruguay-Colombia match,” Messi said. “We knew that either one of the teams [Uruguay or Colombia] was going to be very difficult.”

“There’s a reason Colombia hasn’t lost for so long. It’s a team that has very good players. They are very intense, with fast and dynamic players in attack,” the Argentina star was quoted as saying.

Argentina are vying to become the first team in history to successfully defend their Copa America crown while holding the World Cup title, reports Xinhua.

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Sunday’s duel at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium also added meaning for the Albiceleste given it will be the last international appearance of winger Angel Di Maria.

“Finals are something else, but we’re feeling good and calm, as we have been throughout the whole tournament,” Messi said. “We’re enjoying everything that is happening and focusing on the final.”

–IANS

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Ahead of Euro 2024 final: Spain's conductor Rodri favours talking about others

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Berlin, July 13 (IANS) Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal seems to feel a mischievous glee when talking to Spain’s midfield conductor Rodri. “I do it every day. Every day I tell him to come to Madrid, there is more sunshine,” the 32-year-old reported ahead of the Euro 2024 final this Sunday against England. Carvajal always finishes his promotional tour by saying: “It’s a perfect match, more than perfect.”

The courted teammate is said to always smile but in fact, a possible move back home might currently not be on his mind, with minds focused on the upcoming final.

Carvajal’s efforts might fail as his teammate has a contract with Manchester City until 2027, Xinhua reports. Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola recently called him irreplaceable, despite Real desperately looking for a successor for the retired Toni Kroos. While Rodri is undoubtedly a match for the job, football fans see him conducting the game of Luis de la Fuente’s Spain team at the highest possible level.

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The Madrid-born midfielder seems to feel the game in every second. Slow down and keep things simple, or change into furious high-speed attacks, Rodri has to do it all. Termed by Guardiola as the world’s best midfielder, Rodri seems to have found his place after having played as a central defender at the 2022 World Cup due to Sergio Busquets ruling the midfield.

Without complaining, Rodri carried out the job in the back; needless to say, he can cover various positions satisfactorily.

Having started at the back for City, his genius-like ability in midfield became dominant. “He is calm and precise under high-pressure situations,” Kroos said of the silent leader.

Rodri isn’t only staying away from social media activities and, when presented on the podium in press conferences, seems happy when he can talk about others. With pleasure, he talks about wonderkid Lamine Yamal, predicting a glittering career for the now-17-year-old as “he has what no other has at his young age.”

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Having first been coached by defensive master Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid, time spent under the tutelage of Guardiola at City might have triggered Rodri’s attacking desires.

Scoring might not have turned into his favorite exercise, but he is around when opportunities pop up, with eight goals and nine assists in the previous Premier League season.

In the final against England, Spain’s conductor is set to meet several familiar faces but talks unemotionally about the issue.

“We have done a fairly good job so far. But there is always something to do better,” he said, leaving no doubts that doing better means winning the tournament.

Self-confidence around Spain has grown, with La Roja being the only Euro 2024 with six straight wins.

–IANS

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Wimbledon 2024: De Groot claims 15th consecutive Grand Slam title in women's wheelchair tennis

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London, July 13 (IANS) Dutch wheelchair tennis legend Diede De Groot added another chapter to her historic winning spree in Para-tennis by winning her sixth Wimbledon trophy and 42nd major championship across singles and doubles. On Saturday, the World No.1 in women’s wheelchair singles defeated her compatriot Anisk Van Koot 6-4, 6-4 in the final to win a record-extending 15th Grand Slam title in a row.

The win streak for De Groot started in February 2021 and stretched to 145 matches before her loss to China’s Li Xiaohui at the World Team Cup in May. There was another loss to Yui Kamiji in the final of last week’s British Open in Roehampton but with victory over Van Koot, the No.1 claimed her 162nd match win from the past 164 matches she’s played.

It was a 15th straight Grand Slam title for the 27-year-old, extending her record for the longest Grand Slam wheelchair singles title-winning streak. She claimed sole ownership of the record, ahead of Shingo Kunieda, by winning her 13th consecutive Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open.

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De Groot also celebrated her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, adding to another record the prolific champion already holds.

“I’m just happy to have another one. This year has been a little bit different than other years where I’ve basically been unbeaten, and then this year I was beaten. So, I know that all of these players are trying their absolute best to beat me, and Aniek was playing very well. I think everyone saw that she was doing the right things,” a smiling De Groot said.

In her 26th Grand Slam singles final, De Groot showed the benefit of her vast experience as she navigated a spirited challenge from her countrywoman.

Seemingly competing without nerves, she raced to a 4-0 lead on No.1 Court. But Van Koot is also a Wimbledon singles champion – having defeated De Groot in the 2019 final – and after a successful challenge at the start of the fifth game drew warm crowd support. It also helped shift the momentum.

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The 33-year-old produced a series of forehand winners to earn two break-point opportunities. There were four deuces, with Van Koot eventually converting on a De Groot double fault. Her passionate “C’mon” grew progressively louder as she won four straight games to level. But as often happens in De Groot’s many match wins, she suddenly reasserted authority. The end of the first set came with a flurry of errors for Van Koot, allowing her compatriot a 6-4 lead.

While De Groot was constantly tested by Van Koot, she responded superbly to every test. Van Koot couldn’t consolidate an early second-set service break and even after recovering from a 2-4 deficit to level, De Groot always seemed in control.

Van Koot saved a first-match point with one of her 28 winners before the unrelenting De Groot secured her latest milestone with a superbly placed backhand.

–IANS

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