Episode 49: Afghanistan hold India to thrilling tie, Virat Kohli and Mirabai Chanu awarded with country's highest sporting honour and more

Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.

News from the Asia Cup first. Afghanistan pulled off a last-over tie in their match against India. The Indian team required seven runs in the final over while Afghanistan needed just one wicket to pull off a huge upset. Ravindra Jadeja slammed a four in the 50th over bowled by Rashid Khan. With one run left from two balls, Jadeja was caught off a mishit, and the match ended in a tie.

Chasing 253 for a win, India’s openers Ambati Rayudu and KL Rahul scored 57 and 60 runs respectively, in a 110-run partnership. It was smooth sailing until stand-in captain MS Dhoni was given out LBW in the 26th over with the score at 142. Dinesh Karthik made a steady 44 runs but fell to spinner Mohammad Nabi with the score at 205/6 in the 40th over. India managed to score less than 50 runs in the next 10 overs. Jadeja tried to shepherd the tail but Afghanistan managed to tie the match despite looking deflated after the last over boundary.

Earlier, Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first. Wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad scored a blistering century even as he lost partners at regular intervals. At one point, Afghanistan’s score was 65, with fellow opener Javed Ahmadi having contributed just 5 runs. Shahzad’s quick-fire 124 runs off 116 balls included 7 sixes and 11 fours. Mohammad Nabi scored 64 from 56 balls to take Afghanistan to 252/8 in 50 overs. Ravindra Jadeja claimed three wickets while Kuldeep Yadav took two wickets.
Mohammad Shahzad was declared the player of the match.

Afghanistan are out of the Asia Cup. India will face the winner of today’s Bangladesh v Pakistan match in the final on Friday.

Cricketer Virat Kohli and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu received India’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, from the President of India yesterday. The awards ceremony, normally held on 29 August every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Dhyan Chand, was rescheduled to 25 September this year to avoid a clash with the 2018 Asian Games.

29-year-old Kohli is the third cricketer to receive the Khel Ratna. Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are the other recipients. Kohli, who has scored 6,147 runs in 71 Tests with 23 centuries, and 9,779 runs in 211 ODIs including 35 centuries, has had an incredible run in the last three years. He was honoured with the Arjuna award in 2013 and the Padma Shri in 2017.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, the 24-year-old weightlifter from Manipur, was honoured with the Khel Ratna following her gold medal in the 48kg category at the World Weightlifting Championships in 2017. She also won a gold medal at this year's Commonwealth Games but could not compete at the Asian Games due to an injury. Chanu was also awarded the Padma Shri this year.

The Khel Ratna award includes a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh.

Twenty other sportspersons received the Arjuna award at the same event. Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games this year, as well as junior world champion sprinter Hima Das were among the winners. The Arjuna award winners received a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each.

Besides these two awards, the President also gave away Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awards to coaches, the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure awards, the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy and the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar at the ceremony.

In football news, Luka Modric ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's long domination of individual awards after he was named FIFA's best player of the year. The other names in contention were Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo.

33-year-old Modric, who is captain of the Croatian national team and also plays with Real Madrid, has had a great 2018. He played major roles in Real Madrid’s third straight Champions League title and in Croatia’s glorious run to the 2018 World Cup final. He scored twice and netted a goal in the famous penalty shootout wins over Denmark and Russia. His overall playmaking won him the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup.

Modric said, “The emotion is huge because it is thanks to the work of everyone. So many people have come together and so many have supported me.”
Salah and Ronaldo, who were absent from the ceremony thanks to Barcelona and Juventus duties, were criticised for their no-show. Modric played down their absence saying, “Everyone has their own reasons. Obviously, I would have liked them to be here but they aren't."

Didier Deschamps of France was judged the best coach of the year after taking Les Bleus to a World Cup win in Russia.

The Indian women’s cricket team ended their tour of Sri Lanka on a great note with a 51-run win over the hosts in the fifth T20 International.

Batting first, India scored 156 in 18.3 overs. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur smashed 63 off just 38 balls, including five sixes and three fours. Jemimah Rodrigues, who chipped in with 46 runs from 31 balls, added 75 runs in 7.1 overs with Kaur.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 105 in 17.4 overs. At one point during their chase, the score was 94/5 but they lost the remaining five wickets for just 11 runs. Indian leg-spinner Poonam Yadav took three wickets and conceded only 18 runs in her four overs. Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav also claimed two wickets each.
India won the T20 series 4-0. The second T20 match was abandoned due to rain. Jemimah Rodrigues had a remarkable series, with scores of 36, 57, 52 not out and 46 runs.

Updated Date: Sep 26, 2018 15:11:30 IST