Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost
Today, we will discuss India's clinical win over Australia at the ongoing cricket World Cup, Rafael Nadal's 12th French Open crown and more.
1. News from the cricket World Cup first up. Opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a blazing century to set up a 36-run victory for India over Australia on Sunday as the reigning champions suffered their first defeat of this year's tournament.
Dhawan's 117, and his 127-run opening stand with Rohit Sharma, laid the foundation for yet another thoroughly clinical win by India. Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat first, and the openers were cautious on a pitch that was a bit lively at the start. Dhawan and Sharma made just 41 runs in the first 10 overs. Nathan Coulter-Nile finally struck in the 23rd over to have Sharma caught behind for 57 but Dhawan went on to reach his 17th ODI ton as Kohli also came good against the Aussies. The skipper finished with 82 while Hardik Pandya once again stamped his authority in the death overs, scoring 48 runs from 26 balls. Kohli and Pandya’s brisk partnership yielded 81 runs. MS Dhoni and KL Rahul then hit a few boundaries to help India finish with a massive 352/5. India’s batsmen were particularly harsh on Mitchell Starc in the final overs, especially Kohli and Dhoni who hit him for massive, effortless sixes.
Chasing an imposing 353 for a win Australia’s start was as cautious as India’s. That could have paid dividends if Australian skipper Aaron Finch, who was beginning to look dangerous wasn’t run out in the 13th over. David Warner scored an uncharacteristically slow half century, making 56 from 84 balls before being dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal. Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja played a steady hand, scoring 69 and 42 respectively, ensuring Australia stayed afloat. Once Smith was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Australia’s chase lost steam. Alex Carey provided some resistance, scoring 55 from 35 balls, but the rest of the middle and lower order could not score off India’s disciplined bowling on a placid pitch. Australia were all out for 316, handing India a 36-run win.
With Sunday’s win, India look the most formidable all-round unit in the World Cup even as England continue to be favourites.
2) In tennis news, Rafael Nadal won a historic 12th French Open championship, and his 18th Grand Slam crown, on Sunday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem.
33-year-old Nadal is the first player, man or woman, to win the same Slam 12 times after seeing off a brave challenge from a weary Thiem in a repeat of last year’s final. The match began well for Thiem. In a 53-minute first set of brutal hitting and raw physicality, it was the Austrian who broke first for a 3-2 lead. But his joy was short-lived as Nadal retrieved the break in the sixth game before racing away with the next three games to win the set 6-3. The second set was the hardest fought in the match. Thiem failed to claim a single point off Nadal's first five service games in the second set. The dogged Austrian then pushed back, forcing Nadal into three rushed groundstrokes and, from nowhere, broke to take the second set 7-5. That was the first set Thiem had managed to take off Nadal at Roland Garros after three previous defeats. Nadal was in no mood to relent. He swept the first 10 points of the third set, carving out a double break for 3-0 before sweeping to a third break for the set. By the fourth set, Thiem, who had played four successive days to reach Sunday's final, began to look haggard. He wasted break points in the first and third games of the fourth set and Nadal pounced to stretch to 3-0. That was soon 5-1 and the relentless barrage continued with Nadal taking the title on a second match point when Thiem fired a return long. With that point, Nadal won his 82nd career title and 950th match win.
He said after the win, “It's a dream to win again, an incredible moment. When I first played here in 2005 I never thought I would be still playing here in 2019...It's very special for me... I want to say congratulations to Dominic. I feel sorry as he deserves to win it as well...he has every chance in the future. He has an unbelievable talent for the sport and I want to encourage him for the future.”
The French Open win puts Rafael Nadal’s 18 Grand Slam wins just two behind Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 majors, and three ahead of Novak Djokovic.
3) Indian para-athletes Sandeep Chaudhary and Sumit shattered two world records in men's F40-46/61-64 javelin throw category at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Grosseto, Italy on Saturday.
Sandeep won the gold with a throw of 65.80m, which is a world record in the F44 category. He had also won the gold in this combined event in 2018 Asian Para Games.
Sumit finished second in the combined event with a throw of 60.45m, which is also a world record in the F64 category. Sundar Singh Gurjar, whose category falls in F46, finished third with a throw of 58.99m.
The F40-46/61-64 category relates to limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement. The athletes in this category compete with or without prosthesis
Gursharan Singh, interim president of Paralympic Committee of India, said, “All...three have already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics by virtue of their performance in the 2018 Para Asian Games. All the three are medal contenders in next year's Paralympics.”
4) On Sunday, global athletics governing body IAAF extended a ban against Russia’s athletics federation and said Reuters’ findings on banned Russian coaches still working with athletes would be investigated.
Russia’s athletics federation was suspended in November 2015 after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (or WADA) found evidence of widespread doping in the sport. Russian authorities have denied the existence of a state-sponsored doping programme in the country but accepted that some senior officials were involved in providing banned substances to athletes, interfering with anti-doping procedures and covering up positive tests. Russia’s athletics federation had reportedly paid $3.2 million in costs incurred to the governing body during Russia’s suspension, fulfilling one of its reinstatement conditions.
Recently, Reuters revealed that Russian athletics coaches Vladimir Mokhnev and Valery Volkov, both serving doping bans, are still coaching athletes. Their reporters also found that Dr Sergei Portugalov, formerly the athletics federation’s chief medical officer, has been giving medical advice on nutrition and training in lectures at a Moscow gym despite serving a doping ban.
This contravenes World Anti-Doping Agency rules which state clearly that athletes must not receive training, strategy, nutritional or medical advice from banned coaches or medical staff and can face sanctions if they do. Despite the ban, some Russians — including two-time world champion high jumper Maria Lasitskene — have been cleared to compete internationally after demonstrating that they train in a doping-free environment.
Rune Andersen, chairman of the IAAF task force overseeing Russia’s reinstatement efforts, said the Athletics Integrity Unit would examine Reuters’ report. He said, “...(it) calls into question whether Rusaf (Russia’s athletics federation) is able to enforce doping bans and whether all Rusaf athletes have embraced the change to a new anti-doping culture proclaimed by Rusaf, both of which are conditions to reinstatement.”
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: Jun 10, 2019 12:21:13 IST