Firstpost Spodcast Episode 224: Shikhar Dhawan's thumb fracture, rain-affected World Cup, NBA Finals 2019 and more

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In a blow to India's fortunes at the 2019 cricket World Cup, in-form senior India opener Shikhar Dhawan was on Tuesday ruled out of at least three matches after sustaining a hairline fracture on his left hand.

While speculation was rife that Dhawan had suffered a thumb fracture, the names of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer were doing the rounds as potential replacements. It has now been clarified that the injury is on the back of his left hand. Dhawan's injury will upset India's plans for the match against New Zealand on Thursday. But the good news is there is a chance that he will recover, and so the team management has not sought any replacement.

According to PTI, Indian team media manager Moulin Parikh said, "Dhawan sustained an injury on the back of his left hand in the region between the index finger and thumb during the CWC 2019 league match against Australia...Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team. The team management has decided that Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored."

As a consequence, Dhawan will miss the game against New Zealand as well as the much-hyped match against Pakistan on Sunday. It remains to be seen if he regains fitness for the match against Afghanistan of June 22 but the team expects he will be fully fit by the business end of the tournament.

Another World Cup match was abandoned due to rain on Tuesday. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka settled for one point each as their match was washed out at the Bristol County Stadium. That makes it three cricket matches abandoned due to rain at the World Cup.

Not a ball was bowled on Tuesday in Bristol, and it ended up as the second consecutive match called off on account of rain. On Monday, the match between South Africa and the West Indies was abandoned for the same reason.

Mashrafe Mortaza-led Bangladesh have one win and two losses besides abandoned match. They defeated South Africa in their opening match, but they faced defeats at the hands of New Zealand and England.

In a surprising development in Indian football, head coach Igor Stimac has called defender Anas Edathodika out of his retirement to be included among 35 probables for next month's Intercontinental Cup – a clear move to address the team's woes in central defence.

In the recent King's Cup match against Curacao in Thailand, the Indian central defence conceded three goals in the space of 18 minutes in the first half and lost the match 1-3, with Rahul Bheke being the main culprit. Bheke was drafted in to pair with Sandesh Jhingan at the heart of the defence after the retirement of Anas, who had partnered with Jhingan earlier for two years. India eventually finished third in the King's Cup after their first-ever away win over Thailand.

The Indian men's recurve team put up a solid show to go past Norway 5-1 and storm into the pre-quarterfinals at the World Archery Championships on Tuesday. They are just one win away from securing an Olympic quota.

Tarundeep Rai, Pravin Jadhav and Atanu Das will next face Canada's Eric Peters, Crispin Duenas and Brian Maxwell on Wednesday in a bid to secure the three-athlete quotas for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, the women's recurve team also remained in the fray by qualifying sixth from a field of 55 nations for one of the eight Olympic quota spots. The top-eight seeding in the team event means that the Indian women avoided the first round match on Tuesday and go straight into a decider for the Olympic places where they face 11th seed Belarus on Wednesday.

Basketball news now, from the NBA. Clutch 3-pointers by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson enabled the defending champion Golden State Warriors to edge Toronto 106-105 on Monday and sustain their hopes of winning a third consecutive NBA Finals.

Curry scored 31 points while Thompson added 26 as the Warriors pulled within 3-2 in the best-of-seven championship series, forcing a sixth game on Thursday at Oakland, California, with game seven if needed in Toronto on Sunday.

Curry said, "Do or die...It wasn't pretty in the second half but we just made the shots."

However, the victory was dimmed by the loss of Warriors star Kevin Durant, who made his long-awaited return from a right calf injury but scored just 11 points in 12 minutes before suffering a right Achilles tendon injury and being helped off the court. Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player and Golden State's top playoff scorer with 34.2 points a game, left the arena on crutches and will have an MRI on Tuesday.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, "On the one hand I'm so proud of them, just the amazing heart and grit they showed, and on the other I'm just devastated for Kevin...it's a bizarre feeling we all have right now, an incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time."

The Warriors seek their fourth title in five seasons while the Raptors suffered an agonizing near-miss in their bid for the first title in their 24-season history.

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 12, 2019 14:58:07 IST