Firstpost Spodcast Episode 232: South Africa's elimination from World Cup, Roger Federer's 10th Halle Open triumph and more
In today's episode, we discuss South Africa's elimination from ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Virat Kohli's fine, Roger Federer's 10th Halle Open title and more
Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
News from the 2019 Cricket World Cup first. South Africa were eliminated from the World Cup after losing to Pakistan at Lord's on Sunday.
Chasing 309 for a win, South Africa's last gasp at a semi-final berth fell woefully short. The Proteas ended with 259/9 in 50 overs as Pakistan won by 49 runs. Pakistan's bowlers Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz took three wickets each as South Africa surrendered without a fight.
Faf du Plessis's side had a bad day on the field as well. Their bowlers, aside from spinner Imran Tahir, posed no problems for the Pakistani batsmen. Openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman scored 44 runs each, giving their team a steady start. Later, Babar Azam, who scored 69, and Haris Sohail, who smashed 89 from 59 balls, ensured that Pakistan put more than 300 on the board. Tahir was the pick of the bowlers, taking 2/41 from his 10 overs. Lungi Ngidi took wickets towards the end to finish with 3/64 from 9 overs.
In reply, South African opener Quinton de Kock scored a scratchy 47 from 60 balls while skipper Faf Du Plessis made 63 from 79 balls. Once they were dismissed, the fight went out of an already beleaguered South Africa. The middle order caved under the pressure, and, save for a fighting 46 from the ever tenacious Andile Phehlukwayo, ended with another capitulation. David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen reached the 30s but couldn't kick on, once again highlighting how brittle South Africa's middle order is. In the end, the Proteas finished 50 runs short of their target.
Sunday's defeat was South Africa's fifth in seven World Cup matches, and also confirmed their embarrassingly early exit. They have just two matches remaining. But they are in danger of ending the tournament with more losses as they go up against a resurgent Sri Lanka and an in-form Australia. Their only win came against Afghanistan.
For just the second time in their history, and the first time since 2003, South Africa have failed to reach the World Cup knockout stages.
India captain Virat Kohli was fined 25 percent of his match fee for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the match against Afghanistan.
According to the ICC, Kohli was found to have breached a rule relating to "Excessive appealing during an International Match."
The incident occurred during the 29th over of Afghanistan's chase against India when Kohli advanced towards umpire Aleem Dar in an aggressive manner, appealing an lbw decision. On the first ball of the 29th over, with Rahmat Shah on strike, the Indian players went up in a leg-before appeal. After India's loud appeal was turned down, the crowd turned on the umpire as well and there were jeers. Replays showed that Rahmat was beaten on the inside edge, struck on the back pad and going on to clip leg stump. If India had reviewed, it would have been 'umpire's call' and the decision would have been not out.
Kohli admitted the offence and accepted the sanctions proposed by match referee Chris Broad, and there was no need for a formal hearing. Additionally, one demerit point has been added to Kohli's disciplinary record. It was his second offence since the introduction of the Revised Code in September 2016. The Indian captain now has two demerit points on his record after having received one demerit point during the Pretoria Test against South Africa on 15 January 2018.
India's next match is against the West Indies on 27 June.
Roger Federer said he was ready for Wimbledon after defeating Belgium's David Goffin in straight sets to win a record-extending 10th title at the Halle Open 2019 in Halle, Germany on Sunday.
Federer beat Goffin 7-6, 6-1 to secure his 102nd career singles title and remain unbeaten on grass so far this season. Federer held off three break points early in the first set before prevailing in the tiebreaker. An unsettled Goffin then gifted Federer the opening game of the second set with a double fault on break point. Federer then broke Goffin's serve twice more on his way to a 10th Halle title.
After his win, the Swiss said, "I thought David was actually better than me in the first 10 games.... It's unbelievable. I never thought when I first played here that I would win 10 titles... I've never won a tournament 10 times before, so I will remember forever that I did so here in Halle...Often when it went well for me here, I also had successful Wimbledons, so this sets me up nicely...It's always good at my age to prove myself that I can last five matches in six days and tough ones along the way."
He is chasing a ninth Wimbledon crown in London next month as he looks to extend and defend his record of 20 career majors. The win at Halle means that Federer will be second seed ahead of Rafael Nadal at the All-England Club.
Hockey news from the FIH Series Finals 2019 now. Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, who has been in great form, struck twice after skipper Rani Rampal provided the lead as India outplayed Japan 3-1 to clinch the FIH Women's Series Finals in Hiroshima on Sunday.
Leading from the front, skipper Rani found the net as early as the third minute but Japan's Kanon Mori equalised in the 11th minute. India's dominance saw them win their second penalty corner in the ninth minute, but the team gave a foul away in the execution. Japan were unable to create opportunities for themselves as they could only manage two circle entries in the entire first 15 minutes.
The scoreline was 1-1 at half-time. Both the teams then tried to take a lead, with Japan making two circle entries and getting two shots away, while India made 8 entries and took 5 shots. Towards the end, Gurjit turned on the heat, scoring in the 45th and 60th minutes to lead India to an emphatic victory.
India, ranked ninth in the world, had already qualified for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2019 on Saturday after securing a place in the Final of the competition. Rani Rampal was adjudged the best player of the tournament while Gurjit emerged the top-scorer.
In Formula One, Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead and continued his relentless run of success on Sunday when he scorched to an emphatic victory at the French Grand Prix.
The defending champion repeated his pole-to-flag triumph of 2018 with a flawless drive to his fourth successive win, sixth overall win this season, and 79th of his career.
It was 1-2 for Mercedes once again on Sunday as Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished second, 18 seconds behind.
Mercedes' unbeaten start to the 2019 season now extends to eight races, and their overall winning streak to 10. Charles Leclerc finished third while Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari.
Hamilton now has a 36-point lead over Bottas in the title race. He said after the race, "It's definitely been a really good weekend. It's such a challenge out there and I love that, really trying to find the edge. I couldn't do it without this incredible team and we are creating history - and I am so proud to be part of it."
Bottas admitted, "Ultimately, Lewis was quicker today and I couldn't match his pace." Leclerc, whom Bottas bested by less than a second, said, "I gave it everything, but the Mercedes are just too quick."
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The Indian women's hockey team has enjoyed good results in top tournaments in recent years, including winning the silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games and qualifying for back-to-back Olympics.
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