Firstpost Spodcast Episode 235: Pakistan keep World Cup hopes alive, Indian boxer Neeraj Goyat injured in car accident and more
In today's episode of Spodcast, we discuss Pakistan's crucial win at ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, boxer Neeraj Goyat's car accident, Chennaiyin FC's AFC Cup run and more.
Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
Pakistan kept alive their chances of reaching the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, cruising to a six-wicket win against previously unbeaten New Zealand at Edgbaston. New Zealand scored 237 for six in their 50 overs but that total inadequate as Babar Azam scored an impressive unbeaten 101 to get Pakistan over the line without much drama.
New Zealand won the toss and chose to bat first but things didn't go well for the Black Caps. They were reduced to 83/5 by the 27th over, with Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor back in the pavilion. Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme then rescued the New Zealand innings. Neesham hit a career-best 97 not out while de Grandhomme made 64 to drag the score to 237/6. Shaheen Shah Afridi was the pick of Pakistan's bowlers, taking 3/28 from his 10 overs.
Pakistan's chase saw a couple of hiccups as both openers were dismissed by the 11th over. Babar Azam put together two steady partnerships, first with Mohamad Hafeez, then with Haris Sohail to ensure Pakistan won the match on the first ball of the 50th over.
Sarfaraz Ahmed's side, who beat South Africa on Sunday to revive their flagging World Cup campaign, now have seven points, level with fifth-placed Bangladesh and just one point behind hosts England. New Zealand are second on the table with 11 points. Australia are the first team to have qualified so far.
West Indies batsman Chris Gayle will retire from international cricket after the home ODI and Test series against India scheduled in August-September.
The 39-year-old had, last month, stated that he would call it quits after the ongoing World Cup. However, speaking to the media on the eve of the game against India at Manchester, the left-hander said he has had a change of heart.
Gayle explained, "It's still not the end. I still have a few games to go. Maybe another series to go, as well. Who knows, we will see what happens. My plans after World Cup? I may play a Test match against India and then I will definitely play the ODIs against India. I won't play the T20s. That's my plan after the World Cup."
West Indies media manager Philip Spooner confirmed that the assignment against India will be Gayle's last in national colours. He said, "Chris will play his last series against India."
India's tour of West Indies in August comprises three T20 Internationals and three ODIs followed by a couple of Test matches.
India's WBC Asia Welterweight Champion Neeraj Goyat, who was set to fight British-Pakistani pugilist Amir Khan in Jeddah next month, met with a car accident and sustained injuries that have ruled him out of the 12 July bout.
Bill Dosanjh, Promoter of Super Boxing League, said in a statement that Goyat had severe injuries on his head, face and left arm. 27-year-old Goyat was scheduled to train in a unique Open Media Workout in the run-up to his bout with Amir, a two-time world champion and Olympic silver-medallist. Of late, the two boxers had indulged in customary trash talking to hype up the bout, even invoking the Indian cricket team's convincing win over Pakistan in the ongoing Cricket World Cup.
A promising boxer, Goyat defeated Mexico's Carlos Lopez Marmolejo via unanimous decision in April in Toronto. He has a record of 11 wins including two knockouts, three losses and two draws.
In football news, Chennaiyin FC scored a last-gasp goal to beat Manang Marshyangdi Club of Nepal 3-2 in their final group match but fell short of clinching a maiden knock-out berth in the AFC Cup at Kathmandu on Wednesday.
Needing a win, Chennaiyin started aggressively, with Rafi testing the Manang defence with a cross into the box in the first minute but there was no teammate to receive the ball. The game remained goalless heading into the half-time break, thanks to the slick saves of Manang custodian Bishal Shrestha, who denied Jerry Lalrinzuala's strike from a tight angle with his left boot on 41 minutes. Anirudh Thapa turned provider from a free-kick that Rafi headed home to break the deadlock and send Chennaiyin 1-0 up. Eli Sabia Filho then made it 2-0 for Chennaiyin in the 66th minute from a counter-attack.
Manang refused to give up and Oladipo narrowed the deficit in the 71st minute as he finished a brilliant through ball. Eight minutes later, substitute Bishwakarma Suraj's cross found Oladipo at the edge of the box, and he outmuscled the Chennaiyin skipper before beating Shrestha again with a right-footed strike to draw his team level.
In the 87th minute, Chennaiyin were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out after Bishal Rai's tackle on Vanmalsawma. Rafi converted the deflected shot with his header to make it 3-2.
The win was not enough for Chennaiyin to progress to the Inter-Zone semi-finals, as Bangladesh's Abahani Limited Dhaka clinched the top spot after beating Minerva Punjab 1-0 in the other Group E tie in Guwahati. Chennaiyin finished second in the group with 11 points from six matches while Abahani ended on top with 13 points to advance to the knock-out stage.
Members of the International Olympic Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to suspend recognition of amateur boxing's troubled governing body AIBA as an Olympic governing body ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The IOC stripped the AIBA of the right to run the event at next year's Games in May after an investigation into alleged serious mismanagement at boxing's crisis-ridden ruling authority. IOC members rubber-stamped that decision at a meeting in Lausanne.
As a consequence, the IOC will now organise boxing in AIBA's place, the federation becoming the first to have been stripped of its right to organise its own sport at an Olympics. It appointed Morinari Watanabe, Japan's gymnastics chief, to run a task force to organise qualification and the tournament itself in Tokyo.
Formed in 1946, AIBA has overseen decades of signature Olympic moments, most notably the 1960 gold medal win in Rome by Muhammad Ali. But its reputation has been in tatters in recent years. Relations between AIBA and the IOC took a sharp downward turn following the 2016 Rio Games, when 36 officials and referees were suspended amid allegations of bout-fixing. In 2017, AIBA executives forced out the body's president, C.K. Wu, amid claims of multi-million dollar accounting fraud. Wu denied any wrongdoing and remains a member of the IOC, an indication that he retains the support of senior Olympic officials. Wu was replaced by the controversial Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov, whom the US Treasury Department has linked to "transnational criminal organisations". Rakhimov stepped aside in March, but vehemently rejected the charges and insists the allegations against him are "politically motivated lies".
Strict COVID-19 measures stopping return of thousands of residents to New Zealand amid Delta variant surge
Because demand is far outstripping supply, New Zealanders are being locked out indefinitely, despite the right of return enshrined in New Zealand's constitutional arrangements and in international law.
A day after New Zealand coach Gary Stead expressed confidence about his availability, Williamson also struck a note of optimism ahead of the match in Sharjah. The tournament begins on 17 October.
Webb joined the Indian team in 2019 after Shankar Basu's stint ended following the ODI World Cup but he is now ready to move on as it has become difficult for him to stay away from his family for too long in this post COVID-19 World.