Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
New Zealand thrashed India by a massive 80 runs in the first T20 in Wellington on Wednesday. Yesterday's loss is India's worst ever in T20 internationals. The previous worst was a 49-run loss to Australia in 2010.
New Zealand got off to a fantastic start, courtesy a blitzkrieg by opener Tim Seifert. The replacement for Martin Guptill blazed 84 runs off 43 balls as New Zealand scored 66 runs in the Powerplay and scored 100 runs in just 10.2 overs. Colin Munro and Kane Williamson scored 34 runs each. India's bowling looked weak and leaked runs as the Black Caps scored boundaries and sixes almost at will. New Zealand finished with 219/6 in their 20 overs.
India's batting capitulated quickly, with the score going from 18/1 in the third over to 77/6 in the 11th over. MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay Shankar and Krunal Pandya were the only batsmen to cross 20. Dhoni top scored with 39 as the rest of the team collapsed in a heap. India were eventually all out for 139 in 19.2 overs.
The second T20 of the three-match series will be played on Friday in Auckland.
The Indian Davis Cup team has been drawn to meet Pakistan in its away tie, which could be shifted to a neutral venue because the Indian government does not allow sporting teams from India to travel to Pakistan. Pakistan hosted Uzbekistan and Korea last year in Islamabad on grass courts.
The last time an Indian Davis Cup squad travelled to Pakistan was in March 1964. That tie was held in Lahore and India won 4-0. The last tie between the two nations was played in Mumbai in 2006, which India won 3-2. India, a formidable side in the Asia/Oceania zone, have never lost to Pakistan in six meetings so far. In 1971, when Pakistan were to host the tie, India forfeited, handing a walk over. The winner of this year's tie will move to the World Group Qualifiers.
All India Tennis Association Secretary General Hironmoy Chatterjee told PTI, "We have to follow the government policy. We will speak to the government to know. They have not allowed any sports team to travel to Pakistan." Current non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi said, "It's a good draw for us with the depth in our team. We are looking forward to winning and getting back to the World Group Play-offs (Qualfier) again." Coach Zeeshan Ali said, "We know Pakistan players well. I am confident that with the team we have now and the way our players are playing and improving their rankings, we definitely hold the upper hand."
The Indian women's cricket team also lost to New Zealand in the first T20 in Wellington.
Smriti Mandhana scored her fastest fifty in T20s but that wasn't enough as New Zealand defeated India by 23 runs. Batting first, the Kiwis scored 159/4 in their 20 overs. Sophie Devine top scored or New Zealand with 62 runs from 48 balls.
In reply, India lost opener Priya Punia in the very first over but Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues shared a 101-run stand for the second wicket that resurrected the innings and put them in charge. Mandhana scored 58 runs from 34 runs, including three big sixes, bringing up the 50 in just 24 balls. However, the New Zealand bowling took quick wickets to reduce India to 117/6 by the 17th over. The batting never recovered and India were dismissed for 136 in 19.1 overs. New Zealand's Lea Tahuhu, who took 3/20, was declared Player of The Match.
An update on the Ranji Trophy final now. Cheteshwar Pujara fell for a duck, his second successive failure while playing for Saurashtra, as Vidarbha look set to control the match after an exciting fourth day.
Saurashtra, chasing a target of 206 runs, were left tottering at 58/5 after spinner Aditya Sarwate took three wickets, including that of Pujara. Sarwate also dismissed Pujara for just 1 run in the first innings. India's most successful batsman in the Test series against Australia has a faced a total of 16 deliveries in the Ranji Trophy final.
Interestingly, Saurashtra were the best chasers during the knockout stage but their reliable batting fell apart in the all-important final. They have been runners-up twice in Ranji Trophy history, and need 148 runs on a tricky track. Vishvaraj Jadeja, who is on 23, will resume batting in the company of Kamlesh Makvana, who is on 2. It could be a battle of nerves, with lower-order batsmen from both the sides have shown on earlier occasions that they are up to the challenge of scoring runs.
Vidarbha scored 312 in the first innings, only to allow Saurashtra to score 307. Their second innings saw them score just 200, which means Saurashtra required 206 to lift their first Ranji Trophy title. With Saurashtra requiring 148 runs and Vidarbha searching for five wickets, day five of the final promises to be a humdinger.
An ISL update now.
Bengaluru FC made a superb comeback after being two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Kerala Blasters FC in an action-packed clash on Wednesday.
Slavisa Stojanovic scored a 16th-minute penalty to give Kerala the first goal. That was followed by a fabulous strike from Courage Pekuson which saw Kerala go up 2-0 at the break.
Just as it seemed Kerala Blasters might win their first match against Bengaluru FC, a header from Udanta Singh in the 69th minute gave Bengaluru fans hope. 16 minutes later, skipper Sunil Chhetri scored the equaliser to help the Blues grab a point.
Following the drawn match, Bengaluru extended their lead at the top of ISL's points table to four points. Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters remain winless in 14 matches this season and remain in the ninth spot.
Updated Date: Feb 07, 2019 12:02:17 IST