Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
We begin the podcast with IPL news of course. Kings XI Punjab's costliest buy, Sam Curran, proved his worth with an incredible spell of bowling towards the end of the match on Monday as the home team pulled off a miraculous 14-run victory against Delhi Capitals. Delhi suffered an inexplicable batting collapse from a winning position that is certain to lead to jitters in their camp.
Chasing a par score of 167 for a win, Delhi lost Prithvi Shaw, who scored 99 in the previous game, off the very first ball of their innings. Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Shreyas Iyer then steadied the innings to help take the Delhi Capitals to 82 by the 10th over. Rishabh Pant and Colin Ingram scored briskly and DC were 144 in the 17th over when Mohammed Shami removed Pant.
Cruising at 144/4, DC required just 23 runs off 26 balls. They lost three wickets in quick succession and were reduced to 147/7. The ball had started reversing more and DC's lower middle seemed incapable of handling the swing. KXIP's million-dollar-man Sam bagged a hat trick to leave Delhi 152 all out in 19.2 overs.
Earlier, Punjab were put in to bat by Shreyas Iyer and could only manage a par-score of 166/9. With Chris Gayle sitting out the game on account of a back injury, the Kings XI batting lacked power. David Miller, who scored 43, and Sarfaraz Khan, who made 39, were the only batsmen to get going.
Sam Curran was declared the Player of The Match for his spell of 4/11 that turned the match in Punjab’s favour.
India retained the ICC Test Championship Mace for the third year running, and won the reward of USD one million that is given to the first ranked Test team. India enjoyed a memorable season that saw them winning a maiden series in Australia.
The ICC said in a statement that India finished at the top of the ICC Test team rankings on the cut-off date of 1 April while New Zealand bagged second place.
Reiterating his love for Test cricket, India captain Virat Kohli said, “Retaining the ICC Test Championship Mace once again is something we are all really proud of. Our team has been doing well across formats but it gives us extra pleasure to come out on top of the Test rankings. We all know of the importance of Test cricket and of how only the best can prosper in the format.
Our team has a lot of depth and I am sure this will stand us in good stead once the ICC World Test Championship commences later this year. That is again something we are really looking forward to as it adds more context to Test match cricket,”
While India’s top rank is not much of a surprise, New Zealand's consistent performances over the past year saw them climb from third position, needing them to only avoid losing the home series against Bangladesh last month to finish at the same position. Kane Williamson’s side also had the satisfaction of seeing their captain awarded the ICC Spirit of Cricket award for 2018, earned $ 500,000 after finishing with 108 points, eight behind India. Williamson said, “...as a team we should be very proud. It's come off at the back of a lot of hard work and perseverance; not just by the eleven guys on the field, but the entire squad and support staff. It's been especially pleasing to see the consistency we've shown in the longest form of the game over a decent period of time.”
South Africa, who had finished second the previous two times, will receive prize money of $ 200,000 for finishing third with 105 points. Australia edged out England on decimal points at 104 points to win $100,000.
Nine Test-playing nations will compete across 27 series and 71 Test matches to reach the World Test Championship Final in 2021, when the champions will be crowned.
An update now from the Asian Airgun Championships in Taiwan. Indian shooters continued their dominance, claiming half a dozen gold medals on the final day of the Championships to sign off with a total of 25 medals.
On the last day of the competition, Yash Vardhan and Shreya Agrawal bagged three gold medals each. Yash won the 10m Air Rifle men's junior event, then clinched the gold in the Team competition with Keval Prajpati and Aishwarya Tomar. He scored 249.5 points while Keval and Aishwarya shot 247.3 and 226.1 for silver and bronze respectively. Earlier, he combined with Shreya to win the Mixed Team Rifle junior event as well.
Shreya Agrawal won the gold in the 10m Air Rifle women's junior event, and also won the Team gold along with Mehuli Ghosh and Kavi Chakkaravarthy. Her gold-winning 24-shots ended on an impressive 252.5, while Mehuli settled for individual bronze with an effort of 228.3. Kavi finished fourth.
Indian shooting's next assignment is at Al Ain, UAE where the ISSF Shotgun World Cup stage two commences on 5 April.
Tennis legend Roger Federer jumped one spot in ATP rankings to number four on Monday after capturing his 101st career title following his win over John Isner in Miami.
The Swiss great switched places with Austria's Dominic Thiem, who had briefly climbed to fourth after defeating Federer in the final at Indian Wells two weeks ago.
Rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas moved up to a career best ranking of eighth, while Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov cracked the top 20 for the first time following his run to the Miami semi-finals.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic sits comfortably clear despite crashing out in the last 16 in Miami, while Rafael Nadal is well ahead of third-ranked Alexander Zverev even as he targets a return from injury for the clay-court season.
In WTA rankings, former number one Simona Halep cut the gap to the current number one Naomi Osaka after she made the semi-finals at the Miami Open last week. French Open champion Halep, who last held the top spot in January, would have returned to the summit had she reached the final in Florida following Osaka's early exit. Halep reduced Osaka's lead to 239 points and moved above Petra Kvitova after the Czech fell to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in the last eight.
A former coach of Brazil's national gymnastics squad accused of sexually abusing dozens of boys has been banned for life from the sport, as prosecutors investigate the allegations.
Brazil Gymnastics Federation's disciplinary tribunal announcement on Sunday prohibits Fernando de Carvalho Lopes from any activity relating to gymnastics. That decision came almost a year after de Carvalho was fired by the club MESC of Sao Bernardo do Campo, near Sao Paulo, where he had trained young gymnasts for two decades.
De Carvalho was sacked after a Brazilian TV report that he had sexually abused more than 40 victims. In the TV Globo report, 42 gymnasts talked of some form of abuse, most frequently touching during and after training. Petrix Barbosa, a Pan-American champion in 2011, the only witness to talk to the camera without his face obscured, said, “I was woken up more than once by his hand down my pants.” Another anonymous witness claimed de Carvalho asked him to masturbate and ejaculate in front of him. The former coach said he had a clear conscience, adding that his accusers still had to present proof in court.
In 2016, de Carvalho was removed from the staff of the national team just before the Rio Olympics after a complaint by the parents of a young gymnast.
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Updated Date: Apr 02, 2019 12:59:00 IST