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17-year-old Riyan Parag led a dramatic fightback along with Jofra Archer as Rajasthan Royals recovered from a batting slump to snatch a thrilling three-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a dramatic IPL match at Kolkata on Thursday.
Chasing 176 for a win at a packed Eden Gardens, The Royals made a brisk start with Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane scoring 53 off the first five overs. However, a sudden batting collapse saw RR reduced to 63/3 in the eighth over, losing three wickets in two overs for just 10 runs. Playing in only his 14th T20 match, Parag scored a 31-ball 47 in a determined rearguard inning as Rajasthan chased down the target of 176 with four balls to spare. The Royals, who were limping along at 98/5 in the 13th over, needed 54 runs from the final five overs with just four lower-order batsmen to come. The match was KKR's for the taking at that stage but the tenor changed as the two young cricketers belted four sixes and seven boundaries off some poor bowling by the home side. Archer remained not out on 27 off just 12 balls to see the Royals home with a mighty six as KKR slumped to their sixth straight defeat. Piyush Chawla was the pick of KKR's bowlers, taking 3/20 while Sunil Narine took 2/25.
Earlier, KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik, who has been received flak for his indifferent form, answered his critics with a career-best 97 not out as the Knight Riders recovered from an atrocious start to post a competitive 175/. After five consecutive defeats, KKR captain Karthik promoted himself to No 4 in an attempt to bolster the batting that has looked brittle in recent games. Karthik, who is part of the 2019 world cup squad, put on a great show, smashing nine sixes and seven fours as he made 97 from 50 balls. Thanks to his aggression in the death overs, KKR scored 75 runs off the last five overs. His innings stood out on a day when KKR's big hitter of the season, Andre Russell, looked particularly lacklustre during is run-a-ball innings of 14. Jaydev Unadkat's wayward bowling was punished by KKR as they took 50 runs off his 4 overs. Player of The Match Varun Aaron took 2/20 in his 4 overs as he pegged KKR's batting back with early wickets.
After Thursday's win, Rajasthan Royals move up one place to seventh with eight points from 11 matches, the same as KKR, who remain in sixth place. KKR, Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore now occupy the bottom three spots in the table with eight points each from 11 matches. All of them still have a theoretical chance of making it to the play-offs, provided they do not lose any of their remaining three matches.
Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj will lead the Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity - the three teams competing in the upcoming Women's T20 Challenge to be played between 6 and 11 May in Jaipur. India's best women cricketers and future stars will be joined by international players from England, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in a four-match tri-series. All the teams consist of 13 players with four overseas cricketers each.
Some of the top international stars to feature in the series are England's Natalie Sciver who will play for the Supernovas, Danielle Wyatt, who will play for Velocity, and Sophie Ecclestone, who is part of the Trailblazers. New Zealand's Sophie Devine, Amelia Kerr and Suzie Bates, and West Indies' Stafanie Taylor will also be part of the tournament. WV Raman will coach the Supernovas while Biju George and Mamta Maben have been named as the coaches of Trailblazers and Velocity respectively.
Young Indian shooters dominated the mixed team competitions, winning two gold medals on day three of the ongoing ISSF World Cup in Beijing, to take India to the top of the medal tally on Thursday.
Teenagers Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary won their second gold in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team event in as many World Cup stages this year. Another youngster, Divyansh Panwar, won the gold in Air Rifle Mixed Team event partnering the more accomplished Anjum Moudgil to round off a memorable day for India. Anjum partnered Divyansh, who was in only his second senior competition, for the first time to beat the formidable Chinese pair of Liu Ruxuan and Yang Haoran 17-15 in a pulsating gold medal match.
The icing on the cake was Manu and Saurabh's victory in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team event. The teenage stars comprehensively defeated yet another Chinese pair consisting of former Olympic champion Pang Wei and 2019 New Delhi World Cup finalist Jiang Ranxin 16-6 in the gold medal match.
The wins are all the more credible given that the competition is trying out a new format. The new format entailed the top eight teams qualifying for the final round where four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and a final determine the eventual medallists. The quarterfinal was a 30-shot match-up between pairs in rifle while it was a 40-shot affair in pistol. The medal events would entail a series of single shots per competitor per team. To decide the medals, the pair with the higher series aggregate would be allotted two points and the first team to reach 16 points would be adjudged the winner.
Indian boxers Amit Panghal and Kavinder Singh Bisht remained on course for their second successive international gold medals this year and India looked good to notch up its best-ever performance at the Asian Boxing Championships in Bangkok on Thursday.
Panghal and Bisht were the most impressive on a day when Shiva Thapa's unprecedented fourth successive semi-final appearance in the 60 kg event ended with a bronze after a gruelling battle that could have gone either way.
Panghal, who is competing in the 52 kg category, defeated China's Hu Jianguan in a split verdict, which was a surprise given that the Indian was clearly the more dominant of the two boxers and dictated the bout with his tremendous pace and aggression.
On the other hand, Bisht, competing in the 56kg category, turned in a lion-hearted performance in a bloody battle that left him and opponent Mongolian Enkh-Amar Kharkhuu with a bandaged right eye. The draining fight ended 3-2 in the Indian's favour. In the 60kg event, Shiva Thapa came out all guns blazing against 2015 silver-medallist Zakir Safiullin of Kazakhstan, but a loss of momentum in the final round ended up tilting the scales against him in a split decision by the judges.
Ashish and Satish Kumar also finished with bronze medals in the 69kg and +91kg events respectively. In the women's event, L Sarita Devi, last edition's silver-medallist Manisha, former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen and world silver-medallist Sonia Chahal also finished with bronze medals in their respective categories.
India's Divya Kakran and Manju Kumari bagged bronze medals in the women's competition of the Asian Wrestling Championships in China on Thursday.
Asian Games bronze-medallist Divya Kakran defeated Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia via fall in the playoffs of the 68kg category to finish on the podium. Silver-medallist in the 69kg category at the 2017 edition of the Asian Championships in New Delhi, Kakran missed out on a place in the final of 68kg after going down to Feng Zhou of China 4-14 in the semi-finals. She is returning to competitive wrestling after recovering from an ankle injury, and put on an impressive display to beat Hong Thuy Nguyen of Vietnam 10-0 in her quarterfinal bout.
In the 59kg category, Manju lost to Battsetseg Altantsetseg of Mongolia 6-15 in the last four stage to settle for a place in the bronze-medal round. She had earlier beaten Kazakhstan's Madina Bakbergenova 5-3 in the quarterfinals.
Badminton stars Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu registered straight game wins to sail into the quarterfinals of the Asia Badminton Championship in Wuhan, China on Thursday.
Saina, who was the last Indian to take the court on Thursday, needed just 38 minutes to get the better of Kim Ga Eun of Korea to enter the last eight round of the women's singles event. She is likely to have a difficult match in the next round against third seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
Meanwhile, fourth seed Sindhu took just 33 minutes to defeat Indonesia's Choirunnisa 21-15 21-19. The World No 6 will next play the unseeded Cai Yanyan of China in the quarter-finals.
In the men's draw, Sameer Verma continued his impressive run by progressing to the men's singles quarterfinals. He brushed aside Hong Kong's Ng Ka Long Angus 21-12 21-19 in his second round match. But a Herculean task awaits Sameer in the last eight round as he goes up against second seed Shi Yuqi of China.
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Updated Date: Apr 26, 2019 14:49:35 IST