Welcome to Spodcast, where we look at the big sports headlines of the day.
Asia Cup news first, and India defeated Pakistan in their second match on Wednesday. India, who looked scratchy in their opening match against Hong Kong, handed a heavy defeat to Pakistan. India’s bowlers skittled out Pakistan’s batting line-up for an under-par score of 162. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was declared Player of the Match, took three wickets and gave away just 15 runs in his seven overs. He sent both Pakistani opening batsmen, Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, back to the pavilion by the 5th over. Kedar Jadhav took three wickets as well, including that of Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed. Shoaib Malik, who scored 43, and Babar Azam, who made 47 runs, resurrected the Pakistani innings, but eventually fell to disciplined fielding and bowling. Tailenders Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Amir contributed 21 and 18 respectively.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma scored a fluent 52 off 39 balls, sharing an 86-run opening stand with Shikhar Dhawan, who made 46 runs. Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik closed out the match in 29 overs, making it an emphatic win by eight wickets for India. Wednesday’s win was the biggest for India over Pakistan in terms of balls remaining — 21 overs or 126 deliveries. There was one spot of bother for India in an otherwise perfect game — Hardik Pandya collapsed while bowling, due to a lower back injury, and had to be stretchered off the field.
In badminton news, the mixed doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa defeated Commonwealth Games silver medallists Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith to qualify for the pre-quarter-finals of the China Open.
World No 25 Satwiksairaj and Ashwini had lost twice to the English duo in the past. But on Wednesday, they turned the tables, registering a 21-13, 20-22, 21-17 win in 63 minutes. Satwik said, “It was a good match. We were pretty confident today at crucial moments. We stuck to our plans so it became a little easy in the end.”
In their next match, Satwik and Ponnappa will face Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong of China.
In the men’s draw, Kidambi Srikanth defeated Rasmus Gemke of Denmark 21-9 21-19. He will meet Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand in the pre-quarter-finals.
In tennis, World No 1 Rafael Nadal has pulled out of upcoming tournaments in China because of a knee injury.
Nadal had to retire hurt in the US Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro because of the same injury. He was also forced to skip Spain's Davis Cup semi-final against France. Spain lost the semi-final 2-3.
32-year-old Nadal said he had visited doctors in Barcelona, after which he decided to skip the ATP 500 event in Beijing and the Masters 1000 in Shanghai. He said, “While the annoyances on my knee are nothing new, we have decided together with my medical and technical team not to participate in the Asian tour, to recover the knee the way we have always done.”
With Nadal missing both tournaments, Novak Djokovic now has a chance to finish 2018 atop the ATP rankings.
There is some drama around the Dronacharya Awards. National compound archery coach Jiwanjot Singh Teja, who also traveled to Jakarta for the Asian Games, expressed shock after his name was removed from the list of coaches recommended for the award.
Teja said, “This is gross injustice. I will knock on the doors of the Prime Minister and the President and will also go to court.” Meanwhile, PTI quoted a government source as saying, “There was a case of indiscipline against him and a ban was imposed on him by national federation AAI. So, his name has been removed from the list. A case of indiscipline against a coach is something we can't ignore.”
However, Teja claimed he was not guilty in the incident for which he was punished. He had travelled with the Indian team as chief coach for the 2015 World University Games. The team, which was not sent by the government, missed the bronze medal match due to changes in the schedule. Surprisingly, no one in the archery contingent was aware of this change.
Teja was then banned by the Association of Indian Universities for three years, and by the Archery Association of India for one year. He says, “The AIU had reduced the ban to one and a half years because they also found out that I was not at fault. It was not deliberate and was an unfortunate incident...and I had also completed the one-year ban of AAI. If I am wrong why I was sent to Asian Games as India coach?”
Top archer Abhishek Verma expressed disappointment at this omission. Verma tweeted, “...shocked that top archery coach Jiwanjot Singh Teja is being punished for no fault of his. The man who has scripted the success of Indian archery..."
In football news, Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off following a red card during a Champions League match between Juventus and Valencia.
Ronaldo was red carded in the 29th minute by German official Felix Brych. Ronaldo aimed a seemingly harmless kick at Valencia defender Jeison Murillo, then made contact with Murillo's head while urging him to get up. The Portuguese star dropped to his knees and left the football pitch in tears.
In any case, Juventus went on to win the match 2-0, with Miralem Pjanic scoring twice from the penalty spot. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said, “I can only say that VAR would have helped the referee make the right decision.” UEFA have not approved the use of VAR in Europe's premier club tournament.
In other matches, Manchester City were stunned at home by French side Lyon 2-1 while Real Madrid beat Roma 3-0. Manchester United started slow but managed to beat Swiss team Young Boys 3-0.
Updated Date: Sep 20, 2018 12:17 PM