Listen: Full script of Episode 50 of Spodcast where we discuss Bangladesh’s win over Pakistan, Saina Nehwal's first-round victory and more
Bangladesh's gritty win over favourites Pakistan, Angelo Mathews' livid at the SLC, Manpreet Singh as the new hockey captain, Saina Nehwal's first-round win at the Korea Open – we discuss these stories and more on our daily sports podcast
Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
Starting with the Asia Cup, defeated Pakistan by 37 runs on Wednesday to qualify for the final of the 2018 Asia Cup.
Defending a score of 239, Bangladesh took wickets early and struck at regular intervals to limit Pakistan to just 202/9 in their full quota of 50 overs. Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman, who has had a dreadful Asia Cup, was dismissed quickly once again. Mehidy Hasan Miraz bagged his wicket in the very first over. Pakistan's innings never really took off after that. Opener Imam-ul-Haq played a lone hand, scoring a steady 83 from 105 balls. Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed were back in the hut by the fourth over and Shoaib Malik found himself attempting yet another rescue act. He fell to a stunning mid-air catch from Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza. Asif Ali tried to get a partnership going with Imam-ul-Haq but eventually fell after scoring 31 runs, pretty much sealing Pakistan's fate. When the ninth wicket fell in the 46th over Pakistan's score was 186. They scored just 16 runs in the next five overs to finish with 202.
Earlier, Bangladesh had a rocky start to their batting as well. They were three down for 12 runs in the fifth over of the day. Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim resurrected the Bangladesh innings, scoring gritty half centuries. Mithun made 60 runs while Mushfiqur Rahim's belligerent innings ended when he nicked a Shaheen Shah Afridi delivery to the wicketkeeper on 99. Pakistani pacer Junaid Khan claimed four wickets, conceding just 19 runs in his nine overs. From 12/3 in the 5th over, Bangladesh finished with 239 runs in the 49th over. Their bowlers did the rest to get them through to the final on Friday, where they will take on India.
Staying with cricket news, the announcement of India's squad for the series against West Indies that starts 4 October has been postponed. The selectors are waiting to hear about the availability of fast bowler Ishant Sharma and spinner R Ashwin.
Sharma and Ashwin will face fitness tests on Saturday, after which the selectors will take a final call. A senior BCCI official told PTI, "Ashwin is already doing his rehabilitation at the NCA for groin injury...Ishant is expected to join him there...there is a fitness test scheduled on Saturday, 29 September. The selectors may announce the team a day earlier if NCA physios and trainers rule the duo out even before fitness tests."
Though the selection committee's meeting was cancelled, its chairman MSK Prasad and his colleague Devang Gandhi met at a Delhi hotel on Wednesday to draw up an initial list. The selectors have to deal with the opening batsmen issues India have had lately, as well as the selection of specialist spinners. The BCCI official said, "The selection committee's aim is to have a team for the series that will be a mirror image of the squad that will travel to Australia. Maybe two more players to the 15 for the Tests will be added when the team travels Down Under."
It is believed Shikhar Dhawan, despite his poor show in England, remains the team management's favourite bet. It will be challenging for the selectors to push for Prithvi Shaw or Mayank Agarwal as openers. As for the spin department, if Ashwin is unavailable, the team management is said to be keen on Yuzvendra Chahal. India A coach Rahul Dravid said some days ago that Chahal still needs many games to be fully ready to compete in international Test cricket.
India and West Indies will play two Test matches, 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is. The series starts on 4 October and ends on 11 November.
Meanwhile, in Sri Lankan cricket, Angelo Mathews' bad luck continues. He has been dropped from the ODI and T20I teams for the upcoming England series that begins on 10 October.
Mathews had written a letter to SLC claiming he had been made a scapegoat after Sri Lanka crashed out of the 2018 Asia Cup. He had written, "I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka's dismal performance against Bangladesh and Afghanistan..."
However, Mathews is still a part of the Test team. SLC officials said fitness concerns forced them to drop Mathews from the limited overs teams.
England's tour of Sri Lanka includes three Test matches, five ODIs and one T20I.
Hockey news now and midfielder Manpreet Singh was appointed as captain of the Indian men's hockey team for the Asian Champions Trophy that will be held in Oman next month. Manpreet, who received the Arjuna award this year, will take over from PR Sreejesh, who served as captain since July 2016. Chinglensana Singh was named the vice-captain.
Speaking on the team selection, chief coach Harendra Singh said, "...we have a great mix of players...there is a right balance between youth and experience. The tournament gives us the last chance to test a few players before the World Cup (in) Bhubaneswar...I'm sure...these players will produce the results in Oman. It is important we...have a good outing."
India, who are ranked fifth in the world, are the defending champions of the upcoming tournament. They defeated Pakistan 3-2 in the final of the 2016 edition that was held in Malaysia. This year, they will take on teams like Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan and Oman.
In badminton news, Saina Nehwal was the only Indian shuttler to advance to the round of 16 in the Korea Open. She had a straight-game win against Kim Hyo-min of Korea, beating her 21-12, 21-11 in the opening round. Saina, who is seeded fifth in the tournament, will face another Korean player, Kim Ga-eun, in the round of 16.
Meanwhile, two other Indian shuttlers, Sameer Verma and Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka, lost their first-round matches. Sameer, who had won the Hyderabad Open earlier this week, lost to Anders Antonsen of Denmark 21-15, 16-21, 7-21. Vaishnavi lost to sixth-seeded American shuttler Beiwen Zhang 10-21, 9-21.
Shaw was dropped after an indifferent first Test in Adelaide but since then scored heavily in domestic one-day competition to force his way back into the national team.
Highlights, West Indies vs Australia, 3rd T20I in St Lucia, Full Cricket Score: Hosts clinch series with six-wicket win
Follow live updates on the third T20I between West Indies and Australia at Gros Islet, St Lucia on our live blog here
Ashwin, who is one of the three Indian spinners to take over 400 Test wickets, gave away 99 runs as Somerset scored a mammoth 429 all out in 148.5 overs.