Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
We begin the week with cricket. Australia prevailed over India in a thrilling last-ball win in the first T20 in Visakhapatnam to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. Australia are in India to play two T20 matches and a five-match ODI series.
On Sunday, India were put in to bat on a difficult pitch and lost their first wicket with just 14 runs on the board in the third over. Skipper Virat Kohli and KL Rahul resurrected India’s innings, taking the score to 69 in the ninth over. Kohli then fell to Adam Zampa’s bowling and it was a procession of sorts after that. India managed to score just 57 runs after Kohli’s departure, finishing with a meagre 126/7 in 20 overs. Rahul top scored with 50 runs from 36 balls while MS Dhoni scored just 29 runs from 37 balls. Most telling was the fact that India scored just one six in 20 overs. Nathan Coulter-Nile was easily the best bowler for Australia, finishing with 3/26 from his four overs.
In response, India nearly pulled off an improbable win thanks to some splendid bowling from Jasprit Bumrah. Until the 15th over, Australia were control of the chase. Glenn Maxwell, who scored a steady 56 off 43 balls, partnered with opener D'Arcy Short, who made a run-a-ball 37, to add 84 runs for the third wicket that almost saw them through. Bumrah bowled an incredible 19th over to bring India back in the match just when it looked like Australia would canter home. He dismissed Peter Handscomb with a short ball, then yorked Nathan Coulter-Nile. He had also taken the wicket of Aaron Finch in his first spell. However, Australia's tail-enders held their nerves in the final over from Umesh Yadav. With 14 required off the last over, Umesh was hit for a boundary by Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins. Australia needed two off the final ball of the 20th over. Cummins mistimed a drive past the bowler and ran two quick runs to clinch a thrilling win for his team. Australia finished with 127/7, taking a 1-0 lead in the two match series.
The next match is on 27 February in Bengaluru.
Vinod Rai, the chief of BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) said the sporting community "needs to ostracise Pakistan" for fomenting terror activities just like South Africa was banned from international cricket due to the country's policy on apartheid.
The bombastic statement from Rai comes after the BCCI’s aggressive posturing following the Pulwama terror attack where 40 CRPF personnel were killed by a car bomb. The BCCI has written a letter to the ICC urging "all nations to sever ties with countries from which terrorism emanates".
Rai, a former CAG for the Indian government, wants to look at the bigger picture rather than just one match as there is a possibility that India could hypothetically play Pakistan in semi-final or final as well. He said, “We would be shooting in the foot if we don't play Pakistan in the World Cup. Our aim should be to ostracise Pakistan as a cricketing nation...As I have said earlier, all cricketing nations should sever ties with them.”
He cited the example of South Africa, which was banned for 21 years from 1970 to 1991 due to the apartheid policy when non-white South Africans were racially discriminated. He explained, “I believe something similar needs to be done with Pakistan. They should be banned from all sporting activities just like it happened with South Africa.”
He added, “The matter will be officially tabled at the ICC chief executives meet and Indian board will express its concern.” Asked whether a consensus can be built in order to isolate Pakistan in the sporting world, the veteran bureaucrat replied, “It is done at the government level where you talk to other nations in order to build consensus.”
An EPL update now. Liverpool moved one point clear at the top of the Premier League after a goalless draw at injury-ravaged Manchester United on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp's side climbed above Manchester City into pole position, but left Old Trafford frustrated after failing to secure three points against a United team plagued by injuries.
Liverpool, who are chasing their first EPL title since 1990, had very few opportunities to score against their rivals. This, despite United losing Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard before the interval. By the interval, there had been twice as many substitutions as shots on target — the game's first such effort being a tame Marcus Rashford attempt which he chipped up for an easy Alisson Becker catch. Twenty minutes into the game, United midfielder Herrera was the first to go, having injured himself in the process of fouling Joel Matip on the edge of the home area. Mata was the next to go off four minutes later, paying the price for a challenge on Salah on the edge of his own area. He limped off the field and was substituted by Lingard. Liverpool’s Firmino twisted his right ankle while making a routine pass and was forced off. Lingard, who had been nursing an injured hamstring, lasted only 18 minutes before coming off three minutes before the interval.
This is Liverpool’s third draw in four games, and comes in a period in which they have dropped six points in the battle with Pep Guardiola's champion side.
Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored goals in a straightforward 2-0 victory for Arsenal over Southampton as the Gunners settled into fourth place in the League standings on Sunday. Arsenal are one point ahead of Manchester United, while sixth-placed Chelsea's home clash with Brighton was postponed as they take on Manchester City in the League Cup final. The Reds, who had just one shot on target, now have 11 league games remaining, the same number as second placed City.
News from the ISS Shooting World Cup being held in New Delhi. 16-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary smashed the world record on his way to a gold medal in the ISSF World Cup on Sunday, securing India’s third Tokyo Olympics quota.
He won the men's 10m air pistol event at the season-opening International Shooting Sport Federation event. The Asian Games gold medallist ended the event with a total score of 245. Dami Mikec of Serbia finished second with a score of 239.3 while the bronze went to Wei Pang of China, who scored 215.2.
Such was Saurabh's dominance in the eight-man final that he finished the event 5.7 points ahead of Mikec, the gold assured even before his final shot.
After the win, Saurabh said, “It's a very special and a very important medal. To do it in front of the home crowd was superb. However, I was not thinking of medal or quota while shooting; I just concentrated on my technique.”
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Updated Date: Feb 25, 2019 13:37:49 IST