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AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT IN MALDIVES TO LAND BACK HOME ON MONDAY

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Thirty-eight members of the Australian contingent stranded in the Maldives will be reaching back home on Monday.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season was postponed on May 4 due to a rising number of Covid-19 cases and the entire Australian contingent had travelled to the Maldives due to a travel ban from India. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batting coach Michael Hussey who had tested positive for Covid-19 in India will also reach Australia from India on Monday, reported ESPNcricinfo.

The 38-member Australian contingent stranded in Maldives which includes the likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steve Smith and Michael Slater, will travel to Australia on a BCCI charter flight and then they will undergo hotel quarantine.

Australian government’s pause on the return of Australians from India concluded on May 15.

Earlier, Cricket Australia’s Interim CEO Nick Hockley had praised the BCCI and the Indian board’s effort to get the Australian players back to their homes. “I would say the BCCI have been absolutely fantastic. So they’re committed to not only the first movement to either the Maldives or Sri Lanka but they’re also then committed to putting on a charter to bring them back to Australia,” he had said.

Asked if Cricket Australia regrets letting the players go for this year’s IPL, Hockley said: “No, I don’t think so. I mean, our hearts go out to everyone in India. Clearly, I mean, I think the IPL, you know, put so much work, so much effort into putting on the tournament. They obviously did that on the best available information at the time and they’ve come to the decision over the last 24 hours that it’s in everyone’s — well, in the interests of the health and safety of everyone to suspend the tournament indefinitely.”

“At the moment — I was on the phone to my counterpart less than an hour ago and I can’t speak more highly for how the BCCI but also all of the franchises have worked to look after our players and put in plans to make sure that they get home safely and as quickly as possible.”

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Bavuma, Dussen help SA register 31-run win over India

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Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen’s centuries were backed by a spirited bowling performance as South Africa defeated India by 31 runs in the first ODI of the three-match series here at Boland Park, Paarl on Wednesday.

With this win, the hosts have gained a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The second ODI will be played on the same ground on Friday. Chasing 297, India got off to a steady start as openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul put on 46 runs but as soon as the Men in Blue started to gain an upper hand, Aiden Markram sent skipper Rahul (12) back to the pavilion and this brought Virat Kohli to the middle. After the first ten overs, India’s score read 55/1.

The left-handed Dhawan brought up his fifty in the 14th over of the innings, and he along with Kohli kept on moving the scoreboard briskly. At the halfway mark, India’s score read 137/1, with the visitors needing 160 more runs for the win with nine wickets in hand. South Africa got the much-needed wicket in the 26th over through Keshav Maharaj as he bowled Dhawan (79).

Kohli (51) brought up his fifty but as soon as he reached the landmark, he was sent back to the pavilion by Tabraiz Shamsi. Soon after, Lungi Ngidi got the better of Shreyas Iyer (17) while Rishabh Pant was stumped off the bowling of Andile Phehlukwayo, reducing India to 182/5 in the 35th over, with the visitors still needing 115 runs for the win. Shardul Thakur (50*) tried his best but in end, the task proved too much for the lower-order and South Africa registered a 31-run win.

Earlier, Rassie van der Dussen (129*) and Temba Bavuma (110) were the bright spots with the bat as South Africa posted 296/4. Bavuma and van der Dussen put on a stand of 204 runs for the fourth wicket and this is the second-highest by a South African pair in ODIs against India. Opting to bat first, South Africa got off to a bad start as the hosts lost opener Janneman Malan (6) in the fifth over of the innings. The batter was sent back to the pavilion by pacer Jasprit Bumrah and this brought skipper Temba Bavuma to the middle. After the first ten overs, the Proteas’ score read 39/1.

Indian bowlers were able to maintain a stranglehold over the Proteas batters and Bavuma and de Kock found the going tough in the middle. The 39-run stand for the second wicket came to an end in the 16th over as R Ashwin bowled De Kock (27). Soon after, Venkatesh Iyer’s direct hit got the better of Aiden Markram (4) and Proteas were reduced to 68/3 in the 18th over.

Rassie van der Dussen then joined Bavuma in the middle and the duo revived Proteas’ innings by mixing caution with aggression. The partnership saw both batters going past their respective fifty-run mark. Bavuma brought up his ton in the 45th over while van der Dussen brought up the landmark in the 48th over of the innings. In the last five overs, the Proteas added 51 more runs to the total, taking the score past the 295-run mark.

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HALEP, MUGURUZA EASE THROUGH; KVITOVA, FERNANDEZ SUFFER UPSETS

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Former World No.1 Simona Halep got her 2022 Australian Open campaign off to a victorious start, as Romanian gritted past Magdalena Frech of Poland 6-4, 6-3 in their first-round battle.

In their sole prior meeting, Halep had defeated Frech with the loss of only two games on the clay courts of Prague in 2020. The two-time Grand Slam champion has now improved to 6-0 on the season thus far, having won her 23rd career WTA singles title at Melbourne Summer Set 1 two weeks ago.

Halep is seeking her first Australian Open title, which would go with her 2018 Roland Garros and 2019 Wimbledon crowns.

Another Romanian claimed a big win on Tuesday, as Sorana Cirstea bundled 2019 runner-up Petra Kvitova out of the Australian Open for the second straight year. Cirstea notched a 6-2, 6-2 first-round victory over the former World No.2 at John Cain Arena.

Aussie hope Maddison Inglis also captured an upset win as she shocked 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez of Canada, 6-4, 6-2. Inglis took an hour and 23 minutes to stun the No.23 seed and claim her first main-draw victory at a Grand Slam event.

Elsewhere, Garbine Muguruza got off to a winning start on the Australian Open’s main court in 2022 with a 6-3, 6-4 win over France’s Clara Burel.

Playing her first-ever match on Rod Laver Arena, British qualifier Harriet Dart started brightly against No.7 seed Iga Swiatek by winning three of the first four games.

From 3-1 down, though, the Pole rolled. Swiatek won the last 11 games in a 6-3, 6-0 victory to win her opening match Down Under for the fourth year in a row.

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ISL: FC GOA LOOK TO REBUILD AGAINST WINLESS SC EAST BENGAL

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Unbeaten in their last three games, FC Goa will look to climb up the ladder when they are scheduled to take on winless SC East Bengal in the 2021-22 Indian Super League at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Wednesday.

FC Goa hasn’t really burst to life under Derrick Pereira but the veteran coach has managed to remain unbeaten in the last three outings, playing out a 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC in their last game. Jorge Ortiz has looked extremely sharp for the Gaurs even though they had the likes of Edu Bedia and Ivan Gonzalez missing against NorthEast United.

A win on Wednesday will see Goa move up from the bottom half of the table and close the gap on the top four teams, and against SC East Bengal they will fancy their chances. “When I came in, I did not want to change too much. We kept the same formation, the 3-4-3 system but just adjusted the structure and the boys have responded well. There is always scope for improvement and we will look to do well in the coming days,” said Pereira. Speaking on the opponents, he added, “Defensively, in the last three matches they have fought well. Instead of focusing more on them, we will look at the details where we get the better of them and break their defence and at the same time see that we keep a good balance to counter their attacks. It is just another game, we have to go with a plan and get the best result.”

SC East Bengal showed defensive solidity under interim coach Renedy Singh and held the fort until the very end against Jamshedpur FC before conceding in the dying minutes of the second half. But the red and golds have had no attacking teeth whatsoever with striker Daniel Chima Chukwu also jumping ship to Jamshedpur. They have roped in Brazilian striker Marcelo Ribeiro dos Santos but he won’t be available for selection against FC Goa. In their 11 league games, SC East Bengal has failed to score in five games.

SC East Bengal has new coach Mario Rivera back at the helm though and the Spaniard will have his task cut out with the team rooted to the foot of the table having just 6 points from 11 engagements. Rivera guided East Bengal to a second-place finish in the I-League two seasons back. “It is going to be my first challenge in the ISL and my first job is to change the mood of the team when it is not going through a good time. The table does not reflect the quality of the side. Now, we have to get the best performances out of the player and hopeful of changing our position on the table,” said Rivera.

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ECB TO PROBE AFTER ROOT, ANDERSON SEEN AMONG ‘INTOXICATED PEOPLE’ AT HOBART HOTEL

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The England and Wales Cricket Board has launched an investigation after footage of “intoxicated” Australian and England cricketers being asked by police to go to bed came into the public domain.

In mobile-phone footage published by the Sydney Morning Herald, Joe Root and James Anderson could be seen alongside three Australia players—Nathan Lyon, Travis Head and Alex Carey—all still dressed in their whites following the conclusion of the fifth Test at Bellerive Oval.

“During the early hours of Monday morning, members of the England and Australia men’s teams shared a drink in the team areas of the hotel in Hobart,” the ECB’s statement read. “The hotel management received a noise complaint by a hotel guest, and as is commonplace in Australia, the local police attended the scene. When asked to leave by hotel management and the Tasmanian police, the players and management in question left and returned to their respective hotel rooms. The England party have apologised for any inconvenience caused.”

“The ECB will investigate further. Until such times, we will make no further comment,” ECB statement added.

The gathering was taking place in a public area in Hobart’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, and had extended to 6am when the police were brought in following a noise complaint from fellow guests. The players all left the area immediately.

“Tasmania Police attended the Crowne Plaza Hobart on Monday morning after reports were made of intoxicated people in a function area,” a police statement read, as per espncricinfo. “The guests were spoken to by police, just after 6:00am, and left the area when asked. No further action will be taken by police.”

In the home summer of cricket so far, Australia won the 2021-22 men’s Ashes 4-0 in what continues to be one of the greatest global sporting rivalries.

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SA vs Ind: Quinton de Kock will have point to prove in ODI series, says Bavuma

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South Africa limited-overs skipper Temba Bavuma on Tuesday said that his side would look to take the momentum from the Test series onto the upcoming ODI series against India.

India and South Africa will lock horns in a three-match ODI series, with the first match set to be played on Wednesday in Paarl. Earlier, the Proteas had defeated India 2-1 in the Test series.

“Yeah, momentum is a real thing, you would have seen after the first Test, how we managed to get some momentum in the Johannesburg Test and how we carried through. Momentum is a real thing, obviously, it is a different format and there is a different kind of pressure. Confidence is well within the team and we will be leading onto that to inspire the new guys,” said Bavuma during a virtual press conference.

“I would like to have as many options as possible considering the balance of the team. I am not aware of any physical or mental issues with Quinton de Kock. He had his commitments with his family, he is here with the team now and he is training with the team. As far as I know, Quinton is fit and fine,” he added.

Talking about Quinton de Kock, Bavuma said: “It is good to see him again. We obviously missed him in the Test team but he has made his decision to retire from the longest format. We respect his decision, having him back has been good. Quinton will have a point to prove and I am sure he is also as excited as we are to see him in the team.”

“Marco Jansen has been drafted into the ODI squad, the world has been what cricketing abilities he has. It was a no-brainer to get him into the ODI squad. Indian outfit is a strong white-ball squad, we will be giving them the respect we do to any other team. We do not expect this series to be easier, we know it will be tough. We will be preparing as well as we can,” he added.

South Africa ODI squad: Temba Bavuma (captain), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock, Zubayr Hamza, Marco Jansen, Junkman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne.

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SETALVAD TAKES TOP SPOT IN 3RD ROUND OF EQUESTRIAN TRIALS FOR 2022 ASIAN GAMES

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The third round of 19th Asian Games equestrian (show jumping) trials for the team and the individual event concluded at Amateur Riders’ Club, Mahalaxmi Race Course in Maharashtra

The continental games will take place in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China from September 10 to 25. There were two rounds of show jumping which were held for the team and individual qualification. On January 13, the show jumping of 1.40 m was organised for the team qualification and on January 16, the show jumping of 1.50 m was organised for individual qualification.

In 1.40m show jumping category event, Zahan Setalvad secured first position while riding on Caprice with one penalty committed by him. Zahan finished his rounds in 68.30 seconds. Sehaj Singh Virk and Kirat Singh Nagra rode on their horses Laila Lardanos and Little Joe positioned 2nd and 3rd respectively, as they finished their rounds in 70.59 and 71.28 seconds.

1.50 m show jumping category event again witnessed Zahan Setalvad securing top position riding on his horse El Capitan. Zahan committed 4 penalties in his part of rounds and finished them in 76.94seconds. The 2nd and 3rd rank were awarded to Kaevaan Setalvad and Kirat Singh Nagra who rode on their horses Alasdair and Little Joe by finishing their set of rounds in 76.77 and 80.22 seconds respectively.

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