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Delhi face reigning champs MI in the first qualifier

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Reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will face Delhi Capitals (DC), looking to shake off the ghosts that haunted them in the closing stages of the league phase, in the first Qualifier of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Dubai International stadium here on Thursday.

The team that lose the match will get a lifeline, and both sides will be looking to avoid playing the extra match.

MI have always been a strong contender for the title, and this season is no different. Ticking all the boxes so far, the Rohit Sharma-led side are clear favourites on Thursday.

MI have put up all-round performances in the batting line-up, evidenced by the fact that only Quinton de Kock (443 runs from 14 games) features in the top 10 of the highest run scorers.

And yet, MI have comfortably managed to put big totals on board. They were, however, at the receiving end in their last league match against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Tuesday. They had rested ace fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah (23 wickets) and Trent Boult (20) which resulted in MI failing to take a single wicket against SRH.

The match would hence be seen as a one-off for MI and the threat of Bumrah and Boult tearing into the DC top order, which has looked fragile in their final league matches.

Meanwhile, de Kock, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav are in sublime touch and would look to continue with it. The comeback of captain Rohit will further lift the morale of the side but the MI skipper, who fell cheaply against SRH, needs to get in the groove as early as possible.

Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya will look to build on the momentum down the order.

Rahul Chahar, Pollard and Krunal have been quite effective so far, reducing the pressure from Bumrah and Boult. For DC, Ajinkya Rahane (111 runs) is back amongst runs after scoring a match-winning 46-ball 60 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

DC have however been plagued with inconsistency in their batting lineup which they will have to guard themselves against as they face two of the most lethal new ball bowlers in the world. Opener Prithvi Shaw (228 runs) has struggled to find form since his rapid start to the season and the same can be said about Rishabh Pant (282 runs) since he made his comeback from injury.

Captain Shreyas Iyer (421 runs) will have to lay the foundation of something challenging on board.

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Anirban Lahiri replaces Brooks Koepka at The Players Championship

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Florida [USA], March 8 (ANI): Eight-time PGA TOUR winner Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the 2021 Players Championship due to injury.
“Brooks strained his right knee and he is scheduled to further consult with doctors this week to receive a more extensive evaluation and outlook,” said Blake Smith, Koepka’s manager.
“We will be able to provide additional updates and information as we learn more,” he added.
With Koepka’s withdrawal, the field now includes 48 of the top 50 in both the FedExCup standings and the Official World Golf Ranking. He will be replaced in the 154-player field by Anirban Lahiri of India.
Koepka, currently seventh in the FedExCup standings on the strength of a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, last played at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession where he finished in a tie for second.
The action from PGA Tour — The Players Championship — Day 1 will be live on Eurosport and Eurosport HD from 10:30 pm IST onwards on Thursday. (ANI)

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Vijay Hazare Trophy: Padikkal registers fourth consecutive century

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Karnataka opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal on Monday registered his fourth consecutive century in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Padikkal registered his latest century against Kerala in the ongoing quarter-final 2 of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here at the Palam A ground in the national capital.
Batting first against Kerala, Padikkal and Ravikumar Samarth put on an opening partnership of 249 runs inside 43 overs. Padikkal went on to score 101 runs and he was finally dismissed by NP Basil in the 43rd over.
Samarth, who is also the leader of Karnataka, went on to play a knock of 192 runs as Karnataka posted a total of 338/3 in the allotted fifty overs.
Before this, Padikkal had registered centuries against Odisha (152), Kerala (126*), and Railways (145*) in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.
So far, Padikkal has managed to score 673 runs from six matches in the tournament.
Before Padikkal, Sri Lanka’s former skipper Kumar Sangakkara had scored four consecutive centuries in the 2015 World Cup while South Africa batsman Alviro Petersen had scored four consecutive tons in the 2015-16 Momentum One Day Cup.
After the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Padikkal will be seen in the upcoming Indian Premier League 2021 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). RCB will take on Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener on April 9 in Chennai. (ANI)

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International Women’s Day: Happy to see women athletes performing well at world events, says Rijiju

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): To commemorate International Women’s Day, the Fit India Movement in association with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) organised an All Women Fit India Walkathon at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium here.
The 2km event, was flagged off by the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju who said that he was happy to see Indian women perform well in the international events.
“In the Olympics and other international events, our Indian women are performing exceeding well, we are giving an equal platform to all, but I am happier when our women athletes perform well and it’s our dream to see the daughters of the country perform well internationally,” the minister said.
Over 500 NYKS volunteers participated in the event in Delhi which also celebrated 125 years of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The walkathon was led by the Secretary of Youth Affairs Usha Sharma and Fit India Mission director Ekta Vishnoi. Similar walkathons are being organised in 1000 venues across India.(ANI)

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Silverwood suggests England might continue rotation policy in Ashes

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 8 (ANI): England head coach Chris Silverwood has suggested that his side might look to continue the rotation policy in the Ashes which is scheduled for later this year. In the recently concluded Test series against India, England’s rotation policy came under severe criticism and the side has been accused of not prioritising the India Test series.
The rotation policy saw Jonny Bairstow being rested for the first two Tests against India, and he was a shadow of himself in the next two Tests that he played, as he joined Shane Warne in the list at the second spot for recording most ducks against India.
“We have to look after our players. We want to keep them fit, fresh, healthy and on the park and make sure we’re trying to get it right. We’re constantly talking about it and trying to make sure we’re doing it to the best of our ability. I don’t think it’s acceptable to push somebody until they break and then try and pick them up. We have to make the intervention before anybody does break so we can get them back in an England shirt quicker,” said Silverwood during a virtual press conference.
“Equally, everyone misses their family. The families miss the players that are here. If we can’t get the families to the players as we normally would, it’s important we do our best to get the players to the families. From a well-being point of view, it’s so important these players stay connected with their families. Will the policy continue into the English summer? It’s certainly something we have to be aware of and consider because we don’t know what the landscape will look like from a Covid point of view,” he added.
The rotation policy also saw wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler being sent back home after the first Test against India. James Anderson was rested for the second Test even when he gave a match-winning performance in the second innings of the first Test at Chepauk.
Further elaborating on his point, Silverwood said: “Could players be flying home midway through the Ashes? We have to be proactive in looking after them, so it’s certainly something that we may have to look at, yes. I know things are slowly opening up, but we will be guided by the medical advice and what’s happening in the country. It’s certainly something that we are probably going to have around.”
When asked whether England did not prioritise the Test series against India, Silverwood replied: “No one took this series lightly, I can promise you that. Absolutely not. We came here wanting to win and we went hard in that first Test and won it. India then came back hard in the last three Tests. It’s a very difficult place to come to and win. History tells you that. Don’t for one minute think we took this series lightly because we didn’t.”
India defeated England 3-1 in the four-match Test series and as a result, the Virat Kohli-led side qualified for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC). (ANI)

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Female athletes still face a lot of ‘illogical’ stereotypes in India, says Neha Tanwar

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By Aakash Kumar
New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI) India women cricketer Neha Tanwar believes female athletes still face a lot of stereotypes in the country because of the societal norms, a trend she hopes will change in the days to come.
Tanwar — who has represented the Indian team in five ODIs and seven T20Is so far — feels societal norms in most parts of the country still don’t allow women to feel empowered.
“The societal norm in most parts of India dictates something that is not allowing women in this country to feel empowered,” said the 34-year-old on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
“I would call myself privileged to have such a supporting family. They have always supported me and given me the opportunity to dream big. That doesn’t mean I have never faced a challenge,” she added.
Tanwar started her career as a cricketer from her college days back in 2004 and made her international debut in 2011. She has also been a part of the India Red Women, Railways.
“I got a job in Allahabad, a city in Uttar Pradesh. Life became very monotonous after that. Making time for practice and the gym became harder every day. But I didn’t give up and still represented India at the international level,” said the Steadfast athlete.
Tanwar, who has also played more than 100 first-class matches, feels stories of star athletes like Hima Das, Mary Kom, Mithali Raj and others can serve as a great motivation for young female athletes aspiring to represent the country in the field of sports.
“Stories of great female athletes like Hima Das, Mary Kom, Phogat sisters, Mithali Raj who I have played with and many more have passed huge barriers to be who they are today. Be it the barrier of diversity, opposition from family and loved ones, stigma from the society etc,” said the Indian cricketer.
“They are an inspiration to so many young girls. We have Bollywood movies made on their lives. I would say that almost every female athlete in this country still faces a lot of stereotypes that are completely illogical and most of them are because of society. I know things have changed for the better in the past decade but the pace of that change has to change too. I hope for a better future for the female athletes to be,” she pointed.
Dalima Chhibber, a member of the Indian women’s football team, also recalled how she had to hear stereotypical comments in her growing years, but her family always supported her passion for football.
“I am very fortunate and grateful to have a family and parents that always supported my dreams and my passion for football. But growing up I always heard and was told that there was nothing in football,” said Chhibber who captained FC Pune City in the Indian Women’s League in 2017.
“Also, I was often told that I would get hurt (considering I was a girl), also that I should focus more on my academics than playing football. All of these comments and behaviours usually came from my extended family or people around me, the society. There were fewer opportunities back then to play and participate as compared to now. We have come a long way,” she added. (ANI)

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International Women’s Day: Strength of society is the strength of women, says Kohli

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): On the occasion of International Women’s Day, India skipper Virat Kohli on Monday said the strength of a society is the strength of women.
Taking to Twitter, Kohli wrote, “Happy Women’s Day to all the amazing women of the world. The strength of a society is the strength of women.”
India Test team vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane wrote, “I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many strong women in my life, thank you for your all unending support. Wishing all the wonderful women a very Happy Women’s Day!”
India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja also shared his thoughts and wrote: “May we know them. May we raise them. May we be them. Here’s to all the wonderful & strong women around the world, I bow my head in respect and solidarity with all of you out there. #InternationalWomensDay.”
Each year on March 8, International Women’s Day is observed in order to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day commemorates women, who despite various challenges posed by society have proven their mettle in every sphere across the world.
On the cricketing side, Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) following an emphatic 3-1 series win over England.
Kohli’s men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day.
India will lock horns with England in the five-match T20I series at the Narendra Modi Stadium, starting from Friday. (ANI)

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