Barcelona [Spain], February 14 (ANI): Argentine striker Lionel Messi on Saturday matched Xavi’s haul of 505 La Liga appearances for Barcelona against Alaves.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was named in Ronald Koeman’s starting XI for a meeting with Alaves on Saturday, a game in which he scored twice in a 5-1 win. That outing has taken him level with a former team-mate Xavi when it comes to league outings for the Blaugrana.
Messi played 759 games for the Spanish giants across all competitions. He has hit 651 goals for the club so far.
In terms of league appearances, Andres Iniesta is third on Barca’s all-time list with 442. Sergio Busquets is fourth and now up to 399, while former captain Carles Puyol completes the top five on 392.
Francisco Trincao opened the scoring after half an hour and Messi added Barca’s second at Camp Nou in first-half stoppage time from 30 yards minutes after having a goal ruled out for offside.
Luis Rioja capitalised on a defensive mistake in the 57th minute to briefly give Alaves hope of a comeback before Ronald Koeman’s side pulled away in the final stretch of the game.
Trincao scored his second of the night in the 74th minute and Messi, with another stunning long-ranger, followed suit a minute later. Defender Junior Firpo completed the rout late on. (ANI)
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We must stick to our professional duties: Rijiju to Boe
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday said that everybody should stick to their professional duties in the best interest of Indian sports. His comments came after badminton coach Mathias Boe urged the minister to intervene in actor Taapsee Pannu’s matter as the Income Tax (IT) department conducted raids at her premises.
“Law of the land is supreme and we must abide by that. The subject matter is beyond yours and my domain. We must stick to our professional duties in the best interest of Indian Sports,” Rijiju replied on Boe’s tweet on Friday.
Taking to Twitter, Boe on Thursday wrote, “Finding myself in a bit of turmoil. Representing India for the first time as a coach for some great athletes, meanwhile, I-T department is raiding Taapsee’s houses back home, putting unnecessary stress on her family, especially her parents. @KirenRijiju please do something.”
In January, the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) approved the request of India’s badminton players Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy — ranked World No. 10 in men’s doubles — to rope in Boe of Denmark to train them in the run-up to the Olympics.
The raids, which started on Wednesday, continued on Thursday as well with the IT department carrying out searches at the commerce centre of KWAN Talent Management Agency in Mumbai. On Wednesday, Income Tax officials conducted raids at the properties of Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee and film producer Vikas Bahl while carrying out searches at their offices and residences. (ANI)
New Zealand pacer Southee reprimanded for breaching ICC code of conduct
Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee has been reprimanded for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the third T20I against Australia in Wellington.
Southee was found to have breached Article 2.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Player and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “showing dissent at an Umpire’s decision during an International Match.”
In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Southee, for whom it was the first offence in a 24-month period.
The incident occurred in the first over of the match on Wednesday, when Southee shouted at the umpire in a disrespectful manner after a leg-before review taken against Australia opener Aaron Finch was declared an umpire’s call and given not out.
Southee admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by Jeff Crowe of the Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees and ratified by the ICC Cricket Operations department as per the COVID-19 interim playing regulations. There was no need for a formal hearing
On-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Wayne Knights, third umpire Shaun Haig and fourth official Chris Brown levelled the charges.
Level 1 breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand, a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player’s match fee, and one or two demerit points.
Riding on skipper Aaron Finch, Maxwell and Ashton Agar’s performances, Australia bounced back in the series with a comfortable win over New Zealand.
New Zealand was 109/3 at one stage, but Agar wreaked havoc and picked six wickets to bundle out the hosts for 144. Agar turned the game in Australia’s favour with three wickets in the 13th over. (ANI)
Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Stokes bags Rohit as visitors take control (Tea)
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): A disciplined effort from the English bowlers has seen the visitors take the honours in the second session on the second day of the fourth Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday. The Indian batsmen have left a lot to be desired as the hosts managed to score 73 runs for the loss of two wickets in the post-lunch session.
At the Tea break, India’s score read 153/6 with – still trailing by 52 runs – Rishabh Pant (36) and Washington Sundar (1) at the crease. Ben Stokes continued his fine form as he sent back dangerman Rohit Sharma (49) in the second session after picking the prized wicket of Virat Kohli in the first.
Having lost three wickets in the first session, Rohit and Pant started well in the post-lunch session as they looked to defend the good balls and score of the rare bad deliveries. But just when the two started to look good, Stokes sent back Rohit, one short of a much-deserved fifty. The ball from Stokes came back sharply and there was not much that the opener could do. While he did review the call, the replays stuck to umpire’s call on impact and the English players celebrated.
Ravichandran Ashwin joined Pant in the middle and tried to accumulate runs to reduce the deficit. The duo had a brief 25-run partnership for the sixth wicket until Jack Leach sent Ashwin (13) back in the concluding minutes of the session. The ball seemed to stop on Ashwin as the batsman played early only for the ball to balloon into Pope’s hands. The lower order will need to wield the williow in the final session if India wish to go past England’s first innings score of 205.
Earlier, Anderson picked Rahane on the brink of lunch to hand England the upper hand. Going into the morning session with the score on 24/1 and with Rohit and Pujara at the crease, the hosts would have liked to get closer to the visitors’ total without losing a wicket. But it wasn’t to be as Leach struck first to send back Pujara, leg before. While it was a close call, the umpire was spot on as the ball hit the pad first.
In walked Kohli and with the scoring rate on the slower side, one expected the captain to bring on the attack with Rohit. But Stokes had other ideas as he got the India skipper to produce a nothing shot to a ball that got big on him and ended up giving keeper Foakes an easy catch. With the score on 41/3, the Englishmen realised they had walked right back into the game.
But Rahane and Rohit defied the visitors for a while as they tried to build the innings and stitched a 39-run partnership. But just when it looked like the duo would take India to lunch and start afresh after the break, Anderson sent back Rahane.
Brief Scores: England 205; India 153/6 (Rohit Sharma 49, Rishabh Pant 36*; James Anderson 2-19, Ben Stokes 2-33) (ANI)
Resting Shikha a tough call but want to try out youngsters, says Harmanpreet
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 5 (ANI): Eyebrows were raised when Shikha Pandey wasn’t picked in the squad for the South Africa series and India women’s ODI vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur on Friday clarified that the all-rounder has been rested in order to test the bench strength of the hosts.
Shikha has been India’s leading wicket-taker in ODIs since her debut in August 2014 and along with her, Ekta Bisht, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, and Taniya Bhatia also missed the bus for the South Africa series.
Harmanpreet admitted it was a tough call to rest some of the key players but asserted that it was necessary to do so with an eye on the next two years. The vice-captain said the South Africa series will lay the platform to set up a perfect combination before the megaevents. The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup originally scheduled for early 2021 has been pushed back by a year due to a coronavirus pandemic while the T20 World Cup will be held in 2023.
“It was a tough call, but sometimes you need to give chance to other players also. She is not dropped, we are just giving rest to few players and trying out some other players. I know we are playing after a long time we wanted to go with the same combination but at the same time when you didn’t play too much cricket, you need to give chance to other players also.
“After this tournament, we will be able to set up a great combination of players as in the next two or three years we have a lot of cricket coming up. And that’s a reason we are giving chances to few other players,” said Harmanpreet while replying to a query from ANI during a virtual press conference.
The Indian women cricketers last played during the Women’s T20 Challenge in November 2020 while their last international match was on March 8, 2020, when they faced Australia in the T20 World Cup final. C. Pratyusha, Yastika Bhatia, Ayushi Soni, Swetha Verma, Monica Patel, and Simran Dil Bahadur have earned their maiden call-ups.
Harmanpreet said the side will want to gain as much as they can from the upcoming South Africa series. The vice-captain is also looking forward to enjoying the company of the young guns.
“Yes, the break was too long but sometimes things are under not your control. So we are going to make sure that we utilise the series for good. The next few years are important for us so we have to make sure that we are ready with the best combination,” said Harmanpreet.
“It feels good when there are new players on your side. You get a lot of energy from the young guns as there is nothing above playing for the country. We just want to improve as a team,” she added.
India and South Africa will lock horns in a five-match ODI series before they face each other in three T20Is in March. The ODI series will begin from March 7 while the T20I series will be played from March 20 at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. (ANI)
Boxam International: Vikas Krishan beats London Olympics bronze medallist
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Playing to his reputation, Vikas Krishan Yadav outpunched the 2012 London Olympic Games bronze medallist Vicenzo Mangiacapre to progress into the men’s 69kg semi-finals on the third day at the Boxam International Tournament in Castellon, Spain.
The Commonwealth Games champion Vikas, who has already secured a berth for his third Olympics in Tokyo, got the better of Italian Mangiacapre in a 3-2 split decision. Apart from Vikas, five more Indian men boxers registered victories in their respective quarter-final bouts to assure India six medals in men’s category at the 35th edition of the tournament.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin notched up a 5-0 win against Italy’s Simone Spada in the 57kg while World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik, who’s making return in the ring after a year, managed a 4-1 win against Safiullin Zakir of Kazakhstan. 2019 Asian Championship silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) also made their way into the semi-finals with 4-1 wins in their respective matches.
While Kumar beat Italy’s Remo Salvatti, Sangwan won against Belgium’s Ziad El Mohor. Satish Kumar, the first Indian boxer to qualify in +91kg at Olympics, is the other Indian to advance into the semi-finals. He outclassed Denmark’s Morten Givskov Nielson 5-0.
Meanwhile, World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) suffered defeats in their respective last-8 bout. Panghal went down fighting 3-2 against local favourite and European Games champion Gabriel Escobar. Sanjeet lost to Italy’s Matteo Girolamo 3-2.
With 10 medals already confirmed, India’s four women and six men pugilists will look to seal themselves a place in the gold medal match as they will play their semi-finals late in the night on Friday. In the women’s category, Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom (51kg), Jasmine (57kg), Simranjit (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) will be seen in action while all six men boxer, who won on the third day, will play their respective last-four clash late on Friday. (ANI)
Aaron Finch becomes first Australian to hit 100 sixes in T20Is
Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): Australia skipper Aaron Finch on Thursday became the first batsman from his country to smash 100 sixes in T20Is. He achieved the milestone in the fourth T20I against New Zealand here at the Sky Stadium.
He becomes the sixth batsman to enter the list of players who have scored 100 or more sixes in T20Is. New Zealand’s Martin Guptill is leading the table with 135 sixes, followed by India’s Rohit Sharma (127 sixes), England’s Eoin Morgan (113 sixes), Blackcaps’ Colin Munro (107 sixes) and West Indies’ Chris Gayle (105 sixes).
Finch also became the leading run-scorer in the shortest format of the game for Australia. He toppled his opening partner David Warner to take the top spot. In 70 games, Finch has scored 2,310 runs including two centuries and 14 fifties. He played an unbeaten knock of 79 runs to displace Warner from the first place.
Warner has 2,265 runs from 81 games including a ton and 18 half-centuries. Finch played a captain’s knock and single-handedly took Australia to a fighting total of 156/6 in the allotted 20 overs. His 79 off 55 included four maximums and five fours.
Australia has set a target of 157 for New Zealand to win the game and bag the series.
The host currently lead the series 2-1, having won the first two games by 53 and 4 runs respectively.
However, the Finch-led side was able to keep the series alive as they registered a convincing 64-run win in the third T20I played on Wednesday at the Westpac Stadium. (ANI)
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