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Pak beat Zimbabwe by 8 wickets to sweep T20 series

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Elton Chigumbura retires from international cricket.

Usman Qadir starred with the ball before Abdullah Shafique smashed a solid 41 as Pakistan eased to an eight-wicket win over Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

With this win, Pakistan have cleaned sweep the T20I series 3-0. Chasing a paltry target of 130 runs, Pakistan got off to a decent start with Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique stitching a 30-run stand for the first wicket before Wellington Masakadza dismissed Zaman.

Haider Ali and Shafique then stitched a 40-run stand as Zimbabwe lost all hopes winning the game. Milton Shumba dismissed Haider in the 12th over which left Pakistan needing 51 from 50 balls, but any hopes of a Zimbabwe fightback were quickly squashed off by Khushdil Shah.

Pakistan chased down the target in the 16th over to have a clean sweep of the T20I series on Tuesday.

Earlier after opting to bat first, Zimbabwe got off to a bad start losing two wickets in the powerplay.

No batsmen other than Chamu Chibhabha got going for Zimbabwe. Wickets kept falling for regular intervals and the visitors reeled at 87/7 before Donald Tiripano played a much-needed cameo to help Zimbabwe score a respectable total of 129 runs.

Playing against Pakistan in his last international outing, Elton Chingambura could not end on a good note, as Pakistan thrashed Zimbabwe by 8 wickets in the final T20I to complete a 3-0 whitewash. Having already picked up resounding wins in the opening two games, the hosts were relentless in their pursuit of a clean sweep as Zimbabwe were restricted to just 129/9 batting first, which was then chased down with ease.

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Dimuth Karunaratne returns as Sri Lanka name Test squad for West Indies series

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Colombo [Sri Lanla], March 6 (ANI): Dimuth Karunaratne has made a return to the Test side as Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Saturday announced a 17-member squad for the two-match Test series against West Indies.
The cricket board also informed Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya De Silva, Roshen Silva, Vishwa Fernando, and Lasith Embuldeniya will leave for the Caribbean on Saturday night to take part in the Test series, which starts from March 21.
“The National Cricket Selectors have chosen the following squad to play the 02 Match Test Series vs West Indies. The squad was approved by the Minister of Youth and Sports Honorable Namal Rajapaksa,” the SLC said in an official statement.
Earlier, Sri Lanka all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who had missed the flight to West Indies due to an issue related to securing his visa, will now travel on Sunday to join his teammates.
Shanaka, who was named in the ‘White Ball Squad’ for West Indies series, did not travel with the team due to a visa issue he confronted, pursuant to the loss of his previous passport, which had a valid visa for the USA stamped on it.
Sri Lanka Cricket on Friday said that the all-rounder will now travel to West Indies via France and is expected to join the national team during the ODI segment of the tour.
Sri Lanka and West Indies are currently locking horns in the T20I series. West Indies defeated Sri Lanka in the first T20I on Wednesday (local time) but the visitors made a comeback displaying an all-round performance in the second T20I on Friday (local time)
Both teams would now lock horns in the third and final T20I on Sunday. After the T20I series, West Indies will shift focus towards the 50-over format. The first ODI between Sri Lanka and West Indies will be played on March 10.
Sri Lanka squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Dasun Shanaka, Pathum Nissanka, Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Roshen Silva, Dhananjaya De Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ramesh Mendis, Vishwa Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Embuldeniya. (ANI)

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Monumental effort to be in bubble for so long: Ganguly hails Team India after series win

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly on Saturday hailed hosts’ ‘monumental effort’ of playing good cricket for so long while staying in the bio-secure environment.
India defeated England by an innings and 25 runs in the fourth and final Test to win the series 3-1 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday.
With this win, India set up the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) against New Zealand.
Ganguly, the former Indian skipper, congratulated the Virat Kohli-led side for qualifying to the WTC finals and hailed the “outstanding” effort of playing good cricket for the last five months.
“Congratulations Team India for winning the series and getting to the finals of WTC ..it’s a monumental effort to be in the bubble for so long and still play such good cricket for the last 5 months .. outstanding,” Ganguly tweeted.
Meanwhile, India head coach Ravi Shastri said that living in a bubble isn’t an easy thing to do. The Indian players haven’t been on a break since the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Shastri pointed that it is “really tough” living in a bio-secure environment.
“Six months in the bubble, seeing the same faces. The bubble will burst (smiled Ravi). It’s tough for professional players when you are not doing well. it’s really tough being in the bubble,” Shastri said in the post-match presentation.
Shastri also pointed out the fact that the visitors failed to convert the chances hence lost the series even after winning the first Test.
“The scoreline of 3-1 doesn’t reflect how close the series was. It’s like our series in England we lost 1-4. England had their moments and if they grabbed those we could have had a different result,” Shastri said.
India finished as the number one team with 72.2 percentage points in the WTC points table, the factor that determined the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption. (ANI)

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Experience between India and England spinners is the difference: Rajkumar Sharma

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): India skipper Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma on Saturday said that there is an experience difference between the spinners of home and English side as the latter did not get much success in the final Test of the series at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the WTC following emphatic innings and 25-run win over England as Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel scalped five wickets each.
“Former England cricketers created a lot of fuss about the wickets in this series. The pitch was expected to spin and the wicket was spinning a bit but the experience between our spinners and English spinners is different. Indian spinners bowled really well whereas England bowlers were delivering the lose balls in every over,” Sharma told ANI.
“It is a crucial win for the side as they now qualified for the WTC final. It is a great achievement for India and I would like to congratulate the side,” he added.
Delhi coach further applauded the knocks of Rishabh Pant (101) and Washington Sundar (96*) which enabled hosts to take a 160-run lead. Sundar was left stranded on 96 as India got dismissed for 365 in their first innings on the third day of the Test match here at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
“Indian batters especially Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar played it was a wonderful innings from them and they showed how to bat on difficult wickets if you have technique and temperament,” Sharma said.
It was a no-show from the English batsmen once again as they looked completely clueless after walking into the middle in the post-lunch session with the score on 6/0. Dan Lawrence (50) was the only player who had some answer to the duo of Ashwin and Axar as none of the other batsmen seemed to have the technical acumen to dig in, barring skipper Joe Root (30).
But once Ashwin sent back Root, it was all about delaying the humiliation for the English batsmen. Ashwin picking up Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck only added to England’s misery. (ANI)

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National Rifle Association of India accepts provisions of National Sports Code

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), the governing body of the Olympic sport of Shooting in the country, on Saturday announced after a special general body meeting, that they have accepted the National Sports Code in its entirety, except one, where a practical relaxation has been made.
It can be recalled that the Sports Ministry had last month given the National Sports Federations six months to align with the National Sports Development Code.
Divulging details of this significant development, Raninder Singh, President, NRAI said, “We are probably one of the first Olympic Sporting Federation to have taken such a step. NRAI has always been at the forefront when it comes to taking decisions, which put athletes and their welfare ahead of everything else.”
“All necessary action in this regard has been initiated. On behalf of the NRAI, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Hon. Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports for standing by us at all times,” he added.
Citing the provision, which was “un-implementable”, Singh said, “The one which says that half the districts should be affiliated to the state federation for it to be recognized is practically not possible on ground in States like Chhattisgarh and Union Territories like Jammu, Kashmir, etc. due to prevailing local law and order situations- so we have relaxed that provision to 20 per cent for all State Rifle Associations/UT’s.”
Among other decisions taken, the general body has remanded the matter on punishment to shooters to the Disciplinary Committee. Till the recommendations of the Disciplinary Committee are received, the Shooters will be allowed to participate in shooting competitions. (ANI)

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Foakes ‘arguably’ the best keeper in world: Joe Root

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 6 (ANI): England might have lost the Test series but skipper Joe Root feels the tour of India is a building block for the visitors which has made them equipped to face similar extreme conditions in the future.
India defeated England by an innings and 25 runs in the fourth and final Test to win the series 3-1 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday.
After the defeat Root listed out positives which England can take with them from the four-match Test series. The English skipper praised wicket-keeper batsman Ben Foakes who has displayed some sensational glovework behind the stumps.
Ahead of the series, former England wicket-keeper Matt Prior had said that playing Test cricket in India can be mentally draining for wicket-keepers, but Foakes looked a class apart during the tour.
“I think Ben’s keeping in this Test series has been excellent. I think he is arguably the best keeper in the world. His glovework is wonderful, he is a fine player. Having said that, Jos (Buttler) is a great experienced player he has done extremely well in the last year for us. It’s great to have a competition in place it makes you a better team,” said Root while replying to a query from ANI.
Root also praised Jack Leach who spearheaded England’s spin attack and was the visitors’ most successful bowler on the tour.
“And talking about the spinners, I think Jack has been brilliant. He has certainly got better and better as the tour progressed and has been a useful and attacking option for us,” Root said.
“We had eight to nine weeks of bowling spin and a lot of it and I think that’s a positive for us. Actually for guys in the reserves as well to get a chance to come out here and get the volume of work. In the long run, can pay huge dividends for England,” he added.
England twice crossed the 200-run mark in the four-match Test series. First in the opening Test and second in the first innings of the final game. Root feels England has to accept they weren’t good with the bat and only then the visitors will be able to improve themselves.
“I think the guys have to embrace what has happened. There are areas where we can get better. To say the ‘ball is spinning and skidding on in the extreme conditions, it’s impossible to bat’ that’s the wrong attitude. We should say you know there are areas we can get better at. Yes, there are world-class spinners but we can be better,” the English skipper said.
“I am gonna make sure, that if I find myself in a similar situation down the line, we are equipped to deal with that. When we come home and play in our home conditions we are completely different side,” he signed off. (ANI)

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Swiss Open: Srikanth crashes out after losing against Axelsen in semi-final

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Basel [Switzerland], March 6 (ANI): Ace India shuttler Kidambi Srikanth on Saturday crashed out of the Swiss Open after losing against World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the semi-final.
Denmark’s Axelsen outclassed Srikanth 21-13, 21-19 in 41 minutes to proceed to the final of the tournament.
Srikanth failed to get momentum in the first game and struggled to keep the shuttle on the court. In the second game, the Indian player tried to make a comeback but it was denied by the in-form Axelsen as he bagged the close-fought game 21-19.
Earlier in the day, PV Sindhu progressed to the final of the Swiss Open after registering a straight games win over Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt in the semi-final.
Rio Olympics silver medalist clinched the clash 22-20, 21-10 that lasted for 43 minutes. The World No. 2 faced a tough fight in the first game as it went neck-to-neck till Sindhu finally bagged it at 22-20.
But the Indian shuttler showed her class in the second game and did not give any margin and dominated the match. Sindhu will now face either Olympic champion Carolina Marin or Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong for a shot at the Swiss Open title clash on Sunday.
Later in the day, the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will play against Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in the semi-final. (ANI)

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