Pune (Maharashtra) [India], February 16 (ANI): Tvesa Malik and Gaurika Bishnoi’s return to action for the fourth leg of the Women’s Pro Golf Tour will enhance the intensity of the competition as another new high of 38 starters will be achieved this week at the Poona Club Golf Course.
The fourth leg in 2021, which will be combined with the nine legs held in 2020 for a consolidated Order of Merit, will offer Rs 10 lakhs.
After Ridhima Dilawari started 2021 with a win in Bengaluru, Pranavi Urs won the second leg in Chennai and then 14-year-old Avani Prashanth stunned the field with a superb win in Mumbai that included two rounds of 3-under 67 on the first and third days. She would be looking to become the first player to win back-to-back titles while retaining her amateur status. In 2020 Pranavi won the second leg as an amateur but turned professional before the third leg, which also she won.
In the first two legs of 2021, amateurs gave an indication of their skills as two of them finished in the top-10. Disha Kavery was fourth in Bengaluru and Sneha Sharan was T-7, while Sneha Singh and Avani were T-7 in the second leg in Chennai. Avani then emerged a winner in the third leg to send a warning to the established players.
With a whole bunch of young stars like Hitaashee and Jahanvi Bakshi and amateurs like Sneha Singh and Avani Prashanth posing a big challenge, the established stars are not going to have it easy.
Tvesa, who had a solid 2020 while playing in Europe despite the pandemic, had skipped the first three legs, as had Gaurika Bishnoi, former Order of Merit winner. Now both are back. Tvesa, who is increasingly focusing on the Ladies European Tour, has not won on Indian Tour event since she took three titles in 2019, while Gaurika has not won since her two successes, also in 2019.
Meanwhile, Amandeep Drall, who is leading the current Order of Merit, will be hoping to go one better than the second place finish she had in the third leg behind Avani.
Since the Tour re-started in December, Amandeep has twice finished second behind an amateur. In the seventh leg of 2020, which heralded the re-start of the Tour, Amandeep was beaten to the title by Sneha Singh, and last week Avani beat her to the title.
Vani Kapoor, winless since the fifth leg in 2020, Ridhima Dilawari, Diksha Dagar and Hitaashee Bakshi will all be looking to end the drought this week.
Pranavi Urs, winner of the second leg, will not be starting this week, as she withdrew with a wrist injury. However, Neha Tripathi, who had also withdrawn in Mumbai after feeling unwell, is back in the fray. (ANI)
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‘He’s arguably the best T20 batter’: Stoinis backs skipper Finch to find form
Dunedin [New Zealand], February 26 (ANI): Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has come out in support of skipper Aaron Finch following the opening batsman dearth of runs in recent games.
Finch scored a paltry 12 during Australia’s chase of a mammoth total on Wednesday in the second T20I against New Zealand. The visiting skipper has been going through a lean patch and had scored just one run in the first T20I on Monday.
Stoinis, who almost got Australia over the line with his sensational knock in the second T20I, voiced his support for the skipper citing the key role Finch can play in the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in India later this year.
“There’s just full confidence that he’s going to perform for us and, personally, all I can see is a long-term picture because come the World Cup, we need him firing,” cricket.com.au quoted Stoinis as saying.
“He’s arguably the best Twenty20 batter in the world over a long period of time. His record’s so good and he’s our captain, so maybe that’s what’s going on off-field but in our heads we just trust him,” he added.
Stoinis highlighted how Finch didn’t have a good Indian Premier League (IPL) season last year but wasn’t short of runs when it came to scoring in ODIs against India.
“The same thing happened when he came back from IPL. He didn’t have the IPL he wanted but then he came and made hundred after hundred in the one-dayers,” said Stoinis.
“I think that’s just the game of cricket, you’ve got to ride out these sorts of things and I think it’s important that, as a team, he feels backed,” he added.
After being one wicket down in the fourth over, going through a lean patch, Guptill slammed a whirlwind 97 off just 50 balls to steer New Zealand to 219 runs in the allotted 20 overs against Australia in the second T20I.
In reply to New Zealand 219, Australia got off to a good start as the visitors smashed 33 runs from the first three overs. But the visitors’ chase was derailed in the middle overs courtesy of some quality bowling by the Kiwis before Stoinis and Daniel almost got Australia over the line. (ANI)
Shola Shoretire becomes Man Utd’s youngest ever player in European competition
Manchester [UK], February 26 (ANI): Shola Shoretire has become Manchester United’s youngest ever player to play in European competition after making his Europa League debut on Thursday.
The teenage forward replaced Mason Greenwood in the 76th minute of United’s 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford. As a result, he became the club’s youngest ever player in a European match, at the age of 17 years and 23 days.
The previous record-holder was former United forward Norman Whiteside, who was 108 days older than Shoretire when he played in a continental fixture for the first time in 1982.
Surprisingly, the tournament, venue, scoreline, and nationality of the opponents, Spanish, were all the same. The Reds drew 0-0 at home to Valencia in the UEFA Cup, the Europa League’s former guise, when Whiteside made his debut in Europe, on 15 September 1982.
Shoretire relished the remarkable achievement of being the youngest ever footballer to feature for Manchester United.
“What a feeling to make my European debut! To become United’s youngest ever player in Europe is an incredible honour and a proud moment for me and my family! On to the next round,” Shoretire tweeted.
Meanwhile, with a draw against Real Sociedad, the 13-time Premier League winners progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League 4-0 on aggregate
Manchester United will next lock horns with Chelsea on Sunday before they face Crystal Palace three days later in Premier League. (ANI)
PSL 6: Mohammad Wasim aims to play for Pakistan as all-rounder
Karachi [Pakistan], February 26 (ANI): Islamabad United’s Mohammad Wasim Jnr, who hogged the limelight with three wickets in their opening game of sixth season PSL, wants to represent Pakistan at the highest level as an all-rounder.
Wasim though went wicketless in Wednesday’s game against Karachi Kings but gave way just 30 runs compared to other bowlers who leaked runs at more than 10 per over.
He had an impressive beginning with the ball in hand but hasn’t had the opportunity to display his batting skills because of a deep batting line-up which United, the two-time champion side, boasts.
“I want to be an all-rounder for Pakistan and make my name at international level,” said Wasim in the PSL release.
To achieve his goal, Wasim has made rapid strides. The journey started with tape-ball cricket in North Waziristan in early 2011 and took a real flight once he shifted to Peshawar and trained with the hard ball.
“It was tough. There were very few opportunities in Waziristan. My father did not want me to play cricket, but my uncle supported me and then friends helped me in my progress,” said Wasim.
He caught the eyes of the junior national selection committee and was included in Pakistan’s squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 2020. In Pakistan’s tournament opener against Scotland, Wasim made a five-wicket haul.
“I was lucky to get selected for the junior World Cup. It was a great experience for me,” said Wasim.
The all-rounder said sharing the dressing room with Pakistan cricketer Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan is helping him in a big way.
“Islamabad United are too good. We have top-players in Hasan Ali and skipper Shadab Khan. They are all too good and their presence is helping me a great deal,” said Wasim.
Having won the first two games, Islamabad United will next meet Peshawar Zalmi on Saturday.
Wasim’s ultimate goal is “to be the best emerging player in the HBL PSL 6 and then play for Pakistan”. (ANI)
Guptill’s blitzkreig knock guides NZ to a win
Marcus Stoinis’ 78 off 37 balls and Daniel Sams’ 41 off 15 balls weren’t enough to help Australia secure a win as New Zealand emerged victorious in the second T20I by four runs on Thursday.
With this thrilling win, New Zealand has taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match T20I series. Martin Guptill returned to form with a sensational knock while James Neesham slammed 45 off 16 balls before Stoinis and Daniel almost got Australia over the line. Neesham dismissed both Stoinis and Daniel in the final over to help New Zealand secure a win in the second T20I. For the Kiwis, Mitchell Santner picked four, Neesham struck two while Tim Southee and Ish Sodhi picked a wicket each.
Chasing a mammoth 220, Australia got off to a good start as the visitors smashed 33 runs from the first three overs. But Southee removed Matthew Wade in the fourth over to put a break on Australia’s chase.
But the visitors continued to bat freely and seven overs into the chase, Australia was 64/1 before Sodhi dismissed skipper Finch on the last ball of the eight over.
After the Finch’s dismissal, Australia kept losing wickets at regular intervals and was soon found reeling at 113/6 before Stoinis and Daniel came out firing on cylinders. The duo stitched a 92-run stand for the seventh wicket in just 37 balls but New Zealand held their nerve in the final over to prevail
Earlier put in to bat first, New Zealand got off to a bad start as Kane Richardson struck with his first ball to dismiss Tim Seifert in the fourth over.
However, Guptill was in altogether a different mood on Thursday as he raced off to 37 in 23 balls to announce his return to form in style. New Zealand scored 45 runs in the first six overs with Guptill alone accounting for 37 of those. Guptill continued his scintillating batting and notched up his half-century in just 27 balls. A few blistering shots and the right-handed batsman moved to 70 off 37 balls as New Zealand went past the 100-run mark in the 11 overs.
With Guptill’s 97 (50) and Neesham’s quickfire 45* (16), New Zealand ended the innings with 219 runs in the allot-ted 20 overs.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 219/7 (Martin Guptill 97, James Neesham 45*; Kane Richardson 3-43); Austral-ia 215/8 (Marcus Stoinis 78, Daniel Sams 41; Mitchell Santner 4-31) .
PEP GUARDIOLA SEEKS IMPROVEMENT DESPITE MAN CITY’S WIN
Despite a win over Borussia Monchengladbach, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is seeking improvement in his side and said that the team has to be more clinical.
Manchester City secured a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 match here on Thursday. “We had incredible focus for 90 minutes but we were not good enough today in the opposition’s box. We played really well, but we have to be more clinical in this competition. You have to be better, but in general no complaints because we know how good they are and how physical they are,” the club’s official website quoted Guardiola as saying.
During the match, Bernardo Silva opened the scoring in the 29th minute before Gabriel Jesus doubled Manchester City’s lead in the 65th minute.
Guardiola said Champions League is different from Premier League and they have to be clinical in the competition.
“In this competition, we don’t have much margin for error — if you have a 1 on 1 or a 3 v 2 situation, you have to at least finish the action or make the keeper make a save and we didn’t do it. In that position, we have to finish better. They have to know that — in the Premier League we can drop points but in this competition, you have to be clinical,” he said.
“If there is something I want us to improve it is that. In general, it was a good game. It was the first step and there are many weeks until the second leg. We are thinking now about recovery before West Ham,” Guardiola added.
Manchester City will now take on West Ham in the Premier League on February 27. Guardiola’s men will face Borussia Monchengladbach in the second leg on March 17.
SAURABH CHAUDHARY: HITTING BULL’S EYE
In the previous century, shooting remained largely a sport for the elites. It was Jaspal Rana who brought this sport to the limelight with his Gold medals from International shooting ranges. After the silver of Ra-jyawardhan Rathor in Athens Olympics 2004, the sport started to spread to every nook and corner.
Only 2 years before this historic first-ever Olympic silver, a boy named Saurabh Chaudhary was born. Toy-gun was his first touch with the sport, courtesy being his sibling Nitin. He would pay a visit to the nearby shooting range with Nitin when he was 13. From then onwards, he was a regular to blaze the gun in Mee-rut shooting range. His coach Amit Sheron asked his father to purchase a gun for Saurabh. For a family of limited means, it was a big task. Taking their call, his farmer father Jagmohan Singh took a loan to purchase the best equipment for his beloved son.
He didn’t let them down. The rise was visible as results started in only 3-4 months, and the elated family created a makeshift shooting range in their home for the emerging superstar. The range was between two rooms, providing a quiet space to the talent, away from the chaos of the academy.
In his first World Juniors Championship in Suhl 2017, Saurabh finished just outside the medal zone. But his 4th position from the shooting capital of Germany shaped him to touch new heights.
From 2018 onwards, Gold medals began to fall in his bag one after the other. At Jakarta, he faced a stiff challenge from 42-year-old Japanese Tomoyuki Matsuda and his sparring partner Abhishek Verma. Final-ly, Saurabh became the youngest Gold medal winner for the nation in the Asian Games. His success story was published on the front pages of the newspapers. Now ‘Saurabh Chaudhary’ was a well-known name.
The sensational run continued. The boy from Kalina village of Meerut (UP), returned with another Gold from the 2018 Youth Olympic Games held in Argentina. He would bag five more gold medals and a bronze at the ISSF Junior World Cup, the ISSF Junior World Championships, and the Asian Junior Airgun Championship in the same year.
He showed no signs of slowing down in 2019 either. In February, he clinched Gold at the ISSF World Cup in Delhi.
From here onwards, his tuning with fellow teenage prodigy Manu Bhaker began. The duo won the gold medal at the mixed team 10m air pistol events in 2019 shooting World Cup. The combo added two more gold medals from the ISSF World Cups in Beijing, Munich, and silver arrived from Rio de Janeiro. Adding ice to the cake, Saurabh broke the world and junior records in 10m pistol in Munich. In January 2020, otherwise shy Saurabh came first at the 63rd National Shooting Championship in men’s 10-meter air pistol.
Just when he was a firm favorite for a medal from the Tokyo 2020, COVID-19 come a bolt from the blue. Saurabh Chaudhary was ready for the challenge.
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