Pundits hail 'new Shane Warne' as leggie Lloyd Pope sets U-19 record

Updated 24 January 2018
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Pundits hail 'new Shane Warne' as leggie Lloyd Pope sets U-19 record

WELLINGTON: Australian Lloyd Pope's record-breaking eight-wicket spell at the U-19 World Cup on Tuesday has left the leg-spinner "on top of the world", as the feat sparks comparisons to the legendary Shane Warne.
Pope took eight for 35 against England to spin Australia into the semifinals and set a new benchmark at the youth tournament, which is currently under way in New Zealand.
"I always love playing for my country whether I'm taking wickets or not, so going out there and doing it with some really good mates is an awesome experience," a beaming Pope told reporters.
"I was on top of the world really today. I mean to win a quarterfinal is awesome," he added.
The 18-year-old came into the attack with England cruising at 47 without loss as they chased Australia's modest total of 127.
But, just as Warne did on numerous occasions, Pope soaked up the pressure and bamboozled England's batsmen to have them all out for 96.
"I've always loved to bowl wrong'uns from an early age," Pope said when asked about his lethal googly.
"It's a big part of my game and I love bowling variations and just working on new things in the nets."

Aussie media, still smarting from the senior team's ODI series loss to England, seized upon the red-headed tyro's heroics in Queenstown.
"The new Shane Warne has arrived," Pope's home-town paper the Adelaide Advertiser trumpeted on its website.
Cricket Australia's website cricket.com.au likened his impact to Warne's in the 1999 World Cup, when he took four for 29 against South Africa.
Even the game's governing body, the ICC, could not resist the comparison, saying: "This could justifiably be called a Warne-esque spell.
"This has a claim to being Australia's most explosive scene-bursting moment since Shane lobbed one up to Mike Gatting in 1993," it added.
Warne, the so-called "sheikh of tweak", remains among Test cricket's greatest wicket-takers, with 708 scalps over a stellar 15-year career.
His gravity-defying delivery to Gatting announced his arrival on the world stage and has been called "the ball of the century."
Warne himself was effusive about Pope's performance.
"This is terrific & brings a huge smile to my face. I had the pleasure of meeting this impressive young man in Adelaide a while ago," he tweeted.
"Was nice to have a bowl with him too — Lloyd give it a rip — well done & congrats! Spin to win my friend."


Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

Updated 19 February 2019
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Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

  • It was Osaka's first match since she won the Australian Open — her second consecutive Grand Slam title.
  • World No. 67 Mladenovic lost for words after surprise win.

DUBAI: Naomi Osaka stumbled badly in her first match since winning the Australian Open as the world number one went down in a flurry of errors to exit the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.
Dubai-based Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the third round as Osaka made 25 unforced errors.
The rout, which featured seven breaks of the Osaka serve, took barely an hour, sending Mladenovic into a Wednesday contest with Carla Suarez Navarro.
“This is my home tournament, I live here,” world No. 67 Mladenovic said. “It’s great to get a win like this in front of a big crowd.
“Beating the number one is always special.”
The second set was riddled with seven consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic finished off the job with a winner to the empty court on match point.
Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens.
She said earlier this week that she would not prioritize “success over happiness” when asked about the sacking, and she never looked like winning in Dubai as she also served five double faults.
Earlier on Tuesday, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their opening matches, while Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.
Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.
Halep, Dubai champion in 2015, saw off 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The Romanian said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elize Mertens.
“It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I’m a little bit tired,” Halep said.
“She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I’m confident. I feel good on court even if I’m tired.”
A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.
“I don’t really care if I play the first match,” the Australian Open runner-up said. “Now I’m done, so I have a free afternoon.
“I’m not sure what I’m pleased with... maybe with my comeback at the end.”