Kusal Perera leads Sri Lanka to big T20 win against India

Sri Lanka's Dasun Shanaka, left, celebrates with Thisara Perera, right, after defeating India by five wickets in their Twenty20 cricket match in Nidahas Triangular series in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Kusal Perera leads Sri Lanka to big T20 win against India

COLOMBO: Kusal Perera hit a blazing half-century to power Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over India in the opening Twenty20 international of the tri-nation tournament on Tuesday.
Chasing 175 for victory, the hosts rode on Perera’s 37-ball 66 to achieve their target with nine balls to spare at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium.
The left-handed Perera, who hit 6 fours and 4 sixes, overshadowed Indian opener Shikar Dhawan’s career-best 90 that saw the visitors post 174-5 after being put into bat first.
Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar hurt Sri Lanka’s chase by picking up two wickets each but Perera’s fiery start made sure the hosts stand tall.
The islanders lost an early wicket but a 58-run second-wicket partnership between Perera, who notched up his eighth T20 fifty, and Danushka Gunathilaka put their innings back on track.
Perera, who hit paceman Shardul Thakur for 27 runs with 5 fours and a six in the third over of the innings, took the steam out of the inexperienced Indian bowling attack.
Perera though faltered after getting stumped to Sundar’s off spin as the Sri Lankan chase wobbled with the Indian bowlers coming back with some disciplined effort.
Thisara Perera, on 22, and Dasun Shanaka, on 15, then put on an unbeaten 39-run stand to keep up the spirits of a raucous home crowd.
Earlier Dhawan’s 49-ball blitz, laced with 6 fours and 6 sixes, lifted India from a precarious 9-2 to put up a respectable total.
Dhawan put on a crucial 95-run third-wicket stand with Manish Pandey, who made 37, to test the Sri Lanka bowling but missed out on a ton after falling to Gunathilaka’s off-spin.
Pace spearhead Dushmantha Chameera claimed two wickets including the prized scalp of India skipper Rohit Sharma for nought in the first over of the innings.
India will take on Bangladesh in the next match of the tournament, which is timed to commemorate Sri Lanka’s 70 years of independence, on Thursday.


Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

Updated 19 June 2018
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Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

ST. PETERSBURG: Russia scored three goals in a 15-minute span early in the second half to set up a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday, moving the host nation to the brink of the World Cup’s knockout stage.
Mohamed Salah won and converted a penalty for a consolation goal on his return from injury but Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years could be over in barely five days following a second straight loss.
Ahmed Fathi poked the ball into his own net — the fifth own-goal of the tournament — to put Russia ahead in the 47th minute. Then Denis Cheryshev and Artyom Dzyuba scored in quick succession to leave Russia on course for a victory that followed up a 5-0 opening-night win over Saudi Arabia.
It was Cheryshev’s third goal of the World Cup, putting him tied with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart.
Russia’s place in the round of 16 will be assured if Uruguay wins or draws against the Saudis on Wednesday. Those two scenarios would also eliminate Egypt, which started with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
The hopes of 100 million Egyptians were raised when Salah was selected in the starting lineup, the Liverpool forward making his comeback after 3 1/2 weeks out with damaged ligaments in his left shoulder after a tangle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final.
Salah trotted out for his pre-match warmup to roars from Egypt fans, who at times appeared to outnumber their Russian counterparts. They shouted every time Salah’s face flashed up on the big screen and when his name was announced before kickoff.
Yet from the start, it was clear that Salah was staying out of anything too physical and there was no concerted effort from his Egypt teammates to pick him out each time. He didn’t touch the ball until the seventh minute.
He did win the penalty — confirmed by the video assistant referee after Salah was pulled down by Roman Zobnin. He converted it in the 73rd minute, but it wasn’t enough. Egypt is still without a victory in six World Cup matches.
Russia is nearly assured of advancing from the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.
Cheryshev, who entered the World Cup as a fringe player, is proving lethal in front of goal, with his latest a side-footed effort from close range from Mario Fernandes’ cross in the 59th. Dzyuba’s goal was more direct, the striker chesting down a long ball from defender Ilya Kutepov, beating his marker and curling home a low finish.