Rishabh Pant returns as Punjab opens season with win over Delhi in IPL

Punjab Kings’ Sam Curran acknowledges his fifty runs during the Indian Premier League cricket tournament match between Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings in Mullanpur, Punjab, India, Saturday, March 23, 2024. (AP)
Punjab Kings’ Sam Curran acknowledges his fifty runs during the Indian Premier League cricket tournament match between Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings in Mullanpur, Punjab, India, Saturday, March 23, 2024. (AP)
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Updated 23 March 2024
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Rishabh Pant returns as Punjab opens season with win over Delhi in IPL

Rishabh Pant returns as Punjab opens season with win over Delhi in IPL
  • Pant, injured in a car accident in December 2022, marked his return to high-profile cricket by leading out the Capitals

CHANDIGARH: Star Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant returned to action as Punjab Kings beat Delhi Capitals by four wickets in their opening encounter of the Indian Premier League season on Saturday.
Pant, injured in a car accident in December 2022, marked his return to high-profile cricket by leading out the Capitals. He scored 18 off 13 balls in his comeback innings.
Delhi reached 174-9 in 20 overs after Shai Hope top scored with 33 off 25 balls, while impact batter Abishek Porel smashed 32 not out off 10.
Punjab relied on Sam Curran’s 63 off 47 balls to scale the target in 19.2 overs and finished with 177-6 in reply.
Put into bat, the Capitals got a speedy start from David Warner (29) and Mitchell Marsh (20) as the duo put on 39 off 20 balls for the first wicket.
Punjab struck back through its pacers — Marsh was out caught off Arshdeep Singh, while Harshal Patel bounced out Warner.
Pant walked in to a rousing reception but played a scratchy knock even as Hope smacked two fours and two sixes off 25 balls.
Patel picked his second as Pant was out caught in the 13th over. With Hope gone as well, Delhi was down to 111-4.
It became 111-5 as Ricky Bhui only managed three runs, out caught behind to spinner Harpreet Brar (1-14). South Africa’s Tristan Stubbs also fell for just five runs.
Axar Patel scored 21 off 13 balls before he was run out. Porel was then subbed in at 138-7 and played a rescuing hand for the Capitals.
Porel smacked four fours and two sixes off the 10 balls faced as Delhi finished with an unlikely par-score in its first outing this season.
In response, Punjab was down to 42-2 as Ishant Sharma inflicted a double blow. He bowled skipper Shikhar Dhawan for 22 runs.
Then, Jonny Bairstow was run out for nine at the non-striker’s end. Sharma just managed to get his fingers onto the ball as the English batter was backing out too far.
Curran then added 42 off 33 balls with Prabhsimran Mann for the third wicket. The latter took the lead, scoring 26 off 17 balls, before he was caught at long on off Kuldeep Yadav (2-20).
Yadav picked his second as Jitesh Sharma was out stumped for nine.
It left Punjab at 100-4 in 11.3 overs, but Curran and Liam Livingstone came together to save the day.
Curran hit six fours and a six in his 39-ball 50, while Livingstone smacked three sixes and two fours in a 21-ball 38-run knock.
The duo added 67 runs off 42 balls, before Khaleel Ahmed (2-43) bowled Curran in the penultimate over. Livingstone though stayed on to the end.
Delhi dropped a couple catches which allowed Punjab to scale the target with ease.
Kolkata Knight Riders host Sunrisers Hyderabad later.


Confident Americans open Super Eight playoffs against South Africa in T20 World Cup

Confident Americans open Super Eight playoffs against South Africa in T20 World Cup
Updated 13 sec ago
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Confident Americans open Super Eight playoffs against South Africa in T20 World Cup

Confident Americans open Super Eight playoffs against South Africa in T20 World Cup
  • The US qualified for the second round after its Group A wins over Canada and Pakistan
  • The US face a tough opponent in South Africa, who have won all four of their group games

NORTH SOUND: The United States opens the Super Eight playoffs against South Africa at cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup on Wednesday with American captain Aaron Jones sounding more confident than ever.
A win over 2022 runner-up Pakistan in the group stage, helping to raise the profile of cricket in the US, might do that to a team skipper.
“To be honest with you, a lot of people don’t really pay much attention to US cricket,” said Jones.
“Probably the whole world don’t already know how much talent we have here . . . but definitely I think that on any given day, once we play proper cricket, we believe that we can beat any team in the world for sure.”
The US qualified for the second round after its Group A wins over Canada and Pakistan, with favorite India also advancing from that group.
The eight teams are divided into two groups with defending champion England and co-host West Indies the other teams bracketed with the USand South Africa. The other group has unbeaten Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India — those teams either topped their groups or finished as runner-up in the original 20-team tournament.
The USfaces a tough opponent in South Africa, which won all four of its group games. But the Americans can take heart from the fact that South African batters struggled in their last two low-scoring matches against weaker opponents Bangladesh — when the Proteas won by four runs, and Nepal, who they beat by one run.
Despite all the mystery surrounding low-scoring drop-in pitches in New York and the wet weather in Florida, the US sent shockwaves in the cricketing world with its back-to-back wins against Canada and Pakistan in Dallas before losing to India on a tricky wicket in New York.
The rain gods also helped the US — the tournament co-hosts received a crucial one point from its rain-abandoned group game against Ireland that knocked Pakistan out of the tournament. It was the first time that Pakistan, the 2009 champions, had not qualified for the playoffs in eight versions of the tournament.
The other Super Eight match Wednesday has co-hosts West Indies playing England at Gros Islet, St. Lucia. On Thursday, Afghanistan plays India at Bridgetown, Barbados and Australia takes on Bangladesh at North Sound, Antigua to complete the first round of playoff matches.
All matches in the Super Eight round are being played in the West Indies, and later the semifinals and final. The championship match in the month-long tournament is set for June 29 at the century-old Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The Americans are longshots to be there, but don’t count them out.
Not many Americans knew they had a cricket team before Jones hit the headlines with his blistering score of 95 runs in the opening game against Canada that also featured 10 big sixes.
But admiration for the US team grew more, not only in America but also around the cricketing world after it defeated Pakistan in a super over at Dallas.
“Over the last couple of years, we’ve been speaking about playing in the World Cup, playing more games against the full-member nations and stuff like that,” Jones said.
“Obviously qualifying for the Super Eights is really good . . . not only for us but the fans around America as well. We really appreciate them, and for the younger generation in America.”


Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand captain

Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand captain
Updated 22 min 24 sec ago
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Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand captain

Kane Williamson steps down as New Zealand captain
  • Williamson has turned down a central contract for the 2024/25 season, relinquishing the captaincy of the Twenty20 and one-day teams
  • Williamson: Playing for New Zealand is something I treasure and my desire to give back to the team remains undiminished

WELLINGTON: Kane Williamson has stepped down as captain of New Zealand’s white-ball teams, the Black Caps said Wednesday, days after they crashed out in the group stage of the T20 World Cup.

Williamson has turned down a central contract for the 2024/25 season, relinquishing the captaincy of the Twenty20 and one-day teams. He will still, however, play international cricket.

It leaves the 33-year-old star batsman able to accept offers to play in lucrative overseas competitions.

“Pursuing an overseas opportunity during the New Zealand summer means I’m unable to accept a central contract offer,” he said in a statement.

He can still play for New Zealand, with the Black Caps scheduled to play Test matches against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India and England later this year.

Williamson said his decision to turn down a central contract and give up the limited-overs captaincy should not be interpreted as a sign he was losing interest in international cricket.

“Playing for New Zealand is something I treasure and my desire to give back to the team remains undiminished,” he said.

Williamson had skippered New Zealand in all three formats until he gave up the Test captaincy to fast bowler Tim Southee in late 2022.

Since making his debut in 2010, Williamson has played 100 Tests, 165 one-day internationals and 93 T20 games for New Zealand.


Baseball legend Willie Mays, all-around great of America’s pastime, dead at 93

Baseball legend Willie Mays, all-around great of America’s pastime, dead at 93
Updated 19 June 2024
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Baseball legend Willie Mays, all-around great of America’s pastime, dead at 93

Baseball legend Willie Mays, all-around great of America’s pastime, dead at 93
  • Willie Mays was the epitome of what came to be known as a ‘five-tool player’
  • He was exceptional at hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, throwing and baserunning

 

Mays was the epitome of what came to be known as a “five-tool player” — meaning he was exceptional at hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, throwing and baserunning

His snag of a fly ball in the 1954 World Series, sprinting with his back toward home plate some 460 feet away, is known simply as The Catch

Mays was ranked second on The Sporting News’ 1998 list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players — behind Babe Ruth and ahead of Ty Cobb

REUTERS: Willie Mays, the Hall of Fame centerfielder whose all-around skills made him one of greatest baseball players of all time, died on Tuesday at the age of 93, Major League Baseball announced.

Mays, who brought an explosive exuberance to the game in his peak years, died of heart failure, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Mays played 23 seasons for the New York Giants, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets, from 1951 through 1973.

In his prime, he could do it all on the baseball field. Mays was the epitome of what came to be known as a “five-tool player” — meaning he was exceptional at hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, throwing and baserunning.

But Mays’ talent was only part of what made him a superstar. He also played with a verve and passion that were discernible even to spectators in the cheap seats. He was known for playing stickball with kids on the streets of Harlem, near the former Polo Grounds where he played.

In the real games, fans delighted when Mays would sprint with such speed and fury that he would run out from under his hat as he stole a base or chased down a flyball to deep centerfield.

His snag of a fly ball in the 1954 World Series, sprinting with his back toward home plate some 460 feet away, is known simply as The Catch.

“He could do everything and do it better than anyone else, (and) with a joyous grace,” wrote New York Times sports columnist Arthur Daley.

Mays, known as “The Say Hey Kid” because of his standard greeting, was ranked second on The Sporting News’ 1998 list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players — behind Babe Ruth and ahead of Ty Cobb.

Baseball-Reference.com ranks him fifth all time using the modern statistic Wins Above Replacement, which measures a player’s overall value, behind Ruth, pitchers Walter Johnson and Cy Young, and his godson Barry Bonds.

Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility, won the Most Valuable Player award twice and was named to the all-star team 24 times, a record shared only with Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.

When he retired, Mays held third place on the all-time home run list with 660, behind Aaron at 755 and Ruth with 714. He was also the first ballplayer to hit 300 homers and steal 300 bases.

Willie Howard Mays Jr. was born in the gritty steel town of Westfield, Alabama, on May 6, 1931, during the segregation era and was inspired early to play ball by his father and an uncle, he said.

“My uncle would say every day, ‘You’re going to be a baseball player. You’re going to be a baseball player, and we’re gonna see to that,’” he said. “At 10, I was playing against 18-year-old guys. At 15, I was playing professional ball with the Birmingham Black Barons, so I really came very quickly in all sports.”

Mays joined the New York Giants of the National League early in the 1951 season, four years after Jackie Robinson had integrated Major League Baseball. He failed to get a hit in his first 12 trips to the plate before smacking his first, a home run off future Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn.

Mays went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in 1951 with a .274 average, helping the Giants come from 13 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers before his team won the pennant on a legendary home run by Bobby Thomson. Mays, then 20 years old, was on deck when Thomson hit his home run, later telling reporters he was so nervous he prayed he would not come to bat.

Mays missed most of the 1952 season and all of 1953 while serving in the US Army during the Korean War, spending much of his service time playing for the Army baseball team.

He returned to the Giants in 1954 and won the first of his two Most Valuable Player awards as he paced the Giants to a four-game World Series sweep of the Cleveland Indians. In the first game of that series, Mays pulled off The Catch, which remains one of the most memorable plays in baseball history.

At New York’s Polo Grounds, the Indians’ Vic Wertz hit a shot to deep centerfield. Mays turned, sprinted toward the wall, made a graceful over-the-shoulder catch and then immediately whirled around and made a perfect throw that kept two Cleveland baserunners from advancing.

“I was a guy, when I first came up, I believed I could catch any ball that stayed in the ballpark,” Mays told an interviewer years later. “I guess I was kind of a cocky kid, knowing that if the ball went up, I could catch it.”

In 1958, the Giants moved to San Francisco, where Mays was not quite so beloved. Fans crowding into tiny Seals Stadium, the Giants’ first home, instead embraced rookie sensations Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey as their own.

“Mays never was to San Francisco what he was to New York,” wrote sportswriter Dick Young. “When the Giants moved to California, the San Francisco fans saw Mays as ‘of’ New York.”

The Giants moved into cavernous and windy Candlestick Park in 1960, robbing Mays of many home runs that would have gone out in a more typical ballpark.

But Mays still possessed extraordinary skills and in 1962, carried the Giants to another playoff win over the Dodgers and into the World Series.

The series was a seven-game spellbinder won by the New York Yankees when Bobby Richardson speared a line drive for the final out of the game with Mays on second base, representing what would have been the winning run.

By the late 1960s, Mays was slowing down. In May 1972, he was traded to the New York Mets and made a final World Series appearance in 1973, his last season, when the Mets lost to the Oakland Athletics in seven games. He retired later that year.

In his book “Willie’s Time,” baseball writer and historian Charles Einstein wrote:

“The lights were hot and the cameras rolled and you knew Willie was there because you heard that laugh. Came The Automatic Question: ‘Who was the greatest player you ever saw?’ His answer was prompt enough: ‘I thought I was.’ There was merriment in his eyes as he looked around the room. ‘I hope I didn’t say that wrong.’”


McIlroy, Scheffler qualify for Paris Olympics

McIlroy, Scheffler qualify for Paris Olympics
Updated 19 June 2024
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McIlroy, Scheffler qualify for Paris Olympics

McIlroy, Scheffler qualify for Paris Olympics
  • The qualifying period for the event came to an end after the US Open at Pinehurst at the weekend
  • The top 15 players in the world rankings qualify for the Games, up to a maximum of four golfers from a single country

LONDON: Rory McIlroy is set to play at the Paris Olympics alongside world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler after taking a break from golf following his dramatic late collapse at the US Open.

The qualifying period for the event came to an end after the US Open at Pinehurst at the weekend, when McIlroy finished as runner-up to US star Bryson DeChambeau after squandering a two-shot lead with five holes to play.

The final men’s Olympic Golf Ranking, published on Tuesday, features 60 qualifiers representing 32 different countries.

The top 15 players in the world rankings qualify for the Games, up to a maximum of four golfers from a single country.

Below the top 15, players qualify based on their world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.

The host country, France, was guaranteed at least one spot, as was each of the five continents of the Olympic movement.

McIlroy, second in the world rankings, is set to represent Ireland at the former Ryder Cup venue, Le Golf National, from Aug. 1 to Aug. 4, alongside former British Open champion Shane Lowry.

Scheffler, defending champion Xander Schauffele, Wyndham Clark and Collin Morikawa have qualified to represent the USA.

Former US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood have qualified for Britain, with two-time major winner Jon Rahm and David Puig set to represent Spain.

Each National Olympic Committee will have until June 27 to officially confirm their athletes to the International Golf Federation.

Northern Irishman McIlroy, a four-time Major winner, said Monday he plans to take time off after one of the “toughest” days of his professional career at Pinehurst.

The 35-year-old said his next event would be the Scottish Open starting on July 11, the warmup for the British Open at Royal Troon.

The 60-strong women’s field for their tournament, starting on Aug. 7, will be announced after the June 24 qualification cut-off date.

Both the men’s and women’s events are 72-hole individual stroke play events.


Conceição scores in stoppage time to get Portugal off to winning start at Euro 2024

Conceição scores in stoppage time to get Portugal off to winning start at Euro 2024
Updated 19 June 2024
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Conceição scores in stoppage time to get Portugal off to winning start at Euro 2024

Conceição scores in stoppage time to get Portugal off to winning start at Euro 2024
  • Conceição, who only made his entrance in the 90th minute, fired the ball home in the 92nd after Robin Hranac’s attempted block of Pedro Neto’s shot fell kindly for the Porto winger to shoot inside the left post

LEIPZIG, Germany: Portugal substitute Francisco Conceição scored in stoppage time for a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in their European Championship opening game on Tuesday.
Conceição, who only made his entrance in the 90th minute, fired the ball home in the 92nd after Robin Hranac’s attempted block of Pedro Neto’s shot fell kindly for the Porto winger to shoot inside the left post.
Conceição wheeled away in delight and was booked for taking off his jersey.
It comes almost 24 years to the day since Conceição’s father, Sérgio Conceição, scored a hat trick to knock defending champion Germany out of Euro 2000.
Czech Republic goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek had thwarted Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portugal star became the first to play at six European Championship tournaments. The 39-year-old Ronaldo was unable to add to his record 14 goals in his record-extending 26th appearance at the tournament.
Portugal’s 41-year-old defender Pepe became the oldest player to play at the tournament, though he had little to do as the 2016 champions dominated ball possession and chances.
It came as a shock when Lukas Provod broke the deadlock at the other end with a fierce strike inside the far post after Vladimir Coufal laid the ball back in the 62nd minute.
Portugal drew level in the 70th when Stanek’s save of Nuno Mendes’ header rebounded off Hranac’s shin and in.
Turkiye defeated tournament debutant Georgia 3-1 in the other Group F game earlier.