‘Splendid’ Sunil Narine powers clinical Kolkata to top of IPL, Chennai win again

‘Splendid’ Sunil Narine powers clinical Kolkata to top of IPL, Chennai win again
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Phil Salt, right, and Sunil Narine encourage each other as they bat during the IPL match between Lucknow Super Giants and Kolkata Knight Riders in Lucknow. (AP)
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Updated 05 May 2024
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‘Splendid’ Sunil Narine powers clinical Kolkata to top of IPL, Chennai win again

‘Splendid’ Sunil Narine powers clinical Kolkata to top of IPL, Chennai win again
  • The top four teams will make the play-offs with the final on May 26 in Chennai

LUCKNOW: Red-hot Sunil Narine smashed 81 off 39 balls to help Kolkata Knight Riders thrash Lucknow Super Giants by 98 runs and take top spot in IPL table on Sunday.
Narine’s blitz, laced with six fours and seven sixes, guided Kolkata to 235-6 after they were invited to bat first in Lucknow’s final home game.
Two-time champions Kolkata bowled out Lucknow for 137 in 16.1 overs for their eighth win in 11 matches and almost guaranteed a play-off berth. Second-placed Rajasthan Royals have played one match fewer.
In the first game of the day, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja starred with bat and ball to help holders Chennai Super Kings climb to third with a 28-run win over Punjab Kings.
The top four teams will make the play-offs with the final on May 26 in Chennai.
Narine, who has impressed after being promoted to open by Kolkata this season, led their batting charge in a 61-run first-wicket stand with Phil Salt.
“He was splendid,” Kolkata skipper Shreyas Iyer said of his team’s player of the match Narine, who has amassed 461 runs at a strike-rate of 183.66.
“The start from openers has been great. Pure bliss. We just want to keep continuing the momentum so that we get to the great total and be optimistic.”
Lucknow’s Naveen-ul-Haq took three wickets to hurt KKR but Iyer, who made 23, and Ramandeep Singh, who hit a six-ball 25 not out, helped the team finish on a high.
Ramandeep returned to make an impact in the field as he took a stunning catch to dismiss Arshin Kulkarni when he ran back 21 meters to dive and pouch the ball off the bowling of Mitchell Starc.
Marcus Stoinis hit 36 but the rest of the batting fell flat as spinner Varun Chakravarthy and fast bowler Harshit Rana took three wickets each.
Andre Russell took two wickets and Narine returned figures of 1-22.
Lucknow are fifth on the table and stay in the hunt for a play-off spot.
“Once we go back to dressing room, we move on from this game and see where we went wrong,” said skipper KL Rahul. “Last home game, we are on the road for the next few games, we need to be little bit more fearless.”
In the earlier match, Jadeja top-scored with 43 off 26 balls to guide Chennai to 167-9 batting first in Punjab’s adopted home ground of Dharamsala.
Jadeja then returned figures of 3-20 from his four overs of left-arm spin to help restrict Punjab to 139-9 for Chennai’s sixth win in 11 matches.
The performance from the veteran Jadeja comes as a welcome sign for India ahead of the T20 World Cup in June in the West Indies and the United States.
Chennai suffered an early blow with Sri Lanka pace bowler Matheesha Pathirana set to return home due to a hamstring injury.
Pathirana was Chennai’s standout bowler and took 13 wickets in six matches.
But medium-pace bowler Tushar Deshpande took on the responsiblity in the absence of Pathirana and injured Deepak Chahar as he struck twice in his first over and Punjab’s second in the chase.
Deshpande sent Jonny Bairstow, bowled for seven, and then Rilee Rossouw, bowled for a duck, trudging back to the pavilion in the space of four balls and the chase could never take off.


Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff

Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff
Updated 15 July 2024
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Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff

Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff
  • For Garcia, the script couldn’t have been written any better, as he won for the first time after three previous playoff losses
  • It was LIV Golf’s first double playoff, and just the second team playoff in league history

SOTOGRANDE, Spain: On an unprecedented day in LIV Golf’s young history, captain Sergio Garcia and his Fireballs GC produced a storybook finish for their Spanish fans on home soil at LIV Golf Andalucia.Garcia rallied from seven strokes down to win his first LIV Golf individual title on the second sudden-death playoff hole against Crushers GC’s Anirban Lahiri.

Meanwhile, teammates Abraham Ancer and David Puig beat the Crushers duo of captain Bryson DeChambeau and Paul Casey in the team aggregate-score playoff as the Fireballs — with three Spaniards on the roster — swept both trophies at Real Club Valderrama.

It was LIV Golf’s first double playoff, and just the second team playoff in league history. The first team playoff came earlier this year at LIV Golf Adelaide, when the home Australian team — Ripper GC — also won.

For Garcia, the script couldn’t have been written any better, as he won for the first time after three previous playoff losses. That it happened on his favorite course, one in which he’s won three other professional events and has now finished inside the top 10 in 16 of his 17 starts, made it even more special.

“To be totally honest, there’s a connection between Valderrama and myself that I can’t even explain it,” said the 44-year-old Garcia, who ended a four-year winless drought while winning his 37th professional title.

Garcia started the day at even par, seven shots behind overnight leader Lahiri.

But the Spanish star played flawless golf for 17 holes, posting six birdies and applying pressure on Lahiri, who was trying to break his own winless drought of nine years.

While Garcia suffered his only bogey of the day with a three-putt at the par-3 third to wrap up his 5-under 66, Lahiri birdied the par-5 17th. That put the tournament in Lahiri’s hands going to the par-4 18th, the most difficult hole on the course this week.

Lahiri found the middle of the green with his approach shot and rolled his birdie attempt to 3 feet to set up the potential winning par. But with a chance to win the individual title and secure the team title for the Crushers, he missed the putt for a final-round 73 to drop back to 5 under and set up the double playoff.

Garcia was riding in a van back to the clubhouse at the time. “We obviously heard the crowds going crazy, so we figured that he might have missed his par putt,” Garcia said. “… It was nice to be able to have another shot at it.”Garcia and Lahiri each parred their first playoff hole. Meanwhile, in the team playoff right behind them, DeChambeau found trouble off the 18th tee and had to lay up with his second shot. Casey’s approach finished in the rough behind the green. DeChambeau bogeyed the hole while Ancer and Puig made easy pars to claim the Fireballs’ first team victory of the season.

Like his captain, Lahiri’s errant tee shot on the second playoff hole left him in trouble, and Garcia won with a par, with his teammates and family racing onto the green to drench him in celebratory champagne.

“Obviously individual for me, it’s a dream come true to do it on my favorite course in front of my family and friends and in front of my teammates,” Garcia said. “But to even make it even better by winning the team championship, too, it was amazing. So proud of these guys, the way they played.”

On the flip side, it was heartbreak for the Crushers, who have won twice this season and lead the season-long points standings as they look to repeat as team champions.

“It sucks. Losing is never fun,” said DeChambeau. “That’s what makes winning so much better. I feel for Baan.”

Perhaps it was simply fate for the Fireballs and their captain to win on home turf in front of a partisan crowd.“A dream weekend for all of us,” said young Fireballs star Eugenio Chacarra. “Super happy for Sergio. He’s been up there a lot, and he’s been playing at a high level for 20 plus years. It’s really nice to see it from close every single day, and so happy for him that he got it done on his favorite course.”


Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America

Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America
Updated 23 min 11 sec ago
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Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America

Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America
  • The win was the third straight major tournament title for Argentine following their 2021 Copa victory
  • Messi appeared to suffer a noncontact injury while running full speed on the pitch

MIAMI: Lautaro Martinez scored an extra-time winner as Argentina beat Colombia 1-0 to win a record 16th Copa America title at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.

A poor game which had been marred by security and crowd issues, forcing a 82-minute delay, was decided by a quality finish from Martinez — his fifth goal of the tournament.

The win was the third straight major tournament title for Argentine following their 2021 Copa victory and their triumph in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

There were tears before the celebrations though with Argentina captain Lionel Messi going off injured in the 66th minute watching the rest of the game distraught on the bench, while there was an emotional farewell for Angel Di Maria in his final game for the national team.

For Colombia, whose only title came in the 2001 Copa America, it was a disappointing night when little seemed to work for Nestor Lorenzo’s team.

There was chaos around entry to the stadium for fans, with organizers blaming supporters for trying to enter without tickets while fans blamed the lack of an efficient entry system to the venue.

The scenes were alarming with some fans needing medical attention for heat exhaustion but after the decision to suddenly throw open the gates, with no checks on those entering, the situation was largely resolved and the game finally went ahead.

Colombia’s Jhon Corboba hit the bottom of the post with a speculative shot in the seventh minute but neither side were able to find their flow in the early stages.

Di Maria found Messi in the 20th minute with a low ball into the box and Messi’s left-foot shot was saved by Colombia keeper Camilo Vargas.

Colombia had looked the more lively in the opening period and they went close in the 33rd minute when Jefferson Lerma tried his luck from 25 yards out and his low drive forced Emiliano Martinez into a diving save.

There was concern for Messi in the 36th minute when he dribbled to the byline but was halted by a sliding challenge from Santiago Arias which was ruled fair left the Argentine captain needing treatment.

Messi, who now plays his club football in Miami, then curled a free-kick in from the left flank but Nicolas Tagliafico’s header was just off target.

It had been a disappointing first half and it didn’t improve much after the break, when the fans had at least received some entertainment from Colombian singer Shakira.

Argentina failed to deal with a James Rodriguez corner and the ball looped to Davinson Sanchez but he was unable to keep down his header which floated over the bar.

There was finally some of the expected quality when Di Maria produced one of his trademark runs in from the left and forced Vargas into action, the Colombia keeper turning the ball wide of the post.

Then came a major blow for Argentine hopes when Messi went down, without contact, as he ran in midfield, and clearly in pain he went off to be replaced by Nicolas Gonzalez in the 66th minute.

It was too much for Messi, in what may have been his last major tournament, as he sat in tears on the bench, unable to hold back his emotions.

The Argentine fans thought they had grabbed a winner in the 75th minute when Tagliafico found Gonzalez in the box, who beat Vargas with a low drive but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Little changed in extra-time with a half-chance from Miguel Borja after a flick from Jorge Carrascal but the game was settled by a worthy winner.

Leandro Paredes won the ball in midfield for Argentina with a perfectly timed tackle, found Giovani Lo Celso whose first time pass was perfect for the on-running Martinez who confidently fired home the winner.


Pogacar pulverizes opposition at Tour de France

Pogacar pulverizes opposition at Tour de France
Updated 15 July 2024
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Pogacar pulverizes opposition at Tour de France

Pogacar pulverizes opposition at Tour de France
  • The Slovenian dropped the last of his rivals with five kilometers to go after five more Pyrenean peaks
  • The 25-year-old racked up a second straight iconic mountaintop triumph and a 14th Tour de France stage win

PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France: Tadej Pogacar extended his overall lead at the Tour de France to more than three minutes on Sunday with a convincing second-straight stage win in the Pyrenees.
The Slovenian dropped the last of his rivals with five kilometers to go after five more Pyrenean peaks. A valiant Jonas Vingegaard could only finish 1 minute and 8 seconds adrift in second, with Remco Evenepoel in third at 2min 51sec on the day.
As Pogacar crossed the line at the magnificent Plateau de Beille deep in the Pyrenees, resplendent in his yellow outfit, he had racked up a second straight iconic mountaintop triumph and a 14th Tour de France stage win aged just 25.
The overall leader expressed surprise at Vingegaard and his team.
“Jonas did most of the work,” Pogacar said after Visma hogged the front of the peloton most of the day.
“With today being the 14th of July you might have expected a French win, but Visma went at it very strong.”
“I wasn’t sure myself I’d be able to keep up the pace, but this year I’ve adopted a different approach and it seems to be working,” said Pogacar, munching on a candy bar.

The Team UAE leader’s audacious bid for a Tour de France and Giro d’Italia double in the same season seemed closer after a third stage win on this year’s Tour lifted him comfortably clear.
The last man to win such a double was Marco Pantani in 1998. On his way to his French triumph, the Italian also won a stage ended on the Plateau de Beille.
Pogacar on Sunday ascended the mountain over four minutes faster than Pantani.
“That’s a very good sign,” Pogacar’s team director Mauro Gianetti said.
There are two murderous mountain slogs to go in the Alps, where the weather will likely be much hotter, which Pogacar dislikes.
The final-day lottery is a fearsome 34km individual time trial on the corniche between Monaco and Nice.
For now, the sun shines on the Slovenian as he leads the two-time defending champion Vingegaard by 3 minutes 9 seconds with the young Belgian Remco Evenepoel on his first Tour de France third at 5min 19sec.
Evenepoel also looked happy with his day’s work after he arrived for his debut Tour de France stating he was targeting the best young rider’s jersey, which he looks good for now.
“I felt it was a mistake to try and follow them when they went. It was a race between them two,” he said.
“I kept going at my steady rhythm. it was a good weekend for us.”

Evenepoel is third overall, five minutes clear of Mikel Landa, and leads the young rider category by six minutes from Carlos Rodriguez.
Vingegaard and Evenepoel were both involved in a bone-breaking crash in March, and it remains to be seen how their stamina stands up in the third week. After Monday’s rest day the race rushes back to the Alps, where tradition holds that the Tour is won.
Pogacar agreed with that Sunday.
“Only when I cross the finish line will I believe I have won,” said the 2020 and 2021 champion.
The weekend crowds were well-behaved Sunday. A roadside spectator who threw crisps in the faces of Pogacar and Vingegaard on Saturday was charged with violent behavior Sunday morning, after spending a night in the cells to sober up.
The Tour de France also stepped up protective measures to “limit health risks” with the reintroduction of the dreaded face masks due to a resurgence of Covid-19.
Monday is a rest day.
“We go into Monday with a big smile,” said Pogacar.
The fans watching roadside or in armchairs also likely left with a smile.
 

 


Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title

Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title
Updated 15 July 2024
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Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title

Spain beat England 2-1 to win record fourth European Championship title
  • Oyarzabal slid in to poke home Marc Cucurella’s cross, just when the game at Berlin’s Olympiastadion seemed destined for extra time

BERLIN: Spain won a record fourth European Championship title on Sunday after Mikel Oyarzabal’s 86th-minute goal clinched a 2-1 victory over England, whose painful decades-long wait for a major trophy goes on.
Oyarzabal slid in to poke home Marc Cucurella’s cross, just when the game at Berlin’s Olympiastadion seemed destined for extra time after the latest show of resilience by England at the tournament.
Substitute Cole Palmer equalized for England in the 73rd minute to cancel out Nico Williams’ opener in the 47th from 17-year-old prodigy Lamine Yamal’s pass.
Spain also won the title in 1964, 2008 and 2012.
“I did my job and what I had to and was lucky enough to score the goal for the win,” said Oyarzabal, who came on as a substitute for captain Alvaro Morata. “When you are among the 26 names to be picked, that is special enough, but then to get to help the team like I did, that is the most important part.”
England men’s team has now lost back-to-back Euro finals and is still without a major title since winning the 1966 World Cup.
It is another agonizing loss for one of the world’s most underperforming national teams, this one coming in front of Prince William and Spain’s King Felipe at the venue built for the 1936 Olympics.
“This time it just wasn’t meant to be,” the prince wrote on social media. “We’re all still so proud of you.” 


There were joyous scenes after the final whistle among the Spanish players, with Williams putting his hands to his face before he was embraced by his teammates. Dani Carvajal slumped to the field and was piled on by jubilant teammates.
Yamal, Marc Cucurella and Dani Olmo were among the first to jump over the advertising hoardings to reach the Spanish fans in the stadium’s east end of the stadium.
It was fitting that Yamal and Williams combined for the crucial first goal as they are the poster boys of this exciting, multicultural team that mirrors the new reality in Spain.
Yamal’s mother is from Equatorial Guinea and his father is from Morocco, while fellow winger Williams has Ghanaian parents who made the long journey to Europe looking for a better life. To make it to Spain, they had to ride on the back of a crowded truck and walk barefoot through the Sahara desert.
“Euphoria! We are so happy. We deserved this,” said Williams, the player of the match. “This is for our fans and our parents, who have supported us throughout.”
Unlike his brother Inaki, who is a Ghana international, Nico chose to play for Spain and will now be regarded as a national hero there.
As, indeed, will Oyarzabal and the rest of the Spain team, who have won all seven of their matches at this tournament — an unprecedented feat — and beaten heavyweights Germany, France and England, back-to-back in the knockout stage.
Spain is back as a major player in senior soccer after winning both the Women’s World Cup and the men’s UEFA Nations League in 2023.
Since 2001, Spanish men’s teams have won 23 consecutive major finals in club and international soccer.


India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1

India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1
Updated 14 July 2024
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India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1

India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in fifth T20 to win series 4-1
  • Sanju Samson, who was part of India’s T20 World Cup-winning squad, hit four sixes to help India score 167-6 in 20 overs
  • In reply, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 125 runs in 18.3 overs with medium pacer Mukesh Kumar taking 4-22 from 3.3 overs

HARARE: Sanju Samson scored 58 as India beat Zimbabwe by 42 runs in their fifth Twenty20 on Sunday to win the five-match series 4-1.
Samson, who was part of India’s T20 World Cup-winning squad, hit four sixes in his 45-ball innings to help India score 167-6 in 20 overs after losing the toss and batting first.
In reply, Zimbabwe was bowled out for 125 runs in 18.3 overs with medium pacer Mukesh Kumar taking 4-22 in 3.3 overs.
Zimbabwe had won the first T20 by 13 runs, with India then rebounding with four consecutive wins. It won the second, third and fourth T20s by 100 runs, 23 runs, and 10 wickets, respectively.
India’s top-order batters got double-digit starts Sunday but couldn’t build on them.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, who scored 93 not out on Saturday, was bowled for 12 off five balls. Skipper Shubman Gill was caught for 13, while Abhishek Sharma was dismissed for 14 as India reached 40-3 in five overs.
Samson and Riyan Parag (22) added 65 off 56 balls for the fourth wicket and stabilized the innings as India crossed the 100-mark.
The acceleration came late and cost India a few wickets, with Samson holding ground at one end. Shivam Dube scored 26 off 12 balls, hitting two sixes, and putting on 30 off 19 balls for the fifth wicket.
Zimbabwe pacer Blessing Muzarabani finished with 2-19 in four overs.
Kumar disturbed Zimbabwe’s start as opener Wessly Madhevere was bowled for a three-ball duck. He also sent back Brian Bennett for 10 runs.
Zimbabwe fought back with a 44-run partnership between Tadiwanashe Marumani (27) and Dion Myers (34).
Washington Sundar (1-7 in two overs) got the breakthrough in the ninth over, while Dube (2-25) dismissed Myers.
The hosts couldn’t fight back thereafter, especially with captain Sikandar Raza run out for eight. Zimbabwe crashed from 85-3 to 94-7 in the space of 15 deliveries.
Faraz Akram scored 27 off 13 balls to take Zimbabwe past 100, but the hosts never looked like winning.
Gill was leading India this series for the first time. He called it an “excellent series” for the young side.
“The hunger that we showed after the first loss was phenomenal to watch,” Gill said. “A lot of our players weren’t used to these conditions, some of them were on long flights, and we adapted very well.”