Stellar Starc fires Kolkata to third IPL title

Stellar Starc fires Kolkata to third IPL title
Kolkata Knight Riders players celebrate after wining against Sunrisers Hyderabad during the Indian Premier League cricket final match in Chennai on May 26, 2024. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 26 May 2024
Follow

Stellar Starc fires Kolkata to third IPL title

Stellar Starc fires Kolkata to third IPL title
  • Kolkata bowled out Hyderabad for IPL’s lowest total of 113 in a final as Australia’s left-arm quick Starc returned figures of 2-14
  • Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 39, and Venkatesh Iyer, 52 not out, helped the team home with 9.3 overs to spare after a partnership of 91

CHENNAI: Mitchell Starc bowled a sensational opening spell to fire Kolkata Knight Riders to their third Indian Premier League title with a eight-wicket thrashing of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Sunday final.
Kolkata bowled out Hyderabad for IPL’s lowest total of 113 in a final as Australia’s left-arm quick Starc returned figures of 2-14 to live up to his top billing in the world’s most lucrative T20 tournament.
Starc went to Kolkata for a record $2.98 million in the December auction and ended the IPL with two stellar performances, including a match-winning 3-34 in the first play-off to hammer the same opponent.
Kolkata’s batsmen had it easy and despite Sunil Narine’s early departure, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who made 39, and Venkatesh Iyer, on 52 not out, helped the team home with 9.3 overs to spare after a partnership of 91.
Iyer, a left-handed batsman, reached his 50 in 24 balls and hit the winning runs to trigger celebrations for Kolkata, who remained the most dominant team after they ended top of the table with 20 points in the league phase.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer was unbeaten on six, and at the other end, when Kolkata players came rushing on to the pitch and the stadium fireworks went off.
“My mom is watching from home,” said Afghanistan’s Gurbaz, who left the tournament midway through to be with his ailing mother back home and returned for the play-offs.
“She is feeling good now. I asked mom before the match if she wanted anything. She said just the win,” added the wicket-keeper-batsman.
“This win is for the fans who turned up year after year and waited for ten years,” Venkatesh said on his team’s first title win since 2014.
Kolkata’s co-owner and Bollywood superstar actor Shah Rukh Khan was in attendance and congratulated his champion players after he suffered from a heat-related illness in the first qualifier in Ahmedabad.
It was Kolkata’s second title triumph at the venue, after they won their first trophy in 2012, and a near-capacity crowd at the 36,000-seater stadium cheered on.
Apart from the big signing of Starc, they got Gautam Gambhir as mentor after the former India batsman led the team to two titles.
Hyderabad skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bat first and go with his team’s strength of scoring big, after they racked up IPL record totals of 277 and 287 in this year’s edition.
Hyderabad took Cummins for $2.5 million in the same auction and made him captain after he led Australia to two titles, including the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup last year.
But Starc took the limelight as he struck in his first over when he bowled in-form Indian batsman Abhishek Sharma, for two, on a delivery that pitched in the middle and caught the top of off stump.
Travis Head followed his fellow left-hand opener Abhishek to the dug-out, caught behind for his second duck in three matches off fast bowler Vaibhav Arora.
Starc struck again and the opposition top-order was in disarray at 47-4 inside seven overs.
Andre Russell took down Aiden Markram for 20 and wickets kept tumbling as fellow South African Heinrich Klaasen fell for 16.
Cummins, who was dropped on 10 by Starc, took the team past 100 before falling for 24 off Russell, who ended with figures of 3-19.


Netherlands and Poland denied training on new Hamburg stadium field ahead of Euro 2024 game

Netherlands and Poland denied training on new Hamburg stadium field ahead of Euro 2024 game
Updated 35 sec ago
Follow

Netherlands and Poland denied training on new Hamburg stadium field ahead of Euro 2024 game

Netherlands and Poland denied training on new Hamburg stadium field ahead of Euro 2024 game
“We are not allowed to train here either, because of the bad quality of the pitch,” Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman said
UEFA insisted in a statement the surface “is in good condition and in order to preserve its quality the official (training) will take place at the respective team base camp”

HAMBURG: The newly laid field in the Hamburg stadium was off limits to the Netherlands and Poland on Saturday, one day before their opening game at the European Championship.
A new grass surface was ordered at Volksparkstadion after host club Hamburger completed their home fixtures on May 19 in the Bundesliga second tier.
Four weeks later, UEFA wanted to protect it from the teams’ traditional eve-of-game practice before the stadium hosts its first game at Euro 2024. Hamburg is due to stage five games including one quarterfinal.
“We are not allowed to train here either, because of the bad quality of the pitch,” Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman said at the venue where the teams kick off on Sunday at 3 p.m. local time (1300 GMT).
UEFA insisted in a statement the surface “is in good condition and in order to preserve its quality the official (training) will take place at the respective team base camp.”
Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk suggested the field was similar to the one in Frankfurt where the Oranje lost to Germany 2-1 in a March friendly.
“It’s not very good but both teams have to face it,” said Van Dijk, a couple of hours after Poland captain Piotr Zieliński suggested, “It doesn’t look that bad.”
UEFA seeks to give national teams the best possible playing surfaces at its showpiece tournament and often installs new fields at stadiums and training camps. It has replacements on standby if an entire playing field needs to be relaid during the monthlong tournament.
Switzerland made a formal complaint to UEFA this week about the training camp surface it was given near Stuttgart, though on Saturday it did not seem to have harmed the team’s preparation. The slick Swiss beat Hungary 3-1 in their opening game.

England have earned right to be Euro 2024 favorites: Kane

England have earned right to be Euro 2024 favorites: Kane
Updated 18 min 44 sec ago
Follow

England have earned right to be Euro 2024 favorites: Kane

England have earned right to be Euro 2024 favorites: Kane
  • “Every tournament poses different expectations but we’ve earned the right to be classed as one of the favorites,” Kane said
  • “We’re here to win ultimately and there will be nothing better than to do that for the nation”

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany: England captain Harry Kane said the Three Lions “are here to win” Euro 2024 in Germany as they aim to live up to the tag of pre-tournament favorites in their opening game against Serbia on Sunday.
Under manager Gareth Southgate, England have come close to ending a 58-year drought to win a major tournament on three occasions without getting over the line.
Kane won the Golden Boot as Southgate’s men bowed out to Croatia at the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup and then missed a crucial late penalty in a quarter-final exit to France four years later.
But it was on home soil at the last European Championship that England came closest to glory under Southgate as they lost the final on penalties to Italy at Wembley.
Since then, the development of Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka has helped form a fearsome attacking arsenal alongside Bayern Munich striker Kane.
Between them the quartet scored 114 goals for their club sides this season.
“Every tournament poses different expectations but we’ve earned the right to be classed as one of the favorites,” Kane told a pre-match press conference in Gelsenkirchen.
“We’re here to win ultimately and there will be nothing better than to do that for the nation.
“There’s a lot of top teams and tomorrow night is our focus. We know how tough it was to get to the final last time.
“We’re going to have to do that again and even more if we want to do that again and hopefully one step further.”
Southgate, though, warned his side will have to be “exceptional” to beat Europe’s best.
Germany crushed Scotland 5-1 to open the tournament in style on Friday, while Spain swept aside Croatia 3-0 on Saturday with three first-half goals.
England are expected to cruise through a group also containing Denmark and Slovenia.
But Southgate has stressed the importance of taking one step at a time on what he has speculated could well be his final tournament in charge.
“You’ve seen Germany play the way they did last night, Spain in the first half today. There are a lot of good teams in this tournament. We have to be exceptional to progress through the group and have the opportunity to go further,” said Southgate.
“Our focus is to qualify from the group. When you’re trying to achieve exceptional things you have to break it down into chunks. Our first priority is to get through the group and work from there.”
A heartbreaking defeat to Italy in the final three years ago compounded a damaging night for English football.
Thousands of ticketless fans stormed the turnstiles and disabled entrances of Wembley in ugly scenes that marred the final.
German police have labelled Sunday’s fixture “high risk,” with only reduced-strength beer available to fans at Schalke’s home stadium.
Southgate called on the tens of thousands that will travel from England for the match to enjoy themselves responsibly.
“I expect everyone to enjoy the football,” he added.
“I’ve been fortunate to travel to a lot of football tournaments and they’re great carnivals and great chances to meet people from different parts of the world.
“The whole of Europe can come together and support their team and get behind their team.”


Eriksen keen to look forward after Euro 2020 trauma

Eriksen keen to look forward after Euro 2020 trauma
Updated 46 min 8 sec ago
Follow

Eriksen keen to look forward after Euro 2020 trauma

Eriksen keen to look forward after Euro 2020 trauma
  • He eventually resumed his career after being fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, making his return to international duty nine months later
  • “For me personally, everything more than one game is improvement, but it’s been a goal since the beginning to come back to this level,” Eriksen said

STUTTGART, Germany: Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen said his traumatic collapse in his team’s opening game of Euro 2020 is not a moment he regularly thinks about as he prepares to make his first appearance at the tournament since.
Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest three years ago and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator in front of a stunned Copenhagen crowd during a 1-0 loss to Finland.
He eventually resumed his career after being fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, making his return to international duty nine months later.
The Manchester United midfielder played for Denmark at the 2022 World Cup and is in line to start their Euro 2024 opener against Slovenia in Stuttgart on Sunday.
“For me personally, everything more than one game is improvement, but it’s been a goal since the beginning to come back to this level,” the 32-year-old Eriksen told reporters on Saturday.
“It’s been three years; a lot of things have happened in the meantime and so honestly I don’t think about it on a daily basis.
“It’s not something I overthink. I’m just looking forward to playing football and I think about the positives.”
The shocking incident further united a close group as the Danes reached the semifinals of Euro 2020 before losing 2-1 to England after extra time at Wembley.
Denmark will face England again in Group C this time along with Serbia.
“I think those are great memories and of course it started very negative and very pessimistic but later on everything got more optimistic and we got more free,” said Eriksen, capped 130 times by Denmark.
“But it’s been a lot of years since then and we’re just going to focus on the games now.”
Rasmus Hojlund’s seven goals in qualifying helped Denmark top their section above Slovenia on head-to-head record, but the Manchester United striker has scored only once in his past eight internationals.
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand played down any concerns over the youngster’s lack of recent goals for his country.
“It comes in phases. Sometimes you have this period where you score a lot of goals,” said Hjulmand.
“But thankfully Rasmus always makes a big impression in every game. He’s dangerous and he’s fully motivated but he always makes a difference, which is the most important thing.
“The goals will come and sometimes you’re gonna have to fight more for the goals and other times they’re just gonna go in every time you kick.”
Benjamin Sesko, who earlier this week extended his RB Leipzig contract until 2029, will be the main threat Denmark must try to neutralize.
The highly-rated 21-year-old led Slovenia with five goals in qualifying and finished his first Bundesliga season with 14 goals in 31 games.
“Sesko is very fast and he has a great left foot. It’s a player we know and it’s a player we’ve analyzed a lot because he is significant for Slovenia,” said Hjulmand.
“Sesko is a big star and a young attacker. We are ready for him.”


Spain romp past Croatia in opener as Yamal makes Euros history

Spain romp past Croatia in opener as Yamal makes Euros history
Updated 58 min 39 sec ago
Follow

Spain romp past Croatia in opener as Yamal makes Euros history

Spain romp past Croatia in opener as Yamal makes Euros history
  • The three-time European champions have often been accused of being toothless in attack during recent major tournaments
  • Morata broke the deadlock in the 29th minute with his seventh Euros goal

BERLIN: Spain made a dream start to Euro 2024 as Alvaro Morata scored in a statement 3-0 victory over Croatia in Berlin on Saturday, with Lamine Yamal becoming the youngest player in the competition’s history.
The three-time European champions have often been accused of being toothless in attack during recent major tournaments, but produced an eye-catching display at the Olympiastadion to cut apart a disappointing Croatia.
Morata broke the deadlock in the 29th minute with his seventh Euros goal, moving joint-third on the all-time list alongside Alan Shearer and Antoine Griezmann.
Fabian Ruiz added a second shortly afterwards with a wonderful individual strike.
Yamal made his mark with the assist for Dani Carvajal to effectively kill the game as a contest on the stroke of half-time, while Croatia striker Bruno Petkovic missed a late penalty.
This repeat of last year’s Nations League final, won by Spain on penalties after a 0-0 draw, suggests La Roja are capable of contending for a record-breaking fourth European Championship title.
World Cup semifinalists Croatia, though, have it all to do if they are to reach the knockout phase for a fifth consecutive major tournament, with games against Albania and holders Italy to come in a difficult Group B.
Luka Modric, so often their inspiration, was substituted midway through the second half by coach Zlatko Dalic.
Spain boss Luis de la Fuente named an exciting starting XI, including wingers Nico Williams and Yamal.
The Barcelona starlet, 16 years and 338 days old, beat the previous record for youngest player at a Euros held by Polish international Kacper Kozlowski, who played at Euro 2020 at 17 years and 246 days old.
Croatia enjoyed the vast majority of support from the stands, with their fans holding up one huge banner during their national anthem, reading “When we get going, heaven and earth will burn.”
But Croatia started slowly, as Spain dominated possession in trademark fashion.
Spain also showed their increasing versatility under De la Fuente with their first goal, as one excellent through ball from inside his own half by Ruiz sent Morata clean through and the captain made no mistake with a cool finish past a stranded Dominik Livakovic.
Ruiz put Spain in total control just three minutes later, jinking past two Croatia defenders inside the box before shooting through the legs of Josip Sutalo and into the bottom corner.
Croatia almost pulled one back immediately as the game started to echo the end-to-end nature of the two teams’ thrilling last-16 clash at Euro 2020, won 5-3 by Spain after extra time.
Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon got down quickly to keep out Marcelo Brozovic’s shot and Lovro Majer could only find the side-netting from the rebound.
Croatia continued to create chances, as Josko Gvardiol’s cross-cum-shot narrowly avoided both Ante Budimir in the center and the far post.
But full-back Carvajal, who scored the opening goal in Real Madrid’s Champions League final triumph over Borussia Dortmund earlier this month, put the game to bed in first-half added time.
Yamal collected the ball after a corner was cleared and curled a delicious cross into the middle for Carvajal to stretch and stab home on the volley.
Croatia tried to press forward early in the second period but left spaces for Spain to exploit and Yamal was denied another record for youngest Euros scorer when Livakovic produced a fine save to turn away his low effort.
Marc Cucurella, a controversial selection by De la Fuente at left-back, made a goal-saving block to prevent Josip Stanisic giving Croatia hope.
Substitute Petkovic thought he had pulled one back late on when he tapped in after his penalty was saved by Simon.
But the goal was ruled out by VAR for encroachment by Ivan Perisic as Spain added a clean sheet to an almost perfect outing.


Hungary coach Rossi blasts ‘passive’ flops after Euro defeat to Switzerland

Hungary coach Rossi blasts ‘passive’ flops after Euro defeat to Switzerland
Updated 15 June 2024
Follow

Hungary coach Rossi blasts ‘passive’ flops after Euro defeat to Switzerland

Hungary coach Rossi blasts ‘passive’ flops after Euro defeat to Switzerland
  • Rossi’s side failed to live up to their pre-tournament billing as dark horses with a lacklustre display in Cologne
  • “We had a tactical misunderstanding. We didn’t cope and have time to press them. The first half was very bad. We were too passive,” Rossi said

COLOGNE, Germany: Marco Rossi slammed his Hungary flops after their Euro 2024 campaign started with a dismal 3-1 defeat against Switzerland on Saturday, warning it may be “impossible” to defeat hosts Germany in their next match.
Rossi’s side failed to live up to their pre-tournament billing as dark horses with a lacklustre display in Cologne.
They were rocked by first half strikes from Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer, who both netted their maiden international goals.
Barnabas Varga’s second-half header gave Hungary hope, but Breel Embolo came off the bench to net in stoppage-time in his first international appearance since 2022.
“We had a tactical misunderstanding. We didn’t cope and have time to press them. The first half was very bad. We were too passive,” Rossi said.
“Switzerland are very experienced, with quality players all over the pitch. Against teams at this level, you run the risk of doing bad things. They made the most of our mistakes.”
Taking his share of the blame, as well as lambasting his players, Rossi said: “I’m not looking for guilty people. I’m the coach and need to take my responsibility.
“We had some short-comings in individual performances. There aren’t many strategies to stop individual mistakes.
“It’s hard to say anyone did well apart from two or three performances.”
Hungary’s defeat leaves them three points behind title contenders Germany and second placed Switzerland in Group A.
A loss against Germany on Wednesday would be a hammer blow to Hungary’s hopes of making the last 16, and Rossi admitted he is not confident of upsetting the odds.
“We play Germany in four days. I dare anybody to bet one Hungarian forint on us. As of today that looks impossible,” he said.
“Germany are a different team than the last Euros, they proved it against Scotland. In my opinion they are the biggest favorite of the European Championship.”
Switzerland have only lost one of their last 15 matches in all competitions and a win against Scotland in their next game on Wednesday would send them into the last 16.
There were 22 passes in the build up to Duah’s opener, the third-longest passing sequence leading to a goal at the Euros since 1980.
It was a welcome result for Swiss boss Murat Yakin, who had been under pressure after a rift with his players over tactical issues during the qualifying campaign.
“I trust myself. I have a strong team which is fundamental. We need mutual trust, so it is a satisfaction when we get a result like that. We can reach important goals,” Yakin said.
“We have prepared for three weeks and the players have the right spirit. I have a role in creating this atmosphere.
“I like to play chess. Yesterday I had a victim who lost twice to me. I like to compare football to chess and we got our tactics right.
“We used that formation for a particular reason. We surprised Marco Rossi at the beginning maybe. You have to make the most of our qualities.”
Scotland will be fighting to stay in the tournament when they face the Swiss and Yakin urged his team not to underestimate Steve Clarke’s men.
“It is a completely different game next Wednesday. It will bring more confidence to our game but we have to play better against Scotland,” he said.
“We have a lot to improve. The second half of the match didn’t go very well. We conceded too many chances.”