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Delhi lifts Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in style

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Mumbai :Delhi lifted its maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after trouncing Rajasthan by 41 runs as comeback man Unmukt Chand hit a half-century and bowlers put up a united show in the final, in Kolkata.
Chand, playing his second match of the tournament, produced the timey knock after in-form Rishabh Pant (13) and veteran Gautam Gambhir (27) got out cheaply as Delhi put on board 153 for six.
In reply, Rajasthan were bundled out for 112 in 19.1 overs as their batting crumbled after opener Aditya Garhwal departed for 52 in 36 balls in the 12th over.
Left-arm pacer Sangwan bowled a tidy 2 for 14, while Kulwant Khejoriya (2/24) and Pawan Negi (2/21) also chipped in with two wickets each.
Earlier, openers Gambhir and Pant gave the team brisk start as Rajasthan sorely missed their ace pacer Deepak Chahar who’s missed the final with a hamstring injury.
Gambhir, who had a miserable tournament so far, showed glimpses of his vintage form with four elegant boundaries and a six before being foxed by leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.
Delhi 153 for 6 in 20 overs (Unmukt Chand 53, Gautam Gambhir 27; Khaleel Ahmed 2/23, Rahul Chahar 2/31) beat Rajasthan 112 in 19.1 overs (Aditya Garhwal 52; Pradeep Sangwan 2/14, Pawan Negi 2/21, Kulwant Khejroliya 2/24) by 41 runs.
Veteran Leander Paes and his American partner James Cerretani did not have to move a sinew in reaching the semi-finals of the Newport Beach Challenger even as Vishnu Vardhan and N Sriram Babalji were ousted from the Rennes event in France.
Paes and Cerretani, seeded second, advanced in the $ 150,000 event after receiving a walkover from the local pair of Frances Tiafoe and Michael Mmoh, who encountered a shoulder problem.
They are now up against Marcelo Arevalo and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela, who knocked out Aliaksandr Bury and Hsien-Yin Peng 7-5, 7-5 in their quarter-final.
Meanwhile at the Euro 64,000 USA tournament in France, unseeded Vardhan and Balaji suffered a close 4-6, 4-6 semi-final defeat at the hands of second seeded Sander Arends and Antonio Sancic.
Tiger Woods made a respectable return to the PGA Tour , shooting even-par 72 in the first round at the Farmers Insurance Open.
In his first official start since this time last year, Woods took a while to dust off the rust, but the quality of his shotmaking improved as the round progressed on the South course at Torrey Pines.
He trails American leader Tony Finau by seven strokes and expressed mild satisfaction with his performance, while at the same time adding that there was plenty of room for improvement.
“I still feel the same excitement, the same nerves,” said the 42-year-old, who underwent spinal fusion surgery on his lower back last April. “It was fun to feel the competitive rush again.
“I didn’t hit anything close, didn’t give myself a lot of looks (for) and consequently didn’t have a lot of chances for birdies.”


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Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup

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Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to Indias hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.

Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitalsseven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.

Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.

 

“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.

“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”

Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.

Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.

Named man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.

“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”

Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.

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Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat

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London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.

Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombes late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.

Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.

 

It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.

The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.

With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.

Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.

Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.

Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.

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Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal

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Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.

East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.

However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.

 

“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.

“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.

The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.

East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.

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