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England bury the ghost of penalty shootout with win over Colombia .

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Moscow: As captain Harry Kane walked away from the celebrating England fans after his team’s heart-stopping World Cup penalty shootout win over Colombia on Tuesday he looked so relaxed he could have been strolling to the corner shop for a bottle of milk.
Then it all dawned on him. Kane’s face broke, his eyes closed shut in total relief and he looked to the heavens, mouthing his gratitude for the end of his team’s horrendous run of defeats in major tournament shootouts.
The skipper and his teammates had kept their cool when it mattered most – for 120 minutes of a tense and tetchy game played at a Spartak Stadium which resembled Bogota, given the dominance of Colombia’s passionate supporters.
England, none more so than Kane who had put them in the lead from the penalty spot in the 57th minute, held their nerve at the decisive turning-points in an intense match, showing an unexpected maturity for the youngest team left in the tournament.
They avoided losing their heads during moments of provocation from the Colombians and periods when American referee Mark Geiger lost control of the game. Crucially, they were able to stand up and fight on after the punch in the gut that came with Yerry Mina’s stoppage-time equalizer.
And then, facing the shootout test that has proved too much for England teams for so long, they kept their emotions in check, put history out of mind and focused on the task in hand.
The history weighed heavily — England had the worst senior shootout record in world football, losing on penalties in World Cups in 1990, 1998 and 2006, and at the European Championship in 1996, 2004 and 2012. All that had to be banished from their minds.
Kane was handed the task of opening the trial for Gareth Southgate’s side and he unflappably passed the test.
Marcus Rashford also converted his penalty and after Jordan Henderson’s effort was saved, the Tottenham Hotspur pair of Kieran Trippier and Eric Dier stepped up to beat David Ospina while Colombia’s final two penalty-takers fluffed their lines.
Victory secured, the calmness vanished immediately.


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Chahal registers best ODI bowling figures by a spinner Down Under

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Mumbai :Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal on Friday recorded the best bowling figures by a spinner in an ODI clash in Australia, during the series-decider against the Aussies in Melbourne.

Chahal picked six wickets while conceding just 42 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), registering a dominant performance against the hosts, in a crucial clash. He also became the first spinner to pick six wickets in an ODI in Australia.

The bowler’s excellent performance certainly played a key role in India restricting Australia to a total of just 230.

 

The 28-year-old cricketer further equalled the best-ever ODI figures registered by any bowler in an ODI clash in Australia, alongside former Indian fast-bowler Ajit Agarkar.

Agarkar had accumulated the same tally as recorded by Chahal, against the hosts at the same venue, back in 2004.

Australian paceman Mitchell Starc enjoys a bowling tally, which trails the figures registered by the duo by a single run, having picked six wickets for 43 runs against India at the MCG, back in 2015.

English fast-bowler Chris Woakes is the fourth name on the list, after accumulating figures of 6/45 against Australia in Brisbane, 2011.

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Phogat becomes first Indian nominated for Laureus Awards

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Mumbai: Ace Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat has become the first Indian to receive a nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Monica on 18 February.

The 24-year-old Indian, who made a sensational comeback after battling a long injury lay-off to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games in 2018, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

The Haryana wrestler, who was stretchered off after dislocating her knee during the quarterfinals of 50kg freestyle event at the 2016 Olympic Games, has been nominated alongside US Tour Championship winner Tiger Woods, who won his first tournament in five years.

 

Also nominated are four inspirational Winter Olympic athletes; Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, US ski racing legend Lindsey Vonn and Dutch Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee.

The last time an Indian sporting feat made its way to the Laureus World Sports Awards was in 2004 when the Indian cricket team and Pakistan cricket team shared the Laureus Sport for Good Award for playing an International match despite political tensions between the two countries.

Most recently, Magic Bus from India won the Laureus Sport for Good award in 2014. However, Vinesh makes history as the first Indian athlete to be nominated in one of the seven main categories at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

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All foreign stars will play PSL ties in Pakistan, says Mani

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LAHORE: All star cricketers will come to Pakistan to play in the eight matches of the fourth Pakistan Super League (PSL) scheduled for Karachi and Lahore, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ehsan Mani said.

The PSL matches will be staged from Feb 14 to March 17 at three venues — Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi — in the United Arab Emirates before the remaining fixtures move to Pakistan with Karachi staging five games, including the final, and Lahore three.

Talking to media on sidelines of a friendly cricket match between the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) and the UK-based Pakistani journalists at the Gaddafi Stadium, Mani said a good number of star cricketers had signed up in the six PSL franchises.

 

However, because of security concerns, prominent overseas players have been reluctant to travel to Pakistan. But with the passage of time, the number of prominent cricketers willing to visit Pakistan has risen. In the recent development the ex-South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers has already pledged to play two matches of Lahore Qalandars in Lahore on March 9 and 10.

To a query, Mani said the talks with Cricket Australia are still on to convince them to send their national side to Pakistan for two games of the five-match One-day International series in the UAE in March despite reports of Australia’s expressing their reluctance regarding playing here.

The PCB chief declared that he has persuaded CA to send a security delegation to assess the current situation in Pakistan before taking a final decision, which is expected to be taken before the PSL begins in the second week of February.

Mani further said that talks were on with the cricket boards of South Africa and England to send different age-group teams to Pakistan.

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