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Mandhana’s half-century in vain as New Zealand beat India in 1st T20

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Wellington: Smriti Mandhana remained an unstoppable juggernaut with a record-smashing half-century but the Indian women’s cricket team failed to make it count, going down by 23 runs in the opening T20 International against New Zealand.

Mandhana held the record for the fastest fifty by an Indian before the match and she bettered it by a ball during her 58-run knock at the WestPac Stadium. The 22-year-old faced 34 balls in all but reached the 50-mark off 24 deliveries.

However, New Zealand pacer Lea Tahuhu played a decisive role with three scalps off her four overs to derail India’s pursuit of a 160-run target which was going smoothly till the time Mandhana was at the crease. India eventually folded for 136 in 19.1 overs.

 

Leg-spinner Amelia Kerr (2/28) clinched the crucial wickets of Mandhana and Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur to wreck the visitors’ chances. Off-spinner Leigh Kasperek also picked up a couple of wickets.

“Obviously we didn’t get the start we wanted but it was pretty good to come back and win. It’s just about keeping calm,” said Tahuhu, who was adjudged Player of the Match for her performance.

Harmanpreet, on the other hand, blamed India’s loss on a poor batting effort, especially in the last 10 overs.

“I think bowlers did really well as we expected. We didn’t bat well in the last 10 overs. That is only area where we are always struggling,” she pointed out.

Veteran Mithali Raj, who captains the Indian ODI side, was dropped from the match.

“We are looking to give chance to young girls, that is the only reason,” said Harmanpreet, when asked about Mithali’s absence from the line-up and whether her experience would have come handy here.

The next game of the series is scheduled to be held in Auckland on Friday.

Mandhana and Jemiamah Rodrigues (39 off 33 balls) combined for a 102-run second-wicket stand that should have been a solid foundation for the rest of the line-up.

But India collapsed in the face of an inspired performance by Lahuhu.

From 101/1, the visiting team was down to 117/6 in a matter of five overs that turned the match on its head.

Harmanpreet (17 off 15 balls) played out a small cameo, including a massive six off Kerr, but couldn’t steer the team home, failing to find any support at the other end.

Mandhana was her usual aggressive self and played another strokeful knock, studded with seven hits to the fence and three sixes. The 22-year-old is enjoying a stellar run of form and was recently adjudged the ICC’s woman cricketer of the year.


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Rasikh Salam banned for two years for submitting faulty birth certificate

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Mumbai Indians and Jammu and Kashmir pacer Rasikh Salam has been handed a two-year ban by the BCCI after he was found to have submitted a faulty birth certificate to the board.

Subsequently, he has been removed from the under-19 squad that will travel to England to play in a tri-series and has been replaced by Prabhat Maurya.

Salam, a pacer from J&K, made news when he debuted for Mumbai Indians in this Indian Premier League. He was the third player from Jammu & Kashmir to get an IPL contract – after Parvez Rasool and Manzoor Dar – and only the second after Rasool to get into the playing XI. He hails from Ashmuji village in southern part of Kashmir, which is often said to be affected by curfew and power cuts. Mumbai Indians picked him for his base price of INR 20 lakh.

 

Earlier this week, IANS had reported that Salam could be in trouble for age fraud after the Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education informed JKCA that the age Salam gave the board doesn’t match the records they posses.

JKCA and the BCCI soon got involved in the matter and a two year ban was deemed appropriate.

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Dhoni could be ‘exposed’ by Yuvraj’s dad after World Cup

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Mumbai: Father of recently retired former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, Yograj has struck again, and all the signs point toward former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

While the cricketer is busy preparing for India’s next clash against Pakistan on Sunday after rain played spoilsport on the much-hyped India-New Zealand clash, a recent video of Yograj has surfaced where he speaks about an ‘un-named’ player who is responsible for the ‘dirty politics’ in the Indian cricket team.

Yograj further goes on to state that this player is the reason that many players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, and his own son Yuvraj Singh were not included in the Indian team at crucial points in time.

 

While Yograj didn’t reveal much about the player he talks about, he did mention that he’d make the complete revelations after the currently ongoing 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Based on earlier allegations by Yograj, who was also a former pace bowler, towards then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, It seems pretty evident that he is speaking of ‘Captain Cool’.

“I don’t want to take his name but he has been playing these dirty politics from the last 15 years. He has made lives difficult for Indian cricketers. I will make this revelation after the World Cup gets over. He will remember this for life that someone said something about him,” said Yograj.

“I don’t want to speak about him at this point in time because I don’t want the team to get affected during the World Cup,” he added.

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FIFA Rankings: India unmoved at 101

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London: The Indian national team remain unmoved in the June 2019 edition of the FIFA Rankings released.

Following India’s exit from the 2019 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup, India have had a change in coach with Igor Stimac replacing Stephen Constantine.

Under Stimac, India recently participated in the King’s Cup 2019 in Thailand where a 3-1 defeat against Curacao (79) was backed by a 1-0 win over hosts Thailand (116) in the third-place play-off.

 

GFX India FIFA Rankings June 2019

The Blue Tigers are set to face Tajikistan (120), DPR Korea (122) and Syria (85) in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2019 next. India enter the tournament as defending champions.

Meanwhile, in the global standings, Belgium continue to lead at the top having bettered their advantage over second-placed France who also stay put in their position, the same as Brazil and England at third and fourth spots respectively.

2019 UEFA Nations League champions Portugal have displaced Croatia to stand fifth while Spain (7) has gained two places. Germany (11 – tied with Argentina), Italy and Netherlands (both at 14) have also moved two places up.

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