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New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st ODI

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Black Caps beat the Champions Trophy holders by 61 runs

Wellington: New Zealand ended Pakistan’s run of nine consecutive wins in one-day internationals when they beat the Champions Trophy holders by 61 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis system today to open the five-match series.

Captain Kane Williamson made 115 to lead New Zealand to 315-7 as they batted first after losing the toss. Pakistan were 166-6 after 30.1 overs when rain brought the match to an early end.

 

Opener Fakhar Zaman was 82 not out and Faheem Ashraf 17 was not out but Pakistan were well short of the 227 runs it needed to win the match under the Duckworth-Lewis system when rain finally set in.

New Zealand swing bowler Tim Southee captured two wickets in the first over of the Pakistan innings to place the tourists under immediate pressure in reply.

Southee trapped both Azhar Ali (6) and Babar Azam (0) lbw within his opening over, then took a catch from Trent Boult’s bowling to dismiss Mohammad Hafeez (1) to leave Pakistan’s innings in disarray at 13-3.

Fakhar batted superbly to recover the innings, reaching his half-century from 63 balls and putting on 78 for the sixth wicket with Shadab Khan. But Pakistan never approached the run-rate they needed to win the match whether or not rain intervened.

New Zealand were on top from the start as Williamson, currently the No. 4-ranked batsman in ODI cricket, reached his 10th ODI century from 106 balls to lead his team to a record total at the Basin Reserve.

Opener Colin Munro also enhanced his reputation as one of the world’s leading ODI batsmen, giving the New Zealand innings a sound foundation with is fifth ODI half-century.

Munro, the top-ranked batsmen in Twenty20 internationals, hit 58 from 35 balls to give the hosts a rapid beginning in conditions in which scoring generally required careful application.

“Obviously, we’ve been playing a lot of cricket recently against the West Indies and it was a different competition against Pakistan,” Williamson said.

“The way we batted with Colin and Martin (Guptill) at the top of the order set the tone coming into a new series and getting past the 300 mark on that surface was an above-par effort.”

Despite being covered during two days of rain – the reason Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed chose to bowl on winning the toss – the pitch at the Basin Reserve was hard and provided good pace and carry, even a little seam movement.

Undeterred by those conditions, Munro reached his 50 off just 33 balls with five fours and two sixes.

He went to his half-century with a six from the bowling of Hasan Ali and added one more boundary before he was out to end an 83-run opening partnership with Martin Guptill (48).

Williamson then added 73 with Guptill for the second wicket and 90 with Henry Nicholls for the fifth before finally falling in the 48th over. Nicholls again played a strong hand near the end, hitting 50 from 53 balls.

The Pakistan seamers, who found a little assistance from the pitch, used shorter balls and slower deliveries to try and limit the scoring options of the New Zealand batsmen.

Munro was the only batsman who was able to launch an all-out attack on the bowlers and Williamson notably achieved his century by quiet accumulation. His innings contained only eight fours and one six and, in total, New Zealand hit only 25 fours and five sixes.

Hasan Ali, ranked the best bowler in the world in ODIs, was again Pakistan’s best on Saturday, taking 3-61.

“Obviously it was very tough conditions for us,” Sarfraz said of the wet, windy and cold weather. “Credit to the New Zealand batsmen, they batted very well.

“Hopefully we will sit together, talk about it and do better in the next match.”


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UEFA probe Ronaldo for ‘improper conduct’ over goal celebration

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London : UEFA opened an investigation into Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration after scoring a hat-trick in Juventus’ Champions League comeback win against Atletico Madrid last week.
European football’s governing body said Ronaldo was facing charges of “improper conduct” after he mimicked Diego Simeone’s crotch-grabbing gesture in last Tuesday’s 3-0 win that sent Juventus through 3-2 on aggregate.
After scoring the decisive penalty four minutes from time, Ronaldo turned towards the Atletico fans and replicated Simeone’s gesture after the Spaniards’ 2-0 first leg win by grasping his genitals and thrusting out his groin.
A decision will be taken by UEFA on March 21.
Juventus take on Dutch club Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals over two legs, on April 10 in Amsterdam and April 16 in Turin.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he is confident Ronaldo will not be fined or suspended.
“I think everyone celebrated their own way on the field and in the stands.
I saw nothing strange, just a celebration. There won’t be a ban,” said Allegri.
Simeone was fined 20,000 euros ($22,000) by UEFA for his gesture.
“He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character,” said the Argentinian coach.
Five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo is the record goal scorer in the European competition with 124 goals in 160 matches.

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Sachin echoes Virat Kohli’s workload views

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New Delhi: There cannot be a uniform structure for workload management during the Indian Premier League as each and every player will have different set of requirements, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar said .
There have been a lot of discussions about how the World Cup-bound players need to effectively manage their workload during a demanding tournament like the IPL, and the maestro has his own take on it.
“Preparation before the World Cup is different for each player and so their workload management will also be different,” Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar agreed with skipper Virat Kohli who recently said that it is up to the players to realise the kind of load they are taking as well as the form they are in. “To me, momentum is important. Every individual should be smart enough to assess if he needs to take a break or he needs to play games to stay in the thick of things. So the responsibility is on the individual to take a call,” said the world’s highest run-getter in Tests and One-day Internationals.
He then gave an example of how workload management will be different for different players. “As a pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s workload will be very different from a pure batsman like Virat Kohli and a wicket-keeper batsman like Mahendra Singh Dhoni. All these players have a lot of experience and they will certainly make the right call,” said Tendulkar, who is a mentor with IPL’s most popular franchise Mumbai Indians.
Tendulkar echoed what Kohli had said a couple of days earlier during a media interaction in Bengaluru. “If I’m able to play 10, 12 or 15 games, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of games and I need to be smart about that and rest,” the Indian skipper had said.
“Someone else’s body might be more capable than mine or less, that is a very individual thing. And everyone wants to play the World Cup, so people will be smart about it because you don’t want to miss out on such a big event.”
Kohli had said that it is up to individual players to deal with the issue to keep their body fit and be in contention for a place in the World Cup-bound squad. “From a responsibility point of view, all the Indian players will have the responsibility during the IPL to keep a watch on their fitness and their workloads,” he said.
“And to continue the frame of mind we have created in the Indian team – strive towards excellence and improve every day. Each player will take this tournament as an opportunity to go to the World Cup in a good frame of mind,” he said.

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Kerala Blasters sign Rahul KP

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Mumbai : Kerala Blasters have wrapped up a deal to bring Indian Arrows forward Rahul Kannoly Praveen on board for the 2019-20 season, Goal has learnt.
The 19-year-old forward has become the fifth former India U-17 player to be roped in by Blasters after Dheeraj Singh, Mohammad Rakip, Nongdamba Naorem and Jeakson Singh.
Thrissur-born Rahul featured for Luis Norton de Matos’ Indian team in the U-17 World Cup held in India. He continued his development with AIFF’s Indian Arrows in the I-League and impressed in patches last season, scoring two goals in 17 appearances.
He has stepped up his game at Arrows this season under Floyd Pinto and contributed greatly to the team’s eighth-placed finish under the Indian head coach. He has three goals to his name this season.
Blessed with pace and dazzling feet, Rahul is good at taking on his opponent from wide areas and also has an eye for a pass. He was impressive against Gokulam Kerala and scored a terrific volley in the I-League match at Kozhikode earlier this season. He also featured in the Super Cup qualifier against Kerala Blasters as Indian Arrows won 2-0.
In what seems like a much-needed move after a disapponting season in the ISL, Kerala Blasters, under the new leadership of CEO Viren D’Silva, are off to a good start off the field and have added a promising local talent to the squad.

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