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New Zealand whitewash Pakistan 5-0 in ODI series

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Wellington :New Zealand inflicted a rare 5-0 one-day international series whitewash over Pakistan on Friday with a 15-run win at Wellington’s Basin Reserve.

A century to Martin Guptill helped the Black Caps set a 272 total that proved too much for Pakistan after Matt Henry tore through their top order.

Pakistan were all out for 256 with one over remaining.

 

It is only the third time Pakistan have been on the wrong end of a 5-0 ODI clean sweep after they succumbed by the same margin to Australia in 2010 and the West Indies in 1988.

New Zealand have won by a 5-0 margin only once before, when they hosted the West Indies in 2000.

The result extends New Zealand’s winning streak in all forms of the game to 12 matches, a record for the team, and means they are undefeated at home since March last year.

Pakistan captain said his side, particularly the batsmen, had failed to take their chances.

“The main thing is the batting has not clicked throughout the whole series, that’s why we lost,” he said.

“The bowling unit was very good sometimes. We had opportunities but we didn’t grab them.”

The target should have been achievable, given the short boundaries at the Basin Reserve, but speedster Matt Henry ensured Pakistan made a disastrous start.

Called up to give Trent Boult a break, Henry made the most of his opportunity to take three wickets in three overs and skittle the tourists’ top order.

He ended with figures of four for 53, while spinner Mitchell Santner took three for 40.

Pakistan slumped to 57 for five before Haris Sohail and Shadab Khan combined for a 105-run partnership that steadied the innings.

It ended when Sohail tried to loft the ball over the fence but misread Santner’s slower delivery and instead offered Henry a straightforward catch.

His departure on 63, with Shadab following soon after on 54, seemingly ended Pakistan’s faint hopes of victory.

But the tail wagged as Faheem Ashraf (23), Aamer Yamin (32) and Mohammad Nawaz (23) all made late cameos that left the tourists on nine for 249 and needing 23 off the final two overs.

The lack of wickets ultimately proved costly when Rumman Raees was dismissed with six balls remaining.

Earlier, Guptill scored his 13th ODI century, combining with Colin Munro to give the hosts a flying start before Rumman Raees helped spark a mini-collapse, taking three for 67.

Munro racked up 34 from 24 balls before edging Rumman to Mohammad Nawaz.

While Munro’s departure slowed the run rate, Guptill was content to steadily accumulate.

He lost a life on 72 when he slipped over mid-wicket and Faheem Ashraf missed the stumps as the batsman scrambled back to the crease on his hands and knees.

It gave his innings greater urgency and he brought up his century off 125 balls, including 10 fours and a six.

After a frustrating morning, Pakistan`s attack enjoyed some late success when they took four wickets for 12 runs.

Guptill was dismissed soon after he reached triple figures and Faheem clean-bowled Ross Taylor to end a threatening knock on 59.


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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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