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RCB, Royals hope to continue momentum

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Mumbai :RCB are placed fifth and Royals sixth on the points table with two points each, with both teams having won their last games after starting the tournament with defeats.

They had lost their opening games to Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively.

RCB notched up their first victory of the season, riding on South African star AB de Villiers’ brilliant half-century to beat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets.

 

RR celebrated their return to the Sawai Mansingh Stadium with a 10-run win over Delhi Daredevils in the rain-hit match, getting past a revised target of 71 runs in six overs as per the Duckworth-Lewis method.

De Villiers and Quinton de Kock, who scored 45 runs to lay the foundation against Punjab, will aim to continue the good work.

Captain Virat Kohli, who has 52 runs under his belt so far, will be itching to make a mark by getting a big knock.

Brendon McCullum also would like to get into the thick of things, especially after getting a golden duck.

Sarfaraz Khan has been disappointing as he managed to get only six runs in two matches and if he does not pulls his socks up quickly, he could lose his place to England’s Moeen Ali, who can also bowl a bit.

Chris Woakes, though successful with the ball, is yet to make an impression with his bat.

The RCB think-tank, including Gary Kirsten, could give a chance to Corey Anderson, who has the ability to hit long and hard.

Both Umesh Yadav and Chris Woakes, who have picked up 5 wickets each, would be keen to snatch the purple cap from MI’s Mayank Markande, who has bagged 7 seven wickets so far.

Much was expected from the spin duo of Yuzuvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar but they have managed to get only 4 wickets between them.

The in-form New Zealand quickie Tim Southee might get a chance to swing his arms.

RR captain Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson, who staged a recovery with a 45 off 40 balls and 37 off 22 balls, respectively, would like to continue in similar vein.

Rahane has scored 58 runs and Samson 86, with 49 being his highest score.

Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi would want to provide entertainment in the death overs as they did against Delhi.

Buttler had hammered two fours and as many sixes in his entertaining knock before being bowled off a slower-ball from Mohammad Shami.

Big Bash star D’Arcy Short will also look to get going, especially after getting only 10 runs in two games.

RR’s bowling attack comprising pacers Ben Laughlin and Dhawal Kulkarni had done well to keep DD batsmen in check with their variations.

Ben Stokes, the most-expensive signing at the IPL Player Auction 2018, hasn’t been in the best of batting form recently, but RR will hope he can start hitting a few balls out of the park soon. He has just managed 21 runs in two games.


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Salah wants the Muslim world to treat its women better

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London : Salah is joined by fellow Arab and Muslim celebrities such as Rami Malek and Mahershala Ali, as well as Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
Mo Salah is a titan, there’s no denying that. The Liverpool forward has been named as one of Time magazine’s most influential people for 2019 and rightly so. Salah has had one hell of a year. He was named African Footballer of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and was also named English football’s Player of the Year in 2017-2018 along with a whole host of other accolades.
He was listed within the “Titans” section of the list — which includes a record 48 women — and was championed by British comedian and US TV host John Oliver.
Salah however didn’t make waves for being a part of the illustrious 100 but for his statements championing women rights.
“We need to change the way we treat women in our culture,” he told Time.
“That has to be, it’s not optional.”
He added: “I support the woman more than I did before, because I feel like she deserves more than what they give her now at the moment.”
Oliver, a Liverpool fan, wrote an article on Salah for the magazine: “Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously.”

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Kerala Blasters rope in young goalkeeper Lovepreet Singh

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Mumbai : India Super League side Kerala Blasters have roped in young goalkeeper Lovepreet Singh on a free transfer from Indian Arrows with effect from June 1, 2019.
Lovepreet Singh was picked up by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) from the Rurka Kalan Grounds in Punjab during a scouting programme in May 2018 by the National Association. Lovepreet Singh, who was outside of the age bracket, was not eligible for the trials, but he stuck around the trial premises to ultimately be spotted by the scouts and was given a chance.
At 195-cm tall, only Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who is 198-cm tall, has a height advantage over Lovepreet in the entire country as far as Indian Football’s top tier is concerned. He impressed Floyd Pinto in Goa and was given an Arrows contract prior to the I-League 2018-19.
He featured in a single game in the recently concluded I-League against Real Kashmir where he conceded twice as the game ended 2-2.
Lovepreet Singh is an exciting prospect for the Blasters and is one for the future. With his height and physique, Singh surely does have the goods to make it to the big stage as a goal-keeper.
“I’m very excited to join Kerala Blasters. Have heard a lot about the ever-supporting fans in Kerala. I’m looking forward to playing in front of them”, says the very energetic, young member of the team, Lovepreet Singh.
“Lovepreet is a rare find for an Indian goalkeeper, not only is he technically gifted but he also possesses great physical attributes! With Kerala Blasters success of promoting and improving young players, next season should be very exciting”, says Rory Grand, Head Goalkeeping coach, Kerala Blasters FC.
Kerala Blasters now have four goalkeepers in their side with the likes of Dheeraj Singh, Lalthuammawia Ralte and Bilal Khan on the roster alongside Lovepreet Singh. They loaned out Naveen Kumar to FC Goa in 2018 and is unlikely to return.
Kerala Blasters now have a number of Arrows players in their side. Jeakson Singh, Rahul KP, Nongdamba Naorem and Mohammad Rakip feature in the list along with the mentioned goalkeepers in Dheeraj and Lovepreet.
With more and more clubs coming to the fore courtesy the Parallel League action, it is indeed a sensible decision to have a young and lanky goalkeeper in the squad who can provide backup in case of shortage of shot-stoppers in the near future.
However, it needs to be seen whether Blasters do give him ISL game time or demote him to their reserve side for Kerala Premier League and I-League 2nd Division games.

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Super Cup may return as season opener this year

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New Delhi: The recently concluded Super Cup in Bhubaneswar was hardly a super show in the absence of seven I-League teams, but the tournament may return as the season opener (2019-2020) in September-October this year. In the general council meeting of the Indian Super League (ISL) last month, the franchises have been handed out the calendar for the next two seasons indicating Super Cup as the opening tournament.
No I-League club is officially aware of the development. Introduced in 2018, the Super Cup is India’s only knock-out tournament which is played as the season closer involving both I-League clubs and ISL franchises. The format of the tournament is strictly based on the final standings of the two leagues. When contacted, a senior All India Football Federation (AIFF) official said: “They (ISL) have only chalked out a provisional calendar. There is no reason to take it as the final roster.”
I-League clubs have called the Super Cup a meaningless affair which does not offer any prize money. The winners of Super Cup are also not given a berth in the Asian tournaments. The two spots in the AFC Cup and the Asian Champions League are reserved for the winners of ISL and I-League, respectively.

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