(EDs: Adding Virat Kohlis name in intro) Colombo, July 20 (PTI) Whether its Shikhar Dhawan or Abhinav Mukund, whoever opens alongside KL Rahul in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle should treat this as an opportunity rather than feel the pressure to perform, India skipper Virat Kohli said today. The skipper termed regular Test opener Murali Vijays wrist injury as “unfortunate” but also praised his players being honest about their fitness status. “Every player comes to the team wanting to perform. Injuries are unfortunate part of sport. Vijay was back from rehab and played a game and told selectors he was not match fit. That is the kind of culture being created. People are honest,” Kohli said during his arrival media conference. “Abhinav (Mukund) is there, he has played lot of domestic cricket. Shikhar got a hundred here last time and then he had to miss couple of games. “(Cheteshwar) Pujara opened in the last Test (in Dharamsala). So guys are looking these scenarios as opportunities rather than getting under pressure. I am sure they are going to be up for it,” said Kohli admitting that the team will have to make a mental change from white ball to red ball cricket. Sri Lanka performed shoddily against Zimbabwe in the recently concluded series where they even lost the ODI rubber. But Kohli insisted that they are not taking Sri Lanka lightly. “Not at all. I remember we came here two years back after tour of Australia, we were six or seven in the rankings. That particular series in Sri Lanka gave us belief. It taught us to come together as a team. Everyone in the team knows this is where it all started after losing the first Test in Galle. It was a dent for us. “The way we came together in the last tour is iconic for us,” said Kohli referring to the 2-1 win in the 2015 Test series, which was his first as full-time captain. Sri Lanka are a team in transition but Kohli expects them to put up more than a fight. “We know we have to work very hard. You have to respect the game. You have to be professional,” said Kohli when asked what it takes to be the number one Test side. Sri Lanka senior spinner Rangana Herath took 15 wickets in the last series two years with seven of them coming in the victorious Galle Test. “He is such a good bowler. If you dont find a solution to tackle him, then he will do what he did at Galle. You have to stay a step ahead of the opposition and find ways to counter it. If mistakes happen consistently and then you are not improving as a side,” Kohli stated. Ravi Shastri insisted that his team will play fearless cricket but is that simple, Kohli quipped: “Yes it is.” “All you need is that players are in the frame of mind so that they can be at their best. After you take the field, you are expected to take over and adapt to situations. That is something have been doing well in the past few years.” PTI BS KHS ATKadvertisement
Former international athlete Anil Sharma, 43, who has won several medals for the country, is battling for his life in a city hospital after a group of seven to eight men thrashed him with bricks and rods in Central Delhi’s Paharganj area on Friday evening.Sharma participated in several power lifting championships under physically challenged category in the 1990s.The incident took place when Sharma, along with two friends, went to Hotel Heritage Inn in Paharganj area. After coming out of the hotel, the three sat down in their car for a conversation. A while later, Sharma received a phone call and got out of the car to talk.Chandra Mohan, the eye-witness of the incident, told Mail Today: “I saw a group of men approach Sharma who was sitting on a scooter and talking on phone. They had a heated argument and the men started beating him up. They attacked him with bricks and rods. One of them threw a brick towards us. It hit me on my head and I became unconscious. The other friend managed to escape.”A call was made to the police control room and the duo was rushed to RML hospital.FACE SMASHED, EYE DAMAGED, NOSE BROKENWhile Mohan was discharged after medical aid, Sharma’s family transferred him to BL Kapoor hospital. Sharma’s face was smashed, leaving a damaged eye and broken nose.The impact of the attack was so severe that the doctors had to remove his kidney, pancreas and part of the intestine. He is currently admitted in the ICU at BL Kapoor hospital and is in critical condition.advertisement”A major surgery was conducted at BL Kapoor hospital, in which one kidney, which was smashed with a brick, had to be removed. The impact of the attack was such that the pancreas also got damaged. His nose and one eye also got damaged,” said Pooja, Sharma’s wife.Mohan, a businessman, identified one of the accused as Sharma’s friend, Ashu. He also claimed that Ashu has a criminal background and had served punishment in Tihar Jail too.Sharma, who owns a food joint near Hanuman Mandir in Connaught Place, had represented India in an international power lifting championship in the 90s and even won a gold medal. He later left the sport and joined the family business. He has three children, including two daughters.A case has been registered at the Paharganj police station and the investigation is underway. The police said the accused are yet to be nabbed, and added that the CCTV footage from the area is being looked at for clues.ALSO READDelhi: Father-son killed for spat over air cooler Delhi Police constable suspended for masturbating in front of female colleague, touching 2 others inappropriately
The BCCI has awarded three Test matches of the November-December home series against Sri Lanka to Kolkata, Nagpur and Delhi while the newly-constructed stadium in Barasapara, Guwahati was awarded a marquee T20 International against Australia in October.The decisions were taken at the Board’s tours and fixtures committee meeting here.It will be a big home season for the Indian team as it will play 23 international matches across three series starting end of September and concluding at the end of December.The season starts mid September with five ODIs against Australia slated to be played at Chennai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Indore and Kolkata.The three T20 Internationals against the Aussies will be held in Hyderabad, Ranchi and Guwahati.The series against New Zealand will commence mid October and the three ODIs will be held in Pune, Mumbai and Kanpur followed by three T20 Internationals at Delhi, Cuttack and Rajkot.The final stretch of the international season at home will commence from middle of November with Kolkata hosting the first Test against Sri Lanka.The second Test is scheduled in Nagpur, which will be making a comeback after ICC suspension for poor pitch. The final Test will be held in Delhi.The three ODIs against Sri Lanka will be held in Dharamsala, Mohali and Vizag.The three T20 Internationals will be held in Kochi or the newly-accredited Thiruvanantpuram, Indore and Mumbai.Australia Series5 ODIs: Chennai, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Indore, Kolkata3 T20Is: Hyderabad, Ranchi, Guwahati Barsapara)Sri Lanka Series3 Tests: Kolkata, Nagpur and Delhiadvertisement3 ODIs: Dharamsala, Mohali, Vizag3 T20Is: Kochi/Thiruvanantpuram, Indore, Mumbai
By Chetan Narula Kandy, Aug 11 (PTI) Missing the services of premier spinner Ravindra Jadeja due to a suspension, Indian captain Virat Kohli today urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to be more consistent in implementing rules pertaining to the players code of conduct. “I think players have to be much more aware going ahead and just hoping that the guidelines are very similar from now on. Because it shouldnt vary according to how the situation is looked at,” Kohli said in the pre-match press conference ahead of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka here. “So if it is consistent then I think it is going to be a good going ahead because players will obviously be more aware of how they need to conduct themselves on the field. It will only help the game get better,” he added. Worlds No.1 Test bowler and all-rounder Jadeja was handed a one-match suspension for logging six demerit points in the last 24 months. His offences ranged from running on the pitch to throwing the ball dangerously at an opponent. As a result, he would be missing the third and final against Sri Lanka staring here tomorrow. Speaking on the suspension, Kohli said players should understand the ICCs rules but the governing body should show greater consistency while making such vital decisions. Kohli said with clarity on the rules, the players would be less prone to violating them. “Firstly we need to be very clear on what are the things that fall into it and what are the things that a player needs to keep in his mind while being on the field. Lot of things happen on the field, which in the thick of things or heat of the moment you end up doing,” he explained. “But you dont know whats going to cause you one or two or three points. So I think the intent counts nowadays and thats something that players need to keep in mind. It might be a very small thing but if the intent is to do something bad then obviously that is something that counts against the player,” said Kohli. The series has been pocketed but Kohli ruled out making wholesale changes to the side in the inconsequential match. India won the first two Tests in Galle and Colombo comfortably and now have a chance to score a rare 3-0 overseas victory. And perhaps keen on clinching a clean-sweep, Kohli said he would like to maintain continuity. “To play consistent cricket, you need to make sure that players are playing on a regular basis. Those who are preforming and those who are doing well should continue in more games than not and to be a consistent side I think we need to have continuity as well unless the situations where things are not controllable arise,” Kohli said in a pre-match press conference. “So we certainly dont want to take anything lightly. We want to play the same kind of cricket that we have and hopefully retain the team that played the last game as much as we can. We are certainly not thinking of too many changes at all, especially in this format, because you dont want to start taking things for granted and lose that momentum,” he added. Kohli rejected suggestions that this could demoralise players, who have not yet got a chance to play. “Managing players who dont get a chance is also a skill. It is not easy because everyone wants to play and luckily we have such players who are just waiting for opportunities. We dont have players who are happy to sit out,” Kohli said. “In a team environment everyone knows that only 11 players can play. So in professional sport they understand this aspect. They are intelligent so you dont get too many of such questions. They understand the dynamics of the team and they make our job easier because their attitude is so good,” he added. The teams pre-match practice session today was washed out. Even so, the skipper wasnt too bothered about the playing combination or even how the pitch conditions might have changed in the build-up to the game. The green square was mowed twice today revealing a flatter deck for the Test than anticipated. “…it just happened to rain but the day before that we had a good practice. Also in places like Sri Lanka it is very hot and humid. People sometimes end up doing too much at practice and then maybe you dont recover for a game. “It might just be a good thing for those who needed more rest especially the bowlers who have massive workload during test matches. For us its more of a positive thing than a hindrance that we didnt have practice a day before the game because we are in a good zone,” said Kohli. On the pitch, which he has not yet seen, Kohli said it wasnt much of a concern. “Its quite a different situation (not looking at pitch a day before the match) but the management has gone to the stadium to have a look. We heard there were some changes to the pitch so they have gone to check how things look at this stage, so we will have more clarity on what we need to go in with,” he said. When asked about the chance to take the series 3-0, the skipper replied, “For us it is about playing another Test match and trying to win another match. We have already won the series but it doesnt mean that we can afford to be complacent. “I personally feel that it (thinking about 3-0) is just a distraction that causes people to be over-excited and that causes people to look too far ahead what might be the outcome of this particular game.” In the light of Jadejas suspension, left-arm spinner Axar Patel was added to the Indian squad. However, Kuldeep Yadav is expected to take Jadejas place in the playing eleven ahead of Patel. “He (Kuldeep) believes in his own ability and believes in deceiving the batsmen with the skill that he has. I think thats his biggest quality. He has proven himself in Dharamsala, which was not such a spin-friendly wicket and it was quite flat in the first 2-3 days of the Test match,” he added. “A chinaman bowler is always something which is an x- factor in a team and I would say his confidence is his USP. He has a great chance of playing tomorrow and I wish him all the best,” he added. PTI CN PM PMadvertisementadvertisement
Juan Martin del Potro and Nick Kyrgios took positive steps in their U.S. Open preparation by ousting seeded opponents to reach the second round of the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday.Former U.S. Open champion del Potro beat 10th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 3-6 7-6(1) 6-0, while Kyrgios opened with a 6-2 6-3 dismissal of ninth seed David Goffin of Belgium in the Cincinnati heat.Earlier in the day, sixth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic announced his withdrawal from the tournament due to a lingering left wrist injury.The talented non-seeded winners, who have both battled injuries this season, excelled on serve.Del Potro powered in 17 aces in overcoming Berdych after a listless opening set.
chief(Eds: Cong reax, CBFC chief, Raj BJP chief comments)Jaipur/Bengaluru, Nov 15 (PTI) Rajasthan minister Kiran Maheshwari today joined the chorus of protests against Bollywood movie Padmavati even as the Shri Rajput Karni Sena called for a country-wide bandh on December 1, the day the film is slated to be released.Rajasthan BJP chief Ashok Parnami, member of erstwhile Udaipur royal family Laksyaraj Singh Mewar and Congresss Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh were among others who said that no effort to distort historic facts would be tolerated.The Congress said that if there are any scenes in Padmavati that hurt sentiments they need to be reviewed.Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshi sought to dismiss reports that he watched the film. Some reports suggested that Joshi had found nothing objectionable in the film.The Rajasthan State Commission for Women (RSCW) also wrote to the censor board asking it to clear the “ambiguity” over the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film “in the interest of law and order”.The protests, meanwhile, reached south with Karni Sena members staging a demonstration in Bengaluru.In Jaipur, Karni Sena leader Lokendra Singh Kalvi said the reported comments by actress Deepika Padukone, who plays the legendary queen in the movie, that nothing can stop the release of the film was provocative.”Deepika Padukones statement is provocative and I take it as a challenge, therefore, I have called for a nationwide bandh,” Kalvi said.”Ye jauhar ki jwala hai bahut kuch jalega. Rokna hai to Padmini ko rok lo (This is the flame of the Jauhar and a lot will burn. Stop it if you want to),” he threatened. He also made some disparaging remarks against the actor.advertisementKalvi recalled that he and Padukones father ace shuttler Prakash Padukone were together at a sports camp in Patiala years ago. The Karni Sena leader said that he has not spoken to her father on this issue.The Karni Sena seemed to have found some support in Maheshwari, a minister in the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan. Maheshwari said she strongly opposed the film claiming it was made purely for money making and entertainment.In a social media post, the minister said that Rani Padmini had performed Jauhar with 16,000 women. “Deceit in any case with the history of immortal valour of such women cannot be accepted,” she wrote.State BJP chief Parnami also said that no one would be allowed to play with history.In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson R P N Singh said though he had not seen the film, it was up to the censor board to clear the movie. He said that if there are scenes that hurt sentiments, they should be reviewed.Rajasthans commission for women chief Suman Sharma, meanwhile, wrote to the censor board seeking clarity over movie so that peace is maintained.In a letter to Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prasoon Joshi, Sharma said that it needs to seen that the movie does not affect the dignity of women.Citing protests in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, she said such incidents were adversely affecting the law and order situation.Members of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena claimed that even Muslim leaders had come out against the film.Karni Sena leader Kalvi demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervene in the matter saying the central government had the powers to stop the release of a film for three months.That provision should be invoked in case of Padmavati which is slated to be released on December 1, he demanded.”We are calling for a country-wide bandh on December 1 if the film is released. We have the support of all castes and communities. We will hold public meetings and rallies in Gurgaon, Patna and Bhopal before that,” Kalvi told reporters.He claimed that film hall owners association and distributors had refused to release the film in the state.He said that the film maker had promised to organise a pre-screening before the censor boards approval but he released the promo and song without taking the Rajput community into confidence.The Sena is not demanding any pre-screening now but a total ban as the filmmaker had “betrayed”, he said.The protests spread to the south as Rajput community members today staged a demonstration and held a rally in Bengaluru.A large number of people from the Karni Rajput Sena turned up at the Town Hall in the heart of the city and marched up to the Freedom Park.”What we have learnt is that there is lots of distortion of historical facts. Till our objections are addressed, we will not let the movie to be screened anywhere,” said Sukhdev Singh, president of the Karni Sena.advertisementIn Uttar Pradesh, Director General of Police Sulkhan Singh said the force had been asked to remain extra vigilant.In Kota, six of the eight persons detained on Tuesday night in connection for allegedly vandalising a cinema hall were arrested and produced before a court that sent them to judicial custody till November 19. PTI SDA AG ABN GMS RA VS SKC RDS BK ADS ADS
Srinagar, Dec 7 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir High Court today appointed a former top police officer as the chief executive officer of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), and a retired judge as the ombudsman for settling disputes within the governing body.While the former DIG Ashiq Bukhari was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer for managing the affairs of the association under the supervision and control of Committee of Administrators, the State Human Rights Commission chairman Justice (retired) Bashir-ud-Din was appointed as an ombudsman to settle the disputes between the warring factions of the Association.”In our opinion, a suitable person has to be appointed as the Chief Executive Officer who may also have administrative skills.”Therefore, we deem it appropriate to appoint Ashiq Hussain Bukhari, IPS, retired DIG, as the Chief Executive Officer, for running the affairs of the JKCA under the supervision and control of Committee of Administrators till rules are amended and elections are held,” the division bench said in its order.Also, observing that there was a need to appoint an ombudsman for settling the disputes among the clubs affiliated with the JKCA and other disputes of the association, the court appointed retire judge Bashir-ud-Din for the post.”An ombudsman was required to be appointed by the association but in the stated background, we deem it proper to appoint an ombudsman for resolving all the disputes after giving hearing to all concerned,” the bench said.Earlier, on October 14, the high court had appointed Justice C K Prasad, former judge of the Supreme Court and Justice Syed Rafat Alam, former Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh and Allahabad High Courts, as administrators of the JKCA for conducting free and fair elections.advertisementThe JKCA split into two factions in 2015 followed a battle for control of the association between the groups led by former chief minister Farooq Abdullah and Sports Minister Imran Ansari. PTI MIJ MG
(EDS: Correcting a typo in para three)By Bharat SharmaNew Delhi, Jan 10 (PTI) Aanchal Thakur has just one wish after becoming the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing — an end to the governments apathetic attitude towards winter sports.The response to her bronze medal winning performance in Turkey has been overwhelming to say the least. She still cant believe that none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated her on the achievement in a sport that usually begs for attention.”I never thought the Prime Minister would tweet for me. It is unreal. I just hope we are finally treated at par with athletes of popular sports. As of now, there has been no support whatsoever from the government,” Aanchal told PTI from Turkey where she secured the bronze in Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup organised by the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS).”I just want to say that we too are fighting, working hard day in and day out for India,” she said.Skiing runs in her blood but it has not been an easy ride thus far for the the 21-year-old, who is a student of DAV College in Chandigarh.Her father Roshan Thakur, who happens to be the secretary at the Winter Games Federation of India, always loved skiing and therefore it was natural for his children, Aanchal and Himanshu, to pick up the sport at an early age.While Aanchal has grabbed attention now, brother Himanshu, also an alpine skier, competed in the Sochi Winter Olympics alongside luger Shiva Keshavan.advertisementAanchal says if it was not for the efforts of her father, there was no way she could have pursued skiing.”I have been skiing in Europe since I was in seventh grade. Papa always wanted me to ski and he has been spending out of his pocket all this while. Without any government help, you can imagine how much he has spent on me and my brother.”What makes it more challenging for us is that it doesnt snow in India for the major part of the year, so we have to go out and train,” she says.Her father Roshan adds that existing skiing venues in India, at Gulmarg and Auli, are the only world-class during competitions and are not looked after well otherwise.”The Europeans get to train 10 months in a year where our athletes can do two months at the max, considering the huge cost involved in training overseas,” says Roshan, who owns apple orchards in Manali.The equipment, comprising ski, boots and clothing too is expensive and costs around Rs 4-5 lakh, says Aanchal.With a historic medal in the bag, the next target for this wushu player-turned skier is the qualification mark for the Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month.While her brother Himanshu is closer to the qualification mark, making the Winter Games cut seems unlikely for Aanchal.”To qualify, we need to score less than 140 points in five races and I have not been able to that even in one race. Yesterday was a very challenging course and even the gold winner could not qualify for Olympics with her score being more than 140.”With the cut-off date being January 21, Aanchal is racing against time.”My brother is in Iceland for an event and I am going to go there as well. Then there is a race in Iran and Pakistan. I have to see if I can get the visa for that. So, the this Winter Games looks unlikely for me but I have already set my sight on 2022.”We need to start preparing for that now and hopefully we will get the much needed government support,” says Aanchal.The fact that Winter Games Federation of India is not recognised by the Sports Ministry also doesnt help their case. PTI BS PM BS
One of Indian badminton’s leading lights, HS Prannoy has recently broken into the top 10 to join fellow Indians Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu in the premier space. While Srikanth and Sindhu won the big titles this year, HS Prannoy has improved immensely taking his rankings up from No. 30 to 10 rounding off by beating the big fish and world No. 2 Srikanth in the National final.While Prannoy will miss out in playing the Dubai Super series finals in the year ender where the top 8 ranked players compete, he is now gearing up for the Premier Badminton League (PBL) in India, having fetched the highest purse of 62 lakhs in the auction.In an interview with India Today, Prannoy talks about the new found respect for Indian players in top tournaments and his rivalry with Srikanth, predicting how the duo could be facing off more often in the coming years in elite events. Excerpts.Q. Are you going into the PBL carrying some extra pressure, having bagged the highest purse in the auction?A. Not really. It’s extra bonus. Someone has trusted you saying you are the best. Last year I was unbeaten with seven straight wins. This year will be tougher playing against the best with Viktor Axelsen and Kidambi Srikanth all lined up. But it should be fun three weeks. Hopefully we will get to see the world’s best badminton.Q. You would be happy to break into the top 10. Although you would have like to have finished in the top 8?advertisementA. Definitely, top 8 is much safer. But I am glad to be in the top ten. That’s what you first look to do, to break into the top 10. Only consistent performance gets you there. The next six months in 2018 will be crucial. As you get into the top 8, the draws in bigger events will be better as you don’t run into the world no 1 and 2 in the pre-quarters. As of now I am happy with the year. From 30 to 10, I had to dig deep and had some good Super series semis finishes.National Champions 2017 !!! pic.twitter.com/i5O4b9OKkk- PRANNOY HS (@PRANNOYHSPRI) November 8, 2017Q. Anything you could have done differently?A. So many matches where you thought, you had it. One was the Indonesian Open semis where I had 7 match points and couldn’t win it. And the French Open semis against Srikanth where I was totally in control of all games but couldn’t finish it off. Winning these two matches, I wouldn’t just have had a chance to get in top 8 but also have a go at Super series titles. But I need to be positive for all I have achieved and take lessons for the future.Q. Prakash Padukone recently spoke about the need to be smart and pick the right tournaments.A. What Prakash Sir said is great. Because what we need to do is focus on the bigger events. The Commonwealth games, Asian games, Olympics come once in four years and we need to do be in shape physically and mentally. We have crazy amount of tournaments in 2018 so have to be selective to stay in shape physically and mentally.One just can’t run behind rankings. If we look to run behind rankings we will have to play all tournaments which will not help anyway. It’s an art to pick tournaments where you can do well and in which conditions. That’s what all top players will look to do and next year it will get even tougher.Q. You and Srikanth are turning into a rivalry of sorts?A. It’s a great feeling to be a rival to Srikanth. On court he has been great. 2017 entirely belongs to him. We had a couple of great matches, one in the French Open and the National finals. So the rivalry has just begun. And next couple of years we will have to play each other a lot because that’s what happens at elite level. It’s very healthy.Not just us two with Sai (Praneeth), Sameer (Verma), Ajay (Jayaram), Kashyap we will all play each other a lot more in Super series. This pushes us in training aspect where there is no relaxing and one has to keep pushing oneself.Q. But do the two of you also look to keep more distance from each other during events when you could be opponents anytime. How does it work?A. I think we are experienced and playing professionally for the last 8 to 10 years. Mentally when you get onto the court you switch off the friend mode and get into playing mode where you just follow the shuttle and are chasing the win. Than off the court you are friends again.advertisementBut I have seen cases where it is other way. It’s a very fine line where things can go worse. But I am glad all us top players are mature to know when to be friends and opponents on and off court. We have been travelling together for the last 15 years.Q. A word on Saina Nehwal. The pioneer girl in the success story of Indian badminton and how she has comeback this year with the World Championship medal and Nationals win.A. Saina has always been a fighter. She is one girl who is ready to give all for the sport. I have been seeing her for the last 8 or 10 years. She has shown me so many things like how to comeback from each set back, on the need to push yourself mentally. I still wonder how she pushes herself. After each loss she goes mad and just wants to train harder. I have not seen that in anyone else in our country. That’s why she is special. I am really glad that she is back and getting better. I hope she gets to her best next year and I want her to win something even bigger.Q. Last question. Is there a element of respect or fear for Indians amongst opponents now after India’s rise in world badminton?A. Yes. Couple of years back that fear was not there and we used to fear the Chinese and Malaysians. Now we have that respect and name saying that he/she is that that singles player from India. It’s not just the two of us. But whoever comes from India in the draw, people are now worried because they know we have the bench strength to beat anyone on our day. So everyone has that fear and no one takes us lightly.So it’s good for us on one side but something for us to be cautious about as well because we need to have that extra amount of brilliance to beat opponents. Because everybody is watching and doing video analysis because they know Indian are beating the top players. So one has to have that element of surprise in your game. But I think Commonwealth and Asian games will be big because we have a good chance. The entire lot is playing well. 2017 was great but we need to work harder and it won’t be easy.
NEW YORK — Even when they have a lead lately, the New York Yankees can’t hold it. And the way things are going, beating just about anyone appears to be a tall order — let alone the best team in the American League.Yoenis Cespedes homered twice, Josh Donaldson hit a tiebreaking shot in the seventh inning off newcomer Jose Ramirez, and the Oakland Athletics overcame a four-run deficit to defeat New York 7-4 the night of June 4 for their fifth straight victory.“We had our chances to add on and we weren’t able to do it,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “The guys are doing everything they can, but right now we just aren’t getting it done.”The highest-scoring team in the majors this season, the A’s will go for a three-game sweep June 5. They are 12-3 against New York since July 19, 2012.Two pieces of good news for the Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to start the series finale, and Carlos Beltran is expected back in the lineup.Girardi said Beltran will probably be used exclusively as a designated hitter for a while to protect his right elbow. The switch-hitting right fielder was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 15 because of a bone spur.Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits, including an early three-run homer, but the Yankees (29-29) matched a season worst with their fourth consecutive defeat. They’ve been outscored 21-0 from the seventh inning on during the slide.Derek Jeter made a costly error and New York dropped to 1-5 on a seven-game homestand with its 12th loss in the last 16 at Yankee Stadium.Donaldson connected off Ramirez, who was making his major league debut. Cespedes also had three hits to help the A’s move a season-best 15 games over .500 at 37-22, the best mark in the AL.“I was a little nervous,” Ramirez said through a translator. “I wasn’t really thinking about pitching tonight but I knew the chance would be there because of our bullpen situation.”Girardi said he went to Ramirez with the score tied in the seventh because Dellin Betances and David Robertson had thrown a lot of pitches over the past few days. Jesse Chavez (5-3) hung around for six innings, long enough to get the win when his teammates rallied.“I thought we hit some balls hard, but it would be nice to continue to tack on runs to put more pressure on them and give our pitchers a little bit more breathing room,” Ellsbury said.Dan Otero got Brian McCann on a weak grounder with runners at the corners to protect a one-run lead in the seventh. Otero also worked a scoreless eighth and Sean Doolittle got three quick outs to extend his career-best shutout streak to 16 1-3 innings.“We have something to prove,” said Doolittle, who earned his seventh save. “When we get a chance to play against the Yankees on a big stage in their ballpark, guys step up.”Cespedes started Oakland’s comeback with a leadoff homer to center in the fourth. Jed Lowrie hit a deep sacrifice fly in the fifth, and Yankees starter Vidal Nuno was pulled one out shy of qualifying for a win. He left with a 4-2 lead after 92 pitches.“I had a lot of long ABs that drove my pitch count up,” Nuno said. “My ball was kind of everywhere tonight.”Cespedes hit another leadoff shot in the sixth, this one off Matt Daley barely clearing the short porch in right. Derek Norris reached on Jeter’s throwing error from shortstop and scored the tying run on Alberto Callaspo’s long sacrifice fly.Just called up from the minors, Ramirez (0-1) entered in the seventh. He retired his first batter but then gave up Donaldson’s 16th homer on his fifth major league pitch. The drive to left field gave the A’s a 5-4 advantage.Oakland has gone deep in 12 consecutive games, hitting 22 homers during that span. The AL West leaders added two insurance runs in the ninth on a hit batter and a sacrifice fly against Wade LeBlanc in his Yankees debut.(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Sports Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shares
HAMPTON, Ga. — Unshaven and with a quivering voice, NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart said the death of Kevin Ward Jr. will “affect my life forever” as he returned to the track Aug. 29 for the first time since his car struck and killed the fellow driver during a sprint race in New York three weeks ago.Stewart read from a statement that, his team said, he wrote himself. He spoke just under 2 1/2 minutes, pausing several times to compose himself. He took no questions about the incident that it still being investigated by law enforcement officials.“This has been one of the toughest tragedies I’ve ever had to deal with, both professionally and personally,” Stewart said in a packed media room on the infield at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “This is a sadness and a pain I hope no one has to experience in their life. That being said, I know that the pain and mourning that Kevin Ward’s family and friends are experiencing is something that I can’t possibly imagine.”He mentioned Ward’s parents and three sisters by name, saying he wanted them “to know that every day I’m thinking about them and praying for them.”The brief news conference presented a much different side to the brash driver known as “Smoke,” whose explosive temper has led to clashes with the media and fellow drivers. Wearing a black polo shirt and blue jeans, Stewart delivered his 285-word statement in a quivering tone, his eyes moist.He skipped three races after Ward’s death, going into seclusion at his rural Indiana home. Stewart’s team said he needed time to grieve, and some questioned if he felt guilt over the crash.During an Aug. 9 sprint-car event in upstate New York, Stewart and Ward’s cars appeared to bump while racing into a turn, sending Ward’s car spinning.The 20-year-old Ward climbed from his wrecked machine and wandered onto a darkened track in a black racing suit, apparently wanting to make his displeasure known to the three-time NASCAR champion. One car appeared to swerve to avoid Ward, but he was struck by the back right tire of Stewart’s car.“I’ve taken the last couple of weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way,” Stewart said. “It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates and I miss being back in the race car, and I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.”The 43-year-old Stewart pulled out of the race at nearby Watkins Glen the morning after Ward was killed, and then skipped events at Michigan and Bristol.But with two weeks left until the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Stewart is preparing to go racing again. He rolled onto the track for a 90-minute practice session, cheered by fans as his No. 14 Chevrolet rolled out of the garage. He’ll be back for qualifying, with the race set for Aug. 31 on the 1.54-mile trioval.Not long after Stewart spoke to the media, NASCAR announced he would be eligible for the playoff if he wins either the Atlanta race or next week at Richmond, the final event before the 16-driver championship field is set.Mike Helton, President of the governing body, said Stewart received a special waiver that normally applies to a driver who misses a race for medical reasons.Helton said NASCAR made the decision after consulting with third-party experts who “were relevant under these circumstances.” He would not elaborate.“We want to join everybody in racing in welcoming Tony back,” Helton said. “He’s a great asset to NASCAR. He’s a great champion, a great participant in our sport. It’s great to have him back.”Stewart-Haas Racing Executive Vice President Brett Frood said it was “100 percent” Stewart’s decision to return at one of NASCAR’s fastest tracks.“I think for Tony, it’s all about the healing process,” Frood said. “Besides his mom, his dad, his sister, his niece and nephew, his family is here at the racetrack. Part of the healing process is to be with family he’s been with since (entering NASCAR) in 1999. Knowing these people will help him get through this.”Asked if Stewart had reached out to Ward’s family, Frood said the driver sent flowers and a card around the time of the funeral.“Besides, that, he’s been very respectful of them and their time to grieve,” Frood said. “It’s important for Tony to spend time with the family. I do think that will happen at the appropriate time.”Stewart said he knows there are plenty of questions surrounding Ward’s death. Many of those have focused on whether he was trying to frighten a young driver who had the nerve to challenge him over a racing crash. Authorities said that the law enforcement investigation will last for at least another two weeks.“Tony is very emotional. It’s been a difficult two weeks,” Frood said. “But Tony is ready to be in the race car. He wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t.”(PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
TweetPinShare0 Shares NEW YORK — Derek Jeter remained as cool and collected as his play at shortstop over the past two decades when the New York Yankees honored their retiring captain Sunday with a 45-minute ceremony that included appearances by NBA great Michael Jordan and baseball ironman Cal Ripken Jr.Jeter thanked people a dozen times as he spoke to a capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium for about 3 minutes before Sunday’s game against Kansas City.“It’s kind of hard to believe that 20 seasons has gone by so quickly,” the 40-year-old said. “You guys have all watched me grow up over the last 20 years. I’ve watched you, too. Some of you guys getting old, too. But I want to thank you for helping me feel like a kid for the last 20 years.”A 14-time All-Star who is sixth on the career hits list, Jeter sparked a Yankees’ renaissance during which baseball’s winningest franchise took the World Series title in 1996 as he won the AL Rookie of the Year award. He led the team to three consecutive titles from 1998-2000, was named captain in 2003 and then won a fifth Series in 2009.He missed most of 2013 after breaking an ankle during the playoffs the previous October, made his surprise retirement announcement just before spring training last February and followed with a respectable but unspectacular final season, his speed and range diminished but a starting shortstop until the end.He beat out a grounder to the shortstop hole for an infield single in the first inning, raising his batting average of .261 with three homers and 40 RBIs.With three weeks left in the regular season, the Yankees could miss the playoffs for just the third time since he first came up to the major leagues in 1995.“In my opinion, I’ve had the greatest job in the world. I got a chance to be the shortstop for the New York Yankees, and there’s only one of those,” he said. “I always felt as though it was my job, was to try to provide joy and entertainment for you guys, but it can’t compare to what you brought me.”The Yankees didn’t retire his number 2 or unveil a plaque in Monument Park, no doubt setting up a Derek Jeter Day 2 at some future time.New York took a similar approach a half-century ago, holding a Mickey Mantle Day in September 1965 before his 2,000th game, then retiring his No. 7 in June 1969 after his playing days.New York retired former manager Joe Torre’s No. 6 last month, leaving Jeter as the last of the Yankees’ single digits.(RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer)
NEW YORK — One rocket-armed rookie gets hurt, the New York Mets simply turn to another. Pretty nice to have all that young pitching.Noah Syndergaard struck out a career-high 13 in eight overpowering innings, and New York got consecutive homers from slumping sluggers Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on July 10.“I was able to just relax and go right after guys,” Syndergaard said. “The ability to change speeds and keep them off balance was the reason for my success.”Hours after teammate Steven Matz went on the disabled list with wins in both big league starts, Syndergaard (4-4) gave the Mets and their stingy rotation a major boost. He gave up a sacrifice fly in the first to All-Star bopper Paul Goldschmidt and then dominated the Diamondbacks, allowing only one run for the third consecutive start.The 6-foot-6, 242-pound rookie from Texas walked off to a warm ovation from the crowd of 28,243.“He’s pitching good right now and he knows it,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “His last three have been tremendous. … He’s grown fast.”Syndergaard whiffed Goldschmidt twice and threw 116 pitches, most by a Mets starter this season. The 22-year-old righty with the blazing fastball yielded four hits and walked two, reaching double digits in strikeouts for the third time in 11 career games.Every member of Arizona’s starting lineup struck out at least once.“He located pretty much every off-speed pitch where he wanted to throw it,” said All-Star outfielder A.J. Pollock, who doubled and scored in the first.“You do that with 98 (mph) in the tank and you have a hitter thinking that, you know, he might rear back and throw 98, it’s just tough to hit.”Jeurys Familia allowed Welington Castillo’s RBI single before securing his 25th save in 27 attempts.After a single by Ruben Tejada and a two-out walk to Wilmer Flores in the first, Duda drove a 2-0 pitch from Chase Anderson (4-3) over the 408-foot sign in straightaway center field for a three-run shot. The ball smacked off the black batter’s eye just below the well that houses the home run apple at Citi Field.It was the first homer since June 18 and second since May 29 for a player who had 30 last season. Before connecting for his 11th of the year, Duda was batting .158 since June 1 — including .069 in July (2 for 29).“I’m definitely glad to contribute tonight. I haven’t done that in a long time, so it feels good,” Duda said.Cuddyer followed with a drive to left that was gloved by a fan wearing a Juan Lagares shirt.Cuddyer started just two of the previous eight games because of a sore left knee. It was his first home run in 89 at-bats since June 5 at Arizona, and he entered batting .133 in his past 19 games.The Mets went nine games without a long ball before Eric Campbell’s two-run shot July 8 in San Francisco helped finish a 4-2 West Coast trip. They hadn’t hit two homers in a game since June 20 at Atlanta — and it marked their first four-run inning since June 1 in San Diego.“The two guys that we hope to ride in the second half broke out a little bit tonight,” Collins said.(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
ZAGREB, Croatia – Greece opened its play in the European basketball tourney with an 85-65 thumping of its northern neighbor, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to avenge a 2011 defeat.It looked far from easy early on when the FYROM long-range shooters found the mark to befuddle the Greek defense at times and had coach Fotis Katsikaris scrambling for an answer.In the third period, Greek took a 55-50 lead into a galloping pull-away running up a 22 point lead of 79-57 and then coasted the rest of the way.Yiannis Bourousis and former Ohio State player Costas Koufos had double doubles, Bourousis with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Koufos with 11 and 11, although Giorgos Printezis was the top scorer with 18 points.Greece plays pool host Croatia on Sept. 6 in a battle between the two top teams in the group.TweetPinShare0 Shares
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Russia’s ban from the Olympic movement was lifted on Wednesday despite two failed doping tests by its athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.The decision by the International Olympic Committee appears to be an attempt to draw a line under the state-concocted doping scandal that tarnished the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.The IOC allowed more than 160 athletes it determined were clean to compete in Sochi as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” in Pyeongchang earlier this month with a prohibition on the national anthem or flag in venues.Russia’s hopes of marching under its flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony in South Korea were stymied by the two positive tests for banned substances, including a curler who had to forfeit his bronze medal. But the IOC said Wednesday that all remaining test results were negative, clearing the path for Russia’s return to the Olympic fold.“Therefore, as stated in the executive board decision of 25th February, the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee is automatically lifted with immediate effect,” the IOC said in a statement.Russian athletes won two gold medals in Pyeongchang, in figure skating and ice hockey, along with six silver medals and nine bronze.“I would like to thank our athletes who were able to perform well even despite the provocations,” Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov said in quotes carried by the TASS news agency. “I thank the fans who did not cross the line and what could result in sanctions. Today’s IOC’s decision is very important for us. The ROC is an absolutely full-fledged member of the Olympic family.”Russia also complied with its financial sanctions last week by paying $15 million to pay for the IOC’s two investigations into the scheme and toward future anti-doping work.Vitaly Smirnov, the head of an anti-doping commission set up by Russian President Vladimir Putin, did acknowledge on Wednesday that “we have a long way to go to get rid of the mistakes, which we made in the past.”But Russia continues to deny there was state involvement in the plot, which included urine samples in supposedly tamper-proof bottles at the 2014 Olympics being swapped out for clean samples through a “mouse hole” in the wall at a laboratory in Sochi.The IOC decision to reinstate Russia has no bearing on the International Paralympic Committee’s earlier ruling to maintain the country’s ban. The only Russians at the March 8-18 Pyeongchang Games will be known as “Neutral Paralympic Athletes,” mirroring the IOC’s compromise.—By ROB HARRIS , AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
BARCELONA – The Greek team pose for a photo with their silver medals after the women’s final of the European Water Polo Championships between Greece and the Netherlands in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, July 27, 2018.TweetPinShare11 Shares
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The New York Islanders relied heavily on Thomas Greiss last season, and their invariably calm netminder picked up right he where he left off.Greiss made 35 saves and Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee scored second-period goals to the lead the Islanders past the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 Sunday night.New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) skates next to center Mathew Barzal after scoring a goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Michael Owens)It was the first win of the season for the Islanders, who lost their home opener 2-1 to Washington on Friday.“It’s always good to get the first win out of the way,” said the 33-year-old Geiss, who won 23 games last season with a career-best 2.27 goals against average while splitting time with Robin Lehner. “The guys did their part and I did mine.”The Jets lost for the second time in three games in the New York area to start their season. Winnipeg lost 6-4 to the Rangers in their season opener Thursday, and beat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 in a shootout Friday. The Jets are opening the season on a four-game trip that wraps up Tuesday in Pittsburgh.After a scoreless first period, Bailey put the Islanders on the board, tipping in a power-play goal at 1:51 of the second. Anthony Beauvillier and Devon Toews picked up assists.It was the third straight game the Jets had allowed the opening goal.Nelson made it 2-0 at 4:38, sending a shot past goaltender Laurent Brossoit, who started his second straight game and finished with 29 saves. Bailey and defenseman Ryan Pulock assisted on the goal.Lee stretched the Islanders’ lead to 3-0 at 15:55 with his first goal of the season, assisted by Scott Mayfield and Jordan Eberle.“It was a good rebound game for us,” said Lee, the team captain who signed a new seven-year $49 million contract in July. “We were more crisp and Greiss played a great game for us.””We were a little more crisp tonight, a little more predictable with each other. When that happens you get an extra step on a guy, you create a little more offense.” – Anders Lee #Isles pic.twitter.com/qnLs6PwFDP— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 7, 2019The game before a crowd of 9,923 was originally scheduled to be played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but was moved to Nassau Coliseum last month. It was the first time in the building’s history — which dates to 1972 — the Islanders played a Sunday night home game at the Coliseum. They only twice had played Sunday afternoon games on Long Island.Patrik Laine put the Jets on the board at 17:06 of the second, snapping a shot past Greiss for his first goal of the season. The Islanders were one of two teams the 21-year-old Laine hadn’t scored against. Columbus remains the other.Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine, middle, celebrates with center Mark Scheifele (55) and right wing Blake Wheeler after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Michael Owens)Blake Wheeler and defenseman Anthony Bitetto, a Long Island native, were credited with assists on Laine’s goal.Beauvillier scored for the Islanders at 1:25 of the third, with assists going to Leo Komarov and Derrick Brassard, his first point as a member of the Islanders.The Jets outshot the Islanders 15-9 in the opening period. The Islanders dominated the second period with a 19-9 advantage in shots.“They’ve got a lot of guys who can shoot. They are a good team,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said of the Jets. “Greiss was really solid.””I thought the whole second period was good, we were playing fast, we had good line changes.” – Barry Trotz #Isles pic.twitter.com/m96KYij4yU— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 7, 2019Brossoit played well despite the loss. His best early save came when he stopped of Komarov on a short-handed breakaway at 13:10 of the first. Brossoit also made two short-handed saves on Nelson in the same sequence midway through the second.“He was fantastic. When you play as well as he played, you deserve a better number,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “He’s been like that all through camp. He made some great saves and gave us a chance to hang around.”The Islanders started Greiss in goal after newcomer Semyon Varlamov played in the opening loss to Washington on Friday.Greiss shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Lehner last season when the Islanders allowed the fewest goals in the league.“We didn’t give them too much room,” added Greiss, who stopped all 12 shots he faced in the third period to cement the victory. “We played hard.”NOTES: The Islanders scratched forwards Tom Kuhnhackl and Ross Johnston and rookie defenseman Noah Dobson, who has yet to make his NHL debut. … The teams meet again Oct. 17 in Winnipeg. … Winnipeg scratched forwards Bryan Little and David Gustafsson and defenseman Josh Morrissey, who sustained an upper body injury during warmups. … Islanders coach Barry Trotz passed Hall of Famer Al Arbour on the all-time games-coached list with 1,608, third-most in league history.UP NEXT:Islanders: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.Jets: Visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.By: Allan Kreda, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shares
Roger Federer defeated Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (2), 6-2, 7-6 (5) to book his place in the Stuttgart Open final and reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal on Saturday.The Swiss great will play Milos Raonic as he bids for his 18th grass-court title.Raonic earlier hit 19 aces and saved the only break point he faced as he defeated defending champion Lucas Pouille 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the other semifinal.Federer was pushed all the way by the fourth-seeded Kyrgios, who had 23 aces.”I am very happy and very relieved,” Federer said.”It was close and it could have gone either way naturally but I am happy that I have got it and got back to world No 1 next Monday.”I thought it was the tough match that I expected against Nick.”We had so many tie-breaks already I have lost count.”Last year Federer had crashed out in the opening round after losing a tie-break to Tommy Haas admitted it had crosed his mind during the semi-final.”It has never been easy, even before last match point I though I had lost the last couple of matches here before match point,” Federer added.”I thought maybe it was going to happen again but when I picked up the half-volley I was so happy.”Kyrgios forced a mini-break in the deciding tiebreak, but Federer remained steady and sent a short backhand past the Australian on his first match point to clinch the win.Federer, in his first tournament since March, was trailing Nadal by 100 points at the start of the week and is guaranteed of taking the top spot on Monday regardless of how Sunday’s final goes.advertisementIt will be Raonic’s first final since the 2017 Istanbul Open. The Canadian won his last title at the 2016 Brisbane International.(With inputs from AP)
Barcelona were surprised and upset at Gerard Pique’s involvement in making the television documentary in which Antoine Griezmann revealed he had rejected Barca to stay at Atletico Madrid, the La Liga champions’ vice-president Jordi Mestre said on Tuesday.France forward Griezmann signed a new contract with Atletico on Monday until 2023 after announcing he had resisted an offer to join Barca in a documentary called “The Decision”, produced by Kosmos, the production company owned by Barca defender Pique.”We have told Pique that his participation (in the documentary) has surprised and upset the club and the supporters,” Mestre said at the presentation of former Barca player Eric Abidal as the club’s new sporting director.World Cup 2018: Ronaldo is very prone to diving, accuses Pique”We respect Griezmann’s decision to sign a new contract with Atletico as we respect any player’s decision about their future. We want players who are committed to Barca and who want to succeed here.”But we regret that the club’s members were disillusioned by the way things were conducted and the broadcasting of the final decision,” he added.”We’re are going to speak with Pique internally and we won’t make any more comments in public about this.”Questions about Griezmann peppered the presentation of Abidal, who will be tasked with buying and selling players for next season to help Barca’s bid to defend the Liga title and improve on their recent failure to win the Champions League.FIFA World Cup: Gerard Pique and Shakira’s Barcelona house robbedadvertisement”I think the decision is his, I don’t want to get into a debate, there were two options, yes or now, but the important thing is what the club think and we’re not here to talk about a player, but to build a good team,” said Abidal on Griezmann rejecting Barca.Abidal was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2011 while playing for Barca but overcame the disease and lifted the Champions League trophy that year after they beat Manchester United in the final.
Australia captain Aaron Finch led from the front and struck a world T20 record 172 off just 76 deliveries to help his team thrash Zimbabwe by 100 tuns in the T20I tri-series on Tuesday.Finch’s score was record for the highest individual score in T20 international cricket, bettering the previous best of 156 which he himself had set five years ago against England in Southampton.Finch struck 10 sixes and 16 boundaries to power Australia to 229/2 in 20 overs. Along with the individual score, he was part of a record-breaking 223-run first-wicket stand with D’Arcy Short, who made 46.The previous best was the 171-run unbroken stand between New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson against Pakistan in Hamilton more than two years ago.Zimbabwe struggled for the second straight match and were restricted to 129/9. Andrew Tye took 3/12 and Ashton Agar picked up 2/16.”Yeah, it was nice to get a few in the middle, and break the record. Could’ve started better with the ball, so I thought we could’ve been more polished in the field.”I thought using the spinners was the right move on the surface. Short was good too, but we bowled well in the middle overs. This innings is right up there. They don’t happen very often, so very pleased with it,” man-of-the-match Finch said at the post-match presentation.Finch tore into the Zimbabwe bowling attack on Tuesday with all of the bowlers conceding over 9 runs per over except for Tendai Chisoro, who managed to give away just 19 runs from his four overs.Blessing Muzarabani was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts as he managed to dismiss Short and Finch in the final over of the innings.advertisementAustralia, who crushed Pakistan in their first game on Monday, top the table with 4 points followed by Pakistan and Zimbabwe.(With AP inputs)