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Day: October 31, 2023

Sports

Why has FIFA effectively handed hosting rights of 2034 World Cup to Saudi Arabia

The venue for the 2034 FIFA World Cup was effectively decided on Tuesday after Australia pulled out of the race to host the 48-team event, essentially clearing the way for the world body to award the hosting rights to Saudi Arabia.Football Australia boss James Johnson had earlier said that his country was ‘exploring the possibility of 2034’, but amidst a host of challenging problems, it said that they would now focus on bids for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup and the 2029 Club World Cup, which would feature 32 teams. Australia had also attempted to host the 2022 World Cup which was subsequently awarded to Qatar. Why was the 2034 World Cup awarded to the Asia-Oceania group? A mere 12 years after Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup, the stage seems to have been set by FIFA itself to ensure that S...
Sports

In sport, you often learn more from a defeat than from a victory 

England’s Jos Buttler walks off the field as Indian players celebrate his wicket during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and England in Lucknow on October 29, 2023 | Photo Credit: PTI Sometimes an early defeat in a World Cup can be a blessing. It rids the team of complacency, it focuses attention on weaknesses that might have been covered up by victory, it re-motivates the players, it shines a light on team selection since non-performers have no place to hide. Australia, who began with two defeats at this World Cup now look like one of the favourites. It can go the other way too. Champions England are at the bottom of the table two-thirds of the way down the league. This puts their qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy in jeopardy. Only the first seven tea...
Sports

In sport, you often learn more from a defeat than from a victory 

Sometimes an early defeat in a World Cup can be a blessing. It rids the team of complacency, it focuses attention on weaknesses that might have been covered up by victory, it re-motivates the players, it shines a light on team selection since non-performers have no place to hide. Australia, who began with two defeats at this World Cup now look like one of the favourites. It can go the other way too. Champions England are at the bottom of the table two-thirds of the way down the league. This puts their qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy in jeopardy. Only the first seven teams will make the grade — the criterion was one of the best-kept secrets when the World Cup began. Perhaps nothing succeeds like failure. India have won all their matches convincingly at this stage, making them...
Sports

World Cup, India vs Sri Lanka: Shreyas Iyer put on ‘short’ notice | Cricket News – Times of India

Struggling India No. 4 tries to iron out his frailties against bouncers in the nets ahead of Sri Lanka gameMUMBAI: Was it by design? At the Team India optional nets, two days before their World Cup encounter against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, the first three to take strike were Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan with Shreyas Iyerbatting in the throwdown net, some distance away, towards the Vijay Merchant Stand.All three swapped positions soon.Other members who attended Tuesday’s training session were Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, and KL Rahul. Some of them even batted and bowled in a game of mock cricket with the kids for UNICEF.Back to Iyer, Surya, and Kishan.All three know they are battling for one spot once allrounder Hardik Pandya, who injured himself...
Sports

Asian Champions Trophy: Navneet Kaur finds the space, Deepika finds her footing as India down Japan in an entertaining ‘arm-wrestle’

At half-time, Japan’s coach Jude Menezes – an Indian Olympian – called the group-stage match against the hosts an arm-wrestle duel. It was an entertaining encounter between teams with perfect records at the Asian Champions Trophy here. In the end, India just about managed to muscle their way past to make it four wins out of four. Navneet Kaur (31′) put India ahead and then Kana Urata (37′) brought Japan back into the match with a ferocious drag flick. With both sides pushing hard, the winner eventually came from Sangita Kumari (47′) after Deepika won and took a series of Penalty Corners to eventually bring the arm down in India’s favour. Somewhere in the third quarter, when there was a bit of a lull in the atmosphere, there was a loud yell of “Deepika” from India coach Janneke Schopman ...
Sports

Cricket World Cup: Fakhar Zaman makes powerful comeback to end Pakistan’s losing streak and eliminate Bangladesh

When the cameras panned to his face after he perished 19 runs short of a century, one could see Fakhar Zaman grit his teeth in anger and look dejectedly at the turf. But once he got through the fleeting pain of missing the three-figure mark, a content smile spread on his face. The left-handed opener soaked in the appreciation directed at him and warmly shook hands with his teammates, who could finally smile, after ending a four-match winless streak.“In normal circumstances I would have gone for the hundred, but here we were looking to win the game in 28-30 overs,” Zaman would later say. The thumping of Bangladesh could turn out to be inadequate, as Pakistan’s fate hinges on the fortunes of other teams. All they could do now is keep accumulating points and improve their net run rate. The...
Sports

How Pakistan would need a helping hand from India and Afghanistan to reach the semifinals

Pakistan managed to live another day at the World Cup, courtesy a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh which kept their semifinals still alive. Bangladesh were knocked out of contention. Here is a look at how their semifinals prospects are placed. Their third win, which ended their four-game losing streak, helped them to jump past Afghanistan into the fifth spot. They have six points now, same as Afghanistan, who have a game in hand. They are set to play New Zealand and England, which are must-win games. Is their fate in their own hands? With just two more matches remaining and 10 being the maximum points they can get to, Pakistan need help from elsewhere to make it to the last-four. You can try your hand at solving our Cricket World Cup crossword First up, pray for India to win Yes, come T...
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Rassie van der Dussen on how tough times, racial divisions back home and heartbreaks have brought South African team closer

Rassie van der Dussen has always been known as a wise guy with the bandwidth to comprehend and articulate on South Africa’s unique racial divisions and the arduous journey undertaken to correct those wrongs in sport. But on the eve of the clash against New Zealand, the Saffer sage stepped into the shoes of long-suffering fans of the cricket team, when asked about how the team deals with constant reminders of past defeats.Like how they’ve not beaten New Zealand in a World Cup since 1999. And the savage criticism that comes its way after defeats like the one against the Netherlands. “You just have to acknowledge it, accept it. After the loss to the Dutch, we took a lot of flak from back home and the media. You have to accept that friends and people at home are scarred by previous performa...
Sports

ICC World Cup | We are blessed in a sense that we are in a great space now, says van der Dussen

Charming bonding: There is definitely something different in this South African team, says van der Dussen | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan For a country as racially and communally divided as — if not more than — any other nation, sport goes a long way beyond just being a passion for South Africa. It is one of the primary means to unite the country.Less than a week after the Springboks lifted the Rugby World Cup, their cricket counterparts are inspired to do their bit on a cricket field.“Obviously coming from a very divided background in the last 70 to 100 years, those sort of mindsets are still quite entrenched in a lot of communities and a lot of older generations,” Rassie van der Dussen, the South Africa batter, said ahead of its World Cup clash versus New Zealand.“What the Springboks and w...
Sports

ICC World Cup | India will want other batters to replicate the prolificacy of Rohit and Kohli

Suryakumar Yadav bats during a practice session ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on October 31, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI Under Mumbai skies while local trains rushed from the nearby Churchgate station, a few Indian cricketers limbered up inside the Wankhede Stadium. Up in the stands, a Sachin Tendulkar statue, set to be unveiled on November 1, was getting the finishing touches. The maestro stood frozen in his lofted shot, all power and panache. By a coincidence, the accent was on batting while the optional net session gained steam in Mumbai on October 31. K.L. Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Shardul Thakur and Ishan Kishan turned up with Rahul Dravid and his coaching associates keeping a close watch. Ashwin and Jadeja tu...
Sports

All you need to know about Pakistan’s chances of reaching World Cup semi-finals after big win over Bangladesh | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Pakistan snapped their four-match losing streak to clinch an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh and keep their slender hopes alive in the quest for a spot in the World Cup semi-finals.Shaheen's exceptional bowling figures of 3-23 played a pivotal role in Pakistan's effort to dismiss Bangladesh for a mere 204 runs in 45.1 overs at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.Fakhar Zaman's impressive 81 off 74 balls and Abdullah Shafique's solid 68 off 69 balls then led Pakistan to a comfortable victory with three wickets down and a substantial 105 balls to spare.Bangladesh became the first side to crash out of the 10-team event with just one win from seven games.This win breathed new life into Pakistan's slim chances of making it to the semi-finals, as they now have six points from sev...
Sports

World Cup not over for Pakistan, says skipper Babar Azam after beating Pakistan | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Pakistan's captain, Babar Azam, expressed his unwavering hope on Tuesday, believing that despite the challenging circumstances, there's still a chance for his team to secure a spot in the World Cup semi-finals.Presently, Pakistan hold six points, positioning them in fifth place within the 10-team table. However, their pathway to the semi-finals faces substantial hurdles, with Australia in fourth place boasting eight points and a game in hand.Similarly, New Zealand holds the third spot, also with eight points, having played one game fewer.The situation leaves Pakistan with a tough challenge to overtake these teams in the standings to secure a coveted semi-final spot. Despite the odds, Azam remains optimistic and hopeful that his team can make a strong push in the remaining mat...
Sports

World Cup: Pakistan down Bangladesh to stay alive | The Times of India

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Sports

M.A. Chidambaram and his stadium for cricket

Last week, I was at Chepauk for a delightful evening of cricket — Pakistan vs South Africa. The weather was warm but not blazing hot and what was more, the sea breeze set in early and flowed regularly through the stadium. That bit of improvement was done a decade or so ago but I could not help reflecting that had it not been for one man’s drive and vision, this stadium itself would have never materialised. And that was M.A. Chidambaram. The third son of Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar was an industrialist and philanthropist and once Mayor of Madras, but sport was his passion. He is best remembered for his contribution to horse racing and cricket. MAC, as he was known to friends, became the president of the Madras Cricket Association at a crucial time. The 30-year lease of Chepauk, held by t...
Sports

ICC World Cup | New Zealand and South Africa cross swords in a key clash

South African players are seen during a practice session ahead of their crucial ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match against New Zealand in Pune. | Photo Credit: PTI Even before the Men’s World Cup began, November 1 clash was supposed to be among the matches to watch out for in the league stage. The manner in which the tournament has progressed makes it a tantalising affair.After all, New Zealand and South Africa are among the rank favourites to enter the semifinals. The winning outfit at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium will set one foot in the last-four, while the losing team may well have to face the table-topper in the semifinal.Their performance in the 2023 edition may be similar but when it comes to the World Cup history, both the teams are poles apart. While New Zealand h...
Sports

World Cup, PAK vs BAN: Pakistan knock Bangladesh out to keep their semi-final hopes alive | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Pakistan kept their hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the 50-overs World Cup alive after a dominant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.Bangladesh, opting to bat first, struggled to recover from an early top-order collapse and could only muster a modest total of 204 runs before being all out in the 46th over at the Eden Gardens.PAK vs BAN: AS IT HAPPENEDPakistan's three-pronged pace attack made a strong impression, both with the new ball and during the death overs. Only Mahmudullah managed to score a half-century for Bangladesh, reaching 56 runs.Openers Fakhar Zaman (81) and Abdullah Shafique (68) put together a commanding 128-run partnership, setting the stage for Pakistan's comfortable win, achieved with 17.3 overs to spare. This...
Sports

Van der Dussen says South Africa have no World Cup ‘choking’ hangover | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Rassie van der Dussen is steadfast in asserting that South Africa is not burdened by any Cricket World Cup baggage, even if their loyal fans may at times feel like they are "watching a movie they've seen before".South Africa's World Cup history has been marked by a lack of victories, despite the presence of cricketing legends such as Allan Donald, Jonty Rhodes, Herschelle Gibbs, Lance Klusener, and AB de Villiers.Since their inclusion in the event in 1992 after apartheid, they have yet to claim the World Cup title.South Africa has, on occasion, been the architects of their own misfortune, with instances such as the heart-wrenching tied semi-final against Australia in 1999, the misinterpretation of rain-affected run-rate regulations in 2003, and a nail-biting loss to New Zeala...
Sports

ODI World Cup: At Eden, Shaheen Shah Afridi shows he is Pakistan’s captain-in-waiting

The eyes of Eden Gardens always stopped at Shaheen Shah Afridi. His long limbs and blue eyes, his genial smile and the quiff the breeze could not ruffle. The crowd watched him, as though he had cast a spell on them. Babar Azam searched for him, whenever he needed a moment of inspiration, or a suggestion. His colleagues reached out towards him, if they needed a note of advice or help; the fielders would scream his name, whenever the ball ventured into the deep. Even the Bangladesh batsmen peered at him, to see whether he was warming up. He met the gaze, demands and needs of all. It was the evening where Afridi took on at least half a dozen guises — leader, lead-bowler, talisman, old-ball intimidator, new-ball virtuoso and hope-giver. His bowling set-up the day, his aura and leadership th...
Sports

How Team India skipper Rohit Sharma performed over the years at Wankhede – Times of India

NEW DELHI: When India take on Sri Lanka in their ICC World Cup match at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, it will be a special moment for skipper Rohit Sharma, who worked his way to the top grinding at the iconic venue since the days when he was an upstart.From the days of a babyfaced upcoming batter hailed by many for his talent, Rohit has come a long way as he will be captaining Team India in a World Cup match, a tournament he had missed out as a youngster back in 2011.The omission still pains India's 'Hitman' as he had to settle for watching Men in Blue lift the trophy after 28 years with a memorable win against Sri Lanka in the final at the same venue. 12 years later, he would be aiming to make his first World Cup match at Wankhede special for not only himself but his country t...
Sports

‘When your weakness is exposed…’: Misbah-ul-Haq on Shreyas Iyer’s short ball struggle | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Shreyas Iyer's inability to play the short ball has become a widely discussed topic and his removal from the team is imminent once Hardik Pandya makes his way back into the team.Iyer fell to the short ball against New Zealand in Dharamsala and he perished again in the same fashion in last game against England in Lucknow.Speaking on Iyer's trouble against the short ball, former Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq highlighted the fact that the batter is overthinking about the same and he goes for the pull shot on balls which aren't suitable for pulling."His average against fast bowling is around 19-20, and he struggles with short balls. When your weakness is exposed, all teams will take advantage of it. He anticipates the short ball, and often, even against short-of-length deliverie...