While other heavyweights like Germany, Argentina and Spain disappointed in World 2018, Brazil and Belgium have managed to hold firm as they made their way to the last eight.And now, the two of the biggest favourites to win the tournament will take on each other in the quarter-finals in Kazan on Friday.The teams have progressed through different means but each arrive with confidence after rousing wins in their last starts.Inspired by Neymar brilliance and the wiles of Willian, Brazil sent a tough Mexico side packing with a 2-0 defeat that cemented Tite’s side as favourites to claim a record-extending sixth World Cup trophy.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEIt was hardly such smooth sailing for the Belgians, who suffered a huge scare in their last-gasp 3-2 win over Japan.But their marauding finish, banging in three consecutive goals late in the tie to erase a 2-0 deficit, was a sobering reminder of the firepower at Roberto Martinez’s disposal.Against Brazil, however, Belgium’s formidable attack featuring captain Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku may be hard pressed to break down a stingy defence which has conceded one goal in their four matches at the tournament, and a total of six from their past 25.Also Read – World Cup 2018: Neymar has spent an astonishing 14 minutes on the groundTheir win over Mexico showed textbook defending from the central pairing of Thiago Silva and Miranda, assisted by full backs Fagner and Filipe Luis.If there is one glimmer of hope for Belgium, it might be the suspension of holding midfielder Casemiro, who picked up his second yellow card during the Mexico game.advertisementThe Real Madrid man has been key to Brazil’s structure, so his likely replacement, the 33-year-old Fernandinho of Manchester City, will have big shoes to fill.MARCELO RECALLAlthough Luis put in a solid display against Mexico, Tite may be tempted to recall his preferred left back Marcelo, who missed the match with a back injury but returned to training.Also read – World Cup 2018: Dazzling goals, memorable celebrations and the dance of joyAt the other end, Brazil’s attack has clicked after a disappointing start to the tournament, and even Neymar’s much-criticised histrionics could not completely overshadow a dominant performance against Mexico.They will look to exploit a Belgium defence that has let through four goals and has a trio of big centre backs that may be exposed for pace by the nippy Neymar, Willian and Philippe Coutinho.Belgium, bidding to reach their first semi-finals since 1986 in Mexico, face a huge challenge to knock off Tite’s men but after surviving Japan, they already feel they are playing with house money.”We can enjoy it from the first minute,” Martinez said.”I don’t think anyone expects us to go through to the semi-finals.”The winner will bid for a place in the final against either France or Uruguay.(With Reuters inputs)
There are two big events happening in the sporting world at the time — the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the Wimbledon Championships in London. As England marched on to their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal spread their magic at the All England Club.Wimbledon quarter-finals are set to begin on Wednesday — the day England take on Croatia in a bid to reach their first World Cup final since 1966.While tennis fans marvelled at the magic spread by the biggest tennis stars at the All England court, fans took to the streets to celebrate England’s quarter-final vs Sweden.England loves it sports but football remains the most passionately followed sport in the country and the performances put by Gareth Southgate’s men in Russia is making fans rally behind this young and vibrant team. The support for the young and vibrant England football team is growing louder with each match. (Reuters Photo)On the other hand, Wimbledon’s most loved man Roger Federer is also charging towards his ninth title, absolutely dominating his opponents.England is surely torn between its two big events.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEMeanwhile, Wimbledon officials have refused to show any football on the All England Club’s big screen, with the Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis sticking to his view that spectators coming to the grasscourt championships expect to see tennis and said that the big-screen policy will remain in place to limit the disruption caused to players.advertisementFans will, however, be able to follow the action in Russia on their phones and tablets using the tournament’s wifi signal.Wimbledon has also refused to alter the timings of the gentlemen’s final, which is all set to clash with the World Cup final in Russia.Also read – World Cup 2018: Alli critical of his performance ahead of Croatia clashThe World Cup final in Moscow is due to kick off on Sunday two hours after the traditional 2pm local time start of the men’s Wimbledon final – meaning the two matches are likely to overlap.”What will happen next Sunday is Centre Court will be packed for the men’s final and I’m sure people will be able to follow the World Cup final,” Lewis told reporters on Monday.”It’s not unheard of for there to be a ripple of applause or a shout when something special happens in a football tournament, and I’m sure everybody will understand if it does.”Also read – Watch: Roger Federer shows off his cricketing skills in WimbledonLast Saturday, fans deserted Centre Court immediately after Rafael Nadal booked his place in the second week of the championships as England were playing Sweden in the World Cup quarter-finals.Many spectators opted to leave the grounds and watch the match at neighbouring pubs, leaving Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka to start off their third round match in front of thousands of empty green seats.Those who stuck around seemed to be more interested in following the action in Russia on their electronic devices than watching the tennis match taking place in front of them.”Saturday was a fantastic day at the championships. We had superb tennis going on and we were benefiting from modern technology where people were able to follow the football, enjoy it, without disturbing other people,” said Lewis.Also read – World Cup 2018: Dealing with Croatia’s midfield biggest test for Southgate”I was out and about around the grounds and you could tell when England had scored… it was wonderful. We didn’t receive a single complaint from anyone who was here who felt their enjoyment of the tennis was interrupted and I’m sure it’ll be the same next Sunday.”Hopefully England will get through to the final and it will be one of the very special days at Wimbledon.”Lewis said the tournament had learnt its lesson after showing the 1996 European Championship semi-final between England and Germany, which was decided on penalties, on the big screen.Also read – Wimbledon 2018: Karolina Pliskova knocked out, Serena Williams advances”I gather it wasn’t very successful because it did interrupt people’s enjoyment of the tennis and what we did last Saturday actually did work very well,” added Lewis.Rather than worrying about what kind of disruption the World Cup final might cause to the two Wimbledon finalists, eight-times champion Roger Federer offered a different take on the potential clash. Wimbledon: Roger Federer has reached the quarter-finals and is charging towards a ninth title. (Reuters Photo)”I’m more concerned the World Cup final will have issues because the Wimbledon final is going on. They’ll hear every point, Wow, Love-15, 15-30,” the Swiss said with a smile.advertisement”The (football) players are going to look up in the crowd and not understand what’s going on at Wimbledon.”(With Reuters inputs)
England paceman James Anderson said it was the ideal conditions for him bowl after his 26th five-wicket haul helped the hosts bundle India out for 107 in their first innings of the second Test at Lord’s on Friday.After the entire first day was lost to rain, further wet conditions forced a delayed start with England captain Joe Root eventually winning the toss and putting India in to bat.Root was clearly hoping that the lingering damp and overcast conditions would benefit Anderson and the 36-year-old took full advantage with some outstanding swing bowling to finish with 5/20.”With the experience we’ve had of bowling on flat decks and the ball doing nothing, when you get the opportunity like that you lick your lips and try to show off your skills. We exploit those conditions as well as anyone in the world,” Anderson told reporters after second day’s play on Friday.Rohit Sharma, Amitabh Bachchan want fans to support Team India in tough timesAnderson said he believes even the home team’s batting line-up would have struggled against the England pacers.”I think if we were bowling at our batsmen, we’d have the better of them [too]. We exploit those conditions as well as anyone in the world. I don’t think it’s just the Indian batsmen that would have struggled.”I’d have been so disappointed if I’d messed up today because they were the ideal conditions to bowl in, the rain yesterday certainly made the decision for us at the toss but we didn’t think it’d do that much. It looked a good pitch, dry with a bit of green grass on top, but not too much. It wasn’t particularly warm, but warm enough, and that moisture that’s in the ground just helped it move around,” he said.advertisementIndia vs England: Virat Kohli’s cheeky act at Lord’s Long RoomAnderson said he feels a bit “unfortunate” to not get the better of Virat Kohli yet in the ongoing Test series. Anderson made Kohli his bunny when India toured England in 2014, dismissing him four times in 10 innings.”For me, I love playing against the best players in the world, testing yourself and seeing whether you can get the better of them. It’s a really thrilling thing to be a part of and unfortunately I’ve not got the better of him [Virat Kohli] yet, but I’ll continue to try my hardest throughout the rest of the series.”Kohli’s important because he’s captain, a leader and he’s their best player – No.1 in the world. But 90 percent of their top seven have scored runs against us in the past, so we can’t look just at Kohli as a big wicket,” he said.Virat Kohli’s mistake costs Pujara his wicket minutes before rain stoppageAnderson, who had generated movement off the seam as well as an impressive amount through the air, said he is happy to be delivering the goods for England even at this age.”All I think about is getting my body in as good a condition as it can be to cope with bowling out in the middle. I was delighted with how many overs I bowled at Edgbaston. For my body to get through that at this age I’m really happy with. I think I mean I’m doing the right stuff off the field.”But I don’t think about numbers or my age, I feel like, I won’t say 28, but 32. I don’t feel old, I feel like I can still throw myself around in the field as well as anyone else so as long as I feel like that I’m just going to keep playing as long as possible. Hopefully the wickets will keep coming as well and I can help this team keep winning,” he said.India vs England 2nd Test Day 2 at Lord’s: HighlightsEngland lead the five-match series 1-0 after a thrilling 31-run victory at Edgbaston last week in Birmingham. The third Test will be played at Nottingham from August 18.(With inputs from Reuters)
Rishab Pant’s second ball six on Test debut at Trent Bridge has won him more fans than any of his IPL pyrotechnics.Not for his bravardo, but for showing zero nerves in Test initiation; an occasion that leaves the best frozen. So much so that India’s original dashing keeper batsmen Farokh Engineer was left amazed.”My first three balls in Test cricket were three fours but out of sheer nervousness. Pant hit the second ball for a six and I am not sure, I have got to ask him whether it was out of nerves or confidence. If it is confidence, then hats off to him,” said Engineer.READ – India aim to level series at Rose Bowl after all-round Trent Bridge showFor the record Pant said, “I was nervous. But when I see the ball, I don’t think much. I just see the ball and react to it.”Pant has been pressing for India selection with some impressive performances over the last couple of years but most thought his game behind and in front of the stumps would be more suited to white ball cricket. Dhoni’s continued presence in Indian limited overs team and the void left by his absence in Test cricket hurried Pant’s Test debut.The other name from the Indian wicket keeping list Syed Kirmani is equally impressed by Pant’s confidence.REAd – England field 2 spinners, recall Sam Curran for 4th Test against India”I have been following him since his IPL days and the confidence on his face and in his approach, I haven’t seen in a young player,” he told India Today.advertisementExperts find it heartening that the Delhi youngster was not a let down with his primary task of glove work in challenging English conditions.”He showed immense promise and his reflexes are very very good, specially the catches he took behind with how much the ball moves in England; both in the air and off the pitch,” Engineer said.Pant benefited from his India A stint to English shores just before the current series where coach Rahul Dravid spoke positively of his career progress.Pant took seven catches behind the stumps in the Trent Bridge Test, dropping one. His didn’t look out of place in his first innings knock of 24 against seam and swing. Both Indian keeping greats think Pant is here to stay.READ – India give it back to Stuart Broad for Rishabh Pant sendoff”Dhoni reminded me of my younger days, Rishabh Pant also reminded me of my younger days. He a very very bright future,” thought Engineer.”He has to keep his head on the shoulders. I see him being in for the long haul,” said Kirmani.
By Philem Dipak Singh New Delhi, Sep 13 (PTI) Fighting a dope taint, weightlifter Sanjita Chanu’s troubles mounted Thursday with her ‘B’ sample also returning positive but the defiant Commonwealth Games gold-medallist will fight her case before the international body’s hearing panel. Chanu has decided to present her case before the hearing panel of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) in Hungary. If Sanjita fails to prove her innocence before the IWF hearing panel, she faces a maximum punishment of four years, as stipulated for a first-time offender. “The B sample test was sent to Sanjita on September 11 and we will present our case before the IWF hearing panel in Budapest. We will highlight the mistakes committed by the IWF in this case,” Sanjita’s brother Bijen Singh told PTI. “It (the international body) has admitted its mistakes. We are confident of winning the case,” he added. Should her fight fail in the IWF, Sanjita is likely to knock at the doors of the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland. “We will fight for justice till the end. We will do whatever is available to us. She has been wronged,” he added. In the letter which informed her about the ‘B’ sample result, the IWF had given time till September 18 to tell the world body whether she wishes to appear before a hearing panel. She was given the option to be present in person at a regular IWF hearing session, or at an extraordinary hearing, or through phone conference or skype.advertisement In reply, Sanjita wrote, “I would like to appear before the hearing panel through my representative (or myself) to prove my innocence.” Sanjita is now mulling whether to appear in person or send a lawyer. “Considering the cost involved for two persons (Sanjita and a lawyer) going to Hungary, we may send just a lawyer to represent her in the hearing in Budapest. But it is not yet finalised. We will take a call on it in the next few days,” Bijen said. The IWF, earlier in the year, admitted to committing an “administrative mistake” in giving the exact sample number of Sanjita in its report of her failed dope test. It had mentioned two different sample numbers in its communication of her dope flunk on May 15 and Sanjita had demanded an inquiry. The National Anti-Doping Agency said that the IWF’s admission will not have any impact on the actual doping issue. The admission from the IWF came after the issue reached the Prime Minister’s Office. The PMO had written to the Sports Ministry to look into the matter, which, in turn, directed the NADA to do so. Sanjita’s ‘A’ sample, taken out-of-competition in the United States on November 18 before the World Championships last year, tested positive for an anabolic steroid. The dope result (of A sample), however, came only on May 15 when she was put under provisional suspension. The ‘B’ sample request was made in June and the result was given to her on September 11. Sanjita has also requested the IWF to reveal the name of the weightlifter whose sample number is 1599176 and which was mentioned in one place in the letter sent to her informing her about her dope flunk. the number had (though mistakenly) appeared in my suspension order, I assume it is my right to know him/her. This will help me in convincing how the mistake occurred,” she said in the letter written to the IWF. PTI PDS PM PM
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has praised Rohit Sharma’s leadership skills in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018. Rohit (111 not out) notched up his 19th century in ODIs as he led India to a 9-wicket win over Pakistan in the Super Four in Dubai on Sunday.Rohit was named India skipper after Virat Kohli was rested for the Asia Cup. Rohit has been impressive as captain so far winning all the matches in the tournament and guiding Team India to the final.Rohit has so far captained India in 16 limited-overs matches and has tasted success in 14 of those games. He had earlier this year led India to victory in the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka.Rohit and Dhawan are one of the most successful opening pairs of all-time for India and on Sunday, they just proved why they are so effective and deadly in limited-overs cricket.Read – How Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan plotted record-breaking partnership vs PakistanThe pair complements each other very well and what works in their favour is both can change gears according to the situation of the game.On Sunday, as India took on Pakistan in their second Super 4 match, Rohit and Dhawan simply took the game away from their arch-rivals with their scintillating display at the top of the order.Also read – Dhawan, Rohit blast hundreds as India crush Pakistan againTheir record partnership of 210 runs in India’s chase of 238 was filled with extremely well timed shots, lots of running between the wickets and calculated risks.advertisementThe highlights of the partnership was how both complemented each other and played according to the situation instead of playing their natural attacking game on a pitch, that was tricky to bat on.”I think Rohit Sharma has done a great job as India skipper. He is leading from the front, he’s getting runs consistently and with ease. With him, Shikhar Dhawan is playing equally good. They are making things look so comfortable when they come out to bat. They look so calm and I think they have got every shot in their book,” Akram told India Today.Also read – Rohit Sharma celebrates 7000 ODI runs with 19th hundredCaptaincy has also got the best out of Rohit the batsman. He has so far scored 269 runs from four matches at an average of 134.50, including two fifties and a century.Harbhajan Singh was also all praise for Rohit’s captaincy in Virat Kohli absence.”Rohit has been scoring runs and leading the team from the front. He is showing the way. He has done a great job. We can say when Virat Kohli is not there, Rohit can be given the responsibility of leading the team,” Harbhajan Singh told India Today.India next play Afghanistan on Tuesday at the Dubai International Stadium.
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German tennis star Alexander Zverev’s energetic celebration scared a ball boy during his second round Shanghai Masters match against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.Zverev endured a tough challenge against Basilashvili on Wednesday but overcame his opponent 7-5, 6-4 to reach the third round of the compulsory ATP event in Shanghai.During the match, Zverev ran towards the front court and hit a backhand winner upon which he let off an intense roar and a fist pump celebration.His celebration that happened right in front of a ball boy sitting on the sidelines had the little kid lean backwards in absolute scare of getting hit.When you celebrate so hard it terrifies the ballkids #RolexSHMasters pic.twitter.com/eryoazYgYDTennis TV (@TennisTV) October 10, 2018Ball kids have been a reason of much debate recently in the world of tennis after a video of Spaniard Fernando Verdasco berating a ball boy for not bringing his towel quickly enough, went viral.At the Shenzhen Open, Verdasco, after playing a point, looked behind towards the ball boy asking him to bring his towel. In what he felt like a little delay, Verdasco made an unpleasant gesture towards the kid to bring the towel quickly.Also read – Shanghai Masters: Roger Federer battles past Daniil Medvedev to reach last 16Later, Belarus’s Aryna Sabalenka also drew criticism for shaking an empty water bottle in the direction of a ball boy in Beijing last week before she tossed it to the floor.On Tuesday, Roger Federer, who was a ball boy once himself, came out and said that players much respect the ball kids and unpaid volunteers because “they are also maybe the future of our game”.advertisementHe further added, “you don’t want to have them leave feeling like, oh my god, like I was not appreciated or I was not liked or it was actually a horrible thing, you know? So yes, it needs to be taken care of.”On Wednesday, Wimbledon’s commercial director Mick Desmond said Wimbledon was prepared to take action against the players who behave badly towards ball boys and girls and plans to discuss the matter with representatives of men’s and women’s tennis.In Shanghai on Wednesday, fourth seed Alexander Zverev edged one step closer to qualifying for next month’s ATP Finals with his entry into the third round.The 21-year-old German fought off a cold and showed great confidence to wrap up the victory at the Qi Zhong Stadium.”I played a solid match. I did everything that I needed to win,” said Zverev.”As you can probably hear in my voice, I’m a little sick right now, so feeling a little bit low energy, but I hope it will get better over the next few days.”(With Reuters inputs)
Rescuers: Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Tim PaineResult: DrawReward: The Inbetweeners and pizza!Australia secured an unlikely draw in the first Test of the two-match series against Pakistan in Dubai on Thursday.Usman Khawaja’s 141 and captain Tim Paine’s unbeaten 61 helped Australia survive 139.5 overs in enervating heat to ensure the series remains alive to the second match in Abu Dhabi.Chasing a world-record 462 for a victory, Australia were off to a solid start before three quick wickets dented the Tim Paine-led side’s hopes of a draw. From 87/0 to 87/3 with Marsh brothers — Shaun and Mitchell — falling without opening their account, Australia faced a prospect of another collapse.In the first innings, Australia had lost their 10 wickets for 60 runs thanks to debutant Bilal Asif’s six-wicket haul.Pakistan vs Australia, Dubai Test: MATCH REPORT | HIGHLIGHTSHowever, Usman Khawaja had other plans. In fact he looked like a man of a mission.Debutant Travis Head, who had failed to score even a single run in the first innings, and joined Khawaja at the crease and the two saw off almost the remaining 18 overs of day 4.Resuming on their overnight score of 136/3, Khawaja and Head batted more freely and put on a 132 run-stand for the fourth wicket. Khawaja was involved in two more important stands of 33 with Marnus Labuschagne and 79 with skipper Paine.Khawaja scored a career-defining 141 off 302 balls an innings that lasted 524 minutes. After his departure, Paine took the onus and batted with the lower-order batsmen and survived the remaining 14 overs of the day.advertisementMitchell Starc and Peter Siddle departed in the 128 over. With Australia 8 wickets down and had to survive the remaining 12 overs, Paine found an able partner in Nathan Lyon as Australia produced one of the bravest fourth innings escapes in the history of the game.READ – I was very nervous: Tim Paine after Australia hold Pakistan for thrilling drawIn the final 6-7 overs on Day 5, Paine and Lyon were involved in a very important conversation. How they will celebrate after the match?”Apparently we’re going to order a pizza tonight (Thursday night), go down to the team room and put The Inbetweeners on. That’s our reward,” Paine said.
Chelsea’s assistant coach Marco Ianni and Jose Mourinho were involved in a touchline melee after Chelsea scored a 96th-minute equaliser against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in Premier League.With the match ending in a 2-2 draw, Ianni performed an exuberant celebration right in front of Mourinho celebrating the equaliser. The Football Association (FA) on Tuesday fined Ianni 6,000 pounds for his actions.Getting annoyed by Ianni’s outlandish celebration, Mourinho had charged towards him but was stopped by the security. However, Ianni admitted the FA charge of “improper conduct” while Mourinho was “formally reminded of his responsibilities” by the FA but escaped any sanction.Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri had confirmed after the match that he had apologised to Mourinho for Ianni’s actions and the Chelsea assistant coach was later sent to Mourinho to do the same.Under-fire Jose Mourinho had been on the verge of delivering the perfect response to his critics on Saturday with Manchester United closing in on a second consecutive comeback win, at the home of his old club Chelsea to boot.But with only seconds remaining, Mourinho’s relaxed smiles gave way to snarls when the hosts snatched a last-gasp equaliser. Marco Ianni celebrated Chelsea’s last-gasp equaliser right in front of Jose Mourinho. (Reuters Photo) Jose Mourinho charged towards Marco Ianni after getting agitated by his actions. (Reuters Photo)Following the ugly melee at the end, as tempers cooled after the draw, the self-declared “Special One” stuck three fingers up to the home crowd, one for each of the league titles he won with the Londoners.advertisementChelsea fans, who once lauded their Portuguese hero by singing his name long and loud, responded to Mourinho’s behaviour with a far from adulatory version of the song.Just as during his two spells in charge of Chelsea, Mourinho is dominating the headlines, taking the attention away from his players unless, as in the case of Paul Pogba recently, they are involved in arguments with him.Also read – Jose Mourinho not interested in Real Madrid job, wants to stay at Manchester UnitedMourinho has been charged by the English Football Association for abusive language after a 3-2 win over Newcastle United this month, a match which Manchester United had been losing, adding to speculation that his job was on the line.United have lost ground on Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the table, having lost to Brighton and Hove Albion and West Ham United away and Tottenham Hotspur at home.Manchester City sit atop the points table with 26 points while Liverpool sit second with same points but due to a massive goal difference of 8 with City.Chelsea with 24 points and Arsenal with 22 complete the top four of the Premier League table.Manchester United are in the eighth spot, having won five, drawn two and lost three out of 10 league matches so far.(With Reuters inputs)
A German court sentenced a German-Russian man to 14 years behind bars on Tuesday for a bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund (BVB) soccer team bus in 2017 as part of a money-making scheme.The defendant, 29, identified by authorities only as Sergei W, had admitted to setting off the roadside bomb in April 2017, which injured one of the club’s players, but said he wanted to make money rather than harm or kill anyone.He had been charged with attempted murder, inflicting grievous bodily harm and causing an explosion.Also read – Borussia Dortmund players ‘hardly slept’ after bomb attack on bus “The deed was planned meticulously over a long period of time,” Judge Peter Windgaetter told the court. The defendant, he added, had acted out of greed and reckoned with the possibility that people in the bus could be killed.The team had been heading to the club stadium – Germany’s biggest with a capacity of 80,000 – for a Champions League match against AS Monaco when the bomb went off.Also read: German police probe possible Islamist links to Borussia Dortmund bus attackSpanish defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured and the match was delayed by a day.The defendant, who looked unmoved as the judge sentenced him, has expressed deep regret for the attack, saying he had not meant to harm anyone and made clear the aim was to trigger a fall in BVB’s share price from which he could profit.Also read: Champions League: Borussia Dortmund bus hit by explosion, one player injuredadvertisementThe judge said he had decided on the attack in October 2016 and tried to mislead investigators by writing fake letters from supposed Belgian Islamists claiming responsibility.Prosecutors, who wanted him imprisoned for life, had argued that the defendant bought some 44,000 euros ($49,800) worth of options on the day of the attack which he could have sold at a profit if the share price had dropped.In fact, BVB shares rose after the attack. Shares in the club also climbed 2.7 percent on Monday after the club’s latest victory in the Bundesliga took it to the top of the German table.Both sides left open the option of an appeal.(With Reuters inputs)
Pakistan hockey team has suffered two major blows ahead of their crucial Pool D match against the Netherlands as their captain Muhammad Rizwan Sr was out of the remainder of the tournament with an injury and their vice-captain Ammad Butt was handed a one-match ban on Thursday.Butt’s suspension though has kicked up a storm as team manager Hasan Sardar alleged the International Hockey Federation of bias. The World Cup-winning former was clearly not impressed with the ban handed by Christian Deckenbrock, the technical delegate at the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.Sardar claimed Deckenbrock was a Dutch official and that a “harsh decision” was taken by the FIH ahead of their match against the Netherlands, who need nothing less than a win to keep their hopes of sealing a direct quarter-final berth alive.”I think this is an afterthought but we have to play a match against the Netherlands and this decision was given by a Dutch technical delegate. They lost to Germany and this is a do-or-die match for them as well as us. So I think they have taken this harsh decision against us,” Sardar was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.As it turns out, Deckenbrock is a German and not a Dutch official as Sardar claims, according to The Times of India.Meanwhile, FIH has accepted Pakistan’s appeal against the ban and a hearing has been scheduled for Saturday, according to the news daily.”We have appealed against this decision and I hope the FIH would listen to our appeal and give a decision in our favour,” Sardar had said.advertisement”Ammad not only saved himself and a goal but also the Malaysian player. This is a biased decision,” he added.Shedding more light on the issue, Pakistan cheif coach Tauqeer Ahmad Dar, said: “Hassan Sardar was emailed in the morning that there is a decision pending against Ammad Butt and that he has done something very wrong.”He went to the enquiry, but there is no evidence but that is the decision of the Technical Delegate. We have appealed against that and I hope sanity prevails.”He was shown a video for just two or three minutes. It shows a Pakistani rusher trying to save a PC. A Malaysian forward is trying to score. One of our boys Abu Bakr got stitches because of a stick from a Malaysian boy. But that’s ok. It’s hockey not ping pong.”Having failed to clinch a win so far, Pakistan are currently placed third in the four-team Pool D table with one point from two matches. The four-time champions have lost the opportunity to clinch a direct quarter-final berth but they are still in with a chance to make it to the crossovers.(With inputs from PTI)Hockey World Cup 2018: FULL COVERAGE | SQUADS | SCHEDULE | TABLEAlso Read | Malaysia hold PakistanAlso Read | Pakistan stars woo fans in Bhubaneswar, dance to Bollywood songsAlso Read | Anil Kumble attends Argentina-France game as special guest
India suffered two major injury blows on Thursday as off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and batsman Rohit Sharma were ruled out of the second Test against Australia.Ashwin suffered a left-side abdominal strain, while Rohit jarred his back in the field during the first Test.Both players weren’t named in the 13-man squad announced for the Perth Test starting Friday (December 14). India lead the four-match series 1-0 after their 31-run victory over the hosts at the Adelaide Oval on Monday.Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja has been included in the squad while all-rounder Hanuma Vihari replaces Rohit.Fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have retained their placed in the squad.This is the second big injury blow for India ahead of a Test match on this tour after opener Prithvi Shaw was ruled out of the Adelaide Test due to an ankle injury he sustained during the warm-up match against Cricket Australia XI.Shaw continues to be out of the playing XI with Murali Vijay and KL Rahul holding on to their opening slots.Injury updates from BCCI:”Prithvi Shaw is recovering well from his left ankle injury but still undergoing treatment. He has been ruled out of the second Test.”R Ashwin has a left-sided abdominal strain. He is receiving treatment at the moment. He has been ruled out of the second Test.”Rohit Sharma jarred his lower back while fielding in the 1st Test at Adelaide. He is undergoing treatment. He too is ruled out of the second Test.”The team management is closely monitoring these players and a call on their availability for the third test will be taken at an appropriate time,” BCCI said in a statement.advertisementMeanwhile, The curator at the Optus stadium in Perth seems to have lived up to his promise of producing a fast pitch for the second Test between India and Australia starting Friday.The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted a picture of the pitch on Thursday and from the first glimpse it looks like fast bowlers are going to have a terrific time in the Test match.Thoughts on the Perth Pitch? #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/FQuUwRG3YtBCCI (@BCCI) December 13, 2018The wicket is covered in a thick layer of grass, so much so that it seems difficult to distinguish between the pitch and the outfield.India reached Perth on Tuesday and were expected to prefer rest over intense training sessions over the next few days. However, quite a few from the visiting camp turned up for an optional practice session on Wednesday.Perth – We are here! #TeamIndia #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/AHeGmgKVVQBCCI (@BCCI) December 13, 2018As it turns out, India trained at the iconic WACA Stadium, which has produced some of the fastest wickets in the past. Captain Kohli was spotted at the nets at the WACA along with vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and opener Vijay.So were the trio of Vihari, Parthiv Patel and Umesh which was benched for the first Test in Adelaide.India 13-man squad for 2nd Test: Virat Kohli (C), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.Also Read | India vs Australia: Perth pitch curator unveils a green-top wicket for 2nd TestAlso Read | To hell with nets? Not really. Team India sweats it out in PerthAlso Read | Have to be switched on from ball one against India’s bowlers: Marcus HarrisAlso Read | India a formidable opposition in tough conditions. Australia beware in Perth!
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson scored 91 as he and Tom Latham combined for 162 runs to drive New Zealand to 311 for two at stumps on the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.Williamson provided a batting masterclass in Wellington on Sunday to keep up his chase of Virat Kohli to become the world’s top Test batsman, just as the Indian skipper was showing his class in Perth.Latham was unbeaten on 121 at the close of play, having notched his seventh century after playing the anchor role for the hosts and helping them to a 29-run first innings lead with eight wickets remaining.Ross Taylor was 50 not out, but the day’s play was dominated by Williamson, who had risen to a career-best Test ranking of number two in the world – behind Kohli – after scoring 386 runs at an average of over 77 in the UAE against Pakistan.Coincidentally both he and his Indian counterpart were batting at the same time more than 5,200 kilometres apart.Kohli scored 123 in India’s first innings in the second Test against Australia but was far more circumspect than the 28-year-old New Zealander.Williamson, who replaced Jeet Raval after the opener was dismissed for 43 on the final ball before lunch, hit the first three deliveries he faced to the fence.He then accumulated runs at will and combined with Latham for 116 runs in 25 overs during the middle session.Shortly after Kohli brought up his 25th Test century at the Perth Stadium, Williamson looked well set to score his 20th at almost a run a ball.advertisementThe right-handed batsman, however, succumbed to what was the only mistake of his 93-ball innings when he swept part time offspinner Dhananjaya de Silva straight to Kasun Rajitha at backward square less than an hour into the final session.Tom Latham leads off finishing the day 121*.Ross Taylor brought up half century #30 and the BLACKCAPS have a 29-run lead.Great day of Test cricketCARD | https://t.co/eAi0AmMOt9#NZvSL pic.twitter.com/SAgFQCQ7y7BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 16, 2018Sri Lanka’s first innings lasted just three overs in the first session when Tim Southee grabbed his sixth wicket after a brilliant diving catch by Colin de Grandhomme at leg slip to dismiss Lahiru Kumara for a duck.The visitors were bowled out for 282 with Niroshan Dickwella left stranded on 80, while Southee finished with 6/68.(With inputs from Reuters)
Seven I-League clubs, including defending champions Minerva Punjab, will meet here Sunday to discuss their future course of action after the All India Football Federation decided to cut down the number of matches to be telecast live.Under this body — I-League (Private) Clubs Association– the teams have joined hands to fight against what they called the “injustice” by the AIFF.The AIFF has recently announced that the broadcasters would cut down on the TV coverage to just 31 matches of the remaining 61 in the season.While Mohun Bagan are the only side who could see all of their matches shown on TV, defending champions Minerva were the worst-hit, and Real Kashmir will be partially affected.Terming the initiative #SaveILeagueSaveIndianFootball, the clubs in a statement said this was an effort to “make our voices heard and in an attempt to mobilise the entire football community to fight the injustice being meted out to the Top Division Football League of the country.”Spearheading the initiative, Minerva owner Ranjit Bajaj has said: “There is a concerted effort to destroy the I-League. The time has come for all of us to protest unitedly and, if needed, approach the court.”The other member clubs are Chennai City FC, NEROCA FC, Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala FC, Real Kashmir FC and Shillong Lajong FC.Kolkata’s big two, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, and Goan heavyweights Churchill Brothers are yet to join the new body.”We have reached out to them and await their confirmation,” the statement said.advertisementAlso Read | India 23-man squad for 2019 AFC Asian Cup announcedAlso Read | India play 2019 AFC Asian Cup with dreams of 2026 FIFA World Cup
2019 has arrived and a new year calls for a celebration. Sports stars around the world welcomed the new year in their own way, some with their families, some shared moments with their fans and some just thanked for a solid 2018. In the new year, the world of sports will have India and Australia face each other in the final Test of a four-match series, starting January 3, Australian Open, the continuation of Premier Badminton League (PBL) and the continuing football season.Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli led the new year celebrations for the cricketers by posting a couple of images with his actor-wife Anushka Sharma. Shikhar Dhawan on the other hand posted a short video of his best moments from the year gone by.Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova posted videos of welcoming the new year and wishing their fans on the happy occasion while Novak Djokovic had some videos of his own to wish everybody.Many of the world’s badminton stars welcomed the new year in India with their PBL teams and danced the night away. Newlyweds Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap had the company of each other to welcome 2019.Here is how the sporting stars of the world brought in a new year.Happy New Year to everyone back home and all over the world, all the way from Australia. Have a wonderful year ahead God bless everyone. pic.twitter.com/ETr48NWbS5Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) December 31, 2018Looking back at few of the best moments from 2018. Here’s hoping the next year is better and brighter for everyone. Have a great year ahead guys. Rab rakha#flashback #happynewyear2019 #newbegginnings pic.twitter.com/wx13iXG16padvertisementShikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) December 31, 2018Wooohoooooo!!!Goodbye 2018 Let’s go 2019!#happynewyear pic.twitter.com/dwTB3dCGq0Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) December 31, 2018You’ve got mail from @ShenzhenOpenWTAFROM: @MariaSharapovaRE: New Year’s 2019 pic.twitter.com/ZtpXqM0SQ4WTA (@WTA) December 31, 2018Thank you guys for all the love and support in 2018! Awesome to experience this life journey with every last one of you. Where are you celebrating New Years??!!! #2018bestnine pic.twitter.com/6jZbzcS7tGNovak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) December 31, 2018Chest bumping into 2019 like….. pic.twitter.com/uSTmNJyFVpNovak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) December 31, 2018 Photo: Saina Nehwal Instagram Carolina Marin welcomed 2019 in India with her badminton mates. (Carolina Marin Instagram)Two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar posted an adorable video of himself with his kids celebrating the new year’s eve and captioned the same as, “Best way to celebrate the new year is with your kids.. Their innocence fills our heart with so much joy and happiness.. Hopefully this years brings a lot of happiness and success .. Need all tour blessings… HAPPY NEW YEAR.”He also posted a photograph of himself with his wife and wished everyone a happy new year all the way from Hong Kong.Happy new year to all and everyone back home all the way from Hongkong.. wish you hv a wonderful and prosperous 2019 pic.twitter.com/FUiARCNHPI Sushil Kumar (@WrestlerSushil) December 31, 2018Also Read | Watch: Indian cricket’s most viral videos of 2018 featuring Kohli, Jadeja and RainaAlso Read | We are Manchester United: Paul Pogba asserts everyone is enjoying themselvesAlso Read | Proud parents: Rohit Sharma and Ritika Sajdeh blessed with a baby girl
The Union Budget is one that carries around it an air of intrigue. We break down the mystique behind the process:TIME TABLEIt takes about five to seven months to prepare the Union Budget. The time-honoured tradition was to present the Budget on the last working day of February until 2017, when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley changed the date to February 1.BLUE SHEETThe first cut of the Budget, with key numbers that are updated with new data constantly, is always handed over to the FM in light blue paper. A colonial hangover, as historically blue stood for unedited, preliminary documents in British Parliament. The Blue Sheet is guarded to zealously that not even the FM is allowed to keep it with himself.TICK TOCK Until 1999, the Union Budget used to be announced at 5 pm. From 2001, FM Yashwant Sinha set a new tradition: the Budget hour is now 11 am. Yashwant Sinha holds his suitcase containing his budget proposal while leaving the Finance ministry building in New Delhi on February 28, 2001. (Photo: Reuters)LONG AND SHORTThe speech usually lasts about an hour, but not always. The longest speech was delivered by Manmohan Singh in 1991 (18,650 words), followed closely by Jaitley (18,604 words) last year. The shortest? By HM Patel (800 words) in 1977.SECRET FILESTight security measures, tapping of phones and computers, high-tech surveillance, sweeps for electronic bugs, hidden cameras, jammers and scanners are all pressed into service, to ensure nothing gets leaked before presentation as it did in the 1950s. Security force personnel use a sniffer dog to check bags containing budget papers inside the parliament premises in New Delhi, India, February 1, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)SWEET CEREMONY advertisementThe printing starts roughly a week ahead at a press in the basement of the finance ministry. The occasion is flagged off by a halwa ceremony when large quantities of the desi sweet are served by the FM to around 100 officers and staff. Arun Jaitley and other officials participating in the ‘halwa ceremony’, a ritual which marks the process of printing documents for the Budget for 2017-18.THE LOCK-IN The staff is then quarantined inside the North Block until the Budget is presented. They cannot leave the premises, cannot contact their family or friends; food tasters sample their food first; doctors stay on board; and if they need to step out in critical situations, they are accompanied by intelligence officials and the police.SAY CHEESE On Budget day, the FM holds aloft his briefcase right outside the Parliament for a press photocall, before setting off to deliver his speech, an essential custom that goes back all the way to Queen Victoria’s time. In the UK, the FM uses a red leather briefcase, a hand-me-down from his predecessors. In India, the finance ministry procures it. The memorable ones? Yashwant Sinha’s buckle strap leather case and Pranab Mukherjee’s red velvet briefcase. Pranab Mukherjee poses as he leaves his office to present the 2012/13 federal budget in New Delhi March 16, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)QUOTABLE QUOTES FMs invariably quote famous people during the Budget speech: Manmohan Singh favoured Rabindranath Tagore and Victor Hugo, Jaitley and P Chidambaram quoted saints Vivekananda and Tiruvalluvar respectively. Pranab Mukherjee, by contrast, had a penchant for quoting Kautilya and ShakespeareSARTORIAL SURPRISE The Budget Day is a day for making statements. And which FM does not want to wear his signature dress code? For Shanmukham Chetty, the first FM of independent India, it was dhoti-kurta and Gandhi topi; Jaitley would team his kurta pyjama with eyeball-grabbing Nehru jackets. Mukherjee would sport his trusted bandh-gala while Chidambaram always came in his starched white shirt and mundu. Budget fashion through the ages.LIVE COVERAGE OF INTERIM BUDGET 2019 | Will PM Modi bring the josh back before 2019 polls?READ | Budget 2019: What the aam janta expects from Modi govtFYI | Interim budget 2019 glossary: A layman’s guide to understanding key termsWATCH | Was the economy healthier under Manmohan Singh or PM Modi?
Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz is hoping to cement his spot in the World Cup team through his performance in the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL).The 33-year-old, who has been one of the most impressive bowlers of the PSL, said that the tournament is a good opportunity for him to be a part of the national squad.”PSL is a good opportunity before the World Cup. I have been bowling well in the leagues and I hope through my performance in the tournament I can become a part of the national squad,” Geo tv quoted Wahab, as saying.”Sure we play a lot of leagues and tournaments but there is nothing that comes close to playing for your country,” he added.Wahab’s team Peshawar Zalmi will play their opening match against Quetta Gladiators but the left-arm bowler said that he is looking forward to bowl against Lahore Qalandar batsman and South Africa star player AB de Villiers.”AB is one of the most destructive batsmen of the modern era and he is one of my favourite batsmen. I am looking forward to bowling to him. You can expect to see a healthy competition on match-day,” he said.PSL is slated to be held from February 14 to March 17. While the first leg of the tournament will be held in Dubai, the second leg will shift to Pakistan.Also Read | Franchise owners reject PCB proposal for women cheerleaders in PSLAlso Read | Australia refuse to play in Pakistan, PCB announces ODIs in UAEadvertisement
Real Kashmir FC coach David Robertson Wednesday expressed disappointment at Minerva Punjab’s no-show for their I-League game in Srinagar in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.Robertson is in the national capital with his team for the I-League clash against East Bengal, which was originally slated to be held in Srinagar but was subsequently moved out in view of the prevailing uncertainty in the Kashmir valley.”No idea about what is happening with the Minerva clash. It’s in the hands of the AIFF and they will make the decision,” Robertson said on the eve of the game.”It was disappointing not to play the game (Minerva). There was a game which was snowed off and then there was on game where the team didn’t show up. But then you just focus on the matches ahead.”Having pulled out of their game, Minerva Punjab had filed a writ petition in Delhi High Court in anticipation that the AIFF might award three points to RKFC, counting their withdrawal as a forfeiture.However, the court asked the club to take the matter to the league committee, which had referred it to the apex body’s executive committee.Justifying its withdrawal, Minerva had stated that it was not provided written security assurances. However, it refused to give up on points.Kicking off their debut season on a note that left many pleasantly surprised, Real Kashmir’s form of late has been a bit wobbly, having to contend with two successive draws on the road.”Before the season started we wanted to get as many points on the board as possible. We have had a fantastic season. If you get so close and don’t win you are more disappointed. If we could have held our own again Arrows the position would have been different,” Robertson said.advertisementTalking about the change of venue East Bengal gaffer Alejandro Menendez said, “This is better for everyone. Now we are going to play in Delhi. All players will play without thinking of anything else and focus on the game.
World number nine Ashleigh Barty continued her recent strong run of form and guided Australia to their first Fed Cup final since 1993 with a 3-2 victory over Belarus in Brisbane on Sunday.Barty, who won both her singles matches in the semi-final tie, and veteran Samantha Stosur beat Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 3-6 6-2 in the deciding doubles to set up a final against either France or Romania in November.What a star @ashbar96 is The Aussie has become the first player in #FedCup history to win all 3 rubbers in both the opening round and semi-finals #AUSBLR pic.twitter.com/FVYiRPY7U1 Fed Cup (@FedCup) April 21, 2019Australia, who have not won the title since 1974, will host the final against the winner of the second semi-final, which was locked at 1-1 in Rouen.”It’s super exciting to be in a Fed Cup final,” Stosur said. “We all work so hard all year and we’re such a tight team. We’re going to be giving it our best shot here in November.”Barty had earlier given Australia a 2-1 lead after a superb mixture of tactics, scrambling defence and a powerful service game to beat Sabalenka 6-2 6-2.It was her second singles win of the tie after she beat Azarenka on Saturday and her success came on the back of winning her first WTA Premier level tournament in Miami last month.”This crowd is unreal”Hear from Australia’s #FedCup heroes, @ashbar96 & @bambamsam30…Oh, we see you @Daria_gav pic.twitter.com/mS6h7HfWFHadvertisement Fed Cup (@FedCup) April 21, 2019Azarenka was originally not listed to play the doubles but after she dismantled Stosur 6-1 6-1 in 59 minutes to send the tie to the decider, she quickly had her racquets restrung and joined the 20-year-old in the doubles.SINGLES EVENThe tie had been locked at 1-1 after the opening day’s singles before Barty produced a high level of intensity to beat Sabalenka in Sunday’s first match.Despite the lop-sided scoreline, Barty was made to work hard by her fellow top-10 player Sabalenka, who lost control of the match in the fifth game of the first set when she served four double faults.Barty, who was forced to produce big serves to neutralise breakpoint opportunities in both the second and fourth games of the second set, broke Sabalenka and ended the Belarusian’s resistance when she served her eighth double fault.Azarenka sent the tie into the decider when she produced some of the high quality tennis that had propelled her to two Australian Open titles.The 29-year-old is making her way back up the rankings after she had a child and then faced a custody battle that restricted her travel.Even during the rallies the 35-year-old Stosur controlled, Azarenka chased the ball down and forced her opponent to keep making shots that resulted in the Australian making 35 errors.Also Read | Played one of my worst matches on clay in 14 years: Nadal after Monte Carlo exitAlso Read | Charleston Open: Madison Keys bags title with first win over WozniackiAlso Watch | Love the energy of the Indian players in the IPL before World Cup: Virat Kohli