India Levels Series with Resounding Victory Over South Africa in Shortest-Ever Test Match

India secured a convincing seven-wicket victory over South Africa at Newlands in the second test, leveling the two-match series at 1-1 in a match that concluded within five sessions. In a pursuit of a modest target of 79, India finished their second innings at 80 for three, strategically countering a challenging wicket that still favored the bowlers.

Rohit Sharma led the charge, remaining unbeaten at 16, while Shreyas Iyer contributed 4 runs. The wickets of Yashasvi Jaiswal (28), Shubman Gill (10), and Virat Kohli (12) were the only setbacks for the Indian side.

The brevity of the match, completed in 642 balls, raised eyebrows, setting a new record for the shortest-ever test match with a decisive winner, surpassing Australia’s 656-ball victory over South Africa in 1932. Reflecting on the achievement, India’s captain Rohit Sharma commented, “Obviously it’s a great feat, but having said that we had to learn from whatever mistakes we made (in the first test). The bowlers still have to put the ball in the right areas and the boys got rewarded for it. When you come to this part of the world, it’s always difficult, but we take pride in our performance outside of India.”

South Africa, winning the toss and opting to bat, faced a dire situation in their first innings, getting dismissed for a mere 55 on a record-breaking opening day. However, they made a comeback by restricting India to 153 in their first innings, a phase where the visitors lost six wickets without adding a single run, an unprecedented occurrence in 147 years of test cricket.

Jasprit Bumrah emerged as the star performer for India, claiming six wickets for 61 runs. His exceptional line and length, coupled with poor shot selection from the South African batsmen, played a crucial role in dismantling the home side. The hosts were bowled out for 176 in their second innings just before lunch on the second day, setting the stage for India’s triumph.

Aiden Markram provided a glimmer of resistance for South Africa, scoring a rapid 106 despite challenging conditions. His century, achieved in 99 balls, was an impressive display of skill. However, Markram’s aggressive approach cost him dearly, as he mistimed a delivery from Mohammed Siraj, resulting in a skied shot caught by Rohit Sharma at mid-off. Markram’s innings included 17 fours and two sixes.

Reflecting on the match, South Africa’s retiring captain, Dean Elgar, expressed disappointment over their poor first innings with the bat. “A tough one for us, we were positive coming into the game, but the first innings with the bat… India bowled well and used the conditions to a tee,” he remarked. Elgar defended his decision to bat first, stating, “It (the wicket) was a bit of a ripper, to the naked eye it looked a nice one, but it played different to what everyone thought it would play. I still don’t regret my decision to bat first, but they outskilled us in the first session.”

The series, now leveled at 1-1, has seen a reversal of fortunes for both teams. South Africa dominated the first test, winning by an innings and 32 runs, while India showcased resilience and adaptability to claim victory in the second test. As the cricketing world reflects on this intriguing series, the focus will undoubtedly shift to the upcoming matches, with anticipation building for more competitive and enthralling encounters between these two cricketing giants.

Travis Head’s Heroics Lead Australia to Sixth Men’s Cricket World Cup Title

In a thrilling finale in Ahmedabad, Travis Head’s sensational century propelled Australia to a historic sixth men’s Cricket World Cup title, securing a six-wicket victory over the tournament hosts, India. Head’s remarkable knock of 137 runs off 120 deliveries proved to be the game-changer, rescuing Australia from a precarious position of 47-3 in their pursuit of 241.

“Travis Head struck a magnificent, match-winning hundred as Australia claimed a record-extending sixth men’s Cricket World Cup title, breaking Indian hearts with a six-wicket win over the tournament hosts in the final in Ahmedabad.”

Australia faced early setbacks as Mohammed Shami dismissed David Warner (7) with his first ball, while Mitchell Marsh (15) and Steve Smith (4) fell victim to Jasprit Bumrah’s superb opening spell (2-43). However, Head, in a display of resilience, joined forces with the watchful Marnus Labuschagne (58 not out off 110 balls) to steer Australia away from trouble. Their remarkable 192-run partnership laid the foundation for victory, with Glenn Maxwell hitting the winning runs after Head’s departure.

“Head’s superb 137, off 120 deliveries, helped rescue Australia from 47-3 early on in their chase of 241 to win as he became only the sixth player to score a century in a men’s World Cup final.”

India’s innings, though initially promising with a blistering start from Rohit Sharma (47), lost its way after his departure. KL Rahul (66 off 107) top-scored, and Virat Kohli (54 off 63) contributed a half-century. However, the dismissal of key batsmen and the lack of all-round options in the lower order hindered India’s progress. Pat Cummins (2-34) dismissed Kohli, leading to a cautious approach from Ravindra Jadeja, Suryakumar Yadav, and Rahul.

“Earlier, KL Rahul (66 off 107) top-scored for India, while Virat Kohli (54 off 63) chipped in with a half century but the innings lost its way after a blistering, boundary-laden 31-ball cameo from skipper Rohit Sharma (47) at the top of the order.”

As Australia’s seamers exploited reverse-swing, Josh Hazlewood (2-60) and Mitchell Starc (3-55) secured crucial wickets. India’s total surpassed 200 when Rahul departed, leaving the tail with the task of reaching a competitive score. However, Australia’s bowlers maintained control, and India was eventually bowled out for 240 in the final over.

“With Kohli’s dismissal coming in the 29th over of the innings, and given India’s lack of all-round options in their lower order, Ravindra Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav, along with Rahul, were forced to bat cautiously.”

In Australia’s reply, Bumrah’s early double-wicket burst, combined with Shami’s dismissal of Warner, initially tilted the game in India’s favor. However, each breakthrough had an element of luck, with Warner and Marsh falling to short, wide deliveries. Head weathered the storm, survived against the seamers, and capitalized on the ineffective spinners to achieve his fifth ODI century.

“Early in Australia’s reply, Bumrah’s double-wicket opening burst, along with Shami’s first-ball dismissal of Warner, appeared to swing the game firmly back in India’s favour.”

Head’s century, marked by powerful strokes and strategic shot selection, played a pivotal role in Australia’s successful pursuit. Labuschagne’s half-century and Maxwell’s timely contributions secured the title with seven overs to spare.

“Shortly after smashing the returning Bumrah back out of the attack with three boundaries in an over, Head’s magic moment arrived in the 34th over, while he celebrated by smacking Jadeja into the stands in the next for the second of his four maximums (to go with 15 boundaries) in the innings.”

Australia’s captain, Pat Cummins, praised the team’s bravery and character, especially highlighting Head’s contribution. Rohit Sharma, the Indian captain, acknowledged Australia’s superior performance, stating that India tried everything but fell short in the final.

“We saved our best for last. The players stood up and were pretty chuffed. This is a year we will remember for a long, long time. My heart was fluttering [at 47-3] but Marnus (Labuschagne) had a cool head straightaway and Trav [Head] did what he does. He is really brave, takes the game on, puts the pressure back on the bowlers, and to do it on the biggest stage shows a lot of character. I couldn’t be happier for Trav. He is a legend.” – Australia captain Pat Cummins

“We were not good enough today but I am really proud of the way we have played since day one. Today was not our day. We tried everything but it wasn’t supposed to be. We got early wickets but Australia stitched a partnership and took the game away from us.” – India captain Rohit Sharma

Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain praised Australia’s victory as one of the great World Cup wins, highlighting Cummins’ brave decision to bowl first and the team’s exceptional performance in all aspects of the game.

“Australia always find a way and this has to go down as one of the great World Cup wins. India were undefeated and playing the best cricket in the tournament, all their players were in form, and 120,000 fans were expecting to turn up and watch India stroll to their third World Cup win. That was some performance. It was a brave decision from Cummins to bowl first at the toss. A weak captain would make a decision that, if it goes wrong and you lose, it makes you look less bad. But he made a really brave decision and the right decision. He absolutely nailed it. He nailed everything today: field placements, bowling changes. Everything was spot on.” – Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain.

New Zealand Secures World Cup Semi-Final Spot, Set to Face India in Repeat Showdown of 2019 Clash

New Zealand has officially secured a spot in the semi-finals of the 2023 World Cup, setting up a clash with India reminiscent of the 2019 tournament. The Kiwis’ advancement was confirmed when Pakistan fell short in chasing a formidable 338-run target against England within an unlikely 6.4 overs. Although Pakistan could potentially match New Zealand’s 10 points, they can no longer surpass the Kiwis on Net Run Rate (NRR).

Before the final set of group matches at the 2023 World Cup, Pakistan needed Sri Lanka to defeat New Zealand for a smoother path to securing a spot in the final four. A loss for the Kiwis would have given Pakistan an opportunity to surpass them in points with a victory over England. However, the Lankans suffered a crushing five-wicket defeat in Bengaluru.

India is set to face New Zealand in the ODI World Cup semi-finals for the second consecutive time. Four years ago, the Kiwis emerged victorious in a rain-affected match in Manchester, resulting in a 21-run loss for India across two days. In the current edition, India had previously defeated a Williamson-less New Zealand side by 4 wickets in the group stage last month. With the return of their captain, the Kiwis present a formidable challenge to India’s aspirations of reaching their first World Cup final since their 2011 triumph in Mumbai.

Despite the earlier setback, India enters the semi-final with increased confidence, poised to finish at the top of the group stage after their last match against the Netherlands on Sunday. Rohit Sharma’s team has maintained an undefeated record throughout the tournament and aims to continue this streak against the Dutch side in Bengaluru.

The match on Sunday will mark the conclusion of the group stage, with India resuming action on Wednesday for the first semi-final in Mumbai. Following that, South Africa will face Australia in the second semi-final in Kolkata on Thursday.

India’s Strong Presence in World Cup Semifinals

In the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023, Rohit Sharma-led team India is facing Temba Bavuma’s South Africa in their eighth match at Eden Gardens. India has already secured a place in the semifinals after a dominating performance against Sri Lanka, where they won by a massive 302 runs at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. This marks the seventh time that India has reached the semifinals in the 50-over World Cup.

Historical Journey to the Semifinals

India’s journey to the World Cup semifinals dates back to the 1983 Prudential Cup in England when they clinched their maiden World Cup title. This victory established India’s reputation as a cricketing force. They reached the last four in the following two editions held in India, in 1987 and 1996.

In 2003, India reached the semifinals in South Africa and came close to the final. The 2011 World Cup, hosted by India, saw them in the semifinals again. They repeated this feat in 2015, 2019, and the current 2023 World Cup.

1983 Prudential Cup Victory

In 1983, India defied expectations as underdogs in the third World Cup, held in England. They progressed to the semifinals and faced the formidable hosts, England, in Manchester on June 22. India’s performance in this World Cup silenced many critics and skeptics.

India reached the finals and defeated Sri Lanka to win their second World Cup title. This historic victory played a crucial role in establishing India as a cricket powerhouse.

2015 World Cup Disappointment

In the 2015 World Cup, India faced Australia in the second semifinal held in Sydney. Australia outperformed India in all aspects of the game, ultimately winning by a margin of 95 runs.

Key performances from Australian players, including Steve Smith and Aaron Finch, powered Australia to a total of 328 runs for 7 wickets in 50 overs. India’s response fell short despite notable innings from players like MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, and Ajinkya Rahane.

2019 World Cup Heartbreak

The 2019 World Cup was held in England, and India reached their sixth semifinal in Manchester, the same place where they played their first World Cup semifinal in 1983. However, they faced a different opponent, New Zealand.

Indian bowlers raised hopes by restricting New Zealand to 239 for 8 in 50 overs, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar taking three wickets. Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson were the top scorers for New Zealand.

However, New Zealand’s Matt Henry removed Indian openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma early in the innings. Despite efforts from Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni to stabilize the Indian innings, their departure marked the end for India. India lost the match by 18 runs.

Conclusion

India’s journey in the ICC World Cup semifinals has been marked by several highs and lows. They have shown remarkable consistency, with seven appearances in the last four stages, but victory has not always been guaranteed. The team’s historic win in the 1983 Prudential Cup set the stage for future success, and India’s strong presence in the 2023 World Cup semifinals reflects their enduring cricketing legacy. While they aim to clinch their third World Cup title, fans eagerly await their performance in the upcoming matches.

India’s Dominant Display Propels Them to World Cup Semi-Finals with a 302-Run Victory Over Sri Lanka

India secured their spot in the 2023 World Cup semi-finals with a commanding performance, overwhelming Sri Lanka by a staggering 302 runs in Mumbai on Thursday.

The unbeaten hosts executed a flawless strategy at the Wankhede Stadium, with three of their batsmen achieving half-centuries, propelling them to a commanding total of 357-8. Subsequently, their fast bowlers decimated Sri Lanka’s top order, reducing them to a precarious 3-4 and ultimately dismissing them for a meager 55 in just 19.4 overs.

Jasprit Bumrah (1-8) delivered a crucial breakthrough on the first ball of Sri Lanka’s chase, trapping Pathum Nissanka leg before with a late outswinger. Mohammad Siraj (3-16) followed suit, dismissing the other opener, Dimuth Karunaratne, with his first delivery.

The pivotal moment arrived when Siraj dismissed captain Kusal Mendis with a well-executed leg cutter. This sudden collapse, with Sri Lanka losing four wickets for just three runs, brought back memories of their dismal performance when they were bowled out for 50 by India in the Asia Cup final.

The in-form Mohammad Shami then took over, claiming two vital wickets in his opening over, further diminishing Sri Lanka’s resistance.

Picture: The National News

Shami was particularly lethal, taking five wickets for a mere 18 runs, including the dismissal of the last recognized batsman, Angelo Mathews, whose stumps were uprooted by an inswinging delivery, epitomizing Sri Lanka’s challenging day.

On the batting front, Virat Kohli narrowly missed equaling Sachin Tendulkar’s all-time record of 49 ODI hundreds, but it was still a memorable day for India.

Kohli and Gill’s partnership of 189 was disrupted after the early exit of India’s captain, Rohit Sharma. Despite this setback, Shreyas Iyer stepped up with a scintillating 82 off just 56 balls, which included six towering sixes, one of which measured an astonishing 106 meters.

Iyer’s explosive innings came to an end when he was caught out off Dilshan Madushanka, the left-arm pacer who left a lasting impression by finishing with figures of 5-80, making him the leading bowler in the World Cup with 18 wickets.

Sri Lanka had opportunities to dismiss both Gill and Kohli early in their innings. Gill was on eight when a diving Charith Aslanka dropped a challenging catch at backward point following a fierce drive off Madushanka. In the next over, Kohli was given a lifeline at 10 when pacer Dushmantha Chameera couldn’t hold onto a return catch from a leading edge.

Picture: The National News

These missed chances proved costly, as Kohli went on to complete a fifty at a run-a-ball rate, featuring eight boundaries. Gill, closely following Kohli’s lead, reached his half-century in 55 balls before smashing the first six of the match with a powerful pull shot over midwicket.

However, Gill’s promising innings came to an end just shy of a century when he was caught behind by wicketkeeper and Sri Lanka’s skipper, Kusal Mendis, while attempting an uppercut off Madushanka.

The atmosphere in the stadium turned somber as Kohli chipped a Madushanka cutter to cover-point, concluding a 94-ball innings that included 11 fours.

Despite this momentary dip in momentum, Iyer displayed his explosive prowess, propelling his team to an imposing total.

India’s dominant performance not only secured their place in the semi-finals but also sent a clear message to their competitors in the tournament.

South Africa Edges Pakistan in World Cup Thriller

In a dramatic showdown in Chennai, South Africa secured a thrilling one-wicket victory against Pakistan, significantly denting Pakistan’s hopes in the ongoing World Cup. This was South Africa’s first World Cup triumph over Pakistan since 1999, a significant milestone in their cricket history. The loss marked Pakistan’s fourth consecutive defeat in a global tournament, a streak they had never experienced before.

Semifinal Race Analysis

As the World Cup intensifies, the race for the semifinals is heating up. Let’s take a closer look at the current standings and prospects for the teams:

South Africa: With a solid 10 points to their name, South Africa appears to be on the brink of securing a spot in the semifinals. Another victory will almost certainly seal the deal for them.

India: The host nation has been dominant, winning all five of their matches. They are on the verge of clinching a semifinal spot, with one more win likely to make it official.

New Zealand: With eight points in their bag, New Zealand aims to secure at least two victories in their remaining four games to solidify their semifinal chances.

Australia:Australia, with three wins out of five matches, is in a good position to reach the semifinals. Their upcoming matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh provide them with opportunities to strengthen their standing.

Sri Lanka:Back-to-back wins have rejuvenated Sri Lanka’s campaign, bringing them back into the semifinal conversation. However, they might need to win all their remaining fixtures to ensure a spot in the semifinals.

Pakistan:Having suffered four defeats out of six matches, Pakistan’s semifinal hopes are hanging by a thread. To stay in contention, they likely need to win all their remaining matches and rely on favorable net run rate calculations.

Afghanistan:Although mathematically not out of the equation, Afghanistan will probably focus on adding more upsets to their credit, as they have already achieved two in the tournament.

Bangladesh:With only two points from five matches and a lackluster performance so far, Bangladesh’s chances of progressing to the semifinals seem increasingly dim.

England: The defending champions, England, have experienced a dismal title defense and are facing elimination. Their own assessment acknowledges that their journey in the tournament is near its end.

Netherlands: The Netherlands, despite their underdog status, have shown resilience and secured a notable upset. They will aim to defeat the other teams in the lower half of the points table before bidding farewell to the tournament.

The World Cup continues to offer thrilling moments and unexpected twists as teams battle for a coveted spot in the semifinals.

India Dominates England to Secure Sixth Consecutive Victory

The Indian cricket team at the World Cup has been unstoppable, and their latest triumph against England at the Ekana stadium only reinforced their dominance. England, once considered prime favorites and the defending champions, fell short in a 100-run loss as India put up a remarkable performance with both bat and ball.

India set a target of 230 runs, which England would have hoped to chase down, given the challenging conditions. However, it was India’s bowlers who stole the show, maintaining precision from the outset.

Jasprit Bumrah, the spearhead of the Indian bowling attack, played a pivotal role in England’s early downfall. He removed Dawid Malan and Joe Root in quick succession. Malan’s dismissal came as he attempted a risky cut and ended up chopping the ball onto his stumps. Root, known for his tendency to play across the front pad early in his innings, fell victim to a well-executed inswinger from Bumrah.

As India replaced Mohammed Siraj with Mohammed Shami, the pressure intensified on England. Ben Stokes struggled to connect with balls outside off-stump, resulting in a series of dot balls. His impatience led to his dismissal as he swung across the line and lost his stumps. In the same over, Jonny Bairstow played onto his stumps, leaving England at 45/4.

The introduction of Kuldeep Yadav in the 14th over further compounded England’s woes, and they found themselves at 52/5. Kuldeep’s deceptive delivery pitched outside off and spun back so fiercely that England’s captain, Jos Buttler, couldn’t prevent it from crashing into the stumps. Kuldeep also dismissed Liam Livingstone, ending with two crucial wickets. Shami finished with four wickets, while Bumrah cleaned up with a perfect yorker to Mark Wood’s stumps.

The win wouldn’t have been possible without Rohit Sharma’s exceptional performance with the bat. India was in early trouble at 40/3, but Sharma, along with KL Rahul, orchestrated a recovery with a 91-run partnership for the fourth wicket. While the rest of India’s top order struggled, Sharma showcased his ability to grind runs on a challenging pitch. Known for his pull shot against pace bowlers, Sharma’s footwork against spin often goes underappreciated. He displayed his nimble footwork against the spinners, using sweeps and deft placements to maneuver the field.

Rahul’s dismissal was a setback for India, and as he tried to clear the infield, the ball ended up safely in Bairstow’s hands. The slowness of the pitch eventually got the better of Sharma too. He had read Adil Rashid’s googly early but couldn’t clear the boundary, finding Livingstone at deep midwicket.

A surge from Suryakumar Yadav (49 runs off 47 balls) allowed India to cross the 200-run mark. Suryakumar’s ingenuity was on display as he played an array of innovative shots. Whether it was moving inside the line to help a short delivery over fine leg for six or executing fierce sweeps, Suryakumar’s innings was a crucial contribution to India’s perfect campaign.

India’s convincing victory over England showcased their strong team performance, with key contributions from Rohit Sharma with the bat and their potent bowling attack. England, once favorites, have struggled in the tournament, while India continues to shine in pursuit of World Cup glory.

Like Sachin Tendulkar in 2011, Virat Kohli carries Team India on his shoulders

Virat Kohli came tantalizingly close to matching Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries. With just five runs needed to chase down New Zealand’s 274, Kohli was on 95 when he flicked a delivery from Matt Henry straight into the hands of Glenn Phillips. He acknowledged the crowd’s applause with a sheepish smile and a wave of his bat as he walked back to the dugout, just shy of his century.

While Kohli missed reaching the three-figure mark on this occasion, it seems only a matter of time before he equals and then surpasses his idol’s record. But beyond individual achievements, Kohli is playing a role akin to Tendulkar’s during the 2011 World Cup. He serves as the talisman and nucleus of the Indian team. In the 2011 World Cup, Tendulkar was India’s highest run-scorer, amassing 482 runs at an average of 53.55, including two centuries and two half-centuries. In the current campaign, Kohli has already accumulated 354 runs at an average of 118 in five matches. With the exception of the Pakistan game, he has played a crucial role in all of India’s victories in this tournament.

When asked about Kohli’s form and approach, Indian captain Rohit Sharma was left almost speechless, stating, “Nothing much to say about Virat. We’ve seen him do this for so many years. He backs himself to do the job.” Describing Kohli’s genius seems to have exhausted superlatives.

As much as Kohli is an asset to his own captain, he poses a formidable challenge to rival captains. New Zealand’s stand-in captain, Tom Latham, explained the difficulties of facing Kohli, saying, “As a captain, you have to be proactive but also work to your plans. Virat has a response to most plans.” These sentiments mirror the descriptions of Tendulkar’s batting.

All of Kohli’s performances in this World Cup have come at critical junctures of the matches and have had a significant impact. In the opening game against Australia, he came to the crease early, with India chasing 201 on a turning wicket. Despite early setbacks, Kohli displayed composure and provided a masterclass on anchoring a chase on difficult pitches. His approach was typical Kohli, with sharp running between the wickets, precise placement of singles, occasional boundaries, and gradually asserting dominance over the bowlers.

Kohli followed this with an unbeaten half-century against Afghanistan on a batting-friendly track and a vital 16 against Pakistan. He then played a match-winning knock of 103 not out against Bangladesh in a tricky situation when India lost both openers early. In these scenarios, Kohli has consistently brought calmness and patience, guiding the team to victory. Since Tendulkar’s retirement, Kohli has taken on the role of carrying the hopes of a billion people on his shoulders.

It’s symbolic that Kohli carried Tendulkar on his shoulders for a lap of honor at the Wankhede Stadium after India’s World Cup triumph in 2011. Kohli described this gesture poetically, saying, “He has carried the hopes of a nation for so many years. This was that gift from all of those people for him because he kept giving, giving, giving for India, and I thought what better way at his home ground to realize his dream and then he gets a lap of honor.”

For the next decade or more, Kohli would shoulder the hopes of his nation. He was already an established batsman, but in the years that followed, he became the flag-bearer of the nation, excelling in all formats, becoming an all-time legend, arguably the finest ODI batsman the game had ever seen, and a successful captain who molded the team in his own image, making them an indomitable unit.

If MS Dhoni was the finisher, Kohli carved a niche as the chase-master. Steep run chases brought out the best in him, with 23 of his 48 centuries coming in successful chases. He boasts an astonishing average of 90.40 in 96 games that India has won while chasing. But it’s not just the numbers; it’s the way he approaches chases that makes it an unforgettable experience. His settling in, gradually setting the tempo with boundaries, accumulating singles and doubles, and achieving the target with minimal fuss – this is the spectacle of Kohli. His innings of 95 against New Zealand was quintessential Kohli.

From this point on, fans will eagerly flock to stadiums and screens, not only to witness India’s victories but also to see Kohli equal Tendulkar’s record. Even more gratifying for Kohli and his team would be if someone carries him on their shoulders for a lap of honor on the night of November 19th in Ahmedabad.

Cricket Coming To The 2028 LA Olympics

Flag football and squash will make their Olympic debut in 2028, among five new sports added to the schedule for the Los Angeles Summer Games, as revealed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday. Alongside these additions, cricket, lacrosse, and baseball-softball will also join the roster, aimed at diversifying the viewer base.

In a statement, IOC President Thomas Bach highlighted the selection of these additional sports as being in harmony with American sports culture and their potential to introduce iconic American sports to a global audience, while also bringing international sports to the United States, thereby making the Olympic Games LA28 distinctive.

Cricket, a sport of massive popularity in India, a country with a population of 1.4 billion, will return to the Olympics for the first time since 1900, featuring the shorter T20 format, a three-hour variation that has thrilled cricket enthusiasts. Sachin Tendulkar, a renowned cricketing figure, expressed his excitement, saying, “This marks the dawn of a new era for cricket as it will be a golden opportunity to foster inclusivity and showcase new talent from emerging cricketing nations.”

Lacrosse will make its Olympic return, having been previously contested in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics and more recently as a demonstration sport in 1948. In LA, the version being played is called sixes, a fast-paced variant of lacrosse introduced in 2018. The IOC acknowledged the Indigenous North American origins of the sport.

Flag football, a non-contact iteration of American football, secured a place in the Olympics following a campaign by the NFL advocating for its inclusion. Notably, more children aged 6 to 12 in the U.S. participate in flag football compared to tackle football.

Squash, played by 20 million enthusiasts across 180 countries, will debut at the 2028 Olympics after previous attempts to secure a spot fell short. Former world champion squash player Jonathon Power emphasized the sport’s passionate following and its potential for unique venues due to the use of glass walls in gameplay. He stated, “They put some of the tournaments at the foot of the pyramids or in Grand Central Station. They can basically put this four-wall glass court in some really spectacular settings.”

While baseball and softball have been part of previous Olympics, including the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, they are not slated to feature in the upcoming Paris Games in 2024.

Additionally, the IOC announced that modern pentathlon and **weightlifting** will continue to be part of the Olympics despite not being initially included in plans. Modern pentathlon made changes by replacing its horse riding event with obstacle racing to reduce costs. Weightlifting had faced scrutiny following a doping scandal, prompting the IOC to closely monitor anti-doping efforts in Paris next year.

In early 2022, 28 sports categories were announced for the LA Olympics, including skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing, reflecting the ongoing efforts to keep the Olympic program dynamic and appealing to a diverse global audience.

Ravindra Jadeja Is 2nd Indian To Achieve ODI All-Round Feat

In their final Asia Cup Super 4 match, Team India continued their remarkable performance against Bangladesh in Colombo. Opting to bowl first, India dismantled an erratic Bangladeshi batting order, reducing them to 59/4 in 14 overs. Although Bangladesh briefly rallied with captain Shakib Al Hasan (80) and Towhid Hridoy (54) providing resistance, Shakib’s dismissal just after the drinks break in the 33rd over triggered yet another collapse. In the very next over, Ravindra Jadeja dismissed the new batter, Shamim Hossain, achieving a significant milestone in his ODI career.

This dismissal marked Jadeja’s 200th wicket in the ODI format, placing him in an elite group alongside the legendary former Indian captain, Kapil Dev, as the only two Indians to have both 200 wickets and over 2000 runs in ODIs. Among international cricketers, Jadeja joined the esteemed ranks of Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi, Shakib Al Hasan, and Daniel Vettori, all of whom have accomplished this remarkable feat.

Jadeja’s achievement also made him the seventh Indian bowler to reach the coveted 200-wicket milestone in ODIs. In this illustrious list, he joins Anil Kumble (337), Javagal Srinath (315), Ajit Agarkar (288), Zaheer Khan (282), Harbhajan Singh (269), and the aforementioned Kapil Dev (251).

Picture: TV News

Kapil Dev, with a career spanning 253 wickets and 3783 runs in 225 ODI matches, was a true pioneer, becoming the first Indian bowler to reach the 250-wicket mark in ODIs. In contrast, Jadeja’s bowling record stands at 200 wickets in 174 ODI innings, with an average of 36.83 and an economy rate of 4.89.

Moreover, Jadeja’s contributions with the bat in ODIs have been equally noteworthy. He has accumulated 2578 runs from 123 innings, boasting an impressive average of 32.22 and securing 13 half-centuries.

In their final Super 4 clash against Bangladesh, Team India chose to rest several key players, including star batsman Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Hardik Pandya. Despite these absences, India secured their spot in the final, where they will face Sri Lanka, who clinched a thrilling 2-wicket victory in a last-ball finish against Pakistan in their previous match.

India’s Captain Rohit Sharma Inaugurates Bay Area Cricket Academy

Six IPL Trophies, five of them as captain; Owner of the highest score in One Day International History, a mammoth 264; A 2007 T20 World Cup Winner; Winner of 3 Asia Cups; One of the best opening batters of his generation, the current captain of the Indian National Cricket Team for all three formats of the game, Rohit Sharma, Inaugurates Bay Area Cricket Academy here last week. 

Cricket fans queue up

Rarely does a player of his caliber make a U.S. visit, but when they do, public interest in cricket spikes. It did so on August 5th this year, when Rohit Sharma arrived in the Bay Area to inaugurate his cricketing academy – CricKingdom – in its very first location in the United States.

The red carpet event was graced by prominent figures from the cricketing world and beyond. Rohit Sharma was joined by his wife and manager Ritika Sajdeh, as well as ace USA bowler Saurabh Netravalkar, the mayors of Milpitas and Fremont, and USA Cricket officials such as West Zone coordinator Prakash Giri. 

While it was a momentous day for Bay Area cricket at our local ‘US Cricket Store,’ the event did not come cheap. It cost $150 to enter and fans were charged up to $500 for a picture or autograph. 

But that did not deter the cricket enthusiasts who lined up outside the store long before the event started. From elementary school children to grandparents, young cricketers, and their parents, fans were eager to meet the cricket star face to face. One young fan said, “I can’t believe I saw him in real life! After watching him on TV so much I finally saw him in person!”

An engaging press conference

Speakers blasting music by Yo Yo Honey Singh heralded Sharma’s grand entrance into the venue. Once the excitement subsided, a local Bay Area dance group performed to Bollywood hits such as the title song from Shah Rukh Khan’s most recent movie Pathaan. 

The press conference that followed was completely engaging. Sharma is known for his witty responses to reporters’ questions answers, but what was apparent was his dedication and passion for the game! Sharma showed himself to be a true team player and a perfect captain for his country. 

When asked which game he would remember for his entire life, Sharma mentioned not just the games to which he had made strong contributions, but also the matches where India had done well as a team even though his own performances may have fallen short! 

Sharma was very modest, humbly sharing how he idolized Sachin Tendulkar and feeling tongue-tied around him. It was an eye-opening revelation to realize that athletes are actual people too. What we see on TV is just such a small part of athletes’ lives, and we don’t realize all that goes on behind the scenes. Sharma talked about his struggles with injuries and the pressures of being captain of the Indian cricket team. 

Sharma graciously answered some questions from reporters. His answers have been lightly edited for publication.

If there was one game that you will remember your whole life, which one would it be?

RS: When you have a career of 15-16 years, there are so many games that you don’t want to forget. For example, my first ever 100-run partnership with Sachin, going back to 2008 in the CB Series. I had never played with him. What happened was I got to bat with him in the finals, and I have always idolized him.  Even when I was in the dressing room with him I never used to really talk to him, because from childhood I had seen him, and now he was sitting in front of me. I was just wondering, ‘What is Sachin Tendulkar?’ What does he look like?’ Then he came to bat with me and we got a 100-run match-winning partnership. We went on to win that first final and …the CB series also, which was the first time that India won. 

The 2007 World Cup was also really special. My 264 was also memorable and my test cricket debut hundred.

And then, although I didn’t make a significant contribution in that test match, the one that we won in Gabba (Australia) in 2021. That was probably the best test match that India has ever played or the best that I have ever watched. India has never won there. India won in Gabba…the most difficult place in Australia, … to win that test match with so many injuries, like 7 or 8 of … our players were injured on the tour.

You started your career off as a spin bowler, so shouldn’t you have a couple of chances to roll your arm over?

RS: Of course, that has been on my mind for the past 4-5 years. Unfortunately, as an off-spinner, I have to hold the ball with my middle finger and my index finger, and you have to have a revolution on the ball for it to do something off the pitch. I got hit here 2 or 3 times, – dislocation, fracture, and things like that. So whenever I bowl, it hurts. That was actually compromising while holding my bat. I didn’t want to do that, because on a team, my main role is to score runs with the bat, not off-spin. That is where I had to sacrifice my bowling so that I could be 100% on my batting. I’ve given it enough time, enough work on the fingers, but it never turned out well. 

How did you get the nickname ‘Hitman’?

RS: That was a production guy in India from Star Sports. One of the crew from Star Sports, when scored my first double hundred against Australia in 2013 – I think it was a world record for hitting 16 sixes which was later equaled by Shane Watson a few years later – but until then, in 2013, 16 sixes was a world record. So when I was at the presentation ceremony for man of the match and also player of the series, one of these guys – we call him PD – he was the one that came to me and said, “You know, you are a hitman yaar. The way you hit the ball is a hitman.”

This was actually said to Ravi Shastri while he was commentating on air, and Ravi Shastri said, “He is the hitman of Indian cricket.” After that, actually, it started catching on, and my team started calling me that. You know how it spreads. Now, 10 years later, everybody knows it. 

When it comes to CRICKET, SLING TV is the destination!

Denver, Colorado – SLING TV announced its Cricket series line up today that includes ICC fixtures and a variety of other series.

Sling TV offers the best cricket package available in the U.S. Between India vs. Australia, India vs. South Africa, ICC T20 Men’s World Cup, Pakistan vs. England & so many more matches, Sling offers fans the most year-round cricket available in the U.S. for the best price on the market.

For the upcoming ICC T20 Men’s World Cup, fans can watch the series for just $7/mo. compared to ESPN+ at $10/mo.

Sling will be showing all matches between Oct. 16 – Nov. 13 LIVE on Willow HD and Willow Xtra.

With a Sling subscription, fans will get exclusive features like Catch-Up TV that automatically saves every match up to 8 days after it airs. This feature is exclusive to Sling and will make viewing this year’s World Cup matches (held in Australia) far more convenient, considering the differences between U.S. and Australian time zones.

Bilingual commentary in Hindi and English for the entire World Cup and multiple screens which allows simultaneous viewing of any content on up to three devices.

Sling TV offers more than just Cricket for South Asian audiences. Sling is the only place that offers complete Desi entertainment packages with exclusive content, news, web series, dramas, family-friendly programs & cricket all in one place.

Top packages on Sling TV for South Asian Audiences: Desi Binge PlusSouth PlusUrdu Pack.

Desi Binge Plus – With SonyLIV, VOOT, MX ONE, EROS, Willow HD & Willow Xtra this pack offers top shows like “Scam”, “Kapil Sharma”, “Bigg Boss”, “India Idol”, “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, “Asharam” and more along with unlimited LIVE cricket.

GET THIS for just $15 $10/mo. for your first month – Limited Time Offer.

South Plus – With Simply South, Willow HD & Willow Xtra this pack is ideal for movie and cricket lovers. Get access to over 1000+ latest movies in Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam languages along with unlimited LIVE cricket.

GET THIS for just $10/mo.

Urdu Pack – This package offers subscribers the best of Pakistan dramas and entertainment, along with unlimited LIVE cricket. GET THIS for just $10/mo.

When you subscribe to watch cricket on Sling TV, you also get:

  • 50 hours FREE DVR, you can record and watch it when you want.
  • You can simultaneously watch on three devices.

India Hammer England By 5 Wickets, Win Series 2-1

Hardik Pandya’s impressive all-round show along with Rishabh Pant’s fantastic maiden century in the 50-over cricket helped India thrash England by five wickets in the third and final ODI and win the three-match series 2-1 at Old Trafford, here on Sunday.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya (4/24) and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s (3/60) superb bowling efforts helped India bowl out England for 259 in 45.5 overs.

Skipper Jos Buttler played a vital knock (60 off 80) for England, who were invited to bat first by India captain Rohit Sharma. Apart from Buttler, Jason Roy (41), Moeen Ali (34), and Craig Overton (32) were the other main contributors with the bat for the hosts. Besides Pandya and Chahal, Mohammed Siraj (2/66), and Ravindra Jadeja (1/21) were the other wicket-takers for India.

Chasing a challenging total, India were in deep, deep trouble at 72-4 in 16.2 overs after losing the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan (1), Rohit Sharma (17), Virat Kohli (17), Suryakumar Yadav (16).

But Hardik and Pant batted sensibly, found regular boundaries and stitched a match-winning stand of 133 runs. Pandya (71 off 55) got out in the 36th over of the innings when India needed 55 runs.

However, Pant became even more aggressive and went on to hit his first ODI century. He remained not out (125 off 113) and along with Ravindra Jadeja (7 not out off 15) helped India to a thumping five-wicket victory in 42.1 overs.

Reece Topley (3/35) was England’s most successful bowler while Brydon Carse (1/45) and Craig Overton (1/54) also chipped in with one wicket each.

Brief scores: England 259 all out in 45.5 overs (Jos Buttler 60, Jason Roy 41; Hardik Pandya 4/24, Yuzvendra Chahal 3/60) lost to India 261-5 in 42.1 Overs (Rishabh Pant 125 not out, Hardik Pandya 71; Reece Topley 3/35) by five wickets.

Cricket Comes To Bridgeport, CT

The City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, announced its support for the development of an International Standard Cricket Stadium and Practice Facilities in the city of Bridgeport, capable of hosting International level matches with an eye towards bagging a game or two in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup to be jointly hosted by the US and the Caribbean. The stadium proposal was presented by Connecticut Cricket Inc. (CCI), who anticipate the successful completion of the new stadium in time for the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup in the hope of hosting matches at the venue.

CCI leaders find Bridgeport to be the ideal location to bring top-level cricket to the Northeast United States. “Bridgeport has the perfect mix of accessibility, infrastructure and cricket history” said Ravi Nichani, a CCI principal. “The support and interest of the municipal leaders is gratifying, and we look forward to a long relationship between cricket and the City” added Mr. Nichani.

Bridgeport Mayor, Joseph P. Ganim, offered strong support of the City of Bridgeport to the future development of the cricket stadium in the city. “Bridgeport is impressed with the experience and capabilities of the CCI leadership and their proposed plan and looks forward to working together to achieve this goal of bringing the 2024 World Cup to Bridgeport, as well as establishing Bridgeport as an international cricket location” Mr. Ganim said.

Bridgeport, Connecticut is located 60 miles northeast of New York City, adjacent to the Long Island Sound and is well connected by Metro North, ferries to Long Island and interstate highways that connect Bridgeport to New York and New Jersey.

Shane Warne: Cricket Legend From Australia Dies At 52

Legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, has died of a suspected heart attack aged 52.

Warne took 708 Test wickets, the second most of all time, in 145 matches across a stellar 15-year international career.

He had been found unresponsive in his villa on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Friday, said his management company.

“It is with great sadness we advise that Shane Keith Warne passed away of a suspected heart attack,” it added.

“Despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived.

“The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Warne’s family will be offered a state funeral for him.

Warne helped Australia win the 1999 50-over World Cup and claimed 293 dismissals in 194 one-day internationals between 1993 and 2005.

In 2000, he was named one of the five Wisden cricketers of the century, alongside Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Sir Viv Richards.

He retired from international cricket in 2007 following Australia’s 5-0 Ashes clean sweep of England at home.

Warne also retired from first-class and List A cricket later that year, ending a seven-year spell with Hampshire, who he had captained since 2004.

He continued to play Twenty20 franchise cricket until retiring from all formats in 2013.

Warne worked regularly as a commentator and pundit, as well as holding coaching roles at T20 franchises.

He is survived by his three children with former wife Simone Callahan.

His death comes on the same day as legendary former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, who died aged 74 of a heart attack, and was announced shortly after the close of play on day one of Australia’s first Test in Pakistan.

Warne’s mastery of leg-spin – a style of bowling that declined during the 1970s and 1980s when fast bowlers dominated – revolutionised cricket.

His magnificent control and canny variations bewildered even the greatest batters of his generation.

Only Sri Lankan off-spinning great Muttiah Muralitharan, with 800 dismissals, has taken more Test wickets than Warne.

He was also a fine slip fielder and capable lower-order batter, scoring 3,154 runs at an average of 17.32 and is the only batter in Test history to surpass 3,000 runs without making a century – falling for 99 twice, against New Zealand in 2001 and against England in 2005.

Warne was a larger-than-life figure whose fame transcended cricket and his sense of fun inspired successive generations of fans.

“Shane was a once-in-a-century cricketer and his achievements will stand for all time,” said Australia men’s Test captain Pat Cummins.

“So many of us in the playing group grew up idolising him and fell in love with this great sport as a result.”

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley added: “Shane was one of the most talented and charismatic cricketers we have ever witnessed.

“He loved cricket, had an extraordinarily astute understanding of the game and his influence and legacy will last for as long as it is played.

“We are in a state of complete shock at his sudden passing and our thoughts are with his family, his many friends and the legion of fans from all over the world who loved and admired Warnie for his unbelievable bowling skills, his humour, warmth and engaging personality.”

Ashes dominance

Warne holds the record for the most Ashes wickets in history, with 195 dismissals in 36 Tests.

He made his Test debut against India in 1992 after only seven first-class matches for his native Victoria, but announced himself on the world stage in astonishing style in the 1993 Ashes in England.

With his first ball of the series, Warne bowled England batter Mike Gatting with a stunning delivery that pitched outside leg stump and clipped the top of off stump.

It became widely known as the ‘ball of the century’.

That was the first of six Ashes victories in a row involving Warne, until the run was ended by England’s famous 2-1 win in 2005, despite the leg-spinner taking a staggering 40 wickets in that series.

Warne gained revenge in 2006-07 when Australia won 5-0 and retired on the same day as long-time team-mates Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer.

World Cup and domestic honors

Warne was a key part of Australia’s run to the 1996 World Cup final, where they were beaten by Sri Lanka.

He became vice-captain under Steve Waugh and starred in the 1999 World Cup triumph, being named man of the match after taking 4-33 in the final against Pakistan.

However, he was sent home the day before the 2003 tournament started after testing positive for a banned diuretic and served a one-year ban from the sport.

Australia would go on to win the 2003 World Cup by beating India.

Warne led Australia 11 times in ODIs but never captained the Test team, with batter Ricky Ponting replacing Waugh.

Warne captained Hampshire for four seasons during a spell with the county from 2000 to 2007, and they named a stand after him at their Ageas Bowl ground in 2012.

Under Warne, Hampshire won the one-day Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy in 2005 – although he was unable to play in the Lord’s final which was in the middle of the 2005 Ashes – and narrowly missed out on a County Championship title the same year.

He played his entire domestic career in Australia for Victoria.

He also played for Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, also coaching the latter.

In last year’s inaugural Hundred he coached London Spirit.

‘One of cricket’s great characters’

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

Shane Warne wasn’t just one of the greatest spin bowlers in the game’s history – he was also one of cricket’s great characters.

His partnership with seamer Glenn McGrath made Australia virtually invincible in the 1990s.

In terms of a wrist-spinner’s repertoire, Warne perfected the art completely, spinning the ball vast distances and always with a touch of theatre.

He took that character with him into the commentary box and beyond cricket. He featured regularly on the world poker circuit, and while brushes with the authorities were also a feature of his life, his contribution to cricket will never be forgotten.

‘He was the greatest showman’ – tributes flood in for Warne

Former England captain Sir Andrew Strauss: “I’m utterly shocked and saddened. Shane Warne was cricket’s greatest star and he was a guy who, I suppose, you felt the rules of life didn’t apply to him. To hear about his untimely demise is genuinely shocking and I know the whole cricket world is in a great deal of mourning.”

Strauss added: “He was the greatest showman. There were other great cricketers when you look at their records would potentially equal Shane’s or maybe better it. But there was no greater star in cricket than Shane Warne, certainly in the time I have been around. You felt every time you were on the pitch against him it was his show. You were just a small part of his show.

“He used that to his advantage in terms of getting you out. He had such charisma and such passion for the game that it was infectious. If you were lucky enough to spend time with him off the pitch it was always a privilege. A man of great generosity of spirit, great passion for the game and a man who is going to be sorely missed.”

England captain Joe Root: “Really shocked and really sad to hear such a legend of the game passed so suddenly.

“We had just started the game and it filtered through the dressing room. It’s been quite a quiet dressing room off the back of it. It’s hit everyone quite hard if I’m being brutally honest.

“My experiences of Shane were of someone who absolutely loved the game of cricket. He was always a joy to be around, he gave so much energy to the sport. As a kid growing up he was a massive idol of mine and someone you wanted to emulate. The way he could win a game on his own, his skill levels were incredible.

“I’d have been 14 when the 2005 Ashes was on, in many ways that series was a massive influence on my career.”

Former England captain Mike Gatting: “It’s been devastating really, unbelievable. When you think he’s just 52 and he’s been an absolute legend in the game. I don’t use that word lightly either. It’s been unreal. We’ve lost a great cricketer and a great guy.

“The figures talk for themselves but he was inspirational to many, many young children. Certainly if you look at county cricket now, where he played himself for Hampshire.

“He inspired a lot of kids to take up spin bowling. The way he approached the game, he was knowledgeable, he loved the game. He was dedicated to the game but he also had a bit of fun as well.”

TheUNN WhatsApp Group

Join and follow our WhatsApp group for daily news and updates. It's completely free!

-+=