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Dashing Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opener Chris Lynn could be seen in action soon, according to his teammate Colin de Grandomme on Tuesday.The Queenslander hit the nets for the first time on the eve of KKR’s game against Rising Pune Supergiant more than three weeks after injuring his left shoulder while attempting a catch during the match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on April 9.”He is trying to get back as fast as he can. He will be training with us today so let’s see,” New Zealander de Grandomme told reporters when quizzed about Lynn’s fitness.”The shoulder is slowly getting there. I had a cortisone injection the other day and it worked really well,” Lynn told Cricket Australia (CA)’s website from Kolkata.Lynn’s inclusion will further boost an already strong KKR batting line-up. The 27-year-old’s comeback could also see the end of Sunil Narine as an opener, an experiment which has so far worked considerably well for the Gautam Gambhir-led team.
Washington Sundar set a new record when he took the field for Rising Pune Supergiant in the Indian Premier League 2017 final against Mumbai Indians on Sunday.The 17-year-old Tamil Nadu off-spinner Sundar became the youngest player to play in an IPL final. However, Sundar, who has been vital for Rising Pune Superginat’s success this year, ended up on the losing side after his team lost to Mumbai Indians by 1 run in a thrilling final.Youngest to play in #IPLfinal:17-228 Washington Sundar (Tonight)19-178 Ravindra Jadeja (2008)19-256 Manish Pandey (2009)#RPSvMI #MIvRPS- Rajneesh Gupta (@rgcricket) May 21, 2017Mumbai Indians won their third IPL title on Sunday, defeating Rising Pune Supergiant in a dramatic final which went to the last ball.Pune lost three wickets in the last over – bowled by Mitchell Johnson (3/26) – to be restricted to 128/6 after Mumbai Indians scored 129/8.However, the Pune’s loss in the final can’t take anything away from Sundar, who never failed to impress whenever he got a chance.After delivering a Man of the Match performance against Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1 and helping Pune to reach their maiden final, Sundar once again played a key role in restricting Mumbai to 128/6.Sundar gave away just 13 runs in his quota of four overs, becoming the most economical bowler in an IPL final, eclipsing the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Anil Kumble.Least runs conceded in an IPL final match in a four-over spell:13 WASHINGTON SUNDAR v MI*16 R Ashwin 16 A Kumble 16 RP Singh #RPSvMI- Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) May 21, 2017Sundar was drafted into the Pune squad as a replacement for R Ashwin and he took on the responsibility with aplomb.Sundar’s discipline with the ball and his domestic record soon made captain Steve Smith offer him a debut against Sunrisers Hyderabad. When he made his debut last month, Sundar became the third-youngest player in the IPL after Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Sarfaraz Khan and Kolkata Knight Riders’ Pradeep Sangwan.advertisementHe finished the IPL with 8 wickets in 11 matches and with an economy of 6.16. His best figures of 3/16 came against Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 1, a performance which made him the youngest to win a Man of the Match award in IPL. He is also now the youngest player ever to claim three wickets in an IPL match.
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma lauded his bowlers and the whole team for their amazing win over Rising Pune Supergiant in the Indian Premier League final on Sunday night.Mumbai defended 129 in the summit clash, the lowest total by a team batting first in an IPL final, to lift their record third title in Hyderabad. Opting to bat, Mumbai were left reeling at 79/7 in the 15th over, but Krunal Pandya’s 47 off 38 deliveries helped them reach 129/8.During the chase, Pune kept wickets at hand but took it deep as they found it tough in the final five overs. That’s when fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson stepped up their game and restricted Pune to 128/6 in 20 overs. Also WatchJohnson needed 11 runs to defend in the final over and was smacked for a boundary off the first ball by Manoj Tiwary. But the Australian legend fought back with wickets of Tiwary and Smith off successive deliveries and gave away just five runs in the next three balls to guide his team to a famous victory at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium.”It was a great game of cricket. I’m sure the spectators enjoyed it. To be able to defend a score like this was a brilliant effort, I couldn’t ask for more. Whenever you’re defending a total like that, the first thing you’e to do is believe.”I told the boys if we could do it against KKR (105) there was no way we couldn’t do it here. There was assistance from the pitch too so it was a matter of exploiting the conditions,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.advertisementFor Mumbai it was Krunal who starred with the bat while Johnson (3/26) and Bumrah (2/26) were outstanding with the ball specially in the death overs. Rohit said that he gave his bowlers full freedom when the match got close towards the end.”When three overs were left, I had confidence in the bowlers. They’ve always done the job wherever they’ve played. It was about giving freedom to them because they’re the masters and they’ve done it before. I just told them to do whatever they want and set the field accordingly,” the relieved MI skipper said.
Top-seeded Stan Wawrinka and second-seeded Kei Nishikori advanced to the semi-finals of the Geneva Open with come-from-behind three-set victories over Sam Querrey and Kevin Anderson, respectively.The 32-year-old Wawrinka, who has struggled on clay thus far this season, on Thursday worked out some of the kinks in his game in a confidence-boosting 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Querrey, reports Efe.The big-serving American took the opening set without losing his serve and then went up an early break of serve in the second set against the defending champion.But the sweet-hitting Swiss delighted the home crowd by breaking Querrey’s serve twice to take the second set and two more times in a comfortable third-set victory.The third-ranked Wawrinka has a record of just 4-3 on clay this year but is looking to round into form in time for tennis’ lone Grand Slam event on that surface, the French Open, which gets under way on Sunday.In the other matches, Nishikori saved three match points before edging Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).”There haven’t been too many times that I’m down match point and win, so it’s great for me. He had more chances, but I served a little bit better in the end. It’s important to win some matches like this,” the Japanese world No. 9 was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour’s Web site.Wawrinka will take on 85th-ranked Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, a 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 winner Thursday night over Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, in Friday’s second semi-final.The first semi-final will pit Nishikori against German qualifier and serve-and-volley practitioner Mischa Zverev, the world No. 33.advertisement
Mumbai, Jun 27 (PTI) Top men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and H S Prannoy were today felicitated by the IDBI Federal in Hyderabad and also presented with the prize money under their programme, Quest For Excellence, in association with national badminton coach Pulella Gopichand.Srikanth bagged back to back mens singles titles at the Indonesian Open Super Series Premier tournament and the Australian Open Super Series event and was rewarded with a total cash award of Rs six lakh for these two magnificent feats by IDBI Federal, a media release said.Prannoy was presented with a prize money of Rs 2 lakh for his super display at the Indonesia Super Series Premier event in which he stunned Rio Olympics silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and reigning Olympic champion Chen Long in successive matches to reach the mens singles semi finals.”By winning two titles in two weeks, Srikanth is slated to break into top 10 rankings next week. He has made the country proud by this historic feat,” said Karthik Raman, Chief Marketing Officer, IDBI Federal.”We are confident that Quest For Excellence will prove to be a great support to the sport and will help bring many laurels for our country,” he said further. PTI SSR NRB
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has been punished enough for driving into title rival Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan last Sunday and Formula One should move on, according to 2009 world champion Jenson Button.The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) has said it will re-examine the incident on Monday and could take further action ahead of next week’s Austrian Grand Prix.”Azerbaijan GP was a pleasure to watch,” Button said on Twitter on Thursday. “Why? because adrenaline and emotions were high. What Vettel did was silly but he’s been punished. Move on.”The German, who leads Mercedes driver Hamilton in the championship by 14 points, was handed a 10 second stop and go penalty during the race for what many saw as an act of “road rage”.”I don’t think you can class it as road rage when it’s not on the road,” Button added.”You can’t compare racing with driving on the road as racing wouldn’t exist.”Vettel hit the back of Hamilton’s Mercedes while they were under safety car conditions and then gesticulated angrily before pulling alongside and banging wheels.Some commentators have suggested the four times world champion should have been shown a black flag, signalling disqualification, for an act of dangerous driving.Instead, Vettel finished fourth with Hamilton fifth after a loose headrest cost the Briton victory after leading from pole position.Button, who was a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) with Vettel before leaving Formula One at the end of last year, said a 10 second stop and go penalty was effectively 30 seconds with time lost at the pit entry and exit.advertisementThe 37-year-old former McLaren driver, who made a one-off comeback in Monaco last month as a replacement for Spaniard Fernando Alonso, added that everyone now knew that such a penalty meant “race game over”.
Liverpool F.C. will not be influenced by their Premier League rivals’ moves in the transfer market and will stick to their own signing plans, manager Juergen Klopp has said.Klopp’s side have added winger Mohamed Salah and England under-20 striker Dominic Solanke so far, but their spending has been put in the shade by local rivals Everton F.C., who have splashed out more than 100 million pounds.Manchester United F.C and Manchester City F.C., as well as Arsenal F.C., have also spent heavily, but Klopp has urged his team’s supporters not to get caught up in what the opposition are doing.”We cannot buy players because other teams buy players,” said Klopp after his team’s 4-0 win over Tranmere Rovers F.C. in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday.”We do our business as good as we can do it and we are convinced about the way we are going.”Egypt international Salah needs to finalise work permit issues before he can play but Solanke made his debut in the friendly and Klopp was full of praise for the under-20 World Cup winner.”He is a really skilled boy. He has to improve of course but a lot of things are already really good: first touch, movement,” Klopp said.”It is about him and the situation but I will not avoid his development. In the moment when he is strong enough he is there.”He will train with us, of course, as often as it makes sense and often as possible and then we will see.”advertisementLiverpool F.C. face third-tier Wigan Athletic F.C. in their next friendly on Friday before travelling to Hong Kong to play Crystal Palace F.C. in the Premier League Asia Trophy on July 19.
Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell suffered heatstroke during the team’s training in Dhaka ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh.The Aussies are in Bangladesh for a two-Test series with the first match starting from August 26. The heat got to Maxwell on the first day of training.”I copped a bit of heatstroke on the first day, which wasn’t a good start,” Maxwell said on Wednesday. “I think just doing some running outside, then I had to go inside to do some fitness testing, and going back outside probably didn’t help too much.”Basically, my body shut down a little bit, but I was fine after a bit of an ice bath and plenty of fluids.”Cooling off from the Dhaka heat… #ShotOfTheDay pic.twitter.com/yURi8967wo- ICC (@ICC) August 22, 2017Bangladesh is in the middle of its monsoon season with hot and humid conditions. It won’t be easy for the Australians, who do not enjoy a great record in Asia. (Bangladesh unbeatable at home, says Shakib Al-Hasan ahead of Australia series)Australia have not won a series in the subcontinent since 2011 and were clean-swept in two of the three Test series’ since then. In the last series against India, the Steve Smith-led side had to face a 1-2 defeat in the four-Test series.Australia have won all four Tests they have played against Bangladesh, but the teams haven’t met in the longest format of the game since 2006.But Bangladesh are a transformed side now. They defeated England at home and fought valiantly in the one-off Test against India. Maxwell could be crucial to Australia’s chances on the turning pitches Bangladesh are certain to roll out.advertisementKnown as the ‘Big Show’, Maxwell gave a good account of himself in his Test comeback in India earlier this year.(With inputs from ANI)
Southampton are not happy with their recent string of results but are not worried about their ability to turn their Premier league season around, midfielder Oriol Romeu has said.Manolo Gabbiadini’s brace helped Southampton come from behind twice to seal a point against Newcastle United at home on Sunday and leave them 11th in the table with nine points.Southampton’s last victory was a 1-0 result over bottom side Crystal Palace in mid September and the Spaniard was keen to stress the importance of picking up maximum points at home.”I wouldn’t call it worried but no one is happy,” Romeu told British media. “We’re not happy after not winning today and losing other games at home.”We want to win and we want to be higher. We’ll keep doing our best to get wins because to be where we want to be we need to win more games.”Romeu said the team has plenty of quality and need to execute their plans better on the pitch.”If we had the key we would find the solution but there’s so many things in football that are open and you think you can control it but suddenly a game is gone.”It’s about making sure when teams are coming here to defend we need to break them down better and score more and not let them counter attack.”Southampton meet 10th-placed West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Martina Hingis ended her career on a losing note when the retiring Swiss great and her partner Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan were beaten 6-4 7-6(5) by Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova in a WTA Finals doubles semi-final on Saturday.Hingis announced on Thursday that she was hanging up her racket for a third and final time following this week’s event, bringing an end to an illustrious career that has garnered 25 grand slam wins — five in singles, 20 in doubles.The top seeds had hoped to send Hingis off with a fourth WTA Finals doubles crown after two triumphs with Anna Kournikova and one with Sania Mirza, but Hungary’s Babos and Czech Hlavackova proved too strong at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.Don’t miss a second of the rest of @MHingis’ career!Tune into https://t.co/JlvWA05bNA! pic.twitter.com/HXliNgJZkU- WTA (@WTA) October 27, 2017The Hungarian-Czech duo edged a high-quality opening set but were given an almighty scare when Babos tumbled to the ground at 5-5 in the second set while trailing 30-0, twisting her left ankle and requiring a lengthy medical break for treatment.Both pairs remained strong on serve to send the contest into a tiebreak and the top seeds were beaten when Hingis sent a backhand long on the first match point to end both her and Chan’s interest in the competition and her own career.”For me to play on a court like this and against an opponent like this makes me emotional… for me and her,” Babos said in a courtside interview.advertisement”It’s an incredible moment for her after all she has achieved and to play against her s just amazing to be part of her history. Hopefully, just once in my life, I can achieve the kind of things she did.”Despite the defeat, Hingis will go out on at least one high after the WTA confirmed on Friday that the Swiss had secured the year-end number one ranking in women’s doubles alongside Chan after the pair won nine titles in 2017, including the U.S. Open.
By Abhishek HoreNew Delhi, Oct 27 (PTI) Sangram Singh today realised a long-cherished dream of winning a medal at a top international shooting tournament and then realised it was some “unreal” shooting from his Chinese opponent that may have prevented him from winning a gold.After years of toil, double trap exponent Sangram clinched his first-ever senior medal — a silver — in a International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) tournament, that too in the prestigious World Cup Final.Sangram shot 76 out of 80 targets, three behind gold medallist Hu Binyuan (79) of China. Italys Gasparani Davi (56) took the bronze.”I am very happy with the result. What can I say about him (Binyuan, who missed just once in the 80-shot final), he is a legend and the way he shot today it seemed unreal. I started when he was already a great shooter. It was an honour to go head to head with him,” Sangram said.”The hard training over the past three weeks has paid off. I change a couple of things in my technique and its come on really well as the result shows,” he added.”At the end of the day, however, you are just competing to better yourself and not against anyone else. In the final its make or break.”Sangram had won a gold medal at the Asian Shooting Championship for junior way back in 2009. At the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range, he shot exceedingly well throughout the day, first topping the qualifying with a score of 144 out of 150 and then replicating the showing in the final.advertisementBut he could not overcome the world record effort of Chinas 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Hu Binyuan, who shot a sublime 79 out of 80 hits in the final.”I have been to several World Cups and Asian competitions and to win at a World Cup Final in New Delhi is just amazing. This range is like home to me. Up against a two-time Olympic medallist, I was doing as much as I could.”I was quite confident of my shooting today, in the qualification I was on top.”He is already looking ahead to next year, which is a busy one with two multi-sport extravaganzas lined up, besides shooting events.”Right now, I am just focussing on the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. Once they are over we also World Championships in double trap as well.”Asked what he does to keep him in the right frame of mind, he said, “I do meditation and exercises. My favoirite exercise is running.” PTI AH KHS KHS
Bhubaneswar, Dec 10 (PTI) Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore today said the government will launch a Khelo India programme at a cost of Rs 1,756 crore for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20.This marks a “watershed moment” in the history of Indian sports, as the programme aims at mainstreaming sports as a tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development, he said.The initiative would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy, said Rathore, who is also Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting.Highlighting some salient features of the programme, the Union minister said a new Pan Indian Sports Scholarship scheme, which would cover 1,000 most talented young athletes each year across select sports disciplines will be introduced.Each athlete selected under the scheme will receive an annual scholarship worth Rs 5 lakh for 8 years, Rathore said, addressing the Yuva Sambardhana Utsav.The year 2018 will be celebrated as Year of Sports, he said.The Khelo India campaign aims to promote 150 select schools in as many districts, and 20 universities across the country, as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sports persons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.The programme would cover about 200 million children in the age group of 10-18 under a massive national physical fitness drive, the minister said.Under the scheme, a campaign will be launched from January 31, 2018 to February 8, 2018 to spot sports talents under 17 years in schools, which will be telecast live.advertisementLikewise, another programme will be launched for under-21 college students.”Our aim is 2024 and 2028 Olympics. The spotted talents will be imparted specialised training to make them medal winners,” Rathore said.”We cant produce national and international level sports persons with huge infrastructure only. For this, we need strong will power,” the minister said at another event at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) here. PTI SKN RBT
Wrestling in India as at a unique crossroad with fist fights and FIRs catching the public attention more than a well-executed reversal on the mat.Parveen Rana has announced that he will have his revenge the next time he comes face-to-face with Sushil Kumar. Rana accused Sushil of cheating in the trail bout for 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.But things took an ugly turn when Rana, after losing to the former in the semi-final clash, claimed that the decorated wrestler’s supporters beat him and his elder brother “for daring to take the ring” against him.On the other hand, Sushil alleged that the supporters of Rana threatened his life.”I played a good bout yesterday (against Sushil Kumar), but there was a lot of cheating there and due to that I was made to lose,” said Rana.#WATCH: Scuffle broke out between alleged supporters of wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Parveen Rana at K. D. Jadhav Stadium in Delhi; reason not yet ascertained pic.twitter.com/sigLOa3koY- ANI (@ANI) December 29, 2017″Now I am waiting for our next bout in the pro wrestling league where I will perform even better. I have forgotten the thing that happened and now focusing on upcoming matches. I will answer him by defeating him in our next clash,” he added.Incidentally, Rana was among the three wrestlers who gave a walkover to India’s most decorated wrestler, Sushil, in the National Championships last month, owing to the “parampara” of Indian wrestling of respecting the senior players.advertisementRana clarified, “In senior nationals, I was badly injured. I reached the finals but then thought of avoiding the bout due to injury risks. I reached the finals after playing four bouts while Sushil qualified after getting all four walkovers. So I was tired and gave a walkover to him”.”I was selected for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games also. I defeated Narsingh Yadav in the trials. But I was junior at that time so was replaced by Sushil, without any trial. I did not object at that time and extended support as he was a senior player and had more experience than me”, he added.Earlier, Sushil expressed his disappointment over the incident and pointed out that he too got injuries during the match but he did not complaint like Praveen.Meanwhile, Sushil and supporters have been booked by the Delhi Police in connection with the brawl.(With inputs from ANI)
Jesse Lingard scored twice for Manchester United and goalkeeper David de Gea pulled off a string of stunning saves in a 3-1 win over Arsenal to keep pace in the English Premier League race on Saturday.The result left United in second place behind Manchester City before both teams meet next week.De Gea made 14 saves, equaling the record for the most stops in a Premier League match.It was a pulsating contest from start to finish at Emirates Stadium, with a glut of shots on goal, amazing goalkeeping, a sending off, and textbook counterattacks.A perfect night in London ???? #mufc pic.twitter.com/GZ4Bgj9SvM- David De Gea (@D_DeGea) December 2, 2017What A Win! Had to defend as a team for the 3 points. Team Spirit and Togetherness ??????And Milly Rock ?????? pic.twitter.com/xR7Fj9HOLn- Ashley Young (@youngy18) December 2, 2017″The game was fantastic,” United manager Jose Mourinho said. “If I was in the stands, or if I was at home watching, I would be sad to see the game finish. In my case, it’s different because I want to win. I wanted to see the game finish.”??? @D_DeGea made 14 saves against Arsenal, the joint-most by a goalkeeper in a single #PL match alongside Tim Krul & Vito Mannone#ARSMUN @ManUtd pic.twitter.com/GptDYx7cce- Premier League (@premierleague) December 2, 2017United’s first two goals came early on from sloppy play in possession by Arsenal.Antonio Valencia intercepted a poor pass from defender Laurent Koscielny that was meant for wing back Sead Kolasinac. The Ecuadorean quickly drove forward and exchanged passes with Paul Pogba. Valencia struck a low shot that went in between goalkeeper Petr Cech’s legs in the fourth minute.advertisementAt The Emirates I Milly Rock ??º?? #SQUADGOALS pic.twitter.com/DUQo0C2XBD- Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) December 2, 2017Lingard doubled the lead in the 11th after Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi gave the ball away in United’s half. Anthony Martial flicked on to Lingard in the area and the latter’s effort careened in off a post.”The concentration at the back wasn’t sharp enough at the start,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.Arsenal got back into the match in the 49th when United defender Marcos Rojo tried and failed to play Alexandre Lacazette offside. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey was onside when he touched the ball back to Lacazette who fired it past De Gea.But it was the Spaniard’s quick reflexes that kept his team in the match, especially when he denied Arsenal an equalizer with a double save in the 57th from Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez.What a game! Here’s the reaction after the final whistle… #MUFC #ARSMUN pic.twitter.com/3LcvuLik0O- Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 2, 2017Mourinho sarcastically referred to Lacazette’s presence on the pitch, because before the match Wenger said the forward would most definitely not be available because of a groin injury on Wednesday.”I congratulate Arsenal’s medical department for taking a player that was a ‘no’ to a full 90 minutes,” Mourinho said. “Amazing.”But the home side’s optimism for a comeback was then snuffed out in the 63rd when United hit Arsenal on the break.Pogba drove forward into the box and held off Koscielny to pull back a pass for Lingard, who converted an easy tap-in.Pogba was sent off for stamping on Hector Bellerin’s leg which means the Frenchman will miss the Manchester derby.The scoreline flattered United with Arsenal playing with verve and pummeling De Gea’s goal. Arsenal had 33 shots on goal, with 15 on target, while United had eight shots with four on target.”I think the players deserve all the good words we can find for them.”Jose Mourinho was full of praise for his players after a thrilling win at Arsenal. #MUFC pic.twitter.com/5qg3kv1eL5- Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 2, 2017It was a statistic that upset Wenger, who lamented missed chances.”I’m just disappointed and angry that with the quality of that performance we have nothing to show for it,” he said, attributing his team’s loss to a lack of efficiency in finishing and De Gea’s “outstanding game.”It was Mourinho’s first away victory in 11 games against the “Big Six” and the first home loss for the Gunners after winning their last 12. Arsenal slipped a place to fifth.”For a watching fan, I think it was one to enjoy.”@ChrisSmalling reflects on a fantastic three points for #MUFC, reserving special praise for a certain Spanish goalkeeper… pic.twitter.com/vQmztF3Cop- Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 2, 2017
LOS ANGELES — A pair of Cy Young Awards, three straight major league ERA titles, a 20-win season — and now a no-hitter.There isn’t much more for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw to accomplish besides winning a World Series ring.Kershaw dominated the Colorado Rockies on the night of June 18, striking out a career-high 15 and allowing his only baserunner on a throwing error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez in Los Angeles’ 8-0 victory.Kershaw’s gem gave the Dodgers both no-hitters in the majors this season. Josh Beckett tossed one May 25 in Philadelphia. “I am so amazed,” Kershaw said. “Beckett told me he was going to teach me how to do that, so I have Josh to thank.”Cheered on by his wife in the stands, Kershaw (7-2) retired his first 18 batters before Corey Dickerson led off the seventh with a slow bouncer to Ramirez. His throw on the run went wide past first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for a two-base error — ending any chance for a perfect game.But that was it for the Rockies against the 26-year-old Kershaw, who shrugged off the miscue and came oh-so-close to pitching the 22nd perfecto in the majors since 1900.“He had command of everything. I told him between innings: ‘It’s not fair when you have a devastating slider and a devastating curveball in the same night,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “And when he does that, nights like this are really possible.”One batter after Dickerson reached base, rookie third baseman Miguel Rojas backhanded Troy Tulowitzki’s grounder behind the bag and let fly with a strong throw to first that Gonzalez — a three-time Gold Glove winner — scooped out of the dirt to keep the no-hitter intact.And with the crowd of 46,069 on its feet and roaring, Kershaw made quick work of the Rockies in the ninth.DJ LeMahieu grounded out to first base on the first pitch and Charlie Culberson hit a lazy fly to right field on the next one. Dickerson then saw four straight strikes and went down swinging.The only pitcher to have more strikeouts in a no-hitter was Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, according to STATS. “I’ve seen some great pitching performances, but it’s tough to be any better than Kershaw,” Colorado Manager Walt Weiss said.After his 107th and final pitch, a beaming Kershaw raised his arms above his head and waited for a huge hug from Ellis.“I started tearing up out there in the ninth inning, just sitting out there catching and watching him throw after he got those first two outs,” Ellis said. “It was pretty special.”“It’s something you never forget,” he added. “It’s a game I’ll watch on replays with my kids forever.”Moments later, as he was about to be interviewed on the field, Kershaw was doused by teammates with two large buckets. The left-hander with the big-breaking curve also got a big hug from his wife.Kershaw, who signed a $215 million, seven-year contract in the offseason — a record for a pitcher — gave Los Angeles sports fans their second memorable thrill in just a few days.The Kings won the Stanley Cup at home on June 13, their second NHL championship in three years, and brought the famous trophy to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday for a pregame ceremony.The next night, Kershaw took over. The only other time the Dodgers pitched two no-hitters in one season was 1956, when the team was still in Brooklyn. Carl Erskine and Sal Maglie turned the trick that year.Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who tossed four no-hitters, pitched the franchise’s lone perfect game on Sept. 9, 1965, against the Chicago Cubs.“I guess I haven’t really thought of the ramifications of throwing one of these things, but it’s definitely special company,” Kershaw said. “It’s pretty cool.”Ramirez was back in the lineup after leaving the June 17th game with a bruised ring finger on his throwing hand, the result of a sharp grounder by Dickerson than deflected into short center field for a double.Ramirez was replaced on defense by rookie Carlos Triunfel to start the eighth.Kershaw missed more than six weeks early this year because of a strained muscle in his upper back, after beating Arizona in the season opener during the Dodgers’ two-game trip to Australia.It was the 22nd no-hitter in Dodgers history — more than any other team — and the first at home since Ramon Martinez’s 2-0 gem against the Marlins on July 14, 1995.“His stuff was phenomenal tonight. I think all the guys said that. We tip our hats to him,” Dickerson said.Kershaw received a standing ovation when he came to bat in the eighth, and another one minutes later after finishing the job against one of baseball’s top lineups.Playing their home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field, the Rockies began the day leading the majors in batting average, hits, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. They were first in the NL in runs and homers.“There are some guys in that lineup that give him fits,” Ellis acknowledged. “But the way he made those guys look tonight was a testament to how good his stuff was. He was pretty dialed in and pretty locked in — especially as the game progressed.”Rojas also supported Kershaw with his bat, hitting a three-run double while continuing to fill in for injured third baseman Juan Uribe. Gonzalez and Matt Kemp each drove in two runs, helping the Dodgers complete their first three-game sweep at home this season.Jorge De La Rosa (6-6) threw 86 pitches over 3 1-3 innings and was charged with eight runs, six hits and five walks. The left-hander is 0-3 with an 8.19 ERA in his last four starts after going 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA during his previous seven outings.(JOE RESNICK)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Officially, it was the U.S. Olympic team, together for just a few weeks.To the basketball world, it was the Dream Team, and its gold-medal run changed hoops forever.An American sport was transformed into a global phenomenon when Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and the rest of the NBA’s best arrived in Barcelona for the 1992 Olympics. They sparked an interest in basketball that continues to impact the NBA —on and off the court.The league is now a $5.5 billion industry and arguably the most popular international sport behind soccer.“I think basketball was about to explode and the dynamite stick to explode it was the Dream Team,” said U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski, an assistant on that team.Springfield, Massachusetts, is basketball’s birthplace. But the modern NBA game was born in Barcelona.Major league baseball and the NFL would like to emulate the NBA’s international success. Since 1992, the league has played about 150 international basketball games and its contests been televised in more than 200 countries and territories.With Spain hosting the Basketball World Cup the last three weeks— capped off with the U.S. beating Serbia 129-92 in the gold-medal game — here’s a look back at the Barcelona Games and how the sport is changing:THE PLAYERSWhen Jerry Colangelo went to sign the first players from behind the Iron Curtain, he didn’t do a Pat Riley and drop a couple of championship rings on the table to woo Georgi Glushkov.It was the mid-1980s, and the former Phoenix owner had been told about the Bulgarian big man who had done a good job against Hall of Fame center Arvydas Sabonis in a European tournament. So Colangelo and a Suns assistant traveled to Sofia to negotiate a contract.Colangelo walked into a room at the Office of Sports Ministry to find six Bulgarians, some shot glasses and a Coke as a chaser.“We talked a few hours, made a deal where the government was getting most of the money and the player getting a small piece of it,” Colangelo said.While the 6-foot-8 Glushkov’s career was short-lived — he’s now the President of Bulgaria’s basketball federation — it’s much easier finding international prospects with NBA scouts packing under-19 and under-18 tournaments around the globe.The 1992 Olympics “just all kind of changed everything,” said Colangelo, Chairman of USA Basketball. “It opened the door for a lot of people and then people started to jump into it.”People including eventual NBA MVPs, league champions, No. 1 draft picks — players like Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker.But Jordi Villacampa, President of the Spanish basketball club Joventut Badalona, cautions that just like American college kids, some international players bolt to the NBA too early.“For me it is important that players, before going to the NBA, master the game and play very well and for several years growing in the European leagues, in our case, in the ACB,” said Villacampa, who played for Spain at the Barcelona Games and is the Spanish league’s No. 2 scorer. “Perhaps the timing (of some players) hasn’t been the best to get the most out of their talent.”Still, more than 90 international players began last season on NBA rostersINTERNATONAL INFLUENCEAs beautiful as the Dream Team made the game look, basketball in the NBA was getting pretty ugly.The Detroit Pistons of Chuck Daly, who coached the Dream Team, were known as the “Bad Boys,” a rough unit that played hard and fouled harder in winning consecutive NBA titles. Pat Riley’s Knicks of the early and mid-1990s would play the same way, and offensive creativity had given way to post-ups and isolation play.Enter the international influence. Rather than pound the ball inside, they spread the floor and put good-shooting big men on the perimeter.“Now we’ve gone more that way, because there aren’t that many good big post players to start out with,” said Rod Thorn, NBA President of Operations. “We didn’t have what is called a stretch 4 until we started getting all these kids from Europe. The Nowitzkis of the world in particular, guys who could shoot the ball out on the court and were big, and now everybody looks for a stretch 4.”Nowhere is the change more evident than with the Spurs.Their first title in 1999 was won the old way, throwing it into David Robinson and Tim Duncan, and it wasn’t much fun to watch. But the basketball they played to win the title in June didn’t look like that.This year’s collection of Spurs looked like, well, the Dream Team — but with a roster comprised of nine players born outside the U.S.GLOBAL MARKETINGThe NBA was the first U.S. pro league to play regular-season games outside North America when Phoenix and Utah met in Japan in 1990. But it wasn’t until after the Dream Team that interest there really took off.“The finals in ’93 between Phoenix and the Bulls, I think we probably had like 20 (Japanese) media, but ’92 there were only me and the cameraman between the Bulls and Blazers,” journalist Yoko Miyaji said.The NBA took notice.Building in Asia became a priority, particularly in China, where an NBA China division was launched and where the league estimated there were 300 million people playing basketball at the time of the 2008 Olympics. Shanghai and Beijing, with state of the art arenas that would make many U.S. cities envious, have become regular stops on the preseason schedule, and the Philippines joined them last year with its own sparkling facility.Eric Doust, Vice President of Global Marketing at SQ1 Agency, believes the NBA has done as well as any league growing internationally, in part because of its diverse rosters.“They’ve got so many international players now, and you can see that from Spain in the FIBA World Cup,” Doust said. “So that’s where I think they gain a lot of leverage as well versus other leagues. … That’s where their growth is going to come from as well.”Doust said there were 16 billion page views and more than 9 billion video views on NBA.com China over a three-year period.Now it’s on to India and Africa, where the league will stage an exhibition game next summer.LeBron James’ first game against Miami will come in none other than Brazil, hosting another preseason game as the league ramps up its marketing efforts before the 2016 Olympics.Barcelona showed just how big NBA players were — Thorn and Krzyzewski say players on the Dream Team “were like the Beatles” — and now the sport is bigger than ever.“I would say today maybe there are a couple of soccer players that might be as popular as LeBron James around the world, maybe,” Thorn said, “but he’s right in there with anybody.”Along with the NBA.(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
LONDON — The IOC advised national Olympic committees on Friday to follow the World Health Organization’s guidance on dealing with the Zika virus ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, asserting its confidence that the games will be safe.Brazil has been hit hard by the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects in infants, raising concerns about the outbreak’s potential impact on South America’s first Olympics in August.The International Olympic Committee sent a note to all national Olympic committees outlining the latest medical advice concerning Zika, the most recent problem for a country already dealing with a severe economic crisis and a sprawling corruption scandal.“All parties are taking action to address this topic, and are following developments closely,” the IOC said.The two-page note from the IOC medical commission repeated advice for travelers to take precautions against mosquito bites and for women who are planning to become pregnant to assess the potential risks of traveling to areas infected with the virus.“The IOC remains in close contact with the WHO to ensure that we have access to the most up-to-date information and guidance, from now through to Games time,” the IOC statement said. “At the same time NOCs should consult with their national health authorities to get advice and guidance.”The IOC did not say the Olympics were threatened in any way and made clear it expects the Aug. 5-21 games to be secure for athletes and visitors.“We remain confident that there will be a safe environment for successful and enjoyable games in Rio de Janeiro,” the statement concluded.The WHO, which declared Thursday that the Zika virus was “spreading explosively,” will hold an emergency meeting of independent experts Monday to decide if the outbreak should be declared an international health emergency.Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday announced a nationwide attack on the mosquito that spreads that Zika virus, vowing to “win this war” against the insect.The mosquito has been linked by Brazilian researchers to a seemingly sudden upsurge in cases of microcephaly, in which children are born with abnormally small heads. The virus has also been linked to the paralysis-causing Guillain-Barre syndrome.Brazilian researchers believe the strain of Zika may have entered Brazil with visitors arriving for the 2014 World Cup.Mario Andrada, spokesman for Rio’s Olympic organizing committee, said there was no threat of the games being postponed or canceled because of the outbreak.“We’re not even thinking of that,” he said. “This has never been mentioned. No way. It’s impossible to do that. There is no reason to do that.”The IOC reiterated the position that, because the games will be held during the southern hemisphere winter, the mosquito population will be smaller and the threat of the virus diminished.The IOC cited current medical advice that all travelers should take measures to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long pants and long sleeves and using insect repellent.Women who are planning to become pregnant should discuss travel plans with their health providers to assess the risk, it said.The IOC said the WHO does not recommend any change to travel plans, but noted that some national authorities have recommended “on a precautionary basis” that pregnant women should consider avoiding travelling to areas infected by Zika.The IOC noted that plans had already been put in place by Brazilian organizers for daily inspection of Olympic venues to remove any puddles of stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.“Rio 2016 will also continue to follow the virus protection and control measures provided by the authorities, and will provide the relevant guidance to games athletes and visitors,” the statement said.Andrada, the Rio Games spokesman, said organizers held a conference call Friday with sponsors to explain preventive measures. He said officials had started inspecting the venues and already noticed an improvement.“In the beginning, the first few days of inspecting, we found a lot (of stagnant water),” Andrada said. “Now it’s dropped dramatically.”The Australian Olympic Committee said this week that any pregnant team members “need to consider the risks very carefully” before deciding whether to go to Brazil.The U.S. Olympic Committee said it was monitoring the situation through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the IOC, the WHO and infectious disease specialists.The European Olympic Committees said it was following events and also expects that each individual country “will be taking strict precautions and will be advised by their own health authorities.”STEPHEN WILSON, AP Sports Writer__AP Sports Writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed.TweetPinShare0 Shares
NEW YORK — After a pair of weekend wins against the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies Manager Pete Mackanin turned comedian.What was Jeremy Hellickson doing differently than last season? “He was a left-handed pitcher before this year,” Mackanin said. “We turned him into a righty. I just saw something.”And what about Jeanmar Gomez, who saved two games in 18 hours after getting one previous save in his big league career?“Fireman of the Year,” Mackanin exclaimed.After coming within one loss of what would have been their worst start since 1934, the rebuilding Phillies headed to their home opener with a 2-4 record.Odubel Herrera hit a two-run homer off Matt Harvey in the ace’s first appearance at Citi Field since he failed to close out Game 5 of last year’s World Series, and the Phillies beat New York 5-2 on April 10.Philadelphia won the last two games of the three-game series after an 0-4 start. The Phillies already have more wins at Citi Field this season than last year, when they went 1-8.“To take this series is huge,” said Hellickson, who held the Mets hitless until Yoenis Cespedes lined an opposite-field single to right in the fourth.Hellickson (1-0) had a 3-0 lead before David Wright doubled with two out in the sixth and Cespedes chased him with a two-run homer on a changeup.“I haven’t had a lot of success in the last few Aprils,” Hellickson said. “That sixth inning today was kind of I think the story of my seasons over the last couple years, a lot of two-out homers, a lot of two-out hits with guys in scoring position.”The Mets wore replicas of the uniforms used by their 1986 World Series champions, with royal blue and orange racing stripes, outfits that will be sported for Sunday home games this year.But they have hit more like their offensively challenged early 1960s version: a .180 batting average and 14 runs scored.A day after getting three hits in a 1-0 loss, New York was held to four hits by Hellickson and three relievers, and the NL champions dropped to 2-3 — their record before 11-game winning streaks in 1986 and last year.James Russell, Hector Neris and Gomez combined for one-hit relief.“They were outstanding,” Hellickson said. “We said it the first couple games, when they struggled, that they’d bounce back.”Pitching on the Citi Field mound for the first time since Manager Terry Collins allowed him to try to finish a shutout against Kansas City, Harvey (0-2) reached 97 mph with his fastball and started 19 of 25 hitters with strikes.But he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings and has struck out three batters or fewer in consecutive games for the first time in his big league career.“I think we’re all kind of finding our place right now and working to win and kind of click at the same time,” Harvey said.Peter Bourjos reached on an infield hit in the third and scored on Freddy Galvis’ sacrifice fly. Harvey retired 10 straight batters before Cesar Hernandez singled in the sixth for his sixth hit of the series.Herrera homered on a low slider with little break, the ball landing between the fence in right-center that was erected for the 2015 season and the original wall.“So much different than last year, where we’re in the game,” said Mackanin, who replaced Ryne Sandberg last June. “Every win helps. Hits build confidence. Good pitching performances build confidence.”(RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Panionios surpassed last week’s defeat to Veria by earning an impressive win in Thessaloniki against Iraklis. Led by the Iranian duo, Masoud and Ansarifard, Panionios defeated Iraklis 1-2 and moved atop the SuperLeague standings.Panionios took control of the game early on and pressed Iraklis in their own half for most of the opening 45 minutes. Masoud wasted the first great chance of the match, failing to hit the target from 2 meters out! The Iranian made no mistake in the 34th minute when his powerful shot from outside the penalty area beat Huanderson to give Panionios the 0-1 lead. Masoud celebrated the goal in tears as he found out before the game that his close cousin passed away back at home.Nikos Papadopoulos looked to strengthen his side’s attack, subbing on Lambrou and Karagounis at the beginning of the second half. Iraklis’ first chance came through Perrone’s strike in the 60th minute and 5 minutes later heroic defending from Risvanis denied Leozinho an effort on goal. Panionios’ only notable opportunity of the half proved decisive as they sealed the victory after a great solo effort and tremendous finish from Ansarifard gave Panionios the 0-2 advantage in the 78th minute. Despite Panionios’ two goal lead, the action did not end there as the hosts pulled one back in the 85th minute with Leozinho’s header from Perrone’s cross. In the second minute of stoppage time, Gianniotas made a match-winning save to deny Perrone from close range and hold the visitors’ lead and ultimately the victory. At the end of the match, the two teams got into a scrap that resulted in the sending off of a player for each team.In the end, Panionios came away with the 1-2 victory, rebounding after last week’s defeat at home to Veria. Today’s 3 points puts Panionios atop the SuperLeague standings with 9 points while Iraklis remains winless.Source: AGONAsport.com (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)TweetPinShare0 Shares