Chennai wins Indian Premier League in stunning finish against Gujarat

Players of Chennai Super Kings celebrate with the winners trophy after their win in the Indian Premier League final cricket match against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (Photo courtesy: AP)
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Updated 30 May 2023
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Chennai wins Indian Premier League in stunning finish against Gujarat

  • Chennai Super Kings beat defending champions Gujarat Titans in thrilling last-ball victory by five wickets
  • Mohammed Shami bowled a brilliant penultimate over, leaving Chennai needing 13 runs off six balls

AHMEDABAD: The Chennai Super Kings have won the Indian Premier League for a record-equaling fifth time with a last-ball, five-wicket victory over the defending champion Gujarat Titans.

Ravindra Jadeja plundered a six and a four from the last two deliveries against Mohit Sharma to help the Super Kings chase down a revised target of 171 runs in 15 overs.

The IPL needed three days to complete the final. It was washed out on Sunday, started late Monday and finished after 1:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday. But it was worth it.

Chennai was squeezed by medium-pacer Sharma in the last over and the equation got to 10 runs required off two balls. Sharma got his length wrong and Jadeja hit a straight six. Sharma then got his line wrong and Jadeja hit a four to fine leg to complete a stunning win.

“I was just thinking I need to swing hard, as much as I can," Jadeja said. “Where the ball will go, I was not thinking about that. I was backing myself and looking to hit straight, because I know Mohit can bowl those slower balls.”

Chennai's record-equaling fifth title also gave retiring batter Ambati Rayudu a sixth IPL title, tying him with Rohit Sharma as the league’s most successful players.

“It's a fairytale finish,” Rayudu said. “I'm fortunate to have played in really great sides. I can smile for the rest of my life.”

Gujarat was sent in to bat first and posted 214-4 — the highest ever total in an IPL final — highlighted by 96 from Sai Sudharsan.

Rain halted Chennai’s chase in the first over for nearly 2 1/2 hours, and reduced the target and length of the innings. Chennai needed every single ball to make a thrilling 171-5.

A fantastic launch was shared by openers Devon Conway, 47 off 25 balls, and Ruturaj Gaikwad, 26 off 16. They raised a half-century stand within the four-over powerplay, including 17 runs in legspinner Rashid Khan’s first over.

Spinner Noor Ahmad removed both openers in the same over but Chennai kept coming hard. Ajinkya Rahane added 27 off 13, and Rayudu struck Mohit Sharma for 6-4-6 in the 13th over before the bowler responded with consecutives wickets.

He took a return catch to dismiss Rayudu and had Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni caught at extra-cover for a first-ball duck. That left Shivam Dube, who scored an unbeaten 32 off 21, with Jadeja.

Dhoni, who has led the Chennai franchise since the start of the IPL, said he'd be prepared to continue after guiding the team to 10 finals.

“The easy thing for me to say is, ‘Thank you,’ and retire,” the 41-year-old former India captain said. "But the hard thing to do is to work hard for nine months and try to play one more IPL season. … The amount of love I have received from CSK fans, it would be a gift for them to play one more season.”

Mohammed Shami bowled a brilliant penultimate over, leaving Chennai needing 13 runs off six balls. Mohit Sharma, who ended up with 3-36, conceded just three runs off the first four deliveries until Jadeja's last-gasp heroics.

Earlier, Chennai’s early lapses in the field gave Gujarat momentum. Deepak Chahar missed catching chances against Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha.

Gill, who top-scored in the tournament with 890 runs, made 39 off 20 before he was stumped by Dhoni. Saha made 54.

Sudharsan shared two half-century stands; 64 with Saha and 81 off 33 with Titans captain Hardik Pandya.

Sudharsan smashed eight boundaries and six sixes and dominated the late overs. He was in sight of a deserving century in the last over until pacer Matheesha Pathirana pinned him with a superb yorker.

“We tick a lot of boxes and we play with our heart,” Pandya said. “We’ve always been a team that has stood together and no one gave up. We win together and we lose together, maybe one of those games today.

“I’m very happy for (Dhoni). Destiny had this written for him. If I had to lose, I don’t mind losing to him. Good things happen to good people.”


UAE’s Thani Al-Qemzi eyes double target in Sardinia Grand Prix

Updated 27 sec ago
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UAE’s Thani Al-Qemzi eyes double target in Sardinia Grand Prix

  • Team Abu Dhabi veteran aims for repeat victory in Olbia, with sights also on team crown

SARDINIA: There is little that Thani Al-Qemzi has not achieved in a remarkable UIM F1H2O World Championship career, and the Team Abu Dhabi star wants to add to his haul in this weekend’s Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy.

The veteran Emirati driver reached the 150 Grand Prix milestone at the previous round in France, marking it with a 44th podium finish, and is back in Sardinia at the scene of a record-breaking performance last season.

After setting the first sub-30-second lap time in F1H2O history to clinch pole position in Olbia last October, Al-Qemzi powered his way to a 10th career Grand Prix victory, and he wants a repeat performance on Sunday.

“That has to be the target that I start with, because I know I can win, I have a great boat, and I have a great team behind me,” said Al-Qemzi, who relishes the prospect of another battle with Jonas Andersson, as the Swede looks to clinch a second world title.

“Of course, it will be very difficult, especially with Jonas looking so strong this time. But I always have a lot of belief in myself, and the team, and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”

Twice a runner-up in the F1H2O drivers’ title race, most recently to Andersson two years ago, Al-Qemzi has on six occasions finished in the bronze medal position.

That will be his minimum expectation this time, as he returns to action in Olbia lying fifth in the championship, with December’s final round awaiting in Sharjah.

The other big target is to secure a sixth successive F1H2O world team title this season, with Team Abu Dhabi currently in third place, trailing Team Sweden by five points and Sharjah Team by two.

Meanwhile, after securing his fourth F2 world title in Portugal earlier this month and signing off with another Grand Prix win last weekend, Rashed-Al Qemzi has stepped up again to partner cousin Thani, and is ready for a fresh challenge.

That includes a new race format introduced in Sardinia, which sees even- and odd-numbered boats split into two groups for Friday’s free practice, 30-minute qualifying sessions on Saturday morning, and separate 15-minute Sprint races in the afternoon.

The top seven from each group qualify for Sunday’s Grand Prix, provided that they finish the Sprint race, and complete at least 70 percent of the laps.

If less than seven boats from either group qualify, two final Grand Pix starting positions will be determined by a 20-minute Sunday morning Repechage session.

UIM F1H2O World Championship leading points positions

1. Jonas Andersson 43

2. Erik Stark 28

3. Ferdinand Zandbergen 27

4. Bartek Marszalek 20

5. Thani Al-Qemzi 19

6. Peter Morin 18

7. Shaun Torrente 17

8. Sami Selio 15

9. Filip Roms 11

10. Brent Dillard 11


PGA Tour says LIV merger attracts unsolicited investor interest

Updated 28 September 2023
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PGA Tour says LIV merger attracts unsolicited investor interest

  • Bloomberg News said inclusion of outside investors could help appease politicians who have voiced concerns the deal would amount to a takeover of a US institution by LIV Golf, bankrolled by the PIF
  • Talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and DP World are progressing, with the goal of reaching a definitive agreement by Dec. 31

NEW YORK: PGA Tour said its planned merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf and DP World Tour has garnered unsolicited interest from investors as it continues to finalize an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour.

The PGA said that while it did not solicit additional investment interest, it has a responsibility to members, sponsors and fans to thoroughly evaluate all potential options.

“Our focus continues to be on finalizing an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour, however, our negotiations have resulted in unsolicited interest from other investors,” PGA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Any investments that come from the talks will be made into PGA Tour Enterprises, a subsidiary of the PGA Tour, which it would permanently control.

Bloomberg News, which earlier reported the news, said inclusion of outside investors could help appease politicians who have voiced concerns the deal would amount to a takeover of a US institution by LIV Golf, bankrolled by the PIF.

PGA said additional investor interest is not about politics, but because the PGA Tour has, for the first time, created an investment vehicle in PGA TOUR Enterprises and its business is strong.

PGA added talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and DP World are progressing, with the goal of reaching a definitive agreement by Dec. 31.

In June the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV circuit announced an agreement to merge and form one unified commercial entity.


Real Madrid back to winning ways as Girona go top after their 6th straight victory in Spanish league

Updated 28 September 2023
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Real Madrid back to winning ways as Girona go top after their 6th straight victory in Spanish league

  • The win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium moved Madrid to second place, one point behind Girona, which came from behind to win 2-1 at Villarreal
  • Girona are two points ahead of fellow Catalan club Barcelona, the defending champions that had their five-game winning streak halted by a 2-2 draw at Mallorca on Tuesday

MADRID: Real Madrid got back to winning ways by beating Las Palmas 2-0 on Wednesday while Girona are top of the Spanish league after their sixth straight victory.

Brahim Díaz and Joselu scored for Madrid, who were coming off a 3-1 loss at city rivals Atletico Madrid after opening the season with five straight league victories.

The win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium moved Madrid to second place, one point behind Girona, which came from behind to win 2-1 at Villarreal.

Girona, who are enjoying their best-ever start to the league with six wins and a draw in seven games, host Madrid on Saturday.

“It’s not easy to win six in a row in the first division,” Girona coach Michel said. “We have to enjoy this moment. The game against Madrid will be precious, against one of the best teams in the world.”

Girona are two points ahead of fellow Catalan club Barcelona, the defending champions that had their five-game winning streak halted by a 2-2 draw at Mallorca on Tuesday.

Madrid were in control from the start at the Bernabeu and missed chance after chance until Díaz finally opened the scoring with a high shot from near the penalty spot three minutes into first-half stoppage time.

The hosts had 18 attempts in the first half alone, with eight of them on target. Las Palmas had no shots on target until after halftime.

Newly arrived striker Joselu grew increasingly frustrated after failing to capitalize on several good scoring opportunities until finally finding the net with a header in the 54th.

Díaz started in place of new signing Jude Bellingham. The 20-year-old England midfielder started on the bench for the first time this season after scoring six goals in his first seven matches with Madrid in all competitions.

Forward Vinícius Junior, returning from injury, also started on the bench. He replaced Joselu early in the second half.

“The players are well aware how important it is to rotate,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “I try to manage the squad and we have to do that the best we can in the coming games. That will be the case until the next international break because fatigue does play a big part and there are lots of injuries in this period.”

Madrid endured yet another injury setback when defender David Alaba was substituted in the first half because of an apparent muscle problem. The club has been playing without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Éder Militão because of long-term knee injuries.

It was the fourth loss for promoted Las Palmas, who beat Granada in the previous round for their first win of the season.

GIRONA KEEPS WINNING

Girona rallied to beat Villarreal and extend their stunning start to the season.

Dani Parejo put the hosts ahead by converting a 49th-minute penalty kick, but Artem Dovbyk and Eric García gave Girona the lead with goals in the 56th and 61st minutes.

Girona, controlled by City Football Group, the parent company of Manchester City, opened the season with a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad.

Villarreal are winless in three matches in all competitions.

OTHER RESULTS

Fourth-place Athletic Bilbao drew 2-2 against Getafe at home, while Cadiz and Rayo Vallecano finished 0-0.

Valencia lost 1-0 to visiting Real Sociedad.


Inter crash to first defeat as Osimhen boosts Napoli past Udinese

Updated 28 September 2023
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Inter crash to first defeat as Osimhen boosts Napoli past Udinese

  • Domenico Berardi hit the winner as Sassuolo claimed all three points to follow up last week’s win over Juventus
  • After a defeat and two draws, champions Napoli returned to winning ways with Osimhen playing a starring role in a 4-1 win over Udinese

MILAN: Inter Milan crashed to their first defeat of the Serie A season on Wednesday, going down 2-1 at home to Sassuolo as controversial striker Victor Osimhen starred for Napoli despite an apparent rift with the champions.

Inter went into the game with a perfect record of five wins in five and looked in control at 1-0 ahead thanks to a Denzel Dumfries goal on the stroke of halftime at the San Siro.

Sassuolo leveled in the 54th minute when Nedim Bajrami scored with a long-range effort which caught out goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

Domenico Berardi hit the winner 10 minutes later as Sassuolo claimed all three points to follow up last week’s win over Juventus.

Inter remain top of the table on goal difference ahead of AC Milan who earlier defeated Cagliari 3-1.

“After a good first period where we should have scored more than one goal, but we lost our focus especially after the equalizer,” said Inter coach Simone Inzaghi.

“Losing in front of our home crowd hurts us, we have to understand what happened, even if the schedule, with our next match on Saturday, doesn’t really give us time to take a step back.”

After a defeat and two draws, champions Napoli returned to winning ways with Osimhen playing a starring role in a 4-1 win over Udinese.

The Nigerian striker scored his fourth goal of the season after 39 minutes with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia ending a long goal drought by finding the net in the second half.

Osimhen, top scorer in Serie A last season, had cut a controversial figure at the weekend when he showed his displeasure at being taken off by coach Rudy Garcia in the 0-0 draw with Bologna.

On Tuesday, his agent threatened Napoli with legal action for having published a video on the club’s TikTok account, since deleted, mocking the striker for missing a penalty in that game.

Osimhen removed photos of himself in Napoli colors from his own social media, fueling speculation that he will demand a move in the next transfer window.

“I have a very good relationship with Victor,” insisted Garcia.

“I am happy for him because he scored tonight. After the match in Bologna, we were all frustrated, angry, Victor in particular, because he missed the penalty.

“On the sporting aspect and on other levels, especially on TikTok, there have been a lot of things to manage in recent days,” smiled Garcia.

“But I can assure you that Victor loves this jersey and that he is invested in 100 percent in our project.”

Napoli are now fifth in the table with 11 points, four points behind the two Milan clubs.

AC Milan fought back from a goal down to defeat Cagliari.

Milan were without injured goalkeeper Mike Maignan as well as strikers Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao.

Cagliari, searching for a first win of the campaign, grabbed a shock 29th-minute lead through Angolan winger Zito Luvumbo who capitalized on a mix-up in the Milan defense to shoot past Marco Sportiello.

Milan, however, hit back with Noah Okafor levelling in the 40th minute when he beat goalkeeper Boris Radunovic from a cross by Christian Pulisic.

In first-half injury-time, Fikayo Tomori added Milan’s second thanks to the work of Yacine Adli who was starting a game for only the second time since his arrival at the club in July 2022.

Stefano Pioli’s side made sure of the three points on the hour mark when Ruben Loftus-Cheek hit the target.

The win was a fifth in six matches for AC Milan who are level on 15 points with Inter.

“We deserved our victory in a match which was not a formality,” said Pioli who celebrated his 200th win as a coach in Serie A.

However, he admitted there had been “naivety” over the goal Milan conceded.

“We know that it is the matches against our direct rivals for the title which will impact our place in the table, but these matches which, on paper, seem simple will be very important at the end of the season,” he added.

Empoli, who sacked coach Paolo Zanetti last week after a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Roma, celebrated their first win of the season.

Tommaso Baldanzi scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Salernitana.


Newcastle send Man City packing in League Cup; Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea advance

Updated 28 September 2023
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Newcastle send Man City packing in League Cup; Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea advance

  • Newcastle’s reward in the fourth-round draw made 30 minutes after the final whistle is a trip to Manchester in the fourth round to face United
  • Liverpool are making a habit of conceding the first goal in games but are still unbeaten this season after beating Leicester 3-1

LONDON: Manchester City seem to win every competition they enter these days except the English League Cup.

Newcastle beat Man City 1-0 on Wednesday in the third round of the League Cup who also eluded Pep Guardiola’s team during their storied treble last season. Guardiola’s agitation showed by getting a yellow card in the closing minutes for dissent to the match officials.

“No problem, I accept everything,” Guardiola told the BBC of his booking. “Congratulations to Newcastle for the victory.”

Newcastle’s reward in the fourth-round draw made 30 minutes after the final whistle is a trip to Manchester in the fourth round to face United. It’s a rematch of last season’s final won by Man United.

Guardiola left star starters Erling Haaland, Kyle Walker and Phil Foden on the bench, yet Man City still dominated the first half without making their possession count with a goal.

Alexander Isak struck in the 53rd for Newcastle who also made sweeping lineup changes to rest key players for another midweek fixture sandwiched between two Champions League challenges.

The goal was created by Joelinton’s dribble into and across the penalty area past four City defenders before squaring a pass that found Isak alone at the far post.

Foden and Jeremy Doku came on in the second half but could not find a leveler as Haaland stayed on the bench among the unused substitutes.

Man City won the League Cup five times in six seasons through 2021 and now have been eliminated in three straight seasons.

Guardiola’s team already won the UEFA Super Cup last month, still have Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup trophies to defend, and there is a first Club World Cup to play for in December in Saudi Arabia.

Liverpool comebacks

Liverpool are making a habit of conceding the first goal in games but are still unbeaten this season after beating Leicester 3-1 with three second-half goals.

A third-minute goal by Leicester’s Kasey McAteer made it five times in eight games that Liverpool trailed 1-0, and the second time it fell behind in the opening minutes at Anfield.

It would be Leicester’s only shot on target as Liverpool rallied with 29 goal attempts, 10 of them on target, and goals for Cody Gakpo, Dominik Szoboszlai and Diogo Jota.

Szoboszlai’s was the pick in the 70th, a rifled shot from 20 meters that glanced off the underside of the crossbar on its way to the net.

Arsenal, Chelsea advance

Arsenal and Chelsea came through games against Premier League opposition as all nine matches on Wednesday were won in regulation time and did not go directly to a penalty shootout.

Arsenal won 1-0 at Brentford thanks to Reiss Nelson’s goal in the eighth minutes after poor passing in the home defense.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea fielded three players — Marc Cucurella, Robert Sanchez, Moises Caicedo — who were signed from Brighton in a 1-0 win over their old club.

Nicolas Jackson scored in the 50th for the Senegal forward’s second goal of the season.

Top-tier teams win

Everton reversed a 4-0 loss at Aston Villa in the Premier League last month to take a 2-1 win at Villa Park. James Garner scored in the 15th and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 50th for Everton, which now has two away wins in five days after a troubled start to the season.

There were routine wins for Fulham and Bournemouth at home to second-tier teams.

Fulham’s foundation for a 2-1 win over Norwich was a 12th-minute goal by Carlos Vinícius. Bournemouth struck twice in a three-minute spell early in the second half to beat Stoke 2-0.

West Ham needed a 70th-minute goal by Tomas Soucek in a 1-0 win at third-tier Lincoln.

The highest scoring game saw Blackburn beat Cardiff 5-2 in a clash of second-tier teams.

Fourth-round draw

In a draw stacked with all-Premier League matchups, Liverpool will go to Bournemouth and Arsenal is at West Ham. Chelsea got a favorable game hosting Blackburn.

Everton coach Sean Dyche will welcome his long-time former club Burnley, and Fulham must go to improving second-tier side Ipswich.

Fourth-tier Mansfield will host third-tier Port Vale to ensure at least one underdog will be in the quarterfinals. Third-tier Exeter hosts second-tier Middlesbrough.