Kishan and Bumrah lead Mumbai to 7-wicket win over Bengaluru in IPL

Mumbai Indians’ Ishan Kishan plays a shot during the Indian Premier League cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangaluru, Mumbai, India, Thursday, Apr. 11, 2024. (AP Photo)
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Updated 11 April 2024
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Kishan and Bumrah lead Mumbai to 7-wicket win over Bengaluru in IPL

  • Chasing 198 for victory, Ishan Kishan smacked 69 off 34 balls and then Suryakumar Yadav smacked 52 off only 19 balls
  • Mumbai finished with 199-3 in reply to Bengaluru’s 196-8 in 20 overs with Dinesh Karthik scoring 53 not out off 26 balls

MUMBAI, India: A whirlwind batting performance powered the Mumbai Indians to a stunning seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
Chasing 198 for victory, Ishan Kishan smacked 69 off 34 balls and then Suryakumar Yadav smacked 52 off only 19 balls as Mumbai crossed the finish line in 15.3 overs.
It finished with 199-3 in reply to Bengaluru’s 196-8 in 20 overs with Dinesh Karthik scoring 53 not out off 26 balls.
Put into bat, Bengaluru’s batting faltered against Jasprit Bumrah who picked 5-21 in four overs and restricted the visitors to an under-par score.
Bumrah broke through in the third over and had leading run-scorer Virat Kohli caught behind for three runs.
English batter Will Jacks had been drafted in for Australian all-rounder Cameron Green, but he too fell to Bumrah for only 8.
Skipper Faf du Plessis and Rajat Patidar put on 82 off 47 balls for the third wicket. Du Plessis found form again and scored his first half-century of the season — 61 off 40 balls, including four fours and three sixes.
Patidar scored 50 off 26 balls as Bengaluru’s innings seemed to correct course. But Mumbai struck back with Gerald Coetzee getting the breakthrough to send back Patidar.
Another big moment followed when Glenn Maxwell was out lbw for a four-ball duck to spinner Shreyas Gopal.
Bumrah returned to sink the remaining Bengaluru lineup — he was on a hat trick twice, but missed out on both. He had du Plessis caught in the 17th over, and then Mahipal Lomror for a duck in the 17th over. Two overs later, he picked another brace off consecutive deliveries.
Karthik held one end together though, hitting four sixes and five fours to prop up Bengaluru from 153-6 in 16.5 overs, falling just short of 200.
It wasn’t going to be enough on a dewy Wankhede wicket, but Mumbai seemed to be in a hurry.
Kishan put on 101 off only 53 balls with Rohit Sharma (38), as he blazed seven fours and five sixes.
Bengaluru’s bowling had no response, or respite, with Mumbai crossing 100 in the ninth over.
Kishan was finally caught in the deep, but Yadav walked in to further torment the visitors. He hit four sixes, and another five fours, scoring 50 off only 17 balls.
Sharma was dismissed in the 12th over, even as it didn’t slow down proceedings. Yadav was out caught in the 14th over, with Mumbai on the cusp of victory and duly won the game with 27 balls to spare.
It was Bengaluru’s fifth loss in six games, along with a major hit to its net run-rate, as it sunk to ninth in the points’ table.
Mumbai moved up to seventh with four points from five games.


Kylian Mbappé trains at Euro 2024 with bandage on broken nose and social media post causing intrigue

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Kylian Mbappé trains at Euro 2024 with bandage on broken nose and social media post causing intrigue

“Without risks, there are no victories,” the striker wrote on Instagram
“A fractured nose isn’t the end of the world,” midfielder Adrien Rabiot said Wednesday

PADERBORN, Germany: Kylian Mbappé returned to light training Wednesday with a bandage covering his broken nose in the first public appearance by the France superstar since his bloody injury that shook the European Championship.
A cryptic post on social media earlier hours might have provided an insight into Mbappé’s mindset as the world waits to discover how long he will be out of action.
“Without risks, there are no victories,” the striker wrote on Instagram in the only comment so far from Mbappé or the French team management on a day when the Real Madrid-bound player underwent more tests on the nose injury sustained in the 1-0 win over Austria on Monday.
Mbappé emerged for a late-afternoon practice session at the Home Deluxe Arena in Paderborn about 30 minutes after his teammates came out. He was initially seen running with the ball alone, with a trainer, and later speaking to France coach Didier Deschamps, before taking part in a shooting drill with other players.
France’s next match is against the Netherlands on Friday and the team have yet to officially confirm whether Mbappé is available.
Earlier Wednesday, the diagnosis on Mbappé had been fairly encouraging from two of his teammates.
“A fractured nose isn’t the end of the world,” midfielder Adrien Rabiot said Wednesday through a translator at a lunchtime news conference in Paderborn, where France hold their training sessions at Euro 2024, “and Kylian should be with us pretty soon.”
William Saliba said he spoke to Mbappé and reported the striker was feeling a “bit better.”
Mbappé broke his nose when his face collided with the shoulder of Austria defender Kevin Danso. Blood was seen pouring from Mbappé’s badly swollen nose, turning parts of his white France jersey red. He will have to wear a face mask if he plays on at the tournament, his team said.
“I saw him this morning, he was a bit better,” Saliba said through a translator. “I think he was off to do more tests. I don’t know anything more.
“But when I saw him this morning, he was a bit better.”
Rabiot has compared the injury to one suffered by his teammate at Juventus, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. The Poland international broke his nose against Torino in April, underwent surgery and was back in the team the following week.
The widespread expectation is that Mbappé will play a further part at Euro 2024, especially since France’s win over Austria means the team are likely to advance to the knockout stage, which begins on June 29.
France will not be playing their match in the round of 16 before June 30.
Rabiot stressed he didn’t know how long Mbappé will be out, but said “playing without Kylian could be tough.”
“He is a very important teammate and he is our captain, so it will have an effect on us, but also for the opponents — it will be different for them to prepare their game,” Rabiot said.
“I’m not going to hide it, we definitely want him to play. (But) looking at who we have on the bench, I think we have what it takes to replace Kylian. If he’s not there, it’s going to be a bit more tough but I trust all the great players we have on the team.”
Olivier Giroud and Randal Kolo Muani are the options to come in for Mbappé, who was nominally a center forward against Austria but was given license to roam to the left or right. It was from the right wing where he played in the cross for the only goal — a header into his own net by Maximilian Wober.

Brussels refuses to host Belgium-Israel football match over security fears

Updated 21 min 51 sec ago
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Brussels refuses to host Belgium-Israel football match over security fears

  • Holding such a match while the war in Gaza was continuing “will undoubtedly provoke large demonstrations and counter-demonstrations”
  • The Belgian Football Federation (URBSFA) said it would have accepted that the match take place behind closed doors

BRUSSELS: Brussels has refused to host a Nations League match between Israel and Belgium on September 6 because it could spark demonstrations, city authorities said on Wednesday.
They said in a statement that holding such a match while the war in Gaza was continuing “will undoubtedly provoke large demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, compromising the safety of spectators, players, Brussels residents and also the police.”
The Belgian Football Federation (URBSFA) said it would have accepted that the match take place behind closed doors but it deeply regretted that the Belgian capital had refused to host the game at all.
“We deplore the decision taken by the City of Brussels — which has a lot of experience of organizing big events — to not organize the match in our stronghold,” the federation said.
The federation said it was in contact with several cities and the security services about finding an alternative venue.
The city of Louvain has already said it would not host the match either.
Concerns were likely raised by the attack in Brussels in October in which an Islamist gunman killed two Swedish football fans, although the motive of the attack was not anti-Semitic.
France and Italy are in the same Nations League Group A2 as Belgium and Israel.


Albania dent Croatia’s Euro 2024 hopes with dramatic draw

Updated 19 June 2024
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Albania dent Croatia’s Euro 2024 hopes with dramatic draw

  • Klaus Gjasula put through his own net and then became the last-gasp hero by slotting into the bottom corner in the fifth minute of injury time to snatch the draw
  • Albania have won plenty of plaudits with their performances against both Italy, in a 2-1 defeat, and Croatia, but will probably have to beat Spain to keep their last-16 hopes alive

HAMBURG: Albania left Croatia in danger of a group-stage exit from Euro 2024 after a thrilling 2-2 draw on Wednesday as Albania’s Klaus Gjasula scored at both ends, including a dramatic injury-time equalizer.
After a disappointing 3-0 loss to Spain in their opener, Croatia were behind again when Qazim Laci gave Albania an early lead in Hamburg.
But Croatia improved after making two half-time substitutions and Andrej Kramaric levelled with 16 minutes remaining, before Gjasula put through his own net.
The Albania midfielder became the last-gasp hero, though, slotting into the bottom corner in the fifth minute of injury time to snatch his team a point.
Croatia, World Cup semifinalists in 2022, will now likely need to win their final Group B match against holders Italy on June 24 to reach the knockout phase for a fifth straight major tournament.
Albania have won plenty of plaudits with their performances against both Italy, in a 2-1 defeat, and Croatia, but could not hold a lead in either game and will probably have to beat Spain to keep their last-16 hopes alive.
Croatia’s ‘golden generation’ were ultimately made to pay for a poor first-half display and are in danger of bowing out from major tournament football in limp fashion.
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic opted against a change in formation from the Spain defeat, sticking with his midfield trio of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic.
But he brought in Ivan Perisic at left-back, moving Manchester City’s Josko Gvardiol into central defense.
The smell of smoke from flares filled the air outside the stadium as the supporters of both teams created one of the best atmospheres of the tournament so far.
Albania scored the fastest goal in European Championship history after just 23 seconds against Italy and they made another quick start.
It took until only the 11th minute for Sylvinho’s men to break the deadlock this time, as Sparta Prague midfielder Laci ghosted into the area unmarked to nod home an inch-perfect, inswinging cross from Jasir Asani.
Croatia tried to impose their passing game, but Albania were constantly in their faces and continued to look the more dangerous side, with right-back Elseid Hysaj firing off target.
The underdogs could have doubled their advantage just after the half-hour mark, but Kristjan Asllani was denied by Dominik Livakovic when face-to-face with the Croatia goalkeeper.
Albania striker Rey Manaj passed up another excellent opportunity, failing to get enough purchase on his free header in first-half added time to seriously trouble Livakovic.
Dalic responded by making two changes at the interval, bringing on 21-year-old Luka Sucic and Mario Pasalic for the ineffective Lovro Majer and Brozovic.
Those substitutions brought about a quick improvement from Croatia, as Albania goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha made a good save to keep out Sucic’s left-footed shot, before Pasalic headed over seconds later.
Albania continued to threaten on the counter-attack, though, with Nedim Bajrami drilling wide of the near post in the 67th minute.
But Croatia finally found a way through in the 74th minute as substitute Ante Budimir picked out Kramaric inside the box and the forward cut inside before sending a composed finish inside Strakosha’s near post.
The turnaround appeared to be complete two minutes later as Sucic’s close-range effort was blocked, but only against the unfortunate Gjasula and into an empty net.
Albania did not give up, missing a series of chances as it appeared Croatia would cling on.
Gjasula had other ideas though, sweeping a loose ball home before a chaotic denouement that saw both sides throw bodies forward in search of a winner, to no avail.


India’s Suryakumar ‘happy’ to be in Barbados for Afghan test in T20 World Cup

Updated 19 June 2024
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India’s Suryakumar ‘happy’ to be in Barbados for Afghan test in T20 World Cup

  • The Indians, one of the favorites, topped Group A with their three wins over Ireland, Pakistan and USA
  • The move to Barbados takes the Indian team on to the more traditional cricket territory of the West Indies

BRIDGETOWN: India batsman Suryakumar Yadav has welcomed the switch from New York to the traditional pitches of Barbados ahead of their opening match in the Super Eight part of the T20 Cricket World Cup against Afghanistan on Thursday.
The Indians, one of the favorites to win the trophy, topped Group A with their three wins over Ireland, Pakistan, USA — their match with Canada in Lauderhill was abandoned — all played on the “spicy” drop-in pitches of the temporary stadium near New York.
The move to Barbados takes the Indians on to the more traditional cricket territory of the West Indies.
“It’s not that we weren’t happy playing there (New York) but we were playing for the first time,” he said at a press conference late on Tuesday.
“So yes, the conditions were different and a little challenging as well.
“But we’ve played here, we know the conditions here, how they react, how they act, so we are very happy to be here. It looks better.”
Suryakumar, the world’s top-ranked batter in the short white-ball format, has never played in Bridgetown in the T20 format but did play two ODIs against West Indies there last year, making 19 and 24.
He struggled for runs in those group matches in New York making just two against Ireland and seven against Pakistan before a measured 50 not out from 49 balls — some way short of his average T20I strike rate of 168.06 -guided the Indians to a seven-wicket win over USA.
“I have been the world’s number one batsman for the past two years so you should know how to bat according to different conditions and how you can change your game to what the team needs at that time,” said the 33-year-old.
“If you can play like that, I think it displays good batsmanship. And I try to do that if the wicket is difficult.”
“I knew post-power play that finding boundaries was going to be difficult on that ground with the wind, with the slow outfield.
“So, we had a plan in mind after the power play that we’d just try and hit the gap and run hard.
“It was a little difficult track to bat on, yes, but that day the situation was different. We had to be batting till the end, keeping the wickets in hand.”
Against Afghanistan, and indeed Bangladesh who they face on Saturday, Suryakumar is sure to come up against more of a spin threat but the Mumbai Indians slugger is more than ready.
“That has always been my strong point,” he said. “I mean, if the wicket is slow, the spinner is bowling, or if the wicket is good, that has always been my game.”
“We obviously have plans against Afghanistan. We are completely focused and know our own strong points really well.
“We do think about the opposition. But at the same time, at the end of the day, you should know what your strong points are and back it.”


Germany and Hungary fans bask in Stuttgart sunshine ahead of crunch clash

Updated 19 June 2024
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Germany and Hungary fans bask in Stuttgart sunshine ahead of crunch clash

  • Hosts Germany will be looking to reach the knockout stage with a second successive win in Group A
  • Hungary coach Marco Rossi said on Tuesday his side needed to play a perfect game to get at least a point against the three-time European champions

STUTTGART: Overnight storms cleared and the sun was shining on Stuttgart on Wednesday as thousands of fans arrived in the city center ahead of one of the most anticipated matches of Euro 2024’s group stage between Germany and Hungary.
Hosts Germany will be looking to reach the knockout stage with a second successive win in Group A while Hungary need at least a point to have any real hope of extending their stay at the tournament.
The game, a rematch of the 1954 World Cup final when Germany won their first international title, was designated high risk by security services and Stuttgart police had prepared a large presence to deal with any possible disturbances.
However, there were no signs of animosity at the city’s main fan park in Schlossplatz with supporters from both nations drinking in the sun, waving huge flags and exchanging chants in a friendly fashion hours ahead of kickoff.
Many Hungarian fans sported national team shirts with the name of their young captain Dominik Szoboszlai on the back, with the 23-year-old already have drawn comparisons as a team leader to the great Ferenc Puskas.
As supporters made their way to the stadium, the focus quickly turned to who would come out on top.
“There is no other option. We believe in this. We traveled 1,000 kilometers. We’re here. We have to win,” Hungary fan Istvan, from near the northern city of Eger, told Reuters.
Hungary coach Marco Rossi said on Tuesday his side needed to play a perfect game to get at least a point against the three-time European champions and supporter Lajos agreed.
“We wish that we will win, (but) the Germans are a lot better,” he said. “The Hungarians started badly against Switzerland (but) there is a chance here, if they want to go further, only victory or a draw is acceptable.”
Germany fans who saw their side smash Scotland 5-1 in the opener could afford to settle back, perhaps with a few steins of beer, and be a little more relaxed about the match.
“We all have a very good feeling. I hope Germany is the winner,” supporter Juergen said.