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Indian Women’s Kabaddi Team In Tears After Country’s Historic 100th Medal In Asian Games

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The Indian women’s kabaddi team players struggled to hold back their tears after beating Chinese Taipei in the final of the Asian Games. In what was a nail-biting encounter, India edged their opponents 26-25 to claim the gold medal, which was also India’s 100th at the Hangzhou Games. After the referee blew the full-time whistle, the Indian players broke down as tears of joy flowed down their cheeks. Players hugged each other and celebrated the historic moment for the country.

This was India’s third gold in women’s kabaddi which was introduced in the 2010 Asian Games. India won gold in the 2010 and 2014 editions but settled for a silver in 2018 after losing to Iran in the final.

This time the Indians faced Chinese Taipei, an emerging kabaddi nation, in what turned out to be an edge-of-the-seat summit showdown.

The two sides were tied 34-34 in the group league match and both knew that it was going to be a tough final.

India were well ahead at 14-9 at the half time, courtesy of a super raid from Pooja, who was one of the stars of the intense final that also saw the team’s coach being cautioned with a green card.

The next 15 minutes saw a nerve-wracking display of tremendous game from both sides with the lead getting exchanged quite a few times.

Chinese Taipei narrowed down India’s lead to 16-14 soon after resumption. With less than five minutes remaining on the clock, Chinese Taipei won a crucial video referral as the scoreline read 19-17 in India’s favour.

From there, Chinese Taipei were on the ascendancy. There were just two Indian players on the field when a Chinese Taipei player made the raid. One Indian player was out as she touched the backline and the other failed to get hold of the opposition raider.

Chinese Taipei took four points — two from the raid and two for sending India All Out — and that took them ahead at 21-19.

Pooja then got one point from her raid to reduce the margin to 20-21. The next Chinese Taipei raider could not get any points and the onus was on India to make things even.

At this point, captain Ritu Negi took a masterstroke of a decision as she stopped Pushpa from going for a raid. She sent Pooja instead who did a marvellous job as India got two points to lead 22-21.

It was not over yet and the match got more intense as the two teams were locked 22-22, 23-23 and then 24-24.

At that stage, raider Pushpa won a point for India as 53 seconds were left on the clock. Chinese Taipei took a review but that was turned down, sealing the fate of the match in favour of India.

Chinese Taipei won a point through their raider to reduce the score to 25-26. The Indians played out the remaining few seconds before jumping into each other’s arms in celebration.

“We worked really hard after losing the gold in the 2018 Asian Games. We waited for five year but our hard work paid off,” said captain Ritu Negi who was also a part of the silver-winning team at the 2018 Asian Games.

India had lost to Iran in the final in Indonesia.

“Our players were a bit nervous towards the end but they kept themselves under control and ultimately pulled off the win,” coach Edachery Bhaskaran said.

“Chinese Taipei are now a very strong side. They have trained in India in the past and will keep on improving. We also have to work harder and maintain our hold.”

With PTI inputs

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‘One Format May…’: Mitchell Starc Hints ODI Retirement After IPL 2024 Triumph

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Australia fast-bowler Mitchell Starc hinted on his ODI retirement after lifting the IPL trophy with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The left-arm pacer said with a long wait before the next one-day World Cup, he might shift focus to more franchise cricket around the world. Starc’s return to the IPL has been nothing short of spectacular, culminating in a title win with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). After years of prioritising international cricket, Starc’s decision to rejoin the cash-rich league paid off, and he now contemplates altering his cricketing commitments, potentially stepping away from ODIs.

Starc, who had largely stayed away from the IPL during his peak years to focus on his national duties and manage his workload, revealed his thoughts on this shift at a press conference following KKR’s emphatic win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL 2024 final by eight wickets. KKR secured their third IPL title, with Starc playing a pivotal role.

“The last nine years, I’ve prioritised Australian cricket. I have given myself a chance to give my body a break and spend some time away from cricket with my wife as well, so that’s certainly been where my head’s been for the last nine years,” Starc said at a press conference.

“Moving forward… look, I am certainly closer to the end of my career than the start. One format may drop off. There is long time before the next one-day World Cup and whether that format continues for me or not… it may open doors for more franchise cricket.”

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season,” he said. “It’s been great, it leads into the World Cup, that’s the other side of the benefit of being here against some amazing players in an amazing tournament. It’s a great lead-up to a World Cup.

“Next year – I don’t know the schedule exactly – but I’ve enjoyed it, I look forward to being back next year and hopefully be seen in purple and gold [KKR’s colours] again.”

Starc’s consideration of dropping ODIs from his cricketing calendar could mean more appearances in franchise cricket, including the IPL. Despite being the most expensive player in IPL auction history, fetched for Rs. 24.75 crore by KKR, Starc had a tough start to the season. He conceded 100 runs in his first two games without taking a wicket, but his performance dramatically improved as the tournament progressed.

Starc’s match-winning figures of 3-34 and 2-14 in Qualifier 1 and the final, respectively, against SRH showcased his ability to perform under pressure. His efforts were instrumental in KKR’s dominant campaign, ending with a resounding victory in the final.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season,” Starc said. “It’s been great, it leads into the World Cup, that’s the other side of the benefit of being here against some amazing players in an amazing tournament. It’s a great lead-up to a World Cup. Next year – I don’t know the schedule exactly – but I’ve enjoyed it, I look forward to being back next year and hopefully be seen in purple and gold (KKR’s colours) again,” he said.

“I’ve played a lot of cricket, so I know how to manage myself. I haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket in the last few years, so for me, it was trying to find that rhythm of [the] T20 format, and trying to stay ahead of batters,” Starc concluded.

–IANS

hs/bc

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“I’d Do It In A Heartbeat”: England Great Throws Hat In India Head Coach Race

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The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India has started to look out for a new head coach for the men’s Indian cricket team. The tenure of Rahul Dravid, who is currently the head coach of the Rohit Sharma-led side, is going to end with the conclusion of India’s campaign at T20 World Cup 2024. The final match of the event will take place on June 29. BCCI has already started inviting applications for the job with the deadline being May 27.

At present, former India opener Gautam Gambhir seems to be the front runner for the role among the names that are surfacing. Of latest, former England spinner Graeme Swann has also shown his interest in the role.

“If India asked me to become their coach, I’d do it in a heartbeat! I love this place,” Swann told Sports Tak.

“Andy was an incredible coach for England when I played. He took us to no.1 in the world, and was the best coach I’ve played under. India would be lucky to have him,” Swann said.

“India… you’ve got such a strong squad, such highly talented players, that whoever gets the job… it will be the biggest coaching job in the world of cricket these days. Whoever gets it, hope they can bringing success because they are really under the microscope,” he added.

Teams like Pakistan, England and South Africa have adopted split coaching but Swann had earlier suggested that the Indian team doesn’t need that.

“In England, we have three teams that go all around the world cause our summer is in a different time, that’s one of the main reasons that split coaches in England. You don’t need it in India,” Swann told PTI.

“A good coach is a good coach, he’s the right man for all three forms so be it. If the guy is specialist in white ball cricket and he’s available then you can use him,” he added.

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“Playing A Part In Final, It’s Special…”: Andre Russell On KKR Winning IPL 2024

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With the Kolkata Knight Riders lifting the IPL trophy, team all-rounder Andre Russell said he feels excited over his contributions to the team’s journey in the IPL and it’s a special feeling. KKR defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League 2024 final at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday. An all-round performance from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), including fiery spells by Mitchell Starc and Andre Russell and a half-century by Venkatesh Iyer, helped the Purple and Gold side secure their third Indian Premier League (IPL). Sunrisers, who set the T20 cricketing world on fire with their fierce hitting, sky-high run-rates, largely due to the opening pair of Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma, got a taste of their own medicine. In a battle of two big buys, the Australian stars Cummins (Rs 20.5 crore for SRH) and Starc (Rs 24.75 crores for KKR), it was the latter who prevailed.

“When you’re a part of this squad, not playing or not involved in the field, but supporting the guys all the way, it’s always a good feeling, but this is a special feeling. In the XI, playing a part in the final, contributing as well through my leadership and everything, it’s an exciting feeling. It’s special,” Russell said on Jio Cinema.

The 36-year-old cricketer further spoke about his batting technique.

“It’s just me not clearing my front leg too much, standing as still as possible, and waiting as long as possible. Normally, this is my trigger movement, clearing my left leg, so I tried to keep it as still as possible. So, if the bowler bowls wide, I push straight and I have access because I am standing on the off-stump,” the West Indies all-rounder added.

Earlier, SRH won the toss and elected to bat. KKR rocked SRH with continuous wickets, with the big buy Mitchell Starc justifying his Rs 24.75 crores price tag. Only skipper Pat Cummins (24 in 19 balls, with two fours and a six) and Aiden Markram (20 in 23 balls, with three fours) touched the 20-run mark and SRH was bundled out for 113 in 18.3 overs.

Andre Russell (3/19) was the top bowler for KKR. Starc (2/14) and Harshit Rana (2/24) also contributed well with the ball. Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Vaibhav Arora took a wicket each.

KKR pulled off the run-chase of 114 runs in just 10.3 overs with eight wickets in hand, with Venkatesh Iyer (52* in 26 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (39 in 32 balls, with five fours and two sixes) shining for KKR.

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