Hideki Matsuyama in the lead: Japanese golfer has a shot at making history at the Masters
Golf|: Japan has been sending golfers to the Masters since 1936, with about three dozen players combining for well over 100 appearances at Augusta National. And none had ever finished a round atop the leaderboard. Until Saturday. Hideki Matsuyama’s four-shot lead going into Sunday’s final round of the Masters is a breakthrough moment for Japan, which became the 17th nation to see one of its players hold a lead after any round at Augusta National. The others, per the Masters: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United States, Wales and Zimbabwe. It was 10 years ago when Matsuyama became the first Asia-Pacific Amateur champion to make the cut and be the low amateur at the Masters. He was the second-lowest amateur finisher to Patrick Cantlay in the Masters field the following year. Here’s something else to note going into the final round: on two previous occasions, Matsuyama has posted the low fourth-round score at the Masters. NO LANGUAGE BARRIER Xander Schauffele is from San Diego. Hideki Matsuyama is from Japan, and needs a translator to help with his interview sessions with English-speaking media. That doesn’t mean Schauffele and Matsuyama can’t talk on the course. They were paired in the third round on Saturday and Schauffele — whose grandparents lived in Japan — knows a little bit of the language. “I know a little bit of Japanese,” Schauffele said. “I threw my few words in here and there. Just some proper words. Some bad ones, too.” He can practice his Japanese a little more on Sunday as well. Schauffele and Matsuyama are the final group at the Masters, going off at 2:40 p.m. “It was really enjoyable playing with Xander today,” Matsuyama said. “We didn’t get a chance to talk a lot, but when we did, we exchanged some good Japanese jokes and had a good laugh.” HORSCHEL’S SLIDE Billy Horschel went into the water on the 13th hole at the Masters on Saturday. He also went onto his backside. Horschel took a slip-and-slide trip to blooper-reel immortality in the third round at Augusta National, after playing his second shot on the par-5 13th into the water — a tributary of Rae’s Creek. He removed his shoes and his socks, rolled up the legs of his white pants to his calves, surveyed the situation and then made his way barefoot down a slope toward the water. He slipped on the way, his feet going out from under him and he landed on his butt. That drew a laugh from the patrons. So did his immediate reaction — turning toward playing partner Phil Mickelson to assess the damage. Horschel asked Mickelson if there was a grass stain. Mickelson’s response, as Horschel recalled: “Yeah, there’s one there. Sorry, buddy.” Horschel played his third out of the water to well above the hole, put his shoes and socks back on and two-putted for a par that was anything but routine. “He hit one of the best shots I’ve ever seen,” Mickelson said. “There were two balls in the water that I was looking at, one was half submerged, one was fully submerged. I thought for sure his ball was the one half submerged. Uh-nuh, he went after that ball fully submerged and got that thing out. It was an incredible golf shot.” Mickelson had a famous slip at a major once, too. He intentionally slipped down a steep dune during the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2015. It wasn’t the first time Horschel ended up on his backside during a tournament. This particular story has become part of golf lore: Bay Hill in 2013, Horschel had been getting ribbed by Tiger Woods all week about his leaping ability, so Horschel saw a cooler on the driving range and attempted to jump atop it. As he went airborne, he saw that the cooler’s lid wasn’t exactly on securely. Disaster ensued. Horschel went flying. “Tiger was on the ground laughing for a good minute and a half,” Horschel said. RAIN DELAY Play was suspended because of severe weather in the area around 4 p.m. Saturday, and rain began to fall not long afterward. The delay lasted 1 hour, 18 minutes. It was the first rain of the week at Augusta National. More than half of the Masters tournaments — now 46 out of 85 — have seen some rain. This became the third consecutive year that the Masters got suspended by weather. There wasn’t a single delay or suspension in the 10 tournaments from 2009 through 2018. MONEY MATTERS For the third consecutive year, the Masters champion will take home $2.07 million. The Masters on Saturday released the breakdown of how the $11.5 million purse will be distributed this year, and first prize this year matches what Tiger Woods received for his win in 2019 and what Dustin Johnson got last year. If someone finishes in sole possession of second place, he’ll receive $1.242 million — which would be the biggest prize in Masters history going to a non-winner. Runner-ups Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith got $1.012 million apiece last year; the Masters record for runner-ups is $1,188,000, won by Rickie Fowler in 2018 and Justin Rose in 2017. Third prize, if claimed outright, would be worth $782,000; fourth, $552,000 and fifth, $460,000. For the record, 50th place is still a nice check: $28,980. CONSISTENCY Jon Rahm and Mackenzie Hughes have signed for the same score in each of the first three rounds at the Masters: 72 each day. They’ve got chances at a Masters rarity. Only four players in Masters history — Walter Hagen in 1939, Lew Worsham in 1954, Kenny Knox in 1987 and George Archer in 1989 — shot the same score in all four rounds of the tournament. Hagen had four 76s, Worsham four 74s, Knox and Archer four 75s. Even though his scores have been the same, Rahm says his play has gotten better as the week has gone along. “The first day was by far the worst day golf-wise,” Rahm said Saturday. “I was able to get a lot of up and downs. Yesterday somewhat similar to today, just nothing that happened. And same thing today. I’m hitting good shots, and it’s just not happening.” There were two other players in the chance to join the four-of-a-kind club. Brian Harman shot 69 in the first round and 69 in the second round, but shot 74 on Saturday. Michael Thompson opened with rounds of 72-72, then went to 75 in his third round. THEY SAID IT Masters leader Hideki Matsuyama, when told Saturday that he has 10 rounds of par or better in his career at Augusta National: “Hopefully I can make it 11 tomorrow.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off during AC Milan win against Parma: Unexplained red shown to Swedish striker after exchanging words with referee
Football|: Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off during AC Milan win against Parma Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off at the 60th minute of AC Milan’s victory against Parma in Serie A, after setting up two goals for his Italian side. The Swedish striker, 39, got a straight red card after having words with a referee. Milan were 2-0 up at the time. While there’s no confirmation of what was said, Milan coach Stefano Pioli gave some insight into the situation while speaking to Sky Sports Italia. "I talked to Zlatan and he told me that he absolutely did not offend him. He argued with the referee but did not disrespect him. I didn’t speak to Maresca and I don’t know his version," said Pioli, according to Milan News. Ibra’s last sentence was, ‘You don’t care what I say.’ It is clear that after his expulsion the game has changed but my team has shown to fill this gap with a lot of determination and will,” he added. This marks the first Serie A red card for Ibra.
Real Madrid thump Barcelona in El Clasico showdown to move to top of LaLiga, as match official who sent off Messi in Supercopa referees
Football|: Real Madrid beat Barcelona in El Clasico to go to the top of the LaLiga table for the first time since last year. Zinedine Zidane’s Spanish side, missing key defender Sergio Ramos, secured a tight 2-1 victory with a goal each from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos with the first 30 minutes of the game, right on the heels of the team’s Champions League quarterfinal win against Liverpool. Oscar Mingueza managed to net one for Barca in the second half but his side failed to secure a much-needed equaliser, as Casemiro was sent off in the 90th minute after racking up two bookings in the span of a minute. This was Madrid’s third consecutive win against Barca in all competitions — the first time they pull off this feat since 1978. Benzema found himself in big company as he became one of four players in the club’s history to score in seven consecutive LaLiga matches; he joined Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Real Madrid — who haven’t lost any of their last five fixtures — are now top of the LaLiga table with 66 points, equal to Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand and will only need a tie to surpass them. Barcelona are only one point behind at 65. Return of the referee who gave Messi a red Jesus Gil Manzano, who famously sent Lionel Messi off in the Supercopa, came in as a last-minute replacement for ref Antonio Mateu Lahoz, who was ruled out of officiating the match due to a muscle injury. Manzano made history earlier this year, when he showed Messi the first red of his club career during the Supercopa de Espana final in January. Athletic Bilbao went on to win that game.
IPL 2021: Is the road to redemption opening up for gifted Prithvi Shaw?
IPL|: Kolkata: Prithvi Shaw may be only 21 years old, but has been through a lot in life already. From poverty during his growing up years to big-time adulation, a doping ban to the threshold of resurrection - to being vilified for a defficiency in technique which saw him being dropped from the Test squad during the tour of Australia. The high backlift which so long aided his bat swing and the gap between the bat and pad came under the scanner bigtime - and it was understandable as he kept getting bowled or dragging the incoming deliveries onto the stumps. What was, however, a matter of concern that a negative perception started building about him - right from his attitude to questions if he was going the 'Vinod Kambli way.' It's in this context that the pint-sized opener's classy 72 for Delhi Capitals - and his partnership with senior pro Shikhar Dhawan which took the match away from Chennai Super Kings in their opening match of IPL has to be viewed. The buzz all around is that of redemption being around the corner for him but in this sport, there is no guarantee that he can maintain such a rich vein of form throughout such a long tournament. MORE FROM IPL 2021 IPL 2021: Delhi Capitals chase down big total to start campaign in style IPL 2021: Straight Bat with Gulf News and Mr. Cricket UAE Anis Sajan - Delhi Capitals vs Chennai Super Kings IPL 2021: I will be back in no time, says Shreyas Iyer after surgery What's more important here is his resilience - and the amount of homework that he and his brains trust had put together to iron out the flaws in his game. Pravin Amre, the former Indian international and the go-to person for most of the Mumbai-based batsmen whenever they are in doubt, was at hand and together - they decided to go ''back to basics'' at Amre's clinic at the Shivaji Maidan. During a conversation with Gulf News sometime back, Amre - who incidentally is the batting coach of Delhi Capitals this year - revealed they could only work for a week together as Shaw had to get into the bio bubble for Mumbai team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. A childhood coach of Rahane, Amre was fervently hoping that the gifted Shaw would use the window of this 50-overs tournament to play himself back into reckoning - but never expected the carnage from Shaw which followed. Shaw was simply unstoppable as he became the first batsman to cross the 800-run barrier in the tournament (827 with four centuries) as he led Mumbai to a title-triumph. Both he and Devdutt Padikkal of Karnataka seemed to be in a competition of century-hitting, but Shaw could not be in the reckoning for the Indian squad which had already been named for the two white ball series against England ahead of the domestic affair. It's still early days to say if we are seeing a Prithvi Shaw 2.0. Just to jog the memory, he had started off the IPL 2020 on a strong note before fading away and looked woefully short of confidence Down Under. The redeeming feature is, having experienced the rejection and done the hard yards, he seems better prepared this time to throw his hat into reckoning for the Indian opener's role in all formats!
IPL 2021: Straight Bat with Gulf News and Mr. Cricket UAE Anis Sajan - Delhi Capitals vs Chennai Super Kings
A fabulous 138-run opening stand between Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw saw Delhi Capitals make light of a steep target of 189 to beat Chennai Super Kings by seven wickets in their first IPL game in Mumbai today.
IPL 2021: M.S. Dhoni or protege Rishabh Pant, who will have the last laugh?
IPL|: Kolkata: It will be an interesting clash of generations when rival captains, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rishabh Pant, go out to toss for the Chennai Super Kings versus Delhi Capitals game in IPL 2021 today. Dhoni, the talismanic Chennai captain who led them to three IPL crowns and had been a mentor of sorts for Pant in the Indian camp, will now be up against his protege in a potentially absorbing clash at the neutral venue of Wankhede Stadium. ''I have learnt a lot of things from him (Dhoni) and hoefully, will try and use it against him,'' Pant said in a virtual press conference on Friday. The two sides come into this IPL with two different agenda. While Chennai will be looking to set the record straight after a nightmarish campaign in the UAE last year, Delhi will be eyeing to do one better and grab their first crown after a runners-up finish last time. 05:38 PM April 10, 2021 05:37 PM April 10, 2021 05:34 PM April 10, 2021 05:31 PM April 10, 2021 05:27 PM April 10, 2021 05:22 PM April 10, 2021
Prince Philip: How sport pays respects to Duke of Edinburgh
This weekend, a whole global sporting community will come to a standstill to mark the passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who has died aged 99. Prince Philip passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle on Friday morning according to Buckingham Palace, and already the sporting world has been paying tributes to one of its greatest ambassadors. Miunutes of silence were held before the English Premier League match between Fulham and Wolves on Friday night, and England’s women’s team’s friendly in France. Players from both sides observe a minute's silence to honor Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, before the English Premier League match between Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers Image Credit: AFP Prince Philip was an honorary member of horse racing’s Jockey Club and a former president of the Marylebone Cricket Club. He also servfed as the English Football president from 1955-57. There was a two-minute silence at Aintree ahead of the day’s racing, and all English county cricket fixtures also marked the death with an observance of silence. Flags at sports venues across |England were at half-mast - including Wembley and all nine county cricket grounds. Harry, Meghan honor Prince Philip as funeral travel plans awaited COVID-19, Philip’s no-fuss attitude mean simpler funeral plan Prince Philip, the strength and stay of Queen Elizabeth II Guns and silence to mark Prince Philip's death Saturday and Sunday will see a minute’s silence at all English Premier League matches and players will wear black armbands. All football matches in Scotland will also observe a minute’s silence. In horse racing, this weekend’s Grand National will go ahead at Aintree, with a two-minute silence to be held beforehand.
IPL 2021: I will be back in no time, says Shreyas Iyer after surgery
IPL|: Kolkata: Shreyas Iyer, India's top order batsman and Delhi Capitals skipper, struck an upbeat note after a successful surgery on his left shoulder in Mumbai on Thursday. He had suffered a partial dislocation to the shoulder while fielding in the first One-day International against England in Pune last month. ''Surgery was a success and with lion-hearted determination, I will be back in no time. Thank you for wishes,'' Iyer tweeted with a photo of him at the Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai. Dr Dinshaw Pardiwala, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon who is one of the members on ICC's medical panel, performed the surgery. It will be a long road back for the 26-year-old, a permanent fixture in India's batting line-up in white ball cricket, to complete his rest and rehab process - ruling him out of the entire IPL. Delhi Capitals, who has named Rishabh Pant as the stand-in skipper for the season, has significantly not named any replacement for him in the squad while he will be receiving his full payment of Rs 70 million for 2021 as per the BCCI guidelines. It's too early to surmise a return to competitive cricket for him, though medical sources reveal it may take upto four to five months. The T20 home series against New Zealand and South Africa in September are being touted as possible dates of his return, meaning he could be in the reckoning for what could be his first senior World Cup (World T20) in October-January. “Absolutely devastated and gutted for our skipper Shreyas Iyer – stay strong captain – hope for a very quick recovery. Have full faith that you will come back even stronger from this. India needs you in the T20 World Cup,” Parth Jindal, co-owner of the Delhi franchise, had tweeted in late March after the prognosis of Iyer's injury. GMR Aerocity as sponsors Delhi Capitals on Saturday added GMR Aerocity, the commercial district located next to the Terminal 3 of Delhi Airport, as associate sponsors of the franchise for the ongoing edition. This partnership marks the first time GMR Aerocity is associating with a sports team. “We are delighted to announce GMR Aerocity as our associate sponsor,” says Delhi Capitals CEO Vinod Bisht. “Delhi’s famed aerocity is synonymous with modernity and captures the city’s cosmopolitan essence. It is a true embodiment of our slogan “Yeh Hai Nayi Dilli”, not only providing the people of Delhi with a world-class commercial hub but also serving as a fitting introduction to those visiting the city. I am confident of a successful partnership and look forward to working together to take our team to greater heights,” he added.
Tennis: Spain’s Paula Badosa ousts world No. 1 Ash Barty at Charleston
Tennis|: Dubai: Paula Badosa beat top-ranked Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-3 at the Volvo Car Open on Friday. The Spaniard reached the tournament semi-finals in her first time at the season’s opening clay-court tournament. And she was rarely pressured by Barty on the way to her first victory over a No. 1 player. Badosa broke Barty’s serve five times including the last two times the Australian powerhouse served after the second set was tied 3-3. “I’m still a little bit shocked. I can’t believe what just happened,” the 23-year-old Badosa said. “When the ball went out, I was like: ‘What just happened right now?’” French Open delayed by a week in hope that more spectators can attend Tennis: I’m here to win, not just reach finals, says disappointed Jannik Sinner after Miami loss Tennis: Top-ranked Ash Barty cruises in first clay event since 2019 After Miami Open triumph, Ash Barty ready for claycourt campaign and French Open crown It was the second time in her past four events that Badosa advanced to the semis. She will face Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova, the 15th seed, on Saturday for a spot in the championship final. Barty was coming off a victory at the Miami Open last Saturday and looked strong in her first two matches in Charleston. But she fell behind Badosa and struggled to handle her opponent’s serve. Despite the defeat, Barty was glad for the run that took her this far in preparations for the French Open. “I think I took a few too many risks,” Barty said. “But I think it’s been an exceptional three weeks to start off our trip and we can nothing but the positives from it.” As Badosa got closer to the upset, she worried about Barty’s ability to rally. “Sometimes these matches are very tough to close,” Badosa said. “Today, I’m quite happy that I managed it well.” Danka Kovinic of Montenegro rallied after losing the first set to oust Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-7, 7-5, 6-1. It’s the first time Kovinic, ranked 91st in the world, advanced to a WTA semi in 14 tournaments since the Taipei Open in November 2019. “I really think this clay suits me well,” she said. “I just feel really, really good here.” Kovinic will face Ons Jabeur of Tunisia on Saturday for a spot in the championship final. Jabeur, the 12th seed, defeated the youngest player in the field, 17-year-old American Coco Gauff, Gauff fell against Jabeur and later withdrew from her doubles match with a right hip injury. Jabeur hasn’t been to a WTA semi in her last 18 events since October 2019 at the Tianjin Open in China. Jabeur had reached the quarter-finals five times in that stretch without advancing. “So many close quarter-finals,” she said. “I’m really glad that I got the win. I’m looking forward to playing my game, looking forward to going further as I can.” Kudermetova beat former US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-4 to reach the final four. All four semi-finalists are looking for their first career WTA titles.
English Premier League: Arsenal have responsibility to qualify for Europe, says manager Arteta
Football|: Dubai: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said that qualifying for European competition next season is the minimum expectation at the club but that he was not under any pressure despite their position in the Premier League. Arsenal are 10th with eight games left and face a tough task to qualify through their league position. They sit seven points behind Tottenham Hotspur who occupy sixth place. A sixth-placed finish offers the team a chance to qualify for the second-tier Europa League. Winning this year’s Europa League will seal qualification to the Champions League, but Arsenal have work to do after being held 1-1 by Slavia Prague in their quarter-final first leg. Asked if he was feeling the pressure, Arteta told reporters: “It’s not pressure, it’s our responsibility. The club we represent has high demands and that’s the minimum we can ask for and have to, over time, work to deliver those goals because it’s what we get asked for.” Arteta led Arsenal to the FA Cup title last season but the team have failed to kick on in the current campaign. The Spaniard said he did not think they would benefit from a season out of Europe to work on their long-term project. There are some really good examples of teams that took time out to rebuild and it helped them, but “I would rather be in Europe”, Arteta said. Arsenal face Premier League basement side Sheffield United on Sunday.
Masters at Augusta: Justin Rose wilts, pack closes in on leader
Golf|: Dubai: Justin Rose probably should have stayed in bed. The Englishman ended Day 2 at the Masters in the same place he began _ atop the leaderboard - only to discover the objects in his mirror were suddenly a lot closer than they appeared. “For sure,” Rose said, “I didn’t quite appreciate the scoring was going to be quite so good today.” For everyone else, maybe. Rose followed his opening-round 65 with an even-par 72 that let his rivals squeeze most of the air out of what had been a four-shot cushion. On Thursday, he was one of only three golfers to post a round in the 60s. Overcast skies on Friday made the greens more receptive and by day’s end, there were plenty of 60-something cards - 18 in all. “For as tough as this place has been playing,” said Justin Thomas, who shot 67, “I felt like it was as easy as it could have been ... a lot of my birdies have been pretty low stress or pretty easy.” For all that, Rose’s 137 total at the midway point of the tournament was still good enough for a one-shot lead over Will Zalatoris and Brian Harman. Zalatoris, who was plugging away on the Korn Ferry Tour about this time last year, birdied the final three holes for 68. He called his approach into the 18th his most satisfying swing of the round, “knowing that it would get me into the final group”. Harman, a left-hander who didn’t think he’d qualify as recently as last month, birdied the last two for 69. “Whenever you look up on the leaderboard and see your name up there pretty high at Augusta, it’s hard not to get nervous,” Harman said. “I was nervous. But it was nice to settle down with a good birdie on 2, and I struck it well all day today.” He wasn’t the only one. Lurking another shot back at 139 were 2015 winner Jordan Spieth (68) and Marc Leishman (67). That, in turn, was one better than a six-pack of golfers at 140, including Thomas, Tony Finau (66) and most improbably perhaps, Si-woo Kim (69). Kim’s chip for birdie from just behind the green at No. 15 had too much steam and zoomed past the cup before nestling into the fringe on the front. His reaction was steamier still. Kim slammed the head of his putter into the turf and snapped it off. “Did you ever do that before?” a reporter asked afterward. “Not on the course,” Kim replied to laughter. He finished that hole and the next three putting with his fairway iron. While Rose made no apologies, he had plenty of regrets. He bogeyed No. 1, had a 67-foot birdie try at the par-3 sixth fail to climb a slope near the pin and almost all the way back down to his feet for a second bogey, added a third at No. 7, and was stuck at 4 under walking off the 12th. But Rose regrouped, birdied Nos. 13, 14 and 16 to get back to even on the day. It might not have seem like much of an accomplishment compared to all those 60s. On the other hand, defending champion Dustin Johnson, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Patrick Cantlay were all headed for the exit after failing to hit the cut line at 147. After his round, Rose was asked why so many first-round leaders - even the top players - struggle to string together great back-to-back rounds at Augusta. “It’s hard. We haven’t quite figured out that dynamic. Otherwise,” he smiled ruefully, “we’d do a better job that second day.”
IPL 2021: Harshal Patel, the journeyman, finds his moment in the sun
IPL|: Kolkata: In his eight previous seasons in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Harshal Patel has never quite had his moment under the arclights. The Haryana allrounder, who made his debut with Royals Challengers Bangalore back in 2012, had been the quintessential journeyman - but all that may change after the opening night of IPL XIV in Chennai on Friday. Stories like that of Patel had been one of the biggest positives emerging out of the cash-rich T20 franchise league. It's diffcult to see the 30-year-old bowling himself into any form of reckoning for the national squad in this format - given the abundance of riches there - but his haul of five for 27 (and first to take a five against the mighty Mumbai Indians) will be regarded as one of the most match-defining bowling performances in the league. MORE ON IPL 2021 IPL 2021: MS Dhoni must save Chennai Super Kings from Delhi Capitals punishment LOOK: IPL 2021: Rishabh Pant the brand ambassador of ‘Noise’ smart watch IPL 2021: Sandeep Warrier wants to pick the brains of Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson IPL 2021: Chennai draft Jason Behrendorff as replacement for Josh Hazlewood In a contest with a constellation of stars like the Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers or Trent Boult, it's not everyday that someone like Patel is credited with laying the foundation of his team's victory. A lot of credit for that, however, should be attributed to Virat Kohli and the team management for seeing the potential in Patel to use him as a death bowler with his slower variations and yorkers. Speaking after the match on Friday, Patel said he felt that the slower wicket in Chennai would suit his bowling and Kohli had kept three overs for him at the end. Any IPL follower will acknowledge that the Mumbai Indians batting can be at their brutal best in the last five overs when the Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard have so often taken the target beyond the opponents' reach. This is where Patel struck telling blows with three wickets, missing a hat-trick narrowly when debutant Marco Jansen had a close shave against an yorker. From the green pitches of his homeground in Lahli, Haryana, to the slow and low tracks of Chennai, it's quite a contrast. However, much like how his seamers are effective in first-class cricket on the Haryana ground, his cutters and slower balls had its merits for T20 cricket in Chennai - somewhat in the same way Shardul Thakur serves the Chennai Super Kings in his second spell. It was almost a poetic justice that Patel hit the winning runs for his team in a tense run-chase, but the fact that he possibly bowled the best 20th over in the history of IPL - three wickets for one run - would do any of the leading pace merchants proud. The yorkers which he generated were spot-on as the ball was reversing a bit and a brilliant start like this would mean that he could be seen more regularly in this edition than ever before. Just ponder this, since IPL 2012, he has played more five matches only in two seasons. The cricketer, on his part, admitted that it had been a good start but said the IPL is like a pendulum - where the fortunes swing both ways. We, for one, would like to see him more regularly...
AGL: Shabab Al Ahli claim Arabian Gulf Cup crown after tense finish
Dubai: Shabab Al Ahli Dubai claimed the Arabian Gulf cup title with a nail-bititing penalty-kick win over Al Nasr at Sharjah Stadium on Friday night. Shabab started brighter of the two with Federico Cartabia getting two opportunities to give his side the lead inside the first 10 minutes. First, on five minutes, the Italian failed to hit the target from a rather straightforward position just outside the box in the centre, then his looping chip from a free-kick on virtually the same spot crashed onto the crossbar with Al Nasr goalkeeper Ahmed Shambih comprehensively beaten. That woke up the Blues from their slumber and they surged forward determinedly with Frenchman Ryan Mendes watching agonisingly as his shot ricocheted off a Shabab Al Ahli shirt and flew just wide of goalkeeper Majed Naser’s left post. Moments later, another effort was sidefooted wide by Saeed Ali. Al Nasr’s best opportunity was squandered by Mehdi Abeid in the 27th when Walid Abbas’ attempt at clearing the ball dropped it at the foot of the French midfielder, who shot straight into the welcoming arms of Naser. Shabab Al Ahli had a couple of chances five minutes from the break but Carlos Eduardo first saw his shot drift wide after a deflection and lofted a header over the crossbar. Shabab Al Ahli had a penalty shout negated by VAR on the hour mark and in the 75th Eduardo’s weak header from a free-kick turned out to be easy pickings for Shambih. Nasr’s best opportunity of the second half arrived in the 84th via a free-kick at the top of the box in the middle, but diminutive Portuguese midfielder Antonio Carvalho shot straight into the wall with the rebound being cleared by an onrushing Yousef Jaber. Eduardo should have put the tie to bed in the 90th, but failed to hit the target from a regulation header from six yards out despite having all the time in the world.
Horse racing: Doug Watson in seventh heaven after yet another UAE Trainers' Championship success
Dubai: It is official. Doug Watson is the new UAE Champion Trainer. American Watson won his seventh title after Ernst Oertel collected just one win on Friday night's season ending card at Al Ain. Red Stables chief trainer Watson and Oertel were tied on 38 wins apiece going into the final weekend of racing. However, a double on the penultimate card at Meydan Thursday evening took Watson two clear, with South African Oertel forced to play catch during Al Ain's Purebred Arabian-heavy seven race card. Oertel needed to win three of the six races at least, as even drawing level would have handed the title to Watson who was ahead on a countback of second place finishes. Horse racing: Doug Watson in seventh heaven after yet another UAE Trainers' Championship success Zabeel Trophy the highlight of Meydan’s last race day of season Horse racing: Bochart dominates field in Gulf News Handicap at Meydan finale Horse racing: Prolific Darley stallion Dubawi makes history for Godolphin But with Oertel failing in his bid to claim the treble, and clinching just the lone win at Al Ain, Watson reigned supreme. It finished with Watson 40, Oertel 39. The title has added significance for Watson's yard who were out of action for seven meetings during the season following a temporary ban imposed on account of some of his staffers testing positive for Covid-19. It is a magnificent achievement for Watson, and the American was quick to thank everyone that played their part. "I think everyone had a hard year right through the season, but I have a great team of people and some great support which helps and winning just feels great, but we couldn't have gone racing at times without the people that supported us and that feels superb," Watson told Gulf News.
Report details Tiger Woods' confusion after crash
Golf|: Golf icon Tiger Woods wasn't sure where he was when a sheriff's deputy interviewed him after his one-car crash in February, according to a 22-page report obtained by USA Today. Woods was in Los Angeles for The Genesis Invitational and promotional appearances, but told the deputy that he thought he was in Florida, where he makes his permanent residence. The report details the conversation between deputy Kyle Sullivan and Woods, which took place at the hospital as Woods was receiving stitches for an injury to his face. "I then asked (Woods) if he is able to tell me about what happened regarding the traffic collision," Sullivan wrote. Woods "told me he did not remember being involved in a traffic collision. (Woods) thought he was currently in the state of Florida." The report also revealed that Woods' blood pressure had fallen "too low to administer any type of pain medication" in the immediate aftermath of the crash, which left the 82-time PGA Tour winner with serious injuries to his right leg. It also confirmed that Woods was driving in a straight line when he should have attempted to navigate a curve while speeding on the morning of Feb. 23. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday at a press conference in downtown Los Angeles that there were no signs of impairment for Woods, who will not face any citations or charges for the crash on Feb. 23. "The primary cause or factor for this traffic collision was driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions and inability to negotiate the curve of the roadway," Villanueva said. Villanueva said Woods' Genesis SUV was traveling an estimated 84 to 87 mph (135-140km/h) on a stretch of road that has a speed limit of 45 mph (72km/h). Woods, 45, struck a raised median, crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree before rolling over in Rolling Hills Estates, just outside of Los Angeles. "Had (Woods) applied his brakes to reduce his speed or steered to correct the direction of travel, he would not have collided with the center median and the collision would not have occurred," said Sgt. Michael Downing, per the report.
IPL 2021: MS Dhoni must save Chennai Super Kings from Delhi Capitals punishment
IPL|: Dubai: Who will the neutrality of Mumbai serve to aid and who will it undo? Going by the way the 2020 renewal of the tournament panned out in the UAE, you would think Delhi Capitals might be better backed to win their IPL 2021 opener against multiple winners Chennai Super Kings in India’s financial capital. CSK seemed completely out of their depth when playing away from home last term and for the first time in their illustrious history sat out the play-offs for the first time in the 11-year history of the tournament. In fact, the MS Dhoni-captained CSK are the second most successful team in the history of the tournament behind reigning champions Mumbai Indians with three titles and a further five runner-up finishes. On the other hand, Delhi Capitals, for long the outsiders, with just three third-places to show, thrived in the UAE, making 2020 their best season. They were third for the third time in 2019, but reached last season’s final before losing tamely to Mumbai Indians by five wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. IPL 2021: Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore to kick off showpiece Cricket: South Africa captain Bavuma out of T20 series against Pakistan IPL 2021: Sandeep Warrier wants to pick the brains of Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson IPL 2021: Chennai draft Jason Behrendorff as replacement for Josh Hazlewood Delhi have been the up-and-coming force among the eight franchises, with the capital outfit having gained immensely after Shikhar Dhawan joined in 2019. The India opener has been one of the reasons behind Delhi’s meteoric rise as he significantly improved their batting department. In his first year, he joined forces with the likes of the now Delhi captain Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw to form a quartet that would score close to 1500 runs between them. Then, last year, Dhawan and Iyer excelled with the bat yet again, scoring 618 and 519 runs respectively, which helped their charge up the leaderboard and all the way to the final. Iyer’s withdrawal from the tournament after undergoing surgery on his shoulder has forced a change of captaincy, with 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Pant now leading the side. Pant is riding the crest of success having had stunning match-winning knocks in Tests in Australia and against England at home and their house appears more in order than that of CSK, with not just Pant, with Dhawan always handy in his role as opener and Shaw also showing terrific form domestically in the run-up to here. Shaw scored four centuries, including a double ton, to lead Mumbai Cricket Association to their fourth Vijay Hazare title last month (50 overs) and that form is bound to come handy at the Wankhede Stadium tonight. CSK, meanwhile, cannot boast of form like that in the lead up to this and their worst IPL run has coincided with Dhoni’s worst. Dhoni retired from all forms of international cricket just before flying out to the UAE last year and things went downhill for the Yellow brigade, who suddenly found themselves being led by a man who for the first time might have been overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility. The ever-consistent Faf du Plessis was their top scorer and Ambati Rayudu too chipped in handily, with Ravindra Jadeja turning up from time to time in place of Dhoni to help them finish off their innings. Not much has changed in the since they signed off with their worst ever seventh-placed finish of last season and without much change it might be difficult for them to turn things around, meaning a lot will depend on how Dhoni handles the captaincy and moreover his own contribution with the bat as none of his dependables have played much cricket in the run up to the tournament. A far as the bowling department is concerned Delhi look stronger on paper despite the absence of two of their star pacers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, who will have to sit out on account of having to quarantine themselves as they touched down late in Mumbai due to international duty for South Africa against Pakistan. Rabada led the bowling in 2019 with 25 wickets and combined well with his countryman last term, picking up 52 wickets between them, with Australian Marcus Stoinis delivering all-round. With Rabada and Nortje in quarantine, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma are likely to be the ones Pant turns to for pace, with R Ashwin handling spin and Stoinis doing his bit when required. Dhoni & Co. ought to take advantage of the absence of the South Africans, but have their own missing Proteas in Lungi Ngidi, who took nine wickets in four matches. As he too relinquishes in quarantine, CSK’s relatively inexperienced late recruit Jason Behrendorff, drafted in late to replace Australian compatriot Josh Hazlewood, will relish his opportunity in the middle as he looks to make a mark against one of the league’s most potent batting outfits. Catch the match Saturday6pm UAEMumbaiChennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals
IPL 2021: Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore to kick off showpiece
IPL|: Kolkata: Mumbai Indians set off on a mission which no team has achieved in the history of IPL before - that of three titles in a row - with a potentially explosive encounter against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match of the 14th edition today. However, it will be at a 'neutral' venue of Chennai as the Indian cricket board has drawn up the fixtures across six cities in a fashion that no team plays on their home turf - while travel is minimised as a protection against COVID-19. It will hence be a battle of which of the teams can get used to the unfamiliar conditions of the M.A.Chidambaram Stadium. Rohit Sharma's Mumbai will be looking to continue from where they had left off in the UAE last season, while Virat Kohli's men will look to build on a fourth place finish last time. The heartening news from the RCB camp is Devdutt Padikkal, the prolific opener who had tested positive for Covid, is now available for selection. The champions will be missing out on the services of Quinton De Kock in the first match as the former South African captain is on mandatory quarantine after having joined the team midway from the Pakistan series. Over then, to Chennai...
Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane: I hope Lionel Messi has many more clasicos with Barcelona
Football|: Dubai: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said he hopes that Saturday’s clasico meeting between his side and Barcelona will not be the last time Lionel Messi plays in the fixture. The Barca captain’s contract expires this summer and his futures is up in the air having been linked with a move away ever since his attempts to leave the club last summer were unsuccessful. New president Joan Laporta has vowed to keep the Argentine at the club, but thus far no new deal has been forthcoming. “I hope it’s not (Messi’s last Clasico), I want him to stay at Barcelona, it’s good for the Spanish league,” Zidane told a news conference. “We know what a player he is, but they’re a very good team and we’ll have to try and stop them playing to their strengths and be as good as we can be on the ball and play as best as we can.” Real’s club captain Sergio Ramos is another player whose contract expires at the end of the season, and Zidane reiterated his hope that the 35-year-old has not faced Barca for the final time, either. “Hopefully he’s not played his last clasico. He won’t be fit tomorrow, which is a shame, but I hope he stays here,” the French coach said. Zidane will also be without Raphael Varane, who continues to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test, however Dani Carvajal and Eden Hazard have returned to training. Champions Real currently sit third in La Liga, three points off leaders Atletico and two behind Barca in second place. Defeat would make it very difficult for them defend their title. However, Zidane insisted they were thinking about nothing but victory. “I’m not thinking about losing or losing ground,” he said. “We’ll see what the situation is at the end of the game; we’re going to give our all, we’re positive and want to play our best game.”