SPORTS DAY: India win puts SA in a spin
A look at all the day's top sports stories.
India cruise to victory as Chahal puts South Africa in a spin
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took career-best figures as India cruised to a thumping nine-wicket One-Day International victory over a woeful South Africa on Sunday, though their moment of triumph was reduced to a farce by the umpires.
Aleem Dar and Adrian Holdstock stuck to the rules and called for a lunch break with the tourists needing just two runs for victory at Centurion.
That ensured the final act was played out 40 minutes later in front of a sparse crowd, a decision that left both teams bemused.
Chahal finished with 5-22 in 8.2 overs, ripping through the middle-order as India won the toss and skittled their hosts for 118, South Africa’s lowest total in home ODI matches.
India then reached the victory target in 20 overs to humiliate their hosts.
After victory in the opening match of the six-game series in Durban, India always looked in control of the chase as opener Shikhar Dhawan (51 not out from 56 balls) and captain Virat Kohli (46 not out from 50 balls) made light work of the home attack.
The third match in the series will be played in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The decision to call for lunch with the game all but over will be the major talking point to come out of the match, but it should not overshadow what was a dominant display from a highly impressive Indian unit.
Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav also recorded his career-best figures of 3-20 in six overs as South Africa slipped from 51 for one to lose their last nine wickets for 67 runs.
“The spinners were outstanding. It was a hard surface so they were getting pace and bounce off the wicket as well,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.
“We want to play positive cricket and take the opposition on. We know their middle order is inexperienced and we want to cash in on that.”
The home side were captained by 23-year-old Aiden Markram in just his third ODI game, with both experienced batsmen Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers missing with finger injuries.
They made a cautious start, losing their first wicket two balls shy of 10 overs with just 39 on the scoreboard as Hashim Amla (23) was dismissed.
The introduction of the spinners proved the catalyst for South Africa’s collapse, with Chahal picking up the wickets of innings top-scorers JP Duminy and debutant Khaya Zondo, who both scored 25.
“There were a couple of soft options (shots), starting with myself, so I am going to have to lead from the front and do better going forward,” Markram said.
Naduva hat-trick as Fiji roll SA at Hamilton Sevens
A flying Alasio Sovita Naduva bagged three tries as Fiji came from behind for a shock win over South Africa in the final of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Hamilton on Sunday.
It was the first time Fiji had made a final this season and the win lifted them from fifth to third on the table as they became the fourth different winner in four legs.
“I’m speechless,” captain Jerry Tuwai said after his Pacific islanders overhauled a 12-point deficit at half-time with three tries in the second half.
“We have a very young team and I’m really happy with the way the guys performed.”
Tuwai said that, with South Africa ahead 17-5 at the midway stage, he urged his side not to give up.
“I told the boys this is the last game; after this we go home, so play as a team and give it everything.”
Fiji were on the back foot 30 seconds into the game when Josua Vakurunabili was yellow-carded and during his absence Kwagga Smith scored the opening try for South Africa.
Naduva replied with is first try before Kyle Brown and Branco du Preez crossed to give South Africa a substantial lead.
The second half, however, was all Fiji with two further tries to Naduva and one from Eroni Sau to reverse last year’s result when they lost the final to South Africa in New Zealand.
South Africa had been the form team of the tournament as they cruised through pool play without being extended and then moved through the quarter and semi-finals beating Scotland 22-0 and Australia 24-5.
It was not such a smooth run for Fiji, who needed their get-out-of-jail card to beat Samoa 12-10 in the quarter-finals, with Kalioni Nasoko running 95 metres to score the winning try on the last play of the game.
They lost Sevuloni Mocenacagi for the final two matches after he was suspended for two games for a dangerous tackle, but still had just enough firepower to beat New Zealand 14-12 in the semi-finals.
Australia beat New Zealand 8-7 in the play-off for third with the winning points coming from a penalty by Jim Stannard on full-time.
Losing like this hurts even more‚ says beaten SA Davis Cup captain
South Africa’s beaten Davis Cup players must learn from their defeat to Israel at the weekend‚ team captain Marcos Ondruska said afterwards.
The hosts had led 2-1 going into the reverse singles at the Irene country club in Pretoria on Saturday‚ but both Lloyd Harris and Nik Scholtz were blown out in straight sets.
Israel will take on the Czech Republic in April as they continue their campaign to reach the main draw of the Davis Cup.
South Africa will face one of Sweden‚ Ukraine or Portugal in a playoff in September to stay in Europe-Africa Group I.
“It’s a bit of an unfortunate finish to this whole thing over here‚” said Ondruska‚ who must have tasted victory when his doubles team won their match to give SA the 2-1 advantage.
“I don’t like losing at the best of times and to lose like this hurts even more.
“It’s a young team and it’s been our first loss in a while, so these could be some good learning lessons over here to take from these situations over here and hopefully something these can springboard off‚ use as motivation to get better.”SOCCER
Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela slams his defenders
With the league title slipping away from Kaizer Chiefs‚ coach Steve Komphela slammed his defenders and accused them of going “to sleep” after the 1-1 draw with Wits on Saturday.
Ryan Moon gave Chiefs the lead in the first half but a Lehlohonolo Majoro header early in the second period was enough to earn the hosts a share of the spoils at a rain-soaked BidVest Stadium.
Komphela abandoned his usually measured approach in post-match comments and delivered a scathing assessment of his rearguard.
“That they (Wits) will cross the ball is a given‚” said Komphela of Sifiso Hlanti's 54th minute cross on the left that was not dealt with by his defenders.
“Stop the cross and if you fail to stop it deal with it inside the box. And Major got a free header.
“We went to sleep and we didn’t start the second half very well.
“Our second half was very poor because we started badly.
“We defended the cross poorly and there were instances where there were lapses of concentration ... terrible lapses of concentration.
“I’m thinking either of the teams should have at least had a win here.
“I’m also tempted to say we just lost points here.”
Protests as unified Korean hockey team debuts ahead of Olympics
Demonstrators stomped on a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday as rival protests broke out before the first practice match by a joint North and South Korean female hockey team.
The unified team for the Pyeongchang Olympics is a product of a landmark deal between the two rivals following a year of high tensions over the nuclear-armed North’s weapons ambitions.
But the addition of North Korean players has provoked controversy in the South with accusations that Seoul is depriving some of its own players of the chance to compete at a home Olympics for political purposes.
The joint team of North and South Korean female hockey players tested the ice for the first time in a warm-up match against Sweden, five days before the Winter Games officially open.
The capacity 3,000 crowd roared as the team — including four North Koreans — glided onto the ice at the Seonhak International Ice Rink in Incheon, wearing blue and red uniforms with KOREA emblazoned across their chests.
But outside the arena tension mounted and security was tight.
Those in favour of the North Korean presence chanted: “Peace Olympics,” while protesters just across the street shouted ironically: “Pyongyang Olympics,” suggesting the North had been allowed to hijack the Pyeongchang Games.
Dozens of protesters yelled criticisms of the North into amplified speakers, trampling on a picture of leader Kim and ripping up unification flags.
The practice match against Sweden was the first game for the unified team since 12 North Koreans joined the southerners on January 25.
Japan’s flyweight champ Higa equals national record
WBC flyweight world champion Daigo Higa from Japan on Sunday equalled the national record for consecutive knockouts when he defeated Mexico’s Moises Fuentes in his home island of Okinawa.
In his second title defence, the 22-year-old Higa stopped Fuentes in the first round, completing his 15th consecutive victory by knock-out.
This equals the national record set by Tsuyoshi Hamada, who dominated the super lightweight division in the early 1980s.
Higa’s career began in June 2014 when he burst onto the scene by knocking out Thailand’s Saengkeng Saknarong in less than a minute.
He clinched the vacant WBC flyweight world championship in May, defeating Juan Hernandez Navarrete from Mexico with a technical knock-out in the sixth round.
His first defence also came by technical knock-out, when he stopped France’s Thomas Masson in the seventh round.
Vonn tunes up for Olympics with downhill double and 81st World Cup win
US ski queen Lindsey Vonn chalked up her 81st World Cup win on Sunday to complete the downhill double at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the final races before the Winter Olympics.
Vonn clocked one minute, 37.92 seconds with Italy’s Sofia Goggia, the current overall downhill leader, just behind in second at 0.11 secs back.
Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein was third at 0.12 secs.
Vonn also pipped Goggia in Saturday’s downhill.
Vonn has won the last three downhill races on the World Cup circuit after also claiming victory in Cortina d’Ampezzo a fortnight ago.
It leaves Vonn second in the downhill overall rankings and just 23 points behind Goggia.
Vonn’s 81st win edges her closer to Inge Stenmark’s all-time alpine record of 86 World Cup victories.
In total, the 33-year-old Vonn has won the downhill at Garmisch five times with her 2018 double following wins in 2012, 2016 and 2017.
‘Extremely worried’ Olympics body threatens to expel boxing
The International Olympic Committee threatened to axe boxing from the Tokyo 2020 Games on Sunday as it opened an investigation into the sport’s controversial governing body and said concerns lingered over possible match-fixing at Rio 2016.
The IOC’s executive board also froze contacts with and financial payments to the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), whose interim president has been named as a leading criminal by the US Treasury Department.
The board said it was “not satisfied” with a report by AIBA about its governance, refereeing and anti-doping issues, and demanded a further report by April 30.
“The IOC reserves the right to review the inclusion of boxing on the programme of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” a statement said.
IOC president Thomas Bach said AIBA had been asked to provide more information about accusations of fixing at the Rio Olympics, where a group of officials were sent home following a number of controversial decisions.
“We are still looking into this issue ... we want them to (give) a satisfying explanation,” Bach said, adding: “We are extremely worried about the governance of AIBA.” AIBA’s interim president, Gafur Rakhimov, has been described as “one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals” by the US Treasury Department, which has frozen his assets in the country and claims he has links to the heroin trade.
Rakhimov, 66, came to power last month following the abrupt resignation of Italy’s Franco Falcinelli, who was briefly interim president after Taiwan’s Wu Ching-Kuo stepped down in November.
“Our message to the IOC and to the world of boxing is that AIBA is turning over a new leaf and we intend to demonstrate our responsibility to all national federations and our commitment to the sport we all love,” Rakhimov said in an AIBA statement last week.
Boxing, one of the core Olympic sports, has been contested at every edition of the Games apart from Stockholm in 1912, because it was banned in Sweden at the time.
Mata dedicates United win to Munich victims
Manchester United star Juan Mata dedicated his side’s 2-0 victory against Huddersfield to the victims of the Munich disaster and their families.
Tuesday is the 60th anniversary of the air disaster that killed 23 people, including eight of United’s famous Busby Babes team, as the club made their way back from a European Cup tie at Red Star Belgrade.
United and Huddersfield players paid tribute to the victims of the 1958 plane crash with one minute’s silence ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match against Huddersfield at Old Trafford.
Fans also gathered by the Munich clock outside the stadium, singing The Flowers of Manchester and taking time to remember those who lost their lives in the tragic event.
A special ceremony will be held at Old Trafford on Tuesday and, after goals from Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez saw off Huddersfield, Mata said United’s victory was a fitting tribute.
“Obviously it was a special game, a very sad memory,” Spain midfielder Mata said.
“It was a thing that changed the history of the club and the club showed the passion and the energy that we all have in Manchester United.
“So, we pay respect to the victims and their families, and they will always be in our memories.
“It was a game to win for them and we did it.”
India’s Sharma captures Malaysia title after stunning final round
India’s Shubhankar Sharma roared back from a four-stroke deficit to claim a remarkable two-shot win at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia for his second European Tour title on Sunday.
The 21-year-old shot 10 birdies in a sizzling closing round of 10-under-par 62 to aggregate 21-under for the tournament, finishing ahead of joint overnight leader Jorge Campillo who carded a 68.
Spain’s Campillo, who missed the opportunity to capture his maiden title on the European Tour in his 196th event, was a shot ahead of New Zealand’s Ryan Fox who was tied third alongside Pablo Larrazabal at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.
“I played pretty solid and it wasn’t easy because it was windy,” Sharma, who jumped to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings, said after the win.
“I kept pushing the whole day. I knew I had to make a lot birdies to catch the leaders. I made a lot of birdies on the front nine and just continued on the back.”
Campillo went two clear at the top with an eagle in the first hole but Sharma got within touching distance of the Spaniard with four straight birdies from the fourth.
The relentless Indian, who captured his maiden title at the Joburg Open in December, shot five birdies on the back nine to edge ahead of Campillo and hung on for the victory.
“The last two months have changed my life,” Sharma added. “I’ve been a member on the Asian Tour for a while and I will continue to be a member on the Asian Tour.
“I’ve always dreamt of winning and now I’m a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and European Tour.”