SPORTS DAY: SA edge Pakistan to win T20 series
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
SA beat Pakistan in Wanderers nailbiter
SA beat Pakistan by seven runs in the second Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday. The victory sealed the three-match series 2-0. Earlier, stand-in captain David Miller hit an explosive half-century as SA made a strong finish to their innings. He slammed 65 not out off 29 balls to enable SA to post 188 for three in their 20 overs. Captaining SA for the first time because Faf du Plessis was rested for the last two matches of the series, Miller went on the rampage in the closing overs after SA made a relatively sedate start on an unusually slow, dry Wanderers pitch, as he set Pakistan a target of 189. Miller’s performance earned him the man of the match award. Brief scores: SA 188-3 in 20 overs (J Malan 33, H Van Der Dussen 45, D Miller 65 not out). Pakistan 181-7 in 20 overs (Babar Azam 90, Hussain Talat 55; A Phehlukwayo 3-36). SA lead the three-match series 2-0.
Blitzboks’ title hopes in tatters
The Blitzboks’ season is rapidly unravelling after they finished fifth in Sydney to fall 19 points behind the pace setters after four of the 10 rounds‚ leaving their title hopes in tatters. The Blitzboks were eliminated in the quarterfinals by England‚ losing 26-5‚ which left them chasing the minor placings. It was the second time they have failed to reach the semi-finals in the 2018/19 World Series. In 2018 they made every semifinal. New Zealand won in Sydney for their second title of the year after also winning in Dubai in round one. They beat the US 21-5 in the final. America’s consistency was in evidence again as they made their fourth straight final. The next step for the emerging sevens power is to win a final after losing twice to both New Zealand and Fiji.
Molde will support me if I stay at Unite: Solskjaer
Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said the owners of Norwegian club Molde sent him to Old Trafford with their blessing and asked him to try to turn his temporary stint at the club into a permanent role. Solskjaer, an ex-United striker who played under former manager Alex Ferguson, has revitalised the team since taking over from the sacked Jose Mourinho in December, sparking a seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League. Solskjaer, who was loaned to United by Molde until the end of the season, said the Norwegian club’s owners, businessmen Kjell Inge Rokke and Bjorn Rune Gjelsten, would support him if he stayed at United. “When I rang the owner and said United had called and that he always knew that this had been my dream, he said: ‘Go over, enjoy yourself – and please, don’t come back’,” Solskjaer told British media ahead of Sunday’s match.
Lakers star James to sit out against Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will miss the marquee match-up against the NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday, coach Luke Walton said. James played 40 minutes on Thursday in his return from a five-week injury absence, scoring 24 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and handing out nine assists as the Lakers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 123-120 in overtime. Although he showed no sign on court of the groin injury that saw him sidelined for 17 games – ever since a Christmas Day victory over the Warriors – James acknowledged that he hadn’t expected to play so many minutes in his return and would have to see how his body responded. Walton said James was “pretty sore” after that game and would be rested against the Warriors for “load management”.
Kovalev regains WBO title in Alvarez rematch
Sergey Kovalev made his reputation as the “Krusher”, but on Saturday in a rematch with Eleider Alvarez, the Russian champ regained his light heavyweight title by using his boxing smarts. The 35-year-old Kovalev won by a 12-round unanimous decision to avenge a stunning loss to Alvarez six months ago and retake the World Boxing Organisation 175-pound belt. The judges had Kovalev controlling the fight with one scoring it 120-108. The other two scored it 116-112. Saturday’s victory makes him the first fighter since 1990, and the third of all time, to win the light heavyweight title three times.
India seal series victory in New Zealand
Ambati Rayudu struck a sparkling 90 in tough conditions to help India overcome the loss of four early wickets and beat New Zealand by 35 runs in the final one-day international in Wellington on Sunday, sealing a 4-1 series victory. With the series already safe, stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma sent his men in to bat on a moist surface and the tourists found themselves struggling on 18 for four. Matt Henry did the early damage, uprooting Sharma’s off-stump with the batsman on two, before Trent Boult enticed Shikhar Dhawan (6) to play a loose shot that was taken by Henry at third man. Shubman Gill (7) was the next player sent back by Henry, poking a routine catch to Mitchell Santner at square cover, before Boult rattled MS Dhoni’s off-stump to claim a prized scalp for a single run. It was left to Rayudu to mount a salvage mission, which the right-hander duly did, staying at the crease for 113 deliveries and being abetted by Vijay Shankar (45).
England hailed after triumph over Ireland
England coach Eddie Jones was hailed by British media for orchestrating a tactical masterclass after their stunning upset victory over Six Nations champions Ireland in Dublin on Saturday. Jones’s resurgent England handed Ireland coach Joe Schmidt a first home defeat in the championship with a resounding 32-20 victory that blew the tournament wide open on its opening weekend. England’s physicality came to the fore as they bullied Ireland all over the pitch at the Aviva Stadium. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, former Scotland and British and Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan pointed out how “England caught the Irish cold by playing them at their own game.” Jones’s side “put down a real marker for the rest of Six Nations campaign”.
Place, Thompson capture skicross world titles
Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic champion Marielle Thompson of Canada and France’s Francois Place captured skicross titles Saturday at the World Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Championships. The showdown at the Solitude resort near Park City, Utah, saw Thompson fill one of the few gaps on her resume with a first world title. It comes after the 26-year-old tore two knee ligaments four months before the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games – where she finished 17th little more than a month after she resumed skiing. Thompson roared up from third place at the first intermediate mark to win ahead of current World Cup leader Fanny Smith of Switzerland with France’s Alizee Baron third.
Neuer injury adds to Bayern’s woes
Bayern Munich are unsure whether Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer can play in next week’s crunch German Cup tie at Hertha Berlin after losing more ground in the Bundesliga title race on Saturday. The defending German champions were humbled 3-1 at Bayer Leverkusen to leave them seven points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund. To make matters worse, Bayern later dropped to third in the table after Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 2-0 win at 10-man Schalke meant they drew level on 42 points and leap-frogged into second on goal difference. “The only positive thing is that Dortmund didn’t get three points,” said Bayern’s head coach Niko Kovac after Dortmund drew 1-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Johnson outduels Li to clinch Saudi title
American Dustin Johnson endured a rollercoaster back nine but birdies on the last two holes handed him a two-shot win in the inaugural Saudi International on Sunday. The 34-year-old American closed with a three-under par 67 to finish on 19-under par 261, two better than China’s Li Haotong, who made a birdie on the last to take solo second place with a 69. England’s Tom Lewis (65) made a spirited charge, but after making five birdies in his first five holes, he ran out of steam and finished third at 264. Australia’s Min Woo Lee, younger brother of LPGA Tour star Minjee Lee, shot a second successive round of seven-under par 63 in only his second start as a professional to finish solo fourth, one shot behind Lewis. Frenchman Alex Levy (65) was fifth on 266.
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE