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The fate of the women’s ODI World Cup in 2021 and the choice of venues for the next two men’s T20 World Cups are the two key issues that the ICC’s Board is set to discuss on Friday.

This is the second time the ICC Board is meeting in the past three weeks, having given the nod on July 20 to defer the men’s T20 World Cup, which was originally scheduled for October-November 2020 in Australia.

At that meeting the ICC Board agreed to fresh windows for three men’s events: T20 World Cups in October-November 2021 and October-November 2022, and the ODI World Cup in October-November 2023, pushed back from its original March-April window.

The ICC Board, though, did not announce who would host the next two editions of the T20 World Cup: would it be India in 2021, as per the original schedule, or Australia who were forced to hold back the 2020 event due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

After the July 20 meeting, the ICC said it would take in the “rapidly changing” environment during the pandemic and would take a “considered decision” before determining the hosts for the next two editions of the T20 World Cup.

It is understood that although there is no cut-off point, the ICC is under pressure to not delay the decision on the host venues for two reasons: taking a quick decision would provide clarity to all commercial partners including the host broadcasters who would be planning their budgets for the next calendar year, and it would also allow member boards to plan windows for bilateral cricket.

While Cricket Australia had raised concerns over its inability to host the event this year, its chairman Earl Eddings had written recently to the ICC, proposing that India swap hosting rights with Australia for the 2021 edition. Doing that, Eddings suggested, would financially help all members. If not, Eddings said it would be “detrimental to cricket” in case the “cancellation” of the World Cup in Australia this year was “replaced by award of” the tournament in October-November 2022.

CA has reiterated at ICC meetings that it was halfway through creating the structure for the event, so it would be easier for them to complete the process if they get the rights for the 2021 edition.

The BCCI has not revealed its position. Board president Sourav Ganguly has been attending ICC Board calls since March, and is understood to have empathised with CA during ICC Board meetings. Internally, however, the BCCI is understood to still be keen on retaining its right to host the T20 World Cup in 2021. At least that was the BCCI position at the July 20 meeting.

One key determining factor, an intangible, would be how the host country has dealt with the pandemic. Currently both Australia and India remain seriously affected, with the latter among the top five countries in terms of official number of cases, which as on Thursday was approaching 2 million, with over 40,000 dead.

Doubts linger over Women’s World Cup

The women’s event, comprising eight countries, is currently scheduled between February 6 and March 7 in New Zealand, a country that has kept Covid-19 cases in check. The New Zealand government was also the first to remove restrictions on spectators at sporting events.

Greg Barclay, the New Zealand Cricket chairman, recently said a final decision on whether the Women’s World Cup would go ahead as scheduled was imminent. Qualifiers for the event, however, have not been conducted yet. It is understood that if the World Cup is given the go-ahead, the plan will be to stage the qualifiers in the UAE at the end of November.

Currently New Zealand has kept its borders closed – anyone entering the country would need to undergo a two-week quarantine. It is understood that teams would not be allowed to train if that norm remains in place and would need to isolate in their hotel rooms. Add to that a week-long preparation period which would mean at least 21 days before the event starts. It is understood that the ICC is also concerned about who would bear the costs. The member boards would assume it would be the ICC, since it is a global event.

Since the 2017 World Cup in England, women’s cricket has gradually gained global recognition with the T20 World Cup final in March 2020, between Australia and India, witnessed by a record crowd of 86,000-plus at the MCG. Commercially, though, women’s cricket does not fetch ICC big money.

Either way the ICC Board will be hard pressed to make a decision sooner rather than later. If it postpones the Women’s World Cup, the ICC would go without organising a global event for 18 months until the men’s T20 World Cup in October 2021.

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Boxing schedule for 2020: Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz on tap

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Top Rank Boxing

After the COVID-19 pandemic shut down boxing, a series of Top Rank shows “in the bubble” in Las Vegas kickstarted the sport’s comeback. While those cards lacked top-tier names and championship fights, the boxing calendar is now filling with big fights, highlighted by a series of PBC events on Showtime and Showtime pay-per-view.

Jermell and Jermall Charlo showed why they are two of the best boxers in the world in September with wins over Jeison Rosario and Serigy Derevyanchenko during a Showtime PPV doubleheader. The duo have just one loss combined to their resumes and it was avenged. 

Now, as we get ready to turn the calendar turns to October, it’s almost time for the one that boxing fans have been waiting for as Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez are set to unify their lightweight world titles. The bout finally became official, and will take place on Saturday, Oct. 17 in Las Vegas. And what’s more, the fight will be available for free on ESPN. 

Despite these major fights set among the sport’s current elite crop, a pair of legends may have outdone them with their recent announcement. Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. are set to face off in an exhibition match on Nov. 28 in California. The bout was originally expected to take place on Sept. 12, but has been delayed, according to reports. While many of the details are still to be determined, seeing a pair of former champions mixed it up in their 50s will be worth the PPV price.

Below is a running list of boxing main events for the 2020 year.

Note: This will be updated constantly with changes and additions.

Oct. 3Cardiff, WalesGeorge Kambosos Jr. vs. Lee Selby  IBF lightweight title eliminatorDAZN
Oct. 3Las VegasJose Zepeda vs. Ivan BaranchykJunior welterweightsESPN+
Oct. 4TBAJoshua Buatsi vs. Marko CalicLight heavyweightsDAZN
Oct. 9Las VegasEmanuel Navarrete (c) vs. Ruben VillaWBO featherweight titleESPN
Oct. 10Uncasville, ConnecticutSergey Lipinets vs. Kudratillo AbdukahorovIBF interim welterweight titleShowtime
Oct. 17Las VegasVasiliy Lomachenko (c) vs. Teofimo Lopez (c)Lightweight title unificationESPN
Oct. 17TBALewis Ritson vs. Miguel Vazquez  Junior welterweightsDAZN
Oct. 23Las VegasArtur Beterbiev (c) vs. Adam DeinesWBC, IBF light heavyweight titlesESPN
Oct. 24Uncasville, ConnecticutGervonta Davis (c) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (c)WBA lightweight and WBA junior lightweight titlesShowtime PPV
Oct. 24LondonDaniel Dubois vs. Joy JoyceHeavyweightsTBD
Oct. 31Las VegasNaoya Inoue (c) vs. Jason MoloneyIBF, Ring bantamweight titlesESPN+
Nov. 21TBAAlexander Povetkin vs. Dillian WhyteHeavyweightsDAZN
Nov. 21TBDErrol Spence (c) vs. Danny GarciaWelterweight titleFox PPV
Nov. 28Uncasville, ConnecticutChris Colbert vs. Jaime ArboledaJunior lightweightsShowtime
Nov. 28Los AngelesMike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. Heavyweight exhibitionTriller PPV
Dec. 12Uncasville, ConnecticutNordine Oubaali (c) vs. Nonito DonaireWBC bantamweight titleShowtime



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RR v KXIP – IPL 2020

Sanju Samson has been one of the Rajasthan Royals’ lynchpins since 2013. He even made it to our all-time Royals XI. But, until IPL 2020 came along, Samson had never hit consecutive 50-plus scores for the Royals. That changed on Sunday, with Samson following his 74 off 32 against the Chennai Super Kings with 85 off 42 in a record chase against the Kings XI Punjab.

After the Royals made 226 for 6 in 19.3 overs, Samson said his new-found success stems from some intensive work on his power game, alongside some hard questions asked of himself.

“I think I have been hitting it well for the last one year,” Samson told the host broadcaster, Star, after the game. “So I’m in the right frame of mind. I can see a change in my game and my fitness.”

Achieving that “right” frame of mind came after what Samson described as some “soul-searching”.

“I was really fed up of myself last year,” he said. “I had been trying very hard but things were not happening. Then I really went back to myself, did a bit of soul-searching and I really asked myself lots of different questions. Like, ‘What do I want to achieve in my life?’ and ‘Where do I want to reach until my cricket career finishes?’

“I decided that I have ten more years to play this wonderful game, so I decided to just give my everything towards cricket and nothing else. My family, friends and everyone is really supportive and I’m really happy that I’m giving my whole energy towards cricket – and it’s giving back to me.”

“I decided that I have ten more years to play this wonderful game, so I decided to just give my everything towards cricket and nothing else.”

Sanju Samson on his “soul searching”

One of the features of Samson’s batting in both his half-centuries so far has been his power hitting: he’s hit 16 sixes and five fours in 74 balls faced so far. No one has hit more sixes in the season till date, and Samson’s balls per sixes ratio of 4.6 is easily the highest among the top ten run-getters.

Samson had earlier revealed he had worked on his range-hitting skills during the pandemic-enforced break from cricket.

“I believe that it’s in my genes. My father is a very powerful man so I think I also get the same strength,” he said with a laugh, when asked about his power-hitting on Sunday. “I have really worked hard on my fitness. I have understood that my game is all about power, so I have invested a lot of time in developing my muscles and all those things, so I’m very happy that it’s coming out nicely.”

Samson’s hitting left captain Steven Smith almost searching for words.

“Wow,” Smith said when asked about Samson’s batting. “He’s just striking the ball cleanly all around the ground. Jeez, he’s powerful, he’s hitting the ball so well, and making the job easier for whoever he’s batting with. He’s hitting sixes at will at the moment.

“It’s just going to be about adapting when we get to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, where it’s [the ground] a little bit bigger I think. But most of the balls he’s hitting are probably going out of most grounds. Pretty good that.”

ALSO SEE: Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals live score, September 27 2020

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Perry, Pavelski and Stars force Stanley Cup Game 6 vs Tampa

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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — More than a decade since Corey Perry won the Stanley Cup as a young player and years after Joe Pavelski fell two wins short, the greybeards aren’t ready to leave the bubble and give up on another opportunity for a championship just yet.

Pavelski tied it with 6:45 left in the regulation, laid out to block a shot in the first overtime and Perry’s second goal of the game came in double OT to give the Dallas Stars a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay and force a Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final.

“Get one, keep going,” Perry said. “We start building here, and I think we’re starting to do something special.”

Anton Khudobin made 39 saves and Perry’s winner 9:23 into the second OT was a manner of redemption for the Stars a night after they lost in OT on a questionable penalty call when Tampa Bay scored on the ensuing power play. Game 6 is Monday night.

The 36-year-old Pavelski and 35-year-old Perry have combined for the last six Stars goals.

So much for hockey being a young man’s game.

“With how they play, I don’t know if you can call them old,” Stars center Tyler Seguin said. “They seem to have the best endurance of all of us. Joe keeps getting the late goals and Perry played a great game.”

The Stars stayed alive despite going down to five defensemen for half of regulation when Andrej Sekera was injured blocking a shot midway through the first. Sekera returned for the third, a gutty performance that may have saved a team that looked to be running on fumes.

“That shows you his compete,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “Give him a ton of credit for coming back. That was tough.”

The Stars didn’t have much time to regroup from Friday night’s loss, not with the NHL scheduling the first back to back games in the final since 2009 and just the second time since the mid-1950s. On a night where both teams at times looked worn down, the Stars were able to respond in a big way against a healthier opponent.

“They’re a good team,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “They fought back.”

Pavelski led the way. In the final for the second time in his career after losing in 2016 with San Jose, he followed his two-goal performance in Game 5 with a season-saver 24 hours later by scoring on a rare juicy rebound allowed by Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper compared his team’s situation now to the Eastern Conference final when an overtime loss to the New York Islanders in Game 5 extended the series. The Lightning finished that series off in six and will try to do so again.

“We’ve felt this feeling before,” Cooper said. “We have felt this sting and then we’ve rebounded.”

Pavelski felt it even worse getting to Game 6 of the 2016 final with the Sharks before falling short. Perry brought with him to Dallas a Cup ring from the 2007 Anaheim Ducks, a lifetime in hockey ago.

“I was a young kid coming into the league at 22 years old and I had the opportunity to win,” Perry said. “But here we are, 13 years later and we’ve got a chance to do it with this group.”

Thanks to him and to Pavelski, who is now tied with Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point for the most goals this postseason with 13. He also set the career playoff record for goals by an American with 61.

“We’ll recover,” Pavelski said. “We’ve played a lot of hockey the last 24 hours, and we’re having fun. We’re not ready to go home quite yet.”

Tampa Bay blew a 2-1 third-period lead and lost for just the third time in one-goal games this postseason. The Lightning must now figure out how to contain a suddenly dangerous Dallas top line led by Pavelski, along with Perry.

Another question is the health of Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who was slow to get up after a big hit in the first OT. That was around the same time Pavelski blocked a shot by Point to keep the game going.

No one kept the series going more than Khudobin, whose blocker-side save on Yanni Gourde from point-blank range early was just the start of him returning to form after allowing 13 goals the past three games.

Khudobin, who at 34 is playing the most consecutive games of his NHL career, told goalie coach Jeff Reese he wanted to be in net for the second half of the back to back. He kept Dallas alive.

“We’re not here without Dobby,” Bowness said. “He wanted that ball. He wanted that puck. He wanted to be in that net.”

NOTES: Khudobin became the fifth goaltender since 1956 to make 700-plus saves in a single postseason. … Justin Dowling made his NHL playoff debut replacing injured Dallas forward Roope Hintz. … Tampa Bay again played without injured captain Steven Stamkos.

UP NEXT

Monday night will mark just the second Game 6 the Lightning play in the playoffs after finishing their first two series out in five each.



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