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Kandy Tuskers 151 for 4 (Gunaratne 52, Kusal 42, Hasaranga 2-23) beat Jaffna Stallions 150 by six wickets (Malik 59, Pradeep 3-36, Gunaratne 2-21, Steyn 2-33)

How the game played out

In a departure from the run-fests that have populated the Lanka Premier League 2020 so far, the Jaffna Stallions and Kandy Tuskers played out a rare low-scoring affair that eventually saw the Tuskers sneak a six-wicket win.

It was fittingly Asela Gunaratne, unbeaten on a 37-ball 52, who scored the winning runs – coming down the pitch to swat Duanne Olivier for a straight six off the first ball of the final over. That it was just the fourth six of the entire game tells a story, as both sets of players struggled to score fluently.

That it even came to that point was down to a combination of tight bowling and unambitious batting on the part of the Tuskers. Having done exceedingly well to limit the Stallions to 150, the Tuskers suddenly found themselves struggling to get ahead of the required rate.

Wanindu Hasaranga, who ended with figures of 2 for 23, was once again the standout threat, but it didn’t help the Tuskers’ cause that they lost three wickets inside the powerplay period for just 44 runs. Their response to that was to then eschew any sort of risk in their chase – though there was an incentive to get the runs quicker and leapfrog in the net run rate stakes the Galle Gladiators, whom they are competing with for a final semifinal spot.

In the end Gunaratne’s cool head would prevail, putting on two consecutive 50-run stands with Kusal Perera and Irfan Pathan, to see his side through.

Earlier, it was once again Gunaratne that had made the difference, after his miserly four overs had given away just 21 runs and accounted for the wickets of Minod Bhanuka and Thisara Perera. Both those wickets came in a pivotal 13th over, after Bhanuka along with Shoaib Malik had resurrected an ailing Stallions innings.

Led by the finally available Dale Steyn, the Tuskers had reduced the Stallions to 3 for 50 in the powerplay period, before a slow-burn 59-run fourth wicket stand off 53 deliveries between Malik and Bhanuka brought forth consolidation – the plan clearly being to set the stage for a customary late assault from the likes of Thisara and Wanindu.

Gunaratne though would intervene, before Steyn would return to dismiss Wanindu cheaply to leave the Stallions reeling on 104 for 6 in the 15th over. Malik would do his best to up the scoring rate with a few boundary hits, but in the end with recognised batsman running out, he too would fall for a 44-ball 59. Fourteen runs off the final two overs would see the Stallions limp to 150, a score that was going to be hard to defend despite their best efforts.

Stars of the day

With figures of 2 for 33, a well-taken catch, and the introduction of a fishing-themed celebration, the Steyn effect on the Tuskers cannot be understated. Indeed, it was expected that Steyn’s entry would add some much-needed firepower and potency to the Tuskers’ bowling ranks, but it’s his influence on his fellow bowlers as a result of his in-game nous and experience that really stood out. Steyn was seen constantly giving advice to his colleagues, and it’s no fluke that it coincided with one of the most well-rounded bowling performances of the tournament.

At the other end of the speed spectrum lies Asela Gunaratne. While his bowling may be hard to describe, it’s nevertheless effective. And with the bat, his mentality and composure in pressure moments makes him the ideal finisher. After a long spell out with injury, Gunaratne looks to finally be finding his best form.

For the Stallions, it seems they have had get-out-of-jail free cards right through out the tournament, and why not when you have game-changers such as Wanindu Hasaranga in your ranks. While Steyn ensured he wouldn’t be able to do any damage with the bat, he more than made up for it with the ball; once again it was his control and variations, namely his excellent googly, that caused the opposition batters all kinds of trouble.

Turning point

At 100 for 3, seven overs remaining, and Thisara and Wanindu still to come, the Stallions would have been relatively pleased with the situation. But in the space of two overs all those plans went out the proverbial window, as first Gunaratne dismissed Bhanuka and Thisara in the space of an over, and then Steyn took out Wanindu four balls later. The Stallions’ innings never recovered after that.

Where the teams stand

The win sees the Tuskers go ahead of the Gladiators on points in the race for the final semifinal spot, but they still lag behind on net run rate. Regardless of whether the Gladiators win their next game or not, if weather doesn’t intervene, it’s all set for straight play-off between the two tomorrow.

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Olympic Football Tournaments 2020 – Men – News – Ripoll: France’s youngsters are gifted, dependable and committed


Men’s Olympic Football Tournament

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  • Men’s Olympic Football Tournament kicks off in exactly six months
  • We talk to Sylvain Ripoll, coach of France’s Espoirs (U-21) team
  • “I’m part of a generation that dreamed of going to the Olympics”

This Friday 22 January marks six months to the day before the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament kicks off in Tokyo. The tournament will see France back on the Olympic stage 25 years after reaching the quarter-finals at the Atlanta Games in 1996.

So what has caused such a prolonged absence from the Olympics? “I can’t give you an exact answer, since I wasn’t there,” says Sylvain Ripoll, coach of the France Espoirs (U-21) team since 2017. “Qualification for such a prestigious competition is always on a national federation’s wish-list, but for some reason we’ve been unsuccessful in recent times. In any case, we’re delighted to be back with the French team in a major tournament like the Olympics,” said the 49-year-old strategist.

“I’m part of a generation that dreamed of the Olympics – just talking about it always makes our eyes light up,” says the man who was not yet 13 when Les Bleus won gold at Los Angeles 1984. “And I think it’s the same with my players,” he adds. “It generates so many memories and great moments that just being part of it is bound to be an honour.”

The France football team pictured wearing their gold medals

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For now, though, it is still too early to be focusing on Tokyo, with tournaments looming before then both for the U-21s and senior team. “We have the EURO (11 June-11 July) taking place shortly before the Olympic Tournament (22 July-7 August), so one event will influence the other. Before that, there’s the European U-21 Championship, which we’ve qualified for, starting in March in Hungary and ending in June. So, the best thing we can do is to deal with those in the order they come.”

There is no point then in Ripoll looking too far ahead or contemplating which three players over the age of 23 he might include in his squad for Japan, as permitted under the rules of men’s tournament. “Logically, the priority will always be the France senior team,” says the Rennes native, who was nevertheless amenable to remarks last year by Kylian Mbappe, who expressed his desire to take part in the Tokyo Olympics. “We can only rejoice that we have a player in France of the calibre of Mbappe who thinks this way.”

An insatiable talent scout, Ripoll carefully monitors a good 60 players, including 20 who play abroad. He works closely with France’s World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps, who is always looking for new blood to energise his squad. “Didier and I talk a lot about the Espoirs’ potential to establish themselves into the senior team. You need to be performing regularly at the highest level for some time to break into the senior side, whereas with the Espoirs, that process can happen much more quickly,” he explains.

France coach Sylvain Ripoll looks on Serravalle 21-06-2019 Stadio San Marino Stadium Football UEFA Under 21 Championship Italy 2019 Group Stage - Final Tournament Group C France - Croatia.

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“Didier and his staff keep a very close eye on the Espoirs and watch a lot of their matches. We talk a lot about the players’ mentality, commitment and potential,” adds Ripoll, who takes immense pride in seeing one of his young players called up. He also regularly talks with the selectors of the younger age-category teams to try to progress the most promising talents through the ranks.

If we add to the mix the exemption that allows the inclusion of the 1997 generation that was eligible for the postponed Olympics last summer, then there will be a particularly large group to choose from when deciding on the final squad for Tokyo.

For all that, Ripoll already has grounds to be satisfied with his current crop. “This is the second generation I’ve been in charge of since I arrived four years ago. Apart from being gifted, which has been the case for many years in France, given our enormous reservoir of talent, I find them to be very dependable and committed. For now, I feel my players are very focused on their goals, and I hope that remains the case,” says the coach, whose aim is not to assemble only a squad of big names for Tokyo.

“There are a lot of criteria that come into play when you put together a squad for a tournament like this. There are performances, of course, but the priority is to have the best possible squad, which doesn’t always mean you only take the best players. We have to assess how squad members complement each other and perform together.”

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Boxing schedule for 2021: Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim, Angelo Leo vs. Stephen Fulton on tap


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After a tumultuous 2020 that saw many major fights canceled or postponed, boxing is ready to head into 2021. As many champions and pound-for-pound elites hung on the sidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, boxing missed out on some big-time fights. However, as the year went out, fighters slowly started to trickle back into the ring, albeit not against the competition we would like to see.

But with guys like Anthony Joshua, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Canelo Alvarez and GGG all getting in some tune-up fights, things are looking bright for 2021. And things got rolling with a strong start from Ryan Garcia, who rallied from an early knockdown to stop Luke Campbell and claim the interim WBC lightweight title. Garcia, along with Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney are setting up the prospects of some tasty matchups over the next 12 months in the 135-pound division.

Now as we head into the early part of the year, there’s a plethora of big fights on the books already. IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant is set to take on Caleb Truax at the close of January in his first action in nearly a year. Plus, Canelo Alvarez will make his return to the ring rather quickly when he takes on mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Alvarez is hoping to fight three times this year and could be on a path to facing Plant down the road now that he’s a promotional free agent.

Below is a running list of boxing main events for the 2021 year.

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

Jan. 23Uncasville, ConnecticutAngelo Leo (c) vs. Stephen FultonWBO junior featherweight titleShowtime
Jan. 30Los AngelesCaleb Plant (c) vs. Caleb TruaxIBF super middleweight titleFOX
Feb. 13Indio, CaliforniaJoseph Diaz (c) vs. Shavkatdzhon RakhimovIBF junior lightweight titleDAZN
Feb. 20TBAAdrien Broner vs. TBAJunior welterweightsTBA
Feb. 20Las VegasMiguel Berchelt (c) vs. Oscar ValdezWBC junior lightweight titleESPN
Feb. 27Miami Gardens, FloridaCanelo Alvarez (c) vs. Avni YildirimWBC super middleweight titleDAZN
Feb. 27LondonJamel Herring (c) vs. Carl FramptonWBO junior lightweight titleESPN+
March 5TBAClaressa Shields (c) vs. Marie-Eve Dicaire (c)Super welterweight unificationPPV
March 6TBAAlexander Povetkin (c) vs. Dillian WhyteWBC “interim” heavyweight titleDAZN
March 13TBAJuan Francisco Estrada vs. ‘Chocolatito’ GonzalezSuper flyweight unificationDAZN
March 20MoscowArtur Beterbiev (c) vs. Adam DeinesWBC, IBF light heavyweight titlesESPN

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Recent Match Report – West Indies vs Bangladesh 2nd ODI 2020-2022/23



Kjorn Ottley came in place of Chemar Holder

West Indies chose to bat vs Bangladesh

After being outplayed in the opening game, West Indies captain Jason Mohammed opted to bat in the second ODI in a bid to keep the series alive.

While Jason expected his batsmen to put up a good total, Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal said he anyway wanted to bowl first because “you never know with this wicket”.

West Indies had fielded six debutants in the first ODI. On Friday, they handed another debut, to left-hand top-order batsman Kjorn Ottley who came in place of Chemar Holder. That was the only change they made. Bangladesh, meanwhile, went with an unchanged XI.

The match is being played on the same pitch as the first ODI. So spinners are once again expected to get good purchase. There is no forecast of rain.

Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Soumya Sarkar, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Hasan Mahmud, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

West Indies 1 Sunil Ambris, 2 Kjorn Ottley, 3 Joshua Da Silva (wk), 4 Andre McCarthy, 5 Nkrumah Bonner, 6 Jason Mohammed (capt), 7 Rovman Powell, 8 Kyle Mayers, 9 Raymon Reifer, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Akeal Hosein

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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