Premier League : GameWeek 30 | Man City one point clear at top

Premier League : GameWeek 30 | Man City one point clear at top

The 30th match-week of English Premier League 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Sunday and brought with it some breathtaking action, wonderful goals and the usual dose of excitement and drama.

Match-week 30 of Premier League witnessed plenty of excitement and emotions. Manchester United lost two valuable points against Arsenal at the Emirates, while it was a comfortable week for teams like Liverpool and Man City, who secured all three points. Here are some results from the week gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Manchester City 3-1 Watford

Raheem Sterling stole the show as he grabs a hat-trick against Watford to help Manchester City register a 3-1 win and pull four points clear in the title race and pile the pressure on 2nd placed Liverpool. The England winger bagged three goals inside 13 minutes in the second half, the first of which should have been disallowed, to make it five straight wins in the league for Pep Guardiola’s side. Gerard Deulofeu grabbed a late consolation just 20 seconds after coming off the bench for Watford but the damage was already done. City have won 10 of their last 11 Premier League games, and are on the longest current winning run in the competition with six games.

Leicester City 3-1 Fulham

Jamie Vardy scored two late goals as Leicester City beat Fulham 3-1 in Brendan Rodgers’ first home game in charge of the Foxes. Leicester took the lead in the 21st minute when Vardy beat the offside trap and laid the ball on to Belgian midfielder Tielemans, who is on loan from Monaco, and he netted his first Premier League goal with a simple tap-in. Substitute Floyd Ayite equalized shortly after the break when he surged into the penalty area and beat goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with a shot which took a deflection off two Leicester defenders. Vardy restored Leicester’s lead with a trademark finish in the 78th minute, drilling in a low shot past Sergio Rico from inside the penalty box. Vardy sealed the home side’s win with a scrambled close-range finish in the 86th minute.

Newcastle United 3-2 Everton

Ayoze Perez scored twice and set up Salomon Rondon in a stunning performance At St James’ Park, Newcastle stormed back from two goals down at half-time to secure a vital 3-2 victory over Everton in a captivating match. The Newcastle striker had leveled three minutes earlier after Pickford spilled Miguel Almiron’s stinging drive into his path, while Perez also set up Salomon Rondon’s fine volley to get the hosts back into the game. Until then, Rafael Benitez’s side had felt aggrieved at referee Lee Mason’s decision not to send Pickford off for a foul on Rondon, with the England goalkeeper saving a poor subsequent penalty from Matt Ritchie. The Magpies’ mood darkened when, moments after that save, Richarlison tapped in his side’s second after Martin Dubravka parried Andres Gomes’ low cross straight to the Everton winger.

Southampton 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Yan Valery and James Ward-Prowse scripted a spectacular comeback win for Southampton who stunned Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday after being completely outplayed in the first half. Tottenham held the lead at half-time through Harry Kane’s opener and fully deserved their advantage following the dominant first 45 minutes. However, the Saints came roaring back with two goals from Yan Valery and James Ward-Prowse in a much improved second-half display. The Spurs now have lost three consecutive away games in the Premier League for just the second time under Mauricio Pochettino, previously doing so in November 2017.

Liverpool 4-2 Burnley

Liverpool on Sunday had to survive Burnley’s scare on both ends of the game to secure a 4-2 win on the strength of two braces by Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, keeping the pace with the Premier League’s standing leader Manchester City. The home side went 1-0 behind when Ashley Westwood’s corner looped over Alisson straight into the back of the net. 13 minutes after going behind, Jurgen Klopp’s men equalized through Roberto Firmino. In the 29th minute, Liverpool took a 2-1 lead. In the 67th minute, Heaton miscued his goal-kick and Liverpool countered to set up Firmino for his second of the game. Salah was tackled in the box after taking too long to shoot and the ball fell straight to Firmino for another open goal. Johann Berg Gudmundsson later made it 3-2 in stoppage time to set up a nervy finish before Mane rounded Heaton and bagged his second to seal the victory.

Chelsea 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

An injury-time goal from Eden Hazard salvaged a point for Chelsea against a dogged Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Sunday. The Blues looked like they were going to suffer their second defeat of the season against the West Midlands outfit with Raul Jimenez putting the visitors in front at Stamford Bridge. Wolves broke from inside their own half with some attractive interplay before Jimenez clipped the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga to give the visitors the lead in the 56th minute. With time running out it looked like it was going to be a memorable win for Wolves against the Blues but it was Belgian international Hazard to the rescue in the 92nd minute.

Cardiff City 2-0 West Ham United

West Ham United fell to a frustrating 2-0 defeat at Cardiff City on Saturday, when a goal at the start of each half kept the points in South Wales. Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa punished some sloppy defending from the visitors to get the goals, which Cardiff proceeded to defend relatively comfortably. Declan Rice struck the post in the second period, but the Hammers were unable to break down a stubborn home rearguard with regularity and they could have few complaints about the final score.

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United

Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 in a crucial Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. Granit Xhaka put Arsenal ahead with a good striker in the 12th minute, while Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang converted a penalty in the second half to win the match for Arsenal. The Gunners put in an impressive display, while United were below par and most of their players looked a bit jaded. It was only United’s 2nd defeat in 18 matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as Arsenal continued their impressive home form. They have now defeated United, Chelsea, and Tottenham in their home ground in the Premier League.

Also Read: 5 most controversial defenders in PL history

India vs England: Three talking points from the third T20I game

India vs England: Three talking points from the third T20I game

After having won the first two T20I games against India, England clinched a nail-biting 1-run win in the third and final game at Guwahati.  

From restricted England within a below par to Smriti Mandhana’s half-century and Kate Cross’ final over, the game saw plenty of things.

Here are the three talking points from the game

Clinical performance by India spinners

Image Source – ICC

Having won the toss and elected to bat first, England openers Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont gave a flying start. From hitting a huge maximum in the second over off Deepti Sharma to hitting back to back boundaries off Shikha Pandey in the very next over, both the batters started hitting all over the park. Their stormy innings helped them to put up 42 runs within the powerplay.

To stop the run flow, captain Smriti Mandhana brought back Anuja Patil in the 8th over; who was playing her first match in the series and conceded only three runs in her first over. The decision became fruitful as her second delivery picked up Danielle Wyatt. It was wide outside off, Wyatt tried to hit but landed in the short third man where Poonam Yadav was standing. The first breakthrough came for India in the form of her dismissal.

Next was Natalie Sciver; who got bowled by Poonam Yadav in the very next over. Sciver had a rather forgettable T20I series as she went for a six-ball duck. Anuja Patil struck again and picked up Beaumont in the next over and England were soon reduced to 54-3 after 10 overs.

From that onwards, England were never looked in control and wickets started falling at regular interval. Due to some brilliant spells from the spinners, England were restricted within 119-6 after 20 overs.

Smriti Mandhana’s blitzy half-century

Image Source – The Indian Express

After having restricted England within a below-par total of 119, India too tried to get a flying start but opener Harleen Deol couldn’t stay long as she fell for 1 in the second over to Shrubsole. Her dismissal brought Jemimah Rodrigues in the crease. But her struggle continued as she scored mere 11 off 22.

However, Mandhana was there at the other end. After getting dismissed very early in the first two games, she played a captain’s knock in the third game. She has troubled every bowler by hitting boundaries. When Rodrigues got dismissed she was on 39 and India were 59-2. That time India needed a partnership to win the game.

Mandhana got the partner in the form of veteran Mithali Raj; who is best known for her ability to anchor the innings. Both started building a stable partnership. While Mandhana as a set batter, took the charge, Mithali supported her brilliantly. In the 11th over, Mandhana completed her ninth T20I half-century in 32 balls.

Both the batters were looking comfortable in the middle. But England were looking for a wicket so that India’s run-chase becomes slow. Laura Marsh was successful to break the partnership as she picked up dangerous Smriti Mandhana for 58. It was a flatter delivery around off and Mandhana was looking to hit towards third man but the ball went straight and took the inside edge and hit the stumps. Mandhana’s 39-ball 58 included 8 boundaries and a six.

When she got dismissed, India needed 33 runs to win in 7 overs. It was an easy job for India as the experienced Mithali Raj was at the crease and India had some other batters as well who were able to get past the line.

The final over

Image Source – Sky Sports

It says that the penultimate over of an innings is more important than the final over. But here, the last over made all the difference. India needed 18 runs in last three over. Natalie Sciver came for the 18th over. Mithali Raj was on the strike, hit the boundary towards the third man on the first delivery and another on the fifth delivery towards point region. That took off the pressure off from the inexperienced Bharati Fulmali. Mithali Raj hit a boundary over the cover in the next over and India were needed only 3 runs in the final over.

To conceded mere 3 runs, England captain Heather Knight took the responsibility to Kate Cross; who didn’t get any wickets before in the game. Fulmali wasn’t able to rotate the strike on the first three deliveries. Kate Cross was so accurate in her line and length and Fulmali couldn’t handle the pressure.

She hit the fourth ball direct to the mid-off player and got dismissed for 5. Anuja Patil came in. It was not difficult for her as she is known as ‘T20 specialist’. But she missed the line and got stumped in the fifth ball. Shikha Pandey faced the final delivery and managed to score only one run and England claimed a scintillating 1-run win in the final encounter.

On the other end, Mithali Raj was standing helplessly. She was timing the ball well but didn’t get a chance to face a single ball in the last over. Kate Cross bowled an exceptional over and England managed to restrict within 118.

Also Read: Mandhana is India’s overseas hero

India vs England: Three talking points from the second T20I

India - England

England clinched the three-match T20I series by winning the second game by 5 wickets against India at Guwahati on March 7. 

England won the toss and elected to field first. Put into bat, India put up 23 runs in the first two overs and after that, the wickets started falling at a regular interval. Once again India’s batting collapsed in front of England’s bowling and they managed to put up mere 111 after 20 overs.

Chasing the mere 112, England too lost 5 wickets but Danielle Wyatt’s stable 64 guides England to a convincing win. With this win, England won the series as well by 2-0.

Here are the three talking points from the second encounter:

Katherine Brunt’s formidable form

Put into bat, India tried to score quickly within the powerplay where the opener Harleen Deol welcomed the bowler with a boundary. In the second over, captain Smriti Mandhana started with the six over mid-off and ended the over with another six over mid-on off Anya Shrubsole and put up 23 runs within 2 overs.

Till then everything was looking perfect. But Katherine Brunt had another plan. Captain Heather Knight gave the responsibility to her senior-most bowler Katherine Brunt. The first ball of the 3rd over was a dot ball while the second one was for a single. The trap was set for Mandhana in the third ball. Brunt gave a fuller length delivery and tempted Mandhana for a drive. But she failed to do so that produced outside edge and Amy Jones made no mistake as she took a well-judged low catch.

Also Read: India vs England: Three talking points from the first T20I

Brunt came back for the fifth over where opener Harleen Deol hit a boundary in the second delivery towards backward point. Jemimah Rodrigues was on strike during the final ball of the over. She was standing deep in the crease and hoped to slog it across the line but played it down the wrong line and Brunt’s pace was too fast to handle. She was bowled for 2.

After that, wickets started falling at regular intervals. It was when the debutant Bharti Fulmali was looking confident and trying for big shots, Brunt cam for her final over. Brunt gave a slower delivery, Fulmali backed away to drive it wide of cover but failed to hit the bat and it smashed her stumps. The economical spells from the bowlers restricted India within a below per.

India’s dismal performance in batting

India is going through a transitional phase. They are currently looking out their best eleven in the T20s as the ICC World T20 2020 will be held in less than a year. After having lost in the semi-final of the ICC World T20 last year, India hasn’t won a single T20 game since then.

In New Zealand, only Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues were in form and scored most of the runs. Apart from them, no other batter was able to contribute in the middle and It is almost known by now that if you can dismiss Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues within the powerplay, then India will certainly be on backfoot.

The same thing is going on in the ongoing T20 series against England. Like the first T20, India had a dismal batting performance. After having lost Mandhana, Rodrigues and Harleen Deol within the powerplay, Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma tried to steady the ship, added 35 runs but a decent throw dismissed Sharma for 18 and left India struggling at 69-4 after 13 overs.

However, to accelerate the score, Mithali tried to hit big but ended up giving a catch to Winfield at long-on. India was never into the game as they were not able to make a strong partnership and fall of wickets at regular interval ended there inning at 111/8 after 20 overs.

Danielle Wyatt and Lauren Winfield’s 47-run partnership

After having restricted India within 111 on board, England was all confident to secure their second win in the series. Openers Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont gave a flying start to their team and added 28 runs in 5 overs.

However, Radha Yadav handed over the first breakthrough to India. It was a full and quick delivery and Beaumont came down the track which skidded through bat and pad and ended up smashing the leg stump.

The next was Poonam Yadav who struck again in her first over as she picked up Jones for 5. Ekta Bisht too didn’t allow Sciver and Knight to become more dangerous and trapped both of them in the 9th and 11th over respectively before the stumps for 1 and 2.

England was soon reduced to 57-4 after 11 overs and the pressure fell upon Wyatt and Winfield to get past the winning line. They started building the partnership where Wyatt took the charge and Winfield supported her well. 

Both of them started timing the ball well and when they got settled down, it became difficult for the bowlers to dismiss them. Their steady partnership helped England to reach the 100-run mark in 17 overs. However, in the 18th over, Deepti Sharma broke the 47-run partnership when she picked up Winfield for 29 with a well-judged catch by Rodrigues.

By then, England was pretty much on the way of winning. Wyatt’s stable knock of 64 off 55 made the winning foundation for her team. England won the game by 5 wickets and took an unassailable lead of 2-0 in this three-match T20I series.

Both the team will play their final T20I match on March 9 in Guwahati, Assam.

India vs England: Three talking points from the first T20I

India vs England: Three talking points from the first T20I

After having clinched the three-match ODI series by 2-1 against England, India faced England in the first T20I at Guwahati where they lost by 41 runs. 

After having won the last ODI, England continued their good form in the 1st T20I match. From the first wicket partnership to restricting India within a below par, England were far better than India.

There was not only one point, but in every way, England dominated their counterpart – be it opener Tammy Beaumont’s blitzy half-century, captain Heather Knight’s quickfire 40 or bowlers’ economical spells.

With this convincing win, England took an unassailable lead of 1-0 in the three-match T20I series.

Let’s have a look at three talking points from the 1st T20I at Guwahati:

The opening partnership between Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont

Image Source – ECB

After having won in the toss, India elected to field. Put into bat, England managed only just 14 runs in the first three overs. But after that, it was all the batters’ show.

In the fourth over, both Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont started opening their arms, hit three boundaries to Deepti Sharma. The way Tammy Beaumont and Danielle Wyatt played the shots, were a treat to watch. They found the gaps with ease.

Their formidable form helped them to reach 50-run mark within seven overs. It became difficult for the India bowlers to get past them when both the batters got set at the crease. They both added 89-run together to provide a solid foundation for their team.

However, Shikha Pandey handed over the first breakthrough to India. Wyatt missed the back length delivery, nearly found the gap and hit over the cover. Mandhana did no mistake, moved to her right and grabbed a fantastic catch. She dismissed for 35 but till then she already did the damage in the bowling line up.

Heather Knight’s blitzy 40

Image Source – Sky Sports

Put into bat, England openers Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont made a solid foundation of 89 runs. However, Wyatt dismissed for 35 and soon Natalie Sciver too joined her in the dugout after scoring mere 4.

At that time, captain Heather Knight came to her side’s rescue and tried to steady the ship with Tammy Beaumont. She looked comfortable right from the start of her innings. Along with Beaumont, she added a 59-run.

However, India tried to their best and restricted England to 124 for 2 in 17 overs. But one over changed the game in England’s favour. In the 18th over, Knight hit Arundhati Reddy for five consecutive fours which guided England to score 160 after 20 overs.

Economical bowling from the bowlers

Image Source –

After having lost in the toss and put into bat, England had a good time with the bat. With the 89-run opening partnership and Heather Knight’s blitzy 40, they put up a decent competitive total of 160 on board.

In the second innings, it was on bowlers how they could perform and restrict India. However, they showed an impressive form. Like the last ODI, the veteran Katherine Brunt was the first one to give a breakthrough to her team as she picked up Harleen Deol for 8.

Though it was not a matter of tension, as the two best of the batters – Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues were on the crease. But it was Linsey Smith who left India into big trouble as she picked up the two big wickets of Mandhana and Rodrigues in her consecutive deliveries in the fourth over.

Two new batters – Mithali Raj and Veda Krishnamurthy were on the crease and before they could settle down properly, Mithali Raj got out by Kate Cross. Growing asking rate left no option except for big hitting and that led Mithali Raj’s dismissal in the 9th over. Veda Krishnamurthy was next to follow and India were reduced to 46-5 after the halfway mark.

Bowlers’ economical spell didn’t allow the batters to settle down on the crease for a long time. However, Deepti Sharma, Arundhati Reddy, and Shikha Pandey added 63 runs between them so that the chase went till the last over. But that was not enough for India to win and England claimed a thumping 41-run win over India.

The second T20I will be played at the same ground on Thursday, March 7.

Also Read: How England is shaping up for World Cup 2019?

India vs England: 3 talking points from the third encounter

After having lost the first two encounters due to poor performances, England bounced back beautifully in the third match of their three-match ODI series against India at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. 

Both the teams made one change to their playing eleven. Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad came in place of Ekta Bisht whereas Danielle Wyatt replaced injured Sophie Ecclestone in their playing XI; which turned out to be a shrewd decision, with Wyatt putting in a match-winning performance.

However, India once again lost in the third encounter of the three-match ODI series for the fourth time in their ICC Women’s Championship (2017-20). Earlier, they lost in their third match to South Africa and Sri Lanka in 2018 after having won the series. This year, the same thing happened as they lost to New Zealand earlier this year and then to England.

Though with this series win, India continued their winning streak against England at their home soil.

Let’s have a look at three talking points from their third encounter:

Stable partnership between Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut

Image Source – ICC Cricket

India won the toss and elected to bat first. However, India’s innings did not start on a high note as their opener Jemimah Rodrigues once again dismissed for a two-ball duck to Brunt. Her dismissal brought Punam Raut on the crease. Smriti Mandhana, who has been in a great form, tried to steady the ship with Punam Raut. Both added 129-run together to provide a solid foundation in the total.

In her 50th ODI game, Smriti Mandhana scored another half-century in 56 balls. She hit the ball behind square, took a single and completed her 16th half-century. Raut, who got dismissed on 32 in the second game, played a steady inning and scored her 11th half-century.

Both of them looked comfortable in the middle until 28th over as Brunt dismissed both of them in the 29th over and from thereafter, India’s struggle of scoring started. Smriti Mandhana scored a 74-ball 66 which included eight boundaries and a six. Her partner, Raut scored 56 off 97 with seven boundaries.

Katherine Brunt’s firing spell

Image Source – Samaa TV

Elected to bat first, India made a solid foundation with their two experienced players – Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut. Both of them added 129 runs in 28th over. Mandhana scored her 16th ODI half-century and Raut scored her 11th ODI half-century. They were literally destroying England’s bowling attack and at that point of time, England was searching the ways to break the partnership.

Captain Heather Knight gave the responsibility to her senior-most bowler Katherine Brunt; who came, saw and conquered. The first two balls of the 29th over were dot balls. Mandhana hit the first one towards mid-on while the second one was full outside off. The trap was set for Mandhana in the third ball. Brunt changed the pace and it was a short ball. Mandhana pulled and hit it towards deep square leg which safely landed in Wyatt’s hands. That was the breakthrough which England were looking for a long time.

The over literally belonged to Brunt only. Another set batter Punam Raut faced the last delivery of the over. It was fuller length delivery which Raut tried to push but the gap between her bat and pad allowed the ball to slip through the gap and hit the stumps. Raut was bowled for 56 and India were reduced to 131-3 by the end of the 29th overs.

India left with two new batters on the crease – captain Mithali Raj and Mona Meshram. Like every team, they too were trying to build another partnership. But Brunt had other plans as she picked up Meshram in the fourth ball of the over when she was trapped before the stumps. Meshram once again went for a duck.

Brunt came for her seventh over. India captain Mithali Raj was on strike during the fourth ball of the over. It was a pitched up delivery and Raj was a little late in getting her bat down, she played it outside the line. It was a big inside edge which hit her pad and went upwards where Sarah Taylor did no mistake and took a well-judged catch. At first, they appealed for Leg before, but the umpire decided to give it a caught out after seeing the ball in Taylor’s gloves.

India captain departed for 7. It was Brunt’s fifth five-wicket haul. India started struggling at 143-5 by the end of the 33 overs and England were back in the game by then. Brunt single-handedly changed the way of the game and from there, India were not able to back in the game again and managed to put up 205 in their allotted overs.

Heather Knight and Danielle Wyatt’s 69-run partnership

Image Source –

After having restricted India within 205 on board, England were all confident to secure their first win in the series. Openers Amy Jones and Tammy Beaumont gave a flying start to their team where Jones welcomed Goswami with a boundary. Both added 25 runs in 5 overs.

However, Goswami handed over the first breakthrough to India. It was a short delivery and Jones went for a pull short. It got a top-edge and Mandhana took an easy catch at mid-on. Beaumont looked composed in the middle and hit Shikha Pandey for a boundary and a six in the eighth over. Goswami struck again in the 9th over as she picked up Winfield for 2.

Goswami didn’t allow Beaumont to become more dangerous as she picked up Beaumont for 21 with Meshram taking a catch at slip. Deepti Sharma was next who bagged the wicket of Natalie Sciver. Sarah Taylor, who came to bat at number 5, too went for another low score (2) and left England struggling at 49-5 after 15 overs.

Danielle Wyatt then joined her captain Heather Knight at the crease. The pressure fell upon them to get past the winning line. They started building the partnership where Knight took the charge and Wyatt supported her well. Knight hit to back to back boundaries in the 16th over and did the same in the next over also.

Both of them particularly chose spinners to score big. Their steady partnership helped England to reach 100-run mark within 26 overs. However, in the 31st over, Poonam Yadav broke the 69-run partnership when she picked up Knight for 47 with a well-judged catch by Bhatia.

England were 118-6 when they lost their captain. However, Wyatt made another 56-run partnership with Georgia Elwiss before getting dismissed after scoring her first ODI half-century (56 off 82). Her inning made the winning foundation for her team. Later, Elwiss and Brunt added another 30 runs before she got out for 18.

Elwiss, however, stood strong at the other end, scored a 53-ball 33 and helped England get past the line along with Anya Shrubsole who finished the game in style by hitting a boundary through square leg.

Both the team will now play a three-match T20I series from March 4 in Guwahati, Assam.

India vs England: 3 talking points from the second encounter

India vs England: 3 talking points from the second encounter

India clinched the three-match ODI series against England by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with a comprehensive win at Mumbai on Monday, 25 February. 

Like the 1st ODI, England had a dismal performance, again. Apart from Natalie Sciver, other batters failed to get going and could add only 161 and bowled out prior o their allotted 50 overs.

There was not only one point, but in every way, India dominated their counterpart – be it opener Smriti Mandhana’s blitzy half-century, captain Mithali Raj’s unbeaten 47 or Jhulan Goswami-Shikha Pandey’s four-wicket haul each.

With this convincing win, India continued their winning streak against England at their home soil. India first hosted England in the season of 1995/96 and they have never lost to England in an ODI series at home against them. This is their sixth series win against England at home.

Let’s have a look at three talking points from the low scoring encounter at Wankhede, Mumbai:

Natalie Sciver’s fighting 85

Image Source – Indian Express

After having won the toss, England chose to bat first. But their decision soon became their nightmare as Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey cleaned up top four batters within 14 overs and left them struggling at 44/4.

Sciver came to her side’s rescue and tried to steady the ship with Lauren Winfield. She looked comfortable right from the start of her innings. Along with Lauren Winfield, she added a 49-run partnership before Winfield got dismissed and left England struggling at 93/5.

It was at that point when she ensured that she did not lose her wicket as well as took the charge of scoring. Sciver then decided to hit Ekta Bisht and Poonam Yadav mainly, after not getting any room from the two pacers. However, both Georgia Elwiss and Katherine Brunt departed for ducks by Shikha Pandey and left England at 95/7.

Anya Shrubsole and Sophie Ecclestone tried their best to support Sciver and guided till 119/9. At that point, England’s innings looked like it would end soon. However, the last wicket partnership between Alex Hartley and Natalie Sciver slowly build the innings from there on and added 42 runs in eight overs; where Alex Hartley scored no runs.

It was a solo effort from Natalie Sciver which helped England to put up 161 on board.

Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey’s masterclass pace-bowling

Image Source – The Indian Express

After Heather Knight won the toss and decided to bat first on a wicket that was batting friendly at first along with spin friendly, the Indian fast bowlers were right on their skill which certainly troubled England throughout the series.

Both Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey were bowling with a plan. Goswami’s accurate line along with Pandey’s inswingers didn’t five the batters any room to free their hands; which eventually worked very well. Australia lost their three top-order batters within the powerplay.

Their economical spell didn’t allow the batters to settle down on the crease for a long time. Except for Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver and Lauren Winfield; who did reach the double figures only. Among them, only Sciver was there who scored a stable 109-ball 85.

Goswami and Pandey bowled 12 of the first 14 overs and left England struggling at 44/4. The duo returned for their second spell and cleaned up England’s middle and lower-middle order. Goswami ended up taking 4 wickets in her 8.3 overs while Pandey took her career-best 4/18 in her 10 overs spell.

Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey take eight wickets between them which is by far the most wickets taken by India’s pacers in any ODI.

Charismatic Smriti Mandhana and elegant Mithali Raj

Image Source – The Hindu

After England put up a mere total of 161 on board, India’s chase did not start on a high note as their in-form opener Jemimah Rodrigues struggled to score and finally getting dismissed for a 10-ball duck.

However, Smriti Mandhana, who didn’t score big in the first ODI, fulfilled in the second. After Rodrigues’ dismissal, she tried to steady the ship with Punam Raut; who replaced newcomer Harleen Deol in the playing XI and both added 73-run together to provide a solid foundation for the run chase.

Raut meanwhile missed Elwiss’ delivery down leg-side and Sarah Taylor’s lightning-quick glove work sent her in the dugout for 32. The captain Mithali Raj joined her vice-captain at the crease. Both made another strong partnership of 66 runs. Mandhana scored her 19th half-century by hitting Ecclestone to a boundary between deep fine and deep mid.

Mandhana’s half-century levelled former captain Anjum Chopra’s record of the scoring half-century. Only present captain Mithali Raj, has more 50+ scores for India. However, she scored 63 off 74 with seven fours and a six before getting trapped in front of the wicket by Anya Shrubsole when India required only 22 runs to win.

On the other hand, Mithali Raj played another captain’s knock, along with a brilliant captaincy earlier in the game, showed her class and stamped her authority in her unbeaten 47 off 69; which included eight boundaries. However, the winning runs came from the captain’s bat when she hit Elwiss over mid-wicket and finished the game in style.

The third and final ODI will be played at the same ground on Thursday, February 28. After the completion of the ODI series, both the teams will play a three-match T20I series at Guwahati from March 4.

Also Read: Mithali Raj become the first cricketer to feature in 200 matches

Chelsea blocked from signing new players for next two transfer windows

Chelsea blocked from signing new players for next two transfer windows

The crusade of FIFA against the hiring of underage players has resulted in another harsh penalty against one of the biggest clubs in Europe, Chelsea. 

After the sanctions imposed in the last three years on Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, this time it is Chelsea who will have to take a penalty of two transfer windows without being able to register players.

The Ban and the Fine

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided this Friday to sanction Chelsea and the English Football Association for having infringed the regulations regarding the transfer of underage foreigners. The English club cannot hire players for any of their male teams in the next two transfer windows of signings for having skipped the rules at the time of incorporating 29 players to feed their subsidiary.

In addition to the ban, Chelsea must pay a fine of 600,000 Swiss francs (about 681,000 euros) and regulate the situation of young people signed in a period of 90 days. For its part, the English Football Association will have to pay 510,000 Swiss francs (about 579,000 euros) and regulate the situation regarding international transfers and registration of children under 18 years in English football.

“The protection of minors is a key element within FIFA regulations and compliance with this is fundamental, as has been confirmed on several occasions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” says FIFA.

The Investigation

Chelsea was being investigated for more than 100 cases. Through a statement, “categorically refutes” the sanction and will go before the Appeals Commission. It is not the first time that the club receives a FIFA sanction. In fact, he received the same penalty in 2009 by the signing of French Gael Kakuta, a Rayo Vallecano player now. Finally, the sanction was in a single transfer period after Chelsea and Lens reached an agreement to resolve the conflict.

Eden Hazard case

It is a punishment that also complicates the arrival of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid next summer. The Belgian has already expressed on several occasions his desire to sign for the Madrid club, but the ban ends the contract in June 2020, just when he will conclude the sanction to the London club. And if there are no signings, it is difficult for Chelsea to let out their star and captain. The only possibility for Hazard to leave next summer is to refuse to renew his contract and the English club prefers to receive the money of his transfer, which would always be greater than one hundred million euros, to let him go free in the summer of 2020.

Club speaks

After knowing the penalty, the London team, whose owner is the Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, responded immediately to FIFA in a statement:

“We welcome the fact Fifa has accepted that there was no breach in relation to 63 of these players, but the club is extremely disappointed that Fifa has not accepted the club’s submissions in relation to the remaining 29 players. Chelsea acted in accordance with the relevant regulations and will shortly be submitting its appeal to Fifa.”

Also Read: How Chelsea can improvise themselves

Premier League – 5 most controversial footballers in history

Premier League - 5 most controversial footballers in history

The English Premier League, like any other league of the world, has controversial players, who on many occasions do not let the game flow in its natural course and end up being a headache not only for the clubs but also for the referees. 

We created a list of 5 ill-tempered footballers of the Premier League era, not only for their respective talents but also to create several controversies throughout their football career in English football.

Robbie Fowler

Image Credit: Planet Football

One of the great idols of several generations of Liverpool supporters, striker Robbie Fowler certainly marked his seasons with glory at the club. The English athlete stayed in the club for 13 seasons, with a few passes for clubs like Leeds United, Manchester City and Cardiff City at the end of his career as a player. In 1999, rumors surfaced through English tabloids that said the Liverpool striker was using cocaine. The repercussion certainly irritated the player, who scored a goal in the classic with Everton, made an allusion to the use of the drug in front of the fans of the rival. At the time, Fowler was eventually expelled from the match, received a suspension of 6 matches from the English Federation and had to pay a fine of 32 thousand pounds. Liverpool eventually beat Everton 3-2, with Fowler scoring two goals.

Also Read: 5 U-19 players who can be the future of Premier League

Joey Barton

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England, midfielder Joey Barton accumulated numerous controversies throughout his career. The midfielder was well known in Brazil after harsh criticism of Brazilian defender Thiago Silva and striker Neymar. In a Premier League match, defeated by Manchester City in the last game of the season, Queens Park Rangers footballer Barton ended up being expelled after attacking the Argentine striker Sergio Aguero. Though, after the defeat, Queens Park Rangers ended up staying in the Premier League. Already at the end of his career, Barton became embroiled in his greatest controversy. He confessed to the English Football Federation that he got involved in football betting and was suspended for 18 months and fined £ 30,000. With the suspension, Barton, who had a contract with Burnley, ended up announcing his retirement from football at the age of 34. The former footballer is now a coach and heads Fleetwood Town, which contests the English third division.

Roy Keane

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Roy Keane is one of the great idols in Manchester United history and certainly marked his seasons as a Red Devils. With a violent style of acting, Keane was considered an excellent scorer and ended up winning seven Premier League titles for the club, as well as four FA Cups and a Champions League. In 2001, in a derby against Manchester City, the Irish midfielder produced one of the toughest and dirtiest entries in the history of world football. Keane assaulted the then Citizens captain, the Norwegian Alf-Inge Haland. With the injury, Haland had to end his career due to the consequences of the injury. In an interview, Keane said he was not sorry, as he only cashed a hard-hitting entry for Haland the previous season that ended Keane from playing for the rest of the season. At the time, Haland was at Leeds United. During his Premier League run, the Irishman collected 11 red cards and had a public rivalry with French midfielder, Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira.

Vinnie Jones

Image Credit: The42

Vinnie Jones was not known in English football for his talent, but for his violent and intimidating style, which ended up influencing his opponents on the field. The Welsh bad boy was the legitimate watchdog who ended up spending most of his career at Wimbledon, a club now in the third division of English football. He played more than 200 matches for the club, adding 12 expulsions throughout his career. In 1992, the midfielder introduced a controversial video that was named “Soccer’s Hard Men” in which he ends up exalting some very tough moves in the world of football. As a result, he was fined by the English Federation and paid a fine of £ 20,000 and was suspended for six months. In 2003, when the then-player had traded football for the movies, Jones was accused of assaulting a passenger who was on his side on a flight and threatened the crew’s to death. On account of the incident, Jones had to shell out £ 1,1000 and had to provide about 80 hours of community service.

Eric Cantona

Premier League, like any other league, has controversial players, who on many occasions do not let the game flow in its natural course
Image Credit: Daily Mail

The legendary French striker Eric Cantona has charmed the eyes of countless generations of Manchester United fans during his brilliant stint at the club. Despite the brilliance in English football, Cantona was also marked by several controversies which involved his name. In his third season with Manchester United, the Frenchman ended up receiving the biggest punishment of his career. In a match against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, the Manchester United striker ended up hitting a hooligan who was present in the rival with a flying kick. In addition to being expelled from the match, Cantona took a nine-month suspension. With that, he failed to play in the 1998 World Cup, that was won by his country. Upset at not being summoned more because of his behavioral problems, Cantona retired early to the 30 years of age. Several protests were made by French fans against national team coach Aimet Jaquet, but he did not change his decision.


Shannon Gabriel suspended for sledging Joe Root

Shannon Gabriel suspended for sledging Joe Root

West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel has been suspended for the first four One-Day Internationals after sledging England captain Joe Root during the third Test in St Lucia. 

On the third day of the third Test between England and West Indies, stump mics caught an interaction between Shannon Gabriel and two England batsmen, Root and Joe Denly; where Root ended by saying that being gay is nothing wrong and requested not to use it as an insult.

“Don’t use it as an insult. There is nothing wrong with being gay.”

For this comment, Gabriel was found guilty under article 2.13 of the ICC’s Code of Conduct; which is related to “personal abuse of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire or Match Referee during an international match”. 

For this offense, Shannon Gabriel has been fined 75% of his match fee and three demerit points. His action led him to eight demerit points within 24 months which equals to the ban from either two Tests or four ODIs or T20Is, which series he plays first. Earlier, he received five demerit points for two incidents which involved physical contact with opposing players.

Also Read: Gayle is back in Windies ODI squad

He had received three demerit points when he barged Sarfaraz Ahmed during the Jamaica Test against Pakistan in April 2017 and later received two demerit points in the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh last November due to a similar incident where Imrul Kayes was involved. Because of this offense, he was suspended for the next Test in Mirpur.

Gabriel has accepted his offense as well as the charge so there was no formal hearing of this incident with the match referee, Jeff Crowe. However, Gabriel was not a part in the squad for the first two ODIs against England, he was a replacement for Keemo Paul who got injured.

While talking about Gabriel’s ban, England coach Trevor Bayliss expressed that stump mics should be off between the deliveries.

“I’ve said it once before, no I’m not in favour of it and I’m not going to change my mind,” he expressed. “If stump mics were around a few years ago there would be some blokes seen as ‘holier than thou’ who would have been in trouble as well.”

“I think [stump mics] should be down. I know there are people who think the opposite and think it is good for the game but sometimes in the heat of battle things are said, when guys given a bit of time to sit down and think about it would give themselves a bit of a kick up the backside,” he further added.

However, Root handled the situation very gracefully in the post-match press conference.

“Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field,” Root said.

“It’s Test cricket and he’s an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match. He’s a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is. The battle was a good contest, he’s had a wonderful series and he should be proud.”

Though West Indies lost the Test, won the three-match series by 2-1. They will play five ODIs, which will start next Wednesday in Barbados.

Premier League 2018-19 : Game Week 26 Round Up

Premier League 2018-19 : Game Week 26 Round Up

The 26th match-week of English Premier League 2018-19 brought with it some scintillating action, a flurry of goals and the usual quality and quantity of extravaganza. 

All Premier League heavy-weight teams registered a win, except Chelsea, who were hammered 6-0 by Manchester City on Sunday. While Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham secured all three points. Here are the results from the week gone by, and some of the key talking points.

Fulham 0-3 Manchester United

Manchester United moved into the top four of the Premier League as they march on with their unbeaten run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with an easy 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. A brace from Paul Pogba, a first-half stunner and a second-half penalty, and a brilliant individual effort from Anthony Martial secured the three points for the Old Trafford side. United took the lead after 14 minutes as Paul Pogba opened the scoring with a sensational first-time shot at the near post that Sergio Rico should have dealt with better. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team made it 2-0 when Anthony Martial took it all upon himself right from the halfway line to embarrass the Fulham defense and score a beauty of a goal. United scored their third goal in the 65th minute, as Pogba guaranteed the victory with a composed penalty after Juan Mata was brought down inside the box.

Also Read: United next superstar – Marcus Rashford

Watford 1-0 Everton

Watford piled more distress on Everton manager Marco Silva on his return to Vicarage Road as Andre Gray’s 65th-minute strike was enough to secure a 1-0 win for the Hornets. After a scrappy start to the match, Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had to make an outstanding stop with his head in the 10th minute to keep Etienne Capoue’s close-range effort out. Hornets shot-stopper Ben Foster then saved Kurt Zouma’s header and Cenk Tosun’s powerful drive as Everton enjoyed the better of proceedings for most of the first half. Gray came at the opening of the restart and proved to be the difference. In the 65th minute, Will Hughes took the ball on the right after a very smart flick-on from Craig Cathcart and used his strong vision to pick out the Hornets’ striker who couldn’t miss.

Huddersfield Town 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal got back to winning ways away from home as goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi secured a 2-1 victory against Huddersfield Town on Saturday. It was the first time the Gunners have picked up three points away from the Emirates since November 25, while the Terriers have now lost seven Premier League home matches on the bounce. Arsenal made the break-through early in the first half as Alex Iwobi’s deflected volley wrong-footed Ben Hamer in the 16th minute. Huddersfield barely threatened the Gunners but had a case for a penalty when Laurent Koscielny appeared to block Jason Puncheon’s effort with his hand, only for referee Jonathan Moss to wave away the protests. Unai Emery’s side worked the ball well down the right before Ainsley Maitland-Niles played a low cross to the far post for Alexandre Lacazette to tap home his 12th goal of the season.

Southampton 1-2 Cardiff City

Cardiff City came out on top at St Mary’s as the Bluebirds leapfrogged Southampton to climb out of the relegation zone. Second half goals from star performer and captain Sol Bamba and a late winner from Kenneth Zohore sealed Cardiff’s win, despite Jack Stephen’s equalizer in the 90th minute. The hosts enjoyed 67% possession at St Mary’s, but despite finding the target with seven of their 14 attempts they struggled to test Etheridge in the Cardiff goal. Earlier in the season, it was thought that Cardiff didn’t stand a chance to stay in the Premier League, however their mentality and performances of late have suggested otherwise.

Crystal Palace 1-1 West Ham United

The honors even at Selhurst Park after Crystal Palace and West Ham United played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon. West Ham took the lead 27 minutes in from the spot after Michail Antonio was brashly brought down in the penalty area by the Vicente Guaita, allowing Mark Noble to give the Hammers the lead in the first half. Palace dominated the majority of the game but couldn’t find a way though a stubborn West Ham defense with an outstanding Lukasz Fabianski between the sticks keeping everything out. But finally, after much pressure, the equalising goal came with 15 minutes to go through Zaha, who returned to the squad following a spell out through suspension. The Ivorian international found his way through on goal, and with some luck from a West Ham defender, Zaha lobbed the ball over Fabianski to give Palace the equaliser, and to ensure the points were shared when the final whistle blew.

Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth

Liverpool secured a comfortable 3-0 win against Bournemouth on Saturday. The win, registered with goals from Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah, moved Jurgen Klopp’s side temporarily, but Manchester City who crushed Chelsea on Sunday and returned to the top on goal difference with a victory. Sadio Mane opened the scoring on the 24th minute after heading in James Milner’s pin-point cross, before Georginio Wijnaldum doubled the lead 10 minutes later with a sublime finish over goalkeeper Artur Boruc. In the 48th minute, Naby Keita chipped a ball over the top of the defence for Roberto Firmino to run onto, with the Brazilian then teeing up Mohamed Salah inside the box, to which the Egyptian slotted a low finish into the bottom-left corner.

Brighton 1-3 Burnley

Burnley moved out of the Premier League relegation zone after securing a 3-1 victory over Brighton at The Amex on Saturday. The visitors took the lead in the 25th minute when Lewis Dunk slipped and former Brighton striker Chris Wood was one-on-one with Matt Ryan. His powerful effort went straight into the top left-hand corner. In the 61st minute, Burnley doubled their lead after Dwight McNeil played in Wood and the striker curled his effort into the bottom right corner. With 18 minutes left, the visitors were awarded a penalty after Ashley Barnes went clean through and was brought down by Ryan. Barnes stepped up and put his effort into the bottom left corner to make it 3-0. Brighton pulled one back with 15 minutes to go, as Anthony Knockaert’s free-kick was headed in by Shane Duffy.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City

Tottenham Hotspur carved out a 3-1 win over Leicester City on Sunday night. The Spurs went ahead through Sanchez by meeting Eriksen’s whipped cross with a diving header in the 33rd minute, although Leicester’s players complained he was in an offside position. Tottenham doubled their lead three minutes later as Eriksen collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a fierce shot past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Vardy tapped in from close range 14 minutes from the final whistle after a well-worked move allowed Ricardo Pereira to drill in a cross from the right. Tottenham struggled to shake off their visitors and were left frustrated as Son’s penalty claims received a yellow card for simulation under Harry Maguire’s tackle. After a long period of Leicester pressure, Son settled nerves of the home supporters by slotting in Tottenham’s third with a solo run from the halfway line.

Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea

Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick again as Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League in a dazzling style by trouncing Chelsea 6-0 at Etihad Stadium. In a devastating opening 25 minutes, Man City went 4-0 ahead. Raheem Sterling and an Aguero brace made it three inside 20 minutes before Ilkay Gundogan fired in the fourth. Aguero then scored his third midway through the second half to become City’s all-time leading league goalscorer on 160 goals, while he also equaled Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of scoring 11 hat-tricks. Sterling scored his second 10 minutes from time to seal a commanding win for City which moves them above Liverpool on goal difference with both sides locked on 65 points, while Chelsea remain fifth, 15 points behind the pair, after their heaviest Premier League defeat.