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Ranji Trophy: Saurashtra, Bengal and Karnataka Join Gujarat In Semi-Finals

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Bengal stormed into the Ranji Trophy semi-finals by virtue of their first innings lead over Odisha while Karnataka thrashed Jammu and Kashmir to set up a semi-final date with the former after the final day's play on Monday. Resuming on 361/7, Bengal lost their remaining three wickets for just 12 runs inside six overs to set Odisha an improbable 456-run target. Odisha were 39/0 in 10 overs when bad light stopped play as both the teams agreed upon a stalemate at the DRIEMS College ground.

Bengal qualified by virtue of their first innings lead of 82 runs, and will take on Karnataka in the semi-final starting from February 29 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Meanwhile, Karnataka rode Krishnappa Gowtham's 7/54 to bundle out Jammu and Kashmir for 163 and qualify for the semis.

Karnataka ended the day at 245/4, leading Jammu and Kashmir by 259 runs and on Monday were all out for 316. K.V. Siddharth was their top-scorer with 98. It was Gowtham's show then as the off-spinner spun a web around J&K batters.

In the fourth quarter-final at Ongole, Saurashtra won by virtue of their first innings lead after their tie with Andhra ended in a draw. Saurashtra had ended the fourth day at 375/9, extending their overall lead to 658 runs and on the fifth day, they were all out for 426. Wicketkeeper K.S. Bharat was on 55 along with Karan Shinde (27 batting) when the teams decided to call the match a tie.

Saurashtra will take on Gujarat who had already qualified for the semis, at Rajkot from February 29. Gujarat beat Goa and became the first team to reach the semifinals on Sunday.

World's largest cricket stadium all set to host POTUS - Kem chho Trump!

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One of the major attractions of US President Donald Trump's two-day visit to India will be POTUS inaugurating the world's largest cricket stadium in Motera, Gujarat. The event -- dubbed as 'Kem chho Trump' or 'Howdy! Trump' -- will see the US President taking part in a roadshow before inaugurating the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, also known as Motera Stadium, on February 24.

Trump is the fourth head of the state to visit the capital city of Ahmedabad after those from China, Japan and Israel. According to the Gujarat Cricket Association, this was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream project. Modi, during his tenure as the GCA chief, had expressed his desire to build a new stadium of maximum capacity in the state. When he was sworn in as the PM in 2014, BJP President Amit Shah took over the GCA's command.

As per reports, to make the inauguration ceremony a grand event, the Gujarat Cricket Association will spend crores of rupees to host the US President. Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra tweeted that the 'Namaste Trump' event was getting "bigger and bigger". He said more than 1 lakh participants had already confirmed their registration for the 22-km road-show that would be held during Trump's visit. Earlier this month, Trump had said PM Modi promised "millions and millions" of people would line his route during his visit to Gujarat.

About world's largest stadium

  • The Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera is built for Rs 700 crore and has a seating capacity of 1,10,000. The first match to be played in the new stadium is anticipated to be an exhibition match between Asia XI and World XI in March.
  • The Motera stadium will be the biggest cricket ground, surpassing the Melbourne Cricket Ground's capacity of 1 lakh.
  • The new Sardar Patel stadium has been constructed by Larson and Toubro (L&T), which is also responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of the world's tallest statue, Statue of Unity.
  • The Motera stadium spreads over 63 acres and will have a clubhouse with over three practice grounds, an indoor cricket academy, an Olympic size swimming pool, 76 corporate boxes, 50 rooms, four dressing rooms and a parking area, which can hold around 3,000 cars and nearly 10,000 bikes.
  • A solar power plant is also being constructed in the stadium premises to utilise sustainable power. Lubi Solar, a division of Lubi Electronics, is handling the solar power plant.
  • The new cricket stadium will also have a parking area that can accommodate about 3,000 four-wheeler cars and up to 10,000 two-wheelers.
  • GCA management has also considered traffic issues while designing the layout of the new cricket ground. According to the new layout, the traffic will be segregated in three directions. Apart from using Motera-Sabarmati Road, the management plans to integrate Metro Rail and Sabarmati Riverfront Road.

New Zealand Women's Captain First Cricketer To Achieve Incredible T20I Milestone

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New Zealand captain Sophie Devine has become the first international cricketer to score five consecutive 50-plus scores in T20I cricket. Sophie achieved the feat on Monday when she played a brilliant knock of 105 against South Africa in her side's 69-run win. Sophie, 30, had scored 72 against India last February and followed it up with unbeaten 54, 61 and 77 earlier in the series against South Africa. The New Zealand batter has surpassed Mithali Raj, Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle who all had four straight fifty-plus scores to their name in the shortest format of the game.

To round out the records, Devine became just the second New Zealand women cricketer to reach triple figures in T20I cricket, joining long-time teammate Suzie Bates with the special milestone.

New Zealand have take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, the last of which will be played Thursday in Dunedin.

The last match will mark a special occasion for Bates and Katey Martin, who will play their first ever game at home.

Indian Women's Hockey Tour Of China Cancelled Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

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The outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus has forced the Indian women's hockey team to cancel its tour of China, leaving the federation with the difficult task of finding an opponent to compete with as part of its preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. The Indian women's team was scheduled to travel to China from March 14 to 25. However, due to the fast-spreading disease that has killed over 636 people and infected at least 31,161, it has been cancelled. "We had to travel to China but that has been cancelled due to the virus. So a lot of teams are also not available to play with because they are participating in the Pro hockey league," Indian skipper Rani said

"Hockey India and our coaches are working out whom to play," she added. All the top teams including Argentina, Belgium, Australia, Germany, China, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand and United States are competing in the FIH Pro Hockey League.

With less than five months left for the Olympics, time is crucial for preparing for the quadrennial event.

"For good preparation, you need to play with good teams," Rani Rampal said.

After the tour of New Zealand that ended on Wednesday the Indian team is scheduled to go through a four-week training and conditioning camp from February 16 to March 14.

With uncertainty looming over the schedule, the women's team will be left with three weeks of free time before they again head to a training and preparatory camp on April 6.

Last year, the Indian women's team booked an Olympic berth by defeating USA at the Bhubaneswar leg of the 2019 FIH Olympic Qualifiers. It will be only the third appearance by the Indian side at the Olympics.

Rohit Sharma's Super Over Heroics Hands India 1st T20I Series Win In New Zealand

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New Zealand's Super Over woes continued as India won the third T20I to seal the five-match T20I series. A glorious innings from New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was not enough to guide the home side to victory against India in the third T20I in Hamilton, as the match ended in a tie after both teams batted their 20 overs. Williamson carried his form into the deciding over, hitting 12 off four deliveries as New Zealand set a target of 18 for India to hit. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul came in to bat for India, and Rohit, who was India's top scorer in the match, smoked two sixes off the last two deliveries to win a thriller for the visitors.

Sent in to bat first, India got off to a blistering start, with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul putting on an 89-run stand before the latter fell for 27 to Colin de Grandhomme.

New Zealand pacer Hamish Bennett then swung the momentum New Zealand's way when he dismissed Rohit Sharma and Shivam Dube in the 11th over.

Rohit, who was batting on 65 off 39 at the time, was looking ominous and his wicket stopped India's march.

India captain Virat Kohli and the in-form Shreyas Iyer then started to rebuild for India, putting on a 46-run partnership. But Mitchell Santner ended their stand, getting Iyer stumped. Two overs later, Kohli was gone for 38, leaving it to Jadeja and Manish Pandey to see India home.

The duo made 18 off the last over to take India to 179, finishing off on a high.

Chasing 180, Williamson hit eight fours and four sixes in his innings of 95 off 48 deliveries before losing his wicket in the final over with two runs needed off three balls. Mohammed Shami then bowled beautifully to deny New Zealand a run off the last ball, taking the match to the Super Over.

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