West Indies trumps England to World Twenty20 title

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West Indies trumps England to World Twenty20 title

ICC World Twenty20 Grand Final, Kolkata
England 155-9 (20 overs): Root 54, Buttler 36, Brathwaite 3-23
West Indies 161-6 (19.4 overs): Samuels 85*, Brathwaite 34*, Willey 3-20
West Indies win by six wickets

Carlos Brathwaite screams in delight after blasting four consecutive sixes to power the West Indies to their second World Twenty20 glory, chasing down England’s 155 in a thrilling final.

West Indies wobbled early after English part-time spinner Joe Root dismissed Johnson Charles and the dangerous Chris Gayle in his the first three balls to peg them back.

Then, coming in at number eight, Brathwaite joins Marlon Samuels at the crease in the 16th over with the West Indies on 107-6 and needing 49 from 27 balls. The tall bowler had only batted twice in the competition prior to the final, scoring 34 off 10 not out against South Africa and 13 against Afghanistan in the group stages.

West Indies were at 11-3, and needed 19 runs to win, which they did it in style. Joe Root’s 54 for England could not out keep them from joining their women as World T20 champions, as Brathwaite’s took his match-winning blitz off Ben Stokes.

“I can’t really express how much of a top knock (by Samuels) that was. We couldn’t turn back, it was a question of when not if,” said Brathwaite.

In their winning process, the West Indies also became the first two-time winners of the men’s World Twenty20.

Despite the devastating loss, England can take a lot of encouragement from their performance in this tournament, which has showcased an attacking philosophy and resilience that was completely lacking during their group-stage exit of last year’s 50-over World Cup.

Djokovic defeats Nishikori to claim sixth Miami Open

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Djokovic defeats Nishikori to claim sixth Miami Open

Novak Djokovic continues his current dominant form in men’s tennis, beating Miami Open sixth seed Kei Nishikori in straight sets by 6-3, 6-3 in the final to claim the title.

Dropping serve in the first game was perhaps the only flaw Djokovic had in what was otherwise an unblemished game for even the world number one. He essentially outclassed the Japanese player in every aspect of the game on the Key Biscayne hardcourt.

The Serbian took a mere 85 minutes to take his sixth Miami Open and level with Andre Agassi as the top winner of the tournament. This was also his 63rd career title, earning him $1,028,300 and the honour of being the sport’s all-time leading money-winner.

“It’s quite amazing,” said the Serb. “I’m very thrilled about it and hopefully I can make many more records.”

“I thought he started very well, breaking my serve in the first game and coming up with some aggressive play,” he added. “I needed to answer right back, which I did in the following game – that helped me mentally.”

This also marks the beginning of yet another good year ahead for Djokovic, having won three consecutive championships, his 28th in overall, in the Masters 1000. It was also his fourth title after winning this year’s tennis titles such as the Australian Open, Qatar and the Indian Wells.

The win would move Djokovic ahead of Rafael Nadal as winner of the highest number of Master titles.

Earlier, Victoria Azarenka kept up her impressive form this year by claiming her third Miami Open to follow up her triumph over Serena Williams at the Indian Wells.

Victoria Azarenka kept up her impressive form this year by claiming her third Miami Open to follow up her triumph over Serena Williams at the Indian Wells.

The Belarusian, who is currently fifth in world rankings, exploited Svetlana Kuznetsova weak serve to win by straight sets, 6-3 6-2 in just 80 minutes. Pouncing on Kuznetsova’s second serve, she managed to break the Russian five times in the first set alone.

Azarenka was not without her faults either; she was broken three times in the first set.

But the 13th seed of the tournament toughed up, and held on in the second set to finish the game with a strong backhand ground stroke. Thus, she earned her 20th career title and her third title this year, having also won at the Indian Wells and Brisbane.

“It was pretty tough conditions with being so hot,” she said. “It didn’t seem too windy but it was really difficult to serve because the ball was flying too much. I really took my opportunities, stepped into the net a lot.”

“This just gives me even more inspiration and motivation to keep working harder,” Azarenka added. “I’m very happy that all the work that I’ve been putting in is paying off. It’s such a great opportunity to play the whole month so consistent.“

NiP progresses to Columbus Major quarter-finals

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NiP progresses to Columbus Major quarter-finals

Ninja in Pyjamas – a team with a coach as a starting player – had just secured their place in the quarter-finals of MLG Columbus.

The Swedish team had yet to begin their campaign in the tournament when they lost Jacob “Pyth” Mourujärvi to immigration problems. Current coach Björn “Threat” Pers then had to stand in for Pyth since the first game of the tournament against Flipsid3.

Despite winning against Flipsid3, the team fell to defeat against Brazilian team and tournament fan favourites Luminosity Gaming in the Group A upper bracket. Hence, their final group game against German-based Mousesports was a do-or-die.

But with their final 2-1 victory in the group stages against Mousesports, the team had ensured that they can move on to the knockout stages, and retain their “legend” status— thus ensuring their spot in the next official Valve major.

In the first map, Cobblestone, NiP strolled to an early lead only to have Mousesports rally and take the second map, Cache. But in the moment of truth, it was none other than Threat who stood up and essentially carried the team.

All long, Threat had also been the target in all previous games of the tournament—teams would try to single him out and exploit his lack of technical ability—however on Overpass he managed to put up 20 kills. That’s one more kill than Chris “ChrisJ” De Jong and Johannes “Nex” Maget combined.

Next up, the team will be facing Natus Vincere in the Nationwide Arena. While NiP are not the odds on favourites there, Na’Vi will also have an uphill battle ahead, for there is a good chance he who wins, faces Fnatic.

MLG Quarter-Final Odds

Na’Vi (81%) vs NiP (19%)

Astralis (27%) vs Fnatic (73%)

Liquid (75%) vs CLG (25%)

LG (73%) vs VP (27%)

West Indies to meet England in World Twenty20 grand final

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West Indies to meet England in World Twenty20 grand final

ICC World Twenty20 semi-final, Mumbai
India 192-2 (20 overs): Kohli 89* (47)
West Indies 196-3 (19.4 overs): Simmons 82 (51), Charles 52 (36)
West Indies win by seven wickets

West Indies will be meeting England in the grand final of the World Twenty20 after defeating tournament hosts India by seven wickets in the semi-final.

But India appeared to be the team that has everything under control, with captain Virat Kohli taking an unbeaten 89 to 192-2 as Chris Gayle fell for five.

Then West Indies’ unlikely hero – Lendl Simmons stepped up.

Barely making it into West Indies’ 15-man squad, Simmons had only been called in as a replacement for an injured Andre Fletcher . And here, he would prove that he is more than worth it by taking a lead role in West Indies’ charge, chasing 193 with 82 from 51 balls.

Even then, Simmons will need to thank his lucky stars as he took advantage of three reprieves through three misteps. On 18, he scythed Ravi Ashwin to short third man, but a replay showed Ashwin’s front foot ahead of the crease. Having completed his 50 from 35 balls, Simmons then directed a full toss from Hardik Pandya to Ashwin at cover. Again, it was a no-ball.

The third, in the 18th over, was the gut punch. Ravi Jadeja and Virat Kohli thought they had combined for a brilliant boundary catch, but the third umpire spotted that Jadeja had released the ball from the original catch only after his foot had touched the boundary sponge.

“Every cricketer has his day,” said Simmons, tired, aching but satisfied. “And today was my day.”

Andre Russell, known for his powerful hitting, contributed 43 off 20 deliveries.

“We knew it was a 200 wicket and halfway in the dressing room I kept telling the boys that India are 10 runs short,” said West Indies skipper Darren Sammy, delighted after his team proved they can win without Gayle firing on all cylinders.

“We said this before the tournament that Chris is under pressure, he is our best Twenty20 player but we have 15 match-winners in this side.”