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    Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts

    Dipa Karmakar Creates History, First Indian Gymnast to Qualify for Olympics

    Dipa Karmakar on Sunday created history by becoming the first ever Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games.

    Karmakar produced a strong show, finishing ninth in the first of the four subdivisions of the women's artistic category, at the Final Qualifier and Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro.

    She garnered a total score of 52.698 points. Her final rankings will be known only after completion of the event with competition in three other subdivisions going on currently.

    Her first vault, the much difficult Produnova, gave Karmakar 15.066 points, the highest among the 14 competitors. But a poor show in the uneven bars took her points down as she collected 11.700, the second worse among the 14 participants.

    The Tripura girl secured 13.366 and 12.566 points in the beam and floor exercises.

    Gymnastic officials said that her Rio Games berth is more or less assured after the strong show.
    "Dipa is 100 per cent assured of an Olympic berth with this 52.698 score. There are three subdivisions to go but she has already beaten gymnasts from three countries. So she has qualified," international referee Deepak Kagra told PTI.

    "This Test event has participants from 33 countries and since her score is above the participants of at least three countries, she will finish in the top 30 country-wise. That is enough for her to qualify for Rio Olympics," he added.

    The 22-year-old could not clinch an Olympic berth in the World Championships in November last as she finished outside the podium, in fifth place.

    She was earlier put as second reserve for the ongoing Olympic Test event in Rio but was informed last month that she had sneaked into the shortlist of participants.

    Karmakar had created history by becoming the first woman gymnast to win a medal -- a bronze -- in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. He then became the first Indian woman gymnast to feature in the finals of World Championships in November last.

    BAI Announces Cash Rewards for Saina, Kashyap

    The Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Tuesday announced a cash award of five lakh rupees each to World number two Saina Nehwal and Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap for their impressive performances at the international stage.

    Both Saina and Kashyap had won the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow in January and Saina also became the first Indian woman to reach the All England Open Super Series Premier finals earlier this month.
    “It has been my policy to reward players who are performing exceptionally well on the international circuit with handsome financial gains as the players are making the country proud with their title triumphs," BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta said.

    "Both Saina and Kashyap had won the gold medal in the Syed Modi GP Gold event. Saina has even reached number two ranking in the world.”

    India play China in crucial last game, need draw to progress

     Shattered after the close 1-2 loss against arch-rivals Pakistan, Indian men’s hockey team will have to regroup themselves quickly and eye atleast a draw in their last crucial Pool B fixture against China in Incheon on Saturday, to qualify for the semifinals of the 17th Asian Games.

    After dishing out an insipid display, both in attack and defence, against Pakistan on Thursday, The Sardar Singh-led side will need to tighten their belt and come up with a much more convincing display against China.

    A draw on Saturday would be enough for India to seal their semifinal berth as the second best team from Pool B as they enjoy a better goal difference than the Chinese.

    India, thanks to their superior goal difference of plus 17, are lying second in the pool ahead of their crunch game against China which they have to win or draw to ensure their berth in the last four.

    But if they manage to qualify, it won’t be easy for India in the semifinals as they clash against hosts and four-time champions South Korea, who will end up in the top spot in Pool A.

    The danger of going in with a defensive mind-set to force a draw in the match might just backfire for the Indians which was the reason for chief coach Terry Walsh to say that his wards needed to win the game against China after the defeat against eight-time champions Pakistan.
    While the Indian forward-line functioned disjointedly against the skilful Pakistanis with hardly any support from the midfield, besides missing a few gilt-edge chances.

    The Indian defence was also panicked whenever the rivals attacked deep into their area.

    India hardly produced a defence-splitting pass during the entire duration of the game and failed to stitch together enough number of passes to break through the determined Pakistan defense.

    Surprisingly, even the ever dependable Sardar Singh did not have a great match as he was called upon more to bolster the fumbling defence and, as a result, could not control the midfield as he does.

    Roving forward Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh were guilty of not grabbing the chances that came their way which cost India dear.

    Even though India are above China in world ranking, it would be a mistake to take them tomorrow and Walsh also warned his wards not to be complacent.

    “We have a very big game coming up against China tomorrow and we have to win that match to reach the semifinals. It’s not going to be an easy game as China are a tough team to beat,” said the former Australia forward.

    China and India have both come to this stage after winning by big margins against minnows Sri Lanka, back in Asiad fray after 32 years, and Oman and losing to Pakistan.

    Big honour to lead India in Asiad opening ceremony: Sardar Singh

    The honour to carry India's flag in the opening ceremony of 17th Asian Games couldn't have come at a better time for hockey team skipper Sardar Singh, who feels it will not only spur him but the entire squad to break their 16-year gold jinx in the continental event.

    Sardar was on Thursday named as the flag bearer of Indian contingent for Friday's opening ceremony in Incheon, and the star midfielder said he is already getting goose bumps.

    "It is definitely a big moment for me. It is a big honour to lead the nation in the opening ceremony of a mutltisport event like the Asian Games. Tomorrow will definitely be one of the best moments of my career. I am already getting goose bumps," Sardar told PTI from the South Korean city.

    "It is a big honour to lead the nation in the opening ceremony of a mutltisport event like the Asian Games, said Sardar. (Getty Images)

    Asked if the responsibility would bring added pressure on him, Sardar said: "I don't think there will be any added pressure because it is a off-field activity. But it will definitely motivate me and the my teammates to give our best on the field.

    "Our mission is to win the gold here and that is what we aspire from this event. We are determined to come back with gold," he said.
    India last won a gold in the mega-event in the Bangkok Games in 1998.

    Placed in Pool B alongside arch-foe Pakistan, the Indian men's team will open their campaign against Sri Lanka on Pool B match on September 21.

    Sardar said the team are well prepared for the task at hand and raring to take the turf on Sunday.

    "Our preparation is going on very well. We defeated Japan in a practice game today," he said.

    "We have worked on the mistakes which we committed in the Commonwealth Games and have devised strategies to counter those areas."

    Sardar said having arrived in Incheon much earlier, they have managed to get a feel of the conditions.

    "We came here well in advance and it worked in our favour because we have become familiar with the weather and turf here," the skipper said.

    Sardar had words of praise for the new format which is going to be introduced in hockey in the Asian Games.

    Team India Manager: 'Our Culture Does Not Allow Girlfriends on Tour'

    Defeat is never a pleasant experience and quite predictably blame games have begun after India's humiliation in the five-Test series against England.

    In a swift move a couple of days ago, the BCCI appointed Ravi Shastri as the Team Director for the remainder of the tour and sent the fielding and bowling coaches on leave. This decision has virtually put chief coach Duncan Fletcher on notice. Thereafter, the focus has now shifted to players and all those, who accompanied them during the series.

    It has emerged that actress Anushka Sharma giving company to Virat Kohli did not go down too well with the manager of the Indian Test side, Sunil Dev. On returning to his hometown Delhi yesterday, Dev told mid-day that he wasn't too happy with the actress' presence.

    "I would have objected to her presence, but was helpless when I realised that permission was granted by BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) secretary Sanjay Patel."
    Prez not in loop?

    He added: "I doubt whether the secretary even spoke to the interim BCCI president Shivlal Yadav before granting permission.

    I am sure he (Yadav) would have turned down the request. Anushka stayed with Virat till the third Test. Foreign players do take their girlfriends on tours, but India's culture is different.

    'Game Of Thrones' Actor Rips Off His Shirt In Europe's Strongest Man Competition

    When you play the Game of Stones, you freak out or you die.

    Earlier this month, caka Gregor Clegane in "Game of Thrones," officially became Europe's Strongest Man, and he totally lost it.

    The Mountain completely sliced through the competition by taking first in three different events, according to Gawker, but the greatest highlight came when he completed a stone lifting challenge. After placing the final stone, the 6'9'' Icelander ripped off his shirt and went on to yell, "I am the future of strength as I am King of the Stones!"

    Ex-boxing promoter Maloney having sex change

    Former boxing promoter Frank Maloney is undergoing a sex change, according to a newspaper interview published Sunday.

    The 61-year-old Maloney, who guided Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight title in the 1990s, is now living as a woman by the name of Kellie, Britain's Sunday Mirror reported.

    The twice-married Maloney ended an illustrious career last October and told the paper about undergoing hormone treatment for two years in preparation for a sex change operation.

    "I was born in the wrong body and I have always known I was a woman," Maloney was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "I can't keep living in the shadows. That is why I am doing what I am today. Living with the burden any longer would have killed me.

    "What was wrong at birth is now being medically corrected. I have a female brain. I knew I was different from the minute I could compare myself to other children. I wasn't in the right body. I was jealous of girls."

    Maloney said a boxing career helped bring in enough money to walk away from the sport and live a new life as a woman.

    "It was something that I was determined to suppress and keep wrapped up because I didn't want to be seen different," Maloney said.

    "(Boxing) took up all of my time. It gave me a complete focus. It was something I thought I had to be successful in because I thought if I failed in that, where do I go?"

    Serena shocker puts Sharapova in pole position

    Maria Sharapova has warned her Wimbledon title rivals she is peaking just in time to take advantage of Serena Williams' stunning exit.

    Sharapova, who has yet to drop a set after routing Alison Riske 6-3, 6-0 in the third round, heads into the second week as the newly-installed favourite following Alize Cornet's shock 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over world number one Williams on Saturday.

    Serena's defeat is a huge boost for French Open champion Sharapova, who had been scheduled to meet the American top seed in the quarter-finals.

    That would have been a major obstacle to Sharapova's hopes of winning Wimbledon for the second time as she had lost her previous 15 meetings with Serena.

    But with Williams vanquished by Cornet's brilliant display on Court One, fifth seed Sharapova now has a golden opportunity to lift the Venus Rosewater dish for the first time since 2004, when she famously shocked Serena in the final as a 17-year-old.

    The Russian will face German ninth seed Angelique Kerber on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals and she struck an ominous note for her rivals by admitting she is hitting top form at just the right moment.

    "I'm pleased that I've gone three good matches in. I feel like I improved with every match," Sharapova said.

    "I started the first match a little nervous, which was expected. Once I got through that, I feel like I've elevated my game.

    "I feel like I'm serving better. I didn't face a break point after the first game. Like I said, it's really the footwork, little things, imposing yourself out there."

    It is the first time since 2006 that neither Serena nor sister Venus, beaten by Petra Kvitova on Friday, will be in the Wimbledon fourth round and with the draw also blown wide open with second seed Li Na's defeat on Friday, Sharapova could be forgiven for feeling a sense of deja vu.

    Suresh Raina Denies His Love Affair With Shruti Hassan

    Popular Indian cricketer Suresh Raina, who is playing for Chennai Super Kings in latest season of IPL, has denied his love affair with South Indian actress Shruti Hassan. His clarification is coming following the rumours that he is dating the actress. It was reported that Shruti often spotted cheering for CSK and Suresh considered her as a lucky mascot. There was said to be a mature relationship developing between the two.

    Suresh Raina Denies His Love Affair With Shruti Hassan 
    Suresh Raina, who was shocked to read reports about his relationship, took to his Twitter page to clear the rumours. The left-handed batsman and off-spin bowler tweeted, "Too many media reports which no one even tries to confirm. This is to clear once & for all. I'm not dating ANYONE (sic)." However, this is not the first time, he has been linked with someone. He was rumoured to be dating Poorna Patel, Anushka Sharma and Rakhi Sawant in the past.

    Meanwhile, Shruti Hassan has not made any comment on her secret relationship with Suresh Raina. The actress was also linked with actors like Dhanush, Siddharth, Girish Kumar, Rithvik Dhanjani and few others in the past, but none of them has come out true. People in Film Nagar feel that love affair with Suresh Raina must be mere rumour and there is no truth in the reports. Continue to see read more Suresh Raina and Shruti Hassan's Love Affairs.

    Ronaldo, Varela make last minute magic to keep Portugal's World Cup alive

    A superb header by Silvestre Varela deep into extra time saved world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal from crashing out of the World Cup finals on Sunday as it secured a 2-2 draw with the United States.

    The Americans had looked to be safely into the last 16 after second-half goals by Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey saw them come back from 1-0 down -- a goal by Nani -- to gallop into the lead.

    However, with only seconds remaining, one sublime cross from a pretty anonymous Ronaldo was met by Varela and it soared past Tim Howard to give Portugal a lifeline as a further defeat after thire 4-0 hammering by Germany in the opening game would have seen them out.

    The United States -- who reached the last 16 in 2010 only to lose to Ghana -- are on four points along with Germany, who they play in their final group game, and who their coach Jurgen Klinsmann led at the 2006 finals.

    Klinsmann, who was also within seconds of being the first coach to guide the USA to two successive wins at a finals since 1930, was phlegmatic about the dramatic dashing of their hopes.

    "Obviously the last second is unfortunate but my guys were magnificent," said Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup as a player.

    "We just have to get a result against Germany. Obviously the Germans have a day more to recover and we have had further to travel for our game but then the big guys are the ones that get the favourite treatment.

    "My guys went to the limit but now they have to pick themselves up and despite this result we will go into the game with a lot of confidence."

    The Portuguese got just the start they needed to settle their nerves as a terrible defensive error by Stoke City's Geoff Cameron -- the ball flying off his boot to Nani -- saw the Manchester United winger wait for Howard to commit himself before rifling the ball into the net.

    It had been preempted by an outrageous piece of skill by Ronaldo down the left side, completely bewitching three American players as they tried to corral him out on the touchline, only for a series of step overs and a backheel to see him squirm through the three of them.

    Conditions even in the evening were so draining that five minutes from the break, when Jermaine Jones received some treatment, the referee allowed both sides to rehydrate with a drinks break.

    Howard, who was earning his 102nd cap, kept his side in the game on the stroke of half-time as he somehow managed to stick a hand out as he dived the wrong way to tip a pointblank shot by Eder over the bar.

    World Cup 2014 : All about Mexican 'Jesus' Ochoa who did not let Brazil through

    Guillermo Ochoa. Remember this name because you will hear it for some time to come in football World Cup season. The Mexico goalkeeper turned an overnight sensation after throwing up an impenetrable shield around his post against Brazil.

    Mexico frustrated World Cup hosts and five-time champions Brazil and held them to a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Castelao on Tuesday. Brazil had no answers to the brilliance of Ochoa, nicknamed Memo.

    He pulled off an incredible diving stop from a Neymar header and seven more extraordinary saves to deny the pedigreed Brazil an easy march toward qualification from Group A.

    Such was his showing that experts suddenly brought up references to the saves of legendary (USSR) goalkeeper Lev Yashin. 

    Not one of football’s superstars, not even in his own team, Ochoa played his club football for AC Ajaccio in France.

    The 28-year-old is looking for a new club after quitting Ajaccio following their relegation from Ligue 1. He has been linked with move to Olympique Marseille. This performance will send his ratings soaring.

    The social media sphere buzzed with mention of Ochoa after his spectacular show. There were almost 2 million mentions of Ochoa on Twitter during the match, according to Twitter Reverb. The numbers are guaranteed to swell.

    Basketball hero Kobe Bryant hailed "OCHOA!! Incredible" in a tweet within minutes of the game ending. Ochoa's Wikipedia page was hacked to hail him as “the Mexican Jesus after his performance against Brazil”.

    Ochoa did a lap of honour around the Fortaleza Castelao Stadium after one of the great World Cup goalkeeping performances.

    He remained poised in his moment of glory. "I believe this was the best match of my life because this was a World Cup game and this is very important," Ochoa said.

    "We have to move on, celebrate with my teammates and my family, but move on because the path is still long.

    “Thank God I made those saves and now it's time to keep on working."

    Ochoa is the most capped of the three Mexican keepers chosen for this World Cup.

    He is finding his place in the sun after heartbreak in 2010. He was expected to be first choice at 2010 World Cup in South Africa before then-coach Javier Aguirre opted for veteran Oscar Perez.

    Ochoa won a league title with Mexico City side America in 2005 before moving to France in 2011.

    A very proud Mexico coach Miguel Herrera put things in perspective after the match. “In my memory, I can’t remember a goalkeeper performing like that in a World Cup.”

    "I don't know whether I can think of another goalkeeper in memory... someone who has done what Memo did today," Herrera told a news conference.

     "Memo today had high-level saves, gave the certainty to the team that we needed and gave confidence that we're well covered."

    Ochoa came in for praise from Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. "I didn't like the Mexican goalie," Big Phil joked to reporters. "He did very well, he was spectacular. The defences he did were spectacular. Calm, tranquil, he knows how to play, is well positioned.

    "I think he really was the best player in the match and Mexico has a very good quality team."

    World Cup 2014 : Netherlands crushes Spain with a stunning 5-1 victory in a rollercoaster game

    Stunning goals from Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben fired the Netherlands to a 5-1 demolition of Spain who endured a miserable start to their World Cup defence in a pulsating Group B game on Friday.

    In complete contrast to the tetchy World Cup final between the sides in 2010 which Spain won 1-0, the Dutch took sweet revenge with a vibrant display capped off by two goals each for Van Persie and Robben and one by defender Stefan de Vrij.

    "I certainly didn't expect this result but I did expect us to score in the way we did," Dutch coach Louis van Gaal told reporters.

    "Spain were always going to come at us and we catch them on the counter. My players did it perfectly. It's far better than we ever expected," Dutch coach Louis van Gaal told reporters.

    Only once before had Spain conceded five times in a World Cup game, on Brazilian turf in 1950 in a 6-1 loss to the hosts. The Dutch mauling at Salvador's Fonte Nova arena was also the worst ever start for defending world champions.
    "I can't find words to explain five goals," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said.

    "We have never been a very defensive side but always coped well defending. Today we've been very weak.

    "We kept on fighting but they were physically stronger as the game went on and that made a difference... It is now a delicate situation for us which we will and try and overcome in our next game against Chile and then see what happens."

    Spain, also 2008 and 2012 European champions, had been expected to dictate proceedings with their slick passing style and normal service looked to be established when a coolly converted 27th-minute Xabi Alonso penalty gave them the lead.

    Van Gaal had set his Dutch side up to press and look for the quick ball and it paid dividends just before the break in spectacular fashion when Van Persie equalised superbly.

    Diving header
    The Netherlands' key man sneaked in between defenders Sergio Ramos and Jordi Alba in the 44th minute to meet a searching Daley Blind cross with a powerful diving header that left goalkeeper Iker Casillas rooted to the spot.

    Moments before Van Persie's goal Spain missed a glorious chance to double their lead when midfielder David Silva's cheeky chip was pushed wide for a corner.

    It was a wasted opportunity they came to rue.

    After the break the Dutch hurried Spain in possession, pouring forward at every opportunity, and went ahead after 53 minutes when Robben got on the end of another superb Blind lobbed pass before turning Gerard Pique and holding off Ramos to fire home from seven metres.

    Del Bosque reacted by swapping Alonso for the more attack-minded Pedro and Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa, booed with every touch by the locals, went off for Fernando Torres.

    The match opened up but in the Netherlands' favour.

    Van Persie rattled the crossbar with a ferocious right-foot volley before De Vrij, whose tackle on Costa had led to the penalty, stole in on 64 minutes at the back post to convert a free kick after Casillas who was pressurised by Van Persie.

    IPL Final Live Score: Saha, Vohra get Punjab to 82/2 in 12 overs vs Kolkata

    Wriddhiman Saha and Manan Vohra got Kings XI Punjab back on track after they lost early wickets, and got the team to 111/2 in 14 overs against Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 7 final at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Sunday.

    Virender Sehwag (7) was the first to fall when he tried to pull an Umesh Yadav delivery that was not short enough. He got a thick edge which was easily take by Gautam Gambhir at mid-off.

    One over later, George Bailey (1) departed when Gambhir brought on Sunil Naraine. Naraine struck with his first ball, when Bailey (1) missed a straight ball and got bowled behind his leg.

    Since then, Manan Vohra (50*) and Wriddhiman Saha (52*) have been at the crease. They have scored 81 runs off 53 balls so far and have been looking good. They have hit big shots and followed them up with cheeky singles.

    Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir said it was a good pitch and would be good to chase on. His opposite number George Bailey said it was a good toss to lose as he was in two minds.

    Kolkata named an unchanged side while Lakshmipathy Balaji came in for Sandeep Sharma for Punjab.

    Previewing and Predicting Every Potential MMA Superfight

    The Superfight: it’s a term used so often these days that it’s become a novelty.

    In theory, it identifies a bout that is designed to bring two fantastic fighters together in a clash that speaks to the best aspects of their relative skills and styles.

    In boxing, it has often been used to identify bouts that could never happen: Muhammad Ali versus Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Robinson versus Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roberto Duran versus Manny Pacquiao.

    But in the sport of MMA, it is used to describe the dreamlike quality of fights that, while perhaps improbable, are not impossible: Jose Aldo versus Anthony Pettis, for instance.

    Or the previously ballyhooed Georges St. Pierre versus Anderson Silva.                     

    It’s the proverbial “White whale” of the sport, and no matter how many times such bouts are rumored, only to fail to be actualized, the term endures because there are always new fighters rising to the top; new fights that could answer the question: “Who would win if…”

    As fighters fight to answer that question, fans and pundits ponder and posit in the absence of these rarest of occurrences. We question and debate who would win in a bout between two fighters that are so good that they remain nearly untouchable by anyone save perhaps another of their untouchable ilk.

    No matter what criteria you favor, you know the fights in question, as we all do. While Anderson Silva may no longer have the title, much of the Superfight debate has been built upon his name and that honestly has not changed.

    Even though he lost two in a row to Chris Weidman, he is still thought to be the best because great fighters are not the sum total of their defeats. Muhammad Ali lost to Leon Spinks, when the latter had just eight professional fights, yet even after their bout, no one doubted Ali would be remembered as the greater fighter.

    So, we ponder the obvious inclusions, as we always have; this time, we include them all, in one place and at one time. In fact, we will also include one boxing bout—Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao—simply because it has been debated at length in many MMA discussions, which is of no surprise; it is the gold standard for incredible fights that should have been made yet never were.

    TJ Dillashaw on UFC 173 Win, Cruz, Faber and Return to the Octagon

    Last week, I followed TJ Dillashaw as he prepared for his UFC 173 bout against Renan Barao. He was one of the biggest underdogs ever to participate in a championship bout, and few gave him a chance of making it out of the first round, much less pulling off the historic upset.

    In my time spent with Dillashaw, I saw a man completely unfazed by the task ahead of him, as though he had no idea what the fans and oddsmakers were saying.

    He was relaxed, loose and absolutely confident that he’d be taking the title back to Sacramento. He spoke of all the things he’d need to get used to as bantamweight champion, such as spending fight weeks in the nicest hotel suites available instead of standard rooms.

    Where did his confidence come from? How was he able to overlook the long odds he faced?

    “Duane (Ludwig) always said he had the utmost confidence in me beating Barao. He isn’t going to blow smoke up my butt when he tells me what he believes. The way he went about it made me super confident getting in there,” Dillashaw says. “And then the rest of my team, Urijah, Joseph, Chad, they all tell me how good I am. Urijah really believed that I could beat Barao.



    Dillashaw was on to something. He went in the Octagon and beat Barao from pillar to post before finishing him in the fifth round to become the new bantamweight champion.

    He knocked Barao down in the first round, then used the same tactics to befuddle the champion and keep him off balance in the second. He knew then that he had a chance to win. After a dominant third, he realized he’d won the first three rounds going away. Barao had nothing to offer him.

    “After that, I was like ‘I’ve got this guy’s number. I can put it on him,’ Dillashaw says. “After the third, I knew I had him.”

    The historic underdog hadn’t just defied the odds; he’d trampled all over them and then kicked them out the door. He’d dominated one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and turned in one of the single best performances in UFC history.

    China spots new possible plane debris in southern Indian Ocean

    China said on Saturday it had a new satellite image of what could be wreckage from a missing Malaysian airliner, as more planes and ships headed to join an international search operation scouring some of the remotest seas on Earth.
    The latest possible lead came as the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 entered its third week, with still no confirmed trace found of the Boeing 777 or the 239 people on board.

    The new potential sighting was dramatically announced by Malaysia's acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, after he was handed a note with details during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, scooping the official announcement from China.

    "Chinese ships have been dispatched to the area," Hishammuddin told reporters. China said the object was 74 feet long and 43 feet wide, and spotted around 75 miles "south by west" of potential debris reported by Australia off its west coast in the forbidding waters of the southern Indian Ocean.

    The image was captured by the high-definition Earth observation satellite "Gaofen-1" early on March 18, two days after the Australian satellite picture was taken, China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) said on its website.

    It could not easily be determined from the blurred images whether the objects were the same, but the Chinese photograph could depict a cluster of smaller objects, a senior military officer from one of the 26 nations involved in the search for the plane said.
    The wing of a Boeing 777-200ER is approximately 27 metres long and 14 metres wide at its base, according to estimates derived from publicly available scale drawings. Its fuselage is 63.7 meters long by 6.2 meters wide.

    Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled flight to Beijing.

    Investigators believe someone on board shut off the plane's communications systems, and partial military radar tracking showed it turning west and re-crossing the Malay Peninsula, apparently under the control of a skilled pilot.

    That has led them to focus on hijacking or sabotage, but they have not ruled out technical problems.

    Since Australia announced the first image of what could be parts of the aircraft on Thursday, the international search for the plane has focused on an expanse of ocean more than 2,000 km (1,200 miles) southwest of Perth.

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said one of its aircraft reported sighting a number of "small objects" with the naked eye, including a wooden pallet, within a radius of 5 km.

    A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft took a closer look but only reported seeing clumps of seaweed. It dropped a marker buoy to track the movement.

    "A merchant ship in the area has been tasked to relocate and seek to identify the material," AMSA said in a statement.

    The search area experienced good weather conditions on Saturday with visibility of around 10 km and moderate seas.

    Australia, which is coordinating the rescue, has cautioned the objects in the satellite image might be a lost shipping container or other debris, and may have sunk since the picture was taken.

    "Even though this is not a definite lead, it is probably more solid than any other lead around the world and that is why so much effort and interest is being put into this search," Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters, before latest Chinese image was reported.

    ICC World Twenty20: India's Suresh Raina comes in for some stick from West Indies' Sammy

    A day after India vs Pakistan ICC World Twenty20 championship match ended, West Indies captain Darren Sammy took umbrage at the fact that a big-talking Suresh Raina, fresh off a smashing innings against arch rival neighbours, dubbed Windies batsmen as "six hitters".

    Sammy then threw an open challenge and dared the Indian bowlers to stop them from hitting the maximums when they clash in the ICC World Twenty20 here tomorrow.

    "We don't care much about what Suresh Raina thinks. If he thinks we are only six hitters, then stop us from hitting sixes," Sammy replied when asked about his batsmen inability to rotate strike against spinners.
    However, the usually affable West Indies skipper went back to his normal good natured mood as he answered questions with a bit of fun and some with a lot of seriousness.
    What's there on Chris Gayle's mind, asked a scribe. "I am not Jesus Christ! I don't know what's going on in his mind," he laughed and replied.
    Also read: ICC World Twenty20: Virat Kohli helps India maintain World Cup record against Pakistan
    Then he got serious. "But I know he (Gayle) is really pumped up to play here. Whenever he is playing for the West Indies, he is very pumped up. And tomorrow's game everyone will be pumped up."

    Will India be easy opponents, was what he was asked first up at the media conference.

    "You seriously ask that question? No, I don't think any team is an easy opponent. India started off on a winning note and most likely they will have a lot of confidence going into the game. We know what we are capable of doing and we have been playing some good T20 cricket and the guys are confident that we would come good once we play to our full potential."

    Asia Cup 2014 : Lakmal strikes, Afghanistan lose Shahzad early in chase of 254

    Chasing a solid 254-run target, Afghanistan got off to bad start as they lost Mohammad Shahzad early in their Asia Cup tie at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

    Scorecard | Match in Pics

    Pacer Suranga Lakmal gave Sri Lanka the first breakthrough when the breached the defences of Shahzad (7) to get the better of his stumps.

    Earlier, Kumar Sangakkara continued his impressive run of form with a fine half-century before a late flourish powered Sri Lanka to a challenging 253 for six.

    Electing to bat, Sri Lanka wobbled initially as they were reduced to 83 for three in the
    21st century, but recovered to 157 for four in the 37th over courtesy a 74-run stand between wicketkeeper Sangakkara (76) and Dinesh Chandimal (26).
    The Afghan seamers struck back after choking the runs in the middle overs as Sri Lanka were reduced to 184 for six in the 42nd over after being 157 for three in the 37th over, thereby adding just 27 runs at the expense of four wickets in five overs.

    Captain Angelo Mathews then struck a 41-ball unbeaten 45 to take Sri Lanka past 250, their lowest total in the tournament. He shared crucial 69 runs with Thisara Perera (19 not out) for the seventh wicket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

    Afghanistan, who beat Bangladesh in their previous match two days ago in their best-ever result till date, used as many as eight bowlers and were initially able to restrict the Sri Lankan batsmen who have been in fine form in the tournament, having helped their side win both their earlier matches.

    Sangakkara continued with his fine form in the tournament, top-scoring with a 102-ball knock, which was studded with four sixes and one six. He had scored 67 (against Pakistan) and 103 (against India) in Sri Lanka's earlier two games.

    For Afghanistan, Mirwais Ashraf grabbed two wickets for 29 runs while his fellow pacers Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran and left-arm spinner Hamza Hotak took a wicket apiece. 

    Asia Cup 2014: Virat Kohli will be under pressure as captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be missed, says Sunil Gavaskar

    India's stand-in skipper Virat Kohli will be under pressure to produce good results in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, according to former captain Sunil Gavaskar. Gavaskar also said senior player and permanent captain MS Dhoni will be sorely missed during the course of the five-nation tournament.

    Dhoni was ruled out of the Asia Cup tournament with a left side-strain injury last week, as the Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed it in a release, along with naming Dinesh Karthik as his replacement. Kohli was named captain in Dhoni's absence. "Virat (Kohli) will be under pressure. If he produces the results then it is a good start for him," Gavaskar told NDTV in an exclusive chat. (India vs Bangladesh preview)

    Gavaskar also said that even if Kohli did not deliver as Team India captain in Bangladesh, he should not be judged on the basis of just one tournament. "Don't judge Virat by just one tournament. Don't expect tremendous results from him as skipper," said the former Indian captain. (Also read: Virat Kohli ready to test himself as skipper)
    "Captaincy, like anything else, is a role to be settled into. So to expect Virat to produce tremendous results might be going over the top. But if he does produce tremendous results it means that he has begun well. Yes, I think he will be under pressure because he realises that with the recent results that India has had there are a lot of expectations from him. There has been a lot of talk about Dhoni retiring as captain from one format and so maybe that is the reason why maybe Virat will feel a little more of the pressure," he added. (Related: Dhoni not the only casualty as injuries mar Asia Cup)

    While encouraging Kohli as captain, Gavaskar made it clear that India could not do without the services of Dhoni, who is a combination of a great finisher, a great runner between wickets and a top-class keeper. "India is going to miss him massively. Apart from the fact that he just takes the game away from the opposition, it's the running between the wickets that he puts pressure on the opposition. So in all aspects I think he is going to be missed massively as a player in the team. Again as a wicketkeeper, he is top class. Not too many people give him credit for being the kind of wicketkeeper he is. But he is a tremendous cricketer and I just hope that whatever injury he suffered in New Zealand, he gets over that pretty quickly," said Gavaskar.

    The Indian cricket legend also touched upon how the fifth bowler could prove key for the team in sub-continental conditions but said the top-four bowlers should do most of the job. "The fifth bowler will be key. Stuart Binny, Ambati Rayudu will be good options but the first four bowlers will have to do the job for India," Gavaskar added.

    Asia Cup 2014: Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq slams fifty to revive Pakistan chase

    Chasing a 297-run target, Pakistan got off to a bad start as they lost their top order cheaply against Sri Lanka in the first match of the Asia Cup in Fatullah.

    Scorecard | Match in Pics

    Pakistan tried to get its run chase back on track courtesy a steady stand between Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez.

    The Shehzad-Hafeez duo stitched a crucial 49-run partnership for the second wicket soon after losing opener Sharjeel Khan early.

    However, Chaturanga De Silva and skipper Angelo Mathews struck in consecutive overs to send Shehzad (28) and Hafeez (18) back to the pavilion.

    Spinner Sachithra Senanayake then joined the wicket taking party when he scalped Sohaib Maqsood (17) by getting him caught at deep mid-wicket.

    Pakistan lost their first wicket when Suranga Lakmal had Sharjeel (26) caught comfortably at mid-on by Mathews after the Pakistan opener mis-timed a short of length delivery.

    Earlier, opener Lahiru Thirimanne notched up his second ODI hundred to power Sri Lanka to a challenging 296 for six against Pakistan.

    Thirimanne hit 11 fours and a six in his 110-ball 102-run innings and starred in a 161-run stand with Kumar Sangakkara (67) for the second wicket to lay the foundation for a huge score at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium.

    Pakistan tried to make a comeback in the middle overs as they picked up a few wickets, before skipper Angelo Matthews provided the late charge, cracking a 50-ball 55, to take Sri Lanka close to the 300-mark.

    For Pakistan, Umar Gul (38) and Shahid Afridi (56) picked up two wickets each, while Saeed Ajmal (1/50) took one.

    Electing to bat, Sri Lanka made a watchful start before opener Kusal Perera (14) edged an Umar Gul delivery straight to Umar Akmal behind the stumps in the eighth over to slip to 28 for one.

    However, Thirimanne continued his good run and notched up his fifty off 56 balls in the 20th over, his first half-century since last July.

    He and first-down batsman Sangakkara ensured Sri Lanka suffer no more damage as the two left-handed batsmen amassed runs at good pace and took Sri Lanka to the 100-mark in the 20th over.

    The duo then changed gears, piling up 68 runs in the next 10 overs. Sangakkara, who has been in red-hot form, brought up his 84th fifty in as many balls in the 27th over when he blasted Mohammad Hafeez for a boundary through the midwicket area.

    In the 31st over, Thirimanne picked up Hafeez for special treatment as he sent him over deep midwicket to bring up the first six of the match and move into the 90s. 

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