India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli, KL Rahul guide hosts to series win in Cuttack
CUTTACK, Dec 22: To the list of one-day wonders India have produced as openers—one that has Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar; Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma —add the new firm of Sharma and KL Rahul. In 11 innings, they have accumulated over 1000 runs, 122 of which came on the way to a series-deciding 2-1 win against West Indies here on Sunday.
Producing a masterclass in wristy business and drives, one that was risk-free yet had at least a boundary in 13 of the 21.2 overs they were together, the openers set India on course to what could have been an intimidating chase of 316.
Sharma’s run-a-ball 63 (8x4, 1x6) was his sixth half-century in 2019, a year where he also has seven ODI centuries. Rahul’s 77 (89b, 8x4, 1x6) was his third half-century of the year. Till Rahul fell to Alzarri Joseph’s pace, he looked set for the year’s third hundred. Sharma too looked for a big score till Jason Holder tempted him to drive.
En route the four-wicket win with eight balls to spare—India’s 10th successive against West Indies—Virat Kohli more than righted a statistical blip while adding Cuttack to the list of venues where he has scored a half-century.
Kohli, named Man-of-the-Match, got going with two early cover-drives and hit two successive boundaries off Joseph in the 32nd over, and two more in Khary Pierre’s over, the innings’ 43rd. In between, there was an imperious off-drive off Holder.
Rahul and Shreyas Iyer fell in quick succession and when Rishabh Pant ended 2019 with shoddy glovework—he failed to take five catches, three of which were difficult—and shoddier batting, dragging one from Keemo Paul on to his stumps, India, on 188/3 after 32.3 overs, had hit an air pocket. Kedar Jadhav’s fall sucked them deeper into it but with a lot of help from Ravindra Jadeja, the class and calculation of Kohli steered India close. They added 58 from 44 balls for the sixth wicket.
When Kohli fell on 85 (81b. 9x4) there were still 30 runs to get in four overs. Kohli indicated to Jadeja that he should stay till the end. Jadeja 39 (31b, 4x4) did but it was two lusty blows from Shardul Thakur (17 – 6b, 2x4, 1x6) off Sheldon Cottrell in the 48th over that released the pressure.
West Indies’ approach was the opposite of India’s. They began cautiously—the innings’ 100 came in the 26th over; India reached theirs in the 16th—but with Nicholas Pooran showing happy feet and Kieron Pollard muscle primed for power-hitting they jetted past 300 after being 161/4 after 35.
Pooran and Pollard added 135 runs in 98 balls before Pooran fell in the 48th over after hitting Thakur for two fours and a six. Thakur leaked 21 in that over. Pollard continued the mayhem, staying unbeaten on 74 (51b, 3x4, 7x6) with West Indies adding 36 in 13 balls. West Indies scored 118 off the last 10 overs, 77 coming off the last five.
Dropped on 52 and 72 by Pant—he also spilled an easy chance off Roston Chase on zero and two sharp ones from Shimron Hetmyer before he got into double digits—Pooran made 89 (64b, 10x4, 3x6). Jadeja dropping Evin Lewis on 14 showed India’s catching continued to be ordinary.
Pollard and Pooran changed what till the 46th over looked like an impressive debut by pacer Navdeep Saini to a good one. Saini went for 14 in his ninth over— Pooran hitting him for three boundaries the pick of which was the last when he walked across to wing one past midwicket. He leaked 16 in his last over, Pollard’s strength fetching a four and six after Holder had opened the 49th over with a boundary off a full toss.
The wiry bowler with a whippy action though showed he could be dangerous with bouncers and Yorkers—the first got Hetmyer and the next dismissed Chase. A Saini yorker left Pollard needing treatment to his left leg.
Till Pooran and Pollard exploded, Saini’s ability to hit the toes and the nose and get the length right in between stood out. Surprisingly demoted in the batting order to No. 4, Hetmyer couldn’t control his pull and holed out to Kuldeep Yadav at fine-leg—Saini striking when West Indies, put into bat, were looking to accelerate.
They had scored 35 runs in three overs between the 26th and 28th, Hetmyer getting 24. He hit the innings’ first six, over deep midwicket off Yadav, in the 26th over. Next over, Jadeja teased him outside off-stump and Hetmyer smacked it over the bowler’s head. When Thakur bounced him in the 28th over, he pulled, and though he wasn’t in control, it fetched a six despite Rahul’s spectacular effort to catch it. Unlike Lewis and Shai Hope, Hetmyer was unfazed by chin music.
Yet, backing his ability to deliver the short ball, Saini won this battle. In his next over, Saini, 27, fired a sand-shoe crusher that disturbed Chase’s furniture. After going for eight in his first over, Saini’s first spell read 4-0-12-0; his second 3-0-10-2.
West Indies lost both the T20I and ODI series, but that they stretched India showed they are taking steps long due on the road to revival.
SLW successfully holds Star Alliance Golf Tournament
By Deepak Arora
BANGALURU, Dec 17: This year the Star Alliance Invitational Golf Tournament was organised for the corporate clients at the Bangalore Golf Club. The event was a great opportunity for the 26 Star Alliance Member Airlines to network with the corporate community and offer smooth connections across a vast network. The event was held at one of the most elite and the oldest golf course in India outside of the British Isles. The golf event has been appreciated each year from golfers around the city by the elite corporate community.
The Invitational Golf Tournament got overwhelming response in its consecutive third year from the corporate community. The participants competed for overall championship prizes which were scored on the Stable ford format over 18 holes. The round of golf was followed up by an awards function in various categories with a gala Cocktail Dinner.
Narsing Rao won and took away the Winner Gross Trophy while Nanje Gowda became the Runner-up. Wherein, Jayanthi Ravi won in the Ladies Category.
The Pleasant weather, great food and amazing sitting at the Club were a treat to the players. Also seen swinging at the event were Sumit Rathor from Indo Mim Pvt.Ltd; Jayaraman Jayashankar from Aditya Birla Group amongst the many others who were there for the tournament last Friday.
The championship prizes were given away by the Star Alliance members. The Star Alliance Golf tournament 2019 was managed by SLW Golf Management.
The Bluffs or Bust
By Deepak Arora
VUNG TAU (Vietnam), Dec 17: The Junior Golf Tour of Asia (JGTA) has arrived in Vietnam this week at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip in Vung Tau for the Country’s first-ever JGTA event. The event, The JGTA Junior Aspirations at The Bluffs, features top-ranked junior golfers from nine countries across the region, representing top prospects for American college golf and future stars of the game.
The JGTA Junior Aspirations at The Bluffs is the second event of the JGTA’s 2019-2020 schedule – and The Bluffs joins the ranks of elite host golfing venues featured on the Tour, such as Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club and Sheshan International Golf Club. This event marks the first time in Vietnam that juniors will have an opportunity to gain a ranking on the Junior Order of Merit - the official ranking system of the JGTA and the source of AJGA PBE Status in Asia.
The Bluffs at Ho Tram Strip has received upward praise of being the best golf venue in Vietnam. Ranked #35 out of the Top-100 “World’s Greatest Courses” by Golf Digest, The Bluffs at Ho Tram Strip will be an unforgettable experience for all coaches, parents, families, and competitors who attend.
The 2019-2020 season marks the first with TaylorMade Golf as a Premier Partner of the Tour. TaylorMade’s support of the JGTA, the Asia-Pacific’s dedicated junior tour for up-and-coming prospects for college golf, is part of its long-standing commitment to the growth and development of the next generation of college golfers.
Seven 2018-2019 Junior All-Asia Team members are competing in the JGTA Junior Aspirations at The Bluffs. These players are Markus Lam (2023) of China, Hong Kong SAR, Jui-Tung Wu (2021) of Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei, Hsiao Che Yang (2021) of Tainan, Chinese Taipei, Hoi Ki Lau (2022) of China, Hong Kong SAR, Eila Galitsky (2023) of Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Pongsapak Laopakdee (2023) of Rayong, Thailand.
Returning JGTA Champions includes Jui-Shen Lee (2020) of Yunlin, Chinese Taipei, Jiabao Song (2022) of Shanghai, China, and Pongsapak Laopakdee (2023) of Rayong, Thailand.
One AJGA champion is competing in the field – Yu Wen Lu (2021) of Shanghai, China. Lu is a 3-time AJGA champion with a current Rolex AJGA Rank of 173. In addition, Lu has twice competed in the U.S. Girls’ Junior and is sure to shake up the Girls Division.
AJGA Performance Based Entry (PBE) Status is the most sought-after status in the junior golf world. Earning AJGA PBE Status opens up the opportunity to compete in AJGA tournaments across America, which are the main focal point for college coaches recruiting efforts. Competing in the JGTA Junior Aspirations at The Bluffs is just one step towards gaining a ranking on the Junior Order of Merit, and thus advancing juniors closer to their dreams of playing collegiate and professional golf.