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Chennai, Hyderabad face off in high-octane final
MUMBAI: The 51-day long T20 carnival has finally reached its climax as two-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Sunrisers Hyderabad will face off in the summit clash of the 11th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. While Chennai, the two-time IPL champions, already made to the final beating Hyderabad by two wickets in the Qualifier 1 of the cash-rich league on Tuesday, Hyderabad had
 
 
Nadal bids for 11th French Open title
PARIS: Rafael Nadal eyes his 11th French Open title while former champions Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka battle their way back from injury as the second grand slam of the year gets underway on Sunday. Spanish great Nadal boasts an incredible record of 79 wins and just two defeats at Roland Garros, having won his first career Slam title in Paris as a 19-year-old in 2005. Now he aims for a 17th major and with Roger Federer
   
Serena looks to emulate Court’s feat
PARIS: Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are making their returns to Grand Slam tennis at the French Open, while world number one Simona Halep is bidding to finally win her first major title. Serena needs just one more Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24, but hasn’t played at one of the big four tournaments since the 2017 Australian Open. After returning to the tour following the birth of her
 
 
Buttler, Bess lead England fightback
LONDON: Jos Buttler and Dominic Bess fought a determined rearguard action as England avoided an innings defeat by Pakistan in the first Test at Lord’s on Saturday. When the pair came together before tea on the third day, England were 110 for six in their second innings -- still needing a further 69 runs to make Pakistan bat again. But come stumps, England were 235 for six after an unbroken century stand by their seventh-wicket
   
Platini says cleared by Swiss authorities, plans return
PARIS: Former European soccer chief Michel Platini has said he has been cleared by Swiss authorities of any criminal wrongdoing over payments he received from FIFA that resulted in a ban for ethics violations and that he now plans to return to the game. The Frenchman was banned from all soccer-related activities over a two million Swiss francs ($2.02 million) payment FIFA made to him in 2011, with former chief Sepp Blatter’s
 
 
McIlroy’s brilliance drives rivals to distraction
WENTWORTH: Northern Irish golf star Rory McIlroy played such a sublime second round of golf at the PGA Championship on Friday he had defending champion Alex Noren quipping about early retirement. The 29-year-old quadruple major winner carded a bogey free seven-under par 65 to move to 12 under and a three-shot lead over young Englishman Sam Horsfield and French journeyman Sebastien Gros, who came in late in the day with a superb
   
Ricciardo romps to Monaco F1 GP pole
Monaco: Daniel Ricciardo took pole position for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix with another sensational record-breaking performance for Red Bull in a dramatic qualifying on Saturday. But his team’s hopes of an all-Red Bull front row were wrecked as team-mate Max Verstappen failed to take part in the session after a big crash in final practice. His car, needing a new gearbox, could not be repaired in time and he will start from the
 
 
Iniesta vows to conquer Asia for Japanese club
Kobe: Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta on Saturday made his first appearance at Vissel Kobe since signing for the Japanese side, greeting thousands of fans and vowing to make his new club the biggest in Asia. Wearing the number eight shirt — like he did at Barcelona — the 34-year-old World Cup winner attended a welcome ceremony at the J-League club’s home stadium in the western port city of Kobe, together with team owner Hiroshi
   
Kendricks wins wind-whipped pole vault in Eugene
Los Angeles: World champion Sam Kendricks won the men’s pole vault on Friday at the Diamond League athletics meeting in Eugene, Oregon, on a tough night for world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie and Olympic champion Thiago Braz. France’s Lavillenie settled for fifth and Brazil’s Braz failed to clear a height as Kendricks won with a vault of 5.81m. Swedish sensation Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, 18, was second at 5.71m and Poland’s
 
 
Froome on brink of Giro d’Italia triumph
BRUEIL-CERVINIA: Britain’s Chris Froome is on the brink of a maiden Giro d’Italia title, and a rare Grand Tour treble, after defending the leader’s pink jersey in the 20th and penultimate stage on Saturday. Spain’s Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton), a former teammate of Froome’s at Team Sky, capped a long breakaway with victory at the end of the 214km run from Susa to Cervinia. Four-time Tour de France winner Froome, 33, now only has to
   
ICC probes match fixing charges involving Lanka
COLOMBO: The International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Saturday it was investigating allegations that a Sri Lankan groundsman had agreed to tamper with the pitch to alter the result of an upcoming Test match against England. The ICC said it took the allegations reported in an Al Jazeera documentary “very seriously” and urged “all evidence and supporting material” to be shared with the investigators. An advance report on the
 
 
Aussies aim to be most professional team, says Langer
SYDNEY: Australia is striving to be the most professional and honest team in world cricket, coach Justin Langer said on Saturday as the squad prepares for its first international tour following a damaging ball-tampering scandal. The former opener recently took the reins during a time of crisis after the 12-month suspensions of ex-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner over the scandal which also saw previous coach
   
Mexico’s only aim is to win: Moreno
LOS ANGELES: Mexico head to the World Cup in Russia with a clear objective, to reach the final and win it, defender Hector Moreno said on Friday. “We are going to play the World Cup to win it,” the Real Sociedad defender said as Mexico prepared to face Wales on Monday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. “For me the important thing is to get home and not have any regrets. “We know that we are not favourites. We know that no one thinks
 
 
Egypt rally to hold Kuwait in friendly
KUWAIT CITY: Egypt’s Ayman Ashraf equalised nine minutes from fulltime as they drew 1-1 away to Kuwait on Friday in the first of three warm up matches before they head to the World Cup in Russia next month. Fahad Al Ansari scored after six minutes for the Gulf country, but substitute Ashraf squeezed home a square pass from Mahmoud Kahraba for the 81st-minute equaliser. Egypt were without talisman Mohamed Salah, who will play
   
Peru captain asks Swiss court to overturn doping ban
LIMA: Peru captain and top scorer Paolo Guerrero on Friday asked Switzerland’s highest court to overturn a drugs-related ban that will keep him out of Peru’s first World Cup in 36 years, the Peruvian Football Federation said. Guerrero had just completed a six-month ban by FIFA after testing positive for a byproduct of cocaine consumption when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) extended the suspension, ruling him out of the
 
 
Slogan puts England under pressure
London: The pressure on the latest England squad to carry the nation’s hopes at the World Cup is already high enough — and the fans’ choice of the slogan for the bus only adds to it. The tub-thumping “Send us victorious” emerged the winner after supporters were asked to vote online. The winner saw off other slogans such as “Drive forward as one” and “Pride. Passion. Together”. “Pride. Passion. Together” was narrowly ahead after
   
Fans invade ground to watch Brazil train
Teresopolis: Scores of football fans became unruly at the Brazilian national team’s training site here amid an overwhelming turnout for an open practice ahead of next month’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. With the crowd exceeding all expectations, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) moved to limit access, spurring protests by some 200 disappointed fans on Friday, reports Efe. Coach Tite authorised public access to Friday’s
 
 
Hughes ‘thrilled’ to commit to Southampton
London: Mark Hughes, described as the ‘perfect fit’ by Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger earlier this month, said he was thrilled to have signed a three-year contract with the club after preserving their Premier League status. The 54-year-old former Manchester United and Barcelona striker -- who numbers Wales and Manchester City amongst the teams he has managed -- bounced back from being sacked by Stoke earlier in the season to
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