NBA Pre-Season Roundup: Adebayo, Cain lead Heat over Durant, Simmons and Nets

NEW YORK (AP) — Bam Adebayo scored 17 points, undrafted rookie Jamal Cain added 15 points and 11 rebounds and the Miami Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-80 on Thursday night.

Kevin Durant led Brooklyn with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 26 minutes. Ben Simmons had four points and 10 rebounds for the Nets.

Miami star Jimmy Butler played for the first time in the preseason, scoring two points in the first half and then sitting in the second half. Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo didn’t play for the Heat.

The Nets were minus Joe Harris, who was resting an ankle that left him out most of last season, and Kyrie Irving, who had the night off after the birth of his child. Seven Heat players scored in double figures.

Kyle Lowry had 15 points and Dru Smith, Duncan Robinson and Jamaree Bouyea each added 12 for Miami. Cain signed with the Heat in July after playing for Marquette and Oakland University.

Cam Thomas scored 13 points and Markieff Morris had 10 for the Nets.

Through the first half, the teams tried various combinations, mixing the starters with some key bench players. Both sides seemed to stretch their stars for some extra minutes in the shortened NBA preseason.

Durant played 19 minutes in the first half and scored 18 points, making six of seven shots. Simmons and backcourt mate Royce O’Neale each played 18 minutes.


In Las Vegas, Rudy Gobert, making his first preseason appearance after an offseason trade to Minnesota, had five points and 12 rebounds in a 17-minute stint in Minnesota’s victory over Los Angeles.

Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell and Jaylen Nowell had 13 points each for Minnesota. Nathan Knight scored 11 points in 10 minutes.

Thomas Bryant, who started at center for Los Angeles, led the Lakers with 18 points and seven rebounds. Cole Swider scored 17 and Scotty Pippen Jr. added 14 points.

The Lakers starting lineup looked much different than Wednesday night’s loss to the Suns in Las Vegas. Los Angeles was without LeBron James and Russell Westbrook as Los Angeles played on the second night of a back-to-back. Anthony Davis missed another game with a lower back tightness.

Karl-Anthony Towns was not available for Minnesota, still ramping up after an illness led to hospitalization.


Paolo Banchero, the overall No. 1 pick in the June draft, had nine points and five rebounds to help Orlando win in San Antonio.

Wendell Carter Jr. had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic. He shot 8 of 13 as most of the Orlando starters played between 20 and 23 minutes. Franz Wagner had 12 points and Moritz Wagner added 10.

Doug McDermott led the Spurs with 14 points, and Keita Bates-Diop added 12.

HAWKS 123, BUCKS 113

Dejounte Murray scored 25 points in his Atlanta debut and the Hawks beat Milwaukee in the NBA’s first game in the United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Gulf.

The teams will play another preseason game on Saturday at Etihad Arena.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 19 points. Jevon Carter added 17.

Hawks star Trae Young had 22 points.

The game featured the NBA’s three Holiday brothers. Aaron Holiday had 16 points and Justin Holiday added nine for the Hawks. Jrue Holiday had 12 for the Bucks.


Tre Mann scored 26 points, including hitting 8 of 10 on 3s and Oklahoma City beat a team from the Australian National Basketball League.

Lindy Waters III scored 23 points and Eugene Omoruyi added 19 points for the Thunder.

Craig Randall II, who had 35 points in the 36ers’ 134-124 win over the Phoenix Suns, led Adelaide with 27 points. Robert Franks scored 20 points and Antonius Cleveland had 19 points.

Adelaide used torrid 3-point shooting, hitting 56% from beyond the arc, to defeat the Suns in the opening game of their preseason tour. But the accuracy was not the same against Oklahoma City as the 36ers went 11 of 36 from distance.


Shaedon Sharpe, the seventh overall pick from Kentucky in last summer’s draft, scored 27 points, connecting on 10 of 13 shots to lead the Portland past Maccabi Ra’anana.

Keon Johnson added 18 points for Portland. Norris Cole led Maccabi with 19 points and six assists.

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UAAP: Ange Kouame not letting knee injury get in the way of leading Ateneo

Ateneo’s Ange Kouame. –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Reigning MVP Ange Kouame continues to deliver for Ateneo despite having yet to fully recover from his knee injury.

The naturalized Gilas Pilipinas center posted 17 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks as Ateneo earned its second straight win in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament after beating National University, 77-60, on Wednesday at Philsports Arena.

Although he has yet to regain his top form after a partial ACL tear he suffered last June, Kouame is not letting it affect his eagerness to help the Blue Eagles. 

“I don’t think about it. I just go to the game, play the game the way I always play. If it hurts, it hurts, If it doesn’t, I can go,” he said.

“It feels good, I’m really happy how the team can work together. But (there is) still a lot to (improve for me), the wins and especially defense, too. I think we’re gonna go back tomorrow on what we should be doing for the next game.”

The 24-year-old big man, who is playing his final UAAP season, has been instrumental in Ateneo’s first two wins, averaging 14.5 points, 13.0 boards, 3.0 blocks, and 2.5 assists.

The Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin remains patient on the progress of his 6-foot-10 center, lauding Kouame for doing more than expected despite the injury. 

“The knee’s just not a healthy knee. That’s a fact of life. There’s nobody that can exploit it, because he only has one gear. It’s all out. I think he still is short of his rhythm, his coordination,” Baldwin said. “You take a 7-foot, 23-, 24-year old player who’s been in the game for four, five years, and you sit him out for two months? Man, that’s tough on him. He’s doing more than I expect at this point.”

Baldwin hopes Kouame continues to recover as the long season goes on.

“He makes mistakes, and some of those mistakes probably wouldn’t have been there if he had been fully active for the last four months. But he wasn’t, so that’s what we live with, and I like our team. I like him anchoring the middle. I just hope the knee holds up,” the Kiwi-American coach said.

Ateneo, which seeks to reclaim the title this season, eyes its third straight win against fierce rival, La Salle on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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No. 15 Florida’s dynamic duo downs Tennessee

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Florida Athletics

Photo: Florida Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 15th-ranked Florida volleyball team defeated the Tennessee Lady Vols in four sets on Wednesday night in Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Gators improve to 11-3 on the year and 3-1 in the conference, while Tennessee falls to 8-8 overall and 2-2 in the league.

Florida took the first set in extras, grabbing the 26-24 victory to take the early match lead. The Gators followed with a 25-23 win in the second set, but the Lady Vols answered with a 25-16 win in the third frame. Florida closed out the match with a 25-20 victory in the fourth.

Marina Markova led the way for Florida on Wednesday night, securing the 17-kill performance in the match – a Florida-best for the senior. Sofia Victoria followed close behind with 12 kills, while Gabrielle Essix pitched in eight in the four-setter.

Merritt Beason (7) and Bre Kelley (6) combined for 13 kills on the night.

Alexis Stucky dished out 43 assists in the match, leading the team to a .275 clip.

As a team, Florida tallied seven blocks on the night, led by a team-high five from Kelley. Beason added three, while Essix posted two in the victory.

Elli McKissock paced the backcourt defense, coming up with the 12-dig effort. Beason and Stucky each pitched in 10 digs in the victory.

McKissock also lead the way behind the service line, recording a team-high three service aces in the match.

Florida returns to Exactech Arena for a two-match series against LSU beginning on Saturday. First serve for Saturday’s matchup is set for 6 p.m., while Sunday’s match is slated for a 3 p.m. start time.

No. 15 Florida (11-3, 3-1 SEC)
Tennessee (8-8, 2-2 SEC)

How It Happened

  • After falling behind 2-0 early, the Gators went on a 4-0 run thanks in part to a McKissock service run to take the 4-2 advantage. The teams continued to trade points through the middle of the set, but the Gators won the battle to the media timeout, taking the 15-12 lead into the break. Out of the timeout, Florida took the four-point lead, but the Lady Vols pulled back to within one after a 3-0 run. The Gators continued to hold Tennessee at bay, taking the 21-18 lead to force a UT timeout. The Lady Vols used a 4-1 run out of that timeout to knot the set at 22-all and although it took extra points, Florida held on for the 26-24 victory to start the match.
  • Four different Gators racked up three kills in the first set: Kelley, Essix, Markova and Beason.
  • Tennessee once again took the early lead in the second set, but the Gators battled back with a 3-0 run to take the 4-3 lead. It was a back-and-forth frame through the middle of the set, but Florida utilized a 4-0 run behind the serves of McKissock to take the 19-15 lead and force a timeout by the Lady Vols. Tennessee fought back to tie the frame 23-23, causing Florida to call its second timeout of the set. Out of the break, Markova recorded back-to-back kills to secure the 25-23 win for Florida.
  • UF hit .444 in the second set, led by five kills from Markova and Victoria. Essix added three kills of her own, followed by Kelley’s two.
  • With the Gators down one at the 10-9 mark, Tennessee strung together a 6-3 run to take the 16-12 advantage in the third. Florida got back to within two at 16-14, but the Lady Vols once again extended their lead to four to force a timeout by the Gators. Tennessee closed out on the frame on a 9-2 run to take the match to a fourth in Knoxville.
  • Markova led the way with three kills in the third frame, followed by two apiece from Stucky and Victoria.
  • The fourth set saw the two teams tied early, but Tennessee pulled ahead three to take the 11-8 lead. Florida pulled back to within one at 14-13, but the Lady Vols took the 15-13 advantage into the media timeout. Following the break, the Gators battled back with a 4-0 run to take the 17-16 lead. UF would not look back the rest of the match, taking the set 25-20 to move to 11-3 on the year.
  • Florida hit .371 in the final frame, led by six kills from Markova. Victoria added five kills, while Beason posted four.


  • Alexis Stucky recorded her third double-double of the year with 43 assists and 10 digs
  • The Gators improve to 55-13 in the all-time series, including a 51-8 record under Mary Wise
  • Florida is now 12-4 against Tennessee in four-set matches
  • The Gators improve to 26-5 against Tennessee in Knoxville
  • UF improves to 4-1 in four-set matches during the 2022 campaign
  • Thoughts from Coach Wise
    “At different points in the match, we had different people step up and we found a way.”

    Up Next

    • The Gators return to Exactech Arena for a two-match series against the LSU Tigers beginning on Saturday
    • Saturday’s first serve is slated for 6 p.m. on SEC Network +
    • Sunday’s match is set to begin at 3 p.m., also on SEC Network +

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“It’s going to be a back-pass festival” Same, old, boring crap” – Chelsea fans demand Graham Potter to sell ‘irritating’ player as he starts yet again versus AC Milan 

Chelsea fans are extremely unhappy that Mason Mount will once again start for the Blues at home against AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on October 5.

The 23-year-old has yet to score a goal this season and has provided just one assist in nine matches for Chelsea throughout the campaign.

The playmaker enjoyed an excellent campaign last term in which he was his team’s top Premier League goalscorer, scoring 11 goals in 32 matches.

However, he is yet to make any sort of impact this season. Graham Potter appears to be reverting back to a back-three system for the crucial encounter in west London, which would allow Mount to play on the right-wing.

The Blues currently sit bottom of their Champions League group having not won either of their opening two games. They lost against Dinamo Zagreb and drew against Red Bull Salzburg.

Chelsea have barely played in recent weeks, and the former Brighton & Hove Albion boss will be hoping that the time on the training ground has paid off.

Chelsea were lethargic in their previous European encounter against Red Bull Salzburg. However, put on an improved display in their most recent Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, winning 2-1.

However, that hasn’t stopped supporters of the west London club complaining on Twitter ahead of their clash with the Italian champions. Many are bemoaning Mount’s inclusion:

Sane, old, boring crap from Potter, wish he could just sell Mount. He’s so irritating

Premier League boss claims James Maddison is on the same level as Chelsea star Mason Mount

James Maddison provided a stunning display for Leicester City at home against Nottingham Forest this week. Post that, calls have grown for the playmaker to be in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Mount recently ended his long goalscoring drought for the Three Lions, but many have called for the Chelsea playmaker to be dropped. Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for Maddison after Leicester’s 4-0 win over Forest, as he told Sky Sports (as per TalkSPORT):

“Yeah. I can only imagine how hard it is for Gareth with so many good players. James has shown and proven he is up there with the best talents. To have someone like that, even if he doesn’t play, on the bench who can come and bring that personality. If he was playing in front of 150,000 people he’d be exactly the same. If you were ever stuck in the game, he can come on and be a game changer.”

He added:

“It’s tough because there are so many good players. I have big respect for young guys like Mason Mount, who is a top player, and Phil Foden is amazing. He’s at that level, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. I hope between now and when the squad is picked they can find a way to add in a talent like that.”

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Missing out on playing in the World Cup is ‘worth sacrificing for one strand of Iranian women’s hair’ | CNN


The World Cup in Qatar is practically a home tournament for Iran, only the narrow Persian Gulf separates the two nations.

But as they line up for their opening match against England on November 21, some of the Iranian players might feel rather uncomfortable wearing the tricolor flag and representing their country.

That’s assuming those players are picked for the team, and assuming that the team itself even makes it to Qatar; over the next few weeks, there is considerable uncertainty for any sports organization that represents The Islamic Republic of Iran.

Ever since the death of the 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini in September, cities across Iran have been plunged into chaos and violence.

Amini died after she had been detained by the morality police for allegedly incorrectly wearing her compulsory hijab, and her fate sparked a female uprising which has swept the country.

Many women have publicly tossed aside their restrictive head dresses, and their simmering fury shows no sign of abating.

It’s the most serious challenge to the stability of the theocratic regime and it’s arguably the most significant one since it ascended to power in 1979.

Some have compared what’s happening in Iran to the Berlin Wall’s fall, and as the defiant chants of ‘Death to the Dictator’ have rung out on street corners from Tehran to Shiraz – the goal of the movement is clear, to topple Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and effectively bring an end to the Islamic Republic.

In response, the government crackdown has been brutal.

The Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) have arrested thousands of protesters all while silencing their voices by shutting down the internet.

And yet, despite the internet blackouts, more and more videos are emerging of protesters being chased, shot, beaten, or violently thrown to the ground.

CNN has been unable to verify an accurate list of casualties, but dozens of young people are believed to have been killed.

In recent years, some of the country’s top athletes have staked out their own position against the government.

Following the execution of the wrestler Navid Afkari, who was found guilty of killing a security guard during the previous uprising in 2018 and hanged in Shiraz two years later, a group of wrestlers, karatekas, judokas and football players aligned to form the United for Navid campaign.

Afkari’s family and supporters have always argued that he was innocent, and that his trial was a sham. Now, many of the country’s top athletes, who are revered in Iran, have unofficially joined forces with protesters fighting for their rights on the streets.

Writing on his social media account during Iran’s preparations for the upcoming World Cup, 27-year-old forward Sardar Azmoun said, “Because of national team regulations, we couldn’t say anything until the training was finished.”

He indicated that his public stance in opposition to the government could cost him a place at the World Cup, but he says the loss of a professional goal would be for a good cause.

“That is worth sacrificing for one strand of Iranian women’s hair,” Azmoun wrote in an Instagram story, “Shame on you who kill people so easily. Long live Iranian women.”

After speaking out, many were skeptical that Azmoun would be allowed to represent Iran on the pitch, so it was a surprise when he played for Iran in an international friendly match against African champion Senegal, coming on as a substitute and headed home the equalizing goal. Notably, he did not celebrate.

Sardar Azmoun is a key player for Iran. He is pictured after scoring in a World Cup qualifier match against Syria in the King Abdullah International Stadium on November 16, 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The former wrestler Sardar Pashaei, the Executive Manager of the United for Navid campaign, says he was forced to flee Iran to the United States in 2008.

In an interview with CNN, his voice cracked with emotion as he spoke with pride of his sister, a human rights activist, who he says was detained for joining the protests.

Pashaei believes that the mood in the national football squad is split between pro-regime players who want to play in Qatar, and others who can no longer comfortably play under the flag of a regime which has so ruthlessly oppressed its own people.

“Many people do not consider this team as their national team,” explained Pashaei. “They consider it to be the Islamic Republic team, it represents the government, not the people. And a lot of athletes think the same.”

He added that players who are sympathetic to the regime are trying to argue that sport and politics should be kept at arms-length, but Pashaei rebukes that sentiment, saying, “We know that in Iran, everything is political.”

On behalf of the United for Navid campaign, Pashaei wrote to football’s world governing body, FIFA, asking that they suspend Iran from the World Cup.

Ali Daei scored 109 international goals in 148 matches for Iran.

In his letter dated September 29, Pashaei reminded FIFA of Sahar Khodayari, a young Iranian woman known as ‘Blue Girl,’ who died in 2019 after being denied entry to a football stadium to watch her favorite team F.C. Esteghlal play.

She was arrested and sentenced to prison, but set herself on fire outside the court and later died from her injuries.

Pashaei reminded FIFA that they had suspended all of Russia’s international and club teams from their competitions “until further notice” in February for invading Ukraine and asked that similar sanctions be applied to Iran.

“Iran is brutally killing and torturing protestors and is oppressing women by criminalizing watching football or showing a few strands of hair. FIFA’s silence is an endorsement of these human rights violations.”

Within 24 hours, another human rights group – ‘Open Stadiums’ – also urged FIFA to suspend Iran, stating, “The Iranian FA is not only an accomplice of the crimes of the regime, it is a direct threat to the security of female fans in Iran and wherever our national team plays in the world.”

So far, FIFA has remained silent, and they have not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

Several Iranian football players have discreetly voiced their sympathies with the protesters, changing their social media avatars to black backgrounds or black outlines of Iran’s geographical borders.

Others have been much more outspoken; speaking after the recent club match against Tractor S.C., Persepolis F.C. midfielder Soroush Rafiei addressed the ongoing protests and scrutiny on footballers saying that he and his teammates don’t have the energy or interest to talk or even play football.

Addressing the people’s fight for women’s rights, Rafiei addressed the country’s strict Islamic code saying, “Your wife wears hijab and we respect that, but who are you to tell me how my wife should dress?”

In light of their social media commentary, it is believed that the former national team players, Hamidreza Ali Asgari, Kaveh Rezaei and Hossein Mahini have either been arrested or detained for questioning; CNN has been unable to verify the reports coming out of Iran.

Iran's riot police forces stand in a street in Tehran.

The United for Navid campaign has told CNN that Iran’s record international goal scorer, Ali Daei has had his passport confiscated, and the former national team captain Ali Karimi has so irritated the government with his vocal support of the protesters to his millions of Instagram followers, that he has been accused of fomenting sedition.

Karimi resides in Dubai, but local reports indicated that his home in Iran had been seized by the government.

It’s not just football players who are standing up to the regime, many other athletes have decided that they can no longer represent their country in good conscience.

The handball player Sajjad Esteki, the women’s rugby captain Fereshteh Sarani, the fencer Mojtaba Abedini Shourmasti and Taekwondo’s Mahsa Sadeghi have all quit their national teams in protest.

The well-respected former wrestler Rasoul Khadem Azghadi has voiced his support of all the athletes who have taken action.

“At a time when the people are facing problems and protests, we should be happy that our national champions are standing with them,” Azghadi wrote on social media. “By doing so, they are taking the weight of the tensions off the shoulders of those people.”

Pashaei believes that the athletes who are speaking up have less to lose than the protesters who are facing bullets and batons in the streets.

As the uprising enters a third week the situation on the streets of Iran remains highly volatile.

In just a few weeks’ time, the World Cup will kick off, wih Iran scheduled to line up in Group B.

In addition to the opening match against England, Iran will also play Wales and then the United States, stirring memories of their thrilling 2-1 win against an old foe, ‘The Great Satan,’ at the 1998 World Cup in Lyon.

Whether the players agree with their governments or not, the teams on the field will likely represent diametrically opposing ideological views.

US government officials have condemned what they call the “appalling” crackdown on the protesters and Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that Iran, “Needs to end its use of violence against women for exercising what should be a fundamental freedom.”

When the two nations meet in Doha on November 29, a place in the knockout round could be at stake, though FIFA may find that the story isn’t strictly confined to what happens on the pitch.

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National Games | Amlan, Jyothi emerge the fastest; Rosy sets new record

Jyothi beat a star-studded field, including Hima Das, Dutee Chand and Sarabani Nanda, to win the women’s crown with 11.51.

Jyothi beat a star-studded field, including Hima Das, Dutee Chand and Sarabani Nanda, to win the women’s crown with 11.51.

Amlan Borgohain and Jyothi Yarraji won exciting races to emerge as the fastest man and woman of the National Games here on Saturday.

Undistracted by a false start, a gritty Amlan clocked 10.38 seconds to take the gold medal. “I just ran to win gold,” said Amlan.

Jyothi beat a star-studded field, including Hima Das, Dutee Chand and Sarabani Nanda, to win the women’s crown with 11.51.

“Hima didi and Dutee didi encouraged me during the warm-up. It helped me,” said Jyothi.

Both Amlan (200m) and Jyothi (100m hurdles) will compete in their primary events in the coming days.

Rosy Meena Paulraj took the pole vault gold with a new national record of 4.20m.

The results (finals, winners only):

Men: 100m: Amlan Borgohain (Asm) 10.38; 400m: Muhammed Ajmal (SSCB) 46.29 (GR, Old: 46.30, Amoj Jacob, Gandhinagar, 2022); 5000m: Abhishek Pal (UP) 14:07.25

Long Jump: Jeswin Aldrin (TN) 8.26m (GR, Old: 8.04, Ankit Sharma, Thiruvananthapuram, 2015)

Shot put: Tajinderpal Singh Toor (SSCB) 20.75m (GR, Old: 20.14, Inderjeet Singh, Thiruvananthapuram, 2015); 4x100m relay: Tamil Nadu (Kathiravan, VK Elakiyadasn, S Jayakumar and B Siva Kumar) 40.01.

Women: 100m: Jyothi Yarraji (AP) 11.51; 400m: Aishwarya Mishra (Maharashtra) 52.62; 5000m: Parul Chaudhary (UP) 16:34.68

Pole Vault: Rosy Meena Paulraj (TN) 4.20m (NR, Old: 4.15, VS Surekha, New Delhi, 2014. Old GR: 4.00, VS Surekha, Thiruvananthapuram, 2015);

Discus throw: Nidhi Rani (Har) 51.65m; 4x100m relay: Kerala (VS Bhavika, PD Anjali, AP Shilbi and AP Shelda) 45.52.

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“Grateful To God To Have Survived A Possible Disaster”: Unmukt Chand Shares Pics Of Eye Injury | Cricket News

Unmukht Chand suffered an eye injury© Twitter

Former India Under-19 captain Unmukt Chand has suffered an eye injury in the United States while playing cricket. The 29-year-old shared a couple of pictures of his injury on social media. In the shared images, Chand’s left eye is swollen, so much that the player is unable to open it. Chand, who retired from Indian cricket to be able to play in the US, suffered the grave injury while playing for Silicon Valley Strikers in Minor League Cricket in the country, reported news agency PTI.

“It’s never a smooth ride for an athlete. Some days you come home victorious, other days disappointed & there are some when you come home with bruises and dents,” tweeted Chand on Saturday.

“Grateful to God to have survived a possible disaster. Play hard but be safe. It’s a thin line,” wrote the Delhi-born player while also thanking people for sending him good wishes.

Chand had retired from Indian cricket in August last year and in January 2022, he became the first Indian male to play in the Big Bash League of Australia. He played for Melbourne Renegades in his first season.

The player had captained India in the 2012 U-19 World Cup and led the team to the title. In the final, against Australia, he had scored an unbeaten 111 to help India chase down their target of 226 runs.


Chand has so far played 67 First Class matches and 120 List A games, alongside 79 T20s.

(With PTI Inputs)

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Malkia Strikers face Puerto Rico in a do-or-die match

Malkia Strikers, the national women national team will be facing off with Puerto Rico in their final pool A match in a do-or-die encounter at the ongoing Women Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands tomorrow.

Kenya yesterday lost to European champions Italy in straight sets to hand Paul Bitok sides a challenge where top four teams will earn them a place in the second round.

A win for either team will guarantee them a place in the second round with four teams from each pool qualifying.

“It was a unanimous decision to rest Moim and Wisah because even prior to the Italy match, we were always planning for Puerto Rico. We hope they can fire us to the next level,” coach Paul Bitok said.

Puerto Rico also beat Cameroon for their sole win but managed winning a set against Netherlands despite losing. Failing to progress will be considered failure for Malkia after enjoying support from International Volleyball Federation FIVB.

Malkia was the only African team to benefit from the FIVB program with the team spending two months in Brazil for High Performance Training under the watchful eyes of four Brazilian coaches.

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