The contrast could not have been greater, the hero more unlikely.As Jordan Pickford, ashen-faced, mortified, barely-believing, offered an apologetic hand to the devastated Evertonians packed inside the Anfield Road end, the rest of this famous old stadium paid tribute to its matchwinner.“Divock Origi!” rang the chant from the Kop. It’s been a long time since that was heard, eh? Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! The Belgian’s goal, pilfered from a horrified Pickford in the sixth minute of stoppage time, sent Anfield into delirium. Limbs everywhere, pyrotechnics let off, Jurgen Klopp making a 40-yard dash to celebrate with Alisson Becker, his goalkeeper. At the final whistle, as his team celebrated on the pitch, the Liverpool boss bellowed a message down the lens of a nearby TV camera. It was that kind of day, that kind of win. A typical Klopp win, you could say; dramatic, thrilling, emotional.The short and the long of it is as follows; the win extends the Reds’ unbeaten start to the Premier League season to 14 games, and keeps them just two points behind Manchester City at the top of the table. As three points go, these were precious.But days like this are about more than three points. We know that. Klopp knows that. Those who came clad in red and blue know that. How this will hurt Everton, whose wait for a Merseyside derby victory goes on. It’s a record 16 games now; they haven’t won at Anfield since 1999. “Lucky, lucky, lucky Liverpool,” said Marco Silva in his post-match press conference.As for Origi, he must have wondered if this feeling would ever come again. It had been 19 months since his last Liverpool goal, 20 since his last here. This was his first Premier League outing since the opening day of last season. He’s been to Wolfsburg and he could have gone to Wolves. His form has dipped and his name has been forgotten. And yet here, three years to the day since his best performance in a red shirt, a League Cup hat-trick at Southampton, came his most significant moment. His 22nd Liverpool strike was the sweetest of all. “It was a special moment,” smiled the striker. “I think I am enjoying it!”For every hero there is a villain, of course, and in the midst of the celebrations it was hard not to feel for Pickford. The England goalkeeper will have nightmares about his role in the goal. As Virgil van Dijk miscued a volley into the December sky, there appeared no danger, but Pickford made a hash of his attempt to claim it, dropping the ball against the bar and onto Origi’s gleeful head. He’s a strong character, the Everton goalkeeper, but he’ll need every ounce of it to bounce back. This was horrendous. Credit to him for fronting up and speaking to reporters as he walked through the mixed zone a half hour or so after the final whistle. “I just want to say sorry to the Everton supporters,” he said. They’ll forgive him.It had, to that point, appeared that this would be a game decided by goalkeepers in a rather different kind of manner, with Alisson making crucial first-half saves from Andre Gomes and Theo Walcott, and Pickford alert to deny Xherdan Shaqiri at the other end. Origi, you feared, had already missed his big moment, hammering against the woodwork from a couple of yards out when it appeared easier to score.This was, for once, an absorbing Anfield derby, with Everton doing their bit to make it a spectacle. The Blues, too often, have travelled across Stanley Park with fear and negativity in their kitbag, but Marco Silva’s side came to play here and deserve credit for their display. They had excellent performers in Gomes, Lucas Digne and Michael Keane, and played with composure, nous and threat.Liverpool, meanwhile, bounced back from their midweek humbling in Paris to record this most precious of victories. The Reds are still short of fluency, but not heart. Klopp’s men were rewarded for their perseverance here, albeit in the most bizarre of fashions. What do they say; sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.Such are the margins at the top end of the Premier League, though. City’s win over Bournemouth on Saturday had piled the pressure on this game, and if a draw may have been a fair result in the grand scheme of things, it would certainly have represented two points dropped for the Reds. Instead, they go to Burnley in midweek with renewed confidence. They could be top by Wednesday night, with City in action at Watford. They were far from perfect here, sure. Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah struggled and were substituted, Shaqiri fluffed his lines and Sadio Mane was everywhere and nowhere. Their attack, so devastating last season, continues to blow hot and cold. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Klopp looked to his bench and rolled the dice.And Liverpool’s forgotten man ensured he’ll be remembered forever. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
Xherdan Shaqiri considers the title-winning mentality at Liverpool to be comparable to that he experienced while landing Bundesliga crowns at Bayern Munich.The Switzerland international helped the German giants to secure domestic dominance on two occasions during a productive spell at the Allianz Arena.He is now hoping to enjoy similar success in England. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Having linked up with Liverpool in the summer of 2018, Shaqiri has helped Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table.Almost three decades have passed since the Reds last took the title, but they are considered to have the collective mindset required to get over the line.Shaqiri told the club’s official website: “I played in Germany and won titles there, so I have experience of it.“It has to be a winning mentality and the players need to be focused.“The mentality is similar [here]. You need to go into games trying to win them and to give everything to do that.“I am pretty sure with the talent we have in the team we can achieve a lot.”Now we need to keep going this hard until the end. To work hard in training, to take the training into the games and to keep going. There is a long way to go, but we are in a very, very good way to be successful.”Liverpool missed the chance to pull seven points clear of the chasing pack in their most recent outing as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Leicester at Anfield.It has been suggested that a stalemate in the snow showed signs of nerves, but Shaqiri considers a point against the Foxes to be a positive result.He added: “I think it was a good point to take in the end, because although we always want to win every game, it was maybe not our best performance this year. So, in the end, it was a draw and we take the point.“Obviously being five points clear is better than four. We wanted to win the game, but every game is very tough to play. Leicester have a good team, were very well organised – you saw that in the game – and it was difficult against them.“So, we take the point and we go forward – we are looking to the next game now. Everything is good, so we will just keep going like this. We are looking forward to the next game on Monday, which is very important to win.“If we continue to stay focused at the highest level, I am confident we are going to [continue to] win games.”Liverpool’s next outing is set to see them travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
You never thought of Sherlock as a freelancer before, did you. But he is.1. He understands the value of networking.2. He always respects a client’s ideas.3. He understands the importance of blending in with his client’s ideals or brand.4. He knows how to stay productive and keep prospecting for gigs during dry periods.5. He never lets his work isolate him from people he cares about.6. He never flirts with clients or coworkers.7. He’s never gets distracted or loses focus.8. He understands that success isn’t just about dollars, and cents, but about connecting meaningfully with work, family, and friends.9. When a client asks for too many revisions, he knows how to keep it professional and simply refer to his contract.10. And finally, he knows exactly what to do if a client doesn’t pay.
This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.How the heck do you set your freelance rates?This is a loaded question that eventually all freelancers find themselves asking.You might be a new freelancer and need to know where to start. You might be more experienced and not earning enough.Either way, anyone asking this question probably has some deeper concerns:Can I get the rate I want?How do I charge a premium price for my work?How do I compete with other freelancers who charge next to nothing?What will the market actually bear?Determine your base rateThe first thing you must do is determine your “base rate” – this is your lowest acceptable hourly rate, and this number is set in stone. You will never accept work for less than this amount.To calculate this rate you have to consider, of course, how much your time is worth.But a freelancer must account for much more than this as well. You have to figure in taxes, overhead expenses, account for non-billable working hours and then what about sick days, or vacation?Your minimum hourly rate must absolutely encompass all of those things. On the bright side, I’ve put together a really helpful freelance rate calculator that you can get here.Once you’ve calculated this amount, it can become a litmus test for all future potential projects. Does it qualify, or does it not?Even if you’re charging a fixed rate amount for something, you probably have an idea of how long the project will take you, and you should be able to do a rough calculation to see if the project passes the test.Do you charge hourly or by the project? Join Freelancers Union & share your perspective (it’s free!)Become a memberDetermine your premium rateNow, just because you’ve calculated your base rate, doesn’t mean this is the rate you should be asking for. It’s just a number to keep you from making a bad professional choice.The truth is, I wholeheartedly believe in charging premium prices for premium value work.So let’s dig a little deeper:There are two basic ways to charge for freelance work. 1) You can charge a fixed rate, per project price, or 2) you can charge hourly.Charging HourlyThere are some valid arguments for why a freelancer might choose to charge hourly instead of per project.Many new freelancers start out charging hourly. For one, it’s pretty hard to ask for a premium fixed price right out of the gate – a lot of new freelancers might not have the confidence or the experience to back that up.Secondly, a lot of the time, new freelancers take on smaller projects for smaller clients, and charging hourly makes more sense in this case.For quick, small projects, it’s easier to just charge by the hour. Not to mention, if you’re working with a small client for the first time, charging hourly can you give a concrete dollar figure to seek out should the project go awry.Charging hourly for your first few projects is a good way to get your feet wet, develop your skills, and get a feel for how long different types of projects take you to complete.But what happens when you start getting better? What happens when suddenly a WordPress theme takes you 20 hours to develop instead of 40?Are you going to accept half the money for what’s probably a better product?One of the best arguments I’ve heard (and used) for charging hourly is scope creep.When a project starts to take on a life of its own, and your client is demanding some serious revisions, it’s really great to fall back on your hourly rate and say “sure, I’ll make that change, another $50 please.”If you’re charging per project, what happens when the project starts taking a really long time, and you end up losing money or falling below your minimum acceptable rate?I’ll tell you what… if that’s the case, then you’re not charging anywhere near enough.Charging a Fixed RateI’ll admit, it took me a while to hop over to this side of fence.My feet were firmly planted in the “only charging hourly” camp for a long time, especially after a project for a client got completely out of control.I was pretty heavily modifying and customizing a Shopify theme for this client. It was my first time building for the platform and there were a few kinks I had to work out.The client and I completely finalized the design before I started: we did a round of wire framing and then we spent several weeks going back and forth with mockups, hammering out a design we were both really happy with.I started building my customizations and then suddenly, the whole design was wrong. We had to start again. The whole thing got redesigned, out of nowhere.If I had charged them a fixed rate fee, my effective hourly rate would have been reduced to almost nothing.So then, when I landed another Shopify theme development job, I quoted the client around the number of hours the first job took me, and was waiting in anticipation for a large payout at the end.This time I asked for a larger deposit up front, too.But guess what? This client wasn’t nearly as picky. They didn’t really have any revisions. Also, because I’d worked out a lot the things I didn’t previously understand about Shopify, the project went considerably faster.This project took me half the time and I ended up getting paid half the money, even though the work I did was better.Then, shortly after, I was approached by a potential client who wanted a Shopify site too. He asked my fee, and I quoted him a fixed price that was 2x – 3x more than what I’d earned from each of my other Shopify jobs.And he didn’t even blink an eye. I did the math, and even if the project took me twice as long, I would still be making double the hourly rate I’d charged my other clients.This meant I didn’t need another client for over a month. Suddenly all that stress I felt about having to constantly scope and sell new clients disappeared (at least for a week! ha!).Now I’m firmly in the “charge premium per project prices” camp, and I’m not looking back. I’m enjoying a lot more income, and have a lot less stress.But aside from my anecdotal evidence, let me provide you with a few other arguments about why you should charge a premium, per project fee.**Firstly, it’s actually an easier sell. **Clients will know ahead of time exactly how much your work is going to cost, and they don’t have to worry about you randomly making up hours or inflating your numbers.There won’t be any surprises down the road, and that creates a sense of security, safety, and trust that makes your clients happy.You can paint a clear picture about what your client is and isn’t gettingI started packaging my work into “bundles” for my clients.Now I do web development projects for a premium price and I include a custom design, a fully responsive codeup, a basic SEO workup, and 5 hours of additional support post project. All for a set price.That’s a really good value to my clients, and it makes it easy for them to wrap their heads around what they’re getting and for what cost.It also gives them a benchmark to use when comparing me to other developers. (Hint: My packages usually end up winning that comparison).**But what about scope creep and the out of control revisions? **I no longer allow that. My packages come with two rounds of revisions in which my clients can make adjustments or changes.This is great because it makes sure that my clients get what they want, but it keeps me in control of the project’s flow.I no longer kowtow to random and last minute redesigns. By framing your projects this way, you can create necessary boundaries that keep you in the role of consultant and expert, rather than employee or grunt.So what can we take away from all this?Here’s a summary:Calculate your base rate – your “minimum acceptable rate” – and use it as a litmus test for whether a project is worth it or not.When you’re taking on a big project, charge a premium per project fee. Don’t be afraid to effectively double or triple your hourly rate.Package your services into bundles that create clear and easy to understand value for your clients.Protect yourself in your contract by only allowing a certain number of revisions. Anything beyond that can be handled on an hourly basis, in addition to your regular fee.If you want to get your hands on that nifty rate calculator, you can get it over here.The calculator lets you estimate your yearly earnings based on a particular hourly billable rate.You can learn how much you would need to charge per hour to earn a specific yearly salary.It incorporates taxes and overhead, tells you how much you can actually keep of your paychecks to avoid a huge bill at quarterly tax time, and computes a true hourly wage based on how much you actually work vs how much you bill.It’s time to bump your freelance income up to the next level. Are you ready?Ashley Livingston: Front end developer, digital designer, crafty person, loves popcorn, cheese danishes, and goats. Find me at ashleythedeveloper.co
It’s tempting to simplify our financial planning practice down to “spend less and save more.” It’s a practical strategy because it concerns the income we already have. But what about the money we don’t have?On the surface, planning to make more money sounds a little silly. Because income comes from outside sources like a boss, client or customers, we often feel that it is beyond our control. And yet, where there’s a will there’s a way: One of the best kept secrets to financial success is proactively planning for a larger income.Here are some tips to pulling a plan for systematically increasing your income into focus:1. Put together a 12-month cash flow projectionAs entrepreneurs, we have to get out month-to-month thinking. Income ebbs and flows each month depending on marketing, holidays, the weather, almost anything really. A better way to gauge how well your business can do is to project your potential income for the next year.Include a 12-month cash flow projection in your yearly business plan. You can download a sample template here.The basic structure of a 12-month cash flow projection is this: you record the income you expect to receive on gigs you already have, products you expect to sell based on past sales, and other income sources on which you can count.Then you do a little goal setting and stretch your sales projections based on how much you think you can grow.Yes, this will feel like guessing and yes, it may or may not come true, but the exercise is powerful in and of itself. Put a concrete amount down on paper and it’s very likely that your resourceful brain will figure out how to get to that number.2. Break down your big goals into small, measurable goalsA cash flow projection will allow you to break down big picture goals into measurable steps.If you want to sell 1,000 units of something in the next year, that’s only 83 units a month. Also, it’s not a big deal if you only sell 75 units one month because that means you know you need to hit an extra 13 the next month and you can plan for that.This may mean running a sale, increasing your marketing, changing your marketing plan, or adding an extra salesperson. Whatever you end up needing to do next, your decisions will be based in manageable and tangible goals that you can carry with you each month.3. Ask for a raise or raise your rates/pricesWhether you still work a day job or you work for yourself full time, don’t be afraid to ask for more money.If you’ve never asked for a raise before, it’s terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Just keep in mind that the worst that can happen is you are told no, and really that just means no, not right now.If you need some tips and strategies for how to ask, you can listen to this podcast episode on the steps you can take to prepare for the raise conversation.Raising your rates or your prices can feel a little trickier. The best way to gauge is going to sound a little strange at first: If no one thinks it’s too expensive or feels like they can’t afford it right now, then you most likely need to raise your rates.You want people to place value on the amount they are paying you. Otherwise you might find yourself competing with similar products on price alone instead of quality or brand loyalty to you and your products.4. Supplement your income through side hustlesWe’ve talked about this before, but diversifying your income is one of the best ways to truly be financially secure and independent.Part of this equation is building or creating side hustles, especially as you’re trying to grow your main business and barely breaking even some months.Make sure the side hustle you choose doesn’t take too much of your time away from building your business. Focus on the side hustles that relate as closely as possible to what you are already doing.By doing things that relate to your business even indirectly, you might find that the side hustle is just as viable as your initial business idea and that it might make sense to integrate it.5. Put yourself out there in small waysThis can be the hardest part for most of us. You’ve made your plans, you’ve put together your projections, and you’ve decided what you can do on the side. Now it’s time to actually tell people about what you’re doing. Gulp.Yes, you will need to step out of your comfort zone as an entrepreneur, especially if you’ve never considered yourself a salesperson, but you can take one step out at a time. Here are some quick ways to start putting yourself out there:Reach out to friends and family by sending an excited emailPost one or two things about your new venture on social media a few times a weekLeave comments on blogs or websites with audiences that would enjoy your productReach out to bloggers to offer product samples or to do guest blogsFind local networking events in your city and commit to going to a few a month6. Tie your goals to actionsResults-oriented goals are good for tracking purposes, but often not good for motivation purposes. It can feel like a lot of pressure to hit these numbers each month. It can also give you the sense that you might not really be in control.One of the best pieces of advice I got from my business coach was to find ways to tie your goals to actions that you can take.For instance, taking a few of the above examples, instead of focusing on how many bloggers respond back to you, make it a goal to reach out to 10 bloggers a week. Who responds it out of your control, but you can play the numbers game and make it work in your favor.If you decide to go to a networking event, commit to talking to at least 3-5 new people. Those 5 people could turn into one lead and who knows where that might go. I met someone at an event who introduced me to her friend who ended up putting me on a panel of financial experts.By turning your goals into actions, results will naturally follow.Pamela Capalad is a Certified Financial Planner™ and the owner of Brunch & Budget. She has a background in private wealth management and she loves helping freelancers and small business owners feel confident about their finances.
The Stars and Stripes will be flying proudly over the US Open on women’s semi-final Thursday with four Americans stepping into the Arthur Ashe Stadium cauldron chasing a place in the final.Venus Williams will be the sentimental favourite when the 37-year-old takes on Sloane Stephens in one semi-final before Madison Keys battles it out with CoCo Vandeweghe in the other.It is the first time since Wimbledon 1985 that four American women have featured in a grand slam semi-finals, and the first time since 1981 at the US Open.A trip to Saturday’s final and perhaps a third U.S. Open crown 16 years after she last hoisted the trophy would cap a renaissance season for the ninth seeded Williams that has also seen her make the finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.For everyone else it will be a new pressure-packed experience as they make their maiden appearances in the Flushing Meadows semi-finals.Photo Credit: Reuters No player was more surprised to find themselves in the last four than Stephens, who just six weeks ago was ranked outside the top 950 in the world.Sidelined for almost a year after undergoing foot surgery, Stephens returned at Wimbledon and has been on a tear ever since, knocking off 11th seed Dominika Cibulkova, 30th seed Julia Goerges and 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova en route to the final four.The other semi-final will see Keys, another player making a surprising run for the title after coming back from injury, going up against Vandeweghe in a battle of big-hitters.advertisementKeys, who missed the first two months of the season recovering from wrist surgery, is peaking at the right time and blazed into the her semi-final with a 69 minute 6-3, 6-3 dismantling of Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.Vandeweghe, meanwhile, underlined her contender status by taking down world number one Karolina Pliskova in straight sets.The two players have met twice already this season with Keys winning both times.
Siliguri, Sep 24 (PTI) East Bengal clinched their eighth successive title, and a record 39 times overall, in the Calcutta Football League after holding arch-rivals Mohun Bagan 2-2 in the seasons first derby here. Maintaining their supremacy in the Premier Division A tournament, East Bengal bounced back twice with a calculative strike from man-of-the-match Laldanmawia Ralte (43rd) off a freekick and Al Amnas 66th minute effort. Eyeing their first title since 2009, the 29-time champions Mohun Bagan dominated the proceedings right from the start with 20-year-old Azharuddin Mallicks spirited second minute strike and were 2-1 up in the 49th minute following a goal from Ansumana Kromah. Two minutes later, Kamo Stephane Bayi wasted a sitter in what could have been a decisive 3-1 lead, virtually shattering their hopes at the packed Kanchenjunga Stadium. Both teams finished on 23 points but East Bengal emerged winners on a better goal difference of (+21) against Mohun Bagans +15. It was also a brilliant start by Khalid Jamil to win his maiden title for the red-and-gold brigade after scripting a Cindrella moment in Indian football by guiding Aizawl FC to I-League Trophy last season. East Bengal, thus, remained unbeaten in their last 37 CFL matches with their last defeat coming way back in 2014 against Mohammedan Sporting. This year they have won seven out of eight matches so far and dropped points against Mohammedan in their seventh round clash. Azharuddin ran down the left flank and provided a pass to Kamo Stephane Bayi inside the box. But Carlyle Mitchell cleared the ball which went to Azharuddin again whose shot took the formers deflection to go past East Bengal goalkeeper Luis Barreto. Ralte made it 1-1 from Gabriel Fernandes curling free- kick that was received by Lalram Chullova on the left. Kromah put Mohun Bagan in the lead again from a penalty after Mitchell was brought down by Kamo inside the box. East Bengal earned a much-needed penalty after Raynier fouled Ralte inside the box as Al Amna converted from the spot to once again help them equalise. With six minutes to go, Mohun Bagan were reduced to 10 players after captain Kingshuk Debnath were sent off following a double booking. Mohun Bagan players looked furious at the decision and held up the play protesting vehemently against the referees decision. Referee Ranjit Bakshi restored parity in both the camps as East Bengal too were reduced to 10 players after Surabuddin Mallick fouled from behind to get a double yellow two minutes later. PTI TAP SSC SSCadvertisement
Aditya Verma, secretary of the ‘unclaimed’ Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), has written to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), asking to elect administrator/observer for a T20I match against Australia scheduled to be held in Ranchi on October 7.”It is humbly stated that a T20 match between India and Australia; which is scheduled to be held on 07.10.2017 at JSCA cricket stadium, Ranchi. The BCCI has entrusted the responsibility to conduct the match to a faction of the Association, led by present Acting Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary. The association constitutes Kuldeep Singh and Debashish Chakraborty as President and Secretary respectively,” Verma said in a letter.Reiterating that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Amitabh Chaudhary has not fully adopted Lodha recommendations, Verma pointed out that no election has been conducted since the former’s resignation from the post of president, Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA).”It is pertinent to mention herein that the faction led by the Amitabh Chaudhary has not adopted the resolution of implementation of Justice Lodha Committee recommendation. Furthermore, it is a fact that no election has been conducted till date, after the purported resignation of Amitabh Chaudhary,” Verma said.Verma also accused organisers JSCA of malpractices like allowing Chowdhary to continue as signatory.Accusing JSCA of malpractices like allowing former state organisation president Amitabh Chowdhary to continue as signatory, Aditya Verma has approached the CoA seeking an observer for the match.”It is humbly stated that interestingly, the RTI response dated 18.7.2017 of the SBI, Bistupur Branch, Jamshedpur reveals that Amitabh Chaudhary and old office bearers are still continuing as the signatory of the Association. It is not clear as to who exactly is managing the affairs of the association. Furthermore, it is made clear that in utter disregard of the apex court order dated 07.10.2016 which categorically directs the 13 states associations (which includes Jharkhand State Cricket Association – Rs. 196 crore disbursed by the BCCI) shall not appropriate the same amount except After they have passed a resolution and filed an affidavit before Justice Lodha committee,” Verma said.advertisementIt should be noted that Chaudhary has completed more than three years as the office bearer of JSCA and according to the Lodha Committee recommendations, he is not supposed to hold any post in his state association.The CAB secretary also insisted that acting JSCA president Kuldeep Singh is also ineligible to hold office, since he needs a cooling-off break of three years after having served as vice-president from 2013-16.”The purported committee constituted is itself against the purpose and purport of the Supreme Court verdict. It is a classic case where the purported committee has not only blatantly ignored the recommendation of Justice Lodha committee but deliberately disregarded and violated the Supreme Court’s order. Kuldeep Singh, the purported President, comes under the purview of cooling-off period, as he served as Vice President of the association for the period of 2013-16, Therefore, it would be amply clear that the appointment of the committee is mere eye wash, farce, against the bye-laws of the association and violates the mandate of the Supreme Court. It is not out of place to mention that the appointment has been made without any election,” Verma explained.Earlier, in a letter to CoA chief Vinod Rai, Verma had said that Chaudhary had given a false undertaking to the Supreme Court before mentioning he had disregarded the court’s direction by inviting disqualified cricket administrators to attend the BCCI’s meetings.
Rohit Sharma knows the virtue of patience, more than most people, one might reckon. The only cricketer in the world to have scored two double hundreds in ODIs, has seen few chances come his way in the longest format of the game.Rohit was called in to Indian cricket team as a reserve batsman, but got his lucky break when VVS Laxman failed to recover from an injury, in the 1st Test of South Africa’s tour of India back in February 2010. He was all set to make his debut at his ‘home’ stadium (he was technically born in Nagpur), but fate had different plans. Just before the start of the match, Rohit injured himself in warm-up while playing football. Reserve wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha got the nod instead.”I don’t want to remember that (when he missed out making his debut in 2010 due to injury). Biggest disappointment of my life as I had to wait three years to make my debut,” Rohit Sharma said when asked about returning to the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, where he scored a unbeaten 102*in the ongoing second Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday.A century for @ImRo45 followed by the signal from the dressing room. India declare on 610/6, lead Sri Lanka (205) by 405 runs #INDvSL pic.twitter.com/m2SUb9w323- BCCI (@BCCI) November 26, 2017He went onto score his maiden ODI century (114) against Zimbabwe in May of that same year. He had to wait three more years to make his debut in the whites of India in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series against West Indies.advertisementCurrent Indian captain Virat Kohli made his debut before the Mumbai batsman, something Suresh Raina and Cheteshwar Pujara also did, as he found it difficult to break into the Indian middle order.In his first match for India in Tests, he blasted 177 in Kolkata and then followed it up with an unbeaten 111 in Mumbai, establishing his credentials as a capable batsman in the Indian team.Then came the disappointment, the failure to make runs on foreign soil hurt Rohit’s chances in the team as he found it increasingly difficult to hold down his place. Four half centuries in a span of two years doesn’t exactly scream ‘consistency’ (albeit it does for totally different reasons).His stock as an ODI batsman rose when he moved to the top of the batting line-up, but the emergence of Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara along with Kohli, made sure that his journey back to the team wasn’t going to be easy.Another injury just before the country was prepping for the 13-match home Test season in 2016-17, meant he had to sit through India’s return to the top of the Test rankings.”Last season when I missed out on a big home season due to injury that was a little disappointing. India is never going to get such a season with 13 home games. Not being part of that was a disappointment. I take whatever comes and I am happy with where I am with my Test cricket,” he said.Finding his name in home Test squads on most occasions, he finally got the opportunity to showcase his talents with the bat in the longest format against Sri Lanka, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar sought marital bliss.Good comeback by the hitman, Congrats on your 100 @imRo45Onto the bowlers to finish the job now. Fantastic Sunday!??? #IndvsSL pic.twitter.com/P0l6l34N7Q- Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) November 26, 2017The Mumbaikar’s answer – an unbeaten 102 off 160 deliveries.”I wouldn’t say I was under pressure, but I was nervous. It’s close to 500 days since I last played a Test. I just wanted to rotate the strike, get the singles and get that initial (feet) movement going,” he said.He was also involved a 173-run stand with captain Kohli, who hit his fifth double hundred, for the fifth wicket as India declared their first innings at 610 for 6 on Day 3.”The idea was to create partnerships. I sat for one and half days and saw what was happening. It stayed low as the ball went soft, playing big shots was not the ideal situation and that’s what I did,” he added.Rohit, playing his 22nd Test, scored a hundred after four years and something that he will cherish for some time to come.”I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. The next few months are going to be challenging and I am glad that I got some runs.,” said Rohit.
Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff revealed that not only did he apply for the role of head coach of the team but England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) didn’t take his application seriously.WATCHHe had writen an email for the post, but he did not get a response from the other end, Flintoff said on his podcast ‘Flintoff, Savage and The Ping Pong Guy’.”I thought you can bang on about it and put players down, or actually do something about it, so I thought that I would have a crack at this, I wrote an email, three weeks past and no reply.I’m talking with my heart, yes (I’ll apply), I want to do it one day… if they want me to do it, I’ll do it”(I found out) the ECB thought it wasn’t me despite me having one email all my life.”He revealed that he had applied when Peter Moores was re-appointed back in 2014, and that he would be giving it another try next year.”I’m talking with my heart, yes (I’ll apply), I want to do it one day… if they want me to do it, I’ll do it,” Flintoff said.After the Ashes defeat to Australia, current England coach Trevor Bayliss said he would step down from his post after his contract expires in September 2019. Bayliss said that he had told England cricket director Andrew Strauss about his decision to leave.England have gone back to England, back to the way they were in the 1990s, softFlintoff even spelt out how he would be going about his business once he did get the job, stressing on the mental aspect of England’s game.advertisement”A coach’s job now is to get players feeling the best they can be to perform, as a coach or mentor, that’d be my greatest asset,” he said.He went on to add that it was a part of the modern game that he himself could have used, “When I look back now, I should’ve spent more time on my head, I spent all the time in the gym and practicing, but I should’ve spent more time focussing on my mind.”England were humbled 4-0 in the recently concluded Ashes series down under.Flintoff, who had starred the last time England lifted the urn in Australia, felt the Aussies now have a good all-round team. “You’ve got (Mitchell) Starc who bowls fast left-arm. (Josh) Hazlewood surprised me so much, he was the fastest of the lot of them, he was bowling at 150kph. You had (Pat) Cummins who I didn’t think was good, who was good. Then you had the spinner (Nathan) Lyon, so as an attack it’s as good as you’ll face.”The one bloke who epitomised it for me was Hazlewood, I watched him charge in spell after spell like his life depended on it, compared to England’s bowlers who looked like they were lobbing in,” he added.Flintoff was also critical of England for playing some soft cricket during the Ashes. “England have gone back to England, back to the way they were in the 1990s, soft,” he said.
Kapurthala, Feb 2 (PTI) The work to clear the Kanjli wetland here from hyacinth and underwater vegetation commenced today by environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal and his associates.The Kanjli wetland has failed to attract migratory birds from Siberia over the last three years as it was covered in hyacinth and wild vegetation.Seechewal, aided by his associates, decided to take up the initiative to clean the wetland, from where the Kali Bein river passes.Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) Chairman K S Pannu, Deputy Commissioner Mohd Tayyab and Seechewal inspected the ongoing work in the rivulet.Pannu and Tayyab lauded the efforts made by Seechewal.Pannu, who is also the coordinator of Holy Bein project, directed the DC to develop Kanjli wetlandï¿½as a tourist attraction.Speaking to mediapersons, Pannu said the wetland would be cleared of the hyacinth, and water sports would be introduced in the rivulet.Later, the PPCB chairman reviewed the progress of the Holy Bein project at the Yojna Bhawan here and directed district officers to stop the discharge of sewage water into the rivulet.Seechewal demanded that fresh water flow into the rivulet from the Mukerian Hydel channel be increased to 350 cusecs to overcome the problem of hyacinth.Pannu directed the drainage department to increase the flow at the earliest. PTI Corr VSD IJT
Delhi defeated Tripura by seven wickets to register their second win in Group B of the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Wednesday.Put in to bat, Tripura posted 298 in 50 overs thanks to half-centuries from opener Bishal Ghosh (84), Yashpal Singh (61) and Gurinder Singh (54 not out).WATCHIn reply, Delhi’s top order put on a great show with Nitish Rana top scoring with a 60-ball unbeaten 94 while chasing down the target in 39.1 overs.Unmukt Chand carried on his good form with a 65-ball 55 and together with Hiten Dalal (76) shared 93 runs for the opening stand to set up the platform for the chase.Delhi are now second in Group B behind Maharashtra who defeated Uttar Pradesh by 105 runs in another Group B encounter in Bilaspur.Elsewhere in Group B, Bengal and Kerala were tied in a rip-roaring clash at Nadaun.Both outfits were locked at 235 at the end of 50 overs. Kerala batted first but had only one major contribution from their batsmen, an innings of 100 not out which came from in-form opener, Jalaj Saxena.Bengal floundered in the modest run chase with only skipper Manoj Tiwary scoring an unbeaten 73. With one to get off the last ball, number nine Kanishk Seth was run out going for a single as the match ended in neither team’s favour.In Group A, Karnataka rode on in-form batsman Mayank Agarwal’s 90-ball 109 to beat Baroda by 85 runs (via VJD method) in Bengaluru.Put in, Karnataka lost India test opener KL Rahul (3) early but R Samarth (77) helped Agarwal to build a 95 run-stand and set the platform for the R Vinay Kumar-led side.advertisementThey finished on 312/9, and in reply Baroda lost wickets at regular intervals to fall behind the run rate.Only opener Kedar Devdhar (48) and all-rounder Krunal Pandya (39) showed the intent, but good bowling by K Gowtham (4/42) and Shreyas Gopal (3/30) pegged them back.In another match, Odisha beat Railways by two wickets with three overs remaining.Electing to field first, the Odisha bowlers restricted Railways to a below-par 212 and then rode on Govinda Poddar’s 64 to win.In another Group A tie in Bengaluru, Punjab suffered a two-wicket defeat at the hands of Haryana in a thriller as captain Yuvraj Singh failed once again taking 77 balls to score 43. Gurkeerat Mann notched up 42 as the side, put in to bat first by Haryana skipper Amit Mishra, managed 247/9 in 50 overs.In reply, Haryana had 19-year old Shubham Rohilla hitting 96 to steer the chase which went down the wire with one ball remaining as Harshal Patel (18 not out) and Ajit Chahal 6 not out) took the team to victory.(With inputs from IANS)
Berlin, Feb 6 (PTI) It was a double celebration for Belgiums Arthur Van Doren after he was named as Male Player of the Year as well as Rising Star of the Year at the FIHs 2017 Hockey Star Awards, here.In fact, Van Doren won the Rising Star of the Year award for the second year in a row.Argentinas Delfina Merino was voted as 2017 Female Player of the Year.The winners, the sports top performers from last year, were revealed by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) at a glitzy event at Stilwerk Berlin last night.Van Doren was not the only star to build on last years success. Argentinas Maria Jose Granatto won the Female Rising Star of the Year for the second consecutive year after picking up the same award in India just over 12 months ago.England and Great Britains Maddie Hinch was another to secure back-to-back success as she was named Female Goalkeeper of the Year while Vincent Vanasch added to Belgiums awards after he was voted as Male Goalkeeper of the Year.Incidentally, no Indian has been nominated for the awards this year.In addition to the athletes, awards were given to the best coaches of 2017.Australian legend Alyson Annan won Female Coach of the Year as she led the Netherlands to both the Hockey World League and Rabobank EuroHockey Championship titles.The Male Coach of the Year was shared by Argentinas Max Caldas and New Zealands Shane McLeod.While Caldas steered Netherlands men to the Rabobank EuroHockey Championship trophy, McLeod guided Belgium to a triumphant victory at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg.advertisementThe worlds top officials were also recognised.Sarah Wilson from Scotland was voted by her peers as Female Umpire of the Year and South Africas John Wright, who retired after the Hockey World League Semi-Final in his homeland, won Male Umpire of the Year award.Whilst the coach and umpire awards were a result of a peer vote – the player, rising Star and goalkeeper awards consisted of both a peer vote, which included fellow players and coaches, as well as a fan vote in which over 100,000 votes were received through the FIH website.Speaking about this years awards, FIH President Narinder Dhruv Batra said: “Tonights winners should feel incredibly proud of their achievements.”Being named as the best in the world by peers and fans is the result of years of hard work, determination and sacrifice – attributes that have driven them to the top of the game.” PTI SSC SSC
Amritsar, Feb 10 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said today that a chapter on Sikh warrior Sham Singh Attariwala would be included in school textbooks, and Attari railway station and the integrated check post would be renamed after him.Talking to reporters after paying floral tribute to Sham Singh Attariwala on his 172nd Martyrdom Day at the India Gate-War Memorial here, the chief minister said that the state government would sanction Rs 10 lakh for the development of sports infrastructure and a museum in his memory.The chief minister also paid tribute at Sham Singh Attariwalas memorial at his native village Attari.He said the government had directed Punjab School Education Board to incorporate a chapter on the bravery of Attariwala in its syllabus, and had requested the National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) to include a chapter in its books.He said that he had taken up with the railway minister the issue of renaming Attari station after the great Sikh warrior, and had spoken to the union home minister on the re- christening of the integrated check post.Sham Singh Attariwala, a general in Maharaja Ranjit Singhs army, was killed during the Anglo-Sikh war in 1846.The chief minister also visited the ongoing Punjab Food Festival here. He suggested that Amritsar Town Hall get a Lahore-like food street for connoisseurs to relish local varieties.With Amrtisar being a major tourist destination, a food street of Punjabs cuisine would be a major attraction for visitors, the chief minister said and directed Tourism and Culture Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to work on the project.advertisementSidhu promised to commence work on it on priority and announced that the food street will come up at Town Hall within six months. PTI COR CHS SMN
After scoring a hat-trick for Spain in their 6-1 demolition of Argentina on Tuesday, Isco hit out over his lack of playing time at Real Madrid and took a thinly veiled swipe at his club coach Zinedine Zidane.Asked about playing under Spain manager Julen Lopetegui, Isco said: “He shows his confidence in me with the number of minutes and games he gives me.””At Real Madrid I don’t have the kind of confidence that a footballer needs; maybe the problem is me and its just the way it is with the amount of good footballers there are there. Of course, I want to show Zidane I can be counted on.”Isco nets hat-trick as Spain thrash Lionel Messi-less Argentina in friendlyIsco, who was a key figure for Madrid at the start of the season, has been struggling for a regular run in the side since the winter break, partly due to Gareth Bales return to fitness.The former Malaga midfielder has started 18 times in La Liga from 29 games, completing the 90 minutes on only four occasions.”When a player isn’t a key part of his team or isn’t getting regular games, it’s matches like these with the national side that give you life,” Isco said.”The boss here (Lopetegui) believes in me, I’m happy to work hard, improve to try and become a starter for club and country. I want to show I’m a good player.”The 25-year-old was this weekend linked with a move to Manchester City in the British press suggestions in the Madrid-based media over recent weeks that Real are ready to cash in on the midfielder, potentially after the World Cup.advertisementFor now, Isco is looking forward to the finals and believes Spain are hitting their stride just at the right time as shown in their thrashing of twice world champions Argentina.”Its a really great result and despite the score it wasnt easy. They made life difficult for us and were very aggressive, he said. Were developing a really good national side with an exciting future. We need to remember this is all preparation for the World Cup.”
The Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, reserved its order in the issue of more water usage for the six IPL 2018 matches which were shifted to Pune from Chennai.Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) has been asked not to draw water from the Pavana river. The Maharashtra government has also been asked not to renew the agreement between its irrigation department and MCA to draw any water from the river.Loksatta Movement had filed a petition in 2016 after which a few matches were moved out of Maharashtra.The petitioners informed the court of the six matches moved out of Chennai due to protests over the Cauvery water issue and said it could spell doom for the Pune area which draws water for its consumption from the Pavana river.The court had thus asked the MCA to say if it was drawing any water from the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), an area in Pune district.MCA told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that they do not need any water from PCMC. “We have water for next 32 days as we have ground water harvesting within the stadium. 50,000-liters-per-day is used for ground maintenance and our own water is sufficient for that,” said the MCA lawyer.The MCA affidavit also pointed out that water is being supplied to golf courses to which Justice A S Oka asked the association not to make such comments and if it was interested then it should take up this issue and file a petition.MCA also told the Court that they do not take water from the municipal corporation but said they drew water from the Pavana river.advertisementThe water is treated at the stadium and then used. Approximately 2.5 lakh litres of river water is drawn everyday by the association.However, while going through the affidavit of MCA, the Court realised that their agreement with the irrigation department to draw water from Pavana river had expired in February 2018.The MCA lawyer explained that there was a grace period of 90 days and an application to the irrigation department is made for drawing water and during this time they could keep drawing water.The Court also pointed out from papers produced by the association that the water being given to the stadium is for industrial purposes and not for entertainment purposes. IPL comes under the entertainment and not industry category. To this, MCA replied that they will not draw any water for the upcoming IPL matches from Pavana river.”You will not draw any water from Pavana river. You will not take any portable water for drinking purposes. You will only take sewage treated water which will not be used for drinking purposes,” Justice Abhay Oka said.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) marked their sensational return to the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a place in the final of the eight-team tournament.On Tuesday, CSK edged out Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by two wickets in a thrilling Qualifier 1 at the Wankhede Stadium to storm into the final, leaving SRH to grind out for a final berth.Faf du Plessis was the man-of-the-match for his sturdy innings, which later turned into absolute explosiveness, and took CSK to the important win.As du Plessis threw his hands up in the air to celebrate, CSK players ran towards him to hug him and scream over their victory. MS Dhoni as usual was on the sidelines calmly shaking hands with the support staff.MATCH REPORT | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOSHowever, on their way back to the hotel, Dhoni let his childish happiness out in a selfie with Suresh Raina in the bus.Raina took to Instagram to post the “winning selfie”, where he has Dhoni alongside him with a childlike smile, along with Michael Hussey, Harbhajan Singh and Sam Billings visible far behind.Considering the photograph itself, CSK showed the value of experience in the qualifier on Tuesday when du Plessis stuck around and planned how to go about his innings. On the other hand, SRH’s batting fell like a pack of cards once Kane Williamson had a rare failure. Only a late blast from Carlos Braithwate salvaged their situation and took them to the defendable total of 139/7.advertisementAlso read – MS Dhoni in 8th Indian Premier League final, Chennai Super Kings in 7thEven the SRH bowlers began perfectly with Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling a breathtaking first over, picking one wicket and giving just a single run.Till the 17th over, the match was in the hands of SRH but du Plessis smacked Braithwaite in the 18th over and a brilliant 5-ball 15 cameo from Shardul Thakur in the 19th over meant CSK had to chase just 6 runs off the last six deliveries.Watch: Sakshi ecstatic as husband MS Dhoni reaches record 8th IPL finaldu Plessis, though, decided that he did not want to wait that long and whacked Bhuvneshwar down the ground for a six in the very first delivery of the final over to get the victory.Also read – Hopefully we can come back to Mumbai for IPL final: Kane WilliamsonThis was an emotional comeback and Sakshi Dhoni along with the other wives of CSK superstars were ecstatic when du Plessis pulled off the heist.Also read – Suresh Raina edges past Virat Kohli to become leading IPL run-scorerThe CSK dug-out was overwhelmed as players and support-staff congratulated each other. Soaking everything in, with his usual calm demeanour, was Dhoni.when Sanjay Manjrekar asked Dhoni what he felt after becoming the only man to reach an unprecedented eighth IPL final, the response was typical Dhoni: “I am always happy when we win. Being in the top two gives you that liberty to have one more game.Also read – How did we win this?: du Plessis after CSK’s heist over SRH”Had we lost, we would have still had a second chance,” was all you would get out of MSD.Things did not go according to plan for the men in yellow but they somehow pulled off the win and will now await the winner of the other qualifier to know who their opponents in the final are going to be.
Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta once again professed her admiration for MS Dhoni but also rued the fact that she can never have the Indian cricket legend in her team in the Indian Premier League.At a recent event Preity was asked who she would like to have in her team from the current players in the IPL to which she replied Dhoni but she knows her wish may never come true.IPL 2018 Final: Live Updates”There is just one player who I have always wanted in my team but that won’t ever happen… and that is MS Dhoni. When the IPL started I wasn’t a Dhoni fan but from what I’ve seen of him in the last 10 years I’ve started to admire him,” Preity said.I am a big MS Dhoni fan, happy to see him shine: Preity ZintaThe Bollywood actress also slammed the Dhoni’s detractors who wanted him to contemplate retiring from the sport due to a few failures with the bat in 2017.But Dhoni answered all his critics this year which is why Preity feels that it was unfair to challenge a cricketer like him.Watch: Fan falls at MS Dhoni’s feet on stage during event”Last year everybody started saying Dhoni should stop playing but look at him this year. He is unbelievable and I think it’s unfair at every step to challenge a player once he reaches a certain stature. He doesn’t need to tell people who he is, he is Dhoni.IPL 2018: Fan breaches security again to touch MS Dhoni’s feetadvertisement”I really admire him because he was a really terrific captain for India. The country won so much under him. Even when you see him on the ground he remains absolutely calm and collected. He remains gracious in defeat as well. When he wins he’s obviously amazing,” Preity stated.Earlier this month Preity revealed she was a Dhoni fan even though his team ended KXIP’s run in the tournament on the last day of the league phase last week.Also read – MS Dhoni exudes calm ahead of CSK’s 7th IPL finalAfter the game on May 21, Preity engaged with her fans on Twitter in a heart-to-heart chat where someone asked, “After KXIP gone, who is your favorite to win this year’s IPL?”.Also read – IPL 2018 final, CSK vs SRH: Hyderabad face Chennai in high-octane clashEven though PZ didn’t pick any particular team but she did reveal that she is a ‘big MS Dhoni fan’.I like all teams as long as we are not playing against them but I am a big @msdhoni so Im happy to see him shine. https://t.co/iTHLk5yikJPreity zinta (@realpreityzinta) May 21, 2018Dhoni has been enjoying his best IPL season this year having scored 455 runs in 15 matches at an average of 75.83 with three fifties so far.On Sunday, Captain Cool will once again get the chance to lift the IPL trophy for the third time in his career when Chennai Super Kings take on 2016 champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.Dhoni’s CSK will be meeting Kane Williamson’s SRH for the fourth time this season. On the previous three occasions, the yellow army have managed to beat the Orange army.CSK fans will be hoping to see their legendary captain lift another trophy and lead from the front, something that Dhoni has done exceptionally well this season.
Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson has been named in the Iceland squad for next month’s World Cup in Russia despite the midfielder missing the end of the league season with a knee injury.Sigurdsson, Everton’s record signing after his move from Swansea City last year, has not played since picking up the injury against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on March 10.Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who enjoyed an impressive campaign with Burnley, and Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson have also been included in the 23-man squad for the country’s first World Cup appearance by Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.Iceland, with a population of 340,000 and a pool of only around 100 professional footballers, are the smallest country to have qualified for a World Cup.They made their debut at a major tournament at Euro 2016 where they beat Austria and England and finally lost to hosts France in the quarter-finals of an extraordinary campaign.Iceland will kick off their campaign against 2014 World Cup runners-up Argentina in Moscow on June 16. Croatia and Nigeria are the other two teams featuring in Group D.Squad:Goalkeepers: Hannes Thor Halldorsson (Randers FC), Runar Alex Runarsson (FC Nordsjaelland), Frederik Schram (FC Roskilde).Defenders: Kari Arnason (Aberdeen), Ari Freyr Skulason (Lokeren), Birkir Mar Saevarsson (Valur), Sverrir Ingi Ingason (FC Rostov), Hordur Magnusson (Bristol City), Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson (Levski Sofia), Ragnar Sigurdsson (FC Rostov).Midfielders: Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley), Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa), Arnor Ingvi Traustason (Malmo FF), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Olafur Ingi Skulason (Kardemir Karabukspor), Rurik Gislason (Sandhausen), Samuel Fridjonsson (Valerenga), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).advertisementForwards: Alfred Finnbogason (FC Augsburg), Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (FC Rostov), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Reading), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV Eindhoven).
Rafael Nadal thrashed Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets on Friday to storm into his 11th French Open final.The 10-time French Open champion punished Del Potro for missed opportunities as he registered a comprehensive 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory.He will face Thiem in the final on Sunday after the Austrian won his semi-final against Marco Cecchinato.Once Nadal stole the opener with a break in the 10th game it was one-way traffic as he left Del Potro trailing in a cloud of Parisian clay dust to set up a final against Dominic Thiem.”It was a tough first set with opportunities for Juan Martin, I am fortunate that I won the first set and then I played more aggressively,” Nadal, who equals Roger Federer’s feat of reaching the final of a single Slam 11 times, said on court as fans chanted “Viva Espana”.”I am very happy to be back in the final here at Roland Garros. For me it’s incredible.”Thiem beat me in Madrid this year and played with big power. I know I have to play my best tennis to have a chance on Sunday. I believe I can be ready for that final.”11th Roland-Garros final!@RafaelNadal rolls past Del Potro 6-4 6-1 6-2. Meets Thiem on Sunday.#RG18 pic.twitter.com/Kxer1ZZxbu Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 8, 2018Del Potro, playing in the semi finals here for the first time since losing to Roger Federer in 2009, was 0-40 ahead on Nadal’s serve at 1-1 but could not press home the break and worryingly appeared to hurt his hip at deuce in that game.advertisementHe did not look unduly affected though and his heavy groundstrokes took a toll on Nadal who rescued three more break points in the ninth game.There was a sense of inevitability when Del Potro served at 4-5 and Nadal turned the screws to grab two set points at 15-40.Del Potro saved one but a backhand error handed Nadal the set and he never took a backward glance after that.Nadal crushed Del Potro’s spirit with the intensity of his tennis in the second set, bounding 5-0 ahead before the Argentine registered a game to lift the spirits of his fans.They tried their best to rouse their man in the third set but it was mission impossible as Nadal, clubbing the ball as if his life depended on it, churned out winners.THIEM CREATES HISTORYCelebrate!@ThiemDomi reaches his first Roland-Garros final defeating Marco Cecchinato 7-5 7-6(10) 6-1.#RG18 pic.twitter.com/OwKbNmXWgYRoland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 8, 2018Thiem defeated Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (12-10), 6-1 to reach his first French Open final. The seventh seed is the first Austrian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Thomas Muster triumphed at Roland Garros in 1995.Cecchinato, the world number 72, played fearlessly and used his whole arsenal of claycourt weapons, but he came up short against the only player to beat Nadal on his favourite surface this season.The 24-year-old Thiem, the youngest man since Nadal to reach the final in Paris, ended the contest on his first match point with a forehand winner.”Maybe the experience helped a little bit but the big key was the second set tiebreak because it was very close and I saved I think three set points,” said Thiem.”If lost that tiebreak it would have been a very close match I think and I didn’t want that.”Of course it’s very important to have a good recovery now. I’ll watch the other semi-final to study… my opponent and then it’s full power on Sunday.”Cecchinato, who was suspended for match-fixing in 2016 before being cleared on a technicality, proved to be no pushover even though he had never won a match at a major before this year’s French Open.NERVES SETTLEDThiem was the aggressor early on and he broke in the first game before holding to love for a 2-0 lead.Cecchinato’s nerves settled and the Sicilian unleashed some trademark backhand winners but Thiem had too much pace and power.Cecchinato mixed it up with drop shots and gradually found his range to set up three break points at 4-3, which Thiem saved thanks to his strong first serve.The Austrian netted an easy volley to give another opportunity to Cecchinato, which he seized, forcing his opponent to a backhand error.Thiem sent Cecchinato scurrying around the court before breaking decisively for a 6-5 lead with a lovely forehand winner. He then held serve to bag the first set.advertisementThe second set turned into a tight tactical battle with neither able to break serve.Thiem’s massive forehand allowed him to race into a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak.But the Austrian got nervous and wasted several set points, one of them when he shanked a routine volley at 6-4.”When I missed that volley it wasn’t a very nice feeling. It was destructive a little bit,” Thiem, who won two claycourt tournaments this season, said.His huge serve helped him to save set points too and he finally gained the upper hand to take a two-set lead.Thiem went for the jugular in the third set and after racing to a 4-0 lead in double quick, he finished off the job to reach his first Grand Slam final.(With inputs from Reuters)