Weekly Digest (April 5-11): IPL 2021 kicks off, more Olympic quotas for India, stutters in European league title bids

From the opening fixtures of the 2021 edition of the IPL to Indian athletes securing spots in the Summer Olympic Games this year, here's a wrap of all things sport this week.

A roundup of the biggest developments from sport this past week.

From the opening fixtures of the 2021 edition of the IPL to Indian athletes securing spots in the Summer Olympic Games this year, here's a recap of the biggest developments in sports this week.

CRICKET

The Indian Premier League is back. Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians in a thrilling opener. (REPORT) Suresh Raina returned to action in style with a quickfire 50 off 32 in Chennai Super Kings's (CSK) IPL 2021 opener against Delhi Capitals in Mumbai on Saturday. Delhi Capitals, however, won the contest by seven wickets. (REPORT). Kolkata Knight Riders cruised to a comfortable win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their campaign opener (REPORT).

New Zealand's travel ban from India starting Sunday (April 11) could impact its cricketers playing in the IPL and force them to fly straight to the UK for the two-Test series against England in May-June, followed by the World Test Championship final. (REPORT)



Australia left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff has replaced Josh Hazlewood in the Chennai Super Kings squad for IPL 2021. (REPORT)

Former India captain and batting icon Sachin Tendulkar, who was hospitalised as a precautionary measure after testing positive for COVID-19, was discharged on Thursday (April 8). He is now recuperating in home isolation in Mumbai. (REPORT)

Opener Mohammad Rizwan smashed an unbeaten half-century to lead Pakistan to a nail-biting four-wicket victory over inexperienced South Africa in the first Twenty20 International at The Wanderers on Saturday. Earlier in the week, Pakistan defeated South Africa 2-1 in the ODI series. (REPORT)

South Africa-born batsman Devon Conway has been named among three uncapped players in the New Zealand cricket team which will play two Tests in England in June. (REPORT)

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Australian all-rounder Daniel Sams on Wednesday (April 7) tested positive for COVID-19. On Tuesday (April 6) Mumbai Indians' wicketkeeping consultant and talent scout Kiran More also tested positive for the virus. (REPORT)


 

FOOTBALL

Runaway Premier League leader Manchester City slumped to a shock 2-1 home defeat against 10-man Leeds United on Saturday, with Stuart Dallas bagging the winner in stoppage time. (REPORT)   Late goals by Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood sealed Manchester United a 3-1 comeback win against Tottenham Hotspur, cementing its place in the Premier League top-four while the London club's hopes of joining it looked slim on Sunday. (REPORT)

Real Madrid beat arch rival Barcelona 2-1 at home in an entertaining, rain-soaked El Clasico to storm to the top of the La Liga table. (REPORT)

Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich stumbled to a 1-1 draw at home against Union Berlin on Saturday to see its lead at the top cut to five points with six games left. (REPORT)

 



Melbourne Victory forward Kyra Cooney-Cross scored directly from a corner in the final minute of extra time to help her team beat Sydney FC in the W-League Grand Final on Sunday and be crowned champion of Australia for the second time. (REPORT)

Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a stoppage-time winner as Liverpool fought back to snatch a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday. (REPORT 

Phil Foden grabbed a last-minute winner as Manchester City beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in its Champions League quarter final first leg on Tuesday after Marco Reus netted a late equaliser for the Germans at The Etihad. (REPORT)

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior came of age to score twice as his side punished a sloppy Liverpool to win 3-1 at home in Tuesday's Champions League quarter final first leg. (REPORT)

FIFA has suspended the Pakistan Football Federation due to third-party interference and also the Chadian Football Association due to government interference. (REPORT)

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe scored twice to steer his side to a 3-2 victory over defending champion Bayern Munich in a topsy-turvy Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday. (REPORT)

ATK Mohun Bagan has roped in promising midfielder Liston Colaco ahead of the next Indian Super League (ISL) season on a record transfer fee that is the highest-ever for an Indian player. (REPORT)

FC Goa skipper Edu Bedia and midfielder Brandon Fernades stressed the need to be smart, while head coach Juan Ferrando spoke about wanting to stay true to the club’s philosophy as they embark upon their maiden AFC Champions League campaign (REPORT).Brandon also penned a new three-year contract with FC Goa which will keep him at the club until June 2024.
 

TENNIS

Sania Mirza has been added back to the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. It may be noted that Sania was part of the TOPS scheme earlier in the current Olympic cycle, but had withdrawn herself from the scheme when she left the Tour in 2017. (REPORT)

The French Open tennis tournament will be delayed by one week because of the coronavirus pandemic. The clay-court Grand Slam tournament was set to start on May 23, but first-round matches will now get underway on May 30. (REPORT)

 

Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime has added Toni Nadal to his coaching team ahead of the European clay court swing, the 20-year-old confirmed on Thursday. (REPORT)

TABLE TENNIS

Ace Indian paddler Sharath Kamal, who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, is awaiting a final word from the Table Tennis Federation of India on his proposal to have training sessions with his mixed doubles partner Manika Batra ahead of the quadrennial event. (REPORT)

BADMINTON

Two Super 100 badminton tournaments - the Russian Open 2021 and Indonesia Masters - have been cancelled due to COVID-19 related restrictions, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Monday.  (REPORT)
 

HOCKEY

The men's Asian Champions Trophy hockey will be held from October 1 to 9, 2021, in Dhaka, the Asian Hockey Federation has announced. The tournament, originally pencilled in for 2020, was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

Former India coach Harendra Singh has been appointed the new head coach of the U.S. men’s hockey team. (REPORT)

Top officials of the cash-strapped Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will push for revival of bilateral ties with India at neutral venues during the 47th International Hockey Federation (FIH) Statutory Congress from May 19 to 23 in New Delhi. (REPORT)

BOXING

M.C. Mary Kom (51kg) will spearhead the Indian women's challenge in the Asian Boxing Championships slated to be held here from May 21 to 31. (REPORT)

 

ATHLETICS

World Athletics should introduce a new set of records for times set by athletes wearing high-tech footwear, said British Olympian Tim Hutchings, as debate continues over whether the shoes give runners an unfair advantage. (REPORT)

Hima Das and Dutee Chand were named in the Indian women's 4x100m team for the World Athletics Relays, an Olympic qualification event, to be held in Poland on May 1 and 2. (REPORT)

India's top track and field athletes, including javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and sprinter Das, will embark on a training-cum-competition tour of Turkey later this month, the national federation said on Tuesday. Chopra's fellow Olympic bound javelin thrower, Shivpal Singh, the country's relay racers (both 4x100m and 4x400m men and women) will also be part of the 40-odd contingent that also includes coaches. (REPORT)

Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, who come down with minor symptoms of COVID-19, could be isolated in a hotel lined up by local organisers of the games. The Japanese news agency Kyodo on Sunday said organisers were working to secure 300 rooms in a hotel near the Athletes' Village. (REPORT)

The Patiala Health Department on Saturday banned the entry of outsiders inside the National Institute of Sports (NIS) due to the rising cases of COVID-19 across the country. (REPORT)

OTHER SPORTS

Nethra Kumanan became the first Indian woman ever to qualify for the Olympics in Sailing when she finished first in the laser radial class at the Mussanah Open. (REPORT)

The pair of Varun Thakkar and K. C. Ganapathy and Vishnu Saravanan qualified for Tokyo Olympics in the 49er and laser standard classes respectively in the Asian Olympic sailing championships (REPORT).

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India’s Nethra Kumanan has virtually qualified for Tokyo Olympics in the laser radial class of the Asian Olympic qualification championships.   -  FACEBOOK/NETHRA KUMANAN



Two Indian fencers -- Taniksha Khatri and Konsam Denny Singh -- participating in the World Junior and Cadet Championships in Cairo have tested positive for COVID-19 and put in quarantine. (REPORT)

Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee won the women's 50 metres freestyle and 50m butterfly events at the national championships on Saturday, less than eight months after she returned to competition following her recovery from leukaemia. (REPORT)

WRESTLING

Eighteen-year-old Sonam Malik became the youngest Indian female wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as the country bagged two quota places in the Asian Olympic Games qualifiers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Saturday. (REPORT)

None of the six Indian wrestlers in action could secure an Olympic quota for the Tokyo Games even as Ashu and Gupreet Singh won bronze medals at the Asian Qualifiers on Friday. Only the finalists will earn a place in the Tokyo Games from this event and five Indians lost in the last-four stage to miss the chance of qualifying on the opening day of the competition. (REPORT)

National champion Sandeep Singh Mann (74kg) failed to qualify for the Olympic Games at the Asian Qualifiers in Almaty on Sunday, keeping veteran Sushil Kumar's Tokyo hopes alive in the weight category. Also missing out on qualification was Satywart Kadiyan (97kg) and Sumit Malik (125kg) in the three-day competition that concluded on Sunday. All those who missed out have one last chance to make the cut for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games at the World Olympic Qualifiers, scheduled to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from May 6-9. (REPORT)

MOTORSPORT

Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez has been cleared to return at the Portuguese Grand Prix next weekend after recovering from an arm injury that cut short his 2020 season, his Repsol Honda team said on Saturday. (REPORT)


Nico Hulkenberg will be Aston Martin's official Formula One reserve and development driver this season, the team said on Thursday. (REPORT)

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