Women’s T20 Challenge 2022: Fixtures, squads, venues, all you need to know

The Women’s T20 Challenge makes a return this year and will be played among three teams in Pune. The exhibition tournament, unofficially referred to as the Women’s IPL, was not held last year.

Some of the big names like Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey will not be taking part in the Women’s T20 Challenge 2022, but with 12 overseas stars joining the tournament this year, there will be no dearth of talent.

Trailblazers won the Women’s T20 Challenge title in 2020. Sportzpics

Here’s all you need to know about the 2022 Women’s T20 Challenge.

Which teams will take part in the Women’s T20 Challenge 2022?

As earlier, Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity are the three teams to take part in the tournament. Harmanpreet Kaur will captain Supernovas, while Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma will lead Trailblazers and Velocity respectively.

Trailblazers are the defending champions.

What is the format of the Women’s T20 Challenge 2022?

Teams will play each other once in the round-robin format with the top two qualifying for the final.

Where will Women’s T20 Challenge 2022 matches be played?

All Women’s T20 Challenge 2022 matches will be played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.

Schedule

23 May: 7:30 PM – Trailblazers vs Supernovas

24 May: 3:30 PM – Supernovas vs Velocity

26 May: 7:30 PM – Velocity vs Trailblazers

28 May: 7:30 PM – Final

Where can we watch the Women’s T20 Challenge 2022?

The Women’s T20 Challenge 2022 will be shown live on the Star Sports network. It can also be live-streamed on Disney+ Hotstar.

Squads

Supernovas: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Taniya Bhatia, *Alana King, Ayush Soni, Chandu V, *Deandra Dottin, Harleen Deol, Meghna Singh, Monica Patel, Muskan Malik, Pooja Vastrakar, Priya Punia, Rashi Kanojia, *Sophie Ecclestone, *Sune Luus, Mansi Joshi.

Trailblazers: Smriti Mandhana (captain), Poonam Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, *Hayley Matthews, Jemimah Rodrigues, Priyanka Priyadarshini, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, S. Meghana, Saiqa Ishaque, *Salma Khatun, *Sharmin Akter, *Sophia Brown, Sujata Mallik, S.B.Pokharkar.

Velocity: Deepti Sharma (captain), Sneh Rana, Shafali Verma, *Ayabonga Khaka, K.P. Navgire, *Kathryn Cross, Keerthi James, *Laura Wolvaardt, Maya Sonawane, *Natthakan Chantham, Radha Yadav, Aarti Kedar, Shivali Shinde, Simran Bahadur, Yastika Bhatia, Pranavi Chandra.

*denotes overseas player.

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IPL 2022 Playoff schedule: Date, time and venues for Qualifier 1, Qualifier 2 and Eliminator

Delhi Capitals had their fate in their hands going into the must-win game against Mumbai Indians at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. The equation was clear: beat MI and they go through to the IPL playoffs. Lose and Royal Challengers Bangalore go through.

But as things transpired, DC let chances go with a drop catch and a DRS not taken being chief among them. MI chased down the 160 run target with five wickets and five balls to spare.

That meant DC were out of reckoning for the IPL playoffs with RCB going through and joining Gujarat Titans, Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants. RCB players had every reason to celebrate this gift as they watched the game from afar.

The final of IPL 2022 will be played on 29th May in Ahmedabad. Image: Sportzpics

With only Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Punjab Kings to go, an inconsequential contest for both teams, the points table at the top will remain unchanged. GT will finish first with 20 points, RR second, LSG third — both on 18 points but Rajasthan have better net run rate — and RCB fourth with 16 points.

The top-two teams have the luxury of getting two shots at making the final. Meanwhile LSG and RCB, third and fourth respectively, will have to win two in a row to make the title clash.

The league phase of the IPL was played in Maharashtra in its entirety. But it moves out for the knockout matches.

IPL 2022 Playoff fixtures:

Qualifier 1: Gujarat Titans vs Rajasthan Royals on 24 May at Eden Gardens, Kolkata from 7.30 PM

Eliminator: Lucknow Super Giants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore on 25 May at Eden Gardens, Kolkata from 7.30 PM

Qualifier 2: Loser of GT/RR vs winner of LSG/RR on 27 May at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad from 7.30 PM

Final: Winner of GT/RR vs winner of Qualifier 2 on 29 May at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad from 8 PM

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IPL 2022, Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Punjab Kings: Mumbai Weather Update

As we have entered the final lap of the IPL 2022, we have already got our top four teams. But in a formal face-off, Punjab Kings will square off against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on 22 May.

Washington Sundar of the Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrates the wicket of Rohit Sharma of Mumbai Indians during Match 65 of the IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 17 May, 2022. Sportzpics for IPL

Both teams have officially been ruled out of the tournament. They share the same number of points (12 points) in the same number of matches (13). A win in this game will do nothing but boost their reputation.

In the previous battle between Punjab and Hyderabad, the Kane Williamson-led side successfully chased down 152 runs through a collective team effort. Though the skipper did not put any significant score on the board, other batters like Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran played very well.

Liam Livingstone was the sole performer from Punjab Kings, scoring a 33-ball 60 to post a decent target on board. Hyderabad pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar scalped three wickets during his 4-over spell, while Umran Malik picked up 4 wickets.

The loss against Delhi Capitals in the previous game destroyed any playoff hopes for Punjab Kings. They fell 17 runs short while chasing down 160 runs. On the other hand, Sunrisers Hyderabad are coming off a gripping win over Mumbai Indians. The franchise clinched the victory by three runs in the last-over thriller.

Weather Report:

Mumbai weather is expected to be hazy on Sunday evening. There is no chance of rain during this Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Punjab Kings Match. The wind speed is expected to be around 23km/h on matchday, while the temperature could hover from 29 degrees Celsius to 33 degrees Celsius. The humidity is likely to be around 67-73 percent.

Possible Playing XIs:

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg, Glenn Phillips, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran(c & wk), Washington Sundar, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik, T Natarajan.

Punjab Kings: Jonny Bairstow, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Liam Livingstone, Mayank Agarwal (c), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Harpreet Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada.

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Tata IPL 2022 – SRH vs PBKS head to head Records, SunRisers Hyderabad Head-to-Head Record Against Punjab Kings

Kane Williamson has flown back to New Zealand ahead of the last league match of this season’s IPL as Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. While the game is a dead rubber in every sense, this is also a chance for the management to try out a number of new faces and test the depth of their squad ahead of the next edition.

Umran Malik of the Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrates the wicket of Daniel Sams of Mumbai Indians during Match 65 of the IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 17 May, 2022. Sportzpics for IPL

For SRH, Rahul Tripathi has been their best batter for them in the tournament. He has so far scored 393 runs in 13 fixtures this season. Abhishek Sharma, Nicholas Pooran, and Aiden Markram have been the other batters who have contributed in a few fixtures.

Punjab Kings, on the other hand, failed to continue with their momentum. After a stupendous beginning, the side has not found any consistency and have once again fallen short of reaching the playoffs. While fans expect a slew of changes to their management soon, but for now, they could give opportunities to few new faces for this clash.

A look at the head-to-head numbers between SRH and PBKS:

SRH vs PBKS Head-to-Head:

Total – 19
SunRisers Hyderabad – 13
Punjab Kings – 6
No result – 0

SRH vs PBKS previous game

In the last match between these two sides, Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Punjab Kings by 7 wickets in Mumbai.

Last five results:

Sunrisers Hyderabad won by 7 wickets

Punjab Kings won by 5 runs

Sunrisers Hyderabad won by 9 wickets

Punjab Kings won by 12 runs

Sunrisers Hyderabad won by 69 runs

SRH vs PBKS Probable XIs:

SunRisers Hyderabad Probable Playing XI: Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Glenn Phillips, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (C), Fazalhaq Farooqi, Umran Malik, T Natarajan/Kartik Tyagi

Punjab Kings Probable Playing XI: Jonny Bairstow, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa/Shahrukh Khan, Liam Livingstone, Mayank Agarwal (c), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Harpreet Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh

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Google Doodle celebrates legendary wrestler ‘Gama Pehlwan’ on 144th birth anniversary

Google Doodle celebrates India’s legendary wrestler Gama Pehlwan on his 144th birth anniversary.

Google Doodle celebrates Gama Pehlwan, popularly known as ‘The Great Gama’, on his 144th birth anniversary. Image: Google

Google on Sunday honoured India’s ‘Gama Pehlwan’ on his 144th birth anniversary with a Doodle. The Amritsar-born wrestler, originally named Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, is popularly known as ‘The Great Gama’ for his tremendous feat of remaining unbeaten in international matches.

The Google Doodle, created by guest artist Vrinda Zaveri, celebrates Gama Pehlwan’s accomplishments but also the impact he made and the representation of Indian culture by extension.

Gama Pehlwan came from a family of wrestlers and started combat sports as young as 10 years old when his daily routine included 500 lunges and 500 pushups. His success as a youngster and fame across the royal states brought him into the fold of Maharaja of Datia.

“By 1910, people were reading Indian newspapers with headlines praising Gama as a national hero and world champion,” says Google in a release referring to the now 32-year-old.

Gama earned many titles in his career, notably the Indian versions of the World Heavyweight Championship, and the World Wrestling Championship where he was bestowed with the title of “Tiger”.

He was presented with a silver mace by the Prince of Wales during his visit to India.

Today, a 100 kg doughnut-shaped exercise disc called Hasli, which Gama used for squats and pushups, is kept at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Museum in Patiala.

Also known as ‘Rustam-e-Hind’, Gama Pehlwan’s career spanned over 52 years.

Gama is also considered a hero for saving the lives of many Hindus during the deadly partition in 1947. He spent his remaining days, until his death in 1960, in Lahore.

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SRH vs PBKS Predicted Playing 11, IPL 2022, today match live update

The Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings, the two teams that have already been knocked out of IPL 2022, will lock horns in their last league match of the season at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Sunday (22 May).

Punjab Kings’ players during Match 60 of the IPL 2022 between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings at the Brabourne Stadium (CCI) in Mumbai on 13 May 2022. Sportzpics for IPL

Since both the sides have already been eliminated, it will be interesting to see if they try out a number of new players ahead of next season. Punjab could hand out opportunities to Shahrukh Khan, Benny Howell and Raj Bawa. Shahrukh has not had the best of seasons and Raj Bawa could not get going in the initial few matches of the tournament.

On the other hand, Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson, who had his worst IPL season, has flown back to New Zealand for the birth of his child. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is expected to lead the side and SRH could try out Glenn Phillips instead of Williamson.

They too can give opportunities to players who have been on the sidelines all season and we could see the likes of Sean Abbott, Ravikumar Samarth, Shreyas Gopal, Jagadeesha Suchith, Glenn Phillips, Abdul Samad and others get their opportunity in this match.

Both squads had enough chances to make it to the playoffs, but they struggled to find the right combination and never could get momentum on their side all season. Barring a few players on either team, a number of big names and hefty purchases underperformed. There will also be pressure on the management, especially the Anil Kumble-led Punjab Kings support staff to retain their spot next season.

However, keeping all these factors aside, both the sides would be keen to put in their best effort for one last time this season.

Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Punjab Kings predicted playing XI:

Sunrisers Hyderabad Probable Playing XI: Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Glenn Phillips, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (C), Fazalhaq Farooqi, Umran Malik, T Natarajan/Kartik Tyagi

Punjab Kings Probable Playing XI: Jonny Bairstow, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa/Shahrukh Khan, Liam Livingstone, Mayank Agarwal (c), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Harpreet Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh

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IPL 2022: Delhi Capitals never got out of second gear this season and it cost them when it mattered most

Fate is never without a cruel sense of irony. At a most pivotal moment for Delhi Capitals, when it needed to lean on DRS and umpires to get a decision against Tim David, Rishabh Pant decided not to opt for the review. David smacked 34 runs off 10 balls thereafter and Mumbai Indians somehow scraped across the finish line, setting off wild celebrations both at the Wankhede and in Bengaluru.

Rewind to when Pant and Capitals lost their calm against an umpiring decision against Rajasthan Royals. How one of the coaches – Pravin Amre – stepped across the boundary to argue with the umpires? How Pant had even signalled his batsmen to walk off the field, an unprecedented move in the Indian Premier League? On Saturday night, the chickens came home to roost.

Delhi Capitals’ captain Rishabh Pant reacts in dugout after his dismissal during match 69 of IPL 2022 against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. Sportzpics

Let it be said that IPL 2022 has been a poor season for Pant. 340 runs in 14 matches is his lowest run-tally since 2017. For the first time in his IPL career, Pant failed to score a single half-century across the season, with a highest of 44. His strike rate hovered over 150, even closer to 160 for most parts, significantly higher than the last two IPL seasons. But what good is that strike rate alone when it cannot be measured in runs or impactful innings?

It turned out to be a key problem for Delhi Capitals. Think Pant and IPL, and you will always recount at least two highly impactful knocks every IPL season. An aggressive half-century, a miraculous 70-odd off 40-ish deliveries; Pant’s signature would be all over Delhi’s season and it would generate momentum for the middle order too.

This has been an elusive element for the franchise this season, and Pant simply didn’t kick off as a batsman. A school of thought might even suggest that he was too engrossed in captaincy, especially with all the problems Delhi encountered. It was the only camp seriously affected by COVID-19, losing key players and support staff at different times, including coach Ricky Ponting. It left Pant as the point man, as seen from his on-field outburst mid-season, and arguably, it derailed both his and Delhi’s season.

That COVID-19 episode cost them more. Much was put at stake when Delhi picked up Mitchell Marsh in the auctions, and his unavailability initially, combined with the illness later, was simply poor luck. During that period, Delhi experimented with five different batsmen at number three, including Pant. Despite David Warner’s return to form, and Prithvi Shaw scoring runs in his company, Delhi’s batting order failed to go through the gears if wickets fell after a good start.

It was a problem they never could solve through the season, and it was an even bigger blight if Delhi lost early wickets. Look at Saturday night’s game – Mumbai got Warner and Marsh cheaply at 22-2. Shaw made a quick start, despite time away due to illness but it didn’t materialise into anything substantial at 31-3. At 50-4, with Sarfaraz Khan gone and Pant having to play a rescuing hand, the writing was pretty much on the wall.

Khan’s inconsistency, and that too of Rovman Powell, hurt Delhi further. Despite his good run-in to the league, Khan failed to cash in on the opportunities granted to him whether at the top or in the middle order. Some would argue the constant chopping and changing didn’t help but Khan has never really proven himself to be a bankable commodity in the IPL, and it wasn’t different this season either. For Powell, it was his first season in the league and though much was expected of him, he simply isn’t in the same class as Shimron Hetmyer, yet.

Then there is Lalit Yadav. He started the season strongly but then his middle-order/finishing role was changed to keep up with the necessary chopping and changing. And he lost form, plus his bearings, so much so that he wasn’t even in Delhi’s plans by the business end of this league stage. It is the underlying problem – the Yadavs, Khans, Powells won’t win you the title, when the Pants and Shaws don’t kick it off. Even Warner’s bat talking again couldn’t save them.

This start-stop phenomenon was most visible in its batting but Delhi suffered from bowling issues as well. While Kuldeep Yadav came across as a vital positive, it cannot be said of the others. Axar Patel was retained for INR 9 crore. He helped Delhi win their first game of the season against Mumbai but fell off a click – performance wise – thereafter. Six wickets in 13 matches is not a good enough return for the second-highest retention at the franchise.

Anrich Nortje’s case is even more baffling. Retaining the South African at INR 6.5 crore, Delhi bet big on him and even let go of Kagiso Rabada, who is a bankable IPL star and took 22 wickets in 12 games for Punjab Kings this season. Nortje, in comparison, was afflicted with a mysterious injury – at least that was the official reasoning given – and thus played only six games. It affected his bowling rhythm and impact, resulting in a mere 9 wickets. Put together, Patel and Nortje cost INR 15.5 crore for a sum total of 15 wickets – a crore-plus for every wicket. To say that’s costly would be an understatement.

Perhaps the biggest bowling loss came from Shardul Thakur. Bought for INR 10.75 crore, there was much hope from the former CSK all-rounder and that he would replicate his international form for Delhi. He struggled for rhythm and bowling form throughout the season, only gaining his touch towards the end. Six of his 15 wickets came in the last two games, which means he picked only 9 wickets in the first 12 games.

It is the same problem mirrored in the batting department. The likes of Khaleel Yadav and Mustafizur Rahman can play supporting roles but if your retained players and mega buys don’t set the tournament alight, it is pointless. Like Warner, Kuldeep’s form couldn’t help Delhi either. So much so, it didn’t win two consecutive games until games 12-13 in this IPL 2022. By then, it was too late to build any useful momentum, and the lack of balance in this side is cause of concern for Ponting and the team management.

For most parts of the season, despite its inconsistency, Delhi looked as if things could come together and it could challenge. At least on paper, it looked a more rounded outfit than Royal Challengers Bangalore, and certainly one that could beat Mumbai Indians to qualify for the knockouts.

Cricket, though, isn’t played on paper, as Delhi found out to their loss and Bangalore’s gain.

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SRH vs PBKS Dream11 Prediction, IPL 2022: Playing XI News, Cricket Fantasy Tips, Injury update And Pitch Report

We are into the final league game of this year’s IPL as Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. This is a dead rubber as both the sides are out of playoffs contention, but they would still want to bow out of the tournament with a win.

File image of SRH players. Sportzpics for IPL

While Punjab Kings come into this contest after having lost their last match against Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad won an absolute thriller against the Mumbai Indians in their last fixture. This should give them a lot of confidence ahead of the game.

For SRH, their captain Kane Williamson will not be a part of this match since he has flown back home and it will be interesting to see if they make changes to their playing XI. Punjab Kings, on the other hand, have endured another disappointing season despite having had a very good auction.

Ahead of the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings; here is everything you need to know:

SRH vs PBKS Telecast

Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 3, and Star Sports 3 HD channels will broadcast the SunRisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings encounter.

SRH vs PBKS Live Streaming

The match between SunRisers Hyderabad vs Punjab Kings is available to be streamed live on the Disney+ Hotstar app and website.

SRH vs PBKS Match Details

The SRH vs PBKS match will be played at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Sunday, 22 May, at 7:30 PM IST.

SRH vs PBKS Dream11 Team Prediction

Captain: Abhishek Sharma

Vice-Captain: Nicholas Pooran
Suggested Playing XI for SRH vs PBKS Dream11 Fantasy Cricket:
Wicketkeeper: Nicholas Pooran
Batsmen: Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Shikhar Dhawan
All-rounders: Washington Sundar, Liam Livingstone, Rishi Dhawan
Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh

SRH vs PBKS Probable XIs:

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Glenn Phillips, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (C), Fazalhaq Farooqi, Umran Malik, T Natarajan/Kartik Tyagi

Punjab Kings: Jonny Bairstow, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa/Shahrukh Khan, Liam Livingstone, Mayank Agarwal (c), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Harpreet Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh

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French Open 2022: Naomi Osaka hopes to find her feet on Roland Garros clay

Naomi Osaka admitted to battling with depression and not finding the joy in wins. She hopes to put that and knowledge of her clay record aside at the French Open.

Naomi Osaka faces Amanda Anisimova in the first round of French Open 2022. AFP

If you believe in social media posts, Naomi Osaka is a much happier person. Or at least trying to be.

Apart from the tweets about myriad business interests, Osaka has been using the microblogging to send out ‘chill vibes’, pen affirmations and emanate positivity. Whether it represents the true picture or not, it is an encouraging sign from one of the most precocious tennis talents after she spent most of the last 12 months under a cloud.

Trouble began with her refusing to attend the mandatory post-match press conferences at the French Open. She was fined for skipping press and threatened with expulsion. Not wanting to be a ‘distraction’ anymore, Osaka pulled out of the tournament. That’s when she revealed that she had been battling ’bouts of depression’ since winning her first Grand Slam at the 2018 US Open. Osaka brought the conversation about mental health of elite athletes to the table, front and centre.

Despite the barrier she had broken down and support she received from other athletes, the four-time Grand Slam champion seemed to be reeling emotionally. After losing to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open, Osaka said she was taking an indefinite break from tennis.

“I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don’t feel happy,” she added. There were times when Osaka broke down in the press conference room. At Indian Wells, earlier this year, she was reduced to tears by a heckler.

But the Japanese, with the help of a mental health expert, has worked on dispersing the darkness. She reached the final of the WTA 1000 event in Miami and approached the clay season with renewed spirit.

“Yeah, for the most part, I think I’m OK,” Osaka said of her return to French Open, a year after she walked out of the tournament.

“I was just kind of worried if there would be people that like — of course I also didn’t like how I handled the situation, but I was worried that there were people that I offended in some way and I would just kind of bump into them,” the 24-year-old said on Friday.

“I was also very worried about this press conference because I knew I’d get a lot of questions about this. But, yeah, I wouldn’t want to say it’s like it hasn’t left my mind. Of course, I’m still thinking about it, and I’m kind of also prepping just in case I go on the court and a fan says something like in Indian Wells. I feel like the thing that’s changed, me trying to figure out the crowd. I feel like I’m a stand-up comedian, and I’m trying to figure out what’s okay and what’s not okay.”

One of the reasons Osaka wanted to skip the press last year is her record on clay.

A Japanese player, bred on American hard courts, Osaka has struggled to make sense of the soft, shifting red dirt. All of the seven titles she has won so far, including the four Grand Slams, have come on hard courts. Her sister, Mari, a retired tennis player, admitted that Osaka didn’t want to be reminded, and prodded, about her shortcomings on the surface. It would only mean planting doubts in her already anxious mind.

But rather than pulling a veil over her limitations like last year, Osaka has sought to understand the whims of the surface a little more this time. Osaka revealed she had been watching videos of Rafael Nadal, the King of Clay, and of Carlos Alcaraz, Nadal’s heir-apparent, to improve her clay court craft.

“I think I stole one of the things that he (Nadal) did and I’ve been practising it recently,” Osaka said in Madrid recently. “It’ll either go really good or really bad. There’s like no in between. But I think as I’ve been doing it, it’s been going pretty well.”

Despite the effort, Osaka hasn’t had enough matches on clay to make her a firm title contender going into the French Open, which begins Sunday. She was scheduled to play the WTA 1000 events in Madrid and Rome. While she lost in the second round in Madrid, Osaka pulled out of the latter due to an achilles injury.

She will have to pop a few painkillers, but Osaka said that wouldn’t keep her away from the French Open this year, even though the road back won’t be easy. In the first round, she will face 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova, who’s staging a career revival. Anisimova defeated Osaka in the third round of this year’s Australian Open, the official ‘Happy Slam’ and one of Osaka’s favourites.

“I wouldn’t say I don’t want to play her, because I feel like, for me, I’m the type of person that if you beat me, it motivates me more to win,” said Osaka of her first-round clash. “And I also learned a lot from the match.”

Armed with lessons from the match, and the experience from the past 12 months, Osaka will enter the French Open wanting to give a better account of herself. Or find the joy of playing again.

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Rishabh Pant on not taking DRS against Tim David: ‘Everyone in the circle wasn’t convinced’

In a do-or-die battle for Delhi Capitals, skipper Rishabh Pant’s decision to not take a review against Mumbai Indians batter Tim David after he nicked the first ball proved to be the biggest turning point as DC were eliminated from IPL 2022.

Delhi needed a win in their last league encounter to qualify for the playoffs but they suffered a five-wicket defeat with Mumbai chasing down a 160 run target with five balls to spare.

Rishabh Pant did not take the DRS against Tim David despite feeling the batter had nicked the ball. Sportzpics for IPL

With MI at 95/3 in 14.3 overs, David edged the first ball of his innings off Shardul Thakur. The on-field umpire gave him not out and Pant went along with the decision. However, he was soon seen shaking his head in disappointment after watching the replays on the giant screen.

Talking about the incident after the match, Pant said: “I thought there was something. Everyone standing in the circle wasn’t convinced and at the end I didn’t go up.”

David went on to score 34 off 11, hitting four sixes. He brought down the equation to 15 off 14 balls before Ramandeep Singh finished the job for Mumbai.

The Mumbai batter was also asked about the incident after the match. He said: “I heard a noise but I wasn’t sure, but when they didn’t review, I thought let’s crack on, that’s how the game is.”

Reflecting on the loss and the season, Pant added: “For most of the game we were on top. On occasions, we let the game slip away from our grasp when we were on top. That’s what we were doing throughout the season. Not good enough to win this match I guess. It’s not about pressure. We could have done better execution and planning. Learn from mistakes and come back stronger next year.”

Delhi’s defeat allowed Royal Challengers Bangalore to qualify for the playoffs as the four-placed team.

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