Wednesday 23 January 2019

Emotions run high in NZ quake tribute

CRICKET: Australia captain Ricky Ponting won the toss and opted to field first in their World Cup match against New Zealand at the VCA Stadium today with both teams wearing black armbands in tribute to the Christchurch earthquake victims.

Both teams observed a minute's silence while the New Zealand flag flew at half mast. Some New Zealand cricketers' eyes looked moist as they linked arms while their national anthem was being played before the start of the match.

Australia were set 207 to win after New Zealand were bowled out inside 46 overs, with Mitchell Johnson taking four wickets for 33 runs.

CRICKET: South African skipper Graeme Smith said it had been "one of those days" after his decision to field a three-pronged spin attack paid rich dividends with an opening World Cup win over the West Indies.

Off-break bowler Johan Botha opened the bowling and grabbed two wickets for 48 but the star performer with the ball was debutant leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who took 4-41 as South Africa cruised to a seven-wicket win.

Smith also praised AB de Villiers, who put on 119 runs for the third wicket with the skipper and went on to score 107 not out as South Africa overhauled the West Indies score of 222 all out with 43 balls to spare.

TENNIS: World number two Roger Federer eased into the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Championships yesterday with a 72-minute, 6-3 6-4 win over Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.

NBA: Chicago 93 Miami 89, Denver 89 Boston 75.

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