Mustafizur approaches IPL with ‘open mind’

Dhaka, April 7 (IANS) Bangladesh’s pace sensation Mustafizur Rahman is approaching his first year in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with an “open mind”.

The young seamer is not setting himself a specific target but is not worried about his participation in the lucrative Twenty20 tournament, starting April 9, reports

He just wants to perform well and pick up a wider range of skills.

Mustafizur will be playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad who face the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their opening match on April 12.

“What is there to think about? I really don’t think much about anything. Just go, play and bowl – that’s it,” Mustafizur said on Wednesday.

Bangladesh crashed to four successive defeats in the Super 10s of the World Twenty20 last month.

Mustafizur, who joined the team in the second match of the round after recovering from an injury, shone bright with nine wickets in three matches.

Hyderabad franchise mentor V.V.S. Laxman saw the youngster in action when he burst onto the scene in the One-Day series against India in June last year.

The former India batsman had his eyes on Mustafizur since then as the Sunrisers managed to sign him up in the auction by outbidding the Bangalore franchise earlier this year.

Laxman, also a professional commentator, has always praised Mustafizur from the commentary box. He and Mustafizur, however, did not cross paths during the showcase event in India.

“I am not really good in either English or Hindi, maybe that’s why we did not meet up,” Mustafizur said.

He bamboozled the New Zealand batsmen in their last match, returning 5/22 against New Zealand. That was the best bowling figures in a match in the just concluded World T20.

The Sunrisers’ fast bowling unit also includes Kiwi speedster Trent Boult, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhimanyu Kumar and Australia’s Ben Cutting. So Mustafizur has to really bowl well for a place in the playing eleven.

But despite the obvious challenge, the southpaw also sees an opportunity to learn from these world class bowlers, “Definitely looking to learn with so many left-arm pacers in the pack.”

Man City dents PSG’s Champions League chances

Paris, April 7 (IANS) Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain found themselves in a difficult situation after drawing 2-2 with former English Premier League winners Manchester City in their first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals at the Parc des Princes here.

The visiting side opened scoring on Wednesday through a textbook counter attack in the 38th minute when Fernando took the ball from Matuidi and quickly broke forward to pick out Kevin De Bruyne on the right before the latter smashed a finish beyond PSG goalie Kevin Trapp, reports Xinhua.

Just three minutes later, the hosts scored an equaliser through a dreadful error from Fernando, who received a simple goalkick from his keeper Joe Hart, rushed a clearance after he turned and saw Ibrahimovic, but only smacked off the Swede and beyond a stranded Hart.

PSG began to turn up the heat and grabbed the lead on 59 minutes through Adrien Rabiot as Hart parried Edinson Cavani’s header from Angel Di Maria’s corner but it fell kindly for Rabiot to tap in at the far post. City pulled a goal back, however, after 72 minutes when Thiago Silva made a mess of dealing with Sagna’s cross and Fernandinho pounced to equalize with a mis-hit shot.

With the draw and two goals from the away match, City earned themselves the edge heading into next Tuesday’s return leg.

Indian eves go down in Hawke’s Bay Cup quarters

Hastings (New Zealand), April 7 (IANS) The Indian women’s hockey team were defeated 1-3 by a resilient Japan in their Hawke’s Bay Cup quarter-final here on Thursday.

Japan started the game strongly and took the lead in the fifth minute from their first penalty corner. They scored two more quick field goals in the sixth and seventh minutes to leave India reeling at 3-0.

The Indians settled down and earned their first penalty corner which they converted through Rani in the 14th minute.

After an exciting first quarter, the second period turned out to be calmer as both teams looked to their respective defences to control the flow of the game.

India came out of stronger after half-time and immediately tested the opponent’s defence, only to be thwarted by the Japanese goalkeeper.

The Japanese, who started the second half defensively, were pushed back constantly as the Indians pressed hard to find the goals. Deflections by Poonam missed the target, while captain Deepika also missed a chance in the third quarter.

Late in the fourth quarter, India had a flurry of penalty corners as they looked to put their opponents under pressure.

Japan goalkeeper Asano Sakiyo was called into action as she cleared Rani’s attempt off the line in the final minutes to ensure her team qualified for the next round.

India will next play Canada in a classification game on Saturday.

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