CRICKET: ICC Twenty20 World Cup NAGPUR, India (AP) – West Indies captain Darren Sammy will be confidently aiming for a semi-final spot at the World Twenty20 when the 2012 champions take on South Africa in a Group 1 match today (9 a.m. Jamaica time). West Indies have recorded convincing victories against England and Sri Lanka on contrasting pitches in Mumbai and Bangalore and Sammy believes his side can maintain its momentum. Victory would assure West Indies of a place in the semi-finals, even before their fourth and last group game against Afghanistan on Sunday at the same venue. “We have six steps to the cup, we’ve taken two, tomorrow is about taking one more step toward our goal and that step is South Africa,” he said. “Hopefully we could entertain like we’ve been doing since the inception of T20 cricket and at the end of the day we’ll be celebrating a place in the semi-finals.” Mystery surrounds how the wicket will behave as it has been covered for the last two days under baking sun in Nagpur. If the wicket suits spinners like it did when New Zealand shocked hosts India in a low-scoring Group 2 opening match, Sammy has Samuel Badree and Sulieman Benn to pose challenges for the strong South Africa side. West Indies didn’t feel the absence of the destructive Chris Gayle against Sri Lanka after Andre Fletcher stepped up and made a rapid unbeaten 84 off 64 balls. Gayle, who scored a 47-ball century against England, couldn’t bat at Bangalore because of a hamstring injury he sustained while fielding, but he has regained fitness for today’s game. And Sammy hinted Fletcher could get the nod ahead of Johnson Charles as Gayle’s opening partner. “It’s a good headache to have whether we let Fletcher or Charles open the batting with Chris,” he said. “The good thing is Fletcher has played really well … we have a fair idea who will open tomorrow.” Despite the absence of their two key Twenty20 players Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, West Indies twice successfully chased down the targets with ease. So much is the dominance of West Indies’ regular bowlers that Sammy and even Gayle are yet to bowl in the tournament. “That’s the beauty of our team,” Sammy said. “It’s not about egos and stuff like that, it’s about me as a captain doing what’s necessary at the time on the field for the best interest of the team.” South Africa lost to England before beating Afghanistan and are in a must-win situation as another defeat could put them in danger of making an early exit from the tournament. The Proteas scored over 200 runs against England and Afghanistan, but their bowlers went for plenty — especially in the first six overs of batting powerplay in both games at Mumbai. Joe Root’s epic 83-run knock helped England chase down World T20’s highest ever total of 230-8 while Afghanistan’s bulky opener Mohammad Shahzad whacked a rapid 41 to give South Africa an early scare. “As a team we’ve been possibly going at about 60-70 percent now for a while and I’m hoping that we’ll step up the gear when it comes to crunch time for us in the tournament,” said South Africa captain Faf du Plessis. “There’s a few mistakes we made, but I do think that bowling will be a little bit different in these conditions.” A hamstring injury to all-rounder JP Duminy during the Afghanistan match has also made South Africa consider bringing on Aaron Phangiso to supplement the legspin of Imran Tahir.
Mayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’ A costly, catty dispute finally settled View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson No. 1 Nadal will be a significant favorite Sunday against No. 32 Kevin Anderson of South Africa, who beat Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to become the lowest-ranked U.S. Open finalist since the ATP’s computer rankings began in 1973. The 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson, who won an NCAA doubles title at the University of Illinois, is equipped with a big serve, certainly, but he only once had even been a quarterfinalist at a major until this week. He’s also lost all four previous matches against Nadal.Plus there’s this: Nadal looked as good as ever over the last three sets against del Potro, further confirmation of his return to the height of his powers. Nadal is again healthy and capable of excellence, after wrist and knee injuries dulled his effectiveness in 2015 and 2016 — the first seasons since 2004 in which he not only failed to win a Grand Slam trophy but didn’t even make a final.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smog“It’s been an amazing season, of course, after a couple of years with some troubles, injuries, tough moments,” Nadal said. “So this year, since the beginning has been a very emotional year.”He reached the Australian Open final in January, losing to Roger Federer, then claimed his record 10th French Open championship in June. OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson By now, Nadal was pulling his own intimidating, topspin-lathered forehand up the line and attacking whenever del Potro left a ball short.It was quickly clear that the only doubt remaining was what the final score would be.“Just the fight to be in the final, and have a chance to fight for another title here, is so important for me,” Nadal said.Hours earlier, Anderson was so excited that he celebrated his semifinal victory as if it made him the champion, stepping on a chair and then a flower box to help him climb into his guest box in the stands.“I don’t know if it’s appropriate,” Anderson said. “It certainly felt the right thing to do.”Hip, leg and elbow injuries caused him to miss time this season. Ankle surgery, plus left knee, right shoulder and groin injuries were problems last year.He is appearing in his 34th major tournament and took advantage of a draw depleted by withdrawals of several top players, including past champions Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.“It’s nice that some of them gave us a bit of a shot to make a run in this tournament,” Anderson said. Winning start MOST READ End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts after beating Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina, during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)NEW YORK — Once Rafael Nadal went from passive to aggressive and got his uppercut of a forehand going, it didn’t take long for him to power into the U.S. Open final.Closing in on a third title at Flushing Meadows and 16th Grand Slam championship overall, Nadal overcame a so-so start with an overwhelming performance the rest of the way Friday night, taking nine games in a row during one stretch to beat 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Learning about the ‘Ring of Fire’ End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend South African Kevin Anderson advances to US Open final Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Break new ground Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Save for a less-than-dominant opening set Friday, in which Nadal had nine winners and 10 unforced errors, he barely missed his targets. His numbers the rest of the way: 36 winners, 10 unforced errors.Eventually, Del Potro’s flat, fearsome forehand became less dangerous, as if he suddenly remembered just how weary he was. Dealing with an illness, del Potro came back from a two-set deficit to win his fourth-rounder in five sets, then got past 19-time major champion Federer in the quarterfinals in four. Maybe it was all too much for del Potro, whose one Grand Slam title came via wins over Nadal in the semifinals and Federer in the final in New York eight years ago.That was the last time Nadal lost in a major semifinal ; he’s now won 15 in a row. This time, the 24th-seeded del Potro actually edged ahead with the match’s first break, going up 3-2 in the first set when a backhand return caught the net tape and took a fortuitous roll over to Nadal’s side for a winner.That was greeted with a chorus of “Ole, ole, ole, ole! Del-po! Del-po!” for the popular Argentine, who would serve out that set, punctuating it with a forehand.Maybe that woke up Nadal, who wouldn’t again relinquish a game until he owned the second set and a 3-0 lead in the third. The next time del Potro served, Nadal finally earned his first break point with some fantastic defense, throwing himself to his left to somehow get back one massive forehand from del Potro, who — perhaps stunned that ball came back — sent his next forehand long.ADVERTISEMENT