Asian Games kick off in Jakarta

ICMD, Aug 18, 2018 The 18th edition of the Asian Games officially kicked off on Saturday as the opening ceremony of the Games took place at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, with a dazzling display of lights, colors and fireworks. The loudest cheers during the countries’ parade were reserved for the contingent of the host Indonesia while the united Korean contingent also drew a lot of noise. South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and North Korean Deputy Prime Minister Ri Ryong-nam could be seen clutching hands in the VIP seats as they raised their arms aloft to greet the team. Following the countries march, the Indonesian pop star Via Vallen came on the stage to perform the official theme song of the Games, Meraih Bintang. The President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah then delivered his speech, at the end of which he requested the Indonesian president to declare the Games open. "You can feel proud of your home country Indonesia," said the OCA president, before Joko Widodo made the announcement of the Games opening which triggered a volley of fireworks. About 18,000 athletes and officials from 45 Asian countries will attend the Asiad, organizers said, looking to make their mark across a range of sports from swimming to sepak takraw and bridge. The Asian Games encompass nearly the full Olympic program and are considered the pinnacle by many participating nations, for whom Olympic success often proves elusive.

Kohli tops ICC test batting rankings

ICMD, Aug 5, 2018 Virat Kohli broke new ground by topping the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test batting rankings for the first time in his career when the latest edition was published Sunday. The India captain, already at the head of the equivalent one-day international batting chart, found himself at the summit of these standings after scoring 149 — his maiden Test century in England — and 51 during the series opener at Edgbaston. Unfortunately for Kohli, his impressive match haul of exactly 200 runs could not prevent an India defeat by 31 runs on Saturday's fourth day in Birmingham, with England now 1-0 up in a five-match series. Kohli's two innings boosted his ranking rating by 31 points and helped him end Steve Smith's 32-month reign as the top-ranked batsman in Test cricket. Former Australia captain Smith is currently serving a 12-month international ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal during a Test against South Africa at Cape Town in March, Kohli is now on top of the rankings for the first time in an impressive 67-Test career that has yielded 5,754 runs at an average of 54.28, including 22 hundreds. He now leads Smith by five points, but will have to maintain the form in the remaining four Tests to end the series as the world’s highest-ranked batsman. Kohli is the seventh Indian, and first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011, to hold the number-one Test batting position. Apart from Kohli and Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Dilip Vengsarkar are the other India batsmen to have been in the top spot during their Test careers. However, at 934 points, Kohli has become India’s highest-ranked batsman, 14th overall, on the all-time tally of points. Kohli had entered the Edgbaston Test on 903 points, 13 points behind former opening batsman Gavaskar, and is now ahead of the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer by 18 points. Meanwhile James Anderson, England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, remained on top of an unchanged top 10 in the Test bowling rankings following his impressive display at Edgbaston which included a brilliant duel with Kohli. The rankings will next be updated following the second Test between England and India at Lord's, which begins on August 9. Leading MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on August 5, following Edgbaston Test)

Belgium beat Brazil 2-1, will play France in World Cup semifinal

ICMD, July 6, 2018 Belgium has beaten Brazil 2-1 to reach the semifinals of the World Cup for just the second time. The Belgians led 2-0 at halftime and withstood late pressure from the five-time champions after Renato Augusto cut the margin with a header in the 76th minute. A Fernandinho own goal and a perfectly executed finish from Kevin De Bruyne gave Belgium a 2-0 lead over Brazil at halftime in the World Cup quarterfinal match at Kazan. Belgium took the lead in the 13thminute after a Belgium corner from Nacer Chadli was met at the near post by Vincent Kompany with a flick, then diverted into the back of the net by Fernandinho's shoulder. De Bruyne doubled Belgium's lead in the 31st minute following a swift counterattack following a Brazil corner. After the corner was cleared, Romelu Lukaku went on a mazy run through Brazil's midfield before laying a pass off to his left for the oncoming De Bruyne, who struck his shot low into the corner of the Brazil net and beyond the dive of goalkeeper Alisson. Brazil had chances to get back into the game, notably in the 37th minute when a curling shot from outside the area from Philippe Coutinho was palmed away by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Brazil substitute Renato Augusto pulled one back for the five-time champions, reducing Belgium's lead to 2-1. Augusto, who went on three minutes earlier as a replacement for Paulinho, connected with a cross from Philippe Coutinho and headed the ball into the net to beat 'keeper Thibaut Courtois in the 76th minute. Belgium, which last reached the semifinals in 1986, will next face 1998 champion France in St. Petersburg. It will be the first time since 2006 that four European teams will feature in the World Cup semifinals. The two other spots will be decided in Sunday's quarterfinals which feature Russia vs. Croatia and England vs. Sweden. -- Courtesy AP

Belgium beat Brazil 2-1, will play France in World Cup semifinal

ICMD, July 6, 2018 Belgium has beaten Brazil 2-1 to reach the semifinals of the World Cup for just the second time. The Belgians led 2-0 at halftime and withstood late pressure from the five-time champions after Renato Augusto cut the margin with a header in the 76th minute. A Fernandinho own goal and a perfectly executed finish from Kevin De Bruyne gave Belgium a 2-0 lead over Brazil at halftime in the World Cup quarterfinal match at Kazan. Belgium took the lead in the 13thminute after a Belgium corner from Nacer Chadli was met at the near post by Vincent Kompany with a flick, then diverted into the back of the net by Fernandinho's shoulder. De Bruyne doubled Belgium's lead in the 31st minute following a swift counterattack following a Brazil corner. After the corner was cleared, Romelu Lukaku went on a mazy run through Brazil's midfield before laying a pass off to his left for the oncoming De Bruyne, who struck his shot low into the corner of the Brazil net and beyond the dive of goalkeeper Alisson. Brazil had chances to get back into the game, notably in the 37th minute when a curling shot from outside the area from Philippe Coutinho was palmed away by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Brazil substitute Renato Augusto pulled one back for the five-time champions, reducing Belgium's lead to 2-1. Augusto, who went on three minutes earlier as a replacement for Paulinho, connected with a cross from Philippe Coutinho and headed the ball into the net to beat 'keeper Thibaut Courtois in the 76th minute. Belgium, which last reached the semifinals in 1986, will next face 1998 champion France in St. Petersburg. It will be the first time since 2006 that four European teams will feature in the World Cup semifinals. The two other spots will be decided in Sunday's quarterfinals which feature Russia vs. Croatia and England vs. Sweden. -- Courtesy AP