28 Nov 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

9:15 am on 28 November 2020

Latest - England's Jonny Bairstow bludgeoned a brilliant unbeaten 86 from 48 balls as the tourists chased down 180 to beat South Africa by five wickets with four balls to spare on a slow wicket in the first Twenty20 International at Newlands.

Jonny Bairstow acknowleges the crowd on his way back to the dressing room.

Jonny Bairstow Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sent into bat, South Africa posted a respectable 179 for six in their 20 overs, before claiming early wickets to have England in trouble in their reply.

But Bairstow, batting in an unfamiliar number four position, led the fightback as he sat deep in his crease and smashed nine fours and four sixes with the kind of exquisite timing few other batsmen found on the day.

South Africa's innings was anchored by the experienced Faf du Plessis (58 from 40 balls), who was especially brutal on Tom Curran (1-55), smashing the England seamer for 24 runs in his second over that contributed to the bowler's most expensive figures in international Twenty20 cricket.

Brother Sam Curran (3-28) exacted some family revenge when he had Du Plessis caught on the boundary by Chris Jordan and was the pick of the visitors' attack with his career-best figures, and clever change of pace and ability to surprise with the short ball on a slow wicket.

Quinton de Kock (30 from 23 balls) and Rassie van der Dussen (37 from 28 balls) also provided useful runs for the home side.

England were in early trouble in their reply, losing Jason Roy (0) second ball to George Linde as South Africa took pace off the ball at the start of the innings.

When Jos Buttler (7) and Dawid Malan (19) fell the visitors had slumped to 34-3 in the sixth over. But Bairstow and Ben Stokes (37 from 27 balls) rallied, putting on 85 in 8.4 overs for the fourth wicket to drag England back into the contest.

England still needed 51 from the final four overs, but when Beuran Hendricks conceded 28 runs in his last over, the game swung heavily in their favour.

- Reuters

Smith and Finch fire for Australia in ODI win

Steve Smith and Aaron Finch led the way with centuries as Australia opened their home summer with a one-day victory over India by 66 runs on Friday in the first men's international played in front of a crowd since March.

Steve Smith

Steve Smith Photo: Photosport

Finch scored 114 in an opening stand of 156 with David Warner (69) to lay a platform before his predecessor as captain Smith smashed 105 off 66 balls to drive Australia to 374 for six -- their highest total against India.

Hardik Pandya thumped four sixes in a bright 90 to give India hope but the innings petered out after his fifth-wicket partnership of 128 with opener Shikhar Dhawan (74) was broken and India limped to 308-8 in their 50 overs.

Smith survived an early scare on 15 when he was given out lbw but he immediately reviewed and the tracker showed the ball was going a whisker above the stumps.

Thereafter, Smith looked at his very best as he raced to the third fastest one-day century by an Australian in 62 balls, clubbing 10 fours and four sixes.

Paceman Mohammed Shami was the pick of India's bowlers (3-59) and skittled Smith with a full toss in the final over of the innings.

Josh Hazlewood (3-55) stalled a blistering start to India's innings by removing Mayank Agarwal and then dismissed Virat Kohli (21) and Shreyas Iyer in the 10th over.

Spinner Adam Zampa (4-54) redeemed himself with ball in hand after dropping Kohli in the deep when the India captain was on one, but his was only one of a string of misfields from both sides.

- Reuters

Fast-finishing Swish upset champs

The Capital Swish upset the defending champion Auckland Dream 76-66 in the women's national basketball competition in Auckland.

Letave Whippy and Grace Vaofusi lead the way for the victorious Swish who move to 2-1, one more victory guaranteeing them a semi-final berth in the 18in18 competition.

Fijian international Whippy finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and a block. Vaofusi was equally destructive with 12 points in the final quarter to finish with a game high 21 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block.

The Dream led 59-56 with a shade over five minutes to play but they were outscored 20-7 in those closing minutes by a rampant Swish.

Olympic cyclists impress at Cambridge Champs

The New Zealand elite cycling squad, headed by their Tokyo Olympic riders, produced some eye-catching displays on the opening day of the Cambridge 3 Day at the Avantidrome.

Track Cycling World Cup - Cambridge, New Zealand - Campbell Stewart and Aaron Gate of New Zealand celebrate winning Gold in the Men's Madison.

Campbell Stewart and Aaron Gate Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In-form Aaron Gate, fresh from winning the Tour of Southland and Criterium Nationals, joined with fellow world championship silver medallist Campbell Stewart to win the Madison Championship title in emphatic fashion.

Olympic-bound Rushlee Buchanan and Jessie Hodges prevailed in the Women's Madison Championship, while triple team sprint world champions Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell topped qualifying in the men's sprint, with fellow Tokyo teammate Ellesse Andrews topping the charts in the women's sprint qualifying.

Rugby ref Owens brings up 100th game

Welsh rugby referee Nigel Owens said he feels the same buzz that he did while officiating in his first test nearly 18 years ago, as he prepares for a record-extending 100th game in charge when France host Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup.

International rugby referee Nigel Owens

Nigel Owens Photo: © INPHO 2017

Owens is the longest serving member of World Rugby's elite international panel, notably taking charge of the 2015 World Cup final between the victorious All Blacks and the Wallabies as well as several European Champions Cup finals.

The 49-year-old cut his teeth in international rugby on the Sevens circuit in 2002 before taking charge of his first 15-man test a year later. He broke Jonathan Kaplan's record of 70 matches in June 2016.

"I still love the game as much as I've ever done, I still get as excited as when I did my first test. The buzz is still there, I'm still enjoying it and loving every minute of it," Owens told World Rugby's Between the Lines podcast.

"Hopefully I'm still performing to the high standards World Rugby expect of me and the high standards I set for myself."

Owens said he is looking forward to his big moment in Paris.

"When you referee, you don't think about milestones... but (it is) something you become aware of and something you become proud of," he added.

"It's similar now with this 100... it's something special, something you can look back at."

- Reuters

Hamilton sets pace in F1 practice

Seven-times Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the opening practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas who completed a one-two for Mercedes.

The Briton, who equalled Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven titles at the last race in Turkey, lapped the 5.4km Sakhir desert track in one minute, 29.033 seconds, 0.449 seconds clear of Bottas.

Sergio Perez in the Racing Point was third, 0.967 seconds off the pace.

Carlos Sainz was fourth for McLaren, ahead of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, with the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon sixth and seventh respectively followed by Renault's Esteban Ocon.

Lance Stroll was ninth in the other Racing Point and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10 for Renault.

The session, which took place under overcast skies, was largely uneventful apart from occasional spins and lock-ups as drivers got to grips with the track.

- Reuters