5 Dec 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

9:59 am on 5 December 2020

Latest - The Harbour Breeze had to hold off a resolute Capital Swish in the first NBL 18IN18 semi-final at Pulman Arena before closing out a 77-64 win.

Capital Swish Letava Whippy and Harbour Breeze Zara Jillings in 18in18 basketball

Capital Swish Letava Whippy and Harbour Breeze Zara Jillings Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Breeze led 44-23 at halftime and appeared to be on course for a comfortable victory - Letava Whippy had other ideas.

The Swish captain put up an incredible line of 17 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and five steals as her team stormed back into the contest after the interval.

The Swish effort, led by the tireless Whippy, was exceptional, but the Breeze weathered the storm to book a spot in Sunday's grand final.

The second semi-final will take place on Saturday when Waikato Wizards take on Otago Gold Rush.

F1 stand-in tops timesheet

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton's late stand-in George Russell ended his first day atop the timesheets with the fastest time for Mercedes in practice for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old, put into Hamilton's seat after his fellow Briton tested positive for Covid-19, could not have asked for a better start to his debut with the world champions after lapping fastest in both of the day's two sessions.

Russell headed Red Bull's Max Verstappen in both.

He also finished ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas, who was nursing damage to his Mercedes in the opening 90 minutes and had a lap time, which would have been faster than Russell's best, deleted for exceeding track limits in the second session.

- Reuters

Substitute leads India to T20 victory

Concussion substitute Yuzvendra Chahal took three wickets as India beat Australia by 11 runs in the first Twenty20 match in Canberra on Friday but the win was soured by an apparent hamstring injury to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of England batsman Joe Root.

Yuzvendra Chahal Photo: BCCI

In a contest laced with controversy, Jadeja top-edged into his helmet in the final over but was not tested for concussion on the field at Manuka Oval.

He ended up scoring a valuable nine runs off the last three deliveries to push his team to a defendable total of 161 for seven.

Jadeja, however, was ruled out during the innings break, and Australia coach Justin Langer had a heated argument with match referee David Boon before the home side began its chase at Manuka Oval.

Legspinner Chahal rubbed salt into Australia's wounds by removing captain Aaron Finch for 35 and star batsman Steve Smith for 12 in quick succession to swing the momentum back to India.

He returned to dismiss Matthew Wade for seven with the last ball of his quota, the wicketkeeper slog-sweeping to captain Virat Kohli at deep midwicket.

India claimed their second successive win of the tour after beating Australia in the third one-day international on Wednesday.

But they will anxiously await the prognosis for Jadeja's injury less than two weeks before the series-opening test in Adelaide on 17 December.

Australia were also left counting the cost, with Finch suffering a muscle injury in the field and hobbling between wickets during his knock.

Australia have already lost opener David Warner to a groin injury for the T20 series and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has been recovering from a soft tissue injury.

Diamond League athletics returns to full programme

The Diamond League said that it plans to return to a full competition format next year with a complete programme of 32 disciplines if the global health situation allows it.

Solomon Islands' Rosefelo Siosi competes in the Men's 5000m at the Rio Olympics.

Solomon Islands' Rosefelo Siosi competes in the Men's 5000m at the Rio Olympics. Photo: AFP

A new format was introduced for the 2020 season with the number of disciplines brought down to 24 in an effort to create a faster-paced meeting that is more palatable to television viewers but the move was widely criticised.

But the Diamond League said it would reinstate among other events the triple jump, discus, 200m, 3000m steeplechase and 5000m in 2021.

The Diamond League said it hoped to better promote field events by introducing a new format - with a qualifying round and a final - for long jump, triple jump, shot put, javelin and discus.

A total of $7 million in prize money would be awarded over the course of the 2021 season, which would comprise 13 meetings in 12 countries and culminate in a final over two days in Zurich.

- Reuters

Cricket ODI in South Africa postponed

England's first one-day international in South Africa was dramatically postponed just an hour before the scheduled start of play after a member of the Proteas tested positive for COVID-19.

Eoin Morgan heads back to the dressing room at the Cricket World Cup final.

England captain Eion Morgan. Photo: Photosport

A round of testing was done to screen both squads before the series and one South African player was found to have the virus - the third from within the camp during the six-match limited overs series.

The decision was then made not to host the match as planned at Newlands on Friday.

The sides still hope to play the three-match series in full, with games to take place on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday.

FIFA change rules around maternity leave

Professional women footballers are to be guaranteed maternity leave under new rules approved by FIFA.

Under the new rules, approved by the decision-making FIFA Council, a player will be given 14 weeks maternity leave and her club will be obliged to reintegrate her afterwards and provide adequate medical support.

"If we are serious about boosting the women's game, we have to look at all these aspects," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

"Female players need to have stability in their careers and if they take maternity leave, they should not have to worry about when they are ready to play again."

The rules will be incorporated into FIFA's regulations on the status and transfer of players and will be enforced worldwide.

- Reuters