In sports, there is rarely a day without action, without emotions and without a result. The arenas might differ in size and capacity but when a player enters the pitch/court, his last wish is to fight it out till it’s decided. Sunday was no less than a day filled with sporting galore for fans in India. Right from the beginning of the weekend till it ended, it had everything one could have craved for. From Shi Yuqi’s triumph over the bossy Lin Dan to Lionel Messi’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s individual brilliance for Real Madrid and Barcelona. A day like no other Sunday would remain etched in the memories of the sports loyalists for the plethora of unforgettable moments that it brought. While it started with Yuqi clinching the prestigious All England Open with his gritty spirit, it was lifted by Dinesh Karthik’s sensational last-minute cameo which helped a young Indian team lift the Nidahas Trophy 2018 and to end the day Cristiano Ronaldo scored a magnificent 50th career hat-trick against Girona in La Liga which powered his side to an audacious victory with 3 important points.
What a day it was, while two of the greatest footballers of all time put up yet another show of their unmatched class, veteran Dinesh Karthik with his will told his critics that he was far from over. Shi Yuqi knew it was never going to be easy for him against a seven-time champion and someone he had grown up watching and getting inspired to take up badminton. But at All England Open in the noisy Birmingham arena, a new champion was crowned. It all happened while the ardent Indian fans kept playing with their remotes to get a piece of everything and anything that was up for display. Spectacular players on a particular day put up masterful shows making it a day worth remembering for the fans. Here’s how four heroes of three different sports made the world stand up for them on an extravagant Sunday.
Shi Yuqi stuns Lin Dan to win All England Open title
Chen Long and Lin Dan have closely nurtured their young country mate who stood tall on the podium at the All England Open in Birmingham. Shi Yuqi was up against someone he had admired throughout in his journey of playing professional badminton. The 22-year-old swept aside challenge from the mighty Lin Dan 21-19, 16-21, 21-9 to clinch his first ever medal in a championship only two Indians have won before. Lin Dan was certainly not at his lethal best and his attacking prowess was nullified spectacularly by Yuqi. If Lin would have gone on to floor him, he would have gone on to become the oldest in 63 years to take the title home but destiny favoured a future hero and he took the scene by storm.
Lionel Messi shines in Barcelona’s comfortable La Liga victory
Messi has been in terrific goalscoring form this season and he is doing all of it while ensuring that his side are majorly past their opponents. He has been instrumental in maintaining Barca’s unbeaten record in the La Liga and was yet again on the scoring sheet as he scored yet again on Sunday against Athletic Bilbao to ensure the winning momentum at Camp Nou remains unaffected. After destroying Chelsea with a double in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie, Messi didn’t disappoint his fans and contributed in making the Sunday worth remembering. Barcelona secured a 2-1 win through goals from Paco Acler and Messi, the hosts were put ahead in the eighth minute when Alcer netted the opener and to seal Bilbao’s fate the Barcelona talisman struck in the 30th minute with a subtle low 20-yard effort. He has now scored 37 times in 43 appearances for the La Liga leaders.
Dinesh Karthik: A sensational T20 innings that lasted just 8 balls
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. India had almost lost all hopes of winning it but Dinesh Karthik knew it was far from over. The veteran stepped up and delivered at the last minute with an innings that will be remembered joyously in times to come. India were 34 runs short of the target with 12 balls left, Karthik walked into bat with only one aim in mind against Bangladesh’s best bowler of the day. It would take some time for Rubel Hossain to get over that thrashing. Two sixes, two fours and a double was what the wicket-keeper batsman ended the over with to keep India’s hopes alive going into the final over. He slammed Hossain for 22 in an over, more than what he had conceded in his previous three overs. With 12 required of six, Vijay Shankar made matters worse when he failed to tackle Soumya Sarkar which left Karthik with 10 required of 4. A single was all the Tamil Nadu batsman could manage on the third delivery of the final over and expected Vijay to finally step up. A four out of nowhere from Shankar’s bat and Karthik was a little relieved on the other end. But the next ball will flip it around once again in Bangladesh’s favour. A wicket on the 5th ball and Karthik stood alone with his bat shouldering hopes of millions back in home. He slapped the pre-judged delivery hard enough to sent it rocketing over the boundary line as millions back in India erupted in joy. A young Indian team had made it through on the back of a matured Dinesh Karthik. Nidahas Trophy went where it belonged.
Cherry on the cake: Cristiano Ronaldo bags 50th career hat-trick
Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo continued his red-hot goalscoring run with a remarkable show against Girona in the La Liga. From struggling to make an impact at the start of the season, to take the Spanish top flight by storm once again, Ronaldo master classed his side’s crucial victory and earned them three important points to close the gap with leaders Barcelona. Madrid thrashed Girona 6-3 with four of the six coming through their record-breaking goal scorer. Ronaldo opened his account inside ten minutes when Toni Kroos set him up with a sumptuous layoff. Girona equalised in the 29th minute to ensure the tie remained open only to see Ronaldo destroy them with three more goals. The Portuguese after bagging his brace in the 47th minute set up Lucas Vazquez in the 59th minute to make it 3-1 for the Los Blancos. He then completed his hat-trick in the 64th minute and sealed the deal with an injury-time classic which ended an excellent Sunday full of breathtaking sporting action.