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Devdutt Padikkal’s fourth successive ton propels Karnataka into semi-finals

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Gujarat and Karnataka became the first teams to qualify for the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2020-21 semi-finals, with convincing wins against Andhra and Kerala respectively on Monday. Both victories were fashioned by opening batsmen.

While Priyank Panchal made 134 off 131 to power Gujarat to 299 for 7, Karnataka’s opening duo of R Samarth and Devdutt Padikkal continued their irresistible form during the tournament as the side piled on 338 for 3. Samarth, the new Karnataka captain, smashed a career-best 192 (off 158 balls), while Padikkal made a 119-ball 101. Kerala mounted a challenge of sorts but subsided to 258 all out in 43.4 overs with seamer Ronit More taking 5 for 36 in nine overs, as Karnataka wrapped up an 80-run win.

Gujarat’s victory was even bigger, as Andhra were bowled out for 182 in 41.2 overs. Left-arm pacer Arzan Nagwaswalla took 4 for 28.

Karnataka and Gujarat now await the winners of the quarter-finals between Mumbai-Saurashtra and Uttar Pradesh-Delhi, which will both take place on Tuesday.

Samarth and Padikkal have both piled on runs in the tournament, and they proved unstoppable once again. Padikkal made his fourth consecutive century – having hit 152 against Odisha, 126* against Kerala in the league game, and 145* against Railways coming into the game. He thus became the first Indian player to hit four consecutive List A centuries. Only two other players have hit four consecutive centuries in one-dayers: Kumar Sangakkara for Sri Lanka in the 2015 World Cup, and Alviro Petersen later that year in the Momentum One-Day Cup 2015-16 for the Lions.

Samarth, meanwhile, pressed on, and was in sight of a double-hundred when he fell with ten balls remaining in the innings. He hit three sixes and 22 fours, while accelerating at pace during his innings. His first fifty took 59 balls, and he reached a century in 112 balls. He then plundered 91 runs off his last 46 balls. Samarth has been only marginally less prolific than Padikkal, having not scored below 60 in his last five innings, which include two scores of 150-plus.

Both Padikkal (673 runs) and Samarth (605 runs) sit comfortably atop the run-getters list for the tournament, with no other batsman having crossed even 450 yet.

All of Kerala’s bowlers came in for heavy punishment barring Jalaj Saxena, who took the new ball against Karnataka’s marauding openers but ended up conceding a mere 34 runs in ten overs, finishing the tournament with an economy rate below 3.75. Nedumankuzhy Basil, the right-arm medium pacer playing only his fifth List A game, took all the wickets to fall, ending with 3 for 57 in eight overs.

Kerala’s reply suffered an early jolt when the in-form Robin Uthappa was lbw for 2 against his home state, More making his first breakthrough. Vathsal Govind, the 21-year-old left-hand batsman playing his debut one-day season, made 92 off 96 while Mohammed Azharuddeen smashed 52 off 34, but with none of the rest of the top order crossing 30 and More striking regularly, Kerala’s task was always a difficult one. Saxena added to a good all-round day with a 23-ball 24 from No.8, until he was the last man out.

More, who had not been picked in the XI for Karnataka’s last three games, got his opportunity due to a niggle to Abhimanyu Mithun, and made the most of it.

Panchal joined Samarth in both captains being the top run-scorers in their matches, holding Gujarat’s innings together till he fell in the 49th over. Panchal maintained a brisk pace throughout his innings, accelerating after his century, which took 114 balls. He hit 10 fours and two sixes during his innings, and was the fulcrum around which Gujarat built their total. The rest of the top order all got into double figures, but Gujarat’s second highest score was 36, by No.3 Rahul Shah.

Ripal Patel, the hard-hitting pace-bowling allrounder who was signed by Delhi Capitals at the IPL 2021 auctions, provided some ballast in the second half with a 24-ball 35 that pushed Gujarat along, but it was Panchal who carried the innings on his bat.

Andhra’s most successful bowler was right-arm medium pacer Harishankar Reddy, snapped up by Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2021 auctions, who took 3 for 60 in ten overs including the wicket of Panchal. KV Sasikanth and debutant Lalith Mohan both took 2 for 55, though Mohan bowled only nine overs.

Andhra’s reply was derailed early by Nagwaswalla, who has now become the top wicket-taker in the competition. Nagwaswalla has 19 scalps from six games at an average of 12.00. He struck in the second, fourth and sixth overs – his third wicket being that of Hanuma Vihari for a duck.

Ricky Bhui continued his good form with 67 off 76 from No.5, but with the rest of the top order falling cheaply, Andhra were always behind. Some lower-order runs meant they recovered briefly from 58 for 5 in the 16th over, but that only narrowed the margin of defeat.

Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Samsung Galaxy M51, Galaxy S10 Lite Receiving One UI 3.1 Replace: File

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Samsung Galaxy M51 and Galaxy S10 Lite are reportedly receiving One UI 3.1 updates in Russia and Spain respectively. Along with Android 11-based update, the smartphones are also said to be receiving their March 2021 security updates. The release of the OTA updates in other markets is expected to follow soon. Unlike Galaxy S10 lite, Galaxy M51 skips the One UI 3.0 update and directly gets the latest Android version and Samsung’s latest UI.

According to reports by SamMobile, Galaxy M51 and Galaxy S10 Lite are receiving the new One UI 3.1 updates and March 2021 security updates. They will now join a long list of Galaxy smartphones and tablets that already run on the Android 11 based OS.

Samsung Galaxy M51 was the most expensive model in the Galaxy M series of budget smartphones until recently when Galaxy M52 was launched. Samsung had originally launched Galaxy M51 with Android 10 based One UI 2.1 and has jumped directly to Android 11 based One UI 3.1 from One UI 2.1, skipping out on One UI 3.0 altogether. The update for this smartphone has only been released in Russia with the build number M515FXXU2CUB7, SamMobile reports. It is expected to roll out in the other regions soon. Since this is a budget smartphone, the reports adds it gets a basic version of One UI 3.1.

As we mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite is the other smartphone that is said to be receiving the One UI 3.1 update, with SamMobile reporting the rollout of build number G770FXXU4EUBA. The OTA update, however, has only been released in Spain, and can can be expected to gradually roll out to other regions soon. This is not Galaxy S10 Lite’s first Android 11-based update as it received the One UI 3.0 update late last year.


Is Samsung Galaxy F62 the best phone under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Girls’s Day 2021 – “Bharatiya Naari Sab Pe Bhaari”: Varun Dhawan’s Put up Options Spouse Natasha

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Women’s Day 2021: Varun Dhawan shared this photo. (Image courtesy: varundvn )

Highlights

  • Varun shared a set of pictures on International Women’s Day
  • The photos feature his wife Natasha, his mother Karuna, his sister-in-law
  • “Happy women’s day,” read a part of his caption

New Delhi:

Varun Dhawan‘s post on International Women’s Day is special in many ways. The actor, on Monday evening, shared a set of pictures, in which he can be seen happily posing with his wife Natasha Dalal, his mother Karuna and his sister-in-law. The actor, who got married to Natasha Dalal earlier this year, accompanied his post with a powerful message that read: “Happy women’s day. Bharatiya naari sab pe bhaari. It’s great that we all post pictures on social media and make this day special but the real job will be done when we actually make our country safe for women because each woman is someone’s wife, mother or sister.”

Read Varun Dhawan’s post here:

Varun Dhawan married Natasha Dalal in an intimate ceremony in Alibaug on January 24.

The actor had confirmed dating Natasha, who is a designer, on the sixth season of Karan Johar’s talk show Koffee With Karan, where he had said, “I am dating her and we are a couple…I plan to marry her.” In December, while talking to Varun on her radio show What Women Want, Kareena Kapoor called Natasha Dalal his “fiancee,” confirming that the duo got engaged last year.

Varun Dhawan is currently filming Bhediya in Arunachal Pradesh. The film that also features Kriti Sanon is slated to release in April 2022.

Varun Dhawan, son of filmmaker David Dhawan, made his debut in Bollywood with Karan Johar’s 2012 film Student Of The Year. His film credits include Badlapur, Dilwale, Sui Dhaaga, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and ABCD 2. He was last seen in his father’s remake of Nineties hit Coolie No 1 and Jug Jugg Jeeyo is one of his upcoming projects.

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WhatsApp Reportedly Trying out Password-Safe, Encrypted Chat Backups

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WhatsApp is bringing password-protected, encrypted chat backups for iCloud and Google Drive, according to a report. The new update, which is said to be currently in the works, would allow users to keep their WhatsApp chat backups protected from unauthorised access by using a password. Right now, your chats are end-to-end encrypted on your phone and that of the people you’re talking to – but once you back up the chats, this is no longer the case. This has been a concern many privacy activists have raised in the past.

WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo has reported that password-protected, encrypted cloud backups feature is in the works. It has also shared some screenshots that show how the new feature could work in the app.

WhatsApp may soon bring password-protected chat backups 
Photo Credit: Twitter/ WABetaInfo

 

“To prevent unauthorised access to your iCloud Drive backup, you can set a password that will be used to encrypt future backups,” reads the description on one of the screenshots shared by WABetaInfo. “This password will be required when you restore from the backup.”

The update is likely to be available for both Google Drive and iCloud Drive backups. It is also important to point out that the screenshots shared by WABetaInfo suggest that WhatsApp would not be able to help recover forgotten passwords and that users would be required to enter their phone number to confirm password protection for their backups.

WhatsApp cloud backups feature has been in place for some time. However, the messaging platform has not enabled cloud backups with an end-to-end encryption that encrypts the content while it travels from one point to another. In the past, this has allegedly been used to gain access to a user’s communication through cloud storage providers who have access to the backups.

In addition to cloud backups, WABetaInfo tweeted that local Android backups would also be compatible with the new update. This means that you would also be able to apply password protection to the backups you’re saving locally on your Android phone. WhatsApp does not allow local backups in the case of iPhones.

Gadgets 360 has reached out to WhatsApp for a comment on the password-protected backups and will update this space when the company responds.

Early references of securing chat backups with passwords were found in May 2020. But the feature still seems to be under testing.


Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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On Ladies’s Day, Divya Khosla Kumar Stocks Her Adventure In Bollywood

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A photo of Divya Khosla Kumar.

Highlights

  • Divya is not just an actor but also a director
  • Divya has also directed many commercials and music videos
  • She has directed two films – Yaariyan and Sanam Re

Divya Khosla Kumar continues to remain one of the most celebrated faces in the Indian entertainment industry. Her journey, however, has not been completely rosy contrary to popular belief. At the tender age of 16, Divya travelled alone to Mumbai with a suitcase full of dreams and after numerous auditions, the actress got her big Bollywood break in the hit film, Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo opposite none other than Akshay Kumar. Having completed a course in cinematography and editing, she later shifted to working behind the camera and ended up directing many commercials and music videos for leading names in the music industry.

We stumbled upon this picture captured at Victoria Terminus station, where Divya Khosla Kumar shot Let’s Go to Mumbai City for Adnan Sami and international artist Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson’s brother. After establishing herself as a formidable director in the ad and music industry, she went on to direct two films Yaariyan and Sanam Re, both of which did encouraging well at the box office.

Reminiscing about her struggles as a young voice determined to make it big, says Divya Khosla Kumar, “When I came to Mumbai, I was working behind the scenes for 10 long years. Back then, music video budgets were insignificant and I had no assistant directors or art directors for most of the songs I directed. I remember a time where I was filming in Switzerland, running around and putting posters on the walls myself. When you are behind the camera, the hard work and dedication goes unrecognized, which is why I have so much respect for the unsung heroes and technicians on sets.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a press release)

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Ladies’s Day 2021: One Day Is not Sufficient For The Ladies In Amitabh Bachchan’s Circle of relatives

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Women’s Day 2021: Amitabh Bachchan shared this picture on Instagram.(Image courtesy: Instagram)

Highlights

  • Amitabh Bachchan shared a thoughtful post on Women’s Day
  • He shared that every day should be celebrated as Women’s Day
  • Fans showered love on his post and left heart emojis in comments section

New Delhi:

The world is celebrating International Women’s Day today but megastar Amitabh Bachchan has a slightly different view on the concept of ‘Women’s Day’. Big B believes that a single day is not enough to honour women and their contributions to the world. He feels that Women’s Day should be celebrated every day. Amitabh Bachchan shared this thought with his fans on Instagram by posting a collage that had pictures of all the women from his family. The collage had pictures of his mother Teji Bachchan, wife Jaya Bachchan, daughter Shweta Bachchan Nanda, daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and granddaughters Navya Naveli Nanda and Aaradhya Bachchan.

Along with the collage, he also wrote a short caption where he shared that he believes that Women’s Day should be celebrated every day. “Keh rahe hain, aaj ‘Women’s Day’ hai! Hein! Keval ek din? Naah! Pratidin ‘Naari Diwas’ (They are saying, it is ‘Women’s Day’ today! What! Only one day? No! Every day is ‘Women’s Day’,” he wrote in the caption. Amitabh also added a rose emoji along with two folded hands emojis.

Check out Big B’s post here:

Fans of the senior actor showered love on the post and flooded the comments sections with heart emojis. Amitabh Bachchan is quite active on social media. He keeps sharing his personal and professional updates through his social media posts.

Last week, Big B underwent an eye surgery. He shared the update through a blog entry and also wrote some wise words. “I am without sight, but sightless not in my path, I am without convenience, but never inconvenienced,” he wrote in the post. He also extended gratitude to all his well-wishers in the latter sections of the post. 

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ICC broadcasts growth of girls’s world cricket tournaments in subsequent cycle of occasions

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News

New tournament – Women’s T20 Champions Cup – added to the calendar from 2027

Women’s global cricket tournaments are set to be expanded during the course of the next cycle of events, the ICC has announced on International Women’s Day, meaning more teams will be competing in the Women’s World Cup and Women’s T20 World Cup. Also, a third women’s global tournament, the Women’s T20 Champions Cup – on paper seemingly resembling the men’s Champions Trophy – has been added to the next cycle, which begins in 2023 after the men’s World Cup that year and runs till 2031.

The World Cup will have 10 teams playing 48 matches from 2029 (up from eight teams, and 31 matches, till 2025), the T20 World Cup will be expanded to 12 teams playing a total of 33 matches from 2026 (up from 10 teams, and 23 matches, till 2024). The Women’s T20 Champions Cup is set to take place in 2027 and 2031, with six teams playing 16 matches.

These tournaments are part of 20 global tournaments planned for both men’s and women’s cricket combined in the 2023-31 cycle. Bids for hosting the events will soon be open to the ICC’s member countries.

According to ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney, the revised formats would also mean more teams will be able to compete in and gain vital exposure in the qualification tournaments – the Women’s Championship, World Cup Qualifier and the T20 Qualifier.

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Ladies’s Day 2021: Kareena Kapoor Stocks First Pic With Child Son. “There may be Not anything Ladies Can not Do,” She Writes

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Women’s Day 2021: Kareena Kapoor shared this photo. (Image courtesy: kareenakapoorkhan)

Highlights

  • In the photo, Kareena’s baby can be seen resting on her shoulder
  • “Happy Women’s Day, my loves,” wrote the actress in her post
  • Kareena’s sister Karisma dropped red heart icons in the comments section

New Delhi:

Kareena Kapoor picked the perfect day to share a photo of herself and her baby son for the first time on social media. The actress, on Women’s Day, updated her Instagram feed with a grayscale picture, in which her newborn son can be seen wrapped in a piece of cloth and resting on her shoulder as she clicks a selfie. Kareena Kapoor’s caption for her picture with her baby son is also winning the Internet. She wrote: “There’s nothing women can’t do. Happy Women’s Day, my loves. #InternationalWomensDay” with read heat icons. Reacting to the actress’ post, her sister-in-law Saba Ali Khan commented: “You’re a rock…love you” while Kareena’s sister Karisma Kapoor and her friends Amrita Arora and Natasha Poonawalla dropped red heart icons in the comments section.

Take a look at Kareena Kapoor’s post here:

Kareena Kapoor and her husband, actor Saif Ali Khan, welcomed their second child on February 21. The couple also have a son named Taimur, who is 4 years old. Kareena and Saif, after the birth of their second baby, issued a statement that read: “We have been blessed with a baby boy. Mom and baby are safe and healthy. Thank you to our well-wishers for their love and support,” reported news agency PTI.

Kareena Kapoor’s first post after welcoming her baby was this:

Recently, Kareena summed up her Instagram journey with this post and wrote: “Shall continue to have fun.”

In terms of work, Kareena Kapoor was last seen in Angrezi Medium, which starred late actor Irrfan Khan in the lead role. Her upcoming projects are Laal Singh Chaddha, a remake of Hollywood classic Forrest Gump, and Karan Johar’s Takht. Laal Singh Chaddha is slated to release on Christmas this year.

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Girls’s Day 2021: From Kareena Kapoor’s First Pic With Child Son To Anushka Sharma’s Lovable Pic With Child Daughter, See Celebs’ Particular Posts

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Women’s Day 2021: Kareena Kapoor shared this photo. (Image courtesy: kareenakapoorkhan)

Highlights

  • “There’s nothing women can’t do,” wrote Kareena Kapoor
  • “Happy Women’s Day to the most strong woman of my life,” wrote Virat
  • “And to the one who’s going to grow up to be like her mother,” he added

New Delhi:

Kareena Kapoor marked International Women’s Day on Monday by sharing her picture with her newborn son for the first time on social media and we can’t keep calm. The actress welcomed her second baby with her husband, actor Saif Ali Khan, on February 21. In the picture, Kareena can be seen taking a selfie while holding her baby. She wrote: “There’s nothing women can’t do. Happy Women’s Day, my loves.” Kareena and Saif Ali Khan are already parents to a four-year-old son named Taimur. Other than Kareena Kapoor, Bollywood celebs like Madhuri Dixit, Shilpa Shetty, Neena Gupta, Angad Bedi, Vaani Kapoor and cricketer Virat Kohli also wished their fans on Women’s Day with heartwarming posts on social media but more on that later.

First, check out Kareena Kapoor’s post here:

Virat Kohli, who is married to actress Anushka Sharma, posted a picture of the actress and their little girl and wrote: “Seeing the birth of a child is the most spine chilling, unbelievable and amazing experience a human being can have. After witnessing that, you understand the true strength and divinity of women and why God created life inside them. It’s because they are way stronger than us men. Happy Women’s Day to the most fiercely, compassionate and strong woman of my life and to the one who’s going to grow up to be like her mother. And, also a Happy Women’s Day to all the amazing women of the world.”

Madhuri Dixit, in her Women’s Day-special post, expressed “gratitude to all the women who have been a part of her journey.” Her post also features late choreographer Saroj Khan, who died in July last year. “My humble gratitude to all the women who have been a part of my journey and who continue to inspire me. Happy Women’s Day. Which strong woman avatar from my films do you like the most?” the actress wrote in the caption of her post.

Shilpa Shetty shared this post on Women’s Day:

Neena Gupta, the star of films like Badhaai Ho and The Last Color, first shared a throwback photo from her childhood and then a black and white picture with her daughter, designer Masaba Gupta. “Ma papa bhai aur main happy women’s day,” she captioned the throwback picture and for the other post, she wrote: “Aur ab me and my beti Happy women’s day.”

Actor Angad Bedi posted a picture of himself and his wife, actress Neha Dhupia, from their wedding album and wrote: “Today and every day, Neha Dhupia. #womensday. PS: Mool mantra is ‘ek chup sau (100) sukh’.”

Take a look at Vaani Kapoor’s post here:

And here’s what Rakul Preet Singh shared:

Happy Women’s Day to all!

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Oppo A94 With AMOLED Show, 30W Speedy Charging Introduced

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Oppo A94 has launched as the successor to the Oppo A93 that debuted last year in October. The new Oppo phone comes with the same MediaTek Helio P95 SoC and a 20:9 AMOLED display that both were available on the last year’s model. It also features quad rear cameras with a 48-megapixel primary sensor, just like the Oppo A93. However, the Oppo A94 comes with a range of camera feature enhancements and a slightly bigger 4,310mAh battery. The smartphone also runs on Android 11 out-of-the-box.

Oppo A94 price, availability

Oppo A94 price is yet to be revealed. However, the phone is currently listed on the Oppo UAE site with detailed specifications. Tipster Evan Blass earlier this month claimed that the latest Oppo phone was in the works with codename Oppo “Darwin”, and it would arrive as the Oppo Reno 5F in Asia, Oppo F19 in India, and the Oppo A94 in Europe. The same model was also said to receive a 5G variant that is in development as Oppo “Elsa” and that could launch as the Oppo A94 5G or Oppo F19 Pro.

In terms of availability, the Oppo UAE site doesn’t provide any concrete details. Blass, however, had mentioned that the Oppo A94 would arrive later this month — after the debut of the Oppo Find X3-series launch that is set for March 11.

The Oppo A94 is listed on the company’s site in Fantastic Purple and Fluid Black colour options.

Oppo A94 specifications

The dual-SIM (Nano) Oppo A94 runs on Android 11-based ColorOS 11.1 and features a 6.43-inch full-HD+ (2,400×1,080 pixels) AMOLED display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a 90Hz refresh rate. The display also supports 135Hz touch sampling rate in Normal model and 180Hz in Game mode. Under the hood, the Oppo A94 has the octa-core MediaTek Helio P95, along with IMG 9XM-HP8 GPU and 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM. The phone comes with a quad rear camera setup that houses a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.7 lens. The camera setup also includes a wide-angle shooter with an f/2.2 aperture as well as a macro shooter and a mono sensor — both with an f/2.4 lens. Oppo hasn’t revealed the exact megapixel count of the secondary cameras. However, Blass suggested that the ultra-wide-angle shooter could include an 8-megapixel sensor, while the macro and mono camera units may carry a 2-megapixel sensor each.

On the part of selfies and video chats, the Oppo A94 has a single 32-megapixel camera sensor at the front. It is paired with an f/2.4 lens. This is unlike the Oppo A93 that included a dual selfie camera setup.

The Oppo A94 has 128GB of onboard storage as standard, along with a microSD card slot for expansion. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, triple-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v5.1, GPS/ A-GPS, a USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone also includes an in-display fingerprint sensor. It packs a 4,310mAh battery that supports 30W VOOC fast charging.


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Watch Canines: Legion On-line Not on time for PC, Once more — This Time Indefinitely

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Watch Dogs: Legion online is facing more problems. Just ahead of its release date — Watch Dogs: Legion online goes live March 9 — Ubisoft has announced that the co-op online multiplayer component of the latest Watch Dogs title won’t be available at launch on PC due to issues with “certain GPUs”. That is also the case for the flagship mode, Tactical Ops, which has been delayed to March 23. Additionally, there are problems with in-game text chat on PS4 and PS5 versions of Watch Dogs: Legion, and a fix for this will also drop on March 23 alongside Tactical Ops. All in all, it doesn’t bode well.

“We’re excited to see new recruits in London when we launch the online mode of Watch Dogs: Legion on March 9,” Ubisoft said on the game’s Twitter account on Saturday. “Before we launch, we want to make you aware of a few things that have just come to our attention.”

Watch Dogs: Legion Online Is Out March 9. Here’s What You Should Know

“We’ve identified an issue in the PC version that can cause the game to crash for players with certain GPUs. The team is working on fixing the issue as quickly as possible. And in the meantime, we’ve made the decision to wait to launch the PC version until this is fixed. We will communicate the new launch date as soon as possible.”

“We have also identified an issue that can cause the game to crash during the Tactical Op. Therefore we have made the decision to launch it on Xbox, PlayStation, and Stadia on March 23.”

“PlayStation 4/ 5 will have limited in-game text chat at launch, and we are working on a fix for this, which will be coming on March 23 as well.”

“We are committed to delivering the best experience to all players and are working diligently to address the issues outlined above. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”

Watch Dogs: Legion Review: Drone Away in Dystopic London

It is curious that Ubisoft says that these problems have “just come to our attention” because Watch Dogs: Legion online has been in testing for a while now. It was originally slated to release in early December, but then in November, Ubisoft opted to delay it to early 2021 to prioritise fixes for single-player campaign. In addition to internal testing, Ubisoft also held technical tests with journalists in January, and for the general public in a closed environment in February.

In light of that, it seems a lot likelier that Ubisoft has known about these issues and was hoping that they would have been ironed out by the time March 9 came around. But that didn’t happen, which is why it’s been forced into another delay. Of course, that’s just speculation.

These selective delays mean that Watch Dogs: Legion will be a less than ideal experience at launch, for those that can play it. Tactical Ops are the flagship offering, as I said, denying you the best that Watch Dogs: Legion online has to offer for at least two weeks. And if you were hoping to jump in with your PC friend — Watch Dogs: Legion has cross-platform play support — there’s no word on how long you might be waiting.

Watch Dogs: Legion online is out March 9 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Stadia, and Amazon Luna.

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Covid summer season brings Australia again to the sphere

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A couple of pummeled sixes from Glenn Phillips, depositing Adam Zampa’s leg breaks well into the outer of the Cake Tin, brought Australia’s men’s international season to an end with a thud. This was not unfitting, since much of the preceding six months had been similarly brutal in terms of exposing where the national team actually sits in the global order, as opposed to where its players, coaches and selectors thought it did.

Two ODI series wins, over England away and then India at home a long way out from the next 50-over World Cup, were all the teams led by Aaron Finch and Tim Paine and coached by Justin Langer had to show for an enormous amount of time cooped up in biosecure bubbles in England, Australia and New Zealand. The frustration of missing the World Test Championship final, a path effectively set by Cricket Australia’s withdrawal from a scheduled tour of South Africa, compounded plenty of questions about losing a home Test series to India for the very first time.

There is, at the base of it all, no more illusion about this being an Australian set-up forging a quick path back to the top of the world after the ignominy of 2018. The return to a more respected place in world cricket made some progress up to 2020, but in performance terms the past summer has seen the national side take rather more steps backward than forward.

And in a T20 World Cup year, series defeats to England, India and lastly New Zealand underlined in bold print how a decade of the BBL has brought plenty of fresh revenue to the game but also taken the Australian short-form team little closer to lifting the one ICC event to always elude them.

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Can Sri Lanka defy Gayle and Co another time to finish T20I collection drought?

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Sri Lanka have broken their barren streak. They’d lost eight T20 internationals in a row – against, Australia, India and West Indies. Finally they seemed like a competent T20 team, and this was largely thanks to their spinners.

It may seem like this is obviously the way Sri Lanka were going to win, but it isn’t, really. Sri Lanka haven’t had a good limited-overs spin attack for years. While on Friday, Akila Dananjaya bowled nicely through the powerplay, Wanindu Hasaranga dominated the middle overs, and Lakshan Sandakan polished up the tail, it hasn’t been since Rangana Herath and Sachithra Senanayake bowled in tandem, midway through the last decade, that Sri Lanka have had potent slow bowlers. On Friday’s evidence, these three have potential. While Hasaranga is clearly the primary matchwinner among them, Dananjaya and Sandakan also have significant strengths – particularly the ability to bowl difficult overs.

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Non-playing PSL franchise member left bubble in spite of checking out Covid-19 sure

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News

It brings into deeper scrutiny the nature of the PCB’s biosecurity protocols

A non-playing member from one of the PSL franchises who tested positive for Covid-19 was allowed to exit the bubble and fly back to Lahore, instead of quarantining until he returned two negative tests, as per official regulations.

The official returned a positive test near the start of this season and he departed Karachi for Lahore on the second day after that test result.

The PSL was postponed indefinitely last week, after a spate of positive tests made continuing the tournament untenable, but since then a number of details have begun to emerge that have poked holes into the PCB’s claims that the protocols and its bubble were secure.

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Ravi Shastri: ‘Outstanding’ Rishabh Pant ‘worked his backside off’

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India completed two landmark series wins on the trot when they won by an innings and 25 runs in the fourth Test against England in Ahmedabad, having come from behind to first beat Australia away and then England at home. The wins, by 2-1 and 3-1 margins respectively, came with India having to battle a slew of injuries and absences of first-choice players – particularly in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia – while also facing a steeper equation to make the World Test Championship final due to the revised rules caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The injuries and the pandemic-enforced larger squads meant several players got opportunities they otherwise might not have, and head coach Ravi Shastri was full of praise for how the younger players – particularly Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel – had come through. Shastri spoke at length on each one in a media interaction on Sunday, a day after India had won the fourth Test to seal victory against England.

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