Sports

Week Ahead, April 15-21: Return Leg Of Champions League Quarters, Chinese GP Lined Up

Rafael Nadal will make his much-awaited ATP return with the Barcelona Open, and New Zealand's T20I tour of Pakistan will begin. Back home, Indian Premier League 2024 will enter its fifth week. Here is the sports-wise schedule from April 15 to 21

AP/Lewis Joly
Kylian Mbappe gestures during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 10, 2024. Photo: AP/Lewis Joly
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Even as the second week of April continues to offer high-octane sporting action, the upcoming third one has as much in store, if not more. With the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals' second leg lined up and the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix to follow, sports connoisseurs better stay tuned for an enthralling seven days. (More Sports News)

Check out the key sports events scheduled between April 15 and 21.

Cricket

The Indian Premier League's 2024 edition grows more riveting as each game passes by. No team is now undefeated in the league, as Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) both surrendered their respective winning streaks in the past week to make things interesting.

It is time now for the two in-form teams to face off. Table-toppers RR are travelling to Kolkata for match 31 of IPL 2024, scheduled on Tuesday (April 16). As was the case in the week that went by, the first six days will witness solitary evening games (7:30pm IST), while Sunday features a double-header (KKR vs Royal Challengers Bengaluru at 3:30pm and Punjab Kings vs Gujarat Titans at 7:30).

Not so far away, in Pakistan, New Zealand are coming visiting for a five-match T20I series. The tour opener will be played in Rawalpindi on Thursday, and the same venue will host the second and third T20I on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. With Babar Azam back at the helm in place of Shaheen Shah Afridi, it remains to be seen how the Men In Green gel, in the run-up to ICC T20 World Cup 2024 in June.

In Al Amerat, Oman, the ACC Men's T20I Premier Cup will continue, with all eight teams in action Monday through Wednesday. The top four teams will advance to the semi-finals, which are slated for Friday. The third-place play-off will follow on Saturday and the final on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in women's cricket, the Sri Lanka vs South Africa ODI series will draw to a close. After the first WODI was abandoned due to rain and the Proteas won the second game by seven wickets, the third and final encounter will be played in Potchefstroom on Wednesday. The visiting Lankans had earlier won the T20I series 2-1.

Football

The UEFA Champions League quarter-finals will continue to headline European football, with the second-leg fixtures now in store. Expect the fight for supremacy to unfold in spectacular fashion as the Arsenal vs Bayern Munich, Real Madrid vs Manchester City (both on Thursday, 12:30am IST), Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona and Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund (both on Wednesday, 12:30am IST) clashes are all nicely poised. One slip up is all it could take for winners to emerge.

The English Premier League beckons in the weekend. After suffering a shock 0-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, Liverpool face Fulham; Arsenal lock horns with Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham are up against Crystal Palace (all on Sunday).

Back home, the Indian Super League is down to its final league-stage match. And it is a straight fight between Mumbai City and Mohun Bagan Super Giant at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Monday. The winner of this game will lift the ISL 2024 Winners Shield, so there is all to play for.

Other Sports

A fortnight after the Japanese Grand Prix saw normal service resuming, with Max Verstappen posting a dominant win, the action moves to Shanghai, where the Chinese Grand Prix is lined up for Sunday. Will we see another Max masterclass, or is a surprise in the offing? The weekend will bear the answer.

In tennis, Rafael Nadal will make his much-awaited ATP return with the Barcelona Open. This will be the Spanish legend's first official tournament appearance since January, when a hip injury flare-up at Brisbane Open had waylaid him. The southpaw faces 21-year-old Italian Flavio Cobolli in the round of 64 on Monday.

Meanwhile, Nadal's compatriot and new-age superstar Carlos Alcaraz has withdrawn from the tournament in Barcelona due to a right-arm injury. Nevertheless, the ATP 500 event has plenty of big names, and all eyes will be on Nadal's performance as he gears up for a possible shot at his record-extending 15th French Open title at Roland Garros.

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