Sports

Week Ahead, March 25-31: CSK Play DC In IPL; IND Host AFG In FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Arsenal will visit Manchester City in the English Premier League, and the IWF Weightlifting World Cup will kick off with Paris Olympic Games qualification at stake. Here is all the sporting action to look forward to from March 25 to 31, 2024

BCCI
MS Dhoni in action during the Indian Premier League 2024 match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Photo: BCCI
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The fourth week of March 2024 marked the advent of Indian Premier League's 17th season. It also witnessed the Indian football team putting up a frustrating show against Afghanistan to be held 0-0 in the away leg of their FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying match. (More Sports News)

The fifth and final week of the month (March 25-31) offers a series of delightful contests across arenas. Check out the key sports events scheduled in the coming seven days.

Cricket

After a heady opening weekend which saw each of the 10 franchises taking the field at least once, Indian Premier League 2024 will roll on to round 2, with matches every day. While the first six days (Monday to Saturday) feature solitary evening fames (7:30pm IST), Sunday has a double-header wherein Gujarat Titans will host Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Motera Stadium in the afternoon (3:30pm IST) and Delhi Capitals take on Chennai Super Kings in Visakhapatnam in the evening.

Meanwhile, the first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will draw to a close in Sylhet. On Day 3, the visitors have piled on a 500-run lead in the third innings at the time of writing, and look set to win the match over the next two days, save something miraculous from the Bangla Tigers.

Their female counterparts too are staring down the barrel, albeit in a different format. Australia Women have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in a three-match ODI series, and the third and final game is lined up in Mirpur on Wednesday. A three-game T20I series follows soon after, with the first match set for Sunday at the same venue.

Down Under, New Zealand Women will continue their five-match T20I battle against England Women, with the series currently at 2-1 in the favour of the visitors. The fourth game is slated for Wednesday and the fifth and final one on Friday. Both games will be played in Wellington.

Elsewhere, the Sri Lankan women will tour South Africa for three T20Is and as many ODIs. The T20I series begins in Benoni on Wednesday, and the second game will be played in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

Football

After the disappointment of a 0-0 draw with Afghanistan in the away leg, the Indian men's football team have returned home and are gearing up to play hosts in Guwahati. The decisive leg of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying match will be played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Tuesday evening (7pm IST).

In top-flight club football, the English Premier League's 2023-24 season will resume after a brief break. The weekend is choc-a-bloc with games, the most of eye-catching of which is the Manchester City vs Arsenal encounter at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Sunday.

Back home, Indian Super League action will resume too, with Bengaluru FC locking horns with Odisha and Jamshedpur FC up against Kerala Blasters - both on Saturday evening (5pm and 7:30pm, respectively).

Other Sports

The Indian badminton contingent's campaign ended on a somewhat dismal note at the Swiss Open, with Srikanth Kidambi the only one to threaten to gun for the title, before he went down fighting in the men's singles semi-finals. But another BWF Super 300 tournament beckons this week in the form of the Madrid Spain Masters, and all the star players will be eager to do well and bolster their chances of qualification for the Paris Olympic Games 2024.

In motorsports, Safari Rally Kenya will be held from March 28 to 31. Finally, a key event in the weightlifting calendar will be inaugurated at the fag end of the week, in the form of the IWF World Cup. The event will be held in Phuket, Thailand starting on Sunday. It will continue until April 11 and will serve as a qualification event for Paris Olympics, with India's star lifter Mirabai Chanu and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Bindyarani Devi in contention.

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