What was 2016's most popular hashtag in India?

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Dhoni attempts to stump Sharjeel during the World T20 match.

A cricket match between India and Pakistan is among the most-keenly followed sporting events in the world and it was no different when the two sides faced off against each other at the ICC World T20.

According to analytics released by Twitter, as many as 1.1 million tweets were created using the hashtag #INDvPAK, which makes it the second most popular hashtag of 2016 in India.

It comes as no surprise that #Rio2016 was the most tweeted hashtag in India this calendar year. The Olympics are considered as the biggest sporting event in the world and it was well-watched in India this time around, despite the country winning only two medals.

Interestingly, seven out of the top ten trends are from sports – with two being related to the Olympics and five to cricket [all occurring during the ICC World T20].

For the first time ever, the World T20 was held in India with the hosts reaching the semi-finals before losing out to eventual champions West Indies.

Meanwhile, the country’s female performers at Rio 2016 and the India-Pakistan World T20 match were the second and third most influential moments for the entire country on Twitter in 2016.

Both of India’s medals at Rio 2016 were won by female participants, PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, while Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to take part at the Olympics.

She came agonisingly close to becoming the first Indian of either gender to win an Olympic medal in gymnastics, finishing fourth in the women’s vault event.

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India vs England: Who will win the 4th Test?

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With the hosts leading 2-0, India and England will face off in the fourth of five Tests at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai – starting on Thursday, December 7.

India go into the match, knowing that even a draw will see them register their first Test series victory over England in eight years. But going by how the Indian team has played since Virat Kohli took over as Test captain, expect them to push for a win.

On the other hand, England return to the venue where they notched a famous victory 2012. It was at the Wankhede Stadium that Alastair Cook’s men turned the series on its head by winning the second Test after losing the first Test in Ahmedabad.

England would go on to win the third Test and become the first [and still only] visiting team to come from behind and win a Test series in India. While they can’t win this ongoing series, they will be hopeful of salvaging some pride by winning the fourth Test and giving themselves a chance to level the series in Chennai.

To the surprise of many, this series hasn’t seen a single rank-turner so far. Although the Wankhede Stadium is known to hand out flat wickets in the recent past, it won’t come as a shock if there is some vicious turn on offer [a la 2012] to aid the spin bowlers.


DATE, TIME, VENUE INFO

Date: 7 December – 11 December 2016

Time: 09:30 local time (IST), 04:00 GMT, 08:00 GST

Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai


WHERE TO WATCH, LIVE STREAMING INFO

TV: UAE – OSN Sports Cricket HD, India – Star Sports 1, HD 1 [English], Star Sports 3, HD 3 [Hindi], UK – Sky Sports 2 HD

Online streaming: starsports.com, Hotstar app [in India only]

LIVE blog: Sport360 blog


TEAM NEWS, SQUAD, PREDICTED XI

INDIA SQUAD: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur.

India have retained 14 players from their squad for the Mohali Test, with Ishant Sharma released because of his wedding which will take place on December 9.

KL Rahul is fit again and it will be interesting to see if he’s drafted straight back into the XI. The Karnataka opener has had an injury-ridden time recently, but one expects him to slot back into the opening spot alongside Murali Vijay.

Parthiv Patel will continue to keep wickets for the Indian team, with regular wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha advised an extended rest due to a thigh strain. Although Patel’s work behind the stumps wasn’t of the highest quality, his batting [as an opener] was impressive in the third Test.

With Ajinkya Rahane injured, Karun Nair is likely to retain his place in the XI. Mohammed Shami is a doubt for the match, which means Bhuvneshwar Kumar could get his first game of the series.

PREDICTED INDIA XI: Vijay, Rahul, Pujara, Kohli (c), Nair, Ashwin, Patel (wk), Jadeja, Jayant, Umesh, Shami.

ENGLAND SQUAD: Alastair Cook (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Gareth Batty, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Duckett, Steven Finn, Keaton Jennings, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Liam Dawson.

England suffered a double blow as both Haseeb Hameed and Zafar Ansari were ruled out of the rest of the series due to injuries. Left-handed batsman Keaton Jennings and all-rounder Liam Dawson have come into the squad as replacements.

Keaton, the son of former South African coach Ray Jennings, is likely to make his Test debut at the top of the order as England would be hesitant to open with Ben Duckett who had his fair share of struggles against Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the first two Tests.

On the bowling front, Stuart Broad is a big doubt as he is yet to fully recover from a foot injury which kept him out of the third Test at Mohali. In Broad’s absence, will the visitors give a game to either Jake Ball or Steven Finn, or will they hand Dawson a Test debut to add more batting and spin bowling muscle to their side?

Jos Buttler is likely to keep his place in the team with Jonny Bairstow expected to stand behind the stumps.

PREDICTED ENGLAND XI: Cook, Jennings, Root, Ali, Bairstow, Stokes, Buttler (wk), Woakes, Dawson, Rashid, Anderson.


FORM

(Last five matches – with latest match first)

INDIA:  W W D W W

ENGLAND: L L D L W


MATCH PREDICTION

India to win.

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Kohli's troll bashing defence of Anushka Sharma becomes India's most RT'd

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Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma.

Virat Kohli’s tweet where he slammed trolls for blaming Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma for his poor performances in international cricket has been named as the ‘Golden Tweet’ for India in 2016.

Kohli had posted an image which contained the words ‘SHAME’ and wrote: “Shame on people for trolling @AnushkaSharma non-stop. Have some compassion. She has always only given me positivity”.

The Indian Test captain had tweeted this during the ICC World T20, earlier this year, despite being in top form at the time. Sharma, who has been been in a relationship with Kohli for a while now, has often been blamed for the Indian cricketer’s substandard showings – despite such instances being very rare.

The tweet in question [as of December 7, 2016] has almost 40,000 retweets and more than 107,000 likes.

This wasn’t the first time that Kohli had hit out at such trolls. After the 2015 World Cup semi-final against Australia, where he was dismissed for one as India were eliminated, many Twitter users had held Sharma responsible as she was amongst the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground [SCG].

“At a human level, I would say I was hurt and the people who said those things and the way they said should be ashamed of themselves,” said Kohli, a few days after the World Cup loss in 2015.

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