Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Delhi Daredevils beat Bangalore Royal Challengers by 10 runs

Delhi Daredevils defeated Bangalore Royal Challengers by 10 runs in an exciting finish in the 17th match of the Indian Premier League here at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground on Wednesday.

Chasing a rather difficult target of 192, the Bangalore Royal Challengers went down fighting at 181 for five in the allotted 20 overs.

Their main scorer was Jaques Kallis, who made 54 off 44 balls with six four and one six while captain Rahul Dravid scored 38 off 30 balls with four boundaries and one six and Mark Boucher smashed unbeaten 31 off 17 balls with two fours and two sixes. He hit 19 runs in the final over bowled by rival captain Virender Sehwag.

Fast-medium bowler Glenn McGrath bowled extremely well and grabbed four wickets for 29 runs while Daniel Vettori took one wicket. McGrath was declared man-of-the-match after the match ended.

Earlier, Dravid won the toss and invited the opponents to bat first who made 191 for the loss of five wickets in the allotted 20 overs.

The architects of their total were opener Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan who added 98 runs for the second wicket.

Gautam Gambhir played an outstanding innings of 86 runs off 54 balls with eleven fours and one six and Dhawan made 50 off 33 balls with four fours and three sixes.

Jacques Kallis took 2 wickets while Dale Steyn and Zaheer Khan got one wicket each for Banglore Royal Challengers.

Key to captain England A against New Zealand

Test batsman Robert Key will captain the England Lions, as the national 'A' side is now known, against New Zealand in a four-day tour match at Hampshire's Rose
Bowl ground next week, it was announced here Tuesday.

The decision to have the 28-year-old Key captain a 12-man squad featuring eight players with Test or one-day international experience, comes a day after he scored 178 not out for Kent against New Zealand at Canterbury.

Also included in the team is pace bowler Matthew Hoggard, who earlier this year was dropped from the senior England side after they lost the first Test on their tour of New Zealand before going on to win the three-match series 2-1.

The first Test of a three-match series between England and New Zealand starts at Lord's on May 15.

England Lions squad to play New Zealand: Robert Key (Kent, capt), Ravi Bopara (Essex) Michael Carberry (Hampshire), Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Steven Kirby
(Gloucestershire), Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt), Graham Onions (Durham), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Owais Shah (Middlesex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Chris Tremlett (Hampshire), Luke Wright (Sussex).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Harbhajan out from IPL in slapping row

India spinner Harbhajan Singh was handed a 11-match ban from a domestic Twenty20 tournament on Monday after being found guilty of slapping national team-mate Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

The bowler could also face further punishment from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which announced a separate probe into the incident that took place in Mohali on Friday night.

Harbhajan, 27, allegedly slapped Sreesanth, 25, soon after a match, leaving the young paceman weeping inconsolably in full view of television cameras.

Harbhajan, who was leading Mumbai, later apologised to Punjab's Sreesanth and the two appeared to have made up by calling each other "brothers."

But match referee Farokh Engineer held a hearing on Monday after the Punjab team management lodged a formal complaint against Harbhajan to tournament officials. Engineer, a former India Test wicket-keeper, imposed a 11-match ban on Harbhajan, which means the off-spinner can play only if Mumbai make the semi-finals.

"The referee studied video tapes of the incident and found the assault by Harbhajan was totally unprovoked," tournament organiser Lalit Modi said.

The BCCI on Monday appointed lawyer Sudhir Nanavati to probe the charges against Harbhajan, who is on its payroll as a centrally contracted player.

Nanavati will submit his findings within 15 days after which the BCCI will decide on further action against the bowler, a release from the cricket body said.

Harbhajan could be charged by the BCCI under level 4 of the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct which deals with assaulting a fellow player.

If found guilty, he could be banned for life or five Test matches or 10 one-day internationals.

"The BCCI will not hesitate to take action against Harbhajan just because he has already been punished by the tournament organisers,"
said Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's chief administrative officer.

"We want to show that such acts of indiscipline will not be tolerated."

Harbhajan was banned for three Tests earlier this year after being found guilty of making racist remarks against Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, but was let off with a fine following an appeal to the ICC.

Campbell century helps WI U15s whip Bangladesh

Left-handed opener John Campbell notched a brilliant century as West Indies defeated Bangladesh by 37 runs, in the opening round of the CLICO International Under-15 Cricket Championship Group 1 on Saturday here at the Queen’s Park Oval.

The impressive Campbell showed a touch of class as he scored 112 from 120 balls, decorated with nine fours and one six, to help his team tally a challenging 237 off 49.5 overs.

In response, Bangladesh were restricted to 200 for eight from their allotted 50 overs as spinner Donovan Nelson took three for 43 to do the damage.

West Indies’ total was built around Campbell’s century and two key partnerships he shared with Akeem Saunders who made 23 and Steven Katwaroo (10).

After the young Windies slipped to 64 for three, Campbell and captain Katwaroo added 49 for the fourth wicket to revive the innings.

When Katwaroo departed, Saunders then partnered Campbell in a stand of 58 for the fifth wicket to put the Windies back on course.

Prolific run-getter Kraigg Brathwaite fell cheaply this time around, prised out early for just five.

Leading bowlers for the Bangladeshis were Shahariar Islam who picked up three for 36 and Nazeef Ahmed three for 55.

Ahamedul Kabir then stroked a patient 80 from 100 balls with nine fours but it was not enough for the young Tigers to stage an upset.

He shared a 59-run stand for the third wicket with Ratnak Saha (11) that steered Bangladesh to 82 for two and returned to add a further 55 for the fourth wicket with Rakin Ahmed (18).

The batting fell away badly, however, as Kyle Mayers chipped in with two for 21 to help the Windies take the upper hand.

West Indies were to battle Ireland at the Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday in their next Group 1 match.

Scores: West Indies Under-15s 237 in 49.5 overs (J Campbell 112, Extras 35; Shahariar Islam 3-36, Nazeef Ahmed 3-55).
Bangladesh Under-15s 200-8 in 50 overs (Ahamedul Kabir 80, Extras 33; D Nelson 3-43).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kings XI Punjab beat Delhi Daredevils by four wickets

Kings XI Punjab beat Delhi Daredevils by four wickets in the first match of Indian Premier League on Sunday at Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali.

Simon Katich sealed Punjab’s win with brilliant 75 including 11 fours and a six. Yuvraj Singh was another top contributor of Kings XI Punjab innings with undefeated 40.

Muhammad Asif captured two wickets for 39 runs for Delhi. McGrath, Shoaib Malik and Mahesh took one wicket each.

Earlier, Delhi Daredevils won the toss and batting first managed a total of 158 runs. Manoj Tiwary's battling innings of 39 were the highlight of Delhi innings. Kings XI attained the target with loss of six wickets in the final over with three deliveries remaining.

David Morgan defends premature sidelining of Malcolm Speed

International Cricket Council (ICC) newly elected president David Morgan has defended governing body decision sidelining chief executive, Malcolm Speed prior to his tenure of employment.

He confirmed that the decision to put Malcolm Speed on forced leave for the last two months of his contract as CEO was as a result of a ‘fundamental breakdown’ in the relationship between him, Ray Mali, the president, and some of the Executive Board members.

Addressing a press conference at Lord’s, Morgan briefed on chief executive Malcolm Speed’s premature leave. He said that the Board’s caretaker president Ray Mali and Malcolm Speed had with mutual agreement finalized this that Malcolm Speed would go on leave in the last two months of his tenure of employment. When quizzed on Zimbabwe cricket, David Morgan said that this was the issue on which Board’s president and chief executive had differences. Malcolm Speed was unhappy over ICC not taking action against the Zimbabwe Board for misappropriations in Zimbabwe cricket accounts. He clarified that Malcolm Speed was neither sent on forced leave for his being Australian nor related to ICL or IPL.

Chennai Super Kings cruise to easy win over Kolkata Knight Riders

Chennai Super Kings cruised to an easy victory by nine wickets against Kolkata Knight Riders in the eleventh match of the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

Chasing a moderate target of 148 runs, the Chennai Super Kings achieved it in 16.5 overs when captain Mahindra Singh Dhoni struck a six off Murali Kartik.

After losing the only wicket of Parthiv Patel (21) at the score of 66, opener Matthew Hayden and Dhoni took the score to 152 to get their team win the match by nine wickets here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk.

Hayden made 70 off 48 balls with six fours and three sixes while Dhoni scored 43 off 27 balls with three fours and two sixes. Both remained not out.

Kolkata captain Sourav Ganguly tried seven bowlers but none of theem could take any wicket except fast-medium bowler Ajit Agarkar who claimed the only wicket of the Chennai innings.

By winning their all three matches in the IPL, the Channai Super Kings is now leading the points table with six points where as the Kolkata Knight Riders lost for the first time after winning two successive matches in the tournament.

Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders won the toss and elected to bat first but could not bat confidently as the Chennai Super Kings with their fine bowling and superb fielding restricted Kolkata Knight Riders at 147 runs for nine wickets in the allotted 20 overs.

Their top scorer was late-order batsman Laxmi Shukla, who made 42 off 33 balls with four boundaries and one six while wicketkeeper batsman Prasanta Saha scored 27 and opener Brendon McCullum contributed 24.

Mohammad Hafeez (16), Captain Saurov Ganguly (12) and Ajit Agarkar (11) were the only other batsmen who got into double figures.

Fast-medium bowler Jacob Oram captured three wickets for 32 while pacers Palany Amarnath and Manpreet Gony took two wickets each. Renowned off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan could not get any wicket but he conceded only 12 runs in four overs.

Rajasthan Royals crush Bangalore Royal Challengers by seven wickets

Rajasthan Royals easily defeated Bangalore Royal Challengers by seven wickets in the 12th match of the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.

Chasing an easy target of 136 runs, the Royals completed their victory in 17.1 overs for the loss of three wickets at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Shane Watson and Graeme Smith were the architects of the victory as they added 104 runs for the third wicket stand.

Watson remained unbeaten on 61 runs off 41 balls with eight fours and two sixes while opener Smith made 49 off 42 balls with eight fours.

From the Royal Challengers, Zaheer Khan, Sunil Joshi and Praveen Kumar took one wicket each.

Earlier, Shane Warne, captain of the Rajasthan Royals winning the toss put the Bangalore Royal Challengers into batting and restricted them at 135-8 in the allotted 20 overs.

Bangalore batsmen could not make a big score and were restricted at 135 runs for the loss of eight wickets at the.

Ross Taylor top scored with 44 runs off just 20 balls. He hit six fours and three sixes. The second top-scorer was Praveen Kumar, who made 34 off 30 balls with three sixes and two fours.

Shane Watson and Munaf Patel both claimed two wickets for 20 runs each from the Rajasthan Royals.

No dispute with Sreesanth, says Harbhajan

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has said the incident between him and Sreesanth Shanthakumaran was over. "It is not such a big issue the way people are making it out to be," he told television channels.

The Indian media had reported that Harbhajan had slapped the young fast bowler.

"Harbhajan came back to the dressing room and apologised to Sreesanth,"
Mohali captain Yuvraj Singh told reporters.

Meanwhile, Sreesanth has said Harbhajan is like his elder brother.

Television pictures showed Sreesanth sobbing at the end of t

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Two matches in IPL today

Two matches will be played in the Indian Premier League today. In the first match, Chennai Super Kings will take on Kolkata Knight Riders and Bangalore Royal Challengers will play against Rajasthan Royals.

Kolkata and Chennai have so far been unbeatable in the IPL, any team losing today’s match will be out of the contest.

BCCI sends notice to Harbhajan Singh

BCCI has sent a notice to Harbhajan Singh for violating the code of conduct on the field. He has to reply to the notice by Monday.

Sreesanth wept on the field after Harbhajan Singh slapped him on Friday night during an IPL match.

It all happened after Kings XI Punjab won their first match of the DLF Indian Premier League beating the Mumbai Indians.

Upset over the row between Mumbai stand-in captain Harbhajan Singh and Punjab paceman S Sreesanth, Indian Premier League Chairman Lalit Modi on Saturday said it was a "serious matter" and was not good for the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament.

But Modi said the IPL committee would wait foar an official report on the matter before deciding about their next action in the issue.

"It looks like a serious matter the way it's being shown on television channels but I can't say anything now. In any tournament it should not happen, it's unfortunate what happened yesterday,"
Modi told reporters in Chandigarh.

Modi, however, said the IPL committee could take any decision only after receiving an official report on the matter as picture was still not clear about what exactly happened between the two players last night.

Friday, April 25, 2008

ICC moves its annual conference to Dubai

The ICC annual conference will be held in Dubai this June, ending a 99-year association with Lord’s.

This has been learnt that the decision to abandon London as the host venue was taken by the majority of the ICC executive board at the opening of the IPL in Bangalore last week after claims by Peter Chingoka that attempts by him to obtain a visa to enter the UK had been blocked.

Although there was no formal meeting held in Bangalore, only two or three board heads were absent, and when Chingoka flagged that he had not been successful in obtaining a visa, it was agreed to switch the get together to the ICC headquarters. A formal announcement is expected in the next few days.

The annual ICC conference has been held at Lord’s since the first meeting in 1909.

The decision to relocate this year casts a shadow over plans to centre the ICC’s centenary celebrations on Lord’s, and unless Chingoka is allowed into the country - and given the hardening of the line against anyone associated with Zanu-PF, that seems unlikely - then the loss of the conference could be the first in a chain of events moved from the UK.

The ICC’s centenary celebrations next year are due to be centred on Lord’s, and there is also scheduled to be a bilateral tour by Zimbabwe followed by the ICC World Twenty20.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chris Cairns to captain MCC against New Zealand

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns will captain MCC in the opening match of the Black Caps tour of England in Arundel on Sunday.

Hard-hitting, pace bowling all-rounder Cairns, 37, who retired from international cricket two years ago after playing 62 Tests and 215 one-dayers, is one of three New Zealanders in the MCC side.

The others are dynamic batsman and medium-pacer Nathan Astle, who appeared in 81 Tests and 223 one-day internationals before retiring from international and first-class cricket last year and Auckland batsman Rob Nicol.

Steve Elworthy, the former South Africa fast bowler who is now in England in his role as tournament director for the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, is also in the MCC side as is Zimbabwe all-rounder Sean Ervine.

The MCC team also features several ex-England players in recently retired Kent left-arm spinner Min Patel, Leicestershire wicket-keeper Paul Nixon and John Stephenson, now MCC's head of cricket.

Former Surrey and Nottinghamshire batsman Darren Bicknell, fresh from scoring 132 not out for MCC against Scotland at Lord's in a match where a pink cricket ball was trialled, will again open the innings for MCC.

The Arundel ground in southern England, which is set in the grounds of Arundel Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Norfolk, has traditionally staged the opening match of an international team's tour of England.

New Zealand, who earlier this year beat England 3-1 in a one-day series before losing 2-1 in a three-match Test campaign on home soil, are due to play three Tests, one Twenty20 and five one-day internationals on their tour.

After their one-day match against MCC, they face Kent in a three-day match starting on April 28.

Four-day games against Essex (May 2-5) and England Lions, the national A side at Hampshire's Rose Bowl ground (May 8-11) follow before the first Test at Lord's starts on May 15.

MCC team to play New Zealand: Darren Bicknell, Hylton Ackerman, Richard Montgomerie, Rob Nicol, Nathan Astle, Sean Ervine, Chris Cairns (captain), John Stephenson, Paul Nixon (wkt), Steve Elworthy, Min Patel.

Sachin Tendulkar turns 35, but twilight is far away

The longest-serving current international cricketer Sachin Tendulkar turned 35 on Thursday, feeling as excited and enthusiastic about the game as he did on
debut 19 years ago.

The record-breaking batsman, considered an icon in his native India and around the world, dismissed any suggestions of calling it a day despite being dogged by injuries in recent years.

"I am enjoying my cricket at the moment and don't want to think too much about the future," Tendulkar, recovering from a groin injury, said in a recent television interview.

"I have been playing almost non-stop for 20 years and want to focus only on the present. I prefer to take it series by series."

Tendulkar, who made his international debut in 1989 in Pakistan, needs just 172 more runs to overtake retired West Indian Brian Lara as Test cricket's leading run-scorer.

The star batsman, with 11,782 runs from 147 Tests, will get the chance to surpass Lara when India tour Sri Lanka in July for a three-Test series.

Tendulkar is already the world's top one-day batsman with 16,361 runs and holds the world records of 39 Test and 42 one-day

Rich tributes poured in from contemporaries like Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting, and India's one-day and Twenty20 captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as Tendulkar celebrated the day with his Mumbai team-mates and family.

Tendulkar was the only senior batsman to retain a place in the recent one-day series in Australia, scoring an unbeaten 117 and 91 to help his team clinch the best-of-three-finals against the hosts.

He may have curbed a few strokes of late, but remains one of the most innovative batsmen of his era. Such is his charisma that he hogs the limelight as much with his failures as with his successes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Delhi Daredevils easily win by 9 wickets against Deccan Chargers

Delhi Daredevils recorded their second consecutive win at ease in the seventh Twenty20 match of the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.

Set a winning target of 143 runs by Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils easily achieved it in only 13 overs for the loss of one wicket here at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

This was all due to captain Virendar Sehwag’s hurricane innings of 94 not out from just 41 balls with ten fours and six sixes.

After Gautam Ghambir (12) left at 31, Sehwag along with Shikhar Dhawan 25 not out), made 112 runs off just 57 balls for an unbeaten second wicket stand.

Earlier, Deccan Chargers won the toss and elected to bat but they lost their top order batsmen for only 82 runs in 16 overs.

However, Rohit Sharma’s explosive 66 off just 36 balls made a great recovery for his team after star batsmen failed to score. He smashed six fours and four sixes.

Sharma along with tail-enders added 60 runs in just four overs to reach 142-8 in the allotted 20 overs.

Pace-men Mohammad Asif, Rajat Bhatia and Farveez Mahroof claimed two wickets each.

Deccan Challengers did not win any match so far as they lost both their early matches.

Geo Super telecast the match live from Rajiv Gandhi stadium, Hyderabad Deccan.

26-man England squad named for NZ, South Africa cricket series

England have named three uncapped players in their squad for the upcoming matches against New Zealand and South Africa and handed batsman Robert Key a recall three years after his last international appearance.

The 26-man Performance Squad automatically includes the 12 players currently on 12-month England contracts, so there was never any question of either Steve Harmison or Matthew Hoggard being left out, despite the two bowlers having been dropped from the Test side during England's recent series win in New Zealand.

The uncapped players included are Michael Carberry, Adil Rashid and James Tredwell. Kent opener Key last played for his country on the tour of South Africa in 2004-05.

England selector Geoff Miller said the squad had been deliberately limited to 26 players to allow room for inclusion of individuals who stake a claim early in the domestic county season.

Miller said: "The selectors can name up to 30 players in the EPS, but we have decided to keep four places vacant at present in order to give ourselves greater flexibility and we will reserve the right to add further players to the squad if their performances in domestic cricket merit it."
England Performance Squad 2008: Tim Ambrose (Warwickshire), James Anderson
(Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Michael Carberry (Hampshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Alastair Cook (Essex), Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire), Stephen Harmison (Durham), Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Robert Key (Kent), Dimitri Mascarenhas (Hampshire), Philip Mustard (Durham), Monty Panesar (Northamptonshire), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Matthew Prior (Sussex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Owais Shah (Middlesex), Andrew Strauss (Middlesex), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Chris Tremlett (Hampshire), Michael Vaughan(Yorkshire), Luke Wright (Sussex).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Knight Riders win by 5 wkts

Kolkata Knight Riders won the match by five wickets against Deccan Chargers here on Sunday in the fourth Indian Premier League (IPL) match.

Kolkata Knight Riders won both of its two matches. Kolkata Knight Riders achieved the win in the 19th over. Hussey played an impregnable innings of 38 runs. Captain Sourav Ganguly and Mohammed Hafeez scored 14 and 13 runs respectively.

From Deccan Chargers, Vaas and Ojha achieved two wickets each, whereas, RP Singh bagged only one wicket.

Earlier, Deccan Chargers gave 111-run target to Kolkata Knight Riders.

Andrew Symonds played the lone battle with a fine 32, but the rest were clueless against the seamers and spinners alike.

VVS Laxman had no hesitation in batting first, but early into the second over, the pitch came into play. Ishant Sharma got deliveries to balloon off a good length and his fearsome pace only exacerbated the agony for the batsman. Each time the ball thudded on the surface, a puff of dust went along with it and that was to be a regular feature.

The surface had even the most experienced batsmen all at sea. Laxman's stint was nothing short of a nightmare. Walking in at the fall of the first wicket - that of Venugopal Rao, steering one straight to gully of Ishant - Laxman had no time to settle down. He was the victim of a nasty Ishant lifter which kicked and rapped him flush on the glove and his instant reaction was to shed his glove in a flash and shake his hands vigorously. A worried Billy Bowden immediately whipped out his walkie-talkie, presumably communicating his anxieties about the dustbowl, but after a brief hold-up, play continued.

Laxman wasn't expected to hang around for too long and his maiden IPL innings ended tamely, miscuing a pull to Laxmi Rattan Shukla at mid-off. The pitch too was partly to blame for his downfall as the ball stopped before reaching him. Ajit Agarkar ambled in for a forgettable over, during which he leaked 16 runs. The over went against the run of play as Adam Gilchrist flicked him high over fine leg off the first ball, then deposited it over long-leg two balls later, before creaming one past backward point.

Sourav Ganguly, the captain, swiftly brought an end to the brief carnage by operating spinners from both ends. Then move intensified the pressure on the hapless batsmen, as deliveries turned square, remniscent of a crumbling fifth-day pitch. Murali Kartik got one to grip, shoot up and bamboozle Symonds on the forward prod.

The Australian duo of Gilchrist and Symonds failed to repair the damage as Gilchrist holed out to long leg off a short delivery by Kartik. Hafeez then deceived Scott Styris in flight, before Kartik returned to claim Rohit Sharma. A helpless Symonds at the other end struggled to push the scoring but cut loose in the 17th over, clattering three sixes over the on side off David Hussey.

Hussey had the last laugh when he hung on to a skier to get rid of Symonds and the innings folded up in the 19th over. The target of 111 may be below par by Twenty20 standards, but one can expect the home side to approach this with caution. Time will tell if this was a good toss to lose for Sourav Ganguly.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

IPL openning ceremony Photos

IPL FireWorks

English cricket set for multi-million dollar boost

England are set to be offered 100 million dollars (50 million pounds) to play five Twenty20 matches against a West Indies all-star side, according to reports here on

The England and Wales Cricket board (ECB) this week revealed they were "very likely" to accept around 10 million pounds (20m dollars) for a one-off match in the Caribbean that would be the richest single game in the sport's history.

The idea is the brainchild of Sir Allen Stanford, the billionaire banker from Texas, who finances the Stanford 20/20 Tournament in the West Indies, and who wants to expand the concept.

Stanford wants England to play five Twenty20 games against his West Indies all-star side, the first to coincide with Independence Day in Antigua on November 1.

And he held talks with ECB chief executive David Collier on Tuesday.

Delhi Daredevils thrash Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets in IPL

Delhi Daredevils thrashed Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets in a disappointingly one-sided game in the Indian Premier League here at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground on Saturday.

Rajasthan didn't have a chance after their batsmen had floundered badly, putting up a dismal 129 on the board.

Gautam Gambhir's unbeaten 58, and his 112-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan - who helped himself to a half-century as well - finished off the run-chase in a mere 15.1 overs.

Rajasthan won the toss and captain Shane Warne decided to bat but after some aggressive batting by Taruwar Kohli the game took a turn.

Two quick run-outs severely hampered Rajhastan’s momentum and when Mohammad Kaif, who struggled to find the gaps and the runs, scooped one to Geeves at short fine leg, Rajasthan had slumped to 57 for 5.

In a team which had the immense figures of McGrath and Daniel Vettori in their bowling line-up, the hero of the day was Farveez Maharoof, who bowled with excellent control, changing his pace and offering the batsmen no width to score off. His dismissal of Darren Lehmann, who was trapped on the shuffle, was another blow to Rajasthan's hopes of getting a challenging total on the board.

Ravindra Jadeja, the left-hand batsman, offered some resistance, hitting Vettori for a six and a four off his first two balls, but Vettori had the last laugh, deceiving him with a quicker one which rattled the stumps. Warne and Dinesh Salunkhe ensured that Delhi needed to score at more than a run a ball, but on a flat pitch against a batting line-up which included Virender Sehwag and Gambhir at the top of the order, there was little chance of defending that score.

Their opening partnership lasted just ten balls, but it was enough to set the tone for the run-chase. Gambhir's slash and straight drive in the first over off Munaf Patel both found the boundary, while Sehwag had the home crowd on their feet and cheering wildly after just three balls, all of which sped to different parts of the ground: a lofted straight drive over Watson's head, a spanking pull through midwicket, and then the best shot of them all - a delectable late cut between the wicketkeeper and slip. That, unfortunately, was as good as it got, as Watson hit back, ripping a quick one which rattled the stumps off the pads.

Nothing could stop Gambhir, though, as he continued the Twenty20 form he had shown in the World Cup in South Africa. An audacious extra-cover drive for six and a late cut off Munaf quickly brought the asking rate below a run a ball, after which it was a cool canter.

Rajasthan's one hope was Warne, but Gambhir and Dhawan didn't allow him to settle in either, sweeping and pulling him for fours even as Warne's reactions suggested he was only a whisker away from a wicket. He pulled himself off the attack after just two overs, and the rest was a mere formality.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

IPL: Chennai Super beat Punjab Kings by 33 runs

Chennai Super Kings beat Punjab Kings by 33 runs on Saturday in the first match of the day in Indian Premier League at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali.

Chennai Super Kings earlier set the highest record of Twenty20 cricket score with 240 runs, Punjab Kings XI chasing the target scored 207 runs in 20 overs.

Jay Hope 71, was the top scorer for the Punjab side and Kumara Sangakkara scored 54 runs.

Muralitharan, P. Amarnath and Joginder Singh grabbed one wicket each for Chennai Super Kings.

Earlier, the Chennai team won the toss and elected to bat firs. Michael Hussey made 116 runs with 10 sixes and seven fours for Chennai.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kolkata crush Bangalore by 140 runs in IPL opener

Kolkata Knight Riders recorded a massive victory of 140 runs over Bangalore Royal Challengers in the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League here at the Chinnaswami Stadium on Friday.

Set an improbable target of 223 runs in 20 overs, Bangalore batsmen were seen in trouble right from the beginning and the whole team was bundled out for 82 in 15.1 overs.

None of their batsmen could enter into double figure except Praveen Kumar, who made 18 runs and remained not out.

However, it was interesting to note that Bangalore’s highest scorer was not any batsman but ‘Mr. Extras’, who contributed 19 runs with eight leg-byes and eleven wides.

From Kolkata Knight Riders, pacer Ajit Agarkar was the most successful bowler with three wickets for 25 runs while Ashok Dinda and captain Sourav Ganguly claimed two wickets each for nine and 21 runs, respectively.

Earlier, Rahul Dravid, captain of the Bangalore Royal Challengers won the toss and opted to field but his decision went wrong when the Kolkata batsmen severely punished his bowlers to amass a huge score of 222 runs for three wickets in the allotted 20 overs.

However, this was one man show as Kolkata’s opener Brendon McCullum hammered an unbeaten 158 off just 73 balls with 14 big sixes and nine fours.

This is the highest individual score by any batsman in Twenty20 cricket.

No other batsman made any significant score as Ricky Ponting (20), Michael Hussey (12) and captain Sourav Ganguly(10) went back to pavilion one after another.

Mohammad Hafeez from Pakistan was unbeaten on five.

Zaheer Khan, A. Noffke and Jacques Kallis claimed one wicket each.

Geo Super gave the live coverage of the match as it obtained the exclusive telecast rights for showing all matches of the tournament, which will continue till June 8.

The commencement of IPL has taken the entire world of cricket by storm. IPL is literally a cricket league but this is in fact the beginning of a revolution which will change the history of cricket.

The opening ceremony was a blend of fireworks, stilt walkers, aerial gymnasts, performers in a bubble and some Bollywood glitter with the presence of Shah Rukh Khan, also the co-owner of the Kolkata team.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kolkata and Bangalore teams clash in IPL opener tomorrow

Tomorrow, there will be a powerful blast which will affect the entire world of cricket.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is literally a cricket league but this is in fact the beginning of a revolution which will change the history of cricket.

There will be a sensational contest between Kolkata Knight Riders and Bangalore Royal Challengers at the Chinnaswamy Stadium of Bangalore.

Former captains of India Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly are leading the teams of Bangalore Royal Challengers and Kolkata Knight Riders, respectively.

Great cricket stars like Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies, Nathan Baracken and David Hussey of Australia, Mark Boucher and Jaques Kallis of South Africa and others will be seen in action in this inaugural match of the IPL.

Together with the glamour of Bollywood, a new style of sports and entertainment will take place at the Chinnaswamy Stadium of Bangalore on April 18.

The opening ceremony will be a blend of fireworks, stilt walkers, aerial gymnasts, performers in a bubble and some Bollywood glitter with the presence of Shah Rukh Khan, also the co-owner of the Kolkata team, and Preity Zinta, co-owner of the Mohali franchise.

The Bangalore Royal Challengers, to be led by Rahul Dravid, will include Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Mark Boucher, Wasim Jaffer, Sunil Joshi, Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Misbah-ul-Haq, Devraj Patil, Jacques Kallis, Dayle Steyn, Vinay Kumar, Cameron White and Nathan Bracken.

The Kolkata Knight Riders, to be captained by Sourav Ganguly, will consist of Ajit Agarkar, Akash Chopra, Chris Gayle, David Hussey, Murali Kartik, Mohammad Hafeez, Tetenda Taibu, Brendon McCullum, Ricky Ponting, Ishant Sharma, Laxmi Shukla and Yashpal Singh.

Bangalore Royal Challengers, which is owned by Vijay Mallya, the business tycoon, is playing a key role in organising the opening ceremony on their home ground in association with the Karnataka State Cricket Association and the IPL.

ICC says it will probe Kanpur Test wicket

The International Cricket Council is investigating the wicket used in the final Test between India and South Africa in Kanpur, which was criticised following the tourists' collapse, a top official said on Wednesday.

The dry, dusty pitch at the Green Park, described by South African coach Mickey Arthur as "a poor cricket wicket", saw India win the match in three days on Sunday to draw the series 1-1.

Match referee Roshan Mahanama described it as sub-standard in his post-match report, forcing the International Cricket Council (ICC) to demand an explanation from the Indian cricket board.

"I can confirm the Kanpur wicket was reported by the match referee,"
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed told reporters during a brief visit to Mumbai.

The ICC could, as a last resort, ban Kanpur as a Test venue if it does not receive a convincing reply from the Indian board.

South Africa, batting first after winning the toss, scored 265 and India replied with 325.

The tourists were shot out for 121 in 55.5 overs in their second innings, with captain Graeme Smith's 35 the top score.

India lost two wickets chasing 62 for victory, but levelled the series.

They had been behind after being thrashed inside three days in the second Test at Ahmedabad.

"There was always something happening on the wicket,"
said Arthur after the match.
"It was behaving like a fifth day pitch on the second day. It was a poor cricket wicket."

Arthur also slammed the poor cricketing and hotel facilities in Kanpur, but stressed South Africa did not lodge a complaint.

"We are a major cricketing power, so we should get good venues and facilities,"
he said.
"But Kanpur, to our disappointment, was way below par in everything.

"It was a poor cricket wicket, though I can understand the reason behind it. But the practice facilities and the accommodation left a lot to be desired for an international venue."

ICL India XI win World Series title

ICL Indian XI defeating ICL World XI won the Indian Cricket League World Series here on Tuesday.

Winning the toss, the Indians batted first in the final of the series and made 148 runs for the loss of eight wickets in the allotted 20 overs.

Their openers Ganapathy Vignesh and Ibrahim Khaleel gave a solid opening stand of 75 runs but all other batsmen failed to avail this opportunity for getting a big total.

However, their bowlers displayed an excellent performance to restrict the ICL World XI to 138-5 in 20 overs to win the match by 10 runs.

Vignesh was declared man-of-the-match for his all-round performance. He scored 57 off 43 balls with five fours and three sixes and captured two wickets.

Ibrahim, who made 34 off 33 balls with six fours, was later declared the player-of-the-series.

From the ICL World XI, Damien Martin scored 60 with ten fours and one six while Andrew Hall and Upul Chandana claimed two wickets each.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

English cricketers urged for board compliance

England's centrally-contracted players have been forbidden to play in Indian Premier League (IPL). Consequent upon this, IPL founder IS Bindra warned these players against rejecting the central contract of their country for the next year's IPL competition.

England's centrally-contracted players are prohibited from taking part in the IPL, but Bindra does not want them to take matters into their own hands.

Bindra, in an interview with a British news network, said his league does not want any player to go against their establishment to become part of the IPL.

Earlier, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced that no centrally contracted players will be allowed to take part in the IPL.

Bindra urged the centrally-contracted players to play national cricket and not to spoil their nexus with their board for playing in the IPL, if their board disallows them to play there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

ICL India XI beat ICL Pakistan XI againICL India XI beat ICL Pakistan XI again

It was restrictive bowling at its best as ICL India XI, led by Ali Murtaza's miserly spell of 2 for 22 in four overs, shut Pakistan XI out of the contest after an aggressive start in their chase of 177. Pakistan XI pinned their hopes on Imran Farhat and Hasan Raza to guide them through but were unable to cut loose against the slow bowlers and eventually ended on 144 for 6, 32 short of the target.

The win sealed India XI's place in the final on Tuesday.

The win was setup by an attacking half-century by Tejinder Pal Singh, whose 52 off 32 balls piloted India XI to 176. Ibrahim Khaleel and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala added 66 for the second wicket before a doube-strike by Arshad Khan set them back at 84 for 3.

Tejinder and S Abbas Ali staged a recovery with a blistering stand of 52 in just 4.4 overs. Abbas Ali hit two fours in his 22 before he was run-out by Abdul Razzaq at the bowler's end for backing up too far. Tejinder continued the assault and launched two sixes, including one which towered high over long-on. He fell for 52 off just 32 balls, bowled by Naved-ul-Hasan off the penultimate ball of the innings.

Pakistan XI suffered an early setback after Imran Nazir was forced to retire hurt early owing to a groin injury. Razzaq meanwhile launched the chase into overdrive, smashing seven fours and a six in his 38. G Vignesh, the medium pacer, then struck twice in the space of two overs, sending back the dangerous Razzaq to bring the Indians back into the contest.

Farhat and Raza came together with the score at 52 and for a lengthy period, ensured Pakistan didn't ensure any further loss of wickets. However, the required rate began to climb once the left-arm spin duo of Murtaza and Syed Mohammad and the seamer T Kumaran operated in the middle overs, giving very little away. The odd six lifted Pakistan's spirits but the fluency was missing.

India XI's fielding inside the circle was of a very high standard, forcing the batsmen to improvise. Cheeky glides to third man and straight drives were intercepted and the nagging stump-to-stump line by Murtaza only made life difficult for the pair as almost every slog failed to make contact with the bat. Farhat finally hit out in the 18th over, skying a catch to R Satish off Kumaran. Vignesh finished with the best figures for the Indians with 3 for 22 in four overs.

Pakistan XI needed an improbable 43 off the last two overs and the contest was effectively sealed. With India XI already in the final, tomorrow's match between Pakistan XI and World XI is a virtual semi-final.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

India’s dramatic win to level Test series against SA

Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag triggered South Africa's collapse on an awkward pitch to help India square the series with an eight-wicket win in the third and final Test here on Sunday.

Off-spinner Harbhajan bagged 4-44 and part-time spinner Sehwag 3-12 as South Africa were shot out for 121 in their second innings on a turning track of unpredictable bounce after conceding a 60-run lead on the third day.

India raced to the 62-run target off just 13.1 overs, with Sehwag smashing two successive sixes off spinner Paul Harris in a 12-ball 22. Sourav Ganguly (13 not out) and Rahul Dravid (18 not out) then completed the win.

India had lost the second Test by an innings and 90 runs in Ahmedabad and drawn the first in Chennai.

South Africa never found the going easy on a pitch where the ball sometimes kept low as well as jumped, creating doubts in the batsmen's minds. Only skipper Graeme Smith (35) and Ashwell Prince (22 not out) offered resistance.

It was South Africa's third-lowest total against India in Tests and the second successive match of the series to be finished inside three days. As many as 13 wickets fell on the third day.

The visitors' hopes of posting a challenging total receded sharply when they lost the last six wickets for 31 runs, with Harbhajan taking three, paceman Ishant Sharma two and off-spinner Sehwag one.

Mark Boucher was caught behind off a nasty delivery from Sharma that rose from just short of a good length, with wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni holding a simple catch.

Stand-in captain Dhoni sprang a surprise in the morning when he opened the attack with Harbhajan and then kept rotating his pacemen and spinners in a bid to keep non-stop pressure on the South African batsmen.

When he pressed Sehwag into the attack in the afternoon, the move paid off instantly as the part-timer got the vital wickets of Smith and Jacques Kallis in three overs.

Left-handed Smith and Kallis (15) looked like steadying the innings after the fall of two early wickets, but Sehwag swung the match India's way.

Sehwag had Kallis caught by Wasim Jaffer at short-leg and then bowled Smith to virtually put his team in a winning position.

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (29) earlier frustrated South Africa with a 46-run stand for the last wicket with Ishant Sharma (14 not out) before India were bowled out for 325 in their first innings in reply to the visitors' 265.

The last-wicket pair batted more than an hour in the morning, adding 37 to their team's overnight total of 288-9.

WI coach hails team’s victory against Sri Lanka

West Indies coach John Dyson heaped praise on his side Sunday for clinching their One-day International series against Sri Lanka with a game to spare.

Sri Lanka ran into the rampant pair of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels, and lost the rain-marred match by seven wickets under the Duckworth-Lewis Method on Saturday at Queen's Park Oval.

Chanderpaul hit an unbeaten 52, and Samuels scored 54 not out in a stand of 107 - unbroken - for the fourth wicket, as West Indies, chasing 125 for victory from 25 overs, hit the jackpot with 27 balls remaining.

"The guys did a sensational job overall,"
Dyson told reporters.
"We bowled well and fielded well. There were a couple little errors that we would like to avoid, but overall the fielding effort was very, very good.

"When we batted, the experience of Chanderpaul and Samuels was perfect. They batted superbly."

The victory gave West Indies an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, after they won the opening ODI by one wicket in a dramatic finish last Thursday at the same venue.

"Every series is important,"
he said.
"I've always said that at international level, your aim is to win the series.

"Our group of guys has been working hard for some time and I'm really pleased for them that they've been able to put it together in front of their home crowd."

The third and final ODI in the series will be contested on Tuesday at the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia.

Wright Keen To Improve

Luke Wright smashed a career-best score to inflict further damage on MCC on Saturday at Lord's and break his mould as a one-day specialist.

All-rounder Wright's previous impact on the match between the 2007 county champions Sussex and a representative XI containing aspiring England players had been to deliver the ball which poleaxed tail-ender Steve Kirby.

And his impact on cricket in general had come in limited-overs action, for which he has gained international recognition.

So his knock of 155 not out, which comfortably surpassed his previous first-class high of 100 against Loughborough University four years ago, in Sussex's 474 for five, represented the perfect start to the 2008 season.

"I just want to try to build on what has happened in the winter and kick on again this summer - this is a good start,"

said Wright, whose England caps came on the back of his exceptional Twenty20 form last summer.

"It is time to concentrate improving my form in Championship-mode, try to break in as a top-six batter and be a true all-rounder.

"Just to be with England is so special but once you get a taste you want to keep playing."

England's hierarchy believe Wright has the potential to improve as a fast-bowling option and he has certainly bowled with pace and hostility in this season curtain-raiser.

A shoulder injury, for which he has received injections, has stymied his pre-season appearances but he looked the part with the ball against the MCC, who trail by 440 runs going into the final day.

His bouncer hurried Owais Shah into a mistake yesterday and another short ball had another decisive effect on the match when Kirby was felled attempting to rock out of the way.

Kirby, 30, was knocked unconscious and passed out again after being escorted to the pavilion.

Thankfully, however, after a night of monitoring in the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, Wright's former Leicestershire colleague was released, fed by Lord's famous kitchen and sent home to rest.

"I have seen Kirbs today, we've had a little hug and he's fine about it,"

Wright added.

"I am sure I will get a few back at some point.

"I know him really well, since being a kid, so I am sure we will have a drink and a laugh about it at some point now he's okay.

"I had never seen anything like that in cricket, so it shook me up quite a lot at the time.

"Once he got off the pitch I thought that was it but to go and see him in the changing room - and him being out on the floor - was obviously quite scary."

India XI win again in ICL triangular

The ICL India XI after beating the ICL Pakistan XI yesterday defeated the World XI by 44 runs in the Twenty20 match today.

Batting first at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium on Saturday, the India XI made 163 for eight in the allotted 20 overs. Abbas Ali top-scored with 44 runs.

In reply, the World XI could score 119 runs for the loss of eight wickets in 20 overs. Their top scorers were Marvan Atapattu (20) and Matthew Elliott (19).

Ali Murtaza and Stuart Binny were the most successful bowlers from India XI. Each of them claimed two wickets for 19 runs.

The next match will be played between the ICL Pakistan XI and the ICKL World XI on Monday.

Friday, April 11, 2008

West Indies beat Sri Lanka in sensational contest

Chaminda Vaas lost his nerves, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul kept his, and struck a four and a six off the last two balls to hand West Indies a sensational one-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the first One-day International here.

Chasing 236 for victory from their allocation of 50 overs, West Indies entered the final over at Queen's Park Oval needing 13 runs to win.

Sri Lanka turned to Vaas, their most experienced bowler, to deliver the last over, and he restricted the West Indies last wicket pair of Chanderpaul and batting bunny Fidel Edwards to three runs from the first four balls of the over.

But Vaas, whose line and length had been unerring throughout the match, delivered a full length delivery and Chanderpaul drove him through mid-off for four.

Sri Lanka would still have favoured their chances with West Indies needing a six off the last ball when Vaas ran up and delivered a full toss, which Chanderpaul duly dispatched over the wide long-on boundary to spark massive celebrations in the stands.

Chanderpaul was undefeated on 62 from 63 balls which included five fours and one six.
The victory gives West Indies a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series, which continues at the same venue on Saturday before ending next Tuesday with a day/night fixture at the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia.

A record sixth-wicket stand of 159 between Chamara Silva and Chamara Kapugedera had helped Sri Lanka reach a respectable 235 for seven off their allotment of 50 overs, after they were sent in to bat on a hard, true pitch under partly cloudy skies.

Kapugedera struck seven fours and three sixes in the top score of 95 from 117 balls and Silva collected seven boundaries in 67 from 96 balls to get Sri Lanka back on course, after Dwayne Bravo triggered a slump that restricted them to 49 for five in the 15th over.
Then openers Chris Gayle and Devon Smith emerged from an uneasy start to give West Indies a solid foundation of 53 for the first wicket.

Sri Lanka were made to toil for almost 13 overs before they scalped another wicket, as Ramnaresh Sarwan joined Gayle and they added 56 for the second wicket.

But Sri Lanka savoured a purple patch, when they captured three wickets - two to Kulasekera - in the space of seven balls to leave West Indies 110 for four in the 28th over.

ODI newcomer Ajantha Mendis had Gayle lbw for 52 with the last ball of the 27th over, Sarwan was caught behind for 35 off the third ball of the next over from Kulasekera, who also had Marlon Samuels adjudged lbw for a duck off the last ball of the same over.
ODI newcomer Ajantha Mendis bamboozled the West Indies batsmen with his clever variations to collect three wickets for 39 runs from 10 overs, and Nuwan Kulasekera bagged three for 43 from 10 overs.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pakistan XI outplays World XI by 9 wickets in ICL

The ICL Pakistan XI outplayed the ICL World XI by nine wickets in their first match of the ICL triangular tournament here at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium on Thursday.

Set a rather easy target of 131, the Pakistani openers gave a sound start of 119 runs off 16.1 overs.

Imran Nazir departed after scoring a magnificent 69 off 62 balls with nine fours and one six, his team needed just 12 runs in 23 balls which Abdul Razzaq and Imran Farhat got in just eight balls.

Abdul Razzaq remained unbeaten at 55 which he made off 42 deliveries with three sixes and the same number of fours.

Imran Nazir was declared the man-of-the-match.

Earlier, the ICL World XI won the toss and elected to bat but could not make any big score and were restricted by Inzamam-ul-Haq’s men to 130 runs for nine wickets in the allotted 20 overs.

Their main scorers were Lou Vincent(26), Russell Arnold (23 not out) and Ian Harvey (21).

From Pakistan XI, off-spinner Arshad Khan claimed three wickets for 24 runs while pace bowlers Shahid Nazir, Naved-ul-Hasan and Abdul Razzaq took two wickets each.

Sharma return boosts under-pressure India

India's hopes of squaring the Test series with South Africa received a boost on Thursday after key paceman Ishant Sharma was cleared to return for the third and final match.

"He (Sharma) is fit, but we have yet to decide on the team combination for the match,"
India skipper Anil Kumble told reporters on Thursday.

South Africa lead 1-0 in the series following their huge victory by an innings and 90 runs in the second match in Ahmedabad. The opening Test ended in a draw in Chennai.

India's pace attack lacked sharpness in the absence of the 19-year-old Sharma, who was forced to skip the first two Tests with finger and toe injuries.

Sharma rose to prominence on the contentious recent tour of Australia where he troubled batsmen with his pace and variations. He has so far grabbed 12 wickets in five Tests.

But the hosts were still sweating over the fitness of ace leg-spinner Kumble, yet to recover completely from a groin strain.

When asked whether he felt comfortable bowling in the nets, Kumble said:
"Not really, but I am hoping to get better. I will have to wait before deciding anything. That will be the first call in the morning."

The Indian skipper said he was confident his team would bounce back after the disappointing performance in Ahmedabad, where the hosts were bundled out for 76 in the first innings.

"It was just one of those days when we lost 10 wickets in 20 overs. It does not happen every day. It was the one bad session we had in the last six years and we have put that behind us,"
said Kumble.

"We are very positive. It is not the first time that we have lost one Test in a series. We have done that in Australia and whenever we are pushed to the wall we have performed well."

India lost the first two Tests in Australia before coming back strongly to win the third in Perth. They eventually lost the four-match series 2-1.

India have not lost a Test series at home in three years and Kumble said his side was confident of maintaining the record.

"We are very proud of our home record and we would like to keep that intact. It is important for us to concentrate on this Test and get the right result to level the series,"
he said.

"We have a few plans and to ensure that we execute them. We are very confident we will be able to do that."

The pitch here is expected to favour spin, but Kumble said India needed to put in a strong all-round performance in a bid to level the series.

"We have to play good cricket whatever the conditions. I have always said that pitch, toss and weather have to be taken out of equation. The surface here is dry and will assist spinners as the match goes on,"
he said.

"Bowlers need to exploit the conditions. I think we have the ability to take 20 wickets and put runs on the board. We are prepared to do that in this Test."

South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (capt), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Paul Harris, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson, Jean-Paul Duminy, Monde Zondeki.

India (from): Anil Kumble (capt), Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Venkatsai Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar, Ishant Sharma.

Umpires: Asad Rouf (PAK) and Billy Doctrove (WIS)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI)

World XI beat India XI by eight wickets in ICL

TP Singh's unbeaten 63 rescued the ICL India XI following a terrible start, but their total of 141 wasn't to be enough as Damien Martyn steered the ICL World XI to a comfortable eight-wicket win in the inaugural match of the fourth and latest tournament of the Indian Cricket League.

Soon after R Sathish, the India XI captain, opted to bat, his side were left in dire straits at 9 for 4. Abhishek Jhunjhunwala was out for a duck in the first over bowled by Johan van der Wath; a new rule allowing player challenges enabled the batsman appeal against the on-field umpire's decision to adjudge him lbw, but the challenge was lost as the third umpire upheld the field umpire's verdict.

Daryl Tuffey got rid of G Vignesh, the other opener, while two wickets fell in van der Wath's second over, with the 38-year-old Chris Harris producing a spectacular effort to leave his Hyderabad Heroes' team-mate Ambati Rayudu short of his crease.

The left-hand duo of TP and Rohan Gavaskar stabilised the innings with a 61-run stand. Gavaskar's run-a-ball 30 was ended by another run-out, but Stuart Binny combined well with Tejinder Pal to take India XI to 141 for 5 off 20 overs. Tejinder Pal finished on 63, which needed only 49 deliveries, and had eight fours and a six, while Binny, one of the stars in the Hyderabad Heroes' triumph in the last tournament, belted 37 off 26. van der Wath took 2 for 12 off his four overs.

On an easy pitch, the target of 142 was never going to be daunting for the World XI, but their opponents made things far simpler by spilling at least five catches in what was an abysmal performance in the field. Ian Harvey fell early, but Martyn combined with Lou Vincent in a 72-run stand. Vincent departed for a breezy 32-ball 43, and Marvan Atapattu gave Martyn company as they chased down the target with 1.3 overs and eight wickets to spare. Martyn earned the match prize for his 67 not out, which came off 53 balls and included ten fours.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

25 Australian cricketers awarded central contract

Cricket Australia opened the door for a new generation of cricketers Wednesday when it named the 25 players awarded contracts for the 2008/09 season.

With the retirement of Adam Gilchrist, Brad Hogg and Jason Gillespie, selectors opted for four new faces in the pool of players who will form the core of Australia's Test, one-day and Twenty20 sides for the upcoming season.

Batsman David Hussey, the brother of current Test star Michael, was among those handed a contract for the first time, as was Shaun Marsh, the son of former Test opener Geoff.

New South Wales state paceman Doug Bollinger's performances in the domestic competition also earned him a debut contract, along with teammate Beau Casson. Batsman Simon Katich and Queensland bowler Ashley Noffke were reinstated to the elite group after being dropped last season.

Selectors also kept faith with troubled fast bowler Shaun Tait, who surprised the cricketing world in January when he announced he would take an indefinite break from the game, citing "physical and emotional turmoil."

But opening bat Chris Rogers was a shock exclusion, paying the price for his failure to fill in for Matthew Hayden in the third Test loss to India last January, where he managed just 19 runs in two innings.

South Australian state spinners Cullen Bailey and Daniel Cullen were also dropped as selectors continue the search for a young tweaker to fill the void left by Shane Warne.

Selectors' chairman Andrew Hilditch said the contract list contained a balance experienced players and emerging talent.

IPL wrecks India's tour of Zimbabwe

India has put off a planned tour of Zimbabwe in May-June because the dates clashed with the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League, an official said on Tuesday.

The week-long tour of the troubled African nation, comprising three one-day internationals, was part of the International Cricket Council's Future Tours programme.

But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said it had told Zimbabwean authorities that the national team was "very busy" over the period and would be unable to tour.

"We will not be going to Zimbabwe because the team is very busy, but will try and fix the tour after the IPL,"
BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said.

The IPL's inaugural Twenty20 competition will be played across India from April 18 to June 1 between eight city teams featuring leading cricketers from around the world.

With India having a packed international schedule until next February, it is unlikely the tour of Zimbabwe will take place this year.

India, who play their third and final Test against South Africa in Kanpur from Friday, are scheduled to tour Bangladesh for a tri-series also involving Pakistan from June 8-15.

The Indians will then proceed to Pakistan for the Asia Cup from June 24 to July 6, followed by a tour of Sri Lanka from July 18 to August 29 for three Tests and five one-day internationals.

The Champions Trophy will be played in Pakistan from September 11-28, after which India host Australia and England for Test series until the end of the year. India are also scheduled to tour Pakistan in January and February next year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hearing of Shoaib’s appeal likely to open Saturday

The proceedings on the appeal of Shoaib Akhtar against five-year ban likely to be started next week, the head of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) appellate tribunal here said.

The PCB appellate tribunal chief Justice (Rtd) Aftab Farrukh talking to Geo News Tuesday said that he would consult with other two members of the tribunal, Salman Taseer and Haseeb Ahsan, after receiving the notification about formation of the tribunal.

“I can not comment on Shoaib Akhtar case as I have not studied it,”
he said.

He said he was busy in other cases, so he would possibly hear the case on Saturday. The proceedings on appeal of Shoaib Akhtar likely to be started from Saturday, he added.

Windies name squad for ODI series against Sri Lanka

West Indies announced a 16-member squad for the three-match One-day International series against Sri Lanka.

Off-spin bowler Amit Jaggernauth is the only casualty from the 13-member squad picked for the second Test, which ended on Sunday with a six-wicket victory for the home team, and four players have been added to boost the squad.

Coming into the side are wicketkeeper/batsman Patrick Browne, batsmen Runako Morton and Kieron Pollard, and all-rounder Darren Sammy.

The first ODI will be played on Thursday at Queen's Park Oval, which also hosts the second ODI on Saturday. The third and final match will be a day/night contest next Tuesday, April 15, at the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia.

Squad: Chris Gayle (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan (vice-captain), Sulieman Benn, Patrick Browne, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Fidel Edwards, Runako Morton, Keiron Pollard, Daren Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith, Jerome Taylor.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Squad for Bangladesh (Bangladesh in Pakistan 2007/08)

Abdur Razzak
Aftab Ahmed
Dhiman Ghosh (wicket-keeper)
Farhad Reza
Junaid Siddique
Mashrafe Mortaza (vice-captain)
Mehrab Hossain
Mohammad Ashraful (captain)
Mushfiqur Rahim
Nazmul Hossain
Shahadat Hossain
Shahriar Nafees
Shakib Al Hasan
Syed Rasel
Tamim Iqbal

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Heroes beat Badshahs on bowl-out basis to win ICL

In a sensational contest, Hyderabad Heroes emerged champions in the Indian Cricket League when they defeated Lahore Badshahs 3-0 on bowl-out after the second final ended in a tie.

Three of the four bowlers from Hyderabad Heroes, Nicky Boje, Alfred Absolem and Chris Harris hit the stumps while all three from Lahore Badshahs – Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Shahid Nazir and Naved Lateef - missed and lost the match and the tournament.

Earlier, the eventful final over from Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, which had two no-balls and wide besides two wickets, left the Lahore Badshahs with the task to win the bowl-out to stay alive in the competition.
Rana Naved had earlier turned the game on its head in his third over, with three wickets startling the Hyderabad Heroes when they were cruising towards to the title.
After winning the toss, Lahore Badshahs batted first but were restricted to 130 for nine in the allotted 20 overs.

Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat top scored with 30 runs each while left-arm spinner Inder Sheker Reddy claimed four wickets for 19 and medium-pacer Stuart Binny took three for nine runs.

In reply, Hyderabad Heroes were going very strong towards victory when in the final over, Rana Naved dismissed three batsmen in four balls and unbelievably turned the match into a tie.

He captured five wickets for 19 runs in 3.4 overs while leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed took two for 19 runs.

The main scorer from the Heroes was Ambati Rayudu who remained unbeaten on 46.

Pakistani all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, who played for Hyderabad Heroes in the ICL, was declared the man-of-the-series.

Bangladesh cricket team arrives in Lahore

Bangladesh cricket team, after staying for a few hours in Karachi, has arrived in Lahore where besides playing a practice match it will play two One-day Internationals against Pakistan.

The Bangladesh cricket team will play five One-day internationals and a Twenty20 International match in Pakistan.

The first and the third match of the series will be played in Lahore, second in Faisalabad, fourth in Multan and the fifth and the final ODI and the solitary T20 International match will be played in Karachi.

It may be recalled that after Australia withdrew from touring Pakistan, Bangladesh cricket team has come on the tour of Pakistan.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

SA defeats India by innings and 90 runs

South Africa relied on their pacemen's disciplined performances to thrash India by an innings and 90 runs on the third day of the second Test here on Saturday.

Trailing by 418, India were bowled out for 328 in their second innings despite fighting half-centuries from former captain Sourav Ganguly (87) and wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (52).

India's humiliating defeat inside three days was their biggest at home since 2000 when they lost by an innings and 71 runs to South Africa at Bangalore.

The visitors were indebted to their fast bowlers for going 1-0 up in the three-Test series as they did not allow India's top-order batsmen to settle on a good pitch. The final match starts in Kanpur on April 11.

Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini grabbed three wickets apiece and Morne Morkel two. Jacques Kallis and left-arm spinner Paul Harris each took one wicket.

The 23-year-old Morkel, playing only his fifth Test, took two big wickets when he removed former captain Rahul Dravid (17) and Venkatsai Laxman (35), both famed for playing long innings.

India were found wanting against pace for a second successive time in the match as they lost three crucial wickets in the opening session and one in the second with just 125 runs on the board.

Ganguly and Dhoni defied the South African attack for more than a session with a 110-run stand for the fifth wicket, playing attractive shots on both sides of the wicket.

Ganguly looked set to complete his 16th Test hundred when given out caught behind off Steyn by New Zealand umpire Tony Hill. He looked a bit surprised with the decision before walking back to the pavilion. He hit eight fours.

Dhoni soon followed his partner when skipper Graeme Smith held a low catch in the slips off Ntini. He struck five fours in his 132-ball knock.

South Africa earlier declared their first innings closed at their overnight total of 494-7 in reply to India's meagre 76.

The South African pacemen, who required just 20 overs to bundle India out in the first innings, returned to haunt the hosts when they captured three wickets for 70 runs in the opening 20 overs.

India's batting woes started when Ntini trapped opener Virender Sehwag (17) leg-before with a delivery that came in sharply, ending the batsman's brief flourish.

Sehwag, who hammered the fastest recorded triple-century in Tests in the drawn opening match in Chennai, went for big shots from the beginning as he smashed paceman Steyn for two sixes in the morning's opening over.

India suffered a big setback when they lost Dravid who was undone by a rising ball from Morkel, with AB de Villiers holding the catch at third slip. Opener Wasim Jaffer edged Kallis to De Villiers in the slips, while Laxman was caught behind to leave their team reeling at 125-4.

There was respite from pace for the Indian batsmen in the afternoon when Smith pressed lone spinner Harris into the attack for the first time in the match. Harris got his first wicket when he bowled skipper Anil Kumble for five before Steyn and Ntini completed the victory in the extended last session.