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Monday, May 25, 2009

England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Bristol

Collingwood stars in comfortable win

May 24, 2009

England 161 for 4 (Collingwood 47*, Bopara 43) beat West Indies 160 (Bravo 50, Broad 4-46, Collingwood 3-16) by six wickets



Chris Gayle is bowled by Graeme Swann after a brisk 31, England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Bristol, May 24, 2009
Chris Gayle hit some meaty boundaries before trying one too many against Graeme Swann © Getty Images

England made easy work of a shambolic West Indies side as they coasted to a six-wicket victory at Bristol. A change of format and having the sun on their backs did nothing to improve the visitors' performance as they were shot out for 160. Stuart Broad did the damage at either end of the innings, but Paul Collingwood was the middle-order destroyer with 3 for 16 and Collingwood completed the victory with a sprightly, unbeaten 47.

The only stages that West Indies threatened to make a match where as Chris Gayle briefly flourished before being outdone by a smart piece of captaincy from Andrew Strauss, then when Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo added 63 for the fourth wicket. However, when Tim Bresnan removed Chanderpaul the order unravelled rapidly against tight bowling and a sharp fielding. England were impressive, but some of the shot selection and general thinking from West Indies left plenty to be desired as the last seven wickets tumbled for a paltry 53.

Broad was on target straight away after Andrew Strauss won a useful toss and trapped Lendl Simmons - who has suspect technique against the moving ball - leg before as the batsman played across a straight ball. In Broad's next over, as he pushed 90mph, he found the perfect length to bring Ramnaresh Sarwan into a loose push outside off.

Gayle, though, responded to the difficulty of 7 for 2 with typical bravado in his 200th ODI. He began by slashing Broad square then drilled him straight for four having almost picked out mid-off attempting a similar stroke. They were followed by a mighty swing over long-on for six and a slice through backward point and suddenly the momentum was shifting.

Strauss countered with a brave piece of captaincy as he introduced Graeme Swann inside the first Powerplay. The first ball to Gayle disappeared high over long-on for another maximum, but Swann is a confident bowler and didn't panic. He pushed the next delivery through a little quicker, Gayle eyed another boundary but the ball clipped the pad and crashed into the stumps. Strauss had gambled at bowling to Gayle's ego and it paid off.

Chanderpaul is so used to top-order wobbles that fixing them is second nature to him and alongside Bravo he steadied the innings. Bravo, who is coming off a six-week spell at the IPL after being ruled out of the Test series on medical advice, looked in good touch as he profited through his favourite leg-side area and also drove Dimitri Mascarenhas for a sweet straight six.

However, just as the stand with Chanderpaul was building a base for West Indies, Bresnan struck when Chanderpaul top-edged a pull to short third-man and shortly after Bravo reached a 55-ball fifty he missed a slower ball from Collingwood.

Although introduced as the sixth option, Collingwood proved mighty effective as he varied his pace and bowled a wicket-to-wicket line. Denesh Ramdin was trapped on the crease and Kieron Pollard was castled as he tried something expansive during the batting Powerplay. Between those wickets, Jerome Taylor was run out in a horrible mix-up with Pollard as he attempted a non-existent single to Strauss, and Broad wrapped up the innings in ruthless fashion with a short-pitched attack at the tail.

The innings folded so quickly that England started their chase before the interval and they lost Strauss when he got into a tangle against a Taylor short ball. Matt Prior, elevated to No. 3 in Kevin Pietersen's absence, guided a catch to Gayle at slip, who took it at the second attempt, but without the surprisingly rested Fidel Edwards West Indies lack the firepower to create major problems.

Ravi Bopara batted neatly, especially through the leg side, and was playing within himself when he was trapped in front of middle and leg by Bravo. It has been said many times, but West Indies would be a far better team if a few more players showed Bravo's enthusiasm. By most of the outfit it was a hopelessly lethargic effort, typified by a number of pieces of sloppy fielding (and even Bravo wasn't immune from that), although Pollard managed a late direct hit to send Owais Shah back for 38.

Shah, who didn't play at the IPL and has lost his Test place, took 13 balls to get off the mark but became more confident as his innings progressed although will be looking over his shoulder when Pietersen returns. Collingwood hit the ball sweetly to complete a day that couldn't have gone much better for England. However, even they will be secretly hoping that they are tested more than this in the near future.

Bangalore Royal Challengers v Deccan Chargers, IPL final, Johannesburg

Deccan snatch title in tense finish

May 24, 2009

Deccan Chargers 143 for 6 (Gibbs 53*, Kumble 4-16) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 137 for 9 (Ojha 3-28, Symonds 2-18) by six runs

How they were out



Andrew Symonds is frustrated after departing for 33, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Deccan Chargers, IPL, final, Johannesburg, May 24, 2009
Andrew Symonds was gutted when he got out, but made up with his aggressive fielding and body language, and smart bowling © Associated Press

Deccan Chargers invoked the bull in their emblem to successfully defend a modest total, beat Royal Challengers Bangalore and win a tournament they had ended up last in the previous season. They bowled with fire, fielded aggressively and sledged and hustled - almost literally - to victory in a final that twisted and turned and lived up to the occasion.

The last of those turning points was the 15th over, bowled by Andrew Symonds, who matched his verbal skills from earlier in the night with the wickets of Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli off back-to-back deliveries. Bangalore were 99 for 6 when the over started, and Taylor had looked dangerous during his 20-ball 27. That Symonds over, though, was symbolic of the night: every time a batsman got away from the bowling, a breakthrough pulled the batting side back.

Defending a total three less than what Bangalore chased easily in the semi-final, Deccan came out pumped, their energy reflecting in their behaviour. Symonds shadowed the latest tyro, Manish Pandey, all the way from the dugout to the crease. Pandey was a marked man during his innings. Symonds followed him wherever he went, giving him lip. Ryan Harris matched the aggression with the ball, clocking 145kmph constantly in the first over, a maiden.

Jacques Kallis looked to take the pressure off his 19-year-old partner. In Harris' next over Kallis took two boundaries to get the chase going. RP Singh brought the balance back when Kallis pulled onto his stumps but out came Roelof van der Merwe, who used adrenalin to push Bangalore further towards the target.

Top Curve
Prime Numbers

  • 31

    Runs scored by Deccan during the Powerplay. It was their least score in the first six overs this season
  • 152.30

    Adam Gilchrist's strike-rate, the best for any batsman with more than 250 runs
  • 23

    The number of wickets that earned RP Singh the purple cap. Kumble was second with 21
  • 2

    Number of times Kumble has taken four wickets or more in the tournament. Yusuf Abdulla and Shadab Jakati are the others with two
  • 2

    Number of times in seven games the team batting first has won a night game in Johannesburg
Bottom Curve

van der Merwe got a mouthful from Symonds and Harris, but he responded by hitting two sixes off one Harris over. Despite the maiden, Harris had gone for 23 in three overs. Even after Pragyan Ojha got Pandey with the first ball he bowled, van der Merwe's pyrotechnics kept Deccan at a distance.

One ball summed up the adrenalin rush van der Merwe was feeling. Beaten in the flight by Ojha he managed an edge which saved him from being stumped but he also dropped his bat. He picked his bat up as he ran the first run, and turned a two into a three, saving himself from the run-out by sprinting down the middle of the pitch and diving into the stumps at the non-striker's end.

One six later the adrenalin got the better of van der Merwe as he jumped out to Ojha and was stumped. The tension was palpable, and it sort of got to a senior pro like Rahul Dravid too. As Bangalore targeted Harmeet Singh, Dravid missed a scoop and was bowled. Bangalore still held the edge, though, with Taylor and Mark Boucher in.

Taylor looked like taking Bangalore home coolly, hitting three fours and a six, until Symonds got him on the pull, with a touch of extra bounce. Adam Gilchrist pulled off a smart stumping down the leg side next ball, and it was all down to Boucher now.

Gilchrist tried to get through Harmeet's last over, during which the youngster claimed Boucher on the cut. The bowling allocation was planned perfectly: RP had two left, and Ojha and Harris one each. Bangalore, with two wickets in hand, needed 27 from the last two overs, and 15 from the last, but RP Singh and Ryan Harris kept their cool despite a six from Robin Uthappa.

Amid the tension of the second innings one felt for Anil Kumble, who spent the most of the last over at the non-striker's end and saw his dream crash. Earlier Kumble had celebrated like a teenager but bowled like the veteran champion he is, and kept Deccan down to a manageable target.

He bowled the first over of the match, took Gilchrist out, then came back in the ninth to dismiss Symonds. That wicket was crucial because Symonds had been dropped on 5 by Dravid, and was reminding Bangalore eerily of the line his batting partner Herschelle Gibbs was apocryphally told during the 1999 World Cup. Kumble again came on in the 17th over to break a dangerous 52-run partnership between Rohit Sharma and Gibbs, when the two had taken Deccan to 110 for 3.

Towards the end Gibbs played a bizarre little innings. He had been inconspicuous in his struggle to score runs earlier, and didn't make much effort to farm the strike in the end. He faced only six balls in the last three overs, and kept taking twos in the last over to hand the strike over to Harris. He had batted the whole 20 overs for less than 60, much like Sachin Tendulkar, in more trying conditions, had in the first match of the tournament. Somehow they both ended up winning.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Bristol

No room for error in short series

May 23, 2009



Eoin Morgan feeds balls into the bowling machine as England warm-up for the first ODI against West Indies, Headingley, April 20, 2009
Eoin Morgan could be set for his ODI debut at Bristol © Getty Images

Match facts

Sunday May 24
Start time 10.45 (9.45GMT)

Big Picture

This is now a two-match series after the abandonment at Headingley which gives both sides even less room for mistakes. Each team is looking towards these matches as a chance to build some form and momentum before the ICC World Twenty20. West Indies are in desperate need of something to boost their spirits after a miserable few weeks.

The washout on Thursday left officials at Headingley embarrassed and facing a barrage of questions about how wise it was to play the match after the outfield work was delayed over the winter. Bristol, the venue for this game, is another of the six grounds to have used the ECB grant for a new drainage system and have admitted they weren't able to complete the work in time for this season.

"We have still not completed the system," said chief executive Tom Richardson. "Contractors will return at the end of the season to put in sand slits, which will make it more efficient. When everything is bedded in we anticipate that when rain stops the ground will be fit for play within an hour, but we are only halfway towards that situation." The good news, though, is that no rain is forecast for Sunday.

Form guide

England AWWLL
West Indies ALLWW

Watch out for...

James Anderson has been outstanding form early on this season and claimed nine wickets in the second Test victory at Chester-le-Street. He has been a threat with the white ball for a long time now and with Andrew Flintoff out of the side is England's most experienced quick. He is at the peak of his powers and will be aiming to continue his form over the next few weeks of one-day action.

It was a quiet Test series for Shivnarine Chanderpaul who didn't make a half century and struggled against Graeme Swann. However, England would be foolish to underestimate the man who has been the fulcrum of West Indies' batting line-up for years and can switch gears at the drop of a hat.

Team news

England haven't replaced Kevin Pietersen in their squad so are down to 13 players. With an eye on the Twenty20, Eoin Morgan could be given his debut so the selectors can assess his form while Matt Prior will move up to No. 3. The trio of Dimitri Mascarenhas, Tim Bresnan and Ryan Sidebottom are probably fighting for two places.

England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Ravi Bopara, 3 Matt Prior (wk), 4 Owais Shah, 5 Paul Collingwood 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Tim Bresnan, 11 James Anderson

West Indies didn't give many clues as to the way their team selection might have gone before the Headingley washout, but allrounders are likely to place a key role in the middle order. Runako Morton, a late replacement to the squad, and pace bowler Ravi Rampaul are also in the shake-up.

West Indies (probable) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Lendl Simmons, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Jerome Taylor, 10 Sulieman Benn, 10 Fidel Edwards

Pitch and conditions

The forecast is set fair with temperatures set to raise so there shouldn't be any concerns on that front. Previous ODIs at Bristol have produced pitches with pace and bounce, as opposed to the slow surfaces that often greet domestic cricket.

Stats and Trivia

  • There have been 11 previous ODIs on this ground and England have lost their last two matches here, against New Zealand in 2008 and India in 2007.
  • West Indies have played two ODIs at Bristol, losing to Pakistan by 27 runs during the 1999 World Cup and also being beaten by Zimbabwe in 2000.

Quotes

"We gained some momentum in one-day cricket in the West Indies. We were a little bit Jekyll and Hyde, up and down, but we came through and won the series."
Andrew Strauss wants England to find some consistency in their one-day game.

England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Bristol

Morgan debuts and England bowl

May 24, 2009

England won the toss and decided to bowl against West Indies



Eoin Morgan throws himself around during training, Bristol, May 23, 2009
Eoin Morgan makes his England debut after playing 23 ODIs for Ireland © Getty Images

Eoin Morgan has completed his switch of allegiance from Ireland to England after he was handed his debut in the second one-day international against West Indies at Bristol. The opening match of the series at Headingley was abandoned without a ball bowled on Thursday, when the ground's new drainage failed to cope with heavy rain.

Morgan comes in for Kevin Pietersen, who has been ruled out of the series with an Achilles injury, and is expected to bat at No. 6. Matt Prior has been elevated to Pietersen's spot at No. 3, while Ryan Sidebottom and Ian Bell are the two players omitted from the squad as Tim Bresnan retains his place after the Test series.

However, Morgan will have to wait for his chance after Andrew Strauss won the toss and put West Indies into bat saying he expected a little bit of assistance from the pitch early on. The good news, after the miserable scenes the other day, is that the weather is glorious in Bristol.

The surprising news for West Indies is the omission of Fidel Edwards, who was their player of the series in the Tests, and he is replaced by Ravi Rampaul. Other than that it is the expected line-up with allrounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard coming into the middle order.

This match marks Chris Gayle's 200th ODI and it would be the perfect opportunity for him to lead from the front and turn West Indies' fortunes around.

England 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Ravi Bopara, 3 Matt Prior (wk), 4 Owais Shah, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Tim Bresnan, 11 James Anderson

West Indies 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Lendl Simmons, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Jerome Taylor, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Sulieman Benn

Bangalore Royal Challengers v Deccan Chargers, IPL final, Johannesburg

Time to complete perfect turnaround

May 23, 2009

Match facts

May 24, 2009
Start time 16.30 local, (14:30 GMT)

Big Picture



Anil Kumble bowls, Chennai Super Kings v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Durban, May 14, 2009
Anil Kumble has bowled like the champion he is © Associated Press

And so, as a blockbuster second season of the IPL reaches its summit, two of its biggest success stories clash in the finale in Johannesburg. They also happen to be the two most unlikely sides given how they fared in 2008. Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore were the two bottom-placed teams then, now they've busted out of the basement and made the house their own.

Not many would have given Deccan or Bangalore a chance this year to get to the top four. But having pulled off amazing turnarounds and tasted difficult periods earlier in the tournament, both teams have undoubtedly deserved to get where they are today.

Deccan started with four wins, imposed themselves, stumbled, but got it together when it mattered. The manner in which they - rather their captain Adam Gilchrist - crushed Delhi Daredevils in the semi-final was stirring. Gilchrist has led the side well and has been their top run-getter for the second season running. Apart from RP Singh, owner of the purple cap, there haven't been true stand-out performers. Herschelle Gibbs has been inconsistent, Pragyan Ojha has lost some bite in the latter stages, and while Rohit Sharma and Andrew Symonds have contributed they haven't been stunning.

If Deccan have been inconsistent, Bangalore reached the worst level of desperation. The last match they lost in this tournament was the last they could afford to. And they have won their last five games, much like Australia's victorious campaign in the 1999 World Cup.

The major factor in Bangalore's rise has been Anil Kumble, who took over the captaincy from a beleaguered Kevin Pietersen. In 2008 Bangalore's selections of a few final XIs raised some eyebrows, but most unflattering was their habit of choking when victory was in front of them. Kumble changed all that by setting an example that the seniors followed.

Bangalore's younger Indian players didn't start off well at all, but the seniors' performances started to rub off. Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar and Virat Kohli have chipped in with vital contributions to keep the team buoyant in the competition. This has been a team that has paid a lot of attention to preparation.

On form - they've won five in a row, four of them against semi-finalists - Bangalore are a confident side and will be boosted by the knowledge that they beat Deccan last time. However, after forcefully knocking out the top-ranked side in the semi-finals, Deccan will be confident as they face their southern compatriots. Both Gilchrist and Kumble have handled the captaincy with aplomb, and will not want to let the slightest chance go abegging.

Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)

Royal Challengers Bangalore: WWWWW
Manish Pandey's rise has been exceptional. Hardly given a run last season, he delivered with the first IPL century by an Indian and followed up with another Man-of-the-Match effort in the semi-final. Statistically and psychologically Pandey's form will worry Deccan, because that century came against them. Cameos from Taylor and Kohli have come at right times, and Kumble and Roelof van der Merwe have delivered in pressure situations with their varieties of spin.

Deccan Chargers: WLLWL
Deccan rode into the final on Gilchrist's broad blade and shoulders; an encore should seal them the trophy. The bowling got itself together after Tillakaratne Dilshan and Virender Sehwag threatened to run riot, but what Deccan really need is for Herschelle Gibbs and Rohit Sharma to click. Gibbs made a duck after hitting a brisk half-century in the final league match, and Rohit has only one half-century in the tournament. If he can replicate either of the two flawless finishes against Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, Rohit can be a big threat.

Watch out for

Adam Gilchrist v Praveen Kumar: Brutal objective v crafty swing bowling. Cosmic experience v smart head on young shoulders. As it stands, it's 2-0 to Praveen. Surprising as it may sound, Praveen took Gilchrist out, early, in both the finals of the CB Series last year. In two matches this season Gilchrist has taken just 18 runs off 12 balls from Praveen. Gilchrist won't count it as a decisive comeback.

RP Singh v Manish Pandey: The IPL's highest wicket-taker against the latest young star to emerge. RP hasn't been at his best over the last few games, and Pandey has two Man-of-the-Match awards on the trot. During his century Pandey faced nine balls from RP, and took 20 runs, including a big six over long-on. RP has loads of experience to go with success against better batsmen, so how he varies his craft against an enthusiastic and trigger-happy opener is an intriguing battle.



Adam Gilchrist cuts loose, Delhi Daredevils v Deccan Chargers, IPL, 1st semi-final, Centurion, May 22, 2009
A typical big-match knock from Adam Gilchrist could make the final one-sided © Associated Press

Anil Kumble v Rohit Sharma and Gilchrist: Kumble has led superbly with the ball in Bangalore's winning streak. In Bangalore's last game against Deccan, Kumble dismissed Rohit first ball and allowed Gilchrist only five runs from eight balls. In their earlier match Rohit hit 24 runs off 10 Kumble deliveries and Gilchrist took 13 from 11. Kumble will need to be at his craftiest best against two of Deccan's sweetest hitters.

Team news

With B Akhil injured for the semi-final, Bangalore recalled R Vinay Kumar. His first three overs cost 32, but Vinay picked up Matthew Hayden and then Jacob Oram in the final over, which only cost six runs. He should keep his place, meaning Bangalore are likely to field an unchanged side.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: (probable) 1 Manish Pandey, 2 Jacques Kallis, 3 Roelof van der Merwe, 4 Rahul Dravid, 5 Ross Taylor, 6 Virat Kohli, 7 Robin Uthappa, 8 Mark Boucher (wk), 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 R Vinay Kumar, 11 Anil Kumble (capt.).

If D Ravi Teja recovers from a hamstring injury he may come back for Azhar Bilakhia. Ryan Harris should hold his place after that two-wicket first over against Delhi.

Deccan Chargers: 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt./wk), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 T Suman, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Andrew Symonds, 6 Azhar Bilakhia/D Ravi Teja, 7 Venugopal Rao, 8 Harmeet Singh, 9 Pragyan Ojha, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 RP Singh.

Stats and trivia

  • Eight batsmen have scored more than 350 in the tournament, but only one of them - Adam Gilchrist - will be on view in the final. Kallis, Bangalore's highest scorer, has an aggregate of 346.

  • Teams chasing have won five out of six times in night games in Johannesburg. In all three games that Bangalore have played here, they've chased and won.

  • Gilchrist has scored 86 runs off 63 balls in two innings against Bangalore. In contrast Kallis, Bangalore's highest run-scorer, has only scored 20 off 21 balls in two innings against Deccan. Pandey, though, scored 114 in just one game.

  • Bangalore's five wins in a row equal's Chennai's winning streak earlier in the IPL, and is a record for this tournament.

Head-to-head record

The last time these teams met Pandey downed Deccan with a century in Centurion. Prior to that Gilchrist and Rohit's power-hitting ensured Deccan romped to a 24-run win earlier this season, in Cape Town. Bangalore won both their matches last year: the first one a thriller by three runs, and the next comfortably by five wickets.

Today's Live Cricket Match 24 May 2009

Sunday, 24 May 2009
England flag West Indies flag England Vs West Indies

Venue :County Ground, Bristol
Live action starts from: 09:45 GMT (15:15 IST) ODI West Indies Tour of England 2009 One Day International Match









Hyderabad Deccan Chargers Vs Bangalore Royal Challengers

Venue :New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Live action starts from: 14:30 GMT (20:00 IST) T20 IPL 2009 Twenty20 match Match

Saturday, May 23, 2009

PCB continues to put pressure on the ICC

PCB continues to put pressure on the ICC

Micheal BeloffThe PCB seems to be in no mood to give in easily to the ICC's decision to strip the nation from co-hosting the 2011 World Cup. Days after the chief cricketing body was issued a notice by the PCB in which it stated that the decision seemed 'legally flawed,' it has now raised the ante. The board sent a letter to Micheal Beloff, president of the ICC Disputes Resolution Committee asking them to refer the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). In a statement released, the PCB said that the letter carried a request whereby the matter should be referred to the arbitration tribunal which was appointed in accordance with the rules of court of CAS to be held in the United Kingdom. It justified its stand by stating that since the controversial decision was taken by ICC executive board, the Pakistan Board deems it appropriate that in the interest of justice, equity and fair play, the matter should be adjudicated by CAS rather than the ICC Disputes Resolution Committee. The ICC was even asked to expedite on the matter. The letter meanwhile was sent to Beloff through Mark Gay of DLA Piper, who'd be assisted on the matter by PCB's legal advisor, Tafazzul Rizvi.

The move gains great significance as there has been a strong feeling within the PCB and in the country on the whole that the ICC could have waited more before delivering their vedict. Despite the attacks on the Sri Lankan team which many feel was the final nail in the coffin so to speak, the feeling within the country was that 2011 was still 2 years away and the security situation could have improved by then. There is also a suspicion that the country has been targeted by certain members of the ICC who have used the situation to their advantage and have sidelined Pakistan in the process. The ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat chose to not comment on the matter saying that it's a matter of dispute and that they'll have to deal with it.

In things related to Pakistan cricket, allrounder Shahid Afridi stated that despite playing very little international cricket, his team will still be a force to reckon with in the T20 World Cup in England. Even Bangladesh have played more international cricket than Pakistan in the past 2 years but despite that, Afridi feels that the team under the able leadership of Younis Khan will be strong enough to make up for the lack of adequate international outings.

Ehsan Mani hints the role of India in keeping Pakistan out of hosting 2011 World Cup

Ehsan Mani hints the role of India in keeping Pakistan out of hosting 2011 World Cup

Ehsan ManiThe already tense atmosphere within the Asian Bloc post ICC's decision to strip Pakistan from co-hosting the 2011 World Cup took an even uglier turn. Former ICC President, Ehsan Mani came out with statements that his country could have been manoeuvred out of its hosting rights due to a split within the Asian Bloc led by India. He also criticized the ICC for its inability to look for viable solutions.

Mani is widely thought to be the person who's been the major guiding force behind the PCB in its legal battle with the ICC. However, he's advised his country's officials to keep 'back-channel communications' open with the ICC throughout the process. The former ICC Chief said that fears that the subcontinent could lose the World Cup altogether could have prompted the split to happen within the strong Asian Bloc, something that in his words had not happened in his 20 years of association with the game. Mani conceded that relations between the ICC and the PCB were 'not good' and said that his Board should have been given a chance of presenting its case. In his opinion, in the end Pakistan was left with no other choice other than to adopt the legal route.

In a separate development, former West India legends, Sir Gary Sobers and Sir Vivian Richards threw their weight behind Test cricket and said that the longest format of the game was still the pinnacle. Viv Richards was particularly harsh in his comments on Gayle as he said that the captain's recent statements on Test cricket were tantamount to a "total betrayal of the game that raised him". He said that Gayle must remember that he was first noticed due to the success that he'd achieved in Test cricket and not in any other form of the game. Sobers, while maintaining that he couldn't relate to the cash versus country debate also supported the statements of Richards and hoped that Test cricket would still be considered as the most revered format of the game. Gayle had come under severe criticism for his decision to extend his IPL stay in South Africa and land in England just 2 days prior to the 1st Test. Additionally, he'd made comments in the press wherein he stated that he wouldn't particularly mind if Test cricket were to die as a result of the growing popularity of T20.

Glenn McGrath hints that he may not play in IPL 2010


Glenn McGrathThis year's IPL was prone to this one sight that was unfathomable for the player in question whilst he was still active in international cricket. Former Australian bowler and one of the true all-time-greats of the game, Glenn McGrath was consistently seen to be cooling his heels on the sidelines as his team, the Delhi Daredevils opted to not play him. Not that his side did not play a single overseas paceman as his fellow Australian mate, Dirk Nannes was preferred over McGrath to lead the attack. Pigeon, as McGrath is nicknamed, in his various interviews has often stated, like a true team man, that he's fine with whatever the team thinks is the right composition.

But in a newspaper column on the eve of his team's semi-final clash against the Deccan Chargers, he did give a glimpse of how hurt he was from within. Moreover, he went on to say that there was a chance that he may choose to not participate in next year's IPL. The 124-Test veteran also said that he was privy to a theory going around that he may have been benched as the team management had doubts over his fitness. This has apparently hurt him even more as the professional that he's been over the years was not even given a single chance to prove his match-fitness. Though his contract to play for the season of 2010 as well, 'Pigeon' did hint that he may not be too keen to return.

In a separate story but one that has its links with McGrath's tale stated above, coach of the Delhi Daredevils, Greg Shipperd has joined the chorus of people who've been pitching in for more foreigners to be included in a playing XI. Earlier, John Buchanan too had stated that he'd want to have more number of overseas players in his side. The IPL on previous occasions have quite categorically stated that this demand would not be adhered to and Stephen Fleming, coach of the Chennai Super Kings also seemed to go along with the rulings of the IPL governing council. In their opinion, it's the 'Indian' Premier League after all and its only fair that more number of Indian players benefit from the experience of playing in front of such a big stage.

Today's Live Cricket Match 23 May 2009


Delhi Daredevils Vs Mumbai Indians

Venue :SuperSport Park, Centurion
Live action starts from: 14:30 GMT (20:00 IST) T20 IPL 2009 Match

World Twenty20 2009

Siddons aims for Super Eights

May 20, 2009



Mohammad Ashraful and Jamie Siddons in discussion at the nets, Dhaka, December 25, 2008
Mohammad Ashraful and Jamie Siddons want a performance to match their 2007 effort

Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, has said beating India and making it to the Super Eights were his team's main goals for next month's World Twenty20 in England. Bangladesh are in Group A along with India and Ireland in the initial phase, from which two teams progress to the Super Eights.

"Our target is to beat India in our first match which will confirm a place in the next round," Siddons told AFP ahead of his team's departure on Friday for the June 5-21 tournament. "We know India are the world champions in Twenty20 cricket. They have talented players. But if our top three players fire, we can beat them."

Bangladesh had qualified for the Super Eights in the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 after they shocked West Indies by six wickets in their first game.

Siddons was also hopeful of going as far as the semi-finals if his side's key players - captain Mohammad Ashraful, opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, and allrounder Shakib Al Hasan - were on form. "They are the best players in the team," he said. "On their day, we can beat any top side in the world."

Bangladesh have been short of match practice, and the postponement of the home series against Pakistan means they have not played any international games since January. "We are going to England a week earlier than our competitors," he said. "We will play five practice matches, two of which are against Australia and New Zealand, so I hope our boys will acclimatise well to the English conditions."

Their first game is against India on June 6 at Trent Bridge.

Pakistan favourites for World Twenty20 - Wasim Akram

World Twenty20 2009

Pakistan favourites for World Twenty20 - Wasim Akram

May 21, 2009



Umar Gul is ecstatic after picking up another wicket, Pakistan v Australia, only Twenty20 international, Dubai, May 7, 2009
Umar Gul leads a formidable Pakistan attack

Wasim Akram has tipped Pakistan to win next month's World Twenty20 in England. Pakistan have lost just three of their 17 Twenty20 internationals and convincingly beat Australia by seven wickets in Dubai earlier this month.

"Pakistan has the best winning ratio of all the teams in the Twenty20 cricket, so if they continue to keep that consistency it won't be difficult to win," Akram told AFP. "I thought Australia would thrash them in the one-off T20 match in Dubai but it was the other way round and now, if Pakistan play to their potential, they can win the title."

In the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 Pakistan had finished as runners-up, going down by five runs to India in the final. For next month's tournament, they are grouped with hosts England and the Netherlands in the initial league phase.

Akram rated Pakistan's bowling as their strongest suit, and said the batting was the only thing that could let them down. "With Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir and Shoaib Akhtar, if he is fit and going with the team, Pakistan has the best bowling attack backed by quality spin of Shahid Afridi," he said. "I am also impressed with the talent of Mohammad Aamer who is nippy and can swing the ball both ways. He could be a revelation in the event."

Pakistan's government had barred its country's players from participating in the IPL, a factor that Akram thinks will work in Pakistan's favour. "I think Pakistan has played less cricket and will be fresh, while Indian players could be fatigued after playing in the IPL."

ICC World Twenty20 2009

ICC World Twenty20 2009

Flintoff expected to miss World Twenty20

May 15, 2009



Andrew Flintoff bowls during game one of the IPL's second season, Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians, IPL, 1st game, Cape Town, April 18, 2009
Andrew Flintoff injured his knee at the IPL, and is now a doubt for the ICC World Twenty20

England could be forced to go into next month's ICC World Twenty20 without the services of their premier allrounder, Andrew Flintoff, after he revealed that he has yet to start running after undergoing surgery on a knee injury sustained during his brief stint at the IPL in April.

Flintoff was one of 15 players named in England's squad for the tournament, which starts at Lord's on June 5. But England could have to name a replacement if he cannot prove his fitness in the next three weeks. "I'd love to play in the Twenty20," he told Sky Sports, "but that might be too tight."

With the Ashes fast approaching in July, England desperately need Flintoff, 31, to be fully fit and firing before the arrival of the Australians. But despite his history of injury problems, which include a hip complaint that caused him to fly home midway through the tour of the Caribbean in March, he remains confident about recovering in time.

"I had an operation two weeks ago and I'm already off my crutches," he said. "The Ashes are a long way off - and I'll be fine for them."

England's Twenty20 captain, Paul Collingwood, conceded that the loss of Flintoff for the tournament would be a "huge blow", but felt sure that they would be able to make do without him.

"He's very much two players in one - as I've always said," said Collingwood. "But I think we've got quite a versatile squad with the players we've got in there. It would be a huge blow if he wasn't going to be fit, but we certainly have the players in the squad to overcome that in many ways."

Collingwood even raised the prospect of leaving Flintoff's place in the squad open for a late return, if he was able to recover in time. "Without Fred, it makes it very difficult to get the right balance between batters and bowlers in the final 11," he said Collingwood. "It's something we're going to have to gauge."

Fixtures- ICC World Twenty20, 2009

June 2009
Fri 5
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
1st Match, Group B - England v Netherlands
Lord's, London

Sat 6
10:00 local, 09:00 GMT
2nd Match, Group D - New Zealand v Scotland
Kennington Oval, London

Sat 6
14:00 local, 13:00 GMT
3rd Match, Group C - Australia v West Indies
Kennington Oval, London
Sat 6
18:00 local, 17:00 GMT
4th Match, Group A - Bangladesh v India
Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Sun 7
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
5th Match, Group D - Scotland v South Africa
Kennington Oval, London

Sun 7
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
6th Match, Group B - England v Pakistan
Kennington Oval, London

Mon 8
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
7th Match, Group A - Bangladesh v Ireland
Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Mon 8
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
8th Match, Group C - Australia v Sri Lanka
Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Tue 9
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
9th Match, Group B - Netherlands v Pakistan
Lord's, London

Tue 9
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
10th Match, Group D - New Zealand v South Africa
Lord's, London

Wed 10
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
11th Match, Group C - Sri Lanka v West Indies
Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Wed 10
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
12th Match, Group A - India v Ireland
Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Thu 11
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
13th Match, Group F - TBC v TBC
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
D1 v A2

Thu 11
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
14th Match, Group E - TBC v TBC
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
B2 v D2

Fri 12
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
15th Match, Group F - TBC v TBC
Lord's, London
B1 v C2

Fri 12
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
16th Match, Group E - TBC v TBC
Lord's, London
A1 v C1

Sat 13
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
17th Match, Group E - TBC v TBC
Kennington Oval, London
C1 v D2
Sat 13
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
18th Match, Group F - TBC v TBC
Kennington Oval, London
D1 v B1

Sun 14
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
19th Match, Group F - TBC v TBC
Lord's, London
A2 v C2
Sun 14
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
20th Match, Group E - TBC v TBC
Lord's, London
A1 v B2

Mon 15
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
21st Match, Group E - TBC v TBC
Kennington Oval, London
B2 v C1

Mon 15
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
22nd Match, Group F - TBC v TBC
Kennington Oval, London
B1 v A2

Tue 16
13:30 local, 12:30 GMT
23rd Match, Group F - TBC v TBC
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
D1 v C2

Tue 16
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
24th Match, Group E - TBC v TBC
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
D2 v A1

Thu 18
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
1st Semi-Final - TBC v TBC
Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Fri 19
17:30 local, 16:30 GMT
2nd Semi-Final - TBC v TBC
Kennington Oval, London

Sun 21
15:00 local, 14:00 GMT
Final - TBC v TBC
Lord's, London

Deccan Chargers v Delhi Daredevils, IPL semi-final, Centurion

Raging Gilchrist carries Deccan into the final

May 22, 2009

Deccan Chargers 154 for 4 (Gilchrist 85) beat Delhi Daredevils 153 for 8 (Dilshan 65, Sehwag 39, Harris 3-27) by six wickets



Adam Gilchrist cuts loose, Delhi Daredevils v Deccan Chargers, IPL, 1st semi-final, Centurion, May 22, 2009
Adam Gilchrist made the semi-final his own © Associated Press

There's no rust on this baby. Adam Gilchrist didn't just blow the Delhi Daredevils out with a blitzkrieg but also backed up his vow at the end of a disappointing 2008 to give fans in Hyderabad more to cheer for in 2009. Gilchrist played a pivotal role in bringing last season's wooden spoon holders this far and tonight, in the cauldron of a semi-final, he treated Centurion to a stunning display of hitting. His assault on Delhi's bewildered bowlers turned what threatened to be a tricky chase into a no-contest as Deccan chased down 154 with six wickets in hand and 16 balls to spare. Deccan have duly earned the right to be in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Gilchrist had looked like a man with a plan when, at the toss, he said Deccan would field and try and keep the opposition to an achievable target. With teams not always chasing down totals in the vicinity of 160 easily under lights at Centurion, Deccan's chase wasn't expected to be an easy one. It took Gilchrist five deliveries to dismiss such thoughts. Dirk Nannes, one of the success stories of this IPL, was flayed for five consecutive boundaries in the first over, Gilchrist pulling, cutting and driving with power. Nannes was not needed again until the 17th over, when the result was decided.

That assault set a trend that continued though Gilchrist's innings as he made the semi-final his own. Ashish Nehra bowled Herschelle Gibbs for a duck but Gilchrist was in a hurry, clobbering Pradeep Sangwan's first three balls for four, four and six. No frills, just excellent bat speed and powerful wrists. In three overs Deccan were 41 for 1, out of which Nehra's first over cost just three.

Nehra's second was nowhere as controlled. Gilchrist drove a no-ball for four and drilled the free hit for a straight six to raise Deccan's fifty in 23 deliveries - his contribution being 48 from 14 balls. His half-century needed just 17 balls, the fastest of the IPL. Virender Sehwag came on for the first and last time in the tournament, with Gilchrist plundering three successive sixes in a 25-run over. It was the Gilchrist of old, the man who put the fear of God in bowlers the world over.

Why Sehwag brought himself on before Amit Mishra and the crafty Rajat Bhatia on a sluggish track will go down as one of the IPL's blunders, because the legspinner struck almost immediately. Gilchrist fell for a superb 85 from 35 balls one delivery before the strategic break, but the damage had been done. Mishra then cut Andrew Symonds off before he could finish the job. Rohit Sharma walked out with 17 required from 38 balls and closed the deal in T Suman's company.

Top Curve
Prime Numbers

  • 294.11

    Gilchrist's strike rate when reached his half century, off 17 balls
  • 21

    The number of runs scored in the first over of Deccan's innings, the second-best in the tournament. Rajasthan managed 22 against Kolkata in their second meeting this season
  • 70

    The number of runs scored in boundaries by Gilchrist, joint-highest with Raina for the tournament
  • 382

    Runs scored by Gilchrist in the first six overs of an innings, 115 clear of the next best, Chennai's Matthew Hayden
  • 4

    The number of ducks by Gibbs, the most in the tournament
  • 5

    Number of matches won chasing by Deccan, of their eight wins
  • 4.571

    The economy rate of the Delhi spinners during their seven overs today
Bottom Curve

Matters had veered to and fro throughout the first half of this match but Deccan's reining Delhi into 153 ultimately proved decisive. Tillakaratne Dilshan had played a crucial hand, holding it together after Delhi's openers fell to Ryan Harris in the first over, and then providing the momentum as well when quick runs were needed. Then Deccan regrouped through Symonds and Harmeet Singh initially and Harris and RP Singh thereafter, only allowing Delhi 70 in the last ten overs.

A scoreline of 0 for 2 had little bearing on Dilshan. He led a charmed life, pulling his first ball just over deep backward square leg's fingertips for six and edging the second between gully and slip for four. Then Sehwag nearly ran him out next ball when he punched the ball to midwicket and then changed his mind.

While Sehwag got tall to work the ball to the leg side, Dilshan preferred to back away and squeeze it through backward point and third man. He used the uncomplicated strategy of judging the length early and then slapping it either off the back foot or front. When Pragyan Ojha slowed his pace and offered room Dilshan flayed him for boundaries, and when Symonds did the same he was cut away. Gilchrist was given a tough time in setting a field for Dilshan, who was adept at picking runs anywhere in the park. A drop behind the stumps, when Dilshan was 30, didn't help.

After a maiden first over, Delhi scored 83 in nine. Runs came thick and fast and Gilchrist turned back to Symonds, who finally broke an 85-run alliance with a straighter one that Sehwag needlessly tried to paddle. Symonds and Harmeet choked run and Deccan did well to take four wickets, including two run outs, in the 20th over that only cost eight. Sehwag would have been pleased with 153 after Delhi were 0 for 2 but that was before Gilchrist stepped up. Delhi have now been thrashed in consecutive IPL semi-finals after dominating the league stages.

Gilchrist's praises have been sung in this tournament - he came into the game leading their run list - and tonight he deserved no less than a chorus.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Deccan Chargers v Delhi Daredevils, IPL semi-final, Centurion

Delhi start as clear favourites

May 22, 2009

Match facts

May 22, 2009
Start time 16.30 local, (14:30 GMT)

Big Picture



Ashish Nehra successfully appeals for an lbw against Rob Quiney, Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals, IPL, 18th match, Centurion, April 28, 2009
Ashish Nehra is Delhi's leading wicket-taker, but he hasn't been at his best against Deccan © AFP

Thirty-four days after IPL 2009 kicked off, it's finally time to leave the comforts of the round-robin stages behind. These 34 days were a test of endurance but there was also a reassurance, at most times, that a defeat wasn't the end of the story. There'll be no such second chance on Friday though when Delhi Daredevils take on Deccan Chargers in the first semi-final in Centurion.

The journey to the last four stage has been contrasting for the two teams. Both started similarly, winning their first three matches, but whereas Delhi continued their strong performance throughout the five weeks, winning ten games, Deccan fell away alarmingly with just three wins in their last ten matches.

On current form, Delhi have to start off as favourites: Virender Sehwag's return to form has further boosted an already fantastic batting line-up. AB de Villiers has guided the middle order superbly, and is the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament, while Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Karthik have lent him excellent support. The three left-arm seamers - Ashish Nehra, Dirk Nannes and Pradeep Sangwan - have been on top of their form, while Amit Mishra and Rajat Bhatia have ensured there is hardly any weak link in the bowling. Overall, there are hardly any chinks in the side, and their consistency is largely due to the fact that so many different players have put their hands up at various points of the tournament.

Deccan, on the other hand, go into the game with little momentum, having lost their last two matches. The openers, Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs, have often got them off to terrific starts, but an inconsistent middle order has been their bane: whereas de Villiers averages more than 54, and Karthik and Dilshan almost 40, Rohit Sharma, T Suman and Dwayne Smith all average in the 20s, with only Andrew Symonds (38.40) getting the runs consistently. Unlike Delhi, Deccan's bowling has a few weak links too, though the part-timers, led by Rohit, have done a fine job so far. However, in a format in which ten minutes of sheer brilliance can decide the fate of a game, Deccan have enough matchwinners to turn a game.

Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)

Delhi Daredevils: WLWLW
Sehwag is back among the runs, while Gautam Gambhir helped himself to a few as well against Mumbai. The bowling isn't a worry, and the lack of intensity, which was noticeable in a few round-robin games after they'd qualified, isn't likely to be a factor in a semi-final.

Deccan Chargers: LLWLW
The tendency to lose wickets at key moments remains a problem area, as does the patchy bowling. RP Singh is the leading wicket-taker, but he won't be happy with his most recent effort, when he leaked 47 in four overs against Mumbai.

Watch out for

RP Singh v Ashish Nehra: They are the two leading wicket-takers in the tournament, with Nehra two behind RP Singh's 20, and how the two bowlers handle the pressure of a big game could be key to their team's chances.

Virender Sehwag v Herschelle Gibbs: Both are proven matchwinners but have had some blips in the tournament. A few overs of either out in the middle, and the opposition could be reeling.

AB de Villiers v Andrew Symonds: They are the two main middle-order men for their teams. Deccan's inconsistency, though, probably means they are more dependent on Symonds than Delhi are on de Villiers. Symonds is a big-match player and the pressure of a knockout game might just bring out the best in him.

Team news

Nehra was rested for the game against Mumbai and will definitely return, probably at the expense of Avishkar Salvi, who was pretty impressive as well. David Warner has been among the runs and could continue opening despite Sehwag's return to form. The impressive displays by the bowlers means Glenn McGrath and Daniel Vettori will probably miss out again.

Delhi Daredevils: (probable) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 David Warner, 3 Virender Sehwag (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Rajat Bhatia, 8 Dirk Nannes, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Pradeep Sangwan, 11 Ashish Nehra.

Deccan might go in with the same team that lost to Bangalore. Ryan Harris has taken only two wickets in six games, but he might still be preferred over Chaminda Vaas, who hasn't got a game since disappearing for 52 from his four overs against Delhi. The last bowling slot remains a worry, with Jaskaran Singh, Harmeet Singh and Shoaib Maqsusi all going for plenty.

Deccan: (probable) 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt & wk), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 T Suman, 4 Andrew Symonds, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Venugopal Rao, 7 Azhar Bilakhia, 8 Ryan Harris, 9 RP Singh, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Jaskaran Singh/Harmeet Singh.

Stats and trivia

  • Delhi are marginally ahead of Deccan in both batting and bowling: they average 29.52 per wicket while batting, at 7.72 per over. Deccan average 23.19 at 7.90. With the ball, Delhi average 19.64 per wicket, at 7.46 per over; for Deccan the corresponding numbers are 22.54 and 7.56.

  • In his last three matches, Nehra has bowled 11 overs, conceded 35 runs, and taken three wickets - an average of 11.67, at an economy rate of 3.18. In his two matches against Deccan, though, Nehra has leaked 77 runs in eight overs, for an average of 25.67 at an economy rate of 9.62. This is the most expensive he has been against any team.

  • Sehwag's half-century was the 11th score of 50 or more by a Delhi batsman. Deccan have achieved this only seven times.

  • Chasing a target might be a better option against Delhi: in six games when Delhi have batted first, they've won three and lost as many. Of eight games when they've chased a target, they've won seven, with only one loss, against Chennai by 18 runs.

  • Left-arm fast bowlers have taken 48 out of 87 wickets for Delhi.

Head-to-head record

Delhi have the clear advantage, having beaten Deccan on both occasions in this tournament. In their first clash, they easily chased down 149 with six wickets and eight balls to spare. In their next encounter, Deccan made a hash of their run-chase, falling 12 runs short. The first game between them was at Centurion, the venue of the semi-final.

Since Delhi won both times in 2008 as well, it means Deccan have never beaten their semi-final opponents in four tries.

Today's Live Cricket Match 22 May 2009to


Delhi Daredevils Vs Hyderabad Deccan Chargers

Venue :SuperSport Park, Centurion
Live action starts from: 14:30 GMT (20:00 IST) T20 IPL 2009 Twenty20 match Match

LIVE ON

SONY SET MAX

IPL T20 Result Update

51st match: Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders at Centurion - May 18, 2009
Kolkata Knight Riders won by 7 wickets (with 0 balls remaining)
Chennai Super Kings 188/3 (20/20 ov); Kolkata Knight Riders 189/3 (20/20 ov)


52nd match: Royal Challengers Bangalore v Delhi Daredevils at Johannesburg - May 19, 2009
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 7 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
Delhi Daredevils 134/7 (20/20 ov); Royal Challengers Bangalore 135/3 (19/20 ov)


53rd match: Kolkata Knight Riders v Rajasthan Royals at Durban - May 20, 2009
Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wickets (with 3 balls remaining)
Rajasthan Royals 101/9 (20/20 ov); Kolkata Knight Riders 102/6 (19.3/20 ov)


54th match: Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab at Durban - May 20, 2009
Chennai Super Kings won by 24 runs
Chennai Super Kings 116/9 (20/20 ov); Kings XI Punjab 92/8 (20/20 ov)


55th match: Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians at Centurion - May 21, 2009
Delhi Daredevils won by 4 wickets (with 15 balls remaining)
Mumbai Indians 165/8 (20/20 ov); Delhi Daredevils 166/6 (17.3/20 ov)


56th match: Royal Challengers Bangalore v Deccan Chargers at Centurion - May 21, 2009
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 12 runs
Royal Challengers Bangalore 170/4 (20/20 ov); Deccan Chargers 158/6 (20/20 ov)

England v West Indies, 1st ODI, Headingley

England v West Indies, 1st ODI, Headingley

Regan defends saturated Headingley


May 21, 2009

England v West Indies - Match abandoned



Overcast conditions at the start of the game, England v West Indies, 1st ODI, Headingley, May 21, 2009
A dank scene over Headingley and even when the sun came the problems didn't stop © Getty Images

Stewart Regan, the Yorkshire chief executive, was forced to defend the club's new drainage system after the first one-day international between England and West Indies at Headingley was abandoned shortly after 3pm, following torrential morning rain left the newly relayed outfield saturated. Umpires Nigel Llong and Steve Davis conducted several pitch inspections but although the weather itself improved, the outfield remained drenched. Regan, however, insisted the system would be working perfectly come the Ashes.

"We are all very disappointed with the outcome today," Regan said. "What you saw was a torrential downpour last night and another this morning and the water has that in the thatch of the grass and hasn't drained away quickly enough.

"We are confident it will be able to handle major downpours, that's why we are investing in it and as it continues to bed in then of course it will improve. This is not about blaming but about trying to understand what has happened and recognising that this drainage system will improve and get better."

Rain had fallen overnight and hammered down again at about 9.30am for two hours, then just as the groundstaff had started to remove the covers, another burst swept over the ground. Puddles began forming on the outfield and some areas around the boundary resembled a swamp.

By late afternoon the sun was shining, but the outfield remained unplayable. Those that remained from an 11,000-strong crowd made their frustrations known, but the England players did their part when they went out to sign autographs (as they did in Antigua when that Test was abandoned in February). However, the whole day raised serious questions about the timing of Yorkshire's project to relay the outfield and hosting an international just seven weeks after completion.

The club spent a £600,000 ECB grant on the new drainage over the winter, but the outfield hasn't yet had a chance to properly bed down so that it can work at its optimum level. High standards are expected these days after the success of the Lord's version which allows play very quickly even after torrential rain, such as occurred in the first Test against India in 2007.

The project fell behind schedule and the turf was only laid at the beginning of April when the club had hoped to complete the work by March. "This sort of project doesn't happen overnight, it takes time for it to bed in and we are all disappointed with how we have ended up," Regan said.

The delay in completing the work meant that the groundstaff haven't been able to aerate the outfield and allow it to drain fully due to the risk of damaging the turf. The outfield was signed off by the ECB on April 30, mid-way through the Championship match against Worcestershire which was also hit by the weather, and Regan insisted that the ground had been ready to host an international and rejected calls that it should have been moved to another venue.

"As of last night the weather was perfect, the outfield had been signed off and the forecast was good," he said. "We were all happy with it and the ECB were happy with, we have just had some very unusual circumstances. We are very disappointed for the public and nobody likes upsetting spectators, but you can't legislate for the rain. We live in a country that gets more than most.

"We've played three major [county] matches here and they played perfectly well. The umpires were delighted and the pitch inspector from the ECB was delighted. I think the key issue here is that there were two torrential downpours and the water couldn't drain away quick enough."

The ECB has given six counties the grants towards providing new drainage facilities in order that as much playing time as possible is saved, but that doesn't mean that counties aren't allowed to put extra funding in themselves.

The club are spending £21million on a new pavilion at the Kirkstall Lane End which is largely funded by Leeds Metropolitan University, but that is also behind schedule and the ground will resemble a building site for the Ashes. It was due to be completed for the fourth Test in August, but now won't be completed until 2010, while £500,000 has also been spent on a new replay screen. However, Regan said there wasn't any more money to invest in a more advanced drainage system.

"It's very easy to say spend [an extra] £400,000, but that money simply doesn't exist," he said. "The £600,000 is deemed sufficient to put in a drainage system capable of doing the job and that's what we've got. What we have here are unusual circumstances and torrential rain and any ground would have struggled to cope, apart from Lord's."

This abandoned match means two of the Ashes venues have had serious issues with their playing surface recently. Last week, Glamorgan were docked points following a Friends Provident tie against Essex, after the Cardiff pitch was rated 'poor' for taking excessive turn.

Bangalore Royal Challengers v Deccan Chargers, IPL, Centurion

Bangalore Royal Challengers v Deccan Chargers, IPL, Centurion

Pandey century takes Bangalore to No. 3


May 21, 2009

Royal Challengers Bangalore 170 for 4 (Pandey 114*) beat Deccan Chargers 158 for 6 (Gibbs 60, Akhil 2-18, Kumble 2-23) by 12 runs



Manish Pandey brings up his hundred, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Deccan Chargers, IPL, 56th match, Centurion, May 21, 2009
Hail the first Indian centurion of the IPL at Centurion © Associated Press

In a campaign that has included matches insipid and inspiring Royal Challengers Bangalore have well and truly come to life. Maintaining the momentum of three consecutive wins, they pulled the rug from under Deccan Chargers' feet and went to No. 3 in the points table, setting up a semi-final clash with the Chennai Super Kings on Saturday. Deccan will play Delhi Daredevils in Friday's semi-final.

At the end of a clinical win, Bangalore can thank Manish Pandey and RP Singh. Promoting Pandey to open in a pressure situation, Bangalore nearly lost him in the third over but RP's gross misjudgment at third man settled the nerves and then some. Either cutting solidly or swatting and slapping with efficiency rather than grace, Pandey grabbed the opportunity and notched up just the second century this season - and the first by an Indian in either season. Few in South Africa would have heard of the Under-19 batsman before today but should remember him after this amazing effort.

Teams have struggled to defend under lights at Centurion, and Bangalore were put on the backfoot as Herschelle Gibbs waded into the attack. But Anil Kumble took pace off the ball and once Gibbs and Andrew Symonds were dismissed in relative succession it all got too tough for Deccan.

RP's drop in the third over came after Jacques Kallis pulled his seventh ball to short square leg. It proved a costly error. Pandey began his innings looking out of sorts, twice inside-edging Ryan Harris on the bounce to Adam Gilchrist and top-edging safely to third man. Batting as though Bangalore needed to chase 250, Pandey clouted the ball through the leg side with abandon.

Roelof van der Merwe showed a liking for RP on the leg side, twice crashing him over through and over mid-on for boundaries, and weighed in with 23 from 18 balls. After he was well stumped off Symonds in the tenth over, Pandey weighed the situation and hung on. By this time he was 33, and on resumption after the strategic break dumped T Suman's offspin for consecutive sixes to raise his half-century. Now his timing had improved considerably and Bangalore were going at seven an over.

Very strong through the leg side, Pandey's main scoring option was the swipe across the line. RP returned to bowl the 14th over and Pandey reminded him of his reprieve, swatting and edging fours. He continued the same way after Pragyan Ojha accounted for Rahul Dravid in the next over, clearing his front leg and slogging against the turn. The caress - Pandey steered Jaskaran for four - was followed by the clubbed - next ball disappeared for six - and the fortuitous - an edge beat Gilchrist for four - as Pandey moved to 97 at the end of the 17th over.

Top Curve
Prime Numbers

  • 410

    The number of runs scored by Gilchrist in the tournament. He becomes the fourth batsman to go past the 400-mark
  • 45

    The number of runs conceded by Praveen Kumar, making it the second-most expensive spell by a Bangalore bowler this season. Kallis went for 51 off his four overs against Kings XI Punjab in their first meeting this season
  • 106

    The number of runs scored in the last 10 overs by Bangalore
  • 3

    The number of half-centuries for Gibbs in the tournament, making him the batsman with most fifty-plus scores for Deccan
Bottom Curve

The landmark came up with a single down the ground and there wasn't much fanfare. Virat Kohli took a cue and pulled six more, followed by a top edge that dropped safely between two clueless fielders, and deposited the last ball over the ropes. That last over summed up the course the two teams had run.

With Gilchrist struggling for timing, Gibbs took over the responsibility of scoring and did so in imitable fashion. He survived a shout against an Kumble topspinner when on 5 but didn't refrain from walking across his stumps, lapping and pulling the bowlers to distraction. Kallis hobbled off with a troublesome hamstring and Gibbs decided to take on Praveen Kumar. The first two balls were short-arm-flicked for sixes, the third was lapped for four, and Gilchrist put away a low full toss. Gibbs then dismissed van der Merwe for a couple of sixes upon introduction. Taking full toll of the half-volleys and stray balls that were on offer, Gibbs blasted 45 of the 68 runs added by the openers, lashing boundaries on both sides of the wicket.

He was dropped on 49 - soon after Gilchrist went for 15 - but didn't do much damage after Deccan went into the strategic break on a healthy 79 for 1. Symonds walked out in the 11th over after Kumble got Suman, and Rohit Sharma followed him in second ball of the 15th when Gibbs lost his grip and skied one to a tumbling Pandey in the deep. With 52 needed in five, Kumble called back van der Werwe and he bowled Symonds first ball. The pressure was on Rohit and Venugopal Rao but neither contributed; Rao was run out in the 18th over and in the next Rohit lofted Kumble to a very calm Kohli at long-on. The 26 needed off the final over was too much.

Bangalore showed an intensity that indicated how keen they were to erase the loss from the last time these two teams met. Pandey has said he would like to join the army, like his father, if he is unable to become a professional cricketer. If he can score hundreds like this going forward he won't need to reach for that application form.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Chennai favourites to win the title"

"Chennai favourites to win the title"

Delhi Daredevils might have been the most consistent side in the IPL2, but Shane Warne feels Chennai might end up winning the title.

Delhi are sitting atop the points table, but they are not "best" according to Warne.

Delhi are perched at the top, having accumulated 18 points from nine wins off 13 matches and looked a balanced side all through.

But Rajasthan Royals skipper and former Australian leg-spinner think otherwise.

"I don't think Delhi Daredevils are the best side in the competition. I think it is Chennai Super Kings who look a better side. And Chennai Super Kings are probably the favourites to win," he said Warne's team failed to reach even the semifinal stage this year, owing to batting failure.

Chennai's Matthew Hayden

Chennai, who booked their lat-four stage berth last night after beating Kings XI Punjab, are placed second in the points table with 17 points.

The last year's finalists' skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was naturally happy to be termed as favourite side.

"It feels good when somebody reckons you as the favourites in the tournament," he said.

Warne ready to serve Indian cricket

Warne ready to serve Indian cricket

Australian spin-legend Shane Warne expressed his willingness to be attached with the Indian cricket to coach country's spinners.

"If there is any offer or something like that I will seriously consider. I love Indian culture. It took a long time to embrace the culture and get to appreciate India and probably taking couple of tour to understand," Warne said while asked whether he is interested to work as a coach or consultant in India.

"As far as BCCI is concerned I love working with the spin bowlers over there. I worked with Yusuf Pathan, (left-arm spinner) Ravidra Jadeja and he had a great last year and he has done well this year also," Warne added, saying if the BCCI offers the job to him.

Speaking on the Indian Premier League, where he is leading defending champions Rajasthan Royals, the 39-year-old cricketer said: "Last two years of IPL has been fantastic."

Warne feels in a tournament like IPL, where cricketers participate from different countries, intra-team communication has a great role to play in a side's success.

"I think, the secret of the success of franchises is interaction with all the players. I think, its our strength that in (Rajasthan) Royals we do everything together.

"Yes, sometimes it's difficult (to overcome language barrier). When they bowl, I help them and now even when I bowl they helps us in execution of plans. So I don't think that their is any communication barrier," Warne told a news channel.

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