Lanka send Aussies packing
Irish ‘crash’ course for Tigers
Bagan suspends Bhutia
Jitender in Asian C’ship quarters
The greatest ever?
Lanka send Aussies packing
The mystery of Ajantha Mendis, who took three for 20, coupled with 52 off 32
The once invincible Australians are consequently out of the 2nd World Twenty20 as early as the preliminary stage.
A new, exciting element has, in other words, been introduced into the tournament; Mendis’ bag of tricks, which most sides, other than India, would be unfamiliar with.
Indeed, if this variety spinner - for want of a better description – continues
The Sri Lankans set off for their target of 160 in bright evening sunshine. But David Warner somewhat darkened the atmosphere for the South Asians by remarkably holding on to a hook from Sanath Jayasuriya on the square leg fence to gift Brett Lee with a wicket in the next.
Tilakaratne Dilshan had previously pulled and cover driven Mitchell Johnson for fours in this bowler’s first over. Now he greeted Shane Watson for a quartet of boundaries – a contemptuous on-drive, followed by a sweep and two cuts – one deliberately in the air, the other along the ground.
The right-hander and Kumar Sangakkara realised 62 runs for the 2nd wicket when Michael Clarke’s golden arm intervened, removing Dilshan’s off bail.
More disappointingly for the Sri Lankans, the resourceful Mahela Jayawardene rushed out of his crease only to slice to point off Nathan Hauritz.
It looked as if Australia had a sniff after that 13 th over, with Sri Lanka still needing 62 to win off 42.
But taking a calculated risk in the 15 th , Sangakkara first pulled then straight drove Hauritz to post 16 in this over.
As fortunes ebbed and flowed and tension mounted, Jehan Mubarak relieved this with a six to long on off Lee.
Angelo Mathews who hardly got a look in for Kolkata Knight Riders in the recent Indian Premier League, not only opened the bowling for Sri Lanka – after Sangakkara won the toss - but had the dangerous Warner caught at point. Twenty20 unfortunately encourages loose technique, including airy fairy cuts.
But Watson and Ricky Ponting reconstructed the innings to 47 in five overs until the latter was bowled trying to give himself room against Mendis.
Watson cracked two fours and a six to midwicket against debutant Isuru Udana. This left-arm medium pacer hit back, though, catching Michael Clarke off his own bowling.
In the interim, Watson, unable to decipher the magic of spinner Mendis, was plumb leg before wicket attempting a sweep; and Brad Haddin was cleaned up by a slow full toss from speed merchant Lasith Malinga.
David Hussey, another KKR player who is relatively conversant with Mendis, stepped out to hoist him for a straight six.
But in the same over – the 15th - his otherwise more experienced and established brother Mike was palpably deceived and trapped lbw, reducing the Aussies to 94 for six in 14.5.
With Mendis not only taking wickets, but proving to be restrictive, the freewheeling Mitchell Johnson targeted the less unfathomable Muttiah Muralitharan.
He twice slog swept this off-spinner for sixes besides obtaining a four in an over – the 16th - that cost Sri Lanka 21 runs.
The 19th began with Hussey despatching Udana for a half a dozen to midwicket. But the young man cleverly delivered the next off the back of the hand to compel the then run hungry right-hander to edge to point.
Australia failed to entrust the strike in the last over to Johnson, who nevertheless had the distinction of becoming joint top scorer with 28 not out.
Watson lbw b Mendis 22 (21)
Warner c Dilshan b Mathews 0 (3)
Ponting b Mendis 25 (15)
Haddin b Malinga 16 (17)
Clarke c & b Udana 11 (15)
Hussey c Jayasuriya b Udana 28 (22)
Hussey lbw b Mendis 1 (5)
Johnson not out 28 (13)
Lee b Malinga 15 (5)
Hauritz c Sangakkara b Malinga 4 (3)
Bracken not out 4 (1)
Extras (w 5) 5
Total (9 wickets; 20 overs) 159
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-48, 3-59, 4-74, 5-79, 6-94, 7-135, 8-151, 9-155
Bowling: Mathews 2-0-10-1, Jayasuriya 2-0-17-0, Udana 4-0-47 2, Malinga 4-0-36-3, Mendis 4-0-20-3, Muralitharan 4-0-29-0.
Dilshan b Clarke 53 (32)
Jayasuriya c Warner b Lee 2 (7)
Sangakkara not out 55 (42)
Jayawardene c Bracken b Hauritz 9 (12)
C Silva c Ponting b Lee 11 (11)
Mubarak not out 21 (12)
Extras (lb 1, w 6, nb 2) 9
Total (4 wickets; 19 overs) 160
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-81, 3-98, 4-127
Bowling: Lee 4-0-39-2, Johnson 2-0-17-0, Bracken 4-0-33-0, Watson 2-0-24-0, Hauritz 4-0-27-1, Clarke 3-0-19-1.
Irish ‘crash’ course for Tigers
Bangladesh are eliminated from the ICC World Twenty20 competition. Ireland, who upset Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup, and also defeated Bangladesh in the same tournament, repeated this success with a comfortable six wicket victory to the unconcealed joy of their jubilant supporters.
The O’Brien brothers, Niall and Kevin produced confident batting displays after medium pacer Trent Johnson had erected a platform with a return of three for 20. Ireland, with India, have, thus, qualified for the Super Eight from Group A.
Having the same climate, the Irish are naturally more accustomed to English conditions. But this was no excuse for Bangladesh, who have enjoyed test status for a decade without gaining commensurate maturity.
It is relatively easy to play shots against India when you have nothing to lose. It’s far more difficult to maintain parity when you are the favourite side.
Ireland began pensively, but gathered pace as Niall O’Brien clobbered three sixes in an over from Mashrafe Mortaza - the 5th of the innings - en route to a 25-ball 40. He perished to Shakib Al Hasan when he failed to clear long off.
Off-spinner Naeem Islam and left-arm spinners Shakib and Abdur Razzak induced a degree of indecision from the Irish. In fact, at 89 for four in 14.2 overs, Bangladesh had almost clawed their way back.
But Kevin O’Brien with a whirlwind 37 off 17 balls, which included maximums to midwicket and square leg off Razzak and Shakib respectively, emphatically settled the issue with 10 balls to spare.
It was a clash between the other two constituents in India’s preliminary group; a must win for Bangladesh and virtually the same for Ireland as their remaining fixture is against Mahendra Dhoni’s team.
There was arguably more pressure on Bangladesh; but that’s what international
Ireland, with a generous sprinkling of talent from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa granted eligibility on the basis of either descent or settlement, managed to keep a lid on Bangladesh’s top order.
Johnston in particular impressed as he swung and seamed the ball under cloud cover and captured three of the first four wickets that fell in the Bangladeshi innings.
Even after so much exposure at the international level, the Bangladeshis lacked the patience and shrewdness to see Johnston off.
Indeed, captain Mohammed Ashraful demonstrated poor technique to merely guide an away going ball to slip, having been just let off here off the same bowler.
In between, a pull for six at the tall Boyd Rankin’s expense was, admittedly, a resounding stroke.
The strokeful Tamim Iqbal became the lone hope; but his run out for 22 put paid to Bangladeshi aspirations of a bigger total.
It was, thus, left to Mortaza to club a couple of sixes off Brisbane-born medium pacer Alex Cusack to carve an undefeated 33 off a mere 16 balls.
This final over of the venture cost 20 runs and helped register at least a fighting total for the sub-continentals.
Tamim run out 22 (28)
Junaid c Bray b Johnston 13 (5)
Ashraful c O’Brien b Johnston 14 (10)
Shakib c Wilson b Johnston 7 (7)
Mahmudullah st O’Brien b Cusack 7 (10)
Raqibul Hasan b McCallan 13 (20)
Mushfiqur c Mooney b West 14 (15)
Mortaza not out 33 (16)
Islam b Rankin 7 (9)
Razzak not out 0 (0)
Extras (lb 1, w 6) 7
Total (8 wickets; 20 overs) 137
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-40, 3-50, 4-61, 5-66, 6-90,7-94, 8-117
Bowling: Rankin 4-0-36-, Johnston 4-0-20 3, West 4-0-25-1, McCallan 4-0-17-1, Cusack 4-0-38-1.
Bray c Raqibul b Mortaza 2 (10)
Porterfield c & b Razzak 23 (29)
O'Brien c Rubel b Shakib 40 (25)
Wilson c Ashraful b Mortaza 10 (15)
Mooney not out 17 (14)
O'Brien not out 39 (17)
Extras (lb 4, w 3) 7
Total (4 wickets; 18.2 overs) 138
Fall of wickets:1-6, 2-61, 3-71, 4-89
Bowling: Mortaza 4-0-30 2, Rubel 3.2-0-31 0, Mahmudullah 3-0-23 0,, Islam 2-0-9-0, Shakib 3-0-23-1, Razzak 3-0-18-1.
Player of the Match: O’Brien
Kolkata, June 8
Bhutia had sought a release from Mohun Bagan after his commitment was questioned by the club in a showcause notice served on him on May 15.
Dismissing his request, the club in its executive committee meeting today suspended the iconic Indian footballer from playing for the club for six months.
“In a unanimous decision, we at our executive committee decided to suspend Bhutia for six months. During this time, he cannot play for Mohun Bagan,” senior executive committee member Subrata Mukherjee told reporters.
In his acerbic best, Mukherjee added, “Despite being captain, he has been defying rules and regulation of the club for a long time and breaching his contract.” — PTI
New Delhi, June 8
Jitender was the first to take the ring and the Beijing Olympic quarterfinalist defeated Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee in a thrilling contest.
The two boxers were tied 4-4 after the regulation three rounds and were locked 4-4 even on countback but Jitender won after three of the five judges officiating the bout declared him as the better of the two boxers.
“I was leading in the first two rounds but he became very aggressive in the final round and equalised. I was very tense after we were found to be tied even after the countback. It was such a relief when judges declared me winner for being a better boxer,” a relieved Jitender said.
The 22-year-old Haryana-boxer now takes on Enkhjargal Iderkhu in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. “I have not seen this guy. The coaches are keeping an eye on his bouts and will formulate a strategy accordingly,” said Jitender.
Meanwhile in lightweight category, Jai Bhagwan thumped Thailand’s Adi Sailom 7-0 in a lopsided bout. The Indian now takes on local favourite Hu Qian Xun in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“Don’t go by the scoreline, he was a tough customer,” Jai said after his bout. “Next up is a Chinese. He will have the home advantage but hopefully I would be able to draw from my experience and get past him,” Jai said.
Tomorrow, Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh will open his campaign in the event against Uzbekistan’s Atoev Abbos.
Youth world champion Thokchom Nanao Singh (48kg), who got a bye in the first round, will compete for a place in the semifinals tomorrow. — PTI
The greatest ever?
Roger Federer’s quest to win the French Open, the only Grand Slam title which had eluded him, finally ended here yesterday when he beat Robin.
In winning his 14th Grand Slam title, which equals Pete Sampras’s all-time record, the 27-year-old Swiss also became only the sixth man to win all four of the game’s major crowns.
“It’s maybe my greatest victory, or certainly the one that removes the most pressure off my shoulders,” Federer said.
“I think that now and until the end of my career, I can really play with my mind at peace and no longer hear that I’ve never won Roland Garros.”
Federer, who had lost to Rafael Nadal in the three previous finals, needed less than two hours to beat Soderling, a 24-year-old Swede who had never previously gone beyond the third round of a Grand Slam tournament.
Soderling beat Rafael Nadal, the overwhelming favourite, last weekend. “I kind of was relieved, because he was going to be the hardest one to beat,” Federer said of Soderling’s victory over the Spaniard.
The final was interrupted early in the second set by an intruder who taunted Federer and was on the court for nearly 20 seconds before being rugby-tackled by a security guard. Federer said the incident was “a touch scary”.
Andre Agassi, the last player to win all four Grand Slam tournaments, presented the trophy to the deserving winner.
“Now I can relate to what it really feels like,” Federer told the American. “It feels good to be for once on the podium as the winner. It’s a magical moment.”
Asked whether he should now be considered the greatest player of all time, Federer said: “We don’t know, but I definitely have many things going for me because I’ve finally won all four Grand Slams. I’m particularly happy reaching Pete’s 14.”
Federer was twice taken to five sets on his way to the final. “I’ve had a tough draw,” he pointed out.
As to the final, the former world No 1 said: “Of course, it wasn’t Nadal on the other side of the net but I beat him a couple of weeks ago on clay (in Madrid), so I really feel like I deserve it.”
Soderling was gracious in defeat. “I’ve never played anyone playing that fast,” the world No 25 said. “He’s a great player. He doesn’t have any weaknesses at all. He really deserves to be called the best player of all time.”
Sampras, who watched the match at home in Los Angeles, said he was happy for Federer. “What he’s done over the past five years has never, ever been done in and probably will never, ever happen again,” Sampras said.
— By arrangement with The Independent
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