|S P O R T||
Sunday, May 30, 1999
|India's fate hangs in balance as
rain halts play
EDGBASTON, May 29 The Indias fate in the World Cup hung in the balance as rain forced stoppage of their all-important final group A tie against England today with the tie tantalisingly poised.
Zimbabwe stun South Africa
CHELMSFORD, May 29 Having shocked India, Zimbabwe today scored a sensational win over hot favourites South Africa, beating them convincingly by a 48-run margin to throw open the entire group A where qualification for super six hinges on the India-England match tomorrow.
India's Saurav Ganguly hits another boundary off the bowling of England's Angus Fraser during Cricket World Cup at Edgbaston on Saturday in Birmingham. AFP
may redeem prestige
Lankan cricket: From world champs to world 'dumps'
fulsome in his praise of Tendulkar
knock better: Kapil
improving with every outing: Akram
urges Kiwis to go all out
meets Agassi in exciting clash
duo in pre-quarters
virus at French Open
India's fate hangs in balance as rain halts play
EDGBASTON, May 29 (PTI) The Indias fate in the World Cup hung in the balance as rain forced stoppage of their all-important final group A tie against England today with the tie tantalisingly poised.
India fought back superbly to reduce England to 72 for three in 20.3 overs after being restricted to 232 for eight in 50 overs when showers forced the players indoors at around 4.40 pm local time (9.10 pm IST).
With rain not relenting, umpires Darrel Hair and Javed Akhtar called off play at 6.00 pm local time (10.30 pm IST) and the game will be resumed tomorrow, the reserve day, at the point at which it stands today.
India will have to beat England when play resumes tomorrow the reserve day from where it stands today if they are to entertain hopes of qualifying.
A loss or a washout will put India out of the tournament.
India have only four points while Zimbabwe have six after they pulled off an upset win over the Proteas, the same as England, South Africa (8 points) have already qualified.
Indias only chance of qualifying to the super six lies in beating England to force a three-way tie with six points. Then the net run rate will decide the two qualifiers and India currently have a much better NRR than Zimbabwe and England.
Play will be deemed completed only if England get to play 25 overs. As per the Duckworth-Lewis rain rule, England will have to be 100 for three in 25 overs to win in case play is finally stopped at that stage.
India began the sensational fightback defending their modest total when seamer Debashish Mohanty struck two telling blows in the fourth over of the innings.
Ganguly clinched a vital breakthrough dislodging the stubborn Nasser Hussain (33) when a steady drizzle began and forced play to be halted in the 21st over.
Skipper Mohd Azharuddins ploy to open the attack with Javagal Srinath and Mohanty, ahead of Venkatesh Prasad, proved a big success when Mohanty dismissed England skipper Alec Stewart (2) and the dangerous Graeme Hick off the first legal ball he faced.
Mohanty, who gained appreciable swing and bounce from the bowler friendly pitch and thickly overcast conditions, made one move away and Stewart edged straight to Azhar at second slip.
Mohanty then sent down a wide, but shattered Hicks stumps the very next ball, flummoxing the in-form batsman with an inswinger which he played onto the stumps.
India found another success even when Saurav Ganguly once again provided the breakthrough by having opener Nasser Hussain to play on for an unconvincing 33 off 63 balls.
England seemed to settle down as lefthander Graham Thorpe punished anything loose (33 no), but Ganguly provided the crucial breakthrough when he beat Hussain with a seaming ball and forced him to play on to the stumps. The Indians, who were right on top looking for more success when weather intervened.
Thorpe and Fairbrother (one) were together.
Earlier, put in by England skipper Alec Stewart under overcast conditions, the vaunted Indian batting failed to provide the necessary acceleration against a tight seam attack.
Opener Saurav Ganguly made a steady 40 but was run out when Rahul Dravids straight drive deflected off bowler Mark Ealhams hands into the stumps with the batsman backing too far.
With master batsman Sachin Tendulkar totally off colour, the expected push to the score never really came. Tendulkar struggled to get the well-directed bowling away and finally holed out against the nagging seamer of Ealham after making 22 off 40 balls.
Dravid, fresh from his 145 against Sri Lanka, completed his fifty but fell three runs later (53, 82b, 6x4) before skipper Azharuddin (26 off 35 balls) and Ajay Jadeja with an excellent cameo in the slog overs 39 off only 30 balls helped India post a fighting total.
Azhar today became the first man to complete 9000 runs in one-dayers playing in his 320th tie, which is also a world record.
Ealham emerged the bowling star with superb figures of 10-2-28-2, claiming the prize wickets of Tendulkar and Azhar while Darren Gough (2/51) and left-arm Alan Mullally (2/54) completed a brilliant job by the English pacemen on a grassy pitch at the Warwickshire ground.
Ganguly run out (Ealham)
Extras (lb-7, w-10, nb-4) 21
Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs) 232
Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-93, 3-139, 4-174, 5-188, 6-209, 7-210, 8-228.
Bowling: Gough 10-0-51-2, Fraser 10-2-30-0, Mullally 10-0-54-2, Ealham 10-2-28-2, Flintoff 5-0-28-1, Hollioake 5-0-34-0.
Extras (lb-1, w-4, nb-1) 6
Total (for 3 wkts, in 20.3) 73
Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-13, 3-72.
Zimbabwe stun South Africa
CHELMSFORD, May 29 (PTI) Having shocked India, Zimbabwe today scored a sensational win over hot favourites South Africa, beating them convincingly by a 48-run margin to throw open the entire group A where qualification for super six hinges on the India-England match tomorrow.
Zimbabwe shot out their formidable opponents for 185 runs with 2.4 overs to spare to brilliantly defend their fighting 233 for six made in 50 overs on bravely electing to bat first.
With this win Zimbabwe have logged six points, the same as England, while India with only four points have to beat England tomorrow in the match halted due to heavy rain if they are to force a three-way tie and hope to make it on net run rate.
South Africa have already qualified with eight points, but the reverse will be a major setback to the maiden title aspirants as they will go into the super six with only two points for the win scored over the third qualifier from the group.
Zimbabwes first ever win over their African neighbours came after a brilliant display by all-rounder Neil Johnson who hit up a strokeful 76 and then returned with the ball to claim three top order wickets to trigger the Proteas collapse.
South African trained Johnson, who played for that countrys A team but failed to make it to the senior grade, produced a remarkable all-round performance to propel Zimbabwe into the super-six stage after their chances hinged on this crucial tie after two successive losses to Sri Lanka and England.
Zimbabwe produced one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history following an incredible batting collapse by the Proteas as they dished out an unbelievably pathetic batting show.
The tournament favourites battled till the end with Lance Klusener (52 no) waging a lone battle after nine players were already back in the pavilion.
Klusener smashed three fours and lofted two sixes in his 57 ball knock to finish the league stage with an astonishing average of 112 and he is yet to get out in this World Cup.
Coming into this final group A crucial league tie, Zimbabwe did their homework well and caught the erring South Africans on the wrong foot in a match which was of academic interest to them.
All-rounder Neil Johnson, wrecked the South African top order with a fiery spell of three for 27 off seven overs when he had opener Gary Kirsten caught by Andrew Whittall for nought off the second ball of the Proteas innings.
Zimbabwe, who began their World Cup campaign with an upset victory over India after having beaten Kenya soundly in their opening tie, capped their stupendous run with another historic win, which will be hard for South Africa to forget.
After having lost Kirsten in the first over, South Africa strode to 24 when Herschelle Gibbs was run out following a terrible mix-up with Mark Boucher as Adam Huckle brought off a splendid piece of fielding at short mid-on.
Man-of-the-Match Johnson struck again deceiving Jacques Kallis with a ball pitching outside the off-stump. Kallis tried to cut and only managed to thick edge it to wicket-keeper Andy Flower.
Medium pacer Heath Streak rattled the already crumbling South Africans trapping Boucher (8) leg before the wicket as Proteas slumped to 25-4 from 24-1.
Johnson then produced a beauty of a delivery yorking the South African skipper Hansie Cronje with a ball that pitched between bat and pad before uprooting the middle and off stumps.
Darryl Cullinan (29) and Shaun Pollock (52) gave South Africa some hope after Jonty Rhodes (5) left, with a 66-run seventh wicket partnership. Cullinan fell when Andrew Whittall took a return catch off a full-bloodied shot and Pollock was out at 149 as the match slipped out of Proteas reach.
Kirsten c A. Whittall b
Extras (b-1, lb-2, w-8, nb-7) 18
Total (all out in 47.2 overs) 185
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-24, 3-25, 4-25, 5-34, 6-40, 7-106, 8-149, 9-150.
Bowling: Johnson 8-1-27-3, Streak 9-1-35-3, Guy Whittall 4-0-20-0, Olonga 4.2-0-17-1, Huckle 10-1-35-0, Andy Whittall 10-0-41-2, G. Flower 2-0-7-0.
Flower c Cullinan b
Extras: (1b, 15lb, 8w, 4nb) 28
Total: (for six wickets) 233 in 50 overs.
Fall of wickets: 65-1, 131-2, 170-3, 175-4, 186-5, 214-6.
Make-or-break tie for Aussies
MANCHESTER, May 29 (PTI) Favourites at the outset and in danger of being knocked out prematurely, Australia will aim to show their renowned fighting resolve when they take on the West Indies in a make-or-break-group B World Cup tie here tomorrow.
An inexplicable failure of his pacemen, spearhead Glenn McGrath in particular, has put the pressure on Australian skipper, who renews a battle he just concluded in the Caribbeans on level, aware a defeat will send his team tumbling out.
The Australians have only four points after beating debutants Scotland and Bangladesh and only a win will give them a chance to fight for a super six berth with the West Indies (six points) and New Zealand (four points and a game against Scotland).
Australia can however take heart from veteran all-rounder Tom Moody emerging as a vital force, taking three for 25 and smashing 56 off 29 balls after being belatedly included into the beleaguered side for the Bangladesh tie.
"They dont come any bigger than this. Weve got to win or were going home," said Waugh, keen to live up to his tag as the perennial crisis man for his team.
Rival skipper Brian Lara knows his team can hope to make the grade even if they lose, but the flamboyant batsman will be keen to lead by example and avoid the pangs of net run rate calculations.
Stung by the 27-run loss to group leaders Pakistan, Lara has since reaped the rewards for unleashing a four-pronged pace attack and will hope the batting completes the efforts of the bowlers.
The West Indies have slipped many rungs from the world beating sides that fetched them the 1975 and 1979 titles, but still hold an excellent 5-2 head to head record against the Australians.
Lara will also have a grudge to address as Australia pulled off a sensational five-run victory in the 1996 semifinal at Mohali, Steve Waugh yorking him to rattle the West Indian chase before leg spinner Shane Warne wiped up the tail.
Veteran paceman Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh have been chugging away as smoothly as ever with Reon King and Merwyn Dillon as the pace back up, which should prove a handful for any side under seaming conditions.
But the batting will certainly look for the inspirational stuff from Lara, though wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs has hit two fifties and fellow lefthander Shivnarine Chanderpaul came good as opener in their crushing win over Scotland.
A West Indian victory will lift New Zealand into the super six, but if Australia come through and the Kiwis beat Scotland as expected the net run rate will decide the course.
AFP adds: Australia, starting as the World Cup second favourites, appear to be running into form at last after a ragged start. After losing to New Zealand, they put up a battling display against Pakistan, going down by just 10 runs, and then, with one eye already on their run rate, hammered Bangladesh, scoring at nine runs an over to reach a winning total of 179.
"I back all-out players to perform under pressure thats why were here," Waugh said.
"And I believe were still a good side even though we havent played that well in the first couple of games."
"Weve got faith in each other and I believe we can go through to the next stage, and I dont see any reason why we cant go all the way," Waugh said.
The West Indies bowling looks confident. Veteran Courtney Walsh has taken 11 wickets for 83 runs from 37 overs while Curtly Ambrose has only four victims but has shut up one end so effectively that his 30 overs have cost a mere 63 runs, the best economy rate in the tournament.
McGrath, in contrast, the pre-tournament favourite to top the wickets list, has struggled, managing five wickets for 173 and conceding four-and-a-half runs an over.
Lara said: "it is going to be tough game. Were underdogs on Sunday. Australia has got nothing to lose and will be coming out tough. They are world champions in Test cricket... they might have stumbled a bit in this tournament, but favouritism should go to them."
Australia: Steve Waugh (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Mark Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Darren Lehmann, Michael Bevan, Tom Moody, Brendon Julian, Shane Warne, Damien Fleming, Glenn McGrath.
Lanka may redeem prestige
SOUTHAMPTON, May 29 (PTI) Reigning champions Sri Lanka would look forward to a resounding victory against Kenya in their last World Cup Group A match here tomorrow to erase the haunting memories of a disastrous title defence.
After huge losses to India, South Africa and England. The defending champions-in -doldrums would need a massive victory margin against Kenya to improve their net run-rate for an outside chance of making it to the super six if England beat India and Zimbabwe fail to upset top favourites South Africa today.
Sri Lankas emphatic 144-run win over Kenya in the 1996 World Cup when they piled up a record 398 for five is sure to act as an incentive but the poor show of the islanders this time gives the African side a chance to pull off another upset repeating their feat against the West Indies in the last edition.
Batting has been a major worry for Sri Lanka with skipper Arjuna Ranatunga admitting that the failure of last World Cups batting triumvirate- Ranatunga himself. His deputy Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya has let down the team badly.
Their revolutionary early order blitzkreig has come a cropper in the seaming English conditions and the middle order has been brittle to say the least.
De Silva, who cracked a whirlwind 145 off 115 balls against Kenya in 1996, was in terrible form till he rediscovered his touch with a classy 56 against India and that could be ominous for the Kenyans.
Sri Lanks bowling, excepting Mutthiah Muralitharan, has been too mediocre to test any competent side and the memories of severe drubbing at the hands of Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid is going to haunt them for a long time to come.
But against a modest Kenyan batting line-up, Chaminda Vaas, Pramodya Wickremasinghe and Eric Upashantha might be charged up to fire on all cylinders to redeem their reputation and placate the fans back at home who are baying for blood.
Steve Tikolo and Ravindu Shah showed good form with the bat but others were found wanting in skill and application.
Tikolo, top-scorer in the 1996 upset against the Caribbeans, has been in good form scoring 71 against England and following it up with an enthralling 58 against India.
Opener Shah smashed a sparkling 50 against South Africa after notching up 46 against England and 37 against Zimbabwe.
Kenya might have lost all four matches, but they never threw in the towel easily and an upset against Sri Lanka would not only do a world of good to cricket in East Africa, but can also set off a chain of reactions in the emerald island on the Indian ocean.
Sri Lanka: Arjuna Ranatunga (Capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Marvin Atapattu, Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardene, Roshan Mahanama, Chaminda Vaas, Eric Pashantha, Pramodaya Wickremasinghe and Muttiah Muralitharan.
Kenya vs Sri Lanka form guide
SOUTHAMPTON, May 29 (AFP) Kenya v Sri Lanka form guide:
World Cup results to date:
Kenya - lost to South Africa by seven wickets, lost to England by nine wickets, lost to Zimbabwe by five wickets, lost to India by 94 runs.
Sri Lanka - lost to South Africa by 89 runs, lost to England by eight wickets, beat Zimbabwe by four wickets, lost to India by 157 runs.
Head to head:
Kenya do not have Test status. The two teams have not met in a one-dayer during the past year.
World Cup: The two teams played just once in the World Cup, at Kandy in 1996, when Sri Lanka piled up a world record one-day total of 398 for five.
Aravinda de Silva hit 145 off 115 balls with 14 boundaries and five sixes. Asanka Gurusinha hit 84 and skipper Arjuna Ranatunga an unbeaten 75 off 40 balls. Kenya replied with 254 for seven to lost by 144 runs, despite 96 from Steve Tikolo.
Players to watch:
Kenya - Steve Tikolo. Kenyas best batsman could thwart the Sri Lankans with a repeat of his 1996 innings. He scored 71 against England and 58 against India in this tournament.
Sri Lanka - the whole team, to see, if any of them can perform at last. Seniors like skipper Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya will be under pressure from the selectors if they fail again. Tomorrows game, in any case, may be pointless; by then Sri Lanka, depending on India and Zimbabwes results today, may already be out of the tournament.
Venue: Southampton. The
home of county team Hampshire, it was opened in 1885. The
World Cup is the last major events to be staged at the
ground before Hampshire move to a new purpose-built
stadium in 2001. Capacity: 4,600.
Sri Lankan cricket
LONDON, May 29 (PTI) Is it end of the road for the great Sri Lankan side that had reached dizzy heights in the one-day game not long ago?
Winner of the World Cup only three years ago, the team is in tatters. It is alive but not kicking and from a side that looked unbeatable, it is rocking like a rudderless ship in a storm.
It may be too early to write it off, but some of the stalwarts may not be around much longer on the cricket field.
The portly Arjuna Ranatunga went into the World Cup with more than one mission to fulfil, but looks almost certain to return accomplishing none.
The wily captain was bidding to emulate Clive Lloyd, who led the West Indies to two successive crowns in 1975 and 1979. Had the islanders been on target, he would also have equalled Pakistan great Javed Miandads record of 33 cup appearances.
But after four matches in the tournament, Ranatunga and his men are a humiliated lot ready to pack the bags for home.
Their rapidfire batting has fallen silent and explosive opener Sanath Jayasuriya and the classy Aravinda de Silva, two key men in Sri Lankas 1996 triumph, are a pale shadow now.
Their bowlers did well in the early matches, but have lost sting to be decimated by Indias Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid at Taunton on Wednesday.
Their home fans, who were wild with joy in 1996, had lost all hopes to turn indifferent to their teams plight while the islands media is baying for the former heroes blood.
The final Group "A" clash against lowly Kenya on May 30 at Southampton technically gives Sri Lanka hope to remain in the race, but Ranatunga admits the end is near.
"If I have to pinpoint one thing to describe Sri Lankas decline... It is the batting which is failing for the last one year," Ranatunga, his usual confidence shattered after India crushed them by 157 runs, said. "It was Sanath, Aravinda and me who were forming the backbone of the team. Now it is failing. This is a worry. And the youngsters like Marvan (Atapattu) and Mahela (Jayawardene) have not been consistent".
With their batting anything but ferocious, pundits wont be surprised if Kenya heaps the ultimate insult by pulling the rug from under their feet.
"From world champs to world chumps," blared "The Island" as the media blasted the team and blamed politics for ruining the game in the island. "The ageless side", it said referring to retention of nine from 1996 World Cup, had robbed them of a good fielding side.
If drastic action is initiated, Ranatungas head could be the first on the chopping block. The 36-year-old grabbed the headlines in 1996 for his shrewd leadership as much as his famous quote calling Shane Warne an overrated bowler, but British media references this time are restricted to his slanging match with the Aussie spin wizard.
The stormy petrel of Sri Lankan cricket galvanised his talented side into a match-winning unit three years ago, but the fire is missing in the ageing team.
That all was not well in Lankan cricket was evident well before the team left for England with bickering in the board and reported differences among team members.
The rot had begun to set in soon after the sheen of their World Cup success wore off. Sri Lankas Aussie coach Dave Whatmore, who guided them to the World Cup victory, quit due to differences and outspoken batsman Asanka Gurusinha quarrelled with his skipper and migrated to Australia.
Close to the World Cup, their preparation was badly hit by injuries to Jayasuriya and De Silva and controversy over Muttiah Muralitharan being called for chucking in Australia earlier this year further undermined their title defence.
But none expected such capitulation from one of the most experienced sides in the tournament.
De Silva, the teams batting backbone renowned after his batting exploits with Kent, was a total disaster making scores of 0, 1, 6 and 56 against England, South Africa, Zimbabwe and India, respectively, and reports flew thick and fast that all was not well between the star bat and his skipper.
Jayasuriya, one of the many pinch-hitting openers who have flopped under typical English bowling conditions has only 29, 5, 6, 3 to show and Ranatunga (32, 7, 3, 42) was also a total failure.
The 33-year-old De Silva was considered a potential star of the World Cup with Indias Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Waugh of Australia, but his only effort of note came against India when all was already lost chasing 374 against India.
Sri Lankan success in 1996 was seen as a rallying point for a nation weighed down by ethnic strife and its impact on its economy.
Crowe fulsome in his praise of Tendulkar
EDGBASTON, May 29 (PTI) Sachin Tendulkar is as omnipotent as Donald Bradman and is assured of a place in the pantheon of cricketing gods thus spoke former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe.
"He (Tendulkar) is at present to one-day international cricket what Bradman was to Test cricket omnipotent," Crowe said, adding "Sachin will evoke the same aura in the years to come".
Tendulkars technique, determination, manner and humility are a powerful combination to make him an "aristocrat among cricketers", the former Kiwi star said eulogising the Indian batting maestro.
Tendulkar enjoys a godlike status in India "and in my view it is earned", Crowe said. "... (he) will take his place amongst the gods of the game."
Australian leg-spinning wizard Shane Warne, often at the receiving end of Tendulkars batsmanship, was equally fulsome in his praise of the master blaster.
"Every time that guy bats against us, it seems to be his testimonial. When he gets set, theres not a chink in his game," he gushed.
"When there is comparison between Tendulkar and Brian Lara, I have to put Sachin above from personal experience."
Warne rated Tendulkars sparkling 140 scored in the world cup match against Kenya "as the best in this competition so far, coming so soon after the death of his father."
"I dont think Sachin has any enemies in the game and you can sense a groundswell of sympathy (for him) through the tournament (after his bereavement)," Warne said in a touching compliment.
English pace bolwer Darren Gough, Tendulkars team mate at Yorkshire, also revealed the human face of the superstar.
"When he came to us he was a shy lad and yet people were in awe of him. It was strange he was 18 and everyone was expecting a superstar to walk through the door. They were not disappointed. He loved being part of the dressing room, part of all the banter and the jokes. He fitted in really well," said Gough.
The English speedster had another incident to recall to underline Tendulkars affable nature.
"When Sachin was married he invited every member of the Yorkshire team over to Mumbai for the wedding. He also offered to pay for everyones travel and bills. It would have cost him a fortune if everyone had gone ... but it is a measure of the man that he hadnt forgotten his old county team mates."
Ganguly's knock better: Kapil
EDGBASTON, May 29 (PTI) Cricket legend Kapil Dev yesterday rated Sourav Gangulys 183 against Sri Lanka on May 26 as a much better innings than his unbeaten 175 against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup, which stood as the highest individual score by an Indian in one-day internationals for 16 years.
"It was a much better innings than my 175 not out against Zimbabwe in 1983," Kapil Dev said.
"When I came to the wicket, India were 17 for five. I may have slogged in order to push up the scoring rate but Souravs was a very cultured innings, full of attacking yet cricketing shots," said Kapil Dev, who led India to the World Cup triumph in the 1983 edition.
"I am extremely pleased to see the way Rahul (Dravid) and Sourav played in the match and hope we can keep it up," he added.
Ganguly and Dravid, who scored 145 runs, shared a blazing World Record stand of 318 runs against Sri Lanka.
Pak improving with every outing: Akram
DERBY, May 29 (UNI) Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels that the World Cup has progressed satisfactorily for them and that his team is improving with every outing.
The skipper was particularly happy that they could come out with four straight wins despite having no warm up games due to inclement weather against county sides prior to the championship.
Pakistan are now being routed as realistic candidates for the Cup, behind South Africa. They have already finished on top of group 'B' with eight points, though they still have to play Bangladesh on Monday at Northampton. Even if they are improbable losers there, they will still carry their four points to the super six stage.
Similarly, South Africa have already finished ahead of all the other teams in group 'A' without a defeat. They too will carry forward four points to the next round, like Pakistan. Both teams will only require a win in the second stage to ensure a semi-final berth.
A dress rehearsal of the likely final will come up in the clash of the two teams at Trent Bridge on Saturday next week, with the winners clinching their place in the knock out phase.
An optimistic Akram said that Pakistan's explosive ability to take wickets and score quick runs makes them a threat to any team. They have the ability to ignite with the bat as well as ball and their wins over the West Indies, Australia and New Zealand was a warning to all their rivals.
Akram said that he was looking forward to the super sixes where every game would be like the final. The Pakistan skipper said he had tremendous faith in his team and hoped that his openers would blossom in the coming fixtures. "So far most of the matches have been decided by the batsmen during the last ten overs", he said.
The obvious reference was to 29-year-old Inzamam-ul-Haq who slammed two hurricane knocks in Pakistan's matches against Australia and New Zealand to seal the fate of their rivals.
Akram said that South
Africa was the best rated squad when the World Cup began
and, like Pakistan, were playing consistently. "They
are the tough ones", he said. The Pakistan skipper
was hopeful that both teams would play to form. "It
should be a great game as both have tremendous depth and
all round capabilities to match one another".
Fleming urges Kiwis to go all out
EDINBURGH, May 29 (Reuters) Stephen Fleming said New Zealand must go for broke in their final World Cup group B game against Scotland on Monday.
"Weve got to get runs quickly, its as simple as that," said the New Zealand captain, aware that the run- rate calculator may decide whether they reach the super-six phase.
With Pakistan already assured a super-six place, New Zealand are vying with the West Indies and Australia for the two other qualifying spots from the group.
"The West Indies bowled out Scotland cheaply and then reached their run total in less than 11 overs and if we hold any hope of qualifying (for the next round) then we have to set ourselves similar target," said Fleming.
"It wont be easy as the Scots have played well despite their results. But first we have to win and win well, then we will see what happens elsewhere."
Gavin Hamilton, the one class batsman in the Scotland side, said the New Zealanders could not afford to "write off" the Scots despite the fact they have lost their first four matches.
After opening the tournament with two wins, one of them over Australia, the New Zealanders have suffered sound beatings by the West Indies and Pakistan.
Fleming admitted his side were totally outplayed in losing by 62 runs to Pakistan yesterday, and was looking for a change of form from openers Nathan Astle and Matthew Horne.
"Both of our openers have had problems with the ball and the pace of some of the attacks," said Fleming.
"Scotland have a couple of good seam bowlers but its time that we all got our eye in with the bat."
Scotland have only pride to play for and all-rounder Hamilton is desperate to ensure they do not end the tournament with five defeats.
"To end the competition without a win would be a real injustice," said Hamilton. "With the exception of the game against the West Indies we have played really well and have surprised a lot of people."
Meligeni upsets Rafter
PARIS, May 29 (Reuters) U.S. Open champion Pat Rafter, who started the day as the highest seeded player left in the French Open mens tournament, was beaten in the third round by Brazilian Fernando Meligeni today.
Meligeni, ranked 54th in the world, won 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-3 against the third-seeded Australian.
Rafters loss left defending champion Carlos Moya of Spain, seeded fourth, the highest ranked player still in the competition. Top seeds Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia and American Pete Sampras, were both beaten in the second round.
AFP: Russian teenage sensation Anna Kournikova earned a fourth-round meeting with five-time champion Steffi Graf with a rollercoaster win over Patty Schnyder at the French Open here today.
Kournikova, 17, beat 11th-seeded Schnyder of Switzerland 6-1 3-6 6-0 in one hour and 17 minutes to set up a tantalising battle between new and old guard of womens tennis tomorrow.
Graf defeated Asa Carlson of Sweden 6-1 6-4 in her third-round match.
Earratic left-hander Schnyder made it easy for Kournikova, who raced through the first set in 21 minutes as the Swiss player made a succession of simple errors.
It was Kournikovas game that was mistake-riddled in the second but she was back to her best in the decider, frequently leaving Schnyder flat-footed with her pace and placement.
Graf, who has played in a remarkable eight Roland Garros singles finals, found Carlsson a dogged opponent but eventually outgunned her Swedish rival, who was playing in only her seventh main draw event of the year.
The 29-year-old Graf, who missed last years French Open with a knee injury, needs to win against Kournikova to maintain her record of having advanced to at least the quarter-finals in her last 12 appearances at Roland Garros.
Three-time champion Monica Seles beat Maria Antonia Sanchez-Lorenzo of Spain 6-1 6-4 while second-seeded US Open champion Lindsay Davenport had slightly more difficulty in defeating Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
Three times champion Monica Seles proved she still retains the power which drove her to the top in early 90s, by putting aside Maria Sanchez Lorenzo of Spain in straight sets in the womens singles third round.
Seles, who needed 77 minutes to hand send the Spaniard packing with a 6-1 6-4 verdict, was however not happy with her performance and said she needs to improve in the coming rounds.
Seles takes on Frances Julie Halard-Decugis, who reached the last 16 with a 7-5 4-6 6-4 victory over Cristina Torrens Valero.
Second seeded Lindsay Davenport struggled to beat Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 while former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez faced a second round resurgence by Israels Anna Smashnova before winning 6-2 7-5.
Former U.S teen sensation Jennifer Capriati got a walkover from Italys Silvia Ferina. Capriati was leading 6-2 4-0 when Farina pulled out due to an injury.
In the mens singles, Gustavo Kuerten, the 1997 champion and eighth seed, Spaniard Felix Mantilla, seeded 14th and Bohdan Ulihrach of Czech Republic won their third round matches to reach the last 16 stage.
Kuerten, in fine form
after winning the titles at Monte Carlo and Rome
recently, beat Sjeng Schalken of Holland 6-2 6-3 6-3 and
plays Ulihrach, a 6-3 7-5 6-4 victory against Andrea
Gaudenzi of Italy. Mantilla beat Tommy Haas of Germany
7-6 (7-3) 6-1 6-4.
Moya meets Agassi in exciting clash
PARIS, May 29 (Reuters ) Reigning champion Carlos Moya of Spain faces the first real challenge of his French Open title defence tomorrow when he takes on Andre Agassi, the last American left in the mens draw.
Both players may be starting to feel the strain as they have each had to battle for long five setters in previous rounds, Moya against Austrian Markus Hipfl in the first, Agassi against Frenchman Arnaud Clement in the second.
But oddly enough, Agassi was the most convincing of the two. Though he may have a little less hair these days, he is starting to look like the player who reached the final in Paris in 1990 and 1991.
"I need to go out there and win because I deserve it. I dont need to sneak a win. I need to establish myself as one of the best players," the American said.
Agassi and Moya have some things in common they have both reached the French Open final. Though only Moya won, they were both world number one for a spell and they both play attacking aggressive tennis from the baseline.
But, they have never met on court as the Spaniards rise coincided with the Americans downfall.
"Its hard to assess match-ups when youve never played somebody. But he has heavy shots," Agassi said.
"I dont think I could be a punching bag for five sets against anybody.
But if Im hitting my shots, Ill make five sets a concern for him."
For the second round in succession, Chiles Marcelo Rios clashes with one of the best Spanish claycourt specialists.
The tournaments ninth seed, who has yet to lose a set, will meet 1994 losing finalist Alberto Berasategui in the fourth round, having beaten Albert Costa in the third.
"I played with Berasategui last week in St Poelten. He likes to play here, hes a fighter," Rios said.
The only real really contrasting contest will be the match between Briton Greg Rusedski, in his best ever French Open, and veteran Uruguayan Marcelo Filippini.
The 12th-seeded Rusedski, the first Briton to reach the fourth round in Paris since Buster Mottram in 1977, has been convincing in previous rounds but he faces one of the most experienced claycourt specialists in the game, a man who never but never, advances to the net.
The clash between Slovak Dominik Hrbaty and Russian Marat Safin will be the most intriguing of the day between too young and gifted players.
Safin, a teenage sensation last year when he reached the fourth round after beating Agassi and reigning champion Gustavo Kuerten, will hope to do even better this time.
In the womens draw, defending champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain faces in-form Mary Joe Fernandez. The veteran American, a losing finalist in 1993, dismissed 10th seed Serena Williams in the third round.
Paes-Bhupathi duo in pre-quarters
PARIS, May 29 (PTI) India number one Leander Paes had a wonderful day at the French Open today, making it to the pre-quarterfinals of both the mens doubles and the mixed doubles event here.
Paes and his partner Mahesh Bhupathi wasted no time in dispatching French pair of J. Lisnard and M. Llodra 6-2 6-4 in just 55 minutes in a second round clash of the mens doubles.
Paes then returned to partner American Lisa Raymond for a splendid rally to beat Belgian pair Dominique Van Roost and Tom Van Houdt 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the mixed doubles second round.
Top seeds Paes-Bhupathi did not have to stretch in their second round match as they had to in the opening one against Spanish pair of Juan Ignacio Carrasco and Jairo Velasco.
Playing under scorching sun on the Parisian red clay at Roland Garros, the Indians lived up to their reputation as the unseeded Lisnard-Llodra found no counter to Paes serve and volley game.
Paes-Bhupathi, semi-finalists here last year, will take on Piet Norval (South Africa) and Kevin Ullytt (Zimbabwe) in the next round.
Paes-Raymond were surprised by the Belgian pair in the first set but came back strongly to win the next two comfortably.
Mystery virus at French Open
PARIS, May 29 (Reuters) Several players at the French Open have been struck by a mystery virus, tournament officials said today.
Tournament doctor Bernard Montalvan said he suspected French player Mary Pierce had become the latest victim of the virus when she suffered dizzy spells during her defeat by Spain's Conchita Martinez yesterday.
The doctor said: "There is a virus circulating in Roland Garros...it's a virus attack where you have a lower pulse, a lower blood pressure.
"We have had six or so people who have had those symptoms.
The doctor said Pierce showed symptoms during yesterday's second-round match as she struggled in the second set.
"I took her blood pressure, I took her temperature. I wanted to eliminate the possibility of heat stroke," he said.
India to play Thailand
CALCUTTA, May 29 (PTI) The pre-Olympic football qualification round for the Sydney Olympic Games between India and Thailand will be played on a home and away basis as per the fixture drawn up by the Asian Football Confederation.
India will play their away match first on July 17 in Thailand and then play their home match on July 24. The venue for the home match has not yet been decided, according to a release by the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) here today.
Williams sisters often confuse draws
PARIS, May 29 (AP) Keeping track of who they play next is not easy for the Williams sisters. They tend to get confused.
Venus Williams thought she was playing Mary Joe Fernandez yesterday, but it was Serena. (She lost).
"I realised I was looking at the wrong Williams," Venus said. "I figured it out after a while, or else I would have missed my match."
This isn't the first time the sisters have confused their draws Venus said. The same thing happened last year at Wimbledon.
"We didn't know until the day we were supposed to play," she said, "it was like: oh wow, that's my opponent".
Spanish player Alberto Berasategui has proved to be a knowledgeable soccer fan. After coming back from two sets down to beat No. 7-seeded Tim Henman, he compared his win to the miraculous win of Manchester United over Bayern Munich in the European Champion league final.
Bayern Munich led 1-0 going into the final minutes of the match when Manchester United came back and scored two goals just minutes apart.
"I thought that coming back in such a difficult match, and after losing when he broke me, my face was going to be like the fans from Bayern," said Berasategui. "But now I think (Henman's) face is like the ones from Bayern Munich."
Andrew Ilie, the entertaining Australian player, knows how to get attention.
He made crowds notice him this week by tearing off his shirt like the "incredible hulk," when he won a match on Wednesday.
During his match on Friday against Dominik Hrbaty, he made faces and gestures to entertain the crowd.
Tennis players love his antics too. "Even in the locker room, when he's playing, it is on TV the whole time in the locker room," said Ilie's compatriot Patrick Raftar.
Raftar said that although Ilie was "little bit eccentric he could be good for tennis".
"I think he's fantastic for the game and the best thing that could happen for the game is for this guy to be a top 10 player," he said.
Hrbaty wasn't fazed by Ilie's antics and won the match. Afterwards the Slovak was nonchalant about the effect of Ilie's behaviour.
Parikh emerges sole leader
CALCUTTA, May 29 (PTI) Valay Parikh of Gujarat emerged the sole leader with four points upsetting top seed and hot favourite P. Harikrishna of Andhra Pradesh after the fourth round in the boys under-14 category in the 12th National Childrens Chess Championship here today.
Parikh, who had three points to his credit having earned full points in the three earlier rounds, stunned the former world under-10 champion Harikrishna in 72 moves.
Altogether four players M.R. Venkatesh, S.P. Anand, P. Kumaresh (all from Tamil Nadu) and R.V. Shandiliya (Bihar) were in the joint second place with 3.55 points each after the fourth round.
In the girls under-14 section, Shradha Samani of Maharashtra took the sole leadership with four points after the fourth round by defeating seventh seed Jayashri Ilango of Tamil Nadu.
C. Delphin of Tamil Nadu, D. Maga of Maharashtra and Anuradha Beniwal of Haryana were in the second position with 3.5 points each after the fourth round.
In the bous under-12 category, Sunil Rangarajan of Karnataka was in the lead with four points after the fourth round.
trials on June 3
LUDHIANA, May 29 The Ludhiana District Cricket Association will conduct trials to select the district team for the Punjab State Inter-District (summer league) Cricket Tournament, to be organised by the Punjab Cricket Association here, at the S.D. Government College grounds on June 3 at 2.30 p.m., Mr Vinod Chitkara, general secretary of the IDCA has said.
JALANDHAR, May 29 A 30-Member squad comprising 20 boys and 10 girls have been selected to represent Punjab in the Sub-Junior National Wrestling Championships to held at Jind, Haryana from June 3 to 7. The selected boys are undergoing a training camp at Hans Raj Stadium while the girls are training at K.M.V. Jalandhar.
Team: Boys (freestyle): Rajeev Kumar (42kg), Rohit Kumar (46kg), Amit Sharma (50kg), Ravinder Kumar (56kg), Ajay Kumar (58kg), Kuldeep Singh (63kg), Bhupinder Singh (69kg), Balvir Singh (76kg), Sandip Kumar (85kg), Parminder Singh (100kg).
Coaches: G.S. Sangha and Atam Parkash.
Boys (Greco-Roman): Santokh Singh (42kg), Sukhdev Singh (46kg), Om Parkash (50kg), Rajinder Singh (54kg), Bhupinder Thakur (58kg), Gurvinder Singh (64kg), Bikramjit Singh (69kg), Ravel Singh (76kg), Ram Mohammed (85kg), Butta Singh (100kg).
Coaches: Devanand and Bhajan Singh.
Girls (freestyle): Gurmit Kaur (38kg), Raminder Kaur (40kg), Mohanjit (43kg), Nelam (46kg), Tajinder Kaur (49kg), Renu Bala (52kg), Sukhwinder Kaur (56kg), Gurmeet Kaur (60kg), Sandip Kaur (65kg), Sandeep Kaur (70kg).
Coaches: Gurcharan Singh and Daljit Singh.
grapplers for coaching camp
HISAR, May 29 The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has selected 64 probables (32 each in Greco-Roman and freestyle) for the national coaching camp for the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship to be held at Teheran, Iran, from July 6 to 9.
Mr Sukhbir Singh, Joint
Secretary of the WFI, said the camp would be held at the
NIS, Patiala, from June 1 till the departure of the team.
Fourteen grapplers from Delhi, 11 from Uttar Pradesh, 10
from Haryana and seven from Punjab were among those
selected for the camp during the Junior National
Wrestling Championship held at Lucknow last month.
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