Mumbai sniff 38th Ranji title
India boys thrash UK 6-1
Saina, Bhat ousted; Diju-Gutta in last 8
Kerala’s Parvathy clinches title
PSEB, CRPF move into quarters
Mumbai sniff 38th Ranji title
Hyderabad, January 15
Aware that their 157-run first innings lead was enough to win the title in case of a drawn match, Mumbai adopted a safety-first approach and batted on and on till they were all out for 367.
UP would require a miracle of sorts to chase down the mammoth 525-run target with just one day left.
The only sour note in Mumbai's superior display was Sachin Tendulkar's failure in both the innings. The star batsman, who scored a duck in the first innings and was battling a viral fever, batted at number seven in the second essay only to score four runs and fall to Piyush Chawla.
Apart from Samant and Rohit, captain Wasim Jaffer shone for Mumbai with the bat, scoring 85.
Rohit became only the sixth batsman to score two centuries in a Ranji Trophy final. For UP, Piyush Chawla and Parvinder Singh scalped three wickets apiece.
Resuming on 130 for no loss, Mumbai soon realised that the UP bowlers were not in a mood to throw in the towel.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed Jaffer in the 43rd over just before the opening stand was about to reach the 150-mark and suddenly wicket started tumbling as Mumbai, from 146 for no loss, slumped to 241 for six.
Chawla alone claimed the scalps of Abhishek Nayar (3), Ramesh Powar (0) and Tendulkar to peg Mumbai back before Rohit put his foot down.
Samant survived numerous edges and near-misses but gamely hung on for his maiden century before falling to Parvinder Singh after a 239-ball 113 that included 17 hits to the fence.
The middle order collapse apparently had no effect on Rohit who looked in complete control of the proceedings by the time UP took the second new ball.
Unlike the first innings, Rohit was rock solid today. He needed 27 balls to get off the mark but he kicked off in style, hitting Chawla for three consecutive boundaries.
Parvinder eventually dropped curtains on Rohit's innings just before Mumbai reached the 350-mark.
Rohit's 146-ball knock was studded with 17 crisp boundaries and a massive six off Praveen Gupta which also brought up his century.
Parvinder was on a hat-trick as he removed Zaheer Khan for a first ball duck but Dhawal Kulkarni (15) denied him the feat.
Chawla finally dropped curtains on Mumbai's second innings by removing Kulkarni. — PTI
Sydney, January 15
However, the girls team lost their second successive match today that dashed their hopes of progressing to the title round.
The girls had gone down 1-3 to Great Britain yesterday and suffered a 2-3 defeat to Australia today.
In the under-21 men's encounter, skipper Diwakar Ram (7th and 16th minutes) was at his best with the dragflicks while striker Pramod Kumar (38th, 46th) too joined the party along with Danish Mujtaba (26th) and Jaykaran (66th).
The Britishers started proceedings with much vigour but as the game wore on, India wrested the initiative and an early goal opened the
Diwakar made no mistake in handing India the lead with a perfect dragflick from a short corner.
Great Britain tried to forge their way back into the game with some counterattacks but India managed to thwart their advances.
And at the other end, had it not been for British goal-keeper Ian Scanlon, who blocked several attempts in the first half, India's margin of victory could have been bigger.
Despite Scanlon's heroics, Diwakar doubled the lead with his second in the 16th minute following a penalty stroke.
In the 25th minute, the Indians had another opportunity to increase the lead but this time Diwakar was off target before heavy rains and strong winds hit the ground.
The match went on despite the inclement weather and a minute later Mujtaba made it 3-0 for India, netting home a rebound from a penalty corner.
Great Britain had an opportunity to reduce the deficit in the dying stages of the opening half, but custodian Mrinal Chaubey's neat work saw India go into the breather with a 3-0 cushion.
Pramod scored two quick goals after the change of ends through rebound hits from short corners to take the game away from their rivals.
Great Britain managed to pull one back in the 65th minute through Catlin Nick but a minute later India's Jaykaran completed formalities with a beautifully worked out field goal.
Despite India's strong showing in the tournament and their progress to Sunday's final, coach AK Bansal issued a stern warning to his players not to be be complacent in the last league match against Malaysia on Saturday.
"The boys played exceedingly well today compared to yesterday. In both matches they displayed technically sound hockey. We are definitely through to the finals but we would like to finish off the league stage with an all-win record," Bansal said.
Bansal, under whom the colts have performed exceedingly well in the international circuit so far, expressed happiness over the team's preparations for the Junior World Cup to be held later this year in Singapore and Malaysia.
"Our World Cup preparation is well on track. In all the tournaments we are implementing the strategies keeping the World Cup in mind." After a rest day tomorrow, Indian boys will take on Malaysia in their last league match on Saturday, while their female counterpart will be up against USA. — PTI
Seoul, January 15
Saina, the fifth seed, went down 21-18, 18-21, 12-21 in a match that lasted 47 minutes.
Saina, who got walk-over against Canada's Charmaine Reid in the first round, used her powerful smashes to eke out a win in the first game but thereafter lost her way. She faltered at the net and her smashes also let her down as she conceded the second game to allow her opponent to draw level.
In the decider, the top Indian woman shuttler could prove no match as she allowed Adrianti to open up a six-point lead early on which proved to be too difficult to match for Saina.
There was disappointment in the men's singles with lone Indian survivor Arvind Bhat losing to seventh-seed Przemyslaw Wacha of Poland in the second round.
Just like Saina, Bhat too went into the lead, winning the first game 21-11. But the Pole then fought back to level terms at 21-14.
In mixed doubles, Diju and Gutta got rid of Indonesian pair Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir 10-21, 21-16, 21-9 and will meet eighth-seed Wijaya Rendra and Meiliana Jauhari of Indonesia in the quarter-finals.
The Indian pair went down meekly in the first game as their opponents raked up 10 consecutive points, thanks to their good coverage at the net and strong smashes.
But Diju and Gutta came back strongly to claim the second game and gave their opponents no chance in the decider. The Indians played hard and their net coverage and strong smashes left the Indonesians dazed. — PTI
Kerala’s Parvathy clinches title
Patiala, January 15
With today’s race, Amrit entered the final of the event along with Laxman Kurani of Karnataka, Sapin Donur of Maharasthtra, Karanbir Singh of Punjab, Nagender Kumar of Jammu and Kashmir and B.Vinayak of Kerala.
In the 1000m scratch event for under 17 girls, Kerala rider Parvathy VG annexed the title. She was followed by her statemate Vinaya Vijayan and Rutuja Satpule of Maharasthtra in that order.
Arun Mohan of Kerala showcased his talent by winning the 6000m scratch race in the boy’s under-19 age category. Kiran Inder Singh of Punjab too displayed good speed and skill but managed just a second place finish.
The best moment of the day came in the 4000m individual pursuit final for men that was easily won by Railway rider Harpreet Singh. Old warhorse Rajindra Bishnoi, also of the Railways, bagged the second slot while Jagdeep Singh was placed a distant third.
Manipur eve Choba Singh won the 3000m individual pursuit final for women. She was followed by O Bina Kumari Devi of Jharkhand and Helen Devi of Manipur in that order.
Hosts rider Narpinder Jit Singh excelled in the 3000m individual pursuit final for under-19 boys which he won with ease. Arvind Panesar of Delhi and L.Manton Singh of Manipur finished second and third, respectively.
PSEB, CRPF move into quarters
Nabha, January 15
Patiala powermen launched an early assault on the rival citadel through the industrious duo of Parminder Singh and Sunil Kumar. If the CRPF citadel did not fell at this stage, it was just due to some robust goalkeeping skills of the cop’s custodian Reyaz Ahmed.
The powermen opened the scoring in the first quarter of the match when Sunil Kumar, who had a good match today, received a measured pass from Parminder Singh. Finding himself in a one-to-one situation with the goalkeeper, Sunil sent in a shot from an acute angle which hit the horizontal and ricocheted back into play. Quick to recover, a falling Sunil controlled the ball well and this time he made no mistake as his shot found the netting through the legs of custodian Reyaz Ahmed.
After lemon time, Asif Majeed was brought in the midfield in place of a tiring Imtiaz Ahmed. This move almost paid immediate dividends as Majeed gave a measured pass to striker Fayaz Ahmed who committed the mistake of passing the ball to his colleague when he should have actually driven the ball home.
PSEB, however, grimly hung on to the lead to march into the last eight stage.
‘Smaller window to hit KP, Freddie’s IPL prospects’
The 12 centrally contracted players, that includes the likes of Pietersen and Flintoff, have been granted a 15-day window by the England and Wales Cricket Board to play in the IPL, while fringe players like Owais Shah and Samit Patel have been provided larger leave by the board.
"Those players on the fringes of the England team, the likes of Shah and Patel, will be granted a longer leave of absence to play in India and it is this balancing act that is occupying the ECB and PCA," reported 'The Daily Telegraph'.
"While the desire to protect the sanctity of Test cricket is strong on both sides, it could create a difficult dressing-room dynamic if the leading players are prevented from cashing in on the IPL at the same time as others are able to earn vast sums of money," it said.
England players stayed off the IPL bonanza last year barring Hampshire all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas, who signed a deal with Rajasthan Royals.
However, the ECB could no longer ignore the huge success of the inaugural IPL and its lucrative financial benefits and had to bow down to the pressure from the Professional Cricketers' Association. — PTI
IPL: CA green light to players' participation
"We are not proposing to tell anyone that we don't want them to go to the IPL," CA public affairs manager Peter Young said.
"I don't know in what circumstances we would do that, unless we had a negative medical report. Our view is we are dealing with professional athletes and living in an era where the understanding of fitness and sports injuries is very sophisticated.
"The IPL is not particularly onerous, the fast bowlers might bowl four overs twice a week," Young said.
He felt that players could keep themselves in shape for the Ashes by taking part in the IPL.
"Some biomechanical and sports medicine experts believe the risk of injury goes up if the workload goes up and down across a period of time. And I would say some players would want to play in the IPL so they can remain in good nick for the Ashes," he added.
However, Australia have a list of injury worries that includes the likes of Brett Lee (ankle), Andrew Symonds (knee), Shane Watson (back) and Peter Siddle (foot) all sidelined.
But former South Africa great Barry Richards believes CA could have faced player backlash and possible retirements if they banned cricketers from taking part in the IPL. — PTI
Winter Games begin at Leh
Enduring the freezing cold, spectators in large numbers are gathering at the makeshift ice rink at Karzoo pond in upper Leh town to witness the on-going CEC (Chief Executive Councillor of LAHDC, Leh) Ice Hockey Championship 2009 which began on January 13. Eight teams are in the race for the title.
On the third day of the event today SECMOL defeated Skara by 2-1 and Ladakh Scout Green got the better of ITBP by 8-6.
District Youth Services and Sport officer, Leh, Fidda Hussain, who is organising the event in collaboration with the Ladakh Winter Sport Club, Leh said, "Although people generally do not have tendency to go for outdoor activities during the winter months, ice hockey and its allied games like ice skating and figure skating are growing in popularity among the youth and children."
Gyal Wangyal, vice-president of Ladakh Winter Sport Club, said an Indo-Canadian Friendship Cup is also organising from January 25 to 26. A team from Canada Embassy in Delhi will participate in the event. — OC
Sunitha crashes out of
Aus Open qualifiers
Sunitha, India's second-highest-ranked player at 196, lost 3-6 4-6 to America's Melanie Oudin, who is ranked 173 in the WTA list.
India's new tennis sensation Somdev Devvarman, ranked 154th, will play his second round qualifying match tomorrow against 207th ranked Lukasz Kubot of Poland.
Somdev had edged compatriot Prakash Amritraj while Kubot has defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France in their first round match. — PTI