Heat is on as teams eye semis
Super Kings face Challengers
Taking the world in his stride, Dinesh
Sree stays Shant — Sreesanth on Hayden
— Sreesanth on Hayden
Asia Cup: India to test bench strength against Bangladesh
India enter main draw
Heat is on as teams eye semis
Durban, May 13
Both the teams are tied on 11 points after 11 games but Mumbai is ahead on net run rate at the fourth spot and tomorrow’s match might prove be crucial in deciding the semifinal spots. Rajasthan’s current form is not too encouraging and after the team’s loss to Chennai Super Kings and Deccan Chargers in its last two matches, Warne’s imposing presence would surely be missed by the defending champions.
Mumbai, on the other hand, seems to have recovered from a hat-trick of losses and have registered two back-to-back wins over Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab to put their campaign back on track. The team’s batting looks solid with Tendulkar in sublime form and JP Duminy emerging as the middle order mainstay.
Sanath Jayasuriya’s form, however, remains a concern and Tendulkar would expect the Sri Lankan to wriggle out of the bad patch and play his natural, swashbuckling cricket. Mumbai bowlers are not doing too badly and injured pace spearhead Zaheer Khan’s absence has not been felt much. Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh have combined to lead the attack well, although the fiery off-spinner has complained that he is not aware of his role in the team.
In comparison, Rajasthan’s batting is too reliant on Graeme Smith and Yusuf Pathan although Naman Ojha, who was initially sent back, has turned out to be quite a surprise package. However, the unavailability of pacers Kamran Khan and Amit Singh, both of whom were found guilty of having a suspect action, has taken the bite out of Rajasthan’s bowling attack.
And with the talismanic Warne, known to surprise the opposition with unconventional and often successful bowling changes, missing from action, it would be interesting to see how Rajasthan reacts to tight situations in the match. — PTI
Durban, May 13
Dhoni’s men didn't exactly have a rollicking start to their IPL campaign, winning just one of their first five matches. The win against Deccan Chargers, however, marked the beginning of their spectacular five-match winning streak and Anil Kumble's men would require something extraordinary tomorrow to halt the Chennai juggernaut.
Matthew Hayden has been key to Chennai's success with his characteristic power-hitting that has often given the side a flying start, making most of the first six overs. Suresh Raina has been trailing Hayden closely in the run-getters' chart and his natural ability to counter-attack right from ball one has served the team well.
Dhoni himself too has shrugged off his indifferent form and looks in good nick, while S Badrinath finally seems at peace with his role in the side. And even when the batsmen tended to falter, Chennai's bowlers have bent their back to atone for that, which explains their second place in the points table with six wins from 10 outings.
For them, Sudeep Tyagi and L Balaji have done a decent job so far, while Muttiah Muralitharan has been both among the wickets and unplayable. Even Raina has rolled his arms to good effect, proving quite parsimonious with his left-arm spin. In contrast, Kumble doesn't have equal riches at his disposal and it would take quite an effort to upset Chennai's applecart tomorrow. Bangalore's top order has been pretty inconsistent. Jacques Kallis played well in patches, while both Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa have let the side down.
Often, the side needed Rahul Dravid to save them the blushes but overall, it has been a pretty slipshod show by the side which is placed sixth after managing just five wins from 11 outings.
Ross Taylor’s return to form, however, would please Kumble, who would expect the Kiwi batsman to maintain the form tomorrow. Bangalore's bowling has looked quite mundane and it was against Kumble's men that the beleaguered Kolkata Knight Riders posted its highest score of the tournament yesterday. — PTI
Taking the world in his stride, Dinesh
At 149 for three, requiring 24 runs off 19 balls, Deccan Chargers were sailing with the wind that buffets this ground from the Indian Ocean. Enter Rajat Bhatia. A fine catch at fine leg terminates Dwaraka Ravi Teja’s ambitions – he was earlier dropped by Ashish Nehra off his own bowling; Andrew Symonds and Dwayne Smith, then, both play across to be bowled, the latter to a slower ball. Delhi Daredevils win by 12 runs, dismissing Chargers for 161.
Bhatia sensationally finished with four for 15 in 2.4 overs. Earlier, Pradeep Sangwan kept Daredevils in the match with three for 18 in his four overs.
To chase down 174, a side need to fire on all cylinders. Chargers, though, were operating on just one. Tiru Suman and Rohit Sharma came and went, victims of the left-arm medium pacer Sangwan.
But Adam Gilchrist was in cracking form, almost single-handedly taking the battle to the Daredevils’ camp. He pulled Dirk Nannes, swing Nehra to long on, slog swept Bhatia and then pulled and swept Amit Mishra with the spin in one over – all for sixes. His 50 emerged off 24 balls. But Sangwan returned to spread-eagle his stumps. It was still 64 off 33 from a sportsman par excellence!
Symonds picked up the baton from where his former Australia colleague left off. Biff, bag he went, wasting no time to pummel Mishra over long on for six. And in this leg-spinner’s next over, he rocked back to a shorter delivery to pull it over midwicket for identical profit.
Dinesh Karthik’s final over assault on Chaminda Vaas cost the latter 23 runs. More importantly, it pitch-forked Daredevils to a challenging total. Twice he converted length balls from the Sri Lankan medium pacer into sixes to square leg and midwicket. Earlier, he had drilled a full toss from R P Singh through midwicket, as well, for a maximum.
Virender Sehwag, back as captain after injury, kept the association of Gautam Gambhir and David Warner intact at the top of the order, himself batting at number five. The move failed, as the young Aussie was deceived by a slower ball from Vaas to be caught at mid-off.
Rohit Sharma, looking slightly overweight, dropped a sitter at deep gully when Tilakaratne Dilshan was eight. The Sri Lankan celebrated the escape with a flashy 37 (off only 18 balls) before Teja took a fine catch running round the long leg fence. Indeed, quite remarkably, he “fetched” spinner Shoaib Maqsusi from outside off to fine leg for half a dozen.
Gambhir had held back during the mayhem. Now he flicked Vaas to square leg for six, but was soon beaten in the air by the impressive Pragyan Ojha to hole out at long on. And Sehwag, appearing a bit rusty, also failed, despite Symonds (who later made amends) spilling him at long on before he had opened his account.
The consistent Abraham de Villiers steadied the ship, but not as attackingly as was necessary. He was fortunate that Teja, retreating at long on, palmed a catch for a six. But Teja also redeemed himself shortly afterwards, with Smith, as opposed to Symonds, being the beneficiary. The stage was, thus, set for the Karthik show.
Gambhir c Rao bOjha 19
Warner c Rao b Vaas 4
Dilshan c Teja b Symonds 37
De Villiers c Teja b Smith 44
Sehwag c Symonds b Vaas 11
Karthik not out 44
Bhatia c Shoaib b Ojha 0
Mishra run out 2
Sangwan not out 0
Extras (lb-1, w-9, nb-2) 12
Total (For 7 wkts; 20 overs) 173
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-57, 3-80, 4-103, 5-130, 6-131, 7-150
Bowling: RP Singh 4-0-26-0, Vaas 4-0-52-2, Symonds 3-0-19-1, SM Shoaib 1-0-24-0, Ojha 4-0-26-2, Smith 4-0-25-1.
Suman c Nehra b Sangwan 3
Gilchrist b Sangwan 64
Rohit c Warner b Sangwan 6
Ravi Teja c Bhatia b Nannes 27
Symonds b Bhatia 41
Smith b Bhatia 1
Venugopal c Karthik b Nehra 1
Vaas not out 10
RP run out 0
Ojha b Bhatia 0
Shoaib c de Villiers b Bhatia 0
Extras (lb 3, w 5) 8
Total (all out; 19.4 overs) 161
Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-40, 3-86, 4-149, 5-150, 6-151, 7-155, 8-155, 9-161.
Bowling: Nehra 4-0-47-1, Nannes 4-0-31-1, Sangwan 4-1-18-3, Dilshan 2-0-8-0, Bhatia 2.4-0-15-4, Mishra 3-0-39-0.
Kuantan (Malaysia), May 13
Disappointed with the performance of his wards, India's coach-in-charge Harendra Singh said he would give the reserve players a chance tomorrow. “For the first time in eight months I didn’t achieve the target I had set. So, I will try out my bench strength tomorrow,” a dejected Harendra said. “I will give players like Hari Prasad, VS Vinaya and Ajitesh Roy a chance to play in the next match,” he added.
The winner of the India-Bangladesh match will face Japan in the fifth-sixth place play-off match on Friday. Bangladesh got some sound thrashing from South Korea, Malaysia and Japan and should be an easy meat for the eight-time Olympic champions but Harendra was not ready to take things for granted.
“We cannot take any international team lightly, whether it’s Bangladesh or anyone else. We have to come out of our defensive mindset. We have to play attacking hockey and there is no other alternative,” he said. India’s forward line, comprising Rajpal Singh and Prabhjot Singh, has been inconsistent in the tournament so far, squandering innumerable opportunities and the match against Bangladesh gives them an opportunity to salvage some reputation.
Even though Sandeep converted two of the four penalty chances against China, the Indian captain has been less than impressive, missing as many as five drag-flicks against Pakistan. — PTI
India enter main draw
Guangzhou, May 13 Saina and compatriots, including Arvind Bhat, continued to sizzle and snatched their third consecutive win in the biennial event, after steamrolling Australia 4-1 and routing Ukraine 5-0 yesterday. After losing the first game 18-21, world number 10 Saina got her act together to stage a brilliant come back by clinching the next two games 21-13, 21-19 to wrap up the issue in 52 minutes. Arvind too strolled to an easy 21-15, 21-16 victory against Gordon Thomson in the second match. The mixed doubles pair of V Diju and Jwala Gutta sailed past Andrew Bowman and Emma Mason 21-17, 21-12. In men’s doubles, Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar quelled the late challenge from Andrew Bowman and Thomas Bethel to win 21-18, 25-23 in a 33-minute encounter. In Women’s doubles, Aparna Balan and Shruti Kurian hardly broke a sweat to defeat Emma Mason and Jillie Cooper 21-12, 21-15 and round off another brilliant outing for the Indians.
Guangzhou, May 13
Saina and compatriots, including Arvind Bhat, continued to sizzle and snatched their third consecutive win in the biennial event, after steamrolling Australia 4-1 and routing Ukraine 5-0 yesterday. After losing the first game 18-21, world number 10 Saina got her act together to stage a brilliant come back by clinching the next two games 21-13, 21-19 to wrap up the issue in 52 minutes. Arvind too strolled to an easy 21-15, 21-16 victory against Gordon Thomson in the second match. The mixed doubles pair of V Diju and Jwala Gutta sailed past Andrew Bowman and Emma Mason 21-17, 21-12. In men’s doubles, Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar quelled the late challenge from Andrew Bowman and Thomas Bethel to win 21-18, 25-23 in a 33-minute encounter. In Women’s doubles, Aparna Balan and Shruti Kurian hardly broke a sweat to defeat Emma Mason and Jillie Cooper 21-12, 21-15 and round off another brilliant outing for the Indians. — PTI
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