Dhoni blames bad start
top in final
Delhi signs up Unmukt Chand
Aussies hoping for better show
After winning in the first T20 match against Australia, England captain Paul Collingwood (top centre) knows that his side has a psyhological edge over the hosts. The second T20 game will be played in Melbourne today. — AFP
Messi slams 3 goals in Barcelona’s win
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (blue) vies with Real Betis' goalkeeper Casto Espinosa (yellow) during the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) football at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Wednesday. — AFP
India, Pakistan main rivals in SAF skiing
Team gets prize money
Nadal, Wozniacki top seeds for Aus Open
Aus pacer McKay out of World Cup
Durban, January 13
"We could have done better. When you are playing with four bowlers, you are under a bit of pressure, that if one of the bowler don't bowl well then you have to make those overs with the part timers. Fortunately in this game our part timers bowled really well and they brought us back into the game," Dhoni said after the big loss.
"But still chasing 290 runs was a stiff target especially on the Kingsmead track. If we would have got a good start then we could have fancied our chances," he added. India lost four wickets for a mere 43 runs and Dhoni said the poor start put a lot of pressure on the lower half of the batting order.
"Playing well against quality fast bowlers on new white ball is going to be a huge challenge. This wicket had a bit of bounce but it was not that quick a wicket. We could have negotiated the first 8-10 overs and then could have gone for runs.
"But we lost couple of wickets earlier on and then again we lost few in the middle overs. That put pressure on our lower middle order," he said.
Asked whether going in with six batsmen was a gamble that didn't pay off, Dhoni said, "we picked Rohit keeping in mind the Kingsmead wicket. He played reasonably well...got bad decision but it is just part and parcel of the game.
"He bowled and fielded well too. So you can always debate about whether to go in with 6 specialised batters or 5 specialised bowlers," he added. Dhoni also defended the inclusion of Ashish Nehra in the squad despite the pacer being short of match practice.
"Honestly speaking these are the four-five fast bowlers we have got.
We do not have many options to play with. So we have to back them to do well. Whether they are in match practice or not what is important is that we take care of these bowlers and they should go in the World Cup without any injuries," he explained.
Despite the heavy loss, Dhoni said the Indians will bounce back in the five-match series, the second game of which is on Saturday.
"This question was asked when we had lost Centurion Test. “We can play better cricket than this. That way cricket is good game as in every match you start afresh. We have to click as a unit to win matches. "We should bat with positive intent and try our best to get a good start. Talking about the wicket, it did change a bit. Under lights the ball had a bit more bounce and movement," he said.
Dhoni said Virat Kohli's fighting half century was one of the positives he would take from the game. "Virat batted well and our part timers bowled well. It was good to see Zaheer bowling well and Munaf too. But together we have to click," he said.
The Indian skipper was also generous in his praise for rival medium pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who grabbed four wickets in the match. "He is good and a different type of bowler. He bowls at 130kmph speed but he gets bounce. He hits right areas," Dhoni said. — PTI
Vadodara, January 13
At stumps on the penultimate day of the four-day match, Baroda still trail Rajasthan by 70 runs in reply to the visitor's 394.
Vivek Yadav (4/73) and Deepak Chahar (3/72) forced Baroda batsmen to commit mistakes as they maintained a tight line and length, giving the home team batsmen little opportunity to score easy runs at the Moti Bagh stadium here.
Even as Jaykishan Kolsawala (64), Aditya Waghmore (52) and skipper Pinal Shah (77) chipped in with crucial runs, Baroda kept losing wickets at regular intervals, which forced them on to the back foot.
Resuming at the overnight score of 73 for one, Kolsawala, and Kedar Devdhar started on a positive note but runs soon dried up when Yadav came into the attack. In his first seven overs, Yadav just conceded nine runs and dismissed both the overnight batsmen Kolsawala and Devdhar in quick succession to leave Baroda suddenly reeling at 113 for three from a comfortable 110 for 1.
Kolsawala became Yadav's first victim of the day when the spinner saw him off for a well-made 64 off 151 balls, which was studded with 12 fours, and then followed it up by sending back Devdhar for 19.
New batsmen in Waghmore and Ambati Rayudu (19) tried to steady the boat for a while but the latter, who though started off well by hitting two fine cover-drives, failed to sustain and his stay at the crease was cut short by Chahar.
However, skipper Shah in the able company of Waghmore fought back hard. The duo kept on picking up quick singles, besides punishing the loose deliveries to keep the scoreboard moving.
Riding on some sensible batting, the duo stitched a valuable 90-run stand before Waghmore, soon after reaching his half-century, fell victim to Yadav, brilliantly caught by Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar.
Waghmore's dismissal on 52 (131, 7x4) with Baroda scorecard reading 226 for five, left Shah in the company of tailenders to overcome a huge total of 394 runs set by Rajasthan in their first innings.
Swapnil Singh (17) continued for a while but Pankaj Singh saw him off, and then Chahar was quick to remove Abhijit Karambelkar for a duck before getting the prized wicket of Shah, trapping him leg before.
But just when it seemed it was all over for Baroda at 288 for eight, Sankalp Vohra and Murtuja Vahora showed character as they shared an unbeaten 36-run stand for the ninth-wicket, before stumps were drawn for the day.
At end of day three, Vohra was batting on 16 while Vahora was on 21. But Rajasthan require just two wickets to take the first innings lead, which could well give them the trophy. — PTI
New Delhi, January 13
Chand, who will be turning 18 on March 26, will be one the youngest players in this year's IPL along with Rajasthan medium pacer Deepak Chahar, who have been roped in by Rajasthan Royals.
Asked whether he expected an IPL offer at such a nascent stage of his career, he said: "I never had any expectation when I started playing cricket. I never played the game like this. Things just happened." "My moto is to work hard and score runs for my team. I am happy that my hardwork paid off in my very first Ranji season," added Chand, who is presently busy with his preparations for the CBSE pre-board examinations and will resume his practice once the exams are over.
Abdulla joins Mumbai Indians
Kolkata: Iqbal Abdulla, the Mumbai left-arm spinner, has signed a two-year deal with Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of the fourth season of the IPL.
Abdulla was at Kolkata for the first three seasons, having been picked as their Under-19 draft in the first season, and now returns as an uncapped signing.
Even though teams have until March 8 to sign uncapped players for the IPL, which starts on April 8, franchise owners and officials have shown desperation in the last few days to latch on to quality youngsters as soon as possible.
Kings XI Punjab have got back three players who were part of their squad in the previous seasons: Punjab allrounder Love Ablish, Himachal Pradesh fast bowler Vikramjeet Malik and Uttar Pradesh left-arm quick Shalabh Srivastava have decided to stay with Punjab for the next two years.
The franchise has also signed Sunny Singh and Nitin Saini, centurions for Haryana in the Ranji quarterfinals this year against Tamil Nadu, along with 23-year-old batsman Siddharth Chitnis, who made his first-class debut for Mumbai this year. The BCCI has also made it clear that it is the players that have the final say on which team they wish to join. "Franchises have full rights to scout for players in their catchment area, but uncapped players have the right to negotiate," Niranjan Shah, BCCI vice-president, told IANS. "We are also keeping a close watch on any underhand dealings between the players and the franchises. All agreement will be tripartite, involving the board, the player and the franchise." — Agencies
Melbourne, January 13
Australia's one-wicket defeat in the opening Twenty20 of the two-match series summed up the season that Shane Watson and his team are having.
The stand-out performer on either side, Watson added four wickets to his rollicking half-century and was named Man of the Match, but still ended up on the losing side as England squeezed home from the final ball.
Such is the nature of Twenty20 cricket, where victory can often depend upon a slice of luck at the right moment. Australia's morale will not have been helped by yet another loss to add to their recent string of disappointments.
Wednesday's match in Adelaide had the air of a new beginning for Australia, with Cameron White taking over the leadership of the T20 side and Tim Paine acting as his deputy.
There were also a few fresh faces, with Aaron Finch and Steve O'Keefe, and the return of a veteran in Brett Lee, but the changes weren't enough to secure the win Australia so desperately need.
The visitors are, of course, world champions in this format, but several members of the team have been relegated to the sidelines for much of the Australian tour.
Ajmal Shahzad and Michael Yardy were still more than competent with the ball, however, and Eoin Morgan showed no rust whatsoever as he provided backbone to the middle-order with a fluent 43. It wasn't quite the same story with Steve Davies and Luke Wright, who survived a combined total of four deliveries, and it was left to a nerveless Chris Woakes - on England debut - to see the side home. — AFP
Madrid, January 13
Messi, who took the prize ahead of teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez on Monday, was honored before the first-leg match at the Camp Nou stadium yesterday. The Argentina forward then showed why he was voted world player of the year.
Barcelona finally broke through against a composed Betis side in the 44th minute, Iniesta playing Messi through in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Casto Espinosa, who was caught off his line and beaten by a lifted shot.
Espinosa and Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto stood out in the first half with a number of important stops, but the Betis 'keeper could do little in the 64th. After making a reaction save to deny Messi, the rebound fell for the forward to slide the ball under him into the goal.
Messi completed his hat trick in the 73rd, beating the offside trap to reach Xavi's pass before shooting past Espinosa for his 31st goal of the season in all competitions. Espinosa was helpless in the 76th despite making a save from Daniel Alves, who tapped the loose ball back for Pedro Rodriguez to send into the top of the net for his 15th goal of the season.
Second-division leader Betis' strong first-half performance was all but a memory when substitute Seydou Keita jumped high to head home in the 83rd.
"They were especially strong in the first half, when they pressured us so well," Alves said. "But the goals came in the second half. I think today any debate over who deserved the Ballon d'Or was settled. (Messi) deserves it." Barcelona went 27 straight games without defeat during the 1973-74 season. This season's team will be aiming to surpass that mark and notch its 13th straight league victory against Malaga this weekend.
Earlier, Alexis Ruano scored in the 88th minute as defending champion Sevilla rallied for a 3-3 draw at Villarreal in the first leg.
While Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido was suspended for the match, Cani was available after having a red card revoked and the midfielder opened the scoring in the 24th minute of a high-tempo game. Cani passed to an unmarked Giuseppe Rossi in the middle but Javi Varas saved. The loose ball eventually found Cani, who volleyed into the goal with Varas scrambling to get back into position.
Rossi made it 2-0 fove minutres later after the Italy striker hammered a shot from outside the area from a corner, the ball taking a deflection off Alexis to leave Varas with no chance. It was Rossi's 17th goal in all competitions this season.
Sevilla pulled one back when Alvaro Negredo controlled Ndri Romaric's long ball, held off Jose Manuel Catala and slid a low shot past goalkeeper Juan Carlos Sanchez.
Lopez replaced Sanchez just before the restart, and Marco Ruben capped a wonderful buildup started by Lopez, leaping high to head Joan Capdevila's cross past Varas in the 56th.
Lopez then stopped Negredo from point-blank soon after but was helpless when Romaric and Negredo combined again, Negredo heading his Ivory Coast teammate's cross home at the far post.
Both teams had legitimate-looking goals disallowed after that - Negredo for a foul and Ruben for offside - and both picked up a number of yellow cards as the game became more physical before Alexis buried Romaric's pass beyond the reach of Lopez off the post.
"The truth is we've made things complicated for ourselves," Villarreal forward Santi Cazorla said. Real Madrid plays Atletico Madrid and Almeria faces Deportivo La Coruna in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The second legs are next week. — AP
India, Pakistan main rivals in SAF skiing
Auli, January 13
There are four teams are in the fray, but the competition will be mainly between India and Pakistan. The three countries excluding the hosts, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal, did not participate in ice skating events that were held from January10 to January 12, 2011.
Out of the six foreign teams, Pakistan squad is the largest, of 27 members. As per team coach, Sohail, “Most of our players are from the regions of Pakistan that remain snow-bound for about half the year. Skiing is popular in these areas and hopefully we will be the champions here.
“We have an Olympian who has participated in Vancouver Winter Olympics. We will bank on him and other senior players’ performances during the Games,” he added.
However, Sri Lanka also has a skier who has been practicing in the US. “We have players who have been practicing in US and they have also participated in few Winter Games and we will give our best shot here,” said an official of the Sri Lankan team.
Nepal don’t have much experience as they don’t have facilities back home. Their players come to India to practice.
The scenic slopes of Auli , are all set for tomorrow’s inaugural day. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, is scheduled to inaugurate the event here tomorrow while Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal, and Khajan Das, State Sports Minister, will be present at the event.
Team gets prize money
Auli, January 13 “Had the media not highlighted the issue, we wouldn’t have got our prize money. We are thankful to the media,” said an ITBP ice hockey player who is also a member of the Indian team. However the players didn’t get traveling allowances, which they were suppose to receive.
Auli, January 13
“Had the media not highlighted the issue, we wouldn’t have got our prize money. We are thankful to the media,” said an ITBP ice hockey player who is also a member of the Indian team.
However the players didn’t get traveling allowances, which they were suppose to receive.
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