SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Play-offs for RCB
Bangalore, May 14
Chris Gayle plundered 38 runs in a 12-ball blitzkrieg as Royal Challengers Bangalore scored an emphatic four-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders under Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-truncated match to seal a play-offs berth in Indian Premier League here today.
Royal Challengers Bangalore's Carl Langeveldt celebrates the wicket of Kolkata Knight Riders' Jacques Kallis with teammates during their match in Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore's Carl Langeveldt celebrates the wicket of Kolkata Knight Riders' Jacques Kallis with teammates during their match in Bangalore on Saturday. Royal Challengers won by 4 wickets (D/L method). ó PTI 






EARLIER STORIES


Spectacular venue overshadows contest
Dharamshala, May 14
Kings XI skipper Adam Gilchrist will need to ensure that his team continue their winning run as they take on the Delhi Daredevils. It is not often that the venue of a match becomes more important than the game itself. But that is just what itís like here. Almost everyone, including the players, is talking mainly about the venue. About how spectacular the view is, how imposing the snow-covered Dhauladar Range looks from the stadium and how the gentle breeze blowing from one end is bound to help the fast bowlers.





Kings XI skipper Adam Gilchrist will need to ensure that his team continue their winning run as they take on the Delhi Daredevils.

DC down Mumbai Indians
Mumbai, May 14
Even Kieron Pollardís heroics in the end could not lift Mumbai Indians to a win over the Deccan Chargers as the Hyderabad outfit won their Indian Premier League match by 10 runs here tonight.

Bruised Royals lo ok to turn it around
Indore, May 14
Shane Watson has not been able to create the same form for the Royals as he had done for Australia recently in Bangladesh. Still in with an outside chance of making it to the play-offs, a bruised Rajasthan Royals will be eyeing nothing less than a victory when they take on an inconsistent Kochi Tuskers Kerala in their crucial IPL match here tomorrow. Rajasthan are currently placed at the fifth position in the team standings with 11 points from 12 games. But to qualify for the play-offs, the Shane Warne-led side first will have to win their remaining two games and hope that some other results go in their favour.

Wat will he do? Shane Watson has not been able to create the same form for the Royals as he had done for Australia recently in Bangladesh. 

Pak play Aussies in final
Ipoh, May 14
Pakistan's Shakeel Abbassi (C) controls the ball against Malaysia on Saturday. Pakistan won 3 - 2 Pakistan scrapped past Malaysia 3-2 in their last round-robin league match to enter the final of the Azlan Shah hockey tournament here today. By virtue of this win, Pakistan finished their league engagements with 12 points from six matches to occupy the second position behind Australia, who are assured of the top spot with 13 points with a game against New Zealand still to be played.


Pakistan's Shakeel Abbassi (C) controls the ball against Malaysia on Saturday. Pakistan won 3 - 2. ó AP/PTI

JCT FC players practice in Ludhiana JCT take on Chirag United
Ludhiana, May 14
The ongoing I-League has turned out to be nightmarish for JCT FC of Phagwara as they have been fighting with their backs against the wall.



JCT FC players practice in Ludhiana on Saturday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Jitender Kumar Jitender wins bronze at Kazakhstan tourney
New Delhi, May 14
Olympian Jitender Kumar (56kg) and Santosh Harijan (52kg) lost in the semifinals to settle for bronze medals in the 16th Elite Men's International Boxing Tournament in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Jitender, making a comeback to the international arena after his bronze medal winning performance at the 2009 Asian Championship, was up against Jakipov of Tajikistan.

Jitender Kumar

Man United are champions
London, May 14
Manchester United were crowned champions of England for a record 19th time on Saturday when a Wayne Rooney penalty earned them a 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers and the point they needed to win the Premier League title. It was a nervous afternoon for United after they fell behind when Brett Emerton struck for Blackburn after 20 minutes. Rooney equalised for United with a 73rd minute penalty.

Manchester United players celebrate after their match against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. ó AFP

MP down Pepsu 8-0
Jalandhar, May 14
Punjab men will be pitted against Chandigarh while Delhi would lock horns with Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy in the semi-finals of the Federation Cup hockey tournament in Jalandhar on Monday.

Delhi record second win
New Delhi, May 14
Delhi defeated Himachal Pradesh 4-1 to record their second victory in Cluster VI of the 65th Santosh Trophy Football Championship at Nagaon in Assam today, according to the Delhi Soccer Association. Delhi led 2-0 at half-time.


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Play-offs for RCB
Gayle, rain hurt Knight Riders
RCB go top of the table, also confirm play-offs berth
Another Man of the Match award for Gayle
Also takes Orange Cap

Bangalore, May 14
Chris Gayle plundered 38 runs in a 12-ball blitzkrieg as Royal Challengers Bangalore scored an emphatic four-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders under Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-truncated match to seal a play-offs berth in Indian Premier League here today. Gayle continued with his batting pyrotechnics in IPL 4 as he hit six fours and two sixes to score all but two runs of his 38 from boundaries to send the packed home crowd at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium into a frenzy.

With the towering West Indian laying a strong foundation at the top of the order, RCB chased down the revised target of 102 with three balls to spare after the match was reduced to a 13-over-a-side affair due to two-hour rain interruption during the KKR innings. RCB overhauled the target, reaching 105 for six in 12.3 overs to notch up their eighth win in the tournament.

Earlier, sent into bat, KKR made 89 for four from their reduced 13 overs. But they would have been worse had Yusuf Pathan (36) and Manoj Tiwary (19 not out) not conjured a fighting 53-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

With the win today, RCB jumped to the top of the table with 17 points from 12 matches. KKR remained on fourth spot with 14 points from 12 matches. It was Gayle all the way, delighting the 45,000-strong crowd that had patiently sat through two spells of rain which stole more than two hours of play during KKR innings after RCB stand-in skipper Virat Kohli sent them in.

Gayle took 16 runs off fast bowler Brett Lee's first over and then savaged 23 runs of the next over bowled by Jaidev Unadkat. Even before KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir had blinked his eyes, RCB had galloped to 44 runs in barely 16 balls. Had the marauding Gayle hung around a wee bit longer, the home side would have possibly won the match much before they eventually did.

Chancing his arms once too often, Gayle miscued an intended lofted drive off Lee to Kallis at backward point in the third over. In scoring 38 today, Gayle took his aggregate to 436 runs in seven innings in IPL 4, bettering Virender Sehwag, to take possession of the Orange cap. ó PTI

Scoreboard

Knight Riders

Kallis c Arun b Langeveldt 17

Morgan c Pomersbach

b Zaheer 2

Gambhir c de Villiers

b Aravind 7

Tiwary not out 19

Yusuf c Mithun

b Langeveldt 36

Boucher not out 1

Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 2) 7

Total (4 wkts; 13 overs) 89

Bowling: Zaheer 3-0-17-1, Langeveldt 3-0-10-2, Mithun 2-0-14-0, Gayle 1-0-11-0, Kohli 1-0-14-0.

Royal Challengers

Gayle c Kallis b Lee 38

Pomersbach c Unadkat b Kallis 16

Kohli c Boucher b Kallis 15

de Villiers not out 13

Kaif c Bhatia b Unadkat 15

Arun c Unadkat b Abdulla 1

Tiwary run out 1

Mithun not out 0

Extras (w 6) 6

Total (6 wkts; 12.3 overs) 105

Bowling: Lee 3-0-31-1, Unadkat 2-0-30-1, Kallis 3-0-16-2, Abdulla 3-0-18-1, Balaji 1.3-0-10-0.

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Spectacular venue overshadows contest
Sunil Narula
Tribune News Service

Dharamshala, May 14
It is not often that the venue of a match becomes more important than the game itself. But that is just what itís like here. Almost everyone, including the players, is talking mainly about the venue. About how spectacular the view is, how imposing the snow-covered Dhauladar Range looks from the stadium and how the gentle breeze blowing from one end is bound to help the fast bowlers.

The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium here was established in 2003 but itís only with the advent of the IPL that the venue came into prominence. Former coach of the Indian team, Gary Kirsten, even suggested to the BCCI that a summer camp of should be held for the team at this ground.

The stadium sits at an altitude of about 1450 metres above sea level, and, in fact, is the only venue in India to use winter rye grass around the outfield, which prevents it from dying when temperatures fall below 10 degrees.

But that happens only in winter. Right now the weather here is ideal for playing, with a likeable cool breeze around the ground and cricket frenzy gripping the locals. The stadium has a capacity of around 23,000, which is slightly less than the overall population of the area. So, on match-day (tomorrow), almost the whole of Dharamshala can be (and most likely will be) accommodated inside the stadium. Itís like the Olympics have come to town.

Previously, this town was famous for the Dalai Lama, who has his headquarters about ten kilometres away in McLeodganj. But now, this place has also become synonymous with IPL matches and the locals wait eagerly for the event to begin every year.

The match itself has been pushed into the background with both teams not really in the running for top honours. While Kings XI Punjab are theoretically still in the hunt, the Delhi Daredevils are out of the running. The fans though are really not bothered about how the IPL points table looks right now and are only interested in catching a glimpse of their stars. No wonder, itís going to be a packed house here tomorrow.

Virender Sehwagís absence through injury has come as a huge blow for the Daredevils. Although they have some firepower at the top in the form of David Warner, the Sehwag charisma is something entirely different and cannot be replicated. Irfan Pathan, James Hopes and Andrew McDonald lend some strength to the Daredevils but the Kings are coming into this match on the back of two wins. Their players are finally showing some semblance of form and momentum, with Dinesh Karthik being the latest one to hit the headlines. A loss here will put an end to Kingsí chances of reaching the playoffs. Daredevils have nothing to lose (having already lost 8 out of 12 games) and can play with the kind of freedom that can spoil Kingsí calculations.

But again not many here are interested in these intricacies and side-issues. The match has to start and the fun and carnival will begin. Who cares about the result? 

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DC down Mumbai Indians

Mumbai, May 14
Even Kieron Pollardís heroics in the end could not lift Mumbai Indians to a win over the Deccan Chargers as the Hyderabad outfit won their Indian Premier League match by 10 runs here tonight.

Mumbai started shaky in pursuit of a not-so-imposing 136 for a win, and despite Sachin Tendulkar staying at the crease for a long time with a 42-ball 37, the asking rate kept climbing up alarmingly. No other Mumbai batsman found his touch and ultimately, the Chargersí total was too much for last yearís runner-ups.

For Deccan, Anand Rajan picked up three wickets, while Ishant Sharma got two.

Earlier, Munaf Patelís final over that went for 23 runs was the only blot in an otherwise disciplined bowling effort by Mumbai Indians that saw them restrict Deccan Chargers for 135 for six.

Chargers who lacked the firepower for most part of the innings were 112 for six at the end of the penultimate over. In the final over, Shikhar Dhawan who remained unbeaten on 27 ( 18 balls, 2x4, 1x6) carted Munaf for a six over deep mid-wicket before Amit Mishra (18 not out, 6 balls, 4x4) hit four consecutive boundaries. There was an ugly altercation between the duo after Munaf was hit for the first boundary. ó PTI

Scoreboard

Deccan Chargers

Lumb b Malinga 0

Sohal c Symonds b Pollard 20

Síkara c Pollard b Kulkarni 27

Duminy st Rayudu

b Harbhajan 8

Chipli c Suman b Kulkarni 10

Christian b Kulkarni 18

Dhawan not out 27

Mishra not out 18

Extras (lb-4, w-3) 7

Total (6 wkts, 20 overs) 135

Bowling: Malinga 4-0-17-1, Munaf 4-0-37-0, Harbhajan 4-0-26-1, Kulkarni 4-0-26-3, Suman 2-0-15-0, Pollard 2-0-10-1.

Mumbai Indians

Tendulkar lbw b Rajan 37

Blizzard b Duminy 1

Rayudu b Ishant 2

Rohit c Síkara b Ishant 4

Symonds c Ishant b Mishra 8

Suman c Dhawan b Rajan 14

Pollard c Lumb b Rajan 24

Harbhajan not out 17

Malinga run out 0

Kulkarni not out 0

Extras (b 8, lb 2, w 8) 18

Total (8 wkts; 20 overs) 125

Bowling: Duminy 2-0-3-1, Ishant 4-0-30-2, Ojha 4-0-16-0, Rajan 3-0-27-3, Christian 3-0-21-0, Mishra 4-0-18-1.

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Bruised Royals lo ok to turn it around

Indore, May 14
Still in with an outside chance of making it to the play-offs, a bruised Rajasthan Royals will be eyeing nothing less than a victory when they take on an inconsistent Kochi Tuskers Kerala in their crucial IPL match here tomorrow. Rajasthan are currently placed at the fifth position in the team standings with 11 points from 12 games. But to qualify for the play-offs, the Shane Warne-led side first will have to win their remaining two games and hope that some other results go in their favour.

Going into tomorrow's day-night encounter, Rajasthan, however, will be low on confidence having suffered a hat-trick of defeats -- twice against Chennai Super Kings (by eight wickets and 63 runs) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (by nine wickets) in their last games.

But the Jaipur outfit will have to forget their last three games and lift their performance to a new level tomorrow to give them any chance of playing in the next stage of the Twenty20 tournament.

Against Kochi at the Holkar Stadium tomorrow, Rajasthan can take heart from the fact that they defeat the Kerala team comfortably by eight wickets in their previous IPL encounter.

Batting is Rajasthan's biggest asset in the ongoing IPL but so far it has been inconsistent with big names like Shane Watson, Rahul Dravid and big-hitting Ross Taylor performing in bits and pieces. They badly need the trio to fire in the coming two matches in order to give them any chance in the tournament.

Young Ajinkya Rahane, however, has provided some solidity in the middle but after the initial burst South African all-rounder Johan Botha has gone into a shell. Rajasthan's problems were further compounded by their lacklustre bowling unit which lacked sting in the absence of a world-class bowler, barring Warne.

With 12 wickets from 11 games, veteran Warne has been Rajasthan's best bowler in the tournament so far but he lacked quality support from the other end. Kochi, on the other hand, are virtually out of the play-off race after slumping to a six-wicket defeat against Kings XI Punjab last night.

Kochi have garnered 10 points from 12 games and are presently lying in seventh position in the standings with still two games to go. ó PTI 

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Pak play Aussies in final

Ipoh, May 14
Pakistan scrapped past Malaysia 3-2 in their last round-robin league match to enter the final of the Azlan Shah hockey tournament here today. By virtue of this win, Pakistan finished their league engagements with 12 points from six matches to occupy the second position behind Australia, who are assured of the top spot with 13 points with a game against New Zealand still to be played.

Pakistan will now take on world champions Australia in the summit clash of the seven-team tournament tomorrow. Pakistan's passage to the final was made easy after South Korea dashed Great Britain's final hopes with a 3-1 victory.

Korea play India for 5th place

South Korea defeated Britain 3-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here today to set up a fifth-place play-off clash against India. With this win, South Korea, joint champions with India last year, took their points tally to seven from six matches and survived being pushed to the seventh spot by hosts Malaysia. ó PTI 

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JCT take on Chirag United
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 14
The ongoing I-League has turned out to be nightmarish for JCT FC of Phagwara as they have been fighting with their backs against the wall.

JCT, who had won the title in the inaugural edition of this tournament 13 years ago, have found themselves in dire straits with just 23 points in the kitty and stranded at 13th place in a pack of 14 teams. In the 23 matches, played so far in the current league, JCT have recorded wins in just six fixtures and lost 12 matches while they drew with their opponents in five outings.

In a crucial match tomorrow at the Guru Nanak Stadium here, JCT take on Chirag United, Kolkata, who too have failed to impress in this league. After 23 matches, Chirag have won five, lost six and drawn 12 to secure fifth spot with 27 points.

Both the teams had practice sessions this evening at the stadium and appeared to be rearing to give their best, tomorrow. The players of the home side will have to pull up their socks and give their best to redeem the lost prestige whereas the visitors will tread cautiously to earn full points and further consolidate their position at points table. The match will be played under floodlights and the kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

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Jitender wins bronze at Kazakhstan tourney

New Delhi, May 14
Olympian Jitender Kumar (56kg) and Santosh Harijan (52kg) lost in the semifinals to settle for bronze medals in the 16th Elite Men's International Boxing Tournament in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Jitender, making a comeback to the international arena after his bronze medal winning performance at the 2009 Asian Championship, was up against Jakipov of Tajikistan.

The 22 year old took a 2-1 lead in the opening round but the Tajik boxer came back in the second to take a two-point advantage. He further stretched the lead in the third and eventually went on to claim the victory at 12-8.

Santosh, a silver-medallist at the 34th National Games in Jharkhand, went down to Ali Baybozov of Kazakhstan. Earlier in the tournament, Jai Bhagwan (60kg) had to bow out of the tournament due to illness. Balwinder Beniwal (64kg) had lost to Jukenbayev of Kazakhstan in his opening bout. ó PTI 

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Man United are champions

London, May 14
Manchester United were crowned champions of England for a record 19th time on Saturday when a Wayne Rooney penalty earned them a 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers and the point they needed to win the Premier League title. It was a nervous afternoon for United after they fell behind when Brett Emerton struck for Blackburn after 20 minutes. Rooney equalised for United with a 73rd minute penalty.

The spot-kick was awarded after referee Phil Dowd consulted with a linesman after Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson appeared to clatter Javier Hernandez sending him sprawling. After some lively arguments from both sets of players, Rooney sent Robinson the wrong way from the spot to seal United's 12th title since the Premier League began in 1992-93 and the 19th in total, surpassing the record they have shared with Liverpool for the last two seasons.

United have 77 points from their 37 matches, while Chelsea have 70 with two to play. For the first time since 1951 top division games were played on the same day as the FA Cup final but although relegation-threatened Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers were all in action, the results proved inconclusive as far as relegation was concerned.

Blackpool won a thriller 4-3 against Bolton Wanderers but remained in the bottom three as Wolves won 3-1 at Sunderland. Blackburn's 1-1 draw with United kept them one point above the drop zone while in the other match West Bromwich Albion beat Everton 1-0.

Saturday's results mean that bottom-placed West Ham United, who play at second-from-bottom Wigan Athletic on Sunday, are almost certainly down, but still have a mathematical chance of avoiding the drop. The bottom is close with Blackburn and Wolves on 40 points with one match to play, Birmingham on 39 with two to play, Blackpool on 39 with one to play, Wigan on 36 with two to play and West Ham on 33 with two to play. ó Reuters

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MP down Pepsu 8-0
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
Punjab men will be pitted against Chandigarh while Delhi would lock horns with Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy in the semi-finals of the Federation Cup hockey tournament in Jalandhar on Monday.

In the womenís matches, Haryana beat Punjab 4-1 and ensured their berth in the semi-finals.

In the womenís matches, MP Hockey Academy derailed Pepsu 8-0. MP started the game on a fast note leaving no chance for the Pepsu to score. For MP, the first goal came from the stick of Kavita Vidyarthi in 15th minute of play. In the 29th minute, Priyanka Wankheete scored off a penalty-corner. At the lemon break, the winners were leading 2-0.

In the second half, Priyanka increased her tally by posting a field goal in the 40th minute followed by Monika who found the target a minute later. It was at the 60th minute of the game that MP once again broke the Pepsu defence after continuous raids. Shyama Tidgam scored followed by another goal from the stick of Tarini Kumari.

The 66th minute of the play saw another beautiful goal by the find of the tournament, Priyanka, while Kavita again found the net in the 68th minute, closing the tally at 8-0.

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Delhi record second win
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 14
Delhi defeated Himachal Pradesh 4-1 to record their second victory in Cluster VI of the 65th Santosh Trophy Football Championship at Nagaon in Assam today, according to the Delhi Soccer Association. Delhi led 2-0 at half-time.

Vice-captain and inside-left Monu Choudhary opened Delhi's account in the 36th minute when he converted a penalty kick. Medio Bhuwan Joshi made it 2-0 just before half-time off a cross from Monu.

On resumption, Kamal Rawat made it 3-0 before Himachal Pradesh pulled one back through Rakesh. Full-back Vikas Rawat struck the fourth goal for Delhi a few minutes before close.

Delhi take on Orissa in their next match on Friday. 

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