After Nabi scare, India avoid an
South Africa v Zimbabwe, 7.30PM LIVE ON STAR CRICKET
Watson gives irish an allround lesson
England beat Pak in low-scoring affair
Pietersen rejected contract before axe
After New Zealand, South Africa grapple with illness
Real back on track after rousing night in Europe
Jayaram, Sindhu reach second round in Japan
Saina inks 40-crore deal with Rhiti
We are democratic, not a one-man show: AITA
Colombo, September 19
Yuvraj Singh (3-24) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2-20) helped India bowl out the Afghans for 136 in 19.3 overs after they had reached 75 for two in 11 overs. Chasing a target of 160 to win, Afghanistan lost wickets at regular intervals after a steady start. Mohammad Nabi, who top-scored with 31, became the second victim of Ashwin in the 17th over and at 119/7, the Afghan chase was practically over they needed 41 off 19 balls at that stage. Nabi had smashed a blistering 31 off just 17 balls, including two sixes and two fours. After a steady start, Afghanistan lost three wickets for one run in six deliveries to be reduced from 75/2 to 76/5.
Earlier, Virat Kohli's dream run in international cricket continued as his half-century helped India reach 159/5 in 20 overs.
Put into bat, the Indian top-order, sans Kohli, failed to make an impression with Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh missing out.
It was mainly due to Kohli's 39-ball 50 and an useful 32-ball 38 from Suresh Raina helped India reach a decent if not an impressive total. Skipper MS Dhoni ended the innings with a four and six of the last two deliveries to remain unbeaten on 18 from nine balls.
Man of the Match Kohli later said: "Its tough to play against a team with nothing to lose. They were in a situation where they could try a lot of things, we had to be more careful." Agencies
Colombo, September 19
Opening the bowling, Watson claimed three wickets for 26 runs and returned to hammer a 30-ball 51 as Australia chased down the 124-run victory target with 29 balls to spare.
Watson and his opening partner David Warner (26) put a brisk 60-run stand in the first seven overs to set the tone for what turned out to be a comfortable chase.
Australia lost their third wicket when Kevin O'Brien trapped Michael Hussey (10) in the 11th overs but Cameron White (22 not out) and captain George Bailey (six not out) stayed put to ensure an easy victory for the 2010 finalists.
Watson removed Irish captain William Porterfield with the first ball of the match and later broke a dangerous-looking fifth wicket partnership between the O'Brien brothers Niall (20) and Kevin both of whom fell to the blond Australian.
"It wasn't as much a wicket-ball I suppose," Watson said referring to his first delivery that dismissed the Irish captain. "But it just worked out luckily enough."
"It was a blueprint for this game and I am not exactly sure that is going to absolutely continue," he said on his role as a new ball bowler.
"Depending on the teams, we will play in the conditions I suppose that could potentially change."
Watson was involved in the dismissal of the other Irish opener Paul Stirling (seven), catching him off fast bowler Mitchell Starc in the fourth over as Ireland lost their second wicket with 15 runs on the board.
"Stirling is a quality hitter of the ball. So we knew that was a very important wicket, as well as ( the wicket of) Kevin O'Brien," Watson said.
Ireland, having elected to bat first, never really recovered after losing their captain to the first ball and slumped to 33 for four wickets in 7.2 overs. Irish skipper Porterfield said they lost too may wickets in quick successions which denied them a bigger total.
"If we had come up with an extra 40-45 runs it would have given us a chance," he said.
At one stage, even the 100-mark looked a distant possibility for Ireland but they still managed to post 123 for seven wickets largely because of the 52-run fifth wicket stand between the O'Brien brothers.
Kevin O'Brien was the top scorer for Ireland with 35 runs off 29 balls with five boundaries, while Niall scored 20 runs off 24 balls.
Starc took two wickets for 20 runs.
Later, skipper Bailey lavished high praise on Watson for his outstanding show.
"I thought he started off really well and finished it off with the bat. He is a great cricketer and his fielding has also improved a little. He is a complete cricketer and was outstanding in the field today," said Bailey.
Bailey said his bowlers used short balls to great effect on a slow pitch.
"The short ball will be a good weapon for us at a decent pitch like this. We were happy to see that pitch and use it."
The Australian skipper, however, conceded that they needed to lift their fielding standards.
"Fielding was a little sloppy and we need to work on that," he said. Agencies
Porterfield c Starc b Watson 0
Stirling c Watson b Starc 7
Joyce c Warner b Maxwell 16
O'Brien b Watson 20
Wilson lbw b Hogg 5
K. O'Brien cWade b Watson 35
Cusack not out 15
T. Johnston b Starc 7
Jones not out 14
Extras: (lb-3,w-1) 4
Total: (7 wkts; 20 ovrs) 123
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-15, 3-25, 4-33, 5-85, 6-86, 7-101
Bowling: Watson 4-0-26-3, Starc 4-0-20-2, Cummins 4-0-29-0, Maxwell 2-0-12-1, Christian 2-0-11-0, Hogg 4-0-22-1
Warner c O'Brien b Dockrell 26
Watson run out 51
Hussey lbw b O'Brien 10
White not out 22
Bailey not out 6
Extras: (lb-4, w-6) 10
Total: (3 wkts; 15.1 overs) 125
Fall of wickets: 1-60 2-91 3-95
Bowling: Rankin 4-0-28-0, Johnston 2-0-21-0, Cusack 2-0-10-0, Dockrell 3.1-0-31-1, Stirling 1-0-13-0, K. O'Brien 3-0-18-1
Colombo, September 19
England, shot out for 111 after electing to take first strike, hit back to restrict Pakistan to 96 for nine on a bowler-friendly pitch at the P Sara Oval.
Danny Briggs, a 21-year-old left-arm spinner, claimed three wickets for 15 runs after being asked to open the bowling by England's captain Stuart Broad.
Seamer Jade Dernbach finished with three for 14 as Pakistan's batsmen faltered against both pace and spin. Asad Shafiq's 20 was the highest score as seven Pakistan batsmen failed to reach double figures.
England had themselves failed with the bat, losing their last five wickets in the space of eight deliveries.
Luke Wright's 38 off 36 balls was the only notable contribution as off-spinner Saeed Ajmal grabbed four wickets for 14 and Raza Hasan and Yasir Arafat took two wickets each.
England take on Afghanistan in their first Group A match at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday, before meeting India at the same venue on Sunday.
Pakistan will travel to Pallekele for their two Group D games against New Zealand on Sunday and Bangladesh on Tuesday. Agencies
London, September 19
According to news reports here, the contract included waiving his rights to any future legal action in employment disputes with the ECB, issuing another public apology to the South African side and pulling out from a contract with Asian-based broadcaster ESPN to provide studio analysis from the Twenty20 World Cup.
However, the South African-born batsman on Monday turned down the offer as it came with no future assurances. According to the four-month deal, Pietersen would have had to attend England's training camp in Dubai at the end of October, but would not have been a part of India's Test tour.
"He was told the Dubai camp would provide a chance to begin the healing process with his team-mates, which clearly has some way to go. But Pietersen believes that process will happen much quicker during a Test-match tour rather than a training camp," the Daily Telegraph reported.
Pietersen was dropped last month for sending "provocative" text messages to the visiting South African players and criticising his own skipper Andrew Strauss. He was axed for the final Test against Proteas, the subsequent ODI series and the Twenty20 World Cup. PTI
Hambantota, September 19
"We have a few guys who've gone down with viral infection, vomiting and diarrhoea but I am happy to say that they are on the mend," team manager Mohammed Moosajee said on Wednesday.
"I am hopeful come tomorrow, all 15 will be fit to take the field," he said while declining to identify the players struck by illness.
On Monday, three members of New Zealand's World Twenty20 team - Tim Southee, Rob Nicol and Daniel Vettori - went down with stomach trouble. While Vettori recovered sufficiently to travel with the team from Colombo to Kandy, Southee and Nicol had to delay their departure by a day to recover from the illness.
New Zealand open their World Twenty20 campaign at Pallekele on Friday against Bangladesh.
Disgraced players turn TV pundits
Banned Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Aamer, both serving long bans for spot-fixing, have turned television pundits for the World Twenty20 tournament which started earlier on Tuesday. The duo have been banned from cricket for at least five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for their role in arranging deliberate no-balls to order during the 2010 Lord's Test against England.
Jaya hails Zimbabwe tormentor Mendis
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene praised Ajantha Mendis after the spin magician's record-breaking effort helped beat Zimbabwe in the World Twenty20 opener. Mendis, 27, capped his return to international cricket after an eight month injury lay-off with astonishing figures of six wickets for eight runs yesterday to shoot Zimbabwe out for 100 in the Group C clash, giving Sri Lanka a convincing 82-run win.
"I am happy with the way Ajantha bowled," said Jayawardene. "Even in the domestic tournament he came back and bowled really well. That was the indicator to see how match fit he was and how much control he had." Agencies
Madrid, September 19
Needing a convincing performance in Europe after a dreadful start in La Liga, Real twice came from a goal down in the Group D opener at the Bernabeu before Ronaldo struck a 90th-minute winner to send the home fans into raptures and silence the boisterous City supporters high up in the giant arena. The fight the Real players showed to turn the game around was in stark contrast to the limp displays that led to shock domestic defeats at Getafe and Sevilla.
The victory against the English champions has transformed a club on the verge of crisis into a team full of belief they can secure the 10th European title that has eluded them since 2002.
Mourinho launched a series of stinging attack on his players after the La Liga setbacks but after wildly celebrating Ronaldo's goal the Portuguese told reporters Real could scarcely have played better.
"In Seville (on Saturday) we had players who did not win a ball in 90 minutes," he said.
"Today was the opposite. The team was solid, compact, recovered balls and were committed to play aggressively.
"Real Madrid wants that historic tenth title and we will fight for it."
Concern in the Spanish capital about Real's early-season wobble was exacerbated by Ronaldo's revelation at the start of this month that he was "sad" for professional reasons.
The Portugal forward's bombshell prompted speculation he was seeking an improved contract and could even leave the club that made him the world's most expensive player when they bought him from Manchester United for 94 million euros ($122.72 million) three years ago.
Ronaldo's comments about his state of mind came after he refused to celebrate the two goals he netted in a 3-0 win at home to Granada.
Tuesday's winner, his 39th Champions League strike and his 151st goal in 151 appearances for Real, prompted a typically flamboyant reaction and he was mobbed by jubilant team mates.
He was asked whether it had been important for him to connect with the Real fans again.
"To be honest, I haven't thought about that at any time," he said. "What happened in the past doesn't matter. What matters is the present and the present is good. People are happy and pleased." Reuters
New Delhi, September 19
World No. 29 Jayaram thrashed Zi Liang Derek Wong of Singapore 21-14, 21-14 while Sindhu prevailed over Kaori Imabeppu 21-18, 17-21, 21-13 after a gruelling battle that last 57 minutes at Tokyo Yoyogi Gymnasium.
However, London Olympics quarterfinalist Parupalli Kashyap suffered a straight-game defeat to former world and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat.
The seventh seed Indonesian beat Kashyap 21-18, 21-18, in a 48-minute battle.
Kashyap blew a seven-point cushion after being ahead at 11-4 in the first game at one point, while in the second game, Taufik didn't give the Indian any chance.
RMV Gurusaidutt also lost his opening match after going down to fourth seed Sho Sasaki of Japan 18-21, 15-21 in the men's singles.
Men's doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu also failed to cross the first hurdle, losing 16-21, 24-26 to fifth seeds Japanese duo of Naoki Kawamae and Shoji Sato.
Young shuttler Sai Praneeth B also lost his opening main draw match against Daren Liew, going down 21-17, 15-21, 20-22 to the Malaysian in an hour and five minutes. PTI
New Delhi, September 19
"I am very happy to be associated with Rhiti Sports and look forward to start a working relationship with them," Saina said after signing a three-year contract.
Saina joins a high-profile list of celebrities and sportspersons handled by Rhiti Sports, which includes Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni. PTI
New Delhi, September 19
AITA's executive committee had last week imposed two-year bans on Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna for not abiding by the selection committee's decision ahead of the London Olympics.
Bhupathi, in a scathing press conference in Mumbai, said it was AITA president Anil Khanna who takes all the decision and hides behind the committees. AITA today issued a press release on behalf of its executive committee members, who say that they are not Khannas stooges.
According to the release the members felt that it is "an insult" to them who have been serving in the executive committee with commitment and "debate" each and every point on the agenda.
"This is far from being correct. AITA is most professionally managed organisation and has four Executive Directors who are well qualified to head the different departments of AITA, it went on.
"AITA is one of the most democratic institutions and has been headed between 2000-2012 by Mr Yashwant Sinha, MP, former Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister, the press release concluded. PTI
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