It’s been a hard year for me, says Harbhajan
Pakistan prevail over slow Kiwis
West Indies have their back against wall
Yuvraj to write book on his father
Guess who’s dropped in at Sachin’s home...
Lankan game hit by the waving of cheques and guns
Vettel rules Singapore streets
Deepika wins silver in World Cup
Man U come from behind to win at Liverpool den
Vijay doubles agony of Ranji champs Rajasthan
Colombo, September 23
Put into bat, India posted a challenging 170 for four, riding on a superb unbeaten 55 from under-fire Rohit Sharma and useful contributions from Gautam Gambhir (45) and Virat Kohli (40).
The two comeback men — Harbhajan and Piyush Chawla -- then spun a web around the England batsmen to bowl them out for a paltry 80 in 14.4 overs as they accounted six wickets for 25 runs in the eight overs between them. Harbhajan had splendid figures of 4/12 with two wicket-maiden overs as England batsmen were totally clueless against the duo.
This was India's biggest victory margin in terms of runs in any Twenty20 Internationals.
Playing his first international match in more than a year, Harbhajan got the ball to turn appreciably and also found the zip of the pitch. The off-breaks were turning viciously and the straighter one was equally lethal.
He bowled Eoin Morgan with a superb arm-ball and then got Tim Bresnan to sweep against the turn. Jose Butler got a classical off-break from the feisty off-spinner while Graeme Swann had no clue about the straighter one. Chawla, who had figures of 2/13, got rid of Jonathan Bairstow with a superb googly while Craig Keiswetter who was top scorer with 35 could not read his leg-break.
Earlier, Rohit finally came good in an international match as he planned his innings to perfection, hitting an unbeaten 55 off 33 balls with five fours and a slashed six off Jade Dernbach.
Both teams have already qualified for the Super Eight stage of the tournament and this result will make no difference to the opposition they will face in those games.
India made three changes (Virender Sehwag, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan) to give chance to Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla and Ashok Dinda. England replaced spinner Samit Patel for seamer Tim Bresnan. India apparently took the opportunity to rest key players. — PTI
It’s been a hard year for me, says Harbhajan
Colombo, September 23 “It's been a hard year. Being out of the side. Other boys were doing really well, so it was really difficult for me to make a comeback,” Harbhajan said. “This award is for my mom and those who have stuck with me,” he added. Harbhajan said the wicket in his second ball of international comeback gave him the much-needed confidence. “For me it was an important game. I hadn't played international cricket for a full year. Getting a wicket first or second ball gives you a lot of confidence," he said. Asked about any change in his game, he said, "In T20 cricket, it's important to just read the game. I have tried to cut down my run-up a bit. “I was running in too fast, and struggling to find my areas. So I was consciously coming in off a short run, and slowly," said the off-spinner. An emotional-looking Harbhajan said that he had always thought that he would make a come back and play for the country again. “This India short is everything for me. I don't know what I would do if not playing for India. I would like to thank my friends and team-mates and the Essex people too.” — PTI
Colombo, September 23
“It's been a hard year. Being out of the side. Other boys were doing really well, so it was really difficult for me to make a comeback,” Harbhajan said. “This award is for my mom and those who have stuck with me,” he added. Harbhajan said the wicket in his second ball of international comeback gave him the much-needed confidence. “For me it was an important game. I hadn't played international cricket for a full year. Getting a wicket first or second ball gives you a lot of confidence," he said.
Asked about any change in his game, he said, "In T20 cricket, it's important to just read the game. I have tried to cut down my run-up a bit.
“I was running in too fast, and struggling to find my areas. So I was consciously coming in off a short run, and slowly," said the off-spinner. An emotional-looking Harbhajan said that he had always thought that he would make a come back and play for the country again.
“This India short is everything for me. I don't know what I would do if not playing for India. I would like to thank my friends and team-mates and the Essex people too.” — PTI
Pallekele, September 23
Chasing 178, New Zealand, who beat Bangladesh in their lung-opener, played steady with the bat but it was a tad too slow for the format as they ended with 164 for nine.
Pakistan, on the other hand, put up a clinical performance with both the bat and ball to win the match comfortably.
After Nasir Jamshed's maiden half century — a 35-ball 56 — and Mohammed Hafeez's fine 43-run knock guided the team to a challenging total, their bowlers completed the job by drying up the runs for the Kiwi batsmen.
Brendon McCullum (32) showed some spark but he hardly found any aggressive support at the other end and was castled by Umar Gul after striking four boundaries and a six in a 31-ball effort. Rob Nicol top-scored for the Kiwis with a 28-ball 33 that included three fours and a six. Skipper Ross Taylor also made a fine contribution, hitting three fours and a six in his 11-ball 26 before being run out.
The rest of the Kiwi innings did not feature any worthwhile contribution as Saeed Ajmal worked his magic to pick up four wickets in his four overs that cost 34 runs.
Earlier, electing to bat, Pakistan rode on Jamshed's 35-ball 56 and some fine contributions from the openers -- Mohammed Hafeez (43) and Imran Nazir (25) -- to post a tough target for New Zealand. — PTI
Colombo, September 23
Although the West Indies start as clear favourites, especially with Chris Gayle in smashing form, the William Porterfield-led Irish side has a penchant for springing a few surprises at the big stage.
And West Indies would make the mistake of taking Ireland lightly, only at their own peril. The Darren Sammy-led West Indies, despite losing to Australia by 17 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method here last night, showed that it has got the team to go the distance.
Big-hitters like Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard can destroy any side on a given day.The glimpse of their brilliance was on display yesterday when both Gayle and Samuels smashed half-centuries each to help West Indies post a competitive 191 for eight. While Gayle made a blistering 33-ball 54, Samuels raced his way to a 32-ball-50. As far as bowling is concerned, with mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who was recently adjudged the ICC Emerging Player of the Year for 2012, in their ranks, West Indies can expect to have it easy against Ireland. Although the spinner has been ineffective against Australia, that should not in any way lessen his aura.
Ireland will also have to be on guard against speedster Fidel Edwards, who can surprise the batsman with his pace and has the ability to bowl in the block hole consistently.On the other hand, though Ireland have just one victory to their credit against an ICC Full Member side in T20, their unpredictability can be gauged from the thumping win over England in the 50-over World Cup last year.Their triumph over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean is yet another example of their ability to shock big teams. The Irish won both their warm-up matches in the before going down to Australia in their first league match of the tournament. Despite their none-too-impressive performance against the Aussies, the O'Brien brothers -- Niall and Kevin -- showed what they are capable of during their 52-run fifth wicket stand, which helped Ireland reach a total in excess of 120, after reeling at 33 for four at one stage. Niall also scored a fabulous 62 that helped his side beat beat Zimbabwe in a warm-up match.
Besides the O'Brien brothers, the others also should not be taken for granted. Opener Paul Stirling led the charge with a quickfire 71 off 41 balls against Bangladesh. Ireland's bowlers, though, had little to defend against Australia, who were chasing a modest 124. The attack boast of left-arm spinner George Dockrell, who was recently adjudged the Associate Player of year 2011. — PTI
Chandigarh, September 23
“He is writing a book on me, whose title will be ‘Arrogant Master’. The book will deal with the days we spent together, what all incidents we went through, his journey in becoming a cricketer and his battle with cancer and how he came out of it with everyone's blessings and support,” Yograj Singh said on Sunday.
Asked to comment on the book's title, he merely laughed. In his early days, Yuvraj wanted to become a skater and was keen on playing tennis too, Yograj said. “But I was keen that he should become a good cricketer and moulded him that way because I thought he will have some future in the sport,” he said. He further said that Yuvraj will also be seen on TV soon, sharing his experience of battle with cancer. On his son's fight against the dreaded disease, Yograj said, “I want to say only that it has changed Yuvi completely.
“It has been a U-turn for Yuvi, if I can put it that way. I also wanted him to be a saintly person, who will wake up early and offer prayers. "After his battle with cancer, he has evolved as a person, become more quiet and his whole complexion has changed. I also want to thank the Almighty, Yuvi's millions of fans and the media, who supported him all through".
After remaining out of action for months, 30-year-old Yuvraj has made a comeback in the Indian team and is currently playing in the World T20 in Sri Lanka.
Yograj said that he too had turned author and was writing a book ‘My Lost Days’, in which he will talk about his life journey. — PTI
Mumbai, September 23
Tendulkar uploaded a picture of the two legends on social networking sites -- Twitter and Facebook -- today morning.
"Guess who dropped in at home...? An amazing player and a wonderful friend :-)," Tendukar wrote on his twitter handle, referring to Lara, who has been the Indian's long-time contemporary in international cricket.
Lara had recently backed Tendulkar and said that he had a "year or two" cricket left in him, amid calls that the Indian must retire after his failure in the recent Test series against New Zealand.
"I know he has already exited from the Twenty20 version of the game, I am not sure if he is still playing the 50 over game but may be another year or two in the Test cricket is left in him ... may be still define himself at the top of scoring the most runs in both the Test and One Day Internationals," Lara had said. The former West Indies captain, who started his international career a year after his contemporary, said that Tendulkar has been phenomenal and would be missed by the cricket world whenever he decides to hang his boots. "I think he (Tendulkar) has done a wonderful job. Somebody who started playing cricket, I am not sure whether he was 15 or 16, and he is still there. So he started may be a year or two before myself and has gone on to play five years after I have done," he said. — PTI
Sri Lankan cricket is in a mess. It is always in a mess. Not that anyone might tell this from the valiant performances of the team: World Cup perennially defying the odds and with an accomplished home-team chance of becoming World Twenty20 champions.
The other night at the ICC annual awards ceremony, their batsman, wicketkeeper, former captain and all-round good guy, Kumar Sangakkara, visited the rostrum three times to be named as cricketer, Test cricketer and, for the second time in succession, peoples'-choice cricketer of the year.
While the tear-drop island was about it, Kumar Dharmasena, once a moderately successful international all-rounder, was named as the world's top umpire after standing in only 10 Test matches. Mahela Jayawardena, reinstated as captain earlier this year, is just about the most respected individual in world cricket, a category for which there are no votes, merely an overwhelming sentiment.
On that evidence, all might be considered hunky dory. Not a bit of it. It is a minor miracle that the team continue to take the field, let alone prevail on it as often as they do.
It would have helped considerably yesterday if Sri Lanka's match against South Africa, dead rubber though it was, had not been so badly affected by rain. The match in the controversial new stadium at Hambantota on the south-east coast, which may or may not be a president's vanity project, was the first sell-out of the tournament.
A golden opportunity existed to show that this country is passionate about cricket wherever it is played, in the capital, Colombo, to the rural backwaters, or rather jungle where the Hambantota stadium sprang up.
Instead, almost 34,000 turned up to watch a seven-over match which South Africa won easily. Sri Lanka will be in a Super Eight group which includes England, moving from one new ground, on the south-east coast, to another in the midlands hill country at Pallekele, near the ancient city of Kandy. These places have contributed substantially to the emptying of the coffers.
Supplemented by the political in-fighting in the corridors of cricketing power, which can often be easily confused with the corridors of political power, it has all left Sri Lankan cricket broke, the debts reaching $23m ((pounds sterling)14m). Last year the players went unpaid for six months and it was only the generosity of Sangakkara and Jayawardena, who had endorsements and wages from elsewhere such as the IPL, which kept some players afloat.
They have been regularly bailed out by the ICC. Coming into this tournament to make sure it was staged, Sri Lankan cricket has received (pounds sterling)1.5m in funding, comprising an advance of (pounds sterling)0.6m on ticket sales, an advance of (pounds sterling)0.6m on fees to it from ICC global events before 2014 and an interest-free loan of (pounds sterling)0.3m. This is in addition to funds previously doled out.
The normal state of play is that each successive cricket administration blames its predecessor for the shambles. It has not been unknown in the last decade for annual meetings to have been disrupted by the waving of guns. There are the usual allegations of corruption which tend to fly about when massive sums of money are involved but they remain unsubstantiated.
The direct cause of the heavy losses is the building of new grounds for the 2011 Cup, which Lanka, while being the middle partner, staged jointly with India and Bangladesh.
— The Independent
Singapore, September 23
After two safety cars, crashes and the shock retirement of title-challenger Lewis Hamilton, Formula One’s youngest double champion finished in front of McLaren’s Jenson Button for only his second win of the season.
Championship leader Fernando Alonso was third, claiming his eighth podium of the season in the dramatic night race around the narrow, demanding street circuit through the heart of downtown Singapore.
Force India’s Paul di Resta took an impressive fourth and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was fifth, ahead of Lotus’s former world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Mark Webber rounded out the top 10 in a race that did not even reach the 61 allotted laps after hitting its two-hour time-limit, meaning it was halted after 59.
With the win, Vettel climbs to second in the standings behind the consistent Alonso, who has a reduced lead of 29 points. Raikkonen lies third and the unlucky Hamilton drops down to fourth.
“This has been one of toughest races of the year, to be honest,” said Vettel, last year’s winner in Singapore. “There are so many bumps, there’s no room for mistakes and it just seems to go on forever... I’m incredibly happy.”
Hamilton made a smooth start from pole accompanied by Williams driver Pastor Maldonado, but a misjudgment on the first corner cost the Venezuelan two places as Vettel and Button sailed through.
Several cars ran wide on the first two corners and Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov lost some of his front wing, but an investigation found no cause for punishment.
Ferrari’s Massa was the big loser in the early jostling as he dropped to the back after pitting with a puncture. At the front Hamilton and Vettel, swapping fastest laps, were peeling away from Button.
Red Bull’s Webber came in for soft tyres on lap nine, setting a trend followed by the leading drivers. — Agencies
Tokyo, September 23
Deepika, in her first appearance after the London Olympics debacle, was in splendid form as she won the quarterfinals and semifinals to lead 4-0 in the final before she lost 4-6 ((26-23, 27-25, 24-28, 23-26, 25-26). Down 0-4, the Korean bounced back winning the remaining three sets to grab the gold and thus capping a stunning year that saw her win the individual and team titles in London two month ago.
Having slipped to world No. 2 following her London setback, Deepika won the first two sets 26-23 and 27-25 to lead 4-0.
Ki came back strong in the third set with a 9-9-10, better than the 9-8-7 of Deepika in a rain-affected match. But Ki managed to bring the match on an even keel, winning the fourth set 8-10-8 to 8-8-7.
Deepika had a ray of hope in the fifth set with a 9 against Ki’ 8.
In the second set of arrows, both hit 9 as Deepika had a one-point advantage and needed a perfect 10 to settle the issue. But the teenager lost the battle of nerves hitting a 7 compared to Ki’s 9. — PTI
London, September 23
This was Liverpool’s first home match since an independent report cleared their fans of any responsibility for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster where 96 of the Merseysiders’ supporters were crushed to death during an FA Cup semi-final.
Liverpool played more than half the match a man down after Jonjo Shelvey was sent off in the 39th minute for a two-footed challenge on Jonny Evans.
But they still took a 46th minute lead when captain Steven Gerrard — whose 10-year-old cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, was the youngest fan to die at Hillsborough — volleyed home from near the penalty spot. United only had to wait five minutes for an equaliser when Rafael curled in a superb shot from the right-hand side.
And with 15 minutes to go United — who had missed their last three penalties — were awarded a spot-kick when Liverpool defender Glen Johnson brought down Antonio Valencia.
Victory saw United move to within a point of leaders Chelsea while defeat left Liverpool languishing in the bottom three.
Before kick-off, a potential flashpoint was avoided when Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and United defender Patrice Evra shook hands.
Suarez, banned for eight games for racially abusing Senegalese-born Evra last season, declined to shake the United man’s hand before the clubs’ last meeting in February. — Agencies
Bangalore, September 23
Rajasthan were 43 for one in their second innings with skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar and opener Vineet Saxena on 21 and 17, respectively, at close of play. The Ranji Champions were trailing by 311 runs. It would be a Herculean task for Rajasthan, who were bundled out for less than 300 runs in the first innings, to first make ROI bat again and avoid defeat with two days still to go.
The Ranji champions began their second stint losing their opener Ankit Lamba for four caught by Murali Karthik in the very first over of Ishant Sharma .
Vijay, who scored 266 off 394 balls with 36 boundaries and six sixes, toyed with the ineffective Rajasthan bowling attack as ROI declared their first innings at 607 for seven in reply to Rajasthan’s first innings of 253 all out.
S Badrinath (55) and Dinesh Karthik gave company to Vijay, before he was caught by Gajendra Singh off Madhur Khatri.
Remarkable as Vijay’s power of concentration, range of strokes and stamina were, no less notable was the 141-run stand he forged with Badrinath for third wicket.
Another quick fire partnership came for the very next wicket as Vijay went for a merry ride with Dinesh Karthik and put a valuable 63 runs for fourth wicket.
Vijay, overnight 151, faced 394 balls for his 266, hitting 36 boundaries and half a dozen sixes.
A feature of Vijay’s innings was his driving on either side of the wicket and exquisite clips of the pads and repeated use of feet he employed against spinners.
Keeper Wriddhiman Saha and Karthik sewed a 66-run stand for the fifth wicket, taking Rajasthan further out of the game. Karthik was trapped LBW by Khatri after a valuable 56 off 104 balls with ten hit to the fence.
Down the order, Deepak Chahar and Madhur Khatri cleaned up Stuart Binny and Harmeet Singh for three and one respectively.
Rajasthan searched for a wickets all day, but could not stop the ROI batsmen from plundering runs at will. They could grab one wicket each between lunch and tea sessions, but got three in the post-tea session, prompting ROI to declare their innings.
Earlier, Rajasthan picked up a wicket in the morning session and had to wait till the post-lunch session to get another breakthrough when Vijay hit one to Gajendra Singh off Madhur Khatri’s bowling.
Badrinath, overnight zero, reached his half century just before lunch when he smashed Gajendra Singh to the fine leg fence for boundary. — PTI