India must rise from ashes for Pak tie
India, Pak fans land in Lanka to see cricket, meet friends
Before big show, Sehwag skips batting practice
Indian bowling lacks variety for must-win game: Raja
Finn, Wright lead England to 6-wkt win
Sri Lanka win hands down
Dhoni wants fearless batting from teammates
Grappler Geeta gets India 2nd bronze at World Championship
Anand draws again in chess Masters
Woods back in lineup at Ryder Cup
India must rise from ashes for Pak tie
Colombo, September 22
The Indian team looked completely out of sorts against Australia and they now have to quickly address their woes in all departments of the game when they take on an upbeat Pakistan, who had beaten South Africa in a thriller, if they want to remain afloat in the tournament.
India`s five bowler strategy was a big hit against England in the group match but in conducive conditions against Australia, Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s frontline spinners were hammered by Shane Watson-David Warner duo in last night`s match.
Dhoni blamed the short spell of drizzle before the start of the Australian innings as a reason for his bowlers` failure. But the fact that the entire bowling unit failed to put up a semblance of a fight came as a surprise. From Ravichandran Ashwin to Piyush Chawla, everyone bowled half-trackers and full-tosses which proved to be cannon fodder for the two dashing `Ws` of Australian cricket. Although Dhoni may persist with his five bowler strategy, it will be very surprising if leggie Chawla gets another chance in the tournament.
Pakistan are far superior players of spin bowling and consistency has never been Chawla`s forte as he is primarily a rhythm bowler. On their day, the likes of Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez can take Chawla to the cleaners --- something Dhoni can`t afford at this juncture of the tournament.
Dhoni had suggested that “slower deliveries will be effective on Premadasa strip” which means that a bowler like Lakshmipathy Balaji will be more effective.
The Indian team also has their share of batting worries and it will be interesting to know whether Dhoni will persist with Irfan Pathan as the makeshift opener and keep Virender Sehwag out of the equation. Sample this. The Indian batsmen in the three matches so far in the tournament have been able hit only seven sixes (four vs Afghans, one vs England and two vs Australia) while Watson alone has hit seven sixes against India yesterday.
Dhoni incidentally said at the post match press conference that "it was very difficult to justify why Sehwag was dropped".
However, there are serious questions that need to be asked about Yuvraj Singh`s inclusion in the team. He has totally looked out of sorts while batting although he has somewhat made up with his bowling.
But there is still an outside chance of Sehwag playing an impact innings at the top of the order but getting a 40-ball-70 from Yuvraj will be asking for too much at this stage. Pakistan, on the other hand, would look to put up an improved batting performance as it was due to sheer brilliance of Umar Gul that they were able to beat South Africa. — PTI
Colombo, September 29
The excitement in Colombo is palpable, though there are not many expatriates from India and Pakistan living in Sri Lanka. But fans from the two countries have come from different parts of the world specially for this game.
Nineteen-year-old Dhara Sharma, who's travelled from Dubai, says: "I am a big fan of Dhoni and support him ahead of Team India." She says she's been lucky enough to get herself photographed with Dhoni in the hotel lobby. Dhara is not alone — she's joined by a large numbers of her friends who have come from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and London. Cricket gives them an opportunity to meet up.
Indians will likely outnumber the Pakistani supporters on the ground, but the presence of thousands of Pakistani fans suggests that the atmosphere is going to be electric. Rizwan Ahmed from New York is one of the three brothers who have come here for family a get-together — Ahmed's brothers have come from Paris and Islamabad.
"We feel Colombo is like Mumbai or Karachi. Wherever we go, we meet Indian and Pakistani families. It seems Diwali or Eid is being celebrated here!" says Ahmed.
Sachin Tendulkar may not be playing in this tournament, but his ardent supporter Sudhir Kumar from Bihar — whose tricolour-painted body is a common sight for Indian TV viewers — is here to wave the Indian flag.
Though the result of the game is critical for India, the mood among the fans can be summed up with: 'Whoever wins, cricket Zindabad!"
— Vimal Kumar
Colombo, September 29
On the eve of the high-voltage match against Pakistan, Sehwag was again seen skipping the entire net session, although he did participate in a football game.
Skipper MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli also did not bat during the 90-minute net session, having played Friday's match. But it was bewildering to see Sehwag relax and enjoy a chit-chat with his teammates when serious questions are being raised about his form and commitment in this format of the game.
During the afternoon training session, the Indians enjoyed their game of soccer for close to 75 minutes — a lengthier session by their standards. Sehwag was the goalkeeper of one team and played the entire duration. Finally, when the net session started, it was Irfan Pathan who was all padded up and had the first hit in one of the two nets.
One expected Sehwag to have a decent hit at the nets when the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Gambhir all looked serious during the session. Sehwag was seen present in a melee, and chatting in a relaxed manner with Dhoni and Kohli. Sehwag, if he is fit (as claimed by the team), had no reason to not bat at all.
World T20s over the years have not been a happy experience for Sehwag. He missed the final during India's victorious campaign in the 2007 edition. During the 2009 edition in England, there was a controversy over whether he had carried an injury into the tournament. In the 2010 edition, Sehwag missed the tournament with an injury. — PTI
Colombo, September 29
“It seems the pressure is more on India, it’s a must-win game for them,” says Rameez Raja, the former Pakistan captain. “Of course, it will be always at the back of the Pakistan players’ minds that they have never beaten India in any World Cup. But the teams are going into this match with contrasting results in their previous games.”
With the devastating loss against Australia, Dhoni’s five bowler experiment has fallen flat. India are expected to bring in Virender Sehwag for this high-voltage match.
“The Sehwag factor against Pakistan is crucial. Teams do discuss Sehwag in their pre-match strategies. In a high-profile match such as this, he can rise to the occasion,” says Raja.
Raja says that Pakistan’s unpredictability brings a different colour to the tournament. Blessed with natural talent, they can lose any time from a position of strength, and they can come back from the most hopeless situations.
Right now, though, it’s the Indian team that looks hopeless. Raja says that India have looked indecisive over several issues, including the toss-up between Yuvraj Singh and Sehwag. “It is a tough question. Fans do expect Yuvraj to play but can you go merely with sentiments in a World Cup? I think only the Indian camp can answer this dilemma,” says the man widely regarded as the voice of Pakistani cricket.
This game can be painted as a contest between Pakistan’s bowling and India’s batting, but Raja feels that India’s bowling lacks firepower.
“ODIs and more so T20s have evolved in such a way that you need a lot of variety in your armoury, which is missing in the Indian attack,” says the 50-year-old Raja.
But India have shown on countless occasions that they are altogether a different bowling unit when their batting clicks.
Their batting has been dogged by problems - over-reliance on Virat Kohli, lack of enough practice matches for Yuvraj before his return, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir’s inconsistent shows as an opening pair, and Rohit Sharma’s horrendous run.
Captain Dhoni’s own form has not helped the team, either. India are yet to win a single game in the Super Eight round after the 2007 T20 World Cup.
From the Indian point of view, Sunday’s match is not important just for the survival in the tournament. It’s important also for more critical issues which go beyond this match. One more loss, and this time against Pakistan, will surely start the debate in India on whether the time has come to look beyond the Sehwags and the Zaheers, at least in the shortest format of the game.
The writer is a journalist with CNN-IBN-7
Pallekele, September 29
Finn achieved his as well as England's best figures in the ICC World Twenty20 -- three for 16 -- before Wright hit a 43-ball 76 as England chased down the target of 149 with seven balls to spare. After Finn and Co's disciplined bowling restricted New Zealand to a modest 148 for six, England got off to a cautious start but soon Wright, who smashed five fours and equal number of sixes, sent the bowlers on a leatherhunt. He was well supported by Eoin Morgan (30) at the other end and together they put on a 89-run stand for third wicket.
England lost opener Craig Kieswetter (4) early but thereafter Alex Hales (22), Wright and Morgan made sure that there were no hiccup on the road to victory.
The defeat, their second after the loss to Sri Lanka, left New Zealand on the brink of an early elimination.
Earlier, Finn never allowed the Black Caps to settle down. James Franklin, with an useful 50 off 33 balls, and captain Ross Taylor (28), were the two New Zealand batsmen who played responsible innings. — PTI
Guptill lbw b Finn 5
Nicol c Bairstow b Swann 11
B. McCullum c Wright b Finn 10
Williamson c Kieswetter b Briggs 17
Taylor c Hales b Finn 22
Franklin run out 50
N. McCullum not out 16
Bracewell not out 2
Extras: (b-3, lb-7, w-4, nb-1) 15
Total: (six wickets; 20 overs) 148
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-20, 3-42, 4-67, 5-107, 6-146
Bowling: Briggs 4-0-36-1, Finn 4-0-16-3, Bresnan 4-0-29-0, Swann 4-0-20-1, Broad 4-0-37-0
Kieswetter b Vettori 4
Hales b N. McCullum 22
Wright c Taylor b Bracewell 76
Morgan c Bracewell b Mills 30
Buttler not out 5
Bairstow not out 5
Extras: (lb-3, w-4) 7
Total: (four wickets; 18.5 overs) 149
Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-38, 3-127, 4-142
Bowling: Mills 4-0-23-1, Southee 2-0-32-0, Vettori 4-0-20-1, N. McCullum 4-0-22-1, Nicol 3-0-29-0, Franklin 1-0-12-0, Bracewell 0.5-0-8-1
Pallekele, September 29
Chasing 130, Jayawardene struck 65 off 49 balls to guide the hosts to victory with 28 deliveries to spare. This was Lanka's biggest win in terms of balls left. Aiding skipper in the chase was Sangakkara(39). — PTI
SCharles st Sanga b A Mendis 12
Gayle c Sanga b Kulasekara 2
Samuel c Dilshan b Mathews 50
Bravo c Dilshan b M Mendis 40
Pollard b A Mendis 1
Russell not out 19
Sammy not out 1
Extras (b 1, lb 3) 4
Total (5 wkts; 20 ovrs) 129
Fall of wickets 1-16, 2-16, 3-81, 4-90, 5-123
Jayawardene not out 65
Dilshan c Ramdin b Rampaul 13
Sangakkara not out 39
Extras (b 2, lb 1, w 10) 13
Total (1 wkt; 15.2 ovrs) 130
Fall of wickets 1-22
Colombo, September 29
India, who suffered a humiliating nine-wicket loss against Australia in their first Super Eights match, meet arch-rivals Pakistan in a must-win game in Colombo.
Batting first, the 2007 champions laboured to 140 for seven wickets before a record opening stand of 133 by David Warner and Shane Watson helped Australia canter to victory on Friday.
Dhoni urged his teammates to walk out and express themselves against Pakistan without fearing about the result.
"I think if you just see the potential, the team has got the potential and it's just that you have to implement it on the field," he told reporters.
"Also what's important for us is to go in and just express ourselves... let's play the big shots and play with lot of confidence. "And whatever the result may be, let's not care about the result because it's a very different format. "You can't do lot of planning... just go out, you have the talent, you have resources, just express yourself."
India left out opener Virender Sehwag to accommodate an extra spinner against Australia but none of the three slow bowlers managed to make an impact. But Dhoni felt that the spinners would still have an effective role to play in the tournament.
"The wicket has slowed down a lot you know compared to the last series we played and the first few games," Dhoni said. "Specially the big shots were not really easy to play... I think it'll be on the slower side because they'll use the same stretch to play,” he said. — PTI
New Delhi, September 29
With this, India's medal haul in the event so far stood at two, an improvement on the singular bronze that Alka Tomar had won in the 2006 China edition. India is participating in all seven weight categories (48kg, 51kg, 55kg, 59kg, 63kg, 67kg and 72 Kg) at the event. Earlier, Babita had defeated Hsin-Ju Chiu from Chinese Taipei in the semifinals. She clinched the medal after defeating Zamira Rakhmanova from Russia in the repechage round. Meanwhile, Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced a cash award of Rs 3 lakh each for Geeta and Babita. — PTI
Sao Paulo, September 29
Playing in his first tournament after his world championship triumph in Moscow earlier this year, Anand could not force a win against Karjakin and inched himself up to four points under the soccer-like scoring system in place to occupy the fourth spot. Italian Fabiano Caruana surged ahead of the field with a crushing victory over Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain. The other game of the day was fought intensely but Armenian Levon Aronian missed a simple win before finally drawing with world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway.
With six rounds still remaining in the super tournament, Caruana took his tally to 10 points with his third victory out of four games. Aronian continued to follow the leader but the gap has increased and Caruana now has a healthy four points lead over his nearest rival. Carlsen moved to third spot. — Reuters
Medinah (Illinois), Sept. 29
With the luxury of being in front, Love was able to keep all his pairings together over the first two days and give each partnership at least one session off to conserve their energy for Sunday's concluding singles. Woods and Stricker will take on Spain's Sergio Garcia and Englishman Luke Donald in the second of Saturday's fourball matches. Like the Americans, Donald and Garcia were also beaten in their first two matches. Rookie Jason Dufner and formers Masters champion Zach Johnson will be chasing their third win of the week when they pair up against Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter. — Reuters
London, September 29
Both Chelsea goals came as a result of Mata free kicks and poor Arsenal defending with Torres out-muscling Laurent Koscielny to volley the European champions ahead at the Emirates Stadium after 20 minutes. — Reuters
Indian eves lose to England to crash out of tournament
Brief Scores: (India): 116 for 6 in 20 overs. (Poonam 51, Mithali 35; Laura 2/22); (England): 118/1 in 17.1 overs. (Charlotte 50 no, Laura 39; Reema 1/23).
Oz look to seal semis berth against Proteas