Gayle knocks KKR out with fiery 85
Deadly with pistol, Rahi on road to bigger things
Sehwag may not play for India again, says Boycott
Daredevils desperate for a taste of victory
Big 3 set the ball rolling at Masters
Shrouded in secrecy, Augusta’s world far removed from reality
Dravid 50 in RR’s 145
Messi inspires Barca past PSG
Webber did not deserve to win: Vettel
Jayaram, Bhat enter 3rd round, others lose
After 11 defeats in a row, Pune finally win a game
Bangalore, April 11
Chasing a target of 155, ‘Gayle storm’ struck KKR as RCB knocked off the runs with 15 balls to spare.
It is the third win for RCB in four matches while KKR suffered their second defeat on road having lost to Rajasthan Royals earlier this week.
The big Jamaican, who has been in prolific touch got his runs off only 50 deliveries hitting four boundaries and as many nine sixes.
It was therefore no surprise that Gayle is leading the ‘Maximum Sixes’ list with 14 over-boundaries Gayle added 83 runs for the unbeaten third wicket with AB de Villiers (22 not out), who played the role of second fiddle to perfection. Gayle also added 63 runs for the second wicket with Virat Kohli (35), who had an ugly on-field spat with rival captain Gautam Gambhir after he got out.
However the evening belonged to Gayle as almost all the KKR bowlers suffered in his hands except Sunil Narine who only gave away 17 runs in his four overs.
The ploy to include Delhi left-arm seamer Pradeep Sangwan backfired badly as he leaked 34 runs in only two overs which turned the match in RCB’s favour.
Gayle, who has employed a different tactic in this IPL as he is not attacking the bowlers during the Powerplay but has been brutal in his strokeplay during the back-10. With good support from Kohli and De Villiers, it has been easy for Gayle to launch during the later part of the innings with wickets in hand.
Earlier, captain Gautam Gambhir struck 46-ball 59 to propel KKR to 154 for eight after being out into bat.
Gambhir shared 51 runs with Yusuf Pathan (27 off 17 balls) to take KKR total past 150 as RCB bowlers struck regularly after the home side chose to field.
Other KKR batsmen — Jacques Kallis (16) and Manoj Tiwary (23) — batted well but could not convert the starts into big knocks.
Gambhir survived a run-out after a mix-up with Kallis when he was on one. He cut the ball to the point and set off for a single but his partner was not interested in the run. Gambhir was lucky, a better throw from RCB captain Virat Kohli would have seen his back early on. — PTI
Kolkata Knight Riders
Bisla c Rahul b Henriques 1
Gambhir c&b Vinay 59
Kallis c Henriques b Vinay 16
Pathan c Vinay b Henriques 27
Tiwary c de Villiers b Singh 23
Morgan c sub b Singh 2
Bhatia b Singh 13
McLaren run out 2
Sangwan not out 4
Narine not out 1
Extras: (lb 3, w 2, nb 1) 6
Total (8 wkts; 20 overs) 154
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-54, 3-95, 4-124, 5-132, 6-135, 7-149, 8-149
Gayle not out 85
Agarwal c Bisla b McLaren 6
Kohli c Morgan b Balaji 35
de Villiers not out 22
Extras: (w 8, nb 2) 10
Total (2 wkts; 17.3 overs) 158
Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-75
Mumbai, April 11
“I am very good in finals. Rapid fire (and not precision) is my favoured thing,” said the 22-year-old Rahi at a felicitation function organised here.
“There are advantages as well as disadvantages under the new rules of shooting in which all finalists start on equal footing (with no points carried forward from the qualification stages),” said Rahi, who won the gold in 25m sports pistol event in Changwon, Korea.
A team gold medallist and individual silver medallist in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Kolhapur-born Rahi, edged out her Korean rival Kyeongae Kim 8-6 in the fight for the gold.
After two tied series, Rahi, who had finished a distant 19th in the London Olympics last year, was first to get off the block in the third and opened up a two point lead. But Kim hit back immediately winning the next two series to take a 6-4 lead and push the Indian to the corner.
Facing a must-win situation, Rahi upped the ante while her opponent struggled to keep her composure and lost the sixth and seventh series 3-1 and 2-1 respectively to hand the gold to the Indian.
Rahi said her opponent, expectedly, got overwhelming support from the crowd during the competition and this made her very determined to have the last laugh.
“After the fourth series, I was sure of a medal. She got 95 per cent support when she won the fifth. I told myself... Let her get as many claps now, but after the final round it is I who would get the maximum claps (for winning the gold),” she said.
The young markswoman, who was not aware that she had created history in Korea when she clinched the gold, is now focused on four big events to be held over the next three years.
“I wasn’t aware that I am the first pistol shooter from India to achieve this feat till my teammates told me. But now I want to focus on qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games (in Rio de Janeiro) after doing well in next year’s World Championship (in Granada), Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow, Scotland) and Asian Games (Incheon, South Korea),” she said.
Rahi also complimented coach Anatoly Piddubnyl for her feat as the Ukrainian, employed by Lakshya and star rifle shooter Gagan Narang’s Gun for Glory Academy, has freed her of other nitti-gritties of the sport.
“I am more comfortable training with him as he takes care of my problems. He makes plans and tells me what I should do and I do them. I don’t have to worry about planning and assessing myself,” she said.
In the past few months she has been working with Piddubnyl at the academy and even preferred to skip the national camp as the Indian team does not have a foreign coach for pistol shooters.
“The support system I have in Pune made a big difference.
In this tournament, I went out without bothering too much about the result and I am glad that I returned with a gold medal,” she said.
Rahi was confident that similar to the boost she and other Indian shooters experienced in 2008 following Abhinav Bindra’s epoch-making gold medal victory in the Beijing Olympics, her feat would inspire other shooters.
Rahi was also presented with a cheque of Rs 5,00,001 as a reward for her gold. — PTI
New Delhi, April 11
Sehwag was dropped for the last two Tests against Australia in the recent series and was also excluded from the list of 30 probables for the Champions Trophy.
“I don’t think he’ll play again. I think it’s because India have gone the right way. It took a little while to come around to it. They’ve given youth a chance,” Boycott told the website ESPNcricinfo.
In eight Test matches since April 2012, he has managed to score just 408 runs at an average of 31.38, with highest being 117. In the six ODIs, in the same period, he scored 183 runs at an average of 30.5 and was dropped for the ODI series against England.
His last ODI century was the double hundred against the West Indies in December 2011. Boycott said India have done the right thing by blooding youngsters.
“After they lost to England, I kept saying you have to give these young batsmen a chance. You have to get them in and you have to build again for the World Cup. I’ve never changed my view on that. You are world champions in ODIs, you have to move on, and it doesn’t matter who you are. Age is not the barrier, it’s about performance,” he said.
Boycott said Sehwag was one of the best batsmen of the last 20 years and lack of a defensive technique was his only shortcoming.
“He played it his way and his way, at times, on certain pitches, was highly successful. But when it comes to the ball moving around and it was a bit more bouncy, his defensive technique was exposed. But trying to tell him and make him play differently, how do you do that? Sehwag has got all his runs playing his way,” Boycott said. — PTI
Daredevils desperate for a taste of victory
New Delhi, April 11
In the first three matches, Delhi Daredevils were bedeviled by various problems, including the absence of their best bat, Virender Sehwag, who had to miss the matches due to a back spasm, and the best speedster, Morne Morkel. But both, hopefully, will play against Sunrisers, though the hosts will be hard put to find suitable replacements for Englishman Kevin Pietersen and Kiwi Jesse Ryder, who will miss the whole tournament for different reasons.
The non-performance of Daredevils’ foreign players, barring Warner, has put them in a spot of bother, and they will have to make much juggling to decide about the fourth foreign player, assuming Jayawardene, Warner and Morkel will play against Sunrisers. Andre Russell, Johan Botha and Jeevan Mendis have not created any ripples, and it’s time they did.
The Delhi batsmen, barring David Warner, have not risen to the occasion, as someone like Unmukt Chand, on whom Daredevils have invested much hope, got out twice for ducks, and could score only 23 after surviving a second ball dismissal against Rajasthan Royals in Delhi’s first match at home. The middle order is yet to fire, save for Manprit Juneja coming good against Mumbai Indians.
With the arrival of Morkel, the bowling department has been strengthened. Umesh Yadav, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra and Shahbaz Nadeem (not to forget Ajit Agarkar) are all raring to go, and if Daredevils play as a cogent unit in all departments, Sunrisers’ may not shine bright under floodlight tomorrow night.
Delhi captain Jayawardene will have to up the ante to get his combination right with all the ingredients. Sunrisers, captained by Mahela’s Sri Lankan colleague Kumar Sangakkara, will be a different nut to crack. Though they do not boast of many star names in their ranks, they have the most lethal bowler in Dale Steyn, and with Cameron White and Thisara Perera proving ideal foil for Steyn, DD will find batting on their home turf not exactly a stroll in the park.
Today: DD VS SH (8 pm)live on set max
Augusta, April 11
On an overcast morning at Augusta National, four-times champion Palmer, three-times winner Player and Nicklaus, who won a record six green jackets, hit the ceremonial first shots at the par-four opening hole.
Palmer struck a solid blow up the middle before fellow golfing great Player outdrove him by around 50 yards, his ball ending up above the crest of the hill on the right side of the fairway, some 250 yards from the tee.
Nicklaus hit the longest drive of the three, his ball rolling into the first cut of rough on the left before settling several yards ahead of Player.
“The only nerves you have are to make solid contact,” a smiling Nicklaus, 73, told reporters afterwards. “It doesn’t matter diddly-darn where it goes.”
Palmer, however, was delighted with his effort. “It was my best drive of the year,” the 83-year-old quipped.
Ten minutes later, 1988 Masters champion Sandy Lyle of Britain struck the tournament’s first competitive shot by teeing off at the opening hole. Lyle was then followed by Americans John Peterson and amateur Nathan Smith. — Reuters
Augusta, April 11
Condoleezza’s breezy round with crowd favourite Phil Mickelson on Sunday fired the Augusta message out there just as the world’s media were descending on this polished enclave in the heart of America’s south. Coincidence? Unlikely. Nothing happens by chance in this neighbourhood.
Very little about the workings of this remarkable institution is known. And questions are not invited. My inquiry about the annual fertilizer bill was met with a polite rebuff. It is hard to imagine a more beautiful setting, where the grass could not be greener were paint applied, where attention to detail is absolute and every care taken to ensure the patron experience is the best it can be.
But the nature of that happy experience is very much decided by Augusta, contributing to an overwhelming sense that the club and its 300 members exist in a constructed reality far removed and protected from the fundamentals shaping life outside the 365-acre site. The club’s admission of women, Jack Nicklaus reflected, acknowledged that conventions had changed and – as with the breaking of the race bar in 1990 when the first Afro-American member was admitted – it was no longer possible to maintain old traditions. “It was time,” Nicklaus said.
Given the membership fees, said to be between $10,000 and $30,000 a pop, are prohibitive, it is a moot point how far the interests of women and ethnic Americans are served by the relaxing of admission codes. This is an enclave of immense privilege, entry to which is not determined by gender or race but the oldest calling card of all, wealth. Before modernity impinged, Darla inquired of former Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson, how to become a member. He replied: “You don’t ask.”
The symbolic value of women and black members is perhaps sufficient in this environment. It is after all a private club and at that level nobody’s business how it is run. The real significance of the move to admit the fairer sex is not how women are served by Augusta National but how they are served by the game. In that, Augusta chairman, Billy Payne, has thrown a hospital pass to the sport’s governing body, the Royal and Ancient, as well as Muirfield.
Payne, who brought the Olympic Games to Georgia in Atlanta, understands the power and influence Augusta enjoys and believes he acts responsibly. In relation to the admission of women, he said: “We have been blessed with significant resources and every time we can take those resources and do something good for golf we are anxious to do it. I don’t characterise that as change. What we’ve done [to admit women] is to do what we’re supposed to do and that is to be a beacon in the world of golf and to do our best to influence others.”
The ‘drive, chip and putt’ initiative launched this week to encourage youngsters to take up the game is typical of the measured involvement it lends to the game. In this case Augusta will open its doors to 88 finalists, boys and girls aged between seven and 15 from across the States, on the Sunday before next year’s Masters.
As important as the messaging associated with women members is, it is the involvement of children, or lack thereof, that is, according to Nicklaus, the real issue threatening golf. “The game’s got to change,” he said. “We’ve got to bring the kids back. By eight or nine years old kids have picked their sports and [increasingly] golf isn’t one of them.” — The Independent
Pune, April 11
Ajinkya Rahane with 30 (27 balls), Brad Hodge with 22 (19 balls) and James Faulkner (19 off 14) were the other significant scorers during a night the Rajasthan innings never really took off after Dravid won the toss and batted first.
Rahul Sharma took two for 16 off four overs. Yuvraj Singh took the same number of wickets, conceding 27 off two overs. — TNS
Rajasthan Royals 145/5 (Dravid 54, Rahane 30; Rahul 2/16, Yuvraj 2/27)
London, April 11
Before the game there were serious doubts about Messi’s participation. After coming off at half-time in the first leg with a hamstring problem, there was uncertainty whether he would even make the bench.
After he failed to participate in the pre-match warm up it was even suggested that his inclusion among Tito Vilanova’s substitutes may have even been a ruse to put the fear into their French opponents.
Yet after Javier Pastore put the visitors ahead, it was fear that Barcelona could miss out on reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 2007 that gripped the Nou Camp. Cue the introduction of Messi.
Erring on the side of caution no longer made sense and Messi replaced Fabregas. It arrival on the pitch changed the entire landscape.
On 71 minutes Messi ran at the heart of the PSG defence and played in Villa with a superb pass. He then laid the ball back and Pedro swept it past Sirigu to level the match - a score line that would remain until the final whistle ensuring Barcelona’s progress.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side also had a substitute up his sleeve in David Beckham, but the former England captain made little impact after coming on. He was no match for Vilanova’s intervention.
“Messi is the best player in the world, simple as that,” said Beckham, who had been dreaming of a Wembley final with his latest team. “He came on when we were 1-0 up and they scored. A player like him, 100 per cent fit or not, will always make the difference.”
While Messi had little time to make a direct impact, his mere presence made the difference according to David Villa.
“Messi is the best player in the world and he changed the game just by being on the pitch,” he said. “We have to congratulate him for his show of commitment to the team and to football. It is thanks to him, and everyone else, that we have qualified.”
Jordi Roura, Barcelona’s assistant manager added: “It was a pact that we had with him that if things weren’t going well, we would bring him on. He is so important and his presence on the field conditioned the game after we had conceded a goal and made an impact on the opponent. Once again he has shown his competitive spirit and desperation to always be there for the team and we have to take our hat off to him.”
Pedro said: “He made a great effort. He is very important for the team and this week he has worked his upmost to get here. We need to thank him for his involvement. The team turned around completely with his introduction.”
While there was little doubt that Messi was below full fitness, the four time Ballon d’Or winner showed that along with his almost unrivalled armoury of passing, shooting and dribbling, he can add a new weapon — aura.
“Messi gave his side a confidence boost because, even at under 100 per cent, he is still a fantastic player,” said PSG director Leonardo.
Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique added: “It doesn’t matter if he’s a little bit injured - he can change everything. We are very proud and lucky to have him in our side. He’s our reference as a striker — he can score, he can pass, he can do anything and everything.”
— The Independent
Shanghai, April 11
Facing a scrum of reporters, Vettel showed little apparent remorse for his failure to obey instructions by snatching victory from Webber in Malaysia last month. There was no ‘war’ between the teammates, he said, but no real trust either.
The Australian, added the German in a 20-minute long explanation, had not deserved to win. Vettel said he had not understood the order to hold station, issued in coded form as ‘multi-21’, but would probably have ignored it even if he had fully comprehended.
“Had I understood the message, then I think I would have thought about it, reflected on what it means, what the team wants me to do, to leave Mark in first place and me finishing second. And I think I would have thought about it and probably done the same thing because Mark doesn’t deserve that,” Vettel said, and added: “I don’t like to talk ill of other people. It’s not my style. I think I said enough. The bottom line is that I was racing, I was faster, I passed him, I won.” — Reuters
Auckland, April 11
But all other Indians — Anand Pawar, RMV Gurusaidutt, Chetan Anand — lost their respective men’s singles second round matches to crash out of the tournament.
In the women’s singles also, the lone Indian representative, Sarada Jasti went down fighting 21-18 17-21 17-21 to a qualifier, Vicki Copeland in the opening round.
Third seeded Jayaram took 26 minutes to get the better of his opponent from Norway. He will next face 12th seed Ji Hoon Hing of South Korea.
Bhat had an easy outing against qualifier Dhindhwal, who he beat in just 23 minutes. Bhat will take on sixth seed Andre Kurniawan Tedjono in the next round.
It was an off day for Pawar but Chetan and Gurusaidutt fought hard before losing their respective ties. Pawar, fifth seed, was thrashed by unseeded Chia-Hsin Wan of Chinese Taipei 16-21 14-21 in 36 minutes. Fourteenth seed Chetan conceded the first game advantage to go down 21-17 17-21 12-21 to Parinyawat Thongnuam of Thailand in a match that lasted 56 minutes.
Gurusaidautt lost 18-21 21-13 19-21 to unseeded Malaysian Beryno Jiann Tze Wong. — PTI
Pune, April 11
Set 146 to win, Pune achieved the target for the loss of only three wickets, and with eight balls left in the match. The end came when Yuvraj Singh hit S Sreesanth for a six off the fourth ball of the 19th over. Yuvraj remained unbeaten on 28 off 23 balls, hitting two fours and two sixers in all.
The foundation of the win -- the first win for Pune after a 11-match losing streak going back to the previous season -- was laid by the Pune openers, Robin Uthappa and Aaron Finch. The two added 58 in only 4.5 overs, Uthappa being the greater aggressor with 32 off 16 balls with three fours and two sixers. Finch went on to make 64 off 53 balls, including six fours and three sixes. Ross Taylor contributed 17 off 20 balls. When Finch was out, the third wicket to fall, Pune required only 15 off 18 balls.
Earlier, captain Rahul Dravid made 54 off 48 balls as RR could only manage a less than imposing 145 for five in their 20 overs. Ajinkya Rahane with 30 (27 balls), Brad Hodge with 22 (19 balls) and James Faulkner (22 off 19) were the other significant scorers during a night the Rajasthan innings never really took off after Dravid won the toss and elected to bat first.
For Pune, Rahul Sharma took two for 16 off his four overs. The win leaves Delhi Daredevils alone at the bottom of the points table.
Rajasthan Royals 145/5 (Dravid 54, Rahane 30; Rahul 2/16, Yuvraj 2/27).
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