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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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S P O R T S

MI show no mercy to neighbours
Mumbai, April 6
Rohit Sharma plays a shot against Pune Warriors in Mumbai on Saturday. PTI Mumbai Indians produced a commendable performance as they thrashed Pune Warriors by 41 runs to win the 'Maharashtra derby'. Batting first, Mumbai Indians posted a challenging total of 183 for three, courtesy a fantastic 62 by Rohit Sharma and useful contributions from Sachin Tendulkar (44) and Dinesh Karthik (41).


Rohit Sharma plays a shot against Pune Warriors in Mumbai on Saturday. PTI

Sreesanth seeks solace in Shirdi after another controversy
New Delhi, April 13
Sreesanth seeks solace in Shirdi after another controversy New Delhi, Apr 13 (PTI) A day after the ghost of 2008 'Slapgate' tumbled out, controversial fast bowler S Sreesanth today sought divine blessings by visiting the Sai Baba shrine in Shirdi, Maharashtra.

Jadeja, Dhoni guide Chennai to victory
Chennai, April 13
Virat Kohli scored a half-century against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on Saturday. PTI Chennai Super Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets with one ball remaining at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, on Saturday night. Ravindra Jadeja top scored with 38 runs, while Subramanium Badrinath made 34 runs. Skipper MS Dhoni made 33 runs.

Virat Kohli scored a half-century against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai on Saturday.
PTI


EARLIER STORIES


Kings in land of Royals; KKR face Hyderabad
Jaipur, April 13
Knight Riders during the training in Jaipur on Saturday. PTI Hosts Rajasthan Royals will look to regroup and get back to winning ways after their unexpected loss to lowly Pune Warriors, when they take on Kings XI Punjab on Sunday. Aiding Rajasthan in their quest will be the home crowd and the track at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.



Knight Riders during the training in Jaipur on Saturday. PTI

Hamilton takes pole for Chinese Grand Prix
Shanghai April 13
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton during the qualifying session in Shangai on Saturday. AP Lewis Hamilton Saturday roared to his first pole position for Mercedes, in a qualifying session at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai that was dominated by tyre strategy. The Briton, who has been struggling with an allergy and went home early from the track on Thursday, left it late in the final session to grab pole ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus, the winner last month in Australia.

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton during the qualifying session in Shangai on Saturday. AP

Tiger Woods chips to the 12th green during the second round in Augusta, Georgia on Saturday. AP Couples, Langer turn back Masters clock 
Augusta (Georgia), April 13
Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer briefly turned back the clock during round two of the Masters. The two former Masters champions fell back on years of experience to navigate the tough, windy conditions Friday at Augusta National, climbing steadily up the leaderboard as many of their younger, stronger rivals headed in the opposite direction.


Tiger Woods chips to the 12th green during the second round in Augusta, Georgia on Saturday. AP

IOC calls another meeting of IOA, Sports Ministry
New Delhi, April 13
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) seems to be keen to remove the roadblocks and resolve the differences between the Indian Olympic Association (IOC) and the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and get India back into the Olympic fold, as it has invited both the warring parties for a meeting to be held in the IOC headquarters at Lausanne on May 7.

PCB bans umpire Ghauri over spot-fixing
Islamabad, April 13
The Pakistan Cricket Board has suspended international umpire Nadeem Ghauri for four years for agreeing to "extend undue favors for material gain" during a sting operation carried out by a Indian television channel last year.






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MI show no mercy to neighbours
Beat Pune by 41 runs; Rohit, Pollard , Sachin, all come out with guns blazing 

Mumbai, April 6
Mumbai Indians produced a commendable performance as they thrashed Pune Warriors by 41 runs to win the 'Maharashtra derby'.

Batting first, Mumbai Indians posted a challenging total of 183 for three, courtesy a fantastic 62 by Rohit Sharma and useful contributions from Sachin Tendulkar (44) and Dinesh Karthik (41).

The MI bowlers then took wickets at regular intervals to restrict Pune Warriors to 142 for eight despite Mitchell Marsh's rearguard effort of 38. This is Mumbai Indians' third win in four matches and they now have six points while Pune slumped to their third defeat from four matches. Left-arm speedster Mitchell Johnson (3/33) swung the match in MI's favour at the onset as his inswinging yorker castled Pune's last match hero Aaron Finch (0) and then got one to come in to dismiss Robin Uthappa (7) while Ross Taylor (4) was run-out.

From 13 for three, the comeback was virtually impossible and the likes of Yuvraj Singh (24) and captain Angelo Mathews (19) also couldn't make much of a headway as the target became a tall order.

The decision to play Ross Taylor ahead of a highly successful Steve Smith defied any logic as the New Zealander hasn't made any significant contribution in the last two editions of IPL.

Marsh tried his best but didn't have a single partner who was ready to stay along and built a partnership. Credit to MI bowlers as they always had a tight grip on the proceedings. Earlier, Rohit blazed his way to an unbeaten 32-ball 62 as Mumbai Indians posted a challenging 183 for three after opting to bat.

Rohit, who has been known as an 'IPL specialist' smashed three fours and five sixes as the home team put up a sizeable total on a flat track at the Wankhede Stadium.

Sachin Tendulkar (44) and Dinesh Karthik (41, 29 balls, 4x4, 1x6) also made significant contributions. But it was Rohit, who went all-out in the final few overs to help Mumbai Indians amass 109 runs in the back 10 after having scored 72 at the halfway stage. With Ashoke Dinda (0/63 in 4 overs) leaking runs with monotonic regularity, MI managed 68 in the final five overs. Rohit and Kieron Pollard (19 no) added those runs in only 4.5 overs.

Dinda, in fact, has now equalled the worst bowling figure in the IPL history alongside Varun Aaron.

Tendulkar was in his element as he looked in a mood to enthrall the packed crowd with his dazzling strokeplay.

Scoreboard

Mumbai Indians

Ponting c Kumar b Yuvraj 14

Tendulkar c Marsh b Finch 44

Karthik lbw b Marsh 41

Sharma not out 62

Pollard not out 19

Extras: 3

Total: (3 wkt in 20 ov) 183

Fall of wickets: 1-54, 2-60, 3-115

Bowling

Finch 2-0-11-1

Kumar 2-0-16-0

Dinda 4-0-63-0

Sharma 4-0-27-0

Mathews 4-0-29-0

Yuvraj 2-0-13-1

Marsh 2-0-24-1

Pune Warriors
Finch b Johnson 0

Uthappa b Johnson 7

Taylor run out 4

Yuvraj c Dhawan b Pollard 24

Suman c Pollard b Harbhajan 23

Mathews c Sharma b Ojha 19

Marsh c Dhawan b Johnson 38

Nayar c Pollard b Malinga 6

Bhuvneshwar not out 6

Rahul not out 10

Extras: 5

Total (8 wkts in 20 ovs) 142

Fall of wickets: 1/0 2/5 3/13 4/38 5/71 6/89 7/120 8/127

Bowling

Ojha 2-0-20-1

Harbhajan 3-0-20-1

Malinga 4-0-22-1

Rishi 4-0-27-0

Pollard 3-0-19-1

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Sreesanth seeks solace in Shirdi after another controversy

New Delhi, April 13
Sreesanth seeks solace in Shirdi after another controversy New Delhi, Apr 13 (PTI) A day after the ghost of 2008 'Slapgate' tumbled out, controversial fast bowler S Sreesanth today sought divine blessings by visiting the Sai Baba shrine in Shirdi, Maharashtra.

Sreesanth, yesterday, revealed that all the 'Slapgate' claims were far from truth as he was never slapped by his then India teammate Harbhajan Singh. Instead, Sreesanth said that he was elbowed by the senior off-spinner.

Sreesanth said he wants to move forward and won't speak more on the issue.

I dont want to say anything more as I am playing in IPL. I just shared my feelings and came here to do the same. I want to do well in the matches ahead. I want to work hard to make a comeback to Indian side for the South Africa tour," he said outside the shrine.

Before speaking to media, Sreesanth wrote about his visit to Shirdi on his twitter page. "Om Sai ram..had a gr8 darshan @shirdi ..it's all gods grace," he wrote. His teammate Owais Shah said Sreesanth was fine and raring to go after he created a fresh controversy by rekindling the 'slapgate' controversy of 2008 edition.

Asked if the temperamental pacer was in his best mental shape for Sunday's match against the Kings XI Punjab, Shah said he was surprised to know why people should think in this manner about his team-mate. "He is a professional player and has turned out in nets, training hard and bowling well. He is main strike bowler even for Indian team earlier. He swings the ball and has good rhythm. If selected he would give 100 per cent," Shah said. PTI

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Jadeja, Dhoni guide Chennai to victory
Tribune News Service

Chennai, APRIL 13
Chennai Super Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets with one ball remaining at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, on Saturday night. Ravindra Jadeja top scored with 38 runs, while Subramanium Badrinath made 34 runs. Skipper MS Dhoni made 33 runs.

Earlier, skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers struck fine half centuries and shared 82-run stand between them to help post 165/6. De Villiers blazed his way to a 32-ball 64, while Kohli cashed on a dropped chance and caught-behind appeal to score 47-ball 58. Bangalore were on course to put up a total in excess of 180 on a batting friendly Chepauk track but pacer Chris Morris pegged them back with his twin strikes in the 17th over. 

Morris finished with a figure of three for 40, which included the prized scalp Chris Gayle and Kohli.

Brief Scores: (CSK) 166/6 in 19.5 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 38, S Badrinath 34, MS Dhoni 33, Suresh Raina 30, R Rampaul 3/31, Syed Mohammad 2/15); (RCB) 165/6 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 64, Kohli 58, Mayank 24, Chris Morris 3/40, Nannes 1/31).

Mahi Racing on pole 

India's first World Superbike team Mahi Racing Team India made yet another confident start at the qualifications before the second race of the World Super Sport Championship campaign at Aragon, Spain.Mahi Racing rider Kenan Sofuoglu claimed pole position while his team-mate Fabien Foret finished third on the starting grid for tomorrow's race. Three time champion Sofuoglu finished ahead of thirty four riders with a timing of 2'01.450, while Foret timed the clock 202.216. PTI

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Kings in land of Royals; KKR face Hyderabad

Jaipur, April 13
Hosts Rajasthan Royals will look to regroup and get back to winning ways after their unexpected loss to lowly Pune Warriors, when they take on Kings XI Punjab on Sunday. Aiding Rajasthan in their quest will be the home crowd and the track at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.

But skipper Rahul Dravid and his men will first have to put the loss to Pune behind.

The team selection will surely be a brainstorming exercise for the hosts because of the fitness of the likes of Shane Watson, Shaun Tait and Rahul Shukla and the resurfacing of the `slap gate` controversy, which might have affected medium pacer S Sreesanth, who tweeted 44 times in a two-hour span.

This could have a bearing on the selection of the playing XI. Rajasthan Royals had begun the tournament with back-to-back convincing wins but were pegged back a bit after their humiliating loss to Pune, who had broken their eleven-match losing streak with a seven-wicket victory. Now, the hosts would be more than happy to be back on the home turf.

Their batting looks good with Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid in good touch and high on confidence.

Despite being the oldest Indian player in IPL-6, Dravid has scored two fifties and has looked as solid as ever, often playing some uncharacteristic adventurous strokes.

Rahane too has a good run of scores 30, 36 and 38 and lower-down Brad Hodge has accelerated the innings with a mix of caution and aggression. Watson`s addition has certainly strengthened the side but the Australian has played only one match and lasted just ten balls for his unconvincing five runs.

Morgan pins hopes on Narine to turn things around for KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders will once again bank on the mystery spin of Sunil Narine in their bid to turn it around against Sunrisers Hyderabad under home conditions here tomorrow, middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan said.

The English batsman said Narine's tidy bowling was the silver lining for the team, which had suffered two consecutive away losses after winning their opener.

"Sunil bowled well in both the games. He is a huge match winner especially at home. It's good to see him doing well, even if the team is losing," Morgan told reporters on the match-eve press conference. "We have seen the exploits of Sunil Narine, his potential of winning a match for us," he said. PTI

Today: KKR VS SH (4 pm)

rr VS KXIP (8 pm) live on set max

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Hamilton takes pole for Chinese Grand Prix

Shanghai April 13
Lewis Hamilton Saturday roared to his first pole position for Mercedes, in a qualifying session at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai that was dominated by tyre strategy. The Briton, who has been struggling with an allergy and went home early from the track on Thursday, left it late in the final session to grab pole ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus, the winner last month in Australia.

In warm and dry conditions, the electric Hamilton, who was fastest in all three qualifying sessions, clocked a best time of one minute 34.484 sec, compared to Raikkonen's 1:34.761. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third-fastest.

Nico Rosberg, Hamilton's team-mate, whose win in Shanghai last year was his first victory, qualified in fourth, ahead of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian will line up on the third row with Romain Grosjean of Lotus. Surprise-package Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso and Jenson Button of McLaren rounded out top eight.

Red Bull's reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel could only qualify in ninth, but he will have a free choice of tyres for the race after failing to log a time in the third and final session.

Under the rules most of the other drivers will have to start on soft tyres after using them in the third session of qualifying. Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber was 10th on the grid.

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber, whose strained relationship with the German has put both men in the spotlight, waved to the crowd meekly after bowing out in only the second qualifying session after his Red Bull simply ground to a halt.

He will start Sunday's race at the back of the grid after race stewards ruled there was insufficient fuel in his car for a sample and the car could not be driven back to the pits, as required.

Red Bull said a problem with a fuel browser was to blame. "I've been healthy the last two weeks and then I came here and felt ill," said Hamilton, whose previous two outings for Mercedes since defecting from McLaren saw him qualify third in Australia and fourth in Malaysia. The 28-year-old, the 2008 world champion, has reportedly been suffering a pollen allergy. AP

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Couples, Langer turn back Masters clock 

Augusta (Georgia), April 13
Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer briefly turned back the clock during round two of the Masters.

The two former Masters champions fell back on years of experience to navigate the tough, windy conditions Friday at Augusta National, climbing steadily up the leaderboard as many of their younger, stronger rivals headed in the opposite direction.

The 53-year-old Couples, who won his green jacket in 1992, followed up an opening 68 with an up-and-down round of 71 on Friday to get to 5 under and one shot off the lead. Two-time winner Langer, 55, whose first green jacket (1985) is older than more than a few of his opponents, notched his second consecutive 71 to reach 2 under and a share of 14th.

"I mean, I'm surprised," Couples said, "but I'm not going to freak out over it."

Langer wasn't surprised by Couples' strong play.

"Fred loves this place," he said. "He's played here 28 times and he's only missed one cut by one shot. This is his second home."

So much so that Couples, who was in much the same position after two rounds just a year ago, renewed his threat to retire on the spot if he won at Augusta National again.

"I'm going to quit when I win this thing, I swear to God," he said to laughter. "I'm going to retire. It's probably not ever going to happen, but I'm going to retire.

"I'm not going to kid you. I mean, it's a hard course. I'm really tired. I'm swinging hard at every drive I hit."

Langer wasn't buying the idea that Couples couldn't win, either. The German was less certain about his own chances.

"I always thought that Freddie, with his length, can win it, because he hits it a good 30 yards by me, which helps a great deal on some of these holes," Langer said. "For me to win, everything has to go my way. I got to start making some putts most of all."

Couples was sharp with the putter most of the day, if only because he'd seen the difficult pin positions at least once or twice before. But he felt like the biggest advantage of all those rounds at Augusta was remembering not to let the swirling winds confuse him or change the way he played his approaches onto the greens.

"Any golf course plays hard when the wind blows," he said. "At Augusta where you're trying to judge your second shots and putts, it becomes really, really hard."

Of course, all the talk about experience can also get, well, old. When Langer was asked for the third time to recount something from his history at Augusta National, he promptly cut it short. AP

"I think this is my 30th," he said, chuckling. "I'm getting old."

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IOC calls another meeting of IOA, Sports Ministry

New Delhi, April 13
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) seems to be keen to remove the roadblocks and resolve the differences between the Indian Olympic Association (IOC) and the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and get India back into the Olympic fold, as it has invited both the warring parties for a meeting to be held in the IOC headquarters at Lausanne on May 7.

The representatives of IOA and the Ministry were to meet the IOC representatives on April 15 and 16 to sort out the pending differences, but it was postponed as the IOA objected to the Government constituting a committee to review the contentious Sports Code. TNS

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PCB bans umpire Ghauri over spot-fixing

Islamabad, April 13
The Pakistan Cricket Board has suspended international umpire Nadeem Ghauri for four years for agreeing to "extend undue favors for material gain" during a sting operation carried out by a Indian television channel last year.

The PCB said on Saturday in a statement that Ghauri will not be considered for any appointment during the length of his ban.

Ghauri has officiated in five Tests, 43 One-Day Internationals and four Twenty20 matches.Domestic umpire Anis Siddique was banned for three years. The committee felt he initially resisted the offers during the same sting operation "but finally conceded to them on their persistence." AP

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