Kohli wins the battle of captains
Afghanistan set for tough Pakistan test
BPL team owner guilty of fixing attempt
‘Wife a doctor with good handwriting’
Rafa set to earn $1 million a night
Moyes sees red after limp United show in Athens
Somdev takes exit route, Berdych enters quarters
Rashid fires career-best, leads by five
Air Force start with an easy win
Judo federation hires foreign coaches
FIFA likes what it has seen so far
Kohli wins the battle of captains
Fatullah, February 26
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim hit 117 off 113 balls, sharing a third-wicket stand of 133 with Anamul Haque (77), to lift the hosts to 279-7 after India elected to field.
Kohli, standing in for the injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni, then smashed 136 off 122 balls to steer India past the challenging target in 49 overs.
The prolific 25-year-old hit 16 boundaries and two sixes in his 19th One-day century, 17 of which have been in winning causes.
Ajinkya Rahane (73) provided a valuable support to his captain, adding 213 for the third wicket with Kohli after India were reduced to 54-2 by the 13th over of the day-night game.
Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on 50 by the 12th over before both batsmen fell in the space of 10 deliveries. Dhawan was leg-before to left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak for 28, and Sharma was bowled in seamer Ziaul Rahman's first over.
Earlier, Rahim hit seven fours and two sixes in his second One-day century before he was dismissed in the final over while attempting a big hit.
Anamul and Rahim came together after opener Shamsur Rahman and Mominul Haque were removed by the 13th over with the score at 49.
Anamul smashed fast bowler Varun Aaron for two sixes to long-on, then reached his half-century with another six off Ravichandran Ashwin over the bowler's head. Aaron, who conceded 56 runs in 6.5 overs, finally found success when he bowled Anamul with the last ball of his seventh over, the 37th of the innings.
Rahim slammed two boundaries and a six when Aaron bowled next, but the batsman was hit on the chest by a full toss delivery later in the same over and needed medical attention on the field.
Aaron, who had sent down a full toss earlier in the match, was not allowed to bowl by the umpires for the rest of the innings and finished with expensive figures of one for 74 from 7.5 overs.
Seamer Mohammad Shami was the most impressive Indian bowler with four for 50 from his 10 overs.
India are without Dhoni for the entire five-nation tournament due to a side strain suffered during the recent tour of New Zealand. — Agencies
Fatullah, February 26
Mohammad Nabi's Afghanistan were brought into the Asia Cup after it qualified for the World Cup scheduled next year. And they would look to make a good impression in front of their four sub-continental neighbours. Afghanistan are not expected to go far in the tournament given that they have played just two One-dayers against Test nations, losing both times.
What would count in their favour is the team's understanding of the local conditions given that eight from the current squad have participated in various domestic competitions here including the Bangladesh Premier League. "About half the team has played here and this is a good experience for them and for Afghanistan," said Nabi. "There is no target. We will play good cricket and when the time comes we will win." — PTI
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Dubai, February 26
Australia, needing 231 to win, were bowled out for 150 as Rabada finished with 6/25 off 8.2 overs.
Bowling at speeds in excess of 140km/h, the 18-year-old from Johannesburg first launched a brutal attack at the top order of Australia, dismissing Matthew Short, Damien Mortimer and Jaron Morgan in his first spell that read 5-0-18-3.
It was a spell of bowling that turned the target of 231 from highly possible to improbable.
Speaking after the match, Australian captain Alex Gregory praised the bowling performance of the young paceman: “The opening bowler bowled with great pace and intensity. I thought 230 was chaseable if we got a good start.”
Despite being 33/3 at one stage, Australia staged a good recovery, lead once again by 17-year-old Jake Doran. But once he fell for 36, the defeat was very likely.
It was made certain when Rabada returned to the bowling crease to bounce out the tail to finish with remarkable figures of 6/25 against a team known to handle pace better than most.
Gregory wasn’t making excuses for the loss but he certainly felt batting first was an advantage. “It is definitely a bat-first pitch out there, runs on the board always help and it is more difficult to chase at night,” he said.
South Africa’s win over Australia was also the first time the Proteas have defeated Australia in the knockout stages of any ICC trophy, seniors or juniors. The win means that South Africa is the only team that is undefeated in the current World Cup. If they can defeat Pakistan on Saturday, they just could be the generation to shrug off the ‘chokers’ tag that has dogged their senior cricket team.
Brief scores: South Africa 230/9 (Fortuin 74, Markram 45; Short 2/14) beat Australia 150 (Doran 36; Rabada 6/25)
Dhaka, February 26
Chowdhury was found guilty by an anti-corruption tribunal appointed by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to investigate corruption in the 2013 BPL. According to the tribunal, Chowdhury was guilty of “being a party to an effort to fix” a match against Chittagong Kings.
Six others – including players and officials – being investigated were cleared of all charges. Players Mosharraf Hossain Rubel, Mahbubul Alam Robin and Darren Stevens and Gladiators officials Salim Chowdhury, Gaurav Rawat and Mohammad Rafique have been cleared of all the allegations.
Salim Chowdhury is a Gladiators co-owner while Rawat is the CEO of the franchise. Rafique is the bowling coach. A press release from the tribunal stated: “Shihab Jishan Chowdhury having been found guilty of the Art. 2.1.1 charge against him for being a party to an effort to fix the Chittagong match (February 2) shall attend before the Tribunal on a date to be fixed for hearing on sanctions and costs either in person or with his legal representative.”
“The provisional suspension imposed upon each of Mosharraf Hossain Rubel and Mahbubul Alam Robin is lifted with immediate effect,” the press release added.
Mohammad Ashraful had earlier confessed that he was involved in corruption in the BPL, as had another player whose identity hasn’t been disclosed. — Agencies
Chennai, February 26
But writing letters to his wife needed some effort. "Hitting a cricket ball came naturally to me. But while writing letters to Anjali, I had to doubly check what I was writing," he said with a sheepish grin.
"In those days when there were no mobiles, and the only mode of communication was landlines or letters, I started writing letters. I started with writing to my parents, and later wrote some letters to Anjali," Tendulkar said during a handwriting promotional event.
While doctors' handwriting is usually not clear, Anjali, who is a doctor by profession, is an exception, the 40-year-old said.
"My wife is an exception because she has a beautiful handwriting, which anyone would admire."
When asked who had the best handwriting among the cricketers, he said: "I think Anil (Kumble) writes quite clearly. Subroto Banerjee is quite skilful."
And who had the worst? “You generally tend to notice only the good things," pat came the reply.
Comparing handwriting skills with batting skills, he said: “Once you learn them, they are there forever… to start anything in life, basics are very important.”
“I can't write with right hand. I hope there is some technology that teaches us to use the right hand as well. But, I can eat with both hands," he said. — PTI
London, February 26
The tournament, modelled on the lines of cricket's Indian Premier League, is the brainchild of Mahesh Bhupathi and its players' auction will take place in Dubai over the weekend.
The Telegraph has reported that the world No. 1 is committed to play as a marquee player in the city-based tournament scheduled from November 28 to December 20 across Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and Singapore.
The other top players who have shown interest are Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki and reigning Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka.
The report added that Roger Federer, 32, is not keen on taking part in the event due an already crammed calendar. Andy Murray is still in talks with Bhupathi, who was part of the Scot's commercial team briefly.
The report quoted a tennis insider as saying: "Although the players are still sceptical, nobody wants to miss out on a possible money spinner, so a lot of them are putting their names down for the auction. When the money starts being paid into their accounts, that's when they will start believing that this concept is for real." — IANS
New Delhi, February 26
Punjab men trounced Andhra Pradesh 92-44. Ranbir Singh was the top-scorer with 21 points. Amritpal Singh (16), Palpreet Singh (16) and Lovneet (15) were the other prominent scorers.
Punjab women beat Madhya Pradesh 79-59. Nagma Mirza was the highest scorer for the winning team with 16 points. — TNS
Athens, February 26
Alejandro Dominguez opened the scoring with a clever first-half flick and Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell added a sublime second goal to leave United facing a huge task to overturn the deficit in the return match at Old Trafford on March 19.
“That's the worst we've played in Europe. We didn't deserve to get anything,” manager David Moyes told reporters. “I'm surprised, I didn't see that level of performance coming.
“I take responsibility, we have to play better. The players are hurting.”
Defeat at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium represented yet another body blow in an inauspicious campaign for last season's English Premier League title winners.
United are out of the FA Cup and the League Cup and trail Premier League leaders Chelsea by 15 points with 11 games left to play.
Moyes's men looked sluggish and disjointed against an inexperienced Olympiakos side who are bidding to reach the quarter-finals for only the second time in their history.
It was the first time the Greeks had beaten United in five attempts.
“To beat a great side like United, the way we did, is something very special and I can't hide the joy and pride I feel for my players,” said Olympiakos coach Michel. “We picked the best moment to show Greek football is alive and kicking,” added the former Spain and Real Madrid striker. Moyes opted to start with two wingers, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, but neither made an impact in a first half in which runaway the Greek league leaders displayed real energy and hunger.
After a cautious opening from both sides amid ear-splitting noise from an enthusiastic home crowd, the first chance fell to Olympiakos as Dominguez burst through the middle on a solo run only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from Nemanja Vidic. Midfielder Tom Cleverley registered United's only effort of note in the first half with a 17th-minute half-volley that sailed high over the bar. Strike pair Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie were peripheral figures for the visitors as pot shots on goal from Giannis Maniatis and Hernan Perez lifted the home supporters. Olympiakos, wearing bright red and white jerseys, red shorts and socks, broke the deadlock seven minutes before halftime with a smart piece of improvisation from Argentine forward Dominguez. Patrice Evra's half-hearted clearance from a corner landed at the feet of Maniatis 25 metres out and his tame, low shot was expertly diverted past keeper David De Gea by Dominguez's flick. United, the European champions in 1968, 1999 and 2008, were punished again for poor defending 10 minutes into the second half. Campbell, who is likely to feature for Costa Rica against Group D rivals England at the World Cup in Brazil in June, did the damage. He picked up possession 25 metres out, jinked past midfielder Michael Carrick and sent a curling left-foot shot round defender Rio Ferdinand and into the bottom corner of the net. Moyes sent on Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa for Valencia and Cleverley but it was more a change in attitude than personnel that was required from United. — Reuters
After a cautious opening from both sides amid ear-splitting noise from an enthusiastic home crowd, the first chance fell to Olympiakos as Dominguez burst through the middle on a solo run only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from Nemanja Vidic.
Midfielder Tom Cleverley registered United's only effort of note in the first half with a 17th-minute half-volley that sailed high over the bar. Strike pair Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie were peripheral figures for the visitors as pot shots on goal from Giannis Maniatis and Hernan Perez lifted the home supporters.
Olympiakos, wearing bright red and white jerseys, red shorts and socks, broke the deadlock seven minutes before halftime with a smart piece of improvisation from Argentine forward Dominguez.
Patrice Evra's half-hearted clearance from a corner landed at the feet of Maniatis 25 metres out and his tame, low shot was expertly diverted past keeper David De Gea by Dominguez's flick.
United, the European champions in 1968, 1999 and 2008, were punished again for poor defending 10 minutes into the second half.
Campbell, who is likely to feature for Costa Rica against Group D rivals England at the World Cup in Brazil in June, did the damage. He picked up possession 25 metres out, jinked past midfielder Michael Carrick and sent a curling left-foot shot round defender Rio Ferdinand and into the bottom corner of the net. Moyes sent on Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa for Valencia and Cleverley but it was more a change in attitude than personnel that was required from United. — Reuters
Dubai, February 26
On Monday, Devvarman had beaten world No 5 Juan Martin del Potro who retired with a wrist injury after losing the first set. The Indian entered the Dubai tournament high on confidence, winning the $100,000 ATP Challenger Delhi Open on Sunday. Courtesy that win, he jumped 18 places to be 78 in the latest rankings.
Meanwhile, third-seeded Tomas Berdych had an easy time securing a 6-2, 6-1 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine. Berdych, who will face fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals, has won his last eight matches. Despite Berdych having trouble with his first serve — his percentage was a ghastly 37 percent — he controlled the match. He lost his serve once, and won 12 of the last 14 points.
“I was working a little more on my return stats than on my service stats,” Berdych said. “The main focus really for the next days is to get my percentage of the first serve back and really find a nice and sweet rhythm for my serve.”
Tsonga won his second-round match by walkover when his opponent, Nikolay Davydenko, withdrew with a rib injury.
Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic upset eighth-seeded Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 6-4, 7-6 (4), and seventh-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Andrea Seppi of Italy. — Agencies
New Delhi, February 26
The 23-year-old, playing on his home course, went on a birdie spree as he picked up nine of them and one eagle in a flawless card, to launch his full Asian Tour season in style.
Rashid produced incredible golf to set the second best score at the DGC, where Liang Wen-Chong of China had set the 18-hole Tour record with a stunning 12-under 60 in the opening round of the 2008 Indian Open. He had won the title with a total of 16-under 272.
Sri Lanka's Mithun Perera, who won the Standard Charter Open and PGTI Eagleburg Open in the last two weeks, produced a six-under 66, same as Japan's Akinori Tani, to stay five strokes behind, while Australian Scott Barr and Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman were at the fourth spot with a card of five-under 67.
Two-time European Tour champions SSP Chowrasia, S Chikkarangappa, 2009 Indian Open winner C Muniyappa, Sanjay Kumar and England's Steve Lewton were tied fifth after carding a matching 68.
Defending champion Anirban Lahiri faltered on his back nine to bring home a card of two-under 70, along with Mukesh Kumar to lie tied 21st. Among prominent names, Jyoti Randhawa, Manav Jaini, Rahil Gangjee and Himmat Rai — all carded one-under 71 to lie tied 28th. — PTI
Ropar, February 26
Air Force started on a brisk note but had to wait until the 31st minute for the first goal, with Lovepreet Singh sounding the board through a fine field goald.
At half time, Air Force were leading 1-0. In the second half, the Airmen showed even more aggression and scored in the 41st and 51st minute to make it 3-0. RCF, Kapurthala woke up minutes before the final whistle to pump in two goals. The resurgence came too late as the Air Force had already pumped in four goals by then.
Twelve teams including BSF Jalandhar, Air Force, CISF, Delhi, PSPSC Patiala, Punjab Police Jalandhar, EME Jalandhar, RCF Kapurthala, Northern Railway, Delhi, Sikh Centre, Ramgarh, ITBP, Jalandhar, Rock Rovers, Chandigarh and Bengal Engineering Group, Roorkee are participating in the festival. The final match will be played on March 2. . — PTI
Judo federation hires foreign coaches
Dehradun, February 26
JFI president Mukesh Kumar said a memorandum of understanding had been signed among the Ministry of Sports, JFI and the coaches for imparting training to the players. “The MoU was signed last Wednesday after the coaches and their respective governments accepted the terms. The coaches have been hired till 2016 Olympics,” he said.
“In Asia, our position is seventh or eighth. At the world level, we are ranked 20th. Our players are capable of winning more medals and improve the rankings; it’s for this reason we have hired the foreign coaches. For women teams, we wanted to hire a female coach, but couldn’t find one; the ones we had shortlisted were already working with other countries,” he added.
Kumar said the coaches would arrive to take charge once the national camps start in April. The two coaches will work with nearly 50 probables picked for the national camp. “We have three coaches each for the senior boys and girls’ teams. While the national camp for boys will be organized at SAI centre in Patiala, the one for the girls will be held at Bhopal. We are expecting a good performance from our players in the international tournaments after getting trained by coaches of such high calibre.”
The JFI president, however, did not disclose the salary the foreign coaches have been hired at. Kumar said that, based on the performance of the team in the Olympics, the contracts of the foreign coaches will be reviewed.
New Delhi, February 26
"All the potential is there to make it a tremendous World Cup and leave a tremendous legacy for youth football in India," said Inaki Alvarez, FIFA Deputy Director and Head of Event Management Competitions Division.
Alvarez had quite a few encouraging words to say as far as India's ability to host the mega-event was concerned.
"It's been a week and we have visited five cities. So far the experience has been very good, very positive... all infrastructure is there, organisation well done. I can say that we are heading in a very good direction," Alvarez said.
Asked what his main areas of focus was, he said: "There are number of aspects... infrastructure, stadium itself, dressing rooms, pitch, TV facilities and various other facilities. — PTI
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