Bangalore lumber to victory
Pathan’s night out in the land of Sunrisers
Struggling Delhi to take on red-hot Kings XI
Miandad doubts India, Pak ties
Women make a statement, men fluff their lines
Khali returns with academy plans
Pricey tickets keep fans away
Messing up sports Himachal style
Roman holiday for Serena; Djokovic wins
Bayern beat Dortmund to win German Cup
Orange squeeze in a draw vs Ecudaor
Bangalore lumber to victory
Ranchi, May 18
Chasing 139 for a win, Bangalore found the going tough with the Chennai slow bowlers seemingly tying them into knots in the first half of their innings before exploding towards the end to overhaul the target with one ball to spare in a low-scoring match that went down the wire.
Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni used his four slow bowlers — R Ashwin (2/16), Suresh Raina (0/20), Ravindra Jadeja (0/31) and Samuel Badree (0/15) — for long spells and, as they were getting the turn on JSCA International Stadium, Bangalore struggled to reach 45 for one at the halfway mark.
Opener Chris Gayle, who top-scored for Bangalore with an uncharacteristic 50-ball 46, played and missed several times but, to his credit, he stayed at the crease. Bangalore, however, had wickets in their hands, and that gave them the cushion to go all out the second half of their innings. And that's exactly what they did, scoring 97 runs in 9.5 overs to reach 142 for five from 19.5 overs to win the match and stay afloat for a play-off berth.
With today`s win, Bangalore jumped to the fifth place with 10 points from 11 matches while Chennai, who are virtually through to the play-off stage, remained on second spot with 16 points from 11 games.
The fightback began with Gayle and Virat Kohli (27) stitching 61 runs for the second wicket from 10.4 balls before the Bangalore captain was out in the 15th over.
Gayle and de Villiers then decided to have a go at the Chennai bowlers who were getting the odd ball turn. The duo hit some lusty blows to put pressure on the Chennai bowlers.
When Gayle was out, Bangalore needed 29 runs from the last three overs and de Villiers took 15 runs from the 18th over to almost settle the issue. Before he was out, de Villiers took his side to just 14 runs away from victory. Bangalore needed 10 runs from the final over bowled by Hussey and Yuvraj Singh (13 not out) smashed a six from the first ball before Abu Nechim Ahmed (4 not out) hit a four to win the match. — PTI
Hyderabad, May 18
None of the Hyderabad batsmen could play an innings of substance as the hosts settled for a modest 142 for eight. They paid the price of not building partnerships on a wicket that had bounce but still offered plenty to batsmen.
David Warner was the top scorer for SRH, smashing his way to 18 ball 34. Had it not been for some small contributions from Naman Ojha (22) and Irfan Pathan (23 not out), SRH would have struggled to get close to 150-run mark.
KKR easily knocked off the target with two balls to spare as veteran batsman Yusuf Pathan anchored the chase with an unbeaten 39-knock, which had two fours and as many sixes.
Pathan's 45-run stand for the third wicket with Manish Pandey (35) was crucial as it came in a quick time and when KKR did not have much runs on the board. Pandey was dismissed but Pathan ensured that he stayed till the end to see the side home. — PTI
Kolkata Knight Riders
New Delhi, May 18
Just managing two wins in 11 matches this season, the Kevin Pietersen-led Delhi have lost six of their previous games without putting up much of a fight.
Pietersen, who was bought by Delhi for a whopping Rs 9 crore in the February auctions, has failed to inject any spirit in the GMR-owned outfit. If inconsistent batting has let them down then the bowling department led by pacer Mohammad Shami has not helped either.
Barring Jean-Paul Duminy, who features in the top-ten scorers list this IPL season, no Delhi batsman has managed to make a mark.
The top-order comprising Quinton De Kock, Pietersen, Mayank Agarwal and Dinesh Karthik has tried to lift Delhi at times but with little success. Their head coach Gary Kirsten and bowling consultant Eric Simmons have also failed to provide any answers to the team's lacklustre showing.
The think-tank though would be looking to forget the past and focus on their final three games of the tournament. With their backs to the wall, last-placed Delhi have nothing to lose, a position which sometimes works for a team lagging behind.
Punjab, on the other hand, are enjoying a dream run in this edition with orange-cap holder Glenn Maxwell providing perfect entertainment to the Kings XI fans. The solid Punjab batting order has successfully chased down 200+ scores twice in this edition so far and has looked the most promising outfit along with Chennai Super Kings. — PTI
Miandad doubts India, Pak ties
Karachi, May 18 “I don't know what is the value of this MOU because the BCCI itself is in a state of uncertainty and no one is sure whether Srinivasan will remain in power any longer,” said Miandad. “At the same time, the PCB, which was headed by Sethi, was also working on an ad-hoc basis and their main job was to hold elections. So what is the legality of any agreements they signed with other boards?” he questioned. “This is strange because neither has any BCCI official reacted nor have they issued any release on this MOU,” he added. Under the MOU, the PCB has said Pakistan will host India for a two-Test series at a neutral venue next year. — PTI
Karachi, May 18
“I don't know what is the value of this MOU because the BCCI itself is in a state of uncertainty and no one is sure whether Srinivasan will remain in power any longer,” said Miandad.
“At the same time, the PCB, which was headed by Sethi, was also working on an ad-hoc basis and their main job was to hold elections. So what is the legality of any agreements they signed with other boards?” he questioned.
“This is strange because neither has any BCCI official reacted nor have they issued any release on this MOU,” he added. Under the MOU, the PCB has said Pakistan will host India for a two-Test series at a neutral venue next year. — PTI
Women make a statement, men fluff their lines
New Delhi, May 18
The women's team triumphed as the World No.8 Saina Nehwal, World No.11 P V Sindhu and Commonwealth Games gold medallists doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa steamrolled their lesser-known opponents in Group C.
Saina was the first to take the court, and she notched up a facile 21-4, 21-12 win over Joycelyn Ko in the first singles. Saina, the London Olympics bronze medallist, looked at her menacing best, moving swiftly and her drop shots landing with menacing precision. As she decimated the challenge of Joycelyn, she sent out a message loud and clear — ‘This is my home turf and I am the star here'.
“The rhythm was good, my strokes came out well… it was a good outing for me. We have tougher opponents ahead but we are confident of putting up a good show,” said Saina after her victory.
The next Canadian to face the wrath of the Indian onslaught was Rachael Honderich. Her tormentor, Sindhu, took just a minute more than Saina, 27 to be precise, to annihilate Honderich 21-16, 21-3.
Continuing with her rich vein of form, which she showed in the Asian Championships, Sindhu came up with a wide range of strokes to put India 2-0 ahead 2-0.
In the doubles rubber, the golden pair of Jwala and Ashwini won 21-11, 21-12 against Bruce Alex and Phyllis Chan with a methodical display of all-round badminton. The Canadian pair looked tired as the Indians moved swiftly and decisively, displaying a wide range of deceptive strokes.
The Indian women completed the whitewash with Pradyna Gadre and Siki Reddy prevailing over Grace Gao and Rachael Honderich before prevailing over 20-22, 21-18, 21-16 in the second doubles match, and Thulasi P C hammering Brittney Tam 21-11, 21-13.
Earlier, RMV Gurusaidutt was the lone bright spot as Indian men lost 1-4 to Malaysia in the Thomas Cup. K Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap lost their singles match in straight games. The doubles pair of Sumeeth Reddy B and Manu Attri too went down tamely as India surrendered the tie 0-3. Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Chopra lost the second doubles to V. Shem Goh and Wee Kiong Tan 17-21 21-14 14-14, but World No.30 Gurusaidutt managed to win the last match 18-21 21-13 21-19 by defeating Daren Liew to avoid a Malaysian whitewash.
Khali returns with academy plans
Jalandhar, May 18
The future stages of his initiative will also include backing by acclaimed wrestler Sangram Singh, who accompanied him.
Khali said the institute, which is spread on an acre near Kangniwal village in Hoshiarpur, shall be extending lessons in WWE style wrestling.
“It will be based on the American model, for which the WWE coaching experts from abroad (with whom talks are on) shall be roped in. In a single batch we won't accept more than 100 students. They will be coached in batches of 50, three days a week, since injuries are common in wrestling. The institute shall however, also accept Olympian style wrestlers interested in shifting to WWE style.”
While Khali has also been famous for his reality TV as well as film (read: Hollywood) outings, wrestling has been closest to his heart.
“I have taken a peek into the glamour world. But while it has been a nice journey, there is only a certain level to which you can reach there. But wrestling has immense scope, it can be made very big. And I have such plans for the state youth,” he said.
“The concept of making wrestling more accessible to the youth of the state had taken root in my mind in my initial days in the profession. While youngsters in Punjab have great potential, it is not possible for everyone to afford state-of-the-art training or to travel to the US. There is no dearth of talent but aspirants lack opportunity due to the lack of expert hands. So the aim of my institute will be to bring these opportunities to them,” he added. “I will personally stay here to coach them. While we shall be charging a fee of 6,000-7,000 US dollars (about Rs 3.5 lakh) based on the US model, we will also be arranging finance for the exceptionally talented students and shall also incur expenses of those who are fit to be sent abroad for championships,” he added.
Meanwhile, Khali's close friend Sangram Singh — an acclaimed wrestler and a popular media name — said he would also become a part of the initiative at a future stage. “The ultimate plan is to start a wrestling platform in the region in which, say, 20 best wrestlers are made to compete and are provided the best of facilities to bring out their talent. While Bhaji (Khali) would start the wrestling academy with initial finances, I would put in more money eventually.”
The name of the academy is yet to be finalised.
Pricey tickets keep fans away
New Delhi, May 18
Apparently the high-priced tickets, especially those priced at Rs 1000 and 1500, kept many fans from turning up at the venue.
The main reason for keeping the price high is the unreasonably high rent charged by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) from the BAI. The DDA is charging roughly between Rs 50-60 lakh for leasing out the Siri Fort premises to the BAI for 12 days.
The BAI had taken the possession of the premises on May 14 till May 25, and the federation has been asked by the DDA to shell out Rs 4 per sq.ft. per day for the event — which comes down to nearly Rs 5-6 lakh per day.
The BAI has already deposited Rs 26 lakh (6 lakh as refundable security) and the remaining amount would be given after the completion of the event. The DDA is even charging the BAI for 13 rooms and open spaces and display of publicity materials by sponsors inside the complex.
With the two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan, World No.1 Lee Chong Wei, Olympic champion Li Xuerei, two-time All-England champion Shixian Wang and India's very own Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu gracing the Thomas and Uber Cup, the BAI had expected a large turnout.
“We were left with no option but to keep ticket prices high. If this is the response on the opening day, that too on a weekend, what will happen in the knockouts, semi-finals and the final day, for which the ticket prices range between Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000. Final day tickets are priced at Rs 5,000 and we don't expect many people to shell out that much money,” said a senior BAI official.
“It's getting increasingly difficult for us to hold any more international events in Delhi. We are looking at other venues in the country to host international tournaments. I believe this will be the last major tournament in Delhi. The DDA is charging us on a higher side, we are paying Rs 96,000 per day for our office inside the premises,” he added.
The poor turnout also raised the eyebrows of the Badminton World Federation (BWF). The absence of fans clearly left them disappointed despite the aggressive promotion of the event by the Indian federation.
Messing up sports Himachal style
Chandigarh, May 18
That’s the general sporting scenario in Himachal Pradesh, and one of the reasons why sports remain almost non-existent in the hill state. The equation between talent pool, human resource allocation, and infrastructure available is one of utter chaos and absurdity.
Consider this: the state-owned multi-crore sports complex in Dharamsala has a state-of-the-art synthetic athletics track but no coach to train athletes. The situation is exactly similar at the sports complex in Hamirpur. The Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, Una, has the only state-owned astroturf but there’s no hockey coach.
The three major sports centres, completed at a cost of nearly Rs 15 crore in the last two years, are running without specialised coaches ever since they were inaugurated. Once the chief ministers, of both the BJP and the Congress, inaugurated the stadiums and handed them over to the Himachal Pradesh Youth Services and Sports Department, they have apparently forgotten about it.
The sports department, when contacted, played it safe by appearing helpless. “When coaches retire or get transferred, it takes time to get replacements. We have made arrangements to keep things going. The chief minister has announced the appointment of more coaches. I hope it’s done soon,” said Suman Rawat, Joint Director, Sports.
Have coaches, will not post them at centres
The arrangement the sports department has done is this: they have allocated a Physical Education teacher (meant for physical fitness) to the complex. The Tribune has reliably learnt that the Sports Department has at least five coaches of hockey and athletics each but they have been posted at the centres where they aren’t required. In the last two years, there has been no attempt to either transfer these coaches to the three centres, or to hire new coaches for the three centres. “We have 54 coaches under the sports department and 19 SAI coaches assisting them at various centres. But the SAI has recently transferred many coaches out of the state, so our strength has reduced drastically. We are managing with whatever resources we have,” said Rawat. Incidentally, the Sports Authority of India, spelling out the reason for carrying out the biggest transfer drive of the last decade, said the majority of coaches were transferred because they weren’t being used optimally. And it’s just not the coaches that these centres lack. According to insiders, the situation is so bad that these centres don’t even have groundsmen or ‘chowkidars’ to take care of the infrastructure. In such a situation, having a coach is almost a luxury. A look at the district wise allocation of the coaches (see box) reveals the skeletal structure of coaching staff in the state. Interestingly, the last year’s sports budget (Rs 20 cr) allocated more than 25% of it to the salaries of staff (Rs 5.29.04 crore). But the interesting part is that only Rs 2-3 crore is meant for sporting activities. What takes the cake is that even this frugal budget remains unspent.
The arrangement the sports department has done is this: they have allocated a Physical Education teacher (meant for physical fitness) to the complex. The Tribune has reliably learnt that the Sports Department has at least five coaches of hockey and athletics each but they have been posted at the centres where they aren’t required. In the last two years, there has been no attempt to either transfer these coaches to the three centres, or to hire new coaches for the three centres.
“We have 54 coaches under the sports department and 19 SAI coaches assisting them at various centres. But the SAI has recently transferred many coaches out of the state, so our strength has reduced drastically. We are managing with whatever resources we have,” said Rawat.
Incidentally, the Sports Authority of India, spelling out the reason for carrying out the biggest transfer drive of the last decade, said the majority of coaches were transferred because they weren’t being used optimally.
And it’s just not the coaches that these centres lack. According to insiders, the situation is so bad that these centres don’t even have groundsmen or ‘chowkidars’ to take care of the infrastructure. In such a situation, having a coach is almost a luxury. A look at the district wise allocation of the coaches (see box) reveals the skeletal structure of coaching staff in the state.
Interestingly, the last year’s sports budget (Rs 20 cr) allocated more than 25% of it to the salaries of staff (Rs 5.29.04 crore). But the interesting part is that only Rs 2-3 crore is meant for sporting activities. What takes the cake is that even this frugal budget remains unspent.
Education department’s resources in utter neglect
On the other hand, the state government’s second arm — Education Department — that looks after sports in secondary schools has the talent pool but woefully lacks infrastructure. It has been years since specialised coaches were recruited in the sports hostel run by the Education Department. The Majra sports hostel near Paonta Sahib has been doing exceptionally well in women’s hockey. The junior and senior state teams have majority of the players from this centre, yet the so-called sports hostel does not have a decent ground. The sports hostel for basketball in Paprola near Baijnath has been functioning without a coach. The specialised training centre boasts of only a Physical Education teacher. Similarly, the sports hostel for football in Rohru has a volleyball coach who has a tough job of teaching the finer nuances of dribbling and goalkeeping. Ironically, most of the ills plaguing sports in Himachal Pradesh are because of mismanagement. All that the agencies concerned need to do is allocate resources optimally and then monitor it. A different story
On the other hand, the state government’s second arm — Education Department — that looks after sports in secondary schools has the talent pool but woefully lacks infrastructure. It has been years since specialised coaches were recruited in the sports hostel run by the Education Department.
The Majra sports hostel near Paonta Sahib has been doing exceptionally well in women’s hockey. The junior and senior state teams have majority of the players from this centre, yet the so-called sports hostel does not have a decent ground.
The sports hostel for basketball in Paprola near Baijnath has been functioning without a coach. The specialised training centre boasts of only a Physical Education teacher. Similarly, the sports hostel for football in Rohru has a volleyball coach who has a tough job of teaching the finer nuances of dribbling and goalkeeping.
Ironically, most of the ills plaguing sports in Himachal Pradesh are because of mismanagement. All that the agencies concerned need to do is allocate resources optimally and then monitor it.
A different story
Rome, May 18
The World No. 1 looked on top form against the 10th- seeded Errani, who was cheered on by a passionate home crowd but suffered a thigh injury towards the end of the first set and never recovered.
All the action was in the first set, which lasted longer than the 46-minute hammering Williams dished out to the Italian in the semi-finals of the French Open last year, when Errani won only one game. The 27-year-old Errani, who has lost to Serena Williams, 32, in all seven of their meetings, had to leave the court after losing her serve in the eighth game of the first set to get attention for her injury.
She was clearly less mobile after that, and the American rattled off seven easy games in a row to finish the match in one hour and 11 minutes, leaving Errani tearful in defeat.
“I’m sorry for Sara because she didn’t deserve it to end like this, but I’m very happy for the win,” said Williams in Italian on court. Sunday’s triumph was William’s 60th WTA title and she dropped only one set on her way to victory, in Saturday’s powerful semifinal display against Ana Ivanovic.
Errani, who had been bidding to become the first Italian woman since Raffaella Reggi in 1985 to win the title told the crowd: “I’m sorry, you’ve been brilliant all week. It was amazing for me to get to the final and play my best tennis thanks to you and my team, who have always been by my side,” she added.
“Hopefully I’ll be back next year and go one better.” — Agencies
Novak downs Rafael Nadal to win third title
Novak Djokovic came from a set down to beat Rafael Nadal for the fourth time in a row and claim his third Italian Open title with an impressive 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory. World No. 2 Djokovic was broken twice in the first set as Nadal moved towards an eighth Rome title but he came roaring back to dominate the defending champion after that. Defeat for Nadal was his third on clay in a season for the first time in a decade and raised questions about his form ahead of the French Open which starts next Sunday. Djokovic will arrive at Roland Garros on a high after collecting the 44th title of his career to draw level with former French Open champion Thomas Muster.
Berlin, May 18
Dutchman Arjen Robben, who scored the winner against Dortmund in the Champions League final last season, tapped in at the far post in the 107th minute after the country’s top two teams slugged it out in a goalless but entertaining 90 minutes.
Thomas Mueller then raced clear deep in stoppage time to complete the win over their bitter rivals immediately after Marco Reus had missed a chance to equalise.
Victory ended a bad run for Bayern who had won the league title with seven games to spare in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge before hitting a slump in form, including a comprehensive Champions League semi-final defeat by Real Madrid.
“When a team wins the league title then it is already a good season,” Guardiola told reporters. “But we are happy to have achieved it today. It was a big title.” For scorer Robben the win marked the end of a successful season.
“It was a very important goal,” Robben said. “This was a Cup, and we really wanted to win it. We are here, won the double, had a super season and that’s the bottom line.”
The final was marked by a controversial goalline incident with Mats Hummels’ header in the 64th minute cleared on the line by Bayern defender Dante with television replays showing the entire ball may have crossed the line.
German football bosses earlier in the year voted against the introduction of goalline technology but the latest incident is set to renew the debate.
For Dortmund, the defeat completed a season without silverware, with top striker Robert Lewandowski failing to score in his last game before joining Bayern next season. “It was big title, a final and we had our chances. They (Bayern) wanted to lure us out and then counter attack,” Dortmund manager Juergen Klopp told reporters.
“We also wanted to play a bit differently. But we did not defend very well. It did not work out and we have to accept it. I am sorry.”
Bayern, missing injured Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Alaba, also had captain Philipp Lahm limp off with a muscle injury after less than half an hour.
Already missing Thiago Alcantara, who had knee surgery on Thursday, Bayern were desperate to end the season on a high after their form nose-dived spectacularly in March. — Agencies
Juventus beats Cagliari to set new points record
Milan: A stunning Andrea Pirlo free-kick from 35 metres set Juventus up for a 3-0 win over Cagliari and a record 102-point finish as the champions celebrated in style on Sunday. Juve claimed the Serie A title with two games to spare two weeks ago when Roma crashed 4-1 at Catania, a day before Juve added more gloss with a 1-0 home win over Atalanta. Now with 30 official titles — the club were stripped of 'scudetti' won in 2005 and 2006 due to their role in a match-fixing scandal — Juve went on to set two new records last week when a 1-0 win away to Roma gave them a 32nd win of the season and a 99-point tally. Inter Milan had held the previous record of 97 points for a title-winning season under the current format in 2007. Conte is expected to remain with the Turin giants despite reports that is unhappy with a lack of investment. — Agencies
Amsterdam, May 18
In the first of three friendly matches of the Netherlands before the start of the World Cup, Dutch coach Louis van Gaal presented his new 5-3-2 system on Saturday for the first time, instead of the 4-3-3 he used to play during the whole qualifying campaign, reports Xinhua.
Captain Robin van Persie was the only starter not playing in the Dutch Eredivisie, with the foreign players having joined the training camp later or still have to join the squad.
In this new formation the Dutch did not look comfortable in the beginning with fellow World Cup participant Ecuador causing some serious threats. In the ninth minute a pass by Felipe Caicedo cut through the Dutch defense, Jefferson Montero walked away from Joel Veltman and scored.
The home-team created some minor chances for the equaliser, but the pace of the game was too slow to really worry the Ecuadorans and in addition the Dutch made too many mistakes. In the 37th ‘Oranje’ finally showed some brilliance with Van Persie controlling a pass by Jordy Clasie with his chest and smashing in his 42nd goal for the Dutch national team. After an assault by Oscar Bagui on Daryl Janmaat the Dutch right back limped off the pitch, looking to have seriously damaged his ankle. After half-time he was substituted by Paul Verhaegh, Patrick van Aanholt came on for Terence Kongolo and Jonathan de Guzman for Clasie.
The Netherlands were the dominating side in the second part, without creating major chances. Van Persie had an opportunity after a cross by Van Aanholt, but he completely missed the ball. In the final phase both teams seemed to settle for a draw.
Before leaving for Brazil June 5, the Netherlands will go on a training camp to Portugal next week. — Agencies
Frank Lampard is England vice-captain
Roy Hodgson has announced that midfielder Frank Lampard will be England’s vice-captain at this summer’s World Cup. The 35-year-old Chelsea star, who has won 103 international caps and been named captain six times, was skipper when England were last in Brazil a year ago. “Frank Lampard is vice-captain,” Hodgson said. “Frank’s been the vice-captain all along in Steven’s absences, which I think has been two, he’s stepped up quite brilliantly. “I’ve always thought that he was going to be a key member,” he said.
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