Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hungary claim EuroTwenty20 title

Hungary clinched the third invitational European Twenty20 title after a dramatic victory over Russia with one ball spare in the final at the Alexander The Great Cricket Ground in Skopje, Macedonia.

Russia posted a commanding 165 for 6 from their 20 overs thanks largely to the tournament’s highest runscorer Akila Milan De Silva Thotahewage who made 81 before he was dismissed by Magyars captain Andrew Leckonby (3 for 42).

The game looked beyond Hungary as they stumbled to 42 for 3 at the tenth over but Sufiyan Mohammed brought his side back into the game with a blistering 82, including five sixes in one over.

Hungary still required 17 to win off the final over in near darkness but some frantic hitting by Ranjeet Kumar and Habib Deldar sealed the victory with just one ball to spare.

Tendulkar's double ton leads India

Star batsman Sachin Tendulkar hit 203 and debutant Suresh Raina made 120 as India bettered Sri Lanka's run-spree in the high-scoring second cricket Test on Thursday.

India, kept on the field for the first two days during Sri Lanka's massive 642-4 declared, responded by piling up 669-9 by stumps on the fourth day at the Sinhalese Sports Club.

With just 13 wickets having fallen on the placid wicket in four days, the batsman-dominated Test is heading for a draw with Sri Lanka enjoying a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Tendulkar and Raina, who came together on the third afternoon with India on 241-4 and struggling to avoid their second successive follow-on, put on 256 runs for the fifth wicket.

The 37-year-old braved the stifling hot and humid weather in the Sri Lankan capital for more than eight hours to play a marathon innings studded with 23 boundaries and a six. Tendulkar reached the 200-mark, his first in six years, with a flick off Ajantha Mendis for two runs.
Left-hander Raina became the ninth Indian to score a century in his first Test innings, before holing out to short mid-wicket off Mendis shortly after lunch. Raina, just 23 and already a veteran of 98 one-day internationals, was awarded his Test cap only after Yuvraj Singh reported sick on the opening day of the match.

Sri Lanka missed the wicket-taking abilities of the retired Muttiah Muralitharan and injured fast bowler Lasith Malinga as the young crop of bowlers failed to contain the Indians. Mendis finished with 4-157 from his 54 overs, while off-spinner Suraj Randiv failed to add to his two wickets on the third day and returned with 2-212 in 64 overs.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Googlies and Yorkers

India doesn't deserve to be No.1 Test team : Steve Waugh

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh feels that the Indian cricket team doesn't deserve to be the No.1 Test side in the world.

In the light of India's struggling performance in Sri Lanka, Waugh said: "India doesn't look like the No.1 side. The Indian team is struggling at the moment with their bowling and the team does not have the bowlers to take 20 wickets."

 Bedi a controversy monger, ordinarry bowler: Muralitharan
Retired spin great Muttiah Muralitharan lashed out at his long-time detractor Bishen Singh Bedi, calling the former Indian captain a controversy monger and ordinary bowler who would have been hammered by any batsman if was he playing now. 

Bedi has been an untiring critic of Muralitharan by repeatedly calling the Sri Lankan a "chucker" and asking the ICC to ban the Sri Lankan's "doosra" as it
was illegal.

India have sorted Ajanatha Mendis : Tendulkar

Batting icon Sachin Tendulkar said India have sorted Ajanatha Mendis and they are no easy prey for the Sri Lankan spinner now. 

Mendis, who tormented India in their last tour and also in the only practice game, took two of the four wickets but gave away 83 runs in 25 overs.

"He is a difficult bower. But our batsmen have sorted him out. We have figured out his strengths and so we try not to bat to his strengths. He has done well against us but now it is an even contest," said Tendulkar.

Pakistan bowling attack overrated : Collingwood

 England batsman Paul Collingwood believes the Pakistan bowling attack that helped end Australia's seven-match winning streak has a lot to do to prove it is the best in the world.

Pakistan beat Australia in a test for the first time in 15 years, at Headingley on Saturday, to draw the series 1-1.

Captain Salman Butt lauded his pace bowling trio of Mohammad Aamer, Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif, who he claimed was the best new-ball bowler he had seen since Australia's Glenn McGrath.

India hopes rest on Tendulkar

Maestro Sachin Tendulkar scored his 48th test century on Wednesday and shared an unbroken 141-run partnership for the fifth wicket with debutant Suresh Raina to lead India's fightback in the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka.

India were vulnerably placed on 243-4 at tea on day three needing 200 runs to avoid follow on, but it reached 382-4 at stumps.

India just needs 61 runs to avoid follow on with six wickets in hand.

Tendulkar was unbeaten on 108 at stumps having faced 181 balls and hitting 14 boundaries and a six. It was the 37-year-old batsman's sixth Test century for 2010.

 Raina made a half-century in his maiden test innings and was not out on 66 off 133 balls, including eight boundaries.

India started a strong reply to Sri Lanka's first innings score of 642-4 declared with openers Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay sharing 165 runs.

But Sri Lanka's spinners Suraj Randiv and Ajantha Mendis struck back with three wickets for eight runs as the visitors went for lunch on 173-3.

Sehwag, one run short of a century, stepped out to hit off spinner Randiv and was beaten by the bounce to be stumped by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene. He hit 15 boundaries in his 101-ball innings and his dismissal was Randiv's maiden Test wicket.

Vijay departed soon after for 58, trapped lbw by Mendis. Randiv then trapped Rahul Dravid lbw for three runs.

Tendulkar and V.V.S. Laxman shared a composed 68-run partnership for the fourth wicket, shoring up the innings before Mendis returned to trap Laxman lbw for 29 runs leaving India 241-4.

Randiv has replaced Muttiah Muralitharan who retired with a record haul of 800 wickets after the previous test in Galle. He returned bowling figures of 2-108 while Mendis had 2-92.

The hosts' giant total was mostly due to Kumar Sangakkara's classy 219 and Mahela Jayawardene's 174, while Tharanga Paranavitana also scored 100.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dhoni signs Rs 2 billion endorsement deal

MS Dhoni has signed a a two-year endorsement deal worth approximately Rs 2 billion ($ 42 million) with a sports marketing agency.

Dhoni has entered into a two-year deal with Rhiti Sports Management and Mindscapes, which will manage the Indian skipper's long list of endorsements and brand associations, corporate profile, patents and digital rights, images, visibility on social networking sites and merchandise through a joint venture.

Tendulkar's three-year deal with sports management firm Iconix, signed in 2006, was worth Rs 180 crore. Confirming the development, Rhiti Sports General Manager (Operations) Sanjay Pandey said as per the agreement, the company will be looking after Dhoni's entire spectrum of endorsements.

Apart from Dhoni, Rhiti Sports also manages his teammates R P Singh and Harbhajan Singh.

Currently, Dhoni is the country's most expensive sportsperson and is associated with 22 brands such as PepsiCo, Reebok, Aircel, Godrej and Hersheys.

ICC World Cricket League Division One: Ireland beats Scotland in the final

A 160-run fourth wicket partnership between Kevin O’Brien and Andrew White set up a comfortable six-wicket victory for Ireland over traditional rival Scotland in the final of the ICC World Cricket League Division 1 at VRA in Amstelveen on Saturday.

O’Brien finished unbeaten on 98 and White was dismissed after a well-played 79 as the defending champion achieved a 233-run target for the loss of four wickets with 31 balls to spare.
O’Brien, who later picked up his third man-of-the-match award of the tournament, and White had come together with Ireland in bother at 51-3. However, the two batsmen played clever cricket by not only nudging and pushing the ball around but also by punishing anything that was loose.

Earlier, Scotland’s openers Fraser Watts (98) and Preston Mommsen (80) had provided Scotland a dream start when the two put on 141 runs for the first wicket in 30.2 overs after being put into bat. It was easily the highest first-wicket stand of the entire tournament, passing the 50 added by Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie for Ireland against Canada.

However, Scotland’s middle-order failed to capitalize on that start and in the face of some intelligent bowling from O’Brien (2-46), Ireland captain Trent Johnston (2-21) and left-arm spinner George Dockrell (2-42), it slipped to 169-7 before a late rally led by Watts and Scotland captain Gordon Drummond (30) lifted it to 232 as they added 51 for the eighth wicket.

In the third-fourth position play-off game in Rotterdam, Afghanistan defeated the Netherlands by five wickets. It was an excellent outcome for the Asian side which had finished sixth in the tournament in South Africa last year, an event it had entered as a Division 2 side.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad scored a 108-ball 82 with eight fours and Asghar Salamkhail belted five fours and three sixes in a 68-ball 64 as Afghanistan achieved a 219-run target with five wickets and 24 balls to spare.

Earlier, Tom Cooper missed out on his second successive century against Afghanistan when he was dismissed for 96 as the Netherlands struggled to 218-5 – thanks to a late 40-ball cameo by Wesley Barresi who clubbed four fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 51.

Cooper, who was later declared man of the match to add to his player of the tournament award, finished with an aggregate of 408 runs that also included scores of 87, 67, 39, 101 and 18. The 23-year-old faced 135 balls and hit seven fours on Saturday and featured in a 78-run third wicket stand with captain Peter Borren (28) and a fifth-wicket partnership of 69 with Barresi.

In the fifth-sixth position play-off in Schiedam, Canada recorded back-to-back victories over Kenya and condemn the African side to a winless tournament. Chasing a modest target of 191, Canada recovered from 81-5 to achieve victory in the last over with three wickets in hand.

Zubin Surkari was Canada’s top-scorer with 49 while captain Ashish Bagai contributed 39 as the two batsmen put on 85 runs for the sixth wicket.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pakistan make clean sweep in T20s vs Aus

Pakistan clinched a 2-0 win in the Twenty20 series against Australia by securing an 11-run victory in the second match at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

Set a target of 163 to level the series, Australia was bowled out for 151 with two balls remaining, Pakistan paceman Mohammad Aamer excelling at both ends of the innings and finishing with figures of 3-27.

David Hussey top-scored with 33 for Australia, while Kamran Akmal (33) and Salman Butt (31) were key figures for Pakistan as it racked up 162-9.

Pakistan won the first match by 23 runs Monday and the series victory will lift the side after a 12-match losing run against Australia in all formats, including a disastrous tour at the turn of the year and a defeat in the World Twenty20 semifinals.

For Australia, the successive defeats followed a 3-2 loss to England in their recent one-day series.
After being set a challenging victory target for the second time in as many days, Australia began its chase by losing its first three wickets in the opening four overs.

David Warner (1) was trapped lbw by Aamer, who also bowled Michael Clarke (30) after the Australia captain had smashed six fours from his 17 balls. Tim Paine was snared by pacemen Shoaib Akhtar for a second-ball duck, Umar Gul taking the catch at midoff.

James Hopes (30) and Hussey steadied the innings with a 50-run partnership before the recalled Hopes was stumped by Kamran Akmal.

Hussey departed when he sent a leading edge back to bowler Saeed Ajmal and with Cameron White (7) having already gone, Australia was in trouble.

The task got even harder when a 14-ball cameo from Michael Hussey (25) ended when he was trapped lbw by Gul. Two run-outs then sealedAustralia's fate.

Earlier, Pakistan had lost its opening wicket on the fourth ball of the innings — just as in Monday's match — when Shahzaib Hasan (0) was trapped in front by David Hussey.

Kamran Akmal came to the crease to join Butt and the pair put on a second-wicket stand of 61 to place Pakistan back in the driving seat.

Butt had hit six fours in his 21-ball knock by the time he top-edged a sweep to White at short fine leg off Steve O'Keefe.

Kamran Akmal was the next to go after mistiming a pull shot off Mitchell Johnson, the ball looping to midwicket where Clarke took an impressive catch.

The dismissal of Shoaib Malik (12) brought Afridi to the middle alongside Monday's man of the match Umar Akmal, and they put on 30 off 20 balls before they were dismissed one after the other by Dirk Nannes.

Wickets then fell at regular intervals as Australia kept Pakistan in check, Steve O'Keefe finishing with 3-29 on his international debut while Nannes had 3-30.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Geoff Marsh, will coach Sahara Pune Warriors

Former Australia opener Geoff Marsh was quite excited about his new role as head coach of the Sahara Pune Warriors IPL team and didn't take time to admire the money-spinning league.

The former coach of the Australian World Cup winning side of 1999 said though he would be coaching a T20 side for the first time, he was ready for bigger challenges.

On the future of Test cricket, Marsh said, "Any format of the game cannot kill Test cricket, and I feel that continuous public support for Test cricket is a proof of that."

 Asked about the team he would be coaching in the IPL and the challenges it will face, especially in the selection of big names, Marsh said his franchise was hoping the BCCI would give them a level-playing field and that all the players would be allowed to go into open auction.

Former England all-rounder, Dermot Reeve, who was appointed assistant coach of the Pune Warriors, too was delighted. "It's going to be very exciting. I have played six-a-side cricket, but here every ball is going to be an event," said Reeve, who played 29 ODIs, including the World Cup final in 1992.
While announcing the appointment of Marsh and Reeve on Monday evening, Sahara India's managing worker and chairman, Subrata Roy, said he would use his veto to give enough representation to cricketers from Uttar Pradesh in the Pune Warriors team at the time of selection.

Dhoni ties knot with longtime friend Sakshi in Dehradun

Within a day of Dhoni's engagement to Sakshi Singh Rawat, the couple got married at Vishranti Resort, located in the usually sleepy Lower Kandoli village, around 25km from Dehradun. 

In keeping with a romance that was kept tightly under wraps for almost two years, the wedding too was a fiercely private affair, with only family and close friends in attendance.

There were barely 50 guests, though some 10 dishes had been prepared. Given Dhoni's son-of-the-soil, feet firmly grounded image, the cuisine was predictably all-Indian, with nary an exotic dish in sight. 

Of the Indian cricketers, only Suresh Raina, R P Singh, and Harbhajan Singh were present. Raina, who's known for his fancy footwork on the cricket pitch, was also reported to have displayed it with much gusto during the baraat procession.

The 29-year-old cricketer from Ranchi has been one of the hottest bachelor boys of India. His clean and straightforward image has fetched him dozens of endorsements making him among the highest-earning cricketers in the world.

Incidentally, while Dhoni now lives in Jharkand, his family hails from a village near Binsar in Uttarakhand.

Both the skipper and his bride are pahadis. Like the rest of his brethren, Dhoni is a deeply religious and spiritual person. The locals say that his long hair, and the subsequent cut, was on account of a mannat he made to a local deity for a place in the Indian team first, and gesture of gratitude later.
Sakshi's father and Dhoni's father reportedly worked together in Ranchi. Her grandfather, a retired divisional forest officer, lives in Dehradun. The couple know each other from their days in DAV School, Ranchi.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Indian Captain MS Dhoni gets engaged

The Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni got engaged on July 3, with his long time friend Sakshi Singh Rawat. 

Dhoni’s engagement was a quiet ceremony held at Bhagirathi Resorts at Selaqui, Dehradun.

The two had reportedly met at a party in Bipasha Basu’s house in Mumbai in December 2007 to celebrate the release of her film Race. Their families knew each other from Ranchi. They began dating shortly after. Sakshi graduated from the Institute of Hotel Management in Aurangabad two months ago.

She did her schooling from the Welham Girls’ School in Dehradun.
Other Indian cricket players such as Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh were also reported to have been present in the ceremony along with the family members of both the sides. The formal engagement took place at around 6:30 on Saturday, July 3, 2010.

The Dhoni-Sakshi marriage date, however, is not confirmed yet. But according to a family member, the marriage ceremony may take place after the Australian Series.

Englsnd take series 3-2

Mike Hussey and Shaun Tait led Australia to a 42-run victory in the fifth and final One-Day International at Lord's on Saturday as England won the series 3-2.

Hussey hammered 79 in 60 balls as the visitors totalled 277 for seven before Tait produced some lightning-fast bowling to take four for 48 and help bowl England out for 235.

Paul Collingwood fought a lone battle for the home team with 95 and when he was bowled by another quick, full-length delivery from Tait their hopes evaporated.

Tait's first spell was one of the fastest seen at the home of cricket, with the speedometer reading 100.1-mph in his first over.

England won the first three matches but lost the last two as Australia restored some confidence for the Ashes test series that starts in November.

The hosts suffered another blow when Kevin Pietersen injured his thigh while fielding and he later had to bat with a runner for his four-ball duck.

Pietersen could now be a fitness doubt for the forthcoming one-day series against Bangladesh.

Tait, who has retired from tests to prolong his career after a series of injuries, removed captain Andrew Strauss (6) and Michael Yardy (duck) inside three balls to reduce England to 19 for two.

Strauss lost his off stump after Tait got the ball to swing back into him while fellow left-hander Yardy, promoted up the order because of Pietersen's injury, played no stroke and was bowled by a quick, in-swinging delivery.

Earlier, Australia clawed their way back into the game after a slow start by smashing 130 in the final 11 overs thanks to Hussey and Shaun Marsh who scored 59 in 50 deliveries.

Marsh was brought into the side after Michael Clarke pulled out with a back problem.