Friday, December 18, 2009

Dhoni Powers India to 301

After MS Dhoni had elected to bat first, Kumar Sangakkara said that on a track that looked full of runs, he'd be happy with a target of 260. At 125 for 3 after 25 overs, he had reason to feel satisfied. In the initial stages the ball did a bit, but nowhere near enough to cause concern, and India's first three wickets owed to lapses in concentration. The Sri Lankans adopted a tidier line from Rajkot and were vastly improved in the field. As the procession of brighter lights happened around him Virat Kohli got on top of the bowlers and carried the innings with his third fifty, and first in India.

When Virender Sehwag cracked the first ball of the game past point for four, visions of another run fest flickered. When he nicked a flashy cut three balls later, the healthy Nagpur crowd was silenced, and thus began an eight-over period of tidy seam bowling and mistimed shots. Angelo Mathews who took the new ball with Chanaka Welegedara bowled the first maiden of the limited-overs leg of the tour, and 11 dot balls in a row left viewers scratching their eyeballs.

But it was not a mirage, and Sri Lanka's fielders backed their tidy new-ball pair. Tendulkar was nearly run out when on seven but Mathews missed the stumps and allowed five runs. Moments later an unfortunate incident did for Gautam Gambhir, who collided with Welegedara and was caught short by a direct hit from mid-on.

A brief little contest ensued, Welegedara beating the bat repeatedly and occasionally even staring down Tendulkar. It wasn't express pace or even genuine movement, but Welegedara had an effect on Tendulkar, allowing him just 13 runs from 21 deliveries. Even when his horizontal, through-the-line shots weren't timed to perfection, the intent was evident from Tendulkar. To counter Welegedara's angle, Tendulkar hopped about his crease and looked to work the ball away to the on-side spaces. The tussle went Tendulkar's way in the ninth over when he collected two back-foot boundaries.

Kohli, coming in at No. 4, played with a calmness he has often struggled to find in his brief one-day career. He started the day with and immaculate flicks off the pads for four, and it was evident that he was in the mood for a long stay. He opened up with some pretty strokes, the best of which was a wristy straight drive off debutant Suranga Lakmal. He found the boundaries when the field was in, especially pleasing when driving off the front foot, and then settled down to nurdle the ones and occasional two effortlessly.

By now Tendulkar appeared to have got a measure of the track and settled for a combination of timing and placement, but the partnership ended in rather tame fashion. Looking to go over mid-off, Tendulkar danced down the track but was beaten in the air by an Ajantha Mendis googly to be stumped (81 for 3).

MS Dhoni edged his first ball for four and was nearly taken by a diving Welegedara at third man on 11, but settled down to help Kohli put on 44. Kohli was especially good against Lakmal, driving down the ground and pulling whenever he erred in length. At least one boundary came in each of Lakmal's first five overs, and he ended up with none for 43 from six.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

India loses first T20

India loses the first T20 against Sri Lanka here in Nagpur by 29 runs, despite a brilliant 55 off just 26 balls by Indian opener Gautam Gambhir. Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara played a splendid knock of 78 runs in just 37 balls to take Sri Lanka to a mighty 215-5 in their allotted 20 overs.

Having won the toss, Dhoni decided to bowl first, keeping in mind the dew factor, which could have played a huge role in the latter part of the game. Sri Lanka were off to a flying start, as the veteran Sanath Jayasuriya and Tilakaratne Dilshan started off brilliantly. Though Jayasuriya gave the debutant Ashok Dinda, his first international T20 wicket, he took Sri Lanka to a flyer. From there, Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara took over and started making the mockery of the Indian bowling attack. He was superb with the bat and scored 78 runs off just 37 balls with 11 fours and two sixes. He got able support from the other end in the form of Dilshan(34), Chamara Kapugedera(47) and Angelo Matthews(15 not out). The Indians on the other hand were sloppy in the fielding, as the newly appointed fielding consultant Mike Young was a mere spectator of the sloppy Indian fielders in the middle.

For India, debutants Ashish Nehra and Ashok Dinda took a wicket each. Also, Yousuf Pathan and Rohit Sharma shared a wicket apiece. Ishant Sharma, though didn’t took a wicket, but he was the most impressive Indian bowler as he gave only 22 from his 4 overs. Nehra was the most expensive who gave away 52 runs in his 4 overs.

In reply, Indian were too off to a flyer as Virender Sehwag continued his form of Test Cricket into T20 and started off in his typical style. He scored a quickfire 26 runs. Gautam Gambhir – the most consistent Indian batsmen in all the levels of cricket for India, took the toll on the Sri Lankan bowlers, especially Lasith Malinga and posted a pacy 50 off just 19 balls. He however, failed to stretch his innings and is bowled around his legs by Angelo Matthews, when he was on 55. The Indian middle order failed dramatically after the departure of the openers and Dhoni(9), Yuvraj(6), Rohit Sharma(3) and Yousuf Pathan(0) could only manage 18 runs among themselves. Only Suresh Raina tried to defy the Lankan attack with 21. The defeat could have been more shameful, if Ashish Nehra and Ashok Dinda wouldn’t have shared a useful partnership between themselves. Nehra scored 22 and Dinda scored 19.

For Sri Lanka, Kulasekara, Dilshan and debutant Pushpakumara took a wicket apiece, but the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka was the veteran Sanath Jayasuriya, who took 2 wickets for just 19 runs in his quota of 4 overs.

Gautam Gambhir became the first batsmen to complete 6 half centuries in T20 internationals. There were four debutants (two from each side) in the game. For India, Ashish Nehra and Ashok Dinda made their debuts and For Sri Lanka, Chinthaka Jayasinghe and Muthumudalige made their debuts in T20.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pakistan Tottering in First Innings

Pakistan was tottering at 165-6 in the first innings of the second Test. The first day of the second Test match was truncated due to rain and bad weather. Umar Akmal, though tried to play a match saving knock, but he was dismissed for 46. Daniel Vettori took 3 wickets and the pacers did excellent job, as all the major Pakistani batsmen fell cheaply. When the day’s play was called off, Pakistan was in trouble, as they were reduced to 165 for the loss of 6 wickets. Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Aamer were at the crease, when the play was called off.

Sehwag Mauls Sri Lanka

Virender Sehwag hit the second fastest double century to send Sri Lanka into complete disarray, as India take a lead of 50 runs in the third Test match against Sri Lanka here in Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai.

Earlier, in the morning Sri Lanka resumed their first innings and was all out for 393. Young all rounder Angelo Matthews missed what could have been his first hundred in Test Cricket. He was run out when he was on 99, thanks to a brilliant throw from Sachin Tendulkar. Harbhajan Singh finished with 4 wickets; Pragyan Ojha took 3, whereas pacers Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth took a wicket each.

India began their innings in style; thanks to a brilliant innings from Virender Sehwag and replacement opener Murli Vijay. The usual roles get reversed, as Vijay started to hammer the Sri Lankan pacers, whereas Sehwag started off cautiously. Soon Sehwag came out of his skin and started to dominate the bowlers with cuts, pulls, drives, hooks, inside-out shots and every other shot mentioned in the book. Vijay was also elegant with his timing and the shots he played were simply exquisite. Vijay got out when he was trying to play a sweep shot against Rangana Herath. He made 87 off 122 balls with XX and 1 six off Muttiah Muralitharan. Rahul Dravid then joined Sehwag. But the dismissal of Vijay didn’t seem to disturb Sehwag, as he continued to play shots all over the park. Soon he completed his hundred and rose to 150 in no time. Rahul Dravid continued to play good shots as well and never seem to give a chance to the Lankans. Sehwag then completed his 6th double century. He became the 1st Indian to hit 6 double centuries. As soon as his double hundred came, he became crazy and started to play amazing shots. There was no respite for any Sri Lankan bowler. It can be seen from the economy rate of all the bowlers; the lowest being 4.56 of Welegedara. The Indian run rate was 5.61 at the end of the day’s play. Be it Muralitharan, or Herath, Matthews, Welegedara or ODIs best bowler Nuwan Kulasekara; there was no respite for any bowler.

India finished the day at 443-1 off just 79 overs. It would be very interesting to see, whether or not Virender Sehwag would be able to complete his third triple hundred or not. If he does so, he would not only be the first Indian in the world to do so, but the first batsmen in the world as well.

Records that were either broken or are on the verge of it:

• Sehwag’s 200 off just 168 balls is the second fastest double century in Test Cricket, behind New Zealander Nathan Astle off 153 balls.
• Sehwag is the first Indian to register six double centuries, outstripping Rahul Dravid’s five. Only Sir Don Bradman (12), Brian Lara (9) and Wally Hammond (7) have more.
• 284 is the 3rd most runs scored in a single day, behind Bradman’s 309 in 1930 and Wally Hammond’s 295 in 1933.
• First Indian to post four 250-plus innings. Only Sir Don Bradman (5) has more.
• Sehwag has made 200 runs in a day thrice. No other Indian has done it even once.
• Reached 6,000 runs from 123 innings, the 3rd fastest Indian after Sunil Gavaskar (117) and Sachin Tendulkar (120)
• Sehwag has a strike rate of 80.48, the best among the batsmen with over 6,000 Test runs. Viv Richards has the next best strike rate of 69.28
• India’s 443-1 is the most they’ve ever got in a single Test-day. Add Lanka’s 27 and an amazing 470 runs were scored on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shane Bond out of Test Series

New Zealand fast bowler and Man of the Match in the first test against Pakistan, Shane Bond is ruled out of the ongoing Test series due to a torn abdominal muscle. Shane Bond took 8 wickets against Pakistan in the first test at Dunedin. Bond suffered minor abdominal discomfort following the first test & scans on Tuesday revealed a one-centimetre tear in an abdominal muscle.

Kiwi team manager David Curry said that Bond will be 'rested' for the second and third test as a precaution. It is been said that he is expected to recover in time for New Zealand home series against Bangladesh early next year. Meanwhile, Kiwi selectors would be naming the replacement for Bond by Wednesday for the remaining Test Matches.

Friday, November 27, 2009

India completes Thumping Victory

India thrashed Sri Lanka by an innings and 144 runs in the second test here in Green Park Stadium, Kanpur. The first test in Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium was a draw. As the debutant spinner Pragyan Ojha took the last wicket, Indian players, team management, crowd present in the stadium and millions following the match went wild.

India batted first and openers Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid scored hundreds and good scores by Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman enable India to reach a mammoth total of 642. In reply, Sri Lanka was bundled for a mere 229 in the first innings, thanks to a five wicket haul of the returning pacer S Sreesanth. Not even a single half century was scored by any of the Sri Lankan batsmen in the first innings. Indian spinners too supported Sreesanth well, as Harbhajan Singh took 2 wickets and debutant spinner Pragyan Ojha too chipped in with a couple of wickets.

Sent for the follow-on, the story of first innings was repeated and Sri Lanka lost their first 4 wickets for just 54 at the end of third day’s play. India, having sense the victory, deliver the knockout punch on the fourth day as Harbhajan Singh took 3 wickets, Ojha took 2, Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth took 1 wicket apiece to restrict Sri Lanka to just 269. Middle order Sri Lankan batsman Thilana Samaraweera tried very hard to delay the defeat, as he scored a patient 78 not out, but he ran short of batting partners.

S Sreesanth was declared the Man of the Match for his second five wicket haul.

Indian team now looks charged up and will be ready to take on Sri Lankans in Mumbai, in the third test starting from Dec 2.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Indian Team Declared for Sri Lanka Series

Indian Cricket Team has been declared for the Test Series against Sri Lanka. Injured pacer Zaheer Khan is back in the Indian squad for the three match series against Sri Lanka. Also, pacer S. Sreesanth is back in the Indian team. Sreesanth has been in out of the Indian team from a long time back.

The team is as follows:

Captain: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Vice Captain: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, S. Sreesanth, S Badrinath, Amit Mishra.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Zealand Wins Cool Cool Cup

New Zealand defeated Pakistan by 7 runs in an exciting finish, which could have gone Pakistan’s way – thanks to one of the most outstanding innings played by young Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Aamer, who finished unbeaten on 73 off just 81 balls, with 7 fours and 3 sixes, hit in 1 over of Daniel Vettori.

Earlier, New Zealand managed to score just 211 runs, thanks to a brilliant bowling by Pakistani off spinner Saeed Azmal (4-33) and Mohammad Aamer (2-41). New Zealand opener and wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum scored an impressive 76. Rest of the batsmen can’t stand for long whole Kiwi team was sent by Pakistani bolwers.

In reply, it was a one sided game from the starting, as Timothy Southee, Kylie Mills, Shane Bond and New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori limited the Pakistani batsmen and at one stage Pakistan were 101-9. It was looking a feeble batting effort from Pakistan, until young Mohammad Aamer, along with Saeed Azmal (30) took Pakistan to the doors of victory. In the process, Mohammad Aamer broke the record of Zimbabwean Doug Mariller, who scored 56* against India in Faridabad, way back in 2001, by scoring 73 not out.

Mohammad Aamer was given the Man of the Match and Brendon McCullum the Man of the Series awards. Earlier, Pakistan won the first game and New Zealand, the second game of the Cool Cool Cup.

Monday, November 9, 2009

India loses the ODI Series

India, after losing to Australia by 6 wickets at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, Guwahati, lost the ODI Series against Australia. Earlier, India also lost the Hyderabad One Day by just three runs chasing a massive target of 351 runs.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and surprisingly chose to bat on a pitch that was looking green and also, the morning freshness of the wicket was bound to help the fast bowlers. Soon, it started to show it’s nature, when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir got out when the score was 7. The centurion of the last game and only batsman to score more than 17,000 ODI runs – Sachin Tendulkar got out when the score was just 23. Soon, Yuvraj Singh got out in a strange fashion, when he dragged the ball to his own stumps, in an effort to get back to the crease. Soon followed Suresh Raina and India almost lost the game st this juncture, having been reduced to 27-5. Captain M S Dhoni and Ravinder Jadeja tried to settle the things, but they had to sacrifice the run rate for the same.

Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh’s wicket pushed India further down. Then cam Praveen Kumar, who scored a record 85 runs for the 8th wicket with Ravinder Jadeja. Praveen Kumar went on to score a half century, but India were unable to play their full quota of overs and got out on the score of 170 in 48 overs. Left arm pacer Doug Bollinger took 5 wickets.

In reply, Australia though lost the wicket of Shaun Marsh early, but after that patient innings of Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Cameron White and Michael Hussey played useful innings and took Australia to the victory target easily.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dhoni make India bounce back

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain of India hit a brilliant century to win the game for his side. He hit a splendid 124 off 107 balls and had two excellent partnerships, first with Gautam Gambhir (76 off 80 balls, 6 fours) and then with Suresh Raina (62 off 50 balls, 6 fours 1 six).

It was all started with Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bowl first. Virender Sehwag (40 runs off 31 balls, 6 fours 1 six) smashed Aussie bowlers all over the park, however Sachin Tendulkar missed out today, as he scored just 4. Sehwag then joined hands with Gautam Gambhir and they took the score to 67. Here, Sehwag gave a catch off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson. The returning Yuvraj Singh came and started hitting strokes all over the park. But his stint was short lived, as he scored run-a-ball 24 and was caught by Peter Siddle off his own bowling. Then came the ‘Captain Cool’. He started taking quick singles, hit the odd boundary and along with Gambhir, he took the score to 216. This partnership witnessed the fifties of Gambhir and Dhoni. Dhoni and Gambhir hit the Aussies to all corners of the ground. With a confusion between both of them, Gambhir’s innings ended with a direct hit. Gambhir made 76 runs off 80 balls, with 6 fours. Once Gambhir departed, Dhoni attacked the Aussie bowlers even more fiercely; his partner was Suresh Raina. Raina also supported his captain with some lusty blows. Both of them added 136 runs off 93 balls. Raina’s fifty came in just 42 balls. Dhoni completed yet another ODI hundred in style by hitting Shane Watson for a big six. He hit one more six on the very next balls. His century came off just 94 balls, as he finished on 124 runs off just 107 balls. India finished on 357-7 off their 50 overs. With Dhoni’s century, it was the first century by an Indian captain against Australia. Mitchell Johnson took 75-3.

In reply, Australia started in a similar fashion and soon lost the wicket of Tim Paine, when he was dismissed off the bowling of Praveen Kumar. Shane Watson and captain Ricky Ponting took the innings from there, but were never able to cope with the rising run rate. Soon, Watson perished off the bowling of Ishant Sharma. Soon, Praveen Kumar dismissed Ricky Ponting and Australia slipped further down. Within a few overs, it was clear that Australia would not be winning this match. Indian spinners, especially Yuvraj Singh and Ravinder Jadeja bowled well and never allowed the Aussie batsmen took the upper hand. Michael Husey was the highest scorer for Australia, as he scored 53. Ravinder Jadeja took 3 wickets for 39 runs. Ashish Nehra took 2 wickets, so did Ishant Sharma.

Indian Captain was the obvious choice for the Man of the Match award.

With this victory, India level the series 1-1 and would be keen to win the third game and take 2-1 lead in the series.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Australia pins India by 4 runs

Harbhajan Singh's and Praveen Kumar's heroics took India agonizingly close to an enthralling win before the hosts slumped to a
four run defeat against Australia in the first match of the seven One Day Internationals series on Sunday.

At 201-7 in their chase of a 293-run victory target, India seemed heading for a comprehensive defeat before Praveen (40 not out) and Harbhajan (49) came up with a defiant 84-run stand off just 57 balls for the eighth wicket (an Indian record) that took them to the doors of victory.

Earlier, Australia set up a victory target of 292 runs. Tim Paine, Michael Hussey and captain Ricky Ponting played splendidly to set up this huge score. Ashish Nehra took 2 Aussie wickets, whereas Ishant Sharma looked in good form after a long time and he ended up taking 3 Aussie wickets.

For India, top order batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag failed badly, however, Gautam Gambhir showed what a gutsy cricketer he is. He hanged on for 85 deliveries and scored an important half century. He scored 68 with 6 fours and 1 six. There were useful contributions from Virat Kohli and the skipper MS Dhoni, but with the wicket of Ravinder Jadeja, India were reduced to 201-7 in 40 overs. It looked like as if the match will have a one sided end. But Praveen Kumar and Harbhajan Singh have other plans. They played smart cricket and Bhajji showed his 'liking' for Aussie bowling once again with a brilliant innings of 49 runs off just 31 balls with 4 fours and 3 big sixes, whereas Praveen Kumar justified his batting talent and he remained unbeaten on 40 off just 32 balls with 5 fours and 1 six.

If India would have won the game, the Man of the Match would certainly had been Harbhajan Singh, but with the Aussies winning it, Michael Hussey was adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant 74 off 54 balls with 8 fours and 1 six.

What a series opener it was? I can't wait for the second match which is scheduled to held at Nagpur's Vidharbh Cricket Association ground on Wednesday, Oct 28.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lee stars in NSW's title triumph

A compelling performance from Brett Lee, with bat and ball, spurred New South Wales to the Champions League Twenty20 title in the final against Trinidad & Tobago in Hyderabad. Lee scored 48 to lift NSW from 83 for 6 to a competitive 159. He then returned for a fiery spell with the new ball, taking 2 for 10 off two overs, before symbolically ending the T&T challenging by catching the fearsome Kieron Pollard on the boundary. NSW also had another, if less prominent, performer in young legspinner Steven Smith. He partnered Lee during a 49-run partnership, scoring 33, and picked up two crucial wickets with his legbreaks.

20 overs New South Wales 159 for 9 (Lee 48, Rampaul 3-20) v Trinidad & Tobago

The question at the start of the battle for the biggest cash prize in a cricket tournament ever was that who will handle the pressure of the final better? Trinidad & Tobago came out on the top initially, reducing New South Wales to 83 for 6, but Brett Lee played a superb hand to propel NSW to a competitive 159 in Hyderabad.

Lee is a clean hitter but his innings wasn't a blind counterattack in the traditional sense of the word. He started slowly, reaching 7 off 13 deliveries, before he broke free in the 16th over against Lendl Simmons. The first delivery, a full toss, was swung over square-leg for a six, the fourth delivery was a clean hit over long-on, and the last one was carved to the cover boundary. Time and again, Lee cleared the front leg and swung cleanly through the line. Navin Stewart disappeared over long-on and Sherwin Ganga was heaved over midwicket as Lee powered NSW to a good total. Lee got support from Steven Smith, who did what was required perfectly: give the strike to Lee, and try to pinch the occasional boundary to soak up the pressure.

Until Lee delivered his counter punch, though, it was T&T all the way. Simon Katich wanted to bat and Daren Ganga wanted to bowl and both teams got what they wanted out of the toss. The question then was, considering T&T's ability to chase down big scores, would the pressure to set up a daunting target tell on NSW? The answer played out during the next twenty overs.

If NSW were to get to a huge total, the two hard-hitting openers had to contribute heavily but that didn't happen. T&T started with the spin-seam combination and Sherwin Ganga, the offspinner, bowled three overs in the Powerplay. The third ball of the game perhaps indicated which team was suffering more from the yips. Warner opted to play a weak reverse sweep and nearly edged it back to the bowler. Warner did go on to thread a couple of boundaries on the off side but never looked in. Meanwhile the pressure told on his partner Phillip Hughes, who faced three balls in the first three overs, and fell, trying to slog-pull the impressive Ravi Rampaul.

While Sherwin Ganga was miserly, it was Rampaul who really shone with a fine display of canny seam bowling. He hit a full length, got the ball to cut both ways and built pressure. One moment captured his combative spirit perfectly: When Warner tried to impose himself with a crashing cover-drive, Rampaul fired in a sharp 140 kmph bouncer that flew past the startled batsman.

The chance for NSW to break free came in the fifth over bowled by Dwayne Bravo, who had leaked runs in the semi-final. Katich started off with a bottom-hand powered six over long-on but Warner fell in the same over, edging one to right of backward point where Dave Mohammed took a fine catch.

What followed was a nervy phase for NSW as one batsman after another fell to soft dismissals. Katich punched Bravo straight to mid-off, Moises Henriques swung a short delivery to fine-leg, Ben Rohrer pulled a long hop straight to deep midwicket, and Daniel Smith chopped a length delivery back on to his stumps. But Lee and Smith saved the day with some sensible batting and pushed NSW to a competitive score.

Trinidad and Tobago enters finals

Trinidad and Tobago defeated South Africa's Cape Cobras by 7 wickets to enter the finals of Airtel Champions League T20. With this victory, Trinidad and Tobago have acquired the license to meet Australia's New South Wales in the finals.

Earlier, Puttick of Cape Cobras won the toss and elected to bat first. Herschelle Gibbs started the innings in an explosive manner - as he went on to score 42 off just 27 balls with 5 fours and 1 six. After Gibbs' departure, J P Duminy took charge for Cobras in his typical fashion and scored a blistering 61 off just 40 balls with 4 fours and 3 huge sixes. Cobras eventually finished their innings on 175. They could have scored more, if Ravi Rampaul haven't bowl that super last over, where he conceded just 2 runs. For T&T, Lendl Simmons took 2-17.

In reply, every batsman of Trinidad and Tobago got good starts; be it Perkins, Barath or Simmons. But the real blow came from Darren Ganga and Dwayne Bravo, who took Trinidad and Tobago with lusty blows. They managed to took Trinidad and Tobago from a feeble position to victory. Barath scored 29 off 16 with 4 fours and 2 sixes, Perkins scored 20 off 16 with 4 fours. The real heroes Ganga and Bravo scored heavily, as Ganga finished on an unbeaten 44 off 31 deliveries with just 1 four and 2 sixes, whereas Bravo was more severe on Cape Cobras' bowlers, as he scored an unbeaten 58 off just 34 balls with 4 fours and 3 huge sixes. Justin Ontong and J P Duminy took 1 wicket each.

Undoubtedly, Bravo was declared the Man of the Match.

Now, we have a great finals between tournament's top 2 teams. This clash is really a justified one as both the teams have been simply outstanding in the entire Airtel Champions League. If I talk about my favourites, it had to be Trinidad and Tobago.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NSW enters into the finals of Champions League

NSW crushed another Australian team Victoria Bushrangers by 79 runs to enter the finals of Airtel Champions League T20. They will meet the winners of the match between Cape Cobras and Trinidad and Tobago.

NSW's Captain Simon Katich won the toss and elected to bat first. The top order of New South Wales proved his decision was right, as David Warner thrashed the Bushrangers' bowlers all over the park and scored 48 runs off just 25 balls with 7 fours and 2 huge sixes. Along with Phil Hughes, Warner added 62 runs for the first wicket in just 6.5 overs. Even after Warner's dismissal, NSW batsmen added quick runs and ensured that NSW get close to 170. For New South Wales, the main scorers apart from David Warner were Phil Hughes (35 runs 28 balls 4 fours 1 six), D Smith (20 runs 19 balls 3 fours), captain Simon Katich (26 runs 18 balls 2 fours 1 six) and B Rohrer (19 runs 11 balls 2 fours). NSW ended their innings at 169-7 in 20 overs.

In reply, Victoria Bushrangers started off disastrously, as both their openers, Rob Quiney and Brad Hodge got out for 0. Soon, they were reduced to 6-3, as off spinner Nathan Hauritz (who opened the bowling with Brett Lee) dismissed the openers and A Blizzard was dismissed by Brett Lee. The fate of the match was already decided after the fall of these three wickets. Victoria Bushrangers managed to score just 90 off their 20 overs. For New South Wales, Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz took 2 wickets each, but the leading wicket taker was Moises Henriques, who took 3 for just 11 runs off his 3 wickets. Wade was the highest scorer for Bushrangers, as he scored 23 off 29 balls.

David Warner was adjudged Man of the Match for his splendid batting.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

DareDevils Smashed by Victoria Bushrangers

Delhi Daredevils - under new skipper Gautam Gambhir - were beaten by Victoria Bushrangers. For Victoria Bushrangers, Clint McKay led a devastating seam attack, in the opening match of Group D.

Delhi was looking like strangers against a bowling attack that was ruthless on a pitch with consistently uneven bounce, because of which run-scoring was quite a problem. Gambhir would not have thought for such a poor performance after selecting to bat after winning the toss. Delhi just managed to leave behind the second lowest T20 score at this ground, registered by the Eagles, earlier in the day.

Virender Sehwag attempted to stamp his authority in front of home crowd by smashing boundaries off successive Shane Harwood balls, but was splendidly caught & bowled by Clint McKay in his 1st over off a mistimed shot on the leg side. Clint McKay followed it up by getting English batsman Owais Shah, caught behind for naught.

The troubled situation forced Dilshan to play the sheet anchor role & he was conscious, when Clint McKay - who enjoyed the seaming conditions -bowled him. Middle order batsman Mithun Manhas made 25. Andrew McDonald dismissed Rajat Bhatia and Pradeep Sangwan in the last over.

In reply, Rob Quinney of Bushrangers, didn't let anyone feel that the pitch is not suitable for good batting. Dirk Nannes and Ashish Nehra disappointed and the scoring for Bushrangers for free flow. With 32 already on the score board in the 5th over, Daredevils were in a state of panic.

Leg Spinner Amit Mishra was also sent for a six and a four, but he managed to dismiss Rob Quinney on the last bowl of his first over. Brad Hodge, who was a mere spectator from the other end, was bowled by Tilakaratne Dilshan 2 balls later, but with Victoria racing to 55-2 in the 9th over, Daredevils needed a miracle. Dilshan and Mishra, managed to slow the scoring rate, but Bushrangers, having been delivered a superb start, could afford to relax.

Rajat Bhatia took the wicket of David Hussey with a slower delivery, but it was too late for the Daredevils. Blizzard won the game for Victoria, smashing Bhatia for a big one over long-on.

Mcckay was the lone choice for the Man of the Match award.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Duminy made Cape Cobra Win

Cape Cobras (of South Africa) defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in an exciting finish with the help of a brilliant 99 not out by J P Duminy. J P Duminy scored these runs in just 52 balls. He played every shot in the book and remained unbeaten on 99, as he took a single to tie the score on the third ball off the final over of the match bowled by R Vinay Kumar of Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Anil Kumble of Royal Challengers Bangalore won the toss and elected to field first. Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Robin Uthappa played a superb knock of 51 off just 39 balls, when he got out on the bowling of Mondi Zondeki. Earlier, Royal Challengers Bangalore lost the opener Jacques Kallis pretty early. Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Ross Taylor also hit a fast half century and remained unbeaten on 53. For Cape Cobras, Charles Langeveldt took 1 wicket, but he conceded only 12 runs off his 3 overs. Other major wicket takers for Cape Cobras were Mondi Zondeki, and Henderson.

In reply, Cape Cobras had a pretty decent start, but they seemed to lost the way after the loss of a couple of wickets. However, Jean Paul Duminy stood tall and scored an unbeaten 99 off just 52 balls with the help of 8 fours and 5 towering sixes. Along with Canning, he scored 61 runs for the 5th wicket. J P Duminy hit 3 boundaries and 1 six in the tense stage of the game. Praveen Kumar of Royal Challengers Bangalore bowled reasonably well, until he was hit for 2 boundaries by J P Duminy in the penultimate over of the match. For Royal Challengers Bangalore, Praveen Kumar took 3 wickets, whereas spinners Anil Kumble and Roelef Van der Merwe took 1 wicket each.

The choice of Man of the Match award was pretty simple – it was J P Duminy of Cape Cobras

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Champions League Twenty20 2009/10

Date and Time


Thu Oct 8

1st Match, Group C - Royal Challengers Bangalore v Cape Cobras

M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

Fri Oct 9

2nd Match, Group B - Eagles v New South Wales

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

3rd Match, Group D - Delhi Daredevils v Victoria

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

Sat Oct 10

4th Match, Group C - Cape Cobras v Otago

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

5th Match, Group A - Deccan Chargers v Somerset

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

Sun Oct 11

6th Match, Group B - New South Wales v Sussex

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

7th Match, Group D - Delhi Daredevils v Wayamba

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

Mon Oct 12

8th Match, Group A - Somerset v Trinidad & Tobago

M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

9th Match, Group C - Royal Challengers Bangalore v Otago

M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

Tue Oct 13

10th Match, Group D - Victoria v Wayamba

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

11th Match, Group B - Eagles v Sussex

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

Wed Oct 14

12th Match, Group A - Deccan Chargers v Trinidad & Tobago

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

Thu Oct 15

13th Match, League B - TBC v TBC (C1vD2)

M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

Fri Oct 16

14th Match, League A - TBC v TBC (A2vB2)

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

15th Match, League A - TBC v TBC (A1vB1)

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

Sat Oct 17

6th Match, League B - TBC v TBC (C2vD2)

Sat Oct 17

17th Match, League B - TBC v TBC (C1vD1)

Sun Oct 18

18th Match, League A - TBC v TBC (A2 v B1)

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

19th Match, League A - TBC v TBC (A1 v B2)

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

Mon Oct 19

20th Match, League B - TBC v TBC (C2 v D1)

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

Wed Oct 21

1st semi-final - TBC v TBC (Winner B v Runner up A)

Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi

Thu Oct 22

2nd semi-final - TBC v TBC (Winner A v Runner up B)

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

Fri Oct 23

Final - TBC v TBC

Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad

Australia won the Champions Trophy

Australia defeated New Zealand to won the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 by 6 wickets. New Zealand batted first and managed to score just 200. Australia, however struggling a lot in the early overs, win the game comfortably in the end, thanks mainly to the second successive century by opener Shane Watson and a gritty half century by Cameron White.

Shane Watson was declared the Man of the Match, whereas Australian captain Ricky Ponting was declared the Man of the Series.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Australia reaches semi….India not

Australia defeated Pakistan on the very last ball of the match and managed to book a place in semi finals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2009. With Australia’s victory, India will be booking a ticket after the India-West Indies match. However, India won the game against West Indies (see below for details), but it was too late for the World’s Number 3 team in the world.

Just like the New Zealand-England game, it was a do-or-die game. However, it was Australia who was not at a great danger. Well, Pakistan, put on to bat first by Australia, as Ricky Ponting won the toss for Australia. It was a good wicket to bowl on, and with perfect conditions for seamers, Pakistani batsmen found it difficult to cope with the conditions. It was evident from Pakistani skipper Younis Khan’s innings, as he scored just 18 from 49 balls. Can’t say, was that a deliberate attempt from the Pakistanis to play slowly (in order to minimize Indian chances) or were the conditions really helpful for the seamers? Well, they finished off on just 205 and put Australia a really easy target.

Australians started off well and it looked like an easy Australian victory, before struggling at the doors of victory. Pakistani spinners turn the tables and suddenly Australian middle and lower order looked fragile. It was Brett Lee, who kept his nerves and ensured that Australia doesn’t have for the India-West Indies match.

Meanwhile, India wins the game against a weak West Indies side by 7 wickets, but it was too late for them. The Indian pacers started off brilliantly, plucking West Indian wickets like flowers, as Pravin Kumar and Ashish Nehra did a fantastic job and shared 7 wickets between them. However, they have done it very late and had it would been India-Pakistan tie, there performance should have been heavily praised by crores of Indian fans.

Virat Kohli was declared the Man of the Match, for his unbeaten 70 runs in the chase.

Kiwis in….Sri Lanka out

New Zealand registered a difficult win against England to move ahead to the Semi Finals of the ICC Champions Trophy and to stop Sri Lanka from qualifying with the same.

England batting first, had a disastrous start as they lost the top 3 batsmen with just 13 on the board. Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara tried hard to provide stability to the innings but other batsmen failed to do so. Ryan Sidebottom also played an important innings of 20 in the end to take England close to 150. Surprisingly, Grant Elliot was the highest wicket taker with figures of 4-31 and Shane Bond contributed with figures of 3-21.

In reply, New Zealand started brilliantly and with time, it looked as if they would win by 10 wickets. However, as we know Cricket is a game with a lot of uncertainties, England pegged back when Stuart Broad started taking Kiwi wickets one-after-another. But, as the target was very short, they eventually finished the game after losing 6 wickets. Broad finished with figures of 4-39

Monday, September 28, 2009

South Africa thrown out

South Africa, having suffered a big defeat against a much improved English side by 22 runs, is out of the tournament. This is the second defeat for South Africa; the first one coming against Sri Lanka by 55 runs in a rain curtailed match.

Graeme Smith won the toss and elected to field first. Joe Denly and Andrew Strauss began the innings for England. England had a reasonable start. After a couple of wickets, it was Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah, who gave strength to the team and soon these two started hitting South African bowlers all over the park. Especially, Owais Shah was crueler on South African bowlers, hammering 5 sixes. He was unlucky, not to get a hundred and was dismissed for 98. Paul Collingwood then took the charge with Eoin Morgan, who hammered 67 runs in just 34 balls. Collingwood made a well crafted 82. Eoin Morgan got out with few overs left but he managed to secure a strong total of 323 for the team. For South Africa, Wayne Parnell took 3 wickets and Johan Botha chipped in with 2 wickets.

In reply, Herschelle Gibbs and Graeme Smith started well and South Africa looked to adopt the right path to chase such a huge target. But wicket of Gibbs came sooner and Kallis followed him shortly. Then South Africa came back in the game with a great partnership between Smith and AB DeVillers for the third wicket. Together, they put on 78 for the 3rd wicket. Again, after DeVillers got out, it looked that South Africa might collapse, but J P Duminy played well for his 24. Together with Smith, Duminy put on 67 for the 4th wicket. After Duminy’s wicket, South Africa started to lose their wickets at regular intervals. Though, Albie Morkel did hit some lusty blows, but they weren’t sufficient. Graeme Smith almost carried his bat and was the last one to got out. His innings was an outstanding one, scoring his 9th ODI century off just 104 balls. He made 141 in 134 balls, with 16 fours. After it looked that no one could stay at the wicket, Smith decided himself to finish the job; though he couldn’t do so. His innings were larger than life and would be remember for days to come. James Anderson and Stuart Broad were the pick of the bowlers to take 3 wickets each.

Owais Shah was declared the Man of the Match for his thundering innings of 98 runs.

Meanwhile, another player has got out of the tournament. The latest victim is England’s wicketkeeper batsman Matt Prior due to illness.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kiwis thump Sri Lanka

In a huge match of ICC Champion Trophy 2009, New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by 38 runs. This could be possibly the end of road for Sri Lanka as they lost second game in a row.

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangkkara won the toss and elected to field. He didn't though that New Zealand would make such a start. Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum destroyed the Sri Lankan bowling and made 125 for the first wicket. Ryder, in particular, was more sever on the bowlers. Also, he was the first to go. McCullum soon departed, when he was dismissed for 46. Ryder made a brutal 74 off just 58 balls. He sent 11 balls to the boundary, 10 fours and 1 huge six. New Zealand then seemed to lost their way, as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Captain Daniel Vettori, though stood tall and contributed 48 from the bat. His 48 came off just 44 balls, with 4 fours and a six. James Franklin and Kylie Mills ended the Kiwi innings in style, as Mills scored 18 off just 6 balls with 2 fours and 1 six. Both of them ensured that New Zealand get passed 300. New Zealand finished on 315. For Sri Lanka, Jayasuriya took 3 and Angelo Matthews took 2 wickets.

In reply, Lanka started in similar fashion with Jayasuriya and Dilshan scoring 66 off just 8 overs. But then, just like Kiwis, they also began losing their wickets at regular intervals. Though, there were 2 half centuries, one came from ex captain Mahela Jayawardene and second from young Angelo Matthews. Jayawardene scored 77 off 85 balls and along with Matthews, he took Sri Lanka very close to victory. But then, there were some disciplined Kiwi bowling at the end and all the bowlers contributed well. For New Zealand, Mills took 3 wickets, whereas Tuffey, Franklin and Vettori took 2 wickets each.

Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori was declared Man of the Match for his allround performance.

Meanwhile, Jesse Ryder has been ruled out from remaining matches of New Zealand in the tournament due to pulling out of left abductor muscle. He become the second Kiwi player to get knocked out of the tournament after Jacob Oram.

Pakistan wins against India

The much awaited game between India and Pakistan was electrifying and ended with Pakistan defeating India by 55 runs. It was second victory for Pakistan against India in Champions Trophy.

Pakistan's skipper Younis Khan won the toss and elected to bat first on a dry pitch of Centurion. India started off reasonably well having struck 3 Pakistani wickets for just 65, as Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal and skipper Younis Khan got out within the first 15 overs. It was then Shoaib Malik and Mohd. Yusuf who set the things for their team and shared a 206 wicket partnership for the 4th wicket. Shoaib Malik went on to score his 7th One Day international century. Yusuf was the first to depart, from the two when the score was 271. Yusuf made a well crafted 87 off 88 balls with 7 fours. The Pakistani middle and lower middle order failed miserably and wickets tumbled at one end. Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul and Mohd. Aamer departed one after the other. Shoaib Malik also lost his cool and got out when the team's total was 300. He made 128 off 126 balls with 16 fours. Pakistan ended their innings at 302-9 off their 50 overs. For India, Ashish Nehra bowled superbly and took 4 wickets for 55. Ishant Sharma also bowled very well and took 2-39 off his 8 overs.

In reply, India lost the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar very early, when the score was just 23, but Gautam Gambhir was joined by Rahul Dravid and together they scored 67 off just 64 balls. Gambhir in particular was severe on Umar Gul and he went on to score his 16th ODI fifty. When he departed, Indian score was 90 in 13.5 overs. Virat Kohli, who was included in place of injured Yuvraj Singh and skipper M S Dhoni didn't do anything special. But When Suresh Raina joined Dravid, it looked that the two will pull the victory for India, as Raina, especially was severe on the bowlers. Together they brought the required run rate down to 6 runs per over, which, at one time, got to 7.50 runs per over. Raina was adjudged LBW off the bowling of off spinner Saeed Azmal. Raina scored a quickfire 46 off 41 balls with 5 fours and 2 towering sixes. Yusuf Pathan didn't scored much and felt to Mohd. Aamer. A severe mix up between Dravid and Harbhajan resulted in Dravid's departure and India's hope. Rahul Dravid got run out, when he was trying to take the 3rd run. Dravid scored 76 off 103 balls with the help of 4 fours. With Dravid's departure, India's hopes also got over and the Pakistani bowlers cleaned up the Indian tail pretty cheaply. For Pakistan, young pacer Mohd. Aamer and Rana Naved took 2 wickets each; also, spinners Saeed Azmal and Shahid Afridi also took 2 wickets each.

Shoaib Malik was the unanimous choice for the Man of the Match award for his brilliant century.

India will now play against Australia on Monday, 28th Sept; and mind you, they have to win this game in order to stay in the competition.

Australia manages to win

It looked at one point of time, that we might have the first upset in the ICC Champions Trophy 2009, but Australia managed to pull off the things, just in time, thanks to some controlled and disciplined bowling by Shane Watson and Nathan Hauritz.

West Indies won the toss and elected to bowl first. They couldn't have better start, Kevin Roach bowled out Shane Watson on the very first bowl of the game. Tim Paine also looked in 'Pain' and scored a slow 33. However, on the other hand, skipper Ricky Ponting made a patient 79. Hussey again missed out today and apart from him, Ferguson, White and Hopes felt cheaply. At that point of time, when Australian score was looking normal, tailenders Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson shared a 70 runs partnership that strengthened the things for Aussies. Brett Lee scored 25 off 28, but the real hero of the day was Johnson, who scored 73 off just 47 balls, with 8 fours and 3 massive sixes.
For West Indies, Kevin Roach, Nikita Miller and Dave Bernard took 2 wickets each.

West Indies started off brilliantly and till the 45th over, they were very much in the game; thanks mainly to half centuries by Andre Fletcher and Dowlin. Captain Reifer and Darren Sammy made useful contributions, but just when the knockout punch was required from the Windies, they failed to do so and were bundled out for just 225. The worst thing was that they lost their last 5 wickets for only 10 runs. Pacers Peter Siddle and Shane Watson took 2 wickets each. Off spinner Nathan Hauritz also took 2 wickets.

Mitchell Johnson was the obvious choice for Man of the Match.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Real won starts now

This is it; India v/s Pakistan. India will miss Yuvraj Singh, who is out for six weeks, but Pakistan would be having a full strength side. India, though looking as hot favourites, you still can’t predict anything in this format. India’s main strength lies in batting, with Sachin Tendulkar having scored a century in the finals of Compaq Cup, Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan and captain M S Dhoni. The bowling attack involves offie Harbhajan Singh, pacer R P Singh, Ishant Sharma and good looking Ashish Nehra.

On the other hand, Pakistan would be banking on their pace bowling trio of Umar Gul, Rana Naved and young Mohd. Aamer and spinner Saeed Azmal. Their batting line up includes names like Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Imran Nazir and Misbah-ul-Haq. The X factor lies in Umar Akmal. One should not even forget the lusty hitting of wicketkeeper batsman Kamran Akmal.

This should really be a cracker of the tournament.

Clinical finish for England

England registered an easy victory against Sri Lanka in the Group A Match here in Johannesburg. With this defeat, Sri Lanka now has 1 win and 1 defeat from 2 matches. The other two teams in the Group are New Zealand and South Africa.

England won the toss and elected to bowl first. Sri Lanka suffered early blows inflicted by English pace battery – Graham Onions, James Anderson and Stuart Broad. They shared 8 wickets between them. Sri Lanka was in deep trouble as they lost their first 4 wickets for just 17. Then Thilana Samarweera and Thilana Kandamby shared a useful partnership for the 5th wicket. Samarweera scored 30. Kandamby, along with Angelo Matthews took the score to 163. Then Anderson and Luke Wright finished the things and limited Sri Lanka to 217 runs. Kandamby scored a useful half century, as he finished on 53. Also, Matthews scored 52.

In reply, England started off badly losing opener Denly and skipper Andrew Strauss early. Both were dismissed by Kulasekara for 5 and 9 respectively. Former skipper, Paul Collingwood played a handy knock of 46 off 51 balls to ease the things a bit. Owais Shah played a solid knock of 44 runs off 74 balls. After Collingwood’s departure, Shah continued the innings with Eoin Morgan who was equally impressive with the bat. The M-M-M magic was not at it’s very best as Muralitharan and Malinga were able to take only 1 wicket each. Kulasekara took 2 wickets. Morgan remained unbeaten on 63, along with wicketkeeper batsman Matt Prior who remained not out on 28.

Paul Collingwood was declared the Man of the Match.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yuvraj out for six weeks

Ace Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh was ruled out of India campaign in ICC Champions Trophy 2009, due to a hairline fracture in the little finger of his right hand, while having a practice drill, here at Witwatersrand University Cricket Ground. India’s first game is against ach rivals Pakistan on Saturday. The ball scraped past the little finger of Yuvraj’s right hand, and the Indian vice Captain screamed in pain.

In the last Champions Trophy too, he got himself injured just before a crucial game against Australia. At that time, Yuvraj’s knee got injures, and now it was the turn of his little finger. It is too early to say, what effect it would have on India’s chances in the tournament, but it is a big blow for M S Dhoni and company, for sure. Though, Yuvraj was given immediate First Aid, but nothing seemed to work for the southpaw. Promising young talent from New Delhi Virat Kohli may take his place, but with Yuvraj in great form, it would be really hard to fill his boots. With four frontline players, pacer Zaheer Khan, opener Virender Sehwag, opener Gautam Gambhir and now Yuvraj Singh are either absent from the team or are struggling to get back into full fitness.

Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir has been made Dhoni’s deputy for the tournament.

ICC Champions Trophy 2009 Results

Sri Lanka wins the opening game

Sri Lanka defeated South Africa by 55 runs to win the inaugural match of ICC Champions Trophy 2009. Chasing a victory target of 320, South Africa could manage only 206-7 off 37.3 overs, when rain interrupted play, which causes the calling up of the game. Sri Lanka scored 319, thanks mainly to a brilliant century by Tilakratne Dilshan and an expressly scored 71 by former captain Mahela Jayawardene. Dilshan was adjudged the Man of the Match award.

Pakistan thrashed Windies

As expected, Pakistan thrased the second string West Indies team by 5 wickets in the second game of ICC Champions Trophy 2009. West Indies, who won the toss, batted first and was 51-7 at one stage, when young Nikita Miller scored his maiden half century to rescue his team. He took the score past 130. Pacers Rana Naved, Mohd. Aamer and Umar Gul were the major wicket takers. In reply, Pakistan was also in the same league with West Indies, as their first two wickets fell cheaply. Shoaib Malik and Mohd. Yusuf looked good together in a small partnership, but soon the two also got departed. Then young Umar Akmal played a patient innings, with first Misbah-ul-Haq and then with Stand-in Captain Shahid Afridi (as Younis Khan was not playing because of fitness). Umar Akmal was declared the Man of the Match.

South Africa crushed New Zealand

South Africa crushed New Zealand by 5 wickets to win their first game in the ICC Champions Trophy 2009. New Zealand batted first and scored a modest total of 214. Thanks to Wayne Parnell’s 5 wickets, South Africa could limit New Zealanders. In reply, South Africa won comfortably and it didn’t looked even for a second or two, that South Africa will be having any sorts of trouble chasing the target. A.B. de Villers scored a splendid half century and stayed till the victory. Wayne Parnell was declared Man of the Match.

Monday, September 21, 2009

England Wins the Last ODI

England, finally managed to win the final One Day International against Australia and avoided an embarrassing white wash. They won the game by 4 wickets; thanks mainly to off spinner Graeme Swann, who took 5-28 to restrict Australia to 170.

England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and decided to bowl first. They have an early success when James Anderson dismissed Shane Watson for 0. Soon, Graham Onions got his first One Day International wicket when he dismissed Tim Paine for 4. After two wickets, Australia counter attacked the English bowling with some aggressive batting by Captain Ricky Ponting. Ponting played lavish strokes all over the ground and scored his 68th One Day International half century. At the other end, Michael Clarke was very slow and managed to score just 38 off 81 balls. After Ponting and Clarke was dismissed, Michael Hussey took charge and scored 49 off 54 balls. Hussey didn't got ample support from the other end and no batsman was able to stay at the wicket. Swann bowled superbly and never allowed any batsmen to take control. Australia got dismissed cheaply for 170. Apart from Swann, Anderson, Onions, Bresnan and Owais Shah took 1 wicket each.

Chasing 171, England started brilliantly as the openers Andrew Strauss and Denly put on 106 for the first wicket. When these two got out, no English batsmen was able to stay on the wicket. Interestingly, after the openers, Extras (21) were the highest contributor in the score. However, they managed to pull out an unconvincing victory by 4 wickets.

Graeme Swann was declared The Man of the Match and Cameron White was declared The Man of the Series. This was one of the biggest margin of series victory (6-1). Hope, we'll have a better performance from English side in Champions Trophy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Row in South Africa over ICC Awards

ICC's prestigious annual awards appears to have run into a controversy in South Africa. The main reason behind this row is that no South African player is included in the list. Even, prominent figures like national cricket board's chief executive, Gerald Majola is also not happy with ICC. He even said that it seems that South African players have to play Ashes to get a nomination in this elite list. Incidentally, ICC awards are also scheduled to be happen in South Africa only.

South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said that nomination in these awards would have motivated his players to play better in the tournament. Former South African pacer, Allan Donald, is a member of the awards voting panel, admitted that he was surprised by the shortlist. "To me, it looks like the only way to get on these nomination lists is to play the Ashes," said Majola. "Unfortunately, our players don't play for England or Australia. That seems to be the criteria to select these awards. I don't know what the criteria are for these nominations but I simply can't believe that this has happened to South African players. My personal opinion is that this doesn't lend credibility to this year's awards, for sure. To rub salt to our wounds, the awards ceremony is being held in our country".

"I am totally dismayed and disappointed. The last season was one of the best ever for South Africa and there were a lot of outstanding performances by our players. In my personal opinion, there were at least three South African players who should have figured on the shortlist. But I am not going to name them because I don't want to drag our players into this issue when they are preparing for the Champions Trophy. I haven't spoken to them about this either."

ICC panel of awards include former greats of the game and this is also one of the reason that people in South Africa are amused by this.