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Saturday, 1 October 2011

Match abandoned; Mumbai, Cobras split points

Mumbai Indians  were left to rue their luck as heavy rains forced their Champions League  Twenty20 match against Cape Cobras to be abandoned in Bangalore on Friday, hampering the home side's chances of advancing to the semifinals.

Asked to bat first after the coin landed in the Cobras' favour, Kieron Pollard (58 off 37 balls) and debutant Sarul Kanwar (45 off 21) powered Mumbai to a daunting 176 for five before rain intervened at the break. 
What seemed like a steady drizzle soon transformed into heavy downpour, making the turf at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium unplayable. 

As there was no let-up in rain, the umpires were left with no option but to call off the group A tie at 11.05 pm, 35 minutes before the cut-off time. The first abandoned match in the history of Champions League T20 ensured both teams settle for a point each. 

Mumbai still lead the table with five points but their hopes of progressing to last-four stage now rests on their next match, a must-win one for the Harbhajan Singh-led side. Cobras have three points after three games while Chennai Super Kings and New South Wales have two each. 

Earlier Kieron Pollard smashed a blistering half-century while debutant Sarul Kanwar played a cameo as Mumbai Indians posted a competitive 176 for five.

Pollard, who smashed 58 off 37 deliveries with the help three sixes and six fours, was well supported by James Fraklin (18) who was involved in a 69-run fourth-wicket partnership with the West Indian. 

Put into bat, opener Kanwar (45) lofted Charles Langeveldt over square-leg for a six to kickstart the assault. Kanwar was unstoppable as he hit Dale Steyn  for a four and a six in the third over and then plundered 17 runs off JP Duminy courtesy two fours and a six over deep midwicket. 

Mumbai reached the 50-run mark in the fifth over as Kanwar continued his onslaught. In the seventh over, Kanwar hit a six off Robin Peterson, but the Cobras spinner got his revenge as an inside-out shot by the right-hander found Owais Shah at the long-off. Kanwar's 21-ball cameo consisted of three fours and five sixes. 

Following Kanwar's departure, Mumbai lost two quick wickets in the form of Aiden Blizzard (19) and Ambati Rayudu (6) as they reached 75 for three at the halfway stage. Pollard made his intentions clear from the outset as he hit two sixes off Duminy to score 17 runs off the 12th over. 

In the company of Franklin, Pollard took the score past 100-run mark in the 13th over. Pollard was at his destructive best as he first plundered two sixes off Peterson in the 15th over and then smashed Langeveldt for a six and a four in the next. 

After bringing up his fifty with a four off Steyn in the 19th over, Pollard departed after being caught by Shah. Andrew Symonds (14 not out) then provided the late flourish. 

For Cobras, Peterson was the most successful bowler, picking up two for 29 while Steyn, Duminy and Kemp accounted for one wicket apiece.

ICC in talks with Interpol to fight corruption

The ICC has been involved in talks with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to increase co-operation in fighting corruption in sport. "The director general of Interpol made contact with us and what I am going to explore is a memorandum of understanding … so we can mutually cooperate and work together," Ronnie Flanagan, the chairman of the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit, told the Associated Press.
FIFA, the governing body for football, announced earlier in the year it would pledge US$29 million to Interpol each year for the next ten years to tackle corruption in football. Flanagan, however, said the ICC didn't have the money to finance investigations. "We don't have money to spend," Flanagan said. "So we can mutually cooperate and work together, but not to the extent that we have any money to pay them to do investigations for us. Unfortunately, investigations themselves fall back to our unit." 

Flanagan admitted there was a fear that domestic matches could be affected by corruption, given the increased scrutiny of international fixtures. "The more we tighten up around international events and fixtures, the greater the potential risk … that these criminal people will focus elsewhere," Flanagan said. "I think we must be guarded against that."
At a World Sports Law Report conference, Flanagan called for greater co-operation between sports associations to combat the problem of corruption. "I'm pretty certain that the bad guys within the sports and the malicious criminals - people outside those sports - don't necessarily confine themselves to one sport," he said. "So as they move across the barriers, across different sports, we must ensure we cooperate even more closely together. 

"We must share our intelligence, share our methodology, share our experiences." 

Most recently, three Pakistan cricketers - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - were banned between five and ten years after an ICC tribunal found them guilty of spot-fixing during the Lord's Test against England last year.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

England eye repeat as India sweat on Zaheer

England will look for more of the same against India in the second Test at Trent Bridge starting here on Friday. They thrashed the tourists by 196 runs on Monday, with James Anderson taking five for 65 in front of a full house at Lord's in the 2,000th Test of all-time.

England, who will replace India at the top of the ICC's Test table if they win this four-match series 2-0 or better, had things pretty much their own way at Lord's, with Kevin Pietersen making a double century, Matt Prior a reviving second innings hundred and Stuart Broad returning to his best bowling form.

And even when dropped catches or contentious lbw decisions, for which there are no reviews this series because of Indian objections to ball-tracking technology, went against England, it made little difference.
"We know we're playing really, really good cricket at the moment," said Anderson. "Everyone's chipping in -- and if we need someone to step up, generally someone is. We're trying to improve each day, as individuals and as a team. If we can do that, we know we can do great things."

Anderson, often a beneficiary of the swing friendly conditions on offer at Trent Bridge, has dismissed Sachin Tendulkar six times in seven Tests, including lbw for 12 in the second innings at Lord's to leave the India great stranded on 99 international hundreds.

"When you get him out you know it's a key dismissal, so we know we've got to be on top of our game to do that," Anderson said. England had a huge break at Lord's when Zaheer Khan broke down early with a hamstring injury and then didn't bowl at all in the second innings. An India spokesman said  Wednesday that Zaheer's fitness was "improving considerably".

But if the left-arm quick, who four years ago at Trent Bridge took nine wickets in what turned out to be a series-clinching win, is ruled out, India will have to decide between erratic fast bowler Shanthakurman Sreesanth and the steadier Munaf Patel.

"Ishant (Sharma) has been doing really well -- he was the man of the series in the West Indies -- and Praveen Kumar has taken five wickets (at Lord's)," said India batsman Abhinav Mukund. "Sreesanth is waiting in the wings as well, so it's not that we have a depleted attack. It's just that when you lose a fast bowler during a game it's a completely different scenario."

England have a doubt over fast bowler Chris Tremlett, unable to train on Wednesday because of a tight hamstring. If Tremlett is sidelined, fellow Ashes-winner Tim Bresnan will be recalled.
Rahul Dravid was the only member of India's celebrated top order to make a century at Lord's but the likes of Tendulkar and Venkatsai Laxman will be keen to post a significant score.

So too will 21-year-old left-hander Mukund, opening while Virender Sehwag recovers from a shoulder injury. Sehwag has an unrivalled ability to attack the new ball whereas Mukund, who made 49 and 12 at Lord's, is a far more orthodox opener.

"I don't want to replace Sehwag or play like he does, because it's not possible," Mukund said. "I just want to go out and play how I know. If it comes off it will help the team." And he insisted India were well-capable of demonstrating the resilience that had taken them to the summit of Test cricket during the rest of this series. "Being the world number one, the India team has conquered a lot of challenges on the way here. "We've come here to take up this challenge, and will definitely give it a good fight."

Sustaining pressure on Indian batsmen key to series win: Swann

England off-spinner Graeme Swann says if the bowlers are able to sustain pressure on the Indian batsmen, like they did the in the Lord's Test, the hosts can eye winning the high-profile series and becoming the World No.1 Test side.

Swann picked two wickets at Lord's, where his team won by 196 runs with the pace trio of James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Stuart Broad running through the famed Indian batting.
'We maintained pressure at both ends even though the ball wasn't doing much and made sure each new batsman felt uncomfortable when he came in - which was our game plan all winter too,' Swann wrote in his column for The Sun.

'We try to work with the guy at the other end to sustain pressure and it is great when two guys are bowling well together. If we can maintain that same level of performance over the series, we will really fancy our chances of winning - and maybe even reaching No 1 in the world rankings.'

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar had a forgettable outing at the 'Mecca of cricket', scoring 34 in 12 in the two innings. Swann says the team's strategy on getting Tendulkar cheaply worked.
'We stopped the Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar, from making a big score at Lord's and our aim is to starve him of runs all series. It can't be easy for Sachin because he carries the expectation of the entire Indian nation on his shoulders every time he goes out to bat.

'And now it is even more intense because he is just one away from a century of centuries.'

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Dravid rises in ICC rankings, Tendulkar drops to 4th

Rahul Dravid, courtesy a brilliant hundred in the first Test between India and England at Lord's, has gained seven places to be 15th while teammate Sachin Tendulkar lost two places to be fourth after an ordinary show in the 2000th Test, in the latest International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings.

England batsman Jonathan Trott and fast bowler James Anderson have risen to second place in the rankings following their team's emphatic victory.
Trott has climbed two places, above Tendulkar and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, to the second spot in the batting rankings, after his innings of 70 and 22 in the opening game of the four-match series.

Kevin Pietersen, whose magnificent unbeaten double-century earned him the Man of the Match Award, has returned to the top 20, climbing 14 places to joint 15th in the rankings alongside Dravid.

The other centurion in the match, England wicket-keeper Matt Prior, has also achieved a new career-best rating, rising 10 places to 21st.
Anderson's seven-wicket haul in the match, including his 11th five-wicket Test haul of 5-65 in the second innings, has seen him overtake teammate Graeme Swann in the bowling rankings, with a new career best ranking.

Chris Tremlett's four wickets in the match have helped him to ninth place, also achieving a new career best rating, while Stuart Broad climbs four places to join Harbhajan Singh, who falls four places, in joint 11th place. Board has also moved to fifth on the all-rounders' ranking table.

India still have two bowlers in the top ten with Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma lying in fifth and seventh place respectively.

Test rankings:


1.Jacques Kallis (South Africa) 883 ranking points
2.Jonathan Trott (England) 840
3.Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) 838
4.Sachin Tendulkar (India) 832
5.Alastair Cook (England) 783
6.Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies) 775
7.V.V.S. Laxman (India) 771
8.Thilan Samaraweera (Sri Lanka) 766
9.AB de Villiers (South Africa) 760
10.Virender Sehwag (India) 759


1.Dale Steyn (South Africa) 899
2.James Anderson (England) 800
3.Graeme Swann (England) 780
4.Morne Morkel (South Africa) 751
5.Zaheer Khan (India) 735
6.Mitchell Johnson (Australia) 727
7.Ishant Sharma (India) 665
8.Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 648
9.Chris Tremlett (England) 638
10.Daniel Vettori (New Zealand) 623


1.Jacques Kallis (South Africa) 451
2.Daniel Vettori (New Zealand) 364
3.Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 338
4.Shane Watson (Australia) 315
5.Stuart Broad (England) 284