Friday, September 21, 2007

India Enter into Semi Final After beating Host South Africa In ICC World Twenty20 Cup

Durban: Rudra Pratap Singh extended a tradition of an Indian left-arm fastmedium bowler making a stunning impact in a big game at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground as Team India came up with a high-octane performance for the second night running to breeze into a semifinal date with Australia in the ICC World Twenty20 with a superb – run victory over South Africa.

For the second night running, India was able to channelise its emotions and etch a stunning victory as it raced to the top of Group E and pushed the home side out of the tournament, carrying New Zealand into the semifinals after a triple tie. There was an enormous display of self-belief as India readied itself for a clash with Australia on Saturday.

From a dismal 61 for four in the 11th over, India finished with a fighting 153 for five in 20 overs. It rallied through an 85-run partnership between a creative Rohit Sharma (50 not out, 40 balls, seven fours, two sixes) and a steady Mahendra Singh Dhoni (45, 33 balls, four four, one six). It still left the team with a much work to do when defending the score.

Led by RP Singh, the bowlers and fielders did a terrific job of that. If RP Singh finished with four for 13 in four overs, Sreesanth and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh grabbed two wickets each while Irfan Pathan was at his economical best and Joginder Sharma filled his role as the fourth seamer adequately.

Four years ago, Ashish Nehra had demolished England in an ICC World Cup game here with a fine exhibition of swing bowling at Kingsmead. He had finished with figures of six for 23 in his 10 overs. Tonight, it was 21-year-old RP Singh's turn to leave his imprint on the ground as he finished with four for 13 in his four overs.

India turned out some attacking fielding in support of the bowlers. It almost as if they were paying a tribute to the side's best fielder, Yuvraj Singh who was out of the game with a sore elbow. Karthik's catch at second slip to dismiss Graeme Smith was a stunner, flying to his left to get both his hands to the ball that was screaming past him.

Not long after, Rohit Sharma's fielding skills came to the fore. And it fetched him the man of the match award. Mark Boucher played RP Singh to the off side and set off for a single. The young Indian charged from his position on the 30-yard circle at cover, swooped on the ball and flicked it on to the stumps, catching the dangerous Justin Kemp short of his crease.

South Africa lost its way under the pressure that India mounted on it. And it was a pity that Shaun Pollock's efforts with the new ball earlier in the day went waste.He does not need much more to inspire him than a new white ball, a lively pitch and lights at his home turf, the Kingsmead Cricket Ground. The Indian cricketers have known this for a while but were served a reminder in a four-over spell.


Pakinstan Wins Over Bangaladesh in Tense Moment

Cape Town: Cape Town: There were some nervous moments for Pakistan but they managed to keep their Super 8 slate clean by beating Bangladesh by four wickets at the Newlands cricket ground here on Thursday. Pakistan had already qualified for the semi-final stage of the ICC World Twenty20 Championship.

Chasing a small target of 141 runs, Pakistan made a bit of a heavy weather of the chase, losing wickets at regular intervals but in the end, Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal did the finishing job with one over to spare.

Pakistan tried out a new opening combination on Thursday, getting Shahid Afridi to open with Nazir. While Afridi was reasonably successful, smashing 39 off just 15 balls with five fours and two sixes, Nazir had to retire hurt after just three balls. Nazir did come back after the fall of the fifth wicket and was unbeaten on 27.

For Bangladesh left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak was the best bowler on the park, taking two wickets for 16 runs in his four overs. Left-arm spinner Shakib al Hasan was steady, bowling his four overs for just 17 runs.

Mahmudullah bowled well for Bangladesh as well, taking one for 28 in his four overs.

Mohammed Hafeez and skipper Shoaib Malik made 23 and 21 respectively while Salman Butt, batting at number three, made 20 off 27 balls.

Earlier, Bangladesh lasted 19.4 overs thanks to opener Zunaed Siddique. After being asked to go in first, Bangladesh were bowled out for 140 runs.

The target for Pakistan was quite small but but it was refreshing to see a mature response from Bangladesh.

Most of the Bangladesh batters tried to take only the boom-boom route but Siddique, who made 71 runs off just 49 balls with six fours and three huge sixes, adopted a refreshingly different approach.

One could clearly see that he was trying to achieve the balance between attack and defense, which is the key to success in this format of the game. He was willing to stay at the wicket and defy the bowlers, which made all the difference.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pakistan Bowler restrict Bangladesh to 140 Runs

Cape Town: Bangladesh lasted 19.4 overs in their Super 8 clash against Pakistan at the Newlands cricket ground here on Thursday, and opener Zunaed Siddique was solely responsible for that. After being asked to go in first, Bangladesh were bowled out for 140 runs.

Pakistan will undoubtedly have the edge chasing a small target but it was refreshing to see a mature response from a Bangladesh batsman.

Most of the Bangladesh batters tried to take only the boom-boom route but Siddique, who made 71 runs off just 49 balls with six fours and three huge sixes, adopted a refreshingly different approach.

One could clearly see that he was trying to achieve the balance between attack and defense, which is the key to success in this format of the game. He was willing to stay at the wicket and defy the bowlers, which made all the difference.

While there were the usual big hits for sixes and fours, Siddique was a revelation as he did not ignore the ones and the twos. The next best came from Aftab Ahmed, who made 15.

To a large extent, Pakistan bowlers were clinical in their job. Barring Siddique, none of the Bangladesh batters were able to stand up to them. Mohammed Hafeez and skipper Shoaib Malik took two wickets each, while seamers Muhammed Asif, Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul claimed one wicket each.

There were as many as three run outs in the Bangladesh innings.

Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Mohammad Ashraful (Captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Nadif Chowdhury, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel, Abdur Razzak, Zunaed Siddique

Salman Butt, Imran Nazir, Younus Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik (Captain), Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir

Mike Procter (match referee)
Ian Howell and Tony Hill
Asad Rauf (third)
Marais Erasmus (fourth)


India-South Africa gears up for another intense contest

Durban: South Africa and India may have won intense games against New Zealand and England respectively on Wednesday but their ability to channelise emotions will be on test again when they come square up in the final group E game in the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at Kingsmed Cricket Ground on Thursday night.

More than the home side, India will be challenged to overcome the heady feeling of thumping England by 19 runs. India needs to keep its wits about itself and secure a victory over South Africa to guarantee itself a semifinal place, the margin determining whether it tops the table or finishes second. A South Africa win take New Zealand along to the semis and send India home.

The Indians, on a high last night after beating England comfortably, know that their task is cut out against South Africa's bowlers. The home side is well aware of the local conditions as it showed when stifling New Zealand after the Black Caps were off to a great start on Wednesday.

With the Indian bowlers being just a shade above adequate, the onus will be on the batters to deliver again if the team is to extend its stay in South Africa. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have batted really well in the last two games and Yuvraj showed his ominous touch in making a 12-ball 50.

Of the others, Robin Uthappa had one good knock against Pakistan while skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni knows that he has to lift the bar for himself and his team when gets to bat against South Africa which has a clutch of fastmedium bowlers who have all the ability to hit the deck and exploit the bounce that the Kingsmead pitch has offered the bowlers.

If Dhoni has not landed the big hits so far, South African captain Graeme Smith is also due a big score and, with his Nemesis Zaheer Khan missing from the Indian ranks, may breathe easy in his quest for that elusive knock. The Indian bowlers will be well aware of the big hitting Justin Kemp's skill in this format as also those of Herschelle Gibbs and Mark Boucher.

South Africa's allround superiority – and better fielding – will make it the favourite going into the match but the Indians know that they are within hailing distance of a semifinal place and can be expected to give the more experienced home side a run for its money. The good thing is that Dhoni has encouraged his players not to come under pressure in the run up to the game.

The teams:

South Africa (likely) Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Justin Kemp, Mark Boucher (wicket-keeper), Vernon Philander, Shaun Pollock, Johan van der Wath, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel and Andre Nel.

India (probable) Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicket-keeper), Virender Sehwag, Gautham Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, S Sreesanth and RP Singh.



Aussies 10-wicket knockout punch to Sri Lankans

Cape Town: Adversity brings out the best in the Australians. Facing a knock-out game and without their skipper Ricky Ponting – officially recognised as the best player in the world – Australia responded in a manner only the world champions can.

Adam Gilchrist-led Australia knocked Sri Lanka out of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament by ten wickets at the Newlands cricket ground here on Thursday.

Chasing a measly target of 102 runs, openers Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden knocked off the formalities in just 10.2 overs as the world champions sail into the semis.

Hayden, bullying the bowling in his usual, inimitable manner, made an unbeaten 58 off 38 balls with seven fours and two sixes while his skipper was undefeated on 31 off 25 balls with four fours.

So severe was the hammering administered to the Sri Lankans that they looked like schoolboys lost on a huge University playground through the Australian innings.

In all fairness to the Lankan bowlers, there was really not much that they could have done with a score like that. It was only all about running up to the wicket, try and keep it in the right areas, and wait for the inevitable to happen.

In any case, Hayden and Gilchrist have far too much of batting class to let the Lankans go unpunished after their spineless display. The usual pulls and drives and slashes were out on display, with just a little touch of arrogance.

They toyed with the bowlers, really. If any bowler managed a few dot balls, the next delivery would just sail into one of the stands or crash into the hoardings. A completely one-sided contest!

Earlier, the Stuart Clark-Brett Lee combo bowled Sri Lankans out for 101 in 19.3 overs, which is sure to send a few shivers down the spines of some other teams.

Gilchrist, standing in for injured Ponting, chose to have a bowl and Lee struck in his first over itself, removing Sanath Jayasuriya for a duck. The Newlands pitch offered quite a bit of assistance to the seamers, and once 'Stuey' Clark arrived at the party, the Aussie fans gulped down their beers in glee.


Yuvraj Sing hit Six Sixes as England Bowler was helpless

Durban: Indian vice-captain Yuvraj Singh has been living a nightmare ever since England allrounder Dmitri Mascarenhas clobbered him for five successive sixes in an over at the sixth ODI at the Oval. Many, by his own admissing, have been calling him to taunt him about the blitz that he was at the wrong end of.

Tonight, at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground, in the ICC World Twenty20 match against England, Yuvraj Singh found the perfect repartee for such callers by striking six massive sixes all over the ground off paceman Stuart Broad as he spurred India to a 19-run victory in the critical match. "God has answered my prayers but I feel sorry for Stuart," he said, savouring the double delight of the being the first to hit six sixes in an over in T20 and a fine India win.

"It was a great feeling to achieve this. I was the one who was hit for five sixes and I know it is horrible feeling at the end of the day. Obvioulsy, there are good days and there are bad. It was one of those days where he was at the wrong end," he said. "It is T20 and it can happen to anyone. It is just how the game is."

Yuvraj Singh said that a brief exchange with Andrew Flintoff charged him up a bit. "This is international cricket and these are a part of the game but he had charged me up and I wanted to give it back with the bat," he said. "We had two overs to go and had seven wickets in hand and I just wanted to play my shots. After the fourth I thought I could try a couple more if used the crease better."

None of the shot were pre-meditated. he said. "I was watching the ball off his hand and I just wanted to hit straight and I am glad I connected all six. He was looking for the yorker and I was able to make one a full toss and another a half-volley by using the crease. I guess I timed it right," he said.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Zimbabwe Upset Mighty Australia In World Twenty20

Cape Town: Rusty and underdone Australia were embarrassed by the so-called minnows – Zimbabwe – by five wickets in their opening ICC World Twenty20 match at the Newlands cricket stadium here on Wednesday.

Chasing 139 to win, Zimbabwe achieved the target with one ball to spare, thanks to a valiant, unbeaten 60 off 45 balls by wicket-keeper and opening batsman Brandon Taylor.

In a match marked by inconsistent batting as well as the weather, the Zimbabwean fielding and spirit conquered everyone's hearts. In a heart-stopping final over bowled by Nathan Bracken, Zimbabwe needed 12 to win, with Taylor and Elton Chigumbura at the crease.

Taylor hit the first ball for four, reducing the deficit to eight, and when the fifth ball went for four leg byes, it was mayhem.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting was an angry man, and he said he was "embarrassed" by the result. "There are not many moments when I walk off the park feeling like this. If we don't learn from this, we all are fools," he thundered.

A couple of quick wickets did peg Zimbabwe back and when the rain intervened, they were actually behind the asking rate according to the Duckworth-Lewis system. However, Taylor played exemplary cricket to pull off Zimbabwe's most amazing win in recent times.

Hamilton Masakadza supported Taylor well to make 27.

Left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson bowled well for Australia , taking one wicket for 26 runs in his four overs and seamer Stuart Clark was very good, taking two for 22 in his four overs.

Earlier, the Zimbabwe bowlers, backed by their athletic and eager fielders, ran the mighty Australians ragged for most part of their 20.

Australia were restricted to 138 for nine. Brad Hodge and Andrew Symonds were the two batting heroes for Australia, with Hodge scoring an unbeaten 34 and Symonds making 33..

Ponting surprisingly chose to bat on a cloudy evening and soon paid the price. In the very first over itself, bowled by Elton Chigumbura, Matthew Hayden fell caught behind by wicket-keeper Taylor.

Hayden played an arrogant pull shot to the fence but there was surprise in store for those who thought the usual Australian dominance would kick start from there. The left-hander touched a wide delivery outside the off-stump and walked back to the pavilion.


New Zealand Wins Comfortable Against Kenya

Mark Gillespie returned the best ever figures in Twenty20 cricket as New Zealand demolished Kenya by nine wickets in the ICC World Twenty20 here on Wednesday.

Gillespie picked up 4-7 in 2.5 overs to send Kenya crashing for 73 all out, the lowest T20 international total, which the Kiwis surpassed easily in the eighth over to begin their campaign on a rousing note.

Peter Fulton ended the one-sided match with two consecutive sixes off Rajesh Bhudia.

In Tuesday's opening match in Johannesburg, West Indian Chris Gayle scored the first century in the shortest version of the game but could not prevent an eight-wicket win by hosts South Africa.

Daniel Vettori celebrated his elevation as New Zealand's Test captain earlier in the day by winning the toss and asking Kenya to bat first at a sun-baked Kingsmead.

Kenya lost the first three wickets without a run on the board, slipped to 4-1 before Collins Obuya and Thomas Odoyo put on 36 for the fifth wicket.

Both batsmen made 18 runs each but it was not enough to help the Africans put up a reasonable total to challenge New Zealand in the group C match.

Vettori, who already captains New Zealand in one-day and Twenty20 cricket, replaced the long-serving Stephen Fleming as Test skipper earlier on Wednesday.

"I am pretty happy the way we bowled," said Vettori. "(Shane) Bond and Gillespie set up the win for us and we now look forward to our other matches."

Fast bowler Bond struck with the first delivery of the match when he bowled Maurice Ouma and then dismissed Tanmay Mishra off his fifth ball.

Gillespie removed David Obuya and captain Steve Tikolo in his first over and returned to polish off the tail to beat England captain Paul Collingwood's previous best figures of 4-22.

Bond, Vettori and Chris Martin took two wickets each as Kenya were shot out in 16.5 overs, falling below Australia's 79 against England at the Rose Bowl in 2005.

New Zealand lost Lou Vincent for 27, but Brendon McCullum (16 not out) and Fulton (21 not out) saw the Kiwis home in style.

The 12-nation tournament features the nine Test nations currently playing Test cricket along with Zimbabwe, Kenya and Scotland.


Pakistan Defeated Scotland By 51 Runs

The Asian giants survived a Scottish scare while defending a target of 172, but eventually won the match by a margin of 51 runs. Shahid Afridi ended with figures of 4/19 and Umar Gul with 4/25.

The Scots came hard at Pakistan in the first Group D match of the ICC World Twenty20, restricting the latter to a score of 171/9. After an initial wobble, Younus Khan resurrected the Pakistan innings with a well compiled 41.

Pakistan were struggling at 50/3 before Younus, captain Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi led the fightback. Afridi scored a quickfire 22 off just 7 balls, an innings which comprised of two sixes and a four.

Scotland will have to chase down 172 to cause the first big upset in the ICC World Twenty20.

Earlier, Scotland captain Ryan Watson won the toss and sent Pakistan in to bat in a group D match of the ICC World Twenty20 at the Kingsmead here.

Pakistan: Shoaib Malik (capt), Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Yasir Arafat, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt, Umar Gul, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Imran Nazir.

Scotland: Ryan Watson (capt), Fraser Watts, Dougie Brown, John Blain, Gavin Hamilton, Navdeep Poonia, Neil McCallum, Colin Smith, Craig Wright, Dewald Nel, Majid Haq.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

South Africa beat West Indis in World Twenty20 Opener

If ever there was a ground where records would be broken, it would have to be the Wanderers. The groundsman, Chris Scott, predicted as much before the ICC World Twenty20 got underway on Tuesday.

And true to form for the oval which produced that famous 872-run ODI between South Africa and Australia last year, Tuesday's opener between the home side and the West Indies saw the record books being rewritten once again with Chris Gayle becoming the first Twenty20 International centurion and South Africa producing the highest run chase at the
Wanderers ground to win by eight wickets.

While records are inevitable in such a new format of the game where few internationals have been played, the crowd had to take their hard-hats off to Gayle and Gibbs who put in some incredible performances.

After Smith won the toss and sent the West Indies in to bat, it seemed that opener Gayle was inspired by all the hard-hats being worn by the crowd. The powerful left-hander looked determined to put them to the test as he smashed the ball all over the park.

He reached his 50 in 26 balls and together with Devon Smith shattered the first record of the night in producing the highest opening partnership in Twenty20 Internationals. The duo reached 145 before Smith was caught behind off Vernon Philander's first over of the evening for 35.

Gayle took the loss of his batting partner in his stride, however, and continued to punish the bowlers. Even the usually stingy Shaun Pollock had 52 runs blasted from his allotted four overs.

He could take some consolation from bagging the wicket of Marlon Samuels who skied one to AB de Villiers and returned to the dug-out with six runs on the board.

But that did little to slow Gayle down and the Jamaican soon had another record in the bag after becoming the first player to score a century in Twenty20 Internationals.

That he did off just 50 balls before finally falling to Johan van der Wath for 117, after smashing one high into the Jo'burg night sky only for it to fall into the gloves of Boucher just a few steps from the wicket. He had cracked a record 10 sixes in his breathtaking innings.