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Saturday, May 14, 2011

IPL-4: Kings XI Punjab defeat Kochi Tuskers Kerala by 6 wickets

Dinesh Karthik smashed a quickfire 69 as Kings XI Punjab overcame initial and middle over stutter to thump Kochi Tuskers Kerala by six wickets to keep themselves in contention for a play-off berth in the Indian Premier League in Indore on Friday.

Chasing a stiff 179, KXIP made a struggling start with openers Paul Valthaty (17) and Adam Gilchrist (9) falling cheaply inside five overs for just 31 runs before Karthik and Shaun Marsh (42) helping their side win the match with seven balls to spare with a 111-run third wicket stand in 9.3 overs.

David Hussey (21 not out from 15 balls) finished the run chase in style with a six off Ravindra Jadeja as KXIP reached 181 for four in 18.5 overs to take his side to their fifth win in 11 matches.

Karthik smashed seven fours and five sixes in his 33-ball knock while Marsh hit five fours and two sixes from 30 balls to set up the win on a batting-friendly pitch at the Holkar Stadium which was hosting the first IPL match.

Pacer RP Singh grabbed a superb 4/25 to threaten to win the match for KTK but the KXIP batsmen were up to the task.

With the win today, KXIP remained in contention for a play-off berth as they jumped to sixth spot with 10 points with three matches remaining.

KTK, on the other hand, were virtually knocked out of the tournament with 10 points from 12 matches. They have two matches remaining.

The KXIP opening stand yielded just 25 runs in 2.5 overs with Valthaty falling victim to R P Singh after making a promising start, hitting two sixes in consecutive balls in the third over.

Valthaty's middle stump was knocked off as the ball went through the gap between bat and pad. The KXIP opener, who faced 10 balls and hit a four and two sixes, failed once again after promising a lot early in the tournament.

Gilchrist, who was struggling in his 15-ball stay, departed with a soft dismissal as he holed out to Parthiv Patel and KXIP were 31 for two in the fifth over when he left.

One-down Marsh and Karthik, who came in at the fall of Gilchrist, however, revived the innings with a century-plus stand for the third wicket.

Marsh hit three fours in the sixth over bowled by S Sreesanth as KXIP were 49 for two after the first power play. Karthik then smote Vinay Kumar for a six and a four in consecutive balls.

Marsh and Karthik took calculated risk to find the boundaries as KXIP reached 84 for two at the halfway mark. The in-form Australian put the pressure on opposition side with two sixes off compatriot Brad Hodge in the 12th over with one sailing inches above a leaping Sreesanth as KXIP took 19 runs from that over.

As if competing each other, Karthik then reached to his third IPL fifty with a six off Jadeja and then followed it up next ball with another hit for maximum result to take 16 runs from the 13th over and bring down the askingrate to less than seven per over.

Just as KXIP looked like they would chase down the stiff target in quick time, Karthik departed with RP Singh removing him in the first ball of his second spell and his last over.

RP Singh removed Marsh five balls later, caught and bowled to give a twist to the match. From 142 from two, KXIP were 145 for four in the space of an over.

KXIP needed 30 from four overs but David Hussey got able support from Mandeep Singh (15 not out from 10 balls) to chase down the target.

Earlier, captain Mahela Jayawardene led from the front with a classy 76 as KTK post 178 for seven.

Opening with Brendon McCullum (32), Jayawardene held the innings together with a responsible 52-ball knock which was studded with eight fours and two sixes in KTK's 'home' match.

KTK made a rollicking start after being put into bat, with openers Jayawardene and McCullum stitching 93 runs in just 8.4 overs on a batting-friendly pitch.

At the halfway stage, KTK were 103 for one and they looked like crossing 200 only to fritter away the superb start and ended less than 180.

Jayawardene was run out in the last ball of the innings while running for a second as his side added just 75 in the second 10 overs while losing six wickets.

For KXIP, who made a fine comeback in the second part of the KTK innings, left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma was the most successful bowler with 2/32 while Ryan Harris, Shalabh Srivastava and Piyush Chawla took a wicket each.

Jayawardene and McCullum were in a punishing mood, hitting the KXIP bowlers all over the park in the initial overs on a ground which had short boundaries and fast outfield.

The duo reached to 50 in just 5.2 overs and KTK were 62 for no loss after the first powerplay of six overs.

Bipul Sharma finally gave KXIP the breakthrough in the ninth over removing McCullum, LBW after the batsman missed the line while playing a sweep shot. McCullum hit two fours and as many sixes in his 27-ball stay at crease.

Ravindra Jadeja (17), who came in at the fall of McCullum, smote Chawla for a huge six in the second ball he faced but was lucky to get a reprieve as he was dropped by Paul Valthaty at the slip in the third delivery.

KTK maintained their 10-run per over rate as they reached 103 for one after the halfway mark and Jayawardene reached to his fifty in style with a six off Chawla in the 12th over.

His fifty, third in IPL 4 from 12 matches, came from just 30 balls and studded with six fours and three sixes.

KTK lost momentum after the fall of the first wicket with Jadeja out LBW in the 14th over off Chawla and David Hussey (4) following suit after two overs, holing out to Shaun Marsh at midwicket.

Scoring rate dropped and despite Owais Shah's 12-ball 23, which was studded with two sixes and a four, KTK could not go past their highest total -- 184 for two against Mumbai --while batting first in the tournament so far.

Shah was run out in the penultimate over while going for a cheeky second run while Parthiv Patel was dismissed for a duck in the first ball he faced.

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Huge sand cake for birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar in Puri

Sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik and his students on Saturday sculpted a huge cake and 38 bats in sand on the beach of his home town Puri as a birthday gift to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar who turns 38 on Sunday.

Hundreds of tourists and fans visited the site and saw the colourful sculpture which was created using 20 tonnes of sand.

The work on the sculpture began Friday and was completed Saturday, Pattnaik told IANS.

The work has been displayed on Puri beach, 56km from Bhubaneswar, and will continue to stay Sunday, the birth day of the master blaster, he said.

Pattnaik said this is a special year for Tendulkar because of India's victory in the cricket World Cup.

"That is why we created the bats and a big colourful birthday cake to pay tribute to the legendary cricketer," he said.

"I have sent the photographs of this sculpture to Sachin at his Mumbai address," said Pattnaik, who has participated in more than 50 international sand sculpture championships across the globe and has won many prizes.

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Win against Pakistan was for Kargil heroes: Suresh Raina

Win against Pakistan was for Kargil heroes: Suresh Raina

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Cricket World Cup 2011 Final, India Vs. Sri Lanka, India Are World Cup Winners

With five overs remaining, the game – whilst tipped in India’s favour

MS Dhoni will collect the World Cup trophy from Mr Sharad Pawar.. Jubilant scenes, champagnes all around, fireworks surround, Mumbai erupts and so, the entire nation. Party will be never ending.Mahendra Singh Dhoni: There were quite a few decisions that I took, two out of them were - Why not Ashwin? Why 'me' ahead of Yuvraj who is in terrific form? Each and every individual played his part, it has been a memorable month or two. My job was to stay down the order and let the youngsters play well. Against Sri Lanka, I thought, they have a couple of good spinners and it is time for me to go up the order. The team management backed me, the seniors backed me and I got the runs that I needed. Gauti and Kohli played really well after losing Sachin and Sehwag early. I would have loved to see Gauti score his hundred, but he has himself to blame.The Indian team now walks up to collect their medallions. Sehwag wants to be the opener here as well. Runs up to be the first one to collect it. Loud cheers for everyone, as expected. The noise levels reached the unattained levels when Sachin Tendulkar's name was called up. The noise doesn't seem to end.Yuvraj Singh: This is unbelievable, for the entire nation, the team and for Sachin Tendulkar. I want to dedicate this award to my gurujis and my family. We were chasing 359 in the previous World Cup and there was more pressure. But today, Gauti and Dhoni batted exceptionally well, took the pressure away and batted like champions. It was my job to come and bowl 10 overs every time I got a chance to bowl. Tonight's gonna be a good night! Thank you Team India, thank you the support staff.Clive Lloyd gives the Man of the Tournament award to 'Yuvraj Singh' for scoring 362 runs and for taking 15 wickets. If there is one person who played his part in almost every game, it is Yuvraj Singh. He is a proud man.MS Dhoni is the Man of the Match for an excellent knock of 91 under pressure.Kumar Sangakkara: Very proud of everyone, especially Jayawardene but looking at the Indian team, with the kind of batsmen they have, anything under 350 would look very less. The Indians have been the deserved winners, they thoroughly deserve the tag 'favorites'. Congratulations India, you were the better side. The only way to stop the Indians was to take wickets quickly, they played in front of a fantastic crowd and Gambhir played exceptionally well. Dhoni stepped up when it mattered the most.The big

presentation: Ravi Shastri is the man doing the honors. The top men of the ICC - Sharad Pawar and Haroon Lorgat, the top officials of the Sri Lankan and the Bangladesh board along with Clive Lloyd are the honorable guests. The umpires and the match officials are being invited to accept their medallions. The Sri Lankan team, who have been outstanding in this World Cup, come in alphabetical order to collect their mementos. Jayawardene and Malinga get the loudest of cheers, next to Muttiah Muralitharan though.`My heart goes out to them for coming second best.

Sehwag: We discussed last year in a match at Dambulla that we would be playing the World Cup final. The quarter-finals were hard and the way Gautam, Sachin and Yuvraj batted was fantastic. The batsmen and the bowlers gave everything to the team.Sachin (with Yuvraj and Zaheer): Winning the World Cup is the ultimate thing and I could not have asked for anything more. Without such fabulous performances, this was not possible. I could not control my tears. It is a dream come true for us and we wanted this badly. It was for a special man standing next to me (Sachin). It is also for Yuvraj. It is a dream come true and we did it for Sachin. The support staff worked really hard and Mike Horn worked hard on our mental side. The team stuck together and we coped well under pressure. We proved most people wrong who doubted our ability. The last couple of years, we have been consistent and it is a great honor. Special thanks to Gary and Paddy Upton.

Harbhajan & Kohli: It means a lot to me. I was part of three world cups and this is a big thing. This is for my nation. It is a wonderful feeling and this is for all the people who supported us. He has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years on his shoulders and it is about time that we carried him on our shoulders. Without the support of the people, we would have not done it. We would like to thank all the Indians and this cup belongs to us. Gambhir: It has not sunk in yet. It is yet to sink in. The 2007 edition was a nightmare and we had to do it for Sachin. It is a dream come true.

Rajini mania: Someone said cheekily that if Rajinikanth - the Southern acting legend is in the audience - then nothing go wrong and nothing has. Tendulkar+Rajinikanth - what a combination. Unstoppable force+the immovable object. Rajini is sitting next to Neeta Ambani in the crowd along with his two daughters and are enjoying this win. Rajini and his daughters are wearing Team India Jerseys.

Reactions after the last hit: Dhoni swung that last hit and followed the path of the ball as it soared into the Mumbai night sky. He was watching it like a hawk. Then the camera focussed on Gary, who leant back, closed his eyes and then said a silent prayer. Funnily the official broadcasters have shown the winning hit a good 17 minutes after it was scored. Yuvraj went up to Dhoni and hugged him at full blast. He roared and roared, even as the crowd did too.What a show by MS and he was not allowed to get down as well as the Indian players came in swarms to crowd him. Finally Sachin emerged out after hiding somewhere. Then the crowd went mad. Now Gary Kirsten - the much liked and immensely low profile guy is being hoisted on Raina and Kohli's shoulders as the crowd shout Gary Gary. He can lay claim to being the most unsung, yet one of the best coaches of the Indian side of all time. World No.1 in tests and now a World Cup win - which was his last game incharge - would be the icing on the cake. Salute and respect to the man from Cape Town.

Post celebratory scenes: Lots of the Indian players are in tears. Gary Kirsten is hugged by Yuvi and Sachin is being carried on his shoulders by Kohli and Yusuf. He is being carried all around the ground. In front of his home crowd. What if he does not get his 100th ton, his dream of a WC medal has been fulfilled. A nation will rejoice for that. What a performer he has been. Amazing scenes. Two men - MS and Viru are so cool. An Indian flag is held by SRT as he is being given a lap of honor by his team-mates. Finally he is brought down. As soon as the winning hit was hit, huge roars, shouts and what not back here. That moment will forever be remembered in memory as long as an Indian citizen lives.Stop the Press!! MS Dhoni's India are the Champions of the 2011 World Cup.

Champion teams are born under pressure: For the 22 men who took the field today, it was probably the biggest moment of their lives, and it was all about stepping up and making it count. At the start of the game Zaheer did just that. At the end of his first spell, his bowling figures read: 5-3-6-1. The Indian bowlers were on the money and didn't let the Lankans blaze away. A fine innings from Sangakkara and a masterclass from Jayawardene showed the world that it takes a lot of courage, temperament and skill to deliver when it matters the most. A good batting powerplay helped them post a mammoth score of 274. Mind you, chasing 275 in the final of a World Cup in front of 40,000 supporters and against a strong bowling attack was an easy task by no means. The sorry tale of the openers: India lost Sehwag very early in the run chase, and Sachin didn't last long either. The scorecard read 31/2 in the 7th over and it was Gambhir and Kohli who had to do the rebuilding. Run rate was never a problem for the Indians as the duo, who are also terrific runners between the wickets, pinched the ones and twos without any hassles. It required the magic arm of Dilshan to remove a well set Kohli and the Indians were in a spot of bother at 114/3.Cometh the hour, cometh the man: Dhoni chose himself to come ahead of Yuvraj to keep the left hand - right hand combination intact. Remember, Dhoni was going through a very rough patch when it comes to batting. The big man made it count when it mattered the most. He along with Gambhir brought the runs required to less than a hundred and the required rate was just close to a run a ball. Sri Lanka desperately needed a couple of quick wickets and Perera gave them a ray of hope by removing Gambhir. It would be only fair to say that it was Gambhir who gave Sri Lanka some hope by throwing his wicket away.The finishers of old times: Dhoni and Yuvraj, who were popularly called 'The Finishers' against Pakistan and Sri Lanka a few years ago, took the game closer and a thrilling finish was on the cards. They needed 30 off 30 deliveries when the batting powerplay became mandatory. Could they do it? They were up against a lethal bowler in Malinga. Just three runs of the Malinga over meant the Indians needed 27 off the next four overs. There were nerves all around, but the two batsmen in the middle looked to be in a different world altogether. Pressure was just a distant relative and they kept their cool to help India romp home with 10 deliveries to spare. 48.2 Kulasekara to Dhoni, SIX!!, India are World Champions!, A nation of a billion will sleep well tonight. What a shot to end the game. Yuvraj can't control his emotions. He is in tears. Sachin runs in from the dressing room and is mobbed. What marvellous scenes in Mumbai. Dhoni got under the length ball and absolutely hammered that out of sight and out of the park. The White Kookaburra soared over the fence. Bhajji too is in tears. 28 years in waiting and the helicopter shot has brought an end to the game.Perfect time for Dhoni to hit the winning runs. He deserves to hit the runs.48.1 Kulasekara to Yuvraj, 1 run, yorker outside off, dug out to point, Yuvraj and Dhoni scamper through for a singleend of over47.6 Malinga to Yuvraj, 1 run, low full toss on the stumps, whipped down to long on, retains the strike with that run, India are a hit away from being World Champions and Ravi Shaz is already thirsty.47.5 Malinga to Dhoni, 1 run, yorker length delivery outside off, dug out to point47.4 Malinga to Dhoni, no run, what a magnificent riposte, it was a superb in-swinging yorker, that snuck through Dhoni's legs as he was making room to go on side again, great take by Sanga diving to his left, saved some byes and some runs47.3 Malinga to Dhoni, FOUR!!, Tom Moody has been bitten by the Shaz bug, uses his iconic cliche - that went to the fence like a tracer bullet, a low full toss on middle has been whip flicked past Kula who dived, but only in vain, at fine leg, only a couple of steps to his left, but the pace of the ball was too hard and too tough to contain for the Lankan pacer47.2 Malinga to Dhoni, FOUR!!, Dhoni has timed the pants off that, it was the slower delivery that slipped down leg, Dhoni closes the face of the bat and tickled that past a diving Kula at fine leg, what timing from the Chennai Super King man, the crowd have gone ballistic and rightly so, Kula dived to his left, but could not cut it backThe ICC have announced that Yuvraj has been named the MoS.47.1 Malinga to Yuvraj, 1 run, fuller length delivery outside off, Yuvraj leans on it and drives hard to sweeper cover, only a singleend of over46.6 Kulasekara to Yuvraj, 1 run, a low full toss has been chipped down to long on, only a single, a huge over for the Indians as 11 came off that46.5 Kulasekara to Yuvraj, no run, that has been slapped straight to the fielder at cover, took it on the full and smashed it, if he had found the gap, it was 4, didn't find the gap46.4 Kulasekara to Yuvraj, FOUR!!, and what does Yuvraj do? Take out his anger on Kulasekara, a harmless full toss has been swatted away regally through mid wicket, swung wide of the man and Yuvraj walks up to Dhoni who is in a much calmer mood, has a smile at him, hit powerfully by Yuvraj46.3 Kulasekara to Dhoni, 1 run, Dhoni is furious at Yuvraj for running in his way, a flat batted thwack to long on, the throw came in and hit direct at Dhoni's end, he was in, the third ump confirmed that, Dhoni wanted Yuvraj to run on one side of the pitch46.2 Kulasekara to Dhoni, FOUR!!, there comes Ravi Shaz's iconic cliche: That went to the boundary like a tracer bullet. That really did. Kulasekara misses the yorker and serves up a full delivery, Dhoni opens his stance and smears it wide of mid off who is standing inside the circle, tremendous bat spee46.1 Kulasekara to Yuvraj, 1 run, low full toss, Yuvraj swung at that hard, it hit the toe end and went down to long onend of overNuwan Kulasekara [7.0-0-46-0] is back into the attackRight, we are into the crunch here. After so many days of this WC, we have come down to the last 4 overs. And this final continues to pulsate and move in one direction to the other. A huge meeting going on between Sanga, Mahela, Murali and others. Murali is right in Sanga's ear. Kula comes on. Can bowl right up there. Possesses a mean yorker too. Deep mid, long off and a long on in place.45.6 Malinga to Yuvraj, 1 run, that high back-lift from Yuvraj again, driven down to long on, retains the strike with that run45.5 Malinga to Yuvraj, 2 runs, Samara is taking his own sweet time to run back from mid wicket, to stop that ball, they take 2, a high back-lift and a sweetly timed flick through mid wicket45.4 Malinga to Yuvraj, no run, short of length delivery on middle, Yuvraj defends it back to Malinga, 4 dots in a row, the pressure is building on the Indians45.3 Malinga to Yuvraj, no run, at Yuvraj's feet and he manages to dig it out to backward point, wanted a single, but Dhoni was not up for it

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (c) (wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thissara Perera, Suraj Randiv, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan.

India: Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, MS Dhoni (c) (wk), Suresh Raina.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sourav Ganguly back in IPL, signs up with Pune Warriors

After going unsold in the players' auction, former India captain Sourav Ganguly today made a dramatic return to the Indian Premier League by signing up for struggling franchise Pune Warriors as replacement for injured pacer Ashish Nehra.

"We were waiting for Ashish Nehra's fitness report and ultimately the report came yesterday. I was already in talks with Ganguly and we decided that the amount of experience that Sourav has in cricket will no doubt help the team. So we finalised Ganguly last night," Pune Warriors team director Abhijit Sarkar said referring to the finger injury that Nehra has been nursing.

Ganguly, who played for Kolkata Knight Riders for three IPL seasons captaining them in two editions, went unsold in the January players' auction despite a rather modest base price of $4,00,000.

The 38-year-old refused a mentor's role with KKR after that and there had been speculation of a possible comeback through another franchise.

The left-handed batman was first sought by Kochi Tuskers Kerala but their application was rejected by the IPL's governing council.

However, he signed on the dotted line for Pune yesterday, giving a major fillip to the side which has lost six matches on the trot after starting promisingly with a couple of back-to-back wins.

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