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Friday, October 20, 2006


Upul Tharanga and Muttiah Muralitharan led Sri Lanka to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in their Champions Trophy Group B match on Friday.
The left-handed Tharanga hit 56 and shared an 89-run second-wicket stand with captain Mahela Jayawardene (48) as Sri Lanka reached their target of 166 with 14 overs to spare.
It was their first victory in the tournament, having lost their opening game to Pakistan. New Zealand had started their campaign with a win over South Africa.
Off spinner Muralitharan grabbed four for 23 as New Zealand were bowled out for 165 after winning the toss.
Nathan Astle made a battling 42 for the Kiwis while Daniel Vettori (46 not out) and Jeetan Patel (10) put on 47 for the last wicket.
Fast start
The in-form Tharanga, who struck centuries in the qualifying matches against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and Sanath Jayasuriya gave Sri Lanka a fast start to their reply.
Jayasuriya hit Shane Bond for six over the cover boundary before cutting the fast bowler to the fence off the next ball.
Bond, who missed the opening match due to a back strain, went for 36 runs in his first four-over spell but Kyle Mills eventually had Jayasuriya caught behind for 20.
Jayawardene then joined forces with Tharanga to take the game away from the Kiwis.
Earlier, Muralitharan dismissed Astle, Mills, Jacob Oram and Brendon McCullum after the pacemen had reduced New Zealand to 56 for three.
Left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas struck an early blow when he trapped skipper Stephen Fleming lbw for a duck. Farveez Maharoof and Lasith Malinga also accounted for Lou Vincent and Hamish Marshall.
Sri Lanka next play South Africa in Ahmedabad on Tuesday while New Zealand take on Pakistan in Mohali the day after

Thursday, October 19, 2006

West Indies beat Australia

West Indies 234-6 Australia 224-9 (West Indies win by 10 runs)

Australian captain Ricky Ponting yesterday warned his world beaters to shed their lethargy after the Champions Trophy exploded with three successive shock results.
"We were outplayed," said Ponting as world champions Australia crashed to a 10-run defeat at the hands of the West Indies at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday night.
"There was a game here to be won and we were not good enough. We have to blame ourselves for some ill-disciplined batting and some ill-disciplined bowling," Ponting said.
The West Indies' stunning victory, on the back of a hat-trick from fast bowler Jerome Taylor, followed equally unexpected results on the previous two days that threw the eight-nation tournament wide open.
On Tuesday, a severely depleted Pakistan overcame the absence, on doping charges, of pace spearheads Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif to end Sri Lanka's 10-match winning streak with a four-wicket win in Jaipur.
A day earlier, world No.2 South Africa had been hammered by 87 runs by Stephen Fleming's New Zealand despite the Black Caps missing their frontline paceman Shane Bond due to a back injury.
The first round shockers mean both Australia and South Africa will not be guaranteed semi-final berths even if they win their two remaining league matches.
Hosts India, who beat England on Sunday, and the West Indies lead group A ahead of Australia. New Zealand and Pakistan are on top of group B, ahead of South Africa and Sri Lanka.
The second round of league matches starts today when New Zealand take on Sri Lanka at the Brabourne stadium.
Mahela Jayawardene's Sri Lankans need a win to stay in contention. The Kiwis will almost certainly book a semi-final berth if they win.
"This is just the start the tournament needed," said former Australian captain Ian Chappell. "There is little to choose between the eight teams. Anyone can win this one. There are more twists and turns to come."
The unpredictable nature of one-day cricket was evident on Wednesday night when Australia, chasing West Indies' 234-6 under lights, lost five wickets for 37 runs to be restricted to 224-9 in their 50 overs.
Taylor, a 22-year-old Jamaican, became the first West Indian to take a hat-trick in limited-overs cricket to fashion a sensational win for the defending champions.
The right-arm fast bowler clean bowled Michael Hussey and trapped Brett Lee leg-before with the last two balls of his ninth over, the 48th of the innings.
Taylor then returned for the final over with Australia needing an improbable 16 runs and shattered Brad Hogg's stumps with his first delivery to complete a split hat-trick.
Australia next play old foes England in Jaipur on tomorrow, a game Ponting said was "very important" in the context of the tournament.
"It is the first time Australia and England are meeting since the last Ashes battle," he said. "With a lot riding on the game as far as this tournament is concerned, I'm sure it will be another good game of cricket, hopefully one that we come out on top in."
The West Indians have eight days before their next game, against India, in Ahmedabad next Thursday.
"We understand that India play pretty well at home," said West Indian vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan. "But we will go into that game with the same positive attitude and hopefully win that one as well."
Sarwan said that captain Brian Lara, who suffered a back spasm while batting on Wednesday, would be fit for the next match.
The West Indies have won five of their past six one-dayers against India.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


• Abdul Razzaq put in a superb all-round show as doping-hit Pakistan turned the form-book upside down with a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a Champions Trophy match here yesterday.
Pakistan did a commendable job when they restricted Sri Lanka to 253 despite missing key pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, who returned home on Monday after failing dope tests. Seamer Razzaq came to Pakistan’s rescue with four wickets before completing the job under lights with a quickfire 38 not out off 24 balls in an exciting Group-B league encounter.
He exploded with a flurry of boundaries, finishing the match with his second six.
He added 54 off just 36 balls with Shoaib Malik (46 not out) as Pakistan won with 11 deliveries to spare.
“Everybody was keen to play good cricket and bury the whole (doping) issue,” said Pakistan captain Younis Khan.
“We are here to win. We were under pressure a bit, but we are mentally strong and play well as a team. I think the turning point was the way we bowled in the last 10 overs, especially Razzaq with the old ball.”
This was Sri Lanka’s first defeat in four matches of the ongoing tournament, having won three games in the preliminary round.
Left-handed opener Imran Farhat had put Pakistan on the right track with an impressive 53 while Mohammad Yousuf continued the good work with a solid 49 before being run out for the 33rd time in his career.
Sri Lanka paid dearly for letting off Farhat when the batsman was on 25, with skipper Mahela Jayawardene grassing a regulation slip catch off seamer Dilhara Fernando.
Farhat batted comfortably against the seamers and used his feet well against spinners before he fell playing one shot too many, caught in the deep off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. He hit eight fours in his fifth half-century.
Pakistan suffered a setback when a well-set Yousuf fell short of the crease while going for a third run on a misfield, but they eventually found a match-winner in Razzaq.
Sri Lanka earlier looked like posting a big total when they raced to 108-1 in less than 18 overs, but Pakistan came back strongly to make their opponents struggle for runs in the middle and final overs.
“Every time we looked like accelerating we lost wickets, so the momentum was lost,” said Jayawardene.
“The batsmen have to do their job as we fell 20-30 runs short. It is very disappointing as the top four batsmen were making runs consistently. Unfortunately, we made a lot of mistakes today.”
Razzaq led Pakistan’s fightback and received good support from off-spinner Malik (2-34) and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi, who bowled tightly in the middle overs.
Sanath Jayasuriya (48), Kumar Sangakkara (39), Upul Tharanga (38), Marvan Atapattu (36), Jayawardene (31) and Farveez Maharoof (22) all got starts, but none could convert it into a big knock.
Jayawardene also became the fifth Sri Lankan to complete 6,000 runs in one-day internationals after Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Atapattu and Arjuna Ranatunga.
Sri Lanka could capitalise only in the early overs after winning the toss as veteran left-handed opener Jayasuriya went on the rampage and dominated a 63-run stand for the opening wicket with the in-form Tharanga.
Jayasuriya, making a joint-record 368th appearance in one-dayers, treated the new-ball attack with contempt as he punished both Rana Naved and Rao Iftikhar during his 35-ball 48 which contained two sixes and five fours.
India’s Sachin Tendulkar is the other batsman to play 368 one-dayers.
Sri Lanka clash with New Zealand at Mumbai on October 20 while Pakistan meet the same opponents at Mohali on October 25. Australia, England, India and the West Indies are in Group A. The top two sides will advance to the semi-finals.

Monday, October 16, 2006


India beat England by four wickets in the Champions Trophy curtain-raiser in Jaipur after the hosts had produced an excellent bowling performance.
Munaf Patel and Ramesh Powar each took three wickets and Irfan Pathan removed Andrew Flintoff for a duck as England were bowled out for 125 in 37 overs.
England fought back valiantly with the ball, taking six Indian wickets in all.
But the tourists had not scored enough runs and Yuvraj Singh (27 not out) got the hosts home in the 30th over.
The best performance by any batsman in the match was Paul Collingwood?s 38, and James Anderson collected two wickets on his international comeback.
Anderson, whose last appearance for England had been in mid-April, also in India, removed pinch-hitter Pathan (19) and India captain Rahul Dravid in a single over.
Jamie Dalrymple and Steve Harmison also collected a brace of wickets each, though Harmison?s first over cost 20 runs.
Ultimately Sachin Tendulkar (35) and Yuvraj did enough for India on a wicket that was never easy to bat on.
There was plenty of uneven bounce and some swing movement on offer throughout.
England were not, however, helped by umpire Daryl Harper?s decision to uphold Patel?s appeal for lbw against Ian Bell in the fourth over of the match. The ball would have sailed over the stumps.
But when Flintoff and Michael Yardy also got their pads in the way of the ball, they had little reason to complain.
If 17-3 looked bad, then 27-4 was a total disaster for the tourists, who had been asked to bat first when India won the toss.
Kevin Pietersen finally injected some purpose into the innings, but Patel had him snapped up at first slip for 27 as he drove at ball that was not there for the shot.
As spinners Powar and Harbhajan Singh entered the fray, Collingwood and Dalrymple faced the dilemma of having to push the score along as much as possible while not losing any wickets.
They did at least advance the score from 55-5 to 106-6, until Collingwood, who had been batting brightly, was caught off glove and pad by wicket-keeper Mahendra Dhoni.
Chris Read had barely had a look at the bowling before hoisting Harbhajan to long-on before Harbhajan took the catch off Powar?s bowling to end Sajid Mahmood?s innings.
It was fine work by the fielder, running diagonally backwards to take the catch at long-on, his momentum almost taking him over the rope, but not quite.
Dalrymple?s vigil was ended on 24 and Harmison was run out as England?s innings finished in a hurry.
in India?s reply, Tendulkar and Pathan batted smoothly to take India to 55-1, whereupon the players took their 45-minute break.
Then, with the floodlights switched on, Anderson had Pathan spectacularly caught by Kevin Pietersen at short extra-cover.
Three balls later, Dravid departed to an Andrew Strauss slip catch to leave India 72-3. That double strike emboldened Harmison, who beat Tendulkar for pace to trap him lbw.
The run rate almost ground to a halt, before Dhoni lost patience and drove Dalrymple to mid-on. The off-spinner struck again when Suresh Raina was bowled for a duck.
But only seven runs were needed, and Harbhajan provided the winning hit, a boundary off Mahmood allowing the celebratory fireworks to begin.

disgraced Akhtar

Cricket: Doctor defends disgraced Akhtar

The doctor of shamed Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar has come out in defence of the player at the centre of cricketing's latest drugs scandal.

"Shoaib Akhtar may have taken the drug accidentally," according to his doctor Tauseef Razzaq, in an article posted on the ICC Champions Trophy website today.

Speaking from his Lahore residence, Dr Razzaq told the website, "I have been treating [Akhtar] for the last five years and he is more like a son to me. He never hides anything from me and I can say that he [would] never take the banned substance deliberately."

Dr Razzaq reportedly said the fast bowler has been on a herbal medication prescribed by a local hakim (doctor) in Pakistan and that could have created the problem.

"It is a possibility that the nandrolone drug was mixed in herbal medicines that he has been taking since his last surgery."

The superstar fast bowler and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif both tested positive for the steroid nandrolone, and were sent home from the Champions Trophy.

The tests were conducted by Pakistan at a camp late last month.

A spokesman for the Pakistan Cricket Board says the two players were part of a group of 25 tested before the Champions Trophy, in a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Malaysia.

The tests were conducted internally, and not in an ICC tournament, so Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif will appear before a PCB disciplinary committee.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer is defending his players, and says there is no way the players would have taken something to boost performance, but they have both been recovering from injury, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Akhtar has been suffering from knee and ankle problems while Asif had had a shoulder problem.

Nandrolone can sometimes aid recovery from injury.

If the 'B' samples are positive, both bowlers will be banned for two years.

"I want to assure everyone that I am innocent of doing anything I shouldn't have," Shoaib told the website.

"All I can say at this stage is that I have not knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drugs and would never cheat my team mates or opponents in this way."

PCB chairman Naseem Ashraf said an investigation would be set up to look into the matter and possible actions against the pair.

"The players took it unfortunately," Ashraf said.

"They might have had no idea about the drug. It is the first time our players have tested positive so we'll take action accordingly."

Pakistan meet Sri Lanka in their first tournament clash tonight.

Pakistan cricket is still reeling from a ball-tampering fiasco which caused the team to forfeit the recent fourth test against England at The Oval.

That is in addition to controversy over the captaincy and the resignation of board chairman Shaharyar Khan.

Both players have only recently returned to top class cricket with Shoaib missing the four-test series in England last year with knee and ankle problems.

Asif played in the final test after he was sidelined by an elbow injury.

Australian leg spinner Shane Warne was banned for one year after testing positive for a diuretic before the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

Cricket website Cricinfo quoted Malcolm Speed, the chief executive of the ICC, saying that players should be well aware of banned substances.

Mr Speed told reporters in Jaipur that it was disappointing that two of Pakistan's premier bowlers had failed a test.

"Players have been tested since 2002 and I believe they're well aware of the substances on the list, as well as substances that most commonly cause problems for other sports. A number of times, the list has been advised to the cricket boards. This is not the first tournament when ICC has tested for drugs. We started in 2002 at the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand."

He continued: "Cricket is regarded as a low-risk sport in terms of doping.

"But five of our members - England, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia - carry out regular testing within their own countries. The ICC has signed the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) code, as have most countries."

Speed was quoted by cricinfo as commenting on Shoaib Akhtar: "Shoaib has always been an exciting cricketer, a character and history will judge him the way it has to."

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