Shahid Afridi struck an exuberant unbeaten 54 to take Pakistan to an eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday (June 21). Afridi, the man at the heart of Pakistan’s revival with bat and ball after they lost their opening game to England, stood and saluted the thousands of elated Pakistani supporters after hitting two sixes and two fours.
Fighting fit? Dhoni, coach disagree over T20 exit Wednesday, Jun 17 2009
Nottingham: The discord in the Indian camp over the reasons for the shocking exit from Twenty20 World Cup continued with Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni insisting that fatigue was not a factor for the debacle. While coach Gary Kirsten had blamed an overdose of cricket and Indian Premier League IPL as the cause for the World Cup fiasco, Dhoni continued to differ with his coach on IPL issue though he admitted some of his players were not 100 per cent fit.
Kirsten had on Tuesday asserted that too much of cricket by his team and the timing of IPL were the main reasons behind India’s failure to defend their title. “We were not as energetic as we were in New Zealand. We were relatively tired when we arrived here. We have been on the road since end of January. A lot of our cricketers also carried niggles in this tournament. We picked up niggles in the IPL and lost contact with them,” Kirsten had said.
Dhoni & co fail to save face Wednesday, Jun 17 2009
Dhoni and his boys failed to save face at the ICC world T20 with yet another defeat. This time with 12 run loss to the Proteas in their final super 8-match. Team India failed to chase a target of 131 runs after having restricted South Africa to the paltry total. India’s defeat meant that they have lost all their super 8-matches — a shameful performance from team India, who were pipped as the favourites before the tournament began.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said poor form of the key batsmen, including himself, resulted in the team’s morale-shattering defeat against South Africa in the Twenty20 World Cup on Tuesday (June 16).
The defending champions cut a sorry figure last night when their much-vaunted batting order failed to chase a modest victory target of 131 runs and sunk to their third straight defeat in the tournament.
Dhoni held the mis-firing batsmen responsible for tonight’s defeat. “I don’t think condition was the issue here. Form of some of the players, including me, was the major factor (behind the defeat,” a dejected Dhoni said after the match. “We played with six frontline batsmen and the seventh is an all-rounder. When three of them don’t click in a match like this, it becomes really very hard. Throughout the tournament I think we bowled well, wherever we played but we lacked a few things when it comes with the batting,” he added.
“Batting wise we were really not up to the mark and unfortunately, throughout the tournament it happened. When we come back in nine months time, hopefully we will be a better prepared side,” Dhoni said, referring to the next Twenty20 World Cup. In a clear sign that his popularity has taken a beating after India’s disastrous show in the tournament, Dhoni was booed after the match.
Asked about the crowd support, Dhoni said,”The kind of support we get when we play in England. But we have to win games, else we will get booed at the end of the game.” Dhoni was not ready to believe that the Indian team had turned bad overnight and felt they just could not click on those particular days.
“In this format, it’s not about what kind of side you are but what you do on that particular day. in all three department. It’s a game where you have to be there throughout the 40 overs,” Dhoni explained. His South African counterpart Graeme Smith was happy with the way his team defended a modest total.
“It was a good total. It wasn’t a great wicket and the way we defended was great. It showed how far we have come in thinking and the options we have,” Smith said. “The slow bowlers bowled really well. They did a great job today and were well supported in the field. We are excited for the semi-finals. We have adapted to every surface we have played. We will play Pakistan on Thursday and we are very excited,” Smith said.
Teammate AB de Villiers, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his brisk half-century, said it was not easy scoring on Trent Bridge’s sluggish track. “I don’t think it was the fanciest knock of my life. The trick is to be solid in the first 20 balls and then you can start expressing yourself. It was important to take singles and twos. Later on in t innings, you can look for the big shots,” he said.
Womens T20 World Cup:India Qualify For Semi Final Tuesday, Jun 16 2009
India sealed a semi-final spot after defeating Sri Lanka by five wickets in a rain-affected match at Taunton. Mithali Raj and Poonam Raut took India past a modest target, but Sri Lanka stayed in the contest by picking up wickets regularly.
Sri Lanka batted first after the match was reduced to an 18-over contest, but never really got going against a tight Indian bowling unit. Deepika Rasangika top scored for Sri Lanka with 24, as her team mustered a modest total of 94 in its allotted 18 overs.
Medium pacer Rumeli Dhar led the Indian attack with miserly figures of 2 for 4 in four overs, supported by left-arm spinner Gouher Sultana, who also picked up two wickets.India did not have the best of starts in their reply, finding themselves in a spot of bother at 33 for 3. Opening batsman Poonam Raut made a cautious yet vital 30 from 41 balls before being dismissed, but Mithali Raj at the other end was more aggressive, scoring an unbeaten 32 from just 22 balls. The duo ensured the required rate hovered around at the 6-per-over mark, before Raj finished the match in the 17th over.
England play Pakistan in the final Group B league match, which will decide who tops the group. England are already through to the semi-finals, but a Pakistan win could affect England’s net run-rate, giving India an opportunity to finish in first place.
T20 WC: India set to face ‘Gayle storm’ Friday, Jun 12 2009
Its a big day for the men in blue at the T20 world cup. It just gets tougher from here as they face the Calypso Kings West Indies in their first match of the Super 8 stage at Lord’s on Friday (June 12).
Despite the controversies off the field, Dhoni’s boys have been in great form out in the middle, so far, but the big Test starts today.
Man Utd accept £80m Ronaldo bid Thursday, Jun 11 2009
“United have agreed to give Real Madrid permission to talk to the player,” said a statement from the English club. It added that the decision came at Ronaldo’s request after he “again expressed his desire to leave”. United described the offer for the 24-year-old forward as unconditional and added that they expected the matter to be concluded by 30 June.It is understood that the transfer fee would be made available for manager Sir Alex Ferguson to invest in the transfer market.
Man Utd are the club for me – Ronaldo Madrid signed Brazilian Kaka for a reported £56m earlier in the week, surpassing the previous world record fee of £45.6m Real paid for Zinedine Zidane in 2001. That deal was sealed by the ambition of returning Real president Florentino Perez, who previously led the Spanish club from 2000 to 2006 – during the famous galacticos era.
And Perez had earlier made it clear that he would do “everything possible” to sign Ronaldo. Madrid have also been linked with Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso, Valencia’s David Villa and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery since Perez’s unopposed election signalled the return of their vast spending. But the BBC’s Steve Kingstone in Madrid said that Real had yet to confirm any agreement to buy Ronaldo or the agreed price of £80m stated by United. Thursday is a public holiday in Madrid and no announcements are expected.
“This was one that was never ever going to go away,” said BBC Radio 5 Live chief football correspondent Mike Ingham.
CRISTIANO RONALDO FACTFILE
1985: Born 5 February
2002: Make Sporting Lisbon debut
2003: Signs for Man Utd in £12m deal
2004: Wins first trophy, the FA Cup, with United
2006: Expresses desire to join Real Madrid
2007: Wins first Premier League title
2008: Wins Champions League
2009: Voted World and European player of the year
2009: Man Utd accept £80m bid from Real
“After the Champions League final he criticised Sir Alex Ferguson’s tactics, he threw his toys out of the pram in the derby with Manchester City after he was substituted. He’s been very high maintenance. And £80m is hard to resist.”Personally I’m very sorry to see him leave but it’s absolutely inevitable. If hadn’t been this summer it would have been next summer.
“This could mean they might be able to keep Carlos Tevez, maybe Wayne Rooney can be liberated.” Ronaldo, who joined United in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon for £12.2m, was strongly linked with a move to the Spanish capital last summer. United lodged a complaint with world governing body Fifa last June over what they believed was a deliberate attempt by Real to unsettle the winger.
After a long drawn out saga that ran through the summer months the Portugal international said he was happy at Old Trafford and remained at United for the 2008-09 season. “Now I understand I made the best decision,” Ronaldo told Spanish sports paper Marca at the end of last summer. “I am with Manchester in body and soul.But the speculation soured relations between the clubs and last December United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that he would not “sell that mob a virus”.
And despite Ronaldo’s claim that he wanted to remain at Old Trafford he was the subject of constant speculation during the 2008-09 season and often gave mixed messages about his future.
If Ronaldo does sign for Madrid his last appearance for United would have been in the Champions League final that the Premier League champions lost 2-0 to Barcelona in Rome. “History will remember him very well in terms of his contribution as a footballer, he’ll also be seen as petulant, egotistical and stubborn but he’s been a wonderful player,” said United we Stand fanzine editor Andy Mitten.It took time for Ronaldo to find his best form after joining United but became a pivotal player for United, who have won the last three Premier League titles.
In the 2007-08 season he scored 42 goals, which topped the previous club record for a midfielder held by George Best, and was on the scoresheet as United defeated Chelsea in the Champions League final.Ronaldo was the top scorer last season with 26 goals, taking his total for United to 118 in 292 appearances.
KJ Coetzer’s Catch – Scotland Vs South Africa Wednesday, Jun 10 2009
‘Evasive’ Mahi snaps at media over Viru Wednesday, Jun 10 2009
High drama was witnessed at a press conference addressed by Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who faced a hostile media after news filtered in that his deputy Virender Sehwag will be out of the Twenty20 World Cup. Asked about Sehwag’s injury and why there was no update from the team management, he curtly said, “Whatever related to fitness, you will get it from the BCCI.
Asked why a captain should not provide the update, an irritated-looking Dhoni said, I’m not going to say anything on that.” On whether he was aware of Sehwag’s injury, Dhonis cryptic reply was “yes, I am.” His comment ignited the fuse in a jam-packed room as the media persons strained to hear from official sources whether Sehwag was really out of the tournament.
Roger Federer wins French Open 2009 Monday, Jun 8 2009
Roger Federer beat Robin Soderling in straight sets to win his first French Open and equal Pete Sampras’s record of 14 Grand Slam titles. World number two Federer becomes only the sixth man to have won each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The 27-year-old Swiss produced a near-faultless display in testing conditions to dominate Sweden’s Soderling, a shock finalist, from start to finish.
He wrapped up a 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 victory in one hour and 55 minutes. Federer joins Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Andre Agassi as the only men to have won all four Grand Slam titles and was presented the Coupe des Mousquetaires by Agassi.
“It was probably my greatest victory, I was under big pressure,” said Federer. “I did it and it’s phenomenal. It was great to be on the podium as a winner for a change. “Andre said it was my destiny to win this and that I deserved it.
Soderling admitted: “Roger was too good for me today, he played much better. He is a worthy winner and for me he is the best player in history. He gave me a lesson in how to play tennis.” Federer has now won five Wimbledon titles, five US Opens, three Australian Opens and one French Open, a triumph that will go some way to silencing those who claimed his career was on the slide amid the rise of world number one Rafael Nadal.
The former world number one was appearing in a record-equalling 19th Grand Slam final, his fifth in succession and, remarkably, his 15th in the last 16 Grand Slam tournaments. Federer had lost each of the last three finals to Nadal and the Spaniard’s shock defeat by Soderling in round four suggested another huge upset was possible.
But the Swiss looked a picture of calm from the moment he set foot on Court Phillipe Chatrier and, cheered on by large sections of the crowd, made a blistering start.
Sania Mirza Breaks A Million Heart Friday, May 29 2009
New Delhi: Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza has got engaged to a Hyderabad-based businessman but her family has ruled out an immediate wedding or early retirement for the star. Sania gets engaged to Hyderabad-based businessman
The 22-year-old, who is the most successful woman tennis player of the country, will continue playing the game and her father Imran Mirza said it will take a while before the two families decide on when the wedding would take place.
“This is to confirm that Sania Mirza is engaged to Mr. Muhammad Sohrab Mirza, whose family hails from the city of Hyderabad. Although not related, the two families have had friendly ties for several decades. However, the wedding is not expected to take place for a while,” Imran Mirza said. “I would like to state that the news appearing in certain sections of the media about the two maternal grandmothers having fixed the liaison is baseless. It has also been wrongly projected that Sania is contemplating early retirement from tennis. These reports are absolutely untrue,” he said.
Sania’s career has been marred by injuries and countless controversies but despite the off-court woes, she has been the lone flagbearer of Indian women’s tennis internationally. Sania was the first Indian to win a WTA singles title and earlier this year added an elusive Grand Slam title to her kitty when she combined with Mahesh Bhupathi to win the mixed doubles event at the Australian Open. Sania is currently in Paris playing the French Open.
Tendulkar backs India to retain World T20 crown Friday, May 29 2009
Chennai: Batting great Sachin Tendulkar believes India will retain the Twenty20 World Cup next month, saying skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team is the world’s best in the most explosive form of the game. “India is the most balanced side in the world and there is no doubt we can defend the title,” Tendulkar told the DNA newspaper on Thursday.
“We have very good cricketers in our side and we have proved that this combination is the deadliest,” added the record-breaking batsman, who does not play in Twenty20 internationals.
Barcelona 2-0 Man Utd-The Big Final Thursday, May 28 2009
Manchester United’s attempt to make history and become the first club to defend the Champions League ended in failure against Barcelona in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
Barcelona: Valdes, Puyol, Toure Yaya, Pique, Sylvinho, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta (Pedrito 90), Messi, Eto’o, Henry (Keita 72).
Subs Not Used: Pinto, Caceres, Muniesa, Gudjohnsen, Bojan.
Goals: Eto’o 10, Messi 70.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson (Tevez 46), Carrick, Giggs (Scholes 75), Park (Berbatov 66), Ronaldo, Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Rafael Da Silva, Evans, Nani.
Booked: Ronaldo, Scholes, Vidic.
Ref: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland).
Ronaldo shows his frustration as United stumble to a limp defeat
Sania Mirza to hit ‘red dirt’ later today Tuesday, May 26 2009
Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza is all set to play her opener at the French Open on Tuesday (May 26) where she takes on the unseeded Kazakh Galina Voskoboeva. Mirza, who is recovering from yet another injury, has seen her ranking fall to her current position of 95 th in the world. But the only Grand Slam to be played on clay, will offer the Hyderabadi the chance to once again start her climb to the top 32 of the game.
Sania reached a career high ranking of 27 in August 2007 but with injuries plaguing her career, Sania has steadily slipped in the singles rankings. Sania faces Voskoboeva who is ranked fourteen placed above her in the WTA womens rankings. And if Sania does make it to round two she could face seventh seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Top 10 Ping Pong Shots of All Time Tuesday, May 12 2009
F1 standing Tuesday, May 12 2009
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