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.

KJ Coetzer’s Catch – Scotland Vs South Africa Wednesday, Jun 10 2009 

Scientists Find New ‘Ebola’ Like Virus in Africa Friday, May 29 2009 

ATLANTA  —  Scientists have identified a lethal new virus in Africa that causes bleeding like the dreaded Ebola virus.

The so-called “Lujo” virus infected five people in Zambia and South Africa last fall. Four of them died, but a fifth survived, perhaps helped by a medicine recommended by the scientists.  It’s not clear how the first person became infected, but the bug comes from a family of viruses found in rodents, said Dr. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University epidemiologist involved in the discovery.

“This one is really, really aggressive” he said of the virus. A paper on the virus by Lipkin and his collaborators was published online Thursday on in PLoS Pathogens. The outbreak started in September, when a female travel agent who lives on the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia, became ill with a fever-like illness that quickly grew much worse.

She was airlifted to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she died. A paramedic in Lusaka who treated her also became sick, was transported to Johannesburg and died. The three others infected were health care workers in Johannesburg.Investigators believe the virus spread from person to person through contact with infected body fluids.

“It’s not a kind of virus like the flu that can spread widely,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which helped fund the research.The name given to the virus — “Lujo” — stems from Lusaka and Johannesburg, the cities where it was first identified. Investigators in Africa thought the illness might be Ebola, because some of the patients had bleeding in the gums and around needle injection sites, said Stuart Nichol, chief of the molecular biology lab in the CDC’s Special Pathogens Branch. Other symptoms include include fever, shock, coma and organ failure.

Genetic extracts of blood and liver from the victims were tested at Columbia University in New York, and additional testing was done at CDC in Atlanta. Tests determined it belonged to the arenavirus family, and that it is distantly related to Lassa fever, another disease found in Africa. The drug ribavirin, which is given to Lassa victims, was given to the fifth Lujo virus patient — a Johannesburg nurse. It’s not clear if the medicine made a difference or if she just had a milder case of the disease, but she fully recovered, Nichol said.

The research is a startling example of how quickly scientists can now identify new viruses, Fauci said. Using genetic sequencing techniques, the virus was identified in a matter of a few days — a process that used to take weeks or longer.Along with Fauci’s institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Google also helped fund the research.