Desi Talk - page 20

20
February 13, 2015
SPORTS
– that’s all you need to know
By Amlan Chakraborty
– NEWDELHI
pener Rohit Sharma
smashed 150 in India’s
153-run romp against
Afghanistan in their
finalWorld Cup warm-
up match on Feb. 10, helping the
holders register their first win in
Australia since they landed in
November.
Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane (88
not out) and Suresh Raina (75)
made merry against Afghanistan’s
limited bowling resources to pro-
pel India to 364-5 at the Adelaide
Oval.
The two-time world champions
then restricted Afghanistan to
211-8 to finally taste victory before
they begin their title defense
against arch-rivals Pakistan on
Feb. 15.
In an otherwise frustrating
Australian summer, India lost the
four-test series to Australia, could
not win a single match in the sub-
sequent tri-series also involving
England, and were spanked by the
World Cup hosts in their first
warm-up match on Feb. 8.
Opting to bat first, India lost
quick two wickets before Sharma
and Raina (75) added 158 runs in
the next 25 overs.
Worryingly for them, however,
opener Shikhar Dhawan’s lack of
footwork once again led to his dis-
missal while batting mainstay
Virat Kohli and captain Mahendra
Singh Dhoni also could not spend
enough time in the middle.
Sharma, the only cricketer to
hit two 200-plus ODI scores,
appeared to have recovered fully
from a hamstring injury as he hit
seven sixes and 12 boundaries in
his 122-ball knock.
Contrary to expectations,
Sharma did not retire after his
century to allow other teammates
some batting practice.
In a pitchside interview after
the Indian innings, Raina said his
teamwould try to restrict
Afghanistan to under 250 which
they did but their inability to bowl
out the minnows once against
proved their bowling limitations.
Nawroz Mangal (60) and
Usman Ghani (44) shone with the
bat for Afghanistan who begin
theirWorld Cup campaign against
Bangladesh on Feb. 18.
India lacked sharpness in the
field with Mohammad Shami and
Ambati Rayudu dropping regula-
tion catches.
In contrast, Dhawan and
UmeshYadav collaborated to take
a spectacular catch to remove
Ghani. Dhawan ran back from
short idwicket to take a tumbling
catch but the ball popped out of
his hands and he juggled with it
before flicking it into the hands of
Yadav, who had rushed from long-
on to catch the skier before halt-
ing to avoid a collision.
– Reuters
– SINGAPORE
S
outh Africa beat Sri Lanka by
five wickets with just three
balls to spare in a thrilling
rain-interruptedWorld Cup
warm-up on Feb. 9.
Sri Lanka smashed 279 for
seven in their innings, which was
reduced to 44.4 overs after rain
stopped play at Hagley Oval in
Christchurch.
Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan
laid the foundations for a big Sri
Lankan total when he belted
exactly 100 off just 83 deliveries,
which included 15 boundaries
and two sixes.
He was well supported by the
Sri Lankan captain Angelo
Mathews, who made a quickfire
58 off 49 balls, and Dimuth
Karunaratne, who chipped in with
46 off 61 deliveries.
Kyle Abbott was the pick of the
South Africa bowlers, taking 3-37
while all-rounderWayne Parnell
bagged two wickets.
When the rain stopped and the
South Africans started their reply,
they were initially set 230 to win
off 30 overs under the Duckworth-
Lewis method.
Despite being without their
captain AB de Villiers, who was
rested as a precaution because of
tightness in his hip, the Proteas
made a flying start.
Quinton de Kock (66) and
Hashim Amla (46) put on 115 for
the opening wicket in 15 overs
before the rain returned, forcing
another delay.
South Africa’s target was
reduced to 188 off 25 overs, leav-
ing them needing 72 of 10 overs
with 10 wickets in hand.
What seemed like an easy
chase suddenly began to look
tricky when they lost de Kock and
Amla in the first over after play
resumed, then three more wickets
before the end of the 23rd over.
Left-arm spinner Rangana
Herath snatched three wickets for
Sri Lanka, leaving South Africa
requiring 21 off the last 14 balls,
but Rilee Rossouw (16 not out)
andVernon Philander (13 not out)
safely guided the Proteas to victo-
ry. South Africa will play their final
warm-up against New Zealand in
Christchurch in Feb. 11, while Sri
Lanka will face Zimbabwe the
same day.
TheWorld Cup starts on Feb. 14
when co-hosts New Zealand meet
Sri Lanka in Christchurch and
Australia play England in
Melbourne.
– Reuters
O
Sharma Hits Century in Timely Win for India
South Africa Edge Sri Lanka in World Cup Warm-up
By Ian Ransom
– MELBOURNE
T
he International Cricket
Council will crack down
on excessive sledging
between players at theWorld
Cup, saying first offenders can
expect heavier fines while
repeat offenders face suspen-
sion frommatches.
ICC chief executive David
Richardson also said players
with already poor records of
on-field behavior could face
immediate match bans if
found guilty of a single breach
of the ICC’s code of conduct
during the Feb. 14 to March 29
tournament.
“That issue has been
addressed at all the pre-event
team briefings,” Richardson
told reporters in Melbourne
Feb. 10.
“I suppose it started a few
months back already that the
behavior in some matches by
some players was deemed to
be unacceptable and not a
good example to young fans
watching the game.
“I think there’s been some-
thing like 12-13 code of con-
duct charges laid in the last few
months in bilateral series.
“So the crackdown had
already started. I think the
teams are going to be told that
the umpires intend to remains
firm, that the penalties handed
out by the match referees will
be perhaps a little bit more
serious or higher than before
but that hopefully everyone
will be treated equally and fair-
ly. “For a first offense, you’ll
likely end up with a fine which
no players likes, handing back
most of his match fee.
“But certainly a repeat
offense, not only in this tour-
nament but some players
already sitting with offenses
behind their name, will be
punished with a suspension.”
– Reuters
Sledgers to Face Match Bans at World Cup
– SYDNEY
S
ohaib Maqsood spared
Pakistan’s blushes by hitting
an unbeaten 93 to secure the
team’s three-wicket victory over
Bangladesh in their firstWorld
Cup warm-up match Feb. 9.
Maqsood’s 90-ball knock took
Pakistan home with 11 balls to
spare but their top order looked
far from convincing as they
chased 247 runs for victory.
Having beaten the former
champions in the 1999World Cup,
Bangladesh rekindled hopes of
another upset by reducing
Pakistan to 199 for six in the 43rd
over but were thwarted by
Maqsood who hit nine fours and
two sixes. Bangladesh posted a
competitive 246 after opting to bat
first but were all out with one
delivery to go in their innings.
They lost two quick wickets but
Tamim Iqbal (81) and
Mahmudullah (83) added 168
runs to consolidate the innings.
Iqbal’s 109-ball knock will
please captain Mashrafe Mortaza
the most as the left-handed open-
er was returning to action after
undergoing knee surgery in
December.
Down the order, all-rounder
Shakib Al Hasan scored a brisk 31
before Mohammad Irfan (5-52)
ripped through the middle and
lower order.
Towering Irfan’s five-wicket
haul was a rare positive in
Pakistan’s otherwise wayward
bowling effort, underlined by the
17 wides they conceded.
Pakistan’s top order did little to
convince their fans and the 1992
champions were 52 for three in
the 16th over before Maqsood and
Harris Sohail (39) steadied the
innings with a 51-run stand.
Umar Akmal fell after con-
tributing 39 but Maqsood guided
them home.
– Reuters
Irfan and Maqsood Star in Narrow Pakistan Victory
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