Mukhtar Ahmed shines in Pak’s close win against Zimbabwe in first T20

News4u-Sports Desk- Man of the match Mukhtar Ahmed’s smashing knock helped Pakistan beat Zimbabwe in the first T20 international played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Playing an international game on their home soil after six years, Pakistan finally achieved the target of 173, despite suffering from a few hiccups towards the end.

Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura won the toss and elected to bat first on a belter of a pitch.

The openers Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza gave a very good start before both fell with 58 runs on the board.

Chigumbura played a captain’s knock, scoring 54 runs off just 35 deliveries and helped his side to set a competitive target of 173 runs.

Apart from Anwar Ali and Shoaib Malik, the rest of the Pakistani bowlers were expensive. Sami finished with 3 wickets, while Wahab Riaz picked two.

Pakistan’s fielding was once again disappointing as they missed a couple of catches and stumping chances, besides the sloppy ground fielding.

Chasing the target, Pakistan started off in brilliant fashion, with Mukhtar Ahmed showing his class. He smashed the Zimbabwean bowlers all over the park throughout his knock of 83. Ahmed Shehzad was a little slow to get off the blocks, but got into the groove soon after. Their 142-run opening partnership was a treat for the eyes, but Shehzad’s fall after reaching his fifty soon triggered a mini-collapse.

In the end when Pakistan needed four runs from four deliveries, Shahid Afridi finished things off with a cracking hit. (ANI)

Pak Team

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Chris Rogers says to retire after Ashes

News4u Sports Desk- Australian opening batsman Chris Rogers said Monday that he plans to retire from Test cricket after this year’s Ashes tour in England.

The 37-year-old left-hander said he was on track to finish his international career at the end of the five-Test Ashes series in August.

“I’m very happy, I’ve been pretty fortunate to have this second go at it and have loved every moment of it,” Fox Sports quoted Rogers, as saying.

“But time calls on everyone, and, I think, it’s nearly up for me. I think to go out in the Ashes and in England where I’ve played a lot of cricket is pretty fitting,” he added.

After making his Test debut in 2008, Rogers was recalled for the 2013 Ashes and has since been a solid contributor at the top of the Australia batting order, making 1,535 runs at an average of 39.35 across 20 Tests. (ANI)

Chris Rogers

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India’s Bangladesh tour schedule announced

News4u-Sports Desk-India’s upcoming tour of Bangladesh has been confirmed for a one-off Test and three One-Day Internationals.

The official BCCI Twitter handle tweeted that India would tour Bangladesh in the month of June to play a Test at Fatullah from June 10-14, and three ODIs on June 18, June 21, and June 24, all of which will be played at Mirpur.

CRICKETING relations between India and Bangladesh were slightly strained following the controversial quarter-final match at ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 between India and Bangladesh.


India’s Bangladesh tour schedule announced

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West Indies won the final Test match to level series

News4u-Sports Desk- London: West Indies defied the odds and a wearing pitch to complete a series-levelling five-wicket victory over England on the third day of the third and final Test on Sunday.

Set a daunting target of 192 after the tourists were dismissed for 123 in their second innings, a 108-run fifth-wicket partnership between Darren Bravo and Jermaine Blackwood tilted the match decisively the Caribbean side`s way.

That allowed them to celebrate their first victory over England since the opening match of the 2009 series in Kingston, Jamaica.

Bravo`s controlled knock of 82, his 11th Test half-century, ended when he attempted to make the victory hit off Ben Stokes as Stuart Broad pulled down the catch at mid-off.

It was left to Blackwood to finish off the match in the next over, hoisting Moeen Ali`s off-spin over long-on to finish unbeaten on 47 and complete a team and personal triumph following his first innings top score of 85 out of a total of 189.

He was named man of the match.

“I always try to play my natural game but you have to be mindful of the situation as well,” said Blackwood.

“(Darren) Bravo told me to just keep positive and we would be able to bring it home.”

West Indies seemed on the verge of another capitulation when veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul played on to James Anderson without scoring to leave the home side uncomfortably placed at 80 for four just after tea.

Anderson took the man of the series honours for his 17 wickets in the three matches, lifting his overall Test tally to 397.

“It`s disappointing, but they chased down that target very well,” he said.

Blackwood, who replaced Chanderpaul, capitalised on a significant moment of luck — a missed stumping by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off Joe Root when only on four — to stay with his senior partner.

Gradually they wore down the England bowlers before unfurling the attacking shots that sped the West Indies to the target that seemed beyond them at the start of the chase given the state of the pitch and the low-scoring nature of the match.

“Losing the toss turned out really well for us. The bowlers performed superbly,” said victorious West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin.

“Anything over 220 would have been trickier, but we had a real belief in our team in this series.”

Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope saw off the early assault from Anderson and Broad, although not without a few anxious moments.

But the introduction of Chris Jordan into the attack brought the breakthrough that England craved as the debutant fell leg-before for nine.

In the very next over, Jordan`s brilliance at slip throughout the series was again in evidence as he held on to a sharp chance left-handed to remove Brathwaite off Ali`s off-spin for 25.

England had started the day brightly, putting on 51 in the first hour for the loss of just one wicket from a perilous overnight position of 39 for five.

Gary Ballance was that early casualty after England resumed in the perilous overnight position of 39 for five.

He became the first of two wickets for Veerasammy Permaul, the left-arm spinner removing the left-hander to a catch at slip and then breaking a 33-run seventh-wicket partnership between Stokes and Buttler via a miscued drive from Stokes (32) that was well held by Chanderpaul at short extra-cover.

Buttler kept on playing positively and was left unbeaten on a top score of 35.

Fast-medium bowler Jason Holder, who dismissed Jordan and Broad off successive deliveries, finished with the best figures of three for 15.

Permaul and pacer Jerome Taylor also picked up three wickets apiece.

“Getting dismissed for 123 in the second innings opened up the match this morning,” England captain Alastair Cook conceded.

“Defending 190-odd, you need to take every chance and we didn`t do that. We`ll have to take it on the chin because we didn`t do enough to win the series.”

England won the second Test in Grenada by nine wickets while the opening game of the three-match series in Antigua was drawn. AFP


West Indies won the final Test match

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Bangladesh rout Pakistan 3-0

News4u-Sports Desk- Bangladesh whitewashed Pakistan in a one-day international series for the first time after winning the third match by an emphatic eight wickets on Wednesday.

Bangladesh went into the match having already achieved a first ODI series win against Pakistan, and made more history.

Opener Soumya Sarkar struck his maiden century as Bangladesh raced to 251 for 2 in the 40th over, after bowling out Pakistan for 250 in 49.

Soumya was not out on 127 off 110 balls, smashing 13 fours and six sixes. Fellow opener Tamim Iqbal, who hit consecutive centuries in the last two matches, made 64 to take his run tally to 312, the highest for a Bangladeshi in any bilateral series, and the third highest in any three-match series.

Tamim hit eight fours and one six in his 76-ball innings. Tamim and Soumya shared 145 in their opening stand, to set the platform for Bangladesh’s 10th clean sweep in its history.


Victorious Bangladesh Cricket Team

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Lot of improvement to do: Cook

News4u-Sports Desk-Dejected after a 133-run loss (D/L method) against India in the second one-dayer in Cardiff, England skipper Alastair Cook said that his team has a lot of improvement to do if it wants to overturn the 1-0 deficit in the five-match series.

“If we play like that we’re not going to win many games of cricket,” said Cook.

“But the talent in the changing room is there and we’ve got a lot of improvement to do. We didn’t play very well, and we’ve paid for that today.”

England can always take heart from the Test loss at Lord’s and the 3-1 series win thereafter. Cook also said that ‘tomorrow is another day’.

“But it’s one game, isn’t it? It’s one day of cricket. When you don’t get it right – like we haven’t today – it’s not the end of the world at all. It’s frustrating. You don’t win every game of cricket you play and you certainly don’t win many when you play like that. The lads in the changing room will know that. They don’t need me to tell them. So, it’s dust ourselves off and try to come back and play better next time,” he said.

Suresh Raina scored a 75-ball hundred as India heaped on 304/6 in their allotted fifty overs. And then Ravindra Jadeja took 4-28 as England were bowled out for 161 in their effort. Cook accepted the batting and bowling failure but took some positives out of the loss.

“Obviously, it wasn’t a 300 wicket and it wasn’t a 160 wicket,” said Cook.

“But we could look at some good spots, I suppose. I thought Chris Woakes (4-52) bowled nicely up front, and came back pretty strong when the carnage was happening.”

“Alex Hales played really well. He’ll know that scoring 40s don’t win you games. But he batted the same way I’ve seen him play for Nottinghamshire and that’s a really good start. He hits a really clean ball, and can win games of cricket. But as a batting unit as a whole, apart from that first nine or ten overs, 160 on that wicket wasn’t good enough,” he added.


Mohammad Shami’s jump celebration

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India looks for a positive start

News4u-Sports Desk- With an aim to bury the ghosts of a disastrous tour of 2011, a new-look Indian cricket team would be eyeing a positive start to its two-and-a-half-month long tour of England.

England might be a bit low in confidence after slumping to their first Test series loss to Sri Lanka on home soil but Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday said that that his visiting side ill-affords to take them lightly in the upcoming five-match Test series.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of his side’s three-day warm-up game starting here tomorrow, Dhoni said England are still a tough side to beat.

“What you assess is how good a side the opposition is and I still think England are a fantastic side. Which means it will be a tough competition for us and they know the home conditions better than us,” Dhoni said at his first press conference after arriving in England.

Asked if it was a good time to play England who suffered 0-1 series loss against visiting Sri Lanka yesterday, Dhoni said, “No, not really.”

Unlike in 2011 when India only played one tour match before entering the Test series, this time they are playing two and arrived nearly three weeks before the first Test. The extra time, according to Dhoni, provided the inexperienced players to get acclimatised to the conditions.

“It’s a long series, five Test matches followed by five ODIs and one T20. Playing a series with five Test matches is something that’s entirely new for us. But overall I think it will be really good,” Dhoni said.
India failed to register a single win in their disastrous last tour in 2011, losing the Test series 0-4, the five-match ODI series 0-3 and also the lone T20 International.

Of the current 18-member Indian squad only Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma have played a Test match in England. But Dhoni said that some of them have played some form of cricket in England and that experience may help them.

“It’s always good to have players who have played in the scenario before. As I’ve said it’s a team that doesn’t have too many players that have played in England,” Dhoni said.

“The good thing is a lot of them have played some kind of cricket in England. There are quite a few who were part of the Champions Trophy. There are quite a few who have played in England in other leagues, not just the counties, under-age cricket, maybe the Under-19s.

“All that really helps but it will be important for those players who have not played too many games to get used to the conditions really quickly. We’re here 15 to 20 days before the first Test so that will obviously help.”


The mafia boss, Alexander Matusov

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IPL 7 : Punjab has another chance to reach Finale

News4u-Sports Desk- Buoyed by their convincing seven-wicket win over title holders Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings will take on Kings XI Punjab in their second IPL knockout game inside three days in Mumbai on Friday with swashbuckling batsman Glenn Maxwell being a major threat to their chances.

Riding on the 25-year-old Australian batsman’s incandescent 90-plus run knocks in Abu Dhabi and Cuttack in the group stage of the T20 League, Kings XI Punjab had flattened two-time champions Chennai Super Kings.

However, to achieve the feat of entering the final for the sixth time, Chennai will have to stop Maxwell, who simply tore into their bowlers, especially two key spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on the two previous occasions.

Maxwell, the third highest run-getter with 539 runs this season, smashed 95 in 43 balls in Abu Dhabi last month to help Punjab chase down a massive 206-run target set up by the Super Kings.

The Victorian was even more dominating in their subsequent clash earlier this month at Cuttack, where he hit a whirlwind 90 off just 35 balls to power Punjab to an incredible score of 231.

Ashwin was smashed for 38 runs without a wicket in just two overs by Maxwell, while Jadeja conceded 37 runs in three overs without any success.

The destruction of these two Super Kings’ bowlers by Maxwell will certainly come up for discussion by the Super Kings’ think-tank ahead of their do-or-die encounter.


Glen Maxwell

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Gambhir back; Binny, Pankaj surprise picks for England tour

News4u-Sports Desk- Veteran opener Gautam Gambhir was on Wednesday recalled while all-rounder Stuart Binny and unheralded paceman Pankaj Singh were the surprise picks in an 18-member Indian squad for the Test series against England starting in the last week of June.

Injured pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha were the notable omissions from the squad announced by the BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel after a marathon meeting of the selection panel in Mumbai.

The Sandeep Patil-led selection committee also announced the squad for a three-match ODI series against Bangladesh which would precede the tour of England.

Suresh Raina would lead the 15-member squad which would be devoid of big stars such as regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma among others.

Raina, incidentally, was not even a member of the Asia Cup held in Bangladesh prior to IPL after his indifferent form in ODIs held earlier.

Spin spearhead R Ashwin and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja have also been rested from the squad for Bangladesh which will play three ODIs in Mirpur on June 15, 17 and 19.

Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Parveez Rasool has found a place in the squad for Bangladesh which also marks the return of in-form batsman Robin Uthappa, who has been a prolific scorer in the ongoing IPL.

The Bangladesh-bound squad features new faces in Maharashtra batsman Kedar Jadhav and left-arm spinner Akshar Patel of Gujarat.

The tour of England starts from June 26 and concludes on September 7 during which the Indians will play five Tests , an equal number of ODIs and one Twenty20 International.

The left-handed Gambhir’s return to the Test squad was on expected lines after he rediscovered his form in the domestic circuit and has been in good touch in the ongoing IPL as well despite starting with three consecutive ducks.

The 32-year-old’s last Test appearance for India was way back in 2012 in the home series against England.

Rajasthan pacer Pankaj Singh, 29, has been rewarded for his consistent form in the goneby Ranji season during which he picked 45 wickets but his name was not in the reckoning for a place in the Test team.

Binny’s inclusion came as a bit of a surprise but the selectors might have considered the utility of his gentle medium pace bowling in the seaming conditions in England.

Barring Binny and Pankaj’s inclusion, there were no other surprises in the squad for England which has been packed with a host of pace bowlers to capitalise on the seamer-friendly conditions.

The side features seven pacers, led by the gangling Ishant Sharma, and just two spinners in Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Apart from adding the experienced Gambhir, the batting line-up has not been tinkered with.

Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan are the two openers, followed by Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma.

Wriddhimaan Saha has been taken on board as backup for Dhoni, who is the team’s first-choice wicketkeeper.

The selectors continued to ignore veteran Virender Sehwag, who has done his case no good by continuing to under-perform in the domestic arena.

Only three players — Dhoni, Ishant and Gambhir — of this chosen squad of 18 have the experience of playing Tests in England.

Team for Bangladesh:

Suresh Raina (C), Robin Uthappa, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Wriddhimaan Saha, Parveez Rasool, Akshar Patel, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Stuart Binny, Mohit Sharma, Amit Mishra.

Teams for England tour:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Wriddhimaan Saha, Pankaj Singh.


Gambhir back; Binny, Pankaj included in team India

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David Miller’s heroics script another win for Punjab

News4u-Sports Desk- When the two teams last met, Sandeep Sharma had dismissed Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli in the same over and set the tone for a convincing win for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).

On Friday, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were chasing rather than setting a target, but the same set of characters went through a similar routine, right down to the questionable umpiring decision that did for Kohli, in an over that sent KXIP on their way to a 32-run win that gave them sole occupancy of the top spot in the IPL table.

An innings of 66, off just 29 balls, from David Miller had powered KXIP to a total of 198.
If any team could chase it, though, it was RCB. They had been the only team to chase a 200-plus total on this ground, and they had done it against the same opponents, back in 2010 They faced a similar ask this time, and needed their top order to fire.

First ball of his second over, though, Sandeep had his man. The ball swung away from Gayle, who swung hard at it and edged to the keeper. In walked Kohli. In Dubai, he had been out second ball to a debatable lbw decision, with the ball appearing to be headed down the leg side.

This time, Sandeep dismissed him first ball, caught behind down the leg side. There was a sound as ball passed bat, but replays suggested the ball had brushed the ground just as Wriddhiman Saha scooped it up with the webbing of his right glove. RCB were 8 for 2, and 199 looked like 299.

Brief scores:
Kings XI Punjab 198-8 (D Miller 66, V Sehwag 30; Y Chahal 2-23, M Starc 2-43) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 166-9 (AB de Villiers 53, M Starc 29; Sandeep Sharma 3-25, Shivam Sharma 2-26) by 32 runs.


David Miller

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