Pakistan clinch series 2-0 after third ODI against Zimbabwe washed out

Published on: Sunday, 31 May 2015 //
Pakistan Cricket team, Zimbabwe Cricket Team, Pakistan vs Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe vs Pakistan, Pakistan Zimbabwe ODI series, Pakistan Zimbabwe ODIs 2015, Cricket News, Cricket With the 2-0 series win, Pakistan ended a 17-month drought of an ODI series win. (Source: AP)

The third and final one-day international between Pakistan and Zimbabwe ended in no result due to rain on Sunday as the home team clinched the series 2-0.

Zimbabwe’s target was revised to 281 in 46 overs on the Duckworth/Lewis method after a dust storm and power failure stopped play for 52 minutes.

But heavy rain arrived after only one over when play resumed and it didn’t subside before umpires called off the match with Zimbabwe cruising at 68-0 in nine overs.

Chamu Chibhabha, who replaced suspended regular captain Elton Chigumbura for the last two matches and missed his maiden ODI century by one run in the second match, was unbeaten on 39 off 27 balls while Vusi Sibanda was not out on 28.

“We had a really good chance today (Sunday) … and the start that we had I thought we were in with a shot to win the game,” Zimbabwe stand-in captain Hamilton Masakadza said. “The guys stood up when we had to make changes in the team and even the way bowlers came back today after not so good start.”

Earlier, after Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat, opener Hafeez made a run-a-ball 80 and 20-year-old newcomer Babar Azam scored 54 in his first ODI before Anwar Ali smashed 38 off 23 balls in Pakistan’s total of 296-9 to give Pakistan hopes of a 3-0 sweep.

“We were 30-40 runs short because you can be in trouble if you don’t put more than 300 runs on board on this type of wicket,” Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said.

Off-spinner Sikandar Raza picked up 3-59 and also broke the opening wicket stand of 115 when he ran out captain Ali (46 off 59 balls) off a direct throw and then trapped top-scorer Hafeez LBW off his first delivery.

Azam made a defiant half century off 60 balls with four boundaries before he missed a full toss and was bowled by Christopher Mpofu in the 47th over.

Anwar Ali lifted the total by entertaining another capacity crowd of 27,000 at Gaddafi Stadium with two sixes and two fours.

Ali, who scored 79 and 102 in Pakistan’s two previous victories, was shaping up well for another big knock but while attempting a quick single he couldn’t beat Raza’s throw from short cover.

Pakistan’s middle order stuttered against Raza, who bowled all his 10 overs around the wicket and continuously challenged the batsmen.

Hafeez missed a flick off a straight delivery and departed after hitting eight fours and a six while Asad Shafiq (16) and Sarfraz Ahmed (25) fell cheaply to some smart catching close to the wicket.

Shoaib Malik scored a century in his comeback ODI after three years in the first match, but was run out for just seven to a brilliant piece of fielding by Mpofu at square leg before Pakistan lower order batsmen added 86 runs in the last 10 overs.

Authorities beefed up security around the Gaddafi Stadium for Zimbabwe’s last tour match after a government minister said a suicide bomber blew himself up on Friday night close to the stadium during the second one-day international.

Zimbabwe, which became the first Test nation to tour Pakistan in six years due to security concerns, remained winless on its 13-day tour.

Zimbabwe lost the Twenty20 series 2-0 before Pakistan knocked them off by 41 runs and six wickets in the two ODIs.

“It was an emotional victory for us because we haven’t played in Pakistan for the last six years,” Ali said. “We also had to win because no matter how much you play but when you win you build the confidence of players.”

BJ Watling batting, England battling

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England vs New Zealand, New Zealand vs England, NZ vs Eng, Eng vs NZ, England Cricket Team, New Zealand Cricket Team, New Zealand, England, New Zealand England Test, Cricket News, Cricket Watling leaves the field at the end of the day’s play after scoring a century against England. (Source: Reuters)

B.J. Watling struck an unbeaten 100 and Brendon McCullum became the second Kiwi to pass 6,000 Test runs as New Zealand seized control of the second Test against England on Sunday, establishing a 338-run lead after day three.

England, ahead 1-0 in the two-match series, already needs to break its record fourth-innings run chase to stand a chance of victory – and its deficit is sure to soar.

With the teams tied after each scoring 350 in their first innings, New Zealand was in trouble at 23-2 before a third-wicket partnership of 99 between Martin Guptill (70) and Ross Taylor (48) repaired the early damage.

Watling and captain McCullum then came together just before tea with the result still in the balance at 141-4, and put on 121 runs to take the match away from England.

McCullum departed for 55, after joining compatriot Stephen Fleming in passing the 6,000-run milestone, but Watling was still there after reaching his fifth Test century, becoming the first New Zealander to get triple figures at Headingley.

The Black Caps closed on 338-6, with their limited-overs-style attitude to Test cricket proving hard to play against and thoroughly unsettling England’s bowlers. At times, the tourists were scoring at quicker than a run a ball.

“In both innings, they’re scoring at nearly five an over,” said England bowling coach Ottis Gibson, looking perplexed. “I was sitting there thinking that the one-day series hasn’t even started yet.”

England’s best run chase in a fourth innings is 332, made against Australia in 1928, and the world record is 418.

“There is still a lot of time left in the game,” Gibson said. “If we can get a couple of wickets quickly and have 370 to chase, perhaps with the amount of time left in the game, who knows?”

New Zealand is looking to make it seven Test series without defeat and the team’s positive approach to the five-day game has been refreshing to behold.

It turned out to be a memorable day for the 33-year-old McCullum, who also discovered he’d been named on Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honors list. He was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Cricket, along with coach Mike Hesson.

McCullum is now on 6,008 runs in Tests.

The Test has turned sharply in the space of 24 hours.

Heading into the final hour of day two, England was 215-1 and within 135 runs of New Zealand’s first-innings total. A late collapse against the new ball removed four batsmen and the meltdown continued on Sunday when Tim Southee enticed edges to the slips from Ian Bell (12), Jos Buttler (10) – the two overnight batsmen – and Moeen Ali (1) in the space of 17 balls in his first spell under cloudy skies.

Stuart Broad smashed 46 off 39 balls to help England achieve first-innings parity but New Zealand has motored away.

“It was a great day for us,” Guptill said. “The pitch is getting tough. It’s going to be tough batting over the next couple of days and hopefully our bowlers can exploit that.”

One advice that Dhoni gave me was to face the ball and not the bowler: Pawan Negi

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Pawan Negi was the surprise pick of the Chennai Super Kings this season, featuring in as many as 10 matches in the season gone by. The left-arm spinner from Delhi speaks to The Indian Express about his experience of playing as a bowling all-rounder for the IPL giants and why he focussed more on his batting during the event. Excerpts.

How rewarding was it to play 10 matches for CSK this season? And was your focus more on your batting than bowling?

I won’t say that batting was my main focus but yes, I did practise it a lot in the nets. It helped me get runs at the bottom of the order in the first game and that helped me get a promotion in the next.

Did your bowling suffer due to this focus on batting (he scored 116 runs and took 6 wickets)?

I knew that I had to bowl just four overs and practised accordingly. My aim, like all T20 bowlers, was to be economical first and maybe even chip in with a couple of wickets. But unfortunately, it just didn’t work out that way in match situations. I was much better with the bat than I was with the ball.

As a spinner, was playing alongside R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja a blessing or a burden?

Not only them, I was playing under MS Dhoni. All three helped me a lot. In the match against KXIP, where I was bowling the first over of the game, I felt the pressure because I had never bowled with the new ball before. So Dhoni asked me to bowl like I would in the middle overs and not worry about having just two fielders outside the circle. His best advice was to ask me not to experiment with my lines and lengths. I followed it and finished the game with the Man of the Match.

I was also constantly taking advice from Ashwin and Jadeja. Constantly asking them how to manage pressure and what I should do in certain situations.

In CSK’s first game against Mumbai Indians, you were trusted with the ball at the death and leaked three sixes to Hardik Pandya. What happened there?

The ball was turning a bit so I decided to flight the ball, hoping that if Pandya plays across, he could offer a catch off the leading edge. But he played superb shots and I ended up conceding 19 runs and the match.

Immediately after you were hit for the second six, Dhoni had a word with you. Do you recall what he said to you?

He asked me to not to bowl so full as the ball was coming nicely on to Pandya’s bat. Nothing worked for me that day.

Was it a steep learning curve that day?

Definitely. I will surely learn to handle the pressure better the next time such a situation comes up.

Which bowler did you find toughest to face this season.

(Lasith) Malinga. His release point is so low that you face a lot of difficulty in picking him. And because it was the first time I was playing him, it was even tougher.

Did Dhoni have any special advice for you when you were batting together?
He asked me to face the ball and not the bowler. And he also asked me to treat the situation like a net session.

Cricket-New Zealand's Watling makes light of wounded knee

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LEEDS, England, May 31 (Reuters) - New Zealand's BJ Watling was described as gritty and gutsy by his team mates after he showed those qualities in a composed innings of 100 not out against England that turned the second test their way on Sunday.

An I-League of their own: Mohun Bagan clinch maiden title

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Mohun Bagan, Mohun Bagan fc, i league, football, Mohun Bagan football, india news, sports news, football news Bagan (playing in white) won their first national title in 13 years.

Rain soaked and confidence sapped, Mohun Bagan players slipped and stumbled on the wet surface of the Sree Kanteerva Stadium. As the minutes ticked by, so did their chances of winning their first-ever I-League title. At the home of I-League’s youngest team Bengaluru FC, the country’s oldest club needed at least a draw to dethrone the defending champions and stop them from winning unprecedented back-to-back I-League titles.

It wasn’t just Bengaluru that the Bagan players were up against. The burden of history (of not having won the domestic title since 13 years), the demanding management (who have conveniently been blaming past failures on the coaches and players) and (majority of) the 21,786 fans who’d filled the stands were just some of the challenges that stared them at the face. The nerves had to play a role. And they did. Going into the final match of the season, which was virtually a Cup final, Bagan led their rivals from the South by two points. Bengaluru have been unbeaten at home and only twice this season have they failed to score a goal.

Bengaluru began more aggressively among the two sides and Englishman John Johnson’s header in the 40th minute helped them take the lead, which gave the hosts a huge advantage in the title race. Bengaluru went in hard for the challenges and moved the ball around well to unsettle Bagan, who looked overwhelmed by the occasion. But Sanjoy Sen’s side soon gathered composure and their Haitian import Sony Norde took it upon himself to bring his side back in the match. But he lacked support from the others, giving Bengaluru the advantage going into half time.

Bengaluru looked content with the one-goal lead and were minutes away from retaining their crown when, in the 87th minute, Bagan centre-back Bello Rasaq rose above the defence and headed in a corner. Till that moment, Bengaluru goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte had had an excellent match in challenging conditions. But Rasaq’s header had a lot of pace on it and was angled perfectly, beating Ralte on the near post.

As the back of the net bulged, only the sound of the 11 Bagan men on field and a few hundred in the stands could be heard as an eerie silence gripped rest of the stadium. After a frantic last few minutes, the referee blew the final whistle. The match ended 1-1 and Bagan had ended their long wait for the title.

Nigerian connect

Bagan finally won their first-ever I-League title at the home of the champions and in doing so, they became the first team from Kolkata to win the League. No team from Kolkata had won the I-League, which has been dominated by the Goan clubs before Bengaluru ended their stranglehold last year. It also marked the return of the national league trophy to Kolkata for the first time in 11 years. East Bengal were the last side to win the National Football League back in 2004. This was Bagan’s fourth national title but their last one came 13 years ago in 2002.

It may have come after a long hiatus and after a plethora of changes but the manner in which they win their titles remain unchanged. Bagan won the title on Sunday like only Bagan could have won. They have won three out of their four titles on the final day of the season. And on each occasion, it has been their Nigerian strikers who have delivered.

Chima Okorie’s hat-trick in the final league game against Mahindra & Mahindra helped Bagan win the title in 1998. Four years later, Abdul Saliu headed in the winning goal for the Kolkata giants in the 72nd minute against Churchill Brothers to help the lift the trophy in 2002. And on Sunday, it was a header from another Nigerian, Rasaq that helped them win the title.

Tough week for BFC

Bengaluru looked jaded by the end of the match. It’s been a gruelling week for them, which tested Ashley Westwood’s side’s resolve as well as the bench strength. After beating Dempo in Goa last week, they travelled to Hong Kong mid-week for their AFC Cup Round-of-16 tie against South China FC. Playing on a mushy pitch owing to a thunderstorm, they lost the match 2-0 and were consequently knocked out of the tournament. They returned to Bengaluru to play their third – and the most crucial – match of the week.

The result, however, does not take away what they have achieved this season. Bengaluru won the Federation Cup and after a slow start to the season, they gathered momentum at the right time and came back strongly to challenge Bagan for the title. In the end, they would rue the two draws against Mumbai FC and the pulsating 3-3 draw against Royal Wahingdoh, which in the hindsight dented their hopes.

Best defence wins

In the end, it was the team that had the best defence that won the league instead of the team that had the best offence. Bagan conceded just 16 goals throughout the season and it was ironic that the man who has thwarted the attempts of several opposition strikes would score the goal that would win his side the title. Rasaq has been immense at the back for Bagan throughout the season, leading the defence and producing some memorable performances.

In fact, it was the contribution of the foreign players that ultimately played a crucial role. Apart from Rasaq, Norde and their Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa played an influential role throughout the campaign whereas the presence of Pierre Boya unsettled several defences. Young Indian players like Pritam Kotal and Balwant Singh too have stepped up when the situation demanded.

Cricket-One Day International Pakistan v Zimbabwe scoreboard

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May 31 (Infostrada Sports) - Scoreboard in the third and final One Day International between Pakistan and Zimbabwe on Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan Pakistan Innings M. Hafeez lbw b Raza 80 Az. Ali run out (Raza) 46 A. Shafiq c Williams b Raza 16 B. Azam b Mpofu 54 S. Malik run out (Mpofu, Mutumbami) 3 S. Ahmed c Williams b Raz

French Open: Ana Ivanovic through to the quarter-finals

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Ana Ivanovic, Ana Ivanovic Tennis, Tennis Ana Ivanovic, Ana Ivanovic French Open, French Open, Tennis News, Tennis Ivanovic, who won the tournament in 2008 but has not threatened a repeat, produced an attacking display to become the first player to reach the last eight. (Source: AP)

Former champion Ana Ivanovic battled wind, rain and tough Russian opponent Ekaterina Makarova to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open on Sunday, winning a weather-interrupted match 7-5 3-6 6-1.

Ivanovic, who won the tournament in 2008 but has not threatened a repeat, produced an attacking display to become the first player to reach the last eight.

The players shared breaks of serve before rain arrived with Serbian Ivanovic leading 3-2 in the first set and it was around three hours later that they returned.

Ivanovic broke in the 12th game with a forehand smack on the line to move a set ahead, but she quickly fell behind in the second against the ninth seed, gifting a break with a double fault.

The blustery conditions seemed to bother Ivanovic more as Makarova took the second set with a drive volley winner.

She settled down again in the decider, striking her forehand deep into the corners and Makarova had no answer.

Another forehand winner sealed victory for Ivanovic, who will play Elina Svitolina in the quarters.

Real Madrid vice-president confirms Rafael Benitez deal

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Rafael Benitez, Rafael Benitez Real Madrid, Real Madrid Rafael Benitez, Rafael Benitez Football, Football News, Football Benitez is widely anticipated to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at Real, after the Italian was sacked following a season in which the club missed out on the La Liga and Champions League titles. (Source: AP)

Real Madrid vice-president Eduardo Fernandez de Blas on Sunday announced his football club’s intention to appoint Rafael Benitez as coach, also hailing him as one of the world’s best.

Benitez is widely anticipated to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at Real, after the Italian was sacked following a season in which the club missed out on the La Liga and Champions League titles.

“Ancelotti is an absolute phenomenon — a gentleman whom I have great affection for, and I think everyone else at Real Madrid does too,” de Blas was quoted as saying by

“Until three days ago he was the best trainer in the world, as two years ago it was Jose Mourinho, and from this week onwards it will be Rafa Benitez,” he said.

“I’m excited and looking forward to July 30 to see how the best players in the world work under an exceptional coach.”

The vice-president added, despite his sacking, Ancelotti’s reputation has been boosted by his time in the Spanish capital.

“Carlo now has more to his name than when he came, but we’re here to make decisions, which we think are best for the club. We live and die by them,” he said.

Former Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan and Chelsea manager Benitez announced his exit from Serie A side Napoli on Thursday.

No decision on India-Pakistan cricket series yet: Sushma Swaraj

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No decision has yet been taken on Indo-Pak cricket series, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday.

Her remarks came in the backdrop of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan’s recent visit to India to push for resumption of Indo-Pak cricket ties.

Khan, in a joint press statement with BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata, proposed a series comprising three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s in UAE in December this year. The BCCI has, however, not given any categorical statement yet on the proposed series and the venue.

“No decision has been taken. Where has this information come that this (Indo-Pak cricket series) has been decided and that I was not consulted. No decision has been taken,” Swaraj said when asked about the reports that India will be playing bilateral cricket series with Pakistan.

India have not played a full bilateral Test series with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks which led to suspension of cricketing ties between the two countries.

The two nations played a short series of three ODIs and two T20 matches in India in December 2012 but otherwise they have met only in ICC-organised events or the Asia Cup.

Zimbabwe became the first Test nation to tour Pakistan in over six years after international cricket in the country was brought to a halt by the 2009 terror attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team.

Gurpreet Singh becomes fifth Indian shooter to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympics

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Gurpreet Singh secured India a fifth quota place in shooting for the Rio Olympics by finishing fourth in the Men’s 10m Air Pistol final at the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Munich on Sunday.

Gurpreet scored 154 in the final, finishing behind winner Joao Costa (201.4 points) of Portugal. Sun Yang (177.3) was third, securing a quota place for China, while Tomoyuki (200.4) Matsuda of Japan won the silver. Another quota place went to fifth placed Daemyung Lee (136) of South Korea.

Ace shooter Jitu Rai surprisingly failed to make the final of the same event.

The positive result for Gurpreet comes a day after the disappointment of missing a quota place in the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol where a fourth place was not enough.

He is the second Indian to have secured a Rio berth at the ongoing World Cup. Abhinav Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold-medallist, won a quota place with a sixth place finish in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle final.

Gagan Narang, Jitu Rai and Apurvi Chandela are the other Indians to have secured an Olympic quota place.

Narang did so after finishing third in the 50m Rifle Prone Event of the ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning in USA earlier this month.

Chandela had secured the quota place by winning the bronze in the 10m Rifle at World Cup in Korea last month, while pistol ace Rai had won India’s first Olympic quota place at the World Championships in Granada, Spain last year, when he won a silver in the 50m Free Pistol event.

Each country can win a maximum of 30 quota places from a total of 15 shooting disciplines (including shotgun events), two each from each discipline. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh said he was extremely happy with Gurpreet’s achievement.

“Gurpreet has been working very hard off late and I am extremely happy that his hard work has resulted in India earning its fifth quota place for the Rio Olympics 2016. His back-to-back performance in two days only showcases his mental strength and the fact that he has the mettle to be amongst the best shooters in the country,” said Raninder.

“I am also glad that alongside the veterans, India have a very strong bench as we get close to the Rio Olympics next year,” he added.

Gurpreet, a subedar, is currently training at Army Marksmanship Unit at Mhow.

I won’t change the way I play: Neymar

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Neymar, Neymar Barcelona, Barcelona Neymar, Neymar Athletic Club, Neymar Spanish Cup, Football News, Football Barcelona’s Neymar was confronted a by a section of opposition defenders as they objected to his style of play. (Source: Reuters)

FC Barcelona forward Neymar has said he will not change the way he plays despite angry reactions from Athletic Club Bilbao defenders in his side’s 3-1 win in the Copa del Rey final at the Camp Nou stadium.

With Barcelona 3-1 up and only minutes remaining on Saturday, Neymar attempted to flick the ball behind his body and over the head of Athletic’s Unai Bustinza, provoking an angry reaction from the Basque defender and the rest of his teammates.

The Brazilian was then treated to a chorus of boos from the Athletic fans and given some rough treatment by rival defenders every time he touched the ball in the final few minutes.

“I don’t know why they reacted like that. It’s my way of playing. I have always played like that and I am not going to change because some people get angry. It was a move like any other. These things happen in football,” Neymar was quoted as saying by Ireland’s TV3.

The Spanish club’s win means they have now completed a domestic double of La Liga and Copa victories ahead of next weekend’s Champions League final against Juventus.

“The double is done. Now we are just 90 minutes away from making history. The pressure was great, but we controlled the game and we have won the title. Now we will rest and start thinking about the treble,” Neymar said.

Cricket-Test Series England v New Zealand scoreboard

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May 31 (Infostrada Sports) - Scoreboard at lunch on the third day in the second and final Test between England and New Zealand on Sunday in Leeds, England New Zealand 1st innings 350 (L. Ronchi 88, T. Latham 84; S. Broad 5-109) England 1st innings (Overnight: 253-5) A. Lyth run out (Boult, Ronchi) 107 A. Cook lbw b Craig 75 G. Ballance b Boult 29 I. Bell c Craig b Southee 12 J.

Cricket-England fight back after Southee burst

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LEEDS, England, May 31 (Reuters) - The second test between England and New Zealand was poised on a knife-edge after a fluctuating third morning in overcast conditions at Headingley on Sunday.

Leander Paes-Martina Hingis knocked out of French Open

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Indian tennis veteran Leander Paes and his Swiss partner Martina Hingis have crashed out of the French Open after losing in the mixed doubles pre-quarterfinals.

Eighth seeded Indo-Swiss pair went down fighting to Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik and Romanian Horia Tecau 7-6, 3-6, 6-10 on Saturday at the Stade Rolland Garros.

The first set was a tight contest which went into a tie-breaker that was eventually won by Paes and Hingis.

However, the Slovenian-Romanian pair came back strongly to win the second set 6-3 and push the match in to the decider.

But Paes-Hingis failed to make an impact in the super tie-break, easily losing 6-10.

Srebotnik-Tecau next face Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Robert Lindstedt in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Paes-Hingis earlier paired to win the Australian Open in February.

Cricket-One Day International Pakistan v Zimbabwe line-ups

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May 31 (Infostrada Sports) - Line-ups for the third and final One Day International between Pakistan and Zimbabwe on Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan Pakistan won toss and decided to bat Pakistan: Azhar Ali (capt), Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Hammad Azam, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Junaid Khan, Anwar Ali Zimbabwe: Chamu Chibhabha, Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza (capt), Sean Williams, Richmond Mutumbami, Sikandar Raza, Charl

Shivnarine Chanderpaul officially axed from West Indies Test squad

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Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Shivnarine Chanderpaul Wesy Indies, West Indies Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Cricket News, Cricket Chanderpaul, the second highest run-scorer for the Caribbean outfit, is only 45 runs behind that of Brian Lara’s 11,912 runs. (Source: Reuters)

Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s hopes of a happy farewell were squashed after the veteran left-handed batsman was left out of the 14-man West Indies squad for the first Test against Australia starting on Wednesday.

Chanderpaul, the second highest run-scorer for the Caribbean outfit, is only 45 runs behind that of Brian Lara’s 11,912 runs. But recently in his last series against England, he had a dismal average of only 15.33, reports the on Sunday.

At 40, he’s not seen as part of the team’s future. The decision has been backed by fast bowling legend Michael Holding, while Lara supported Chanderpaul’s bid for a farewell Test series.

All the members of the squad which was announced on Saturday featured in the drawn Test series against England apart from the duo of wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich and Rajindra Chandrika — both scored brilliant 50s in last week’s tour match against Australia in Antigua.

“My request to finish up with the Australian series is not asking too much,” Chanderpaul told Caribbean media.

“It gives me a chance to acknowledge my supporters at home… I should not be pushed into retirement.”

The two-Test series starts at the Windsor Park from Wednesday.

The West Indies squad for first Test: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajindra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor.

I am very proud: Arsene Wenger hails team after FA Cup win

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Arsene Wenger, Arsene Wenger Arsenal, Arsenal Arsene Wenger, Arsene Wenger coach Arsenal, Arsenal FA Cup, FA Cup Arsenal, Football News, Football Arsenal finished third in the Premier League and Wenger is backing his side to build on their second straight FA Cup success. (Source: AP)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could be excused if he felt like singing a verse of ‘we’ve won our trophy back’ after his team retained the FA Cup with a 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa in Saturday’s final at Wembley.

The 65-year-old Frenchman is now the most successful FA Cup manager of modern times having led the Gunners to a 12th triumph, a record for football’s oldest knockout competition.

“I am very proud of that because if it has not been done it shows that it is not easy,” Wenger told reporters.

“I have managed in seven finals and we have won six. I am very proud of that.”

Theo Walcott, preferred to Olivier Giroud in attack after scoring a Premier League hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion last weekend, fired Arsenal in front before halftime.

Alexis Sanchez added a second after the break with a thumping shot that swerved one way and then the other before defender Per Mertesacker and substitute Olivier Giroud completed a comfortable victory.

“It was a convincing win because we were at it from the first to the last minute. I never felt the focus or the quality dropped,” Wenger said.

“I had many, many, many big decisions to make before the game. I had to leave big players out of the squad but I just tried to find a good balance in the team.”

Arsenal finished third in the Premier League and Wenger is backing his side to build on their second straight FA Cup success, they beat Hull City 3-2 in the final 12 months ago, next term.

“We feel we have made progress since the start of the season in the way we play and the way we manage games,” he said.

“Of course we can push on. It is about consistency at the top level. In the past when we have won leagues we have been consistent.”

The Gunners may need to go into the transfer market to catch league champions Chelsea but Wenger’s mind was set firmly on where his players were taking him for a celebratory drink.

“The players have organised it and I’m following,” he said. “I’ve organised the whole season so I just want to follow tonight.”

Jurgen Klopp’s farewell party spoiled as Borussia Dortmund go down in German Cup final

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Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Dortmund Germany, Germany Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Dortmund Juergen Klopp, Football News, Football Emotional, passionate and a proponent of attacking football, Klopp’s success coincided with the financial recovery of the club after being on the brink of bankruptcy a decade ago. (Source: Reuters)

Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp battled to contain his emotions on Saturday after his final game on their bench saw his team lose 3-1 to VfL Wolfsburg in the German Cup final.

Klopp, who is leaving after seven years in charge, said he would not be talking about his “painful” departure, adding it could have been a completely different game if Dortmund had enjoyed a bit more luck.

“The departure is starting to be painful now. Now there won’t be a Cup party, just a farewell party,” he told reporters. Wolfsburg scored three times in 16 minutes after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Dortmund ahead in the fifth minute.

“My emotional state is now below average,” Klopp said, while evidently holding back the tears. “I am working very hard at the moment to process this defeat.”

The German, courted by seemingly every top European club, had announced his departure months ago after Dortmund’s bad domestic season.

“We could have scored a second goal before the break. We had the chances. Congratulations to Wolfsburg but for us it was completely unnecessary.

“We did a lot of things well. We lacked luck. For me, in life, the biggest challenge is to deal with defeats.”

The 47-year-old crowd favourite is leaving after having taken over in 2008 and leading Dortmund to the Bundesliga title in 2011. He won a domestic league and Cup double in 2012 while also adding two German Super Cups to the club’s collection.

Emotional, passionate and a proponent of attacking football, Klopp’s success coincided with the financial recovery of the club after being on the brink of bankruptcy a decade ago.

He also led them to the Champions League final in 2013.

“I know everyone wants to know about how I feel,” Klopp said, his voice cracking as Dortmund fans unfurled a large banner reading “Thank You Klopp for seven years”.

“But if I start with that, then the tears come. We lost a game and I cannot make as if I am the most important person in the world.

“I have to process things one after the other. First, this game. I will process the other thing without having TV cameras in my face.”

After winning King’s Cup, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique sets sights on treble

Published on: //
Barcelona, Barcelona King's Cup, King's Cup Barcelona, Barcelona King's Cup, Luis Enrique Barcelona, Barcelona Luis Enrique, Football News, Football Enrique would like to repeat the history as Barcelona last won a treble in 2009. (Source: AP)

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique allowed himself a brief moment to savour Saturday’s King’s Cup triumph over Athletic Bilbao before quickly turning his attention to the Champions League final against Juventus, the last leg of their treble tilt.

Another magical performance from Lionel Messi helped set up a 3-1 win over the Basque side and, with the La Liga title already in the bag, they now face the Italian champions on June 6 aiming to repeat their 2009 treble success.

“We are almost there and it would only be the second time that a club like this, with so much history at a high level, has been able to do it,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.

“It will be difficult but that is what we are working for now. It really would be superb if we could do that. We were better than Athletic in our play and now we have to beat Juventus.”

Messi unlocked the Bilbao defence with a clinical strike after a run that left four players in his wake and then added another in the second half. Neymar scored in between while there was a late consolation for Inaki Williams.

“We are fortunate as we see Messi all the time in training,” said Luis Enrique. “In training he actually does things more difficult and I am looking forward to watching this one on the television.”

Luis Enrique did have words of criticism for Neymar, who prompted some pushing and shoving from both sets of players after he showboated by flicking the ball over an opponent.

“If I was an Athletic player I would have reacted the same or if not worse for what Neymar did, but in Brazil that is normal,” he said.

New Zealand fightback after Adam Lyth’s maiden ton against England on Day 2

Published on: //
Adam Lyth, Adam Lyth England, England Adam Lyth, Adam Lyth Alastair Cook, England vs New Zealand, New Zealand vs England, Cricket News, Cricket Departure of Lyth sparked a slump that saw four wickets fall late in the day. (Source: AP)

Trent Boult and Tim Southee led a New Zealand recovery after Adam Lyth scored his maiden Test century and Alastair Cook became England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer at Headingley.

England were cruising on the second day of the second Test while left-handed openers Lyth (107) and skipper Cook (75) were sharing a first-wicket stand of 177.

But the departure of Lyth, needlessly run out shortly before the advent of the new ball, sparked a slump that saw four wickets fall late in the day.

At stumps, England were 253 for five in reply to New Zealand’s first innings 350, a deficit of 97 runs.

The new ball saw left-armer Boult take two wickets for 10 runs in four overs and Southee one for seven, also in four overs.

Lyth, 27, was Cook’s sixth opening partner since the retirement of former captain Andrew Strauss, with Nick Compton, Joe Root, Michael Carberry, Sam Robson and Jonathan Trott all given a chance in the problem position.

However, Lyth went some way to making the berth his own ahead of the Ashes series starting in July.

Today saw England’s first century opening stand in a home Test since Cook and Strauss added 186 against India at Edgbaston on 2011.

Lyth had managed just seven and 12 on debut during England’s 124-run win in the first of this two-Test series at Lord’s.

But he was far more assured back in familiar surroundings, although he did have several ‘nervous nineties’ moments.

On 90, he almost played on to Southee, kicking fresh air, as he tried to boot the ball away from danger. In fact, the ball hit the stumps but didn’t dislodge either bail.

Lyth was on 94 when his drive against off-spinner Mark Craig appeared destined for mid-on.

But substitute fielder Neil Wagner went the wrong way as the ball flew past him for a four that took Lyth to 98.

Two balls later, Lyth had his century when a slog-swept boundary off Craig saw him completed a 188-ball hundred, including 14 fours.

Earlier, Cook overtook Gooch’s previous England record of 8,900 Test runs when he square-drove Southee for four that gave him the score of 32 he needed to surpass his mentor’s mark.

The economical Craig removed Cook, although it needed a New Zealand review to have the skipper lbw after he missed an intended sweep.

Cook batted for nearly four hours and faced 187 balls including a dozen boundaries.

He walked off having moved up to 12th place in the all-time list of leading Test run-scorers with 8,944 runs in 114 matches and 203 innings, at an average of 46.82, with 27 hundreds and 41 fifties.

Marvellous Lionel Messi leads Barcelona to King’s Cup final triumph over Athletic Bilbao

Published on: //
Lionel Messi, Lionel Messi Barcelona, Barcelona Lionel Messi, Lionel Messi Spanish La Liga, King's Cup, King's Cup Football, Football News, Football Messi has been in top form in the second half of the season and again provided the inspiration for his team who went 2-0 up when Brazilian Neymar slotted the ball into an open goal. (Source: AP)

A magical Lionel Messi goal, the first of a personal double, led treble-chasing Barcelona to a 3-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the King’s Cup final on Saturday.

The Argentine skipped superbly past four players in a mazy run after 20 minutes before shooting venemously into the bottom corner of the net beyond keeper Iago Herrerin to claim his 33rd goal in his 50th appearance for Barca in the competition.

Messi has been in top form in the second half of the season and again provided the inspiration for his team who went 2-0 up when Brazilian Neymar slotted the ball into an open goal having been set up by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez in the 36th minute.

With the Bilbao defence dozing, Messi nipped in to clip home a Dani Alves cross after 74 minutes.

A flicked Inaki Williams header gave the Basque side a consolation strike with 10 minutes to go before tempers frayed following some showmanship and play-acting from Neymar.

Barca’s South American attacking trio have netted a Spanish record 120 goals in all competitions this season, two more than Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain managed in 2011-12 for Real Madrid.

It was also a record-extending 27th King’s Cup title for the Catalans who have also won La Liga this season and will meet Juventus in the Champions League final in Berlin next Saturday.

“They pressed us at the beginning but after that we were the better side,” Neymar told reporters.

The Brazilian had a goal harshly ruled offside and Suarez had a shot saved by Herrerin as Barca took an early grip on the game.

Messi then provided a moment of genius to unlock the Bilbao defence.

The dazzling forward went round three players out on the wing before evading Aymeric Laporte inside the area and finishing clinically with his left foot.

“Leo is incredible…for me the best in the world,” said Neymar. “It is an honour to be part of this team with players that have so much ability.”

Barca began to find more openings and a well-worked move saw Ivan Rakitic find Suarez in the area and he rolled the ball square for Neymar to score with ease.

Luis Enrique’s team concentrated on keeping possession in the second half as Bilbao flagged.
Messi took advantage with his second goal before Williams headed in for Bilbao.


Shooting through language barrier to move step closer to NBA dream

Published on: Saturday, 30 May 2015 //
satnam singh, nba, basketball, boston celtics, indians in basketball, basketball indians, nba satnam singh, satnam singh nba, sports news Satnam Singh Bhamara’s (right) experiences in Florida will strike a chord with any Punjabi who has travelled across the world to make a living.

Grappling with a language barrier in a foreign country, dealing with the awkwardness of having to wait for an English-to-Hindi translation, tuning his palate to appreciate an American sandwich for lunch over the standard fare of dal-roti in his Ballo Ke village in Punjab. Satnam Singh Bhamara’s experiences in Florida will strike a chord with any Punjabi who has travelled across the world to make a living.

All that acclimatising to a foreign culture, while chasing the ultimate basketball dream in the United States, has started reaping benefits for 19-year-old Bhamara, who stands at 7’2”.

Record 21-time NBA champion franchise Boston Celtics on Thursday invited the youngster over to their facilities for pre-draft workouts and training sessions.

Unaware of Bhamara earlier, Austin Ainge, director of player personnel for the Celtics, described him as “humongous” while talking to the New England Sports Network. The initial reaction was followed by praise for his skill.

“He’s not just tall, he’s thick. He’s a big, strong kid. Raw, but actually shoots the ball really well,” Ainge told the network. The network also reported that “there’s a chance a team could lock up his rights and allow him to continue his development overseas.”

The trials is a big step for Bhamara, who is aiming to become the first Indian to play in the NBA. (Sim Bhullar, who played for Sacramento Kings in April, is a Canadian of Indian descent).

The language problem he faces since moving to the US as a 14-year-old never allowed his grades in school — he first travelled on a scholarship to the IMG Academy in Florida — to be respectable enough for a college scholarship. And so he skipped the step and threw his name in the hat that is the NBA draft.

He is making news now, but on the social front Bhamara was seen as a quiet one. That was not only because of his naturally shy nature. “Among my friends, I’d be the one who wouldn’t talk much because we couldn’t understand each other. I had to rely on other Indian students to translate till I could pick up some words,” he recalls.

Consequently, his grades in class fell dangerously low. He wasn’t too bothered about them initially until he was initiated to the American schooling system. All of a sudden, basketball wasn’t the only priority. He now had to keep his grades up to a certain level if he wanted to continue in the sport. Extra classes were in order since he needed to comprehend the language before he could tackle the English-medium Physics, History, and Mathematics syllabi.

There was also no option of skipping classes, something he had grown accustomed to in India. “Here if someone is missing from class, school representatives go straight to their parents’ house to find out why. It was all unusual for me and took me a few months to get used to,” he adds.

Nonetheless, now that Bhamara, who has represented India at the Asian Championships, has finished school, the NBA dream is still within reach. His English has improved significantly. He’s much more comfortable conversing in the language, though his sentences are still punctuated with Hindi and Punjabi words. His food preferences have steadily adapted to what was available at the boarding school in Bradenton.

“Ghar pe sabzi ko roti ke saath khaate hai. Yahan sabzi ko bread main daalke sandwich banake khate hai,” he says. The diet has been accepted to the point that he now no longer misses his mother’s ‘paranthas’ as much.

His sartorial taste has also changed. “I’ve started wearing pants more often,” he says, instead of his usual kurta-pajama. “My size too is slightly easier to find here,” he quips.

In India, he had grown used to being followed by stares, and often cameras, due to his height. Once in a while, there would be a request to pose for a photograph. In the US though, he is asked to engage in conversations. “People ask me my age, where I’m from, about my family, how I handle myself with such a tall body. The problem is that when American people ask me that, I used to have trouble with the language because my English wasn’t too good. So I’d get nervous around people,” he recalls.

The reception at home has also adjusted toward his cross-cultural exposure. The nickname he grew up with, ‘Chhotu’, has made way for ‘Satnam’ in his village.

The Americans too call him Sat-nam, like they’d drawl out SatNav (satellite navigation). No matter what they call him, the big man sure is bleeping on the radar.

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