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World Cup: Nail-biting thriller ends in a draw BANGALORE, FEBRUARY 27 (AGENCIES): Cricket was the ultimate winner in one of the most gruesome ODI battles ever fought as England tied the nail biting encounter against India. India staged a brilliant comeback after being almost taken out of the game by Andrew Strauss, aptly supported by Ian Bell with Zaheer Khan digging in deep for an extraordinary spell that saved the game for the home team. It was a day ruled by batsmen with over 600 runs being scored but what would trouble Indian skipper Dhoni the most was the lack of sting in the bowling in two consecutive games that had tense moments despite the batsmen firing from all ends. Tendulkar celebrated playing in a World Cup match on home soil after a gap of fifteen years with his 98th international century that was elegant, fast and most importantly, sublime. It was his fifth century in a World Cup, the most by any batsman in the history of the sport. The fielding was ordinary from both the sides but the home team was seen more wanting in that department, something to be worked upon in the coming week. England lost their way once their captain departed, making a mess of the good efforts with the bat while the Indians kept their nerve to put them on top of their group despite the tied game. Just when things looked all set for England, they called for the batting powerplay and India was given a window of opportunity as pacer Zaheer claimed Ian Bell (69) to bring a new twist to the tale. The very next delivery changed the equations drastically as Andrew Strauss (158) was out plumb in front of the wickets. Zaheer was spitting fire in Bangalore as he claimed his third quick wicket in the form of Paul Collingwood (1), who was clean bowled with an angling delivery. Harbhajan Singh spun into action as soon as India sniffed victory, claiming Matt Prior (4) to expose the English tail with the run-rate climbing steeply. The wickets came at a time
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Sachin scores 98th century, two more to go NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 27 (AGENCIES): The master Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar brought up his 98th international ton and his 47th in one day internationals by leg glancing a fairly innocuous looking delivery from Tim Bresnan during India's much awaited World Cup clash against England at Bangalore. So, it's two more to go as far as hundred international centuries are concerned and the batting ace does not at all give the impression of being overawed by the situation. It was also Tendulkar's 5th century in World Cups, the first of which came against Kenya at Cuttack's Barabati stadium in 1996. The list of centuries does not seem to end for the maestro and his century (120 of 115 balls) against the Poms may well turn out to be one of his more noteworthy ones in context of World Cup encounters.
when a miracle breakthrough was required from the home team and the introduction of the speed mainstay of the squad proved to be the right decision for Dhoni. Andrew Strauss had played a captain’s innings as he held fort from one end, slamming a fantastic 158 to provide some stability to the English outfit. The tactics of rotating the strike freely paid rich dividends to the visitors as all the batsmen scoring briskly, helping the total go past the 200-run mark in lesser balls. The decision making did not give any help to the Indian cause either as Ian Bell slammed a fifty after being given not out to a Yuvraj delivery. The first breakthrough came via a sensational caught and bowled by Munaf Patel to get rid of Kevin Pietersen (31). It was a superb reflex catch on a rebound in the tenth over that finally got a new pair of English feet on the crease. In the Indian innings, Sachin Tendulkar’s spectacular century had set the tone for a formidable 338 all out against England despite the team not managing to complete playing out the entire 50 overs. It was a clinical and effective display of the willow’s prowess by Dhoni’s men as Sachin (120), Gambhir (51) and Yuvraj (58) made their mark at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, giving enough reasons to the Indian fans to cheer their throats hoarse. England did manage to stop a complete carnage with two wickets in two balls (Yuvraj and Dhoni) towards the death. Soon after, Virat Kohli (8) and Yusuf Pathan (14) fell while trying to up the ante. Harbhajan was out plumb in front of the wicket for a duck and this sudden array of wickets falling did give a breather for the visitors, not letting the target go beyond the psychological barrier of 350 runs. Sehwag (35) had started off the proceedings against England in his signature style – sending the ball past the boundary on the first delivery itself. The ball flew just past the fingers of the slip fielder and the early nerves were calmed.
'Don't panic', says Sangakkara ahead of Kenya clash Waugh slams selectors
COLOMBO, FEBRUARY 27 (AFP): Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara has urged his team not to panic after slipping to defeat against Pakistan, as he looks to get their World Cup campaign back on track with victory over Kenya on Tuesday. "We have Kenya next, followed by Australia, so we will look back on the defeat and learn from our mistakes which is very important," said Sangakkara. "There are a few things we can learn. Bowling a better line and length is important and when we bat partnerships are important and we shouldn't' panic," added
the skipper, who scored 49 against Pakistan. The top four teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals and Sangakkara stressed the need to keep improving as the tournament progresses. "We are just going to keep preparing and keep playing as best we know how. There's a long way to go in this tournament so we just have got to keep plugging on and make sure that we perform as well as we can," said Sangakkara. Sri Lanka, who beat Canada in their opener by a huge 210run margin, restricted Pakistan to 277/7 after their opponents looked set for a 300-plus total but
wasted a good start when they batted, losing wickets at regular intervals. Sangakkara said spearhead Lasith Malinga - who has missed both matches due to a back strain - was making good progress. "We can say we missed Lasith a bit but... we restricted them (Pakistan) to a gettable total, so in the next games we need to make sure we don't lose a cluster of wickets," said Sangakkara. Sri Lanka lost to Kenya at the 2003 World Cup, when the African side went on to reach the semi-finals, but that is their only defeat in five clashes between the two nations.
Kenya have four survivors from that match in Nairobi - senior batsman Steve Tikolo, Collins Obuya, Thomas Odoyo and Peter Ongondo - but the team looks a pale shadow of that side at the current tournament, slipping to two heavy defeats so far. Captain Jimmy Kamande said every member of the team needed to perform in Colombo. "We need all eleven players to perform, which has not happened in the last two matches, especially against New Zealand," said Kamande, whose team were shot out for 69 against the Black Caps in Chennai in their opening match.
"We are still in this tournament and what we need is to do well against Sri Lanka which is a very strong team," said Kamande, who rued missed chances against Pakistan during a crushing 205run defeat. "There have been good situations but we spoiled them and it showed a lack of experience," said Kamande. "Four of Pakistan's batsmen got half-centuries, and one New Zealand bowler destroyed us, so we need not committing the same mistakes. "Sri Lanka have some good spinners so we have to deal with them, and fight well."
Stakes high in West Indies-Netherlands clash
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TODAY'S MATCHES 2011 WORL CUP
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 27 (AFP): Injury-ravaged West Indies will have plenty to play for when they take on an inspired Netherlands in a crucial World Cup league match on Monday. Reeling under a sevenwicket defeat to South Africa at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Thursday, West Indies were dealt another blow when key all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury. Up against Netherlands next, the former world champions must overcome the twin setbacks if they are to put back their campaign on track. "Bravo was in good form and getting injured in such a way, it's really sad," said West Indies coach Ottis Gibson. "We can't do much with these injury situations. We have got to move on." "We are still a big team. We have got history behind us. We still believe we have got much left in us and we are ready to prove that on this big stage." Bravo's injury could not have come at a worse time for a team which is already showing signs of disintegrating barely a few days into the tournament. West Indies were largely expected to lose to the stron-
ZIM vs CAN
WI vs NED
Mon | 28 Feb | 09:30 AM VCA, Stadium, Nagpur
Mon | 28 Feb | 02:30 PM Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
West Indies' Chris Gayle stretches during a practice session ahead of their Cricket World Cup match against Netherlands, in New Delhi, Sunday, February 27. (AP Photo)
ger South Africa but it was the manner of their defeat that rankled their fans the most. They looked easily capable of putting up a total closer to 300 after promising knocks by Darren Bravo, Devon Smith and Dwayne
Bravo but threw it away all, thanks to some reckless shots. "We had guys getting starts and none of us carried on," said captain Darren Sammy. "That's where we lost out. At 41 overs, we were 201 and our all-round-
ers were still there." "We had (Kieron) Pollard, (Dwayne) Bravo and myself, we could have got to 270. We created opportunities but we didn't capitalise on them." The West Indies can hardly afford another slip-up when
they take on the Dutch in the day-night match at the same venue which appears to have passed its sternest test by playing true till the end during Thursday's game. The ground is coming off a 12-month suspension
after a one-day international between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned in December 2009 due to a dangerous playing surface. The Netherlands proved their grit despite having just four professionals in the squad when they gave England a mighty scare in Nagpur. Led by an attacking 110-ball 119 from Essex all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate, the Irish racked up 292-6 before England scraped to victory with just eight balls to spare. "The England game was a good experience," said ten Doeschate. "The whole game was quite enjoyable." "It will be difficult to replicate the batting but if we manage to do that we would probably look at ourselves as a better team. We know that we have to perform better with the ball as well." Gibson said his side will not make the mistake of taking the Netherlands lightly. "I would not like to call the associate nations minnows," he said. "One should call them lesser known teams. I expect those guys to come hard on us. They were beaten by England but showed lot of promise against them." "They were full of energy."
for dropping Hussey
MELBOURNE, FEBRUARY 27 (AGENCIES): Former Australian captain Steve Waugh has slammed the selectors for dropping prolific scorer Michael Hussey from the World Cup squad. "If he was going to play in any game of cricket, it should be in the World Cup," The Herald Sun quoted Waugh as saying. Waugh's comments come after it was revealed that Hussey had overcome his hamstring injury and was keen to play for Western Australia's Sheffield Shield team during the week against Tasmania before he was overruled by Cricket Australia (CA). Hussey had insisted that he would have been fit enough to play against cohosts Sri Lanka on March 5 had he been selected in
the squad. Waugh, who led Australia to their second World Cup triumph in 1999, said Hussey had experience to help the win their fourth consecutive World Cup. "Unless they play very, very badly, there's no way Australia won't make the quarterfinals. At the end of the day, it's all about quarterfinals; you win three games from there and you win the World Cup. "If Mike Hussey could have been fit, he should have gone away. I'm sure Ricky Ponting would've wanted him to go away with them; his experience is invaluable, particularly on the (subcontinent) wickets, and he plays spin well. I was staggered he wasn't picked." "They did it last time with Andrew Symonds when he went over with a biceps injury even though he needed to be rested for the first few games," Waugh said. "Michael Hussey is one guy who would've really committed himself to getting fit. The selectors though, must have heard something, but there are three or four guys sitting on the bench over there and not playing, and Hussey could have been one of them. "Time will tell if the selectors made the right decision. They have to go with their gut feeling."
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