Sourav leads India to 2nd straight win
I should have hung around, says Cronje
Sachin was right to quit captaincy: Kambli
Bengal need to ensure a minimum of 5 points
George beat Barisha
Columbus wins main event

 
 
SOURAV LEADS INDIA TO 2ND STRAIGHT WIN 
 
 
FROM ARUP CHATTERJEE
 
Jamshedpur, March 12: 

South Africa 199 (47.2 ovs)

India 203/4 (47.1 ovs)

MoM: Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly’s brilliant unbeaten century at the Keenan Stadium today helped the ‘new look’ Indian team break the Jamshedpur jinx. More importantly, the six-wicket win, the first for India in their six outings here, gives the hosts a 2-0 lead in the five-match one-day series against South Africa.

Hardly looking the team that had lost seven of their eight one-dayers and five Tests on-the-trot, the Indians did very well to restrict their opponents to 199 before hitting up the required runs in 47.1 overs. On a wicket where the ball turned like a top, Sourav played an exemplary innings of guts and gumption to stay unbeaten on 105.

There were a number of good performances, but there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who the Man of the Match should be.

Hansie Cronje won another good toss, but some fine bowling and fielding by the Indians meant the South Africans could not put up a total that would have taken the match away from India. Despite early setbacks, they looked well on their way to getting one before Sunil Joshi butted in with a flurry of wickets towards the end of the innings.

The left-arm spinner finished with four for 38, but Agarkar (three for 34), Kumaran and Sachin Tendulkar too did well as the visitors were kept down to a modest total. However, if the target looked very ‘gettable’ when Sourav and Sachin strode out, the situation changed dramatically when Nicky Boje came on to bowl after seven overs of pace.

The left-arm spinner turned the ball sharply from the word go and Tendulkar was beaten twice with deliveries that left him outside off-stump. That one over set the stage for an absorbing battle, as the two Indian openers came together for a little conference immediately.

The effect was soon visible.

Sachin threw caution to the wind and went after Shaun Pollock in the very next over. It was evident the Indians realised they had to make good use of the fielding restrictions in the first 15 because batting would become increasingly difficult on the turning track.

Sachin lofted the first ball of Pollock’s over for a boundary and the second ball, held back by the bowler as the ‘Little Master’ charged down the track, flew high to long-off. Hansie Cronje, running back from mid-off, took a well-judged catch as the ball came down over his left shoulder.

A hush fell over what had till then been a very noisy stadium and, when pinch-hitter Sunil Joshi was trapped leg-before by Crookes at the same score, the Indian strategy seemed to have backfired.

But Sourav then came up with a great innings.

Having tasted blood, South Africa were going for the kill with spin from both ends. It was then that Sourav began taking the calculated risk, and a tense tussle began in the middle. Every time the South Africans bowled a tight over, the Indian skipper took the pressure off with big shots. Soon Rahul Dravid joined the act, hitting some boundaries, clearly playing to a plan. It soon became obvious that Sourav was targetting Boje while Dravid went after off-spinner Crookes so that each avoided playing against the spin.

As the partnership blossomed, Cronje’s problem was that he was using up his most potent weapons without being able to knock back the wickets. Sourav and Dravid went on to add 88 runs for the third wicket and it gradually ate away at the South African hope.

Dravid left, but Sourav went on to complete his 12th one-day hundred off 137 balls with nine fours and four huge sixes.

Earlier, the South Africans were forced to make two changes from the XI that played in Kochi. Mornantau Hayward had to be rested as he had not recovered from cramps suffered in the heat and humidity of Kochi. His replacement, Steve Elworthy, failed to make an impression. Hayward is doubtful for the Faridabad tie too.

Henry Williams had to sit out with an injury, but he should be back for the next match.

The South African innings began very differently from the way it did in Kochi. Ajit Agarkar, clobbered by Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs during the record first-wicket partnership, hit back today by knocking back Kirsten’s middle-stump in the fifth ball of the day. After bowling to his pads, Agarkar had one pitching on the middle and off and coming back to go through the ‘gate’ as the left-hander tried to flick to the leg-side.

Jacques Kallis and Gibbs got some of the momentum back with a partnership of 41 for the second wicket, but Agarkar struck again when Kallis nicked one outside off-stump while on a drive and Samir Dighe held behind the wicket.

The wicketkeeper, who had a nightmarish outing in Kochi, came back strongly today as he held four catches and looked pretty sharp.

Lance Klusener was very lucky not to be ruled leg-before to Agarkar soon after, umpire Mohite giving the benefit of the doubt to the left-hander. But Joshi, coming on after just seven overs, removed Gibbs in his third with one that turned and took the outside edge to Dighe.

At 59 for three and with much of the advantage of the first 15 overs squandered, South Africa were pegged back and when Klusener fell, Sachin getting one to turn away from the left-hander to have him caught-behind, it was 88 for four in the 20th over.

It set the stage for a partnership of 70 runs for the fifth wicket between Cronje and Boje. But the pressure had already built on South Africa who were keen on putting on a big total. The plan was to go after the ‘weak link’ in the Indian attack. Boje fell trying to do that.

When Kumaran, who was taken off after conceding 18 runs in his first three overs, came back for his second spell, Boje went after him. Kumaran did well to stick to a length just short of driving length and Boje, after being beaten once, top-edged another to Dighe.

Shaun Pollock, who came in next, added 20 with his skipper before Cronje fell trying to hoist Joshi out of the ground but managing only to find Robin Singh at long-on.

It was a poor shot on a turning wicket, especially with the left-arm spinner bowling a good line and length. It was, in a way, the most defining moment in the match for, at 178 in the 40th over with five wickets standing and Cronje himself looking good with a quick 71, the South Africans had the platform to get a big score.

Then Joshi produced two wickets in his next over — Pollock bowled first ball and, two balls later, Sourav diving at cover to bring off a terrific catch as Crookes found a leading edge while trying to play against the spin.

Strydom was trifle unlucky to be ruled leg-before by Mohite as he seemed to have been struck outside off-stump and then the Indians got into a big rush to try and finish the overs in time to escape penalty.

Agarkar bailed them out by having Steve Elworthy offer a return catch with just three minutes remaining for the break.    


 
 
I SHOULD HAVE HUNG AROUND, SAYS CRONJE 
 
 
FROM ARUP CHATTERJEE
 
Jamshedpur, March 12: 
Hansie Cronje was angry with himself after the loss at the Keenan Stadium today. “At 180-something for five with 10 overs to go, we were obviously looking at a score of around 245, so we missed out on those last overs,” he pointed out and then added: “There were too many soft dismissals around over No. 41-42, and I was guilty of being the first one to fall that way.

“It was the sort of pitch where one wicket can easily lead to another, and that’s exactly what happened. I was already batting on 71 and, had I hung around, could have added a few runs towards the end. I think that is where we lost the game.”

The South African skipper was caught by Robin Singh at long-on as he lofted Joshi without quite getting to the pitch of the ball.

He was all praise for his counterpart: “Sourav played just the sort of innings required. He relieved the pressure with boundaries every time we tried to get a hold on the match.”

Though he agreed the South Africans were under pressure, he wouldn’t agree that they were out of the series. “The mathematics is very simple for us from here, we’ll have to play three and win three.”

Sourav was quietly contended after his first century as skipper, but was more interested in heaping praise on his teammates “for another great show”. He said 230 would have been a very “challenging target” on this track.

He defended sending Joshi at No.3. “See, in the Kochi match, if he hadn’t come in earlier, he would have been asked to play the sort of innings Robin Singh had to play later.” He pointed out Joshi is no mug with the bat. “He was sent to play the shots, because he can. It didn’t work today, but it may well do the next time he is sent to do that job.”    


 
 
SACHIN WAS RIGHT TO QUIT CAPTAINCY: KAMBLI 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 12 
There has been quite a debate over whether captaincy was affecting Sachin Tendulkar’s batting. While pundits from all over the cricketing world aired their views considering the various pros and cons, Sachin’s school, state and national teammate Vinod Kambli is quite clear about what he thinks.

“Captaincy was affecting his batting. He did seem somewhat weighed down by that pressure,” said Kambli who is here for the Ranji Trophy Super League match between Bengal and Mumbai.

The former India star is convinced his childhood friend has taken the most sensible step. “It’s now going to be tough for the bowlers. They must be prepared for the worse because this fellow (Sachin) is now going to let his bat do all the talking.”

About his own future, the left-hander said he just wants to concentrate on scoring more and more runs. “I am no more satisfied with just a hundred, I want big ones. I am disappointed that I have been dismissed in the eighties a couple of times this season,” said Kambli who thinks Mohammed Azharuddin has set a great example as far as staging comebacks are concerned.

Kambli agreed that Azhar was written off by most people but pointed out that he had the ability to come back. “Azhar is the ideal model if you are looking for one. His return is a great source of inspiration for me,” Kambli said.

“The fact that he is still so fit and such a brilliant fielder shows the level of his commitment. I have always learnt from him while playing with and under him but one can learn more from him,” Kambli noted.

He said that he has started paying extra attention to his fitness since October and was working hard on his fielding. In fact, he does seem to have reduced a bit around the waist.

“I want to grab the earliest possible opportunity and that will be a fresh start for me,” said Kambli while adding that he is thinks there are a few slots open in the Indian middle order.    


 
 
BENGAL NEED TO ENSURE A MINIMUM OF 5 POINTS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 12 
Bengal take on Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy Super League match from tomorrow, desperately needing to add at least five points to their stock of 13 from three outings. They will also hope that Karnataka do not beat Delhi outright to edge them in the race for the second slot in Group A. Conceding first-innings lead will leave them in trouble as Karnataka will then require just five points to advance.

The visitors have no such worries, having already sealed a semi-final slot with three straight victories. “We are not complacent and want to win this match too,” declared coach Ashok Mankad and captain Amol Muzumdar.

“The fact that we didn’t reach the Super League last year is in the back of our minds and may be that’s why we’ve won five of our seven matches this year,” said Muzumdar. The coach added that last year’s debacle may have been a blessing in disguise as it took away complacency.

Bengal captain Utpal Chatterjee, who skipped batting during nets today because of an injury on the right palm suffered in the last match, said his team has to bat well. That department will be boosted by the return of Srikant Kalyani and Deep Dasgupta is likely to replace Alokendu Lahiri.

Sourasish Lahiri and Charanjeet Singh, who didn’t practise yesterday to play for their clubs, skipped nets today also. Abdul Masood who wasn’t around yesterday, dropped in for a while. The captain and coach refused to comment on this and left it to the administration.

Utpal said he would like to post a big total if he wins the toss and then resrict the Mumbai batsmen but on current form and sincerity in practice, he will have to hope that the law of average catch up with the visitors.

The Mumbai arsenal threatens fireworks with Wasim Jaffer, Vinod Kambli, Jatin Paranjpe and the skipper himself leading the charge in batting which is backed up by some wonderful variety in bowling.

Abey Kuruvilla shares the new ball with Santosh Saxena or Sriram Kannan in the absence of Paras Mhambrey who has been rested for this match so that he can recover fully before the knockout round. They also have two left-arm spinners in Nilesh Kulkarni and Rajesh Pawar, an off-spinner in Ramesh Powar and leg-spinner Sairaj Bahutule.

They are likely to field two medium pacers with Kulkarni, Pawar and Powar — who made his debut against Rajasthan in the last match — anticipating the wicket will be a slow turner.

TEAMS

BENGAL (likely): Utpal Chatterjee, Nikhil Haldipur, Deep Dasgupta, Devang Gandhi, Rohan Gavaskar, Srikant Kalyani, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Sourasish Lahiri, Vishal Yadav, Charanjeet Singh/Abdul Masood.

MUMBAI (from): Amol Muzumdar, Wasim Jaffer, Amit Pagnis, Jatin Paranjpe, Vinod Kambli, Sushant Manjrekar, Amol Rane, Nilesh Kulkarni, Sairaj Bahutule, Rajesh Pawar, Ramesh Powar, Abey Kuruvilla, Amit Dani, Sriram Kannan, Santosh Saxena. Umpires: C.R. Vijayraghavan and K. Murali.    


 
 
GEORGE BEAT BARISHA 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, March 12: 
Amitava Roy (88) and Dilip Dubey (70 n.o.) struck half-centuries to help George Telegraph beat Barisha by seven wickets in a championship play-off match of the CAB senior division league today.

SUMMARISED SCORES

(Championship play-off)

Shyambazar 268 (Soumitra Chatterjee 71 n.o., Altaf Hussain 5/77) beat Paikpara 238 (Aloke Barik 94 n.o., Sourasish Lahiri 4/61) by 30 runs.

Barisha 236 (Shome Kapoor 53) lost to George Telegraph 239/3 (Amitava Roy 88, Dilip Dubey 70 n.o.) by 7 wkts.

Tollygunge Agragami 310 (Manish Jalan 54, Narendra Singh Negi 60) beat Port Trust 275 (Soumen Singh 79, Anup Das 5/108) by 35 runs.

ABP Sports Club 283 (Bapi Sen 81 n.o., Murtuza Lodhgar 6/95) lost to Kalighat 284/5 (Arindam Roy 105 n.o., Charanjit Singh 52) by 5 wkts.

Relegation play-off

DKS 429 (Pitambar Dutta 178) bt Gymkhana 360 (Samik Chakraborty 105, Bikash Khanna 147, Abhijit Bhattacharya 5/91) by 69 runs.    


 
 
COLUMBUS WINS MAIN EVENT 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Mumbai, March 12: 
Trained by Arti Doctor and ridden by Malcolm Kharadi, lesser fancied Columbus recorded an impressive victory over friendless runners — Bank Balance and Mi Amante —in the 1,400m HSBC Salver at the Mumbai races on Sunday.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Western India Race Horse Owenrs’ Trophy 1,400m: (1-2) L. A. Woman (Kharadi) 1; Victory March 2. Won by: 3-1/4; (1-28.5). Tote: Win Rs 17. Fav: L. A. Woman (1).

2. Radha Sigtia Trophy 2,400m: (4-1-2) Double Impact (Prakash) 1; Champagne Polka 2; Runaway Bay 3. Won by: 8-1/2; 5; (2-39.1). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 10; 18; Quinella: 20; Tanala: 71. Fav: Double Impact (4).

3. Africaan Plate 1,600m: (5-3-6) Silver Rock (Chauhan) 1; Rebounding Ray 2; Fantasy Royal 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-44). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 15; 27; Quinella: 44; Tanala: 333. Fav: Silver Rock (5).

4. HSBC Salver 1,400m: (11-13-9) Columbus (Kharadi) 1; Bank Balance 2; Mi Amante 3. Won by: 3-1/2; 2-1/2; (1-25.3). Tote: Win Rs 108; Place: 34; 82; 59; Quinella: 1,422; Tanala: 89,478. Fav: Baffin Bay (15).

5. Implacable Plate 1,400m: (1-6-8) Victory Waltz (Kader) 1; Cristina 2; The Silken Thomas 3. Won by: 3/4; 3/4; (1-27.8). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 13; 14; 18; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 126. Fav: Victory Waltz (1).

6. Unforgettable Plate 1,100m: (3-2-6) Khushnaseeb (Bernard) 1; Infuriate 2; Royal Standard 3. Won by: Hd; 1-1/4; (1-9.2). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 13; 16; 48; Quinella: 34; Tanala: 629. Fav: Khushnaseeb (3).

7. Spirituelle Plate 1,000m: (1-6-3) Gold Buck (Prakash) 1; Supercool 2; Clive Commission 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 6; (1-1.5). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 12; 17; 15; Quinella: 42; Tanala: 142. Fav: Gold Buck (1).

Jackpot: Rs 1,156; (C) Rs 272.

Treble: (i) Rs 331; (ii) Rs 87.    

 

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