10-over slips that stole the series from India
Tollygunge dent East Bengal hopes
A Beighton first for CESC
Kalighat in final
Randhawa picks up another title
Calcutta Races/ Daniel’s three winners take him to top of championship table
Mumbai Races/ Form favours The Pelican

 
 
10-OVER SLIPS THAT STOLE THE SERIES FROM INDIA 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Margao, April 6: 
Even Christie’s would be hard pressed evaluating the worth of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden’s 70 runs in the first ten overs.

In the context of today’s one-day series decider at the Nehru Stadium, the runs were invaluable. Specifically, they denied India the pleasure of scripting a momentous double.

Though the decider almost went the distance (98 overs, to be precise), the series was actually determined in the last ten of the Indian innings and the first ten overs of Australia’s. Acts of omission and commission in the remaining 78 were reduced to non-events.

Captain Sourav Ganguly got back to being where he is most comfortable — among runs; V.V.S. Laxman continued to milk the Australian attack and registered his maiden ODI-hundred; Sachin Tendulkar enrolled in yet another select club (100 or more wickets in ODIs).

Yet the stand-out memories, apart from Man of the Match Michael Bevan’s latest top-drawer effort, will remain the Indians’ inability to score more than 48 in the last ten overs and the Gilchrist-Hayden assault.

“We scored too few, in the end, and gave away too many at the start... We fell around 20 short of what would have been a series-winning total and, then, allowed the openers to cut and pull,” conceded Sourav, pleased at least with the many positives to have emerged overall.

[For example, Laxman’s batting both in Tests and ODIs, Harbhajan Singh’s bowling in Tests, Rahul Dravid’s batting in the ODIs.]

Thankful those 20 runs didn’t materialise, Steve Waugh accepted that chasing 286 instead of 266 would have been an ask out of the ordinary. Not because his line-up lacked firepower, or character, but the wicket often played its own game.

Though far from an ideal one-day surface, both India and Australia surpassed the previous best here — 229 for five by Sri Lanka against India, in 1997.

Australia’s four-wicket victory, by the way, means India are yet to win here in three appearances. Refreshingly, the decider wasn’t one-sided.

The margin may appear comfortable, but it had been very tight till Jawagal Srinath bowled short in the 44th over and Bevan and Ian Harvey (who heads straight for Gloucestershire) helped themselves to a boundary each.

Thanks to the blistering Gilchrist-Hayden launch, the Australians were well ahead till the 35th over. The next five, though, found them slipping as Sachin evicted Steve and Darren Lehmann and Srinath sent back Andrew Symonds.

The change of ball, however, worked entirely to Australia’s advantage. Moreover, in Bevan, Australia had one-day cricket’s best man for a crisis. Be it rotating strike, picking gaps or pacing the innings, Bevan is a master. Then, he is a terrific runner between wickets.

Of course, Bevan may not be an improviser in the Javed Miandad mould, but could still teach the wily Pakistani a thing or two.

With Bevan in overdrive, it became easy for Harvey to stay focussed. More to the point, he took Bevan’s advice — “Stay till the end, the runs will come” — seriously. The runs did come, despite Sachin’s combative on-the-trot ten overs. Despite Zaheer Khan’s inspired second spell.

With the series 2-2, a needle finish was anticipated and, clearly, none of the around 50,000 (official capacity 30,000) who thronged what essentially is a soccer stadium were disappointed.

In keeping with the carnival atmosphere, complete with Margao’s version of a steel band which dots venues in the West Indies, the turnout cheered both teams, even at the end.

For the Indians, it would have come as a welcome change. Defeats in Pune and Vizag, after all, invited jeers which would have made the losses even harder to accept.

Bevan’s selection as MoM was popular, as was Hayden’s nomination as Man of the Series. And to think Hayden wasn’t even in the original XIV but stayed back (after the Tests) as an additional player.

Hayden readily acknowledges he began as a batsman with limitations, but had the drive to overcome them. That’s surely been rewarded on this tour: 549 runs in Tests; 303 in the ODIs. This performance from a “situation player,” as Hayden describes himself, will take some beating. In the circumstances, one can’t blame Hayden for having that on-cloud-nine feeling.

Expectedly, Steve had praise in plenty for Hayden, as also Bevan (“the world’s No.1 one-day batsman”) and Jason Gillespie, who went home after the Test series. Typically, he dwelt on his team’s hundred per cent “intensity” and avoided referring to the flops — Shane Warne, for instance.

Sourav began the day on a perfect note, calling correctly and choosing to set a target. Then, he himself got his first fifty of the series (both Tests and ODIs) and was set for his 17th hundred when umpire Subroto Porel, ironically from home turf Calcutta, erred by not no-balling Glenn McGrath.

Even a kid familiar with the laws would have realised that McGrath’s short-pitched delivery — which was headed much over Sourav’s head — simply had to be treated as a no-ball. Porel, at square-leg, kept quiet and Sourav was saddled with a poor decision.

Later, he suggested the third umpire should come into play more often.

Sourav, however, kept his chin up and, in the second session, attacked till it became obvious Australia couldn’t be denied. Never reluctant to seek either Sachin or Dravid’s advice, Sourav handled the bowlers imaginatively. It’s another matter at crucial moments, even the experienced Srinath faltered.

There’s a break between now and end-May, when the team leaves for Zimbabwe, and Sourav will soon begin focussing on engineering an overseas win.

Mismanagement

While thousands in excess of the sanctioned capacity packed the stadium, thousands of genuine ticket holders were turned away — some even lathi-charged —as an equal number had made it via “forged tickets.”

One isn’t sure whether the local administration will conduct an inquiry (it should), but the Board must seek more than just an explanation from the supremely inefficient Goa Cricket Association.

   

 
 
TOLLYGUNGE DENT EAST BENGAL HOPES 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 6: 
Tollygunge 1
East Bengal 0

East Bengal crashed to their second defeat in this year’s National League when they went down to Tollygunge Agragami by a 12th minute Emeka Achilefu goal at the Salt Lake Stadium today.

After 18 matches East Bengal remained at the top of the table with 38 points. Mohun Bagan, who are placed second, have 35 from as many games. Mohun Bagan are ahead on goal difference — 17 (35/18) as against East Bengal’s 16 (24/8).

The goal was the culmination of Emeka’s opportunistic skills. The Nigerian’s header of a Sasthi Duley cross from the left ricocheted off the post after beating Sangram Mukherjee hands down. As Sangram took time to recover, Emeka pounced on the rebound and netted in with a low header. Amazingly, none of the East Bengal players standing nearby made any attempt to thwart Emeka.

It was a sluggish display by the red-and-golden brigade that saw Tollygunge take a firm grip on proceedings in the first half. East Bengal’s attack were very few and far between.

It was only during the last 15 minutes of the match that Manoranjan Bhattacharjee’s team made a desperate attempt to equalise. But a determined Tollygunge remained unfazed in the face of adversity.

The fighting spirit of the entire team — in the absence of coach Amal Dutta who refused to be present at the ground citing lack of security — helped Tollygunge return home with three vital points.

“The win is a just reward for our strategy to play attacking football,” said Mantoo Ghosh, Tollygunge secretary, who took over the coach’s mantle today.

The defence, especially stoppers Debasish Pal Chowdhury and Satish Bharti, never let their rivals make much headway inside the penalty box. Saliu Abdul Wasu, Aboyemi Felix and Emeka ensured the East Bengal players did not get the opportunity of playing too many passes inside the rival territory.

As Tollygunge crowded the midfield with more players after the goal, East Bengal looked terribly out of balance in their bid to equalise. They also never made any attempt to stretch the Tollygunge defence with attack down the flanks. Dipendu Biswas and Bijen Singh never succeeded in making an impression, except for some listless running, and the coach had no other option but to seek replacements.

Srikanta Dutta, though, tried to make his presence felt but got very little support for his exuberance. Latching onto an Isiaka Awoyemi lob in the 67th minute, Srikanta broke free inside the danger area but failed to get the ball past a charging Hemanta Dora.

The goalkeeper again came to Tollygunge’s rescue during injury time when Srikanta’s header was saved off the goalline. Apart from a Suley Musah header hitting the post in the first session, this was the only positive chance East Bengal managed to get in the entire match.

Though referee Krishna Avatar was stern in his conduct, he is largely to be blamed for failing to give marching orders to Carlton Chapman and Emeka after they were indulged in fisticuffs under fading light.

TEAMS

EAST BENGAL: Sangram Mukherjee, Suley Musah, Ranjan Dey, Jackson Egygopong, Falguni Datta, Chandan Das (Zahir Abbas, 71), Isiaka Awoyemi, Omolaja Olalekan, Dipankar Roy, Dipendu Biswas (Srikanta Datta 23), Bijen Singh (Carlton Chapman, 57).

TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI: Hemanta Dora, Reazul Mustafa, Debashis Pal Chowdhury, Satish Bharti, Parthasarathi Dey, Bhabani Mohanty (Ranjan Chowdhury 63), Saliu Abdul Wasu, Aboyemi Felix, Sasthi Duley (Sandip Das, 78), Emeka Achilefu (Ali Reza, 89), Abdulateef Seriki.

Referee: Krishna Avatar

   

 
 
A BEIGHTON FIRST FOR CESC 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 6: 
It was a red-letter day for the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation hockey team. A 3-1 win over Bangladesh XI earned Bir Bahadur Chhetri’s men their first-ever Beighton Cup semi-final berth.

CESC, who tallied six points, qualified as the second-best team from group B. Topping the four-team pool were two-time defending champions Punjab & Sind Bank, who whipped SAI Training Centre 3-1 today to complete their quarter-final league engagements with an all-win record.

Baljit Singh Chandi opened the scoring for the bankmen six minutes into the match at Mohun Bagan ground. Sandeep Singh Seep found the target twice — a minute on either side of half-time. SAI reduced the margin through Edmund Kerketta.

In the semi-finals tomorrow, CESC confront group A toppers Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) while PSB come up against Border Security Force (BSF).

While CISF aggregated seven points from their three matches, BSF managed five. Army XI (4) lost out on a semi-final slot narrowly, while whipping boys Sikh Regimental Centre drew a blank after going down 1-3 to BSF today.

CISF rode captain G.V. Xaxa’s hattrick to a 3-0 rout of Army XI.

With both teams going into the match needing full points to ensure progress to the last four, the first 35 minutes produced some tense, coast-to-coast hockey. CISF had a slight edge, but the armymen had their moments too.

The complexion of the game changed once the teams resumed after the break. A short corner broke the deadlock, Xaxa driving the ball home in the third minute. Fourteen minutes later, CISF’s principal hitman capped off a fine run to sound the board.

Five minutes from the final hooter, Xaxa brought up the tournament’s first hattrick by converting a penalty stroke.

The CESC versus Bangladesh XI encounter, at the CCFC, was a well-contested one. Exchanges were more or less even in the opening session, three short corners on either end of the pitch being the confirmation.

Bangladesh XI, made up mostly of national team players who upset Malaysia at last month’s PM’s Gold Cup meet in Dhaka, looked impressive in patches. Especially while attacking from the right wing where Md Shamim Raja, Maksud Alam and Shahidullah Titu worked up an effective combination. What let the visitors down was their poor shooting and pathetic trapping while executing short corners.

CESC got their nose in front 25 minutes into the game, Anil Ekka’s stinging hit leaving the Bangladeshi custodian helpless. Ekka came close to doubling his tally six minutes after the breather. Sunil Soren’s precise pass found its destination alright, but Ekka’s soft drive was deflected out of harm’s way by the ’keeper.

The next 10 minutes saw the CESC citadel surviving some close calls. Shamim’s cross from the right flank beat the defence but an unmarked Titu drove the ball wide with the goalkeeper at his mercy. Musa Miah was the culprit some time later, his powerful hit being aimed straight at the ’keeper’s body. A Shamim effort was then scrambled away from the goalline by a desperate defence.

CESC hit bull’s eye a second time in the 65th minute. Sunil Soren pushed the ball in from five yards after a short corner attempt had resulted in a melee at the Bangladesh goalmouth.

A counter-attack saw Bangladesh pulling a goal back within two minutes. Shamim’s 20-yard diagonal pass caught the CESC defenders off guard and all Maksud had to do was tap the ball in past a static ’keeper. Any hopes of an equaliser was snuffed out by a lightning CESC move which brought them goal No. 3 via Gurjit Singh.

   

 
 
KALIGHAT IN FINAL 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 6: 
Kalighat advanced to the final of the CAB knockout meet today, beating Wari by six wickets.

Opting for first strike at Eden Gardens today, Wari managed 208 for eight in 44 overs. That included an eight-run penalty for Wari bowling an over short.

Kalighat got off to a solid start, thanks to opener Sounak Das’ 67. Sanjib Sanyal then provided the perfect finish with an unbeaten 48 off 36 balls.

Kalighat await the winners of the second semi-final between Mohun Bagan and Port Trust.

BRIEF SCORES: Wari 208/8 off 44 ovs (A. Jhunjhunwala 73, Saikat Mukherjee 49, Minaksha Mondal 32; Timir Chanda 2/32, Manoj Roy 2/38). Kalighat 209/4 in 43.4 ovs (Saunak Das 67, Sanjib Sanyal 48 not out). Kalighat won by 6 wkts.

Ex-TT player dead

Former state table tennis champion Ajit Bose passed away at a city nursing home Thursday. He was 56. A fine cricketer also, Bose is survived by his wife, one son and two daughters.    

 
 
RANDHAWA PICKS UP ANOTHER TITLE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, April 6: 
Jyoti Randhawa fired a superb five-under 67 to ensure his third title in four tournaments on the Indian Golf Tour this season.

According to information received here, Randhawa tallied 16-under 272 to carve out a huge six-stroke victory over runner-up Arjun Singh in the Rs 8.5 lakh SRF Open at the Delhi Golf Club course today.

Mhow’s Mukesh Kumar finished third at five-under 281, while the duo of Shiv Prakash (Kanpur) and Sanjay Kumar (Lucknow) were joint fourth, one stroke behind Mukesh.

Ashok Kumar took the amateurs’ title at three-under 285, seven strokes better than his mentor Amit Luthra.

Women’s cricket

Five zonal winners — Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh — along with Indian Railways, Air India and hosts Bengal will vie for the Indira Priyadarshini Champions’ Trophy to be held in the city from Tuesday through April 15.

Punjab, though, haven’t yet confirmed participation, organisers West Bengal Women’s Cricket Association (WBWCA) informed at a press conference this evening.

Railways, Mumbai, Air India and Punjab have been clubbed in group A, while Andhra, UP, Jharkhand and Bengal comprise group B. The top two from each group will qualify for the semis. The final has been scheduled at the Eden.

   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACES/ DANIEL’S THREE WINNERS TAKE HIM TO TOP OF CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE 
 
 
BY STAR RACER
 
Calcutta, April 6: 
Trainer Daniel David recorded a treble, today, the penultimate race-meeting of the season, and it could not have come at a better time. The crafty trainer, who at the start of the day, was trailing by a winner at the championship table, shots into the lead by a point over Vijay Singh when jockey Som Singh guided a friendless Peace Envoy to victory. Jockey A. Imran Khan, with two winners for the Daniel-stable, had earlier in the day restored parity with Vijay’s tally 45 winners. Vijay, who led-in a solitary winner, is now left to re-charge batteries of his runners to retain the top-honour as the season concludes on April 12.

Other professionals to share limelight with Daniel and Imran were trainer Mujeeb-ur-Rehman and jockey Md. Amil. Each of the two scored a double.

RESULTS

1. Espoir Handicap 1,200m: (5-3-2-1) Albright (Amil) 1; Aherlow (C. Alfrod) 2; Automatic (A. P. Singh) 3; Andrada (Shanker) 4. Won by: SH; 1-1/4; Nk; (1-13.2). Tote: Win Rs 62; Place: 22; 12; 41; Quinella: 88; Tanala: 2,609. Fav: Aherlow (3). Winner trained by Vijay S.
2. Soultline Handicap 1,100m: (3-8-2-6) Stately Honour (Amil) 1; Piece Of Cake (P. Kumar) 2; Glass Slipper (M. Reuben) 3; Flying Power (Amjad K.) 4. Won by: SH; 2; 1/2; (1-7.1). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 16; 47; 23; Quinella: 306; Tanala: 2,483. Fav: Stately Honour (3). Winner trained by Mujeeb R.
3. Eastern Air Command Cup 1,100m: (5-4-2-12) Crimson King (A. Imran) 1; Winning Hand (Manohar) 2; Cup Of Life (C. Alford) 3; Starina (Rutherford) 4. Not run: Red Trident (11). Won by: Nk; SH; 1-1/4; (1-6.3). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 13; 29; 17; Quinella: 191; Tanala: 889. Fav: Crimson King (5). Winner trained by Daniel D.
4. Predator Cup 1,200m: (5-4-2-1) Appyness (C. Alford) 1; Armila (Engineer) 2; Double Dancer (Manohar) 3; All Jade (Locke) 4. Won by: 3/4; 1-3/4; 3-1/4; (1-14.6). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 12; 19; 16; Quinella: 49; Tanala: 135. Fav: Appyness (5). Winner trained by Mujeeb R.
5. Delhi Race Club Cup 1,400m: (6-5-9-12) Pneumatic Power (A. Imran) 1; Scavenger’s Son (Engineer) 2; Rheinheart (Shanker) 3; Special Sovereign (Amil) 4. Won by: Nk; 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-26.2). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 16; 41; 24; Quinella: 220; Tanala: 3,884. Fav: Pneumatic Power (6). Winner trained by Daniel D.
6. Wansfell Handicap 1,100m: (2-7-4-3) Peace Envoy (Som S.) 1; Storm Centre (P. Kumar) 2; On The Bit (F. A. Khan) 3; Ardon (A. Imran) 4. Won by: 3/4; Nk; 2; (1-6.9). Tote: Win Rs 89; Place: 26; 31; 24; Quinella: 908; Tanala: 8,651. Fav: Ardon (3). Winner trained by Daniel D.
Jackpot: Rs 2,034; (C) Rs 105.
Treble: (i) Rs 761; (ii) Rs 294.
   

 
 
MUMBAI RACES/ FORM FAVOURS THE PELICAN 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Mumbai, April 6: 
In a straight contest between The Pelican and Fantasy Star, the former from trainer M. K. Jadhav’s yard, is expected cash in on his superior form and win the 1,600m Martell Mile, the main event at the Mumbai races on Saturday. B. Prakash partners the Placerville-Natural Craze son.

SELECTIONS

2.45 pm: Weathering 1. My Opinion 2. Platinum Girl 3.
3.15 pm: Betsy 1. Silver Nova 2. Top’m All 3.
3.45 pm: Evidence Of Faith 1. Pecan Pie 2. Come Prima 3.
4.15 pm: The Pelican 1.
4.45 pm: Gironde 1. Dancing Dreams 2. Temple Quest 3.
5.15 pm: Anagram 1. Noble One 2. Great Emperor 3.
5.45 pm: Never Surrender 1. Khim 2. Colour Of Joy 3.
Day’s Best: Weathering
Double: Betsy & Anagram
   
 

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