Classy Yuvraj engineers memorable win
Vikram Solanki the Rajput in English ranks
Pune Races/ Pleasures may come good
Zephyr Bay strikes
Calcutta Races/ Artifact, Aldebro impress

Nairobi, Oct. 7: 
India 265/9 (50 ovs)
Australia 245 (46.4 ovs)
Mom: Yuvraj Singh

For a moment, the crowd invasion at the Nairobi Gymkhana provided a throwback to Lord�s in 1983. The comparison wouldn�t exactly hold, but if India�s win over the West Indies that June evening was epoch-making, no less significant was today�s passion-driven 20-run victory over Australia.

Just the other day, Sourav Ganguly insisted �no team is unbeatable�. This evening, under his cool captaincy, India put the world champions out of the ICC KnockOut Kenya 2000 meet. With this win alone, Indian cricket would have reclaimed much of the following lost in the past few months.

For next Friday�s semi-final No. 2, now, India await the winner of the South Africa versus England quarter final (October 10). �We�re prepared for any team... Won�t make a difference,� pointed out an emotional Sourav, pleased as punch and not concealing his joy.

It was a heart-stopper all right and, for a change, India finished on the right side � despite losing the toss which, on paper, gave Australia a headstart.

While it would be fair to attribute the victory to an extraordinary team effort, that won�t be doing justice to 18-year-old Yuvraj Singh, Man of the Match in only his second India appearance.

Back in the late Seventies, one Yograj Singh was labelled as being even more talented than Kapil Dev. For a dozen reasons probably, Yograj could never quite play to potential. Today, his son took the first steps towards what promises to be a phenomenal career.

As for Australia, it�s time for introspection. For a team otherwise proud of supreme professionalism, as many as 23 additional minutes were consumed to complete the 50 overs. Appropriately, Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle docked them two overs, a decision which made the ask a lot stiffer than it would have been.

Then, chasing 266, the world champions suffered two run outs � the first being most crucial, that of Michael Bevan by, who else, but Yuvraj. Not much later, Shane Lee was found short of crease by Sourav, whose captaincy was sky-high on enthusiasm.

Adam Gilchrist at the start, Bevan and Ricky Ponting in the middle, captain Steve Waugh and Brett Lee towards the end... The Australian �challenge� only had phases of some control. It may have been another story, an all too familiar one, had Steve not been claimed by a fullish-length delivery from Zaheer Khan (224 for eight, 43rd over).

Steve�s wicket made it curtains for Australia but, just before that, Brett had scored at will: A six off Zaheer which smashed glass in the car park and as many as 15 runs off Anil Kumble, in the 41st over.

That young blood makes a difference out of the ordinary was reinforced today. Indeed, with everything to gain, the Yuvrajs put on a stunning show. There�s a lesson here.

Indian innings: It was important for Australia to score the first psychological points, but if Glenn McGrath and Australia thought one was made when an express delivery grazed Sachin Tendulkar�s right elbow, in over No. 1 itself, they were mistaken.

Sachin doesn�t need a wake-up call yet, in some ways, that bruise put him on overdrive straightaway. The very next McGrath over saw an outrageous six, over third-man, and then came two other sizzling overboundaries � again, off McGrath: Straight and pulled.

Clearly, the strategy was that Sachin (in conditions tailor-made for quicks) would take on the McGraths, while Sourav would bide for time.

Well, that quickly reduced McGrath to a wreck. Gone was his intimidating body language, gone too the follow-through which, in Australia, would end at Sachin�s nose. The Australian captain faced a major problem far quicker than he would have bargained for. McGrath�s first (six overs) spell cost 40 runs.

Sachin, of course, didn�t target McGrath only. In between, he fired a classic, carpet-driven four off Brett. But it was Brett who got Sachin, inducing him to edge an expansive drive which was brilliantly taken by Damien Martyn at first-slip.

The former captain�s 38 came off 37 deliveries (3x4, 3x6), and the openers put on 66 at a shade under six an over. Super stuff, but Sourav�s departure a mere ten runs later (24 with five boundaries, one being an ethereal off-drive off Brett), helped Australia snatch all the initiative.

At that point in time, it didn�t help (though those not enamoured by the vice-captain�s strike-rate may see it differently) that Dravid�s uppish flick off Jason Gillespie was smartly taken by Shane Lee. But that also set up the 40-run partnership between Yuvraj and Vinod Kambli, the first move towards regaining initiative.

Kambli�s exit, to a smart one from Steve, didn�t halt the drive. In fact the Singhs, Yuvraj and Robin, matched the Sachin-Sourav onslaught to firmly push the world champions against the ropes (64 in less than 12 overs). Steve kept shuffling his bowlers, but McGrath made little impression even in his second spell (two overs for 18).

Yuvraj was very much the �senior�, as he collected runs on all sides: Front and square... The power element helped him find gaps quicker than most. Actually, some of the Yuvraj hits were stunning.

It prompted the peerless Barry Richards to tell The Telegraph: �The beauty about Yuvraj�s play is that he doesn�t limit himself to one area. Obviously, he�s gifted and in my opinion, should regularly bat at No. 3 or 4, not at No. 5.�

The Singhs� association ended when Robin dragged one on to his stumps off the first ball of Ian Harvey�s fresh spell. The partnerships thereafter weren�t really of any significance, but Yuvraj kept up the excellent work.

Yuvraj was the eighth man out, after the soft dismissals of Vijay Dahiya and Ajit Agarkar, playing for the team rather than his maiden hundred. It was the 47th over and time to make capital of every delivery. Yuvraj fell in doing just that and, on the walk back to the pavilion, looked more than once at the (mini) scoreboard.

Even if Yuvraj was disappointed, he didn�t let the world know. Yet another sign of a pedigreed performer. His 84 took only 80 deliveries (12x4).

Yuvraj�s departure, however, didn�t end the story. Zaheer showed he has pluck and Venkatesh Prasad played the shot of his career: A six off the only ball he was left to face, off Harvey.

Scintillating, yes, and a reminder that all the running would have to be done by Australia.    

Nairobi, Oct. 7: 
England captain Nasser Hussain�s roots are in Chennai and, now, keeping fingers crossed for the big break is Udaipur-born Rajput Vikram Singh Solanki.

Solanki, 24, has already played a handful of one-dayers but it�s the first Test cap that he is looking forward to. Indications are this right-handed middle-order bat won�t have to wait an eternity.

Courteous and absolutely down-to-earth, Solanki spoke to The Telegraph last evening.

Following are excerpts

On his Indian roots and what prompted the Solankis to migrate

I lived the first eight years in Udaipur, where I was born and where my father (Vijay, now with Her Majesty�s government) worked for Hindustan Zinc... My mother (Florabell) is of English origin... Our move to England wasn�t premeditated, rather it�s on a trip there, to visit mom�s relatives, that my Wolverhampton-based aunt suggested I would be better off in England and that the family migrate. That set the ball rolling.

On how quickly he settled down in a vastly different environment

As a child one�s memory is short and, really, it didn�t take me long to find a new circle of friends... Father, of course, joined us later after even he got convinced England is where there would be more opportunities for me.

On the early influences

The very early influence was that of my father... I remember watching him play, even during our Udaipur days. I�m not sure, but it�s possible he played representative cricket at some level in Rajasthan, probably as a junior... Later, at Worcestershire, Graeme Hick was a big influence. I was also in close contact with two of the County�s overseas pros, Tom Moody and Glenn McGrath.

On whether he idolised anyone

I�ve been an admirer of Sachin Tendulkar, the Waugh brothers and Brian Lara � idolised is too strong a word... Now that I�ve got a slight taste of international cricket, I can appreciate just how gifted the top players are. I have nothing but the highest respect for the ones who�ve taken centrestage at the top level.

On whether, as a youngster, he followed Indian cricket closely

I wasn�t the sort to stay home and be glued to telecasts. I was the type to actually myself go out and play... So, I didn�t really follow any one team with a great degree of interest. Hardly knew anything about the Indians and, frankly, didn�t know much about the England team either.

On his thoughts when the first England call-up came (last season, for the South Africa tri-series)

Having established myself at Worcestershire, like any other County cricketer, I had begun harbouring hopes of one day playing for England. I�d made the A team before but, still, it was a terrific moment when I joined the lads in South Africa. It did take a while, though, for it to sink that I was in the same dressing room as the Michael Athertons and Darren Goughs...

On having already been branded a one-day specialist

(Laughs) I�d love to play in both forms, for England... Having said that, I�ll accept my one-day record isn�t flamboyant. So, I need to make more of the chances I get.

On how he goes about preparing for a big game

Whatever I do, bottomline is to give myself the best chance. If there�s something technical to be looked at, I go to the coaches � Duncan Fletcher (England) or Bill Athey (Worcester)... I�ve also worked with Martyn Moxon (assistant coach on this trip) and Mike Gatting (A side). Obviously, I work hard at my fitness... I do have my idiosyncrasies, but I�m not superstitious.

On interests outside cricket

I read a lot... Vikram Seth is my favourite and I haven�t missed anything he has written... As we are close-knit, much of the time is spent with the family (in Wolverhampton).

Finally, on whether he stays in touch with relatives in India

Oh yeah, absolutely. Not just relatives, friends as well. Actually, a couple of the Delhi-based cricketers, Rahul Sanghvi and Murali Karthik, are good friends. My last India-trip was last year, when a friend and I went to Vaishno Devi. England visit India next season and I�m hoping to be in the tour-party. (Adds laughing) My Hindi, by the way, is pretty good.    

Pune, Oct. 7: 
Going by her last easy victory over 1,800m, the Placerville-Treasure Flower filly Pleasures appears to have the best credentials to land the Western India Owners Fillies� And Mares Stakes over an identical trip in Pune on Sunday. Mark Gallagher partners the Bezan Chenoy-trainee.


12.45 pm: Northern Temptress 1. Monogram 2. Reactor 3.
1.15 pm: Anagram 1. Moira 2. Ally McBeal 3.
1.45 pm: Oh So Quick 1. Alice Charms 2. Different Crown 3.
2.15 pm: Krishna Priya 1. Meringue 2. Afilado 3.
2.45 pm: Waltzing Matilda 1. Chittor 2. Rumaan 3.
3.15 pm: Seyam 1. Court Of Law 2. Golden Glitter 3.
3.45 pm: Pleasures 1. Al Dente 2. Favourite Trick 3.
4.15 pm: Authentic 1. Kilmore Quay 2. Anchors Aweigh 3.
4.45 pm: Natural Grace 1. Thunder Clap 2. Tio Pepe 3.
Day�s Best: Anagram Double: Waltizing Matilda & Authentic

Pune, Oct. 7: 
Ridden by M. Narredu, the B. Chenoy-trained Zephyr Bay won the J. E. Hughes Trophy in Pune on Saturday.

(With inter-state dividends)

1. Simply Superb Plate 2,000m: (4-6-5) Running Royal (M. Narredu) 1; Ancestry 2; Speakeasy 3. Not run: Pink Floyd (1). Won by: Dist; 7-1/2; (2-9.9). Tote: Win Rs 62; Place: 21; 28; Quinella: 183; Tanala: 2,175. Fav: Prabhuti (2).

2. Dance Smartly Plate 1,800m: (1-4-3) Anthology (Kader) 1; Consortium 2; Come Prima 3. Won by: 5-1/2; Hd; (1-56). Tote: Win Rs 21; Place: 18; 18; Quinella: 34; Tanala: 193. Fav: Anthology (1).

3. Noble Dancer Plate 1,600m: (1-10-5) Fortune�s Wheel (Prakash) 1; Shooting Mercury 2; Malada 3. Won by: 5; 4-1/4; (1-42.6). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 14; 19; 20; Quinella: 66; Tanala: 341. Fav: Fortune�s Wheel (1).

4. Bucephalus Trophy, Div-I 1,200m: (2-14-3) Stavros (Shroff) 1; Blue Blood 2; Green Paradise 3. Won by: 1/2; 1/2; (1-13.3). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 12; 17; 62; Quinella: 28; Tanala: 329. Fav: Stavros (2).

5. J. E. Hughes Trophy 1,800m: (2-5-1) Zephyr Bay (M. Narredu) 1; Great Emperor 2; Leit Motif 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-3/4; (1-56.9). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 19; 18; Quinella: 87; Tanala: 508. Fav: Zephyr Bay (2).

6. Bucephalus Trophy, Div-II 1,200m: (1-4-11) Safarando (Prakash) 1; Cristina 2; Flying Home 3. Won by: 1; Nk; (1-13.8). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 12; 16; 39; Quinella: 28; Tanala: 406. Fav: Safarando (1).

7. Solar Maid Plate 1,600m: (1-5-11) Silver Sea (Aaron) 1; Round Trip 2; Wagga Wagga 3. Won by: 3-1/2; 3-1/2; (1-43.5). Tote: Win Rs 42; Place: 19; 22; 45; Quinella: 75; Tanala: 1,924. Fav: Silver Sea (1).

Jackpot: Rs 330; (C) Rs 36.

Treble: (i) Rs 60; (ii) Rs 149.    

Calcutta, Oct. 7: 
Artifact, Aldebro, Software and Rheinheart were impressive from among the following horses seen exercing today.

Outer sand track

800m: Anntari (Rabani) in 58s; (400m) 28s. Easy. Santillana (Rutherford) and Orbital Star (Yadav) in 1-0s; (400m) 26 1/5s. Former neck better. Both were easy. Tanganyika (M. Reuben) in 1-2s (400m) 27 2/5s. Artifact (Surender) in 55 3/5s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Alterezza (Surender) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Moved well. Aldebro (Surender) in 55 2/5s; (400m) 25 2/5s. Impressed. Alastar (Surender) in 1-0 3/5s; (400m) 29s. Allodium (Islam) and Charlene (Rabani) in 58 3/5s; (400m) 26 3/5s. Both were level and handy. Magic Ring (Amjad) in 1-1 2/5s; (400m) 26 4/5s.

600m: Fibonacci (Rb) in 44 1/5s; (400m) 25 2/5s. Easy. On The Bit (Connorton) in 46 1/5s; (400m) 25s. Good.

Monsoon track

800m: Software (Islam) and Rheinheart (Som S.) in 51 1/5s; (400m) 23 2/5s. Former half-a-length better. Note.

Sand track

800m: Remember The Day (Yadav) in 52s; (400m) 23s. Moved well. Ring Dancer (Yadav) in 53 1/5s; (400m) 23 2/5s. Note. Ballet Master (Yadav) and Bird�s Empire (Rutherford) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Former, who was 6 ls better, is to be noted.

Noted on Thursday, sand track

800m: Arizona Star (Sher S.) in 54s; (400m) 24s. Fit.    


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