Sunday, 30 October 2011

England End India Tour On Winning Note

England 121-4 (Pietersen 53) beat
India 120-9 (Raina 39) by six wickets
Twenty20 International, Kolkata

England ended their dismal tour of India on a winning note by clinching a six-wicket win in the one-off Twenty20 International at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Kevin Pietersen defied a fractured thumb to score a fine half-century as England overcame India's score of 120 for nine with eight balls to spare.

On a slow track, India packed their side with batsmen and all-rounders but still failed to post a competitive score as Steven Finn returned three for 23, Tim Bresnan two for 19 and Ravi Bopara two for 16.

Samit Patel also took a wicket as only Suresh Raina (39 in 29 balls) and Ravichandran Ashwin (17 not out in 11) were able to dominate the bowling for any length of time.

Robin Uthappa made just one on his return to international cricket while Ajinkya Rahane's first Twenty20 International on home soil saw him fail to score while Ravindra Jadeja and Praveen Kumar also registered ducks.

In reply, Alex Hales (11) and Craig Kieswetter (12) gave England a good start but it needed Pietersen's stroke-filled 53 in 39 balls to put them into a winning position.

He hit five fours and three sixes before he was trapped in front by Raina but innings of 21 from Samit Patel, 14 not out from Bopara and two not out from Jonathan Bairstow were enough to ensure England took the spoils.

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Kevin Pietersen Reprimanded For Dissent

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has been reprimanded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for showing dissent during his side's Twenty20 International against India in Kolkata.
Pietersen set up England's six-wicket win with an innings of 53 in 39 balls but has been reprimanded for his reaction to being given out leg before wicket to Suresh Raina.
The charge was laid by standing umpires Sudhir Asnani and S. Ravi as well as third umpire Vineet Kulkarni and fourth umpire K. Srinath.
Pietersen pleaded guilty to the charge.
"As an experienced cricketer, Kevin should know that when the umpire raises his finger, a player should leave the crease without showing his emotions no matter what he may think of the decision," match referee Roshan Mahanama commented.

"In this case, Kevin displayed excessive and obvious disappointment at the decision which sent the wrong signals to all those watching the match at the ground and on television, and as such, merited some form of action."

Pakistan Win Fifth Hong Kong Sixes Title

Pakistan prevailed in the final over England to be crowned Hong Kong Sixes champions for a record-equalling fifth time on the final day in Kowloon. Sri Lanka and hosts Hong Kong were the losing semi-finalists.

10th Place Play-Off: Bangladesh 113-2 beat New Zealand 37 all out by 76 runs

The day began with a match between Hong Kong Women and China Women after which it was time for the 10th place play-off between Bangladesh and the under-performing New Zealand. Bangladesh piled up 113 after being asked to bat by the Kiwis with Rony Talakdar, Shabbir Rahman and Nazmul Hossain all passing 30 as Mumbai Indians bowler James Franklin leaked 30 runs off his single over. The Black Caps then slumped to 37 all out in reply as Rapash Baisya and Mosharraf Hossain each took two wickets.

9th Place Play-Off: South Africa 98-2 beat Australia 51 all out by 47 runs

Defending champions Australia capped a miserable tournament with defeat at the hands of South Africa. They were bowled out for just 51 in response to South Africa’s 98 as Matthew Hulett ended with figures of three for five from his solitary over. Earlier, Hulett and Dillon du Preez had both made unbeaten 40s as the Australians toiled in the heat.

First Quarter-Final: Sri Lanka 121-2 beat Woodworm All Stars 118-1 by 4 wickets

The first quarter-final was a high-scoring affair as Sri Lanka overhauled the All Stars’ total of 118 off the final ball of the match. Sanath Jayasuriya, Lou Vincent and Ryan ten Doeschate had all reached 30 for the All Stars as Sachith Shanaka went for 36 from his over. Opener Kusal Perera made 31 in the Sri Lankan run chase and Chathura Peiris and Dilshan Munaweera added 30s of their own, but it was left to captain Chamara Kapugedera to hit the last ball for six to see them home.

Second Quarter-Final: England 101-4 beat India 99-1 by 2 wickets

England’s cricketers made it two wins in less than 24 hours against India’s cricketers with a two-wicket win in the second quarter-final. Indian openers Mayank Agarwal and Dinesh Karthik both passed 30, but Rikki Clarke bowled a tidy penultimate over to pull things back for the English. Captain Rory Hamilton-Brown hit a nine-ball 34 in reply and Tom Smith hit three sixes in four balls as England won with two balls to spare.

Third Quarter-Final: Hong Kong 101-3 beat Scotland 100-0 by 3 wickets

Hong Kong continued their good form with a comfortable win over Scotland. Saltires openers Calum MacLeod and Preston Mommsen continued their excellent form in passing 30 as their side reached three figures from the final ball of their innings. It wasn’t enough as Hong Kong’s Munir Dar opened the innings with 24 from seven balls and Nizakat Khan hit five sixes on his way to a seven-ball 30.

Fourth Quarter-Final: Pakistan 87-4 beat Ireland 86-2 by 2 wickets

Eventual champions Pakistan booked their place in the semi-finals with a hard-fought win over a tenacious Ireland in the last quarter-final. Paul Stirling top-scored for the Irish in their total of 86 as Abdul Razzaq and Sohail Tanvir both conceded just 11 runs from their solitary overs. Umar Akmal bludgeoned an unbeaten 40 from only 10 balls in the Pakistani run chase as they got home with two balls to spare.

Before the start of the semi-finals, a Hong Kong Development side beat their Chinese counterparts by 30 runs in a six-a-side match.

First Semi-Final: England 101-2 beat Sri Lanka 94-3 by 7 runs

England held their nerve against a late onslaught from Chathura Peiris to win by seven runs and book their place in the final. Darren Stevens hit 32 from 10 balls before retiring and Rikki Clarke added late impetus with 34 from eight as England reached 101 from their five overs. Stevens then bowled an outstanding opening over and reduced Sri Lanka to six for two before Thisara Perera and Peiris got Sri Lanka close.

Second Semi-Final: Pakistan 116-3 beat Hong Kong 84-3 by 32 runs

Pakistan hammered Hong Kong in the second semi-final to set up a clash with England as they prevailed by 32 runs over the hosts. Umar Akmal continued his imperious form with a six-ball 34 and was helped by contributions of 25 from nine balls, 24 from seven and 22 from five from the trio of Sharjeel Khan, Abdul Razzaq and Hammad Azam as Pakistan reached 116. Razzaq then took two wickets in the opening over of the hosts’ run chase and they never really recovered in spite of a late valiant effort from Haseeb Amjad who ended with 38 from 10 balls.

Final: Pakistan 154-5 beat England 119-6 by 25 runs

So to the final, which consisted of five eight-ball over per side, and a comprehensive win for Pakistan. They batted first and amassed 154 as captain Abdul Razzaq and left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir both returned to record half-centuries and hit Rikki Clarke for 40 in his solitary over. None of England’s top-order got going as Umar Akmal took three wickets in the second over of the innings to peg them back after a relatively successful start. Tom Smith (29 from nine balls) and Peter Trego (32 from 10) gave them hope, but they were bowled out from the final ball for 119.

Pakistan skipper Abdul Razzaq was named Player of the Final, while their leading batsman Umar Akmal picked up the Ben Hollioake Trophy for Player of the Tournament.

Kirk And Fidel Edwards Put Bangladesh Under Pressure

West Indies 355 (K Edwards 121, Shakib Al Hasan 5-63) v
Bangladesh 204-7 (Shakib Al Hasan 73, F Edwards 5-58)
Second Test, Dhaka, day two
Scorecard | Day One

Edwards Kirk and Fidel put the West Indies into a strong position on day two of the second and final Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka with a century and a five-wicket haul respectively.

26-year-old Kirk scored his second Test century in just his third match as the West Indies were bowled out for 355 and Fidel's return of five for 58 - his 11th five-wicket haul - heaped the pressure on Bangladesh, who closed on 204 for seven.

Almost single-handedly keeping them within range of the tourists was Shakib Al Hasan, who himself took five for 63 and then top scored with 73 in Bangladesh's innings.

Edwards faced 273 balls on his way to 121 and his innings included 14 fours and two sixes while Marlon Samuels (48) offered good support before Shakib removed both set batsmen as well as Carlton Baugh (6), Darren Sammy (1) and Fidel Edwards (9) to take his eighth five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Fast bowler Fidel might have missed out with the bat but he soon tore into Bangladesh and had them reeling as he removed Tamim Iqbal (14), Imrul Kayes (29), Shahriar Nafees (7), Raqibul Hasan (0) and Mushfiqur Rahim (0) as the home side slumped to 59 for five.

Shakib, along with Naeem Islam, who made 45 before being run out, and Nasir Hossain, unbeaten on 34, helped revive the innings but he fell when he was bowled by leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.

Debutant Suhrawadi Shuvo was unbeaten on two when stumps were called.

The series is level after the opening match, in which two full days were lost to rain, was drawn in Chittagong.

Dominant England Seal Series Victory Over South Africa 30 October 2011

England Women 121-3 (Taylor 40) beat
South Africa Women 118-2 (Brits 50) by 7 wickets
Third Twenty20 International, Potchefstroom

England Women completed an unbeaten tour of South Africa with a seven-wicket victory in the third and final Twenty20 International in Potchrfstroom.

After the second game in the three-match series was washed out, they added a 2-0 series win to a 3-0 One-Day International series win earlier this month.

Batting first, South Africa scored 118 for two but were swept aside as England reached 121 for three in just 15.5 overs.

Crizelda Brits top scored for the home side with 50 in 52 balls from the top of the order with Trisha Chetty (33), Chloe Tryon (18 not out) and Mignon du Preez (16 not out) also making handy contributions.

Brits was bowled by Arran Brindle and Chetty caught by Lydia Greenway off Jenny Gunn as excellent bowling from England kept runs at a premium - Georgia Elwiss and Laura Marsh conceding five runs per over or less.

In reply, England lost Marsh for two when she was bowled by Mazabatha Klaas but Charlotte Edwards (22 in 17 balls) and Sarah Taylor (40 in 28) took control of the innings and after Edwards was bowled by Tryon, Taylor added 76 for the third wicket with Greenway, who was unbeaten on 31.

Klaas had Taylor caught by Sunette Loubser but by then the damage had been done and it was left to Greenway and Brindle, who made nine in seven balls, to guide England to a comfortable victory.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Katich faces Cricket Australia sanctions

MELBOURNE, Australia —Cricket Australia said Saturday that former test opener Simon Katich will face possible sanctions under its code of behavior for making “detrimental public comment” about his strained relationship with captain Michael Clarke.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement he was “surprised and disappointed” to see comments made by Katich after new full-time national selector John Inverarity indicated the door was not closed to Katich for future selection.

On Friday, the 36-year-old Katich said a dressing room altercation he had with then vice-captain Clarke following the Sydney test against South Africa in 2009 would prevent him from ever playing again for Australia. Katich said the incident was a key factor behind his Cricket Australia contract not being renewed in June.
FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2010 file photo, Australia's Simon Katich reacts as he walks back to the pavilion after losing his wicket during the first day of their second test cricket match against India, in Bangalore, India. Cricket Australia says former test opener Simon Katich has been reported under its code of behavior for making "detrimental public comment" about his strained relationship with captain Michael Clarke.

Katich, when asked about Inverarity’s comment that “the book is closed on nobody,” said: “It’s pleasing to hear, but I think you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out it’s not just the selectors that had a part in sending me on my way, so that’s one of those things.”

Asked who else played a part, Katich, who had a century for New South Wales in a domestic first-class match Friday, replied: “To be brutally honest, what happened in the dressing room here a few years ago probably didn’t help my cause.”

Cricket Australia said it “emphatically refutes any suggestion that Michael Clarke influenced the independent selection panel’s recommendations for the 2011-12 CA contract players’ list. The suggestions made by Katich are completely erroneous, inappropriate and unfair to Clarke, the selectors and to CA.”

Sutherland said details of Katich’s hearing will be released in the next few days.

Katich said Friday he had not spoken to Clarke about the incident.

Asked if he thought he would be part of the team while Clarke is still there, Katich said: “I wouldn’t have thought so, because that’s probably why I’m in this position in the first place.”

Clarke, speaking in Durban after Australia clinched the one-day series against South Africa, said he was not a selector when Katich had his contract cut.

“Since becoming a selector I’ve made it clear … that the door’s certainly not closed on anyone,” Clarke said. “But in saying that, I don’t think his comments are certainly helping him get back into this team at the moment.”

Katich has scored 4,188 runs at an average of 45.03 from 56 tests for Australia.

He was dropped from the national squad for the first time in 2007 and told that his test career was all but over. Katich responded by scoring a record 1,509 runs in the domestic Sheffield Shield, earning a test recall.

Ashraf wants international cricket in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan cricket's new chief Zaka Ashraf said Friday his main objective will be to bring international cricket back to his country after an attack by gunmen more than two years ago led to a boycott by touring teams.

Foreign sides have stayed away since March 2009 when gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, leaving six police officers and a van driver dead.

"I will be working closely with our international partners to ensure that the millions of cricket loving Pakistanis are not denied the ability to watch their stars and the game they love on our country's soil," Ashraf said in a statement issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"For that I intend to work closely with ICC, ACC (Asian Cricket Council) and other boards in order to ensure a good relationship with them. This would also help in confidence-building for their decisions to come and play in Pakistan."

Since 2009, Pakistan has played most of its 'home' matches in the United Arab Emirates.

As for the team, Ashraf thinks allrounder Shahid Afridi still has plenty to offer as a one-day player after coming out of international retirement.

Afridi quit international cricket after differences with former PCB chairman Ijaz Butt and ex-coach Waqar Younis. However, he made himself available for selection after Ashraf took over from Butt earlier this month and Younis stepped down for personal reasons.

"As a Pakistan national and as a cricket viewer I think Afridi is very good one-day player," Ashraf told reporters, adding that he would meet Afridi soon to discuss the player's future.

"He has contacted me, but I could say something only after we both meet with each other."

Pakistan is currently playing a test series against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates and it is likely Afridi's fate would be decided before the one-day series begins on Nov. 11 in Dubai.

Ashraf had talks with several PCB officials at its head office in Lahore on Friday and also plans to meet with various former test cricketers, including his favorite crickter-turned-politician Imran Khan.

"I want to develop consensus on how to move forward after meeting with legends," Ashraf said. "I am a very good listener."

Ashraf said he needed at least "two to three months" to settle down and study the working of the PCB.

For well over a decade, the PCB has been governed on an ad-hoc basis with the chairman appointed directly by the president of the country.

The International Cricket Council has set 2013 as the deadline for all the cricket boards to run their operations democratically.

Ashraf successfully headed Pakistan's top agricultural bank — Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) — for three years before being appointed as PCB chairman.

England Beats India by Six Wickets to Avoid Cricket Tour Sweep

England avoided being swept on its cricket tour of India with a six-wicket victory in a Twenty20 match in Kolkata.

Kevin Pietersen, playing with a broken thumb, scored 53 as England, the reigning world champion in the sport’s shortest form, reached its victory total of 121 with eight balls remaining.

Steve Finn took 3-22 as India was limited to 120-9 after winning the toss and electing to bat. Suresh Raina’s 39 was the top score for the host, which won 5-0 in the one-day series between the teams.

England earlier this week was named the No. 1 team in the first International Cricket Council Twenty20 rankings. It’s also the world’s top-ranked Test team.

disciplined Indian attack in the fourth ODI

Mumbai, Oct 23 (England failed to capitalise on a good start and were bowled out for 220 by a disciplined Indian attack in the fourth ODI at the Wankhede Stadium here Sunday.
Electing to bat, England were given a flying start by openers Alastair Cook (10) and Craig Kieswetter (29) but they kept losing wickets at regular intervals to get all out in 46.2 overs.

The visitors' fallibility against spin was once against exposed with Ravichandran Ashwin (3-38) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-41) picking five wickets among themselves on a slow turner. They were well complemented by debutant pacer Varun Aaron, who picked three for 24.
England started off with two successive maidens but captain Cook and Kieswetter soon started scoring at a fast clip to put up 39 runs in 5.6 overs.
Kieswetter came specially hard on R. Vinay Kumar, smashing him for a six and two fours in the fourth over, forcing the Indian skipper Mahendera Singh Dhoni to replace the pacer with off-spinner Ashwin.
The lanky spinner's first five deliveries were hammered for 15 runs by Kieswetter, but Ashwin, on the last ball, trapped Cook leg before with a straighter one to end the over on a high.
England slumped to 39/2 within two balls as Praveen Kumar slammed a low delivery into Kieswetter's pad to get him leg before.
Jonathan Trott (39) and Kevin Pietersen (41) looked to build on the start with their 73-run third wicket stand but Vinay Kumar, back for his second spell, castled Trott's stumps to separate the two.
Pietersen, a bit subdued on the slow surface didn't last long and pulled a ball from Ashwin straight into the hands of substitute fielder Manoj Tiwary.
Jadeja and Ashwin then ran through the middle order, striking thrice in six overs.
Tim Bresnan, with run-a-ball 45, pushed the score past 200 but Aaron, bowling consistently at 140 kph, knocked off the bails of the lower order thrice to dismiss the visitors with 23 balls remaining

Need to improve bowling - Dhoni

MS Dhoni, the India captain, has said India still need to improve in the bowling department after their 5-0 series victory over England at home. He expressed concern at the fact that India's seamers did not complete their allocated ten overs in many of the matches because they had given away too many runs. Both Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron impressed with their pace during the series but Dhoni said control was as important as bowling quick.

"Of course it's a great series win," he said after the fifth ODI in Kolkata. "But our fast bowlers could not bowl 10 overs in many of the matches and we have to realise that's where we have to get better. It's good to have guys bowling quick but they also need to be able to keep the runs down and not give away a boundary an over.

"Even though we've won at home, we need to realise that when we go abroad there may not be as much turn for our spinners and so we will not be able to win if our fast bowlers don't bowl well. In other countries our part-timers may not be as effective as they are here."

The series win comes just a month after India were thumped in both the Tests and one-dayers in England. Dhoni said the criticism his side received after that tour did not worry him as he knew Indians were passionate about cricket and bound to react to a loss.

"It happens: you are appreciated when you do well and that should be taken with an open heart. I was not too worried about criticism. We know cricket is big in India. It's a part of our life."

India went into the ODI series against England with several senior players missing through injury, and Dhoni said while the influx of young players helped sharpen the fielding, the seniors were still needed. "It's difficult to replace the seniors talent-wise. But these youngsters have clicked as a unit. They are slightly better fielders. They may save 8-10 runs which matter in ODIs. They have reacted in the right way and been patient in waiting for opportunities to turn things their way. But we really can't really replace Sachin [Tendulkar], [Virender] Sehwag and Yuvraj [Singh]."

Dhoni was named Man of the Series after scoring 212 runs without being dismissed in the five games. He said that he would not be moving up the order, though, since he had adjusted his game to batting in the middle order. "The format of the game has changed. Now, with the Powerplays split, the situations are different. We have to be good at the slog overs and rotate strike as well. I have changed my style of batting. At No. 3 you can be flamboyant but at 5 and 6 you have to be careful."

India will play a Twenty20 international against England in Kolkata on October 29 and the organisers will be hoping for a larger crowd after disappointing turnouts over the one-dayers. An overdose of cricket and the absence of some star players were the reasons Dhoni pointed out for the empty rows in the stands at Eden Gardens. "We have played a lot of cricket in India: the World Cup, IPL and then the Champions League T20 were held here. Big stars like Sachin were missing from this series. This is also one of the biggest stadia in India so it's not easy to get a jam-packed crowd every time."

Chastened England aim to stay at No. 1

Match Facts

India v England, October 29, Kolkata
Start time 1830 (1300 GMT)

Graeme Swann will captain England in the Twenty20, Kolkata, October 28, 2011
Matches: India v England at Kolkata
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Teams: England | India

Big Picture

England have not won a match against India in India since 2006, and this Twenty20, strangely scheduled after the one-day series, is probably their best opportunity. The India players would have enjoyed the festivities over the three-day Diwali break. MS Dhoni visited his home in Jharkhand for the first time in four months after the fifth ODI, and his tweet on arriving at Eden Gardens on Thursday - "Kolkata, back on national duty" - did not reveal a great deal of enthusiasm at the prospect of this one-off game.

England's biggest weakness over the five one-dayers was that their batsmen struggled against India's spinners, and will hope that the reduced number of overs will make R Ashwin and co less effective. They will also have a new captain, and will need Graeme Swann's famed wit to lighten the spirits of some visibly frustrated players. Swann reckons England should just enjoy the match, after a testing series so far, and that may be their best bet against an India side that may struggle to find meaning in the match after having already battered England over the one-dayers.

The big test during this Twenty20 could well be for neither team, but for the Bengal Cricket Association. The sparse crowds that marred the ODI series were typified by the half-empty Eden Gardens stadium for the final one-dayer. The Diwali season may have been an excuse for that poor turnout, but with the festival now over, the number of people the organisers can bring through the gates on Saturday could be an indicator of where cricket in India is headed.

One thing that will not work in their favour is the odd scheduling of the match. The significance of a one-off Twenty20 games is debatable in any case, but at least when scheduled before an ODI series they may act as something of a preview to the series. Now, with India fans already high on the euphoria of the 5-0 drubbing and Diwali, it is questionable how many people remember England are even still here.

There are a few points of interest in the match, though. This is the first Twenty20 international since the ICC announced the official Twenty20 rankings. England are currently ranked first, but a loss will take them down to third, while India will want to improve their No. 5 ranking.

India v England, only Twenty20, Kolkata Pietersen and Finn deliver England a rare win

England 121 for 4 (Pietersen 53) beat India 120 for 9 (Raina 39, Finn 3-22) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Steven Finn removed Ajinkya Rahane in his first over, India v England, Only Twenty20, Eden Gardens, October 29 2011
Players/Officials: Steven Finn | Kevin Pietersen
Matches: India v England at Kolkata
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Teams: England | India
England finished a tough tour of India on an upbeat note, as they preserved their world No. 1 ranking in Twenty20 cricket with a hard-earned six-wicket victory in Kolkata. Steven Finn, with 3 for 22 in four fast and accurate overs, was England's inspiration with the ball as they limited India's powerful line-up to 120 for 9 after MS Dhoni had won the toss. Then it was over to Kevin Pietersen, who overcame an anxious start, and a fourth-ball life, to silence a raucous and expectant crowd with a blistering 53 from 39 balls.

Given how poorly England had fared in their 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series, they began the match on a hiding to nothing. However, from the moment they claimed two wickets in the first eight deliveries of the match, they were the team dictating the pace of the contest. Suresh Raina, with 39 from 29 balls, threatened for a time to restore the status quo, as did the Indian spinners who dominated the thrust of their attack. But when Raina dropped Pietersen at backward square leg off R Ashwin in the fifth over of the innings, India squandered the chance to ramp up the pressure that had led to England's collapse of 10 for 47 on the same surface in Tuesday's fifth ODI.

Pietersen's response was far from instantaneous, however. Although he showed no ill-effects from the chipped thumb that ruled him out of the final ODI, the left-arm spin of Ravindra Jadeja helped to limit him to 2 from his first nine balls before a stunning change of approach reaped the richest of dividends. In the space of his next three balls, he dropped to his knees to scoop Yusuf Pathan over his head for his first boundary of the innings, before flipping to a left-hander's stance and butchering a perfect switch hit over the fence at what had been deep extra cover.

Craig Kieswetter had already fallen to a mistimed lofted drive off Jadeja, and when Alex Hales holed out to deep midwicket off Pathan, both of England's openers had fallen with 40 runs on the board. However, Samit Patel's combative hitting proved to be the ideal foil for Pietersen, and their 60-run stand from 46 balls broke the back of the run-chase. Patel played second-fiddle for much of their stand, not least when Pietersen pumped the last two balls of the eighth and nine overs for three fours and a six. But he was not averse to taking the aerial route himself, as he proved when he flogged Vinay Kumar into the stands at long-on.

Typically, the denouement was not without its alarms for England. With 100 on the board, Patel sliced Virat Kohli to cover to depart for 21, and one over later, Pietersen was also on his way - courtesy of a shocking lbw decision from umpire Sudhir Asnani, who was perhaps distracted by another change of stance from Pietersen when he put up his finger for a delivery that clearly pitched outside leg. However, Ravi Bopara got away with a plumb appeal in Raina's next over, as he and Jonny Bairstow sealed the match with 10 balls to spare.

If nothing else, the victory - England's first in an away match against India since 2006 - was due reward for an outstanding month's work from Finn. By trusting in the same virtues of line, length and pace that had earned him eight wickets in the ODIs, he claimed the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane with the fourth ball of the match, courtesy of an outstanding one-handed pluck in front of first slip from Kieswetter, then later returned to remove two dangermen, Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, with consecutive deliveries.

Finn conceded three boundaries in his 24 deliveries, one to Virat Kohli when he overpitched in his first over, and two to Raina - a clean swipe for six, back down the ground, and a rare poor delivery on the pads when he returned to the attack to start the 12th over. The rest of the time, however, his rhythm and accuracy was unrelenting, and it was his key extraction of Raina, who cut loosely to backward point in Finn's third over that was the pivotal moment of the innings. One ball later, Jadeja chopped on for a golden duck, and at 74 for 6 with eight overs remaining, India's habitual acceleration was thwarted.

It wasn't a one-man show from England's bowlers, however. Tim Bresnan bounced back from a disappointing ODI series with a second-ball strike to remove Robin Uthappa for 1, and also cut short a threatening performance from Kohli, who had moved along to a run-a-ball 15 when Alex Hales on the deep midwicket boundary pulled off an excellent running catch inches inside the rope.

Graeme Swann's struggles with the ball continued when Raina pumped him for 16 in his first over, but his captaincy was certainly on the ball. Patel fizzed through his first three overs for 13 and bowled a frustrated Manoj Tiwary when he attempted to slog his way out of a rut, while Bopara pulled off some impressive changes of pace to deliver a double-wicket maiden in the 17th over of the innings. Yusuf Pathan missed the change-up after two slower balls and was bowled; two balls later Praveen Kumar had a mow and went the same way.

MS Dhoni, inevitably, was on hand to provide some late resistance as he and Ashwin scalped 25 runs from India's final two overs, but a run-a-ball chase was always within England's grasp - even allowing for the depth of their failings on this most disappointing of one-day campaigns.
Innings Dot balls 4s 6s Powerplay 16-20 overs NB/Wides
India 51 11 3 32-3 19-3 0/1
England 45 9 4 28-1 15-0 (16-18.4 overs) 0/4

India Vs England - One-off T20

Kolkata, Oct 29: An upbeat Indian team is all set to meet a down-in-the-dumps England for a one-off T20 match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday October 29, and for sure, Dhoni's men would be looking for a clean sweep of the series.

Having maintained their dream run throughout the ODI series, the men in blue are high on confidence, and the fans, who were badly disppointed with their dismal performance in England, are slowly regaining their faith in their heroes. However, an overdose of India-England cricket encounters seems to be taking its toll, and the empty stands in the final ODI at the same venue were a testimony to this fact.

Crowd turnout notwithstanding, India would be expected to continue their form and make the 'revenge' complete by winning in the shortest version of the game. The wounds of the English tour are not completely healed, and only a whitewash would bring back the lost pride.

As far as teams are concerned, India have a couple of explosive entrants in Robin Uthappa who would be looking to give a bang of a start to the Indian innings, and Yusuf Pathan who can be quite a bother for the opposition when he gets going. Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin would be keen to continue their magical spells with the ball, having scapled 21 English wickets between them so far in the series. The team would be missing the services of the newly-married Gautham Gambhir, but Uthappa, given his current form, may prove to be a good replacement.

However, there are also chances that Manoj Tiwary may get the nod in place of Jadeja, and Rahul Sharma may also be included in the playing XI. All in all, the selectors have some tough decisions to make.

For England, it will be ace spinner Graeme Swann who would be leading the side. Given the imporance of the match, Swann would have his task cut out. Not only will he have the responsibility of salvaging some pride, but also making sure that his team retains the number one spot in the T20 rankings. A loss in this match would plummet the team to a spot below India, which is something the Englishmen would want to avoid. Kevin Pieterson's fitness is a worry, and going by his tweet, it doesn't look likely that he would get to play today. Ian Bell may get a look-in if that is the case. The team is low in confidence, especially the bowlers, and nothing less than a win would satisfy them.

The pitch is the same that was used for the final ODI, and experts say it is likely keep low and slow. The dew factor is another concern, and may play a vital role. Nevertheless, T20 being what it is, the crowd may be in for another entertaining evening.


India: MS Dhoni(w/c), Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan, Virat Kohli, Rahul Sharma, Varun Aaron, Sreenath Aravind, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav

England: Graeme Swann(c), Jonathan Bairstow, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Scott Borthwick, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter(w), Stuart Meaker, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Graham Onions

Friday, 28 October 2011

England's sledging of Indian players was not over the top: Swann

Kolkata, Oct.28 : While admitting that England were thrashed in the recent one-day series by India, off-spinner Graeme Swann has rejected accusations that the visitors went over the top in sledging of Indian players, even to the extent of getting personal with some of them.
"There has been a lot of talk about England's on-field behaviour in the five-match series, especially after MS Dhoni claimed some of our sledging was over the top and we were arguing among ourselves. As for sledging the opposition, I don't think any of our chat has been over the top or personal," The Sun quoted Swann, as saying.

"I know there have been running battles with a couple of India's players and I think caused by individuals in our team disliking individuals in their team. We have played India for three months now. You're never going to like all 11 blokes in the opposition. These things happen," he added.
"I can assure you the comments and personal abuse Samit Patel receives from the Indian players is far worse than anything we've said," said Swann.
"We must improve our one-day performances overseas. We've lost 6-1 in Australia, had a disappointing World Cup and now lost 5-0 here. On current form away from home, we wouldn't beat the Women's Institute. And no disrespect to the WI - I'm sure they have some very fine leg-spinners. Losing 10 wickets for 47 runs in the final match was embarrassing," said the spinner.

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Gambhir to tie the knot today

            Family members of Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir attended the 'Mehandi' ceremony of his would be bride in Gurgaon on Thursday.
The ace cricketer will marry Natasha Jain, who hails from a well known business family, in Delhi on Friday.
The wedding is said to be strictly restricted to family members and close friends.
According to reports, Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan is expected to attend the wedding with players of the Indian Premier League team, Kolkata Knight Riders and other high profile guests.

Gambhir would also be missing the lone T-20 international against England which is scheduled for Saturday, October 29.