Wednesday, April 30, 2008
After Kolkata Knight Riders chose to bat, Mumbai's stand-in captain Shaun Pollock stunned the huge crowd, removing local hero Sourav Ganguly and the dangerous Brendon McCullum in the first over. Ganguly chased at a wide delivery and only managed a thick edge that was smartly held by Jayasuriya at wide slip. McCullum was trapped lbw for 1 two balls later, leaving Kolkata at 6 for 2.
The early momentum was provided by Twenty20 debutant Debabrata Das. Pollock was hit over midwicket for a big six and three leg-side fours followed in the next couple of overs. Das favoured the cut and got his innings going with two of them off Ashish Nehra in the second over, but another one off Dwayne Bravo flew straight to Robin Uthappa at point.
Bravo kept it just short of a length and outside off, giving away only four runs in two overs. Ponting and David Hussey consolidated for a couple of overs with singles and the odd boundary. Ponting was unable to get his timing right or middle the ball, and Hussey tried to up the tempo slamming Pollock for two fours.
Jayasuriya, tossing it up instead of firing it in as he usually does, broke the partnership by luring Hussey into swiping one to mid-on in the 11th over for 17. His next over, a maiden, saw two wickets fall as well. A run-out put Ponting out of his misery and two balls later Mohammad Hafeez nicked one to the wicketkeeper Pinal Shah as Kolkata slid to 77 for 6.
Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who revived Kolkata batting with a quick 42 against the Chennai Super Kings, was called on to rescue his team yet again. He smashed two fours and a six each off Bravo and Dilhara Fernando as 44 runs were scored in the last four overs.
Despite the below-par score, Kolkata refused to surrender and their new-ball bowlers gave them an excellent start. Ajit Agarkar had Ajinkya Rahane chipping to midwicket in the third over and, at the other end, Jayasuriya was in a fascinating battle with Ishant Sharma. After several swings-and-misses and powerful hits to the boundary, Ishant sent Jayasuriya's off stump cartwheeling. Manish Pandey then fell for a duck to the impressive Ashok Dinda and, at 25 for 3, Mumbai were in danger of squandering their advantage.
Bravo played a stylish knock in which two shots early on stood out - an audacious back-foot square-drive off Ishant and a cracking lofted on-drive off Hafeez. They were some lovely straight hits as well in his unbeaten 64 - the highest score by a Mumbai batsman in the tournament.
The win, and news that their icon Sachin Tendulkar is likely to be fit for the next game, is a relief for Mumbai, who lost their first four games and will miss the services of US$850,000 signing Harbhajan Singh for the rest of the tournament after his row with Sreesanth during the match against the Kings XI Punjab.
After a thumping start, Kolkata's magic looks to be wearing out. None of their batsmen, besides McCullum, have made a half-century and, to make matters worse, they will be missing much of their batting firepower after this game - McCullum and Ricky Ponting leave to fulfil international commitments while a groin injury has forced Chris Gayle out of the tournament.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Sri Lankan veteran cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya in an unprecedented message to budding schoolboy players called on them to commit themselves a hundred percent while paying the utmost attention to discipline and conceding that talent will mean nothing in the absence of hardwork.
“When I started I just played because I liked the game but it is different now”, the former St. Servatius College Matara schoolboy told a packed hall of junior cricketers gathered at the BMICH in Colombo yesterday for their annual cricket awards ceremony.
“You can be talented but these talents will be of no use if there is no discipline and no commitment at training and practices”, he warned.But he also told the under-privileged youngsters not to lose heart saying there was always light at the end of the tunnel. “I know that some of you come from the villages and find it very difficult. But I can assure you that if you commit yourself and train hard with what you have you will succeed in your quest”, said Jayasuriya who looked as fit as a fiddle as he received a thundering applause from parents and kids alike.
Before addressing the schoolboy players Jayasuirya was presented to them as a role model by a pioneer cricket commentator Premasara Epasinghe who described the batting maestro as a “true ambassador” of Sri Lanka.
“Just because you take a bat and hit a ball don’t think that you are someone. Look at Sanath Jayasuriya, he is such a humble person who respects people. He is an international figure but is also a simple man. Be like him he is your role model”, Epasinghe told the schoolboy players.
Hiruka emulates Sanath
In 1997, a team of women cricketers apprehensively set foot into the tournament, not knowing what to expect. But mind you it was the Woman’s Cricket World Cup. With next to no experience, the Sri Lankan Women’s Cricket Team made their first appearance on the international stage at this event.
Thirty-one-year-old Hiruka Fernando was part of this team, and now looks back on her nine year career as a cricketer, as an experience that added a great deal to her life. “I was always extremely keen on sports”, she recalled, adding that in her life as a student sports was one of the key components.
A student of Holy Family Convent, Dehiwela, she captained her school softball team, was an active member of the Netball and Athletics teams. However, cricket had always been her favourite sport.
“My biggest inspiration came from the legendary Sanath Jayasuriya”, says Hiruka enthusiastically. “I have not encountered any other player who has inspired me as much.” Hiruka’s style of playing has, on occasion, been compared to that of Jayasuriya.
And having left school, she furthered that interest, joining the Sri Lankan Women’s Cricketing Team, (coached by Ms. Gwen Herath) as one of the main players in the batting line up. “Joining the cricket team, being lucky enough to have a wonderful coach, and having the opportunity to compete internationally was something of a life’s dream for me”, said Hiruka shyly. “Competing at the World Cup for the second time in the year 2000, we felt far more confident of ourselves, and were able to enjoy ourselves much more, as opposed to our previous time at the World Cup.”
In fact, at the World Cup of 2000, the Sri Lankan Team was placed sixth, going on to beat South Africa at the world cup in 2005. Now working at Unichela Garments in MAS Holdings, Hiruka has retired from the Sri Lankan team, and focuses all her attention on her family.
Hiruka is married to Primal Liyanage of the popular rock band Flame, and they have a young son- Hershel Primrock Liyanage. Women cricketers are indeed something of a rarity, but, according to Hiruka, there is a great deal of potential in the women’s cricket scene, with many young upcoming players waiting to take the spotlight. In the years to come, I would love to be remembered for my playing, reflects Hiruka. “The love of sports, especially cricket has been a very big, very special part of my life, and I look forward to what the future holds for my fellow cricketers.”
Exclaims photographer whose nose was fractured by the Sri Lankan’s smashing boundary last night
Sanath Jayasuriya ensured that photographer Andrea Fernandes’s first sports assignment would be a memorable one.
The swashbuckling Sri Lankan sent one of his trademark slashes crashing into the fence at Wankhede stadium, during the Mumbai Indians vs Bangalore Royal Challengers IPL match last night, where it landed on the nose of the 24-year-old Andrea, who was standing just behind the advertising hoardings.
But Andrea, who is admitted at Harkishandas Hospital, Charni Road, with a fractured nose, is still counting her blessings. “Wow... it was Jayasuriya! I wasn’t aware who the batsman was but I am thankful it wasn’t a six. If a four can break my nose, imagine what a six would have done,” she said. Dr Ashok Shah said she would be operated upon today.
Fernandes has been a photographer for more than three years but yesterday’s IPL match was her first sports assignment.
“From this experience I have learnt that safety is needed no matter where you are,” she said. She added that this would not stop her from covering more matches in the future.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Mumbai, Apr 20 (UNI) Robin Uthappa made 48 runs of 38 balls to take Mumbai Indians to a challenging total of 165 for 6 wickets in their allotted 20 overs in their DLF Indian Premier League match against the Bangalore Royal Challengers at the Wankhede stadium here today.
Mumbai Indians, who received a blow before the match when their captain, the batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar ruled himself out of the match, still not having recovered from his groin injury, saw stand in captain Harbhajan Singh win the toss and elect to bat first.
Mumbai Indians who opened with L Ronchi and Sanath Jayasuriya saw the former give them a flying start, smashing Praveen Kumar for two boundaries in the first over itself over the cover region.
However, Zaheer Khan gave the Bangalore Royal Challengers the breakthrough they wanted in his first over, when Ronchi tried to cut Zaheer, but Virat Kohli at point dived to his left to bring up a stupendous catch. Ronchi fell for 8 which came in a stay of 10 balls and was inclusive of two boundaries in it.
Mumbai Indians then suffered another blow when Dominic Thromble was hit on the face while trying to hook Zaheer Khan and had to retire hurt.
However, the marauder from Sri Lanka Sanath Jayasuriya then took over welcoming Jacques Kallis with a boundary over the head of mid-off and then on the next ball repeated the shot for the same result. Two balls later he flicked the South African legend for a four to fine leg and then on the last ball send the ball soaring out of the ground, for a huge six over, deep mid-on to take 19 runs of Kallis’ first over as Mumbai Indians stepped on the accelerator.
Jayasuriya was however soon run out going for a cheeky single by Zaheer Khan for 29 of 16 balls with five fours and a six.
Robin Uthappa was then joined by Pinal Shah and the two put on 51 runs in 7.5 overs before Pinal Shah was caught by Kohli off the bowling of B Akhil for 19.
Robin Uthappa however continued on his merry way hitting some totally unorthodox shots, before falling just two shot of his 50 being stumped by Mark Boucher of B Akhil. His 48 runs came in 38 balls and was inclusive of five fours and a six.
Abhishek Nayar and Shaun Pollock then indulged in some huge hitting helping the Mumbai Indians cross the 150 mark before finishing at 165 for 6, with Shaun Pollock smashing 28 of just 12 balls with three fours and two sixers.
For Bangalore Royal Challengers, Zaheer Khan with 17 for two wickets in four overs was the most economical bowler on display.
This is the first match for Mumbai Indians, while Bangalore Royal Challengers, it is their second match after being beaten by Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural match on April 18.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have virtually shut the door on the continuation of Sanath Jayasuriya’s international career by dropping him from the list of contracted players for next year, according to a media report.
Daily Mirror newspaper quoted selection committee sources as saying that they have “decided to drop the veteran all-rounder from a list of players to be contracted for next year”.
The 38-year old master-blaster, who retired last year from Test cricket, has represented Sri Lanka in 110 Tests and 411 one-day internationals and was dropped for the ongoing tour of West Indies due to poor form.
“Jayasuriya will only be offered tour contracts if he is selected, selection committee sources said.
“Only four ‘A’ grade players such as Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas have been picked for next year,” sources said.
Jayasuriya is one of the highest paid cricketers in Sri Lanka, currently earning around $100,000 per year.
The interim committee of SLC will take up the contracts for final approval after head Arjuna Ranatunga returns from a private tour overseas.
“We will offer the player contracts after the interim committee approves the list. There are a few issues still to be discussed such as the amount of money offered for each contract category and the composition of players in each category,” SLC chief executive officer Duleep Mendis said.
The ageing Jayasuriya became the third highest paid player of the Indian Premier League (IPL) when he was sold for a whopping $975,000 at a players’ auction earlier this year.
April 09, 2008 17:10 IST
Former Sri Lanka opener Sanath Jayasuriya, currently out of the country's limited-overs' side, is eager to make a mark for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, staring April 18, and stake claim for a berth in the national team.
"I am looking forward to playing in the tournament and helping Mumbai Indians win the title. It will be a great thing in my career to open with Sachin (Tendulkar), the best player in the world. I am really happy to open with him," said Jayasuriya, in a teleconference from Sri Lanka.
"I met up with him in Hobart during the one-day series in Australia and discussed the IPL. I always love to play for my country, but this is different, with all teams having a mixture of players from various countries. I will give my best for Mumbai," said the former Sri Lanka captain.
Saying the Mumbai squad is strong, he pointed out that apart from himself and Tendulkar, the team has retired South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock , Dilhara Fernando and young Indian batsman Robin Uthappa.
"We have quite a few good players in Pollock, Uthappa, Loots Bosman (of South Africa). It's going to be exciting, as we would be playing against other Sri Lankan players, like Kumar (Sangakkara), Mahela (Jayawardene), (Lasith) Malinga and (Muthiah) Murali(tharan)," he said.
Jayasuriya, dropped from Sri Lanka's one-day team playing in the West Indies , maintained that he is fit and working hard for the IPL.
"I am young too. I am very fit and working hard. I want to perform with bat and ball," said the 38-year-old marauder from Matara, in Sri Lanka.
"It (Twenty20) may be a young man's game but I have worked hard. I will try and make sure Mumbai wins (the title)," said Jayasuriya, who played a crucial role in his country winning the 1996 World Cup.
The veteran batsman did not favour a blanket ban on sledging as being demanded by the Indian cricket board, but wants umpires to take a more active role to keep it in check.
"We are all humans and you can't stop the chatter [between rival players] completely. You have to handle it carefully and the umpires are there [for this purpose]," said the scorer of nearly 7,000 Test runs.
Jayasuriya, whose record of 411 ODIs has since been overtaken by Tendulkar, was disappointed that Sri Lanka could not clinch the recent Test series in the West Indies.
"We played pretty well in Guyana but could not win the series, losing the second Test in Trinidad. Four early wickets cost us dear and this is an area we need to look into," he felt.
The injury-prone Fernando, expected to open the Mumbai Indians attack with Pollock, said it is great to play with Tendulkar and the other top players.
"It's great to play with Sachin and other international players. I have almost recovered fully [from injury]. I can do a lot for Mumbai," he said.
Six youngsters of the team, including a few Ranji Trophy players, said they would gain a lot of experience playing alongside or against leading international players.
Mumbai Ranji players Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Nair, Maharashtra's Yogesh Takawale, Baroda's Rajesh Pawar, Dhawal Kulkarni and Aniket Chavan said they would benefit immensely from the tournament.
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