Windies in must-win situation

GEORGETOWN, (AFP) -West Indies captain Brian Lara is looking forward to an improved performance from his batsmen in a crucial World Cup Super Eights match against Sri Lanka here on Sunday.
The hosts find themselves in a must-win situation early in the second round after losing to defending champions Australia and New Zealand. They have just two points from three matches, courtesy of a win over fellow-qualifers Ireland in the first round.
The West Indies can’t afford another failure in their remaining four matches against South Africa, England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“We are down to the fighting part of the tournament now. We’ve got four games left and we have to win all of them to qualify,” said Lara.
The West Indies had begun the tournament on an impressive note when they qualified for the second round with an all-win record, but were found wanting in their opening two big matches in the Super Eights.
The West Indies were let down by batting as they failed to cross the 220-mark against both Australia and New Zealand. Lara alone looked in form, scoring 77 against Australia and 37 against New Zealand.
Their top-order batsmen have yet to fire, with Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul still without a half-century after two Super Eights matches.

“We are just not playing well as a team, especially in the batting department. If we are going to win the World Cup, it’s not just going to be one or two of them, or just me. It has to be the entire team,” said the West Indies captain.
The West Indies may have won 24 of their 42 one-day internationals against Sri Lanka, but have to raise the level of their all-round performance against a team which have been competing hard in the ongoing tournament.
They will not like to remember their last clash against Sri Lanka when they were shot out for a meagre 80 before suffering a nine-wicket defeat in the ICC Champions Trophy match at Mumbai in India last year.
Sri Lanka also advanced to the second round with an all-win record before losing their first match here against South Africa, but had the consolation of making their opponents struggle for victory.


Kandy football kicks off in mid-April

Mariks from Kandy
All arrangements have been finalized for the Kandy Association Football League inter club ‘A’ division tournament, which kicks off from the middle of April.
The winners will receive the ‘Governors Cup’ and also a cash award with a medal each for the players who are the winning or losing finalists.
The Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa will grace the occasion as chief guest.
All matches will be played at the Bogamabara Stadium and the kick-off is set for 4 pm. Dates for the matches will be fixed today.


Lanka grouped with Kiwis, Kenya

Hosts South Africa will play West Indies in Johannesburg in the opening game of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup on Tuesday, September 11.
The full fixture list - with 12 teams divided into four groups - has now been announced, with Bangladesh joining the Proteas and West Indies in Group A.
In Group B, England face Zimbabwe on 13 September and Australia the next day.
Scotland is in Group D and will face Pakistan on 12 September, before playing India the following day.
Meanwhile, Group C will comprise New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Kenya.
There will be three group matches on some days, with the matches split between Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
The top two teams from each group will progress to a Super Eight phase, before semi-finals and a final.
The final will take place in Johannesburg on 24 September.

Group A:
11 September: South Africa v West Indies (Johannesburg)
13 September: West Indies v Bangladesh (Johannesburg)
15 September: South Africa v Bangladesh (Cape Town)
Group B: (All games in Cape Town)
12 September: Australia v Zimbabwe
13 September: Zimbabwe v England
14 September: Australia v England

Group C:
12 September: New Zealand v Kenya (Durban)
14 September: Sri Lanka v Kenya (Johannesburg)
15 September: Sri Lanka v New Zealand (Johannesburg)
Group D: (All matches in Durban)
12 September: Pakistan v Scotland
13 September: India v Scotland
14 September: India v Pakistan

Super Eight phase:
16-20 September (12 matches)

22 September (Cape Town, Durban)

Final: (Johannesburg)
24 September [BBC]


We didn’t use our options

I was a bit disappointed the way Sri Lanka approached the South African game. First of all looking at the wicket it was more like a Sri Lankan one. I was a bit surprised why we didn’t opt to play an additional spinner or play someone who is a wicket-taking bowler or can reverse swing like Dilhara Fernando.
When you play seven batsmen it doesn’t make much of a difference if the top order does not make runs or whether you are going to bowl first. When the team was selected we should have known the strength of the opposition.
Maharoof is the type of bowler who hits the deck and who won’t be effective on placid wickets with no lateral movement. He is like the Shaun Pollock type. That is why Pollock was not successful.
We had the options with us and probably didn’t use it. We should know exactly what our strengths are and what the players’ strengths are.

When Murali was bowling mid-off should have been up. Kallis is a player who likes to get runs pushing singles and twos. We should have forced him to take a few chances. We didn’t really capitalise on it.
Attacking fields should have been set for Murali when he was bowling at Kallis and Smith. Murali bowled negatively purely because the field was pushed back. True he ended up taking three wickets but he is the one who can put pressure on the batsmen.

Murali would have been rather disappointed with our batting. We were at least fifty runs short.
Unless the top order scores runs and we make a big start we will not get big totals. We don’t have big hitters in the middle order who can score at 10-12 runs an over. On current form I think Mahela should bat at no. 4 and Sanga at no. 3. Mahela is lacking a little bit in confidence at the moment.
I don’t know why the opposition has not thought of attacking our batting by bowling around the wicket. Pollock should have done that against the left-handers.

We however showed that we have the bowling to defend even a total of 200 against any country. Malinga’s bowling at his best. He has good direction and a good yorker. He can unsettle any batting line up. He has given some life to our bowling attack. It was a great comeback by him to nearly turn the game around against South Africa.
It was good for Sri Lanka to have one bad game at this stage of the competition than in the knockout stages. I hope they won’t get demoralized by the defeat but learn from their mistakes.

West Indies have the ability to turn things around but only if Brian Lara bats at the top of the order. He is the only one who can take on Murali. Australia is playing well but it won’t be easy for them when they face Sri Lanka. I can’t see them scoring 300 runs against our varied bowling attack. New Zealand also looks good. They too have variety in their bowling. If Bond starts firing like he did against the West Indies he will unsettle a lot of sides. England is not playing with much confidence. My semi-final line up is Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.


Anil Kumble retires from one-day cricket

NEW DELHI (AP) _ Anil Kumble, India’s most successful bowler, has retired from limited-overs internationals so he can concentrate on test cricket.
‘’It’s time for me to end and pass the mantle to young players,’’ the 36-year-old legspinner told a Friday news conference in Bangalore, a day after he returned from the World Cup.
Kumble, who made his international debut in a one-dayer against Sri Lanka in April 1990, was a match winner for India for many years.

Successive Indian captains often looked to Kumble when the going got tough during matches.
His 337 wickets in 271 limited-overs internationals made him the seventh highest wicket-taker in that version of the game.








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