Daredevils trip Super Kings

CHENNAI: Skipper Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir put on a century partnership for the first wicket to power Delhi Daredevils to a commanding eight-wicket win against hitherto unbeaten Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament on Friday.

After restricting Chennai Super Kings, who won the toss and decided to bat first, for 169 for six in 20 overs, the Daredevils knocked off the runs in 19 overs after Sehwag (71) and Gautam Gambhir (50) provided them a solid start with a 115-run stand off just 68 balls.

For Super Kings, it was their first loss in five matches while Daredevils chalked up their fourth win.
The two teams, along with Rajasthan Royals are tied on eight points after five games apiece. (PTI Photo)
Sehwag and Gambhir set a hectic pace, smashing the Super Kings attack to all parts of the ground. Manpreet Gony, in particular, came for some heavy punishment, going for 29 runs in his two overs.

Morkel too suffered as the Delhi openers went hammer and tongs. The South African all-rounder was spanked for 24 runs in three overs, including 19 in his third.

The ease with which Sehwag and Gambhir batted, putting on a century partnership, it looked curtains for Super Kings. The pair took only 4.5 overs to post 50 on the board and reached 100 in the ninth over with Sehwag also completing his half-century off 24 deliveries.

Joginder Sharma, who went for 19 runs in his first over, dismissed Sehwag who attempted another big hit only to be caught by Muralitharan at long on after making 71.

Thereafter, Gambhir went on to reach his second consecutive half-century off 35 balls, but attempting a glide to third man, was bowled by Gony with Daredevils just 31 runs short of victory. AB de Villiers (26 not out) and Shikhar Dhawan (19 not out), however, safely guided the Daredevils past the winning post. [IANS]


Snowfall hits Everest Olympic torch bid

EVEREST BASE CAMP: China’s bold plan to take a special Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest faced a possible setback on Saturday as snow fell on the world’s highest mountain.

The climbing team has been at 6,500 metres (21,300 feet) in advanced base camp or higher for at least two days, waiting for better weather to take the flame to the 8,848-metre (29,030-foot) peak and claim the crowning moment of a relay that was marred by anti-China protests on its round-the-world journey.

“It’s normal to have snow in mountain areas,” said Suonam Cuomu, deputy director of the Everest torch logistics department. “We are very well prepared. It’s not necessarily bad news because after snow there is often a few days of good weather.
“But the heavy snow will have an effect on route building in the mountains,” she told a media briefing.

Officials said they were unaware of conditions on Everest as they were still awaiting data from the meteorological centre.
“In my experience, in heavy snow you could make a decision to retreat or abandon, but I don’t know the conditions up the mountain so it’s difficult to say,” said Beijing organising committee consultant Liu Jian.

“For mountaineers, the snow we can see down here is not that heavy,” added Liu, who has climbed the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and reached the north and south poles.

“Generally speaking, snow in the Mount Qomolangma (Everest) area can last a day or a week. Obviously, we all hope it stops soon.”
The snowfall left base camp and the nearby media centre effectively snowbound, with one journalist unable to get to hospital in the town of Shigatse for treatment of chronic toothache.

Organisers said there were plans in place to evacuate anyone with more serious medical problems.
“We would use cars but go really slowly,” said Suonam. The attempt to take the Olympic flame up Everest was intended as a showpiece, separate leg of the torch relay ahead of August’s Beijing Games.

The main torch relay was dogged by anti-Chinese protests and counter-protests over Tibet as it travelled across five continents, but it now faces a joyous welcome as it heads into mainland China this week. [Bureau report]


Asian Five Nations rugby                                                                                                          

Japan trounces Arabian Gulf 114-6

OSAKA, (AFP) - Asian rugby heavyweights Japan scored 18 tries, including a hat-trick by left wing Hirotoki Onozawa, to demolish the Arabian Gulf 114-6 in an Asian Five Nations rugby match here Saturday.

Japan grabbed the lead with just a minute gone on the clock, captain Takuro Miuchi’s try converted by stand-off James Arlidge, and never looked back.

Miuchi added another try in the 34th minute, and by the end of a lopsided encounter 13 different players had touched down, including substitutes Shaun Webb, with two, and Koji Shinozuka.

Fullback Bryce Robins also got a brace.
Arlidge converted eight from 12 attempts, while right winger Hiroki Yoshida cashed in four from six after Arlidge was replaced nearly halfway through the second half.

The Arabian Gulf managed to score two penalty goals in the fifth and 25th minutes by fullback Paul Beard.
It was a second straight win for Japan, following their 39-17 victory over South Korea a week ago, and a second consecutive defeat for the Arabian Gulf after their 20-12 defeat to Hong Kong last weekend.


Marshall twins hit centuries in England

 LONDON, (AFP) - New Zealander James Marshall and twin brother Hamish helped put the news of a suspected dislocated finger for England opener Alastair Cook into the shade with a century against Essex on Friday.
The tourists warmed up for their first Test against England by finishing the first day of three on 348-9, thanks in large part to Marshall’s well-taken century.

Marshall’s 128 came on the same day Hamish, who after limited chances with New Zealand has concentrated on country cricket, brought up a three-figure score for Gloucestershire 166 miles away in Bristol.
With New Zealand set to face England in their first Test on May 15, it was James Marshall’s display that has more significance.
“It’s nice to get a hundred early in the tour. I was just pleased with the way I constructed the innings on a surface that wasn’t easy to bat on,” said James.

“There were a lot of shots that probably weren’t on today and you had to be mentally strong not to bring those out.”
Cook was hurt when he dropped Daniel Vettori at gully off Ryan ten Doeschate, but after an X-ray he is expected to return to duties on day two and against the Kiwis in the Test series.

Ten Doeschate took 5-57, underpinning Marshall’s 128 as the cornerstone of a an innings which saw contributions notably from Aaron Redmond (35), Daniel Flynn (39) and Iain O’Brien.

Redmond hit seven boundaries in his breezy 35, but after Jamie How was lbw to Tony Palladino Ten Doeschate removed Redmond in similar fashion in his first over.

Marshall and Flynn then put on 128 in 25 overs, before the latter drove Ten Doeschate to mid-off, while Jacob Oram, Vettori and Kyle Mills did not last long.

Marshall ploughed on until he gave Ten Doeschate his fifth wicket.
New Zealand rallied with Michael Mason and O’Brien frustrating Essex by adding an unbroken 52 late on.


Suspended IHF secretary files suit against TV channel

CHENNAI: Suspended secretary of the disbanded Indian Hockey Federation K Jothikumaran on Friday filed a suit against the television channel, that did a sting operation on him, claiming damages of Rs 25 lakh.

“Indian Hockey Federation and K Jothikumaran have filed a civil suit in the High Court of Chennai against the news channel, the television broadcasters to declare that their telecast under the subject “Sting Operation - Operation CHAK DE” is concoctive, fabricated and fictitious in order to lower the status of IHF and K. Jothikumaran and claiming damages of Rs 25 Lakhs,” Jothikumaran said in a statement.

Jothikumaran was caught on camera accepting bribe for puportedly selecting a player in the national team.
The sting operation stunned the hockey fraternity and resulted in the KPS Gill-headed IHF being suspended by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). PTI


Materazzi dreaming of winning title in derby

ROME, (AFP) - Inter Milan’s robust centre-back Marco Materazzi said it would be a dream to sew up the Serie A title in Sunday’s crunch derby against AC Milan at the San Siro.
It is a game being billed as one of the most important derbies of recent years with both sides desperate for a victory to realise their individual ambitions.

Inter need three more points from their final three matches to ensure they finish the season top of the pile.
AC need to win to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League as they currently trail Fiorentina in fourth spot by two points.

“It’s the dream for everyone involved to win the title in the derby,” said Materazzi.
“It would make up for many disappointments but we know that we’re coming up against a team in great condition who are certainly the favourites as they’re playing at home and they’re world champions.
“(Milan coach Carlo) Ancelotti maybe has more fear about missing out on the Champions League than we have of losing the title.
“If we can’t win the title on Sunday, touch wood, we still have two more possibilities.”

Defeat could spell disaster for Milan as Fiorentina travel to Sardinia to face Cagliari.
Fiorentina have to quickly overcome the disappointment of losing on penalties to Rangers in Thursday’s UEFA Cup semi-final, but if they win and Milan fail to, the race for fourth spot will be as good as over.
Milan’s veteran Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf is worried that Inter’s lesser need of victory could see them play more defensively and make life difficult for Milan.

“I think that we will have a different way of looking for the victory to them,” he said.
“Inter certainly have better individuals which makes it easier for them to unlock the defence and settle the match in one moment.”
Seedorf admitted that the major difference could be made by Fiorentina, who have to find a way of recovering from their European exploits.

“You can’t tell how they will react, especially given that they deserved to get to the final,” added the midfielder.
Fiorentina’s cause has not been helped either by a season-ending injury to veteran forward Cristian Vieri, who has a muscle problem.

Their coach Cesare Prandelli has already started working on refocusing his team on their championship campaign.
“The bitterness is there but we have to look to get past it because now is the time to concentrate on Cagliari,” he said.

In an intriguing sub-plot, Sampdoria host AS Roma, with either side holding the potential to end the other’s hopes for the season.
Roma are still dremaing of an unlikely title success but defeat to Samp would end their faint hopes.
Samp sit sixth in the league, four points behind Fiorentina and two off Milan, but still in with a chance of Champions League football next season.

However, defeat to Roma would, barring some unlikely results, end their chances as well.
In the relegation battle things are very tight with seven teams separated by just five points.

Livorno, who travel to Atalanta, and Parma, who host Genoa, find themselves in the most precarious positions and defeat for either would leave them with more than a mountain to climb to escape.