Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eagles qualify after thrilling eliminator

Sussex 119 for 7 (Gatting 25, de Villiers 2-20, du Preez 2-23) tied with Eagles 119 for 4 (Rossouw 65, Chawla 2-17, Hamilton-Brown 2-15) Eagles win one-over eliminator by nine runs

The eliminator came into play for the first time in the Champions League, Eagles and Sussex slugging it out during one super over each after being tied at the end of a dramatic regulation 40 overs. The tie-breaker lasted all of eight balls as Cornelius de Villiers bagged two Sussex wickets off his first two deliveries to hand Eagles a nine-run win.
It should have never got this close. The Eagles were cruising in their pursuit of 120, needing a mere 48 runs off 54 balls with all ten wickets intact to qualify for the second round, when their innings unraveled sensationally against an inspired performance from Sussex's slow bowlers. They were left needing 12 runs off the final over, and five off the last ball, when Ryan McLaren clubbed Yasir Arafat to the deep midwicket boundary to tie the match and bring the one-over eliminator into play. The Eagles managed only nine from the over but de Villiers, entrusted with the defence, uprooted the off stumps of Dwayne Smith and Rory Hamilton-Brown with the first two deliveries to secure a victory that should have been achieved without so much sweating.
For the major duration of the chase, while Riley Rossouw was compiling his attacking half-century, the Eagles were favourites. However after the 13th over, when they needed 42 off 42 balls with nine wickets in hand, Morne van Wyk holed out to long-off and Sussex fielders perhaps sensed the beginning of a choke. The equation climbed to more than a run a ball as the slow bowlers consistently found the blockhole and the fielding lifted. In three overs since van Wyk's dismissal, Eagles managed only 16 and lost Boeta Dippenaar. The pressure started to build on Rossouw and, when on 65, he top edged a heave off Hamilton-Brown and was caught, leaving Eagles 14 to get off eight balls.
Rossouw never took his pads off after returning to the dug out and watched as McLaren edged Arafat past the keeper to reduce the equation to five off two balls. Arafat followed it up with a fantastic yorker off the fifth but McLaren heaved the final ball for four to give Eagles a lifeline.
Such a tense finish was unimaginable when Rossouw was batting, on seemingly a different surface from the one that Sussex struggled on. He hit his second delivery, off Luke Wright, past square leg for four and then lofted over mid-off. Michael Yardy bowled different bowlers in each of the first four overs to try and mix things up but it didn't work.
Rossouw targeted the on side for the bulk of his runs. Against Smith's gentle medium pace, he cleared his front leg and smashed one over the bowler's head. Against James Kirtley, he got down on his knee and swung over wide long-on, and gave Arafat the same treatment after chipping down the track. Prior to this game, he had a highest score of just 11 and Rossouw couldn't have picked a better occasion to score his maiden Twenty20 fifty.
He was lucky to be let off twice though. On 37, the wicketkeeper Andy Hodd failed to collect the ball after Rossouw was already a couple of yards down the pitch. And shortly after reaching his fifty, he survived a run out after being sent back. Sussex will look back at those two reprieves and wonder what could have been.
Sussex would have fancied their chances after making only 119, a defendable total on a typically slow and low pitch at the Kotla. A couple of hours ago, Wayamba had successfully defended 118. Their openers came out with a plan to get off to a blazing start before scoring became difficult against the slower bowlers. With the strong possibility of the old ball keeping low, the strategy was to chip down the track, get close to the pitch of the ball and muscle it over the infield.
It didn't work consistently though. Wright, making his first appearance in the tournament, bashed two sixes but swished at de Villiers and lost his off stump. de Villiers then took an exceptional reflex catch off his own bowling to get rid of Hamilton-Brown. With van Wyk standing up to the stumps, Sussex found it difficult to hit with confidence and at one stage there was a 32-ball boundary drought. However, Sussex lifted again and reached 119, which turned out to be one run too little to make it through from Group B.

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Victoria lose but qualify to next stage

Wayamba 118 for 9 (Vandort 42, Kulatunga 41, Harwood 3-14) beat Victoria 103 for 4 (Hodge 44*) by 15 runs
The Twenty20 format is supposed to be about big hits and large crowds. There wasn't much of either at the Feroz Shah Kotla as Victoria qualified for the next stage despite losing to Wayamba, who were eliminated in a low-scoring scrap on a sluggish pitch. Both teams competed in the go-slow stakes: Wayamba making the fewest runs in the Powerplay (16) in Champions League Twenty20, and Victoria taking until the 13th over to reach 50.
After a disciplined performance from their bowlers had kept Waymba to 118, Victoria were never really in danger of elimination, as they needed only 84 to make it through. The Sri Lankan side remained in contention till the start of the 18th over of the second innings: Victoria were still 11 adrift of assured qualification, but allrounder Andrew McDonald put the issue to rest by powerfully driving the first three balls of legspinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi for four.
The first inkling that Wayamba weren't going to be easily rolled over was in the third ball of the chase. Chanaka Welegedara pulled off an astonishing reflex caught-and-bowled, plucking a full-blooded Rob Quiney drive low to his left, changing direction in his follow-through.
Victoria seemed to be back in cruise control when Brad Hodge slammed a six over long-on in the fourth over and Aiden Blizzard swiped a boundary to midwicket three balls later. However, Blizzard was bowled next delivery by Welegedara, bringing together Hodge and David Hussey, the two leading run-getters in Twenty20s.
They hardly looked like the most accomplished of Twenty20 batsmen, though, as Wayamba's attack maintained a disciplined line and length. Much-improved left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, in particular, sent down some shooters, balls which barely bounced after pitching on a length. Hussey scratched around for a 22-ball 7, and was lucky to not be stumped when stand-in keeper Mahela Jayawardene missed a low delivery from Herath. Hodge batted through the innings, but never really came to terms with the conditions, finishing on an unbeaten 44.
Wayamba's batsmen had similar problems, hardly displaying any power in the Powerplays. The top order mistimed plenty of strokes, and adding to the lack of boundaries was panicky running; several suicidal singles were pinched but Victoria just couldn't get a direct hit.
After Mahela Udawatte was caught plumb in front by Peter Siddle in the second over, Wayamba sent in Michael Vandort, a man with the uninspiring Twenty20 strike-rate of 89.38. He struggled to match even that for much of his innings, eating up 17 Powerplay deliveries for his first four runs. Giving him company was Jeevantha Kulatunga, who while not playing fluently, was certainly more at ease than Vandort.
It was Kulatunga who provided some momentum in Wayamba's best phase of the innings: the five overs immediately after the Powerplay, in which they scored 47 runs with some crisp straight hitting. Vandort also got going once the spinners were on, and the pair took their side to 85 for 1 after 14 overs.
Just when it seemed Wayamba could make the most of the one advantage of the initial slowness, the many wickets they had in hand, the batting unravelled. Clint McKay, the star against Delhi Daredevils, took the wind out of the opposition again, removing both set batsmen in one over. His fast-bowling team-mates, Shane Harwood and Andrew McDonald matched him, by snaring two each in an over, leaving Wayamba at 105 for 7.
At that stage it seemed the match would turn out to be another demonstration of the might of the Australian domestic teams. However, Wayamba fought back splendidly to pull off a surprise win. That didn't stop Victoria from making it to round two, to which both Australian sides have carried over two points as well.

West Indies closer to peace deal

The West Indies players' strike is almost over after the region's board and players' association reached agreement over their bitter contract dispute on Tuesday. A three-day meeting between Julian Hunte, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president, and Dinanath Ramnarine, the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) chief executive, led to "nearly all outstanding matters" being "settled amicably", meaning a full-strength team should be available to tour Australia next month.
There have been fears West Indies would send another second-string outfit, like the one which was beaten in a Test series by Bangladesh, for the three-Test contest, but the hosts can almost throw out their back-up plans. A joint statement from the WICB and WIPA confirmed they were on the verge of a peace deal.
"Both parties are pleased that the agreement reached creates an environment to engage in building a genuine partnership that can ensure the long-term development and progress of West Indies cricket," the statement said. Two issues remain unresolved, with the concerns over the 2009 India tour and team rights referred to arbitration.
On Thursday the parties will start negotiating a long-term memorandum of understanding and have committed to finish it by the end of the year. West Indies' full-strength side last played a Test in England in

Monday, October 12, 2009

Owais Shah Left Out of England Cricket Squad

middle order batsman Owais Shah is a surprise omission from England's OneDay Squad to tour South Africa next month. Shah has been one of the most consistent performers for England over the last couple of years in One Day cricket but appears to have been made a scape goat for England's recent poor performances in the shorter form of the game. Shah played a superb innings in the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy, he smashed 98 from just 89 balls against the hosts South Africa. That innings included an astonishing six 6's. Essex batsman Alastair Cook will replace Shah in England's One Day Squad. Cook has been one of England's best Test Batsmen over the last few years but he is yet to cement a place in the One Day team.Cook has been one of England's best Test Batsmen over the last few years but he is yet to cement a place in the One Day team, he now has been given the chance to establish himself in both 50 over and 2020 cricket for England. It is hard to see Shah upsetting the odds and getting back into the England Squad.
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Oram retires from Test cricket

Jacob Oram has announced his retirement from Test cricket but will continue to play one-day and Twenty20 matches for New Zealand. Oram cited his ongoing injury problems as the reason behind his decision and he hoped that by cutting back his workload he would be able to extend his international career.
Oram, 31, recently returned home from the Champions Trophy in South Africa with a hamstring problem, the latest in a long and wide-ranging list of injuries. His troubles have included back and foot worries and have limited him to 33 Test appearances over a seven-year career.
He had spoken in the past of the options available to him to prolong his career and he said his preference was to give up Tests rather than abandon bowling. Oram has now done just that, following the lead of another injury-prone allrounder Andrew Flintoff.
"The last few years have shown that my body cannot handle the strains and stresses that come with being an allrounder, playing all three formats for up to ten months a year," Oram said. "For the sake of longevity I have had to make a decision that will decrease my workload, so I can concentrate all my efforts on the shorter forms of the game.
"The decision to choose limited-overs cricket over Test cricket has a lot to do with playing opportunities. The Black Caps play a lot more limited-overs cricket than Tests, and there's also the opportunity to continue playing in world events such as the World Cup, World T20 and Champions Trophy, as well as the IPL."
Another factor was the impending arrival of Oram's first child, due next month, which will give him extra incentive to spend plenty of time at home. Oram will remain on a New Zealand Cricket central contract and has his sights set firmly on the 2011 World Cup, although he said that ideally he would like to play for a couple of seasons beyond that.
On the Test scene, Oram scored 1780 runs at 36.32 and collected 60 wickets at 33.05. A powerful and clean striker of the ball, Oram struck five Test centuries, remarkably each time in the first Test of a series, and his highest score of 133 came in a crushing loss to South Africa in Centurion in April 2006.
It was an innings that Oram described as both his best and his worst. "You know you're not looking as good as you would like," he said at the time, "and your feet aren't moving as well as you would like, and you're not hitting the ball where you would like. But 133 is damn satisfying."
Oram struggled to have as much impact with the ball and his peak came early in his career when he collected 4 for 41 against India in Hamilton in his second Test. It was as close as he ever got to a five-wicket haul and in his last five Tests he managed only one wicket.
Oram did enjoy spending some time in the top five of the ICC's allrounder ranking list last year and he considered his bowling such a key part of his game that he was unwilling to give it up. He said he had attempted to delay as long as possible a decision about his future career.
"However in light of my latest injury at the Champions Trophy it has became clear to me that now is the time to sacrifice something to try and stay in the game longer," Oram said. "I have really enjoyed my Test career and I leave that format with many fond memories. I would be lying if I said I had no regrets, however these feelings were not powerful enough to make me reconsider this decision."
Justin Vaughan, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket, said he understood Oram's decision. "Jacob has made a tremendous contribution to our Test team over the past seven seasons, and his experience will be missed," Vaughan said. "But we fully understand the difficulties he's faced with injuries and we hope this decision will help him prolong his playing career with the Black Caps."

Bangalore storm into second round

Bangalore 188 for 2 (Kallis 73*) beat Otago 108 (Kallis 3-18) by 80 runs
The stakes were high, the task unambiguous: the winner would progress to the second round of the Champions League, the loser would to go home. And Jacques Kallis chose this stage to deliver a tremendous performance, one that ensured Bangalore's qualification, and Otago's elimination, from the tournament: his unbeaten half-century was the bedrock of a destructive batting exhibition, and his three-wicket opening spell knocked the stuffing out of the opposition's chase.
Bangalore's batsmen were barely troubled as they motored towards a formidable score. Their total of 188 was methodically constructed: the openers Robin Uthappa and Kallis denied their opponents the early breakthrough and built a launch pad, which Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor used to accelerate from during the final overs. Bangalore's innings was shaped by two half-century stands, 75 between Uthappa and Kallis, and 59 between Kallis and Kohli, and they left much of their ammunition - Rahul Dravid, Mark Boucher and Roelof van der Merwe - unused. Uthappa and Kohli were the aggressors during those partnerships but Kallis provided propulsion during the final overs and finished unbeaten on 73. Taylor made a late entrance and stole the limelight by clobbering 32 off 11 balls, ransacking 25 runs off the final over from Otago helpless bowlers.
It wasn't crash, bang and wallop from the word go though. Uthappa and Kallis took their time settling in on a pitch that was on the slower side, playing watchfully, choosing orthodoxy over adventure during the initial overs. And when the boundaries began to flow, they were results of proper batsmanship. Uthappa cover drove Neil Wagner on the up for his first boundary before targeting the wide long-on region for a four and a six off Dimitri Mascarenhas and Ian Butler. He then went straight, hitting with power twice over the bowlers' heads for fours. Bangalore scored 46 off the Powerplay, and more importantly had lost no wickets. Kallis had remained quiet during this phase but brought up the 50 partnership with a cut off Butler to the backward-point boundary.
Craig Cumming brought on his only specialist slow bowler - Nathan McCullum - in the ninth over and watched Uthappa dispatch the offspinner over midwicket for six, and reverse-sweep him for four. Relief for Otago, although fleeting, came from Aaron Redmond's legbreaks, when Uthappa got a leading edge and was caught by a diving Cumming at cover. Uthappa's departure brought in Kohli, whose 32 off 19 balls included scorching drives through cover and straight down the ground. He began the acceleration, but holed out to long-off, after which Kallis broke free from his anchor's role by lofting Butler and Wagner over the long-off boundary.
With Kallis taking charge it seemed as though Taylor, who received an unprecedented and massive cheer from the Bangalore crowd, would not get the opportunity to showcase his skills but that changed after he took strike for the last five balls of the innings. He pulled the first from Butler to the midwicket boundary, and deposited the second into the crowd behind long-off. The suffering was too much for Butler, who had been struggling with a knee problem, and he went off the ground, leaving Warren McSkimming the responsibility of bowling the last three balls. Taylor carted the first and last of those over the square-leg boundary, providing the innings a rocket-fuelled finish. Otago suffered because of the sameness of their bowlers - primarily medium-pace without quality spinners - but Bangalore had no such problems.
Although Kallis had made an invaluable contribution with the bat, he was overshadowed during the initial partnerships and at the end by Taylor's blitz. However, he came to the fore once again during his opening spell - four overs on the trot - which accounted for Otago's top three batsmen and effectively ended the contest. With clever and frequent changes of pace, Kallis struck a body blow in his second over when he foxed Brendon McCullum to hole out to mid-on. A ball later Kallis sent down a quick bouncer that had Redmond succumbing to cover.
Hamish Rutherford briefly lifted Otago's gloom by hitting Vinay Kumar for three fours in an over but Kallis returned to snuff out his innings with a slower ball and completed a maiden over as well. His outstanding figures of 3-1-6-3 were spoilt just a little by two boundaries in his final over but, by the time Kallis was finished with bat and ball, there was no way back for Otago. They crumbled thereafter, collapsing for 108, against a team that was determined not to become the first casualty of the Champions League Twenty20. Fittingly it was Kallis who performed the final act, catching Neil Wagner on the long-on boundary to spark off celebrations.
It's a hard road ahead for Bangalore, though, for their loss to the Cape Cobras means they won't be carrying forward any points to the next stage.

Whatmore to be Kolkata coach

Kolkata Knight Riders have lined up Dav Whatmore as coach, putting an end to months of speculation and uncertainty after the exit of John Buchanan. Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup title, has been given the job more than three months after the team sacked Buchanan following two disastrous IPL seasons in which they finished sixth and eighth.
Whatmore is head of the BCCI's National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, but KKR sources told Cricinfo that the Indian board, which also runs the hugely successful Twenty20 league, has allowed him an early release to take up the new assignment as soon as possible. Whatmore was not available for a reaction - he is away in Australia on vacation -- and Joy Bhattacharya, the Kolkata team's director, declined to comment.
Kolkata zeroed in on Whatmore after meeting a number of candidates, including John Wright, Richard Pybus, Dermot Reeve, Duncan Fletcher, Lalchand Rajput, WV Raman and Ashok Malhotra. The Knight Riders have also lined up Wasim Akram as a consultant to guide their bowling attack, Vijay Dahiya as assistant coach, and are expected to recall Sourav Ganguly as captain though a formal declaration can be expected only after they officially announce the coach's appointment.
The Kolkata management had informally sounded out Whatmore in June and followed it up with an interview in August at the Mumbai residence of Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood star, who co-owns the Kolkata franchise along with Jay Mehta, a businessman.
Whatmore, 55, played seven Tests for Australia and brings to the IPL an impressive record. Apart from the 1996 World Cup title, he guided Bangladesh to two historic wins in the 2007 World Cup against India and South Africa, and also coached Lancashire to title wins in the NatWest and Sunday League in 1998. Last year, he was coach of the India under-19 team that won the junior World Cup in Malaysia.
In 2007, he was on the verge of being appointed India coach before the BCCI think tank changed its mind at the last minute and opted for Gary Kirsten; the Indian board subsequently got Whatmore on board as director of cricket at the NCA.
But more than the records, what might work for Whatmore in Kolkata is his low-profile, hands-on approach and man-management skills, especially the ability to motivate players from the subcontinent and help them raise their performance, as his record with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh showed. His experience with the Indian board's academy may also come in handy as Kolkata have long-term plans of starting a full-fledged facility of their own.
Buchanan's tenure with Kolkata was marred by controversy after the former Australian coach unveiled his multi-captaincy theory that generated a lot of debate worldwide and then replaced Ganguly, the local icon, as captain with Brendon McCullum. McCullum will not be available for most of the next IPL - from March 12 to April 25 - and will play instead for New Zealand against Australia in the home series in March.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tyagi and Munaf take India Red to title

India Red 85 for 3 beat India Green 84 (Munaf 4-21, Tyagi 3-20) by 7 wickets
Sudeep Tyagi and Munaf Patel blew away India Blue for a paltry 84 before the India Red batsmen knocked off the target without much fuss to lift the Challenger Trophy in Nagpur.
Tyagi started the demolition job with a fine spell of seam bowling. He was off radar during the Irani Cup, often bowling very short, but he was on song from the first ball today. He varied from back of a length to full and punctuated his offcutters with the one that straightened outside off. Tyagi struck first ball with a peach of a delivery that pegged back from outside off to knock out the off stump of Naman Ojha, who had shouldered arms.
He then got one to cut back in from a fuller length to nail SS Kumar in front before troubling Harbhajan Singh with his bouncing offcutters from short of a length. Suddenly, he hurled one fuller to catch Harbhajan on the crease and knocked out off stump. If Tyagi can consistently reprise his today's efforts, he will be knocking on the selectors' doors.
Those three wickets had broken Blue's back and Munaf, who bowled first change today, settled in his rhythm quickly to cause further havoc. There is an opening in the Indian team and Munaf, sensing that, has been bowling really well right from the Irani Cup. Today, again, he operated at his best. He again hit the full length and found enough movement, nothing visually alarming but just enough, to cause trouble.
He probed Wasim Jaffer's weakness on the front foot by repeatedly drawing the batsman forward before he sneaked one in to get an lbw verdict. Yusuf Pathan gifted his wicket to Munaf with a fatal drive to mid-off and Abhishek Nayar dragged one from outside off onto the stumps. Munaf went on to collect Sreesanth's wicket with a bouncer though it appeared to have gone off the arm guard for a catch behind the wicket.
The third seamer, Ishant Sharma, tried to hit a fuller length but offered enough width outside off time and again to relieve the pressure but R Ashwin, the offspinner, bowled well to prevent Blue from breaking free. He beat Dhoni in flight and induced an airy drive to mid-off before he harassed Nayar with his off breaks and straighter ones. Nayar never looked comfortable against Ashwin and threw his wicket away to Munaf. Ashwin grew in confidence and even slipped in a carrom ball which squared-up Jalaj Saxena though didn't get him a wicket. Ishant returned to terminate the innings with a double strike.
Shikhar Dhawan and M Vijay got Red off to a steady start, negotiating a good spell from Sreesanth. Vijay, who was dropped by Ojha off Sreesanth when he pushed at a length delivery that shaped away, fell to Harbhajan but Dhawan hung around long enough to ensure the target would be reached without much alarm.
New South Wales cruise into second round
New South Wales 130 for 2 (Hughes 62*, Henriques 51*) beat Sussex 95 for 8 (Henriques 3-23) by 35 runs
New South Wales, the champions of Australia's Big Bash, were the first team from Group B to secure passage, with points carried forward, to the second round of the Champions League. They did so by showing tremendous adaptability in both their matches on slow Delhi pitches with low bounce. Phillip Hughes and Moises Henriques quickly assessed what a competitive total would be on such a surface - only 130 was needed today - and their bowlers, fast and spin alike, bowled a dangerous stump-to-stump line, snuffing out Sussex's chase with early wickets and extremely few Powerplay runs.
The game was won for NSW during the 90-run partnership between Hughes and Henriques. Hughes played the patient innings while Henriques used the long handle to telling effect. Both batsmen reached half-centuries but, despite being extremely well set, were unable to provide the slog-over thrust needed to take the total towards 150. That they were unable to do so was more an indictment of how difficult batting was on this surface than a criticism of their power-hitting skills.
Just how tough Sussex's chase would be was evident in Brett Lee's opening over of the chase. Bowling fast and straight, Lee pitched one on a length: the ball stayed low, ripped through Ed Joyce's defence, and crashed into the middle of off stump. The total of 130 had suddenly grown in stature.
NSW's innings was in strife at 40 for 2 and they had reached only 50 at the half-way stage when the acceleration came. Hughes hit the first six in the 11th over, muscling Piyush Chawla with a flat bat over long off, and Henriques, who was dropped at cover a few balls later, struck the second, slog-sweeping over deep midwicket. NSW took 17 runs off the 11th over and appeared to be back on track. Henriques had struck three sixes during his cameo against the Eagles and began to do a repeat, launching Rory Hamilton-Brown over extra cover and clearing the long-on boundary off James Kirtley.
The batsmen scored 45 runs between overs 10 and 15 and, with eight wickets in hand, a score of 150 was probable. There were no boundaries in the last four overs, though, the most eventful delivery being the beamer from Dwayne Smith that crashed into the wicketkeeper's helmet, and NSW had to settle for less.
It isn't often that a team scores merely 130 in a Twenty20 match despite having eight wickets in the bank but it was that sort of a pitch. It got lower and slower as the day wore on; the batsmen struggled to find timing and had to stay vigilant to keep out the occasional shooter. Robin Martin-Jenkins' first delivery of the match set the tone as it thudded into the bottom of David Warner's bat. The Sussex bowlers rarely wavered from the straight-and-narrow line, hoping they would hit if the batsmen misjudged the pace and bounce. It was a method NSW's attack would implement with success.
After Brett Lee's searing opening spell of 2-1-3-1, which included Joyce's wicket, Doug Bollinger and Henriques kept the batsmen quiet. Sussex had scored only 26 off the Powerplay and, so when Simon Katich gave the ball to Steven Smith as soon as the fielding restrictions were lifted, Rory Hamilton-Brown charged the young legspinner immediately. He advanced and swung across the line but was beaten by flight and turn, leaving Daniel Smith with an easy stumping.
The chase was floundering at 26 for 2 and Dwayne Smith adopted a similar approach against Steven Smith. He swiped repeatedly across the line and was beaten. He eventually connected and sent the ball rapidly to the long-on boundary but Sussex needed him to contribute substantially. However, on a pitch that needed batsmen to remain watchful and balanced, Dwayne Smith moved towards leg to manufacture room to guide Bollinger to third man. He missed and was bowled. Sussex's bad situation grew worse when Henriques struck with successive deliveries to reduce them to 64 for 5 and it became dire when two more fell with the score on 68.
Henriques ended an excellent match by dismissing Andy Hodd and finished with figures of 3 for 23 to go with his match-winning half-century.

All-round Delhi Daredevils stave off elimination

Delhi Daredevils 170 for 5 (Sehwag 66, Karthik 61) beat Wayamba 120 for 7 (Jayawardene 54, Nannes 4-24, McGrath 2-20) by 50 runs.
The prospect of a league stage line-up without a single Indian IPL team would have been a nightmare for the organisers and television rights holders, but Delhi Daredevils' merciless showing today went a long way in dispelling those fears. With their backs to the wall, the fear of elimination in front of their home fans drove them to deliver a 50-run walloping against Wayamba and also reverse the trend of low-scoring games at the Kotla.
The performance of the Australian pace-bowling duo of Dirk Nannes and Glenn McGrath effectively shut Wayamba out of the game early in the chase but the foundation was laid by a brilliant display of power hitting by Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Karthik. Their 67-run partnership pushed Delhi to a score at least 30 runs above what captains had predicted to be competitive after summing up the conditions over the last three games at this venue.
The pitch at the Kotla came under scrutiny after the first couple of games on Friday and again today when New South Wales had to grind it out on a slow and low surface to post 130. Both NSW and Delhi employed strong horizontal bat shots, but the difference was the Delhi pair's tremendous bat speed that allowed them to collectively hit 15 fours and four sixes. Without taking any credit away from NSW, the duo of Phillip Hughes and Moises Henriques managed only seven fours and three sixes between them.
In the context of Delhi's assault, the first three overs - which yielded just three runs and included an opening-over maiden - were an aberration. The innings opened up in the fourth over when Isuru Udana, whose slower balls and good length deliveries got a little predictable, got hit for three boundaries.
There was a lull when two star attractions in Tillakaratne Dilshan and Gautam Gambhir departed in quick succession. Those strikes didn't deter Sehwag who gave the raucous home crowd plenty to cheer with some powerful strokes off the front foot.
Farveez Maharoof was brought in to take the pace off the ball and make run-scoring difficult but Delhi didn't allow him to settle. Karthik cleverly picked the huge gap at third man, dabbing him past the keeper for two boundaries in an over. His initial strategy was to knock the ball into the gaps and allow Sehwag the strike. The track had given the spinners assistance in the NSW game and the Sehwag and Karthik, perhaps mindful of that, didn't want them to settle into a comfort zone either. Sehwag slogged Kaushal Lokuarachchi's first ball over deep midwicket before Karthik too joined in the act, reaching out to drive the bowler past the covers.
A frantic call for a single cost Sehwag his wicket but the innings never lost momentum, thanks to Karthik who was already well-set. In the 19th over, Karthik slogged Ajantha Mendis for three consecutive sixes over the leg side, much in the same vein as Justin Ontong's late assault for the Cape Cobras on Saturday.
The match was all but sealed when Nannes and McGrath punched holes into the Wayamba top order to reduce them to a hapless 36 for 5. Mahela Udawatte swung at thin air and lost his middle stump to Nannes while Michael Vandort was bowled by same bowler after making a start with two impressive boundaries. The Powerplay overs yielded an unsatisfactory 31 and the minute Jeevantha Kulatunga tried to force the pace against Amit Mishra, he holed out to sweeper cover. McGrath knocked back Jehan Mubarak's off stump for a first-ball duck and with it all hopes of a competitive chase.
Delhi never showed any signs of slackness in the field even while Wayamba had two capable batsmen in Mahela Jayawardene and Maharoof at the crease. Dilshan set one such example when he sprinted all the way from mid-off to his right and took a tumbling catch to send back Maharoof. Jayawardene, walking in at No.4, helped himself to a half-century which got lost in the collapse. His innings featured two clean strikes over the rope and a reverse sweep for four. He then holed out to long-off to hand Nannes his fourth wicket.
In their last ten overs, Delhi slammed 104 runs. Wayamba, in their full quota, managed only 120 runs and there lay the big difference between the teams. Though Jayawardene's effort came in a lost cause, it could make a difference if the net run rate comes into the picture at the end of the round.

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