Monday, January 29, 2007

Aussies survived, NZ closing in, Eng on backfoot

New Zealand arrived at Perth with 1 point ahead of England for their game against Australia who've already marched into the finals with three games still to go. Nathan Bracken and McGrath came back replacing Brad Hogg and Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson was retained. Nathan Astle who has called it a day make way for Lou Vincent who was not selected for the series earlier following his dismal performance in Champions Trophy late last year. Kyle Mills who has just recovered from injury was included along with two spinners in Jeetan Patel n Daniel Vettori.

The scorching day saw Australia loosing Gilchrist early. But Hayden n Ponting recovered from it quickly and were making merry of the missed chances by the Kiwis. Such was the dominance of the pair that made Fleming to take the second powerplay as late as in 20th over with Aussies looking solid at 97/1. And with still no success coming in from Flemings bowlers, the partenership flourished further. Fleming took the last powerplay in 34th over. By that time Aussies were already standing tall at 181/1. This loosened up Hayden n Ponting a bit more as Australia started scoring at more than 10 an over. Hayden falls in last over of 3rd powerplay but by then he has already amassed 117 off just 111 balls. Lady Luck was at his shoulder all day and he made NZ pay and pay hard for their lapses. Ponting also reached his century in no time and his colossal inning was also ended in 44th over with Aussie looking comfortable at 275/3 and 350 in sight. Symonds n Clarke pitched in with utility knocks but it was Hussey who provided the spurt at the end to an inning set by Hayden n Ponting. No prizes for telling he remained unbeaten again. Australia finished at 343 for 5 and New Zealand had a massive challenge on their hands.

New Zealand needing 344 at 6.88 runs per over started positively against a power-packed attack that comprises the likes of McGrath, Lee, Bracken n Johnson. Runs were coming steadily and that makes Ponting switch his bowlers more often. Its not everyday when McGrath is hit for six in his first over. But what follows it was not surprising as McGrath gets the breakthrough for Australia in his second over. New Zealand scored 76/1 in first 15 overs which was more than enough but not today when they were 344 and the asking rate now was 7.60 per over. Soon after, Vincent scored a fifty in his comeback match at a fast clip too. He fitted into Astle's boots rather snugly. But after his fall, it was left to middle order comprising of McMillan, Oram n McCullum to undo the damage. The required run rate kept pitching up and wickets were falling at regular intervals with Ponting make use of seasonal Michael Clarke's spin. At 5 down, NZ had Oram n McCullum in the middle who had other plans to end their day as they started hitting Australians hard and runs started coming in 4s n 6s. But that was not enough for their team as they still needed 88 runs from last 8 overs when rain stopped play. At that time they were clear 24 runs short of what would have required to win the match if D/L method had come into picture. This was a shame because Oram had just switched into overdrive and building solid momentum. But the crowd's prayers were answered as the play resumed without any modified target. All eyes were on Oram as NZ was hoping an improbable victory needing 11 runs an over. As someone pointed out after Australian innings that someone needed to score a massive hundred if New Zealand are going to get close to the target. It did come from mighty Oram who almost took the match away from Australia as NZ finished just 8 runs short of target. Oram remained unbeaten for 101 off 72 balls and the partenership flourished for 137 runs that came in 88 balls. Surprisingly it was McGrath's superb yorkers to stem the run flow. But that also couldn't stop him conceding 72 runs off his quota of 10 overs with only 1 wicket to his name. John Buchanan had mentioned that Australia wanted a fight and they certainly got one yesterday. Jacob Oram stretched them to the limit and New Zealand finished on 335 for 5.

Australia: 343/5 (Hayden 117, Ponting 111, Vettori 1/34, Patel 1/67)
New Zealand: 335/5 (Vincet 66, Oram 101*, McCullum 46*, Clarke 2/48, McGrath 1/72)

FedEx-King Of Tennis

Sports are said to be characterized by unpredictability be it Cricket, Football or any other game. Infact it is this fickleness of sporting world which always keep us attracted towards games. Remember Bangladesh defeating Australia last year, we were all so happy not because we ‘r big Bangladeshi fans but we want the aussies to be defeated. Now the question arises why we want them to be defeated, probably we don’t want the Cricket to become monotonous, dominated by one nation who keeps on steamrolling others. I think same thing is happening to tennis but with a difference, the domination of the King has an artistic touch to it so beautiful and melodious that it can be compared with Beethoven’s symphony.

Everytime I watches Federer play I just thought can this man ever had an off day. Mind you Roddick was playing well before he met Federer who just annihilated him. It was nothing but cold blooded destruction; you can just look at the expression of helplessness on Roddick’s face. He just can’t do anything. Coming to next match in Finals,Gonzales played very well but I always got the feeling that there is only winner. Or in Vijay Amritraj Star Sports Commentator words Gonzales was always on the backfoot be it serving, receiving or any aspect of the game. Federer’s shot selection, anticipation, court coverage is just awesome. He just makes the game looks so simple.
Now comes the big and inevitable question which arises every time Federer wins a Grand slam. Is he the best ever player world has seen??

My views on that are quite simple you can’t compare players from different era. Bjorn Borg is different from Pete Sampras who in turn is different from Federer (Forgot me I don’t know much about the other great champ Rod laver).what I feel is that you can’t judge a people alone on the number of grand slams he has won, we have to look at several other aspects too like the competition he faces at that time technology available on that era, all these things do count too. For example is Roddick, Nadal, Blake or Gonzales comparable to Aggasi, Ivanisevic (who on grass is a wonderful player) Edberg, Becker, Courier and lots of other name? May be or may be not, I am not saying that these players can defeat Federer but still you never know. Just Imagine Federer playing with a wooden racket against fired up John McEnroe in Wimbledon Center Court, well I would be the last person to predict the result.

So the thing is quite simple enjoy Tennis and forget about all other thing and as the Tennis Australia President said “All the Best Rogers for the French Open”

Technorati Tags:, , , ,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Guru Greg Slapped

Big Brother : Chappell : Media : Indian Common Man.

Indian Cricket obsession reached new heights when Indian Coach Greg Guru was slapped outside the Bhubaneshwar airport . The man was later arrested and he belongs to a group called ' Kalinga Sena' . The reasons for the alleged misconduct by the activist is not yet known. After this incident team is advised not to leave the hotel premises.

Is this how we take care of our guest , where is our upanishda and vedic boasting gone 'athithi devo bhav' . Few days back we created a hoopla over the racist comment on bollywood actress Shilpa Shety in money churning reality show by the house mates. We Indians felt hurt , pain in the heart how can anybody say this to us ( at that time Shilpa was supposed to be representing the India ( public thought) ) an Indian citizen of future super power country. Our totally free MP's who have no other work to do was also found commenting on it , visit of Brown was wasted he was made to feel embarresed. Common India there are lots of other important things to do , don't waste time on such things atleast not days but who will request our honourable media who is obsessed with making an ant an Elephant, because it has no other issues to discuss to show to its viewers for the 24 hours.

Imagine the scenario when Australian PM making a big hue and cry about India , a country who don't take care of its guest , and their media making the same hooo haa as our India media has done. Australians comming on streets burning effiges of BCCI supremo and others.......

Now I am hundred percent sure if you swich on to the news channels you will find ex-cricketers and other experts discussing the Chappell incident and this will continue for whole day, and if they by any chance be able to interview chappel the question will be 'how are you feeling'.
In this post I am correlating the Big Brother - Chappell and Media and Indian common man Philosphy and trying to stress that now media should grow and look beyond India , why can't we have a combined news channel covering the whole south east Asia or even bigger scenario the whole Asia just like Al-Zazeera of the Arab World. When will we have Indian version of BBC and CNN.

Now watch chappell incident on news :(

Technorati Tags:, , , ,

Ooooooooohhhhhhh wat a FINISH !!

It's Henry with the head...into the nets..and thats 2-1 to Arsenal...the ManU fans cant believe it....

Arsenal fans had a reason to smile though their team was put on the back foot by their opponents earlier in the game.

Manchester United started off well trying to create chances in the initial part of the first half, but not after much time switched to a defensive approach.

The first half saw some good shots countered by some equally good goal keeping, especially by Lehmann in the injury time after the first half.

The start of the second half showcased the rising energy levels of players from both the sides and it was in the 53rd minute when Ronaldo's pass sent Evra away down the left who curled it in the box followed by a brilliant header from the United Striker Rooney putting his side upfront..
ManU 1 Arsenal 0..

Arsenal tried hard to get back into the game but failed to get past the United defence. Rosicky fired in shots from outside the box at several occasions but all flew away from the goal. It seemed that despite all the hard work Arsenal would not be able to equalize.

Arsenal fans had some hope when v.Persie came in as a first substitute replacing Hleb.

It was in the 83rd minute when Fabregas whipped in a cross and Henry dummied it to v.Persie, who scored the much needed equalizer..
ManU 1 Arsenal 1

Man fans seemed disappointed unaware that there was more in store for them.

The game was heading towards a draw with ManU getting to extended their lead over Chelsea to seven points.

But it was in the last minute of the 4 minutes injury time when

"It's Henry with the head...into the nets..and thats 2-1 to Arsenal...the ManU fans cant believe it...."

Thierry Henry directed Eboue's cross with a powerful header into the nets giving van der Sar no chance and it was ManU 1 Arsenal 2...

Ooooooooohhhhhhh wat a FINISH !!

Image Source : FOX Sports and espnstar

Great Weekend

It was wonderful weekend for all sports bluff. Great Football Action from EPL, Australian Open and then last but not the least DADAGIRI is back.
Now starting with my own favorite Football two great matches and two quite unexpected results which i hope will open up the league. The greatest scenario when the title will be decided in last week. However MANU inspite of this defeat is still very much in command with 6 point separating them and there nearest contender Chelsea FC which at the moment is looking in total disarray. There inspirational captain JT is injured and without him there defence looks like conceding every time opposition attack. And as if injuries are not enough, with Chelsea you always got some melodrama without additional cost. This time the cast are Mourinho,as, as always the lead protagonist, Abramovich who don’t really know what his problem is and poor chap Shevchenko who i feel has just got struck between these two people. Whatever is the result of this mangling but i just don’t want to see that Sven Goran Erickkson guy to manage Chelsea. Next In comes my beloved Liverpool now just 5 points behind Chelsea and playing good Football. I think the important thing to be noted is that they have already played most of there difficult away matches and in Anfield even my dictators will agree that Liverpool are difficult to defeat. Arsenal too are on a kind of roll and with Henry back maybe they are the team to watch out for, but how much Van persie injury, who is arguably there Best player this season, affect them remains to be seen and lastly MANU still leading by 6 points and playing quite an attractive Football. So inessentia its still a two horse race, but who knows 2 or 3 more such weekend and we will be in for some real delight.
Next in Line comes the years first grand slam Australian Open and for probably the first time in the history of tennis people are more curious to find out who will be the Runner up. Such is the overwhelming dominance of KING FEDERER. That guy even when not playing at his cent percent still wins most of the matches in straight set. So is there anyone who can stop him. My bet is with A-Rod, ever since he has got Jimmy Connors as his coach he is a different player and then coming through grueling matches like that against Safin always bolsters ones confidence. Well if everything goes according to plan then they will be meeting in Semi-Finals. That match will be a treat to watch and i will be firmly sitting in Roddicks Corners. Coming to women’s draw most of the Indian have stopped following it as our Darling Sania has already crashed out.Atleast it has saved lots of people from the agony of rising early in such Chilly Winter Mornings. Jokes apart for me Serena Williams is the one to watch for. She is making a comeback and if she is fit she is quite an handful player. Still women’s draw is quite an open one with lots of good players still in. Let’s see what happen.
Next, Our National Obsession Cricket, i can’t really forget it. Well it was a good start to the one day series against WI, but still not without a scare. Since i didn’t actually saw the match so no comment on any individual, but not discussing DADA will amount to an insult to this Great Fighter. Man this guy might not have the technique or any other material thing but he has got one thing in abundance i.e. GUTS ability to fight it out till the end. My take is DADA will be a big success in World Cup. As i am wondering how can we discuss cricket without even a hint of World Cup and that too about Team Selection. The probables list is already out and there are no real surprises, the real fun will begin when this list will be pruned to 15 players. The player who is the hot topic right now is Virendra Sehwag,somehow i have the feeling that this break will do wonders for him. I don’t think selectors will take the risk of dropping him or even Irfan Pathan .Both of them are quite central to India’s plans at the world cup.
That all i have to offer right now. I will try to be back very soon and Off Course if Super MOD Nitesh Luthra keeps inspiring me i will back very soon.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sania Mania Over

Sania Mania Over .It had hardly started, sania lived up to the expectations of getting knocked out in the second round of major tournaments. Sania lost to Asian compatriate Japanese Aiko Nakamura ranked 10-12 seed lower then mirza in straight sets 63 62 in a game full of unforced errors. Sania committed 26 unforced errors compared to Aiko's 9. Nakamura will now meet 6th seed three time champion Hingis in the 3rd round who defeated Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 62 62. Mirza has advanced to second round of the doubles event of the tournament but I expect the same story. Sania you need a better coach , your dad is not enough if you want to be consistent and want to win a major tournament , though you can keep performing like this and earn money from endorsements because what ever you will achieve will be the benchmark for other Indians and I don't see any other decent player coming in 3-4 years. Waiting for the huge void which will be left when Paes and Bhupati will retire, although loads of tennis clubs have come up but still quality caoching is not there to make a better player. Talent has to combined with quality guidance and coaching.

Big Fights

Kim Clijsters defeated another Asian Japan’s Akiko Morigami in straight sets 6-3, 6-0 to advance into third round. If it goes on like this Clijsters is on course to meet Hingis who completed her 50th victory in the Australian Open after two more rounds i.e the quaterfinals. Both hingis and clijsters are playing matches at the same time on this Clijsters said
"I think it happened on our first matches. I think we almost won at around the same time. And then we came into the locker room and we started laughing, and she's like, Damn, you beat me, you were there first,"

Till now there is no upset in the women side with all the top 12 seeded players through to round three, but there was an upset in men's category Gael Monfils knocked out 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis 76 62 26 60. Monfils is slowly becoming crowd favourite with his fist-pumping antics and collection of impossible looking shots.

Another big match is coming on friday night with men's heavy weights Roddick and Safin battling out for round four qualification. Both have faced each other 6 times with safin winning the last match (5 setter) played long back in 2005.
Serena will also meet no 5 seed Nadia Petrova in the 3rd round. Petrova has not faced Serena since that momentous 2005 Australian Open, where Petrova was beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 by Serena in the fourth round. Serena holds a 5-1 lead over Nadia but I put my money on petrova.

Technorati Tags

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New McLaren MP4-22 unvailed in Spain

Here are the initial photos from

Others will follow soon.

Cricket Update

SAF goes 1-0 up against Pakistan

The first Test match between the SAF n Pakistan gives the former an edge over the latter in a hard fought battle. The pitch that keeps on deteriorating asked too much from the Proteas in their second innings to win the game. But a solid unbeaten stand between Amla n Kallis made it all look very easy.

Deciding to bat first after winning the toss, Pakistan looked forward to post some decent score on board. But apart from Hameed's 65, Younis's 68 n Inzy's 42, no other batsmen showed any fight as Ntini takes five-for. South Africans survived the early threats as Smith continues to disappoint. It was left to Amla n star of series agains India, Prince to build the inning as they made 71 n 138 respectively. Gibbs pounced on the opportunity and contributed 94. On day 3, they were already 104 runs ahead of Pakistan with Asif provided the only positive display with his 5/89

Not wanting to loose this one, the Pakistan started their second inning positively as they trailed by only 1 run at the end of day 3. Knowing it wud be crucial two sessions on day 4, Proteas managed to get major breakthroughs. Inzy did the same mistake what Dravid n Sachin did in last test. As he was seen more keen on spending more n more time on wicket without caring much of scoring rate. Consequently from 103/2, Pakistan crawled its way to 199/7. But the tailenders had some other plans in their mind. They exploited the attacking field put up by Smith and suddenly the runs started coming in 4s n 6s as they take the total past 300.

Asking South African to score 199 for victory, Inzy was looking forward to some good fight from his bowlers especially Kaneria who could have exploited the rough on the pitch to his benefits. But it was only Asif who provided the breakthrough by taking De Villiers n nightwatchman Harris, with the seasonal bowler Hameed getting rid of Smith in last over of day 4. But this could hardly prevent Amla n Kallis as they successfully chased the target, despite of rain threats that ruined the first session on day 5. The other positive to come out for Proteas from this match was Paul Harris who no doubt proved to be a better spinner than Kaneria by exploiting the rough and never for once he disappointed his captain by not taking the wickets whenever asked to.

Pakistan First Innings: 313 all out (Younis 68, Hameed 65, Ntini 5/83)
SAF First Innings: 417 all out (Prince 138, Gibbs 94, Amla 71, Asif 5/89)
Pakistan Second Innings: 302 all out (Farhat 68, Nazir 40, Harris 4/46)
SAF Second Innings: 199/3 (Amla 64*, Kallis 60*, Asif 2/56)

Gibbs banned for two tests

In an uncanny event that happens during the first Test Match between SAF n Pak saw Gibbs guilty for making abusive comments about a section of the crowd. He was justifyingly punished for the same in account of which he will miss the remainder of the series. Immediately after this, the South African board (CSA) called for a disciplinary hearing and has asked Gibbs to report to commisstioner at the earliest opportunity. Though news has just poured in from CSA that Gibbs will appeal against this ban, in an event of which this hearing is being postponed till the ICC appeal process is completed.

Sania Mania Begins

First day was not full of surprises as all the top seeded player advanced into the second round of the Australian Open except for the lone case of men no. 4 seeded Ivan Ljubicic of croatia who was defeated by Mardy Fish of USA (64 67 46 46) making the exit of first seeded player of the tournament. Russian Marat Safin had to wage a long battle to defeat Benjamin Becker of germany in a crunching 5 setter. First round was easy cakewalk for Federer , Nadal , Roddick , Robredo. Federer left behind the defeat at the hands of Roddick last week to beat Bjorn Phau of germany in straight sets.

In women category Kim Clijsters who is playing her last Australian Open as she will retire in 2007 end was in supreme form thrashing Russian Vasilisa Bardina 60 60. The match lasted only 44 minutes. It was not easy outing for Sharapova she had to sweat hard to qualify for round2. Maria defeated Camille Pin of france in a three setter cruncher 63 46 97 . Sharapova was cruising for victory in the third set with 5-0 lead but Camille bounced back and was actually serving for the match at one stage at 6-7 but maria ultimately won the set 97 in 171 minutes tie. 6th seeded hingis cruised to round 2 with 60 62 victory.

Sania Mirza also qualified for the round 2 after an easy outing against Ukraine's Olga Savchuk winning 6-3 7-5 . Carrying on her good form after qualifing for the semis of the hobart open last week sania desplayed some nice forehands to advance. Whole nation is expecting from sania to better her round 3 qualification in 2005 Australian Open. Mirza had to face extreme heat conditions in her match temperature was in the range on 30's..

The Australian Open's Extreme Heat Policy (EHP) was implemented for the first time at Australian Open 2007 as the temperature soars on Day Two at Melbourne Park. Under the Policy, no new matches will commence on outside courts, but those already in progress will continue to their conclusion. There is provision to make breaks between games and sets longer than usual in these matches.

Technorati Tags

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gunners fire 6 Bullets at Liverpool's Home

2 defeats in two matches at the hands of Arsenal this is what happened to Liverpool.
Arsenal young guns have started to fire bullets now and they fired 6 in liverpool''s home with Julio Baptista scoring 4 though he missed a penalty also. Jeremie Aliadiere and Alexandre Song scored the other tow goals. With this win arsenal has booked a semifinal place in the League Cup and now will face spurs in the semis. Livepool are out of the FA , out the Carling Cup, in no position to challenge for the league and Barcelona meet them in the Champions League.


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Dream On India Dream On : Hopman Cup

India is having a dream start to 2007 in sports. First Time qualifiers and underdogs India marched closer to a final finish in ITF mixed teams championship after a tense match with croatia which consited of budding star Mario Ancic.

Sania gave India a 1-0 lead by beating Sanja Ancic in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. This was followed by a tense match between Rohan Bopanna who is more then 200 atp rankings below brother of Sanja Ancic Mario Ancic. Mario defeated Bopanna in two tie breaker sets 76(7-2) 76 (7-3). It was now left to the mixed doubles to decide the winner , that match was a cruncher. Ancic siblings won the first set 6-3 which included serves in excess speed of 230Km/hr. India bounced back winning the second set with same scoreline 6-3. Third set went into the tie breaker with india holding the nerves winning the set 7-6 and hence the match . India now has 2 wins in 2 matches and will meet today another strong contenders Spain to decide the leader of group B .

Results till now are

Australia 2 def Russia 1
France 2 def USA 1
India 2 def Czech 1
Spain 3 def Croatia 0
Russia 2 def USA 1
France 3 def Australia 0
Czech 2 def Spain 1
India 2 d Croatia 1

Matches Today
USA v Australia
Russia v France

Czech Rep. v Croatia
Spain v India

Toppers from both groups will meet in the finals on 5th Jan

Technorati Tags