Sunday, May 28, 2017

Messi magic as FC Barcelona beat Deportivo Alaves to retain Copa del Rey - 3rd in 3 Years


FC Barcelona’s Copa del Rey triumph -- beating Deportivo Alaves -- means coach Luis Enrique could bow out after three seasons in charge with nine trophies against his name.


A Lionel Messi masterclass salvaged some silverware to end FC Barcelona’s season and gave coach Luis Enrique a victorious send-off as the Catalans retained the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 win over Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring for FC Barcelona then helped tee up Neymar and Paco Alcacer to lead Barca to a record 29th Cup triumph after Theo Hernandez’s brilliant free-kick had briefly brought Deportivo Alaves level.
Victory means Enrique bows out after three seasons in charge with nine trophies to his name, including the Cup in every year of his reign.
However, once again it was Messi who inspired Barca to bounceback from the disappointment of losing their La Liga title to Real Madrid last weekend with a stunning individual display.
“He is the number one as he shows in his performances and it has been a true pleasure.”

Alaves boss Mauricio Pellegrino was equally in awe of the five-time World Player of the Year.
“He is an out of the ordinary player,” said Pellegrino.
“He has the ability to create goals as well as score them with the precision of his passing.”
Barca were without the suspended Luis Suarez and Sergi Roberto and Enrique was forced into another reshuffle just 11 minutes in as Javier Mascherano was forced off with a head injury.
Yet, while Barca’s depth has been much-criticised this season, Andre Gomes deputised ably at right-back after replacing Mascherano and Alcacer took his chance on a rare start on the big stage in Suarez’s absence.
In stark contrast to Barca’s glorious run of six finals in seven years, Alaves were appearing in Spanish football’s showpiece for the first time.
The Basques were roared on by the more enthusiastic support at a far from full Vicente Calderon in its last competitive fixture before Atletico Madrid move home next season.
And Alaves were left wondering what might have been had they gone ahead when Ibai Gomez’s effort came back off the post, ricocheted off the back of Barca ‘keeper Jasper Cillessen but somehow squirmed along the goal line and not into the net on 27 minutes.
Three minutes later Messi kicked off a thrilling four-goal spell in the final 15 minutes of the half as he exchanged passes with Neymar before curling his 54th goal of the season.
owever, Barca’s initial lead only lasted three minutes.
On-loan Atletico left-back Hernandez has been courted by Barcelona, but looks set to become the first player to cross the Madrid divide since 2000 by signing for Real Madrid in the coming weeks.
And the 19-year-old showed why he is in such demand by bending a sumptuous free-kick into the top corner.
Messi saw a free-kick of his own beaten away by Fernando Pacheco, whilst Ivan Rakitic drilled a low shot just wide as Barca immediately reacted to conceding.
Fittingly, Messi was involved once more when Barca did regain the lead as he received Neymar’s pass before playing in Gomes and the Portuguese’s low cross was tapped home by Neymar at the back post as he scored for the third consecutive season in the Cup final.
Barca then put the game to bed in first-half stoppage time when Messi again pulled the Alaves defence apart and his reverse pass freed Alcacer to smash the ball beyond Pacheco into the far corner.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Test Number 1 INDIA RETAINS ICC TEST CHAMPIONSHIP MACE and WINS $1 MILLION

INDIA RETAINS ICC TEST CHAMPIONSHIP MACE, WINS $1 MILLION AWARD FOR FINISHING AS NO.1 AT THE 1 APRIL CUT-OFF DATE



·       Kohli: “The longest format of the game really tests a team’s character and I’m proud that we have proved ourselves to be the best”
                                
·       Mr Sunil Gavaskar: “Congratulations to the Indian team for its superb performances. Being at the top in this format is no mean achievement and proves that the players have been doing well on a consistent basis.”

·       Mr David Richardson: “I’m sure being recognized as the best Test nation is something that the team will really be proud of and I look forward to another year of outstanding Test cricket being played as they look to defend their position.”

·       South Africa needs to draw the Hamilton Test to finish ahead of Australia in second place

The Indian cricket team has retained the ICC Test Championship mace and has also won a cash award of $1 million for ensuring top position in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team rankings on the annual 1 April cut-off date.

Captain Virat Kohli received the mace and cheque from ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Sunil Gavaskar at a ceremony after the fourth and final Test against Australia in Dharamsala, in which Ajinkya Rahane led the side as Kohli could not play due to a shoulder injury.

India had entered the series against Australia needing to win at least one Test to retain possession of the prestigious mace, which it had reclaimed following the Indore Test against New Zealand in October 2016.

The second and third places in the rankings will be decided after the ongoing Hamilton Test between South Africa and New Zealand. If South Africa wins or draws the Test, it will be assured of second place but a loss will see Australia finish ahead of it in second place.

The side to finish second will get $500,000 while the side finishing third will receive $200,000. The fourth-placed team, which is England, will get $100,000.



Virat Kohli: “We are absolutely delighted to have topped the ICC Test rankings. The longest format of the game really tests a team’s character and I’m proud that we have proved ourselves to be the best.

“Being presented with the Test championship mace last year was an exhilarating experience and the feeling is no different this time.

“I’d like to both congratulate and thank everyone who has been part of this success. This includes not only all the players who have been in the squad but also the team management and support staff, without whom we could not have done so well. It has not been an easy journey but all the hard work has been worth it.

“We have maintained our position with some really good cricket in recent months. The team has shown the tenacity to bounce back from difficult situations.”

Sunil Gavaskar: “Congratulations to the Indian team for its superb performances in Test cricket. Being at the top in this format is no mean achievement and proves that the players have been doing well on a consistent basis.”

“The horizon has changed with the development of the limited overs formats but Test cricket has held on to its own even 140 years after it was first played. Everyone recognizes that Tests are the ultimate trial of a cricketer’s caliber. It’s good to see the players enjoy the challenges that Test cricket presents and have high regard for others who do well in the format.”

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson: “On behalf of the ICC, I would like to congratulate India for achieving and maintaining number-one status amid some stiff competition, particularly from Australia and Pakistan who both held the top spot over the last year, and South Africa who have had some great Test series wins of late. The team has shown great consistency over the last 12 months, it possesses a variety of talent and is an exciting team to watch.”

“I’m sure being recognized as the best Test nation is something that the team will really be proud of and I look forward to another year of outstanding Test cricket being played as they look to defend their position.”

About the ICC Test championship mace:

·       The ICC Test Championship mace is awarded to teams that reach the number-one spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings.
·       The team that is number-one ranked at the 1 April cut-off date gets a cash award of $1 million. The team placed second gets $500,000, the third $200,000 and the fourth $100,000.
·       India’s longest tenure at the top was from November 2009-August 2011 under Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
·       Other captains to have received the mace include Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith (Australia), Andrew Strauss (England), Dhoni, (India), Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan), Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla (South Africa).
·       The ICC Test Championship mace was produced by the then British Crown Jeweller, Asprey and Garrard, in 2001.
·       The mace, a 90cm silver and gold-plated trophy based on a cricket stump as its shank and topped by an orb representing the cricket world, was valued at stg£30,000 in 2001
·       Current Test rankings system was introduced in 2003

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

JADEJA CATCHES UP WITH ASHWIN but SHAKIB OVERTAKES ASHWIN !!! - ICC RANKINGS

JADEJA CATCHES UP WITH ASHWIN AT THE TOP OF THE RANKINGS

·       Smith overtakes Ponting in reign at the top of batsmen’s rankings
·       Shakib overtakes Ashwin to No. 1 spot among all-rounders
·       India’s Test win assures it top-ranking on April 1 and $1 million cash prize



India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have become the first pair of spinners to be jointly top-ranked in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers as Jadeja has caught up with his spin-partner in the rankings released today after the second Test against Australia in Bengaluru.

Jadeja’s seven wickets in the match, which included a crucial six for 63 in the first innings, have helped him move up one rank to reach the top position for the first time in his career. The last time two bowlers shared the top spot was in April 2008 when Dale Steyn and Muttiah Muralidaran were at the top.

Ashwin too played an important role in the match, which India won by 75 runs to level the four-match series 1-1, so as not to concede the top ranking. His eight wickets took him past spin legend Bishan Bedi’s tally of 266 wickets and made him the fifth-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests with 269 wickets.



Australia spinner Nathan Lyon’s eight wickets in the match have lifted him two places to 16th rank while his team’s left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe and India pace bowler Umesh Yadav have gained one place each to reach career-best 28th and 29th places, respectively.

In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen Australia captain Steve Smith has maintained his reign at the top for 77 Tests, going past Ricky Ponting’s 76 matches and now has the third longest stint at the top among Australians after Steve Waugh (94) and Don Bradman (93).


His team-mates Matt Renshaw has gained six places to reach a career-best 28th rank with knocks of 60 and five while left-hander Shaun Marsh has moved up five places to 37th position with scores of 66 and nine.

India captain Virat Kohli has conceded the second rank to England’s Joe Root after managing only 27 runs in the match and 40 in the series so far. Root is now one point ahead of Kohli at 848 points.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s innings of 17 and 92 have lifted him up five places to sixth rank while Ajinkya Rahane has moved up two places to 15th rank after scoring 17 and 52 in Bangalore. Player of the match Lokesh Rahul has gained 23 places to reach 23rd spot after scores of 90 and 51.

The list of all-rounders saw a change at the top as Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan moved ahead of Ashwin, who has scored only 20 runs in four innings against Australia so far. Ashwin had overtaken Shakib in December 2015.


India’s win in the second Test assures it the No.1 spot in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings on the April 1 cut-off date and a cash prize of $1 million. The fight is now for the second, third and fourth places.


MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 8 March, after the first Test between India and Australia in Bengaluru)

Batsmen (top 10)

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team      Pts       Avge   Highest Rating
   1       ( - )       Steve Smith      Aus      936      59.32   939 v Ind at Pune 2017
   2       (+1)      Joe Root           Eng      848      52.80   917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015
   3       (-1)       Virat Kohli         Ind       847      49.90   895 v Ban at Hyderabad 2017
   4       ( - )       K.Williamson     NZ        823      50.07   893 v Aus at Perth 2015
   5       ( - )       David Warner    Aus      794      48.27   880 v NZ at Perth 2015
   6       (+5)      C. Pujara          Ind       793      49.84   851 v SA at Durban 2013
   7       (-1)       Hashim Amla    SA        787      49.99   907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013
   8       (-1)       Azhar Ali           Pak      779      47.07   787 v Aus at Melbourne 2016
   9       (-1)       Younus Khan    Pak      772      53.06   880 v SL at Lahore 2009
  10      (-1)       Q. de Kock       SA        760*    51.04   769 v SL at Cape Town 2017

Other selected rankings

Rank    (+/-)      Player               Team     Pts        Avge    Highest Rating
15        (+2)      A. Rahane        Ind       719      45.96   825 v NZ at Indore 2016
23        (+23)    Lokesh Rahul    Ind       656*!   40.88   656 v Aus at Bengaluru 2017
28        (+6)      Matt Renshaw   Aus      631*!   53.22   631 v Ind at Bengaluru 2017
37         (+5)     Shaun Marsh    Aus      576*    38.27   591 v SA at Perth 2016
64=      (+3)      W. Saha           Ind       431*    29.82   457 v Ban at Hyderabad 2017

Bowlers (top 10)

Rank    (+/-)      Player                Team     Pts      Avge      Highest Rating
  1=      ( - )       R. Ashwin         Ind       892      24.79    904 v Eng at Mumbai 2016
            (+1)      R. Jadeja          Ind       892!     23.44   892 v Aus at Bengaluru 2017
   3       (-1)       J. Hazlewood    Aus      863!     24.38   863 v Ind at Bengaluru 2017
   4       ( - )       R. Herath          SL        827      28.31   867 v Zim at Harare 2016
   5       ( - )       K. Rabada        SA        821*!   21.76   821 v SL at Johannesburg 2017
   6       ( - )       Dale Steyn        SA        819      22.30   909 v WI at Centurion 2014
   7       ( - )       J.Anderson       Eng      810      28.50   884 v SL at Durham 2016
   8       ( - )       Stuart Broad     Eng      803      28.54   880 v SA at Johannesburg 2016
   9       ( - )       V. Philander      SA        798      21.40   912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013
  10=    ( - )       Mitchell Starc    Aus      757      28.35   805 v Pak at Brisbane 2016
            (+1)      Neil Wagner      NZ        757      28.58   760 v SA at Centurion 2016

Other selected rankings

Rank    (+/-)      Player               Team      Pts      Avge    Highest Rating
16        (+2)      Nathan Lyon     Aus      654      33.09    696 v NZ at Wellington 2016
28        (+1)      Steve O'Keefe   Aus      528*!   20.86   528 v Ind at Bengaluru 2017
29        (+1)      Umesh Yadav   Ind       517*!   36.53    517 v Aus at Bengaluru 2017

All-rounders (top five)

Rank    (+/-)      Player                Team      Pts      Highest Rating
   1       (+1)      S. Al Hasan       Ban      441      443 v NZ at Christchurch 2017
   2       (-1)       R. Ashwin         Ind       434      493 v Eng at Mohali 2016
   3       ( - )       R. Jadeja          Ind       360      407 v Ban at Hyderabad 2017
   4       ( - )       Mitchell Starc    Aus      332      347 v Ind at Pune 2017
   5       ( - )       Ben Stokes       Eng      327/*   351 v Ind at Mohali 2016 

*indicates provisional rating; a batsman qualifies for a full rating after playing 40 Test innings; a bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets.
!indicates career-highest rating

Monday, February 27, 2017

World's Best Test Batsman Steve Smith now 6th Best ever in Test History !

TOP-RANKED SMITH REACHES CAREER-HIGH RATING AFTER PUNE TEST

·       Steve O’Keefe, Matt Renshaw, Lokesh Rahul attain career-best rankings



Australia captain Steve Smith has reached a career-high 939 rating points after an outstanding batting effort in the opening Test against India in Pune which his team won by 333 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

Smith has not only consolidated his position at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen but has also attained rating points which are the sixth-best ever after Don Bradman (961), Len Hutton (945), Jack Hobbs and Ricky Ponting (both 942) and Peter May (941). Gary Sobers, Viv Richards and Kumar Sangakkara all had career-high ranking points of 938.

Smith, who scored 27 and 109 in Pune to gain six points, now leads India captain Virat Kohli by 66 points while England batsman Joe Root is 91 points behind him at third place with 848 points.

Australia batsman Matt Renshaw has moved up 18 places to a career-best 34th position scoring 68 and 31 while opener Lokesh Rahul has made an 11-slot gain to reach a career-best 46th position after scores of 64 and 10 for India, which folded for only 105 and 107 in the two innings in Pune to lose in three days.

In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, Australia’s left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe has rocketed up 33 slots to a career-best 29th place after figures of 12 for 70 which earned him the player of the match award. O’ Keefe’s figures are the cheapest 12-wicket haul in Test cricket, beating ICC Hall of Famer George Lohmann’s 12 for 71 against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1896.

India’s Ravichandran Ashwin remains at the top of the bowlers’ rankings with 878 points after taking seven wickets but his spin partner Ravindra Jadeja now has company at second spot as Josh Hazlewood has caught up with him at 860 points, the Australia pace bowler’s career-best. India pace bowler Umesh Yadav’s six wickets in the match have seen him gain four slots to reach 30th rank.

Meanwhile, Australia pace bowler Mitchell Starc has moved up three slots in the list of all-rounders to fourth position after his fighting knocks of 61 and 30. Starc, who is ranked 10th among bowlers, has also moved up 27 places in the list of batsmen to a career-best 61st rank.

MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 26 February, after the first Test between India and Australia in Pune)

Batsmen (top 10)

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team   Pts       Avge   Highest Rating
   1       ( - )       Steve Smith      Aus      939!     60.34   939 v Ind at Pune 2017
   2       ( - )       Virat Kohli         Ind       873      50.72   895 v Ban at Hyderabad 2017
   3       ( - )       Joe Root           Eng      848      52.80   917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015
   4       ( - )       K.Williamson     NZ        823      50.07   893 v Aus at Perth 2015
   5       ( - )       David Warner    Aus      805      48.70   880 v NZ at Perth 2015
   6       ( - )       Hashim Amla    SA        787      49.99   907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013
   7       ( - )       Azhar Ali           Pak      779      47.07   787 v Aus at Melbourne 2016
   8       ( - )       Younus Khan    Pak      772      53.06   880 v SL at Lahore 2009
   9       (+1)      Q. de Kock       SA        760*    51.04   769 v SL at Cape Town 2017
  10      (+1)      AB de Villiers     SA        755      50.46   935 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2014

Other selected rankings

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team   Pts      Avge   Highest Rating
  34      (+18)    Matt Renshaw   Aus      595*!   59.14   595 v Ind at Pune 2017
  46      (+11)    Lokesh Rahul    Ind       518*!   38.30   518 v Aus at Pune 2017
  61=    (+27)    Mitchell Starc    Aus      446!     25.36   446 v Ind at Pune 2017
  94      (+3)      Mitchell Marsh   Aus      337*    22.79   340 v SL at Colombo (SSC) 2016

Bowlers (top 10)

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team   Pts      Avge    Highest Rating
   1       ( - )       R. Ashwin         Ind       878      25.07    904 v Eng at Mumbai 2016
   2=     ( - )       R.Jadeja           Ind       860      24.25    879 v Eng at Chennai 2016
            (+1)      J. Hazlewood    Aus      860!     24.72    860 v Ind at Pune 2017
   4       ( - )       R. Herath          SL        827      28.31    867 v Zim at Harare 2016
   5       ( - )       K. Rabada        SA        821*!   21.76   821 v SL at Johannesburg 2017
   6       ( - )       Dale Steyn        SA        819      22.30   909 v WI at Centurion 2014
   7       ( - )       J. Anderson      Eng      810      28.50   884 v SL at Durham 2016
   8       ( - )       Stuart Broad     Eng      803      28.54   880 v SA at Johannesburg 2016
   9       ( - )       V. Philander      SA        798      21.40   912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013
  10      ( - )       Mitchell Starc    Aus      777      28.16   805 v Pak at Brisbane 2016

Other selected rankings

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team   Pts      Avge    Highest Rating
  29      (+33)    Steve O'Keefe   Aus      507*!   20.34   507 v Ind at Pune 2017
  30      (+4)      Umesh Yadav   Ind       501*    36.83   509 v WI at Antigua 2016

All-rounders (top five)

Rank    (+/-)      Player              Team   Pts      Highest Rating
   1       ( - )       R. Ashwin         Ind       448      493 v Eng at Mohali 2016
   2       ( - )       S. Al Hasan       Ban      441      443 v NZ at Christchurch 2017
   3       ( - )       R. Jadeja          Ind       372      407 v Ban at Hyderabad 2017
   4       (+3)      Mitchell Starc    Aus      347!     347 v Ind at Pune 2017
   5       (-1)       Ben Stokes       Eng      327 /*  351 v Ind at Mohali 2016

*indicates provisional rating; a batsman qualifies for a full rating after playing 40 Test innings; a bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets.
!indicates career-highest rating
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