Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Arsenal vs Barcelona: 12 match facts - Champions League Crunch Match

Match facts

  1. Arsenal, who finished second in Group F behind Bayern Munich, are the only team alongside Real Madrid to have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League every season since the new format in 2003/04. They have however been knocked out in the last 16 in each of the last five seasons.
  2. Barcelona, who finished top of Group E ahead of Roma, have made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 12th consecutive campaign. They have reached the semi-finals in seven of the last eight campaigns. The only exception was in 2013/14 season, when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid.
  3. Barcelona have won the Champions League in four of the last 10 seasons. No other team has won it more than once in the same period. They could become the first team since AC Milan to win back-to-back European Cup/Champions League titles. The Rossoneri did it in 1989 & 1990.
  4. Barcelona have come out on top in each of their three previous Champions League home & away knockout encounters with Arsenal: 2006 final (2-1), 2009/10 quarter-final (6-3 on agg.) and 2010/11 Last 16 (4-3 on agg.).
  5. Arsenal and Barcelona’s seven previous Champions League encounters have produced 27 goals, an average of 3.86 per game.
  6. Arsenal have lost their Last 16 home tie in each of the previous three seasons, every time by a two goal margin (v Bayern Munich in 2012/13 and 2013/14, v Monaco in 2014/15).
  7. Arsenal have scored in their last 13 Champions League games, their best run since their 21 games in a row from October 2003 to November 2005.
  8. Barcelona have won 15 of their 19 Champions League games since last season (D2 L2). They’ve also never failed to score in those 19 games.
  9. Barcelona are one of two clubs still unbeaten in the Champions League this season, the other being Real Madrid.
  10. Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in 58.3% of Arsenal’s Champions League goals this season, scoring three times and delivering four assists.
  11. Neymar has scored seven goals in his last five Champions League knockout games.
  12. Lionel Messi has scored six goals in four Champions League games against Arsenal. However, he has yet to score at the Emirates with Barcelona.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 - Warm-up Schedule and Match timings

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced the match timings and warm-up schedule of the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, which be staged at eight venues in India from 8 March to 3 April.
The men’s afternoon matches will take place from 15h00-18h10, while the evening matches will be played from 19h30-22h40. The semi-finals and the final will be held from 19h00-22h10.
The women’s afternoon matches will be played from 15h30-18h15, while the evening matches will take place from 19h30-22h15. The semi-finals and the finals, which will be played before the men’s matches, will be played between 14h30-17h15.
Meanwhile, the ICC has also announced the schedule of the warm-up matches.
Teams taking part in the first round will play their warm-up matches in Dharamsala and Mohali from 3-6 March, while sides featuring in the second round will play warm-up matches in Kolkata and Mumbai from 10-15 March.
The women’s warm-up matches will take place in Bengaluru and Chennai from 10-14 March.
Warm-up match schedule (men’s)
3 Mar – Zimbabwe v local side, HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala (15h00); Ireland v Hong Kong*, HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala (19h30)
4 Mar – Netherlands v local side, Sector-16, Mohali (15h00); Scotland v Oman*, IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali (19h30)
5 Mar – Ireland v Zimbabwe, HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala (15h00); Bangladesh v Hong Kong*, HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala (19h30)
6 Mar – Scotland v Netherlands, Sector-16, Mohali (15h00); Oman v Afghanistan*, IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali (19h30)
10 Mar – New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (19h30); India v West Indies, Eden Gardens, Kolkata (19h30)
12 Mar – New Zealand v England, BKC, Mumbai (15h00); Pakistan v local side, JU, Kolkata (15h00); India v South Africa, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (19h30)
13 Mar – Australia v West Indies, Eden Gardens, Kolkata (19h30)
14 Mar – England v local side, BKC, Mumbai (15h00); Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Eden Gardens, Kolkata (15h00)
15 Mar – South Africa v local side, BKC, Mumbai (15h00)
*If Afghanistan, Hong Kong or Oman reach the second round of the Asia Cup, then their warm-up matches will be rescheduled accordingly.
Warm-up match schedule (women’s)
10 Mar – India v Ireland, M. Chinnaswamy, Bengaluru (15h00); Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, M. Chinnaswamy, Bengaluru (19h30); New Zealand v Pakistan, MA Chidambaram, Chennai (19h30)
12 Mar – Bangladesh v Ireland, M. Chinnaswamy, Bengaluru (15h00-18h15); Sri Lanka v India, M. Chinnaswamy, Bengaluru (19h30); New Zealand v England, Guru Nanak, Chennai (15h00); Pakistan v South Africa, MA Chidambaram, Chennai (19h30)
14 Mar – West Indies v Australia, Guru Nanak, Chennai (15h00); South Africa v England, MA Chidambaram, Chennai (19h30)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dhoni files defamation case against Hindi daily for match-fixing allegations

MS Dhoni, reportedly, has sued the publishers of Hindi Daily Sun Star for damages up to Rs 100 crores on account of defamation, trauma, and mental agony.

A sting operation done by Sun Star accused the Indian captain MS Dhoni of fixing the Manchester Test match during India’s tour to England in 2014.

Sun Star quoted Sunil Dev, who was a manager of the Indian team on England tour in 2014, alleged that the Indian captain had fixed a Test match and had purposely chosen to bat on a wet wicket, in spite of deciding in a team meeting that India would choose to field first, should the toss be won. The Test match was lost by India in under three days by an innings and 54 runs.

Sunil Dev, the former DDCA secretary, however, rubbished allegations of accusing Indian limited-overs captain after the news came out.

Reacting to the report, Dhoni’s Delhi-based lawyers C&C Associates have sent a nine-page legal notice.

“The said video contains footage of an absolute dubious sting operation of the aforementioned Sunil Dev, which in the present circumstances is nothing but a false propaganda initiated by you to defame my client”, the notice says.

“In fact, the so called Indian cricket official (Sunil Dev) who you have credited to be the source of information has strongly denied the incident.” Dhoni’s lawyers (Rajneesh Chopra and Pratik Malik) have asked the publishers to issue denials to the report in the next 48-hours or face a legal case against them.”

“Our client (Dhoni) reserves the right to institute proceedings for the recovery of damages up to Rs 100 Crores from you on account of the defamation, mental agony and trauma caused to him due to this by causing loss of his reputation,”  the notice continues.

Cricket Tracker

Luis Enrique's Barcelona set new unbeaten record, over takes Pep's Barca

After drawing with Valencia, the current Barca side have now gone 29 games without suffering defeat in all competitions, the longest run in the history of the club.

Pep Guardiola's long-standing unbeaten record in charge of Barcelona has been broken after the current Barca side struck late in the Copa del Rey to extend their streak to 29 games.

The previous record was set by Guardiola's all-conquering Barca side in the 2010-11 season, his penultimate year at the club, but Luis Enrique's MSN-led team drew level with the 28-match benchmark after Sunday's 2-0 win over Levante.

The Catalans appeared to be heading for defeat at the Mestalla on Wednesday night after Alvaro Negredo gave Valencia the lead, but substitute Wilfrid Kaptoum came off the bench to score the all-important goal that breaks the record.

It was the 19-year-old's first strike for the club and means Barca have now put together 23 wins and six draws in all competitions since they last lost a match, all the way back on October 3 against Sevilla.

The two sides are likely to do battle again in the final of the Copa del Rey, with Unai Emery's men boasting a commanding lead over Celta Vigo in the second semi-final.

During Barcelona's incredible unbeaten run, they have reached the final of the domestic cup, progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League and moved to the top of the Liga table - they are three points clear with a game in hand.

During the 130-day run, Barcelona scored a mind-boggling 87 goals and conceded just 15, with Luis Suarez top-scoring over the four-month period with 30 goals (Lionel Messi follows in second place with 18).

Next up for Barcelona is Celta, who face Sevilla on Thursday night, who pose a serious threat to their unbeaten record after beating the Catalan club in the reverse fixture in September.


Barca breaks record and cruises into Copa Del Rey Final after Draw

​FC Barcelona stretch their unbeaten run to an amazing 29 games on their way to a sixth Copa del Rey Final in eight years​.

After drawing 1-1 in Valencia on Wednesday night, Barça have not only made it through to the Copa del Rey final for an impressive sixth time in eight years, but they have also set a new record in Spanish football by going 29 official matches without defeat.

With a seven-goal head start, the Catalans were effectively  through to final before a ball had been kicked at Mestalla, so it was little surprise that Luis Enrique opted to rest players for more decisive matches, including all three of the famous trident. All the same, the only reserve team player included in the starting eleven was Sergi Samper on the right of the midfield.

Quiet match

Played in front of a half-empty stadium, in a mood that often felt more like a pre-season friendly than a cup semi-final, the game was never going to be a classic. Barça provided most of the early football, with Munirand Rakitic coming closest to scoring, but as the first half progressed Valencia became more and more active.

Piatti and Villalba had both had chances for the home side before the 39th minute when Negredo was put through one-on-one with Ter Stegen. His attempted chip bounced off the German keeper's chest and back into his path, and Barça's lead had been cut to six. That was the only goal of a drama-free first 45 minutes.

The second half didn't produce too much in the way of action either. It took 20 minutes for anything to truly test either of the defences, a wonderful move by Rakitic to slip through two men but his shot was fired directly at Valencia keeper Jaume. Shortly after Ter Stegen was called into action to deny Danilo with the finest save of the night.

Kaptoum helps make history
As the minutes ticked by without major incident, Rakitic, Adriano and Sandro were replaced by Douglas,Cámara and Kaptoum. And the same three substitutes, in that order, were involved in Barça's equaliser after 84 minutes, the Cameroonian converting Cámara's cross with practically his first touch of the ball.

The goal meant nothing in terms of the outcome of the semi-final, but it did ensure yet another historic accomplishment by this amazing Barça side. It meant that they have now gone for a staggering 29 official matches without defeat, an all-time record in Spanish football!​​

Barcelona FC

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

One FC Barcelona FC star has been offered €100 MILLION to be China's marquee signing...

RUMOURS: Chinese club target ambitious €100m offer for Barcelona's Arda Turan.

Beijing Guoan, who signed Burak Yilmaz earlier this month, are hoping to land the Turkey international before their February 26 transfer deadline.
Beijing Guoan are lining up an ambitious move for Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan, according to sports.sohu.

The report claims that Beijing Guoan, who finished fourth in the Chinese Super League last year, are willing to give the 29-year-old a contract worth €100 million over five years.

Arda only made his debut for Barcelona is January due to the club’s transfer ban, even though he official joined from Atletico Madrid last summer.

Arda’s fellow Turkey international Burak Yilmaz was signed by Beijing Guoan earlier this month.

Beijing Guoan reportedly offered the midfielder €100million over five seasons, but his representative says he is not leaving Barcelona

Barcelona star Arda Turan has not received a lucrative offer from China, according to the midfielder's agent Ahmet Bulut.

Media reports suggested Chinese Super League outfit Beijing Guoan were prepared to offer Arda €20million per season on a five-year deal.

The Turkey international only made his debut for Spanish and European champions Barca in January following a €34m move from fellow La Liga side Atletico Madrid in the off-season.

Ronaldo to leave Real Madrid?

The end is in sight for Ronaldo at Real Madrid..

The Portuguese picked up his third Pichichi prize at an event in the capital on Monday, but admitted he doesn't know how long he will remain at the Santiago Bernabeu

Another award for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese picked up the prestigious Pichichi prize for the third time on Monday, but hinted he may not be at Real Madrid beyond the expiration of his current contract in 2018. "Two more years and then we'll see," he said.

Since moving from Manchester United to Madrid in 2009, he has already gone on to become the club's all-time top goalscorer. That honour arrived earlier this season as he overcame Raul's record of 323 strikes and he was celebrating his ability to put the ball in the net again on Monday.

Leading figures from the football world were present at Madrid's Teatro Goya to see Ronaldo receive his third Pichichi prize for finishing as La Liga's top scorer in 2014-15 - the 48 goals in 35 games he hit last season his best return yet in the Primera Division.

So Cristiano has now won the award as many times as Barcelona's Lionel Messi. This term, however, he has competition from several other players. Ronaldo (19) is level with club colleague Karim Benzema and one behind Barca's Luis Suarez (20), with Neymar (16) not far back. Messi, meanwhile, has 12 after spending almost two months on the sidelines between September and November.

And even if Ronaldo retains the trophy this time next year, it is unclear how many he can win. The Portuguese is out of contract in 2018 and said on Monday: "I will stay for two more years and then we'll see."

Coach Zinedine Zidane dismissed doubts over Cristiano's future recently when he said: "As long as I am here, he'll be here as well." That, however, is no guarantee of longevity because Madrid coaches rarely get more than two or three seasons - especially under current club chief Florentino Perez.

Carlo Ancelotti is the best example of that and the Italian coach was present at the MARCA ceremony on Monday to pick up an award for his success as coach last year - even though a failure to claim a major trophy in the second part of the campaign ultimately cost him his job.

Ronaldo and Ancelotti embraced affectionately outside the theatre, the two men still close after leading Real to La Decima in 2013-14. But the Italian is now part of the club's past - and the Portuguese may no longer represent the long-term future for Madrid either.

Ronaldo's remarkable record in front of goal has continued this term, with 30 goals in 29 matches so far in 2015-16. But a failure to convert against top teams like Barcelona, Atletico, Paris Saint-Germain and more, plus an inability to influence outside the area and a noticeable decline physically show quite clearly that he is no longer the player he was in his early years at the Bernabeu.

Madrid, of course, are now banned from signing players for two transfer windows. With the sanction suspended during the appeal process, Real should be allowed to complete deals in the summer, but they will be unable to strengthen their squad again after that until January 2018.

And by then, replacing Ronaldo is likely to be top of their list of priorities. Because he is already slightly past his physical peak and at the age of 33, the time may just be right for the two parties to go their separate ways. In addition, failure to add more collective trophies to his underwhelming total of seven since 2009 could also hasten his departure.

So while Cristiano has been brilliant by and large for Madrid these past seven seasons and Monday's award was another reminder of his extraordinary goalscoring skills, it now appears the end may be in sight for the prolific Portuguese at Real. And much like the player himself, his club will surely be thinking along similar lines. "Two more years and then we'll see."


Monday, February 8, 2016

​India, Sri Lanka set for exciting semi-final - #U19CWC

​    ​

  • ·       India coach Rahul Dravid: "Need to bring A game to the party"

·       Sri Lanka coach Roger Wijesuriya: "We have nothing to fear"

Rahul Dravid-coached India will rely on its all-round strengths to put it across buoyant Sri Lanka in the first semi-final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2016 in Mirpur on Tuesday.

The power-packed Indians breezed through Group D with an all-win record against New Zealand, Nepal and Ireland, before crushing Namibia by 197 runs in the quarter-final.

Sri Lanka bounced back after a 23-run defeat to Pakistan in the last Group B match to stun a strong England side by six wickets in the quarter-final.

The in-form India side is rated as favourite, having won a tri-series in Sri Lanka last December, which also featured England, but Dravid refused to take victory for granted.

"We know what to expect from them," said Dravid. "They have a couple of seamers and a lot of good spinners. They bowl a lot of spin. Having said that, they also know what to expect from us.

"It should be a good contest. We have been playing very good cricket of late and the lead-up to the tournament was good.

"We need to play well, irrespective of whether we bat or bowl first. If we play good cricket and bring our A game to the party, we will give ourselves a good chance to win."

India's batting has been led by aggressive left-handed opener Rishabh Pant, who followed a 18-ball half-century against Nepal with 111 off 96 balls in the quarter-final.

Sarfaraz Khan has shored up the middle-order with three half-centuries in four matches.

Seamer Avesh Khan, with nine wickets in the tournament, and left-arm spinner Mahipal Lomror (seven) have led a steady Indian attack that has bowled out the rivals in three of the four matches. Ireland's 189 all out has been the highest total against India so far.

Sri Lanka coach Roger Wijesuriya said his side's impressive win over England left him optimistic about the semi-final.

"India is a strong side, a good all-round side," said Wijesuriya. "We know their strengths. I know Indians play spin well but spin bowling is our strength and we will stick to that.

"If we play the way we did against England, there is no reason why we can't turn the semi-final in our favour.

"Our batsmen did not do well against Pakistan, but they showed up against England to back our bowlers and fielders. The batting has improved which is a good sign.

"We will take on the Indians with a lot of confidence. We have nothing to fear. It should be a very good game."

The winner will meet either host Bangladesh or the West Indies in the final on 14 February.

India will feature in its seventh semi-final, having won the tournament thrice. Sri Lanka, looking for their maiden title, will be appearing in its third semi-final.

When the tournament was last held in Bangladesh in 2004, Pakistan won the title defeating the West Indies in the final. India finished third and Sri Lanka was fifth.

​West Indies stuns Pakistan by five wickets to enter semi-finals

West Indies stuns Pakistan by five wickets to enter semi-finals

Umaid's brilliant 113 goes in vain as half-centuries by Hetmyer and Imlach help the Windies chase down Pakistan's 227 with 10 overs to spare

·       West Indies squares off against host Bangladesh in second semi-final on Thursday

·       India meets Sri Lanka in Tuesday's first semi-final on Tuesday

Hetmyer and Imlach

Skipper Shimron Hetmyer and Tevin Imlach hit half-centuries as the West Indies upset Pakistan by five wickets to cruise into the semi-finals of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Bangladesh on Monday.

Hetmyer scored 52 and Imlach made 54 to ensure a gallant 113 by Umaid Masood went in vain as the West Indies surpassed Pakistan's 227 for six with 10 overs to spare in Fatullah.

The West Indies take on host Bangladesh in the second semi-final in Mirpur on Thursday. India plays Sri Lanka in the first semi-final at the same venue on Tuesday.

Pakistan's defeat prevented an all-Asian semi-final despite Umaid's man of the match-winning performance, but the West Indies played better all-round cricket to emerge deserved winner.

Umaid came to the crease in the 15th over with Pakistan struggling at 40 for four and rebuilt the innings in the company of Salman Fayyaz after half the side was back in the hut by the 21st over.

Umaid, who had scored 13 not out and 10 in previous matches in the tournament, hit 15 boundaries and two sixes before he was out in the final over.

Salman remained unbeaten on a defiant half-century, which included three hits to the fence and a six.

The revival came after a two-wicket burst by seamer Chemar Holder and fiery fast bowling by Alzarri Joseph, who conceded just 28 runs in his 10 overs.

Once Joseph's spell finished in the 36th over, Pakistan added a further 109 runs to set the West Indies a challenging target.

The Caribbean flair was evident as the West Indies raced to 100 for one by the 16th over.

Hetmyer and Imlach put on 77 for the second wicket to take the score to 122 for one, before two needless run outs saw the total slip to 147 for four.

Shamar Springer was the fifth batsman to fall for 37 when 38 runs were still needed for victory, but Jyd Goolie (26 not out) and Keemo Paul (24 not out) saw their side home.

"This is a wonderful result for us," said Hetmyer. "It feels good to be through to the semi-finals.

"We just stuck to our plans and executed what we had worked on at practice. It was probably a good toss to lose because our bowlers did very well to take those early wickets."

Pakistan's captain Zeeshan Malik congratulated the West Indies, but felt his team should have defended its score.

"Our plan had been to get around 235 because we had the bowlers who were capable of defending it," he said. "I thought we put up a good score despite the poor start.

"But I must give credit to the West Indies batsmen for playing so aggressively and chasing down the target."

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe upset the tournament's defending champion South Africa by eight wickets to enter the Plate Championship final for teams that finished outside the top eight.

Left-arm seamer Richard Ngarava grabbed four for 10 in nine overs as South Africa was shot out for 91, a modest target that Zimbabwe overtook in 22 overs after an unbeaten 34 from Jeremy Ives.

Zimbabwe will take on the winner of the other semi-final between Afghanistan and New Zealand in the final on 12 February.

In a play-off for minor placings, Scotland defeated Fiji by 76 runs in another Plate match in Cox's Bazar.

Scores in brief:
Super League quarter-final: West Indies beat Pakistan by five wickets in Fatullah
Pakistan 227-6, 50 overs (Umaid Masood 113, Salman Fayyaz 58 not out; Chemar Holder 2-26)
West Indies 229-5, 40 overs (Tevin Imlach 54, Shimron Hetmyer 52, Shamar Springer 37)

Plate Championship semi-final: Zimbabwe beat South Africa by eight wickets in Cox's Bazar
South Africa 91 all out, 39.5 overs (Rivaldo Moonsamy 32; Richard Ngarava 4-10, Rugare Magarira 2-11)
Zimbabwe 94-2, 22 overs (Jeremy Ives 34 not out, Ryan Murray 26 not out)

Plate Championship play-off (13th place): Scotland beat Fiji by 76 runs in Cox's Bazar
Scotland 225 all out, 48.1 overs (Finlay McCreath 60, Owais Shah 39; Cakacaka Tikoisuva 4-46)
Fiji 149 all out, 42.2 overs (Peni Vuniwaqa 80; Cameron Sloman 3-30, Finlay McCreath 3-48)

Forthcoming matches
9 Feb - India v Sri Lanka, Mirpur (Super League semi-final)
9 Feb - New Zealand v Afghanistan, Cox's Bazar (Plate Championship semi-final)
9 Feb – Nepal v Pakistan, Fatullah (5th place play/off semi-final)
10 Feb – England v Namibia, Fatullah (5th place play/off semi-final)
10 Feb – Ireland v Scotland, Cox's Bazar (13th/14th place play/off)
11 Feb - Bangladesh v West Indies, Mirpur (Super League semi-final)
11 Feb – 7th place play/off, Fatullah (teams TBC)
11 Feb – Canada v Fiji, Cox's Bazar (15th /16th place play/off)

New Zealand Captain Baz - Brendon McCullum's Last ODI innings

New Zealand Captain Baz - Brendon McCullum's Last ODI innings.

Baz scored a quick fire 47 off 27 balls with 3 Sixes and 6 fours in New Zealand's win over Australia.
Today's win gave New Zealand the series win and Chappell - Hadlee Trophy too.

​India puts its number-one ranking on the line - Series winner will be the Number 1 T20 Team !!!!

India puts its number-one ranking on the line

ICC World Twenty20 2016 host India and defending champion Sri Lanka go head to head in a three-match T20 International series in Pune on Wednesday with the number-one ranking on the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Championship table up for grabs.

India, which vaulted seven places to first after sweeping aside Australia last week, needs to win the series against Sri Lanka to retain the coveted position. In contrast, Sri Lanka will also aim to win the series, which will help it leapfrog India and the West Indies into the top spot.

With the ICC World Twenty20 2016 starting in less than four weeks, this series is extremely crucial for both sides. India and Sri Lanka will not only aim to find the winning combination and momentum, but also target entering the tournament as the number-one ranked side, which will serve as an additional confidence-booster.

Following this series, India and Sri Lanka will feature in the Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh before launching their ICC World Twenty20 campaigns on 15 and 17 March respectively. Sri Lanka will defend the title it won in Bangladesh in 2014 in the tournament to be staged from 8 March to 3 April, while India will try to repeat its ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 glory when it lifted the most prestigious trophy in the sport in front of its fans in Mumbai.

The following are the series permutations:

  • If India wins 3-0 – India (1st) 127; Sri Lanka (7th) 112
  • If India wins 2-1 – India (1st) 122; Sri Lanka (4th) 116
  • If Sri Lanka wins 2-1 – India (3rd) 117; Sri Lanka (1st) 121
  • If Sri Lanka wins 3-0 – India (7th) 112; Sri Lanka (1st) 125

The MRF Tyres ICC T20I predictor function is available here here.

Meanwhile, India has rested number-one ranked T20I batsman Virat Kohli, which means his team-mate Suresh Raina will start as the highest-ranked batsman in 13th position. Other batsmen featuring inside the top 20 include Tillakaratne Dilshan (14th), Rohit Sharma (17th) and Yuvraj Singh (20th).

India captain MS Dhoni is 38th, 108 points behind Yuvraj, while Shikhar Dhawan is 87th and Ajinkya Rahane 89th.

Among bowlers, India's Ravichandran Ashwin will start in second place, 81 points behind number-one ranked Sunil Narine of the West Indies, while Lasith Malinga is sixth, Nuwan Kulasekara is 10th and Ravindra Jadeja is 18th.

Bowlers outside the top 20 include Bhuvneshwar Kumar (38th), Harbhajan Singh (56th), Thisara Perera (59th) and Dilshan (104th).

In the all-rounders' list, Yuvraj will enter the series in seventh position, 15 points behind fifth-ranked Mathews, who has been rested. Australia's Shane Watson is ranked number one, 89 points ahead of Yuvraj.

Series schedule:

India v Sri Lanka
9 Feb – 1st T20I, Pune
12 Feb – 2nd T20I, Ranchi
14 Feb – 3rd T20I, Visakhapatnam

MRF Tyres ICC T20I Championship (as of 7 February, before the start of India-Sri Lanka series)

RANK            TEAM                        POINTS
1          India                120
2          West Indies     118
3          Sri Lanka         118
4          England           117
5          New Zealand  116
6          South Africa   115
7          Pakistan           113
8          Australia          110
9          Afghanistan    80
10        Scotland          69
11        Bangladesh     64
12        Hong Kong     62
13        Netherlands     59
14        Zimbabwe       54
15        Ireland             54
16        UAE                14

(Developed by David Kendix)

MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings

Batsmen (top 10)

Rank      Player                   Team     Pts          Ave         HS Rating
   1           Virat Kohli            Ind          892         50.62     897 v Eng at Edgbaston 2014
   2           Aaron Finch          Aus         868         41.61     892 v Ban at Mirpur 2014
   3           Alex Hales            Eng         795         34.71     866 v Ind at Edgbaston 2014
   4           Faf du Plessis        SA           758         39.28     843 v Ban at Mirpur 2015
   5           Martin Guptill       NZ          741         34.70     793 v SA at Hamilton 2012
   6           Kane Williamson NZ          733         36.69     737 v Pak at Hamilton 2016
   7           Chris Gayle           WI          703         35.15     831 v Aus at Colombo (RPS) 2012
   8           H. Masakadza     Zim         699!       31.42     699 v Ban at Khulna 2016
   9           M. Shahzad          Afg         681!       30.86     681 v Zim at Sharjah 2016
  10         Kusal Perera         SL           678*      27.09     751 v SA at Chittagong 2014

Bowlers (top 10)

Rank      Player                   Team     Pts          Avge      Econ      HS Rating
   1           Sunil Narine          WI          773         17.75     5.69       817 v Pak at St. Vincent 2013
   2           R. Ashwin              Ind          692         26.45     7.27       717 v SA at Mirpur 2014
   3           Shahid Afridi        Pak         672         23.90     6.60       814 v SL at Colombo (RPS) 2009
   4           S. Senanayake     SL           671*      17.45     6.19       712 v Eng at The Oval 2014
   5           Graeme Cremer   Zim         669!       16.59     6.72       669 v Ban at Khulna 2016
   6           Lasith Malinga     SL           657         21.02     7.27       684 v WI at Colombo (RPS) 2015
   7           M. McClenaghan NZ          643!       25.80     7.68       643 v Pak at Wellington 2016
   8           Imran Tahir          SA           641*      15.77     6.45       675 v WI at Johannesburg 2015
   9           Dawlat Zadran     Afg         636!       18.83     7.35       636 v Zim at Sharjah 2016
  10         N. Kulasekara      SL           628         23.43     7.25       676 v Aus at Melbourne 2013

All-rounders (top five)

Rank      Player                   Team     Pts          HS Rating
   1           Shane Watson      Aus         363        557 v SA at Colombo (RPS) 2012
   2           Shakib Al Hasan Ban        349        408 v Pak at Mirpur 2015
   3           Shahid Afridi        Pak         330        413 v NZ at Dubai 2009
   4           M. Hafeez             Pak         303        441 v SL at Dubai 2013
   5           Angelo Mathews  SL           289!       289 v NZ at New Plymouth 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sri Lanka spins out England and cruises into Semi Final to face India but Fernando misses century

Fernando misses century as Sri Lanka sets up semi-final date with India

·       England bowled out for 184 after Hasaranga's three for 34

·       Pakistan plays the West Indies in last quarter-final in Fatullah on Monday

Avishka Fernando hit 95 off 96 balls after Wanidu Hasanranga grabbed three wickets as Sri Lanka entered the semi-finals of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2016 with an impressive six-wicket win over England in Mirpur on Sunday.

In an excellent all-round performance, Sri Lanka dismissed the strong England batting for 184 and then surpassed the modest target in the 36th over.

Sri Lanka will take on India in the first semi-final in Mirpur on Tuesday. The second semi-final on Thursday will feature host Bangladesh against the winner of Monday's Pakistan-West Indies match.

This is only the third time Sri Lanka has reached the semi-final of this tournament since its inception in 1988. In the home event in 2000, it reached the final where it lost to Mohammad Kaif's India, while in 2010 in New Zealand, Sri Lanka reached the last four and finished in fourth position.

England failed to match its earlier run-feast in Group C where it raked up totals of 371 for three against Fiji, 282 for seven against the West Indies and 288 for four against Zimbabwe.

Callum Taylor top-scored with 42 after England won the toss and elected to bat, but the rest of the batting fell apart against the sustained pressure applied by the Sri Lanka bowlers.

Leg-spinner Hasaranga finished with three wickets for 34 runs after seamer Asitha Fernando had wrecked the start with two dismissals.

Sri Lanka made a breezy start to its reply, racing to 51 for no loss in eight overs before the lunch break, with Fernando contributing 35 of those runs.

Kaveen Bandara helped Fernando put on 76 for the first wicket by the 14th over when he was run out for 22.

Fernando hit 11 boundaries and a six to steer Sri Lanka towards an emphatic win before he was caught behind off Saqib Mahmood when just 14 runs were needed for victory in 17 overs.

Skipper Charith Asalanka, who put on 69 for the third wicket with Fernando, fell for 34 soon after, but Sri Lanka cruised home easily.

Asalanka said he was delighted to see his team bounce back after losing to Pakistan in the last league match.

"We had not batted well against Pakistan, so it was important to settle down and build big scores, which is what Avishka was able to do today," he said.

"But the bowlers won us the game today. We bowled well and fielded very well too. But the plus point is that we have improved our batting."

Asalanka said Sri Lanka will test India with spin in the semi-final.

"We know India players are good facing spin, but spin is our strength and we will stick to that," he said. "We are confident of doing well in the semi-final."

England captain Brad Taylor said he was disappointed to lose after his team did so well in the league stage.

"I genuinely believe we had an off-day," said Taylor. "You have days when it does not come off. I think Sri Lanka played very well, but on another day, we would back ourselves.

"We expected Sri Lanka to rely on spin, but the batsmen did not stay long enough to build partnerships. We had come here to win the tournament, so obviously we are very disappointed."

In the Plate Championship play-off in Cox's Bazar, Ireland defeated Canada by six wickets to ensure it does not finish amongst the bottom two in the 16-nation tournament.

Rory Anders took four for 21 as Ireland bowled Canada out for 139 and then coasted home in the 35th over with Jack Tector and Stephen Doheny scoring 33 runs each. Gary McClintock remained unbeaten on 31.

Scores in brief:

Super League quarter-final: Sri Lanka beats England by six wickets in Mirpur
England 184 all out, 49.2 overs (Callum Taylor 42, Ben Green 26; Wanidu Hasaranga 3-34, Asitha Fernando 2-16)
Sri Lanka 186-4, 35.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 95, Charith Asalanka 34)

Plate Championship play-off: Ireland beats Canada by six wickets in Cox's Bazar
Canada 139 all out, 48.2 overs (Arslan Khan 47; Rory Anders 4-21)
Ireland 142-4, 34.3 overs (Jack Tector 33, Stephen Doheny 33, Gary McClintock 31 not out)

Forthcoming Super League quarter-finals:
8 Feb – Pakistan v West Indies, Fatullah

Semi-final line-up:
9 Feb – India v England, Mirpur
11 Feb – Bangladesh v Pakistan/West Indies, Mirpur

Plate Championship (play/offs):
8 Feb - South Africa v Zimbabwe, Cox's Bazar; Scotland v Fiji, Cox's Bazar
9 Feb - New Zealand v Afghanistan, Cox's Bazar

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Rishabh Pant and Anmolpreet Singh steer impressive India into semi-finals - #U19CWC

Rishabh Pant and Anmolpreet Singh steer impressive India into semi-finals

·       Pant hits 14 fours and two sixes in a 96-ball 111, Singh scores 41 and takes three for 27

·       Rahul Dravid: "At some stages, I still feel we have not played a perfect game, but this was our best all-round performance"

·       "Before the game started, we spoke about the dangers of being complacent and we wanted to get a win," says former India captain

·       England takes on Sri Lanka on Sunday in Mirpur, Pakistan faces West Indies in Fatullah on Monday

Wicketkeeper/batsman Rishabh Pant hit 111 off 96 balls as power-packed India demolished Namibia by 197 runs in Fatullah on Saturday to cruise into the semi-finals of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.

All-rounder Anmolpreet Singh scored 41 and took three for 27 in his first appearance in the tournament as India piled up 349 for six after electing to bat, and then bowled the African side out for 152 in 39 overs. The match was produced by ICC TV and aired around the world by 15 broadcasters.

Three-time champion India, coached by batting great Rahul Dravid, will take on the winner of Sunday's quarter-final between strong contenders England and Sri Lanka in the first semi-final in Mirpur on 9 February.

The second semi-final between host Bangladesh and the winner between Pakistan and the West Indies on Monday will be played in Mirpur on 11 February.

Dravid said his team had started to play almost perfect cricket. "I think we have played some good cricket right through the tournament. At some stages, I still feel we have not played a perfect game, but this was our best all-round performance.

"We had a few hiccups earlier on in the batting but it is nice to see that we have recovered and we are playing well. We're playing good cricket, focusing on the processes and not worrying too much about the results and things are going well."

Dravid said he had reminded his boys not to be over-confident or complacent. "When you come into knock-out stage, you can't take any team for granted. Namibia put in some very good performances to get here. Before the game started, we spoke about the dangers of being complacent and we wanted to get a win.

"The focus was to win and not about anything else. I am glad that we were able to put on a commanding performance and qualify for the semi-finals."

Pant, the left-handed opener who had scored the fastest 50 in under-19 internationals off 18 balls against Nepal, smashed 14 boundaries and two sixes during his whirlwind 111.

Pant added 103 for the second wicket with Anmolpreet after captain Ishan Kishan had been caught and bowled by Fritz Coetzee for six in the third over.

That set the stage for an Indian assault with former school-mates Sarfaraz Khan and Armaan Jaffar scoring aggressive half-centuries.

Sarfaraz hit a run-a-ball 76 and Armaan made 64 off 55 balls before a late blitz by Mahipal Lomror lifted India to the mammoth total.

Left-handed Lomror took 24 runs in the final over bowled by Coetzee, which included three sixes, as he returned unbeaten on 41 off 21 balls.

Namibia made an impressive start with openers SJ Loftie-Eaton (22) and Niko Davin (33) putting on 59 for the first wicket by the 10th over.

Skipper Zane Green made 27 to lift Namibia to 80 for one, but the rest of the batting caved in as left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar supported his off-break partner Anmolpreet with three wickets for 25 runs.

"We set a good target with Pant leading the way and then fielded and bowled well today," said India captain Kishan.

"It was nice to move into the semi-finals with such a good win. Namibia had a good start, but we needed to stay patient and once the first wicket fell, we applied pressure on their batsmen."

Asked whether India would prefer to face England or the West Indies in the semi-final, Kishan said: "We can fare well against either team. We just need to play to our strengths and do the basics right."

Namibia coach Rangarirai Manyande, whose side upset defending champion South Africa in the league, rued the inability to grab the opportunities that came their way.

"The Indians batted quite nicely," said Manyande. "They batted very aggressively and did not give us a chance. Unfortunately, we could not grab our opportunity once we were 80 for one and that put us on the backfoot.

"We need to improve a lot. We were a little bit tired in the field and when the Indian spinners came on, we were unable to capitalize on the good start we got.

"But the boys are hungry for one more win which can help us finish in the top six."

Scores in brief:

Super League quarter-final: India beat Namibia by 197 runs in Fatullah
India 349-6, 50 overs (Rishabh Pant 111, Sarfaraz Khan 76, Armaan Jaffer 64, Anmolpreet Singh 41, Mahipal Lomror 41 not out; Fritz Coetzee 3-78)
Namibia 152 all out, 39 overs (Niko Davin 33, Zane Green 27, SJ Lofie-Eaton 22; Mayank Dagar 3-25, Anmolpreet Singh 3-27)

Forthcoming Super League quarter-finals:

7 Feb - England v Sri Lanka, Mirpur
8 Feb – Pakistan v West Indies, Fatullah

Semi-final line-up:
9 Feb – India v England/Sri Lanka, Mirpur
11 Feb – Bangladesh v Pakistan/West Indies, Mirpur

Plate Championship (play/offs):
7 Feb - Ireland v Canada, Cox's Bazar
8 Feb - South Africa v Zimbabwe, Cox's Bazar; Scotland v Fiji, Cox's Bazar
9 Feb - New Zealand v Afghanistan, Cox's Bazar

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