India vs Sri Lanka World Cup final: It’s Sachin versus Murali on the D-Day

first_imgThey were the hot favourites and they have made it to the summit – Yes, it’s India vs Sri Lanka World Cup final. And Sachin Tendulkar on his home ground, bidding for a first title in six trips to the World Cup, will take on Muttiah Muralitharan, aiming to win it again in his last game for Sri Lanka. PhotosAnother contest on the cards is Lasith Malinga vs Virender Sehwag. Both are experts in their art. Tendulkar will be under enormous pressure, with India desperate to end a 28-year wait for its second World Cup title and become the first country to win it on home soil. Tendulkar, who will be 38 next month and is showing no signs of being slowed by age, made his first-class debut at Wankhede Stadium – venue for the final – in 1998 and has been in the international arena for two decades.He has scored more runs than any batsman ever – more than 18,000 in ODIs alone – and is one shy of his 100th hundred in international cricket. His nearest rival, recently deposed Australian captain Ricky Ponting, is next on the list with 69.Tendulkar narrowly missed his century of centuries in India’s 29-run semi-final win over archrival Pakistan, but he was dropped four times and had an lbw decision overturned. Such a streaky innings wouldn’t have done the most elegant of batsmen justice.Besides, it adds even more drama to the tournament final in the thriving financial and entertainment hub, home to India’s Bollywood.advertisement”Going back to Mumbai, especially for this event, is a wonderful occasion,” Tendulkar said. “And all I want to say is, we want to be calm, focus on our job and get the job done.”Muralitharan, hobbling and doubtful with a host of nagging injuries, won the World Cup at the age of 23 when Sri Lanka stunned the cricket establishment by winning the premier limited-overs title with a seven-wicket over the Australians at Lahore in 1996.Since then, he has taken more wickets in tests and limited-overs cricket than anyone in history. And he only needs three more to equal Australian pace great Glenn McGrath’s record 71 World Cup wickets.He had his perfect Colombo send off when he took a wicket with his final ball on home soil in Sri Lanka’s semifinal win over New Zealand, when he was hoisted onto his teammates’ shoulders and later did a lap of honor with the national flag.Muralitharan has been through many trials and tribulations, not least when he was no-balled for using what umpires considered an illegal bowling action on his first tour to Australia, so he’s unlikely to let hamstring, groin and side strains stop him rolling in for his last 10 overs of off spin.”Chances are good that Murali will play,” Sri Lanka’s Australian-born coach Trevor Bayliss said Thursday. “He completed 10 overs in the semifinal, and such is the character of the man that he will play even with discomfort.” Sri Lanka’s other injury concern is allrounder Angelo Mathews, who left the field late in the semifinal with a muscle strain.Just in case, though, Sri Lanka is sending veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas and off-spinner Suraj Randiv to Mumbai on standby.The only other concern for Sri Lanka is a lack of time at the crease for its middle order. The Sri Lankans have three of the top five scorers in the tournament, led by opener Tillakaratne Dilshan. Skipper Kumar Sangakkara is also in superb touch at No. 3 and as wicketkeeper.India’s batting is undoubtedly its strength, but the bowling attack did well to defend 260 at Mohali, with all five bowlers taking two wickets apiece.This is the first all-Asian final, and probably the hardest to pick because the combinations match up well.One thing in India’s favor has been its tougher run to the final, following the must-win group match against the West Indies with a big quarterfinal win over three-time defending champion Australia and then ousting Pakistan in a blockbuster semifinal. If India wins on Saturday, it will have beaten every former World Cup champion to capture the title.”It’s important to peak at the right time,” skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the victory over Pakistan. “Throughout the tournament we didn’t have any easy games. Every game we had, we had to struggle. All in all, we’re ready for the finals.”In Sri Lanka’s favor is its World Cup record against India, with four wins from their six completed matches.In India, Sri Lanka is two from two, after winning both the group match and the semifinal final here in 1996, the latter finishing in sensational circumstances.advertisementThe Sri Lankans were awarded the match at Calcutta by default after the 100,000 strong crowd rioted when it became obvious that India would struggle to win. Chasing 252, India was 120 for eight in the 35th over when ICC match referee Clive Lloyd took the teams off the field and then decided to abandon the match when there was more crowd trouble.There’s unlikely to be any repeat of that disturbance, with strict security in place and Wankhede reduced to just over 30,000 in a recently completed refurbishment.With AP inputslast_img read more

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Manipulative, lying, cheat: Mithali Raj’s manager lashes out at Harmanpreet Kaur

first_imgMithali Raj’s exclusion from the Indian squad in the semi-final of Women’s World T20 against England shocked one and all and now her manager Annisha Gupta has directed harsh words at India captain Harmanpreet Kaur.Mithali Raj had been in brilliant form — scoring two half centuries and winning two player-of-the-match awards in the two matches she batted in. Mithali had not played India’s final group match against Australia, which they won by a massive 48 runs, because she was unwell.Her omission on Friday though happened because the Indian team management and Harmanpreet wanted to stick with the “winning combination”.However, it turned out to be anything but that as India were bundled out for a mere 112 runs and England easily chased it down to win the match by eight wickets and set up a final against Australia.Fans had taken to social media to raise serious questions on the thought process behind the move but Mithali’s manager Annisha had bitter words to throw at Harmanpreet.”Unfortunately @BCCIWomen believes in politics not sport. After witnessing what @M_Raj03 ‘s experience could do in IndvIre it’s shocking that they went with what pleases @ImHarmanpreet -a manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain,” Annisha tweeted.In another tweeted, she labelled Harmanpreet as “manipulative, lying, cheat”.India vs England, Women’s World T20 Semis: Highlights | ReportHowever, Annisha’s account on Twitter by the handle ‘@annishasays’ has now been deleted.Annisha though confirmed to ESPNCricinfo that the tweets had been done by her and shot words at the management once more by saying “now that the matches are being telecast, we can see who is performing and who is not”.advertisement”I’d like to say that I don’t know what is going on on the inside but, now that the matches are being telecast, we can see who is performing and who is not,” Annisha has been quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.”And we can see the kind of treatment that Mithali has received despite her brilliant performance and despite showing stability and consistency. The kind of treatment she has received is completely uncalled for and there is something deeper than we need to look at than just the statements that have been coming out.”There are statements coming out that they wanted to give younger cricketers a chance but you don’t drop your senior-most, most experienced players in a semi-final against a country like England. It goes beyond giving the youngsters a chance.”Harmanpreet, after the match, had said that she did not regret dropping Mithali from the team and she was proud of the way the girls played in the tournament.”Whatever we decided, we decided for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, no regrets. I’m proud of the way my girls played through the tournament. This is a learning curve for us because we are a young team,” Harmanpreet said at the post match presentation ceremony.Annisha did accept that she was extremely angry and perhaps that’s why she tweeted the way she did but she stuck to saying “it comes from the right place”.”Maybe I was a little angry but I think it comes from the right place because I don’t stand for unfair treatment. The kind of favouritism that has been shown is very apparent. I think everybody can see the kind of favouritism that is being shown to certain members of the team.”Even former player Sanjay Manjrekar and various fans had said that India missed the experience of Mithali Raj on the big stage on Friday and on a slow pitch like that, having Mithali in the team would have been a big advantage.”It’s not a pitch where you can hit through the line and fetch boundaries. Mithali Raj would have been ideal on this pitch. Wrong move by India to drop Mithali,” Sanjay Manjrekar had tweeted.ALSO READ | Women’s World T20: Mithali’s exclusion raises questions after India’s semi-final lossAlso watch –last_img read more

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