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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cricket update - Will India win at Kingsmead - the Ranji Semis line up

For a Sports lover, Test Cricket offers pristine glory and entertainment. The two tests of Boxing day are ending differently.    At Melbourne, Aussies are staring at the barrel after been bundled out for a sub 100 total in their first essay.

The Kingsmead Durban was differently feared – with so much of grass that prompted the Indian spinner to be the field for grazing goats.  The greenery generated expectations of an Indian failure and the first day saw Indians struggling  - Dhoni’s 12th loss in 13 ensured that Indians had to face the fury on a greentop and ended up at 165 for 6 with a thin ray of hope.

The second day was disastrous – 18 wickets tumbling – first Indians were all out for 205 – Steyn ending up 6/50.  SA started off well – 45/1 at one stage to 102/8 and finally caving in for 131.   Zaheer provided the breakthrough and Harbhajan sealed with 4/10.   Back again, Sehwag blistered for a shortwhile but once he fell, India lost 4 wickets quickly and were 56/4 at one stage.  Laxman and Cheteshwar Pujara brought some semblance of order and survived the day, before another stop due to bad light.  Now the Test hinges on fine balance………… and Indian supporters sensing a comeback win.

Followers of domestic cricket in India know well that Ranji is all about Mumbai.  But this season’s (2010-11) line-up is far different. It is going to be :

Rajasthan v Tamil Nadu in Jaipur,          January 3-6, 2011
Baroda     v  Karnataka in Vadodara,       January 3-6, 2011

The discarded Pankaj Singh had his moment of glory under the sun taking six wickets.  Rajasthan had finished at the bottom of Plate division last year and Mumbai were the winners of the trophy last year.   But Rajasthan scored 589 with centuries from Saxena, Kanitkar and Menaria and Pankaj Singh bowled them out for 252 thus ensuring a first innings lead.  Generally in domestic, the team playing first piles up strong total and Mumbai is always known for its batting prowess. This time Wasim Jaffer won the toss and elected to bat which proved their undoing.  Thus the 39 time champions are not in the race for the trophy this year.  It is a real moment of glory for  Rajasthan for this is the first time they have taken first innings lead over Mumbai in 50 years.

At Rohtak, Haryana scored 379/6 and declared its innings and in a match not going its full length due to weather, the entry was determined by faster run rate.  TN were through with 285/6 in 79 overs  with ICL player Rajagopal Sathish making a  valuable century.  The rule was that if 30 overs had not been bowled, the team with the higher net run rate from the league stage would have been through, which again was Tamilnadu.

In the other runups, Baroda beat Railways by virtue of first innings lead and  Karnataka gained an outright win against Madhya Pradesh though they were stretched for some time.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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