Kiwis overcome India

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Brendon McCullum smashed an unbeaten half-century to steer New Zealand to a seven-wicket win over India in their first Twenty20 international in Christchurch yesterday.

McCullum hit three sixes in his 56 not out from 49 balls as the Kiwis cruised past India’s total of 162 for eight with seven balls to spare.

Martin Guptill (41), Ross Taylor (31) and Jacob Oram (29 not out) all chipped in with valuable runs after India’s top-order had crumbled, leaving the world champions defending a modest total.

The tourists were in early trouble when they slumped to 61-5 inside the first eight overs before Suresh Raina rebuilt the innings with an unbeaten 61 off 43 balls, featuring five sixes and two fours.

Handy Support

He received some handy support from Yusuf Pathan, who clubbed three sixes in a row in a quickfire 20, and Harbhajan Singh, who made 21, but it was not enough to trouble the New Zealanders.

The two sides meet again in Wellington tomorrow before playing each other in five One-Day Internationals and three tests.

In Karachi, Younis Khan hit 313 and Kamran Akmal chipped in with an unbeaten century to help Pakistan achieve a record total as the first test against Sri Lanka ended in a predictable draw yesterday.

The hosts declared at a mammoth 765 for six on the fifth day before Sri Lanka finished on 144 for five, a lead of 23. Pakistan’s first innings surpassed the 708 they made against England at the Oval in 1987.

Home captain Younis, who was hoping to eclipse Brian Lara’s record test innings of 400 when he started the day on 306 not out, added seven runs before he was bowled by a ball from paceman Dilhara Fernando that nipped back into him.

Marathon effort

Younis batted for 768 minutes and 568 balls in a marathon effort that included 27 fours and four sixes. Wicketkeeper Akmal, who had resumed on 27, compiled his sixth test century as he cracked 158 not out from 184 balls with eight fours and five sixes. Yasir Arafat (50 not out) also notched his maiden test half-century before the declaration came.

Sri Lanka then slid to 45 for three in their second innings, seamer Umar Gul removing Malinda Warnapura for two and Tillekaratne Dilshan for eight while debutant Tharanga Paranavitana was run out for nine. Kumar Sangakarra steadied the ship with 65 before he was trapped lbw by leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.

Sri Lanka’s early troubles were a sharp contrast to the first four days when a flat track gave up 1,218 runs for the loss of 12 wickets. The second and final test in Lahore starts on Sunday.

Rebel League

Meanwhile, India’s rebel Twenty20 league is considering legal action after failing in the latest bid for recognition because of staunch opposition by the Indian board, former India skipper Kapil Dev said yesterday.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) was unsuccessful in its bid to end a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Cricket League (ICL) after a meeting held in Johannesburg on Monday proved fruitless.

“As a sportsman, I don’t like matters of sport being decided in court, but with the talks failing (again), we may have no choice but to take recourse to law,” Kapil Dev, chairman of the Indian Cricket League (ICL), said.

“I can’t understand who has given the BCCI the right to be the sole authority for promoting cricket in India … The ICL too is doing just that, so why should our boys be punished? That, to me, is not justice.”

The ICL’s application to be recognised as unofficial cricket would now be discussed at the ICC Board meeting in April.

— Reuters

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