Daily Archives: March 13, 2015

New Zealand win sixth game in a row


New Zealand recorded their sixth successive win at the 2015 World Cup as they beat Bangladesh by three wickets.

Chasing 289 to win, the co-hosts reached 290-7 with seven balls to spare, with Martin Guptill scoring 105, Ross Taylor 56 and Grant Elliott 39.

Bangladesh had earlier posted 288-7 from their 50 overs in Hamilton, with Mahmudullah making an unbeaten 128 for his second century in two matches.

New Zealand, who remain unbeaten, had already secured top spot in Pool A.

The Kiwis, who have lost six World Cup semi-finals, will face either Pakistan, Ireland or West Indies in the quarter-finals in Wellington on Saturday, 21 March.

And they showed why they are one of the favourites to win the competition with a hard-fought victory after they had won the toss and elected to bowl first.

“Bangladesh did a very good job of keeping themselves in the game, picking up those two wickets early doors opened the game up.

“But Guptill kept the momentum going, playing risk-free cricket, and there were only small margins in it but New Zealand made it look comfortable.”

In an excellent, hostile opening spell, Trent Boult claimed the wickets of Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal as Bangladesh struggled to 29-2 after 10 overs.

New Zealand should have quickly taken a third wicket but Mahmudullah was dropped on 0 by Guptill and, in the following over, on one by Corey Anderson.

Those missed chances proved costly as Mahmudullah, who scored 103 against England in his last match, hit the highest one-day score of his career.

He was helped by Soumya Sarkar’s 51 for his maiden one-day international half-century, before Sabbir Rahman blasted 40 off 23 balls to help set a challenging total.

The Kiwis looked in trouble at 33-2 after Shakib Al Hasan dismissed Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.

However, Guptill, who will play for Derbyshire in this year’s County Championship before New Zealand begin their tour of England, put his side in control by scoring 11 fours and two sixes in his 100-ball knock.

In a thrilling finish, New Zealand fell from 210-3 to 269-7 as Shakib ended with 4-55, but Daniel Vettori (16 not out) and Tim Southee (12 not out) saw them home after a rapid 39 from Anderson.

Defeat means Bangladesh finish fourth in Pool A and will play India in the quarter-finals in Melbourne on Thursday, 19 March.

Bangladesh captain Shakib said: “It was a tough day. We batted, bowled and fielded well. They bowled well in the first 10 overs when it was swinging, but we adjusted to the conditions and put a decent total on.

“These games will help us improve our confidence and I hope we have a very good game in the quarter-finals.”

Man of the match Guptill said: “We have a lot of belief and the way we are executing our skills is pleasing. We just need to keep that up over the next few weeks.”


India and Sri Lanka on Friday inked four agreements


India and Sri Lanka on Friday inked four agreements including on cooperation in customs, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena here.

Modi, who arrived here in the morning from Mauritius, was received at the airport by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Later, he was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the presidential secretariat. Modi and Sirisena then held delegation level talks after which the two sides inked four agreements.

The agreements are for exemption from visa for holders of diplomatic passports, cooperation in mutual assistance in customs, an MoU for youth development, and another for establishing a Rabindranath Tagore museum at a Sri Lanka university.


Ton-up Mahmudullah steers Bangladesh to 288/7

HAMILTON: Mohammad Mahmudullah hit a second successive century to lead Bangladesh to a respectable 288/7 against New Zealand in the World Cup Pool A match in Hamilton on Friday.

The 29-year-old right-hander, who hit a match-winning 103 against England in Adelaide on Monday, scored a 123-ball undefeated 128 to lift Bangladesh from a struggling 27/2 after New Zealand won the toss and sent Bangladesh into bat on a flat Seddon Park pitch.

Mahmudullah, dropped on one by Corey Anderson off Tim Southee, anchored the innings and added an invaluable 90 for the third wicket with Soumya Sarkar (51) and another 78 for the sixth with Sabbir Rahman who made a fiery 23-ball 40.

Mahmudullah steered paceman Mitchell McClenaghan towards third man for a couple to complete his hundred off 111 balls before blowing a kiss to the applauding Bangladeshi fans.

He became only the second Bangladeshi batsman to score back-to-back hundreds in all one-day internationals after Shahriar Nafees who achieved the feat against Zimbabwe at home in 2006.

In all Mahmudullah hit 12 fours and three sixes as New Zealand’s bowlers were tested for the first time in the tournament with Southee going wicketless.

“They got through that initial period when it swung. Once they got through it they were able to pile on the runs, especially with the short boundaries,” said Southee.

“It shows that once you get in, the runs will come. We have the guys to bat out these kind of conditions. It is a tough ground to defend on, so if you are not used to it, it will be a challenge. We just hope our guys can get off to fast start.”

Rahman raised the tempo by hitting two sixes and five fours to help Bangladesh add 104 runs in the last ten overs.

Left-arm paceman Trent Boult had jolted Bangladesh by dismissing Imrul Kayes (two) and Tamim Iqbal (13) in his first spell to finish with 2/56.

Anderson removed senior Bangladeshi batsmen Shakib A Hasan for 23 and Mushfiqur Rahim for 15 to finish with 2/43.

Bangladesh were without their regular skipper Mashrafe Mortza after he was ruled out due to a sore throat and a calf injury while New Zealand had to leave out unfit Adam Milne and brought in McClenaghan for their first change in the tournament.

Both New Zealand and Bangladesh have already qualified for the quarterfinals, with the co-hosts winning all their five games to top the pool.

Modi Likely to Meet Rajapaksa in Damage Control Exercise


COLOMBO: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet former President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his sojourn here on March 13 and 14 in an apparent bid to dispel the impression in Rajapaksa’s mind that India had conspired to get him defeated in the January 8 Sri Lankan Presidential election, sources close to Rajapaksa told Express on Thursday.

The meeting is likely to take place in the official residence of the parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa who is also the ex-President’s elder brother. Modi is to address the Lankan parliament on March 13. There could be a vacant slot for a meeting the next evening also, before the India House reception for the visiting PM.

The sources said that the idea of meeting Rajapaksa was planted in Modi’s mind by a top official of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who felt that India cannot not afford to alienate Rajapaksa who still enjoys mass support among the majority Sinhalese though his own party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), has gone over to the newly elected Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena.

The chances of Rajapaksa coming back to power as Prime Minister in the June parliamentary elections are not dismissed by political observers because the Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government is bristling with inner contradictions, policy confusion and rivalries.If the present coalition collapses like the Janata Party government in India did in1980, Rajapaksa can bounce back to power as Indira Gandhi did in 1980.

In case that happens, India will have to contend with an implacably hostile Rajapaksa-2 regime.

The BJP top brass who visited Lanka about two weeks ago went back to New Delhi with the view that India should not put all its eggs in the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe basket and that lines of communication with Rajapaksa should be re-established.

When a top BJP leader came to Colombo soon after the January 8 election, an attempt was made to meet Rajapaksa, but the sulking ex-President would not meet him.Rajpaksa refused to meet Indians and told a Pakistani jounalist that RAW is behind all the trouble in Pakistan and Lanka.

The BJP leader apparently adviced Modi to postpone his visit to Lanka by a few months to allow the situation in the island to become conducive.

But since it was too late to back out of the visit, the next best thing, to meet Rajapaksa, was agreed upon, the sources said.

Till late on Thursday, it was not clear if the Modi-Rajapaksa meeting will definitely take place, but sources said that Rajapaksa himself may be keen on re-establishing ties with India, a country he can ignore only at his peril.

Meanwhile, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe duo is doing its best to impress Modi.It is learnt that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe will welcome Modi at the airport, and President Sirisena will welcome him at Anuradhapura, the next day.


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