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Samarawickrama, bowlers help SL make winning start in Super 4s



Shanaka and Theekshana picked up three-wicket hauls (Cricbuzz)

An impressive 72-ball 93 from Sadeera Samarawickrama on a trying wicket, followed by three-wicket hauls for Dasun Shanaka and Maheesh Theekshana, helped Sri Lanka begin the Super Fours of the Asia Cup with a 21-run victory in Colombo on Saturday (September 9). Towhid Hridoy came up with a fighting 82 off 97 in the chase of 257 but regular wickets meant that Bangladesh ended up short, as they suffered their second successive defeat in the second leg of the tournament while Sri Lanka recorded their 13th successive victory in ODI cricket.

Mehidy Hasan and Mohammad Naim were involved in a half-century stand to help Bangladesh make a steady start in the chase. Mehidy cashed in on some loose deliveries to strike two fours off Theekshana while Naim was slightly jittery at the other end, playing and missing multiple times, and he was also slower with his scoring compared to his partner. Bangladesh, though, brought up the fifty in the 11th over, with Mehidy scoring at a run-a-ball. However, his stay came to an end when Shanaka bowled a short one and Mehidy was late on the pull, handing a catch to midwicket. Naim’s, 46-ball struggle for only 21 runs was ended by the Sri Lanka skipper, again with a short ball.

Bangladesh were in more trouble when Matheesha Pathirana removed Shakib Al Hasan in the 16th over. Shakib poked at a delivery outside off and ended up getting an edge to the ‘keeper, with Sri Lanka having to take the review route to send the Bangladesh skipper back to the hut. The procession continued as they slipped to 83/4 when Litton Das got an inside edge off Dunith Wellalage and the ball bounced off ‘keeper Kusal Mendis’s knee before he juggled and held on to it. The quick wickets meant that Towhid Hridoy and Mushfiqur Rahim had to minimise the risks in their rebuilding job, raising a half-century stand in 84 deliveries as the required rate rose past seven in the 33rd Over.

Hridoy and Rahim extended their partnership to 72 before Shanaka returned to dismiss the latter who failed to clear mid-off. Hridoy brought up a 73-ball fifty with a four and also struck two boundaries off Theekshana, with the equation reading 81 off the last 10 overs. After seeing Shamim Hossain out lbw to Theekshana, Hridoy struck a four off Pathirana and a six off Theekshana. But Sri Lanka got a huge advantage in the game when Theekshana had Hridoy out lbw in the 80s, with a review failing to help him. Pathirana cleaned up the tail to also pick up three as Bangladesh’s innings ended in the 49th over.

Earlier, Sri Lanka got off to a good start after being asked to bat, with Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka putting on a brisk 34-run partnership. Hasan Mahmud ended the stand by having Karunaratne caught behind but another good partnership ensued, between Nissanka and Mendis, setting up a good platform for Sri Lanka. Bangladesh did well to apply the brakes on the scoring but their catching left the bowlers disappointed as both Nissanka and Mendis got lucky breaks. Shoriful finally ended the 74-run stand by having Nissanka trapped leg-before, and also picked up the wicket of Mendis soon after the No.3 reached fifty.

Taskin Ahmed bowled a slower ball to have Charith Asalanka caught at mid-on and Dhananjaya fell to Mahmud attempting a backfoot punch. While wickets fell around him, Samarawickrama played a steady hand with good strike rotation and timely boundaries. Scoring at a good rate, he powered his team’s progress as he went past fifty in the 42nd over, with Sri Lanka crossing 200 in the next. Shanaka, who played second fiddle in a 60-run stand with Samarawickrama, became Mahmud’s third scalp. Samarawickrama entered the 80s by scoring the first six of the innings, off Mahmud, who then had Wellalage run out by kicking the ball onto the stumps. Taskin accounted for Theekshana in the final over but Samarawickrama responded with a four and a six, before getting out.

Brief scores:
Sri Lanka 257/9 in 50 overs (Sadeera Samarawickrama 93, Kusal Mendis 50; Hasan Mahmud 3-57, Taskin Ahmed 3-62) beat Bangladesh 236 in 48.1 overs (Towhid Hridoy 82, Dasun Shanaka 3-28, Matheesha Pathirana 3-58) by 21 runs.


France rout Namibia 96-0 in Rugby World Cup match




France captain Antoine Dupont was forced off in the second half with an injury to his face during the Pool A rout of Namibia (pic BBC)

France are on the brink of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals after claiming their biggest-ever win with a 96-0 victory over Namibia in Pool A.

Damian Penaud scored a hat-trick, while Jonathan Danty, Charles Ollivon and Louis Bielle-Biarry all scored twice.

Antoine Dupont, Thibaud Flament, Baptiste Couilloud and Melvyn Jaminet also crossed before a penalty try took their total tally to 14 in Marseille.

The only French cause for concern was the loss of Dupont to injury. The hosts’ captain was withdrawn during the second half following a head-on-head tackle by Johan Deysel, whose yellow card was upgraded to a red by the bunker-review system.

France head coach Fabien Galthie’s decision to keep his talisman on the field despite his side’s huge 54-point half-time advantage could be scrutinised if Dupont’s injury keeps him on the sidelines with the knockout stages looming.


France: Ramos; Penaud, Fickou, Danty, Bielle-Biarry; Jalibert, Dupont; Baille, Mauvaka, Atonio; Woki, Flament; Cros, Ollivon, Jelonch.

Replacements: Bourgarit, Wardi, Aldegheri, Taofifenua, Boudehent, Couilloud, Moefana, Jaminet.

Namibia: Van der Bergh; Mouton, Deysel, Burger, Greyling; Loubser, Theron; Sethie, Van der Westhuizen, Coetzee, Tjeriko, Ludick, Katjijeko, Retief, Gaoseb.

Replacements: Nortje, Benade, Shifuka, Van Lill, Hardwick, Blaauw, Izaacs, Rossouw.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)

(BBC Sports)

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Bangladesh discover Mustafizur’s success with the new ball in rainy Dhaka




Mustafizur picked up two wickets with the new ball to dent New Zealand early (pic Cricbuzz)

In a called-off game, disrupted due to rain on several occasions, Bangladesh lucked out. Amidst the rain breaks in the three-match ODI series opener between Bangladesh and New Zealand at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, the hosts found out their experienced campaigner Mustafizur Rahman had something to offer with the new ball.

In the recent past, Mustafizur had hardly looked dangerous with the new ball and in the present setup – comprising Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud and Shoriful Islam – it looks he’ll hardly have the chance to open the bowling attack. Mustafizur’s recent performances also validate the fact that his role is to hold the batters during the middle overs, and he is doing that quite efficiently with his cutter and slower deliveries.

Mustafizur, who was rested after the opening game against Sri Lanka in the recently-concluded Asia Cup, made a comeback against India in their last game of the tournament after team management rested several first-choice fast bowlers and it also opened an opportunity for him to bowl with the new ball.

Though he put up an impressive show with the ball picking up 3-50 he turned out to be more effective with the old ball. He had given away 31 runs in the first four overs against India without any success but returned strongly when he was asked called in during the death overs.

It’s true that the two-paced wickets in Sri Lanka helped him against India, being suitable for cutters and slowers which were too hot to handle for the lower-order batting unit of their Asian neighbours. However, on Thursday against New Zealand, Mustafizur proved he still has something to offer with the new ball. What was more heartening for the hosts was the way he attacked to pickup a wicket – an instinct that had been missing for a while.

The way the 28-year-old got rid of Finn Allen (9), courtesy of a brilliant catch by Nurul Hasan Sohan behind the stumps, only showed he can still make the new ball talk as the New Zealand opener hardly had an answer to the length delivery that was pitched on the leg-stump and took the edge.

Since picking the wicket of Allen, Mustafizur was keen on trying different things that included bowling some short balls while he also tested the batters with his angled deliveries and quite surprisingly it was different from the way he bowled in the recent past where his major focus only remained on keeping a check on the flow of runs rather than going for wickets.

“Potentially, yeah. I thought Mustafizur bowled really nicely and hit the seam with the new ball,” New Zealand skipper Lockie Fergusson said after the first ODI was called off.

For Bangladesh, it was a breath of fresh air seeing him remove Chad Bowes (one) when the batter failed to negotiate his swinging delivery while he trapped Henry Nicholls (44) plumb in front to end the day with 3-27 from his seven overs.

Although the overcast conditions helped Mustafizur a lot to shine with the new ball, Bangladesh can definitely heave a sigh of great relief after his terrific performance just before the World Cup. Their interim head coach Nick Pothas echoed the same sentiment.

“Yeah he was very tidy. You know Fizz has been working very hard the last month or so to try and find some rhythm. We know his credentials bowling at the death. You can ask him to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and bowl death overs and he will do them with the best in the world,” said Pothas.

“He has just been trying to get back some rhythm with the new ball and he has worked very hard himself along with Allan Donald and you can see the fruits. Just coming good at the right time just before the World Cup and very happy for him,” he added.

Pothas added that switching roles for Mustafizur is not a problem for him considering the vast amount of experience he has.

“No they are very specific, those two roles (bowling with new ball and old ball). They are almost living in two different boxes. These guys are professionals and have to be able to do everything. He does it and prioritizes that very well and he got a lot of experience.”

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Murali’s ‘800’ to be screened from Oct 6th



Muttiah Muralitharan and Arjuna Ranatunga chat prior to the press briefing to announce the movie 800.

by Rex Clementine

A movie titled ‘800’ elaborating the life and career of spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan will be screened in Sri Lanka from the 6th of October onwards. The movie made in several languages will be a hit and a trailer was shown in Colombo yesterday in the presence of Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardene and Murali’s first Test captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

Murali, a World Cup winner with Sri Lanka, retired from Test cricket in 2010 with a wicket off the last ball he bowled and it turned out to be his 800th Test wicket. The movie is titled ‘800’.Directed by M.S. Sripathy, Indian actor Madhur Mittal plays the role as Muralitharan.Muralitharan played his entire career during the civil war and recalls how the entire nation supported him and his commitment to the nation.

The movie deals on the chucking controversy during successive tours of Australia in 1995 and 1998 and how the entire team and the nation stands behind the bowler.In the infamous ODI at Adelaide where Sri Lanka win by one wicket, captain Ranatunga is seen urging last man Muralitharan to score the winning runs and win the game for the team and Murali does exactly that.

Ranatunga spots Muralitharan first during a school match in Kandy and then does everything to fast track the off-spinner to the senior side.

“We knew that what Australia was doing for Murali was wrong. We stood by Murali. The irony is that several years later, Australia appointing Murali as their Spin Bowling Coach. This for me is Australia accepting their guilt,” Ranatunga said during the press briefing.

Actor King Ratnam, who plays the role of Ranatunga in the movie speaking at the briefing suggested that a movie should be made on Sri Lanka’s World Cup triumph and on Arjuna himself.The captain had taken so much risks putting his own career in danger in protecting Murali.Muralitharan speaking at the briefing said that no captain will ever take the risks that Ranatunga took.

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