Browsing all articles from March, 2017

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Mashrafe targets greater away success

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Mar
31

Mashrafe Mortaza wants his boys to keep playing aggressive cricket © Getty Images

Bangladesh have recently won two Tests against teams they had never previously beaten, made the knockouts of the World Cup in 2015, won six of their seven most-recent home ODI series, and have unearthed match-winning young bowlers, so it is time to take aim at the next frontier, captain Mashrafe Mortaza has said.

His goal: to consistently defeat oppositions in their own conditions. Bangladesh have taken a step towards that target in Sri Lanka, winning the first ODI by 90 runs. A rained-out second match has since ensured they cannot lose the series, but they still need to win the third ODI to take the series outright.

“When other teams come to Bangladesh we play well – this is the reality,” Mashrafe said. “We will become a truly good team only when we also start winning maximum matches away. I said earlier, before the New Zealand series, that a real test is starting for us – that most of the matches we have won, we have won at home. Now it is about away matches.

“In New Zealand the results weren’t in our favour but we were very close in a lot of the matches. But here, we won a Test match and an ODI. So, the progress will not happen all at once. In away matches, for example, we had no clue about the Dambulla wicket – it was supposedly new. We played here a long time ago. So it is difficult to adjust to these things; it will change slowly.”

In order to claim the series, Bangladesh will aim to shackle Sri Lanka’s top order a little better than they had managed on Tuesday. In that match, Sri Lanka rode a Kusal Mendis hundred to 311 – a total which would have been a challenge for the visitors given the problems chasing sides have historically faced in the island. Nevertheless, Mashrafe was confident Bangladesh could have hunted down that total, but in any case said a little more discipline with the ball may be required in this match.

“If you see the last match, they scored 300,” Mashrafe said. “The wicket was very good, but maybe we have to try to reduce 20-25 runs from that. Where they can score 300, we have to keep it to 280. So if we can do something like that the task will become easier for us.

“If you look at the history at the SSC, then it says that 270-290 is the average score, which means that it can also go over 300. So I think we have to be mentally prepared for that and let’s see what happens. If we can keep it below 300 it will be easier for the batsmen.”

Mashrafe said the toss was important, but also outlined the significance of aggression and body language.

“It is very difficult to be play with too much caution, because you cannot play your best that way,” he said. “And if you want to win a game of cricket, you can’t do it being defensive. I think being relaxed is very important, and thankfully the team has won two matches on the trot. I will always want that we play the aggressive game. In sports body language also counts.”

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Zaheer keen to embrace ‘support role’

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Mar
31

Play

01:10

Sitting pretty despite the absence of Duminy, De Kock – Zaheer

In 2015, Zaheer Khan had announced that he would retire from all forms of cricket after the ninth IPL season. Two years on, he’s set to lead Delhi Daredevils again in their quest for their maiden title, in the tenth edition. Zaheer hasn’t played a competitive game for a year, but believes a shift in roles – from being the leader of the bowling group to one who will play the supporting act – will help him ease into the demands of the shortest format.

“It’s very difficult to not play any match and then to turn up here and play the whole season. I look at it as a challenge. I stick to my routines along with discussion I have had with my trainers and physios,” he said. “The process remains the same. I picked up the ball around December, got into it slowly and here I am now, ready to take on another IPL season.

“Every time I get on the field, the excitement comes back. It’s the right dose of cricket for me at this stage of my career. I have supreme fast bowlers who will take the pressure off me. I’m not playing the lead role, but just the support role. I’m playing the role I enjoy the most. This is my way of giving back to the game.”

Among the “supreme fast bowlers” he referred to are Pat Cummins and Kagiso Rabada, two of their latest acquisitions, and Mohammed Shami, who Zaheer confirmed was “fully available.”

Cummins, earlier part of Kolkata Knight Riders, will start the tournament on the back of two intense Tests against India, while Rabada, in his first IPL stint, is coming off a full series with South Africa in New Zealand. “It’s good to have a bowling captain for starters,” Cummins said. “It’s easier to adjust to the T20 format from Tests than the other way round.”

Zaheer was also hopeful that a young batting unit that was empowered to deliver under crunch moments in the past steps up in the absence of two high-profile players in Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy due to injuries.

“We’ve always believed in youngsters and the potential they have. If you look at last season’s squad, you’ve got someone like Karun Nair, who has a triple century at the Test level,” Zaheer said. “Shreyas Iyer has made his mark, he’s part of the Test team. These youngsters are no longer youngsters, they’re seasoned campaigners now. That is the strength of DD this year.

“You’ve got an Indian batting line-up [also having in their ranks Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant] which is more experienced and know more about of their roles. The squad is settled. We’re sitting pretty despite JP and Quinton’s unavailability. If you look at all the squads, you will find players who are missing out because of international duties and injuries. We’re prepared for the uncertainties.”

Highly regarded in Indian cricket circles as a bowling mentor, Zaheer also explained the need to have fast bowlers playing as much cricket as possible, when asked if an entire IPL season could bring about injuries and fatigue to India’s fast bowlers, Umesh Yadav in particular, after undergoing heavy workloads during the course of India’s 13 home Tests.

“When I was playing, I preferred to play more and more. When you’re in rhythm, you can maintain that,” Zaheer said. “You can maintain workloads at practice. Someone like Umesh, who has played all season, he isn’t going to realise when 20 overs are done. That’s the beauty of bowling fitness. With all the bowlers who’ve been playing Tests and some level of cricket, it will be easier in terms of bowling fitness. The more you bowl, the better you will get. I’ve always endorsed match practice is the best practice.”

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/indian-premier-league-2017/content/story/1089413.html?CMP=OTC-RSS All Images and Article Content Copyright own by Same Source Owner.

Pakistan eye knockout punch against dispirited West Indies

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Mar
31

Match facts

April 1, 2017
Start time 12:30 local (16:30 GMT)

Will West Indies find an answer to Shadab Khan? © Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Big Picture

The 2-0 scoreline may suggest more of the same from the remaining T20 matches this series, but the manner in which Pakistan sneaked over the line in the second game brought the tour to life. It was an encounter West Indies looked to have wrapped up a number of times, only to let it slip through their fingers during a frenetic last over. Even so, West Indies have shown they’re up to the task of challenging the visitors, and on the evidence of Thursday’s showing, a long-awaited limited-overs win against Pakistan might not be far away.

The hosts’ primary headache is the lack of form for many of their key T20 players. Lendl Simmons has scored just 21 runs in his last five T20I innings, while Keiron Pollard has not scored more than 26 in a T20I since July 2013, and has a disappointing (by his standards anyway) strike rate of 103.9 since then. Captain Carlos Brathwaite is yet to regain the touch that blasted West Indies to the World T20 title, and the openers lack experience. In addition, the previous game saw one of the worst fielding displays from West Indies in recent times, multiple schoolboy errors gifting Pakistan extra runs in a match they only won by three.

Pakistan, for their part, will recognise that they made off with a win they barely deserved, relying heavily on their 18-year old legspinner Shadab Khan, who, besides Wahab Riaz, was the only player to walk away from the game with any credit. Pakistan’s batting is at the same, maddeningly inconsistent level it’s been at for a number of years now, and West Indies have a bowling attack to exploit that weakness. However, with West Indies appearing to have what can only be described as a mental block against Sarfraz Ahmed’s men, Pakistan may walk away with a series win that will, on current evidence, only paper over the cracks.

Form guide

West Indies LLLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Pakistan WWWWW

In the spotlight

The second T20 was as close to a one-on-one match-up as cricket could hope for, with the result of the match looking like it hinged on the duel between Marlon Samuels and Shadab. After a lean period, which saw the West Indies batsman being dropped from the ODI series against England, he was at his expansive best on Thursday. Imad Wasim went for consecutive sixes in an over Samuels took 19 from, and two cover drives in a Hasan Ali over showed Samuels was as much at home with finesse as he was with force. He looked like he might drag West Indies over the line on his own, and his failure to do so may well see him hungry to make amends in the upcoming encounter.

The fire was back in Wahab Riaz‘s belly during the second match after a disappointing opener. At the Queen’s Park Oval, Wahab combined the two things that so often fail to go hand in hand for him: raw pace and accuracy. The penultimate over of the West Indies’ innings – bowled by Wahab – was riveting viewing, with the ball at times coming in as fast as 95mph, beating the batsmen for pace. It also accounted for the crucial wicket of Brathwaite, whose presence, as everyone knows now, always means West Indies are always in with a chance. If Wahab can find that sort of performance consistently, he can ensure the hosts have one more thing to worry about.

Carlos Brathwaite is yet to regain the touch that fired West Indies to the World T20 title last year © AFP

Team news

West Indies didn’t make any changes after a dismal performance in the first game, so they are likely to stick with the side that so significantly improved four days later. The only question mark may be over the inclusion of Rovman Powell, who fell for a first-ball duck, with Jason Mohammad a possible replacement.

West Indies (probable): Evin Lewis, Chadwick Walton (wk), Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Keiron Pollard, Rovman Powell/Jason Mohammad, Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Sunil Narine, Jason Holder, Samuel Badree, Kesrick Williams

Pakistan’s top order was ordinary yet again, but with no obvious replacements, they may stick to the same eleven that edged the second game in Trinidad. However, replacing Kamran Akmal with Mohammad Hafeez might be a possibility, if only for the extra bowling option he gives them.

Pakistan (probable): Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal/Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz

Pitch and conditions

The pitch at the Queen’s Park Oval, as was witnessed during the second T20, is expected to favour the slow bowlers and offer plenty of turn. There is cloud cover expected in the evening, which might offer movement to the faster bowlers, but no rain.

Stats and trivia

  • Marlon Samuels has now played 51 T20I innings without ever being dismissed for a duck in the format. Only Angelo Mathews has played more innings (54) in the format without falling for nought.
  • Shadab Khan is only the third player to have won the Man-of-the-Match award in his first two T20Is, after Sanath Jayasuria and Ajantha Mendis.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/west-indies-v-pakistan-2017/content/story/1089426.html?CMP=OTC-RSS All Images and Article Content Copyright own by Same Source Owner.

Dhawan rekindles enjoyment factor

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Mar
31

Shikhar Dhawan played a key role in India’s Champions Trophy win in 2013 © Getty Images

Shikhar Dhawan has admitted to playing with less pressure and enjoying his cricket in the last few months following his exclusion from the national side. The proof of the enjoyment came in his performances in the Deodhar Trophy, a 50-over competition, where he finished as the second-highest run-getter (223 runs in three matches at 74.33) behind Dinesh Karthik.

However, Dhawan’s numbers in the lead up to the Deodhar Trophy hadn’t been nearly as spectacular. In his most recent international assignment, against England in January, he made 1 and 11 in the first two ODIs before being dropped for the final game in Kolkata. He returned to the domestic circuit to regain form, but runs remained elusive initially.

In the Syed Mushtaq Ali inter-zonal T20 tournament, he scored 110 runs in four matches at an average of 27.50, while his aggregate stood at an even less-impressive 99 from five matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the national one-day competition.

With few auditions remaining in the 50-over format ahead of India’s title defence of the Champions Trophy in June, Dhawan’s return to form couldn’t have been more opportune. He made a 122-ball 128 against an India A attack comprising Shardul Thakur. Siddarth Kaul and Harbhajan Singh and followed it up with a 50 off 48 balls against Tamil Nadu. He capped things off with a 34-ball 45 in the final, albeit in a losing cause against the TN.

How does he explain the turnaround after five consecutive scores under 30? “ Waqt ne mujhe sahi kar diya (Time has helped sort things out for me),” Dhawan, 31, told ESPNcricinfo ahead of the Deodhar Trophy final. “I didn’t really worry too much about what I needed to do. I just went in and enjoyed myself. I was more relaxed this time. Actually, I enjoyed my cricket more in these [last] few months because there was less pressure on me and I was free.

“Of course, you want to put on partnerships, say a 50-run partnership that will stabilise the team. Once you spend time, the flow starts coming, and I am that kind of batsman who makes runs quickly once I am in the flow.”

The importance of the timing of these knocks, though, weren’t lost on him. “In the tournaments before this, I hadn’t had a good run. I knew that I had to do well to find a place in the Indian team once again,” he said. “So, that was always in the back of my mind. Luckily, the right things happened at the right time, so I am very thankful to god that things have fallen in place.”

Dhawan somewhat made up for his lack of runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy by hitting a century in the Deodhar Trophy © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Despite averaging 57.40 in ODIs in 2016, Dhawan’s twin-failures against England resulted in him dropped for the final game of the series. That he was given a short shrift was largely down to his poor form in Test matches, where he averaged just 26 last year. Dhawan felt the impact of his low scores in one format was felt in the others.

“When you aren’t in good form, there is always pressure on you to make runs in international cricket regardless of the format,” he said. “If you look at ODIs, I had played only two matches after the Australia series, and then I was dropped from the playing XI. I feel that the flow that is there – like, when I was doing well, I was playing all the three formats. When I wasn’t scoring runs, the flow naturally got affected. It wasn’t as if my ODI record suffered because of those two matches – my records are still very strong. But, the flow that you are in will obviously be a factor.”

Dhawan’s most recent Test came against New Zealand in Kolkata last September where he made 1 and 17. He was stuck on the thumb twice by Trent Boult, with scans subsequently revealing a fracture that ruled him out of the third and final Test in Indore. Despite scoring only one half-century in the 10 innings prior to the Test, Dhawan said there was no sense of relief at being put out of his misery by the injury.

“In fact, I was putting all my efforts into getting back to form,” he said. “I felt very proud of myself for continuing to bat with a fractured hand against New Zealand. I stood there for my team. Playing with a broken hand when I was not among the runs was a very satisfying moment for me. So I cherish it.”

Dhawan said he was happy to see a successful India dressing room, but sad to not be a part of it. “When you go through a rough patch, you will be out of the team, and those who do well will be picked. The selection committee and team management gave me a fair chance but I didn’t perform,” he said. “Whether it is Delhi team or India team, it really doesn’t matter to me – I just want to be in a happy space and make sure people around me are happy.

For me to return to the team, I have to stay positive and happy. That’s the only way I can climb up the ladder again. Of course, I am happy for those who are doing well in India, but I want to return to the Indian team because I know I have got the ability to play international cricket for a long time. [Right now] I want to keep performing well in the IPL as well and try to win another IPL title for Sunrisers Hyderabad.”

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/1089427.html?CMP=OTC-RSS All Images and Article Content Copyright own by Same Source Owner.

‘Phillauri’ box-office collection Week 1

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Mar
31

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Movie review: Power Rangers

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Mar
31

Story: Five teenagers discover the Ranger Power Coins deep within a mine. The power of these coloured coins transforms them from outcasts to superheroes overnight. However, with power comes responsibility. The young warriors are assigned the task of saving mankind by defending Earth’s Zeo Crystal from a former Green Ranger gone rogue – Rita Repulsa and her gold giant Goldar. Mentoring the colour-coded Rangers are former Red Ranger Zordon and Alpha-5, the robot. Can they save the day?

Review: A cinematic reboot of the 90s camp TV series, Power Rangers is an upgraded installment that predominantly caters to the kids. Sadly, it is way too cheesy, preachy, unexciting and dated to attract or inspire the youngsters. It is not a patch on its solid superhero contemporaries.

Let alone luring fresh viewers, even diehard fans of the series may find this ‘morphin adventure’ (stands for ‘metamorphosis’ and not the drug morphine) underwhelming. While it makes tall promises and leads you on to believe something huge is in store for you, the climax in particular is a damp squib.

The lead actors do a fine job, especially Naomi Scott (Pink Ranger) and Dacre Montgomery (Red Ranger) but the lacklustre execution fails to make you feel invested in their characters. From emotional drama to sci-fi to action, the genre-shifting narration is choppy and one heck of a bumpy ride. As a result, the film struggles to establish itself as a full-fledged superhero film. All you get is a drab 90’s costume drama (despite the absence of spandex bodysuits), hoping to look new.

Elizabeth Banks is consciously over-the-top as Rita. Since there is nothing more to her than what you see, you desperately miss a strong antagonist. You don’t find yourself rooting for the Rangers even once and that’s a testament to its failure.

Despite a decent cast, this unhurried reboot is way too ancient for your liking. It drains your power and patience with its constant moralistic lessons on importance of team work, punishing the bullies, dealing with repercussions of reckless behaviour, value of true friendship, etc.

Article source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/english/movie-reviews/power-rangers/movie-review/57941575.cms All Images and Article Content Copyright own by Same Source Owner.

Pics: Alia Bhatt’s London vacation will make you want to plan yours ASAP!

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Mar
31

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This star wife is flooded with film offers

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Mar
31

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Movie Review: The Boss Baby

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Mar
31

Story: Tim gets a new baby brother who wears a suit, secretly talks over the phone and draws up evil plans in the dead of the night.

Review: Must animated movies border on the bizarre?

The Boss Baby will test your threshold for quirky stories. In the realm of animation, nothing is too unreal: talking cars? Sure. Lost fish? Let’s give it a sequel. Emotions with their own emotions? Worthy of an Oscar. Add to that a baby who is a cunning corporate official, talks in pie-charts and is working relentlessly towards ridding the world of… puppies. See, bizarre!

Tim (voiced by Miles Bakshi) watches in shock as his evil baby brother (voiced by Alec Baldwin) fools his parents (voiced by Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) into believing that he’s the adorable new addition to the family, while slyly planning a coup against the pet company that they work for. Puppies, baby’s research shows, are taking over the world with their cuteness and making babies obsolete.

The film opens with a hilarious montage that shows where babies come from: a baby-manufacturing factory with assembly lines and everything. Most of them are assigned to a family, and some who aren’t cute enough are sent to work at this factory’s headquarters. All of this is prefaced by the fact that our protagonist Tim has a very vivid imagination. The whole movie could very well be an active fantasy of his. But whether it is real or not is left to the viewer.

The writing is mostly fresh, sometimes infused with dry wit and will tickle you. There is some physical comedy, a lot of toilet humour and (thankfully uncensored) baby bottoms. The story itself turns into quite a cliche with an evil villain (voiced by Steve Buscemi) and a little boy with a saviour complex. Towards the end, there is some blatant emotional manipulation, but it isn’t too bothersome.

This isn’t one of those films that are unnecessarily 3D; the animation is impressive and enhances the experience.

Give it a shot, the storytelling isn’t strong enough to make you weep like a baby, but it will occasionally make you giggle like one.

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Shah Rukh Khan turns introspective as he completes 25 years in the Maximum City

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Mar
31

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