Month: December 2014

Mahendra Singh Dhoni Retires From Tests

Virat Kohli will lead India in the fourth test as Mahendra Singh Dhoni has decided to step down as test match captain.

Virat Kohli will lead India in the fourth test as Mahendra Singh Dhoni has decided to step down as test match captain.

Parts of the cricketing world woke up to the news that Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is to retire from tests. The 33 year old Dhoni has enjoyed an unprecedented amount of success over all formats of cricket with a T20,50 over world cup and ICC champions trophies – but the series loss to Australia where there is still one game to play seems to have helped make up the now ex test skippers mind.

Despite the success of India in the limited overs format of the game, in the test arena sadly they have struggled. There was a brief period where the Asian side did enjoy the dizzy heights of being world number one – but heavy defeats to England and now defeat to Australia has lead Mahendra Singh Dhoni to step down. Dhoni will however be available for one day internationals and T20 matches, what can’t be taken away from Mahendra Singh Dhoni is that he has been a brilliant leader, his record speaks for itself.

Vice Captain Virat Kohli will take charge of the Indian side for the fourth test. The 25 year old Kohli has been talked about as a future leader of India, now is his chance to shine – but my God does he have big boots to fill.

As for who will be Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s wicket keeping replacement there are a few players in the frame such as Wriddhiman Saha who deputised in the whitewash of Sri Lanka in the one day series, Sanju Samson who has starred for Rajasthan Royals and of course Parthiv Patel of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Patel once upon a time did keep wicket for India – but then came Dhoni and Parthiv Patel has never really had a look in since.

The void left by Dhoni as a captain is huge – and maybe the void left by Dhoni in regards to his skills as a wicketkeeper could be greater. There are a few good candidates there and all of them can bat which is always a bonus – but because Saha is the man ‘in custody’ of the shirt I think the selectors will favour the 30 year old for the foreseeable future at least.

Sanju Samson is not fully mature and is prone to throw his wicket away – but at 20 is definitely an Indian wicketkeeper of the future. Unfortunately for Parthiv Patel I don’t think he has done a lot wrong in recent years, the 29 year old has scored well in the IPL – but some one has to miss out and sadly I feel it’s Patel.

Very few when Mahendra Sigh Dhoni took over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid in 2007 though that he would be India’s most successful one day captain – but the 33 year old did just that.The absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the test arena will no doubt be missed.

Bradford Vs Notts County Match Report

 Billy Clarke who has been a key player for Bradford in recent weeks hasn't been able to play over the festive period - but the Bantams still boast a perfect record over christmas.

Billy Clarke who has been a key player for Bradford in recent weeks hasn’t been able to play over the festive period – but the Bantams still boast a perfect record over christmas.

Bradford went into this game on the back of a eight game unbeaten run. The Boxing day win over Fleetwood saw the Bantams move into the top five, the Yorkshire club went into this game looking for another win which would see them consolidate a position in the top five.

As for the visitors Notts County they were looking for a positive result so they could alive their own hopes of a play off place. Notts manager Shaun Derry will be hoping his side carry on their good form who boast an unbeaten away record in League One.

The Bantams had to do with out Billy Clarke who also missed the win over Fleetwood on boxing day.

The visitors Notts County saw an effort come off the post through Jack Cassidy as the Magpies started strongly. Bradford did slowly get back into the game and went close through Andy Halliday and Billy Knott to taking the lead.

The home side would take the lead however through Billy Knott on 41 minutes. A defensive mix up allowed Halliday in behind and cut back for Knott who made no mistake to slot home for what turned out to be the games winner.

The visitors Notts County were unable to get on the scoresheet and back into the game, that was much down to the brilliant organisation of Bradford. The Bantams did have further chances to add gloss to the score line – but James Hanson and Francois Zoko missed those chances as Bradford held on for another win which consolidates their position in fifth.

Sport Comes Out On Top After A Difficult Week For Pakistan

In a brilliant gesture, New Zealand captain is said to have donated his match fee to the victims of the Peshawar massacre.

In a brilliant gesture, New Zealand captain is said to have donated his match fee to the victims of the Peshawar massacre.

It was something that could only happen in nightmares we thought – but sadly for the people of Pakistan and more particularly of Peshawar, (a city in the North West of the country) they were victim to one of the most violent terrorist attacks in recent history.

Some 128 people, mostly children had their lives cruelly taken away by the Taliban terrorists who attacked an army school in Peshawar. In an attack which shocked the country and the world, not many would have thought that sport would have a starring role in showing the terrorists that people can unite in such a tragedy.

Sport though has provide one way of bringing families some comfort. New Zealand cricket captain Kane Williamson is rumoured to have given all of his match fee from all the five games that he played in the recent series win over Pakistan to the stricken families of Peshawar.

In another act of kindness British born boxer Amir Khan who is of Asian origin is to donate his shorts which are rumoured to be valued at £30,000, to the victims of the atrocity in Peshawar. The Bolton born fighter on top of that act of kindness, Khan is out in Pakistan currently – and has vowed that he will do all he can to help the grief stricken people of Peshawar by physically being on the ground in aid of the victims.

Sport is very powerful in the way it promotes social values, such as racial equality and equality in general. Not every one maybe a fan of sports or sports people – but one thing you can’t away from sports and sports stars is that they unite really well in times of tragedy. The team at Asian Sunday very much offers it prays and thoughts to the families of Peshawar at a difficult time no doubt.

Bradford Vs Scunthorpe Match Report

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson would have been disappointed with the draw against Scunthorpe which saw the Bantams lose ground on their playoff rivals.

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson would have been disappointed with the draw against Scunthorpe which saw the Bantams lose ground on their playoff rivals.

Bradford after securing an impressive win at Chesterfield last weekend which kept alive their playoff hopes, were looking to carry on that winning mentality against Scunthorpe. As for ‘The Iron’ they were looking to climb up the table after recently appointing former Manchester United midfielder and Coventry boss Mark Robins, who has seen his side go an impressive eight game run.

The home side had Jordan Pickford continuing in goal in place of Ben Williams while the visitors included FA cup goal scorer Paddy Madden in their side.

The game itself was a hard fought contest, the Bantams starting the better by grabbing the games first goal after 32 minutes. Jonathan Stead who has been a key player for Bradford in recent weeks, combined with Rory McArdle on the edge of the box who went on to score the opening goal.

Many would have thought at that point that the home side would go on to win the game quite comfortably, especially since Scunthorpe were involved in a record breaking penalty shootout win against Worcester City during the week.

The visitors to their credit however were not to be overawed by going a goal down and had two goals disallowed. Defender Miguel Llera thought he scored midway through the second half and Scunthorpe’s top scorer Paddy Madden were the unlucky men for The Iron.

Scunthorpe’s pressure would eventually pay off however as substitute Hakeeb Adelakun scored in stoppage time with an angled shot which left home keeper Jordan Pickford with no chance. The match finished all square which is a better result for Scunthorpe than it would be for Bradford.

The Iron go up to 18th with this result and are now unbeaten in nine games, as for Bradford they have lost ground on the teams above them who just like the Bantams would be looking to secure a place in the playoffs by the end of the season. With the next round of matches on boxing day and a lot of matches to come in such a space short of time, the Bantams will be hoping the sides above them lose points over the festive period.

Sri Lanka Vs England Sixth One Day International Match Report

Kumar Sangakarra's brilliant hundred help helped Sri Lanka win the seven match series with one game still to play.

Kumar Sangakarra’s brilliant hundred help helped Sri Lanka win the seven match series with one game still to play.

England came into this game looking to level the series after an impressive five wicket win last time out. The tourists came into this one unchanged as they looked to carry on the winning momentum, as for the hosts Suranga Lakmal comes in, in place of Ajantha Mendis. Dhamika Prassad also makes way for Seekkuge Prasanna and at the top of the order out of sorts opener Kusal Pererra is dropped so Dinesh Chandimal comes in as the hosts looked to clinch the series with a win in Pallekele.

The hosts won the toss and elected to bat, it initially appeared to be not the right decision as Mahela Jayawardena who was opening in place of out of form Kusal Pererra departed cheaply. Jayawardena seems to have caught the same ‘bug’ as Pererra, the usually reliable Jaywardena departing cheaply to leave his side in early trouble.

A second wicket stand of 153 however turned the game back in the hosts favour. Chief tormentor in the last game Kumar Sangakarra was up to the same ‘tricks’ in this game as the Sri Lankan wicket keeper and Tilkeratne Dilshan were threatening to take the game from England.

Thankfully for England they managed to get a wicket at a good time, Ravi Bopara taking the catch of James Tredwell’s bowling to remove Dilshan. After the loss of the second wicket Sri Lanka were in danger of throwing away the good start they made.

Two further wickets fell before the score reached 200, England were looking to get a foothold back in the game – as for Sri Lanka their middle order was on the verge of anther collapse. with Sangakarra still at the crease, Sr iLanka knew they could post a competitive total.

The next wicket to fall would be that of Sangakarra’s , the veteran wicketkeeper managed to score yet another hundred in the midst of the carnage that was happening at the other end as wickets were falling at regular intervals.

The 39 year old eventually departed for a run a ball 112, at that stage Sri Lanka were 243-5 and in a good position to set a total which would be difficult for England to chase. The hosts would go on to make 292-7 which was always going to be a difficult total to chase considering the hosts bowling attack.

A near run a ball 35 of just 31 balls from Dinesh Chandimal was another contributing factor to the Sri Lankan’s getting to such a score.

England needing 293 to level the seven match series, got off to the worst possible start. Alistair Cook’s struggles continued as he fell second ball, James Taylor fell cheaply and Moeen Ali fell for an attractive 34 – but the tourists lost their first three wickets for 50 runs and were on the back foot very early into this run chase.

Just when the tourists looked to be on the road to recovery Sri Lanka made the break through with Lakmal having Ravi Bopara caught behind by centurion Sangakarra to break a fourth wicket partnership that was worth 84.

Just to make matters worse for England they lost another wicket with out a run being scored. At 84-5 it felt like the game was up – and sadly it was. Despite a battling 55 from Joe Root and a equally as gutsy 41 from all- rounder Chris Woakes, England lost wickets at regular intervals and eventually fell short of their target by 90 runs.

With that win Sri Lanka take the series with a game to play, as for England the plus point they can take out of this game is that they only have to bowl at Sangakarra once more in this series!

The seventh and final one day international is on Tuesday in Columbo.

Amir Khan Unanimously Beats Devon Alexander

Amir Khan impressively beat Devon Alexander to defend his WBC Silver Welterweight title.

Amir Khan impressively beat Devon Alexander to defend his WBC Silver Welterweight title.

British Asian fighter Amir Khan defeated American fighter Devon Alexander with a unanimous points decision in Las vegas to defend his WBC Silver welterweight title.. The Bolton born fighter took the fight to his 27 year old opponent in the ‘gambling capital of the world’ who had no answer to the fast tempo that Khan was boxing at.

In fact Alexander only offered anything of real note in the eighth round, with a series of hooks – but Khan was never really troubled in this one and managed to reeastablish his control as all three judges scored this one in the British fighters favour.

The judges scored the fight 119-109 , 118-110, and 120-108 at the MGM Grand. An impressive achievement by the 28 year old Khan who’s opponent could boast about winning titles at light-welterweight and welter weight level. On the night though however the fighter from St Louis had no answer to the accuracy of his slightly older opponent.

Amir khan who has spoken of his desire to box Floyd Mayweather who many might argue is one of the sports greats, did so again after the victory over Devon Alexander. Although it would be a good for British boxing fans , Floyd Mayweather himself has talked up the possibility of fighting Manny Pacquiao before – but nothing has materialised. Boxing fans will no doubt be hoping that will change.

As for a potential fight with Amir Khan I personally feel this won’t be in the immediate future – but if khan keeps beating opponents as impressively as he did against Devon Alexander, then it will be more difficult for Mayweather to ignore Khan for much longer.

Chesterfield Vs Bradford Match Report

Match winner Billy Clarke helps Bradford earn a 1-0 win at Chesterfield.

Match winner Billy Clarke helps Bradford earn a 1-0 win at Chesterfield.

Bradford went into this mid table clash with Chesterfield on the back of an impressive victory over Dartford in the FA cup. The Bantams went into this one looking to improve on their consistency in the league. After reaching the third round of the FA cup last week, Phil Parkinson’s side will no doubt be looking to move up the league table knowing their next FA cup game is in early January.

Chesterfield meanwhile went into this game against the Yorkshire side on the back of a six game unbeaten run. The Speirites beat MK Dons at stadium Mk last time out, that’s an impressive achievement considering twenty time premier league champions were hammered 4-0 when they visited stadium MK earlier this season.

The game itself was a hard fought contest which saw the home side reduced to 10 men in the 48th minute. Sam Morsy received his marching orders for appearing to catch Bradford’s Andy Halliday with his arm.

That dismissal would prove to be a turning point in the match as birthday boy Billy Clarke capped his 27th birthday of in style by scoring what proved to be the only goal with a superb strike just outside the box. Chesterfield searched in vain for an equaliser, Jay O’Shea was denied by visiting keeper Jordan Pickford – but Bradford held on for the three points.

The win for Bradford sees the Bantams just a point outside the play-off places in 10th position , as for Chesterfield they slip down to 13th position.

England Vs Sri Lanka Fifth One Day International Match Report

Joe Roots brilliant hundred has kept England in this seven match series.

Joe Roots brilliant hundred has kept England in this seven match series.

England came into this fifth one day international knowing that only a win would do. The tourists who are 3-1 down really needed a win to keep this series alive as a contest. Both sides made some changes to their teams from the last game. The hosts Sri Lanka included available again spinner Sachintra Sennaiyake who has remodelled his action since being banned by the International cricket council for his ‘illegal bowling action’ , Sennayake comes in for the injured Rangana Herath

As for England, the tourists welcomed back captain Alistair Cook who sat out the last game due to a one match ban for a slow over rate, Alex Hales was the man to make way. Struggling all rounder Ben Stokes is dropped, spinner James Tredwell comes in to give England another spin option. The match itself which had to be played over two days due to the rain, was a very hard fought game.

The tourists won the toss and to the surprise of many Alistair cook put the hosts into bat. The pitch at Pelekelle was expected to be a pitch which had turn, that would explain the array of spinners on show.

Sri Lanka after being put in by Cook, got off to the worst possible start. Kusal Pererra falling for yet another duck. After losing their first wicket with just three on the board it was left to the experienced pairing of Kumar Sangakarra and Tilkeratne Dilshan to rebuild the innings.

The veteran duo put on 51 for the second wicket, the second wicket stand was broken by Chris Jordan who bowled Dilshan for 35. England despite taking two wickets quite early were only to aware of Sri Lanka’s batting line up.

Despite the loss of the usually reliable Mahela Jayawardena for just two which left the Sri Lankan’s in the precarious position of 59-3, the hosts managed to make a recovery of sorts as Angelo Matthews and Sangakarra managed to put on 85 for the fourth wicket.

When the captain Matthews departed for a well crafted 40, at that stage the hosts were 144-4 but- the wheels started to come of a little for Sri Lanka there after. The highest score after the loss of Matthews’ wicket was 26. When the Asian side lost the wicket of Sangakarra who played brilliantly for his 91, it was only Thisara Pererra who made any form of contribution. The Hyderabad Sunrisers star scored a quick fire 27 off just 16 balls, the 24 year old Pererra scored four 4’s and one 6 in his innings.

Sri Lanka’s batting order suffered a middle order collapsed, at one stage Sri Lanka were 173-5 – but in the end the hosts crumbled to 239 all out. Chris Woakes despite skipper using 25 of the allotted 50 overs to spin was the star for the tourists, Woakes’ variations were causing havoc for the Sri Lankan batsmen. Warwickshire all- rounder Woakes took an impressive five wicket haul and finished the innings with 6-47.

England in reply had to wait a day to get their run chase up and running. The Sri Lankan rain meant that the Three Lions had to complete their innings today (a day later than what was initially planned). The tourists who were chasing what seemed to be a modest total still needed to be aware of the threat that Sri Lanka posed with their four spinners.

Just like Sri Lanka, England lost lost an early wicket – Moeen Ali who is top run scorer for England in this series the man out bowled by Sennayake. The platform was set for under performing captain Alistair Cook to take this game by the scruff of the neck after his side lost such an early wicket, that wasn’t to happen however as the England captain would be the next wicket to fall.

The tourists were 35-2 at that stage and were in serious danger of being dismissed for a low total. The remodelled action of Sennayaka proved to difficult for England’s openers, England needed to regroup and regroup they did.

A brilliant third wicket stand of 104 between James Taylor and Joe Root helped England to seize the initiative in this game. Taylor and Root brilliantly kept the scoreboard ticking with sensible batting which was attacking -but not over aggressive.

When James Taylor was caught for a well played 68, Sri Lanka must have thought they could pray on potential English nerves – a fourth wicket stand of 86 though however, effectively killed this game off as a contest.

There was time for Sri Lanka to take another couple of wickets, Ravi Boapara was out caught by Thrimanne with the winning line in sight, Eoin Morgan was caught by Thisara Pererra with two needed. After that little ‘wobble’ England duly crossed the winning line with five balls to spare, clinching a five wicket win to only trail 3-2 and give them selves renewed hope in the seven match series.

Key to this victory was Joe Root’s brilliant 104, the Yorkshireman was coolness personfied as England ended up needing two days to secure the win. The sixth One Day International between the two sides is on Saturday.

Pakistan Vs New Zealand Second T20 Match Report

A crucial 32 from captain Kane Williamson helped New Zealand square the T20 series 1-1

A crucial 32 from captain Kane Williamson helped New Zealand square the T20 series 1-1

Pakistan went into this second match of the T20 series looking to win – to secure a 2-0 lead which would win them the series. The Asian side drew the test series last month and were looking to go one better against the Kiwis this time round.

Former world champions Pakistan came into this match making one change, Awais Zia was replaced with test opener Ahmed Shehzhad. Daniel Vettori came in to the side for New Zealand Adam Milne and Mitch McCleneaghan made way for Kyle Mills. Pakistan won the toss, just as they did in the first game – and were looking to restrict the Black Caps to a total which they would be able to chase down.

New Zealand opening pair Anton Devcich and Kane Williamson who is captain of the T20 side helped their side put on a good stand for the opening wicket. In fact the New Zealander’s put on 49 for the first wicket. The Kiwi pair were looking solid, it was bit of a surprise when the first wicket did fall – Devcich the man out, bowled Mohammed Hafeez for 21.

The dismissal of Anton Devcich sparked a mini collapse for New Zealand who lost another three wickets for 29 runs. Just like in the first game the Black caps were in serious danger of not having enough runs on the board to defend their total.

A fifth wicket stand however of 38 helped settle the nerves – but when Tom Latham was fifth man out with the score on only 116, New Zealand didn’t look like they had enough on the board. Another three wickets fell for 20 as New Zealand scraped to 144-8.

Pakistan needed 145 to win the second match which didn’t seem enough considering the batsmen they have at their disposal. Cricket though is a funny old game – just when you think you know what’s going to happen usually the exact opposite happens.

The Pakistani’s got their reply off to a nightmare start. Friday’s hero Sarfraz Ahmed who scored an unbeaten 76 was first out, the wicketkeeper only managed a single before being dismissed. It didn’t get any better for Pakistan who lost wickets at regular intervals. Six Pakistan wickets were down before the score reached 100, when the seventh wicket fell with 104 on the board, Pakistan must have known the game was up.

A late cameo by captain Shahid Afridi made the game closer as a contest – but Afridi’s 28 off just 21 balls was ultimately to little to late. New Zealand closed the match out and dismissed the hosts for 127 which meant the series was all square at 1-1, the one day international series starts on Monday.

Bradford Vs Dartford Match Report

Bradford were never really troubled as they went through to the second round of the FA cup

Bradford were never really troubled as they went through to the third round of the FA cup

When the second round of the FA cup draw was announced many saw the game between Bradford and Dartford as a potential upset. If the first round of the FA cup was anything to go by, more shocks should be on the cards. Dartford who beat Bromley in the first round were looking to take the confidence from that win into this and that Blythe Spartans against all odds defeated Hartlepool last night.

If Dartford were to achieve the win, the London club knew that they would have to produce a good performance against League one middle table opponents Bradford. The Bantams will be looking to go on another good cup run after surprising many to reach the league cup in 2013.

The League one side included Jonathan Stead and Billy Clarke in their line up, both men were key players in the first round victory of the FA cup.

The Yorkshire side who overcame a scare to beat Yorkshire rivals Halifax in the first round, were never really tested in this one. Bradford had home advantage, and they really made it count. If Dartford were to have any chance of winning this game, they first had to avoid conceding early – but unfortunately that’s exactly what the Conference strugglers did.

Jonathan Stead a scorer in the last round – this time turned provider, the Huddersfield loanee raced down the left wing and fed Billy Clarke who scrambled the ball over the line after 10 minutes to give the home side the best possible start. Dartford who must have been looking to not concede as early as the 10th minute went further behind 21 minutes later when Jonathan Stead who had set up the first goal steered the ball home from eight yards.

There would be no further damage to the score line for Dartford in the first half who were in serious danger of getting ‘blown away’. The Londoner’s would have been looking to at least show some fight and at least compete in this game. At 2-0 and in the context of the game this game seemed over as a contest. It would get worse for the conference side as Filipe Morais and Mark Yeates scored with in a minute of each other to leave the score at 4-0.

Morais scored a beauty from 25 yards while Yates curled in from the edge of the box to get Bradford’s fourth. A miserable day for the Londoners was complete – but there was time for Lee Noble to score a brilliant goal by nonchalantly flicking the ball in the net – but that proved to be a mere consolation.

The Bantams march on to the third round of the FA and will be dreaming of another good cup run like the 2013 league cup run. The draw for the third round is on Monday.