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Cricket Digest for Jan 16, 2009

Related Links : South Africa in Australia | Bangladesh Tri-Nation | Ranji Trophy Super League

Today saw two dramatic One Day Internationals – the first one a low-scoring one at Mirpur and the second a high-scoring one at Melbourne. Both matches saw the chasing team succeed after many twists and turns. It was the final of the low-profile Tri-Nation tournament in Bangladesh with Sri Lanka clearly being the favourites. But Bangladesh wasn’t a pushover as they had caused an upset in the last league game. The Tigers could put up just 152 after yet another top order failure. Nuwan Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis shared three wickets each. The Tigers made a complete mess of the Sri Lankan batting to reduce the visitors to a shocking 6 for 5, oops 6 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in 8 overs! But the Tigers forgot to see the back of one man and that was the rock solid Kumar Sangakkara who went onto make a fighting 50 which took his team past a hundred. At 114 for 8, SL were in the dumps with even the overs running short. However, Muttiah Muralitharan came to the rescue with his agricultural style of slogging to score bulk of the remaining runs. Murali made 33 from 16 balls as SL breathed easy towards the ends.

The second dramatic ODI was between Australia and South Africa which was won by the visitors. Half centuries from the young Shaun Marsh (79) and David Hussey (52) helped Aussies to a formidable 271. And in reply, SA got reduced to 90 for 3 before the impressive JP Duminy (71) got a solid partnership with No.5 Neil McKenzie (63). Both got out though at the wrong moments of the chase to leave SA in trouble at 221 for 7 under 44 overs. The Proteas were now left with just the one capable hitter in Albie Morkel who didn’t disappoint his colleagues as he came up with a bludgeoning 40 from 18 balls to clinch an unbelievable win in the final over. Albie got the necessary support from his skipper Johan Botha, who kept his end intact. Albie Morkel was the Man of the Match as he also had taken a couple of wickets in the game.

Well Mumbai has gone on to take the Ranji Trophy title for the 38th time! Uttar Pradesh showed little fight in this match as they fell by 243 runs in the Final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Set an improbable target of 525 on the final day, UP were rocked by the young medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni who went onto pick a five-wicket haul. Off Spinner Ramesh Powar took three as UP got bowled out in about 72 overs. Mohammad Kaif scored 72 but he had lost the match for his side when he had dropped Rohit Sharma twice on the first day. It was encouraging to see Bhuvaneshwar Kumar score 80 today along with the 5-wicket haul he had taken in the first innings.

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