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US no longer a world power, we would move towards China: Pakistan

pakchrus

America is “no longer a world power” and Pakistan would move towards China and Russia if its views on Kashmir and India are not considered, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif‘s envoys have said here.

“(The) US is no longer a world power. It is a declining power. Forget about it,” special Kashmir envoy of Sharif, Mushahid Hussain Syed was heard as saying on Wednesday after the conclusion of an interaction at the Atlantic Council, one of the top American think-tanks.

Syed and Shazra Mansab, another Kashmir envoy, are in the US as part of the Pakistani effort to apprise the global community of the current situation in Kashmir and allegations of human rights violations in the valley.

Syed has gone to the extent to warn US that Pakistan would move towards China and Russia if its views on Kashmir and India are not considered.

He was apparently responding to a question from a member in the audience after the conclusion of the 90-minute interaction during which he expressed his frustration over the lack of response to his point of view on Kashmir and India.

The remarks of Syed were not recorded on camera, but was heard prominently by those inside the room.

Thereafter, he was quick to point out China and newly perceived relationship with Russia, which he had mentioned during his interaction at the Atlantic Council.

Syed submitted a dossier of alleged human rights violation in Kashmir to special US representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Olson.

With no takers for Pakistan’s Kashmir policy, Syed said China is now an important factor in South Asia and described Beijing as part of what he termed as Greater South Asia.

“There has been slow and steady building of relationship between Moscow and Islamabad,” he said, referring to the joint military exercise between Pakistan and Russia.

Syed said the Putin government has for the first time agreed to sell arms to Pakistan and the US should take note of this changing regional alignment.

“Unfortunately under the Obama administration, there was a drift in American foreign policy towards our region, towards Afghanistan. There was confusion and there was a lot of flip-flops. I think, the Obama administration could not figure out this region Afghanistan and Pakistan and as a consequence this region suffered.

“With policies one step back and one step (forward), announcing surge, announcing a cut off time for exit. Asking sometime Pakistan that please we want to talk to the Taliban and then saying that we want to take on the Taliban and finally they said there would be no American troops and then they end up having 8,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan. It leaves this to the next administration,” he said.

Syed said Pakistan feels that the US should look at the region as a whole.

“Whether it is Pakistan, India, China, Afghanistan and there is plus also, the Iran nuclear deal… because all these countries can contribute to the stability and security of the region.

“And what Pakistan would like to have from the US, I am talking about the incoming administration, because Obama is a guest for the next few months as January 20, 2017 there will be a new administration, that they have to see the region, where they have a more comprehensive perspective, and do not try to compartmentalised peace and security, because that is not possible,” he said.

“When you talk of peace in Kabul, you have to ensure that Kashmir is not burning. The US has a long-term interest in Kashmir. They are a party to the UN resolutions. The US has played a very legitimate role in supporting oppressed people, oppressed Muslims (in) Bosnia, Kosovo and even the Kurds.

“So Kashmiris today should not suffer, just because Kashmir has no oil or Kashmir is not part of Europe or Kashmiris belong to a certain religious denomination, because we cannot have double standards on those issues,” Syed said.

He said Pakistan has a long standing relationship with the US and “we would like that (to continue). But of course, we have options also. With the greater Russian involvement in the region, they are also interested coming into CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor). Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia has also expressed interest in joining CPEC”.

He also called for dialogue between India and Pakistan.

 “Issues cannot be brushed under the carpet. People thought Kashmir issue is suppressed and buried. It has come back with a bang. It is more significant as (former) president (Bill) Clinton called as a potential nuclear flash point. The two nuclear neighbors should learn to talk to each other.

“We feel that the way forward is that the region calls for statesmanship and what I call a Nixonian transformation of Mr (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi. If he can have that outreach and develop that statesmanship which Richard Nixon demonstrated in 1971 courtesy Pakistan. I think, the options are there, opportunities are there. The ball is in Modi’s court, can he rise to the occasion as a leader of 1.2 billion people to build a better and peaceful tomorrow,” Syed said.

 

Alleging that US has done a U-turn of its policies on India, which started from the civic nuclear deal, he said the US is loosing sight of the other interests in the region.

“The most important interest of the US is stability of Afghanistan and counter terrorism. And for that they like it not they need Pakistan’s cooperation, which they have been getting and we have been providing and we are also suffering in the process. We see the shift (of US policy from Pakistan to India). And that shift would be detrimental to America’s own security and interest in South Asia,” Syed added.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-would-move-towards-China-Russia-as-US-is-declining-power/articleshow/54708689.cms?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=TOI

 
Pakistan crashes out of #WorldT20 after loosing to Australia by 21 runs in Mohali

World T20, 26th Match, Super 10 Group 2: Australia v Pakistan at Mohali, Mar 25, 2016

during the ICC WT20 India Group 2 match between Pakistan and Australia at I.S. Bindra Stadium on March 25, 2016 in Mohali, India.
James Faulkner’s maiden T20I five-wicket haul helped Australia keep Pakistan to 172 in their chase of 194 in a crucial match in Mohali © Getty Images during the ICC WT20 India Group 2 match between Pakistan and Australia at I.S. Bindra Stadium on March 25, 2016 in Mohali, India.

Australia innings (20 overs maximum) RMB4s6sSR
View dismissalUT Khawajab Wahab Riaz21181631131.25
3.4 Wahab has Khawaja now. He lets out a roar. Khawaja steps away outside leg to crash this through the covers. But this was a full missile. Khawaja can’t make contact. Thde left-arm quick pings the middle stump. It gets tilted back 28/1
View dismissalAJ Finchb Imad Wasim1537161093.75
7.2 The arm-ball does the trick. Australia’s top-three batsmen have all been bowled. This rushes on off the surface, snakes in, keeps low. Beats Finch’s defences and raps middle 57/3
View dismissalDA Warnerb Wahab Riaz98620150.00
5.1 Wahab nails the stumps again, hits the top of middle. Warner is gone now. 148.1ks dynamite! Back of a length and ducks back in, Warner, who had aimed to make swinging room and open up the off side, is caught in an awkward tangle. Wahab KO’s Warner. The stumps light up… 42/2
SPD Smith*not out61624370141.86
View dismissalGJ Maxwellc Ahmed Shehzad b Imad Wasim30241831166.66
13.4 Maxi holes out to long-on now. Pushed through flat, Maxi slogs, and miscues it to Shehzad, who completes a good overhead catch 119/4
SR Watsonnot out44282143209.52
Extras(lb 8, w 5)13
Total(4 wickets; 20 overs)193(9.65 runs per over)
BowlingOMRWEcon0s4s6s
Mohammad Amir403909.751142(1w)
Mohammad Sami4053013.25672(3w)
View wicketsWahab Riaz403528.751041
3.4 to Khawaja, Wahab has Khawaja now. He lets out a roar. Khawaja steps away outside leg to crash this through the covers. But this was a full missile. Khawaja can’t make contact. Thde left-arm quick pings the middle stump. It gets tilted back 28/1
5.1 to Warner, Wahab nails the stumps again, hits the top of middle. Warner is gone now. 148.1ks dynamite! Back of a length and ducks back in, Warner, who had aimed to make swinging room and open up the off side, is caught in an awkward tangle. Wahab KO’s Warner. The stumps light up… 42/2
Shahid Afridi402706.75520
View wicketsImad Wasim403127.75530
7.2 to Finch, The arm-ball does the trick. Australia’s top-three batsmen have all been bowled. This rushes on off the surface, snakes in, keeps low. Beats Finch’s defences and raps middle 57/3
13.4 to Maxwell, Maxi holes out to long-on now. Pushed through flat, Maxi slogs, and miscues it to Shehzad, who completes a good overhead catch 119/4
Pakistan innings (target: 194 runs from 20 overs) RB4s6sSR
View dismissalSharjeel Khanb Faulkner301960157.89
5.3 Sharjeel’s joyride is over! Again not all that short, but Sharjeel is tempted into that big pull. He goes hard and can only drag it on to his leg stump off a thickish inside edge. And the required rate has shot to 10.62 40/2
View dismissalAhmed Shehzadc Coulter-Nile b Hazlewood160016.66
2.5 Shehzad swings now, top-edges it into the hands of NCN at mid-off, just behind the bowler. Head-high clasp Back of a length and angled in around off, Shehzad targets the leg side with an ambitious slog and makes a mess of it. He ends up offering a skier 20/1
View dismissalKhalid Latifb Faulkner464141112.19
17.3 third time’s the charm. Back of the hand slower ball on middle, Latif swings early to the leg side and does not connect. Faulkner hits the timber and lets out a roar 147/5
View dismissalUmar Akmalb Zampa322031160.00
10.3 bowled’em. Zampa gives this plenty of air, it dips and hits the stumps. Umar drops to one knee for a slog sweep, but does not make contact. Nice change up in pace and flight, the middle stump is pushed back 85/3
View dismissalShahid Afridi*st †Nevill b Zampa14702200.00
13.2 Six and out, sums up Afridi! He ventures down the track again. The legspinner retorts. He darts it flatter and wider outside off. Turns away with bounce. Afridi can’t reach and connect. Nevill does the rest. Is that Afridi’s final innings for Pakistan? 110/4
Shoaib Maliknot out402022200.00
View dismissalImad Wasimc Coulter-Nile b Faulkner01000.00
17.4 The back-of-the-hand slower ball does the damage again. Back of a length and turning away outside off, Imad Wasim throws his bat at it and skews it in the air. NCN runs across from cover and pouches it 147/6
View dismissalSarfraz Ahmedc Khawaja b Faulkner230066.66
19.1 Faulkner gets his fourth! Sarfraz attempts a reverse sweep against a back of the hand slower ball. He can only spoon a catch to backward point (or square leg if you’d like? 164/7
View dismissalWahab Riazc Hazlewood b Faulkner01000.00
19.2 Make that a five-for, the first in this tournament! Afridi can’t watch this in the dug out. He has his head down with his eyes closed. Wahab swings and sends a top edge to short third man 164/8
Mohammad Saminot out4210200.00
Extras(b 1, lb 1, w 1)3
Total(8 wickets; 20 overs)172(8.60 runs per over)
BowlingOMRWEcon0s4s6s
View wicketJR Hazlewood402616.501130(1w)
2.5 to Ahmed Shehzad, Shehzad swings now, top-edges it into the hands of NCN at mid-off, just behind the bowler. Head-high clasp Back of a length and angled in around off, Shehzad targets the leg side with an ambitious slog and makes a mess of it. He ends up offering a skier 20/1
NM Coulter-Nile4045011.25771
View wicketsJP Faulkner402756.751121
5.3 to Sharjeel Khan, Sharjeel’s joyride is over! Again not all that short, but Sharjeel is tempted into that big pull. He goes hard and can only drag it on to his leg stump off a thickish inside edge. And the required rate has shot to 10.62 40/2
17.3 to Khalid Latif, third time’s the charm. Back of the hand slower ball on middle, Latif swings early to the leg side and does not connect. Faulkner hits the timber and lets out a roar 147/5
17.4 to Imad Wasim, The back-of-the-hand slower ball does the damage again. Back of a length and turning away outside off, Imad Wasim throws his bat at it and skews it in the air. NCN runs across from cover and pouches it 147/6
19.1 to Sarfraz Ahmed, Faulkner gets his fourth! Sarfraz attempts a reverse sweep against a back of the hand slower ball. He can only spoon a catch to backward point (or square leg if you’d like? 164/7
19.2 to Wahab Riaz, Make that a five-for, the first in this tournament! Afridi can’t watch this in the dug out. He has his head down with his eyes closed. Wahab swings and sends a top edge to short third man 164/8
SR Watson2027013.50131
View wicketsA Zampa403228.00612
10.3 to Umar Akmal, bowled’em. Zampa gives this plenty of air, it dips and hits the stumps. Umar drops to one knee for a slog sweep, but does not make contact. Nice change up in pace and flight, the middle stump is pushed back 85/3
13.2 to Shahid Afridi, Six and out, sums up Afridi! He ventures down the track again. The legspinner retorts. He darts it flatter and wider outside off. Turns away with bounce. Afridi can’t reach and connect. Nevill does the rest. Is that Afridi’s final innings for Pakistan? 110/4
GJ Maxwell201306.50401

Match details


Toss – Australia, who chose to bat
Points – Australia 2, Pakistan 0
Umpires – HDPK Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and M Erasmus (South Africa)
TV umpire – RK Illingworth (England)
Match referee – RS Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire – NJ Llong (England)

 

 

Australia’s captain Steven Smith won the toss and chose to bat against Pakistan in their vital World Twenty20 match at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.

Pakistan must win to stand any chance of staying in the tournament, while an Australian victory would ensure that they do not need to worry about net run-rate ahead of their clash with India .

Smith named another reshuffled Australian side. The soon-to-retire Shane Watson dropped down the order to make room for the return of Aaron Finch at the expense of Mitchell Marsh. Josh Hazlewood was included ahead of John Hastings in the hope the Mohali pitch will have some additional bounce.

Pakistan recalled the fit-again Wahab Riaz in place of Mohammad Irfan, who was described as resting by his captain Shahid Afridi.

Australia 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 David Warner, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Shane Watson, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Peter Nevill (wk), 9 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan 1 Sharjeel Khan, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Khalid Latif, 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi (capt), 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Mohammad Sami, 11 Mohammad Amir

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Kohli special steers India home on a turner

India's Virat Kohli celebrates his team victory  during the ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket match against Pakistan at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, India, Saturday, March 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
India’s Virat Kohli celebrates his team victory during the ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket match against Pakistan at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, India, Saturday, March 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

There was rain, but the Eden Gardens wasn’t submerged. There was a pitch that made spinners seem like grenade launchers. There were 61,337 people including certifiable legends of the game from Sachin Tendulkar to Imran Khan. All of it added to the spectacle of India-Pakistan cricket, but Virat Kohli rose one step above with an innings of gumption and class.

India needed to win tonight to stay in control of their fate at the World T20. A few tactical errors left them with a competitive 119 to chase. When the ball grips into the deck, slows down and simultaneously turns, a batsman’s judgment becomes of great importance. Hitting on the up carries risk. Playing too far away carries risk. Finding a run a ball can be troublesome. Kohli found 55 of them in only 37 balls to beat Pakistan for an 11th time in ICC global events.

Kohli’s thirst to compete was apparent when he said a cricketer needs tough pitches. He had the 18 overs that Pakistan had to bat to assess the one in Kolkata. There were a few shots that he needed to avoid, and a few things he needed to exploit – like his speed between the wickets. He fed his innings with 19 singles and a two, playing his shots as late as he could, and every time he played one, it was with the intent to get some runs. Kohli allowed only nine dots in his innings.

The loss to New Zealand had “hurt” Kohli. “We don’t perform like that at home,” he said in the post-match presentation. The shots that he hit tonight as he neared his half-century – two scorching cover drives when the bat barely strayed away from his body – typified exactly how one should play on such pitches. The longer he was at the crease, the weaker Pakistan became and the night eventually ended with the man who Kohli bowled to upon reaching his fifty – Tendulkar – waving the India flag aloft.

It wasn’t a flawless day for the hosts though. They had a chance to be chasing far less. They didn’t bowl R Ashwin out on a surface made for him and their fast bowlers bowled length balls and full tosses in the death when the offcutter seemed the logical choice. Pakistan’s lower order, marshalled by Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal, swung into the leg side with glee and ransacked 51 runs off the last five overs.

Even after such a rich return in the death, Pakistan’s total remained in the competitive range. And that was because of the control India had in the early going.

Bats these days have a lot of wood in their middle. The ball and the Kolkata pitch colluded never to find it. The leading edge was allowed a peek. The outside edge tried to pipe up, but it was always beaten. On-and-off rain since 5 pm had shortened the game to 18-overs a side, but the pitch was dry enough that all anyone had to do was roll their fingers over the ball to be menacing. Ashwin turned it square in the second over. Ravindra Jadeja couldn’t bowl his wicket-to-wicket line because he couldn’t believe how much the ball was deviating.

Considering that, it seemed Pakistan had stabbed themselves by dropping a spinner, and a handy batsman, in Imad Wasim to add Mohammad Sami to their XI. However, Pakistan being Pakistan and Sami being Sami turned a liability into a strength. Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina – two men who seem to struggle badly in a touch situation – chopped onto their stumps and Sami was on the cusp of a hat-trick in every form of cricket. Yuvraj Singh soaked in that pressure and contributed 24 runs to a match-winning 61-run partnership with Kohli.

Pakistan’s batsmen, who were heavily maligned leading into the tournament, acquitted themselves quite the ball was darting around. On top of that was the inherent pressure of this match. But Ahmed Shehzad laid a solid foundation with his 25 off 28 balls. They eased past the first 10 overs with only two wickets lost. Ashwin had only one left in his quota and Jadeja had two. Dhoni didn’t think about Yuvraj Singh at any point in the game, and kept at it with his seamers. Pandya gave away 15 runs in 14th over and Bumrah 13 in the very next.

At that point, it seemed Pakistan had the edge. Then Kohli came out and took it away from them.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Rejuvenated Pakistan out to test India’s bouncebackability

India won the toss and elected to field

Sourav Ganguly has walked out with the trophy, and the dignitaries are gathered around. The teams walk out for the national anthems. Shafqat Amanat Ali will sing Pakistan’s and Amitabh Bachan will sing India’s.

“Pinpricks of light all around the stands as the flags come onto the ground and mobile camera flashes go off,” says Karthik.

Safwan: “All people saying sami’s line and lenght hasn’t been upto the mark have not seen the previous matches he has played. He has been brilliant apart from the two no balls he bowled. Sami’s international t20 record is the best among all other current pakistani bowlers”

Toss, 8.10 pm Dhoni tosses, Afridi calls heads, India wins. Dhoni chooses to bowl first. India are playing the same XI that lost to New Zealand. I’ll have news of the Pakistan team for you as soon as I know.

Pakistan have left out spinning-allrounder Imad Wasim and are playing fast bowler Mohammad Sami.

Suman Dustakar: “Interesting reply by Afridi to nasir when he asked what you wanted to do if you had won the toss, he said “you know wat i wanted to do”, but afridi I dont knw wat u wanted to do, can you please tell me?”

FaZi: “@Suman, He will bat first 🙂 & i think dropping imad is not a good decision, Sami has got pace but his line & length is not good at all since last many matches. Let’s hope he have a good day today.”

Zuhaib Qureshi : “Why do they keep playing Mohammad Sami. All he does is get thrashed around the ground. And today will be no different I am sure. Imad in the last few games has been good. ”

Sushil: “Reasons for bowling first: 1. Slightly humid ground ball will not race away to the boundary for first few overs. 2. Covered wicket will offer something for the quick bowlers initially 3. Always an advantage to bat second with rainy weather and possible interruptions. 4. In shortened games batting first you never know what is a par total.” Sound logic.

8.05 pm It’s been frustrating for sure, all these delays – natural and man-made – but let’s put that all behind us now. We have a game! Toss in five minutes, a start at 8.30 pm, and an 18-over contest. The Powerplay will be five-overs long, and three bowlers can bowl a maximum of four overs each.

7.55 pm This is getting really frustrating now. I don’t see why the toss couldn’t have happened by now, given that most of the covers are off.

Syed: “Any inspection? Any Toss? Any News? When are they going to start?” Nothing official yet. The players are going through their warm-up drills. The last shot of Dhoni had him in his practice kit.

Shiba: “George, Can you put the status as Match delayed by Speeches.”

FINALLY!! Toss at 8.10 pm, start at 8.30pm, 18-overs a side. I wonder if some time is still being kept for the national anthems.

Burg: “All the ceremonial stuff would’ve been acceptable subject to no overs being lost. But with 2 overs a side removed, one really questions why the need for all the formalities…”

Keshav: “Most ridiculous thing I ever heard, 2 overs docked because of the speeches? Couldn’t they have just had the toss as soon as the covers were coming off? Instead they waste time with speeches and the platform going up and coming down. ”

Karthik Sukumar: “I believe the rules say that the pitch and the field has to be completely ready for play before the toss takes place. There were a few covers on the field and the pitch was being rolled. It’s unfortunate, however the presentation could’ve be avoided completely or shortened. ”

7.45 pm Imran Khan is now giving a short speech, appreciating the welcome Pakistan have been given in Kolkata. He hopes for a great game and that the result is the same as when he last played at Eden Gardens.

Tendulkar strolls up for his turn at the microphone. “Nice to see the stalwarts from Pakistan, we welcome them here … we hope for a fantastic match, let’s enjoy cricket above all.”

One last cover remains on the field and it is beginning to come off as well, and the Super Sopper is doing its thing. Can we stop with the speeches and get this show on the road, already? Surely they could have had the toss by now.

Right, the felicitations are over. Let’s dismantle that platform.

Vamsi: “Do they really think the spectators appreciate all this when the match is already delayed ? Don’t they care about what the fan feels ? Speeches, really ? There is certainly no occasion nor reason for this too. Just imagine if rains again now.”

Ganesh: “This ia infuriating. ICC should have a crackdown because of such wastage of time. This could have well been done after the match”

Moloy: “Why cant they just have the toss indoors? And please please tell me they wont be waiting 30 mins after the toss to start?”

DanielAlexander: “Can we please get on with the game? ”

Neeks: “Don’t worry George. Let everybody have there share of joy. Without the efforts of these guys no match would have shown up. This not a match but a gesture of friendship.”

Manohar: “With all due respect to the legends and dignitaries, couldn’t this function take place at the halfway break or after the match? Unnecessary delay to an already delayed game.”

7.40pm While the covers are being removed, the chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee is honouring former Pakistan captain and politician Imran Khan on the field by draping a shawl around him. Wasim Akram is next. “Poor Allan Lamb. His 92 World Cup dismissal comes up on the big screen.” says Karthik. And after Akram, is Waqar Younis and Sunil Gavaskar. And then Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar.

Amir: “I think this katch is getting delayed now without much reason.”

Siddhesh: “What is baffling is how Bangladesh cricket board, with a fraction of the budget of the BCCI has managed to prepare stadiums with excellent drainage, as seen in the recent Asia Cup finals. The neglect shown towards not improving drainage facilities for such international events, and at a metropolitan city at that is not ideal. ”

Naresh Gupta UP: “Why is there a presentation ceremony going on when the match is delayed. I am in France and eagerly waiting for the toss!”

kainkareswar: “In Ukraine,Indian,Bangladeshi and Pakistani students have arranged a public screening but unfortunately the game is delayed, hopefully we at least get a game.”

Reeza Seedat: “MBA studies is put on hold for these few hours of action! Rain rain go away! All the way from South Africa”

Siddhesh: “Well, at least they aren’t waiting for the covers to come off totally before conducting such events. Given that this is already a shortened game, the least the officials should do is to not shorten it further.”

7.30 pm “I can see Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar and Wasim Akram near that temporary platform,” says Karthik from the ground. Hopefully they will be able to dismantle it toute suite as soon as it has been used for whatever purpose.

Sashank: “A lot changed with cricket technology during last decade , but nothing to dry the field quickly.”

Mazhar Shehzaad: “Gotta feel for Cricinfo comm boys. The match hasnt even started yet and look at all the commentary. Pity your fingers. Kudos! #LoveFromPakistan.” Nothing is harder than Gayle and Samuels bowling in tandem.

Adil Rashid: “We (Indian and Pakistani students) have arranged a huge multimedia projector for this match here in China, and hope the effort will not be ruined by rain. ”

Anil: “The effort being put in by the ground staff at Eden Gardens is commendable, that being said, with the technical advancements the game has had over the years, one often wonders why the turnaround time at stadia across the country is still long, I believe that as much as it is important to increase the capacity of the stadia, it will be nice to see more effective methods in reducing this tedious process.”

7.22 pm The process of taking off the covers is ongoing. The pitch is being rolled, the creases have been marked. The Super Sopper is supersopping the ground. It’s going to be a delayed start but hopefully they will do everything possible to have a full game.

“The Indian players are out now, doing some low-intensity ball tossing among themselves,” says Karthik. “Lala and Waqar have also been milling about for a while.”

JandhyalaVenkat: “It is sad to see several of the ground staff walking bare feet. I hope BCCI can look into this to improve. World is watching.”

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RiKool: “The streets in my neighbourhood are looking deserted. Shops have shut down. Its all building up for THE CLASH”

7.12 pm “Two-thirds of the covers are either off or in the process of coming off. The sponsors’ signs are being unfolded behind the run-up area,” says Karthik from Eden Gardens. “And some sort of platform is being erected. For all the preliminaries, I suppose.” Don’t tell me they are going to delay the game any further than necessary because of ‘functions’.

Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan is going to sing the Indian national anthem. For Pakistan, it will be the singer Shafqat Amanat Ali.

Prakhar: “What is the need for all these ‘functions’? After all this is a IND-PAK match and we all want this game to start right now. The teams should have the toss in dressing room and should not waste time on that too.”

7.02 pm On the far side from the press box at Eden Gardens, the Super Soppers are still clearing the covers. We have just ticked past the scheduled toss time.

“Off go the last layer of covers from the square,” says Karthik from the ground. “The umpires are out in the middle, 8.50 pm is the cut-off time for losing overs, apparently.”

6.55 pm More good news from Eden Gardens. “Basically, the ground has been cleared in the bowlers’ run-up areas at this end. And the ground looks great from here,” says Karthik Krishnaswamy. “They’re going to clear the wide long-on area next, I think.”

The toss looks set to be delayed, though. It is scheduled for 7 pm local time. Our analysis show Match Day – with Dravid, Mahela and Ian Chappell today – is going to go live at 7 pm. you can watch it on this scorecard page by refreshing it, the player will appear on the top right on the web.

Ko123: “Around 4000 people outside Melbourne cricket ground for this epic match with Pakistan and Indian shirts ”

Lokesh: “The match has been called off. Pakistan win by 2 runs (D/L). The Pakistan Women players indulge in raucous celebrations.”

6.45 pm The stands, as you’d imagine, are pretty much packed. Though not entirely, just yet. It isn’t raining at the moment and the covers are slowly coming off. The ones near the straight boundary at the press box end.

Naman: “Does drainage even matter if they covered the whole ground? Surely water is not supposed to seep beneath covers? It must be like the rain never happened.” Yes, if the covers have had no leaks, then the ground should be dry once they are removed.

Maddy M: “Ronak comments, only reminds of Leo’s Oscar speech…. “Let us not take this planet for granted; I do not take tonight for granted.”

6.38 pm “Huge cheer as the central cover goes off once again,” says Karthik. “They’re just lifting the edges to see what the surface is like underneath.”

“I can see ground,” says Jarrod. Ground at Eden Gardens hasn’t been seen before now, today.

Karthik: “The cover over the run-up area at the press box end is beginning to come off now. And there’s another cover below that as well. So it seems like the ground should be pretty dry once the covers come off.”

Sabahat: “Meanwhile pakistani channel broadcasting imran khan conversation with umer akmal. What a sight to see legends supporting their teams at ground”

Karthik Sukumar: “The most important thing over here is having the complete quota of overs. A shortened game would be unfair on both the sides and the crowd. Let’s hope for a cracking game!”

Abdul: “I can imagine george sitting behind his computer sipping coffee reading our comments.. what a peaceful life.” Tea today, and some coconut rocks and dodol thanks to our Sri Lankan correspondent Andrew Fernando.

6.32 pm “No rain, groundstaff still clearing the water off the covers,” says Karthik. Jarrod says it was raining 30 seconds ago, so it’s all very unpredictable at the moment at Eden Gardens.

Tharun Raj: “Most Indians are now worried about drainage, Not in their home or colony but at Eden Gardens. :P”

Adnan Akhtar: “Rain in Kolkata, rain in Delhi! Can someone please turn off the tap?”

6.20 pm “Raining again,” says Jarrod Kimber, who’s also at Eden Gardens. But it is mild. “But the groundstaff and Soppers are busy at work,” says Karthik.

The live discussion with Rahul Dravid and Mahela Jayawardene is going on right now. Head to our Facebook page. And Mahela and Dravid will also join Ian Chappell on our live Match Day show at 7pm, which you can watch right here by refreshing the scorecard page.

6.12 pm Pakistan women stumbling against India women in Delhi. They need 20 off 24 balls with four wickets in hand. There is rain in the air in Delhi, it’s drizzling at the Kotla. Covers coming on. Pakistan are just ahead on the D/L equation.

However, the rain has stopped in Kolkata.

Nikhil: “@Maulika – I would rather replace Hardik Pandya with Rahane. Yuvraj’s presence is always a threat to the opposition. Hardik Pandya is a bit overhyped in my opinion. We need more experienced players out in the middle.”

6.05 pm “Close to stopping now,” says Karthik Krishnaswamy. “It’s pretty cool to watch the Super Soppers. When they’re moving around on grass, it’s hard to tell how powerful they are, but they leave a more or less dry stripe as they move over these covers.”

Imran Panjwani: “Here is some stat before the match ‘Ashwin need 3 wickets to become first indian bowler to take 50 wickets in T20 International, Ahmed Shehzad need 7 runs to 1000 runs milestone, Boom Boom Afridi need 5 wickets to become the first international player to take 100 wickets in T20 International and Dhoni need 18 runs to make the 1000 Runs in T20 Internationals.”

Mounika: “Will Dhoni change the team today? Can Rahane please play in place of Yuvraj?? Either way Dhoni is not using Yuvraj for bowling so much and given Raina’s performance against NZ pretty sure he will continue to bowl”

5.55 pm Argh, the rain has begun again, I’m afraid. Not heavy, but heavier than drizzle. Nonetheless, the Super Soppers are rumbling around near the boundaries.

Have you read this interview with Shahid Afridi? “I’ll tell you something from the heart. My father and family have really given me a lot of support. They have never let me fall. Their prayers have been with me throughout. My real strength is my awaam [public]. My awaam, in every difficult time, has supported me, whether I took a panga [picked a fight] with the board or anyone. I’ve always stood for my players and the truth when I was captain, whether I had issues with Vicky bhai [Waqar Younis] or Ijaz Butt [former PCB chairman]. The awaam has always given me such support that I can never forget them. They have been my strength.” I’m going to miss Lala once (if) he retires.

vinay: “Does Cricinfo offer any prize rewards like fb for pointing some flaw? I see that the IndVsPak rain updates are visible on Desktop espncricinfo link, and android app, but the rain comments aren’t visible on my iPad app. I accept any sort of rewards; publishing this doesn’t count mind you.” Are you going to be watching on all gadgets during earth hour, too?

5.45 pm Here’s the latest update from Karthik Krishnaswamy at Eden Gardens: “It has almost stopped raining. Just the stray droplet. And that central cover is being removed. Underneath are more covers. Like the end of a Scooby Doo episode.”

FaZi: “George, LOL, if you have nothing to do why you don’t post each & every comment & we have our very own pre-match analysis. You never posted my comment.” I sort of dug a hole and fell into it.

5.40 pm They’re beginning to sweep water off the central cover over the pitch and the square. It’s still drizzling, but growing gradually lighter.

sunil: “This is just a thunderstorm. It will pass. Game on!”

Aquif Shaikh: “I’ve never seen Cricinfo provide Rain updates more frequently than Today. Feeling the pressure?” Pressure, what pressure? As Keith Miller memorably said: “Real pressure is when you are flying a Mosquito with a Messerschmitt up your arse!” I just have nothing else to do.

5.35 pm Some mildly better news from the ground. “The rain definitely has reduced in intensity now. People are moving back down from the backs of the stands to the less protected fronts,” says Karthik.

MA: “Hourly forecasts predict that the rain should stop in the next 2 hours, which means that by 7:30 it should stop raining. If by some miracle, the ground is readied in the following half an hour, i.e by 8:00, we could have a full game as there are no predictions of rain during the match….fingers crossed! ”

5.30 pm It’s more or less the same. Perhaps slightly lighter. That’s the word from the ground.

5.20 pm Still raining. “So I was here last year for a KKR-Royals IPL game that was rained out,” says Karthik Krishnaswamy from Eden Gardens. “This time, they have new covers – white rather than blue – that I’ve heard were brought in from the UK only last month or thereabouts. And the ground also has an extra Super Sopper.” So the aim is to not let any water get on the ground, which is good because the drainage isn’t. It will be a task to get the water off the covers though.

Viral: “World richest board. One of the Biggest events in cricket. one of the biggest ground in world. Surely BCCI can make better efforts in arranging better drainage system for this ground after last year’s IND-SA match.” Well the rain has to abate first.

5.15 pm Thunder, lightning and heavy rain now. Looks ominous and the drainage at Eden Gardens isn’t the best. However, the entire ground is covered, but that means it will be a massive task to get all the surface water off, once (if) the rain eases.

S Dutta: “Actually Kolkata starts to become very muggy round about this time. So I am not sure if the folks sitting on the covers are ‘suffering’ or ‘enjoying’ the rain. I wish I could be one of them, for a day like today (Indo – Pak match)!!!” I’m sorry but the least that can be done – if they have to stay out in the rain – is to provide protection against it in some form.

And in news just coming in. Big blows for Bangladesh: Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny have been suspended from bowling by ICC for illegal actions.

5.05 pm It has begun to rain heavily now but the groundstaff continue to sit on the covers, they are basically weighing them down on the edges so that the covers don’t blow away in the wind. The entire ground is covered. And the groundstaff do not have umbrellas or raincoats, according to Karthik who is at the venue, which is just ridiculous considering the job they are doing.

Sibi: “Kudos to the BCCI and ICC who scheduled matches without looking at the weather forecast ”

5.00 pm “It’s really windy,” says Karthik from Eden Gardens. “The covers are rippling despite the groundstaff sitting on them. It’s begun.” He means the rain.

Aravind: “Ticket scramble aside, get to the big picture George – if this is a washout, are India eliminated? Guess it being an Ind-Pak game, I’m more antsy than usual!” I don’t think India are out, but they could be dependent on other results going their way and net run-rate.

4.55 pm The entire playing area is under covers at Eden Gardens. The groundstaff are actually sitting on the covers where one sheet meets the other, to keep them in place. It is dark overhead with flashes of lightning. There is drizzle in Kolkata but none yet at Eden Gardens. Rain seems imminent though.

Taha Rehman Sid: “This feedback is sent 10 hours before the match. Why cant you guys start commenting on matches like these 10 hour before they are supposed to start. There are people waiting!” I appreciate the enthusiasm, but I think we were working on last night’s games that long ago!

4.45 pm Right, after all that drama – Will Pakistan go to Dharamsala, or wont they? Will Pakistan come to India at all, or won’t they? Why can’t India just give them the assurance they need already? – we better have a cracking game at Eden Gardens. Anything else will be such an anticlimax.

The scramble for tickets for this match hasn’t been easy – it never is for India-Pakistan, is it? – and hopefully, hopefully all those efforts will not be for nothing, because it is not looking good in Kolkata.

In the early afternoon Karthik Krishnaswamy, one of ESPNcricinfo’s reporters at Eden Gardens, said it was sunny and humid. Then at 4.25pm, he sent me a message saying it had become grey and muggy and that the entire ground was under covers. At 4.35 pm, he said, “Lightning just happened,” and that it was darkening rapidly.

That’s the bad news. What’s worse is that the drainage at Eden Gardens is mediocre.

.

Commentator: George Binoy

Scorer: Sanjay Murari

indpak

The build-up to the India-Pakistan clash began once Dharamsala was named as the venue on December 11 last year. Political tensions and security concerns in the weeks preceding the World Twenty20, however, left the administrators and fans in a limbo: ‘Will they, won’t they?’

On March 9, a day after the start of the tournament, the impasse was finally over and the match was tipped over from Dharamsala to Kolkata. On the eve of the game in Kolkata, R Ashwin told a horde of reporters that the India-Pakistan rivalry was “probably bigger than the Ashes”.

India and Pakistan had provided a precursor during the Asia Cup last month when Mohammad Amir’s fire was countered by Virat Kohli’s ice. India grooved to the Asia Cup title; Pakistan suffered a pre-mature exit and were in chaos, with some barbs even directed at captain Shahid Afridi.

Both sides have played just a match in the World T20 so far, but have had vastly different results. The pressure is now on India who had custard pie smashed on their faces by the largely unheralded spin trio of Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, and Nathan McCullum. Things seem to be falling in place for Pakistan at the right moment: the top order delivered on Wednesday against Bangladesh, as did Afridi. Once-upon-a-time finisher, Shoaib Malik is back to slip in to a similar role, and can also bind the innings if there is a (familiar) implosion.

The Kolkata pitch has been on the sluggish side, but Pakistan’s penchant for pace is their way of life. India’s middle order, which has been shielded by Kohli’s imperious form, was brutally exposed by New Zealand, and Dhoni conceded the batsmen lacked adaptability. Can the middle order produce a better riposte if Kohli’s bubble is burst again?

Form guide

(last five completed matches)
India LWWWW
Pakistan WWLWL

Watch out for

Yuvraj Singh had spent 144 minutes in the middle with the bat on considerably green pitches in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. Three Saturdays earlier, he had to deal with the high-speed bustle of Amir and Mohammad Irfan. Yuvraj will have to contend with it again, and the stakes will be higher this time. Another loss can shake up the pre-tournament favourites’ campaign.

Before the tournament, Rohit Sharma had played down the Amir threat, calling the quick a “normal bowler“. In January, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said: ” I still feel Amir is not at his best… he’s getting there.” He got there, or nearly got there with seven wickets at 11.57 in the Asia Cup. Slow pitch or not, normal or extraordinary, Amir will be Pakistan’s main man. Rohit v Amir will perhaps set the match up.

Team news

MS Dhoni fiddles with the XI only once in a blue moon. Ashwin remained coy on Pawan Negi’s inclusion in a high-pressure game against Pakistan. Ajinkya Rahane is available as a middle-order option, but India are likely to stick to the same XI unless Mohammed Shami comes in for Ashish Nehra.

India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan 2 Rohit Sharma 3 Virat Kohli 4 Suresh Raina 5 Yuvraj Singh 6 Hardik Pandya 7 MS Dhoni (capt &wk), 8 Ravindra Jadeja 9 R Ashwin 10 Ashish Nehra 11 Jasprit Bumrah

With the team finding some rhythm and opening its campaign with a big win, Pakistan may not disturb their combination either.

Pakistan (probable) 1 Sharjeel Khan 2 Ahmed Shehzad 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Umar Akmal 5 Shoaib Malik 6 Shahid Afridi(capt) 7 Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk) 8 Imad Wasim 9 Wahab Riaz 10 Mohammad Amir 11 Mohammad Irfan

Pitch and conditions

The Kolkata track for the Afghanistan-Sri Lanka match offered the spinners grip and slow turn. The quick fizzers and googlies from Rashid Khan, a legspinner in the mould of Afridi, also skidded on and tied down the opposition. A similar pitch is in the offing and the weather is expected to be fine for the duration of the game.

Stats and trivia

  • The last time Pakistan played a T20 international in India, in 2012, Yuvraj clattered 72 off 36 balls.
  • Afridi needs two wickets to surpass Lasith Malinga as the overall leading wicket-taker in the World T20.
  • India have played Pakistan 10 times in the 50-over World Cup and the World T20, and have won nine matches. The Durban T20 in 2007 was tied, after which India prevailed in the bowl-out.

Quotes

“We felt [the Kolkata crowd’s backing] in the last game. Probably after the statement of Afridi – which was brought into controversy and brought into newspapers and all over – we felt that we were very welcome, the crowd was really behind us against Bangladesh. I know it is not going to be behind us against India, but yes that is the positive we are going to take and we are going to try to play the best cricket.”
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis on the Kolkata crowd

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

SUPER STUFF: The Indian team celebrates their emphatic win over Pakistan on Sunday
SUPER STUFF: The Indian team celebrates their emphatic win over Pakistan on Sunday

Ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh rose to the occasion and converted two penalty corners as hosts India outplayed Pakistan 4-1 in a thrilling Pool B match of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday.

With this victory India had avenged their 3-6 Champions Challenge defeat at the hands of the sub-continental rivals in Salta, Argentina last December.

The Style Souk