Mon, Mar 14, 2011 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

Photo: AFP

CRICKET

New Zealand stomp Canada

New Zealand’s in-form Ross Taylor and opener Brendon McCullum blitzed Canada yesterday, helping to fire the Black Caps into the World Cup quarter-finals with a thumping 97-run win in Mumbai, India. New Zealand scored a mammoth 358 for 6 in their 50 overs and it proved too much for the minnows, who never looked remotely like challenging the target, and ended on 261-9 after their 50 overs. Canada were in a perilous position at 4-2 before captain Ashish Bagai (84) and Jimmy Hansra (70 not out) came together to put on 125 for the fourth wicket and give the scoreboard a look of respectability. Veteran John Davison was dismissed in bizarre fashion, run out by a direct hit from wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum as he ambled a single when he was in no danger. Kyle Mills did the early damage for the Black Caps, dismissing Ruvindu Gunasekera and Zubin Surkari with just four runs on the board, but he had to leave the field injured midway through his third over. Jacob Oram took 3-47. Earlier, stand-in skipper Taylor came to the crease at the Wankhede Stadium in the 30th over with his side on 149-2 after a steady start and injected urgency into the innings. In one devastating over Taylor, who smashed 131 in 124 balls against Pakistan, took 28 off Harvir Baidwan, smashing four sixes and a four.

ALPINE SKIING

Cuche wins Super G

Didier Cuche of Switzerland bounced back from a forgettable day of ski racing to claim his 17th career World Cup victory in the men’s super-G in Kvitfjell, Norway, yesterday. Austrians Klaus Kroell and Joachim Puchner took second and third place respectively. Cuche had endured a tough Saturday when he lost the lead of the downhill standings to Austrian Michael Walchhofer and he saw Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic build an unassailable lead over him in the overall title race. To rub salt into his wounds, International Ski Federation (FIS) officials handed Cuche a fine of 5,000 Swiss francs (US$5,375) after he complained rather too vociferously about one of the jumps on the men’s downhill course being too dangerous. The Swiss, however, put those events behind him with a storming run down to Olympiabakken to win in 1 minute, 33.05 seconds.

SOCCER

Juve end losing streak

Juventus ended a three-match losing streak despite playing more than half the game with 10 men as they were held 2-2 at lowly Cesena in Rome on Saturday. A brace from Alessandro Matri had given the Turin giants a two-goal lead, but their hosts hit back through a Luis Jimenez penalty and Marco Parolo after Marco Motta was sent off. The point did nothing to help Juve’s hopes of securing European soccer next season as they remain seventh, while Cesena are still hovering just above the drop zone. After a slow opening, the game sparked into life on 19 minutes as Alessandro Del Piero burst forward from halfway and slipped in Matri, who shot back across goakeeper Francesco Antonioli and into the corner. It could have been two when a clever Del Piero backheel set up Simone Pepe, but he scuffed his volley into the ground, the ball bouncing tamely into Antonioli’s arms. Emanuele Giaccherini should have equalized for Cesena on 27 minutes, but instead produced probably the miss of the season.

CYCLING

Martin holds Paris-Nice lead

HTC-Highroad’s Tony Martin of Germany retained the lead in the Paris-Nice after Saturday’s stormy seventh stage was won by French rider Remy Di Gregorio. This first major-stage race of the season is known as the “Race to the Sun,” but there was little of that in evidence as strong winds and rain made life difficult for the peloton during the 215.5km ride. One man singing in the rain was Marseille-born Di Gregorio, who made his winning move 13km from the finish to edge home a chasing group headed by Spain’s Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez. It was only the 25-year-old Astana team member’s second career stage win after picking up a stage on the 2006 Tour de l’Avenir. Saturday’s stage, the longest of the race, was marked by a clutch of falls as the slippery surface took its toll and there were a number of key retirements, including Frank Schleck, suffering from a stomach problem, Ireland’s Nicolas Roche and Slovak rider Peter Sagan, who was regarded as a potential winner of the race. Martin, who came in fifth, described the stage as “a very difficult day.” Yesterday’s concluding stage was an arduous 124km run north of Nice.

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