Bangalore blasted

Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya (AFP)

The Indian Premier League organisers said there will be an increased security presence in Jaipur for today's clash between the Rajasthan Royals and Bangalore Royal Challengers after a series of bombs went off in the city earlier this week.

In the other match of the day, the Delhi Daredevils on 10 points play host to the in-form Kings XI Punjab (12), who are in second place in the league.

The Rajasthan/Bangalore clash pits the league leaders against the rock-bottom Royal Challengers, who suffered further humiliation when owner Vijay Mallya publicly disowned the side.

The Shane Warne-led Rajasthan have being phenomenal in the tournament and the only thing that Bangalore can hope will save them from another thrashing is that the minds of Jaipur's international stars will not be focused on cricket in the aftermath of the bomb blasts.

Warne, Shane Watson and Graeme Smith all expressed their insecurity about remaining in India, but all three are professional enough to put that behind them when they take to the field.

Bangalore on the other hand have being shockingly bad and much of the blame lies with the selection of players they have bought – with their batting line-up of Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jaffer and Jacques Kallis more suited for Test cricket.

While Bangalore's batting has borne the brunt of criticism, their bowlers have failed to show much spark either. Zaheer Khan has been the exception, with 13 wickets in nine games, but the rest have disappointed.

South Africa's Dale Steyn has only managed four wickets in six games, each costing him more than 41 runs.

Delhi, boosted by a 12-run victory over the Deccan Chargers, take on the other high-flying side in the IPL, Punjab. Delhi's Amit Mishra took a hat-trick and ended with figures of 5/17 to help his side defend a challenging total of 194 – 79 of which was scored by Gauntam Gambhir on his way to becoming the first batsman in the IPL to score more than 400 runs.

 

New Zealand dismissed

England left-arm paceman Ryan Sidebottom wrapped up the New Zealand first innings yesterday for 277 after some dogged resistance on the second day of the first test at Lord's. New Zealand's batsmen fought with typical determination and resolve on a bitterly cold British morning.

The contrast between the morning session yesterday – 52 runs in 30 overs – and Brendon McCullum's fearless assault on Thursday could not have been starker. New Zealand's McCullum fell cruelly short of a Lord's hundred once again after instigating a New Zealand fight back in the first npower Test against England.

"It was bitter-sweet," admitted McCullum, whose run-a-ball effort was considerably slower than his recent unbeaten 158 in the Indian Premier League. "Obviously it is disappointing not to have made a hundred and still be at the wicket but I am very proud to have stepped up to the challenge of moving up the order," he said.

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