Saturday, July 09, 2011

Science Watch (July 2011)

Picture of the Month
Tearing Apart: To begin with, this isn't a penguin but a cell in the separation process of cellular divisions. It was previously understood that only microtubules were responsible for pulling apart cells but this recent 3-D image shows that some unknown filaments also have an integral role in cellular division. (Photo: American Association for Advancement of Science)
Weevils have nuts and bolts for knees!
A research report published in Science magazine explains the Papuan Weevil's knee structure to resembles something that was restricted to hardware stores up till now, a nut and a bolt!
Using X-ray microtomography (which is just a fancy way of saying super zooming), the researchers found that the weevils turned their spiral legs in threaded sockets with the help of effector muscles, much like screwing a nut in a bolt. This helped them to find footholds in their habitat; which is full of leaves and twigs.
Well, discoveries like this give solidity to the fact that nature is, in fact, the best engineer of all.

'Printing' Blood Vessels
A California based bio-tech company, Organavo, recently stated that it has constructed the first synthetic, natural blood vessel. This may sound as an oxymoron but this blood vessel is synthetic in name alone as it uses entirely human cells for its construction; endothelial cells for lining the internal walls, smooth muscle cells for regulating blood pressure and fibrous cells for structural support and endurance.
The whole process is done in a '3D printer' where tiny robotic arms gel together the cells in an orderly fashion at the rate of 0.1 inch\minute. The newly synthesized vessel is then acclimatized to its subsequent job by allowing some stuff like blood plasma to flow through it for around a month.
Such vessels can have a great impact on how bypass surgeries are done. The surgeons can now cut that part of finding functional veins from the patient's own body, making the operation a lot easier.

The Crocodile on Steroids
The skull belonging to the 'most colossal of all sea monsters' was recently unveiled at the Dorset County Museum in the UK. It measures 2.4m and is 95% complete. Although the rest of the body of Pliosaur is not yet found and may never be found but according to estimates it may measure 15-18m from tip to tail: just imagine yourself standing face to face with this will die before those razor sharp teeth start shredding you!!

Buried Mountains
Gamburtsev Mountains, may sound like just another mountain range on Earth but in reality they are the most unique of them all because they lie below the surface of the Earth! With peaks going up to 9000 feet, valleys dotted with an interconnected lake system and a sheet of Antarctic ice for a sky it is without doubt the most peculiar mountain system ever discovered.
Although they were uncovered by a Russian seismic survey in 1950 but research work was very limited until University of Columbia geophysicist Robin Bell took to studying the mountains and has revealed some fascinating news including the obfuscated origin of this range. "Normally mountains arise when you have smashed together continents, from volcanoes or subduction zones," Bell says. "But none of these exciting things happened under Antartica for a long time. That is the mystery."

One Liners
Pakistan became the sixth country in the world, and the first Muslim state to map the genome of one of its citizens.
The Atlantis became the last shuttle to be launched into space on July 8th 2011 at 3:29 p.m GMT. 
Researchers working at a Leicester residential home have found that anti-microbials containing silver are capable of killing bacteria with an efficiency of 94%.
Australian researchers at the University of New Castle have developed a nitric oxide cream that increases the time taken by deadly snake venom to reach the blood stream by 50%.

[Tech Tips] Metro 2033 Crash Fix

Well those Ukrainians are sure masters at producing post-apocalyptic gaming titles and Metro 2033 is no exception following the footsteps of the hit S.T.A.L.K.E.R series. I didn't play this game when it came out last year and just casually downloaded it around a week from now and I was in for a surprise...the game won't work past the main menu or when you were lucky enough to load a mission (it crashed on the loading screen). I was damn irritated as nothing would fix this issue despite me having all the firepower to run this game at its max.

And then I discovered the fix :).

> Download the Metro2033_fix file. Use 'relegated007' as the password.
> Install Metro 2033 fix.exe (which is basically a v1.1 patch).
> Copy the contents of the crack folder into your main Metro 2033 folder (the one with the executable in it)
> Run the game, tweak the settings the way you want but remember to disable "Advanced Physics". Your game might crash to the desktop after or during the saving of the settings. Repeat the process if it occurs in between your work, remembering to start in "Safe Mode". (the game will automatically display a dialog after you start the game launcher after a crash)
> After you have played with the the game!!

Note: The game will still crash on normal mode. This fix works by providing you a safe mode that is 'crash proof'. So you will have to start the game twice each time you wanna play it. Well it is better than not playing the game at all, isn't it?

I hope this helps. :)


[Tech Tips] Dirt 3 'Season 2 Won't Unlock' Fix

Well this Dirt 3 is sure a good game but it is giving the players who use cracks a hard time (much like that frikkin' Batman: Arkham Asylum).
Recently a few of the people that used my original Dirt 3 fix pointed out that they can't continue beyond Season 1 and into Season 2.
I found two reasons for this issue...

1. You don't have a podium finish in the Season 1 finale.
In this case replay the event.

2. It is some sort of an anti-crack protection.
This technique was initiated by Rocksteady and implemented in that Batman: Arkham Asylum game in which players that haven't legally bought the title can't continue past certain points during the gameplay (although all had some potential workarounds ;P). I guess Codemasters are trying to do the same but you can evade this too.
> Goto C:\Program Files\Codemasters\Dirt 3\database or a variant path.
>  Find a file name database_restrictions.xml (This file basically governs the locked stuff in the game and when it is to be unlocked)
> Move it to a folder other than Codemasters.
> Start the game with my original fix.
> After you have loaded your save game the game will ask you that do you want to unlock all the cars and stuff. Select No. (Selecting Yes will lead to complications later on, including crashes, as some of the stuff that has been unlocked is DLC that isn't actually present in the game installation!!)
> Continue your tour!

I hope this helps. :)


Sunday, June 26, 2011

[Relegatedz Rankings] The Hottest Around

In 1912, an American scientist named Wilbur Scoville devised a scale to measure the hotness factor of a pepper or other stuff containing the compound capsaicinoid. Capsaicinoid is an irritant for us mammals as it triggers a burning response in whatever tissue it comes in contact know the feeling!!
A rough estimate of the torture you have to induce from a fiery habanero is given in terms of Scoville units, which is basically the amount of times you have to drink water over the frikkin' chili to cut down its effect to zero!!! Kidding!

10. A'ji Dulce
0 Scoville Units
Native to the South Americas, this chili aint worthy to be called a chili. It is sooo sweet you can have a bowl of it for dinner and then brag about it to your friends, 'You know I had a bowl of chilies for dinner last night, god promise!' 


9. Peperoncini
100 Scoville Units
You knew it was Italian didn't you?? Well the Peperoncini doesn't live up to its mafioso name and delivers just a mild punch when you were expecting a full burst of Thompson fire from it. You can take it twice or thrice before feeling a bit of that 'something'.
Why the hell did this shoe show up in our Google Images search for peperoncini?

8. Jalapeño
Spicy? Hell Yeah!!
2500 Scoville Units
Native to Mexico this weirdly named chili is smoked, stuffed with cheese and eaten and jelled into jellies to poison schoolchildrens' lunchboxes; well you can't blame the Mexicans for such patriotic behavior, we would have done the same if we had an indigenous celebrity chili (see pic!). You go into a Mexican restaurant and half the menu is stuffed with jalapeno delicacies Caviche Accapulco, Burrito Casserole...hell they are a bunch of tongue twisters!!!
Well if you have eaten a jalpeno raw then your eyes might water and a little burning can be felt on the tongue. You can walk away harmless from this ordeal.

7. Serrano Pepper


20,000 Scoville Units
One of the most used chilies in Mexico, Serrano is an uninviting, sharp red pepper common to the eastern Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. It is mostly eaten RAW and packs quite a punch. You might experience a sharp biting sensation on your tongue along with watery eyes and a runny nose. A box of tissues is a must while eating it raw.

6. Cayenne Pepper
Well it does seem sexy :-P
50,000 Scoville Units
This luscious, red chili is named after the city of Cayenne in the French Guinea. However it is the perfect example for the adage "looks can be deceiving" because if you are unlucky enough to get one of these in your mouth you are bound to get some uncontrolled watering of your eyes and a leaky nose and ah! that poor tongue of yours!!  

5. Bird's Eye Chilies

A typical Thai mouse. Notice the
stuff in the background? They are the
Bird's eye chilies!

100,000 Scoville Units
A small round red chilli grown in the former Spanish\ Portuguese colonies of East Asia, Bird's Eye Chili is so named because of its small, almost round shape and because of the fact that it is a personal favorite of birds to eat and disperse. We question why because this little piece of shit (we are not being offensive is known as 'Mouse's Dropping' in Thailand; we wonder how the mice look over there!!) has quite a load of heat in itself. A typical Bird's Eye Chilli can make you sweaty even when the temperature around is close to 10 degrees!!

4. Madame Jeanettes
350,000 Scoville Units

We didn't know Madame Jeanette was
euphemism for 'wrinkled, old woman!'
These innocuously named chilies are so inviting; who would turn down a chili with a name like a hostess on a French prairie? Well you should!! unless you want your ass on fire. These bell pepper like chilies (Michael Jackson's nose-job anyone?) have a very high capsaicin content and once ingested they will make you a sorry piece of shit. Expect some condolences your way as you cry convulsively "Why God? Waaaayyyy have you made this %&@^@^&@$&$&@@$***#%?" And did we mention that you won't be able to taste a thing after the hell load of taste buds you have killed?

3. Red Savina Habanero
"Yeah! I eat it whenever I feel like
eating it. And thats about a 100 times
a day!!!"
1,060,000 Scoville Units
As if the world hadn't got its fair share of ass-scorchers yet, Robert Garcia (we believe he is of Mexican parentage) selectively bred Habanero chilies and produced a badass chili that held the world record for the hottest stuff on our planet (after Gisele Bundchen that is) from 1994 to 2006. Once eaten, it will start with a mild pine-applish taste and then build on from that...and by build we mean it culminates into making your intestinal track a FUCKING LOOP OF FIRE!! Well lets not talk about the mouth here...we bet you won't have one after eating this stuff.

2. Bhut Jolokia
1,100,000 Scoville Units
Just try and eat me you SOB bwahahaha!
This pepper's name literally translates to 'Ghost Chili' and this is not a manifestation of a typically superstitious Indian mind but rather this stuff is truly paranormal in terms of the sting it delivers. A typical bhut jholakia will turn you into a very sorry sight; you will sweat an Indus, you will cry an Atlantic and your innards will turn into the lava from Mount Pinatubo. And before moving on we would like to introduce you to some uses of this stuff...
  • It is used for treating stomach ailments; yeah, when the stomach is gone, the defects follow.
  • It is used as a 'remedy' for Indian summer heat; by scorching you to hell. Whoever came up with this presumed that the dead feel no heat, well do they?? GENIUS!!
  • It is proposed to be used in grenades to 'flush out terrorists' by the Indian Defense Department; by flushing out terrorists they mean scraping out the charred remains of what used to be a terrorist, pretty effective. Pentagon you listen?
1. Trinidad Scorpion Butch T
1,463,700 Scoville Units

Now we know about Devil's
favorite fruit!!
We assume it was once named Trinidadian Scorpion Sting and Butcher of Testicles before it was toned down for the Guinness Book of World Record where it reigns the page for the hottest pepper. This badass chili is grown in Australia by the Chili Factory and the seeds for it are provided by the Hippy Seed Company with Butch Taylor being credited as its discoverer (enough bullshit for a day, by the way I guess the Chili Factory will look quite similar to the Chocolate factory of Willie Wonka's, just replace all those yummy chocolate rivers with molten lava and all the chocolates with this Butch T). 
Well no sane man would try to eat this shit and if one does then we must say he has elephantiasified balls because once the fire escapes the Butch T it will turn you into a blazing mass of protoplasm. And did we mention that you will cry like a bitch as you melt to cult status...and that your grave will be marked with a memorial having a Butch T over two massive concrete balls.
We found this chilli to be the most awesome of it deserved another pic!!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

[Tech Tips] Dirt 3 'Profile Save' Error Fix

DiRT3 has been out for more than a week now. It has been getting positive ratings all over the internet and racing fans and avid gamers want to get a taste of it.

But as it pans out there has been somewhat of a glitch as soon as you start DiRT3; even after you have logged into your Games for Windows Live (GFWL) account DiRT3 won't create a save profile for you and will give you an error that profile creation failed. Stop here!! You don't want to make any progress on the events when you can't save it because although the games runs along after this initial message but you can't save your progress unless and until a profile is availalbe.

There can be two reasons for this problem.

#1 You use Windows in a different language or have a user name in a language other than English.
I don't know why but Unicode characters in your Windows username somehow interfere with DiRT3 creating a 'Save Game' folder for you.
You can solve this problem by creating a Windows account with a name that is in English. I would suggest you copy and paste 'Dirt 3' (without the commas) into your username field. It would fix the problem.

#2 There is a problem with your crack. 
Links updated September 14, 2013
A team/person called Netshow released a crack for DiRT3 before any of the respectable crackers like Reloaded or Skidrow could release a fix. And as it turns out the crack by Netshow has some problem with making the game create a Profile for you.
To fix it it download the archive DiRT3_fix, use relegated007 as password and extract it in the game folder (C:\Program Files\Codemasters\Colin McRae DiRT 3 or a variant), replacing any existing files.
Now use dirt2.original to start the game and it will run fine.

If the original fix fails to work for you then download my Extended_DiRT3_fix and use relegated007 as the password.

I hope this helps. :)


Sunday, March 27, 2011

[Social Eye] The War Without Bloodshed

The Indian subcontinent got partitioned in August 1947 and two nations ideologically polar opposites of one another came into existence on the world map - India and Pakistan.
From day one differences sprouted between the two on varying levels, may it be marking of the border or the division of resources, the two were never content with each others meager efforts for appeasement so much so that they fought three full fledged wars with each other with further bloodshed being narrowly averted on various occasions.
Come the late nineties, and both the countries had nuclear arsenal up their sleeves which lead to a certain Cold War between the two which exists to this date progressing and regressing from various degrees of animosity periodically. The two try to appear saccharine affront but behind the scenes the same sentiment of deep rooted hatred for one another springs up with far-right parties like Shiv Sena constantly adding fuel to the fire.
The advent of sophisticated weapons in the armory of these arch-rivals also to some extent helped maintain a balance of power between the two that lead to less instances of deteriorating diplomatic ties and the battlefield dragged itself from the plains of Punjab and the snow clad peaks of Kargil to the 22-yard, bare patch of cricket and the glistening AstroTurf of field hockey. War got confined to sporting arenas with the intensity still there as it became a matter of salvaging national pride rather than fighting for the ultimate regional superiority. Games between the two are not games anymore and have never been so, they are more like ruthless gladiator battles of the Colosseum, full of ferocity, vehemence, emotion and partisanship.
You see I am biased...there is no point going objective in an Indo-Pak encounter
The game of cricket is the most widely and wildly followed sport in the subcontinent. One can easily infer from this statement that cricket matches between India and Pakistan are no simple business...they are a multidimensional contest culminating into surprising levels of raw emotion so much so that patients suffering from heart and blood-pressure abnormalities in both countries are advised to stay away from these encounters.
These matches are fervently followed and the build-up is normally awe-aspiring which is, lately, compounded by the fact that India and Pakistan haven't played bilateral contests in the subcontinent after the relations between the two hit a new low in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Now the matches are even more closely followed with Masjids and Mandirs reverberating with prayers prior to every match.
One such match is scheduled to be played in Mohali, India on March 30th 2011 with stakes possibly higher than ever before - it is the semifinal of this year's cricket world cup!! Tournament organizers couldn't have asked for anything better.
The match is touted as the final before the final and the path to the anticipated match is littered with an amazing buildup; news bulletins spend half their time on presenting news pieces about the game, sports channels show the promos a zillion times a day, Facebook is dotted with nationalist statuses and DPs and mobile inboxes are inundated with patriotic SMSs. In short, this tie has captured the imagination of the Indians and Pakistanis alike an it lingers over the subcontinent as a dark storm cloud in a scorching summer - the difference being that after roaring along for a few hours it will drench only one of the two sides with the cold, soothing water of victory.

Stats and Trivia
  • Pakistan and India met in four WorldCup clashes prior to this one (1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003) with India standing victorious on all occasions.
  • From 1978-2009, the two teams competed in 119 ODIs with Pakistan winning 69 and India winning 46.
  • In the period of 2000-2010, the rivals faced off in 41 One Day Internationals with Pakistan again leading with 22 wins compared to India's 19.
  • In the 4 Day/Night matches played in India since 2004, Pakistan won 3 and lost 1.
  • Pakistan played India in PCA Stadium, Mohali on 2 occasions and won both times.
  • Sachin Tendulkar is yet to score a century on this Mohali wicket but averages the most among current Indian and Pakistani players in D/N matches at this ground - 69.50 runs per inning with a high score of 99.
  • The leading wicket taker in D/N matches at PCA, Mohali is Harbajhan Singh with 9 scalps but surprisingly so, save for Saqlain Mushtaq, the rest of the top 10 wicket takers are all fast bowlers.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The QuarterFinal Scenario

So after today's game between the West Indies and India, the Quarterfinal stage of WC 2011 is all set to dazzle. Eight top teams from the two preliminary groups will be up against each other in scintillating clashes across the subcontinent. Lets have a look at a brief overview of these quarterfinal battles...

Quarterfinal #1 (C)
Wednesday 23rd March
Pakistan vs. The West Indies
Sher-e-Bangal Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh
Start Time: 13:30 PST, 14:00 IST, 14:30 BST, 08:30 GMT
Head to Head: (48), (64) (1975-2011) --- (16), (8) (2000-2011)
Prediction: 65% Pakistan, 35% West Indies, 0% Tie/No Result
Weather: Clear

Quarterfinal #2 (E)
Thursday 24th March
India vs. Australia
Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmadabad, India
Start Time: 14:00 PST, 14:30 IST, 15:00 BST, 09:00 GMT
Head to Head: (35), (61) (1975-2011) --- (13), (29) (2000-2011)
Prediction: 55% India, 45% Australia, 0% Tie/No Result
Weather: Clear

Quarterfinal #3 (D)
Friday 25th March
South Africa vs. New Zealand
Sher-e-Bangal Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh
Start Time: 13:30 PST, 14:00 IST, 14:30 BST, 08:30 GMT
Head to Head: (30), (17) (1975-2011) --- (19), (10) (2000-2011)
Prediction: 70% South Africa, 30% New Zealand, 0% Tie/No Result
Weather: Clear

Quarterfinal #4 (F)
Saturday 26th March
Sri Lanka vs. England
R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Start Time: 14:00 PST, 14:30 IST, 15:00 BST, 09:00 GMT
Head to Head: (7), (8) (1983-2011) --- (6), (3) (2000-2011)
Prediction: 65% Sri Lanka, 30% England, 5% Tie/No Result
Weather: Cloudy, Scattered Showers

Saturday, March 19, 2011

WorldCup Match Reviews (Part 4)


The sparkling unbeaten streak of the Aussies at WorldCup was finally brought to an end by the team that last beat them at this grand stage, Pakistan. A superb all round display by the Greenshirts, barring a few blemishes, saw them down Australia in a colorful and nerve wrecking affair at the R Premadasa in Colombo. It was the first loss of Australia in 34 WorldCup games since they went down to the same opposition at Headingley, in the previous millennium. This victory means a lot to a capricious Pakistan side that has oscillating between both extremes in this WorldCup, being stupendously good on a day and miserable on another. This win will provide just the thrust and the momentum required by this Pakistan side going into the knockout stages, this victory will give them the believe that they have got what it takes to lift the glimmering, golden Cup...

Australia: 176/10 (46.4 overs) ---  Brad Haddin 42, Michael Clarke 34 --- Umar Gul 3-30
Pakistan: 178/6 (41 overs) --- Asad Shafiq 46, Umar Akmal 44* --- Brett Lee 4-28

Match Rating: **********

Shot of the Match: Umar Akmal lifting a Johnson ball over mid-on for a one bounce four. Umar Akmal was trying breaking the shackles down at Colombo and this stroke was just another step towards it. Johnson was finding his lost rhythm and constantly bowling a nagging off-stump line from around the wicket. Umar Akmal played and missed a few but then came the flamboyance, he shuffled outside off stump, took a step towards the ball and smacked it over the mid-on fielder almost for a six as if it was a leg-stump half volley. Johnson was left dumbfounded.

Delivery of the Match: Australia had found a little opening as Brett Lee had removed YK, effectively ending the 53 run stand for the third wicket that threatened to make a meal of the chase. But still a load of work had to be done as Pakistan's middle order rock, Misbah-ul-Haq, made his way out and took guard. Lee steamed in with new vigor and bowled a perfect delivery to the veteran. It landed on good length outside off-stump, reared up and kissed the Misbah's bat through to the wicket-keeper. Lee was pumped up and followed through with his signature hill-jump. The contest had suddenly becoming alive.

Catch of the Match: After all of what we have seen from Kamran Akmal, the granite-hand wicketkeeper, it was refreshingly good to see him pouch a difficult take to dismiss Ponting. Hafeez had bowled a regulation off-spinner close to Ponting, but with the dismal run of form he is in, he went on to cut it. Mistake! A sharp deviation flew off his bat's top edge and Kamran did well to cling on to it, thanks to the webbing.

Runout of the Match: The only runout in the game was the disastrous mixup between Clarke and White just as they looked to steady the ship. Clarke clipped a bowl off his pads straight to Misbah-ul-Haq at backward square-leg and called for a single that wasn't there. White responded to the call but it proved to be a mistake as Misbah threw a perfect through to Kamran behind the stump who disturbed the woodwork with White well short of the popping crease.

Innings of the Match: Umar Akmal, Brad Haddin, Younis Khan and Micheal Clarke all played short innings that proved very valuable in the end but Asad Shafiq's calm 46 from 81 balls steals the accolades here. His perfectly paced innings is the quintessence of how one should bat when you have the deliveries on your side. A dose of his Buddha-like patience at the crease was the ultimate prescription to soothe the frayed nerves in the Pakistani dressing room. In short his innings was the anchor of Pakistan's run-chase that effectively helped the brittle Pakistani batting order evade another implosion.
Bowling Spell of the Match: The three-pronged Aussie pace attack which many consider to be the best in the tournament was at its agonizing worst, save for one man, Brett Lee. His fiery, gallant effort of 4-28 from 8 testing overs all but took the match away from Pakistan. The only thing he required was a back-up effort from his fellow pacemen, which they failed to provide, otherwise it would have been a match-winning spell of ruthless, Aussie-minded fast bowling.

Partnership of the Match: The 5th wicket stand between Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq can be labelled as a match-winning partnership for this particular encounter. The Aussies had their tails up after removing Misbah and Younis from consecutive deliveries and were looking to push the initiative even further. In this scenario Umar Akmal sent them back to their initial position with scintillating, disdainful hitting, meanwhile finding good support in Shafiq who looked to give the strike back to the aggressive Akmal every chance he got.

Disappointment of the Match: The biased commentary by the grumpy Ian Chappel. Here are some excerpts. 
Whining after Afridi castled Steve Smith "I don't like Afridi's celebration for a couple of reasons. First, he hasn't done much to get the wicket, the batsman has helped me. Second, I don't think it is good with his team-mates, he just stands there in the middle of the pitch with his arms raised."
Showing how much of a sore loser he is as the Pakistani team formed huddle after bowling out Australia for 176 "They should walk off and think about getting the target rather than congratulating themselves on a job half done. This is useless stuff."
Another reason to doubt his mental health and objective commentary as he could not stand the belligerent Umar Akmal tearing the Aussie bowling attack apart "I think the school in which Umar Akmal studied removed the page from the dictionary that had the word careful in it."
Now how many of you see this Aussie idiot fit for international events? 

Though after the Match: How could Afridi be such a shrewd tactician? 

The Match in Photos:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Combining the Quarter-Finalists

Although it may be relatively premature to state how the Quarter-Finals in this WorldCup will shape up, considering the fact that we have some very important games left for this weekend but still lets just assume some possible results to these games and then have a peek at who will be up against whom in the quarters.

Scenario #1
18th March 2011
New Zealand beats Sri Lanka at Mumbai

19th March 2011
Bangladesh beats South Africa at Mirpur
Australia beats Pakistan at Colombo

20th March 2011
The West Indies beat India at Chennai

With these results Group A will take this shape....................................................................................

Australia  11 points
New Zealand 10 points
Pakistan  08 points       
Sri Lanka  07 points

And Group B...

India  09 points
South Africa  08 points (Better NRR than Bangladesh)
Bangladesh  08 points
England  07 points

So the Quarter Final will be played between.....................................................................................

India vs. Sri Lanka at Mirpur
New Zealand vs. Bangladesh at Colombo
Pakistan vs. South Africa at Mirput
Australia vs. England at Ahmadabad

Scenario #2

18th March 2011
Sri Lanka beats New Zealand at Mumbai

19th March 2011
South Africa beats Bangladesh at Mirpur
Pakistan beats Australia at Colombo

20th March 2011
India beats The West Indies at Chennai

With these results Group A will look somewhat like this...

Pakistan  10 points
Sri Lanka  09 points (Better NRR than Aus)
Australia  09 points       
New Zealand  08 points

And Group B...

South Africa  10 points
India  09 points
England  07 points
The West Indies  06 points (Better NRR than Bangladesh)
Bangladesh  06 points

So the Quarter Final combinations come out as...

Pakistan vs. The West Indies at Mirpur
Sri Lanka vs. England at Colombo
Australia vs. India at Ahmadabad
South Africa vs. New Zealand at Mirpur

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

World Cup Match Reviews (Part 3)


Pakistan's WorldCup campaign was shaken to the very foundation when they suffered a heavy 110 run defeat at the hands of the Kiwis at the newly built MMI Stadium. Sloppy fielding, shoddy wicketkeeping, abysmal death bowling and a listless batting performance were a few reasons for Pakistan's downfall as the heroes of yesterday became the zeros of today...

New Zealand: 302/7 (50 overs) --- Ross Taylor 131*, Martin Guptill 57 --- Umar Gul 3-32 
Pakistan: 192/10 (41.4 overs) ---  Abdul Razzaq 62, Umar Akmal 38 --- Tim Southee 3-25

Match Rating: ********** 

Shot of the Match: Taylor's down-on-one-knee six off Razzaq. It was a breath-taking sight; Taylor giving Razzaq a taste of his own medicine. Eerily comfortable with Razzaq's medium pace, Taylor moved around his crease and coerced Razzaq into shifting his line wider of off-stump and once he was sure that Razzaq has taken the bait he shuffled across his stumps, a little shy of the wide mark, got down on his knee and hoisted the full bowl from Razzaq high above the mid-wicket boundary.

Delivery of the Match: Pakistan had both their openers back in the hut now as Pakistan's go-to-man-number-two Younis Khan was taking his guard intently. In comes Kyle Mills - ball one swings away, defended, bowl two swings away, defended. Then comes the touch of genius as Mills lands his third bowl slightly fuller, the seam perfectly presented as Younis shapes up to defend this one again but wait...instead of moving away, this one comes in, creeps through the gap between the bat and pad and smacks into the base of the off-stump, sending it cart-wheeling.

Catch of the Match: Kamran Akmal had a horrendous match. He had dropped the centurion, Taylor, twice at 0 & 8, spilled a Styris nick and was generally very erratic behind the stumps. The only thing that could apparently save his axing was a solid innings with the bat but he came out with no such thing in his mind; playing rash shots and surviving run-out and catch scares before sending down a low catch to Taylor at first slip, hoping against hope that he will return his earlier favors, but not to be, as he took the catch cleanly just inches off the ground.

Innings of the Match: A pretty easy one as there are not many contenders after Ross Taylor's hurricane 131 off 124 balls. He had a real slow and shaky start but thanks to the ineptness of Kamran behind the stumps he was able to stay at the crease, meanwhile making the most of the opportunities Pakistan's abysmal death bowling bestowed on him. He smashed 7 sixes and 8 fours in a sparkling knock that turned the game on its head as New Zealand unbelievingly pilled up a mammoth score they never were to achieve with the start they got.

Bowling Spell of the Match: The only thing a Pakistani is left to remember from this game is a stupendous spell from Pakistan's pace spearhead, Umar Gul. He kept hitting hood lengths at pace and got some good movement from the new ball before coming back again during the later stages of the game and reversing the ball beautifully. His ten overs went for just 32 runs, add to it three important wickets and you are left with the only bowling effort of substance from the entire armada of Pakistani bowlers.

Partnership of the Match: Once again New Zealand take the honors here as the Ross Taylor-Jacob Oram partnership for the 7th comes out on top. The two effectively smacked Pakistan right out of the game as they milked 85 runs from the 3.4 overs they stayed together at the crease at a whopping 23.2 rpo, blitzing Pakistan's super poor death bowling frequently out of the Pakallele for the security guards to fetch. In short, this was the partnership that helped the Kiwis to a target they never looked like achieving during the first 45 overs of their innings. 

Disappointment of the Match: Pakistani bowlers' horrid bowling effort at the end of the Kiwi innings is a real concern for both the team and the fans. New Zealand made off with a hundred runs from the last five overs of their innings and  if the Pakistnai bowlers continue to offer juicy full tosses and dish up sweet half volleys to hard-hitters at the death then in ka khuda he hafiz.

Though after the Match: Why can't we find a replacement for the a**hole Kamran Akmal?

The Match in Photos:   

Sunday, February 27, 2011

WorldCup Match Reviews (Part 2)


The WorldCup had life breathed in it today; courtesy a scintillating and nerve-wrecking game between the two subcontinental cricket giants, Sri lanka and Pakistan. The game can deservingly be labeled as the 'match-of-the-tournament', at least so far as it had got everything that makes up a classic ODI encounter - speedy starts, interesting middle overs, moments of sheer brilliance and a close finish.

Pakistan: 277/7 (50 overs) ---  Misbah-ul-Haq 83*, Younis Khan 72 --- Rangna Herath 2-46
Sri Lanka: 266/9 (50 overs) --- Chamara Silva 57, Kumara Sangakara 49 --- Shahid Afridi 4-36

Match Rating: ********** 

Shot of the Match: Hafeez's down-on-one-knee six off Kulasekra. It was an exquisite, wristy shot as Hafeez trusted the strength of Kulasekra - inswingers, and played it superbly just in front of the square leg region and into the stands. It was high and handsome, literally.

Delivery of the Match: The match was delicately poised as the two star-performers for the Lankans, Sanga and Mahela, were trying to snatch the advantage. In comes Akhter, limping and sweating, after a short respite from his opening spell. No one gives a thought to him, after all, he is well past his prime. But what he came up with is an absolute beauty of an off-cutter to send Mahela packing. It wasn't at all slow as it snaked in through Mahela's defenses and pegged back the middle stump. Suddenly, the Rawalpindi Express of '99 steamed across the Premadasa.

Catch of the Match: There was a lot of great ground fielding on display today, coupled with a few botched up fielding attempts and catches but a spectacular catch was missing. However, comparatively speaking, Umar Akmal's pouching at long-on to dismiss Kulasekara was the most difficult catch of the match. He had to run backwards with the bowl and grab it past his head, meanwhile, evading the boundary skirting.

Runout of the Match: There was only a single runout in the game and it was utter comedy. Hafeez played a sweep shot straight to Herath at fine leg and had no idea that Kamran Akmal was charging in to his end for a single. He didn't move as Herath threw to Sanga and Sanga in turn threw a wayward throw over the head of the bowler, Murlitharan. Kamran was moving towards the pavilion as Hafeez had a wild idea that he could make it to the other end before the bails were dislodged there, but had to give up the hope as Jaywardene had the presence of mind to flick an easy throw at the bowler's end, effectively putting an end to the drama. 

Innings of the Match: Misbah-ul-Haq has come to this WorldCup with a purpose, knowing that this might be the only WorldCup he plays for his country an he gave a glimpse of his stacks of experience and sense of purpose in his tranquil-until-the-end innings of 83* from 91 deliveries as he, along with Younis Khan placed Pakistan's innings right on track. He milked singles and doubles until the very end when a barrage of boundaries saw Pakistan to a competitive total after a poor batting powerplay. It is a pity that a guy like him is yet to notch up an ODI hundred.
Bowling Spell of the Match: Once again Shahid Afridi steals the show with a masterful and doubtlessly match-winning spell of 4-36 from his quota of overs which choked the runs as well as gave crucial breakthroughs. His lengths and lines were superb throughout the spell as he stunned the packed house at the Premadasa and the Sri Lankan team on four crucial junctures in the game.

Partnership of the Match: Not many contenders here as the 108-run 4th wicket stand between Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq comes out as a winner. The old heads of the Pakistani camp came together to steer Pakistan's swaying ship out of troubled waters with innovation, deftness and audacity. The two saw Pakistan through the crucial middle overs with no further damage, meanwhile, keeping the scoreboard ticking with the minimum of risk at just under a run-a-ball.

Disappointment of the Match: The abysmal fielding performance put up by Pakistan near the end. Despite being above average in most of the match, Pakistan fieldsmen dropped their nerve as the game bacame a bit tense. Kamran Akmal gave Kumara Sangakara two lives in the shape of missed stumpings, Abdur Rehman dropped a sitter of a catch which shook Chamara Silva out of his slumber as he threatened to take the game away from the Green Shirts, Ahmad Shahzad made a mess of a relay throw to Umar Akmal and not to mention the many missed runout chances. Pakistan really has to up their fielding standards for crunch games as sometimes a messed-up catch is all that draws the margin between victory and defeat. 

Though after the Match: What good is the UDRS without a Snicko and a Hot-Spot camera? 

The Match in Photos: 

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Game of Group A?

Pakistan and Sri Lanka are a pair of less celebrated rivals in the game of cricket but when the two come out onto the field, there is a certain electrification to the atmosphere that is unique only to a Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka game.

Many label Saturday’s encounter as the ‘The Game of Group A’, partly because of the fact that these teams are very accustomed to each other and the conditions and are on level terms in the recent past; of the 16 ODIs played between these two since 2006, each side have won 8.

Pakistan can be labeled as Sri Lanka’s true nemesis in terms of destroying their ‘unorthodox factor’; they are the ones that give the least wickets to their most successful bowler, Murlitharan, they are the ones that often take Malinga to the cleaners, they are the ones who, first, pulled the cloak of obscurity off the mystery-man Mendis, in short Pakistan thrives against the unorthodoxy of the Lankans but falls to their quotidian.

Of the 120 times the two faced since 1975, Pakistan won 70 of the encounters and Sri Lanka remained successful in 46 of them (1 was tie and 3 were No Result) and of the 6 times they met at the WorldCup, Pakistan stood victorious in all of them. However stats mean little when you are playing in front of your fervent home crowd and the noisy support can be something that has the potential to really extract the best out of you.

Meanwhile, R Premadasa, the intimidating stadium in the South is ready to be a battlefield; witness to the clash of the two subcontinental titans. Blood will not be spilled but the ferocity, alone, will be enough to keep your heart hammering against your chest. Sri Lanka is gearing up to it, Pakistan is bubbling with excitement and one can only hope that the game is worth the hype. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

WorldCup Match Reviews


The beautiful Mahinda Rajpaksa stadium was the starting point of Pakistan's 2011 WC journey with a match against the lowly Kenya and barring a few hiccups early-on it came out as a one-sided affair.

Pakistan: 317/7 (50 overs) --- Umar Akmal 71, Misbah-ul-Haq 65 --- TM Odoyo 3-41
Kenya: 112/10 (33.1 overs) --- CO Obuya 47, SR Waters 17 --- Shahid Afridi 5-16

Match Rating: ********** 

Shot of the Match: Misbah-ul-Haq's towering, straight six off Tikolo to open up his account. It really was something special because the boundaries at the MRICS are fairly big, with the distance down to the straight boundary a shade above 90 meters.

Catch of the Match: Without doubt, Seren Waters' blinder at midwicket. Hafeez was trying to break the shackles after a sluggish start and in doing so clipped a freebie off his pads to the leg-side only slightly aerially but it was enough for the electric Waters to get a hand on as he dived to his left. He juggled the take when he made contact with the ground but in the end was successful in clinging on to it.

Runout of the Match: Umar Akmal's effort to send Waters packing just as he was beginning to settle. It was all about anticipation as Waters had stolen a slightly similar single the previous over but this time around as he dabbed to the short mid-on region, the speedy Umar was up to the challenge and flashed across to grab the ball and hit the stumps with a neat under-arm as Waters struggled yards from the popping crease.

Innings of the Match: Umar Akmal's blistering 71-off-52 as he took the Kenyan bowlers to the cleaners, especially in the Powerplay overs as, largely through his contributions, Pakistan plundered 70 runs from it. Negating the difficulties he faced early on in finding the boundaries, he looked much like the Umar Akmal we know, flamboyant, graceful and innovative.

Bowling Spell of the Match: Not many contenders here as Shahid Afridi steals the accolades with his masterful spell of 5-16 from 8 overs which cut through the Kenyan resistance like warm knife through butter. A bamboozling array of quicker ones, googlies and sliders proved too much for the fragile Kenyan batting lineup to take. These were also the best bowling figures for a captain in WorldCup matches.

Partnership of the Match: The 118-run stand between Misbah and Umar was by far the biggest spike on the partnerships' graph for the game. Add to it the fact that it came at a more-then-healthy 8.96 rpo and you don't need to look any further for partnership of the match. It really was the propulsion that Pakistan required to get past 300 after the stuttering start to their innings. This partnership was also the biggest 5th-wicket stand for Pakistan at WorldCups.

Disappointment of the Match: The sheer amount of extras; 46 of them with a record number of wides (36). I think the Kenyan bowlers really have to really work on their discipline; there were a lot of instances when the bowler sprayed down the legside for 5-wides, even the only hattrick bowl of the match!

Though after the Match: Why the hell did Afghanistan didn't qualify if the likes of Kenya did?

The Match in Photos:

WorldCup Match Reviews will only cover matches involving Pakistan apart from the Quarters, Semis and the Finale. 
Images (c) GettyImages and AFP. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Road to the WorldCup (Part 3)

Another Bright Prospect for Pakistan??

Pakistan Cricket is known throughout the World for churning out raw talent onto grand stages and getting the best out of it. May it be the swashbuckling Inzi of '92 or the canny little Mohammad Aamer of '09. 
Pakistan, especially, has a way of producing talented fast bowlers that no other country can parallel; the streets. With a minimal of effort, the nation gets the finest and speediest of mavericks that set any and every stage ablaze when they are on song.
A rising star among this newest crop of fast bowlers, consisting of  the likes of the tainted-yet-talented Aamer and the belligerent Wahab, is the Matra (A town in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) born left arm seamer Junaid Khan. He had been on the selector's radar for quiet some time with his impressive performances in First Class games. He claimed 167 scalps in the 35 matches he played with the his first class side, Abbotabad. That puts it to almost 4.7 wickets a match which is at par with Aamer's average of 4.3 (from 20 games). Well there is no way of comparing the 'reflection' of Wasim Akram [sic; commentators and cricket pundits] with a young guy who has yet to make his mark on the international stage but what I am trying to point out is that this guy here is of an aggressive mentality and would definitely be of great asset to our side's new ball attack amidst the absence of M. Aamer.
The selectors got this point, albeit a bit late, when they announced that Junaid was to replace the unfit (& useless) Sohail Tanvir just as the WC clock struck 11. It came as a surprise to all - here is this unheard-of cricketer who gets a chance to debut on the glittering stage of the cricket extravaganza with no prior practice apart from a bunch of domestic games. His selection news spread as wildfire among the online and 'offline' cricketing circles of Pakistan. His bowling videos got madly sought after. His Cricinfo profile got 2k+ likes in a week (more than that of Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhter and Younis Khan!!). He has got the cricket lovers in Pakistan crazy...but what for?
Well the closest I can get to answer this question is that the cricket lovers in Pakistan are desperately looking for a fast bowler to fill the gaping void left by the sudden departure of Aamer. He had such an uplifting levity to his character and such boyish charm that people loved watching the lad have a go at the best in business (Clarke, Ponting, Tendulkar and likes). He had also been such a talented, precocious player that at the tender age of 17, he looked a Wasim Akram reincarnate on the field. And thus his loss had left an average cricket-follower in Pakistan dumbfounded. In comes, Junaid Khan. Who? A left arm pacer. Talent? Full to the brim. Pace? Excellent. Atleast I got a feeling of déjà vu when I came to hear about him. To me he is to be and has to be capable of delivering Aamer-esque performances. And I bet that many Pakistan cricket followers won't differ with me here.

So now just analyze this talk of the town a bit...
But first lets have a look at him bowling in the recently concluded Faysal Bank T20 Cup 2010.

Action: Well as far as one can analyze from the videos an images...(after noticing the fact that his action is 99% like Wayne Parnell's; Click to Enlarge)

    • His elbow is prone to hyper-extension, much like Shoaib Akhter, which can be a problem because umpires and opposition batsmen can report him for chucking (albeit erroneously). But let me tell you people that it may look weird but it isn't chucking at all because chucking occurs when the elbow is bent when delivering the cricket ball but in Junaid's case it is just extended beyond its natural stopping point and not bent. To support my fact here, I have quoted Wiki...
In a recent report by scientists commissioned by the ICC under the watch of the former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding, it was shown that Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar and Indian bowler R. P. Singh were seen to extend their elbow joints by a negative angle with respect to the upper arm. This phenomenon, also known as hyperextension, can give the illusion of throwing. However, in the report it was seen that R. P. Singh maintained this negative angle throughout his delivery stride, while Akhtar sometimes bowled a quicker delivery by flexing this hyperextension. The actions are not considered to be chucking as they are exacerbated by a congenital condition. The prevailing judgement is that as long as the hyperextension does not exceed 15 degrees while bowling it is permitted. - Wikipedia  
    • His front knee gets bent in delivery stride, much like Wayne Parnell, which reduces the height he delivers the ball from and can curtail his effectiveness in extracting bounce.
    • Run-up is good and hurried.
    • He has a slightly side-on action with a quick turning and bending of the trunk which can put some stress on his back.
    • His right hands stops obscuring the ball a bit too early. This would bestow upon the batsmen precious time to read him beforehand.
    • Furthermore his right arm just stays bent during the delivery stride and doesn't complete a good circle which can greatly affect his pace because the revolution of the non-bowling arm can create a moment about the pelvic region that can speed up his bowling arm.
Pace: Well I predict it to be between 135-145 kph.
Movement: Well as far as I can see he can move the ball away from the right handers and get it in for the left handers, much like Aamer. But if he gets a bit closer to the wicket then he can have the added benefit of getting the ball into the right handers as well.

Well, thankfully, there is not a lot to worry about  here because he will have legendary players like Waqar, Shoaib and Aaqib around to help him. All that remains in question is that will he live up to the monstrous expectations from him?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Road to WorldCup (Part 2)

6 Reasons to Watch it...

  1. The WorldCup is in Asia after nearly 15 years and WC matches in the subcontinent are known to be high-scoring and thrilling, thanks to the dead plasticine pitches we have here. Add to it the fervor and enthusiasm that Asian supporters bring with them in the stadiums and you have a recipe for a dazzling WorldCup.
  2. The batting Powerplay. Yes it is the talk of the town because it is the first time that these restrictions would be applied in WC matches. So always remember to hold on to your seat, folks, whenever a batting Powerplay is underway because this is the point when, more often than not, the outcome of the match is decided. And yes, sometimes you will get a whole lot more than you deserve for your money and time.
  3. The home teams are in superb nick. Sri Lanka have thrashed the Aussies down under, Pakistan have taken series against England and South Africa down to the wire (before winning an away series in New Zealand), Bangladesh is resurgent with a clean sweep of New Zealand and India, the highest ranked Asian side, is in after an exhilarating tour of South Africa. So people in the subcontinent, are you ready to take up fervent support for your side?
  4. There is a lot of new, promising talent on show, talent that might have proved its mettle elsewhere but is yet to make its mark on the grandest stage of them all. Will the prodigy Umar Akmal make this WorldCup memorable for him and Pakistan? Will the bulky John Hastings do for Australia what Nathan Bracken did in 2007? Will the agile and ever-ready Martin Guptill continue his purple patch and light this WorldCup with his excellent strokeplay? Will the calmness and equanimity of Hashim Amla take South Africa to their first ever world cup finals? Will the talented Virat Kohli wash away the mark of unprofessionalism stamped upon him by his critics? Will the inscrutable (for most) Ajantha Mendis conjure his previous magic? Will the revitalizing Shakib Al-Hassan do what Bangladeshis have only dreamt of achieving? Will the masterful Coventry be able kick start the snoozing Zimbabweans? Will Darren Sammy utilize his all-round prowess to wave the West-Indian flag at its former, glorious position? All will become evident in this WorldCup.
  5. At the same time many stars are at the twilight of their careers and this WorldCup might be the last stage they set on fire with their performances. Will the maverick Shoaib Akhter convert his long-standing dream of winning the WorldCup to reality? Will the surreptitious Mutiah Murlitharan have his last laugh in Sri Lankan colors after sealing the team's victory at Mumbai? Will the master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar torment bowlers right through to the final for one last time? Will the canny, bespectacled Daniel Vettori take his meek and struggling side right through to the Golden Cup? Will the pacy Brett Lee dazzle with his unplayable 160 kph screamers right till the curtain falls on Eden Gardens? Will the sage of South Africa, Kallis, engineer a remarkable, long-in-wait WorldCup victory with his calm demeanor and bucket-loads of experience? Follow this WorldCup to find out.
  6. On a less serious note, just to see the sides in their new kits. A person gets bored with monotonousness and a change is always welcomed. :)