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NST Online: Sports

Nicol reigns supreme again

Posted: 20 Mar 2011 10:23 AM PDT

Reports by Devinder Singh

Nicol  David (left) returns a shot as   Madeline Perry looks on yesterday. — Pictures by  Osman Adnan

Nicol David (left) returns a shot as Madeline Perry looks on yesterday. — Pictures by Osman Adnan

MADELINE Perry never knew what hit her as Nicol David sealed her seventh CIMB Kuala Lumpur Open women's title in commanding fashion at Berjaya Times Square yesterday.

In what must probably be a first in top-level women's squash, Nicol reeled off 11 straight points in the third game for an 11-6, 11-6, 11-2 win to underline her dominance in the final which lasted just 34 minutes.

Madeline struggled to stay with Nicol, who raced away to big leads in the first two games to stamp her authority early on.

"I'm just so glad I played well today (yesterday) and did not let her play her game," said Nicol, who also earned her 51st Wispa Tour title.

"I just went all out and I'm pretty pleased with my performance. I had to work extra hard to put Madeline under pressure."

Madeline, the World No 6 from Belfast, never quite got started as Nicol twice went on a four-point run in the first game, once in the second, and then the final 11 points of the match after Madeline led 2-0 in the third.

"It's been a great run since last year and I try not to think about winning titles. My focus is just on the match and the performance and when the wins come, it takes care of the titles," said Nicol when asked to comment on passing the half-century mark of Wispa titles.

Madeline, who claimed her only win over Nicol in 14 meetings at the 2009 British Open, praised Nicol for a polished display.

"It was a good week up to today (yesterday), I think someone turned the air-con off," joked Madeline.

On a more serious note, she said: "This was probably one match too many. When Nicol is in that kind of form, she's on to things pretty quickly and it takes something special to win.

"I just could not make in-roads today."

The KL Open was also Nicol's first win of the year as she put the disappointment of her Cleveland Classic defeat behind her.

Nicol will return to Amsterdam for a week before training her sights on retaining her Cayman Islands Open title in early April.

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Zimbabwe crush hapless Kenya

Posted: 20 Mar 2011 08:25 AM PDT

KOLKATA: Craig Ervine, Vusimuzi Sibanda and Tatenda Taibu cracked impressive half-centuries to set up Zimbabwe's crushing 161-run victory over hapless Kenya in their final World Cup match yesterday.

Zimbabwe showed their batting prowess to post 308-6, their highest total of the tournament, with man-of-the-match Ervine (66), Sibanda (61) and Taibu (53) all making the most of a mediocre Kenyan attack.

Kenya, who have looked out of their depth on the Indian subcontinent, losing all six of their matches, put in another disappointing batting performance, slumping to 147 all out in 36 overs at Kolkata's Eden Gardens.

Nehemiah Odhiambo (44 not out), Rakep Patel (24) and opener Alex Obanda (23) were the mainstays of their batting.

Left-arm spinner Raymond Price, who shared the new ball, off-spinner Greg Lamb and leg-spinner Graeme Cremer took two wickets apiece for Zimbabwe.

Both African nations were already out of contention for a place in the quarter-finals, but Zimbabwe had the consolation of ending their World Cup campaign with two wins in six matches.

Zimbabwe were earlier struggling at 36-2 after electing to bat, but Sibanda steadied the innings with a 110-run stand for the third wicket with Taibu, who also completed 3,000 one-day runs during his half-century.

Ervine and skipper Elton Chigumbura (38) then added 105 for the fifth wicket as Zimbabwe plundered 104 runs in the last 10 overs, with Prosper Utseya (19 not out) smashing three fours and a six in seamer Elijah Otieno's final over.

Left-handed Ervine, who cracked one six and nine fours in his 54-ball knock, survived a stumping chance on 15 off spinner James Ngoche as stand-in wicket-keeper Patel failed to collect the ball.

Patel kept wicket for a brief spell in place of regular wicket-keeper David Obuya, who suffered an injury while trying to stop a wide delivery.

Sibanda hit one six and seven fours in his 57-ball knock before being run out following a mix-up with Taibu. -- AFP

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