HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

West Indies offering a Caribbean feel for T20

Mayweather dominates Mosley, stays unbeaten

Inter advance to face Bayern in Champions League final

West Indies offering a Caribbean feel for T20

Craig Cozier

Georgetown, Guyana (AP) - For all the turmoil surrounding the mysterious death of a coach and the myriad other problems associated with the West Indies’ first hosting of a cricket World Cup, the most enduring complaint was about the lack of a Caribbean flavor.

West Indies’ captain Chris Gayle holds the Twenty20 trophy during a press conference ahead of the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in Georgetown, Guyana, Monday, April 26. (AP Photo/Jules Gibson)

West Indies organizers learned from hosting the 50-over World Cup in 2007, and plan to make amends with a vibrant and vigorous Twenty20 version which started last Friday.

Three years ago, a 46-day World Cup was marred by low attendances and a lack of atmosphere and Australia dominated until the farcical end, concluding with a lighting failure and contentious finish to the final.

This month, the West Indies hosts the world’s top teams again in the third edition of the ICC World Twenty20 and everything points to a vigorous 17-day tournament for the cricket’s newest and increasingly popular format.

The early exits of India and Pakistan hurt the overall appeal while the untimely death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer further sullied the mood in 2007, when stringent regulations were already draining the tournament. This time, organizers are embracing the mood and music that has typified Caribbean cricket for decades and have lowered ticket prices to ensure more spectators.

Whatever happens off the field, the 2010 tournament will also be judged by the on-field action.

Pakistan has the best track record in this T20 event, having reached the final in the inaugural event in 2007 in South Africa and claimed the title in the second edition last summer in England. The Pakistanis also have the best winning percentage in the format, with 22 wins, seven losses and one no result in 30 matches. Recent upheavals - including suspensions for leading players and even the disciplining of their captain for this tournament, Shahid Afridi - are part of the cricket landscape in Pakistan and should not blunt its chances.

Pakistan’s archrivals India were the inaugural world T20 champions. And that triumph - the country’s first major title in international cricket since 1983 - sparked a wave of popularity that underpinned the creation of the lucrative and booming Indian Premier League.

The under-stated but well-respected Mahendra Singh Dhoni led them to the 2007 title and his reputation as an astute leader has heightened following his Chennai Super Kings’ championship last month in the third edition of the IPL.

Australia, three-time defending champions in the traditional 50-over version, were unceremoniously ousted in the first round in the 2009 T20 World Cup, but have a strong team capable of diversifying their trophy cabinet.

Sri Lanka, the 2009 runners-up, and South Africa are both teams packed with class and depth and are viable title aspirants.

The hosts are not to be discounted, either, and possess arguably the most dangerous player in the tournament in Kieron Pollard. Pollard has ignited T20 cricket since his remarkable power-hitting last October for Trinidad & Tobago in the first international Champions League for the most powerful provincial teams. He had subsequent success with South Australia’s Redbacks in Australia and the runner-up Mumbai Indians in IPL 3. The allrounder’s international record is modest but the T20 World Cup provides a perfect platform to correct that.

England, New Zealand and Bangladesh are the least fancied of the other test nations while Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan are hoping to boost reputations with an unexpected upset over one or two of the more established teams.

Zimbabwe opted out of test cricket in 2006 and missed last year’s T20 tournament in England due to political issues, but are optimistic their cricket is moving in the right direction and a warm up win over Australia last week certainly helped their confidence.

Ireland have good memories of the Caribbean following a couple of upsets in the 2007 World Cup over Pakistan and Bangladesh. More overachievement will help advance their claims to become the ICC’s 11th full member.

Afghanistan’s mere presence here is a success story as the war-torn country climbed from the depth of the ICC’s lowest division two years ago to take its place among the world’s elite. Last Wednesday’s five-wicket win over Ireland with three balls to spare in a warm up match ensured that the other teams will be taking the Afghans seriously. After all, the Netherlands’ shock victory over hosts England in the opening match of the previous ICC World Twenty20 last June was the upset of the tournament.

Mayweather dominates Mosley, stays unbeaten

Tim Dahlberg

Las Vegas (AP) - Floyd Mayweather Jr. rebounded from a close call in the second round to dominate Shane Mosley in a unanimous 12-round decision last Saturday in their welterweight fight.

Boxing’s biggest box office draw remained undefeated in 41 fights, but not before giving his fans and his corner a scare when a right hand to the side of his head buckled his knees a minute into the second, and he had to grab Mosley to avoid going down. Mosley landed another right later in the round, but the rest of the night belonged to Mayweather.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., right, connects against Shane Mosley, during their WBA welterweight fight, Saturday, May 1, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Fighting before a star-studded crowd that included Muhammad Ali, Mayweather never came close to dropping Mosley, but landed so many more punches that the outcome wasn’t in doubt past the middle rounds.

He had an answer for everything Mosley tried to do, landing right hands to the head seemingly at will as the fight progressed. By the end of the night, Mayweather had put so many rounds in the bank that the only question was whether he would stop Mosley or be content to win a lopsided decision.

“I wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see, a toe-to-toe battle,” said Mayweather, who has been criticized for fighting too defensively. “It wasn’t the same style for me but I wanted to be aggressive and I knew I could do it.”

Two ringside judges scored it 119-109 for Mayweather, while the third had it 118-110.

Mayweather made Mosley look every bit his 38 years as he landed sharp punches to his head, dominating a fighter who had vowed to turn the bout into the fight of the decade. Mosley tried his best, but couldn’t match the speed of the 33-year-old Mayweather, who grew more comfortable with each passing round.

Mosley was a substitute for Manny Pacquiao, who was all but signed to meet Mayweather until a dispute over drug testing derailed the mega-fight. Instead, Pacquiao beat Joshua Clottey on March 13 in Dallas and is now campaigning for a seat in congress in his native Philippines.

“If Manny Pacquiao can take a blood and urine test then we have a fight,” Mayweather said. “If not, no fight.”

Mosley almost ruined a lot of Mayweather’s best-laid plans when he landed the big right hand in the second that brought the fans at the MGM Grand Arena to their feet. They chanted “Mosley, Mosley,” as he followed Mayweather around the ring, landing another good right hand before the bell rang to end the round.

But Mayweather came out in the third round and began landing some shots of his own, while Mosley couldn’t find his mark.

“I caught him with my big right hand and I tried to move around but by that time he was too quick and I was too tight,” Mosley said. “After the right hand I thought I needed to knock him out and I needed to do it sooner than later. But I couldn’t adjust and he did.”

Inter advance to face Bayern in Champions League final

Paul Logothetis

Barcelona (AP) - Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan overcame Thiago Motta’s early sending off and a late Barcelona rally to reach the Champions League final last Wednesday at the expense of the defending champions.

Inter will play Bayern Munich on May 22 at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium after eliminating Barcelona 3-2 overall despite losing last week’s semifinal second leg 1-0.

Inter Milan’s Sulley Muntari from Ghana reacts after the Champions League semifinal second leg match against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium, Wednesday, April 28. (AP Photo/David Ramos)

After denying Barcelona a chance to repeat at bitter rivals Real Madrid’s home ground, Mourinho welcomed a shower of bottles from a section of the 96,214 fans at the Camp Nou. It didn’t however sour the occasion for Mourinho, who gives Inter a chance at their first title since 1965 in Europe’s marquee tournament.

“It’s the greatest loss of my life ... It was an extraordinary game,” Mourinho said. “It’s tough with 11 players against Barcelona - with 10 it’s a historic feat.”

Inter were reduced to 10 men from the 28th minute when Motta picked up a second yellow card after tangling with Sergio Busquets. Gerard Pique’s individual effort in the 84th gave Barcelona a chance to advance, but by then it was almost too late.

“The sending off proved counterproductive,” Pique said of Barcelona’s inability to make more of the one-man advantage. “The red card created a lot of anxiety; it made us want to score a first goal quickly.”

Germany’s Bayern Munich secured their place in the final after beating French club Lyon 3-0 last Tuesday and 4-0 on aggregate. Both teams in the Madrid final will be missing a player through suspension.

“Bayern is a team filled with great players, full of tradition,” Mourinho said. “It will be a great final, but it’s a pity Motta and (Franck) Ribery cannot play.”