India to stage IPL abroad
over security issues

MUMBAI, (Reuters) – The Indian cricket board will  stage the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament abroad this year due to security issues, the country’s cricket chief said yesterday.

“Because the government… are not in a position to provide  security, we were forced to take the decision to move the event  outside of India,” Indian cricket board (BCCI) president  Shashank Manohar told a news conference.

Cricket authorities in South Africa and England confirmed yesterday they had been asked to look into hosting the event.

Zvonareva beats Ivanovic
to claim Indian Wells title

INDIAN WELLS, California, (Reuters) – Fourth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva clinched her ninth WTA title by outplaying Serbian Ana Ivanovic 7-6 6-2 in yesterday’s final of the WTA event at Indian Wells.

Playing more consistently in difficult gusting winds at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Zvonareva reeled off six games in a row in the second set to wrap up victory in just under two hours.

Gerrard hat-trick helps
Liverpool crush Villa

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Steven Gerrard scored a hat-trick as Liverpool maintained their stunning recent form by crushing Aston Villa 5-0 at Anfield  yesterday to close the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester United to just one point.

Two of Gerrard’s goals came from penalties, with Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera adding the others as Liverpool, who beat Manchester United 4-1 last weekend, ensured the title race remained wide open.

Lakers rally in second
half to turn back Bulls

CHICAGO,  (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers overturned a 14-point halftime deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls 117-109 helped by Kobe Bryant’s 28 points on Saturday.

Spaniard Pau Gasol added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Western Conference-leading Lakers (55-14), who have the league’s second best record behind Eastern leader Cleveland (56-13).

Three other Lakers finished in double figures. Trevor Ariza had 18 as a starter, Lamar Odom added 16 and Jordan Farmar had 13 in the first of seven consecutive road games for Los Angeles.

Klitschko retains
WBC heavyweight title

STUTTGART, (Reuters) – Vitaly Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight crown by defeating Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez on a technical knockout in the ninth round on Saturday.

Klitschko, who retired in 2005 after a series of injuries before reclaiming the WBC title in October by beating Samuel Peter, had to work hard to beat the bloodied Gomez.

“I knew Gomez very well and knew this was not going to be easy,” said Klitschko in a post-match public address.

“After the sixth I became bit impatient but I knew he did not have much fuel after that.”

“Now I want the one title that evades the Klitschko family,” said Vitaly, referring to the WBA heavyweight title held by Russian Nikolai Valuev.

IAAF plans more
TV-friendly athletics meets

BERLIN,  (Reuters) – The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) agreed yesterday to make their top events more TV friendly, with shorter finals-packed evening sessions that are aimed at winning back younger viewers.

It said the schedule changes would come in by the 2010 World Indoor Games in Doha.