The Sports Matrix: Thursday 24 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Afridi takes four to lead Windies rout

Pakistan became the first country to reach the semi-finals, thrashing a poor West Indies side by 10 wickets in Mirpur. Shahid Afridi took four for 30 as Pakistan bowled out their opponents for 112, before reaching 113 without loss. MORE

Titmus figures are impossible to match

Fred Titmus, who passed away yesterday, took an astonishing 2,830 first-class wickets at an average of 22.37, while scoring 21,588 runs. It is difficult to believe a player will repeat the feat of the Middlesex and England all-rounder. MORE

The end is near for Collingwood

Paul Collingwood owes England nothing and England owe him nothing. The 34-year-old has served them with talent and guts but struggles with form and injury suggest his one-day international career is coming to an end. MORE

Button admits McLaren trailing

Jenson Button has said his McLaren team could struggle to compete with their rivals in Sunday’s season-opening race in Melbourne. “I would be surprised if we can really match the Red Bull and the Ferrari,” he said. “That is a big ask.” MORE

McCaw: All Blacks keen to lift city

Richie McCaw believes that victory in the World Cup will lift Christchurch after last month’s earthquake. “We never need extra motivation,” he said, “but we’ll be conscious of the tough time people are going through.” MORE

Ramsey keen to return to his best

Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey admits Saturday’s visit of England gives him the chance to remind people of his talents. “Hopefully I’ll show what I’m capable of and put it to people that you can come back from injuries and be the same player,” he said. MORE

Britain warned over prize-money

Godolphin’s racing manager, Simon Crisford, has warned British authorities that horses “could be taken for races overseas” due to the shortfall in prizemoney. “If we have to, we’ll take them to France and run in maidens there,” he said. MORE

Evra aims to forget World Cup row

Patrice Evra hopes to “turn the page” on his part in France’s World Cup debacle as he prepares to make his comeback for the national team. “It’s with great pride that I find myself back in the team,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s match with Luxembourg. MORE

Capello bans squad from the greens

Any hopes England’s players had of a more relaxed regime under Fabio Capello post-World Cup were dashed when they were refused permission to play golf at the team hotel. Instead they were left to spend the afternoon in their rooms. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

John Terry put his captaincy on the line with behaviour that not only created fissures but widespread disgust in the nation – or at least those parts of it that had a working idea of the meaning of the word “professional”. MORE

Ferguson ‘failed to respect the game’

Sir Alex Ferguson’s already frosty relationship with the Football Association has taken a further blow following the publication of a disciplinary report which accused the Manchester United manager of having disrespect for “the integrity of the game”. The Scot last week received a five-match touchline ban following his criticism of referee Martin Atkinson’s performance in this month’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea, in which he claimed that United did not get a “fair” referee. The report of the FA Regulatory Commission, convened to rule on Ferguson’s comments, stated that his vast experience in the game should have told him that he was undermining the FA’s Respect campaign. “Whatever view one may take over the performance of Mr Atkinson,” Craig Moore QC, the barrister who chaired the commission, said, “respect for their integrity is essential for the integrity of the game.” The report was also critical of Ferguson’s refusal to apologise. “No clarification or retraction... has been made and no apology given. Any credit to which Sir Alex may have been entitled...was lost.” MORE

Downing relief at break from Villa

Stewart Downing has spoken of his relief at having temporary respite from relegation worries at Aston Villa. “It does help to have a break,” the midfielder said as he prepared with England. “You are part of a different environment with different pressure.” MORE

Crouch: Bale up with best in world

Peter Crouch has admitted his Tottenham team-mate Gareth Bale is the biggest threat to England’s chances of victory in Wales on Saturday. “That’s no secret,” Crouch said. “He’s a top-class player and been on fire for the last two years.” MORE