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Hong Kong fell short of a victory it came close to tasting in their Asia Cup Group A match against India in Dubai on Tuesday, as it lost the match by 26 runs.
The men in red managed to score 259-8 against the blue side's target of 286.
Hong Kong also lost to Pakistan by eight wickets in their first match.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed
Hong Kong: Anshuman Rath (captain), Aizaz Khan, Babar Hayat, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Kinchit Shah, Nadeem Ahmed, Scott McKechnie, Tanwir Afzal, Nizakat Khan
Sparks generally fly when India take on Pakistan at cricket, and Wednesday's Asia Cup clash in Dubai will be an emotionally charged fixture as always.
AFP Sport looks at five of the most memorable previous encounters, the first since Pakistan thrashed India by 180 runs in the Champions Trophy final in June 2017.
On the same day the teams were playing a one-day match at Sialkot in Pakistan on October 31, 1984, the Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her bodyguards in New Delhi.
Dilip Vengsarkar and Ravi Shastri were piling on runs for India when the news came. Pakistan's president Zia ul Haq ordered the match stopped, and India's captain Sunil Gavaskar wanted the same.
“Obviously, we weren't in any frame of mind to carry on and, sure enough, the ODI had to be abandoned,” Vengsarkar told India's Telegraph later.
“Thirty years have gone by, but it's a day one can't forget,” he said.
Imran Khan's best bowling figures of 6-14 were in a one-day international against India March 22, 1985, but for the swashbuckling Pakistan fast bowler it was all in vain.
Khan ripped apart the Indian batting line-up at Sharjah in the UAE to send the opposition packing for 125. But Pakistan's own batting imploded, skittled for just 87.
Khan — now Pakistani prime minister — was still man of the match, however.
A sword for a six
The match that will always evoke the bitterest memories for India, and the sweetest ones for Pakistan, was on April 18, 1986, again an ODI in Sharjah.
With Pakistan needing four off the last ball to win, India's Chetan Sharma ran in and bowled a full toss -- which Javed Miandad swatted for six.
Miandad, who was presented with a golden sword, became a national hero, while Sharma faced barbs and insults on his return home.
A century from Sachin Tendulkar, India's most celebrated batsman, was usually a recipe for success in the 1990s and 2000s but not in the 1999 Test match against Pakistan in Chennai.
Chasing 271 for victory, Tendulkar brought India close with a sparkling 136, but Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq got him out and India eventually lost by 12 runs.
A sporting Indian home crowd gave the Wasim Akram-led side a standing ovation, but Tendulkar was heartbroken.
Weeping in the dressing room, according to then-coach Anshuman Gaekwad, the “little master” refused to come out of the dressing room to receive his man of the match award.
An India-Pakistan final in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup and a sell-out crowd in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2007 was a perfect setting for cricket's newest format.
Pakistan's Misbah ul Haq was on the cusp of taking his team to a memorable win with his gritty batting in a chase of 158.
But then came a moment of madness as Haq tried to play an audacious paddle shot to seal victory against paceman Joginder Sharma in the final over.
The ball went high into the waiting hands of Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India celebrated like never before as Haq missed a chance of a lifetime.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed believes India could feel the absence of their talismanic captain Virat Kohli in tomorrow's blockbuster match, even if the side has other good options.
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan are set to clash in their crucial Group A match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium today.
While Sarfraz can rely on a full-strength side, India will have to make do without their superstar batsman and regular captain Kohli, who was rested for the tournament.
"A part from Kohli, the Indian team has other good players too," Sarfraz said. "[But], Kohli is a big player, and [his absence] could make a difference for India."
The Men in Green's captain, however, expects that the Rohit Sharm-led India must have made their adjustments to counter for Kohli's absence.
"The Indian team must have done their home work," Sarfraz said. "Good teams always take the field prepared."
The margin of error in brief tournaments such as Asia Cup are limited. Keeping that in mind, Sarfraz has told his team to "play every match as it's against India".
He expressed satisfaction at his team's form heading into the big game and made a special mention of opener Fakhar Zaman, who had hammered a swashbuckling ton when the sides had last met, in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy.
"Fakhar Zaman is improving his performances each and every day," Sarfraz said.
LAHORE: Maintaining its winning streak the Pakistan deaf cricket team defeated arch-rivals India by four wickets in the tri-nation series in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Monday.
This was Pakistan’s third win in the series, having beaten hosts Bangladesh and India by 38 runs and 101 runs earlier respectively.
Batting first, India managed a modest total of 97 for nine in 20 overs. Santosh 21and Manjeet 16 were India’s key scorers. Pakistan captain Qamar Naveed claimed three wickets while Naeem and Jabbar bagged two wickets each.
In reply, Pakistan romped home scoring 98 for six in 18.4 overs. Qamar, who was later declared as the man of the match, also excelled with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 38. Bilal Yousuf also contributed 18 runs. Majeed snared two wickets for India.
In the last match of the series, Pakistan will take on Bangladesh on Wednesday.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018
LONDON: South Africa’s Wayne Parnell has signed a new three-year contract with Worcestershire that could signal the end of the 29-year-old all-rounder’s Proteas career.
Parnell has not played for South Africa in nearly a year and was sidelined with injury in December.
By agreeing what is known as a ‘Kolpak’ deal with Midlands side Worcestershire, he has effectively agreed to being classed as a home player and not a member of the county’s overseas contingent.
That status that would no longer apply if Parnell played for South Africa while still under contract at New Road.
Parnell decided to spend the next several years with Worcestershire while helping them win English cricket’s Twenty20 Blast at Edgbaston on Saturday.
“This is probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make in my career,” Parnell said. “It’s a very difficult decision and I am fully aware and understand the pros and cons of it. I am still young and I have plenty to offer to any environment that I’m in. I’ve loved every time I’ve put on the South African jersey and I’m almost certain that nothing can replace that feeling, certainly on the cricket field.”
He added: “The reality of life is that that goals and aspirations change all the time and it seems the Proteas have moved past me since I’ve not really had any communications since I had my injury. Not going to India for the ‘A’ tours was also another indication.
“But I’m happy with that and I am comfortable with where I’m at and what I’m doing. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Worcestershire since joining up with them and I’m excited about my future with them.”
Left-arm paceman Parnell played six Tests between 2010 and 2017, with best bowling figures of four for 51 against Sri Lanka. He also appeared in 65 One-day Internationals and 40 T20 Internationals He has taken 16 wickets in four County Championship games for Worcestershire this season, including four for 23 against Hampshire.
Several South African players have given up their international careers for the security of what are often more lucrative county deals, with fast bowler Kyle Abbott and batsman Rilee Rossouw both now at Hampshire.
The Kolpak ruling came into force in 2003 when the European Court of Justice ruled that anyone with a work permit from a country, such as South Africa, which has an associate trading agreement with the European Union had the same rights as a European worker.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018
TALENCE (France): France’s Kevin Mayer made up for recent disappointments in spectacular style when he set a decathlon world record of 9,126 points at the Decastar meet on Sunday.
World champion and Olympic silver medallist Mayer surpassed American Ashton Eaton’s 9,045 total at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Mayer after becoming the first Frenchman to hold the decathlon world record.
“We live for moments like this that are simply incredible. I couldn’t cry. I don’t have any more tears left because I was crying so much before the 1,500m.”
Mayer, 26, made amends for missing out on the European title in Berlin last month, where he failed to register a mark in the long jump.
“I said perhaps without too much assurance that Berlin was a blessing in disguise, and I think I can now say it for sure,” said Mayer. “Achieving the world record in Talence, it’s the most beautiful of dreams I’ve just accomplished. I hope it’s not the last world record I do, even if it’s going to be very hard to beat it.”
Mayer made a strong start, setting a personal best in the 100 metres and long jump, but Mayer was 140 points behind Eaton’s record after the first day. He was even more consistent on Sunday with 13.75 seconds in the 110 metres hurdles and a 50.54 metre throw in the discus.
Mayer cleared 5.45 meters in the pole vault and threw a personal best of 71.90 metres in the javelin, Sundays penultimate event, to leave him with the relatively simple task of needing to finish inside 4 minutes 49 seconds in the 1500 metres.
He cruised home in 4:36 to become just the third decathlete to surpass the mythical 9,000-point barrier, joining double Olympic champion Eaton and Czech icon Roman Sebrle.
The Decastar has been a major fixture of the season-end for years. Back in 1992, just after he missed out on the Barcelona Olympics, Dan O’Brien of the United States set a world record of 8,891 in Talence.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday issued a notice to federal government on a petition, seeking details of expenditures incurred on Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Petitioner Javed Badar contended that he wrote a letter to former chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Najam Sethi to provide him details of PSL expenses, but his request was rejected.
He said access to information was one of the fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution. However, he said his right was infringed by declining to provide details PSL related expenses.
The petitioner expressed apprehensions that PSL record could be destroyed to cover up the alleged financial irregularities committed in tournament. He asked the court to issue directions to preserve PSL record and provide details to him.
Justice Shahid Jamil Khan heard the arguments and sought reply from the government and the PCB by Sept 27.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018
MUMBAI: Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said on Monday India are one of the main contenders to lift the ongoing Asia Cup, but tipped Pakistan as the favourites given the arch-rivals have been playing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regularly.
Pakistan have begun their Asia Cup campaign routing minnows Hong Kong by eight wickets Sunday and have the added advantage of playing in the UAE, their ‘home’ ground.
India, led by skipper Rohit Sharma, would start their campaign on Tuesday against Hong Kong, which is a dress rehearsal for their marquee clash with arch-rivals Pakistan on Wednesday.
“I think Pakistan start as favourites more than India, because they have been playing in those conditions (in the UAE) for a while now and it’s a team which is on the surge. India, of course, are resting Virat [Kohli], which takes a lot of strength away from the team,” Manjrekar said.
He was quizzed whether in the absence of Kohli, India were the favourites going into the tournament.
“India are obviously one of the contenders, but when you look at favouritism, [question arises] which team can be rated as the strongest.
“It’s Pakistan because of where it (the tournament) is being played,” explained Manjrekar.
According to Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 One-day Internationals, the wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has made the Indian team more balanced.
“India is a very good 50 overs outfit. India in the Test matches struggled a bit overseas, but if you look at their 50-over record, it’s very good in all conditions. Earlier, India had batting strength but the bowling did not quite measure up. Now they also have game changers in the middle, so the team wins more matches than it used to because of Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the middle. It’s a more balanced 50 overs team in a long, long time,” said Manjrekar.
Manjrekar insisted that Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer should get a look-in ahead of the next year’s ICC World Cup in England.
“At the moment Ambati Rayadu, Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey are in the fray. Kedar Jadhav is also there, but I would like to see Shreyas Iyer get a look-in before the World Cup. K.L. Rahul will get [to bat at] number three, because Kohli is not there,” he said.
“We will have a look at him [Rahul] and he is also another middle order option for India. So it is very important to settle middle order woes.
“Because India need a couple of in-form reliable middle-order batsmen. So every match from now on would actually be about settling that issue and most of the other areas are taken care of,” he added.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018
BRISBANE: Opening batsman Aaron Finch knew time was running out on ever wearing the baggy green cap handed out to Australia’s Test cricketers, but also thought next month’s series against Pakistan might be his best chance yet to earn one.
Finch was one of five uncapped players named last week in Justin Langer’s raw side for the two Tests in the United Arab Emirates, with the first match starting on Oct 7 in Dubai.
The 31-year-old made his international debut for Australia in a Twenty20 match in 2011 before playing his first one dayer in 2013, but had never been selected for a Test tour.
Former captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were suspended earlier this year for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal and Finch told reporters on Monday he realised that had potentially opened the door for him.
“I thought it wasn’t ‘now or never’ but thought that if it didn’t happen now then it was less likely [to happen] down the track,” Finch told reporters in Brisbane on Monday. “It was a nice call to get.”
An aggressive opening batsman in limited overs cricket, Finch said he was unsure what role he would be asked to play in the UAE, if selected.
With Warner and Bancroft the preferred openers before their bans, he could potentially join Matt Renshaw at the top of the order or occupy a spot further down.
Finch said either way he was still going to try and adopt the free flowing approach that had enabled him to score more than 3300 runs with 11 centuries in One-day Internationals and almost 1600 Twenty20 International runs at an average of 45.60.
“Being aggressive has made me reasonably successful in the two shorter formats,” said Finch. “I suppose it depends on where they see me in the order if there is a spot in the XI.
“If it’s at the top, I think it’s about playing your natural game, if it’s in the middle there’ll obviously be times you come in against a lot of spin and the ball’s reversing.
“So I’ll sit down with the coach and captain over the next week or so and start getting out some plans.”
Finch added he had recognised the tour could be a similar opportunity that former Australian batsman Mike Hussey had in 2005.
Like Finch, Hussey was a late bloomer who did not make his Test debut until he was 30. He then went on to score 6235 runs in 79 matches at an average of 51.52.
“Hopefully if I get an opportunity I can take it,” Finch said. “This is my first Test tour but I have been around for quite a while and I know the demands of international cricket.
“It’s tough. It’s a game where if you let your guard down for a second, someone will take your spot. You can’t leave anything to chance, you can’t leave one percent of preparation undone.
“[But] you grow up in the backyard dreaming of playing Test cricket and getting a baggy green and it’s closer than it has [ever] been before.”
But after plying his trade successfully for more than a decade, Australia’s T20 skipper and ODI deputy is inclined to simply do what he does best — score runs however he can.
“After 10 or 12 years you build up a game plan that works well for you and it’s not about going right away from that because it’s Test cricket or playing in the sub-continent,” he said. “I think it’s about just changing your mindset slightly.”
He is keen to help Test captain Tim Paine and head coach Justin Langer wherever required in terms of guiding young players.
“I’ve been around for quite a while and I can probably be a sounding board for some of the younger guys if they need a chat,” he said. “Where Tim [Paine] and Justin (Langer) think I can help out, I will.”
The second Test is in Abu Dhabi from Oct 16.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018
LONDON: Spain has provided the winner of the last five Champions League finals, and six of the last nine, but Real Madrid and Barcelona could find their dominance under threat as the group stage begins this week.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are considered the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the iconic trophy for the first time in Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium in June next year.
Meanwhile German record champions Bayern Munich are hoping to take the final step under new boss Niko Kovac, Qatari-backed Paris Saint-Germain will expect to clear new hurdles and Cristiano Ronaldo gives Serie A dominators Juventus added bite.
“The Champions League is a very difficult competition but a club like Bayern Munich must be looking to win it,” said Bayern’s James Rodriguez recently.
European governing body UEFA has introduced new split kick-off times with fixtures kicking off at 1655/1900 GMT each Tuesday and Wednesday.
Group ‘B’ opens the action this midweek with Inter Milan hosting Tottenham Hotspur and Barca welcoming Dutch league winners PSV Eindhoven.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde is expected to put summer signings Arthur Melo, Arturo Vidal, Clement Lenglet and Malcom on the bench after a weekend win at Real Sociedad was secured by what full-back Jordi Alaba called the “perfect performance” of keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Lionel Messi’s Barca have had to endure seeing arch-rivals Real win three Champions League finals in a row and are looking to improve on their recent disappointing showings in the competition, having been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in the last three seasons.
Beating Real to the La Liga title did little to banish the humiliation of Barca’s exit in Europe last year after throwing away a 4-1 lead over AS Roma by losing 3-0 in the second leg.
Reigning champions Real must wait a day longer to begin their title defence, and chase for a fourth successive crown, against Roma in Group ‘G’ on Wednesday.
This has been a glorious European era for Real, who are targeting becoming the first club to win four in a row since they won the trophy in each of its first five seasons, between 1956 and 1960.
The men who have marked that era have gone, with Zinedine Zidane resigning and Ronaldo moving to Juve, but Real remain a formidable force.
Real coach Julen Lopetegui must decide who to leave out in a selection dilemma. If he persists with his front three of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio then there are just three midfield places up for grabs with Isco, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro and Dani Ceballos all in contention.
“It’s a long season and we just all need to be ready,” Spain midfielder Isco said. “As the coach has said, it’s important that we are all prepared to respond so that we can achieve you objectives this season.”
Roma made the semis in the past edition and are relishing the trip to Madrid.
“You don’t really have to prepare for it from a mental standpoint. The motivation comes naturally when you’re playing at the Bernabeu,” striker Stephan El Shaarawy said.
Viktoria Plzen host CSKA Moscow in the other group game.
RONALDO RETURNS TO SPAIN
Juve also start on Wednesday as Ronaldo makes an eagerly-awaited return to Spain when the Italian champions play Valencia in Group ‘H’.
All eyes will be on the Portuguese forward, the all-time top scorer in Europe’s elite competition and a five-time winner of the trophy, when he makes his first public appearance in Spain since ending a trophy-filled nine-year stay at Real in July.
Ronaldo’s last act for Real was lifting the Champions League trophy in Kiev after beating Liverpool 3-1 in the final before he dropped the bombshell in a pitch-side interview that he had decided to leave Madrid.
Ronaldo can expect a hostile reception in Valencia, who had to suffer 15 of his goals for Real and are returning to the Champions League for the first time in three years, hoping to improve on their miserable start to the La Liga campaign.
Ronaldo, who plundered a staggering 451 goals in 438 games for Real, made a slow start by his usual standards to life at Juventus by failing to score in his first three games but broke his duck with two strikes in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Sassuolo.
Manchester United take on Young Boys in Switzerland in the other group game.
After helping PSG re-establish domestic dominance last year, Neymar has little to prove with the club apart from achieving the big mission: Delivering a European title to the Qatari ownership. With Kylian Mbappe coming off the back of a starring role for winners France at the World Cup, new coach Thomas Tuchel has a wealth of attacking options.
PSG will meet one of the few teams in the competition which can rival their talent: Liverpool. Flush with more than $200 million in off-season signings, Juergen Klopp’s high-flying Liverpool have an early test of its credentials when they host PSG at Anfield on Tuesday.
Both sides have made perfect starts to their domestic campaigns with five wins, PSG thrashing St Etienne 4-0 at home on Friday and Liverpool enjoying a convincing 2-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur.
“We will try to be ready for PSG,” Klopp said. “We try to prepare but they are really good, a very interesting football project.”
In an intriguing Group ‘C, Napoli travel to 1991 winners Red Star Belgrade in the group’s other fixture.
English champions City host Olympique Lyonnais in Group ‘F’ on Wednesday also looking to make a mark in the competition they are yet to win despite huge investment from their Abu Dhabi owners.
Hoffenheim make their group stage debut away to Shakhtar Donetsk, with the game hosted in Kharkiv given the political situation in eastern Ukraine.
Bayern top the Bundesliga and have a perfect record under new coach Kovac and start Group ‘E’ away to Benfica on Wednesday.
Borussia Dortmund head to Club Brugge in Group ‘A’ on Tuesday when Atletico begin what they hope will be a long journey back to their home stadium away to Monaco.
And in Group ‘D’, also Tuesday, Schalke 04 host FC Porto — the last team to win the Champions League from outside Europe’s top four leagues — and Galatasaray face Lokomotiv Moscow.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018