Australia frustrated as Pakistan saved by rain in T20

A volunteer is seen as the Twenty20 cricket match between Australia and Pakistan is halted due to rain at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on November 3, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 03 November 2019

Australia frustrated as Pakistan saved by rain in T20

  • Pakistan managed 107 for five in a reduced 15 overs due to bad weather
  • Australia was left stranded on 41 without loss when the match was abandoned, with no result declared

SYDNEY: Pakistan were saved by the rain Sunday as persistent showers halted a rampant Aaron Finch as Australia headed for victory in their opening Twenty20 international.
The visitors managed 107 for five in a reduced 15 overs due to the weather at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with Australia set a target of 119 under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method.
With dark clouds looming, Finch plundered 37 off the first 3.1 overs, leaving David Warner, who scored 217 without losing his wicket in his previous three innings, a mere spectator at the other end. He finished Sunday not out on two.
But the heavens opened again, with Australia, fresh from a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka, stranded on 41 without loss when the match was abandoned, with no result declared.
“It’s frustrating,” said the Australian skipper. “But you can’t do too much about the weather. “We played really well. To restrict them to 107 off 15 overs was a great effort and then to be on track to get them was nice.”
A valid result would have been declared if 11 more balls had been bowled under DLS, but a 20-minute break between innings, when it wasn’t raining, prevented this from happening.
“If you’re cutting overs off the game and you still have a 20 minute break it doesn’t make much sense to me,” said Finch. “But it’s part of the rules and you can’t do much about it.”
Pakistan came into the series as the world’s leading team in the short format, but were also reeling from an embarrassing 3-0 home series loss to Sri Lanka last month.
They removed skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and dumped several other players in a bid for a fresh start, with opener Babar Azam handed the captain’s armband.
The world’s top-ranked Twenty20 batsman led from the front, stroking a classy unbeaten 59 after they were sent into bat, with the 25-year-old smacking five fours and two sixes in his 38-ball knock.
It was a decent recovery by the visitors after opener Fakhar Zaman was out first ball, hitting a swinging Mitchell Starc delivery straight to Steve Smith at backward point.
That brought Haris Sohail to the crease, but he made a poor decision in going after Kane Richardson too early, top-edging to Smith to leave the visitors struggling at 10 for two.
But Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steadied the ship and began building a solid partnership, pushing the scoreboard along with clever running and quality shots.
They reached the 10-over mark at 64 for two but Rizwan soon fell for an entertaining 31 after trying to clear the boundary rope off spinner Ashton Agar, only for Pat Cummins take an easy catch.
When they resumed at 88 for three in the 13th over after a rain break, Asif Ali fell to Richardson for 11 and Imad Wasim to Starc for a duck, leaving Azam to bring up his 11th T20 half-century.
The series moves to Canberra on Tuesday and a final game in Perth.


Russia banned from Olympics, World Cup over doping

Updated 09 December 2019

Russia banned from Olympics, World Cup over doping

  • WADA's executive committee handed Russia the four-year suspension
  • Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year

LAUSANNE: The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday banned Russia for four years from major global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, over manipulated doping data.
WADA's executive committee, meeting in Lausanne, handed Russia the four-year suspension after accusing Moscow of falsifying laboratory doping data handed over to investigators earlier this year.
Not only will Russia be ruled out of the next Olympic cycle, but Russian government officials will be barred from attending any major events, while the country will lose the right to host, or even bid, for tournaments.
"WADA's executive committee approved unanimously to assert a non-compliance on the Russian anti-doping agency for a period of four years," WADA spokesman James Fitzgerald said.
Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.
It will be up to FIFA to stipulate how a team of Russian players can take part in the qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup.
Euro 2020, in which the Russian city of Saint Petersburg will host four matches, is not affected by the ban because it is not defined as a "major event" for anti-doping purposes.
"They are going to have prove they had nothing to do with the non-compliance, (that) they were not involved in the doping schemes as described by the McLaren report, or they did not have their samples affected by the manipulation," Fitzgerald said.
The independent report by sports lawyer Richard McLaren, released in 2016, revealed the significant extent of state-sponsored doping in Russia, notably between 2011 and 2015.
It led to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) being suspended for nearly three years previously over revelations of a vast state-supported doping programme.
Full disclosure of data from the Moscow laboratory was a key condition of Russia's controversial reinstatement by WADA in September 2018.
RUSADA chief Yury Ganus told AFP Monday that his country had "no chance" of winning an appeal against the ban, dubbing it tragic for clean athletes.
"There is no chance of winning this case in court," Ganus said, with RUSADA's supervisory board set to meet on December 19 to take a decision on whether to appeal the ban.
"This is a tragedy," he added. "Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited."
The WADA decision was widely predicted, with the body's president, Craig Reedie, having made a presentation Saturday to the Olympic Summit, participants of which "strongly condemned those responsible for the manipulation of the data from the Moscow laboratory".
"It was agreed that this was an attack on sport and that these actions should lead to the toughest sanctions against those responsible," the IOC said, asking that the Russian authorities deliver the "fully authenticated raw data".
Positive doping tests contained in data leaked by a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the laboratory data supplied in January 2019, which prompted a new inquiry.
Former WADA president Dick Pound, who chaired the commission that in 2015 made damning accusations of mass doping in Russian athletics, said Moscow had this time gone "too far".
"The IOC is a little bit tired about what Russia has been doing and so I see the IOC probably focusing more on athletes who are newer," Pound told AFP.
Pound acknowledged the influential role of Russia -- which in recent years hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as well as the football World Cup in 2018 -- "on many levels" in the sporting world.
"On the field of play, it is a big, important country. With China and the United States, it's among the sporting giants, so that's influential," he said.
"It's (also) influential because Russia hosts and is willing to host many competitions for international federations, especially those who don't have much money of their own, so they have a considerable influence among the international federations.
"And they've been quite strategic about making sure that they get Russians into positions on international federations. So they have an impact from inside as well as from outside."