Pakistan win toss, choose to field against India in T20 World Cup blockbuster in Dubai

Pakistan's cricketers celebrate the dismissal of India's Suryakumar Yadav during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan in Dubai, UAE, on October 24, 2021. (AP)
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Updated 24 October 2021

Pakistan win toss, choose to field against India in T20 World Cup blockbuster in Dubai

  • Pakistan have lost all seven World Cup clashes against India as well as five T20 World Cup games
  • The two nations are political foes and have one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan have won the toss and chosen to field first against India in the high-octane Twenty20 World Cup opener in Dubai, watched by an expected one billion television viewers. 
India have beaten Pakistan in all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over World Cups. 
Pakistan, however, go into the contest with 10 wins in a row in the United Arab Emirates, their home away from home for most of the last decade. 
This is the first time the two nations clash since the 50-over World Cup in 2019. 
Of the 12 World Cup losses for Pakistan, five have been at the T20 tournament. 
Two were at the inaugural event in 2007 — a tied group game decided by a ‘bowl-out’ and a five-run loss in the final. 
Pakistani captain Babar Azam is looking to break their World Cup jinx against India, with Babar, Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman holding the team’s batting key while quicks Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali will lead a potent bowling attack. 
Indian captain Virat Kohli says regardless of past record, Pakistan is and always has been packed with talented players. 
The tournament is Kohli’s last as captain of the national T20 side. 
“Our focus is to play well in this World Cup and do what we need to do as a team,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the much-anticipated clash. 
Babar told reporters this week the past was irrelevant to them. 
“To be honest, what has passed is beyond us,” he said at a virtual media conference on Saturday, as both nations buzzed in anticipation of a thrilling match. “We want to use our ability and confidence on the day of the match so that we can get a better result. 
“Records are meant to be broken.” 
Strained relations between the two nations, who were one country before the partition of British India split them into India and Pakistan in 1947, and a decades-long dispute over the Himalayan valley of Kashmir, has laid the foundations of one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world. 
Pakistan and India have not played a bilateral Test series since 2008 when already brittle ties were shattered by the Mumbai terror attacks. 
The tickets for Sunday’s match were sold out within hours of going on sale after the United Arab Emirate government allowed a 70 percent crowd for the Twenty20 World Cup matches in a relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions. 
Babar said Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan — who led the country to victory in the 1992 World Cup — had shared his experiences with the team. 
“The prime minister met us before our departure and shared his experiences of the 1992 win,” he said, “and told us to play aggressive and fearless cricket against India.” 


Bangladesh, Pakistan second test hit by rain, draw likely

Updated 06 December 2021

Bangladesh, Pakistan second test hit by rain, draw likely

DHAKA, Bangladesh: The third day of the second and final cricket test between Bangladesh and Pakistan was called off Monday due to persistent rain without a ball being bowled.
The announcement came about 90 minutes after the scheduled lunch break as there was no sign of an end to the rain that was caused by Cyclone Jawad. Rain has fallen heavily on each day of the match so far.
The third session of the first day was lost to rain and bad light and only 6.2 of 98 overs were possible on day two.
With more rain or thundershowers being predicted in many parts of Bangladesh in the next 24 hours, a draw looks like the only possible result.
Pakistan, which opted to bat first, reached 188-2 in 63.2 overs with captain Babar Azam batting on 71 and Azhar Ali on 52.
Pakistan won the first test by eight wickets and leads the two-match series 1-0. Earlier, the visitors swept the three-match T20 International series.


Pollard out of West Indies white-ball tour of Pakistan 

Updated 05 December 2021

Pollard out of West Indies white-ball tour of Pakistan 

  • He withdrew after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in the T20 World Cup 
  • West Indies are due to play three T20Is and three ODIs at the Karachi National Stadium from Dec 13 to 22 

ST JOHN’S, Antigua: West Indies captain Kieron Pollard withdrew Sunday from the upcoming white-ball tour of Pakistan after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in the T20 World Cup. 
Pollard was replaced in the ODI squad by Devon Thomas and in the T20 squad by all-rounder Rovman Powell.

Pollard will be reassessed in a few weeks ahead of the upcoming home tours by Ireland and England in January 2022, Cricket West Indies said.

The West Indies are due to play three T20Is and three ODIs at the Karachi National Stadium from Dec. 13-22. 


Sebastian Vettel invited Saudi women to karting event to learn about their lives

Updated 04 December 2021

Sebastian Vettel invited Saudi women to karting event to learn about their lives

  • The German Formula 1 driver said wanted to hear their first-hand accounts of recent changes in the country what life is like for them in the Kingdom

JEDDAH: In an effort to learn more about life in Saudi Arabia and recent changes in the country, and as an activist for equality, Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel said that he organized a special karting event this week for women in Saudi Arabia.

In comments shared on social media, the German driver, who races for Aston Martin, said he hired a karting track in Jeddah on Thursday and invited some Saudi women to race so that he could hear their first-hand accounts of what life is like for them in the Kingdom.

Vettel said: “It’s true that some things are changing here. There are a lot of questions that have been asked and I have asked myself. So I was thinking of what I can do. I really tried to think of the positive side.

“And so I set up my own karting event today, under the hashtag Race for Women, and we had a group of seven or eight girls and women on the track.

“I was trying to pass on some of my experiences in life and, obviously, on the track; to do something together to grow their confidence. Some of them had a (driving) license, others they did not. Some of them were huge Formula 1 enthusiasts, others had nothing to do with Formula 1 or racing before today.

“It was a good mix of women from different backgrounds and a great event. Everybody was extremely happy,” he continued. “And I was, I have to say, very inspired by their stories and their backgrounds, their positivity about the change in the country.

“It was important to get to know some of these women. And I think it was a very, very memorable and inspiring day and a great way to kick-off the weekend by focusing on the positive.”

Vettel will compete in the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday, Dec. 5.


Jailed former paralympic athlete Pistorius moved closer to victim’s family

Updated 02 December 2021

Jailed former paralympic athlete Pistorius moved closer to victim’s family

  • Pistorius went from public hero to convicted murderer in a trial that drew worldwide interest
  • He is set to speak to Steenkamp's parents in a process known as victim-offender dialogue

CAPE TOWN: Former South Africa paralympic superstar, Oscar Pistorius, jailed in 2016 for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been moved closer to her family ahead of reconciliation talks that could help pave the way for his early release from prison.
Pistorius, known as “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, went from public hero to convicted murderer in a trial that drew worldwide interest. He becomes eligible for parole after serving half of his 13-year sentence.
Pistorius is set to speak to Steenkamp’s parents, June and Barry Steenkamp, in a process known as victim-offender dialogue — an integral part of South Africa’s restorative justice program in its prison system that brings parties affected by a particular crime together in a bid to achieve closure.
“They are participating in the process because they have committed themselves to being part of the victim-offender dialogue. They feel they have to do this for Reeva,” Tania Koen, lawyer for the Steenkamps, said of the family.
Pistorius’ lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Gold medalist Pistorius, once the darling of the Paralympic movement for pushing for greater recognition and acceptance of disabled athletes, shot dead Steenkamp, a model and law student, in his bathroom in 2013.
Pistorius said he had believed she was an intruder but was jailed in 2016, initially for a six-year term. After an appeal by prosecutors who said this was too lenient the term was increased to 13 years.
He has now been moved from a prison near Johannesburg to one on South Africa’s east coast, near where Steenkamp’s parents live.
Neither their lawyer Koen nor Singabakho Nxumalo, a spokesman for the department of correctional services, could provide Reuters with a timeline for the discussions.
“It is very sensitive process, highly emotional... and we do not force people to participate in it,” Nxumalo said.
“But we are saying at least it does lay a foundation where people can, if possible, forgive each other, find one another and then try to move forward in harmony,” he said.


COVID-19 hits Williams F1 team ahead of Saudi Grand Prix

Updated 03 December 2021

COVID-19 hits Williams F1 team ahead of Saudi Grand Prix

  • Team Principal Jost Capito tests positive for Covid before traveling to Jeddah, Williams ‘team will continue to operate trackside as planned’
  • Still mourning the loss of founder Frank Williams, the team goes to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit having garnered 23 points so far this season

PARIS: Williams’ Team Principal Jost Capito has tested positive for COVID-19 before traveling to Jeddah for this weekend’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, the British Formula One outfit announced Thursday.
“Jost is now following UK national health authority guidelines,” the team said in a statement. “There has been no wider impact on Williams Racing personnel and the team will continue to operate trackside as planned.”
Still mourning the loss of founder Frank Williams, the team goes to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit having garnered just 23 points so far this season.
The penultimate round of the 2021 World Championship season sees Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton of Britain clinging to the tail of Dutch championship leader Max Verstappen of Red Bull with just eight points separating the pair.