T20 World Cup final: Seven players to watch out for today

This combination of photos shows Pakistani and England players playing T20 World Cup Final. (AFP)
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Updated 13 November 2022
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T20 World Cup final: Seven players to watch out for today

  • Dawid Malan, Mark Wood’s chances of playing final against Pakistan improve
  • Pakistan take on England in T20 World Cup 2022 final today at Melbourne

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and England will lock horns today, Sunday, for the final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with both sides boasting of plenty of matchwinners. 

Cricket fans are salivating at the prospect of watching Pakistan’s pace battery colliding against England’s skilled batters. It will be a battle of nerves, for sure, at the grandest T20 stage of all. 

Here are seven players to watch out for today: 

1. Shaheen Shah Afridi




Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi (R) makes a successful appeal for a leg before wicket (LBW) decision against New Zealand's Finn Allen during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 semi-final cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on November 9, 2022. (AFP)

The left-arm beanpole has come a long way since he made his debut for Pakistan a couple of years ago. Afridi is famous for his fiery in-swingers, that when delivered at full length and at a blistering pace, can eviscerate a batter’s toes any day of the week. 

For cricket buffs, an Afridi first over is a sight for sore eyes. If England step into Melbourne today unprepared for Afridi’s ferocious yorkers, he will make them pay with pace. 

2. Jos Buttler




England's Captain Jos Buttler celebrates win after the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 semi-final cricket match between England and India at The Adelaide Oval on November 10, 2022 in Adelaide. (AFP)

One of the cleanest hitters of the ball, Buttler is one of the most dangerous batters in modern cricket. The England skipper has a penchant for opening the innings on a high note and denting the opposition by taking maximum advantage of the Powerplay overs. 

Buttler loves to get creative on the field, often giving himself room to hit scoop shots that end up sailing over the boundary and leaving the bowler looking awfully helpless. He’s particularly strong on the leg-side and has repeatedly smashed fast bowlers over mid-wicket for lofty sixes. 

Pakistan would do well not to bowl him on the leg-side. 

3. Alex Hales




England’s Alex Hales reacts after hitting a shot during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between England and Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on November 5, 2022. (AFP)

Pakistan should keep a keen eye on Alex Hales. The tall, well-built batter will definitely look to put Pakistani pacers on the back foot by smashing boundaries every now and then during the Powerplay overs. 

Given the thrashing that Hales and Buttler gave team India on Thursday, Pakistan would have certainly headed back to the drawing board with a plan for each opener after the second semifinal. 

4. Haris Rauf




Pakistan's Haris Rauf celebrates his wicket of Afganistan's Azmatullah Omarzai during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket warm-up match between Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Gabba in Brisbane on October 19, 2022. (AFP)

Since we’re talking dangerous pace, it would be unfair to leave out Rauf. The right-hand pacer has ample experience with Australian pitches, mainly due to his Big Bash League encounters Down Under. 

Over the years, Rauf has become an economical bowler, mixing variations in the death overs to befuddle batters when they’re looking to score big boundaries. Rauf mixes up his line, length and pace to keep the batters guessing always, an obvious sign of any intelligent bowler. 

5. Shadab Khan




Pakistan's Shadab Khan celebrates the wicket of India's Axar Patel during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne on October 23, 2022. (AFP)

Is there anything that Khan can’t do? The Pakistani all-rounder has emerged as one of the most integral members of the team’s limited-overs squad. A skilled leg-spinner who has mastered the art of bowling the googly, Khan’s aggressive batting has provided depth to Pakistan’s middle-order. 

His quickfire half-century against South Africa was instrumental in sinking the Proteas and ultimately helping Pakistan qualify for the final four stage of the tournament. 

When it comes to fielding, Khan is Pakistan’s best fielder by a mile. England better have a gameplan ready to tackle the all-rounder or he may end up being the difference between the two sides. 

6. Moeen Ali




England's Moeen Ali speaks to reporters prior the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne on October 28, 2022. (AFP)

England's answer to Pakistan's Shadab Khan. Ali is a viable bowling option who can pick up a few wickets here and there to slow down the run-rate. 

However, his penchant for hitting sixes and pulling England out of dire straits and finishing the innings on a high note is what makes Ali lethal for today's match. 

It would be interesting to see how he fares against Pakistan today. 

7. Muhammad Rizwan




Pakistan's Muhammad Rizwan celebrates after scoring a half-century (50 runs) during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 semi-final cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on November 9, 2022. (AFP)

If Rizwan gets going with Babar Azam, it could very well be curtains for England. He’s not been in top-notch form during this tournament. However, Rizwan played a match-winning innings against New Zealand on Wednesday to see Pakistan through to the final. 

Rizwan relishes any delivery bowled at his leg-side, slapping it away for his traditional ‘rib shot’ to the fence for a boundary. When boundaries are hard to get by, Rizwan keeps the scoreboard ticking by constantly finding gaps between the fielders and running singles and doubles. 


COP28 delegates urge greater action on climate-linked health risks

Updated 13 sec ago
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COP28 delegates urge greater action on climate-linked health risks

  • In September, Storm Daniel killed over 11,000 in Libya, floods in Pakistan last year fueled a 400% increase in malaria cases
  • Experts say countries will need to boost funding for healthcare amid heatwaves, diseases like malaria and cholera spreading

DUBAI: Physicians, activists and country representatives at this year's COP28 U.N. climate summit in Dubai have called for greater global efforts to protect people from the increasing health and safety risks posed by climate change. 

With global temperatures set to continue climbing for decades, experts say countries will need to boost funding for healthcare as heatwaves become more dangerous and diseases like malaria and cholera spread. 

Climate-related impacts "have become one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century", COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber said in a statement. 

Late on Saturday, 123 of the nearly 200 countries gathered at COP28 signed a declaration acknowledging their responsibility to keep people safe. The declaration made no mention of fossil fuels, the main source of climate-warming emissions. 

Thanks to climate change, cases of malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress are already on the rise in some regions. 

A small group of physicians in white coats and climate activists held a small demonstration within the COP28 compound to raise awareness of the issue on Sunday. 

"We are in a lot of trouble," said Joseph Vipond, an emergency physician from Alberta, Canada. He recalled the case of a child dying from an asthma attack made worse by smoke inhalation from Western Canada's record wildfires this year. "This is having real world impacts." 

Climate change is also increasing the frequency of dangerous storms and more erratic rainfall. 

In September Storm Daniel killed more than 11,000 people in Libya, and last year's massive flooding in Pakistan fueled a 400% increase in malaria cases across the country, according to the World Health Organization. 

Governments and philanthropic bodies are expected later on Sunday to announce new financing for climate-related health issues. 

The World Bank on Sunday launched a new Climate and Health program to explore possible interventions and public health solutions for developing countries. 

Ten of the world's top development banks including the World Bank also said on Sunday they would work together to help countries track climate impacts, including public health risks, and to identify investment opportunities and priorities. 

In a statement, the banks said the window of opportunity to secure a liveable planet was "rapidly closing". 

Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates said scientists were working on new treatments for and prevention of mosquito-spread malaria as the rise in temperatures creates more hospitable habitat for the insects to breed. 

"We have new tools at the lab level that decimate mosquito populations," said Gates, whose foundation supports public health research and projects for the developing world. 

"These new innovations give us a chance, at a reasonable cost, to make progress." 

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke on Sunday at COP28, urging reform to the world's insurance system as another key requirement to keep people safe. 

"Right now insurance companies are pulling out of so many places, they're not insuring homes, they're not insuring businesses," Clinton said, addressing a panel on women and climate resiliency 

"As the climate changes, as storms increase and drought and heat increase ... it's people everywhere who are going to be left out with no backup, no insurance for their business or their home," she said. 


Transporters in northwest Pakistan strike over killing of eight people in attack on passenger bus

Updated 6 min 24 sec ago
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Transporters in northwest Pakistan strike over killing of eight people in attack on passenger bus

  • The attack took place near the Chilas town of Pakistan's northern Gilgit-Baltistan region
  • Pakistani Taliban distance themselves from the attack, no other group claims responsibility

KHAPLU, Gilgit-Baltistan: Transporters across Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan region on Sunday observed a wheel-jam strike after a passenger bus was targeted by unidentified militants near the Chilas town, killing eight people and injuring 25 others a day earlier.  

Chilas, a rugged, mountainous town, lies in GB's Diamer district, which has been a site of militant attacks, including some claimed by the Pakistani Taliban. In 2018, militants torched 13 girls’ schools in the district, while in 2012, unidentified gunmen killed nine passengers and torched six buses in the region. 

However, the Pakistani Taliban distanced themselves from Saturday's attack, while no group immediately claimed responsibility for targeting the passenger bus that was en route to Rawalpindi from Gilgit. Officials said they were investigating the attack. 

“All transporters are on strike today after this tragic incident in all districts of Gilgit-Baltistan,” Ashraf Al-Hussaini, president of the GB transporters association, told Arab News.  

"This is not the first incident in this region. We had to face such incidents in the past as well in which many people were killed."

Law enforcement officers stand next to a damaged bus that came under attack by unidentified militants in the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan on December 2, 2023. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/Pamir Times)

He urged the government to increase patrolling of law enforcement agencies and set up security check-posts along a section of the Karakoram Highway passing through the district. 

Hussaini said their strike was only for Sunday and they would announce their next move soon. 

GB Information Minister Iman Shah said law enforcement authorities were investigating the attack and trying to ascertain the motive behind it. 

“Treatment of the injured people is ongoing and bodies of the deceased are being shifted to their native towns and villages," Shah told Arab News over the phone. “No one has yet claimed the responsibility for the attack.” 

Diamer Superintendent of Police (SP) Sheheryar Khan said unidentified militants opened fire on the bus in the Chilas-Hudur region at around 6:30pm on Saturday. 

Arif Ahmed, the Diamer deputy commissioner, said some of the passengers hailed from the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southern Sindh provinces. 

"Two Pakistan Army soldiers were among the people martyred in the attack," he told reporters. 

In a text message to Arab News, the Pakistani Taliban distanced themselves from the attack. 

“Tehreek-e-Taliban has nothing to do with the firing incident on a bus in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Chilas area,” said Muhammad Khurasani, a spokesperson for the group. 


In boost for Modi, India’s BJP set to win 3 of 4 key state polls

Updated 03 December 2023
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In boost for Modi, India’s BJP set to win 3 of 4 key state polls

  • Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana states voted last month before the national vote due by May
  • BJP had established clear leads in three of these states and appeared set to win them, vote-counting data suggested

NEW DELHI: India’s ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday appeared set to win three of four states in key regional polls, in a big boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of general elections in six months. 

The heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and the southern state of Telangana, voted last month in the last set of provincial elections before the national vote due by May, when Modi seeks a third term. 

BJP had established clear leads in all three heartland states and appeared set to win them, vote-counting data from the independent election panel and five news TV channels showed. 

BJP’s performance was better than widely expected as opinion and exit polls had suggested a close contest between Modi’s party and the main opposition Congress, indicating BJP and Modi’s growing popularity despite a decade in power nationally. 

Although Congress won Telangana, its second victory in the south this year, Sunday’s outcome is seen as a setback to the party and its leader Rahul Gandhi as it was wiped out of the politically critical heartland. 

“We always said we will win the heartland states,” BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda told Reuters. “The results are the outcome of our finest political strategy and work on the ground.” 

BJP members and supporters burst firecrackers, distributed sweets and danced in the streets to the beat of drums in the three states. 

“It’s a clean sweep by the BJP in three states, the mandate proves voters trust Modi,” said federal aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who belongs to Madhya Pradesh. 

Modi remains widely popular after a decade in power and surveys suggest he will win again next year. However, a 28-party opposition alliance led by the Congress party has come together to jointly fight BJP, posing a new challenge. 

Congress disappointed 

BJP also suffered a setback when it lost the big southern state of Karnataka to Congress earlier this year as Gandhi worked hard to revive the party since its drubbing in the 2019 general elections and went on a 135-day march across the country covering more than 4,000 km (2,500 miles). 

He also helped build the opposition alliance, called the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance or INDIA, after the Karnataka victory and his temporary disqualification from parliament after being convicted in a defamation case. 

But the alliance did not feature in the state polls due to internal rivalries and it was a direct contest between BJP and Congress. 

“The Congress has done extremely well in Telangana... Yes, it is disappointing to see losses in three states, but we are still the opposition with a strong presence,” Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate told Reuters. 

The four states are home to more than 160 million voters and account for 82 seats in the 543-member parliament. 

Modi and leaders of Congress, led by Gandhi, criss-crossed the states, addressing campaign rallies and promising cash payouts, farm loan waivers, subsidies and insurance cover, among other incentives, to woo voters. 

Politicians and analysts say state elections do not always influence the outcome of the general elections or accurately indicate national voter mood. 

Results of the last round of state elections before national elections have been misleading in the past. 

Sunday’s outcome is, however, expected to boost market sentiment. 

“Markets may have had a whiff of the likely results given the gains last week but the margin of victory will be a surprise,” said Gurmeet Chadha, managing partner at asset management firm Complete Circle. 

Markets should gain on Monday on the results, he said, adding it could be a “big move.” 

The small northeastern state of Mizoram also voted last month and votes there are due to be counted on Monday. 


Canadian man faces sentencing in January for killing four members of Pakistan-origin family

Updated 03 December 2023
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Canadian man faces sentencing in January for killing four members of Pakistan-origin family

  • The incident occurred in 2021 when a white nationalist ran over the family with his truck in Ontario
  • Nathaniel Veltman was found guilty targeting the family during a hearing that took place last month

ISLAMABAD: A Canadian man, who killed four members of a Pakistan-origin family by deliberately running them over with his truck more than two years ago, is scheduled to be sentenced by a court in January, according to media reports.
The incident occurred on June 6, 2021, in Ontario. Five members of the Afzaal family were out for an evening walk when they were struck by a truck, driven by 22-year-old white nationalist Nathaniel Veltman.
The attack claimed the lives of Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumnah, and Afzaal's 74-year-old mother Talat.
The family’s nine-year-old child survived with serious injuries.
“Prosecutors and defence lawyers are scheduled to make their submissions on sentencing in the case of Nathaniel Veltman on Jan. 4 and 5,” reported CP24, a Canadian news channel.
“Veltman was found guilty last month of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for hitting the Afzaal family with his truck while they were out for a walk,” it added.
This incident sent shockwaves through Canada, a country with a huge immigrant population that prides itself on its multicultural character.
According to Reuters, prosecutors argued the attack was an act of terrorism, noting Veltman had written a manifesto entitled "A White Awakening" in which he outlined hatred of Islam and opposition to mass immigration and multiculturalism.
Veltman, who had confessed to his crime, was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder last month.
“Today’s verdict is a monumental step in the fight against hate and Islamophobia,” Reuters quoted Abdul Fattah Twakkal, a prayer leader at a mosque in the area where the incident happened, after the verdict. “It sets a precedent against white nationalist terrorism.”


Pakistan PM stresses $17 billion Indus River restoration need at Dubai’s COP28 sideline event

Updated 03 December 2023
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Pakistan PM stresses $17 billion Indus River restoration need at Dubai’s COP28 sideline event

  • Ninety percent of Pakistan’s people and more than three-quarters of its economy reside in the Indus Basin
  • Kakar applauds project to increase water storage and recharge through wetlands, hill-torrents management

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar told a gathering on the margins of the United Nations climate conference in Dubai on Sunday Pakistan needed up to $17 billion for the next 15 years to work on the ecological restoration of the Indus River.
The giant waterway, nurturing the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world’s earliest urban cultures, has been a lifeline for the region for millennia, fostering agricultural prosperity and cultural development.
It continues to remains crucial to Pakistan’s sustenance, ensuring its food security, providing vital water resources and driving economic growth through hydroelectric power and other industries.
The prime minister, who is currently on a week-long visit to the Middle East and leading his country’s delegation at the 28th UN Conference of Parties (COP28) that began on Nov. 30, raised the issue at a ceremony organized by Living Indus, the largest climate initiative in Pakistan.
“Pakistani government is clear on its priorities with Living Indus, and we will work together to tackle the challenges, especially now that climate changes are aggravating,” he said.
“This initiative suggests that we need a minimum indicative investment of $11-17 billion over the next 15 years to mobilize from the public and private sector, citizens and communities,” he added.
Launched last September with UN support, the Living Indus initiative aims to protect and restore the vital river. The project aims to address challenges such as water scarcity, pollution, and habitat degradation through conservation and sustainable management.
The Indus Basin is home to 90 percent of Pakistan’s population and contributes to over three-quarters of its economy.
Despite its historical and ecological significance, however, the Indus is said to be the world’s second most polluted river.
Kakar thanked the World Wildlife Fund, United States Agency for International Development, Coca-Cola Foundation and Green Climate Fund for successfully developing “Recharge Pakistan” that aims to reduce climate vulnerability, calling it the first step toward Living Indus.
The project is designed to increase water storage and recharge through wetlands, floodplains and hill-torrents management.
“This will come in pieces, we understand, especially as Pakistan is facing a financial challenge,” he said, adding the flagship project with an international commitment to climate finance of nearly $78 billion was central to the country’s efforts in reducing future flooding and drought impacts.
The prime minister said flood and water resource management under the Living Indus framework would not only benefit millions of citizens but also serve as a model for climate innovation on a global scale.
“But more important is that the Living Indus initiative seeks to mobilize a movement that repairs and restores a healthy Indus for today and tomorrow,” he added.