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. 


Fast bowler Haris Rauf ruled out of PSL after dislocating shoulder

Updated 23 sec ago
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Fast bowler Haris Rauf ruled out of PSL after dislocating shoulder

  • Haris Rauf fell awkwardly on his shoulder during Karachi-Lahore match on Saturday
  • Doctors have advised Rauf to rest for 4-6 weeks to recover from injury, says Lahore Qalandars 

LAHORE: Fast bowler Haris Rauf has been ruled out of the remainder of the Pakistan Super League after dislocating his shoulder during two-time defending champion Lahore Qalandars’ two-wicket loss against Karachi Kings on Saturday.

The franchise said in a statement on Sunday that doctors have advised Rauf to rest for 4-6 weeks to recover from the injury after undergoing scans.

Rauf fell awkwardly on his shoulder in the last over while holding onto a stunning catch of Hasan Ali during Karachi’s thrilling run-chase as Lahore lost its fourth successive game in Pakistan’s premier domestic Twenty20 event.

Rauf struggled in the first three games but bounced back against Karachi with economical figures of 1-22 off his four overs.

“We are deeply saddened by Haris Rauf’s injury,” Lahore captain Shaheen Shah Afridi said. “It was painful to see him missing out … and his absence will be felt.”

Rauf’s injury is the second major bowling setback for Lahore after its premier spinner Rashid Khan of Afghanistan was ruled out before the tournament due to a back injury.


Pakistan approves mergers of leading Saudi company with stakes in its steel sector

Updated 12 min 26 sec ago
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Pakistan approves mergers of leading Saudi company with stakes in its steel sector

  • M/s Saudi Iron and Steel Company (Hadeed) deals in spot sales in Pakistan’s steel market, exports to South Asian country
  • Three mergers are not anticipated to raise competition concerns in the relevant market, says competition commission

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) this week approved three mergers concerning a leading Saudi company that has a significant presence in Pakistan’s steel market, the regulatory body said. 

Based in the kingdom, M/s/ Saudi Iron and Steel Company (Hadeed) produces a range of steel products and deals in spot sales in Pakistan’s steel market. Hadeed also exports to the South Asian country through international traders.

The CCP said in its press release on Saturday that the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, sent a pre-merger application to CCP to acquire 100 percent shareholding of Hadeed from M/s. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (“SABIC”).

“PIF has entered into a share purchase agreement with SABIC, under which SABIC agrees to sell its entire share capital of Hadeed to PIF,” the CCP said. 

The second merger involved Hadeed acquiring 100 percent shareholding of Al Rajhi Steel Industries Company from M/s. Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Al Rajhi & Sons Investment. 

Al Rajhi Steel, established in 1978, is a subsidiary of Al Rajhi Invest and is known for its steel manufacturing capabilities in Saudi Arabia. This involved a share exchange agreement between Hadeed and Al Rajhi Invest.

In the third stage, the CCP said PIF intends to dispose off its 44.5 percent shareholding in Hadeed to M/s. Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Al Rajhi & Sons Investment, the CCP. It added that the move was intended to share control over Hadeed and Al Rajhi Steel to improve their respective production capabilities and increase their operational efficiency.

“These transactions, as per the information available, are not anticipated to raise any competition concerns in the relevant market,” the CCP said. 

It said Pakistan’s steel sector is “one of the most important industries in the country” and with investments, can raise the country’s GDP to bring benefits to both the economy and investors.


Pakistan inaugurates ‘pivotal’ polio campaign to immunize over 45.8 million children

Updated 25 February 2024
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Pakistan inaugurates ‘pivotal’ polio campaign to immunize over 45.8 million children

  • Polio volunteers to immunize children under five years old from Feb. 26 to March 3, says national health ministry 
  • Many believe in the conspiracy theory that polio vaccines are part of a Western ploy to sterilize Pakistan’s population

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal health secretary Iftikhar Shallwani on Sunday inaugurated a nationwide campaign against polio that aims to immunize over 45.8 million children against the disease, the national health ministry said. 

Pakistan is one of only two countries in the world where polio is endemic. The disease affects the nervous system of children and ultimately leads to paralysis.

The South Asian country’s efforts to contain polio have often been met with opposition, especially in the country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where militants have carried out attacks against vaccinators and the security teams guarding them. 

Many believe in the conspiracy theory that polio vaccines are part of a plot by Western outsiders to sterilize Pakistan’s population. 

Shallwani inaugurated the campaign, which is set to launch nationwide on Monday, by administering polio drops to children. 

“This pivotal campaign, scheduled from Feb 26 to Mar 3, aims to immunize over 45.8 million children under the age of 5 across the country,” the Ministry of National Health Services wrote on X platform. 

Shallwani said polio is a “terrible” disease that can cause paralysis in children.

“Unfortunately, it continues to be a threat to our children because some people refuse to vaccinate children based on misconceptions and false information about the vaccine,” he said. 

He said volunteers will deliver the vaccine to people’s doorsteps from next week, requesting parents to cooperate with them. 

“I implore you to recognize the threat posed by the poliovirus to your children and ensure that you open your doors to facilitate their vaccination,” the health official said. 

Pakistani masses’ doubts regarding polio campaigns were exacerbated in 2011 when the US Central Intelligence Agency set up a fake hepatitis vaccination program to gather intelligence on former Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. 


Undefeated Quetta lock horns with Multan Sultans in PSL 9 clash today

Updated 7 min 29 sec ago
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Undefeated Quetta lock horns with Multan Sultans in PSL 9 clash today

  • Multan Sultans lost their first match of the tournament to Peshawar Zalmi this week 
  • Despite the loss, the Sultans top the Pakistan Super League points table due to strong run rate

ISLAMABAD: The undefeated Quetta Gladiators will be put to the test today, Sunday, when they face table-toppers Multan Sultans in match number 11 of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2024 set to take place in Multan. 

The Sultans sit pretty at the top of the table with six points from four matches. However, they lost to former champions Peshawar Zalmi on Friday by five wickets at their home ground in Multan. 

Under new skipper Rilee Rossouw, however, the Gladiators have won all three matches of theirs. 

“I am aware of the conditions on Multan hence I don’t encounter any difficulties playing there,” Rossouw said. “Every match is a new contest, we will implement our plan to win it.”

The Gladiators have the same number of points as the Gladiators, six, from three matches. However, they are placed at number two on the table due to a net run rate of +0.686. The Sultans have a run rate of +0.812 from their four matches. 

The match between the two sides is expected to begin at 2:00 p.m.

Playing XIs (probable):

Multan Sultans: Mohammad Rizwan (c & wk), Dawid Malan, Reeza Hendricks, Yasir Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, David Willey, Usama Mir, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Ali, Shahnawaz Dahani

Quetta Gladiators: Saud Shakeel, Jason Roy, Rilee Rossouw (c), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Khawaja Nafay, Shefane Rutherford, Akeal Hosein, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Wasim, Mohammad Hasnain


Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly elects speaker from majority party 

Updated 37 min 24 sec ago
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Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly elects speaker from majority party 

  • Pakistan Peoples Party’s Syed Owais Qadir Shah secures 111 votes to win speaker’s election 
  • Election for the post of Sindh chief minister is scheduled to be held on Monday

KARACHI: Elections for the coveted posts of speaker and deputy speaker of Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly will be held today, Sunday, state-run media said, a day after newly elected members of the assembly were sworn in. 

Saturday’s oath-taking ceremony was marred by protests in Karachi staged by supporters of various political parties who allege that the Feb. 8 elections were heavily rigged. 

Supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Grand Democratic Alliance, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and other nationalist parties gathered near the provincial assembly in Karachi’s southern zone to protest alleged manipulation of Feb. 8 election, which was marred by a mobile network outage and delays in release of constituency results.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which bagged the highest number of seats in Sindh, has nominated Murad Ali Shah, former Sindh chief minister, for the top provincial office once again. The party has also nominated Syed Owais Shah for the role of speaker, and Anthony Naveed for the post of deputy speaker of the Sindh provincial assembly.

“Elections of speaker and deputy speaker of Sindh Assembly will be held on Sunday,” the state-run Radio Pakistan said in a report. “On the other hand, the election of Sindh Chief Minister will be held tomorrow (Monday).”

The PPP bagged 84 seats in the southern Pakistani province, followed by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) which secured 28 seats, while 14 seats were won by independent candidates. The JI and the GDA won two seats each.

While the inaugural Sindh Assembly session was in progress, several Pakistani parties on Saturday announced they would observe February 27 as a “Black Day” in response to Sindh police firing tear gas at their supporters protesting suspected rigging in the general elections earlier this month.

In view of the protest calls, the Sindh caretaker government on Friday imposed a ban under Section 144 on public assembly, gatherings, protests, processions, and demonstrations in Karachi’s South zone, where the provincial legislature is located, for a period of 30 days, according to the provincial home department.

Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) empowers the administration to issue orders in public interest and place a ban on any activity for a specific period of time.