Sri Lanka edge out Pakistan in last-ball thriller to qualify for Asia Cup final

Sri Lanka's Charith Asalanka is embraced by Dunith Wellalage and Matheesha Pathirana as they celebrate their two wickets win in the Asia Cup cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Thursday, September 14, 2023. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 14 September 2023
Follow

Sri Lanka edge out Pakistan in last-ball thriller to qualify for Asia Cup final

  • Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka hold nerve to give Sri Lanka two-wicket victory over Pakistan
  • Iftikhar Ahmed takes three wickets, Shaheen Afridi two to bring Pakistan back into the game

ISLAMABAD: Defending champions Sri Lanka edged out Pakistan on Thursday to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup 2023 tournament in Colombo, after rain reduced the fixture between the two Asian giants to 42 overs a side.
Set a target of 253 runs to win, Sri Lanka made a nervous start, losing Kusal Perera for 20 runs after he was run out by a brilliant throw from Shadab Khan. Kusal Mendis scored 91 runs from 87 balls while Pathum Nissanka scored 29 runs from 44 balls.
Sadeera Samarawickrama scored 48 runs from 51 balls before a flurry of Sri Lankan wickets fell, putting the hosts within reach of the final. Afridi dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva and Dunith Wellalage for 5 and 0 runs respectively, off successive deliveries.
Sri Lanka needed 8 runs to win in the final over, which was bowled by debutant Zaman Khan. A mix-up between Asalanka and Pramod Madushan ended up costing the latter his wicket after Khan ran him out.
With Sri Lanka needing only 6 runs from the last two balls, Asalanka edged one for a boundary past the keeper. On the last ball, Asalanka scored two runs successively to give Sri Lanka the victory by two wickets.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam said the team decided to bowl their best overs before handing the ball to Afridi in the second-last over. “We have not been up to the mark in the bowling and fielding,” he said during the post-match conference. “That is why we lost the match.”
“We started well, ended well, but middle overs were not great. We have lacked that.”
Earlier, Pakistan finished at 252/7 from 42 overs after Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed stabilized a Pakistani innings that suffered early blows. 
Opening batter Fakhar Zaman continued his poor run of form at the Asia Cup, heading to the pavilion after only scoring 4 runs when he was dismissed by Matheesha Pathirana. Batter Abdullah Shafique and skipper Azam put on a 64-run partnership for the second wicket before Azam was stumped off a Dunith Wellalage delivery for 29 runs. 
Shafique scored 52 off 69 balls before he was dismissed by Pathirana while Mohammad Haris and Mohammad Nawaz followed quickly for 3 and 12 runs respectively, putting Pakistan in trouble at 130-5. However, a 108-run partnership between Rizwan and Ahmed propelled Pakistan to a respectable 252-7 at the end of 42 overs. Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan with an unbeaten 86-run innings off 73 balls while Ahmed scored 47 runs from 40 balls. 
Rizwan’s innings included two sixes and six fours while Ahmed smashed two sixes and four fours from his innings. For Sri Lanka, Pathirana was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures of 3/65 from 8 overs while Pramod Madushan finished with 2/58 from 7 overs. Maheesh Theekshana and Wellalage each took a wicket. 

Sri Lanka will take on India in the final on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023.

Playing XI:
Pakistan: Mohammad Haris, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), Abdullah Shafique, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan (vice-capt), Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim, Zaman Khan
Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wkt), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Pramod Madushan, Matheesha Pathirana
 


Fatima Sana, Shawaal Zulfiqar lead Pakistan women to historic win against New Zealand

Updated 11 sec ago
Follow

Fatima Sana, Shawaal Zulfiqar lead Pakistan women to historic win against New Zealand

  • Pakistan defeated New Zealand women by seven wickets in the first T20I
  • Player of the match Fatima Sana took three wickets, Shawaal scored 41 runs

DUNEDIN: Pakistan women’s team created history on Sunday as they defeated New Zealand by seven wickets in the first T20I at the University of Otago Oval in Dunedin.  

Chasing 128-run target, Pakistan’s opening pair of Shawaal Zulfiqar and Muneeba Ali provided a decent 40-run start to the innings. Muneeba (23 off 24, four fours) was the first batter to return to the pavilion.  

At that stage, captain Nida Dar promoted herself up in the order and knitted 51 runs for the second wicket with right-handed batter Shawaal. Playing her sixth T20I and first on New Zealand soil, 18-year-old Shawaal scored her highest T20I score of 41 off 42 balls, smashing seven boundaries. 

Following Shawaal’s departure at the end of the 13th over with 91 runs on the board, Nida too was dismissed after a quick-fire 23 off 14 balls, including a four and a six.  

With back-to-back wickets falling, the experienced pair of Bismah Maroof and Aliya Riaz got together and guided the team to a seven-wicket win with 10 balls to spare. Aliya returned unbeaten on 25 off 12 balls. Her innings included two fours and a six, the latter of which she struck on the second ball of the 19th over to finish the match. Bismah was undefeated on 13 off 18 balls, hitting a four. 

"The victory vibes in Dunedin," the Pakistan Cricket Board wrote on X, sharing scenes from Otago Oval. "Grateful for the support we received in the first T20I." 

 

This marked the first win for Pakistan women’s team over the White Ferns in the T20I format.  

Earlier, after opting to bat first, New Zealand were restricted to 127 for six courtesy of a fine bowling display by the touring side. Right-arm fast Fatima Sana, who missed the Bangladesh tour due to injury, capitalized on the overcast conditions and bowled a spell of four overs, giving away only 18 runs and bagging three wickets. Nida, Diana Baig and Aliya took a wicket each. 

For New Zealand, Maddy Green was the top run-getter, scoring 44 not out off 28 balls, hitting four fours. 

Pakistan will now take on New Zealand in the second T20I on Tuesday at the same venue, while the third and final T20I of the series will be played in Queenstown on December 9. 


Medjedovic upsets Fils to win 5-set Next Gen Finals championship match

Updated 28 min 11 sec ago
Follow

Medjedovic upsets Fils to win 5-set Next Gen Finals championship match

  • First five-set final in six editions of the tournament

RIYADH: Hamad Medjedovic squandered two match points before he finally upset the top-seeded Arthur Fils and won the Next Gen Finals championship match on Saturday.
It was the first five-set final in six editions of the tournament.
Medjedovic missed the chance to seal it in four but converted his third match point in the fifth to beat Fils 3-4 (6), 4-1, 4-2, 3-4 (9), 4-1 after two hours, 11 minutes.
The 20-year-old Medjedovic did not lose a match on his way to becoming the first Serbian to win the tournament for the top eight players aged 21 or under.
The tournament was held in Saudi Arabia for the first time after it was played in Milan ever since the inaugural edition in 2017. Besides shorter sets, other changes to the usual tennis rules included shorter changeovers and less time on the shot clock for some points.
“I can’t believe I have won this title, but it’s going to give me a lot of confidence for 2024,” said Medjedovic, the lowest-ranked champion yet at No. 110.
The 36th-ranked Fils became the youngest Frenchman in nearly two decades to win an ATP title when he triumphed at Lyon this year.
Medjedovic, who is coached by Serbia Davis Cup captain Viktor Troicki, reached tour-level semifinals in Gstaad and Astana and won three lower-level Challengers this year.

Past Next Gen champions include Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz.
 


Al-Ahli, Al-Shabab to the fore at Saudi Games

Updated 03 December 2023
Follow

Al-Ahli, Al-Shabab to the fore at Saudi Games

  • Medals also given out following the fencing and robotics events
  • 3x3 basketball and handball competitions got underway on Saturday

RIYADH: Al-Ahli and Al-Shabab dominated the medals at the Saudi Games’ athletics events on Saturday.

In the men’s 800-meters final, Al-Shabab’s Issa Ghazwan took the gold and his teammate Sami Al-Yami the bronze. There was also a gold medal for Al-Shabab in the men’s 400-meters hurdles, which was won by Mohammed Al-Mauwi.

Al-Ahli’s Ali Mas took home the gold medal in the men’s 200-meters final, while Suga Saied finished first for the same club in the women’s long jump final.

Elsewhere, Ryan Al-Khawiter beat last year’s champion Kevin Orlandi to win gold and SR1 million ($266,574) in the triathlon at the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Olympic Complex.

Khaled Al-Mobty also clinched gold on Saturday in the individual show jumping event, with Meshari Al-Harbi taking home silver and Mohammed Al-Askar the bronze.

The jet ski gold medal and SR1 million prize was won by Tariq Bukhari at Durrat Al-Arous in Jeddah.

There were also medals awarded in the under-54 kg, under-65 kg, under-80 kg and under-97 kg categories of the paralympic weightlifting event.

Al-Nassr and Al-Selmeyyah qualified for the beach soccer final, to be held on Sunday evening, while the Riyadh club also secured a place in the men’s futsal final against Al-Ettifaq.

There were medals given out following the fencing and robotics events, while the 3x3 basketball and handball competitions got underway on Saturday.


Kashmiri students arrested for celebrating India's Cricket World Cup defeat get bail

Updated 03 December 2023
Follow

Kashmiri students arrested for celebrating India's Cricket World Cup defeat get bail

  • Police dropped the charges and an Indian court granted bail to the students on Saturday, according to their lawyer
  • In granting bail, the court imposed a condition the students should be available when needed for the investigation

SRINAGAR: An Indian court has granted bail to seven Kashmiri students who were arrested under anti-terror laws for allegedly celebrating Australia's victory over India in the men's Cricket World Cup final last month, a lawyer said on Sunday. 

The students from an agriculture university were detained in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after one student filed a complaint accusing them of using anti-India slogans and cheering for Pakistan along with Australia after the match. 

Claimed in full but ruled in part by India and Pakistan, Muslim-majority Kashmir has seen a bloody insurrection against New Delhi for decades. Muslims in the region have in the past cheered for the competing side in India cricket matches as a way of protesting Indian rule. 

Local political leaders opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi government's rule over J&K had said the arrests were a way to intimidate locals using the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The act deals with inciting any unlawful activity and is punishable with seven years' imprisonment. 

Police dropped the UAPA charges and an Indian court granted bail to the students on Saturday, according to the lawyer of students, Shafiq Bhat, and a court order seen by Reuters. 

In granting bail, the local court imposed a condition that the students should be available when needed for the investigation and "shall not indulge in any anti national activity," the order stated. 

The students still face allegations under other Indian laws that related to making statements inducing public mischief. 

Australia had entered the World Cup match as clear underdogs against an all-conquering India side, who had won 10 matches in a row to storm into the final. But India was defeated in the final match on Nov. 19. 

India blames Pakistan for supporting the Muslim insurgents. Pakistan denies this and accuses India of violating the rights of Kashmir's Muslim people, a charge India rejects. 


UAE Pro League review: Al-Wasl crush Al-Bataeh to go 5 points clear of nearest rivals

Updated 03 December 2023
Follow

UAE Pro League review: Al-Wasl crush Al-Bataeh to go 5 points clear of nearest rivals

  • Matches involving second-placed Al-Ain and third-placed Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai were postponed until Dec. 20 due to AFC Champions League commitments

Leaders Al-Wasl’s storming campaign continued with an affirmative thrashing of Al-Bataeh and Alfred Schreuder’s Al-Nasr debut finished in frustration during ADNOC Pro League’s truncated matchweek nine.

Ivorian youngster Adama Diallo’s excellent brace helped the unbeaten Cheetahs to a 4-1 victory, adding further veracity to dreams of ending their pained wait for an eighth top-flight trophy since their success in 2006-07.

Al-Wasl now hold a five-point lead, because of AFC Champions League commitments delaying until Dec. 20 second-placed Al-Ain’s match against Khor Fakkan, and third-placed holders Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai Club’s trip to continental contenders Sharjah.

A second-half penalty from 2017 AFC Player of the Year Omar Khrbin, meanwhile, saw fourth-placed Al-Wahda earn their 1-1 draw against ex-Al-Ain and Ajax supremo Schreuder’s Nasr. Jamal Maroof’s 97th-minute spot-kick for bottom-placed Hatta curtailed third-bottom Ajman celebrations in their dramatic 1-1 stalemate, while resurgent Iran starlet Mehdi Ghayedi had a hand in all four goals when Andres Iniesta’s sinking Emirates Club were beaten 4-2 by Ittihad Kalba.

UAE legend Ali Mabkhout got a brace as Al-Jazira produced a much-needed 4-1 derby beating of neighbours Baniyas.

Here are Arab News’ top picks and a talking point from the latest action.

 

Player of the week: Mehdi Ghayedi (Ittihad Kalba)

Ghayedi had gone from Asia’s golden boy, to an unfulfilled afterthought.

The diminutive attacker with magic in his boots appeared to have the world at his feet after becoming AFC Best Young Player of the Year in 2020. A switch to Shabab Al-Ahli in the following summer was meant to take his game to another level, with this pathway having previously helped send exalted compatriot Ali Karimi to Bayern Munich back in 2005.

Ghayedi’s forgettable 2021-22 season was followed by sparks of life returning to his play on loan at former club Esteghlal. These reached full luminescence in a sensational display for latest temporary employers, Kalba, during victory against Emirates.

The now 24-year-old moved onto seven goal contributions in nine league run-outs under former mentor Farhad Majidi, thanks to a well-taken brace. Added influence was supplied by winning penalties ably converted by the superb Daniel Bessa and Andres Vombergar.

Ghayedi featured in June’s inaugural CAFA Nations Cup, but has since been ignored by Iran head coach Amir Ghalenoei. If he can continue to inspire Kalba’s rise up the standings from their current ninth during a packed December, a way back in may be found for the Asian Cup.

 

Goal of the week: Adama Diallo (Al-Wasl)

A star is on the ascendancy at Zabeel Stadium.

Diallo has gone from unheralded youngster, to keeping veteran Switzerland striker Haris Seferovic out of the XI and being tipped for naturalisation by the UAE.

The 21-year-old Ivorian produced a mesmerising double in a dominant victory over dark-horses Bataeh, with the 16th-minute opener especially outstanding.

Slipped behind the midfield by Nicolas Gimenez, there was still 40 yards+ to goal from the left flank. Lightning acceleration allied with tight control took him beyond a trio of retreating Bataeh defenders, before smashing into the near post’s bottom corner.

Diallo — who later delivered a deft Fabio De Lima-esque curled finish — now sits on four strikes in eight ADNOC Pro League run-outs this season, averaging out at one every 92 minutes.

 

Coach of the week: Frank de Boer (Al-Jazira)

Frank de Boer managed to find the release valve, just as pressure began to build toward dangerous levels.

A 4-2 chasing by surging Wasl in matchweek eight left a richly talented Jazira well off the pace in eighth. Their nine-point gap to top spot remains, but impressive victory at Baniyas Stadium provides a superior gloss in fifth.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi lived up to their nickname via a virtuoso display by Mabkhout, moving onto a record-extending 213 goals in 286 top-flight run-outs with a tremendous brace.

Host left-back Joao Victor’s 34th-minute red card ensured 68 percent possession and a shot count of 24/11 favoured the visitors.

That this fine work was supplemented by ex-Fulham star Neeskens Kebano netting his second Jazira goal, a pair of assists from winger Oumar Traore and UAE matchwinner Abdullah Ramadan getting involved at club level speaks volume of the vast potential contained within De Boer’s ranks.

A generous end to 2023 in the league pits the Netherlands great against the current bottom three, in descending order. A perfect, nine-point haul — plus, progress in ADIB Cup’s quarter-finals versus bitter-rivals Wahda — would thrust Jazira right into the trophy mix.

De Boer collected ample silverware when employed as manager at Ajax and Atlanta United, despite a mixed record elsewhere.

This pedigree is unquestionable. So, too, the squad depth at his disposal.

Jazira’s foreign quintet is enviable, while six members of Paulo Bento’s victorious UAE roster hail from there.

Baniyas may have witnessed the start of another trophy charge in De Boer’s intermittently glittering managerial career.

 

Are Al-Wasl the real deal?

These are good times at Wasl.

ADNOC Pro League’s only unbeaten side have taken more points than any other in the last five matches, have triumphed in their last five outings in all competitions and swept the latest “The Best” monthly awards. They have netted six more goals than any other club and boast the joint-third meanest defence.

This form is underpinned by belief head coach Milos Milojevic can replicate in Dubai his prior double-winning campaign at Red Star Belgrade.

Wasl are, though, stung by recent memories. Strong starts under the likes of Juan Antonio Pizzi and Rodolfo Arruabarrena faded into obscurity.

The 21st century has not been kind to this storied club. But, the same was said of Sharjah ahead of 2018/19’s surprise title success.