T20 World Cup: Babar delivers captain’s knock as Pakistan bow out with win over Ireland

Ireland's captain Paul Stirling, left, congratulates Pakistan's captain Babar Azam after Pakistan won the ICC Men's T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Fla. on June 16, 2024. (AP)
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Updated 16 June 2024
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T20 World Cup: Babar delivers captain’s knock as Pakistan bow out with win over Ireland

  • Ireland had recovered from a poor start to make 106-9 with Gareth Delany making 31 runs off 19 balls
  • Shaheen Afridi took three wickets and then hit two sixes as Pakistan ended a disappointing tournament

LAUDERHILL: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam guided his team to victory over Ireland on Sunday, with an unbeaten 32, in their final game at the T20 World Cup, avoiding another embarrassing loss for his already eliminated side.
Shaheen Shah Afridi took three wickets and then hit two sixes to win the game as Pakistan ended a disappointing tournament with a three-wicket win at Central Broward Stadium.
Ireland had recovered from a poor start to make 106-9 with Gareth Delany making 31 off 19 balls and although Pakistan wobbled at 62-6, captain Babar’s 32 off 34 balls steadied the ship and avoided another defeat.
Pakistan’s shock defeat to the USA and loss to India meant they were eliminated from second-round contention before Sunday’s final Group A game in Florida.
After the first three games at the South Florida venue were all abandoned because heavy rains caused a waterlogged outfield, the overwhelmingly pro-Pakistan crowd were rewarded with some top class opening bowling.
Left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-22) did the bulk of the damage picking up three early wickets as Ireland’s top order was ripped apart.




Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of Ireland’s Andrew Balbirnie during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Florida on June 16, 2024. (AP)

The Irish, who have not been able to practice for the past week due to wet facilities, were in deep trouble at 32-6 with seamer Mohammad Amir also picking up two wickets on a surface that was offering plenty for the quick bowlers.
Delany provided some much needed resistance for the Irish, blasting three sixes as he made 31 from 19 balls.
Delany’s entertaining knock — and a 44 run partnership with Mark Adair — came to an end when Imad Wasim’s slow left-arm spin found the edge and Shabad Khan ran in from point to make the catch.
Adair tried to keep the momentum going but he departed for 15 when he slogged Imad to long on and Afridi held on to the catch despite Usman Khan colliding with him.
All-rounder Imad picked up his third wicket by bowling Barry McCarthy but Josh Little provided some valuable lower order runs with his unbeaten 22 taking Ireland to three figures.




Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir, back to the camera, celebrates with teammates the wicket of Ireland’s George Dockrell during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, Lauderhill, Florida, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP)

McCarthy, who finished with figures of 3-15, gave Ireland some hope with a lively opening spell, picking up the wickets of Mohammad Rizwan (17) and removing Usman Khan and Shabad Khan cheaply.
When Curtis Campher dismissed Imad Wasim, whose cut shot to point was well held by Harry Tector, Pakistan looked in danger of another upset at 62-6.
But a 33 run seventh wicket partnership between Babar Azam and Abbas Afridi steadied the innings and Shaheen Shah Afridi’s two big heaves over mid-wicket ensured victory with seven balls to spare.
“Let’s see, what team needs, I’ll be okay with it. We have a good bunch of players, we’ve to go home, chat and see where we lacked, and then come back. Couldn’t finish off close games, as a team we weren’t good as a team,” said Babar.
The win meant that Pakistan finished third in the group and Ireland ended bottom with a solitary point from their washed-out game against the USA.


PUBG Mobile makes highly anticipated Esports World Cup debut

Updated 20 July 2024
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PUBG Mobile makes highly anticipated Esports World Cup debut

  • The $3m PUBG Mobile World Cup 2024 in Riyadh will run until August 28

RIYADH: The wait for the highly anticipated PUBG Mobile World Cup 2024 is finally over after the 24-team, $3 million tournament kicked off at the Esports World Cup in Riyadh on Friday.

Running from July 19-28 live from Boulevard Riyadh City, the objective for those competing is to parachute onto the remote island below and remain as the last player or team standing in epic battle royale format.

Faisal bin Homran, chief product officer at the Esports World Cup Foundation, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that the time has come for PUBG Mobile to headline here at the Esports World Cup — the PUBG Mobile World Cup is going to be incredible. It’s a competition that promises nothing but non-stop action, drama, and excitement — and we’re sure this will go down as one of the very best we see this summer.”

Given PUBG Mobile’s global following and popularity, anticipation at home and abroad has been growing ever since the official Esports World Cup schedule was announced. Now, the PUBG Mobile World Cup 2024 co-headlines at the Esports World Cup — the pinnacle of gaming and esports.

The PUBG Mobile World Cup group stage will see clubs compete from July 19-21 and includes 18 matches with 12 teams assured of qualification to the main tournament (July 26-28). The 12 that fail to qualify will enter the survival stage (July 23-24), where they will have another opportunity to progress with four teams assured of advancement to the main tournament.

Saudi Arabia’s hopes of a PUBG Mobile World Cup win on home soil rest with POWR Esports, making their Esports World Cup debut; Falcons Force, Team Falcons’ PUBG Mobile team; and Twisted Minds. They face off against formidable opposition from Brazil, Mongolia, South Korea, Turkey, and more.


Dota2 Riyadh Masters and Counter-Strike 2 enter latter stages at Esports World Cup

Updated 20 July 2024
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Dota2 Riyadh Masters and Counter-Strike 2 enter latter stages at Esports World Cup

  • UK outfit Tundra clinched a 2-1 series win over Russian-based BetBoom to progress to next round of Dota2 Riyadh Masters

RIYADH: Tundra Esports staged a sensational comeback in the Dota2 Riyadh Masters on Friday, coming from behind to beat BetBoom Team and book their place in the lower-bracket semifinals.

Fans at the event and millions more tuning in around the world witnessed a classic back-and-forth encounter, in which Russian-based BetBoom went one clear — taking the first game in a 42-minute classic.

However, Tundra bounced back, leveling the tie at 1-1 in another 42-minute contest. With momentum on their side, the UK outfit won the decisive game — clinching the series 2-1 to progress to the next round. Tundra return for the lower-bracket semifinal on Saturday evening against the winners of the Team Falcons and PSG Quest battle taking place on Saturday afternoon.

Elsewhere at the Esports World Cup, the Counter-Strike 2 semifinals line-up was decided on quarter-finals Friday. Virtus.pro beat Team Vitality to set up a last-four clash with G2 who defeated Team Spirit. The other semifinal features MOUZ and NAVI (Natus Vincere) after they overcame FURIA and FaZe Clan respectively.

The Dota2 Riyadh Masters and Counter-Strike 2 continue on Saturday with both competitions wrapping up on Sunday at the grand finals.


Al-Ittihad unveils new kit for 2024-25 season

Updated 20 July 2024
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Al-Ittihad unveils new kit for 2024-25 season

  • The classic striped design in yellow and black is based on the Nike shirt, with its authentic heritage
  • The kit’s new design represents the architectural style “Rawashin”

JEDDAH: Al-Ittihad FC has unveiled its kit for the 2024/25 season in collaboration with Nike.

Al-Ittihad presented its distinctive new kit in photo sessions in the center of historic Jeddah, among its alleys and ancient buildings, in cooperation with Al-Balad Development Company, the club’s official sponsor.

The classic striped design in yellow and black is based on the Nike shirt, with its authentic heritage, which fans have loved and celebrated for 97 years.

The kit’s new design represents the architectural style, “Rawashin,” the prominent traditional wooden panels used to cover windows and external openings at the old houses of Jeddah — considered an icon of the city’s heritage.

Domingos De Oliveira, CEO of Al-Ittihad Club, described the new kit as a symbol of the club’s history: “We worked closely with Nike in order to ensure access to the best that can be presented in the new kit, while preserving the established values of the basic kit, which represents a unique identity, after maintaining it for nearly a century.

“In the new kit, we worked to blend the heritage of Al-Ittihad Club with the history of the region from which it started, with a modern spirit that creates innovation in order to emerge with a product that reflects the club’s vision of starting from the base of its great history toward more glory and development in the current era and the future.

“Attention was paid to all the details in terms of the degree of color and their overlapping in the dividing line between them in the same way that the wooden columns in the Rawashin buildings of Jeddah are intertwined.”

For the first time, the home kit will be presented in three categories — the official home kit, which the players will wear, the stadium category, and the fans category.


The Olympics are coming to the capital of fashion. Expect uniforms befitting a Paris runway

Updated 20 July 2024
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The Olympics are coming to the capital of fashion. Expect uniforms befitting a Paris runway

  • When it comes to high-end Olympic fashion — be it for festive opening ceremonies, or for competition — all runways lead to Paris
  • Stella Jean will be there, styling each of Haiti’s dozen or so athletes herself
  • Ralph Lauren says it will be fitting each athlete personally

PARIS: Sure, they call it the City of Light. But Paris is also the City of Fashion, one of most influential fashion capitals of the world for decades, no, centuries (remember Louis XIV?)

So it’s no surprise that fashion designers across the globe are busy getting their national team uniforms ready for their unique spotlight. When it comes to high-end Olympic fashion — be it for festive opening ceremonies, or for competition — all runways lead to Paris.

Stella Jean will be there, styling each of Haiti’s dozen or so athletes herself. Jean, an Italian-Haitian designer based in Rome, figures she has exactly two seconds, on opening ceremony night, to make an impression on the world — an impression that may reverberate for years. “For these athletes, it’s a victory just to be here,” says Jean, whose vivid, colorful design is intended to highlight the cultural vitality of the Caribbean nation.

On the other end of the size (and budget) spectrum is Ralph Lauren, who will outfit hundreds of athletes of the US team at opening and closing ceremonies, for the ninth time. Lauren, who’s presenting a casual look of blue jeans and blazers, is of course one of the world’s richest designers, along with Giorgio Armani, who has been designing Italy’s uniforms since 2012.

Countless other designers have gotten involved — including, this year, more young, “indie” labels eager to make a splash. It’s also a chance to emphasize qualities such as sustainability in fashion and adaptability, too, as in designs for the Paralympics.

“Designers and manufacturers now realize this can be a huge platform for them, for many things,” says Alison Brown, who co-hosts a podcast on all things Olympics, “Keep the Flame Alive.” For example: “Sustainability is a huge buzzword now for this whole Olympics,” she says.

And so is style — because, well, Paris.

“You always want to represent your country, and you want to represent the athletes. But it seems like this time, the pressure to do it well has been turned up a notch,” Brown says.

Some emerging details on various uniform designs:

Canada: A focus on inclusivity, adaptability

During the design process, the team from Lululemon, outfitting Canada’s athletes for the second time, says they listened carefully to the athletes, and how they felt in the clothes. “When you feel your best, you perform your best,” says Audrey Reilly, creative director for Team Canada at the athletic apparel company.

She recalls listening to Alison Levine, a Paralympian who uses a wheelchair, and learning the athlete had nothing suitable to train in — so she wore medical scrubs.

“I was shocked that a professional athlete had to do that,” Reilly said in an interview. So we said, “Let’s investigate.” One result was a “seated carpenter pant,” part of a collection intended to be inclusive and adaptable. Other features include special closures to facilitate putting on and taking off garments, and pockets at the knees so an athlete like Levine can access her phone when training.

The collection covers all aspects of Team Canada’s journey, from travel to the games, to opening and medal ceremonies, to training — everything except competition. To combat the expected searing Paris heat, Lululemon, which has a four-Games deal with the team, paid special attention to ventilation and wicking.

And for opening ceremonies, designers created what they call a “tapestry of pride.” Hand-drawn and engineered into the fabric, it includes 10 animals — nine representing the provinces of Canada and one representing France. “We wanted to evoke all of Canada, coast to coast and north to south,” Reilly says.

Haiti: “They know their bodies are a flag”

Stella Jean is used to designing beautiful clothes. But beauty for beauty’s sake was not a consideration in her designs for Haiti’s team. It was all about the message.

“This will be the first good news coming out of Haiti in at least the last three years,” she says, the athletes’ appearance a counter-message to news about political turmoil, poverty or natural disasters. “So, I felt the responsibility to say as much as I can about the country.”

For that, Jean is collaborating with Haitian artist Philippe Dodard, whose vibrant painting will be incorporated into the ceremonial uniforms — a brightly hued skirt for women and pants for men, paired with traditional items like a chambray shirt. The designs have been constructed from “leftover” fabric — sustainability, yes, but not because it is trendy, says Jean, but because in Haiti it’s both a tradition and a necessity.

Jean calls the Haitian athletes “ambassadors.”

“These ambassadors will be there, in Paris,” she says, “and they all know, even if they are very, very young, how important their presence is — and that it’s not just about performance. They know their bodies are a flag.”

USA: “Nothing says America like blue jeans”

For the last summer games in steamy Tokyo, Ralph Lauren outfitted athletes with something cool — literally — a technology that directed heat away through a fan device at the back of the neck.

For steamy Paris, he’s introducing another type of cool: good old American jeans.

“Nothing says America like blue jeans, especially when we’re in Paris,” said David Lauren, the label’s chief branding and innovation officer and the founder’s son, upon revealing the design in June.

For its ninth turn dressing Team USA for opening and closing ceremonies, Ralph Lauren says it will be fitting each athlete personally. For the opening ceremony they’ll be wearing tailored navy blazers with blue-and-white striped Oxford shirts — and those blue jeans.

For the closing ceremony, the team will wear white jeans with matching jackets in red, white and blue. Lauren called the closing ceremony looks “more graphic, more fun, a little more exciting.”

India: Mixing old and new

Indian designer Tarun Tahiliani is known for his ability to meld traditional elements with a modern sensibility. And that’s what he and his menswear brand Tasva has tried to do for his country’s Olympic team.

Tahiliani told GQ India that when he began doing research for India’s opening ceremony uniform, he noted a trend of countries incorporating their national flags into the design. So he began working on a design featuring the tricolor hues of saffron, white and green.

For men, Tahiliani began with a kurta, the typical Asian long and loose shirt. He paired that with a bundi, or traditional sleeveless jacket. He told the magazine he wears a bundi every day, inspired by his father, who was an admiral in the Indian navy.

After feedback from the Olympic committee, the designer moved away from a uniform-like look for women, opting for a sari, which he says “can flatter any body type, and that’s exactly what we want for our female athletes.”

All the designs incorporate embroidery of saffron and green. “The goal is to create outfits that empower our athletes to represent India with pride and confidence,” Tahiliani said.

Italy: A mix of elegance and tradition

Italian athletes will be elegantly attired in Emporio Armani uniforms, as they have for every Olympics since 2012.

The podium tracksuit is emblazoned with “W Italia,” shorthand for “Eviva Italia,” or, “Long live Italy.” The motto could extend to designer Giorgio Armani himself, who turned 90 on July 11.

“Seeking new solutions for the athlete’s kit, which must blend elegance with practicality, is always an exciting challenge for me,″ Armani said last year when the national kit was presented at the Spring-Summer 2024 runway show for the youthful and sporty Emporio Armani brand.

The athletes’ tracksuits are in Armani blue, which has long been the color of the designer’s daily uniform, either as a T-shirt or fine pullover.

Athletes will have no excuse for not knowing the national anthem: the beginning is printed inside the collar of the polo shirts, and the entire first verse is inside the jackets.

Britain: Four nations, not one

The 60-year old British clothing brand Ben Sherman, known for its menswear, is creating Britain’s Olympic uniforms for the third time, and this year wants to remind the world that Britain is four nations, not one.

Its design for the opening and closing ceremonies “represents the unity and diversity of the UK, reflecting the rich tapestry of our nation’s identity.” says the label’s creative director, Mark Williams.

Williams described in an email his new four-nation floral motif, featuring a rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock, serving as “a nod to the unique identities and histories of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.”

Williams stresses the motif is not purely decorative, but meant to send a message of collaboration and unity. His floral motif appears is in colors of blue and red — on polo shirts, worn with a bomber jacket, and also on colorful socks, in a collaboration with the Happy Socks brand.

South Korea: Inspiration from a national symbol

South Korea’s athletes will sport uniforms inspired by the country’s national “taegeuk” circular symbol, which occupies the center of its flag. The red-and-blue circle connotes harmony between the negative cosmic forces of the blue portion and the positive cosmic forces of the red.

The motifs on the North Face-branded uniforms also include one of the four black trigrams (groups of bars) from the flag’s corners, according to Youngone Outdoor Co., an official partner of the country’s Olympic committee which produces and distributes North Face clothing in South Korea. The trigram being used symbolizes water.

A uniform for medal ceremonies features a jacket depicting the indigo blue waters off the country’s east coast in an ink-wash painting style, a red belt and black pants, Youngone says.

Team Korea’s uniform for opening and closing ceremonies was designed by Musinsa Standard, a private-label brand run by South Korean online fashion store Musinsa. The all-light blue uniform includes a blazer, its lining engraved with traditional white and blue porcelain designs, a traditional-style belt and slacks.


Pogacar closing in on third Tour de France title after dominant win in the Alps

Updated 20 July 2024
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Pogacar closing in on third Tour de France title after dominant win in the Alps

  • The Slovenian looks almost certain to reclaim the Tour crown from Vingegaard, the two-time defending champion from Denmark, and in doing so secure the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double
  • Saturday’s 20th and penultimate stage stays in the southern Alps and features three hard category 1 ascents, the last taking the riders up Col de la Couillole

ISOLA 2000, French Alps:  As the finish line approached, Tadej Pogacar looked over his shoulder and saw an empty road.

Moments later, he was a giant step closer to clinching a third Tour de France title by winning another tough mountain stage on Friday. Pogacar pulled away from Jonas Vingegaard to be 5 minutes, 3 seconds ahead of his main rival with two days left.

“Now I have a good lead,” Pogacar said. “I will do the last two days of the Tour on the roads where I have trained my entire professional career.”

The Slovenian looks almost certain to reclaim the Tour crown from Vingegaard, the two-time defending champion from Denmark, and in doing so secure the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double.

Behind a fading Vingegaard sits Tour debutant Remco Evenepoel of Belgium, who is 7:01 adrift in third place.

Pogacar attacked with about nine kilometers (six miles) left on the final climb of 16 kilometers (10 miles) to the Isola 2000 ski resort. Vingegaard could not follow as Pogacar chased after the Dane’s Jumbo Visma teammate, Matteo Jorgenson. The American rider was alone in front with Richard Carapaz and Simon Yates just behind him.

Carapaz and Yates were caught by Pogacar, leaving just Jorgenson ahead. He was overtaken with two kilometers left as the UAE Team Emirates leader soared to his fourth stage win this month — holding up four fingers to the fans — and 15th Tour stage victory of his career.

“As I approached the last two kilometers, I felt a little drained. I still caught Richard Carapaz and Simon Yates and I could catch up with Matteo Jorgenson,” Pogacar said. “When it was time to pass him, I pushed as hard as possible to overtake him with speed. He was very strong today, as were all the guys in the breakaway. Hats off to them.”

After four hours in the saddle, Pogacar raised both hands in the air as he crossed the line. Jorgensen was 21 seconds behind and Yates 40 seconds back in third. Carapaz was 1:11 back in fourth spot.

“I knew today’s last climb very well. With the team, we planned it well and we did exactly as we said,” Pogacar said. “Our race was 100 percent perfect.”

Evenepoel placed fifth ahead of a disconsolate Vingegaard, with both riders timed at 1:42 behind Pogacar.

Saturday’s 20th and penultimate stage stays in the southern Alps and features three hard category 1 ascents, the last taking the riders up Col de la Couillole.

The Tour ends on Sunday on the French Riviera with a time trail from Monaco to Nice, and not in Paris as it usually does because of the Olympic Games.

Friday’s high-altitude stage may have been Vingegaard’s last chance to take significant time back from Pogacar.

Two of Vingegaard’s Visma teammates — Jorgensen and Dutchman Wilko Kelderman — positioned themselves at the front of a small breakaway and set a strong pace in hot conditions.

The 145-kilometer (90-mile) trek featured two huge climbs known as “hors categorie” (beyond category).

The first came early in the stage, up Col de Vars, and the second just after halfway, to Cime de la Bonette, France’s highest road at an altitude of 2,802 meters.

Despite having two riders at the front, Vingegaard did not attack Pogacar.

After a long descent, there was another hard grind to Isola 2000. Vingegaard could not catch Pogacar and, instead, found himself under pressure from Evenepoel, who just beat him in a sprint to the line.

It was a day to forget for Vingegaard, and another one to savor for Pogacar.

“Reaching the score of 15 Tour stage victories is quite formidable,” he said.