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Afghanistan knocks Sri Lanka out of Asia Cup

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Abu Dhabi: Afghanistan knocked Sri Lanka out of the Asia Cup after thrashing the Islanders by 91 runs in a Group B match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Tuesday. Electing to bat after winning the toss, Afghanistan showed great maturity by piling on 249 runs before skittling out the Sri Lankans for a mere 158 in 41.2 overs.
With this win, Afghanistan will join Bangladesh from Group B in the Super Fours. For Afghanistan, this was their first win over the Sri Lankans in One-day Internationals, with the Islanders already facing a must-win situation having come into this game on the back of a 137-run loss to Bangladesh in their tournament opener on Saturday.
Riding on a fine half century from Rahmat Shah (72), and valuable contributions from the opening duo of Mohammad Shahzad (34) and Ihsanullah Janat (45), the Afghans batted confidently to deny the Sri Lankans any early inroads in their innings.
Afghanistan were off to a strong 57-run opening start between Shahzad and Janat, before Shah joined Janat for another 50 runs for the second wicket. The departure of the opening duo, however, did not deter the minnows from taking the attack to the opposition as Shah forged together a 80-run fourth wicket stand with Hashmatullah Shahidi (37) to take the side to a comfortable position.
Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera (5/55) managed to break the partnership before triggering a mini collapse of sort but by then the Afghans had neared the 250-run mark towards the end of their innings. In reply, the Islanders once again faltered with their batting and lost their first wicket in the opening over itself with teenaged off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/32) packing back Kusal Mendis for a duck.
Upul Tharanga (36) and Dhananjaya de Silva (23) put on a brave show to weather the storm with a 54-run second wicket stand before being separated, courtesy a silly run-out of the latter. Thereafter, wickets began to tumble one after the other as the Sri Lankans slipped from a comfortable 86/2A to lose half their side with just 108 runs from 27 overs.
Skipper Angelo Matthews (22) and Thisara Perera (28) managed to get decent starts but the loss of partners at regular intervals dented their hopes, even as the Afghan spinners led by leggie Rashid Khan (2/26) kept dominating the proceedings Besides Rashid and Mujeeb, veteran offie Mohammed Nabi and seamer Gulbadin Naib also contributed with two wickets apiece.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 249 (Rahmat Shah 72, Ihsanullah Janat 45, Hashmatullah Shahidi 37; Thisara Perera 5/55) beat Sri Lanka 158 (Upul Tharanga 36, Thisara Perera 28; Rashid Khan 2/26, Gulbadin Naib 2/29) by 91 runs.


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Chahal registers best ODI bowling figures by a spinner Down Under

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Mumbai :Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal on Friday recorded the best bowling figures by a spinner in an ODI clash in Australia, during the series-decider against the Aussies in Melbourne.

Chahal picked six wickets while conceding just 42 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), registering a dominant performance against the hosts, in a crucial clash. He also became the first spinner to pick six wickets in an ODI in Australia.

The bowler’s excellent performance certainly played a key role in India restricting Australia to a total of just 230.

 

The 28-year-old cricketer further equalled the best-ever ODI figures registered by any bowler in an ODI clash in Australia, alongside former Indian fast-bowler Ajit Agarkar.

Agarkar had accumulated the same tally as recorded by Chahal, against the hosts at the same venue, back in 2004.

Australian paceman Mitchell Starc enjoys a bowling tally, which trails the figures registered by the duo by a single run, having picked six wickets for 43 runs against India at the MCG, back in 2015.

English fast-bowler Chris Woakes is the fourth name on the list, after accumulating figures of 6/45 against Australia in Brisbane, 2011.

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Phogat becomes first Indian nominated for Laureus Awards

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Mumbai: Ace Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat has become the first Indian to receive a nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Monica on 18 February.

The 24-year-old Indian, who made a sensational comeback after battling a long injury lay-off to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games in 2018, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

The Haryana wrestler, who was stretchered off after dislocating her knee during the quarterfinals of 50kg freestyle event at the 2016 Olympic Games, has been nominated alongside US Tour Championship winner Tiger Woods, who won his first tournament in five years.

 

Also nominated are four inspirational Winter Olympic athletes; Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, US ski racing legend Lindsey Vonn and Dutch Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee.

The last time an Indian sporting feat made its way to the Laureus World Sports Awards was in 2004 when the Indian cricket team and Pakistan cricket team shared the Laureus Sport for Good Award for playing an International match despite political tensions between the two countries.

Most recently, Magic Bus from India won the Laureus Sport for Good award in 2014. However, Vinesh makes history as the first Indian athlete to be nominated in one of the seven main categories at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

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All foreign stars will play PSL ties in Pakistan, says Mani

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LAHORE: All star cricketers will come to Pakistan to play in the eight matches of the fourth Pakistan Super League (PSL) scheduled for Karachi and Lahore, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ehsan Mani said.

The PSL matches will be staged from Feb 14 to March 17 at three venues — Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi — in the United Arab Emirates before the remaining fixtures move to Pakistan with Karachi staging five games, including the final, and Lahore three.

Talking to media on sidelines of a friendly cricket match between the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) and the UK-based Pakistani journalists at the Gaddafi Stadium, Mani said a good number of star cricketers had signed up in the six PSL franchises.

 

However, because of security concerns, prominent overseas players have been reluctant to travel to Pakistan. But with the passage of time, the number of prominent cricketers willing to visit Pakistan has risen. In the recent development the ex-South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers has already pledged to play two matches of Lahore Qalandars in Lahore on March 9 and 10.

To a query, Mani said the talks with Cricket Australia are still on to convince them to send their national side to Pakistan for two games of the five-match One-day International series in the UAE in March despite reports of Australia’s expressing their reluctance regarding playing here.

The PCB chief declared that he has persuaded CA to send a security delegation to assess the current situation in Pakistan before taking a final decision, which is expected to be taken before the PSL begins in the second week of February.

Mani further said that talks were on with the cricket boards of South Africa and England to send different age-group teams to Pakistan.

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