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Afghanistan to ‘sort out’ batting, fielding lineup ahead of first World Cup match

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(Last Updated On: October 20, 2021)

Afghanistan is set to face West Indies in its 2nd warmup match prior to the start of their first match in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 on October 25.

The warm up match is set to be played in ICCA Oval 1, Dubai on Wednesday evening.

Afghanistan lost its first warmup match to South Africa as they were reduced to only 104/8 in their 20 overs and lost the match by 41 runs. Although Afghanistan’s bowling attack started well, with Nabi and Mujeeb turning things around, the South African batsmen targeted Afghanistan’s bowlers which caused to them to lose at least 30 runs.

The batters were also restricted and felt the heat as the South Africans ended up controlling the match.

The Afghan team has high hopes of defeating the Windies on Wednesday in what they hope will be a confidence booster before embarking on their official journey at the World Cup.

Afghanistan will look to strengthen their batting by sorting out the batting order. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai are the men who have had some impressive performances over the last two years for the national team and in franchise cricket.

If Afghanistan are to prove on their batting, they will need two of these batters to do well and at least one other batter to support them.

A middle order which includes captain Mohammad Nabi, Najeebullah Zadran and Asghar Afghan will also try to post a big score.

In the bowling department, Mohammad Nabi will look to bowl Rashid Khan Wednesday to observe where and how to utilize him at the main event; while Rashid will need to assess the conditions and prepare himself for the next event.

Hamid Hassan however did not complete his full quota and injured his finger, but will be looking to bowl some overs and mark his presence before their first official match.

Mohammad Nabi will also be looking to test the medium pace of Karim Jannat in the middle overs as an additional seam bowling option in the line-up, while Fareed or Gulbadin Naib will also be kept in check to test their medium fast bowling abilities before going to the first match against B1 on Oct 25.
Said Rahman Ahmadzai, fielding coach of the National U19 team said Wednesday that the warm up match was important and must be considered as the final opportunity to select the best XI for the first match.

“The batters focused on big hitting in the first inning (against South African) which was not right” said Ahmadzai.

He added: “The mistakes that we made in the first match must not be repeated, good batting, bowling and fielding must be done which is very important for the team’s performance”.

Ahmadzai also pointed out that the spin bowling attack approach could prove beneficial in these conditions.

“UAE pitches are spin bowling friendly; the ball is not coming good on the bat and sometimes the wickets make it difficult for the batsmen to read the ball well”.

He also added that around 150 runs are a defendable score in these conditions but while bowling first, the team must restrict the opposition to around 130 runs to be able to chase the target down.

Afghanistan defeated West Indies 2-1 in a 3-match T20I series in Lucknow two years ago and will be mentally ready going into this match.

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Friday’s Matches: South Korea advance, Portugal win group

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

In a thrilling finish to Group H play on Friday, South Korea stunned Portugal 2-1 on Hee-Chan Hwang’s goal in stoppage time to advance to the knockout stage at the World Cup at Al Rayyan, Qatar.

South Korea and Uruguay finished with the same record (1-1-1) in Group H, but South Korea advanced on goals scored (4-2).

Portugal, which won the group despite the loss to South Korea, got on the board first on Ricardo Horta’s goal in the fifth minute. Young-Gwon Kim evened it at 1-1 in the 27th minute. In a tightly contested match, both teams had 13 shots, including six apiece on target.

South Korea advanced from group play for the first time since 2010 and only the third time in its history. The team will play Group G winner Brazil.

Uruguay 2, Ghana 0

Competing with South Korea for the second spot in Group H, Uruguay needed to extend its two-goal lead in the final minutes, but it did not score again and was eliminated along with Ghana at Al Wakrah, Qatar.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored in the 26th and 32nd minutes for Uruguay, which failed to advance past group for the first time in four World Cup appearances.

Uruguay totaled 12 shots (seven on target), while Ghana finished with 10 shots (four on target). Ghana hasn’t advanced to the knockout round since 2010.

Switzerland 3, Serbia 2

Remo Freuler scored the go-ahead goal in the 48th minute to allow Switzerland to defeat Serbia in Doha, Qatar, and advance to the Round of 16 for the third straight World Cup.

Switzerland finished second in Group G, tied with Brazil with six points but behind on the goal differential tiebreaker.

The Chicago Fire’s Xherdan Shaqiri struck first for the Swiss with a goal in the 20th minute, but Serbia fought back to take a 2-1 lead thanks to goals by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic.

Breel Embolo tied the match 2-2 for Switzerland in the 44th minute before Freuler’s score three minutes after halftime.

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic made four saves for Serbia, which placed last in the group with one point.

Cameroon 1, Brazil 0

Vincent Aboubakar’s goal in the second minute of second-half stoppage time was enough to hand Cameroon a 1-0 win over favorite Brazil in Lusail, Qatar.

Due to Switzerland’s victory, it wasn’t enough for Cameroon (four points) to advance to the Round of 16.

Brazil, which won Group B despite the result, outshot Cameroon 21-7, including 7-3 in shots on target. But Cameroon goalkeeper Devis Epassy stopped all seven shots he faced.

Aboubakar was shown his second yellow card of the day for excessive celebration after his goal and was sent off.

 

Where to watch

Afghan fans need not miss out on any of the excitement of this year’s tournament which is being broadcast live and exclusively by Ariana Television in Afghanistan.

For the full broadcast schedule CLICK HERE

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Japan’s win over Spain eliminates Germany from the World Cup

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

Germany isn’t advancing to the knockout rounds for a second consecutive World Cup after Japan hung on for a 2-1 win over Spain.

Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 on Thursday afternoon but Japan’s win over the Spaniards at the same time meant Japan won Group E with its victories over Germany and Spain while Spain advanced to the knockout rounds in second via goal difference.

Spain built itself a massive goal differential cushion in its first game of the World Cup in a 7-0 win over Costa Rica. That win meant Germany basically had to replicate that effort with a Japan win to have any tiebreaker edge over Spain.

Germany won the 2014 World Cup in a thrilling final over Argentina. But the Germans finished last in their group in 2018 behind Sweden, Mexico and South Korea to become the third consecutive defending World Cup champion to fail to make it out of the group stage. France broke that streak in 2022 by winning Group D.

How Japan beat Spain

The Spaniards took an early 1-0 lead thanks to an Alvaro Morata goal but Japan scored two goals in the first seven minutes of the second half.

The goals came less than four minutes apart. Ritsu Doan scored to tie the game in the 48th minute and then Ao Tanaka scored a controversial goal to give Japan the lead.

The game-winner was initially not given as it appeared the ball went out of play near the Spain goal. But a video review determined that the ball stayed in bounds. In soccer, the entire circumference of the ball has to cross the entirety of the out of bounds line for the ball to be out of play.

There might have been some daylight between the bottom of the ball and the line too.

The win means that Japan will take on Croatia in the Round of 16 after Croatia tied Belgium on Thursday morning. It’s the second consecutive knockout round appearance for the Japanese and they have made the Round of 16 in four of their last six World Cup appearances.

Is Spain’s World Cup path now easier?

Spain probably isn’t too unhappy about finishing second in the group. Yeah, winning the group is nice, but instead of facing a Croatia squad that made the 2018 World Cup final, Spain now plays Morocco to start the knockout rounds.

The loss also means that Spain likely avoids a potential matchup with Brazil in the quarterfinals and is out of the same side of the bracket as both Brazil and Argentina. Portugal would be Spain’s likely quarterfinal opponent instead and Spain is now on England’s side of the bracket.

Costa Rica gave us a few moments of chaos

There was a brief stretch in the second half of both games that had both Spain and Germany provisionally out of the World Cup.

The only way Japan and Costa Rica both advanced out of Group E was if they both won. And Costa Rica took a 2-1 lead over Germany in the 70th minute after Manuel Neuer couldn’t corral the ball after a free kick.

That lead came as Japan was ahead of Spain. But it didn’t last very long. Kai Havertz scored in the 73rd minute to tie the game for Germany and then gave the Germans the lead in the 85th minute.

Had Spain tied Japan in the second half, Germany would have gone through to the knockout rounds thanks to having a better goal difference than the Japanese. Japan beat Germany 2-1 and lost 1-0 to Costa Rica while Germany tied Spain 1-1.

What’s next for Germany?

The German National Team entered this World Cup without many of the stalwarts that powered them to the 2014 win and were a part of the team that crashed out of the 2018 World Cup. While Neuer and Thomas Muller were the notable holdovers, players like Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and others got a shot at this World Cup.

And while Germany has a wealth of attacking options, it’s even more clear that it’s in need of a stronger defense. The Germans gave up five goals across three games. The back four was a question entering the tournament and it’s even more of one now. Finding the next era of top-level defenders is a must before the 2026 World Cup.

Where to watch

Afghan fans need not miss out on any of the excitement of this year’s tournament which is being broadcast live and exclusively by Ariana Television in Afghanistan.

For the full broadcast schedule CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

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Cristiano Ronaldo close to signing deal with Saudi Arabian club

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(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)

Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes are reportedly close to agreeing to a lucrative deal for Portugal’s captain after his contract with Manchester United was terminated earlier this month.

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly set to agree a deal to join Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr.

The 37-year-old is said to have agreed to a two-and-a-half year deal worth $225 million per year, according to Spanish newspaper Marca.

Al Nassr, who have won the Saudi Pro League nine times but not since 2019, are said to have offered way more than any European or MLS club could offer.

Chelsea are said to no longer be interested in signing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, while Newcastle – who are owned by a Saudi-led consortium – are also believed to have distanced themselves from making a move.

Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn said on Tuesday that the Bundesliga champions are not in talks to sign the Portugal international.

He said: “We have a clear idea, a clear philosophy of how our squad should be put together. We all appreciate him, there is no discussion.

“We all love Cristiano Ronaldo, but that is something that doesn’t fit into our idea.”

The decision to terminate his contract came after Ronaldo criticized the Manchester United board, manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s infrastructure in an interview with Piers Morgan earlier this month.

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