Ariana Television’s ‘sporting’ year in review
For more than a decade, Ariana Television Network (ATN) has faithfully brought global sporting events into the homes of millions of fans in Afghanistan, including the latest triumph – the all exciting FIFA World Cup 2022.
Viewers around the country were treated to a non-stop, exclusive viewing spectacle this past month that spanned a period of almost four weeks – and it was a tournament that contained lots of thrills, spills, upsets and surprise exits.
The final match played this past Sunday between Argentina and France proved however to be the jewel in the crown (or in this case trophy) as, according to commentators, it was without a doubt one of the best World Cup finals ever – and ATN made sure fans across the country got to witness every exciting moment live, in the comfort of their homes.
This year, 2022, was indeed a good year for Ariana TV fans – after ATN scored its own “hat trick” when it secured the exclusive rights to broadcast three major sporting events in the second half of the year.
The first was the Asia Cricket Council’s Asia Cup T20 which was played from August 27 to September 11.
The tournament was hosted by Sri Lanka but held in the UAE – in Dubai and Sharjah – and matches were broadcast live across Afghanistan on Ariana Television.
The second major sporting event that ATN took into the homes of fans was this year’s ICC T20 World Cup, which took place from October 16 to November 13 in Australia.
This was another four week period of world class sport delivered live and exclusive in Afghanistan by ATN.
However, the jewel in the sporting calendar crown ended the year on a high note – the FIFA World Cup 2022, which took place in Qatar between November 20 to December 18.
Afghans love cricket, and they love football, and to have almost three months of live and uninterrupted world class matches brought directly to them resulted in joy, excitement and happiness for millions of fans in the country.
One cricket fan, Khogyani said on Facebook during the T20 World Cup: “Thank you Ariana, my family is so happy that we can watch this cricket.”
Ahmadi, another fan who took to Facebook after Argentina scooped the coveted football trophy also expressed his appreciation and said: “Thank you Ariana. You brought my hero Leo Messi [in]to my home.”
These are just two of millions of grateful fans who have consistently liked and thanked Ariana Television over the past few months. And the good news is that knowing world class tournaments bring so much joy to the nation, ATN hopes to secure the broadcasting rights of more sporting events in 2023.
But, 2022 wasn’t the first year such momentous games, matches and tournaments were brought to Afghans by ATN – in fact, Ariana Television has consistently broadcast spectacular events over the years.
In 2014, we brought our viewers FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 and after that came the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio which was followed by FIFA World Cup Russia 2018; then Afghanistan Premier League 2019; then Indian Premier League 2019 and the Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay in 2019.
There was a hiatus in 2020 – globally, in terms of sporting events, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but things picked up in 2021 and ATN broadcast three key events, the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 which were actually held in July 2021; the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup 2021 and the Futsal World Cup 2021.
This year, 2022, took a sharp upturn as lockdowns around the pandemic lifted and global sporting events got back on track. For Ariana Television it was indeed a fun-filled year of sport that included the latest FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament; the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup 2022; the Asia Cup 2022; Asian Le Mans Series 2022; Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022 and the ever-popular Indian Premier League 2022.
Going forward however, ATN plans to bring its viewers as many live broadcasts of major sporting events in 2023 as possible – so make sure to watch this space for announcements, and schedules as well as round ups and results.
We will make sure to keep all our fans informed!
Ibrahim Zadran’s 98 powers Afghanistan to win over Sri Lanka in first ODI
Afghanistan started their three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka impressively as they defeated the hosts by 6 wickets in Hambantota on Friday.
Sent to bat first by Afghans who one the toss, Sri Lanka posted 268-10 as they played all the 50 overs at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.
Fazalhaq Farooqi made an immediate impact, getting the big wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne in the 3rd over. He sent back Kusal Mendis in the ninth over to give second blow to the hosts.
Senior batter Angelo Matthews also fell early (12 off 21) before Mujeeb Ur Rahman dented Sri Lanka further by getting Nissanka in the 20th over for 38.
Sri Lanka were reeling at 84 for 4 when Charith Asalanka and Dhanajaya de Silva joined hands. The two added 99-runs for the 5th wicket with Dhananjaya dominating the partnership with a 59-ball 51. However, he fell in the 38th over, missing a straight delivery from Mohammad Nabi.
Sri Lanka did not get any big partnership after the dismissal of Dhananjaya as captain Dasun Shanka fell for 17, getting out to Noor Ahmad.
However, Asalanka carried on and made 91 before getting run-out in the final over and missing a century.
Sri Lanka got bundled out for 268 in their allotted 50 overs. Fazalhaq Farooqi (2/58, 9 overs) and Fareed Ahmed (2/43, 8 overs) were the pick of the bowlers for Afghanistan.
In reply, Afghanistan lost their opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz early in the innings. However, Ibrahim Zadran (98 off 98) and Rahmat Shah (55 off 80) put on a massive 146-run stand for the second wicket off 148 balls to take their side to the driving seat. The partnership was ended with Zadran’s dismissal who fell short of his hundred getting out for 98 against Kasun Rajitha.
Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi scored 38 off 47 balls and Mohmmad Nabi made 27 28 as Afghanistan chased down the target of 269 in 46.5 overs.
The sides will meet for their second ODI on Sunday.
Chennai Super Kings pip Gujarat Titans in dramatic final to win fifth IPL title
Chennai Super Kings equalled Mumbai Indians’ record of five Indian Premier League (IPL) titles after Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side triumphed in a last-ball thriller, beating champions Gujarat Titans by five wickets in Monday’s rain-marred final in Ahmedabad.
Put into bat, Gujarat racked up 214-4 after their number three batter Sai Sudharsan capitalised on a strong start and smashed an incendiary 96 off 47 balls that included six sixes.
Chasing a revised target of 171 from 15 overs after a lengthy rain interruption, Chennai survived intense drama before Ravindra Jadeja sealed their victory, milking 10 runs off the last two deliveries.
The final was originally scheduled on Sunday but incessant rain forced the organisers to move the game to its reserve day.
After Chennai skipper Dhoni won the toss and elected to field, Shubman Gill walked out to bat having smashed three hundreds in his last four innings, read the report.
The opener seemed to have luck on his side too as Deepak Chahar dropped Gill, the tournament’s leading scorer, at square leg when the batter was on three.
Gill also survived a run-out chance when Jadeja could not properly gather the ball before breaking the stumps.
The left-arm spinner, however, made amends in the same over.
Jadeja lured Gill (39) out of the crease and Dhoni proved age has not dulled his reflexes as the 41-year-old whipped off the bails in a flash.
Chahar also floored a return catch from Wriddhiman Saha, who smashed 54 before falling to the seamer with Dhoni collecting the top edge, Reuters reported.
Sudharsan then tore into the Chennai attack and hit Matheesha Pathirana for back-to-back sixes in the final over of the innings to inch closer to a hundred.
Pathirana denied him the milestone but Gujarat could not be denied a 200-plus total.
Chennai’s openers faced three balls before rain forced them off the field and held up play for two hours and 20 minutes.
Chasing a revised target on return, Ruturaj Gaikwad (26) and Devon Conway (47) plundered 72 runs from the first six overs before Noor Ahmad removed both in the seventh over.
Shivam Dube, who made 32 not out, kept Chennai in the race but Mohit Sharma removed Ambati Rayudu and Dhoni in successive deliveries to inject fresh drama into the contest.
Chennai needed 13 runs from the last over from Mohit, who conceded three runs in his first four deliveries.
Needing 10 off the last two, Jadeja hit Mohit over his head for a six and followed it with a boundary to seal a thrilling victory.
“I was just trying to swing hard because every ball was important,” Jadeja said of the dramatic last over.
“I knew anything could happen, so I was trying to swing hard and hit it straight.”
IPL: Chennai v Gujarat final, a ‘replay’ of opening match
After nearly two months of intense action, cricket fans around the world will get to see a “rematch” of the opening game of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) when Gujarat Titans take on Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad.
The title match of this year’s Indian Premier League is a repeat of the opening game – a coincidence that did not surprise many.
Gujarat are the defending champions and hammered Mumbai Indians by 62 runs on Friday through Shubman Gill’s stunning 126 off 60 balls – which powered Gujarat to 233-3.
Gill hit 10 sixes in his knock and put on a second-wicket stand of 138 with Sai Sudharsan, who made 43, to tear into the opposition attack at the world’s biggest cricket stadium.
He became the leading batsman this season with 851 runs, surpassing Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Faf du Plessis (730), before he reached his IPL best and the top score of this season.
Chennai however are near permanent residents of the play-offs and will be fighting for the trophy for the 10th time.
If Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat manage to defend their title, the franchise will establish itself as the undisputed pioneers of the tournament in just their second season.
Chennai however has a lot riding on the game and victory will not only give them their fifth crown but also provide veteran captain MS Dhoni with what many expect will be a perfect send-off. Dhoni, 41, is expected to retire after having played this year’s IPL with a serious knee injury.
IPL 2023 prize money
Over the years, the prize money for the IPL, the richest T20 league in the world, has grown substantially and the winning team this year will receive a cheque of $2.4 million.
The runners up will get $1.5 million, third place will take $840,000 and fourth place will get $780,000.
Friday meanwhile saw the back of Mumbai Indians, who went down to Gujurat in the final playoff.
Mumbai’s coach Mark Boucher put his team’s loss down to injuries to fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer which he said left a hole in the team.
Boucher, in his first season with Mumbai, said the replacement players offered their best efforts but were still not good enough for a place in the final.
“If you are losing out on your quality players, yes it’s going to leave a hole,” Boucher told reporters after his team’s 62-run hammering.
“Not to put any blame on anyone, those things happen in sports, injuries happen in sports and you’ve got to deal with it.”
Boucher, regarded as one of the world’s best wicket keepers during his playing days, said Mumbai may have to replace some of the team down the line.
“Hopefully the guys can get over the injuries. If they can’t, then we’ve got to look for other places,” said Boucher.
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