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Gulf Giants prevail over Knight Riders by three runs to confirm Qualifier 1 berth against MI Emirates

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(Last Updated On: February 11, 2024)

Gulf Giants pulled off a hard-fought three-runs win over Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the 28th match of the DP World ILT20 season 2 at the Dubai International Stadium on Saturday and secured their spot in the Qualifier 1 against MI Emirates.

Their skipper James Vince’s knock of 50 in 39 balls with five boundaries and a six, Jordan Cox’s 57 runs off 38 balls with two boundaries and four sixes, and their 103 opening partnership backed by Shimron Hetmyer’s unbeaten 39 off 27 balls with five boundaries gave them a total of 166 for 3 in 20 overs.

Earlier, second-placed Gulf Giants won the toss and elected to bat against the third-placed Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.

Giants skipper and consistent scorer, James Vince said after the match: “The last four games have been magnificent. The last two games, we were in the game. They were ahead in the game, we showed a lot of character to fight back.”

Player of the Match, Jamie Overton, explained in length how he bowled: “In T20, it’s hard (to keep the cool). You just back what you are doing. We try to be unpredictable with our lengths. The wicket was slow at times. Some stopped a little bit, some skidded through. Back end, you are going to get hit, you just got to keep backing yourself.”

He hailed UAE spinners Aayan Khan and Zuhaib Zubair too saying: “They have been phenomenal, holding those middle overs and picking crucial wickets.”

Dubai Capitals inch closer to Qualifier berth

In the second match of the day Saturday, Dubai Capitals pulled off an impressive 19-run victory against MI Emirates at the Zayed Cricket Stadium to register their fifth victory of the competition.

With this result, Desert Vipers are no longer in the race for a position in the play-offs while Dubai Capitals put themselves in a very good position to join the MI Emirates, Gulf Giants and Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.

However, their fate relies on Sunday’s match between Sharjah Warriors and Desert Vipers.

The Dubai Capitals were mediocre with the bat besides the top order performances from Max Holden who scored 51 runs in just 33 deliveries and Tom Banton who contributed with a score of 37 runs.

The standout performance for the Dubai Capitals were their spinners who wove an intricate web around the MI Emirates batsmen.

However, MI Emirates bowling unit excelled. They were led by stellar spells from Dan Mousley (2/22) and Vijayakanth Viyaskanth (2/23). Andre Fletcher played a brave innings of 45 runs, but it was to no avail due to the lack of support.

Invited to bat first, the Dubai Capitals illuminated the stadium early on with openers Tom Banton and Max Holden unleashing an array of strokes that led to nine boundaries in the first four overs including Holden cracking Dwayne Bravo for three consecutive boundaries in the fourth over.

The introduction of Vijayakanth Viyaskanth and Dan Mousley into the bowling attack helped stem the flow of runs, however, Capitals were in a commanding position of 57/0 by the end of the powerplay.

Following the match a delighted Sam Billings, captain of the Dubai Capitals, spoke on the team’s approach to the powerplay and the pitch conditions.

He said, “If you look at this tournament, it is about trends. The key area where we have struggled is the powerplay. We are glad that Holden did well today, and Tom Banton also played his part. In different parts of the world, you can score 12-13 per over. But here holding one end up is vital.”

He further commended his bowlers. “Everyone wants the ball and that is always a positive. Zahir Khan came off the plane today morning and did very well for us as well.”

Meanwhile, a disappointed MI Emirates skipper, Keiron Pollard said after the match: “In terms of points and placement in the table, the result is not significant. However, winning is a habit and so is losing.

“Not being able to chase it down has nothing to do with the conditions. It was the sort of total where we needed to bat deep. One or two big overs would have broken the back of the match. Going forward we need to try and plan well. It is a matter of planning and execution.”

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Head of Sports Administration attends opening ceremony of Kazan’s ‘Games of Future’

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

The General Director of Physical Education and Sport of Afghanistan (GDPES) Mawlavi Ahmadullah Wasiq participated in the opening ceremony of the Games of Future competition hosted by Tatarstan-Kazan.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Wasiq also met with the Ministers of Sports of Russia and Tatarstan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials also participated in the opening ceremony, GDPES said in a post on X.

According to GDPES the competition started on February 21 and will continue until March 3.

Nearly 2,000 athletes from 107 countries will take part in the games and will compete in 21 sports.

The Next Generation Sports competition is a new series of sports competitions, which for the first time officially starts in Kazan.

The combination of these sports includes digital and classical sports, GDPES said.

Putin said during his opening speech that sport is meant to create unity between countries and nations and should not become political.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Wasiq meanwhile met with the minister of sports of Russia, Oleg Matisin, and the minister of sports of Tatarstan, Vladimir Leonov.

Cooperation in sport and sport development was discussed.

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Afghanistan win three-run thriller, but Sri Lanka take T20 series

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

Afghanistan salvaged some pride on Wednesday when they secured a nail-biting three-run win over hosts Sri Lanka in the third T20I, the last game of their multi-format tour.

It has been a wretched tour for the Afghans — losing six matches in a row — but skipper Ibrahim Zadran said he was “feeling great” after his team held their nerve in a dramatic close with a hard-fought win.

“I am happy with the win,” Zadran said. “Unfortunately, we lost the series.”

Sri Lanka had already secured the three-match T20 series after winning the first two games, the first by four runs, and the second by 72 runs.

They had also won the one-off Test match and the one-day international series in a 3-0 clean sweep.

But Afghanistan seemed determined to win at least one match.

‘Under pressure’

Sri Lanka required 36 off the last two overs, with Dasun Shanaka bringing the chase down to 24 off eight balls — but was run out.

That left Sri Lanka with 19 runs needed off the last over.

But they could manage only 15, with the game marred by controversy as tensions spiked in the last six balls.

The fourth ball from Wafadar Momand was a high full toss, but the square leg umpire didn’t call a no ball despite batters’ protests.

Captain Wanindu Hasaranga was seen exchanging words with the umpires.

“We played good cricket in the first two games,” Hasaranga said.

“Credit goes to our bowlers and the batters”.

Fighting to the end, Kamindu Mendis hit a six off the last ball of the innings, but it was not enough and Sri Lanka fell short by three runs.

Mendis was unbeaten on 65 off 39 balls, with seven fours and two sixes, achieving his maiden half-century in T20 cricket.

On a pitch tailor-made for batting, giving little room for error for the bowlers, Sri Lanka’s openers gave them a rousing start adding 64 runs in 35 balls.

The partnership was broken when Kusal Mendis attempted a boundary on the off-side but failed to clear the extra cover fielder where Sharafuddin Ashraf back-peddled and took a good catch.

In the process, the fielder banged his head onto the turf.

Ashraf was replaced as the concussion substitute rule came into effect and leg-spinner Qais Ahmad took his place.

Afghanistan took two wickets in three balls when Noor Ahmad trapped Kusal Perera leg before wicket for a duck.

Pathum Nissanka posted his tenth T20 half-century, off 27 balls, but soon after hurt his hamstring and his movements were restricted.

He moved to 60 with a six off Noor Ahmad and retired soon afterwards. He faced 30 balls and hit eight fours and two sixes.

Afghanistan’s big total was thanks to the efforts of their openers, posting 88 runs off 44 balls.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz went on to make 70 after being dropped twice.

“I was under pressure but I tried to go in today and play my natural game,” Gurbaz said. “I took responsibility and I think that was the reason.”

Sri Lanka battled back with Matheesha Pathirana claiming two wickets in two balls, but it was not enough to stop Afghanistan from scoring over 200 runs. – AFP

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Afghanistan, Sri Lanka set for 3rd and final T20I

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(Last Updated On: February 21, 2024)

The third and final game of the T20I series between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will be played on Wednesday, February 21, at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.

This is also the final match in Afghanistan’s tour of Sri Lanka, which included a one-off Test, three ODIs and the T20I series.

So far, Sri Lanka have taken the lead 2-0 in the T20I series.

Afghanistan have failed to win a single game on this tour so far and will be hoping to finish on a winning note.

Sri Lanka have a clear edge over Afghanistan when their head-to-head record in the shortest format is considered. The Lankans have won five games as opposed to one for Afghanistan in their six meetings so far.

Matches played: 6

Sri Lanka won: 5

Afghanistan won: 1

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Pitch Report

The surface at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium looks a good one to bat on. There will be plenty of runs on offer for batters once they get their eye in. The pacers can use slower deliveries while bowling on this deck as it has been effective as seen in the series so far.

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Weather Forecast

Clear skies will greet both sides on Wednesday. The temperature in Dambulla is expected to range between 22 and 33 degrees Celsius.
Watch the match live!

Ariana Television Network will broadcast Wednesday’s match live on Ariana Television from 6pm.

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