Qatar faces unprecedented criticism over hosting World Cup, Emir says
Qatar has faced unprecedented criticism since winning the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, some of which amounted to slander, its ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said on Tuesday.
“We initially dealt with the matter in good faith,” Sheikh Tamim said in a televised policy speech, adding that some of the early criticism was constructive.
But, he said, a campaign against Qatar expanded to “include fabrications and double standards that were so ferocious that it has unfortunately prompted many people to question the real reasons and motives behind the campaign”.
Qatar, the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup, has come under intense international criticism for its treatment of foreign workers and restrictive social laws, Reuters reported.
The emir was addressing a session of the Gulf Arab state’s advisory Shura Council as Doha gears up to host soccer’s main global event, which kicks off on November 20.
Qatar expects 1.2 million visitors during the tournament, creating an unprecedented logistical and policing challenge for the tiny Gulf Arab state, Reuters reported.
Sheikh Tamim said hosting the World Cup was “a great test for a country the size of Qatar”.
“We accepted this challenge out of our faith in our potential, we the Qataris, to tackle the mission and make it a success,” he said.
“It is a championship for all, and its success is success for all.”
Doha has introduced reforms including rules to protect workers from heat and a monthly minimum wage of 1,000 riyals ($275), and says it continues to develop its labor system.
Foreign workers account for 85% of the some 3 million population of Qatar, which is among the world’s top natural gas producers and one of the wealthiest nations per capita, Reuters reported.
Sheikh Tamim said higher energy prices had helped Qatar realize a government budget surplus of 47.3 billion riyals ($12.8 billion) for the first half of 2022, versus a projected deficit, and gross domestic product growth of 4.3%, according to initial estimates.
“The budget surplus will be directed to reducing the level of public debt and increasing the state’s financial reserves,” he said.
The World Cup would allow Qatar to showcase its economic and institutional strength and cultural identity, he said.
Ariana Television Network (ATN) meanwhile announced in July it had secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in Afghanistan.
According to company officials, the broadcasting schedule will be revised to include the events of November 20.
Ariana Television Network, the Official and Exclusive broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in Afghanistan, has worked closely with FIFA to bring what is undoubtedly the world’s most prestigious event into as many homes in Afghanistan as possible.
While not much has been revealed about the opening ceremony, the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is reported to have special plans for the event, with some reports indicating he has a big fireworks display planned.
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Shadab Khan defends young blood after series loss against Afghanistan
After Sunday night’s T20I series loss to Afghanistan, Pakistan’s skipper Shadab Khan said the team included their “youngsters” as they thought they would play better than they did.
This came after Afghanistan beat Pakistan by seven wickets in the second T20I and took an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match series in Sharjah.
Speaking after the match, Shadab said that Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan will be welcomed when they return to the national team. The star duo has been rested for the ongoing three-match series against Afghanistan in Sharjah.
“People criticize Babar and Rizwan regardless of whether they perform or not. There is always a sword hanging over them of strike rate. As a nation, we wanted youngsters to come in international cricket, as they were performing in PSL (Pakistan Super League), so we thought they would play with a better strike rate,” Shadab said.
“But finally, our nation will realize that experience matters and our seniors didn’t get the respect they deserved considering their performances. So after this series, they will get a lot more respect from the media and the nation,” he added.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first in the second T20I on Sunday, March 26. After losing three wickets inside the first four overs the Men in Green posted a modest total of 130/6 in their 20 overs. Meanwhile, the Rashid Khan-led side chased down the target with one ball remaining, CricTracker reported.
“When you lose three wickets in powerplay, you lose 70 per cent of the games…the young players were nervous. They are playing for the first time for Pakistan, but we have to back them. Our motive for this series was to check out talented young players and we have to back them in the future,” Shadab said.
Earlier, on Friday, Afghanistan made history after beating Pakistan in the first T20I. It was Afghanistan’s first-ever victory over Pakistan in international cricket. The third and final T20I will be played on Monday, March 27.
Afghanistan makes history after beating Pakistan in T20I series
Afghanistan made history on Sunday night when they beat long-time rival Pakistan in their second successive T20I match in Sharjah to win the series.
Sunday’s match saw Afghanistan beat Pakistan by 7 wickets with one ball remaining.
This is the first time in Afghanistan’s cricketing history that they have beaten Pakistan in an international series and as fans back home and across the world erupted with joy after a nail-biting last two overs, congratulations started pouring in.
Afghanistan Cricket Board said it was a “momentous occasion for Afghanistan cricket!”
The board said in a tweet that the team had “created history by securing their first-ever T20I series win over traditional rivals Pakistan. It’s a triumph of grit, courage, and teamwork.”
Rashid Khan’s squad did indeed show grit, courage and teamwork and after winning the toss and opting to bat first, Pakistan faced an early blow from Fazalhaq Farooqi who dismissed Saim Ayub for a duck on the second ball of the innings.
He then trapped Abdullah Shafique LBW on the very next delivery to take Afghanistan to a dream start. Pakistan kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but Imad Wasim’s 64 not out off 57 and Shadab’s 32 off 25 took them to a respectable total.
Chasing a target of 131 runs, Afghanistan were calm and focused throughout the second innings but needing 30 runs off the last three overs, and 22 from the last two overs.
However Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi hit a six each off pace bowler Naseem Shah in the penultimate over to reduce the target to five runs. Zadran then hit the winning boundary off Zaman Khan’s last over to chase down the 131-run target with one ball to spare.
This was Afghanistan’s first bilateral T20I series against any of the top six teams — India, England, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
They have previously won a T20I series each against the West Indies and Bangladesh and five in five against Zimbabwe.
All eyes on Afghanistan as second T20I match looms
After Friday’s historic T20I win against Pakistan, Afghan fans are eagerly awaiting their team’s second match in the three-match series scheduled for Sunday.
The match will start at 8.30pm Kabul time and will take place at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE.
On Friday, the team’s captain Rashid Khan led his squad to a six wicket win against Pakistan – sealing their first ever win against the neighboring country in T20 International Cricket.
The third and last match between the two teams will be held on Monday, ACB said.
On Saturday, former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja, on his YouTube channel, slammed the team for their “lacklustre performance” against Afghanistan on Friday.
Pakistan fielded a relatively young side, with four debutants, as they have rested many of their senior players for the series. Raja said: “There is no problem with doing experiments but winning still remains your top priority. You can’t put up lacklustre performances, with so many mistakes, like these since it will give the world the impression that there is still room for improvement in our next best lot.” Raja said on his YouTube channel.
“There is a lot of talent in Pakistan but these players also need to make the necessary adjustments in accordance with the situation of the game,” he added.
Raja also suggested that Pakistan can include an additional spinner in the lineup for the remaining matches due to the slow pitch.
“If the pitch remains like this, I think it will be an exciting series. Now the pressure is on Pakistan and we have to see what they learn from this defeat,” he said.
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