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Samarawickrama helps Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh in Asia Cup



(Last Updated On: September 10, 2023)

Sadeera Samarawickrama smashed 93 to set up a 21-run win for Sri Lanka in their opening Super Four clash of the Asia Cup against Bangladesh on Saturday.

Samarawickrama’s knock steered Sri Lanka to 257-9, a total their bowlers defended to put Bangladesh on the brink of elimination in the 50-over tournament, a precursor to the upcoming World Cup in India, AFP reported.

Bangladesh were bowled out for 236 in 48.1 overs despite a valiant 82 by Towhid Hridoy and suffered their second loss in the Super Four stage.

With one match to go, Bangladesh need a mathematical miracle for a place in the final on September 17.

Dasun Shanaka, who turned 32 on Saturday, played a captain’s role with his 24 and three wickets from his medium-pace bowling.

Spinner Maheesh Theekshana and fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana also took three wickets each.

“When there’s no frontline bowlers someone needs to chip in and today was my day,” Shanaka said on the absence of injured bowlers including Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga.

“Maheesh bowled and in the end the result matters. Our players, specially Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama played really well, read the wicket very well.”

Sri Lanka, who co-host the tournament with Pakistan, faltered after being invited to bat first with Bangladesh fast bowlers getting regular breakthroughs.

However, Kusal Mendis (50) and then Samarawickrama, who was named man of the match, made sure they reach a competitive and eventually a winning total on an inconsistent pitch.

Samarawickrama reached his 50 in 45 balls and accelerated in a 60-run partnership with Shanaka to rouse the home fans at a largely empty ground.

Turned the tide
Sri Lanka slipped after a brisk start before Pathum Nissanka and Mendis put on 74 runs with some sensible batting, forcing Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan to rotate his bowlers.

Shoriful Islam was brought into the attack and he delivered with the wicket of Nissanka, trapped lbw for 40.

Mendis reached his fifty with a boundary off Shoriful in the next over but the fast bowler had his revenge four balls later to have him caught out.

The bowlers kept up the charge, but Samarawickrama turned the tide with a string of boundaries and finished off well as he surpassed his previous ODI best of 82. He was dismissed on the final ball.

Bangladesh started strongly with Mehidy Hasan Miraz hitting a few boundaries to take on the Sri Lankan attack alongside fellow opener Mohammed Naim.

Shanaka hit back with his medium-pace bowling to send back Miraz for 28.

Pathirana got the big wicket of Shakib, caught behind for three and with Liton Das’ departure Bangladesh slipped to 83-4.

Mushfiqur Rahim and Towhid attempted to raise hopes of a fightback in a stand of 72 before Dunith Wellalage broke through with the wicket of Mushfiqur, who made 29.

“He batted really well. He played LPL (Lanka Premier League) here so he brought that confidence,” Shakib said of Towhid.

“If he could have batted a little longer, but then there are always a lot of ifs and buts. But Sri Lanka played better which is why they won.”

The rest of the batting fell apart in trying to match the rising run-rate and Hridoy’s lbw off Theekshana spelt the end.


Day 2 Roundup: China’s medal momentum continues at Asian Games



(Last Updated On: September 26, 2023)

Hosts China continued to dominate at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Monday, securing an impressive haul of 19 gold medals, while the shooting range had three world records shattered.

The Chinese rowers once again made a significant impact along the Fuchun River, earning five more gold medals on the last day of rowing action, Xinhua reported.

On Sunday, Chinese rowers also won the Men’s and Women’s Quadruple Sculls, Women’s Pair, and Eight.

In total, China has taken 11 out of the 14 gold medals available in the sport, including the first gold of these events in the Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls.

After a dominating performance in the pool on Sunday with seven gold medals, Chinese swimmers slightly slowed their momentum on Monday, clinching four out of the seven golds. Triple Breaststroke world champion Qin Haiyang won the 100m Breaststroke, setting a Games record of 57.76 seconds.

His compatriot Yan Zibei was second in 59.09 seconds, while Republic of Korea’s Choi Dongyeol placed third in 59.28.

Qin, flagbearer for the Chinese team at the opening ceremony, rose to stardom at the World Championships in Fukuoka in July, becoming the first man in history to win all three Breaststroke titles while also setting a world record in the 200m.

When asked about his plans to break the 50m Breaststroke world record, Qin said that he wouldn’t specifically prepare for it, as “it’s not an Olympic event.”

“I think I’ll need some luck to break the world record,” the 24-year-old added.

In the Women’s 200m Individual Medley final, a competitive duel unfolded between rising star Yu Yiting and London Olympic champion Ye Shiwen. Yu set a Games record of 2:07.75 to claim the title, with Ye finishing second in 2:10.34. Republic of Korea’s Kim Seoyeong was third with a time of 2:10.36.

China’s world champion Xu Jiayu secured the top spot in the Men’s 50m Backstroke with a time of 24.38 seconds, while Wang Xue’er narrowly outpaced teammate Wan Letian to win the Women’s 50m Backstroke in 27.35 seconds.

In a historic moment for Hong Kong, China, Siobhan Bernadette Haughey earned Hong Kong’s first-ever gold medal in Swimming at the Asian Games. Haughey, the Olympic silver medalist in the Women’s 100m Freestyle, cruised to victory in the 200m, beating defending champion Li Bingjie of China in a Games record of 1:54.12.

The shooting range also provided cause for celebration as China’s shooters claimed 3 gold medals, breaking 2 of the 3 world records on the day.

In other events, China’s women gymnasts extended their remarkable streak by winning their 13th consecutive team title at the Asian Games, scoring 161.896 points. Japan was second with 157.229 points, while DPR Korea placed third with 156.829 points.

China also claimed gold medals in Cycling, Taekwondo, Skateboarding, Fencing and Wushu to lead the medal table with 39 gold, 21 silver, and 9 bronze medals. The Republic of Korea was second with 10 golds and Japan third with 5.

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ACB announce Amul as the National Team’s Sponsor for the ICC Men’s CWC 2023



(Last Updated On: September 26, 2023)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board has signed Amul as the Afghanistan National Team’s Principal Sponsor for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, starting October 5 in India.

Amul is India’s largest FMCG brand and one of India’s most iconic and trusted dairy brands, which will appear on the Afghanistan team’s jerseys as well as on the training kits throughout the World Cup.

Jayen Mehta, Managing Director of Amul said: “Sports is an important medium for Amul to connect with today’s generation. Milk is the world’s original energy drink and is consumed by all sports persons. We also celebrate the values of milk which are imbibed by today’s youth with our BeMoreMilk initiative which will feature the Afghanistan team.”

Amul exports its milk powders and baby food to Afghanistan and has done so for the last 20 years. “We are proud to build our association with the Afghanistan Men’s Cricket Team and wish them all the best for the World Cup,” Mehta said.

Naseeb Khan, the ACB’s CEO said: “Amul has been ACB’s commercial partner in the past and we are pleased to have them on board again for this year’s event as well.” T

The Afghanistan National Cricket Team will arrive in India on September 25 and will begin their preparations for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. They will first face South Africa and Sri Lanka in the two warm up games ahead of their first game at the mega event against Bangladesh on October 7, 2023 in Dharamsala.

Afghan players have meanwhile arrived in Thiruvananthapuram, India, ahead of their first warm up match against South Africa on Friday.

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Afghanistan scoops Bronze Medal at Asian Games 2023



(Last Updated On: September 25, 2023)

Mohsen Rezaei, the captain of the country’s national taekwondo team, won bronze on Sunday after losing in the semi-final to Jang Jun from South Korea.

Rezaei won the first round against world champion Jang Jun with a close score of 7-5 but lost 14-12 in the second round and settled for a historic and valuable bronze medal.

Reports indicate Rezaei broke his hand in the first stage of the competition, but still managed to register the first medal for Afghanistan at this year’s Games.

According to officials of the Taekwondo Federation, Afghanistan won bronze by defeating opponents from Tajikistan, Japan, and Kazakhstan and South Korea.

Early in the day Afghanistan’s national rugby team lost in its last match.

After beating Nepal, the team went through to the next round and faced the United Arab Emirates. However the team suffered a defeat, despite their best efforts.

Other Afghans were also unlucky on Monday, including swimmer Fahim Anwari who took part in the 50m freestyle and 100 m breaststroke but failed to qualify for the next rounds.

Afghan boxer, in the 71kg weight division Mohammad Khyber Nooristani also fell out following an injury during his bout against his Mongolian opponent.

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