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Saudi Arabia declares public holiday after historic win against Argentina



(Last Updated On: November 23, 2022)

Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina in the World Cup on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over Lionel Messi’s side, prompting an outpouring of Arab pride amidst the first staging of soccer’s top tournament in the Middle East, Reuters reported.

King Salman declared a public holiday in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to mark the achievement, a feather in the cap of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who recommended the royal order state media said.

Prince Mohammed was not seen at the match but had been front and centre at the tournament opening on Sunday.

According to Reuters one of Prince Mohammed’s brothers, Prince Saud, posted pictures on Instagram showing the crown prince prostrating in thanks to God in a room where his other brother Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz was also present, shown holding a Saudi flag and standing next to a smiling crown prince.

It was also a sweet moment for host Qatar, facing intense criticism over human rights in the conservative Muslim country. Qatar’s emir draped the Saudi flag over his shoulders at the match. A Doha skyscraper flashed “Congratulations Greens.”

“Wow! I have all the feelings right now. We beat Argentina, one of the great teams!” said Saad from Riyadh who is in Qatar for two weeks and was wearing a green Saudi Falcons scarf.

“Our guys played so well – everything went right inside the stadium today. It was amazing.”

On his fifth and final quest for the only major trophy to elude him, Messi, 35, scored a 10th minute penalty in a dominant first half display by Argentina during which he and Lautaro Martinez also had a combined three goals disallowed for offside, Reuters reported.

But Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked team in the tournament after Ghana, threw caution to the wind at the start of the second half, charging at Argentina in front of a frenzied 88,012 crowd to end their opponents’ 36-game unbeaten run.

The entire game was played in an extraordinary atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium, with Argentina’s traditionally massive and raucous following matched by the thousands of Saudis who had come over the border to cheer on their team.


North Korean lifters smash records at Asian Games



(Last Updated On: September 30, 2023)

Hosts China romped to gold in the men’s and women’s 100m sprints at the Asian Games as North Korea’s weightlifters scorched several world records on an action-packed Saturday.

Golds were up for grabs on a damp day in Hangzhou in everything from diving and eSports to athletics and roller skating, AFP reported.

China inevitably hoovered up many of them to take them to 114 golds in total at the halfway stage of the competition, well clear of Japan (28 golds) and South Korea (27).

The 100m sprints are among the most prestigious events of any Games and it was two Chinese speedsters who thrilled the raucous crowd with victories at the 80,000-capacity Hangzhou Olympic stadium.

First, Ge Manqi raced to the line in 11.23sec to take the women’s crown and then Xie Zhenye made it a double home delight with his winning time of 9.97sec for the men’s title.

Among other notable performances in track and field, the world’s number-two ranked pole vaulter EJ Obiena of the Philippines cleared 5.90m for gold and a Games record.

He admitted to mixed feelings, having relegated home favorite Huang Bokai to silver.

“The challenge is I feel a little bit like a villain today — it’s not my medal,” he said.

There were some eye-popping performances from North Korea’s women weightlifters.

They were competing at an international event for the first time since December 2019 after the country sealed its borders because of the pandemic.

But that did not stop them from shattering a slew of world records.

Ri Song Gum broke two world records in the women’s 49kg, the first weightlifting event in Hangzhou.

Then Kang Hyong Yong, a 24-year-old with no international pedigree, set a hat-trick of world records in snatch, clean and jerk, and combined on her way to gold in the women’s 55kg class.

China’s world champion Jiang Huihua, who took silver, said she was “surprised” at Ri’s success after such a long absence.

There were tears on the podium as Ri and Kang saluted the North Korean flag — which was hoisted once again in contravention of a World Anti-Doping Agency edict.

WADA declared the country’s national anti-doping body “non-compliant” in 2021 and slapped it with sanctions, including not being able to fly the flag at continental events.

“I feel very happy about breaking the world record and when I see my national flag flying I feel very excited to bring this good news to my people,” said Ri.

Fierce rivalries took center stage.

North Korea thrashed South Korea 4-1 in a feisty quarter-final of the women’s football.

South Korea, led by the English coach Colin Bell, included players who featured at the recent Women’s World Cup, where they went out in the group phase.

The neighbors, who are still technically at war, were locked at 1-1 when South Korea forward Son Hwa-yeon was sent off for a second yellow card close to half time.

North Korea made the most of their numerical advantage to score three times in the second period for an ultimately comfortable victory, their players celebrating wildly at the full-time whistle.

Pakistan and arch-rivals India then clashed in the men’s hockey group stage.

The highly anticipated showdown turned out to be a mismatch, however, as India thrashed their neighbors 10-2.

India also got one over Pakistan in squash, edging them 2-1 in the final of the men’s team competition.

Table tennis shock

In other action, China’s Zhang Zhizhen won the men’s singles tennis, adding his gold to the one collected by Zheng Qinwen in the women’s singles a day earlier.

“It’s been a very, very tough week, not just this match, but very tough for the whole week actually, from the first match onwards,” said Zhang.

In table tennis, the hosts won all five golds five years ago and are a global superpower in the sport.

But they were on the end of three defeats in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

In the biggest shock, the 16th-ranked Indian women’s pair of Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee — not related — defeated world champions Chen Meng and Wang Yidi 3-1 to reach the last four.

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Top ranked performers from each team rated ahead of ICC Cricket World Cup



(Last Updated On: September 30, 2023)

With the start of the much anticipated ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 just days away, warm up matches are now in full swing and excitement among fans is growing.

Here, we take a look at the best performers in each category of the MRF Tyres ODI Player Rankings – players that will be in action at the ODI World Cup.

Top ranked batter: Ibrahim Zadran (#18)
Top ranked bowler: Mujeeb Ur Rahman (#3)
Top ranked all-rounder: Mohammad Nabi (#2)

Afghanistan have two players inside the top three in the ODI rankings category, with former captain Mohammad Nabi leading the way as the No.2 ranked all-rounder.

Spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman is third in the ODI bowler rankings, while fellow tweaker Rashid Khan (fourth) is not far behind in this category. Young right-hander Ibrahim Zadran is Afghanistan’s highest rated batter at 18.

Top ranked batter: David Warner (#6)
Top ranked bowler: Josh Hazlewood (#2)
Top ranked all-rounder: Josh Hazlewood (#14)

In-form veteran David Warner continues to show great consistency at ODI level and is currently rated the highest Australian player on the list of ODI batters in sixth.

Experienced seamer Josh Hazlewood recently lost the No.1 ranking for bowlers to India’s Mohammed Siraj, but the right-armer remains second in this category and surprisingly high 14th in the list for all-rounders.

Top ranked batter: Mushfiqur Rahim (#21)
Top ranked bowler: Shakib Al Hasan (#17)
Top ranked all-rounder: Shakib Al Hasan (#1)

Evergreen skipper Shakib Al Hasan continues to re-write the record books on the eve of his fifth World Cup. with the Bangladesh star still holding on to the No.1 ranking in the category for ODI all-rounders.

Shakib has previously appeared at the 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 editions and amazingly held on to the No.1 ODI all-rounder ranking at the start of every tournament since his second appearance in 2011.

The veteran is also Bangladesh’s highest ranked bowler at 17, while Mushfiqur Rahim has their best ranking for batters at 21.

Top ranked batter: Dawid Malan (#14)
Top ranked bowler: Chris Woakes (#12)
Top ranked all-rounder: Chris Woakes (equal #11)

The ever-consistent Dawid Malan is England’s highest ranked batter, although skipper Jos Buttler (#17) is just three rungs behind the experienced No.3 and sure to press hard during the World Cup.

Reliable quick Chris Woakes holds the best ranking in both the bowling and all-rounder category, which isn’t a huge surprise since the tall right-armer was a major reason why England won the most recent World Cup when he claimed 16 scalps at the 2019 event.

Top ranked batter: Shubman Gill (#2)
Top ranked bowler: Mohammed Siraj (#1)
Top ranked all-rounder: Hardik Pandya (#7)

India are the only side at the World Cup that can boast to have a player inside the top 10 in each ranking category and newly-crowned No.1 ranked bowler Mohammed Siraj leads the way following his match-winning spell against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final earlier this month.

That catapulted Siraj past Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood and into the top ranking for ODI bowlers, while young gun Shubman Gill is within just 10 rating points of claiming the No.1 ranking for batters from Pakistan skipper Babar Azam. The experienced Hardik Pandya is also inside the top 10 in the all-rounder category.

Top ranked batter: Scott Edwards (#39)
Top ranked bowler: Logan van Beek (#51)
Top ranked all-rounder: Bas de Leede (#49)

Emerging star Bas de Leede is the Netherlands’ highest ranked all-rounder, but don’t be surprised to see the talented de Leede turn a few heads with his performances in India if he can continue the form that saw him dominate the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier tournament earlier in the year.

Reliable captain Scott Edwards remains the Netherlands’ best in the ODI batter rankings at No.39, while seamer Logan van Beek holds the premier spot for the Dutch for bowlers.

New Zealand
Top ranked batter: Kane Williamson (equal #28)
Top ranked bowler: Trent Boult (#5)
Top ranked all-rounder: Mitchell Santner (equal #11)

The Kiwis have two players inside the top 10 of the ODI bowling rankings, with underrated left-armer Trent Boult leading the way in fifth ahead of fellow pacer Matt Henry in ninth.

Skipper Kane Williamson remains the leading New Zealand player on the list for batters at equal 28th despite his recent injury woes, while Mitchell Santner is equal 11th on the rankings for ODI all-rounders.

Top ranked batter: Babar Azam (#1)
Top ranked bowler: Shaheen Afridi (#8)
Top ranked all-rounder: Shadab Khan (#13)

Babar Azam has been a mainstay at the top of the ODI batter rankings in recent times and it comes as no surprise that the Pakistan skipper heads into this year’s World Cup hanging on to the premier position.

The always dangerous Shaheen Afridi is comfortably nestled inside the top 10 of the bowler rankings, while Shadab Khan goes about his business with a minimum of fuss in 13th position on the list for ODI all-rounders.

South Africa
Top ranked batter: Rassie van der Dussen (#3)
Top ranked bowler: Keshav Maharaj (#14)
Top ranked all-rounder: Aiden Markram (equal #23)

Middle-order performer Rassie van der Dussen has been holding his ground near the top of the ODI batter rankings in recent times and the right-hander enters the World Cup with just Babar Azam and Shubman Gill in front of him in the current list.

Experienced tweaker Keshav Maharaj is 14th on the list for ODI bowlers, while Aiden Markram continues to thrive at international level and holds on the equal 23rd ranking for all-rounders.

Sri Lanka
Top ranked batter: Charith Asalanka (#27)
Top ranked bowler: Maheesh Theekshana (#16)
Top ranked all-rounder: Dhananjaya de Silva (#17)

With star spinner Wanindu Hasaranga injured and set to miss the World Cup, much of Sri Lanka’s fortunes with the ball will fall to fellow tweaker Maheesh Theekshana (16th on the current ODI rankings for bowlers).

It’s Charith Asalanka that is Sri Lanka’s highest ranked batter at 27, while Dhananjaya de Silva occupies their best slot in the all-rounder ranks at 17.

Watch all warm up matches live

Ariana Television Network kicked off its live broadcast campaign of the ODI World Cup on Friday, September 29. Sadly, Afghanistan’s first warm up match – against South Africa – was rained out.

Both Afghanistan’s warm up matches will be broadcast live, on Ariana Television, along with other key matches. However, the balance of matches will be streamed live on our website.

Ariana Television broadcasts of warm up matches will start at 12:30pm on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Live coverage of other matches, on the same days, will be streamed on our websites.

For the full warm up broadcast and streaming schedule see table below.

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Afghanistan-South Africa Cricket World Cup warm-up game washed out



(Last Updated On: September 29, 2023)

Afghanistan’s Cricket World Cup warm-up game against South Africa was washed out Friday because of heavy rain.

Both teams were confined to their hotels before umpires called off the game at 3:45 p.m. because of steady rain and a wet outfield, the Associated Press reported.

South Africa is scheduled to play another warm-up game against New Zealand on Monday while Afghanistan will meet Sri Lanka on Tuesday. The World Cup begins in Ahmedabad on Thursday with the opening game between New Zealand and England.

In Guwahati, Sri Lanka opening batter Pathum Nissanka (68) and Dhananjaya de Silva (55) scored half centuries before the team got bowled out for 263 in 49.1 overs. Offspinners Mahedi Hasan (3-36) and Mehidy Hasan Miraz (1-32) tuned up for the mega event with impressive figures.

In Hyderabad, Mohammad Rizwan scored 103 and captain Babar Azam made 80 off 84 balls as Pakistan racked up 345-5 against New Zealand in another warm-up game that was briefly disrupted by rain.

Rizwan and Babar shared a 114-run stand after openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique couldn’t make their mark and were dismissed early. Left-handed batter Saud Shakeel staked his claim in the middle-order with 75 off 53 balls as Pakistan accelerated well in the end and made 107 runs in the last 10 overs.

New Zealand was led by Tom Latham because regular captain Kane Williamson will miss out on the opening World Cup game against England as he recovers from knee surgery.

Williamson will bat on Friday and is also expected to take the field and bat in the next warm-up game against South Africa.

Williamson injured his knee during the opening game of this year’s Indian Premier League and had surgery. He was with the team in England during the white-ball series while continuing his rehabilitation for the World Cup.

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