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Sri Lanka beat Pakistan to clinch 6th Asia Cup title



(Last Updated On: September 12, 2022)

Sri Lanka were crowned Asia Cup champions for the sixth time after Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s batting pyrotechnics and Wanindu Hasaranga’s all-round brilliance secured their 23-run victory against Pakistan in the final on Sunday.

Rajapaksa smashed an unbeaten 71 to help Sri Lanka weather a top order collapse and reach 170-6 at the Dubai International Stadium.

When they returned, Hasaranga claimed three wickets in one over and Pramod Madushan claimed a career-best 4-34 to bowl out Pakistan for 147 in exactly 20 overs, Reuters reported.

Put into bat, Sri Lanka were reeling at 58-5 in the ninth over after their top order wilted early.

Naseem Shah began with a wide but soon redeemed himself by uprooting Kusal Mendis’s off-stump with the third legitimate delivery of the day.

Haris Rauf removed Pathum Nissanka and Danushka Gunathilaka in successive overs and Iftikhar Ahmed took a sharp return catch to cut short Dhananjaya de Silva’s knock of 28.

With Sri Lanka 67-5 at the halfway stage of their innings, Hasaranga (36) combined with Rajapaksa in their most productive partnership of 58 runs from 36 balls.

Rauf (3-29) removed Hasaranga but Rajapaksa remained unbeaten after an incendiary knock that included three sixes and six fours.

It was largely because of his 45-ball blitz that Sri Lanka plundered 103 runs from the last 10 overs.

When they returned, Madushan claimed two wickets in two balls to rock Pakistan.

Babar Azam was caught at short fine leg, while Fakhar Zaman dragged the next ball onto his stumps.

Madushan returned to dismiss Iftikhar (32) after the batsman had combined with Mohammad Rizwan (55) to revive their innings.

Hasaranga effectively derailed Pakistan’s chase when the spinner dismissed the dangerous Rizwan, Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah in the same over.

The victory would taste even better for Sri Lanka, who could not host the tournament at home because of a political and economic crisis in the island nation though they retained the hosts’ honor.


ODI World Cup 2023: Warm-Up Match 2, Afghanistan vs South Africa



(Last Updated On: September 28, 2023)

Afghanistan and South Africa will lock horns in a warm up match on Friday, September 29, at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram in India, as both teams head into the eagerly anticipated ODI Cricket World Cup.

While Afghanistan recently wrapped up a forgettable Asia Cup campaign, South Africa won their most recent challenge, the five-match home series against Australia, 3-2.

Playing Friday at Greenfield, which generally favors batters, the toss-winning captain will likely choose to bowl first in order to have a clear target in sight.

For Afghanistan, the batter to watch out for will be Heinrich Klaasen. He was crucial for South Africa in the series against Australia, as he finished top scorer with 243 runs from five games. He is expected to carry forward his form in the upcoming match as well.

This will be only the second meeting between the two teams in an official ODI, their first face off coming in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England. South Africa rolled Afghanistan for 125 in 24.1 overs.

South Africa will however be without their skipper on Friday as Temba Bavuma has returned home for family reasons and will miss all his team’s World Cup warm-up matches. Aiden Markram will assume the captaincy duties.

Cricket experts have said that while Afghanistan might not be Cricket World Cup contenders, they have the potential to beat many of the top teams because of their skillful spin bowlers.

The Asian heavyweights — host India and regional foe Pakistan — are the top two south Asian contenders for the semifinals, mainly because of experienced batters in their side. But both lack depth in their spin departments and could hardly match the spinners of at least Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

Spin wizard Rashid Khan leads Afghanistan’s strong spin trio that also include other impact spinners — Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi — while left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad could also prove to be a surprise package.

Rashid’s experience of playing Indian Premier League should come in handy for Afghanistan and his wizardry on slow surfaces during the World Cup could turn the tables in Afghanistan’s favor.

Mujeeb and Nabi also could lend Rashid ideal support in the middle overs to stem the flow of runs. Afghanistan, which had direct qualification for the World Cup, also recalled fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq to its ODI team after two years.

Despite Afghanistan’s formidable bowling base, it could all come down to the Afghan batters and how well they support their bowlers.

South Africa meanwhile have traveled to India a lot lately, having played 11 white-ball games in India since the start of 2022. Because of this, they understand the conditions at the various grounds.

After Friday, Afghanistan will play Sri Lanka in their second and final warm up at Barsapara Cricket Stadium, in Guwahati on October 3.

Watch all warm up matches live

Ariana Television Network will kick off its live broadcast campaign of the ODI World Cup on Friday, September 29, with the Afghanistan vs South Africa warm up match.

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 CLICK HERE

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Naveen ul Haq set to retire from 50-overs format after Cricket World Cup



(Last Updated On: September 28, 2023)

Naveen ul Haq, who made a surprising return to Afghanistan’s ODI squad for the World Cup, has announced on social media that he would be retiring from the fifty-overs format at the end of the tournament in India.

Naveen had made a return after a two-year absence from the format in Afghanistan’s World Cup squad, and is still only 24 years old.

The pace bowler has played only seven ODIs but has become a pivotal part of the T20I setup since making his international debut in 2016.

“It has been an absolute honour to represent my country and I would like to announce my retirement from the ODI format at end of this World Cup and will continue to wear this blue jersey in T20 cricket for my country,” he said in his statement.

“It hasn’t been an easy decision to make but to prolong my playing career, I had to take this tough decision would like to thank the Afghanistan Cricket Board and all my fans for their support and unwavering love.”

Afghanistan had named a strong squad for the marquee tournament in India with Naveen’s return a major talking point. Aside from Naveen, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman and Omarzai form a strong pace attack for the team as they head to the World Cup.

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Historic team rankings favor India and Pakistan at World Cup



(Last Updated On: September 27, 2023)

India’s recent run of form in 50-over cricket means Rohit Sharma’s side will start this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup as the No.1 ranked side on the MRF Tyres ODI Team Rankings.

India have lost just four of the 20 ODI matches they have contested in 2023 and as a result cannot be overtaken as the top-ranked side on the team rankings before the World Cup begins on October 5.

While Pakistan’s rating of 115 is just two rating points behind India’s, these two places are set in stone up until the start of the World Cup regardless of the outcome of any remaining fixtures between now and the commencement of the six-week tournament.

The warm-up fixtures that are scheduled to take place prior to the World Cup are not counted as official ODI matches and do not alter the team rankings.

An historical look at past World Cups shows this could be a good sign for both India and Pakistan, with every edition of the tournament since 1999 having been won by sides that have occupied the top two places on the ODI rankings at the start of the event.

Australia were ranked second when winning a second title in England in 1999 and then occupied top spot on the rankings when claiming the coveted World Cup trophy in South Africa in 2003 and in the West Indies in 2007.

Adam Gilchrist’s monstrous hundred helped Australia to victory over Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup Final.

Similarly, India held the No.2 ranking when victorious on home soil in 2011 and Australia (2015) and England (2019) were the No.1 ranked sides when they proved too strong in the two most recent editions of the 50-over showcase.

While the ICC applied their ratings system to results that dated back to 1981, there was not enough data available to apply these ratings to results prior to this year due to infrequency of matches and the small number of competing teams.

As a result, there are no rankings available for the first two editions of the World Cup in 1975 and 1979.

Another good sign for India is the recent domination of host countries at the World Cup.

The three most recent World Cups have been won by countries that hosted the World Cup Final and India will get their chance to keep that trend going when the 2023 decider is held at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on November 19.

And while all the pressure will be on India as the sole host of the World Cup this year and current holder of the premier ODI ranking, Rohit’s side can take further confidence in the performance of No.1 ranked sides at previous editions of the tournament.

Only once has the top-ranked team failed to make it through to the knockout stages of the event – Australia narrowly missed on qualifying for the semi-finals in 1992 – and the side with the No.1 ranking has made it through to the tournament decider on seven of the most recent 10 occasions.

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