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Sri Lanka survive Afghanistan scare to reach Asia Cup Super Fours



(Last Updated On: September 6, 2023)

Title-holders Sri Lanka outlasted a rampaging Afghanistan by just two runs in a dramatic finish to reach the Asia Cup Super Four stage on Tuesday.

Needing to overhaul a target of 292 in 37.1 overs to oust Sri Lanka on net run-rate, Afghanistan fell agonizingly short as Mujeeb Ur Rahman holed out with three needed from the first ball of the 38th over, AFP reported.

They could still have qualified by reaching 295 within 37.4 overs but appeared to not be aware of that permutation as number 11 Fazalhaq Farooqi blocked out two deliveries before being dismissed while attempting another defensive shot with six needed to go through.

Mohammad Nabi hit a blistering 32-ball 65 while skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi made a 66-ball 59.

Rashid Khan hit three boundaries off Dunith Wellalage’s 37th over, but off the first ball of the next over Mujeeb was caught on the boundary.

Sri Lanka were earlier guided to 291-8 by Kusal Mendis who scored a brilliant 84-ball 92.

Pakistan and India had already qualified for the Super Four stage from Group A, with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh joining them from Group B.

Pakistan face Bangladesh in Lahore on Wednesday to start the Super Four stage.

Afghanistan were struggling in the 20th over on 129-4 but Nabi started to hit out and the situation changed as they added 96 in the next 10 overs.

Nabi, who put on 80 for the fifth wicket with Shahidi, cracked five sixes and six fours to help Afghanistan get back on track, hitting the fastest ODI half-century for his country off just 24 balls.

Mujeeb had set the previous record against Pakistan in Sri Lanka last month off 26 deliveries.

Nabi holed out off Maheesh Theekshana in the 27th over but Shahidi and Karim Janat (22) kept up the tempo, adding 33 before they both fell in the same over from Wellalage.

Despite the double blow, Afghanistan did not give up as Najibullah Zadran (23) and Rashid (27 not out) kept them in contention.

But in a dramatic finish, the Afghan camp did not realise their hopes were still alive once Mujeeb was dismissed and Sri Lanka progressed.

Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka admitted Nabi nearly took away the game.

“It’s a tough one,” said Shanaka whose team has now won 12 consecutive ODIs. “The first target was a 37.1-over game and Nabi almost took the game away from us but we got wickets when needed.”

Shahidi said: “It’s very disappointing to lose. We fought well and gave our best. I am proud of the team, the way they played, and fought till the last ball.”

Earlier, the 28-year-old Mendis played an attractive innings that included three sixes and six fours to anchor the Sri Lankan innings after they won the toss and batted first.

Sri Lanka got off to a solid start of 63 for the first wicket between Pathum Nissanka (41) and Dimuth Karunaratne (32).

Mendis took over and added 102 for the fourth wicket with Charith Asalanka, who made a 43-ball 36.

But from 186-3 Sri Lanka had a middle-order stutter that saw them lose four wickets in the space of 41 runs, including that of Mendis who was unluckily run out.

Rashid dropped a drive from Shanaka onto the stumps with Mendis short of his ground at the non-striker’s end.

Wellalage, who scored an unbeaten 33, added an invaluable 64 runs for the eighth wicket with Theekshana (28).

Gulbadin Naib dismissed Theekshana off the final delivery to finish with Afghanistan’s best figures of the innings with 4-60.


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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