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Sunday’s matches: Morocco stun Belgium 2-0, Croatia win 4-1, Germany draw 1-1 with Spain

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2022)

Sunday saw a clash of two World Cup titans when Spain took on Germany, in a match that could have sent the Germans home from the tournament early had they suffered another defeat.

Two other European teams were also in action: Belgium against Morocco, while Croatia played Canada.

Morocco 2 – 0 Belgium
In the Moroccan clash against Belgium, the two teams were still jostling for a goal when Abdelhamid Sabiri’s strike hit the net with under 20 minutes to go. This put Morocco ahead but with time virtually up, Zakaria Aboukhlal stunned the crowd making it 2-0 for Morocco – causing a major upset against the world’s 2nd ranked team.

Earlier, Moroccan joy at the Al Thumama Stadium was put on hold when Hakim Ziyech’s first-half goal was ruled out for offside.

Morocco had held Croatia to a goalless draw in their Group F opener.

The result poses serious questions about Belgium, seen as strong contenders in the tournament. But they only secured an underwhelming 1-0 win against Canada in their first group game.

Croatia 4 – 1 Canada

Alphonso Davies headed Canada into the lead after just two minutes following a sweeping move.

But relief for Croatia was on hand when Andrej Kramaric equalized from a tight angle just after the half hour.

Then, strong work from Marko Livaja just before half-time, saw him fire for the Croatians with a low shot from the edge of the area.

Kramaric struck again on 70 minutes to make it 3-1 for Croatia, before Lovro Majer scored an injury-time breakaway goal taking it to 4-1.

Canada is now eliminated. But at least their goal against Croatia is their first ever in a World Cup finals. They had failed to score in their previous four games, including in the opening 1-0 defeat against Belgium.

Croatia lost the 2018 final to France and the world’s 12th-ranked team opened the World Cup with a 0-0 draw against Morocco.

Germany 1—1 Spain

Substitute Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for Spain in the second half but Niclas Füllkrug equalized with seven minutes left to keep Germany in the tournament. But they go into the final game against Costa Rica in last place.

When the World Cup draw came out in April, one of the highlights of the group stage was Sunday’s match between the 2010 and 2014 champions at Al Bayt Stadium.

However, Germany’s surprising loss to Japan in its opener in Qatar meant the Germans would have been out if they had lost again.

After winning their fourth World Cup title in 2014 in Brazil, Germany didn’t make it out of the group stage in 2018 after losses to South Korea and Mexico.

Germany’s previous match against Spain was an embarrassing 6-0 defeat in the Nations League two years ago.

Spain went into the game looking to reinforce their status as one of the top title contenders following an impressive 7-0 rout of Costa Rica in their opener and 18-year-old Gavi became the youngest World Cup scorer since Pelé in 1958.

Costa Rica 1—0 Japan

A late, left-foot strike from Costa Rica’s Keysher Fuller from the edge of the penalty area following a defensive error was enough to secure victory for the Central American side.

The win puts Costa Rica back into play in Group E and will be a massive morale boost following their 7-0 thrashing against Spain, the 2010 world champions, in their opening match.

Japanese head coach Hajime Moriyasu warned his side to forget their historic 2-1 comeback win over Germany in their opening match. Japan struck twice in eight minutes late in the second half.

This is Japan’s seventh straight appearance at a World Cup finals.

Costa Rica meanwhile, which only has a population of just over five million, are appearing in their sixth World Cup. They reached the quarterfinals in 2014 in Brazil.

Where to watch

Afghan fans need not miss out on any of the excitement of this year’s tournament which is being broadcast exclusively by Ariana Television in Afghanistan.

For the full broadcast schedule CLICK HERE

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ILT20: Sharjah Warriors match against Dubai Capitals rained out

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Rain forced the Sharjah Warriors vs Dubai Capitals to match in the ongoing ILT20 to be called off after five overs of play at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, in the UAE on Thursday night.

Dubai Capitals were 17 for 4 in five overs when heavy downpour ended the 17th match of the ILT20. As a result, both teams shared one point each.

Sharjah Warriors had won the toss and elected to bowl after a delayed start due to rain. The match started at 7.15pm (UAE time) as a 19 over contest after an hour and 15 minutes of delay from the scheduled start.

Sharjah’s medium pacer Naveen-ul-Haq, fresh from this five-wicket haul in the last match against Gulf Giants, bowled a tight first over giving away just one run.

UAE’s Junaid Siddiqui struck in the second over, bowling out opener Hazratullah Zazai for 1 with the fifth ball and trapping Bhanuka Rajapaksa leg before with the next delivery. When Naveen also had opener Daniel Lawrence play into the hands of Joe Denly at mid-off, Dubai Capitals were tottering at 8 for 3.

The mantle of lifting the team out of trouble fell on skipper Rovman Powell and Dasun Shanaka. Powell hit the first boundary of the innings steering Naveen past point.

Junaid bowled a brilliant fourth over giving away just four runs while Naveen struck again in the fifth over to force Shanaka to edge to wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz for 2. At 17 for 4 in five overs, rain returned and forced the umpires to call off the match.

Sharjah Warriors will remain in fourth position with five points from six matches while Dubai Capitals are at the fifth spot with five points from six matches due to a lesser run-run rate.

“The feeling in the camp is pretty good. The guys are still upbeat about their chances in our next game. It’s just unfortunate that the weather took precedence today. But such is the nature of the sport we play,” said Dubai Capitals captain Rovman Powell after the match was called off.

“We had a super start. But you can’t control the weather. Unfortunately, the rain got the better of us. We can take a lot from how we started. Junaid and Naveen were absolutely fantastic with the new ball today,” said Sharjah Warriors’ Joe Denly.

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Desert Vipers secure 7 wicket win against MI Emirates

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2023)

Alex Hales and Sherfane Rutherford’s sparkling unbeaten half centuries and skipper Colin Munro’s cameo knock carried Desert Vipers past MI Emirates in the 15th match of the DP World ILT20 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Tuesday night. 

Desert Vipers, through a fine display of intelligent bowling, had also restricted MI Emirates to 169 for 5 despite half centuries from Kieron Pollard and Nicholas Pooran.

Hales hit an unbeaten 62 runs off 44 balls with six boundaries and two sixes while Sherfane Rutherford scored a breezy unbeaten 56 off 29 balls with four boundaries and three sixes to put on an unbeaten 94 off 52 balls for the fourth wicket. 

Desert Vipers’ skipper Colin Munro set the momentum through a fine knock of 41 runs off 22 balls with four boundaries and three sixes. 

Speaking about their performance Desert Vipers’ Sherfane Rutherford said: “I want to keep things simple and just watch the ball. I was just trying to react to the ball. The key was just to use the pace and that worked for me.”

Meanwhile, MI Emirates’ Trent Boult said: “It becomes easier to bat on in the second innings here. I thought they played extremely well. They timed their innings quite nicely. That’s a luxury when you’re chasing 170.”

 

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Rashid Khan takes 500 wickets in T20 cricket

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2023)

Rashid Khan has completed 500 wickets in T20 cricket – only the second bowler after Dwayne Bravo to reach this landmark.

Bravo has taken 614 wickets at an average of 24.13 in 556 matches.

On the other hand, Rashid completed his 500-wicket mark in 371 games. He took the scalps at an average of 18.10 and an economy of 6.30.

Afghanistan ace spinner has 4 five-wicket hauls and 9 four-wicket hauls in his career.

He is currently leading MI Cape Town in the ongoing SA20 league. He took three wickets against the Pretoria Capitals to enter the record books.

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