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T20 World Cup regional qualifiers postponed due to COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: March 18, 2021)

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday announced that three ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Africa and Asia have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to a statement issued by the world cricket body, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia A Qualifier and Men’s T20 World Cup Sub Regional Africa A and B Qualifiers have been postponed.

The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Division 2 Qualifier also postponed due to the pandemic.

According to the ICC, all other Africa qualifying events rescheduled due to calendar congestion.

The Asia A Qualifier which is two steps away from the Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 was due to be hosted between 3 and 9 April 2021 involving Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This has now been postponed and will be played in Kuwait between 23 and 29 October 2021.

The decision was taken to postpone due to new restrictions being put in place by several participating countries to suspend sporting activities to limit the spread of the new COVID-19 variants therefore giving no opportunity for teams to sufficiently train, the statement read. 

The other contributing factor was the extensive quarantine requirements for the visiting teams on their return to their respective countries.

The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Asia Division 2 has been cancelled as Thailand are unable to host due to COVID-19 restrictions and there is no other suitable hosting option. Bhutan, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand were confirmed to participate in the Division 2 event. 

Oman and Singapore have now been promoted to the U19 Men’s CWC Asia Qualifier scheduled in September in the United Arab Emirates, as a result of both teams having the best records in the previous five editions of the U19 Men’s CWC qualifiers.

ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said: “As part of the ICC’s comprehensive contingency planning process we have decided to postpone three Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 qualifying events and the Africa U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2 due to COVID-19. With a combination of restrictions in place in some participating countries limiting the opportunity for team preparation, as well as ongoing quarantine requirements and travel restrictions, there was no other option but to postpone and reschedule the events.

“Unfortunately, due to there being no suitable options to stage the event within the necessary timelines, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the U19 Men’s CWC Asia Division 2 Qualifier. As a result, Oman and Singapore are promoted to the U19 Men’s CWC Asia Qualifier on the basis of their performances in the five previous editions of the event.

“In addition, we have also rescheduled the Men’s and Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers and confirmed the dates for the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Qualifier to ease calendar congestion and to provide the best opportunity for qualification to be determined on the field of play.

“We will continue to monitor and assess all events across our pathway structures with the ICC’s priority continuing to be to protect the well-being of players, coaches, officials and fans,” he said.

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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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Iranian arrested in Germany, suspected of plotting chemical attack

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2023)

A 32-year-old Iranian man has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning an attack with deadly chemicals, officials said Sunday.

Police and prosecutors said the man and another person were detained overnight in the town of Castrop-Rauxel, northwest of Dortmund.

In a joint statement they said the man is suspected to have planned a serious attack motivated by Islamic extremism, for which he had allegedly obtained the potent toxins cyanide and ricin, the Associated Press reported.

German news agency dpa reported that specialists wearing anti-contamination suits carried evidence out of the man’s home.

Tabloid newspaper Bild reported that German authorities had received a tip from an allied intelligence agency about the alleged plans for a chemical attack.

Five years ago, German police arrested a Tunisian man and his wife on suspicion of planning to carry out a ricin attack in the name of the Islamic State (ISIS) group. They were later found guilty and sentenced to 10 and eight years’ imprisonment, respectively.

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Traders expect Pakistan’s Rupee to lose ground in coming week

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2023)

Traders expect the Pakistani rupee to weaken further in the coming week owing to a sharp decline in foreign exchange reserves brought on by fresh repayments of external debt.

Traders say this is causing concern for investors who are worried about how the country’s economic situation will develop.

“We expect the rupee to depreciate much further during the course of the upcoming week due to declining foreign reserves and repayment of foreign loans. Any developments on the IMF (International Monetary Fund) front are being eagerly watched by the market,” a forex trader said.

The local currency closed at 226.94 against the US dollar on Monday while it ended the week at 227.14 against the dollar on Friday.

Pakistan paid back $600 million to the Emirates NBD Bank and $420 million to the Dubai Islamic Bank, causing the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) reserves to fall to a critically low level of $4.5 billion.

The coming week is turning out to be significant for Pakistan’s economy as a donors’ conference is set to begin on Monday, January 9, which will be led by the US in partnership with Pakistan to garner support for post-flood aid, according to Geo TV.

Currently, Pakistan’s chief of army staff is visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Experts have said “no one is second guessing what this trip is about.”

Meanwhile, the delay in IMF funding of $1.1 billion has made Pakistan struggle to allay default fears.

Islamabad and the IMF differ over a review of policy and reforms the Fund is requiring in the country. The IMF’s programe review was supposed to be finished in November, Geo TV reported.

The IMF programe is connected to another essential foreign financing, making it difficult for the country to meet its external funding requirements. Up until June, they amounted to more than $30 billion and included imports, especially energy, and debt repayments.

The decline in the forex reserves put pressure on the rupee owing to the government’s slow progress in rolling over and securing foreign inflows from international lenders.

Given that elections are slated to take place this year, the government keeps delaying the IMF’s requirements out of concern for further political capital loss.

The local currency has lost 28.3% of its value against the dollar in 2022.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has assured that the government would complete the IMF programe.

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