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Thousands welcome Messi, Argentina team after World Cup victory

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Thousands of fans lined up in the middle of the night to try to get a glimpse of the Argentina soccer team that won one of the greatest World Cup finals of all time ahead of what was a day of celebrations in Buenos Aires.

Members of the team, led by captain Lionel Messi, were all smiles as they descended from the plane in Ezeiza, right outside Argentina’s capital, shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday onto a red carpet that had been rolled out for the squad.

Messi was the first player from the plane carrying the World Cup, flanked by coach Lionel Scaloni, who put his arm around the captain as they walked past a sign that read, “Thank you, champions.”

The players were welcomed by rock band La Mosca singing “Muchachos,” a song that was written by a fan to the tune of an old song by the band and became a popular unofficial anthem for Argentine fans at the World Cup in Qatar, Associated Press reported.

The newly crowned champions of the world boarded an open top bus and several, including Messi, could be seen singing the words to “Muchachos” while they waited for everyone to get on to travel to the headquarters of the Argentine Football Association.

The bus moved at a snail’s pace as fans, many of whom were waving Argentine flags, swarmed the bus on a highway, eager for a glimpse of the players as law enforcement officers tried to keep them at bay.

Throughout the trip, Messi held the World Cup as players waved to fans and often sang along with them.

It took the bus around one hour to travel approximately 11 kilometers from the airport to AFA headquarters, where the players were welcomed with fireworks.

They were expected to sleep at AFA headquarters for a few hours before boarding the bus later Tuesday to the Obelisk, the iconic Buenos Aires landmark that was a sea of people Sunday afternoon after the team won the country’s third World Cup, and its first since 1986.

President Alberto Fernández declared a national holiday Tuesday so the country could celebrate the victory.

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Hazratullah Zazai replaces injured Mujeeb-ur-Rahman in Afghanistan’s T20 WC squad

Mujeeb played in Afghanistan’s opening fixture of the World Cup against Uganda, but has not featured since because of the injury.

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Afghanistan’s spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman will miss the remainder of T20 World Cup due to an injury to his right index finger, the International Cricket Council announced on Friday.

Mujeeb played in Afghanistan’s opening fixture of the World Cup against Uganda, but has not featured since because of the injury.

ICC said that its event technical committee had approved Hazratullah Zazai, the opening batter, as replacement for Mujeeeb-ur-Rahman.

Afghanistan sealed their spot in the Super Eight stage after beating PNG. They will face West Indies in their final group game on Tuesday at 5:00 AM (Afghanistan time).

 

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Kabul Zalmi crowned champions of KPL 2024

Batting first after winning the toss, Band-e-Amir Stars posted 169-10 off 20 overs in the Ayoubi Sports Complex in Kabul.

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Kabul Zalmi defeated Band-e-Amir Stars by 7 wickets in the final on Friday and won the championship title of the City Medical Complex Kabul Premier League 2024.

Batting first after winning the toss, Band-e-Amir Stars posted 169-10 off 20 overs in the Ayoubi Sports Complex in Kabul.

Kabul Zalmi chased down the target by 7 wickets in 18.5 overs and won the second edition of the tournament.

Mohammad Sabir led the chase with an excellent half century, while Mohammad Akram scored 41 runs. Masoud Gurbaz added 31 off 22. Captain Qais Ahmad chipped in with 18 off 11.

Six teams, including Band-e-Amir Stars, Shaheen Hunters, Shamshad Eagles, Kabul Knight Riders, Ayoubi Kabul Zalmi and Speenghar Warriors took part in the 20-over tournament which run for 11 days.

The matches were broadcast live and exclusively on Ariana Television.

 

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Afghanistan down PNG to reach Super Eight, end NZ hopes

Rashid and his left-arm wrist spinning partner Noor Ahmad took over after the power play, consistently bamboozling the batsmen as they swung hopefully but ineffectually at the ball.

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Afghanistan beat Papua New Guinea by seven wickets in Trinidad on Thursday to reach the Super Eight stage of the Twenty20 World Cup with a game to spare and end New Zealand’s slim hopes of progressing.

The Afghans had already effectively eliminated New Zealand after defeating them by 84 runs in Georgetown, and on Thursday they confirmed that they pose a threat to any opponent with another accomplished all-round display.

Spearheaded by standout left-arm seamer Fazalhaq Farooqi, the Afghan bowlers kept opponents under 100 runs for the third time in their three matches in the tournament, dismissing the Papuans, who had four batsmen run out, for 95.

Penetrating bowling from Alei Nao and Semo Kamea on a lively surface ensured the run chase was not straightforward but Gulbadin Naib’s 49 from 36 deliveries steered the Afghans safely to their target at 101-3 inside 16 overs.

“I want to congratulate all the people of Afghanistan because we have now officially qualified for the Super Eight and I feel proud,” said Farooqi, who was named Player of the Match for his 3-16.

“We just keep it simple and give 100%.”

After Rashid Khan had won the toss and opted to field first, his opposite number Assad Vala was the first man dismissed, run out for three after committing the elementary error of making his ground but leaving his bat in the air.

Farooqi, the tournament’s leading wicket taker, increased his tally by two from consecutive balls and Naveen-ul-Haq struck immediately from the other end to reduce Papua New Guinea to 17 for four.

Rashid and his left-arm wrist spinning partner Noor Ahmad took over after the power play, consistently bamboozling the batsmen as they swung hopefully but ineffectually at the ball.

The result was a second run out with both batsmen stranded at the same end and it was Chad Soper (9) who was forced to leave.

A third run out followed when Norman Vanua departed for a duck when his bat got stuck in the pitch as he tried to slide it past the crease.

Kiplin Doriga offered some resistance, hitting two fours to reach 27, but almost inevitably the innings ended with a final runout when Semo Kamea (2) was stranded with a ball remaining.

Papua New Guinea struck swiftly, dismissing openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (11) and Ibrahim Zadran (0), who had shared century partnerships against Uganda and New Zealand.

But Naib and Mohammad Nabi calmed their team’s nerves by rotating the strike with a series of quick singles, taking Afghanistan past the 50 mark when they began to play more expansively, Naib ending the match in style with a six.

The Afghans progressed along with co-hosts West Indies, who they meet in their final round-robin match in St Lucia on Monday to decide who tops Group C.

 

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