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Tokyo Olympics chief rules out another postponement despite concerns

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(Last Updated On: June 3, 2021)

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee has ruled out a cancellation or further postponement of the Games as doubts swirled among city governments and medical professionals whether the event can be held safely amid the pandemic.

Public opinion polls in Japan have consistently shown that a majority want the Games cancelled or put off yet again after being delayed by one year because of the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reported.

“We cannot postpone again,” athlete-turned-politician and organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto said in an interview published on Thursday by the Nikkan Sports newspaper.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is likely to call a snap election after the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Asahi newspaper reported, showing his resolve to push ahead with the event.

Foreign spectators have already been barred from the Games, and officials are undecided if Japanese fans will be allowed into venues. Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura pointed out on Thursday that excited fans, shouting and hugging could pose a contagion risk.

Towns and cities set to host Olympic training or events have increasingly expressed misgivings, amid concern visitors will spread variant strains of the virus and drain medical resources, Reuters reported.

The government of Ota City has been inundated with complaints by residents over a decision to give preferential COVID-19 vaccinations to city and hotel staff tending to Australian athletes, media reported.

The city, about 80km northwest of Tokyo, is the site of a training camp for Australia’s softball squad, which this week became the first national team to arrive in Japan.

Kurume City in the southern prefecture of Fukuoka pulled out of hosting Kenya’s pre-Olympics training camp, the African nation’s Olympics committee said on Wednesday.

A player on Ghana’s Under-24 team tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Japan for a friendly match, the Japan Football Association (JFA) said on Thursday. And in Taiwan, the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association said it was pulling out of Olympic qualifier games in Mexico amid infection concerns, Reuters reported.

Japan is battling a fourth wave of COVID-19 eight weeks out from the scheduled start of the Games, but the country’s vaccine rollout has been slow and 10 regions including Tokyo are under a state of emergency until June 20.

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Waseem’s fantastic innings helps MI Emirates clinch biggest win of ILT20

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

MI Emirates bowled out Desert Vipers for a paltry 84 runs in 12.1 overs and secured a massive 157 runs win in the 21st match of the ILT20 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday night.

Whirlwind half centuries from Muhammad Waseem, Kieron Pollard and Andre Fletcher and a deadly three wicket spell, backed by Zahoor Khan and Imran Tahir’s two wickets each propelled the team to their massive win.

UAE’s Waseem set the tempo for this superlative show from MI Emirates scoring a spectacular 86 runs off 44 balls with 11 boundaries and four sixes. Fletcher scored 50 off 39 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. Together they put on an opening partnership of 141 in 12.3 overs.

After this show from the openers, skipper Kieron Pollard hit a 19-ball unbeaten half century studded with four boundaries and four sixes. He added 89 runs in just 5.2 overs along with Dan Mousley, who cracked an unbeaten 31 off 17 balls with three fours and two sixes.

As a result, MI Emirates not only recorded the highest score of the tournament but also the biggest victory of the tournament.

Incidentally, this is also the second highest score in a T20 league at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium after Balkh Legends had piled up 244 for 6 in 20 overs against Kabul Zwanan in the 2018 Afghanistan Premier League.

Earlier, Desert Vipers won the toss and elected to bowl.

Speaking after the match about their performance, MI Emirates’ Zahoor Khan said: “We lost our last two games that we played, so everyone wanted to win this game. Our goal is to win the tournament and that’s why we play each game as if it’s a final.”

Meanwhile, Desert Vipers’ director of cricket Tom Moody said: “We had a poor day today. MI put up a total which was way beyond a par score on that surface. We just didn’t get it right tonight with the ball or on the field. We had to get off the blocks quickly with the bat to even get close to the finishing line.”

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Desert Vipers pull off exciting 12-run win over Dubai Capitals to regain top slot

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(Last Updated On: January 29, 2023)

Desert Vipers pulled off an exciting 12-run victory over Dubai Capitals in the 20th match of the ILT20 at the Dubai International Stadium on Saturday night to regain the top position in the points table.

While Desert Vipers could post only a moderate total of 149 for 9 through a captain’s knock of 40 off 32 balls with two boundaries and two sixes from Colin Munro, Dubai Capitals were restricted to 137 for 5 in 20 overs through a splendid and accurate bowling by Rohan Mustafa (2 for 27) backed well by Matheesha Pathirana and Tom Curran.
For Dubai Capitals, Adam Zampa playing his first match, bowled brilliantly and took three wickets for 16 to bag the Player of the match award.

Dubai Capitals remain in fifth slot with two victories and four defeats and only five points.

Speaking about their performance, Desert Vipers’ Rohan Mustafa said after the match: “The Dubai Capitals bowled really well towards the end of our innings. Credit to them. It wasn’t an easy wicket to bat on. I thought we had enough on the board at the end of our innings.”

Meanwhile, Dubai Capitals’ Adam Zampa said: “Tom Curran and Matheesha Pathirana bowled impressively for the Vipers. The batting group will talk about what they can do better and think about what they could do if they find themselves in the same situation again.”

Earlier in the day, Rahmanullah Gurbaz played a fantastic innings of 56 runs from 39 balls to help the Sharjah Warriors register a four-wicket victory over Abu Dhabi Knight Riders at the same stadium.

The Warriors restricted the Knight Riders to 149 for four in their 20 overs and then chased down their target in 17 overs.

Speaking about their performance, Sharjah Warriors’ captain Joe Denly said: “Our bowlers set the tone for the whole game. We never let them get away when they were batting. I thought 150 was a very reasonable score. We are a confident group at the moment and we have a couple of days to recharge and then come back strong in Sharjah.”

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders’ Akeal Hosein said after the match: “I thought we were 15 runs short with the bat. The Warriors got off to a great start in the powerplay, which allowed them to cruise through in the middle period of the game. We’ve had decent performances with bat and ball, but we haven’t put everything together as a team.”

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ACB confirms T20I series against UAE planned for next month

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(Last Updated On: January 29, 2023)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) said Saturday that a three-match T20I series will take place in Abu Dhabi next month between the two countries.

According to a statement issued by the ACB, the three matches will take place at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on February 16, 18 and 19.

ACB said it has selected a preliminary list of 22 players for the preparation camp that will also be held in the UAE. The team will depart next week for the United Arab Emirates, where they will take part in a training camp ahead of the series.

The team will be captained by Rashid Khan and a final 15-17 member team will be selected after the training camp, the ACB said in the statement adding that the final team might also feature new players as part of the ACB’s long-term plans for future T20I events.

The 22-member squad includes Rashid Khan (C), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Abdul Rahman Rahmani, Afsar Zazai, Azmatullah Omarzai, Bilal Sami, Farid Ahmad Malik, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Gulbadin Naib, Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Najibullah Zadran, Nangyal Kharoti, Naveen Ul Haq, Nijat Masoud, Noor Ahmad, Rahmat Shah, Sediqullah Atal, Shahidullah Kamal, Sharafuddin Ashraf and Zahir Khan.

The T20I series is being played in accordance with the agreement that was recently signed between Afghanistan and the Emirates Cricket Boards. Based on the agreement, Afghanistan will play a series of three T20I matches with the UAE on an annual basis.

“We are honored to be part of this partnership and are pleased with the results of our recent talks and negotiations with the Emirates Cricket Board,” said Naseeb Khan, the CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board.

“Playing this T20I series is the first step in our long-term commitment and we are looking forward to a continued relationship with ECB,” he added.

“Emirates Cricket are looking forward to welcoming players and staff from Afghanistan Cricket as we embark on this journey and collaboration with them,” Mubashshir Usmani, Emirates Cricket Board General Secretary said.

“We anticipate three very competitive, highly entertaining T20I matches,” he added.

This series is considered crucial as it forms the basis for this year’s busy season, which includes several bilateral commitments and major events such as the ACC Asia Cup in September and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in October.

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