Abu Dhabi T10: Qalandars notch up their second consecutive nine-wicket victory - The Daily Guardian
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Abu Dhabi T10: Qalandars notch up their second consecutive nine-wicket victory

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Abu Dhabi [UAE], January 30 (ANI): Qalandars on Saturday recorded their second consecutive nine-wicket win in the ninth match of the Abu Dhabi T10 at the Abu Dhabi Zayed Cricket Stadium.
The side breezed to a comfortable nine-wicket win over Team Abu Dhabi. This team started their campaign on the second day through a nine-wicket win over Pune Devils. In the match against Team Abu Dhabi, once again they displayed their strong bowling and batting strength to win by nine wickets.
Shahid Afridi led the bowling attack by taking two wickets for just 16 runs to walk away with the man of the match award. Qalandars’ tight bowling restricted Team Abu Dhabi to 100 runs. Chasing the target, Qalandars, through a quick 30 from Tom Banton, an unbeaten 40 from Sharjeel Khan, and an unconquered 27 from skipper Sohail Akhtar, won the match with ten balls to spare.
Earlier, Qalandars won the toss and elected to field. Pakistan’s experienced pacer Sohail Tanvir bowled an intelligent first over giving away just seven runs to Team Abu Dhabi openers Chris Gayle and Paul Stirling. Ahmed Daniyal too bowled a tight second over giving away only seven runs. UAE’s left-arm spinner Sultan Ahmed got Gayle caught by Sohail Tanvir at deep backward square leg for 5. Stirling hit Sultan’s last ball for a six over deep mid-wicket.
Shahid Afridi, who was introduced for the fourth over, gave away nine runs. At the halfway mark, Team Abu Dhabi was 41 for 1. Afridi, who bowled the sixth over, had Ben Duckett caught by Tanvir at deep third man for 15 and also had Stirling caught by Asif Ali at deep mid-wicket for 29.
Ahmad Daniyal, who was re-introduced in the seventh over, bowled brilliantly to give away just four runs. Chris Jordan bowled the eighth over and was hit by Joe Clark for a six to square leg and two exquisite drives to the cover boundary. Clark did not spare Sohail Tanvir too, who bowled the next over. He hit him for a six to deep mid-wicket and also picked a boundary behind square leg.
Jordan ended Clarke’s innings with the second ball of the last over by trapping him leg before wicket for 34. Najibullah Zadran then smashed Jordan over long-on for a six to help Team Abu Dhabi reach the 100 run mark before he was run out off the last ball.
Chasing the target, Tom Banton gave Qalandars a breezy start by hitting Usman Sanwari for three consecutive boundaries to take 18 runs off the first over. Banton also picked a boundary off Rohan Mustafa’s second over. In the third over, Naveen Ul Haq ended Banton’s innings by having him caught at point by Mustafa for 30. Sohail Akhtar joined opener Sharjeel Khan and maintained the run flow well.
Akhtar started with two consecutive boundaries off Obed McCoy. Sharjeel too picked the right balls to keep the scoreboard moving at a brisk pace. He helped Qalandars reach their target by hitting Shinwari for two successive boundaries off the first two balls of the ninth over.
Brief scores: Team Abu Dhabi 100/5 (Paul Stirling 29, Joe Clarke 34, Shahid Afridi 2-16); Qalandars 104/1 (Tom Banton 30, Sharjeel Khan 40*). (ANI)

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Ferguson eyeing Test cricket return with T20I series against Bangladesh

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson is eyeing Test cricket return with the upcoming T20I series against Bangladesh.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead is hopeful that Ferguson will be available for the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh.
Ferguson has been out of action since December last year, when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture following the T20I series against West Indies. During the series against Windies, Ferguson had claimed his career-best figures of 5 for 21.
“I’ve always talked very highly of Test cricket and want to play it. Certainly, my closest focus is to get back on the park and play, it’s been enjoyable watching the Test boys and stoked they made the final which is going to be super exciting,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ferguson as saying.
“Think the best thing for me and the team is to get back playing a decent amount of cricket, get that loading behind me, then I certainly want to be in the mix for selection for the UK trip but that’s a couple of months down the line so we’ll cross that bridge later on,” he added.
Before returning to the field against Bangladesh, the speedster believes he has some boxes to tick.
“That’s the aim, it’s a bit of a process so can’t make the call right now. Certainly, there’s some boxes to tick, but definitely, the way things have been tracking it’s been going really well that’s certainly the goal,” Ferguson said.
Despite the amount of T20 on the calendar this season, which now includes a stint in the T20 Blast with Yorkshire, and concludes with the World Cup in India during October, Ferguson is not making it is sole focus although acknowledges Test cricket presents different challenges.
“Certainly to play in the Test Championship would be very special as well…but at the same time have to focus on what’s coming up and make sure I’m ready to go,” he said. “The Test demands are much higher than T20 in terms of loading, so from that point of view it takes some time to build up. Give your body a chance to adjust to playing a lot of cricket then you can make a decision,” he said.
New Zealand is currently involved in a five-match T20I series against Australia which ends on March 7. After that, the Black Caps will first play three ODIs against Bangladesh from March 20 to 26 and then three T20Is from March 28 to April 1. (ANI)

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Barcelona defender Pique out with right knee injury, likely to miss PSG clash

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Barcelona [Spain], March 5 (ANI): Barcelona defender Gerard Pique will spend another stint on the sidelines as he sustained “a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee”.
World Cup winner suffered the blow in the team’s 3-0 win over Sevilla in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Pique scored a goal in the second-half stoppage time before Martin Braithwaite netted the final goal of the match to hand comprehensive victory.

Barca said in a statement on their official website: “The medical assessment and tests performed this morning have shown that first-team player Gerard Pique has a sprain in the internal lateral ligament of his right knee. He is therefore unavailable and the evolution of the injury will determine when he returns.”
“The Barca centre-back was a starter and played the 120 minutes in the superb win against Sevilla, as well as being one of the great protagonists of the night, leading the heroic comeback with a goal in added time that allowed Barca to force extra-time. As for this season, Pique has played a total of 15 games in which he has scored two goals,” it added.
Injury struggles have become familiar for the 34-year-old this season, with knee complaints plaguing his 2020-21 campaign.
Pique was forced onto the sidelines in November 2020 with a knee problem and missed the best part of three months. He sat out 24 games as Ronald Koeman’s side struggled to find the consistency required to compete for major honours.
Barcelona will next take on Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 of the Champions League on March 11. (ANI)

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NZC allows crowds for T20I double-header in Wellington

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 5 (ANI): New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Friday announced that spectators will be allowed to attend the weekend’s T20I double-header at Sky Stadium after the relaxation in Wellington’s Alert Level status.
The fifth and final T20I between New Zealand and Australia and the final T20I of the three-match series between New Zealand women (White Ferns) and England women will also be played in Wellington on Sunday.
Earlier, both the fixtures were shifted from the Bay Oval to Wellington and were set to be played behind closed doors.
The second T20I between New Zealand women and England women is being played at Sky Stadium while the fourth T20I between New Zealand men and Australia men will start later in the day.
Kane Williamson-led side currently leads the series 2-1, having won the first two games by 53 and 4 runs respectively.
However, the Aaron Finch-led side was able to keep the series alive as they registered a convincing 64-run win in the third T20I played on Wednesday at the Westpac Stadium here.
On Thursday, New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner was tested negative for COVID-19 and will be available for selection for the fourth T20I against Australia.
Santner was ruled out of the third T20I after he woke up with a head-cold. He was put under self-isolation as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of a COVID test. Adam Milne was added as his cover for the third T20I.
“Team update| BLACKCAPS all-rounder Mitchell Santner has returned a negative COVID test this afternoon. He is feeling better and available for selection for T20 four against Australia at Sky Stadium on Friday night,” New Zealand Cricket informed in a tweet on Thursday.
Santner had returned with the figures of 4/31 in the second T20I played at the University Oval in Dunedin. (ANI)

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Would like to be known as someone who created a legacy: Bavuma after taking captaincy role

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Johannesburg [South Africa], March 5 (ANI): After becoming South Africa’s limited-overs skipper, batsman Temba Bavuma wants to show his potential at the helm and create a legacy for himself.
On Thursday, Bavuma was named as the country’s first black African cricket captain while Dean Elgar was given the captaincy of Test cricket.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) said Bavuma will lead the Proteas in the 2021 and 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cups as well as the ICC Men’s World Cup in 2023. Elgar will take over the reins into the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.

“I understand the deeply rooted significance of it all. In being the first black African (cricket) captain in our country – you don’t have to look too far in our history and our political situation in our country – so I can completely understand why people in our country would celebrate it for what it is,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Bavuma as saying.
“I’d be lying if I said it does not make me think of where everything started for me, and how I’ve been able to go through a journey and get to this point. But combined with being known as the first black African captain, I’d also like to be known as someone who led the team very well and created a legacy for himself,” he added.
However, the captaincy role is a surprise to Bavuma but it is a no-brainer for him.
“I was offered the position as captain and it came to me as a surprise, but it was a no-brainer. I don’t think a lot of people would turn down this type of honour and privilege,” he said.
“Obviously there’s anxiety about not knowing what to expect but a lot of comfort comes from the fact that I know my players and the people who have entrusted me with the decision, I draw a lot of confidence from that because those are people of stature,” the skipper added. (ANI)

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Mohammad Abbas signs two-month deal with Hampshire for County Championship

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Hampshire [UK], March 5 (ANI): Hampshire on Thursday announced the signing of Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas for the first two months of the County Championship season.
Abbas has quickly become one of the world’s best Test bowlers since making his international debut in 2017, with 84 wickets to his name at an exceptional average of 22.80 in just 23 appearances. He currently holds the third-best bowling average of all active international bowlers, behind only Jasprit Bumrah and Pat Cummins, and sits 12th in the ICC Test Bowling Rankings.
After impressing Pakistan’s national selectors through sustained domestic success in 2015 and 2016, Abbas burst onto the international scene four years ago, claiming his maiden Test wicket two deliveries into his debut against West Indies, before going on to record his first five-wicket haul in just his third Test appearance.
“I’m really pleased to be joining Hampshire and I can’t wait to join up with the team this summer,” Abbas said in a statement.
Abbas is no stranger to English domestic cricket too having showcased his ability throughout two seasons at Leicestershire in 2018 and 2019. Leading the Foxes’ attack, he returned 79 wickets at an average of just 20.67 – including five five-wicket hauls – in 19 County Championship fixtures with the side.
“We are really excited about the arrival of Mohammad Abbas. He is a bowler of the highest quality and to secure him for an early-season Championship stint is a huge boost to the squad. He joins Kyle Abbott as our second overseas signing and we are hopeful that they form a formidable pairing in early season conditions,” said Giles White, Director Of Cricket. (ANI)

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POLLARD HITS 6 SIXES IN AN OVER, WELCOMED BY YUVRAJ AND GIBBS INTO THE CLUB

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Kieron Pollard

ANTIGUA: West Indies limited-overs format skipper Kieron Pollard on Thursday became the third batsman in the history of international cricket to hit six 6s in an over.

He achieved the feat in the first T20I of the three-match series against Sri Lanka here at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. With these six 6s, Pollard has joined the likes of Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh in the elusive list.

Pollard hit Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya for six 6s in the sixth over of the innings as the hosts’ Windies were chasing a target of 132 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

The right-handed batsman hit the first ball over the long-on fence, the second ball was dispatched straight down the ground while the third was hit to the long-off fence.

Former cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Herschelle Gibbs on Thursday, took to the microblogging platform Twitter, and welcomed all-rounder Kieron Pollard to the 6 sixes club.

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