Abu Dhabi [UAE], January 30 (ANI): UAE’s medium pacer Zahoor Khan and South Africa’s experienced batsman Cameron Delport steered Deccan Gladiators to a six-wicket win over Team Abu Dhabi in the ongoing Abu Dhabi T10 league.
Zahoor Khan and Imtiaz Ahmed — hailing from India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh — bowled accurately to restrict Team Abu Dhabi to 95 for 9 in 10 overs. Khan returned with figures of 3 for 13 from his two overs while Ahmed took two crucial wickets in the first over for eight runs.
Deccan Gladiators, who were beaten by the Pune Devils on the first day, won the toss and elected to field. Team Abu Dhabi, playing their first game of this edition, opened their innings with Chris Gayle and Luke Wright.
Gayle hit the first ball from Imtiaz Ahmed for a boundary to mid-wicket. Thirty-five-year-old medium-pacer Ahmed struck with the third ball through an accurate yorker to clean bowl Gayle for 4.
He also cleaned up Paul Stirling with the fifth ball of that over for 4 runs. Ben Duckett, joined his skipper Luke Wright and attempted many risky shots. Aaron Summers made Duckett top edge to Zahoor Khan, who took a well-judged catch in the third over.
Three down for 30 in the first three overs, Gladiators introduced veteran leg spinner, Imran Tahir. He bowled tightly except the last ball of his over which was hit for a six by Joe Clarke.
Zahoor Khan, through an intelligent change of pace, clean bowled Clarke for 21. Khan also had Najibullah Zadran brilliantly caught by Imran Tahir at long leg in the same over. Thus half the side was back in the dug-out for just 54 runs.
Sunil Narine and Zahoor Khan gave away five and six runs respectively to also take one wicket each in the last two overs. Gladiators began their chase through openers Mohammad Shahzad and Cameron Delport.
After Naveed Ul Hassan was hit for 20 runs in the second over, UAE spinner Rohan Mustafa and Obed McCoy, a left-arm pacer from West Indies, gave away just six and three runs respectively from their next two overs. In the fifth over, Overton gave the breakthrough by having Shahzad caught by Stirling at deep cover for 21.
Skipper Kieron Pollard joined Delport and at the halfway stage as Gladiators needed 48 runs. Delport began to stroke freely from the sixth over and hit McCoy for a six and a boundary to pick 17 runs off the over.
Though Mustafa clean bowled Delport for 40 in the eighth over, Gladiators needed only ten more runs to win from the last two overs.
Overton removed Pollard for 24 and Azam Khan off successive balls of the last over when Gladiators needed just two runs. Sunil Narine hit the winning run by slashing Overton to the boundary to win with two balls to spare.
Brief Scores: Team Abu Dhabi 95/9 (Luke Wright 25, Joe Clarke 21; Zahoor Khan 3-13); Deccan Gladiators 98/4 (Cameron Delport 40, Kieron Pollard 24; Jamie Overton 3-18) (ANI)
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Klopp expects Alisson, Jota and Fabinho to be ready for Chelsea clash
Sheffield [UK], March 1 (ANI): Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hoping to have Fabinho and Alisson Becker available for the upcoming home clash against Chelsea.
Liverpool boss is also hopeful on Diogo Jota’s chances of returning against the Blues.
Fabinho has resumed full training after a muscle injury had kept him out of Liverpool’s last four outings, while Alisson was absent from the Reds’ 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday evening on compassionate grounds following the passing of his father earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Jota had been set to be included in the squad for the first time since December 9 after a knee issue; however, the forward fell ill at the team hotel overnight and was ruled out of the contest.
“Alisson and Fabinho, I am pretty sure [they can play],” Klopp said after the win over Sheffield United.
“With Diogo, he was with us last night in the hotel, but he got sick overnight and we had to send him home. So it will depend how quickly he recovers, obviously. He wasn’t in the squad, but he’s trained with the team before [this week] and looked really good, like I said before. I think he will be available but I don’t know,” he added.
The defending Premier League champions are now at the sixth spot in the standings with 43 points from 26 games and the side is just one point behind fifth-placed Chelsea. The first-half between Liverpool and Sheffield United saw no goals being scored and the honours were level at the halfway mark. (ANI)
After League Winners Shield, Lobera eyeing ISL trophy
Bambolim (Goa) [India], March 1 (ANI): After winning their first-ever trophy on Sunday, Mumbai City head coach Sergio Lobera is now setting his eyes on the Indian Super League (ISL) trophy. Mumbai City defeated ATK Mohun Bagan in the final match of the ISL league stage on Sunday to win the League Winners Shield.
Lobera’s men made the most of their chances as they dished out a complete performance to beat Bagan 2-0 at the GMC Stadium Bambolim.
“The season is not over. We have to continue being ambitious but now we have to enjoy the play-offs. We want to win the trophy,” Lobera said after the match.
“At this moment, every team is a difficult team. We have to be careful. It is (FC Goa) going to be a very good game against a good team and hopefully, we will win the semi-final,” he added.
With the win, the Islanders not only topped the league stage but also booked their place in the AFC Champions League (ACL) 2022 group stage. By doing so, they will become the second Indian club after FC Goa to play in the ACL.
The final league game of the season was expected to be close, with two of the most consistent teams in the league going head to head. But Lobera’s side won comfortably in the end after first-half goals from Mourtada Fall (7′) and Bartholomew Ogbeche (39′).
Despite losing the top spot to Mumbai, ATK Mohun Bagan will still harbour hopes of salvaging their season with a second successive ISL title.
Lobera is elated after securing the League Winners Shield and said his players deserved the trophy.
“I am very happy because Mumbai City and City Football Group (CFG) gave us all everything and now is the moment to enjoy and analyse the things we achieved. I think my players deserved to win this trophy and finally, hopefully, we can achieve another one,” said the Mumbai City boss.
“I always believe in my players because I am working with them all the time. They are warriors. They are ambitious players and amazing persons. We are a family on and off the pitch and finally, I think we were very strong mentally. We had a difficult situation when we lost one game against Jamshedpur but finally, we are a strong team and we deserved to finish at the top of the table,” he added.
Mumbai City FC will play their two-legged semi-finals against fourth-placed FC Goa. ATK Mohun Bagan, who finished second in the league stage will lock horns with third-placed NorthEast United FC. (ANI)
CWI announce “Best v Best” West Indies squads in preparation for Sri Lanka Tests
St John’s [Antigua], March 1 (ANI): Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel on Monday named 26 players to participate in a “Best v Best” four-day practice match in preparation for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
The match will be held on March 8-11 at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) ahead of the two-Test matches which will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, in Antigua.
Several members of the West Indies Test team which beat Bangladesh in the recent series have been named for the match, while other recent Test squad players are participating in the three-match ODI series from March 10-14.
“The ‘Best v Best’ game is firstly part of our preparation for the Test series against Sri Lanka. It gives the players who performed well in the last West Indies Championship an opportunity to showcase their skills, playing against each other, which we expect to be very competitive and put forward a case for themselves. It is a chance to raise their stock and show what they can do,” CWI Lead Selector Roger Harper said in an official release.
“The Test series win in Bangladesh was a real joy to watch. The results were brilliant, but it was the passion, the application, and the determination, as well as the team spirit that were exactly what we wanted to see. It was most encouraging to see everyone pulling together and working hard for each other and enjoying each other’s success. I think the team performed much better than many people thought they were capable of doing. I am really looking forward to seeing the team move forward and build from here,” he added.
SQUAD A: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Derval Green, Keon Harding, Shimron Hetmyer, Kavem Hodge, Paul Palmer Jr, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieran Powell, Preston McSween, Jayden Seales.
SQUAD B: Roston Chase (captain), Sunil Ambris, Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, John Campbell, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Imran Khan, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, Nial Smith, Jomel Warrican.
Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel have been rested for this match due to their workload management. The Test series between West Indies and Sri Lanka will begin on March 21.
Before the Test series, West Indies and Sri Lanka will be locking horns in three T20Is, beginning March 3. (ANI)
NZ vs Aus: Final T20I shifted to Wellington, to be played behind closed doors
Wellington [New Zealand], March 1 (ANI): New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Monday announced that the final T20I of the five-match series between New Zealand and Australia has been shifted to Wellington from Bay Oval and it will now be going ahead behind closed doors.
The final T20I of the three-match series between New Zealand women (White Ferns) and England women will also be played in Wellington behind closed doors.
“The final BlackCaps v Australia and White Ferns v England T20 double-header, scheduled for the Bay Oval on Sunday March 7, will now be played on the same date and time at Sky Stadium in Wellington. The change has been forced on NZC because of logistical complications arising from the transfer of this Friday’s second double-header from Auckland to Wellington,” the NZC said in an official statement.
The current Alert Level 2 protocols in Wellington mean all three double-headers – on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, will be played behind closed doors,” it added.
Earlier, it was confirmed that the upcoming third and fourth T20Is between New Zealand and Australia will be played behind closed doors. The first and second T20I between New Zealand Women (White Ferns) and England Women will also be played behind closed doors following the change to New Zealand’s alert levels with an eye on the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Saturday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland would return to level 3 for seven days. As a result, no sport can be held at level 3, reported stuff.co.nz.
The fourth T20I between New Zealand-Australia and White Ferns-England was to be played in Auckland, but as per the new guidelines, the matches were relocated to Wellington.
The rest of the country has moved to alert level 2 and the restrictions will last for a period of seven days. While announcing the new restrictions, Ardern said that the lockdown was needed due to there being no immediate transmission link between the new mystery case and the latest Auckland cluster. (ANI)
Premier League: Liverpool break losing jinx, defeat Sheffield United
Sheffield [UK], March 1 (ANI): Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool finally managed to break its losing streak in the Premier League 2020-21 season as the side defeated Sheffield United 2-0 on Monday.
The defending Premier League champions are now at the sixth spot in the standings with 43 points from 26 games and the side is just one point behind fifth-placed Chelsea.
The first-half between Liverpool and Sheffield United saw no goals being scored and the honours were level at the halfway mark.
However, in the second half, Liverpool picked up its intensity and they were immediately rewarded as Curtis Jones got among the scoring sheets to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead.
In the 64th minute, Sheffield’s Kean Bryan registered an own goal and this ended up giving Liverpool a 2-0 lead.
No more goals were registered and as a result, the visitors walked away with a 2-0 victory to end their losing streak in the ongoing premier English football competition.
In the entire match, Liverpool had eight shots on target as compared to two of Sheffield United.
Ball possession was also dominated by Liverpool as they held on to the ball for 61 per cent of the game as compared to Sheffield’s 39 per cent.
Liverpool will next take on Chelsea in the Premier League on Thursday, March 4. (ANI)
HOSTS PUSHING CONDITIONS TO EXTREMITIES, SAYS FOAKES
AHMEDABAD: Amid the debates over the nature of the pitch that was prepared for the pink-ball Test between India and England in Ahmedabad, England wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes on Sunday said that his side knows that the pitch is going to turn from ball one as the hosts are pushing their conditions to the extremities. “Obviously, we got thoroughly outplayed. Those were tricky conditions, but they played well. They have a couple of class spinners and we did not have answers to them so I think going forward, we have to be good enough to counter that to score big runs on the board.
I think we know what we are going to get in the last Test in terms of surface. They are pushing their conditions to the extremities and we know it is going to spin from ball number one, it is about finding a way to play well in those conditions,” said Foakes during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
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