Pak vs SA: Enjoying my time in the dressing room, says Fawad Alam - The Daily Guardian
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Pak vs SA: Enjoying my time in the dressing room, says Fawad Alam

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Karachi [Pakistan], January 29 (ANI): Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam, who scored a century in the first innings to put the hosts on top in the first Test against South Africa, said on Friday he is enjoying his time in the dressing room.
Fawad was named Player of the Match for his 109-run in the first essay as the hosts registered a seven-wicket win over the Proteas at the National Stadium.

“Very important knock. The team was 27/4. The better we did in the first innings, the easier it would’ve been. Pressure is a lot at the international level, especially making a comeback after such a long time,” Alam said of his knock after the game.
“I’m enjoying my time in the dressing room. Pitch had double (variable) bounce, double pace, there were rough patches. But the talk was about applying yourself, going with the flow and not think about what’s happening off the pitch. That was my thinking — to apply myself,” he added.
Nauman Ali made a memorable debut for Pakistan as he picked seven wickets, including a five-wicket haul in the second innings, to power his side to a win over South Africa on day four.
With this win, Pakistan has taken a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Chasing the target of 88, Pakistan openers Imran Butt and Abid Ali avoided risky shots as the team was not chasing a huge target. However, Anrich Nortje came out all guns blazing in the eighth over, removing both Abid (10) and Butt (12).
Azhar Ali and skipper Azam then joined hands in the middle. Both played brilliantly, scoring regular boundaries but with the team just two runs away, Keshav Maharaj dismissed Babar (30) in the 23rd over. Fawad Alam then came out and hit a boundary to take Pakistan over the line. (ANI)

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We deserve to be in WTC final, quite exciting for us as team: Kohli

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 7 (ANI): After reaching the final of the World Test Championship (WTC), India skipper Virat Kohli said that his side completely deserves to be there in the summit clash of the Test Championship.
Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) following an emphatic 3-1 series win over England. Virat Kohli’s men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day at the iconic Lord’s Stadium in London.
“Well, we are quite relieved now that we have made it to the WTC final. Probably, if you look at the last 2-2.5 years and how we have played, we deserve to be in the finals. Now, it’s just about getting together as a group and focusing on that big game which is quite exciting for us as a team,” said Kohli in a video posted on the official website of BCCI.
Speaking about the upcoming WTC final, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said: “I think the way we came back as a team, each and every individual stepped up. Credit to everyone, I think everyone hung in there. It is all about the team, we always speak about how we can contribute to the team and that’s what we did. I am really happy as an individual and as a vice-captain. Our journey in not only the WTC, but before that as well, we played really well.”
Batsman Rohit Sharma said that India bounced back after every challenge that was thrown to them, and hence the side completely deserves a place in the finals.
“A big congratulations to every team member and the staff for making it to the final. It has been a long journey since the WTC started, we played well in India and we played outside India as well. We were put in difficult situations many times and we responded well to those situations that is why we stand here in the finals of the WTC. We deserve to be in the finals of the WTC,” said Rohit.
India finished as the number one team with 72.2 percentage points in the WTC points table, the factor that determined the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption.
The Black Caps were the first team to ensure a place in the final with 70 percentage points. Australia finished third with 69.2 percentage points while England ended with 61.4 percentage points at the fourth position.
The Black Caps had qualified for the WTC final following the postponement of the Test series between South Africa and Australia. In November last year, the ICC had confirmed that the WTC points system would be amended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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ISL 7: Second-leg important, need to be strong from start to end, says Jamil

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Panaji (Goa) [India], March 7 (ANI): After playing out a 1-1 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan in the first leg of the Indian Super League (ISL), NorthEast United head coach Khalid Jamil said that his side should now focus at the second-leg game as it is really important.
Idrissa Sylla headed in a stoppage-time header to help NorthEast United hold ATK Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw at GMC Stadium, on Saturday.
The second-half substitute struck in the fourth minute of injury time to cancel out David Williams’ 34th-minute goal. The result also meant Khalid Jamil is still unbeaten in the competition and extended NorthEast’s winning run to ten games.
“We are thinking about the next game. It is a vital point. We came back strongly because our players worked very hard. Britto, Sylla, Machado and even Gallego (did well) so we are happy to equalize. You can say it’s a vital point after trailing 1-0 in the first half. ATK Mohun Bagan are good defensively. It is not easy to break them. But we scored and that’s why we are very happy,” said Jamil during the post-match press conference.
“We see the availability of players, so according to that, we will put the players. We are not thinking about the early goals. We are thinking about keeping our concentration high in 90 minutes. Just go with the flow. That’s our main target. The second leg is important. We have to be strong from start to end,” he added.
AtK Mohun Bagan and NorthEast United would now lock horns in the second leg of the ISL semi-final on Tuesday. (ANI)

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CONMEBOL suspends March World Cup qualifiers in South America

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Buenos Aires [Argentina], March 7 (ANI): South American football governing body, CONMEBOL has confirmed that the two rounds of the World Cup qualifiers set to go ahead in March in South America have now been postponed.
The decision was taken after several nations declined to release their players during the international break due to the need of quarantine following their travel, reported Goal.com.
As a result, the matches between Argentina-Uruguay and Argentina-Brazil will now go ahead at a later date.
“The CONMEBOL board has resolved to suspend the double round of qualifying fixtures for Qatar 2022 scheduled for March. The decision owes to the impossibility of having all the South American players in good time,” CONMEBOL said in an official statement.
“FIFA will look at the rescheduling of the round, in coordination with CONMEBOL and the member associations. Soon, different options will be studied to stage the matches,” it added.
Earlier, CONMEBOL March qualifiers were already in ask as many clubs in Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga refused to release their players for travelling during the international break.
Brazil currently head the qualifying campaign as the side won four matches. Argentina occupy second place with 10 points, followed by Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay. (ANI)

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Road Safety World Series: Tharanga outshines Lara in Sri Lanka Legends’ win

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Raipur (Chattisgarh) [India], March 7 (ANI): Sri Lanka Legends got off to a good start in the Road Safety World Series as they got the better of West Indies Legends by five wickets on Saturday to start the season on a high at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium.
It was Upul Tharanga’s heroic unbeaten half-century — 53 off 36 balls — that saw the Lankans easily overhaul a modest target of 157 set by West Indies. The Island team riding on Tharanga’s knock and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan’s responsible 47 saw them score 160 for five in the entertaining encounter which ended in the 19th over.
Other than the two, Chamara Silva played a cameo of a 15-ball 22 which was crucial in the chase. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya had a disappointing day in office with just 12 runs coming off his bat.
Earlier, West Indian legend Brian Lara once again showed why the class is permanent when he played a stylish unbeaten knock of 43 runs with the help of eight boundaries along with the dangerous Dwayne Smith to help their team reach a respectable total of 157 for four in 20 overs.
The contrasting batting style and partnership of 66 runs between Lara and Smith saw the Caribbean Island team bounce back following a bad start after being put in to bat first by Sri Lanka Legends.
The start to West Indies innings was not a convincing one as they lost opener Narsingh Deonarine in the third over when the scoreboard read 3/1. His partner William Perkins, who was aggressive in his approach, succumbed to another run out at the score of 38.
Two wickets down, West Indies needed a strong stand from Smith and Lara. And they exactly did what the script demanded. Smith was the aggressor between the two as he went on to slam 27-ball 47 that included four boundaries and three sixes while Lara played the supporting act in the partnership.
When things looked in control for West Indies, Smith played an unnecessary shot and ended up giving a catch to Dhamika Prasad off Chinthaka Jayasinghe in the 14th over.
The ship slowed down after Smith’s departure and it was up to Lara to take it to safety. The stylish southpaw eventually slammed an unbeaten half-century with little help from Tino Best (18*) that saw Windies post 157 for the loss of four wickets in 20 overs.
Brief scores: West Indies Legends 157/4 (Brian Lara 53*, Dwayne Smith 47); Sri Lanka Legends 160/5 (Upul Tharanga 53*, Tillakaratne Dilshan 47). (ANI)

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NZ vs Aus: Got exposed in 4th T20I, nice to bounce back in final game, says Williamson

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 7 (ANI): After winning the five-match T20I series against Australia 3-2, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson on Sunday said that it was nice to see his side bouncing back after being exposed in the fourth T20I.
Ish Sodhi’s three-wicket haul and Martin Guptill’s 71-run knock helped New Zealand defeat Australia by seven wickets in the fifth and final T20I on Sunday here at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
“Incredibly hard-fought series. Momentum shifts throughout. Outstanding to pick up some of those learnings that we were trying to in the series. It’s about cricket that we want to play. We know how strong a side Australia is, they showed it in the last two games. We just wanted to improve our game. To some extent, we got exposed in the last game on that pitch. So it was nice to bounce back today,” said Williamson after the match.
“When you’re playing three games on the same surface, you get a better idea of how to go about things. It’s been a great series to be part of and I’d like to congratulate the Australian team for coming to our shores,” he added.
The first two T20Is of the five-match series were won by New Zealand, but Australia staged a comeback to level the series 2-2. However in the series decider, the hosts were on their game from the very start and they ended up winning the series 3-2.
New Zealand will now lock horns against Bangladesh in three ODIs and three T20Is. The first ODI will be played on March 20 at Dunedin. (ANI)

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NZ vs Aus, 5th T20I: Guptill, Sodhi star as hosts win series 3-2

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 7 (ANI): Ish Sodhi’s three-wicket haul and Martin Guptill’s 71-run knock helped New Zealand defeat Australia by seven wickets in the fifth and final T20I on Sunday here at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
With this win, New Zealand won the five-match series 3-2.
Chasing 143, the Kiwis got off to a tremendous start as openers Guptill and Devon Conway put on 106 runs for the first wicket inside 12 overs. This stand saw Guptill going past his fifty-run mark to give the hosts an upper hand.
Australia did get back-to-back wickets of Conway (36) and Guptill (71) but it was too late and in the end, Glenn Phillips (34) and Mark Chapman (1) took the BlackCaps over the line by seven wickets and 27 balls to spare.
Earlier, a three-wicket haul helped New Zealand restrict Australia to 142/8 in the allotted twenty overs.
Australia was in a steady position at the halfway mark as the side had registered a score of 74/2 after the first ten overs.
However, the innings with southwards after that as the visitors managed to score just 68 runs in the final ten overs, and the side also lost six more wickets in the process.
For Australia, Matthew Wade (44) and Aaron Finch (36) got among the runs and no other batsmen was able to stay at the crease for a long duration. For the Kiwis, Sodhi returned with three wickets while Tim Southee and Trent Boult took two wickets each.
Brief Scores: Australia 142/8 (Matthew Wade 44, Aaron Finch 36, Ish Sodhi 3-24); New Zealand 143/3 (Martin Guptill 71, Devon Conway 36, Riley Meredith 2-39). (ANI)

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