England’s demolition squad has Sri Lanka in its sights
There is something about Eoin Morgan’s England, which is becoming the cynosure of all eyes, and the envy of every team competing at the ICC T20 World Cup here.
The demolition squad has already demoralised and dismissed the likes of defending champions West Indies, hammered Bangladesh and humiliated Australia, and they would be going into their fourth Group 1 ‘Super 12’ games — against Sri Lanka later on Monday — riding on the momentum of those wins and the confidence that Jos Buttler will continue to breathe fire with his strokes.
While Jason Roy starred with the bat in the win over Bangladesh, his half-century was overshadowed by an extraordinary 32-ball unbeaten 71-run knock by his opening partner Jos Buttler against Australia, whose strike rate touched 222 as he smashed five massive sixes and an equal number of boundaries to nail Aaron Finch’s side.
With Buttler in imperious form, and England’s bowling attack looking in good shape, it will take an impressive performance to stop them. But Sri Lanka, the former T20 World champions, do have the calibre — and the pedigree — to trouble the group leaders.
Wanindu Hasaranga took a hat-trick in the loss to South Africa on October 30, and has the quality to trouble England. The entire Sri Lankan outfit is also much improved from the squad that were whitewashed 3-0 by England in June this year, in a series which led to three of the Island’s top cricketers being banned for a year for breaching Covid-19 protocols.
Sri Lanka know they need a win too, with only one more game against West Indies to come, and South Africa and Australia to overhaul if they want to snatch a qualification spot for the semifinals.
Both teams are expected to be unchanged for the fixture. Sri Lanka’s combination of top-class spin and express pace has been an impressive feature so far, while England’s dominance in their three fixtures so far has allowed them to absorb the injury issues of Mark Wood.
Talking about Buttler’s exploits, Liam Livingstone said, “I’ve said it all along: he’s the best hitter of a white ball in the world, and when he gets on a roll like that (against Australia), there’s no stopping him. That was pretty much the perfect innings, a clinic of white-ball power hitting. It was a pleasure to just sit there and watch a genius at work.”
Sri Lanka coach Mahela Jayawardene too was all praise for Buttler, saying, “He’s probably one of the best players through the off side as well — he opens himself up and the hands come through. He’s a good player of spin: he has the reverse-sweep, he comes down and hits — we saw the way he controlled (Adam) Zampa (and how) he never let him settle into that line and length.”
Probable England XI: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (captain), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Tymal Mills.
Probable Sri Lanka XI: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Avishka Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka (captain), Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara.
‘I’m happy here’: Cristiano Ronaldo pledges to continue at Al Nassr in Saudi Pro League
Portugese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to continue at Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia despite walking away empty handed in this season. The 38-year-old has earmarked the tournament to be among the top five in the world.
Ronaldo, who signed a two and a half year contract with Al Nassr, scored 14 goals in 16 games in the season, with his side standing second behind Al Ittihad in the Saudi Pro league. However, there were speculations about how long will he stay as reports of swap deal with Saudi-owned Newcastle United emerged, who have now qualified for next season’s Champions league.
In an official Saudi Pro League interview, the star footballer revealed:
“I’m happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here. And in my opinion, if they continue to do the work that they want to do here, for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be a top five league in the world. I expected to win something this year, but we didn’t, but next year I’m really positive, but next year I’m really positive and confident that things will change and we go in a better way.”
Cristiano Ronaldo suggests he is still adjusting to strange training timings in Saudi Arabia:
Ronaldo also revealed how contrasting the training timings in Europe and Saudi Arabia are, elaborating:
“In Europe, we train more in the morning, but here we train in the afternoon or evening and in Ramadan, we train at 10 at night. So this is strange but as I tell you, these situations are part of an experience, memories. I like to live these moments because you learn with these things.”
With 837 goals in 512 games, Ronaldo is the combined highest goal scorer in history.
Lionel Messi to leave PSG at the end of the season, confirms club manager Christophe Galtier
Paris Saint Germain superstar Lionel Messi will leave the club at the end of the current season, manager Christophe Galtier confirmed on Thursday. Messi made 74 appearances for PSG in which he scored 32 goals and made 35 assists. In Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain has played 37 matches out of which they have won 27, lost six and drew four.
PSG had acquired Messi’s services two years ago in a record transfer deal after he left FC Barcelona in 2021.
Messi, who’s contract with PSG ends this season, is now being linked with with a move to Saudi Arabia while talk of a return to the Nou Camp has picked up in Spain in recent weeks.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner will play his final match for PSG against Clermont Foot on Saturday.
“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football,” Galtier said on Thursday. “This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes.”
Messi’s envious record
In the Spanish La Liga football competition, Lionel Messi has scored 474 goals in 520 matches. In the French Ligue 1, Messi has scored 22 goals in 57 matches.
The 35-year-old while playing for Football Club Barcelona has scored 672 goals in 778 games. While playing for Paris Saint-Germain he has scored 32 goals in 74 matches.
No plan to bring Messi back: Barca president
FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta recently said that the club has re-established good relationships with Argentine legend Lionel Messi, but it would not pay any price to bring him back to the Camp Nou Stadium.
“I have spoken with Leo to somehow redirect the situation that occurred when I had to put the institution ahead of everything, including him, the best player in the world,” said Laporta in a Monday morning TV show.
Mark Zuckerberg strikes gold against jiu jitsu fighters, posts pictures on Instagram
In the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has appeared helpless in front of the US Congress where he has been slapped by fines, and fired 11,000 vulnerable employees after being hit by falling revenues. But outside the business arena where Meta is facing tough competition from TikTok and other rivals, Zuckerberg is a huge mixed martial arts fan.
Contrary to setbacks in the tech sector, the Facebook founder has tasted victory in jiu jitsu.
Striking gold, but in a different arena
- The billionaire who has trained with UFC fighters, posted pictures after winning jiu jitsu matches for the first time.
- The billionaire who tried his hand at martial arts, revealed that he won a gold medal in the Gi categroy and a silver medal in the No-GI category.
- His post on Instagram received comments from UFC featherweight and bantamweight category champions, as well as jiu jitsu hall of fame member Bernardo Faria.
Competitive or short tempered?
- The entrepreneur turned sportsperson, who also enjoys surfing, was seen getting into a heated argument after losing a contest during the tournament in California as well.
- On the work front, Zuckerberg’s firm Meta also surprised the markets by bouncing back with strong earnings, after struggling with loss of ad revenue.
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