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Friday,03-December-2021

International

T20 World Cup: A really good feeling to win against India, says Afridi

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Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi said that it was a really good feeling to secure a win against India in the ICC men’s T20 World Cup. He added that the team had a plan and it was just about executing it.

Afridi set up Pakistan’s crushing ten-wicket win over India in Dubai on Sunday, as the 2009 champions broke their losing streak against the 2007 champions in 20-over World Cups. His opening burst claimed Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in power-play. In his final over, he took out India skipper Virat Kohli, thus applying brakes to Ind’a’s finishing touches. Overall, he had figures of 3/31 in four overs.

“To be honest, a really good feeling to win against India in World Cup. It is a special thing for us Pakistanis. First of all, congratulations to the whole of Pakistan. They all were sitting and praying for us. So yeah, I think we had a plan and just executed it,” said Afridi in the post-match press conference on Sunday.

He also credited his skipper Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan for putting up an unconquered partnership of 152 runs, which helped Pakistan get over the line with 13 balls to spare. “The way Rizi (Rizwan) and Babar finished the game and the way they’re playing, I think credit goes to these two. They were like a one-man army swinging the bat. It’s good for Pakistan to start good in our first game. We’re looking forward to more games.”

Talking about his approach with the ball, Afridi explained, “I think this is also the first time that I bowled three overs in power-play. The ball was moving a bit and I was trying to give a breakthrough for the team as it was a requirement at that time. The conditions were such that the ball was moving for me. I just tried to do it and got good results.”

Afridi revealed that there was a plan in place to get Kohli out in his last over of the match. “Yes, there was a plan for it. Virat Kohli is a number one player. I think there’s no difference between him and Babar. Both play the same way. The way I bowl to Babar in the nets, I tried to bowl the same way against Kohli. When I came in the third over, I wasn’t getting the swing and seam which was there previously. My effort was to continue in the same way, just focusing on hitting the length and do some slow cutter in the end.”

Pakistan’s next match in the tournament will be against New Zealand on Tuesday in Sharjah.

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IND v NZ, 2nd Test: India reach 111/3 at tea on Day 1

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 India were 111/3 at tea on a truncated opening day of the second Test against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.

Opener Mayank Agarwal was batting on 52 while Shreyas Iyer was not out on 7 as the hosts lost their way after a good start.

Ajaz Patel claimed all three wickets in the space of 15 balls as India slumped from 80/1 in the 28th over to 80/3 at the end of the 30th over.

Brief scores: India 111/3 in 37 overs (Mayank Agarwal batting 52, Shubman Gill 44; Ajaz Patel 3/30) vsNew Zealand.

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ATP backs WTA, asks China to come clean on tennis player Peng Shuai’s wellbeing

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The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has thrown its weight behind the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), expressing concern over the well-being of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a top Chinese government official of sexual assault.

WTA chief Steve Simon recently said that he has “serious doubts” that Peng was “free, safe and not subject to intimidation”. He also announced suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong, with immediate effect till the country investigates in a full, fair and transparent manner the allegation of sexual assault made against a former senior politician by the 35-year-old doubles player.

Late on Thursday, the ATP, the body which governs men’s international tennis, said, “the situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious”.

ATP chairman, Andrea Gaudenzi, issued a statement, saying, “The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport. The response to those concerns has so far fallen short. We again urge for a line of open direct communication between the player and the WTA in order to establish a clearer picture of her situation.

“We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact,” said Gaudenzi.

“We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves.”

WTA administration and players have been in total support of Peng Shuai ever since screenshots of her social media post were shared on Twitter and the WTA has regularly demanded verifiable proof from Chinese government that Peng Shuai is “free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation”.

Chinese authorities have released videos of her at a restaurant and also arranged for a video call with senior officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but WTA is not convinced, thus resulting in the suspension of all its tournaments in China.

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Finally, Test cricket returns to Wankhede and Mumbai is loving it

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Office-goers walking through the ‘D Lane’ in Churchgate area of Mumbai on Friday morning were surprised when a group of people started blowing conch shells, waving India flags and chanting ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ as a bus convoy entered the lane on way to the Wankhede Stadium.

They would have been expecting some activity considering that a Test match was scheduled at the Wankhede, but the reception accorded to the convoy must have come as a surprise to many.

While such enthusiasm was a little unexpected but it was not completely out of place as Mumbai is hosting a Test match after nearly five years, and the small crowd that had gathered since early morning, could not control its emotions as the buses ferrying the Indian team made it to the stadium.

The India versus England game in 2016 was the last time a Test match was played at the Wankhede, and with other cricketing activity not possible because of the suspension of sports activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it meant there was a little more enthusiasm among the faithful.

A small group waited patiently for the gates to open so that they could get into the stadium. Hosts Mumbai Cricket Association is allowed to sell only 8000 tickets as the government has authorised only 25 per cent stadium capacity to be filled. With Mumbai police making elaborate arrangements for the Test, Covid protocols are being followed strictly with officials ensuring that people follow the rules.

Though the sparse crowd’s enthusiasm was dampened a bit as the start of the match was delayed due to wet patches on the ground because of the rains, it waited patiently, waving the Indian flags as the players came out for warm-up and light practice.

The crowd erupted in a loud cheer as the New Zealand players, followed by the Indian openers, walked into the field. And the cheers grew louder as Shubman Gill struck two consecutive boundaries off Kyle Jamieson in the second over, with the typical Mumbai chant of “Sachin, Sachin” reaching a crescendo.

More people are expected to come in the next few days as things get interesting.

The last Test played at Wankhede was against England in which skipper Kohli had scored a majestic 235, while Jayant Yadav has smashed a century.

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