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T20 World Cup: Mendis, Hasaranga star as Sri Lanka beat Netherlands by 16 runs; confirm Super 12 qualification



Kusal Mendis slammed a fine 79 while Wanindu Hasaranga picked three wickets as Sri Lanka beat the Netherlands by 16 runs in a decisive Group A match of the first round at Kardinia Park, Geelong, to confirm Super 12 qualification in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

After Mendis’s knock helped the 2014 T20 World Cup champions post 162/6 in their 20 overs, the Netherlands opener Max O’Dowd made an unbeaten 71 off 53 balls, laced with six fours and three sixes and was the long ranger for his side.

But he didn’t have much support from the other end as the Netherlands’ ultimately ended up at 146/9 in 20 overs, with leg-spinner Hasaranga taking 3-28 and off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana picking 2-32.

The Netherlands’ hopes of reaching Super 12 are now on the Namibia-UAE clash happening later in the day, with a UAE victory giving them the ticket to continue their journey in the tournament.

Chasing 163, Vikramjit Singh never got going before slog-sweeping a Maheesh Theekshana delivery straight to midwicket. Lahiru Kumara, brought in the eleven due to the fast bowling department being hit with injuries, was successful in enticing Bas de Leede to poke at a length ball outside the off-stump and edged behind to the keeper.

Three balls later, Colin Ackermann chipped tamely back to Hasaranga, departing for his second duck in three matches. Tom Cooper got a brace of boundaries before becoming Theekshana’s second wicket, missing a slog-sweep and seeing his stumps rattled by the mystery spinner.

Captain Scott Edwards fought back with three boundaries, using the sweep to good effect. But his promising stay ended when he went too far across his stumps and was bowled around his legs by Binura Fernando in the 15th over.

The Netherlands then collapsed like a pack of cards – Tim Pringle and Paul van Meekeren were run out, while Hasaranga’s googly castled Tim van der Gugten and Fred Klaassen.

O’Dowd, who didn’t get much strike due to his teammates falling in quick succession, hit a hat-trick of boundaries through the leg side to get his half-century. He went on to take two sixes off Theekshana and sliced a four over off-side off Kumara but saw his knock go in vain.

Earlier, Mendis nearly carried his bat throughout the innings, overcoming various points of struggle in his 44-ball stay at the crease, laced with five fours and as many sixes at a strike rate of 179.55 to get Sri Lanka a score they were very sure of defending.

Electing to bat irst, Sri Lanka didn’t have a great start on a slow pitch as the Netherlands were in control for the first ten overs, conceding only 60 runs. Van Meekeren was impressive with his raw pace and control, resulting in rattling Pathum Nissanka’s stumps with a fiery yorker and trapping Dhananjaya de Silva lbw for a golden duck in the seventh over.

Mendis and Charith Asalanka (31 off 30 balls) ‘nsured Sri Lanka didn’t have a middle-order collapse with their 60-run stand off 45 balls for the third wicket. After Asalanka fell, Mendis went for the big hits to reach his ninth T20I fifty and was supported well by Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 13-ball 19 as Sri Lanka crossed the 160-mark.

For the Netherlands, van Meekeren and de Leede took two wickets each while van der Gugten and Klaassen took a wicket apiece. But their bowling couldn’t maintain the grip they had in the first ten overs as Sri Lanka collected 102 runs off their last ten overs, which eventually proved to be decisive.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 162/6 in 20 overs (Kusal Mendis 79, Charith Asalanka 31; Paul van Meekeren 2-25, Bas de Leede 2-31) beat Netherland’ 146/9 in 20 overs (Max O’Dowd 71 not out; Wanindu Hasaranga 3-28, Maheesh Theekshana 2-32) by 16 runs


‘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.

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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.

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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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