The News International - Sports

Dec 092017
Aqeel, Shahzad annex ITF Future Doubles title

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan pair of Aqeel Khan and Shahzad Khan rose to new heights winning the first ever ITF Future doubles title in the Serena International at the PTF Complex Saturday.Pakistan pair beat the combination of Luka Pavlovic (France)/Pere Riba (Spain) in a back to back tie breaks 7-6 (3) and 7-6 (4) to become the first ever Pakistani pair to have won the Future International doubles title.“It is like dream come true. Winning doubles against a top quality doubles pair and that too in the final I know is not a small honour. I am thankful to God Almighty to help us win the title, Aqeel Khan said after winning the title.Though Aisamul Haq has won many Future and ATP double titles, he had done that with the help of a foreigner. Shahzad and Aqeel pair is the first all Pakistan pair to achieve the landmark.Aqeel and Shahzad was on the verge of winning the doubles title when they were leading 5-2 in the second set. The seeded No 2 pair of Pavlovic and Riba had other ideas. They stormed back, first breaking Shahzad’s serve and then accounted for Aqeel with brilliant volley and down the line shots. It was all square at 5-5 in the second and then 6-6 when opponents held on to their serves. Aqeel and Shahzad then rose to the occasion as they were backed by cheering local crowd. Aqeel won couple of points with extreme accuracy, sending the ball between the two players who were [Read More…]

Dec 092017
Japan edge out North Korea 1-0

TOKYO: North Korea suffered late heartbreak against Japan on Saturday in a 1-0 football defeat played out against the backdrop of heightened political tensions over Pyongyang’s recent missile launches.Yosuke Ideguchi’s deflected winner deep into stoppage time in the East Asian Championship match in Tokyo gave Japan victory against a plucky North Korean side who were arguably more deserving of the three points. South Korea, who like Japan are caught in the middle of an escalating war of words between their communist cousins and Washington, were held 2-2 by China earlier in the tournament opener.Cheered on by around 1,000 vocal North Korea supporters, separated from Japan fans by a section of seating kept empty by organisers, the visitors peppered the Japan goal but paid for a lack of end product. “We were very unlucky tonight,” North Korea coach Jorn Andersen told reporters. “It’s psychologically very hard to take a goal like that in the last minute,” added the former Norway international, whose side registered 11 shots on goal to Japan’s six. Click for detailed story

Dec 092017
QAT 2017: Salman hits 126* for HBL

KARACHI: Salman Afridi (126*) carried the bat by smashing his maiden first-class hundred to single-handedly guide Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to 252 all out in their first innings against Lahore Blues on the opening day of their Group I second round outing of the Super Eight stage of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy here at State Bank of Pakistan Ground on Saturday.The 25-year, playing only his fifth first-class game, smashed 11 fours in his responsbile 245-ball knock.After being invited to bat first HBL were at one stage struggling at 140-8. However Salman put on 104 runs for the ninth wicket partnership with Test cricketer Abdul Rehman (46) to bring some grace to the total. Rehman hit two fours and a six in his 103-ball glorious effort. Left-arm medium pacer Saif-ur-Rehman was the pick of the bowlers with 5-69. Bilawal Iqbal captured 3-63. Lahore Blues were nine 9-1 at stumps, in response.Meanwhile in Group II encounter here at NBP Sports Complex, Mohammad Saad and Aamer Sajjad hit fifties to guide defending champions WAPDA to 206-6 in their first innings against United Bank Limited (UBL). The 27-year old Saad (57) and Aamer (51) put on 110 runs for the fourth wicket association to bring respectability to WAPDA’s total in 87 overs after their skipper Salman Butt opted to bat. Right-handed Gujranwala-born Saad smashed nine fours from 115 balls. Aamer’s solid knock included seven fours from 117 deliveries.Earlier, Zahid Mansoor (46) and Salman Butt (19) provided a 61-run opening stand to WAPDA. Zahid hit six fours [Read More…]

Dec 092017
Arnautovic strikes Hammer blow to Chelsea title bid

LONDON: David Moyes claimed his first win as West Ham United manager after Marko Arnautovic’s goal gave the Premier League strugglers a shock 1-0 win over champions Chelsea on Saturday.Arnautovic, the Hammers’ £24 million ($32.1 million, 27.3 million euros) record signing, struck in the sixth minute to earn Moyes his first win in his fifth game since succeeding Slaven Bilic.While the Austrian’s neat strike boosted his side’s hopes of climbing out of the bottom three, it dealt a severe blow to Chelsea’s hopes of defending their title.Victory would have moved Antonio Conte’s side level on points with second-placed Manchester United and closed the gap to leaders Manchester City to eight points.Last weekend’s narrow defeat at Manchester City appeared to have instilled confidence in Moyes’s side, who demonstrated no fear in taking the game to Chelsea.That belief was summed up in the way they carved open the visitors’ defence to force the breakthrough.Arnautovic exchanged passes with Manuel Lanzini before wrong-footing Cesar Azpilicueta and placing the ball beyond Thibaut Courtois with his left foot.Chelsea had rallied to beat Newcastle United last weekend after falling behind, but their response this time was less convincing.Even Eden Hazard showed signs of being off the pace when he pulled a close-range volley across the face of goal.Conte’s men, who had missed out on the chance to top their Champions League group after failing to beat Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge in mid-week, lacked their usual zip.While Adrian was obliged to save sighters from N’Golo Kante and [Read More…]

Dec 082017
USOC vows to compete at Winter Olympics

LOS ANGELES: The United States Olympic Committee said Thursday it had had no discussions with the US government over the possibility of staying away from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea on security grounds.In a statement issued in response to comments from United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, USOC said its plans to send full delegations to Pyeongchang remained unchanged.“We have not had any discussions, either internally or with our government partners, about the possibility of not taking teams to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” USOC spokesman Mark Jones said in a statement. “We plan on supporting two full delegations in Pyeongchang.” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders also played down any suggestion of a US no-show. “The US looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea,” she wrote on Twitter. “The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues.” The USOC statement followed remarks by Haley on Wednesday in an interview with Fox News in which she appeared to suggest it was an “open question” as to whether United States would participate.The venue for next year’s Winter Olympics is approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea. Tensions between the United States and North Korea have simmered in recent months following Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile threats. Asked if she believed it was safe for athletes to travel to South [Read More…]

Dec 082017
Former skippers fear England Ashes whitewash

SYDNEY: Former England captains Michael Vaughan and Bob Willis fear the tourists are heading towards a 5-0 whitewash against Australia after failing to win the Adelaide Test.England slumped to a 120-run defeat in the second Ashes clash this week on a ground widely seen as their best chance of winning. It followed defeat in the first Test in Brisbane with Perth’s WACA Ground next up, where they have not beaten Australia since 1978. Vaughan suggested England had neither the skill nor resilience to win a match.“This was the week we all fancied England to take something from,” he said in comments in The Australian Friday.“In Perth, the ball won’t swing like this (in Adelaide). We are now looking like we did in 2013, like we did in 2006-07, you look at this England side, and realistically, can you see them winning a Test match?“I think it’s going to be very difficult to win a Test match on this tour.”Willis was equally pessimistic, saying Australia was clearly the superior side.“England are fighting as hard as they can, but the bald fact is they are up against a better side in these conditions,” he said in the same newspaper. “The glaring differences are that Australia have express pace in the seam department and a world-class spinner. We have neither.“At this rate, you wouldn’t be surprised if it was 5-0, as Adelaide probably represented England’s best chance to chalking up a victory.”Captain Joe Root has insisted England are “still massively” in the Ashes [Read More…]

Dec 082017
Gayle ton knocks Titans out of BPL

DHAKA: Chris Gayle’s 19th ton in Twenty20s helped Rangpur Riders canter past Khulna Titans to seal a spot in the second Qualifier of the Bangladesh Premier League at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Friday (December 8). Set 168, Gayle hammered an unbeaten 126 off 51 to shut the door on Titans and force them out of the tournament.Riders got off to a brisk start courtesy Gayle but were pegged back a bit once Jofra Archer dismissed Sohag Gazi and Brendon McCullum in the third over to leave the side at 25 for 2. However, their joy didn’t last long as Gayle got going and kept toying the bowling attack to propel his side towards a win. Gayle got to his half-century in the seventh over off just 23 balls as he launched Mohammad Irfan over long-on. He continued to make merry and registered his ton off just 45 balls in the 14th over. By then, all hopes Titans had had been diminished by the Gayle onslaught.Earlier, regular strikes helped Riders keep Titans in check after opting to bowl first. Brief scores: Khulna Titans 167/6 in 20 overs (Ariful Haque 29, Carlos Brathwaite 25*; Lasith Malinga 2-49) lost to Rangpur Riders 171/2 in 15.2 overs (Chris Gayle 126*) by eight wickets. Click for detailed story

Dec 082017
Hafeez to work on remodelling bowling action

LAHORE: Mohammad Hafeez will fly to England next week to begin working on remodelling his bowling action, which was deemed illegal last month.This was the third time he had been suspended from bowling in three years. The PCB announced in a press release that he was going to be assessed by biomechanical expert Dr Paul Hurrian and bowling coach Carl Crowe, who had worked successfully with Sunil Narine after his bowling action was found to be illegal.Bowling coach Azhar Mahmood will also be present for the assessments.“After the assessment both experts will devise a remedial action plan that would be handed over to Azhar Mahmood for implementation in Pakistan,” a statement from the PCB said. “Azhar Mahmood and (a panel) comprising Ali Zia, Sajjad Akbar, Salim Jaffer and Aleem Dar will then work with Mohammad Hafeez under the guidelines given by Paul and Carl. The committee will also perform periodical testing at the PCB’s Biomechanics lab at LUMS in Lahore to make sure the bowling action of Hafeez is well within the allowable benchmarks before recommending that he may be sent for re-testing at any ICC accredited biomechanics lab.”Hafeez was reported for a suspect action after the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi in October and underwent his assessment in Loughborough last month. The assessment revealed that a majority of Hafeez’s deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under the ICC’s regulations.Data on Hafeez’s action was captured for four overs’ worth of deliveries — the data [Read More…]

Dec 082017
Governor promises support for disability tournament

KARACHI: Governor Sindh M Zubair has assured the PDCA of full support in organising a four-nation disability cricket tournament in Karachi. Talking to a PDCA delegation here at the Governor House on Wednesday, he said that the disabled team had made the entire nation proud with their impressive performances. The delegation comprised Amir-ud-din Ansari, ex-president Saleem Karim, vice-president Fawad Mustafa and Dr Noman Palekar. Click for detailed story

Dec 072017
Key Arsenal trio will not be sold in January: Wenger

LONDON: Arsenal will not sell striker Olivier Giroud, midfielder Jack Wilshere and winger Theo Walcott in the January transfer window despite their lack of playing time at the Premier League club, manager Arsene Wenger has said.The trio have started a majority of the club’s Europa League and League Cup games this season but are yet to start a league match, with Giroud making 12 substitute appearances while Wilshere has been limited to four and Walcott to three.Their lack of top-flight action could cost them a spot in their respective nations’ 2018 World Cup squads but Wenger said the trio will not move away from the Emirates.“They have to make their decisions; I have to make mine,” Wenger told reporters on Wednesday.“I cannot consider too much the interest of the national team. I want to keep the squad. We do not want to become weaker.“I have to consider the interest of the player but dominant of that will be the interests of the club. If you can combine the two it is even better but, first, what is important is for the club.”England international Walcott has been at Arsenal for 11 years but is no longer a regular starter but Wenger has backed the 28-year-old to reclaim his spot.“He has it in him (to become a first-team regular),” Wenger added.“Of course he is frustrated but he is focused. He doesn’t give up at all and is more determined than ever.”Arsenal have numerous players whose contracts expire in the next two years, [Read More…]

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