Jun 202017
Pakistan played ?perfect game? in Champions Trophy win: Gilchrist

NEW DELHI: Australian cricketing legend Adam Gilchrist on Monday credited Pakistan´s adaptability and perseverance in the face of domestic challenges as key to their rout of favourites India in the Champions Trophy.Pakistan, once a cricketing powerhouse, has watched its world ranking slide as top teams have refused to tour the conflict-prone country, forcing the home side to play all international matches abroad.Only Zimbabwe have visited Pakistan since a 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore which prompted all other major teams to call off tours.Pakistan entered the eight-team Champions Trophy in England and Wales ranked dead last, but upset arch-rivals India with a 180-run thrashing in Sunday´s final.“Deep in your heart, as a cricket lover, you can´t be disappointed to see a nation like that (win). We all know their struggles of not getting any international cricket back home,” Gilchrist told reporters in New Delhi.“They are basically a nomadic team which plays abroad. Perhaps because of that, they were able to adjust well in those conditions.” It was Pakistan´s first international 50-over trophy since winning the 1992 World Cup.Gilchrist compared their against-the-odds win to the West Indies´ victory over England in the World Twenty20 final in 2016, despite troubles plaguing their cricket board at home.“The only predictable thing about Pakistan cricket is that they are unpredictable,” said the former wicketkeeper-batsman, adding the win was a “positive story” for cricket.“Pakistan played what seems to be a perfect game of cricket. India, after a very impressive tournament, just got [Read More…]

Jun 182017
Azhar, Fakhar smash fifties as Pakistan in control

LONDON: Openers Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman broke through pressure brought on by India pacers with quick boundaries, after Pakistan were put in to bat by India in the Champions Trophy finale at The Oval on Sunday.Pakistan’s young batting sensation Fakhar was given a second life when he was caught behind off a no-ball by Bumrah earlier in the inning.  geo_embedgallery The cricketing world’s biggest match will decide the Champions Trophy title, as archrivals Pakistan and India reignite rivalry yet again after facing off in their group game on June 4.  Pakistan vs India Final: Highlights Pakistan are batting first in the final Title-holders India, who thrashed Pakistan by 124 runs in their opening group match, were unchanged from the side that hammered Bangladesh by nine wickets in Thursday´s semi-final at Birmingham´s Edgbaston.But Pakistan made one change, with the fit-again Mohammad Amir, who missed Wednesday´s impressive eight-wicket semi-final win over previously unbeaten tournament hosts England with a back spasm, returning. Amir replaced fellow left-arm quick Rumman Raees, who marked his one-day international debut with two wickets against England.India´s lone loss so far in this tournament, featuring the world´s top eight ODI nations, was at The Oval when they suffered a surprise seven-wicket defeat by Sri Lanka on June 8.Playing XI Click for detailed story

Jun 182017
Preview: Resurgent Pakistan chase title dream in blockbuster finale against India

LONDON: The sporting world’s biggest clash, the game that always ‘stops two nations’ unfurls on Sunday when a resurgent Pakistan face title holders India in the Champions Trophy final at The Oval.And the question millions of cricket fans around the world, possibly even a billion, are all asking is ´which Pakistan will turn up?´Rising from the ashes after a 124-run thrashing by arch-rivals India at Edgbaston on June 4, where some often thoughtless bowling and timid batting, along with woeful fielding, led to coach Mickey Arthur labelling the performance as “shambolic”, Pakistan went on to defeat top-ranked South Africa and knocked out Sri Lanka as well as hosts and favourites England to burst into the finale, shocking all those who had written them off. geo_embedgallery So which Pakistan will turn up? Will it be the slick, skilled side who hammered England by eight wickets in the semi-finals, with Hasan Ali, the competition´s leading wicket-taker, spearheading a brilliant bowling effort as the previously unbeaten tournament hosts were dismissed for just 211 before the likes of Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman helped knock off the runs in dashing style?When it comes to assessing most teams, the temptation is to look at their most recent result as a form guide.But not only have Pakistan, the lowest ranked team in a tournament featuring the world´s top eight one-day international sides, long been regarded as world cricket´s most “unpredictable” outfit, they have lost all three of their previous knockout matches against India at ICC tournaments.´History [Read More…]

Jun 162017
Pakistan has been masterful in squeezing teams

An India v Pakistan final is about as big an occasion as the ICC could have hoped for, but few would have foreseen Pakistan going the distance in the tournament given the nature of its defeat to its greatest rivals earlier in the tournament.Pakistan’s shock defeat of the in-form host England has set up what’s undoubtedly the most important meeting of the two sides in recent memory.When recapping the game at Lord’s between South Africa and England before the tournament, I made a point of pointing out that the best sides, despite sticking to their method wherever possible, analyse conditions well. On that occasion, England was the creator of its own downfall in playing some loose cricket shots, without doing the ‘hard yards’ that even the modern-day batsmen must be prepared to put in every now and again.This was another example of some poor game management from Eoin Morgan’s side. Having seen Pakistan’s record at this tournament, England should have re-evaluated its plans, looking to put a score of around 270-280 on the board, which would have allowed the bowlers the opportunity to go about creating pressure. I truly believe that it would have been able to defend a score in that region, but the way it played suggested to me that it was going to try and bat Pakistan completely out of the game.I see a missing cog in the England batting machine, in that if the pitch hasn’t played to its initial game plan, as a team, it [Read More…]

Jun 152017
French sensation Mbappe surprised by meteoric rise

PARIS: At just 18 years of age, Kylian Mbappe is the hottest property in football and the French sensation admits that he has been surprised by how quickly his star has risen. “I always had lots of imagination when I was little, so I am not going to say that I hadn’t imagined it,” Mbappe told AFP in an interview when asked if he expected to have won a league title and become a full international at such a young age. “I imagined succeeding early, but I didn’t really think things would happen so quickly. “Of course I always believed. The players who have succeeded in their careers are the ones who believed in themselves.” Billed as the new Thierry Henry, Mbappe made his top-flight debut for Monaco in December 2015 when still aged just 16, but it is in the last six months that he has gone from a player of great promise to one of the biggest stars in Europe. He scored 15 goals to help Monaco win a first French title since 2000 and won his first cap for France in March. He is now being linked to mega-money moves to one of the continent’s biggest sides this close season, with Real Madrid leading the chase alongside the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs. On Tuesday, he earned his fourth cap for Les Bleus, starring in a 3-2 friendly victory over England in front of almost 80,000 fans at the Stade de France The following [Read More…]

Jun 152017
Hussain says pitch blameless in England defeat

Hussain lamented England´s “timid play´, which he said was in marked contrast to the way they had revived their ODI fortunes CARDIFF: Nasser Hussain said it was “disrespectful” to Pakistan to blame England’s shock eight-wicket Champions Trophy semi-final defeat on a used Cardiff pitch.England, previously the only unbeaten team left in the eight-strong one-day international tournament and huge favourites to defeat Pakistan were bowled out for just 211 in Cardiff on Wednesday.Pakistan, who suffered a 124-run thrashing by arch-rivals India in their opening group game then cruised to their meagre victory target with a mammoth 77 balls to spare.The pitch played more like a sub-continental surface than a British one and England captain Eoin Morgan said afterwards: “Coming from Edgbaston, it was obviously a big jump in pace and bounce and too much of an ask for us to adjust to really.”Morgan added Pakistan were more comfortable because “they played two days ago on it (when beating Sri Lanka in a virtual quarter-final).‘Lame excuse’But legendary Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis said blaming the pitch was a “lame excuse and former England captain Hussain agreed.“There will be a lot of talk about the Cardiff pitch after Pakistan dumped England out of the Champions Trophy. But that won´t wash with me,” Hussain wrote in his Daily Mail column.“It´s disrespectful to Pakistan, who played brilliantly and made the best of the conditions.”Meanwhile, Hussain lamented England´s “timid play´, which he said was in marked contrast to the way they had revived their ODI fortunes since [Read More…]

Jun 132017
France honours terror victims as Macron, May attend England friendly

Thousands of French football fans joined in with the English national anthem as tribute was paid to the victims of recent terror attacks in the United Kingdom prior to a friendly match in Paris on Tuesday evening.The words to ‘God Save the Queen’ were displayed on big screens around the Stade de France before France’s meeting with England, allowing the French spectators in the crowd of close to 80,000 to sing along with their English counterparts.A minute’s silence was impeccably observed by the crowd, after the teams had come out to ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, the song by Manchester group Oasis which was played by the band and choir of the French Republican Guard.They were ably backed up by around 2,500 travelling English fans in one corner of the ground on a balmy night in the French capital.That song was seen as an anthem for Manchester after the English city was hit by a suicide bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert last month which claimed 22 lives.Another eight people, including three French nationals, were also murdered in a terror attack in London on June 3.An English flag was displayed by a section of the Stade de France crowd as the teams entered the field. Underneath the display was a banner reading: “United with the Cities of Manchester and London”. The match kicked off around five minutes later than the scheduled 9pm (1900 GMT) start, after French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May had [Read More…]

Jun 092017
Former Chelsea star John Terry to visit Pakistan

KARACHI: Leisure Leagues on Friday announced that former England and Former Chelsea skipper John Terry would also be in Ronaldinho’s squad which would land here after Eid-ul-Fitr to play an exhibition game against the best crop of Leisure Leagues Pakistan. With this, the touring party has been completed. The other players had already been disclosed. They include Ronaldinho, his 2002 World Cup winning teammate Roberto Carlos, former French midfielder Robert Pires, France’s Nicolas Anelka, Portugal’s Luis Boa Morte, Holland’s George Boateng and England’s David James. The announcement was made by Shahzeb Mehmood Trunkwala, President World Group, at a briefing at a local hotel. Also present were Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani, former President Mohammadmian Soomro, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain and Leisure Leagues Pakistan Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ishaq Shah. The 36-year-old Terry was considered the greatest defender of his generation. He led England from August 2006 to February 2010 and then from March 2011 to February 2012. He was named UEFA club defender of the year in 2005, 2008 and 2009, PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2005 and was included in the FIFPro World XI for five successive seasons, from 2005 to 2009. He was also named in the all-star squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the only English player to make the team. Terry is Chelsea’s most successful captain, having led them to five Premier League crowns, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League and one UEFA Champions League title. He is one [Read More…]

Jun 092017
Bangladesh pacers break NZ opening stand in must-win game

Luke Ronchi/ReutersCARDIFF: Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed handed Bangladesh their first breakthrough with Luke Ronchi’s wicket, after the Black Caps won the toss and decided to bat in their final group match of this year´s Champions Trophy. Pacer Rubel Hossain had Martin Guptill trapped lbw not long after, reducing New Zealand to 69-2 and interrupting flow of runs.Both the teams are desperately seeking victory knowing even a win in Cardiff on Friday may not take either of them into the semifinals. They have a point apiece after they were each well beaten by England, while their respective matches with Australia ended in rain-induced no results.England are already into the last four and Australia will join them there if they defeat the tournament hosts in the final Group A fixture at Edgbaston on Saturday.It all leaves Bangladesh and New Zealand needing to win in Wales and then hope England put one over their archrivals, assuming more bad weather does not disrupt those calculations.New Zealand should have the edge over Bangladesh when it comes to local knowledge given their 87-run defeat by England in Cardiff on Tuesday.“When it´s not seaming and it´s not swinging, obviously we need to look at different measures,” New Zealand paceman Trent Boult told reporters at Cardiff on Thursday.“I think we all know the importance of getting wickets early in the innings and putting the team under pressure is where you can really set the game up.New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made a brilliant hundred against Australia before following up [Read More…]

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