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 172017
Sohail wishes Sarfaraz luck, asks for his controversial statement to be set aside

In response to an international backlash against his diatribe against the skipper of the Pakistan team, Sarfaraz Ahmad, former cricketer and chief selector of the Pakistan Cricket Board Aamer Sohail has extended an olive branch ahead of the critical Pakistan-India Champions Trophy final. In a self-shot, half-minute video, Sohail says: "This is my special message for Sarfaraz. Sarfaraz, Pakistan is playing the final of big tournament after a long time. Pakistan played very well and you led very well. Please set aside the controversy and give your 100 per cent. Try your best for Pakistan.""We will clear the misunderstanding, when you come back," he goes on to say.Sohail concludes the message with good wishes for Sarfaraz. "All the very best, do your best, make us proud."Sohail recently criticised Sarfaraz Ahmad on TV for allegedly refusing to dedicate Pakistan's win against Sri Lanka to Javed Miandad, which came on the cricketing legend's birthday.During a post-match analysis, Sohail expressed his anger at the perceived snub, saying that the new skipper has "nothing to be smug about; he just became captain."Social media sites buzzed with criticism after his diatribe, prompting him to issue a statement. In the statement, he had said, "My comments were made after I heard reports of Sarfaraz's refusal to dedicate his performance against Sri Lanka to Miandad and him saying that Miandad criticises the team too much.""The other thing I said was that the facilitators of the win cannot be named; however I said nothing about match-fixing or any [Read More…]

Jun 132017
When the highs triumph the lows: A chaotic, rollercoaster love affair

You did it. Pakistan, you did it. The exhausting, emotional rollercoaster of a ride is over – for now. You just managed to scrape through. Through the nightmarish, nerve-wracking last few hours, when everything that could go wrong thankfully almost did not go wrong. Through the cries of despair, frustration and anger, you did it. You have lived to battle England in Cardiff – the same venue as Monday’s agitating contest against Sri Lanka.The night has passed. I, along with the rest of my nation, am waking up to a new day today. Yesterday seems like a beautiful dream. Even more beautiful is the reality that almost did not happen. I’m still letting it sink in, savouring these words that, at some moments during the game, I was scared I wouldn’t get to say: You won! You are through to the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, after a wait of eight long years. It took a heart-stopping screamer of a match to do it, but you did it. You, living up to your ‘predictably unpredictable’ reputation in all its glory, defeated Sri Lanka by three wickets in a nail-biter to clinch a spot in the last four – your first time reaching a semi-final of an ICC tournament since 2012. The adrenaline rush after Sarfraz hit the winning runs/Reuters Many have tried to warn me to stay away from you. It’s a toxic relationship, they have said. The lows are intense, the defeats are heart wrenching. The frustration of [Read More…]

Jun 102017
There is hope

Cricket is really an unpredictable and fast changing game. The embarrassing defeat of Pakistan against India disappointed the entire nation. But the team surprised cricket fans when it played a marvellous innings against South Africa which is one of the strongest teams of the tournament. The Pakistan cricket team bounced back from the ashes of defeat and managed to win the crucial match against South Africa. The country will play its next match against Sri Lanka. It is hoped that it will show the same spirit and dedication in its upcoming match. Naqeeb Hussain Parachinar Kurram Agency Click for detailed story

May 302017
Pakistan Navy's ship reaches Sri Lanka to deliver relief goods, assist in rescue work

Pakistan Navy ship Zulfiquar reached Sri Lanka on Tuesday to deliver relief goods and assist in the search and rescue missions, on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sri Lanka has recently experienced most severe floods since 2003, in 14 districts causing loss of 180 precious lives with 110 missing and more than 547,000 persons displaced, read a Foreign Office statement.The Sri Lankan government has called for relief and rescue assistance.In view of the heavy losses to human lives and properties, the prime minister had directed the naval ship to immediately reach Colombo with relief assistance and assist in the rescue mission.Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra handed over the relief goods to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Hon Ravi Karunanayake, at the Colombo Port.The Sri Lankan foreign minister expressed his gratitude to the prime minister of Pakistan for providing timely and valued assistance.The minister emphasised that Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoyed excellent relations. It had been a tradition that both nations came to assist each other in times of adversity, he added.The acting high commissioner reaffirmed Pakistan's continued support to Sri Lanka.Pakistan Naval Ship Zulfiquar has brought in dry rations, medicines, de-flooding pumps and other relief items.Additionally, the ship has the capability to assist in search and rescue facilities through its helicopter, rescue boats, medical team and expert divers. Click for detailed story

Mar 102017

GALLE: Opener Soumya Sarkar scored his second half-century of the match as Bangladesh kept their faint hopes of saving the first Test against Sri Lanka alive in Galle on Friday. Set a daunting target of 457 runs, Bangladesh reached 67-0 before bad light brought early stumps on the fourth day with the visitors still needing 393 runs for an improbable win on the final day. Soumya, who made 71 runs in the first innings, led the batting charge with an unbeaten 53 while his opening partner Tamim Iqbal took the unusual role of an anchor, scoring 13 not out. Mendis’ unbeaten 166 lifts Sri Lanka to commanding position against Bangladesh The fourth day’s play ended 14 overs early as thick clouds hovered over the ground, much to the frustration of the hosts who were desperate to hammer home their advantage by clinching a wicket in the final session. Umpires called off play after Asela Gunaratne conceded three runs off his first ball that was declared a rare back-foot no ball, leaving him with the highly unusual figure of 0-0-3-0. Sri Lanka declared their second innings at 274-6, just five overs into the session, after local boy Upul Tharanga slammed his third Test century and second against Bangladesh. Tharanga was out for 115 at the end of a 171-ball innings that featured 11 fours and three sixes before he was bowled by off-spinner Mehedi Hasan. Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan bowled Asela Gunaratne for a duck in the next over and Mehedi [Read More…]

Mar 012017

KARACHI: Six-time champions Pakistan failed to defend their West Asia Baseball Cup title as they suffered a shock 4-2 defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in a thrilling finale in Islamabad on Wednesday. Playing on home soil and defending their title for a fifth consecutive time, Pakistan came into the match as hot-favourites but were dealt an upset defeat as Sri Lanka avenged losses in 2011 and 2012. Pakistan’s two home runs came off the bat of captain Sumair Zawar and Wasim Ali. Pakistan Federation Baseball chief Syed Khawar Ali Shah felt the players’ impressive showings en route to the final caused their downfall. Usman confident of defending baseball title for fifth time “I think our team became a bit over-confident,” Shah told The Express Tribune. “We played the entire tournament very well, but in the final the players were not as focused as they should have been. They missed on big hits and there was also a misfield. On the other hand, Sri Lanka played really well and took the match away from us in the last two innings.” The game was level at 2-2 until the seventh innings, but Sri Lanka took the lead in the eighth and ninth innings, bringing an end to the hosts’ winning streak. “We would’ve been the champions for the seventh time; it would’ve been incredible,” added Shah. “But we are still happy that we qualified for the Asian Championship, which will double as the qualifying round for the 2020 Olympics.” Kansas man [Read More…]

Feb 262017
Nepal outclass Iraq in West Asian Baseball Cup

KARACHI: Nepal on Sunday comprehensively defeated Iraq 13-3 in their Group A last round fixture of the West Asian Baseball Cup to stay alive in the event. In their second game of the five-nation event at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad, Nepal’s batters did a fine job to outshine weak Iraq who would face holders Pakistan in their do-or-die clash on Monday (today). Nepal on Saturday had tasted a 1-16 defeat at the hands of hosts Pakistan. For Nepal, Anil Pariyar scored three runs while Milan Thapa, Neewan Nath and Achit Karki scored two each as Iraqi pitchers had to toil hard to prevent their rivals’ batters from managing big shots. Rajesh Basnet and Binod Koirala made one run each. Jaffar Hussain, Mustafa Layth and Marjatha Sultan scored one run each for Iraq. Meanwhile in a Group B game, Sri Lanka whipped Iran 22-0. Both teams have already qualified for Tuesday’s semi-finals after the third side of the group India failed to arrive due to visa issue. It means that Sri Lanka topped the group. Sandun and Asanka were the top performers with four runs each. Naween and Iresh made three each. The final will be held on March 1. Pakistan had also hosted the previous edition last year at the same venue. Click for detailed story

Feb 152017

Pakistan Women started off the super six stage on a losing note as Sri Lanka Women defeated them by five wickets at the Nondescripts Cricket Club Ground in Colombo on Wednesday. Despite brilliant 64 and 63-run knocks by Nahida Khan and Javeria Khan respectively, the Women in Green were unable to stop a rampant Sri Lanka side that was propelled by Eshani Kaushalya’s 65-run blitz that included eight boundaries. Electing to field first, Sri Lanka Women were given a target of 213. Pakistan lost opener Ayesha Zafar early on in the match but a 119-run stand between Nahida and Javeria put Pakistan in a strong position. Bismah Maroof and Nain Abidi contributed with 20 and 17 runs respectively, while captain Sana Mir made 17 to ensure Pakistan reach the 212-run mark and post a defendable total. Pakistan Women confident despite setbacks Inoka Ranaweera and Chamari Kumarihami were the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka as they claimed two wickets for 33 and 34 runs respectively at impressive economy rates of 4.12 and 3.40 respectively. In reply, Sri Lanka Women reached the target with 2.2 overs and five wickets to spare. The Islanders were given a strong start courtesy a 75-run opening stand between Nipuni Hansika and Chamari Atapattu who made 37 and 35 runs respectively. Hansika’s innings included five fours, while Atapattu’s comprised of six. Following the dismissals of the two in the 16th and 18th over respectively, wicketkeeper Prasadani Weerakkody (45) and Kaushalya took the reins and registered [Read More…]

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