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Qalandars beat Kings by six wickets in last over thriller

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Late onslaught from David Wiese and half-centuries from Fakhar Zaman and Ben Dunk guided last year’s runners-up Lahore Qalandars to an emphatic six-wicket win over defending champions Karachi Kings in the 11th fixture of the HBL PSL 6 at Karachi’s National Stadium on Sunday evening.

Chasing 187 to win, Qalandars found themselves in a spot of bother losing two wickets for no run in the first over. Mohammad Hafeez (15 off nine, one four, one six) was the next batsman to go as Qalandars were reeling at 33 for three in the fifth over.

Left-handed Fakhar was joined by another left-hander Dunk. Both contributed a 119-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Fakhar top-scored with a 54-ball 83. He smoked eight fours and four sixes.

Requiring 30 runs from two overs, the right handed Wiese got two fours off Mohammad Amir before he smashed a six in the penultimate over, as Qalandars collected 20 runs and brought down the equation to 10 required off the final over.

Wiese hit two consecutive sixes off Daniel Christian first two balls to help Qalandars over the line with four balls spare.

Dunk (57 not out off 43, five fours, two sixes) and Wiese (31 not out off nine, three fours, three sixes) contributed an unbeaten 47-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

Earlier, half-centuries from Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Nabi helped Kings post 186 for nine. After being put into bat, Kings had a wobbly start, as they lost their premier batsman Babar Azam –the top run getter in HBL PSL –for five, to a scorching in-swinging delivery from Shaheen Afridi. Joe Clarke (four off six, one four) and Colin Ingram (0 off one) were next to follow Babar with scoreboard reading at 37 for three at the end of fifth over.

Sharjeel, who got a life in the first over of the match, made full use of his dropped catch, as he punished Qalandars bowlers all around the ground, and struck five fours and six towering sixes in his innings of 64. He was equally supported by Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi, who scored his first half-century in the HBL PSL 6. He contributed 57 off 35 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes. Both batsmen knitted 76 runs for the fourth wicket partnership.

After the departure of Nabi, Kings managed to add only 24 runs in the last four overs, and ended up scoring 186 for nine.

For Qalandars, Shaheen was the most successful bowler, taking three wickets for 27.

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PCB BoG approves boards of six cricket associations

LAHORE (APP): The Board of Governors of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which held their 61st meeting in Karachion Saturday approved the boards of six provincial cricket associations.

A spokesman of the PCB said here that Chairman PCB Ehsan Mani presided over the meeting which took the following decisions.

(First Boards of six Cricket Associations)

In line with Clause 16 of the PCB Constitution 2019, the BoG approved First Boards of the six Cricket Associations for a one-year term.

During this period, the First Boards will carry out functions attributed to the management committees in the Model Constitutions for City Cricket and Cricket Associations, including managing and running day to day affairs, supervising the first registration of Cricket Clubs under each CCA as per applicable regulations/bylaws and monitoring and organising cricket events and activities within its jurisdiction.

Each First Board comprises high-quality individuals with diverse expertise, excellent reputation and a proven record that the PCB firmly believes will play an integral role in smooth transition into the elected Cricket Associations.

Balochistan Cricket Association – Qaiser Khan Jamali (Chairman), Irfan Ahmad Awan, Munawar Khan Tareen, Murad Ismail, Nargis Hameedullah, Shah Dost, Syed Farid-ud-din and Zafarullah Jadgal (all members)

Central Punjab Cricket Association – Abdullah Khan Sumbal (Chairman), Ali Ahmad Khan, Amir Ilyas Butt,Arshad Ahmad Khan, Atif Naeem Rana, Babar Altaf Butt, Shahrez Abdullah Khan, Muhammad Umer and Sarfraz Ahmad Bajwa (all members) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cricket Association – Anwar Zeb Jan (Chairman), Aamir Nawab, Abdul Jaleel Khan, Fayyaz Ali Shah, Haris Bilal Afridi, Ikhlaq Ahmed Khan, Kabir Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Javed Afridi, Rozamin Khan and Shahid Khan Shinwari (all members)

Northern Cricket Association – Saleem Asghar Mian (Chairman), Abdus Sami, Asif Faridi, Mohammad Ayaz Butt, Nadeem Ahmed Abbasi, Col (retd) Naushad Ali, Raja M. Zia Ashraf and Tanveer Ahmed (all members)

Sindh Cricket Association – Imran Hussain (Chairman), Abdul Raqeeb, Aftab Baloch, Agha Jawaid Ahmed, Hadeel Obaid, Jamil A.Mughal, Lt Gen (retd) Javed Zia and Syed Farooq Hussain Shah (all members)

Southern Punjab Cricket Association – Muhammad Anees Khawaja (chairman), Ali Khan Tareen, Hassan Hussein Qureshi, Khalid Farooq, Shahid Ahmed Butt and Taimur Altaf Malik (all members)

(Club registrations and City Cricket Association events)

The BoG noted that the registration of clubs across Pakistan will commence next month, with further details to be shared in due course. However, when the registration process opens, only club Presidents will be able to register the cricket club and all details will be shared with the First Board for further verification and scrutiny.

Clubs which participated in either 2017-18 or 2018-19 Fazal Mehmood club tournaments and fulfil the requisite criteria outlined in the bylaws approved by the BoG, will be awarded voting rights. Clubs, which did not participate in any of the two tournaments or do not meet the requisite criteria, will get the voting rights after the second scrutiny. All clubs will have playing rights.

The BoG approved the Election Regulations and proposed amendments to the domestic cricket bylaws, which are available on the PCB corporate website in Documents under PCB Model Constitutions.

The BoG was informed that the PCB will help the First Boards to organise City Cricket Association tournaments from May end for both the senior and U19 players, which will help in team selections for the 2021-22 domestic season. Further details will be announced in due course.

(Chairman and CEO Reports)

The Chairman provided a detailed update to the BoG on international matters, domestic and international media rights and the status of agreements with various grounds, while the Chief Executive briefed the BoG on cricket-related matters, including the national teams’ performances, High Performance events and the HBL Pakistan Super League 6.

The BoG appreciated the Pakistan men’s national cricket team for their series win against South Africa at the back of a tough series in New Zealand, and congratulated the High Performance department for the successful completion of 220 matches in nine events across various age-group and first-class cricket from 30 September 2020 to 23 February 2021. This made Pakistan the only cricket playing nation to plan and deliver a complete season during the Covid-19 pandemic. The BoG noted the Pakistan national women team’s tour to South Africa and Zimbabwe, which was cut-short following the PCB carrier’s decision to suspend flight operations between Harare and Dubai. The BoG was updated on the HBL Pakistan Super League 6, which has met expectations in the first week of the four-week tournament through competitive and high-scoring cricket and world-class broadcast coverage.

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Bale inspires Spurs to win over Burnley

LONDON (Agencies): Gareth Bale scored twice and made another as Tottenham cruised to an easy Premier League win over Burnley that boosted their hopes of European qualification. Spurs had lost five of their previous six league matches but went ahead inside two minutes when Bale converted Son Heung-min’s low cross.

Bale’s superb long pass released Harry Kane to net Tottenham’s second, before Lucas Moura added a third from Sergio Reguilon’s delivery. Son was the architect for the fourth as he ran at the Burnley defence before finding Bale, and the Wales forward curled a fine finish into the far corner to seal the emphatic win.

The victory takes Jose Mourinho’s side up to eighth. They are six points behind fourth-placed West Ham, who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot, but have a game in hand on the Hammers.

Brilliant Bale inspires Tottenham

After winning the Champions League four times with Real Madrid, much was expected from Bale on his return to Tottenham, where he had twice won the Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Player of the Year Award before moving to La Liga.

However, after a couple of disrupted campaigns, Bale was carrying an injury when he rejoined Spurs in September on a season-long loan deal from Real and has struggled to build up a regular run of matches.

But his recent form has shown glimpses of what Tottenham fans would have hoped to see and, following goals in both legs of the 8-1 aggregate win over Austrian side Wolfsberger in the Europa League last 32, he was given only his third Premier League start of the season on Sunday.

Before the match, Mourinho said Bale “was happier than ever” and it took the 31-year-old only 70 seconds to score when he had got in between the Burnley central defenders and steered Son’s low cross past Nick Pope in the first chance of the game.

Kane shot just wide and Moura was denied by Pope, before the England keeper was beaten again after 15 minutes. A brilliant long ball from Bale, 30 yards from his own goal, released Kane and the forward scored his 14th Premier League goal of the campaign, although his strike took a deflection off James Tarkowski to take it over Pope.

Tottenham won this fixture 5-0 last season and it then became a question of how many they would score. The third came when Reguilon’s cross was inadvertently flicked on by Tarkowski and Moura took a touch to set himself before firing into the net.

Bale, in arguably his best performance of the season, scored again with an excellent curling finish following a storming run forward from Son, before the Welshman was substituted after 69 minutes.

Only excellent goalkeeping from Pope denied the hosts a bigger win as he made fine saves from Kane and Son on a tough day for Burnley. Tottenham have finished in the top six in the past 11 seasons. They started this match in 10th, although the win took them back above north London rivals Arsenal and also ahead of Aston Villa into eighth.

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Danish of Islamabad wins Gabin Jabba Uphill Cycling title

SWAT (APP): Danish Ahmad of the Islamabad Cycling Club clinched the 5 kilometers Uphill cycling trophy in the Gabin Jabba Snow and Culture Festival held in the beautiful Swat Valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Known social worker of the area and elder brother of Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ahmad Khan was the chief guest on this occasion who formally awarded trophies, medals and cash prizes among the position holders of the various snow games part of the Festival. Assistant Commissioner Swat Latif Khan, President KP Cycling Association Nisar Ahmad, Regional Sports Officer Kashif Farhan, District Sports Officer Dir Upper Mukhtiar Hussain, Vice President Pakistan Judo Federation Masood Ahmad, Sara Nisar of Pakhtunkhwa Archery Club, international skier who represented Pakistan in the Winter Games Tariq Khan, large number of spectators were also present.

On the last day of the three-day festival, cycling competitions were held while famous Pashto singers Humayun Khan and Moeez sang beautiful songs. The three-day Gabin Jabba Snow Festival, jointly organized by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism Department and the Swat District Administration, came to an end with a lot of memories. The most beautiful and difficult five-kilometer Uphill Cycle Race was started from Loka village and ended at the Gabin Jabba Top out of total 62 cyclists took part in the race and only 16 cyclists completed the difficult terrain.

There were three different categories of Senior, Junior and Mountain Bike. In the Junior category, Aurangzeb of Islamabad came first, Abuzar, also from Islamabad got second position while Walid of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bagged the third position.

Similarly, Bahar Ali of KP bagged the first position, Abbas of Islamabad got second position while Luqman of Islamabad remained third.

Danish paddled off and got the lead right from the start, finished the race after cross most difficulture and Uphill race, Usman of Islamabad and Sajid of KP got second and third position respectively.

Talking to the media, Danish said that he had recently won the first position in the Kalam Road Cycle Race. The race consisted of continuous climbing which he had to work hard on. He said that it is the most beautiful cycling track, surrounded by the highest mountains covered with snow on both sides. He said, “I am very happy because my country is no less than Switzerland. Holding such tourism events will boost tourism.” Regional Sports Officer Kashif Farhan. Police, 1122 personnel and traffic police have made all arrangements for the safety of cyclists on main Mingora-Gabin Jabba Road. There were a large number of spectators on both sides of the road to witness the cycling race. At the end of the event, prizes were distributed among the athletes who secured positions in various sports.

A grand Music was also arranged in the closing ceremony in which famous Pashto singers Humayun and Moeez entertained the audience. It is to be noted that Snow Sports and Culture Festival was organized for the first time in Gabin Jabba, a beautiful place in Swat Valley in which snow marathon, mass kashi, tug of war, Teqball, snow judo, archery and cycling competitions were organized while tourists and their children enjoyed a lot.

Leading Pashto singers including Humayun Khan, Moeez, Shahid Ali, Khalid Malik, Shaukat Mehmood, Almas Khan, President Pride of Performance awards winners Zardad Bulbul, Said Rehman Shinoo entertained the tourists. Playland, Magic Show, Handicraft Stalls, Tourist Information Disc, Khattak and FC Dance made the festival memorable.

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Arsenal come back from early goal for shock Leicester win

LONDON (Agencies): Arsenal came back back from an early Youri Tielemans goal on Sunday to defeat Leicester City 3-1.

Goals from David Luiz, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal to just their second win in their last five Premier League games.

It looked like it was going to be another disappointing weekend in the Premier League for Arsenal when Tielemans opened the scoring after just six minutes.

Granit Xhaka was dispossessed and the rest of the Arsenal defence backed off Tielemens who struck a low ball into the bottom left corner.

Arsenal had a penalty call six minutes later changed to a free kick. Pepe went down under a challenge from Wilfred Ndidi and Tielemans and while the referee’s on field decision was penalty, VAR overruled as the foul had happened just outside the box.

It was two unlikely figures in Luiz and Willian who brought Arsenal level on 39 minutes. Mikel Arteta’s side were awarded a free kick. Willian delivered a pointed ball into the box and Luiz headed it past Kasper Schmeichel.

Arsenal were awarded a penalty two minutes into added time at the end of the first half when Pepe’s shot hit Ndidi’s hand in the box. Lacazette stepped up and converted the spot-kick, meaning he has now scored all five penalties he has taken across all competitions.

Leicester’s second half got off to a bad start when Harvey Barnes went down injured and had to be stretchered off. Brendan Rodgers confirmed after the game that he will be out for at least six weeks and will require a knee operation.

Pepe added Arsenal’s third on 52 minutes in an attack which looked like it had been overcooked. Passes between the Ivory Coast international and Martin Odegaard saw the play move out wide but Willian managed to get a cross into the box which Pepe just had to hit into the net from close range.

“I’m really proud of the team and the character we showed,” Arteta said after the game. “Especially how we played, how we reacted when we conceded the goal really early because it puts this team in the worst scenario.

“But we looked composed, we looked comfortable. The positivity around the team was really good. We created some chances and scored some good goals. I think overall we deserved to win.

“The senior players have to drive the boat forward and then we can add something with the young talent, it can’t be the other way around. They have to take that leadership and be accountable when they are in the team because they are the ones that have to perform week in, week out to give us some stability.”

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Ittehad Punjab Polo Cup 2021: BN Polo wins historic trophy

LAHORE (APP): BN Polo beat Diamond Paints by 6-5 in nail-biting final played here at the Lahore Polo Club ground on Sunday.

The hero of the day from the winning team was Juan Maria Ruiz, who contributed with a classic hat-trick, while Eulogio Celestino and Raja Mikail Sami converted two and one goal respectively. For Diamond Paints, Raul Laplacette cracked a quartet while Mir Huzaifa Ahmed scored one.

BN Polo team started the final with a field go to take 1-0 lead in the first chukker. Diamond Paints made a tremendous comeback in the second chukker by thrashing two back-to-back goals to earn a slight 2-1 lead. Both the sides played well in the third chukker and managed to convert a brace each, with Diamond Paints still enjoying a narrow 4-3 lead.

Diamond Paints converted one more goal in the beginning of the fourth chukker to enhance their lead to 5-3. But BN team bounced back in great style and slammed in two back-to-back to goals to draw the score at 5-all.

No further goal was scored and the final was then decided in the sudden death chukker, where Eulogio Celestino smashed in the match-winning goal to guide his side to 6-5 title victory. Nicolas Scortichini and Marcelo Garrahan supervised the final as field umpires.

Ittehad Textile CEO Nazim Shahzad Sheikh graced the prize distribution ceremony as chief guest and gave away trophies and shields to the winners and top performers. Other prominent ones present there were Saira Rizwan, Lahore Polo Club President Omer Sadik, Executive Committee members Agha Murtaza Ali Khan, Shah Qubilai Alam, Feroz Gulzar, Usman Haye, Saqib Khan Khakwani, Agha Najeeb Raza, Secretary Lt Col (r) Mudassar Sharif, foreign and top national polo players and their families.

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Pleased at the way my career is unfolding, says Haider Ali

KARACHI (Online): Haider Ali is regarded as one of the brightest batting prospects when it comes to white-ball cricket. And already in the ongoing HBL Pakistan Super League 6 edition, the precocious right-hander has been a vital cog for Peshawar Zalmi.

The 20-year-old, born in Attock, has been instrumental in both victories when Peshawar were chasing targets of 190-plus here at the National Stadium. If his eight-ball cameo of 24 stunned Multan Sultans last Sunday, then the 29-ball 50 on Friday night ultimately served to leave Quetta Gladiators utterly shell-shocked as Peshawar got over the line by reaching 202-7 in 19.3 overs.

“It was not just me to take credit for Peshawar Zalmi’s second win. [Sherfane] Rutherford was brilliant in the death overs and there were Imam-ul-Haq and Shoaib [Malik] who also played superbly because the talk in our dugout was take the game as deep as possible without losing sight [of the target],” Haider, who was named man-of-the-match, observed during the post-match chat. “Overall, I’m pleased at the way my career is unfolding. Playing for Pakistan has been memorable but the expectations [of the fan] go high when you are playing at the international.”

Haider, who is the first Pakistani to start his Twenty International career with a 50-plus score (54 against England at Old Trafford last September), aims to improve his game further. “This is the key word for success because then you can hope to be automatic selection at the top level since the fans expect more from you,” the soft-spoken Haider said. “I’m also extremely fortunate that I’m playing alongside Shoaib for Peshawar Zalmi. His huge playing experience and knowledge of the game are massive for me personally. He is always there to be the guidance force which is so critical for young players.

“His presence at the crease in comforting. The simple message from Shoaib when he came out to join me was ‘just play your natural game and don’t the scoreboard pressure create doubt in your mind’. And it worked wonders not only for me but for the team too. “My aim is to be among the top five run-getters in this HBL PSL and also help Peshawar Zalmi keep the momentum going and winning two matches have been very, very satisfying,” Haider signed off.

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Karachi Kings defeat Multan Sultans by seven wickets

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Defending champions Karachi Kings produced a stunning run-chase to defeat Multan Sultans by seven wickets in ninth fixture of HBL PSL 6 at National Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Kings’ victory has given them the top-spot in the HBL PSL 6 points table. They have won two out of their three games and have four points each with Islamabad United, Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi, but with improved net run-rate they are at the top of the table.

For Kings’, the foundation of the 196-run chase was laid by the opening partnership of 56 between left-handed Sharjeel Khan (27 off 14) and player-of-the-match Babar Azam. After the departure of Sharjeel, Babar was joined by Joe Clarke. The pair added 97 runs stand for the second-wicket.

The right-handed Clarke contributed 54 off 26, smashing three fours and four sixes –his first half century in the HBL PSL 6.

Kings were helped past the target by an unbroken 36-run partnership between Babar (90 not out, 60 balls, 13 fours, one six) and Mohammad Nabi (13 not out, eight balls, two fours) with seven balls to spare.

Shahnawaz Dhani with two wickets for 28 runs in three overs was the pick of the Sultans’ bowlers.

Earlier, after being put into bat by Kings’ captain Imad Wasim, the Sultans got off to a flying start. The opening pair of Chris Lynn and Mohammad Rizwan combined for a 50-run partnership in just 4.1 overs. The very next ball, Lynn fell to Imad after scoring 32 off 14 balls (six fours, one six), his highest so far in HBL PSL 6.

Rizwan was joined by James Vince with scoreboard reading at 53 for one. Both batsmen continued to dominate the Kings bowling attack as they contributed 70 runs for the second-wicket before Rizwan became right-arm fast Arshad Iqbal’s first victim of the day. Rizwan scored 43 off 32 balls. He struck five boundaries.

After the departure of Rizwan, the flow of runs dropped considerably for Sultans, and they ended up scoring 195 for six in 20 overs. Vince top-scored with a 29-ball 45, striking five fours and a six. Sohaib Maqsood contributed an unbeaten 34 off 27, which included two fours and a six.

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Bumrah to miss India’s fourth Test

NEW DELHI (Agencies): India said Saturday that star fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has left the squad for the England Test series for “personal reasons”.

The surprise move came only two days after India, with Bumrah in the side, thrashed England in the third Test inside two days to take a 2-1 series lead.

The final match starts on Thursday. The Board of Control for Cricket in India said Bumrah had asked “to be released from India’s squad ahead of the fourth Test owing to personal reasons.

“Accordingly, the fast bowler has been released and he will not be available for selection for the fourth Test.” The BCCI said no replacement would be called up.

Bumrah, who has become India’s pace spearhead in recent years, bowled only six overs in England’s first innings this week and none in the second innings when only spin bowlers were used.

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England’s NZ tour goes behind closed doors

Auckland (Agencies): The next three matches of England’s tour of New Zealand will be played behind closed doors after a new lockdown was introduced in the country.

Saturday’s third one-day international (22:00 GMT) plus Twenty20s on Wednesday and Friday will be played without fans.

Wednesday’s T20 has been moved to Wellington from Auckland, where the tightest lockdown has been introduced.

The third and final T20 on 7 March will go ahead in Tauranga with a decision yet to made about fans’ attendance.

The first two 50-over matches of England’s tour have both been played with spectators, England winning both comfortably to take a 2-0 series lead.

Auckland has been put into a seven-day lockdown after one community coronavirus case was found. More relaxed restrictions which limit social gatherings have also been introduced across the rest of New Zealand.

Next week’s T20s are all double headers alongside the men’s matches between New Zealand and Australia, which have seen the same restrictions introduced.