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ICC dismisses PCB’s case against BCCI over refusal to play bilateral series

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has dismissed the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) case against the Indian cricket board on Tuesday.

According to details, PCB has submitted a case in the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) against the BCCI over refusal to play a bilateral cricket series.

According to the press release issued by ICC, “the Dispute Panel formed under the Terms of Reference of the ICC Disputes Resolutions Committee (DRC), the International Cricket Council has announced the outcome of the recent DRC proceedings between the BCCI and the PCB.

ICC added that following a three-day hearing and having considered detailed oral and written submissions, the Dispute Panel has dismissed the PCB’s claim against the BCCI. The judgment, which can be found here in full, is binding and non-appealable” .

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Zverev stuns Djokovic to claim ATP Finals title

LONDON (Agencies): Twenty four hours after being booed for having the audacity to take down a tennis great, Alexander Zverev returned to topple another one as he stunned Novak Djokovic to win the ATP Finals title on Sunday.

Zverev, billed as the player most likely to lead the sport into a new golden era once the holy trinity of Roger Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have hung up their rackets, took full advantage of an off-key Serb to win 6-4 6-3.

Hamburg-born Zverev had been shamefully booed and heckled on Saturday by a Federer-worshipping crowd having beaten the six-time champion after a controversial second-set tiebreak.

Against world number one Djokovic, however, the 18,000 fans wedged into the cavernous O2 arena were roaring their support as he produced a level of tennis his opponent could not match.

He struck 20 winners to Djokovic’s seven — the last of which was a backhand to end a one hour and 19 minute duel. “I really can’t describe it. It is the biggest title I have ever won,” Zverev said on court after becoming the first German to win the ATP’s most prestigious title — often referred to as ‘the fifth slam’ — since Boris Becker in Frankfurt in 1995.

In becoming the youngest ATP Finals champion since Djokovic, also 21, in 2008, Zverev sent out a clear message that he is ready to spend a considerable amount of time at tennis’ top table and start accumulating the game’s biggest prizes.

Djokovic, whose error-strewn display was a shock after a dominant week in south east London which included an easy round-robin win over Zverev, sportingly walked around the net to congratulate his conqueror after match point — the German still laying on his back in a state of disbelief.

Later, Djokovic told reporters: “There’s a lot of similarities in terms of trajectory of professional tennis, in our careers. Hopefully he can surpass me. “There’s a lot of time ahead of him. (I) Wish him to stay healthy and obviously win a lot of titles.”

Zverev, younger brother of Tour pro Mischa and now coached by eight-times major champion Ivan Lendl, is yet to go past the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam. That is still the test next year but on Sunday he displayed an added sense of maturity, to go with the natural flair and easy power that have marked him out as a future number one.

His forehand, often regarded as a weakness, was armour-plated and he showed a refreshing willingness to attack the net — a skill he perhaps has learned from his brother. Most impressive was that he often prevailed in the long, attritional baseline rallies in which Djokovic has used as the foundation for 14 Grand Slam titles.

The opening eight games resembled a boxing match with both players probing for weaknesses — although it was evident that Zverev’s packed the more powerful punches.

Djokovic, winner of 35 of his last 37 matches during a dominant second half of the year which propelled him back to world number one, had not dropped serve all week and had faced only two break points in his four previous matches.

But at 4-4 he wavered as he yanked an edgy forehand halfway up the net to give Zverev the chance to serve for the set.

Zverev took his opportunity in emphatic fashion — blasting down three consecutive aces then winning the set when another Djokovic forehand flew long.

An increasingly-ragged Djokovic then dropped his opening two service games of the second set, either side of breaking Zverev for the first time as the German played a rare loose game.

The crowd still expected a Djokovic fight back but it never materialised and at 3-5 the 31-year-old crumbled, serving a double-fault to help Zverev earn two match points.

He saved the first but was left standing as Zverev conjured a stunning backhand to cap a brilliant display.




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Dramatic win a “good advertisement” for Test cricket, says Williamson

ABU DHABI (Agencies): New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson praised his team’s never-say-die approach and described a tension-packed narrow four-run win over Pakistan in the first match on Monday a “good advertisement for Test cricket.”

New Zealand defended a modest 176-run target, courtesy of 5-59 by left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel in his first Test and two wickets each by fast bowler Neil Wagner and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi which bundled Pakistan out for 171 on the fourth day.

It is the fifth narrowest margin of victory in terms of runs in Test cricket history.

Williamson admitted the win was dramatic, with fortunes fluctuating throughout the day on which Pakistan needed a further 139 with all ten wickets intact.

“It certainly was dramatic,” said Williamson. “Throughout the four days both teams were put under pressure. I think at the end of the day it was a great advertisement for Test cricket.”

The five-day format has been under threat from the more vibrant Twenty20 and one-day internationals and the mushrooming of the leagues around the world.

Patel sparked a mini-collapse at the start when he trapped Imam-ul-Haq leg-before in the fifth over of the day for 27 before Ish Sodhi had Mohammad Hafeez (ten) and Haris Sohail (four) in the same over.

Azhar Ali, the last man out for a fighting 65, added 82 for the fourth wicket with Asad Shafiq (45) but Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for just 41 runs.

Williamson said the pitch wasn’t easy.

“The wicket was challenging and both teams had to fight hard, and certainly Pakistan had the upper-hand, but some of the characteristics we held very dear is the attitude to fight on.

“I think the fighting attributes of this team really shone through and certainly today, it´s important to build on a number of parts to go into the next game, for sure.”

The second Test starts in Dubai from Saturday while the third and final, again in Abu Dhabi from December 3.

Williamson, who now has nine wins in his 18 Tests in charge, described the win as “one of his best.”

“Yes, without a doubt. The best in recent memory. In these conditions Pakistan are a very strong side. To get through them in four days and stay in the match and come out with this result must obviously rank as one of our best wins.”

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed blamed poor batting for his team’s loss.

“We have given away soft wickets. Nobody played long innings. It is very disappointing to say the least,” said Sarfraz.

“The way we started off yesterday we felt we will get through to the target easily.

“But then we lost three wickets and it was important for set players to play on but that did not happen and you have to praise New Zealand bowlers, especially Patel.”

New Zealand lead in the three-match series 1-0. The second Test starts in Dubai on Saturday.



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Smith, Warner bans to be reviewed this week – reports

SYDNEY (Agencies): Steve Smith and David Warner could have their one-year bans from international and state cricket reduced or adjusted after a review by the board of Cricket Australia (CA) this week, local media reports said on Monday.

Former test captain Smith and vice-captain Warner were handed the bans by CA after the ball-tampering scandal earlier this year and are not scheduled to resume playing at the top level until the end of March 2019.

Batsman Cameron Bancroft was handed a nine-month ban for his part in the affair and is scheduled to return to action at the end of December. The Australian Cricketers’ Association have always contested the bans were overly-harsh and have continued to push for all three to be able to return to representative cricket immediately.

Those calls intensified after a cultural review into Cricket Australia last month that suggested that the culture fostered in the game by the governing body had contributed to the incident in a test against South Africa. That review led to the resignation of chairman David Peever, who had forcefully maintained that the players should see out the full terms of their suspensions.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on Monday reported that “serious discussions” had taken place among senior officials over allowing the players to return to state cricket, adding that the board would consider lifting the suspensions this week.

Smith and Warner are two of the best batsmen in world cricket and the debate over their bans is being played out against the backdrop of Australia’s continued struggles in all formats of the men’s game. With Australia’s defence of the 50-overs World Cup starting in England at the end of May and the defence of the Ashes following in August and September.

Both have been keeping their hand in by playing Sydney club cricket and have received praise in local media for the way they have conducted themselves.

Smith and Warner have both been retained by their franchises in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) for the next version of the competition, which starts on March 29.

Australia take on India in the first of three Twenty20 internationals in Brisbane on Wednesday looking to snap a run of four consecutive defeats in the format.

They then face the tourists, who are top of the world rankings, in four tests over December and January looking to avoid what would be a first ever home series loss to India.



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Seferovic hat-trick helps Swiss stun Belgium to reach semis

LONDON (Agencies): Haris Seferovic starred with a hat-trick as Switzerland staged a sensational comeback to thrash Belgium 5-2 in Lucerne on Sunday and qualify for the Nations League finals in dramatic fashion.

Thorgan Hazard’s early double left Switzerland needing to win by two goals to qualify from Group A2 but the hosts quickly fought back, with Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty and Seferovic’s first two goals seeing them into a 3-2 half-time lead. Nico Elvedi nodded home a Xherdan Shaqiri cross in the 62nd minute, and Vladimir Petkovic’s men sealed a stunning win when Seferovic completed his treble late on.

“I want to congratulate each player, there was a big mental reaction, the players never gave up, they always believed,” said Swiss coach Petkovic. “They played with will, intelligence and with their heads.” After a thrilling match that continued a trend of goal-filled encounters in the inaugural edition of the Nations League, Switzerland will play at the finals in June next year, alongside European champions Portugal and England, with the final spot going to either France or the Netherlands on Monday.

Roberto Martinez’s men saw their six-match unbeaten run since reaching the World Cup semi-finals brought to an shuddering halt. “We forgot to defend well, we gave Switzerland the opportunity to get back in the game,” said Spanish coach Martinez. “We had a lot of excitement, we really wanted to finish top of the group. The disappointment will make us more focused when the (Euro 2020) qualification starts.”

– Thorgan Hazard sets the tone –

Thorgan Hazard set the tone for the game in only the second minute as dreadful defending by Swiss centre-back Elvedi allowed him to slot home. The 25-year-old winger continued his excellent recent form with a magnificent individual strike in the 17th minute, carrying the ball forwards at pace before hammering a low drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

The Borussia Moenchengladbach man has now scored 12 goals for club and country this season. That left the hosts with a mountain to climb, but Rodriguez got them on the scoresheet in the 26th minute from the spot after Nacer Chadli fouled Kevin Mbabu.

Liverpool forward Shaqiri was starting to have a bigger impact on the game and he headed the ball across goal for Seferovic to tap in his first just after the half-hour mark to keep the game alive. Benfica striker Seferovic sent the crowd in Lucerne into raptures with a wonderful curling finish shortly before half-time as a famous fightback beckoned.

Switzerland continued to press at the start of the second period, with Shaqiri bending a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar. Shaqiri, who has been revitalised since joining Liverpool from Stoke in the close season, was the architect of the all-important fourth goal, creating space for a whipped cross which only needed a glancing touch from Elvedi. Belgium still only needed one goal to snatch top spot in the group, but Seferovic put that beyond reach of the away side by twisting to head home in the 84th minute.

There was still time for Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer to be forced into saves by Eden Hazard and Belgian substitute Michy Batshuayi, but the hosts held on and almost scored a sixth when Denis Zakaria was denied at point-blank range by Thibaut Courtois.

– Austria finish with win –

Earlier on Sunday, Valentino Lazaro scored an injury-time winner as Austria beat Northern Ireland 2-1 in a dead rubber in Belfast that Marko Arnautovic described as a “fight”. Northern Ireland had already been relegated from Group B3, while Austria were guaranteed to finish second.

“We can be proud of the win. We wanted to come here, to finish well with a win and we did that,” West Ham forward Arnautovic told Sky Sports.

“He (Northern Ireland centre-back Gareth McAuley) tried to choke me, he tried to fight with me, I don’t know why. It is not good to fight with me.”



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Pakistan hockey team’s new kit unveiled ahead of World Cup

Monitoring Desk

LAHORE: The new kit of Pakistan’s hockey team was recently unveiled in a ceremony in Lahore. The new kit was unveiled ahead of Pakistan’s Hockey World Cup campaign which starts in Indian city of Bhubaneswar on December 1 against Germany.

The green shirts have been placed in Group D alongside Netherlands, Germany and Malaysia. The Hockey World Cup is starting from November 28 in India. Pakistan has won the mega event four times (1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994).

The Pakistan Hockey Federation has requested the prime minister for Rs82 million. PHF Secretary Shahbaz Ahmad has written a letter to the inter-provincial coordination ministry. “It is important for us to get the funds in seven days,” he said. Pakistan will get fined if it does not participate in the tournament, he added. Ahmad said that the prime minister should act soon to rescue the national game. Pakistan and India were declared joint winners after the Asian Hockey Champions Trophy 2018 final was washed out due to heavy rain in Muscat.


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Peshawar Red stun defending champion Tank to win 13th NBP Inter-District Soccer title

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: One goal each by international footballer Atiq Shinwari and left winger Yasir guided Peshawar Red to stun defending champion Tank by 2-0 in the thrilling final of the 13th NBP Inter-District Football Championship played here at Tehmas Khan Football Stadium on Monday.

Speaker Provincial Assembly Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani was the chief guest on this occasion. Former Health Minister and President KP Football Association Syed Zahir Shah, Regional NBP Chief Muhammad Sohail Ahmad, Organizing Secretary Basit Kamal, former MPA Dr. Zakir Shah, former national team skipper Gohar Zaman, officials and large number of football spectators were also present and witnessed the thrilling match.

Surprisingly last time it was Tank who defeated Peshawar Red by 2-0 in the final played at Qayyum Sports Complex and this time Peshawar stunned Tank with a similar margin 2-0 by taking a sweet revenge. Both Peshawar Red and Tank played well and raided each other territories with some fine moves and till the end of the first session none of the team could get any lead. Tank took three easy goal scoring chances but Peshawar Red goal-keeper international Khalid played well and thwarted all attempts with spectacular saves.

It was in the 9th minute when Tank center mid-fielder Jamil got a free kick just in front of the goal-post and kicked disparately into the goal-post but Khalid while rescuing his team diving to his right and intercepted the ball nicely. In the 16th and 28th minute again Aamir Shah and Muhammad Shoaib got two easy chances of goal scoring but Khalid did not give them a chance to score and intercepted the attempts of both Aamir and Muhammad Shoaib.

Peshawar Red defenders played well but a panic like situation in their rank due to time and again attacks from the Tank forwards. At half-time both Peshawar Red and Tank were locked a goal-less draw. It was the resumption of the second session in which Peshawar Red team played with determination and soon got position of the ball by making some good rallies of attacks. It was a good play of skipper Atiq Shinwari, the mid-fielder, who got a free ball from the center line and kicked into the net from the 25-yard distance. Surprisingly, Tank goal-keeper Mubashir failed to stop the ball and thus Peshawar Red got the lead.

After taking the lead, Peshawar Red scored another spectacular goal through Yasir. Yasir, the left winger, run past three defenders before slamming in a beautiful goal on the field attempt by making the tally 2-0. Tank after going down into two goal deficit, tried their hard to reduce the margin but they were failed due to tight marking.

For Peshawar Waleed Waheed, Shakoor, Naseer and Aamir Shah also played well as the deep defenders and mid-fielders while for Tank, Jamil, Nouman, Hafiz Shoaib, Tariq Mehmood played well. Akram Ullah, Dilwar Khan (Kohat), Abdur Rehman supervised the match while Syed Imtiaz Ali Shah acted as match commissioner. At the end, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani gave away the winner and runners-up trophies and cash prizes. He also lauded the organizing committee for holding the Championship in which teams from all across KP participated.

He said the govt is striving hard for ensuring due facilities to the youth and so far 110 grounds have been completed in all districts across KP wherein work on 30 other would be completed by December this year or January 2019. He said as desired by Prime Minister Imran Khan state land would be utilized for the construction of indoor gymnasium in all Divisional Headquarters.


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New Zealand defeat Pakistan by four runs in first Test match

Monitoring Desk

ABU DHABI: Pakistan faced a humiliating defeat in the first Test match against New Zealand by four runs on Monday in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan team were in a good position as the green shirts were just 46 runs away from winning the first Test against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday despite a clatter of early wickets and the loss of middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq in the last over before lunch.

Pakistan, set 176 to win the match, were 130 for four at the break with Azhar Ali unbeaten on 40 after an innings-reviving stand of 82 with Shafiq in the first session.

Later all the team fell short of four runs from the target.

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Asif hit 33-ball 80 to stun Durban Heat

DURBAN (Agencies): Asif Ali produced a performance for the ages, shellacking a 33-ball 80, as Cape Town Blitz turned the tables on Durban Heat in a stunning chase at Kingsmead. This innings was a clinic, really, embodying all the attributes that define T20 batsmanship: flair, skill, daring, power, and creativity of the highest order. Asif’s innings was the life jacket Blitz needed, after they had been reduced to 83 for 5 by Keshav Maharaj’s crafty spin; by the time he was finished, Asif had slashed the required rate from a hefty 12.40 to a run a ball. An excellent 19th over by Marchant de Lange left Heat clinging on to a tiny ray of hope, but it was dashed first ball of the next over, when Kyle Abbott overpitched outside off and Malusi Siboto crunched a cover drive to all but seal the game.

And to think that he arrived in the middle of a double-strike by Maharaj. Blitz were 51 for 3 in a chase of 158. The required rate was already touching 10 an over. T20 batsmen are hardly perturbed by such demands these days. But this was a seaming surface. Conditions were overcast. The bounce could be disconcerting. And for all that support for the faster bowlers, it wasn’t as though there was nothing in it for the slower ones. Maharaj had already shown that if you could find the ideal pace to settle on, you could get the ball to stop on the batsman and force errors.

Asif dealt with his first two balls, from Maharaj, with caution, getting a feel for the surface. And then, he got down to business. The manner of his progression left Heat tearing their hair apart. It didn’t matter what the bowlers did; Asif had an answer ready. Slide it into leg: sweep; take it away outside off: reverse sweep; fire it in straight: step out and smack.

Even Maharaj, Heat’s best bowler, was not spared. The left-arm spinner had 3 for 13 in three overs when he came back in the 15th over. Asif slapped him for a four and six off his first two balls. Those two hits marked the beginning of a dramatic turnaround as Blitz pillaged 52 runs in three overs. And all of those, barring a wide, came off Asif’s bat.

The return of a mild drizzle worsened things for an underfire Heat attack, as their bowlers began losing control and missing their mark. A sequence of six, four and six to start off the 16th over gave Asif his fifty off 21 balls, as Heat were on the backfoot for the first time in the chase.

The brutality of it all meant Heat had to absolutely hold on to any chance that came their way. That opportunity presented itself twice in the 17th over and Heat let both slip. Having already cracked him for a brace of fours, Asif swung across the line to Marchant de Lange, and miscued it off the toe end to deep midwicket. Maharaj moved sharply towards the ball and lined himself behind it well, but in trying to cut it off over his head, lost balance and fell off. For all that trouble, he didn’t even end up keeping the ball inside the boundary. Three balls later, Temba Bavuma shelled Asif, running back from mid-off. It really was a sign that Asif couldn’t go wrong on this day. And he didn’t.

Like Blitz, Heat struggled through the early phases of their innings. Anrich Nortje, the left-arm fast bowler, made use of helpful overhead conditions to trample the Heat batsmen with pace. Morne van Wyk briefly tantalised at the top, unfurling a string of boundaries, including three of the first four balls he faced from Nortje. Overambition cost him, however, when he tried to make it 14 off three off the pacer and lost his leg stump to an attempted scoop. Two balls later, Nortje did Sarel Erwee in with sheer pace, as the batsman chopped on with not enough time to react. Bavuma fell in similar fashion to one that seared in to make it a triple-strike. Nortje returned to nip out Amla, pinned in front by one that straightened, as Heat had lost their top four by the eighth over.

Khaya Zondo and Albie Morkel began the tedious recovery, consolidating through the middle overs and finding timely boundaries. Dale Steyn’s waning powers as a white-ball bowler came to prominence again as he was taken apart for three successive fours in the 13th over and finished with 0 for 45. Together, Zondo and Morkel put on 71 in 53 balls, and struck five fours and as many sixes between them. But, as Asif would demonstrate later, it just wasn’t savage enough.

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Hirscher wins season opener

LEVI (Agencies): Austrian star Marcel Hirscher scraped into first place after a dramatic second run in Levi, finishing in 1:51.04 during the opener of this year’s Alpine ski world cup. Hirscher, gunning for a record eighth consecutive crystal globe, ended 0.09 seconds ahead of Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, who claimed silver in the giant slalom at this year’s Winter Olympics.

After a strong start Hirscher lost some time in the final sector of the descent but held on to clinch the win from Kristoffersen. But the defining moment in the race was a cruel last-minute twist in the fortunes of the French team. Both Clement Noel and Victor Muffat-Jeandet looked set for a podium finish before missing the same gate, metres from the finish line, within minutes of each other. Both climbed back up and finished the course, ending in 26th and 25th place respectively. Noel, the 21-year-old rising star who placed fourth in slalom in Pyeongchang, ended his first run in third place in 54.65 seconds.

The win is the third at Levi for Austria’s titan of the slalom Hirscher, after 2013 and 2016, and a hoped-for start to the season where the 29-year-old will look to build on his seven consecutive world cup overall wins. Hirscher, whose wife gave birth in October, said after the race: “Last year’s summer preparation was very special and this year as well.

Last year, injured, and this year, carrying our little son through the living room.” The traditional winner’s trophy at Levi, inside the Arctic circle, is a reindeer, which is kept and looked after in Lapland throughout the year. Hirscher announced that this year’s animal will be christened Mr Snow, alongside his previous reindeer Leo and Ferdinand. Sunday’s race marks the opening of this year’s men’s world cup season after the giant slalom at Soelden, Austria was cancelled due to heavy snowfall in October.