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Afghanistan to ‘sort out’ batting, fielding lineup ahead of first World Cup match

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(Last Updated On: October 20, 2021)

Afghanistan is set to face West Indies in its 2nd warmup match prior to the start of their first match in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 on October 25.

The warm up match is set to be played in ICCA Oval 1, Dubai on Wednesday evening.

Afghanistan lost its first warmup match to South Africa as they were reduced to only 104/8 in their 20 overs and lost the match by 41 runs. Although Afghanistan’s bowling attack started well, with Nabi and Mujeeb turning things around, the South African batsmen targeted Afghanistan’s bowlers which caused to them to lose at least 30 runs.

The batters were also restricted and felt the heat as the South Africans ended up controlling the match.

The Afghan team has high hopes of defeating the Windies on Wednesday in what they hope will be a confidence booster before embarking on their official journey at the World Cup.

Afghanistan will look to strengthen their batting by sorting out the batting order. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai are the men who have had some impressive performances over the last two years for the national team and in franchise cricket.

If Afghanistan are to prove on their batting, they will need two of these batters to do well and at least one other batter to support them.

A middle order which includes captain Mohammad Nabi, Najeebullah Zadran and Asghar Afghan will also try to post a big score.

In the bowling department, Mohammad Nabi will look to bowl Rashid Khan Wednesday to observe where and how to utilize him at the main event; while Rashid will need to assess the conditions and prepare himself for the next event.

Hamid Hassan however did not complete his full quota and injured his finger, but will be looking to bowl some overs and mark his presence before their first official match.

Mohammad Nabi will also be looking to test the medium pace of Karim Jannat in the middle overs as an additional seam bowling option in the line-up, while Fareed or Gulbadin Naib will also be kept in check to test their medium fast bowling abilities before going to the first match against B1 on Oct 25.
Said Rahman Ahmadzai, fielding coach of the National U19 team said Wednesday that the warm up match was important and must be considered as the final opportunity to select the best XI for the first match.

“The batters focused on big hitting in the first inning (against South African) which was not right” said Ahmadzai.

He added: “The mistakes that we made in the first match must not be repeated, good batting, bowling and fielding must be done which is very important for the team’s performance”.

Ahmadzai also pointed out that the spin bowling attack approach could prove beneficial in these conditions.

“UAE pitches are spin bowling friendly; the ball is not coming good on the bat and sometimes the wickets make it difficult for the batsmen to read the ball well”.

He also added that around 150 runs are a defendable score in these conditions but while bowling first, the team must restrict the opposition to around 130 runs to be able to chase the target down.

Afghanistan defeated West Indies 2-1 in a 3-match T20I series in Lucknow two years ago and will be mentally ready going into this match.

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Klusener to step down as Afghanistan’s cricket coach

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Former South Africa allrounder Lance Klusener will step down as the head coach of Afghanistan’s national cricket team when his contract expires on December 31.

Klusener, who was appointed in September 2019, said in a statement issued on Monday he will not renew his contract.

“Having spent two years with the team, I will take away some memorable moments with me,” he said.

“As I walk away from Afghanistan cricket team and its cricketing structure, I look forward to the next stage in my coaching career and opportunities it brings.”

Klusener took over as head coach from Andy Moles, who was serving in an interim capacity after the exit of Phil Simmons following the 2019 World Cup.

While Afghanistan hardly played any cricket in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team did reasonably well under Klusener, winning one out of the three Tests, three out of the six ODIs and nine out of 14 T20Is.

Considered one of the best South African all-rounders during his playing days (1996 to 2004), Klusener scored 1,906 runs and took 80 wickets in 49 Tests. He also scored 3,576 runs and got 192 wickets in 171 ODIs.

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Messi claims record-extending seventh Ballon d’Or

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2021)

Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world for a record-stretching seventh time on Monday, beating Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to lift soccer’s most prestigious trophy yet again, Reuters reported.

The forward added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies after winning the Copa America for the first time with his country last July.

“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key,” Messi said at Paris’s Theatre du Chatelet.

“It is a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.

“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”

Messi, who joined Paris St Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona during the close season after finishing as La Liga’s top scorer with the Spanish club, collected 613 points, with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski, named best striker on Monday, getting 580.

Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and the European championship with Italy, ended up third on 460, ahead of France’s Karim Benzema and Ngolo Kante in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Chelsea, named club of the year, also had keeper Edouard Mendy finishing second in the Yashin trophy behind Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, read the report.

According to the women’s Ballon d’Or went to Alexia Putellas after the Spain midfielder guided Barcelona to Champions League glory.

“The key moment was the Champions League final against Olympique Lyonnais,” she said.

Putellas is the third winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin after Ada Hegerberg in 2018 and Megan Rapinoe in 2019. There was no ceremony last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On a good night for Barcelona, the 19-year-old Pedri was awarded the Kopa trophy for the best Under-21 player, Reuters reported.

“The best way to celebrate turning 19 is receiving this award. I’d like to thank everyone at Barcelona for helping me here,” he said.

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ACB announces Afghan women’s cricket will remain intact

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(Last Updated On: November 24, 2021)

Mirwais Ashraf, the newly appointed Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) acting Chairman, said at a meeting with departmental managers that women will continue to play cricket as normal, the ACB said in a statement.

Mirwais Ashraf said that women’s cricket is one of the major requirements of the ICC and they are committed to meeting their obligations.

“Our girls will be playing cricket on the normal basis and we are looking to provide them with their basic needs and all the facilities they need,” he said.

He also said that the ICC requirements are valued by the ACB and they are doing their best to meet them.

He also said that they will work hard to arrange more games for the national teams with other cricket nations.

On internal issues, he said that they will work to solve the problems together. “Every employee must stay committed to the ACB and must strive hard to do well in their own parts”.

ACB’s CEO Naseeb Khan congratulated Mirwais Ashraf on his new post and said this appointment was a good move for the organization.

Naseeb Khan also pointed out they have had lots of effective meetings with various stakeholders in the UAE.

“We have had a productive meeting with the BCCI head Mr. Sourav Ganguly, and also have met officials from other cricketing nations to discuss a lot about having bilateral ties with them,”Khan added.

The departmental managers meanwhile welcomed the appointment of Mirwais Ashraf as the acting chairman of the ACB, assured him off their support and collaboration.

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