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A gloomy end to Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign

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The ground staff did an excellent job to clear the water, but their effort wasn’t good enough

Rex Clementine in Miami

Sri Lanka crashed out of the ICC T-20 World Cup with a game to spare after their match against Nepal in Miami was washed out by rain. The former champions had made things difficult for themselves after losing back-to-back games against South Africa and Bangladesh, but still had an outside chance of making it to the second round depending on decisions of other games going in their favour. But after Tuesday’s washout, even if they win their next game against Netherlands they will be left with only three points and that’s not good enough to go through.

It rained the whole day in Miami on Tuesday. Although the rains cleared by 6:00 pm, there were hopes of a delayed start with overs shortened. The match officials did an inspection at 8:30pm local time and decided to abandon the game. There were two puddles in long off and long-on and playing the game would have been too risky. The ground staff did an excellent job to clear the water, but their effort wasn’t good enough.

The players left the ground half an hour after the match was abandoned and it started raining again.

Sri Lanka will now travel to St. Lucia where they will play their remaining group game against Netherlands later this week.

It’s been a disappointing campaign for Sri Lanka no doubt. The same team had beaten Afghanistan at home and Bangladesh away from home in T-20 series and there were high hopes of Sri Lanka doing well.

However, the team had little momentum during their campaign from the moment they won the toss against South Africa and decided to bat first on an unknown wicket. Sri Lanka were shot out for 77 in New York, their lowest total ever in T-20 cricket.

Sri Lanka were poor in handling game situations and playing under pressure as several batters perished trying to attack whereas picking up singles would have been the wiser choice on two paced tracks.

“It has been a disappointing campaign for us. Our batting didn’t click and although our bowlers and fielders fought hard, we didn’t simply have enough runs on the board to fight back,” spin bowler Maheesh Theekshana told journalists after the game was abandoned.

“We were poor in assessing the conditions. It’s been a tough campaign for us. I don’t think we deserve a place in the second round. We know we are out of the tournament but we have one more game and realistically we need to finish that game off in a good manner.”



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Djokovic sets up Alcaraz rematch in Wimbledon final

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Novak Djokovic is trying to match Roger Federer's total of eight Wimbledon titles [BBC]

Novak Djokovic outclassed Italian underdog Lorenzo Musetti to reach the Wimbledon final and set up a showdown with reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz in a repeat of last year’s final.

The 37-year-old impressed as he stayed on course for a record-equalling eighth men’s singles title at Wimbledon with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory on Centre Court.

Musetti, 22, had one chance to get the break back in the final set but sent a forehand into the net and crouched down with his head in his hands, knowing the end was near.  Djokovic made sure his opponent did not get another opportunity.

Under pressure, Musetti sent a shot long before Djokovic walked to the net, knowing he had reached his 37th Grand Slam final and 10th at Wimbledon.

The Serb then moved his racquet over his shoulder and imitated playing a violin, in a gesture aimed at his six-year-old daughter Tara, with television cameras showing her grinning along.

Some fans, however, started booing, thinking Djokovic, who produced the same celebration following his win over Holger Rune in the last 16, was being disrespectful.

Alcaraz beat Djokovic in last year’s showpiece, winning 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 in a five-set epic, which lasted four hours 42 minutes and is regarded one of the best matches in the tournament’s history.

The pair meet again on Sunday in what could be another amazing chapter in Wimbledon folklore.

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Top ICC official Chris Tetley and Claire Furlong resign

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There was a lot of scrutiny of the matches in the US leg of the World Cup, particularly the games held in New York

A couple of senior officials from the International Cricket Council (ICC), who were closely involved in organizing the Twenty20 World Cup in the US and the West Indies, have resigned. On Friday, it came to light that Chris Tetley, the ICC’s Head of Events, and Claire Furlong, the General Manager of Marketing and Communications, have announced their departures from the organization.

The resignations, coming as they did immediately after the conclusion of the World Cup and just about a week ahead of the ICC’s annual conference in Colombo, are believed to be related to the conduct of the championship. However, ICC insiders say the resignations are several months old.

One particular source has claimed that both Tetley and Furlong decided to leave the world body at the end of the last commercial cycle itself but stayed on in view of the Twenty20 World Cup in the US. The source went on to add that the two quit quite some time back but will continue to be with the ICC for a few more months ‘to ensure smooth transition of charge in a crowded event cycle.’ They will also attend the Annual Conference in Colombo from July 19 to 22.

The World Cup in the US, and particularly in New York, was a major project of the ICC and the two officials were closely involved in it. Many members of the ICC were priming to raise the issue of the New York games, which were low-scoring affairs due to the ‘up and down’ nature of the drop-in pitches at the NY stadium, at the Colombo conclave. A key member of the ICC board is learnt to have raised the issue through a letter to the members.

The number of fours and sixes, which are generally expected to be high in numbers in the Twenty20 games, was significantly low in the New York games. The Indian team, the eventual champions, however, did not comment on the nature of the pitches, stating that the conditions were equal for all the participating teams.

The matches in the US were conducted by an entity called T20 World Cup Inc which had built a modular stadium in the Nassau County of New York’s Long Island in record time. The stadium was dismantled immediately after the NY leg of the championship. NY hosted eight of the 16 games allotted to the US.

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Junior National Athletics Championship commences today

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The spotlight will fall on the Under 20 age category when the Junior National Athletics Championship commences at Diyagama today as the four-day championship will be the final opportunity to qualify for the World Junior Championships.

Six athletes have already reached entry standards for the world event to be held in Lima, Peru in August.

Sri Lanka Athletics has spelt out the plan to form a team for the costly tour also leaving a space for those athletes who excel in the Under 18 age category. The World Junior Championship is open to Under 20 age category.

The day one programme includes at least ten events in the Under 20 age category.

However, it is not only the athletes in the Under 20 age category that will compete for honours.

The event will be vital for athletes in the Under 16, Under 18 and Under 23 age categories as well.

The Junior National Athletics Championship was earlier scheduled for June but inclement weather forced Sri Lanka Athletics to postpone the event to July. This postponement has affected athletes of some areas as some zonal championships commence during the Junior National.

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