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Dilvan, Avika win men’s doubles quarter-final

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Dilvan Herath and Avika Kelegama beat Jaitra de Saram and Zahid Zihar 6-2, 3-6, 10-07 to advance to the semi-finals of the HNB-Hutch Clay Court National Tennis Tournament now being conducted at Sri Lanka Tennis Association Courts. Dilvan Herath (right) and Avika Kelegama in action.

(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)



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Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo join UAE’s ILT20

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Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Nicholas Pooran are the latest big names from the Caribbean to sign up for the UAE’s International League T20 (ILT20), along with Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka, England’s Ollie Pope and Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi.

The league also said that its six franchises – owned by Reliance Industries, Kolkata Knight Riders, Capri Global, GMR, Lancer Capital, and Adani Sportsline – have finalised contracting players through the “directly acquire players” option, though the details of who has gone to which team is not yet known.

Some of the other latest signings up for the ILT20 are: Will Smeed, Rehan Ahmed, Jordan Thompson, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Bas de Leede, Chris Benjamin and Bilal Khan.

The ILT20 is set to begin in January next year in the UAE and is competing with South Africa’s T20 League for players.

On August 8, the ILT20 had announced its first list of signed players which included Andre Russell, Moeen Ali, Wanindu Hasaranga, Alex Hales, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Jordan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawid Malan, Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis, Colin Munro, Fabian Allen, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Dushmantha Chameera, Akeal Hosein, Tom Banton, Sandeep Lamichhane, Rovman Powell, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Lahiru Kumara, Seekugge Prassanna, Charith Asalanka, Isuru Udana, Niroshan Dickwella, Kennar Lewis, Ravi Rampaul, Raymon Reifer, Dominic Drakes, Sherfane Rutherford, Hazratullah Zazai, Qais Ahmad, Noor Ahmed, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Naveen-ul-Haq, Dan Lawrence, Jamie Overton, Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, James Vince, Saqib Mahmood, Ben Duckett, Benny Howell, Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza, Brandon Glover, Frederick Klaasen, David Wiese, Ruben Trumpelmann, Colin Ingram, George Munsey, Paul Stirling and Ali Khan.

Each squad of 18 will have two players from Associate countries and four players from the UAE.

There have been suggestions that the space for Pakistani players in the league might be limited because franchises owned by IPL owners were wary of picking them for worries of a backlash in India. One ILT20 official said the franchise owned by Lancer Capital – the Glazers family that owns Manchester United – were still hopeful of signing up some Pakistan players, though the official acknowledged that not getting the NOCs from the PCB might be the obstacle. The PCB said in a statement last week that two Pakistan players had applied for NOCs to play in the league but were not granted them because the board expected the players to be involved in Pakistan’s home season.

The 2023 edition of the ILT20 will have 34 matches – all the teams will play each other twice, before four playoffs, including the final – spread across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

(Cricinfo)

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Bowlers, Balbirnie steer Ireland to comfortable win

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Josh Little, Mark Adair, Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany picked up two wickets each before Andy Balbirnie’s 46 off 36 balls broke the back of a 123-run chase to give Ireland a five-wicket win in the second T20I in Belfast. The hosts now lead the five-match series 2-0.

Afghanistan opted to bat first for the second time in two games but their innings never really took off. Both openers – Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Usman Ghani – were back in the pavilion by the third over. At the end of ten overs, they were hobbling at 62 for 4. The second half of the innings was no different and they finished with 122 for 8. Extras, with 19, the second-highest contributor.

Afghanistan needed early wickets to put Ireland under pressure but Balbirnie ensured that didn’t happen. The target was never going to challenge Ireland, and Afghanistan’s sloppy fielding made their task even easier. That meant despite a late wobble, they won with an over to spare.

For the first time in his T20I career, Rashid Khan went wicketless in back-to-back games. After none for 25 in the first T20I, he ended with none for 27 from his four overs today.

On what Mohammad Nabi described as a dry pitch at the toss, the Ireland seamers found movement as well as extra bounce with the new ball to pick up three wickets in the powerplay.

Adair struck with the first ball of the second over as Gurbaz sliced a full delivery to short third. In the next over, Little got one to jag back in to Ghani. The batter was looking for a cut but was cramped and ended up chopping the ball onto his stumps.

Ibrahim Zadran walked in at No. 4 and tried to up the scoring rate. He took on Barry McCarthy, hitting the seamer for three fours in his first over. In the next over, he steered Campher to the deep-third boundary for his fourth four in nine balls. However, a stunning catch from Andy McBrine cut short his counterattacking knock. Ibrahim tried to loft Curtis over wide long-on on the final ball of the powerplay but ended up miscuing it towards deep midwicket. McBrine sprinted in from the deep and put in a full-length dive to take the ball just above the ground, leaving Afghanistan 41 for 3 at the end of six overs.

Afghanistan needed a partnership to stabilise the innings; instead, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Najibullah Zadran started in his usual positive manner, reverse-sweeping McBrine for a four, but ended up uppercutting Campher straight to deep point soon after. Nabi didn’t last long either and holed out to long-on for 9 against Delany.

Hashmatullah Shahidi did occupy one end but struggled for timing throughout his 42-ball 36. Ironically, when he nailed a reverse sweep, it went straight into the hands of deep point. With Rashid failing to provide any fireworks, Afghanistan could manage only 22 from the last four overs.

Ireland lost Paul Stirling early in their chase and were 8 for 1 after three overs, but Balbirnie struck four fours in the next 11 balls to calm the nerves. A couple of overs later, he swept Mujeeb Ur Rahman in front of square leg for the first six of the match.

Along with Lorcan Tucker, he added 65 off 54 balls for the second wicket; Tucker’s contribution was 19 off 20 balls. Mujeeb eventually broke that stand when Balbirnie attempted a fine sweep but the ball lobbed up off the back of the bat and Gurbaz pouched it.

With 42 required from as many balls, Nabi brought himself on for the first time in the 14th over and made an immediate impact. In the space of four balls, he sent back Harry Tector and Tucker. But his second over, which featured four leg-byes, went for 13. That left Ireland with 20 needed from 24 balls. Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen gave away only 12 in the next two overs, with Farooqi also dismissing Campher. But George Dockrell kept his calm. On the final ball of the 19th over, bowled by Farooqi, he chipped a full toss over wide long-on to seal the game with a six.

Brief scores

Ireland 125 for 5 (Andy Balbirnie 46, Lorcan Tucker 27, Mohammad Nabi 2-15) beat Afghanistan 122 for 8 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 36, Ibrahim Zadran 17, Mark Adair 2-12, Curtis Campher 2-13) by five wickets

(Cricinfo)

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce runs fourth-fastest women’s 100m ever

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran the fourth-fastest ever women’s 100m, 10.62 seconds, to win at the Diamond League in Monaco.The five-time world 100m champion, 35, bettered her own mark for the fastest 100m of the year, having clocked 10.66 seconds in Poland on Saturday.She has now run the third and fourth-fastest women’s 100m times ever.

Fellow world champion Jake Wightman of Britain won the 1,000m with the fastest time this year.Fraser-Pryce’s fellow Jamaican Shericka Jackson came second in Monaco with a personal best of 10.71 seconds, while Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast set an African record in third and Britain’s Daryll Neita finished sixth.

“I did what I needed to and we had fun and let the clock do the talking. To be able to run 10.60 consistently means a lot. It’s remarkable. It’s hard to keep up the speed at this high level,” said Fraser-Pryce.

“I’m in my late thirties and I feel I have more to give. I look forward to doing my personal best [10.60 run in August 2021] during the rest of the season.”

It was a third sub-10.70 run within a week for Fraser-Pryce, who missed the Commonwealth Games, as all seven starters went below 11 seconds.

She becomes the first woman in history to break 10.70 six times in the same season, having also won a record fifth women’s 100m world title last month in Oregon.

Wightman bounced back from disappointment at the Commonwealth Games, where he was unable to back up his 1500m world title in Oregon. The 28-year-old took 1500m bronze in Birmingham on Saturday but posted a time of two minutes 13.88 seconds in Monaco, the ninth fastest 1,000m of all time, ahead of Canada’s Marco Arop in second.

“I did not really know I was in shape to do this today,” he said.

“It was just very, very hard. This is a really nice step towards the European championships in Munich where I will run the 800m.”

American Clayton Murphy finished third, with Irishman Luke McCann setting a new national record of two minutes 16.40 seconds as he finished seventh.

Elsewhere, 1,500m world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon narrowly missed a sensational world record over the distance.The Kenyan ran the second fastest time ever, three minutes 50.37 seconds, half a second shy of Ethiopian Genezebe Dibaba’s world record set in 2015.

America’s Noah Lyles won his second 200m race of the Diamond League season, breaking his own meeting record from 2018 with a superb effort of 19.48 seconds. Erriyon Knighton and Michael Norman came second and third, respectively, to earn a podium clean sweep for the United States. (BBC Sports)

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