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Jaffna stumble in last hurdle but top group



Noor Ahmad is a 16-year-old Afghan wrist spinner and he played a pivotal role picking up the key wickets of Thisara Perera and Shoaib Malik as Galle Gladiators beat in form Jaffna Kings in an LPL fixture at RPS yesterday. Picture courtesy: SLC.

Jaffna Kings have been the most organized franchise in the LPL and they have been brilliant in the group stage. The defending champions won six of their eight games while losing two and on both those occasions it was Galle Gladiators who found a chink in Jaffna Kings’ armour. Friday’s first game saw Jaffna stumbling chasing a modest target of 130 with spin proving to be their Achilles’ heel.

Left-arm duo of Samit Patel and Noor Ahmad had Jaffna Kings in a spin as they shared four wickets between them polishing the top order. More importantly, the pair’s eight overs cost Galle Gladiators only 27 runs.

Galle Gladiators never found momentum in their innings with just three batsmen getting into double figures. Chasing 130, the Jaffna Kings were shot out for 109 runs inside 19 overs.

Incidentally, the two teams will meet in the playoffs. They will play the Qualifier 1 on Sunday at Hambantota with the winner going through to the final and the loser meeting the team that wins the Eliminator, also on Sunday at Hambantota.

In the low scoring thriller on Friday, the highest individual score was 23 and that gave an indication as to how much the ball dominated the bat.

Left-arm orthodox spinner Praveen Jayawickrama and right-arm leg-spinner Vijayakanth Viyaskanth did the job for Jaffna Kings claiming two wickets apiece.

A similar combination ensured Jaffna Kings downfall during the run chase. Nottingham’s Samit Patel is an experienced campaigner and he has had a good LPL and proved to be a match winner again. Left-arm wrist spinner Noor Ahmed from Afghanistan whose official age is 16 was quite a handful putting the pressure after Patel had done the early damage.

Ahmad accounted for the big wickets of Shoaib Malik and Thisara Perera.

The knockout clash should be an interesting one. Jaffna Kings are a formidable outfit but they have been caught off guard twice now by Galle Gladiators and the former champions will be under pressure going into the qualifier.

Brief Scores:

Galle Gladiators 129 for eight


(Danushka Gunathilaka 19, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 23, Praveen Jayawickrama 2/13, Vijaykanth Viyaskanth 2/21)

Jaffna Kings 109 all out


(Rahmanullah Gurbaz 21, Shoaib Malik 23, Samit Patel 2/15, Noor Ahmad 2/12)

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Advantage Bangladesh after Shanto ton




The stand-in skipper scored an unbeaten 104 (Cricbuzz)

Bangladesh put themselves in a strong position in the opening Test against New Zealand after skipper Najmul Shanto struck a well-crafted century on the third day at Sylhet. Shanto remained unbeaten on 104 and was involved in an unbroken stand of 96 with Mushfiqur Rahim as the hosts went into stumps with a lead of 205.

New Zealand started off well after managing to erase the deficit even though Bangladesh were favourites to fetch the first-innings lead when play began. The visitors were trailing by 44 runs with only the tail left to bat but Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee kept the home side at bay in the first hour before Jamieson was trapped lbw. New Zealand then managed to eke out a 7-run lead before Southee departed to give Mominul Haque his third wicket.

While Bangladesh batted out a tricky 10-over period before the lunch break, New Zealand struck immediately in the second session. Ajaz Patel got one to turn in sharply and Zakir Hasan failed to connect while attempting a nudge. As a result, the batter was trapped plumb in front to give New Zealand the first breakthrough. And then came a cruel blow in the next over as Shanto drove one straight off Southee, who got a touch before the ball hit the stumps with the non-striker Mahmudul Hasan caught short of his crease.

At 26/2, the home side needed a partnership to steady the ship. They got exactly that with Shanto and Mominul adding 90 for the third wicket. Mominul, who took time to get going, hit three boundaries in the space of five deliveries as the duo counterattacked before a drinks break. The two batters guided Bangladesh to a good position before the Tea break but the visitors struck again immediately after resumption.

This time, it was a run out again as Shanto was caught ball watching, leaving Mominul stranded. Despite the unfortunate dismissal, Bangladesh took control of the game with Shanto remaining firm at one end. Rahim, who didn’t open his account for ten deliveries, broke free against Ajaz with two boundaries in the span of three deliveries and raced to 19 off just 28 at one point.

Glenn Phillips, who had a fruitful outing with the ball in the first innings, couldn’t recreate the magic this time around as Shanto picked him apart for three boundaries in two overs. New Zealand just couldn’t create any chances before the close of play as Shanto kept going before bringing up a brilliant ton that has now firmly put Bangladesh in the driver’s seat.

Brief scores:
310 & 212/3 (Najmul Shanto 104*, Mushfiqur Rahim 43*) lead New Zealand 317 (Kane Williamson 104, Glenn Phillips 42; Taijul Islam 4/109) by 205 runs

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Uganda create history, qualify for 2024 T20 WC




Uganda qualify to the T20 World Cup for the first time (pic ICC)

For the first time in their cricketing history, Uganda qualified for the T20 World Cup after brushing aside Rwanda in their final game of the Africa region qualifier. In the process, they denied Zimbabwe a spot in the main event next year that is scheduled to be held in the West Indies and the USA.

Earlier in the competition, Namibia became the first team to clinch one of the two available spots for qualification to the tournament proper.

Going into the final round of fixtures on Thursday (November 30), Uganda were favourites to get the job done as they were up against a winless Rwanda. For Zimbabwe to usurp Uganda in the points table, they had to defeat Kenya and hope for Uganda to slip against Rwanda. However, Rwanda lost a wicket in the very first over of their innings and never recovered.

Only two batters from Rwanda managed to hit double digits with the batting lineup crumbling in stunning fashion. Eventually, Rwanda were bowled out for just 65, a total Uganda chased down with ease to prevail by nine wickets and seal their place in the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Zimbabwe did all they could from their end as the in-form captain Sikandar Raza promoted himself up the order and smashed eight sixes en route his 48-ball 82. Zimbabwe ended up posting 217 on the board as a result but that loss to Uganda four days ago came back to hurt them in the end.

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IPL auction player registration ends today (November 30)




Over 700 players are expected to register for the auction this time, with some prominent names aniticipated to be on the list (BCCI)

Today (November 30) is the final day for players to register for the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. Players are required to submit their names along with No Objection Certificates (NOCs) through their respective boards. The auction is scheduled for December 19.

With expectations of over 700 players registering for the auction, this time, some prominent names are anticipated to be on the list. Notable World Cup performers such as Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Travis Head, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, among others, are expected to be the top draws.

In particular, Starc is expected to be hotly pursued by franchises, despite his history of making himself unavailable after being acquired in previous auctions. Sources close to Cricket Australia have disclosed that at least five franchises have reached out to the left-armer, and he is likely to feature prominently on the marquee list.

Following the registration, franchises will be tasked with trimming the list. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) anticipates around 70 players to be sold at the auction. The BCCI has specified that transactions totaling up to INR 262.95 crore can occur at the auction, with 77 available slots across the 10 squads. Additionally, teams can acquire up to 30 foreign players.

While Ben Stokes has already withdrawn, franchise sources indicate they are awaiting confirmation regarding the availability of Jofra Archer, recently released by Mumbai Indians. There is also speculation that Josh Hazlewood may be available for the league, having been released by the Royal Challengers Bangalore recently.

The IPL is likely to take place from the third week of March, following the conclusion of the five-Test series between India and England, until the third week of May. This schedule ensures that players and boards have ample time to prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup, set to commence on June 3.

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