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Stokes’ maiden World Cup ton lifts England to 339

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This was Stokes's first century in World Cups

A typically well-paced century from Ben Stokes (108 off 84 balls), the all-rounder’s maiden three-figure knock in World Cups and his 129-run stand with Chris Woakes (51 off 45 balls) took England to a strong total against Netherlands in Pune on Wednesday (November 8). A rollicking 74-ball 87 from Dawid Malan had put England en route for a big score but as has been the norm with them in the tournament, they nosedived from 133/1 to 192/6 before Stokes and Woakes combined to turn the tables.

On yet another good-looking batting surface at the MCA Stadium, England captain Jos Buttler chose to bat although the recent trend at the venue had a chasing bias to it. Malan’s strokeplay and his effortless ease in timing the ball was on display in the first Powerplay even as Jonny Bairstow endured another failure in this World Cup. Netherlands’ bowlers were erratic with the new ball and gave a lot of width to Malan on both sides. The left-hander took full toll as he raced away in the company of Joe Root who looked fidgety right through his stay. The fact that he got bowled off his patented reverse ramp shot sums up Root and England’s fortunes at the moment.

Till that happened, the 85-run stand between Malan and Root had put England firmly on course for a bare minimum of 350 if not 375. Root’s dismissal was soon followed by Malan who ran himself out to miss out on a well-deserved ton. Harry Brook and his skipper were both unable to get going as they felt due to the pressure created by Netherlands’ bowlers. It was almost like both batters wanted to score too quickly from the get-go when in reality, getting in would have given them the chance to make up considerably at the back end. Stokes did just that in his trademark fashion as he soaked up the pressure from one end with aplomb.

Moeen Ali fell cheaply but Woakes hung in there with Stokes to steadily do the rebuilding job. That it is a very good track for strokemaking was evident from how briskly they started their partnership despite the match situation. Runs came at a good clip without many risks although Stokes was lucky to be dropped at fine leg, albeit a very tough chance. Once the left-hander got into his 60s, he switched gears and pounded the short boundaries comfortably. Woakes doesn’t have the same powergame but he also dished out a few eye-catching strokes.

Netherlands’ death bowling came back to haunt them once more. It was a deja vu of their contest against Australia where Glenn Maxwell had smashed the fastest World Cup century of all time. The seamers wilted under the onslaught and gave away far too many runs in the slog overs. 124 runs came in the final 60 deliveries and that’s a monumental stat, given that a score in the 310-320 range would have had the Dutch quietly confident. Not that this score is a bridge too far but even with the batting friendly conditions and dew, it will take some doing.

Brief scores:
England
339/9 in 50 overs (Ben Stokes 108, Dawid Malan 87, Joe Root 28,  Chris Woakes 51; Aryan Dutt 2-67, Logan va Beek 2-88, Bas de Leede 3-74) vs Netherlands



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Social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity – President

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President Rani Wickremesinghe in his New Year Message stressed that social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity

The full text of the President’s message follows:

“The progression of nations, countries and the global community is propelled by the perpetual cycle of renewal, where innovative ideas are nurtured and novel creations come to fruition.

Embracing renewal in accordance with the traditional New Year, the calendar year, or the changing seasons, individuals across the globe find themselves revitalized, endowed with fresh opportunities for growth and advancement. Beneath the surface of these myriad renewals lies a fundamental truth; the paramount importance of social relationships and collective unity.

During the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, we engage in a profound renewal of self, centering our focus on nurturing bonds and fostering a sense of gregariousness. This emphasis on interpersonal bonds is the cornerstone of traditional New Year rituals observed across diverse cultures worldwide.

It is important to emphasize the significance of this pivotal point, particularly during the New Year festivities, as it serves as a poignant reminder of the essence of human connection and communal solidarity.

In the dawn of the New Year, social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity. With this understanding in mind, I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous and fulfilling Sinhala and Tamil New Year.”

 

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Haiti establishes council to choose new leaders as gang violence rages

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[File pic] People take cover from gunfire near the National Palace, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Aljazeera)

Haiti has formally established a transitional council to fill a leadership vacuum by choosing a new prime minister, and to restore order in the Caribbean country ravaged by gang violence.

A decree published in the official gazette announced the formation of the Presidential Transitional Council on Friday, a month after Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he would step down amid a wave of attacks by armed gangs in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

There was no immediate comment from Henry following the publication of the decree and questions remain about the nine-member council’s viability with no details on a time frame to install the body and select a new prime minister and cabinet.

The decree also did not name the members of the council, the Reuters news agency reported.  It said Henry and the council will govern the country until the new body names his replacement.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), a regional bloc, said in a statement that the council’s mission “is to put Haiti back on the road to dignity, democratic legitimacy, stability and sovereignty and to ensure the proper functioning of the State’s institutions”.

The decree also said the council would help speed the deployment of international troops that Henry requested in 2022 to aid police in their battles with armed and increasingly powerful gangs.

It stipulates that the council be based in the National Palace in central Port-au-Prince, which has come under fire several times in the past weeks.

(Aljazeera)

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Man shot in Westfield Bondi Junction mall after ‘stabbings’: Sydney police

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Hundreds of people were evacuated from a Sydney shopping centre after suspected stabbings, media reports say (Aljazeera)

Police in Sydney say a man has been shot at a shopping centre in the Australian city after reports of multiple people being stabbed.

New South Wales Police said in a statement that emergency services were called to the Westfield Bondi Junction mall complex just before 4pm (06:00 GMT) on Saturday following the reports.

“People are urged to avoid the area,” the statement said. “Inquiries are continuing in relation to the incident and there are no further details.”

The sprawling shopping centre was packed with shoppers when the incidents occurred.

(Aljazeera)

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