Connect with us


Wide-open Group A sets the tone for highly anticipated World Cup



Group A is sure to make intriguing viewing in the first round of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 as Namibia, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) battle it out for the right to qualify for the Super 12.The teams will play each other once in a round-robin format from October 16-20, with the top two advancing onto the next stage.By virtue of their world ranking, Sri Lanka are favourites to progress but face a tricky first test in the form of Namibia, who progressed to the Super 12 stage in their first ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 12 months ago.UAE’s return to the competition comes against Netherlands, who are desperate to make up for a disappointing campaign last time out.

All six fixtures will take place at Kardinia Park in Geelong, with the winners joining reigning champions and hosts Australia, as well as Afghanistan, England, New Zealand and the Group B runners-up in Group 1 of the Super 12 stage.The team who finishes second will enter Group 2 and face Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa and the Group B winners.Namibia are fast establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.

They were firm underdogs in their Round 1 group at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 but comfortable victories over Netherlands and Ireland ensured their progression to the latter stages.Since then, they have claimed their first-ever series win over a Full-Member nation, beating Zimbabwe (3-2) in a five-match T20I series in May. Captain Gerhard Erasmus was the star of the show in the win that secured qualification over Ireland, notching an unbeaten half-century before David Wiese hit the winning runs.

Wicketkeeper-batter Lohan Louwrens is one new addition to keep an eye on this time around. He has captained his country at the under-19s level previously and has already made a mark for the Eagles at the senior level, scoring 111 runs in a seven-wicket win against Hong Kong in June.Another new face already has a World Cup qualifying hat-trick to his name – Tangeni Lungameni was the scourge of the Mozambique top order during a qualifier for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and now gets his chance at the marquee tournament.

Though Sri Lanka will be a daunting first test, Namibia will hope that they get the better of the Netherlands in their second fixture, as they did last year, which could well set up a second consecutive Super 12 appearance.Ever-presents at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Sri Lanka are going to have to do it the hard way if they want to become champions for the second time.

The Lions reached the final on three occasions between 2009 and 2014 and struck gold at the third time of asking thanks to a typically assured innings from Kumar Sangakkara. But two consecutive eighth-place finishes – their lowest in the history of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup – means expectations have been tempered ahead of their next campaign.

The Asia Cup win in September suggests the side have turned a corner, however. Wanindu Hasaranga impressed with the ball there as only India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar took more wickets than the wily leg-spinner, who will want to retain his place in the ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Year.Topping the group is the expectation for Sri Lanka, who will then be targeting a deep run in the knockout stages, which they hope will culminate in a second piece of silverware in as many months.

One of the final two teams to book a spot at the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the Netherlands are out to right a few wrongs in Australia. Slow starts in each of the previous two tournaments have cost them a place in the Super 12 stage.A defeat to Bangladesh and a washout against Oman saw them eliminated before their final first round fixture at the 2016 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Then, in 2021, they were soundly beaten in each of their three fixtures and were skittled out for less than 110 on two occasions.

That means a fast start is a must this year for the lowest-ranked side in the group and they will want to be in a strong position prior to their clash with Sri Lanka on October 20.One of those who struggled to get going in the UAE was Bas de Leede, who failed to make double figures in either of his group stage innings.

The summer was a much brighter time for the 22-year-old, though, who struck two T20I half-centuries against New Zealand and 89 against Pakistan in an ODI. If he and opener Max O’Dowd can find their best form, the Netherlands could well spring a surprise.After an eight-year hiatus, the UAE are back on the T20I world stage and looking to make history.

Their only previous ICC Men’s T20 World Cup appearance, in 2014, yielded three defeats, and so a win this time around would be their first in this event and only their second ever in a global ICC tournament, with their sole success to date coming against the Netherlands in the 1996 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.The Netherlands will be keen to avoid a repeat of that outcome when the pair meet in their opening fixture on October 16th, though the UAE do have the recent form on their side, having won four of their five previous meetings.

Bar a change in captain, preparations for the tournament have been smooth, and they gave two-time world champions West Indies a stern test in their penultimate warm-up fixture, with spinner Junaid Siddique impressing with figures of five for 13.They ultimately came up 17 runs short chasing 152 despite the best efforts of Muhammad Waseem (69 from 52) and Zawar Farid (29 from 14). It was a promising and morale-boosting team performance and one that suggests they have what it takes to ruffle a few feathers in Group 1.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Elena Rybakina beats Victoria Azarenka to reach final of Australian Open 2023



Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina reached another major final as she beat two-time winner Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open semi-finals.Rybakina, 23, won 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to end Azarenka’s hopes of winning the title 10 years after her last triumph.

The Kazakh regained her composure in a nervy end to the first set before confidently dominating the second.She will play either Belarusian fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka or unseeded Pole Magda Linette in Saturday’s final.

The pair followed Rybakina and Azarenka – who is also from Belarus – on to court in Thursday’s second semi-final at Melbourne Park.

“I’m super happy to be in the final and play one more time here,” said 22nd seed Rybakina, who will contest her second major final.

“It was different conditions, I couldn’t play aggressive tennis and couldn’t go so much for my shots but I was happy to win.

“I got a lot of experience from Wimbledon and I want to come on court for the final and enjoy the moment.”

Rybakina has been one of the most unheralded Wimbledon champions in recent history as a result of her low profile and a lower-than-expected ranking caused by points not being awarded at the All England Club last year.

At Melbourne Park, the tall Kazakh has been reminding people once again of her outstanding talent.At the US Open last year, Rybakina said she did not “feel like” a major winner because she was ranked outside of the world’s top 20 after points were stripped because of Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players.

Rybakina was also stuck on a small outside court for her Australian Open first-round match – although she insisted she “did not care” – but since then there has been no escaping the threat she posed in the draw.

She was responsible for knocking out world number Iga Swiatek in the last 16, either side of other notable wins against 2022 runner-up Danielle Collins and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.Big serving has been one of the keys to her success and it teed up what many expected to be a fascinating contest against 33-year-old Azarenka, whose returning game has been a key to her success.

Rybakina laid down a marker in the first game of the match with three aces and produced another comfortable hold before 24th seed Azarenka – absorbing her opponent’s power which helped her switch defence into attack – broke for 3-2.

An instant reply swung the momentum back to Rybakina but, as she tried to serve out the set at 5-3, her first-serve percentage suddenly plummeted.That enabled Azarenka to fight back to 5-5 and earn three break points in the 11th game, only for Rybakina to regain her composure to hold and giving her the confidence to take control of the tie-break.

Azarenka was not helped by several costly errors and they continued in the second set as Rybakina imposed herself with two breaks for a 5-2 lead.

While she could not serve out the match, Rybakina sealed victory with another break and – rather fittingly – produced a low-key celebration as she ended the prospect of an-all Belarusian final.

(BBC Sports)

Continue Reading


Savinka, Rashmi win U-19 singles titles



Under 19 boys’ runner up Jason Homer(left) and champion Savinaka Weerasekara.

38th National Junior Badminton Championships

Savinaka Weerasekera of D.S. Senanayake College and Rashmi Mudalige of Gateway International School emerged Under-19 boys’ and girls’ champions respectively while Pulina Wellalage of St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa clinched a triple crown at the 38th National Junior Badminton Championships held in Colombo.

At the annual event conducted by Sri Lanka Badminton in association with Sri Lanka Schools Badminton Association, Weerasekera defeated Jason Homer of the Royal Institute International School 21-11, 21-11 in the Under-19 boys’ singles final at the Sugathadasa Indoor Sports Complex.

Weerasekera then teamed up with Homer to beat Ashinsa Herath and Vidusha Sumanadasa of Royal College 21-18, 21-16 to win the doubles title in the same age group.

In the Under-19 girls’ singles final, Rashmi Mudalige beat Ondi Sethuki (Southland’s College, Galle) 16-21, 21-14, 21-14.

Mudalige also secured her second title when she teamed up with young badminton sensation Wellalage to defeat Shenuk Samararatne and Sithuki Onadee 17-21, 21-19, 21-19 and win the U-19 mixed doubles final.

In the U-19 girls’ doubles final, Thisuni Liyanarachchi and Lawandi Umagiliyage of Sangamitta College, Galle, denied Mudalige a third title when they defeated the latter and her Gateway College partner Natasha Gunasekara 21-15, 21-18 in the final.

Meanwhile, Wellalage, the younger brother of national cricketer Dunith, beat Thilina Rajakaruna in straight sets (21-10, 21-16) to win the U-17 boys’ singles title, his second in the Championships.

Wellalage’s Triple Crown was completed when he and partner Shenuk Samararatne defeated Sanjula Handapangoda and Thilina Rajakaruna 21-13, 18-21, 25-23 in an all-Sebastianites Boys’ U-17 doubles final.

Meanwhile, the young national shuttle sensation Ranithma Liyanage of the Christ Church College, Baddegama, who later went on to be crowned national Champion, defeated her Girls’ U-17 singles opponent Ranumi Manage (Musaeus College) in the final with ease (21-2, 21-13).

The presentation ceremony was held with Director General of Sports Development, Amal Edirisuriya as the chief guest in the presence of Sri Lanka Badminton President Rohan de Silva, SLB officials and former players.

Winners and Runners-up

Under 11 Boys Singles

Champion –

Prithish Abeygunawardena (Richmond), Runner-up – Nesandu Hapukotuwa (Dharmaraja)

Under 11 Girls Singles

Champion –

Gajali Padmabandara (St. Anthony’s Girls, Katugastota), Second Runner-up – Sanumi Metsara (Musaeus)

Under 13 Boys Singles


– Hasandu Fernando (St Sebastian’s, Moratuwa), Runner-up – Amawan Amarasinghe (Panadura Lyceum)

Under 13 Girls Singles

Champion –

Fatima Amani (Hill Country Girls, Kandy), Runner-up – Thenuki De Silva (Siridhamma College)

Under 13 Boys Doubles

Champions –

Duvindu Edirisinghe/ Satsara Pubudu (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa), Runners-up – Tenuja Galahitiawa/ Satish Avishka (St. Anthony’s, Katugastota)

Under 13 Girls Doubles

Champions –

Fatima Amani/ Netsara Yenuri (Hill Country Girls/ Sujatha Girls, Nugegoda), Runners-up – Inuki Bandara/ Divyadharani Dayaratne (Musaeus/ Lyceum, Wattala)

Under 15 Boys Singles

Champion –

Tejana Herath (St. Anthony’s Katugastota), Runner-up – Senut Sethmina (Ananda College)

Under 15 Girls Singles


– Viswani Vanniarachchi (Gateway International), Runner-up – Lakshya Sajeevakumar (Lyceum Wattala)

Under 15 Boys Doubles

Champions –

Janeesha De Silva/ Mihila Jayaweera (St. Joseph’s/ Wattala Lyceum), Runners-up – Akash Shamal/ Tejana Herath (St. Anthony’s Katugastota)

Under 15 Girls Doubles

Champions –

Sanuti Gurusinghe/ Pavani Ileperuma (Sanghamitta Galle), Runners-up – Dihini Mendis/ Lakshya Sajeevakumar (Southland Galle/ Wattala Lyceum)

Under 17 Boys Singles

Under 19 girls’ champion Rashmi Mudalige (left) and runner up Sithuki Onadee.

Champion –

Pulina Wellalage (St. Sebastian’s Moratuwa), Runner-up – Thilina Rajakaruna (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa)

Under 17 Girls Singles

Champion –

Ranithma Liyanage (Christ Church Girls, Baddegama), Runner-up – Ranumi Manage (Musaeus)

Under 17 Boys Doubles

Champions –

Pulina Wellalage/ Shenuk Samararatne (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa), Runners-up – Sanjula Handapangoda/ Thilina Rajakaruna (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa)

Under 17 Girls Doubles

Champions –

L.A. Dinethya/ Devmi Ubesirivardhana (Sujatha Balika, Matara), Runners-up – Dilini Ambalangodage/ H.G. Sandani (Anula College/ Sujatha College Matara)

Under 19 Boys Singles

Champion –

Savinaka Veerasekera (D.S. Senanayake), Runner-up – Jason Homer (Royal Institute)

Under 19 Girls Singles

Champion –

Rashmi Mudalige (Gateway), Runner-up – Ondi Sethuki (Southlands, Galle)

Under 19 Boys Doubles

Champions –

Jason Homer/Savinaka Weerasekera (Royal Institute/ DS. Senanayake), Runners-up -Ashinsa Herath/ Vidusha Sumanadasa (Royal)

Under 19 Girls Doubles

Champions –

Tisuni Liyanarachchi/ Lavandi Umagaliyage (Sanghamitta, Galle), Runners-up – Natasha Gunasekara/ Rashmi Mudalige (Gateway)

Under 19 Mixed Doubles

Champions –

Pulina Vellalage/Rashmi Mudalige (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa/Gateway), Runner-up – Shenuk Samararatne/ Situki Onadi (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa/ Sujata Vidyalaya Matara)

Continue Reading


Wanindu only SL player in ICC’s teams of the year



Wanindu Hasaranga

Wanindu Hasaranga, who took more wickets than anybody at the Men’s T20 World Cup, is the only Sri Lanka male player selected in any of the ICC’s teams of the year announced on Tuesday.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) completed announcements of the ICC Teams of the Year, a feature of the ICC Awards 2022 which captures the best-combined XIs across the different formats of men’s and women’s international cricket after an action-packed year of competition.

Two days of staggered announcements have seen five lineups revealed; the ICC Men’s and Women’s T20I Teams of the Year, the ICC Men’s and Women’s ODI Teams of the Year and the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year. In total, 11 countries are represented across the various lineups, which feature a number of World Cup winners, ICC Players of the Month and some of the most exciting emerging talents from the past calendar year.

Teams were identified from selections submitted by the specialist panel of media representatives that make up the ICC Voting Academy. The esteemed panel made their selections based on player performances throughout the calendar year, nominating their one to 11 and choosing a captain and a wicketkeeper for each.

Wanindu is selected in the ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Year which includes three Indian players. The others in the team are Jos Buttler (captain -Eng), Mohammad Rizwan (Pak), Virat Kohli (Ind), Suryakumar Yadav (Ind), Glenn Phillips (NZ), Sikandar Raza (Zim), Hardik Pandya (Ind), Sam Curran (Eng), Wanindu Hasaranga (SL), Haris Rauf (Pak) and Josh Little (Ire).

In the women’s category, Inoka Ranaweera has been selected in the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year.

Continue Reading