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Afghanistan knock Sri Lanka out of Asia Cup

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Afghanistan Cricket Team

Abu Dhabi, Sep 18 (IANS) Afghanistan knocked Sri Lanka out of the Asia Cup after thrashing the Islanders by 91 runs in a Group B match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Tuesday.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, Afghanistan showed great maturity by piling on 249 runs before skittling out the Sri Lankans for a mere 158 in 41.2 overs.

With this win, Afghanistan will join Bangladesh from Group B in the Super Fours.

For Afghanistan, this was their first win over the Sri Lankans in One-day Internationals, with the Islanders already facing a must-win situation having come into this game on the back of a 137-run loss to Bangladesh in their tournament opener on Saturday.

Riding on a fine half century from Rahmat Shah (72), and valuable contributions from the opening duo of Mohammad Shahzad (34) and Ihsanullah Janat (45), the Afghans batted confidently to deny the Sri Lankans any early inroads in their innings.

Afghanistan were off to a strong 57-run opening start between Shahzad and Janat, before Shah joined Janat for another 50 runs for the second wicket.

The departure of the opening duo, however, did not deter the minnows from taking the attack to the opposition as Shah forged together a 80-run fourth wicket stand with Hashmatullah Shahidi (37) to take the side to a comfortable position.

Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera (5/55) managed to break the partnership before triggering a mini collapse of sort but by then the Afghans had neared the 250-run mark towards the end of their innings.

In reply, the Islanders once again faltered with their batting and lost their first wicket in the opening over itself with teenaged off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/32) packing back Kusal Mendis for a duck.

Upul Tharanga (36) and Dhananjaya de Silva (23) put on a brave show to weather the storm with a 54-run second wicket stand before being separated, courtesy a silly run-out of the latter.

Thereafter, wickets began to tumble one after the other as the Sri Lankans slipped from a comfortable 86/2A to lose half their side with just 108 runs from 27 overs.

Skipper Angelo Matthews (22) and Thisara Perera (28) managed to get decent starts but the loss of partners at regular intervals dented their hopes, even as the Afghan spinners led by leggie Rashid Khan (2/26) kept dominating the proceedings

Besides Rashid and Mujeeb, veteran offie Mohammed Nabi and seamer Gulbadin Naib also contributed with two wickets apiece.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan 249 (Rahmat Shah 72, Ihsanullah Janat 45, Hashmatullah Shahidi 37; Thisara Perera 5/55) beat Sri Lanka 158 (Upul Tharanga 36, Thisara Perera 28; Rashid Khan 2/26, Gulbadin Naib 2/29) by 91 runs.

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Rayudu, du Plessis 50s give CSK winning start in IPL

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Abu Dhabi, Sep 20 : Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu’s master class helped three-time champions Chennai Super Kings beat arch-rivals and reigning champions Mumbai Indians by five wickets in the opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Saturday.

South African du Plessis (58 not out) and Rayudu (71) were involved in a 115-run partnership for the third wicket that ensured ‘Yellow Brigade’ registered an easy win over the Rohit Sharma-led side. Chennai bowlers Lungi Ngidi (3/38), Deepak Chahar (2/32), and Ravindra Jadeja’s 2/42) helped restrict the Mumbai Indians to 162 or nine wickets in 20 overs.

CSK overhauled the target with four balls to spare, finishing at 166 for five in 19.2 overs.

Chasing the 163-run target, Chennai were off to a poor start as both of their openers — Shane Watson (4) and Murali Vijay (1) were back in the dug-out in the first couple of overs. While James Pattinson (1/27) accounted for the wicket of Vijay, Watson was trapped before the wicket by Trent Boult (1/23). With just six runs on the scorecard, the Chennai team looked in deep trouble, but Rayudu and du Plessis steadied the ship.

Without much hiccup, the two helped their team touch the three-digit mark in 13.1 overs. With nothing seemed to going Mumbai’s way, Rahul Chahar gave his side some relief as he picked Rayudu in the 16th over. But it was too late as the CSK had already reached 121 runs. Incoming batsman Ravindra Jadeja fell cheaply, thanks to Krunal Pandya who trapped him leg before the wicket.

South African du Plessis, however, kept the scoreboard ticking and was joined by Sam Curran, who played a cameo of six-ball 18 before departing off a Jasprit Bumrah delivery in the 19th over. Du Plessis hammered Boult for two consecutive boundaries off the first two deliveries of the final over to help his side cross the line with ease.

Earlier, asked to bat first, Mumbai Indians were off to a decent start with openers Rohit Sharma (12) and Quinton de Kock (33) sharing a solid 46-run partnership for the first wicket. However, just when everything was going fine for Mumbai, leggie Piyush Chawla (1/21) drew the first blood for Chennai as he pegged back Rohit in the fifth over.

England’s Curran further jolted Mumbai as dismissed a well-settled de Kock, who tried to hit the ball straight down the throat of Shane Watson at midwicket. Saurabh Tiwary (42) and Surya Kumar Yadav (17) kept the scorers busy for the next five overs. The duo shared a 44-run partnership for the third wicket.

Chennai pacer Deepak Chahar, however, gave his side some respite as he accounted for the wicket of Yadav in the 11th over. Tiwary was then joined by Hardik Pandya (14) but the Jharkhand batsman, who was approaching his half-century, was sent back in the 15th over by Jadeja. He made things more difficult for Mumbai after picking Hardik too, in the same over. Lungi Ngidi (3/38) then joined the party and scalped three wickets in quick succession to leave the opponents reeling at 156/8 in 18.5 overs.

Mumbai tailenders could manage only six runs in the final over as the side posted a moderate 162/9 off 20 overs in front of empty stands as spectators are not allowed inside due to Covid-19 protocols in the UAE.

Brief scores:

CSK 166/5 in 19.2 overs (Ambati Rayudu71, Faf du Plessis 58 not out; Trent Boult 1/23) beat MI 162/9 (Saurabh Tiwary 42, Quinton de Kock 33; Lungi Ngidi 3/38) by 5 wickets

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Great Learning ropes in Virat Kohli as brand ambassador

Earlier this month, Great Learning had announced a collaboration with Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in the US to launch online ‘Master of Science in Data Science Programme’ in India.

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Virat Kohli

New Delhi, Sep 14 : Ed-tech company Great Learning on Monday announced the appointment of Virat Kohli, as its brand ambassador.

The captain of the Indian cricket team, who also topped a recent ranking of India’s most powerful celebrities, will now be the face of the Great Learning brand, the company said.

He will lead the brand’s latest ‘Power Ahead’ campaign, which underlines the importance of lifelong learning and showcases how high-quality learning at the right time can help professionals and students power ahead in their career.

“Kohli is the obvious choice to be our brand ambassador because he best embodies the great learning ethos of excellence and continuous learning,” Mohan Lakhamraju, Founder and CEO, Great Learning, said in a statement.

“We are looking forward to this association with Kohli through which we wish to spread the message that now, through the high quality online learning offered by Great Learning, anyone can grow and succeed,” Lakhamraju added.

The company is also launching a multi-film campaign with Kohli during the upcoming Dream 11 IPL, where the brand is Associate Sponsor on Disney + Hotstar.

The films showcase Kohli reflecting on the brands philosophy of continuous learning being a necessity for sustained career growth, something he embodies only too well in his game.

“Great Learning is a leader in the professional learning space and has built a reputation for delivering high quality education and career transformations,” said Kohli.

“I also share the same passion for excellence that Great Learning does and am excited about our association,” Kohli added.

Earlier this month, Great Learning had announced a collaboration with Northwestern University School of Professional Studies in the US to launch online ‘Master of Science in Data Science Programme’ in India.

The fully online, 18-months-long Master’s programme offers an opportunity to earn a world-class master’s degree from a global top-30 ranked university for graduates and working professionals in the country.

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Naomi Osaka beats Victoria Azarenka to win US Open

The victory is Osaka’s third Grand Slam singles title.

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Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka returned to the fore in women’s tennis by coming back to defeat Victoria Azarenka and win her second United States Open on Saturday.

Osaka’s 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory capped a run of powerful play and political activism in New York. She wore seven different masks with different names for each of her matches to honor Black victims of violence. She walked on court Saturday with a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed in Cleveland by a white police officer in 2014.

Osaka’s victory on Saturday came in radically different conditions than her first title run in New York in 2018.

In that final, she defeated Serena Williams in a tumultuous straight-set match that turned ugly when Williams clashed in Arthur Ashe Stadium with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who called three code-of-conduct violations against Williams.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty on Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The crowd, unclear on the rules and upset at the treatment of Williams, booed during the awards ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears shortly after her first Grand Slam singles title.

But Ashe Stadium was nearly empty on Saturday, as it has been throughout this unusual U.S. Open where fans were not permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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