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India-Pakistan clash in spotlight at Asia Cup

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India vs Pakistan
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Dubai, Sep 14: The spotlight will on the India-Pakistan rivalry when the six-nation Asia Cup cricket tournament begins here on Saturday.

India under the leadership of stand-in captain Rohit Sharma will be the favourites along with Pakistan. The two traditional rivals have been grouped together in Group A.

India are the most successful team in the Asia Cup, having won six of the 13 editions of the tournament. But this time it will be an uphill task for the Indian players as they will miss the services of regular skipper Virat Kohli.

But on the pitches of Dubai where the spinners will get turn, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav should be a handful. Kedar Jadhav who is also making his comeback to the side could also support the spinning duo if the situation demands.

Pakistan, meanwhile, have won the tournament twice. The first time in 2000, when they beat Sri Lanka in the final, and then in 2012.

Fakhar Zaman with his disciplined batting is capable of turning a match with the support of Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, and Sarfraz Ahmed.

Shadab Khan will be leading the spin department, while Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi will take care of the pace department.

Apart from India and Pakistan, Hong Kong were also clubbed with the two Asian giants. They were previously the part of the Asia cup and will hope to do better than in 2004 and 2008. Batsmen Anshuman Rath will be on spotlight as he played 16 limited overs games and scored with an average of 52.57.

Group B includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In the opening match, Bangladesh will face Sri Lanka. Both teams are struggling with the injuries of their key players.

Bangladesh have three injured players –Tamim Iqbal, Nazmul Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan –while Danushka Gunathilaka and Dinesh Chandimal were out from Sri Lanka squad but return of veteran pacer Lasith Malinga included some spark in the Sri Lankan squad.

The third team which is grouped with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is Afghanistan. Last time they played Asia Cup is in 2014 where they crashed out in the group stages however, they registered their first Asia Cup victory, defeating Bangladesh.

Afghanistan’s improvement in the international circuit has increased over the years. With spinning star Rashid Khan in the squad along with Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s bowling line-up will be a test for the others teams in the group.

IANS

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Rafael Nadal stays atop ATP rankings

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Madrid, Sep 24: Spain’s Rafael Nadal continued to lead the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world singles rankings released on Monday with 8,760 points, ahead of Switzerland’s Roger Federer.

Austria Dominic Thiem exchanged places with Bulgaria Grigor Dimitrov, to be ranked seventh and eighth respectively, after his victory at St. Petersburg Open on Sunday, reports Efe.

In one hour and eight minutes, Thiem claimed his 11th career title and his first on indoor hard court by winning 6-3, 6-1 over Slovakia’s Martin Klizan, who rocketed 16 places up to the 49th spot.

Meanwhile, Gilles Simon of France jumped 10 positions to be ranked 29th, after winning the Moselle Open title on Sunday.

The current top-10 ATP rankings and point scores are as follows:

1. Rafael Nadal (Spain) 8,760 Points
2. Roger Federer (Switzerland) 6,900
3. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 6,445
4. Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) 5,980
5. Alexander Zverev (Germany) 4,890
6. Marin Cilic (Croatia) 4,715
7. Dominic Thiem (Austria) 3,825
8. Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 3,755
9. Kevin Anderson (South Africa) 3,595
10. John Isner (US) 3,470.

IANS

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Former BCCI chief B.N. Dutt passes away

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Kolkata, Sep 24: Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President B.N. Dutt died at his south Kolkata residence on Monday following respiratory ailments, family sources said.

Dutt, 92, is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

The veteran cricket administrator was in and out of hospital in the recent past when his condition deteriorated due to a lung infection.

Dutt was BCCI President from 1988 to 1990. He also served as president of the Cricket Association of Bengal from 1986 to 1991.

He also presided over the Indian Football Association.

Condoling his death, CAB President and former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly described Dutt as a ‘master administrator’.

“It is a massive loss. It is a void very hard to be filled,” Ganguly said.

IANS

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Asia Cup 2018: Bangladesh clinch thriller against Afghanistan

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Bangladesh Cricket Team

Abu Dhabi, Sep 24 : Hashmatullah Shahidi’s 71 went in vain as Afghanistan lost a thrilling contest to Bangladesh by three runs in a Super Four tie of Asia Cup 2018 here on Sunday.

Opting to bat first, Bangladesh rode on Mahmudullah’s 74 and Imrul Kayes’s 72 to put an average 250-tun target before minnows Afghanistan.

In reply, Afghanistan lost wickets at regular intervals despite a brilliant opening by Mohammad Shahzad (53).

After his fall, Shahidi showed a terrific fight to put things in control but lacked support from the other end as no other batsman was able to show any resistance and Afghanistan eventually lost by three runs.

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