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KL Rahul moves to career-high third position in T20I rankings

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Dubai, July 9: Top-order batsman Lokesh Rahul’s scores of 70, 101 not out, six and 19 have made him India’s highest-ranked batsman in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) as he moved up nine places to a career-high third position in the ICC rankings.

Opener Rohit Sharma in 11th rank (up by two places) and captain Virat Kohli in 12th rank (down by four places) are the next highest-ranked India batsmen.

Meanwhile, Australia opener Aaron Finch became the first player in the history of T20Is to break the 900-point mark as he moved up three places to finish the tri-series in Harare against Pakistan and Zimbabwe as the top-ranked batsman in the shortest format of the game.

Finch, who captained Australia to the final, had touched the 900-point mark following his record-breaking knock of 172 (76b, 10×6, 16×4) against Zimbabwe in Harare on July 3.

The 31-year-old from Victoria eventually finished the T20Is (also comprising a one-off against England at Edgbaston) in number-one position on 891 points.

Finch had started the T20Is in fourth position on 763 points and a tour aggregate of 391 runs not only helped him leapfrog Babar Azam, Colin Munro and Glen Maxwell, but also earned him 128 points.

In the latest player rankings, which also takes into account India’s 2-0 and 2-1 series win against Ireland and England, respectively, Finch leads Pakistan’s left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman by 45 points.

Like Finch, Fakhar was in stellar form in Harare, when he totaled 278 runs in the series, including a match-winning 91 against Australia after Pakistan had slumped to two for two after being set a victory target of 184.

Fakhar’s string of good scores, that also included knocks of 61, six, 47 and 73, have helped him vault 44 places to claim second position. He has now become Pakistan’s highest-ranked batsman after Babar Azam slipped from first to fifth due to his absence because of an injury.

Australia’s D’Arcy Short, Jason Roy of England and Solomon Mire have also achieved career-best rankings following the latest update.

Short has broken into the top-10 for the first time in his career in 10th position, moving up 18 places. Roy has gained 19 places and is now in 15th spot, while Mire has rocketed 202 places to claim 25th position – seven places behind Hamilton Masakadza.

In the bowling table, Rashid Khan of Afghanistan and Shadab Khan of Pakistan have retained the top two positions, but there have been a number of movements down the order with Australia’s Andrew Tye and Billy Stanlake, and England’s trio of Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and David Willey achieving career-high rankings.

Tye has risen 41 places to seventh in the latest rankings after taking 12 wickets in Harare, Rashid has claimed ninth position after moving up four places, Plunkett has gained 14 places and is now in 11th spot, Willey has risen 12 places to 15th and Stanlake’s seven wickets have given him a leap of 60 places that has put him in 19th position.

Other bowlers to head in the right direction include Mohammad Amir (12th, up by six places), Hardik Pandya (29th, up by five places), Mohammad Nawaz (32nd, up by nine places), Faheem Ashraf (33rd, up by 21 places), Kuldeep Yadav (34th, up by 41 places) and Ashton Agar (45th, up by 39 places).

There is no change in the top three all-rounders, with Maxwell leading the field. Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi is second, while Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh is third.

Meanwhile, in the ICC T20I Team Rankings, Pakistan have retained the top position with their tri-series victory while India have overtaken Australia to take second place after clinching their three-match series against England 2-1.

The top three sides are now separated by 10 points, while three points separate fourth-ranked England and seventh-ranked West Indies.

Team rankings remain crucial as Australia plus the next nine highest-ranked sides will qualify directly for the 16-team ICC Men’s World T20 2020 in Australia.

The remaining six sides will qualify from the 14-team ICC Men’s World T20 Qualifier 2019, which will be participated in by the six sides from the ICC World T20 2016, which are not in the Top 10 of the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Team Rankings as on 31 December 2018, alongside the eight qualifiers from the regional finals.

IANS

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Jorge Lorenzo wins pole position for 2018 Aragon MotoGp

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Jorge Lorenzo

Teruel (Spain), Sep 22 : Spanish motorcyclist Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) won the pole position for the 2018 Aragon MotoGp, his fourth this season, being the fastest in Saturday’s second qualifying round held at MotorLand Aragon circuit.

Lorenzo finished the second qualifying round clocking one minute and 46.881 seconds, 0.014s ahead of his Italian teammate Andrea Dovizioso in second, reports Efe news.

The overall leader, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) of Spain, earned the third spot with 0.079s off the pace, sealing the first row spots.

Cal Crutchlow (Honda RC 213 V) of the United Kingdom will begin Sunday’s race from the second row, having finished the session in fourth spot, followed by Italy’s Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) in fifth and the Spaniard Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) in sixth.

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Pakistan edge past Afghanistan in nail-biting Asia Cup tie

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Pakistan vs Afghanistan
Pakistan vs Afghanistan

Abu Dhabi, Sep 22: Pakistan got themselves prepared for the India challenge on Sunday with a nervy three-wicket win over Afghanistan in a nail-biting Super Four contest of the Asia Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here on Friday.

Chasing a modest 258, Pakistan were in control with a 154-run second wicket stand between Imam-ul-Haq (80) and Babar Azam (66) before losing their way with the fall of regular wickets, only to be rescued by former skipper Shoaib Malik’s belligerent 43-ball unbeaten 51.

Pakistan managed to recover from the early loss of opener Fakhar Zaman (0), thanks to Imam and Babar’s patient knocks before a mix-up resulted in the run-out of Imam.

Babar soon followed the opener to the pavilion even as Pakistan’s middle order woes continued to haunt them with number 4 Haris Sohail (13), skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (8), Asif Ali (7) and Mohammad Nawaz (10) all departing within a span of just 48 runs.

Malik, however, wasn’t deterred by the situation and held one end up to keep Pakistan’s hopes alive, and together with Hasan Ali (6 not out) overcame the scare to finally overhaul the target with three balls to spare.

For the Afghans, leg-spinner Rashid Khan (3/46) and offie Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/33) were the main wicket-takers while Gulbadin Naib chipped in with one scalp.

Earlier, electing to bat after winning the toss, Afghanistan rode an undefeated half century from Hashmatullah Shahidi (97 not out) and skipper Asghar Afghan’s stroke-filled 56-ball 67 to post a challenging 257/7.

Afghanistan started off well with Rahmat Shah (36) and Shahidi raising 63 runs for the third wicket before the latter went on to add 94 runs with his skipper to propel the team to a decent total.

In another Super Four match on Friday, India rode on an all-round show to outclass Bangladesh by 7 wickets.

India will next play Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday while Bangladesh and Afghanistan will lock horns here on the same day.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan 257/6 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 97 not out, Asghar Afghan 67; Mohammad Nawaz 3/57) lose to Pakistan 258/7 (Imam-ul-Haq 80, Babar Azam 66, Shoaib Malik 51 not out; Rashid Khan 3/46) by 3 wickets.

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Asia Cup: Rohit, Jadeja star in India’s 7-wkt win over Bangladesh

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India Vs Bangladesh

Dubai, Sep 21 : India dished out another comprehensive performance to thrash Bangladesh by seven wickets in a Super Four stage match of the Asia Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium here on Friday.

Skipper Rohit Sharma led India from the front with a fluent unbeaten half-century to overhaul the paltry target of 174 with more than 13 overs to spare, after the men-in-blue rode on left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja’s magical spell of 4/29 on winning the toss and opting to chase.

The defending champions were off to a brilliant start once again with Rohit (83 not out off 104 balls; 5X4, 6X3) and Shikhar Dhawan (40 off 47; 4X4, 6X1) putting on 61 runs before the southpaw was trapped leg-before by left-armer Shakib Al Hasan in the 15th over.

Thereafter, Rohit and new man Ambati Rayudu (13) added 45 runs for the second wicket before the No.3 batsman was caught behind off pacer Rubel Hossain.

With India cruising to an easy victory, former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33 off 37; 4X3) was promoted up the order and the talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman played the perfect second fiddle to the skipper, who clobbered Shakib for three sixes, one among those to get to his 36th ODI fifty.

Dhoni soon joined the party, belting two consecutive boundaries off skipper Mashrafe Mortaza to raise India’s 150 and also the 50-run stand for the third wicket.

Mortaza, however, avenged the thrashing with the wicket of the stumper, who in an attempt to finish off the innings with a six, gifted his wicket away with India just four runs shy of victory.

Dinesh Karthik (1 not out) then joined his skipper to complete the formalities in style.

Earlier, Jadeja, playing his first ODI since July 2017, wreaked havoc among the Bangladeshi middle-order that comprised the key wickets of Shakib Al Hasan (17), Mushfiqur Rahim (21), Mohammad Mithun (9) and Mosaddek Hossain (12), to help India restrict the opposition for a paltry 173, centred mainly around a 66-run eighth wicket stand between lower-order batsmen Mehidy Hasan (42) and skipper Mashrafe Mortaza (26).

Jadeja was complimented well by the pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/32) and Jasprit Bumrah (3/37).

Put in to bat, Bangladesh immediately found themselves on the backfoot after Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah removed the openers Liton Das (7) and Nazmul Hossain Shanto (7), respectively, with just 16 runs on the board.

Thereafter, Jadeja spun his magic around the Bangladesh batsmen which reduced them to 65/5 by the 18th over, before Mahmudullah (25) and Mosaddek steered the total past the 100-run mark with a brief 36-run sixth wicket stand.

Towards the end, Mehidy and Mashrafe batted sensibly to take the side past the 150-run mark even as the Indian bowlers came back well to restrict them to a below-par score.

Brief Scores

Bangladesh: 173 (Mehidy Hasan 42, Mashrafe Mortaza 26; Ravindra Jadeja 4/29, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3/32, Jasprit Bumrah 3/37) lose to India: 174/3 (Rohit Sharma 83 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 40, M.S Dhoni 33) by 7 wickets.

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