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Pakistan bounce back with 14-run win over England

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Pakistani Cricket Team

Joe Root (107 off 104) and Jos Buttler’s (103 off 76) centuries were of no use as England suffered a 14-run defeat against Pakistan at the Tent Bridge here on Monday.

Chasing an imposing 349-run target, the hosts could manage 334/9 in the allotted 50 overs, thanks to Wahab Riaz, who scalped 3/82 while Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir also bagged couple of wickets each.

Root and Buttler were involved in a crucial 130-run fifth wicket stand, but in the end their valiant efforts failed to take England across the finishing line. The former’s innings was decorated with 10 boundaries and a six, while Buttler’s knock included nine fours and two hits into the stands.

England lost opener Jason Roy early as leg-spinner Shadab caught him plumb in front in the third over with just 12 runs on the board. Jonny Bairstow and Root then played some sensible cricket, propelling their side past the 50-run mark in 7.2 overs.

Ten runs later, Riaz delivered the crucial breakthrough by dismissing Bairstow for 32. The short of a length delivery moved away from the batsman before taking a slight edge that landed in the safe hands of Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed behind the stumps.

New batsman and England skipper Eoin Morgan could only manage 9 runs while star all-rounder Ben Stokes too was dismissed cheaply for 13, thanks to some disciplined bowling by the Green Brigade.

Root and Buttler then frustrated the visitors with their fighting partnership and at one stage it looked as if the duo would run away with the match.

The two took England past the 200-run mark in 31.5 overs before Root notched up his ton in the 38th over. However, with their side two short of 250, Shadab came up with the much-needed breakthrough, as Root misread a quicker delivery and ended up giving a simple catch to Mohammed Hafeez at third-man.

Buttler continued to trouble the Pakistan bowlers before falling victim to Amir in the 45th with England still 61 runs away from the target.

Moeen Ali (19) and Chris Woakes (21) tried their best to steer the hosts home, but their efforts fell flat in front of some inspired bowling by the Pakistan bowlers.

Earlier, Pakistan looked a different side from the one that surrendered to the West Indies in their opening game of the tournament as their batsmen put up a clinical performance to help the team post 348/8 on board.

Hafeez was the top scorer with a 62-ball 84 while Babar Azam (63 off 66) and Sarfraz Ahmed (55 of 44) too chipped in with important contributions.

The Pakistan batsmen were bounced out by the West Indies pacers for a meagre 105 in less than 22 overs in their first match on Friday. In stark contrast, it took spinner Moeen Ali to provide the first breakthrough for England after openers Fakhar Zaman (36 off 40) and Imam-Ul-Haq (44 off 58) helped Pakistan stamp their authority early on.

Fakhar and Imam put up an opening stand of 82 runs before Moeen drew the former out of his crease in the 15th over with a delivery that drifted in from around the wicket. The turn took the ball past the batsman and wicketkeeper Buttler took the bails off in a flash.

Moeen then dismissed Imam six overs later, thanks to a brilliant catch by Woakes who had to run about 20 yards and dive to his left at the long-off boundary.

However, Azam and Hafeez plundered 88 runs in the next 12 overs before the former became the third man to fall to Moeen. Hafeez then found company in Safraz Ahmed as the pair put on 80 runs for the fourth wicket.

While there were no significant partnerships after that, the combined effort of Asif Ali (14), Hasan Ali (10) and Shadab Khan (10) meant that Pakistan finished their essay just two short of the magical 350-run mark.

Joffra Archer, who was the standout bowler in England’s first game against South Africa, cut a sorry figure as he leaked 79 runs in his 10 overs without taking a wicket. Mark Wood picked up 2 wickets while Woakes scalped 3.

Brief scores: Pakistan 348/8 in 50 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 84, Babar Azam 63; Moeen Ali 3/50) beat England 334/9 in 50 overs (Joe Root 107, Jos Buttler 103; Wahab Riaz 3/82) by 14 runs

–IANS

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My eyes fixed firmly on Women’s World Cup trophy: Mithali Raj

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

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Mithali Raj

New Delhi, Aug 8 : Veteran India batter Mithali Raj has said that she is “definitely looking” at the ICC Women’s World Cup, which has been postponed to 2022 and has added that her eyes are firmly fixed on the trophy.

On Friday, the International Cricket Council decided to postpone the World Cup, originally slated to be held in New Zealand in 2021, until February-March 2022 because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whilst this is never great news to wake up to. I can understand the reasons why given the lack of cricket in some countries. I just hope those players who were planning to retire after the World Cup can hold on for one year…right Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Rachael Haynes,” cricketer-turned-commentator Lisa Sthalekar tweeted following ICC’s decision to postpone Women’s World Cup.

To this, Mithali replied: “Oh absolutely, my eyes are fixed firmly on the trophy. With all niggles recovered, mind and body fresh and stronger than before, I am definitely looking at World Cup 2022.”

Mithali had led the Indian eves to the final of the showpiece event in 2017 where they had to face a heart-wrenching defeat against England in the summit clash at the iconic Lord’s.

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

The 37-year-old has already retired from T20 cricket and now aspires to win India their maiden World Cup for which she will now have to wait at least until 2022.

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Madrid Masters tennis tournament cancelled: organisers

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Madrid Masters tennis

The Madrid Open that was scheduled to take place from Sept. 12-20 has been cancelled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Spanish Capital, Organisers said on Thursday.

“As an act of responsibility in view of the current situation caused by COVID-19 and having thoroughly evaluated the circumstance that the pandemic continues to generate… it has been decided that 2020 Muta Madrid Open will not take place this year,” organisers said in a satatement.

The tounament, which was to feature both men’s and women’s draws, was seen as an important event for players to prepare for the Frech Open which begins on Sept. 27.

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BCCI issues SOP; players must sign consent form before resuming training

BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

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New Delhi, Aug 2 : The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to the state associations for the resumption of cricket. While these will help the state bodies restart cricketing activities, all players will have to sign consent forms before getting back to training.

In the 100-page SOP, accessed by IANS, the BCCI has touched on principles while returning to training, ground and practice facilities preparation with an eye on the pandemic, gymnasium protocols, physiotherapy and medical protocols as well as protocols to manage a suspected COVID-19 case.

It also has the consent form where the players have to acknowledge that there is risk associated with resuming training and that the player has been informed about the protocols in place and the precautions taken by the association.

The player also needs to acknowledge that the association can’t guarantee complete elimination of risk despite taking necessary precautions and that the player is willing to resume training.

With an eye on the whole situation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI has shared its views with the state bodies with regards to resumption of cricket.

“The BCCI as the governing body for the sport of cricket in India is responsible for ensuring that appropriate protocols are put in place to protect the health and safety of players, staff and all stakeholders. Covid-19, an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs, poses a serious threat to the health of individuals as is evident from its spread to almost all countries around the world with more than 17.5 million infections and over 0.6 million deaths as on 1st August 2020. As the world grapples with Covid-19, cricketing activity has come to a standstill and players confined to the four walls within their homes.

“It is said that cricket is a religion in India and the fanfare and fervor that cricket commands are far greater than any other sport or event in the country. Besides, it also helps generate tremendous revenue and employs players and staff across 38 State teams, both in the men and women category. BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

“However, the BCCI is concerned about the high infectivity rate of SARS CoV-2 and in the interest of health and safety of all players, staff and stakeholders, the BCCI would not like to compromise on the preventive measures by resuming too soon,” the SOP read.

“The purpose of these protocols is to ensure the safe resumption of cricket activities and the below guidelines may be amended from time to time as may be required depending on the existing Covid-19 situation in the country and the guidelines issued by the Government of India at appropriate times. These guidelines have been prepared by the BCCI Medical Team.

“All BCCI affiliated State Cricket Associations will adhere to these guidelines and take additional measures as may be necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. Approvals must also be sought from local administration and health authorities before commencing any cricket activity. The health and safety of players, staff and stakeholders will be the sole responsibility of respective State Cricket Associations.”

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