Bollywood’s Shah Rukh Khan buys South Africa T20 franchise

Updated 19 June 2017
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Bollywood’s Shah Rukh Khan buys South Africa T20 franchise

LONDON: Indian movie star Shah Rukh Khan added a third Twenty20 franchise team to his collection when he was named as one of the owners in the new eight-team South African Global League on Monday.
The Bollywood leading man expanded his established Knight Riders Brand with the purchase of the Cape Town franchise to add to the teams he already owns in Kolkata and Trinidad.
There was a further link to the Indian Premier League, the lucrative Twenty20 competition that has sparked similar tournaments in the Caribbean, Australia, Bangladesh and Pakistan too.
GMR Sports, the holding company that controls the IPL Delhi Daredevils, purchased the Johannesburg franchise.
Two Pakistan Super League owners, Fawad Rana of the Lahore Qalandar and Javed Afridi of the Peshawar Zalmi, have bought franchises in Durban and Benoni respectively.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong businessman Sushil Kumar bought the Bloemfontein franchise, with Dubai’s Ajay Sethi taking up the Port Elizabeth franchise.
Two of the franchises will be South African owned, with businessman Osman Osman now in charge of the Pretoria franchise and Brimstone, an investment company, now having the Stellenbosch franchise as part of its portfolio.
Shah himself was not present at the launch in London, a location that meant the South Africa marquee players attached to each of the eight teams could attend, with the Proteas currently on tour in England.
“We are thrilled by the international mix of owners and the passion and excitement that was clearly demonstrated during the bidding process by them and the marquee players,” said Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
The South Africa marquee players are Hashim Amla (Durban), Quinton de Kock (Benoni), AB de Villiers (Pretoria), Faf du Plessis (Stellenbosch), JP Duminy (Cape Town), David Miller (Bloemfontein), Kagiso Rabada (Johannesburg) and Imran Tahir (Port Elizabeth).
Meanwhile, the likes of South Africa-born England batsman Kevin Pietersen and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum are also set to be two of the eight ‘international marquee’ players involved.
They, together with the current England ‘white-ball’ captain Eoin Morgan and fellow batsman Jason Roy, as well as Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard (all West Indies) plus Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga are all set to enter into a mini-draft with the highest bidding franchise owner having first pick and the rest following the same process.
McCullum caused an unintentional moment of humor at the launch when he described himself as a “T20 mercenary,” with event host Alan Wilkins, the cricket broadcaster, jumping in to say “ambassador.”
The November-December timeframe for the tournament means leading Australian players are likely to be unavailable because of a clash with their home season, although that could change if there’s no resolution to their bitter pay dispute with Cricket Australia.
No India players are expected to take part either but more than 400 cricketers have registered their interest, with a draft scheduled for August.


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
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Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

  • World No. 4 wins third three-setter of the week beat Hsieh Su-wei and claim place in the final.
  • Swiss star Bencic deals a forehand smash to Svitolina's chances of unprecedented hat-trick.

LONDON: If Petra Kvitova does get her hands on the Dubai trophy against Belinda Bencic on Saturday, she will be quick to admit she did it the hard way.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was once again made to toil at the Aviation Club as she finally overcame Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was her third three-setter in four days and came about as much through sheer grit and determination as any superior groundstrokes or serves.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” the Czech said.
“It was a tough one, for sure. She really didn’t give me anything for free.
“It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. Anyway I didn’t play great at the end of the first.”
Coming into the event the world No. 4 admitted she was undercooked and in need of some game time. While, in hindsight, the three-setters against Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady in the first two rounds probably did her some good, another match that went the distance was probably not in the ideal script for the 2013 Dubai champion.
But Hsieh is a tricky opponent and she proved it once again on Centre Court. The world No. 31 hits two-handed shots off both sides and was trying to beat her fourth top-10 seed of the week. That included wins over Angelique Kerber in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Bencic will try to upset Kvitova in Saturday's final at the Aviation Club (AFP) 


She started off in much the same vein as she had finished against Kerber and Pliskova, hurrying Kvitova around the court and making life as uncomfortable as possible under the hot Dubai sun.
“She’s very tricky,” Kvitova said about Hsieh, who grabbed five games in a row to take the opening set and go up 1-0 in the second.
“I didn’t really play the best at the end of the first set. But I calmed down afterwards a little bit,” Kvitova said.
“With Hsieh, I need to be a little bit patient. ... It’s not really that easy to make those winners against her.”
While she has 
not consistently displayed her A-game this week it should come as no shock that Kvitova has made today’s final. It was the second seed’s 17th victory of 2019 — a feat bettered by no one — and it will be her third final of the season and 35th of her career. She revealed that her presence in the showdown is thanks to her mental toughness and she admitted that after a long week she will have to draw on that a lot today.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was more calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set,” Kvitova said.
“I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow — it was something weird.
“I’m a bit tired right now, to be honest. I have a final, so I don’t know how I going to recover. Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me.”
Of her sparkling form so far this year she said: “It’s a bit weird, to be honest. I didn’t really expect anything like that. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect anything, which I already achieved this year. For me, everything is just bonus.
“As I mentioned, the tennis, it’s a bit like escape this week. This is unbelievable to be in the final when I’m escaping from something. Yeah, very interesting.”
In the other semifinal Bencic once again upset the odds to overcome world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. The Swiss went into the clash as the underdog, but from the off the world No. 45 was aggressive and deservedly won.
In doing so she ended Svitolina’s 12-match winning streak in Dubai and ended the two-time defending champion’s hopes of becoming the first woman to win three Dubai titles in a row.