$1.41m Sunrisers Hyderabad man Rashid Khan skittles Zimbabwe to give Afghanistan win

Rashid Khan took 5-24 to inspire Afghanistan to victory in Sharjah. (AP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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$1.41m Sunrisers Hyderabad man Rashid Khan skittles Zimbabwe to give Afghanistan win

SHARJAH: Leg-spin sensation Rashid Khan took five wickets as Afghanistan cruised to a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the third one-day international at Sharjah on Tuesday.
The Afghans now lead the series 2-1 with two matches remaining, as the teams warm up for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe next month.
Zimbabwe won the toss and batted first, but collapsed from 117-3 to 154 all out as 19-year-old Khan finished with figures of 5-24.
Rahmat Shah and Nasir Jamal both struck half-centuries in Afghanistan’s reply as they wrapped up victory with 22.3 overs remaining.
Zimbabwe recovered from 44-3 with Sikandar Raza hitting 38 and Craig Ervine 39, but both fell LBW to Khan as the teenager, who was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for $1.41 million in last month’s IPL auction, ran through the middle order.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 16, again impressed opening the bowling with his leg-breaks and claimed the key wicket of second-match centurion Brendan Taylor on his way to 3-45.
Big-hitting Afghanistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad — continuing his return from a drugs ban — fell early, but Shah and Jamal combined to put on 69, before Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran finished the job with some lusty blows.
Afghanistan will look to win the series in the fourth ODI at Sharjah on Friday, with the sides set to meet again in Group B of World Cup qualifying on March 6.
Qualification for the 10-team World Cup in England and Wales next year would continue Afghanistan’s remarkable rise, with the war-torn nation to play their maiden Test match against India at Bangalore in June.
 


Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

Updated 23 January 2019
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Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

  • Can the mighty minnows continue impressive run in the UAE?
  • Or will the big guns start to fire in quarterfinals?

LONDON: Asia’s biggest sporting spectacle has reached its quarterfinal stage — and it’s time for teams to find their A-game. While there are few surprises in the last-eight lineup, the form of some of the big-name sides has been less than impressive. Here we deliver our verdict on the second round.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT — Saudi Arabia’s attack

The Green Falcons started the tournament at top speed. They came in as one of the cup favorites and in their opening two matches illustrated why. A 4-0 thrashing of North Korea was backed up with a relatively simple 2-0 victory over Lebanon. Understandably, that raised hopes that Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men could go all the way in the UAE. Alas, it was not to be as a 2-0 defeat to Qatar in their last group clash left them with a tricky tie against Japan. For all their efforts Saudi Arabia were unable to find the back of the net, the lack of firepower upfront costing Pizzi’s team yet again.



BIGGEST SHOCK — South Korean sloppiness

Boosted by the arrival of Tottenham star Son Heung-Min, South Korea were rightly declared the pre-tournament favorites. They had firepower up front, intelligence and creativity in midfield, and experience at the back. In the four matches in the UAE so far, however, they have looked anything but potential champions. They labored to beat Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and China in the group stage before almost being shocked by part-timers Bahrain in the second round. South Korea now face Qatar in the last eight and, as Son said after their extra-time win over Bahrain, they need to significantly improve if they are to avoid a shock exit before the semis.



UNDER PRESSURE — Alberto Zaccheroni and the UAE



The Whites owe their place in the last eight to luck more than skill. In some ways that is not a surprise — the hosts came into the tournament without their talisman, the injured Omar Abdulrahman, and on the back of a patchy run of form. But, still, the performances on home soil have been underwhelming to say the least. That was summed up with their extra-time win over Kyrgyzstan, who were playing in their first Asian Cup. It was a far-from-convincing performance and Central Asians were unlucky not to beat Zaccheroni’s side. The UAE will have to deliver their best performance for some time if they are to progress further. Their opponents, Australia, have also performed poorly, which may offer them some encouragement.



BEST HIGHLIGHT — The mighty minnows

The big guns have not had it all their own way. That may annoy their fans, but it does show that Asian football is improving. Only a few years ago the idea that Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain and Jordan would look the equals of Australia and Co. would have seemed fanciful. But in the past two weeks the standard shown by the so-called lesser lights has been impressive — and great to watch. Last summer five Asian teams appeared at the World Cup for the first time and it was hoped that showing would act as a springboard for further progress across the continent. On the evidence of the action in the UAE that wish could be coming true.

 

PREDICTIONS