UAE heat not a factor for India in Asia Cup quest against Pakistan

India’s middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu has dismissed talk that summer heat and humidity in the UAE will affect his team. (AFP)
Updated 16 September 2018
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UAE heat not a factor for India in Asia Cup quest against Pakistan

  • India’s middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu has dismissed talk that summer heat and humidity in the UAE will affect his team
  • Rayudu will line up for an India side without Virat Kohli, but one still packed full of talent

DUBAI: India’s middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu has dismissed talk that summer heat and humidity in the UAE will affect his team in their bid to win this year’s Asia Cup.
Rayudu will line up for an India side without Virat Kohli, but one still packed full of talent with the likes of skipper Rohit Sharma and M.S. Dhoni in the ranks.
They kick off their Asia Cup campaign against Hong Kong on Tuesday before they face bitter rivals Pakistan in the glamor tie of the tournament.

And, speaking to media in the UAE, Rayudu scoffed at the idea that weather conditions would play havoc with India’s approach to the game.
“We are used to the heat because we play cricket in the Indian summer. We have had a good week’s time to get acclimatized to the heat and it shouldn’t be a problem,” he said.
The India— Pakistan match, one of the biggest in world cricket, has arrived early for the fixture-weary India squad, but Rayudu said: “We are doing our preparations. We are not thinking Pakistan is here or somebody else is here. We are doing our bit and not looking at anything else.”
When asked about the absence of Virat Kohli in the India’s squad, he was philosophical in his answer.
“It is obviously a big miss. We will definitely miss him. But we still have a good enough team to go out and do well and win matches.”
Meanwhile, Pakistani ace Babar Azam is relishing the idea of facing India three times in the tournament.
“It is nice if India and Pakistan play three times, especially in the light of there being no series (between the two teams). This is a nice opportunity to play each other and in a good tournament, too.

“It is also important because a lot of people will come out to watch these matches and many will follow the matches, so it is a good chance for the fans to enjoy it.”

Azam admitted that the in-form Kohli not lining up for the Indians is an advantage to other teams in the tournament, but believes India still have threats that his Pakistan teammates must be aware of.
“They have Sharma and Dhoni, who are experienced players.
“And remember, the best teams play in the Asia Cup. Although the India match will be interesting, I feel all the five teams are good,” he said.
Azam revealed that the Pakistan dressing room is currently a settled and happy one, with Mickey Arthur as coach and youngsters in the team high in confidence and self-belief.
“The presence of senior players like Shoaib Malek and Sarfraz Ahmad has helped a lot as all the youngsters talk to them and they are so helpful,” he said.
Pakistan and India will go into the game at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, having both faced Hong Kong, knowing whoever wins will have the upper hand in the Super Four round.


Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 20 July 2019
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Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.
Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.
For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.
It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.
With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.
Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.
As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.
It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.
Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.
Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.
Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.
The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.
Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.