Mohammad Shahzad century helps Afghanistan to dramatic tie against India in Dubai

Afghanistan's captain Asghar Afghan, right, and teammates celebrate the dismissal of India's last wicket of Ravindra Jadeja during the one day international cricket match of Asia Cup between India and Afghanistan in Dubai (AP)
Updated 25 September 2018
0

Mohammad Shahzad century helps Afghanistan to dramatic tie against India in Dubai

  • Shahzad’s 124 laid the foundation of Afghanistan’s fighting total of 252-8
  • The winner of Wednesday’s match between Pakistan and Bangladesh will meet India in the final in Dubai

DUBAI: Stockily built Mohammad Shahzad knocked a brilliant hundred as spirited Afghanistan pulled off a last over tie against India in the Super Four match in Dubai on Tuesday.
Shahzad’s 124 laid the foundation of Afghanistan’s fighting total of 252-8 in 50 overs before bowling out India in 49.5 overs for the same total at Dubai stadium.
Needing seven to win off the final Rashid Khan over, Ravindra Jadeja hit a boundary off the second ball before taking a single off the next. Last man Khaleel Ahmed then took a single but Jadeja holed out off the fifth to give Afghanistan a morale-boosting tie with the defending champions.
India rested five top players — skipper Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar — as they had already qualified for Friday’s final.
The winner of Wednesday’s match between Pakistan and Bangladesh will meet India in the final in Dubai.
India were helped to 110 by openers Lokendra Rahul (60) and Ambati Rayudu (57) and at 166-3 they looked on course for an easy win but Afghanistan pulled back through key wickets.
Rahul hit five boundaries and a six in his 66-ball knock while Rayudu’s 49-ball innings had four sixes and as many boundaries.
Dinesh Karthik made 44 and Jadeja scored 25 to bring India closer but India could not cross the finish line.
Spinners Rashid and Mohammad Nabi, and paceman Aftab Alam finished with two wickets apiece.
Despite crashing out with two defeats Afghanistan can hold their heads high as they beat Sri Lanka and Bangldesh in the first round and only lost to Pakistan in the final over.
Earlier, Shahzad knocked a fighting hundred and Mohammad Nabi scored 56-ball 64 to lift Afghanistan after they won the toss.
The 31-year-old Shazad smashed seven sixes and 11 fours in his 116-ball 124 — his fifth one-day century but first against a top nation.
So dominant was Shahzad that fellow opener Javed Ahmadi was only five in a stand of 65, before India struck four times within the space of 17 runs.
Left-arm spinners Jadeja (3-46) and Kuldeep Yadav (2-38) derailed the innings but Shahzad held one end, adding 50 for the fifth wicket with Gulbadin Naib who made 15 and another 48 for the sixth with Mohammad Nabi.
Shahzad was finally out in the 38th over but by then had given a good platform to his team.


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
0

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.