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
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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.


Tazkarti ticketing platform draws criticism in Egypt ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 18 June 2019
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Tazkarti ticketing platform draws criticism in Egypt ahead of Africa Cup of Nations

  • Tazkarti will be the sole source of tickets for the tournament

CAIRO: Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) host country Egypt has launched an online ticketing platform called Tazkarti, which will be the sole source of tickets for the tournament, which begins June 22.

Its aim is to combat ticket touts and black market sales for the continent’s biggest football tournament, and to ensure that ticket prices remain fixed at the price decided by the AFCON organizing committee. It is also a measure of the steps Egypt is taking to ensure that the tournament passes peacefully. 

Football stadiums have been almost entirely empty since 2011 because of security issues after long-time President Hosni Mubarak stepped down following national protests in which football fans played a major role, resulting in violent, often lethal, clashes with police and between rival fans.

In 2012, Port Said stadium witnessed a riot that left 72 Al-Ahly supporters dead after a pitch invasion by Masri supporters at the end of a Premier League game. In 2015, 19 Zamalek fans were killed and 20 injured when police attempted to disperse large crowds making their way into a Cairo stadium to attend a Premier League game. 

Those were just two of several incidents that meant authorities imposed a ban on people attending football matches or severely restricted the number of people that could do so.

Every AFCON ticket purchased via Tazkarti will be scanned at the stadium to ensure it matches the holder’s “Fan ID.” If it does not, the holder will not be allowed into the ground.

Tickets for matches featuring the Egyptian national team range from 200 to 2,500 Egyptian pounds ($12-$150), while other matches range from 100 to 500 Egyptian pounds ($6 to $30).

While those prices might sound affordable to outsiders, in a country where a doctor earns around $90 to $179 per month, many have found themselves priced out of the tournament already.

“I am a married dentist with three kids. If I want to attend a match with my family, I would have to pay 1,000 pounds ($60), (not including) transportation and snacks,” Dr. M. Sheta, who lives in Damietta, told Arab News.

“To book a cinema ticket nowadays ranges between 70 and 100 pounds and a good meal costs 100 pounds minimum. If I can afford that, then I can afford AFCON tickets,” said a housewife in Mansoura, who asked to remain anonymous.

Plenty of young Egyptians took to social media to express their displeasure with the ticket prices.

“This is a clear message that middle-class Egyptians are not welcome,” said Ahmed Zahran.

“I would rather pay a total of 10 pounds at any coffee shop and watch the matches there,” said Ahmed El-Tlabanty.

Some fans believe that the prices have been set high to discourage Ultras (the most passionate football fans) from attending.

An administrator of the “Ultras Ahlawy” Facebook group, while stressing that he hoped supporters “have fun watching AFCON,” asked Arab News: “Why would I pay 200 pounds to watch a match? I do not (make hundreds of pounds).”

Aside from issues with the high prices, people have also been widely critical of the technical performance of the new ticketing platform, which has been under pressure from high demand for Fan IDs.

“You guys are so disrespectful and unprofessional. I’ve been trying to reach out for more than two weeks and no one is answering — not on messenger nor the hotline. You made the whole championship experience the worst,” wrote Fatma El-Dardiry. “I called your customer service at least five times, placed three complaints and texted you on Facebook more than once. Now, the tickets of cat 1 and 2 for the opening match have already sold out.”