Pakistan lose superstar Mohammad Abbas for Abu Dhabi Test against New Zealand

Pakistan’s worst fears have been confirmed ahead of their third and deciding Test match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday with Mohammad Abbas unlikely to feature. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2018
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Pakistan lose superstar Mohammad Abbas for Abu Dhabi Test against New Zealand

  • A shoulder injury is almost certain to rule seam-bowler Mohammad Abbas out of the crucial match
  • Fears that he would be ruled out of Pakistan’s tour of South Africa in December have been allayed

LONDON: Pakistan’s worst fears have been confirmed ahead of their third and deciding Test match against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
A shoulder injury is almost certain to rule seam-bowler Mohammad Abbas out of the crucial match, but fears that he would be ruled out of Pakistan’s tour of South Africa in December have been allayed.
Abbas suffered the injury while diving to stop a ball in the field during his side’s victory over the Black Caps in Dubai earlier this week.
He was given painkillers to last through that second Test match, but a shoulder scan after the game showed the severity of the injury.
A shoulder specialist saw the scans and early assessments suggested Abbas could be out for a period of three weeks to four months.
But the injury was not as serious as initially thought and while Abu Dhabi would be too quick a return, experts believe he could be fit again in time for the first Test against South Africa, at Centurion on Boxing Day.
“Abbas underwent a scan on Wednesday which confirmed an injury to his shoulder,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said.
“He will undergo further clinical assessment before we make a final decision regarding his availability for the 3rd Test (in Abu Dhabi).”
The injury clearly had an impact on his performance in the second innings of the second Test, which marked the third innings in a row he had failed to take a wicket.
His brief drought is in stark contrast to the riches of his career since making his debut last year, a spell which has seen him become one of Pakistan’s most potent bowling options.
Abbas’ injury is likely to give another chance to Shaheen Afridi, the young left-arm fast bowler whose introduction into the Pakistan side has been a revelation, and whose performances have been of the highest quality results this season.
Pakistan are likely to protest Abbas for the South Africa series, especially as he represents their most lethal weapon in their bowling attack for years.
In South Africa, on surfaces perfectly primed for his talents, his contribution to the Pakistan cause against the Proteas will be crucial to Sarfaz Ahmed and his side’s chances of victory in a country where they have struggled to win Test matches.


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

  • Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute
  • For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on

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.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman telephoned Algeria’s interim president Abdelkader Bensalah to congratulate him on Algeria’s African Cup of Nations win, with Bensalah thanking the king for his phone call.