IN PRAISE OF - FIFA Club World Cup

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The Club World Cup gets underway on Wednesday in the UAE, with considerable worldwide interest this year, as Real Madrid go for a third successive title. (AFP)
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Updated 10 December 2018
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IN PRAISE OF - FIFA Club World Cup

LONDON: The Club World Cup gets underway on Wednesday in the UAE, with considerable worldwide interest this year. Following two previous victories with Ronaldo (below), Real Madrid are chasing a third successive title to match their Champions League treble. The Spanish giants are likely to face either River Plate or Boca Juniors from Argentina in the final on Dec. 22, a match that promises to be a mouthwatering spectacle.
The tournament, a simple concept of bringing the continental champions from around the world to decide the best club side on the planet, has struggled to entice football fans or TV companies.

Granted, it got off to a shaky start. In 2000, Corinthians took the title on home soil, but after the collapse of FIFA’s marketing partner ISL, the following year’s edition was canceled. The tournament was not held again until 2005. Since then there has been a mix of winners from Europe and South America. Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad have earned a respectable fourth place in the past and Egypt’s Al-Ahly came third in 2006.
By hosting the tournaments away from the traditional European and South American power bases — Japan, Morocco and the UAE — FIFA is fulfilling its mandate of making football a global game. Fans who have no chance of seeing European superstars or talented sides from South America can see their heroes in action. The Club World Cup might never supersede the Champions League or Copa Libertadores, but it has grown in stature and has become a trophy worth winning.


David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

Updated 24 March 2019
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David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

  • Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament
  • During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean

KOLKATA: Australia’s David Warner smashed 85 from 53 balls on his Indian Premier League comeback Sunday but his knock went in vain as Sunrisers Hyderabad lost to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Warner, who along with compatriot Steve Smith returns to the Twenty20 tournament after missing the previous edition due to a ball-tampering controversy, steered Sunrisers to 181 for three after being put into bat.
Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament after organizers stopped him for his part in the scandal.
His one-year ban from international cricket ends later this month and the 32-year-old opener is expected to make Australia’s World Cup squad and play in this summer’s Ashes series in England.
During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean, and grade cricket in Australia.
His efforts though were not enough, with Andre Russell hitting an unbeaten 49 off 19 balls as the Knight Riders won by six wickets with two balls to spare at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
A pause for a floodlight failure in the 16th over re-charged Knight Riders’ chase as Russell put together an unbeaten 65-run stand with Shubman Gill, who hit 18 runs including the winning six.
Russell struck four fours and four sixes
Earlier Warner stood out during a 118-run opening stand with England’s Jonny Bairstow, who made 39, to lay the platform for their big total.
“It is good to get out there and contribute. It looked a nice wicket to bat on but it slowed down a bit which made us reassess after six overs,” Warner said after his knock.
The Australian admitted some anxiety before his big return to IPL — and an unusual solution.
“I was a bit nervous in the dressing room and kept drinking pickle juice,” he said.
Opener Warner survived a reprieve on 38 after Knight Riders captain and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik dropped him off left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Warner, who captained Sunrisers to their only IPL title in 2016, made the most of the spill and raced to his 37th IPL fifty with a six off Russell to signal his aggressive intent.
Bairstow was bowled by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla but Warner took the attack to the opposition, hitting nine fours and three sixes during his blitz.
Warner, who recently recovered from an elbow injury he picked in the Bangladesh Premier League, finally fell to Russell after driving the ball to cover.
Warner said his elbow “wasn’t all too bad” after doing a lot of work with his trainer back home.
Year-long bans from state and international cricket for Warner and Smith end on March 28 but the duo are keen to get among the runs in the IPL, ahead of the 50-over World Cup starting in May.
The suspension did not include club games but IPL’s governing council decided not to allow the disgraced duo in the 11th edition of the T20 league last year in a bid to avoid controversy.
The pair were banned for cheating in a Cape Town Test in March last year along with teammate Cameron Bancroft, whose nine-month ban has already finished.
Smith is expected to appear for his team Rajasthan Royals in their opening match against Kings XI Punjab in Jaipur on Monday.