Palestine out to show world what they can do at Asian Cup

This will be Palestine's second Asian Cup having made their debut in Australia four years ago. (AFP)
Updated 05 January 2019
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Palestine out to show world what they can do at Asian Cup

  • Noureddine Ould Ali's players face Syria in Group B opener on Sunday.
  • Opponents Syria hotly tipped to go far in the tournament.

LONDON: Palestine are ready to show the competition they mean business when they get their Asian Cup campaign started against Syria on Sunday.
The side head into only their second Asian Cup — their first, four years ago, ended in a group stage exit — with head coach Noureddine Ould Ali telling his players to go on to the pitch and make a statement.
“Our preparations has been quite exceptional and it is the first game that will open the door for Palestine football to announce to Asia and world that we’re here,” he said.
“It is a very exciting moment for us as we enter the arena with Syria and we look forward to a strong match and fair play. We’re representing our country and we want to make Palestine proud.”
Their Group B rivals Syria are fancied to do well in the UAE, having come close to qualifying for last year’s World Cup. But the Algerian believes his team are ready to take them on.
“We had a successful training camp in Qatar for a month where we worked on our weaknesses through friendlies and now we have to focus, focus and focus,” Ali said.
“Syria are a strong team both as individuals and as a team. They have the players to win the match but we have our strategies to get a positive result,” added the 46-year-old.
Syria head coach Bernd Stange is taking nothing for granted against Palestine, despite his side being one of the favorites to go far.
“Nobody in our team is going to say that we are going to win the title. We’re not arrogant.,” the German said.
“We have a young group of boys. We won’t say we want to win all matches but we will go as far as we can and our first objective is to have a good result against Palestine.
“I think Iraq has shown what’s possible. Years ago (2007) they won the Asian Cup when nobody expected them to win and I personally believe these are young boys and they should fight and run for their country.”


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.