Palestine draw down to character of the side, claims super stopper Rami Hamada

Palestine put on a backs-against-the-wall display against Syria on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019
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Palestine draw down to character of the side, claims super stopper Rami Hamada

  • Palestine secured their first ever point at the Asian Cup against Syria.
  • Goalkeeper Hamada praises side grit and determination.

LONDON: Character is what secured Palestine their first ever point in the Asian Cup with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Syria on Sunday.
That is according to the side goalkeeper Rami Hamada who was key in repelling wave after wave of Syrian attacks. Hamada made some brilliant last-ditch saves as Palestine were reduced to 10 men following the 68th-minute dismissal of defender Mohammed Saleh.
And having made history by picking up the point — this is Palestine’s second appearance at the Asian Cup — the super stopper praised the side’s determination.
“It is an important point, not just the fact it’s against a strong Syria team, but also because it’s Palestine’s first ever AFC Asian Cup point,” the 24-year-old said.
“It was a difficult match for us, so I really would like to thank my teammates for all their efforts. Even when we had a player sent off, every one of us fought for two.
“This is what sets us apart from our opponents; we always show strong character on the pitch.
“The players were alert for the entire 90 minutes and so was I. We looked after one another and were determined to achieve our objective.
“We fought for the name of Palestine and for the flag on our chests and that’s our biggest strength.”
Palestine face reigning champions Australia in their second Group B match in Dubai on Friday.


Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world, claims all-rounder Mohammad Nabi

Updated 18 March 2019
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Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world, claims all-rounder Mohammad Nabi

  • Maiden Test win give Afghans confidence they can take on anyone.
  • Mohammad Nabi praises spin kings after win over the Irish.

LONDON: Mohammad Nabi has claimed that on their day Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world.
The veteran all-rounder was speaking after helping his side claim their first Test win — a seven-wicket victory over Ireland — in just their second ever Test. Afghanistan, who lost the debut Test to India in just two days last year, joined an elite list of cricketing nations after winning their second five-day game.
Australia won their debut Test in 1877 and England and Pakistan won in their second Test outing.
That has Nabi dreaming that this is just the start for Afghanistan, s long as the batsmen give the bowling attack enough runs to defend on a consistent basis.
“It’s a very historic day for whole of Afghanistan,” the 34-year-old said. “Especially for those guys who bring cricket from zero to the Test cricket. We played two games and we won one.
“When you win then teams will tell you to come and play with them. Nobody plays a weak team. They might think that Afghanistan is weak but not so much that we can’t fight them.
“We have the world’s best spinners and we try to concentrate on our batting line-up. If we can put up a good score on board then we are confident of beating any team in the world.”
While a case of being able to beat any team in the world might be tough to make, it is hard to overstate the significance of the win against Ireland. As with the Irish Nabi’s team only achieved Test status two years ago, they only played their first ODI in 2009 and the confidence and class is clearly oozing throughout the squad.
Rahmat Shah top-scored with 76 and Ihsanullah Janat hit an unbeaten 65 to lead Afghanistan’s successful chase of 147 in the opening session of day four against Ireland in Dehradun in India.
Shah, who hit his second fifty of the match after making 98 in Afghanistan’s first innings score of 314, and Janat put on a match-winning stand of 139 for the second wicket.
Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan also played a key role in his team’s historic triumph after returning career-best figures of five for 82 to bowl out Ireland for 288 in their second innings.
Khan along with fellow spinners Nabi and Waqar Salamkheil accounted for 14 of the 20 Irish wickets to fall during the one-off match between the minnows.
Since overcoming the odds to compete in the 2010 World T20 in England, the Afghan team has managed to qualify for all the major international tournaments and they now await their second appearance in the upcoming 50-over World Cup.
But Nabi insisted a Test win is always special.
“Every format is different. Test has a different flavour to it. We played a lot of T20 and one-day matches and won but Test win was first,” Nabi said.”The way our guys performed in batting and bowling, the kind of comebacks that we did.... It shows we are ready for Test cricket.”