Sri Lanka fight back to beat Afghanistan by 34 runs in Cricket World Cup

Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga celebrates bowling Afghanistan’s Dawlat Zadran at the Cardiff Wales Stadium in the Cricket World Cup. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 04 June 2019
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Sri Lanka fight back to beat Afghanistan by 34 runs in Cricket World Cup

  • Chasing a revised target of 187 from a maximum 21 overs, Afghanistan slumped

CARDIFF: Sri Lanka recovered from a dramatic batting collapse to knock over Afghanistan for 152 and seal a 34-run win for their first victory at this year's Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.
The Sri Lankans imploded from 144-1 to 201 all out in an innings delayed by nearly three hours because of rain at Sophia Gardens in the Welsh capital.
Chasing a revised target of 187 from a maximum 21 overs, Afghanistan slumped from 34-0 to 57-5 then battled back through a 64-run stand between Gulbadin Naib (23) and Najibullah Zadran (43).
Sri Lanka again responded and took the final five wickets for 31 runs, with recalled seamer Nuwan Pradeep getting 4-31.
The 1996 World Cup winners lost their opening group game to New Zealand by 10 wickets. Afghanistan have two defeats from two matches, after a loss to Australia on Saturday.
The error-strewn match in Cardiff featured 52 extras — Sri Lanka's 35 was the second-highest scorer on the scorecard — to strengthen the feeling this was a contest between the two teams likely fighting to avoid last place in the 10-team group.
The Afghans' only win at a World Cup remains the one over Scotland in 2015 but they'll feel this match slipped from their grasp, especially when Sri Lanka were reeling at 159-6 after three wickets in one over from Mohammad Nabi.
Sri Lanka, who made the fastest 10-over start to the tournament by racing to 79-0, lost their last nine wickets for 57 runs in 15.4 overs.


Refugee swimmer Mardini rising fast after fleeing war

Updated 21 July 2019
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Refugee swimmer Mardini rising fast after fleeing war

  • Mardini’s time was more than 12 seconds slower than that of reigning champion Sarah Sjostrom and 47th overall
  • Mardini famously competed at the Rio Olympics under the refugee flag

GWANGJU, South Korea: Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini, who almost drowned at sea fleeing her war-torn country four years ago, heaved a deep sigh after failing to set a personal best at the world swimming championships on Sunday.
Representing FINA’s independent athletes team, the 21-year-old looked up at the giant scoreboard and winced at her time of 1min 8.79sec in the 100 meters butterfly heats in South Korea.
“I’m not very happy actually,” Mardini told AFP.
“I had some problems with my shoulder but I’m back in training. I still have the 100m freestyle and I’m looking forward to that.”
Mardini’s time was more than 12 seconds slower than that of reigning champion Sarah Sjostrom and 47th overall, but she has come a long way since risking her life crossing from Izmir in Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos in the summer of 2015.
Thirty minutes into that treacherous journey, the motor on their dinghy cut out and the tiny vessel, carrying 20 people rather than the six or seven it was designed for, threatened to capsize.
As the only people who could swim, Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped into the water to push and pull the stricken dinghy for over three hours until they finally reached the shore.
“I arrived in Greece in only jeans and a T-shirt,” said Mardini, who also swims in the 100m freestyle later this week. “Even my shoes were gone.”
Mardini famously competed at the Rio Olympics a year later under the refugee flag.
“In the beginning I refused to be in a refugee team because I was afraid people would think I got the chance because of my story,” said Mardini, who now lives with her family in Berlin.
“I wanted to earn it. But then I realized I had a big opportunity to represent those people — so I took the chance and I never regretted it,” she added.
“Rio was amazing. It was really exciting to see the reaction of people to the team. Now I’m representing millions of displaced people around the world and it really makes me proud.”
It is a far cry from life back in Syria, where rocket strikes would often shake the pool she trained at in Damascus.
“There were bomb attacks sometimes that would crack the windows around the pool,” said Mardini, who has addressed the United Nations general assembly and whose story is set to be told in a Hollywood movie.
“We were scared the whole time.”
Fellow Syrian Ayman Kelzieh was also forced to flee the country before competing at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Returning to Korea five years later, the 26-year-old now owns a fistful of national swim records, including the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly.
“When the war started I had just moved to Damascus and I couldn’t get back home to Aleppo,” said Kelzieh, who now lives on the Thai island of Phuket.
“But even in Damascus bombs sometimes even went off at the swimming pool we trained at,” he added after taking a poolside selfie with his idol, South African star Chad le Clos.
“There were even attacks at the hotel I stayed in — I was lucky.”