Islamabad showing a united front as PSL gets underway in Pakistan, UAE

Islamabad United are looking to defend their title and a third straight crown in the Pakistan Super League which gets started this weekend. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2019

Islamabad showing a united front as PSL gets underway in Pakistan, UAE

LONDON: The Pakistan Super League gets underway this weekend — with games split between Pakistan and the UAE for the third year in a row — and Islamabad United are looking to defend their title and a third straight crown.
Lahore and Karachi will play host to some games, while Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in the emirates will stage the majority of games.
International audiences will be casting their eyes over new signings Ian Bell and Phil Salt after they were added to the Islamabad squad for this season.
Bell averaged 187 against spin in T20s last year and has been brought in to counter the array of spinning talent on show across the league.
Meanwhile Salt could uniquely be set for a role as an opener or a finisher after scoring 433 runs at a strike rate of 173.20 in the shortest format in 2018.
Allrounder Samit Patel will also be involved in his second PSL after taking 13 wickets in his nine previous games, and South African duo Wayne Parnell and Cameron Delport will take part in their first PSL.
Statistically the most successful team in the PSL, Islamabad United will be looking for a third title after winning the tournament in the inaugural year in 2016 and then again in 2018.
Holding a near-60 percent success rate since the tournament’s inception in 2016, United are under new leadership this year following Misbah-ul-Haq’s move to Peshawar Zalmi, with Luke Ronchi now the man looking to bring yet more success to the holders.
The Kiwi was the league’s leading run-scorer in 2018’s edition, scoring 435 at a strike rate of 182.
Islamabad United will open the fourth season of the PSL when they face the Lahore Qalandars in Dubai.

Brighton boost hopes of Premier League survival

Updated 38 min 3 sec ago

Brighton boost hopes of Premier League survival

  • Saturday’s result leaves Norwich in grave danger of relegation

LONDON: Norwich manager Daniel Farke conceded his side are heading for relegation after Leandro Trossard fired Brighton to a 1-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Trossard netted in the first half to move Brighton nine points clear of the relegation zone before the bulk of the weekend’s matches.

Brighton’s second win in four games since the restart puts them in position beat the drop, but the picture is much bleaker for Norwich.

With five matches left, Norwich are seven points from safety after losing all five games following the coronavirus hiatus.

Farke knows Norwich’s chances of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship are almost over, especially with games against Chelsea and Manchester City still to come.

“It was more or less our last chance to get back in the mix and we are disappointed,” he said.

“The story of our game was the story of our season, we didn’t find the cutting edge and we then make a big mistake.

“After a few losses, we don’t have the right to make any fighting messages or to make any unrealistic claims.

“We are not naive, let’s show our pride. It is important we learn for the future. I will pick them up.”

Farke dropped Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell, even though the pair had scored 68 percent of his team’s goals this season.

The move was criticized by some Norwich fans, but Finland forward Pukki, who had netted 11 times this term, was without a goal in 10 games dating back to January.

Norwich started brightly with their changed lineup and Onel Hernandez fired over from long-range after an incisive break.

But Brighton wrestled back control and had a penalty appeal turned down by VAR when Trossard tumbled under pressure.

Brighton made the most of their dominant spell as Trossard struck in the 25th minute.

Aaron Mooy whipped over a low cross from the right and Trossard made a perfectly timed run to the near post, where the Belgian midfielder slotted past Tim Krul for his fourth goal of the season.

Norwich had lost all 19 Premier League games this season in which they have conceded first.

The y were the only team in the top-flight yet to pick up a point from a losing position and their frustration mounted as Hernandez miscued wide.

Brighton almost put the came beyond their reach when Mooy’s free-kick hit team-mate Dan Burn and deflected narrowly wide.

Norwich’s Josip Drmic shot straight at Mat Ryan from a good position before Farke sent on Pukki and Cantwell with 23 minutes left.

There was no lack of effort from Norwich, but their luck was out in stoppage-time when Adam Idah glanced a header against the inside of the far post and Brighton cleared the danger.