Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games set for decisive last 2 nights

Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games will conclude on Saturday. (Supplied)
Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games will conclude on Saturday. (Supplied)
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Updated 15 December 2023
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Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games set for decisive last 2 nights

Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games will conclude on Saturday. (Supplied)
  • PUBG MOBILE poised for grandstand finish with Thailand leading the way, Kazakhstan and Ukraine tied 2nd
  • Dota 2 women’s event and eFootball 2024 finals take place on Saturday alongside Dota 2 Open final

RIYADH: The Riyadh 2023 Global Esports Games are set for some decisive match-ups on Friday night that will decide who advances to Saturday’s finals.

Hosted by the Saudi Esports Federation and presented by the Global Esports Federation, day three of the five-day flagship multi-title competition saw countries’ quests for glory and global supremacy edge closer to gripping conclusions.

The SEF Arena on Thursday saw action across three tournaments, including the long-awaited PUBG MOBILE competition.

After an impressive performance, Thailand leads the way heading into today’s finale on 90 points, followed closely by Kazakhstan and Ukraine — tied second with 88 — and Vietnam (71). Host Saudi Arabia (64) is also in contention.

“Anticipation surrounding the PUBG MOBILE tournament has been huge — and understandably so,” said Abdullah Al-Nasser, head of professional esports at the Saudi Esports Federation, in the immediate aftermath of day three.

“PUBG MOBILE has been downloaded over 1 billion times and is the most-watched mobile esports game on the planet — so it’s obviously thrilling to watch 16 of the world’s elite teams go head to head in a round-robin shootout. The tournament certainly lived up to the hype and we can’t wait for more on Friday. Another dramatic day awaits with the latter stages of other tournaments also scheduled.”

The Dota 2 women’s competition also entered the fray with eight nations beginning their campaigns in the high-stakes single-elimination event. Facing off in best-of-three matchups, Malaysia beat Thailand 2-0 to set up a semifinal with Argentina, who beat Turkey 2-0.

The other side of the draw also witnessed two straight-set victories as Peru and Chile set up a last-four clash after overcoming New Zealand and Kenya, respectively. The Dota 2 women’s event continues today with the final locked in for tomorrow.

Elsewhere at GEG23, the eFootball 2024 last 16 lineup was completed as the last chance qualifiers stage took place. After 12 teams booked their place in the knockout rounds on Wednesday alongside Spain, Mexico and host Saudi Arabia, one more spot was up for grabs.

Panama beat Japan, Malaysia and Luxembourg in best-of-three match-ups to top the group and progress. eFootball 2024 continues today with the last 16, quarterfinals and semifinals all taking place before tomorrow’s final. In Friday’s opening round of fixtures, Saudi Arabia faces the UAE in an exciting last-16 clash.

 


Unpredictable Pakistan aim for ‘third time lucky’ at T20 World Cup

Unpredictable Pakistan aim for ‘third time lucky’ at T20 World Cup
Updated 18 sec ago
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Unpredictable Pakistan aim for ‘third time lucky’ at T20 World Cup

Unpredictable Pakistan aim for ‘third time lucky’ at T20 World Cup
  • Pakistan’s build-up to the tournament, which takes place in West Indies and the USA, has been chaotic
  • Men in green have shown they still have the capacity to be the best outfit one day and the worst the next

KARACHI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is hoping it is third time lucky for his side at the Twenty20 World Cup after finishing losing semifinalists in 2021 and runners-up a year later.
Pakistan’s build-up to the tournament, which takes place in West Indies and the USA, has been chaotic, with Azam replacing Shaheen Shah Afridi as captain barely three months before it gets underway.
They squeaked a 2-2 T20 series draw at home against a depleted New Zealand in April before heading to Ireland where they slumped to defeat in the opener before coming back to win that series 2-1.
As now seems to be entirely normal, the men in green have shown they still have the capacity to be the best outfit one day and the worst the next, making them the most unpredictable side in the 20-team event which kicks off in the United States on June 1.
Pakistan are placed alongside India, co-hosts United States, Canada and Ireland in Group A. The top two teams will qualify for the next round of Super Eight, to be held in the West Indies with the final in Barbados on June 29.
If they lose to India in what is likely to be a monumental clash in New York on June 9 — Pakistan have won just one of seven T20 World Cup matches against them — their final group game with Ireland in Florida a week later could become a knock-out affair.
But Azam is confident his side can be lucky this time.
“Semi-final and then final, so it’s our turn to win the trophy this time,” he said before leaving for Ireland.
Since crashing out of the 50-over World Cup in November last year, Pakistan cricket has undergone a multitude of changes with coaching staff changed twice and the white-ball captaincy changed hands from Azam to Shaheen and back.
A news channel owner, Mohsin Naqvi, who is also the country’s interior minister, has taken charge of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Naqvi reconstructed the selection committee, held a training camp at an army base to improve the often vulnerable fitness and brought in former South African opener Gary Kirsten as white-ball coach — all to improve their chances in the World Cup.
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir — the only surviving member of Pakistan’s T20 World Cup title win in England in 2009 — and spinner Imad Wasim were brought out of retirement to further bolster the bowling attack, spearheaded by Shaheen and fast-rising Naseem Shah.
“My mood is good and my fitness is good and I am looking forward to winning the World Cup,” Shaheen told a PCB podcast recently, in spite of reported dissent over the captaincy saga.
“I have good partners and when they do well then you are also motivated.”
To spur the players further, Naqvi also announced a $100,000 bonus for each player if they win the World Cup.
Mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed and Shadab Khan supplement Wasim in slow bowling.
“This is the best team with every base covered, so we can win and there should be no excuse,” said Shaheen, whose fitness will be the key for Pakistan.
Pakistan’s batting approach and lack of consistency are big problems.
While the other teams have started to blast totals over 200 regularly, Pakistan have gone 43 T20Is without achieving that figure.
Pakistan rely heavily on Azam and Mohammad Rizwan who have a world record 10 century partnerships between them.
Dashing left-hander Saim Ayub is set to break up the Azam-Rizwan opening partnership which has been criticized for being too slow.
Star batter Fakhar Zaman, newcomer Usman Khan, Azam Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed form a powerful middle-order, but they have struggled for consistency.
If Pakistan are, indeed, to “return with the trophy,” the batters will need to step up and match their bowlers.


Mike Tyson ‘doing great’ after falling ill during weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles

Mike Tyson ‘doing great’ after falling ill during weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles
Updated 28 May 2024
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Mike Tyson ‘doing great’ after falling ill during weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles

Mike Tyson ‘doing great’ after falling ill during weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES: Mike Tyson was recovering Monday after falling ill a day earlier during a flight from Miami to Los Angeles, his representatives said.

The 58-year-old boxing legend “became nauseous and dizzy due to an ulcer flare up 30 minutes before landing” on Sunday, his publicist’s office said in a statement.

“Thankfully Mr. Tyson is doing great,” the statement said. “He is appreciative to the medical staff that were there to help him.”

American Airlines flight 1815 was met by first responders upon landing at LA International Airport “due to the medical needs of a customer,” an airline statement said.

Tyson is preparing to fight the 27-year-old social media star-turned-boxer Jake Paul this summer at the 80,000-seat home of the Dallas Cowboys. Netflix will carry the fight live, a first for the streaming platform.

Tyson was the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990. He retired in 2005, but most recently fought in an exhibition in November 2020 against Roy Jones in California.


Ronaldo sets Saudi Pro League season scoring record while Al-Hilal finishes unbeaten

Ronaldo sets Saudi Pro League season scoring record while Al-Hilal finishes unbeaten
Updated 28 May 2024
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Ronaldo sets Saudi Pro League season scoring record while Al-Hilal finishes unbeaten

Ronaldo sets Saudi Pro League season scoring record while Al-Hilal finishes unbeaten

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: Cristiano Ronaldo finished the Saudi Pro League by setting the season goal-scoring record on Monday.
Ronaldo scored twice in Riyadh as Al-Nassr defeated Al-Ittihad 4-2 and lifted his league tally to 35, one more than the record in 2019 by Abderrazak Hamdallah.
In the final seconds of the first half, Ronaldo, who had already had two goals ruled out for offside, chested down a long pass from Mohammed Al-Fatil and opened the scoring with a low shot from the left side of the area.
With 21 minutes remaining, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner celebrated wildly after heading home a corner from Marcelo Brozovic. He was substituted off the field five minutes later to a standing ovation from the home fans.
It ended an action-packed season for Ronaldo, who scored four hat tricks and collected one red card. He was also suspended for an obscene gesture in February at Al-Shabab fans who had been chanting the name of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s longstanding soccer rival.
Al-Nassr finished second in the league, 14 points behind local rival Al-Hilal, which won the championship more than two weeks ago and completed the 34-round league unbeaten on Monday.
Al-Hilal was too strong even without Neymar, who joined the club in August from Paris Saint-Germain but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in October.
Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped in and ended the season with a goal in the final seconds to clinch a 2-1 win over Al-Wehda. The Serbian striker, signed from London club Fulham last summer, reached 27 league goals, second only to Ronaldo.
On its way to the title, Al-Hilal went on a 34-game winning streak in all competitions, a new world record for a top tier team.
“This season has been truly exceptional for the team, arguably our best ever,” coach Jorge Jesus said. “The credit goes to the immense talent within the squad and the incredible sense of unity that transcends both on and off-field interactions.”
Al-Ittihad’s defeat at Al-Nassr ended a disappointing season for the defending champion. Karim Benzema, signed from Real Madrid, struggled with injuries and even with N’Golo Kante and Fabinho in midfield, signed from Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, the team from Jeddah could manage only fifth place.
Poor results cost Nuno Santo his job as coach in November, and the Portuguese tactician returned to the English Premier League a month later to take over Nottingham Forest.
Al-Ahli, the fourth of the ‘Big Four’ clubs taken over by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund last June, finished third, 17 points behind Al-Nassr. Al-Ahli beat Al-Fayha 1-0 thanks to a late goal — his ninth of the season — from former Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino.
Ronaldo took the headlines, however, and the 39-year-old still had one more chance to end the season with a trophy when Al-Nassr meets Al-Hilal in the King’s Cup final on Friday.


England’s Jacks thankful for Kohli influence ahead of T20 World Cup

England’s Jacks thankful for Kohli influence ahead of T20 World Cup
Updated 27 May 2024
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England’s Jacks thankful for Kohli influence ahead of T20 World Cup

England’s Jacks thankful for Kohli influence ahead of T20 World Cup
  • Jacks goes into third game of England’s warm-up series against Pakistan having helped propel the hosts to a 23-run win on Saturday
  • The Surrey all-rounder struck a quickfire 37 in what proved to be a decisive stand with captain Jos Buttler as England went 1-0 up

LONDON: Will Jacks hopes to put the on-field “coaching” he received from Virat Kohli to good use when England bid to retain their T20 World Cup title next month.
Jacks goes into the third game of England’s warm-up series against Pakistan having helped propel the hosts to a 23-run win at Edgbaston on Saturday.
The Surrey all-rounder struck a quickfire 37 in what proved to be a decisive stand with captain Jos Buttler as England went 1-0 up in the rain-hit four-match series ahead of Tuesday’s game at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens.
It was another example of Jacks’ power hitting after he recently struck an unbeaten century off just 41 balls — including 28 runs from one Rashid Khan over — as Royal Challengers Bengaluru chased down 200 to beat Gujarat Titans in a high-pressure situation, with India star batsman Kohli looking on from the other end.
“The big thing with the IPL is that every game is such an occasion, the crowd, the atmosphere,” Jacks told reporters on Monday, just over a week from England’s World Cup opener against Scotland in Barbados.
“Every game you feel like you’ve got to step up and that’s similar to international cricket.”
As for batting with Kohli, the 25-year-old added: “He’s a very good role model. The way he approaches all the training and every aspect of the game off the field, his intensity, everything he does is a 100 percent attention.
“He’s done it for such a long time and I can appreciate that as a young guy who often doesn’t want to do the hard yards, but you see him doing it and want to copy that.”
Jacks added: “When we were batting together, he was coaching me through there. I learned some valuable things about chasing in that innings and pacing the game, which was really helpful.
“I was really proud of the way I stayed in the partnership, didn’t throw it away.”
Now Jacks, whose England career currently consists of a mere two Tests, seven one-day internationals and 12 T20s, is looking forward to a major global tournament.
“Playing in a World Cup is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid. I’m really excited to do it,” he said. “It’s getting closer now and we’re building in the right direction.”
Jacks labelled his England T20 record of 218 runs at 18.16 a “mixed bag,” although his cause has not been helped by switching between opening the innings and batting at three.
“I’ve probably opened half my games and batted number three in the other half,” he said. “It’s no lie that I’m new to batting at three, I’m learning on the job.”
He added: “I’ve been getting starts every game and it’s about how do I change those into match-winning scores. That’s more of a mindset thing. It doesn’t matter what I’m averaging: if the team’s winning, then it’s good.”


England captain Buttler set to miss 3rd T20 against Pakistan

England captain Buttler set to miss 3rd T20 against Pakistan
Updated 27 May 2024
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England captain Buttler set to miss 3rd T20 against Pakistan

England captain Buttler set to miss 3rd T20 against Pakistan
  • The 33-year-old struck a match-winning 84 as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in Birmingham on Saturday
  • He is set to miss Wednesday’s third T20 in Cardiff, with vice-captain Moeen Ali in line to lead England

LONDON: Jos Buttler has left the England squad ahead of Tuesday’s Twenty20 international against Pakistan to be with his wife, who is about to give birth to the couple’s third child.
The 33-year-old England captain struck a match-winning 84 as the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the rain-affected four-game series in Birmingham on Saturday.
But he is now set to miss Wednesday’s third T20 in Cardiff, with vice-captain Moeen Ali in line to lead England at Sophia Gardens instead.
This series, which concludes at The Oval in London on Thursday, is serving as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States, with reigning champions England starting their title defense against Scotland in Barbados on June 4.
England fast bowler Jofra Archer could be rested for the Cardiff match ahead of the Oval finale.
Archer has been beset by elbow injuries since his starring role in helping England win the 50-over World Cup in 2019.
But the 29-year-old marked his long-awaited return to international cricket by taking two wickets as England beat Pakistan by 23 runs at Edgbaston following a washout at Leeds.
Archer, on his first international appearance for 14 months, and first on home soil since 2020, bounced back from an expensive first over, which went for 15 runs, to finish with 2-28.