Saudi Arabia keep ICC U19 Cricket World Cup qualification hopes alive after Bhutan thriller

Special Saudi Arabia keep ICC U19 Cricket World Cup qualification hopes alive after Bhutan thriller
Bhutan won the toss at Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok; electing to bat first. (X/@ThailandCricket)
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Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia keep ICC U19 Cricket World Cup qualification hopes alive after Bhutan thriller

Saudi Arabia keep ICC U19 Cricket World Cup qualification hopes alive after Bhutan thriller
  • Bhutan finished on 178 all out after 47 overs
  • Faisal hit the winning boundary for the Saudis

BANGKOK: Saudi Arabia beat Bhutan by one wicket in a thrilling ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Asia Group B qualifying match in Bangkok on Wednesday, keeping their tournament progression hopes alive.

Bhutan won the toss for the match, held at the Thai capital’s Terdthai Cricket Ground, and elected to bat first. They started well against the medium pace of Fahad Munir and slow left-arm spin of Ahmed Faisal.

Faisal took the opening wicket as Tshering Rigden was bowled for 18 from 18 balls, but number three batter Tenzin Rabgay went for his shots and played well with opener Ronak Pradhan, who batted more cautiously. They combined to bring up a 50-run partnership for the second wicket and Bhutan were well-placed at 83 for the loss of one wicket after 15 overs.

Rabgay’s innings ended on 44 from 38 balls after he was bowled by Arhan Arif with the score on 85, and Saudi Arabia took their third wicket as Anuj Pradhan was dismissed by Taha Vaseem.

Bhutan were 95 for 3 after 20 overs, progressing to 152 for 3 by the 36th. However, Saudi Arabia’s bowlers were containing their opponents well, having been in the field for 50 overs against Oman in their previous match.

Vaseem was the pick of the Saudi bowling attack, managing to claim four wickets for 27 runs as Bhutan lost their last seven wickets for just 26 runs. They ended up on 178 all out after 47 overs.

Saudi Arabia’s openers both looked confident in pursuit, but Shahzad Sami was bowled lbw to Sangay Dorji for 9 and captain Rayyan Khan was caught behind off Ugyen Dorji for 12, leaving the young Greens on 24 for 2 after just four overs.

Mohammad Zuber and Mohammad Rehan came together in the middle needing to rebuild for Saudi Arabia. The score reached 47 in eight overs and 56 for 2 by the end of the 10-over powerplay.

By the time the third Saudi wicket went down, Rehan had been joined by Hashir Ahmad. With the target less than 100 runs away, the match turned into an intriguing battle between the Saudi batsmen and the Bhutan spinners.

Bhutan’s captain, Tshering Rigden, alternated his bowling attack well and forced Saudi Arabia into a collapse of their own in the middle batting order. The Greens fell from 96 for 3 to 117 for 8, still needing 54 runs for victory.

Number 10 batter Faisal, who hit 22 runs off 62 deliveries, played a superb anchor role and forged a priceless 52-run ninth wicket partnership as Saudi Arabia crawled towards their target, even while losing their penultimate wicket on 169 still needing 10 to win.

With just four runs required in the final over, it was player-of-the-match Faisal who won the match for the Saudis, hitting a crucial boundary with just four balls remaining.

The win means Saudi Arabia’s hopes of progress in the tournament are still alive and in their own hands — a victory over Hong Kong on Friday will secure them a semi-final place.

Oman confirmed their place in the semi-finals in Group B on Wednesday, with a 53-run victory over Hong Kong at the Asian Institute of Technology Ground.


Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes hit by 2-0 loss to Everton. Man United survives another scare

Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes hit by 2-0 loss to Everton. Man United survives another scare
Updated 45 sec ago
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Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes hit by 2-0 loss to Everton. Man United survives another scare

Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes hit by 2-0 loss to Everton. Man United survives another scare
  • Man. United came from behind twice to beat last-place Sheffield United 4-2.
  • Crystal Palace ensured top flight safety after 2-0 win against Newcastle

LIVERPOOL, England: Jurgen Klopp’s hopes of a dream send-off were left in tatters after a 2-0 loss at Everton dealt a major blow to Liverpool’s Premier League title bid on Wednesday.
Goals from Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Goodison Park meant Klopp tasted a bitter defeat in his last Merseyside derby before standing down at the end of the season.
The loss keeps Liverpool three points behind league leader Arsenal in second place and one ahead of defending champion Manchester City, which is in third and has two games in hand on both of its rivals.
Klopp had spoken last week of needing perfection to win his second title at the club. But this was the latest setback for his team, which has lost two of its last three games in the league.
While the result hurt Liverpool’s title chances, it delivered a boost to Everton’s survival bid, with the win moving Sean Dyche’s team eight points above the relegation zone.
That fact seemed to be of less concern to the home fans, who were too busy reveling in the damage caused to Liverpool’s season.
“You lost the league at Goodison Park,” they chanted as the final whistle approached and the majority of the 39,000 crowd remained inside the stadium to drink in the atmosphere as the players celebrated on the field.
Klopp had dominated this fixture since taking over at Anfield in 2015, winning nine of the past 16 derbies before Wednesday’s match.
Statistics showed Everton won 75 percent of all duels in the opening half hour, a league record for any top flight team this season.
After just six minutes, Liverpool was grateful for VAR as it escaped an early penalty when Alisson brought down Calvert-Lewin in the box and referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot. The decision was overturned because of an offside in the build up.
That pressure was made to count when Everton took the lead in in the 27th. Liverpool’s defenders repeatedly failed to clear the danger from a free kick and Branthwaite’s shot squirmed through the hands of Alisson and off the post before crossing the line.
Again there was an agonizing wait for a VAR check, but on this occasion there was no reprieve for Liverpool.
Luis Diaz had the chance to level before the break, but was denied by the legs of Jordan Pickford from close range.
Liverpool came out with more intent for the second half without forcing Pickford into serious action before conceding a second goal.
Again the visitors failed to deal with a set piece when Dwight McNeil swung a deep corner to the far post and Calvert-Lewin rose unmarked to head home.
Liverpool came close to pulling one back in the 69th, but Diaz’s effort came back off the post.

United scare
Manchester United survived another scare — twice coming from behind to beat last-place Sheffield United 4-2.
Having been taken to the wire by second-tier Coventry in the FA Cup semifinals on Sunday, Erik ten Hag’s team looked in danger of dropping points in its bid qualify for Europe.
Sheffield United led 1-0 and then 2-1 through goals from Jayden Bogle and Ben Brereton in each half at Old Trafford. But Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes from the penalty spot leveled on each occasion.
Fernandes put United ahead in the 81st and and Rasmus Hojlund sealed the points four minutes later.
United is up to sixth in the standings, 13 points behind fourth-place Aston Villa.

Palace safe
Crystal Palace ensured top flight safety after Jean-Philippe Mateta struck twice in a 2-0 win against Newcastle.
Palace is on 39 points — 14 clear of 18th-place Luton, which can only pick up a maximum of 37 if it wins its last four games of the season.
It was Palace’s third-straight win to erase fears of being relegated. Defeat saw Newcastle drop to seventh.
Bournemouth beat Wolves 1-0 at Molineux through Antoine Semenyo’s first-half strike.


Riyadh Season to host Crawford-Madrimov world title clash in Los Angeles

Riyadh Season to host Crawford-Madrimov world title clash in Los Angeles
Updated 8 min 56 sec ago
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Riyadh Season to host Crawford-Madrimov world title clash in Los Angeles

Riyadh Season to host Crawford-Madrimov world title clash in Los Angeles

RIYADH: Riyadh Season will hold the first boxing event outside Saudi Arabia as Terence Crawford challenges Israil Madrimov for the WBA and WBO interim World Super-Welterweight title.

The event will take place at Los Angeles’ BMO Stadium on Aug. 3, 2024, the Kingdom’s entertainment authority said on Wednesday.

Turki Alalshikh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Entertainment Authority, announced that Visit Saudi, MDL Beast and Red Sea Global will be the sponsors of the event.

Promotion will be handled by Riyadh Season Card, Sela, League 1 and Matchroom Boxing in association with World Of Boxing, TGB Promotions, Golden Boy, Goldstar, Queensberry, Salita Promotions and Warriors Boxing Promotions.

“We are delighted for Riyadh Season to host its first overseas event in Los Angeles and this fight in the United States is a special one to mark this moment,” Alalshikh said.

“We want to give people around the world the opportunity to enjoy their own Riyadh Season experience and this is exactly what we hope to achieve by staging this and also future events around the world.”

Crawford (40-0 31 KOs) is gunning to become a Four-Weight World champion as he moves up to 154lbs after conquering the Welterweight division with a stunning KO win over Errol Spence to be crowned the undisputed champion at 147lbs in Las Vegas in July.

The Omaha star has already ruled the roost at Super-Lightweight and Lightweight, and now the pound-for-pound great is arrowing in on cementing greatness by claiming honors at a fourth weight.

Madrimov (10-0-1 7 KOs) is the man that stands in Crawford’s way, and the Uzbek champion makes his first defense of his title against the toughest opposition possible after winning the belt in spectacular fashion in his last outing in Saudi Arabia.

The 29 year old took on Magomed Kurbanov for the vacant title in Riyadh in March, and stopped the Russian in five rounds with a dominant performance to continue his impressive unbeaten run in the paid ranks, following a glittering amateur career.

British boxing promotor Eddie Hearn said: “This is a fantastic fight between a pound-for-pound great and one of the best World champions in the sport.”

“Terence is a pound-for-pound great and continues to strive to be the very best, but in Israil, he meets a hungry champion that has no intention of relinquishing his title in his first defense - this promises to be one of the fights of the year.”

“I cannot wait to get back in the ring in my fourth weight class and remind the world why I’m the best pound for pound fighter in the world,” said Terence Crawford. “Israil Madrimov is a tremendous and entertaining fighter, but on August 3, he will be my next victim. This is the Terence Crawford era.”

“Terence Crawford is one of my favorite boxers and one of the best boxers in the world,” said Israil Madrimov. “I am very excited to get this opportunity to make a statement, and I will Inshallah.”

The main event is complemented by an undercard that is set to captivate fight fans.

Recently crowned WBA Super-Lightweight champion Isaac Cruz defends his title for the first time against United States southpaw Jose Valenzuela.

Two of the United States’ most fearsome boxing Heavyweights will do battle with former unified Heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz returning to the ring for the first time since a unanimous decision win against Luis Ortiz in September 2022, to face Jarrell Miller, who will be going all out to produce a winning outcome after losing his undefeated record in Riyadh in December last year.

Former Super-Welterweight world champion Tim Tszyu awaits Vergil Ortiz Jr, subject to the outcome of his fight against Thomas Dulorme this weekend, while David Morrell of Cuba will seek to preserve his unbeaten record in a Light Heavyweight contest against US fighter Radivoje Kalajdzic.

Andy Cruz, the Olympic Lightweight gold medalist, continues his Lightweight campaign when he takes on Mexico’s Antonio Moran.


Saudi Arabia’s Joud Bukhari wins bronze at Asian 9Ball Ladies & Girls Tournament

Saudi Arabia’s Joud Bukhari wins bronze at Asian 9Ball Ladies & Girls Tournament
Updated 32 min 9 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s Joud Bukhari wins bronze at Asian 9Ball Ladies & Girls Tournament

Saudi Arabia’s Joud Bukhari wins bronze at Asian 9Ball Ladies & Girls Tournament

RIYADH: Saudi billiards national team player Joud Bukhari won the bronze medal at the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports 9Ball Ladies and Girls Tournament 2024 currently held in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

As Saudi Arabia marks its first official participation in the tournament, Bukhari became the first Arab, gulf, and Saudi woman to win a medal during the championship.

Separately, eight Saudi male and female officials completed a course held on the sidelines of the Asian tournament, enabling them to officiate international billiards and snooker matches.


Xavi to remain Barcelona coach: club to AFP

Xavi to remain Barcelona coach: club to AFP
Updated 24 April 2024
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Xavi to remain Barcelona coach: club to AFP

Xavi to remain Barcelona coach: club to AFP
  • The 44-year-old decided on his dramatic change of mind after a day of meetings

BARCELONA: Xavi will remain as coach of Barcelona, the Spanish giants told AFP on Wednesday, despite having announced in January that he planned to quit at the end of the season.
Spanish media reported that the 44-year-old, who had signed a contract extension until 2025 last autumn, decided on his dramatic change of mind after a day of meetings with club president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco.


Kewell’s Yokohama beat Ulsan to reach Asian Champions League final

Kewell’s Yokohama beat Ulsan to reach Asian Champions League final
Updated 24 April 2024
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Kewell’s Yokohama beat Ulsan to reach Asian Champions League final

Kewell’s Yokohama beat Ulsan to reach Asian Champions League final
  • Yokohama will host Al Ain in the first leg of the final on May 11, with the return being held in the UAE on May 25

YOKOHAMA: Harry Kewell said his Yokohama F-Marinos players can “handle any pressure” after beating Ulsan Hyundai 5-4 on penalties on Wednesday to set up an Asian Champions League final against Al Ain.

Former Liverpool and Leeds forward Kewell’s side came through a pulsating semifinal that ended 3-3 on aggregate to reach the Champions League final for the first time.

Trailing 1-0 from last week’s first leg in South Korea, Yokohama scored three goals in the opening 30 minutes in Japan but then conceded twice and had a man sent off before halftime.

Goalkeeper William Popp saved from Ulsan’s Kim Min-woo in the shootout to hand Yokohama the advantage in constant driving rain, before Carlos Eduardo converted the decisive spot kick.

Kewell, who took over as Yokohama coach at the start of the year, said he told his players that “the hardest games you will play are semifinals.”

“I said: ‘Nothing easy in this game’,” said the Australian.

“You are going to get pushed to the limit where I believe you can handle it.

“I think it showed them tonight, they believe now they can handle any kind of pressure.”

Yokohama will host Al Ain in the first leg of the final on May 11, with the return being held in the UAE on May 25.

Al Ain beat Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal 5-4 on aggregate on Tuesday to reach the final.

Yokohama looked certain to join them after a barnstorming start to the second leg but two goals for Ulsan and a 39th-minute red card for defender Takumi Kamijima cranked up the tension.

Ulsan laid siege to the Yokohama goal but Kewell said his players grew in stature as the game went on.

“The players were composed, they were confident,” he said.

“They were getting stronger and stronger as they got closer to the final whistle.”

Ulsan, who had already booked their place in next year’s 32-team Club World Cup in the US by winning the semifinal first leg, were looking for their third Champions League title.

“My players kept going until the end,” said coach Hong Myung-bo.

“It’s unfortunate because we had a lot of chances to score in both the first and second legs.”

Yokohama took the lead in the 13th minute when a defensive mix-up between Kim Young-gwon and Hwang Seok-ho allowed Asahi Uenaka to streak through and score.

Anderson Lopes added a second in the 21st minute, firing home a left-foot shot from just inside the box.

The home side kept up the pressure and Uenaka notched his second of the game on the half-hour mark when he slipped his marker and curled a shot past goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo.

But just as it looked like turning into a rout, Ulsan hit back when Matheus Sales headed home direct from a corner in the 35th minute.

Moments later, Ulsan had a penalty and Yokohama were reduced to 10 men when Kamijima was red-carded for a handball as he slid in to make a tackle.

Substitute Darijan Bojanic, who had come on in the 34th minute, made no mistake from the spot.

Kewell admitted Yokohama “rode our luck at times” as they held off Ulsan but said his players “deserved everything they got.”

“We’re going to enjoy the final,” he said.

“You don’t get a chance to play many finals in your career so when you do, enjoy it and play the way that you’re born to play.”