Afghanistan hail Lara inspiration in T20 World Cup heroics

Afghanistan hail Lara inspiration in T20 World Cup heroics
Afghanistan’s captain Rashid Khan hits a six during the T20 World Cup game against Bangladesh at Arnos Vale Ground, Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo)
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Updated 25 June 2024
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Afghanistan hail Lara inspiration in T20 World Cup heroics

Afghanistan hail Lara inspiration in T20 World Cup heroics
  • Afghanistan reached the last four for the first time courtesy of a knife-edge, eight-run victory over Bangladesh
  • Rashid Khan: ‘I think we have proved one person right was Brian Lara, the only person who mentioned Afghanistan will be in the semis’

ARNOS VALE, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan hailed the inspiration of cricket legend Brian Lara for helping them secure a place in the T20 World Cup semis for the first time.
Afghanistan reached the last four for the first time courtesy of a knife-edge, eight-run victory over Bangladesh on Monday, a win that also saw mighty Australia eliminated.
“I think we have proved one person right was Brian Lara, the only person who mentioned Afghanistan will be in the semis,” said Rashid.
“I think we told him that when we met him in the welcome party. When you get that kind of great, great statement from a legend, as a team, I think it gives you lots of energy.”
Afghanistan will face undefeated South Africa in the first semifinal in Trinidad on Wednesday.
India will tackle defending champions England in the second semifinal in Guyana on Thursday.
Defending a modest total of 115-5 against Bangladesh in their final second round Super Eights match on a bowler-friendly surface, Rashid finished with figures of 4-23.
Naveen-ul-Haq took 4-26 as Bangladesh were dismissed for just 105, chasing a revised target of 114 off 19 overs.
On a night of fluctuating emotions there were also three rain delays which saw various mathematical equations come into play.
Had Bangladesh scored their runs in 12.1 overs, they would have won the match and claimed the remaining semifinal spot.
There was tension after Bangladesh fell behind the asking rate at the end of the 11th over when Afghanistan all-rounder Gulbadin Naib went down with cramps just as the threat of more rain appeared.
Rashid insisted the incident was not a device to keep his side ahead of the run rate should the match be halted permanently.
“He had some cramp, I don’t know what happened to him and I don’t know what’s going on in social media but that doesn’t matter,” said the captain.
“It’s just a field injury which comes and then we haven’t lost any overs, the rain came and we just went off, it’s not something like brought a massive difference in the game.
“We came back on field after five minutes and there was no massive difference. For me, it’s just like a small injury, you have to take some time.”
South Africa made the semifinals with seven wins in seven matches but they have been pushed to the limit.
Against Nepal in the opening round, they won by just one run.
However, South Africa have defeated Afghanistan in their only two other T20 meetings — by 59 runs at Barbados in the 2010 World Cup and 37 runs in Mumbai six years later.
“It’s a big achievement for us as a team and a nation being in the semifinals and with the cricket we have played in the whole tournament I think we deserve it,” added Rashid who played in that 2016 defeat, where he went wicketless for 51 runs.


Sharjah Self-Defense dominates second round of Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Sharjah Self-Defense dominates second round of Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship
Updated 29 sec ago
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Sharjah Self-Defense dominates second round of Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Sharjah Self-Defense dominates second round of Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship
  • Tournament featured No-Gi competitions at Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on Sunday

DUBAI: Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club claimed the top spot in the second round of the Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which featured No-Gi competitions at Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on Sunday.

Organized by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the championship saw athletes from the UAE’s premier clubs and academies take to the mats in various categories, including Youth, Adults, and Masters.

At the end of Sunday’s competitions, Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club emerged victorious, while M.O.D UAE took second place, and Al-Ain Jiu-Jitsu Club secured third.

The championship follows a comprehensive ranking system that recognizes clubs and athletes based on performance and results across the five-round series. In the first round of Gi competitions held last month at Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi, Al-Ain Club topped the medal table, with Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club in second place and Baniyas Club in third.

Sheikh Suhail bin Butti Suhail Al-Maktoum, executive director of the sports development sector at the General Authority of Sports, expressed his pride in the organization and level of competition at the championship. He also extended his gratitude and appreciation to the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, or UAEJJF, for their efforts in making the championship a success and recognized its efforts in solidifying the UAE’s global leadership in jiu-jitsu.

“The championship reflects the significant progress of jiu-jitsu in the UAE, as these championships contribute to elevating the sport’s status at both local and international levels,” he said. “This pioneering event exemplifies our commitment at the General Authority of Sports to support and host initiatives that raise awareness and encourage younger generations to engage in sports, develop their skills, and compete at the highest levels.”

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salem Al-Dhaheri, vice chairman of the UAEJJF, praised the success of the second round of the championship, highlighting that this achievement was a direct result of support from the UAE’s leadership. Al-Dhaheri said that the leadership’s support has been the cornerstone of the significant strides the country had made in the realm of sports, particularly jiu-jitsu, enabling the athletes to excel on various platforms.

“The athletes performed exceptionally in today’s No-Gi competitions across various categories, improving the overall quality of the championship,” he said. “This highlights the importance of the championship for clubs and academies, as a large number of athletes participated, aiming to increase their chances of winning the title at the end of the season. The championship’s ranking system encourages clubs to invest in talent, participating with the maximum number of athletes throughout all rounds of the championship. Additionally, including the under-12 category in No-Gi competitions for the first time adds value to the event, showing our commitment to nurturing young athletes and giving them important competitive experiences.”

Fawzia Mohammed Faridoon, acting director of the sports events department at the Dubai Sports Council, said that she was delighted “to be part of the Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Jiu-Jitsu Championship, setting new creative standards of excellence and innovation in local Jiu-Jitsu championships.”

Naser Albreiki, who clinched the gold medal in the Masters/94 kg category for M.O.D UAE, said: “I’m proud of this achievement today after tough matches with other champions. The competitions required special skills, strength and technique, with less emphasis on ground fighting. I’m thankful to my coaches and teammates, whose support was essential for my success. It’s an honor to be part of a championship that helps keep the UAE at the forefront of global jiu-jitsu.”


E.ON Next Veloce Racing claim back-to-back Extreme E wins in Scotland

E.ON Next Veloce Racing claim back-to-back Extreme E wins in Scotland
Updated 15 July 2024
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E.ON Next Veloce Racing claim back-to-back Extreme E wins in Scotland

E.ON Next Veloce Racing claim back-to-back Extreme E wins in Scotland
  • Team drivers Molly Taylor and Kevin Hansen lead the championship standings with 87 points, 9 clear of nearest rivals ASXE

SCOTLAND: E.ON Next Veloce Racing made it a double success in round four of the Extreme E season four by winning the Hydro X Prix on Sunday in Scotland.

Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor led home the ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, with Andretti Altawkilat completing the top three in Dumfries and Galloway.

Rosberg X Racing were fourth after their progress was hindered by a puncture, while the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team took the Redemption Race honors ahead of Legacy Motor Club in Association with Jimmie Johnson.

E.ON Next Veloce Racing lead the Extreme E championship standings with 87 points, nine clear of nearest rivals ASXE.

“Today was a real scrap,” said Taylor. “I think in Extreme E, particularly now with how close the competition is, the fight to get to the Grand Final is insane and it can go any which way.

“Once you get to that final the slate is wiped clean, and with the support of our fans in GridPlay we were able to put ourselves in a good position on the start line.

“It’s one thing to be fast on track, which we know we have been all weekend, but we had to execute it under pressure so it feels great to have managed that.

“It’s great to be heading to Sardinia at the top of the championship but we can’t rest on our laurels now. We have learnt a lot this weekend and we need to keep pushing for the remainder of the season.”

Colleague Hansen added: “Another win on home soil, what more could you wish for. It’s so tricky with double-headers because you can’t let yourself go at any point.

“Getting excited takes away from your focus and we had to be able to perform today too. For sure it was not a straight road to get here, but that just makes this win all the more satisfying when we were able to execute such a great race in the final.”

Grand final

Opening the round four final, E.ON Next Veloce’s Hansen stormed into an early lead ahead of ASXE’s Laia Sanz. RXR and Andretti Altawkilat followed behind, with Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Catie Munnings closing contesting third spot.

Hansen built a lead of 10 seconds by the time the teams approached the Switch Zone, whilst RXR suffered a puncture allowing Munnings in the Andretti Altawkilat ODYSSEY 21 to pass during the second lap. The Brit did, however, pick up a time penalty for dropped flags.

After the driver change, E.ON Next Veloce’s Taylor set off with an advantage of 8.8 seconds as ASXE’s Fraser McConnell looked to close the gap as they headed out for lap three.

Racing until the finish line, ASXE’s McConnell was all over the rear bumper of Taylor’s E.ON Next Veloce car in the closing moments, but was unable to make the crucial move for the win.

Redemption race

The race saw Jenson Button’s JBXE fly off the start line with Andreas Bakkerud storming into an early lead, chased by Legacy Motor Club’s debut British driver Patrick O’Donovan.

The second lap saw a battle up the hill between the JBXE driver and Legacy M.C.’s O’Donovan who got ahead on the first lap to take first place with a decisive overtake, with NEOM McLaren XE’s Christina Gutierrez running ahead of SUN Minimeal’s Timo Scheider.

A strong battle developed between Scheider and Guttierez, with the German unfortunately picking up a 10-second penalty as he took down a Waypoint flag.

As they headed into the switch zone, all four teams were separated by just a few seconds. Legacy M.C.’s Gray Leadbetter was first out of the Switch Zone, closely followed by NEOM McLaren XE’s Ekstrom.

The Swede, who celebrated his birthday in Scotland this weekend, quickly took the lead, using his ENOWA Hyperdrive to pass. Issues for JBXE and SUN Minimeal dropped them out of contention.

Round 4 | Hydro X Prix Grand Final Result

1. E.ON NEXT Veloce Racing 9:04.021

2. ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team +0.653

3. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E (including 20-second time penalty) +52.034

4. Rosberg X Racing +1:30.620

Redemption Race

1. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team 9:06.275

2. Legacy Motor Club +8.782

3. SUN Minimeal Team (including 10-second time penalty) +29.924

4. JBXE (including 20-second time penalty) +39.644

Championship points standings

1. E.ON Veloce Racing: 87

2. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 78

3. Rosberg X Racing: 67

4. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E: 62

5. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team: 46

6. Legacy Motor Club in Association with Jimmie Johnson: 46

7. SUN Minimeal Team: 24

8. JBXE: 21


Selangor Red Giants dedicate triumph to fans worldwide who traveled to Saudi Arabia

Selangor Red Giants dedicate triumph to fans worldwide who traveled to Saudi Arabia
Updated 15 July 2024
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Selangor Red Giants dedicate triumph to fans worldwide who traveled to Saudi Arabia

Selangor Red Giants dedicate triumph to fans worldwide who traveled to Saudi Arabia
  • Malaysia outfit beat Saudi Arabia/Philippines side Team Falcons AP Bren 4-3 in the ‘Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’ final at the Esports World Cup on Sunday to earn $1m top prize

RIYADH: Selangor Red Giants dedicated their “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang” trophy win at the Esports World Cup on Sunday to the fans who came to Saudi Arabia from across the globe to support them.

The Malaysia side beat Saudi Arabia/Philippines outfit Team Falcons AP Bren 4-3 in a best-of-seven final to win $1 million.

The epic encounter took place in front of a capacity crowd at the SEF Arena at Boulevard Riyadh City, with the crackling atmosphere resembling a vital World Cup football match.

Simon Lim, the chairman of Selangor Red Giants, said: “We would like to thank all the traveling fans. They came from Jordan, from Egypt, from Dubai, from Abu Dhabi, and also from Malaysia as well.

“They came all the way here to support the boys and that isn’t easy. They spent good money to be here, and we are truly, truly grateful. They are our special fans, and this trophy is dedicated to all the fans here.”

Sekys, the Selangor Red Giants’ Jungler, said the final — in which he was declared the most-valuable player — was the “most intense match” of his career.

Arcadia, the head coach of Selangor Red Giants, added: “Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s real — it still feels like a dream. We are so happy. It means everything to us.

“We really worked hard for this win. We are grateful to all the support we had in order to win. It’s so hard for me to put into words how we are feeling right now and how happy we are.”

Team Falcons AP Bren may have ended in second place, but they produced a sterling performance.

Super Marco, the Gold Laner for Team Falcons AP Bren, said: “It was the best experience of my life. I got to meet my idols since I was a kid, and it was the best experience meeting them.

“The organization here is super good. We hope that this continues for a long time. Thank you to everyone, it has been superbly executed.”

Running from July 3 to Aug. 25, with 22 tournaments across 21 titles, the world cup is the pinnacle of professional esports.

The upcoming week three of the Esports World Cup features action from the “Dota2 Riyadh Masters,” “Counter-Strike 2,” and “PUBG Mobile.”


Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff

Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff
Updated 15 July 2024
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Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff

Spanish favorites Sergio Garcia, Fireballs win historic double playoff
  • For Garcia, the script couldn’t have been written any better, as he won for the first time after three previous playoff losses
  • It was LIV Golf’s first double playoff, and just the second team playoff in league history

SOTOGRANDE, Spain: On an unprecedented day in LIV Golf’s young history, captain Sergio Garcia and his Fireballs GC produced a storybook finish for their Spanish fans on home soil at LIV Golf Andalucia.Garcia rallied from seven strokes down to win his first LIV Golf individual title on the second sudden-death playoff hole against Crushers GC’s Anirban Lahiri.

Meanwhile, teammates Abraham Ancer and David Puig beat the Crushers duo of captain Bryson DeChambeau and Paul Casey in the team aggregate-score playoff as the Fireballs — with three Spaniards on the roster — swept both trophies at Real Club Valderrama.

It was LIV Golf’s first double playoff, and just the second team playoff in league history. The first team playoff came earlier this year at LIV Golf Adelaide, when the home Australian team — Ripper GC — also won.

For Garcia, the script couldn’t have been written any better, as he won for the first time after three previous playoff losses. That it happened on his favorite course, one in which he’s won three other professional events and has now finished inside the top 10 in 16 of his 17 starts, made it even more special.

“To be totally honest, there’s a connection between Valderrama and myself that I can’t even explain it,” said the 44-year-old Garcia, who ended a four-year winless drought while winning his 37th professional title.

Garcia started the day at even par, seven shots behind overnight leader Lahiri.

But the Spanish star played flawless golf for 17 holes, posting six birdies and applying pressure on Lahiri, who was trying to break his own winless drought of nine years.

While Garcia suffered his only bogey of the day with a three-putt at the par-3 third to wrap up his 5-under 66, Lahiri birdied the par-5 17th. That put the tournament in Lahiri’s hands going to the par-4 18th, the most difficult hole on the course this week.

Lahiri found the middle of the green with his approach shot and rolled his birdie attempt to 3 feet to set up the potential winning par. But with a chance to win the individual title and secure the team title for the Crushers, he missed the putt for a final-round 73 to drop back to 5 under and set up the double playoff.

Garcia was riding in a van back to the clubhouse at the time. “We obviously heard the crowds going crazy, so we figured that he might have missed his par putt,” Garcia said. “… It was nice to be able to have another shot at it.”Garcia and Lahiri each parred their first playoff hole. Meanwhile, in the team playoff right behind them, DeChambeau found trouble off the 18th tee and had to lay up with his second shot. Casey’s approach finished in the rough behind the green. DeChambeau bogeyed the hole while Ancer and Puig made easy pars to claim the Fireballs’ first team victory of the season.

Like his captain, Lahiri’s errant tee shot on the second playoff hole left him in trouble, and Garcia won with a par, with his teammates and family racing onto the green to drench him in celebratory champagne.

“Obviously individual for me, it’s a dream come true to do it on my favorite course in front of my family and friends and in front of my teammates,” Garcia said. “But to even make it even better by winning the team championship, too, it was amazing. So proud of these guys, the way they played.”

On the flip side, it was heartbreak for the Crushers, who have won twice this season and lead the season-long points standings as they look to repeat as team champions.

“It sucks. Losing is never fun,” said DeChambeau. “That’s what makes winning so much better. I feel for Baan.”

Perhaps it was simply fate for the Fireballs and their captain to win on home turf in front of a partisan crowd.“A dream weekend for all of us,” said young Fireballs star Eugenio Chacarra. “Super happy for Sergio. He’s been up there a lot, and he’s been playing at a high level for 20 plus years. It’s really nice to see it from close every single day, and so happy for him that he got it done on his favorite course.”


Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America

Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America
Updated 15 July 2024
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Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America

Argentina defeat Colombia 1-0 to win record 16th Copa America
  • The win was the third straight major tournament title for Argentine following their 2021 Copa victory
  • Messi appeared to suffer a noncontact injury while running full speed on the pitch

MIAMI: Lautaro Martinez scored an extra-time winner as Argentina beat Colombia 1-0 to win a record 16th Copa America title at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.

A poor game which had been marred by security and crowd issues, forcing a 82-minute delay, was decided by a quality finish from Martinez — his fifth goal of the tournament.

The win was the third straight major tournament title for Argentine following their 2021 Copa victory and their triumph in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

There were tears before the celebrations though with Argentina captain Lionel Messi going off injured in the 66th minute watching the rest of the game distraught on the bench, while there was an emotional farewell for Angel Di Maria in his final game for the national team.

For Colombia, whose only title came in the 2001 Copa America, it was a disappointing night when little seemed to work for Nestor Lorenzo’s team.

There was chaos around entry to the stadium for fans, with organizers blaming supporters for trying to enter without tickets while fans blamed the lack of an efficient entry system to the venue.

The scenes were alarming with some fans needing medical attention for heat exhaustion but after the decision to suddenly throw open the gates, with no checks on those entering, the situation was largely resolved and the game finally went ahead.

Colombia’s Jhon Corboba hit the bottom of the post with a speculative shot in the seventh minute but neither side were able to find their flow in the early stages.

Di Maria found Messi in the 20th minute with a low ball into the box and Messi’s left-foot shot was saved by Colombia keeper Camilo Vargas.

Colombia had looked the more lively in the opening period and they went close in the 33rd minute when Jefferson Lerma tried his luck from 25 yards out and his low drive forced Emiliano Martinez into a diving save.

There was concern for Messi in the 36th minute when he dribbled to the byline but was halted by a sliding challenge from Santiago Arias which was ruled fair left the Argentine captain needing treatment.

Messi, who now plays his club football in Miami, then curled a free-kick in from the left flank but Nicolas Tagliafico’s header was just off target.

It had been a disappointing first half and it didn’t improve much after the break, when the fans had at least received some entertainment from Colombian singer Shakira.

Argentina failed to deal with a James Rodriguez corner and the ball looped to Davinson Sanchez but he was unable to keep down his header which floated over the bar.

There was finally some of the expected quality when Di Maria produced one of his trademark runs in from the left and forced Vargas into action, the Colombia keeper turning the ball wide of the post.

Then came a major blow for Argentine hopes when Messi went down, without contact, as he ran in midfield, and clearly in pain he went off to be replaced by Nicolas Gonzalez in the 66th minute.

It was too much for Messi, in what may have been his last major tournament, as he sat in tears on the bench, unable to hold back his emotions.

The Argentine fans thought they had grabbed a winner in the 75th minute when Tagliafico found Gonzalez in the box, who beat Vargas with a low drive but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Little changed in extra-time with a half-chance from Miguel Borja after a flick from Jorge Carrascal but the game was settled by a worthy winner.

Leandro Paredes won the ball in midfield for Argentina with a perfectly timed tackle, found Giovani Lo Celso whose first time pass was perfect for the on-running Martinez who confidently fired home the winner.