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FOOTBALL - Int News 03 Apr, 2024

Ronaldo delighted with second Al Nassr hat-trick in three days
Sports Bulletin ReportRiyadh (Saudi Arabia): Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed his delight at scoring his second Roshn Saudi League hat-trick in three days, as Al Nassr manager Luis Castro hailed the “perfectionist” Portuguese forward. Ronaldo, who netted a hat-trick in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Al Tai, struck from two free-kicks in the space of 10 minutes to give Al Nassr an early two-goal lead in their 8-0 victory at Abha on Tuesday.The superstar No.7 followed that by up completing another treble with the most impudent of chips and directly assisted Sadio Mane then Abdulmajeed Al Sulaiheem to send Al Nassr in 5-0 ahead at half-time.Ronaldo, who was substituted at half-time and rested for the second half, has now netted 65 senior hat-tricks in his illustrious playing career. He is the Roshn Saudi League’s top goalscorer this season with 29 goals in 24 games. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has also struck a total of 36 goals in 35 games for Al Nassr in all competitions this season. Asked after the match how he felt about his hat-trick achievement, Ronaldo replied: “Great, thank you.” Accompanied by three football emojis to signify his hat-trick, he also added on social media: “We are not slowing down.”Al Nassr manager Castro said: “Ronaldo is a perfectionist. Ronaldo is a top player and takes professionalism to a different level. He is 39 years old, and I am sure fans and everyone else knows just how dedicated he is. When he practices free-kicks, finishing or even when recovering, he always puts the maximum effort in. No matter what he does, it is always to his full capacity. He is a role model to every player. He is always consistent whether the team is going through difficult times or good times. He shows character regardless of the circumstances. It’s amazing. However, I don’t want to forget the other players – Ronaldo is part of the team and what he does is somehow a reflection of the collective effort of the whole group.”Abha manager Pitso Mosimane said: “What can you say after a defeat like this? We don’t have excuses. We must take it as part of learning lessons for the team and myself. There were a lot mistakes – I think five goals, we made mistakes. We gave them goals many times, but we have to move on and focus on the response. The process is to stay in the league, and I don’t think we were budgeting for taking points off Al Nassr – but the score is not what we want. We have to go through lessons to learn. The only way to come out of this is to win the next match. The players must accept this, and I also must accept this.”

SQUASH - Int News 02 Apr, 2024

Pakistan to participate in WSF World Junior Squash Championships
46 nations to compete for titles, England to defend men’s, Egypt women’s titleAbdul Jabbar FaisalISLAMABAD: Besides Pakistan 45 other nations will participate in the WSF World Junior Team, and Individual Championships, which will roll into action on July 12, 2024, at Houston Squash Club, United States of America (USA).A record number of 46 teams will fight for the top honour in the 12-day international squash showpiece. Competitions will wrap up on July 23 at the same venue under the banner of World Squash Federation (WSF). During the World Junior Team Championships, national federation squads of four players aged under 19 compete against each other in individual matches, with the first team to win two matches winning the tie.This year’s championships will feature a men’s and women’s event being held simultaneously for the first time in tournament history. In the men’s event, 27 teams are set to compete, the joint-fifth most in event history while in the women’s, there will be 19 teams, the joint-second most after the 2005 championships, which saw 20 teams compete.This year, 16 federations will send both a men’s and women’s team, including hosts USA, defending men’s champions England, and defending women’s champions Egypt. This year’s championships will also see debuts for the Philippines and Macau, China, with both federations sending a men’s team for the first time.Names of participating countries (46): Australia (Both), Brazil (Both), Canada (Both), Chinese Taipei (Both), Colombia (Both), Czech Republic (Men’s), Egypt (Both), England (Both), France (Both), Germany (Both), Guyana (Men’s), Hong Kong, China (Both), India (Both), Ireland (Both), Japan (Both), Korea (Men’s), Kuwait (Men’s), Macau, China (Men’s), Malaysia (Both), New Zealand (Both), Pakistan (Both), Philippines (Men’s), Scotland (Women’s), South Africa (Both), Spain (Men’s), Sweden (Men’s), Switzerland (Men’s), USA (Both)

CRICKET - Int News 02 Apr, 2024

Ben Stokes Opts Out of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Selection
Sports Bulletin ReportLondon (UK): England men’s cricketer Ben Stokes has confirmed today that he does not wish to be considered for selection ahead of this summer’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which will take place in June in the West Indies and United States of America (USA).The England Test captain’s primary focus is to get fully fit to bowl not only for the summer of Test cricket, which includes two three-match Test series’ against West Indies and Sri Lanka respectively but for all cricket in the future.Commenting on his decision, Stokes said: “I’m working hard and focusing on building my bowling fitness back up to fulfil a full role as an all-rounder in all formats of cricket. “Opting out of the IPL and the World Cup will hopefully be a sacrifice that allows me to be the all-rounder I want to be for the foreseeable future.“The recent Test tour of India highlighted how far behind I was from a bowling point of view after my knee surgery and nine months without bowling. I’m looking forward to playing for Durham in the County Championship before the start of our Test summer.“I wish Jos (Buttler), Motty (Matthew Mott) and all the team the best of luck in defending our title.”England’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup defence starts on 4 June against Scotland at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. They will then play group matches against Australia, Oman, and Namibia in Barbados and Antigua before qualification for the Super 8s and knockout stages.

CRICKET - Women 02 Apr, 2024

Pakistan women’s camp for West Indies series starts in Karachi
Sports Bulletin ReportKARACHI: Pakistan women’s camp for West Indies series at home started on Tuesday (April 2, 2024) at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre in Karachi, as 20 players reported in for the camp.The players will undergo the camp in Karachi till 8 April and disperse to their native cities the next day to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr. On 13 April, the squad will assemble in Karachi to prepare for West Indies series which starts on 18 April. The bilateral series includes three ODIs – part of ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25 and five T20Is.Head coach Mauhtashim Rashid said: “We had a good series against New Zealand and after that series our target was to bring improvement in the fitness of players. After the series we got time to work on players individually. We have added two new coaches to the support staff, and their presence will enhance our team's performance in the upcoming series.“We had a good domestic season this year, which helped senior and young players to perform and get back to the side. The players who are making a comeback in the camp are the ones who have performed well in the T20 domestic event. We are also organising a one-day tournament this month, which will surely create a healthy competition among the national and junior players and it is heartening to see an increase in the pool of players. This increase in pool of players was the need of the hour and it will help us to make two separate teams for ODIs and T20Is.“The camp for the upcoming West Indies series is organised in such a manner where we will work on players’ skills. We will challenge the players by giving them different match scenarios, will also organise different practice games, which will help the players to test their skills and achieve the targets assigned to them.”Names of players: Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Zafar, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Gul Feroza, Muneeba Ali, Najiha Alvi (wk), Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Nida Dar, Rameen Shamim, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Tuba Hassan, Umm-e-Hani and Waheeda AkhtarPlayer support personnel: Saira Iftikhar (manager), Mauhtashim Rashid (interim head coach), Saleem Jaffar (bowling coach), Taufeeq Umar (batting coach), Hanif Malik (fielding coach), Muhammad Javed (strength and conditioning coach), Syed Nazir Ahmed (media manager), Rabia Siddiq (physiotherapist), Zubair Ahmed (analyst) and Nadia Arif (masseuse)Series schedule:14 Apr – West Indies women’s team arrival in Karachi18 Apr – First ODI at NBS (330pm local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)21 Apr – Second ODI at NBS (330pm local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)23 Apr – Third ODI at NBS (330pm local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)26 Apr – First T20I at NBS (730pm local time)28 Apr – Second T20I at NBS (730pm local time)30 Apr – Third T20I at NBS (730pm local time)2 May – Fourth T20I at NBS (730pm local time)3 May – Fifth T20I at NBS (730pm local time). 

BASKETBALL - National 02 Apr, 2024

Ramadan Cup Basketball: Pakistan Army, WAPDA win titles
Mohammad Azam DarISLAMABAD: Unbeatable Pakistan Army and WAPDA A emerged victorious in Women’s and Men’s departmental categories respectively of the All Pakistan 3x3 Ramadan Cup Basketball Tournament, which concluded here at Pakistan Sports Complex on Monday night.In Men’s departmental final, Pakistan WAPDA A were too strong against WAPDA B continued their good show in the tournament, and thrashed their opponent by 21-10 points. Wapda ace players Kaleemullah and Zain-ul-Hasan again led the winning side by scoring 9 and 7 points respectively while Amir Farooq scored 6 points.Army girls displayed exceptional skills and tenacity, battling until the end of the match by securing women’s title by 12-5 points. Aamina Mohsin of Army emerged as the player of the night, contributing a stellar performance with 8 points along with Hadiya added 3 points while Mahrukh Ali scored 3 points for Lycans A.Pakistan Basketball Federation (PBBF) President Brig (R ) Mohammad Iftikhar Mansoor was the chief guest of the concluding ceremony, who presenting the winning trophies and cash rewards to the winning teams while Deputy Director General Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Mohammad Saeed Akhtar, Pakistan Basketball Federation Associate Secretary and organizing committee secretary Ouj E Zahoor, President Federal basketball Association Ejaz Rafi Butt, PBBF Chairman selection Committee Col. (R) Shujaat Ali Rana, National Coach Malik Mohammad Riaz, and other dignitaries were also present in the concluding ceremony.Earlier In the semifinal round of the tournament, Wapda A secured victory against Army A by 18-16 points and Wapda B against Army C by 21-19 points in departmental category while Army beat Lycans C by 12-11 points and Lycans A beat Lycans B by 10-5 points in women’s category.The 3x3 All Pakistan Ramadan Cup is more than just a tournament; it's a celebration of basketball and its rapidly growing format, 3x3, which has been gaining international acclaim and popularity. The event is set to provide a significant boost to the sport's visibility and interest among the youth and sports enthusiasts across Pakistan.

CRICKET - Domestic 02 Apr, 2024

Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Mohsin Naqvi visits Kakul camp
Sports Bulletin ReportABBOTTABAD: Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board ( PCB) Mohsin Naqvi, visited Kakul in Abbottabad today to personally observe the ongoing fitness camp being conducted by trainers from the Pakistan Army for Pakistan's T20 players. The visit aimed at gathering firsthand insights into the training camp and to extend gratitude to the Pakistan Army for their invaluable support in organising the camp.The fitness camp has been instrumental in enhancing the physical capabilities of Pakistan's T20 players, ensuring they are in optimal condition for forthcoming cricketing assignments which also includes ICC T20 World Cup in June this year.Chairman also took the opportunity to interact with the players, personally commending them for their dedication and active participation in the camp. He expressed satisfaction over the players' enthusiasm and commitment towards enhancing their fitness levels.In addition to meeting with the players, Chairman PCB also held a meeting with the selection committee to talk about the team’s selection ahead of the New Zealand T20I series. The meeting was also attended by captain Babar Azam. Chairman PCB also took the members into confidence on the developments made by the Board regarding the appointment of head coach.PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi said: “I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Pakistan Army for their support to our cricketers. Their collaboration will not only enhance the fitness levels of our players but will also make them more disciplined in future. This camp will surely put the players in good stead before undertaking a challenging journey leading to a global tournament in the USA and West Indies. The PCB remains dedicated to providing comprehensive support to its players, equipping them with the necessary tools and resources to excel at the international level.”  

CRICKET - Int News 01 Apr, 2024

Another cricket star player Mayank Yadav on the horizon
Bipin DaniRising cricket star, Mayank Yadav made his debut with the Lucknow SuperGiants, and has become soon on the top trending name. In his opening spell, he clocked a speed of over 150kph, took the prize wicket of Shikar Dhawan, and paved the way for his team’s victory.In Delhi, Prabhu Yadav has a business of supplying sirens and bar lights to hospitals, police and other government departments. His 21-year-old son, Mayank, who opted to play cricket and not join his father and sister (Hasita) in the business and playing in his very first match in the IPL has brightened the red light by bowling the fastest delivery in the ongoing tournament.Playing for the Lucknow SuperGiants (LSG) against Punjab Kings, he took 3 wickets in four overs in which one of his balls clocked 155.8 kph, minutes before claiming his maiden IPL wicket. It was the 11th over when Yadav bowled the fastest delivery of the season to Shikhar Dhawan who was beaten as he tried to slash it away through point.Prabhu Yadav father of Mayank Yadav said: “Yes, we did watch the match at home. He was a last-minute inclusion in the playing eleven and therefore could not travel to Lucknow for the match. We were hoping to go to Jaipur for his team’s first match against Rajasthan Royals last Sunday but he was not in the final XI. Mayank has always been ambitious to bowl fast. He has been bowling at high speed at a young age and his team mates in U-15 and U-17 were astonished to watch him bowl at this speed.”Chetan Sharma said: “Mayank was enrolled by late Tarak Sinha in his academy and was polished later by another coach Devender Sharma. Mayank Sharma has a slim body. Apparently that does help in fasting bowling. His run-up, loading, and follow up is tremendous and therefore he generates this speed. I have seen him bowl at zonal level. Quicker you run, you can bowl at this speed. If he remains injury free can make progress well.”The proud father further says:“We did watch the match at home. It was a last-minute inclusion in the eleven and therefore we could not travel to Lucknow for the match. We were hoping to go to Jaipur for his team’s first match against Rajasthan Royals last Sunday but he was not in the final XI. Mayank has always been ambitious to bowl fast. He has been bowling at high speed at a young age and his team mates in U-15 and U-17 were astonished to watch him bowl at this speed” 

CRICKET - Women 01 Apr, 2024

ODI: English Women beat New Zealand Women by 4 wickets
Sports Bulletin ReportWellington (New Zealand): Amy Jones hit an unbeaten 92 as England Women began their ODI series with a four-wicket victory against New Zealand at the Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington.Heather Knight’s side needed 208 to win and were 79-6 before a record unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 130 between Jones and Charlie Dean sealed victory.A fine bowling effort saw the White Ferns all out for 207 courtesy of Lauren Bell and Dean (three wickets apiece), Kate Cross (two wickets), and contributions from Nat Sciver-Brunt and Sophie Ecclestone (one wicket each). Off-spinner Dean also became the fastest woman to 50 ODI wickets, a record that has stood since 1987.Suzie Bates scored a half century before being bowled by Dean and caught by wicketkeeper Jones. Amelia Kerr and Georgia Plimmer were bowled lbw by the impressive Cross. England’s batting innings saw opener Tammy Beaumont dismissed early by Jess Kerr with experienced duo Knight and Sciver-Brunt scoring 12 runs each as the tourists struggled to find rhythm. White Ferns captain Amelia Kerr bowled Alice Capsey lbw before dismissing Danni Wyatt.Then came Jones and Dean’s impressive partnership to spearhead England’s recovery and a 209-6 finish.Fixtures & Results:19 March - 1st IT20 - Dunedin – England won by 27 runs22 March - 2nd IT20 - Nelson – England won by 15 runs24 March - 3rd IT20 - Nelson – New Zealand won by three runs27 March - 4th IT20 - Wellington – England won by 47 runs29 March - 5th IT20 - Wellington – England won by five wickets31 March - 1st ODI - Wellington – England won by four wickets3 April - 2nd ODI - Hamilton - 11pm6 April - 3rd ODI - Hamilton - 11pm
Table Tennis: Stakes Set as Saudi Smash Singles Lineup Unveiled
Sports Bulletin ReportJeddah (Saudi Arabia): The countdown started here as the top seeds and dark horses alike gear up for a groundbreaking showdown at Saudi Smash 2024 and the singles lineup set to land in Jeddah has been unfolded. The second WTT Grand Smash will take place from May 4 to 11 May in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).Headlining the Men’s Singles action will be newly-crowned World No.1 Wang Chuqin. With the Men’s Singles title at Singapore Smash 2024 catapulting him to the top spot, Wang will be out to ride the momentum and add a green trophy to his collection when he steps into the Infinity ∞ Arena in Jeddah.On the hunt to take back the throne is two-time WTT Grand Smash singles champion Fan Zhendong. Having been leapfrogged by Chinese compatriot Wang at the top of the ladder, Fan will be to aiming to make up for an early exit in Singapore last month and close the gap on his rival.But the race for the top of the podium will be brimming with international superstars, hungry for their first WTT Grand Smash title. French sensation Felix Lebrun, who recently became the third youngest athlete in history to crack the Top 5, will be chasing more milestones when he touches down in Saudi Arabia. But there will be no easy path to claiming top honours, with multiple WTT Series titles winners Lin Yun-Ju, Tomokazu Harimoto and Hugo Calderano, all coming in hot and ready to add another trophy to their collections.In the Women’s Singles, the spotlight will be on World No.1 Sun Yingsha. After a quarterfinal exit at last month’s Singapore Smash, redemption will be on Sun’s mind when she gets ready to compete on the shores of the Red Sea. But challenges will come from every corner of the draw with a fully loaded lineup out to take her throne.Sun’s Chinese compatriots could prove the biggest threat to her title intent. Wang Manyu, fresh off her maiden WTT Grand Smash singles win is building plenty of momentum this season and back-to-back titles in the tier would send a clear signal to the rest of the field of her World No.1 ambitions. Meanwhile, Chen Meng will be out to replicate the form that saw her win the inaugural Singapore Smash title back in 2022. With each of the Chinese triumvirate holding one WTT Grand Smash trophy a piece, Saudi Arabia could prove the event to break the deadlock.Waiting in the wings to rock the boat will be four-time WTT title winner Hina Hayata. The leading athlete from Japan has been producing standout performances this season and is showing she has what it takes to go all the way. Also stepping out will be Top 10 global stars Shin Yubin from Korea Republic, Bernadette Szocs of Romania and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, all poised to make an impact in Jeddah.Set to be staged from 4 to 11 May 2024, Saudi Smash features 64-player singles and 24-pair doubles main draws. Offering an unprecedented prize pool of USD 2,000,000, the highest for any officially sanctioned table tennis event, both the Men's and Women's Singles champions will earn USD 65,000 and 2,000 ITTF Table Tennis World Rankings Points.

TENNIS - Int News 01 Apr, 2024

Asia/Oceania WJT U14: Pakistani teenagers claim 6th position
Japan win top position while India earn second position in a 16-nation fixtureSports Bulletin ReportKuching (Malaysia): The Pakistan team comprising Jawad Omer, Talha Abubakar, and Mohammad Hamza Ali Rizwan got the 6th position in the Asia /Oceania WJT Under-14 final qualifying event, which was held in Kuching Malaysia from March 25 to 30, 2024. Heera Ashiq was with the team as non-playing captain.As many as 16 countries of the region participated in the 6-day World Junior Tennis (WJT) fixture. Japan won the top position while Indian players remained on the second stop. Jawad Omer, and Talha Abubakar produced some notable performances in the international event.