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GOLF - Int News 16 Mar, 2024

Lexus Invitational Golf: Pakistani Ahmed Baig claim historical title
Sports Bulletin ReportISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s golfer Ahmad Baig cuddled to his first international title on the Asian Development Tour, carding a 65 and finishing -7 overall to claim victory in the Lexus Invitational at The Bluffs Grand Ho Tram, Vietnam.He started the day three flights and three shots behind the leaders, reeled off a sizzling string of five birdies to stamp his authority on the round, making the turn in 30. Two more birdies followed and despite a bogey on the last hole, he had done enough to wait in the clubhouse and watch his challengers fade away.This was Ahmed's third consecutive win in a row starting with the Rumanza Open in Multan and the JA Zaman Memorial in Lahore. Despite the wind, which has been a constant factor on all three days of this USD 85,000 ADT tournament, Baig was able to overcome the weather which caused the overnight leaders to struggle.

CRICKET - PSL 16 Mar, 2024

PSL 9: Abrar and Saud fined for code of conduct breaches
Sports Bulletin ReportKARACHI: Quetta Gladiators’ Abrar Ahmed and Saud Shakeel have both been fined five per cent of their match fees for Level 1 breaches of HBL PSL’s code of conduct during their side’s HBL PSL 9 fixture against Islamabad United at the National Bank Stadium in Karachi on Friday night. Abrar was found to have violated Article 2.4 of the HBL PSL Code of Conduct, which reads as: “Disobeying an umpire’s instruction during the match”. The incident occurred in the 19th over of Islamabad United’s batting, when, while fielding, Abrar rolled the ball all along the ground despite being instructed by the umpires not to do so.In a separate incident, in the same match, Saud was found to have violated Article 2.5 of the HBL PSL Code of Conduct, which reads as: “Using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his/her dismissal during a match”.After dismissing United’s batter Salman Ali Agha in the 12th over, Saud went close to Salman and made remarks which could have provoked the batter. Both players pleaded guilty to the charges and accepted the sanctions proposed by match referee Mohammad Javed. The charges were imposed by on-field umpires Ahsan Raza and Chris Gaffaney.

FOOTBALL - Int News 16 Mar, 2024

Pakistan ready to fight against Jordan in FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Sports Bulletin ReportLAHORE: The Head Coach of the Pakistan men's national football team, Stephen Constantine said that Pakistani players would fight against Jordan in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier, which would take place on March 21 at Jinnah Stadium, Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad.Talking to Media here at Model Town Ground C Block on Saturday, Coach Stephen Constantine outlined the team's mindset and strategic focus ahead of their encounter with Jordan, one of Asia's top football teams, on March 21 at Jinnah Stadium Islamabad. “It’s difficult obviously for Pakistan to play World Cup Qualifiers and face adamant opponents, who are football giants in Asia. We have very little time to prepare for such a big game. And unfortunately, we are going to play one of the best teams (Jordan) in Asia on 21st March." Replying to a query regarding whether the Pakistan team is going to play this FIFA World Cup 2026, Stephen replied: “No, we are not going to play this World Cup and maybe not the next World Cup as well. I am trying to prepare the team for the Asian Cup Qualifiers and the SAFF Championship.” As the national team intensifies its preparations, Stephen revealed that diaspora players are expected to join the training camp soon, adding strength to the squad. Responding to another query, the coach stated: "A proper and professional football league is the most important thing here in Pakistan. You cannot produce a player without a league.” Coach Stephen also highlighted the tough competition within their qualifying group, which includes heavyweights like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tajikistan. He sees this as an opportunity for the Pakistani squad to gain valuable experience and exposure that will benefit them in the long run.  

CRICKET - PSL 16 Mar, 2024

PSL 9: Imad inspires United to outplay Gladiators by 39 runs
Sports Bulletin ReportKARACHI: Islamabad United will join Peshawar Zalmi in the second eliminator after they beat Quetta Gladiators by 39 runs at National Bank Stadium, Karachi on Friday night. Islamabad scored 174-9 in the first innings, which they comfortably defended as Quetta was dismissed for just 135.After opting to bat first, Martin Guptill and Alex Hales put up a 51-run opening partnership, giving Islamabad a strong start. After seeing off Mohammad Amir’s first over for just two runs, Guptill hit three consecutive fours against Mohammad Wasim Jnr in the second over to get things going for the side.Hales (23, 20b, 1x4, 2x6s) hit two maximums against Abrar Ahmed in the fifth over but was caught by Jason Roy off Akeal Hosein in the following over as Islamabad ended the powerplay at 51-1. After the seventh and eighth overs passed quietly, Salman Ali Agha took charge against Wasim in the ninth over, hitting a four and six. By halfway mark, Islamabad stood at 93-1.Saud Shakeel’s introduction to the attack in the 12th over proved fruitful as he broke the 51-run partnership by dismissing Salman (31, 21b, 2x4s, 1x6). Shadab Khan walked in next and hit a quickfire 23 off 13, including one four and two sixes, before he fell to Abrar, with the scorecard reading 131-3 after 15 overs. Guptill got his 56th T20 half-century with a four on the fifth delivery of the 16th over. In the next over, Azam Khan (18, 6b, 1x4, 2x6s) hit two sixes and a four before Hosein avenged himself on the last ball.Islamabad lost four wickets in the 18th and 19th overs; Faheem Ashraf was caught behind off Amir while Haider Ali was run out on the next delivery. Then, Imad Wasim was run out courtesy of an excellent aim at the striker’s end by Wasim. Subsequently, Guptill (56, 47b, 5x4s, 1x6) sent one straight to Roy fielding at long-on. Amir, bowling the final over, castled Hunain Shah on the second delivery. Naseem Shah hit a six on the last ball of the innings to help Islamabad finish with a comfortable total of 174-9 after 20 overs. Amir and Hosein had two wickets each while Saud, Wasim and Abrar picked up one each.In return, Quetta Gladiators had a horror start to the chase as they lost half their wickets inside of the powerplay, whilst in pursuit of 175-run target on the tricky Karachi pitch. Imad, who opened the bowling for Islamabad, drew first blood with opening batter Saud caught behind for a five-ball duck on the final ball of the first over.On the second ball of the second over, Roy edged one to Faheem fielding at first slip and had to join his fellow opener back in the pavilion for just a run off three deliveries. Rilee Rossouw announced himself on the crease with a boundary on his first ball, facing Naseem. However, he could not maintain his stay at the crease and was caught by Haider at deep square in the third over, awarding Imad his second wicket of the day. Continuing his disappointing tally of scores at HBL PSL 9, the Quetta captain returned for a run-a-ball five.Then, Imad returned to bowl his third over and continued his lethal attack on the Quetta batting line-up. Nafay (5, 10b, 1x4), the fifth batter in, fell on the second delivery as the substitute fielder Qasim Akram grabbed a brilliant catch at short mid-off. On the subsequent ball, Evans was run out for a duck as trouble deepened for Quetta who found themselves 21-5 after five overs.Omair Bin Yousuf, who had witnessed his team’s batting collapse from the other end, was then joined in the middle by Hosein. The two batted together to add 52 runs off 34 balls, providing Quetta’s innings with a sense of stability as the side managed to get to 67-5 at the halfway mark. The sixth-wicket stand was cut short in the 11th over when Hosein (31, 18b, 2x4, 3x6) was run out after confusion in the middle. Subsequently, a languid 17-run seventh-wicket stand between Omair and Wasim (6, 10b) followed until the latter fell to Faheem in the 14th over.Amir walked into bat with Gladiators requiring 90 from 40 balls. He hit a dexterous 23 off 14, on the back of four boundaries and a six, attempting to keep Quetta in the game, despite the mounting pressure. The 20-ball 41-run eighth-wicket stand was eventually broken when Amir fell to Obed McCoy in the 17th over.Omair completed his second HBL PSL half-century (50, 37b, 4x4s, 1x6) before Faheem caught him at deep midwicket to award Naseem his second wicket. Hunain rattled Abrar’s stumps in the penultimate over to finish the game, as Islamabad cruised to Eliminator 2, scheduled to be played on 16 March at National Bank Stadium at 9pm. Imad Wasim was the pick of the bowlers for Islamabad, returning with three wickets for just 12 runs in his four overs. Naseem had two wickets while Faheem, Hunain and McCoy had one each.

CRICKET - Int News 16 Mar, 2024

Pakistan to host tri-series in February next year 2025
LAHORE (PR): Chairman PCB Mohsin Naqvi met the Chairman of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Lawson Naidoo, and the Chairman of New Zealand Cricket (NZC), Roger Twose in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).The agenda of the meeting included the ODI Tri-series between Pakistan, New Zealand, and South Africa, to be held in February 2025 in Pakistan, just before the ICC Champions Trophy. The Tri-series was finalised and welcomed by the host and both the member boards.Chairman PCB also extended an invitation to Roger Twose and Lawson Naidoo to visit Pakistan. Pakistan Cricket Board last hosted a tri-series in October 2004, where Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe were the other two teams in the event.Chairman PCB Mohsin Naqvi said: “The Tri-series between Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand will be an exciting event and it is after a long time that Pakistan will host such a tournament. I would like to thank the heads of NZC and CSA for agreeing to participate in the Tri-series. The PCB is also looking forward to hosting the ICC Champions Trophy 2025 which will be a great pleasure for Pakistan to host the top eight ODI teams on its soil.”

FOOTBALL - Int News 15 Mar, 2024

SAFF Women’s First Division League: AlUla win title
New champions AlUla crowned after penalty shootout victory against Al Taraji in finalSports Bulletin ReportJeddah (Saudi Arabia): AlUla was crowned SAFF Women’s First Division League champions following a captivating showdown against Al Taraji on Wednesday night – clinching the 2023/24 title with a penalty shootout victory at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Reserve Stadium.With promotion to the SAFF Women’s Premier League already assured for next season, the two went head-to-head to determine which team would win the championship. After a hard-fought final which ended 1-1 after extra time, AlUla clinched the title by winning 4-2 on penalties.The championship trophy was proudly presented to the AlUla club by Lamia Bahaian, Vice President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), in the esteemed presence of Aalia Al-Rasheed, Head of the Women's Football Department at SAFF.As for Al Taraji, they enter next season’s Saudi women’s top flight as runners-up after narrowly missing out on the title. Al Amal also joined AlUla and Al Taraji in the 2024/25 SAFF Women’s Premier League after securing the third and final promotion spot thanks to a 3-1 win against Al Taqadum in Wednesday’s third-place play-off.A thrilling campaign from start to finish, this season’s second edition of the SAFF Women’s First Division League welcomed 26 clubs – beginning in group stage format with four groups of five teams and one group of six. After facing each other home and away across five cities, 12 qualifiers progressed to the final rounds – again using a group stage format with four groups of three teams. The winners from each progressed to the semi-finals, where AlUla beat Al Amal 3-0 and Al Taraji overcame Al Taqadum 1-0 – paving the way for Wednesday’s incredible final.Over the 2023/24 SAFF Women’s First Division League season, 122 matches were played with 111 wins and 979 goals. These figures illustrate the positive direction of travel for professional women’s football in Saudi Arabia, as well as the skill, development, and performances of players and clubs alike.The SAFF Women’s First Division League is one of several competitions playing a crucial role in the strategic growth of women’s football in Saudi Arabia. By increasing the number of football competitions and enhancing standards, the aim of SAFF is to foster the development of talented female players within the Kingdom and provide pathways to representing the national team across age groups.

CRICKET - PSL 15 Mar, 2024

PSL: Sultans qualify for 4th successive final, as Zalmi fall flat in Qualifier
Sports Bulletin ReportKARACHI: Multan Sultans qualified for the final of the HBL PSL in a row, as they ousted Peshawar Zalmi by a dominating seven-wicket victory in the qualifier on Thursday night at National Bank Stadium, Karachi. Peshawar Zalmi will face the winner of the eliminator one, scheduled between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators on 15 March.The Sultans' bowling line-up showcased their depth as all the bowlers contributed towards limiting Zalmi to a below-par total of 146-7, which was later knocked down by the batters in 18.3 overs, registering a convincing win.Multan Sultans’ opening batters, Yasir Khan and Muhammad Rizwan, set the tone for the chase with an impressive 61-run opening partnership. Yasir revealed his intentions from the get-go as he smashed Mehran Mumtaz for a maximum on just the second ball. While Rizwan struggled to get off the blocks, Yasir hit Paul Walter for three boundaries in the fourth over. Sultans notched 45 in the powerplay while the 50-run opening partnership came off 39 balls.Rizwan buckled under pressure in the eighth over as he succumbed to Aamir Jamal for a scratchy 15 off 21 balls with Saim Ayub taking the catch. In the next over, Yasir brought up his maiden HBL PSL half-century off just thirty balls.At the halfway mark, Sultans required a shade above run-a-ball with nine wickets in hand. Mehran returned in the 11th over and dismissed belligerent Yasir for 54 off 37 balls, comprising seven boundaries and one six.Johnson Charles and Usman Khan stitched a 35-run third-wicket partnership until Charles’ (11, 17b, 1x4) troubled stay at the crease was ended by Salman Irshad with a fine yorker. Iftikhar Ahmed (22 not out, 8b, 3x4s, 1x6) walked in and bludgeoned Salman for three boundaries. With a mere eight needed off the last two overs, he smashed Wood for a maximum followed by a single, while Usman (36 not out, 28b, 3x4s) hit the winning runs, taking Sultans to the final of HBL PSL 9. Mehran, Aamir and Salman picked up one wicket each.Earlier, Peshawar Zalmi won the toss and elected to bat first. David Willey struck in the first over, taking his tally of HBL PSL 9 powerplay wickets to eight, as Saim, hit a short ball toward the square boundary but was pouched by Yasir. Mohammad Haris joined Babar Azam in the middle for a 47-run second-wicket partnership.Haris raced to 22 off 13 balls on the back of four boundaries before Mohammad Ali pitched one just outside off-stump on a nagging length, inducing an edge that was caught by Rizwan. Zalmi finished the powerplay with 51-2 on the board. Usama Mir, introduced into the attack in the eighth over, dismissed Haseebullah, who cut the last ball of the over straight in the hands of Ali at short third.Tom Kohler-Cadmore joined Babar to steady Zalmi’s innings with a decent fourth-wicket partnership of 44 off 35 balls. With a boundary in the 11th over, Babar brought up his 1000 T20 runs in 2024. Chris Jordan, bowling the 14th over, unleashed a lethal yorker as he hit the base of Babar’s (46, 42b, 5x4s) off-stump leaving him stunned, with the scorecard reading 101-4.Babar also crossed the 500-run mark in HBL PSL 9, becoming only the second batter, besides Rizwan, to notch this feat twice in the tournament’s history. An over later, Usama returned to bowl the last over of his spell and took his HBL PSL 9 tally of wickets to 23, as he dismissed Kohler-Cadmore for a-run-a-ball 24. Usama, who holds the Fazal Mahmood Cap in HBL PSL 9, also became the bowler with joint second-most wickets in an HBL PSL season, with only Hasan Ali ahead of him with 25 scalps.Rovman Powell, who chipped in with 12 off 11 on the back of a solitary boundary, departed in the 18th over as Jordan bagged his second wicket. The penultimate over saw drama as Abbas Afridi dismissed Aamir Jamal (1, 3b), while a ball later Luke Wood smashed him for a six and a four on successive balls.Jordan bowled an impressive last over giving away just three runs as Zalmi scrambled their way to 146-7 in the stipulated 20 overs. Wood (14, 7b, 1x4, 1x6) and Paul Walter (14, 11b, 2x4s) remained unbeaten after adding 15 runs for the seventh wicket. Usama and Jordan bagged two wickets each while Willey, Ali and Abbas chipped in with one each.

CRICKET - T20I 14 Mar, 2024

ICC T20 World Cup 2024: Tickets packages for fans on March 19
Sports Bulletin ReportDubai (UAE): Additional public tickets for 51 of 55 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 fixtures are set to be released on Tuesday, 19 March at 10am AST, including for fixtures where tickets are currently unavailable. Fans will also have the first opportunity to secure a premium T20 World Cup experience through the opening of the hospitality programme.Following huge demand for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup tickets during the ballot, when more than three million applications were received, the expansion of public ticket availability will ensure that more supporters can experience the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup action live from each stadium.Fans can already create an account at the official platform tickets.t20worldcup.com to securely purchase tickets today to 37 matches. Prices start from as low as US$6 for select games in the Caribbean and from US$35 at USA venues.Venues with match’s tickets unavailable:Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Trinidad and Tobago: Semi-Final 1 (26 Jun)Broward County Stadium, Lauderhill: Pakistan v Ireland (16 Jun)Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium, Dallas: Netherlands v Nepal (4 Jun), United States v Pakistan (6 June), Sri Lanka v Bangladesh (7 Jun)Guyana National Stadium, Guyana: Semi-Final 2 (27 Jun)Kensington Oval, Barbados: C1 v A1 – Super Eight (20 Jun), A2 v C2 – Super Eight (21 Jun), A2 v B1 – Super Eight (23 Jun)Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, New York: India v Ireland (5 Jun), United States v India (12 Jun)Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua and Barbuda: A2 v D1 – Super Eight (19 Jun), A1 v D2 – Super Eight (22 Jun)Public tickets remain unavailable for four matches, including USA v Canada (Jun 1), India v Pakistan (9 Jun), India v Canada (15 Jun) and the Final in Barbados (Jun 29).ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said: “We are delighted to have worked with our commercial partners to be able to release these additional tickets to 51 matches to ensure that we are accommodating as many fans as possible at every ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 fixture. The demand has been exceptionally strong for matches at venues across both the West Indies and USA, so we encourage fans to secure their World Cup experience as soon as possible to be part of what will be a historic event.”Fawwaz Baksh, Tournament Director, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 said: “With less than 80 days to the start of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, this announcement is an emphatic response to the global call from fans to make additional tickets available for matches and we are thrilled to be able to do this, while ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to witness the biggest Carnival of Cricket in person.”T20 World Cup CEO, Brett Jones said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer additional tickets for sale to the public who are clearly hungry for them, and also happy to be in position to open our hospitality offerings. There are currently options for everyone, at all USA venues, but that is not likely to last long, so we encourage interested fans to act quickly.”

FOOTBALL - National 14 Mar, 2024

Pakistan football team training camp at Model Town Lahore
Sports Bulletin ReportLAHORE: The Pakistan national football team camp is in full swing here at Model Town football ground to train the lads for the upcoming home match of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Round 2 against Jordan, scheduled to be held in Islamabad on March 21.Under the guidance of head coach Stephen Constantine, the team is focusing on refining their skills and tactics to face the upcoming challenge. The attention is also being given to the goalkeepers with coaching support from Rogerio Ramos and Nauman Ibrahim. The training camp, which kicked off in Lahore on Monday will continue for the next few days.Pakistan squad (Probable's):Goal-Keepers: Salman Ul Haq, Saqib Hanif, Hassan Ali and Abdul BasitDefenders: Mamoon Moosa Khan, Mohammad Sohail, Junaid Shah, Umar Hayat Haseeb Khan, Mohammad Saddam, Mohammad Hamza Munir, Kamil Ahmad Khan and Mohammad AdeelMidfielders: Alamgir Ghazi, Rajab Ali, Ali Uzair, Moin Ahmad, Zaid Umer, Mohammad Zahid Shah and Ali ZafarForwards: Shayek Dost, Fareed Ullah, Mohammad Waleed Khan, Mohammad Waheed, Mohammad Adeel Younas and Yasir Arafat.

CRICKET - PSL 13 Mar, 2024

PSL Season 9: Ahsan, Gaffaney, Illingworth to officiate the final
Sports Bulletin ReportKARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board today (March 9, 2024) announced umpire and match referee appointments for the HBL PSL 9 three playoffs and the final, which will be played from 14-18 March at the National Bank Stadium in Karachi.The 14 March Qualifier involving table-toppers Multan Sultans and Peshawar Zalmi will be refereed by Roshan Mahanama. Aleem Dar and Richard Illingworth will be the on-field umpires, while Rashid Riaz and Faisal Afridi will be the third and fourth umpires, respectively.Match Referee Mohammad Javed will lead the playing control team for the 15 March Eliminator 1 between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators. Ahsan Raza and Chris Gaffaney will be the on-field umpires, while Asif Yaqoob and Rashid Riaz will be the third and fourth umpires, respectively.16 March Eliminator 2 featuring the loser of 14 March match and the winner of 15 March fixture will be refereed by Muhammad Javed. Richard Illingworth and Asif Yaqoob will perform on-field umpire responsibilities, while Ahsan Raza and Faisal Afridi will be the third and fourth umpires, respectively.For the final scheduled on 18 March, Richard Illingworth and Chris Gaffaney will perform the duties of on-field umpires, while Ahsan Raza and Asif Yaqoob will be third and fourth umpires, respectively. Roshan Mahanama will lead the playing control team for the final.
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