Afghanistan make the cut for World Cup Qualifier Super Six stage

Waseem Ahmed 12/03/2018
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Afghanistan scraped into the Super Six Stage of the ICC World Cup Qualifier after Nepal defeated Hong Kong by five wickets in Bulawayo on Monday.

In their Group B clash, Hong Kong were bowled out for 153 in 48.2 overs with mystery spinner Sandeep Lamichhane finishing with superb figures of 3-17 from his 10 overs.

In reply, Nepal were in deep trouble at 66-5. Lower order batsmen Rohit Kumar (48) and Sompal Kami (37) shared an unbeaten 89-run partnership to clinch a consolation win for Nepal, who exited the Qualifier with three defeats and one win.

Afghanistan, pre-tournament favourites but with just one win from four matches, were tied on two points along with Nepal and Hong Kong. However, they made the cut for the Super Six stage as they are the only team among the three with a positive net run rate (0.038).

The road ahead will only get tougher as Afghanistan won’t carry any points into the Super Six stage. The top two teams in the World Cup Qualifier qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

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South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada suspended for two Tests

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Rabada has collected a further four demerit points on his account.

South Africa were dealt a huge blow on Monday after pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada was suspended for two Tests by the ICC following the Proteas’ series levelling win in the second Test.

The youngster was found guilty of a Level Two offence for making contact with the shoulder of Steve Smith following the Australian skipper’s dismissal in the first innings at Port Elizabeth.

He was subsequently hit by another Level One charge in the second innings after he screamed in the face of David Warner as the batsman made his way back to the pavilion.

After a lengthy one-hour hearing by match-referee Jeff Crowe, the 22-year-old was found guilty of both the charges.

As a result, he has been slapped with a fine of 50 per cent of his match fees along with three demerit points for the Level Two offence. He has been handed a further 15 per cent fine and a solitary demerit point for the Level One offence.

This means that Rabada, who came into the Test with five demerit points already to his name, now has nine. This in effect has resulted in a two-Test suspension and means that the fast-bowler will miss the remainder of the four-match series.

Rabada had taken a five-for in both innings during South Africa’s six-wicket win, capturing his fourth ten-wicket haul of his career in the process. His suspension is a huge blow for the Proteas and they will be hoping that Dale Steyn can make his expected comeback for the third Test to bolster the pace attack.

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Sri Lanka cricketers adopt La Liga giants Barcelona's software to manage player injury

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Sri Lanka is adopting an advanced software used by football club Barcelona to manage its injury-prone cricketers as the national team trains for the World Cup next year, officials said on Monday.

The island’s cricket board hopes the state-of-the-art player management system will restore Sri Lanka’s prestige on the world stage after their worst year in international cricket.

The board spent $75,000 on the software, adapting it to suit its cricketers.

Officials said coupled with a match analysis system designed in-house, Sri Lanka will now have the most advanced player management technology of any cricketing nation.

“We are investing a lot of resources and technology to develop the game with an eye on the World Cup,” Sri Lanka cricket chief Ashley de Silva said.

Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 but have not repeated the feat since, despite twice making the finals. They were World T20 champions in 2014 but have tumbled down the rankings, hit by injuries and scandal.

Under new coach Chandika Hathurusingha, the side has been rebuilding after a year of humiliating defeats and few wins.

Sri Lanka bounced backed in a tour of Bangladesh in January, thrashing the hosts in all three formats of the game.

The team’s high-performance manager Simon Willis said the new technology would help selectors and managers monitor their squad’s performance with real-time data.

“This system will benefit the national team and allow evidence-based decisions to be made,” the former Kent coach said.

“It’s not cheap, but it is a good investment because it gives us instant information.”

Sri Lanka’s cricketers will wear GPS devices during training and tournaments to monitor fitness and performance, he added.

The technology has been rolled out during the ongoing home tri-nation series against India and Bangladesh, with players wearing the GPS devices during matches.

Willis said instead of subjective decisions about players and their fitness, the new system allowed for better-informed choices.

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