Sydney Thunder stars Shane Watson and Chris Green pass on knowledge to It's Just Cricket youngsters

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All smiles: Shane Watson and Chris Green with IJC cricketers

It was a training session of a different kind for budding cricketers of It’s Just Cricket Academy as Sydney Thunder stars Shane Watson and Chris Green passed on their knowledge and tips during a special visit in Dubai.

The Australian pair took time out from their busy schedule with Quetta Gladiators to give advice to the academy’s boys and girls as well as handing out end-of-term certificates to the players.

Just last month, IJC welcomed members of the Zimbabwe team and Sam Charnley, international director of cricket of KOOH Sports, said: “It was simply fantastic to have the guys down from Sydney Thunder and really shows our strong relationship with the Big Bash League team.

“Shane and Chris were brilliant with the IJC players and spent lots of time interacting with the kids and parents. It’s one thing watching them train or play but to actually be trained by them is another level.

With Term Three already underway, there are still places available for budding cricketers to develop their knowledge under the guidance of IJC coaches.

For details on how to get involved at the quickest growing academy in the region, email [email protected]

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Ahmed Raza says UAE must focus on the basics to beat Ireland in World Cup Qualifier

Denzil Pinto 11/03/2018
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UAE’s Ahmed Raza has urged his team-mates to play their natural game and get “ the basics right” if they want to beat Ireland on Monday and reach the World Cup Qualifier Super Six stage.

UAE enter their final World Cup Qualifier group stage match in Zimbabwe knowing a triumph over the Irish will guarantee them a place in the next round.

Even if they do lose, the UAE can still advance if other results go their way. The UAE, currently on four points and placed third in Group A, have a poor record against the Irish with no win in five ODIs.

Raza believes now is the time to end that poor run.

“What better place to change that record than in a World Cup Qualifier,” said the 29-year-old spinner. “There is no pressure on us whatsoever.

“We have played some very good cricket so far in this competition and everybody is ready for it. Ireland will be the favourites because of their record so we’ll just go out and enjoy our cricket.”

The top three teams from Group A and B move to the Super Six stage.

In the other Group A match, the West Indies take on Netherlands in another significant fixture. While West Indies are through to the Super Six stage with three wins out of three, the Dutch – placed fourth with just one victory – must win by a big margin to have any hopes of joining the two-time world champions in the next round.

“We cannot control what the other teams are doing,” said Raza, whose side needs to finish in the top three between Scotland, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong in the competition to maintain ODI status and continue receiving ICC funding until 2022.

“We can only do what we can and that is to give our best and win the game against Ireland. We know it will be hard as they have some very good players but  we will have to do the basics right.”

There have already been some big shocks in the 10-team tournament. Afghanistan, who were favourites before the tournament started, will be hoping Scotland beat Nepal on Monday that will improve their chances of sneaking into the Super Six stage. The Afghans are placed third in Group B with just one win – against Nepal – and three defeats.

“I knew there will be a lot of surprises because there are 10 strong teams here,” added Raza. “It depends how you play cricket as qualifiers is always a different ball game altogether.”

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Sarfraz Ahmed and Shane Watson power Quetta Gladiators to top of PSL

Denzil Pinto 11/03/2018
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Shane Watson delivered an all-round show.

Quetta Gladiators eased to the top of the Pakistan Super League table following a six-wicket victory over reigning champions Peshawar Zalmi on Saturday.

Chasing 158, captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Rilee Rossouw led the way with a 74-run stand at Dubai which sealed their third straight win of the tournament.

Here are the key points from the match:

WATSON DELIVERS

The Australian all-rounder proved once again how effective he can be with the bat and ball. After his man-of-the-match display against Karachi Kings, the 36-year-old was at it again with another solid performance. His picked up 2-26 and played his part on the field by taking the catch of Mohammad Hafeez. He then capped off a fine night with 37 runs, including six boundaries, off 25 deliveries.

PESHAWAR’S BATTING DISAPPOINTS

At one point, Peshawar Zalmi were struggling to reach 130 but Riki Wessels and captain Darren Sammy went after Quetta Gladiators’ bowlers that gave them a respectable total of 157. In the last five overs, the pair scored 56 runs as Sammy keeping the run-rate high with four fours and two sixes in his 19-ball 36.

In the end their efforts went in vain and it was another disappointing batting team performance where four of their top-seven batsmen reached double figures. Standing second bottom with six points, defeat is not an option in their two remaining games.

ROSSOUW AND SARFRAZ FINISH THE JOB

At 84-4 after 10 overs, Peshawar had an opportunity to pile more misery. Instead, they were met by a stubborn partnership that took the game away from them as Sarfraz and Rossouw stitched together an unbeaten 74-run stand.

With three straight victories, last season’s runners-up are beginning to find their form at the right time.

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