Pakistan batsman Asif Ali expected to leave England tour following daughter's death

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Islamabad United's Asif Ali.

Pakistan batsman Asif Ali is expected to leave the tour of England following the death of his daughter, who had been having treatment for cancer in the United States.

A statement issued by Islamabad United, the team Asif plays for in the Pakistan Super League, late Sunday said: “ISLU family pays its deepest condolences to @AasifAli2018 on the tragic loss of his daughter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Asif & his family. Asif is a great example of strength & courage. He is an inspiration to us.”

Earlier on Sunday, the 27-year-old Ali made 22 during Pakistan’s 54-run defeat by England in the fifth and final one-day international at Headingley – a loss that saw England take the series 4-0 after the opening match was washed out.

Ali featured in every game of the series, scoring two fifties with a career best of 52 in the third ODI in Bristol.

The hard-hitting Ali has scored 342 runs in 16 ODIs at an average of 31.09.

He was not included in Pakistan’s preliminary squad for the World Cup in England, which starts later this month, but that would not prevent him being selected in the 15-man squad for the tournament.

Teams have until May 23 to name their final World Cup squads.

Before his departure for the limited-overs series in England, Ali had tweeted on April 24 that he was sending his daughter to the United States for treatment.

He had also requested his fans to pray for his daughter.

Ali had learnt about his daughter’s illness during the fourth season of the PSL, with Islamabad United coach Dean Jones, the former Australia batsman, breaking down in tears when talking about the child’s condition.

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Pakistan star Babar Azam to play for Somerset in T20 Blast

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Babar Azam.

Somerset have signed Pakistan batsman Babar Azam for this season’s Vitality Blast.

The 24-year-old, who is currently number one in the International Cricket Council Twenty20 batting rankings, will be available for all 14 South Group games and a possible quarter-final.

Azam struck a century in Pakistan’s win over Leicestershire on Wednesday night and has scored 1,182 runs at an average of 53.72 in 29 T20s for his country.

He said: “I am looking forward to the new challenge that playing T20 cricket in England will bring.

“I have heard good things about Somerset from Azhar Ali and I want to play a part in the club winning matches.

“I know that Somerset get good support and I hope that I can give them something to cheer about this year.”

Andy Hurry, Somerset’s director of cricket, said: “To be able to sign a player of the calibre of Babar Azam is tremendously exciting. He is a proven performer at the very highest level and that is highlighted by the fact that he is the top rated international T20 batsman in the world.”

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IPL 2019: See ball, hit ball is MS Dhoni's mantra while batting

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MS Dhoni. Image: BCCI/Sportzpics.

Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni had a stupendous day despite illness as he masterminded an 80-run win over Delhi Capitals in the IPL on Wednesday.

Dhoni first smashed a quick 44 before completing two split-second stumpings and finishing the match with a sharp catch as CSK rose to the top of the table and all but secured their spot in Qualifier 1.

The 37-year-old played despite struggling with a bad back and illness. After the match, Dhoni said he is keeping it simple when it comes to batting.

“Watch the ball, hit the ball. [Once] you’ve spent time, you know the variations. By the 20th over you’re almost ready and you swing at everything,” Dhoni explained.

Veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir had a brilliant day on a raging turner at Chepauk, finishing with 4-12. Dhoni said the number of dismissals meant the lively leggie got multiple chances to go on his elaborate celebratory runs.

“It’s great fun to watch Tahir celebrate,” Dhoni said. “Me and (Shane) Watson have said we won’t follow him. What’s the point when we’re not 100 per cent (fit). He anyway comes back to us so that time we tell him ‘well bowled’.”

Delhi skipper Shreyas Iyer said getting bowled out for 99 chasing 179 was a reality check before the playoffs.

“The way we played was not expected. It’s a good reality check. Everybody will be on their toes in the next game,” Iyer said.

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