Ashfaq Ahmed helps UAE complete 4-0 T20 series clean sweep over Netherlands

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UAE team. Image: Netherlands Cricket.

An all-round showing from Ashfaq Ahmed helped the UAE crush Netherlands by seven wickets in the fourth and final T20I between the two sides at The Hague.

Ashfaq Ahmed’s 75-run knock helped the visitors chase down a target of 151 with two balls to spare and in effect inflict a 4-0 whitewash over the Netherlands.

Netherlands skipper Pieter Seelar won the toss and elected to bat first but his men were restricted to 150-6 in their 20 overs after some disciplined bowling by the UAE.

Sultan Ahmed was the pick of the UAE bowlers with the left-arm spinner picking up the wickets of Max O’Dowd and Scott Edwards during his four-over spell. Ashfaq Ahmed was excellent with the ball as well with his off-spin fetching the wicket of the dangerous Stephan Myburgh.

Qadeer Ali leaked 50 runs in his four overs but none of the Netherlands batsmen were able to convert their starts under some tight bowling by the remaining UAE bowlers.

In reply, UAE lost opener Zawar Farid early but Ashfaq Ahmed and Ghulam Shabber took control of the run chase in brilliant style to scrip a comprehensive win for the visitors in the end.

The duo put on a 110-run stand for the second wicket which effectively sealed the game before Ashfaq’s 53-ball stay at the crease was ended by Vivian Kingma. It was the second fifty in a row for the opening batsman who had scored 56 in the previous T20I.

Muhammad Usman was dismissed cheaply shortly after but wicketkeeper batsman Ghulam Shabber remained unbeaten with a fine 57 to guide the side home in the final over.

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South Africa great Hashim Amla announces retirement from international cricket

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Hashim Amla has called time on his South Africa career.

Veteran South Africa opener Hashim Amla has announced his retirement from all formats of international cricket at the age of 36.

The opening batsman will continue to be available for domestic selection and South Africa’s Mzansi Super League.

“Firstly, all glory and thanks to the Almighty for granting me this Proteas journey which has been nothing but a joy and privilege. I learnt many lessons during this incredible ride, made many friends and most importantly shared in the love of a brotherhood called Proteafire,” Amla said in a statement.

“I would like to thank my parents for their prayers, love and support, it is their shadow over me that enabled me to play for years under the Protea sun. Also, My family, friends and agent, my team mates and every member of the support staff throughout this incredible journey. A heartfelt thank you to every one of you!

“The fans for energising me when times were tough, and for celebrating with me when we succeeded together. Siyabonga South Africa! And, of course, a very special thanks to the President and the Board at Cricket South Africa – not forgetting the Chief Executive, Thabang Moroe, and his administrative team.”

The right-handed batsman retires after a nearly 15-year international career in which he went on to make 124 Test, 181 ODI and 44 T20I appearances for the Proteas.

With 8,133 ODI runs to his name, Amla finishes his career as South Africa’s third highest run-scorer in the format and is only behind Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers.

In Test cricket, he is only behind Kallis when it comes to Proteas batsmen with 9,282 runs to his name scored with the help of 28 tons. He is also the only South African triple centurion in the format and it came in the form of an unbeaten 311 against England at the Oval in 2012.

He also managed to establish himself as the No1 Test batsman in the world for a period in 2013.

Amla’s retirement comes just on the heels of veteran South Africa pacer Dale Steyn calling time on his Test career.

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Pakistan star Babar Azam going from strength to strength in Somerset stint

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Babar Azam is having a ball in the T20 Blast with Somerset.

Babar Azam’s superb run in England’s T20 Blast refuses to stop with the Pakistan batsman adding another explosive half-century to his name in Somerset’s big win over the Essex Eagles on Wednesday.

Babar struck a 39-ball 56 at Chelmsford to help Somerset post a mammoth 225-6 in their 20 overs and his side then had no trouble in wrapping up a 114-run win with the ball.

With that innings, Babar has now become the leading run-scorer in the 2019 T20 Blast with a total of 323 runs from seven innings so far at an average of nearly 54.

Playing in his maiden stint in the English county circuit, the Pakistan right-hander has been nothing short of sensational in the seven T20 Blast appearances he has made for Somerset so far.

Babar had earlier struck a 61-ball 95 against Hampshire and a 50-ball 83 against Sussex but both his rapid displays had come in a losing cause for Somerset.

The star batsman has been camped in England since the start of May when Pakistan arrived in the country for a five-match ODI series. The 24-year-old finished as the joint top-scorer of the ODI series after registering one ton and two half centuries over the course of the four games.

He then proceeded to have a stellar individual World Cup campaign where he racked up a total of 474 runs in eight innings at an average of over 67. Babar struck one ton and three half-centuries in the process and his run tally is now the highest achieved by any Pakistan batsman in World Cup history.

Currently ranked No1 in the world in the T20 format, the Pakistan sensation’s immense popularity has already worked wonders for Somerset since his arrival. Somerset stream their T20 Blast clashes on their official website like many other county outfits in England but there were in for a shock during Babar’s first game for the county outfit.

With plenty of Pakistan fans logging on to the website to watch their favourite star in action, the website ultimately crashed due the excessive load. According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the huge spike in rise in visitors to the official website forced Somerset digital marketing executive Ben Warren to upgrade the website server’s capacity.

Babar is well on his way to become one of the greatest batsmen produced by Pakistan and the right-hander had recently become the second fastest man after South Africa’s Hashim Amla to bring up 3,000 ODI runs.

The Pakistan star will be next in action for Somerset on Friday when they take on Hampshire in another Vitality T20 Blast clash at Southampton.

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