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Foreign players have tentatively endorsed the return of international cricket to Pakistan after their whirlwind trip to Lahore for Sunday's heavily guarded Pakistan Super League (PSL) final.

Players including winning captain Darren Sammy detailed a journey involving bullet-proof buses and closed roads, before they were rushed straight back to the airport with no time for celebrations.

The rest of the Pakistan Super League was played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but Sunday's incident-free final has opened the door to more international cricket with a World XI now scheduled to visit in September.

Several foreign players, including England's Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright, skipped the final over safety fears, but Sammy praised the arrangements in Pakistan.

“Security was really tight,” the West Indian told AFP in Hong Kong, where he is playing this week's T20 Blitz competition.

“I only thought about security when I was on the bus,” added the two-time World Twenty20-winning captain, who led Peshawar Zalmi to a lopsided victory over Quetta Gladiators.

“Peshawar is like a family — once one foreign player was going there we were all going. It's like a brotherhood.”

A resurgence of attacks — including a suicide blast which killed 14 in Lahore — had raised concerns, but the final's successful staging was widely praised in Pakistan as a stand against militancy.

Asked whether international cricket should now return, Sammy replied: “It's not in my jurisdiction. Playing in Lahore was like playing anywhere in the world once I was in the stadium. The fans are just as passionate."

“It's a small step in the right direction — time will tell.”

'Airport, hotel, stadium, airport'

Team-mate and England international Chris Jordan said he weighed his decision carefully and spoke with his family before opting to play in Lahore.

Jordan said, “You have to ask the bigger heads over there” about playing more games in Pakistan. But he said he would be happy to return “with the same set-up”.

“That level of security did help to put the guys' minds at ease so that we could get on with the game and put on the performance that we did,” said Jordan.

“That level (of security) is a level that made everyone as comfortable as they needed to be.”

Sammy said the journey was “Airport, hotel, stadium, airport. 3am to 3am. It was more or less in and out”.

Another Peshawar player, West Indies all-rounder Rayad Emrit, was a late replacement for the final and travelled for 25 hours to play in Lahore.

“There's always risk if you're playing in Pakistan. But to be honest when we got there I felt safe,” he said, calling the sold-out Gaddafi Stadium “electrifying”.

“We had armoured vehicles, took us straight to the hotel. They closed off all the streets and then back to the ground where they did the same thing."

“From the game we headed straight to the airport... No time (to celebrate).”

LAHORE: Peshawar Zalmi led by Darrren Sammy of West Indies have won Pakistan Super League 2017 after the teamoustedQuetta Gladiators in Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.


Peshawar XI: Kamran Akmal(wk), Dawid Malan, Marlon Samuels, Mohammad Hafeez, Khushdil Shah, Iftekhar Ahmed, Darren Sammy(capt.), Chris Jordan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Asghar

Quetta XI: Ahmed Shehzad, Morne van Wyk, Anamul Haque, Sean Ervine, Saad Nasim, Sarfraz Ahmed(capt. &wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Anwar Ali, Zulfiqar Babar, Rayad Emrit, Hasan Khan


Gladiators chase 148

Ahmad Shahzad and Morne Van WYK open for Gladiators while Hasaan Ali bowls

0.1 Dot ball

0.2 Morne attempts a single, unsuccessful

0.3 Morne misses, straight into keepers  gloves

0.4 Gladiators off to chase with first single in the innings

0.5 Shahzad faces, no run


0.6 No run

1.0 overs Gladiators 1 for none

1.1 Big lbw out appeal by Mohammad Asghar, not given, Morne stays, no run

1.2 No run

OUT 1.3; Asad Ali throws a direct hit, third umpire review sought, Decision: OUT

1.4 Dot ball

1.5 Dont ball

1.6 A single here for Gladiators

2.0 overs Gladiators manage another run this entire over

2.1 Anamul Haque draws a single on Hasan Ali s delivery

2.2 Up but no fielder there, just a single

2.3 Straight into Akmal s hands, no run

2.4 Darren Sammy drops a catch, Anamul Haque lives

2.5 Another good delivery: Wasim Akram for Hasan Ali. No run here for Gladiators

2.6 Single

3.0 overs Gladiators are 5 for 1

OUT 3.1, Quetta in pressure now, Anamul Haque hands his catch at the boundary

3.2 Dot ball

3.3 Dot ball

FOUR; 3.4 First boundary of the innings, Sarfraz, the skipper strikes

FOUR; 3.5 Sarfraz stirs the crowd

3.6 Dot ball

4.0 overs Eight runs and a wicket from this over, Gladiators 13 for 2

OUT 4.1 Shahzad goes back, catch Khushdil Shah, Hasan Ali delivers, third umpire s help sought as Sarfraz doubts it to be a no-ball

4.2 Single,

4.3 Ervine draws a single

4.4 No run

FOUR; 4.5 Sarfraz draws a boundary

4.6 Another two runs by Sarfraz

5.0 overs Gladiators 21 for 3

5.1 Ervine draws a single

FOUR; 5.2 Sarfraz hits a boundary, Hafeez bowls

FOUR; 5.3 Sarfraz sends the ball back to the boundary

OUT; 5.4 STUMPED! Gladiators skipper gone, Hafeez takes the wicket after punishing boundaries

Watch video:

5.5 Saad Nasim comes in, one run

5.6 Ervine draws another single

6.0 overs Gladiators 31 for 4 after 6 overs

6.1 A single to kick off the over, Ervine and Saad fight for Gladiators survival, Jordan bowls

6.2 Single, RR: 8.64

6.3 Batsmen run between the wickets for a single

6.4 Another single in the over

6.5 Ervine tips the ball for one run

6.6 Jordan bowls to see another single

7.0 overs Gladiators 37 are for 4

7.1 Wahab Riaz takes the ball, Ervine and Saad on pitch, Saad Nasim on receiving end, no run

OUT; 7.2 Riaz strikes! Saad ousted, Iftekhar takes the catch

7.3 Anwar Ali takes the pitch, a single

7.4 Dot ball

7.5 Dot ball

7.6 Dot ball

8.0 overs Gladiators are 38 for 5, Zalmi were better stabled at this stage

8.1 Two runs off Hafeez s ball

FOUR; 8.2 Ervine hits Hafeez for a boundary

8.3 Ervine draws a single

8.4 Another single, Anwar Ali puts Ervine back at receiving end

8.5 Single

8.6 Single

9.0 overs Gladiators are 48 for 5

9.1 No run

FOUR; 9.2, Anwar Ali hits a boundary

9.3 A single

9.4 Ervine faces, draws a single

9.5 No run

9.6 Single

10.0 overs Gladiators are 55 for 5

10.1 One run

10.2 Single

10.3 Anwar Ali faces Mohammad Asghar, draws a single

10.4 Another run

10.5 Anwar Ali hits the ball, attempts single, fails

10.6 One run

11.0 Gladiators are 60 for 5

11.1 Jordan takes the ball. RR: 9.89, Anwar Ali hits for a single

11.2 Ervine at striking end. A single here

11.3 (Need 87 off 52 balls) Jordan appeals for lbw, keeper misses, Anwar survives

FOUR; 11.4 Ervine sends the ball to the boundary

11.5 No run

11.6 Single

12.0 overs Gladiators are 69 at the loss of 5

12.1 A run, puts Ervine at receiving end

12.2 A single

12.3 Single

OUT; 12.4 Ervine (24) bowl: Mohammad Asghar

OUT 12.5 Third umpire referred, Akmal stumps Nawaz, OUT given!

Watch video:

12.6 Dot ball

13.0 overs Gladiators are 72 for 7

13.1 Single

13.2 Tight running between wickets, a run

13.3 Single

13.4 Single

FOUR, 13.5 Anwar Ali strikes after long, Darren Sammy suffers

13.6 No run

14.0 overs Gladiators are 80 for 7

14.1 Jordan bowls, no run

14.2 Emrit misses, into keepers hands

14.3 Single

OUT; 14.4, Anwar Ali goes back (20) RR:12.75

14.5 Single


14.6 A run

15.0 overs Gladiators are 83 for 8

15.1 Wahab Riaz to Hasan Khan, 2 runs

15.2 Wahab Riaz delivers short one, single

15.3 Tight running gets Quetta a run

15.4 Dot ball

15.5 Hassan Khan misses, no run, Akmal gets hold of ball behind wickets

No-ball 15.6

OUT 15.6; Hassan Khan goes back

(Quetta need 61 off 25)

16.0 overs Gladiators are 88 for 9

16.1 A single for Quetta

16.2 A run

BOWLED! 16.3 All out, Peshawar win Pakistan Super League 2017, Hasan Ali sent Zulfiqar Babar back to claim victory

Peshawar Zalmi innings:

Sarfraz asked spinner Zulfiqar Babar to take the bowl. Kamran Akmal, who scored a century in the previous match, carried on his impressive form as he hit three boundaries in the first over.

Dawid Malan also showed some impressive strokes against Anwar Ali as he hit first six of the match in the second over, which was followed by a four.

Peshawar Zalmi are 50 up in eight overs. Kamran Akmal and Nawaz are on the pitch. Emrit earned the first wicket of the innings in the final match. Dawid Malan went back; bowled in the fifth over.

While talking to PSL media person, Shehzad Roy said that Pakistan has won the battle against terrorism by holding the match here at home.

By the end of eighth over by Anwar Ali, Zalmi are 64 for one. Kamran Akmal and Samuels going strong. Run rate: 7.11

SIX; Kamran Akmal hits a six in tenth over

FOUR; Samuels hits four to Hasan Khan

SIX; Samuels with a six for Khan

WICKET; Hasan Khan victorious in taking Akmal down

WICKET; Muhammad Nawaz ousts Samuels on first ball of 11th over

Zalmi are 82 for 3 at 10.3 overs, Mohammad Nawaz to Iftekhar Ahmed and Muhammad Hafeez

Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif arrives in Gaddafi Stadium to witness the match

WICKET; Hasan Shah sends Khushdil Shah back on 11.3 overs

Watch Khushdil dismissal:

Zalmi are 89 for 4 after 12.3 overs

13.0 overs; Zalmi 90 for 4, Zulfiqar Babar pulls off a boundary-less over

FOUR; Saad misses ball, goes for a boundary, Zalmi erupt

FOUR; Hafeez sends the ball away, Hasan Khan disappointed

Zalmi 101 for 4 after 14.0 overs

Watch what Kamran Akmal has to say:

Zalmi are 105 for 4 after 15.1 overs. Fall of wickets before ton taking a toll on run rate now.

Iftekhar Ahmed and Muhammad Hafeez going slow but steady, 110 for four after 16 overs. No boundary for two overs.

WICKET; Muhammad Hafeez (12 on 13 deliveries) hands catch to Mohammad Nawaz on Emrit’s delivery

WICKET; Emrit strikes again on 16.4, Iftekhar Ahmed lbw out, Zalmi 112 for 6 into 17th over

Watch Emrit strike:

Zalmi 113 for 6 after 17.2 overs

Stats: 11 Fours, three Sixes this inning

Zalmi 115 for 6 after 18.0 overs,

FOUR; Darren Sammy hits boundary on 18.2 overs

FOUR; Jordan hits Emrit on 18.4 overs

SIX; Darren Sammy hits to Emrit

18 runs off Emrit s over

Zalmi 133 for 6 after 19.0 overs

SIX; Darren Sammy hits to Anwar Ali in the last over of innings

SIX; Consecutive sixes to Anwar Ali by Zalmi skipper

Zalmi set target 149 for Gladiators to win Pakistan Super League 2017

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 9: The first basketball team of Kazma Club crushed Sulaibikhat team with a score of 87-53 in the sixth round of the Premier League. Jahra team dismissed Al-Shaban team with a score of 79-64. Al-Arabi defeated Al Tadhamon with a score of 64-55 and Al Nasser concluded the round with a deserved win against Yarmouk team by 76-57, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

With the end of the sixth round, the Orange Team (Kazma) shares the top spot with Jahra after collecting nine points from four wins and one defeat. Al-Kuwait team dropped to second position with eight points joined by Al-Arabi while Qadsiya is in third place with seven points.

The matches are being played in league style whereby the teams will now be divided into two groups. The first group “Super” includes the teams that took first six positions while the teams in seventh to 11th positions will play against each other to determine their positions. The top six teams go for playoffs.

The matches of the sixth round did not result in any surprises as all results were as expected. The Adailiya sons outclassed Sulaibikhat by more than 40 points.

Yarmouk did not perform as expected as they were run over by Jleeb sons who have taken a giant step to be included in the “Super” group. Jahra continued their run of victories to affirm their deserved top spot.

Source: Arab Times


KUWAIT CITY, Jan 7: The horse Haya Taal from Al-Khattiya Stable won the Farwaniya Governor Horseracing Cup after winning the 2,800-meter race within 3:03:39 minutes. In second place was the horse Dibawi from Al-Khudr Stable, followed by the horse Shattan from Al-Murd Stable in third place.

According to a press release, Farwaniya Governor was represented at the venue by ret. Major General Ali Al-Daihani who was accompanied by the Head of Farwaniya Equestrian Club Mubarak Al-Daihani. They awarded the cup to the owners of the winning stables.

In the 1,800-meter race, the horse Sayyaf came first by clocking 1:57:52 minutes, followed by the horse Darawi from Al-Shallahi Stable in second place and the horse Dihaam Al-Khail from Al-Khodr Stable in third.

In the 1,200-meter race, the horse Akho Munira from the Stable of Children of Zamanan came first by completing the race in 1:26:72 minutes, followed by the horses Salateen and Al-Asifa from the same stable in second and third places respectively.

The horse Salman Al-Hazm from Awees Stable finished the 1,000-meter race in 1:02:09 minutes to take first place, followed by the horses Ezz Khaled and Salaam Yanasor from Ezz Stable in second and third places respectively.

In addition, the horse Mikhrab came first in the 2,000-meter race within 2:15:89 minutes, followed by the horse Dajeej from Duhaim Stable in second place and the horse Jahrani from Al-Rashidi Stable in third.


Source: Arab Times


New Zealand took nine wickets in a dramatic final session of the second Test against Pakistan to win by 130 runs in Hamilton on Tuesday and clean sweep their series 2-0.

It was New Zealand's first series win over Pakistan since 1985.

Pakistan were faced with an imposing 369-run target in their second innings but set themselves up for a run-a-ball slog when they reached tea on the final day at 158-1.

The match edged towards a cliff-hanger finish before Tim Southee removed Pakistan's leading run scorer Sami Aslam for 91.

Pakistan's Azhar Ali hits the ball during day five of the second Test. ─AFP
Pakistan's Azhar Ali hits the ball during day five of the second Test. ─AFP


That started a rapid collapse which saw their last eight wickets fall for 49 in 20 overs with Neil Wagner taking the last three for no runs in just six deliveries.

The series win to New Zealand, after a first Test triumph in Christchurch, means Pakistan fall from second to fourth in the world rankings while New Zealand remain seventh.

After reaching tea on the final day needing 211 off 204 deliveries, Pakistan could only ponder whether they left their charge too late.

Openers Azhar Ali (58 off 161 deliveries) and Aslam (91 off 238) laid the platform with a record fourth innings opening stand for Pakistan of 131 but it lasted a time-consuming 60 overs before Azhar was dismissed.

The arrival of Babar Azam to the crease was a signal to lift the pace but the pitch was still offering support to the bowlers on the fifth day.

Azhar (58) played on trying to hit leg-spinner Mitchell Santner out of the ground and Azam (16) went in similar fashion on the fourth ball after tea.

Aslam, trying to raise the tempo having reached his highest Test score, mistimed a drive off Tim Southee to give Kane Williamson catching practice at mid-off.

Sarfraz Ahmed was run out for 19 off 21 and Asad Shafiq did not get off the mark. Veteran Younis Khan, on his 39th birthday, struggled to 11 before he went lbw to Southee.

Sohail Khan fell to Colin de Grandhomme for eight and Wagner removed Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Imran Khan all without scoring, leaving Mohammad Rizwan not out 13.

It was a Test that began with all the early signs in Pakistan's favour.

They won the toss on a lush green surface and celebrated with a wicket in the first over. But that bright start faded rapidly and in the end not even the loss of more than four sessions to rain could save them.

Reaching 369 would have meant over-taking the record successful fourth innings chase in New Zealand of 348-5 by the West Indies 47 years ago in Auckland.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Six-time Olympian Fehaid Al-Deehani battled wet and blustery conditions to win the gold medal in the men’s double trap event yesterday.

The 49-year-old Kuwaiti, competing under the Olympic flag, defeated Marco Innocenti of Italy in the duel for gold, nailing 26 orange targets out of 30 to Innocenti’s 24.

The bronze medal went to Steven Scott who defeated fellow Briton Tim Kneale with a perfect score of 30 in their match-up for third place.

Deehani won bronze in double trap in Sydney 2000, when he became the first Kuwaiti of any sport to win a medal at the Olympic Games. He won another bronze in trap in London 2012.

The veteran needed a shoot-off with American Joshua Richmond to get into the finals. A proud officer in the Kuwait army, Deehani dropped to the ground and kneeled after reaching the final, then pounded his chest as he walked away. In the gold medal match, Deehani raised his arms in triumph after hitting the final two targets, then turned and again pounded his chest at the crowd.

Deehani was forced to take part in Brazil as a neutral as Kuwait is suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other leading federations such as FIFA, football’s world body, over government interference in sport. Deehani is one of nine competing as an Independent Olympic Athlete (IOA). He turned down an offer from the IOC to carry the neutral’s flag at last Friday’s opening ceremony, telling Kuwaiti media: “I am a military man and I will only carry the Kuwait flag. I cannot carry the IOC flag.” Deehani is the first independent to win gold at an Olympics. – Agencies

Source: Kuwait Times


LAHORE: Pakistan's sporting decline has left the nation that once prided itself on producing the world's best hockey and squash players facing up to an Olympics for which none of its athletes have qualified.

While cricket remains a wildly popular game in Pakistan, most other sports have shrunk in popularity as the successes of the 1980s and early 1990s have become a distant memory.

In dilapidated gyms and crumbling sports fields Pakistani athletes lament the dated equipment and obsolete training methods which leave them struggling against foreign foes who adhere to the latest science-based techniques.

Female athletes have an even bigger mountain to climb: most young girls are pressured by their families to stop exercising in public, while those with family backing face the wrath of their communities.

"We are behind the rest of the world," said Inam Butt, a Pakistani wrestling champion who won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. "Our budget, training and facilities are just nothing. How can we compete?"

Butt, like other athletes, says the future will remain bleak until the government starts pouring money into sport.

The seven participants due to represent Pakistan at next month's Rio Olympics have all been given wildcard entries and stand "no chance" of winning medals, according to Arif Hasan, the Pakistan Olympic Association president.

"They are more or less going for the participation and gaining the experience. Let's hope next time will be better," he said.

1980s Training methods

Those in charge of promoting sport in Pakistan despair.

The grassroots system is almost non-existent, children in schools rarely play a sport which is not cricket, and top athletes seldom compete against the world's best as cash-strapped federations cannot afford to send them abroad.

Waqar Ahmed, deputy director of the Pakistan Sports Board, said federations also cannot afford to hire top coaches familiar with scientific training techniques and end up relying on Pakistani trainers with "obsolete" methods from the 1980s.

"Athletes are really frustrated because... the coaches are not literate and they have been teaching what they were taught 30 years back," he said. "Without infrastructure we can do a lot, but without the techniques you cannot win."

The demise of hockey, Pakistan's national sport, has been painful to watch for an older generation who prospered during the halcyon days between 1960 and 1994, when Pakistan regularly won Olympic gold medals and world championships

Waqar Ahmed, deputy director of the Pakistan Sports Board, said federations also cannot afford to hire top coaches familiar with scientific training techniques and end up relying on Pakistani trainers with "obsolete" methods from the 1980s.

"Athletes are really frustrated because... the coaches are not literate and they have been teaching what they were taught 30 years back," he said. "Without infrastructure we can do a lot, but without the techniques you cannot win."

The demise of hockey, Pakistan's national sport, has been painful to watch for an older generation who prospered during the halcyon days between 1960 and 1994, when Pakistan regularly won Olympic gold medals and world championships.

Tahir Zaman, Pakistan hockey team coach, said the lack of government support means many young athletes no longer see a future in sports like hockey where top players get $10 per day. Pakistani cricketers, by contrast, are paid $5,000 monthly retainers and make a fortune from sponsorship deals.

"The attraction is not there anymore. The [government] is not offering regular jobs for players," said Zaman, who won a bronze playing for Pakistan at the 1992 Olympics.

At Lahore's empty 45,000-seat hockey stadium, hockey player Hassan Anwar, 21, said that as a teenager his family begged him: "please don't play hockey if you want a bright future".

The demise of hockey has been mirrored by the decline in the squash scene, where young players know all about 1980s legend Jahangir Khan ─ considered the greatest ever squash player ─ but none match his bravura on the court.

Women harassed

Pakistan's best known squash player is Maria Toorpakay Wazir, ranked 65 in the world, but to train she spent years dressing and pretending to be a boy in the ultra-conservative tribal areas near Afghanistan. Now she trains abroad.

Pakistan Olympic chief Hasan says societal "barriers are coming down" for women but many female athletes rue the slow pace of change.

At 16, Neelam Riaz's first love was cycling, but her father banned her from training on roads as men would stare at her. In response, she took up karate to learn how to fend off men and eventually stumbled on weightlifting.

“Usually in Pakistan girls are discouraged from sports, and often coaches push back,” said Riaz, 25, who last year became a national champion and Pakistan's first female weightlifter to compete abroad.

"Now my family is happy with me doing weightlifting."

In a dimly lit Lahore gym, where paint peels off walls, windows are shattered and cobwebs cling to a damp ceiling, Riaz is tutoring 16-year-old Iqra Chanzaib, who is new to weightlifting.

Chanzaib wanted to play basketball, but the only hoop near her house was out in the open and full of boys, so one of her pious brothers protested. She then opted for weightlifting, indoors.

"There are plenty of girls like me but they cannot come because of family pressures. My own friends want to come but their families stop them," she said.





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