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Syed Imaad Ali wins 32nd Pakistan Scrabble Championship (masters)

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Karachi: 14-years-old Syed Imaad Ali won the 32nd Pakistan Scrabble Championship (masters) by defeating Waseem Khatri in the final.  After clinching 19 matches each out of 27, both Imaad and Waseem fought hard to win the championship. In the end, Imaad got better off Waseem with a spread of 1469. Waseem lost his temperament after leading in the first 20 rounds. Known for his ice-cool temperament, the reigning junior world champion Imaad didn’t give up and calmly started climbing up the ladder. He saved his best for the king-of-the-hill stage when he beat his mentor and 8-time national champion Waseem Khatri four games in a row to snatch a fairytale victory. On the other hand, Hammad Hadi Khan finished in the third position with 18 wins and a spread of 1333. Hasham Hadi Khan who also won 18 games but had a lower spread 967. Basil Khan, Ahad Riaz, Taha Mirza, Monis Khan, Sohaib Sanaullah, and Hassan Hadi Khan finished in top ten. 9-years-old Bilal Asher finished ahead of all senior players including former national champions.

Read: Hassan Hadi Khan dominates in 32nd Pakistan Scrabble Championship

‘Impressed at first sight’ Inzamam recalls Afridi’s U16 cricket days

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Lahore: Former Test cricketer and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq shared how Shaheen Shah Afridi impressed him at first sight during his U16 cricket playing days.  Speaking on his YouTube channel, Inzamam praised Afridi after he became the only Pakistani pacer to bag four wickets on four consecutive balls during Vitality Blast 2020. “I saw him bowling in the nets during his U16 cricket playing days. Mushtaq Ahmed and Mudassar Nazar recommended me to watch him and to be honest, I was impressed with him at first sight,” Inzamam said. “He looked completely different from others in that camp. Looking at his pace and accuracy, we felt he should be promoted to U19s. Later on, he made his debut when I was the chief selector and went onto achieve laurels in a short span of time. I am not taking any credit but if he used in the right way, he will serve Pakistan longer,” he added. Inzamam suggested Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) utilize Afridi properly otherwise he will be another Mohammad Zahid whose career was finished due to fitness issues. “PCB must look into utilizing him properly otherwise they will lose yet another talent,” he said. “If you remember Zahid, the one who was called one of the fastest bowlers ever faced by Brian Lara, also faced fitness issues following to which his career was finished. I doubt with Afridi playing all three formats together, he can face fitness issues in the coming days. His bones aren’t mature enough so he needs to work harder on his fitness,” he concluded.

Read: ‘Its time to support Fawad unconditionally’ Inzamam-ul-Haq

Shadab, Saad to replace Imad, Babar as captains

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Karachi: Leg-spinner Shadab Khan and all-rounder Saad Nasim to lead Northern and Central Punjab respectively in place of Imad Wasim and Babar Azam. According to reports, Babar will take some rest after his team Somerset made their way out from ongoing Vitaliuty Blast 2020. Whereas, Imad Wasim’s Nottinghamshire has qualified for the quarter-finals, hence will not be available for first phase of National T20 Cup, scheduled to start from September 30. On the other hand, 20-year-old Shaheen Shah Afridi will also miss the first phase of mega domestic event. However, he will come back to Pakistan as his side Hampshire got eliminated in the group stage of Vitality Blast T20. Meanwhile, Pakistan team members who were part of England’s tour will join their respective sides on September 25th. They will undergo back-to-back COVID-19 test on Tuesday and Thursday.

Read: PCB provides updates on COVID-19 tests of Second XI T20 squads

Watch: Spanish athlete sets incredible example of ‘sportsmanship’

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Barcelona: A Spanish triathlete who stopped at the finish line to let his competitor take the bronze has been praised for his sportsmanship all over the internet. In a video, which has now gone viral, Diego Méntrida was trailing British athlete James Teagle at the final stretch of the ‘Santander Triathlon 2020’ but Teagle mistook the direction of the course, allowing Méntrida to overtake him just meters from the finish line. Teagle failed to turn a corner and running into a fence outlining the spectators’ area less than 100 meters from the end of the race. However, Méntrida set a high example of sportsmanship and came to a halt at the finish line, Diego himself finished third and instead of winning a bronze medal, he gave the opponent a chance. On this unique initiative, the management of ‘Santander Triathlon 2020’ also awarded the honorary third position, bronze medal and prize money to Diego Manderida.

Rusty Real Madrid draw La Liga opener with Sociedad

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San Sebastian: Real Madrid had an underwhelming return to La Liga as they could only draw 0-0 away to Real Sociedad on Sunday in the first game of their title defence.

The champions looked rusty and particularly toothless up front, barely creating any chances of note in either half as Karim Benzema found little support in Brazilian teenage forwards Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo.

Sociedad looked more likely to score in either half, with Sweden forward Alexander Isak forcing Real keeper Thibaut Courtois to save with his feet before flashing a shot narrowly over the bar before halftime.

Lively winger Ander Barrenetxea was inches away from breaking the deadlock early in the second period but fired just wide of the far post.

Benzema missed Real’s best chance of the first half when he lost his footing as he rounded goalkeeper Alex Remiro and later saw a goal-bound shot blocked by a dive from Sociedad defender Aritz Elustondo.

Madrid keeper Courtois said he was pleased with his side’s performance all in all.

“We’re happy with how organised we were and how we didn’t allow them many chances but the problem was that we couldn’t score, we struggled to complete our final passes,” he said.

“We were looking strong even though it was our first game, we played with a high level of intensity although we found it more difficult in the second half but in general we can be happy with how our first game has gone.”

Real spent their brief close season moving on a number of unwanted players such as Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Reguilon but the only new additions were returning loanees Martin Odegaard and defender Alvaro Odriozola.

Odegaard started against Sociedad, where he had a highly successful spell last season, but Real were unable to properly command the middle of the park without Casemiro, who started on the bench before coming on in the second half.

Substitute Marvin, 20, could have had a dream Madrid debut when a chance fell his way after coming on but failed to keep his composure.

Sociedad’s David Silva made his first La Liga appearance in a decade when he came on as a substitute in the second half.

Read: Gareth Bale completes return to Tottenham Hotspur from Real Madrid

No truth about Azhar Ali’s removal as Test captain: Reports

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Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has clarified that there are no plans to remove Azhar Ali as Test skipper, reports suggested. According to reports, The PCB official confirmed that there is no truth about Azhar removal and Prime Minister Imran wanted him in the recent meeting to lead the national team for a long period of time. It must be noted that there was news circulating that PM Imran Khan expressed to remove the 35-year-old from the captaincy. Azhar was appointed Test captain last year in October, replacing wicket-keeper batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed. Under his leadership, Pakistan lost in Australia and England but won home matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Read: PCB to question Misbah, Azhar for uninformed meeting with PM Imran Khan

Watch: Shaheen Afridi claims four wickets in four balls for Hampshire

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Karachi: Pakistan’s pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi blew the cricket fraternity by taking four wickets in four balls for Hampshire against Middlesex in a group match of Vitality Blast T20 at the Rose Bowl. Middlesex needed 21 off 16 with four wickets in hand but Shaheen had different plans. He removed John Simpson, Steven Finn, Thilan Walallawita and Tim Murtagh. The 20-year-old claimed 6/19 in four overs. All of them were bowled. Earlier Hampshire posted 141 in 20 overs. In reply, Middlesex scored 121. It is the county’s best-ever T20 figures. Shaheen only managed to take one wicket in the previous six matches of the tournament. It must be noted that three Pakistani players are in action in Vitality Blast T20. Shaheen is representing Hampshire whereas Babar Azam and Imad Wasim is playing for Somerset and Nottinghamshire.

Read: Babar Azam reaches another milestone

Zimbabwe name 25-men training squad for Pakistan’s limited-overs tour

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Karachi: Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have named a 25-member training squad for their proposed limited-overs tour to Pakistan, ARY Sports reported. Zimbabwe are scheduled to play in October /November with the three-match ODI series likely to be played in Multan while the three T20Is will be played in Rawalpindi. Earlier this week, ZC Chairman also confirmed that the official announcement of Zimbabwe’s tour of Pakistan would be announced soon. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is busy creating a bio-secure bubble and the series is likely to be played behind closed doors. Zimbabwe training squad Faraz Akram, Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Luke Jongwe, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wesley Madhevere, Timycen Maruma, Wellington Masakadza, Brandon Mavuta, Peter Moor, Carl Mumba, Richmond Mutumbami, Richard Ngarava, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Sean Williams

Read: PCB seeks advice on creating bio-secure bubble for Zimbabwe series from ECB

PCB provides updates on COVID-19 tests of Second XI T20 squads

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Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on Sunday, has announced, that as many as 125 players and support staff belonging to six Cricket Association of Second XI squads for the National T20 Cup have tested negative in their first Covid-19 tests. All individuals are now invited to their respective central stations and will undergo their second tests on 21 September under the supervision of the PCB medical team. The tests will take place at Lahore’s Hotel PC for Central Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northern and Southern Punjab, and Muridke Country Club for Balochistan and Sindh. It must be noted that Second XI National T20 Cup is scheduled to start from October 1st in Lahore.

Read: Balochistan head coach Faisal, assistant coach Wasim breach COVID-19 protocols

PCB’s top officials two-day meeting ends in Nathia Gali

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Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) two-day meeting has been ended in Nathia Gali, ARY Sports reported. The meeting was chaired by Chairman Ehsan Mani which was attended by the Chief Executive and heads of various PCB’s departments. According to sources, the two-year performance and future strategy were discussed. Chairman outlined the targets for the third and final year of his term and aimed to complete all the targets on time. Strict implementation of PCB Vision was also directed to the board officials. They also discussed in detail regarding the implementation of the Code of Ethics. “It was a corporate strategy meeting,” said PCB. On the other hand, Chief Executive Wasim Khan and Director High-Performance Center (NHPC) Nadeem Khan will attend the meeting of the National Standing Committee. The Committee will meet on September 23 in Islamabad. However, Ehsan Mani will remain in Nathia Gali till Thursday to attend various meetings.

Read: PCB to question Misbah, Azhar for uninformed meeting with PM Imran Khan