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Russia thrashes Saudi Arabia in the World Cup opener

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Russia beats Saudia Arabia 5-0 in the World Cup opening match on Thursday.

Russia dominates the first half; Saudi Arabia left wondering

Nester Pitana’s whistle blow kicked off the World Cup as Saudi Arabia rushed to attack down the left flank, but Russia easily cleared their lines. Aleksandr Samedov’s early free-kick and Aleksandr Golovin’s early corner were deflected by Saudi defense. Some more corners and a throw-in later, Yuri Gazinsky scored the opening goal of the World Cup for Russia.

GOAL (Gazinsky 12): Saudi Arabia left-back Yasser Al-Shahrani slipped to give Yuri Gazinsky a chance to leap high and guide a cross past the keeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf and inside the left upright.

gazinksy

Gazinsky scores the opening goal.

Soon after the goal, Russia’s dominant attack became apparent as back-to-back offensives were launched at the out-of-touch Saudis. Alesksander Samedov and Aleksandr Golovin kept the Saudi defenders on their toes during the better half of the first 45 minutes.

Undoubtedly, Yasser Al-Shahrani was Saudi Arabia’s stand-out player, but his individual performance could not match up with Russia’s ruthless attacks as one after another, corners and free-kicks were awarded to the Russian side.

READ MORE: Pakistan becomes the most successful T20I team after Scotland win

Russian Alan Dzagoev, who was injured during the World Cup 2014 and Euro Cup 2016, was pulled out because of a hamstring injury. The substitute doubles Russia’s lead.

GOAL (Cheryshev 43): With Russia on the counter-attack and a three-on-two advantage, Cheryshev picked the ball up on the inside left channel from his teammate Smolov, cutting inside and taking a touch as two defenders dived in, fooled completely by Cheryshev. With the goal at his mercy, Cheryshev proceeded to blast the ball into the roof of the net from about 12 yards.

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Cheryshev doubles Russia’s lead.

Saudi Arabia bows down to Russia’s brutal attacks as second half shows a similar story

The start of the second half was boring, in all honesty, as the ball rarely left the middle third. Both the teams played as expected of them and both the teams shared equal possession of the ball.

As the match continued, Saudi Arabia enjoyed a rare spell of possession inside the Russian half, but struggled to make it pay. A free-kick and a substitute could not help Saudi Arabia’s chances either. And only two minutes after their keeper made a flying save, Russia scores a beauty.

GOAL (Dzyuba 71): Russia’s Dzyuba scores with his first touch – a header. Having spent mere seconds on the field, Dzyuba scores a wonderful header. Zobnin’s flying ball was headed into the bottom right-hand corner with pure class.

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Russia’s Dzyuba scores with his first touch – a header.

The rest of the match saw Saudi Arabia’s team being thrashed on all sides of the field. The Russians scored three more goals before the final whistle provided the Saudi men a face-saving break.

READ MORE: Top 10 Universities of Pakistan

GOAL (Cheryshev 90): Denis Cheryshev scores the goal of the night, floating the ball into the top corner with an insoucient swish of his left boot from the edge of the Saudi penalty area.

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Cherysev celeberates his team’s fourth goal

GOAL (Golovin 90+4): The Russian midfielder scores with a sublime free-kick, curling the ball around the Saudi wall and wide of the post, only for it to curl back inside and beyond the reach of Al-Mayouf from about 25 yards.

FINAL SCORE: Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia.

 

 

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Kumar Sangakkara says England, Australia must tour Pakistan

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Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Kumar Sangakkara has stated that England and Australia must tour Pakistan to facilitate regular international cricket in the South Asian country.

Top teams have shunned Pakistan since the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lanka team in Lahore in which six players were injured and eight Pakistanis, including six policemen, were killed.

Batting great Sangakkara, who was part of that team, returned to Pakistan with an MCC team in February this year but top teams have stayed away with security apprehensions.

Read more: Freemasons – their illustrious history and presence in Pakistan

“It doesn’t matter an Asian side going there or a secondary side in terms of world prominence when it comes to having security measures in place,” Sangakkara told The Cricket Show on Sky Sports Cricket.

“I think it’s important that England or Australia, even South Africa, make up their minds to actually tour when security is assured and they have those discussions; the MCC tour will be a precursor to that.”

In December, Pakistan played their first test match on home soil since 2009 when they hosted Sri Lanka in Karachi while Bangladesh also played a test match in Rawalpindi in February.

Bangladesh split their tour in three parts even though the final leg was called off in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sangakkara, who has scored more than 28,000 international runs for Sri Lanka, agreed it was too early for any extended tour of Pakistan.

“I don’t think you are ever going to see in the near future a five-test match series coupled with a one-day series played back-to-back,” said the former Sri Lanka captain.

“I think it will be more a case of you play two test matches, you take a break, you go back and play three one-dayers.

“It’s not exactly the right time for extended tours, but I’m sure that with the right communication and the measures in place that players can go back and play some great quality cricket, have a great time and bring cricket back to Pakistan.”

Pakistan have offered to host global flagship tournaments after the governing International Cricket Council invited expression of interest for events in the 2023-31 cycle. 

The story was first published in Reuters

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Honda, Toyota halt production in Pakistan

Industry sources expect a significantly large dip in sales at the end of the year. It may be recalled that the industry was expecting to increase its sales to half a million units by 2022.

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KARACHI, Pakistan: Honda Atlas Cars Pakistan (HACP) and Indus Motor Company (IMC,) which produces Toyota models in Pakistan, have decided to shut down production for 10 days and eight days, two days every week, during this month respectively amid rising prices due to imposition of strict new, higher taxes in the budget and steep currency devaluation in the recent weeks.

A Pakistan Suzuki Motor Company spokesperson told media outlets that his company, too, is thinking of making a decision along the same line and will announce what has been decided in the next few weeks after analyzing sales trend and flow of booking orders during the present month of July.

Reportedly, HACP and IMX made their decisions to scale down production after extremely poor sales in the first 10 days of the current month.

READ MORE: Top 10 schools of Pakistan (2018-19)

“Our inventories from the last month and the first 10 days of July have grown rapidly because of steep increase in car prices after currency devaluation as well as imposition of Advance Customs Duty (ACD) on all our imports and Federal Excise Duty (FED) on assembled cars, leaving us with no option but to shut down the plant to cut production. If the present trend holds, we expect our sales to drop to less than 30,000 units this business year (April 2019-March 2020) from over 48,000 units last year,” a senior executive of HACP elaborated.

An IMC official also gave the same reasons for “observing eight no-production days” during July. “It is a very serious situation for the local car manufacturers who are piling up inventories,” he said. But he did not give the size of inventory his company has built so far, saying the production cuts could increase next month if sales do not pick up.

The sales have been on the decrease for the last three months as total car and light commercial vehicles (LCV) volume contracted by 5pc to 17,561 units in June from a year ago. Overall, the car and LCV sales plunged by 7pc during the last fiscal year to 240,335 units from the previous year. The impact of implementation of 5pc ACD on all raw materials and parts used by the local assemblers and imposition of 2.5-7.5pc FED from July 1 has started resulting in further decline in sales.

Industry sources expect a significantly large dip in sales at the end of the year. It may be recalled that the industry was expecting to increase its sales to half a million units by 2022.

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Questioning Team India’s sportsmanship post England loss

India’s suspicious performance against the scarred England has raised a lot of eyebrows, so much so, several experts and former players are accusing India of tarnishing the spirit of the wonderful game that is cricket.

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India’s suspicious performance against the scarred England has raised a lot of eyebrows, so much so, several experts and former players are accusing India of tarnishing the spirit of the wonderful game that is cricket.

Winning and losing is, of course, a part of the game where you win some and you lose some but losing intentionally so to hurt another team’s qualifying chances is making not only a mockery of the contest, but also putting the game that we love so much to absolute shame.

India’s snail-paced chase against England has become an unwanted debate held at almost every match that followed the much controversial match. India’s world class batsmen including the ICC Number 1 batsman Virat Kohli and now four time World Cup 2019 centurion Rohit Sharma could only manage to score 28 runs in the first ten overs chasing a mammoth target of 338 and then when the Indian team somehow managed to level the scoring run rate and the Indian side was well in sight of an east victory, the heroics of former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav made sure that India fell short of the total scoring only 39 off 31 balls in the death overs.

Read more: Mr Khan, keep your Naya Pakistan to yourself

Commentators Nasser Hussain and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly were left surprised with neither looking to push the tempo. “I am completely baffled. What’s going on! This is not what India needed. They need runs. What are they doing? Some Indian fans are leaving now. Surely they must want to see Dhoni go for his shots, even if he slogs it off in the air. It’s a World Cup game, top two sides, give it a go! Indian fans would want their side to do a little bit more. They want their side to go down with a fight. Risk it to win it,” said former England captain Hussain during the last 10 overs.

Ganguly, too, failed to figure the plan at play despite India having five wickets in hand. “I don’t have an explanation for that. You asked me the question but I can’t explain these singles. It’s also the length and the bounce that has deceived the Indian batsmen. You can’t be chasing 338 and still have 5 wickets in the end. It’s about mindset and the way you look at the game. The message had to be clear: no matter where it comes and no matter where the ball lands you have to find the boundary. A dot ball at this stage!,” said Ganguly.

Speaking on Star Sports after the match, Ganguly told that the intent was lacking from Indian batting in the first 10 and last 6 overs.

“The first 10 overs and the last 6 overs left a lot to be desired. Hopefully they will go back and reflect because they have been in excellent form this WC. The intent was not good enough. I would have been more happy if India were 300 all-out. This situation can happen again and they will have to find different ways to succeed in the first and last 10 overs,” said Ganguly.

All in all, India have done what they have done and Pakistan have been kicked out of the competition after England’s convincing victory over New Zealand. India, a proper all round team  of this World Cup, have qualified for the semifinals with Australia, New Zealand, and England but they surely have lost the respect of millions of cricket fans after their condemnable stunt at Edgbaston last Sunday.

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