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After Cricket World Cup 2023 Opens To Empty Stands, Virender Sehwag’s Interesting ‘Free Tickets’ Advice

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Former Indian cricket team opener Virender Sehwag believes that the Cricket World Cup 2023 organisers should give free tickets to school and college students for matches not featuring India after the competition opened to empty stands in Ahmedabad on Thursday. The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad failed to draw crowds and the lack of support left a lot of cricket fans on social media stunned. Sehwag believes that the popularity for ODI cricket is dwindling at the moment and better access for youngsters during the tournament can boost their interest in the sport.

“Hopefully after office hours, there should be more people coming in. But for games not featuring Bharat, there should be free tickets for school and college children. With the fading interest in 50 over game, it will definitely help that youngsters get to experience a World Cup game and players get to play in fron (sic) of a full stadium.” Sehwag posted on social media platform X (formerly called Twitter).

New Zealand won the toss and put defending champions England in to bat in the World Cup opener on Thursday with the English missing their talisman Ben Stokes due to a hip injury.

The clash, at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in the Indian city of Ahmedabad, is a rematch of the epic 2019 final when England won a tied game on boundary countback.

Tom Latham leads New Zealand, who will be without regular captain Kane Williamson and pace bowler Tim Southee, both recovering from injuries.

Fast bowler Lockie Ferguson is also out due to a niggle.

“Looks a reasonably good surface. Hopefully later on it gets better to bat,” Latham said at the toss. “Preparation has been great.”

England skipper Jos Buttler confirmed Stokes is out with a “niggle with his hip”.

Harry Brook comes in for Stokes, who was selected for the World Cup as a specialist batsman but will be unable to bowl due to a long-standing knee injury.

Buttler said they would have bowled first had he won the toss.

“Looks a really good wicket. Preparation has been okay,” said Buttler.

“Had a good series against New Zealand at home. Very proud of the achievement four years ago.”

Teams

England:Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler (wk/capt), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood

New Zealand:Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (wk/capt), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Matt Henry, Mitchell Santner, James Neesham, Trent Boult.

(With AFP inputs)

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Rashid Khan Receives Call From Taliban Minister After Afghanistan’s Historic Win – Watch

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The Afghanistan cricket team continued their brilliant run of form in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024 as they defeated Bangladesh in a thriller to book their spot in the semi-finals on Tuesday. This was the first time that Afghanistan qualified for the semi-finals of any International Cricket Council (ICC) event. The Rashid Khan-led side has been on a giant-killing spree with a win over New Zealand in the group stage and a sensational victory over Australia in the Super 8. Afghanistan needed a win over Bangladesh to book their semi-final berth and the result also meant that Australia were eliminated. Following the victory, Rashid received a call from Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

In a video posted by the Afghanistan Cricket Board on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Muttaqi was seen congratulating Rashid for the sensational victory. Muttaqi began the conversation with “Mubarak” and he had a special message for Rashid and the rest of the Afghanistan team.

Afghanistan will now face South Africa in the first T20 World Cup 2024 semi-final on Thursday.

“It’s something like a dream for us as a team being in the semifinal. It’s all about the way we have started the tournament. The belief came while we beat New Zealand. It’s unbelievable.”

“I don’t have any words to describe my feelings. Back home, everyone is so happy for this big achievement. The only guy who put us in the semifinal was Brian Lara and we proved that right. Before the competition at the welcome party, I told him, ‘We won’t let you down. We’ll make it through and prove you’re right.’ I am proud of this team. We thought 130-135 was a good total on this wicket.”

“We were 15-20 runs short. It was all about the mindset. We knew they would come hard at us to chase that in 12 overs to get into the semifinal. That’s where we could take advantage. If we bowled into the stumps, we had a better chance to getting them out. We didn’t have to do anything extra. We just had to be clear with our plans. We put in the effort, that’s in our hands,” Rashid Khan said.

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T20 World Cup: Bangladesh Skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto Points Admits Reason For Loss vs Afghanistan

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Following his side’s eight-run defeat against Afghanistan in the Super Eights match of the T20 World Cup 2024, Bangladesh skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto said that they made poor decisions while batting in the middle overs. Najmul Hossain Shanto displayed a poor performance in the second innings of the match. He scored 5 runs from 5 balls at a strike rate of 100.00. The Bangladesh skipper just slammed 1-four during his time on the crease. Speaking after the match, Shanto said that their plan was to go hard in the first six overs of the second innings. He also accepted that the middle order of Bangladesh’s batting lineup failed to execute.

He further added that the Bangladesh bowling attack performed well throughout the tournament.

“I think we bowled really well, we did lots of good things but as a batting unit, we made poor decisions, especially in the middle overs and that’s what cost us today. The plan was to go hard in the first six overs, if we lost early wickets, the plan was to bat normally, but that didn’t happen and the middle-order couldn’t execute. The whole tournament we have bowled really well, both the pacers and the spinners. Especially Rishad was great, the fast bowlers also did really well. Also, as a fielding group, we did well,” Shanto said.

Recapping the match, after winning the toss Rashid Khan-led Afghanistan decided to bat against Bangladesh.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (43 runs from 55 balls, 3 fours and 1 six) played a stupendous knock for the Afghan side and powered them to 115-5. Ibrahim Zadran (18 runs from 29 balls, 1 four) and Rashid Khan (19* runs from 10 balls, 3 sixes) tried their best in the final stage of the first inning and added some crucial runs on the scoreboard.

Rishad Hossain led the Bangladesh bowling attack after he picked up three wickets and gave 26 runs in his four-over spell.

The second inning of the match was reduced to 19 overs, and the target was 114 runs after rain played a spoilsport in the second inning.

During the run chase, Litton Das (54* runs from 49 balls, 5 fours, and 1 six) was the only standout batter for the Tigers as he scored the highest among his teammates.

Naveen-ul-Haq and Rashid Khan picked up four wickets each in their respective spells. Fazalhaq Farooqi and Gulbadin Naib also bagged one wicket each in their respective spells and helped the Afghan side win the match by eight runs.

After the defeat, Mitchell Marsh-led Australia are also out of the tournament. The Aussies ended up in third place in the Group 1 table of the Super Eights with just two points.

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Rashid Khan Breaks Silence As ‘Cheating’ Accusation Sours Afghanistan’s T20 World Cup Semi-Final Entry

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On Tuesday, Afghanistan experienced their most important day in their cricket history so far. The team led by Rashid Khan defeated Bangladesh to knock out Australia and qualify for the first time ever in a T20 World Cup semi-final. However, there was one incident that seemed to mar the whole occasion for Afghanistan. It happened when Gulbadin Naib dramatically fell on his back, clutching his thigh after Trott signalled his players to slow things down.

But minutes later, not only was the all-rounder back on the field but he also went on to take Tanzim Hasan’s wicket, causing several former players and commentators to question the genuineness of his discomfort.

But Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan sought to play down the incident. 

“Well, he had some cramp, I don’t know what happened to him and I don’t know what’s going on in social media but that doesn’t matter – it’s just the end field injury which comes and then we haven’t lost any overs, the rain came and we just went off, it’s not something like brought a massive difference in the game,” Rashid khan.

“We came back on field after five minutes and there was no massive difference. For me, it’s just like a small injury comes in, then you have to take some time.”

Skipper Rashid Khan believes that Afghanistan’s maiden T20 World Cup semifinal qualification, following spectacular wins over New Zealand and Australia along the way, is a momentous feat that will inspire the youth of the strife-torn nation.

Afghanistan, who became a full ICC member only in 2017, scripted history by qualifying for their maiden T20 World Cup semifinal with a win over Bangladesh here.

“I think the semi-final is going to be a massive, massive like inspiration for the youngsters back home in Afghanistan. That Afghanistan team get into the semis for the first time,” Rashid said at the post match press conference.

“And we have done it under 19 level, but this level we haven’t done that. Even Super Eight was first time for us and then in semis,” he added.

Moments after the win, visuals of jubilant fans back home celebrating Afghanistan’s historic achievement started doing the rounds on social media.

With the feat, Afghanistan have showed how much they have progressed in the white ball formats. At last year’s ODI World Cup, they upset defending champions England and former winners Sri Lanka and Pakistan. They are continuing their giant slaying run at the T20 World Cup having beaten heavyweights New Zealand and Australia.

“The cricket we have played in the whole tournament so far – I think we deserve to be in the semis. The way everyone took the responsibility of getting into the game and performing best for the team,” said Rashid.

“So, I don’t know how I can describe my feeling but it’s a massive achievement for us as a team and as a nation to be in the semis and now looking forward to the semis.” The Afghanistan cricket team is a group of individuals who have honed their skills by plying their trade in T20 leagues around the world. But when they come together to play for their country, it’s hard to find a more passionate bunch.

With PTI inputs

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